Reposting “Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts”

Reposting “Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts”

Hello, friends!

In last Monday’s post, I said I would be sharing a recap of the writing retreat I attended last month, but, alas, the week was full of other adventures (such as writing a prologue for my new WIP [!!!] and having my guitar accidentally stolen by a band) and I didn’t cut out enough time to write the post.

So here is a post that I shared in January. I still get goosebumps reading it. If the weight of guilt and desperation is weighing heavy on you, this piece is especially for you. It’s my prayer that it gives you hope and a glimpse of God’s redeeming light. ❤

Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts

What adventures did this week hold for you? I always love hearing from you in the comments!

-Laurel

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

April Review – 2022

April Review – 2022

Goodness gracious, this may have been one of the most exciting months of my life! I know it’s been pretty quiet on the blog front, but it’s been jam-packed with raw living…and it’s been incredible.

Let’s take a peek.:)

Things worth remembering

  • Releasing my first poetry book!
  • going on a quest to pick up furniture with my brother
  • packaging and mailing out preorders of aforementioned poetry book – I so enjoyed getting to think about all of the people who would be receiving a copy of This Will Not Last!
  • making toast at the first sibling bonfire of the year
  • Sharing a Christian Seder meal with family and dear friends
  • Not blowing away in some pretty high winds
  • Navigating airports and lengthy layovers on my own and realizing it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be
  • Spending a week talking and adventuring and building relationships with like-minded writers on the Glory Writers retreat! I want to do a full post dedicated to covering this event, so stay tuned!

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle

What I’ve been reading

Love Comes Softly – Janette Oke

I know, I am a fierce critic of the romance genre, but I devoured this book in two days! There was so much solid character development, and of course a bit of heartache. I’m not the biggest fan of Janette Oke’s writing style, but after I got over that I couldn’t put the book down. I definitely recommend it!

White Stallion of Lipizza – Marguerite Henry

I love Marguerite Henry’s books! I hadn’t read one in the longest time, so it’s been fun to pick this one up again.

“There are far, far greater things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

From the journal

Today is not your day. It’s God’s. Use it accordingly.

And yet I praise You, Father, because You know best, and even in the broken valley You are the restorer of my soul.

What made your April memorable? I’d love to hear in the comments!

If I Were Him – Flash Fiction (written by my sister!)

Hello, friends!

I’m really excited to share today’s post with you all…because I really love it, and because my sister Abby wrote it! I think it’s the perfect piece for Holy Week.

I enter the room. I’m a servant, so I’m allowed in here.

The men at the front draw my attention. There is Caiaphas, the high priest, tall and regal, with a stern face, his hands clenched into fists at his side. Near him are the scribes and elders, and the whole council, all talking in excited voices. But the One I am most focused on is the One who is bound. The One at whom the others cast spiteful looks. There is something in His face…a calmness that I cannot place. They are trying to accuse Him, and I know why. They want to put Him to death because He claims to be the Son of God. They are afraid He will turn the people away from obeying their rules. This is why I wonder at His look. He should be upset, fighting for His life. But He’s not.

They start to bring in false witnesses and I watch with wide eyes as they all try to accuse Him. The Man, whom I’ve heard them call Jesus, does not speak. Then they ask Him a question, and He lifts His head. Could that be? A smile on His face? No, it must be the light. He begins to speak, and I strain to hear, but all of a sudden there is scuffling near the door, blocking out His voice. I turn, irritated. A man enters, breathing hard, and he tries his best to silently move to the fire at the far end of the wall where several servants are gathered. His eyes keep flitting to the arguing group in the front, and as he turns his head, something dawns on me. He seems familiar, like I’ve seen him before…but where?

Oh, yes! I’ve seen him with Jesus in the streets. He is the one that would be pushing the crowds away so there would always be a clear path for his teacher. I’m curious about how much he would know about Jesus, and I edge my way closer. He turns when I tap his shoulder. His eyes are wild, but they calm when he sees I’m only a servant.

“You were with Jesus,” I blurt, motioning at the bound Man.

He glares at me. “No, of course not. I have nothing to do with Him.” Other servants crowd around, but he fights them off, insisting he knows nothing about Jesus. He leaves as quickly as possible, and I wonder about that.

If I were a follower of Jesus and were able to follow Him freely through the streets like I’d seen others do, I wouldn’t have denied Him. I glanced at the front again. No, a Man that speaks such wonderful words and performs such amazing miracles I would surely give my life for.

Little did I know that that very day, He would give His life for me.

Question of the day: What would you have done if you were a follower of Jesus on the day He was crucified?

March 2022 Review

This March was so full of adventure and soul-searching. Here’s my review!

Things worth remembering…

  • a tramp through the woods with my brother and a couple of sisters
  • listening to Flight of Valor live. It was written to honor the heroes on United Flight 93…I still can’t listen to it without getting goosebumps.
  • a weekend trip to Nebraska with my brother and grandparents
  • a crisp morning walk through a cemetery I was delighted to find lay across the road from the motel on said trip
  • star-gazing on the side of the road with my grandma while everyone else was in the vehicle skunk-gazing the smelly little family crossing the road in front of us
  • making Shamrock shakes without a blender
  • setting up my Etsy shop! Currently I don’t have any listings (Preorders for This Will Not Last have closed), but I am hoping to have some poetry-themed products out soon.:) What would you like to see? Greeting cards? Post cards? Notebooks? Anything else? Let me know in the comments!
  • trying a new method of curling my hair and accidently making it look like I just stepped out of the eighties
  • giving dried seaweed a hearty 0/10 rating
  • reading and discussing Crazy Love (by Francis Chan) with friends
  • a family shopping trip and supper out

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve been reading…

Reflection – Laurel Burgess

Technically I read this short story in February…but, man. It’s too good not to share. I definitely recommend it!

Also…definitely check out Laurel’s website. Her short story, Attack of the Gummy Worms, had me laughing so hard!

The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst

How you live your life determines how you spend your soul.

Man, has this book been a wake-up call. Or rather, a megaphone for the wake-up call that has been trying to grab my attention for a while now. Time is a precious gift. It is limited, and once we spend it, it’s gone. Forever. Making wise decisions is key to stewarding our time in the best way possible…and I’m preaching to myself here.

This Will Not Last – Laurel Jean

when my shell of defense crashes down all around and the world as I know it is gone // You’re still here… You are mine… I am Yours.

Hehehe, watch me shamelessly plug my writing. XD

Seriously, though…I have so been enjoying reading through this again…and again. I think you might like it, too.:) You can order your very own copy here!

Crazy Love – Francis Chan

Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? …to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards.

I’ve been reading and talking through this book with some sweet friends…another megaphone for God’s wake-up call. Wow. It’s been amazing.

“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

I’ve been listening to…

Lots of Alan Gogoll’s music! I love to listen to it when I’m working in the kitchen, drawing, or painting. So relaxing!

for KING & COUNTRY’s newest album, What Are We Waiting For? Over. And over. And over again. I think my sisters might like it. XD

Instrumental with Dave and JJ Heller. This podcast is absolutely incredible! I love hearing about how God uses the tiniest twists and turns in a person’s life to direct it in a beautiful and redeeming way.

Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies too. Or, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel. Whenever we cannot love in the old human way, God can give us the perfect way.”

Casper ten Boom

From the journal…

Always, choosing God’s way in a broken world has made His people different from the world. I will stick out. I will walk a road less traveled…and that is beautiful. Oh, steel my heart with courage, Lord!

The way is raw and broken and painful even now…I don’t want it to be this way. But You will make this beautiful. You will heal us. I pray that happens on earth, but even if it doesn’t…Your way is best. I will rest in this even while I ache.

Lord, I want to desire You. Not just the hope of brighter days, but You…for Yourself. For Your justice. For Your mercy. For Your goodness. For Your love. For Your wisdom.

We urge people to “accept Jesus as Savior” (a phrase never found in the Bible), but do we urge them to confess Him as Lord? He is just as much a Lord as He is a Savior, but we’re so attached to our liberty that we don’t want to see Him as anything more than gentle. Oh, Lord, may I treat You as Lord!

Never revert to the safety of the known when God has snatched you from it for the unknown. (Numbers 14)

Yes, I may pray that You show me the way in which I should walk, but I must actively seek…put in the grunt work. Oh, give me courage and determination!

What memories/lessons are you carrying away from this month?

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

And the winner is…

Hello, friends!

Thank you so much to everyone who chatted in the comments and entered the giveaway earlier this week! It was so much fun getting to know you a little better and hearing your stories.:)

The winner of the giveaway has been randomly selected, and the winner is…

*dramatic drumroll*

Elle!!!

Congratulations, Elle! Keep an eye out for your copy of This Will Not Last! I’m so excited to be able to share it with you.:)

If you did not win the giveaway but would still like to have a signed copy of This Will Not Last, you can order yours here...but only through Sunday, April 3rd! The signed copies will no longer be for sale when the book releases on April 4th, so grab yours while they’re still available!

Question of the day…what is the best gift (giveaway or otherwise:) ) you’ve ever been given?

‘Til next time,

❤ 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

Preorder a signed copy of This Will Not Last!!!

Preorder a signed copy of This Will Not Last!!!

It’s true…we’re two weeks away from release day and you can now place your preorder for a signed copy of This Will Not Last!

Click here to preorder.:)

What the preorder special includes:

  • a signed copy of This Will Not Last
  • a poem from the collection hand-lettered on a greeting card so you can share the gift of poetry with a friend
  • free shipping!!!

Preorder your copy now!

Raw and achingly honest, This Will Not Last is a collection of poetry that captures the fluctuating emotions that lace life’s pathway. 

Wonder, grief, happiness, and heartache all have their turn to shine in this collection, ultimately bowing to the truth of their transience…and the sturdy realization of God’s unshakeable goodness.  

this death 

this shedding 

of all I’ve known 

must come before the rays of sun 

burst bright upon my soul 

to wake 

a seed of what’s to come. 

this death 

this dying will not last 

this, too 

this, too 

this, too, shall pass. 

I’m so, so excited to finally be able to get this book out to you all next month!!!

– Laurel

First Love – a poem

First Love – a poem

Hello, friends!

I wrote this poem the other morning…aren’t you so grateful for a God who makes all things new?

Sidenote: I cannot wait to smell the white clover again this summer.

when I stop to think about it…

I miss the days when

I first fell in love with You.

when all of life shone because of

the beauty You sparked in my heart…

when everything reminded me of You –

a frosted oak leaf

the scent of white clover

a baby’s giggle –

and nothing seemed

too daunting to face

with You.

You haven’t changed…

my heart has calloused.

oh, may I be

tender again to

Your whisper

Your smile

Your thoughtfulness

in choosing my heart as

Your treasure.

You make all things new…

God bring me back to

the passion of my first love.

P.S. If you’d like to get a signed copy of This Will Not Last, stay tuned for preorders opening up next Monday!!! *bounces off walls*

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash