Give Someone the Gift of Speaking Freely (Book & Bracelet Bundle!)

 You know, it’s time to do Christmas shopping.

We all know.

Let me help make it a little easier for you!

Permission to Speak Freely Bundle Anne Jackson Anne Marie Miller

Do you know someone wrestling through a difficult season? Who maybe needs some encouragement and needs to know they aren’t alone? Or just enjoy a good story?

It just so happens that I have a lot of these books, and I’d like to make them a little bit gift-able for you.

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For $25, you get two autographed copies of my book Permission to Speak Freely, with two “Gift of Going Second” bracelets, and a cute little ribbon to boot.

And I’ll even ship them to you for free.

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If you haven’t read this book, the poetry, or seen the crowdsourced art in it, maybe now’s the perfect time. You get one and you can give one to a friend!

Or maybe you just want to give a couple copies away.

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Just click the button below, and these books will be on their merry way!

In the voice of an engaging but battle-scarred friend, Anne Jackson questions a church culture that “sacrifices the beauty of confession and brokenness for religious trappings and the malady of perfectionism.” Read through the poems, essays, stories and confessions in this book and join Anne on this journey. It’s time to face our fears. It’s time to live in a community of healing confession. It’s time to move past shame and into hope. It’s time we had permission to speak freely.

Price: $25.00

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Four Things You Must Know!

Please accept my apologies for being such a sporadic writer as of late. Inconsistency is one of my least favorite traits and online, I’ve been extremely inconsistent. However, there are four things coming up in the next couple of months that I thought you simply must know!

1) I am finishing my third book. It does not have a title at this point but I am hoping to email the complete first draft to my publisher by this time next week. It has been the most difficult thing to write because, well, it has caused me to reflect much more deeply and try to use words in the best way possible.

I was 27 when I wrote Mad Church Disease. 29 when I wrote Permission to Speak Freely. I’m almost 33.5 (yes, I celebrate half birthdays) so I pray that whatever maturity I have gained in the last four years shows. This book will release in Spring 2014, likely in April.

2) New website PLUS bringing back the old FlowerDust. Since it has been over three months that I have not been Anne Jackson, I realize I should probably change my website. I hired a talented lad named Sam to work on this and he feverishly is doing so. All of my old domains will redirect to the new website once it has launched (likely in August) as to not lose anyone in the shuffle.

I’m excited to reestablish a home online that is both true to my name and has all the good posts from FlowerDust. If you’ve been around since the beginning, you remember that old FlowerDust.net blog and it’s 1000 posts that we are combing through and refining. So all that material (from 2005 – 2011) will be available again. Woo!

3) New email list opportunities!. Everyone I admire says I need one. I trust them. With the launch of the new website, I will start offering a special email list that has what the website has, but then has a little bit more. I’m excited about the way email lists have returned and I’m excited to share new content with you! What do you think about the resurrection of the email list?

4) I was going to include a fourth thing you must know, but I decided it was worthy of its own little announcement (and no, mom, I’m not pregnant). How about I talk about that one Monday. Cool? Cool.

See you Monday. You will not want to miss this bit of exciting news! If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might want to just in case.

I don’t like hyping things up, but the announcement on Monday is super, super exciting!

Have a great weekend –

Anne Marie Miller

Permission to Speak Freely – Free Excerpt #7

So, you’ve made it to the end.

But it’s not really the end.

You’ve just read six essays of my new book Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace. This is the final one…for today anyway.

There are still 22 essays you haven’t read, plus all the art and poetry and other things that have been compiled into this lovely four-color book.

But fear not, you can pick up a copy of the book here. Or if you’d like an autographed copy, or a T-shirt, you can click here.

Or you can leave a comment below and tell me how you landed here (whose blog did you first stumble on?) and I’ll choose two people to each win a copy of the book on Friday.

Now, without further adieu…the seventh essay.

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Essay #7 – Listening


Julie and I both had some friends in the Kansas City area. Two of them were in a band, and they drove down to Dallas in their band’s van to help us move. We trekked nine hours back up to the Midwest, where we rented an apartment we had never seen before with a roommate we didn’t know very well.

