August Memories – 2022

August Memories – 2022

You know the routine…let’s cut to the chase!

Things worth remembering

  • The smell of new twine and hay
  • “Getting” to hear what it sounds like when a tire blows
  • All of the music, dance, and stories shared at my grandma’s memorial service
  • Singing around the bonfire with family and hearing my grandpa play the guitar
  • Getting to see and help set up my brother’s new apartment
  • The guys and girls singing together in the hallway on the youth retreat…the closed door in between the two groups only made for more giggles and louder scream-singing!
  • Misty mornings
  • Baseball and wading in the crik with friends
  • Baby Cchini (If you know, you know)
  • Hauling silage
  • Watching the goldenrod start blooming in the road ditches
  • my brother coming home a day earlier than he said he would
  • a road trip with my grandma, aunt, and friend
  • escaping the sketchy antique store and enjoying the beauty of a much better one

A gracious woman retains honor.

Proverbs 11:16a

What I’ve been reading

The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy

“Mr. Hempseed shook his head with an infinity of wisdom, tempered by deeply-rooted mistrust of the British climate and the British Government.”

I’ve been meaning to read this one for years, and I finally dug it out of the darkest corner of my bookshelf and started. I’m so enjoying the humor and the eloquent writing style!

(At this present moment, I have misplaced the book. Pray that it has the courage to once more show its face.)

The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst

We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.

There are some real nuggets of wisdom in this book!

Today’s choices become tomorrow’s circumstances.

Lysa Terkeurst

From the journal…

With the privilege of being a partaker of the divine nature comes a grave responsibility: to live as the royalty I am.

Keep prying my fingers away from what is good and let me raise willing hands to receive what is best.

Love speaks the truth for the good of the loved, even when it hurts like crazy for both parties.

I want to work to build a legacy of souls, whether they remember my name or not.

Love produces a formidable strength in the lover…oh, Lord, may I love You with this passion that overcomes all obstacles!

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is my law: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults.

Isaiah 51:7

Question of the day: What book/poem/movie/show (barring the Bible) has influenced you the most, and why?

❤ Laurel

July Memories – 2022

July Memories – 2022

Goodness sakes…this was most definitely a month to remember.

You know the writing challenge I told you I was doing this July? Well, I got about 5k words written of the 20k I wanted. But I’m going to let myself be okay with falling flat on my writer’s face, because this month took the cake in terms of real-life plot twists and adventures. So much of it made me laugh. A lot of it made me cry. But I saw God’s hand and knew His presence so clearly this month, and we’ll close it out in His praise. ❤

One life. Just one. Why aren’t we running like we are on fire towards our wildest dreams?

Unknown

Things worth remembering…

  • Sitting by the lake and just drinking in the beauty of all of the sights and sounds and smells.
  • Taking goofy photos with my sisters.
  • Fresh veggies from the garden!!
  • Holding my brand-new cousin in the hospital…my heart! *happy sigh*
  • Being there with my family when my Grandpa left his earthly home to see the Lord face to face. I had never experienced anything like that, and the raw pain and beauty of that evening was beyond belief.
  • Lots and lots of hugs. ❤
  • Completing 20 revolutions around the sun.
  • Gifts and a handmade birthday card from some guys in my youth group…they have no idea how much that made my week. ❤
  • Bingeing Doctor Thorne with my Grandma into the wee hours. 11/10 recommend.
  • Wildflower bouquets.
  • French fries.
  • A weekend with cousins…the sweetest and weirdest memories made with the sweetest and weirdest souls. May Morgan, the Jensens, the fruit kabobs, and the couch (was it really free?) live forever in our hearts.
  • Getting my brothers graduated!!!! Another weekend with cousins and the dearest friends.

Soon shall end this earthly story, swift shall pass the pilgrim days, hope soon change to heavenly glory, faith to sight and prayer to praise.

