Monthly Archives: April 2014

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the book cover

Here it is! The cover of my book, The Truth About Drew, which will soon be released on The cover would not have come together without the assistance of my son, Zach, who agreed to be my cover model, and my husband, Jake, who picked out the journal for me to use, helped position Zach’s arms, and kept him from fidgeting during the shoot. ;) (Oh, and my Mom, who helped me pick out the shirt.)

I still have a few final touches to make on the back cover, but here is the “blurb” from the back of the book, so you will finally know what the story is all about.

“At fourteen, Claire Thomas leads the average life of a teenage girl, maneuvering her way through family, friendships, and first love. But her childhood best friend, Drew, is not your average teenage boy. In fact, he is downright unusual. Sometimes he disappears, almost before her eyes. He speaks in clichés and Bible verses, and is always writing in his worn leather journal. It seems he is trying to tell Claire something important, but she isn’t sure what.

After years of wondering why she is the only person to ever see or speak to him, thinking maybe he isn’t real and it’s all in her head, she is determined to discover The Truth About Drew.”

I would categorize the book as Young Adult Christian Fiction. There are some mature elements to the story that I think would only be appropriate for teens or “almost teens”, who have had “the talk” with their parents. ;)

Here are a few pictures I took the day I received my proof copy. So fun to have a physical copy of the book in my hands.

Yesterday was the big edit day. I’ve pored over the pages for the past week, penciling in the changes that needed to be made. Last night, I spent 7 HOURS at my computer making the corrections. Such a long process, but I actually enjoyed it. Can’t beat the feeling of accomplishment.

Don’t forget to sign up for the NEWSLETTER to be the first to know when the book is live. Can’t wait to share it with you all.

monday’s list

The weekend flew by around here. I blinked and it was over.

• On Friday, Chloe went on an after school outing with her school to a place with lots of games and bounce houses and stuff. The kids that are responsible with doing their homework and turning in their assignments on time earn an invitation to this special night. Kind of a fun incentive for the kids. Her best friend got to go this time, too, so she had a very fun night.

• On my drive to pick her up, there was the most beautiful sunset. I was in awe of God’s creation.

• Jake, Chloe and I have been running together lately. I was not able to keep up with my plan to train for the River Bank Run this year. The winter was long and cold, most days too cold to run outside. So, I’m back at it and I can already feel the strength returning in my legs. Feels good.

• I received my book proof in the mail on Monday and spent all week working on editing it. One thing that was really helpful, especially with the sections of dialogue, was reading it aloud. It was also very special to be able to read it with Chloe. There are a few mature elements in the story that are more suited for teens and up, but I was sensitive about those things when I read them with her and it started some good conversations. We finished reading the book together on Saturday evening. She cried along with me when I got to the final chapters. Such a tender little heart she has. I just can’t seem to read the end without the tears falling. ;)

• Spent Sunday afternoon at the farm celebrating my Dad’s birthday. Had some pizza and played Sequence, our new favorite. I brought along my book to show my Dad and brothers.

• Working on some Project Life® goodness. Will share some pages later this week.

• Started an email subscription on Friday for my NEWSLETTER. So, if you want to be the first to know when my book goes live and some behind-the-scenes of how the book came to be, the process of putting it together, etc., SUBSCRIBE BELOW! I’m excited to share it with you all. Pictures of the book coming tomorrow. :)

Have a wonderful week!

Newsletter sign up

Hey all! Two posts in one day. It must be a miracle. ;)

Working away on my book this week. Lots of last minute edits. I originally set a goal of May 1st to launch this baby. But since that’s only five days from now and I still have to re-upload the manuscript with the changes for approval, I am pushing the date back a bit. Hopefully not too far back.

Next week, I will be sharing the cover with you and how that all came together.

For all of you wanting to be updated on the book’s progress and get the big launch announcement before anyone else, even before I make it official here on the blog, I have started an email newsletter. You can sign up below by simply entering your email address and clicking “subscribe”.

I promise I will not bombard your email inbox with tons of messages. Those who sign up will receive a newsletter from me occasionally letting you know what I’m working on and what’s new with my book(s).

The newsletter will be focused on my writing and the book(s) I publish. I’ll keep all the personal family stuff and fun Project Life posts for here on the blog.

Sign up above! There is also a link in the menu at the top of the page for “Newsletter Sign Up!”.

And thanks, you guys! You are the best! I so appreciate all of your support. :)

(in)RL conference

I’m “attending” the (in)RL conference online today! Lots of wonderful women sharing their stories in live webcasts throughout the day.

