The Liebster Award… Again! Twice.

The Liebster Award… Again! Twice.

Hello, friends!

If you remember, I was nominated for the Liebster Award last year in December. I’ve been nominated again… two days in a row… so you guys have another long post filled with random information ahead of you.

First off, the rules.

1. Thank the person who nominated you, include a link to their blog, and add the Liebster Award badge to your blog and/or post. 

2. Answer the eleven questions from the person who nominated you. 

3. Give eleven random facts about yourself. 

4. Nominate 5-11 fellow bloggers. 

5. Notify your nominees that you nominated them for the Liebster Award. 

6. Ask your nominees eleven questions.

The first nomination was from Maya Joelle, who blogs right here. Go check her out, especially if you’re a fan of the fantasy genre. She’s got some fun book/music reviews, blog tags, info about her WIP and more! Head on over there!

Maya’s questions were…

1.) What is your favorite summertime drink?

Oh, man. Must this be so hard? We’ll go with an iced coffee.:)

2.) Have you ever met someone whose first language was not English (or was your first language not English)? What was that like?

Yes… I’ve known people who grew up in Mexico for as long as I can remember, and I work with several now! It’s been really neat… although a bit of a struggle when they can’t find the words to express what they’re trying to communicate, or when I can’t understand what they’re saying because of their accent. Thankfully, they’re so gracious with my confusion and laugh it off. A sense of humor covers a multitude of sins.:)

3.) Do you fluently speak any language other than your first? Which one? How’d you learn it?

Not really… although I can usually decipher Spanish sentences. I learned Spanish through a combination of Duo Lingo, Rosetta Stone, stories read in Spanish, and other sources. Oh, but I can say “Please listen – do you speak English?” in Hindi. Because that’s just so helpful.

4.) Have you ever made up a language, or do you want to?

If creating a howling code with brothers and cousins counts, then yes. Been there, done that.

5.) Is it snowy where you live?

FYI: Princess Anna is actually me.

6.) What song did you last listen to? Did you like it?

I’m currently listening to a song called “Hope Now” because it popped up on the station I’m listening to… I would say I like it! It’s not outstanding, in my opinion, but it’s not despicable.:)

7.) Would you rather be Lizzy Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) or Peter Parker (Spider-man)? (Ignore whether you’re the same gender for this question and just think about the situation/personality.)

*looks up a synopsis of just who Spider-Man is*

Lizzy Bennett. Books, long letters, walks, sarcasm, interesting interactions and lots of plot twists… sounds fascinating and familiar.:)

8.) Have you ever been to Michigan? If so, what did you think of it?

Not yet!

9.) Favorite non-official holiday?

Grilled Cheese Day – April 12. A few years ago, our family started a little tradition for our farm… we host a grilled cheese lunch on that day for our employees and other people who work with our farm. It is so much fun! Sadly, last year we canceled due to *unintelligible muttering and sputtering*

10.) Does your church follow the liturgical calendar?

Until I was eleven, we were members of a Lutheran church, and we did there. Now we’re at a non-denominational church that doesn’t follow the liturgical calendar.

11.) Do you like being asked about your future plans? Why or why not?

Ooh… *cringes* Not really. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 22, people seem to automatically assume that you’re in college, so answering “where are you going to school?” with “I’m not going to school, I’m working on my family’s farm while working towards a career in writing” is challenging at times. People either ask for my back-up plan (nothing like boosting a girl’s confidence!) or treat me like I’m about to win the Newbery Medal, and both of these reactions make me shrivel up inside. So, no. I don’t really like being asked that question… and yet somehow I do at the same time. It’s complicated.

Thanks for the questions, Maya! That was fun!:)

Okay, next up…

Mia Harden nominated me, as well! Thank you so, much, Mia.:) You can check out Mia’s blog right here to read some of her super fun posts. Go do it!

Mia’s questions were…

1.) What Food Do You Want to Like, But Just Can’t?

