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Extreme: Five Minute Friday

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to all who have served and given of themselves to protect their country and our freedoms. May we never take those things for granted. I am joining my Five Minute Friday community today and writing about our prompt: Extreme.

It’s divine planning that in America we celebrate our freedoms with Veterans Day the same week as our elections. We honor those who served our country just days after exercising our rights to vote. It’s extremely fitting that we give thanks for the men and women who allowed for those very elections to persist by sacrificing on our behalf.

Elections can be a polarizing moment for our country.

People on either end of the political spectrum wrestle for the majority vote. And it all comes down to which side has the most people show up at the polls or casts their ballot in the mail. In America our politics have been divided into two extreme camps with a minority of people teetering between both sides.

We live in a climate right now that values loyalty to a party rather than truth to our issues or beliefs. In an attempt to win, we sacrifice the whole “freedom” idea and let the politicans make our decisions. If we are red–we turn in a ballot that matches that. And if we are blue–likewise.

But here’s the thing–the Veterans we celebrate today didn’t sacrifice time, safety, family, and so much more so that we could color our ballots in with one crayon. This extreme loyalty to party isn’t the freedom our forefathers had in mind when they drafted democracy. In fact, it’s a dangerous logic that gone unchecked can lead to policies and leadership akin to some of the worst in history.

They gave so we could choose. They gave so we could use whichever crayons we wanted-we can even blend colors to create a beautiful representation of democracy.

Thank you to all the men and women who have served.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Girls’ Trip to Hocking Hills

The Hocking Hills is a state park in south-central Ohio made up of many trails and smaller parks. About an hour from my house this beautiful horizon of trees, hills, and caverns paint the border of the Appalachain Mountains.

October is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the region and so one of my closest friends and I made plans to spend a weekend in the hills during the height of the fall foilage. We booked a small cabin Airbnb and packed all the snacks, wine, and writing supplies needed to fuel a much needed Girls’ Trip and writing retreat.

Ashley from Science Plus Miracles is also raising young children and trying to keep her writing life afloat. She understands the internal balance needed in order to keep a passion project alive during a period where family demands so much time and attention. So, it took just about no convincing on either of our parts to schedule this weekend away to both rest and refocus on our writing projects and goals. (Our husbands get infinite thanks for booking the weekend and taking great care of our children while we were gone!)

Over the course of the weekend we hiked a few trails most notably Conkels Hollow State Nature Preserve and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve. Both of these trails were scenic and provided glimpses of peace. While walking the trails we stopped several times to capture the awe of the artistry. The colors of the trees, the angles of the caverns, the overlooks from the cliffs, all of the scenes were breathtaking. At times, we forgot that we were only an hour from home.

The Airbnb did not have a stove (in hindsight that may be something we look for in the future), so we ate all of our meals at local joints. My favorite spot was called The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. This was a quaint spot that served cocktails and brunch. The atmosphere was woodsy and really added to the aesthetic of the trip.

We also stopped at a local favorite–Hocking Hills Winery where live music was performed against the backdrop of trees and rolling hills. We enjoyed a bottle of a sweet red wine and talked the night away. The best coffee spot to fuel our writing sessions was The Coffee Emporium where we ordered seasonal Pumpkin Iced lattes with oat milk.

My writing goal for the weekend was to plan upcoming projects for The Ameri Brit Mom. I spent several hours journaling about my thoughts and feelings and getting to the heart of where I want to see this business expand. Over the next few months there will definitely be some changes to The Ameri Brit Mom. I am rounding out my first year as a solopreneur and have clarified a more specific goal for the future and decided on areas that were not serving the vision for the business.

Additionally, I ordered a new planner from Plum Paper to see me into a new season. Bullet journaling had not been serving me lately and you may have noticed that my calendar downloads have been absent for a few months. I am leaning into a new method for planning to save energy, creativity, and time to focus more on writing than weekly planner setups.

Getting away to the hills was good for my body, soul, and future planning. Not only did I enjoy the company of the trip, but the backdrop was every writer’s dream.

There is peace on the trails that I can’t find in an office or library space.

There is clarity.

There is beauty to inspire.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Perform: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining my Five Minute Friday community of writers from all over the world. This week our prompt is Perform.

A few months ago I did a series on my blog about the nine Enneagram types. All of the research and work was based on Ian Morgan Cron’s insights in his book, The Road Back to You.

In this series, I discussed each of the personality types through infographics and affirmations. Check out each of the nine numbers on the Enneagram:

Enneagram One

Enneagram Two

Enneagram Three

Enneagram Four

Enneagram Five

Enneagram Six

Enneagram Seven

Enneagram Eight

Enneagram Nine

While I am a One (The Improver) myself, I know many Threes (The Performer). These are the people who find identity in their successes and achievements. Of all the numbers, this is the one that western culture values most because these are the people who get things done efficiently. At times, we can all relate to a Three’s drive for recognition and status, but for a Three the performance is everything. I would go so far as to say that most Threes feel as though life is their stage and they are expected to give a flawless performance every night.

There are so many positives to being a Three.

