Another Poem

Another Poem

Hello, friends!

Graduation – for me at least – is/was a bittersweet time. Yes, you’re saying goodbye to several things. But you’re also opening the door to SO much!!

Soak it all in, graduates. Thank God for the past. Trust him for the future. This poem is for you.💕

I’m striking out into waters unknown –

Waters I’ve spent hours dreaming of.

In my dreams the ocean called my name –

The wind sang a melody that

gripped me.

I longed to dip my toes into the waters of

adulthood.

But my childhood

and the familiar

have twined about my throat and blossomed

memories.

The smell is sweet –

how can I tear them away?

I look ahead at the ocean stretched before me.

It’s darker than I thought.

Rougher, too.

Tears well in my eyes as Time pushes me to the

water’s edge.

I’m scared.

How can I make my way in such a storm?

I don’t even know where I’m going.

Slowly, light ebbs across the waves,

and I can see the path I’m standing on

continue

through the sea.

I cannot see its twists and turns,

but the path is

still there.

I’m simply traveling on –

doing what I was made to do.

Slowly

tenderly

I pluck the flowers from the vines and

tuck them away

where their fragrance will always

linger near.

I take the tangled vines,

gently loosing their grasp.

I let them fall now to the shore

and I step into the sea.

Alone

Alone

I wrote this flash fic piece from the perspective of one of my favorite characters in the novel I’m writing.

And don’t worry… he’s gonna be okay.:)

The room is warm. Stifling. I would open the window if the breeze wouldn’t carry the scent of lilacs and an onslaught of memories.

I can’t sleep.

I kick off the sheets and stumble to the window, leaning my forehead against the cool glass. Respite from the heat seeps from the smooth pane into and across my forehead, providing a touch of relief from the oppression that coats my body in a thin film of sweat.

I keep my eyes wide, afraid of what my mind’s eye will see if I close them again. Rather, afraid of how my heart would respond.

I suck in a breath and stare through the glass. All I can see is inky darkness – the firm silhouettes of barns and treelines that straggle across a horizon the sun abandoned. These are silhouettes I could trace in my sleep. I’ve lived most of my life to see new skylines… why does the skyline of my childhood so fascinate me now?

It beats staring at the untouched pillow next to mine.

My breath fogs the windowpane and I twist my head to the side, cooling my cheek against the glass while heat burns behind my eyes. I don’t fight the tears anymore… at least not when I’m alone.

Alone.

I clench my jaw against the word. A year ago it meant independence. Freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. Freedom to go wherever I wanted to go. Freedom to choose the future I wanted to live.

Freedom to choose someone who would be taken from me.

It is not good for the man to be alone…

My hands tighten into helpless fists and I slide to the floor, letting my head fall back against the wall. Tears trickle into my ears as I lift my face to the ceiling.

God…

He knows what’s coming. It’s all I’ve been able to say to Him since…

 I bow my head. I’m sick of saying it. I wonder if He gets sick of hearing it. But I have to tell Him. Our lines of communication can’t go down, and so… I whisper.

Why?

Photo by Iván Barcia on Unsplash

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, and Highlights of May 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, and Highlights of May 2021

The end of another month… and so we continue with not-long-standing tradition!

Highlights

  • running lunches to the fieldwork people – bonus when I got to take the four wheeler!
  • chopping off… a lot… of my hair
  • trying to write 1,000 words of my novel each weekday (it didn’t happen every day, but it definitely boosted my progress!)
  • running errands with my youngest sisters
  • doing more a capella singing with my family
  • discovering this playlist
  • enjoying crazy-fun times with friends+siblings
  • studying the Bible with aforementioned friends+siblings
  • surviving (and thoroughly enjoying:) ) a competitive game of Ultimate Frisbee
  • working on a writing project that is (hopefully!) soon to be disclosed to the general public…

What I’ve Been Reading

A Time to Die – Nadine Brandes

This is my new favorite book! Not many books keep me reading way too late into the night anymore, but this one did! Every time the excitement began to die down, something new/horrible/exciting happened. I loved it, and can’t wait to finish the trilogy! I can’t recommend it enough.

A Time to Speak – Nadine Brandes

The second book in the Out of Time series… so far, it’s just as amazing as the first!

The Ascent of Rum Doodle – W.E. Bowman

I’ve had this one on my shelf for so long, and finally determined to finish reading it. It’s absolutely hilarious… thanks for recommending + lending it, Grandma! Don’t worry… I’ll return it soon.:)

To Build a Fire – Jack London

Another one recommended by my grandma… so, so good. And devastating. And good.:)

Journal Snippets

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not of my circumstances. So… onwards!

