Stolen words – a few poems and the thoughts that inspired them

Hello, friends!

I haven’t shared much poetry on the blog lately, so I thought I’d share a few smaller poems here with you today, along with their backstories. Something about knowing the history of a poem just makes reading the poem itself so much more fun…at least in my book!

(I do share one poem a week over on Instagram, so if you aren’t following along there, click here to follow so you don’t miss a poem!)


voice in ink

I wrote this poem after reading a passage in Isaiah and wondering if I take God’s written Word as seriously as I would take a voice from heaven.

oh, soften my heart

to hear Your silent voice

and heed the ink

as though it were Your hand


bound

Oh, goodness, I love this poem so much.😅 This one was inspired by the song “Homeward Bound”, which (fun fact) my ten-year-old self sang as my audition for a part in a stage production of “The Sound of Music”! I didn’t get a part, but the song has a special place in my heart because of that memory, and also because it really does apply to my own story so well.

(I recommend listening to the song before you read.:))

you didn’t bind me to the pasture

never chained me to the plow

you set me free to find my calling…

I returned – for I bleed rain

the wind is in my heart and soul,

and I am restless

till I’m working, my feet rooted in this ground –

you set me free to find my calling…

I returned to you somehow.


mortality

This one I wrote after reading Francis Beaumont’s incredible poem “On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey”. This is one of my rare truly structured poems, and something about it makes me feel like it belongs in an old, faded hardcover!

the silence of the grave is roaring,

catching the ear of flailing man.

in the chaos of a crowd,

no voice e’er can speak as loud

and clear as death,

whose gasping song

alone can cause a man to see

the mist of his mortality.


Do you have a favorite type/style of poetry?

❤ Laurel

What is that to you? – a hard look at comparison

What is that to you? – a hard look at comparison

Whether we like it or not, comparison seems to be ingrained into our very souls…or at least, the very soul of our culture. I never thought I had a significant problem with comparison because I truly love my life and don’t obsess over what people think of me…

But the whispers still come…

I’m not doing what she’s doing. Does that mean I’m not doing enough? She’s writing so many more words than I am…and is doing it better than I am? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I seem to keep up?


There are so many people in the Bible that fascinate me, but Simon Peter takes the cake. My soul has a good laugh (or sometimes a good cry) whenever I read about him because he’s just. so. relatable. I’m glad I’m not the only Jesus-adoring soul who talks too soon, too much, and too thoughtlessly. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has had to work through my own unfaithfulness to realize Christ’s faithfulness is unfathomable.

And I’m glad I’m not the only disciple Jesus had to call out of the comparison game.

In the last chapter of John’s account of the gospel, Jesus has just told Peter, “Follow me.” And what does Peter do?

What most of us do, honestly.

He turns around and looks at someone else.

John. The beloved disciple. The favorite. The one who didn’t deny his Lord three times after vowing to die for Him. The one whose seeming perfection likely made Peter feel more ashamed than he already was.

“But what about him, Jesus?”

I can just see Jesus turning to Peter, looking him straight in the eyes, and replying,

“What is that to you? You follow Me.”


Jesus doesn’t ask us to look to those around us for condemnation or validation. He simply calls, simply and clearly, for us to walk after Him.

What is it to me if my journey looks vastly different than the lives of those around me?

I’m to follow Him, and that is all that matters.


Let’s jump out of the comparison game, friends. Let’s take a hard look at ourselves in the light of God’s word and leave the clamor of the world behind. There’s only one Voice whose approval truly counts.

❤ Laurel

It’s Release Day!!! Here are my thoughts.

It’s Release Day!!! Here are my thoughts.

Guys, the big day is FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!

The day I never thought I’d reach.

Aaagh, I can’t really put it all in words. I’m kind of excited. I think I might have a little celebration.

Here’s the link to purchase it on Amazon! (Or just look at it and be happy that it’s on Amazon for the world to see, like I’ve been doing. Or write a review and rate it once you read it. That would be totally awesome.)

If you have read my writing, encouraged me, given me feedback, helped me along this crazy road to publishing…thank you. Thank you for being here and letting me share my thoughts with you. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be doing this!