Omelets. I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. I’m not a picky eater, but if I’m going to enjoy an omelet, it has to be absolutely perfect. Not scorched, but with zero runniness. With mushrooms and onions… lots of them. And ham is nice, too. No salsa… that pulls away from the mushrooms and onions. But sour cream on top is great, because… dairy.

2.) If You Could Go Anywhere In the World, Where Would You Go?

Europe. Mountains, history, and a different culture… need I say more?

3.) Excluding Any Instruments That You Might Play, What Is Your Favorite Instrument?

My favorite are the piano and guitar… but I play both. I think that the cello is so beautiful – and I’m such a terrible cellist, I think I can get away with saying I don’t really play it.:)

4.) What Is the Funniest Thing That Has Ever Happened to You?

One Sunday evening, after my mother’s reputation as one of the best chocolate chip cookie bakers in the region was well established among the kids in our youth group (they had scarfed down a box or two, leaving nary a crumb for yours truly a few weeks before this), I began the slow and painful process of trying to drag three siblings away to the car.

After telling the siblings that it was time to leave, I ran to grab the cookies. I was stopped by one of our youth leaders, who asked if she could grab a few cookies before I left. Then, as I began my pilgrimage to the car, I was attacked by a multitude of panicking friends. I’m serious – there were grabbing hands everywhere. It cracked me up, and I still grin every time I remember it. (Maybe this wasn’t the funniest thing… but it’s one of my favorite funny memories.)

(You can find the recipe for these amazing cookies here, on my other blog.:) )

5.) What Is Your Favorite Day of the Week?

Sunday! Although I love the routine of my weekday schedule, it’s such a treat to be able to refresh and refocus on Sundays. Spending time with my church family, spending extra time focusing on and drawing near to Jesus, just hanging out with my family, and (let’s admit it) Sunday afternoon naps are simply the best.

6.) What is Something Random that You Like to Do?

Strike up conversations between characters whose personalities and situations I invent as I go. One of them is usually in tears or upset about something. I’d say that’s random.

7.) Early Bird or Night Owl?

Lately I’ve been a night owl… but I function better when I’m an early bird. I just struggle to tell my brain to stop working and go to sleep.:)

8.) On a Scale of One To Ten, How Excited Were You For This Nomination?

Good question! I was nominated for this last year, and then my excitement was definitely a 10! It was the first blog award for which I’d been nominated, and I was pretty much bouncing off the walls.:) This time around I was more like, “Oh, cool, another nomination!” So maybe a 7 or 8?

9.) You Have the Opportunity to Go on an All-Expenses-Paid Trip to See Your Favorite Singer Perform, But It Happens At the Same Time As Something Else You’ve Always Wanted to Do. What is The Other Thing, And Which Would You Choose?

The other thing would be marrying someone amazing… and I think that choice is a no-brainer. Besides… concerts are usually in big cities. With crazy traffic. And tons of people. I can listen to Sidewalk Prophets anytime I want to at home, anyway.:)

10.) When Did You Decide You Wanted to Start a Blog?

I had to think about this one! I think it was in the spring or summer of 2017… and I started my first blog in October of 2017. I pretty much got hooked on blogging for life after that.:)

11.) And the Question For the Win, How Many Other Blogs Are You Following?

Ooh… I actually have no idea. Maybe… 20? Or 30?

Random Facts About Me

  1. I used to be an avid bacon grease collector.
  2. I wrote a horrible story once, and knew it was horrible. To scare me, my brother wrote up his own version on the same type of paper and pretended that my story was in his possession. His version was so much better than mine and is still in existence. Mine was ripped up by my own two hands years ago.
  3. My family laughed at me when I informed them that taking Geometry helped me to think more logically.
  4. If a game involves words, definitions, or acting, I will probably love it.
  5. This blog has been cracking me up, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s chock-full of my kind of sarcastic humor. Please. Go read it.
  6. My favorite musical is Fiddler on the Roof.
  7. The first scene in an HF novel I started writing was set by a brook in my favorite park.
  8. I once dropped a plate, shattering it, and promptly landed on a shard. With my bare foot.
  9. Phone calls terrify my introverted soul. Texts or letters, please.
  10. If I didn’t love writing or working on the farm, I may have ended up pursuing a career in law or politics. (please refer to random fact #3 and laugh with my family.)
  11. I love to debate.