God, help me to lose myself and take on the identity You give me – joyfully and with grace. Don’t let me waste my time on worthless pursuits.

Am I willing to offer every aspect of my life to God as a living sacrifice? Will I let You completely mangle my dreams for my life so I can live out Yours? Yes, Lord. Only by Your grace. All I want is Your plan.

Help me to live fully. To have a zest for life. To love fully and extravagantly. To realize the brevity of life and throw myself into making each second count. For good.

Oh, man, life was so much simpler when I was eight. (hehehe…)

God is helping me to see my life the way He sees it – brimming with beauty and opportunity. I see each day as an opportunity to serve God fully and freely, to nurture my relationship with Him, to press into Him and see that He is indeed good, and more than enough for me.

How was your May? What made it stand out to you?

Remember

Remember

I’m struck by how often the Bible exhorts God’s people to remember what has happened in the past. This poem came from my thoughts on that.:)

remember

when you walked in that

storm

even though I said

no

that the rain clouds were

close to you

close and

dark

remember

when I ran through the

rain

to go get you and you

cried

on my chest, told me

you would

remember

next time

and so here we are at

next time

I don’t think you

remembered

I didn’t ask you to

keep

all that guilt in your

soul

or that feeling of

fear

that is flooding you now

darling, no.

just remember

in the rain and the

wind

I was there in the

night

I was there

for

you

remember.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Seek Out the Light

Seek Out the Light

“God, I have no idea what I’m doing. I feel like I’m trying to walk in the dark.”

Thankfully I’ve learned to habitually look at life’s uncertainties with excitement and wonder, viewing them as opportunities to see God’s matchless skills as a storyteller break through my confusion someday and amaze me. But the other day, using some quiet time on the road to think about life, I’d finally had it. I’d become so frustrated with the veil of uncertainty that lies over the future. I was tired of the doubts, the unknowns, my weaknesses…

I’d gotten sick of being in the dark, and I told God so.

The words were barely out of my mouth when a portion of Scripture that’s been ingrained in my mind for as long as I can remember came slowly into focus.

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Your word. A light to my path.

The exasperated complaints died on my lips as I considered this, wondering how much of my confusion was my own fault.

I make sure I have God’s word in front of me in some form every single day… whether that’s through reading, studying, or running memorized Scripture through my head – preferably all three. I’ve made that a habit because I know that God’s word is essential for me. But am I seeking it out with passion… truly seeking it out?

If I’m walking in a dark room I don’t know very well, I look for a good light source… unless I’m trying to let myself get creeped out, which isn’t often.:) I don’t just content myself with the moonlight slipping through the blinds, or the shreds of light filtering in from a distant room. I don’t just grope around my surroundings, stumping blindly around and hoping I don’t tear off a toe on a piece of furniture.

I seek out the light.

If that’s the case, then why do I grope my way through the shadows of life, bumping against obstacles in my path, crying inside with frustration when I hurt myself and can’t seem to find the right path?

I’ve got to seek out the light.

I’ve got to immerse myself in the truth of Scripture. Tuck it away in my memory. Blast it through my earbuds. Sing it. Pray it. Stop pitying myself because I can’t seem to find my way in a self-inflicted darkness. Instead, I need to open the floodgates of my soul to the light of God’s word.

I’ve got to seek out the light.

With passion.

Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash

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

A Glimpse of Sky

A Glimpse of Sky

I have a bit of flash fiction for you today! This piece is the first I’ve written in the dystopian genre…

I knock lightly on the door, inserting the key labeled 1039 in the doorknob and twisting the deadbolt. The heavy metal barrier swings open, and I stare into a monochromatic room. The only splotch of color in the cell is the blond head that’s bent over a tiny desk in the corner. I cough. “Here’s your dinner.”

The man spins, and his eyes shoot blue anger into mine. Blue.. like the snatches of sky that slip through the tips of skyscrapers. Even in the face of their venom, I stare into the eyes almost hungrily.

Color.

“What are you staring at? I thought you had my dinner,” I snap. The impatient tone doesn’t surprise me anymore. I’ve grown accustomed to it, like I’ve grown accustomed to this room… cell. I snatch the first word from my thoughts, furious that I dignified this residence with a term that smacked of life before… this.

You’re weakening…

I shake the thought from my mind and rise to take the tray of food from the little girl. She doesn’t seem to notice that I yelled at her. “Thank you,” I growl, whipping it from her hands to the papers on my desk.

“You’re welcome.”

