The Family-First Creative: A little thank-you gift from me, to you

Guys! You are NEVER going to believe what I did.

Actually, you’re totally going to believe it. Easily. Okay, it might be the least surprising thing you have heard in weeks. But I’m still delighted to tell you:

I wrote an ebook for you! It’s going to be my gift to anyone who pre-orders my memoir. It’s called The Family-First Creative: 42 Tips for Following Your Dreams While Putting Your Family First, and I am ridiculously excited for you to check it out.

The Family-First Creative


I knew I wanted to offer a free ebook as a gift to folks who pre-ordered Something Other than God, both as a token of my thanks for their support, and to give them something they could have immediately since the memoir won’t be released until the end of April.

I went back through my email archives, and realized that one of the most common questions I get is, “How do you find time to write?”

So I decided to answer that question in a short ebook. I was picturing ten, maybe 15, pages.

But once I began writing, the words started flowing. And it ended up being a 100-page book.

I dug back through every single thing I’ve learned while writing a book and helping Joe study for the CPA exam while homeschooling and having six babies in eight years. I thought through the conversations with wise spiritual directors, the advice whispered to me by mothers with decades of experience, the lessons that came from exhausted, teary moments when I pushed myself too far…and I could not stop writing.

I included the kinds of details that are rarely discussed but are really helpful when you’re trying to get a picture for how to make this kind of advice work in your own life, like:

  • A detailed breakdown of our expenses, including how I fit help into the budget
  • A detailed breakdown of how we arrange the bedrooms in our three-bedroom house to fit everyone in
  • How much money I typically bring in from blogging
  • A template “help wanted” note for finding a mother’s helper
  • A sample hour-by-hour schedule of a typical day (not one of the insane ones)

I pushed the official pre-order announcement date way back because I didn’t want to cut anything helpful from the book, and I needed the time to get it all down. (Without letting my house fall to pieces in the process. Which is totally something I would do: Yell at the half-naked five-year-old to get her sister more Cheetos for lunch because mommy is stressed about writing her book about making family your first priority.)

So this is it: Every single thing I know about trying to do well at a craft you love, while making sure your family still takes the number-one spot in your life.

Beginning this Monday, March 31, The Family-First CreativeΒ ebook will be available as a free gift to anyone who pre-orders Something Other than God.

(And yes, if you have already pre-ordered, of course that counts too!)

If you will indulge my use of all caps for a moment, I just have to say:Β I AM SO, SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU!

I think it’s going to open up a whole new range of discussions for us to have. And it starts Monday.



  1. says

    Darn, I wanted to read more and more and more, but then the preview said “this is the end”. OK, you got me hooked and I’m preordering your books so that I can read more and more and more of your ebook! Can’t wait to hear you speak at Ignited By Truth Conference this weekend. There will be several of us NC Catholic Homeschool bloggers at IBT, myself included πŸ™‚ NC Catholic Bloggers Unite! πŸ™‚ God bless!

  2. says


    I’ve pre-ordered your book yesterday, but since I’m in Russia and they will send it to me via some our resaler…dunno when it comes. =D Probably they’ll make it a gift for my birthday in June…hope so =D

  3. Lucinda says

    Just pre-ordered. Planned to read your book anyway — now an added incentive! Thanks.

  4. Sonya says

    This is the best pre-order gift ever! I was already planning on it, but this has sealed the deal. Now I’m excited to see your book tour schedule when it comes out…still hoping that MN makes the list. I will have my book!

    • Sonya says

      OK- So after reading the tweets from last night I am going to add that #1, I think we were separated at birth. #2 MN is a convenient hop up I35 from Austin!

  5. says

    I am even more excited!!!!! I PRE ORDERED YOUR BOOK ALMOST AS SOON AS YOU ANNOUNCED IT!!! And now I’m waiting for this awesomeness to arrive…but meanwhile….excited for your e-book. I really want to know HOW you DO IT with all the kids etc. I think you have super powers. BTW, I do miss your show…those two episdodes I watched last year were so hilarious and interesting!! Any more coming out?

  6. says

    Jen- I seriously started crying when I read your post. At our messy breakfast table.
    For years, I’ve tried to articulate what I do (run a children’s publishing company where dozens of people depend on me) but my reasons for doing it in a way that doesn’t have us growing as fast as anyone would like or why I feel like I’m barely accomplishing (at work) what I’d like to see done–all in the time my 2 kids are in school (and one is only in preschool from 8-11). Family-first creative. Great title. Great idea. I’m so excited to read both books. THANK YOU!

  7. says

    Hi Jennifer, I ordered it through our Marian Center bookstore. I told them I thought it was going to be a big hit, so they probably could consider ordering several. I really can’t wait to read “Something Other Than God!” And I know I will be giving a few away as there are a few atheists in my family. God bless…..

  8. Janet says

    I got my Liturgical Press catalog yesterday…and your book was advertised on the front cover!

    I’ve also pre-ordered it awhile go, so like Kris says…how do we get the e-book? Thank you so much for this gift!

  9. says

    Well, then, if that doesn’t get me to preorder right now… nothing does!! Both these sound so fabulous. Thanks!!

