How To Live a 2-Star Life in a 5-Star World

So. There are some things that go along with writing a book.

You know besides all the fame and truck loads of money. Heh.

Four months out and I still get weekly questions like, “How’s the book doing so far?” “How many copies have you sold?” “Has it been reviewed in a journal?” “How do you feel about it releasing the same time as five other blogger’s books?” And then suggestions “Maybe you should try to push it here… or Guest post there…”

These are not my favorite.

Because with every question comes a comparison of my book (which sometimes feels a lot like a comparison of me) lined up next to another book (which sometimes feels a lot like a comparison to another author). Although I know it’s my insecurities and not your questions.

And then there are reviews. Words people write about what you’ve written. It can be a lot of noise.

Most days, I waive off the questions and I forget to read the reviews. I handle questions like “So, is your book a success? ” with answers like “I wrote it out of obedience to God.” Because it’s true.

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With daily Mercy House tasks, writing obligations, overseeing Fair Trade Friday, and managing the massive amounts of laundry my family produces, I don’t have time to worry about it. I’ve said from the beginning, this book will do what it’s supposed to do (glorify God, I hope). I don’t have to sell my soul to sell books.

But then there are days I give into the pressure to compare book sales and mostly myself, to others.

These moments are also not my favorite.

Recently, I got my first 2- star review on Amazon. Sales on Amazon are a good general gauge for how your book is doing.  It was sandwiched between two very kind 5-star reviews, but guess which one was loudest?

It said something to the effect of “The 1st part of this book was very interesting and good to read. Then it turned into at least to me an infomercial on the needs of 3rd world countries…”

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I shared the review on my Facebook page, perhaps to satisfy my own need for approval, but I also found encouragement.

But it was words from a missionary friend living in Costa Rica that hit the mark:

She unwittingly gave you one of the best reviews ever. Lord, please let me live a two star life that turns into an infomercial for the needs of others on this earth so I can live a five star life with you forever. #twostars

And it has become my prayer too.

If I’m too busy listening to who the world says I am, I might miss the great I AM speaking.

Because if my goal in this life is to be known, how can I make Him known? 

It’s hard to look at Him when we’re busy looking at ourselves.

For me, success is easily wrapped up in writing and there are plenty of meters to let me know how I’m doing, I mean, how my books are doing. But the same truth applies in every career and situation. If we are comparing our parenting, our homes, our kids, our jobs to other people, we always end up feeling like we don’t measure up.

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How to live a 2-star life in a 5-star world: 

1. Keep our eyes on Him- we can only focus on one thing at a time

2. Don’t compare yourself to others-it skews our perception of truth

3. Live upside down-embrace the small

I’m learning that in this upside Kingdom where small is big and least is more-

Two stars is more than I thought.

My Family Rocks (Even When It Doesn’t)

Friday mornings around my house are hectic.

With one kid in the high school marching band with a football game at night, it means for a very long day. This past Friday was no different, except that my marcher overslept, my son had to be at junior high early and my youngest was still asleep. My husband and I tag teamed it and while I took my son to school in the dark, he went the opposite direction with our girls, one still in pajamas.

There was traffic and a bad hair day and drama in the car and a lot of oh-my-goodness-the-weekend-is-almost-here thoughts.

Our second grader is years behind her siblings and usually takes their schedule in stride. But not on Friday.

What started out as a small thing, quickly grew to a full blown meltdown. You know the kind. At one point, she was so angry, she started spouting off all the bad words she knew, words like dumb and stupid and shut up. And then she let out the big one she read on the wall at the taco bar we visited this summer. The one I hoped she had forgotten. I knew it was a mistake eating there when she read loudly off the wall “The best damn tacos around” as we were ordering. A good reader has its disadvantages.

We hushed her and told her that was a bad word. Our first mistake.

Because when you’re riding in your pajamas, taking your sister to high school and you’re not getting your way, those bad words are the first thing you think of. Oh, sin nature, you do start early.

She used the word completely wrong and it wasn’t funny at all-the whole morning was a disaster, and when I looked down at the shirt I was wearing, I really wanted to laugh.

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Sometimes I think people think our family has it all together. Childless young married couples have told us, “We want our family to be like yours one day.” Oh, to be a fly on our wall.  Sure, we run a non-profit and we said yes to God and it looks good from the outside…like we are perfect parents with perfect kids. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. We are a big fat disaster most days and that’s why it’s remarkable. Because God uses weak, messy people to change the world.

Two out of three of our kids told us we were mean parents that morning. I don’t know what’s wrong with the third one.

But after taking her consequence like a boss, my little girl hugged us hard and apologized. I chaperoned the marching band on Friday night and thought I saw pride in my high schooler’s eyes. And most of all, I was reminded that my family rocks.

Even, when it doesn’t. Especially then.

We are just [damn] normal.

And I have the t-shirt to prove it.

