College Life, God Talks

The “What Now”

Friends. Welcome to 2015! Also welcome to a new blog design. I’m still smoothing out some wrinkles, but I wanted to simplify and de-clutter. You know how every now and then you just get in the mood to organize the stuff under your bed? Is that just me? Okay. Either way, that’s what I wanted to do for the blog.

If we only communicate with each other through the blog, there is a pretty big thing you should know: I’m now a college graduate! This means I have a Bachelor of Arts in English (concentration: Creative Writing) and a minor in Communications.

IMG_4332Last month, I traded my college kid status for a tassel, some colorful cords, and an expensive piece of paper. In the world’s eyes, I’ve reached a milestone in the American dream. As my diploma says, I have “satisfied in full” the requirements needed to hold a degree and become an alumni of my school. I’m no longer earning my degree; I have it.

It didn’t come easy. It involved a lot of work and stress and busyness. A lot of please-help-me-pass-this-crazy-science-class prayers and what-am-I-doing-with-my-life moments. The actual processes of completing my senior portfolio, exit essay, last round of final exams, and all the pre-ceremony things that happened this semester required a lot of attention and effort, not to mention the workout my emotions are still undergoing.

The irony of it all is that all of the craziness happened at the beginning of the Christmas season: the season of joy and peace and silent nights. To be honest, I often let all of the anxiousness and busyness overshadow what I was supposed to be celebrating. Why? Well, for one thing, graduating college was a big thing for me.

But then, there’s this: the world says we’re supposed to be go-getters and achievers and difference makers. The world says we’re supposed to climb the ladder and earn more, do more, be more. The world wants bigger and better and bolder and brighter. The world goes after the tassel and cords and honors and notoriety. The expensive piece of paper I call a diploma (which is currently still in a big envelope on my bedroom floor) is supposed to give credibility to my skill set and add worth to me as a member of society.

The key word here is that it’s supposed to do those things. But I know from experience that Dean’s list certificates and award ceremonies and the approval of professors can still leave you feeling empty. It’s seems crazy, but it’s true. All of that is temporary and makes you feel like you constantly have to reach higher standards. And yet, it’s all a part of our society.

FullSizeRenderEven now that I’m graduated, degree in hand, I’m not done. Actually, I’m just beginning. I’m constantly asked, “So, what are you doing now?” or “What are your plans?” or the one that will never cease to amuse me: “You have an English degree and you’re not a teacher? What are you going to do with that?”

To answer those questions: I’m still sifting through details and options. But there are options, and the number of options I have are overwhelming.

So I’m learning that no matter where you’re at in life, there will always be something to overwhelm you. There will always be something to make you drop your head in your hands and say, “What now?” There will always be stressors vying for your attention, big expectations, and a whole ton of those “what now” questions.

But you know what? For all of the stress and uncertainties and questions, the One who so awesomely brought me through the college years will bring me through this next phase of life.

I’m one of those weird people who didn’t want high school to end. I loved high school (for the most part…) and I couldn’t imagine college being better. But guess what: I had the time of my life in college. So what’s next is trusting that God has some pretty great things lined up for Anna…and that He has plans that will leave me in awe and bring oh-so-much glory to Himself. I just have to be faithful in the small, everyday things while I watch those plans unfold.

I think that’s something we all need a reminder of; to be faithful in the waiting, in the listening, in the praying, and in the expecting. To realize the significance of doing what you’re called to do—no matter how tiny or ordinary those things may seem—and know it all works together for His glory.

God’s faithfulness never stops amazing me, so how could I not faithfully trust Him in the “what now”?

2015 is brimming with unknowns and uncertainties and “what now” questions. But it’s absolutely overflowing with possibility and promise. And I’m so blessed.

In His love,


FullSizeRender (1)“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness…
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.”
– Lamentations 3:22-23;25

College Life, Uncategorized

The Last First Day

Late last Sunday night, I sat on the couch beneath a blanket, eating a bowl of Froot Loops and watching Disney Channel (judge not). 

As I went into the kitchen for Round #2 on the Froot Loops, I contemplated two things:

1) Who in the world decided to spell it like Froot Loops? Look, I get that it “matches” the word Loops or whatever, but still. It almost pains my English major heart as much as stuff like “Krispy Chicken.” This is why I blog, to spread awareness of things that should not be.