And I would like to nominate…

Tabitha Rutto

Sarah at The Sarcastic Elf

Hannah at The Striped Plaid

Rachel at Kinetic Intent

Rachel at Joyful Creations

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What are some of your favorite quotes/Bible verses at present?
  2. What has been one of the happiest days of your life so far, and why?
  3. What is your favorite book genre?
  4. What is your favorite movie, and why?
  5. Why do you blog?
  6. Do you prefer talking face-to-face or communicating through writing?
  7. What is your favorite outfit?
  8. If you could spend one full day with your best friend, what would you do together?
  9. What would you say is your biggest goal in life?
  10. Do you plan your blog posts ahead of time, or leave them ’til the last minute?
  11. How would you describe your personality in three words?

If you’re still here… you’re either one of my nominees or a gem. Or both.:) Thanks for sticking with me.

Have a lovely day, folks… and feel free to answer any of these questions in the comment section!

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of January 2021

Recent Reads, Journal Snippets, + Highlights of January 2021

The first month of 2021 is officially over… and here’s my review.:)

Highlights of the month

  • indoor s’mores with my sisters
  • Mongolian Steamed Dumpling Night… which soon turned into Mongolian Fried Dumpling Night. The transition from steaming to frying was only a slight improvement. Ketchup helped.:)
  • reading a letter my grandmother sent home from college when she was around my age
  • eating buckeyes and exchanging snarky (good-natured!) comments with my brother while we worked on writing and algebra
  • talking late in the night with sisters
  • discovering a love of flying
  • communicating via phone with my family while I was away from home
  • swimming in the ocean
  • spending lots of time with sweet friends
  • experiencing sunburn in January for the very first time:)
  • breaking out of writer’s block
  • reading to my little sister

What I’ve Been Reading

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

This was on the banned books list and recommended by numerous sources, so of course I had to read it.:) I’ve not finished it yet, but I’ve been appreciating it so far. The way it is written totally draws me into the story and makes me feel like I’m physically right there watching what’s happening. Due to the nature of the storyline and Scout’s use of language, I don’t recommend it for everyone.

Keep a Quiet Heart – Elisabeth Elliot

This is such a beautiful collection of wisdom that’s applicable to so many different areas of life. My mom gave this to me right before I went on vacation… and I spent a lot of time reading it. As a homeschool graduate, I especially loved what she had to say about home education… and it made me even more sure that I want to home educate any children I may ever have.:)

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

I just started reading this one to my youngest sister, and it’s been fun to read it again! For some strange reason, reading about the scraps Wilbur eats makes me hungry. Weird.

Journal Snippets

Make me a vessel for honor, Lord – cleanse me from all that would dishonor You. Make me fit for every good work.

Lord, thank You for giving assurance of Your control of my life… of this nation… of this world. Of the tiniest happenings in my day. It gives me peace like nothing else can.

Lord, thank You for leading me… to a desperation for Yourself and the life You want me to lead. I pray that You would fuel this holy discontentment, never letting me sink into status quo. Let me always be seeking, reading, serving, loving. Always loving.

Oh, Lord, let me not heed the voice of tradition while riding roughshod over Your commands.

Let me give up this intense longing for what I cannot have and that which is not eternal. Turn that desire to You and let the flames rage until they consume all the dross and leave only pure emotions – a pure heart that is wholly Yours.

Habakkuk’s attitude of humility in his questioning – “I will… watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” He isn’t questioning to force God into admitting He’s wrong; he’s questioning because his finite mind can’t wrap itself around God’s plan. Let me question You in such a way, Lord.

The will of God for me RIGHT NOW: thankfulness in every situation, and sanctification.

God, You are my Fortress, my Mighty Warrior, my Defender, my Comforter, my Love, my Great Delight, my Everything. You are indeed all to me. Nothing can add to or subtract from Who You are to me. You are my Peace. You are enough for me. And no matter where January 26th, 2022 (one year from the day I wrote this) finds me, You will still be more than enough for me, my God, my Jesus. Thank You… thank You for loving a wretch like me.

