The thing about blogging is that it gives us each a chance to share a few moments of our day with our reader friends.
I love blogging when I get to tell about seeing the Royal family or when I learn a new recipe. I love blogging when, in all honesty, the writing is good and the stories are funny or tug on heart strings. I love blogging and reading blogs for an hour or so a day.
But that leaves another 23 hours.
The thing about blogging is that it is our real lives, it’s just not the FULLNESS of real life….
. . . . .
On Saturday night I sat on the bus from Princes Street to Morningside and thought long and hard about that article I wrote for (in)courage. It was dark and chilly and windy like a November night in Nashville. I missed my train then missed my bus and I was two hours late getting home.
I thought about the fact that I was missing the (in)courage beach weekend, I was missing Georgia football, I was wondering how things might be different if I was in Nashville.
And I was totally alone.
It’s not that I hadn’t seen friends all day. I had.
It was a deeper alone than that. It was a going home alone thing. A family-less alone. A man-less alone. A best friend-less alone. A someone who has known me longer than 6 months-less alone.
It was this alone that doesn’t cross my heart very often.
I am totally digging my life in Scotland, you know this. But it doesn’t mean that it is pain-free or sacrifice-free or perfect. It can be hard. Really hard.[This doesn’t shake my faith, don’t let it shake yours.]
It is hard for me to feel alone. It makes me worry that it is permanent. It makes me feel like I have to be stronger than I want to be. It makes me feel like I am the only one who looks out for me. It makes me wrestle with God and who He is and what it looks like to call Him my home.
And that is something that I normally wouldn’t blog about.
So the thing about blogging is that it isn’t easy to admit when things don’t feel perfect or awesome. But the thing about blogging [and this being MY blog 🙂] is I get to choose which minutes of my day I share with you, whether that is easy or not.
And today, I’m choosing to share the hard minutes. Hope that’s okay.
. . . . .
Feel free to share your hard minutes or your easy minutes in the comments today… and know you are prayed for.
I could give you 1000 reasons that I keep blogging.
There is only one reason I started.
I started because my sister blogged. And being that we are only 15 months apart, we pretty much lived with an “if she can do it, so can I” attitude. [Not super great for our relationship, but we were very accomplished.]
So in November of 2006 I started a blog.
In November of 2006 I taught 4th grade in Marietta, GA. I was 26 years old and a proud first-time home owner. I thought I may have figured out who I wanted to marry and I certainly knew where I wanted to live. I blogged for the ten friends who read the blog [big waves to all the Blog2Facers!]. I named my blog after a letter Daddy wrote me where he said, “Hope this helps you take a step towards your dream of being a writer.”
The old blog used to be named “Taking A Step Towards Your Dream” – anybody still around from those good ole days?
Almost five years later, the blog has a much simpler name [you’re welcome] and my life is significantly different. I live in Nashville. I’m one week from turning 31. I’m single and I have no clue who I am going to marry [but if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears…]. I quit teaching school to pursue a writing career and my first book is in hands of women all over the world.
And this little blog, this little corner of the internet sky, has seen it all. You see the words and the pictures in every post. I see the place where I wrote it. I see what was between every line. I see the tears dripping on my keyboard and I see the jokes that I read out loud to anyone around me.
I see the steps we took towards my dream.
And I see you. When I started this, I did not know that I would love it, but more importantly, I did not know I would love YOU.
Today is a cool day.
This is my 1000th post.
And I just want to say that it is a privilege to write for you. For her. For them. For Him.
So thank you for being a part of God’s story for me. Thank you for coming back here, day after day, a thousand times for some of you [hey Mama!], and thank you for teaching me the JOY of living openly and honestly.
It is a joy.
I’m not going anywhere. This is no swan song. But I just couldn’t let this 1000th post pass without making a point to stop and thank you.
So on behalf of myself and Mr. Darcy, thanks y’all.
Thank you so much. You will never know what you have done for my soul.
And thank you, Daddy, for that first note, for giving me the freedom to put my feet on the path towards this life.
1000 steps later, I’m living my dream.
Because I eat dinner and then go to bed.
I’m pretty sure I’m the wildest girl around- you know, in the bed by 9pm and all, cause I gotta be up and smiling by 4:30am.
Anyways, I’m terribly sorry about the blog silence.
Here are some things:
1. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers last week. My heart and mind are feeling healthier.
2. We had boot camp yesterday in the rain. I kept fluctuating between the desire to cry and the desire to throw up. Neither happened. This time.
