When I’m Not Writing: Serving

I’ve really enjoyed sharing some of my favorite activities when I’m not writing, like jewelry-making and watching muscials. And while crafting is probably my favorite of my other activities, serving is the most important.

Engage City Church is amazing. My husband and I fell in love with this church when it launched in fall of 2016. We couldn’t believe how loving this church was and we were blown away by the difference it was making in our community. We feel so blessed that God brought this amazing church to our community, and we’ve loved all of the opportunities we’ve had to get involved.


Over the year and a half that we’ve been attending Engage, I’ve been trying to do more for my church and my community. I’ve been trying to make my faith a big part of my life because God is the most important part of my life. And the best way to show my love for him is to serve him and to serve the people he’s placed in my life. I try to do this with my writing by creating books for people to enjoy and with my babysitting by caring for little ones. And now I try to do this with my serving at church.

As we like to say at Engage, we get to do this. We get to love on people. We get to help people. We get to create an amazing church-going experience for the people in our community.

At my church I watch babies in the nursery. I hold open doors and greet people. I help clean up after the service. My husband serves on the church board and helps run the lights for worship. Our small group spent our last couple meetings stuffing thousands of eggs for our 100,000 egg hunt in this Easter. (Yes, 100,000 eggs.) I try to do whatever I can to help out church and I want to keep growing and keep doing more.

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Serving others is the best way to show people God’s love, and “We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19, NLT). I want to live out my faith with what I do every day, so I try to serve others whenever I can.

One Word—My 2018 New Year’s Resolution

Last year I wrote about what I do instead of making traditional new year’s resolutions. I choose one word to guide me for the year, and I make an inspiration board that I can look at each day to remind me of my word. For my boards, I decorate a 12in by 12in piece of scrapbook paper with quotes, images, Bible verses, and song lyrics that relate to the word. I’ve done this for three years now, and my previous words have been Change, Grow, and Joy.

Only choosing one word seems like a small resolution, but I’ve noticed such a difference in my life by focusing on these words each year. Every day I see my word board next to my mirror and read something off of it, and then I feel ready for the day with my goals fresh in my mind. Last year especially, as I worked on Joy, I definitely learned to rely a lot more on God and find my joy in him. This is a great tool to increase your faith.

For 2018, I’ve felt God speaking one word on my heart for a while now: Focus.

I have a hard time focusing some of the time. I think part of that is because I work from home so I’m surrounded by distractions: my dog, housework, and all of the books I have out from the library. Another reason is because I have a tendency to feel overwhelmed, and when I see the long list of things that have to be done, I often end up sitting and staring at the list rather than doing something on the list.

But another big reason I have trouble focusing is that I always feel lost between book projects. Over the last six years I’ve written three manuscripts, usually spending one year working on it and one year staring at my computer, hating everything, and getting nothing done. 2017 was one of the off years, and I’ll be honest and say that I wrote almost nothing last year.

So that’s why Focus has become my word for 2018. But it isn’t just for my writing work. Throughout 2017 my husband and I became more and more involved in our church, and I definitely feel called by God to do even more. But I need to focus on him if I’m going to do anything important.

So this year I’m gong to Focus on my writing work, on my kingdom work, and on God. Here’s my board for 2018:


Christmas Traditions

It’s almost Christmas!


I love this time of year. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than Christmas lights, and I love all of the decorations. My husband even put my engagement ring under the Christmas tree in his apartment when he proposed to me. I just love that we get to celebrate Jesus’ birth each year with all of the beautiful decorations, Christmas cookies, and family. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Some of my favorite decorations are the houses that make up my mom’s ceramic Christmas village. Every year we set it up under their tree, and I love all of the beautiful lights. I don’t have a ceramic village myself, but I do have my Lego Christmas village.

I love to bake, so making Christmas cookies is always a lot of fun. My family have always made these butter cookies that we call Silver Bells, and they’re delicious.


But my favorite of all of our Christmas traditions is what my family does on Christmas Eve. We go to see a movie in the afternoon, eat Chinese and chicken for dinner, and then open presents while watching A Christmas Story. Then my dad always reads The Night Before Christmas before we go to bed. Sadly my husband and I will have to miss the movie this year because we won’t be able to make it over to Columbus in time after church (it’s okay though, we’ll have already seen Star Wars twice by then), but I can’t wait to do everything else with my family and celebrate with his family on Christmas day.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Our Second Wedding Anniversary

Tuesday, August 1st was my second wedding anniversary. I can’t believe my wonderful husband and I have already been married for two years. It feels like just two days ago that I met the cute boy next door and realized we worked together at our university’s writing center, and it feels like yesterday that I married him.

I’ll never forget how wonderful our wedding was. Our parents threw us the best wedding I could have imagined. We decided to get married at Wright State, since that was where we met and fell in love, so we had our ceremony and reception at Wright State’s Nutter Center’s beautiful Berry Room.