A quote from the (in)RL about page:

“(in)RL is the combination of outstanding online content that encourages, moves and inspires women as they watch in the comfort of their own homes … Think of it as a girl’s weekend away that doesn’t require packing or plane tickets, where women can kick off any expectation of perfect, set aside their fears, their shyness, their worry that they’re not good enough, and find some of Jesus’ words of rest woven into every video shared.”

making dreams a reality

© Susan Branch

I’ve been following Susan Branch for many years, admiring her sweet watercoloring. This quote was included in her “Willard” email newsletter today. I loved it and wanted to pass it along.

I am deep in that space today, making my dream of self-publishing my book a reality. The proof copy arrived on Tuesday and I’ve been poring over every page to make sure it’s just right. It is definitely scary thinking about making that final click to publish. Like letting a child go out into the world when all you want to do is hold it close and protect it. But I’ve said before that I really believe God wanted me to write this story. Not to keep it on my computer and say, “Yeah, I wrote a book, but I never did anything with it.” To share it.

If you really want to accomplish something, you can. I believe that wholeheartedly. When I started taking pictures back in 2004 and friends started telling me I should make a business out of it, I wasn’t so sure. I was scared and unsure where to start. But I loved photography and I had been a stay-at-home Mom for 4 years and really wanted to bring in a little extra income for our family. So, I took the leap, designed my own website, invested in a bunch of camera gear, read everything I could about digital SLR’s, practiced, practiced, practiced, and went for it. In my busiest year (2006), I shot 26 weddings and 18 photo sessions. It was just me and a few friends and family that assisted me. When that website went live, I never could have imagined I would be that busy only two years later. But it never would have happened if I hadn’t tried.

I feel the same way about my book. Maybe nobody will like it (except Jake and our Moms). Maybe it will get the worst reviews any book has ever received (gosh, I hope not. hehe!). But I’ll never know unless I try.

Dreams can come true. If you set your mind to it and do the hard work, you can make it so. :)

what I’m working on

Working on …

My Project Life® album. These are all pictures from the summer of 2013. I’m getting there. A little at a time. But I’m not stressing over it. A handful of layouts each month is great progress.

So far, I’ve started each yearly album using only one kit, but I’ve decided to mix it up a bit. 2013 has been all Seafoam kit, but I’m going to use some other kits when I feel like it. Today, I put together a few layouts all using the Midnight edition. I find myself using a lot of the yellow in that kit. It just seems to go with my layouts.

I’ll be sharing my layouts next week once I get the journaling done and photograph them all. :)

I will also be sharing some pages made with the new Project Life® products that will be available from Stampin’ Up. Last week, Becky announced this fun new partnership and I’m really excited to play with the new products they have come up with, which will be for sale starting May 1st.

Also working on …

My book! The proof copy should be arriving in the mail today! I think I might cry when I see it in print form. I’ll be sharing the cover later this week – front and back.

Stay tuned ;)

monday’s list | no more junk

Our Easter weekend was really nice. It was made extra special by all the time spent with family. The fun started Friday with a little egg hunt at my parents’ farm. My mom spoils the kids so much. They had huge ziploc bags full of candy and also a special Easter basket with more candy and some special gifts. They love being spoiled by Grandma.

After eggs, we had a yummy (and very filling) dinner, then we hung out and played Forbidden Island and Sequence. That was a lot of fun. We also celebrated Jake’s birthday, which was Wednesday, with cake and ice cream. Good times! :)

Saturday and Sunday were picturesque days. In the 60’s and 70’s. So beautiful. Just what I needed.

We enjoyed Easter morning service at church. Pastor started a new series about overcoming the junk in your life. We all have junk, stuff that we are dealing with, things from our past, things we struggle with daily, depression, addictions, etc. The only way to overcome is to acknowledge the junk and give it to God. I know a couple people with serious addictions (alcohol and drugs), one who is in rehab already and the other who needs to be to get over his junk. I would really appreciate prayer for both of them right now. They need to let this junk go and turn to Jesus. HE is the ONLY solution!

After church, we went over to Jake’s dad’s and had a nice time with all Jake’s sister’s and their families. The kids did an egg hunt in the back yard and we hung out outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was a really nice day.

This week, Mom and I are back to cleaning out our front porch. So many funny things I’m finding out there. I’ve been snapping pictures of some and just pitching stuff. So much junk – the actual physical kind – that has been holding me back from getting this place ready for sale. But little by little, we are making progress. Letting go of the junk feels GREAT!

Have a happy week!

reasons to celebrate

After starting this week with depressing snow and cold weather, I was feeling really discouraged about a lot of things. Chloe and I were talking on the way to school Monday, complaining about the snow, trying not to slide off the road in a particularly icy stretch, when I heard myself say, “Maybe God has some big blessings planned for us this week.” I thought about that a lot after I dropped her off and I prayed that God would show me all the things I have to be thankful for.

