Take Care, Make Care Part 3 – Jackie’s thoughts

Hi friends! Please do check out my friend and critique partner Rachel’s blog today, where I’ve written a guest blog about self care!

Fellow Passengers

You know how there are some people in your life that you really, truly ADMIRE? My friend and writing group compatriot Jackie (www.jackieleasommers.com) is one of those people. Each month when our group meets, Jackie emails us beautiful word documents full of ideas and people and story. She has made writing a practice, and turned her practice into art. She’s also learned a lot about the necessity of self-care in her creative process, and I’m really happy to share her ideas on the subject with you today.

Take CareI love to write. That love is one of the biggest pieces of my identity, and I feel so deep-seated in the will of God when I write that I experience an overwhelming peace in addition to the excitement I have over the joy of creation. I’ve been writing nearly my whole life, chasing the dream of publication, enlisting the help…

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3 Sites that Keep Me Sane

saneI organize my life with Wunderlist.

Do you love lists?  Better yet, do you love crossing things off your lists?  If so, you’ll find Wunderlist deeply satisfying.

I use the free version, and there I keep a whole series of lists.  I have one for each book, one for calendar events, one for OCD Twin Cities, etc., etc.  Here’s a list of my lists.

sane2I love the simplicity of this site, love how easy it is to organize everything, and I love the delightful sound it makes when I electronically cross something off one of my lists!


In addition, there is a Wunderlist app that is just as clear and simple and easy to use as the web version.

You should definitely try it.

FutureMe keeps me calm.

I can’t tell you how much I love this site.  I tend to use it frequently when I am most stressed out or when I have learned a lesson that I want to remember later.  The point of the site is simple: send an email off to yourself in the future.  You can set the date that you’d like to receive it (it must be at least one month away).  It’s so delightful, and it’s so much fun to receive an email from the past.



See how easy it is?  During my past six-week revision that was so intense, I sent myself a note into the future almost every day.  It was a way for my stressed-out, burning-the-candle-at-both-ends self to reach out to a time where I believed I’d be calm again.  It was a way to tap into hope, the hope that life would not always be so overwhelming.

sane5I ask and answer questions on Quora.

Obviously, the internet is an amazing tool for research.  I use it every single day.  But the internet as a whole is also huge and overwhelming and sometimes impersonal.  Sometimes you want to ask questions of real people.  Quora is great for that.

On this site, you can ask questions. Anonymously, if you want.Then, you can send your question directly to people who might know answers.  Some people are “free” to ask, and some people require “points.”  You accumulate points by being active in the Quora community– and you get an allowance from Quora as well.

I love it.  I absolutely love it. And the people on Quora are amazing: highly intellectual, people who love to think, people who are capable, articulate, and interesting. The answers you get are so solid.

Truest was set in small-town Minnesota, and since that’s where I grew up, I didn’t have many questions about that way of life.  However, my next novel is set in the Pacific Northwest.  On an island.  I have no experience with these things, and it’s been so good to reach out to people who live on small islands, people who live in the Pacific Northwest, people who know details about Seattle neighborhoods and foods, etc.

Plus, you can also answer other people’s questions!  It’s so fun to be the “expert” for once!


What websites make your life easier?  I’d love to hear your favorites!


Crazy Act of Faith

This puts into words EXACTLY how I feel. Each new story is its own [beautiful] beast.

Write at Your Own Risk

Riffing off Kathi’s “Tweenland” post…

Many years ago I had the astounding good luck of being invited to join a longstanding critique group that Eloise McGraw was in. One of the rules of the group: Always start with a positive comment. Usually we did, but one time, when Eloise read the first couple of chapters of The Striped Ships, we got so involved in critiquing that we–all of us–simply forgot to say what we liked about the book.

First of all, what gall. Who did we think we were, critiquing Eloise? But that’s what she wanted, so we just, you know, scrambled to find things we didn’t think were quite working. At the same time, though, I think we believed on some level that she wouldn’t really take us seriously. Why would Eloise McGraw pay serious attention to the likes of us?

Still, I felt kind of bad…

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Bookish Things (That are NOT Books) I’d Like to Own

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today, they asked what non-book bookish items we’d like to own.  That’s all the permission I needed to dream big!

You can click each image for more details.










Okay, I should be done now.  Though this was a lovely little activity with Deathly Hallows on in the background. 🙂

Defining My Roles

Recently I sat down and defined my values and leadership principles, and it was a great exercise for me.

I decided to make a list of some of my primary roles and my corresponding principles too.

definitionsMay I be a courageous and humble leader who remembers that rule-keeping does not bring life. May I be a sister who loves, listens, laughs, and leads. May I be a daughter who celebrates her parents, along with the roots and wings they have given me. May I be a selfless friend who honors those whose lives are mixed with mine. May I be a gutsy and generous writer who cherishes story in all its forms. May I be a Christian who delights in her Savior, eagerly receiving and giving grace.


Image credit: Grace Easton

Parents With OCD

Great thoughts from my friend Janet.


by arztsamui, freedigitalphotos.net by arztsamui, freedigitalphotos.net

Because my son has OCD, many of my posts focus on a parent’s perspective; what are the best ways we can help our children?  But what if you are the child, and your parent is the one struggling with the disorder?

Of course, the issues children and their families face will differ depending on the ages and personalities of the children, as well as each particular situation. But no matter what their age, I think children need to be educated as to what OCD is and how it affects their parent.  Good therapists can help provide age appropriate information, whether the “child” is four years old or forty.

Anyone who has ever lived with someone who suffers from OCD knows it is a family affair. Children naturally want to please their parents, and will likely accommodate their parent with OCD to make them feel better. “Yes, Mom…

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My Life on Twitter

Singlehood is a gift. Your future doesn’t begin once you find a “significant other”. It’s happening now.

“Singlehood is not practice for real life.”



It’s that season that some call Valentine’s Day and as such, it may be an occasion of celebration or an occasion of some anxiety. Or maybe neither. Maybe it’s just another day.

Or maybe it’s somewhere in between…and so, I thought I’d shared some unsolicited advice about singlehood, marriage, and the in-between.

I ain’t no expert on anything but over the years of being single, being married, and being a pastor to both single folk and married folk, here’s some advice for those who are single – whether dating, engaged, interested in marriage, or not interested in any relationship.

Our ultimate identity.

Our ultimate identity is not as single people or married people.  No dating status defines us. No person can complete us. No human relationship defines us. Saying or believing anything else is dangerous, unhealthy, unrealistic, and borderline idolatrous.

That _____ relationship is not the answer to your life.

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Oceans & Revisions

I went to praise chapel at Northwestern the other day. Though UNW has worship chapel every week, this was a special one for the semester since the entire orchestra was on stage, a powerful treat.

They played Hillsong’s “Oceans.”

wanderSpirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

When I sang, “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,” I immediately thought of Truest and all its many rounds of revisions.

Here is the truth: on my own, Truest would have been finished a long time ago.  And it wouldn’t have been nearly as good. But so many people have been put into my life to press me further down that path than my feet could ever wander on their own.

And the result?

A better novel.  Also, my faith was made stronger: my faith in the creative process and my faith in God.


Image credit: if you know the owner of this image, please let me know.