ain't we got fun | a story

I'd like to apologize for my absence. It's been a busy season. A very good season, but a very busy season.

Hello, 2015! Farewell, 2014!

A new year and a new month are coming along. With that comes new ideas and new stories.

My friend, Emily Ann Putzke, and I have considered writing fictional letters back and forth for a very long time now. We even started it once but then life got in the way. However, the other day my mind was whirling as I came up with an idea. Suppose we do write fictional letters. And suppose we post them as a continuing story on our blogs.

Throughout the month of January 2015, Emily and I will be alternating fictional letters on our blogs. On January 1st, I will be posting the first letter on this blog. On January 2nd, Emily will post the next on her blog. And so on.

The letters follow the lives of two sisters, Georgiana and Bess Rowland, as they struggle through the Great Depression.

Needless to say, we're VERY excited about it! If you'd like to get a visual hint on what this story will involve, go check out our Pinterest board!

Follow Emily's board ain't we got fun on Pinterest.

And check back here tomorrow to read the first installment of Ain't We Got Fun! 

it took a war | review

Author :: Emily Ann Putzke

Summary :: 1861 - Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.

First line :: It was one of those crisp April mornings when the world smelled sweet and fresh, as if it had just been thoroughly cleansed.

Last word :: Heart.

My thoughts :: I haven't yet read the edited version of this darling book; but I was the one who edited it, in a way, so I certainly have an idea of what it is like now. And considering it was really, really good then, it must only be better now, right?

I think the thing that stood out to me the most in Putzke's writing was the simple serenity. Many authors writing are not forced, quite, but they don't sweetly describe the things of everyday life. Putzke pulled that off. IT TOOK A WAR excels in genuine humanity and the description of life as it simply is. The characters are well-rounded -- as a reader, you can feel that the author knows the characters he has created. I personally believe that is something hard to come by and is a hurdle not often met in debut novels.

Suffice it to say that IT TOOK A WAR is good. It's a tear-jerker. If you liked Thor and Loki's relationship, you might like IT TOOK A WAR. If you love a vivid peek into history, you'll probably like IT TOOK A WAR. If you crave something other than the average young adult literary drama, you'll like IT TOOK A WAR. If you are prepared to walk away from a book with an ache in your heart and a smile on your face... you'll love IT TOOK A WAR.

I know I loved it.

Pros :: Genuine characters; vivid historical setting; heartfelt message; superb ending.

Cons :: None, really. It's a very clean book. Other than a bit of bloodshed (it's a war, after all), I'd say it's great for all ages.

Recommended age :: 10+ (Although I think the best age group for this book is between 12 and 20.)

Rating :: Four stars. I love this book as if it were my own.

Releases :: TODAY! Go purchase your copy here!

In fact, you can enter the giveaway below to win a copy of this beautiful book as well as a Gettysburg mug, a small leather journal, three peppermint sticks, and a peppermint hot chocolate packet. Talk about a delicious wintertime giveaway! A cozy book, a journal for thoughts, and peppermint and hot chocolate. I'm totally entering.

(Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, by the way. Overseas shipping costs a lot. ;))

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And if (for some reason) you aren't quite interested yet...

whatever it shall cost us

It bothers me that Americans tend to celebrate Black Friday more than Thanksgiving these days. The one day that we have set aside to be thankful is becoming a day to get more. Want more. Please, let us remember the Pilgrims. They had nothing; and yet, they had everything. They had the gifts of God. They had courage. Hope. Faith. They went through the darkest of times. They lived in a ship -- a tiny, bone-chilling, vermin-infested ship -- for weeks and weeks. In the middle of an unsteady, violent ocean. And yet, their trust in our Father was steady. Perhaps it wavered -- in fact, I'm sure the faith of some wavered tremendously. But they continued believing. And despite the surrounding insecurity, they continued trusting.

The fact is this: they chose. They chose to live a miserable few months. And when they came out, with loss and hardship and memories of agonizing days and nights still clinging to their hearts... they were thankful. Truly thankful.

Why can we not be the same today? Why can we not place our focus on thanking and praising God rather than spending our Thanksgiving thinking and planning about what we are to purchase for a probably-good deal? Why can we not lay our heads on our pillows in peace instead of storming out after Thanksgiving dinner to buy more?

