1. Describe yourself in as few words as possible.
If asked this question when I was younger, I might not have been so positive. On my Facebook profile (private, not public), one of these first things you’ll see is my Intro Description. They don’t give you a lot of space to “describe yourself.” My description hasn’t changed much over the years. This is what is says: Hates: math, spicy food Likes: books, grape drp, puppies Loves: Jesus Christ, my family, Kevin Quinn (my husband)
My Goodreads profile says: Recently married, Ex-English major, Book nerd, Guinea Pig Mama…that’s about it! If you want to learn more about me, check out my blogs.
This list only touches the iceberg, so to speak, of who I am. But I think it does a good job of pointing out the important things. That I’m complex. I do have a sense of humor. At the same time, I’m a book nerd, and I’m a little quirky. And then, to top it all off, I’m not afraid to proclaim my love for God and my love for my family. (The fact that my husband is listed last should not indicate that he is actually last on my list 😉 Adding his name was just my latest edit.)
I know that wasn’t a short response, but if you’re just looking at my Facebook or Goodreads “descriptions,” it should hopefully work!
2. We can tell that you love talking about your family. You’re a newlywed, correct?
Well…sort of. I still like to think of us as newlyweds. We are going to celebrate our two year wedding anniversary on April 9th (yeah us!). I think the second anniversary is the “cotton anniversary”…correct me if I’m wrong. So I’m going to have to get a jump on a cotton-themed anniversary gift this year.
I am very lucky to have grown up with a loving, ever growing family. I grew up as the baby of my generation. I was the youngest by a seven-year age gap until my first nephew was born. Since my family doubled in size, I have been struck anew by the blessing that it is to have a loving, ever growing family.
I do like to think of my “maiden” family and my in-laws and as a connected, supportive network. So I have four parents, three aunts, three uncles, two sets of siblings, one “cousin brother” (cousin by birth, brother my choice), one set of grandparents, seven nieces and nephews (by birth, by choice, and by marriage – I adore them all!), so many cousins…the list just goes out further and further from our little family hub in Texas. And then you add on top of that all of the friends and mentors that I don’t get to see that often but who I think of as part of my family.
For such an introvert, I feel so blessed to have such a large family. Not to say we always get along. No, of course not. In many ways, I feel like I’m still learning to have adult relationships with my family. But our ties are strong; our love will never be broken.
3. Anxiety, Faith, and Grace is a faith-based blog. What is our faith background, and how much does your specific background influence what is posted on your site?
Ah yes. I was wondering when we’d get to the faith-based questions. I was raised Southern Baptist. Or rather, I should say that I have attended a Southern Baptist Church all my life. I didn’t fully understand that there were different church and denominations until high school, and even today, if you ask me “what I am,” I will say “Christian” before “Southern Baptist” every time.
The content on Anxiety, Faith, and Grace is usually my own, and, of course, my articles are written from my own point of view. However, this is not a space where I debate the finer points of theology and Christian history. My goal is not to start an argument. My audience isn’t “Southern Baptists.” Or “Christian who like the NIV translation of the Bible” – although, if you are wondering, that it the translatin that I generally use when citing Bible verses. Or even “Young Christian Millenials.” This is, I hope, a site that is accessible to everyone.
I have noticed that several religious sites include lists of beliefs on their About Pages and so I will borrow a page from this famous Christian artist, which provides a very brief rundown of the core beliefs you will find promoted on this site.
I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus
– “This I Believe (The Creed), Hillsong United
I also believe in the power of the Holy Scriptures, the power that God displays in our everyday lives, and the truth that God can use your whole self – the good and the bad – to bring glory to His name. I talk about these truths often on the blog. Again, just the tip of the iceberg, but these are the truths that fuel my writing.
4. What is your writing Background?
In a professional experience, I don’t have much of a background at all. But I am rich in imagination.
