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A million little ways

Today I get to blather on about one of my favorite all-time writers, and then give away ten copies of her new book. She also happens to be one of my favorite people, so that works out well.

Emily Freeman is truly gifted as a writer, an artist, and a friend, and her latest book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live needs to be on everyone’s nightstands. And this is because the “art” she explores isn’t only the oil-on-canvas sort—it’s the art that’s manifested in all of our lives.

a million little ways

A Million Little Ways argues the lofty notion that every one of us is an artist, simply because we are human beings. No matter what we do with the majority of our time—be it changing diapers, signing expense reports in a corner office, teaching a classroom, or painting a canvas, everything we do that outpours from our true self is a form of art. God is the ultimate artist, and as His creation, He embedded us with an artistic drive. We can’t help but make art, if we are awake enough to notice the art in our lives and call it such.

I think what makes Emily’s writing so great is that she says things I always think but aren’t quite sure how to weave into words. So she does it for me, and in that process, I feel better understood—both by her (and by default, other people), and also by me.

a million little ways

I love this paragraph from the book’s description:

A Million Little Ways uncovers the creative, personal imprint of God on every individual. It invites the discouraged parent, the bored Christian, the exhausted executive to look at their lives differently by approaching their critics, their jobs, and the kids around their table the same way an artist approaches the canvas–with wonder, bravery, and hope. In her gentle, compelling style, Emily Freeman encourages readers to turn down the volume on their inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who they most deeply are. She invites regular people to see the artistic potential in words, gestures, attitudes, and relationships. Readers will discover the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of showing God to the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.

And I love the book’s trailer. I can’t watch it without tearing up a bit.


million-stack-smEmily is giving ten Simple Mom readers a copy of A Million Little Ways! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, telling me your favorite form of artistic expression in your life. (If you’re reading this via email or reader, head to the blog to leave a comment.)

This giveaway will be open until Friday night, October 11, and then we’ll announce the winners soon after. I hope you win!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Embroidering is my current favorite form of artistic expression! Working on a runner for my dining table currently.

    • doris russell says:

      Music is my favorite artistic outlet. I play the piano and enjoy being able to let my fingers take me to another place.

    • For me, it’s encouraging others through cards I send in the mail. Playing the piano as well! 🙂

  2. Sewing, for the most part. But I’d love to get a little bit braver! This book sounds fantastic. 🙂

  3. I’m one of those people who has never felt artistic but since I discovered photography I feel like I’m expressing that side of me more and more all the time through photos 🙂

  4. I love sewing and using that to make thing beautiful.

  5. Writing!

  6. Photography & knitting are my favourite forms of artistic expression. I would love to dabble in painting but have no idea where or how to start.

  7. I am so excited about this book. I just received “The In Between” in the mail today and I think these two will marry well. Can’t wait to read Emily’s latest!!!! For me, photography is as important to me as breathing. Might sound dramatic, but it is how I see the world—through the lens of my camera. I feel like God speaks to me through the images I try to capture.

  8. Music is my very favorite! And crafting… 🙂

  9. I am a scrapbooker. I journal. I blog. I bake. I garden. I cook. I read to my kids with voices and expression. I be silly. I sing and dance (badly). I feel like I need to be being creative in some way each day.

    Just the way we live is our own little art.

  10. Writing!

  11. Writing and playing my guitar are the ways that I express. 🙂 Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  12. Can I really only pick one?
    I’m going to pick 5.

    I love:
    Making linoleum print art
    Making cross out poetry from horoscopes
    Writing kids books
    Singing Brazilian songs
    and creating personalized birthday cards for my friends.

    Oh, and making funky flavors of homemade ice cream!

    P.S. This book looks awesome!

  13. Bringing the natural beauty of outside to the inside of our home and using a simple household item to make a “new” creation!

  14. Drawing illustrations, taking pictures, writing silly little stories for my little ones, embroidering, even my job is creative – I’m a translator, and that is an art on its own!!!!

  15. Poetry is my favorite form of artistic expression…although now that I’m a stay at home mom, I don’t find myself writing much anymore! Thanks for sharing this – I’d love to win, and if I don’t, I’ll buy the book! I loved the video too 🙂

  16. Liz Meyer says:

    I don’t consider myself very artistic, to be honest. But preparing food is my form of creative expression.

  17. Oh wow. I so want to read this book. My favorite form of artistic expression is photography, knitting, sewing and writing in that order. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  18. I love to write and sew!

  19. I love the beauty of the gospel, and I think my art comes from seeing how it applies to everyday life… I enjoy explaining it with simplicity and clarity (especially to kids), and seeing them come alive with hope:-)

  20. Writing and crafting. Lately I am learning how to sew!

  21. I love to knit

  22. During this season of my life, it’s working with our video production ministry team!

  23. oh I am excited to read this little gem myself. I think it would be a good read for Ben as he is going to be changing jobs by year end. Well, my current creative outlet honestly has been either writing or baking. I am in this sweet spot with the two older ones at school and the baby napping for a bit of that time. It makes for some uninterrupted writing, reading, creating in the kitchen time.

