A couple of days back as I was preparing lunch for myself and the hubby was taking some time to finish some things up online (read: monitor all of my numbers and read reviews) I heard him shout with excitement from our dining table “Bae, you got your first bad review!”.

Now, a bit of background on this: I’d been waiting for this moment. I’d talked to my team about it and my book agent assured me the day would come.

I couldn’t really decide whether I was a glutton for punishment or a sucker for conflict (maybe a bit of both?) but I just wanted to hear more than positive things about the book.

As I stood in the kitchen he read to me what someone who said they’d been sent the book for a review, thought of it all.

This reviewer mentioned that there wasn’t a thing in the book that they “couldnt’ Google” and they went on explain that they were giving it “two” stars instead of “one” because there were a couple of positive things that they found interesting to them but other than that, to them, it was practically a flop.

To my surprise, even though I’d waited for this moment, I didn’t cry or even feel bad—I laughed. (not at this person, of course but more at what was to come) I actually found their use of language and explanation as to why they didn’t like the book quite creative to say the least and had great admiration for their ability to confidently and effectively “speak their mind”. (word nerd)

Here are a few things I am focusing on in all of this:

  1. This book (nor I) is not for everyone.

  2. Why, in the midst of criticism, it is crucial to stay focused.

  3. You can’t Google your story. You have to tell that.


But there’s something in it for everyone. I have these highlighted in my profile on my Instagram feed but I thought it was important for me to expound a bit on this thought here. I know, to some of you, this probably made perfect sense but in an effort to be the excellent communicator I claim to be, I wanted to break this down a bit more here where I have more room and time and you all have way more space to process.

A long time ago when I was growing up in Alabama and being raised by my grandmother, one of the things I can still hear here saying to me over and over is “ you are not for everyone and that is ok”.

I’ve taken that with me well into my adulthood and it has served me well. In this case, very well.

I understand that while there are many who support me and Restoration House and the message that I attempt to spread there are likely a dozen more who are NOT here for it.

Guess what? I am absolutely fine with that! I know that for those who are not interested in what I share here, there are more who do and those are the people and you are the community of supporters I’d like to focus on. We all have our tribes and I trust that those who find value in what I share here and beyond will connect with it in a unique and special way. I also understand that even if other want to make it their personal mission to bash it, that it’s not personal.

I have to fight (sometimes) to detach myself from that lie so that I can move on into what God is and has called me to do here.


If I am being honest, when the news of my first negative (but surely not the last) review came through, I was totally fine and have been but I’d be lying if I said that not even for one moment was I even slightly shaken by the thought that more were coming and that even though this one wasn’t that gentle, more would come that would make the one prior to it look like light work.

How many times in your life (I can’t even count for my own) have you been in the middle of one of the most amazing seasons or moments only to have it snatched away by something that really paled in comparison to the good thing? Because of our human nature, we tend to be drawn to the things that really should not capture our attention. Nine times out of ten, those are negatives. And don’t those things just seem to come at the most “convenient” times?

On that day, I had to make a conscious decision that I would not allow someone’s thoughts or opinions to destroy or take away from what was meant to be a time of celebration. One that I’ve worked two hard years to get to, mind you.

It is our responsibility to guard that. No matter what, I was and am determined to keep that joy. That peace. That fun. It is our responsibility to hold space for these moments. I am convinced that no one is going to take this away from me. Whether you are celebrating something like your new book or that you made it through the week without yelling at one of your kids. Count it all joy, friends, and be determined that NO ONE is going to take that away from you.


This part may be my favorite. The reviewer’s comment read that “there wasn’t any design or DIY tips that she could not Google”. When I responded on my IG stories, I mentioned that she was right. I also added that there isn’t much that you can’t Google these days if we’re honest.

The point is this: You can’t Google your story. You have to tell that.

If you’ve followed me here long enough you already know that I am a lover of a good story and, not just any story, but your story—our stories—the collective stories that connect us all.

What I share in this book is more than just fun DIY and home tips or “3 quick and easy ways to…”. There’s more than that and that’s not to say the ones that do offer those things are any less; just different goals. I think that’s ok.

There’s a lot of that out there and while each author will put their spin on it, it just wasn’t what I felt called or asked to write. I knew that if I told my own story with sincerity and authenticity, it would resonate with you and that’s the point.

You can’t Google your story, you have to tell it.

I didn’t want to give you something that look like everyone else. I didn’t want to give you just another reason to compare your life to others’ around you or to strangers on the internet. I wanted you to somehow read what has happened in my life and find a connection point to your own. My hope was an is that it would cause you to recognize the similarities yet also embrace the differences and, in your own way, tell THAT story. My prayer is that it would beckon to the home of your heart to to share the things you can’t Google. And that, for me, makes it all worth it.




It’s not a cop-out. It’s not overly spiritual. It’s just the truth. He did.

I’ll do my best here to paint a picture as to why and how I know that to be true but I will honestly do absolutely no justice to what it was and has been like to walk out this truth and watch His hand move in ways I couldn’t even imagine not only in the process of writing this book and now launching it but in my life in its entirety.

I’ll have to break this up into a two to three part series as it’s late, I’m tired and honestly I just need some of this to sink in a bit more as I am still processing so much of it myself.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had a lot of questions about this book process and how it al began and, even more recently, as I am interviewing, most folks wanna know how in the world I ended up with a book deal, how I didn’t self-publish and how I went about achieving what many perceive as success.

DISCLAIMER: I have to say, before I really begin to lay all of this out, that I do not intend to take on an air of ungratefulness or sound as though I do not appreciate the opportunity to share my voice, gifts and talents with the world. It is an honor and even more, a blessing to be able to do so. My intention here is that you will get a “behind the curtain” peek at what life has been like for me, the real and raw emotions I’ve dealt with as we close in on release for the book and how I am choosing each and every day to believe in what I have been called to and have full faith that I will see tangible fruit from the journey. This is not a ploy for self-deprication or sympathy in any way but my hope is that by sharing just a bit of my journey, I will aid in encouraging some of you out there to dive head first into your own. Now that we have that out of the way…

Many of you know that I lost my mama almost five years ago and, needless to say, it was a devastatingly dark time for me. If you’ve followed my journey since that time you’ll remember my writing about it and how much that loss affected me in both a very natural but also a very spiritual way.

One thing that I haven’t shared here is something that happened on that day that would, at the time, seem pretty trivial and downright inconsiderate to me but, in time, I learned that it was just the intentional and relentless pursuit of God in and over my life, once again.

As I lay there, within minutes of receiving the news that my mama had passed away, I heard God speak something to me that I decided I should tuck away for a more convenient time. I heard Him say, “ This is part of your story. You are going to write a book.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it was just me. You’re thinking I totally thought to myself that I was going to write a book and that it would be about my mama and her passing and I’d talk about the day and I’d rehearse all of the memories and how the brokenness of my story collides with the beauty and the grace of God.

If you’re thinking that, it’s okay. I understand because I, too, vacillated between believing that I’d truly heard from God and that I was making things up in my head.

The truth of the matter is that, deep down, I knew it was Him.

It was a voice that was familiar to me. I knew what it felt like to have His nudges quake every fiber of my being and leave behind the visual evidence of the resonation. It happened that day for me. There was no denying that in the darkest moment I have ever experienced, God met me there.

While I didn’t understand at the time just how impactful or significant this would be, little by little , the memory of that day began to slowly fade in as time passed and, even more, that moment of promise.

I’d get stuck in traffic and I was reminded. I was triggered by something and prompted to start notes or write about it in my journal. I’d get caught up with a line of song in my head while showering and He’d tell me that the verse had deeper impact and that would lead me to a scripture or passage that reminded me and I’d have this burning to desire to WRITE ABOUT IT. These desires increased and instead of running away from them as I’d so often wanted to before; I ran toward them. I leaned in.

Approximately 3 years after my mom’s death, some shedding away of what Restoration House had looked like and what I thought it would be, I got an email. Wanna hear something even more wild? I ‘just happened’ to be checking an old address that I had and ‘just happened‘ to see it.

The email was from someone at my now publisher Harper/Zondervan inquiring about whether I’d ever thought about writing a book. She went on to explain how she’d followed my blog for a while and thought I had great potential. She even complimented me saying she loved my writing and that she’d love to follow-up with a phone call.

I’d love to say that I was SO excited and that it just confirmed what I’d been waiting for my entire life but it didn’t. I shoved my laptop away in disbelief thinking that it was a hoax or prank and that someone had to be fooling me. I can’t really explain why I responded that way.

Maybe it was partly because, if you’re like me, somehow we’re always shocked when God actually does what He says He is gonna do. Go figure.

I think an even bigger part of me didn’t want anything to do with any parts of writing a book but there was a teeny tiny part of me that was intrigued and wondered what it would be like to say yes to this and so, as you now know, I responded in kind. We set up a call to speak with one another within the following days and the details get blurry from there but, well, here we are.

Listen, friends, this isn’t something that I’d dreamt of my entire life. I started a blog because I wanted to sell refurbished furniture pieces and somehow it transformed into my sharing stories of hope and encouragement and tying it all into home. I’m being so candid here but if I am SUPER honest (and I want to be) I don’t even know how this happened.

We hear so much about hustling and working and striving and going for what we want and I’m all for those things in doses but throughout this process it has become more and more apparent to me that if God wants to open a door, He is going to do it and I can work my fingers to the bone to make something happen or make a connection or open up an opportunity but all of that pales in comparison to just striving to listen to him, hustling to position myself to hear His voice and working WITH Him to accomplish whatever seasonal goals I may have for HIS glory, not mine. It just has to be that way. Otherwise, I just get in the way and we all know that’s a disaster. I’ve been there way too many times to count.

I don’t want to say, “I did it!” “Look at what I did!”

I want to be able to say I did what He asked me to do, moved out of the way and that He did the rest.

Hear my heart, there’s something to be said for hard work and goal setting and planning and all the things (I come from a long line of hard workers) and yes, so many people succeed in this world doing just that but I’d like to imagine what it would be like to just do what He asks and nothing more.

I am curious and intrigued, even, by the thought of what my idea of success would be or what it would look like to set old ways of thinking about success and toxic mindsets to the side and dedicate my every move in all of this to Him. What does would it look like to truly acknowledge Him in all my ways and allow Him to fully and completely direct my path?

I’ve been called a free spirit more times than I’d probably like to be honest but in this case, I think I’m ok with that.

Join me for part two on Monday (the day before book release…eek!). I can’t wait to share more of this with you and some practicals of how you may be able to walk out some hard things that you’re working for in your own journey right now.

Tune in, tomorrow, as we explore Erin Francois’s sweet retreat (@francois_et_moi)