Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Announcement!

       Hello all! My dear little sister Sadie has just begun a lovely new blog, Buttermilk Sky! Isn't that a darling title? I love blogs with book titles for names, and it seems so do quite a few others in my circle of influence *ahem*. Sadie and I had an absolutely grand time putting the design together and making it lovely. I highly recommend hopping over and checking it out-- and not just because she's my sister (though that is a great big part of it ;-P). I'm so excited to see what Sadie's got in her bag of tricks! Do pay her a visit, and she'd love some followers. :-)

 (By the way-- what do y'all think of my new look?) :-)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Less is More

    I am often an overly-wordy person. Chances are you knew that. ;-P Not so much in day-to-day conversation (unless I've just finished watching a Dickens miniseries or something, in which case I might be talking like Seth Pecksniff), but I tend to write whole books in emails and letters and comments. The same with my stories. I have a dreadful habit of saying more than I need to-- more than is necessary.

   I was reminded of this once again last night, when I picked up a book I hadn't revisited for a long time and started reading it; completely spur of the moment. I was struck by the simplicity of the language, the stark beauty of the detail, the wonder of conveying so much in so few words.

         Dear Jacob,

      I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall.


      Tell them I sing.

      The above letter is, in my opinion, probably the greatest in all of literature. It's short, simple,  completely guileless. The few words speak profound volumes. It could not be improved upon with more detail because there is no room for improvement. It's perfection.

   Reading Sarah, Plain and Tall again reminded me of the power of words. You don't need to use so many, bogging down the reader in dull descriptions and redundancy just to fill up space and make your book longer. Don't say what doesn't need to be said. Say what you want to get across, try to convey what you want the reader to feel. As a writer friend of mine once said, "I don't need to know what the drapes look like."
   (Unless, of course, we're talking about Gone With the Wind. Then it's kind of important.)

   I am soooooo prone to fall into this trap of wordiness! Seriously, when I look back on some of my old notebooks and read my scribblings, I laugh out loud at the absurdity. (I went through a phase of trying to talk like Jane Austen-- it didn't go too well.) Even now, I'll struggle with indulging in my love of words and trying to cram as many as I possibly can into a single sentence. I think this is partly why I've had so much difficulty in the past finishing my projects; I'm constantly trying to make it more than it has to be. I don't like reading overly-wordy books; so I don't want to write overly-wordy books. I just want the reader to feel what I feel, to somehow see the story as I see it.

  Words are beautiful. I'm not saying you should confine your composition to pronouns and boring verbs-- not at all! But there is a fine line between what the reader needs to know, and what doesn't really matter. When you add too much of the latter, it weighs down the story. This is not good, people. Unless you're Charles Dickens, and then you can somehow pull it off. If you stuff your novels full of irrelevant words just for the sake of words, chances are the reader will toss it in the other direction. At least, I would.

     Less is more. There is so much you can reveal through just a few words. It's an art, and that's what makes it so beautiful.

   "Yes, I loved your papa's letters," said Sarah softly. "I loved what was between the lines most."
"What was between the lines?" Caleb asked.
Sarah looked at me when she answered.
"His life," she said simply. "That was what was between the lines."
"Papa's not always good with words," I said.
"Sometimes, yes," said Sarah, laughing. "But when I read your Papas letters, I could see this farm, and the animals and the sky. And you. Sometimes, what people choose to write down on paper is more important than what they say."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Society of Literary Ladies// Eowyn

   For our next interview, please welcome Miss Eowyn Peterson! :-)

  Introduce yourself! Tell us your name, your age (if you don’t mind sharing), three of your biggest passions and one thing you love about March.

First, I was over the top thrilled and I may or may not have squeaked with excitement when Emma (who is one of my Very Favorite Blogging People) invited me to interview! Thank you, Emma!!!

And now for who I am. My name is Éowyn Peterson and I will be nineteen come this April. A sinner saved by Grace, I relish living life to its very seams: whether it be imaginings/writing/reading, riding and dancing with my horse, Windfola, or dreaming of the wild West—both current, historical, and fictional.

Ah, March. I was not looking forward to Spring in the least, but like most things, it has actually surprised me with its wonderfulness! One thing I love about March? The wide swathes of golden daffodils along the country roads.

Where is home for you? (Be as vague or specific as you like.)

I live on a farm on the western edge of the mid-west, with many of the traditional creatures that come with it. Thus, one of the most important things about home for me is having at least one or two creatures around the place. However, it is also a place that is filled with abundant humor, family who always get my humor, and plenty of fresh air—both mental and physical. Altogether, though I dream of and long for other places, this place will always be one of my favorites in the world.

What is your current situation academically? (For example, what grade are you in, are you homeschooled, out of school, go to public school, or take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt.)

My mother (with assistance from my sister Heidi) arranges my home education. Some things come easier than others, of course, (math for instance is an “other”); however, I have always been actively encouraged to pursue those things that I hear a call to and find most fulfilling—thus horsemanship, writing, blogging (hey it’s a sort of writing!) reading, history, and health research, plus a gaggle of other interesting subjects take center stage. Someday I am going to be that spritely spinster aunt who has the cute little farm with the tidy vegetable patch, the gentle-eyed jersey cow (never mind that our current one thinks I’m a perfect nut :)) and the wonderful mules/donkeys/horses and who teaches all her nieces and nephews (especially nephews, we need more boy horse lovers) and any other children how to ride.

What would you describe your writing style as?

Lyrical, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking. That is a pretty ambitious goal, but it is the one I am chasing!

Is there one author who has particularly influenced you in your writing?

L.M. Montgomery. There are several others too, but I always find that even though my writing may not be exactly following her formula, her style and stories never fail to fill me with inspiration.

Favorite book series?

Either Nancy Drew or Cherry Ames. Both are great friends from of old, hence, how could I ever choose between them? But probably Nancy Drew—as I have yet to become a nurse but I have had my hair chopped off (twice!) to be like Nancy. :)

Favorite childhood book?

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and David Long. Oh, how I used to—and still do in fact—pour over that book! It is so terribly inspiring I have not a doubt it greatly encouraged my love for growing things and ignited my love for the vintage/retro.

I know it can be hard sometimes for us bookish personalities to pick a favorite author, but if you had to choose just one, who would you pick?

P.G. Wodehouse. There are several others as well, but no one, absolutely no one, can compare to Wodehouse.

What’s your favorite book that’s been made into a movie? How do you feel about the film adaptation as compared with the book?

Ivanhoe. The two adaptations I have seen (the ’52 and ’82 versions) are exquisitely perfect, thus meaning (for this story) that my viewing of them is also extremely emotional. :)

Who is one literary character you feel you are most like?

Nic from The Growing Up of Cornelia by L.M. Montgomery (a short story). I try not to talk about/reference the same stories all the time, but really I can’t help it here as there is no other character to whom I am so much alike!

Where is your favorite place to read? What about writing?

I read here and there and everywhere—on the stairs, in the car, lying on the floor, in the living room, beside my desk…and sometimes outside on a hot day in the shaded valley. Usually my best place to write is at the desk in my room, but I also have been known to get absolutely breathtaking ideas while cooking or out of doors with Windfola.

Do you normally write first drafts on a computer, or do you prefer old-fashioned pen and paper?

Writing with pen and paper always seems so romantic and Anne-of-Green-Gables-ish or Jo March-ish  to me, but there is one difficulty—I usually end up writing absurdly sentimental silliness. Thus, though I do have multiple notebooks in which I jot down my Brilliant Ideas, I tend to write on my laptop.

Be honest: what is your handwriting like?

Often intelligible, if I take care (when—say—writing a letter for instance) it can be a quite neat and pleasing cursive. No matter how pleasing in letter form, though, it used to clog up my writing inspiration notes, so a few months ago I switched to writing the said notes in caps. So now 95% of my notes and To-Do lists are written down like an engineer’s and I have been finding that it works far better.

How long does it generally take you to read a good book? (Of course I know it depends on just HOW good it is, but in general.)

Around a week or so? As stated, much depends on the different factors at play—as sometimes, if it’s a favorite I may try to savor it for as long as possible, but if I don’t know the end or am just reading it for history or simply for reading’s sake, my reading may be more speedy.

What’s your record time for finishing a book?

About six hours. I am not what would be termed a fast reader; however, it was Belle by Cameron Dokey, which meant it was both shorter than most the stories I read and impossible to put down!

Name five of the best books you’ve ever read that you recommend to other fellow bluestockings.

St. Bartholomew’s Eve by G. A. Henty – Dramatic, tragic and all around thrilling, this book is Henty at the top of his form.

To Have and to Hold by Mary Johnson – Piratical adventure at its very best. The hero Captain Ralph Percy is AMAZING (how could he not be with a name like that?) and the entire story is pretty much one thrilling dream of perfect romance in both senses of that terrific term!

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë – The plot reminds me of both Wives & Daughters and North & South (though it was written before both) and it is set during the time of Jane Austen, which makes for a very interesting mix. It is romantic, refreshing, and exciting, and also one of my very favorite pieces of historical fiction.

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey – I feel as if I have been throwing this book at everyone’s head lately, but it is so deep and well written and the plot so full of twists and turns that it completely deserves it.

Wulfric the Weapon Thane by Charles W. Whistler – I have not read this book for far too long, but as it inspired me to write my very first “real” story, it is definitely one of my personal favorites.

Tell about the things you think are most important in a good novel.

Lyrical description and dialogue with an exciting plot, interesting characters and a strong moral foundation. Please note that that final clause does not mean it needs to be a sermon, but simply that is must have a just theme.

About what age did you start writing stories? Do you still have your early

My first published story, Blue Ice and Amber, was finished when I was sixteen. And yes! I definitely still have it. It is one of my most satisfying projects to date, as I wept buckets (“just like Jo”) while finishing it and it made both my sister Heidi and my mother cry at the end of it—which made me so happy! Altogether it is very dear to me and it still makes me cry.

Are you currently working on a novel/story/project?

YES!!! Two major ones and two that are purely in the Imagination stage. The first is titled They Searched Who Laughed. The story takes place in 1840’s North Carolina and is a romance/mystery. I am working on it with my next youngest sister and it is actually a sequel of sorts to Kathryn Worth’s They Loved to Laugh, but it could really be its own stand alone piece. The other I call My Western Dream Story because—crazily enough—I actually dreamed it! And just last night (I seem to find the night hours highly inspiring) I came up with a WWII story that, though it has similar themes to my others, yet has a much more bittersweet feel to it, and I am SO THRILLED about it!!

Thanks so much for having me, Emma! This was jolly great fun. :)


   Thank you, Eowyn! It's been so lovely getting to know you! Folks, Eowyn blogs over at Captured by the Word about her writing, other things of a literary nature and all sorts of lovely topics. {She's also a fellow western fanatic and a pretty all-around awesome person. ;-P} Do drop by and pay her a visit!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hear ye, hear ye!

   Ahoy friends! Just popping in to let you know of a delightful blog party and giveaway over on Hayden's blog Story Girl to celebrate the publication of her first novel, Hidden Pearls! I'm super excited {but not nearly as excited as she is!} and I recommend skipping over there posthaste to join the celebration!

  This book. I cannot wait. Regency, ships, adventure....I'm practically drooling right now. ;-D

After a Fashion // Review

Jen Turano
Bethany House Publishers

   Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.

   Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.

  Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

   I have a confession to make.

   I really like getting books in the mail.

  Sometimes, I'll request a book not because I have any real interest in it, but just because I love the thrill of opening the yellow envelope it comes in.

  Well, case in point. This book.

  I'll admit I had no high hopes for this book. Actually that was kind of a good thing, because then I wasn't disappointed. From the very beginning, I just could not bring myself to like it. The plot seemed very lacking, and the dialogue in particular just turned me off. It was too much like so many other typical Christian romances I've read over the years. The characters were just so...weird. Nothing about the book really struck anything inside me, and so I didn't get much farther than the first few chapters before deciding, nah, no thanks.

   However I've read some pretty brilliant reviews of the book, so obviously lots of people liked it. It's just my personal preference that turned me off. 

My rating: 4/10

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Books, bookcases, and tags, oh my!

    My sweet bloggy friend Natalie has done this Bookshelf Tag on her blog, and it's just too much fun for me to resist! Plus it's been a while since I did a good tag. And really, who doesn't love talking about books???

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn't actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from:

   My bookcase is rather small, three shelves, painted dark blue. I bought it two years ago in the fall at a friend's store, and it's served me very well so far. Though my book collection is always growing, and if it keeps up at this rate then we might have a problem. ;-D

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?

  I keep authors together, and all my favorites are kept on the top shelf. The middle shelf is mostly Christian fiction, and the bottom has all my classics and children's books.

   That's Jeanette Isabella sitting on top of my Lynn Austin collection. :-) I bought her in Williamsburg five years ago.

What's the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?

   The Works of Jane Austen, which includes four of her novels. The biggest single book would be East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

What's the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

   One of my Beatrix Potter books, most likely. Oh, how I love those little stories! :-)

   That's James Douty and Newman Noggs sitting atop the stack. Sadie and I named them after the steward in the Hornblower movies and Ralph Nickleby's clark in Nicholas Nickleby.

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

    I got Georgette Heyer's Regency World for my fourteenth birthday, after I had all but confiscated the library's copy. My sister Sadie got The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen for her twelfth birthday, but then I ended up reading it first and liked it so much we made a trade. Sisters are awesome. :-)

What's the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

    My Beatrix Potter books.

What's the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

    The Lost Files of Nancy Drew. It's a big picture book with lots of flaps and pop-ups and cool stuff like that.


Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

    My sweet Naomi gave me The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser for Christmas this past year! It's such an amazing book about a very special friendship, and I will treasure it always. :-)

Most expensive book?

    Uhhh....probably The Lost Files of Nancy Drew. I think I paid 26 bucks for that baby. I really wanted it, you see. ;-P

The last book you read on your shelf?

   Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas. A sweet story, but not one I'll be recommending to everyone from the rooftops.

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

    Oh wow! Okay, let's see. Probably one of the American Girl Molly books, or maybe Sarah, Plain and Tall.  I really can't remember!

Do you have more than one copy of a book?


Do you have the complete series of any book series?

   I have the complete Lizzie Searches for Love trilogy by Linda Byler, and the Sadie's Montana trilogy also by Linda Byler. Oh yeah, and the Avenue of Dreams trilogy by Olivia Newport.

   I love these books so much! :-)

What's the newest addition to your shelf?

    After a Fashion by Jen Turano, which I got from Bethany House Publishers to review. I might have to stop requesting these lame books just for the sake of getting a book in the mail-- it's getting a little old. ;-P

What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

    Well, I haven't had the shelf for that long, but one book I've had for a long time is Beatrix Potter's Bunny Stories, a light green, wonderfully smooth hardcover book with several of her stories about bunnies. I bought it at a book sale aaaages ago, and it's one of my favorites.

What's the most recently published book on your shelf?

    After a Fashion by Jen Turano.

The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

   I have some really old books from my Grandma, but I don't keep them on my shelf with the others so I suppose that doesn't count...? Well, too bad, I'm going to count it anyway. ;-P The oldest one is The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come by John Fox Jr, and it was published in 1898. And no, I haven't read it. I just stare at it and sigh dreamily.

A book you won?

    This adorable little Perfect Pairs book! I won it in Hamlette's book giveaway last summer. It has lots of scrumptious pictures of old Hollywood couples from classic movies. Definitely swoon-worthy.

A book you'd hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?

   I admit, I'm slightly over-possessive about my books sometimes. Especially my favorites. Probably Hidden Places, just because it's my favorite book EVER and I'd rather not part with it for any amount of time. :-)

Most beat up book?

   I dropped All Things New by Lynn Austin in the bathtub once....

Most pristine book?

    Most of my books are fairly new, so they're in great condition.

A book from your childhood?

   Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan. I LOVE those stories!

A book that's not actually your book?

    Oh, you got me there. I've got a book on my shelf called Mrs. Robert E. Lee which actually belongs to my mom, and one called The Band Played On which is my dad's. Also several of the juvenile fiction on my bottom shelf don't belong specifically to me, but I like them so I keep them there and no one minds. ;-)

A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

   I love the sweet green cover of my Beatrix Potter book-- it feels so smooth and lovely and it's so fun to run your hand over. My big Nancy Drew book also has a cool, puffy cover.

A book that is your favorite color?

  I love the colors in the cover of Wonderland Creek, and how they all meld together so beautifully. That cover is just ridiculously gorgeous.

Book that's been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven't read?

  The Scarlet Pimpernel. I bought it at a library sale two summers ago, and all it's done is just sit there...waiting....okay, I'll get to you....;-P

Any signed books?

    Yes! Boredom and Glamour Clashes, written by my very own bestie Naomi! It's also dedicated to me, which is about the coolest thing ever. :-)

~ Thanks Natalie! ~

Saturday, March 14, 2015

a morning in march

  Howdy friends! :-)

  It's a quiet Saturday morning. I woke up early, like I usually do, took my stuffed rabbit and book in hand and rambled out to my favorite chair to read for a spell in the dark, peaceful stillness that comes before the dawn. I love reading in the early mornings, immersing myself into someone else's story before I embark on my own each day. {And boy, is this book I'm reading taking me on a trail ride of emotions. Sheesh. I'm loving it, if you couldn't tell from my tone.} ;-P

  And now I feel like writing-- just writing. About nothing in particular. I haven't been posting a whole lot here on 'the blog' {well, not as much as I would like} because I've been feeling...*searches for the right word*....well, just restless. *cue Sara Evans song* It's been kind of a weird few months for me; lack of motivation with my writing, my faith, just everything. I believe I'm out of the woods now, though, and I've finally turned the page on the next chapter of my life. I'm still clearing away cobwebs, but my soul's delight is coming back to me. :-)

  And spring is in the air!

  Few things make my heart sing like the arrival of spring each year, which I enumerated on in my last post. I never feel more alive and rejuvenated than I do at this time of year. There's something about the cold, clean air and the sound of the birds singing their spring songs and the trickle of the snow melting into the saturated ground that just makes me want to sing and dance and hop all over the place. Yeah. It's awesome. :-)

  I was just thinking, it's been a while since I told y'all what I've actually been up to here in my little valley. I like the feeling of just sitting down and writing, as if to friends-- because y'all are my friends. :-)

 Thrilling is when you get to see your favorite musical group LIVE AND IN PERSON. Yikes! I still can hardly take it in that I've actually seen Celtic Woman in concert. :-) It was just the coolest thing ever. {Even if Lisa Lambe was absent...} The vintage grandeur of the theater, the lights, the enormity, the celestial sound of the whole theater filled with the music....it was just grand. They sang so many of my favorite songs, and Susan McFadden's beautifully simple Caledonia with nothing by the piano for background was one of the single most beautiful things I've ever heard.

From right: Mairead Carlon, Meav Ni- something-something, and Susan McFadden

Do you like our candids? ;-D

Mary and me
THE STAGE. Ahhhhhh.

    So after the concert we sang Celtic Woman songs to beat the band all the way back home. It was a night I'll always remember. :-)

    I've been listening to southern country music, reading southern books and watching southern movies, and I find myself wishing I'd been born in the south. ;-P I've recently discovered Sara Evans as a new favorite singer {and writer, surprisingly!} and so, being the impulsive whippersnapper that I am, I bought one of her CDs on the spur-of-the-moment. One of my favorites right now is Niagara.

    It feels good to indulge in some country love songs once in a while. :-)

   Oliver has been an adorable nuisance, as usual. He's very restless this time of year {aren't we all???} with spring on the horizon and spends a great deal of time standing at the deck door, contemplating whether he should go out or stay in and the meaning of life in general. I have many opportunities to use the line, "You try my patience. Make your choice." ;-D Heehee. Now that the snow's melting, the dern cat is tracking muddy footprints inside the house; but I'm so happy about spring coming {and mud! Hooray!} that I don't even mind! I love my little Oliver. 

    Well friends, I finally bought my own real cowboy hat! Being the western fanatic I am, I had to get one sooner or later. :-) And boy, is it a dandy. This fella is going to be my constant companion this summer. I've named him Mr. Cox after a certain favorite movie character o' mine. Because hats need names, ya know.

       At this moment, I am sitting on my desk, and my sister Sadie is playing a song from Atonement on the piano beside me. It's a gray and cloudy day, but achingly beautiful in an inspiring sort of way. I think I'll take a walk soon, and breathe in the fresh spring air. {Maybe even hunt for some crocuses....} Then I have a book to finish, and several to write. :-) It's wonderful to have so many things to do, isn't it?
    March so far has been defined by country music, South Pacific, sunshine, melting snow, good books, North and South, library visits, high school musicals, an out-of-tune b flat on the piano that's driving me crazy, talent shows and peanut butter. {Because, um, I just watched Meet Joe Black.} ;-D

"The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the true beauty of life lies."
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

  I hope you all have a lovely Saturday! :-)   

P.S. I'm going to see The Imitation Game tonight! Have any of y'all seen it? I don't know a whole lot about the movie, but it's got Branson in it, so, yeah. ;-P

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring Comes on Forever

    Once I was a little girl.

    I remember so many things; little, sweet, special things, things that may have gone unnoticed at the time but somehow have stuck with me this long, and will probably stick with me forever. I remember walking through the path in the woods, just as I do now, only seeing it in a different light, the light of childhood dreams. I have fond memories of hay wagons, little purple violets that grow wild on the banks of the creek, daises that grow by the edge of the oat field, straw hats, bushel baskets of sweet peas, clothes that I got really dirty while playing outside, songs I used to sing. :-) I can remember it all. And it was beautiful.

   Memories seem especially sweet in the springtime. I don't know what exactly it is about springtime that makes me feel everything so much stronger than any other time of the year. I feel alive, hopeful, nostalgic, bittersweet and wonderful. I remember springtime when I was a little girl, and all down through the years as I've gotten older. I remember all the books I've read, the things I did, the things I wanted, the way I felt. Somehow it all comes back to me.

    Once it was springtime.

    Rewind four years, and you'll find me at twelve years old. It's springtime, and I'm sitting on the couch in the living room watching the story of a young navy officer and his adventures play out before my eyes, all the while slowly and hopelessly falling in love with said officer's endearing best friend. Four years later, the flame still burns as bright. I remember those days as if they were only last week, instead of somewhere in the distant past where I may never again grasp and hold on to them; but those days will never be far beyond my reach.

    Spring comes again, and the little girl has opened a new chapter of her life; she's started writing a blog. She flits around happy as a clam, reveling in her exciting young life, uncovering interesting things each day, writing silly little stories, singing Irish songs to her hearts' content, and picking violets out in the woods. This spring, she makes a promise to herself, and scrawls it in the back of one of her notebooks: I will find Archie, someday, somewhere out there. P.S. If I don't, I shall die an old maid.  ~E.

   Springtime again, and the little girl is growing up. She is sitting on her sister's bed, involving herself utterly in the story of five courageous women who settle on the Nebraska frontier to forge new lives for themselves and each other. She writes an email and suddenly, in the space of what seems like an instant, she discovers a kindred soul and the best friend she could ever imagine. She is no longer the same little girl; she can't be.

   And now it's springtime again. And I'm here, much the same as I was, and yet so remarkably different. I'm not a little girl anymore, that much is plain. I've changed, there's no doubt about it. There are new irons in the fire. But the same old flame still burns within me, telling me that I haven't changed much; not really. And not in so many of the ways that really matter.

   The flowers grow in the woods, the creek runs on across the rocks, altering its path a little with every thunderstorm but always staying to the same course. I go out to my favorite place to pick my violets, that place where I encounter God, where I made my promises, where I love it best of anywhere in the world. I can hear the creek from there. I want to be like that creek; changing when I have to for the things I love and value most, making allowances for new ideas and experiences, but always, always I want to stay true to the same course. Because I am going somewhere, I am. I'm on my way.

   My mind is near to overflowing with memories; beautiful ones. Past thoughts and hopes, dreams I had once upon a bright sunny day somewhere in my young life. I have seen beautiful things, wonderful things that can never be taken away from me. I will remember them and keep them tucked away in my heart until forever ends, which is never. I have loved, and I have felt, I have laughed, I have even cried, I have learned, and I have seen. I have lived, and I intend, Lord willing, to live more. Because there is always more beauty, if you know where to look for it. There will always be laughter and joy, and there are still words in me. Words that pour out like water over the smooth rocks. And of course there is love, which, I hear, never runs out.

   I miss being a little girl, but I'm adjusting. Thank goodness I don't have to do it all at once. Every time spring comes, I feel I'm back there again; all the years I've passed through somehow become like one in my memory, though each is special in its unique way. I'm a sentimental person, in case you haven't noticed. ;-) It's hard to say goodbye to things I love-- but I don't really have to. As long as I remember them in my heart, they aren't really gone. I'll have these beautiful memories with me forever.

  And look, it's springtime. :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Glorious Mess

  I eat too many cookies.

 I'm scared of the telephone.

 I torture my cat.

 I'll think I want something, then change my mind.

 I don't like to brush my hair.

 I cry sometimes just because it feels right.

 I love it when plans get cancelled.

 Sometimes I stare at myself in the mirror and imagine how other people must see me.

 I love to be left alone with my books.

 I ramble on and on about things no one else really cares about.

 I change my Blogger picture way too often

 I kind of require a lot.

 I like eavesdropping on other people's conversations.

 I go back and forth from crazy-romantic-swooning-fangirl to morose-hermit-writer in a matter of minutes.

 I'm scared of what I don't know.

 I lose hope sometimes.

 In short, I'm a mess. But thanks to my Lord and Savior, I can be a glorious one. I'm going somewhere, and I'm not there yet. But I'm on my way, and even though it's a mess, I will embrace it.

  And so I'll be the best gloriously beautiful mess I can be. :-)

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