Today I say goodbye to a dream

6 years ago this very month, Seeking Christmas arrived on bookshelves. It was a dream I’d worked on for years. Roadblock after roadblock seemed to meet me along the journey. Eventually, I received the letter from the publisher that my proposal was accepted and they’d like to offer me a publishing contract.

Here’s what I asked my blog readers in August 2013:

Do you……

  • Find your anxiety level rising as Christmas approaches
  • Feel the commercialization overshadows what really matters
  • Wish you could simplify Christmas
  • Feel the hectic pace and busyness makes advent devotions impossible
  • Desire to capture the true magic
  • Long to create memories & traditions with depth & meaning
  • Wish there was a devotion for today’s busy family
  • Want more than just a devotion
  • Want an experience
  • Want to address all of the above AND complete half of your gift list

For 6 years I’ve prayed for Seeking Christmas to catch fire. Sadly, it never lived the life I dreamed it would.

Does that mean it was a failure?

I suppose that depends on how you choose to view the entire experience.

I hired a consultant while I developed Seeking Christmas. From the very beginning, he told me my path was never about the book. Honestly, I didn’t get it at all. In my mind, it was all about the book. I was deeply passionate about the family, traditions, and memory making. Of course, it was about the book.

He tried to help me see beyond this one project, that I had more to offer than a Christmas experience book.

I thought a publishing deal was the end. I thought it would release and the rest was history. I thought it would be the christian Elf on the Shelf.


I quickly realized ALL the marketing rested on my shoulders.

To that point I refused to buy into the “build a platform” idea. I said I’d NEVER speak publicly. God began to show me if I wanted to share this with the world, I needed to do the actual work of sharing.

I began speaking at women’s gatherings. It was one of my greatest fears. Turns out I fell in love with speaking and something I was terrified of turned into something that brought me incredible joy. Connecting face to face with women ignited something else in me.

This step led to the preparation for me to lead women’s ministry at my church. Again, I needed time face to face with these women to hear their struggles and understand their hearts.

Because of Seeking Christmas, I began to consistently write on my blog in very intentional ways. My writing skills developed right before the eyes of my readers. You’ve watched me grow through all kinds of seasons.

All along, the sales of Seeking Christmas were pitifully low.

I’ll be totally honest, part of me wishes I’d never published it. All the writing conferences I’ve attended, they stress the importance of a first success. If you release a flop of a book, you are toast for future books.

But then I look at all God did in me and this ministry, and I see that without stepping out to publish Seeking Christmas, nothing else would have followed. Seeking Christmas drove me to develop in areas I wouldn’t have on my own.

Mainly, Seeking Christmas taught me to say no to fear. It taught me to trust God when I can’t see “success” in the way I’ve always viewed it. It taught me that success occurs in the process rather than the end result. It taught me to release my fear of failure and accept that failure might actually be the success I needed most.

Over the summer my copyright attorney called to ask about updating some filings. I let him know I planned to simply let Seeking Christmas go. I would not continue to pay the publisher to keep it in the distribution system. I was done.

I’ve not fully processed my feelings over it yet.

The prideful part of me feels embarrassed. I look back and see how naive I was. Driven by passion and desire, full of hope that it would bring a gift to families I deeply desired they experience.

The cynical part of me wonders why I spend so much time trying to help people solve their problems or share my discoveries. Do people even care?

Then I look around at this loud online world and wonder why I’m even still here on this blog space.

Then I hear God’s whisper. He gently reminds me to show up for the ones who are looking for help, encouragement, or a dose of inspiration.

So today I officially say goodbye to a once held dream for Seeking Christmas. It’s no longer available on Amazon or online book retailers. I have in my inventory 15 copies you can buy from my store here.

Just for fun, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane.

My family has cheered me on through every passion, idea, & project. They’ve encouraged me to follow my dreams and never quit. Today, is hard because it feels like a quit. But I think at times, we have to quit something to prepare for another.

Here’s a little trailer my family made with me 🙂

 

Seeking Christmas from Ernie D.–Clear Impact Prod. on Vimeo.

I say goodbye to the dream I held in my heart for Seeking Christmas today, but I look forward to what God has next, which I never would have stepped into without walking the road with this book for the last 6 years.

But you know what I will still have that I hope families will use? The ornament download. I’ll be updating my shop to offer the ornaments with a family activity. I hope the heart of Seeking Christmas will live on even if the book isn’t around. And now that I think of it, maybe this is the very best way. Maybe all along what I want most is families to get into the actual Bible together. Maybe this will simplify that for them in a hectic, materialistic season.

Hey, I appreciate you. You are the absolute best readership I could ever ask for. Sometimes I can’t believe you are still here with all that is available online to read. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The Christmas Collection

I’m a reflector by nature. Even more so at Christmas. So, naturally, I’m reflecting this morning on some past Christmas posts.

I sat to write this morning, but I realized I have many words stored up over years of Christmas writing I needed to remind myself of today. Sometimes I need time to focus on remembering the old rather than creating something new.

Last year I compiled one post of some of my favorite Christmas posts. You can access it here.

For all posts related to Christmas, simply choose Blog from the Menu, scroll to Categories and choose Christmas from the drop down menu.

In this best of post, you will find the following themes:

  • Ideas for serving others during the Christmas season.
  • A sweet tradition of writing a letter to your child each Christmas, tucking it in the tree for Christmas morning.
  • How to overcome Christmas anxiety.
  • When the season doesn’t line up to your expectations.
  • Lists of non-toy, non-material, non-clutter gift ideas. Experiences and memories. Gifts that keep giving, don’t break the bank or clutter your home and life.
  • Letting go of Christmas comparison.

