Fourteen years ago, the phone rang, piercing the silence inside my tiny apartment. Lee was at work, and I was preparing dinner, because we were newlyweds, and making food was still exciting to me back then.

I answered the phone, and her voice came across the line all buttery and warm.

“I hear you like to take tea,” she said, and I could hear the smile behind her words.

That was the beginning of one of my most cherished friendships. For the next year, Wendy was my confidant, my cheerleader, my prayer partner, and my sweetest friend. Our love for tea and scones wasn’t our only commonality, either.


Photo by Tammy Labuda:

We both shared a passion for encouraging other women through our creative pursuits. I was a writer and a singer, she an actress who penned poetic prose in her spare time.

In those early years, before children rounded out our families, Wendy and I dreamed of all the different ways we wanted to work together in some creative capacity. But as time marched on, babies entered the picture, and our husband’s jobs moved us to different coasts, the dream of working together felt a bit lofty and ambitious.

Until last summer

At our 4th Annual Creative Retreat, Wendy and I began to speak earnestly of our dreams to work together creatively. We spoke in depth of our heart for creative women, and for mothers living this creative life with little ones in their midst, and the time felt like now.

We put together a book proposal, and we met at the Allume conference in October where we found an audience with an agent who caught our vision and agreed to represent us in our writing pursuits.

So we started writing and praying for the right publisher, and the right timing, and the right audience, and…


This week Wendy and I signed our first publishing contract with Kregel Publishing, with a release date set for September of 2016.

A book.

A real book!

A real book written for women…

Written for creative women like us…

Creative women who are wondering if their creativity has a place in this intense season of motherhood.

Our book (which is tentatively titled at this point) is coming together beautifully. It’s been as much of a journey this past year writing this book as the past fourteen years of dreaming and living it have been.

Our goal is to encourage other creative moms to use their gifts and talents to make an impact in the world.

We’re writing this message as we live it ourselves, seven children between the two of us, while our husbands travel, and the intensity of living creative passions next to the hustle of growing families sometimes overwhelms us.

Kelli Stuart, Wendy Speake Announcement

Next week, Wendy and I will be together again for our 5th Annual Creative Retreat, exactly one year after this long-held dream took root. Our goal is to finish the rough draft of our manuscript, and after our week together is over, our husbands and children will join us, and we’ll all celebrate as one unit.

Because they are friends who have become family.

I’m not going to lie, my friends – this has been such a journey, and it’s not over yet! This is only the beginning of the exciting things to come. Because not so long ago, I surrendered this longing I held in my heart – a longing to see the words that flowed from my fingertips in print – and I committed to write simply for the joy of it.

But still I hoped. I longed for the day when I could sign my name on the line that validated my gift of words. And I realized that it’s okay to want it.


[Tweet “It’s okay to toil toward a dream, because there’s beauty in the journey, and victory in the labor.”]

Today I placed the signed contract in the mail, and a long held dream finally grew wings.

There is a lot of work still to be done, and so much to learn, but isn’t it exciting? This life of living and dreaming all wrapped up tight with friends and family is a privilege, and I’m thrilled to share this journey with so many of you as well!

Creative Moms, don’t miss the release in fall 2016, sign up for email updates here at, or over at, and we promise to joyfully prime the pump in the next 15 long months with posts purposed to bless your creative hearts. We are really excited about the community of creative moms that God is going to knit together in the coming days!

I’m writing a book!

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