January review – 2023

And it’s the first review post of 2023!

Things worth remembering…

  • skits on New Years Day
  • gingerbread house creation
  • “bowling” night
  • many intense games of floor hockey
  • Clarion Hope’s cover reveal!!
  • making dragon eggs (they “smelled something sinful” and I won’t be doing it again)
  • getting yummy breakfasts delivered to the skid loader
  • not losing my eyesight
  • hiking
  • discovering that stinging nettle tea is actually delicious

God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors.

Ann voskamp

What I’ve been reading…

Romanov – Nadine Brandes

“Revenge would have shattered us both. But you’ve given us the opportunity to be strong. To mend our hearts instead of break them further.”

I’ve been fascinated by the tragic story of the Romanovs for years, and I really enjoyed this fantastical take on it. While it was a bit more gruesome than I would have liked, I loved the characters and the epic plot twists so much.

The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

“In fact, Digory, you are now talking to the last man (possibly) who really had a fairy godmother…”

“I bet she was a bad fairy,” thought Digory…

I’m rereading this book with several of my friends from Bible study, and it’s been so much fun!

The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Emmuska Orczy

The same deep, intense love was still there, on both sides, but each now seemed to have a secret orchard, into which the other dared not penetrate.

I’m really enjoying this story that takes place during the French Revolution!

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot – Ellen Vaughn

Her presupposition – that we are to die to self, and it is only in dying that we actually find real life – informed her views about life choices, time management, risk avoidance, public opinion…everything. This is why she was radical. This is why her life continues to be relevant today.

I’m really enjoying this deep look into the early years of one of my spiritual heroes!

The flesh must die though the heart may break – spare not the pain, oh, spare not the pain.

Ruth bell graham

From the journal…

Oh, God, help me to hold it all with open hands. Time and time again, you’ve set just the right people in my life at just the right times.

I find it so interesting that God asked the Israelites to go up to battle against Benjamin two times to suffer great loss. They came weeping to the Lord both times to ask His will, and still He told them to go up against them. Oh, strengthen me, Father, to fight boldly when You command and yet it ends in defeat.

“The Lord sat enthroned at the flood…” (Psalm 29:10) In the middle of mass destruction and the greatest catastrophe the world has ever known, the Lord retained His rule.

May I not let go merely because I hope to see You give back again. May I watch dreams burn to ashes, never to return, while still trusting the faithfulness of my God.

What were some things that you enjoyed this January?

❤ Laurel

Thoughts from four years ago

Thoughts from four years ago

In going through some old papers, I found this little piece I wrote almost exactly four years ago and thought it would be fun to share here.

The sun was warm on my hair, yet the wind blew its frosty breath in my face as I walked through the browned grasses. The solid feeling of the frozen earth beneath my feet was so ordinary…yet so wonderful.

Wisps of cloud scudded across an ocean of powder-blue sky, hovering over the golden stubble of a cornfield lately reaped. A solitary cornstalk or two stood defiantly at the horizon, piercing the sky.

I filled my lungs with the frigid air and released it again. The vapor dispersed in the wind. I could hear the wind rushing through the grasses, swelling and fading by turns in its song. I had never been to the sea, but I liked to think that it sounded like the wind in dry grasses.

Maybe someday I’ll know.

But today holds so much. So much to love, so much to feel. So many things for which to praise God.

More things than the sand by the sea.

❤ Laurel Luehmann, January 24th, 2019

I find it pretty neat that exactly two years after that was written, I was staying by the ocean for the first time. God’s timing is incredible.✨

Clarion Hope Cover Reveal

Clarion Hope Cover Reveal

Behold: the shell of the soul-words that cry for beauty on the battlefields.

This cover makes me so happy, and I feel that it truly represents the poetry inside. There are some deeper meanings beneath the design that I’ll delve into someday soon, but for now, the important details!

