Birthday Not-So Blues…

On Sunday, February 24th, I will turn 34.

I make a big deal out of my birthday. I see it as the official start to my personal new year. I reflect on the previous year and goals leading up to my birthday, and begin working on my new goals after the big day.

I am so adamant about celebrating my birthday as an adult because when I was a kid, I either had to share my birthday parties or didn’t have any. My earliest memory of a birthday party is the time my younger cousin Duke face planted in our cake while our guests sang happy birthday (Duke’s birthday is today–Happy Birthday, Duke!). This was way before cake smashes were a thing, and he landed on MY Miss Piggy instead of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Raphael), but I digress. This is also the year his brother gave me chicken pox instead of a birthday gift.

Other horrific birthday experiences include:

  • a dozen kids getting trapped in my aunt’s basement by a blizzard
  • the year none of my friends came to my birthday (I was turning eleven and most of the guests were there for my brother, who was turning three)
  • my sweet sixteen, which I spent listening to a drunk family friend’s marital problems and received twenty dollars from a relative who said I had to give it back on their birthday.

When I left for college, I was determined to have better birthdays, and I did. The first person I met on campus, my next door neighbor in the dorms, shares my birthday. To this day, we still make sure we wish each other a happy birthday. Other birthday highlights from college include.

  • A frat house full of guys singing happy birthday to me and plying me with carrot cake.
  • Hanging out with above birthday buddy and eating a non-dining hall meal.
  • My college bestie Elise buying me a birthday cake with Tinkerbell on it.
  • Sharing said birthday cake with a different group of frat guys (I’m noticing an alarming trend of frat guys and cake, now that I’m looking back).
  • The weekend of Greek step shows and Darden restaurants my last year of college.

After college, I managed to make the day special for a few years. I went on a weekend getaway, friends/significant others took me out to eat or came over, and I even treated myself to ballet performances and movies (I saw Black Panther in the theater 3x last February. Ryan Coogler got all my birthday money). But while the celebrations were good, the reflections on the previous year were brutal. The further my life path deviated from my life plan, the more I dreaded my birthday.

But this year…this year…well, it’s hard to describe.

I feel…light.  I’m waking up in a good mood, smiling for no reason, going after opportunities, and being the version of Erica who’s been absent since 2009. People are noticing. I’m getting more compliments now than I have in years. It’s like I’m lit from the inside.

A big difference between this year and other years is I’ve gotten invested in my local church again. The same lightness and attractive glow was all over me in February 2017 when I was active in church. As I talked about the other day, I’ve made friends locally as well, which also helps. There’s nothing like having people in your life you can call on to discuss your favorite reality show and the deepest desires of your heart.

And then there’s this book I’ve been working on…


I couldn’t be prouder of the poems and pieces here, and I am both excited and terrified for y’all to read them. This beauty releases Monday, March 18, 2019 (my mommy’s birthday!), but you can find out more information about it and pre-order a copy (at the sale price) here. The Speaking Season is full of firsts for me: my first poetry collection, my first attempt at a hardback book (coming soon), and my first audiobook (also coming soon).

Friends, I hope you’re gearing up to have an amazing weekend. If you need me, I’ll be rereading all the poems and pieces one more time before I order my proof copy, then I’m signing off to have some fun for my birthday.

Do you celebrate your birthday? Why or why not? What are your weekend plans?

Things I’m Learning in 2019…


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I met my word of the year with an immediate “no thank you” again this year. Again, it’s stretching me in ways I don’t want to be stretched and often don’t think I’m made to. I knew this word would be a year defining one, and it hasn’t proven me wrong.

There are a million reasons I did not want to take this word on this year, but the main reason is it represents the opposite of what I thought this year would be about for me. I was expecting explosive growth. I was hoping for a husband, a home, a big group of friends I could share my hospitality skills with, and more money to spend on what lights me up inside. In short, I wanted MORE. This word felt like God saying “no” to giving me the things I feel I’m lacking. I kicked against the prick, but all that did was drive it in deeper. I was stuck with it. My word of the year would be “STEWARD” whether I wanted it or not.

But a curious thing has been happening. Attempting to steward what I’ve already been given is not only making room for the things I hoped to have this year, it’s given me opportunities to actively acquire those things. For the most part, I’m discovering things I used to know and building on this knowledge to create a life that isn’t the disappointing one I was expecting.

