Monday, August 14, 2017

Abbiee's Early Writings Tag | Horrendous Books I Wrote as a Child (and what I learned from them)

I am working on getting back into the swing of blogging, and I thought a tag would be a great way to help with that! As it happened, Hailey Hudson at Now All I Know is Grace tagged me in Abbiee's Early Writings Tag!

OK, first of all, Abbiee is a genius for coming up with this tag, and it is a hilarious post to read! (It also makes me feel a lot better about the terrible stories I wrote when I was younger, and I needed that. :p) In this tag, I will expose my terrible stories to the world and talk about what I learned from them. I hope you are excited, because I am about to publicly embarrass myself.


I started writing when I was quite young...probably around seven or eight years old. In my mind, my stories were the BEST BOOKS EVER, and I had the dream of being a famous author. (still hasn't happened, but we'll get there.. :p) My books were very short...mainly because 1.) I wrote all of them by hand in a notebook, and 2.) I didn't have the patience to let the story develop because I was so excited about the ending.

1. The Adventures of Robert Anderson
This book was actually the first in a series of four, and I was extremely proud of them. I changed a few details, but definitely copied a different book series that I was obsessed with at the time. However, I got very upset if any of my well-meaning siblings told me that I was copying. :p
The book is about a boy named Robert Anderson. *surprise, surprise* He was an only child, so his parents decided (very randomly) to adopt a sister for him. As a little kid, I thought the adoption process consisted of walking into an orphanage, picking a kid, signing papers, and leaving with them. (very concerning, I know) The girl they adopted was named Jessica. Later on, they end up adopting another boy, who I decided was Jessica's long-lost brother, and I wrote a very emotional and tear-jerking *cough cough* chapter about it.
The rest of the books consisted of the mother having twins, the kids finding a secret tunnel in their basement, Jessica getting lost at the zoo (based off of when that happened to me), and their cousins becoming their neighbors. It was bad. Really bad. But through the cheesy cliches of my "famous writings," I learned a few things.

- Never copy another writer's work
- Make your characters have flaws. Mine were sickeningly perfect
- The adoption process is more complicated than I thought
-Secret tunnels are not in everyone's basements

2. The Life of Jessica Marie Stewart
This story was similar to the Robert Anderson book I wrote, but from the perspective of the orphan. Jessica was adopted by an older, rich couple with no other kids at home. This was a classic example of when I made the middle of the book boring and rushed the ending, because I thought it was amazing. There is a surprise ending with the couple's son-in-law finding out that Jessica is actually his biological sister. Again, another one of my weird "emotional surprises" that I loved to put into books. :p

What I learned:
- Never rush the ending of a book
- Not everyone has a long-lost relative
-Not all rich people have maids doing everything for them
- Some books are better left in the imagination

3. Called By God
This book. This was the one that I was SURE would be published someday. I got SO mad at my sister when she told me that I misspelled a bunch of words and had bad grammar. Looking back at it, I can only laugh. It is terribly written.
The story is about a guy who grew up and decided (very last minute) that he wanted to be a missionary. He told his parents and left the next day for college. He and one other student were the only ones to make it, and (surprise surprise) they got married.
The rest of the book is basically about them going to the jungle and becoming missionaries to the people of a village there. By the end of the book, the entire village was converted. However, I didn't want it to be too cheesy, so I had the witch doctor run away and never come back. I wanted to make sure it didn't have a 100% happy ending, you know?

What I learned:
- You can't just walk into a Bible school on a whim and get a degree
- Generally, more than 2 people graduate from college
- Heartwarming stories are great, but there is a certain level of unrealistic that should be avoided

After writing those books, I started, but never finished another one. I didn't really do any writing for years after that, and in the past few years I have just gotten back into it. Hopefully my current novel will turn out better? :p

OK, so now it's time for me to tag 5 other people! I tag...

This was a really fun (and embarrassing!) tag to do! Thank you so much for tagging me, Hailey! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! :)

Have a lovely day! ♥

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dominican Republic Trip 2017

As many of you know, I just got back from a mission trip. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go, and I will never forget it. To be honest, when I first applied to go, I was very nervous, but I knew that this was what God wanted me to do. As the trip got closer, my nerves gradually went away, and I was very excited to see what God was going to do there. I was part of a team from my youth group that consisted of 11 people, and very early on a Sunday morning, we headed out.


