Redefining Success

I’ve been telling everyone who asks that my signing this past weekend was a success. And it was! But, if they were to look at my stats, I doubt they would be impressed. Why? Because I define success in terms that are harder to quantify.

Instead of looking at follower count, I look at the quality of those relationships. Instead of word count, meaningful words. Instead of attendees, true connections. And did I have fun? Instead of sales…well to be honest, as an indie author living on a budget, sales are always in the back of my mind. But I’m training myself to focus here: Has it helped anyone? Are my readers enjoying it? But my ultimate level of success is whether or not people have seen Christ in me.

I’ve found looking at the world in these terms lessens the stress levels and discontent. Because as great as a large wordcount, readership, and royalties are; when your focus is placed there, you’re in constant comparison mode. There will always be someone out there with better stats than you. And so, you are left always needing more. Just one more follow to beat the algorithm. Just one more k to hit that ‘sweet spot’. Just one more sale to move up the list. Just one more, just one more… And y’all, it’s draining!

So today, I’m challenging you to take a hard look at how you define success. And if needed, make a mental shift to focus on the things that feed your soul rather than drain it. 💛

Also, just want to give a big shout out to my mom for all the help! She made such an impression one buyer asked her to sign the book too 😂 Tip for my fellow introverts: when doing events, bring an extrovert with you!

5 Mental Health Care Tips

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day! If you’ve been around here for a while, you know mental health is very important to me. So today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite ways to care for it.

1. Naps!

It sounds cheesy, but I firmly believe naps are magic. No matter how bad the day is, it looks a little bit better once I’m well rested.

2. Quality time with friends and family.

Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on now and then. Talking your troubles out, even if you don’t reach a solution, can give you a real moral boost. This includes prayer, btw. There’s a certain kind of peace that comes from handing off your worries to the one who loves you most and is always able to handle them.

3. Fresh air.

Never underestimate the power of fresh air and sunshine! I’m partial to hiking or a bonfire, but any outdoor activity will do. Even if it’s just sitting on your porch watching the leaves fall.

4. Be Cozy.

Clichés exist for a reason. And warm cookies with a glass of milk and a fluffy blanket has never failed to put me in a better mood. Soothing music and a good candle never hurt either 😉

5. Journaling

Obviously as an author, writing helps me process things. Whether its journaling about my troubles or creating fictional worlds in which to face them. Things just seem less scary and more manageable once I’ve unloaded them from my mind to a sturdy notebook (or more often, word doc).

So, what about you, friends? How have you cared for your mental health this weekend? Got any care tips to share with me?

Managing Stress

How do you deal when the world comes crashing down?

NGL, my first impulse is to curl up on the couch and bingewatch years of tv within a couple weeks 😅 But my more helpful tactics include time outside or with friends, baking, and focusing on one small accomplishable task at a time.


It’s been a particularly brutal month for me. I’ve been cleaning up one catastrophe after another on all fronts. As soon as I get one thing resolved, another shoe drops. And though my trials may not be large in the grand scheme of things, they feel gargantuan in the moment.

But when I take a step back, I notice all the small blessing’s God’s showered me with along the hard road. Mainly in the community that’s pulled around me. Co-workers took me hiking, good friends checked in on me at just the right time, I made new friends in a ladies’ group, and Sunday School is finally back on!

It’s so easy for the treacherous mountain path to overshadow the flowers along the road or obscure the pond on the far side. So, as we close out the month, I’m challenging us to focus on the good moments, no matter how small.


Also, this month’s binge was Once Upon A Time. Any other CaptainSwan shippers here?

Beautiful Scars

We tend to think of scars as ugly, don’t we? They’re reminders of our stupidity, weakness, tragedy, abuse, pain. We may occasionally take pride in one with a great story behind it, but for the most part we hide them in shame.

I know that’s how I’ve often felt about mine. There’s one from disembowelment I’ve always particularly hated. (ok, it was really an ileostomy & reversal 😉). Sometimes I look on it with a sense of pride. Here is proof I can be a warrior! I fought for my life after a premature birth and overcame! But most often, I only see the imperfections. The reminder that I’ve always been small and weak. The fact that I can’t take credit for my scars. After all, I was just a newborn. What did I really do? That’s all down to God, my parents, and the doctors.

But I’m learning that’s where the beauty lies. No battle is won, no scar overcome, by a lone warrior. We need God and each other for true healing. When you can move from ‘this happened to me’ to ‘I survived this’ to ‘God and family saw me through this’ and find pride in that, your scars are no longer ugly imperfections but beautiful reminders.

So today, I’m proudly showing you my beautiful scar.
Now, tell me, brave warriors, what beauty lies behind yours?

Surviving the Quarantine

Hi everyone! Wow, can things change fast! In the space of a week people have fallen ill, businesses have closed, schools are out indefinitely, the stores are empty, and everyone is going stir-crazy. And since it’s been a while since my last post, I figured today was an opportune moment to make one. So, here are some tips on surviving the quarantine from this previously home schooled introvert 😉

Set a schedule.

While sleeping and watching Netflix all day may sound awesome at first, I promise you will be miserable if you keep it up too long. It’s ok to give yourself a dead day here and there, but even this bookworm needs more than reading for three weeks straight 😉 Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eat at regular intervals, and give yourself a list of goals for each day. If you don’t accomplish them all, that’s fine. Just give it your best shot.

Stay active.

If you can still get outside, DO IT! Seriously, fresh air and sunshine do wonders. If you can’t leave the house, be creative. Have a dance party. Go old school with an aerobics video. (My mom did these when I was a kid and I seriously thought it was a great game 😛 ) Awaken your inner child and play tag. Or stay low-key and walk laps around the house. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you are getting out of that chair several times a day.

Calm your mind.

With all the stress and panic flying around, you need time to decompress. Having a few productive goals for each day is great, but be sure to give yourself some downtime too. Put on soothing music. Color a picture. Read a book. Take a bath. Set aside some time to take a deep breath and just be.

Try a new hobby.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to learn, but never had the time for? Well, now’s the perfect time to start! Thanks to the magic of YouTube tutorials, I’ve taught myself many things over the years. Grab a pen and sketch the first thing that comes to mind. Try your hand at baking. The stores may be empty, but that baking isle hasn’t been touched. (I know, I’ve checked 😉 ) Or maybe martial arts is more your style. You can always beat up on a pillow, right? Whatever that hidden dream is, don’t put it off any longer.

Check in on friends & family.

This is the age of technology! Why let it go to waste? Your extroverts are slowly dying inside and your introverts would like to say hi now and then. And this is a particularly bad time for those suffering from depression or other mental illness. Let them know they’re not forgotten! Video chat with your friends. Offer to do a food run for your grandparents or an elderly neighbor. Play a board game with your family. Social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t still have community.

Ultimately, remember God is in control.

The one most important thing you can do right now is pray. Pray for the ill and at risk. Pray for those loosing their jobs, those without food or shelter. Pray for those in charge, that they will be given wisdom to make the right decisions. Pray for those working in the medical field, that they will stay safe and a cure will be found quickly. When you don’t know what to say, just pray. God already knows it all.

I know it feels like the world has gone mad and your life will never be the same, but hang in there. This has happened before and it will happen again, but I promise you it’s going to get better. If anyone needs prayer or encouragement, I’m only a comment away.