Henry Francis Lyte

What I’ve been reading

Behind the Act – Abigayle Claire

“I should hope not,” the red-headed teenager replied, bouncing on his toes. “Welcome to The Magnificent.” He gave a dramatic sweep of his arm to the cramped lobby.

I’m not very far in this one yet, but I’m excited to see where this story leads! I love Abi’s descriptions…they make me feel as if I’m right there in the book!

The Story Jar – Robin Lee Hatcher & Deborah Bedford

“I knew all about Jesus from Sunday school and knew all the right things to say and what I was supposed to believe. But I never knew Him.

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book, but it pleasantly surprised me! The stories were heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time, and the perfect read for a road trip.:)

The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm – Mark Twain

He looked confused and ashamed, and said, with embarrassment, “I beg a thousand pardons. I did not know you had a burglar alarm, else I would have rung it.”

Oh, this short story gave me a good laugh!

say goodbye to where you’ve been // and tell your heart to beat again // let every heartbreak and every scar // be a picture that reminds you // Who has carried you this far

“Tell Your Heart to Beat again” (Performed by Danny Gokey)

From the journal

A new month = new mercies.

My mood is very fragile…I woke up and the fact that everyone had polished off the bagels before I’d had one nearly ruined my day. (I have to laugh at myself sometimes…XD)

I was getting a headache, borderline snapped at people, and morphed into a silent, weary, glowering, ham-gobbling state of torpid existence. (…) Oh, Lord, let me bow only to Your heart, not the selfish dictates of my own.

It’s one thing to grapple with death. It’s another to realize that someone will never again be in your life, making new memories with you.

The Spirit in me is the one that gave Samson his strength; give me the strength, Lord, to love fully and abundantly, and to live this day to the hilt.


How was your July? What were the highlights? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Once I Knew – Book Review

Once I Knew – Book Review

Welcome to my review of one of my new favorite books!!!!! I don’t habitually binge-read anymore, but I tore through this one in about a week. (For other more voracious readers I know this is nothing, but check my Good Reads to see how often it is I actually finish a book. XD)

First, we need to talk about the cover. The cover. Isn’t it gorgeous??? The golden light, the font, the cloak, the everything. This cover makes me so very happy. *smiles dreamily*

Second…

The blurb

Violet lives her quiet life in her sleepy village, trying to remain as dead to the politics that are threatening their world as possible. She follows the rules, stays out of trouble and does her best to remain out of sight from the dreaded and overbearing Kingsmen.

With the new regent on the throne till the prince comes of age, the country has been thrown into a turmoil. Unlike the kindly king before him, the new ruler is overbearing, frightening and tyrannical in his rule. Taxes are bleeding the people dry and without the money or goods to pay, they have been forced into penal servitude and imprisonment by the Kingsmen, who show no mercy. The despair and fear that has taken over their lives has ruled out any level of hope.

When Violet stumbles upon an unconscious and injured Kingsman in the woods, despite the consequences, she is compelled to take care of the injured man. When he wakes and has no memory of his identity or past, she takes the only precaution that will keep her and her grandmother safe; she destroys the evidence of his past life.

If Violet’s lowly Kingsman regains his memory, will she survive the consequences? And will the Kingsman be able to live with his past life? Who will fight to free Elira?

Loyalty cannot be bought, and integrity should not be sacrificed at the hand of tyranny.

Violet Frell (Once I knew)

My thoughts

Not many books literally change the way I live and see the world…Once I Knew did. The part of the blurb that originally caught my attention was the forgotten identity and the political turmoil…and while I do love that aspect of the story, the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and courage, plus the way Victoria didn’t shy away from including God in this non-magical fantasy in a powerful way are what made this story stand out to me.

More things I love about Once I Knew

The multiple POVs.

I really enjoyed getting to see the story from one character’s point of view, and then see that same character from another character’s perspective! It gave me such a good sense of each character’s strengths and weaknesses.

The characters.

I have a huge soft spot for the strong, fatherly figures, the grandmothers, the sweet, tenderhearted-yet-manly side characters…this book delivered. Also, the character development in the main characters (and their friendship) was so inspiring.

The inclusion of God, prayer, and righteousness.

I’ve noticed that books in the fantasy genre tend to simply have a “God figure” or good morals – know I’m not bashing this at all; I really enjoy books like this! – and so I was delighted to find that the characters in Once I Knew have real, believable, life-changing relationships with the true God. This truly made the book so powerful and life-changing, and there were some scenes with spiritual breakthroughs that had my heart in a puddle.

The romance.

Victoria handled the romance so. well. There were no uncomfortable kissing scenes (well, there was a kiss, but it wasn’t gross or way too soon XD) or cringey emotional things. Just a sweet romance between two friends who had solid character and a deep love and respect for one another.

The forest setting and all of the references to light.

I love the great outdoors, and so all of the references to trees, fields, and golden light were the best!

You have only ever pushed me to discover the purpose for which God made me, shown me a hope that has made me serve a higher calling, and propelled me to pick up the destiny for which I was created.

*someone* (Once I knew)

The above quote…*sobs*

All the fun links

Purchase your signed copy of Once I Knew here!

Or snag a copy on Amazon here.

A custom playlist for Once I Knew?? Yes, please!

Check out Once I Knew‘s Pinterest board!

About the author

Victoria Lynn has an insatiable desire for truth, light and beauty.

Traveling to destinations of beauty created by our Heavenly Father, reveling in creative pursuits that fill her with joy, or pouring her heart into words of life are some of her favorite things to do.

She seeks to bring the life giving words of the Savior to a dark and broken world that desperately needs to know of His sacrifice.

A writing and publishing coach, author, journalist, seamstress and creator, she loves spending time with any of her 8 siblings, exploring her native state of Michigan, and sewing gowns fit for a princess.


Be sure to check out Victoria’s website, subscribe to her newsletter, and give her a follow on all the socials!


(Also, quick note: I got to meet and spend some time with Victoria this spring on the Glory Writers retreat. She is the sweetest, and I so admire her courage, talent, and fiery heart for the Lord! Her Instagram account is also one of my favorites, so be sure to check it out.:)

Have you read Once I Knew or any of Victoria’s other books?

May Review – 2022

May Review – 2022

May is…over?

Right now my computer is slower than a lame tortoise and my brain feels like a mashed potato in a tornado, so I’m grateful I wrote this post as I lived through May so I don’t have to remember everything on my own! I hope you enjoy my glance back on this month with me.:)

When David faced Goliath he didn’t talk about how dangerous Goliath was – he talked about how great God is. Don’t talk fear. Talk faith.

Breny (someone I follow on IG)

Things worth remembering

  • wandering through some war memorials
  • sneaking over to my grandma’s house with my siblings in the early morning to fill her yard with pinwheels as a birthday surprise
  • pizza, ice cream, and good talks with a study group
  • a long sibling walk that ended in a rainstorm and sprinting…too bad we weren’t headed to Netherfield, huh?
  • exploring old farm buildings and finding bones
  • scaling fish for the first time and immensely enjoying it
  • seeing This Will Not Last on my library’s online catalog!!
  • finally wearing tank tops to work again
  • leading worship with friends on a women’s retreat
  • fighting the urge to start a fund for purchasing WWII uniforms
  • spending time with family for my grandma’s birthday
  • watching the talent show put on by my younger cousins
  • senior testimony night at my church’s youth group…I love hearing what God has done in each of their lives. ❤

what if…everything you are going through is preparing you for what you asked for?

unknown

What I’ve been reading

Blog posts

Seasons – Winter And Spring, Both Of Them Beautiful! – Makayla Jesalyn

The way I feel isn’t a good excuse to be unproductive, and neither is a lingering winter. I am completely responsible for myself, and my actions do not hinge on the whether the weather outside is frightful or delightful. What’s inside me is what ought to drive me.

The spiritual parallels of the physical seasons are my favorite, and Makayla has some wonderful thoughts in this post!

Consorting with Wild Youth//How Sarah Became Friends with the Local Delinquents – Sarah Baran

I’ve opted for a new and much more effective approach; manipulating them using the unconquerable force of peer-pressure. I can do this because I’m college-age and therefore a god. At least, in their opinion.

Sarah’s posts always leave me laughing and in awe of her ability to use my beloved snark so beautifully, and this one was no exception…except this one wrung my heart a bit at the end. Do yourself a favor and give this one a read.

Books

BoundVictoria Lynn

Death had a habit of being permanent.

Oh, my goodness…this book was heart-wrenching and the sweetest all at the same time. I loved everything about this story. It was also super fun to read it after spending time with the author!:)

Cathedral Maya Joelle

remember that no matter how tiny the fragments this time, how far apart they are scattered, how long you must search, he will help you find the pieces of the person you once were and the image you once bore.

I’ve been digging into this one again. It’s one of my absolute favorites.

Rescue – Jennifer A. Nielsen

“Enough of your questions about who I am. Maybe I should ask who you really are. Am I safer taking my chances out there with the Germans?”

I stole this one from a sister on a road trip and was instantly hooked. Talk about suspense!

Devotedly – Valerie Elliot Shepard

Guys.

I FINISHED IT!!!!

(If you’ve been here for a good amount of time, you’ll know how wonderful this is.XD) I loved it so much!! You can read my brief review on my Goodreads account.:)

“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.”

Isaiah 25:9

From the Journal

Oh, Lord, may I ever remain set apart for Your purpose so that You may do wonders in my tomorrows.

All will be made whole…

Achan took the spoil because it was tempting…but God was going to allow the spoils to be taken lawfully in the next battle. Oh, Lord, help me to trust that You will satisfy my longings in due time.

Oh, Lord, clear my mind and give me the wisdom to discern between roadblocks You have set before me to turn my heart to greater things, and the rugged territory of fallen trees I must naturally clamber over on my way in Your will for me.

Lord, grant repentance. We cannot even come to the realization and regret of our sins if You don’t give us the grace to do so.

I can laugh without fear of the future, not because I am well-prepared and invincible, but because my Father laughs in the face of my greatest fears, and I trust Him completely.

How was your May? What stood out to you in this past month? Have you been reading/watching/listening to anything good lately?

Blessings,

Laurel

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!

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?

January Memories – 2022

January Memories – 2022

And so the first month of the new year slips into the past…

Things worth remembering…

  • reading the book of Job. It used to bore me, but now I think it may be one of my favorites.
  • watching The Village for the first time! I was mulling over the plot and themes for days after watching it… it may be a new favorite.:)
  • a Zoom chat with some wonderful writers I’ll get to meet this spring!
  • starting up my street team (It’s not too late to sign up!!)
  • revealing the title of my poetry book in this post.:)
  • sledding with sisters and friends
  • making reading a part of my daily routine. I’m amazed at how much it’s changed my life for the better!
  • designing a cover for the aforementioned poetry book
  • the golden glow the morning sunlight made in one of the cattle barns on a very, very cold morning
  • amusedly (and rather concernedly) wondering how heated the c*vid discussion in Cost Cutters was going to get
  • starting another writing project… some more info will be revealed once it proves itself worthy of existence.:)

What I’ve been reading…

Unseduced and Unshaken – Rosalie de Rosset

“You can’t afford to be casual about any part of your life. The misplacement of longing, the mistaking of the temporal for the eternal will always turn you into a ghost.”

Aagh, this book was just so good. It touched on so many topics that don’t seem to be taken very seriously in popular Christian culture… namely the topic of taking oneself and each aspect of one’s life seriously.

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

“I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul. Since I knew you…I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”

My goodness. This is a book I will definitely read again. Dickens is a master! The themes of love, purpose, and sacrifice were so beautifully wrought in this novel.

The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer

The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One.

