Priming the pump. {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

You know how people have mentors they’ve never met? The kind that aren’t some agreed upon relationship where you get coffee every week, but mentor through example and words. Sometimes the mentor is even deceased. But you learn and grow by watching and listening and reading.

Trina Holden is a mentor like that for me. I admire the way Trina navigates marriage, motherhood, writing, beauty, food, and faith. She is a wonderful example of grace and hope.

Since I know you’ll love her, here’s another interview I did with her about one of her four books, Embracing Beauty.

Two more weeks of Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing! Don’t miss the other 18 perspectives in the archives.

Trina Holden

Why do you write/blog?

I write because I can’t not. I spent many years in bondage to a debilitating anxiety disorder and then the Lord healed and freed me. Since then I’ve had a strong passion to encourage others to find freedom and the joy of a thriving life. A blog is an efficient way that I can do that while still keeping up with my other roles as wife and mother.

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I’ve been blogging since my first born was a baby–or, 8 years. But I’ve been writing since my mom gave me my first journal at 8.

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

Currently I have 4 children, 3 I’m homeschooling, and one who is schooling me in the art of living through sleep deprivation–she’s almost a year and we go back and forth between days where I have no margin, and days where I might get an hour to write or blog (or maybe both!)

This season has forced me to shed all unnecessary obligations and expectations that I or the blogging world puts on my words, and prioritize writing the stuff I’m most passionate about. This means I break many blogging rules–I don’t engage in many of the traditional ways to connect and get my words to a broader audience. If I did that, I’d have no time to write, and I’m called to write. Sometimes I don’t even put a graphic in my posts (gasp!) but that is because the Lord keeps reminding me that I’m called to be a writer. So, motherhood has forced me to hone in on my passion and ditch everything that distracts.

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

I would love to learn to write in the little moments I have throughout the day, to write amidst the hubbub that is four children living life and a husband who often works from home. Alas, that is a skill I have yet to develop. I’d love to follow the advice to have a set time and place to court the muse. I love formulas and schedules and checklists. Instead, my writing happens sporadically, when quiet and a charged laptop and a baby’s sleep schedule somehow align. When that happens, I can’t afford to waste it, so I’m learning strategies to make the most of surprise writing opportunities.

I’ve learned to sit down and just write–about anything. I call this priming the pump. I cannot often sit down and write my next post or book chapter on demand. Forcing myself to produce on a certain topic is a recipe for tears and frustration. As much as I wish one could, one cannot force art. So, I just let myself write what sounds like a journal entry–a brain dump, basically. Until a thought or an idea of something I want to share comes, then I switch tenses and begin to write outward–or for an audience. It’s not always on the topic that I have a post due on (sigh) but, at least I’m writing.

This sounds undisicplined and haphhazard, but those forced to write in stolen moments or not at all know how hard it is, and how worth the effort. Even with all the challenges to maintaining a writing habit in this season, I’ve still managed to write and publish my 4th book, and about 4 blog posts a month.

Trina Holden

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

My battle cry is freedom. I lived in bondage for so many years–not even knowing I was in chains to anxiety and fear of man and the lust for approval and acceptance. When freedom was finally offered to me, and I caught a taste of what life was like outside my prison, I ran toward the gates. I want to blog authentically and transparently so people can catch a glimpse of what God has done for me, and what He wants to do for all His children: set them free so they can thrive as who He created us to be, and thus bring Him glory.

Because learning to nourish my body well is a large part of what helps me to thrive, I also blog about real food. If I had a tagline, it might be “fuel for a thriving life…because we were made to thrive.” But I think that’s too long for a tagline. I’m still waiting for that to mature.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

It takes faith to trust that God will provide the grace to fulfill all He has called me to. I often think that if I was *just* a mom, or *just* a wife, or *just* a writer, I could totally handle it.
But John Piper recently reminded me, “If you are sufficient for your task it’s too small.” The passion to write while also fulfilling my roles as wife and mother has driven me to my knees time and again. It is not something I can do in my own strength, and I am grateful for how it’s drawn me closer to the only One who can sustain me.

I’m also grateful for the accountability that writing publicly has provided for this season. So often the topic I’m assigned to write about for one of the blogs I contribute to, or the post God puts on my heart that week ends up being an area my own heart needs encouragement. I write the words in a moment of clarity or victory, and the next moment I have to go back and read my own words and ask God to help learn and apply all over again. Many of the posts on my own blog function as altars of remembrance–keeping me from forgetting an important lesson or work He did in my heart.

Writing both drives and draws me closer to my Savior. It is a yoke only made light when I trust Him for the time to write and the fruit from my efforts.

Trina HoldenTrina Holden is a modern-day gypsy, currently parked in Alabama where she and her husband run a business encouraging families to thrive through real food cookbooks, classes, and consulting. Together they homeschool their four children, drink gallons of raw milk, and dream of their next road trip. She is the author of 4 books and writes about freedom and other ingredients for a thriving life at

Blog | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook

Seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

Happy January! We’re coming up on the last three post for the Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing series. I have so enjoyed compiling these and have gained much wisdom and encouragement from these ladies. Don’t miss the archives!

Today’s installment is from Katie of Cardigan Way. Her beautiful blog was hacked a few months ago and it’s not quite up and running again, but I do hope you visit her on a different form of social media. She has a lovely heart and two adorable babies!

Motherhood and Writing Katie

Why do you write/blog?

I blog because I began a journey of needing to understand and find God’s goodness around me. Psalm 27 echoes with confidence that we will “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I hear people talk about God’s goodness and I just couldn’t concretely understand that phrase, especially in the midst of pain. The day that I penned my first blog post on Cardigan Way was the day after our second miscarriage after five years of wanting to add to our family. I had already experienced the gamut of anger, confusion, and bitterness and this verse from Psalms was pulling at me. At that point, I was longing for heaven. And YET, God was promising it here and now, on earth, “the land of the living.”

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I’ve been blogging at Cardigan Way for 2 years…but with the recent arrival of our adopted twins, I don’t know that I can call myself a very faithful blogger at the moment!

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

I’m a new mom, an adoptive mom, and a mom to twins. When we adopted, I found myself experiencing emotions and having thoughts I’d never before even considered, one of the first of which is this profound way that becoming a mother causes you to simultaneously look forward and backward. I find myself sitting on that thought a lot, though I haven’t yet written much about it as I’m still trying to write through the journey of our adoption story.

Perspectives Katie

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

Can I just say that I thought I was busy? I was part of the administrative team at the school where I taught elementary students, working on my Master’s, fundraising for an adoption, in the adoptive process (which is at least a part time job!), and also a minister’s wife with lots of church things on my plate. I was blogging at least once a week with all of THAT going on. I even blogged while we were away adopting and waiting out a NICU stay and interstate clearances.

And then the babies came home.

My husband and I have six month old twins that we adopted at birth…with six days’ notice that we’d be bringing home two! We literally brought them home to a RUG. Launched immediately into the throes of new motherhood — with such little warning or time to prepare — was AMAZING. But imagine being pregnant for six days. I think I haven’t slept or produced a coherent sentence since we received “the call.”

All of that to say, I feel now that I owe it to my readers and myself to tell the story of our adoption in little snippets, so that’s my current, lofty blogging project. Because of these two tiny ones now in my life, I’ve gone from blogging at least once weekly to once a month…at best!

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

I’ve spent two years looking for — and FINDING — God’s goodness around me and just trying to throw that out into the world. AND, this was all before the twins, before we knew where we were headed in adding to our family, not knowing even if we WOULD become parents. I found and wrote about goodness in all sorts of places: nature, secular books, even businesses that have used their platform to BE good.

