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Are you serious about living a life of freedom? Then you need to invest in yourself. Yes, I mean spend money to learn what you need to learn to achieve that freedom.

The resources I have to offer you

If you’re in debt and/or want to be able to retire much earlier than the mainstream tells you is possible, buy my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs, Or An Above-Average Income.

If you know you’re not eating right, and need a nutrition/diet book that culls through all the confusion in the nutrition world, buy Simple Diet, Beautiful You.

If you want to get into a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle, I have two books that will be up your alley: Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet, and Simplicity: Finding Freedom From The Inside Out (this is a book and course in one).

Need a step-by-step guide to achieving a particular dream? Buy Simple Success: Eight Steps To Dream Fulfillment. (Also an e-book course.)

Still looking for your soulmate (finding the right person is a critical part of living a free life!)? Buy my book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate.

Want to get more food freedom? Buy How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your Mind.

You will not pay more than $6 for any of those books. If you bought all of them, you would pay under $40.

$3.99 would save you hundreds, even thousands, in future medical bills.

$2.99 would save you untold amounts of money when you apply the frugal living principles in the book.

$2.99 would help you leave the work force and live most of your adult life on your own terms – with more money in a nest egg than many people have even by the time they finish a 40-year career at a job they don’t like.

$5.99 would lead you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re serious about changing your life, you will invest money in books that will help you to do so.

Thanks in advance for checking out those resources! 🙂

Blessings to you,




Crazy Eighties

I have been dismayed to discover that ‘80s music is now categorized as “oldies” music. Wait a minute…isn’t music from the forties and fifties “oldies”?

A-hem, I was a teenager in the ‘80s (although I never partied like it was 1999).

Despite having received that dubious label, ‘80s music seems to have become a craze. Walk through a mall, and any number of stores might be playing this sound now well-coveted by men and women in their forties and fifties. Many young people listen to it. Like, on purpose. Not because the pop station they listens to throws in an ‘80s song once in a while. (Radio, someone still loves you.)

I haven’t listened to ‘80s music, except in stores, for a long time. The reason? It had become an obsession, my obsession.., and back in my mid-twenties God whispered in my heart to let it go, let it go, do other things you need to do…

Because it had become an idol. (Uh, not the Billy kind…)

So, I got rid of all my cassette tapes (yes, young person, I’m that old) and started listening only to Christian music stations so my spirit would be up where we belong.

Now, although I’m feeling so much older, but I can’t go back, I know, I’ve recently renewed my interest in ‘80s music. Why? Maybe it’s just a hard habit to break.

I could say it all boils down to not being able to tune in a radio in our earth-sheltered house, or that our Internet doesn’t work half the time and so listening to Pandora or a radio station online would be an exercise in frustration. Here comes the rain again

Or I could blame my boys, who are on the two computers playing video games several hours a day.

But the fact it, no one is to blame.

Well, except maybe the current pop artists. And the ones who were hot ten years ago.

Because most of the them are severely lacking in the ‘80s sound. And I tell you that straight from the heart.

“Gee, Emily, could it be because this ain’t the ‘80s anymore? That’s just the way it is.”

Hey – not my fault. And you know, I have heard more recent songs (and so have you) that carry the ‘80s sound. Shut up now, voices carry… So it’s not totally lost, songwriters and musicians just choose to ignore it.

To their peril, because I’m not helping them make their millions, meh-heh-heh. It’s after midnight, and something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark. (DUDE! You thought I was going to leave out the great Michael J.?!)

Anyway. (A perfect place to quote Martina McBride’s song, but as fantastic as it is and as much as I love it, it ain’t ‘80s.)

ANYWAY, I’m a musical person. For a while I was hoping that just playing the guitar and singing would give me my music kick for the day.

Nope. I need to listen to music that I enjoy every day…that’s being performed by somebody else. I know that much is true, that I just need to let the music play.

This led to me to my recent exciting decision: I am going to start buying digital music. Most of it ‘80s; some of it Christian contemporary songs that I have enjoyed during the past decade. I think I’m in love with that idea.

Once I made that decision, I kinda went crazy. I decided that I was finally going to replace the rat-chewed keyboard cord so I could start playing the keyboard again. But I wasn’t going to confine myself to classical and praise/worship music like I had before.

No sirree Bob! I went to Amazon and bought two piano books with 1980’s pop hits. I did it in a minute.

