Saturday, May 30, 2015

giveaway winner!


Well, it happened again ... The day is almost over, and I haven't yet posted the giveaway winner. Oops. I have good reason, though. I had work again, and my brother and sister-in-law are visiting. But enough of the excuses. You probably want to hear the giveaway winner. (It's likely you already saw it over at Emily Ann's blog, but if not, here I am to announce it too!)


The winner is ...

Elizabeth Anne D. !!!

(I was going to draw this out to tease you, but Emily Ann already did that. And my brother and sister-in-law are here. Meaning I don't have all the time in the world. Sheesh.)

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Thank you again -- a hundred times over! -- to all of you who have helped with the tour! And not only those who have helped, but those who have commented and shown interest in our book. You make this journey so much more fun. We love you all!

I'll see y'all again Monday to announce the next fairy tale contest from Rooglewood Press!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

ain't we got fun tour | day five

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Well, this has been a journey! Emily Ann and I have had so much fun visiting your blogs and sharing peeks into our world of Ain't We Got Fun. I only hope y'all have enjoyed it as much as I!

First of all, I feel I should apologize for this post appearing so late in the day. I had work this morning and early afternoon, and then I came home and crashed in my room to scroll through Facebook and breathe a bit. Here I am, now! Let's get on to the stops for today's tour.

Emily Ann guest posted on "The Pen of a Ready Writer" to talk about character creation ...

... Use [flaws] to stretch and change your character. Pride gets Gi in quite a few scrapes. Throughout AWGF, she’s constantly battling with it. Everytime she thinks she can tame her pride, it flares up again. It’s not until the end of the story that she finally makes headway into defeating this flaw. She realizes that she can’t do everything on her own, and that she needs to rely on God, not herself.


I also guest posted today, over at "Fullness of Joy." I decided to tackle the topic of meeting deadlines and remaining sane all at the same time. The post doesn't seem to be up yet, but I'll update you when it is. In the meantime, how about a sneak peek?

I'm going to go out on a limb again and guess that I'm not the only one who struggles with deadlines -- whether it be for writing, homework, blogging, et cetera. Therefore, I thought I would compile an Emily Approved list of Ways to Stay Sane While Meeting Deadlines.
1. Eat chocolate. And coffee.

Funny story, but ever since I met Emily Ann three years ago, her biggest piece of advice to me when I would have troubles with lack of inspiration was this: eat chocolate and drink coffee. There are countless times I've received this well-worn advice from her, and it's a good piece of advice. Whether it helps with inspiration or not, it does revive you a bit. Coffee = caffeine. Caffeine = a more awake author. Chocolate = happiness. Happiness = a more cheerful author. Both are rather necessary things for meeting deadlines.


One more tidbit of Ain't We Got Fun information for the day ... I'm not entirely sure who, but someone added our book to a list titled "Epistolary Fiction" on Goodreads! Thank you, anonymous friend who did so! It's currently 70 out of 338 books. This is where you come in! Let's try to get this little novella higher on the list. You can vote for it here. The more votes she gets, the higher on the list she goes!

Now, if you missed any of the blog posts this week, never fear! Below I've compiled the entire week's tour into a handy little list for you! (Okay, I actually copied and pasted it from Em's blog. Cough, cough.) Thank you again to all the bloggers who participated!

MONDAY:

Book view by Audrey at THE MEASURE OF A BOOK.
Interview by CARMEL ELIZABETH.
Challenges and Joys of Writing Historical Fiction (a guest post by Emily Ann) at
THE MISADVENTURES OF A GLOBETROTTER IN TRAINING.

TUESDAY:

Book review by Hanne-col at AIN'T WE GOT FUN.
Book review by Reyna at A PEACE OF THE PAST.
Incorporating Christianity Into One's Writing (a guest post by me) at APPLES OF GOLD.

WEDNESDAY:

The Writing Process of Ain't We Got Fun (a guest post by Emily Ann) at FULLNESS OF JOY.
Book review by Anne Marie at AM STATION.
Cover + Giveaway Info at LETTERS FROM AVONLEA.

