Happy 1st Birthday All of This!

On July 25, 2015, All of This was released to the world. I had some things I needed to get booknew-pages.pngorganized before I announced the release, but it popped up on all of the retail sites on the 25th (surprise!). Then, on July 31, my littlest sister and I made a video announcing the release.

Leading up to the debut, I posted quotes and story snippets…but I first mentioned the story back on June 13, 2013Three years ago.

It’s been a journey, friends. Three years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. And today? I’ve learned so much about writing and publishing and marketing, but I still have pretty much no idea what I’m doing. It’s an adventure that is challenging, wonderful, and wonderfully challenging. There have been days when I just wanted to quit, and days where I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything other than writing stories my whole life.

Every time I sign a copy of All of This, I include Romans 8:28, which says:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV, emphasis added)

Purpose. That’s the theme of all of this…and the theme of All of This.

Nothing is wasted. A thread of grace runs through our lives. God ties all of our loose ends together. He weaves the beautiful and the sorrowful, the easy and the difficult, into something that shows the world who He is. He is the author of life and breath and faith and love. I write to tell His story – the true story of a God who loves us so much He died to reunite us with Himself.

So here’s a quick look back at the journey All of This has taken…from the blog post in which I first told you all I was writing a novel, to now as I glance over at my bookshelf and see a copy of All of This – tangible proof that God’s dreams for our lives are worth it all.

Click on the links below to follow the journey! 

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Happy 1st birthday, All of This. And thank you to you, dear readers, for following my life story and my Sadie’s journey. Let’s all stay tuned for whatever comes next :)

For His glory,
Anna

New to All of This and want to learn more about the story, as well as how to get a copy? Click here!

DELETED SCENE: “Marigold”

Friends! In celebration of the first birthday of All of This, I want to share something with you.

Below, you’ll find a deleted scene from All of This. The scene takes place during Sadie’s first night in Georgia – it fits in at the end of chapter 2.

I love this scene because of how it lets you see a little more of Kurt’s and Melina’s personalities and the way they interact with each other. I also love the way it shows how grumpy  and spoiled Marigold – Melina’s cat – truly is…and how he basically decides Sadie is his arc-nemesis.

It’s a really fun scene, but I had to cut it from the book in order to keep the story flowing at a good pace. Only a few people have seen it before now.

Click the link below to read the scene:

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P.S. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more All of This birthday surprises this week!

-Anna

Reflections from TGCW 2016

Hi, friends! Popping in to let you know I’m over on the SEBTS Women’s Life blog again. This time, I’m talking about my trip to The Gospel Coalition Conference I went to in Indianapolis last month. Click here to read it!

Have a great weekend!

Anna

Running Mascara by Tiffany Wasson

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“Do you find yourself running the hamster wheel of trying to be the perfect Christian?”

My Thoughts:

If you’ve ever fallen into the pit of perfectionism, or if you currently find yourself trying to climb out of it, Tiffany Wasson will be the friend who cheers you on toward freedom.

In Running Mascara: Embracing the Beauty of an Imperfect Church, Wasson candidly shares her own journey of seeking perfection. She doesn’t shy away from admitting the path hasn’t been easy, but she also doesn’t hesitate to share the grace she found…or rather, the Grace that found her.

Even though Tiffany Wasson’s personal story is different from mine, it is still relatable. Because of her transparency, it’s easy to see pieces of myself in the book, and the reflection questions at the end of each chapter give readers a chance to think even more about their own lives. There’s even a discussion guide at the end of the book for deeper reflection or group discussion.

One of Running Mascara’s strengths is the use of Scripture throughout. It fits with the theme of learning we are all broken and Christ is the only One who can glue us together again. We need His Word to heal, and we need reminders that Scripture addresses all of our fears, inadequacies, and doubts if we just spend time meditating on them.

While the majority of the book is a look at Wasson’s personal journey to find freedom from perfectionism, she also talks about the need for the church to embrace the beauty found in knowing yes, believers are broken, but it’s beautiful when we allow Christ to shine His glory through our brokenness.

I recommend this book for older teens and adults who need a beautiful reminder that grace is here and freedom is possible.

From the Back Cover:

When most people meet Jesus for the first time, they are wild and free, passionate and ready to embrace their Savior, which also means coming face-to-face with their brokenness. They are not ashamed to admit that they need Jesus to fix them. However, over time in their Christian walk, they start to forget the simple fact that all people are shattered glass and in constant need for Jesus to be the glue to hold them together. They start to play God and fashion themselves to be a perfect picture of what they think a Christian should look like in order to fit into the kingdom of God and do His work.