*insert a “pay attention” sort of cough*

the official info


dare to dream that there’s more than this broken road,

and that beauty may lie on tomorrow’s edge…

A sequel of sorts to the author’s debut collection, Clarion Hope takes the spark of courage held out in This Will Not Last and fans it into a roaring flame. Over and over again, scars are healed, brokenness is bathed in tears, and fear is buried in the name of the truth and hope of the highest order.

For the boldest warriors and the faint-hearted alike, Clarion Hope is a battle cry to live in the light of the coming Kingdom.


Clarion Hope officially releases on April 4th, 2023, but you can preorder it now and have it shipped just before release day so you can hold it in your hands (and read it!) on April 4th.

Preorder it on Amazon

Preorder it on Barnes & Noble

Mark Clarion Hope as “to-read” on Goodreads

Ahh, I’m so excited.:) Who’s with me??

❤ Laurel

Want to join my street team?

Want to join my street team?

Hello friends!

The date for Clarion Hope’s cover reveal and preorders opening is less than two weeks away, and I’d like to invite you to join The Couriers of Triumph (my super fancy name for my street team) and help me spread the glad tidings!

Please and thank you.

🙂

What will this involve?

Basically as a street team member, your job is to spread the word as far as it will go and get everyone excited about the release! All of my marketing is through word of mouth, so this is super important.

If you fill out the application form, you’ll get an email next week with some graphics and sample social media posts to get you started. (Yes, this does mean you’ll get a peek at the cover before the rest of the world does!) I’ll send all of the extra details you’ll need in that email, as well.

You can share through blog posts, Facebook, or Instagram!

Sound like fun? Sign up through this form!

Also: if you’ve already joined my street team in the past, you don’t have to sign up again! To opt out, just let me know and I’ll remove you from the email list.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them!✨

❤ Laurel

December memories – 2022

December memories – 2022

The first post of 2023 and the last review of a month in 2022!

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness, and honor.

Proverbs 21:21

Things worth remembering

  • cohosting a 12 days of Christmas poetry challenge on Instagram with my friend Alexandria
  • family time and baby snuggles
  • visiting Chicago for the first time
  • Christmas shopping with Brother #1
  • surviving the blizzard-y weather and re-learning how to navigate ice with a tractor and mixer
  • getting my car stuck for the first time
  • seeing some gorgeous sundogs on Christmas Eve morning
  • not hitting the unsuspecting man at the bottom of the sledding hill (I knew my habit of screaming would come in handy sometime)
  • highly competitive games of floor hockey and Spoons
  • jumping on the junk journal wagon with a LITERAL junk journal

We meet no ordinary people in our lives.

c.S. Lewis

What I’ve been reading

A Thousand Gifts – Ann Voskamp

The Eucharist invites us to give thanks for dying. To participate in His death with our own daily dying and give thanks for it.

I love the raw honesty and poetic beauty of this book.

Between Two Worlds – Cheyenne van Langevelde

“Sharing thy concerns with someone is never a burden. It is only a burden upon thyself and other people when thou holdest it all in.”

It had been a while since I’d read a book set in the Roman empire, so it was fun to switch things up again!

Life is so urgent, it necessitates living slow.

Ann Voskamp

From the journal

You have asked me to stick out like a sore thumb in Your name!

Oh, Lord, give me the fortitude of mind to heed the homing call in my heart that screams for eternity.

My attitude towards dealing with my shortcomings and blatant sins has been to roll in the shame, instead of saying “in which we also once walked” and filling my mind with what God loves.

Now for the question you’re probably tired of hearing by now…what are you looking forward to in 2023?

Photo by Elisa H on Unsplash

The Posts of Christmas Past

Hello, friends!

Christmas has slipped behind us, and of course it’s only now that I remember the chubby book of Christmas stories I’d tucked onto my “old books” shelf for an opportune time. But since the radio stations are still blaring Christmas music, I’ll still shove some of my old Christmas posts under your nose.

Just in case.

God with us.

Oh, do I appreciate this reminder of the utter grace, humility, and love it took for God to become one of us.

Christmas Reflections…Am I Playing Herod?

Food for thought…

Reluctant Hero – Christmas Edition

If you’re looking for a light-hearted story about a terrified babysitter building gingerbread houses with terrifying toddlers, look no further.

