Currently- September

General- If you follow me on Instagram, you might have heard about our little flood that happened when our washer machine broke and created a small lake throughout my downstairs. Well, the guy came and tore up the damaged flooring and baseboard and now the fans are gone and we are waiting to fond out if they are able to match our current laminate or what the deal is there. In the meantime, we replaced the damaged things and I wrote about how to make your house work for you. You can check out that post, along with how I used the small lake as an opportunity here.

We are undergoing schedule changes as hubby got a new job and for the time being, our schedules are very different than they used to be. We’re rolling with it though! I get a lot more time that is just me and Little Man so I have been working on creative ways to keep us both occupied and not outside. We are still rocking 90’s here and I cannot wait for cooler temps. 

Reading– I’m technically still reading Bookish Boyfriends. I actually haven’t picked it up in a while. I started reading The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (again). I just really love this book and the entire series. I recently took a mythology in literature class and I spent a majority of that class referencing these books so it made me want to pick them back up. Maybe I’ll get back to Bookish Boyfriends one day. 

Listening– I actually went back and re-listened to Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. Gosh, I love that book! I just need to read the second one. I started listening to The Elite by Kiera Cass. I loved the Selection and since it is a series book, I promptly forgot that I had more books to read so I grabbed the audiobook from my library to listen to. I didn’t finish it in time but I struggled with the audiobook. I wonder if the performer can ruin a book for you. I think I might grab the book to just read it and see if the main character doesn’t annoy me as much. 

As for music, I went back to my high school glory days and started listening to all the bands I listened to in high school and now I don’t listen to the same 20 songs theses days, hahaha. I think I realized why my parents listened to the stuff they loved in high school well into adulthood. Music is constantly changing so when you find something you love, why are you going to try and keep up with the new stuff? (I don’t particularly LOVE the new stuff out there, some of it is good, but I get why my parents didn’t like the stuff I listened to.) 

Watching-We are COMMITTED to the show Younger. That show has me feeling all types of ways and I don’t know what to do with all the emotions. I might be slightly overreacting but oh well. Younger is what we are binge watching. But it is the end of September which means all the new seasons just started back up! So far we got the Masked Singer and I am waiting for some free time to catch up on the premier of Gray’s and Single Parents. 

Writing– I am currently working on a script for my screenwriting class that I am taking this term. Screenwriting is HARD, guys. Seriously, I didn’t realize how different screenwriting is from other types of writing. I am also writing blog posts and journaling a lot. I am working on a journaling challenge for October on Instagram! I decided I am going to do my book for NaNoWriMo this year so I’m just going to write an outline and then come November 1st, write it every day.

Other– There has been a lot of work going on with my Cricut and home stuff. It has been fun. Maybe I’ll post my projects on the blog so you can see all the stuff I work on. If you’re curious. 

What did you spend your September doing? I’d love to hear about it! 

Devotional Thursdays- Choices

Choices

She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. – Genesis 3:6b

Eve was presented with a choice. She was talking to the enemy, who presented her with an alternative to what she knew God had said. He convinced her to make the choice to eat the apple from the tree God specifically said do not eat from. They had one job, one rule and they didn’t follow it. Then, Eve handed an apple to her husband Adam because sharing is caring and he ate it without question. The bible never indicated that Adam questioned his wife on where she got the apple from. Granted, there were probably other trees that had apples and maybe Adam wanted a snack. Apples are good. Why not eat it? 

That single choice wrecked humanity on earth. This individual choice effected every single human that would be born afterwards. This choice now made all of us born into sin because of their sin. We are born sinners because of Adam and Eve’s sin. 

Imagine having that sort of weight on your shoulders. I know sometimes we feel like we are carrying the world on our shoulders. How many of us actually make decisions that effect us, our children, and the thousands of generations that follow? I sure don’t. 

