My Current Life in Books

I was going to do a new currently post, but I got really carried away writing about what I have been reading, so this will just be a post about books.


I’m taking an amazing sci-fi class called “Black Women and the Fantastic.” Our reading list so far has included: The Gilda Stories, Parable of the Sower, My Soul to Keep, and An Unkindness of Ghosts. Unkindness has been my favorite. The main character is neurodiverse and I adore her. I relate to her. I love her. I just want to hug that book. Rivers Solomon is a new favorite, and I cannot wait for their next book to release this year.

I have also been obsessed with Katherine Arden’s trilogy, via audio, starting with The Bear and the Nightingale. The second book, The Girl in the Tower, was equally beautiful. My library doesn’t yet have the third book on audio, so I am impatiently awaiting that. I love listening to these books, because the accent and language is just gorgeous, and my brain cannot do it justice.

I have been reading some interesting non-fiction as well. As I am working on this manuscript that deals a lot with how teens interact within friendships and in conflict, not to mention the gray areas rarely discussed in teen sexual relationships, I really loved Text Me When You Get Home. It reminded me so much of my own female friendships and why they matter. I also listened to American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Life of Teenagers. This made me predictably glad that we didn’t have smartphones when I was in middle and high school. It also filled me with a lot of anger and sadness for young teens growing up thinking so much of this crap is acceptable. I am about halfway through Not That Bad, which I am reading during my writing retreat to help me stay in the right frame of mind for writing a book that deals with rape culture.

I finally gave in and read Hillbilly Elegy, but I wasn’t in love with it. It wasn’t untrue, and it was certainly well written, but the overall tone of the book felt a little paternal. Like the narrator could simultaneously explain my family background and condemn it, if that makes sense. Empathy and judgment carefully combined in a delicate dance. Or maybe I was biased from the get-go. I’d heard plenty of negative reviews before I even read it. If you want to read about that area without that tone, I suggest: Creeker or Hillbilly Gothic.

I also read a whole book in Spanish. I mean, other than the picture books and that one Junie B. Jones novel I managed a couple of years ago. My class read Aura, and I really enjoyed it. I had to look up less words as the book went on, and it helped my confidence a lot. I am looking forward to our next read: La Casa en Mango Street. I already read it in English, and I loved it.

So, that is my current life in books. I am on my own little writing retreat in a tiny cabin at camp, and I managed 1500 new words this morning (and it is only 10:30). Also, I found a cat and lured it to me with pork jerky, and we sat together in the cold and it was perfect.



Currently: End of 2018

Current Books: I spent the semester immersed in two series from NK Jemison. Over the break, so far, I have been reading Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, Autism in Heels by Jennifer Cook O’Toole, The Land of Yesterday by KA Reynolds, and The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

Current Playlist: 90s hip-hop on my son’s Spotify account

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Playing way too much Candy Crush

Current Color: Bright jewel tones

Current Food: A teacher friend gave me some yummy peanut butter fudge.

Current Drink: Coffee with Oreo creamer

Current Favorite Favorite: The stack of novels I got to order for one of my classes next semester

Current Wishlist: My Amazon Wishlist

Current Needs: Some dental work

Current Triumph: Despite struggling with some focus and stress issues over the semester, I ended it with the following grades: A, A, A+, A+. So another 4.0 semester is in the books.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: My own lack of motivation to complete my Winter Break to do list

Current Indulgence: I bought a bunch of fleece-lined leggings/tights, and I have been wearing them under my jeans pretty much everyday.

Current Outfit: I am lounging in my Camp Lake Stephens plaid pj pants and my 1984 sweatshirt from Out of Print Clothing, plus knee-high socks AND ankle socks, because my feet get cold, thankyouverymuch.

Current #1 Blessing: My husband. He’s stressed and dealing with a personal hurt, but he remains loving and patient with me. I don’t know many people as selfless as Corey.

Current Quote: “the four statements that lead to wisdom: I don’t know. I need help. I was wrong. I’m sorry.” ― Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind

Current Photo: Photo Dec 20, 9 32 33 PM

The Scientific Method of Getting Luckie

Dear Neglected Blog,

I am neck-deep in two jobs and full-time school. I miss you. I miss writing my thoughts on a leisurely morning, coffee steaming beside me.

Those days will come again.

In the meantime, please take a trip over to Swoon Reads and read my book (for free) for a limited time.

The Scientific Method of Getting Luckie is the story of a boy learning about love and kissing and friendship and himself.

