The Rest of Your Story

The Rest of Your Story 14: What would you edit?

The Rest of Your Story 14: What would you edit?

Red pen photo by erin MC hammer (flickr)

To start from part one, click here.

As women, it seems we're standing ready with our red pens. Rather than loving words, we want to cross through parts of who we are and rewrite until we're someone else.

But God seems to like who He made us in the first place. He just wants us to be that woman for Him.

Stephen Covey once said, "When you pick up a stick, you get both ends." In our stories, a "stick" might look like…

Trait Stick


Sensitivity in itself is a neutral personality trait. On our own it can lead us toward worry (negative). With Jesus it can lead us toward compassion (positive).

The goal isn't eliminating parts of who we are but rather letting God gently move us closer to the positive in our stories. 

For example, the Apostle Paul was belligerent, overzealous, and an oppressive leader. After Jesus appeared to him, Paul was determined, enthusiastic, and an encouraging leader. Same characteristics…different ends of the stick. (Acts 9)

It's as if God said, "Okay, Paul, I purposely created you in certain ways. You're going to use those for me now, and that changes everything."

As a counseling intern, I saw women become frustrated, depressed, and stuck as they tried to "edit out" parts of who God made them. I've often done the same. Let's not waste our energy or emotions. There's too much good ahead!  

God wants our red pens so He can redeem all of who we are and bring joy in The End.  


TODAY'S QUESTION: What's one little thing that helps you give God the red pen and make peace with who you are? 

To Post Your Comment, Click Here

Every comment during the 21-day challenge = an entry for $50 to!

Are you a blogger? Every Friday we'll have a "Rest of Your Story" round-up! Just answer any of the questions for the week as a post on your blog, include a link to this series, then add your blog to the list on Friday. We'll get to visit you and you'll get another entry in the giveaway! 

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The Rest of Your Story 13: Who shares your life?

The Rest of Your Story 13: Who shares your life?

Red Flower photo by limaoscarjuliet (flickr)

To start from part one, click here.

We never write alone. 

So let's take some time to consider who shares our lives and stories. 

Before we do so, I'd like to bust the myth among women that goes something like this…"Everyone else has lots of friends but me." 

According to an article by the Washington Post, 50% of Americans do not have even one friend they can confide in.

Including family, the average number of close relationships is still only two. While concerning, that's a whole different post.

What I want to highlight here is you are doing okay in your relationships.

Facebook, twitter, and all the other social media sites out there can make it seem as if the whole world is one big party and we're not invited. The enemy can use that to lie to us and make us feel alone. But it's not true.

That being said, let's take a closer look at the relationships in your life. I've created a little diagram to help us out…

Who Shares Your Story 2 
Heart Relationships – This is your inner circle, those with whom you can truly share who you are, the ups and downs. These are main characters in your story.

Personal Relationships – These people share your life in your neighborhood, church, work, etc.. You care about each other. They influence your story.

Functional Relationships – These connections are casual and interactions have a practical purpose. They appear in your story but don't have major impact.


When we look at the life of Jesus, we see this reflected. He had three disciples who were closest to Him then the twelve, the forty, and the multitudes.

Connections to others impact our legacies now and our stories forever. As DaySpring cofounder Dean Kerns recently said, "All we take with us into eternity are our relationships with God and each other." 


If you're in a chapter (and we all have them) when you don't have the relationships you'd like, can I invite you to find those here? This community is a safe place and we really do care about you and your story.


TODAY'S QUESTION: Who shares your life right now? Especially, who is a "heart relationship" for you?

To Post Your Comment, Click Here (then scroll down)

Every comment during the 21-day challenge = an entry for $50 to, including the (in)courage shop!

Are you a blogger? Every Friday we'll have a "Rest of Your Story" round-up! Just answer any of the questions for the week as a post on your blog, include a link to this series, then add your blog to the list on Friday. We'll get to visit you and you'll get another entry in the giveaway!

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The Rest of Your Story 12: What’s your approach?

The Rest of Your Story 12: What’s your approach?

Red door photo by Katie@! (flickr) To start from part one, click here.


Thank you so much for all of you who are joining in the 21-day challenge to wrap up this series. As of Monday night almost 300 of you left a comment! You can still sign up and enter the giveaway! 

My type A, get-it-done, let's-go personality wanted to dive in to the rest of my story right away. But as I sat in church recently I felt God tugging on my heart.

It turned out I needed to get something settled with Him first.

You see, I felt like I was letting God down.

Anyone else ever feel like this?

"Lord," I whispered, "I just want to hear you say 'Well done, good and faithful servant…"

And I started to fill in the rest with, "…so I need to change my storyI need to do MORE, be MORE, grow MORE."

But then a Voice my heart knows seemed to ask a question.

