This Is Over – Flash Fiction

This Is Over – Flash Fiction

Gulping in desperate breaths of air, she slowed her pace, eyes darting across the shadowed forest that hunched along either side of the crooked path.

No moving shadows.

And there was the stump – standing weary guard over long-kept secrets.

Secrets that must be no more.

Her muddied boot slipped on the edge of the spade she’d brought, but finally forced it to bite the earth and turn the mouthful over, damp and clumped.

She dug until she hit metal.

She swiped the back of her hand across her forehead, smearing dirt and sweat into mud. She stumbled to her knees, seemingly careless of her best skirt. She clawed at and broke the fragile chain around her neck, letting its pendant land in her gloved hand.

The key ground in the lock, but it turned.

She pulled out the letters one by one, scrambling them all into one jumbled heap pressed against her heaving chest. As she opened each one, she resisted the urge to let her gaze sweep the graceful handwriting that curled across each page.

This is over.

She threw each one into the mud at the side of the path, coating it with a thin dusting of paper snow.

Her boots worked across the muck, grinding her past into the earth until its filth had become one with the rotting leaves and bloated earth.

She marched back the way she had come.

She never returned.

Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash

The Bookworm’s Tag

The Bookworm’s Tag

Recently JadeSky from Stepping Stones Book Reviews tagged me for the Bookworms Tag… thank you, friend!

JadeSky asked some pretty awesome questions, so let’s dive right in!

What book would you recommend to a random stranger (just because you love it so much)? Why?

The Bible!! Definitely the best book I’ve ever read.:) I have no idea how anyone can keep their life together without having that access to the heart of God.

What makes you want to keep reading a book?

Suspense and plot twists, definitely! Also being able to relate to the struggles/mindset of a character will almost always keep me turning pages.

Also… tragedy. If there’s any kind of heartbreak, I typically have to keep reading to see how it all ends.

Do you have a favorite line from a book? If so, what is it and where is it from?

Oof, this is the hardest question… Can I pick a few?

“Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. I don’t think He wants us to keep asking and dwelling on His specific plan or will. He wants us to dwell on and seek Him. Then our decisions will be made from our love for and relationship with Him. We are free to take action in whatever means we want as long as we seek Him and allow Him to guide us.” – Solomon Hawke in Nadine Brandes’ A Time to Speak

“I may have lost my heart, but not my self control.” – Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s Emma

“I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” – Estella in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

What’s your LEAST favorite genre? Why?

Of the genres I’ve read, I can’t say I have a least favorite… but I really, really dislike romance unless it’s written well. Sappy romance novels are simply hard for me to enjoy through all of the eye-rolling… and I believe they can give readers a warped view of true love and romance.

Do you read the acknowledgements in books?

Only if they’re interesting/humorous.:)

How much do you know about your favorite authors?

Quite a bit, now that I think of it! I know that L.M. Montgomery verbalized dialogue from her WIPs as she walked around town running errands, Harper Lee’s dad gave out autographs signing his name as Atticus Finch, and Nadine Brandes watches Fiddler on the Roof every year.

It’s all about the important details, am I right? XD

What makes you admire a character?

I love it when characters come alive to me without me even trying hard to picture them. I mean, if we’re talking about actual admiration, I’d say solid character is important to me… but some of the characters I most enjoy are flawed and clumsy. I think they’re awesome, anyway, simply because they’re real.

Some such characters… Jo March (Little Women), Dobro Turtlebane (The Bark of the Bog Owl), Solomon Hawke (the Out of Time series), Daniel bar Jamin (The Bronze Bow), and… dare I say… Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)?

What’s the most life-changing thing you’ve learned from a book?

I love this question!

Most books I read, enjoy, and then just keep in my memory as an enjoyable experience… but the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes definitely changed my life. Parvin’s courage and confidence in God helped encourage me to be less fearful and more courageous… whether that was in facing my biggest fears or simply taking on more responsibilities/going new places/meeting new people/climbing higher in my favorite tree. I don’t regret a single moment I spent reading those books!

What’s one GOOD thing about movies based off of books?

I love how it helps me to visualize the characters and bring them to life! Reading Pride and Prejudice after having watched the movie was so much more fun because I could actually see the characters, instead of having them be faint shadows in my mind.

Are there any books you wish you hadn’t read?

Not many… but there was at least one. I can’t remember what it was called. The subject matter was just too heavy for me at the time.

And I am going to nominate…

  • Daniel Amador
  • Any other blogging bookworms who’d love to participate!

Alright… my questions for my nominees!

  1. In your opinion, what makes a good book?
  2. Which book characters remind you most of yourself?
  3. If you could change the ending of a book, which book would it be and how would you change the way it ended?
  4. How did you become a bookworm?
  5. What do you do when a character has a name you don’t know how to pronounce?
  6. Do you prefer books written in past tense or present tense?
  7. What’s the most random thing a book has inspired you to do?
  8. Do you underline sentences in your books?
  9. What is the biggest question a book forced you to ask yourself?
  10. Do you ever read aloud to yourself?

Okay, so here’s how to participate in the tag:

  • Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you
  • Include the tag graphic in your post (pictured above)
  • Answer the ten questions the blogger asked
  • Nominate between five and ten bloggers
  • Ask your nominees ten book-related questions!
  • Don’t feel bound to these rules
  • (Most importantly) Have fun!

Please feel free to answer any of the questions asked in this post in the comment section! I’d love to read your answers.:)

Highlights, Recent Reads, and Journal Snippets – September 2021

Highlights, Recent Reads, and Journal Snippets – September 2021

Yet another epic month in the books…

Highlights

  • Random thoughtful notes from family + friends
  • Not overturning a canoe
  • Working on the farm
  • Discovering an affection for the word hobnob
  • Learning that eight pots of mums fit quite nicely in a Walmart shopping cart
  • Creating bookmarks
  • Finally coming to terms with the arrival of autumn
  • Baking yummy desserts
  • Realizing that it’s a good idea to make sure face paint is easily washable before you slather it on your face
  • Going to a high school football game
  • Being reminded that I never want to live in a big city

What I’ve been reading

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

“I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”

I’m not sure if I’d ever read completely through this book again… but the raw emotion was stellar! And rather depressing…

Spiritual Bootcamp – John MacArthur

An idol… is anything that dominates your life and diverts you from worshiping and obeying God.

This book has been amazing!

Papa’s Wife – Thyra Ferré Björn

Papa stared after her… His feet did not move, but his cold, hardened bachelor’s heart broke its shell and tumbled down the street after Mama.

This book cracks me up, and has been a nice change of pace after the emotional heaviness of Wuthering Heights!

Imagine: a collection of short stories and poems from the Teen Writers’ Nook Family

Elise knew she was numb, and she was glad of it. It cleared her mind, helped her think about what she had done without the full weight of shame. But with one question answered, another still pervaded her thoughts: “Am I going to prison?”

One of my friends had a short story and poem published in this book!!

Journal Snippets

Lord, I accept Your design for my life with joy. The people, the opportunities, the closed doors, the rugged paths yet to be charted… I accept it all. I accept You. As my Love, my Redeemer, my closest friend, my defense… I rest in You and Your ways.

Oh, God, thank You for being bigger than my mistakes and my clumsiness.

Turmoil + peace rolled into one.

Words that have been blessing me

“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.” – Psalm 131

“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it,’ when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” – Psalm 138:3

“Dreams are tawdry when compared with the leading of God, and not worthy of the aura of wonder we usually surround them with. God only doeth wonders. He does nothing else.” – Jim Elliot

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.” – A.W. Tozer

What made your September stand out? ❤

Scripture (except for Isaiah 30:21) taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

when i don’t know my heart…

i rest in the God who created, understands, and protects it.

the God who directs like the rivers of water

the heart of the king

is the God with me

before me

behind me

above me

beneath me

within me

loving me

chasing me

holding me

bracing me

saving me

from my fears

from the flood

from the fires

from sin

from myself

from all that is seeking to

kill and destroy

from the terror of night and the

heat of the day

oh, God! how? how is it that You

choose to defend such a

frightened, messed-up soul?

how do You keep on loving me

through it all?

someway…

somehow…

You do.

for that’s who You are.

my Lover.

my Defender.

my Father.

my Savior.

my Peace.

my Deliverer.

my Rock.

my Refuge.

my Joy.

my Love.

my Passion.

my Purpose.

my Beautiful One.

Let’s do a music swap!

Let’s do a music swap!

Who doesn’t like a good song or two or ten? Here are some of my recent favorites…

  • God is Good – Francesca Battistelli (This one just came out the other day… and I love it so much.)
  • Burn the Ships – for KING & COUNTRY
  • Speechless – Naomi Scott
  • Carry You – Ruelle
  • Help is on the Way – TobyMac
  • Overcomer – Mandisa
  • A Thousand Years – The Piano Guys
  • Prodigal – Sidewalk Prophets
  • Write Your Story – Francesca Battistelli
  • You Are Good – Point of Grace

What’s been playing on your life’s soundtrack lately? Let me know in the comments!!

-Laurel

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

I’m getting published!!!

I’m getting published!!!

Guys… one of my poems is going to be published in this gorgeous book!!!

Am I bouncing off the walls? Maybe.

What Darkness Fears is releasing on October 13th… but preorders are now live! Preorder your copy here… and get some bonus preorder goodies!

Here’s the blurb:

Light Dawns in Darkness

Even in the darkest night, there is hope. This collection of stories and poems portray light in the darkness. Multiple authors in various genres take you on a journey from dark to light, from despair to hope.

Within these pages, you’ll discover teens locked in a hotel with a mind of its own, a young man on an adventure choosing the worst sort of companion, an author facing her own deadly characters, an arguing couple picking up a hitchhiker in the middle of the desert, a woman fighting an ominous monster on the high seas, a Headless Henwoman carrying souls to their afterlife, the god of mischief visiting the underworld, and other spooky stories.

I’m excited to read it when it comes out next month… and to see my own poem in print!😊

Highlights, Recent Reads, and Journal Snippets – August 2021

Highlights, Recent Reads, and Journal Snippets – August 2021

Without any ado…

*realizes that may be rather rude and abrupt and runs back to apologize*

*awkwardly explains that every. single. month. goes by so fast and is full of amazing things, but saying that in every. single. one. of these posts gets repetitive, and isn’t saying nothing better than being boring?*

*smiles and waves and runs off again*

Highlights

  • enjoying garden veggies
  • being at my church’s youth retreat!!!
  • writing more poetry
  • making a “volcano” in the sandbox with my youngest sister
  • making music videos with another sister
  • getting some exciting news (coming to you soon!!) about my writing
  • making pickles with sisters + my grandma
  • eating aforementioned pickles
  • chatting with friends
  • canoeing for the first time

What I’ve been reading

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

“… he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…”

This book is so well written, but incredibly devastating. Don’t read it if you don’t want to hurt.

Beholding and Becoming – Ruth Chou Simons

“In the everyday mistakes or in the failures of a lifetime, God calls us out of hiding and pays the price for our freedom. We can stop fearing failure. Our regrets, mishaps, and mess-ups are no longer the final word over our lives. Jesus victory on the cross is.”

I love this book! Both the words and the artwork are so beautiful.

Devotedly – Valerie Elliot Shepard

“It is lost, I said to myself this morning. ‘Lost?’ said the Father. ‘Yes, lost,’ said I. ‘But I thought you had given Me those years?’ ‘Yes, Lord, I did. They were Thine.’ ‘Then they are not lost. They are kept in the heavenly storehouse. Someday thou shalt see the glory. Thou canst not see it now – thou seest only the appartent loss on earth. Thine eyes are blinded with fruitless longing. Look away to My eternal purposes.’ “ – Elisabeth Elliot

One of these days I’ll finish reading this… XD

Journal Snippets

Oh, God, let me be like that, a living challenge to others to become better for You.

Oh, Lord, let me marvel at the works of Your hands, but let me not desire them above You.

The excellency of the power is of God, not us. He will shine through my brokenness to point others to the light of His glory. Oh, God, thank you for using broken souls. Help me shed the shackles of yesterday’s self and walk in freedom.

Your turn! What were you reading/thinking/doing this August?

– Laurel

I’ll Hold Him – Flash Fiction

I’ll Hold Him – Flash Fiction

Everyone says he’s too big for me to carry now.

It’s probably true. His legs in his favorite Superman pajama pants (the ones that are way too short and ragged) dangle past my knees when I carry him piggyback, and I can’t run with him like I used to.

But I’ll carry him until he stops asking…

‘Cause I know that one of these days he’ll stop begging to be close to me. One of these days he’ll stop giving me butterfly kisses, chubby arms tangled around my neck, almost choking me. One of these days my shoulder won’t be the one he clings to and bawls on when his little heart gets broken.

One of these days he’ll think he’s stopped needing me.

I’ll hold him while I can.

Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash

1 year blogiversary + a few post roundups

1 year blogiversary + a few post roundups

It’s been over a year now since I started this blog! I thought it might be fun to celebrate by rounding up a few posts from the past year… so let’s do this!

Ranking is based on the number of times each post was viewed.:)

Top 5 posts

Top 5 poetry/flash fiction posts

5 of my favorite posts

5 of my favorite poetry/flash fiction posts

Thank you so much for sticking with me and reading my thoughts throughout this past year! It blesses me so much.:) I’m excited to see what this next year holds for this blog and my writing!

Collab with Last Year’s Self

I just found a blog post I wrote last fall and never published. A snippet of it really resonated with me today… so here it is in italics, with today’s thoughts following:

I don’t want to be the person I’ve been lately. I don’t want to be the sister who is so disorganized about her work/learning schedule that it somehow sucks up her life. I don’t want to be the friend who is so scatterbrained that she doesn’t respond to letters and texts or check in just to see if you’re doing okay. I don’t want to be the daughter who lives like home is just a landing field and runway.

Most of all, I don’t want to be the Christian of whom her God is ashamed.

I want to keep my priorities in the right place. My writing will one day be forgotten; the lives I have either strengthened or crushed will not. Work is so important… God loves diligence… but it cannot consume me. It cannot become an idol.

God needs to be first. I show my love for Him in the way that I love people…

…not necessarily in the way that I write… or in how well I mix feed for the cows… or in how many poems I churn out… or how successful I become in the world’s eyes…

But in the way I drop what I’m doing to truly listen when someone needs to talk. In the way that I shove aside my own plans to bless someone else. In the way I hold my tongue when harsh words are burning on my lips. In the way I choose to stay and love when everything in me screams to run.

In the daily, conscious choices to pick up my cross, die to myself, and choose to love.

God needs to come first in my heart… above everything. How I love God is proven in the way I love others.

It’s that simple… and that hard.