    Cannot WAIT to get into the e-book, and then dive into your memoir when it arrives on my doorstep when it is released. Maybe I’ll share it with fallen-away family. πŸ™‚ -Gina

  10. says

    Ooh, want!

    What if I pre-order through UK-Amazon? I’ve been waiting to see if the paperback version becomes available over here, I prefer paperbacks to Kindle, and at the moment only the Kindle version is available on UK-amazon.

  11. says

    This is really exciting, Jen! I am very much in need of the advice in your e-book (I am currently taking a break from writing my dissertation to nurse my son). I can’t wait to start reading!

  12. Monica says

    Girl, I cannot WAIT to read Something Other than God and The Family-First Creative! Thank you very much!!

  13. Colleen says

    I’d like to preorder but I want the kindle version of your book instead of the hardcover. Can we get this same deal when the kindle version comes available? Thanks! I’m so excited to read this new ebook!

  14. says

    So, I have the same question that everyone else has:

    Do we get your second awesome book if we preorder the ebook? Also, can we preorder the ebook?

    I’m not saying hardcover books aren’t in vogue or anything, but backlit kindles are so much easier to read at 3am when you’re nursing a baby. So ebook I go.

    I can’t wait for both of these!!!

  15. says

    As a sign of my great excitement about your book, I’m going to get an actual, really truly holding in my hands copy. Not kindle.
    THAT, my friend, is commitment.
    And the postage to Australia is roughly 39 times the cost of the book, so again, commitment.
    Seriously, I’m coming over all ‘Misery’ here πŸ˜‰

  16. says

    I read the preview of the e-book, and I loved the idea of creating a vision for your family. Any well run company would have a long term vision, why shouldn’t a family? I can’t wait to read the rest! So mean of you to make us wait until next week! πŸ˜‰

  17. says

    So exciting! I have two questions and I apologize if I’ve somehow missed their answers elsewhere on this post.

    1) If we’ve already pre-ordered the book (I pre-ordered the hard copy on Amazon), how do we access The Family First Creative?

    2) If we don’t have an e-book reader, is there another way we can access the book — perhaps via a smartphone app? I just… don’t have an e-book reader and I honestly don’t understand how it all works.

    Thanks! I hope to get the chance to read it!

    • says

      All the details for how to get the ebook are coming on Monday, and the file format is a standard PDF, so it’s easy to read on your computer or print if you don’t use e-readers! You can just open the PDF directly on your smartphone and read it there.

  18. says

    Sounds like a really good e-book that I could definitely use. I am now working on writing a work of fiction. Have pre-ordered your memoir also and am so looking forward to reading it! πŸ™‚
    God Bless you and yours

  19. Peggy says

    I pre-ordered on Not sure how to let you know that I have. Is this the way to get the ebook? Just telling you that I ordered it? And giving you my email.address? The honor system?

    Thanks for an intriguing duo of books! Very anxious to read both of them.

  20. Angela M says

    Just forwarded this along to my husband…my birthday is coming up in April!! Can’t wait for both of these books! Thank you πŸ™‚

  21. LPS says

    Hi! I’m… frugal. πŸ˜‰ If we pre-order the e-book, will we also get the free gift? Trying to stretch my dollars. Thanks!

  22. Catherine says

    Yay! I’ve had it preordered forever! That’s so cool of you! Looks like a really useful ebook…

  23. says

    My first time commenting although I’ve been a loyal fan for 2 years! Just want to thank you so much for your generosity. I pre-ordered your book ages ago and am really looking forward to reading them both! Pretty amazing you popped out a second little book so quick after the toil of your first. πŸ™‚

  24. says

    Hi Jen, greetings from Scotland! You’re speaking at this weekend’s conference with my cousin’s wife, Brenda Cerkez. When I found out, and I follow your blog every week, I thought hey! The world really is small. Hopefully, in heaven one day, travelling needs will be severely reduced and we can all meet up. In the meantime, say ‘hello’ to her from me please.

  25. Ingrid says

    Now that you have published your first E-Book; I look forward to your publishing an E-Book regarding your weight loss journey! I recall you mentioning in one of your earlier posts that you would like to do that someday. I would be on the top of the list to purchase that one as well!

  26. says

    Like so many of the others that have already posted here, this is very timely. Thanks for writing and sharing this!

  27. says

    Ok, this may put me over the edge on deciding to pre-order. I am really excited to read your book, but your eBook totally speaks to what I’m dealing with right now. I’m a creative who has a lot of dreams and not a lot of time which means I end up discouraged a lot of the time. I’ve been feeling like I need to go on a retreat to just talk to God about it. Maybe I’ll do that and take this book too.

  28. Cindi says


    I’m really excited about your memoir and have been talking about it with a group of friends in a bible study. We want to pre-order 7 books and we usually order from our local Catholic bookstore, On This Rock, in Oshkosh, WI. If we order from the book store, will we still be able to get access to the e-book?

    Thanks so much!

  29. says

    I almost never pre-order books, but I just pre-ordered yours! Ever since your story about climbing out of the van window, I’ve known you were my type of woman! Lol!