Yep. Me. The minimalist. Who despises spending money, which changes everything. Who is always saying, “Wait a minute. Do we really need that? Are we going to die if we don’t buy that?”

Take a look at me now. Go ahead and call me a hypocrite. One finger pointing at me, three more back at  yourself. 😉 So you might as well jump!

Besides, I’m musical. I’m a lot happier when I can set aside some time each day just to listen to music. After all, girls just wanna have fun.

Okay, not just listen. To sing and maybe dance a little, too. I don’t want to live the glamorous life, just enjoy really good music.

Is God mad at me? Am I disobeying Him?

Nah. Remember this post? Yeah. Old rock stars and all that. They’re just people. The music is just music. And ‘80s music so happens to be my favorite kind. I’m going to be a lot more discerning about what I listen to than when I was a kid, and my life isn’t going to revolve around it.

Did I tell you that I’ve learned how to play the introduction to “Separate Ways” by Journey, which I’ve been wanting to know ever since I first heard the song over thirty years ago? And that in the novel I’m currently working on ‘80s music comes up just a tad?

Nah. I’m not obsessed at all. It’s just that I’ve been wanting to get back to listening to ‘80s music for the longest time.

PS – Pop quiz (lol, pun not intended, although it should be): Which artist has the honor of having two songs named in the above blog post?



I think the problem is that I damaged the roots while trying to refill the jar with water? Which I guess is why Kratky himself and his hardcore followers use containers big enough so that refilling isn’t necessary during the life of the plant.

It’s certainly not because the roots weren’t getting water:

Oh, well. The four spinach that have come up are still doing okay. I may end up growing lettuce in plastic cups with holes, sitting on a bed of rocks to make room for root growth, and just keep that bed watered.

We shall see…


I’m Putting My Pants Back On!

A while back, I listened to a podcast episode for authors in which the guest highly recommended a book entitled Take Off Your Pants! It would help me to write novels in record time, the guest practically guaranteed.

The book, written by historical fiction author Libbie Hawker, starts off by describing two types of fiction authors: those who write by the seat of their pants, i.e., without much forethought or planning; and those who only write after outlining the story. Libbie argues that thoroughly outlining your book before you sit down to write it is the most effective and efficient (she came just a little shy of saying “best”) way to approach a novel. When I first read through the book, I got excited. Yes, figure out the main character’s flaw! Yes, figure out the theme of the book. The inciting incident! She basically lays out a plan to outline the book according to what I read in the book The Writer’s Journey years ago.

I got excited, because I was tired of taking more than a month to write a 75,000-word novel. I was tired of getting stuck in the middle, and having to agonize for days over how to move the story forward. And tired of getting stuck several times after getting unstuck at the midway point!

So, yes! I was going to start planning my novels ahead of time before I sat down to write them.

But there was one tiny flaw…

It didn’t work. I tried it for my latest publication, Call Me Isabel. When I got frustrated on that outline, I tried outlining another story idea I had.

BLAH!!! Both of them ended up shredded and at the bottom of our compost toilet.

Here’s what I figured out: some of us just have to write by the seat of our pants. Outlining kills the muse. Even doing the basics, which Libbie says you can do and still have a lot of blank spaces to fill in.

It’s funny that I am such an author, because I could be a professional organizer. I was reading books on homeschooling when B was still inside me, and learning about homesteading several years before we moved. At one point, I alphabetized all my husband’s paperbacks by author. The books on our living room shelves are organized by topic. There is a place for everything, and everything must be in place.

In other words, I am a planner and an organizer.

Except when it comes to my writing.

The proof is in the publication

I’ll admit: I got stuck on Call Me Isabel well after I had decided to ditch the outline. But, guess what? The outline ultimately frustrated me much more than my trouble with how I initially ended the story. And after I got over that hump, I did the rewrite in record time…without an outline.

Read any of my other novels. Redeeming Laura. Any of the books in either the “Texas Hearts” or “Choices and Chances” series. The only outline I had was in my head, and here’s what it looked like:

*I. Beginning

*II.Dramatic event somewhere in the middle

*III. Climax

*IV. Resolution

That’s it. Those four (usually vague) points/events were all I had to go on.

Why novel-writing has frustrated me

Now, remember how I recently told you that I was probably not going to write any more novels until I was older than George Burns? (Don’t make me feel old and tell me you don’t know who George Burns is!) And that was despite having previously told you that I could do anything. (Good thing I’m not wishy-washy.)

It had nothing to do with not having an outline. It had nothing to do with writing an outline and feeling restricted by it.

It had everything to do with my characters.

Yep. Let me tell you the three easiest books I’ve ever written. The first two are in the “Texas Hearts” series, the last in the “Choices and Chances” series: Guns and Rosa, Antonia’s Dance, and His First Choice.

Why? I fell in love with the characters. Now, I have to say that I love Sheila and Hank in The Envelope. But I also have to be honest – it was the first novel I’d ever written, and was written in fits and starts over a period of two to three years in the evenings after I got home from my teaching job, and during the summer. So because I was feeling my way through the skill of creating and growing characters, as well as inventing interesting plot turns, it was by no means easy to write.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m saying that those three books listed above have been the easiest to write. I’m not saying they were plain-old easy. But I loved the main characters. Rosa and George are both larger-than-life types. The romance between Max and Antonia is just sweet – because both of the characters are. Erin and Rodney in His First Choice are an awful lot like a certain couple I know (a-HEM!), so what’s not to love? 😉

Surprise, surprise!

Recently, I wrote a short story. Because I was only going to write short stories from now on, right?

But as soon as I finished the story, it wanted to be a novel.

Well, not exactly, It wanted me to go back in time and tell the story of the couple that stars in that story.


I slept on it. Waited. Did my best to talk my mind out of the idea.


The short story kept growing in my mind. I felt a stronger and stronger desire to do what it was asking, and turn it into a novel.

And so, yes, I, the non-wishy-washy blogger, am working on another novel. I’m writing it by the seat of my pants, and I’m having a blast. I think it’s been the easiest novel by far for me to write. Why?

I love the characters.

Yep. It’s that simple. I can write a novel and not get totally frustrated with either the time or mental gymnastics it takes as long as I love the characters. They have to become a part of me, and I a part of them.

Does that sound totally whack, or what?

If it does, too bad. I’m having fun.

With my pants back on. Sorry, Libbie. My stories just refuse to live in a box.


Celebrating The Little Victories…

It was a beautiful day, and hot. I had just swum for a few minutes at our local state park to cool off, and my eyes were beginning to cry out for my sunglasses. So I thought, I’ll go kayaking for a few minutes.

See, three summers ago we bought our son a plastic kayak from Wal-Mart. The first year, he was in the thing constantly. Last year, he still was enthusiastic about paddling around in it, but not as much.

This year, he’s barely touched it. Did we waste our money? No, no, a thousand times no! You see, the maximum weight for the bitty boat is 130 pounds. I weigh…well, less than that. And so I’ve mostly had it to myself so far this summer.

Which brings us back to me deciding to take a little paddle. “Should I try to cross the lake?” I asked my boys.

“If you want,” was J’s predictable answer.

Why, you ask, would it be a big deal for me to cross the lake, especially it not being a large lake in any sense? Two reasons. First, at some point last summer I made it a goal to one day kayak all the way across the lake.

Second – and more importantly – I wanted to celebrate the healing of my arm. In case you don’t know, in October of 2014 I broke my left humerus bone, to the extent that I now have several thousand dollars worth of hardware inside it. (No, it was not funny.)

If you’ve ever broken a bone that badly in your forties (I hope you haven’t/never do), you know that it takes quite some time for full rehabilitation to occur. Like, two years.

The first summer after the break – seven months later – I couldn’t swim, and could barely paddle the kayak because my arm was still so sore. Sometimes, I would feel like those pins in my arms were actually jabbing at nerves. Other times, I felt like I was going to break my arm all over again if I made it do a whole rotation to do a stroke. Last summer was better, but I still experienced soreness after a while of either swimming or kayaking.

This year – hallelujah! – the pain is all gone.

And I’d kayaked at least once a week for the past month, so I thought I’d be strong enough to go all the way across the lake.

And, I did! I’m sorry there’s no photo or video. Just picture me in pink, paddling across a lake in a blue plastic kayak. I think the round trip took about fifteen minutes, including a longish stop in the middle. So, yeah, not a big lake. Not a huge deal to most people.

But it is to me. It’s a symbol of the healing that time brings. When I got back to shore, both my arms were equally sore!

Celebrate the little victories in life. 🙂


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