Sniffing 95% of the candles at Hobby Lobby (even the disgusting ones) with a sister
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
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!
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?
And so another month sinks beneath the dust of time…
Before we carry on with my typical format for this post, I want to give you some bad news, and then some good news.
The bad news: a few months ago I lost all of my contacts for my email list. (That’s why I haven’t been sending newsletters.)
The good news: You can sign up again for emails now (follow this link!)…and you’ll want to, because tomorrow I’m sending an email with some pretty exciting news that you won’t want to miss! So go ahead and sign up…as long as you don’t mind me saying hello in your inbox every month.:)
Things worth remembering
participating in a fun Instagram challenge hosted by my friend Victoria
frying up lots of apple fritters
jam sessions made even better with a cajon
an apple orchard adventure
raking corn stalks on a beautiful (and very dry and dusty) day
dozens and dozens of runzas
hauling silage for the last time this year
several deep (and some very strange) conversations
hikes with breathtaking views
a slumber party with Grandma, complete with hot chocolate and an old movie
pizza, more apple fritters, and Ole and Lena jokes with family
What I’ve been reading
Adorning the Dark – Andrew Peterson
…my expression, even if it is of the most intimate chambers of my heart, can lead the audience beyond me and to the Ultimate Self, the Word that made the world. In that grand chamber alone will art find its best end, as an avenue to lead the audience home.
Nothing to say but that several times during this book my soul has been screaming, “Yes! I’m not the only one?? Yes. Yes. Yes!!!” The truth. The beauty. Words can’t describe it.
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley.
So begins my foray into the wild and wonderful world of Tolkien. Not only is this making me laugh with its humor and smile over Tolkien’s golden descriptions, it’s convincing me that I, like Bilbo, am most likely a descendent of both the proper hobbits and the wilder Tooks. And now I’m absolutely sure I want to create a home like The Last Homely House.
If I give my best efforts only when I feel like it, or when it blesses me, then what will this accomplish? If I share my possessions with the needy, but am impatient about it, this counts for nothing.
This post was so convicting to me. Give it a read if you can.
From the journal
John 16:29-30 – The moment of the disciples’ strongest confidence in their Savior was followed by the greatest test of their faith. Lord, help Thou my unbelief! Make me unwavering in my trust and help me to remain humble and ever aware of my need for grace.
Oh, Lord, You knew all that was to come upon You and You walked forward to meet it anyway. What greater courage is there than this? Thank You for paving the way for me to walk in the most selfless of loves.
…inconsistency taints the picture I’m painting for others of You.
Oh, let me not stray from the path You have laid for me, whether that leads through meadows or minefields. The world roars so loudly, Lord…may I keep my ear close to Your song.
I was going to apologize for my lack of posting for the last couple of weeks, but then thought maybe I shouldn’t…because I’m not sorry for sparing you hastily pulled-together words just for the sake of saying I posted. So…sorry, not sorry.🙃
Just because I haven’t posted, though, doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I’ve been working again on the project I started this summer and *cough cough* another project that I will likely be announcing sometime within the next few months. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes right now, and I am so excited to be able to share it with you!
Anyway, here’s September’s review…
Things worth remembering
Fresh zinnias and snapdragons from our little flower garden
Charring an apple over a bonfire…it did not live up to my expectations. Its tumble into the ashes didn’t improve the taste. At all.
The lovely photos of the moon I captured
Learning what to do (and what not to do) when a faulty latch locks you in the tractor
Walks by the lake
Dancing the polka with my dad
Gorgeous road trip weather
Harvesting corn silage
Visiting a writer friend at Bible college
Worship in the stairwell, late night talks and laughter, and dancing in the rain on aforementioned trip
Wandering a huge cemetery with a friend
What I’ve been reading
The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
A most uncommon-looking delivery boy rode around town slipping letters under the doors of the chosen tenants-to-be. The letters were signed Barney Northrup. The delivery boy was sixty-two years old, and there was no such person as Barney Northrup.
This mystery both cracked me up and blew my mind. It’s the perfect autumn read!
