Thanksgiving Game Plan

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I know my game plan for the day AFTER Thanksgiving! #gilmoregirlsrevival

Hey y’all! Is everybody ready to eat more than we should on Thanksgiving and then obsess over Christmas? :)

I confess, just over a week ago, I wasn’t. As fun as the festivities sounded, the prospect of HAVING to be festive paralyzed me.

For over thinkers like me, even excitement can feel like hard work. What I’ve usually done in past holidays was let my expectations go so high in my head that I just KNEW reality wouldn’t measure up.

Unless, I thought, I worked really REALLY hard. And work I did. But my fantasy of perfect Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations never came out just so.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we put conditions on our minds before we can allow ourselves to feel good enough?

The reason, I believe, isn’t all negative – striving to make something good happen is exciting (especially when that something good does happen). The problem is when we put limits on what we’re able to consider “good.”

What’s a good holiday season for you? One when all your plans work out to a T?

How about being content with just that – being content? That’s MY big goal of this year. I still want to do a bunch of wonderful things, but now I know that unless we’re enjoying ourselves, they’ll be worthless. I don’t want to have a picture-perfect Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years and still be miserable. Still have no peace. Still be freaking out about the next thing I HAVE to accomplish, or else all is lost.

I don’t know what your game plan is this Thanksgiving – if it’s to travel to visit family, or just stay home and start decorating for Christmas. Whatever it is, don’t let it overtake you. Don’t let life’s NORMAL disturbances make you feel like you’re “not doing it right.”

Hope y’all have a wonderful, as-stress-free-as-possible Thanksgiving week! If you need more inspiration to cut yourself some slack, here’s my latest video. Please share it with your friends who need to BREATHE this holiday season and don’t forget to *SUBSCRIBE*!

Much love,

Anne

What to Read This Halloween Weekend

We’re not big Halloween people. The most we do is taking the kids to the school’s Fall Festival so they get at least one chance to dress up and get some candy. But our kids look more forward to our dinner+movie theater Thanksgiving tradition than trick or treating.

Whether you’re like this too or you decorate your whole house with bats and skulls, I think most book nerds can appreciate a good spooky read. The kind that makes you hold your breath or at the very least ask “what in the world…” ‘til you gasp at the end.

spookybooks

Scary/awesomely weird stories happen to be my favorite kind, and I have my top 3 suggestions for you! These disturb me in the BEST way. Because, you know, you can be disturbed and just stay disturbed. All you have to do is watch the news.

I don’t like it when an author tries to make me the most miserable/disgusted they can. That is so not what these authors do. Their freaky plots actually have a point—either to make you think about deeper issues or even if just entertain you by keeping you guessing, but not simply depress you for its own sake.

Now let’s go to specifics. If you’re looking for…

agatha…a good whodunnit

You can’t go wrong with the queen of crime, Agatha Christie. I’ve read quite a few of her novels but the very first one I read—“And Then There Were None”—is still my favorite.

It’s the story of ten people, each with a secret of either a bad decision they made or a flat out crime they committed. Without knowing each other, they’re all invited stay at a mansion in a remote island. To their surprise, their host isn’t there to receive them. But now they can’t leave the island, and as every one of their pasts is exposed, one by one starts to die. (Have I freaked you out yet? :)

rooms…an out-worldly mystery

Halloween has to be the best time of the year to enjoy a good puzzle-story with more than just a logical explanation. James L. Rubart does a fantastic job at tying the whole thing together in a way that actually fits in our minds.

In “Rooms”, young executive Micah Tayler receives an odd twenty-five-year-old letter. It says a great uncle he never knew left him a huge beach house. As Micah spends his weekends there and even flirts with a neighbor, weird things start happening to the house, which turns out to be a manifestation of himself, in a spiritual sense. The story gets even more interesting when what he does to the house changes his reality in the “outside” world. Definitely worth a read if you like mysteries as well as pondering on life’s deepest questions!

three…a psychological thriller

Thr3e by Ted Dekker was one of those books that kept my heart racing from the very first page to the last. A lot of chasing to save someone (or several someones) from death, or keep up with a maniac bringing chaos everywhere. But don’t confuse this for a car-chasing tale with no depth: this has TONS of deep analogies. Each of the characters is so complex that you’ll have just as much fun figuring them out as trying to guess who the killer is.

The main character Kevin Parson is a guy who tries really hard to be a good person. He thinks he’s doing great until he receives a phone call saying that if he doesn’t confess his worst secret to the world, people will start to die. Problem is, he has no idea what they’re talking about. It’s a GREAT book about how we can consider ourselves good or bad, and how there’s always more than meets the eye.

What about you? What will you be doing—or reading—this Halloween weekend? Let me know in the comments!

The Day I Got Dressed Up as a Book

It’s here!!!! I remember seeing this dress on Facebook and thinking how it was so out of my reach. Little did I know that God heard even that small cry of my heart.

