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

June Memories – 2022 (+ writing update and prayer request)

June Memories – 2022 (+ writing update and prayer request)

Hello, friends…and happy Independence Day!

Also…we are half-way through 2022, so…there’s that.

Things worth remembering

  • The first cutting of hay this season (!!!)
  • Late night conversations with siblings
  • Working on a book of children’s poetry for my little sister
  • Researching cocaine and ramen noodles
  • Realizing that it’s a good idea to bring bug spray if you want to enjoy a summer hike without being eaten alive
  • Finding all the weird selfies my sister leaves on my phone…(does she realize I can one day use them as blackmail?)
  • putting together aesthetic collages for the main characters in my WIP (work in progress)
  • checking my poetry book out of the library I grew up visiting! Probably the most surreal piece of being a writer thus far.🥺

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

What I’ve been reading

God is My Co-Pilot – Robert L. Scott Jr.

I’ve been reading this one for some research I’m doing…it’s the autobiography of a WWII fighter pilot, and goodness, was he ever a naughty little boy!XD It’s been pretty enjoyable, although I get a bit lost in all of the pilot jargon sometimes.

The Scourge – Jennifer A. Nielsen

The total time I had been able to stay out of trouble: one hour.

Almost a record for me.

Weevil and Ani’s friendship and banter…*swoons* I’m so enjoying this book.

Once I Knew – Victoria Lynn

He had seen the pain, the evil, and the sin within him, had lifted his face in gentle hands, caressed it as a father does a child with a nightmare whose tears streak their cheeks, looked him in the eye and said:

“I love you. All of you.”

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This book. I can’t even tell you how much I needed to read this one. Not only is the theme incredible, but the plot is so tight, the pacing incredible, the characters endearing…

And can we talk about the romance?? The romance is beautiful…and you have to understand that this is coming from the girl who cringes through most bits of romance in books and runs for popcorn during sappy parts in movies.XD The true love and restraint shown by the characters…I wanted to cheer and shout for joy. Please can we fight for such reform in the romance genre?

*tumbles off soapbox*

Anyway…I have an official review of the book coming up soon…plus an interview with the author! Stay tuned!

We must determine to be limited and concentrate our affinities.

Oswald Chambers

From the journal…

Oh, Lord, I only conquer in Your strength. Be my mighty defense…let me love what You love and hate what You hate.

I was so cranky today. …finally ate lunch. I hadn’t eaten anything and was so hungry and cranky. (Just keeping it real…)

Let ours be a story that makes people shake their heads and murmur in awe, “Only God could have worked such wonders.”

Whatever the future holds, Father, keep my heart soft and obedient.

The church must set aside what is good so that we may be about the business of what is best. And so must I…soul, defend yourself against distraction from what is highest and holiest.

Because of Christ’s blood shed to atone for my sins, God no longer sees any of my blemishes, and rejoices over me like a man head-over-heels in love with his bride. He delights in me. He wants me. The Master of the universe is enraptured by what He sees in me. Oh, Jesus, it is all because of You!

Oh, Father, make me like Abel, who, though he is dead, still speaks through the story he left behind. Let my life echo Your goodness and grace long after my voice is silenced.

Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

David Foster wallace

Writing update + prayer request

Disclaimer: I’m okay. Don’t freak out about the prayer request part.XD

About the writing…

I haven’t worked seriously at drafting a novel since last November, when I attempted NaNoWriMo and got 11k words in before I became an emotional dumpster fire. (A translation for the sane people in the world: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s a time in November when maniacs armed with laptops decide to quit life for a month to write a novel, or 50,000 words, in November.)

After that experience, novel writing got shoved to the back burner as I scribbled poetry, published a poetry book, lived normal life, and scribbled more poetry.

Honestly, I was scared of attempting a novel again.

But a story idea kept haunting me. And haunting me. And haunting me.

I started sharing the concept with some friends, and the responses I got poured fuel on the fire of my desire to see this book through to publication.

So here I am again…committing to the goal of writing 20k words on this new heart project this July. And praying. A lot.

I’d love it if you would join me in prayer for this project. To me, this concept is more than just another story. Bits of it have been brewing in my mind since I was eleven or twelve…and so many topics that are near and dear to my heart have found their way into this book. It’s amazing to see how God has helped me to pull so many different elements of my experiences and passions into one story!

Last July I wrote 20k words for a story full of heartache and confusion. This July, I want to pour out 20k words of healing and redemption. Eeek! I only have a few thousand words written so far, but already I can’t wait to share this story with you all. ❤

When I hit 30k words on this project – which I’m currently terming Project Redemption – , I’m going to start sharing more details about it on Instagram…so if you aren’t following along there, click here so you can join the tribe and be among the first to hear updates!


What were the memorable pieces of your June? Writers, what’s been flowing from your pens/keyboards of late? Readers, what books have captured your imagination lately? I’d love to hear in the comments!

❤ Laurel

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!

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

October Memories – 2021

October Memories – 2021

Ah! Finally an October recap!

My blogging schedule has slipped a little bit recently… but I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things here again!

Things worth remembering…

  • Delicious and ginormous tomatoes from the garden
  • Walks with my sister
  • Putting together an aesthetic collage for the novel I worked on this summer
  • Making mini watercolor paintings
  • Seeing one of my poems actually PRINTED IN A BOOK for the very first time!!!
  • Deciding to tackle NaNoWriMo for the first (and perhaps only) time in my life (translation for non-writers: deciding to write 50,000 words on a novel in the month of November)
  • Bible studies and banter with friends
  • How gorgeous a sunrise on the farm can be

Notes on life…

Getting the salt and vinegar kettle chips instead of the original ones ensures that you get nearly the entire bag to yourself.

***

One does not *necessarily* die after finishing a stranger’s pint of gelato.

***

Alan Gogoll has some stellar music.

Recent reads…

Papa’s Wife – Thyra Ferré Björn

This is a good read for those moments when you want a good laugh without exhausting your brain.:)

How to Stay Motivated {Energize, Recharge, Relax} – Allison

All the motivational posts and energetic music in the world won’t get your work done. You have to do that.

Oh, man, did this post ever pop up in my feed at the right time!! So, so many good ideas in here.

What Darkness Fears: An Anthology

You are the observer, being observed. The people watcher, being watched. You are a rat that doesn’t know it’s trapped in a maze. – from “People Watchers” by Lara E. Madden

If you’re looking for a smattering of short stories and poetry that portray light contrasted with darkness, here ya go! To be completely honest, I don’t care for all of the content… but there are some stellar pieces in here!

Oh, and yours truly may have a poem in this one…:)

From the journal…

Maybe changing the world isn’t suddenly changing the tide. Maybe it’s doing justice. Loving mercy. Walking humbly with our God.

Lord, give me an insatiable hunger for You. Give me the strength to live my life in a way that nurtures that hunger.

God, give me focus… vision… sense of a mission.

Thank You, Lord… that even in my weakest moments, I still have the strength to make decisions and carry them out for your glory.

Scripture gives us intellectual understanding, which then shows us our failures… then it points out how we can correct them, and then live out a righteous life.

I wasn’t born to change the world. I was born to glorify You.

Words of Wisdom

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

***

“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?” – Stephen Levine

***

“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa

***

“He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” – 2 Corinthians 5:15

What made your October momentous?

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

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?

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, and Highlights of May 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, and Highlights of May 2021

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

Highlights

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

What I’ve Been Reading

A Time to Die – Nadine Brandes

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

A Time to Speak – Nadine Brandes

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

The Ascent of Rum Doodle – W.E. Bowman

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

To Build a Fire – Jack London

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

Journal Snippets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of February 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of February 2021

Happy March, all!!!

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to see March before… I’m so ready for spring. But we saw what happened last March, so… do I dare get my hopes up?

I do. I most certainly do.

Before we plunge into this new month, however, I’d like to conduct a review of February, and you’re certainly welcome to join me.:)

Highlights of the month

  • Participating in a heated debate about soda during a family game night
  • Suddenly landing in a sitting position on the gym floor after a failed attempt at a throw in dodgeball
  • Having my patience tried during a freezing and eventful excursion with the youngest sisters
  • Appreciating my incredible friends
  • Finding that watching mysteries past midnight might not be the best idea… especially if you’re babysitting
  • Feeding cows without wearing a stocking cap!!!
  • Driving with the windows down
  • Falling in love with this version of The Greatest Showman soundtrack because… a cappella. And the songs.:)
  • Enjoying spiteful and malicious games of Spite and Malice

What I’ve been reading

The Resolution for Women – Priscilla Shirer

“Right now – whether you realize it or not – you’re choosing to treat people a certain way, to stay committed to certain activities, to live a certain life, to be a certain kind of person. You’re already a woman of resolutions.

I snagged this at a thrift store earlier this month, and while I haven’t been reading it voraciously, it’s been really good. I love Priscilla Shirer’s way of drawing spiritual parallels from ordinary stories!

From the Grave – A.W. Tozer

“People must be told that the Christian religion is not something they can trifle with. The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man.”

This book has a devotion for each day of Lent. I haven’t been reading it consistently (that’s hard to do when you misplace the book!), but everything I’ve read so far has been so thought-provoking and convicting.

Time Management Isn’t Enough to Build a Powerful Writing Habit – Josiah DeGraaf

“When you combine time management with mental energy management, you create a dynamic that will supercharge your career.”

Even if you aren’t a writer, I would highly recommend giving this a read! It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to take control of their mental energy and boost their productivity.

The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien

” ‘Drownded?’ said several voices. They had heard this and other darker rumors before, of course; but hobbits have a passion for family history, and they were ready to hear it again.”

The serious tone with which Tolkien treats his hilarious characters is the best. And his descriptions… perfection.

Stuart Little – E.B. White

” ‘Bother arithmetic!’ snapped Stuart. ‘Let’s skip it.’ “

I love how E.B. White’s stories have such a humorous tone, yet touch on deeper issues in a way that leaves you thinking.

Journal snippets

If, in trying to protect myself I disobey God, I will end up having to face the very fears I fled. Oh, God, let me always choose obedience, no matter the cost… my pride, my comfort, my safety. Help me to get out there and follow You in dogged obedience.

Don’t let me waste or misuse my sphere of influence. Help me to be surrendered, Lord… even if I can’t see the fruit of what You’re doing, help me to be faithful.

…help me to love, to seek counsel, to serve, to lose myself in Your love.

“Count my life dear to myself” – I always thought this meant being unwilling to die for Jesus. I think it means more. If I’m counting my life dear to myself, I’m clinging to my own pithy dreams for my life and refusing to live out God’s.

***

What did you get to read/do/consider last month?

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