My oldest son has Tourette’s, and he (along with a few friends) were immensely helpful when it came to translating that experience onto the page. Of course, it will not match the experiences of EVERY person who has Tourette’s Syndrome, but it does dispel a few myths and introduce readers to a pretty awesome guy who is trying to figure it all out, just like we all are.

I hope you enjoy the read!



Alternative Theologies

Square social media post

If you know me well or have read much of this blog, you already know I have a lot of struggles with faith and religion. I believe in something bigger than me, than this world, than creation. I love Jesus and want to be more like him. I am certain that loving one another and being kind to ourselves and others can change the world.

And I love to write.

I’m excited about this new anthology from B Cubed Press for all of these reasons. Alternative Theologies: Parables for a Modern World includes stories and poems from a variety of amazing authors. You will find my story, “Counting Sunrises,” among the pages, and I hope you will order a Kindle or hard copy (or both).

It has been a bit of a rollercoaster year, writing-wise and in other areas of life. School is going well. I have published a few poems and done a few readings. I received an official diagnosis of autism. My agent decided to leave agenting, and I decided to take a break from querying agents and focus instead on short fiction, poetry, and small presses. I started a second job that involves writing web copy and cropping photos for a decor business. I applied for a bajillion scholarships (and received two of the bajillion). My oldest son got his driver’s license. My youngest son started high school.

I could go on with ups and downs. Mostly ups. Instead, I just want you to go order Alternative Theologies and join me in one of the happiest experiences of my year.


What Does Revival Look Like?

I was chatting with a friend last week, and she said something that has stuck with me. She said, “Revival doesn’t look like they thought it would.”

My friend was talking about a particular category of church people, those mostly of an older generation (though not all) who often talk about praying for revival. For the most part, when these church people pray for revival, they have a very particular picture in their heads. If God were to answer their prayer, in their minds, America would look a lot like it did in the 1950s. For them, revival has a lot to do with people going to church on Sundays and adhering to traditional Christian values.

I’ve always figured the things I hope and pray for are bound to look different than I imagine. After all, Jesus showed up and looked nothing like the Messiah was expected to look. He did not act like those praying for deliverance expected a deliverer to act. He was God but nothing he did or said looked like the God of the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus tried to revive and reform Jewish teaching and practice, but the leadership wasn’t having it.

I’m married to a United Methodist pastor. Here in Mississippi, we have watched a handful of churches walk away from our denomination and we are awaiting decisions from our General Conference that will change the face of the Methodist church. To many, this is scary. To me, this is scary. However, this week, I have felt challenged to look at what is happening through another lens.

Regardless of which side of the human sexuality debate we fall on, the future seems unsteady. Things are going to change. And those praying for revival are missing it. Here it is… a revival that does not look or act as those praying for it expect.

Why are these questions and issues rising to the surface in our church? They are surfacing and making waves because of people who love Jesus and want to ensure we are following Jesus truly. Across the country, people from many generations are asking hard questions of their leadership, their tradition, their scripture, and their God. We are asking tough questions and begging others to engage in these conversations with us.

Revival has never looked like a quiet return to the way things used to be. Revival means a new day, a new life, a resurrection. In the case of the modern church, what looks like falling apart may actually be waking up.

Some animals shed their skins as they grow. Some animals shed their shells and look for bigger homes. Many times throughout history the body of Christ has had to shed her skin and her shell.

If you want to know what revival looks like, look at Jesus.

Revival will look nothing like tradition or status quo. Revival will look like uncomfortable changes, breaking bread with those the church has previously ostracized, stepping away from positions of power and nationalism. Revival will look like Jesus and Jesus looks like change. Jesus looks like love.

Scripture speaks of not putting new wine in old wineskins, and it seems like revival could mean letting go of the old wineskin of the UMC and embracing a new wineskin. That doesn’t mean the Methodist Church dies. That means she lives.

She lives revived, brand new, changed into a closer likeness of the Christ.

It’s still scary. The unknown will never cease to elicit fear, but it doesn’t have to paralyze us. It doesn’t have to tear us apart.

Revival doesn’t look like comfortable.

Revival looks like Jesus.

Apropos of Nothing

I love spring weather, but my allergies are ridiculous this year. Even after taking my meds this morning, I walked into Spanish class with puffy red eyes, smudged eye makeup, etc. I looked like a 15-year-old girl going through her first breakup. I’m sure my classmates were tired of blessing me every time I sneezed. I did take a Benadryl on top of my regular allergy pill, and that finally kicked in. So I quit sneezing but was groggy the rest of the day.

