A Tale of Two Books
Last year I resolved to write a novel for my children. For months, the characters had been living within my head. I’d lay in bed at night imagining what ten-year-old Kit looked like and what he was afraid of. While driving in the car, I’d bury myself deep in thought over his family and the quirks of his best friend Ike. It seemed like a crazy idea, but the turn of the new year pushed me to work more purposefully towards my goal. I had to get this story out of my head and into reality. I wanted to teach my kids a truth I didn’t see often in books, and I longed for my youngest to see a character going through the same blood sugar struggles as he does.
So I started writing. In the free moments between homeschool and cooking, I squeezed in 300 words here and 500 more there. One chapter became another, and sooner than I ever anticipated I had typed out the epilogue. It was a wonderful feeling. After some edits and some time spent formatting, I had my modest little middle-grade novel printed for my kids: A Boy, A Bot, and One Magic Pencil.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it’s technically that great. It’s a meager story from a first-time author, yet I can’t begin to express the amount of joy it brought me to hear my children giggling as I read it to them. My heart bursted when they begged me to read one more chapter. As I wrote the book, I kept imagining what turn of words would make them laugh, and what kinds of antics would engage them. The process was a lot of fun, and one of my personal highlights of my writing life so far. This book probably isn’t going to get published. Not many beyond my kids and someday perhaps my grandchildren will get to laugh about Kit’s magic pencil, but that’s ok. The process reinvigorated my love for the craft of writing. It served as a reminder of the beautiful way God designed each of his children to delight in different activities–whether it’s writing stories, building a piece of furniture, baking a sourdough loaf, or cycling through the neighborhood.
Our works-oriented world often trains us to view these small joys as worthless if they’re not providing measurable returns. Our writing needs to reach millions. Our furniture or baked goods should start earning us an income or at least internet fame. Our cycling should provide big tangible results—more muscle, leaner bodies, and faster times.
The pressure has lurked around my own writing. Sometimes I’ve struggled to crave tangible results for the words I’ve written. Several years ago I actually spent a great deal of time working on a nonfiction book proposal that was met with many rejections. Afterwards, each time I wrote I needed to remind myself what propelled me to take part in my small little craft called writing: God’s glory and my own joy. Working on my kids’ novel reminded me of the beauty we lose when we chase only after metrics. The Lord shapes and teaches us even through those little joys and hobbies of ours that don’t always provide much notoriety or help us accomplish our to-do list. When we discount their importance, we miss the ways that God has specifically wired us and the avenue he means to teach us of his might and glory.
In a very surprising turn, this January, about one year after I resolved to write my children a novel, I signed my first book contract with InterVarsity Press. Ironically, the topic of this forthcoming book is all about the specific ways God uses something as small as our hobbies to teach and draw us towards our created purpose. I couldn’t be more thrilled to work on this project that literally caught me by surprise, when my now-editor at IVP reached out to me. Still, as exciting as it is to work on a book that will be marketed to many—I’m so glad that my very first book sits quietly on my cherry side table. I’m grateful for the smiles it brought on three of my favorite faces, and I’m grateful for the way God used it to show me his goodness and faithfulness.
The small of our days matter: the tiny herb garden that seasons a handful of dishes, the syrup that’s collected that lasts for a few servings of pancakes, the collection of glass bells that make us smile, the crocheted scarf that just keeps our neck warm, the article that reaches one. Our loving Father uses even our small hobbies to encourage and teach us who he is and what we were made for. And in fall of 2025, I hope to dig in with you and see more of how he does that.
The official contract from IVP!
1. Just to give a few more updates in regards to this news, I probably won’t be posting as often on this blog for the next six months as I work to complete my manuscript. Between homeschool, church, and my body actually needing sleep, time is something that I seem to be having less and less of.
2. I have made a few changes you should know about. You’ve probably seen my domain name and website has changed. I did this to avoid confusion as I eventually market this book next year. Because of my domain change, if you subscribe to my RSS feed, you’ll need to update the address to my new domain. Looking to the Harvest will still work for the time being, until I cancel it within the next year, so don’t forget to update that and any bookmarks/etc.
3. I have moved my newsletter over to a Substack account. At the end of the month I will continue to include my favorite resources, latest blogs/articles, and current book reads. However, I’ll also be adding a weekly short reflection on hobbies on my Substack newsletter. These will only be 300-400 word thoughts that might be about my research, an extra thought I’m thinking on hobbies, or a small story about one of my own hobbies. I’d love to have you subscribe if you haven’t! You can sign up to get it in your email, the substack app, or just follow through your RSS reader.
4. Lastly and most importantly, thank you friends and family for following along with me for so long on this blog. I mean it when I say, it’s an enormous privilege if at any time God uses my word to encourage one of you. And through the years, I’ve heard that one “Thank you,” or “This was helpful,” and it’s been an incredible gift to my heart. If you think of it, I would love your prayers going forward. It’s a weighty responsibility, I feel, and I’m praying I can write the words that will encourage and point others to their incredible Creator and Father.
I'm currently writing a book on the ways our ordinary hobbies draw us to worship. Sign up for my substack to receive short reflections on the way God builds our faith within the mundane. I'd love to see you there!