10 of My Most Popular Posts


I’ve been blogging for almost six years, and from time to time, I enjoy looking back to see what some of the most-read posts are. Today, I thought I’d share a few with you.

  1. A Poem for Bravery
  2. Life is beautiful.
  3. 30 Things
  4. 31 Days of Big Belief
  5. Sketchbook Project
  6. My heart feels like a Saturday morning …
  7. Women Praying Boldly: 40 Days of Prayer
  8. When God puts something on your heart, don’t hesitate, just GO.
  9. Why My Prayer in Singleness Has Changed
  10. Vintage Lettering Love

P.S. It’s also National Handwriting Day, so I’ll have to put my pen to paper later and do a little doodling.

“The lost art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words. So, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) suggests you take advantage of National Handwriting Day on January 23 and use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry. Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals during a time when we often use computers, faxes and e-mail to communicate.” Via WIMA

Happy Writing!

Creating an eBook ~ Ideas to Paper (PLUS, the TITLE REVEAL!)

In my first Creating an eBook post, I talked a bit about the initial phase of deciding to write an eBook and figuring out where to go from there. In this post, I want to delve into the process of creating an outline.

In the initial brainstorming phases, I pretty much captured anything and everything on paper. If an idea popped into my head, I wrote about it in a list or journal entry. The idea for my book was, at first, very broad.

I also needed to sit with the idea for quite some time before I was sure I was passionate enough about the topic to write a book about it. (Because trust me, you might think the idea of writing a book sounds glamourous and inspiring and amazing, and while it is exhilarating, it is also challenging, long, and time-consuming. So, it’s a good idea to be sure that you care very deeply about the topic you are going to spend months thinking and praying and writing about.) :)


I eventually started making more concrete outlines to organize my thoughts and ideas. Here’s a snapshot of that process:

  1. First, I wrote out main themes and jotted notes under each one. Just some general ideas I wanted to explore/cover in my book.
  2. Next, I wrote out actual ideas for chapters, and using the main themes I had already identified, I determined in which chapter I would cover each theme.
  3. The third thing I did in my outline-making process was to write the main take-aways I hoped readers would be blessed with by reading my book. I think of these take-aways as the true heart of the book.


By putting the outline process into three main steps, I make it sound very short, but I do want to say that I spent MONTHS doing that (and continue to refine my notes — even though I’m in the writing phase at this point. More on why I am following the outline, but also leaving things a bit open in an upcoming Creating An eBook post.

P.S. I’m excited to *finally* reveal my book’s title (hurray! happy dance!):

An Inspired Life: Living Fully and Creatively in Every Season

So excited to share more about An Inspired Life in upcoming posts!

Happy Weekend!

Blogging: Getting Back to Basics


I recently discovered Jenni’s Blog Every Day in May Challenge, and I love what she had to say about it: “I think when you force yourself to blog every day, you stop feeling so much pressure for every post to be perfect. I do that (the pressure thing) BIG TIME, and lately, I’ve been so frustrated by the fact that I’m not enjoying the experience of blogging as much anymore. I want to get back to the basics. You know, the writing stuff.”

I really, really love the idea of getting back to basics with blogging — writing from the heart because you LOVE to write. Enjoying the process of putting words and phrases together and really telling a story.

I wish I could participate this month, but with the eBook writing, I just can’t commit to a challenge like this. It’s for sure something I’d like to do in the future, though. And I might try and respond to a few of her prompts here and there, because sometimes, responding to prompts can free us from writer’s block and really encourage our creativity to bloom again.

Perhaps, once the eBook is published, I’ll create my own challenge.

**And speaking of the eBook, I’m working on the next post in the Creating an eBook series, so look for that soon (maybe this weekend?).

Happy Friday, friends! It’s a beautiful spring morning, and I can’t wait to embrace all that’s in store for this day.

Creating an eBook – The Beginning

For a while now, I’ve wanted to share with you a little behind-the-scenes look at my eBook process, so today, I thought I’d take you through some of the initial brainstorming phases.


As with most creative projects, my eBook started with an idea — an idea and a wonderfully inspiring conversation with a dear friend.

Remember when I attended Weapons of Mass creation?

Well, there I was that hot summer day (very hot, actually), wandering around with one of my dearest friends, talking creativity and discussing the crazy process of making things and taking risks and following dreams.