And the love of Jesus. I blog to share about the love of Jesus, too.


2) I was hours away from my last first day of school. The last traditional picture taken by the front door with my book bag slung over my shoulder and some caffeinated reinforcement in my hand. The last time I would commute to campus to find a parking spot (which is akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack), my classrooms, and hopefully some of my friends in the process.

securedownload (2)The next morning, I crawled out of bed after reading a passage from my Bible and praying for fortitude. Here it was: the last semester of Senior year. As I drank my coffee in my Grace mug and got ready to leave, I received a text from my friend Allison, who has been by my side ever since we met as underclassmen (she’s also guest-posted several times on the blog—click here to read her words). Her message was something along the lines of: “Are you ready for this?” and my reply was something eloquent and inspirational along the lines of: “No.”

Because, really, who is ever ready for something so significant as your college years to come to an end?

It still didn’t fully sink in until I’d wedged my little car into a parking spot and walked through the doors of one of the buildings for the last first time. I saw some friends, talked to them for a minute, found Allison, tried not to tackle her (mostly succeeded), and gave up on my resolve to not be emotional about this thing (which I should’ve done a long time ago, since I could probably get emotionally attached to a nice piece of toast).

Then I offered Allison the other half of my granola bar (which she declined, because who would want a half-eaten granola bar?) since I was too antsy about the day to finish it. 

After my first class, there was more reuniting and disrupting sidewalk traffic to hug one of my dear friends as she tried to hurry on to her class. Meanwhile, one of our professors oversaw all of that. She was probably thinking, “Kids, please. Move.” Except in a more English professor-y way.

Later, as several of us congregated in the student center, I made everyone pose for pictures and then I took a picture with my younger sister Abby, who is a freshman this year.

Abby is thrilled to be at the same university as me. And I’m never, ever an embarrassing older sister.

The whole day, I kept watching all of the freshman, remembering what it was like on my very first day of college. Remembering trying to find my classrooms, figuring out which restrooms have the good automatic hand dryers, and praying God would let me meet some new friends.

Fast forward back to now, and I can step onto campus and smile, knowing some of my best friends are nearby. I’m so very thankful for these friendships.

After the meet-up, there was another class and a mocha frappe at Starbucks and a nap at home becausesecuredownload (1) processing such nostalgia about your undergrad years takes it out of you.

By the end of the week (this past weekend), my friends and I decided we deserved some fun. Since two of them have birthdays within a week of each other, we decided to have a good old-fashioned sleepover to celebrate, which included slip-n-sliding, a movie, games, and staying up until an insane hour.

Public service announcement to those of you who are a few years younger and dread leaving the teen years and crossing into your twenties: Growing up doesn’t mean growing boring. 

It also doesn’t mean you always make wise decisions concerning adequate amounts of rest at childhood-throwback sleepovers.

And now here I am, typing this late Monday night after finishing Shakespeare homework. I’d love the opportunity to blog more often this semester to document things, and I’ll try my best to make that happen.

I started blogging at the beginning of my second semester of college, and I love looking back over the journey I’ve taken. When I read my old posts, I can see how I’ve settled into my writing voice, grown in my faith, and learned a little more about this Anna Schaeffer person. When I started this blog at age eighteen, I had no idea what was ahead in my college years, but I’m thankful younger-me decided to start a blog and talk through it.

Now, blogging is a part of me I don’t like to go without it. Whenever I don’t write for a while, my best friend gets all kinds of interesting texts because I have to channel this stuff somehow.

So I’m looking forward to this new semester, and I hope you’ll join me as I blog my way toward graduation.

I pray the same thing now that I prayed as a blogging freshman; that everything I say and do will be for His glory.

Because God is so worthy of it all. And this journey is all about how He graciously works in and through the life of this college kid.

In His love,


securedownload (3)
And here I am on my very first day of college, compared to my last first day of college. God is so faithful.

Blog Stuff, College Life, Writing

Beginning Again

Where I live, we’re caught in the awkward time of year between summer and fall. See, technically it’s still summer, but school’s back in session, so it should feel like fall. And if we’re being really technical, we don’t experience very much variety in the seasons department ‘round these parts. They all just kind of blend together in a combo that slides from spring to summer and back to spring.

You can tell I’m getting old when I open a blog post with a discussion about the weather. Sigh.

Maybe I’m not that old, but I did start my fourth year of college this week! As a matter of fact, it’s Day 4 of my senior year of college.

Senior. Me. Anna Schaeffer. What.

I’ll try not to freak out on you. No promises, but I’ve yet to go into hyper-cleaning mode like I do when I’m stressed.

Now that my Costa Rica series is over (click here to read it), we’ll be moving on to some new topics on the blog. I had such a great time sharing a few of my experiences with you, and I appreciate all of you who told me you were keeping up with my journey.

Now that the series is over and school is once again in  the picture, here’s what the blog schedule will look like:

Because I’m doing the whole manage-your-priorities thing, homework has to come before blogging. Because as fun as blogging is, it doesn’t pay the bills. Neither does school, but you know what I mean. But take heart: I’ll still be hanging around! I’m just planning on a weekly rather than biweekly posting schedule this fall. Blogging really is important to me and I have the greatest time sitting down to type out my thoughts and hearing what’s going on in your lives, too.

If you’re curious, I’m taking classes exclusively in my major (English Creative Writing) and minor (Communications) this semester. Core requirements are behind me (with the exception of I have to pick up later), which means each of my classes are either writing intensive, reading intensive, or writing and reading intensive. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about that later on.

In other news, I finished the first draft of my 2nd novel!!

You know, that one I mentioned a couple months ago. The one that involved lots of conflict and “what if” questions and research. The song of my heart? That’s the one. And it’s done! Or at least the first draft. I’m taking a bit of a break from the story so I won’t be so overwhelmed by things that need to change when I read through it. It’s currently just under 80,000 words, which is actually a little over my goal. It’ll be trimmed and rearranged and all that good stuff, but I’m happy with where it’s at for the first draft.

I’ve never poured so much emotion into a story before. I’ve never had such high stakes (not to be confused with steaks, which would be an awesomely delicious story element) in something I’ve written, either.

This story is also a little grittier than my previous stories. And I don’t mean that in an edgy, cover-the-kids’-eyes way, of course. What I mean is, it’s about life. And life isn’t always handed to us in a neat little package with a big bow on top. Sometimes it’s feels like life is dumped into our lap and we have to sort through everything before it makes sense. And that’s where the emotion, hopefully, comes in. The goal is for the reader to see that, yes things happen that we don’t understand, but God promises He makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).

A lot of times, writers tell you their characters take over the story and do what they want to do, rather than what the author wants them to do. If you’re a non-writer, that may sound ridiculous, but if you love penning stories like I do, you’ll probably understand what I’m saying.

Example:  I didn’t anticipate my main character’s personality. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on how she processed life before I started writing, but she turned out differently. She’s a little snarky like I thought she’d be (she’s a product of my brain, after all), but her voice is so much stronger than I’d planned. Her story is pretty serious, so although there are jokes and one-liners and other things I wish I were good at in real-life, she needs that strong voice to carry us through her story.

Maybe it’s because my characters are in their teen years, or maybe it’s because I’m in to happily-ever-afters, but I had to fight really hard to make the plot go the way I wanted and not end up super bubbly and light-hearted. Meaning, I had no intentions of writing a love story.

But then, somehow, one of the guy characters ended up with a dimple on his chin. So of course the girl character think that’s adorable, and I found myself yelling at my main character, saying: “You can’t like this guy! You actually despise him! You don’t even let people see past the wall you’ve built up around yourself!”

And she was like, “But he’s got this dimple and deep eyes…”


And she responded with, “Well, at least don’t make me say that next line to him. That’s hurtful.”

And then I walked away from my laptop for a few hours, trying to figure the whole thing out. And I don’t want to give any spoilers or anything, but I will say we reached a compromise (Really, though, I  just laid down the law…don’t tell my character).

As I was thinking about this the other day, I realized something: We’re just like those characters. Obviously, we’re real and they’re not (unless you’re me and they’re constantly murmuring things in the back of your mind), but we’re people living out a  story.

Oftentimes, we try to do things our own way, just like my example up there. I’m not just talking about relationships, although you’re welcome to draw your own conclusions from that. But we think we know what’s best for us. I’ll be the first to raise my hand.

NEWSFLASH, ANNA: You don’t know what’s best for you.

