Story Feasts, Photo Shoots and Chattanooga: What I am into March 2014

March came in like a lion and just kept on roaring. As I predicted in February, I didn’t blog as much as usual, but I was working on other writing projects. Also, I had a lot of live exciting opportunities that I took advantage of. Sometimes, I feel as though everyone else is doing all the fun and exciting things and I am just sort of floating by, these monthly roundups have been a great way for me to remember that my life is awesome too. So thank you Leigh, for linking us all up. Go on over and checkout what everyone else is up to.

The Story Feast

I started March with the Story Feast.  We talked about being women and writing. Specifically, the Atlanta meet up focused on the lies we are told as women that keep us from living the lives we are made to live. The ladies who came wrote and shared some truly incredible writing, and I was reminded of the amazing stories people have if you will just bother to listen to them. The story feast coincided with the

Girls We Once Were link-up

I hosted this anonymous piece, and wrote this one. Both pieces are some of my favorite things I have hosted on this blog of mine. All of the link-ups were astounding and I highly recommend heading over and checking them all out. They really are beautiful. I am amazed that part of the digital age is having access to such incredible work for free. Other than that I did very little blog writing (though the things I did write I think are particularly good), because I was doing

The Story Sessions Boot camp

I started the month with a nine-day writing boot camp. The women who signed up for this opportunity were in it to win it. So much got done in a few short weeks you wouldn’t believe it was possible. I was reminded that I work best when I am cheering on others and they are cheering on me. With the help of Brenna, Mary Beth and Esther, I have a proposal I am really proud of that I will be taking with me to the Festival of Faith and Writers. I also did John Acuff’s Thirty days of hustle, but I found Elora had already taught me everything he was saying in a way that works better for me.  I also got to participate in the

Encyclopedia Show

College speech team was awesome training for both blogging and teaching high school. I am so grateful I did it. competing also gave me the opportunity to meet some really amazing people who do really amazing things, like developing their own spoken word/variety show. Shanney Jean and Robbie Q. Telfer curate a show in Chicago around a theme and then have people write on that theme. This year they had the opportunity to do an Origins of Life show for the Atlanta Science Festival. Robbie even came into my classroom and picked some of my best poets to perform in the show with him. They were awesome and I could not have been prouder. I also had the opportunity to perform a piece. When I sat down one of my students looked at me slack-jawed, “Miss Norman! I didn’t know you could do that!” Look for a video later this week.

I wasn’t the only one doing exciting things this month. Three of my friends

Released Books In March

I got to go to my friend Megan Volpert’s book launch party. Her new book Only Ride is a beautiful collection of poems that I absolutely love. Sit down for ninety minutes and read it cover to cover, than leave it somewhere where you can pick it up and read just one while you are waiting for the water to boil for dinner. You won’t be sorry.

Two ladies I have mad respect for released books this month. Micha Boyett released Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer. I love her take on parenting and every day life. The world needs more thoughtful description of the everyday holy and Micha’s take is sure to be water to our thirsty souls.

Elizabeth Esther released Girl at The End of the World and people are devouring it in a single sitting and then getting on Twitter to make sure everyone else reads it. Elizabeth writes about the experience of being raised in a cult and the continued reach of her disturbing experience. This story is important because it is a story that is happening still.

I haven’t had the chance to read either of these, but spring break is only four days away and I cannot wait to get to them. I have heard nothing but really amazing things and have no doubt that every glowing word is true. While those three ladies were releasing books, some people who are very dear to me did some

Awesome Things on the Internet

Osheta and Esther both started writing for A Deeper Story and both totally killed it. Go read their premier pieces here and here. Diana Trautwein also had a piece at Deeper Story that left me totally breathless. If you are a wife and mother or love a wife or mother, please go read this. I needed to hear it and you probably do to.

Marvia Davidson might be the most awesome thing on the internet. Someone called her an encouragement ninja and I couldn’t agree more, on Twitter she makes me remember who I am, and on her blog she is running an awesome series on Pressing In that will remind you why you need to keep on keeping on even when it is hard.

