million header

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.

Encouragement for living simpler, right in your inbox.

We share our stories as we simplify our lives - no guilt-trips, just love.

(no spam, promise. we hate it, too.)


  1. I have not been very artistic, but I’ve been recently trying different things, trying to find an outlet that I enjoy. Maybe this book would be helpful.

  2. I am very excited about this book!!! Seems like an answer to a few struggles lately!
    My favorite are for that I can do is sew!!! If I wasn’t homeschooling all day I would start my own business and sew all day! 😉

  3. Donna Mayo says:

    I haven’t felt very creative in awhile. Scrapbooking is my outlet for expression when I find the time. Wish I had the time.

  4. Christina Steinhart says:

    I absolutely LOVE crafting and scrapbooking. Being able to share this with my 3 year old daughter has definitely been a blessing as well since she is in age ‘crafty’ and ‘explore everything’. Would love to have this book.

  5. Photography, definitely.

  6. Writing! I don’t do it as often as I should, but I love it!

  7. Sarah Bragg says:

    Encouraging others is at for me

  8. Working on photography. Small baby steps. Realizing how much I need art.

  9. Knitting!

  10. It varies…Autumn seems to always toss me from filling my sketchbook with pumpkins and apples–and the occasional colorful leaf–to the kitchen where pumpkins and apples are also key players. I LOVE creating in the kitchen during Autumn. Then again, I also love snuggling in on the sofa with the knitting loom or some crochet hooks and soft, fluffy yarn…and the sewing machine has been calling my name…and…..

  11. My favorite form of artistic expression really depends on the day – sometimes its song, art or cooking. I like to dabble in a bit of everything!

  12. Photography and graphic design are my favorite means of artistic expression.

  13. Living in my present moment – juggling the joyful and the disconent, seeing the beauty of everyday, actively participating in the lives of those around me.

  14. Writing would probably be my favourite, but I’m finding it hard to find time lately. Embroidery and crocheting are in that same category. But, hanging the clothes on the line in patterns, piling the fruit in the bowl in a way that is pleasing to the eye, sorting the toy shelf…those can be artistic expressions too, I’m finding.

  15. I love crafting- whether it be knitting, painting, and making a wreath. This book looks great!

  16. Suzanne M says:

    This book is written for me, I can’t wait to read it! I love writing, but don’t do it often enough and need to overcome my fear that I have nothing to offer and just write everyday.

  17. Kim Holem says:

    Scrapbooking. Card making

  18. Just one?! I’m a drawer and a painter and a cook and a mom and a friend and a daughter – an artist in a million little ways!

  19. I love to craft things for the house but rarely find time. My latest creative expression is creating photo slide shows for others: I did one for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary and have 2 others I’m working on for family.

  20. Photography is my favorite, with journaling a close second.

  21. Having a dance party with my family!

  22. Right now I’m all about the knitting. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  23. I feel like there is art in the everyday (in fact, that’s what my blog Yonder Wild is about)! I express this the most when cooking healthy food for my family from the garden we grew with our own hard work. Deciding whether or not to add a pinch of this or a dash of that is art. Should we eat tomatoes with kale tonight or will it be a squash and chard? A meal is full of infinite possibilities. We have dedicated months to the making of gastronomical perfections (or even the occasional imperfections…just like art) with our seed planning, digging, tilling, watering, and care. It is as if we have created the paint for our own masterpiece and I get to use my brush (aka spatula) to decorate the canvas (aka plates) every night.

  24. My initial thought was: scrapbooking! I love to take photographs and put words and embellishments to let their story come to life. Each time you pick up the book you relive the joy of the moment the photo was taken. Sometimes you find something on the page you didn’t realize was there before. They make me smile! I also love to teach…bring puppets to life…write scripts…cook with my grandchildren…share the family heritage with them…share our home with friends, people who are now our friends, and our relatives! Every breath is a gift, I want to live like I know that!

  25. I have not uncovered my whole creative side yet. I feel a little intimidated to do it…what if I fail. But I love to show my children God’s little creations when we are out walking, like tiny flowers, beautiful stones, even weeds that look beautiful in my eyes. And especially the sky. Sometimes I feel like God has put those things there just for me or just for one of my children. He is amazing!

  26. Sometimes the most creative I get is to write a simple letter to a friend in need…

  27. Photography, music, and cooking. This sounds like a wonderful book!

  28. My daughter’s smile is my most loved art.

  29. Writing is my favourite form of creativity 🙂

  30. Travel and fine art photography really fill my artistic cup. I love looking for art in the beauty of creation and cultures around the world.

  31. I love to bake, craft with wood and paper and teach my children.

  32. My favorite artistic expression is photography. I used to be so much more artistic in multiple ways but over the years I find that I am less so. I would love to get back to it.

  33. I’m a full time mom and a classically trained musician. The Lord provided an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone this fall and I’m now leading worship for the children’s ministry at my church. I also love to cook and bake. Thanks for the chance.