We partnered with another youth team from Oklahoma, and worked together to bring the Gospel to the people in the Dominican Republic. It was so neat that even though we had never met the other team before, we were able to quickly get to know each other and form friendships. We spent an entire week with them, and it was great. We went everywhere together, crammed on a bus that was always full of conversation, singing, or laughter. It was a huge blessing to work with their team, and I miss them a lot.

 During the week, we helped a group from the Dominican church with a VBS. It was so much fun to dance, sing, and play with the children that came. One of their favorite things was getting piggy-back rides, which we loved to give them! Their faces would light up when they recognized us, and their laughter was contagious. The days were long, and we were hot, sweaty, and usually pretty tired, but there was always more energy to give the kids. In Bible class, they loved answering questions and learning the rhymes and songs about the lesson. It was wonderful to see them eager to learn, and our mornings were full of love, laughter, and so much fun. We would try our best to learn their names and talk to them in our clumsy Spanish, which sometimes ended in helpless giggling. I was motivated to work on my Spanish even more! It was an incredible blessing to be with the kids, and I miss them. Of course, the week passed so quickly, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye.
(On a side note: I realized on this trip just how much I hate goodbyes. We met so many wonderful people and only got to spend a certain amount of time with them before having to leave, and when we did have to leave it was hard. It makes me realize the importance of using our time with other people wisely. Don't waste the time you have!)


After VBS, we had a weekend youth camp. A huge group of teens piled into buses on Friday afternoon and made the drive to camp. We spent the weekend worshiping together, playing crazy games, getting to know each other, and hearing incredible testimonies of God's goodness. It was so amazing to meet and hang out with all of the Dominican teens, and even though we didn't all speak the same language, there was no barrier too big for God. I met so many amazing people that weekend, and there are so many stories and jokes that I will never forget. There was always more people to meet, more things to learn about each other, more games to play, and more opportunities to praise God. Again, saying goodbye was extremely difficult, and I was once again reminded of how important it is to take advantage of the time we have with people. In the few days we had together, we were able to hang out, play games, look for tarantulas (and we found some!), or just sit and talk. Our days were filled with amazing memories, and they passed so much faster than we wanted them to. I miss it so much.

One of the things that I learned from this trip was how amazing our God is. I learned a lot about trusting Him for everything in the process leading up to the trip, and while I was on the trip, I experienced what happens when I put complete trust in Him. He works through anything, and when you let Him work, he does amazing things. We heard testimonies at camp, and it was so encouraging to hear how he worked in others' lives. His love and grace was (and is!) put on display through the people that shared. I am so grateful that He never changes, and that He is always faithful to us.

I mentioned this before, but I also learned a lot about how valuable our time is. We are given so many opportunities to share the Gospel, to show love, to serve, to form relationships, and yet we often waste our time doing trivial things. I was deeply convicted of how I spend my time. How much time do I spend hearing God's voice and reading His word compared to how much time I spend listening to the world's voice and reading social media? Do I spend more time in intentional, deep conversation with others, getting out of my bubble and forming relationships, or do I more often choose to stay in my own comfortable space? I have really been thinking a lot about that lately. It is so easy to waste time and not even realize you are doing it until it is too late. I want to be aware. I want to intentionally and fully live in the place God has put me, doing His will and seeking His glory in everything I do.

If you are feeling led to apply for a mission trip but you aren't sure if you want to, don't hesitate to do it! It isn't always easy to push past nerves and fear, but with God NOTHING is impossible. I now know from experience how amazing it is when you take the leap and let God work. It is absolutely worth it. ♥

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Seek the Lord First | (Guest Post by Sarah)


Hey, everyone! I know it's been a good while since I published a post--with all that has been going on in my house this summer, I haven't had a lot of time to write. However, I am going to be working on some new posts when I get back from a missions trip to the Dominican Republic and things slow down a bit!
This week, I have one of my best friends from Ohio visiting me. We have been talking a lot this week about growing up and living fully for God. Sarah is an amazing girl, and I am so grateful to have her as one of my closest friends! She is funny, cheerful, kind, but most of all, she is on fire for the Lord. I have been greatly encouraged by her. That is why I am SO excited to have her here on my blog today to encourage you! She has graciously put in so much time and effort for this post, and I hope you come away blessed!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~ Proverbs 19:21~
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. 