I know that I should leave now – my job is over – but I can’t help but stare around the room. It’s so different from the rest of the cells. For one thing, it’s twice as large. There’s room for a man to take four paces across and seven paces along the wall, leading to…

I gasp. “You have windows!”

I snort. “That’s a generous statement.” Windows indeed. Glass-filled holes in the wall, shaded on the outside so I can’t see the sky. Yes, the government was very generous to permit me the one room in the prison that has “windows”. They hardly do any good; I can get much more light from the fluorescent bulbs that line this edge of the ceiling. I wonder if they’ve allowed me this semblance of normalcy to assist in crumbling the walls of my soul… bit by eroding bit. To ever remind me of what has been lost.

“What are you working on?”

I shove my hands over the papers full of equations, protecting them from her searching eyes. “You did what you came for.”

“Is that a bird?” Her eyes grope at a corner of paper my hands failed to defend.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a bird… but I think that’s what the figure in the little ink sketch is. “It’s so pretty.”

“Do they pay you to talk?”

“I’m sorry.”

I turn my back on her kindness. After the door closes, a question rises from somewhere deep inside… perhaps a dying gasp from the man I once was.

Why?

Because I can’t remember how one responds to kindness? Because the days of being complimented on anything other than intellect – and grudgingly, at that – were buried long ago? I shove away the tray of food and rise to stare out the window at the gray cement of the prison next door.

What does it matter? The kindness was momentary… swallowed now by a sea of ever-present numbness. Best to get used to it. Taking up the sheet of paper, I rip off the corner and sink to my knees. Staring up and out of the window, I strain my eyes and my soul to catch a glimpse of sky.

I’ve done this every day and have never succeeded… so why do I keep up this madness? I can solve the most complicated equations… but I can’t solve this riddle.

I sigh and tuck the inked bird into my pocket.

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of April 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of April 2021

Another April has come and gone… “and what will be the proof that it was here?”

Fields greening under the joint effort of thunderstorms and sunlight. Planters and soil finishers emerging from the sheds to work in the fields. Bugs… because… there must be bugs.

Also…

these are the days

we will long for.

live wide-eyed;

live wide-eyed.

a.m.b.

Aagh, the beauty and truth in that. I feel like this month has reminded me to do this. To stare at the world in child-like wonder, while recognizing the responsibility that comes with living life on this spinning mudball. To face down the evil while delighting in the good. To treasure the moments that can slip by unnoticed. To keep my eyes on what matters, and let the rest fade away.

To live wide-eyed.

I guess that’s my little ramble for today.:) On to the rest of the post…

Highlights of the Month

  • holding and binge-reading the proof copy of my novel
  • shoving myself outside of my comfort zone
  • creating a character collage for the first time
  • brainstorming with siblings
  • attending Story Embers‘ Engaging Plots Summit
  • starting work on another novel… more on that in the future!
  • discovering Alan Gogoll’s music
  • listening to Nadine Brandes speak at the aforementioned summit… I love her heart in writing.
  • a trip to the library (this one seriously deserves more than a quick mention on a list. I hadn’t been inside a library for over a year… and the amount of emotion that overcame me as I stared at all the books was very weird. Very. Weird. I now long to haunt the library frequently.)

What I’ve Been Reading

Devotedly: the personal letters and love story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot – Valerie Elliot Shepard

I became interested in the Elliots’ story while reading Shadow of the Almighty, so getting to read more about them in this book is really awesome. I love the humor, genuine love, and passion for Christ that’s infused in their letters. Also, the author’s commentary and perspective on her parents’ story is so sweet.

Courageous – Randy Alcorn

Courageous is one of my favorite movies, so when my sister laid hands on this novelization of the movie, of course I had to borrow it.:) I haven’t finished it yet, but already it’s gone far above and beyond my expectations. The way Randy Alcorn weaves so many more elements into the original plot… i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. For mature readers, I can’t recommend it enough.

You Need to Define Your Writing Voice Before You Can Refine It – Daeus Lamb

“Self-discovery is nebulous, so approach it carefully. Don’t allow your culture or subculture to influence you. That may sound as clichéd as Disney’s “follow your heart” gospel, but rather than a call to indulge in your sinful instincts without regard to others, it’s a call to embrace the fragment of God’s image that you most represent.”

I highly recommend this article to any writer who is trying to find their voice! Or to anyone who’s just trying to get comfortable in their skin.:)

Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem

I’ve been wanting to study theology for awhile and finally started taking it seriously. This book has been so helpful!

Journal Snippets

God, I want to want You desperately. I don’t want to be satisfied with my life and human relationships, though I thank You for making them so sweet. I want to crave You desperately. I want to pursue You relentlessly. I want You to be first in my heart and mind, always. Let me desire to know and love Your ways, and to walk in them faithfully.

