By the Downward Way

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on October 7, 2014

By the Downward Way by Dan LordI haven’t been blogging much lately (fall is always such a crazy busy time for our family) but I had to pop in quickly to share our latest bit of exciting news…

Dan’s book, By the Downward Way, has been released into the wilds of Amazon!

I absolutely love this book. Which is, honestly, kind of saying a lot (even taking into account that it was written by my husband) because I don’t usually gravitate toward the fantasy genre. It’s just not my thing. This novel captured my heart in a way that few books do, though. Have you ever read a book and fallen so in love with the characters that you were sad when it ended because you missed them already? That’s how this book made me feel. Combine that with the thrilling twists and turns that By the Downward Way offers and you have a novel that I think is absolutely extraordinary.

Here’s the description:

Leo Von Koppersmith is determined to face down the family curse that for centuries has driven his male ancestors to madness. To do it, he will have to travel to a hidden island inhabited by a strange and wonderful cast of human and humanoid characters, help protect a tribe of children who have mysteriously fallen out of the sky, and evade the monstrous beings that hunt them. Above all, he will have to be the one thing that has been missing from his family since the beginning long ago: a loyal father.

Here are the first two reviews:

“This book is like the best of Tolkien crossed with a great Dean Koontz thriller. Dan Lord’s incredible imagination and ability to convey intricate thoughts with just the right words will transport you. He has an unusual talent.”

“A generational curse, diabolical forces, and a man who has lost his way. Lord weaves an evocative tale reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra trilogy. An intense and absorbing journey filled with an array of fanciful characters, I found myself reading straight through to the final page.”

And here is the book trailer:

 

I also think it’s just perfect that his book was released in the autumn. It’s thrilling twists and heartwarming moments make it the perfect novel to curl up with on a cool day (or crisp night) with a soft blanket and your favorite hot beverage.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! You can find it at Amazon for Kindle or on paperback!

 

Take care, sweet peas!

Hallie

 

P.S. If you purchase and enjoy the book we’d be so grateful if you’d leave an Amazon review and/or share the link with your friends! Thank you so much!

 

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On hurting abominably, undercurrents of joy, and thriving (Audio)

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on September 25, 2014

On Monday morning I had the pleasure of sharing some of my thoughts on thriving with the women of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. I had the best time. Everyone was as kind and hospitable as can be and I got to spend the afternoon with sweet Cate! It was such a treat.

Because I’m super technical (haha) I somehow managed to record the talk on my iPhone. You’re welcome to listen below or you can right-click this link and choose “Save As” to download the MP3 file to your computer.

 

Take care, sweet peas!

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Meet Me in the Holy City?

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on September 17, 2014

Some of you know the story of how I fell head over heels in love the first time I drove into Charleston, SC. I love this city so much it’s hard to put into words. When Jen and I first started scouting for a location for the next Edel Gathering I secretly hoped we might be able to hold it here. We wanted to proceed cautiously, though, and make sure that we found just the right hotel in just the right city.

So we researched and researched and researched some more. We made phone calls, talked to those in the know in a variety of cities, visited hotels, took into account travel considerations, and reflected on your needs. In the end, I think we found the perfect spot and am thrilled to announce that Edel 2015 will be held on July 10-11 at the…

 

Francis Marion Edel

Yes! Charleston!!!

The Francis Marion is classic Charleston. It first opened in 1924 and has succeeded beautifully in retaining its charm and historical character over the years. It is located right on King Street and is across the street from Marion Square and the Charleston Farmer’s Market (which you will be able to enjoy Saturday morning, if you so please). It is also a short walk from Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and a quick (free!) trolley ride away from the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.

(Quick note: we’ve arranged to have a discounted rate for a limited number of rooms at the Francis Marion. Just use code ‘EDEL’ when making your reservations!)

Would you like a little tour? Oh, good…

 

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I took this picture of the front of the hotel from across the street in Marion’s Square. That’s how close it is!

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When you walk in you’ll pass the Swamp Fox restaurant on the right. The Francis Marion treated me to lunch so I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of the food. (There is also a lounge inside for those of you who crave a southern cocktail or two.)

 

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On the left is a Starbucks and an adorable general store. (Psst. They sell locally created ReWined candles. You must buy one while you’re in Charleston. I highly recommend the Mimosa.)

 

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If you head down the stairs you will come to Spa Adagio and the fitness room.

 

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If you head up the stairs you will come to the lobby. The lobby is one of the things that I love most about this hotel.

 

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There are several nooks outfitted with cozy tables and chairs. (Just look at that sweet little room perched up there!) It’s just perfect for meeting old friends and getting to know new ones.

 

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Everywhere you turn there are little extra touches of beauty like these flowers.