I understand that some may have less money than others. I understand that there is some good in Black Friday, on that aspect. I think my point is that the world disgusts me. And it's days like these that I have to be reminded of this quote from Lord of the Rings: "There is some good left in this world, and it's worth fighting for."


– Katharine Lee Bates

the mirrors of time

Paper leaves crowned her head
shivering in the moonlight.
An organ groaned, soft and clear,
drifting off from star-heights

The night bats hovered overhead,
scorning humanity
as the little child poured her tea
in cracking pottery.

Eyes blinked in the blackness
as the wolves gathered around
warding off the evils
that haunted the hunting ground.

Life sprung from the dirt
and the leaves fell from above
as Autumn sang a tuneless breeze
and the child hummed a song.

Her voice chanted a lullaby
and the nymphs fell asleep;
the moon sang of soft remorse
and Summer didn't peep.

Sparks shattered the shadows
like a golden firework
as the little girl nodded off
and the pottery broke.

A sharp wind tore the moon
and split her crown in half
as the child dreamt a nightmare
of Autumn's untimed death.

An eerie carol rode the howl
as Christmas flitted past
and the year screamed of birthing pains
as it breathed its hour last.

The sky exploded orange and blue
as the new year burst forth
but the child slept until the May
when Spring rapped on the door.

Upon the threshold she stood gaily
a daylily in her hand
and the child sprang with joyfilled glee
as sleep dripped off the land.

A shining glow filled the earth
as memories grew back
and Spring breathed a newfound love
when life did not lack.

The little maiden was child again
and her pottery made new
as she skipped off to breakfast
through the sunlight's sprinkled dew.

© 2015 by Emily Chapman

autumn favorites


Picture via Google images


WILLA-MY-WILLA by Elizabeth Rose



Picture via Google images


(1. This movie involves some cursing, etc. 2. I love this short story; link is beneath photo. 3. I listened to this song over-and-over this time of year last year. It's nostalgic to me. 4. Watch with care. 5. It Took a War releases this winter.)

dozens of copies sold!

That's my marketing slogan for Cry of Hope. I'm pretty proud of it. ;)

Sometimes an author runs across a review for her book that puts into words the exact things she's always meant to say about her book, but couldn't quite because of clarity of thought (or lack thereof) and the sheer fact that it's awkward for an author to insert a correct mix of honest praise and criticism of her own work. All that to say, here's a sweet review that I found on Goodreads...

: : :

My! I love this story! So much. I love John, and Hope and Joshua and Patience. At first, Hope's hopelessness and tendency for hysterical sobbing/blacking out in sad moments annoyed me: also the description, especially in the early section of the book, sometimes bordered on being verboise and a tad melodramatic. But that fixed up beautifully by the second half and the authoress truly excels in her dialogue, and in the historic tones of the story. But as I reached the climax, and the aftermath I came to appreciate where Hope was and what the story of her endurance and faith lead her. The second half was so beautiful and touching and I was deeply inspired by the theme of hope in faith in God and of family too. I related a lot to Hope's journey and her finding healing. That was beautiful, and I was deeply stirred many times! I was really thrilled at how much I enjoyed Cry of Hope!

: : :

Thank you to the stars, Joy. You are the sweetest, and you've echoed my exact thoughts on my little story.

To those of you who are looking for a touching historical read, now is the perfect time to purchase Cry of Hope. Thanksgiving is approaching, and an in-depth look into the personal life of a fictional young Pilgrim will perhaps give a more thoughtful tone to the way you celebrate this year. Cheers!

the good things

Friends who buy you donuts.

Being blessed with the precise thing for which you prayed.

Charlie Brown.
Laughter in the face of winter.

Watching Full House all day during rainy days.

Meatloaf for dinner.

Makeup because no one has clear skin all the time.

And Christmastime.

"not 'soon', sir. 'anon'. it's more shakespearean."

The time is now, the day is here! It's the release of Anon, Sir, Anon by the ever-darling Rachel Heffington. The fact that the release is in November is perfect in more ways than one. First of all, there's enough time to put it on your Christmas list. ("SANTA!! I know him!") Secondly, November is the perfect month to experience such a mystery. It makes you want to curl up in a big old chair on a cold, rainy day with a mug of hot apple cider. It's delightful, really.