Jesus comes next. It is a long time after Adam and Eve, but he comes. He is born, he lives in the wold alongside humanity that is sinful. He also started his ministry, knowing how it would end. Jesus was always aware of why he was on earth. It wasn’t some revelation that was given to him when he was in his thirties and he suddenly had to make a choice on whether or not he wanted his destiny. Jesus always knew what he was. Jesus always knew what he was sent to do. However, as a man, Jesus had a choice. Jesus even asked God to take away what he was sent to do. (Matthew 26:39)  Since I have free will, I think Jesus could have ran away that night if he really wanted to. Just like I could run away from my family and everything I know tonight. I won’t, but technically, I could. 

Jesus’ choice to follow the father’s will and sacrifice himself was the choice that saved humanity. We now can go to God freely and be saved from our sinful humanity. Jesus chose us. He chose you. He chose me. He chose to bare my sin, and your sin. 

The bible has a lot of stories about prophets and people who all had choices to make. Some choices were made to cover up poor choices. Other choices were for the betterment of a kingdom. And still, other choices were made to glorify God.

Just like the people of the bible, we have choices. We go about our day making a ton of choices. We probably make more choices than we even realize. Not all of our choices hold weight, deciding to get into another car lane isn’t as heavy of a choice as deciding to buy a house. Thankfully, our choices most likely won’t effect humanity as a whole. Our choices may have consequences but we are human and as humans, we will make wrong choices. We cannot control that. No matter how much we stress over every decision we make. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) 

The biggest choice we make will be the one that deals with our eternity. Is Jesus the savior God sent to pay for our sins for us or is Jesus a myth about a really upstanding guy thousands of years ago?

That choice is the choice that will effect eternity. 

Write it Out

  1. What are some choices you are struggling with right now?
  2. What are some bad choices you made in the past that you need to forgive yourself for?
  3. How can you rest in God’s grace instead of relying on yourself to make every single right choice?

Self-Publishing Journey: Part One

If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time, you might know that I published a book back in May. It’s a journaling devotional designed to help you dig deeper with God though journaling. I self-published my book and today I’m going to be talking about that process. 

Before I even wrote my book, I knew I was going to self-publish. Maybe it’s because I’m such a DIY’er but I wanted the control that self-publishing allowed me to have. I enjoyed designing my cover and doing it myself. I even enjoyed the hours, weeks and months of research that went into learning how to self-publish. Choosing to self-publish gave me the ability to write the book I wanted to write, regardless of whether or not someone else thought there would be a market for it. Since I’ve published and all the explaining I’ve done about what a journaling devotional is, I’m guessing a publisher would have told me that the market for that didn’t exist. I don’t even know if it does now. I’ve sold my book though so somebody is interested. 

So how did I finally get there? How did I get to publish my book? Well, first, I researched all my options. I went to a workshop about self-publishing at a book festival I was at. That workshop was helpful and taught me a few things but it was mostly a self-publishing workshop to get you to use a certain company for your self-publishing needs. I don’t remember the company, although I almost wish I did because it would have been nice to have someone to help me when I hit a few bumps along the way. I had google though. One thing that really helped me was Jenna Moreci’s video on Createspace VS IngramSpark which you can find here. It’s worth noting that CreateSpace was Amazon’s publishing before it changed to KDP. 

After this video and reading all the articles I read, I decided I was going to use IngramSpark to publish my book. At least that was my plan. If my life were to have a motto though, it would be how the best of my plans still get messy or how they never go as planned. Launching my podcast would be a great example of this. I digress. 

I finally finished editing my book. I was doing the cover. I was ready to upload and set up my publish date because I had already announced it. I was talking about it for weeks and I had the perfect plan to publish on my birthday. So I’m uploading and using IngramSpark and doing all the right things, checking the boxes until I get to the part about ISBN numbers. Uhm. What is that? ISBN numbers is basically your book ID. It’s a number that is assigned to your book and when it is searched up, only your book pops up. IngramSpark didn’t give your book ISBN numbers and it doesn’t come as part of the plans they offer for publishing. You have to buy your own ISBN. Figuring out that process was relatively easily. A quick Google search told me everything I needed to know about how and where to grab myself an ISBN number. 