It is that point in the semester that I am mentally finished. I have been in class basically non-stop since January of 2017. I even took a full load last summer. I love school. I really do, but I am looking forward to taking summer to regroup.

Should I study abroad in Madrid?

I am reading a book that includes that whole concept of falling in love with anyone if you answer a certain 36 questions and then stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes. I find the concept fascinating.

My youngest son has his first girlfriend. THAT makes me feel even older than being on a college campus makes me feel.

I turned in my last poem of the semester today. Bittersweet. I have really enjoyed writing so much poetry this semester. I mean, aside from my novel-in-verse manuscript. That is coming along well enough, but I think writing outside of YA is really good for me too. It helps me to stretch my writing muscles in various directions.

I started a new job, writing product descriptions for a farmhouse decor company. That means I am officially a paid writer. I won’t be winning any pulitzers for my ethereal descriptions of rustic finishes and antique inspired charm, but I am getting paid to write. It’s a nice feeling.

I started watching “Love” on Netflix yesterday, and I think I have my new binge show. Not that I have time to binge any TV right now. I have a Spanish final I am super nervous about. Plus my other finals, of course, and the last assignments of the semester as well.

I am doing an open mic at school next week.

Okay, I think I am done rambling. I just hadn’t blogged in a while. I’m sorry there is no substance to this post.

Have a picture of my cute kitten, Edna Millay:

Photo Mar 17, 4 31 19 PM

Currently: Edición de Pascua

Current Books: I had a gift card from my birthday, so I bought myself Amanda Lovelace’s new volume: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One. On audio during my school commute, I am listening to Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid. I just finished Maybe the Saddest Thing by Marcus Wicker (I get to take a workshop with him next semester!). Most of my reading is from textbooks right now. At least I have interesting textbooks.

Current Playlist: I just bought a song that I heard at the start of the Justice League movie, “Everybody Knows” by Sigrid.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Window shopping on Poshmark and ThredUp. I don’t end up buying anything, but I spend way too much time browsing.

Current Color: I’m into purple lately. This wasn’t a conscious shift. I just noticed that I have bought a lot of purple items lately.

Current Food: I had O’Charley’s for dinner last night, thanks to gift cards from my coworkers after my brother’s funeral. I basically made out with the rolls. Don’t judge me.

Current Drink: I’m fantasizing about Banana Tropical soda from Honduras. I need to stop at the Honduran place on Getwell Rd and buy a bottle (or three).

Current Favorite Favorite: The Goodwill on Winchester in Memphis. My friend, Carrie, and I went last weekend. I don’t let myself go over there often, because I always find a ton of clothes I want and that would break the bank if it happened monthly. Ya know? But I had not been in over a year, so I splurged and bought some fun clothes and shoes. I adore second-hand shopping. I have a lot of opinions about ethics in the fashion industry, but buying the ethically made clothing I can feel good about costs more than I can budget. Second hand is my compromise. I am not giving my money directly to the brands that worry me. And yes, I know, there have been concerns raised about Goodwill also. I have been researching other options in the area.

Current Wishlist: I want an electric kettle for the kitchen. Oh, and I want to buy a crimping iron. I know…. Corey says I am currently reliving my teenage rebellion phase of life.

Current Needs: I need to make a dentist appointment now that I have a more flexible work schedule. I also need to make an eye appointment. And I need some scholarships for the fall semester.

Current Triumph: I was invited to read poems at a Women’s History event for the English Department on campus. I chose my college based on their English department, so that made me very happy.

Current Bane-of-My-Existence: The essay I have to write for Anthropology this weekend… I don’t know why. It’s a simple essay about a topic that interests me. But my brain is resisting.

Current Indulgence: I joined Ipsy. I am trying to find make-up products I like without breaking the bank, so it seemed like a good choice.

Current Outfit: This year’s ensemble for Easter includes red striped skinny jeans with a white tee and cowboy boots.

Current #1 Blessing: Time with my husband. With our respective work schedules and my school and all of the kids’ activities it can be difficult to make time for just the two of us, but we did this weekend and it was a lot of fun.

Current Quote: “But remember that reading provides nourishment for hungers we might not even be aware of. How often have I chosen a book at random and found in it an answer I didn’t realize I was seeking.” ― Beth Ann Fennelly, Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother

Current Photo:

Photo Mar 30, 11 11 11 AM

Poem I wrote on the wall at Huey’s