Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of February 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of February 2021

Happy March, all!!!

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to see March before… I’m so ready for spring. But we saw what happened last March, so… do I dare get my hopes up?

I do. I most certainly do.

Before we plunge into this new month, however, I’d like to conduct a review of February, and you’re certainly welcome to join me.:)

Highlights of the month

  • Participating in a heated debate about soda during a family game night
  • Suddenly landing in a sitting position on the gym floor after a failed attempt at a throw in dodgeball
  • Having my patience tried during a freezing and eventful excursion with the youngest sisters
  • Appreciating my incredible friends
  • Finding that watching mysteries past midnight might not be the best idea… especially if you’re babysitting
  • Feeding cows without wearing a stocking cap!!!
  • Driving with the windows down
  • Falling in love with this version of The Greatest Showman soundtrack because… a cappella. And the songs.:)
  • Enjoying spiteful and malicious games of Spite and Malice

What I’ve been reading

The Resolution for Women – Priscilla Shirer

“Right now – whether you realize it or not – you’re choosing to treat people a certain way, to stay committed to certain activities, to live a certain life, to be a certain kind of person. You’re already a woman of resolutions.

I snagged this at a thrift store earlier this month, and while I haven’t been reading it voraciously, it’s been really good. I love Priscilla Shirer’s way of drawing spiritual parallels from ordinary stories!

From the Grave – A.W. Tozer

“People must be told that the Christian religion is not something they can trifle with. The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man.”

This book has a devotion for each day of Lent. I haven’t been reading it consistently (that’s hard to do when you misplace the book!), but everything I’ve read so far has been so thought-provoking and convicting.

Time Management Isn’t Enough to Build a Powerful Writing Habit – Josiah DeGraaf

“When you combine time management with mental energy management, you create a dynamic that will supercharge your career.”

Even if you aren’t a writer, I would highly recommend giving this a read! It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to take control of their mental energy and boost their productivity.

The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien

” ‘Drownded?’ said several voices. They had heard this and other darker rumors before, of course; but hobbits have a passion for family history, and they were ready to hear it again.”

The serious tone with which Tolkien treats his hilarious characters is the best. And his descriptions… perfection.

Stuart Little – E.B. White

” ‘Bother arithmetic!’ snapped Stuart. ‘Let’s skip it.’ “

I love how E.B. White’s stories have such a humorous tone, yet touch on deeper issues in a way that leaves you thinking.

Journal snippets

If, in trying to protect myself I disobey God, I will end up having to face the very fears I fled. Oh, God, let me always choose obedience, no matter the cost… my pride, my comfort, my safety. Help me to get out there and follow You in dogged obedience.

Don’t let me waste or misuse my sphere of influence. Help me to be surrendered, Lord… even if I can’t see the fruit of what You’re doing, help me to be faithful.

…help me to love, to seek counsel, to serve, to lose myself in Your love.

“Count my life dear to myself” – I always thought this meant being unwilling to die for Jesus. I think it means more. If I’m counting my life dear to myself, I’m clinging to my own pithy dreams for my life and refusing to live out God’s.

***

What did you get to read/do/consider last month?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something through one of the links I share in this post, I receive a small commission… at no extra cost to you.:)

Reluctant Hero – Flash Fiction

Reluctant Hero – Flash Fiction

Just another little flash fic piece… I hope you like it!

“No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You cannot make me do that.”

“Ryan, I need you to do this for me. Please.”

“Uh-uh. No way am I gonna spend my Saturday night in torture. I hate noise. And sharp things. And being scratched and spit on and crowded and laughed at. No way.”

“Ryan, it’s not as bad as it seems. Really. You’ll survive… besides, it’ll be good experience. Just think of all the content you’ll have for your stories after this!”

“If I live to write them.”

“Look, you’ve gotta be there at seven o’clock sharp. Got it?”

“Lillie, they’re going to kill me. Kill me.”

“You’re a good man, Ryan.”

***

My knuckles are white on the steering wheel. How in the world did I let my kid sister talk me into doing this? Sometimes I wonder if she lives to put me in terrible situations. When we were little it was the thing with the dog and the airhorn… then the thing with the sled and the watermelons and the nursing home. And now it’s… this.

Is she trying to get rid of me or something?

