Today I turn twenty-five.
And I’m just going to be honest, that feels weird to type… much less speak out loud.
Maybe because, for an entire year, every time someone has asked my age (which shockingly happens more often than one would think), I’ve immediately answered “twenty-three.”
I mean, I don’t lie on purpose. Somehow my brain just can’t keep up with the fact that, for literally 365 days, year twenty-four was a real thing.
For reasons I haven’t been able to put my finger on just yet, twenty-five feels important. It sounds like change and feels like worn-in jeans, like maybe I’ll continue to learn to live fully where I am and be settled inside, even while things shift around me. It feels both comfortable and new, and I like the sound of that.
Twenty-four held beauty and joy, laughter and answered prayers. It also held sorrow and confusion, laps around hospital floors and more unknowns that I could count on two hands. Twenty-five will hold much of the same, I would imagine. Halfway through year twenty-four, I hung up the phone after receiving terribly scary news and I wrote a post titled When You Need to Know the Story Isn’t Over. And look how it isn’t, how we’re all still here, how the pages keep on turning.
And so I’ll choose to be present in the moment, thanking God for the present, the gift that it is.
And also, I will drink all the iced coffee, have dessert before dinner (chocolate chip cookies with sea salt on top, bless it), and I’ll end the day toasting to twenty-five in “best day ever” glasses with one of my favorite people.
All is well and all will be well and my gosh, I’m thankful for another year. Here’s to the next chapter.
Gifts and coffee for you…
So listen, here’s the thing: I really wish you and I could get coffee. I’m pretty sure we’d hit it off, don’t you think?
But since we likely don’t live in the same city, I’ve been dreaming up a way to send you coffee.
And at the same time, I’ve been trying to find a way to send a physical gift to everyone who left a review for my book, Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between.
Because I’ve worked as a launch team manager for nearly a dozen book releases, I know how vital book reviews are. And, to put it simply, I want to say thank you to those who took the time to write words about my words.
(That’s almost as weird a sentence to write as “Today I turn twenty-five.”)
(Publishing fun fact: 50 and 100 are really important benchmarks for Amazon. When you hit 50 reviews, Amazon begins promoting your book in book slideshows. For example, if you scroll down when viewing a book, you’ll see dozens of other book recommendations. Amazon selects those books based on similar purchases + the number of book reviews.)
All of this got me thinking, and I figured… why not combine the two ideas? Why not thank those who have left reviews and, also, send coffee to people?
And so that’s what I want to do to celebrate my birthday. Send you gifts and coffee!
Here’s how it will work…
See all the images in this post, the prints that several talented artists designed with quotes from Even If Not? If you’ve read the book, you know each chapter begins with beautiful artwork. And if you’re an email subscriber here, you received all 9 prints as a PDF when you subscribed.
But if you’ve left a review of Even If Not on Amazon, I want to send you four of the prints. In the mail. Like the good ol’ days when you opened your mailbox to more than a pile of bills.
And, because coffee absolutely must be involved, I’ll randomly pick a couple people who leave reviews both places and let’s just say there might be a Starbucks gift card tucked between the prints. Because if we can’t have coffee together in person, the next best thing is treating you to coffee from far away.
Simply email me, before December 1st, at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your mailing address as well as a link to your review(s). You’ll hear back from me within 48 hours…and then a package will be on the way to you! Please, please know that I do not read reviews for my book (pinky-promise)… I just need to be able to click the link(s) and see that you aren’t spam. :)
Right now, Even If Not has 37 reviews (I only know this because I just looked it up) so we aren’t too far from 50. I say “we” because, in so many ways, you’ve been with me from the book announcement to the book release and have continued to cheer this white & gold & silver book on.
But listen, y’all.
It would truly be wonderful to reach 50 reviews on both sites because it means Even If Not will find its way into the hands of those who need it, those who are broken but hopeful, desperate to find God in the middle of a storyline they wouldn’t have chosen. At the end of the day, that’s why book slideshows, and therefore reviews, matter to me.
Honestly, it feels more than a little bit awkward to even mention reviews, but I know how much they matter and I know that you keep on showing up here and you’ve cheered for this book from the get-go, so I trust you’ll hear my heart behind these words.
Even if only those who have already left a review see this thank you gift, I am 100% okay with that.
It’s no small thing to take a minute to write a review, and I’m incredibly grateful to those 37. So if I mail exactly 37 gifts? It’s worth the cost 37 times over.
(If you aren’t sure what to say in a book review, a good tip is to pretend your best friend asked what you thought about the book. What would you honestly say? What did you love or learn? What stood out to you? Etc.)
Many, many thanks to you for being here, for reading all these many words, and for being a community of people I consider my friends. Year twenty-five is better for having you in it.
P.S. If you aren’t an email subscriber and want to join the fun + receive all 9 prints as a PDF, just click here to learn more.
There’s this game I like to play and it never fails to catch people by surprise. Here’s how it works: I invite someone to grab coffee and once we’ve found a comfortable seat, our hands wrapped around a cup of something delicious, I look into their eyes and say these...read more
This weekend, I went to the pumpkin patch and left with both a pumpkin and a sunburn. But apparently, in the past three days, fall has decided to arrive in Alabama. And let me tell you, I am here for it. Bring on the apple cider, sweater weather, crunchy leaves and...read more
I tried -- I mean I really, really tried -- to write these words without having to swallow down a lump in my throat, without blinking back tears. It shouldn't be that hard, I told myself. After all, the heartbeat behind this post has been on repeat in my mind for...read more
I love keeping secrets... but even better than keeping them is finally spilling the beans, the moment when the secret gets to be shared. Nearly a year ago, I received an invitation to partner together on a couple projects with LifeWay and (in)courage. (Writing that...read more
Isabella Morganthal, author and founder of a magazine for young girls, has a lot of wisdom for her twenty years. If you've read Chapter 1 (Questions & Answers) of Even If Not, you'll understand why I smiled real big when reading her words below, the ones she wrote for...read more
“Being his workmanship doesn’t mean we are all poets. It means we are all poems, individual created works of a creative God. And this poetry comes out uniquely through us as we worship, think, love, pray, rest, work, and exist.” - Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little...read more
One of the ways I purposely work on appreciating the beautiful but so-very-ordinary stuff of real life and regular days is by keeping track of what I'm learning. It's simple and yet also meaningful, a practical way to practice the ministry of paying attention. Summer...read more
Somehow two years have gone by and yet this is still the face I make when I think about that day. Exactly two years ago, I opened up a blank page and wrote 2,000 words. It felt like breaking wide open, like an offering poured out. Also, it felt crazy. But I wrote...read more
"I have literally nothing together about my life." -Me, in an Instagram story this week Currently, there are more questions than answers, unknowns looming around every corner and piling up every time the calendar flips. On Wednesday night I felt led to share about...read more
Do you read more than one book at a time? Once upon a time I refused to start another book until finishing whatever I was currently reading... but now? Um, not so much. I am always (ALWAYS) in the middle of multiple books. Which, as one might imagine, requires...read more