I Hit 25,000 Words!!!

I Hit 25,000 Words!!!

Yes, yes, yes! My novel-in-progress is fleshing out… and it now weighs in at over 25,000 words/17+ chapters!!!

I can hardly believe it…

I should be bouncing off the walls, right? Yet somehow my brain remains in a state of dazed paralysis. Yes, I have written over 25,000 words… but I have at least another 25,000 to go. And then the editing stage. Oh, help. My little girl idea of “Yes, I’ll be a writer because I love to write and I see so many benefits to the writing life” has had a rather rude awakening. Actually forcing yourself to write when you don’t feel like it is part of this deal?

Haha… you dear ignorant little girl.:)

So… you might be wondering about this novel-in-progress. What it’s about, why I haven’t talked about it very much…

The reason I’ve kept (mostly) quiet about it recently is because I don’t plan to publish it in the near future. I want to write a novel or two and get some experience with the whole novel-writing process before I attempt to publish one. I don’t want to be talking about my novel all the time on here, making you think that I’m prepping for publication, only to remain unpublished for years.

But…

If you would like, I can share a little bit about this project… with the understanding that it definitely won’t be hitting the bookshelves anytime soon.:) If you’re interested in hearing about what’s been going on with my novel-in-progress, let me know… and I would love to share some juicy tidbits with you.:)

-Laurel

God and Current Events – My Thoughts

God and Current Events – My Thoughts

If my emotions depended just on the news…

You probably don’t want to know.:)

But honestly… I think that no matter where a person stands on politics, coronavirus-related policies, etc., every single one of us has a fairly legitimate reason for being sickened/depressed/frustrated by the news. America just left an epic year of division and unrest in the dust… and by the looks of it, 2021 isn’t looking promising, either.

Honestly, I’m pretty frustrated.

I want my nation to be indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Most of all, I want America to be one nation under God… but she’s not. She’s broken and hurting and sinful, spitting in the face of the One who has been so patient with her.

This wasn’t my plan, God.

In the past year, the one truth keeping me at peace with what’s going on in our nation is this:

God retains complete control over everything.

When I find myself getting worked up about what’s happening, I come back to this and calm down. There is nothing else that brings me more peace than this fact – that the One who loves me more than I can fathom is the One with whom nothing is impossible. The One who has all of what I see as a mess ordered in His perfect will.

I wanted to remind you of this today… just in case life has you in the dumps. Come on out of there, friend. God’s got this. He’s working all things out for His glory and the good of those who love Him. Rest in Him. ❤

-Laurel

Christmas Reflections… Am I Playing Herod?

Christmas Reflections… Am I Playing Herod?

A few days ago I was reading the Christmas story to my littlest sister… a story I’ve heard a thousand times over. Sadly, being so familiar with it sometimes hardens my perception of its wonder. But a new thought hit me as I read to her the part about Herod.

Am I being Herod?

You’re probably thinking, What an terrible thing to say. But hear me out. Herod was the king of Judea… and very comfortable in his position of authority. Even though Jesus was a baby, and destined to save His people in a far different way than anyone imagined, Herod saw Him as a serious threat to his authority.

When Jesus comes into our lives, He poses a very serious threat to our position of authority. It’s His nature ’cause He’s, well, God. Completely deserving of all authority.

So how do we respond to this? Do we accept His rule in our lives? Or do we follow Herod’s example and try to retain our own authority?

Obviously, our desperation to remain king of our own lives is manifested in a far different way than Herod’s was. We fight for our rights in tiny, subtle ways… and therein lies the danger.

Choice by choice, thought by thought, little deed by little deed, we cling to our authority in rebellion. Somehow we think that we’re wiser than God. That His ways are not the best ways… ours are.

We’re wrong, of course. But still we fight Him.

How foolish.

First of all, as Christians, we have been bought at a price. We belong to the Lord – we’ve given our lives to Him, and we have no right to take them back.

Second of all, it’s unreasonable. Romans 11:36 and 12:1 state, … of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Surrendering all that we are to God’s all-deserving authority is the only reasonable thing to do. Think about it – why wouldn’t we surrender our lives to the all-knowing, perfect God of love?

How can we look at history and see the way God has beautifully woven it together and not trust Him with the story of our own lives? How can we look at Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection – the ultimate proof of God’s love – and not trust that God will rule our lives in the most loving and perfect way possible?

Seriously… how?

Let’s not be fools. Let’s not be like Herod and resist the authority of the Lord. Let’s surrender everything we are to God this Christmas season… and every day until eternity.

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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What an Apple-Murderer Taught Me About God

What an Apple-Murderer Taught Me About God

Sometime this past summer, my youngest sister brought me an apple she had pulled from one of our trees. A tiny, misshapen, worm-eaten thing. She held it like a treasure.

“Can you get me some water so I can put this in it, so it can grow?”

Oh, girl.

