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Category: Life

Read. Pray. Stretch. Breathe. Cook.

About five years ago, my therapist at the time took me outside during one of our sessions and instructed me to sit down on a step and close my eyes. “What do you hear?” she asked. “Um, cars on the road?” I said. “What else?” I listened. “Birds.” “What else?” “The wind.” This went on for a while then she asked me what I could smell. “Grass…flowers…” Then, she told me to open my eyes. She handed me a leaf. “Look at this leaf,” she told me. “Describe it to me.” I didn’t know what the purpose of…

My Top 5 Books of 2018

For a writer, I’ve never felt like I read enough. I always have a book going, but I’m not what people call a “voracious reader.” Without being intentional, I average a book a month, sometimes two. So this year for the first time ever, I set a reading goal: two books a month, 24 books total. I’m proud to say that as I write this I am at the end of my 24th book for the year (Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowling). This is probably the most I…

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…