These Happy Summer Days

I am at a place of contentment with my life that I can’t say I have felt in ages. I don’t know exactly what it is, and Todd and I are constantly talking about how we feel like there is so much on our plates and our calendars but we feel peace about it. We have been shifting things as we feel led to make sure we are keeping our priorities in check, but we feel like the Lord has given us extraordinary favor in being able to do what we love. I have noticed that so many times I read (and write) prayer requests and feel like I overwhelm you all with the things that are just hard. That’s definitely a part of being in community, but also, there is a time for praise to the Father who has given us all these good things. This is my public thank you to Him for allowing me to be a writer, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. To imagine that He saw me even then, sitting on my bed and trying to think of things that rhymed so that I could run in and show my dad my latest masterpiece….and He knew that even now I would be smiling the same way.

I don’t take it for granted, Lord. None of it. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a steward of this great treasure…I pray I always bring Your name honor with my words.

To that end, today is a day of celebration!!!!!

A few hours ago I signed a new contract with Broadman & Holman Publishing for another 3 book deal!!! I cried and cried and cried because it was such a blessing. More than that I cried because Jennifer (my editor) told me that she was so proud of me and honored to work with me, but that she knew the truth and that she understood that my name on that paper was bittersweet. She wanted me to know she would rather have Audrey back too, and that all of this celebration has a pain that will never disappear. It’s okay. I don’t want it too. She is woven into every message I will ever be called to give. But to hear that the publisher who you are working with wants to be sensitive and aware of it? That is a gift of unspeakable honor.

I have a lot of writer friends here in Nashville, and we spend time at the pool, at coffee houses, at parties, and we talk about what is going on in the fickle world of all things music/creativity/writing etc where the market is so sketchy. But here’s what I love, and what spurred me on to write this post.

Several weeks ago we found out that our dear friend and neighbor Jon Acuff’s book Quitter had made it onto the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller List. His amazing wife Jenny (who I go to the pool with every day and never ever get sick of. This is saying a lot). put up signs all over their yard for him for people to honk for a bestselling author and so all day long you could just hear this honking and it was so fabulous. We bought him a cake and had a twilight cake party poolside while telling him how proud we were of him. Then he and Todd posed for a picture with the very pink-looking cake and it didn’t turn out with the manly vibe they were going for so we didn’t post it. But I have it in the event I should need it.

Well, fast-forward a few weeks. Jon and Jenny know I am negotiating a book deal and know the details of it and all the concerns I have etc. They are praying with us and asking if we have heard anything. So one day we grab some whole foods for dinner and have too much so they swing by and eat with us (and then we go to the pool-sensing a pattern?). While we are eating I tell them I am about to sign the deal and they both screamed at the top of their lungs as if I had told them that they had won the lottery. They don’t know this but later that night I cried because it was so sincere, and I knew what it felt like to have someone genuinely celebrate you and have no sense of competition or insecurity…just LOVE.

Well, I had no idea that they were just starting. The next day they got a plan together and at 10:30 at night I saw a tweet with a picture of my front yard….they had pulled the ultimate summer caper. I waited to take pictures until the next morning, and this is what my lawn looked like…

 

Seriously.

So all day long there was honking and screaming and it just make me so happy. I think I was more excited about the feeling of community and what love really looks like than I was about the actual book deal (sorry B&H, you know what I mean :) ) It was just so special.

At Easter the Whittaker’s had kicked it off with a 11pm adventure by planting Easter eggs in all of our yards and having all the kids come out and find them.

It’s the coolest thing-to be a part of a community that lives life together in their jammies and with the kind of love that spends time showing the world how we are called to love one another.

It’s been a summer of redemption and healing for me in some difficult areas. I wasn’t expecting the radiant love that was waiting for me here, and I thank the Lord for it. Here is a picture of a group of us from last night…celebrating sweet Heather’s birthday.

That’s Jenny Acuff on the left, then Chris Alexander, Jacinda (Heather’s bff from CA), Heather Whittaker, Me, Ally Bergstrom, Marla Parker, Keely Scott and in front Jackie Brewster, Laura Morris, and Brandi Wilson.

May God bless you all with friends who celebrate with you, weep with you, and remind you of the sweetness of fellowship.

With so much love and fullness of heart,

Ang


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  • http://kimberwidmer.wordpress.com/ purejoy

    I’m tinted just a tiny bit green around the edges when I hear of you speak of community and friendships and all you have. I feel like maybe all the moving around I did as a kid or maybe always feeling on the outside has made me a bit standoffish in relationships. Your post today made me wonder at what it is that keeps me from entering in. Fully entering in. I’m down the street just about 150ish miles to your east… but I feel like I live right next door. Thanks for sharing your life so extravagantly and I can’t wait to read your next book. Go YOU!!

