Like many of you, my kids are on spring break this week so I’m going to be taking a little time off. I would have just not posted at all, but I felt weird about having Kiefer and his twin sister at the top of my blog all week.

springInstead, you get a generic photo of spring which, to me, is infinitely better than Kiefer Sutherland as a man (and, let’s face it, as a woman.) Also, let’s just think for a minute about the name “Kiefer.” He’s had that name his whole life, not just when he became famous. Which meant the sentences “Kiefer, go clean your room” and “Honey, will you change Kiefer’s diaper?” and “Kiefer, you’re grounded!” have all been said with a straight face.

And then, when he lost his house key, his mom was all, “Well, I have to get another key for Kiefer.”

And while I’m doing this, did you know his full name is Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland? I promise I didn’t make that up. It’s right there on Wikipedia.

Speaking of names, did you know my sister finally shared her real name on her blog last week? She’ll still go by The Nester online, but for those of you who have been losing sleep over it, you can read all about it now. (Hint: Her nickname was Mikey in high school.) (I thought it was cool that she had a boy nickname even though she was a girl.)(I never had a nickname.)(My parents called me Emmy, though, which I guess half counts.) (I wonder if Kiefer had a nickname?)

She also announced last week that she is writing a book! Wrote. Wrote a book. She already turned it in, actually. And of course I’ve read it and can’t believe y’all have to wait until March 2014 to read it, too. Because it is fantastic and heart-felt and honest and hilarious.

Speaking of spring (weren’t we?), have you ever participated in Tsh’s Project Simplify? Every Tuesday in April she encourages us to tackle a different hot spot in our house – drawers and shelves, that pesky closet, piles (oh the piles!) and that other project you’ve been putting off. It’s a manageable way to spring clean without feeling like you are spring cleaning. It starts next Tuesday and I think I’m going to join in.


Speaking of books, (now I’m just confusing myself) here is a stack of books I received in the mail last month. A perk of being an author and/or/also of having a blog is people send you their books for free. I’ve read and offered endorsement for a few of them and look forward to checking out the others

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle :: Loved every minute of this book. I laughed, I cried, I craved donuts.

The Church Planting Wife by Christine Hoover :: I haven’t read this one yet because I am a procrastinator, but I really like the way Christine positions herself as someone who is always open to learning from others. In her book she does this by interviewing other women to get their perspective on church planting.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist :: I haven’t read this one yet, either, but I have been reading Shauna’s blog (she got a blog makeover!) and look forward to settling in with her book.

Be The Sunshine by Angela Thomas :: Angela is a real life friend (we go to the same church and her kids are in our youth group.) (And whenever I get the chance, I sit at her feet and learn smart things.) (I don’t get that chance often enough.) This is a gift book based on a funny family moment – I haven’t read the book yet (it’s very short) but I have heard her give the Be The Sunshine talk and it was fantastic. I heart me some Angela Thomas.

Life After Art by Matt Appling :: Matt’s book just released this week but I read it around Christmas. I offered an endorsement for this one so I read it when it was only in PDF form (although Matt graciously had it spiral bound for me because I have an emotional allergy to reading books on my computer). It’s always fun to get a book you’ve already read in the mail – bound, covered, and lovely – when you’ve only seen it in a raw form.

Asking for endorsements on your work is one of the most humbling and vulnerable things an author is required to do. I have a deep respect and appreciation for other authors and know what a gift it is to receive endorsements – and the gift it is to give them.

The Artist’s Daughter by Alexandra Kuykendall :: This is another book I endorsed this year. I don’t know Alexandra personally but we share an editor at Revell and I was honored to read her memoir. I sat down one day and read it straight through without stopping. She grew up as the only child of a world traveling mother and a famous Spanish artist who wasn’t really in her life. She has a gentle voice and is honest about her struggles with identity, motherhood, and forgiveness.

Taylor’s Gift by Todd and Tara Storch :: Todd and Tara’s daughter Taylor died in a skiing accident in March 2010. With only a few minutes at the hospital to consider their options, they made a quick decision to donate Taylor’s organs. The book is their story and the story of the organ recipients. I haven’t read this one, but I have to tell you that they brilliantly sent nail polish along with the book in Taylor’s favorite color blue (also the color of the book) and I painted my nails before I even opened the book. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it does tell me that these parents are two people who love and miss their daughter and want to honor her life by encouraging others toward organ donation.

I had every intention of this post being one paragraph and now I’ve gone and told you all about my free books.

Speaking of books, I don’t always think to tell you about the books I’m reading 1) because I’m embarrassed that I tend to have several going at once and 2) because I don’t always finish the ones I start. I plan to add a small section in my monthly newsletter dedicated to the books I’m reading.

Speaking of the newsletter, I’m sending out a letter every week in April to gain some momentum. After that I plan to make it a monthly thing. I’m enjoying the challenge of sending it out weekly, though. So far, of the more than 12,000 people subscribed to Chatting at the Sky (those who receive blog posts in a reader or through email), a little over 10% of you have signed up to receive the newsletter.

If this blog is like a house, then the newsletter is like a smaller room within the house. The house is still home, but in this small living room I can share a little more intimately with a smaller group of friends.

If you would like to receive that monthly living room letter, you can sign up on this page – make sure to click the box next to “newsletter.” The next one goes out on Tuesday.

Speaking of going out, I’m out. I’m finished. Now I’m going to officially take some time off for spring break. Which means I’m going to vacuum, play airplanes, visit my parents, sit outside in our cul-de-sac, and give the dog a bath (and when I say “give the dog a bath” I mean “watch my husband give the dog a bath.”)