THURSDAY:

Interview at THE WHISPERING COTTAGE.

FRIDAY:

How to Meet Deadlines and Remain Sane (a guest post by me) at FULLNESS OF JOY.
Character Creation (a guest post by Emily Ann) at THE PEN OF A READY WRITER.

- - - - -

Only a few more hours left to enter the giveaway! If you haven't entered yet, you can still jump on the bandwagon. (Open to U.S. residents only.) We will be announcing the winner tomorrow!

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

ain't we got fun tour | day four

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Facts about Me and Ain't We Got Fun

- I still don't know how to pronounce "Willoughby" ... so I just call him "Will" when speaking out loud.

- Tom originally was meant to sort of parallel Teddy Laurence.

- I knew the instant I read "dashing journalist" in Emily Ann's letters that she would turn him into a very important character.

- I'm a lot like Bess, which made the story a lot easier to write. We even look alike. And we're the same age. And we love to read. And we're somewhat shy (although I'm fighting to overcome that). And we're both daddy's girls. Okay, I'll stop now. ;)

- I'm not sure why the Great Depression was chosen as the era. I think it had a lot to do with the dust bowl, actually. I wanted to write a story around that time, and then I found out that the dust bowl happened during the Great Depression. And the rest of the undeveloped plot fit perfectly into that era.

- Bess sprains her ankle a total of three times during the story. Funny enough, Tom is always the cause, too.

- I may have been known to have squealed out loud when reading Gi's replies to Bess' letters. I might have blushed when she mentioned Tom, I might have laughed when Gi recounted her blunders, I might have cried when Gi sent her last letter. I might have.

- Gi and Bess' mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Donovan. Bess was named after her, as was Donny.

- That time when I took the pictures of me dressed like Bess? Originally I was going to take them in a field across from the tiny apartment my family was living in at the time, but there was a very short amount of daylight left because I had to work that morning and most of the afternoon ... so I picked the best corner I could in the apartment, threw on a too-small sweater and a crinkled blouse, and snapped a couple so-called Bess pictures. (Also it was very cold outside, and I had no 30's coat to speak of.)

- - - - -

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading those random little facts. One more thing before I close this portion of the post and get on to the stops for today's tour ... have you gotten your copy of Ain't We Got Fun yet? If so, take a picture of yourself with your copy (it can be paperback or Kindle!) and send it to us! 

emilychapmanauthor AT gmail DOT com
authoremilyannputzke AT gmail DOT com

We love seeing ridiculously excited faces with our book. :) If we receive enough pictures, we might compile a post of y'all.

Now, on to the blog tour! Today we have but one stop, but it's a rather fabulous one. Today we were interviewed over at "The Whispering Cottage." Libby had wonderful questions, so if you want to go read a bunch of Ain't We Got Fun paraphernalia, hop right on over there! Here's a sneak peek:

9. If this book had a soundtrack, what are a few songs that would be on it?

E.C. : Fascinating question! First off, definitely "Ain't We Got Fun" sung by Renee Olstead. I also listened to "A Life That's Good" by Lennon and Maisy Stella a lot while writing AWGF, and it occurred to me more than once that it echoed the story very nicely.

E.A.P : Yes, “Ain’t We Got Fun” would definitely be the first song on that soundtrack! I listened the Miss Potter soundtrack while writing, and it definitely would be a soundtrack for AWGF. Also, “When You Taught Me How To Dance” by Katie Melua.


You know what's crazy? There's only one more day for the blog tour! And that means ... there's only one more day left to enter the giveaway! Don't miss it! (Open to U.S. residents only.)

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ain't we got fun tour | day three

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I'm just going to steal Emily Ann's idea, and reminisce about the last crazy days writing the Ain't We Got Fun letters.