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    Congratulations!!!  I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to read your books!!! Keep walking with the King!
    Courtney

  • Laura Hamm

    You are so deserving -  I love following you and have been a fan of Selah for years -  You are real and transparent!   There is an audience out there who wants that!  Thanks for sharing your life with the world – the good, the sad,  the bad and the ugly -  oh yeah  and the FUNNY too   

  • Anonymous

    Oh Angie…I may be a hormonal mess but I just seriously cried for you over this!!! How sweet of our God to love on you so lavishly these last couple of years. And to add a truly authentic, loving community on top??  Its just beautiful. I’m so happy for you!

  • Angela

    Oh, you made my heart so happy!  I know exactly what you mean when you say that you cried b/c their screams for your book deal was authentic.

    Just this morning, I shared with a friend my excitement of being chosen to blog at one of The Women of Faith conferences, she knows what blogging/writing means to me, yet when I told her I felt a sense of … something that sure wasn’t happy for me.  We got off the phone, and when she called back she was down right depressed… lamenting over the ruins of her life.  Of course, my feelings were hurt, but I got passed it.  Was able to encourage her and still thank God for it all.

    Usually, I don’t read long post.  I’m more of a skimmer, when I realized I’d sat here and read your entire post, I realized how good and entertaining your message was.

    Blessings to you from one Angie {Ang} to another :)  

  • http://www.dominicandkristin.blogspot.com kasmith03

    Angie
      That IS a blessing…for you and for all of us who love the way you teach how to love God through your words. It is such an honor to be a part of this fellowship of believers. I shared your 1st book with a new friend from our new church. She and her husband lost their baby at birth after a freak accident fall she had and he was born still. They named their second daughter Keziah after Job’s daughter…it was because God had redeemed that situation of loss with something of a blessing. He is so good that way isn’t He?

      I am anxiously awaiting the St Paul WOF in October…really hope you can get a group of us Sunday’s together so we can celebrate in person with you…if you need help getting somthing organized let me know!! I would love to try and make it happen!

      Have a wonderful day and thank you for the reminder of what a great community we have here!

    Blessings, Kristin

  • Kaite

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! I cannot wait to read all the books. God has blessed you with such an incredible gift.
    Jon Acuff’s dad used to be my pastor up here in Massachusetts. Jon went to my high school (although a few years older than me!) and I used to babysit his baby sister Molly– what a small world! I love the Acuff family- they’re all amazing!
    Congrats again Angie!

  • http://theinnerharbor.wordpress.com Emily Gallimore

    That is all just awesome!! God is so good! Excited for you and with you! :)

  • http://www.faithfullyyours1989.blogspot.com/ Faithfully Yours

    How exciting!!!  Congratulations! :)

  • http://carmenscraziryde.blogspot.com/ Carmen

    Angie, Yay for your book deal and your beautiful, beautiful friends. :)

  • Jenn Prather

    This just makes my heart happy, b.c you have just written about what every woman wants and longs for, and its EXACTLY what my BFF and I talked about over lunch……women who love you for who you are and the place that you are in in life, and celebrate the good and the bad with you!!!  SO happy that you have that and CONGRATS on the book deal!  your readers are HAPPY!!!

  • Leslie Jordan

    That is so exciting! Wow! You’re such a gifted author, and I’m grateful you will continue to share that gift. I can’t wait to see/read them!

  • http://www.megmassey.com Meg

    Congratulations on the book deal Angie!  That is so amazing!  And I love what Jon and his wife did for you.  You deserve it!  Your words touch so many people!

  • http://twitter.com/marylenaburg Mary Lenaburg

    WOW! WOW! WOW! Congratulations on your new contract!! I can’t wait to see what the Lord inspires you to write! Thank you for sharing your heart so openly. It inspires me each day to walk through the fear and keep my eyes on the Promise that awaits me!! Blessings and Grace to you and your new journey!

  • Heidi Menges

    Congratulations!!! I will be buying every book you ever write. Thanks for sharing your heart with the world. God has used you and continues to do so in a mighty way.

  • Buckeyenp

    i wish I were friends with the acuffs – anyone who doesn’t follow jon on twitter is missing out. So being friends IRL must be dyn-o-mite.  AND going to the pool every day!!  Sounds delightful too.  I earn a living the boring way (get up, go to work every day) and think you’re awfully lucky to get paid to do something many would love to do.  Are the new books fiction or non-fiction or don’t know yet?