What are some of your favorite Christmastime reads?

Father of lights – a poem

Another poem I wrote for the 12 days of Christmas poetry challenge my friend Alexandria and I are co-hosting on Instagram!

one breath from You

sent a shower of sparks

across a thousand years,

and a million dying souls caught fire

in the flame of Your majesty,

and they spin round the sun

as they fight off the dark

with each battle cry of love,

waiting breathlessly for the ripening dawn

when the death of dark shall come.

a poem about love, fingerprints and stage fright

a poem about love, fingerprints and stage fright

Have I mentioned that coming up with titles is not my forte?

my sweater wore sequins,

my skirt wore plaid.

eight-year-old fingers

(fingers destined for the piano,

my father had said)

trembled and left

little sweaty fingerprints

on the black construction paper

that held my sheet music steady.

a child bowed, and I left my seat

and my comfort zone, stretching

eight-year-old fingers

on ancient piano keys.

deep breath.

count down.

play the song.

somehow

habit overcame fear, and

eight-year-old fingers

pulled a tune from

ancient keys.

exhale.

stand up.

smile and curtsy.

twelve years of leaving

my seat and my comfort zone

scraped away layers of fear,

leaving a flayed, perfected love of

sharing beauty.

perfect love casts out all fear.

now twenty-year-old fingers

stretch across strings that

thrum with song,

and love overcomes fear

as I pull raw grace

from a scarred guitar.

exhale.

breathe in.

do it again.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

November Memories – 2022

November Memories – 2022

Another month, another review…

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.

george eliot

Things worth remembering

  • Sniffing 95% of the candles at Hobby Lobby (even the disgusting ones) with a sister
  • puddle selfies
  • the first real snow of the season
  • Bananagrams and peanut butter cups with friends
  • sharing music with my family at a local church
  • family time and preparations on Thanksgiving Eve
  • baby snuggles and rodent tales on Thanksgiving Day
  • surviving a painfully awkward and extremely predictable Hallmark-style movie

I’ll walk with you through the shadowlands till the shadows disappear…

from Andrew Peterson’s “Dancing in the Minefields”

What I’ve been reading

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Up jumped Bilbo. “Breakfast?” he cried. “Where is breakfast?”

“Mostly inside of us,” answered the other dwarves who were moving about the hall; “But what is left is out on the veranda.”

I’m still reading this one…and it’s still just as hilarious and thought-provoking as last month.

Death by Living – N.D. Wilson

Drink your wine. Laugh from your gut. Burden your moments with thankfulness. Be as empty as you can be when the clock winds down. Spend your life. And if time is a river, may you leave a wake.

This was an enjoyable read…and while I did get lost in some of the poetic nature of it all (I’m a baby poet, and too much of it loses me) and I didn’t really agree with all of Wilson’s conclusions, this book has quite a few quotable lines and provides a lovely perspective on eternity and mortality.

This Life of Mine – Victoria Lynn

I had the privilege of beta reading the second book in my friend’s series, The Chronicles of Elira, and goodness. It’s just so good. I can’t wait to share my review with you!

“We do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive!”

Daniel 9:18

From the journal…

Help me to remember truth: that You loved me eve when I was dead in sin. that You chose me before the world began. That it is grace that leads me home, not my stellar conduct.


What made your November memorable? What’s been your favorite read of late?

❤ Laurel

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

the daily choice

There’s not much to today’s post…just a little journal entry that’s masquerading as a poem today. It’s a reminder I need on a daily basis, and I hope that it blesses you, too. ❤

I choose You, Father.

Not me.

I choose Your battles. Not mine.

I choose Your weapons. Not mine.

I choose Your heart. Not mine.

I choose Your way. Not mine.

I choose Your vision. Not mine.

I choose You, Father.

I choose You.

(Also: my next newsletter comes out this Thursday…so if you aren’t signed up and would love to have some sneak peeks of Book 2 pop up in your inbox (along with other interesting randomness), go ahead and subscribe through this link!)