What does a good and faithful servant do?

I paused, considering…

Listens and obeys.

And just like that, the answer cameboth to the question and the striving in my story.

You see, we are not the Author…we are much-loved servants. We listen to the voice of our Master and live out what we hear. Because of Jesus, we don't have to do, be, strive MORE.

We're already accepted. We're already loved. We're already enough.

When we explore our story from that place, it becomes not a burden but an ADVENTUREa glorious unfolding of all God has in store.

I've heard novelists declare they don't know how a story will end until they write it. They say this with a smile and it's clearly the part of the process that most delights them.

I hope we can be that way too…not forcing our story, lining up plans, demanding our plot. But instead receiving, rejoicing, reveling in the truth that the Author LOVES us.

In light of that happy-heart news, I'll say it again…



TODAY'S QUESTION: Here's a light-hearted look at different ways we approach our stories…

The Princess – She wants her story to be perfect and strives to make it so. She's got a pen and she's not afraid to use it!

The Procrastinator – She's waiting for "happily ever after" to come. You can often hear her saying, "When X happens then I'll…."

The Planner – She prefers lists to stilly stories. If it can't be planned and checked off, why bother including it in the plot?

I'll confess…I've played all of those roles in the story of my life. The one I most often tend to be is The Princess. What about you? How can we approach our stories differently the next three weeks?

To post your comment, click here.

Every comment during the 21-day challenge = an entry for $50 to!



p.s. My bloggy friend Bonnie from Faith Barista is interviewing me on her site today. Stop by!


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The Rest of Your Story 11: An exciting new challenge!

The Rest of Your Story 11: An exciting new challenge!

Red book photo by Horia Varlan (flickr) To start from part one, click here.

Thank you so much to all of you who answered the question in part 10, "How are you really?"

Since that post, I've done a lot of thinking and praying about this series. And this is what's on my heart…

I'm going to kick it up a notch and finish The Rest of Your Story series with a 21-day challenge. Here's how it will work.

I'll post every day and each post will include the next step for your story and a little question to answer at the end. It will take ten minutes or less to read the post and answer the question.

At the end of the 21 days we'll have a rough draft of the rest of our stories including goals, steps to take, and even a life story statement (sort of like a mission statement but cooler).

We've been talking about the rest of our stories…now we'll really get down to how we can live them out with Jesus.

In return, here's what I'm asking from you. I'd simply like for you to read every day and answer the question at the bottom of the post (hopefully, you'll do so in the comments but you can also do that your own way).

We will officially start on Tuesday, January 26th so that gives you a little time to think, pray, and share this with your friends if you'd like. (If you're joining in after the 26th, just keep reading the series by clicking the links above that say 12, 13, etc. to find out more and catch up!)

And if you're not a subscriber yet, this would be a great time to become one so you can get all the posts e-mailed to you for free! Subscribe by Email

Is your heart pounding just a bit? Do you kind've want to hit "delete" right now?

Um, yeah, me too.

I think that means this could be courageous and important.

It really could change the rest of our stories…and that's exciting!

Who's ready?



Wellspring Journal by DaySpring To kick things off, I'm giving away three journals so you'll have a brand new place to write the rest of your story!

The winners can pick any journal they'd like from the entire DaySpring collection.

Just leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday sharing one thing you hope to get out of The Rest of Your Story series.

*This giveaway is done. If you're just joining us, keep reading the series to find out more and enter to win $50 to!____________________________________________________________________________________

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To post your comment, click here

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The Rest of Your Story 10: How are you really?

The Rest of Your Story 10: How are you really?

Heart in Hands by Sean McGrath (flickr)

To start from part one, click here.

I'm sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes this afternoon. The reason? Someone asked me a question…

How are you really?

I answered, and cried in the hall, and totally surprised myself because I thought I was just fine. 

(And all my real life friends and family who read this, please don't fuss at me for not telling you I wasn't fine because I didn't know and now I'm better and we'll talk about it in person next time I see you, okay?)

Those tears were about a lot of things. For one, this "Rest of Your Story" series is getting to me, girls. I started it because I thought it would be fun and it turns out it's pretty tough too.

It makes me think about things I don't really want to right now and feel things I haven't felt in awhile.

A part of me wants to just avoid it all but I've put it out there for the whole world to see. Nothing like a little internet accountability! (:

Seriously, I need this series right now. I need to write this with you. I need to hold God's hand and take some steps with Him.

I don't know where we're going, really. Oh, I have some posts in mind but this journey has turned out to be different than what I expected.

But it's good. And I'm so glad to have you on it with me. God will get us where we need to go together.

Big sigh of relief. Smile returning to my face now.

So, today I want all of us to just take a deep breath and pause for a moment. Then I'd like to hear from you…

How are you really?


p.s. I'll be on Kitchen Chat with Margaret McSweeney Friday morning from 11-12 CST. We'd love for you to join us! You can listen online (and get my famous Éclair Cake recipe) by going to!



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The Rest of Your Story 9: Deeper into your dreams…

The Rest of Your Story 9: Deeper into your dreams…

Under the red tree photo by lepiaf.geo (flickr) To start from part one, click here.

Thank you so much to all of you who shared what a scene from the "happily ever after" version of your life story movie would be like. I'm still wiping away tears!

As we think about our scenes again, let's do a freeze frame and focus in even more closely.

I realized as I read your beautiful comments that those scenes give a pretty clear picture of what you value.

For example, I wrote about finally getting to meet all of you in person because connection is important to me.

When I'm connected, I feel content and as if I'm fulfilling my purpose.

When I'm disconnected, I feel down and directionless.

So think about your scene again and ask, "What does this tell me about what I value?"

(Just to clarify, by "value" I mean what's important to you and not "values" as in "morals.")

You may be wondering why this matters when it comes to your story.

Well, as we all learned in school stories are driven along by conflicts. Conflicts happen when a goal is blocked. And a goal is always based on a value. 

In other words, you will be most motivated and fulfilled when your values are being met. You will be most discouraged and upset when your values are being violated.

(Want a quick way to tell what you value most? Think about what makes you mad. The opposite is a core value for you. For example, when people are inconsiderate it really bothers me because I highly value kindness. If disorganization bothers you then you value order, etc.)

We tend to think that everyone values what we do…but that's not the case. Our values are a reflection of our hearts and God has made us unique in what we respond to most.

The rest of your story MUST be based on your values. If it's not, you can have what seems like the "happiest ever after" and it won't actually be that way for you because whatever the ending is just doesn't matter to you. Or even worse, it will drive you crazy.

For example, if you value peace and simplicity but someone gives you the "happily ever after" of living a glamorous, exciting life in the city then you'll be miserable.

Our values are placed within us by God to provide the motivation for our stories. They propel us along toward the plot and ending He has in mind. 

Delight yourself in the Lord

and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

So, let's share with each other…what do you value?


Life Collection Pitcher And speaking of "happily ever after" it's time for a giveaway! Our randomly chosen winners are Shawna Teal who left a comment on Part 8 and Tammy who left a comment on Part 6. They'll both get to choose anything they'd like from the Life Collection by DaySpring! And you can all get 20% off with my friends and family code, holley20. More random giveaways coming soon!

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The Rest of Your Story 8: And now the fun begins…

The Rest of Your Story 8: And now the fun begins…

Rosehill Theatre photo by alancleaver (flickr) 

To start from part one, click here.

So we've looked at our pasts, studied our stories, and had a showdown with our expectations.

Now we get to have some FUN.

Who's ready?

I know I am!

Let's play a little game. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you're at the movies. Your life story is being featured on the big screen. And it's not the one with all the messes and mistakes in it. No ma'am, this is the "happily ever after" version.

You sit in the seat, grab a fistful of popcorn, lean back and watch the first scene begin…

Where are you?

Who is with you?

What are you doing?

I'd love for you to leave a comment by midnight on Tuesday and share some of what you see in your heart. And I guarantee a giveaway for this post!

(I realize that our lives are not movies and God is the ultimate Author of our stories. I also believe that He invites us to explore with Him what could be…to bring the desires of our hearts out into the light. Yes, we may need to adjust those to align with His plans but discovering and understanding what they are is an important part of writing the rest of our stories.)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true there is life and joy. Proverbs 13:12 NLT

I'll post my little "life movie scene" in the comments along with all of you so we can do this together…

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The Rest of Your Story 7: It’s a Showdown of the Soul, Y’all

The Rest of Your Story 7: It’s a Showdown of the Soul, Y’all

Boots by A Whisper of Unremitting Demand 

To start from part one, click here.

Being raised in Texas means I've learned a thing or two about cowboy stories. And one thing I know is that at high noon there's always a showdown. The outlaw and the sheriff draw their guns and only one is left standing.

I had my own high noon duel today. There weren't any actual weapons, fortunately. (Otherwise I would have traded my one phone call for one blog post and asked all of you to bail me out.)

It happened over lunch today with a good friend. We talked about our stories and how we're at a place where we're both feeling a bit, well, just downright discouraged.

Do you ever have words pop out of your mouth and wonder where in the world they came from?

That's what happened next.

I said, "You know, I've been disappointed because they way things have worked out didn't match my expectations. But I never really asked God if they matched up to His plans."

And then I could almost hear the clink of spurs and the dust swirling under the table. Time for a showdown.

