31 December 2015

2016? Tomorrow?

Can someone tell me where the year went?

Yeah, I thought not.
2015 is about 5 hours and 45 minutes away from being gone. LIKE THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER ONE. Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut????? 

So yeah. Happy New Year! Did you notice when you chat that to somebody on Gmail it does a weird animation thing? Crazy. 

2015 was kind of a crazy year for me. I feel like everything changed in one year. That's a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. :-P I turned 18, graduated, my sister moved out and then got engaged... yeah. It's been rough, lots of days. Emotionally, I mean. Growing up is hard. And I don't say that in a whiny, "Where is my Neverland?" sort of way. I say it in the most realistic way possible. 

But at the end of the day (or the year, as the case may be), it's all just growing pains. We go through this pain, not in despair or fear, but in deep-seated hope that will never be destroyed. We grow, knowing that we are moving Further Up and Further In. Our God is shaping us, molding us, and we are growing closer and closer to being perfected in His image. This is good, guys. 

One thing that God has been impressing on my heart lately is, Make new memories. It's hard to explain the full significance of this, but I am the type of person that grips onto old memories with a death-hold, only letting them go if they are brutally wrestled from me. And that makes me start to believe that I will never again experience something that good again. But I need to let go. And no, letting go does not mean forgetting. But it does mean loosening my grip. It means turning my face toward the rising sun and taking a step, and then another. 

Make new memories. And there are tons to make. How do I know? Because my God is a good God. And He gives good gifts. And there is plenty to go around. Because there is enough of Him to go around, to reach to every single day of my life, however long or short it may be. And I have no good apart from Him. And if every day is filled with more and more of Him, then I know that I will be making loads of new memories. Good ones. The best ones. 

So farewell 2015. Hello 2016. It's going to be a good one.

Now...let's do a quick Best Of 2015. Because no End of Year Post is complete without it. Basically, it's just my favorite things that either came out or I discovered in 2015. Enjoy. :-)


Far and away, my favorite book that I read this year was Island of the World by Michael D. O'Brien. I wept. It was so beautifully told, so emotional and so impactful. And so beautiful. Did I mention it's beautiful? Go read it. It's worth every 800 or so pages. 

Honorable mentions, though:

Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. So simple, so relatable, and so convicting.

Sacred Singleness by Leslie Ludy. Wow. I needed this book so badly. It truly changed my perspective on a lot of things and shifted my focus--which needed shifting so badly. 


Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes the gold for movies this year. And funny enough, I wasn't even going to go see it (I guess I had a bad feeling about it). But I was persuaded (thank you, Addy and Dally!), and boy am I glad I was. This movie stayed so true to the heart of the Original Star Wars, while also creating some new, fresh, believable, and seriously relatable characters. I adored both Rey and Finn as characters and look forward to seeing them more! And while the plot wasn't terribly original (it is very similar to A New Hope), I didn't mind because of how cleverly the new (and old) characters were introduced. The characters really held up any problems of the plot. Anyway. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The Peanuts Movie was also really good. I laughed. So hard. It was just so fun and so well done and just felt like the comics. 

Also, Ninjago. I realize it's a TV show but it is the best TV show hands down. Like. What even. Why do I get so emotional over a Lego TV show????? So good. 


The Burning Edge of Dawn by Andrew Peterson. Like, no person should be able to write an album that good. Except they should because then I can listen to it. I could listen to this album on repeat. Seriously. I definitely think it's AP's best, which is saying something, because ALL of his albums have been incredible.

Home by Josh Garrels. There aren't really any words to describe Josh Garrels. And this album was much needed this year. I love the sound. It's the perfect driving album, for me. 

Atlas: Year One by Sleeping At Last. This is a band I discovered this year and totally fell in love with. The lyrics are simply INCREDIBLE. And the concept of doing an album the way that SAL does....yeah. Just listen to it. It's amazing. Definitely an amazing find. And I can't wait to hear what he comes up with for Year Two. 

Alright, that's all for 2015! See you next year! :-D 

25 December 2015

Fourth Week of Advent: Peace

And then there was peace.
For though the night was far from silent,
It silenced the voice of death.
For the empty tomb and the bloody cross began with one breath,
A child’s, born in a stable.
Peace, peace on earth.
Immanuel, God with us, a humble child.
But the night is dark,
So I hold my candle high.
I hold my candle high,
Because God became flesh and dwelt among us.
So I have something deeper than a battle cry,
I bear the truth that will turn death backwards:
Peace, peace on earth.
And all that is within me aches to join the fight,
To burst behind enemy lines, to free the captives from their curse.
If hope is light and love is sacrifice and joy is blazing,
Then peace is what binds them together,
What strengthens my bones and trains my arms to bend a bow of bronze—
Not to bring war, but to proclaim the victory to those that sit in darkness.
Not to kill but to declare that life has come.
Peace is that voice which says, Whom shall I fear?
For I know that man can harm the body but he cannot touch my soul,
For my God is my rearguard, my fortress, my deliverer.
My God is the God that raised the mountains from the dirt,
Who drew the line between the oceans and the shore,
Who broke open the soil for the mighty oak to burst through,
So peace, peace on earth.
Come, come you weary travelers,
You empty wanderers, come.
For here there is the bread of life, the water that you might never thirst again,
The blood that atones for your sin and the righteousness that bears you forward.
Behold your God.