I have been writing stories as long as I can remember, first in my mind and then in journals. Now, I usually just type them out. I’ve never been much a “Dear journal, this was my day…” kind of girl, but there is a freedom of expression in writing that is hard to deny. I have boxes full of dream journals and first draft manuscripts. Stories that will live on in my heart but hopefully never find their way into someone else’s hands.
It’s only recently that I have begun to write non-fantasy topics. Just because I can spin a yarn that entertains me, doesn’t mean that it’s easy for me to organize my thoughts into a coherant essay or article. But, again, I have discovered freedom in writing about faith and real life. There is no denying that I have an author’s mind, and there is a neat symmetry to growing in faith and writing about it. That’s what makes me a writer.
5. So you’re a book nerd, eh? Can you answer the hardest question of all: What is your favorite book/author?
No! Not this question! It’s soooo hard.
I can tell you my favorite genres are Fantasy and Dystopian Ya literature. I’m going to be one of those grandmothers who is still reading YA Fantasy. There is just such honesty and power in today’s YA genre, and I generally pick up books to be transported out of my own head. I will occasionally step out of my favorite reading genres, but I have found that I’ve grown pickier with my reading material the older I’ve grown.
I could just rattle off a few titles that are on my “5 stars bookshelf”: Harry Potter, The Host, Eragon, Poison, Seraphina, Carve the Mark, The Six of Crows, Strange the Dreamer…and so many more!
I have recently begun settling goals to read non-fiction books. These include faith books as well as books about writing, books, and publishing that pertain to my career. Some of my favorite Christian authors include Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore. Predictable names to list, but Joyce Meyer’s books on anxiety in particular have really changed my perspective.
6. What is your career?
Currently, I am what you could call a book editor. It’s the coolest job in the word. I work for TouchPoint Press, an independent publishing company that publishes a wide variety of books each year. I am able to read promising manuscripts before anyone else and help authors polish their work until it shines. There is nothing like the thrill of realizing that I might have discovered my next favorite author. We recently added a Faith Imprint to our company, which means that I have been able to connect with Christian authors who enjoy telling their stories as much as I do.
Collaborating with authors and other editors and sharing their stories with other book lovers is my dream job. I don’t do it because it’s an easy job or because of it makes me a lot of money. Neither of those is true. I am just thankful that I have been put in a position where I can enjoy working with as a book editor and not have to worry about those types of things. It has been a Godsend.
7. What are your aspirations for your writing?
I feel…how do I say this? I feel like the first time I tried to write a coherent testimony and purpose statement for this site, I did a horrible job of conveying my thoughts. It was all about the gift of grace and faith and my continuing struggle with anxiety and my desire to reach out to others in similiar situations, but it was far too emotional. I tried to edit that testimony several times, but it just wasn’t working.
Here’s a summary:
I’ve struggled with general and social anxiety all my life. It grew to the point where I believed that something was innately wrong with me. I was broken. It wasn’t the fault of my perfect Creator or my loving family. It was just a fact, and I didn’t know how in the world I was supposed to fix myself or make up the difference. I was shuffling my feet through my life, permanently discouraged.
The Lord used the period of time that I spent away from home at college work in my heart in amazing ways. I had to exercise my mind and my hearts in ways that I had never had to before, and when I came out on the other side of that experience, I was changed. My eyes were opened. I could see the chains that had been dragging me down, and I was walking with my heard up in those areas of my life where I had been shuffling my entire life. The change was noticeable.
I still stumble. There are mindsets that I spent years trapped in. That’s not something you normally walk out of without some amount of struggle. But as I struggle with anxious tendencies for the rest of my life, I will still praise God and yearn to grow closer to Him in all things. It is possible! There is encouragement in our everyday struggles because God is present in our everyday lives.
I want to share my story with everyone. I want to be honest and real and encouraging to those who are in the middle of a similar struggle. That’s why I’m here sharing pieces of heart with my siblings in Christ that I may never meet in person but whom I still long to fellowship with. I am not embarking on this journey alone.