And again, this is God’s goodness “in the land of the living” before the twins were a remote possibility, which I must clarify because I in NO WAY want to declare that God’s goodness hinged on a positive outcome in the particular journey of becoming parents. He’s good. You can see it everywhere. Period.

When I finish our adoption story (spoiler alert!!), I plan to come full circle to God’s goodness, the original intent of my writing at Cardigan Way. I’ve been sitting on some big thoughts regarding goodness in the midst of adding these two precious ones to our family…and I think it may be surprising. I’ve pretty much written that post already and just trying to fill in the gaps of our adoption story in the meantime.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

Most days, the extent of this intersection is to list my gifts (a la Ann Voskamp)… And that is perfect for me. In the space of a couple of lines in my notebook, I can record His grace in the midst of this season of new motherhood, I can trace the evidence of His goodness around me, and spend time thanking Him for the beauties and struggles that come with this new role.

Katie EllerKatie Eller is a new adoptive mama to six-month-old twins, a music pastor’s wife, and a graduate student. Essentially, she hasn’t slept since January. When Katie has a few extra moments, she is perfectly content with a great book, strong coffee, and rich conversation. She {intermittently, at the moment} blogs at Cardigan Way.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Kids, cancer, and time (what’s that?). {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

It’s Tuesday, and another round of Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing. I loved learning more about Lesley Miller through this interview and I know you will too. 

Check out more Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing post on the PMW archives page!

Perspectives Lesley MillerWhy do you write/blog?

Writing brings me a lot of joy, and it has since I was a young girl. My parents had to encourage me to go outside and play because my nose was always in a book. When I discovered I could write my own stories a whole new world opened up. Had they not threatened me to leave the house, I’d probably still be stuck in my bean bag chair penning teen romance novels.

Writing still brings me a lot of joy as an adult. It also provides me a way to process and rest. I’m an introvert so I love the (rare) moments when the only noise in my house is the clicking of my keyboard.

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I’ve been writing almost my whole life, but during my high school and college years I decided I wasn’t very good at the craft. I filled journals with my prayers, and I wrote term papers that didn’t always receive very good grades. I think, because of the way our education system works, that because I didn’t feel validated or encouraged by teachers then, perhaps, I wasn’t very good at writing. As a kid I wanted to be an author but by 19 years old I decided to pursue other things instead. I graduated with a communication studies degree and decided to try marketing.

I began blogging in 2006 on a trip to China, and then I quickly started my current blog, Barefoot on 45th, to keep our long distance family informed about our life. At first, blogging was a way to simply share factual information about the day-to-day.

In fall 2006 I took an evening writing course at our community college. It was called “Writing for Publication.” My instructor was the first person (besides my parents) to say, “You’re good at this!” In fact, I remember him writing on my last paper of the year: “You have talent. Please find a way to continue writing as you build your family.” At the time, children weren’t even on my radar. I thought his comment was nice, but also a little odd.

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

We had Anna in 2011 and the first year of her life was extremely difficult. I thought I’d “work from home” as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, but when my husband was diagnosed with cancer that same year, I put everything on hold. My sweet newborn wasn’t sleeping much, and my husband needed me too. Being tired and stressed makes it hard to stay creative. During that year I began to learn that our lives as moms have seasons. Some seasons are much busier and more stressful than others. During my stressful season, writing was an outlet I didn’t want to make public. I blogged less and went to my journal instead.

When my daughter turned one, I spent the next year working on a book proposal and publishing articles around the web. A friend and I swapped babysitting once a week and I also hired a babysitter one morning a week. Between these times and her naps, I had enough time to pursue regular writing. It felt amazing to pursue dreams I’d put on hold for awhile.

In 2013 we welcomed another baby, who rocked the next 8 months of my life. He is a high maintenance little guy and my writing took a big hit. Here’s a funny story. I remember going to a writer’s event one night when Owen was about 6 months old. I was catching up with another woman who didn’t have children and I told her that I wasn’t writing much because I didn’t have any time. She said, essentially, if you want to be a writer then you need to get rid of all your excuses. “I get up at 5:30am and write for an hour every morning before I go to work,” she said. I tried not to snap back, “Oh yeah? Well I’m up from about 4:00am to 5:00am with a fussy baby, so that hour of the morning doesn’t work for me.”

