Autumn Book Tag {Vlog}

A delightfully happy cold and windy Thursday morning to you! I’m off to make people’s day at a coffee shop, and in the meantime y’all can watch my latest vlog, which is an autumn book tag. Autumn and books? What could be better!

What’s your favorite genre to read in the autumn?

My Most Embarrassing​ Moment

Last night I was chatting with a friend about random awkward moments, and an awkward, embarrassing moment from a few years ago popped into my mind. It makes a good story, and it’s fun to laugh at other people’s embarrassing moments, so I thought I’d share it with y’all for a mid-week brighten-up session. 🙂

Back in 2014 I traveled for several months abroad – first a month in Indonesia, then after just eight days back at home I left for a month of road-tripping across Europe. As you can imagine I spent a lot of time with non-English speaking people and therefore sometimes kinda maybe forgot to be extra careful with what I said.

At one point in the trip, I visited Beje, also known as The Hiding Place, with my family. (You can read about my adventures there here and here.) Visiting the Beje was a dream come true, and I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, the people who we were going on the tour with (total strangers to us), were in a hurry and kept trying to speed things up. That, in turn, made the tour guide flustered and she took it out on us by being rude.


When we left the Beje we were all hungry, so we walked to a very crowded marketplace and had fun experiencing the culture as we wandered around looking at the flower booths, and admiring the beauty of old buildings. Next, we ducked under the outdoor awnings to a large maze-like area with lots of different stands selling meat and veggie pies, as well as a variety of other foods. As we stood clustered together in the bustling place eating (and mind you, this was an hour or so and a fair distance away from the Beje), my sister mentioned how it had ruined the tour for her when the guide had been so rude.

I, meanwhile, felt rather sorry for the tour guide because it had been the other Americans on the tour who felt were the rude ones. So coming to the tour guide’s defense I was like, “It was those other Americans who were rude cause they kept being annoying and rushing the tour guide!”

From right behind me a deep voice said, “Well we had to hurry because we’re on a cruise ship and it only stops here for seven hours and we had more to do today than just tour the Beje.”

I jumped and turned around, horrified to see that the very stranger I was complaining about was standing literally right behind me. Apparently, my sister had seen him and was trying to elbow me to make me quit talking, but it was so crowded where we were I thought she was just being shoved into me. Thankfully we never had to see that person again, and hopefully what I said didn’t bother him too much.

It was a good reminder for me that even when I’m in the middle of a large, crowded, marketplace in a different country, there might still be an English speaker right behind me.

What’s one of your embearassing moments?

October 2017 In Review

{Y’all. October was a long month – in the very best way possible. It felt like SO much happened and fit into that 31 day span. And now November has been rushing by far too fast, so… We’ll just pretend like this month review isn’t nearly half a month late.}


What I focused on in October:

  1. Lots of busyness with juggling my two nonwriting jobs during a busy time with my retreat job
  2. Catching up on book reviews and, well, lots of reading
  3. Soaking in being home in October/learning/life/family time/being sick


Reading Update

Fiction: 8
Nonfiction: 7
Book Reviews: I’m not sure, but I know I caught up from previous months
Audio Books: 7
{Yeah. I read a lot.}

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Nights Gone: 5
New States or Countries: None

{Craziness, I felt so very happy and blessed to get to stay in beautiful Ohio during the entire glorious month of October. That hasn’t happened in October for a while.}



In October of 2017 wanted to….

  1. Write Weekly Goals {YES! – I might have missed part of one week}
  2. Eat Paleo (except coffee) 21 days {Loosely – very loosely translated as paleo, but YES}
  3. Get to bed by 10:30 10 times {Ha! I totally lost track}
  4. Switch winter/summer clothes {YES}
  5. Vlog 4 times {YES}
  6. Blog by 9:30 20 times {YES – I think so anyway?}
  7. Edit 10,000 words on Echoes {Cute. No.}
  8. Read 3 non-fiction books {YES}
  9. Get writing program on computer & Work on Plotting book {YES to the first and NO to the second}
  10. Focus on getting into the correct rhythm at coffee shop {YES}
  11. Catch up on reviews for all the books I’ve read in the last few months {YES}
  12. Blog about: Coffee Shop Job, 25 Before 25 Update, Birthday Musings, Monthly Review, and Take part in at least 2 Link-ups {I did one link-up, one tag, so counting that}


What I’ve Been Learning


Y’all. I read a treasure trove of fantastically wonderful nonfiction books in October. There were so many four and five star reads it makes me wish I could always have so much “success” in the books I choose.

Calm, Cool, and Connected reminded me to continue working on something that I’ve been trying to implement into my life for a while. Technology and social media are wonderful as tools, but I am adamantly against them being masters. It’s so easy to turn to my phone whenever I have a few free moments and either browse online or else read a book, or even just “clean up.” (I can’t stand having notifications or excess things on my phone.) BUT! It’s not healthy or who I want to be when I’m always turning to my phone. I’m trying to get much better at being detached from my technology and really only getting on it when I have a certain purpose in mind. (I’m still on it a lot, but working at only doing so intentionally.)

True Identity was another hugely helpful book because it’s something I’ve been working on learning for years now. My identity and satisfaction can’t come from what I accomplish because when it does I never feel satisfied or good enough because it’s simply impossible for me to do enough to make myself happy. But, I don’t need to be enough or try and do enough. Because who I am, where my worth comes from, is who I am in Christ. And yes, I’m still working on doing what I can and should do, but there’s a huge difference between that and the pressure I’ve put on myself for so much of my life.

In addition to learning from reading, October was good for learning from other things, too. I went to a weekend retreat where I very much enjoyed turning my phone off, put it away, and just focusing on people and God and what I could learn. That weekend provided a lot of food for thought and reminded me where I currently am and where I’m heading and how thankful I am for various things.

Vlogging was another area where I spent some time learning and growing in October and having a lot of fun at it. I’m so glad I took up that new venture in life.

And folks, this is what happens when I don’t review the month right away – I begin to forget what months I learned certain things. #OhWell




As I mentioned above I went on a weekend retreat. It was with my group from church and it was lovely. I work at a retreat so I’m used to doing all the little behind the scenes things and being a part of the staff. Therefore it was SO WEIRD to be on the other side of the line – being an actual attendee. (It wasn’t at the retreat center where I work though.) I wasn’t really looking forward to attending because serving is much more of my comfort zone… but I knew that if I was going to be an attendee with anyone, I would want it to be with the group I was going with. It ended up being fantastic and I am so thankful for that weekend.

I had fun randomly going to my adopted parent’s house a few times, including once for the night. There are some months where I don’t get to see them, so getting to hang out three times in one month was pretty great. One of the times I took my little brother so we could have some brother-sister time because we don’t get to hang out as much as we used to.

In addition to everything else, I watched the Children’s Hosptial Marathon in Columbus with my best friend while her husband ran the half marathon. I also spent some time hanging out at my sister’s house, worked on editing Echoes, and musing over the fact that I’m now a quarter of a century old and how that actually doesn’t change much. I also spent huge amounts of time inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) gushing over how glorious October is and how thankful and happy I am to live in Ohio, especially during this time of year.

Near the end of the month, I was delighted when one of my most wonderful friends in all of forever came early to surprise me. Hosanna was planning on helping out at a retreat I was working at, but having her come early was simply amazing because then we got to spend some good, quality time together outside of work.


What were some of your highlights for October? (Or was that so long ago that you already forget?)

First Ever Book Review About Dating? (I think so, anyway….)

She’s Got the Wrong Guy

BY: Deepak Reju

Find it on:


First Person • Nonfiction • One Point of View • 162 Pages



About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Why do the nicest women pick guys who let them down for one reason or another? The answers are not always straightforward. For some women, the issue is as simple as not really thinking through what they’re looking for or should be looking for in a man. Others feel they’d rather be with someone (and pretty much anyone will do) than be alone, while still others are unconsciously replicating patterns of bad relationships they learned in childhood or from traumatic experiences and don’t know how to stop the cycle.
Deepak Reju, writing from his years of experience as a pastor and a counselor, shares with women his perspective on how to assess a relationship’s strengths from the beginning, how to identify possible pitfalls, and how to have the courage to not just “settle” but to wait for a relationship that will be a blessing to both of you.


Why I Choose this Book:

Reading the backcover blurb brings up questions I’ve asked multiple times. Plus, the book (and especially the cover) seemed interesting.

What I Thought about this Book:

I was somewhat apprehensive when I went into this book – having no clue if I’d agree with the author on any or all of the points, but also extremely eager to read the book and figure out what the author had in mind. I certainly didn’t want a book of fluff, and I don’t think anyone would accuse this book of that. Mr. Reju dove right into the thick of it, and with examples and a grace-filled tone kept the book serious and on mark the entire time.

Part 1 Talks about what some of the problems with dating are today…. Such as people look at marriage and dating differently than they used to and so everyone is kinda scrambling around trying to figure out where we fit in. Or the fact that some people have wrong motives in a relationship. Or that some people have made marriage a sort of idol in their lives. It was all very spot-on and Mr. Reju crammed a lot of info into a few pages without making it feel rushed.

Part 2 Discusses ten different types of guys to avoid dating. Mr. Reju shared examples of a couple (or sometimes two) for each of the examples. I’m guessing the examples came from people who he’d known personally or possibly even counseled (or wished he could have), but he never specifically said. The ten types include guys like The Control Freak, The Unbeliever, The Angry Man, The New Convert, and The Passive Man. Again, what was said in this section was so good and if I had friends in dating relationships that matched any of these examples I’d totally want to give them this book.

Part 3 Was very short at the end and is about finding the right (Godly) guy. It also talked about how it’s okay to wait sometimes, and that waiting is a part of life and can help build our character and turn us into the person God wants us to be.

Overall I enjoyed reading the book, learned from it, and found it really interesting.


At this point, I really can’t think of anything I disagreed with in the book. It does talk quite openly about temptations that dating couples (and really anyone) have, so, therefore, I wouldn’t recommend this book to young teens without parental guidance.


I’m giving She’s Got the Wrong Guy 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10

*I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review

Fish Eyeballs, Temper Tantrums, & Snippets {Cue Raquel}

Y’all. The last week I’ve been having a delightful time working on the third draft of Echoes. I haven’t been so excited about the project since back before my computer (and a month’s worth of work) was stolen in May. But now I’m back in the swing of things and YAY!

To celebrate, I thought I’d share a snippet that I wrote last night. For those of you who don’t know, Echoes is the story of sixteen-year-old Nicolette and Raquel – identical twins who live in the country of Kios, where twins (echoes) are outcasts. They masquerade as one girl, Rylie, who is also the crown princess. Only a few trusted servants know their true identity.

This snippet is told from Raquel’s perspective, and as you’ll soon be able to tell, she has a bit of an attitude issue toward her father, the king.

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I inhaled deeply, the smell of burnt fish making me instantly wish I hadn’t done so.
“Servants fare.” Wren placed a hearty portion in front of me. “I’d imagine you wish you were dining with your father tonight.”
I snorted. “I’d rather survive on goopy fish eyes and dried rice pudding than spend an extra moment in his presence.”
“Raquel.” Teah’s voice held more rebuke than I felt warranted.
I lowered my head. “I don’t mean to speak disrespectfully of him-.” I stopped when Uncle Izaac lifted his all-knowing eyes to me. “Alright. So mayhaps I did mean to speak disrespectfully. But I have reason!” I hit the table with my fist. “You know I’m justified.”
“Justified or not, bitterness will never produce anything lovely.” Uncle Izaac scooped some blackened fish onto his trencher. “You, my dear, have so much potential. You can’t trade your possibilities for the satisfaction of holding on to the wrongs that have been done to you.”
Resting my elbows on the table, I leaned my chin onto my hands. “He doesn’t deserve anything better.” I scrunched my nose at how whiny I sounded – like a petulant toddler.
“Did I say he did?” Uncle Izaac commenced to eating, singling that the conversation was over.
I sulked for a few more minutes before silently acknowledging how immature I was being, then proceeded to eat in an unladylike manner, simply to get on Teah and Uncle Izaac’s nerves – neither of them paid me any mind.
Nicolette had gone to dine with the king, doubtlessly after Uncle Izaac had filled her in as to the day’s happenings since I’d been banished to the sleeping chamber. I snorted at the thought. Since when had Uncle Izaac taken to ordering me around like I was a toddler? Reason answered that he’d had every right since I was acting like one, but I ignored the voice.
After finishing my trencher of distasteful food, I loudly sucked off each finger, a habit I hadn’t indulged in since I was three summers old. It was so disgusting I nearly couldn’t bring myself to do it, but forced myself to continue until all ten fingers had been significantly licked, making sure that I made a loud slurping sound each time I pulled a finger out of my mouth.
“Once you’ve had your fill of being childish you may stack and clear the table, placing the dishes on the dumbwaiter.” Uncle Izaac didn’t even look up from his plate. “And, when you’re ready to move on in life, please inform me so that I may begin talking to you in a reasonable manner again – instead of acting like you don’t exist which is doubtlessly no fun for either of us.” Uncle Izaac glanced at me, “Especially considering we could have spent the eating hour in a deep discussion or playing Zarse.”

October Reading Wrap-Up {Vlog}

Happy Thursday, y’all!

In October I read a lot of books – 15 to be exact, as well as listening to 7 audiobooks. It was by far the most bookish month of my year so far, and although it was fun, I hope to read a lot less in November and focus more on editing.

One of the best parts of reading so much last month was catching up on my nonfiction reading. I tried to be pretty succinct with what I said about each book so the video wouldn’t be an hour long this week, it was a kinda hard, but fun, challenge.

What are some of the books that you read in October?

Characters Who Make Great Leaders

Hey Folks! Today I’m joining the Top Ten Tuesday Link-Up, and today we get to talk about leaders. Leaders for what, you might ask. Well, leaders for anything. Below I have a list of eight books who had a character that sticks out in my mind as a good leader.

The Way of Escape – Ben is a fantastically wonderful leader of a church. (And one of the characters in all of forever that I want to meet the most.)
The Bracken Trilogy – The Wise Woman is the best behind-the-scenes leader of a country and may have pretty much single-handedly (well, with the help of one other author) inspired my great care for books.
Many Sparrows – Jeremiah Ring was a great guide for leading someone into the wilderness.
For Such a Time – Jean is the kind of cousin I would want to lead a rescue mission if I was ever held captive in enemy territory.
High as the Heavens – Evelyn does a pretty great job of heading up a spying ring. (Say what?)
Ready or Not – Aggie, how in the world does she take care of all the kids? She’s an amazing leader of the family she’s inherited.
All Fall Down – Grace gets the award for leading the readers through an incredibly confusing journey where they don’t know what’s true or what to believe.
Samantha Sanderson Off the Record – Samantha is a pro when it comes to leading an investigation for her middle-grade newspaper.

Who’s your favorite “leader” character?