When a Three is healthy they are great employers and leaders. They take pride in a job well done and so their performances are standout. Threes also encourage others to perform stronger in the workplace and in life. However, when stress and life complicate a Three’s ability to perform to their usual caliber, a great sense of fraud or fear can replace the confidence that was once the heartbeat of a Three. Because their performance is so closely tied to their identity, a Three is crisis is oftentimes unable to cope.

If you are a Three here’s a quick reminder today: You are not your latest performance.

Some of you are fortunate enough to be living in the healthy space. Life is good and you are rocking and rolling and slaying any giants that stand in your way to success. But if you are one of the Threes finding it difficult to keep your head above water today, remember that your identity is not in the performance–it’s in the journey.

You have permission to embrace every turn in the journey without fear or guilt. If you aren’t feeling your usual gusto that is okay. Welcome each day and what it holds for you and remind yourself that yesterday is over and tomorrow is yet to come. Stand in this moment in the most authentic way possible without guilt or shame of a poor performance.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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New Products Tab

For several months I have been offering new products and downloads to my readers and followers. From templates for notewriting to planner pages, I have been hard at work designing tools for my clients and customers. Most products were released first to members of my Patreon page at a discounted (or FREE) price. Beyond that, products were launched primarily on social media where they were being lost in the algorithm.

Now all of the products and downloads in stock are being listed under the Products tab on the homepage. I’m working on implementing a smoother exchange process, but for now will be utilizing my MailChimp account for completing the transactions.

Every download and purchase supports this business and allows me to continue the work that I am so passionate about. Check out the products already listed and feel free to drop me a comment about anything you would like to see added.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Thankfulness Bookmark

How is it already November?

I am thankful for the seasonal shifts in our annual calendar and the way that each month brings with it a new focus. In the United States, November is a month of thankfulness as we prepare for the Holiday season. We gather together in community with those we are most thankful for and join in meals and celebrations to mark the end of the harvest season.

This November I plan to hand out a Thankfulness Bookmarkwith a handwritten note to friends, family, and coworkers who make my life brighter. It’s a simple gesture, but one that can speak volumes to the impact others have had on my life. Join me in spreading thankfulness this November by purchasing a Thankfulness Bookmark download for $2.00.

As we usher in this new month and season may your heart be full!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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While: Five Minute Friday

It’s been a while since I last joined my Five Minute Friday community. The fall is such a busy time for our family and so each moment to pause and write seems like a fleck of gold in a sea of rushing waters. This week our prompt is While.

While I have been away my heart has grown and stretched.

I’ve opened up to new ideas and experienced some rest.

I wrestled with God and like Jacob left injured and blessed-

All because I listened and took the time to invest.

While I’ve been away I embraced the beauty of the fall.

Like the gorgeous leaves now dropping, I learned the beauty in the raw.

I let my heart bleed on the pages as my pen moved with each scrawl.

With tears down my cheek, I learned to live by following the call.

While I’ve been away family has been my priority.

The time we have together is the most precious thing to me.

On this journey together, I hope to never miss a scene.

Because their hearts are golden like the flecks in a rushing sea.

While I’ve been away I’ve listened, fasted, and prayed.

I’ve let the Lord direct my steps and not always known the way.

Through faith I’m learning that tough questions are always okay.

My God can handle the wrestling match in order to build my faith.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Remember God: A Book Review

photo credit: Amazon

Title: Remember God

Author: Annie F. Downs

Publisher: B & H Books

Copyright: 2018

Author Annie F. Downs is raw and witty in this retelling of a year in her journey to discover the answer to the question: Is God kind?

Beginning with her initial disappointment of being single in her mid-thirties, Annie sets out to embrace her friend’s prophetic word-of-the-year: Love. Over the course of the next twelve months, Annie grows closer to the God who provides for his sheep. She leans into her friend’s prayer and begins the year ready to close this chapter of singlehood.

As the year passes and Annie’s prospects are unchanging she wrestles with God and whether or not he is kind. How could a God who knows the desires of our hearts keep us in a state of wanting for so long? Can he possibly be kind?

Annie brings her readers on a journey of fasting, prayer, heartache, excitement, disappointment, and healing as she seeks out God in the process. This isn’t a book with a nice tidy ending (or overall structure for that matter), but it is one that reminds us that God is in control of the details and our understanding of kindness is so limited by a world that defines it by standards that don’t align to God’s.

In these pages I wrestled with what kindness means and how I react to God not providing in the ways I expect. As Annie lamented over her unfulfilled wishes I walked alongside her and spoke my own disappointments to God. I was also reminded that He shows up in the unexpected, and so I began to search for God everywhere. When life changes, so do our relationships with God. And each of us should remember to celebrate what we have instead of mourning what we do not.

And above all else…we remember God even when the end of the story (or year) doesn’t have the neat and tidy ending.

This was my first time reading anything by Annie F. Downs (although my husband enjoys her books a lot.) I picked this book up while walking through my own season of disappointment, and through the reading I felt as though this journey was not something I was on alone. In my most vulnerable moments I felt a connection to the honest words of the author that reminded me that what I see as the resolution to the story may not be God’s and I have to learn to accept that. What I see as provision may not be God’s plan and I need to trust Him.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a memoir like this. How refreshing it is to join in another’s human experience and to realize I’m not the only one who wrestles with these thoughts and disappointments. And at the end of it all–God is kind.