Needless to say, I’m blogging much less than I used to because I simply don’t have the time I once did. I’m also stalled on the book project I’m pursuing, because I’m just not sure where to find time in my day.

Lesley Miller

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

My writing habits have changed because it’s become harder and harder for me to justify writing for “free.” While I’d love to grow my blog, write a book and publish on various Christian websites, it’s hard to fit these projects into our current life.

I got really lucky earlier this year when I was pursued for a paid position as Editor of Kidaround Magazine, a regional bi-monthly publication in Sacramento, CA. I am now working 10 hours a week doing all sorts of fun things I never thought I’d get to do. Because I’m being paid, I’m able to hire a babysitter to watch the kids about 8 hours a week, with the other few hours done at nap time or evenings. By the time I pay a babysitter I don’t make much money, but it’s working for us and I feel very thankful.

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

While I write about a lot of different topics (from the mundane “this is what we did today” posts to essays on cancer) my hope is that people feel encouraged after they read something I write. My main audience is women and I truly do write to inspire their hearts, build up their spirits and show them the love of Jesus.

While I don’t always think it’s appropriate to share every facet of my life, I also try to be vulnerable, honest and open with my readers. I don’t want my life to appear perfect, because it’s not, and I find that many women can easily make assumptions about another person’s life and then feel they aren’t doing enough or being enough because they’ve played the comparison game. By being honest about my own failings, I can remind people that we’re all just doing our best and Jesus can take care of the rest.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

For a long time, my professor’s charge to pursue writing felt like a curse more than a blessing. In the years leading up to my first pregnancy I struggled deeply with the word “calling.” I felt that motherhood might prevent me from pursing my dreams to write, and I put unnecessary pressure on myself to figure out how I could be a mom and a writer at the same time. (Should I stay at home with my kids full time? Did I even want to stay at home with my kids? Could I afford to pursue writing?)

After a lot of prayer, reading and talking to wise women in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that my calling is not to write, but to encourage other women wherever they’re at in their faith and/or motherhood journeys. Writing is a BIG way that I choose to encourage others, but it’s not the only way. I can also do so during play dates, at my MOPS table, over coffee with friends, and through speaking.

Motherhood is a wonderfully taxing, stretching and amazing job. I will always be a mom but my children won’t always need me in the abundant ways they do right now. I believe that God will have me write more in the future, but in the meantime I choose to be satisfied with the small bits and pieces I have. It’s important I continue to practice and pursue my craft, but I’m also learning that my children are only young once. Everyday I have to remind myself that my job is to raise my children to know Jesus, to love my husband well, to encourage the women God places around me, and to write when He gives me opportunities.

Lesley MillerLesley Miller is a wife to Jonathan, and mama to Anna (3) and Owen (1). They live in Santa Barbara, California in a little house with a huge avocado tree. Lesley is a slow runner, a fast eater, and a big fan of morning walks on the beach, and she believes that even busy mamas should make time to read and pursue friendships with other women.


Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

When blogging is the first thing to go. {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing)

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting today’s Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing guest in person. She brought me delicious pasta salad and didn’t even flinch when James spit up on her white jacket. 

Rachel Zupke is a go-getter and I love that she channels her passion towards projects and subjects that have eternal significance. She’s a teacher at heart and I’ve learned many things by just observing her life.

Enjoy today’s post and check out the Motherhood and Writing archives for more inspiration and encouragement. 

Motherhood and Writing Rachel

Why do you write/blog?

I started blogging to keep family updated on what was going on with us, especially once we had the first grandchild on each side of the family. When I became a stay at home mom, blogging became an outlet for me since I was so used to having daily interaction with lots of people and subsequently lots of conversations. I still blog for that reason, but I also have found that God has me write things that, while I’d love for them to go viral, end up speaking right to the heart of a few key readers (and that is totally fine!). I also enjoy sharing recipes and how-tos.

Lastly, and most descriptive of what I feel my blog’s purpose is, I want to encourage people to live with what I call “mason jar values”: perseverance, passion, and purpose. Hopefully they’re encouraged to do this via what I write in an indirect way but also when I address them specifically.

I started Intimate Truths because there are too many [Christian] women who don’t talk about sex enough. Single or married, we need to redeem discussions of sex and take them back from what society has made them into.

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I started blogging back in April of 2012. I transitioned to self-hosted blogging in November of 2013. Then I launched Intimate Truths in July of 2014.

Perspectives Rachel

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

I definitely have WAY less time to write with a toddler. We’ve gone from 2 naps to 1 but that’s also increased the amount of things I have to write about! It’s amazing how much I’ve learned about being a woman, as well as a daughter of God, since becoming a mother two years ago (two years this week actually!). Now that we’re going to have another baby, I can only imagine I’ll lose more time but perhaps that will mean that I’ll be more purposeful with my writing time when I do get to sit down at the computer.

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

I get to write sporadically throughout the week in 15 minute spurts here and there. Once a week, I set aside an hour or two to work on things for both my personal blog and Intimate Truths. Thankfully, my husband is supportive so that makes it a lot easier to find the time. When life gets too crazy, blogging is the first thing to get pushed aside but that’s how it goes!

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

For Mason Jar Values (personal blog): I want to encourage people to live with the values of yesterday, things I tend to see less and less in my everyday interactions with others. Encourage you to live with thankfulness for the harvest? I’ll teach you to can summer fruit like peaches. Hard work and perseverance? I’ll encourage you to do things you never thought you could, like take your toddlers camping. Heritage and passion? I’ll recount things from my own life, like making and using cloth napkins, something I’ve done after learning from my mother and grandmother.

For Intimate Truths: It saddens me that sex is such a taboo subject among Christian women, even once they’re married. Even though it is a fairly private subject, there are too many struggles in intimate relationships to not have a buddy to bounce things off of with. I’m blessed to have a woman like that in my life but I’m sure that I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve also given too many women their “talk” because all their parent(s) told them about sex was “sex is great but wait ’til you’re married.” They never learned how their period/cycle worked, the anatomy and physiology of sex and the pleasure cycle, or how to receive pleasure as a women (since so much of sex focuses on the man). The tagline for IT is “sex is sacred, not secret” implying that we should talk about it in a very respectful and forthright manner while maintaining privacy and honesty.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

I feel incredibly blessed to have journeyed through both fun and difficult years of marriage, homemaking, out-of-the-home career work, adventuring, and motherhood. I am constantly amazed by what God has taught me through everyday experiences. He has revealed Himself in countless ways over the years and I am honored I even have the chance to share what I’ve learned the hard way, and the easy way, about how He wants me to live. And, of course, parenting is quite sanctifying. Sooooo much patience and perseverance needed with my spunky little gal!

Rachel ZupkeRachel Zupke is a stay at home mom to a toddler. Her husband brings home the big bucks as a high school science teacher and she helps out money-wise by coaching (basketball and rowing) and substitute teaching at her hubby’s high school (She taught HS science pre-baby). She writes about living with perseverance, passion, and purpose (what she’s deemed Mason Jar Values) over at Rachel also runs Intimate Truths, a site that discusses sex as sacred rather than secret ( Life for her = faith and family, homemaking, real food and natural living, outdoor adventures with their Siberian Husky, and local happenings. (Rachel and her husband welcomed a baby boy to their family on Thanksgiving day!)

