Thursday, December 17, 2009

Work(PLAY!)shop: Coming in January!

Begins January 26-March 9 (no class Feb 16)
Meets every Tuesday from 9:30-11:00
6-week course
@Maryland Farms YMCA (Brentwood, TN)
Cost: $75/members, $100/non-members
Book included!
email us to register: unwrittentravels@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Scavenger Hunt

advent, noun.
a coming or arrival, especially of something infrequent or unusually important.

Don't you love finding the perfect gift? It makes Christmas for me. I can't wait to see that person open that gift on December 25th. It is easy to rush through all of the to-do's of the holiday and forget to notice those things you may love very best about this season of Merry and Bright. Take some time to look for the little gifts this month has for you.

~a canned food drive or a salvation army volunteer ringing their bell with a smile
~a fire in a fireplace
~a cookie plate left for Santa
~a menorah being lit
~friends sharing a laugh
~children writing letters to Santa
~a person bundled up in the cold

Write a story, take a picture, sing a song about what you see.
Post your treasures in the comment box or on your blog (make sure to leave us a link).

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Souvenirs from November

Every family has their specialty and my family's, more specifically, my Mama's pies are legendary. She is an award winning pie-maker. It is the crust, it is the apples from upstate New York, it is the unsalted butter and only the highest quality of vanilla. This year we had Pecan, Apple, and Pumpkin pies served with ice cream, fresh whipping cream and Starbuck's Thanksgiving Blend coffee.

This was the first year in our new house and our first time to ever host
Thanksgiving Dinner
.
I was determined to be a real grown up and roast a turkey all by myself. I used a rosemary-orange recipe and woke up at 6:00 am to begin the cooking. In my fear of under cooking the giant bird, I (you guessed it) made something more like turkey-jerky. I loved every bite. And I was happy Mom brought a turkey, too.

We had 16 guests for dinner and everyone brought so much food. In addition to the classic turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and green been casserole, we had corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, blueberry salad, fresh cranberry-orange sauce, and yeasty cinnamon rolls.
Our family has grown so big and it is not often that I get to spend a whole day with both of my parents, my brother and my sister. Now it seems like we were only living together under one roof for a few years. I become especially mindful of the brevity of this time with my little ones and abundantly grateful for the every day opportunity to make new memories.

*Announcing the winner of the November Scavenger Hunt: Korisa Burden @craftykorisa.blogspot.com. Congratulations!!!*

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November Challenge: Scavenger Hunt

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to take notice~
take a picture, write a poem or a story, and/or post a thought regarding one or more of these November souvenirs:

1. Baked pies
2. Loved ones preparing food
3. Family and Friends around the Thanksgiving table
4. Holiday card photo shoot
5. Leftovers in the fridge
6. Funniest or most meaningful quote/story from your Thanksgiving weekend
7. Homes turning on Christmas lights

We cannot wait to see what you find. We will be sending a little fall treasure to the reader who discovers our favorite souvenir of the month.

If you have a blog, post it on your blog and leave a link in the comments.
Otherwise, leave your treasures directly in the comment box or email them to us at unwrittentravels@gmail.com.

Just like the number

We received the most beautiful review from blogger Angie Six on her blog Just Like the Number. Here is a little bit of what she said about Unwritten Travels:
"There are lots of books out there to help nudge you along toward finding your true purpose or passions. I've never seen one like this, though. It's more like a whimsically illustrated journal. And while there are definitely passages for you to read and reflect upon, the bulk of the book is recording your thoughts and reflections. It's a guide, for sure, but you are in charge every step of the way."

To see more of Angie's beautiful blog and read the rest of her review visit: justlikethenumber.com

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Out On the Town

If you are in the Nashville/Brentwood area this week, we will be out on the town
Thursday and Friday (two days, two different locations).

Thursday, stop in and see us at...

The Market Street Festival

Thursday
October 8th
Noon to 8:00 pm
Directions to Brentwood Academy



And then on Friday, drop by and visit us at...

The French Market:


Friday
October 9th
4:00-7:30 pm
Directions to Fellowship Bible Church


Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Discussion Questions: Chapter Six

1 – Read the story from John 4:7-30. Note how Jesus asked the woman He met at the well introspective questions about herself. He pointed her to the truth, and then she went back to her life. Look at what she did in verse 29 and the result in verse 30. Brainstorm together how you each can share your experiences going through this book with others in your city.