 

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This U.S. Mail letterbox sits between two elevator in the lobby. I need to believe that it is still in use.

 

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This is the Colonial Room where we will host our Friday night cocktail party.

 

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These stairs lead up from the Colonial Room to the Mother’s Room which will be available for you and your sweet little ones to use during all of our events.

 

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This is the Carolina Ballroom which will house all of our Saturday events. It’s just begging for some karaoke, don’t you think?

 

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This little table of goodness was sitting outside of the Carolina Ballroom where you will find all of our Edel 2015 vendors!

 

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The sweet gals at the Francis Marion let me sneak into one of their guest rooms. It reminded me of hotel rooms I stayed in when I was backpacking through Europe. While they’ve modernized the rooms, many of the details are original to the hotel.

 

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See? Adorable details. How pretty is this doorknob?

 

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I took this shot from the balcony outside of the Carolina Ballroom. That’s the Farmer’s Market I mentioned earlier.

 

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I couldn’t resist visiting.

 

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Yes, Beignets! And coffee! And every kind of breakfast food you can imagine.

 

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Plus, a collection of local artisans selling jewelry, candles, beauty products, paintings, pottery, textiles, and all sorts of other amazing things. I could spend hours visiting all the booths.

 

So, what do you say, girls? Are you ready to meet me in the Holy City in ten short months? I cannot wait. We are going to have a ball! Ticket sale information will be coming soon!

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A little of this and a little of that {plus a giveaway!}

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on September 16, 2014

I’m writing this as I scurry around helping my girls get ready for THE MOST EXCITING EVENT of all their little lives. Yes, this Saturday they are going to be flower girls in their beloved Hannah’s wedding. Milkmaid braids are going to be involved. And pretty dresses. And shiny new shoes. And cake. The enthusiasm, it is high.

Anyway, there’s a bunch of stuff I’ve been meaning to share with you so here’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that…

First up! A little birdie told me that there might just be an announcement about the location and date of Edel ’15 coming up later this week! Jen and I signed the contract with the hotel a couple of weeks ago and have been dying to tell you all about it ever since. I am terrible about keeping secrets so you should all be very, very proud of me.

Also, I’ll be speaking at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Houston, Texas next Tuesday! I’ll be speaking twice — once at 6:45 AM and then again at 10 AM. I’d love to see some of you if you’d like to come out! I’ll be speaking on what it means to thrive as a Catholic woman. I’m really looking forward to it. Everyone over there seems really sweet and I absolutely love public speaking. (That’s a little weird, isn’t it?)

If you’d like to attend, please let Mary Caprio know at mcaprio@stmichaelchurch.net or (713) 403-4122 so that they can get a head count for breakfast.

Speaking of speaking, I was invited to be a part of Lighthouse Media’s new Catholic Speakers Association recently! The website will be up and running this fall but in the meantime, if you’d like to have me speak at your event, you can contact Jesse Ray at jesse@catholicspeakers.com or (630) 517-3502 to inquire about my fees and availability. I’d love to come see you!

BTW, the annual Support a Catholic Speaker month is going on over at Project YM. If you’ve heard me speak in the past and liked what you heard I’d love it if you’d cast a vote! Things like this help so much when you’re trying to get your name out there (which I am). Thanks, peaches!

Younique

OK, so last but most definitely not least, sweet Autumn recently offered to send me a box of Younique Fiber Lashes. I am so in love with these things I cannot even tell you. My lashes are ridiculously short and I’ve never been able to find a mascara that has managed to add much in the way of length. Until now! Suddenly I have long lashes! I’m in heaven! If you see me, I might not be able to resist batting them at you. Consider yourself warned, girlies. ;)

(I tried to take some pictures but they failed to do the fiber lashes justice so I’ll just direct you to my friend Rachael’s before and after picture. Isn’t she gorgeous? Aren’t those lashes made of WOW? Wow.)

If you’d like to come and take up residence with me in Long Lash Heaven, just let Rafflecopter know! Autumn has sweetly offered to give one set of Younique fiber lashes and a lip gloss to one reader. Thank you, Autumn!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Best Fitness Tools in all the Land

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on August 10, 2014

Yesterday, after reading Jenny’s latest post about her wellness journey, I texted her to tell her about one of my favorite new weight loss tools (I’m on a new kick now that Edel is over)…and then I texted her again to share another tool I love…and then a few minutes later sent another text sailing through the air to her about….well, you get the idea. Anyway, in the middle of my furious texting I decided that I’d just write a post about the whole thing in case any of you are as obsessed with such things as I am. Here goes…

 

FitBit

FitBit
I realize that this is the millionth time I’ve raved about my FitBit but it’s just that great. It’s actually been collecting a bit of dust this summer because I got frustrated that all of our pool time was hurting my step count (I know, I know, I have issues). Once the temperature starts to drop, though, it will become my daily companion again, for sure.

 

FitBook

 

FitBook
I love that the Fit Book weight loss journal lasts just 12 weeks. There’s something so…doable about that. It’s also compact and spiral bound and all the things that a weight loss journal should be. It’s super motivating and has helped me lose five pounds in the last week alone. I’m pretty smitten.

 

Happy Scale App

 

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The Happy Scale app is super simple. It’s basically just a weight loss tracker. You can add in mini goals which is great but it doesn’t come with any other bells and whistles. What it does come with is an intimate understanding of my angst. Built into the graph is a little line that averages weight loss and shows you the overall trend. Gained a pound back one day? No worries! Happy Scale says you’re still trending in the right direction! Brilliant.

 

Kettlebell

 

KettleBell
I love my Kettlebell and I love my Kettlebell workout. Truth be told, my Kettlebell has been just about as neglected as my FitBit this summer but I pulled it out from under my bed this past weekend and am really excited to start using it again. It’s incredibly effective and great for those days when you don’t have a lot of time.

 

Contigo Water Bottle

 

Kangaroo Water Bottle
Oh, water bottle with built-in storage compartment, where have you been all my life?

So, there you have it! My very favorite weight loss tools! If you have any tools that you can’t live without, I’d love to hear about them!

 

Love you, sweet peas!

Hallie

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Edel 2014. The Talks!

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on August 7, 2014

For those of you who’ve asked whether we’re going to make the Edel ’14 talks available online, happy news! Jen just shared all of them over on her blog! We were also going to put them on the Edel website but it was giving us all sorts of trouble last night. Hopefully we’ll manage to get them up over there sometime soon, though, so that you can easily access them in the future.

I managed to catch snippets of all the talks but I was running around so much that I didn’t get to hear any of them in their entirety so I’m looking forward to listening to them all from start to finish. I know they will be just the boost I need as we head into a new school year. The pieces that I did manage to catch were absolutely beautiful.

Also, call us crazy but we hit the ground running as soon as we got home from Edel last month. (What can I say? Party planning is my charism). We’ll have all sorts of exciting details to share about Edel ’15 very soon! (BTW, if you’d like be among the first to receive updates about location, dates, etc., you can sign up for our Edel updates mailing list right over here!)

Oh, and one last thing, I pretty much shut down my speaking calendar completely for the first year of Charlie’s sweet life. I was so happy to discover that I felt ready to return to the world of speaking recently, though, because I do love it so. I’ll be speaking at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Houston, TX on September 23rd (at 6:45 AM and then again at 10 AM) and have some things in the works for the new year, as well. If your parish, group, or conference is looking for a speaker I’d love to be considered!

 

Take care, cutie pies!

Hallie

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It is good that you are here…

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on July 29, 2014

Before I left Austin I turned to Jen and said, “I am dreading writing my Edel recap post so much.” I just felt overwhelmed by the thought of it. How could I possibly convey what Edel meant to me in one post? Or even five?

I’ve now accepted that that will never happen so I’m just going to try to share a few highlights.

The most breathtaking thing that I experienced both at Edel and leading up to Edel was just how visible the Holy Spirit made himself to me. To feel him next to me as we planned this event was such a gift. For those of you who couldn’t join us this year, here are a few highlights that I shared at Edel…

 

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Partners in crime.

 

Jen and I were on the phone one morning, back when we were first trying to figure out what we wanted this gathering to look like. We paused, each of trying to put our vision into words. Almost immediately, I was hit with a crystal clear vision. I saw that scene from Beautiful Girls with Timothy Hutton in which he sits down at the piano in a bar and starts playing Sweet Caroline. All of his friends gather around him and start singing. I told Jen that this was what I wanted. This spirit of camaraderie, this kind of bonding.

Jen choked on her coffee and said, “I can’t believe that you just said that!” That is the exact scene that just popped into my head!” I had no idea she even knew the movie existed. We’d never discussed it. It was at that moment that we started to suspect that the Holy Spirit might just have a hand in this. Maybe.

 

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Sipping my coffee. Sloooooowly.

 

A few months later I flew to Austin to do a walk-through at the hotel where we were hosting Edel. Jen and I met with the event planner, toured the ballroom, and then headed down to the restaurant for lunch. Halfway through our lunch the maître d’ walked up to the table next to us, pulled out a chair, and down sat Timothy Hutton, star of Beautiful Girls (who is very kind, by the way, to strange women who interrupt his lunch meetings). He doesn’t even live in Austin! How insane is that? That’s some crazy Holy Spirit-level insanity if I ever saw it. And he wasn’t even done…

 

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Cari, Kelly, Heather, Jenny, and Brianna (and all the other ladies who helped us but aren’t pictured). You ladies rock and I think the world of each one of you. Thanks for being our support team!