But God does. And He has big plans for our lives, if we’ll just trust Him. If we’re following Him, He will take all of the stuff we’ve been through and use it for our good. For a purpose that glorifies Him.

I’m excited about the next step for this novel. I’m excited about revising and editing and everything else that comes along with the whole writing thing.

I’m also excited to see what God has in store for Fall 2013 in my own, real-life story. What about you?

In His love,


College Life, My Kind of Average


Happy Thursday night! Random blogging time, right?

See, I had intentions of getting some serious writing/blogging time in this afternoon, but my legs ache like fire from my jogging class (more on that in a minute), and that made me cranky. So instead, I curled up with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and a Kristin Billerbeck novel (A Billion Reasons Why – good stuff! I also read her Perfectly Dateless this week, which was laugh-out-loud hilarious). Now my appendages only burn when I’m standing or trying to move, so the crankiness is gone, and I’m ready to write.

Today’s post is  simply called “Thursday” because, well, I had a more intriguing topic, but it’s already 10:00 pm, so we’ll save that one for next week. Okay.

So I’m taking a walking/jogging class at my school for 4 1/2 weeks this summer. I just made it to the 1 1/2 weeks mark. Each day, we do some stretches, some walking, some jogging, some more stretches, etc. We also do stairs and jump rope. Hence my pitiful muscles. I like to find spiritual lessons in everyday activities, but honestly, so far the spirituality in my jogging workouts usually consist of pleas along the lines of: “Please don’t let me pass out in front of the class. Please make those black spots go away.”

Exercise usually helps me think through some plot problems in whatever story I’m working on, so I originally planned to just go solo during the class and brainstorm for my current novel (more on that in a forthcoming post). But about 2.5 minutes into the first class, my love of social interaction won out. I found an exercise buddy (who also happens to be an English major and writer, which means we have some interesting conversations), and we teamed up to help each other survive the workouts.

Well, Tuesday, our instructor told us to do some skipping. In my humble opinion, if you’re going to do some skipping, you might as well go all out. So, I plastered a ridiculously big grin on my face, pumped my arms, and skipped my way across the mezzanine like a stretched-out version of Strawberry Shortcake. My partner and I decided we needed happy music and butterflies to accompany us on our frolic. Our instructor started laughing and just said, “Pace yourselves!”

Today, though, we alternated between jogging and walking. My new friend and I talked about books the whole time, which really helped the time pass more quickly. Afterwards, after stretching and listening to the Fact of the Day from our instructor (while we were hanging upside down at the waist, she announced, “Contrary to popular belief, ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand”), she said: “A good way to tell if you’re exercising right is if you’re able to talk while you jog. If you can’t, you need to slow down.” Then, looking at my partner and me, she said, “I know you two are doing it right, because you talk the whole time.” Finally! A useful purpose for my love of gabbing!

But anyway, this was my Thursday:

I woke up feeling all bright-eyed and bushy-haired. The good thing about my jogging class is that I don’t have to put a lot of effort into what I’m wearing. Super casual makes me super happy. We don’t have a dress code at school, so I could technically dress that way every day, but I know myself well enough to know how lazy I would become if gym shorts were my go-to outfit.

Goodness, I get sidetracked when I blog at night.

My sister Abby turned sixteen Monday, so today she went to take her driving test. She took my car to drive in during the test since it’s the smallest, most manageable vehicle. That left me with my dad’s Buick, which—let’s call it what it is—is basically a boat on wheels. If a car could be meaty, this car would be meaty. Solid.

This car also has issues. Before I took it to school today, my mom taped up the sun visor, the passenger door, and the ceiling upholstery. It’s seen better days, but at least it’s got AC, and I feel like I could survive a war in that thing. I rarely drive this car, so when compared to my cute little college-y car (I call it that because it gets superb gas mileage and it’s small enough to navigate an overly crowded parking lot), I have to stand on the brake to make the thing stop. But apparently I could use some more calf workouts. It does have radio control on the steering wheel, though, which is something my car doesn’t have.

The only problem is, I forgot that I left my jogging shoes in the trunk of my car. I realized this as I was leaving my house at 8:00 am. My sister’s appointment began at 8:00, and she was supposed to complete the driving portion at 8:20. So I had to jump into the Tank and drive all the way across town. I whipped it into the DDS mere minutes before my sister hit the road. Yes, I realize the irony in the fact that I’m whipping it into the very place I proved my worth as a driver five years ago, but I did a fabulous parking job given the circumstances. Just so you know. I then burst through the doors of the building, retrieved my keys, and rescued my shoes.

I’m sure it did wonders to calm Abby’s nerves when her psycho sister flew into the DDS like she was being chased by a deranged chicken (hey, weird things have happened in my past…), but she passed her test anyway and is now a licensed driver! Whoohoo!

After jogging and my  Communications class, I rolled down the windows, cranked up the radio to a decibel I’ll probably regret when I’m elderly, and drove home. I’m sure the sheep I passed on the country road were way into my TobyMac. If you must drive a brick, you might as well enjoy it.

Tomorrow I’ll be back in my little car, and I’ll only have my Global Communications class, since jogging is Monday-Thursday. My poor legs could really use the break, but I know all the pain will be worth it in the long run (no pun intended).

How has your summer been so far? You should take up jogging. We can commiserate over pumpkin spice coffee.


Blog Stuff, College Life, My Kind of Average

Almost Finished

Hey, blog readers!
In case you were wondering, no, I haven’t been eaten by a sasquatch (see
my last post). I am, however, being consumed by end-of-semester stuff like portfolios, papers, exams, and professional coffee-drinking. That’s why the blog’s been a little quiet. Recently, my life has become one giant checklist, full of countless little things to do. That’s annoying, but it’ll be over soon. I finish classes one week from yesterday (!!!) and finish exams two weeks from yesterday (!!!!!!!).

So I don’t know how often I’ll be posting between now and the end (of the semester…hopefully not my sanity), but I’ll be back at some point to check in. I’ve been looking through some of my old writing recently, so I’m thinking about another Memories Monday post. That way, my younger self has already done all of the work, and I’ll just copy and paste. Yay for short cuts!

I’ve also got a pretty big birthday in the middle of all of this (May 4). I’m using school as a distraction to keep me from completely freaking out over the fact that I’m about to have both feet planted firmly, completely, entirely in the adult world. Yikes. I’m going to stop thinking about that now…

But anyway, I miss blogging, and I can’t wait to be back. I’ve got so much to talk about (surprise, right?), and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

Whether you’re also going through finals (hello, kindred spirit!) or just life in general, take heart! And read this verse:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24

In His love,


College Life, God Talks, Writing

In Faith

If you’ll recall, last semester I took a class known as Poetry Workshop. When I first went into that class, I knew next to nothing about poems. I mean, I’ve been writing poems for myself for years, but I’d never actually studied them. I ended that class with a whole lot more knowledge about poetry and greatly improved skills (I use that term loosely). I enjoy writing poems, but poetry isn’t my thing.

I like fiction. This semester, I’m in a class called Fiction Workshop. What happens is everyone submits short stories for the class to shred into hamburger meat critique. Then, armed with tips and a dose of humility, you take your story home and revise the stew out of that puppy.

Even though my turn to submit hasn’t come yet, I’m already learning so much just by critiquing my peers’ stuff. Each day, I’m seeing how other people do this thing called writing, and it’s helpful to see other people’s techniques. It’s also helpful to hear what the professor has to say about everyone’s writing. I’m constantly making mental notes on how I can incorporate his advice into my stories.

The good news is, I’m nowhere near as lost in this workshop as I was when I first started studying poetry. My heart beats a little faster whenever someone mentions voice or point-of-view, and I’m pretty sure my ears perk whenever the phrase “dialogue tag” is tossed around. I’m a huge writing nerd. Man, I love that stuff! And for the most part, I understand it. The problem is applying it to my work.

Look, I’ve written a novel. It’s not yet up to publishing quality by any means (sing with me now: A dream is a wish your heart makes…), but it’s complete. Whole. Baked. Whatever. I wasn’t nervous while writing that novel, and I’m not nervous whenever I sit down to work on the draft of my newer one. And yet, when it comes to preparing this little short story, I’m on the verge of a freak-out.

And here’s why: While working on my novel, I was writing it for myself. I wasn’t obligated to show anything to anyone. That was a choice I could make if/when I wanted. I mentioned this before, but even after I typed “The End” and hummed the “Hallelujah Chorus,” I still didn’t show it to that many people. Even after finishing the second draft, I still haven’t shown it to many more people. And that’s because there’s no pressure when you’re not trying to live up to people’s expectations.

My workshop class may not have any expectations of me or my work, but there’s still pressure because they’ll be critiquing it while it’s still in the rough draft form. It’s enough to make me shiver, but I know this class is good for me. It’s my first little taste of what it’ll be like in the publishing world. I’ll one day deal with agents, editors, publishing houses, and readers. I’ve heard you have to have tough skin to be a writer, but honestly? Sometimes I feel  like one of those off-brand trash bags on the TV commercials. You know: wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

A little while ago, I blogged about feeling unqualified to be a writer in “The Humble State”. God has definitely helped me out in that area, but I’m still learning. Sometimes, I still crawl into bed at the end of the day and wonder how God could possibly use me.

But wouldn’t you know, during those nights when I’m sitting in bed, reading God’s Love Letter to me, He leads me to Scripture that perfectly addresses my concerns. As strange as it may seem to say I’m comparing myself to a guy known as The Weeping Prophet, I’ve found great encouragement from the moment God called Jeremiah to be His messenger.

“The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’

Ah, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’

But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a child.” You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.’” –Jeremiah 1:4-7

Did you see the part where Jeremiah told God he couldn’t deliver the Lord’s messages because he was young and inexperienced? And did you see where God says (and I paraphrase here), “I know you and what you’re capable of. You think you’re too young and inexperienced? Go anyway, I’ll take care of you.”

Okay, whoa. I read that passage often, and it still hits me every single time.

I don’t know what God’s called you to do, but I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has moments of “I’m not going to make it.” We all have those moments. The important thing to remember is, if God says He’s with you (and He is), then that’s a promise. And He always keeps His promises. Always. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and if we’re walking (or writing, as the case may be) in faith, He will take care of us.

So here’s what I’m doing: I’m stepping out in faith. I know I have a long way to go in my writing, but I’m not worrying about what others  will think. This is where God has planted me, and I’m going to concentrate on growing in faith. I’m striving to do my part, gaining confidence and experience and trusting that He who is faithful will work everything according to His most excellent plans.

In His love,



P.S. Since we’re on the topic of gaining confidence, walking in faith, stepping out of our comfort zones, and whatnot, I should probably mention that some of my writing is available online. If you check out the following links, you should be able to get a sense of my writing voice and the genre (young adult) in which I write.

A snippet of the first 500 words of my first novel are posted on a writing blog I’m a member of: Go Teen Writers. The site is aimed at teens, but you can still participate in contests as long as you’re under 21. And might I add that I have a while before I’m over 21. I’m embracing that. I know I’ve mentioned it before, and several of you are already members of the site, but if you’re not and you’re interested in a fantastic online writing community—and I do mean fantastic—there is a button you can click somewhere along the right side of this page that’ll take you to the homepage.

So anyway, this novel snippet (sorry, I just like saying that. Snippet. Ha) has been online since *cough* September. You can read it by clicking here and scrolling down a little ways until you come to the entry under—surprise—”Anna Schaeffer.”

I also recently placed in a contest known as the “Great First Lines” contest on the same website, and if you’d like to see my idea of a novel-opener, you can click here to see those. There’s one towards the top of the page, then another down a little ways.

Ooookay. I think that’s enough exposure to that which is Anna’s writing style. For now, at least. I recently realized that I talk about writing a lot, and yet I never really share any of my more recent stuff. Hence the aforementioned links.

Later fellow dreamers,


Christmas, College Life

It’s Finally Time for Finals!

The next several days will be filled with finishing assignments, studying, and taking final exams. And most likely excess caffeine. Since I’m busy preparing for finals, I’m going to cheat and repost something I originally posted last year. And yes, I am aware of the fact that I probably should not use “finals” and “cheat” in the same sentence. But you know what I mean.

A “Memories Monday” poem is scheduled to be posted, well, Monday, but other than that, I’ll be away from this blog until December 17. I officially finish school next Wednesday, but I have a feeling I’ll need to take some time to catch up on things I’ve neglected recently. Things like cleaning my room, washing my car, sleeping, breathing. You know, the basics. Sooo…the next time you hear from me, I’ll be less stressed and fully embracing the Christmas season.

Also, my French oral exam is tomorrow morning, and I’d appreciate some prayer. The oral exam always makes me more nervous than any other test. I’m just remembering that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” –Phil. 4:13

Please click the link below to read “Christmas Perspective.”

"Christmas Perspective"

Have a great week and a half, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

In His love,


Blog Stuff, College Life

And Again…

Next week I’ll be taking yet another blogging break because it’s going to be eerily similar to the crazy week I had last month. There will be exams, essays, and other stuff that I’ll need to focus on.  BUT the following week, I’ll be back with a post I’ve been working on little-by-little for a while now.

A few weeks ago, I began a little series about the different classes I’m taking this semester. So far, I’ve covered French and Poetry Workshop. I’ll go ahead and warn you: next on the list is Political Science. Oh, yeah.  I don’t talk about politics often, but this will be an exception. So look forward to that. And brace yourself. I’m kidding. Mostly.

Since it’s election season (that creepy music from Jaws popped into my head when I typed that), I want to leave you with a verse to let percolate until my next post. I’m thinking that, not only should we keep this in mind, but actually live it out in our daily lives as we head toward Election Day: 

     “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” –James1:19-12

In His love,


College Life, God Talks, My Kind of Average, Writing

Art Thou a Poet? Uh, Kinda…

I’m an English Creative Writing major, which means I get to do all kinds of great stuff like study plot structures, character development, and unique ways of saying everyday things. It also means I get to take a class known as Poetry Workshop.

I happen to love poetry, especially poems by Shakespeare, Dickenson,  Frost, and a lot of the other “classic” works. It’s just so romantic, and by that I mean the inspired-by-nature, fancy language, thought-provoking kind of romantic. Not the grill-me-a-steak and wash-my-car kind of romantic (Hey, to each her own). 

But I also love how studying poetry can improve your writing in general. I’m kind of obsessed with alliteration and imagery and metaphor, so I love incorporating that into my work. When I study and write poetry, I’m able to practice describing things in succinct, yet powerful ways.

For example, why would you say “Girl, you’ve got some great hair,” when you could go all Song of Solomon and say, “Thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead” (Song of Solomon 4:1, KJV).

Okay, maybe not, but you get what I’m saying, right? And if you’re anything like me, you also get a really interesting mental image of a bunch of shaggy rams running down a hill. See? Powerful stuff.

Even mighty men of the Bible like King Solomon and David knew how to use these techniques. Some of the Psalms are beautiful. Can’t you just picture a rugged, tan guy sitting under a tree, overlooking a flock of sheep, strumming his harp, and singing psalms of praise to God? *Swoon*  

Actually, I was talking about the psalms themselves, but I think I’ve made my point.

All of that is great, but as it turns out, Poetry Workshop is all about writing modern poetry. Perhaps this can be attributed to limited exposure, but I haven’t found many poems describing a girl’s hair. Or goats either, for that matter.

With every poem I write, I try to pen words that glorify God and show what I value in life. Even if I don’t directly mention God, it’s my hope that people can see my faith reflected in my words. I write a lot of poems about nature, which can be cliché, but a sandy seashore at sunrise (Aha, alliteration!) reminds me of God’s majesty. Just like a carefree poem about my little sister reminds me of how God delights in us and wants us to have a childlike faith.

All of that means I don’t write a bunch of heavy, depressing stuff. That also means there aren’t many deep, hidden meanings in my poetry. I’m all for thought-provoking, but not when it makes me squirm. Believe me, I understand the power emotion-laden words can have, but if I want something disturbing, I can just turn on the six o’clock news, you know?

I’m six weeks in to the semester, and I’m quickly learning poetry doesn’t come naturally for me. Poems written in my journal that stay between God and me? Sure, those just kind of flow from my heart. But weekly submissions for the rest of the class to critique? That adds a little pressure.

But it also adds an opportunity. An opportunity to, hopefully, share the love of Jesus through what I write. I’ll admit I get frustrated with myself when I submit a poem, then receive more critique than positive remarks in workshop. But then, those critiques are what push me to be a better poet. They push me to reflect on my work and say, “How can I improve my writing so I can demonstrate this message in a more powerful way?”

That’s the desire of my heart, really. And I know that if I’m fully seeking to glorify the Lord, all that matters is that I’m giving it my best. If I do that, He will take care of the rest.

I’m off to go write a sonnet for workshop. It’ll be a learning experience, for sure!

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”

– Psalm 41:1 (NIV)

College Life, God Talks, My Kind of Average, Writing

Recapping, Writing, and a Little Rambling

Have TWO weeks really passed since I’ve blogged? That’s like half a month. Wow.

Last week was one of those weeks where you’re so swamped in things to do that you have to pick and choose. Sadly, that meant blogging got the boot for the week. That was bad (for me, at least). But what’s good is that I didn’t suffocate under the pile of school assignments I was buried beneath. It’s always nice when you live to see another school week.

Today, I’m sitting in Panera, drinking tea, and blogging. My world is once again restored to how it should be. Fall is here, and I’m resisting the temptation of a pumpkin pie muffin. I’m a huge fan of pumpkin stuff (already had two pumpkin spice lattes this year), but I’m also a huge fan of my favorite pair of jeans. And my favorite pair of jeans kind of hate me right now. You know how that goes.

The last time I blogged, we dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. Whenever I do one of those posts about something that deeply affects me, I need to sit back and just ponder it for a while, so that’s what I spent time doing last week while I wasn’t blogging. Or writing a research paper. Or creating some really spiffy charts for Environmental Biology. Or writing a poem for my poetry workshop class.

Speaking of poetry, come back on Thursday to read about my experiences in that class. Sadly, I don’t have a list of tips to help you write good poems, but I’ve nevertheless got some stuff to say about it.

If there’s one thing I’ve been learning this semester, it’s that life is about more than college. My schooling is just one small season of my life, and God’s got plans for me whether I’m struggling to comprehend the French feminist movement (seriously) or not. I’ve come a long way from the high school days of making a B on a test and feeling like my life is over. I still have some pretty strong perfectionist tendencies, but I’m learning to channel them. I do my best, I strive to glorify God in all I do, I move on, and I remember my GPA doesn’t define me. That’s hard to swallow sometimes, but that’s what I’m learning.

I’ve also been learning how to make time for writing. In the past, I’ve completely shoved my writing into a corner of my mind so I could focus on homework, but that’s not possible for me anymore, no matter how hard I try. Because when I avoid writing for a while, I get kind of cranky. Combine that with late nights of studying and lots of caffeine, and the results? You don’t even want to know.

So last Friday night, I reunited with the first draft of my novel. It had been so long, y’all. So very, very long. Close to two months, in fact. I loved getting a chance to curl up with a hard copy (Yay for leftover school printing funds!) and read it like it was the first time. Obviously, I already knew the story inside-out, but our time apart gave me some perspective and I was able to look at it in a new way.

(You may or may not be able to take some relationship advice from the previous statement…)

Anyway, I experienced many mixed emotions while reading it. Everything from, “WHAT was I thinking?!” to, “That’s actually not too terrible.” It was a broad spectrum for sure. There were times when I wanted to rip up a page and times when I wanted to reread parts over and over. Strangely enough, there were also times when I honestly wondered if something I read actually came out of my brain. Example: My main character is quippy. I wish I could come up with half of the things she says when I talk to people, but I can’t. I’m not as funny as she is. Someone figure that out for me…

So I‘m working on draft two now. In a perfect world without homework or exams, I could probably knock it out in a couple of weeks, but I’m a junior in college, so we’ll aim for Christmas. I also need to figure out what to do about a character who played a pretty sizable role in progressing the plot, but then apparently dropped off the face of the earth before we learned why she was being such a snot. Somehow, I don’t think spontaneous alien abduction will fly, so I’m still working on that.

I’m also making progress on my next work, which I’m writing as part of the “100 for 100 Challenge” on a writing blog I’m a member of (there’s a link to that on the right-hand sidebar). I’ve got to write at least a hundred words every day for 100 days. Even though I’m still planning out major parts of the story, the challenge is keeping me moving. It’s also going to keep me researching. The other day, I told my sister Abby that she could help me research the 5 stages of grief. Her excitement didn’t exactly match mine.

So that’s been my life for the past couple of weeks. There will probably come another time in the not-so-distant future when I’ll have to take another blogging break, but I sure hope not.

This time of year is so exciting and I want to be able to document all of the little things God is doing in my life.

In His love,