I suppose you all already know how we posted the letters on our blogs during the month of January as we wrote them. The first couple weeks we had written far ahead, and we had plenty of time to get the rest done. But then, as life caught up to us and things got busy, time crept up on us to get the last letters written. As Em said, she was at her expecting sister's house, and I was behind in schoolwork at the time, struggling to catch up and finish my first semester of the school year. Not only that, but I was living in a tiny apartment at the time with my rather large family. And we were in the middle of moving from the tiny apartment to a new house. And I was preparing to leave town for the entire month of February. Lots of moving, packing preparations, and schoolwork cramming for me. So, as the last couple letters suddenly demanded to be written, Em and I were both in the midst of crazy situations and had to buckle down and focus!

I honestly cannot remember when and how I wrote the very last letter. I do remember, however, filming the vlog to announce the end of the writing process and the beginning of the publishing process. I called Em that evening and we talked things over. I was also catching a cold, so my voice was raspy. It was the night before the vlogs were supposed to go up on the blogs, and we both were having major issues. Mine wouldn't upload and hers was glitching. It was a mess. Time and I don't tend to get along well at all, so when I have to race against it, I usually just scarcely win.

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We ended up making it in time. Barely. I tore up to my attic and -- between coughs and a hoarse voice -- managed to film an awkward vlog. And Em ended up re-filming hers.

Ah. The joys of deadlines and writing issues. And technical issues. We both are sometimes technologically challenged.

(Curious about the vlogs? You can watch mine HERE and Emily Ann's HERE.)

Now on to today's stops on the blog tour! Emily Ann guest posted over at our friend Joy's blog, "Fullness of Joy." Care for a sneak peek? :)

"Many people are curious about how exactly we co-authored a book. I’m here to let you in on the process!

... Most of the letters contained new information that surprised the other writer! We really didn’t do a lot of plotting. We had vague ideas of where the story was headed, but we didn’t know how each other’s characters were going to get there. We really didn’t start plotting until the final letters. We had to make sure our endings were headed in the same direction. The writing was the best part! We were so excited to get an email from each other with the next installment! It was like opening a present … we had no idea what each other’s letters contained."


Ain't We Got Fun also received an applause from a sweet reviewer over at "AM Station."

"The characters of Bess and Gi are so unique to each other. They're clearly sisters, but also clearly very distinct people. I loved being a part of their joys and struggles. I came to feel as though I was one of them, privy to their thoughts and feelings. The character development was extraordinary. Even though Bess and Gi definitely were kept "in character" throughout the length of the book, they were clearly grown by the end."


We also received a shout-out on "Letters From Avonlea."

Thank you so much to all the bloggers who have helped out this week, and those who have expressed so much interest in our book! It's unbelievably encouraging. We love you all!

Oh, and one more thing ... don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open to U.S. residents only. I promise this is a giveaway you don't want to miss. :)

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ain't we got fun tour | day two

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What did I do during the Big Release yesterday? I slept 'til noon. (The weekend had been very long one, so I decided to reward myself.) I went through many comments and posts about our book when I woke up, and as the day was lazy and rainy, my family and I did just that. We were rainy and lazy. Most of my day was spent here on the blogosphere, following Ain't We Got Fun wherever it went.

(Also I watched Granite Flats last night, and if you don't watch that show, you really should. It's one of my favorite shows ever.)

Anyway, I promised I would keep you updated on where we went on our journey, and today's stops are rather fun. Two snazzy book reviews, guys. I think I was blushing as I read them.

"Vivid characters is something of a trademark that I have experienced with both authors’ writing from the smaller short stories/scenes they have posted on their respective blogs and Ain’t We Got Fun follows in that vein. You are running across the Kansas prairie with Bess or downing uncountable cups of coffee in New York City with Gi. Not only are the two narrators vivid but also the people they encounter and describe. You even have a rough idea of what the musician couple who play the V-instrument are like even though they never really have 'on screen' time ..."

- hanne-col from her blog "ain't we got fun" ... guys, ain't we got fun appeared on "ain't we got fun" in the form of a review for ain't we got fun.


