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Category: Life

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, but this felt next-level. I didn’t really recognize myself. Who was this person staying in a hotel alone, eating alone, adventuring alone? Do I like this? Is this me? I went back and forth between loving time alone…

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 few pieces each season and shopping sparingly and intentionally. This was an incredibly novel idea for me since I had always shopped spontaneously, picking up a t-shirt while shopping for candles at Target, hitting up whatever store I had…

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 the Bible study I’m doing. A room of not Christians? I’ll show all of my cynical-about-church cards. A friend once told me that one of the reasons I do this might be because I am an…

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. Etc. Now that it’s done, I’ve had a chance to step back, take a breath and think about it. It was strange. When my plane was landing in Nashville, I teared up a little. I had missed the…

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 and stalk at will. I am not perfect at it and there are definitely weekends—especially when the book was coming out—that I remain online, but for the most part, I am social media free on the weekends and…

2017.

2017. I know three things about it so far: It will be the year my first book releases. It will be the year I move home. And, I hope, it will be the year that I rest. I think above all else, 2016 made me aware of how tired I feel. I’m not sure I’m supposed to confess that sort of the thing in a New Year’s blog post, but that’s the truth. I am tired. In September this year, my dad and I attended the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, led by writer Leslie Leyland Fields…

The Name Jesus. The Word Love.

Perhaps what has brought me hope these last few weeks is seeing people come together. An election that has made many groups feel as if they’ve been voted against as someone else was voted for, we have linked arms in a necessary kind of way, vowing to stand up for each other and remember that none of this is normal. With our skills, vocations and talents—as artists or lawyers or teachers or pastors or leaders—we will fight for human rights. We will show them that love trumps hate. This weekend at church we sang a song with…

What Empathy Is and What It Is Not

I went hiking with a friend a few weeks ago and learned a lot about empathy. I learned a lot about it from myself, who was not being very empathetic. My friend was sharing a really hard thing with me and I kept chiming in with examples from my own life. Something deep down inside of me was saying, “Stop doing that. You’re not helping.” But I couldn’t. I just kept sharing my own stories, diminishing and quieting hers. I really was trying to be a good friend. I was trying to be an empathetic friend, but what…

Turning 30 and My “Secret Soul”

This summer, I turned 30. In the weeks and days leading up to the big 3-0, I began to feel very contemplative about my life. Where have I been? What have I done? Where am I going? That kind of thing. I was also in a hard spot work-wise. I needed more hours but felt paralyzed in my pursuit of them. What types of things do I want to write? Who do I want to write for? What kind of writer do I want to be? I wasn’t sure, and I was spinning my wheels. I needed…

Tell Me the Truth

  A few weeks ago my mom reminded me of Psalm 91. I was anxious, and I knew a lot of my anxiety was of the irrational type. I’ve talked about anxiety a little bit on my blog before, but not in great detail. I think mostly because I’m not quit sure how to write about anxiety yet. Everyone’s experience with it is so different, and I don’t want to demean or diminish or misconstrue such an important and difficult thing. I know for me, anxiety is sometimes expected—like when I have a book deadline…