Check out my Goodreads account to see what else I’m reading!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Gratitude Gift to My Readers

The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Service is approaching the end of it’s tenth month as a business and brand.

As a gift of gratitude for my readers I am offering FREE edits for up to 5 pages for anyone who pledges $1/month or more to my Patreon page. You can choose to have a resume, story, poem, article, essay, or presentation edited by a professional who wants to help you produce content that makes you a confident communicator.

With your pledge you will receive these edits along with a monthly short story released exclusively to patrons, newsletters, and additional suprises in the coming months. My patrons are the first to know when I’m open for edits and they get advance details on future projects. Please consider pledging $1/month or more to support The Ameri Brit Mom.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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TABM Updates

It’s been a while since I updated on all that’s going on with The Ameri Brit Mom. I wanted to take a minute and showcase this business that I have been working so hard to cultivate. The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services is my passion project and something that brings me joy and a sense of accomplishment. Every comment, like, inquiry, or client means the world to me and so I wanted to take a moment to share what all has been going on behind the scenes.

Monthly Newsletter

The easiest way to remain up-to-date with all things The Ameri Brit Mom is to join the free subscription. When you join, you receive a monthly newsletter with all of the past and upcoming news. There is always an exclusive letter to my readers included in this newsletter and it is a great starting point if you want to support The Ameri Brit Mom, but are unsure what that means.

Patreon

My Patreon page is a place for exclusive content and offers. Members pledge a monthly amount (anywhere from $5-$20) and in return receive access to content that is available in no other platform. As part of The Writing and Editing Services, I offer unique stationery and graphics to patrons as well. Those downloads come free to those who invest in The Ameri Brit Mom on Patreon.

Monthly Short Stories/Essays

Each month, I offer original pieces to my Patreon members. This is included in the price of the monthly pledge. Stories and essays range from current Works in Progress (WIPs) to short works of fiction or poetry. I enjoy adding to my collection each month and receiving feedback and suggestions from members in my community. This is a project that I enjoy putting time into each month and I am always looking for clients to help create portfolios of their own.

Writing and Editing Services

Most of my income comes from providing writing and editing services. Over the summer I worked with half a dozen clients to spruce up their resumes. I have done a couple of thesis paper edits as well. My favorite types of projects include longer pieces. My skills as a reader and writer are most challenged and I feel the most reward after working with a client for several weeks on a piece that has a deep meaning to them.

Quarterly Book Club

I am currently working on my first Quarterly Book Club Discussion Guide release. After many conversations with clients and friends, I have decided to offer resources to members of the reading community. There will be alternations between Bestsellers and YA titles in the lineup and I plan to release one discussion guide per quarter. In the meantime, you can download your own FREE copy of the Guide to Hosting a Book Club.

Open For…

My October calendar is pretty open, and I am hoping to connect with both new and returning clients. If you have a resume, letter, presentation, lesson, essay, or manuscript that you would like to work with me on I am open for new projects. Complete the survey below and I will get back to you on the details and prices for working with The Ameri Brit Mom.

Thank you so much for stopping by to see what all I’ve been up to. The fall is always a busy time, but the work of The Ameri Brit Mom is still ongoing and giving purpose and confidence to the writer within all of us.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Become: Five Minute Friday

It’s been a busy week in our household. Parent-Teacher conferences, field trips, sickness, and family commitments have made us into some busy people. I am so happy to be sitting down to write with my Five Minute Friday community this morning before kicking off a weekend that is equally as busy as my week. As I pour my coffee and settle into my favorite writing spot, I am excited to share with you about this week’s topic: become.

I struggled this summer. Mentally I wasn’t always in a great place and I found it difficult to cope with some things going on in my personal life (and in the lives of those close to me.) I felt off-balance and did not take enough time to cultivate ME. Reminders of aging plagued me and left me wishing to rewind the clock. All along, my faith took a backseat ride and some days lost its spot in the car altogether.

I am trying to pick up the pieces, but I also must remember that I cannot become some past version of myself. Today, I am different than I was yesterday and as a healthy adult I should be evolving in this way. Some days I find myself trying to reclaim the faith of a twenty-something, but I must remember that with age and experience come new beliefs and challenges.

The Lauren of my twenties is gone. I must stop mourning her. I am older, wiser, more confident, and self aware. Lately, I am much better at articulating my opinions. I am close to a few, but friendly to just about anyone. I am obsessed with family. My friends are important, but we are busy and respect that we are traveling our own paths that intersect from time to time. My faith is evolving alongside my personal growth to reflect all I have learned over time.

I value comfort over fashion. Books are my favorite escape. Nothing beats a chat, a couple of glasses of wine, and a patio watching a sunset. Coffee will always be my beverage of choice (it must be hot and black before noon-then I might consider an iced coffee.) Candles and yoga keep me grounded and I’ve developed a bit of ADD which leaves me notoriously forgetful.

This is the Lauren I have become.

The Ameri Brit Mom