The White Cliffs – Alice Duerr Miller
Ah, they forget they cannot write their parts; the bell has rung, the curtain rises, and the stage is set for tragedy – they were in love and young.
I read this novel-in-verse last fall, and enjoyed it so much I decided to read it again.
The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip – Sara Brunsvold
As if sensing the widening gap, Admin Gal looked over her shoulder and came to a stop. “I can get you a wheelchair if you’d like, Mrs. Kip.”
“I think a race car would serve me better, honey.”
I’m halfway through this one and am loving it so much! The dual timeline, the different perspectives in the same scenarios, Clara Kip in general…it’s just so good. The descriptions are fresh and poignant. It’s perfection.:)
From the journal
Oh, Father, may I not mourn the death of this season. May I rejoice in You, gladly giving You all of me. Regardless of where it leads me.
I’m afraid to hand my plans to You. I’m afraid to let go of hopes I’ve held for so long. It’s ridiculous because I know You. I know You always handle things so much better than I do. Lord, I choose surrender. I choose to let go. I choose to raise open palms to You, waiting blindly in the darkness…
The devil tempted Jesus with that which belonged to Him, but it was not yet time for Him to take hold of it.
Let me carve my legacy in souls, Father!
“Whoever of you does not give up all claims to personal rights, ambitions, and dreams for My sake cannot be My disciple.” (paraphrase of Luke 14:33)
What were the highlights of your September? Have you been reading anything lately?
Goodness sakes…this was most definitely a month to remember.
You know the writing challenge I told you I was doing this July? Well, I got about 5k words written of the 20k I wanted. But I’m going to let myself be okay with falling flat on my writer’s face, because this month took the cake in terms of real-life plot twists and adventures. So much of it made me laugh. A lot of it made me cry. But I saw God’s hand and knew His presence so clearly this month, and we’ll close it out in His praise. ❤
Things worth remembering…
Sitting by the lake and just drinking in the beauty of all of the sights and sounds and smells.
Taking goofy photos with my sisters.
Fresh veggies from the garden!!
Holding my brand-new cousin in the hospital…my heart! *happy sigh*
Being there with my family when my Grandpa left his earthly home to see the Lord face to face. I had never experienced anything like that, and the raw pain and beauty of that evening was beyond belief.
Lots and lots of hugs. ❤
Completing 20 revolutions around the sun.
Gifts and a handmade birthday card from some guys in my youth group…they have no idea how much that made my week. ❤
Bingeing Doctor Thorne with my Grandma into the wee hours. 11/10 recommend.
A weekend with cousins…the sweetest and weirdest memories made with the sweetest and weirdest souls. May Morgan, the Jensens, the fruit kabobs, and the couch (was it really free?) live forever in our hearts.
Getting my brothers graduated!!!! Another weekend with cousins and the dearest friends.
He looked confused and ashamed, and said, with embarrassment, “I beg a thousand pardons. I did not know you had a burglar alarm, else I would have rung it.”
Oh, this short story gave me a good laugh!
From the journal
A new month = new mercies.
My mood is very fragile…I woke up and the fact that everyone had polished off the bagels before I’d had one nearly ruined my day. (I have to laugh at myself sometimes…XD)
I was getting a headache, borderline snapped at people, and morphed into a silent, weary, glowering, ham-gobbling state of torpid existence. (…) Oh, Lord, let me bow only to Your heart, not the selfish dictates of my own.
It’s one thing to grapple with death. It’s another to realize that someone will never again be in your life, making new memories with you.
The Spirit in me is the one that gave Samson his strength; give me the strength, Lord, to love fully and abundantly, and to live this day to the hilt.
How was your July? What were the highlights? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
I’ve been reading this one for some research I’m doing…it’s the autobiography of a WWII fighter pilot, and goodness, was he ever a naughty little boy!XD It’s been pretty enjoyable, although I get a bit lost in all of the pilot jargon sometimes.
He had seen the pain, the evil, and the sin within him, had lifted his face in gentle hands, caressed it as a father does a child with a nightmare whose tears streak their cheeks, looked him in the eye and said:
“I love you. All of you.”
