Edits and Life

Edits and Life

When I began edits on my novel a couple months ago, I started at chapter one, pen in hand, ready to take notes about what needed to be changed/eliminated/polished.

Not even halfway through the book I was nauseated, with pages and pages of my failures spread before me. I saw my story as worthless. Unredeemable. Messed up. Embarrassing.

I gave up.

Thankfully my family and friends wouldn’t stop asking me about it… so I slightly grudgingly promised to clean it up enough so I could let them read it without me cringing and regretting my existence for every second afterwards. (Dramatic? Perhaps.)

I started edits again last week, this time with a different approach. Before coming in with the dynamite, I decided to first look through my story and note all the things I loved about it…

And suddenly I remembered how much I love the characters in my story. How certain scenes make me so happy that I come back over and over to read them again. How the dialogue makes me laugh.. How little details like descriptions, random sentences, and tiny references to things in my own life bring a smile to my face.

Somehow, I’m now excited to keep working on this book.

It’s the same story. Just a different outlook.

Sometimes life is overwhelming, and I see my life story as worthless. Unredeemable. Messed up. Embarrassing.

I want to give up.

But when I look at my life story and look for bits of beauty and purpose…

I remember how much I love the people in my life. How certain moments of my life make me so happy that I come back over and over to think about them again. How conversations make me laugh or stop to think. How little details like sunrises, cozy hugs, and reminders of God’s purpose and love for me bring a smile to my face.

Then somehow, I become excited to keep living this life.

It’s the same story. Just a different outlook.

It’s my choice. I can look for the trials, the pain, the flaws in my life and become nauseated. Or I can look for the beauty that laces each day of this life and keep walking with purpose.

I choose the latter.

July 2021 Review

July 2021 Review

Hello, friends!

This July was incredible! It wasn’t all sunshine and roses… but I feel like it was so full of raw, beautiful life. I’ve really enjoyed looking back over the month, reviewing all the excitement that made it so beautifully messy and memorable. Here’s some of it!

Highlights of the month

  • Working in the malt wagon at the county fair for the first time
  • Trying to master the art of making waffle bowls
  • Turning 19
  • Running errands with sisters
  • Playing several competitive games of cornhole with my siblings
  • Singing a cappella with my family in an empty gym
  • Meeting my goal of writing 20k words for my current WIP (work in progress)
  • Chasing fireflies
  • Having a super fun and helpful interview with Victoria from Glory Writers
  • Listening to Sidewalk Prophets’ latest CD over… and over… and over…
  • Raking hay
  • Being reminded of the fact that I’m crazy blessed in the friend department
  • Processing… lots… of sweet corn

What I’ve been reading

Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

I shush my mind, because your mind can ruin you if you let it.”

This book was sweet and enjoyable… in a heart-wrenching sort of way. I loved watching the two plot lines pull together… sometimes I can predict the ending of a book, but I really enjoyed how this one surprised me!

Why Memorable Writers Need to Experience Real Adventures – Christopher Babcock

“Adventure is a muscle you exercise whenever you embrace the unfamiliar over the mundane. The point is to avoid slipping into complacency and letting it become flabby. That requires commitment.”

Oof, this article was so good. It reminded me that I need to just get out and live! This would be a good read, even if you aren’t a writer.

Devotedly – Valerie Elliot Shepard

“I want to walk humbly and quietly with my Master, sensitive only to His wishes, not fluttering and eager with my own.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Yes, I’m still reading this one. I’ll finish it one of these days…:) It’s still so good!

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle

“Life itself… is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.”

Aagh, these are so much fun!

Journal Snippets

Odd how when there’s so much flowing through your heart and life that begs recording, the journal entries wane.

John 11:5-6… this fascinates me. Jesus loved them, so… He tarried. (Take that, oh anxious soul.) The beautiful, heart-wrenching drama of the story of Lazarus sinks into deep tragedy, then suddenly at the end swells into victory, leaving the audience in awe of this homeless man – Son of God. Jesus waited. He let hearts be broken so that His power might shine through in greater intensity. He took decaying hopes and brought them back to life, and life more abundant.

Let me rejoice at the beauty… but let me not cling to it.

Cleanse my heart, Lord… draw me nearer and nearer to You until You truly are enough for me. Let me rest peacefully in Your will while working hard.

Acts 3 – I never cease to wonder at how “they lifted him… and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” The strength was given after the start of what was humanly impossible.

What made this July stand out to you? I’d love to hear in the comments!

In which I share my new favorite poem and ask for poetry recommendations

That moment when you’re reading a piece of poetry… and your heart starts crying in the weirdest mixture of joy and sadness and your mind screams, “Yes… yes… yes!!! That’s right!

That’s the moment I had earlier this afternoon when I read…

goodbyes.

Please, guys, go check it out. It’s beautiful. It’s difficult (for me personally, at least) to find poetry that so perfectly blends the experience of pain and joy in life with a right relationship with God, but this piece hits the mark dead on.

*whispers* Go read it.:)

Also… I’m trying to read more poetry, and would love some recommendations! Do you have any favorite poets/poems? Let me know in the comments… I’d love to check them out.:)

-Laurel

Awake – A Poem

Hello, friends!

I’ve been having fun writing off of these flash fic prompts this July. Today’s prompt was awake – and for me, it inspired more of a freestyle poem than a piece of flash fiction. I decided to fly with that idea… and here’s what happened!:)

stop living your life like it’s endless.

it’s not.

make the most of each

song

conversation

quick talk

goodbye hug

every moment

you have with this life, or else

soon

the tomorrows you planned for and wanted

so badly

may fade into days of regret.

live this life

to the hilt

awake

so that you may see clearly

the mist

of your trembling mortality.