I turned 18 a mere six days ago, and I think (and sometimes stress about) graduation, college, a job, and my future in general. I tend to forget God and His sovereignty in my life. Especially when it comes to guys. A few months ago, I think I had just about convinced myself that at my age, thinking about guys all the time was not only natural but also was okay. After all, I thought, I’m going to get married SOMETIME, so I can’t just not always think about guys.  

That mindset was WRONG. Totally wrong. But it was also exactly what the culture around me and you thinks.

One day, though, my thinking about the whole guy thing changed forever, and it was all because of two simple verses from the Bible that I had never read before. 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 says, “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”  


We are supposed to…

Be focused on and prioritize the things of Lord

Be holy, both physically and spiritually

Be totally committed to our relationship with Lord

NOT be caught up in the things of the world (which is anything that hinders or distracts us from God, like guys, clothes, make up, video games, friends, school, exercise, or social media - all of which I am guilty of being distracted by…)


These two verses are God’s direction specifically to US as Christian young people. We should take them to heart first of all because they’re a command of God and because, according to the verse, this instruction is for our own good - “this I speak for your own profit”.

So why did these verses change my life? Once I read them, I knew what I should be doing with my life. Until God sees fit to bring my future husband and I together (whoever he might be), I am to focus on the Lord and the Lord alone, not the guys around me. I try to remember this verse: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth - Colossians 3:1-2. And even though I sometime get distracted by other things in my life (e.g. looking around for the “the one”), with lots of God’s help, I am working on becoming the best Christian woman I can be. So if I would leave one thought with you, it would be this…

Grow in your relationship with the Lord. Wait on the Lord’s perfect timing and plan for you, and he will “bring all things to pass."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Currently (In which I am in a creative rut and life is crazy)

Hello, everyone! Happy summer!! 
As you can probably tell by the title of this post, I've been in kind of a rut with blogging, and even writing in general. I haven't had much time to write lately, but when I do, I can't find the inspiration. Fellow writers, I know you've been there. It is very frustrating! However, one of the best ways to get past a rut is to write through it. SO, I'm writing about the fact that I don't know what to write, and in the meantime, I'll give you a bit of an update on what's going on!


A big time-consuming thing has been my family preparing for a move. If you have ever moved, you know what I mean when I say that it is time-consuming! It involves a lot of work to get the house ready to sell, and constant cleaning to keep the house ready for showings. Then, of course, there is the unpacking, organizing, and settling in when we get there!

Also, also I FINISHED HIGHSCHOOL! I am an official graduate, and it is SO exciting! After looking forward to it for so long, it feels amazing to be done. That alone is freeing up so much of my time, which I can devote to writing and blogging and reading alllll the books.

Another thing I have been doing is learning Spanish. I don't mean being able to say "hello" and such (because I think everyone can do that)...I mean being fluent. First let me say how excited I am about this. I love the sound of other languages, and I think Spanish is a really good one to know. I took a Spanish class before, but I am still really interested in the language, and I want to be able to speak it fluently. SO, with a pile of books and help from a friend, I am determined to learn the language! *attempts flying Superman pose* *probably falls over*

Other random happy things:
 -weekend road trips
-playing piano till my arms hurt
-playing volleyball in the dark
-wandering around downtown with a dear friend ♥
-homemade waffles
-90 degree days
-planning my writing area and getting wayy too excited about it
-Bible journaling (there are some really great prompts on Pinterest!) 
-iced coffee and free donuts

I am excited about this summer! There are so many things happening, and the busyness can make me stressed, but I am learning to appreciate the place God has me in right now and trust His plan for my future. There are some really exciting things coming up, and I am looking forward to all He has in store!

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

 What are you up to this summer? Did you graduate this year too? Any tips for learning a new language? 


Much love! ♥

Monday, May 1, 2017

eighteen.

So I just turned 18.
I am an adult now. (wait, what?!) I don't feel like an adult, but how many people really do when they are this age? *please tell me I'm not alone, peoples* 
As a little kid, I always thought that eighteen would be a magical age when you get all the answers and figure out everything for your life. In fact, if you talked to me a year ago, you would know that I had big plans for this year. I definitely had a picture of what my senior year would look like, but God has a way of showing us that HIS plan is greater and usually much different than our own!
To be honest, this year was tough. For a while, it seemed like nothing could possibly go right again. I felt stuck. I felt alone. And I struggled a lot with fear. I was worried and stressed about things that were quite insignificant, really. There were so many things happening all at once and everything inside of me was screaming against it.

No, I didn't know that I was going to struggle with fear. I didn't anticipate losing a pet. I didn't want to find out about that "friend." I didn't know that I would reach a point where I didn't have any clue what was happening or why it was happening.

But it happened.

And it was necessary, because God used my struggles for good. He is using them for good.

Through my battle with fear, I have come to know the importance of vulnerability. When we tell a trusted friend about the things that hurt, the things that we dread, and the things we struggle with, we expose them. We bring them to the light, and the darkness is dispelled in the blinding truth of the Gospel. The hurt is healed by the love and grace of our Heavenly Father, and we no longer dread what is to come because we are never alone.

After all that happened this year, I found it difficult to feel excited about next year. However, I have realized how important it is to remember that God is still in control. Everything is working out for good. Even the hard things that brought me down are shaping me into who He wants me to be, and they are bringing me closer to Him. I am learning to let go of my fear and hand it to God. On my own, I can't handle it. I really can't. But through HIS strength, I can. And so can you.

You can live loved, because you are. You can live confidently, because you have victory in Him. No matter how inadequate you feel, no matter how small, unimportant, or awkward you think you are, just remember this: If you are a follower of Christ, your identity is found in HIM, not what you feel like, what you did, or what people think of you. You are chosen. You are loved. You are forgiven. And you can't ever change that.
No matter what your year looked like, you don't have to stay in a place of doubt. There is grace for every day, and every morning, you can start over. Start each day with renewed faith in God, with hope, joy, and excitement for the amazing plans he has for you. Trust me, He has AMAZING plans for you! Not only that, He gives you just the right amount of strength that you need to get through today, and He is not going to abandon you.

It is hard, but I am learning this every day. I am learning to let go. I am learning to replace the fear with faith, the doubt with trust, and the dread with hope. But most importantly, I am learning to give my frustrations and fears over to the only One who can truly handle them. Because that is the only way to truly find freedom. 

♥♥♥

Thank you for reading this rather rambling post..I haven't blogged in so long, and it felt SO good to get my thoughts written down, no matter how un-sorted they may be. :p

Much love! ♥

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

when life leaves you stressed....

♡  pray. pray a lot.  ♡  write it out.  ♡  bake cookies.  ♡  cozy up with a cup of tea and your favorite book.  ♡  find some old letters and read them.  ♡  write a letter for someone else.  ♡  go for a run.  ♡  pick some flowers...or buy some.  ♡  talk it out--find a listening ear.  ♡  get creative and make a new Pinterest board.  ♡  watch your favorite movie.  ♡  look for verses in the Bible that apply to what you are going through, and memorize them.  ♡  write down 20 things to be thankful for, then thank God for them.  ♡  find an organizing project.  ♡  clean your space.  ♡  stretch.  ♡  re-decorate or re-arrange your room.  ♡  call a friend and hang out.  ♡  take a walk outside.  ♡  unplug.  ♡  listen to music.  ♡  take a nap.  ♡  look at the stars.  ♡  breathe.  ♡

  it's gonna be ok.


~ ♡ ~
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will provide a way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it. 
1 Corinthians 10:13  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I'm back!...kind of...


Happy March! Wowwww. It has been way too long since I sat down to write a blog post! I am here to explain my absence and give you a heads up on what's happening.

As you might have guessed, I haven't been blogging lately because my life lately has been pretty crazy. One reason is that I am in a play, and we are coming up on tech week! (eeek!!)  I have been spending much of my spare time studying my part, doing schoolwork, and tending to the rest of life's demands. There are several other things that have been consuming quite a bit of time, and I have not had the mental energy or time to really sit down and think out a blog post! I miss it so much though, and can't wait to have a chance to do it again!

I am also here to let you know that I am not able to get back into blogging regularly again yet....In fact, I am writing this in preparation for things to get even crazier! I did want to let you know that yes, I am still alive, and I promise that as soon as I get a chance, I will be back into the blogging swing of things again!

Thank you for being so patient, you fabulous people! Much love to you all! ♥