One of those great Christian classics I’d always heard about and never read… until it now.:) I love A.W. Tozer’s unashamed and hungry desire for God. This book is so relatable! It’s full of truth and written in such a lovely style.

A Victorian Posy – Shiela Pickles

Here or there a sunbeam found its way through a little window or skylight in the thick leafage overhead and singling out one bluebell amongst the crowd tipped the rich and heavily hanging cluster of bells with a brilliant azure gleam and blue glory.” – Francis Kilvert

This is a lovely little collection of Victorian poetry and prose… all about flowers! Not my typical read, but it’s been a fun change of pace.

I’ve been listening to…

The Village soundtrack

It’s incredible. It’s been my writing soundtrack most days of late.:)

From the journal…

Oh, God, ground me in Your truth. Help me to truly live only for You…to not care if I look weird to the world, if only I look good to You.

All of history has been the beautiful, heartbreaking story of unity between God and man being broken, and God giving everything to restore that unity. It’s epic.

Lord, thank You for assigning me a worth that is not defined by what I do, but by Whose I am.

How beautiful to know that when God was hardening Pharaoh’s heart, He was only paving the way for a massive victory. Hold fast through the trials. Victory always prevails with YHWH.

Words worth remembering…

“You cannot separate your spiritual life from the life of the mind.” – Rosalie de Rosset

“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!” – Job 26:14a

“My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go.” – Job 27:6

“If my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.” – A.W. Tozer

“Tell wind and fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.” – Madame Defarge in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

What are you taking away from January 2022? Thoughts? Music? Memories? Books? Feel free to share in the comments!

December Memories – 2021

December Memories – 2021

Happy 2022, friends!

Let’s be extremely cliche and mention how it’s so hard to believe it’s a new year already… and then resist the urge to recap the whole year and just give you a recap of December.:)

Things worth remembering…

  • cousin time complete with late night chatting, so much laughter, wigs, and a bonfire.
  • being listed on Goodreads as an author!!! You can follow me here.:)
  • the beauty of the sun rising and setting in the winter. It almost makes the negative temps worth it.
  • surviving the Carolina Reaper cheese that our co-op makes. It’s brutal, guys. I hadn’t downed milk that desperately in a while. 😅
  • The Christmas Cookie Baking Day with siblings and friends! I will never read about John the Baptist the same way again…
  • running around in the wind and dark with siblings and flashlights, trying to round up the calves that decided to tour the farmyard when a storm blew away their little homes.
  • bowling for the first time and only falling down once.
  • making runzas (basically rolls stuffed with ground beef and cabbage and onion) with my sisters.
  • announcing that I’m releasing a poetry book in 2022!!

What I’ve been reading…

London in the Dark – Victoria Lynn

“Don’t be an island, Cy. When you push us away, the only person you hurt is yourself.”

The Sherlock Holmes vibes in this novel were stellar. The plot made me want to keep turning pages after getting home from a trip at two in the morning, so there’s that… 😂 The book definitely could have used some more editing, but overall, it was sweet and engaging with the perfect amount of mystery!

Dearest Friend: a life of Abigail Adams – Lynne Withey

To Isaac she [Abigail] expressed her conviction of the importance of education. “In youth the mind is like a tender twig,” she observed, “which you may bend as you please, but in age like a sturdy oak and hard to move.”

I’m previewing this one for a sister. It’s been fun reading a bit more about this spunky little lady!

Bartholomew’s Passage – Arnold Ytreeide

My family’s read this book during Advent for a while now! It’s such a fun story, and I love how all the little threads woven throughout the story are tied up at the end.

What I’ve been listening to…

Christmas in Velvet (Album)

RELATE – for KING & COUNTRY

’cause I’ve been real, I’ve been fake // been a sinner, been a saint // I’ve been right, I’ve been so, so wrong // yeah, I’ve made my mistakes

Speak Life – TobyMac

though it’s crazy, amazing // we can turn a heart through the words we say // mountains crumble with every syllable // hope can live or die

Me Without You – TobyMac

I’d be packin’ my bags when I need to stay // I’d be chasin’ every breeze that blows my way // I’d be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away // It’s true // that’s me without You

Lights Shine Bright – TobyMac

lights shine bright everywhere we go // music for the people to illuminate the soul

(Yes, I’ve been on a TobyMac kick.:))

From the journal…

You give me Your love – fill me up to overflowing – so that I can pour it out to others. Oh, strengthen me to do that when all I want is to see my own desires fulfilled.

I can take my strength and nourishment from the faithfulness of my Beloved. (Psalm 37:3)

If You need to keep on breaking me to get me to the place You need me to be, so be it… but Lord, I pray that I would cultivate a heart that is always tuned to Yours. That when You say “turn here” or “let your eyes look straight ahead”, I would obey instantly. Let my mind be transformed so I may know Your will. I love You, Jesus.

Lord, thank You for letting me know You. Don’t let this journal be empty words… let me live out all of my declarations of love to You daily, so that people don’t have to read my journal to see Who holds my heart.

Oh, but this aches sometimes… So I cry and wait and pray in the dripping darkness for the day when I can see why. Why all of this must be so painful and twisted and broken. But I trust You. I do.

Righteousness is right standing with God. So if I look pious and holy to the world, but have unseen sin swarming beneath the mask, I have no righteousness.

Actual holiness > everyone thinking you’re holy when you’re not

Words of wisdom…

“None but the man “void of wisdom” will show contempt for those about him. The wise man, if he cannot admire or praise, will at least know how to be silent.” – Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

“…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:14

What made your December special or memorable?

❤ Laurel

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.:)

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

Cathedral releases TODAY!!!

Cathedral releases TODAY!!!

Guys!!! I am so excited to announce that my writing friend Maya Joelle is releasing her gorgeous collection TODAY!!!

This girl is seriously so talented. I’ll be the first to confess my extreme pickiness in the area of poetry… and Maya has nailed it in this incredible collection. Here’s the review I shared on Goodreads:

This is a collection of poetry I will read and quote and remember over and over and over again.

It makes me feel known. Understood. Like I’m not the only one who hurts and feels and dreams so fiercely. It portrays darkness poignantly, letting the light shine through in such a brilliant and hopeful way.

I can’t recommend it enough!

About the book

Cathedral is a collection of poetry and creative prose about beauty in the midst of grief and joy in the face of great sorrow.

oh brave one,

oh broken, beautifully brave one,

remember.

remember that no matter how tiny the fragments this time,

how far apart they are scattered,

how long you must search,

he will help you find the pieces of the person you once were

and the image you once bore.

// to the broken ones

About the author

Maya Joelle is a wordsmith, bookdragon, and avid forest enthusiast from Michigan. In addition to poetry, she writes high fantasy novels and short stories that turn into novels. When she’s not writing or studying, she is often found marveling at the beauty of creation through the wonders of nature, music, and friendship. She writes poems to remind herself and others of God’s goodness amidst pain and sorrow, for the glory of the Author who knows the ending of her story.

Purchase Cathedral on Amazon here

Add Cathedral on Goodreads here

Find Cathedral‘s Pinterest board here

Do you have any favorite poems or poets?

❤ Laurel

I did receive a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.:)

November Memories – 2021

November Memories – 2021

Hello, friends!

I love putting together these monthly reviews because it forces me to take a step back and see just how much beautiful, painful, crazy life gets crammed into a short 30 days. All of the ups and downs, the smiles, the tears, the quiet days, the chaotic ones… they all come together to showcase God’s glory and goodness. Amazing, isn’t it?

