I have a secret that I'm excited to share with you. 

I've signed a publishing contract to write a BOOK!!!!

It's true, and still surprises me every time I think about it. If you're thinking, whoa, wait?! here's a very brief recap of how this all came about:

Two years ago, I attended a blogging conference called Allume. On the first night of the conference, I sat beside a girl named Alison who is a radio host for HIS Radio. We instantly connected and when she asked me why I was at Allume, I told her that I'd been writing for a few years now and wanted to learn more about what steps to take in order to get published. She told me that her husband was actually a publisher located in Greenville, and she'd be happy to pass on my information to him. I had brought with me a sample "party favor" for a book I was working on called Jubilee, which would help young women celebrate both the happy and the hard moments of life. 

After the conference her husband, Tim, sent me an e-mail asking for more information. I was THRILLED and told him I'd love to send him a book proposal once I finalized it. What I thought would take me two months ended up taking me almost a year and a half to complete. Last summer, I was determined to finish my proposal and send it to Tim and other agents/publishers and I spent the whole summer working on it. Then, last fall, as many of you know, I released my first self-published devotional, Practice Hospitality. Tim sent me an e-mail after he saw the positive response of the devotional, and we set up a phone call to talk more about Jubilee. I was SO EXCITED and SO NERVOUS to talk to him on the phone. I had listened to so many writers talk about the publishing process but nothing could prepare me for actually doing it myself. I'm sure I sounded like a floundering fish while we talked, but we discussed in a little more detail about what it would look like if we worked together on a book. After that conversation, I sent him an updated book proposal, along with two sample chapters for a book called Invited. After a few weeks of waiting, I got an e-mail this spring with a proposal from Ambassador International to publish a book with them. 

I cried. I laughed. I thanked God. 

Raleigh caught some of my excitement on camera. Take a look:


Oh my word, I can't believe that I'm actually writing a book!!! Seriously y'all, these are the words that I've wanted to say out loud for six years now. Writing a book has been such a big source of motivation for me and for so long I wondered if all the work would ever come to fruition. I love, love, love, sharing words of encouragement with women, it is truly one of the things that draws me so close to God and His word. I have prayed for YEARS for God to either take away this desire or do what He wants with it and all through my conversations with Tim, I just kept praying, "Lord, your will be done." I don't say that to humble myself or seem like I didn't want my will to happen. I had just gotten to a place in ministry and in writing where I knew that I had to give up my plans of what serving God looked like. For me, writing and ministry isn't my job, it's something I do in my spare time. I often am asked when I find time to write and my answer is always, always, in the fringe hours. I write at night and on weekends, I go to the library during my lunch break and type out words for forty-five minutes. I've tried so many times to throw in the towel but I just keep scribbling out words in notebooks of things that I've learned about God and there is this insatiable need inside of me to share these thoughts with whoever wants to read them. I've battled with writing and platform and work and ministry more times than I can count, but I can't give it up because I truly feel like it is something that I've got to get out of me. At least, that's what writing looks like for now.

Since I signed the publishing contract, I've been going back to all these notebooks that I've kept over the years and have been trying to piece together a story for the book. It's filled with many of my ideas for Jubilee and is like Practice Hospitality but on steroids. The premise for Invited is about how to find community and celebrate the people we love.  We gather for grand events like engagement dinners, baby showers, and first birthdays. Or, we celebrate simply with backyard barbecues, football tailgates, and no-fuss girl nights. While some celebrations require more planning than others, every event is an opportunity to practice hospitality.

Parties are about connection, not perfection and my hope is that readers will find joy in inviting people not only into their homes, but into their life's-not-going-according-to-my-plan lives. When young women give their expectations to God and realize that perfection is only found in Christ, we are less disappointed, discontent, and depressed. We can spend our whole lives trying to practice hospitality perfectly but God simply wants us to accept his invitation and extend his love to others.

I've been working on the book for a few months now, and I'd love for you to pray that God will give me the words to write as my first deadline approaches. Writing a book is tough stuff! I'm sorry it took me so long to share the big news with you, but after years of waiting, it's all happened so fast. Plus, I've been afraid. Fear has paralyzed me with sharing because I wonder if anyone will like it or care. But, I know now that's just the devil trying to distract my heart. Please, please, please pray that I can stay focused and write words that you will want to read. 

Right now, it's looking like the book will be released next spring, just in time for Mother's Day!

I'll be documenting my journey on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, so please be sure to follow along. 

Whew! Thank you again for your prayers as I take these first brave steps into publishing. I have already learned so much and I know that this will continue to be a journey. If you are interested in reading about my journey to publication from the beginning, you can check out these posts:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

If you've ever had something inside of you that you just can't get rid of, give it to God. He will help you discover what you are supposed to do with your gifts. Trust in his timing and believe that He is perfect in all of His ways. Be obedient, stop doubting, and make time to learn, work, and grow. Ask others for advice and for help. Create, even if you aren't sure what you are creating. Be bold, take a risk, and even if you hear the words "no" (which I heard plenty over the past six years), let that no lead you to your yes. Quit if you need to quit. Start over if you need to start over. Don't let your work consume you, let it be something that you celebrate, even if you are the only one who will ever see it. Let God lead, and you be obedient to where He wants to take you. 

I'm so thrilled to be on this journey with you. Thank you for being my people. I love y'all and will share more soon!

Celebrating you,