Get yours here.

Blog Elevated Conference Ticket Giveaway

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Congrats to random commenter #12, Geralyn!

I’m excited to be speaking at the Blog Elevated Conference in Galveston, Texas in a couple of weeks! Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or a brand new one, the Blog Elevated Conference has something for everyone. There are sessions on:

In my keynote, I will be sharing how to “Use Your Blog to Change the World.” I’m honored to share my blogging story and where it has taken me and I pray it inspires others to blog for good.

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Check out the other speakers here and registration details here.

And the event will be at the lovely Moody Gardens Hotel.

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GET YOUR TICKET TODAY!

Today, I’m happy to be giving away a full conference pass to one lucky reader! It’s a $249 value and includes:

  • Welcoming reception on Thursday, Sept. 25
  • All sessions and breakouts on Friday, Sept. 26
  • Friday night party
  • All sessions and breakouts on Saturday, Sept. 27
  • 18 sessions in all, with a blogging track, social media track, and visual/design track!

Leave a comment for your entry. This giveaway will end in 24 hours.

Unbelievable Deal: Healthy Living Bundle $1030 Value

I love sharing great deals with you. And I’m super excited about this one because it’s not only an amazing value, it could be life-changing for you and your family.

Our family has been on a journey to healthier living since my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes several years ago. It can be a confusing and challenging road to navigate. If it weren’t for resources, we’d be lost!

That’s why I love The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It includes an entire healthy living library–86 ebooks plus a lot more, valued at $1030 for only $29.97 (PDF version) or $39.97 (ebook version) and it’s available today.

This is the best deal on ebooks I’ve ever seen! There are ebooks and ecourses with countless recipes, meal planning, ideas for feeding children healthier meals, help for specialized diets and so much more. Not only do we have my husband’s special diet in our house, I’ve also been working hard for the last six months to eliminate as many processed foods for my kids.

Here’s a sampling of some I can’t wait to read in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle:

And there’s still so much more! Not only do you get dozens and dozens of ebooks and courses, there’s also another $200 in freebies from healthy living companies that you’ll receive with your purchase.

This ultimate bundle is expected to sell out early, so get yours today. This deal ends Sept 15.

 

Here’s to healthier living for all of us!

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been included in this post.

WFMW: Why I’m Saying Yes To the Small

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Melanie for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Go big or go home. That’s seems to have been my life motto, somehow either born within me or bred throughout my years.

I’m a competitor. High-school valedictorian. Type-A-Organizer. Achiever. Hard worker. (I don’t say this proudly, for you see, these attributes have also been my weakness).

Rather than seeking God’s will, my heart is prone to wander into seeking to win. That somehow if I gain enough blog followers, or Bible study members, or friends, or a promotion… that I will somehow “prove” I am worthy to be used by God in His big picture plan.

When my heart pushes to compete, I lose sight of the fact that in Christ I am already complete.

Many times we think that God only has special plans for those who do “big things”. Bible teachers with huge audiences. Bloggers with millions of followers. Leaders who are cheered by the masses.

Where does that leave us? The ordinary ones? The ones that are not on a stage, or in print, or with a microphone. The ones who blend into the crowds. The ones who long to be used by God but doubt whether He could even want to use our “ordinariness”.

Sweet friends, that leaves us right where God has placed us…. where He can use us best.

God doesn’t call us to be famous. He calls us to be faithful.

Perhaps God uses us best when we spread His love in the small, private places of life. When no one sees, God sees us. When a friend needs a listening ear, God helps us whisper “cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you”. When a cashier just needs someone to ask how her day is going, God shows her that she is noticed. When a dirty little boy asks for a drink of water at soccer practice, God shows His love through our giving just a simple smile and a tiny cup of cool water.

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Are we willing to say “yes” to the small or just to the super-size?

In the Gospel of John, the first words we hear from Jesus are “What are you seeking?“. I slowly trace over each letter with my finger and read them aloud to myself. “Melanie, what are you seeking?

Am I seeking blog followers? Am I seeking pats on the back? Am I seeking to be “famous”?

… or am I seeking Him?

I hope you will join me in saying “yes” to the small. How will you do it today? Is there a child who would enjoy listening to you read them a book, a friend who needs a listening ear, or maybe a total stranger that would enjoy a random note of encouragement?

I want to seek Him. I want to see Him – really see Him – in every minute detail of my ordinary life. Today, I’m shouting out a great big, joy-filled, willing-heart, God-seeking “YES!” to the small. Will you join me?

 

MelanieMoore
Bio:
Melanie writes at her blog, Only a Breath, and shares her real-life faith journey. Her blog’s mission is a simple one — to make you smile and to point your heart to the Giver of true joy. Melanie works as a full-time software developer and cherishes every moment she can spend with her husband and two hilarious sons. Follow Melanie on twitter at @MelanieAnneTN