Alright, I’m being a little dramatic over a dress. But it’s not JUST a dress. It’s a reminder that in just over TWO WEEKS I’ll be at the ACFW conference in Nashville – another miracle. I didn’t think I’d be able to go. Like I also didn’t think I’d ever afford such a cool handmade dress from Etsy.

Well, once realizing I’d be able to spend a whole weekend SANS KIDS in a nice hotel for the sole purpose talking/thinking/hearing about writing (THANKYOUJESUS), I wanted to find a dress for their gala night. I thought one of my casual dresses would work, but a few texts with my author (also conference-attendee) friend Betsy St. Amant confirmed my fears: I only had day dresses. I needed a NIGHT one. Gosh, I hadn’t worn one of those in years.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to shopping. But in the back of my head, I still had that picture I’d seen on Facebook – “the dress that got away” (’cause I was too poor for it lol).

So with my faith like a mustard seed, I looked it up on Etsy, juuust in case there’d be a crazy sale or something. Guess what – there was!! And get this: there was only ONE left. In MY size. I just about died. (and prayed my heart out it’d actually fit)

Now I’m happy to report that I have received the dress and yes, it does zip all the way! :D

book dress

It has a passage from “Wuthering Heights” (please forgive the kids’ bathroom dirty mirror :)

I CANNOT WAIT to actually enjoy a gala dinner at the conference this time. On the two I’ve been to before, I was too nervous to have any fun at all. The first was during my first conference and I’d been feeling self-conscious throughout the whole weekend (plus I was 6 months pregnant so I felt huge).  The other was in 2012 when I won Genesis in the Contemporary Fiction category – and I know, that’s awesome, but I was PETRIFIED. So afraid of either losing or winning (’cause then I’d have to get up there). Plus I had a baby to go back to in my hotel room, so it’s not like I could party all night.

This time I can!! Wooohooo (though the thought of sleeping sounds more exciting to me). Even if I don’t, I CAN lol. I’ll have no baby (or milk) in, out or around me anymore. Not complaining about those days, but they did keep me from being completely present in the moment. But this time, nothing can stop me. I’ll be there, selfie-ing and twirling my “book dress” (as I affectionally call it) around. Should be some nice footage for my Youtube channel!

Speaking of which, have you seen my latest video? It’s not writing-related, but still fun, if I may say so myself :). Check it out:

Writer friends – will I see you at the conference? And everyone, have you ever bought a piece of clothing that meant so much more than the actual thing? Please let me know in the comments (just click on the number next to the title).

Hope y’all are having a great Summer,

Anne

 

 

Happy First Week of Summer!

How’s yours so far? Keeping cool? We’re trying, although in Texas that means more trips to Target and Chick-fil-A than we can afford :).

Wish I could say I’m an outdoorsy mom who doesn’t mind melting in 98 degree weather all day at the park. But instead, I’m on the hunt for as many air conditioned activities as we can find. We did start a tradition of going to the pool in our apartment complex on weekends (when I have David’s extra hands to keep everyone safe). That was even more special last Sunday, while we celebrated Father’s Day.

Speaking of Father’s Day, I also posted another video earlier last week, thinking about those of us missing a daddy right now (or loving someone who does). Please check it out and share with anyone needing to feel wanted (don’t we all?).

As always, if you click on the little *SUBSCRIBE* button I’ll be forever grateful. Numbers help a lot, especially when you’re starting out, so I really appreciate y’all’s support!!

Hope you’re having a fun Summer so far,

Anne

 

What do You Think of Subscription Boxes?

During my last pregnancy, in a desperate attempt to think of something other than how uncomfortable I felt waddling around a toddler and a preschooler, I signed up to the now extinct “Mommies First.” Every month I’d get a couple treats for myself, along with at least one for the kids. It was awesome, totally worth the money.

But somewhere along caring for 3 children, I stopped needing an automated reminder to take care of myself. Now, if I need a treat, I’ll go get it, thankyouverymuch (not as often as I’d like, of course, since I have kids to feed). Knowing I’m done having kids has helped me see myself beyond motherhood – which I think is part of the purpose of these boxes for moms (or women in general).

So on my birthday month, I decided to be extra nice to myself and try out a subscription box again. I like that Mommy Mailbox lets you order a single box without auto-enrollment. They also post the box’s contents so if you really must, you can see what you’re getting.

I did a video on their still-available June edition. Check it out! When you’re done, please be a darling and click on that subscribe button :).

How I Changed My Mind About Food

I never used to think about what I ate. The idea seemed too far-fetched to me – like a waste of time that could’ve been spent eating :). But I forgot to make the connection between what I put in my body with the way my body – and emotions – reacted in return.

In my latest video I talk about the mind shift that changed it all. When I realized I could take charge of my own health, and actually become the person I was supposed to be. Check it out, *SUBSCRIBE* and share it with your friends who might be going through the same!

My Girly Day With Author Betsy St. Amant

You know that friend that you can text whBlog postether you’re having an existential crisis or just a random thought?

As an introvert (a Brazilian one, so that means I have no filter, but I’m still an introvert), I don’t have too many of those. It’s a huge miracle I got married because I need a LOT of alone time. And it takes a very special person for me to be willing to share my lazy Saturday in Barnes & Noble with.

Well, one of those select people in my life happens to be also one of my favorite authors! I don’t think she knows this, but I still get slightly starstruck whenever I see Betsy St. Amant in person. Then I remembered we’ve texted enough about the grossest sides of parenthood and remember this life-sized Barbie is indeed human :).

This great friend drove three whole hours to celebrate the last day of my birthday week with me. We had a just-because makeover at the Hair Bar and Sephora before ending up in our natural habitat: the bookstore, of course.

If you haven’t read Betsy’s books yet, you’re SO missing out. They’re warm, fun and so insightful about human emotions, just like her. I’d start out with her latest – Love Arrives in Pieces – about a former beauty queen rebuilding her life after heartbreak.

Now here’s a little video of our adventures that day! I’d love it if you opened it up on youtube clicked on the red “subscribe” button. It helps me out a LOT (and it’ll let you know whenever I have a new video).

Talk to you more later!

Xo’s,

Anne

Check Out Our Youtube Channel!

This blog is being revived today for the purpose of…..***drum roll***

Introducing the Hush! Mom’s Writing youtube channel:

Don’t forget to hit SUBSCRIBE!!

Talk to you again very soon,

Anne

Purpose for the Imperfect

home alone

Read this post before you think this! :)

I was obsessed with Home Alone when I was little. Watching it is probably one of my most vivid memories of Christmas growing up.

Funny thing is, back then I identified with Kevin – now, watching it again after all these years, I of course feel for the mom.

Can you imagine the trauma of making such a mistake? Forgetting your child behind as you fly out of the country? In a time when there were no cellphones?? I’d never forgive myself. Probably spoil him rotten so much afterwards that he’d be the 40-year-old living in my basement.

Guilt is pretty much part of the package in being a mom. There always seems to be something we could’ve done better if we only were better. Thing is, we’re all imperfect people, much like our kid.

In the Bible, when we read Luke’s version of how Christmas came about (and some really interesting stories after that), we realize the most flawless mother in the world probably wasn’t imune to it either.

Imagine that. Mary gets the angel visit saying God decided she’s about to be a single mother (which, if it would get people talking today, imagine back then) – that is, until Joseph finally got an angel visit himself. Instead of kicking and screaming, she graciously sings a song of praise. How’s that for perfect?

Time passes, she has the baby, and then another 12 years go by. Anyone has had an AMAZING experience with God, only to forget about it once life gets in the way? The story from Luke 2:41-51 hints that maybe parenting a holy child wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Actually what happens resembles a lot the Home Alone movie!

Mary and Joseph are traveling with a large group of family and friends – and since they have a well-liked 12-year-old boy, they’re expecting him to be socializing. They’re expecting one of the people they trusted to be watching him.

So this goes on for an entire day (can’t you see it parallel to the McAllister family flying to Paris??), until they realize, wait a minute – where’s Jesus? (cue to Mrs. McAllister screaming “Kevin!”on the plane.)

They go back and look for him for THREE MORE DAYS until finally finding him with the teachers of the temple.

As a mom, I imagine how desperate Mary must’ve been at this point. I mean, God gives her, oh, just the Savior of the whole world, and then she loses him?? What kind of a mom am I? , she might have thought. Maybe God chose the wrong person.

It makes me chuckle how, when she finds him, Mary scolds her son (as we all would have if our kid disappeared on us, no matter how wonderful they are). While she’s there busy scolding GOD, Jesus very calmly reminds her that she should’ve known He would’ve been in his Father’s house.

Another thing that intrigues me is that  Jesus’ parents couldn’t understand what he meant right away. I wonder if maybe they’d already gotten used to seeing Him as more their boy than really God’s son. I’m sure deep down they hadn’t forgotten what He was, but in the heat of the moment, maybe the grandiosity of it slipped their minds.

How often does this happens to us too? In life’s everyday’s inconveniences or mistakes we make, we forget we’ve actually been called to do what we’re doing. That if you’re a mom, God has appointed that child to you just as He did Jesus to Mary – and no, He does not make any mistakes.

This Christmas, my prayer for myself and all the moms I know is that we won’t live in fear as if it all depends on us being perfect. That the fact that we’re human does not take away any of the glory – or, as the world likes to call it, magic :) – of what God’s given us. And just as Mary did once she found her boy, that we’ll treasure all these things in our hearts.