My trip to Montana for the Haven Writing Retreat with New York Times bestselling author Laura Munson was the best money I have ever spent, the best moment I have ever listened to that voice telling me I have got to do something and some of the best days of my life.

Montana is my happy place. Laura is my friend, coach and a gift to the world and my life; I learned so much from her. In addition, there simply are not enough words for the women I met at Haven. They are my new found tribe that I so desperately needed after the last year of lonely platform building and trying to get Ever Upward noticed and selling. They are my soft landing spot full of inspiration and love.

I found my voice there in the quiet of beautiful Montana. And most of all, Laura and my new friends helped me to discover that my passion, although one of my very best qualities, was allowing the mission to get in the way.

And so, I am anew; practicing my art of writing differently, and daily, and working on the sequel to Ever Upward in a completely different way.

Because through only my truth and only my voice will the mission actually shine bright.


And so, I thought I would occasionally share some of my writing prompts that I work on daily here at Ever Upward, especially while I work more on the second book for now. I hope you enjoy, I hope they inspire you, I hope they make you laugh, and most of all, I hope you can trust me in this slightly new direction.


My Shifting Shadow

Walking down two short gravel roads in the Montana crisp air alone with only the bright moon as my guide I realize how quiet my surroundings are and just how alone I am.

Shit, I did not walk along this barn before.

The gravel crunches beneath my feet as my pace picks up both out of fear and shiver as I feel the cold Montana air seep through my clothes and onto my now anxiously sweating skin.

It’s okay just back track, I think I just missed a turn.

The stars shine bright, more of them at once than I have ever seen, and the moon nearly bright enough to guide my walk.

Oh fuck, what happens if I can’t find my way?

Oh how loaded this question really is…

She had put me in the back of the property in the most isolated and quiet cabin she had. She was the New York Times bestselling author, so I knew she had her reasons but my stubborn ass was not going to thank her that first night as I calmed down from missing a turn in the pitch black Montana night.

And I sure as hell wasn’t thanking her as I laid in my bed that first of four nights attempting to journal through the deafening silence that hit my eardrums as hard as the bass at a Taylor Swift concert.

A deep breath makes tears spring to my eyes but only briefly as the clarity of my voice begins to gain strength.

These women will change my life. God, I have missed community.

And I begin to write, just a bit because tomorrow begins the first big day of finding my voice with the guidance and loving arms of Haven.

My voice, now more audible than a library whisper,

I’m here, just a bit drowned by the social media-ing, the earning a living-ing and a mission we are so desperate to accomplish.

By the third morning, she’s no longer a whisper but a rather confident and renewed heart and soul-filled voice.

She’s me.

With the sun shining bright, the morning air crisp with possibility and the Canadian geese as my own personal morning playlist, I walk up that gravel road alone. I am greeted by the steam rolling off the tree embraced lake and with my next step I notice her, my shadow.

My shifted shadow.

My shadow that is no longer casting my darkness ahead but rather trailing behind as if to stand in holy support.



14 thoughts on “Penned Musings: My Shifting Shadow

  1. I am looking forward to this new direction, to your new book! I’m sure you’ll continue to inspire me, no matter what direction you take . I don’t even remember how I stumbled across your blog (and then book) but you have been a catalyst for much change in my life.

    I must admit that I laughed about you getting lost….I do this so frequently that most who know me well know that “I took the scenic route” really means “I got lost.” Sometimes I read something that just sort of smacks me upside the head and “oh fuck, what happens if I can’t find my way?” did that. I’ve been perseverating on it all afternoon and just spent an hour writing on it. I know it sounds silly and I know you meant it in the literal sense, but that question verbalized exactly what I’m feeling about a big decision that I need to make soon (a decision where I know the right answer but that doesn’t make it any less fucking scary).


    1. Thank you for the support, I was seriously wondering and waiting to read what you think! And good God, that “of fuck, what happens if I can’t find my way?” was way more than just literal!
      Much love, J


      1. Anytime, chica! I’m really excited for you, your next book, and for this new direction that you seem to be going in! I’m happy to support you in any way that I can, and I really do mean that. (I hope that didn’t sound stalker-ish……) I wondered if there was a deeper meaning when I read the post the first couple of times. I’m confident you’ll find your way and I’ll find mine, even if we both have to take the twisty curvy scenic route (likely with a couple of detours and side trips, at least in my case) to get there.

        Where do you get your writing prompts? I’m forcing myself to get back into journaling because there are some things I need to get off of my chest that I don’t want to write about publicly, but when I try to sit down and write my brain goes in a gazillion different directions.

        xo, K

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve found some writing prompts online. Got this idea from my retreat but instead I’m having Chad write down 5 words in my writing prompts journal every morning before he leaves for work. Any 5 words ,not necessarily connected. And that has been amazing.


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