We’ve definitely had some moments to celebrate this week and I’m thankful for all of them:

• Chloe got bumped up to a new level in gymnastics. For the past year, she’s been participating in “fun meets”, where the girls get ribbons – blue, red, white, yellow, or rainbow – based on how well they performed their routines. This was a great starting off point for Chloe to get her acquainted with how meets work, but, honestly, she was bored with the whole thing by the middle of the season. Just not challenging enough for her. Now, she will be working on new skills and will be able to move up in levels if she masters certain things. I think she will like this much better. She was pretty excited to give me the news.

• We celebrated Jake yesterday on his 41st birthday. Gave him a couple cards (one from me, one from the kids) and went to dinner at the Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro. So yummy. I think he had a good day. Lots of birthday wishes from friends at work and calls from family.

• Zach’s computer stopped working last week and we were afraid the hard drive was toast. But after running the recovery disc, it’s restored to out-of-the-box factory settings. He was thrilled and I was pretty happy we didn’t have to fork out $$ for a new hard drive.

• My book is almost ready. Manuscript is in the review process on CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing site that I chose to publish through). After I get my proof copy and make sure it looks good, the book will be ready for sale! I’m shooting for May 1st!!!

After so many years working on this book, many long hours working on editing, formatting, cover design, etc., to finally be this close to having it ready to share with the world is both exciting and terrifying. But it’s time. It’s been hiding on my computer for far too long and I really believe God can do great things with our little story.

Easter weekend is almost upon us. Lots of family time planned – dinner, egg hunts, lots of candy. But most of all, reflecting on the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us when He died on the cross and the joy in knowing that death could not keep him down. He is risen!

monday’s list

We had a really nice weekend around here and now the kids are back in school and it’s back to the daily routine again for a couple months. I know the next couple months will just fly by as they usually do each year. After Spring Break, it’s like we’re on the home stretch to summer.

• On Friday, Zach spent the day with Grandma. She took each of the kids out separately last week. They did lunch, a little shopping, hung out at the farm and played games. They both loved their “Grandma Day”.

• Went out to the farm on Saturday afternoon to color eggs and decorate cookies. It’s been our annual tradition since the kids were tiny.

• While at the farm, we had a little photoshoot for my book cover. Zach was my model and he did a great job and followed instructions pretty well. I spent several hours Saturday working on the cover design and I am now giddy over it. It turned out just as I envisioned it and I love it. So excited to share it with you. Soon. Very soon.

• Sunday afternoon was Chloe’s final gymnastics meet of the season. Mom + Dad O came over from the east side of the state to watch. Chloe did great. We took some pictures afterwards of the whole team with their coaches. Chloe’s coach, Chelsea, is leaving this week because she took a new job, so it was her last meet with the team and that was kind of sad. They’re having a little going away party for her this week.

• Went to dinner after the meet at Cracker Barrel. Nice to visit and hear all about Mom + Dad O’s trip to Texas to visit Nick (Jake’s brother) and all the sites they saw and good food they ate on their travels.

• Drove through some big thunderstorms on the way home. Breathtaking lightning shows going on. First really big storm of the year. More rain today and this afternoon, temps are supposed to drop 20 degrees and we have … snow in the forecast. ugh! Hopefully this is the last time I will have to complain about snow until next winter. ;)

• Hope you all have a wonderful week!


When I walked out of the house this morning and felt the warm sun on my face, I said “Yes!” out loud. It is a beautiful day! Bright sun, blue skies, birds chirping. A perfect weather day. I opened up the moon roof and cranked up some Britt Nicole on my way to pick Chloe up from a sleepover. I love driving. When the weather is nice and the roads are dry, that is. Her friend lives out in the country, so it was a picturesque drive.

Chloe had a great time. One of her best friends moved last summer and switched school districts so she’s been missing her and we finally worked it out for them to hang out. When we got home, we sat on the back porch in the sun and she showed me all the pictures and videos they took together. Such fun. I’m glad they’ve stayed in touch via Facetime. I remember when I was young and friends moved away. It felt like the end of the world because you knew you would probably never see them again. Maybe you would write a few letters back and forth if you had their new address. So different than today with the instant connection. Technology can definitely be a blessing.

Another blessing today. Flowers blooming in my yard. And I love my hens and chickens. They’re a mess and need repotted, but they’re still there. Those babies have been in that same pot for years and years and they’ve never died. I’m just very happy for this warmer weather. Tomorrow is supposed to be near 70. I’m bursting with joy! :)


AJAXed with AWP