Back in real life my kids and my husband went to


I was trying to get out of chaperoning prom and said I couldn’t afford a babysitter (this is true) and was invited to bring the whole family. So, my children got to dress up in fancy clothes and shoes, go to a fancy hotel and dance with the truly gracious dressed up girls that Juliet and Priscilla kept referring to as princesses. It was pretty much the best day of their entire lives (and they have been to Disney World). When we left at 9:30 Priscilla lost her mind. She was ready to dance the night away. If that wasn’t an awesome enough opportunity in March, I also got to do a

Photo Shoot

Jennifer Upton is a dear friend and a truly amazing photographer. She did my headshots, which you can see on my banner, and also did some more personal boudoir photography that I will not be posting here. Y’all, Jennifer has a gift. Her photos are amazing and the whole experience was just perfect. It was such an amazing thing to stand in front of her camera and declare myself beautiful in an affirming environment. Jennifer longs to show, really show women that they are beautiful just as they are, and she nails it. Seriously, book her because she is about to be a big deal, and her prices currently are totally affordable.

While I was having these insane experiences I was also,


I followed Jen Hatmaker’s fast in Seven:An experimental mutiny against excess eating Apples, chicken, whole wheat bread, avocados, eggs, spinach, and sweet potatoes for three weeks (mostly, I went off it a couple of times in social situations). I learned a lot about myself and the comfort I was trying to get from food. Turns out, talking through my disappointment with a loving God is way more effective than eating half a cherry pie. You would think with most of the month fasting I would have no food to report on, but


My girls love to ride the MARTA and Decatur Square is only one stop from the nearest train station. We have been riding the train into the square and having dinner. It is the perfect family outing for us. Both Victory Sandwich (that serves perfect little sliders of all different varieties) and Raging Burrito (I had a Thai inspired burrito with peanut sauce on it, AMAZING!) have been big hits and the restaurants are awesome with little ones.

I made one amazing dish that is sure to go into the rotation, Sweet and Sour Shrimp Fried Rice. I took carrots and peppers and zucchini and water chestnuts and baby corn and tiny salad shrimp and fried it up with brown rice and pineapple and soy sauce and plum sauce. It was awesome and made a TON that I will happily be consuming all week. Maybe for lunch and dinner. I may need to buy a wok.

That was what was happening in my mouth. In the mail I got

Another Stitch Fix

I know I keep talking about this service, but I love it a lot. I got a fix near the end of march and am keeping all five things. I was a little disappointed with my last box, so I went into my profile and gave a lot of very specific feedback. They listen, like really listen, and this box of two shirts, a sweater, a dress and a scarf were perfect. With my credits and my buy all five things discount, it was only 120 dollars, which is about what I would pay at Target, but the clothes are much higher quality. You can sign up here.

But even MORE exciting are

New Pillows

I finally broke the cycle of replacing on sale pillows that go flat way too fast with on sale pillows that go flat way too fast by buying these on Amazon. You GUYS! I am sleeping better than I have in a very long time and for whatever reason the angle of the pillow has made my husband’s snoring go away. If I had known that I could stop the snoring for under thirty dollars, I would have done it three years ago.

And the MOST exciting thing I did all month was


My critique partner and story-sister lives just two hours away. So, the girls and I packed up, picked up the completely charming Elizabeth Kays and had the most beautiful weekend in Tennessee while my husband studied in silence for his comprehensive exams ( happening April 14 and 15 all prayers appreciated). Alissa and family were amazing hosts. Her son was both completely enthralled with and totally overwhelmed by the whirlwind that is Juliet and Priscilla. Chattanooga was totally charming as well. I can’t wait to go again, and have them come visit me.

Looking Forward, I will kick off April with my spring break trip with the

Festival of Faith and Writing

The stars aligned and my spring break fell during this time. Also, my parents live just a few hours away and will be keeping the girls and I will be staying at the lovely Leanne Penny’s house. If you are there, I want to see you! So let me know and we will tweet at each other until we find each other. I’ll be hosting a Story Sessions After Party on Saturday at the Wyndham Garden restaurant at 7 o’clock. The shuttle goes there so there is no excuse! I and some of the other ladies will be reading and there will be prizes!!!!! You should totally come.

5 thoughts on “Story Feasts, Photo Shoots and Chattanooga: What I am into March 2014

  1. Abby! Your March sounds awesome. I’m so excited to see your face and can’t wait for our after party — but I’m debating whether I want to go over my reading with you (it’s still in draft right now but I’m awesome under pressure) or save it so my jokes will all be surprises. I’m only really doing it so you’ll be proud of me. 🙂

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