A few weeks after we moved, their band played at a youth group event at a local megachurch that was Baptist but pretended not to be by calling itself a “family church.” It wasn’t too far away. Since moving, I had developed a huge crush on one of the guys.

We walked in, and Julie went up toward the front. I stayed in the back, with an overwhelming since of panic gripping me. Taking a seat, behind a partition, I rested my head in my hands and attempted to get the sense of dread from overwhelming me. My heart was racing, and I could feel it pulsating through my body.

More clearly than I have heard God in my life, He said, “Remember the letter you wrote to Me when you were sixteen? Remember the times you’ve wondered where I am? I’m here. This is My church, and it’s time for you to be a part of it.”

I told the Voice in my head to shut up. I was probably going crazy. Surely God doesn’t speak like that. I thought back to the last time I had taken one of the many pills I would take to feel normal and wondered if it was still in my system.

But then it happened again.

More loudly.

“HEY! Remember the letter you wrote to me when you were sixteen? Remember the times you’ve wondered where I am? I’m here. THIS IS MY CHURCH, AND IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO BE A PART OF IT.”

Go away! I silently screamed back.

Maybe it was time for another pill. I started to dig through my purse.

A girl with bright red hair who was about my age came up to me between songs. She introduced herself. “Hi, I’m Kristi. I work here. Can I pray with you?”

For some reason, my panic turned into anger. My skin began to crawl, and I wanted to run out the doors of the church and never stop. I didn’t want to let this random girl in on the dialogue that was unfolding between the voices in my head.

Or the fact that I had voices in my head, for that matter.

What? Why? Who is this girl? No. No, you can’t pray with me. I don’t think I still believe in your God anyway. Just because I’m in church doesn’t mean I have to buy into this crap like you do. Seriously!

But acting nonchalant, like people offered to pray with me every day, I shrugged, casually pushed my hair back from my face, and calmly responded, “Sure. I guess so.”

She took my hands, but I pulled back. Instead, she put her hand on my shoulder, which tensed up at her touch. She began praying for me, for my friends, and then she said something that made my pounding heart stop dead in its tracks.

“I pray for Anne’s involvement with church. With this church.”

She wasn’t trying to manipulate me. Her prayer was very genuine. She was very genuine. I started to get a little more nervous as I wondered why in the world she would pray such a thing for a complete stranger. Later on, I asked her. She simply said she felt like that’s what she needed to pray.

Growing up in the South, I learned that even if you don’t agree with someone or like them, you could still be nice. So I responded nicely and said thank you. She asked if I’d be up for getting coffee with her sometime. She gave me her phone number, and a few weeks later I called.

Kristi and I became friends, and eventually I started attending the Baptist Family Church (known from this point on as “the BFC”) with her. She worked on the student ministry staff, I started volunteering at youth functions. Slowly, I began to fall in love with these teenagers. They made me think of myself when I was in junior high and high school. They were seeking a God and a faith they truly believed in. And through them, I remembered what it was like to be found and loved by God and to chase Him on a crazy adventure where anything was truly possible.

I can’t recall a specific moment when I finally chose to surrender my heart to God again. That makes me even wonder if there was a specific moment. Maybe it was just a lot of little moments stacked up on top of each other. God didn’t prove Himself trustworthy to me in one big burning bush. He didn’t guarantee my happiness or take away all my fear in one fell swoop.

But He did find me again.

Or perhaps, maybe I just allowed myself to be found.

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To read all the essays, you can take the below route. Thank you to each blogger who so generously opened their virtual doors and shared part of the story with you today.

Donald Miller (Essay #1 – The First Brick)
Jon Acuff (Essay #2 – The Final Brick)
Carlos Whittaker (Essay #3 – Losing Faith)
Pete Wilson (Essay #4 – Finding Love in All the Wrong Places)
XXXChurch.com (Essay #5 – Shattered Pixels)
Catalyst Conference (Essay #6 – Ghosts of Churches Past)
FlowerDust.net (Essay #7 – Listening)

A Tough Confession to Make

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a retreat with a handful of people who earn their living from the platform. That platform could be writing, public speaking, or doing music professionally.

At one point early in the retreat, somebody said something along the lines of,

“Self-promotion is the opposite of the character of Jesus.”

Given I had just written about my hesitation on how to market and promote a book, this statement made my stomach churn.

The group shared some thoughts on that – the difficulty of realizing the complete truth of that statement (I mean, how many times in Scripture did Jesus actually say, ‘DON’T GO AND TELL ANYONE I DID THIS‘…um…a lot!) and also feeling the tension of having to let people know about whatever message and platform we have to share.

My confession: The last two weeks I have not been healthy. I have tucked myself away for twelve, fourteen, and at one point seventeen hours in my little office. If it weren’t for the one window I have, it would be like a casino and I’d never know if it was day or night and would probably somehow grow a beard (or more likely really long leg hair) and look like a lesser tanned version of Tom Hanks on Castaway.

Tomorrow, my book Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace OFFICIALLY releases. Yes, I realized Amazon shipped it two weeks ago and I can’t say thanks enough for your kind feedback.

But tomorrow, it’s official. There will be blog tours and I’ll probably tweet a few times more than normal and then, over the course of the next three or four months, will be traveling almost every week to talk about it at a church or a conference or a retreat or over coffee. (More coffee? Really? My hands are twitching because of the amount of espresso I have consumed in this two week period.) There are interviews and airports and hotels and shaking hands with strangers and wearing my grown up clothes in order to look my age.

I still battle.

I love this book. I love that people are responding the way they have so far and the message of it, the redemption of the broken pieces of my past and my present, are being used to help others find confession, transformation, healing, and hope. People are learning they are not alone. And if any statement was one my heart beat for, it would be that:

You are not alone.


People often imagine a book release day is a grandiose day and that you get flowers and balloons and as you walk down the street people stop and say, “Congratulations!” Or maybe I give too much of my guilty pleasures away when I say the illusion of being on a street in New York City and seeing a bus go by with your face and your book on it (i.e., Carrie Bradshaw) is what we authors dream of. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ll wake up. Shower. Put on my jeans and probably a grey tee-shirt (my summer wardrobe), battle myself on how much coffee I need, give in to a double, drive to my office and walk up the stairs. I’ll check my email, wish there were more messages from people with names instead of “Google Alerts” in the sender’s field, and keep tabs on my Amazon sale ranking – which means absolutely nothing in the publishing world. It’s simply a time-waster for authors who need their egos fed. I’ll work on editing a project, writing an article, making some phone calls, and check my Amazon sales rank again. And again. And then I’ll lock up my office, walk downstairs, get in my car, and go home.

Having a book release is a special thing. It’s a privilege I don’t take for granted. At all.

But, is it the end all? The one thing that fills the void when you close your eyes and go to sleep?

No way.

Does it even help fill that void?

Nope.

As poet and author Mary Oliver says,

“Writing is only writing. The accomplishments of courage and tenderness are not to be measured by paragraphs.”

Referring back to my post earlier, the measure of a man is the love by which he engages with humanity. I suppose in a small way, sharing words from my heart with others is a simple act of that. But just know, the tension is there. It’s a tension I’ve yet to understand or even be able to balance in a healthy way all the time.

All of this semi-sensical rambling to say I would love your prayers for the launch of this book.

I would also love for you to buy it. But I’m not going to hold a social media gun to your head and blast you in the face with that very often.

So, more than anything, your prayers.

That people will be helped.

That people who are hurt will be able to open up and share and have their weight lifted.

And that people will realize they are not alone.

That it’s okay to speak freely.

I appreciate each of you.

Thank you.

Can You Live a Life of No Secrets?

Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace will be releasing at the end of August. (You can pre-order it here if you’d like!) It’s currently being printed and I have to say the team of people who worked on it is incredible. The design and order of the book, from the stories to the confessions to the poetry, is simply beautiful. I can’t wait to share a chapter or two with you soon.

To support the book, I’ll be going on tour with the hilarious actress/comedienne/author Susan Isaacs and the enchanting musical artist Solveig. This specific tour is for women’s groups and is affordable for churches of any size.

For more info on the tour, check out this page.