Life is for Living

I was always going to write a book, but this one wasn’t in the plans. I thought I was going to write about an American Mennonite’s experience of living in Ireland, but I don’t think that one’s going to ever make it, which is very ok.

I remember hearing about a girl who was planning her wedding but her sisters (older and younger than her) could hardly be civil to her, consumed with their losses and desire to be brides. I felt sad for them, knowing some of their pain, but I felt strongly that they weren’t on Earth to be bitter about what they didn’t have.

What IS our greatest purpose? What ARE we here for?

If it’s to be happy brides and wives, some of us have failed our purpose.

If it’s to love and worship God, that option is open to anyone, anyone.

That was my driving motivation in writing the book: what were we created for, and how can we enter into it now, without a romance story? I wrote out of my experience and my hope. I wrote about what I knew and dreamed of. Looking back now, I think it was kinda audacious of me to start writing a book at age 30, and parts of it seem chirpier than I am now, but the premise hasn’t changed.

We were created for a vast, endless, creative love, and there’s no limit to entering into it and letting it transform our lives.

I wrote for singles ages 20-30 because that’s what I knew and had experienced. But often moms and pastors’ wives come up to me to say how the book meets them. I’m deeply honored that they read it, and am learning not to be surprised that it connects with them because we are, all of us, living in Plan B. None of is now where we thought ten years ago we’d be, are we? Unless you’re sitting at the same place you were, eating PopTarts™ slathered with marshmallow creme.

It seems that living well means figuring out how to thrive in Plan B. I’m still learning, steadily by jerks.

Singles don’t have a monopoly on disappointment, ambiguous grief, or unrequited love. We don’t suffer more than others, but we do live with a specific loss that deserves some attention sometimes.

You’ve probably heard a talkative mother say she was never going to marry, but here she is, with a house and family because some man came out of nowhere and swept her off her feet. She’s grinning as she says it, and people chuckle. She’s allowed to joke about her Plan B.

But a single lady isn’t allowed to say she was never going to be single at 26 or 46, but here she is, all dressed up with no date. Her Plan B is real, but not one people chuckle about.

We’re ALL in Plan B and for some it’s socially acceptable to talk/groan/chuckle about it, and for others of us, it’s not something we bring up at a fellowship dinner table.

I hope my book provides a safe, understanding place to name the Plan Bs readers find themselves in, and that it gives them ways to look at themselves, the future, and God–our generous, wise, gentle, lavish Creator. The book is a practical, realistic invitation to the love and worship we were all created for. My premise is that we thrive when we enter into that love and worship.

Gearing up for Cyber Monday, you can buy a digital copy of the book on  Amazon or hard copy here at Christian Learning Resources.  Under the banner of my blogsite’s home page, click on the book title and find the drop-down list of each chapter and you can read the first page of each. After you read it, I’d love to hear what you think!

Life is for Living, Regardless

Recently, my friend Abby told me that she read my book when she was 10 or 11 and I laughed and laughed. She was definitely not the demographic I had in mind for an audience when I started writing it back in 2004.

Still, she said the book started her thinking about living fully and she decided then not to be shriveled and shrunken. The way she lives now, more than ten years later, demonstrates how well she internalized the book’s message. A big chunk of her heart is still in Greece with refugees after she worked there for five months. Now she invests her time in helping in special needs classrooms in public schools.  She’s dating a wonderful young man, and I cheer for their vision for life, and I know that they will become even more attractive, effective, vibrant people as they live well and don’t wait around.

When I wrote the book, I heard that the average marketable life of a book is 1-3 years. However, I expected it to stay in print for a long time because I thought that every year, another group of young women will discover they’re single and want guidance in it because there’s not a lot of great help out there, at least not in the pro-family conservative Anabaptist culture.

It seems that young women discover themselves to be single at different ages, depending on their context and the expectations of people around them. I was pushing 30 when I looked around me and realized that most of my friends were married and I wasn’t. I hear from girls who feel very single at 18 and I want to say, “Honey child, you’re not single, you’re just growing up yet!” But in their context, grown ups marry at 19, so of course they feel left behind, forgotten, not-belonging.

It’s almost 12 years since the book came out, and what has surprised me most is how many moms and preacher’s wives tell me that it connects with them.  The book isn’t a how-to book for singles, but an exploration of what it looks like to pursue living well in the middle of Plan B.

Turns out everyone is living in a story they didn’t plan, and we all need to know that there are ways to do well with adjusting expectations and learning how to flourish.

book cover

You can order the book at Christian Learning Resource. Order from the website (it’s not out of stock even if it says so) call (814) 789- 4769, or email

Alternatively, it’s an ebook, available here, for only $4. If you or a friend speaks Spanish, you can download it for free here!