  24. I love singing and photography are my favorite ways to make art…and writing too. And I share your love for Miss Emily…so much.

  25. Scrapbooking – but I don’t make time for it nearly as often as I should.

  26. Coaxing a smile out of my kids.

  27. So many Emilys are commenting I see! It’s like we all flock to things by people with our names and we want to support a fellow-Emily!

    Anyway, my favorite form of artistic expression is writing. I’m glad to be a part of Nester’s 31 Day challenge to really bring that part out of me, even if at the end of the day the last thing I want to do is write after my job as an editor and, duh, reading all night!

  28. Theatre … costuming, sets, sound, lights, directing! 🙂

  29. Knitting is my current artistic outlet. I love the process as well as the end result.

  30. Currently it’s blogging.

  31. Photography and cook but trying to discover more

  32. Writing and photography!

  33. Crafting, mostly card making and scrap booking.

  34. For me, its photography … and my favorite subjects are my husband and eight children!

  35. I like to create with a well sharpened pencil and a blank piece of paper.

  36. Photography is a creative outlet that I love and feel so thankful to have. Especially thankful to have the ability now that I have two littles of my own to capture!

  37. I think the thing I love the most is rearranging and designing and displaying inside my home… Followed by mucking around with fabric pretending to quilt, and painting 🙂 I’d love to have this book if the comp is open worldwide! 🙂

  38. Jennifer R. says:

    Right now, my favorite form of artistic expression is quilting for new babies of my friends & my family. It is a form of a hug from myself to them! I’d love this book!

  39. I love to sew! And I am slowly learning that I love to “craft”. It is so rewarding to make something beautiful and useful.

  40. Cheri in the Lone Star State says:

    I love watercolor, but with 6 children rarely have time these days. I content myself with occasional journaling.

  41. I realise this competition may be restricted to the US, but I fancy joining the conversation anyway! I’ve dabbled in many crafts over the years, but never particularly felt artistic. My favourite craft would be sewing and I also love to express myself creatively through writing. I’d also love to become more artistic with photography – I’m pretty ameture! (The book trailer, was great by the way!)

  42. Ever since becoming a mom, I have felt my children’s lives are my creative outlet, as each one of their lives is considered by me to be my magnum opus. I would love to read this book for Emily’s insight, as my life right now in an isolated, foreign place has me fairly discouraged.

  43. Coloring with my kids is my main (and current favorite) form of artistic expression!

  44. Knitting. It’s meditative for me rejuvenating my spirit and it blesses others. It can be a wooly hat to keep one of my babes warm or a delicate shawl to give a grieving mother a tangible hug from her lost little one. The only “downside” is that in this mothering journey the time to sit and create can be hard to come by.

  45. Right now, it’s crochet. I also love photography for grounding me in the moment and noticing the beauty all around.

    That book trailer is amazing.

  46. Deb Harvey says:

    I love being creative…so I’ve dabbled in lots of areas trying to find what I love. I’ve narrowed it down to: writing, photography, and quilting (not necessarily in that order).

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’d love to have this book.

  47. I love photography, and love learning about it and growing more skills. I love finding the ways God speaks to me in the things I photograph…

  48. Jessica Brammer says:

    Just making spaces clean and simply decorated is a little artistic joy right now.

  49. I’m learning to love the art of tending my flower gardens, and then bringing the beauty of God’s creation into my home!

  50. Cooking honestly. My family loved that my hobby/artistic expression feeds them so well.

  51. I think sewing is at the top of my favorite ways to be creative. This book sounds like a great kick starter – it’s been too long since I took the time to create for pleasure.

  52. I would love this!

  53. Blogging and writing 🙂

  54. Terri-Ann says:

    Music. For me it is the language of our spirits

  55. Music – I love singing and playing piano (and flute for church).

  56. These days my art looks like baby-tending and house cleaning, but I have sewing, horn playing, and water coloring on my “I need to make time for this” list.

  57. Singing has always been my favorite artistic expression and most importantly when it’s just me singing to myself in the hallway of my house.

  58. I am the type of person who struggles with saying what I have in my head and heary so I have learned to write my thoughts. Now with getting custody of 2 more children I will have more to express. All my troubles, prayers, qorries everything. Someone will one day be able to read my life.

  59. Typically, writing is my favorite form of artistic expression. But after reading this post, I’m thinking quiet conversations (with my husband, my children, my friends) might be my new favorite. The two are so similar.

  60. I sing. All the time. And I’m trying to make a toddler into a loving, compassionate human who will change the world.

  61. Cuddling on the couch with a kid, or two, or three all snuggled up reading a book. Pure warmth.

  62. My favorite artistic expression is scrapbooking, Project Life style!

  63. Emily Fleener says:

    I love organizing and making spaces friendly and cozy.

  64. As a believer in Gods creation, I love the reference about Him being the ultimate creator, therefore we a have creativity in us too. I am a singer and through all forms of music I am an artist and I’m motivated to be better and to enjoy the things around a me.

  65. Writing is my form of artistic expression. I didn’t realize it until this last year and had been searching for some kind of creative outlet since having children. When I started writing, it didn’t stop. I always journal-ed but hadn’t explored creative writing. I have been blogging regularly for the last 6 months and just this past week started a fictional short story which has been like opening Pandora’s box. You are so write, everyone is an artist in some form, we just have to dig deep to figure out what that is.

  66. My favorite form is cooking. I love the enjoyment people get from eating one of my dishes.

  67. I haven’t really felt creative in a long while. People say I am but I don’t have *one* that I feel I’m *really* and truly good at. I can’t help to feel jealous about people with blogs, especially photog blogs. I think having a blog is great! I just would never be able to do it. Anyways, I would love to read this book. To Tsh: thank you for your blog. I did tear up watching the trailer as well.

  68. i don’t consider myself an artist when it comes to painting, writing, crafting, etc. my form of artistic expression is taking care of my home and family. it is my favorite passion.

  69. Right now it would be making things for seasonal decorations.

  70. Dabbling in photography and scrapbooking is my creative outlet.

  71. My favorite form of artistic expression these days is making up silly songs about ridiculous things and making my kids dissolve into puddles of laughter.

  72. For me, it’s writing – always has been. And putting glitter on things, but since I haven’t quite figured out how to glitter my blog posts, that’s one I save to do with the kiddo. (because nothing is braver than combining glitter & toddlers).

  73. Photography is my favorite form of artistic expression. Thanks for the chance to win!

  74. Sewing, cooking and crafting are ways I express my inner artist but I would love to have more courage and take an art class or two!

  75. I love to make stationery. I sell a little, but every time a new baby is born (to a friend or family member) it’s my chance to welcome them to the world with their own stationery. Simple pleasure and heart warmer. Would LOVE this book.

  76. When I can make time for it, I love to draw. It’s really hard to find time though.

  77. Sounds like a good read!

  78. My greatest artistic expression is through running

  79. Sewing and photography fill that space in my life right now. Thanks for the chance!

  80. I used to love calligraphy a kid, but had completely forgotten until reading about this book! Looking forward to diving into it!

  81. Music…specifically piano. I was a piano performance major in college. Life has a way of forcing us away from our form of expression…and I am once again trying to breathe new life into my playing.

  82. Cooking, writing, poaching DIY projects from the internet.

  83. I am teaching myself to knit and am learning to make jewelry. A Million Little Ways sounds like a great book to read.

  84. Definitely cooking for me! Thanks for sharing –

  85. I love to take pictures. I often take pictures of my kids sporting events and teammates and give them copies – they love them – and a lot of the moms love them because the forget their cameas often! Never really thought of that as art! Can’t wait to read this book.

  86. My favorite form of artistic expression is bringing the natural world into my home. Stick collections, rocks that my kids find on walks, fall leaves on display…

    Would love to receive a copy of this book!

  87. I love making crafts with my kids. We are currently constructing fairy houses outside 🙂

  88. I love to cook and bake and preserve foods! I love Emily’s posts because they are so gentle and encouraging.

  89. Currently, my favorite form of artistic expression is building wood furniture and other diy decor. I don’t know what it is but I love using power tools to create something useful…

  90. Peggy Mazzone says:

    This book sounds very inspirational … I enjoy knitting, especially for gift giving!

  91. For the past year it has been opening myself up to new ideas left and right. Reading a book I would never read before, becoming interested in blogs, and sharing them with my friends and family so I can open their eyes as well.

    This month I’m focused on change. This could have something to do with my baby boy being due in 5 weeks! A good change, healthy body, healthy mind. This book seems like the perfect next step in that direction.

  92. Tricia Paoluccio says:

    I have been able to incorporate more art in my day to day life by doing art with and alongside my kids….we do collages, draw and make cards together…doing art projects together is our main source of play living in a NYC apt! I am also a baker and find that to be artisitically fulfilling…alongside my work in the theatre (I’m an actor). I feel fortunate I make my living as an artist, but have found the secret to joy in this profession to be that my identity is not wrapped up in being an “actor” or an “artist”…but that (like this book seems to be about!) artistic expression is the expression or reflection of God…and you can always be artisitically employed or active…even when you don’t have a job or an art project on the table. Being an artist really is reflecting the creativity and joy and inspiration that God gives us.

  93. Mary Preston says:

    I do love to sew, knit, embroider & crochet.

  94. Singing to my children is my favorite artistic expression!

  95. Maryellen says:

    Writing….I am in the beginning stages of writing my memoir. Would love to read this book and pass it on to my daughter with three very creative girls!

  96. I can’t wait to read this book! I paint and make jewelry.

  97. Stephanie says:

    Cooking and knitting when I have time…

  98. Writing, absolutely!

  99. I scrapbook the pictures that my husband takes of our family and the places that we travel.

  100. Rebecca in PA says:

    I have recently started art journaling, which is scary, but fun.