I wrote the following piece a few days ago…and decided to share it here.

Honest thoughts here…

As I’m writing this, it’s four days from the day my first book will be released.

My first book. In print.

It’s crazy to think about because I’ve wanted this day so badly for years. I can remember when I would scribble in the notebooks I’d stockpiled from the back-to-school sale at Shopko and dream about when the world would read my words…and as I see orders coming in across the country from people I’ve never even met, it all feels surreal.

I’m the writer I dreamed of being…

And yet I’m not.

I wanted to be a novelist. A nice solid novel was always what I envisioned when I pictured my first book. Probably historical fiction…and definitely published by the time I was eighteen. (Thank you, Jo March and Anne Shirley for warping my view of the publishing process.) Oh, and the world was going to love it. I was going to be famous.

I think that was the most important part to me. Writing so the world would remember my name.

That’s really, really sad.

Even now I keep checking myself against valuing my work in writing against how many people follow me. How many interact in the comment section or in messages. How many order my book.

How many approve of me.

But that was never the point of it, anyway.

“All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”  – Colossians 1:17-18

That in all things Christ may have the preeminence, not me.

All things were created for Him, not me.

And the fact that He’s given me the grace and ability to pull words together and hand them to the world in a way that is relatable and healing…

That’s worth more than all of the book sales, likes, and followers in the world.

Over and over again as I keep writing and He keeps helping me forward, one thought keeps coming to my mind.

Even if only one life is touched by this book/by my writing, it’ll all be worth it.

God’s completely changed my mind about how I want to view my writing. Less than two years ago I was fighting towards the goal of becoming a full-time writer. Now I’ve realized all I want is to keep writing as a side gig…and yet I’ve never felt as much purpose in my writing as I do now.

Because it’s become a ministry for me. A way that I can reach people across the world with words and build a bridge of hope and relatability.

It’s a way that I can show people they’re not alone.

It’s a way that I can point people to God and scream out how great He is.

I love my God, and I want you to love Him, too.

❤ Laurel

And the winner is…

Hello, friends!

Thank you so much to everyone who chatted in the comments and entered the giveaway earlier this week! It was so much fun getting to know you a little better and hearing your stories.:)

The winner of the giveaway has been randomly selected, and the winner is…

*dramatic drumroll*

Elle!!!

Congratulations, Elle! Keep an eye out for your copy of This Will Not Last! I’m so excited to be able to share it with you.:)

If you did not win the giveaway but would still like to have a signed copy of This Will Not Last, you can order yours here...but only through Sunday, April 3rd! The signed copies will no longer be for sale when the book releases on April 4th, so grab yours while they’re still available!

Question of the day…what is the best gift (giveaway or otherwise:) ) you’ve ever been given?

‘Til next time,

❤ Laurel

Your turn to talk…and it’s a giveaway!!!

Your turn to talk…and it’s a giveaway!!!

Hey, friends!

I was thinking about today’s post and realized that I’d love two things.

1.) To hear from you!! I seem to do most of the talking here on the blog (hmm, I wonder why…), but I love good conversations in the comment section. Seriously…interacting with you all is my favorite part about sharing what I write.

2.) To give a blog friend a copy of This Will Not Last! (It releases in seven days, guys!!!)

So we’re going to combine those two things today.:)

If you’d love to have your very own signed copy of This Will Not Last sent to your door, hop into the comment section and share your answer to one (or some or all!) of the following questions. Each answered question is an entry!

  • What is one of the best things that ever happened to you?
  • When you were a child, what was your dream job?
  • What advice would you give to your fifteen-year-old self?
  • What is one thing on your bucket list?
  • What is your favorite part about this blog?

I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, April 1st and announce the winner then.

I can’t wait to hear your answers…and send one of you a copy of This Will Not Last!

❤ Laurel

Memories… and I’m starting a newsletter!! – February 2022

Memories… and I’m starting a newsletter!! – February 2022

The last day of February means another post sharing the ups and downs and the oddities of the month, but first…

Newsletter info!!!