Have you heard the joke that every Christian who can play Amazing Grace on guitar or can write passably well thinks that they have been ordained by God to share their gift with the world? So I enjoy writing, and I am enjoying using that skill to talk about God and what He’s done in my life. But I don’t write because I’m an awesome writer think that I have a special secret that no one else knows, and I just have to teach it to everyone.
I write because it’s how I can best express what’s happening within me and process what happening around me. I write because I want to connect with others who may need to hear an encouraging word and can offer encouragment in return. I write because I though ti myself for the longest time, “I’m not going to write the next internationally acclaimed bestseller, but I do enjoy writing. I’m not horribe at it, and I feel like this joy of writing is a gift from God. So why can’t I find a way to use it for His glory?” The answer I eventually recieved was: “You can. Just write.” So that’s what I’m doing now.
I would like to connect with more people online and in my community through writing. I want to use my writing as a tool to help grow my relationship with God, as well as my Christian siblings. And, someday, someday soon, I hope to become a published author. But I know that any goals I may have are not as important. What’s important is that I’m attempting to use a gift to make a heavenly connection. As long as I’m doing that, I’m happy.
8. Books? Really? Can you tell us anything about your future published works?
Well, I could…but they’re not really finished yet. I have notebooks of ideas, folders of “In-progress” manuscripts. Some of my material ends up in a shortened form on the site. That way, I can work on a lot of writing projects at once and attempt to keep everything flowing.
So I’m not going to share a lot of details here, but I will tell you a few “working titles” for the manuscripts I’m most excited to be working on: “A Gentle Calling; The Puzzle Project,” “365 ‘Ordinary’ Moments With God,” “A Dirty Sponge; The Sponge Project,” “Wedding Advice from an older generation that we wished we didn’t need,” and “The Names of God: A Prayer Study,” “An Author’s Devotional Book,” “The Healer’s Touch,” and “Mind Healer: Revised and Expanded.”
Think of them the titles what you will. They make me vibrate with bottled up excitement. As one or the other comes together, I will slowly reveal plans to readers.
9. They do sound exciting. Do you have any favorite bible verses or passages?
Again, with the hard questions. Although I guess it’s only fair. I’ve been interviewing family members for one of my manuscripts and this question gets them every time.
May I list just a few that have been on my heart recently:
- Jeremiah 29:11—This verse has been near and dear to my heart ever since I had to move away from my family to attend SFASU. I don’t believe that it means God will grant us whatever we desire as long as we fold our hands and ask nicely. Rather, it is a promise that we have a future, and it’s good. Good according to God’s will and His love for us. That’s the best encouragement that an anxious college girl leaving home for the first time could ask for.
- Luke 11:28-29—I was amazed one Sunday when I heard Martha’s invitation to her sister anew. “The teacher is here…and is asking for you.” I had been struggling with relationships for a while, and the Holy Spirit used this story, this verse, to remind me that God wanted a relationship with me. No matter how much I struggle with human relationships, the Lord desired to renew that fellowship, and like Mary, I just needed to turn and run to Him.
- Philippians 4:4-6—I pray this verse over my life constantly. Joy, gentleness, peace that vanquishes anxiety – that is the trifecta of need in my life. Learn to be joyful, truly joyful and not just emotional, in all things. Learn to see gentleness as a strength and never lose it. Learn to quench anxiety with Godly peace. I used to read these verses separately and then one day, I read them together and I just…I lost it. This is the passage that I’ll keep tacked on my mirror always!
10. Why should we follow your blog?
Well, the answer right now seems to be because you’ve met me before and you just want to know what in the world I could be writing about. Haha :D.
But no really…Through blogging, I have been able to connect with a small group of Christian writers who also use blogs to show others what’s in their hearts. When we read and comment on each other’s work, it’s a form of fellowship. That’s what I truly crave. If you have ten minutes a week for a short devotional study or a unique article or story…you can find that here. If you are a Christian who deals with ongoing anxiety or depression struggles, seeing the beauty in our mistakes or God working in your everyday life, putting the questions of faith that circle in your heart and mind into words, this is a place where you can come to connect others who feel the same way.