2 – Have you experienced any resistance from others around you as you have tried to make changes in your self and in your life? Share some of these with each other.

3 – What is one thing that you ABSOLUTELY have to have in your life? What is one thing that you want to RID yourself of?

4 – After sharing some of the questions from page 154 with someone else, what was a surprise you found. How did this help?

5– Discuss the differences between being selfish and taking care of yourself.

6 – Share a hero you listed on page 159. What is it about their life that you admire? How can you emulate them?

7 – Think long term, small changes. Have each person share one resolution from page 160. Take a minute to list something you can do right now to begin to fulfill the goal. Commit together to a time- table to accomplish that one thing.

8 – Before you come to the discussion today. Stop at a store that sells paint. Select a paint sample strip with your favorite color on it. On the back, write down your name. Beside it write a definition of yourself. Keep this as a concrete souvenir, a bookmark from your journey.

9 – Either as a group or individually, send an email to unwrittentravels@gmail.com. Tell us how the book impacted your life. What part did you like the best? The least?

Discussion Questions: Chapter Five

1 - Bring in your favorite childhood snack to share during this time together. If anyone has any really funny childhood pictures, bring them along.

2 – Go around the group and give a one-word answer. When you first thought about taking a look at your past, did you feel mainly positive or negative?

3 - Now look on page 132, which word do you most relate to when thinking about your past? Grace, Appreciation, Resilience, Redemption Give a brief description of why this word resounds with you.

4 – How did your role in your family of origin affect your life as an adult?

5 – Can you describe one way you can see God’s hand in your past? Your present?

6 – Write notes to yourselves to paste in your book on page 142. On the note list three things you can be thankful for about your past.

7 – Share something that a family member has done or said to you to make you feel loved and accepted. After listening to each other’s stories, pick one idea to share with someone you would like to bless in your family.

8 – What was your favorite song from your past that you put on your soundtrack?

9 – What life lesson do you want to make sure you pass on to future generations?

10 – Share one of the moments of pure joy that you listed on page 144. Compare. Did any group members share similar moments? Are these moments something you can recreate as an adult? To do with your friends? With your children? Plan a joyful time to experience.

Discussion Questions: Chapter Four

1 – Share your top two or three values with each other.

2 – Give examples of how these values have impacted your life.

3 – Any values conflict? Any values help or hurt the fulfillment of your goals?

4 – Read your descriptions of yourselves from page 118.

5 – Trade addresses. Sometime this week mail a postcard to a partner from the group. On the postcard, tell them something you admire about them as you have become acquainted more intimately.

6 – Encourage each other. After each person who feels comfortable share one entry from page 121, write down the new perspective they are trying to develop with someone they love. Commit to pray for each other during the next week.

7 – Share your ideas from the Road Trip on page 123. Write down some ideas from the group that you want to try.

8 – Read some of the laws you have written on pages 124-125. Have one person be the recorder and write a “Ten Commandments” list for your group. This can be serious or humorous.

9 – What real law do you HATE? Why?

10 – Write down three words or phrases that describe how you would like to be remembered. Share one thing you will do NOW to be sure you are described in this way.

Discussion Questions: Chapter Three

1 – During your meeting today, try to note any time you begin to lose focus and think about something unrelated to your time together. If you begin to think about what you need at the grocery store, etc. stop and share. You may be surprised how hard it is to concentrate on your time together.

2 – Share what you noticed about your thoughts when you tried to stop and be quiet. What did this show you about your self?

3 – When you tried to stop thinking about all of the external stuff, did any deep desires come to the surface?

4 – Think about what aspect of God’s character most attracts you to Him. Some need God to be a righteous judge, some a father. Discuss.

5 – List something that has changed about your spiritual beliefs.

6 – From page 90, discuss how you think that someone’s thoughts about God affect their thoughts about who they are.

7 – From page 92-94, the Ecclesiastes passage, have each person in the group share one of their entries describing a “time” in their life.

8 – Discuss the season of life you are in right now.

9 – Think of some ways you have been forgiven. How can this help you to forgive others?

10 – Share your poems from page 102. Have everyone share his or her new names.

Discussion Questions: Chapter Two

1 – This may feel uncomfortable at first, but practice makes things easier. We are all good at pointing out our faults physically. On page 37 you were asked to list a feature about yourself that you love. Go around the group and complete this sentence out loud: The feature I love about my physical appearance is _____________________.

2 – Write a definition of yourself. Answer the questions: who, what, when, where and why as best you can. Act like you are writing a character description for a novel, the character is you. Read your definitions to each other.

3 – Share one of your ideas to reduce the impact of time eaters in your life.

4 – Page 46 asks – “Does your life look like the life you hoped it would be 10 years ago? Think forward. How do you hope you will be spending your time differently 10 years from now?

5 – Share how the to-do list worked for you.

6 – Share some ideas you discovered that could change your ordinary day into your extraordinary day.

7 – Everyone share one free idea to do with your family or friends from page 53.

8 – From page 54, discuss some of the things you have done to make your life work that you had no training to do. Share some of the areas from the “Road Trip” on that page that you want to learn more about. If someone in your group has expertise or book referrals about your topic, use each other for resources.

9 – Share your experiences from intentionally listening to someone.

10 – What did you feel grateful for after taking a look at your self, your home, your schedule and your family and friends?

Discussion Questions: Chapter One

1 – Why do couples go on a honeymoon after their wedding? What is the purpose? What did you feel when you thought of a honeymoon with yourself?

2 – Page 4 states “The things you love say something about you…listen.” Why is it important to know what you like and dislike? Is this superficial? Selfish? Necessary? Why? How does this relate to fulfilling your life purpose?

3 – Did anything surprise you about yourself as you completed this chapter? Did you see yourself as a unique creation? Look at the person on the right, share one thing you learned about your unique self with them. Listen to their revelation. Make sure you’ve listed those things on page 21-22.

4 – Write down one of your wishes from page 15 on an index card. Trade cards with a member of your group. Use their card for a bookmark. Pray and hope with each other that your dreams will come to fruition.

5 – Share some of your morning and evening rituals. Pick out a new idea to try.

6 – Was there anything you realized you disliked but were doing unnecessarily due to someone else’s expectations? (Page 17 & 18)

7 – You may want to provide colored pencils or markers to do your creative excursion together.

8 – Ask a few people to bring in CDs of their favorite songs. Listen to them together. (page 13 & 14)

9 – One of the main things women yearn for is to be heard and to be known. From completing this chapter you should know yourself better. Have each person in the group pick one of these questions and answer it out loud.
What do you do?
What are you good at?
What do you want?

10 – Allow a few people to read their souvenirs from the chapter out loud.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

spotless

Where, O where, is my spot?  

I can show you the kitchen, the family room, the dining room, the kid’s rooms, the master bedroom and certainly the laundry room.  But where is my spot?  On some days it is easier to find hidden pictures of Waldo than it is to find a spot just for me in my own house.

 We recently moved into a new house.  In this house, I have my very own room, my study, my little get-away.  Even with the actual space available to me, I have not taken ownership of it.      I do not have the resources (time or money) to create an official place of my own.  Or at least, that is how it seems. Last weekend, as I sat working on these pages, I made a list of things I could do with no money and very little time.  

1)    clean junk/trash/other people’s stuff out of the office

2)    choose a paint color/color scheme for the room

3)    find a wallpaper for focal wall

4)    vacuum the room

5)    create a basket of necessary treasures (markers, pens, scissors, tape, chocolate)

 My mom gave me full access to our attic when I was 11 years old.  It was my hiding place.  My baby sister’s old crib became a little couch for me.  Some old lamps and suitcases made an eclectic reading area.  Once in a while, I invited a friend (or a brother, if he was on his best behavior) to visit, but most of the time, it was just for me—to read, to think, to figure out who I was in this new phase of my life.

When I was up in that attic, I was not concerned with the perfect d├ęcor for my space.  I was delighted at the junk I could arrange and re-arrange into a cozy corner where I could be whatever I wanted to be.