Over and over in the writing world they tell you, “Start a newsletter. Start a newsletter. Start a newsletter. START A NEWSLETTER.

And I, being the stubborn creature I am, retorted that it wasn’t for me and minded my own blogging and poetic business.

So sign up for my newsletter, won’t you?😂

As I started reading the newsletters other writing friends were putting out there, I realized how much fun newsletters could be. I always love hearing random details and interesting stories about what’s going on behind the scenes in others’ lives. If you’re as nosy as I am, maybe I can indulge you in the newsletter I’ll be starting this month!

It will definitely contain some behind-the-scenes stories and info, and also a section about what I’ve been learning from God as I live out this crazy adventure they call life. If there’s anything else you’d love to see in my newsletter, please let me know in the comments!

You can sign up for the newsletter here:

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Alright. Now that you’ve signed up to let me show up in your inbox every month (you did sign up, right??), let’s get on to the February review.:)

Things worth remembering…

  • a really great talk over lunch with a kindred spirit
  • singing the national anthem a cappella with my family for an annual meeting of our farm’s co-op!! We hadn’t sung together in public for so long… and the whole experience was just so special.
  • revealing the cover of This Will Not Last
  • talking history with my Grandma
  • completely messing up my order for the proof copies of This Will Not Last
  • enjoying reading it, anyway:)
  • playing Phase 10 with siblings and friends
  • a Valentine-themed game of Jeopardy… (I would never have guessed how many couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day…)
  • winter walks
  • reading headlines that I’ll read someday in history books

I’ve been reading…

Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes

When I heard my mom reading this book to some of my younger sisters, I remembered how much I’d loved it and had to pick it up again.:) It definitely deserves to be a classic!

Macbeth – William Shakespeare

Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done is done.

Shakespeare is so enjoyable (and hilarious!) when you give yourself enough time to get immersed in the story! The copy I read also had notes and vocabulary explanations on the side… which was very helpful! Otherwise, I could have been completely lost.

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Read, sweet, how others strove // Till we are stouter; // What they renounced, //Till we are less afraid;

My poetry-loving grandma really enjoys Emily Dickinson, and she graciously lent me this book. I’ve really been enjoying it!

Bruchko – Bruce Olson

This missionary autobiography is incredible, if kind of disgusting at times if bugs and blood and sickness make you uncomfortable. I’m okay with it, but I know that some people aren’t.:)

I’ve been listening to…

A playlist I created for This Will Not Last!

If you’d like to get a sense of the vibe/themes you’ll find in This Will Not Last, go ahead and give this playlist a listen.:)

Yiruma

The Greatest Showman Soundtrack

A top-secret playlist I created for my current WIP.:)

From the journal…

Oh, Father, don’t let my feelings drive me. Let me be driven by the truth that I am holy, blameless, and above reproach in Your eyes. {Colossians 1} Forever. Thank You, Jesus.

I can let go of {these} worries through prayer. I just need to love, accept, and forgive, Father. So simple, yet so hard. Steel my heart to crucify my flesh.

Oh, this crucifixion of the flesh is slow and painful. Over and over, though, I am reminded that You are the only one who will truly be faithful and meet all my needs. Keep me on guard against bitterness and envy, my Love. You are enough for me. No one will ever take You away. As the world crumbles and disappoints, Your love grows sweeter.

Lord, thank You for the grace to move on from a shattered past and days that bring me shame to walk in Your glorious freedom.

How was your February? What did you learn/experience/read/hear/etc.? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget to share your ideas for newsletter content!!

Cover Reveal for This Will Not Last!!!

Cover Reveal for This Will Not Last!!!

Yesssss!!! I’ve been so excited to share this cover with you all.:)

This Will Not Last – releasing April 4th, 2022

Raw and achingly honest, This Will Not Last is a collection of poetry that captures the fluctuating emotions that lace life’s pathway. 

Wonder, grief, happiness, and heartache all have their turn to shine in this collection, ultimately bowing to the truth of their transience…and the sturdy realization of God’s unshakeable goodness.  

this death 

this shedding 

of all I’ve known 

must come before the rays of sun 

burst bright upon my soul 

to wake 

a seed of what’s to come. 

this death 

this dying will not last 

this, too 

this, too 

this, too, shall pass. 