  • Kathi Waddle

    I imagine that I will scream loudly with excitement when my first children’s book is finally done. It is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It’s all written and some of the illustrations are done, but it is taking a VERY long time. Both me (the author) and my  friend Sarah (the illustrator) have had to deal with some challenges along the way – me making sure I am not homeless, both of us trying to find employment. Then add that we are going to self publish and have no money whatsoever to just plop down on paying for it to get published so we have to hit people up to pay in advance.  At times I feel like laughing – single with 3 cats and a turtle, living in the basement of an 80 year old, looking for work, and trying to get a hold of Sarah who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. I soo need to go to Jon’s Quitter conference, but alas the conference is too rich for my blood. So I will read the book and re-listen to Sunday’s sermon.

  • Connie L Amato-Mahle

    Angie,

    Yay!  Congratulations and the very best of wishes to you, girl!  (Love your work and I look forward to book #2!!)  It seems to me that you’ve found your niche.  : ) 

    *Love & Friendship*

  • http://www.amylivelovelaughclub.blogspot.com/ Amy Livelovelaugh

    I’m rejoicing with you over how Jesus took your pain and is using it for such good! This post is certainly a Romans 8:28 story. ..All things work together for GOOD for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. I pray that many lives will be changed by the testimony of your life. Enjoy your beautiful gift of writing!

  • Kathi

    Angie, that is so awesome! Congratulations!!!  It’s so wonderful about your book deal.  You are an amazing writer.  Friends are everything & it sounds like you have a great group.
    PS.  Whose amazing backyard is that???  I LOVE it!

  • Christi

    This entry brought such smiles to my soul.  God, thank you for Angie and her neighbors truly living for community.  Amen.

    Congratulations Angie.  I can’t wait to read the books.  What are you going to be writing?

    Thank you for being such an amazing woman and sister in Christ.  I look forward to meeting you one day and giving you the much sincere hug.

  • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

    Is it ok if I superimpose myself into that pic? ;)

    Congratulations, sweet friend. Big, big hugs.

  • Anonymous

    You go girl! So excited for you!

  • Katherine

    I don’t know you but stumbled on your blog one day and now read it all the time!  I saw your book yesterday on the shelf at Borders and got so excited- I thought to myself “Hooray for Angie’s book at Borders!  How cool that I KNOW her”.  Then I stopped and thought, “wait a minute, I don’t REALLY know her”.  Thank you for your blog, I love following it- you write in such a way that makes someone like me, a total stranger but fellow believer/wife/mother, feel like you are my friend.  May God bless you and your writing. 

  • Jennifer

    Speaking of a “gift of unspeakable honor”…being so blessed to help steward the words and the ministry that has been birthed at such a cost and with such deep fruit. THAT is a gift of unspeakable honor. How gracious a God to allow me to stand in that place!

  • wanda galloway

    Gee Angie,  you’re making me cry!  I love this.  I can’t even imagine 1 book deal let alone 3!!!
    I want to scream for you too!  Yay!  Awesomeballs!
    Hearing such sweet news just tickles my heart and blesses me.
    I’m dreaming……of writing my own book.  (For Him)
    Maybe one of these days.

    PS
    Love the yard deco!  So cool!  You have rockin friends, girl!

  • http://sufficientgrace-kelly.blogspot.com Kelly_SufficientGrace

    So glad to read of this season of joy, love, and fullness. Congratulations…you are a treasure. And, I’m so grateful to know you.

    Continued blessings…

  • Kristen

    Just thrilled for you, Angie. Thrilled! Consider me jumping up and down in honor of your good news, too!

    And that backyard…WOW! I don’t think I’d ever want to leave! :)

  • Genesis

    My goodness…can I move here?!  How wonderful!

  • Lynn Worley

    Know that I’m praying! And congrats on the book deal!
    Psalms 27:13-14: I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

    YAY!  I’m screaming with excitement for you over here.  Only it’s a silent type of scream since all my boys are asleep.  yay!

  • Rebecca

    Congratulations!!!  I seriously hope that God will bring sweet fellowship like that into my life.  How wonderful!  :)

    Get to cracking on your writing–3 books??  WOW!!!!  Whoo-Hoo!

    Prayers and blessings,
    Rebecca

  • Andrea A

    Congratulations Angie! And thank you for the uplifting words and reminder that God puts certain desires on our hearts and at the fullness of His time, brings them to fruition.

  • http://www.maxabbyandlucy.blogspot.com Staci

    So excited for you!  Congratulations :)

  • Scott

    What an amazing editor you have.  That makes me want to cry thinking about the character she posses.  I always love the line from Matt Redmans’ Blessed Be Your Name –

    “And blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering  Though there’s pain in the offering  Blessed be Your name!” 