This is where all my plans got messy. ISBN numbers are not cheap. The US seller for ISBN numbers offer 1 at like $100+ dollars and the deal is getting 10 ISBN numbers (for future books) for like $100-ish dollars more than the price of one. Obviously the deal is in getting the 10 ISBN numbers. Well, since this was a sudden hiccup and something I wasn’t anticipating, I didn’t have the money to even buy one ISBN. It wasn’t budgeted. I didn’t want to push back my publish date though because I already made it public. 

That is when I switched to Amazon’s KDP. When publishing through Amazon, they give you what they call an ASIN, which is an Amazon identifier for your book to show that you published through Amazon. While this probably isn’t ideal for most people, I don’t like going back on something when I say it. Since I wanted my book available on Amazon anyway, I didn’t see an issue of just switching how I published it. Also, publishing through Amazon, I can edit and update my book however often I need to and it doesn’t cost me anything.

Now that I’ve officially published my book though Amazon, I haven’t had a negative experience with Amazon. Amazon’s KDP is very simple to understand. The reports are a little hard to understand sometimes but they are pushing out a new report system and I have been checking it out and I really like it. The only con I’ve found is that  getting my book in real places, outside of the online world, is harder. I’m learning the literary world isn’t a huge fan of Amazon publishing. However, when I have resources available to me. I’m going to use them. 

This is probably going to be part one of a two part series. The next part I’ll probably talk more about designing my cover and the funner parts of publishing. At least, what I consider funner. More fun. The more fun parts of publishing. Yeah, that sounds better. 

Currently- August

General- Have I talked about the fact that I live in a dessert? Seriously, the past three weeks have had half of the week holding excessive heat warnings. Check on your dessert friends, they are burning up. This month has been very quiet around my house. We’re trying to stay home more and do more family time. We get plenty of family time, we are just trying to stay home while we do it. When we leave the house, we end up staying out way too long and spend money we didn’t intend to spend. Hubby and I have also been working on a lot of projects together. We made him a workstation in the garage (and reorganized that garage and go rid of SO MUCH STUFF) and he is building shelves. He made me a board so I can keep track of upcoming blog posts. I also made bible tabs for my bible and I’m in LOVE with them. They are so cute.

Reading– I’m still reading Bookish Boyfriends. I actually haven’t picked it back up since my trip to Washington. I started reading some business books and books along those lines. It is a struggle to read those too. It’s been a struggle to read lately. It makes my heart a little sad. 

Listening– I quit the Saving Quinton I started listening to. I just couldn’t get into it the way that I did the first book. I might look up what happens because I’m curious but I could not keep listening to it.  I listened to the first books in the Program series. That was very interesting and scary. It reminded me a lot of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan where the government is scared of something and doing whatever they can to prevent it but since they handle teenagers they don’t care what happens to them. Although, in the Program, the program that is supposed to cure depression isn’t ran by the government, just has a lot of power. They were good books. There are a lot more in the world of the program, different story lines and what not. I’m good with what I read (listened to.) 

I’ve been struggling with music lately. I feel like I’ve been listening to the same 20 songs and I need new ones. Tell me what your favorite song is lately! 

Watching– We cancelled Netflix in favor of Hulu Live (heck yes, sports!) so I am no longer watching West Wing or Criminal Minds. We just started watching Leah Remini’s series on Scientology and WOAH. Scientology was always a weird religion to me. A sci-fi writer wrote the textbooks for a religion? Really? And I’m supposed to believe he knew what he was talking about? I’ll stick with Jesus. We’ve also been watching a lot of Cats, the musical. My son loves it. 

Writing– Projects, presentations, blog posts and Instagram captions. I started an outline for my book. It was painful. Since I’m currently on a week long break from school, I am hoping to get caught up on the outline so I can set word count goals and really get working on this book. 

Other– The project I was going to announce has been announced AND LAUNCHED! I started a podcast called Hasta la Pasta where I will talk about all sorts of fun things. It will be an extension to my blog. The first episode is live now! You can listen on the website or on Spotify right now. (I’m waiting on approval for Apple & Google Play) 

Overcoming Fear

Fear is such a fun thing. You’ve heard that saying, right? Wait, no. Nobody says that. There’s the kind of fear that is fun. Well, I think it’s fun. The fear you get when you’re about to go on a new ride that you’ve never been on before. The good, excited, nervous kind of fear. I actually love that feeling, it pushes me to keep going, to try the new thing, to jump on whatever and go for it.

On the other hand, there is the fear that makes you not do what you’re supposed to be doing, your calling, your passion. The thing that sings to your soul and makes your heart happy. The fear of failing that isn’t always easy to place. The fear that makes you question if you are even doing what you’re supposed to be doing. The fear that makes you compare to others in the same field. That kind of fear is the worst. It is full of constant disappointment and confusion. It’s also full of lies. That kind of fear, that makes you just sit on your couch is lying to you. Whatever thoughts that pop into your head about why you shouldn’t do the things you wish and want to do, are lies. 

For me, I think a part of me always wanted to write. I just didn’t know I COULD write. I loved writing but I didn’t know anything about making a career or developing my passion for it. As I’ve gotten older and started pursuing writing, I’ve developed plans and dreams. I’ve seen a calling come into picture. I have a vision. It’s a big dream and a big vision. Something I know only God can help me do. Even though I know that God will guide me and give me strength, I’m terrified. Fear will poke at my heart and say things that make me doubt everything. I doubt my writing ability. I doubt my calling. I just doubt.

However, fear isn’t something that is going go away. In fact, there is some fear that will push you forward. I think the fear that turns into doubt is what I need to work on combating better. Maybe you do too. Fear can be a good motivator, in a healthy way. Like the fear I feel before going on a new roller coaster. That fear that gets me excited. The fear that makes me step over the safety line and get into the ride. I would consider that a healthy fears, but a doctor might just tell me that my adrenaline is pumping that it isn’t really fear. Whatever it is, it makes me take that next step. When fear and doubt start to dance, absolutely nothing gets done. So how do you overcome it?

First, add whatever it is to your schedule. If it is writing, write. If you love to draw, draw. If you want to create cute little bows for boys and girls, do that. Just do it for fun. Do it for you. Don’t do it because it is supposed to be something big. If you take the world out of the equation, it doesn’t matter what the result is, you cannot fail. If my goal is to write four times a week, and I am writing what I want to write about, I cannot fail myself. I just have to do it. There is no room for doubt when I’m just doing something I want to do as long as I don’t add other people and their thoughts to the equation. 

Second, find someone who does what you want to do and ask them how they do it. You don’t need to copy them but the advice they have might help you implement something new into your schedule. I met a speaker once who started out doing Spoken Word, which is something I’ve always wanted to try to write. She gave me questions that she used to write her spoken word and it was huge inspiration for me. An author I met explained that he has a writing time every single morning, and he and his wife got to a coffee shop and write for their scheduled amount of time. (At least, I believe it was a coffee shop). Sometimes, it’s hard to write at home because there are so many distractions and things you could start doing and would need to get done. For example, I’ll go to write, notice the carpet needs to be vacuumed and next thing I know, it’s an hour later and I’ve cleaned half the house, cleaned out a closet and reorganized my bedroom. I cannot do this at the library or a coffee shop. It’s not my job to clean there. Plus, as an extrovert, being around people gives me energy. 

Last, call fear and doubt like it is. If you notice the negative, doubtful thoughts creeping in, tell it to go away. Say no thanks, I don’t need that in my life and keep trying. Move forward instead of allowing the doubt to define you. Fear and doubt don’t define you. Tell it to go away. Get into a practice of calling out the negative thoughts, just as they are, and combating them with something positive. For example: I’ll think, I’m an awful writer. What am I even doing?  Instead of allowing that thought to be a thing and allowing it to define me, I can choose to combat it with something truthful. I’ve had the third professor in as many terms tell me that my paper was the best paper they got for an assignment. Clearly, I have writing skills. (I know writing for essays and fiction are different, but basic skills are basic skills.) 

Oh, bonus! Talk to someone about them. Doubt feeds off isolation and darkness. Fear lives in that same boat. When I struggle with doubt and fear, I’ll go talk to my husband or my best friend and they’ll encourage me. They’ll remind me what I do what I do. They’ll both tell me truths that I need to hear. Sharing takes that fear out of the dark and the light makes it so much smaller.