On that note, let's get on with the announcements! For those of you who might be wondering, "What is this strange magic?" ... this is what Anon, Sir, Anon is about.

THE 12:55 OUT OF DARLINGTON BROUGHT MORE THAN ORVILLE FARNHAM'S NIECE; MURDER WAS PASSENGER. In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets. When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door. Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.


For those of you who might be wondering, "Who is this enchanting person?" ... this is who Rachel Heffington is.

RACHEL HEFFINGTON IS A NOVELIST, A NANNY, AND A PEOPLE-LOVER LIVING IN RURAL VIRGINIA WITH HER FAMILY AND BLACK CAT, CRICKET. Her first novel, Fly Away Home, was independently published in February of 2014, while her novella, The Windy Side of Care, was published by Rooglewood Press in the Five Glass Slippers anthology in June of 2014.  Visit Rachel online at

She's a regular Mary Poppins, my darlings. She's also that nice lady who gives you goodies.

The Cozy Quagmire Party Pack is something she fabricated herself, and you can enter below to win everything you'll need to host an evening worthy of guests such as Vivi, Farnham, and Dr. Breen. It includes P.G. Tips (Rachel's favorite British black tea), a five dollar Panera giftcard for toasting-bread, a Yankee candle, matchbook, and a paperback copy of Anon, Sir, Anon.

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Now I propose we do this: go pop over to Rachel's blog and shower her with confetti and hugs. Okay? Okay.

beautiful people | jem halcott

I don't know what work-in-progress will arise next. Originally I was planning on diving into a Beauty and the Beast retelling as soon as my summer calmed down, but now I am hesitant. Hence the reason I'm exploring the characters of another novel, currently nameless, with a hefty plot that hasn't quite taken shape yet. Let us find out more about this fellow -- Jem -- together.

1) What does your character regret the most in their life?

When your entire family suddenly depends upon you as their source of strength, a fellow finds many things to regret in his past, present, and even future.

2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?

His happiest memories are those of he and his brothers fishing by the creek with their pa on their little Maryland plantation. His most sorrowful memory is of the day his father was brought home dead from the war... and sadly, that memory is all too recent.

3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves? 

When his sister insists she be right, and then it turns out that she really is right. When young men don't up and do the right thing, no matter the cost. (And unfortunately, he himself falls under this somewhat often, which vexes him all the more.) When his toast is burnt. When snow creeps into his boots as soon as chores begin.

He's a pretty normal human being.

4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how? 

When around young ladies (not counting his sisters, of course), he has a tendency to be on his best behaviour and can be rather cocky. Typical fellow. When he is around other fellows, the Halcott trait of competition kicks in. That trait is found stronger in his younger brothers than in himself, but no fear. It's instilled in Jem's blood.

5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)

Jem is a born-again Christian. He does not have any superstitions, but it makes him very uncomfortable when people talk about superstitions.

6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?

He often says, "'Member when...?"

7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?

Jem was always taught to face his fears, and that is exactly what he desires to do. However, when circumstances arise, throwing him in the thick of a war amidst a war, his courage often wavers and his longing for the guidance of his late father often washes out his ability to clearly seek guidance from God.

8) Do they have a good self image?

People often call him "Jeremiah" now that his father has passed on, and it cuts him deeply each time he hears it addressed to himself. He does not believe he can be what his father was, in spite of the fact and because of the fact that so many people believe he can.

9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?

There are very few people he will turn to when he is upset, and while he feels the keen need to do so, he would much rather isolate himself than seek comfort and guidance from those he has sworn to himself to protect.

10) If they were standing next to you, would it make you laugh or cry?

I would laugh and cry because he was real. Wouldn't everyone do so for the sheer actuality of their hero or heroine?

cover reveal | it took a war

Sometimes I just get really, really excited about the release of a book. And today is one of those days where I get really, really excited about the release of a book. Today is the cover reveal for It Took a War by one of my dearest friends, Emily Ann Putzke.

And you guys. This is a good book. It's a sweet, simple story that drips with historical accuracy and human nature. It's full of emotion and genuine characters. I'll go into more detail at a later date, but right now I'll share the synopsis with you. And take a look at that beautiful cover!

1861 - Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.


