Shoe Suede Blues + Giveaway Winners!

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It’s time for an Autumn outfit post! If you think I mixed up the title of this post, I did, but don’t worry, it was intentional! **salute to Peter Tork**

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I really love this daylily sweater! It’s warm, cozy, and comfortable; all the things a sweater should be, and considering it was only $3 at a church sale, I think it’s perfect!

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There’s something about walking alongside a lake in the autumn time. Somewhat akin to spring, it feels serene and peaceful, though it’s not quite the same. In springtime, everything feels alive as nature finally awakens after the callous months of winter.

During autumn, the peacefulness seems to emerge from the silent and temporary death of nature. To everything there is an end. Autumn seems to signify nature’s farewell tidings, until it can return again. In the meantime, we can enjoy a walk around the lake, a bike ride down a leaf covered trail, or a car adventure getting lost in the countryside. In October, we get to enjoy all those magical moods of autumn, particularly when surrounded by nature! So sometime this weekend, be sure to go outside and enjoy the enchanting environment that God has provided!

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sweater // thrifted

jeans // old navy

shoes // primark

backpack // thrifted

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Now, to announce the giveaway winners!

The 1st name to be pulled out of the hat will get a homemade candle, “Crisp Forest Leaves.”

The 2nd will be sent “Autumn Apple Pie.”

Both winners will receive a specially-crafted piece of jewelry with the candle! Are you ready to draw the first winner?

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The first winner is. . . . . . . . . .

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Congratulations Angela Watts, author of The Peculiar Messenger! Go check out her blog! The second winner is. . . . . . . . . . .

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It’s Hadassah, over at Photography Phun! Head on over to her blog and take a look!

Congratulations to both winners! If you could just email me a P.O. box or address, I will get the packages sent to you as quickly as I can! (simplymeganjoyblogcontact@juno.com)

I’d like to say thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! I have a feeling there will be more along the road . . .

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P.S. Here are two more giveaways you can enter, hosted by some fellow bloggers!

A Farm Girl’s Life

Clara and Co.

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Megan Joy

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Quote of the Week // 42nd Week

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Often times I plan to accomplish too many things in one day. I declare to myself that I will sew an entire historical dress in one day or finish writing a book. I tend to overestimate what can be accomplished in a day, therefore when the day is done, it becomes dissatisfying because I didn’t complete everything I set out to do.

It’s hard to know which goals to set every day when you have a million of them racing around in your head, each one fighting to win your attention at the finish line. When you have a huge amount of goals, which ones should you tackle today and what should you set aside for another day? How do you know how much is possible to achieve in one day? Are you setting yourself up to fail if you try to complete everything? These are tricky questions!

 To try to answer them, let’s get rid of the one-day deadline mindset. Instead, let’s broaden our time limit to a week or a month. Then, create a physical list of all your goals and impending accomplishments. We can divide them between the days in a week or in a month (depending on how many goals you want to set) and then begin with just a few goals on day one! Then you have a clear idea of how much you can get done, what should be done first, and what can wait for another day.

When your goals and your schedule don’t seem to work together, you can’t just stop life with a little button so you have time to achieve your goals (but that would be really awesome if you could!). However, this doesn’t mean that you must then cut down on the goals either. Distributing your goals evenly throughout the duration of a week or a month will create an easier way to keep track of your goals. It may take some special planning, but you don’t always have to sacrifice your goals just because your day is filled with too many things. So instead of perpetually focusing on all the goals you want to achieve, you can divide them, and focus on what you can do today. Doing this makes it seem possible to get everything done, because it is possible!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven: KJV

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Do you find yourself overestimating what you can achieve in a day?

Are you often overwhelmed by the many goals you wish to accomplish?

Do you have any other suggestions to help achieve goals and tasks?

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P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you haven’t already! The giveaway closes on Wednesday at midnight!

Megan Joy

First Year of Blogging + Giveaway!

