Confessions of a Recently Married 20-Something

My name is Adrienne Niceley–I mean Rollick. Still getting used to that. I got married in November 2016 to my hero, David.

Most people when reading that will get visions of sunshine and roses and smiles and sparkly rings. But for us, things haven’t been quite that shiny from the beginning.  

We met online through The One Year Adventure Novel community. Tried a relationship, and it failed. A little while later tried again. And, while it worked, (obviously) it was hard. David lived hundreds of miles away in Kansas while I lived in Kentucky. Our relationship was long distance for almost a year. And if you’ve never been in a long distance dating relationship, let me tell ya, it’s tough as nails.

Because of the distance, the time commitment for our relationship was larger than a normal one, and that, paired with my part-time job, family commitments, and volunteer conference work, took it’s tole on me both physically and creatively.

Now, I’m at the other side of the taxing journey, and I stand before you a recently married 20-something who is … struggling.

Why?

Being an adult and dealing with life and building a marriage all while desperately trying to fulfill the longing in my soul to just create drags me down more often than I’d like to admit.  It’s hard when you have ten loads of laundry on your bedroom floor and three days worth of dishes piled on your counter tops, and all you want to do is run after your dreams of becoming a published author and small business owner.

Life has a way of slowly sucking away at your creativity, joy, and time no matter what stage of the journey you are in.

But today I am also celebrating.

Because I am more myself now than I have been in three years. I am brainstorming again, and my writer’s brain is churning out a story that I am genuinely excited over. I’m reading, knitting, crocheting, cooking–all the things I was too exhausted or too preoccupied to do for the past couple years are all coming back, even if it’s not as much as I would like.  I am building a marriage with my husband that we can be proud of and planning adventures for us to go on together.

The seasons of life are a mixture of the good and the bad, and, more often than not, they show up at about the same time. I’m learning that keeping fast hold on the good isn’t always easy, but it’s abundantly worth it.

 

Bio:

Adrienne has often been compared to Anne of Green Gables. Although she’s never desired to sleep in a wild cherry tree, she has yearned to use stories as a way of reaching out to others and pointing them to God. A student of The One Year Adventure Novel, Adrienne has been pursuing the art and craft of writing fiction for seven years, and is involved in several writing communities. A newly wed, Adrienne is currently working on settling into her new life as a wife and homemaker, as well as getting back to her passions of writing and yarn creations. Visit Adrienne at https://thestorytopian.wordpress.com/

 

Confessions of a Shelf-Elf Mom

by Lindsay Franklin

 

My name is Lindsay, and I’m an Elf on the Shelf mom. This is where you all give a resounding chorus of “Hi, Lindsay!” and then we discuss the tribulations of recovering from shelf-elfdom.

Except I’m not in recovery. I love my elf. Her name is Wendy, and we have excellent adventures together. Like this one:

wendy-with-killer-bunny

That was the time Wendy hopped in my Rabbit of Caerbannog slippers and terrorized the boys’ knight figurines. Or there was this one:

steampunk-wendy

That was when Wendy wanted a steampunk costume just like mine.

Last year, Wendy got super lonely and joined ElfMatch.com (no, it’s not a real thing). She met some interesting characters during her online dating escapades.

wendy-on-elf-match

elf-match-screenshot

But then she met the love of her life, Josepher Twinkletoes.

wendy-and-josephers-first-date

And on Christmas morning, they made it official.

wendys-wedding

Not only do my kids have Wendy and Josepher’s antics to look forward to now, but Josepher’s little sister, Julee, moved in, too. Our house has turned into an elf party this December. Okay, so maybe I do have a little bit of a shelf-elf addiction. Either that, or I really love to tell stories. We’ll go with the latter.

So, what’s my confession? Aside from the fact that the whole world now knows I’m a little nuts … Shelf-elf haters bum me out. For every one social media post I see from a shelf-elfing parent, I see five or six people talking about how much they hate Elf on the Shelf. I’ve even seen suggestions that parents who “inflict” EOTS on their children are bad parents (see also: Santa Claus). Hopefully these things are said tongue-in-cheek, but still. It stings a little when you’re an enthusiastic EOTSer and your own friends loudly voice such opinions.

