For the past few months, I’ve been exploring the world of junk journaling, and it’s become one of my favorite creative projects! I thought it would be fun to share my progress 🙂
One of the things I love about junk journaling is the way it takes items that people might otherwise consider to be trash.
Things like torn paper, old cardboard, bits of twine or lace.
Things that people take one look at and think, “Unusable. Past the point of usefulness or worth.”
These broken things become part of a bigger piece of art, and suddenly, they’re striking and beautiful and inspiring.
The more time I’ve spent making this junk journal, the more I’ve realized how the process mirrors God’s careful fashioning of us.
He takes these broken pieces that make up our lives, unafraid of their sharper edges, and He remakes them into something radiant and new.
Suddenly, we’re beautiful. Suddenly, we’re part of a bigger, God-fashioned work of art, and we get to see how those pieces we thought were useless come together to make the artwork precisely what it was meant to be all along.
When I discovered this craft, I never anticipated the way God would use it to help me know Him better, but I am so grateful He did.
What’s something unexpected that God’s shown you lately?
I’m heading back to junk journaling and writing for now, but I’ll be back here on Friday to share a writing update and my review of Starganauts by C.E. Stone!
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I am so excited for all that God’s taught me over the last several months and for the way that He redirected all my plans. I definitely had a very specific vision of what life would look like by spring of this year and where 21:25 Books would be.
Then, life happened, and God showed me that, no matter how good I thought my plans were, His are so much better.
Initially, my plan was to design a full website with an online store and new blog. Roadblock after roadblock kept popping up, until I finally realized that those roadblocks were God’s loving way of telling me, “Not yet.”
I didn’t necessarily like hearing that answer at first (OK, I didn’t like it at all), so I kept trying to push my own agenda for a bit. After spending a lot of time talking to God about things, He led me to stick with this version of the blog. Not always, but for now. I felt such a weight lifted when I finally followed where He was leading.
So, what does this mean for the online store?
Well, it does exist, just not in the way I thought it would!
If you click on this fancy link, it will take you right to a form where you can browse my store and purchase any bookish items that you like! I’ll be adding more products as time goes on, but for right now, there are some beautiful bookmarks available and handmade wax seals for your stationary or craft projects! (Please note that shipping is U.S. only for now)
I discovered how passionate I am about making handmade bookish products to share with my fellow readers and writers, something that I would have missed out on if I had stuck with my original plan. It turns out that God knows best, after all 🙂
In other news, I just launched The Writers’ Nook, a pen-pal group for Christian women writers! I’m so full of anticipation for how God will allow us to encourage each other through this group. If you’d like to sign up, you can read all the information and do so here!
Receiving cards or letters in the mail is one of my favorite things (and a welcome break from all of the junk mail), and I thought, “How wonderful would it be for us writers to receive random notes of encouragement or congratulations when we hit a roadblock in the writing process or when we celebrate a book release?”
There are few things as special as finding a tangible reminder that you’re not alone in the writing process, and The Writers’ Nook is an opportunity for writers to offer that reminder to each other on a regular basis!
There is more news to come, but I’ll leave you with that for now! What’s new in your own writing/publishing journey? What has God been teaching you? I’d love for you to share in the comments.
Come visit on Friday, when I’ll be sharing a book review of Etania’s Calling by M.H. Elrich!
Happy reading & wordslinging [ my dad’s term for writing 🙂 ]
Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to begin posts like this. Posts written in the hopes of encouraging someone who reads it. Of offering a little light in the midst of lousy circumstances.
It’s hard because I’m still learning how to navigate discouragement and grief myself, and I don’t want to come across as having it all figured out.
Spoiler: I don’t.
Still, God’s been teaching me so much recently, and it feels wrong to keep it to myself. So, here goes.
The last several weeks have been, in a word, awful. Don’t get me wrong. Good things have still been happening in the midst of it all, but, for the most part, it’s seemed like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. Know the feeling?
A friend recently asked me how they could be praying for me and my family. My first thought was that if she had two hours to listen, I might be able to scratch the surface. I told her that, lately, I felt like it was just one thing after another, and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.
I still feel like that some days.
And then two things happened, both small, but unexpectedly powerful.
I found myself sitting in Psalm 34, clinging to verse 18, in particular.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
This verse is so familiar. I’ve read it a million times. But this time, it hit different. All of a sudden, this was a promise I could feel the weight and shape of, and it became my life preserver out at sea.
Then, on a day when I was feeling particularly exhausted, my dad bought my mom flowers, and she kindly surprised me with a few flowers from her bouquet.
I set the flowers on my windowsill, and immediately heard God whisper, “No rain, no flowers.”
Sometimes, when I hear God, I don’t immediately understand what He’s getting at, but this time, I did.
That flood of lousy circumstances? They provided fertile ground for God to show off His faithfulness. They created the opportunity for my reliance on God to grow. If anything has been apparent the last month, it’s that I’m not in control.
But every day of these recent weeks has been an invitation to rest in the One who is.
I don’t mean that this is an easy fix or that it erases the pain of heartbreaking circumstances.
I still feel the pain and exhaustion, but at the same time, I’m now confident of this:
God has been with me and my family all the while.
He never lost track of us, and He’s never going to.
Whether we’re in the midst of wonderful or awful circumstances, He’s right here with us in the middle of it, and He’s using these hard things to create something beautiful, to increase our faith, and remind us that when we can’t see a resolution or a way forward, He’s faithful to lead us and work everything out for good.
In the last month, I’ve found that nothing is steady but God.
And that when the floods threaten to engulf me and the ones I love, He’s faithful to use that driving rain to grow the most stunning flowers we’ll ever see.
What has God been teaching you lately? I’d love for us to share and encourage each other in the comments!
A small peek at what I’ve been…
Flourish, Mike Donehey’s new album.
This is a new favorite of mine, especially Standing At the Edge of My World, Glory I Couldn’t See, Flourish, and Breathe In, Breathe Out (OK, I love them all. Go give it a listen!)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, by Maryrose Wood.
This series is whimsical and full of wit and mystery. I absolutely love and highly recommend it!
The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff.
As the grad school saga continues, I am making my way through this Tome (yes, it is worthy of that title!), but I am finally over halfway through it, and I don’t think there will be another book that makes me feel so accomplished after reading it!
What have you been reading or listening to?
Next week, a fun giveaway begins and my review for Tammy Lash’s Letters from the Dragon’s Son publishes! I can’t wait to share it!
Welcome to the next behind-the-scenes peek at the making of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!
Let’s pick up the adventure where we left off, shall we?
Once I started jotting down story notes and ideas, I knew a very different story from the one I’d first imagined was taking shape.
Chip’s friends – Riley and Sara – disappeared as God helped me see that this was an adventure that Chip had to set out on alone (at least, at the start 😉)
But what was the point of the adventure?
I still didn’t know, until I read a beautiful devotion early one morning.
Prayers are instantly noticed in Heaven…. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears…. He may only look up with misty eye; but ‘prayer is the falling of a tear.’ Tears are the diamonds of heaven…”
Oh, when I read that, I knew God was telling me something. But He wasn’t finished speaking just yet…
Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it… wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony… He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom.”
I was captivated. I now knew what the title of this unexpected story was meant to be, and, while I didn’t know what would happen to Chip along the way, I began to understand where the adventure was leading him.
God is spectacular, isn’t He?
He knew the shape and breadth of this story, and He patiently led me, revealing bits and pieces of it at the perfect times.
This is part of what I love most about being a writer. At the end of the day, I’m not the one creating these stories. God is the Author. He knows every word of these tales, and He’s given me the privilege of being the first reader, the one who gets to put pen to paper as the Creator of the universe takes the time to tell me a story.
I’m so thankful for this indescribable gift.
Next week, we’ll explore the unexpected way God gave me character names and how the heart of this story kept taking shape!
If there’s anything you’d like to know about the making of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, please share in the comments!
And don’t forget to add Chip on Goodreads and please leave a review once you’ve finished reading!
Hello, fellow book lovers and writers! Welcome to the first behind-the-scenes look at Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves!
Every Saturday, I’ll be sharing more about my journey of writing Chip, creating the artwork, and binding the manuscript edition!
Let’s turn the first page of this woodland journal and let the adventure begin!
It all started on a chilly March morning, a little over a year ago. I had just sat down at my desk when a little rabbit nestled down in the grass outside my window.
That’s certainly not an unusual sight at my house, but this rabbit was different.
Set apart from the rest.
He had a big chip in his left ear, and I immediately suspected that this rabbit, in particular, had seen his fair share of adventure.
I would see him from time to time, chasing after other bunnies, snoozing in the afternoon sun, and taking his pick of our flowers (we planted them for his benefit, right?!) 🌸🌷
I felt a story beginning, but I had no clue where God was leading yet.
I picked out what felt like the perfect journal to use for a story about a rabbit and his forest friends and began to scribble notes.
My first thought was that this would be a simple story about 3 bunnies: Chip, Riley, and Sara. It would chronicle their adventures, their mishaps and mischief.
And I suppose that would have been an entertaining and sweet tale, but it was not the one that God was calling me to write, and it would have been a shame to miss out on the adventure Chip did, in fact, have.
Little did I know that over the next few weeks I would come across a beautiful devotion written by Charles Spurgeon, and God would use it to change everything…
But that’s a story for next week 😉
Join me here next Saturday for more about this altogether unexpected story that God gave to me and all the wonderful things that resulted from it.
If you’ve received your copy of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves, please share with me! Tag me (@2125Books) with #bookofroseleaves 📖🌹
I’m so excited to see the book in readers’ hands and everyone’s coloring creations!
And once you’ve finished the story, will you please consider leaving a review on Goodreads? Reviews help authors so much and don’t have to be anything fancy. A simple 5 star rating and an, “I loved this book” is perfect!