O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate,
Your gates of carbuncles,
And all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established,;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
Isaiah 54:11-14


Merry Christmas everyone! 

22 December 2015

7 Things About Adelaide

So when Cally Declan asked me to do a bloggy thingy with her and Adelaide Thompson in which we all get to gush about each other, my reaction was all like

Okay, it was way more excited than that but you know, it's hard to pass up the opportunity to use a Spike gif.

Because basically, I love these kids like so much it makes me want to jump off rooftops and do flips and awesome stuff. So I could probably do a post titled "700 Things About Addy and Cally" but that would be cheating, I think.

So instead, I am writing 7 things about my Addy T.

1. She's steadfast. She's got a heart of gold, guys, and even when I'm a total twerp, she sticks around and loves and loves and loves in such a sacrificial way, pushing me toward growth. She's the type of person that when you're in a rut, she'll hop down in there with you, cry with you for a time, and then fill you to bursting by turning you toward Christ.

2. She's hysterical. Guys, her blog is like all dramatic-like, but in person, she has me laughing so hard I'm crying and holding onto my kidneys for fear they will burst right out of me. Also, she laughs really hard at her own jokes which cracks me up (and, to be fair, she also laughs really hard at everyone else's jokes, even when they're corny).

 3. She's loud when she watches movies. We watched Newsies together and that part where the nasty guys are beating Davy up, when the one guy digs into his pocket, Addy screams, "HE HAS A PISTOL!!!!!!!!!!!" and I screamed, "NO IT'S BRASS KNUCKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and we proceeded to scream unintelligible things while Addy flapped her arms (literally) and I almost fell off the couch laughing. She's also loud in the mornings. It's like, she wakes up and boom she's awake and I'm still like *whisper things* *drink chai tea*. Anyway, it cracks me up and gets me going in the morning better than caffeine ever could (though that's not quite fair to say because caffeine affects me by putting me to sleep. Random tidbit you really wanted to know).

4. She is one of the bravest people I know, yet she claims to be afraid of everything. And she is afraid of a lot of things, but even though she's afraid of them, she does them. Thus proving she is brave. She's not the type of person to run away when danger comes. She's kind of the type of person to scream once, then grab her sword out of her belt and hold it with both fists and shout for everyone to get behind her. She's fierce. A fighter. Because she allows her weaknesses to be but openings for Christ's strength to shine through. The quote that has always reminded me of her is when Aslan says to Lucy, "If you were any braver, you'd be a lioness."

5. She has taught me how to acknowledge failure and sin as such, but to move on. She's taught me that yes, we're full of mistakes and full of cracks and full of weakness, but that there is a God who is more than the completion of us, who is willing to fill us up, to shine through every broken part of us. She has taught me that, in everything, God is faithful, and God provides. And I don't mean that she has taught me through telling me. She has taught me through living in such a way that proclaims the truths of God. Because when I find her hurting, stumbling along the thorny path, and when I go to her and ask her what broke her, she smiles through tears and she points forward toward Christ and says, "It is good, my friend. It hurts, but it's good."

6. She can literally pick up a guitar and write a song that rhymes and sounds amazing. Without any planning. She can just jam out a song. SAME WITH POETRY. She just sits down at the computer, turns a magic switch and BOOM THERE'S A POEM. She has also written 10,000 words in her novel in a day. BASICALLY I THINK SHE'S NOT REAL. THERE'S NO WAY SHE'S REAL. And also, as you all know, she's an incredibleific writer, so it's not just like, "pigs and turnips" a bazillion times in a row. Her book makes me cry. A lot. And laugh. All books should be like that. But anyway, she's just seriously talented.

7. What is good enough to be the last one, here??? That she's the Queen of Foursquare? That I have one of her guitar picks in my pocket? That one time I almost killed her by "playing" the trumpet? That she has inspired me to continue in being a writer, especially on those days I just want to quit? That her favorite cereal used to be mini wheats but is now honey bunches of oats? That she can't whistle?

How 'bout this: I love her and she is my sister through and through, and this bond that God has placed between us is stronger than all of the arrows that hell can throw.


Because you are Totally Awesome.


NOW, everyone, go check out Cally's and Addy's blogs because, well, they're awesome, but they're also doing posts like these. :-D So it'll be fun. Just do it.

All pictures in this post are not taken by me. Creds to Cally Declan, Dally, my dad, and probably someone else but I forget.

16 December 2015

Third Week of Advent: Joy

Joy came blazing, and I thought it would burn me up,
Because even though I ache in the dark,
My eyes still hurt when the light comes on.
I admit that I was hollow,
Empty of everything but those last few strands that I called hope.
And my heart yearned for a break from the shadowy dusk of loneliness,
But I began to despair that morning would ever break over the peaks.
The sun always rises, and this time, it was blazing.
The ribbon of clouds was rosy and embroidered with golden thread,
And the voice from the depths bellowed, Rejoice. 
And it rattled me to the core of every broken piece that I boasted of,
Every crack became wider, and my doubt shattered,
For dawn had come and it was blazing.
I rejoiced, not because I owned the joy, for it was too hot to touch,
Too bright to behold.
I rejoiced because I was weak and silent, and He that is within me was singing.
Gloria, Gloria, look up, for the Lamb of God is worthy. 
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel--God is with you. 
My God is here and He is blazing.