Let me never be a dumb piece on display, but a living, breathing proof of God’s power.

What have you been doing/reading/writing? I’d love to hear from you!

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.:)

Eighteen – My Mid-Term Reflections

Eighteen – My Mid-Term Reflections

I’ve hit the half-way mark in my eighteenth year.

Did it meet my expectations?

Uh, no. Big no. My little-kid self assumed that when one turns eighteen, one magically becomes an adult, assumes adult responsibilities with ease, has everything figured out in life, and does big things.

Maybe that happens to everyone else… but it sure didn’t happen to me.

Looking back, I see that much of this slice of life was spent just trying to get the hang of life as a graduated adult with work instead of school, and a whole lot of things to figure out. I did a lot of journaling. And crying. And laughing. And praying. And thinking. And writing. And smiling. And farming. Lots of little things filled my life – and joy – to overflowing.

I had big plans to write my novel, take writing classes, and probably stop mixing feed for the cows on the family farm. (No offense, cows…) I wanted an orderly lifestyle with few or no complications. Ha.

Instead, I grew to love the crazy diversity that defines this season of my life. I fell mostly in love with my job on the farm and decided to keep it. I got to take on some babysitting. I didn’t take many writing classes. I didn’t make as much progress on my novel as I had naively planned. I got shoved into situations that stretched me…

But am I happy with how the last six months have panned out?

Absolutely.

They most certainly did not go according to my tidy, boring little plans. Oh, no. Instead, they gave me the opportunity to experience a huge, crazy mash-up of joy, pain, humor, irony, sacrifice, stumbling, disappointment, failure…

And fulfilment beyond my wildest dreams.

When God starts to change my plans, my first response is to wail, No, God. You don’t understand. This is how it’s supposed to go. Really.

To which He gently, but firmly, responds, Ah, but this is how it must go. Just wait and see… and soon you’ll know why.

I’m not at the end of my story, but I can already see some of the blessings that have come because God turned my plans upside down. I’m not holding so tightly to the security offered by things, plans, circumstances, or even people anymore. I’m not as scared of trying new things. I want Him more.

And I’m actually excited to hand Him the pen for these next six months – for the rest of my life – and to watch in breathless anticipation as He continues to write my story for me.

What are some things that you learned in your eighteenth year of life? Or are learning? Or wish to learn?

Photo credit: Jonna @thru.t.h.e.lens

Eternity’s Wake – Flash Fiction

Eternity’s Wake – Flash Fiction

After years of procrastination, he opened the door. The room would not empty itself.

His breath caught as he peered in at expressions of her wild glory. Bed unmade, the quilt carelessly crumpled. Bookshelves cluttered, their overflow strewn on the floor. Dresser drawers protruding, socks and jeans pouring out.

She had not readied the room for death.

He shut the door behind him, staring with vision already blurred. Where to start?

He stooped and began to gather the mementos of life she’d left scattered on the carpet. He turned over a chocolate wrapper and stared at the white paper lining. Her scrawl was smudged with chocolate. funny looking at times open loud very blunt

What in the world? A corner of his mouth twisted upwards, and he folded the wrapper carefully. A few pennies, note cards, and dirty socks later, the floor was clean. Clean was relative. She never vacuumed.

The corner of a notebook peeked from underneath the bed. He pawed at it and cradled it in his hands. The same handwriting that made the candy wrapper priceless labeled this cover July 24th, 2016 –

2016 – Eternity.

He flipped it open and paged through. Records of schoolwork. Stormy friendships. A recital and her first trip by plane. Some of the pages bore wrinkled bumps. Tear stains, he guessed. The brown spots had to be spilled coffee.

The last entry – written under a date that was seared into his heart – caught his eye and held it.

I’ve just got this feeling… it’s gonna be a great day.

It certainly was, he thought…

For you.

Photo by Martin Castro on Unsplash