Somehow, we must have landed on the topic of books and writing, because all of a sudden, there she was planting the idea in my head to write an eBook and publish it myself. Strangely enough, it was an idea I’d never considered, but the more I thought about it, the more inspired and encouraged I felt to go for it.

At that point, however, I wasn’t sure what it was that I’d write about. It probably took another month or so for the idea to fully form, and I will say that during that brainstorming time I found this often-quoted piece of advice to be true: Write/create what you want to see/read.

Let me expand on that idea a little further by sharing two quotes from Annie Downs (who recently taught a class about writing in all seasons for The Influence Network). While I wasn’t able to attend the class, I did snag these gems from Twitter, and they really speak so perfectly to this idea.

“What season are you living? What are you hoping for? What do you wish someone else was writing about?”

“There is profound power in writing, speaking, blogging, sharing right where you are.”

I found those statements to be very true in my brainstorming phase of eBook creation (even though I didn’t know about them at the time). As I was dreaming and planning, I was thinking a lot about who I was as a creative/woman of God and what inspired/encouraged me. I was thinking about the life season I was living and everything I was learning through God’s generous love and grace.

It also helped that at around the same time I decided I wanted to write an eBook, I was also redefining the focus for my blog. That whole blog reorganization/rebranding essentially led me to decide I wanted to write about how to live inspired, creative, fulfilling lives in every season.

My next piece of advice for the initial phase of brainstorming and creation is this: don’t rush the process. Even after you’ve dreamed up an idea, take your time to really sit with it. Journal about it. Make lists. Pray about it. I have pages and pages in my journal with lists and ideas for my eBook — and not everything will make it into the final book. You have to give yourself the time and space to really get to know your idea. Figure out what it truly means to you and how you might develop it.

I honestly spent about five months in this initial brainstorming/praying/journaling phase, and I’m so thankful for the time I spent doing that. It might seem like a long time, but I feel like I know my ideal well, and I know where I want to go with it. Plus, when you generate a lot of ideas brainstorming, it makes it so much easier to actually begin the sometimes daunting task of actually sitting down and creating.

In my next Creating an eBook post, I will share a bit more about the actual process I used for brainstorming and some of the ways I started to organize my ideas before jumping into the writing phase. I look forward to continuing to share this exciting creative journey with all of you. Thanks for being a part of it! :)

* * *

Do you have a big idea or dream that God’s placed on your heart? Are there things you wish someone would create? Why not spend some time really sitting with those ideas, exploring them, getting to know them, and bringing them honestly before The Lord? Who knows, you might be at the beginning of a beautiful creative adventure…’

{photo by LuSarah SEAS Photography}


Staying Creative // Lisa Galek

Staying Creative

Hi, friends! I’m back with the next installment of my Staying Creative series. I’m excited to introduce you all to Lisa — an inspiring friend of mine who shares my love for words. Her inspirations definitely speak to my word-loving heart, and I hope you’re as inspired by her interview as I was.



First of all, big thanks to Katie for letting me contribute to this series and inviting me to appear on her beautiful and inspiring blog!

So, what’s inspiring me right now? Well, that’s a good question.


This one is kind of obvious, right? Who doesn’t love working for themselves? Who wouldn’t be inspired by a new adventure every day? Well, it took me a long time to get here.

It’s kind of weird to think of myself as an “artist.” Up until a few months ago, I probably would have thought of myself as a regular old cubicle dweller. Certainly not as someone anyone else would look to for inspiration. I was working as an editor for a major company in Cleveland, and while my work was creative, that creativity was squeezed in between endless meetings, deadlines, and paperwork. I badly needed some inspiration in my life.

The thing I missed most while doing my job was actually writing. Since I was mostly reworking other people’s stuff, I didn’t have as much opportunity to come up with things on my own. Yes, editing is creative, but I had an itch and I needed to scratch it.

So, I decided to make a change.

I quit the regular job and started doing freelance writing. Though quitting a full-time job in a bad economy seems insane, so far it’s worked out pretty well (thanks to the support of my awesome husband). So, why is writing and working on my own terms so inspirational?

  • I get to write. Every day. Yay!
  • I set my own schedule every week. That means lots of working in my P.J.’s.
  • Every week is something new and different. New assignments, new projects, new ideas and inspiration.
  • I’m my own boss. ‘Nuff said.

But the #1 one reason freelance writing is so awesome and inspirational…


Being at home more has given me a chance to spend more time with my family, which includes my two lovely daughters – Elizabeth and Gwendolyn.


