With Him

As many of you may have heard by now, sweet Sara is with her Father.

I’m leaving tomorrow to attend her wake and funeral with Jess, and all day I have been praying about it. I have so many thoughts and emotions welling up inside of me, and although I wasn’t as close to Sara as many of her dear friends, her life blessed me so much.

I spent my quiet time this morning in 2nd Timothy…reading and re-reading while I considered the beauty of a life well-lived. Over the years I have learned to listen to the holy nudges Jesus gives me when I’m reading and I need to write more about what I have learned. I’m processing that, and thanking Sara for leading me into a place of quiet reflection.

I’m preparing my heart for this week and also for the work that I need to do in my own life in order to bring glory to Him the way that saints (like Sara) have done before me.

I want to write more, but Charlotte just woke up and dinner is about to burn. I need to go be a momma for now, but my fingers are pounding out the letters as quickly as they can, because, well…you never know how much time you will have to say the words you want to say.

I was praying you all earlier today, praying that we could be the kind of community that blesses one another and loves well. I thought about Sara and the way her blog represented the face of Jesus so well…

We live in an age where we get to have glimpses into one another’s lives in ways we never have before, and I want to encourage you to be bold in your faith. You never know who might click over, wondering about this Jesus and what His people are like.

If someone were to come to your blog today, would they walk away saying this?

She is compelled by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I saw that in Sara.

In her living and in her dying.

It’s our privilege to share Him with a watching world, and tomorrow I will get on a plane to celebrate the life of a woman who did that exquisitely.

I get goosebumps on my arms thinking of the words she has already heard, and can feel tears well up inside as I consider the magnitude of beauty she is experiencing.

Well done, good and faithful one…

May we all hear those words one day, and in the meantime, may we live lives that anticipate them.

With love for Sara and prayer for those who will walk with a limp until they see her again~

Angie

Choosing Joy

First of all, if you homeschool you really should take some time and read through the comments on my last post. It is a PHENOMENAL wealth of helpful information and I am still making my way to a bunch of the links. I’m actually really surprised that there were so many curriculum suggestions that I hadn’t even heard of…so fun.

Just wanted to pop in tonight and say a quick hello. I’m in the middle of a busy week doing some book promo and getting ready to head to the dotmom conference this weekend. If any of you are going, please make sure and say hey. Would love to connect in real life:)

***

Along those lines, I really want to ask for your prayer for my friend Sara. I have never had the privilege of meeting her in person but she was a HUGE help with Bloom and has remained someone that I have loved chatting with online and getting to know a little through email and twitter. As many of you know, she has been confined to her house for several years because of disease, but recently she has taken a turn for the worse. Hospice has been with her for a few days and they anticipate that very soon she will be with the Lord. Jess gets updates a few times a day from Sara’s sister and it is devastating to hear what everyone is going through. Sara and Jess have become close friends and Jess got to go to Sara’s house with Elias and Adeline and I can hardly look at the pictures because they are so recent and it breaks my heart that she’s leaving this life.

Sara’s father passed away suddenly last year and she told Jess to tell me that she was going to find Audrey and introduce her to her dad because he loves kids. Oh, the tears of those words. I can barely even process what that feels like.

I know what Scripture says and I believe that it’s true. Better is one day in His courts…

But tonight I am aching for Sara’s family and all of those who she has blessed with her beautiful, selfless, Christ-centered life. She has chosen joy even in the worst of days and her example will be with us long past her breath. There are so many negative things about being online, and so many “downsides.” But the truth is, the other side is amazing. Sara has been in community with my dear (in)courage sisters and has “attended” my church alongside us through Crosspoint’s online services. It has been real relationship and it has been an honor to be a part of.

I’m reminded tonight of the power of a willing servant to impact a watching world.

If you would like to read more about Sara, please click over to her site. It is being updated by her family members and close friends. Also, Jess has been doing updates as well so check over there as well.

And please pray for everyone involved…and that the weight of glory would replace the burden of grief as we anticipate her homecoming.

We love you, Sara.

May we choose joy at every opportunity and display the heart of Jesus as beautifully as you have.