You see, I've been at this place before.

I'm an idealist who has pretty high expectations about, oh, everything.

(Now, there are reasonable and good expectations. For example, that your spouse will be faithful. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about that kind.)

When my expectations don't get met I just assume that things have gone terribly wrong and God has been surprised for the first time in all of eternity. Yes, ma'am.

Eventually, I come to my senses and realize that's nonsense.

And at that point, either my expectations or God's plans have got to go.

It's the high noon of the heart.

Thankfully, God's really good at shooting big, fat holes through my expectations. At the time, I don't like it one bit. But it usually turns out those expectations were the bad guy all along. And when I look back, I can see my story turned out a whole lot better than if the duel had ended differently.

(Note: For those of you who are grieving because you have been hurt or wronged in a way that never should have happened and God never wanted for you, that's an entirely different post and story. And I'm so sorry.)

Could it be time for a showdown between your expectations and God's plans?

Like I did in the Joy Challenge, I'll have random giveaways for people who comment or subscribe during this series. (Subscribers, to leave a comment click here or on Heart to Heart with Holley at the top of the e-mail. Then scroll down and click on "comments" at the bottom of the actual post.)

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The Rest of Your Story 6: Where are you now?

The Rest of Your Story 6: Where are you now?

You are Here photo by St_A_Sh (flickr) 
To start from part one, click here.

For the last few days, we've been doing a little looking back and also making sure our stories are written with truth.

Today I'd like to ask one question (you can answer by leaving a comment)…

Where are you now?

If you picked up the book of your life and flipped it open to today's page, what would it say?

Part of where I am sounds like this…

I'm at a crossroads in my story. After completing a masters degree in counseling, publishing a book, and launching (in)courage, it feels in some ways like I've finished several chapters but I don't know what's coming.

My husband and I are still on our journey of infertility. While I'm at peace with it most of the time, it's another big question mark in my life. As someone who likes to fill in the blanks, I struggle with not having answers.

I'm trying to find the balance between "being still and knowing He is God" and "asking, seeking, knocking" so I can turn the page and find out what happens next. It's exciting and frustrating all at the same time.

Before we can move forward, we need to know where we are now.

Today is always the starting place for the rest of your story.


Like I did in the Joy Challenge, I'll have random giveaways for people who comment or subscribe during this series. (Subscribers, to leave a comment click here or on Heart to Heart with Holley at the top of the e-mail. Then scroll down and click on "comments" at the bottom of the actual post.)

Subscribe by Email

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The Rest of Your Story 5: What’s Real

The Rest of Your Story 5: What’s Real

Flower and Shadow photo by Randy Son of Robert (flickr) 
To start from part one, click here.

As we talked about in the last post, there's more than one version of our stories.

That means it's up to us to choose the truth…even when our feelings aren't there.

And, friends, let me tell you I know that's not easy. I'm a touchy-feely, little -bit-moody, live from your heart kind of girl. Letting my feelings not get the best of me is a daily thing (as is resisting to the urge to eat large amounts of chocolate due to those feelings). Yes, ma'am.

Have you ever read a book that says, "Based on a true story"? When I see that, all of a sudden those words have more power to me because they're real.

Now, not everything in that book is going to be exacly the truth. And because we're imperfect human beings, not everything in our lives is either.

But we can write with God and try to get as close to His version as possible.

To help me remember the real story, I put together a little list called "God's Heart for You." For example…

God created me
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. GENESIS 1:31 NIV

God knows my heart
The Lord looks at the heart. I SAMUEL 16:7

God delights in me
For the Lord takes delight in His people. PSALM 149:4

God cares about me
He cares for those who trust in Him. NAHUM 1:7

The list has about forty more statements like these and you can download it for free below…

Download God's Heart for You

Stick it on the refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, in front of the chocolate or whatever works best for you. And you're welcome to share it with others too!


God's Heart for You Necklace by DaySpring I promised there would be random giveaways during this series, and it's time for the first one! I used the random number generator to pick a comment from part two and Kathy Jo is the winner!

She'll get this God's Heart for You necklace that I helped create for DaySpring as another reminder of what's true.

With God All Things Are Possible Bangle Bracelet from DaySpring Also, it's time to announce the winner of the With God All Things Are Possible sterling silver bracelet from part one. The random number generator chose Brenda as the winner for that day!

Thanks so much to all of you who left comments and subscribed!

To show my thanks, you can use my friends and family code (holley 20) for anything on and get an extra 20% off! 


How do you remember what's real?

There are two sides to every story…let's stick with the one that's true.


Are you joining us from the DaySpring devotional e-mail? I'm so glad you stopped by! For a great giveaway and a fun new challenge, go to The Rest of Your Story: Part 11!

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