War stories have always intrigued me. I understand that too often war is sugar-coated and romanticized by those who have never experienced it. War is darkness and death, yet we read stories of it to be reminded that even in the most devastating of times, there is hope. There is courage, there is goodness, there is redemption where we least expect it.
The deeper darkness is, the brighter light will shine.
I am thrilled to announce that three incredibly gifted authors of World War II fiction have agreed to partner with me in giving away one of their books! Each story weaves the gritty days of war with a strand of beauty amidst ashes and will leave you breathless.
Spring is humming on the air, my windows are open as I type, and bursts of sunlight are dancing across my bedroom floor.
There is something beautiful about the sunshine, the way it soaks into my skin the moment I step outside, how it bathes every facet of nature in pale brilliance, and transforms morning dewdrops into flecks of gold.
There is something beautiful in seeing God's creation flourish in the role it was meant to fill. It leaves me wondering how radiant life would be if I spent more time focused on glorifying Christ rather than myself.
I stumbled across a favorite quote by George MacDonald along that vein of thought: "The flower expressed what God was thinking of when He made it; the face, what the girl was thinking of herself. When she ceased thinking of herself, then, like the flower, she would show what God was thinking of when He made her."
a writing update...
April has become a historically productive month for this writer. There is nothing like a fresh breath of spring to get me motived. I have spent countless hours on my novel, polishing the rough edges, discovering new rules of grammar, and even letting myself enjoy my favorite scenes all over again.
Besides that, I have been writing more for the Unlocked devotional and also submitted to an up-and-coming magazine that I am excited to tell you about in the near future!
Now that all of my deadlines have been met for the first quarter, I am finally letting myself drop exhausted to the floor with a notebook while I plot my next story. So far it has included character sketches, pages of research, and spur-of-the-moment letters between my two main characters--all of which now litter my desk. It's beautiful. :)
Sometimes it's worth meeting those deadlines simply so I can sit down and enjoy the stillness.
the rest of life...
The in-between moments are a swirl of iced blueberry tea, handfuls of colored pens, the odd hour of laundry and podcasts, morning walks and horse-training sessions, days spent experimenting in the kitchen, and coaxing hymns out of the piano.
A goal of mine for this year was to read more historical fiction. Initially, I just wanted to steep myself more thoroughly in the genre of my craft. I ended up reading a dozen books simply for the fun of it. I have been loving Tessa Afshar's Biblical fiction and am re-reading one of my favorites, Stepping Heavenward.
I am also rediscovering the joy of digging into God's Word. That joy is something I find that I have to keep chasing and forging every day of my life. It is all too easy to skip a day and realize that I have stumbled back two steps when I could have tiptoed forward one.
How has your year been thus far? Are you enjoying these first weeks of spring? I would love to catch up! Until then, blessings!
I once stumbled across the idea of assigning a word to each new year. Be it a character trait you hope to develop, a challenge you want to overcome, or a goal you would like to reach, narrowing down a single word that you want to define your year does wonders to put things in perspective.
But at the beginning of January, I looked back, trying to remember what my resolutions were a year ago, and instead accidentally assigned a word to my 2020. Considering the fact that the year is over, and in retrospect was nothing like I imagined it would be, this one word was backed by a dozen stories, a thousand emotions, and weighed on my heart as I tried to decide where I go from here. How does one look back on disappointment and still race ahead with joy?
In a word: remember.
Novembers leave me grateful for flannel blankets, apple orchards, first snows, and cozy novels. I woke up this morning before the sun did, but my socks were warm and coffee smells especially amazing when all the rest of the house is asleep. Chocolate is delicious, my favorite song just surprised me on shuffle play, God didn't have to make ice sparkle but He did anyways, bury your nose in the pages of a brand new book if you want to smell adventure...
It's the little things that make life incredible. Especially the hidden ones.
But this year, along with all the goodness of life, I want to be thankful for the hard things.
I am a North Dakota girl. I love the open prairie and endless blue sky. I love the little pockets of history waiting at the end of every country road, and magical little hollows full of wildflowers and memories hidden in every cow pasture. I'm even a little attached to the people - especially those born and bred country - who love living five miles from their nearest neighbor and pride themselves on being able to survive blizzards in October and freezing wind chill all winter.
Speaking of winter...
Watching the last autumn leaf fall and grey clouds beginning to creep across the prairie, it can be daunting looking forward to "what comes next". Cold, dark mornings. Short overcast days. Snow drifts that tower above my head...
It's enough to leave one curled in a shivering ball underneath the nearest blanket, crying because I may never see the sun again. (Overly dramatic? Sorry... I am a writer)
On the other hand, I've never been one to back down from a challenge, and there is Christmas. (It's the most wonderful time of the year!)
In the same way that I love and dread winter all in one breath, it's easy to do the same with life. How do I enjoy looking forward to "what comes next" when I can't see the big picture or even the next step? Am I doing the right thing? What if I don't make the right choice? If only I hadn't... maybe I should've... do you think I could've...
Thoughts like these have more than once left me ready to give it all up and stay hidden under the bedcovers forever.