I’m a Greek Orthodox Christian who homeschools her five children, sings opera, and writes books on Faith, Tea, and Love. Texas Tea & Travel magazine called my novel Tea & Crumples an “uplifting story that will warm your heart and renew your faith.” I have a scriptorium in my home and grace stuck in my craw.

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You’ll recognize this photo from my Twitter account and Facebook page.

FAQ:

Why is this blog called Writing Like a Mother instead of just your name?

I’m a full time homeschooling mother of two four five young children, ages 2, 3(twins!), 6 and 8. Three of my littles have special needs. I try to write an hour (or ~1,000 words) a day in my “on” weeks, and I’m an operatic soprano who sings regular concerts at her church. We also volunteer a bit at church and like to see other humans sometimes.

Most of us think of writers as professional old guys in tweeds picking away at a typewriter for eight hours a day. Much as I love tweed and respect writers whose lives are shaped around that kind of schedule, there is NO WAY that would work for me at this stage in my family life. I like having a space online to not only think out loud, but also to keep it real.

What’s your writing pattern/pace?

I aim to write 2 hours/evening on deadlines, followed by a few weeks “off” to catch up on family needs. When my children’s special needs are acute, I write by hand in the spiral notebooks I get on clearance at Target. I can get a 40 page manuscript out of one Star Wars spiral, true fact. The benefit of writing by hand is that my children see me write, and I can make progress on manuscripts while sitting at the table modeling for them. What matters, if you’re wondering, is that you write anyway, for whatever space of time you have, and that you make it as truthful and loving as you possibly can.

What kind of Christian are you?

I’m a Greek Orthodox Christian who loves the Holy Theotokos and the saints. My faith background meanders a bit, but suffice it to say that I’m familiar with Catholicism, Pentecostal movements, Baptist theology, United Methodist theology and polity, and Episcopalianism. I love hearing faith stories. Not judging my neighbor is a pretty important part of my faith, which focuses on salvation as becoming like God. If you tell me you’re spiritual, not religious, I might ask you “which spirits?”

I’m a theology nerd, and I have two masters degrees from Duke University Divinity School (M.Div. 2003 and Th.M., early church history and theology, 2005)  and a B.A. in religion (Southwestern University, 1999). I was also a T.A. for four years at the Div School, where I practiced simplifying big theological ideas.

I subscribe to the Benedictine idea that all work is God’s work and look for the sacred in every person I meet and everything I do.

 

Tell me about your family.

Our family has two major traditions: taking tea together and reading aloud to one another. My husband, Andrew,  and I have read aloud to each other since we were broke newlyweds with a nonexistent budget, and I’m quite glad of it. I’m so looking forward to fluent reading by my children so they can do all the voices, too.

We are a writing household, even though we write in different media. My husband, a full time software engineer, is also an iconographer. He started learning the methods of the Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography in May 2012, and he has averaged writing two icons/three months since, in the evenings and weekends. We call my husband’s icon studio the Scriptorium. He’s teaching our older children and some children at church how to write icons as well. There’s always a jar of clay around here somewhere, waiting to be made into a golden halo. There’s a metaphor for you.

Three of our five wonderful children have special needs, which is why you’ll see resources for special needs on my blog from time to time.

Together, we read historical and Orthodox Christian nonfiction, plus a great deal of fiction. I love reading mysteries and good memoirs when I can find them.

Which books do you read aloud?

Some of our favorite read-alouds: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy,” all of the Earthsea books, the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the apocryphal book of Tobit, and C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces. We started out reading the Sherlock Holmes stories – all of them – to one another during those first, hungry months of marriage back in 1999. The next series on the docket for read-alouds between the parents is Laurie King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, Garden in the East: The Spiritual Life of the Body by Angela Doll Carlson, and Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, a rich and accessible book by Fr. Stephen Freeman. For the littles, favorite read-alouds include the Narnia books, Winnie the Pooh, and Harry Potter.

Since we often have everyone in one room, including sleeping babies, we like to tell bedtime stories as well. Our family tradition of Unicorn Stories inspired my nonfiction guidebook, How to Tell Bedtime Stories.

Whatcha writin’?

You can catch up on my published works on my Amazon page. I also write Jane Austen Fan Fiction under the pen name Jolene St. John.

Currently, I’m working on Enter His Gates: Theosis for Families With Special Needs, A Practical Theology of Disability with my fellow writer Charlotte Riggle. It’s a way of understanding and accommodating disability in the Orthodox Christian faith that is grounded in theology. We’re hoping to have a publisher soon, and I will Let You Know when we do.

 

Will you pay attention if I comment?

Yes! I’m Southern. This is my welcome mat. Set a spell, drink tea, let’s visit (electronically). I love to talk about writing and reading and theology and singing and children and gardening, so please jump right in with thoughts and questions. Make sure to link to your blog if you comment so I can go read your thoughts, too!

Where else do you post online?

You can also find me on Always Lent, a blog for Orthodox Christians with food restrictions. My Instagram and Twitter are @Somemyrrh. My Facebook page is linked on the sidebar —> or below.

I couldn't get all this writing in without the support of my wonderful husband!

I couldn’t get all this writing in without the support of my wonderful husband!

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