Home Base.

When I was 10 years old, my dad took the position of pastor at Emmanuel Community Church. Six weeks later, my mom died suddenly in our kitchen while sitting at the table. She had been reading a book, and drinking a cup of coffee when she began to collapse.

Needless to say, it was a rough beginning of my tenure at Emmanuel Community Church. But our bond became strong, and we stayed together, and for the past 28 years, I’ve grown up at ECC. And come to think of it, the church has grown up with me too.

Last night I began the “speaking tour” for my book Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels. I will be traveling and sharing the messages of the book at various churches and venues across the country over the next several months.  I hit the road on Friday to speak in Erie, PA, and Buffalo, NY.

Last night I was able to start by speaking at ECC.  Home. What a logical place to step into the batter’s box.

As I stood in front of that room of women, many of whom are close personal friends, I marveled at how God had brought me to that moment.

And even that very spot.

You see, the church has grown and changed over the past three decades. The place where I stood and spoke last night is now called “The Commons,” and it’s a large gathering room with round tables for discussion and a little kitchen window in the corner for snacks. But it used to be our sanctuary. And the very spot where I stood last night is where my dad stood for years when he would preach. Now we have a bigger sanctuary (they say it’s called the ‘Worship Center’…) and the building has been remodeled.

But before the room became “The Commons,” as it is now, it went through some other transitions.

While it was still the main sanctuary, my dad got remarried, to the woman I now call “Mom.” I was her maid of honor, and stood up in that wedding – exactly where I stood last night as I spoke.

That room, in its original form, was where I sat through sermons, performed in children’s musicals, attended VBS weeks, and where I learned to love those people who became my church family.

I attended Sunday school classes behind the sanctuary in a little room with ugly red carpet.

When the room was remodeled to include a second-story loft, I helped with middle school youth group up there and later taught kids about God’s word using my Grow in His Word for Kids curriculum.

At one point, the room was transformed into a hallway with three classrooms on each side. In that hallway, I first walked past a man name Kraig Cabe. I saw him, but he didn’t see me. We didn’t meet for a few month after that, but eventually, we started teaching a Sunday school class together in one of those rooms – just a few feet from where I stood last night – and we eventually fell in love and got married in that big new sanctuary, er… Worship Center.

That room, that very spot where I stood and spoke last evening, has great significance for me. And I was so blessed to begin my speaking tour right there. It was the perfect launching ground. And as I shared about these things with the ladies and told them some stories from my life (old news to many of them!) they laughed and cried along with me.

And they served brownies. What more could you ask for?

After I finished, these friends of mine lined up to get my autograph in their books. I laughed. “Really?” I said, “It’s just ME!” They hugged me and supported me and got their picture taken with me. And I laughed all the more.

Because who would have thought this dream would become a reality. That God would redeem my life – my story – and use it for His glory through a book with a brownie on the cover and an imperfect girl-turned-woman who is willing to share.

That room, that spot where I stood last night, has been repurposed, reshaped, and put to the best use for each season.

Sounds a lot like me.

And for this season of my life, God has given me the opportunity to share my story. I’m thrilled, and nervous, and excited, and hopeful.

Because God has proven faithful through every season thus far.

And I have no doubt He’ll direct me, around each stop along the way, until I get back home.

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For more about my speaking schedule, or to have me consider speaking at your venue, click on Speaking or Contact in the menu.

So, I released my first book this week.

I’ve carried three babies to term and have given birth to each.

And as of Tuesday, I feel as if another pregnancy has resulted in the birth of a 14.7 ounce 6 x 9 inch baby book. Mother and baby are doing well, although the three year gestation of this one was a doozy.

But she’s here. Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels made her debut on Tuesday, April 25 bright and early in the morning. And what a day it was!

And just like any mother, I’m prepared to fill you in on the details.

I’ll try to summarize and leave out the parts about the epidural needle (oh wait… that’s right, I couldn’t get insurance to cover one this time).

****My book released on Amazon Tuesday morning, and my wonderful launch team (those who I had asked to help me promote the book and to whom I’d given an early digital copy in preparation) did their job of leaving Amazon reviews and sharing about the book on their own social media pages. If you ever release a book, I’d strongly suggest using a launch team. But you can’t have mine. They’re too awesome.

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****My husband, who incidentally was a part of my launch team (did he have a choice, really?), actually posted on social media. This in and of itself is big news. When he left updates about my book on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Homeland Security may have been alerted about unusual activity.

****This same husband knew that I got up at 5:30 launch day morning and therefore went to Starbucks and got me my favorite drink on his way home from taking our son to school. Social media and buying Starbucks on the same morning… unusual activity indeed.

****All three of my children took a copy of my book to school with them. My kindergartner was the “sharing friend” that day and chose my book for her “show-and-tell.” My 2nd grader told the class all about what it’s like to be an author (I’m not sure what she relayed exactly! :)) and talked it up so much her teacher ordered a copy over her lunch break. My middle schooler showed it to some teachers and then kept it to read for one of his “free choice” class assignments. He told me after school today he just finished chapter 2 and as we talked about it a little, I had to choke back tears of gratitude for the moment.

 

****My doorbell rang twice launch day morning. Once it was flowers sent from great friends, and second time it was a different great friend standing there with her children and gifts. She brought flowers, brownie mix, a Starbucks card (do you see a theme here?) and a travel cup that says “Yay!”

 

****I had a launch team, and I had a LUNCH team. That’s right. My parents and my grandparents took me to lunch to celebrate. It was such a special time together.

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****My parents gave me a gift – a travel tote for when I travel and speak, and a pen to sign my books with (will I really be signing books?!) And, my mom even gave me a gift certificate to go get my nails done so that they’ll look good when I sign books. How awesome and thoughtful is that?!

****I got a shipment of books in the mail that I will take with me when I travel and speak. SO WEIRD to open the boxes and see them full of my books!

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****My husband and kids took me out to our favorite Mexican place for dinner to celebrate (I wasn’t even very hungry- but that didn’t stop us!) They each gave me a sweet card they’d made or signed.

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****I started to actually SIGN a few of the books that I was giving as gifts. I actually autographed a book. CRAZY!

****The first of three podcasts that I’ve been interviewed on was posted on Tuesday. Two more will air later.

****I checked Amazon and saw MY BOOK in the bestseller list for the Spiritual Growth category. It was amongst the names of Ann Voskamp, Tim Tebow, Mark Batterson, and Lysa Terkeurst. I about fell off of my chair.

 

****And today I’ve been getting texts and seeing posts from friends who ordered the book on Tuesday and who have received their shipment already! What a fun and strange thing for me to see! 🙂

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The three year gestation of this book baby was a lot to bear. I’m not gonna lie. But, as a friend teased me yesterday, “It will be just like when you forget how painful labor was after you hold your baby for the first time and then you end up going through it all again to have another child.”

Yes, maybe it will be like that.

But all I know for now is that I’m happy to be able to hold this one in my hands.

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And I pray that all who read it will be encouraged to savor life — and given a little dose of hope, joy, and love along the way!

Thanks for sharing in the journey!

Christy

To see the book on Amazon, click HERE

All the feels.

There’s this phrase that young and cool people say now-a-days.

When someone is feeling really emotional, good or bad, they say they have “all the feels.”

Because I am not a cool person (and my young-ness is debatable, at a week shy of 39), I don’t often (ever) use this phrase. I tend to be pretty traditional. So if something is giving me really strong feelings, I will most likely say, “Wow. I am feeling emotional today.”

But today…

I HAVE ALL THE FEELS!

Deep breath. 

Here’s why.

First off, today is the anniversary of my mom’s death. She passed away 28 years ago when I was a week shy of eleven. Her death was sudden and shocking and has obviously impacted my life.

Feels.

Secondly, after three years of working on writing a book (and doing all that the process of having it ready for release entails- which is A LOT) I sent the Advanced Reader Copies of my book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels, to my book launch team this morning (digitally). That means that my launch team, which is comprised of friends and family, is potentially reading my book now. It’s out there! It is a vulnerable and honest telling of my story and it encourages the reader to savor life through heartache, joy, and the moments in between. And, I was able to time its early release with the anniversary of my mom’s death- which is such a special way to honor her life and memory.

Feels. 

Third, I unveiled my book cover and the release date to the general public on Wednesday of this week. I posted the details on social media and asked my launch team to help me share it before the book releases (which they have already started to do!). The book releases in just over a month, on April 25th, and will be available on Amazon, both in paperback and for the Kindle. In the weeks to come, more will be shared on this website and on social media, including a book trailer (a short video teaser about the book) and endorsements.

Feels.

Fourth, our family has been asked to share our son, Karson’s, cancer journey at two fundraising events for the children’s hospital which diagnosed and treated him, Riley Hospital for Children. We share Friday evening at a university, and Saturday evening at a high school. My husband, Kraig, Karson, and I will all speak together and our girls will be with us.

Feels.

So, you can hopefully see why I have given my uncool self permission to use this young and cool phrase. All the feels, man. I think it is merited in this situation. I will try to limit my use of it to this weekend, and then go back to my “I am feeling very emotional” verbiage. Thanks for understanding.

Here’s a glimpse at the book cover. More to come!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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On Dreaming Small.