11. And because we can’t end on an even number, what are eleven random facts about yourself?
Eleven random facts. Okay, here goes…
- My family moved around quite often before we moved to Fort Worth when I was five years old. It’s very weird to think that my older sister can remember living in different towns when I barely remember the town before we made our final move.
- Just like I use writing to communicate what I do not know who to say, learning sign language opened up a whole new world of communication for me. It’s more than hand gestures; its a whole body communication system. I used to upload a lot of asl praise videos where I interpreted my favorite contemporary praise songs to sign language.
- My obsessions with Grape Dr Peppers from Sonic began on a dare. I didn’t understand why a family member enjoyed adding different syrups to her soda orders so I said, “Alright, I like grape and I like Dr Pepper. I’ll try them together once.” I was hooked. I enjoy grape dr pepper so much that I served a punch form of it at my wedding just to show everyone how good it is.
- I ended up graduating about a year and a half early before my classmates. I graduated from high school half a year early and then I took courses almost every summer during my college education. It really adds up.
- When I was younger, my sister tried to tell me that I was adopted because I was the only one with hair. I didn’t believe her – of course not – but I did want to know why I had to be the one with “fiery red hair” when I wasn’t the “fiery” child. Then I found out that my grandmother, who passed away when I was little, had red hair. Remembering that makes me smile from the inside out every time. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to pass on my red hair to one lucky little grandchild.
- I often feel more comfortable around animals than people, especially people I don’t know. I’m the person who will greet someone’s pet before I greet them. I feel a special connection with dogs and guinea pigs, but all animals are beautiful. My husband often jests that cats are my “spirit animal.”
- I have had the privilege of watching adoption journeys beginning to end. For many years, I have felt a call to grow my family with adoption. My husband and I don’t have any children yet, but I am excited for what the future may hold for us.
- I am a fantasy book lover. I have a small collection of dragons that I enjoy hiding in places around the house. I don’t know why I decided dragon would be my fantasy animal. I have an aunt who loves pegasi, and I used to think that it would be so cool to have “my very own fantasy animal.” Dragons were a natural choice for me but I get a lot of weird looks when I mention that I collect them.
- I met my husband while swing dancing. I started dancing in college. The only problem was that the SFASU swing dancing club didn’t meet during breaks. A friend and I traveled an hour to visit the LSDA swing group over the summer break, and I met the most awkward, nerdiest, engineer you have ever met. I’m told that sparks flew that instant he asked me to dance for the first time. I’m not sure if that’s true…but I caught on rather quickly.
- I can read anywhere. I started reading while walking down the hallway in between classes. I graduated to reading at stop lights – although I don’t do that anymore. (At least not in big towns.) Nowadays, I steal reading moments while snuggling my baby guinea pigs, cooking in the kitchen, and exercising at the gym. I should probably use the reading nest my husband made more often! 😉
- I am not a spelling or grammar nazi. This is due in part to the fact that it takes me a long time to learn a new grammar rule. I was last in my class in middle school for spelling. However, there are a few grammar pet peeves that I have realized through my editing career that I just can’t stand. One is refusing t follow the rules of the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma rules! Another is block paragraphs that take up entire pages. Yes, it happens. I have also not gotten over one author who insisted on hyphenating everything. Stop-light: hyphenated. Air-conditioner: hyphenated. Wrist-watch: hyphenated. Why, oh why?!
So welcome to Anxiety, Faith, and Grace. Feel free to look around and interact with our blog posts. Our greatest joy is connecting with our readers, but rest assured that your comments and stories will not be shared unless you give us permission to share them. Thanks! And God bless!
Awkward and incomplete though it may be, here is a link to the founder’s original testimony that used to be published here: