Giving Thanks

I intend to keep this short and sweet. America’s Thanksgiving holiday is not all about food. It’s a wonderful time to pause, reflect, and feel gratified for life’s blessings.

I’m thankful for my family and friends, for my health and the tdayhealth of those I love, and every day I spend on earth. Nothing in this life is guaranteed, so I’m going to spend time with loved ones and really appreciate what matters in life.

I wish the same for you, no matter where you are.

Enjoy the day!

photo credit: Thanksgiving Table @Thalestria – Details via photopin (license)

All You Need Is Love

Eiffel TowerI’ve written before about how feminine stories focus on relationships and connection, while masculine stories focus on identity and alienation. American culture in particular tends to be masculine, and to devalue feminine concerns—the kind of struggles we find in romance and women’s fiction.

Romance novels are about people who want opposite things, yet manage to come together and resolve their differences in a way that leaves them both satisfied, happy, and on the path to lasting love.

The world needs more stories like that.

The events in Paris last week are more proof that there isn’t enough love in the world. The masculine value of competition, where one person wins and another loses, has a place in business and sports. But when it comes to people, whether on an individual or international level, we need more understanding. We need to work harder to build relationships and resolve our differences amicably.

The best time to stop terrorism is before young people become radicalized, before they become so disaffected that they believe violence is the best answer. That means listening to ideas that differ from our own and incorporating them into our world view. It means tolerating things we disagree with. It means working together to find solutions that create a bigger pie, rather than trying to grab the biggest piece for ourselves.

Life isn’t a competition. We’re all in it together, and no one gets out alive. We’re happier when we celebrate and enjoy each other’s differences rather than letting them divide us.

I’ve quoted this saying before, but it bears repeating: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

What are you doing to create more love in the world?

Photo Copyright: olgacov / 123RF Stock Photo

Letting Go

I’ve been struggling with how to let go of my teenage daughter. I know it’s my job as her mother, her parent, to let her go, but I confess it’s a difficult one. Will she be ready? Will she be strong? Will she head out into the world on her own with the fearless outlook of youth?

After the events of the weekend, my struggle is intensified. My daughter and I have discussed the possibility of her studying abroad. We’ve discussed traveling to Europe this summer and beyond.

I’m having second thoughts. I realize terrorism should not be allowed to deter me, but it does. It gives me pause. Violence happens on US soil every day…from isolated home invasions to random acts of gang violence or the misdeeds of bored, desperate youth, violence happens all around us, yet we live. We persevere. And we must continue to do so, in spite of the attacks in Paris.

In the wake of these awful events, my thoughts and prayers go out to the people of France, the tourists that were only there to enjoy tparishe “city of lights.” My heart stands with every parent, every spouse, every brother and sister who have lost a loved one. Moreover, I stand with their strength and determination–to pursue their freedom, their lifestyles, and their vow to stop this violence from continuing.

We must let go of fear and embrace love. It’s the only way forward.

The first words are the hardest

About a month or so ago, I wrote ‘The End’ on book number three, The Marriage Lie, and sent it on to my editor. It didn’t take me all that long to write the book — only five months, which in the fiction-writing world, is pretty zippy, actually — but those months were beyond stressful. I’d just walked away from a manuscript after 70,000 hard-earned words, and without pausing to breathe or process, jumped right into the next story. I desperately needed a break.

So break I did. I called my mom and had long lunches with all the friends I’d been neglecting. I went to to the spa and signed up for a 30-day challenge at my yoga studio. I lounged on the couch and read books in the middle of the day. I did a lot of nothing.

After a couple of weeks, I caught myself staring out the window, daydreaming of characters and settings and plot lines. I started hearing snippets of dialogue and seeing bits of scenes play out across my mind. After only a couple of weeks, I was already tired of doing nothing, restless to start a new story.

But I’m also kind of terrified.

When you’re writing, you’re pretty much married to your story. You think about it in the shower, when you’re cooking, when you’re out with friends and one of them says the perfect line. Even when you’re not thinking about your story, your subconscious is still chugging along, and I can tell you from experience, it’s as exhausting as it is rewarding when you get it right.

So while five months is a short time to write a whole story, it’s also a hella long time to spend with characters you don’t love, plugging up a plot full of holes. Do I love these new imaginary people enough to spend a good part of a year with them? Do I think they have something valuable to say, a compelling story to tell? Yes. No. Who the heck knows? Not me, that’s for sure; I’ve been so wrong before.

Lots of people think ‘The End’ are the hardest words to write because of all the words that come before. Ask any author, and they’ll tell you the opposite is true. By the time you’re closing in on the end, the words often flow faster than you can type them. It’s the blank page that’s the most daunting, that first sentence that cramps up the fingers. One of my writer friends compared starting a new story to jumping off a cliff with your eyes closed. You don’t know what will happen or where you’ll land.

You just have to trust the process.


9780778317869_TS_prd_revGood news! Five signed copies of my second novel, The Ones We Trust, are up for grabs on Goodreads! Click here to enter.

Shock the Clock: Wisdom About Time Management by Writer Jeanette Levellie

Jeanette Levellie Shock the Clock cover

Are you a procrastinating procrastinator? Or just a busy bee?

You are not alone.

Well-loved writer and prolific speaker, Jeanette Levellie, is a recovering perfectionist and accomplished multi-tasker. This is why, in her third book, Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives, Jeanette presents a unique approach to time management based on personality types.

If you have kids, friends, and/or pets, work a day job, or got an A+ in Procrastination 101, you will benefit from the tools Jeanette has learned and used to write and publish hundreds of columns, stories, articles, and three books—in her spare time.

Unlike other time management programs, this unique approach helps you focus on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses to make the best use of your limited writing or other creative time.

Here, a few thoughts from Jeanette:

What inspired you to write Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creatives? I noticed that all the time management books I’d read were based on the writer’s personality type—mostly Choleric, or Type A—which doesn’t work if you are an introvert or ditzy, like many writers. I decided to write a book that addressed how you can manage your time, based on various personalities.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb? If you got an A+ in procrastination, can’t find your car keys, and might need a lifetime pass to Clutterbugs Anonymous, you can benefit from this lighthearted approach to managing your time and getting more writing done.

How did you research or plan your book? I planned the book based on classes I’ve taught at writers conferences on time management, which were well-attended and from which I received a lot of positive feedback. I also threw in some funny articles on clutter control, a list of 40 tips and secrets I’ve discovered (the hard way) for saving time, and a bunch of fun cartoons drawn by my artist son.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book? I hope writers and other creatives—from artists to musicians to movie producers to Play-doh sculptors—will be encouraged by God and my words so that they can learn to manage time, even if born disorganized and discombobulated like me.

Sound like a winner? I thought so. You can pre-order your copy of Shock the Clock over at Amazon. And RSVP to Jeanette’s launch party — games and prized included — over on Facebook!3 final


About Jeanette Levellie: A spunky pastor’s wife of thirty-plus years, Jeanette Levellie authors a weekly humor/inspirational column, God is Greater, a popular feature in her local newspaper since 2001. She has published stories in Guideposts anthologies, stories in Love is a Verb Devotional with Gary Chapman, articles in Christian and secular magazines, greeting card verses, and poems for calendars. She is also a prolific speaker for both Christian and secular groups, and loves to make people laugh while sharing her love for God and life.

Jeanette is the mother of two grown children, three grandchildren, and servant to four cats. She lives in Paris (not the French one), IL, with her husband, Kevin. Her hobbies include dining out, talking baby talk to her cats, avoiding housework, reading, and watching old classic movies. 

Learn more about Jeanette, and her other books and projects, at


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