  34. My favorite form of artistic expression is decorating my home by purchasing second hand furniture/items and updating them to fit my style.

  35. Music is by far my favorite art. It has a way of reaching into my soul and lifting me up!

  36. Yay, can’t wait to read this book! My favorite form of artistic expression–right now– is knitting (currently knitting my 6 yo a winter sweater) and crafts with my kids. 🙂
    Sarah M

  37. My artistic expression is expressed through my photography, soap making, cooking, baking and preserving food.

  38. right now we are working on a “fixer-upper” house, on a budget. So this will take a lot of creativity! Would love to read your book!

  39. Poetry

  40. Writing. Even if it’s just in the journal I keep by my bedside.

  41. My most favourite way of artistically expressing myself is making people smile and/or laugh. I love God’s creation and creativity in the people He made. From the young child to the tough teen, to the timid elder, I love to take time to bring joy in any form from making faces, dramatically making a fool of myself or engaging conversation and listening intently to the lives around me. I guess you could say acting but I feel that would be ‘pretending’ and this is a live show! I love the idea of this book and would LOVE to have a copy to know how to encourage others to do the same.

  42. Laurin Beardsley says:

    I’m trying to learn how to draw. My fingers don’t produce anything like my mind sees! I do love to see people light up when I notice and tell them something unique and special about themselves. Does this count as art?

  43. Thanks for having a giveaway! Currently, my favorite way to be artsy is by taking nature photographs and making postcards out of them to send to friends.

  44. Dance. Ballet in particular, but any kind of dance.

  45. Julie Robinson says:

    Photography is my love … Thx for the giveaways!

  46. My favourite is cooking, for sure. Sounds like a great book!

  47. Cooking is my main method of artistic expression. I also do a little knitting. This book looks fabulous!

  48. My favorite form of artistic expression–each season creating new flowering hanging baskets for the front porch right now yellow mums and plum color peonies.

  49. Singing and songwriting are my form of art but honestly I am mostly changing diapers these days! This book sounds really encouraging. I love Emily’s outlook on life.

  50. Simply reading good books and taking the time to deeply ingest them is one of my artistic outlets. Even if I’m not writing the words myself, I know I’m shaped by others writing. I truly believe that shaping of my own words and perspectives helps me be freer and more creative with my children and family. I may not be very crafty, but beauty (and art) comes in a lot of different ways 🙂

  51. Simply reading good books and taking the time to deeply ingest them is one of my artistic outlets. Even if I’m not writing the words myself, I know I’m shaped by others writing. I truly believe that shaping of my own words and perspectives helps me be freer and more creative with my children and family. I may not be very crafty, but beauty (and art) comes in a lot of different ways 🙂

  52. I think the valuable time I spend with my family helps to create ART in all of us (my family). It helps to better define who we are and how we would like to be perceived by others. It shows how we express ourselves with Jesus being number one in our lives.

  53. Writing and photography.

    I love the topic of this book. It’s something that I have been thinking about the past few months. I have always struggled with guilt over using my creativity because there are more “important” things in life to do. Recently though, my eyes have been opened to see that we are made in the image of our creator God-and HE is a creative God. Therefore He is glorified when we use our creativity and the gifts that He has give us. 🙂

    I am looking forward to reading this book.

  54. I love cooking, baking and organizing, none of which are really artistic unless you are weird like me and think that a perfectly arranged drawer of socks is artistic!

  55. Art! Mine is different than others…I like to make my day ‘flow’! The challenge of a list excites me.

  56. love this idea!Need some inspiration these days!

  57. I don’t know if I can narrow it to one…writing, taking pictures, baking!!

  58. Sewing, knitting and crocheting. =)

  59. I believe we are all artists in our own unique way. I am a painter, but also love to take photographs of my children during each holiday. Halloween is my favorite!

  60. I’m an elementary art teacher, so I get to create every day! However, for my own creating, I am loving washi tape right now!

  61. Creating meals For my Family. Enjoying Creation Indoors And Indoors And Out.

  62. I see the colors and movement in the words of God and create “faithart”. I love to take God’s word and make it a beautiful piece of art for home, or office. I teach others how to pray in color, art journal their daily prayers and create gifts for others. I paint, journal, use mixed media in my studio. I also love to decorate my home to make it a beautiful relaxing environment. I would love to read this book!

  63. Love upcycling old, worn out, broken items into new treasures. From holey clothes or curtains into new kid toys or pillows to a pallet into art, makes me so happy!

  64. Elizabeth L says:

    I love to sew but haven’t been able to for a while. Cooking can sometimes be a creative outlet for me.