I check my watch. 6:54. Plenty of time. At least I’ll die knowing that I held up my end of the bargain. I’ll die for my sister’s sake – like a hero. Will they mention something about that at my funeral? I turn onto Galloway Avenue, wondering what my funeral will be like. Yuck… I hope they don’t put flowers all over the place. Maybe I should leave a note: Nix the flowers.

Here it is – 666 Galloway Avenue. The 666 unnerves me, and the driveway is lined with the bony fingers of dead maples reaching to seize me as soon as I leave the safety of my car. Honestly, I’d rather die here in the darkness at the hands of the trees than at the clawing hands of the monsters that await me inside.

The ancient porch creaks and groans as I step onto it, and my fist reaches out to make a confident-sounding assault on the door. Shrieks and screams leak through the windows, and the edge of a curtain is pulled furtively from the window. I quickly turn my eyes to study the doorbell I neglected to see before.

The door swings open. I straighten my shoulders and smile weakly.

“You’re Lillie’s brother? Thanks so much for watching the kids tonight.”

They’re Watching – A Poem

They’re Watching – A Poem

It’s poetry time again, friends! Don’t tell me you aren’t excited.:)

Most of my poems are just the overflow of my emotions and reflections. However, on rare occasion I’ll be inspired to write a poem based on something I’ve seen or experienced. This piece is the product of just such a rare occasion.

A few nights ago I was with my youngest sisters, telling them a bedtime story. I noticed that when I would pause for dramatic effect (and let’s admit it, a few extra seconds to come up with my next words:) ), they were leaning over me, eyes big, hands grabbing my arm, every part of their being poured into waiting and watching for what I would say next. It got me thinking…

their eyes are wide

gaze into mine

as I twist the words into

stories.

I’ve captured their minds

and the rhythm of time

grinds now to a stop as they

listen.

little eyes

little ears

always there

always here

on my words

on my deeds

every act

is a seed

falling soft on the

ground of their

hearts –

fertile ground –

precious hearts

of the leaders

to come.

little words

little deeds

I will watch you –

no weeds

can survive

in this life of mine

rest in the dust of times

hated, you beasts

may you never find feasts

in my heart to fulfil

the base lusts of your will

for

their eyes and

their ears are upon me

I need

to remember

remember

I’m leading

the leaders

the world-shaking leaders

to come.

Assorted Bits of Thoughts, Humor, and Inspiration

Assorted Bits of Thoughts, Humor, and Inspiration

Hello, friends! Today I offer you a random smattering of quotes, anecdotes, and observations that God’s used to bless me, challenge me, and make me laugh of late. I hope they can do the same for you.:)

***

In my own little corner of the world (to quote Junior Asparagus:)), we’ve been having some cold weather. Very cold. With wind. Since I get to work outside, it’s been a little… rough. And trying. But the temperature is now in the teens!!! I’m crazy excited… and ready to go tearing through the pasture with a sweatshirt and no hat.:)

***

“The altar means fire – burning and purification and insulation for one purpose only, the destruction of every affinity that God has not started and of every attachment that is not an attachment in God.” – Oswald Chambers

***

Has anyone ever noticed the uncanny way that snippets of the lyrics from Frozen songs can be pulled out of context to relate to the events of 2020?

“For years I’ve roamed these empty halls – why have a ballroom with no balls? Finally they’re opening up the gates! There’ll be actual real live people – it’ll be totally strange. Wow, am I so ready for this change! … For the first time in forever, I won’t be alone.”

“A kingdom of isolation… don’t let them in… turn away and slam the door.” (But Elsa, why bother? A cold never bothered you, anyway.)

***

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

***

Heart’s On Fire by Sidewalk Prophets is a beautiful song with wonderful lyrics. I think you need to listen to it.:)

***

One day during lunch this week, the conversation turned to the exciting things that my sisters would be able to do come their next birthday. Play in a piano recital, get their library card, etc. Finally they asked, “What will you be able to do when you turn nineteen?”

The general consensus was that there is nothing exciting lying in store for me beyond the threshold of my nineteenth year. Woe is me.

***

“The bias of nature is toward the wilderness, never toward the fruitful field.” – A.W. Tozer

***

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. This was rather unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment.” – from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Shared with me by my brother, this quote alone is more than enough to convince me that I must read The Fellowship of the Ring in the near future.