My girls inspire my work in so many ways. Sometimes its obvious, like when I’m working on writing geared towards kids. Sometimes, they’re just laughing at my corny jokes (kids love fart jokes, which makes me feel better when I throw one in somewhere). But, most of the time they’re just hanging around, being their adorable selves, and lighting up my life.

Of course, there are always those times where I have to throw on the TV so I can proofread something (“Hold on, girls, Mommy is looking up the correct spelling of the word “latte”). So, I’m grateful when they don’t freak out over my work and home worlds colliding.

#3 – BOOKS

Last, but definitely not least. Books always inspire me. Any time I have questions, worries, concerns, or just down time, I turn to books. (Sure, I also turn to people too, but until I can resurrect Jane Austen and make her my best friend, I’m still gonna need to keep my copy of Pride and Prejudice handy).

Pretty much the only downside to being a freelance writer and mom is that these other awesome things take away from the precious time I could be spending with books. Sure, family and writing come first, but books are my first love.

Before I could write, before my daughters were even though of, there were books. And I was a reader. So, anytime I get a chance to snuggle up with one of my favorites or a new favorite-in-the-making, I take it.

Here’s a little tribute to my all-time good reads:

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • The Bible by God (and various other folks)

So, that’s what’s inspiring me right now. How about you?

Lisa is a freelance writer and editor, and you can connect with her via her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for sharing your inspirations and creative journey with us, Lisa!

* * *

How are you staying creative these days? I’d love to hear about your current inspirations. (You can use this hashtag to share them on Twitter:  #BeInspiredStayCreative.)


Staying Creative // Marissa

Staying Creative

Hello, friends,

I’m happy to share another Staying Creative feature with you this morning. I’ve known Marissa for a few years now (I was blessed to meet her through some creative work). I love her heart for creativity and making a difference in the world. That heart shines through all of the art that she creates. I know you’ll be as inspired by her as I am.

bowers hshot katie

And now, I shall pass over the cursor to Marissa, and let her chat with you all about her creative process and what’s been inspiring her lately. :)

Life has been an intentional process for me for 3 years now. Before that I was a full-time Design Manager for a crafty publishing company. I worked on the coolest books ever. I wasn’t the best manager, and the time came for me to leave those days behind and spread my creative wings. It’s been a series of incredible highs and extreme lows since then, and when people say “You’ll find yourself’ in the in-between,” they weren’t kidding. I’ve had 16 cents to feed my 3 children one night, but then took a trip of a lifetime to document the wedding of a best friend in the amazing country of Costa Rica (her first international trip and destination wedding!) (I’m not kidding when I say that since the moment of leaving the day job, I’ve had highs and lows!)

 But the in-between is where I’ve found myself. The in-between is where I’ve become a better artist, a better wife, and a better mother. I wouldn’t have believed it three years ago had you told me I’d go through all that I have, but I’m here today to tell you that the process is real and the process is promising, and I still don’t know where it ends, but I’m along for the journey.

My current inspirations:

#1 My surroundings

I’ve confidently become one of ‘those’ people who look at everything around them and take it all in where I am at at any given moment. When I’m on a shoot with my Canon (typically photographing an adorable family or someone who needs some amazing headshots) — I’ve noticeably been taking those breaks while doing that to look to the sky that’s setting before me and snap a few, or take note of the bare tree blowing in front of my sightline or to look at the row of historic buildings that line up in perfect visual perspective just around the corner that I’m shooting at. When you forcibly stop and remind yourself to notice these things — trust me — you’ll see colors of the rainbow you’ve never even thought possible or appreciate the texture of a building you’ve driven by a million times before. If I don’t have my fancy camera with me, my iPhone does the same amazing thing. It paints a picture of the world before me.

covington building bw

cov december#2 The written word

I was first a lover of the written word long before I became a designer and then a photographer. I strongly believe that’s how I came to be a designer with a love for photography, too. I loved that a career in graphic design taught me that the visual and the written word have space together, working in tandem to visually communicate what your brain wants to see AND feel. I read blogs that encourage the inner writer I long to find again; I read books like this goodie I must have picked up at an antique store or rummage sale long ago, Painting as a Pastime by none other than Winston Churchill. It is a short essay from Churchill in that he talks about finding art (his in particular, painting) to rid your mind of the other things weighing you down. He quotes an unnamed American psychologist in the book that says, “ ‘Worry is a spasm of the emotion; the mind catches hold of something and will not let it go.’  It is useless to argue with the mind in this condition. The stronger the will, the more futile the task. One can only gently insinuate something else into its convulsive grasp. And if this something else is righty chosen, if it is really attended by the illumination of another field of interest, gradually, and often quite swiftly, the old undue grip relaxes and the process of recuperation and repair begins.” I read these words recently and knew that my process these last few years was certainly a time of recuperation and repair, and that every small creative step I make is a leap towards bigger things that I can’t even put in perspective just yet. That’s what’s so exciting about leading a creative journey!

Churchill goes on to say in the essay that to be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real. My cameras, my computer, and my right-sided-all-the-time creative brain (that loves to write but is buried in fear about it) all make up my hobby list and always have since I can remember.

I think I’m following Churchill’s advice quite perfectly, don’t you?

churchill book

churchill book pattern#3 Work that inspires me to inspire others

In 2012, I applied for a photo editor position for a website I had come across called The High Calling. Its purpose is simple — to communicate to the business person that their values, faith, and religion have a spot in the workplace just as their drive and determination do — in fact it should be their faith that calls them to be the best businessperson they can be. I instantly resonated with the message of the website, and one week later saw the position posted for photo editor. It was divine timing, for sure. I’m sad to say that I didn’t get the nod to be photo editor, but even better, they asked me to be a contract designer for them and read their articles, find some photos, and put the two together and submit it for them to share with their own readers. Even more than the photo editor position, this was a calling and a job that came at a perfect time. I love their articles, and in turn, I can create art that reinforces their message. It was truly a win-win for me, and each week, as I comb through the content and my brainlog of what image might work with what words—I am thankful, so very thankful—for an incredible opportunity that I can call work. Work that inspires me to inspire others — there is nothing more perfect to me.

thc brokenness

thc fearfully

thc the prize“We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box.” I’m definitely along for the ride, are you? And although my paint-box is ever expanding, I continue to fill myself with the goodness of being inspired and staying creative.

thc choose joy

Thanks for sharing your journey + inspirations with us, Marissa! :)

* * *

Marissa is a designer, photographer, and writer. Surrounded by 3 amazingly creative children (she likes to think she has something to do with that!) and a husband who gets annoyed with the red dots on her iPhone (we balance each other perfectly!), she knows she’s been blessed beyond measure. Her website is mbadp.com, but mostly, you can find her spending loads of ample creative time on Instagram and Facebook.

How are you staying creative these days? I’d love to hear about your current inspirations. (You can use this hashtag to share them on Twitter:  #BeInspiredStayCreative.)


Blog Brainstorming // Blog Brunch Recap

{image via Blog Brunch}

On Saturday, I participated in my first-ever Blog Brunch. The topic was Finding Your Blog’s voice. I thought I’d share a few thoughts/quotes that inspired me, as well as a few things I shared during the brunch.

First, here are the questions we tackled during the brunch:

Q1: What dictates your tone and writing inspiration, and how do you tailor your voice and content throughout your site?
Q2: When managing guest contributors to your blog, what guidelines and criteria do you require?
Q3: What other technical angles or information do you consider when crafting a post? SEO? Humor? Article Structure? Sponsorship Opportunities?
Q4: How do you know what is working for you? Is there a way you track how your voice is affecting your brand or blog?
Q5: What tips do you have for developing your writing skills or mastering your blogs content and copy?

Great Quotes From Other Bloggers

Remember: if you worry less about promoting yourself and more about participating in the community, we’ll all grow together. ~ @passionfruitads

Nothing gets unique content rolling like being away from your computer + living in the real world. ~@TheCuisinerd

Write about what you care about. Be the blog you love to read. Get off the computer. Stay inspired. ~ @AshleyBrimeyer

Read, read, and read some more — from magazines to newspapers to blogs you love. ~@PatternPalette

Yes, inspiration is everywhere! In blogs, in magazines, in books, in movies! See how other artists communicate ideas. ~ ‏@anneiam

Editorial calendars take the crazy out of blogging consistently. ~@digitalfangirl

Defining your tone is also about bringing something unique/original to the conversation.  ~@PatternPalette

The right mix of comments + social following + pitches from contributors means you’re doing something right. ~@PatternPalette

* * *

A Few of My Own Blog-brunching Thoughts

When I write & create, I do so from my heart. One of my creative mantras: Create honestly + joyfully. ~@letterbirdart

By cultivating a creative community, we can encourage each other to produce inspiring content & we can promote great art, too. ~@letterbirdart

I’ve found that writing a blog mission statement really keeps me on track with developing new and inspiring content. ~@letterbirdart

(P.S. Read about what my mission statement is and how I created it.)

