Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My Road Map to Success

by Emily Conrad

As the date for the release of my debut novel draws closer, I've been thinking about how long the journey to get to this point has been.

It was fifteen to twenty years ago when I thought Jesus might be saying: Let's take this trip together. It'll give you time to get to know Me better, and you'll meet lots of other people along the way. It'll all be for My glory, the trip of a lifetime!

Me (not really having listened except maybe to the very first and last parts): Okay, Jesus, let's go! I've got a map right here!

And I did have a map. There I was in Wisconsin, and I saw my goal--those mountains I love out west. What I didn't pay enough attention to is the fact that my map was folded, hiding from view the great, flat, length-wise sates of Iowa and Nebraska. Except, in this case, I was in Fictionland hoping to get to Successfulauthorland.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Here's to Hope

by Emily Conrad

Inspired by my mom, whose orchid plant rebloomed after years of faithfully administering ice cubes each week, I invested in some orchids of my own.

When I bring an orchid plant home from the grocery store, it’s full of beautiful buds. Whether we’re talking aspirations or orchid plants (or both), it takes that initial promise to get us started, doesn’t it?

The beauty draws us in. Enraptured, we vow we’re going to care for it and see this through. But then the flowers shrivel. The flower spike hardens and dries. The leaves stay green, but is anything going on in there? Weeks stretch to years.

But to the persistent, the story isn’t over.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Chopsticks and Peppercorns: the perks of learning the slow way

by Emily Conrad

Sesame chicken, fried rice, kung pao chicken, shredded pork and potato… Am I making your mouth water yet?

These are just some of the Chinese dishes we’ve been cooking in our house, thanks to the Chinese student who is living with us.

Kung pao chicken was my favorite dish when I visited my sister in China four years ago, and I was especially excited to make it myself. When I returned from that trip and tried to find authentic Chinese recipes, I was intimidated, but by taking it one step at a time with our student, I’ve been learning and growing progressively braver.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

31 and Falling, a Valentine's Day Short Story

by Emily Conrad

Did you know I offer some free short stories on my website? Valentine's Day is coming up, and that's reminded me of "31 and Falling," the short story I published last February in conjunction with a series on God's love.

Here's an excerpt. You can read the full story (and others!) on emilyconradauthor.com.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Fantastically Human, Divinely Loved

by Emily Conrad

Milk was spilling all over the place last week, and I don't just mean literally, though there was some of that, too.

First, a member of my household thought to save a bowl of cereal for later by putting it in the fridge without a cover. When I got up and went for milk to make my coffee, I found the bowl tipped, cereal-dotted milk pooled on the shelf and seeped into the space beneath.

Okay, these things happen.

I handled it and went on to make my coffee. I mindlessly placed the milk for my latte in the microwave and set the timer for at least twice as long as I should've. I discovered it a couple of minutes later, boiled over the beaker and onto the glass plate.

Spilled milk in fantastic fashion. And I don't mean fantastic in a good way.

I cleaned that up, too, but literal spilled milk isn't the only kind I faced. Just one example of figurative spilled milk: I created a memes to advertise my novel, and kept finding mistakes in them--after they'd been shared. Either something wasn't centered correctly or I'd forgotten closing quotes. After fixing and fixing them, I thought I had my act together when I made a new meme quoting kind words a friend and fellow author shared about Justice. Only later did I notice I'd spelled the name of that author's series incorrectly.

Even when I'm trying to keep it all together and do it all right, my humanity spills out in fantastic fashion.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

God Only Gives: Tsunami of God’s Love

by Pearl Allard

I swept crumbs from under the dinner table deep in thought. Three separate sources of words – a book, a phone conversation, and a question – collided, and I puzzled through the fragmented thoughts.

Maybe Christ doesn’t want codependence so much as He wants co-laborers? But I don’t even know what that means.

I’m all in, God! Even if it’s painful, I’m all in. Not like I want the pain. (Right? Who does.) But what other real option is there? To whom else can we turn? But what does that really mean that I’m all in?
Perhaps to be all in really means that He is all in me. That I am completely open to Him. To leave the hands open, as Ann Voskamp would say in The Broken Way.

It’s a hard thing to trust and leave oneself open.

My mama tried that – and watched death snatch her only son at twenty-eight years young. A handful of years later and here we were – my mama and I in a phone conversation lasting hours that felt like minutes. We both remembered when minutes felt like hours.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jesus and All the Things

by Emily Conrad

I knew launching my first book would keep me busy. Or I theorized that it might. But I think I also kind of expected things to fall into place as the event got closer. Sometimes that happens.

Unfortunately, this time, I'm scrambling a little bit. I owe a handful of people blog posts, in addition to keeping up with my own blog and coordinating the launch team. I may or may not also have a couple of other writing projects to work on, plus there are the normal family responsibilities. I probably don't even have to confess this part, but here it is: I've dropped the ball a couple of times.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I got to thinking I should tweet about trying to do #allthethings.

Yes. Definitely must work that hashtag in. Very fitting. I'll be in good company, and it's super-accurate that, as a hashtag, there will be no spaces between the words. No spaces!

But as soon as I thought of using #allthethings, another Voice shot back, "But one thing is necessary."