Have you ever thought about writing a book?


Have you ever wanted to write a book?

I had a dream many years ago that I’d one day write a book. Little did I ever guess that I would have written 3 traditionally published books by the time I was 33 years old!

My book-writing journey has been one filled with many challenges and celebrations. I’ve grown through the critiques (though there have been moments when I’ve thought, “If one more person says something harsh about my writing, I just might throw out my laptop and buy a one-way ticket to Timbucktoo!”), I’ve learned a lot of marketing techniques that don’t work, and I’ve spent countless hours and hours writing and editing — many times when there are many other things I would have rather been doing!

It’s been grueling, at times, and exhilarating, at other times. But I don’t regret any of it. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s a whole lot more work to write and edit and market a book than I ever could have imagined.

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{Watch the video above for some strategies on marketing a book and mapping out a book launch plan, plus some of my honest thoughts on how much work goes into an effective marketing strategy. Oh and you also get to see my “fancied-up” hair and make-up — read the P.S. below to see what that’s all about! :)}

Wish Someone Could Walk You Through the Book-Writing Process?

If you are committed to the idea of writing a book, but you wish someone could walk you through the process of outlining, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing, there’s a brand-new course called Author Launch that you might want to check out.

It’s very pricy, but if you are really, really committed to the idea of publishing a book and you just don’t know where to start, I think it could be worth the investment.


I had the opportunity to participate in some of the filming for this 46-week course and I was very impressed with the caliber of the authors involved as well as the team who put the course together. It’s designed to take you through the process of writing your book from start to finish. Plus, you’ll be apart of a community of writers who are also working on their books at the same time.

Honestly, I think the community aspect of this course is what appeals to me the most. There have been many times that book-writing has felt like a lonely endeavor — especially when I was first starting out and didn’t know many other authors.

What Author Launch Includes:

  • 46-weeks of step-by-step instruction to help you write a book from start to finish.
  • Weekly emails with detailed help and practical steps for each stage of the book-writing process. These emails will include videos taught by 10 authors from different genres and backgrounds. {My videos are on finding time to write in the midst of a busy schedule and how to effectively market a book.}
  • A 50,000-word PDF workbook to guide you through the steps outlined in the course.
  • Detailed help and instruction for every part of the book-writing process: from writing an outline, writing your chapters, finding time to write, refining your work, self-publishing, traditional publishing, mapping out your marketing plan, and much more.
  • Access to a private community of writers who are also working through the course with you.

If you are interested in finding out more about this course, head on over to the Author Launch Page here. Registration for this course closes on January 31, 2015.

Get Some Sneak Peeks of the Course Here

To see a few examples of the videos and course materials, check out this video from Jeff Goins on Determining Your Field of Expertise, Sarah Mae’s video on Writing With Confidence, Donald Miller’s video on Finalizing Your Title, and Joshua Becker’s video on The Benefits of Self-Publishing.

Note: As I mentioned before, this course is very pricey. If you are just considering writing a book and not sure you’re ready to commit yet, I’d recommend reading this post of mine for some free advice on getting started.

P.S. I don’t hardly recognize myself with that make-up and hair… it’s a far cry from the usual quick make-up and pony tail look I often sport! ;) Sarah Mae’s sister, Keitha, did our hair and make-up for the filming and I was told mine looked great.

Since I’m not one to often get all fancied up, I’m still not sure what I think about myself with all that hair product, face product, and fake eye lashes on! But it’s always fun to try new things out. :)

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A Day In My Life (it wasn’t what I planned, but it was a GOOD day!)

A Day In My Life

A HUGE thank you to Tara from Deal Seeking Mom for sending over this post from her Feedly reader when I thought it had forever vanished into the deep black hole of cyberspace. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read this post last night before I somehow completely deleted almost all of it this morning, here you go…

Yesterday didn’t end up like I’d planned, but it was a good day.

I woke up at 2:30 a.m. — partly from jet lag and partly because my heart was really burdened for a friend of mine. She had texted me before I went to bed and was really, really struggling. She’s going through a devastating life situation right now and my heart is pretty much just broken in two for her. So I woke up with her heavy on my heart and spent some time praying for her and trying to go back to sleep.

I had gone to bed before 7:30 p.m. the night before, so I went ahead and got up at 3:30 a.m.since it was clear I wasn’t going to be falling back to sleep. And I’m grateful I got up that early because of some of the unexpected things that happened later on in the day.

The next few hours were spent catching up on emails, comments/social media, scheduling out some posts, going through possible deals to post today, and writing blog posts.

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I then exercised and had planned to read my Bible and shower, but the kids were now up and Jesse had arrived home from the gym and the grocery store, so I went down to the kitchen to make breakfast, go over our plans for the day with Jesse, and hang out with everyone.

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We had Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes — and we rolled them like crepes. I love this recipe and so does everyone in our family, including Jesse.

I had taken a few pictures of my plate and then went over to get something else in the kitchen and when I turned around, this was what I saw:

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After he took pictures, he said, “I took 29 pictures for you, Mom. You can use them on your blog.”

It cracked me up and melted my heart. But not only that, this kid has some serious photography skills — or it was just a fluke, but pretty much all 29 photos looked like this –>

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After breakfast, the kids did their morning chores and Jesse put dinner in the crock pot (yes, he’s amazing like that!), while I cleaned up the kitchen and started in on getting caught back up on laundry. I also worked on getting some house projects done that I had shelved for the past few days since I was trying to get over jet lag.

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Jesse took Kathrynne and Silas to the dentist to get fillings. (Since discovering that all our children are cavity-prone in the past few months, we’ve switched over to following Dr. Ellie’s system and are so hoping that this will help significantly cut down on cavities in the future. It’s certainly been working well for Kaitlynn, so we’re hopeful it will work for all our kids. We’ll see!)

Kaitlynn and I stayed home and she worked on some projects and reading. I helped her and worked on laundry and finishing up my home projects/cleaning for the day. I then sat down to spend some time reading my Bible (I’m finishing up the She Reads Truth John Study) and write in my Blessings Journal.


Kathrynne had been really nervous about going to the dentist and she ended up really having a hard there. So she was pretty exhausted/anxious/in pain when she arrived home. I went ahead and changed my plans for the rest of the day (I had planned to work on book edits for a few hours and do some writing) and spent the afternoon keeping her comfortable, making slushies, and reading aloud to the kids.

We read extra from our Morning Time Basket reads and finished up our current read-aloud book. It was such a relaxing afternoon and we had so much fun reading together and just hanging out!

Jesse took Kaitlynn and Silas to our Meaty Monday group and I stayed home with Kathrynne since she just didn’t feel up to going. I finally got to tackle the refrigerator.


I told you it needed some TLC. And I wasn’t joking!


So. much. better!

How was your day yesterday? Did you get any cleaning/household projects done?

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Where the A Day In My Life post went… your guess is as good as mine! :)

A Day In My Life

Update: Nevermind and yay! A HUGE thank you to Tara from Deal Seeking Mom who was able to recover the full post from her Feedly reader! You can read it here.

So, last night, I posted a long and detailed Day In My Life post full of pictures and tidbits on our day yesterday, as well as how my refrigerator cleaning went. Many, many of you clicked through on Facebook to read it and many of you saw it here.

This morning, I was reading through it and noticed a few typos. I went to fix those and clicked to update the post. I’m not sure what happened in the process, but the entire post — except for one picture and two sentences — completely disappeared!

I tried multiple methods to retrieve it and it appears to be gone forever. Sigh. Sometimes that’s just part of life — you spend a few hours on something only for it to be — poof! — gone.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know in case you wondered why it disappeared!


Also: I had meant to choose & post a winner for the last Day in My Life giveaway and forgot to do so. So without further ado, the winner of the above prize package is HoosierMom (blueskyandsunshine2006@). I emailed you this morning with details on claiming your prize.

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How I’ve Found Balance… or not!


I’m honored to be featured on the Brilliant Business Moms podcast again today talking about the subject of balance. I share how I manage my life, how I prioritize, and how I juggle multiple hats (blogging, mothering, writing, marriage, homeschooling, and having personal margin in my life).

If you’ve ever wondered “how does she do it?”, you’ll want to check out this post and podcast. I think you’ll be encouraged to know that I don’t do it all… and one of my biggest “secrets” to success is only focusing on a few priorities and seeking to do those few things well.

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Interested in bringing the Say Goodbye to Survival Mode event to your area?


This year, our team is planning to do a select number of special Say Goodbye to Survival Mode events across the country. These will be one-night, high-energy events where I’ll be sharing two messages of encouragement:

Session #1: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
Life doesn’t have to be one big chaotic mess of laundry, dishes, and to-do lists! This session is packed with empowering, practical encouragement and ideas you can implement to restore peace, purpose and passion into your lives.

Session #2: Unleash Your Best You
Ever wonder if you’re good enough? Wish you could make a difference in the world but feel trapped by doubts? In this session, you’ll discover three transforming truths that will help you move from insecurity to confidence so you can be all that God has called you to be.

Both presentations are engaging, authentic, and straight from my heart. I’ll be sharing personal stories, inspirational ideas, and giving you practical steps to take to:

  • Stop living life feeling stuck, exhausted, and overwhelmed
  • Determine your most important priorities & find time to invest in what really matters
  • Move past loneliness and build authentic friendships with other women
  • Break free from the lie that whispers “I’m not good enough”


We want to encourage as many women as possible to say goodbye to living life stuck in survival mode and start living life with passion and purpose, so we’re currently looking for a few more venues/churches to host a one-night Say Goodbye to Survival Mode event in 2015.

If you are apart of a local group or church that would be interested in hosting this event, we’d love to chat with you about bringing this event to your area. Just fill out this form here and we’ll be in touch with more information on dates we have available and how we can serve your church or women’s group.

Our team will work alongside you to help with details, marketing, publicity, and organization of the event. We want to make it as successful for you as possible!

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode event

Join Us for Our First Event in Mississippi on February 6, 2015!

Our first special one-night Say Goodbye to Survival Mode event will be held on February 6, 2015, in Purvis, Mississippi! If you live in the MS area and you haven’t done so already, be sure to find out more information about this event and purchase tickets here. We have a special group rate for those who’d like to invite a group of women to come.

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Gretchen’s $41 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan



4 Lemons – $0.25 each

2 Angel Soft Tissue Paper – $1 each, used 2 $0.45/1 coupon from the 1/4 RedPlum insert (1st one doubled) – $0.33 each after coupons

1 Sargento Deli Cheese – $2.50, used $0.55/1 printable (doubled) – $1.40 after coupon

1 Carefree Liners – $1, used $0.50/1 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

10 cans Red Gold Tomatoes – $0.29 each

2 cans Planters Peanuts – $1.69 each, used $1/2 printable (doubled) – $0.69 each after coupon

1 El Monterey Frozen Breakfast Burritos – $2.49, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – $0.49 after coupon

1 box Sara Lee Snacks – $2, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

Total with tax ($1.19) after coupons and sales: $9.80


1 Kroger Lemon Juice – $2.29

1 Kroger Frozen Orange Juice – $1.59

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

1 gallon Dillons Milk – $2.50

1 Lady Speed Stick Deodorant – $0.89, used $0.50/1 printable – $0.39 after coupon

2 pkg Strawberries – $2 each

1 Muller Yogurt – $1, used Free e-coupon (no longer available) – Free after coupon

1 pkg Croissants – Marked down to $0.99

1 Softsoap Pump – $0.89, used $0.35/1 coupon from the 1/18 SmartSource insert – $0.54 after coupon

2 pkg Mission Tortillas – $1 each

1 Green Pepper – $0.99

0.80 lbs Roma Tomatoes – $1.19

1 Cucumber – $0.89

Items a part of the Mega Sale (Buy 6, Get $3 off instantly): 

1 loaf Nature’s Harvest Bread – $1.50, used $0.55/1 peelie coupon – $0.95 after coupon

2 pkgs Kraft Shredded Cheese – $2.79 each, used $1/2 printable – $2.29 after coupon

4 7Up/A&W Pop ($0.75 each) and 2 pkg Pringles ($0.99 each) – Used 2 $1.50/3 printable – $0.33 each after coupons

1 Hormel Turkey Meat – $2.99, used $0.50/1 coupon from the 1/18 SmartSource insert – $2.49 after coupon

2 Ragu Pasta Sauce – $1.19 each, used $0.75/2 coupon from the 1/4 RedPlum insert – $0.81 each after coupon

Total with tax ($2.25) after coupons and sales: $31.74

Total for all grocery items: $41.54

Menu Plan for this Week

We will be gone for a couple days this week so I only planned for 5 meals.


Cereal x 2, Leftover Blueberry Pancakes, Baked Oatmeal, Krispy Kreme Donuts (using a free coupon that was in the newspaper!)


Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey/Cheese/Fruit/Veggies, Leftovers x 2, Cheese Quesadillas


Blueberry Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Fruit

Spaghetti Pie, Tossed Salad, Lemon Bars (A request from my husband) :)

Chicken Fajitas, Fruit, Steamed Carrots

Venison BBQ Meatballs, 30 Minute Rolls, Tossed Salad

Beef Enchiladas, Cornbread, Avocados, Tossed Salad

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