In order for me to truly inhabit this new space of mine in my grown up world, I had to take on that same perspective I had as a child.  In one corner, I have a bookshelf.  Each shelf houses a different aspect of my life.  By the window, I have my desk (inherited by my husband’s grandmother).  We happened to have an extra mattress that is now piled high with a quilt from my grandmother and the pink fairy sheets that my daughter has outgrown. 

Sunday afternoon, I opened my windows, listened to the rain and had a rest on my lounge chair.  My room is not what I hope it will be, nowhere close to perfection, but it is comfortable and peaceful—which is exactly the kind of spot I need right now.

What steps (big or small) have you taken toward designing your own spot?

Friday, April 24, 2009

your favorite things

The way to love life is to love many things.
~Van Gogh


I started Unwritten Travels today. For the first time since our book was cut and pasted into a binder, I am filling in the blanks of my very own copy.

Even though I am overcommitted (spell check doesn't recognize that word, but I looked it up in the dictionary and that is the correct spelling. Maybe my computer is using the red pen on my life, underlining that word to remind me that it is unhealthy and unproductive to be overcommitted.), my house has a protective layer of dust and soap scum on all surfaces, and I am headed to a bridal luncheon in just a few minutes (for the stunning Elizabeth Mc Knight, doodler extrodinare of all things Unwritten), I actually sat on my back porch and filled out the list of my favorite things.
(Yes, that was one sentence. I need a blog editor.)

It almost felt obsene.
What buisness do I have thinking about my favorite things on a day like today, in a month like this month, where there is too much to do and not near enough time or energy to do it?
But I did it anyway, because if I weren't me, I would be lecturing you on taking time for yourself ESPECIALLY in the hardest times. So I listened to me telling you that this is good for you
~healthy actually, like eating vegetables, wholegrains and drinking lots of water.

And it was.
I felt this tired part of myself stretch her little arms out, look up for the first time in a while, and remember that she matters.

My favorite color: this yummy blue (the little sticks).

My favortie article of clothing:
pink polka dot skirt that I am wearing tonight.

My favorite sport
: zumba (according to my definition of sport, anyway)

My favorite book:
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
and anything by Marisa de los Santos. I wrote her last year on National Author's Day and she wrote me back the kindest letter.

My favorite shoes:
I am wearing them right now. Strapy floral wedge sandals. They make me smile every time I peek at my feet :)

My favorite gift(s) received:
my camera, my engagement ring, my grandmother's ring.

Thankfulness overwhems me as I reflect on the many things I love about my life.
Well, my timer went off to alert me that I must get on with the day.

What have you learned about yourself from filling out Your Favorite Things?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

showing off



What are my dreams?

Who am I?


Am I who I want to be at this time in my life?

How can I give my life to others and still hold on to my unique self?


These are some of the questions we asked hundreds of women to ask themselves this weekend at the Southern Women's Show in Nashville, TN.
We found the best way to describe our book is an activity book for real life.
Jenny Ann did a fantabulous job designing and building our booth.

We had a big glass Dream Jar with pieces of paper for women to write down a dream they have for their life. Some women did not have a dream.
We told them they NEEDED our book.

Many women inspired us by their stories, their dreams, and the difficult and wonderful decisions they are making for good in their lives. We talked to a woman who had survived four different types of cancer. A financial adviser (with a name like a superhero) who realized that people did not need more money, they needed a vision for their life (and he thinks our book can help). A woman who did not think she was smart enough to get her Master's Degree, but she pressed on and now she has her dream job as a librarian.

Thank you to ALL who came by and visited our booth.
Special thanks to The Lisas, Linda, Mary Kay, Angela, and our sweet husbands, Steve and Adam.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nashville Southern Women's Show 2009


Tomorrow begins a big fun time for Unwritten Travels. Thursday through Sunday we will be hosting a booth at the Southern Women's Show. It would be a thrill to see you there. We are in booth #1003.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

below E

There is this gauge in my car, right above the steering wheel.  It has a little red bar that points somewhere between an F and an E, letting me know how much gas is in my car.  
Well, it attempts to let me know.  It tries.

It just doesn't get my life.  

What if I did live that kind of life? Where each morning, I peacefully walked to my car (alone),  slipped my travel mug into my cup holder (that still knew how to hold cups), turned on music (that I loved) and paused to check my gas level. What if I had the kind of life that made room for thoughts like, Hey, I've got some extra time and I'm almost below a 1/4 tank, I'll stop and get some gas on my way to wherever?