That being said, here’s a glimpse of my November. ❤

Things worth remembering…

  • Actually being the last one standing in dodgeball XD
  • A sibling date in an empty Pizza Hut dining room
  • Starting NaNoWriMo off strong… then crashing and burning after writing 13,000 words (I really, really love a lot of what I did write, though!:)
  • Soaking up sunshine and the Word in the pasture
  • Lots of watercolor painting
  • Lovely November sunrises
  • Singing with my family
  • Dutch Blitz, Uno, and Spoons
  • The Christmas tree decorating party
  • Belting Christmas songs in my car
  • Sliding around in the mud at the farm. *laughs weakly*

What I’ve been reading…

The White Cliffs – Alice Duer Miller

Ah, they forget they cannot write their parts; the bell has rung, the curtain rises, and the stage is set for tragedy – they were in love and young.

I think this is the first novel I read that is completely poetry… and it was beautiful. I read it aloud to myself in two sittings… which is saying something because I don’t binge read anymore! I’ll definitely be reading it again. Thank you for sharing it with me, Grandma! ❤

Rilla of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery

“…I did not believe for a minute she would or could do it. But you see what has happened and it is making a woman of her. When we have to do a thing, Mrs. Dr. dear, we can do it.”

I picked this classic up again for the first time in years… and it’s been so enjoyable! I love rereading old favorites and seeing so many jewels in the storyline, writing, and dialogue that I’d never picked up on previously.

Devotedly – Valerie Elliot Shephard

“Lord, do Thou fulfil this Thy word unto Thy suffering servant – preserve me from evil, sustain my trust in Thee, and lift up my soul that I may praise Thee for these my sore testings, for I do love Thee, and long to fulfil Thy will.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Yes… still working at this one. Still loving it.:)

When Beauty Blooms – Victoria Lynn

Perhaps being beautiful wasn’t about being lovely to look at and a good conversationalist. Perhaps it was something a bit more than that. Something broader.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t totally impressed by this novella. The writing seemed a bit awkward to me for a good portion of the story (though that definitely could be stylistic preferences). By the time I got to the climax, however, I was so caught up in the story that I wasn’t mentally editing anymore. It’s a sweet story with a great lesson!

12 Days at Bleakly Manor – Michelle Griep

“Since the moment you arrived, Miss Chapman, you have been the dearest of creatures to me. Why, I’d forgotten how delightful it is to be seen and heard.”

This sweet Christmas-y combination of mystery and romance was such a fun read! I did not see all of the plot twists coming! Plus, the nod to Dickens’ Bleak House characters was so enjoyable.:)

Songs I’ve been loving…

Your Ways are Higher than Mine – The Collingsworth Family

Your ways are higher than mine // I want mountains to move // You want me to climb //

Dare You to Move – Switchfoot

I dare you to move // I dare you to move // like today never happened // today never happened before

Raise a Hallelujah – Bethel Music

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm // louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar

Yes and No – David Dunn

What I want and what I really need, only You know the difference // learning you do what’s best for me // with every answer given

Gloria – The ZOE Group (although my favorite version is performed by my family:))

Mighty King glorified // seated at the right hand of God // You laid down Your heavenly crown // and chose to take on the sin of the world

From the journal…

God, just help me to dig for truth and righteousness. To have the courage and strength to work out in the valley what I saw on the mountain.

God, I can’t see. I can’t see what You can. Give me Your eyes.

So much will change so soon… Lord, thank You for today.

You don’t change. Even in the overwhelming pain of this hidden valley. You remain the same. You’re the same good, faithful God You were on the mountain. You still fill my life with good things.

Oh, my soul, love deeply.

Remember. Remember from whence you have come. Remember who you were without Him.

When it looks like the best is withheld from me and given to someone else, You comfort me with Your presence and whisper, “Arise, walk in the land… for I give it to you.” (prompted by Genesis 13)

Words of wisdom…

“For my beloved I will not fear – love knows to do for him, for her, as hitherto. Whom my heart cherishes are dear to Thy heart, too.” – Amy Carmichael

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:3-5

“Forever is composed of nows.” – Emily Dickinson

“Be as you wish to seem.” – Socrates

What were some of the most memorable pieces of your November? How did you see God working this past month?

❤ Laurel