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Guess what? This week Simply Megan Joy is celebrating its 1st year of existence anniversary! To celebrate, I’m hosting a little giveaway. Two separate winners will each receive a special Autumn-scented homemade candle!

The 1st name to be pulled out of the hat will get “Crisp Forest Leaves.”

The 2nd will be sent “Autumn Apple Pie.”

Inside each candle will be a specially designed hand-made piece of jewelry that can be retrieved once a few layers of the wax melts! All jewelry are original pieces created by an aspiring blacksmith who is in the process of starting his own business in that field. He also happens to be my brother!

To get one entry put in the hat you must:

  1. Be a follower/subscriber of Simply Megan Joy

  2. Comment on this post (just to let me know to enter your name into the hat)

(To get one extra entry, you can subscribe to my brand-new Instagram account here! Just notify me that you did this in your comment below)

That’s it! The deadline to enter is Wednesday, October 18th, 2017. The winners will be announced the following Friday. Unfortunately, I can only ship prizes within the U.S.A, so this giveaway is not available for international readers! My apologies!

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Do you like autumn candles?

Which Fall candle scent is your favorite?

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 41st Week

Quote of the Week - 41st Week Simply Megan Joy Blog

Mickey Rooney was a great American actor born in September of 1920. He grew up performing in vaudeville, and soon found himself on the stage, and later on the big screen. In a career lasting nine decades, he appeared in over 300 films, continuing to act until the last year of his life in 2014. He was best known for his long-running role as “Andy Hardy” in the famous series of seven movies. In 1944, he co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in the film, National Velvet, and later, in 1979, in the The Black Stallion, with Kelly Reno, both of which are two of my most treasured movies! To me, he will forever be that funny young man with two charming eyes and a dashing smile!

We all have ideas and dreams of our future success. We envision what we hope to achieve and how we might get there. While we contemplate our dreams and hopes, we may try to decipher a trail that will lead us to where we want to go, The Wonderful Land of Success. We want to choose the easiest and fastest route to get there, a route that cannot fail us.

It would be lovely if this path actually existed. As it turns out, it doesn’t. In every journey to our great accomplishments, shortcoming will turn up somewhere along the road, because “we, as humans, are not perfect.” We can’t expect to live out our entire lives without failing at something. As we drive down that highway, with the wind whipping through our hair, sporting sunglasses and a hopeful smile, we are inevitably going to drive through “Failure-ville.” No matter which route we take, there will always be a Failure-ville. This certainly doesn’t sound very inspiring or motivational. It may even sound depressing. However, it’s not always healthy to sugar-coat the route to success. Way too many calories! Just kidding. . .

What I’m trying to say is, we can’t be afraid of driving through Failure-ville. It can bog us down for a while, but it’s not like we are stuck living there forever. There will be a time when we can just fill up the tank, high-tail it out of there, and hit the highway toward our great accomplishments! We can leave Failure-ville in the dust and get back on the road again! We just have to keep driving, keep dreaming, and especially keep depending on God’s strength and love, because we’ll never have to drive through Failure-ville alone.

Psalms 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” KJV

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Have you ever driven through Failure-ville?

What did you do to get back on the road?

Which Mickey Rooney film is your favorite?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 40th Week

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This quote comes from L. M. Montgomery’s 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, one of the most beloved stories in English literature. The book has put Prince Edward Island on the map and has transformed it into a popular Canadian tourist destination. From the famous red cliffs to the rolling sand dunes to the flawless fields of green, P.E.I. is a picture-perfect backdrop for one of the world’s most treasured books.

I’ve always thought of October, the transition into fall, as antagonizing. It arrives after the late lingering warmth of September, and rudely parks itself on my doorstep for thirty-one long days, making it unbearable to go outside without a jacket! As Stephanie Tanner so often said, “How rude!”

There’s something about October that changes a person. Each time it rolls around, I have to readjust to it. October brings crisp weather and withering trees, boldly reminding me that summer has slipped through my fingers and winter is assuredly looming in the distance (at least for the top half of the earth).

