Hi there! My name is Mary Carver, and I’m so happy to welcome you to this little corner of the Internet. I hope you’ll kick off your shoes, get comfy and stay a while!

I’m a recovering perfectionist whose friends and family delight in reminding me of my blog’s title when I get a little twitchy about doing everything just right. From marriage and parenting to cooking and cleaning {ugh.}, I’m learning to give up on perfect and the fairy tales I’ve written for just about every area my life. I believe Jesus when he said he came to give us life to the full. And I believe that only happens when we let go of our wished-for, made-up lives and grab hold of the real, amazing lives we’ve been given instead.

After a decade in fundraising, event planning and public relations, I’m thrilled to work part-time from home for DaySpring as the editorial coordinator for (in)courage. Of course, habits are hard to break, so you’ll find me sharing worthwhile causes and event planning tips every once in a while – and avoiding the serial comma like the plague it is.

I’m more than an editor and writer. I’m a wife and a mom and a church planter and a music lover. I’m a lot of things, actually, and none of them is perfect – but every single one is real. (Like those photos of my real-life mess. Nothing staged about that, folks! Just a regular Monday in our house.)

I’m a book worm.
And a spelling and grammar geek (and freelance editor).
I’m a big fan of M&Ms and pretty much every kind of Mexican food.
In related news, I’m a lifelong Weight Watchers member (not to be confused with a Lifetime Member who’s met her goal).

I’m a small-town girl with God-sized dreams.
And a Southern-by-blood belle who lives in the Midwest.
I love to cook. And hate to clean.
I’m a cat lady and a [sometimes] scrapbooker. And I watch way too much TV.

According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an ENFJ (though just barely an E).
According to the Enneagram people, I’m a Type One (the Reformer).
According to the Strengths Finder, my top strengths are Activation, Communication, Responsibility, Input and Belief.
My spiritual gifts are administration and hospitality, my love language is words of affirmation, and I’m fluent in sarcasm.
Oh yeah – and I love personality tests.

My husband, Mark, and I live near Kansas City, Missouri, less than an hour away from our tiny hometown, where we met nearly 20 years ago. We’re constantly amazed at how smart, funny and maddeningly strong-willed our six-year-old daughter can be – and we’re both convinced she got her hard head from her other parent. We’re also expecting a baby girl this winter.

{By the way, he doesn’t always have a touch of the crazy eyes – although what parent doesn’t on occasion? – but working nights means Mark is almost always exhausted. That’s why I’ve written about surviving the night shift and living as a married single mom.}

Writing has kept me sane for several years now, through lousy jobs and great jobs, through the toddler years and preschool politics, through those night shifts and my attempt at being a stay-at-home mom. (Here’s a little more about how I got started blogging.) And in addition to writing here, I’m a regular contributor for (in)courage and Mothers of Daughters (starting this fall). I’ve also written two ebooks.

Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind} is part how-to, part manifesto for avoiding the crazy, Pinterest-driven meltdown so many parties can create. You can get your copy here for your Kindle or here for any computer or tablet.

Finding a Happier Ever After is about expectations, true love and real life. It’s a compilation of posts I’ve written about marriage and romance (with a bonus post never before published), and it’s yours for free when you subscribe to this blog. {Coming April 2014!}

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Over and over, I am learning that perfection is simply not attainable, and fairy tales are not real. And our real lives? The ones that don’t look anything like the fairy tales or what we dreamed? They’re WAY better.

Let’s not waste our lives searching for perfection tied up with a fairy tale bow. Let’s choose, right now, to grab hold of our real lives, our true selves and embrace every second of this challenging, gritty, beautiful, messy reality that we have instead. Let’s tackle our preconceived notions about what our homes, families, careers, faith and more would or should look like once and for all – and get busy getting on with life.

Won’t you join me in giving up on perfect and getting on with life?