EMILY ANN PUTZKE is a 19 year old Catholic, homeschool graduate and history lover. Besides writing historical fiction, she enjoys photography (especially photographing her nieces and nephew), reading, spending time with her family, Civil War reenacting, traveling and a good cup of coffee. She resides in New York State where she drinks in the beautiful autumns and tries to endure the long winters. Her debut historical fiction novella will be in print this winter.

up is down

There are people I miss too much. A place I miss too much. Holes I want filled. Things I don't understand. Battles against my flesh that I don't want to fight. An upcoming winter I'm afraid to look in the eye. Emotions that feel both wrong but right but are only feelings, really. Cravings that beg to be satisfied. Dishwashers to be loaded. Head colds to endure.

I know the answer is simple. Jesus. But who'd have thought that simplicity could be painful, surrender could be a daily battle, and humility and pride could walk hand-in-hand on the trestles of one's heart?

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." 
- Psalm 51: 10-12


I breathed. I pulsed. My fingers trembled, and I felt cold, icy air touch my cheeks.

"Just write," he whispered. Then he gently closed the door, vanishing into the blackness of the night.

Write? I couldn't write. Not after It had happened. Not after the Storm had come. Not after He had taken Lena away. My world was shattered. It was changed. And winter's approach brought screaming feelings of memory that could never be taken away.

Write? I couldn't write.

I sprang from my chair, scraping my fingernails across the beat-up armrests. The wind howled outside. I stepped forward and leaned my forehead against the windowpane. Frost bit my skin. I reeled back, breathing heavily.

Write? No. Winter was far too deadly.

The groceries still sat on the counter, forgotten. Eli made me forget. He made me forget everything but the sudden looming wall before me. Write? Could I write?

I chomped on my lip and flung myself into the rolling chair, gliding across the floor until I slammed into my desk. I breathed. I pulsed. I dug into the cracks of my soul and found something I hadn't seen before -- at least, not since It happened. Not since the Storm came. Not since He took Lena away.

I felt pain shake my skull. I felt agony rattle my heart. And then, above them both, exhilaration and something called a Story wound around my spirit until it shattered into a thousand brilliant colors and fell silent. Dead. I blinked and found myself staring at an open document. Then slowly, penetratingly, I pound out four words.

by Jeremiah Frost

I sat back, a bead of sweat rolling down my temple. Then I dove.

hold onto this lullaby

I often wish I could just implant songs into my manuscripts. But unfortunately, the only way that would happen is if it were turned into a movie. (#writerprobs) However, I can, in fact, tell my readers what songs would slip perfectly into the pages of my novels...

right illustration via pinterest

rules for your upcoming autumn

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away... I wrote a post similar to this, but about summer. And actually it wasn't in a land far, far away, it was written about five feet from where I currently sit. But, "madam, that is entirely beside the point!"

The point is I am taking the stance of a dictator and pointing out several things you should and must do this autumn.

read cozy books

Such as:

ANON, SIR, ANON by Rachel Heffington
ANNE OF THE ISLAND by Lucy Maud Montgomery
MIRACLES ON MAPLE HILL by Virginia Sorensen
THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien
JO'S BOYS by Louisa May Alcott
DADDY-LONG-LEGS by Jean Webster
CRY OF HOPE by Emily Chapman
(heh, heh...)

You see, Autumn is wistful and nostalgic. It's sharp and crisp and is a sign of the end of things, with a charm of adventure and sense of hope. I feel as if it is a time for bringing out childhood classics and girlhood favorites. Charlotte's Web makes me cry, but it's intertwined around my heart with its simple, soothing message. Jo's Boys is the nostalgic and unsatisfactory ending of a beloved trilogy, echoing the browned leaves drifting off the trees. The Hobbit drips with adventure, and Daddy-Long-Legs laughs in frost's face. Cry of Hope addresses life's heartstrings, and Anon, Sir, Anon tangles a murder mystery with a cozy English setting. As for Anne of the Island and Sense and Sensibility, they are classic novels set in romantic eras. And Miracles on Maple Hill is pure sweetness.

drink hot chocolate

Or coffee. Either way, wrapping your cold little hands around a mug of something warm on a cool, crisp morning has the effect of a million twinkling stars.

wear flannel

Particularly flannel shirts. Paired with a pair of skinny jeans or leggings. Paired with a pair of lace-up boots. Or maybe just skip all of that and go straight to rainbow socks with a snazzy coat. Either way, dress fabulously. Winter isn't far away, so let's get a head start on its majesty's cruel rule and begin dressing nicely before we have a chance to glance at sweatpants. (I'm getting really good at rhyming.)