***

“There are few things harder to bear than uncertainty – but He holds my hand, and I am certain of Him.” – Elisabeth Elliot

I love this thought. Being certain of God’s hold on me makes all the crazy uncertainties of my world bearable… even beautiful and exciting! He truly does make life worth living.

What has been blessing/challenging/entertaining you of late?

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Happy Seahorses – Flash Fiction

Happy Seahorses – Flash Fiction

Hello, peoples!

I have another flash fiction here today… but I’ll warn you, it’s another sad one. My sisters have been after me to write some cheerier pieces… and I intend to! But this isn’t one of those happier stories. Something about the prompts I received (seahorses, void, and cold) suggested something sad and reflective…

So here ’tis, in all it’s sad and reflective glory.:)

The air coming from the vents is blowing too hard and too cold. It always does when Mom drives, but she’s scared, and I don’t want to bother her.

Callie’s sleeping next to me, her thumb sliding out of her mouth. Her head is falling to the side, and it lands on my shoulder. She’s out. Completely out. Maybe she won’t notice if I borrow her blanket.

She doesn’t move as I slowly inch it off of her lap and onto mine. I grab big fistfuls of the fabric and pull it to my chin, looking down at the bright, happy-colored seahorses that dance on the blanket. Callie loves seahorses. She says she wants to be one when she grows up. I know that’s silly, but I don’t tell her. I’m old enough to know that you don’t tell anyone their dreams are silly.

I’m also old enough to know more than Mom thinks I know. I can see her eyes now in the rearview mirror. The white parts of her eyes are kind of pink, and shiny. Her eyelids are puffy, too, and there are little dents above her eyebrows. I know that means she’s worried, ’cause that’s what her eyebrows do when Daddy’s late for supper.

Today supper got cold while we waited for him. He never came… the hospital called instead.

Mom says everything will be okay… but I know better.

My finger traces the happy seahorses, and I’m trying not to shiver.

Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

The Valentine’s Day Post

The Valentine’s Day Post

Happy Thursday, people! Happy almost-Valentine’s Day, as well.:)

Yesterday morning, as I finished reading the book of Jeremiah, some of the very last verses caught my eye, stopped me, and made me think. My train of thought led me to ponder what love really is and does, so I decided to share the whole works with you today and dub it a rather unconventional Valentine’s themed post.:)

So here are the verses that started it all…

“Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments.” – Jeremiah 52:31b and 32a

This in itself is just a fragment of a historical account. Nothing outstanding. But a parallel jumped out at me here, and I remembered…

I’m no longer in the prison of sin. Jesus freed me from that. So I need to leave my prison garments behind, and Colossians 3 says they are…

“… anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

And what does the clothing of this “new man” look like?

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

“But above all these things…

“put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

We’re not talking about the frail manifestation of dutiful affection that seems to abound at this time of year. We’re talking about the real deal.

Honest-to-goodness true love.

The stuff that remains when all the beauty and romance of life is gone. When there are no happy emotions. When sin has left deep, open wounds on the heart and there seems to be nothing left but hurt. When everything that’s in you screams to leave it all and run…

Love is what picks up the pieces and painfully carries on when the road is so broken, life seems to have no direction or meaning anymore.

Love suffers long, and it’s kind.

Love doesn’t envy.

Love doesn’t parade itself… it’s not puffed up.

Love doesn’t behave rudely.

Love doesn’t seek its own.

Love is not provoked.

Love thinks no evil.

Love doesn’t rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.

Love bears all things.

Believes all things.

Hopes all things.

Endures all things.

Love never fails.

So let’s celebrate it. Celebrate true love this season. It’s tempting to glaze over all the flaws and rough spots in our relationships with glitter and flowers and such…

But how about making this Valentine’s Day different from the rest?

How about digging deep into our hearts right now, crying out to God, and asking Him to root out everything in us that isn’t born of Him… that isn’t born of love? We may not have much left when we’re through… but it’ll be pure. It’ll hurt… but it’ll be worth it.

I’m not an expert on relationships of any sort… and maybe that’s why I’m writing this. Because I know I can’t be a good friend, daughter, sister, you name it, without God. Without the deep, unshakable love that He alone offers me. And I can’t offer it to others unless I have received it from Him.

Two things, people. Love God, love people.

Happy Valentine’s Day. ❤

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Liebster Award… Again! Twice.

The Liebster Award… Again! Twice.

Hello, friends!

If you remember, I was nominated for the Liebster Award last year in December. I’ve been nominated again… two days in a row… so you guys have another long post filled with random information ahead of you.

First off, the rules.

1. Thank the person who nominated you, include a link to their blog, and add the Liebster Award badge to your blog and/or post. 

2. Answer the eleven questions from the person who nominated you. 

3. Give eleven random facts about yourself. 

4. Nominate 5-11 fellow bloggers. 

5. Notify your nominees that you nominated them for the Liebster Award. 

6. Ask your nominees eleven questions.

The first nomination was from Maya Joelle, who blogs right here. Go check her out, especially if you’re a fan of the fantasy genre. She’s got some fun book/music reviews, blog tags, info about her WIP and more! Head on over there!

Maya’s questions were…

1.) What is your favorite summertime drink?

Oh, man. Must this be so hard? We’ll go with an iced coffee.:)

2.) Have you ever met someone whose first language was not English (or was your first language not English)? What was that like?

Yes… I’ve known people who grew up in Mexico for as long as I can remember, and I work with several now! It’s been really neat… although a bit of a struggle when they can’t find the words to express what they’re trying to communicate, or when I can’t understand what they’re saying because of their accent. Thankfully, they’re so gracious with my confusion and laugh it off. A sense of humor covers a multitude of sins.:)

3.) Do you fluently speak any language other than your first? Which one? How’d you learn it?

Not really… although I can usually decipher Spanish sentences. I learned Spanish through a combination of Duo Lingo, Rosetta Stone, stories read in Spanish, and other sources. Oh, but I can say “Please listen – do you speak English?” in Hindi. Because that’s just so helpful.

4.) Have you ever made up a language, or do you want to?

If creating a howling code with brothers and cousins counts, then yes. Been there, done that.

5.) Is it snowy where you live?

FYI: Princess Anna is actually me.

6.) What song did you last listen to? Did you like it?

I’m currently listening to a song called “Hope Now” because it popped up on the station I’m listening to… I would say I like it! It’s not outstanding, in my opinion, but it’s not despicable.:)

7.) Would you rather be Lizzy Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) or Peter Parker (Spider-man)? (Ignore whether you’re the same gender for this question and just think about the situation/personality.)

*looks up a synopsis of just who Spider-Man is*

Lizzy Bennett. Books, long letters, walks, sarcasm, interesting interactions and lots of plot twists… sounds fascinating and familiar.:)

8.) Have you ever been to Michigan? If so, what did you think of it?

Not yet!

9.) Favorite non-official holiday?

Grilled Cheese Day – April 12. A few years ago, our family started a little tradition for our farm… we host a grilled cheese lunch on that day for our employees and other people who work with our farm. It is so much fun! Sadly, last year we canceled due to *unintelligible muttering and sputtering*

10.) Does your church follow the liturgical calendar?

Until I was eleven, we were members of a Lutheran church, and we did there. Now we’re at a non-denominational church that doesn’t follow the liturgical calendar.

11.) Do you like being asked about your future plans? Why or why not?

Ooh… *cringes* Not really. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 22, people seem to automatically assume that you’re in college, so answering “where are you going to school?” with “I’m not going to school, I’m working on my family’s farm while working towards a career in writing” is challenging at times. People either ask for my back-up plan (nothing like boosting a girl’s confidence!) or treat me like I’m about to win the Newbery Medal, and both of these reactions make me shrivel up inside. So, no. I don’t really like being asked that question… and yet somehow I do at the same time. It’s complicated.

Thanks for the questions, Maya! That was fun!:)

Okay, next up…

Mia Harden nominated me, as well! Thank you so, much, Mia.:) You can check out Mia’s blog right here to read some of her super fun posts. Go do it!

Mia’s questions were…

1.) What Food Do You Want to Like, But Just Can’t?

Omelets. I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. I’m not a picky eater, but if I’m going to enjoy an omelet, it has to be absolutely perfect. Not scorched, but with zero runniness. With mushrooms and onions… lots of them. And ham is nice, too. No salsa… that pulls away from the mushrooms and onions. But sour cream on top is great, because… dairy.

2.) If You Could Go Anywhere In the World, Where Would You Go?

Europe. Mountains, history, and a different culture… need I say more?

3.) Excluding Any Instruments That You Might Play, What Is Your Favorite Instrument?

My favorite are the piano and guitar… but I play both. I think that the cello is so beautiful – and I’m such a terrible cellist, I think I can get away with saying I don’t really play it.:)

4.) What Is the Funniest Thing That Has Ever Happened to You?

One Sunday evening, after my mother’s reputation as one of the best chocolate chip cookie bakers in the region was well established among the kids in our youth group (they had scarfed down a box or two, leaving nary a crumb for yours truly a few weeks before this), I began the slow and painful process of trying to drag three siblings away to the car.

After telling the siblings that it was time to leave, I ran to grab the cookies. I was stopped by one of our youth leaders, who asked if she could grab a few cookies before I left. Then, as I began my pilgrimage to the car, I was attacked by a multitude of panicking friends. I’m serious – there were grabbing hands everywhere. It cracked me up, and I still grin every time I remember it. (Maybe this wasn’t the funniest thing… but it’s one of my favorite funny memories.)

(You can find the recipe for these amazing cookies here, on my other blog.:) )

5.) What Is Your Favorite Day of the Week?

Sunday! Although I love the routine of my weekday schedule, it’s such a treat to be able to refresh and refocus on Sundays. Spending time with my church family, spending extra time focusing on and drawing near to Jesus, just hanging out with my family, and (let’s admit it) Sunday afternoon naps are simply the best.

6.) What is Something Random that You Like to Do?

Strike up conversations between characters whose personalities and situations I invent as I go. One of them is usually in tears or upset about something. I’d say that’s random.

7.) Early Bird or Night Owl?

Lately I’ve been a night owl… but I function better when I’m an early bird. I just struggle to tell my brain to stop working and go to sleep.:)

8.) On a Scale of One To Ten, How Excited Were You For This Nomination?

Good question! I was nominated for this last year, and then my excitement was definitely a 10! It was the first blog award for which I’d been nominated, and I was pretty much bouncing off the walls.:) This time around I was more like, “Oh, cool, another nomination!” So maybe a 7 or 8?

9.) You Have the Opportunity to Go on an All-Expenses-Paid Trip to See Your Favorite Singer Perform, But It Happens At the Same Time As Something Else You’ve Always Wanted to Do. What is The Other Thing, And Which Would You Choose?

The other thing would be marrying someone amazing… and I think that choice is a no-brainer. Besides… concerts are usually in big cities. With crazy traffic. And tons of people. I can listen to Sidewalk Prophets anytime I want to at home, anyway.:)

10.) When Did You Decide You Wanted to Start a Blog?

I had to think about this one! I think it was in the spring or summer of 2017… and I started my first blog in October of 2017. I pretty much got hooked on blogging for life after that.:)

11.) And the Question For the Win, How Many Other Blogs Are You Following?

Ooh… I actually have no idea. Maybe… 20? Or 30?

Random Facts About Me

  1. I used to be an avid bacon grease collector.
  2. I wrote a horrible story once, and knew it was horrible. To scare me, my brother wrote up his own version on the same type of paper and pretended that my story was in his possession. His version was so much better than mine and is still in existence. Mine was ripped up by my own two hands years ago.
  3. My family laughed at me when I informed them that taking Geometry helped me to think more logically.
  4. If a game involves words, definitions, or acting, I will probably love it.
  5. This blog has been cracking me up, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s chock-full of my kind of sarcastic humor. Please. Go read it.
  6. My favorite musical is Fiddler on the Roof.
  7. The first scene in an HF novel I started writing was set by a brook in my favorite park.
  8. I once dropped a plate, shattering it, and promptly landed on a shard. With my bare foot.
  9. Phone calls terrify my introverted soul. Texts or letters, please.
  10. If I didn’t love writing or working on the farm, I may have ended up pursuing a career in law or politics. (please refer to random fact #3 and laugh with my family.)
  11. I love to debate.