With deepest affection and many tears~

A

Homeschooling Thoughts (&Questions)

We started our homeschooling year early because of how busy we knew fall was going to be, so we are already a few months in. We’ve been using the Bob Jones curriculum that’s on DVD, and there are a lot of things I really like about it. The videos (for the most part) are really interesting and the kids like them. Here are a couple of the downsides and then I’m going to ask for your advice/experience.

The DVD’s were really expensive. Like, way more than we have ever spent before on homeschooling stuff, so I feel a need to salvage it. The way it was in our heads, in case there were days that we were traveling there would still be consistency as far as their lessons and we could bring it on the road with us. I imagined them being able to do it in the hotel, on the bus, car, or whatever. That sounded good but it isn’t really working out the way we pictured it (that’s never happened to you, has it?)  It’s also hard because they are in the third (A&E) and first (K) grades and with the baby I thought it would be easier to have them in two rooms doing their own thing and I could go back and forth and check in, but if I wasn’t available they wouldn’t get behind.

Here’s the thing, though. They aren’t really able to do it as independently as I was hoping, and what I think was supposed to be a 4 hour school day actually turns out to be much (MUCH) longer, because Todd and I are having to stay with them the whole time and really process things. We take turns on who we are with but neither side is able to get very far without us present. It’s gotten frustrating for all of us and I’m trying to figure out a new game plan for the rest of the year.

We bought the stuff and I don’t want it to go to waste, but I think the bottom line is that it isn’t as literature based as I would like for it to be and my kids just aren’t at a point where they can do it without quite a bit of help. And that’s fine. But if we are going to be putting in that kind of time I would much rather do a curriculum that I feel like is more “us.” For the record, there isn’t a thing wrong with the actual curriculum-I think in a few years mine would absolutely love it. Like any other, I think it just depends on the way you teach and the way your kids learn and I’m not 100% sure this is a fit with our lifestyle.

I’m not really sure what I’m asking, but I would love some thoughts from you home-schoolers out there. I have never “piecemealed” curriculum because I’m so stinking paranoid that I might be missing something they need to be learning, but I really feel like this isn’t working. Right now I’m tempted to let them keep watching some of the videos and then supplement. Has anyone out there done anything like that?

I know there are lots of other home-schoolers who have these same questions because I get them all the time in my email, so please share any thoughts here from what you have learned about curriculum. What has worked for your family? Do you switch it up every year? Do you have “non-negotiables” that you always go back to? Does it depend completely on the kid? HOW DO YOU KEEP A 16 MONTH OLD BUSY FOR THAT LONG?!?!?!

Today we spent the day on blankets outside and I feel like we got a lot done, but most of it was off the cuff and not really driven by any book or text. I know lots of people do this but I want to feel freedom and also know I’m keeping them on track. So just jump in and tell us what has worked/not worked for your family throughout the years.

PLEASE feel free to link to your blog if this is something you have addressed so that we can just click over and you won’t have to re-write anything here. I promise I’m not going to sit by the computer and await your comments.

That last part was a lie.

:)

A

A Little Announcement…

Exciting news about my book “What Women Fear” has just been announced!

Click here to find out more about it…we would love to have you join us! So honored and also so excited to share this with you all in a more intimate way.

Blessings and love,
A

Third World Symphony

Shaun-Groves-Third-World-Symphony-iTunes-banner-728x90

I love that I’m sandwiched between Jon Acuff and Carlos Whittaker on this blog tour stop, because their wives happen to be two of my favorite ladies in the world. On most days, you’ll find us hanging at the pool together and listening to our children have conversations like this:

“When will we see your kids again?” {Whittaker kids asking}

“Tomorrow.” {Me}

“Good. But I mean how many hours from now?” {Whittaker kids, with lots of Smith and Acuff nodding}

Kelsey has named our group the “Smackwhits,” which I think has potential if we ever decide to go Hollywood with it.

We live a couple houses away from the Acuff’s, but we wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for Shaun Groves. Seriously.

Some of you might remember that I went to India about two years ago with Compassion International. Shaun was our fearless leader on that trip and I honestly have no idea how he could have done a better job. He was knowledgeable, passionate, and invested…which all sound good on paper.

But that wasn’t what made me move to a new house.

It was the conversations we had on a rickety bus (right after he made me ride a freaky “roller-coaster” that more closely approximated a piece of dental floss and some Dixie cups, where I rediscovered my desire to be made right with the Lord) that did me in.

Because it’s one thing to be posed in front of a camera, smiling on a trip to a third world country and trying to stay still enough to hear the snap of the camera. It’s another to be completely transparent, in tears, and desperate to help children when the cameras get tucked away and the long dirt road makes you want to rest instead of inspire.

But I didn’t see him rest on that trip, and if you’ve been keeping up with his life since then, you’ll know he hasn’t rested much since. At least not in the traditional way. He and Becky (whom I flat out ADORE) are smack in the middle of a tricky adoption (please pray it goes through!) and have opened their hearts to what God desires for them.

When Shaun gave me the chance to be a part of this blog tour, I was honored.

But if I didn’t believe in him, and the message he is sharing, I wouldn’t have done it.

And now I’m going to unapologetically give my little sales pitch for the day {I do apologize, however, that this comes on the heels of my book release…I will stop peddling things very shortly :) }.

You will love this CD. And if you buy it, you will be investing more than a couple bucks on something that will bless you.

You’re joining voices with a whole mass of people who believe that we can make a difference one rickety bus at a time.

It’s what you might call a symphony.

And it’s spectacular.

If you don’t believe me, take it from some other bloggers…like, you know….ummmm….what’s her name? Oh wait.

The Pioneer Woman.

And then there’s Ann. Who is blushing already because she would never draw attention to herself. But because of this CD, he flew to her farm, giggled with her children, and held some pigs. And I know her well enough to know that being on video in tantamount to having all of her eyelashes ripped out individually while being dangled over fire.

Know what she does love, though? Enough to do it?

The Conductor.

:) Well done, Ann.

If you want to see the whole Third World Symphony blog tour lineup, click here.

But in the meantime, click here to take a look {and a listen} to Shaun’s new CD.

I think my favorite is “Come Down Here,” but I’m still deciding…

What I do know is this…

Shaun Groves, you and your family?

Are making beautiful music.

I’m proud of you.

And also, still a little annoyed about the roller coaster.

:)

 

A Little Glitch.

Hey all!!!

Quick update on What Women Fear, because I have gotten a lot of messages about it and B&H has been hard at work trying to figure out what’s going on. Here’s the scoop. A bunch of people who had pre-ordered the book got messages saying that the release date had been pushed back (it hadn’t been). I believe it was saying it wasn’t going to be shipped for several weeks, but it looks like it was just some fluky email because they have plenty of stock and people are saying that they are getting them.

Amazon is having a similar situation (although it may be fixed by now) saying that it wouldn’t be shipped for a few weeks. They also have full stock and are shipping, so I think it should ship right away even though it says it’s longer.

For the record, I take it as a compliment that Satan is getting involved with this, because I think it means I included JUUUSSSSTTT the right amount of Scripture :)

SO, because I have the greatest publisher in the universe, we are working on a little consolation prize for those of you who received the message from B&N because we are bummed that it happened. Could you do me a favor and send an email to angelac519 at gmail dot com and put B&N email in the header. Also, include an address where we could send you a little something to say thank you for being patient and sorry for the mix-up :) It would be awesome if you could just forward the email to me so we can keep track of it that way…

Nobody asked me to say this next part, but I would really like to anyway.

I am a HUGE, HUGE Barnes and Noble fan, and this little glitch IN NO WAY reflects them. In fact, I tend to believe that because someone there chose to take some big chances on a Christian book, the enemy is going to throw anything he can in the way. I’m not one to say that lightly, but I have sensed the warfare surrounding this book in a way I never have before, and none of this has surprised me in the least. I just wanted to publicly say that I have been BLOWN away by the way B&N has blessed me and supported me and I wanted to encourage you to keep on shopping over there, because when the big dogs see a little Christian book making waves, they might start to look for the wind-Maker :)

I’ll look forward to those emails and will be in touch with you!

Thank you, as always, for your grace.

With love (& SO MUCH GRATITUDE!)

{A}

P.S. Don’t stop writing your entries on the post right before this!!!! We haven’t picked a winner yet…:)

P.P.S. If you read the book and liked it, would you consider leaving a quick review on Amazon or B&N? Even just clicking the little stars helps us authors out a lot.

If you read it and hated it, pretend you didn’t read this last part. It never happened. It neeeeeever happpeennnneeeed….

:)

Help Me Out!!! (& A Giveaway!)

Okay, friends.

You ready for some fun?

I talked to Lisa Leonard a few weeks ago about creating a necklace that would have some saying on it that was related to my new book. I’ve thought about it a bunch since then and I can’t decide what I think. So, I figured I would ask all of you!!!

I was thinking “Fear Not,” or “Be not afraid” or something like that, but a few people have suggested different things and I am wondering if you all could tell me what your favorite saying on a necklace would be. You don’t have to pick one of those…I would LOVE to hear your original ideas. It can be a few words from my book, from a favorite quote you have always loved, from Scripture, or anywhere else in your brain.

And because I would love to offer some initiative to leave a comment, I will be giving away FIVE copies of my new book (randomly chosen from the comments section) and a special gift to the person who comes up with the one we use.

So, get cracking!!! And feel free to leave as many as you want…we can use all the ideas you have! I can’t wait!!!!!

Thanks!!!

{A}

Release

Today’s the day! My new book, “What Women Fear” releases. It took me a couple months to write but it’s kind of been a lifetime in the making.

I had a plan for this post, full of marketing stuff and links and all kinds of good “author” stuff. For the record, it wasn’t half-bad.

But I’m on a little trip with my family and while I’ve been praying through everything that’s happening in my life right now, I keep coming back to the same thought.

He is everything.

My feet were in the ocean and the beach was full this afternoon while I thought about how to write this post. Because at the end of the day, I’m a writer, and I would love for you to buy my book. I needed to translate that in these paragraphs because it matters if I sell books. It’s like any other job, where you want to excel and make the people who believed in you proud.

But it’s pretty hard to write a post like that when you have your toes in the water.

I felt so small…

I was wind-whipped with sand, eyes on the horizon and the thought of trying to say anything other than this was as absurd as it should be.

He is everything.

It’s all a jumbled mess without Him, and any ounce of credit I get would be an ounce misplaced.

And while I planned all the right words, the waves came.

Have you ever said the same?

I could have had everything right on paper, but if I didn’t believe those three words it would all be for nothing.

I’ve done my best to write a book I pray will bless others, but I have done it with hands that tremble in recognition of the One who allowed me the right.

I know my team at B&H is going to forgive me for going a little off the rails with this post. I’m fairly certain it’s not part of the marketing strategy:)

{I was literally at this point in my post when my editor sent me an email. I stopped what everyone here was doing and while the T.V. went on mute and computer keys hushed, I read her words out loud. If you will allow me, I would love to share a little bit of what she said, because I don’t feel like it’s a coincidence that it happened EXACTLY as I was writing about my amazing B&H team}

Ang,

I’m about to go to bed and want to drop a note because I’m thinking about you a lot on the eve of the official launch of a message that I know to my core will be used to impact hundreds of thousands. Do you know what I’m thinking about? I’m thinking about 4 year old Ang, your dad lifting you, you with extra books of the Bible, the legacy of faith you and Todd are building, you two scrubbing the floor after burying your sweet girl and realizing how in each and every nanosecond of all of those experiences and every other one, God was painting an exquisite portrait of the way in which He treasures you and reveals the texture of His love and nature through the way He has gifted you…

It’s the eve of my book launch and she’s thinking about Angie the person, not Angie the author.

It makes me smile ear to ear and shake my head in awe at the way God has pieced this whole thing together.

I am blessed beyond belief to have the honor of writing,

And all my thanks go to the One who has allowed it.

He is everything.

There are going to be some cool posts on deck for later in the week where I am going to ask you to jump in the deep end with me and share about what your fears are. There will even be a chance for you to get involved in a cool little project and then to win some fun stuff, so stay tuned.

If you would like to buy my book, you can click here to purchase from Amazon or here to purchase from Barnes and Noble. Last I checked the prices were almost exactly the same…

I’m really proud of this book and I hope you all enjoy it, but more than that I hope you know…

He is everything.

Blessings to each of you and thank you so, so much for your support~

{A}