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

Coming soon…

Coming soon…

Cue the call to battle…we are at it once again!

As I’m looking at the above graphic, I’m thinking about how wrong it feels that 2023 will be here in less than two months…but I’m also so excited because it means this next book will be here in less than five months!

Book #2 will be another poetry book (surprise, surprise!), but as of yet, I’m not sharing many more details. There will be a cover reveal with a blurb coming soon, but for now I’m letting you guys guess as to what this next book may hold. Here’s your clue:

Book #2’s playlist

I love the way that music communicates where the written word falls short, and so I’ve been compiling a playlist of songs that share the themes I’m writing about in book #2. If you’re into music, go ahead and check out the playlist…and let me know in the comments if you have any guesses as to what the themes of book #2 might be!

Also…if you would be willing to be praying for me as I finish compiling these poems and start the manuscript on its journey to publication, I would be so grateful! God has truly been the one carrying Book #2 (and me!) through this process, and I can’t finish it on my own. I’d so appreciate prayers that:

  • I would be diligent in writing the rest of this poetry (my deadline for that is November 30th, and I have 12-15 to write yet😅).
  • God would give me the words to say and the way to say them.
  • Technology would cooperate with me! XD

Thank you so much for showing up to read and chat with me. I appreciate your support and encouragement so much, and I can’t wait to get this next book to you!!!

❤ Laurel

September memories – 2022

September memories – 2022

Hello, friends!

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

Be careful not to measure your holiness by other people’s sins.

Martin luther

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.:)

To me, a lady is not frilly, flouncy, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle, she is gracious, she is godly and she is giving.

Elisabeth Elliot

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?

❤ Laurel

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

What is your gift?

What is your gift?

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:11)

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the gift of writing.

It really brings me so much joy. Being able to write poetry, blog posts, and pieces of flash fiction that encourage and bless others…man, it’s honestly such a fun blessing! But a while ago I caught myself talking about it with the Lord…

There were some other things I wanted, and I was bringing my requests to Him, just like He’s asked me to. In the middle of it all I caught myself saying, with vehement passion, “God, I would give up writing for that!”

It wasn’t until a few days later that the rudeness of that statement slapped me in the face like a putrid, rotting fish.

I seriously just told the God of the universe I didn’t want the gift He hand-picked for me.

Instead of marveling at the treasure and the weight of the commission He’d given me, I held it back to Him with the wrapping paper barely touched, tears filling my eyes, begging for a different gift in exchange.

Rude. Inexplicably, so despicably rude.


Why do you say, O Jacob,

And speak, O Israel:

“My way is hidden from the LORD,

And my just claim is passed over by my God”?

Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the LORD,

The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nor is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

Isaiah 40:27+28


God, in His unsearchable wisdom, set me on the path of writing. He may not choose to keep me here forever, but it’s the gift and the task that He’s set before me in this season, and I’m blessed to be able to embrace it with joy and gratefulness, choosing to set my eyes on Him and not merely on the gifts He gives.

Will I place my identity in His gifts? No. Will I choose to use them for His glory to the best of my abilities? Absolutely! And I pray that you will do the same. ❤

What are some gifts/opportunities that God has given you in this season? How are you/can you be using them for His praise today?

❤ Laurel

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

June Memories – 2022 (+ writing update and prayer request)

June Memories – 2022 (+ writing update and prayer request)

Hello, friends…and happy Independence Day!

Also…we are half-way through 2022, so…there’s that.

Things worth remembering

  • The first cutting of hay this season (!!!)
  • Late night conversations with siblings
  • Working on a book of children’s poetry for my little sister
  • Researching cocaine and ramen noodles
  • Realizing that it’s a good idea to bring bug spray if you want to enjoy a summer hike without being eaten alive
  • Finding all the weird selfies my sister leaves on my phone…(does she realize I can one day use them as blackmail?)
  • putting together aesthetic collages for the main characters in my WIP (work in progress)
  • checking my poetry book out of the library I grew up visiting! Probably the most surreal piece of being a writer thus far.🥺

Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:17-18

What I’ve been reading

God is My Co-Pilot – Robert L. Scott Jr.

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.

The Scourge – Jennifer A. Nielsen

The total time I had been able to stay out of trouble: one hour.

Almost a record for me.

Weevil and Ani’s friendship and banter…*swoons* I’m so enjoying this book.

Once I Knew – Victoria Lynn

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.”

asldfkjewliaweadkfjawefof

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!

We must determine to be limited and concentrate our affinities.

Oswald Chambers

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.

Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

David Foster wallace

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!

❤ Laurel

when You veil the way – a poem

when You veil the way – a poem

Hello, friends!

I recently found this poem unfinished in my drafts from 2020…finished writing it and decided to share it with you.:)


walking by faith

in the midst of the storm

in the dark of the night

when the veil isn’t torn

when the answers You give

aren’t revealed to me yet,

still I’ll trust

(trust Him, my soul)

songs in the night

are the comfort You give

and the peace You hold out

every day that I live

is the strength of my heart

when my courage has died…

still I’ll trust

(trust Him, my soul)


Trust isn’t a feeling. Sometimes trust is a dogged clinging to God’s promises when everything within us is screaming to forsake the vision of the promised land and return to what we can see.

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Job 13:15b

He is faithful Who promised!

❤ Laurel

Photo by Rebecca Prest on Unsplash

Maranatha – a poem

Maranatha – a poem

The more brokenness I see in the world, the more I long for the beauty of eternity with the perfect Creator.

do you ever fear that

the beauty of those days –

so sweet

so innocent

so unbelievably right –

may never come again?

because I do.

I stand here, staring at brokenness,

and I weep.

I weep because all of this used to be

so sweet

so innocent

so unbelievably right…

but now?

now it’s ugly.

not even ugly…

it’s commonplace, and that’s what I fear.

I fear the current of the commonplace.

I ache for the thrill of

unthrottled beauty

innocence

sweetness…

righteousness.

each piece of my soul aches for all of this to be

right.

for all of the broken farewells –

the goodbyes that weren’t good –

to be made right.

for all of the loneliness to be

washed away in the

waters of unity.

for all of the hatred to

dissolve in forgiveness.

for all of this –

all of us –

to be healed.

oh, my soul screams,

maranatha!

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

observe – a poem

observe – a poem

Hello, friends!

Today I’m sharing a poem that I wrote while on the Glory Writers retreat…next Monday, keep your eyes peeled for a recap of that trip.:)

observe, My child,

the ways that I walk,

and tread these paths beside Me.

the world dances to a different tune,

so press your ear close to My song and

obey

these words that I sing to you,

lest you forget in the valley

the songs that we sang on the mountaintop,

for My words still ring true in the storm.

take My hand, little one,

for I long to be near you,

and shield you from fear

and the terror of night.

observe, My child,

the ways that I walk,

and tread these paths beside Me.

How do you keep your eyes on the ways of the Lord? What are some of your favorite Scriptures or quotes to bring to mind when you’re needing to refocus on God?

Photo by Zack Silver on Unsplash

It’s Release Day!!! Here are my thoughts.

It’s Release Day!!! Here are my thoughts.

Guys, the big day is FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!

The day I never thought I’d reach.

Aaagh, I can’t really put it all in words. I’m kind of excited. I think I might have a little celebration.

Here’s the link to purchase it on Amazon! (Or just look at it and be happy that it’s on Amazon for the world to see, like I’ve been doing. Or write a review and rate it once you read it. That would be totally awesome.)

If you have read my writing, encouraged me, given me feedback, helped me along this crazy road to publishing…thank you. Thank you for being here and letting me share my thoughts with you. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be doing this!

I wrote the following piece a few days ago…and decided to share it here.

Honest thoughts here…

As I’m writing this, it’s four days from the day my first book will be released.

My first book. In print.

It’s crazy to think about because I’ve wanted this day so badly for years. I can remember when I would scribble in the notebooks I’d stockpiled from the back-to-school sale at Shopko and dream about when the world would read my words…and as I see orders coming in across the country from people I’ve never even met, it all feels surreal.

I’m the writer I dreamed of being…

And yet I’m not.

I wanted to be a novelist. A nice solid novel was always what I envisioned when I pictured my first book. Probably historical fiction…and definitely published by the time I was eighteen. (Thank you, Jo March and Anne Shirley for warping my view of the publishing process.) Oh, and the world was going to love it. I was going to be famous.

I think that was the most important part to me. Writing so the world would remember my name.

That’s really, really sad.

Even now I keep checking myself against valuing my work in writing against how many people follow me. How many interact in the comment section or in messages. How many order my book.

How many approve of me.

But that was never the point of it, anyway.

“All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”  – Colossians 1:17-18

That in all things Christ may have the preeminence, not me.

All things were created for Him, not me.

And the fact that He’s given me the grace and ability to pull words together and hand them to the world in a way that is relatable and healing…

That’s worth more than all of the book sales, likes, and followers in the world.

Over and over again as I keep writing and He keeps helping me forward, one thought keeps coming to my mind.

Even if only one life is touched by this book/by my writing, it’ll all be worth it.

God’s completely changed my mind about how I want to view my writing. Less than two years ago I was fighting towards the goal of becoming a full-time writer. Now I’ve realized all I want is to keep writing as a side gig…and yet I’ve never felt as much purpose in my writing as I do now.

Because it’s become a ministry for me. A way that I can reach people across the world with words and build a bridge of hope and relatability.

It’s a way that I can show people they’re not alone.

It’s a way that I can point people to God and scream out how great He is.

I love my God, and I want you to love Him, too.

❤ Laurel

Your turn to talk…and it’s a giveaway!!!

Your turn to talk…and it’s a giveaway!!!

Hey, friends!

I was thinking about today’s post and realized that I’d love two things.

1.) To hear from you!! I seem to do most of the talking here on the blog (hmm, I wonder why…), but I love good conversations in the comment section. Seriously…interacting with you all is my favorite part about sharing what I write.

2.) To give a blog friend a copy of This Will Not Last! (It releases in seven days, guys!!!)

So we’re going to combine those two things today.:)

If you’d love to have your very own signed copy of This Will Not Last sent to your door, hop into the comment section and share your answer to one (or some or all!) of the following questions. Each answered question is an entry!

  • What is one of the best things that ever happened to you?
  • When you were a child, what was your dream job?
  • What advice would you give to your fifteen-year-old self?
  • What is one thing on your bucket list?
  • What is your favorite part about this blog?

I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, April 1st and announce the winner then.

I can’t wait to hear your answers…and send one of you a copy of This Will Not Last!

❤ Laurel