And I would like to nominate…

Tabitha Rutto

Sarah at The Sarcastic Elf

Hannah at The Striped Plaid

Rachel at Kinetic Intent

Rachel at Joyful Creations

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What are some of your favorite quotes/Bible verses at present?
  2. What has been one of the happiest days of your life so far, and why?
  3. What is your favorite book genre?
  4. What is your favorite movie, and why?
  5. Why do you blog?
  6. Do you prefer talking face-to-face or communicating through writing?
  7. What is your favorite outfit?
  8. If you could spend one full day with your best friend, what would you do together?
  9. What would you say is your biggest goal in life?
  10. Do you plan your blog posts ahead of time, or leave them ’til the last minute?
  11. How would you describe your personality in three words?

If you’re still here… you’re either one of my nominees or a gem. Or both.:) Thanks for sticking with me.

Have a lovely day, folks… and feel free to answer any of these questions in the comment section!

My 2020 Playlist (+ some backstory on why I chose these songs)

My 2020 Playlist (+ some backstory on why I chose these songs)

Happy Thursday, all! I’m here to flood your day with good music.:)

I love the music that comes in and offers just the encouragement, conviction, or wisdom I need to hear at just the perfect time. Today I’d like to share with you some of the songs that blessed me in 2020… mostly ordered chronologically.:) I’ve linked each of the song titles to a YouTube video so you can go listen right away!

Living Hope – Phil Wickham

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Broken every chain… such a beautiful reminder! One of my favorite things about this song is the reminder that I don’t have to fear death, or be chained by sin or my past… Jesus has paid it all and made me free to serve Him.

This is What We Live For – Big Daddy Weave

Chasing Your heart
And all that You are
We surrender
Surrender all

It’s so easy for my perspective to get clouded by all the activity and things that are swirling around me… even by the good things like family, youth group, and writing. Ultimately, I’m involved in all of those things for God and His glory, and I love how this song reminds me of that.

Love God, Love People – Danny Gokey

Gotta keep it real simple, keep it real simple
Bring everything right back to ground zero
‘Cause it all comes down to this
Love God and love people

This came on the radio shortly before graduation… aka one of the most stressful seasons of my life thus far.:) The reminder that Christianity really is this simple was a breath of fresh air that I so desperately needed.

You Already Know – JJ Heller

I can’t seem to find the easy answers
Someday I hope the suffering makes sense
I just need to know that You are with me
Even if You keep me in suspense
We talk so much these days
Because I have so much to say
You stay and listen to me closely even though

You already know

This song jumped into my life at one of the most turbulent points of 2020 for me. I remember sitting there in the car after hearing it on the radio, wondering how this song, written by someone who didn’t even know me, could so perfectly describe my emotions in that moment. Not only are the words so solid, but JJ Heller’s voice and this arrangement are so lovely.

Desert Song – Hillsong Worship

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

That snippet of the song says it all.:)

Be Thou My Vision

Thou and Thou only be first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

I’ve basically taken this one as the theme song for my life.:) The lyrics are so solid and beautiful, and the reminder that God has to be first in my heart is one I need each and every day.

Different – Micah Tyler

I don’t need to recognize the man in the mirror
And I don’t wanna trade Your plan for something familiar
I can’t waste a day, I can’t stay the same

After graduating from high school last summer, I took off down a rather unconventional path… and quite honestly, that’s been hard. Even though I love where I am, it can be difficult to have to do a lot of explaining when people ask what I’m up to.:) This song reminds me that if I’m different because I’m pursuing the Lord, it’s totally okay to be different.

Amen – I Am They

Amen, let Your kingdom come
Amen, let Your will be done
And through the rise and fall
You’re God above it all

I don’t think I need to explain to anyone how life felt like it was spiraling out of control in 2020.:) It was spiraling out of my control… but certainly not God’s. This song is a beautiful reminder of that.

Were there any songs that spoke to your heart in 2020?