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These past two years have been the best years of my life. We have been truly blessed by God with a wonderful life together, and I can’t wait to see what plans he has in store for us going forward.

This week we celebrated our anniversary by recreating part of our honeymoon, just like we did last year for our first anniversary. On Monday we went to the Ohio State Fair to see one of our favorite bands, For King and Country. And on Tuesday we took a river cruise on the Ohio River and had a wonderful meal while looking at Cincinnati’s beautiful skyline. I had so much fun on the cruise and at the fair that I hope we continue our tradition of doing this for each of our anniversaries.

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My husband is my rock. He supports me more than anyone and is always there for me. I love him so much, and am so grateful to have him by my side.

When I’m Not Writing: Coloring

I wrote last month that one of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing is make jewelry. One of my other favorite hobbies is to color.


I mostly choose to color Christian coloring books, because when I’m coloring something with scripture it becomes a much more fulfilling experience. Reflecting on God’s word while doing the relaxing activity of coloring helps me draw closer to God.

Since my last post on coloring, I’ve gone even more coloring crazy. I now have 12 books. I also now have a big set of markers and an electric pencil sharpener for my colored pencils sitting on my coffee table next to my coloring basket.


Coloring is one of the most relaxing activities I’ve found. I love creating anything, and I love getting to work with my hands, so coloring is the perfect thing for me to do.


VOLZ with Engage City Church

As I’ve said before, I love my church. I feel so blessed that God has brought this amazing church to my community and that I get to be a part of it. Engage City Church is a family. I feel home when I am with all of these amazing people. And this weekend we got to come together and celebrate all of the church’s volunteers at their semi-annual VOLZ event.

We gathered at a park and had a big cookout with burgers, hot dogs, and The Little Pink Bakery’s amazing cake balls! The party was a throwback to the 90s, and we had 90s music, trivia, and costumes. It was so much fun to get together with my church family and celebrate.

Engage’s lead team honored the volunteers and Pastor Doug reminded us all why we do what we do. We get to serve at this church. We get this wonderful opportunity to love on and serve people in our community. And each and every one of the volunteers is such an important part of the church as a whole.


When we came home after the party I was thinking about how much volunteering means to me. I love being a part of this church. I love taking care of the babies in the nursery and holding open doors and greeting people when they arrive for the worship experiences. I love getting to love on people and spread the love of Christ to my community. Engage City Church is doing big things, and I’m so happy that my husband and I are a part of it.



Why I Love Engage City Church

I love my church.

My husband and I looked for a really long time to find the right church for us. We had been involved with a church on campus at Wright State, and we really loved spending time with the people of that church, but we knew it wasn’t quite the right fit for us. We also tried going to a local non-denominational one for a while, but when its lead pastor left we did too.

Church-less, we struggled in our young marriage. We both wanted God to be the center of our lives, but we didn’t have the right home to go to to feed that relationship with our Lord.

All of that changed mid-September last year.

Our good friends and then neighbors posted about this brand new church they were going to—Engage City Church. I checked out their website and knew that Jacob and I had to try it out. And our lives haven’t been the same. So I want to brag about my church for a little bit.

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Engage City Church launched on September 18th, 2016 with the lead pastor Doug Wampler and the worship pastor Zach Cogley. What started out as two families coming together with the call to start a church and bring Jesus to the city of Huber Heights, Ohio has turned into an incredible church body. In the seven months of Engage, 148 people have come to Jesus and 74 have been baptized. On April 16th last year they had their first team meeting about the church, and a year later on the week before Easter over 400 people attended the Worship Experience. Engage is changing lives. But it’s not about the numbers. Engage is all about spreading the love of Jesus.

Jacob and I get so much encouragement every time we go to our various small groups—City Men, City Ladies, and our newlywed City Group. We have recently started serving during the Sunday Worship Experiences and we love it. Jacob helps out with the tech crew and I take care of little ones in the nursery.

One of the best parts about Engage City Church is all of the community outreach and serving they do for the city of Huber Heights. Engage has delivered Thanksgiving meals and Christmas presents, had a pink out for breast cancer survivors, given food for students to eat over the weekends, created Blessing Bags to give to those in need, collected winter coats and socks, had a For Our City walk, and so many other things that I can’t think of all of them right now. I’m blown away by all of the good our church has done. I’m so glad I get these chances to love on and serve people.

And next weekend I am so excited for Easter. Engage is putting on Egg the City, a 50,000 egg Easter egg hunt. There’s even going to be prizes for the parents that bring their kids to the hunt, and special prize eggs for kids to find. I am so excited to help out with this event.

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As you can see, Engage City Church is incredible. If you are in the Dayton area, come join us Sundays at Wayne High School at 11am and see just how amazing this church is. And definitely be sure to check out the Egg the City Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, April 15th starting at 10am and Engage’s Easter Worship Experiences Saturday, April 15th at 6pm and Sunday, April 16th at 11am.

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