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Thursday Thought: From Where the Ground Feels Good

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about a Bible story that never was. Thank goodness it never was. We’re all the better for it. I was considering the rather dramatic conversion of Saul to Paul. This change is so dramatic I have to confess that when I was little I spent more than a little while thinking these were two separate people. Full stop.
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2019 Top Reads: Gates of Fire

If there was any book that kept me awake thinking late at night long after I’d finished it, it was this book. Ask the people in my life that I was texting in all caps the minute I finished. It was that good. If you saw the movie 300 and wished there was a more accurate book that paid beautiful homage to the philosophies of brotherhood, bravery, and the warrior spirit, then this is the book for you. 

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Thursday Thought: The Price of Easy

Let’s talk about a man named Gideon. When Gideon shows up on the scene Israel is, to put it lightly, a complete mess. They’re making the same mistake that they have countless times up to this point. It seems like every time God sends someone to save them from themselves they hold it together just long enough to get home and start it all over again. It’s not that Israel is in trouble, it’s that Israel has no idea how to stop getting into trouble. 
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2019 Top Reads: Louisiana's Way Home

Louisiana's Way Home, Kate DiCamillo

I’ll start with this. You can never go wrong with Kate DiCamillo. I’ve loved her work since I was first introduced to Because of Winn Dixie as a kid. It was only in recent years, however, that I’ve explored the rest of her works, some of which have been released only in the last couple of years. This is an author that isn’t going anywhere any time soon and we are all the luckier for that. 

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Thursday Thought: The Inconsolable You

When I was little, I melted down way too easily. It honestly took next to nothing for me to end up in tears and sticking out my bottom lip in despair. If the littlest thing went wrong or took a turn for the worse I had to stop in my tracks and very publicly mourn it. It’s no wonder I went into theater in high school. 
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2019 Top Reads: Watership Down

I have to say, given my extreme allergy to and so general dislike of rabbits, I hardly expected to absolutely love a book about them. What’s more, I definitely wasn’t expecting to like such hardcore, dramatic rabbits. However, this book came to me as a recommendation from my uncle, whose taste in literature I trust almost completely, and I’m so, so glad I picked it up.
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Thursday Thought: Jonah and the Art of Running Away


Jonah. I don’t even know where to start with poor Jonah. If there’s any book of the Bible that I find myself avoiding from sheer discomfort (besides Revelation, of course), it’s the book of Jonah. Besides it being more of a downer of a story, I’m all too often left feeling uncomfortable with how familiar it all feels. 
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Thursday Thought: Moses and Midian

I’ll tell you something about myself. I absolutely loathe the idea of staying in one place for too long. It eats me up inside and I get downright antsy. Every time I watch a nature documentary that comments on sharks and their constant need for motion all I can think is “Sounds good to me!”. Let’s just say fear of missing out runs pretty strong in my veins. 
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2019 Top Reads: How to Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell 

I just have to start by voicing my extreme displeasure that I didn’t grow up with these books. It’s a tragedy. While I thoroughly enjoyed them in adulthood, I can only imagine how amazing it would be to grow up with the story and follow these fantastic characters from the same age.

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Thursday Thought: Joseph Journey Pt. 3

At my college graduation, I listened to what felt like a  hundred different speakers that I was told were great and important. If I’m being honest, I tuned most of them out. Half because I was nearly in tears from the weight of the day (but that’s another story), and half because a girl three chairs down to me had a bag of goldfish and I was trying to think of a non-creepy way to ask her if she would share. The main speaker, however, caught my attention and all because of a single point in her speech. Talking of her time moving up through the ranks in the media industry to the powerhouse success she is today, she said simply “Who you are in the halls matters.” 
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Thursday Thought: Joseph Journey Pt. 2

Sometimes life drops you down to the absolute bottom of the barrel. It comes out of nowhere. It hurts like a maddening itch. It makes you want to cry and wail or scream and shake your fist at the sky. There isn’t a single person alive who enjoys hitting rock bottom. The heartache of the experience is almost worse than the event itself. So what do we do? Most often we assure ourselves that this is as bad as it’s going to be. That this is terrible, but odds are it won’t get any worse. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.
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Thursday Thought: Joseph Journey Pt. 1

Joseph. I know this story backward and forwards, and yet just the other day I read it through in a completely new light. Somehow or another, I’d started to only look at Joseph’s story in light of how he handled it and viewed God’s role to be of secondary importance. Obviously, that was a foolish choice on my part. God is not just the main character of any given Bible story, he’s the story. Putting him back in his rightful place transforms Joseph’s story from one of surviving sibling rivalry to a powerful testimony to the work God does in our lives.
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Thursday Thought: The Not Always Happiest Season of All

It’s November. It’s Thanksgiving week. The holidays are completely upon us, which is weird considering I’m pretty sure yesterday was January but whatever. We’re starting to see all the usual holiday staples, bright lights, lots of shopping, huge meals that nearly send you into a coma, contemplative social media posts about the last year, etc. You know, most magical time of the year stuff. But for a lot of people that most magical time of the year, for all it’s bright lights and cheery jazz music, can conjure up a lot of painful associations. It’s not fun to recognize, but the holidays can leave a lot of people feeling nothing short of raw. On top of that, there can be a lot of well-meaning attempts to bear the hurting ones through the holidays that just leave people feeling like a burden on the happy and unaffected.
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Hard Work to Hard Copy: Three Sites to Teach Authors Book Marketing

