First things first — the $5 Amazon book discount? The one you’ve been emailing me about for weeks, asking when it would be live? Update below. :)

One of the ways I intentionally practice appreciating the beautiful but so-very-ordinary stuff of real life and regular days is by keeping track of what I’m learning.

My friend Emily is the mastermind behind this simple but meaningful practice. Since 2016, I’ve joined her by jotting down notes of the small, the sacred, the silly, and everything in between.

More than anything else, this helps me pay attention to what’s happening around me, what’s happening within me, and what surprises me along the way.

Eight things I learned this fall (the random fun fact about Jeff Probst and Jenna Fischer might be my favorite).


Eight Things I Learned This Fall:


1. You care just as much as I do about the Amazon Black Friday book deal.

This only serves to confirm the fact that you are my people. With every email asking “Do you know the code yet?” and “Have you shared the discount? Did I miss it?” I couldn’t help but smile. As of noon CST, the deal (typically $5 off any $20 or more print book purchase) is still not live (although it’s expected to begin this weekend).

I’ve contacted Amazon and they said to keep watching. I’ll send out an email to subscribers as soon as I see it live! If you want to go ahead and pick out your books, I have plenty of book suggestions for you here!

(My runner-up favorite Black Friday deals: 4 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for 99 cents – I’ve used this every day for years and love it – and 3 completely free months of Kindle Unlimited.)

Hopefully the book promo will show up soon! According to your emails, I’m not the only one with an insanely long To Be Read list and books in her Amazon cart. This week I created an Amazon page with my favorite recent reads, Advent resources, and items I use on a regular basis. I hope this serves you well! If you do any shopping at Amazon this weekend or holiday season, it would mean SO much to me if you went to first.

Another way to save this holiday season: This post lists the 3 (totally free) apps that I use to save money every single week. They work for purchases online and in person, and you’ll receive money back for buying things you already planned to purchase (example: one pays you for reloading your Starbucks app, and another pays you back for buying bread at the grocery store).

Eight things I learned this fall (the random fun fact about Jeff Probst and Jenna Fischer might be my favorite).

2. Jeff Probst officiated Jenna Fischer’s wedding.

Thank you, Office Ladies Podcast, for this piece of trivia that doesn’t impact my life and yet absolutely fascinates me. Now if we could just combine The Office with Survivor and have the cast become the castaways.

3. There’s a reason the color in between white and black is spelled both gray and grey.

For years I’ve wondered why this one word is spelled two different ways, and yet no one seems confident that they’re correct. Apparently, neither way is wrong  — it just depends on your location! In the US, gray is the more popular spelling while those in the UK, Ireland, and Australia typically use grey. (If you can’t remember, here’s a trick: A in America, E in Europe.)

4. My book is, apparently, now available at — all thanks to kind readers.

This fall, a reader messaged to say she reached out to ChristianBook and inquired about . They’ve never carried a single copy, but that is 100% the norm for self-published books. In fact, having Even If Not at both Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million still shocks me because self-pub is rarely carried by anyone other than Amazon (you typically need a publishing house to open retailer doors).

Well, because you asked and because they can see there’s a market for the book thanks to the Amazon reviews, ChristianBook listened. A few days later, it was suddenly in stock on their website⁣ and is currently listed next to Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer.

I’d like to tell you I’m playing it cool, but that would be a lie. These are doors I couldn’t open on my own. This is all thanks to you and your reviews and God’s kindness. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Truly, your Amazon reviews matter more than you know.

5. Several years ago, Jaci Velasquez and Katy Hudson (Katy Perry) were roommates in Los Angeles.

My jaw dropped when I read this in Jaci’s new book. Once again, a fun fact that doesn’t change my life even one iota and yet knowing random things like this brings me joy. What a small world.

Eight things I learned this fall (the random fun fact about Jeff Probst and Jenna Fischer might be my favorite).

6. Silence is endangered.

Twice this fall I paused a podcast mid-episode to write down a quote about noise (or the lack thereof). In my What I Learned: Summer 2019 post, I mentioned the interesting book publishing theme this fall revolving around rest, slowing down, and choosing less instead of more.

I say interesting because it takes approximately two years between an author signing a contract and the book releasing into the world. This means for two years, several authors and publishing houses and marketing teams were writing, designing, thinking about and preparing materials for a similar message — at the same time. Coincidence? I honestly don’t think so.

(And it makes me wonder . . . are several authors writing on the same thing right now and we just won’t know it for another two years? Time will tell.)

The theme of rest and slowing down is one I want to continue talking, thinking, and learning about. I’m working on a new book list for you with this specific theme in mind.

Heard on episode 759 of On Being: “Silence is so endangered we need another word for it. Silence is on the verge of extinction.” – Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist

Heard on episode 62 of The Enneagram Journey: “The new tools of the devil are muchness and many-ness and noise and crowds and hurry.” – Richard Foster, who said this in the 1970s

Eight things I learned this fall (the random fun fact about Jeff Probst and Jenna Fischer might be my favorite).

7. No matter the city, I will stop dead in my tracks if I see a cathedral.

As best as I can remember, I’ve never traveled as much in a short amount of time as I have this fall. In less than two months, I traveled to Atlanta twice, Chicago, New York City, and Nashville.

I’m grateful for each trip — for the memories made, pictures taken, bravery exercised, new friendships begun and old friendships strengthened. I’m also grateful to be home again, to have time to catch my breath and actually think about the memories and look at the photos.

As I looked through my camera roll last night, I paused at this one, remembering how I paused in person and stood staring at a building that has stood the test of time. Just a few weeks earlier, I did the same thing in Chicago.

Eight things I learned this fall (the random fun fact about Jeff Probst and Jenna Fischer might be my favorite).

Thinking back, I did this in each city. Some held cathedrals, others held sanctuaries in the form of expansive gardens or parks, but in each trip this fall there’s a common thread. Which, if you read this post from Chicago, is honestly more than a bit ironic.

There’s something about a sanctuary in the midst of modern skyscrapers that I just cannot rush past.

8. I debated saying it, but I’m glad I did. This, right here, is the both/and.

And at the very same time? There’s another side to the coin. Maybe it’s a little bit morbid, but to me, it’s nothing but a miracle and an answered prayer.

(For more fun facts + inspiration, visit Emily’s corner of the Internet or click here to look through any of my previous “What I Learned” posts.)

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