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Living in the Holy Land. {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

I’m slightly alarmed that it’s December already. It seems like November was gobbled up by our Idaho to Pennsylvania transition, and now I find myself in another home filled with boxes. At least this time I’m taking things out of those boxes. Maybe I could just wrap them up and use them as Christmas decor…

We will be joining our new church family at Come See The Tree (fireworks, a gigantic tree, and cookies? I’m sold), a community Christmas tree lighting later this week, which will further solidify that it is, indeed, December.

Today’s Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing guest is a new(ish) contributor to Kindred Grace and momma of two. I got chills reading about Callie Mitchell‘s heart for the nation where God has called her and her family to reside.

Catch up on past Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing posts here

Motherhood and Writing Callie

Why do you write/blog?

I write because I’m compelled to create. The first thing we learn about God in scripture is that He “created”. Being made in His image, we too are called to create. As I study the Bible and learn the power of words, I feel an even greater responsibility to share the truth of His love through personal testimonies. Its really an outlet of worship for me.

My educational training is in Architecture and Interior Design. Throughout my nine years worth of school, I could never sit down and begin drawing a space if I had not first written it. I find that writing is the foundation of all other creative outlets I enjoy. I really believe I write to sort out my ideas, to understand where I feel the Lord leading.

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I have had a blog for six years now, but I have been writing for as long as I’ve known how to write my alphabet. My grandmother bought a journal for me at age six. I still love to go back and read it. Most stories are about what we ate for lunch that day, riding my bike, or walking my dog.

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

Currently I am a mother in Israel. Being a mom, I love to write stories about my son to help bottle up memories of these precious days. Being in Israel, I feel a certain amount of responsibility to share the truth of our lived experience in this nation. After the first war that I experienced on Israeli soil, I went before the Lord with passion, asking Him to anoint my words with a spirit of revelation, so that all who read will know Him better.

It hit me hard that we are drawing near to His return, and the desire to wake a slumbering church has burned in my bones since. I hope these testimonies will also produce a lasting legacy in the lives of my children. I want them to know their mother was a fighter on her knees, for truth and holiness, first to be lived in our home, and then overflow into the nations. Whatever radical lives they might be called to in the future, I want them to look back and blame it on my prayers.

Perspectives Callie

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

On most days, I wait until my son has gone to sleep for the night. In Israel, we keep Shabbat (Saturday) as a work free day, so I will often partition time to do some creative writing for my own expression of worship before the Lord.

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

I want to communicate the gospel and the nearness of Jesus’ return to the earth.

Often times when I’m writing a piece, I’ll close my eyes and write as if I’m actually speaking to the Lord. Depending on what its intended purpose might be, it will either stay in that format or I’ll go in and adjust pronouns so that it is approachable for an audience. The Lord once whispered, “Speak to me inside of people”.

This practice started after meditating on what He might have meant by that. As I believe the Holy Spirit dwells in each believer, sometimes we need to be reminded of who we are. We’re called to conform to His image, so I often will write, even in emails, calling out that image in others.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

I learned more about God’s unconditional love after I birthed my son than I was ever prepared for – both in giving love unconditionally to this tiny perfect person, but also through the grace he shows me when I fail to live up to my own expectations of motherhood. Even the smallest interactions with him can propel me deeper into the Father’s heart.

Sometimes it’s the larger moments as well, learning I was pregnant with a long awaited second baby on my son’s birthday, for example. The Lord used the timing to work out something special in my son’s life. Being a mom reminds me that my purpose and presence are greater than just me. He made me because He wants to do a work through me to bless others. Being a writer, I think, is what causes me to pause and take note of those moments, really thinking them through, processing them through His word.

Callie MitchellCallie Mitchell is the wife of Devin and the mother of Aviel and a girl baby on the way (arrived 11/12/14!). She is an architect by training, though her current practice mostly includes lego towers and wooden train track configurations, with a few actual free lance projects on the side. The Mitchells live in Jerusalem as a Messianic Jewish family, and are committed to seeing Salvation come to the people of this region.

Callie’s Blog