  65. Photographing my kids daily, focusing not just on them but the million little details indicating their presence in our home. Love photos of legos on the floor, hands in a bowl making cookies, the kids bookshelf, etc…

  66. my art is in my voice. i’ve loved singing since i was little and i finally learned how to use it well as an adult. i’ve always loved it because it’s the one thing i know i’m naturally good at. there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a gift from God 🙂

  67. Photography is my passion when it comes to art though I love painting, sewing, and crafting too 🙂 Thank you for the chance to win this book! 🙂

  68. I love the idea of everyday art. Mine is baking, photography, writing, arranging flowers from the yard, really anything to add a little beauty to our day.

  69. I just never thought of myself as an artist. I love music, but cannot write, play, or sing it! I love paintings, but cannot do that either… And the list goes on. But to answer your question, I think my artist expression would be to create “stuff”… I made my first wreath this weekend and its actually pretty. I love baking and actually made my daughter’s bday cupcakes pretty & pink! This book looks great and will be suggesting it for our next book…

  70. The art of healing through my work as a nurse.

  71. Colleen Garcia says:

    I like reading and writing – journaling my thoughts.

  72. This book looks amazing! Writing is my favorite art form right now.

  73. For artistic expression, I love any kind of craft; scrapbooking, card making, photography and knitting are all things I enjoy right now.

  74. Writing and photography are my favorite artistic outlets.

  75. Teaching, cooking, organizing, putting together thrifted outfits – these are my favorite “arts and crafts.”

  76. my favorite artistic expression … music to hear, music to play.. baking and cooking … and, rambling on using words…

  77. Feeding my family and designing our house!

  78. I starting writing songs a couple years ago, and love the journey of the learning process. It has been a little cloudy knowing how to be an artist and be a mother ( eight kids) and see the art in my calling as a mother and not just my music. The Lord is teaching me so much about the beauty of gratefulness and grace right now. I’d live to read what Emily has to say!

  79. I like to create and express myself through journaling. I love all the ideas and creative approaches to it.

  80. Homemaking ARTS and sciences. Let’s be Renaissance women and explore the convergence of art and science in making our homes more lovely. Specifically, I love the culinary arts, especially food appreciation (eating). Also learning to value the homemade or handcrafted more than the less expensive industrial version. The really hard part is to put my money where my mouth is. 🙂

    Bottom line: my arts are baking cookies and crafting little home decor items. I’d like to work towards being more artful in all actions.

  81. I am most creative when I’m not working and have time for anything else…photography is my favorite, decorating, crafting and still coloring in my children’s color books. Can’t wait to read this book!

  82. I love photos of my family and blogging about our happenings. I also like to find creative ways to show God’s love to friends who may not know much about Him and His love.

  83. I paint word pictures with pen or computer.

  84. I love painting furniture to look new and fresh and I think the way you dress also expresses a creative lifestyle.

  85. It’s a toss up between photography and writing, although some days neither!

  86. In the spirit of seeing life as art, I will go on a limb and say that I see the relationship with my husband and son as a beautiful dance. We are a homeschooling family, and the on- purpose things I do to help our rhythms and steps sync up are my favorite form of artistic expression. : )

  87. mary kathryn says:

    I like to refinish old furniture.

  88. Creativity is one of the areas I struggle with most, so I’d love to read this book! When I do get creative, I enjoy photography or making something for the home.

  89. Forgot to say: I loved watching the trailer for this book! It was really lovely. I look forward to reading the book (someday, if not through this giveaway). I think it will be a beautiful offering to the world. : )

  90. Writing and cooking. That’s my art.

  91. My favorite form of artistic expression is traveling! I have not been doing it nearly as much in this season of my life but am getting excited for the next! So many opportunities to be creative when you are traveling (writing, photography, drawing)! Especially when you don’t have to think of doing laundry, cleaning, organizing…. By the way, I am following your 31 days in your personal blog. Very excited for you and your family to go globe trekking. It has been a long long time dream of mine and I hope I can make it one day too!

  92. The cover art to the book is beautiful! I can imagine the content inside is just as lovely. In this season finding simple ways to decorate our home for the season is art to me: incorporating pumpkins, fall fragrance, Halloween pictures of the kids, and autumn foods are a joy and gift!

  93. Anything grunge, paper crafting. I wish I could say piano, not sure if family would agree that this classifies as art. (smile)

  94. Anne McKenzie says:

    Cooking is my favourite form of artistic expression but I so need to turn down the volume on my inner critic! I’m alway consulting recipes instead of consulting my intuition.

  95. Kristin Thomas says:

    I would love to have a copy of this book. My go to forms of artistic expression right now are crocheting and journal writing.

  96. Christine C says:

    Crocheting and sewing. Creating something that has a definite finish is so rewarding for me. Thanks for the giveaway!

  97. My favorite artistic expression is crochet, it brings a calm to the spirit..

  98. Lindsey P. says:

    There are so many! Sewing, writing, crafting in general. I can’t wait to read this book- it looks wonderful.

  99. Writing!

  100. Baking, cooking, and I am learning how to can. My old standby is crocheting. Anything that gets me off the computer.