One of the things I want to be a better steward of this year is my relationships. I hated this aspect of it because the last thing I wanted to do was settle here. I wanted to move to a bigger city with more eligible men and people my age I could befriend, a place with jobs I might be more interested in. I wanted new opportunities. Settling here felt like accepting a life of singlehood amongst people who could be my parents or grandparents and others my age who are all already married with children who didn’t have time to spare for me. But God surprised me.

My foray into online dating might be a failure thus far, but I’ve managed to cultivate some awesome relationships offline. I’ve made and deepened friendships with people I have things in common with across age groups and marital statuses. I have friends with whom I can dissect The Masked Singer, attend a ladies day or gospel meeting, grab lunch after service, or attend a regular game night. By attempting to be a better friend, relative or member of my local congregation, I’ve gained new friends.

One offshoot of this is relearning to navigate friendships with men. I used to have many male friends, but as I grew older, the number decreased to zero. This was mostly due to the distinctions and rules of engagement dictated by an interest in finding and marrying “the one.” Where I once prided myself on seeing the value of men as people and not looking on every man as a potential spouse, I began to place men in categories based on their eligibility and my interest in pursuing a romantic relationship with them. Although I’d heard and even believed friendship could lead to love, I excluded any men I was interested in dating from the group of men I could be friends with. Years of painful bouts with unrequited love taught me I couldn’t be just friends with a guy I liked. I equated friendships with men with accepting we’d never get together, and as a result, many amazing men never got the chance to be my friend, and many other amazing men who might have been interested in me romantically were left to die in the friend zone.

I didn’t know how to be a good friend to the male friends I had after that. I was so concerned with not giving them the wrong impression, I couldn’t relax or be myself around them. I was afraid if I joked with them they would think I was flirting, or if I slapped their shoulder when I laughed they would take it as some girlish way of expressing interest in a romantic relationship. In short, I didn’t know how to navigate male/female relationships.

But I’m slowly learning to navigate them again. I’m learning how to joke with my brothers in Christ or discuss common interests or share a meal without second guessing my every word or action. I’m learning  friendships can and do grow and change, and accepting a friendship can become something more (spoiler alert: in case you were wondering, this is not a rom-com or romance novel scenario where a friendship has turned into a romance, and none of my friendships are showing signs of doing so at the time of this writing).

It hasn’t been easy to steward these relationships well. There have been awkward moments and missteps. I’ve overthought things and caught myself reading into things. But I’m learning to laugh off the awkwardness. I’m learning not to assume everyone who does a certain thing is doing it for the same reasons I would or is trying to communicate the same things. I’m constantly reminded how asking leads to clarity and assumption leads to confusion and misunderstanding.

Relationships are only one pillar of my life I’m seeking to steward well this year. I can’t wait to share more with you on how God is growing my stewardship of other areas of my life.

How have you been tending to your relationships in 2019? Is there anything you realize you need to do differently in your relationships? Let me know in the comments.



I’ve Been Keeping a Secret…*


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I’ve been keeping a few of them, actually. I never posted a blog on what my word of the year for 2018 is, or the work I’ve been doing as I keep that word before me. I haven’t written about how the launch of Break Right has gone, or how my freelance work is going, or what’s coming in 2019. Why haven’t I been sharing here, in this most personal and intentional of spaces? Simply put, because I haven’t felt “released” to do so. It’s like my mouth was closed and locked. I haven’t been able to speak on everything I’ve been doing, learning, and preparing, but now…now, it’s time to speak up!

My word of the year for 2018 is SOW. Instead of committing to a long list of hoped for outcomes like I usually do, this year I committed myself to one thing: trying. I would sow a seed and leave the results to the Lord. If an opportunity came up that I wanted to take but didn’t know how it would turn out, I would take it, reminding myself to leave the increase to the Lord. As someone who loves to think things through, and hates to try anything I’m not sure will work, it’s been a stretching, stressful year, but a good one. As a result of my goal to sow, I did a LOT of things scared and uncertain, including:

So how has this year of sowing changed me? It’s meant I’ve failed…A LOT. I’m a recovering perfectionist and full time let-me-consider-all-the-options-before-I-do-anything, figurative doomsday prepper, and enneagram 6, so failure and fear of failure are up there with loss of security and stability on my “no, thank you” list. In other words, this year was a rollercoaster ride I did not want to be on, but what else is new? Along with the wonderful and weird things listed above, there were quite a few failed experiments and not so great things. However, overall, the year turned out better than I imagined.