09 December 2015

Second Week of Advent: Love

All of my pretenses have gone threadbare,
Or perhaps they always were. 
I look down, toward the floor, yearning to lose all of my imperfections,
But all I see there are the rags of the beauty that was never there to start with.
I want a heart that is not spotted, blemished like a rejected lamb,
I want to look there and know full well that I am worthy to be loved,
Yet I am not, and so I put on pretty dresses,
And let my heart skip a beat when someone looks my way,
As if I could somehow make something of these broken pieces,
Something someone would want to win.
But I am not blind to the malformed flaws that paint me a cripple.
My eyes are wide with the knowledge of evil,
Yet I forget that I also hold the knowledge of good.
I am looking for love in a foreign place,
In the wilderness of my fickle heart.
I am a deserter, a thief, a traitor, and a liar.
Who could love me?
I have seen my own love wither and die as the heat of conflict breaks upon it.
I know that it cannot withstand any kind of trial or weather any storm.
It is the kind of love that is drawn in the sand when the day is mild,
But the tide quickly carries it away.
So my heart cannot fathom the love without bounds that I see in front of me,
Like a warrior, like a king, like a lion,
But also like a lover, who longs to behold me.
I am nothing! And yet—
Here I am where all of my pretenses have gone threadbare,
Yet I am not uncovered, for I am wrapped in righteousness freely given.
What is love?
I do not know it, not intimately,
For I have run from it for too long,
But I know this—
It is not earned.
Thank God, it is not earned.
You love me. I know it deeper than I know my own shortcomings
Because I have known it before I was even born,
For there, in the depths of the earth as I was being formed,
I was claimed.
It is true that I was a slave to sin, bound to death by chains my hands had formed,
That I belonged to a brutal master,
And that I was plunging headlong toward destruction.
But I was bought by blood shed two thousand years ago.
This is love, that while I was filthy in sin,
You died. 
For me.
This is no longer a question of how deep, how wide,
Just how endless your love is,
Because there is no limit, there is no end,
There is no brokenness that can tear a way out,
A loophole that you somehow missed,
A last coin that did not make it to my old master,
So that the price was not fully paid,
You did not make a mistake.
So can I call you a liar? Can I make you imperfect?
Surely not.
Therefore when you call me yours,
I am forced to know that it is true.
So when you dress me in your rich robes,
And place upon my head a beautiful crown,
On my finger a ring of promise,
I shall not take them off to replace them again with my rags,
Only to cast them at your feet in worship.
I shall not return again to the blood from which you drew me,
Only shall I remain drenched in your perfection.
I shall not again return to the streets to find cheap love, as if I were not claimed,
Only shall I speak your precious name to the broken.
For I am loved, and I cannot escape it, nor can I ignore it,
For it is blazing like holy fire, and it is consuming me, but I am not afraid,
For your name is mine and even death cannot part us. 

04 December 2015

The Non-Official Best Book Awards Tag

I got tagged with this amazingly awesome tag by Abbie, and I am soooo excited about it! It looks super fun. Can't wait to brag on my favorite books (and I can totally do that because I didn't write 'em). :-)

So, without further ado...


Hoo baby. I'll try to keep this down to a minimum, but I like a lot of male characters, :-) But I shall keep it down so I have some saved for Best Protagonist. :-)

  • COSTIS from The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Because he's epic. And loyal. And such character development. And he punched Eugenides. 
  • FFLEWDDUR FFLAM from The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Because he is amazing and fun and his name is awesome and he says things like, "A Fflam never surrenders!" And guys. He's a travelling bard because he was tired of being a king. And he has a harp that keeps him from...er...coloring the facts. 
  • CHARLES LANDRETH from the Millie Keith series. I'm biased because I just finished rereading that series, but he's awesome. Honorable mentions from these books are Gordon Lightcap and Cyril Keith. 
  • ZEKE JOHNSON from the 100 Cupboards series by N.D. Wilson. Because he hit a witch with a baseball bat and he's a catcher and nothing more needs to be said. 


  • MILLIE KEITH from the Millie Keith books, obviously. Because she is inspiring, hilarious, spunky, yet feminine. Honorable mentions from these books are Rhoda Jane Lightcap and Celestia Ann. 
  • HENRIETTA WILLIS from the 100 Cupboards books. Because she's awesome.
  • ANTIGONE SMITH from the Asthown Burials series by N.D. Wilson. Because she is one of the few characters that I just seriously relate to. 
  • FIN BUTTON from the Fin's Revolution series by A.S. Peterson. THE GIRL'S NAME IS FIN BUTTON. She's also incredibly awesome and her redemption story is hugely amazing and agh. And she's a violinist. The book world needs more of those. :-)


  • TARAN from the Chronicles of Prydain. All time favorite MC because character development is incredible and he's so relatable. 
  • CYRUS SMITH from the Ashtown Burials series. Because he's just cool and funny and great.
  • JOSIP LASTA from Island of the World by Michael D. O'Brien. Because...wow. Just go read the book.
  • JANNER from the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. No words.