However, this quote from L.M.M. reminds me that October isn’t so bad after all. It’s actually quite enjoyable once you get to know it. October brings feelings that only that special month can bring. Nature seems to speak a different language, whispering ideas and inspiring thoughts, and encouraging me to visit new places, try new foods, and make new goals.

No matter what the weather, I should be thankful for any month I am given and enjoy the blessings that come with it. I will treasure October, try to make the most of it, and enjoy the many things it brings. Anne certainly would have been able to find the good things in it, so I can too. Together, let’s choose to say with Anne, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

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Do you like October?

Do you find that it arrives all too quickly?

Does October hold cold weather for you, or warm?

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Megan Joy

1940s Red Floral Frock

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I love how this dress is so World War II inspired! It feels as though it could be right out of an old 40s movie! It’s truly a gem in my vintage wardrobe!

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I found this brooch at a flea market one day and decided to pair it with this dress since the roses seemed to match it perfectly. It is a replacement of an original pin I have worn with this dress, since the old one is no longer with me. We, the old pin and I, parted sadly one stormy day while I was attending a car show. There were cars ranging from the 1910s to the 1980s, all of them Buicks, driven there from all over the country and Canada. It was a lovely day as I donned this red dress and my little rose pin, until a crack of thunder had us running into the nearest building to hide from the rain until it passed. The downpour stopped briefly as we ran to our car and headed home. It was then that I realized the absence of my little pin. We turned back, threw on ponchos, and searched the entire muddy show grounds; me in my bare feet not wanting to ruin my shoes. I watched as the paths were transformed into rivers, carrying leaves and things down the way and into the storm grates below. I, still to this day, wonder where my tiny rose pin ended up. It would be nice to think that someone has found my little treasure and is taking good care of it, better than I had.

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dress // thrifted

shoes // thrifted

purse // thrifted

brooch // thrifted

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Do you like 1940s fashion?

Have you ever lost a special piece of jewelry?

Do you ever imagine what could have become of it?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 39th Week

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George Gordon Byron, more commonly known as “Lord Byron” was born in 1788. He was a poet and politician, most famous for his 1819 narrative poem, “Don Juan.” He fell ill just before planning to attack the fortress of Lepanto, Greece in 1824 and died a few months later.

Laughter is like a magical antidote that has the power of medicine. It can temporarily set aside our worries and trouble and can even change our mood and the way we think. Laughter is massively powerful! Maybe that’s why there are so many sit-coms and comical movies out there. Laughter is contagious, but also a medicine.

Being grumpy for no reason at all won’t make us happy. If we have the chance to be happy, yet choose to be grumpy, we’re neither doing ourselves any favors, nor the people around us. We all fall into that ditch of being grumpy for no good reason sometimes, but luckily there is a cure! It is, like Byron says, cheap and easy to find. It’s laughter, of course, the funniest medicine of all time!

So when you have the chance to laugh, grab it, and use it like medicine to mend the hollows of everyday life! Choose to laugh rather than be grumpy and you’ll be a lot happier.

Proverbs 17:22a – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:” KJV

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Do you believe that laughter can be used as a medicine?

When was the last time laughter made you feel better?

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Megan Joy

What My Bicycle Taught Me

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The other day I went biking with my brother. It was the first warm and dry day of the week, so I was quite excited to head to the seven-mile trail with my backpack filled with water bottles, an ace bandage, and a handful of bandaids, just in case. I don’t even know where in the world we could have gotten Barbie bandaids! I have a feeling that my brother would rather bleed to death than to wear a Barbie bandaid!

The first half of the trail was rocky and covered with bumpy tree roots. The dirt path was set on a hillside with woods and a field above and a bluff and train tracks below. The best part was when we peacefully rode through the edge of the forest while listening to the soundtrack of Anne of Green Gables on my phone, which was wonderful!

