Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

Choose Joy

December 22nd, 2016

shutterstock_221596618Choose Joy. 

It’s the motto that has been in my life for the better part of 2016. Ever since I came across this phrase, I loved it.

And I came to realize how difficult living it out really is. 

Ann Voskamp says about joy in her book, The Greatest Gift: “Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.”

Choosing joy begins with a change of perspective and the way that you look at things. 

This change of perspective, I found, is something that can be applied whether in school, at work, or a social event. Don’t you find that when your outlook on a situation changes, everything just goes so much better?

The source of this joy comes ultimately from Christ. When the angel visits the shepherds when Jesus is born, he tells them: “…behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10 ESV). When Christ comes down to earth as a baby, this is something that should cause all the people to rejoice! Immanuel, the long-awaited Messiah, has arrived, bringing deliverance for all of humankind.

Christ bears this gift of joy that everyone should be able to participate in. By knowing Christ, the joy should just well up inside of you.

James 1:2 ESV also says, “Count it ALL JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

Every situation, whether the good or the bad, it is important to thinking about choosing joy in all situations.

 

So this season, and all year long, will you join me in making the conscious effort to choose joy? 

Give Thanks

November 24th, 2016

give-thanksIt’s that day of the year when everyone is called to take time and give thanks for all that God has blessed them with. We remember all that we are thankful for and really thank God for all that He has given us.

Some may say, but shouldn’t we do that every day? And the answer is YES — but isn’t it nice to have a day set aside especially for that?

I’ve recently started a journal beginning on my 20th birthday. Even if it doesn’t happen everyday, journeling is another way to reflect on the day that you have been given and what you are thankful for.

I would encourage you — make a list of things you are thankful for. I choose 20 items because I am 20, but you can feel free to go on however many you would like! It is a great time of reflection, thinking over how much you have been blessed this past year!

It's that day of the year when everyone is called to take time and give thanks for all that God… Click To Tweet

And as your spending time today, whether with family or friends, listen to this song sung by Josh Groban.

 

I know one thing — I’m so thankful for readers like you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday Gift Guide for Teen & YA Girls

November 10th, 2016

The Christmas holiday is my absolute favorite time of year! Just ask my co-workers — I love listening to Christmas music, decorating, and basically everything that has to do with Christmas! But what I really love is celebrating the meaning of Christmas and giving gifts to those I love.

 

The Christmas holiday is my absolute favorite time of year! #givinggifts #HolidayGiftGuide Click To Tweet

 

Do you have a teen or young adult girl in your life? Here is a holiday gift guide if you’re looking for some fun gifts this year (okay, and some of my favorite items as well!!)!

1. A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck – because what girl doesn’t love reading about a modern-fairy tale?!

2. Vera Bradley: Turnlock Crossbody

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3. Inspire Bible NLT: The Bible for Creative Journaling – one of my favorite gifts has been this Inspire Bible. I love Bible Journaling! (Read my post on Bible Journaling).

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4. “Abide in My Love” Necklace – from Ellie and James  – I just got this necklace for my birthday and absolutely love it! Sure to make any girl feel special and loved 🙂

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5. Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens – my #1 favorite pens I use for literally everything!!

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Plus,  I’m giving away 1 copy of my paperback Christmas Novella, Changing Traditions!

To enter, leave a comment about your favorite gift to give or why you love giving gifts at Christmas time! A winner will be drawn next Friday 11/18 (US entries only).

*Some links may be affiliate links, but I only receive a small portion of the sale and your price it not affected. Thanks 🙂

Rachel Recommends – Tip #7

October 27th, 2016

rachel-recommends-7It’s time for Rachel Recommends: Tip #7 – “Edit like crazy – don’t be afraid to change your plot.” 

Everyone has a different opinion of what you should keep or change in your first draft. Your job is figuring out which opinions matter to you and your story. Some editors will tear your story apart, while others will think your story is great. It is important to go through as many edits and rewrites as you need in order to get different perspectives. Don’t just settle for the opinion of one editor, especially if they made a remark on the content of your story. The bottom line is this: editing is vital.

The bottom line is this: #editing is vital #RachelRecommends #10StepsToWritingAndPublishing Click To Tweet

But, how do you know what changes to keep and what to disregard?

  • Do the changes affect the plot (fiction) or main point (non-fiction)? If someone gives you a suggestion (whether an editor, beta reader, or friend), figure out how it furthers your plot and adds to the meaning of the story. What makes the plot better? If the suggestion is taking your book where you do not want it to go, than you can merely disregard it.
  • Are the changes spelling or grammar corrections? If so, accept them all! Everyone catches something different, so the more people reading your draft, likely means fewer mistakes.
  • Are the changes about your character? Readers will have opinions about your characters. Ask yourself why the reader does or doesn’t like a certain character. If it aligns with how you intended your character to come across, then you should keep the character the way they are. If you can change your character to make him/her more likeable or unlikeable to the reader, then you should adjust accordingly.
#Editing is a step that can be repeated over and over and over again. #RachelRecommends… Click To Tweet

Editing is a step that can be repeated over and over and over again. Feel free to repeat this process as much as you want until you achieve the desired result.