* * *

And finally, here are a few things I’ve recently started that I’m finding helpful for blog writing + brainstorming (some of which I was inspired to begin this weekend!) :

*Writing ideas on note cards. There’s something about shuffling through a deck of ideas that gets me inspired and excited about creating new content. (I got this idea while reading Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist. Have you read it yet?! It’s a must-read for creatives!)

*Setting up an editorial calendar. Using my index cards as idea-starters, I set up a Google calendar to keep track of what I want to post and when. Seeing everything arranged in a monthly format has been awesome, and I feel so much more organized.

What about you? Did you participate in the brunch? What have you been learning about blogging lately?

eBook Update

{ art by Promise Tangeman }

So far, my eBook journey has been both inspiring and challenging (but in all the best ways). It truly is such an incredible feeling to be pursuing this dream of mine.

I wanted to pop in with a little update, as I have a few exciting details to share.

1. I’m narrowing down the title, and I’ll have that to share here soon!


2. I’m planning for a spring release-date!  I’m looking forward to spending the cold & snowy winter months being cozy inside and writing + designing my little heart out!

Are you currently pursuing any God-sized dreams? I’d love to hear about them!

Get Inspired: Blogging Resources Via Alt Summit

{ artwork by Christopher Wool via Alt Summit}

Lately, as I’ve been working on my rebranding and eBook projects, I’ve been doing a lot of research online. In the midst of all of my clicking and searching, I stumbled upon Alt Summit and the new Alt Summit blog.

I just caught up on today’s Friday Links post, and I love that contributor Victoria Hudgins wrote about the new fall season being a new chance to set goals, ideas, and dreams for our blogs.

Perfect timing with my 29 Things list, right? (And you may have noticed attending their conference is #10 on my list!)

If you’re not familiar with the site, I definitely recommend you check it out for blogging inspiration and business advice. You can check out the new Alt blog, here.

What’s inspiring you today?

Setting Creative Goals

I love to set goals, and I love making lists, so it’s no wonder I like to dream up new creative goals often. A list of motivating goals helps keep my creative life feeling fresh and pushes me to keep growing and learning.

Because setting goals can be so encouraging and rewarding, I thought I’d share a few of the things I do/think about when making my own lists. I hope after reading this, you’re encouraged to set some new goals of your own!

Make it fun. I love to journal, so I’m constantly using my various journals as a place to keep track of dreams and ideas. This is great, because I can record new ideas constantly and quickly (I always have one of my journals at hand), but sometimes, I like to do things that make the process feel special and inspired. I might enjoy a favorite treat while writing and dreaming (like a latte, mug of cider, or some dark chocolate), or I might get out of the house and go somewhere beautiful (like a park).

Pray. This is something I do all throughout my goal-setting process. I ask for inspiration and direction, as I set goals, and I ask God to bless my creative efforts and use them for His glory, as I pursue those goals. I’m so thankful for the creative heart I’ve been blessed with, and praying through my goals and creative dreams is such a beautiful part of my relationship with the Lord.

Be stretched. Don’t be afraid to set goals that scare you a little bit. Goals should push you to try and learn new things, as well as help you refine the skill set you already have. As a creative, I began as a writer, but over the years, I’ve explored collage making, designing, and photography. I’ve discovered so many new things I love to do, and it’s all because I took risks and set goals to try things I’d never done before.

Be flexible. Know that it’s okay to change your mind about certain goals. When I write my 20-something lists (I’ve done 27 Things and 28 Things), I always accept that I probably won’t do every single thing on the list. I also accept that there are probably a few things I haven’t even thought of yet that I’ll decide to do at some point during the year. It’s okay to add/adapt/remove/replace goals. ;)

* Celebrate! I love my 20-something lists, because they allow me to track my goal-setting and pursuing. When I write my recaps at the end of the year, I’m able to see how my goals shaped me. I definitely recommend recording and celebrating your creative adventures in some way, whether it’s through journaling, blogging, Instagramming, whatever! You’ll be so encouraged to see your progress, and your journey might even inspire some new goals!

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead — start dreaming + goal-setting!

(P.S. If you liked this post, stay tuned, because this a little teaser of the kind of content you’ll find in my eBook!)