The trail consisted of hills, many hills. They stretched up and down, then up, then back down again. It was scored with rocky slopes and miniature mountains. When we were at the top of a hill, we would peddle and coast all the way down in the hope that we could make it to the top of the next hill.

If we were lucky, we didn’t have to peddle at all and instead just rode up the hill with the ease that comes with momentum. Nevertheless, in many other cases, the uphill climb was just too tall and far for us to make it to the top without a struggle, even with the gears set.

You know the feeling; your bike starts to slow down, you peddle as hard as you can and wonder if you’ll make it to the top. The wheels spin slower and slower yet you’re using all your strength and energy. Then you have to decide; should I keep on peddling or get off and push my bike up to the top? You know that the wheels are barely even moving anymore, but you still want to keep on trying and stay on that bike. It would be your last resort to surrender to the hill and give up. But when do you know when it’s time to give up? You know you can’t continue like this forever, so you must choose to keep on or give up.

This story can also be related to our lives. We all have hills to climb and we all want to get to the top without a struggle, but when we begin to lose our speed, momentum, and strength we wonder if we’ll ever make it to the top. It’s hard to know when we’ve given all that we can give, and it’s even harder to know when to quit. To get off the bike and push it up the hill may seem like a failure, to give up. But sometimes we need to say, “that’s enough,” get off the bike, and truly accept that we have given all we that can.

You can only give so much!

When we have to use up all our strength, power, and energy to peddle up that hill, eventually we can’t give anymore and our bike will slowly come to a stop and simply fall over! It’s okay to take a break and say “no” when you’ve done all that you can do. Knowing when that time is can be difficult. How long should I keep peddling? The only person who knows that answer is you, so don’t let anyone talk you into giving more than you can give. You are allowed to get off the bike, slow down, and walk to the top. It’s not giving up, it’s saying no to “falling over.”

Don’t breakdown, take a break!

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Do you enjoy bike riding?

Have you ever biked uphill?

Do you need to say, “that’s enough” to something in your life right now?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 38th Week

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Samuel Johnson, born 308 years ago today in 1709, was an essayist, biographer, teacher, and poet, most well-known for his creation of the 1755 dictionary of the English language. He died at the age of seventy-five and was buried at Westminster Abby.

You can tell what a person is like by watching what they do and by the way they treat others. Sometimes, people treat others according to the condition or cost of their clothes, car, house, fame, and money. They treat them well because they assume they themselves will get something out of it. It could be something so small as someone holding a door open for a famous TV host, but not for a man in a dirty sweatshirt right behind him.

 If we treat people according to what they can do for us, we lose that common standard of kindness. We shouldn’t regulate our kindness towards others by their abilities to benefit our own lives. We need to treat all people like they were billionaires! Be kind and loving to everyone, even those who won’t benefit us in any way, because that is what we were all made to do.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 KJV

Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” KJV

These verses don’t say, “Love one another only if it benefits you.” God wants us to treat each other equally well, no matter how they appear or present themselves to us.  

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What are your thoughts on treatment towards others?

Would you open a door for someone who didn’t appear valuable for your own benefit?

How would you treat someone who could give you absolutely nothing in return?

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Megan Joy

Five Writing Misconceptions

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Being a writer, I’ve gone to seminars and conferences, read countless writing books and articles, and was given advice by real authors on how to make my books the best that they could be. I, at one time or another, believed what I was told, and altered some of my work to fit with “the right” criteria. That was a mistake. Here’s a list of five writing misconceptions that I was told to believe.

 1. “You must begin your book with an exciting scene.”

I was once told that my book had to begin when everything is changing for my main character: “when their world is turned upside-down” so you can grab your reader’s attention. I found a few things wrong with this advice, the first being, if we all started our books the same way, they wouldn’t be special or unique. It would be pretty boring to read the same kind of introduction in every book you open, wouldn’t it? The second problem I saw was, if we began our story when the character’s world is turned upside down, how would we know what is normal for them? Without any background story on our character, how could we distinguish oddities from their ordinary life? We wouldn’t know their everyday standards. The reader must connect with the character before he or she can care or worry about what is going to happen to that main character. Creating a subtle backstory first can help the reader to recognize abnormal happenings from ordinary ones. Beginning your book with a calm opening about the character’s everyday life is absolutely fine; there are so many famous classics that begin with a simple scene, like Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and Sense and Sensibility. These authors didn’t follow the rule of the “dramatic opening scene” yet they have all have become enormously popular, selling a few million copies of their book!

2. Your book should contain 70% dialog.

A published author once told me that I didn’t have enough dialog in my books. I went on to learn that publishers sometimes determine your book’s success by the amount of white space on each page. Having a full page of dialog will provide more blank spaces than a full page of narrative, therefore, I was told that more “talking” is always best. So I decided to test out this theory and wrote a short book mainly full of dialog. It was choppy and not well explained, might I say. I couldn’t elaborate on descriptions or explain the surroundings without having someone speak it aloud. This idea of “lots of dialog” is a modern concept, so I can see how it would work for books taking place in the modern world, but if you enjoy writing historical fiction like I do, then this “all dialog” theory probably won’t work. It’s just not realistic.

3. Tell your reader instead of showing.

I’ve heard this one a few times. Some say that a writer should tell the reader about something, not show them, to keep the pace moving. I however, disagree. I find it much more interesting if I am actually shown something and not just told about it. The difference can have a lasting impact on the reader. Here is an example I made up:

Telling Version: “The boy told his dog to stay. The dog stayed.”

Showing Version: “He held out his thin little hand like a fireman stopping traffic as he slowly backed away from his fur-matted friend. Oh, how those four dirty paws wanted to bound across the space between them and gift the boy with a thousand slobbery kisses, but being the keen and obedient dog that he was, he planted his feet in the dewy grass and vowed to keep as motionless as the statue he had seen in the park.”

Both versions were each made up of only two sentences, telling the same story, yet they are both extremely different. Which one provided the most information? Which one would you be more likely to continue reading if it were the opening of a book? Which one do you find more interesting? Probably, the second one is the answer to all of these questions. The second version let us know that: the boys was small, the dog was scrawny, the dog loved the boy, the dog was obedient, it happened in the morning (dewy grass), and they take walks in the park together. The first version didn’t tell us any of that!

4. End each chapter with a cliffhanger.

Many say that to keep your readers flipping pages, you must create a cliffhanger at places where the reader is most likely to put the book down, like at the end of a chapter. I find that this strategy just isn’t realistic. Yes, cliffhangers are exciting and can add a bunch to your book, but one in every chapter is a bit excessive. Besides, if you have to bait your readers with a constant strand of dangerous and uncertain situations to stay seated and continue reading, it may not be a very interesting book in the first place.

5. Reading will make you a better writer.

Now, parts of this phrase are true. Reading other books can definitely help you with writing your own book. But when people give this advice, they forget to mention that it depends on what you read! If you read a lot of terrible books over time, you may find that you morph into having those same writing habits and write terribly! While at the same time, if you read many great books full of beautiful words and brilliant plots, your writing is more likely to improve. It is like that saying, “You are what you eat.” Instead it’s, “You are what you read.” If you want to write inspiring things, read inspiring things!

Bonus misconception: The publisher is always right. 

This is quite far from the truth! Many people I’ve met dream of the day when their book is accepted for publication. When they get turned down, they revise their work to fit the publisher’s standards. Then if their book is accepted they allow the editors to change whatever they see fit, slap a generic unenticing cover on it, and ship it out. Sadly, this happens a lot and many just accept it because they want their book published. But the publisher is not always right and you shouldn’t have to be forced to alter your hard work to please someone in order to get published. You don’t have to submit to what publishers say, because they’re not always right!

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Do you like to write fiction?

Were you ever told to believe one of these misconceptions?

Do you have any other writing myths or misconceptions to share?

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Megan Joy