"... I can't think of a single thing I disliked about it. It's one of those books that makes you feel all warm and happy inside, yet is not at all lacking in serious elements of sickness, family issues, and a bit of danger as well (very mild; nothing scary). The thing I really loved was the writing style. The authors' writing styles were distinguishable from each other's just enough to make it really seem like two sisters writing to each other, yet the story still had a nice flow."

- reyna from her blog "a peace of the past"


Today I am also appearing on Jessica's blog, "Apples of Gold", in which I talk about how to incorporate Christianity into one's writing.

"I've written three novels/novellas in my lifetime. Cry of Hope, which was published in March of 2014, focused very deeply on Christianity. However, my other two novellas, Sensical Nonsense and Ain't We Got Fun, are rather light-hearted stories that focus mainly on relationships with fellow people. Both could, in fact, be classified as romances.

It's a bit more difficult to incorporate Christianity into these sorts of stories. Why? Because Christianity is such a wide-ranged topic that one simply cannot begin to delve into it only to drop it later on because it's drifting away from the storyline! Below I have a list of ways on how I try to incorporate the faith into my writing ..."

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY (OPEN TO U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY) BELOW!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

ain't we got fun | release + giveaway!

The time is now, the day is heeeere . . . !

It's pretty nostalgic, looking back on all of this. Ain't We Got Fun has taken Emily Ann and I further than either of us ever expected. Gi and Bess have practically become a part of us. (Whenever I write Em a letter, I address it to Gi Rowland. Her contact in my phone is Gi Rowland. Our blogger profile pictures are of us dressed as Bess and Gi. Okay, we might be a little obsessed really excited about our book.)

The happy note about all of this? IT'S AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT LAST. All bound up in a pretty little book!

If, for some reason, you have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about (Hi, lovely new person! I'm so glad you stopped by!), my dear friend and I coauthored a novella. What's it about, you might ask? I'm glad you asked!

- 1936 -

It was never much of an issue for Bess: living contentedly on her family's farm, despite the Depression which loomed around them. But when her older sister Georgiana takes off to New York City to make a fortune and help Papa out, feelings of adventure and wanderlust strike Bess at home. Through their lively letter correspondence, the sisters recount to one another their adventures, surprises, and heartaches, leaving little room for depression. For in a world of such wonder, ain't we got fun?

But wait! There's more! (I've always wanted to say that.)

Are you ready for the unveiling of the Very Big giveaway? We've been working on this package for a couple months now, and I hope it does not disappoint. (Heck, I want to win this package. It's a pity I'm rather disqualified from entering.)








The big question is ... how can you enter?! Unfortunately, this giveaway is open only to those who reside in the United States. My sincere apologies to all of you dear foreign dwellers.

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*throws brownies in the air*
It's published! But the really exciting thing? This is only the beginning of the adventure.

One more thing! All throughout this week, Emily Ann and I will be stopping by various blogs, discussing our book and answering questions and fangirling over our own characters. We'd love to have you come join us! I will feebly attempt to keep you updated on where we are headed next. (You see, to be perfectly honest, Emily Ann is the Ring-Bearer and Wisdom-Bearer of the adventure. I'm merely the hobbit who was voluntarily thrown into the deal, blunders apologetically, and enjoys good food and song. And occasionally helps out by talking too much and giving Presents.)

Today's stops:

AIN'T WE GOT FUN BOOK REVIEW BY AUDREY AT THE MEASURE OF A BOOK.

AN INTERVIEW BY CARMEL ELIZABETH.

CHALLENGES AND JOYS OF WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION (A GUEST POST) AT THE MISADVENTURES OF A GLOBETROTTER IN TRAINING.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

stuffs and more stuffs

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Lovely title, I know. (Also this is going to be a messy post. Bear with me.)

I will not lie. My life has been thrown into a hurricane the past couple weeks. God is stretching me in ways that I never expected. In one week's time, I have hurt, I have loved, I have hated, I have forgiven, and I have grown. Amazing how God works. I love Him for it. I also sometimes despise His methods. But they're always good, in the end.

