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A New Normal

I recently returned from a trip to Mexico City. I went by myself. This is something I never thought I would do. Travel alone. But after talking with a friend who travels alone regularly and loves it, I decided to give it a shot. It was a good trip, but it was strange. I am independent and always have been…

What Releasing a Book Has Taught Me, One Year Later

One year ago today English Lessons was born. To commemorate this book’s first birthday, I would like to write it a thank you note/birthday card. If you think this is strange, don’t worry, it is. But when you write a book, it kind of becomes its own entity. A person in itself. You birthed it, yes, but…

Two Years of a Capsule Wardrobe: Why I Do It, What I’ve Learned

On February 1, 2016, I turned in the first draft of English Lessons to my publisher. A couple of days later, I found myself frantically cleaning out my closet. I mean, cleaning it out. Everything. I had been reading about the concept of a capsule wardrobe—the idea of applying the principles of minimalism to your clothes, wearing only a…

When I Am Certain of Nothing Else

The first part of 2018 has looked very different from my past few years as a full-time writer. As a writer, I spend most of my days alone typing at my computer, with the occasional phone call thrown in. But this year, I’ve had several speaking engagements that have required preparation and travel. I’ve been writing, but…

When You Study the Bible for a Living

A few weeks ago my community group at church discussed this question: What is your relationship with scripture right now? I thought about it for a while and said, “It’s complicated. Scripture can feel like my job sometimes.” I study the Bible for a living. A lot of my freelance work over the years has been in the religious…

Jesus the Idea, Jesus in the Flesh

I feel like I can go long stretches of time where my faith is based on this idea of Jesus, but not really the person of Jesus. As if who he was was this wonderful collection of love and peace and wisdom. A formless mass of goodness. And then, someone will say something or I’ll read something or I…

Announcing A New Project: Breathing Room

This is how my ideas come to fruition: I have an idea. I think about that idea for a long time. I say the idea out loud, but only to myself. One day, I say the idea out loud to a trusted friend. Then, I say it to more friends. I practice speaking the idea. Maybe it’s to gauge…

I Am Not Good at Being Me, Except When I Write

I am not very good at being myself. But I am very good at being who people want me to be. I can walk into a room, read the situation and take on a persona. (I would probably be a great spy.) A room of academics? I’ll try and act smart. A room of Christians? I’ll talk about…

Between Home

I just returned from my first visit back to Nashville since I moved to Austin in January. I haven’t really written about this move since then. I got here and immediately I finished up edits on the book, got the launch team going, went to Israel for a couple of weeks, came back, geared up for release time. Etc…

Why I Get Off Social Media on the Weekends

Every Friday at 5 p.m. I get off social media. I delete my apps from my phone and try my hardest to resist logging in on my laptop for the rest of the night and all day Saturday and Sunday. Then on Monday morning, around 8, I get back on. I reload the apps on my phone and scroll…