Here’s the thing: There are innumerable holiday traditions spanning most cultures across the globe. No one family participates in all of them. And that’s totally okay. It’s okay if going caroling is something you can’t imagine skipping. It’s also okay if you wouldn’t be caught dead singing to strangers in freezing weather. It’s okay if there’s that one cheesy Christmas movie that absolutely makes the season feel right to you. And it’s okay if that same movie makes another person want to take a nap.

There’s no single correct way to celebrate the fun, sometimes silly, traditions surrounding Christmas. There’s only what your family enjoys, and each family’s unique culture leads to gloriously different incarnations of the same traditions, as well as eschewing some traditions altogether. My EOTSing doesn’t look quite like my friends’, but I love to see what mischief their little guys get into. And I love to see my non-EOTS friends celebrate in their own special ways. Tree-cutting and trimming, outdoor light displays, candlelight church services, over-the-top décor, subtle décor, even no décor and a more solemn take on the season.

My Christmas wish? That we allow our friends (and strangers) the space to enjoy the holidays with their families the way they deem best. Because it’s all just fluff surrounding the core of Christmas—and that core has nothing to do with trees, tins of cookies, twinkle lights, or Toys R Us. So why hate on each other’s traditions? Ain’t nobody got time for that sort of Christmas negativity.

What is your family’s favorite Christmas tradition?

 

 

l-franklin-headshotAuthor Bio:

Lindsay Franklin is an award-winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mother of three. Her debut fantasy novel and first book of devotionals for young women both release in 2017. She managed the flash fiction mayhem for two years at Splickety Publishing Group as Senior Operations Manager, is a Bible college student, and has taught fiction to homeschooled junior high and high school students. She may or may not be addicted to organic coffee. Don’t tell anyone. Connect with Lindsay on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, or her website. You can also follow her wombat on Instagram. Yeah, you read that right.

Confessions of a Hybrid-Homeschooling Mom

goals-for-2017by Lisa Godfrees

 

I have two daughters, both of whom have been in public school until recently. Without going into the long story behind why, let me say that public school works very well for most students. In fact, my 7th grader excels in school and when given the option to be homeschooled, she decided to stay with her friends.

But some kids need a little more one-on-one time, or a different approach to learning, than a public school can accommodate. Such is the case with my 5th grader. While she misses recess, she is overall relieved not to be in the classroom, much preferring to be taught by Miss Mummy Pants (her teacher name for me—I have absolutely no idea why).

While I cannot claim to be an expert at homeschooling after less than a semester, I can offer some unique insights even in my short time. Feel free to add to it in the comments below.

 

Homeschool parents: Public school is not evil.

Some parents who have exclusively homeschooled have the biased view that sending a child to public school is inexplicably evil. And to listen to some of the people who speak at homeschool conferences, it’s no wonder parents hold that view. Homeschool associations that have fought for parental rights and seen the bad side of the system tend to have a jaded view of public education and its administrators.

Thankfully, I live in Texas which is still a conservative part of the Bible belt. In my experience, public school teachers and administrators do their best to offer safe and quality education away from the hot topics of gender and sex education. Many of the teachers/administrators my daughters have had are Christian. And thank God for that! Can you imagine what our school system would look like if no one involved in it were Christian?

 

Homeschool kids are not necessarily better educated.

I have several friends who homeschool their children. Depending on the child and the parent, their kids may be ahead or behind public school grade levels. What some of these kids learn is truly amazing, and what others don’t learn is concerning.

A child’s performance depends on what they are taught. If their parents don’t select a well-rounded curriculum, if they don’t take schooling seriously, if they don’t push, if they don’t monitor what their students are learning and retaining, then we can end up with high school students that can’t link countries to continents. They might place China in North America, or the Philippines in Greenland. (I’m not joking. I’ve graded tests.) Or students that don’t complete homework, or don’t come prepared for class, or whine when asked to do a more coursework than they are used to… more than can be completed the night before the class.