3. I have decided that Bethenny Ever After is my favorite show. I adore Bethenny and Jason. If Gina ever goes back to Trinidad, I would be Brynn’s nanny in a New York minute. Literally.[Sorry if you don’t watch the show and that entire #3 is foreign to you.]
4. These are some of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen. Obviously, this is not who Jesus really is, which is what makes it absolutely hilarious.
So I may be the stinkiest blogger this month, but hopefully this video will make up for it.
5. Our book club is reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and I am loving it. It’s set in the UK, which you know blesses my soul. I get to host as well and we will be having some delicious British treats. Saturday, I am excited about you.
6. I have a new plan for blogging on Fridays. It’s gonna be fun.
7. I love getting emails. It means the world. And right now my inbox [and my facebook inbox] is full to the brim. Forgive me if you are waiting on a reply. I’m going to be taking some time this weekend to respond to all of you- my friends, my family, my enemies, my bandmates, and my suitors.
I’m kidding. I’m not in a band.
But I’m not kidding about the email replying thing.
I think if I keep repeating this to myself, it shall soon become true.
I had an absolutely awesome weekend. My sisters were in town, some friends came to town, we watched a lot of basketball and had about forty people over to the house for BBQ. We saw Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors in concert. We ate like we were on death row [meaning good, like REALLY good food that is super bad for you but we didn’t care]. And we did a lot of this…
Which leaves me with absolutely nothing to complain about.
Except the weather. It. Is. Freezing. But because Mondays are for winners, I refuse to dwell on the winter temperatures. Because I’m a winner and winners don’t dwell on negative things but pardon me, if it is 40*F in March, doesn’t that equal -20*F in my soul?
I’m just saying. It’s science. Look it up.
So… my first two (in)courage Bloom Book Club posts are up! It makes me sweaty to think of being the center of attention over there for the whole week, but it seems to be going okay so far. [Ummm, the “center of attention” part isn’t what I hate- who are we kidding? I actually love that. So maybe just running the show somewhere outside of this little corner of the internet sky is what makes me nervous.]
You can check out the posts here–
Meet Annie Downs [you already know me, but you can pretend like you don’t]
An Interview With Annie [thanks for the questions!]
There will be a new post there every day this week, so be sure to check it out. I mean, if you wanna.
Also, my sweet friend Ashleigh blogged about her Marine coming home from deployment and I love them. Thought you might want to love them too.
Also, it makes me mad that Charlie Sheen stole “WINNING!” from the rest of the world because it is a word that I wish I could have used a few times throughout this post already. But he high-jacked it and I’m mad.
I think you need to see this picture as well.
Know what this means? It means I’m getting ready to start writing again… in a major way. Know what that means? It means I’m about to start writing my next book. Know what that means? You’re about to have to PRAY.ME.THROUGH.
I’m spending the next few weeks honing my craft, reading books that make me think and write and make my heart feel like it is going to explode out of my chest. I don’t know what God is doing, but I can’t quit thinking about being a better writer and the excitement of starting something new. It’s kinda fun… kinda scary… and kinda awesome.
Someday, when I haven’t already written 474 words, I’ll tell you why your prayers mean so much to me when I’m writing. But for now, I’ll just remind you how I finish writing a book.
I’ve done it before. I can do it again. And hopefully, I’ll finish this one on a Monday.
[Ugh, see? See what he did? It’s not even fun anymore. Sigh… back to your Monday, my friends.]
How was your weekend? And also- how is the weather where you are? And also- are you mad that Charlie Sheen stole “WINNING!” from the rest of the English-speaking population?
Sorry I have been bloggy absent. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by The Camera Incident of 2011 and the fact that in the last five days I have located TWO GRAY HAIRS on the crown of my head.
Meaning that as of today, I am officially older than I feel, act, or admit.[Kidding. I’m 30. I promise. And proud of it.]
I kept the first gray hair. It is in my change purse and I keep showing it off. Gross or not, it’s my life.
Now. Less about me, more about you.
I need your help.
Next week, I am the featured author on the (in)courage Bloom Book Club [squeal!yay!woot!]. And I’m just wondering if there are any questions you’d like me to answer…. like, you can interview me. I mean, I could just interview myself- I’ve done it before– but before I do that, I figured I’d check with you.
Anything you’d like to know about:
If you can’t come up with anything, I’ll be forced to interview myself and it always ends up getting way more volatile than I intend.
Help me? Help me help you? Help me help you help me?
It’s been a few weeks [maybe even months?] since we talked about the fact that I wrote a book and you can read that book.