 

from A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing

 

Is editing a struggle to you? What do you do to make the job more enjoyable? 

A Day in Pittsburgh

October 13th, 2016

a-day-in-pittsburgWe are now reaching the fall break point in the school year! By now kids start to feel rambunctious and moms are already thinking of fun field trips they can take with their kids.

 

Field trips have always been my favorite part of the school year and discovering new places to visit is especially fun! I’m here to help you find your “Adventure in Pennsylvania” and provide affordable options that will give your kids a chance to learn outside the classroom and also give them a chance to use up some of their energy.

 

Find your #AdventureinPennsylvania and make learning fun! #ADayinPittsburgh Click To Tweet

 

Who knew that there were so many amazing spots to visit right here in Pennsylvania! This past summer, my family and I visited Pittsburgh.

 

Built between 1759 and 1761, this historic fort was occupied by the British military during the French and Indian war and during the American Revolution until 1772.

 

To start out your adventure in Pittsburgh, take a walk down to the 3-point river. Here you will encounter the meeting of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers. Fun fact – the Allegheny River flows north into New York from northern Pennsylvania and then south into Pittsburgh, where it then meets the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River. Pretty cool!

 

To start out your adventure in Pittsburgh, take a walk down to the 3-point river.… Click To Tweet

 

Following that, you will see the Fort Pitt Block House. The block house is the oldest authentic structure in Western PA. It was built in 1764 as a British fortification in the French-Indian War. Inside the building you will be able to see what the soldiers may have experienced as they fought during the war. You and your students can look through little holes, dubbed as “gun loopholes” where the soldiers would have to look through when faced with enemy invasion. Another fun fact about the blockhouse is that civilian families also lived there at different times in history. Standing in that one room and even looking up at the second floor, gives you a feeling at the differences of living in that part of history than what we are accustomed to today.

 

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The block house was also used as a multiple family occupancy after the war. Imagine living in the building that was located in a fort. Throughout the house you will see “points of interest” where you and your children will read a diagram that outlines changes that have been made in the house over time.

 

After visiting the house, you have the option of going through the Fort Pitt Museum. While the block house is free, the museum does have a cost for admittance. I believe you can experience just as much without going through the museum. However, if you have older children and are looking for more information for an essay, walking through the museum may be beneficial.

 

wp_20160627_14_21_02_proAs time allows, another fun aspect of Pittsburgh is just walking around. You are able to walk across the rivers on two bridges. (Caution: only go if you don’t mind heights!) These two bridges are known as the Fort Duquesne Bridge, which crosses the Allegheny River, and the Fort Pitt Bridge, which crosses over the Monongahela River.

 

Walking through downtown Pittsburgh, you can also visit PNC Park, home stadium to the Pirates, which is especially cool if you are a sports fan like my younger brother.

 

Pittsburgh is incredible – whether you are a city person or not so much. One final note to remember: leave before the work traffic gets too terrible!

 

Previous published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2016, Rachel Rittenhouse 

Rachel Recommends: Tip #6

September 22nd, 2016

Rachel Recommends #6It’s time for Rachel Recommends: Tip #6 – “Be concise when you revise.” 

Completing the first draft – what a sense of accomplishment. Writing a book is challenging and time-consuming, and to say that you actually finished your draft – well, that is a great start.

But you’re not quite finished with this draft yet. In fact, you are far from it.

You succeeded in getting your thoughts and ideas into written words on the page. Now it is time to rework and finesse them into something beautiful. A masterpiece.

Re-writing can sometimes be a step that is overlooked or avoided because it seems “too difficult.” Let me assure you that this step is vital in making your book truly wonderful.

I have found that revision, though it may seem exhausting, ends up improving the final product even more than what I could have imagined. Revision is something to be proud of and the time you spend revising is always well spent.

Revising your story can be an adventure. You can move scenes from one chapter to another. You can modify a certain character to better serve the situation. You can reword phrases to make them more precise. You can change sentences and eliminate words that aren’t developing the book.

Revising your story can be an adventure. #amwriting Click To Tweet

Anything is possible in rewrites. After all, this is your creation – YOUR STORY

 

from A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing

 

Do you enjoy revising your book? Why or why not? 

Bible Journaling

September 8th, 2016

Bible Journaling (1)One thing I got into this year is adult coloring. Being artsy isn’t necessarily my strong suit — words suit me more. It is creativity at its finest — and you don’t have to be great at drawing to love it! I found that coloring is a great stress-relieving method.

 

Wellness Mama talks about some of the different health benefits that come with adult coloring — I mean, if you even need a reason to exercise your creative juices. =)

 

And that’s when I discovered BIBLE JOURNALING.

#BibleJournaling allows me to be creative while meditating on God's Word. Click To Tweet

I use the Inspire Bible, NLT version. There is space for me to journal in the margins, and then some of the margins have Scripture art.

Maybe some of you are thinking — “Okay, coloring sounds like fun, but I have no time to color with my school/work schedule!” I am totally with you! That’s why I love having my coloring in my BIBLE! 

No time to color? That's why I love having my coloring in my BIBLE! #BibleJournaling Click To Tweet

September Scripture Writing Plan 16 English

 

Starting back in January or so, I began using a Scripture reading plan through Sweet Blessings blog. I will then follow this simple plan and read the verse for the day, whether morning or evening works better for you.

If I find that one of those verses has a corresponding Scripture art in my Bible, I’ll spend 15-20 minutes that evening doing a bit of coloring and meditating on that verse.

 

Here are some of my favorite verses I’ve done so far:

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Remember #BibleJournaling is your time between you and God. You dont have to be artsy! Click To Tweet

 

Back-To-School Tips

August 25th, 2016

Back-To-School TipsAt the beginning of the summer, I posted my summertime to-do list. I don’t know if this is your experience of not, but summer always flies by and before I know it, it is time for school to start up again!

Some of the highlights from my summer included

  • Beach trips! ~ There is something marvelous about sitting on the beach or wading in the ocean, feeling the salty air in your hair. It’s one of my favorite experiences ever!
  • Camping ~ Does it seem to you that whenever you want to go camping, it’s either rainy or cold? Day 1 of my camping experience resulted in rain, but it managed to clear up by day 2, making it a beautiful weekend for exploring God’s creation.
  • Vacations ~ I love going to different places whether it is to visit friends, field trip, or just relaxing! This summer, my family went out to Indiana for a family reunion and we also made a pit-stop is Pittsburgh! 🙂

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But at the end of summer comes school and how is one to drastically shift paces and adjust to a different life-style?

Here’s some tips to help you get back into the school swing:

  1. Develop a Schedule – Know when you have to do school and when it’s time to have “fun.” You should always plan a little fun during the school year to keep your mind focused. Because you have a schedule, you know when it’s “school-time” and “down-time.
  2. Stay Rested – As tempting as it may be to stay up late and wake up early every night/day, it is important to get enough sleep so that your mind stays alert. If you run on not enough sleep, it may be hard to do the best that you can do when doing homework.
  3. Spend Time with your Family – Even though you are busy with school and hanging out with friends, spending time with your family is so important! They are your biggest supporters and will always be there to encourage you, so it’s important to show them that you care about them too. Help your mom with the dishes one night before going out for ice cream with your friends! The joy that comes with it is so worth it!

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Do you have any back-to-school tips? Share in the comments!

Rachel Recommends: Tip #5

August 11th, 2016

Rachel Recommends #5

 

 

It’s time for Rachel Recommends – Tip #5: “Attend writing conferences to learn and grow as a writer.”

This tip seems fitting especially after I just came back from a writer’s conference! I love the days after a conference when my mind is just bursting with new ideas!

At this conference in particular, I had the advantage of being on faculty and also attending the different sessions!

 

 

 

3 Reasons Why I Love Conferences: 

1. Learning – One of my favorites classes was attending Rachel Hauck‘s continuing session on “The Story Equation.” Seriously though, if you haven’t read any of her books, I would highly recommend it!

I love coming home and reviewing all the notes that I may have taken throughout the conference. Whether on marketing, writing, editing, or publishing, I found something to apply to ever area of my writing career.

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Me with Rachel Hauck

2. Motivation//Encouragement – Being a writer, it is always possible (and highly probable) that you may fall into periods of self-doubt. You may think that no one understands your writing quirks.

Here at a conference, everyone is in the same boat as you — they love to write or they feel called to write. I always leave a conference feeling motivated more than ever to work on my next book!

Speaking at TeensWrite

Speaking at TeensWrite

3. New Friends – And as always, you always have the possibility of leaving the conference with more like-minded friends than what you would’ve started with!

I met up with one of my friends that I made at a previous conference. We were surprised to see each other there and we decided to email periodically to check up and encourage each other on our writing journeys.

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Me and Abigail

And as nerve-wracking rooming with someone you don’t know, my roomie became such a good friend after that past weekend! The wonderful Angela Schans is an inspiring lady and it was wonderful to share like-minded stories and tips about CreateSpace.

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Me and Angela

 

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? 

If you love to write, I would encourage you to check out the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference next year!!

Rachel Recommends: Tip #4

July 21st, 2016

Rachel Recommends #4It’s time for Rachel Recommends – Tip #4: “Turn off your internal editor while writing your first draft.”

This is a tip that even I need to keep reminding myself, especially now while I am currently in the process of writing my sixth book!

Your first draft is just what it sounds like — a first draft. Your job is to get your thoughts on paper. All you need to do is write the story.

Even though it may be tempting for some of us, don’t edit as you write your first draft. Get everything down and THEN go back to edit. Stay in the writing “zone” to maximize your productivity. If you need to, highlight a mistake, but fix it later.

 

from A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing

 

 

Do you prefer to write without editing or is your natural tendency to edit as you go? 

Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old