Platform. Just the word alone is enough to make me shudder. In a perfect world, I would just get to do all the writing and post on social media for fun. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a perfect world so I have to be aware of this stuff. Yay. 
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Thursday Thought: If You Give a Mom A Llama

You know the book If You Give A Mouse a Cookie? Did you know it’s possible to live out the overall plot points of that book in real life? Around the time I was thirteen, my mom got it in her head that she wanted an alpaca. To her, that would be just about the best thing ever. She had all sorts of grand plans for her alpaca and after no small amount of cajoling, my Dad finally consented to get her one. It seemed like a simple enough request to fulfill. 
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Hard Work to Hard Copy: Five Steps to Have on Your Pre-Publishing Checklist

It’s almost here. YOu have a date set for publication, you’ve picked the publishing agency you’re going through, and you’ve done all the hard work of making sure your book is ready to go. So now what? This may seem like a hurry up and wait stage, but there is actually plenty of work to be done. Obviously, this process will be different depending on how you’re publishing and who you’re publishing through, but for an indie author there are some universal checklist points to hit before the big day comes and you start doing your happy dance in the living room (At least, that’s what I did…)
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Hard Work to Hard Copy: Three Things to Remember When Your Book is in Limbo

Publishing is tricky. Really tricky. If you’re leaping into the independent publishing process with the mindset that it will be simple and straightforward I have some bad news for you… 
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Thursday Thought: The Art of Defeat

Defeat stinks. There’s just no way around it. It really stinks. People don’t feel halfway about it. It’s not like we have people getting the rug pulled out from under their feet and then saying “I actually kind of enjoyed that!”. Defeat is painful, uncomfortable, and heartbreaking. 
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Thursday Thought: Weakness Watch

My church is working through the book of Galatians right now and it's been nothing short of eye-opening. Galatians as a whole is a none to gentle reprimand to believers who were falling back into some old bad habits and looking to other things to justify them in their faith. Paul doesn’t pull any punches as he starts his letter and honestly the more I read it, the more I can feel the sheepish cringing on behalf of the Galatians. 
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Hard Work To Hard Copy: Three Tips for Working with an Illustrator

You’ve spent months, maybe years, developing your book. The actual writing is nice and polished, but there’s still some tremendous work to be done. Work that goes beyond the realm of writing. Here’s the thing, you could learn how to do all these nuanced parts of the publishing process and it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you did. The trick is that now might not be the best time for you to learn all that. I’ve been trying to improve in my sketching, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m ready to illustrate my next book. If that were the case you’d best be prepared to look at a lot of stick figures… 
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Thursday Thought: Life Is Heavy, Travel Light

 If I had a nickel for every time I wished my life was easier, more comfortable, or more secure I would probably have enough money to make it all of those things. I come to God and without even realizing it I go “Do you see this? Do you see all the things I don’t have? This can’t be right. Something must have gone wrong! What do I do??” Because somewhere along the line I once again bought into the terrific lie that comfort and accomplishment equal Christian success. 

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Hard Work to Hard Copy: 5 Things Your Editor Wants You to Know

Why, hello dear readers of Avalon’s blog! Pleasure to meet you, I’m Kendall, Avalon’s humble editor friend.

 

I’ve edited a few of her projects over the last few years, including The Fantastic Adventures of Captain Acorn. My background includes a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a few academic publications under my belt. I’ve never truly identified as a writer but I’m always ready to give a whack at any piece of writing a friend or colleague threw at my inbox. There’s just something great about seeing someone else’s work and helping them make it just a bit clearer, cleaner, or consistent.

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Thursday Thought: Seashell Sanctuary

Life, by the very virtue of it being life, is incredibly difficult. It’s not so much a matter of if it will be difficult, but when (and just how bad). We don’t like to admit it, but it’s true. We know our own life story and what we’ve struggled with. Whatever life has thrown at us, it’s thrown the same at those in our orbit. No one can escape it, so what are we to do?
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Thursday Thought: The Comparison Game

We live in a seriously brutal age of comparison. It’s everywhere. Social media has done some really cool things, but it’s also dangerously heightened our sense of comparison. It’s all too easy to open our phones in the morning, glance through what everyone is posting, and then immediately berate ourselves (consciously or unconsciously) for not achieving those same milestones. I do it all the time without even realizing it and it’s madness. Total madness. 
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Hard Work to Hard Copy: Three Things You Should Know Before Independent Publishing

Independent publishing. Not so long ago this was viewed as the last resort of publishing, the option for those who couldn’t hack it as a “real” author. Then the internet and huge entities like Amazon became a part of our daily lives and the conversation changed. In today’s world, independent publishing is quickly closing the gap to traditional publishing, making itself an alluring choice for writer’s eager to get their book in the hands of readers. 
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