Today, in the US, we're celebrating Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I LOVE the food, for one thing. Turkey and dressing and gravy and rolls! Yum. I can eat my weight in it, and then still want pumpkin pie.
But I also just love how laid back and family-focused it is. It's like the last calm before the scurry and hurry of the Christmas season, a deep breath to be still for a moment before going full-throttle to the end of the year. And let me tell you, I need a few minutes of just being still after this crazy busy year.
But I still have plenty to be thankful for ... despite all the craziness that came with 2022.
How do you do it all?
I get that question ALL THE TIME. A lot of times, I say something about "I just do it."
But then I think. No. It's not just me.
My husband helps A LOT. He makes sure I can carve out time for writing/editing/marketing. He nods and waves me on when I schedule a book signing or register for a conference to help me improve.
He takes on so much with the children, and always makes sure I get a shower by myself. Lovely!
He takes out the trash each week, including the dirty cat litter. And often ends up doing the Goodwill runs, too.
My daughter is a book worm, in case you haven't picked up on that. She reads every hour (and I mean that literally) she can each day. So, when she started talking about what theme she wanted for her birthday party this year, of course it took a bookish slant.
At first, she went back and forth between just books in general or Nancy Drew. But since a lot of her friends are behind her in the reading department, we figured most of them hadn't read Nancy Drew. So, we went with a more general theme.
Have you ever thrown an axe?
No, that's not a crazy question. It's a new-ish trend from the last few years. There are escape rooms. There are putt-putt and bowling and other places like that. Or you can go axe-throwing.
I haven't been to one of the places in town that offer such fun, but last weekend, I was blessed to go on a retreat and it was an event we could sign up for.
So, of course I did. ;)
I have a water bottle with lines on it. The lines have various times of the day and encouraging little phrases supposed to help me drink more water. I can normally fill and empty it about twice a day if I pay attention.
The other morning, it was sitting on the table at breakfast and still had some water left in it from the night before. My kids studied it while downing their toaster pastries.
"Mommy, did you not drink enough water yesterday?"
When I started working as a tax specialist in June, I honestly wasn't sure what to expect for what might happen to my normal schedule. Sure, I knew I would be busier, but I wasn't sure how much.
Of course, then I agreed to do a few content edits here and there for my publisher, too, which added even more to my already full schedule.
So, I've gone from working two days a week as a preschool teacher and one as a babysitter, to two days a week as a preschool teacher, three days a week as a tax specialist, and usually squeezing in book stuff in the evenings (marketing, editing, writing, etc). It adds up. Especially when there are deadlines to be met (taxes and books both!). Needless to say, I've had to readjust the way some things work in our lives.
My husband and I are very different.
I don't think I realized that when we first married, but after living together for eighteen years, I can see it better.
Different isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course. Honestly, we're not opposites, either. So I can't even do the whole "opposites attract" spiel.
But there are enough differences in our preferences that I've had to change the way I think about things when it comes to celebrating, sometimes.
I full admit to being a creature of habit. Not only that, but I also sometimes get into a rut.
Since moving here, I've taught the second grade Bible class every other quarter for about four years ... maybe longer. When you teach the same curriculum, you tend to go to the same crafts and activities every time. Needless to say, when they switched up the curriculum this year, it threw me off a bit.
Don't get me wrong. I'm doing most of the same stories. but not in exactly the same order. Or broken up the same way. Etc.
They also rearranged how they divided the kids, so now I have second and third grades both. Which means a few of those students are having me two years in a row. Sorry, guys. I know you did a lot of these crafts last year, but you've probably lost them between then and now so it won't kill you to do them again. Sigh.
So many people comment on how they don't understand how I can read so many books each year. How do I find the time?
It's that key word there that is the wrong one. I don't FIND time to read.
That's ridiculous! With so many other things going on in my life, so many jobs, being a mom, teaching Bible class, etc,, finding time must be nigh on impossible.
But you see, I don't find time.
Then how do I read so many books?
Lists can be great things, if they help keep a person on task or make sure they don't forget something. But a list of potential spouses? That might not be such a good thing. Read on to hear Sarah Anne Crouch's experience and see what you think.
Did you ever make a list of what you wanted in a future spouse? I remember making a list like that in middle school. It was short and simple: Christian, smart, tall, and funny. What I didn’t expect to find was someone who enjoyed making lists even more than I do.
My husband, Michael, and I first met in college at a Bible study. He was leading the study, wearing wire-rimmed glasses and a collared shirt, and had a receding hairline. So I assumed he was a professor. Imagine my surprise when I discovered he was only a sophomore.
Michael and I had several mutual friends and I even dated his roommate at one point, but we never really thought of each other romantically until the fall of 2008.
You see, the summer before, Michael decided it was time he got serious about finding a girlfriend. He made a list—a long list—of what he wanted in a future wife. Once back at school, he made another list: every unattached girl he knew, ranked by how much he’d like to date her.
I’ll never know for sure if I was first on the list, but he insists I was number one. Our first date was in September of 2008. We went to dinner and talked for three hours, then we visited the grocery store and a park and talked for another three hours.
By October of 2008, we’d decided to become exclusive and shared our first kiss under a tree that autumn.
People—women—I share our story with are often put off by Michael’s methods. I also thought his lists were less than romantic the first time I found out about them. But his careful thoughtfulness is also one of the things I love most about Michael.
One of our early dates was supposed to be to an apple orchard. We ended up going on a day when the orchard was closed, but when Michael shared all the different activities he’d planned for us, I was touched. I’d never dated someone who put so much thought into creating special outings different from the usual dinner and a movie. (And don’t worry, he more than made up for missing the apple orchard with a hike in the autumn woods, a spaghetti dinner, and a corn maze at a pumpkin patch.)
Turns out, lists actually worked well for both of us. I got everything on mine. And he’s never complained about marrying me, so I think he’s pretty happy with how his list turned out too.
My real-life romance with Michael inspires me to write about fictional romances. And if you’d like to read more about love in the fall, check out my story “A Sweet Dream Come True” as a part of the Love in Any Season collection.
To celebrate the launch of our book, Amy, Regina, Heather, and I are hosting a scavenger hunt and giveaway of a $60 Amazon gift card. The contest starts tomorrow and ends 11:59 CST on October 4th. (Open to US only). Come back tomorrow to find the first clue!
Sarah Anne Crouch lives in Arkansas with her husband, three children, and thousands of books. She always wanted to be an author, but spent some time as a teacher, earned a degree in library science, and makes feeble attempts to corral her small children as a stay-at-home mom. Sarah loves reading books, recipes, piano music, and emails from readers.
Social Media: @SarahAnneCrouch
A Sweet Dream Come True – by Sarah Anne Crouch
Part of the Love in Any Season collection
Isaac Campbell is living his dream of running an ice cream shop but fears he won’t last past the first difficult year. Mel Wilson is a busy single mother who longs to be a chocolatier but is too afraid to turn her dreams into reality.
When Mel and Isaac meet at Bestwood, Tennessee’s fall festival, it seems like divine providence. But once Mel agrees to help Isaac bring in customers by selling her chocolates at his shop, she realizes how challenging running a business can be.
Can Mel and Isaac trust in God’s provision and make a leap of faith? Will their partnership end in disaster, or will it be a sweet dream come true?
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.