Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Camp NaNo, Packing, and Deaf Movie Night || April Recap

I could start this post by moaning and exclaiming over how I have no idea where the month went. Which would be an honest reply to how I greeted the first hours of May 2018 seeing as how I went to bed shortly before 1 AM. But since I do that every month... well, we'll just skip it altogether and move right into what y'all are actually here for.

|| Life. || 

>> I attended a Deaf movie night for an American Sign Language assignment and it was SUCH A COOL EXPERIENCE. Are we foreseeing interpreting as a future career choice for Faith? Ya never know...

>> Many days this month were spent planning, talking about, and packing for the trip next month. (Not sure what I'm talking about? See this post.) I'm sure we'll all be running around like a pack of crazies this weekend, but I feel...pretty much prepared?? xD

>> I finished my chemistry textbook and it was SUCH an amazing feeling to cast that thing aside. (Okay, more like add it to a stack of rubbish on my desk because finals are this week so #studying O.O)

>> Spring finally found us. We had some cold days and our fair share of rain, but this warm weather, y'all. <33

We heartily approve of summertime. But half of 'we' does not like pictures. 

|| Books. || 

// Reads 

Into the Sunset compiled by Susan K. Marlow -- 4 stars
The Proving by Beverly Lewis -- 4 stars -- Review HERE.
The Women of Easter by Liz Curtis Higgs -- 5 stars
Love Finds You in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts by Melody Carlson -- 4 stars
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury -- 5 stars
Happy Day by Rebekah A. Morris -- 5 stars
Where Trains Collide by Amber Stokes -- 4 stars -- Review to come.

I also read the books of 1 Samuel and 2 Timothy. :D

// Books 

Into the Sunset -- contest win
In Bloom -- review book
A Question of Courage -- purchase

|| Writing. || 

Writing was rather grand this month. With Camp NaNo, a short story, other short story ideas, and the tingling inspiration to seek out possible publishers (!!!), it was a month it which I felt like a writer. Loveliness. <3

As y'all already know, yes, I competed in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. It was an amazing experience, as always. My cabins mates were so much fun to sprint, chat, and hang out with, and the month flew by quickly!

My goal was to edit 60k words of A Soldier's Freedom. This novel is about 64k words currently, so that would be editing most of it. (I ended up counting nearly 3,000 words of a short story toward my goal, but still... I'm nearly through with the first edit of ASF!) I'm hoping to finish the edit this week. :D

Speaking of stories... As y'all already know if you've read my Camp updates, I wrote a short story during the first few days of the month and I'm SO tickled over how it turned out. It rates high of the list of favorite things I've written. Or, it would, if there were such a list.... Anywho, I'm looking forward to sharing my little darling with y'all soon! =D

|| Blogging. || 

// Favorite Posts 

Flights from the Aerie ~ Reintroduction

A Purpose and a Promise ~ Made for Another World

Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Girl ~ With Them You are Wanted

Ivie Writes ~ Your Words Matter// Spread the Light

Wonderland Creek ~ The Note on the Wall

// My Posts 

|| Goals. || 

// April Goals 

>> Read 8 books.        Nailed it.

>> Edit A Soldier's Freedom.      I'm technically not done, but nearly so. :D

>> Win Camp NaNoWriMo.     YUS!

>> Finish my Math and Economics courses.      Yup.

>> Finish trip planning.      Pretty much. xD

// May Goals 

>> Take a break.

>> Travel across the continent.

>> Read for pleasure.

>> Write if I feel like it.

Announcement time... I'm going on another blogging hiatus for most of the month of May. I'll be popping in a few times toward the end of the month with some blog tours for some amazing books, and I'll post a May recap (TRIP PICS, Y'ALL! <3), but other than, I'm taking a break.

I know I just took one in January, and I honestly didn't think I'd be doing it this soon, but I need it. But meanwhile, I'll be reading y'all's posts and planning some awesomeness (think: new stories + giveaways + anniversaries) for June... so stay tuned. ;)

How was your month? Any special plans for May? Are you excited for summer? :D 


Camp NaNo // Week Four {April 2018}

Guess who won Camp NaNoWriMo?!

If you guessed your favorite blogger me, you'd be right. ;) I hit my goal of editing 60,000 words a few hours ago, before supper, and just now validated my win and got a ribbon on my profile. ;D

day twenty-three // monday // 0 words

Monday was a dreary, rainy day that should have been PERFECT for getting lost in a story. But...that didn't really happen. Instead, I studied, completed homework, wrote a blog post, watched Indiana Jones with the bro, sent an author encouragement email, and did a tad bit of formatting. (Did I mention the ASF document was an absolute disaster?)

day twenty-four // Tuesday // 6,472 words

It rained some more... I seriously live in a rain forest, y'all. I attended my last chemistry class, finished my American Sign Language book, helped pack the camper for the trip, and edited enough to catch up. That turned out to be about 900 words shy of 50k, so I finished the chapter and passed 50k. :D

“Is it true you’re afraid of storms?” he asks after I’ve turned away again. 
“No,” I lie. Hopefully he can’t see how badly my hands are shaking. I quickly stick them under my legs to aid my front of bravery. 
“Well, I am,” he proclaims. He jiggles his shoulders, setting rivulets of water to flowing down his back and sleeves. 
My brow pinches together as I growl in his general direction. “You’re getting my truck all wet.” 
He twists to survey the door paneling to his right. “We’re beyond wet now, going for saturated.”

day twenty-five // Wednesday // 0 words

I went to my last class at the art center that's legit been a part of my schedule for like YEARS. (Did I mention I'm graduating next week?!) And I stayed up insanely late to finish this post. But, alas, no editing happened.

(Third day and this post is already doomed to be an overload of sarcasm and tired-Faith-thoughts...)

day twenty-six // thursday // 0 words

Thursday was pretty boring, typing it up now. Got my hair cut, ran errands in town, performed my last chemistry experiment, replied to emails, and finished my big ASL assignment of the semester. (You know, the one I'd known was approaching for months and still did mostly the day it was due? Yeah, that one.)

day twenty-seven // friday // 1,248 words

Friday was ordinary. School, blogging, editing, packing for the trip... ;)

I twist in my seat, drawing my leg up under me until I face toward James. Except, I don’t face him. I keep staring down at the faded, worn seat between us. It doesn’t serve as a very accurate metaphor. There’s a lot more than two feet of tattered cloth spanning the gap between us. 

day twenty-eight // Saturday // 4,338 words 

Let's see... On Saturday, I slept in, edited a ton and got caught up, made a joke that really wasn't funny when you think about it (see pic), and hung out with my bro and his friend in the dark for some insane reason.

Oh, and I went to bed after 11:30. Sleep is overrated. (Actually, no it's not. I just can't remember what it feels like. Slightly kidding.)

day twenty-nine // sunday // 0 words 

A typical Sunday. Church and visiting and laughter and glorious spring weather. <3 I dragged my dear mom outside to get some pictures. (Okay, okay...she came willingly....)

day thirty // Monday // 4,055 words 

I won Camp!! :D At times this month, I really wasn't sure if I would hit 60k (as y'all know, I lowered and raised it several times), but I DID IT. And I'm so pleased. =)

If I can fix up a few things this week, I'm going to be sending this book to two dear friends who've agreed to read it over the next few months and give me a bit of feedback. Can't wait to hear their thoughts! <3


Goal: 60,000 words
Current progress: 60,210 words
Status: FINISHED <33

Did you do Camp NaNo? Hit your goal? Can you believe it's May?! *low key writing this at 12:24 AM*

No matter what you accomplished or didn't accomplish this month, you're a winner, my friend. <3 

Friday, April 27, 2018

From the Shelves {Spring Reads}

Welcome to the Spring edition of From the Shelves! 

Once again, I've compiled some book recommendations for the spring season. I hope y'all enjoy these as much as I enjoy coming up with the books and putting the post together! 

Won't you join me? :)


Oh my stars, I love these books so much! Out of all eight of the Millie books, this is one of my favorites. (Gordon, y'all... <3) A truly beautiful story of trusting God when all seems dark and hopeless... trusting that spring will come. 

christian fiction // historical // life in a small town // family stories // faith-filled 

Although a bit slow in the beginning, this book was so good and packed with oodles of historical details. It covers many months, but begins in the spring of the year—and its most definitely a story of new beginnings! 

christian fiction // historical // early 1700s // amish

Similar to the previous, this book covers over a year, but much time and several chapters are spent through the spring portion. The romance was sweet and learning about the canal was super cool. :D 

christian fiction // historical // romance // canal setting 


Ahh, this series is so amazing! I've read all ten of the books multiple times, and the first five which are included in this volume are among my favorites. Secrets in the Willows (book #2) is a springtime story! 

christian fiction // contemporary // YA fiction 

I really enjoyed this 6-part serial, The Discovery: A Lancaster County Saga," when I first read it in 2013. This wasn't my favorite of the series, but it was still good, and since I loved the serial over all, I chose to include the 'spring' segment. :D

christian fiction // contemporary // amish // part 3 of a serial 


// Spring's Gentle Promise by Janette Oke // 

Josh Jones realizes his family isn't typical, but it's the only life he's ever known. Aunt Lou, Gramps, Uncle Charlie, Grandpa—they all have shaped the young man he has become. But as he grows into manhood, Josh begins to face important questions about life, love, and faith.

Every Janette Oke book I've read has been darling. I'm looking forward to finishing up this series soon! :) 

// Laylie's Daring Quest by Kersten Hamilton // 

Laylie, an energetic and intelligent seven-year-old girl born into slavery, must keep a secret---she and her older brother Luke are planning an escape. Whentheir plan takes them south to Roseland's Plantation, Laylie meets fifteen-year-old Millie Keith, a strong abolitionist who helps Laylie understand a freedom more precious than any other. With this new discovery, Laylie's life of faith begins as she and Luke make their way north, against impossible odds, to New York City and to true freedom.

After adoring the A Life of Faith: Millie Keith series last year, I can't wait to read this tie-in story. :D 

Have you read any of these? What are your favorite spring-themed reads? 


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beautiful People // Farewell + Favorites Edition

Happy Wednesday night, readers!

(We are totally going to ignore the hour at which I'm writing this. That has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the sarcasm that will follow. Nope.)

I decided to take part in Cait and Sky's Beautiful People link-up once more, because... *sniffs* it's the last one. The farewell edition. At least for now.

Because it's my Camp NaNo project this month (but mostly because I love it so), I'm going to be answering these in regards to A Soldier's Freedom. (Someday I may stop talking about this darling, but I kinda doubt it. Don't hold your breath, that's all I'm saying.)

Moving on!

Favorite genre to write in?

Contemporary. *wince* I know, I know. Probably sounds bad coming from a gal who's written as much historical as anything else, but yeah. Contemporary. Historical is fun and I have no doubt I'll continue to write it, but contemporary is my thing.

What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

I could totally say the Bible on this one, but I'll try to be creative. Although that would be a good and accurate answer. xD

I haven't read them, but autobiographies by wounded warriors like Travis Mills and Noah Galloway would be good for James, I believe.

Favorite piece of dialogue you’ve written?

Oohh, snippet time. Here's one of my favorites from this book...

Brian leans back and crosses his arms across his chest. “Guess we’re stuck with you since you’re not exactly welcomed in the seat next to Miss Allie.”  
“Alex,” I shoot back.  
“You got her name wrong again.”  
“Whatever.” He picks up a slip of paper from the seat next to him.  
“And what do you mean, stuck with me?” I shift in my seat, scouring the area for Alex. She must not have arrived yet. “Here I thought y’all liked me.”  
“Ehh, that was all put-on and little heart,” Brian mumbles, perusing the weekly bulletin like his life depends on it. “We were just trying to make you feel included.” 
Wait, what?  
“Just drop it, both of you.”  
I turn back to Lester. “Do you know what he’s talking about?”  
“Kind of.” Lester yanks on his earlobe, cocking his head to look at me. “I mean, c’mon James, you’ve got to admit you’ve been a bit ornery lately.”  
“Ornery?” I repeat, incapable of imagining the preposterous contortions taking place in my facial features right now.  
Lester shakes his head. “I’m not finished.”  
Let it never be said again that this guy is quiet and oblivious.  
“Just be real be real about it, man. She broke up with you—I get it. But life goes on. Either man-up, apologize to her, and try to win her back, or just get over yourself and quit whining.”  
Whining. He called me ornery and whiny within the space of a minute, tops. What does a guy say to that?  
“Um, okay. Thanks for the advice.”  
“You’re welcome.’’

Favorite character name(s)?

I hadn't really thought about it? I do love the names Sydney and Adelaide though. They're twins and Alex's nieces. ;)

What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

(Since James got the second question, Alex is getting this one.)

Her uncle, Joe. Hands down. Joe and his wife Gloria took Alex and her brother, Kellon, under their wing from a young age. They don't have any kids of their own, but they 'parent' lots of young people in need of love.

Favorite character you’ve ever written?

Ever?! Well, let's see... I love James. And David from War Tears is such a dear. But Ryder and Charity from Dandelion Dust will always be extra special. So...I don't know. One of those. xD

Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

Currently, A Soldier's Freedom. (Obviously. That's why I'm talking about it and working through all it's muck.) But all of my stories have my heart, each in their own way.

Favorite relationship between characters you’ve written?

Ohh, tough one. Besides James and Alex (that's nearly a given...), I love Lester and Brian, especially Lester. (He's getting his own story! <3) And anything that has to do with Uncle Joe is bound to be #gold.

When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

Hope. Encouragement. Freedom. With the reminder that God is bigger than all their struggles. <3

So what did you think? :D Have you ever taken part in Beautiful People? 


P.S. Did y'all notice that I didn't number the questions so no one would notice if I skipped around? Until now. (We're going to label that epic time management.)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Three {April 2018}

Three weeks in...and I'm back on top of things!! I also didn't take any picture worth sharing last week, so I'm throwing in a few from the storyboard to liven things up. ;)

day sixteen // monday // 115 words 

So...Monday wasn't that great. I spent the day doing school, reading, exercising, etc....and put editing off until that night. And then I was too tired to even care. :P

day seventeen // Tuesday // 2,247 words 

On Tuesday, I lowered my goal to 40,000 words. I was pretty far behind, and I just wanted to feel like I was making some progress instead of chipping at a seemingly-unconquerable goal.

The good news? *grins* I edited until 11:30 that night and got caught up (for 40k goal)!

day eighteen // Wednesday // 924 words 

Wednesday was pretty busy with homework, pottery class, and church. Somehow, in the midst, I planned weddings with two friends...even though none of us are even in a relationship. (I mean, it isn't like the groom is necessary or anything...right? xD)

Tonight, I only crave peace.  
Drawing the thin covering over my head, I cower and stuff my face into a pillow. My shoulders wrack and tremble.  
“I’m okay,” I whisper, but my voice sounds broken to even my own ears.  
Hollow. Lifeless. Worthless. 

day nineteen // Thursday // 5,229 words 

I edited for about an hour and a half on Thursday morning (procrastinating school, you know) and got nearly 2,000 words written/edited. got caught up - edited in the evening and night

I also got my prologue written! I had a prologue in the first draft, but I didn't like it that much and it doesn't match up to the twist the story decided to take. Anywho, I wrote a new one and I love it soooo much. <33

day twenty // Friday // 4,475 words 

Friday was pretty ordinary. I upped my goal, though, and edited several times that day. Ahh, it's so nice to be back in this story. I've missed my dears. <3

day twenty-one // Saturday // 5,319 words 

Saturday morning was spent working on blogging and emails. That afternoon I went to a wedding shower with my mom, and edited that evening/night. ;) I also raised my goal back to my original—60,000 words!

“I’m going to be completely honest with you. I like you, James, a lot. But I think you’ve about broken my little girl’s heart and that makes me not like you. Do we understand each other?”  
“Yes, sir,” I wince.  
“I don’t need to know details—that’s between the two of you—but I’m not stupid. She’s hurt. I haven’t seen her this upset since the last numbskull she let into her heart turned out to be even more of a jerk that I feared he was.” 

day twenty-two // Sunday // 5,512 words 

On Sunday, I snuck in a tad bit of editing midday and then edited until late that night. Got caught up on my goal!! :D I also hit a rough spot that I hadn't resolved during brainstorming, so I had to figure out what I'm going to do about that. Pretty pleased with the outcome, though. ;)


Goal (for 60k): 44,000 words
Current Progress: 44,097 words
Status: Barely ahead! The book is actually fluctuating around 63-64k, so hopefully I can hit my goal and then finish it as well. :D

How are y'all? Are you doing Camp? Can you believe April is nearly over?! O.O


Friday, April 20, 2018

Calling All Wanna-Be ASL Learners! {Classes for Homeschoolers}

Greetings, readers! I'm dropping in for just a moment to let y'all know about an amazing opportunity—geared toward homeschoolers! 

As some of you already know, I'm studying American Sign Language as a high school elective. This is my second year, and I'm planning to take a third this fall. (Who knows—maybe I'll end up an interpreter or ASL teacher myself. ;))

I have greatly enjoyed the experience, and I have to say that a lot of the credit for that goes to the amazing teacher I've been blessed with. He's fun in the classroom, making the online class sessions entertaining and interactive.

If you're considering studying ASL, I would wholeheartedly recommend looking into Mr. Dally's classes. With ASLYouCanDo, he offers live classes in ASL 1, ASL 2, and ASL 3. He also offers JumpStart tutoring sessions and conversational classes. There's so many options!

You find all the information by clicking on the image below. :)

Is your student a visual learner? Struggles with spoken foreign language? Looking for a sign language class? A satisfied parent says this about learning ASL with Mr. Dally:

"Mr. Dally's ASL classes are superb! My child learned so much during her ASL 1 class--vocabulary, grammar, conversational ASL, deaf culture, and much more. She especially enjoyed the breakout sessions with other students that enabled her to practice her signing while also learning about her fellow peers. My daughter's interest in ASL grew throughout the year and she can't wait for ASL 2 with Mr. Dally next year."

Have any of y'all studied sign language? 


Monday, April 16, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Two {April 2018}

Well, I survived another week. But I'm so far behind on my original goal it's insane. *sobs*

day nine // monday // 1,906 words

Monday was pretty ordinary. School, reading, writing, a run, blogging... Oh, and a NaNo song that you totally need in your life.

day ten // tuesday // 2,865 words

Tuesday was pretty typical. We went out to get pizza that night to celebrate a friend's birthday, and then afterwards, I edited most of the evening/night. ;)

day eleven // wednesday // 1,364 words

Wednesday, I had pottery class and church on top of life, school, and editing. Still got some squeezed in though. ;D

I give the magazine a quick yank, expecting it to come free from where it’s cemented into the rack—probably by some kid’s bubble gum. The stupid thing comes free in my hand, but only after avalanching the rack and the rest of its contents into the floor.  
My face colors in embarrassment. I’ll never be able to pick all those up. I swallow hard, forcing aside those ideas. Those suggestions of being rid of my excuse for a life in any way I can.  
Those thoughts, those whispers in my head that say it’s not worth it. I’m not worth it. You’re not enough… 

day twelve // Thursday // 3,991 words

Thursday was pretty ordinary as well. We had some lovely sunshine (<3) and I got loads of editing done. :D Apparently so much that my brain didn't want to do anymore...like, ever...

“Look, this isn’t easy, okay?”  
I wince—that was a jab. “I’m sorry, I never met to insinuate that this is easy for you either physically or emotionally. But you can do it and you are going to do it.”  
He stands there a minute, brows furrowing. “I’m not sure I appreciate your condescending tone.” He pushes off the wall, glaring at me, but I know I’ve won. “Move out of the way, Lil’ Miss Therapist.”  
Grinning over the nickname, I duck back out of the bars and stand off to the side, arms crossed. “Show me what you’ve got, Semper Fi.”

day thirteen // Friday // 69 words 

Friday was, again, a normal day. (See? My life is really boring. I just post the best parts in recaps... okay, kidding. xD) I didn't get much editing done though... I tried to start working on the entirely new prologue, but I just couldn't get anywhere.

I did, however, take a nice walk, snap some good pictures, and wade in the creek. ;D

Also, on Friday night, I lowered my Camp goal from 60k to 50k. I didn't want to—I still really want to get this edit finished this month! But this is what works best for right now, so I'm trying to be okay with that. ;)

day fourteen // Saturday // 0 words 

Saturday...I didn't write or edit a single word. I didn't even open the document. *cries* So what did I do? Exercise, drink Starbucks, write a blog post, drive 4 hours, attend my first ever deaf event, and get lost in a city at 9:00 at night.

Thankfully, my mom was with me, and we made jokes about chickens and Dollar Generals (don't worry, I'm confused too), so all in all it was a good night.

day fifteen // Sunday // 0 words 

Again, I wrote nothing...but I did reply to emails and comments, go to church, try to stay dry from the pouring rain, and laugh insanely at John Crist videos. (Look him up, y'all. xD)


Goal (originally, for halfway through): 30,000 words
Goal now (for halfway through the reduced 50,000): 25,000 words
Current progress: 20,276 words
Status: Still behind. Even with the lowered goal....

This post feels kind of lame to me, but I can't think of anything else to add... Instead of fretting over it too much, I'm going to go work on my neglected Camp project. xD

How's Camp NaNo going for y'all?!