This blog is not about my book. But the blog and that book have the same author and there could be a chance that you are new here and don’t know that I wrote a book.
Hi. I’m Annie. I wrote From Head To Foot.
How are things going? Well, as you know, I self-published with Westbow Press. And it was a super good decision. I have really enjoyed working with them from the beginning. The only problem has been getting statistics and sales numbers now that the book is out.
And if I had a dollar for every time someone asked, “How many books have you sold?” I would be able to wallpaper my house with miniature portraits of George Washington.
Meaning, I still don’t know an EXACT number, but I know that there are some traditional publishers who have shown some interest in possibly picking up the book. [tiny squeal]
That is only a tiny squeal because the truth of the matter is
It’s more of a tiny squeal knowing that people have connected with the book enough that it has garnered some attention from companies who pay writers to connect with people. That’s more of the reason for the squeal. So tiny squeal all you want because it is exciting that God is using this book in some small ways. It’s fun.
Anyways, here are few things you may want to know about the book:
–> You can buy From Head to Foot here on Amazon.
–> If you have bought it and read it, would you mind writing a short and sweet [or not sweet, your prerogative] review on Amazon? It makes a HUGE difference.
–> If you are leading a small group of girls this semester, over the summer, or in the fall, there is a Leader’s Guide available for free. [Scroll down and you’ll see where to put in your email address so we can email it to you.]
–> You might not know this, but I’ve been making a video for each chapter of the book for small groups. So you can see those on the FHTF YouTube page.
–> I have a AnnieBlogs facebook page. Will you like me?
Here’s another great question people keep asking me- “What is your next book?” And when people ask me that I kinda giggle and then I cry and then I start to sweat and then I pass out on the floor.
Meaning, I have some ideas but haven’t really started writing anything significant. So if you have any ideas of a book you’d like me to write, throw your idea in the hat.
And by “hat” I mean “comment box” because I actually don’t wear a lot of hats.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very exciting week here on the blog, including some awesome news from Mocha Club and my dear pal Matt Wertz and some Scotland talk and some pictures and some chats about ice cream because I love it.
Phew. That is more than enough for your Monday. See you tomorrow.
I’m emotional just typing this post.
That does not bode well for my speaking engagement this weekend. My eyes are probably going to puddle for my entire 40 minute slot.
Let me back up a bit.
From 2003-2005, I taught 5th grade in Jackson County. I have never loved sixty small people as much as I loved those kids. I prayed for them every day. I hugged them, cried with them, and let them get away with way more than I should have because gosh darn it, they were the cutest.
But I never openly shared the Gospel with those kids. [I hope I shared the Gospel every day with my life, but you know what I mean.] I taught in a public school and I believe in respecting the laws of separating church and state.
Over the last seven years, I have returned to Jackson County once or twice a year for sports events or graduations or just because I miss my friends. I love that place.
In January, I got an email from a girl in Jackson County who works at the Static Student Mall, an outreach to teenagers in that county. She had seen my book and wanted to know if I would come speak at an event.
To summarize: I am speaking Saturday, about Jesus, to high school girls in Jackson County.
Look at the math. My 5th graders? They are now 11th and 12th graders.
THE SAME GIRLS THAT WERE 5TH GRADERS IN MY CLASSROOM WILL BE HIGH SCHOOLERS IN THE AUDIENCE.
If you are a teacher or have ever been a teacher, I bet you can imagine the multiple heart explosions I’ve had thinking about the opportunity I have been given on Saturday. Even explaining it to my co-workers at Mocha Club yesterday made me tear up.
In fact, I can’t hardly think about it without crying and whispering to God, “You have exceeded my dreams… You are always good to me… You saw this all along… You. Are. The. Best… Thank You…” Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, until I can no longer form sounds due to the tears.
In my little heart and in my short little life, this is one of the biggest deals ever.
THIS is a dream come true.
I speak at 1pm EST on Saturday. If you would just set an alarm to pray for even one minute, it would mean so much to me.
This may be the most important speaking opportunity I will ever have.
May God be glorified.
Happy weekend, friends!
While I’m not typically a weekend blogger, it is snowing here in Nashville and the idea of exiting my fleece pajamas for any other less snuggly type of clothing seems nightmare-ish. So I shall blog.
Which is good.
Because I totes forgot to tell you yesterday afternoon when the Leader’s Guide for From Head To Foot got uploaded to my blog, therefore possible for you to download.