 

The night before I flew back to Austin for Edel I took Benadryl and turned out the light at 9 PM. I had to be up at 4 AM to catch my flight and did not want to start the weekend sleep-deprived. I counted sheep, I prayed Hail Marys. I got more and more agitated until finally told God that fine, if he was refusing to let me sleep, let’s at least be productive. Was there anything he wanted me to tell the women of Edel during my opening address? Instantly seven words popped into my head and I got goosebumps. “It is good that you are here.” Over and over again I heard those words.

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My sweet Therese. She came all the way from Charleston with me to be there (along with Steph, Kimberly, Jill, Tanya, and Heide — our honorary Charleston girl). It meant so much to me that they were there.

 

“Seriously, God?” I thought. “You want me to tell these women that it is good that they are here? Don’t you think that’s going to sound a little weird? Of course I think it’s good that they are here. I was the one who was so nervous that no one would come that I made my kids pray that God would find their mom some friends to come to her Edel party!” But he was insistent. “It is good that you are here.”

 

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Beautiful Cate. I just love her. I knew I would, but she became even more special to me than I’d predicted.

 

I continued to doubt myself (and God, honestly) for the next two days. In fact, after the Friday night event I’d decided that I was going to cut that part of my talk. But then sweet Arwen texted me with a personal story and I knew that I had to put it back in. So, I said those words and added a few of my own thoughts acknowledging the sacrifices everyone had made to attend and then got off the stage. I walked to the back of the room thinking, “I knew I should have left that part out. That sounded so stupid.” But when I pulled up Twitter, I saw tweet after #edel14 tweet that echoed, “It is good that you are here!” It took my breath away. As it turns out, maybe God knew what he was doing.

 

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My new friend Natalie! Don’t you just love it when you meet someone and know within seconds that you’re going to become friends? That’s what happened when I met Natalie. She’s the bee’s knees.

 

Later that day I heard my phone ding. Beautiful Cari had sent me a text message with a picture of the Communion hymn that was being sung at St. Mary’s Vigil Mass. It was entitled ‘Tis Good, Lord, to be Here.

 

Edel communion hymn

He’s subtle, that God.

 

I think we all felt the Holy Spirit with us this past weekend. So many of us had come to Edel with emotional baggage, fears, and insecurity. I know I did. But, and this is the part that is hard for me to convey, all of that melted away once we arrived. Edel felt so safe. I felt so loved and supported. I felt, for that short time, like Mary had laid her mantle over me and was protecting me from spiritual attack and from everything that scared me. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as at peace as I did during those two days.

 

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Calah is every bit as vibrant and full of heart as you would imagine. I adore her.

 

Coming down from the Edel high has been an emotional (and sometimes painful) roller coaster. In some ways, though, it has been a gift because it has emphasized for me just how special this weekend was. It has shown me with even more clarity the ways in which God was with us, had given us this weekend as a gift, and had protected us from so many of the things that we struggle with on a daily basis.

 

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Jenny, baby Genevieve, and Christy. They killed it at Karaoke. I didn’t get nearly enough hugs from any of them.

 

To steal beautiful Lauren‘s words, “I think we all knew, whether we liked it or not, that the whole point was to go home.” We are home now strengthened, refreshed, confirmed in our vocation, more closely bonded, and even more in love with our families and it is good.

 

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Lovely, kind Rachael. I think this is at peak blood alcohol level. I have no other explanation for why I’m looking at the camera like I want to devour it.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a few shout-outs to some people who went above and beyond to help us. Thank you to Kathryn for designing our centerpieces. I am in awe of your gifts and your generosity. Thank you to Leticia for carrying endless boxes in the Texas heat with Jen. Ouch! Thank you to Kelly (karaoke queen) for managing our bio page. That was a huge commitment. We would have been lost without you. Thank you to Jenny. We knew we wanted her to be our emcee because her smile can light up a room and she is a smartie but we had no idea that every time she opened her mouth words of wisdom would pour out. You are amazing. Thank you to our speakers Haley and Marion. We’re all a little dehydrated thanks to how many times you each made us cry. Thank you to Jen’s mom, aunts, and uncle, Pam, Claudia, Lisa, and Kevin. They insisted on coming to Edel to help us out of the goodness of their hearts. They saved us, and saved us again, and kept saving us until Edel was over. Plus, they are just awesome people. I adore each one of them.

 

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See those beautiful smiling eyes? That’s Sarah in a nutshell.

 

To all of my Edel girlies, I love you so much. Thank you for bringing Edel to life. (I’m kicking myself for failing to take pictures with so many of you). And for those of you who couldn’t join us. We missed you and prayed for you — truly we did — and we fervently hope that some of you can join us next year.

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