Oh, God, it truly is all about You! Not about how I look to the world or what I do for the world… help me to take the focus from me to You and keep it there for eternity.

“Lead, kindly Light amid th’encircling gloom. Lead Thou me on.” Let me bounce that Light into this dark world. Make me patient and faithful in the dark.

God, bare my heart to Your instruction and correction, no matter the cost, no matter the pain. I want to be but a channel in Your hand. Make my life soft clay between your fingers; shape, twist, smash, and form it into proper shape, then hold it to the flame. Remove the dross, O Lord. I say so a bit tremblingly, but know this is what I want… what You want.

Help me to love others extravagantly – to live intentionally and boldly so I may do so to the fullest.


What made this April stand out to 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.:)

master of disguise

master of disguise

Happy Thursday, all!

May I present to you… a poem.

a master of disguise is

staring down

the tearful, trembling girl who whimpers

in the mirror.

“behave yourself…

go out and show the world that

you’re just fine.”

a smile plastered for so long and with

such skill

oh, they can’t see

the knot

that’s weighing heavy deep inside

tangible weight

that pulls at propped up corners of her lips

oh, they can’t feel

the sobs

that rip her lungs as

tears

are pouring down her swollen face

and they can’t read

the thoughts

she can’t untangle in her mind or know

the agony

that’s swelling in her chest

oh, they can’t see

and they can’t feel

and they can’t read

and so she cries

and wonders why

and plasters on the mask

Photo by Elisa Ph. on Unsplash

Writing/Life Update

Writing/Life Update

Hello, peoples!

I have no idea if anyone’s noticed, but I’ve been consistently posting on the blog here every Monday and Thursday since last August. Until this past Monday.

Most of the years I’ve spent writing have been driven more by random bursts of inspiration rather than me sitting myself down and forcing myself to write… so having the “2 posts a week” rule for myself for several months here has been incredibly good for me.

Yes, your sense of the impending “however” is correct…

I’ve been doing a lot of self-evaluation lately… evaluation of my writing life included. One piece of wisdom I’ve kept in mind while doing so is this:

“We must determine to be limited and concentrate our affinities.” – Oswald Chambers

This is a challenge for me.

I’m realizing that I’m moving out of the phase where posting twice a week is beneficial and even healthy for me, because I’ve come to grips with the fact that it isn’t exactly my goal to be a successful blogger. My goal is to write quality books, and to use this blog as a place to connect with you, update you on my writing journey, and share encouraging, amusing, and thought-provoking bits I find glinting light on life’s road. In scaling back here I hope to be able to better pursue both of these goals.

So… if you happen to look forward to reading my posts, then you’ll (hopefully) look forward to a weekly post all the more! And if notifications for my new posts make you cringe or groan… well… I’m cutting your suffering in half. You’re welcome.

Also…

I just want to thank you guys for sticking with me as I try to get this writing show on the road. Your encouragement and support blesses me so much!

If there’s anything you’d like to see me share more often on the blog, please let me know. I’m here for you guys, and your feedback is much appreciated.:)

Let’s go live this lovely day to the hilt!

– Laurel

The Day You Died for Me

The Day You Died for Me

Another poem for you today!

The spikes they drive into Your hands
Are pinning down the base demands
My flesh makes of this life.
Poured onto You is all the wrath
I’ve pent up for myself – this bath
Of pain was meant for me.
Whippings
Stabbings
Piercings
Shame –
Hatred
Malice
Awful stains
Of sin were bringing these on me
But You stepped in, said, “Let her free –
I love her – punish Me.”

I weep here as I hear You groan
In agony I have not known
Because of what I’ve done.
How could I bring such awful pain
On You – the One Who speaks my name
With love and songs of joy?
The sky is black – Your voice is loud
“It is finished!” hears the crowd
Before You bow Your head.
Rumblings
Crumblings
Quakings
Dead
Are stirring –
Now lift up their heads
As sin’s dark curse forever breaks –
The broken heart inside me shakes
In awe of what You’ve done.

This matchless love – like crashing waves –
Has swept this haughty white-washed grave
And washed it of its rights.
I see this life’s not truly mine –
You gave me Yours for all of time
The day You died for me.
Such love deserves all I can give –
All that I want now is to live
To hear You say, “Well done.”
Friendships
Free time
Choices –
They
Are Yours –
I pray, Lord, day by day
To live this life to make You proud
And unashamed to be my God.
I love you, Lord – I’m Yours.