I don’t know how long I’ll keep the book in print. For now, it’s puttering along, leading a life of its own, and now and then a nice story comes tripping back to tell me what it did. It’s a very happy stage to be in, because I care about God’s people living good stories, and if my book can help with that, I’m delighted.


Pixels and Pages

How about an extension to Cyber Monday? This is a post to promote my ebook, found here.

While I will always love the tactile experience of paper and ink, (and marking it up with notes and lines) there is much to love about this e-book.

  • It’s cheaper than the printed version. (1/3 of the price)
  • You get it instantly.
  • You get a preview of it while you decide you want it.
  • It adds no bulk or weight to your purse or book bag.
  • You can buy a copy for your friend and have it emailed to her. (Think easy, thoughtful, inexpensive Christmas gift.)
  • It’s also available in Spanish for FREE here!

On Thanksgiving Day, I was with friends who invited other friends for the dinner. We had lots and lots of gorgeous food, hearty laughter, and out of the blue, a most rousing discussion about extended singleness. We didn’t come to any conclusions about the dilemma. One of the single ladies told us abut her friend who counseled her to buy a rehearsal dinner outfit, put it her closet, and pray for the outfit to come out and be worn! (That strategy had worked for the friend who had found herself single and near 40.) We howled a long time about that idea, but none of us feel like trying it. There are still questions, ideas, hypotheses without clear solutions.

Maybe that’s ok.

Maybe if we figured out how to detour the unpredictable, unnerving situations we find ourselves in, we wouldn’t need community and wouldn’t be as desperate for the infinite love and companionship for which we were created.

When dreams come true, it’s easy to say that God is up to something good, or that He’s always about redemption. But even if the dream doesn’t come true and the ache doesn’t go away, and we live with brokenness and loss, (and I don’t think extended singleness is the heaviest loss) even then God is up to something good, is intending redemption, is arching over everything with His sovereignty and character of light. If this weren’t true, He wouldn’t be God, and I would despair.

I wrote my book 10+ years ago with the conviction that God made us for more than to bide our time and put life on hold until marriage. I was sure that knowing Him and His character would shape women into the vibrant, thriving individuals He dreamed us up to be and who are not dependent on stuff or situation for joy. I didn’t want it to be a glib how-to book, but more like a travel guide with a comrade who is still walking and discovering His love and light. (The book’s 2nd edition is available here.)

A considerable bit of life happens in 10+ years. During that time, I’ve known darkness and brokenness that would have derailed me except for God’s fierce, relentless pursuit. I know Him better than I did back when I was writing the book, but I hope to discover even more about Him and live into His purpose for me in the next years.

Join me?

And if you’ve read the book, it would be sweet if you’d write a review on Amazon!


My Book Comes In Spanish

These days, I listen to endless conversations and questions and hand-wringing about technology and the changes in communication. It’s a live issue, and I care that we navigate this uncharted landscape with wisdom and prudence.

I understand the insidious pull toward more, more, more connection. I feel the dopamine rush of what shows up in my feed. When I feel alone, I know how easy it is to slip into a virtual world to feel surrounded with happy, caring people.

But I always feel like a dinosaur because I don’t see that this plethora of communication options is an enemy. Technology has given me wide, enriching friendships and opportunities that was never an option for my grandma. I’ve published a book without ever meeting the printer. I paid someone to transpose the book into an e-book, and never met her and never read the ebook, but now and then Amazon drops deposits into my bank account from people who’ve bought it. I regularly email and message friends that I never see in person. I LOVE Whatsapp to help connect with family and friends across the Atlantic and the local hills.

Technology is not my enemy. I say that with deep gratitude, not cockiness.

And just recently, my book got translated into Spanish and is now available as an ebook, and I never met the translator, facilitators, or publisher. It just happened with networking, courtesy of the world wide web. And a lot of trust and patience and vision.

In 2010, a friend (whom I’ve never met) emailed me about getting my book into Spanish.

I really really want to see this happen, for a couple reasons. The top two are that 1. A girl’s value in Central America is defined much more heavily by her getting married than here. They need to hear the truth in your book 2. Our girls do not have encouraging resources available like in English. They devour all they have, all we can lend to them, and ask for more. And they deserve more, I think.

Then someone else emailed to ask if they could translate the book into Spanish, and the technological ball slowly started rolling, and here we are.

I’m thrilled that Spanish-speaking women can have free access to material that can potentially encourage, give perspective, and cheer as they live their Plan B. I hope my book helps them to hear God’s heart for them, and that although marriage is their design and a beautiful gift, it is not life. Jesus is life, and He is utterly good, true, and beautiful.

Feel free to pass around this link to your Spanish-speaking lady friends. The Spanish ebook for Life is for Living is FREE and only a click away.

Three cheers for technology!

Newest News


In the spirit of things today, Cyber Monday, my book is available in e-format!

While I will always love the tactile experience of paper and ink, there is much to love about this e-book.

  • It’s cheaper than the printed version. (1/3 of the price)
  • You get it instantly.
  • You get a preview of it while you decide you want it.
  • It adds no bulk or weight to your purse or book bag.
  • You can buy a copy for your friend and have it emailed to her. (Think easy, thoughtful, inexpensive Christmas gift.)

I wrote the book for single women, but am often surprised and overwhelmed at how warmly other women–mothers and pastor’s wives– speak of it. The book focuses on living well in Plan B. That’s not only for singles. Turns out most of us everyone is in some form of Plan B and we all need input, encouragement, companionship in that situation.

Today, that voice just got more accessible!

I Didn’t Marry Him


There’s a line in Jane Eyre that goes like this:

“Reader, I married him.”

The line always sort of catches me, because I’m not used to being addressed while I’m reading a novel. Also, the understatement of it gives me a start.


That line isn’t in my book.

Apparently, there are some readers of my book out there who are under the impression that I married the man who rescued me in the courtroom when I was in a crumpled heap on the floor.

Reader, I didn’t marry him.

The story was a fantastic flight of fancy I took one day when I was preparing a Sunday school lesson on justification. The word used in Romans denotes a legal transaction, where the debt is paid and the judge is satisfied. I wanted the concept to become real to the women in my class. The story I told them and later put in my book is completely imaginary.

Except, well, it happened on a deeper level. It’s a little scary, how much the girl in the story is like me. And she is me, really. But I’ve never stolen a credit card number in my life. And I’ve never been to India or at a Thai resort.

Can you be ok with that? That it didn’t happen, but it did?

I was a crumpled, ruined wretch, and my Jesus stepped in and saved my wrecked life, and asked me to spend eternity with Him, and is getting mansions ready even now. The details about the first-class tickets and ivory Taj Mahal and leather bags and receipts blowing away in the wind are just shadow words. You haven’t read my book and don’t know what I’m referencing? You can do us both a favor and buy it here.

I have to admit it’s been an interesting and unnerving season, getting feedback from readers. I heard in a round-about way that some speaker was telling a youth group that they shouldn’t read my book, so the girls went home and burned their copies. Then they told my aunt, who said it’s actually a good book, and they seemed interested in reconsidering. Then I heard that some readers think I stole the numbers and traveled the world and married the man.

All of this mostly amuses me. I don’t feel too jumpy and defensive. I’m no better than the girl who did steal numbers and go cavorting in India. I don’t have to defend myself, but I do want to put this out there to settle any questions that might be floating in the ether: I didn’t marry the man.

Why You Need My Book

In case you didn’t get the memo, my book has a brand new look!

This is the new and improved edition:

ta daa!


book cover

Because I’m more artist than business person, it is super hard for me to promote or manage or try to sell my book. But here I am, trying to do that.

Why would you want to buy this book? (This is the first tool of the salesperson, you know: create a need for the product.)

You need this book because you feel left behind while your friends are all doing amazing things like dating, or planning weddings, or having babies. You’re watching it happen all around you but it’s not happening to you. You nearly swallow the tantalizing lie that God is organizing others’ lives, but expects you to manage your own by yourself.

Or some of those exciting things have happened to you but you feel empty and your days blur into each other and you wonder if life is just about surviving every day until the supper dishes are washed.

If none of this applies to you, you know you have a friend who feels this way, almost dipping into desperation sometimes, and she needs a message that she can identify with. She needs to know that she’s not the only one to feel this way, that other women say “You? Me too.”

After you buy this book that you need, you find that you like it too. You like it because of the perky little fish on the cover that decided not to keep swimming in circles. You like it because there are sweet swirly graphics between the chapters. And an engaging study guide in the back.

And best of all? In my opinion?

There are lots of sidebars throughout the whole book–and none of them repeat any words in the text. This is my pet complaint in other books: they have little distracting sidebars here and there, and when I finally read them, it only repeats what I already read on the page, and it makes me impatient. Not in this book. The (pretty) sidebars are bonuses to the text, not repetitive distraction.

This new and improved edition has the same general message as the first edition. This one has been edited for tighter writing, fewer exclamation points, less italics (though you wouldn’t think it, seeing this post) and more clarity.

This book won’t answer all your questions or give you pat answers or neat formulas. But it does walk with honesty into basic questions such as Who is God, and who am I, and what shall I do with my unwieldy dreams?

This is not about taking charge of your own life, nor about proving that your life is better than another’s. It’s about living in the reality of knowing that the greatest thing that could happen has already happened–the creator of the universe chose you for eternity–and nothing can ever, ever change that. It’s about making choices decisively so as to guard against selfishness and stiffness. It peers into others’ stories to give you perspective and a sense of not feeling so alone.

Because one of the deepest fears of a woman is that she is alone. This book confronts that fear and reassures you that you are never, ever, ever alone.

If you don’t need this assurance, you know someone who does.

Order your copy from your local book store or the helpful staff at Christian Learning Resource:

Toll Free: 877-222-4769        Fax: 814-789-3396              Email:            Online:


It’s All Good News

The lecture comes first and then the fun part:

I was with my family visiting another family whom we didn’t know well. When us girls were getting acquainted, one young lady’s first question to me was “So, do you have a boyfriend?”

I said no. I was so stunned by her question that I still, eighteen years later, remember reeling from the realization that having a boyfriend was the way she valued/ranked her life and her friends’ lives.  While I wanted a boyfriend, I still felt deeply that not having one wouldn’t keep me from living well. Some years later, this girl was so crushed when her sisters married, that she couldn’t function well, and was so desperate that she made tragically unwise, harmful decisions to take whatever man would take her.

In our sub-culture that is pro-family–and rightly so–the girl who has no boyfriend or husband feels a lot of pressure and silent questions. She might be 20 or 29, and very satisfied and fulfilled.  OR she might be 19 or 23 and feel cheated and left behind and missing out. People wonder if she chose to be single. She wonders if she’ll ever get to choose a baby name. People unhelpfully recommend a good man to her, but what can she do about him?

I wrote a book called Life is For Living–Not for Waiting Around for the girl who is forlorn and desperate, because I know that God had infinitely more in mind for her when He first dreamed her up. The book doesn’t answer the unanswerable questions, nor resolve all the hang-ups we get stuck on. One of my friends said that when she reads it, she feels like I understand her and am walking with her in this solo walk. It was high praise, and fulfilled part of what I dreamed the book would be.

Because a big fear of women is that we’re on our own. I think we can do anything if we know we’re not alone. My book is a kind of companion that says “I get it. I know, me too.”

Wives and mothers tell  me they like the book as well, because everyone needs a voice beside them that urges them to search out abundance and fullness in Jesus. Romance and children are beautiful and rich  gifts, and not everyone is given them. Is that fair? Hardly. But the good news is that life and fulfillment for every lady is found in one person, and his name is Jesus.

The fun part is this: we’re doing a close-out special, a 60% discount, on my book until March 31.  Which means it’s $4.40 now instead of 10.99.  Order here from Christian Learning Resource. Wholesalers, contact the office and  get 75% off. 

This would be a good chance to buy copies for a study group. Contact me and I’ll be glad to send you a study guide–free!–for your group.

Spread the word–let your friends know, forward this post, share it on your networking places–and I would be so grateful!

Joys and a Bargain

Because it’s always fun to get a bargain, and because it’s becoming that time of year when you need gifts for girl friends who already have everything, here’s a deal:

You can order my book, Life is for Living from Christian Learning Resources and when you buy one, you get one free. If you buy 10, you get 10 free. You get the idea.  (Wholesalers, you get 70% off orders over 20, that way you can pass on the deal to your customers.  Wholesalers should call 877-222-4769 or email to place an order and receive this discount.)

The promotion is alive now on the CLR website, and closes on January 1.

I wrote the book for single girls aged 20 -30 who felt left behind and forgotten and depressed while all their friends were getting married. But mothers and pastors wives have written me to say that they benefited from the book because the gist of it is to embrace life and look for the joy wherever it is because it really is everywhere.

My joys the last few days:

1. brilliant sunsets

2. a surprise box filled with goodies all the way from the US

3. morning coffee with a drop of cream

4. hope of snow

Shari’s Giveaway

Hey! If you want another chance at winning a copy of  my book, breeze on over to Shari’s blog.

While you’re there, have a look around. My sister commented to me once: “Do you read Shari’s blog? She writes every day but she’s never boring!”

It’s true. She’s a brilliant writer, and I’m proud to know the lady behind the blog.

Hurry over there asap.