The danger in this downward spiral is that not only does it cause Christ followers to fall because they are trying to fix themselves, but it also keeps new people from coming into the kingdom of God. Nonbelievers may feel as if they are not good enough. Playing the perfect Christian or church is a dangerous playground. The bride of Christ must embrace its constant need for the Savior so that more people will fall in love with Him, the one who seeks the broken to heal them and set them free.

Do you find yourself running the hamster wheel of trying to be the perfect Christian? Are you exhausted and feel like if you let your foot slip just once, you will disappoint Jesus and turn the church away from your side? Trust me when I say that you can be free from the vicious cycle of perfectionism. Are you ready to embrace your brokenness and your constant need for a Savior? Only by learning this truth will you truly be set free. Freedom is near. Can you feel it?

About the Author:

47bcea_db62fd3db9074d57ab6b44a9c8ee6337Tiffany Wasson has been in ministry in some form or fashion since she was 14 years old. Her journey started out at Lighthouse Christian Broadcasting in Saint Marys, Georgia, as a youth leader, on air minister, and radio show host. Currently, she resides in Augusta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and two dogs. In her daily life she likes to write, run, and laugh as much as possible. Overall she is passionate about helping the church in any way that she can, especially youth groups. She longs to see the next generation constantly looking to Jesus, the author and perfector of their faith (Hebrews 12:2).

 

Connect with the Author:

Buy the Book (in print and ebook!):

5 FREE Ways to Make the Most of Summer

5freewaysimageLast time, I mentioned I’d recently become friends with essential oils. Now we’ve taken our friendship to the next level. Like, the kind of level you reach when you take a cross-country road trip with a friend. The essential oils and I haven’t done that yet, of course, but the idea did cross my mind when I went to Indy last week…

They’re like my little smell-good squad. My little groupies. I’ve got five scents so far, but I’m always up for new friendships.

They’ve also become part of my nightly routine. I fill up the diffuser and settle in for some time with the oils and the Lord. And after that, the oils hang around for the reading after party. It’s really nice.

I really did have a reason for this transparency, but I’ve forgotten how it would tie in, so I’ll just do an awkward topic shift:

This summer I’m taking an online class for school, traveling a little, and doing a couple of book events on top of other stuff. I also recently finished writing a book (cue the angel choruses!), so I’m on a break from storytelling for a couple of weeks.

When I’m not in writer or student mode, I’m looking for fun things to do so I don’t look back on Summer 2016 and only see schedules and responsibilities.

But I’m on a budget, and I’m not sure who all’s reading this, but chances are good you don’t want to spend a fortune on summer fun, either.

That said, I present you with 5 Free Ways to Make the Most of Summer. I’ll be checking these off my list, too. Join me?

1 – Hang out with someone younger than you.

Why? Because fun times. Volunteer to spend an afternoon with someone younger. His or her parents will be thankful for the break, and you’ll have endless entertainment. Trust me on this – I have a six-year-old sibling. There’s so much you can do:

– Backyard Water Park (Slip ‘n slide, sprinklers, water guns, etc). The slip ‘n slide was yesterday’s activity and today all of my muscles feel old and want a nap. Worth it.

– Picnic/Tea Party.

– A trip to the park.

2 – Hang out with someone older than you.

Earlier this week, I chauffeured my grandfather on a couple of errands. We just went to the pharmacy and the DDS, but I’ll always value that time with him. The people who have lived longer than us have so many cool stories and so much wisdom. They’ve watched the world for a long time, and their perspective can teach us a lot.

3 – Invest in a new friendship.

Maybe that’s a friend you’ve been meaning to meet for coffee for months now, or maybe it’s someone you just met. Either way, take advantage of the extra free time and hang out with someone you don’t know well. Invite her over to make smoothies and watch Netflix, go window shopping downtown, or take a picnic lunch to the lake.

4 – Stargaze.

This sounds kind of hopelessly romantic, I know, but hear me out. Spread a blanket on the grass, sit out on your roof (if that’s a safe option), or drive out into the country and stretch out on the hood of your car and just look at the sky. Unplug for an hour or two. Put away the phone and let your mind wander for a while in the silence. Give yourself permission to just wonder about the things you’re usually too rushed to consider. Big picture stuff, like God, purpose, eternity, dreams, etc. Spend some time alone with the Creator, or invite a friend to talk through things with.

5 – Be alone.

This isn’t the same as being lonely, and it’s so important. In a world where social media is never farther away than our back pocket, it can almost seem like a waste of time to not interact with people. As good and necessary as community can be, there’s also great value in knowing how to be your own friend. This is healthy for the introverts and the extroverts. Take a walk, read a book, paint, learn to knit…the possibilities are endless. You’re stuck with yourself for life, so you might as well get to know you and appreciate how you’re uniquely made. You might even be surprised at how easy it is to have fun when you give yourself permission to just hang out for a while.

***

So there you go! 5 ways to have a free, yet meaningful summer! Let me know if you try any of these – I’d love to hear about it!

What else would you add to the list?

 

B-Fest 2016

If you hang around my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat (follow me @ aschaewrites), then you may have heard something about B-Fest!

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What is it? It’s Barnes & Noble’s nationwide teen reading event! Every Barnes & Noble across the country has a packed schedule this weekend: author signings, trivia, workshops, giveaways and freebies, sneak peaks from favorite authors’ newest releases, and more! ALL for teens!

Question: How awesome is that?!
Answer: So awesome.

The event runs this weekend (June 10-12), so it’s already happening as you read this post!

Here’s the deal: I’ll be at Barnes & Noble in Augusta, GA this Sunday (6/12), beginning at 1pm, and hanging around throughout the afternoon! I’m so thrilled to be a part of an event that’s happening all over the country, with some of the biggest names in YA participating.

So, come see me if you can! I’ll be selling and signing copies of All of This, and I’ll have a bucket of free candy! I’d love to talk with you, and you may or may not be able to get some info on when, exactly, the sequel to All of This will finally be released.

If you don’t live near enough to Augusta to come hang out, grab some plane tickets.

I’m kidding.

But this is a weekend you don’t want to miss, so stop by your nearest Barnes & Noble and check out their schedule of events!

Click here to go to the B&N store locator, where you can find out what’s happening at your local B&N!

I’m off to go organize everything I’ll need for Sunday. I hope to see you then!

– Anna

Currently…

So it’s summer and I find myself forgetting to post blogs (oops).

I read a lot of “currently” blog posts from other people, where they talk about what they’ve been doing recently. So for today, since I’ve got a book deadline and  homework, I thought I’d toss together one of my own.

Here we go!

Reading…

The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

A couple years late to this party, I know, but when these books were published I was doing stuff like surviving college, getting into grad school, publishing a book, etc. BUT NOW I’m reading it and liking it so much. It’s like Esther meets The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games without all of the carnage. It’s worth reading.

I’m also excited because book 5 just came out, so I can eat the whole series this summer, rather than waiting for the next one to come out. Currently, I just finished The Elite.

Listening to…

Podcasts! Love a good podcast!

Right now, I mainly keep up with  “That Sounds Fun” (Annie F. Downs) and “hope*writers” (Emily P. Freeman and others).

They’re free and automatically download to my phone, so they’re waiting for me as soon as they’re released. I listen to them while I’m getting ready to leave the house, cleaning, or driving around town.

Writing…

The sequel to All of This!  My goal is to have the first draft finished by the end of June. Oh my word.

Watching…

Netflix, of course. But I’m currently re-watching a series I’ve already seen (trying to study plot and character arcs and all that stuff…and calling it “research”), while looking for another series to watch.

Drinking…

A couple weeks ago, I went to a friend’s apartment for lunch and we had iced peppermint tea. I’m pretty religious about drinking Southern sweet tea, like, always. But iced mint tea sweetened with honey is unbelievably light and delicious. And healthier!

Here’s my method:

  1. Bring water to a boil and brew tea bags (for a half gallon of tea, I use 4-5 regular teabags).
  2. Pour into pitcher.
  3. Add honey and stir (I guesstimate on the amount. A couple of tablespoons, probably).
  4. Fill pitcher the rest of the way with cool water.
  5. Stir again.
  6. Serve over ice.

That’s it! The main thing to remember is to mix in the honey before you add cool water, otherwise it globs up and doesn’t mix well. #experience

Wearing…

NOT jeans and cardigans! It’s been chilly at school pretty much since August, and the classrooms are chilly too, so that’s all I’ve worn. I’m extra appreciative of t-shirts and gym shorts right now.

Smelling…

Weird category, I know. But listen: I got an essential oil diffuser for my birthday last month, which was perfect timing because I was recovering from a bad cough. I’ve got several oils, which I alternate between at night. My current favorites are peppermint and eucalyptus.

I’m not obsessed with the whole essential oils movement, but I’m a big-time fan of my diffuser.

———–

So there we go.  A quick recap of what’s been going on the past couple of weeks.

Until next time,

Anna

Let’s talk: What have you been up to recently?