This morning, my son was calling me out the front door (giving me a minute by minute countdown), while I was prodding my slow and steady daughter to move her lovely little self out the door.  I thought I gave them their lunch money, but just as we are pulling out of the driveway, we discover the checks never made it to the van.  Back into the house to get the checkbook.  Once again, almost late to school.
  
Stop and check how much gas I have?  
Whatever.

Until the morning my car doesn't start.  Genius.  
I'm out of gas.  So, I call a friend who picks my kids up and takes them to school.  They are tardy, of course. Good friends help when you are in a pinch.  They also don't laugh (okay, they don't laugh too long) when you tell them you forgot to fill up your tank (again).

My life has been c r a z y

But there is a point when life's circumstances start to seep into my mind, heart and soul and, pretty soon, it is not just life that's crazy, but me.  Crazy, exhausted, angry, impatient, and sick.  Without a little red bar, and absolutely no warning light to alert me, I suddenly realize my tank is empty.

I wonder, how long I have been running on fumes.  The difference between my van and me, is that I can keep going even on empty. I can go for quite awhile. Until I can't anymore.  

Yesterday was that day for me.  The day that I dropped my kids off at school, and (after filling up my car), came home and took a morning nap.  There were a thousand things I needed to do yesterday (and I eventually got to most of my list) but nothing good or productive could come from me until I got some rest.

The world is not going to stop and wait for us to fill up. 
Check in with your tank. What do you need right now?
Some of my favorite things to do when I am weary: sit for an hour with my coffee, soak in a lavender bath, get in bed an hour (or two) early, and watch an old movie instead of cleaning one afternoon.  

You think we could be as kind to ourselves as we are to our cars? No car can run on empty and neither can we.  Good-bye, guilt and unrealistic expectations.  Hello, Sanity! It's good to see you again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

an unwritten season

It has been a while since I have journaled, taken pictures of my daily life, or celebrated a small moment just for me. This has been a time of getting sick, getting better, doctor appointments, dental visits, getting sick again, antibiotics, and lots of cough syrup.

Who wants to document moments that are less about living and more about surviving?

This is how I define an unwritten season: A time in my life that I want to put in the past, so I can live the life I really want...somewhere...out there...beyond today. I want to wait for one of those days that I get to hike through the woods with my family, find a delightful treasure at the flea market, or go on a romantic date with my husband. Those are the days I want to write about. Those are the days I want to represent my life.

If I wait for the perfect days, I won't write. I will have no snapshots. There are disappointing things about the best days, and beautiful moments even in the midst of the worse ones. Often, the richest seasons of my story have resulted from struggle, disappointment, failure and defeat.

We get bogged down by life. Motherhood. Marriage. Change. Making ends meet. Real life can be exhausting. It is easy to disappear in our own lives and forget that everyday is our story, everyday is our life. Beautiful stories are not made of perfect moments.

Yesterday, while cleaning out bobby pins and cough drop wrappers from my bedside table, I found a packet of flower seeds. They aren't blooming anytime soon (I haven't ever successfully grown anything from seed). But they reminded me to slow down and smell the daisies today-even if they are only seeds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

traveling companions

Thoughts from one woman who is taking the journey:

"Unwritten Travels is years worth of therapy in a book that’s so intriguing and introspective you’ll be excited to learn (or remember) the next thing about yourself. Don’t deny yourself this fun book. You will find some simple things to add into your life that will simply, easily brighten your days. And, it’s just too fun.

This book is for anybody who spends more time thinking about others than themselves. It’s just for you. It’s just about you. It’s fun and it’s surprising because it leads you to learn or maybe remember something about yourself that helps you do what you gotta do day to day – but a little more joyfully. No major life overhauls necessarily, but little things that only you know and appreciate and need to work into your life just because it brings you some joy.

Mostly I liked this book because it was just fun to complete. It made me think. It made me remember. It made me act on some simple things that easily brighten my day. I documented some things about me that taught my husband things he didn’t know before.

I made changes to my life after reading this book. I made simple, easy additions that cost me my pocket change, but didn’t significantly subtract from my precious, precious TIME. These are things that would not likely be understood by others, but they bring joy to me. So, there’s new joy in my life because of this book. I bought a reading light and used it, I put linen spray on my sheets, I light candles with matches not butane, I clean my toothbrush tray more often, I use lamps instead of overhead lighting, I take the two seconds needed to spray some perfume each morning, and guess what – no one in my realm of responsibility is suffering. No one in my family is neglected. No one at work or home is bothered by these things. I wonder if they really even notice I’m doing them. I am better for making time to do these things. I’m better on the inside where everything else (how I treat people, how I think, what I think, why I do things), gets decided. I’m reminded I can make these gestures of kindness to myself with only positive impact to the people I’m trying to do my best for and with. Don’t deny yourself the chance to do the same. Just don’t."

~Angela Vaden (Franklin, TN)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

on air

Being on Debbie's show was one of my favorite things I have ever done. I know, that sounds dramatic (my daughter gets it from someone...), but I am telling you, it was one of my top 10 best life experiences.

Stress and anxiety are two things I am quite comfortable combating. Taking exams, writing papers, meeting deadlines, paying my bills, getting lost in rush hour traffic--those things can completely unravel me. I thought, for sure, that being interviewed on a live show would be terrifying, in that bungee-jumping kind of way.

Maybe it is because Debbie Alan is such a generous and enthusiastic person. Jenny W. says that when Debbie smiles you feel her joy all the way to your toes. How could we not feel comfortable with that level of encouragement? Maybe it is because Jenny W. was jumping of the cliff with me and she manages to make even the most intense situations hysterically funny. Our interview felt more like hanging out and laughing with a couple of friends for 45 uninterrupted minutes.

The only moment where I was truly scared was when Debbie asked me about our website. There were some dark hours in the days leading up to Monday morning. Our website had some kinks that our little brains did not believe we could solve. Without a place to order our books, we could not go on Debbie's show (and sell our book). Like we said in the interview (like Jenny W. said as she rescued me from drowning in silence), our website is in process. Today you can order our book, but keep checking, because it is getting better by the day.

I still have not listened to the interview. But, I am sure that if we could figure out how to get our book on amazon and how to set up a paypal account, I can surely figure out how to handle the weirdness that comes with listening to my less that cohesive thoughts streamed online.

Special Thanks to Jen, Christina and Sandra for calling in. You are brave and kind friends to join us on a LIVE broadcast. Your questions were wonderful and sparked great discussion. Thank you to Steve, Linda, and Keoni for being there to take pictures and cheer us on.  

In case you missed it the first time... you can listen to our interview about Unwritten Travels
on OntheHomeStretch.com:

discovering what we loved...

and

stay at home moms join forces with a new passion and purpose

and

does journaling give you the jitters?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

empty boxes

When I first started working on this post a few days ago, it was to announce to you that we had sold our first box of books.  Would you believe, only 10 days after the arrival of Unwritten Travels, we have 3 empty boxes?  It is so fun checking our website and seeing people we have known from childhood, supportive family members and friends sharing in our celebration by placing orders for books.  We are still awaiting our first stranger order.  

Thank you, dear loved ones, for helping us empty these boxes!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On The Home Strech


On Monday, March 9th @ 10:15-10:57 am CST, we are going to be interviewed about our book, Unwritten Travels on "On the Home Stretch with Debbie Alan."
Check out the show's schedule for details.

You can listen to our interview (during that time) at: http://www.OnTheHomeStretch.com.
You are also welcome to call in for a live interview.
The number to call in LIVE is: 877-474-3302.

We hope you are able to join us for this exciting time in our journey. Thank you for the many ways you have supported us through the process of writing and publishing Unwritten Travels.

Many blessings on the dreams you are pursuing today!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

the missing link

I woke up this morning and checked our website. Excitedly, I see that the “About the Authors” link is up, but the link to purchase the book is not activated yet. It will be at any moment!
I love our website so far. One purpose of the site is to provide the ability for people to buy our book. Currently, you can look at it, learn about it and learn a little about us, but you can’t buy it through this site. One part, one link, is not doing its job. It’s like that every day in the world. We are all created for a purpose. Our purpose is many times revealed in the dreams, passions and hopes we have for ourselves.

When any one of us isn’t fulfilling our purpose,
something in our world is not as good as it could be.

Hopefully, many women will discover or remember their purposes, dreams, passions and hopes through playing through the pages of Unwritten Travels. Hopefully, they will be able to take some practical steps to begin to live their lives in accordance with these discoveries.

I can’t wait to see what happens. – Jenny Ann

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

boxes and boxes of books



Our due date finally arrived!
Here we sit, proud, proud Mommas gloating over our newest baby.
5,000 babies to be exact.

How to purchase a copy (or 5 copies*) of Unwritten Travels:

1. From our web site: unwrittentravels.com

2. You can send a check for the amount of $24.99* to
Unwritten Travels
P.O. Box 2783
Brentwood, TN 37024

3. Buy a copy* from us in person (we will always be carrying around books with us).

*For a limited time only (I have always wanted to say that)
you can buy 4 copies and get the 5th copy FREE.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Jenny Ann Blogs (for the 1st time)

All of my acquaintances would describe me as a “real people person” someone who has “never met a stranger.” One would think that a person with this personality would be all over blogging, sharing life with others via the internet. The majority of my friends and family have blogs. I have been encouraged by many to join the world of blogging. Yet, I am a virgin blogger.

What only those closest to me know is that as much as I am social, I value my time alone more. I really like thinking and listening to my inner voice and truthfully don’t always want to share myself with anyone else. Jenny Ellen’s daughter says that everyone is her best friend; my daughters state the same thing about me. Why are we able to have many sincerely wonderful relationships? Partly it is because we spend time with and like ourselves first. Sound like a narcissist? I hope not, because part of the motivation for writing Unwritten Travels is to encourage others to be their own best friends.

Thinking recently about the process of turning our pages into a physical thing, I realized why people love their blogs. Elizabeth gave our book art. Don & Chris made it a thing of beauty. Ann helped make it understandable. Kevin worked on getting it printed and Mandy is at the plant making sure that the books get delivered. Charlie is working on the website. Another Don is getting us hooked up so people can buy the book online safely. Yes, Jenny and I wrote the book, but how many people worked together to turn it into a reality? How many people have their fingerprints all over it?

I have started to read blogs and think I am beginning to get it. As I try to turn the thoughts and dreams that I think about in solitude into realities, blogs give me the potential to have many fingerprints on my own life. I can learn from the experiences and lessons others share, the interconnectedness. So, thank you to all of you bloggers. I hope you can be encouraged in your own life by the fact that Jenny and I set out to do something we knew very little about but had a passion for, and we are delightfully seeing it through to completion. Thank you also for sharing this first day of my blogging honeymoon. – Jenny Ann

Friday, February 6, 2009

the master proof

Isn't it the best thing to get a package in the mail?

Even though most deliveries these days are fat envelopes with home insurance papers or updates on our ever dwindling investments, I still get hopeful that maybe this time, the postal worker will bring me a special delivery.

Today, he did.

On my front porch this afternoon, I found a package that housed the master proof for our book cover. On the big beautiful photo paper is a true to size print out of our cover. At the top is a sticker that instructs us to sign and return. We must OK it for content, color guidance, and corrections. They want ME to okay it.

I don't actually know what this is or why this step is so important in printing a book, but I am learning to trust the process.

Friday, January 30, 2009

ooops

"The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.”
~John Maxwell


I slept through the night much better when Unwritten Travels was safely tucked inside of my laptop. As I mentioned earlier, it is currently at the printers, soon to be PRINTED. Along with all of the excitement that comes from "getting it out there" is the terror that I might have missed something important. On more than one occasion, I have awoken in the middle of the night, suddenly realizing that we've repeated ourselves in two different chapters or remembering that we did not thank Jane Doe in our acknowledgments.

And thank goodness! Because the book had not yet gone to print.

Yesterday, the other Jenny asked me if we had caught a particular error before we sent it off to the presses. A GLARING ERROR.

no.

We had not. We had two different names for the final chapter of the book. Darn that Chapter Six. We went back and forth on what to call it. And forgot to change it in the table of contents.
After forty-seven edits. We missed it.

Good news. We still have one more round of edits.
Whew.
That was a close one.

Do you think I will sleep better tonight?

