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BIG NEWS

I wrote a book in the 4th grade. Technically, two because the first story didn’t fill all the blank pages Mrs. Eastman gave me. The tale of Sparky the Firedog paired with children’s poems felt like such a big, vulnerable undertaking that I did what many great authors do:

I took on the pen name of Renee’ Mctyre since I was nervous and also sure I’d be marrying Joey from New Kids on the Block someday (and learning to spell our last name correctly).

I remember finishing this book and wondering what authors who write books that are published on a wide scale feel like when they see their work in actual print.

“Someday, you could find out for yourself if you want. Just keep working,” Mrs. E told me.

I’m not sure she knew the power planting those words in me would have.

I moved schools after that school year and moved on with my fifth grade work as was expected, but the idea that I could share my words with the world continued to live in the back of my mind.

In fifth grade, Ms. Plomer¬†pulled myself and a few other students aside to attend “Young Author Day” at Hope College. I arrived with a handwritten manuscript in hand, then spent the day learning about writing, storytelling, and the publishing process. I can’t even recall which author was there because my mind was too preoccupied with the idea of publishing a “real” book someday.

Now, nearly 32 years later, it’s finally happening. Thanks to seed planted and watered by teachers I found my voice. Thanks to the encouragement from many I was brave enough to use my real name. Thanks to my family and friends: I wrote a book that is being published.

Today, with an ever grateful heart and immense pride I am able to announce that my debut book, Sunday School Dropout, will be released on March 28, 2023.

I am excited, terrified, and proud of this book. I hope this message of struggling to live the faith you were raised in can help others to heal and grow. I know the process of writing this book and exploring my own faith has been an amazing experience for me. One of growth that never ends.

Thank you for your love,¬† prayers, and support so far – I wouldn’t be here without you either. As pre-orders open, I hope you’ll be moved to order and read more from me.

As always, stay tuned here (or subscribe below!) for up to date info. This is the start of something big, I’m so glad you’re here to do this with me.

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Go Green

I spent yesterday touring the campus of Central Michigan University with my son to help him decide on a college. We spe t our day meeting professors, seeing classes happening, and talking with students. I walked away feeling good about the idea of sending him off to college.

In the car, we talked about his favorite school though, Michigan State University. He knows that’s definitely a school he wants to go to. It’s his number one, always has been.

He has loved MSU his whole life. Probably because we have too. We have so many friends and family who have attended there. We know quite a few kids who go there now (they’re all safe).

We love MSU. We bleed green and white here (and maroon and gold, CMU is just as special!). Saturdays in the fall, you will find us cheering for our Spartans, sometimes from within the comfortable confines of Spartan Stadium.

We love Sparty. We love Zeke the Wonder dog. We love the Dairy Store, small animals day, and believe in the power of Izzo in March.

We have always felt safe at MSU. We felt embraced by the collective buzz of learning, doing, and comradery of good people working for a better future.

This shooting feels so much more personal. It feels violating. Enfuriating. Disgusting. And we weren’t even there – I cannot fathom what those directly impacted are going through.

More disgusting? The fact that this keeps happening. When is it enough? When do we finally push back and demand more from our leaders? Don’t we owe it to each other to start using our voices and votes to demand our leaders crawl out of the NRA’s pocket? It’s time to start doing what is right, instead of what pays best. Lives are literally on the line.

Spartans will, because Spartans do.

Go green.