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A New Look and a Big Announcement

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In the middle of updating my blog’s theme, I realized that now’s the time for both an updated look and a big announcement . . .

Camp_2new-2(small) My blog’s new header reflects the cover image and title font for my first book, The Beauty of Grace, which releases February 3, 2015! The Beauty of Grace combines stories of faith from some of today’s most popular writers with photography illustrating God’ creation. Yes, I said my first book: I’m working on two more with my publisher, Revell, in the same format on the topics of friendship and marriage!

Signing on the Dotted Line

I love how my friend Annie signed all three copies of her contract in special ways and with special people, so I totally copied her idea.

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I signed my first copy at church with two of my best girlfriends, who are also two of my biggest cheerleaders. We may have been a little giddy.

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I decided that if I got a book deal my husband and I would celebrate (and sign a copy of the contract) at Kani House, my favorite Japanese Steakhouse; I could live on their fried rice.

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The last copy I signed with my four youngest kids (it’s impossible to get all eight together). You can tell they’re impressed their mom is making a book. Or not. (Kids are hard to impress.)

The Secret is Out!

Y’all forgive me for not sharing sooner. I’m more comfortable promoting other people than myself, but I believe this is God’s book and I’m thankful He’s allowed me to gather the pieces and put them together. It’s inspiring, encouraging, and you’re going to love it! Promise.

Please click over to Amazon and check out The Beauty of Grace, which releases on February 3, 2015, but is currently available for pre-order. I’ll share more as the date draws near!

I can’t say enough good about the amazing authors who contributed their words to this book; my agent, Ruth Samsel from the William K. Jensen Agency; and the amazing ladies I’ve worked with at Revell, who’ve made the process both fun and informational for this newbie.

So there’s my announcement! It was hush-hush during the proposal process, and then I had a hard time opening up and talking about it; I’m so happy to finally share it with you. Thank you for being a safe place!

{If you’re reading this post via email subscription, please click over to my blog to see the new look!}

 

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Why Everything Looks Wonky

When some things quit working correctly (like comments no longer showing on posts), I realized it was time for a little TLC under the hood here at My Home Sweet Home. I just updated my theme and not only does everything look different out front, but here behind the scenes, too. Y’all have patience with me while I work out the kinks and figure out how in the world to make it look normal again, okay?

xoxoxo,
Dawn

 

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Throughout history, man discovers the secrets God chooses to reveal. Sometimes they make Bible verses come alive with meaning not understood by the divinely inspired men who penned them or those who read them in the centuries that follow.

“IT IS THE GLORY OF GOD TO CONCEAL A THING . . .” ~PROVERBS 25:2

 
Sometimes we make the discovery ourselves and gasp, awed by the unmatched creativity of our Creator God, who breathed our world into being by His spoken word.

From the detail of a dandelion to the center of a sunflower, God delights in the minuscule: facets found, easily overlooked but revealed to those with eyes that seek Him everywhere.

“CONSIDER THE LILIES HOW THEY GROW: THEY TOIL NOT, THEY SPIN NOT; AND YET I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY WAS NOT ARRAYED LIKE ONE OF THESE.” ~LUKE 12:27

 
Man creates macro lenses to capture what cannot seen by the naked eye and God uses our macro technology to reveal His micro detail, a living art like the golden spiral of a Fibonacci sequence.

Please join me today at (in)courage for the rest of the post, God Both Conceals and Reveals, a photo-filled tribute to the creativity of our Creator.

 

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See Dolphin Tale 2 in Theaters Today!

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Dolphin Tale 2 opens in theaters everywhere Friday, which is also Homeschool Day. For your chance to win free tickets for your entire group from Homeschool Movie Club, share an image of your group seeing Dolphin Tale 2 on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook using the hashtag #HomeschoolDay or post the photo to Homeschool Movie Club’s Facebook page.

Homeschool Movie Club will chose a random winner to cover and reimburse their Homeschool Day tickets. This contest is only good for opening day, Friday, September 12, and ends at 8 p.m. Pacific time.

My kids begged me to become a Homeschool Ambassador for Dolphin Tale 2; we loved the first movie. This is our chance to show the movie industry that people want to see clean, family films. Will your family see it?

She loves her new #DolphinTale2 duds!

 

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TheBestYes

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Contest closed! The winners are Southern Gal, Erin, Darleen, Alicia, and Jolanthe.

I jog on pavement wet from last night’s rain. Water drips from leaves overhead and a cool breeze drifts in from the woods to caress my legs. I follow the trailhead until it hits the greenway, like the stem of a T joining its top.

A glance to the right to make sure I don’t run in front of a bike or a dog walking its owner and then I veer left, following the path my kids’ cross country team took earlier and the woman who crosses before me as I approach the fork.

Since she looks neither 20-something nor in training for a marathon, I challenge myself to match her pace. I’m not a morning person—my name, Dawn, the great irony of my life—but I feel more alive during these early practices than when I sleep later, use folding laundry and cleaning house as forms of procrastination, and then force myself into the mid-morning heat to jog in my neighborhood.

Still, the beginning is the hardest part and I question the wisdom of choosing a wild card runner as my guide. 

Before I started running two summers ago, I marveled at the number of devotionals and blog posts which center around it. Now I understand. It’s amazing how life experiences translate into running analogies.

One of our cross country coaches uses a C. S. Lewis quote in her email signature: “If one could run without getting tired I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” Although I don’t fully agree—I want the satisfaction of a bone-deep exhaustion at the end—it’s no surprise that a gifted writer would also be an avid runner.

In that space where physical exertion and endorphins mingle, thoughts ferment, sentences string smooth, tangles unwind. My husband worked math problems in his head during distance runs in high school.

Mental distractions keep me from focusing on being tired and thirsty. Or wanting to quit. Or the fact that the woman ahead of me doesn’t stop to walk occasionally. Great, I chose to follow the Energizer Bunny.

I wonder if anyone follows me, but to look behind would feel like cheating. If no one’s there, I might be tempted to stop.

After all, it’s easier to push forward when you’ve got an audience. 

This woman before me, unaware that she’s my leader, proves to be a good choice. We never know who, if anyone, follows us, who grits her teeth and says, “If she keeps going, I can, too.”

Seek wise examples but remember that human ones may fail. Will fail. Wisdom tell us not to follow a man, but to follow that man’s God.

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Pink highlights cover the pages of my copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. It’s full of helpful, memorable ideas, but this one has affected my thoughts since I read it: “We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.”

What do you think? Where does wisdom gather? Where does it scatter?

I’ve noticed how wisdom gathers when I sit down with Bible and journal, digging for wise words and writing them down, or when my husband and I talk about the future and examine where our choices might lead. But wisdom scatters—no, it’s tossed far and wide—when I get sucked into a debate with a willful and illogical teenager or play a game of Bejeweled Blitz when I’ve got a writing deadline.

Smart decisions can be difficult to make in stressful situations or under pressure. Lysa provides solid processes and practices for discerning your best yeses while saying no with less guilt, freeing you to use your time and resources in the wisest ways.

Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman.
It will make me a worn out woman. ~ Lysa TerKeurst

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Win one of 5 copies of The Best Yes!

For a chance to win one of 5 copies of The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands leave a comment telling one of the best decisions—the best yeses—you can make today.

{This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE.}

 

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Download Your September 2014 Calendar!

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In July I visited northwest Arkansas and DaySpring headquarters as part of our yearly (in)courage authors’ retreat. A lovely path wound through woods and flower gardens leading from our hotel to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, so my camera and I took an early morning walk there the day I left.

Carrying a heavy bag and multiple lenses didn’t sound like much fun, so I limited myself to my macro lens, which still challenges me. When I get it right the results are worth the effort, and even more satisfying because of it. I decided my early morning would be worth it if I walked away with one good shot—just one—and I don’t throw away extra sleep without good reason.

I pray this calendar brightens your September days and reminds you of the One in whose shadow you rest.

Download September’s Desktop Calendar!

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