There are a lot of changes headed my way in 2019 (and y’all know how much I LOVE changes *sarcasm*), and I’m sure the Lord will put another word on my heart that is met with an immediate “No, thank you,” but I’m also convinced it will all work together for my good. Besides, I know someone who is actively praying for my desire for a husband, and I’m praying to find strength, stability and security in the Lord, so 2019 has to be better than I could ask or imagine.

I’m transitioning all of my personal posts over to this site as I refine (and rebrand!) The Season for Getting Serious, so be on the lookout for more content here in 2019.

What was your word of the year for 2018, and how have you seen it show up in your year?



*P.S. What’s the secret I’m keeping, you ask? Well, tune in tomorrow to hear about the two things I’ve been sowing into for most of this year that I haven’t announced yet. 😉

Enjoying the Journey…& a Book Cover Reveal!


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Artboard 1

I have a cover and a release date for Break Right: Finding Wholeness in Heartbreak, and a Good God in a Bad Breakup! This book has been, as Gretchen Saffles of Well Watered Women says, “soul scrubbing.” It is packed with truth and wisdom from in the breakup trenches, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone on March 13, 2018 (prayers solicited and appreciated!)

You can read the full description and pre-order your copy of Break Right here, on my website.

The journey from idea to publication for this book has been a non-stop rollercoaster ride, and I am here for it! It’s taken me a little under nine months to get this book written, organized, and formatted, find and engage a graphic designer to do the cover, and make all things ready for the release. This is my faster book from inception to completion ever. It’s also my most personal book, and the process of bringing it to life has truly been a journey worth taking.

When I first had the idea to write a book about breakups, and mine in particular, I wasn’t sure how to do it well. I didn’t want to bash my ex or garner sympathy for myself. I wanted to show that a break up involves breaking, yes, but if you focus on your faith and seek truth during this season, you will be stronger and more whole because of the experience.

Balancing being truthful about my experience and sharing biblical truth wasn’t hard, but deciding what to share was. I had to question why I wanted the reader to know certain things about me or my relationship. Would this truly help the reader receive some truth, or would it make me feel better or satisfy my craving to be known and supported?

The second hardest thing was to frame some of the truths I’ve come to realize about how we process breakup that block us from true healing and keep us repeating the same patterns in future relationships. I tried as much as possible to dig deep and share how these truths applied to me instead of hitting women over the head with the fact they probably did it to. Learning to be sensitive with others, and myself, was a major growth experience.

Now that the journey to publishing this book is almost over, I can’t help but be proud of this book. I know there are many women hurting from breakups who can benefit from the shift in perspective this book provides. I truly believe something wonderful has happened within the pages of this book. Even women who think they are over a past breakup can discover some areas of brokenness they didn’t realize were there and get healing for them (I know I did–several times).

A word about the cover. I shared the cover with an indie author group I’m a part of and a few people suggested the cover should have things like a carton of ice cream or wads of tissue on the front to show that it’s a book about breakups. I’ll share the full story behind the cover later, but I wanted to say this isn’t a typical breakup book. I specifically did not put those things on the cover. I also didn’t put a broken heart on the cover, but a whole one. I purposely avoided saying anything like “breakups suck,” “it’s his loss” or “I’m so sorry” in the description. I’m trying to change the narrative around breakups and shift perspectives back to Christ, not play into what we’re supposed to believe or do in the wake of a breakup based on popular culture.

If you’re interested in Break Right, I encourage you to pre-order. It’s $9.99 on pre-order, and free shipping with the code BREAK FREE. You also get some cool pre-order goodies. After pre-orders, the price goes up to $14.99 plus shipping and the goodies don’t come free any longer.

There are so many other things I want to share and write about, but they’ll have to wait until another post. I just wanted to share my excitement with you about my upcoming release and check in with y’all. How y’all doing? What’s new and exciting in your life? Have a question about the book? Leave your two cents in the comments section.



Wig Snatchers Anonymous

My name is Erica, and I’m a wig snatcher. I didn’t choose the wig-snatching life; the wig snatching life chose me. I would much rather laugh and cry with you than hit you with hard truths all the time. I’m really a fun person who likes long walks in the park with good music in her ears or lounging on my couch with a good movie on the TV. But as I said, wig snatching chose me.

That intro is supposed to be witty, but it’s not untrue. I find that every time I sit down to write a book, I morph into this tough love chick who relishes dropping truth bombs on people–in love, of course.