This book. I can’t even tell you how much I needed to read this one. Not only is the theme incredible, but the plot is so tight, the pacing incredible, the characters endearing…
And can we talk about the romance?? The romance is beautiful…and you have to understand that this is coming from the girl who cringes through most bits of romance in books and runs for popcorn during sappy parts in movies.XD The true love and restraint shown by the characters…I wanted to cheer and shout for joy. Please can we fight for such reform in the romance genre?
*tumbles off soapbox*
Anyway…I have an official review of the book coming up soon…plus an interview with the author! Stay tuned!
From the journal…
Oh, Lord, I only conquer in Your strength. Be my mighty defense…let me love what You love and hate what You hate.
I was so cranky today. …finally ate lunch. I hadn’t eaten anything and was so hungry and cranky. (Just keeping it real…)
Let ours be a story that makes people shake their heads and murmur in awe, “Only God could have worked such wonders.”
Whatever the future holds, Father, keep my heart soft and obedient.
The church must set aside what is good so that we may be about the business of what is best. And so must I…soul, defend yourself against distraction from what is highest and holiest.
Because of Christ’s blood shed to atone for my sins, God no longer sees any of my blemishes, and rejoices over me like a man head-over-heels in love with his bride. He delights in me. He wants me. The Master of the universe is enraptured by what He sees in me. Oh, Jesus, it is all because of You!
Oh, Father, make me like Abel, who, though he is dead, still speaks through the story he left behind. Let my life echo Your goodness and grace long after my voice is silenced.
Writing update + prayer request
Disclaimer: I’m okay. Don’t freak out about the prayer request part.XD
About the writing…
I haven’t worked seriously at drafting a novel since last November, when I attempted NaNoWriMo and got 11k words in before I became an emotional dumpster fire. (A translation for the sane people in the world: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s a time in November when maniacs armed with laptops decide to quit life for a month to write a novel, or 50,000 words, in November.)
After that experience, novel writing got shoved to the back burner as I scribbled poetry, published a poetry book, lived normal life, and scribbled more poetry.
Honestly, I was scared of attempting a novel again.
But a story idea kept haunting me. And haunting me. And haunting me.
I started sharing the concept with some friends, and the responses I got poured fuel on the fire of my desire to see this book through to publication.
So here I am again…committing to the goal of writing 20k words on this new heart project this July. And praying. A lot.
I’d love it if you would join me in prayer for this project. To me, this concept is more than just another story. Bits of it have been brewing in my mind since I was eleven or twelve…and so many topics that are near and dear to my heart have found their way into this book. It’s amazing to see how God has helped me to pull so many different elements of my experiences and passions into one story!
Last July I wrote 20k words for a story full of heartache and confusion. This July, I want to pour out 20k words of healing and redemption. Eeek! I only have a few thousand words written so far, but already I can’t wait to share this story with you all. ❤
When I hit 30k words on this project – which I’m currently terming Project Redemption – , I’m going to start sharing more details about it on Instagram…so if you aren’t following along there, click here so you can join the tribe and be among the first to hear updates!
What were the memorable pieces of your June? Writers, what’s been flowing from your pens/keyboards of late? Readers, what books have captured your imagination lately? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Right now my computer is slower than a lame tortoise and my brain feels like a mashed potato in a tornado, so I’m grateful I wrote this post as I lived through May so I don’t have to remember everything on my own! I hope you enjoy my glance back on this month with me.:)
Things worth remembering
wandering through some war memorials
sneaking over to my grandma’s house with my siblings in the early morning to fill her yard with pinwheels as a birthday surprise
pizza, ice cream, and good talks with a study group
a long sibling walk that ended in a rainstorm and sprinting…too bad we weren’t headed to Netherfield, huh?
exploring old farm buildings and finding bones
scaling fish for the first time and immensely enjoying it
The way I feel isn’t a good excuse to be unproductive, and neither is a lingering winter. I am completely responsible for myself, and my actions do not hinge on the whether the weather outside is frightful or delightful. What’s inside me is what ought to drive me.
The spiritual parallels of the physical seasons are my favorite, and Makayla has some wonderful thoughts in this post!
I’ve opted for a new and much more effective approach; manipulating them using the unconquerable force of peer-pressure. I can do this because I’m college-age and therefore a god. At least, in their opinion.
Sarah’s posts always leave me laughing and in awe of her ability to use my beloved snark so beautifully, and this one was no exception…except this one wrung my heart a bit at the end. Do yourself a favor and give this one a read.
remember that no matter how tiny the fragments this time, how far apart they are scattered, how long you must search, he will help you find the pieces of the person you once were and the image you once bore.
I’ve been digging into this one again. It’s one of my absolute favorites.
(If you’ve been here for a good amount of time, you’ll know how wonderful this is.XD) I loved it so much!! You can read my brief review on my Goodreads account.:)
From the Journal
Oh, Lord, may I ever remain set apart for Your purpose so that You may do wonders in my tomorrows.
All will be made whole…
Achan took the spoil because it was tempting…but God was going to allow the spoils to be taken lawfully in the next battle. Oh, Lord, help me to trust that You will satisfy my longings in due time.
Oh, Lord, clear my mind and give me the wisdom to discern between roadblocks You have set before me to turn my heart to greater things, and the rugged territory of fallen trees I must naturally clamber over on my way in Your will for me.
Lord, grant repentance. We cannot even come to the realization and regret of our sins if You don’t give us the grace to do so.
I can laugh without fear of the future, not because I am well-prepared and invincible, but because my Father laughs in the face of my greatest fears, and I trust Him completely.
How was your May? What stood out to you in this past month? Have you been reading/watching/listening to anything good lately?
(Don’t you just love how the lights are photobombing the mountains?)
The last week of April I got to attend my first writer’s retreat…goodness sakes, was it ever just what I needed! Here’s a little recap of the trip.:)
Highlights of the trip
The answered prayers.
I can’t tell you enough how much of a God thing this whole experience was. This retreat and my travels were bathed in prayer, and it was evident. I refused to let myself spend much time worrying about any aspect of the trip, but homesickness is a real thing for this homebody! The last time I spent a week away from my family, I was in bed crying and wondering how feasible it would be for my parents to drive twenty-four hours one way to come pick me up. Seriously. But this time? Not a bit of homesickness. I was so grateful!
I also wasn’t mentally exhausted by almost zero time by myself for several days. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much of a miracle that truly was. XD
It was also as if during this trip so many of my fears melted away. Fears of traveling alone. Fears of stepping out and doing new things spontaneously. Fears of living outside of my comfort zone. I can’t praise God enough for what He did on this retreat!
The whole flying thing.
I love airports, but I’d never flown alone before…or had to handle layovers. Layovers in huge airports, no less. Thankfully everything went very smoothly, and the trip was very educational. I learned how much a four-ounce carton of white fish salad costs in Philadelphia (it’s a rip-off), that Minnesota is a lucrative destination for jilted lovers (or, perhaps, the jilters), and that there’s nothing like watching someone being welcomed home to warm the cockles of one’s heart.
While in the airport, I also saw an Albert Einstein lookalike and someone who looked almost exactly like one of the main characters in a book I’m writing! Will wonders never cease?
Goodness sakes, did I ever meet some amazing ladies! It was so, so beautiful to come together with ladies I’d never met in person and have this instant soul connection, simply because of our shared love for Jesus and lifting Him high through our words. It was like discovering long-lost sisters!
Thinking we were witnessing an arrest. Seeing baby bears near our picnic spot. Spontaneous ice cream runs. Wandering through a cemetery after a photoshoot. Scrambling over rocks near a stream. Watching a potter shape a vase. Desperate phone calls to wise fathers when the brakes started smoking in the mountains. Movie nights. Laughter around the pool table. An impromptu dance party on our last night together.
Memories I wouldn’t trade for a million books.
Seriously, guys. The number of times I got goosebumps during conversations at the cabin, realizing the amazing things God is doing with and through these young writers…it was almost surreal. He is using these ladies and their stories – both the ones they’re living and the ones they’re writing – to shake the world and strengthen His kingdom. It’s beautiful.
How has God been working in your life lately? Where has He been stretching you and showing His powerful sovereignty?