  • SAURON from The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. Because I like bad guys I can boo and never have to feel sorry for.
  • GNAG THE NAMELESS (WHOSE NAME IS GNAG) from the Wingfeather Saga. Because anybody who is nameless whose name is Gnag needs to be on this list. 
  •  Character who I choose not to name (not because he's Gnag but because he's in a book by my sister and I do not reveal anything of her book to the general public). I can't explain why. Force her to publish her book.


  • THE QUEEN'S THIEF SERIES by Megan Whalen Turner. She's a whiz. 


You know, I am that really gullible reader that is pretty surprised a lot of the time at plot twists. I gasped in the theater when it was revealed that Hans from Frozen was evil. XD That said...
  • THE PLOT TWIST in The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson left me reeling. No spoilers here.
  • THE ONE IN Great Expectations by Charles Dickens had me deliciously gasping. 


  • DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. I actually might get haters for that, but after two chapters I literally threw the book in disgust. 


I'm making this my favorite couples, rather than book, because I don't actually read much of the "Romance" genre.
  • JOSIP AND ARIADNE from Island of the World. All the tears.
  • MILLIE KEITH AND CHARLES LANDRETH from the Millie books. <3 <3 <3


  • THE ASHTOWN BURIALS SERIES because....N.D. Wilson is a genius. 


What defines "other"? One I haven't mentioned yet? Okay.

  • HIND'S FEET ON HIGH PLACES by Hannah Hurnard. Because it's gorgeously beautiful.


  • THE BIBLE, dude. That might be cheating, but it's also the truest thing in this whole list.


Trying not to repeat too many books here....
  • DEATH BY LIVING by N.D. Wilson.
  • THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie ten Boom. 
  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS SERIES because they were part of my inspiration to write, and also my inspiration to find really good stories. 


  • SACRED SINGLENESS by Leslie Ludy. Not like.... ALL NEW THINGS I NEVER KNEW, but some stuff that was definitely enlightening and a revelation to me. 


  • ISLAND OF THE WORLD because...ouch and ow and yeah. 
  • THE WARDEN AND THE WOLF KING by Andrew Peterson. Another punch in all the feels, and an incredible redemption story.


  • ALL N.D. WILSON BOOKS are pretty much hilarious. I adore his sense of humor.
  • THE QUEEN'S THIEF SERIES because Eugenides is a pain and also hysterical. 
  • THE WINGFEATHER SAGA because any book that has me in stitches in the Introduction is just...hilarious. 

SO BOOM. I think I just broke like, all the rules, but hey, that's me. I also got this done before my vacation so heyyyy I think I'm doing pretty good. :-) 


Becca, Lady Emily, Cassie, Lauren, and Treskie. AND ANYONE ELSE WHO READS THIS AND IS LIKE, WOAH I STEAL THIS. Have fun! :-D 

Thanks for tagging me, Abbie! Loved it. 

30 November 2015

First Week of Advent: Hope

Enter Advent. The countdown to the incarnation of Christ--a season of rest, fulfillment of promises, and great expectation as we celebrate the birth of our King. To celebrate and to keep my focus, I'm going to write a poem each week for each of the themes of advent for the week. This week is Hope. 

My soul is heavy, weighed down by a sadness that seeps through to my bones.
There is a darkness in this world and it is thick as death,
I feel it like a poison that I cannot be rid of, a shroud of pain over we images of God.
There are chains and there are prison cells and there are voices in my head,
And without Him, I am lost.
So, O Israel, I understand your mourning.
How the silence of God must have ached as you labored under the rule of sin,
As you bloodied your hands with sacrifices that were never, never enough
To bear you up to God as perfect and blameless.
You were lost. You prayed for a sword to tear the darkness in two,
When what you really needed torn was the veil that separated you from God.
Did you forget that it is He who turns your darkness into light?
But I understand that, too. For I pray for an answer when the God of the Universe is right here,
As if He weren’t enough of an answer for me.
But I hear the word, whispered through the darkness, from faithful to faithful,
A silver thread stitching starlight into the night:
Hope, hope, hope.
For to you, O Bethlehem, too little to be a clan of Judah, a Ruler will come,
And you, O people walking in darkness, behold, a great light.
There lies your answer, wrapped in linen and lying in a manger,
A Child is born, destined to die, foreknown before the foundation of the world,
Made manifest to rid us of this sin for it cannot overcome Him.
There is a darkness in this world and it is thick as death,
But death has no power, because there is light, and it is driving all the shadows away,
Until the final revelation comes and we are given eyes to see—
Christ above, behind, before, to the left side and the right side, underneath, and within,
Christ alone, for He is marvelous in glory and beautiful in love, and His holiness knows no end.
This is hope. And we bear it in our hearts, just as we bear it in our throats, in our bodies, in our lives.
So, heavy soul aching with the brokenness of the fallen world, look up.
Raise your head, for as these things take place it is not the end,
For your redemption is near, it is coming and it will not delay,
And it is breathtaking as the morning, for the Risen Son will never set,
And in that day hope will no longer be a word, for it will be right in front of us,
The unmistakable Light of the world, speaking out life everlasting. 