With Break Right, my new book on finding wholeness in heartbreak, I thought things were going to be different. I’ve been writing this book while walking through a breakup myself. I am more than empathetic toward women who’ve gone through a relationship ending. The whole reason I wanted to write this book is because I wanted to help women find true healing from heartbreak by pointing them to Christ. I’ve teared up at responses to interview questions, articles on Psychology Today and at sermons. I have the softest heart toward hurting women I’ve ever had.

Yet when I opened a document containing a simple, straightforward chapter today to do a final edit, it was driven home to me for the umpteenth time while putting the final touches on things that this book has continued my wig snatching ways.

You see, well, the thing is…I am doing exactly what I set out to do. It doesn’t look anything like I thought it would, but then it never does. I sometimes feel like God shows me the end result of my books to entice me to write them, then hits me with the truth hammer once I’m too invested to back out. And hit me He has.

I have lost a few of my edges living and learning through the contents of my books, but by the end of this book, I’m going to be a bald head scallywag (I hope I didn’t just curse in pirate). Never have I ever had my edges snatched quite like this. This time around, I have been snatched up and dressed down what feels like every day.

When the original publication date rolled around, I realized something was missing from the book. I pushed the book back to figure out what it was and how to approach adding it to the book. The closer I got to the pub date, the more gritty and real my observations and evaluations of myself and my break up became. The more honest I was with myself, the less I felt I could publish another “woo, woo, woo” and “there ,there” pat on the head book for my single sisters in Christ. So here I sit, pre-apologizing for snatching off your wig and telling you how much better you look without it.

My feelings about releasing this book are the biggest mixed bag of emotions I’ve ever experienced around a book release. That’s to be expected because this is the most personal I’ve ever written, and includes some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last year and a half of my life. I’m not sure I want the tens of people who buy my books to read about all my missteps and misjudgments. But I don’t want women to miss the message at the heart of this book, that there is wholeness in this season of heartbreak and a really good God standing with you in a bad situation. I don’t want them to miss out on the healing that I’m experiencing even now because I won’t tell them about meeting Jesus in the midst of my mess. But God knew that already, too.

Just so you know, this wasn’t a post to advertise my upcoming book. It’s a sorry not sorry for all past, present and future wig snatching wrought by my tiny hands. But if you are interested in Break Right: Finding Wholeness in Heartbreak, and a Good God in a Bad Breakup, here’s what you need to know: the book will be released (prayerfully–no seriously, pray saints!) February 13, 2018. I will have the cover and synopsis up on my website, in a few days. You can keep up with all book-related news on said website,, though I may hope over here and post the highlights.

I ain’t sorry (aka xoxo),



Truth in Love: Poem to 11/10/16 Erica

Note: After I posted yesterday, I felt like there was some stuff I left out, intentionally. If I were really writing to myself a year ago, there were some things I don’t think it would have been helpful for me to know. But it would be helpful for readers to know, and maybe 2016 Erica deserved to hear it, too. When I started getting my thoughts out, to my surprise they formed this spoken word poem type of thing. This is the finished (edited and such) product. Stay tuned for more info on the book release at the end!
I didn’t lie to you.
I just didn’t tell you everything.
I didn’t want to tell you that like so many
Broken bones and promises,
It’s going to hurt
When you look at it.
When you realize what’s happened.
I didn’t want to tell you how an old post on Facebook’s On This Day
Will steal your breath away.
Sorrow will slide between your ribs
Sharp and lethal.
Every breath you take that day will be
I didn’t want you to know the more you dig
For gold beneath the old standbys of
“All things work together!” and
“Count it all joy!”
Boy do you notice how much
You’re bleeding.
This is a complex break; it’s not clean.
You have to get in there and repair.
Somebody has to set in order.
I didn’t tell you sometimes the cast keeping everything in line
Comes with a pain of its own.
You won’t be able to move as freely as you used to.
You won’t maneuver through the world with the same grace
You like to display.
And that’s OK.

There’s so much I didn’t say yesterday
Simply because I couldn’t collect all the words.
I didn’t want pain to get in the way.
I didn’t want fear to get in your ear
And whisper “You can’t do this.”
I didn’t want to pull back the curtain and let you see
How rough this road was going to be
Before you take the first step.
I couldn’t put a stumbling block among the rocks
And roots to trip you up.
I wanted to tell you enough
To help you sleep well last night.
Enough so you welcome dawn’s early light
With enough bubblegum pop to prop you up throughout the day.

The peace God gave you doesn’t have legs to walk about;
You have to carry it with you.
I didn’t want you to think it would be too much to hold.
This peace is so light it’s almost air.
Don’t neglect something so great
Because it has such little weight.
You’ll need it in the middle of the day, like a phone charger
When you’re battery’s low and you have no way to plug in to power.
You try to conserve life but it keeps getting lower
Like you left an app running in the background.
Everything doesn’t have to be so heavy.
It doesn’t have to press down hard to matter.
Sometimes my thoughts get scattered when I try to put all that
In less than a thousand words.
But I hope you heard what did get said.
You are strong and kind and loved.
The things you’re learning again
Will be like old familiar friends
You don’t know why you stopped talking to.
But there’s more work to be done,
And I didn’t want to be the one
To have to tell you the battle isn’t won just because
Your heart isn’t broken.

So now that you’ve awoken to the fact
There’s more on your to do list
I want to leave you with this.
You are more strong and kind than you ever had in mind to be.
This isn’t going to be easy
Perhaps one day it will be.
This blood you shed is the transfusion
This generation of mass confusion needs.
You have to step out.
I didn’t want the level of difficulty to keep you from stepping.
I know now it won’t.
I know you’re going to do what you get to do.
You’re not going to quit,
And you’re not going to turn back.
That’s my hang up.
I didn’t trust you to show up and be
Exactly what I needed you to be.
But I trust you now.
So I’m saying it now.
In case you missed it along the way to what happened yesterday:
You’ve got this.

About the book: The book, tentatively titled Break Right, will be released Tuesday, February 13, 2018! Break Right will be available for pre-order beginning Friday, December 29th, 2017. Pre-orders placed by 11:59PM (EST) on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 will be shipped for delivery by release day. Those who pre-order will receive a few pre-order goodies: free ebooks, bookmarks, prints, and more to be detailed soon. 

Bible study Ladies and the Logos will be released Monday, January 15, 2018. Pre-orders will begin Friday, December 15, 2017. All orders placed before Monday, January 1, 2018 will be shipped for delivery by release day. Pre-order goodies include bookmarks, prints, study guides, and more to be detailed soon. 

Dear 11/9/16 Erica…and an Announcement!

Dear Miss E,

Whenever people say “A year from now, your whole life can be different,” you always think of the possibilities and positives. Some might call it optimistic or Pollyanna, but you know it’s faith and hope. So, I’m not surprised that you view tonight not as a rejection or an ending, but as an invitation. That’s just who you are and what you do, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that than I am looking back on the season you are about to enter.

You are so much more than you realize right now. There are things you can’t see because you’re too close to them. You only see dimly through a foggy mirror right now, but oh dear heart, it would amaze you to know what God is going to reveal in you. You know God made you intelligent, hopeful and loving but He made you so much more that you get to discover. You’re experiencing it even now with your heart hurting.

God made you strong and kind, not in a moment, but in your marrow. Life has knocked you down time after time for four months straight, and yet you get up gracefully. Tonight, you had the strength to set down and walk away from your version of forever after, and you did it with kindness. You were kind to yourself and someone you thought would always be a part of your story. You were kind to the relationship you had and who you had been to one another. You were kind to the people you would be in the future. It took such strength and kindness to pull the plug and let this relationship slip away peacefully. You think you were weak because you had to ask God to give you the strength to do what you know you needed to do, but that’s what makes you so strong. This strength and kindness aren’t momentary aberrations but are inherited traits in your spiritual DNA. God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness has never been more real to you than it was tonight, and it will never be a scripture you say without intimate knowledge of its truth. God is going to keep showing up strong and kind in your life, and He’s going to keep showing you how to be those things, too.

Right now, you’re wondering if you’re going to shrink back into your shell or harden you heart against love. I can tell you the opposite is true. As you begin to fill your free time serving others, the dams are going to burst and you are going to find your capacity to give and receive love is so much greater than you ever imagined. You’ll find the more you pour out, the more you have to give. In this moment it feels like your heart is a drain and love is rushing out of you like a river, but trust me, it gets better. God has surrounded you with so much love. I know you feel like this happened at the worst possible time and place, but God saw fit to let you walk away from this painful letting go straight into a Wednesday night service where you sang about who He is and what He does. You sat and read Isaiah’s prophecies of the coming Messiah, of restoration and a reason to hope. You were embraced and told you were being prayed for by people who don’t even know what just happened. Sister Calloway hugged you close and rocked you like a baby and whispered she loved you like she always does, but you held her a little tighter and you let those words burrow in a little deeper. God showed you right then that you needed people in the season you were entering, and I thank Him that you had the strength to start showing up more just to sit with people.

As you drive home tonight, you’re wondering about this peace you have. You think maybe it’s numbness, that things haven’t sunk in yet. You feel pain, but it can’t compare to the peace, and that scares you a little bit. That, dear heart, is the peace of God you feel. Tonight was hard and it hurt, but it was right and you know it. This peace isn’t going to go away in the cold light of day. It will stay with you. Lean into it. Trust in it. Thank God for it.

This feels like failure, but you have to know this is success. You said when a decision was made, you would be able to breathe again. You felt like you had been holding your breath. You said after a decision was made “why do I still feel like I can’t breathe?” But sit in your skin now and note how your lungs are filling as you breathe deep and let out those huge sighs. This is breathing, friend. This is the breathe of life you’ve been longing for. Breathe it in. Because the next twists and turns are going to take your breath away in the best possible ways…



The above is a love letter to myself for ending a relationship and starting the process of moving on. In the moment, it can be hard to accept that there’s a purpose to the pain, and that you’ll somehow be better for breaking up. In the year since this night, I’ve learned this is not only possible, but it was purposed for me. Earlier this year, I reached out to some single Christians about a project I felt the Lord placed on my heart: a book about breakups that gives biblically based tools to navigate the unique challenges of breaking up with someone as a Christian. The response was unanimous: it was needed.

I’m excited to announce that this project will be released in a few months! This is so much more than a book. Other products for purchase and pre-order information will be forthcoming as we creep closer to release day. I can’t wait to share what God shared with me in this season!

That’s not all! I am also excited to announce my first bible study, Ladies and the Logos, will be releasing in January! This bible study is for any Christian woman who wants to examine how an encounter with Christ changes everything. We’ll deep dive into each story, highlighting the characteristics of Christ revealed in the encounter and receiving practical tips on how to exhibit those characteristics in our everyday lives. More details on this launch will also be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Don’t miss any information on my upcoming releases. Sign up for my newsletter.



Love Where You Live: Clogged


Water running down the drain, deep sinkhole

Around the time Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, there was a massive AC leak in my apartment. I didn’t notice it at first. I was sheltering at my aunt’s house when I wasn’t working 12 hour shifts. When I visited my apartment after the storm had passed, the power was out. I saw some water on the floor.I thought this was due to the power outage. I cleaned up the water, threw out the contents of my refrigerator, and went back to work.

I didn’t return to my apartment to stay until a week after the storm when power was restored. I was up early cleaning my apartment when my bare toes landed in something wet. The water I thought I’d cleaned up was back. I called the maintenance over to figure out what was happening. He said he bet he knew what it was because it had happened in another unit before.

“Yeah, it’s just what I thought. Your AC line is clogged. Water isn’t going out of the unit like it’s supposed to, and it’s leaking into your carpet here.”

He brought in a shop vac and began working. What he discovered was the water damage was much more extensive than he originally thought. There was damage to the carpet, padding, subfloor, wall, baseboards, and doorframe. Items in my apartment were lost to water and/or mold damage.

I discovered something (other than mold) through this experience.

I had mad a dangerous assumption about my AC unit. Since the AC was doing what it was “supposed” to do, I paid no attention to how it was performing. I treated the issue without addressing the source.

This happens frequently in my life. If I’m doing what I’m “supposed” to do, I don’t always notice when something’s amiss internally. It escapes my attention that I’m not releasing things appropriately. I’m crossing items off my to do list and moving forward on goals, but my emotional backup is saturating  everything around me. Waste water is leaking into my environment and creating the perfect space for some really nasty things to grow. This dysfunction and the resulting mess affects my life and the lives of everyone around me, just like my AC unit damaged everything close to it.

This may seem like a stretch, but stay with me. I’ve been focused on loving where I live lately. If I’m going to love where I live, I need to do more than function. I need to live in a way that isn’t negatively impacting those around me. I can’t cause catastrophe in the lives of others because I’m malfunctioning and expect a pass because I’m still doing the bare minimum of what I’m supposed to do.

Have you experienced this? Maybe you were served by someone who did their job but lacked customer service. Perhaps you or someone you love makes meals AND messes they expect someone else to clean because they cooked. Or perhaps you’ve been impacted by a parent who thinks as long as they send a court mandated amount of money at the required frequency they’ve done their job. Over and over again, we’ve come into contact with the walking wounded who aren’t aware or don’t care that they’re dripping all over everything. They keep moving ahead without taking the time to look down and see that something is wrong with them.

Whatever is in us comes out. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” One version of this verse says “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” If we are clogged emotionally and/or spiritually, those emotions will still spill out. Improperly released emotions can cause far reaching and extensive damage in our lives and the lives of those closest to us.

Inattention will cost us. This life is about more than doing what we’re supposed to do. In fact, it’s at the times we’re doing what we’re supposed to do when we are most susceptible to doing the things we shouldn’t. It’s when we’re doing well on a diet that we reward ourselves with a cheat day that becomes a cheat life. It’s when we finally feel content single that we meet a person who isn’t for anything but our ego. It’s when we’ve paid our bills that we decide to spend money we don’t have to treat ourselves, continuing the debt cycle.

Do you see the dysfunction inherent in these things? The problem is we think we are doing well so we reward ourselves with things that are detrimental to succeeding at what we say we want to do. My exhortation to you today if you, too, want to love where you are in life, is to stop measuring your success by if you did the thing you were supposed to do and to start looking at the bigger picture of how you function in and influence your environment. Are you emotionally clogged? Dealing with the affects of someone you love whose emotions are being improperly released?

My thoughts have thoughts on this, and I could say a million other things here, but for today, it’s enough to dial back in, to pay attention. It’s time to stop ignoring the check engine light because your car starts up and gets you where you need to go.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comments section below.

Is This True, Though??

As you may or may not know, I’m deep in the throes of writing non-fiction book three, and it is beating the brakes off of me, thank you for asking. There is no fast way to finish this book. Part memoir, part get your crap together, girl guide for the good girl Christian who made a few bad choices, I indulged my self-absorption to the full recording myself talk through what I wanted to write. I slogged through transcribing those recordings and adding helpful side notes. Then I printed out what I had (spoiler alert: a hot mess) and went to the library to start editing and cobbling things together.

What did I find as I combed through my work? A ton of summarizing without pertinent details, flanked by helpful notes reminding me to add in said details. I found snarky notes bemoaning the state of my draft (#IylanaFixMySentences being a favorite). Uncovering the gems has been hard this go around.

But the sentence I chose to title this post has been, by far, the stickiest of the sticking place in this manuscript thus far. Sentences like this challenge me, force me to be more real than I want to be. They are what Well Watered Women Co. founder Gretchen Saffles would call soul-scrubbing. Hovering above a confident line of text, those words hit me now harder than when I wrote them in blue ink with my new favorite editing pen: Is this true, though?? If it were a definitive statement I would be able to be defensive about it. If I’d called myself a liar, I could beat the thought six ways to Sunday. But it’s a question. A question for clarity’s sake. Questions like these are invitations to take another look and be honest about what you see. If you see the statement is true, fine. Leave it in and move on. But you better be sure it’s the truth.

Truth be told, I argued with myself about writing this book from its inception. I don’t want to be known as the ________ girl anymore than I wanted to be known as the single Christian girl when I wrote Altered before the Altar. But this is worse. It’s more personal. I’m talking about my real life in an effort to help others. The least I can be is honest about what I’ve been through and how I handled it. When I shared my idea in a group I’m in on Facebook, more than one woman said she wished she had this book at a certain time in her life. Many who responded were struggling with it right then. It’s a book that’s needed, and I have the dubious honor of writing it.

If I’m going to write it, though, I have to wrestle with questions like “Is this true, though?” every time I pick up my pen or fire up my laptop. I have to constantly question my motives for including this and excluding that. Am I telling this story to make me look good or to make someone look bad? What information or lessons learned are to be shared with the reader and which were just for me?

There are lines I find myself longing to share on social media, not only because they are beautiful, but because they are true. I fought long and hard to get them on the page. Most are written in blue ink above crossed out lines of my second or third attempts to put words to feelings without names. They are gentle reminders, encouragements to dig deeper, and slaps to the back of the head followed by admonitions to pay attention. I don’t want to share them because they make me sound smart but because I know that following where they lead and wrestling with what you find in that dark basement of your heart is the only way to beat what goes bump in the night.

As I usually do, I waited until me and my title were practically married before I did an Amazon search to see what popped up. My brilliant title has been used several times for books on the same subject as mine. After going back to the drawing board, I think I have a better title. I’m going to sit with it for a while before I commit to it this time.

In the grand scheme of things, the title being taken is the least of my worries. Their are real people with real feelings behind my words. I want my words to reach real people with real feelings and to help them heal.

Some might be mad at me for what I have to say: about them, me or the subject in general. I’m sure someone will say I had no right to write what I’m writing. Someone will downplay it, saying it’s not that deep or people have dealt with worse and didn’t feel the need to write a book about it. I’m mentally preparing myself to be one-upped on tragic circumstances and be stoned with “at least” stories. I’m preparing for the critics who will say my writing is garbage, my other books were better, or no one cares about this subject.

But the small chorus of “me too” and “I wish I had something like this when I was going through that season” let me know there are some people who need what I’m writing. They need it, but only if it’s true.

The line below this question may not measure up to the truth, but this book will.

In case you’re wondering, I took the line out and put the truth in its place. Editor Erica is Writer Erica’s worst critic, but she’s also her best friend. She’s the friend who calls her friends out on their crap, then picks up a shovel and works alongside them. May every writer have a friend who can speak the truth in love and cheer them on when they do the hard thing.



Love Where You Live


It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I left you all on a cliffhanger about where I going to go and what I was going to do with all the change happening in my life. The last month and a half has been crazy busy and brutal, but refining in ways I never imagined.

First let’s talk about the obvious things. After a last minute flurry of job opportunities through the agency I was working with, I ended up working for my aunt again. This job is two hours away from Orlando, which meant I was moving closer to the business.

Closer, but not with my aunt again (because what 30-something wants to live with their family? Not this one. I love them, but no thank you). I found and rented a one bedroom apartment in a decent area where I can continue my morning walks and am close to EVERYTHING in town.

The move was not without its complications. I ended up working through the week and going back to Orlando to pack and bring things down on the weekends. My body was tired and my emotions were all over the place. I was not happy to be leaving Orlando and the life I had created there, even if things weren’t going the way I wanted them to go. This single girl wasn’t anxious to move to a small city with few dating prospects, other job opportunities, and places to go on her days off. But this is what I had to do, so I may as well do it right.

I could tell you about the night I literally drove through a ton of crap on the road–as in manure. When I got to my destination, manure coated my tires, wheel wells and chassis. Strong smelling manure. When I drove past where it happened the next day? There was none on the road. That was a little present just for me.

I could tell you about two trips with two vehicles to move my things out with my family. The communication struggles were mad real.

Or picking up a few things from my ex’s place and having his new girlfriend helping us move things because my family had car trouble. Those were fun times.

Or how my new place wasn’t ready by the first so I had to wait an additional three days before I could move my stuff into the place (yay for moving twice in one week!). They thought they might be able to finish early, but the tenants (who promised they would be out early) didn’t leave until the last day of the month and left a huge mess. So I was pretty  much homeless for three days (which I spent in the lap of luxury at my aunt’s, for those prone to be horrified).

But I’d rather tell you about the better parts of the story. When I was packing, I found a printable from Lara Casey’s website where I’d written down some life goals. Some I had achieved (write a book! publish a book!), but most I hadn’t yet. One stuck out to me: I wanted to make my living space into a home.

Most of the places I’ve lived have just been places to stay. I haven’t had artwork on the walls and pictures on the end table. There isn’t a real design to the set up. Nothing about it feels like me. It’s like I took dorm life wherever I went, like I wasn’t allowed to change anything.

Looking at that item on my list, I felt conviction. This was my opportunity to make a HOME. Even if it is in an apartment. Even if it’s not with a husband right now. I don’t have to wait to make my living space cozy and warm and a place I love coming back to or welcoming others into. I can do that right now.

I went out and bought rugs. And piece of art for the bedroom wall. I found a doormat that reads “Love where you live.” I bought a new bed frame–headboard, foot board, and side rails–and a cube organizer to match (which I use as a TV stand and shelving unit). I bought new bedding and created a color scheme for the bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen.

I’m still not all the way unpacked, and moving in hasn’t been without its problems. I’ve been working on editing two books for a client, working a job, and putting together a home. It isn’t easy. But I’m starting to like this little apartment. A lot.

There’s so much more to tell. I am going to a conference this week (!!!) and have new products to launch. I can tell you about my two editing projects thus far and officially launching my editing and publishing services. I can tell you about the projects I’m currently working on. But in this entry, I wanted to sit with this idea of making my living space a home and not a place I sleep and shower.

Even though this season has been hard, it’s been refining. I’m working on life goals here! I’m stretching myself to pursue the things I love in a place I never would have chosen, physically or emotionally. But I’ve discovered something I already knew: God is here, too. He didn’t wave farewell to me as I drove down from Orlando; He welcomed me with open arms here. It’s like the song we sing in church–anywhere is home if Christ my Lord is there.

Learning to Love Where I Live,