After teaching high school students at a co-op this fall, I’ve seen that some kids are directionless. Graduating seniors who don’t know what they are going to do next year. College, work, neither? Homeschool children need vision casting for their futures too. It might not be college, but it should be something. We all need a goal to shoot for.

 

To public school parents: Homeschool kids are socialized just fine.

If you’ve been around homeschoolers, you’ll realize what a laughable misconception it is that children who are homeschooled aren’t well socialized. You probably work or know people who have been homeschooled and don’t even know it. Don’t mistake children with special needs or learning disabilities (at home or in public school) with poor socialization.

Socialization can be a concern. Since it’s just me and my daughter at home, I try to make sure to encourage activities and play dates with other kids, but many homeschool families have a lot of kids, so this is more the exception than a rule.

 

To public school parents: History makes a lot more sense when the Bible is taken into consideration.

As a product of a public-school education, this one came as a surprise to me. I’m not sure why it should—I mean, I went to seminary. It’s not like I’ve not learned the history. But the thing is, when you start looking at world history from a biblical perspective and consider everything together, it Just. Makes. Sense. In a way that separating church and state from one another is fundamentally flawed. It’s enough to make me wonder what great disservice we’re doing to our kids. How are they going to understand God’s ultimate plan if they don’t learn a comprehensive view of history and the Bible? We can’t expect them to learn it at church/Sunday school once a week. The Bible illiteracy of our culture probably has a lot to do with the Bible being taken out of the school room. It’s a historical document, folks!

 

Moms on both sides of the equation feel guilt.

My public-school daughter is out in the world, interacting with peers, learning about due dates, tests, competition, and expectations. She has extracurricular activities that my homeschool-child doesn’t have, but she’s missing out on the comprehensive Christian worldview my youngest is learning. She’s spending time doing some ridiculous school bureaucratic things, because – hey, that’s public school, right? There’s a reason we make fun of it.

But I worry for my homeschool daughter, too. Am I teaching her my bad habits? Is she missing out on real-world experiences that she needs to turn into a well-rounded adult? Am I sheltering her too much? Am I ruining my kid?

 

Whatever the case, we can only live in the moment and make the best decisions we can at the time. And pray, pray, pray – for one another, for our kids, and for our country.

 

lisa-godfrees-lr-5Author Bio:

LISA GODFREES worked over a decade in a crime lab. Tired of technical writing, she hung up her lab coat to pen speculative fiction. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and online. Mind Writer (Elk Lake Publishing) co-authored with Mike Lynch, is her first novel. Lisa is a member of ACFW, SCBWI, the Houston Writers Guild, and serves as the Production Manager for Splickety Prime. She currently resides in Houston with one dog, two cats, two girls, and a husband.

Website: www.lisagodfrees.com

Social Media Links:
www.facebook.com/LisaGodfrees
www.twitter.com/LisaGodfrees
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LisaGodfrees
www.instagram.com/fictionmom

mind-writer-3

Confessions of a Writer, Mother, and Pastor’s Wife

Confessions of a ...Every time I share that I’m a writer, I have people look at me and ask how do I do it all? How do I balance raising four kids, being a pastor’s wife, and writing?

Confession time: I haven’t always done a good job juggling all three. Honestly, I think the only person who could is Supergirl, and even then I think she would struggle. But what I have learned is to have priorities, and those priorities have changed as I went from writing as an unpublished writer to an author with a deadline, and from having four kids under four to kids in the double digits.

When I first started writing, I was home with babies and toddlers, snatching bits of writing time during naps and nights when my husband was at church meetings. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to be published. I think this is the desire and goal of most writers (after all, we write so that we can share with the world). There were moments where I grew discontent with just being home with kids. I wanted more. I wanted to be an author so bad I could taste it. But that wasn’t where I was in life. So instead, I took the time I had to learn all I could about writing, then continued writing during those spare moments I had.

That period of my life taught me the value of waiting, of putting aside my desires, and to put my family first. As a pastor, one of my husband’s goals was to never have our children grow up and feel like the church took their daddy away. I had a similar goal: I never wanted my children growing up believing writing was more important than them.

New FotW coversNow, as a published writer, I am thankful for the boundaries I set earlier on around my writing and around my family. I write when my kids are in school, but when they are home, I put my writing away. There are those few weeks every year when I’m on an edit deadline, but because I have invested into my children and husband, they help me out during that time instead of resenting mommy disappearing into her office for hours on end.

As far as being a pastor’s wife, honestly, I’m not any different that other women in the church. I just happen to be married to the pastor, other than one thing: the more he is gone, the more I need to be home so I can hold down the fort. I serve where time and gifts allow, and in some ways, my writing is also part of my ministry. As a shy introvert, it is hard for me to be around people. That’s why I love writing! I can communicate my heart and faith with people in a way that bypasses my weaknesses.

So what advice do I have for mothers? Enjoy the time you have with your little ones now. The writing will always be there, but your children will not. They grow up and before you know it, they’re gone. Also spend time with your husband. Your marriage needs you to be a part of it. It might mean you only write a book a year, but your relationship is worth it. If you want to be writer, you need to write. But find a time and a pace that allows you to be a mother and wife as well.

Tainted_Hi_ResAlso, saying “no” is okay. You can’t do everything. That is something I learned early on in ministry. I can do a couple things very well, but if I spread myself out, my effectiveness diminishes. In order to juggle the role of mother, writer, and wife, I’ve had to use “no” many times in order to say “yes” to a few things so I can do those few things well. That might come in the form of saying no to writing three books in one year (no!), or heading up three different ministries at church (no!), or having each of my kids participate in three sports, piano lessons, and drama club (no!).

So how do I do it all? By giving each area the time in needs, and saying no to everything else. My kids and husband get time with me, my writing gets its share of time, and I serve the church when I can (and sometimes that means being home for our family and allowing my husband to go off and do everything he needs to for the church).

How about you? Do you struggle juggling everything? How do you prioritize your time, obligations, and relationships along with your writing? Share below!

 

morgan-busse-NLR-5Author Bio:

Morgan L. Busse writes fantasy and steampunk for the adult market. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series, including Daughter of Light, Christy and Carol Award finalist. Morgan lives on the West Coast with her husband and four children. You can find out more about Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com

 

Website: www.morganlbusse.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morganlbusseauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorganLBusse (@MorganLBusse)

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/morganlbusse

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5827587.Morgan_L_Busse

My books: http://www.enclavepublishing.com/authors/morgan-busse/

September 2015 Goals

PIC1068506062Ah, summer is finally gone. I can smell the start of autumn in the cool night air. My frustrations with heat and humidity combined with allergies and taking on too much made for a sick Ralene for most of the summer. Also, I realized that not taking my goals and priorities seriously caused a lot of the problems.

That brings us into September. A new month–a time for change. We’re done with the craziness of summer and ready to embrace the glories of fall and prepare for my favorite time of year–the holiday season between Halloween and New Years! But I digress . . . here are my goals for September!

 

1. Rediscover my priorities and develop a schedule that reflects said priorities. I have the coming weekend to think over things and decide what is most important and how much time I need to devote to the important things–and how flexible I need to be. Then I need to draft a schedule and talk it over with my hubby.

2. Finish editing Bellanok Pt. 1 and get it ready for publishing, then write Bellanok Pt. 2 & 3. I’m going to be setting a goal of 2,000 words/day, which would be 48,000 for the month. Ambitious, especially considering I have ACFW later in the month. Eep!

3. Reinstate family night and date night. With Ray’s school hours this year and my hectic work schedule, we have let go of these precious and important experiences. So, when I make up the schedule, I will choose a night for both and start planning out some family/date fun!

 

Baby steps. Those are important for me. Big chunks make me freeze. Anyone else like that? I keep thinking I can take on big chunks, but then when I fail I think I AM A FAILURE. Instead, I need to make sure I’m setting myself up for success. And, when I do fail, it is an opportunity to try again!

 

What are your goals for September? Let’s keep each other accountable!