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of June 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of June 2021

And here it is… the monthly recap.:)

Highlights

  • Helping with fieldwork and learning what not to do when merging hay
  • Riding with my dad in the chopper
  • Finishing the Out of Time series
  • Park time with some cousins
  • Making strawberry shortcake for the first time
  • Taking Pride and Prejudice selfies with a sister
  • Compiling all of my poetry into one place
  • Singing with my family
  • Letting the craziness of life push me closer to God
  • Studying the Bible with friends
  • Coming up with these flash fiction prompts

What I’ve Been Reading

A Time to Speak – Nadine Brandes

The second book in the Out of Time Series… I give it six stars out of five.

A Time to Rise – Nadine Brandes

This one convinced me that the Out of Time Series is my new favorite set of books. An epic storyline, page-turning suspense, sweet romance, engaging writing, and questions posed that challenge the way I live and think… this series covers all the bases, in my book! (Pun intended.:) )

Flags of Our Fathers – James Bradley and Ron Powers

I love the way the historical quality of this book is meshed so beautifully with engaging writing. I’ve been enjoying this glimpse of the lives of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima.

Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

Sometimes books with two storylines bore me. Not this one! I’m excited to finish it and see how everything pulls together.

Journal Snippets

Fill me so I can fill others.

If others pointed people to my life as an example of what a true Christian is, would they get an accurate description?

I love Habakkuk’s heart of humility here in Habakkuk 2:1 – “I will watch to see… what I will answer when I am corrected.” He’s asking God why… but isn’t looking to justify his own indignation. He’s seeking to know and accept the heart of God.

“You did awesome things for which we did not look…” You directed the hearts of men like the rivers of water… and I am full of confidence that You can do it again to accomplish Your will.

Oh, God, give me purity of heart and grace on my lips.

Reading in Ezekiel today about how God defended the Israelites He had disciplined was encouraging. Even though I’ve messed up big-time, Jesus, Your love fights for me. Thank You.

God, I want to be seeking You more. Finding my fulfillment in You – my strength and courage and purpose and driving force in You. God, I never regret time taken to spend in Your word… so why do I have to force myself into it at times? Whet my appetite, Lord.

What blessed/challenged you most this June?

July Flash Fiction Writing Challenge!!!

July Flash Fiction Writing Challenge!!!

Surprise! A Thursday blog post again.:)

I want to be writing more flash fiction. So… I put together a list of one word prompts – one for each day of July – to use to get my creative juices flowing into some flash fiction pieces. I’ll be writing one piece of flash fiction for each prompt. I thought I’d share the prompts here so you guys can be writing along with me this month if you’d like!

  1. firefly
  2. anthem
  3. scratch
  4. sacrifice
  5. melody
  6. ice cream
  7. belonging
  8. shred
  9. balance
  10. thunderstorm
  11. jar
  12. awake
  13. daisy
  14. disintegrate
  15. hoop
  16. soar
  17. sliver
  18. classic
  19. pungent
  20. muddy
  21. euphoria
  22. glass
  23. dwindle
  24. highway
  25. firecracker
  26. unrest
  27. sandals
  28. serendipity
  29. twig
  30. wary
  31. shuffle

Let me know in the comments if you plan to take the challenge so I can be cheering you on!! I’m super excited to do this… and arrive at the end of July with 31 whole new pieces of flash fiction!

Stop Hiding – Flash Fiction

Hello, friends! I have another flash fiction for you today. Actually, it has a very similar theme to this poem I wrote a few months ago! I hope you enjoy it.:)

“Stop hiding.”

The girl stares back at me blankly. Arms crossed, lips resting in a sullen droop. Unconvinced. Waiting for me to say more.

I hesitate, then take a breath. “How can you expect to be understood when all you’ll give them is a false front?”

“It’s safer this way.” She swallows and breaks eye contact, studying the linoleum.

“Maybe.” I stare at her and she stares back, chocolate eyes pooling with tears. “But… don’t you want people to know who you truly are?”

“Yeah, but…” she pauses, and a tear falls from her lower eyelid. Her toe traces circles on the floor.

I wait. I know her well enough to know that she’ll talk when she’s ready. And she does.

“My story isn’t worth knowing.”

“That’s not true… every story’s worth knowing.”

“Mine isn’t.” Another tear splashes onto her dusty foot.

“But… what if… other people have stories like yours? And they need to know they’re not alone?” I wrap my arms around myself. “What if you’re the one who needs to let them know that?”

Silence aches on for several moments. I can hear her breathing… deep, searching breaths facing down near-terror. She watches more tears paint damp circles on her toes.

Finally…

“Okay.” She sniffs and blinks, her fist smearing tears on her face. “I won’t keep hiding.”

I nod and turn away from the mirror.

For Once… A Happy Poem!

For Once… A Happy Poem!

*peels you off of the floor*

Yes. It’s true. I actually wrote a happy poem… and it’s honestly one of my favorites now! I hope you like it, too.:)

sunshine

it’ll come again – someday –

and you’ll skip through the puddles with its

rays on your face

and you’ll

smile again

but not like before

‘cause the raindrops have

pummeled your skin and they’ve rinsed off the

dust that hid

beauty within

oh, you’ll smile again

more beautifully

fully

again.

Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

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.