Don’t miss these 2 posts:

  • My favorite Christmas post from last year Why My Christmas Can Be Incomplete. I needed this reminder. Back to the cross. All the time the cross, which becomes so commonplace, I fear we miss the beauty and magnitude of it in daily living.
  • Actually maybe this one is my favorite. Except the title. I should’ve chosen a different title. December is interesting in that people seem nicer and happier. More giving, less selfish. It’s contagious. Christmas cheer spreads. When it’s over, we are quick to move on with the march of the world. In this post, I’m pondering what each month could look like if we held to the practice of the art of remembering.

You are on my heart this Christmas. I glory at the community God has grown here. I’m humbled by your faithfulness to read here with me in an internet world filled with much more bling to catch your attention. I don’t take you for granted.

I pray your season is filled with a new awareness of the fullness of God in your daily life. May He awe you with His whisper. May He silence you with His presence.

 

Merry Christmas!!

 

If you are looking for a last minute gift that requires no shipping, how about an audio devotion? As you know, over the last year I’ve become quite the audio fan. It fits into our busy lifestyles quite nicely. But also, I learn differently when I listen. So maybe you have a friend or family member who has everything and you can’t think of anything they possibly need.

Maybe Illuminate would be the perfect gift for them. It arrives to their inbox for 14 days of devotions centered on remembering who God is. It’s a quiet gift that will help them release their fears, anxieties, and worries as they are reminded how unfathomable our God is.

The best part is it belongs to them forever.

audio devotional

Maybe you don’t need to wait until Christmas morning? Maybe they need it right now. Like today? And maybe you need it too? Day 1 starts the day you purchase it.

You know what? If you purchase by tomorrow, Day 14 will end on Christmas Eve. Then, they can start again.

 

The gift of peace and rest

Today we celebrate Andrew’s 10th birthday. I absolutely CAN believe he’s 10. He’s strong-willed and high energy, so yes, I’ve felt every day of these 10 years. And loved each second.

Today is also the final day to save 10% plus receive free shipping in my shop. I wish you could see my happy dance with each order placed. As a maker, small business owner, each order matters more than I can express. We have super small profit margins compared to large retailers and realize you could find items in the marketplace for less money. However, when you purchase here, you are directly supporting our family and impacting the Kingdom. So thank you.

If you are looking for a simple Christmas gift this year, maybe a scripture pillowcase fits?

What you think of and focus on the first and last 5 minutes of your day holds power.

I struggle with the first few minutes of my day honestly. My thoughts were awake even while I slept. And when I wake, they are ready to take charge.

But we’ve been given authority over our thoughts, and 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to take those thoughts captive.

Here’s one practical way to help you renew your mind so you begin your day with peace and end with rest. Lay your head on His Word.
Scripture pillowcases help you see Him, the Alpha and Omega with the beginning and end end of your day.

Try it. Start and end with Him.

If you are looking to establish family traditions, maybe Seeking Christmas would bless your family. You can download a free set of 7 ornaments. In addition, you can download the coloring book version for your little ones!

Seeking Christmas can be purchased through Amazon (or your local bookstore can order for you…often with free shipping).

Over the coming days and weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Christmas posts. As God continues to speak the words simplicity to me, I’m realizing I’ve actually been writing about it for years.

I’m praying this season is full of simple moments that glorify our Father.

How This Could Be Your Best Gift + A Sale

Recently, I overhead a conversation about how hard it is to start the day with God. We have good intentions, but the world grabs us via our phones before the Word ever has a chance. It hit me.

What we need most this year is the Word before the world.

When we give our first attention of the day to the phone screen,

  • we invite chaos into our soul right away.
  • We invite stress to precede His promise of peace.
  • We open the door to worry and anxiety.
  • Our to-do list speaks to us before the Creator of the universe utters His first whisper in our ear.

He begins to speak, but the world, through our phone, screams louder.

Why Scripture Pillowcases?

With a scripture pillowcase, we can wake up with His Word right before our eyes. Before we reach for the screen, His Word is speaking to us, and we see it.

So I’m reminded to start with Him. His Word draws me in before the world pulls me away.

My head lays right on His Word. How better to start and end our day?

So many people say to me they want to have a steady quiet time, but it’s a struggle. They say once they check a few emails, scroll Facebook, or read the news, the opportunity for time with the Lord is gone.

This is where I want to help. Starting and ending our day centered on Him changes everything.

So what if you give someone something they are already using, but now you’ve filled it with meaning and spiritual intentionality?

When you give a scripture pillowcase,

  • you remind them they are known and loved.
  • you give them something thoughtful, meaningful, and intentional.
  • you give them something they will treasure forever
  • you give them something that will continue to give back for years to come.

When I began writing about intentional living, Deuteronomy held the verses that guided my choices.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

When we lie down and when we get up. This is why I’ve created these pillowcases. I’m taking this verse, this command, seriously. My hope is to give you a tool to help you make this a reality in your home and the homes of the people you care about.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.

Whatever day you are shopping, I wanted to offer you 10% off plus free shipping now through November 27th.

Stock up now on gifts beyond Christmas. It’s a great time to go ahead and fill your gift stash for the holidays that creep up on you.

Use coupon code cyber10 for 10% off and cyberfreeship for free shipping. You can combine the coupons!!

By far the most popular item in our shop is the scripture pillowcase.

The last day to place an order for Christmas delivery is December 10th.

These would make the perfect gift for all the teachers on your list. Or your Bible study friends. Put them in your kid’s stocking. Give one to your mom, sister, best friend.

They are perfect as a stand-alone gift. They are also special paired with a prayer journal and fun pens. Or a coffee mug and a favorite book.

Here are a few items you might enjoy adding to your scripture pillowcase gifts.

 

Prayer Journal

Journaling Pens

 

Inspirational Mug