Recent Work | Living in the True Spirit of Christmas

Living in the True Spirit of Christmas by Stephanie Owen | Kelsey Mitchener Editing Services

Today I’m excited to share a project that I’ve been working on off and on since February and that was published earlier this week. It’s entitled Living in the True Spirit of Christmas: An Advent Devotional, and you can buy the book and the ebook on Amazon here and here, respectively.

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In the Studio | Mini Tour

studio setup

I realized that several months ago I promised to share a look inside my studio space, and I’ve finally gotten around to taking some photos. It’s probably always going to be a work in progress, but I thought it would be fun to have a record of the current setup. Maybe the next time I have an update, I’ll also have better photography skills. 🙂

The desk (similar) and chair are from IKEA. I stained the desk’s legs and love how the little shelves give me easy access to my most-used reference books. To the right of the desk I’ve tucked away a photography lightbox Nathan built for me, as well as a beautiful, vintage Replogle black ocean globe (I’ve always wanted one of these!).

black ocean globe & stand

This was a Christmas gift from my parents. Nathan and I recently refinished the stand (really pretty walnut), and I love how it turned out.


Here are a few of the things on my desktop, including the best candle ever—oatmeal cookie (similar)! I’m trying to keep the desk mostly clear except for the things I use every day. I’m glad Nathan talked me into upsizing to the mid-sized desktop— it’s nice to have the space to spread out.

mini gallery

On the main wall I have a mini gallery wall started, including prints of Marc Chagall paintings that we displayed at our wedding, the poster for the 2011 film version of Jane Eyre (Nathan and I saw this at the Chicago premiere), a You Make Everything Beautiful print from Rifle Paper Co., and Starry Night Deconstructed. I plan to add to this as soon as some lovely picture frames I’ve been watching finally go on sale.

Behind my desk I have two ceiling-height bookshelves, and a few weeks ago I played around with roughly organizing the books by color. I’m a little late in hopping on this bandwagon, but it’s fun for a change and makes me look at my library in a new way.

bookshelves by color

Finally, to the left of my desk I have my work calendar and another print from Rifle Paper Co. The garland is from Oh Joy for Target and is a good reminder to enjoy every day. Happy April!

Happy April

Thanks for letting me share! What does your home workspace look like?

Kelsey Mitchener, editor

Looking for an editor? Kelsey Mitchener Editing Services specializes in nonfiction copy editing and proofreading. Get in touch and let’s work together on your next project!

Thoughts on Meaning-Making

Making Literature Conference at Taylor University

I’ve spent the last few days at the Making Literature Conference at Taylor University. It’s a small conference at a small college in a small town. It’s an undergraduate conference, with sessions featuring undergraduate work read by and to undergrads. I lingered at the edges, an English major half a decade out.

It was three days filled with things I love: small things like new books, and their smell; slick new folders and coordinating pens; book fairs and branded tote bags (I have a weakness for tote bags).

There were deep conversations and thoughtful moments: a perfectly turned sentence; a powerful, bite-sized poem; an hour-long lecture on the thought that goes behind the translation of a single phrase.

It was days full of things that matter to me—discussions on feminism, privilege, justice, conservation, creativity, language, beauty.


I’ve been left exhausted, depleted—the feeling from long days spent among many strange faces, the introvert’s battery-drain.

I feel the overwhelm from new ideas piled thick—with dense, thoughtful literary analyses trimmed and skimmed to fit three to an hour; with clutched handfuls of poems read back to back to back, leaving audiences scrambling to absorb and recover from each image while the next is already forming.

And I’m left with a strange melancholy. When was the last time I read good literature, or, God help me, a poem? These are things that used to bring me happiness. They still do, but they’ve been missing. Why have I let them slip away from my everyday?

My life has felt filled with an ugliness (small but seeping) for some time. There are good things, big and small, of course—a warm house, a business thriving beyond expectation, a partner who loves me; my favorite sweater. But what’s been missing, among the broken interactions, self-doubts, and misinterpretations, is a sense of beauty. A sense of meaning.

For a few days, it was a relief to re-enter a world where these discussions and these moments matter, where the act of making is believed to have value and give value, and where meaning itself can be made and found.

It’s a small thing. But sometimes it’s everything.

Kelsey Mitchener, editor

Looking for an editor? Kelsey Mitchener Editing Services specializes in nonfiction copy editing and proofreading. Get in touch and let’s work together on your next project!

Lovely Libraries

I’ve written before of my love of beautiful books. As an editor, it’s no surprise that I’m also a big fan of organization and order. This all may help explain my natural attraction to bookshelves of all types. My editing studio is half home library, with the largest wall dedicated just to books, and I have big plans for my next house. (I’m hoping for a home library like something out of Clue.)

Today I’m daydreaming of walls of books for days…

library, photo via Stone Source

library, photo by Sean Fennessy

library, photo by Alan Williams

photos by Stone Source, Sean Fennessy, and Alan Williams

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Looking for an editor? Kelsey Mitchener Editing Services specializes in nonfiction copy editing and proofreading. Get in touch and let’s work together on your next project!