God with us.

God with us.

Every year we talk about how the Christmas season is so hard for many people.

It’s always acknowledged, but all the acknowledgements in the world won’t change the fact that many of us will be crying inside at times this Christmas, even as we’re surrounded by family and friends who love us more than we know.

But don’t you know that this ache, this emptiness, this longing loneliness is the very reason Christmas even exists?

This world is broken. People fail. Hearts shatter. People hurt. People die.

So God wrapped himself in trembling flesh to heal that brokenness for eternity.

God with us.

Not God peering down on us from the heights of His holiness. Not God ruling over us. Not God commanding us from a distant galaxy.

No.

God with us.

God wailing with hunger and cold.

God being carried from His home country to safety.

God playing in the very dirt His fingers once molded to form the first of his people.

God trying to escape the exhausting press of a crowd.

God sleeping in a boat in the middle of a churning sea.

God weeping.

God making a meal for his best friends.

God sweating our blood, pleading with His Father for an easier path.

God dying.

God hurling away our sin and drawing us near to Himself.

God with us.

In our pain, in our sorrow, in our heartbreak, in our loneliness, in our brokenness, in our despair…

God with us.

God promising that the brokenness of this world is not the end. The end of the brokenness will come and seep into eternity…

Us with God.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

No Condemnation – Repost

No Condemnation – Repost

Hey, friends!

I originally shared this post last autumn… but it came to mind this morning.

I needed to read it again today. Who knows… maybe you do, too! If that’s the case, then here it is.:)

To be honest…

Some days I get so frustrated with myself for not being the person I want to be. Being me, I mess up, then start throwing accusing questions at myself.

Why can’t I get my life figured out?

Why did I do such an awful job at work today?

Why can’t I live up to everyone’s expectations?

Why can’t I live up to my own expectations?

I can so relate to the Apostle Paul when he writes in Romans 7:15, “…what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

Cue the sickening feelings of guilt, insufficiency, and sinfulness. Right?

Wrong.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:1

This is one of my favorite Bible verses ever. Are you serious? No condemnation???

I’m floored by the fact that the God who looks into my heart and knows my sins even better than I do is the One who loves me with such passion and faithfulness. This incredible love compelled Him to take on Himself the full punishment for my sins. He received all of my condemnation on the cross.

God isn’t calling me to beat myself up over my failures… He’s already been beaten for me.

I can’t let my shortcomings define me. Christ defines me. Yes, I will sin… but I’ll take that sin to God, repent, and walk away from it, travelling on in the amazing grace He gives.

Praise God, I can walk in freedom!

Will you do the same?

Also…

I wanted to thank you for sticking around here and reading my writing. You have no idea what a blessing that is to me! I love hearing from you and being able to share what’s on my heart and mind. So, thank you. You are so appreciated. ❤

P.S. Keep an eye out for a Christmas short story/flash fiction coming up here soon!!!

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

He is good.

He is good.

My life.

My hopes.

My plans.

My dreams.

When they fall apart, I fall apart.

Why?

Because they’re failing me. They’re discouraging me. They aren’t giving me a sense of achievement, fulfillment, satisfaction.

Somewhere along the way I forgot why I have this life, anyway… why I hold these hopes, scribble these plans, fight for these dreams.

Do I live to make me happy?

No.

Not in essence.

I live for the praise of the glory of my Lord…

The only One worthy of the throne of heaven and the throne of my heart.

The Lover of my soul.

The One who died for me.

The One who lives for me.

The One who set me on this course to run it with joy…

Joy that comes only from Him.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Plans fall apart. Life hurts. The world is cruel. Life doesn’t make sense.

But He is good.

Oh, He is good.

And how can I look back on a past of mountains moved, seas parted, ashes exchanged for beauty and still doubt in the midst of these storms?

He always came through for me.

He always will.

But if not…

If His way of coming through looks much different than I’d hoped…

He is still good.

So good.

He is worthy of my praise.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash