The Year in Review

 

year in review bible verse

At the beginning of 2015, I marked off these words in my Bible and held them close to my heart. Then the year commenced, and a wild ride it has been.

Fair warning: excessive use of exclamation points ahead. Proceed with caution.

year in review top pick

The Art of Losing Yourself became a RT Top Pick!

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After a long, hard, rubble-strewn road, we welcomed our daughter home.

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My fourth novel released!

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We had to say a very sad goodbye to our Bubba Bear.

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We celebrated my daughter’s third birthday on the earth, first birthday with us!

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Brogan graduated kindergarten!

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I wizened up and became a Mac person. 😉

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I indie-published my first ever young adult book under the nom de plume, K.E. Ganshert!

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Ryan and I celebrated our 11th anniversary!

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My third book baby won a Christy Award!

year in review the awakening release

I indie-published my second ever young adult book under the same nom de plume.

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I got a handle on this hair thing. At least, sort of.

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I signed another 2-book deal with Waterbrook Multnomah!

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I won the TIARA! Y’all. This is no joke.

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The final installment in my young adult trilogy released out into the world!

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Brogan started first grade and lost a whole bunch of teeth!

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He also asked Jesus to sit on the throne in his heart.

year in review - salima

Miss Salima Bean was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and oral-motor apraxia (and continues to show us every day how determined, resilient, and strong she is).

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I won a Carol, which was cool. Even cooler? Meeting one of my all-time favorite authors. Hello there Francine Rivers!

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Salima became a U.S. Citizen and a Ganshert for life!

year in review perfect arrangment release

My second novella released!

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I dabbled in Amish fiction!

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That dabbling ended up on the ECPA best-seller list.

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We dedicated our daughter to the Lord in front of our church family.

Oh, 2015. The Lord’s goodness, you most definitely showed me. And while the highlights were many, so much of it was just … real life.

I lost some friends. I made some friends. There were days filled with joy and many filled with stress. I got a whole bunch of new gray hairs. Became very familiar with the world of speech therapy and occupational therapy and individualized education plans. I cried tears and dried tears. I laughed a lot and prayed a lot and ate a lot of chocolate. On more days than I care to admit, I forgot to choose joy. I let tiredness or crankiness or stressed-out-ness or in-a-hurry-ness win. But God’s grace sustained, regardless. God loves me still, regardless. And through everything–the highs and the lows and the nitty-gritty in between of everyday life–His glory shines.

Here’s to having open eyes, open ears, and an open heart to God’s relentless pursuit of me in the year ahead. God’s relentless pursuit of you in the year ahead. Here’s to a fabulous 2016!

How did 2015 treat you?

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, readers! I love you muchly!

A New Look and A New Adventure

new adventureHey friends! If you’re here, wondering what looks different, good eye! Thanks to my fabulous web designer, I did some redecorating.

I’m not completely finished, so it’s sort of like you’re coming over mid renovation. There are some tweaks I’ll be making and some things I’ll be adding over the next few weeks, so come back often to have a look around.

I figured the remodel was a long time coming. First, because my hairs got longer. And second, I really needed to get with the times and make my cyber home mobile friendly. So there you go. That’s me up there in that header. That’s what I’m looking like these days. Scratch that. Most days, I’m in sweats and without makeup. BUT! The hair is the right length.

You may have also noticed this whole K.E. Ganshert thing (it’s more obvious if you go to my home page). And under books? What is THAT!? Young Adult? I promise to share more about this new adventure soon (I’m crazy, giddy excited about it). For now, just know that it isn’t a typo. I am going to be coming out with some young adult fiction under the nom de plume, K.E. Ganshert (I know, super mysterious, right?). If you’d like to stay up-to-date on the latest (and be among the first to see cover art), please subscribe to my K.E. Ganshert mailing list.

Now to the newsletter sign up. Something else you may have noticed.

In the past, I’ve collected email addresses and sent out a welcome note and complimentary devotional. I’ve decided to forgo the welcome note and devotional and send out a quarterly newsletter instead. Each will include a message from my heart (whatever God’s putting there), a Bible verse that’s been ministering to me, a book recommendation, as well as any good deals/sales that I think my readers would like to know about. And, of course, pertinent book news (new releases, cover art, etc). There might be one or two other things. I haven’t fully decided yet. The first newsletter will go out in April. I’m pretty giddy about this, too! I think you should sign up. 🙂

Two more things really quick:

Have you heard of The Grove? It’s a new website/blog that I’m incredibly honored to be a part of. We’re all about finding our stories at The Grove. The real-life kind. Not the fictional kind. I shared about plot twists last Tuesday and my friend Beth Vogt shared about beginnings on Thursdays.  You should hop on over and say hello.

And if you have the time, I’d love your feedback on this very quick survey. My marketing director and I are trying to figure out which social media sites my readers like best. It’s a quick and easy survey, I promise, and the data will be of great help to us. Thanks in advance!

I believe that should cover it. Wishing you all a fabulous Monday!

What new adventures are YOU starting these days?

Loving Well: A Valentine’s Giveaway

It’s that time of year when love is in the air. Whether Valentine’s Day makes you giddy or makes you nauseous, there’s no stopping it. Flowers. Chocolates. Mushy, gushy Hallmark cards. They’re everywhere this time of year.

And whether you like that sort of stuff or not, I think we can all agree that underneath all the frills is something we can all get behind.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love.

To do just that, I’ve joined forces with some awesome romance author friends to do a special LOVING WELL giveaway.

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I was trying to decide which aspect of LOVING WELL I wanted to cover on my blog, and I think the one that hits home with me the most right now is LOVING WELL when life is distracting.

Can anybody else relate to that?

I don’t know about you, but life is hard. Not only are we going through some personal things that leave me wrung dry and distracted most days, my to-do list has grown into this unwieldy, frightening thing.

And I was thinking the other day, am I loving well in the midst of this season?

You know, I wish I could say that I was. But honestly, I think I fail more times than I succeed. To which all I can say is thank the Good Lord for His grace. He truly lavishes it on me.

My point?

This post is every bit as much for me as it is for any of you on the other side of the screen.

So without further ado, here are three super simple things that can help us all love well when life is distracting:

Selah

This word shows up 71 times in the Bible, and many theologians agree that the word means To Pause. I just love that, don’t you? It’s such a great and simple thing to do, and believe it or not, I’m a strong believer that pausing helps us love better. It gives us a chance to take a  breath and consider the people God has blessed us with. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget. Sometimes, the first step to loving well is simply remembering that we aren’t alone in our busy bubble. As we pause, as we selah, why not take a moment to think of one or two simple things we can do to show our people love?

Eye Contact

Oh, you guys. I need to remember this! My six year old son grabbed my face the other day and said, “Mommy, just look at me!” Talk about a knife to the heart. I had been staring at my computer screen, trying to squeeze in a few more things. He was in the room talking and I was nodding and making all the appropriate “I’m listening” sounds. But I wasn’t really. There’s a time for multi-tasking. And then there’s a time to stop. Let’s remember to carve out small moments throughout the day to give our people our full, undivided attention.

Look Out

And I don’t mean, “Look out, there’s a ball flying at your face!” I mean look outside of yourself. This goes along with taking a pause. I don’t know about you, but in the midst of  stress and consuming life circumstances, I often forget that other people are struggling too. We can get so introverted in our hardship, can’t we? There is something so freeing about taking the focus off ourselves and our problems, and looking out. Realizing, as you selah, and as you make actual eye contact with people, that they have hurts, too. They have stress. They have burdens. Offer a hug. A hand squeeze. A prayer for a friend you  haven’t seen in or talked to in awhile. If you have the time, offer a listening ear. It’s one of the best ways to love well.

What simple things do you do that help you love well?

Be sure to visit each of the Valentine’s Giveaway blog stops and you’ll be able to collect a word on each page that will add up to a ‘secret sentence’ by the final stop.  Enter the sentence into the entry box at the final stop and be entered to win a special prize.

My word is WELL.

 Upcoming Blog Hop Stops:

Feb 5th visit Dani Pettrey by clicking here

Feb 6th visit Rachel Hauck by clicking here

Feb 8th visit Lisa Wingate by clicking here

Feb 10th visit Susan May Warren by clicking here

Feb 13th visit Becky Wade by clicking here

To enter the giveaway, simply complete the form below:

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