Let's Get Really Personal
1.) How do you balance home life and ministry?
Interestingly enough, most people think that balancing home and work is easy when you work from home, but I can tell you it's not true. Not at all! Working from home only means you have two full-time jobs instead of one. It entails trying to keep the house looking nice, the clothes clean (and preferably folded and put away), meals prepared, the dog cared for, the errands run, the bills paid and more while simultaneously trying to write about living a life of peace and joy. I'd love to tell you that I've found the perfect balance, but each time I get close, something within our household changes, and the process of achieving balance begins all over again. All I can say is that I do my best to follow after God, trusting He will give me the time, energy and strength to accomplish everything that needs to be done and to hopefully do so with grace and love.
2.) Name three things people probably don't know about you.
Probably the strangest thing about me is my cinnamon allergy. I can't stand the stuff. Candles, potpourri, candy, food--it doesn't matter. It all makes me sick. I can barely leave the house during the fall and Christmas seasons because of all the "pumpkin spice" and "cinnamon brooms." YUCK!
The class I dreaded most in both high school and college was Speech Class. I was certain I was going to fail because I was so painfully shy that I couldn't stand in front of people without nearly passing out. Who would have thought the Lord would call me to speak and teach in front of crowds? Stranger still, I love it!
Despite my "young" age, I have several health issues that affect my productivity (and unfortunately, my mood). The worst of these is a joint disorder in which various joints in my body dislocate, which causes great pain and difficultly in accomplishing certain tasks. I make bi-weekly visits to my chiropractor who jokingly refers to me as "Humpty Dumpty" since he is constantly having to put me together again. I don't share this information to gain pity but rather prayers and also to let you who suffer with chronic illness and auto-immune disorders know that I feel your pain. . .literally.
3.) If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?
My dream is that this ministry would bring in enough money each month that my husband could stay home and take over all the house duties, which would allow me more time to write. Currently, his job is just that--a job. He takes no pleasure in it other than the fact he's providing for his family. On the flip side, he loves to cook (which I despise) and to do various chores around the house. I love to write, and it wouldn't hurt my feelings in the least to turn over the housework and cooking to Jason. The way I see it, we could both do what we love instead of him working a job he doesn't like and me not having enough time to work a job that I do like because my time and attention is divided. So, if I could change anything, that would be it.
4.) What do you hope to accomplish through the ministry?
Honestly, I love it when someone tells me, "That's exactly what I needed to hear today." Not because I think much of me, but rather because it shows me how God is using me to encourage others at just the right time when they need it most. My goal is to be an encouragement and to help others develop a hunger and thirst for God and His Word. I long to see others grow closer to God and become what God wants them to be. And, as my ministry motto states, I hope to help worriers become warriors by sharing with them the insights and battle tactics the Lord has given me through the years.
5.) Why do you write in such an open and honest way? Aren't you afraid people will think less of you?
On the contrary, I have found that people appreciate my candid and open nature. They say it makes me more approachable and relatable, which makes sense. While it seems logical to seek advice from someone who has all the answers and has it all together, it's difficult to take that advice seriously when that person doesn't seem to struggle with the same things. It's like taking dieting advice from the 100-lb girl who eats constantly and never gains a pound. What does she know about dieting? She's never had to do it. I believe it helps my readers to know that I am not (neither do I want to be) on a pedestal. Instead, I'm down in the trenches right alongside them, doing my best to share what I know about God's Word and what I've found to be successful in my own Christian walk. If a reader thinks less of me because I fall from time to time or don't have the faith they think I should have, then they are welcome to turn elsewhere for their spiritual guidance.
6.) For those who are "meeting" you for the first time, what books or resources do you recommend for them?
The best way to get to know me and to get a feel for my writing style is to sign up for my free daily devotions. You can do so by filling out the sign up box below. If you enjoy short devotions, you might like my Giggles and Grace series. It's targeted to women (for the sake of marketing), but I know plenty of men and even entire families who enjoy these books. If you suffer with anxiety or depression, I highly recommend my series, Rise Up and Build. If you have children between the ages of seven and fourteen, you might enjoy The Delaware Detectives Mystery Series.
7.) What does a typical day look like for you?
Typical day? There's really no such thing. Depending on Jason's work schedule, my health and Barnabas' (the dog) mood/energy level, the day's schedule is subject to change. In fact, as of right now, there isn't really a schedule, but I'll tell you what I try to accomplish. I get up around 6:00 and begin my day with my devotions. After that, I spend an hour or so working on my daily devotional blog. After I shower and dress for the day, I do housework and dog training/playing. I eat "lunch" around 10:30 and typically take Barnabas for a four-mile walk on a nearby trail immediately following. When we get home, we do a bit more training/playing until he crashes for his mid-day nap. While he's napping, I try to do as much reading, writing and web work as possible. This continues until Jason gets home from work (or Barnabas decides he's had enough sleep and wants to play more). Then it's dinner time, clean up, quiet family time and bed. Obviously, the days I run errands or prepare for Sunday School lessons require a completely different game plan.
8.) What type of books do you write?
I have books ranging across all ages. I write Christian Living and Devotional books for adults, mysteries for middle-grade students and storybooks for young children. No matter the genre, though, all of my books are Christian and stay true to God's Word. Even the fiction books carry Biblical truths and lessons because I believe the purpose of this ministry is not simply to entertain but to preach the Word. If I can do so in a pleasant and enjoyable way, allowing more people to open themselves up to the truth, so much the better!
9.) Is it true you have a pitbull?
Yes, it's true. Some find it comical while others believe it to be scary. Jason and I have had at least one dog since very shortly after we got married. Our home simply is not complete without a pup scampering around and placing their cold wet nose affectionately against the back of our legs. Tessa was our first dog, and she lived until the ripe age of ten. In December of 2015, we had to say "Goodbye" to our beagle of 15 years. Less than two years later, we felt great sorrow again when our shepherd, Mitch, passed away from a tumor. Less than two weeks after his passing, we knew we needed another dog. The house was too quiet, too empty. When we went to choose a dog, we followed our standard procedure, which involved looking at each and every canine (no matter how pitiful) and deciding on the one that most stole our hearts. We probably walked ten dogs that day, but none of them seemed right. Then we saw Barnabas (who was actually named "Dean" at the time). He was the sweetest, most loving thing, but I was a bit leary since he was a pitbull, and they had a bad reputation of being mean and aggressive. Still, I couldn't escape the feeling that he was the dog we were meant to have. Jason had the same feeling. And so, timid little me ended up with a 75-pound, one-and-a-half-year-old pitbull, whom we named Barnabas, which means "son of consolation and comfort." I'll be honest, there were days I doubted our decision because of his rambunctious and stubborn nature, but over time, I came to realize that I needed Barnabas as much as he needed me.
10.) Are you an indoor or outdoor person?
That's a difficult question. For the most part, I prefer to be outside, but my attitude quickly changes if the day is too hot, too cold or too buggy. During the fall and spring months, it's not unusual to find me outside with a book, my Bible or my laptop. . . that is, when we're not exploring the beauty of nature while hiking the lesser-known (which means less busy) trails in the area. Something about being outside (especially in some serene environment) makes me feel closer to God and less stressed. When it's cold, you'll most likely find me curled up on the couch in front of our wood-burning stove.