Although, I'm actually being all hypocritical right here, because I've been wearing sweats and warm-ups for a whole week already.

eat alllll the pumpkin

The good thing about Autumn is we stuff ourselves on all the pumpkin things and then don't want pumpkin again until next Autumn, so it works splendidly. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, gingersnaps (oh, wait, that's not pumpkin), pumpkin delights, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donuts... just eat lots of pumpkin.

eat alllll the apple

Apple cider, apple pie, baked apples, fried apples, raw apples, squished apples, apple juice, apple yogurt... I'm not sure the last one exists, but it should.

stomp in the leaves

This one is a given.

anon, sir, anon | review

Author :: Rachel Heffington

Summary :: The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger. In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets. When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door. Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.

First Line :: Times were always changing.

Last Word :: Lessons.

My Thoughts :: Considering this is not fresh on my mind because I procrastinate in reviewing manuscripts, bear with me as I try to conjecture a coherent review of this gem. We'll start off by saying that Anon, Sir, Anon is much, much, much, much better than Heffington's debut work, Fly Away Home. It was, in fact, a novel I couldn't put down. I'm pretty certain I finished it around 1:00 in the morning (or night, depending on how you prefer to look at it).

The characters were superb. I fell in love with their genuine, believable natures well before the book was over, and the backdrop of the novel was just the thing to send you snuggling up in a chair with a cup of hot apple cider.

The plot was superb. Some mysteries will declare the Villain pretty much very clearly for you, but I was kept guessing. The end was almost a surprise. (I hesitate to say completely surprised because, well, there were such few suspects it had to be one of them...) But I better shut up before I blurt out any spoilers.

Pros :: Characters; plot; setting; basically, almost everything.

Cons :: The very beginning was a bit scandalous. Scandalous in that you wonder how some humans could be so cruel and stripped of any dignity at all. There's also some language, although that did not bother me too much. I think it could have been removed in some cases, but all in all, it did not particularly peeve me.

Recommended Age :: 14+

Rating :: Five stars. I greatly enjoyed it.

Releases :: The fifth of November.

the places we go

"Your eyes look like Jennifer Lawrence's."

I looked up from my phone in surprise, finding Chet staring at me. "Really?" I asked, but of course I already knew this. Every eighteen-year-old girl who stares at themselves in the mirror, comparing themselves to others whether they want to or not, catches little facts like these.

"Yeah," he said, pushing his baseball cap back. It fell off his head and onto the old lady's lap in the seat behind ours.

I laughed. I shrugged my shoulders more comfortably into the corner between the airplane window and the back of my seat, wiggling my toes on Chet's lap. I'd kicked off my shoes already and needed to stretch my legs. It was a good thing best friends didn't care what you did. It was kind of a lopsided way of things, I guessed, but it was the way of things.

"You know what?" I heard Chet say, and I looked up. His baseball cap was in its proper place again, and I think the old lady was now smitten with Chet, because she was giggling with her equally old friend behind us.

"What?" I asked him.

"I think your eyes are prettier than Jennifer's."

I felt myself blushing. Why was he talking like this? He hardly ever made a comment on my appearance. "Thanks, rat," I said, jerking my knee and knocking his chin with my toes.

"You're welcome, pudge," he replied and shoved my feet onto the floor.

Then we spontaneously hugged each other, because we heard the speaker crackle, announcing in a shockingly dull voice that we would be landing in London soon. Our adventures would finally begin.




(A SHORT STORY :: By Mirriam Neal)



dreams and disasters

The funny thing about life is that it goes on.

I was reading through various raw posts I posted on my old blog -- a little, private blog -- speaking of the pain I bore last year. My little brother died before I ever met him. It sent a stinging grenade amongst my family, but God held us together through the thick of it. The sun is just now coming out in full force, but life is changing drastically. Our family will never remain the same again.

In a sense, I think this little speech is merely to say that a whole page of my life has never closed so quickly and slowly at the same time. I need those chronicles of my past self to remind me who I am. I need the detailed, heart-baring words of mine to keep me light on my feet, for half the time I'm either flying or remaining nailed crushingly to the floor.

I've never realized I'm becoming a grown-up 'til now. And I rather think I'd like Peter Pan along for the ride.

in which we talk about various literary related stuffs


Daddy-Long-Legs  by Jean Webster

Plenilune  by Jennifer Freitag
(which, as stated above, releases October 20th of this year)


Nothing in particular, bouncing from thoughts of an untitled drama set during the War of 1812 to an intriguing retelling
of Beauty and the Beast to a lighthearted tale of adventure involving bucket lists and foreign
countries and a guy-girl best friend team. As you can see, I'm not certain what my next project will be.

ALSO . . .

Cry of Hope  met the Mayflower.

hang in there, baby

We all have those days where everything's out of sorts and you're out of sorts and everyone's out of sorts and the dishwasher's out of sorts and all you want to do is sleep the rest of the day or just watch Netflix. And it's those days that seem to stand out in your mind when you're living those days. It seems like good days could never happen again. It seems like your dreams fall down to the ground because either someone is making it seem impossible or your own laziness is making it seem impossible. Or perhaps it seems God don't care if you have big, beautiful dreams or not. And then, in the depths of those crushed dreams, you think you really don't care and that you'd rather go watch Netflix anyway.

But listen up. Those dreams of yours still matter and it's purely a lie if you claim that God Himself don't care about them. That He blows them off because He has something better in store. He still cares about what matters to you, whether He thinks they should come to pass or not. He still cares about those ideas and visions swirling in your pretty little mind. Just because you have a nasty day where everything's nasty (when even the hope of a comfort-food dinner is crushed)... it doesn't mean He's not still there and that your dreams don't matter.

hang in there, baby. things are crazy, but i know your future's bright. hang in there, baby. there's no maybe, everything turns out alright. sure, life is up and down, but trust me. it comes back around. you're gonna love who you turn out to be.


After a long moment of deep contemplation, I look up. "Hey, Bromley," I say casually, a smile on my face. "I'm glad you could join us."

He nods, a little gruffly, and sprawls in a chair. He looks quite the ruffian.

"I know you aren't who Jem thinks you are," I say slowly, almost patronizingly which seems to suit an author.

He looks alarmed. I see the danger glowering in his eyes, and I quickly change the subject. "Now, now, tell me what you know of your parents."

His knuckles clutch the arms of the wooden chair. I suppose I asked a wrong question. I try again, "Why do you risk your neck on causes that you know little about?"

He scrubs his chin. I think he seems slightly confused a moment before he says, as if reciting a well-remembered phrase, "I've nothing to live for; I've nothing to lose."

I wasn't newly inspired by that answer. I'd heard it already. "Why have you nothing to lose?" I press. "Explain yourself."

His face pulls a stubborn expression, and I groan inwardly. I've caught a peek into his soul, however, though he may not realize it. I gave him that stubborn nature, which in turn sends my creativity streak rolling. He is helping me more than he knows.

"Did you have any siblings?" I ask innocently.

He shifts. "A sister," he says, and I am surprised. His voice is thick, too, which sends my fingers trembling in excitement.

"A sister?" I probe.


"That won't do; Jem's sister's name is Katharine."

"That was her name."

I lean back in my chair. I suppose I can work with this. I need more, however, so I decide to keep him under interrogation for a moment longer. "Did you have any brothers?"

His eyebrows knit together.  "No," he says after a moment of hesitancy. "No brothers."

I know what he means, so I don't bother making him further uncomfortable. "Thank you, George Bromley," I say, tapping my pencil to my head. I smile at him. "You may go. For now."

And he vanishes from sight.

the difference between word and film

The controversy about whether books or movies are better sometimes puzzles me. I often feel as if I ought  to say that the book is better (writers are obligated to say that, you know), but honestly, there is nothing like the fiery thrill of emotions that comes with a good film.

A few weeks ago I realized something: books and movies are so very different that it really isn't fair to compare one to the other. (I do understand things like "the book was better" or "the movie was better," but keep reading as I explain myself.)

I noticed that reading an entire book takes much longer than watching an entire movie. This is because it takes several words to describe a single descriptive act or movement, while in a movie, that movement comes and goes in but a second or two. Therefore, while you may have to take ten seconds of your time to read and imagine how the tear slipped softly down her bitter-stained face, in three seconds you can see that happenstance; and the emotion it bores into you comes with much more force. After all, a baseball bat gently hitting your head doesn't leave as much impact as one coming toward you at twenty miles per hour.

Movies cram in so much emotion in such little time that it is no wonder this generation likes watching movies better than reading books. We like thrill. We like fast. We like action coming all at once. And I think this would also explain why more girls read than guys. Guys likes thrill and fast even better than girls, so when they must experience that thrill and emotion in a slower fashion, it doesn't have nearly the same affect as a movie. Besides, you must use your imagination for a book. Who'd want to take the time to do that?

But books have a certain way of sinking deeper into our hearts than a movie. It stays with you longer. After all, watching a gleaming car speed by at fifty miles an hour doesn't give you quite a clear picture of itself, nor does it give you enough time to fully implant that picture in your mind. Such is with books versus movies. Movies come at you faster and with more impact, but it doesn't leave you chewing on the information you just gained and it doesn't allow it to sink as far and as deeply into your thoughts.

So perhaps this isn't a matter of whether books or movies are better. Perhaps it's about which you prefer. Though, to throw in a personal thought, I think it'd be healthy to get yo'self a good dose of both.

chatterbox | the spanish italian

"He's Spanish, isn't he?" Chet whispered to me, his tousled hair standing up on end.

"Why would a Spanish guy be in Italy?" I whispered back, scrubbing the washcloth over my sunburnt face. That Italian sun worked wonders on the skin.

"Genevieve, he's probably on vacation like us," my best friend replied, tossing his head in his obnoxiously cocky way. "Maybe he's a Spanish chef who is opening an Italian restaurant in a little town in Spain."

"Maybe he's a Spanish spy who plans to destroy all of Italy for his own personal gain," I offered, lifting my hand. I dropped the washcloth on the sidewalk accidentally, and Chet reached to pick it up.

"Maybe," he said warily, clutching the washcloth in his fingertips as his eyes roved the short man several yards away. "Maybe he is really a well-known musician in his country, and he is trying to escape his fans."

"Or maybe," I shot back, yanking the cloth from his hand and slapping it on my cheeks. "Maybe he's a well-known Spanish convict, and he is trying to escape the authorities." I winced suddenly, realizing that sunburns and scratchy washcloths really did not go very well together. I dropped it on the tiny table between us and kicked up my feet.

"He's probably just a tourist," Chet replied. He cocked an eyebrow at me. "Just like us."

"Yeah," I said. "Maybe." I studied the Spanish man again a moment. "Or maybe he's really a prince of Spain and came to declare war on the Italians. Maybe we'll be the heroes who stop him."

Chet slurped his slurpie before saying, "Eh, he's probably a Spanish trader coming to study the trade of baking."

"Nah, he's probably a Spanish pirate searching for Italian gold buried," I gestured toward the fruit stand the man stood by, "beneath that stand of fruit two hundred years ago."

"Or maybe his girlfriend ran away before he had a chance to propose, and he is looking for her." Chet nodded his head, and a breeze gushed through, loosening a few wisps of hair that were tied back in my messy bun.

"That's sappy," I said. "He's probably a Spanish fisherman come to the luscious vineyards of Italy because he's tired of fish."

We watched as suddenly a companion joined the Spanish man, and they both began walking our direction. We held our breaths, and I felt Chet suddenly reach out and touch my arm protectively. Then the two men were walking past, speaking rapidly in Italian.

"You know," Chet said, pointing a straw at me. "I think he's not even Spanish."

"Maybe," I said. But I still believed he was.

advice from me

1 :: Don't walk all the way up to the pool in the heat unless you know that you know that it's open.

2 :: Watch Hannah Montana on Tuesdays.

3 :: Don't feel bad that you can't prove your life is as cool as everyone else's because you don't have an Instagram.

4 :: Crack your phone at a best friend's pool because you'll feel better than if you crack it at your own pool.

5 :: Don't chew on hangnails because then your hands will look ugly.

6 :: Go Gluten-free when you feel like it.

7 :: Pray even if you don't feel like it. God wants to hear from you.

8 :: Remember you're still beautiful even on the worst hair-and-face days.

9 :: Read lighthearted books in the summertime (and in the autumntime, wintertime, and springtime).

10 :: Wiggle your toes for fun. Then slurp your ice cream.

basically, it's okay to love life.