I will.
Not because our mistake can be corrected, but because really, how serious is the GLARING error in the big ole' picture of life? Yes, people might think, who are these silly women who think they can write a book when they can't even keep their chapters straight?

We are two wives and moms who are getting more comfortable every day with making mistakes.
This isn't the first time we have mixed up chapters in our lives. And the more daring we get, the more mistakes we will make.

How do you respond when you make a mistake? Do you laugh? Cry? Confess?
Attempt cover up? Hide under your blankets?

Wrap yourself up in the comfort that mistakes mean you are daring to grow.
Congratulations!

Monday, January 26, 2009

waiting for the kettle to boil

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Yesterday, I spent some time pondering the Serenity Prayer. It is always a relevant prayer, but in this time in my life, in the lives of those I know and love, and in the current status of Unwritten Travels, it is a time of waiting. And it does feel similar to hovering over the stove waiting for a pot of water to boil.

So, I made a list in my lovely little journal. Three lists, actually.

List One: All of the things for which I am asking God to give me oodles of peace. These are the things I can do nothing about. You know I can not do anything about them. I know I can't do anything about them, but the act of confessing with my mouth and heart that they are not mine to control brings me much freedom.

List Two: The things I need courage, discipline or strength to face. I have been give the power to make choices, to stand up and speak truth, to love unconditionally. There are small things I can do today to move my life forward on it's path. As I begin to own these things, I am filled with a sense of purpose in my day.

List Three: the longest list. Dozens of concerns, questions, fears, and hopes that are tightly pulled between the certainty of either serenity or courage.

Grant me the wisdom.

Not only the wisdom to know the difference, but the wisdom to accept that I may never know.

Sometimes, I am simply called to wait.

Friday, January 16, 2009

one winter weekend

3 years ago, almost to the day, the other Jenny and I went off on a little adventure to a tiny lake house for 48 hours.  This is where our first chapter started to take form.  

Who knew that our little get-away would begin a new way of life for us?  We had no idea what we were getting into.

It all started with a plan to meet once or twice a week to work on one of the many ideas we had talked about doing over the years.  We met at bagel shops and bookstores learning the ins and outs of our new mac laptops, brainstorming and eventually creating an outline for what has become Unwritten Travels.  This was a four month process that led up to our winter weekend at the lake.

We came home with a cut and pasted Chapter One titled,
  The Honeymoon: discover your heart's desires. 
(You can see the glue and scissors in the picture above.)  

Every time I have looked over those first pages (it has to be millions of times by now), I still feel the thrill and joy of that chilly weekend with one of my dearest friends.  It many ways it is even more exciting now~the anticipation of getting to share all we have learned from this journey with you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

off to the presses


After 3 years of writing, editing, writing, editing, editing, designing, and more editing, we are on our way to becoming a tangible book.

We are going to press.

Our due date is February 23rd.

Tomorrow we have meetings to set up our web site and credit card system.
Our goal is to be ready to take your money, I mean, pre-sell our book in the next two weeks.

Although the writing/publishing process is coming to a completion, we are just beginning an entirely new journey- Getting Unwritten Travels into the marketplace.

Thank you for all of your encouragement and for your belief in us, especially in those moments when we really thought this baby was never going to get here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

About Unwritten Travels

All women reach a "Now what?" time in their lives - maybe even several. Sometimes these moments follow accomplishments and are expected (what to do after high school or college, empty nest syndrome), other times they are quite unexpected (divorce, illness, even unanticipated opportunities).

Either way, women find a time when they second-guess or even feel the need to totally revamp themselves. Deciding how to navigate through it, determining what to remember or learn about oneself during it, and finding a way to enjoy the new ride is the goal for every woman.

Unwritten Travels is a book that reminds women why they need to take care of themselves,what they are created for, and how they can become bold life learners in the midst of transition. While the authors include some of their own life lessons, Unwritten Travels uses interactive pages to help a woman discover and apply the lessons of her own story. Filled with doodles, reflection, and creative excursions, this book invites women to officially, blatantly, boldly answer, “What now?”

This blog is to give you a peek into the day to day process of publishing a book, as well as to provide a more personal perspective on the pages and assignments in Unwritten Travels.

You can follow along with the book (to be released in February)
or just enjoy the journey with along with us.