    We can always give God praise.   That is a great amount of Joy that to many people lose out on.

  • http://twitter.com/bucknerfamily bucknerfamily

    Congratulations!  So exciting.  And I am dying to know where you got your cute hat.  :)

    paige

  • Alyson

    Congrats Ang! I am so happy for you!

    It is such a blessing to have good, loyal friends and live in a wonderful community.

    God loves you and has blessed you and thankfully you, unlike a lot of others, fully appreciate all he has done for you.

  • Jackie

    so excited for you Angie!!!!

  • Penny

    I am thrilled for you.  Your writing has touched my life for several years now.  You inspire me, you make me cry, you point me to The Author.  Lately, because of the empty place I’m in, in my own life, I find it really hard to come here.  I don’t know if you understand that or not.  I keep reading, though, knowing that one day He will lift me from my pit and give me a new place to stand.  Celebrate the blessings.  May God continue to shower you with blessings in abundance.

  • Sonya13

    That is terrific Angie! Can’t wait to read them!

  • http://myangelwithgod.blogspot.com/ Amy von Oven

    God has blessed you, what a great feeling that must be. You are a wonderful writer and you words mean so much to ALL who read them. I can’t wait for the next book, I know it will be great! Thank you for letting God lead your life in All you do!  Amy von Oven

  • Kaye

    What special & talented friends.  The pictures are awesome:)
    Very thankful for the great news!  Cannot wait to find out what He leads you to write about next.  I’ve pre-ordered and anxiously await the release date of book #2. 
    Thanks so much for sharing this great news with your readers.
    Be blessed today and every day,
    Kaye
    Matthew 21:22

  • Lynn Worley

    Know that I care so very much and am still praying!
    Psalms 31:1-3 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  • Jo Lewis

    Angie,   you are to me like Beth Moore is too you….I LOVE YOU! I have (stalked) loved you way before Audrey, the blog, the books. I am so honored to watch how God has worked in your life. You are still just as genuine and caring, you still put yourself “out there” even after you have been hurt… I admire your obedience and strength and I would just like to say that God has worked in my life also…Through you. I am so happy for you and Im glad you have a season of contentment. I pray God continues to do His work in you to inspire others for His GLORY! Praise Him!!! Thank you for keeping your heart for others along with all of the blessings God had bestowed upon you. Others I have known with success similar in nature have “let it go to their head”  NOT YOU!….I love your transparency and your GENUINE humbleness. May God continue to bless you and your family richly…You deserve it!     Jo

  • http://twitter.com/gritandglory Alece Ronzino

    this just makes me all kinds of happy… so so excited for you. not just for the book, but for this season of sweet contentedness… 

  • http://theminahanfamily.wordpress.com/ Anna

    This is such great news Angie! You deserve every bit of it! So happy for you :) And that plate idea was brilliant! What sweet friends you have! 

  • http://twitter.com/InspiredRD Alysa Bajenaru, RD

    Congratulations Angie :) I hope you hear the screaming coming all the way from Arizona :)  

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations Angie, so happy for you!  I could feel your happiness through all you wrote in this post, so wonderful.  So blessed to having found your blog a few years back!

  • Beth

    Angie, I am so happy for you as I read this post. Praise God that he is always faithful to us! what a great testatment your life is to Him!

    I have aquestion for you. I know you live in Nashville so I wanted your opinion. I got a job offer for a job I would love to do and its in the Nashville area. What are some safe/good parts of town that I should look at for housing, it needs to be kid friendly too! I am coming there to scope things out in a week and am looking for some background info as I house hunt. my email is bethm81@gmail.com

    thanks and God Bless!

  • MG

    That sounds great!  So neat to have true friends celebrating with you.  I’m not understanding the “community” thing though….is it some sort of gated community thing?

  • Lynn Worley

    Continuing to lift up prayers!
    Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  • Beverly Trent

    Angie, That’s so great that they did that to your yard! You are a wonderful writer. You have definitely blessed my life through your words! :) I just wanted to drop you a note because back in December I met you at the Deeper Still conference in Birmingham. You wanted me to let you know when God blessed us with a living child after loosing four. Well, just a few weeks ago, He blessed us with a healthy newborn baby girl through adoption. :) We are so thankful to God for His faithfulness! Thank you for your prayers and for the encouragement you give to so many through your writing.
    http://www.lifeintheopenair.blogspot.com

  • Molly Lowe

    What a blessing it is to have friends like yours!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=673111206 Ann Morton Voskamp

    Can I just jump all up and down and make an elevator shake with you??!! 

    Oh, I think that’s the Lord doing that! :)

    Absolutely thrilled, Angie — God moves like this :)