HERE IS THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY. Just slide your email address into that box and my blog will know you want a leader’s guide and email it to you.[We did it that way mainly because we only want legitimate folks getting it, not just randars who happen upon our corner of the internet. So this way, you have to actually have an email address to get the free book.]
Isn’t the cover the cutest? I’m telling ya- Emily Keafer has got some mad design skillz, that is for certain. In this case, I would be honored if you would judge the book by it’s cover.
So go ahead- grab you a copy. Seriously. ESPECIALLY if you are leading a small group or if you want to pass the leader’s guide on to your church’s youth director or whatevs. There are additional discussion questions, some awesome graphics, ice-breakers, and some secret stuff that is made of awesome.
ALSO. And this is a big also.
If you are trying to order more than 3 copies of From Head To Foot, Amazon is being stinky about it. So, email me [annieblogs (at) gmail (dot) com] if you are trying to get a bulk amount.
And apparently Amazon labels “bulk” as “four”. Lame. I don’t want small group leaders spending a fortune to get these books. So please. Just email a sista.
Hope you have a super great weekend.[I mean that. Not just saying it. I don’t throw around hopes like that. I’m not haphazard in my hoping. I genuinely have massive hope for your weekend.]
1. How much do you love Annie Parsons? I. KNOW. Me too.
2. I leave for Scotland in exactly 2 weeks. People keep asking me if I have a list of what to pack or a long list of things to complete before I go. And I keep saying no. Which is concerning. If other people think I should have a list, does that mean I should have a list?
3. Also. When I wrote that post about Scotland, I thought I left on the 19th. When I checked my itinerary, I realized I actually leave on the 17th. Good thing I checked.
4. I saw The King’s Speech last night. And please, do yourself a favor a see it. It is rated R because he says the F-word a lot. But no nudity or violence. Absolutely fantastic movie that I’m ready to see it again. Beautiful acting. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, bravo.
5. Afterwards, my friends and I went to dinner and we talked about “2011: The Year of ____“. I gave a boring [but truthful] answer about how I want it to be the year where I read the Bible, the year where I get to know God better, the year I set aside time to fast and pray. I have lots of questions swirling in my mind and I don’t want to find the answers as much as I just want to know the One with the answers.[Which, by the way, I am going to read the Bible this year for realz. I’ve printed off this Bible Reading Plan that has 25 days per month, so that you have 5 days to be a slacker. Right. Up. My. Alley.]
6. Outside of those things, I have no clue what 2011 holds. I have bubbles of excitement in my belly about it, but I don’t know how to make eloquent words out of that, so take it as you will.
7. I literally cannot believe that I am running [“running”] a half-marathon on March 5. What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, I know. I just think it may actually kill me.
8. When I think about 2010, I smile. I am grateful. [Maybe because I didn’t have to run 13.1 miles in 2010? Yeah, that’s part of it.]
9. I absolutely love the Cowart family. Like, so so much. So to be at a wedding on NYE with them was sweet. Every time I look at this picture I think, “Downs. You are a lucky girl.” [You can say “blessed” if “lucky” ruffles your feathers… you know what I mean.]
[Quick reminder: Leader’s Guide comes out on Friday! Totally free download- even if you haven’t purchased the book yet, you can have the Leader’s Guide.]
10. People keep asking me how I’m going to continue to “market” my book. Um, here’s my plan. Ready? I’m going to trust that if you guys like the book, you will tell someone else. I have some giveaways and guest posts and articles and the like, but the real win is if you like it enough to tell your people. Okay? Thanks.
11. I have a handful of emails to reply to that were sent over the Christmas holiday. If one was yours, fear not. A well-deserved reply is coming today! [Public inbox accountability? Check.]
Catch me up, friends! What’s been the highlight of your 2011 so far? Or… do you have an answer for “2011: The Year of ______”? I’d love to hear it!
What an amazing night. It was cool that so many of our friends gathered together at Daily Grind and hugged and chatted and laughed and talked about things like, “Hey, remember that time you moved to Nashville to write a book? I didn’t think you’d do it. You did. See you later.”
TONS more pictures are on my FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE. Check ’em out. And while you are there, click the little “LIKE” button, so you don’t miss out on things like brand new recipes [coming in 2 weeks!], some secret book sales, and you know, other life-changing stuff. 🙂
If you missed the party and still need to grab a copy of the book- head to AMAZON![If you’ve finished the book, would you mind writing a REVIEW ON AMAZON?]
I’m gonna take a little holiday break, like the rest of you fine folks out there.
So have a Merry Christmas, my friends.