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And the Winner is . . .



Yay! We have winners! If I mention your name below, I’ll be in touch very shortly. :)

Stephanie gets the free copy of The Happiness of Pursuit!

Katie wins the spot in The Shalom Experiment!

And Elizabeth scores the space in The Rebel Diaries

Thanks to everyone who participated! <3 <3

If you’re a regular reader—I have a question for you: how do you feel about contests and giveaways in general? Would you like me to do more? Are they fun? Annoying? Just whateverish? Would you comment below and let me know? I’m trying to decide whether or not I should do more in the future. Thanks!

Love + shalom.

An Announcement, an Experiment, and a Contest


I love all things Chris Guillebeau. I was first introduced to him a couple of years ago. I emailed him to thank him for inspiring me and he wrote back! I was (am) a nobody in blogsphere. He had a growing tribe of over 10,000 people and he took the time to reply to my email! What’s more, he had heard of me! He liked my style, even. And these shalom-y schemes of mine. I was so smitten. But I knew intuitively it wasn’t my awesome that prompted him to respond. It was his own commitment to reply to people to who reach out to him. ALL OF THEM.

I don’t know if he still does that. I don’t know how he could! His community is overwhelmingly massive. At some point, I’m sure something’s got to give. But I admire him for caring. And for other things.

Like quests.

The Happiness of Pursuit is a book about quests. About Chris’ quest to visit every single country in the world (all 193!). And about the people he encountered with quests of their own.

I will pretty much devour every book he writes and I’m loving this one. I signed up to receive an early copy so that I could help (in my own small way) promote it. But this is not just to help Chris out.

I read a lot. I recommend selectively. I will not suggest you read most of the books I read unless you’ve expressed an interest in a particular topic. Or you’re struggling in a certain area and I’ve read a book that helped me. I don’t want to bore you or waste your time. And I want my recommendation to mean something. If I sign off on it, it’s freaking good, yo.

But this book. THIS I would recommend to everyone. We don’t all need to achieve massive success. We don’t all need to heal our bodies or learn how to rest or even dare greatly. But, maybe, we could all benefit from a quest. Even if it’s small. Especially if it’s small! It doesn’t just give us purpose, it makes things interesting.

Now for the fun part. To celebrate Chris’ book launch, I’m hosting a contest. But before I get to the details—an experiment and an announcement.

I had an idea. You could say it’s a vision. I want to create a respite for creative healers. A safe space to dream and be rejuvenated. I’m launching this Big Dream early in 2015, but before I do that, I want to flesh it out more. And I need your help.

For six weeks, from Oct 12th to Nov. 22nd, I want to explore this vision by creating a mini version. We’ll choose a book and a theme. We’ll connect and I’ll share a prompt every week day in the secret Facebook group. And we’ll come up with new ideas for even deeper soul restoration. Participants will have the opportunity to help me design this respite. And truly have a hand in helping me create a space that inspires.

I’m calling it The Shalom Experiment. And you can click here for all the details. It’s $40 to join, but that brings me back to my contest.

Three Winners

When you enter, you’ll have the chance to win:

—Your Own of The Happiness of Pursuit!

A Spot in The Shalom Experiment!

A Spot in The Rebel Diaries!

To enter, subscribe to my newsletter here AND leave a comment below telling me which prize you’d like to win and why. (Hint: if you have a book in your head that’s itching to get out, The Rebel Diaries might be the thing for you.) If you’re already subscribed, make sure to mention that in your comment below (and you’ll be entered)! And if you know of anyone who could benefit from one of these gifts, please pass this on to them!

The deadline to enter is Monday at midnight PST (because I’m a west coast girl at heart). I will announce the winners Tuesday morning.

Good luck! So much love. And shalom. And happiness. And a little bit of quest.

Gratitude and Doodles


I have a friend. She’s actually more of an illustrator. And she’s also the cutest. The absolute cutest.

Being stubborn and depressed and unpopular saved her life. That’s amazing all by itself. But even more so that she wrote a book about it! For preteen and teen girls. Because not everyone can be the prom queen. And thank God for that.

She asked me to participate in a very special Doodle Dream Blog Party in honor of her book with all its gorgeous doodles. Of freaking course I will! Because being stubborn, depressed, and unpopular had a similar, glowing effect on me. I want to spread this book as far and wide as it will go. I want Sadie to read this book! I want her friends to read this book! I want my niece to read this book! I want my mom to read this book!

I want you to read this book. And share it with your daughter and your mother and your best friend. Because we need more stories like this. We need to know we’re not alone.

This week, the Doodle Dream Theme is Let’s Bee Grate-full.

So, let’s!




I channeled my inner Jenipher Lyn and worked hard to create a doodle she might dig. It’s been a challenging week and I got a little bit teary-eyed realizing I would need to sit down on this busy day and make time to doodle my gratefuls. So exactly what I needed.

And seriously, this book is powerful. And adorable. And it could even save your life. 

The Moments that Come Together



Man, I’ve missed you. It’s been six long weeks and one huge whirlwind since I last updated this space. I didn’t realize it’d been that long until this morning, and, now that I’ve had a few moments to breathe, I wanted to take some time and fill you in on all that’s been going on.

First, in the personal realm, we moved! Again!

My husband got the position he’d eyeing since he joined the Army. It’s straight-up graphic design, one of the few full-time design gigs in the Army. It’s an honor and a privilege. And I am so freaking proud of him. Some of you who’ve been around for a few years might remember when he was unemployed. It happened less than a year after we got married and it lasted for well over a year. I was still in school at the time and, generally speaking, a nervous wreck. He was depressed, that sinking feeling that comes from the binding, gendered belief that a man is supposed to support his family. Eventually, we felt we had no other reasonable option besides enlisting in the Army. But we are pacifists. Those first few years were tough. We were still struggling to catch our breath financially and the military kind of sucked the life out of both of us, especially him. He rarely, if ever, complained.

And now . . . it’s falling together like snow. It feels amazing. And it’s not only the new job. We got the apartment we wanted. It’s beautiful and tiny and affordable and modern and so us. Jermaine has ventured deep into the realm of interior design. From nook-style desks to closet lofts, we’re plotting incredible ways to make it truly ours. But on top of everything, we’re home. We’re back in Maryland where my heart’s been all this time. I cannot describe the joy in my gut.

I was talking about all of this to a friend at church last Sunday. She laughed and with warmth and wisdom exclaimed, “Yes, sometimes it does all fall into place! And we’ll take it, right? Because one thing I’ve learned in all these years is that it will eventually fall apart again. So it’s more than okay to enjoy the moments that come together.”

Professionally, I have some exciting irons in the shalom-y fire.

I’ll be in Austin in three weeks getting paid to teach a Shalom Session workshop to some of my favorite people in the world!

In a few weeks, Elora Nicole and I will be launching a brand new e-course that’s quite literally taken us over a year to birth. We are delighted and exhausted and oh-so-ready to share it with you.

In June, I’m going to launch my very first digital product :: The Shalom Sessions [Pocket Edition]: What the What. It will walk you through how to find your dream. This is also something that’s taken far too long, and yet just the right amount of time to become a real thing. I’m ecstatic to put it out into the world. And, as always, my crazy talented husband is going to do all the design work for it.

Currently, I’m teaching Fix My Life [FML]: An E-course on Food, Money, and Lov(ing yourself). It’s been one of my most ambitious e-course undertakings, and doing it right in the middle of moving sort of explains why I haven’t had time to blog. But it’s my baby, and I love all that’s being created in that class.

In my massive spare time, I’ve also completed the Finding Your Arc e-course in Story Sessions and have graduated to become a Story Coach (in addition to my signature Shalom Sessions)!

I’ve churned out a few kick-ass bios and received some glowing reviews.

In the process of moving to Maryland, we drove back and forth, from NC to MD and back again, twice. And the first time the kids wanted to ride in the “cool” car with their dad, so I got six straight hours to dream. I ended up with some doozies:

Look out for a 31 day “Ordinary Time” version of Be coming this August!

Both FML and Breaking the Dress Code will be back with bells on this fall.

In addition to repeating my e-courses, I’m working on several big and small projects this summer—

One is still super secret. If I told you, I’d have to hide you, and that would just be weird.

My main project is what I’ve affectionately titled, “Write the damn book already, Brandy.” It doesn’t matter what else happens this summer, by the first day of fall 2014, I’m to have a working draft of my non-fiction debut and be on the hunt for an agent. This is happening. And if you want to give me serious eyes and hold me accountable, I’m all for it.

The last one is a joint effort on many fronts. It’s a blog revamp. Content, design, and everything in between. Jermaine is helping, obviously. And I’m so freaking excited. It’s long overdue.

Besides that, Sadie and I will be finishing up homeschooling and prepping for the 7th grade. Brooklyn will be exploring new ways to bump his head on our kitchen island. And Jermaine might even persuade me to take some actual time off and have a little fun.

I may have a Pay-What-You-Can (what you really really can) Shalom Session sale coming up kinda sorta soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, hop on my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.

Learning to Surf [the Ocean of Rejection]

“It’s not a good day unless you get a rejection letter in the mail.” +Nate Haken

One month from now, I’ll be on a plane heading west! I’ve been dreaming of 2Days with Rob Bell for over a year (it’s a conference, people, I’m a happily married woman)! I have a hotel room and plane ticket! I’ll get to see some dear friends while I’m in California! And Nicole, who wrote this SPECTACULAR piece on how our beauty is like gravity for Wild Goslings, is attending the conference, too! Sorry for the overdose of exclamations, but for all concentrated purposes, it’s Christmas is September.

Jermaine says that the anticipation for the thing that you really really want is actually the truly fun part. I don’t know if I buy that, but I would like to make this wait extra awesome sauce.

So I’m going to try to get rejected as much as humanly possible.

Learning to surf the ocean of rejection (as the very last Fuller Brush Man put it in Daniel Pink’s amazing book) is the hardest part of moving people. One of the things I’ll be covering in Breaking the Dress Code is how to get good at being rejected. But I don’t want to ask people to do something I’m not intimately familiar with myself, so this is the perfect opportunity to spend a little time exercising that skill.

For the record, I’m fairly good at rejection right now. If I want something, I’ll go for it. It’s not in me to sit around and wait for permission. When you’re a lovesick high school girl, as I often have been in life, this can have a desperate effect. But, as a resourceful entrepreneur, this trait can save your life. Or change it, even.

So, here I go! I added “Pitch five emails” to my list of daily practices (and stayed up until 1am finishing them last night). Up until now, pitching was a once a week task for me—but one I never got good at getting around to—unless there was a deadline. In an interview I listened to yesterday, Daniel Pink casually remarked, “You know, as an entrepreneur, I get rejected ALL the time.”

Wait, what? OH. You mean it never stops?

I could choose to find this depressing, realizing that the people I most admire still have to surf this ocean every day. But it’s actually incredibly encouraging.

Maybe the point isn’t to get to the place where you don’t get rejected anymore.

Maybe the point is to get to the place where you kind of love it. Because you know it means you’re showing up.

PS. My friend Brenna shared Imgur’s Reasons My Son is Crying this morning on Facebook. So inspired, I made my own.

PPS. Want to learn more about surfing and rejection? Let’s Break some daggone Dress Codes, yo. Also, fun fact, I’m going to take real live surfing lessons in California next month! Pray for me? I have an ear thing (my ears hate me).

PPPS. Are you on the list yet?


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