In trying to help the apple, the well-meaning squirt had killed it. She didn’t realize that removing it from the tree would destroy all its hopes of further growth. Now it was destined to be nothing more than what it was – a less-than-appetizing apple.

This made me think…

Am I tearing myself from my source of life?

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

I look in the mirror and see a mess. And I’m not talking about the chronically crazy hair or the breakouts on my face. It’s a mess that’s deep inside, rooted, and complicated. I look in the mirror and see a weary, misshapen, sin-eaten soul.

But God sees me as a treasure.

If I abide in Him, He will give me the grace to keep growing in Him. If I stay close to Him, He will nourish me, develop me, make me more like Him, and give me the ability to bear fruit for Him.

But that won’t happen unless I’m connected to Him.

Unlike my sister’s poor little victim, I can choose to stay connected to my source of life… but it won’t be easy. The world is against me, trying to pull me away from Christ, because it knows that my life and strength come only through Him.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” – Ephesians 6:10

We can fight – and win – this battle against sin only if we abide in Christ.

Are we doing that?

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

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Happily Ever After… Really?

Happily Ever After… Really?

Why is it that the fairy tale always ends immediately after the picture-perfect wedding?

Why does the curtain close on the adventure right after the bad guys are defeated… before they can recuperate and strike again?

How come the narrative ends after the race is won?

What is the truth about happily ever after?

One of the “happily ever after” dreams I cherished from grade-school days until earlier this year was graduating from high school. I could hardly wait until the day I was freed from the not-altogether-unpleasant-but-still-incredibly-binding chains of schoolwork to do whatever it was I felt called to do. Freedom. Aaahhhh…

Ha.

The challenges that came with my schoolwork were suddenly removed… and twice as suddenly replaced with the challenges that come with… this season. What is it called? There must be some fun and creative term for it. Hmm…

Why is it that our “happily ever after” dreams rarely meet the standards we set for them?

We live in a world warped by sin.

God designed this world to be one great “happily every after”. He wanted to live in fellowship with us, the people He created in His image. He wanted us to live beautiful lives in perfect fellowship with one another. But we chose to ignore Him and go our own direction.

Our foolish choice resulted in twisted, sinful lives… with precious few “happily ever afters”. The truth is, sin destroys our dreams of a perfect life on this earth.

If we seek to find our joy in anything in this world, we will, inevitably, be disappointed.

We could let this fact make us gloomy pessimists. But really, we need to let it point us to the even greater fact that this mangled world is not all there is. God loved us so much that He took action to give us the greatest “happily ever after” there could possibly be.

He became a perfect man, and took the entire disgusting weight of our sin on His shoulders.

He gave everything for us.

He crushed death and removed its power.

Look at the beautiful sneak peek He’s given us of what is soon to take place.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.

God Himself will be with them and be their God.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:2-4 (emphasis mine)

This, friends, is the ultimate happily ever after. All of our other hopes of perfection will be dashed; this one will not.

Let’s live our lives in anticipation of this incredible event… it’s coming soon!

Photo by Foto Pettine on Unsplash

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

10 Blessings God Has Given Me

10 Blessings God Has Given Me

Why do we have to wait until November to start thinking and sharing about being thankful?

Ooh… we actually don’t. So let’s do it!!!

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I tend to get caught up in trying to discern God’s will in the “big” things in my life… rather than obeying His clearly stated will in this small thing – giving thanks.

I’d like to share with you 10 things for which I’m thanking the Lord today. Some of them are huge things, and some of them are just those little blessings that He crams into my life, just because He wants to make me smile.

  • HIM!!! Truly the greatest blessing ever.
  • My incredible family
  • The gift of hearing
  • Words
  • Coffee 🙂
  • A wonderful church family
  • A job for which I don’t have to wear a mask 🙂
  • Clean water
  • The purpose He infuses in my life
  • The opportunity to throw my words all over the world

Whoa… I serve an incredible God. He doesn’t have to give me any of these things – I certainly don’t deserve them – and yet He pours them out freely. He is truly worthy of all the praise I can give!

It’s your turn now! What are 10 things for which you can thank God today?

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

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

If you’re a human, you go through seasons in which you simply can’t understand why your life looks the way it does… why so-and-so said such-and-such… why such-and-such had to happen/not happen… why your life is so obviously falling apart, and will absolutely never be whole again. *sighs and sniffs dramatically*

These seasons may be a nearly everyday occurrence for some. They’re few and far between for the rest, but they’re still there. And hard. Really hard.

I think God wisely planted inside of us something that tells us that life is supposed to make sense… and so we get frustrated when life doesn’t make sense. We cry when life takes an unexpected – and completely undesired – turn. We weep as our most beautiful dreams rot and crumble before our eyes.

Because we can’t see what the Author sees.

I’ve not yet read the book, but I do enjoy the movie based on Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. It’s rather gloomy and sad, but the writer’s heart in me rejoices at the incredible intricacies of the plot.

At the beginning, it seems like there are just a lot of loose ends – several stories that don’t relate to each other very well. There are times when what’s happening is so confusing and incoherent. But as the story progresses, you see how every single person, place, and event is linked together in one massive, fascinating plot. In the end, you are left in awe of the creator of such an incredible story.

See, the thing about stories is that they don’t make complete sense – they aren’t supposed to make complete sense – to anyone but the author until the end.

We’re in the middle of our stories right now, and so naturally there are a few aspects of them that leave us scratching our heads in confusion… or, if I may be frank and a bit more honest, bawling on the floor in complete emotional disarray.

But God’s perfect plot is still there. When it seems like everything is falling apart, it’s really falling into place. Truly.

I haven’t lived that long, but already I’ve seen God weaving my story together, and believe me, He beats Charles Dickens hands down.

I have seen Him take circumstances that I despised and use them to draw me to Himself.

I have rejoiced at the way He laid the groundwork for my prayers to be answered before I even thought to pray them.

I have cried as He allowed my dreams to be smashed, and tearfully trusted Him to build and fulfil better ones.

I have seen that, through it all, He has been faithful, and that He will be faithful for the rest of my days. Oh, it will be a glorious day when He reveals to me the entire script of my life, with all the “loose” ends tied together.

If you are His child, He will do the same for you.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 (emphases mine)

Be comforted… it will be worth it all when we see the end. ❤

Why I’m Glad to be a Farm Girl

Why I’m Glad to be a Farm Girl

Let me start out by saying that life in a dairy farming family is not a piece of cake. We have struggles and hard days… just like everyone else. But here are some random thoughts on why I love this life.

I get to live and work with my family – my best friends. To me, it doesn’t get much better than that! We have shared so many experiences together – fun and not so fun – and those are bonding. Working as a family draws us together, and I so love that.

I have always loved exploring and wandering through the pasture and woods. I know that many people don’t have the space to roam and spend time alone in nature, and I am so grateful to have that.

Farming builds character. Throwing haybales? Builds character. Picking rock? Builds character. Getting your hands covered in nastiness? Builds character. Have I made my point?

I think there’s something so wonderful about taking care of baby calves… then seeing them calve and join the herd in a couple of years.

I’m so thankful for the emphasis my parents and grandparents put on people. Running a farm takes much of their time and energy, but they are good at making sure that people aren’t lost in the shuffle. They make the time to be with family and friends, even when it’s difficult. This is an example I want to follow for the rest of my life.

I’ve learned that in this life there will be hard times, no matter what… it’s how you deal with them that matters.

This was originally published on my other blog, The Farmer’s Daughter.

You May Be a Writer If…

You May Be a Writer If…

…your brain is always churning with story ideas, song lyrics, or rhyming phrases.

…a favorite pastime is reading obituaries and wandering through graveyards. (You’d be surprised at how many writing prompts they hold.)

…you scribble random notes all over the place – on church bulletins, note cards, scrap paper, journal covers, napkins – so you won’t forget a brilliant idea that just *might* make a bestseller someday.

…your little sister sits on your lap at work. (happening right now, folks.)

…immediately after getting home from a family get-together you make a run for your journal, not wanting to forget any of the bizarre family stories that would be perfect in a book someday.

…you work two jobs at once – your brain is plugging away at your current story/poem while you’re feeding the cows.

…when you’re alone, you start a conversation between two imaginary people. Out loud. No idea who they are… their identities emerge as the conversation progresses. Oh, and it always helps if they have British accents and are in extreme emotional turmoil.

…it’s hard for you to throw any papers away. (Maybe someday I’ll come back to that story…)

…you sit bolt upright and grab for your phone when you wake up in the middle of the night so you can record a phrase that you heard in your dream and don’t want to forget.

Okay… writers are just weird. At least this one is. Can anyone else sympathize???

A Dream Coming True

A Dream Coming True

Hello, readers!

I can’t tell you just how excited I am to be launching my author’s website. I’ve been spilling ink for years, and it’s almost surreal to be taking this step – officially presenting my writing to the world.

Here you will find a hodge-podge of things – ’cause that’s just me. As of right now, I am interested in many different aspects of writing, and so will be dabbling in a multitude of styles and topics here for awhile – perhaps forever. Who knows? Keep an eye out for poetry, short stories, thought-provoking and inspirational articles, and maybe even some updates on my progress on larger literary projects.

Being a book lover, I will also be posting book reviews and recommendations. There are so many good books out there that will warm your heart, challenge your mind, and change your life… but they can be hard to find. I’d love to share my discoveries with you.

I’m also going to be encouraging any aspiring writers on here… I’m cheering for you! This world needs good authors who are willing to stand up to this world’s problems and use their pen to aid in conquering them for Christ.

I’ll also have some reflective posts, pondering the beautiful and the bizarre of life.

I hope you’ll be patient and stick with me… this will be an awesome journey!

-Laurel

P.S. What would you like to see on here? What do you feel the world needs most from Christian authors?

Photo by Da Kraplak on Unsplash