Emily Ann recently posted on her many happenings lately. I'm somewhat ashamed to say that my writing happenings are considerably fewer than hers. Also, may I just mention that she is one of the most wonderful human beings on the planet? While I'm juggling a job, finishing up my senior year of high school, heading to dance classes, and trying to publish a book (not to mention trucking through the emotional turmoil of the past couple weeks) ... anyway, while I'm trying to juggle all of that, I've accidentally shoved Ain't We Got Fun to the back burner. But she's managed to keep up on blog tour dates, giveaway put togetherings, interaction with our graphic designer, and all of the in-betweens. She's a saint. God knew what He was doing when He stuck her in my life.

Anyway, what writing things have been happening with me lately? I've edited Ain't We Got Fun. And ultimately, I'm waiting to see what the next fairy tale contest is going to be. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you follow Rooglewood Press or Anne Elisabeth Stengl's blog, you know what I mean. If you don't, here's what I'm talking about.

Two years ago, Anne Elisabeth launched her own publishing platform. She entitled it Rooglewood Press, and she started it off with a bang by hosting a writing contest. The challenge was to rewrite a classic fairy tale, crafting it with your own unique twist, and the five best stories were chosen to be published in a beautiful collection of novellas and short stories. The story she chose was Cinderella, and that is the how the lovely book, Five Glass Slippers, came to be. The next year (last year, 2014) she hosted the contest again, this time for a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Hence the reason Five Enchanted Roses will be released in June. Also in June, she will be revealing the cover for the third fairy tale contest, as well as announcing the fairy tale she has selected for this year. Personally, I am hoping for Sleeping Beauty. I fancy I have excellent ideas.

If it is not Sleeping Beauty and I fail to brainstorm anything worthy of writing, I will hopefully look deeper into a WWII novel, or perhaps Jem's story. (The War of 1812 idea.)

All that to say, I humbly ask for your prayers as I traipse through this thing called life. It's not easy -- it never was -- but it's funny how things get tougher when you grow up. Growing up should come with a warning label. Actually, you should have a choice: grow up here or just fly to Neverland. I think, personally, I would fly to Neverland. Peter Pan and I would get along pretty well, anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2015

ain't we got fun blog tour plans

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Exactly two weeks from today. Exactly two weeks from today is the release of Ain't We Got Fun. You know what's also funny? Exactly three years ago come June marks the day Emily Ann and I first started chatting over email. You know what one of the primary topics were in those first few emails? Publishing a book. That was a dream of both of ours. To publish a book.

Guys, we're publishing a book. Together.

Anyway, now that nostalgia is knocked out of the way, let's get down to business. (TO DEFEAT THE HUNS.) Ain't We Got Fun releases Monday, May 25th. Em and I want to host a blog tour for its release that runs from Monday, May 25th to Friday, May 29th. We are also putting together a pretty sweet giveaway package to go along with the tour, and the lucky winner for that will be announced on Saturday, May 30th. 

If you would like to be a part of the blog tour (we would love to visit your blog!), you can sign up below! We are also offering five bloggers the opportunity to review an ebook copy of Ain't We Got Fun ... but there are only FIVE spaces for this, so sign up fast! If you read Ain't We Got Fun back in January, we would love if you would review it on your blog during the tour. (Naturally, this means you are disqualified for the ebook copy because of that ... but keep calm because May 25th is almost here!)



Thank you, readers. You have no idea how much we appreciate your encouragement and willingness to help us along this journey. Heck, we like you so much, we even mentioned you in the Acknowledgements! Thanks again for all you do! Here's to big virtual hugs from us.

Monday, May 4, 2015

begin again

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I brushed aside a sigh and strode over to the man bent over his coffee, pasting on a smile like a good waitress. The man was softly stroking his mug. He seemed a normal man, at first glance. Tall, thin, not especially handsome with rather colorless dark hair. But at a second glance, when he looked up at me, I was almost taken aback by his eyes. Intensely blue eyes, they were. And intensely sad. He looked as if he had no hope in the world.

I almost asked what was wrong but bit my lip. He didn't look so very sad, I convinced myself. That was just his appearance. So I conjured up a brisk tone of voice and asked him if he might like more coffee.

"No, ma'am," he replied, his Adam's apple bobbing. He stared at me a moment, and I honestly could not take my gaze from his eyes. They were fascinating.

"Well, then," I said after a moment. "Can I get you anything else? Pie, maybe, or a cinnamon roll?"

"No," he said. "No, I am not hungry."

Well. That was that. "I'll be at the counter if you need anything," I said, pivoting and sitting down behind the counter. The shop was uncomfortably quiet and empty, excepting his uneasy presence. I pulled out my phone and began to browse.

There was a long silence of ten minutes. I swear the man didn't move a finger during the entire time, despite the fact that an open journal and ready pen were sitting just inches from his fingertips. His dejection almost frightened me.

"You know what the problem is," I heard the man suddenly say in a gravelly voice. "People act like they don't care anymore because they're afraid of getting hurt."

I didn't know what to say. I stared at him. His sad blue eyes watered up as he went on. "From the time that they are babes, children are supposedly taught to speak their minds. Home is supposed to be a ... safe haven. But the world ... it isn't like that. Sin leaks into homes anyway. So innocent babes are trampled for their opinions and for their interests and their talents -- or perhaps lack thereof -- and they learn to shut their mouth and their hearts to things or, primarily, people who might turn around and stab them in the back for who they are and what they believe." He paused for breath, and I noticed his back was heaving as if he had just greatly exerted himself.

"Don't strain yourself," I muttered under my breath, ashamed because that's the only thing I could think of to say. When did I become so sullen and ... unvulnerable?

The man bit his lip, and I realized he had heard my remark. He gave me a crisp nod and said regretfully, "I sorta thought you might be different."

I sucked in my breath. I wanted to say something. Desperately. I wanted to ... pour out the misunderstanding and hope that had been raging in my mind for three years. But coherency had been lost in the muddle and I didn't know how. So instead I said, "Let me get you some pie."

I ran into the kitchen, accidentally cutting a too-large piece and slapping it onto a plate. Then I brought it out to him and slid it onto his table. He had picked up his journal again and was scribbling like mad. His intense blue eyes roved the blank pages, as if he was searching for something that couldn't be found. He looked up at me again, realizing I was watching him. "What's your name?" he asked me, running his fingers along his pen. "What's your story?"

I opened my mouth and realized I had choked. Then my eyes watered up, and he gently pulled out a chair. "Shall we talk?" he said.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Jeremiah Frost," he said. "I'm a ..." He hesitated before saying in a whisper, "I'm a writer."

(This piece of flash fiction is tied into another piece of flash fiction 
I wrote awhile back entitled WINTERAnd the man with the sad blue eyes 
was inspired by a stranger I met at a cafe on April the first.)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

it's okay

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Sometimes you don't have words. Sometimes you can't sort your feelings into thoughts. Sometimes you can't grasp the stories you are begging to speak. Sometimes you can only sit and wrestle with the emotions and then breathe. It's okay to not speak. It's okay to not be heard, sometimes. Sometimes it's okay to just be and no one needs to know it. Sometimes it's okay to just sit with Jesus and be in only His presence and no one else's. Sometimes that's good. Very good.

I've been struggling a lot lately with accepting a future molded by Him and not me. I've been struggling with putting my identity in Him and not in people. I've been struggling with being content where I am. I've been struggling with fear and anxiety. I am human. I struggle.

It's okay, you know. It's okay to not have answers. It's okay to blindly walk through life because we really can't see, anyway. He's the only one who can shed light for our path. Sometimes He snuffs out the light. Sometimes He just takes our hand and holds fast, pulling us through a darkness we cannot penetrate no matter how hard we try. It's okay. Because He's there.

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that life's pretty sweet. Yes, it's tragic. Yes, it's gloomy. Yes, sometimes it's dull. Yes, sometimes it breaks us. But even so, it's beautiful. It's exhilarating. It's mysterious. It's good. Life is good, you know. "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." Genesis 1:31a

I just thought you might need to know that it's okay to be.