27 November 2015


You’ve got a lot of fear, you said.
It took me a while to admit that you were right.
But I see it now, like the tangled roots of a fallen tree,
The fear has broken my soil and shown me what lies underneath,
Like worms and crawling things that I don’t want to see.
Surely after all this time, I would know not to be afraid,
But I don’t. Even my words are laced with fear,
As I push them outward, wishing that instead they would pour from me,
But too afraid that they will look all wrong—
Like corpses and stains and broken bones and things that don’t fit right.
You’ve got a lot of fear.
I know.
It is that fear that wearies me, not the muscles that it takes to run at breakneck speed.
It hollows my lungs out and leaves no breath in them,
While my heart beats in time with the word, No, no, no,
Until I finally admit to myself that I am so, so scared,
And I crouch in my bed with my covers up over my head
Like a child who sees monsters in the closet, except this time,
The monster is me and I don’t know how to chase it away
Because my light switch is suddenly not the weapon I knew it to be.
You’ve got a lot of fear.
I know, I know, I know!
I grip even tighter the things that I am afraid of losing,
Friends, family, the way that life used to be,
And everything that was given freely, not earned—
Like grace.
I admit that most days, I’m afraid it will run out,
I will fall yet again and will take a drop of the cordial to heal my bones,
And it will be empty.
How many times do you have to tell me that it is unending?
Maybe it takes all of this failing and receiving over and over and over again to realize that
You cannot run out.
You are the Lord God Almighty,
Holy, holy, holy art thou, with a voice of many waters and feet of burnished bronze,
In your right hand is the church, and you hold the power to judge—
And to have mercy.
You are the I AM in the wilderness,
The Jehovah Jireh that raises the mountains to the sky,
The King of Kings and the Prince of Peace.
Who am I? Who am I even in the thunder and rain, in the tiny glimpses of your glory?
Who am I when the whirlwind comes?
I am but dust, brought to life with the breath of you,
Set into motion by the sinews and muscles and organs designed by you,
Made in the very image of you,
Yet still, I fill myself with all of this me—
With everything that is not of you,
With loneliness and selfishness and pride
That all sprout from this fear that I thought that I was immune to
Because I was too scared to admit that I needed you.
You have a lot of fear.
Yes. And you have the solution, the sacrifice that twisted fear around and destroyed it,
You have, no, you are the Perfect Love that casteth it out—
Not like a boomerang, to be brought back again,
Not tied to strings to reel it in,
You cast it out into deepest ocean and there is no fishing, no diving, and no picking up shells here.
These lingering remnants of fear are but what I have illegally taken and hidden,
And you know that I cling to the threads of myself, you know that I take them out at night and count them one by one.
And so you come to me in the still small voice, and you say,
You’ve got a lot of fear.
And I look up at you with those big, fat tears in my eyes,
Like a child caught in the act of theft,
Ashamed of everything that makes up who I am.
I am afraid, I say.
Afraid of what?
The dark.
I am light.
Losing things.
I am gain.
I am the steady rock.
Messing up.
I am your strength and your completion.
I am Perfect Love.
Being alone.
I am here.
I am.


Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
And uphold me with a willing spirit. 

Psalm 51:7-12

23 November 2015

The Gratitude Tag

Taken by Cally Declan, because skiwz guys. How she got this moment is beyond me. Skiwz, guys. It's me and Addy, if you wanted to know. 
So guys, I got tagged by the incredibly amazing and talented Abby over at Abby and the Pens (who I adore) for this Gratitude Tag, and seeing as it's Thanksgiving Week, I thought it would be a nice way to start out. :-)

So, without further ado, onto the questions.

1. What is your favorite quote or verse that reminds you to be grateful?

Well, that's actually harder than it seems.... because lately, man, the whole Bible reminds me to be grateful. Because seriously. It's a book full of promises that find their fulfillment in Christ. But the one that comes to mind is from my memory verse:

Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5

That reminds me so deeply of God's love for us and the hope that we have--how can we not be grateful when we read about how we have been adopted into an inheritance with Christ through Christ and for Christ! It's amazing and humbling. Praise God! 

2. Who are you grateful for?

A lot of people. Like so many people that if I made an album the lyric booklet could be FULL of gratitude. :-) But first and foremost, I am grateful for Christ in my life. And I am so thankful for my family, and how they've always stuck by me in everything. They've seen me at my worst and they've still stuck around, so yeah. They're pretty stoic. But especially my big sis. No words. <3 And I'm thankful for my bestest friends in all the world. You know who you are. I miss you and love you guys. And so many others, seriously... 

3. What life events are you grateful for?

I agree with what Abby said about homeschooling. Homeschoolers unite! :-) So yeah, I'm grateful for homeschooling because it really provided a safe environment to learn. I'm also so grateful for going to camp. That was definitely a life event, and it changed my perspective on many things and pushed me to do things I never, ever would have done! (in a good way!) 

4. What is something you are grateful for but oftentimes don't think about?

Hm... I'm thankful for the trials that God has presented in my life recently. It's not easy to think about all of them with gratefulness, but they have really drawn me closer to Christ, which is AMAZING and so worth it. :-) 

5. What are you going to do to show people your gratitude for them?

I think part of it is accepting graciously that which they offer. You don't always have to "give back" in order to really be grateful (especially since most things people do you could never do for them!). But it's also nice to act selflessly toward them, and if that leads me to give something or do something for them, then I do. To truly act in gratefulness requires the Holy Spirit within us, guiding our actions and our words. So I guess it's a little different for everyone who you are thanking. So yeah. Really vague and rambly answer. XD 

Thank you for the tag, Abby! It was definitely a good way to start off the week in thinking of the things that I am thankful for! 

And I will tag a few people, if you guys are interested:

Raquel at It's Just Raquel

21 November 2015

One Thing

I wasn't expecting it when I walked out the door last night. I knew we had snow, I knew that more was coming. But I didn't expect it to be breathtaking. The fog graced the streets and the Christmas lights reflected off of the fog in the warm kind of way that makes you want to dance for sheer joy. 

I shivered, inadvertently catching the snowflakes in my hair and my eyelashes. I giggled and opened my mouth to let the snowflakes hit my tongue because no one's too old for that. Not when it actually snows. 

How to express it perfectly? I can't. My words are just words after all. If only I could take you there, to show off the world like the gift that it is--See, see! Come and look! The words are blessedly childlike, and my eyes are, too--wide, and filled with wonder. 

I have had to grow up a lot this year. Each passing day makes me a day older. I'm an adult now. I've learned things; hard things, good things. I've let old things die so that new things might sprout (or at least, it's happened with me kicking and screaming and then finally seeing it as good). 

But it has all come down to this one thing. This one thing that often it takes being a child again to see, because it's simple enough to miss. 

It's Christ, and only Christ. It cannot be anything of myself because myself is fading away day by day. What is eternal? Christ is. And He is my one desire--not these other things that I spend so much time working after. 

How beautiful to fall so madly in love with this God, this Creator of snowflakes that cling to my eyelashes, this Author of the joy that pours through my heart and pumps through my veins. Would that I could be emptied of all the me that is left in my heart, to take on only the fullness of Christ, because the me that I have held onto for all this time is nothing compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8b)

How good it is to be nothing, for He completes me with His everything! 

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that I will seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

15 November 2015

Only You

by Cally Declan
The soil of my heart is furrowed and plowed,
And I stand at the edge of the garden and wait.
Would that I could see this place in its fullness,
When the trees have grown tall and the roots have grown deep,
And the flowers, all in bloom, fill the air with their fragrance.
But for now, I wait.
Words tumble from my pen like a fountain,
And I try to catch them before they fall into the earth,
Try to formulate something sensible onto a page.
Yet the words in the earth sprout clumsily, each green shoot easy to trample on.
These will bear fruit. These I will keep,
For they will not return void.
And when the words cease, I scribble my pen across the page in a different way,
Trying to form faces among the lines.
To imitate the world as I see it—beautiful.
But my hand is shaky and my lines respond, and it is but a broken image of the garden I know.
In frustration, I crumple my pages of words and drawings,
And I turn once more.
My instruments lay in the corner, oft-forgotten,
And I mourn their silence, but I fear the tuneless notes,
The crooked melody.
Still, I try, and I ache for perfection,
To somehow portray this unfathomable weight of glory that cries out words of redemption even now.
So I pray for words, or art, or a song,
To somehow be birthed out of these unskilled hands.
Anything, Oh Lord, anything true,
Anything honorable, anything just,
Anything pure, lovely, commendable,
Of excellence, worthy of praise—
Oh Lord, only you.
May my heart cry out not for the work of my hands,
But for you and only you.
I have no good apart from you, and this I know, though I still seek it elsewhere.
Oh fickle heart! Turn and see thy God!
So I stand at the edge of the garden and wait,
Not for words, not for art, not for music,
Not even for the garden to be in full bloom,
But for you.
And I know that you are coming,
Yes, even that you are here. 

13 November 2015

To the Gate

Me and the unsurpassedly lovely Addy T. Photo taken by the unbeatable and unmistakable Dally.

Autumn leaves kiss winter’s frost.
I wait.
The breath of the morning is frozen
And my chest aches with a cough, but I run.
I run.
Just to the gate, not beyond,
For it looks lovely, sparkling in the bright sun.
Gently, gently, gently,
Says the morning with a laugh.
But I am young and stupid
And I would rather save gently for withered hands and crippled feet.
To the gate, then, I stumble.
Oh, aching lungs, would that you could breathe a little deeper of this purity,
Would that you could laugh a little longer,
Or sing a song to the Maker of this abundance.
But gently, gently, gently. You’ve reached the gate now.
These farmers’ fields spread out before me,
At the end of their bounty, but not the end of their beauty
For God has painted them in earthen gold,
Not to die, but to live and proclaim the works of the Lord.
I think my heart is full to bursting with their life,
Where my own had shriveled in the fear of loneliness and the dread of emptiness.
But now my weary, cold-weakened body drinks deep the cup of holiness,
And it is enough—Oh, God, you are enough!—
My being cries out in deep-seated hope,
For my resurrection eyes will always see fields full of gold, and I know,
I know that the Beginning is nigh.

29 October 2015

Children of the Living God


The story of a man who took for a wife a prostitute, in symbolism of the whoredom of Israel against her God. 

I'll admit, the first reading (and perhaps second and third...) of the first chapter of this particular book in the Bible seems rather harsh. Yet, what we miss when we come to our God with the impression of a harsh God. What we miss when we read the Old Testament with the idea that the OT God is different than the NT God. 

I'll give you a hint, He's not different.

When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God."
Hosea 1:8-9

Can we take a moment to stop and grieve? There is such a rawness to these verses. Can you just imagine the turmoil that Hosea went through when God called him to name his son Not My People. He had beheld the sin of the nation, how they forsook their God and went after false idols. Much like our world now, Israel had found more pleasure in the lusts of the flesh than in the almighty power of the One True God. 

Sin is real. Is not the thing that stands between us and our God the coldest, harshest, most brutal of things ever? Like a wolf that stands snarling between a mother and her child, yet we ourselves created the wolf. This is the harshness. This is where the line must be drawn. So God says, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God."

Yet, with God, there is more. We see the Problem (sin) but we cannot stop there because there is the Solution. 

Hosea, imbued with the breath of the Living God to write the scriptures, did not stop with verse nine. He did not stop with the raw proclamation of the sin that carves the gap between God and man. 

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."
Hosea 1:10

Not due to any works on the part of Israel, for they, like Gomer, had given themselves over to the passions of the flesh and into union with false gods, but through the grace of a God who said, "It's not over yet," the promise stood that where the engraving on our hearts that had once stated 'You are not my people,' would crack with our hearts of stone and would instead pulse with the words, "Children of the living God." Hosea took Gomer to be his lawful wedded wife. 

Eve believed the deception of a serpent and approached the forbidden fruit, biting into it in sin, and then she gave the fruit to Adam, who took and ate. 

God's answer?

"Take, eat; this is my body."
Matthew 26:26b

I do not know if I can cope with the fathomless power of this grace. Yet there it is, in simple truth and profound mystery. 


26 October 2015


How many things have to die before there is life?
I weep at every grave, every death that seems to me
My hands are blistered from the shovel that gets no lighter,
For the ground is always frozen,
And there are always stones to dissuade me,
Trying to convince me to play again with the old bones,
To use my childhood eyes to make believe life—
I need life filled with eternal breath,
With no more thirst in my throat, for my soul is quenched by glory—
Yea, this is why I dig graves.
There is resurrection. There is life.
There are souls that never die.
There is a first day of dying,
There is a second of death,
But lo, there is a Third, when the tomb yawns and awakens,
Opens on the dawn, on the sun, on the Son of Man in full glory with eyes of flame and a voice of many waters.
Yes, Lord, there is death upon death and what can I do but mourn?
There is a field full of graves, seeds planted in living hope of an increase of harvest in the day of the Lord.
There is death, but yes, Lord, I believe that there is life, full and sweet,
One that does not end but reigns on, where very sense is baffled by the presence of the God of my salvation,
Jehovah, my Shepherd, my King, my Beloved,
Where the youths will no more be burdened by weariness
Or faint with exhaustion as they toil in the field,
But will run and not fail, whose knees will not weaken until they come closer to the Lamb,
Where they will fall down to worship Him with all the joy that there is space for in their hearts—
Yes, Lord, yes. I believe that I will look upon you in the Land of the Living,
Where the song shall never fade on my lips.
And I believe that every moment of this dying life on this fallen earth is worth the eternal weight of glory that remains to be seen.
All I ask for now, oh God, is strips of linen to bind my hands, that I may dig this grave,
That I may plant the seed that you pressed into my hand.
Another death, another life,
And a hope, awake and burning within my soul that gives me eyes to see the tomb,
And ears to hear the voice which speaks the words,
“Take away the stone.”

16 October 2015


It has been a long week. Not necessarily all the way in a bad way. I mean, I'll admit it, my fabulously awesomest best friend aka my sister moved out and that has taken its toll on my emotions. I keep thinking I hear her in the night (we shared a room for forever), breathing or moving, but then it's just like...earrings blowing off of the windowsill. 

Why I have a pile of earrings on the windowsill is debatable. 

Other than that, learning Chinese, man. It's hard. Like, I am terrible at learning languages. Half the time I am thinking to myself, Why on earth do I think that I can EVER learn this language? And the other half of the time I'm sweating over my accent marks and wishing that I knew how to read/write the language other than in pinyin (English characters. Well, barely English with all of the accent marks. I'm going insane.) But then I just have to go back to the reason WHY I am learning Chinese.... Because I'm going to China to work in an orphanage. Don't ask for details, I don't have them. But I know I'm going because God told me so. 

So yeah, then there's that. I'm like, I REALLY REALLY want to go to China, NOW, God! So I'm always not-so-subtly hinting at God that I, like Tintin, I'm looking for answers. I do this not-so-subtle hinting as I drive by the glorious sunset, and......yeah, God. I get the drift.

I need to slow down. 

And I get that. I know that. So I take the next turn a little slower, take a deep breath, and begin to say Psalm 139, slowly and gently. Because God is good. God is really, really, really good. And He knows exactly why I need to wait. So He gently, but firmly closes doors. And then He patiently listens while I try my hardest to work things through on my own until finally, finally I do the thing I should have done all along--call on Him. 

He doesn't always give the answers that I want, but He always gives an answer. And that is very encouraging because it means He's always listening. Even if it's just an, "Okay, Hannah. I hear you. Now take a deep breath and slowwwwwww down. Do not worry about your life." 

Worry's a bit of an addiction for me, sometimes. Seriously. It's like, I almost want to do it because at least I have control of part of the situation, right? It's so silly. 

*deep breath in, then lets it out slowly*

Wow. You know one thing I was thinking? I was thinking how the sky is not just pretty at night. And how the trees are not just pretty in the summer or even the autumn. God speaks poetry through every season, every change in lighting, in time, in life. Just as there is beauty in childhood all the way up through all stages of adulthood. I want to have a heightened sensitivity to this beauty. 

And more than that, I want to see the completion of beauty in my Savior face-to-face. How incredible will that be? Wow. I can't wait. 

Whew. That felt really good. You guys should try ranting sometime. I'd love to read it in the comments, if you so desire. :-) 

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
Psalm 68:19-20

15 October 2015


So heyyyy! Did you notice my new blog design? *grins stupidly* I mean, it's not exactly an entirely new design, but there's a fancy schmancy header (which I'll rant about later) and I did a little less-than-expert changes to spruce it up a bit. Since it's mostly the same design/template, credit still goes to Twenty-One Designs (Now Lynde Avenue Designs, I guess!), but I fiddled around with it so anything that looks weird was probably me. ;-)

BUT THE HEADER GUYS. Seriously, isn't it LOVELY (And PERFECT?)? I could just stare at it all day. You know Treskie? If you don't, you should. She's an incredibly talented artist, an incredibly fun and amazing blogger, and an incredibly wonderful friend. So go throw money and chocolate and love at her. Tell her, WOW WHAT AN AMAZING BLOG HEADER YOU DID FOR HANNAH JOY'S BLOG. HOW ARE YOU NOT FAMOUS?

So yeah, Treskie, you da best.

So yeah. My mind is in a bit of a buzz right now because I'm a happy camper.

Merlin. Colin Morgan. Bloopers
Quite honestly, the best part of Merlin was the bloopers.
Anyway. How's life going for the rest of you? I'll try to get a for real post done tomorrow.  

11 October 2015

The West Peak

Dawn was on fire.
The flames licked the golden grass and set the meadow ablaze.
The air was thin and cold and quiet,
My heartbeat was the only sound.
The mountain was bare and still, and my will quavered at its height.
Conquer it, conquer the peak, I muttered,
But within one step I knew that I, not it, was conquered,
For my ankles were weak and my lungs were heavy,
And the mountain stood, unmoved.
Oh, that I would have the faith to say to this mountain to remove itself, and yet—
I do not want it to be moved, I realize.
I want to climb it, not to say I conquered it,
Not to boast my strength,
But, Oh God, to see the view.
But now I stumble if I look around, so I must watch my feet,
Head bowed, like prayer.
So I step forward, and I slip backward,
At moments, I crawl.
I trip, and I fall.
And it is good.
The grace of God is unfailing, I say, with hands gripping rocks and eyes lowered,
Even here, on the stones of trial and injury,
Through strife and weakness,
I call upon the Lord and He answers me.
If I had wings to fly up the side of this mountain,
I should not now know the nature of my God,
I would not believe that He is near to those who are weary in spirit,
I would not feel His love for the least of these,
I would not comprehend the promise that even David prophesied in his distress,
That I may not hear your voice in the silence of the wind,
That I may lay awake at night in fear,
Yet, you are holy.
Even on the barren side of the mountain I am not put to shame,
For my hope is in you. Indeed, my hope is you.
So with trembling legs and aching lungs, I set my foot upon the heights.
The summit is mine, for a moment, but I surrender it back to the One who made it,
Who formed every stone with care, and who placed my feet there.
And I look out, Oh God, to see the view.
I behold with wonder the immensity of the sky,
Stretching to the North, South, East, and West,
Breaking upon the distant horizon carved out of mountain ranges,
An ocean of blue, and barely a cloud to break the endless sea.
Wonder does not cease with the sky,
For the valley is seamed with the gold of aspens ready, born ready,
To be sown in anticipation of resurrection.
What joy they have in their death,
And what glory they bring to their Father, knowing full well of His goodness
And proclaiming it to the world with all the might that flows through them like refined gold.
Is this, then, why we burn? Is this why the mountainside is rocks without end?
For to be like the aspens, ready to die for my beloved,
And, even more so, ready to be resurrected to eternal life with Him,
I must first be sanctified, clothed in His righteousness,
Bathed in His blood and wrapped in His garments,
Like a babe, born again,
And these are the labor pains.
But behold, I have looked out over the Promised Land,
I have seen its glory, and when I die I shall enter there and its splendor shall be more than I could ever imagine,
Because my King is the lamp; my God is the light that defeats all of the shadows.
So I wait in hope and in joy for what shall come with the dawn. 

Photos taken by my Papa