Three years ago I wrote the blog post below entitled, “I’m Going to Dream Small This Year.” Today I reread it and decided to post it again. This is a major spoiler alert (it’s my blog, so I can spoil it if I want)  but it’s about faithfully doing the little things in life. About dreaming small.

Little mundane tasks.

Bit-sized goals.

Gettin’ it done.

Today is New Year’s Eve, and as I scroll through my social media pages I see many references to big dreams and lofty goals. Our small group is coming over this evening, and on our agenda (along with lots of eating) is to review what our goals were last year and what our new goals are for 2017.

There’s a new year on the cusp. A blank calendar. A crisp page ready for life to splash across it.

The new year causes us to look ahead. To dream. To make goals.

And once again, I want to dream small.

I feel kind of strange saying that because tonight, when I share my goal for the year with my friends, I’m going to tell them it is to publish a book (again with the spoiler!) Publishing a book seems like a big goal. And believe me, I’m nervous, and giddy, and it feels rather daunting. It’s a big deal (more details to come later. I can’t spoil everything in one blog post.)

But, the process of writing the book has been a three-year journey. There have been countless little tasks, bit-sized goals, and mundane days of writing. I didn’t know while I was faithfully sitting down and doing the hard work in the little things, that it would some day pay off in a bigger thing. But, sometimes it does.

And, sometimes it doesn’t.

I don’t do the little things in hopes that they will lead to a big thing. I just do the little things because that’s what I know how to do. To finish the task in front of me to the best of my ability. To do that mundane thing again. And again. And to do it well.

Because big dreams are actually made up of a heaping pile of small dreams.

It’s time to get to work.

Here’s to dreaming small in 2017!

 

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I’m a day late and at least a dollar short.

It’s January 2nd and I haven’t made any official resolutions or goals yet for 2014. I’m still in “Christmas Break Mode” and I consider the fact that I did laundry today a pretty big accomplishment. Well, I haven’t folded it yet, but I did move it from the washer to the dryer. Yep, time for a break.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling a little anxious about not having any huge goals or big dreams for this new year. The world seems to be telling me that I need to dream big, shoot for the stars, be a pioneer in my day, blaze the trails and do it all with gusto. Even my spam emails are asking me if I want to eat healthier, lose weight, travel more and save money. I feel like I’m supposed to accomplish something epic before the ball drops again (the ball in Times Square, not me ‘dropping the ball’ …although that’s possible too).

But do my hopes and dreams for 2014 have to be so grandiose? If everything has to be so epic these days then nothing really is epic at all. I think I sometimes get caught up in  thinking that if I’m not doing something that’s perceived as magnificent or worthy of sharing on Facebook then I’m not succeeding. But, I don’t think that’s true.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating being lazy and complacent this year. I’m simply feeling stirred to do the small things well.

And as I’m doing the small things with excellence I may actually do something seen as big and honorable that others would admire, but I may not. I could make a mark on society, but I probably won’t even make much of an impact on my neighborhood. And I think that’s ok.

I’ve been studying the book of Matthew this year in a Bible study. We’ve been reading a lot of Jesus’ teachings and I’ve noticed that He likes to bring up a particular verse. It’s from the Old Testament and was written hundreds of years before He even walked on the earth, but I’ve found it’s still applicable to me today. Hey, if it was important to Jesus, it must be good.

Hosea 6:6 says,

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

This convicts me. Jesus repeatedly tells the Pharisees and His disciples that he wants their obedience, not their fancy words or displays of upholding the law. Jesus doesn’t seem as interested in a vision, big dreams or having a list of accomplishments, as he does our hearts.

So, with that in mind I’m going to try to dream small this year. I’m not going to aim to do anything epic or monumental and if I do, then may it just be a consequence of a heart that loves God and loves people.

I want to do things that society would view as small, but that God views as big.

Things like being kind to someone when I don’t feel like it or being joyful in the midst of a hectic schedule on a gloomy day.

Things like being patient when my child has asks me for the fourth time, “What comes after 39?”

Things like noticing that the lady behind me in line at the grocery store has a fussy baby and tired eyes and then asking her if she’d like to go ahead of me in line because I can stand to wait a bit longer.

Like listening at the school committee meeting with an open mind and willing hands so that I can help make a difference in my community by simply serving where I’m needed.

Like taking the time and energy to train and teach my children to be independent instead of frustratedly doing things for them all of the time.

Like extending grace to my husband when I feel frustrated that he forgot to take out the trash and instead thanking him that evening for all that he does for our family every single day.

Yes, things like that.

They are small dreams.

Basically I’m just hoping to love God and people better… and love myself less.

I’m pretty sure my goals for 2014 are about as opposite of epic as you can get. And I’m glad about that.

I’ve got small dreams for 2014 and I am ready to get started.

And I guess I’ll have to fold that laundry in the dryer sometime this year too.