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of January 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of January 2021

The first month of 2021 is officially over… and here’s my review.:)

Highlights of the month

  • indoor s’mores with my sisters
  • Mongolian Steamed Dumpling Night… which soon turned into Mongolian Fried Dumpling Night. The transition from steaming to frying was only a slight improvement. Ketchup helped.:)
  • reading a letter my grandmother sent home from college when she was around my age
  • eating buckeyes and exchanging snarky (good-natured!) comments with my brother while we worked on writing and algebra
  • talking late in the night with sisters
  • discovering a love of flying
  • communicating via phone with my family while I was away from home
  • swimming in the ocean
  • spending lots of time with sweet friends
  • experiencing sunburn in January for the very first time:)
  • breaking out of writer’s block
  • reading to my little sister

What I’ve Been Reading

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

This was on the banned books list and recommended by numerous sources, so of course I had to read it.:) I’ve not finished it yet, but I’ve been appreciating it so far. The way it is written totally draws me into the story and makes me feel like I’m physically right there watching what’s happening. Due to the nature of the storyline and Scout’s use of language, I don’t recommend it for everyone.

Keep a Quiet Heart – Elisabeth Elliot

This is such a beautiful collection of wisdom that’s applicable to so many different areas of life. My mom gave this to me right before I went on vacation… and I spent a lot of time reading it. As a homeschool graduate, I especially loved what she had to say about home education… and it made me even more sure that I want to home educate any children I may ever have.:)

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

I just started reading this one to my youngest sister, and it’s been fun to read it again! For some strange reason, reading about the scraps Wilbur eats makes me hungry. Weird.

Journal Snippets

Make me a vessel for honor, Lord – cleanse me from all that would dishonor You. Make me fit for every good work.

Lord, thank You for giving assurance of Your control of my life… of this nation… of this world. Of the tiniest happenings in my day. It gives me peace like nothing else can.

Lord, thank You for leading me… to a desperation for Yourself and the life You want me to lead. I pray that You would fuel this holy discontentment, never letting me sink into status quo. Let me always be seeking, reading, serving, loving. Always loving.

Oh, Lord, let me not heed the voice of tradition while riding roughshod over Your commands.

Let me give up this intense longing for what I cannot have and that which is not eternal. Turn that desire to You and let the flames rage until they consume all the dross and leave only pure emotions – a pure heart that is wholly Yours.

Habakkuk’s attitude of humility in his questioning – “I will… watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” He isn’t questioning to force God into admitting He’s wrong; he’s questioning because his finite mind can’t wrap itself around God’s plan. Let me question You in such a way, Lord.

The will of God for me RIGHT NOW: thankfulness in every situation, and sanctification.

God, You are my Fortress, my Mighty Warrior, my Defender, my Comforter, my Love, my Great Delight, my Everything. You are indeed all to me. Nothing can add to or subtract from Who You are to me. You are my Peace. You are enough for me. And no matter where January 26th, 2022 (one year from the day I wrote this) finds me, You will still be more than enough for me, my God, my Jesus. Thank You… thank You for loving a wretch like me.

Let me never be a dumb piece on display, but a living, breathing proof of God’s power.

What have you been doing/reading/writing? I’d love to hear from you!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something through one of the links I share in this post, I receive a small commission… at no extra cost to you.:)

Like Me – Flash Fiction

Like Me – Flash Fiction

I shiver. Had I known it would be this cold up here, I would have swiped another sweater from that clothesline. But I didn’t. So I shiver.

I can hear Tommy hissing in my ear now: Serves you right. You deserve worse. Knowing I should be in the clink only makes things worse, and my legs are shaking so badly now I can hardly move… but I’ve got to. I’ve made it this far, and I’m too close to the hope of a new life to turn back now.

But a tiny whimpering stops me. The scrubby bushes on my left tremble slightly. Scrambling on my hands and knees, I search. There’s a puppy, small, damp, spotted, and dirty, staring out at me with brown eyes too big for his body.

He’s alone. Like me.

“It’s okay, buddy.” I inch my hand towards him. My arm won’t stay still… but the cold’s not to blame now. I think it’s the foreign feeling of letting my guard down around another living being.

The little fellow whines again as I grasp his ribby body, but he doesn’t try to run. That’s a first. His eyes are glued to me as I lift him out and hold him close. He’s shaking, too. “It’s okay, buddy.”

While I unbutton my coat and slip him inside, he’s shaking and crying. “Shh… shh. It’s okay. It’s okay, buddy.” I let myself stroke the hairs on his tiny head. They’re matted and grimy. “Are you lost, too?” He just looks at me. He still doesn’t run.

Maybe some company on this trip wouldn’t be so bad.

Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash