Wednesday, November 6, 2013


hello God,
help me conquer it.
because i feel like it's in every part of my life right now.
every time i turn around.
help me trust in my amazing, awesome, more than capable God 
instead of letting stress overwhelm me.
you give peace that passes all understanding,
and i want some.


i'm tired
i'm worn
my heart is heavy
from the work it takes
to keep on breathing
i've made mistakes
i've let my hope fail
my soul feels crushed
by the weight of this world

and i know that you can give me rest
so i cry out with all that i have left

let me see redemption win
let me know the struggle ends
that you can mend a heart that's frail and torn
i wanna know a song can rise
from the ashes of a broken life
and all that's dead inside
can be reborn
because i'm worn

--tenth avenue north

Friday, November 1, 2013

"single and not waiting"

I found this article floating around facebook a few days ago. It's really, really fantastic. I'm tempted to print it and frame it and hang it in my room. I feel like this woman can relate to so so many Christian girls and guys out there, single or not. So I encourage you to read's posted below.


Flickr photo by Acy Varlan
Flickr photo by Acy Varlan
I’m 23, I just graduated from university, and I’m single.
Many of my friends are married, and a few are starting to have children. And I feel as if I just graduated from high school again. You could say my life is in transition. And it’s true; I am in the middle of shifting myself from university to the career world. But I’ve started to wonder about whether it’s right to refer to my singleness as an in-between stage.
What exactly am I in-between again?
“It’s the first day of the rest of my life.” I recently I heard someone on TV say this about her wedding day, and it really bothered me. While I don’t want to discount the gift of marriage, I must say I’m a bit confused and frustrated with this sentiment. I’ve heard the cliché before, but I suddenly felt the weight of it. As if it equates marriage as the start of life, or at least the good part.
Don’t misunderstand my frustration; I think there is a beautiful element of starting a new family with your spouse. I’m all for godly marriage. But what I’m afraid of is viewing life through the lens of marriage as the goal. For waiting to get married before life starts.
I’m afraid, because I’m afraid it has happened to me. I’ve been living like I’m waiting for someone to get here. And it isn’t Jesus.
I’ve wasted my time, my energy, and my emotions on this concept that singleness is just a waiting room for a relationship. I’m tired of this view that my life begins when I wake up next to my husband, because I’m pretty sure my life began 23 years ago when my mom gave birth. And this mentality has robbed my joy.
As much as I’d like to place all the blame on Christian culture, the perpetual “Have you met anyone yet?” question the world asks me, and the reality that my Facebook feed looks more like a Pinterest wedding board these days, I am convicted of my own failures.
I’ve been living like God owes me something. Like he hasn’t held up his end of the deal. He has given me the desire for relationship and marriage, and he just hasn’t followed through.
I’ve been living under the impression that I deserve a relationship.
I’d be lying if I said Christian culture does much to inhibit this mentality. There seems to be a deep understanding and appreciation for the gift of marriage, but not so much for the gift of singleness (if it’s treated like a gift at all). Rather, singleness is something to be cured. Like I’ve got a disease, and introducing me to your single friend might perhaps cure us both. Singleness is the lump of coal, the gift that is never on your Christmas list.
There are at least a handful of us standing around, wondering what happened. (After all, I have been pretty nice this year.)
But it’s never been about being entitled, or even about being nice. I have to stop thinking that I’m doing something wrong here.
Well actually I am, but it isn’t about fixing something that will magically make a boyfriend appear. It is about changing the direction of my heart.
 “I’d rather have the right God than the wrong man.” –- Christen Rapske
People talk all the time about pursuing people or things for the wrong reasons, but maybe we pursue God for the wrong reasons. Maybe subconsciously I’ve been treating God like he’s a vending machine. And my pursuit of him has really been a pursuit of someone else.
When did Christ cease to be enough?
And when did I stop finding my identity, self-worth, and fulfillment in Him, only to place my life on hold for someone I’ve never even met?
Each day is a gift, and I’m not waiting for it to get here. It is present in every moment, and it begins anew daily.  Man-less or not, I want to wake up every morning and be excited because I get to spend my day with the God who created the universe.
And I want to do that for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

purple moon - blog tour

Tessa and I met over Blogger several years ago. I was so inspired by her story and her passion for writing. I think it is amazing that she has published her first book and I am completely honored to have been a very small part of the process. If you haven't gotten a hold of Purple Moon now is the time to check it out! There are links below.

Tessa Emily Hall is a 19-year-old author of Purple Moon, her YA Christian fiction novel to be published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also the editor over the faith department for Temperance Magazine, a column writer for Whole Magazine, a contributing writer for More To Be, as well as the PR for God of Moses Entertainment. Other than writing, Tessa enjoys acting, music, Starbucks, and her Teacup Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.

Selena's life isn't turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena ... but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn't how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her "bad habits" for this.

Things don't seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that's been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin's nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom's example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?

My Middle & High School Experience
Guest Post by Tessa
I’m not sure how or why I came up with Selena’s backstory. Because when I think about it, it is almost completely nothing like my middle and high school experience.
I’ve always been a bit different from others my age. I’ve never been one to follow to the crowd (hence the reason I decided to pursue writing early). I didn’t realize exactly how different I was until I reached sixth grade. 
All of my friends started separating into cliques, wearing makeup, and getting boyfriends. I was still just a kid who thought the drama that all of my old friends created was silly. I didn’t want to be part of that. And because of that, sixth grade was not easy for me. I felt very alone during this time, and it wasn’t worth it to me to fit in with the crowd just so I could have friends.
Caption: Sixth grade, getting ready for my first—and only—school dance.

After months of begging, my mom decided to pull me out of school and homeschool me in March of that year. 
I switched schools in seventh grade and attended the Christian school, which is where my mom was the art teacher. Since I already knew some of the kids who would be in my grade—not to mention, the fact that the school was much smaller than the public school I’d attended—I thought it was going to be a perfect fit for me.
Of course, I loved this school far better than the public school. And the beginning of the year was amazing. But after a couple of months, things started to change. The class separated into cliques, which left me feeling very out of place.
Eighth grade was by far my favorite year of middle school. My sister’s ex-boyfriend’s little sister, Mickey—whom I’d been friends with in a Christian Youth Theater—joined our class. She and I became closer than we ever were and hit it off immediately. We also started hanging out with two other guys in our class—one of the guys I’d known for a long time from church, and another one who eventually became my first boyfriend later that school year.
Caption: With my best friends in 8th grade.
The only thing that I didn’t like about eighth grade was the competitive cheerleading squad I was on. Although I did love the cheering and competing part, I barely had any friends on the squad. And that was hard, especially since there were so many practices. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be like the rest of them, why I had to be so quiet and not into the things that they were into. However, I really believe that experience stretched me, and I am very thankful that my mom didn’t pull me out of the squad like I’d wanted her too. I learned a lot about striving toward a goal and sticking with it, no matter what.
I had been planning on going back to the Christian school for high school. However, that summer I found out that Mickey’s mom was going to homeschool her the next year. Coincidentally, it was also during that time when someone told my mom about a new online school. Although I had been looking forward to going back to school, I suddenly had a huge desire to do the online school. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pursue my acting and writing dreams.
Ninth grade flew by—and that summer is when I decided to take my writing more seriously. 
Once I started 10th grade, I enrolled in a Christian Writers Guild course, took a creative writing class on my online school, began reading several YA Christian fiction books, and studied the craft of writing via several industry blogs.  
I began writing the first version of “Purple Moon” when I was fifteen, but changed it and finished the first draft when I was sixteen. The reason I wanted to be published so young wasn’t so that I could have fame, success, and attention, but simply because I wanted to put my differences to good use. 
Caption: With my mom at my first writer’s conference in 10th grade, which is where I met my soon-to-be publisher. =)
During my high school years, I continued to hang out with Mickey, participate in Christian Youth Theater, hang out with my cousins, and went to youth group. By the time my senior year rolled around, I decided to go back to the Christian school so I could graduate with a class.
Memories of middle school immediately came back. Not just because I was in classes with some of the same people as before, but because—once again—I felt entirely different from them. But I didn’t let it bother me. Instead, I accepted it. And by that time, I already had a publishing contract, as well as a boyfriend that I started dating the summer before. So naturally, I didn’t feel as lonely as I did in middle school. School was only three and a half hours a day for seniors anyway. I could handle it.
Caption: My senior picture.
However, when they played a slideshow of the year at our graduation ceremony, I realized that I was hardly in any of the pictures. Several people in my grade were crying watching the slideshow because they were having to say goodbye—but for me, I wanted to cry because I hadn’t made any memories or friends worth saying goodbye to. I hadn’t even gone on the senior trip, only because I didn’t feel like I was close enough to anyone for it to be worth the amount of money. (I also wanted to save money for my writing conference.)
In middle school, my mom told me that God said I was going to use what I’d been experiencing to relate to others through the books that I’d write. I held onto that hope for years. And rather than getting frustrated at God for making me different, I trusted that He was going to put it to good use one day. 
The point of sharing this with all of you? So that you can have that same hope, so you can also trust that God is going to also use your differences for good use. 
Now that high school is over, I have a feeling that I will be doing this for the rest of my life: writing books for teens and pre-teens, for people who might be going through the same things I’ve experienced. If all of those lonely seasons were for that purpose only—so I could relate to other teens, minister God’s love, and show them that they are not alone—then it was worth it. Definitely worth it.

Enter the Giveaway below!

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“Purple Moon” Blog Tour Stops:
Don’t forget to stop by the blog tour’s next stop to increase your chances of winning the PURPLE MOON Prize Pack!
Wednesday, September 18th: Purple Moon Blog Tour Launch: The Story Behind the Story: Christ is Write 
Thursday, September 19th: 5 Facts about Purple Moon: Kim Vandel
Friday, September 20th: Character Sketches + Character Cast Contest: Who YA Reading?
Monday, September 23rd: Behind the Scenes: Why I Chose Lake Lure: Words to Dreams 
Tuesday, September 24th: Release Day! Selena’s Diary Entry + Creative Photo Contest: Writing for Young Adults
Wednesday, September 25th: Austin’s Diary Entry: Amy’s Book Blog
Thursday, September 26th: Q & A: Notebook Sisters
 Friday, September 27th: Purple Moon Playlist: Ashley Carr  
Monday, September 30th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Wooden Swings: Heather Brice   
Tuesday, October 1st: Dealing With Anxiety—The Spiritual IV: The Destiny of One  
Wednesday, October 2nd: Q & A: Saved by Grace
Thursday, October 3rd: Behind the Scenes: Name Meanings: Labor Not In Vain
Friday, October 4th: Is It Okay To Be An Introvert?: Alex Inks It  
Monday, October 7th: Story Behind the Cover Art: Candy Apple Books 
Tuesday, October 8th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Cherishing the Sunrise: Author Casey Bond 
Wednesday, October 9th: Q & A: Writing While the Rice Boils
Thursday, October 10th: Behind the Scenes: Christian Human Videos: Writing in Wonderland  
Friday, October 11th: Teenage Substance Abuse: Emily Rachelle  
Monday, October 14th: Behind the Scenes: Lake Lure Academy of the Arts: Worthy 2 Read
Tuesday, October 15th: My Middle & High School Experience: Hello Highlights  
Wednesday, October 16th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Meatless Turkey Sandwich: Diane Estrella  
Thursday, October 17th: Body Image Laurel’s Leaves
Friday, October 18th: Behind the Scenes: Brewer’s Coffee: A Splash of Ink
Monday, October 21st: Purple Moon Excerpt: Farkle at the Park: A Slightly Nerdy Bookworm 
Tuesday, October 22nd: Teenage Dating: Tell The World 
Wednesday, October 23rd: Q & A: The YA Book Stack
 Thursday, October 24th: How Much of My Personal Life Did I Put Into “Purple Moon”?: Read For Your Future 
Friday, October 25th: Fairy tales & Happy Endings + Contest Winners!: Inspiring Daring

Monday, October 14, 2013

full of blessings

So an update.

In February I applied for a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) job at an assisted living. In order to keep my certification I had to work eight paid hours. I had zero and my deadline was a month away. Procrastination. I. Am. The. Worst.
Talk about a huge blessing when I got offered a job. Originally I was just thinking temporary. I had a job that I loved at the public library. But, after much thought and prayer, I took a big leap of faith and quit my job…before my first day at the new job. For a day or so I had a few, "Oh my gosh, what did I do!" moments. Haha!
But I love my new job. I'm helping people. Everyday. I'm doing what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. And, icing on the cake, I am able to get more hours and I get paid more for what I do.

In March I turned nineteen. I can't believe that in less than a year I will no longer be a teenager.
For my birthday I did something I've thought about doing for, gosh, probably about a year. I cut all of my hair off. Well, I say all…most of my hair.

It was a huge change. But I love it. It is so easy. So so easy. And it's me.

In May I went to see The Lion King Musical. Oh. My. Goodness. No words. It completely exceeded my expectations. I would put it up on my "top ten best experiences of my life" list.

In May I was accepted into my college's nursing program. Part of me was so excited. I was finally getting a real, tangible start on my career. Then, part of me was freaking out about starting school in August. Don't get me wrong, I really want to be a nurse. It has become my passion. But nursing school is tough! And as much as I desire my degree, it was still way out of my comfort zone. Could I really do this nursing thing?

I am half way through my first semester of nursing school. Yes, it is tough. But I'm doing it. And I'm loving it.

Twenty-thirteen is nearly over. We're already half way through October. So much has changed. I've learned so much.
Life can be hard.
Losing friends.

Sure. Life is hard.
But life is also so full of blessings. You just have to stop and look.
My sweet, sweet residents at work.
Encouraging words.
A beautiful sunset.
Friends at school.
The Word. (Have you ever read the book of Amos? New favorite.)
Answers to prayer.


Tell me. What's been up with you?

Friday, October 4, 2013

a pioneer in the oceans of life

your grace abounds in deepest waters
your sovereign hand 
will be my guide
where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
you've never failed, and you won't start now

so i will call upon your name
and keep my eyes above the waves
when oceans rise
my soul will rest in your embrace
i am yours
and you are mine

spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the waters
wherever you may call me
take me deeper than my feet could ever wander 
and my faith will be made stronger
in the presence of my savior

--oceans by hillsong

let your heart not be troubled

i won't run when bullets chase me
i won't rest where arms embrace me
i will love when people hate me
i won't hush, no you can't make me
send the dark but it won't break me
you can try but you can't change me
take my life, they will replace me
i won't hush, no you can't make me
i won't hush, no we will sing

--pioneer by the band perry


it's been a long time. and i'm still kinda rethinking this whole blogging thing…whether i still wanna do it or not. not that i didn't miss you guys…i did.

it's brought along some major challenges.
major changes.
pushed me and challenged me in whole new and different ways.
which means me may be kind of a different me than some of you remember.
which is okay, i think.
and which is why an update is coming soon.
but for right now. these songs have become like my anthem.
and my God is so good.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

looking back at 2012

--joined pinterest
--saw beauty and the beast in 3-D...twice

--bought my new mac computer...Minnie

--my brother Logan turned twelve

--started writing in a journal again

--my brother Zachary turned sixteen

--started straightening my hair

--turned eighteen...official adult! O_o

--my beautiful sister, Annie, turned fifteen

--read the hunger games

--my car, Waldo, was given to me

--graduated high school...!!

--watched a sunrise

--played mini golf for the first time...let's just say it's not my thing

--helped lead a middle school church trip and got to go zip lining and white water rafting

--colored my hair for the first time

--watched Annie play softball...she is one awesome catcher

--fell in love with the doctor 

--rode my first roller coaster
--started my first full-time college semester

--my sister and i painted our who themed

--went to my first drive-in theater

--took a huge family vacation to Florida

--met my amazing dear friend, Emily

--was a pink lady for Halloween

--helped host a great Thanksgiving
--made my muscle head model for anatomy class. i call him Herman and he seriously boosted my grade in that class. i owe him.

--put up our Christmas tree

--my grandma went to be with Jesus
--survived school
--went to see the hobbit

--had a very blessed Christmas

There were a lot of firsts this year. And a lot of lasts. I will admit, 2012 was a tough year. But that doesn't mean there were not good memories made. It's the first day of 2013 and I want to pray for a peaceful new year. But most of all, I pray that God's will be done in 2013.