Just Haven't Met You Yet

October 1, 2014

To my future husband:
It's been three months since I've wrote you. The last time was during a wedding weekend. This doesn't show how little I think or pray for you--I do every day, more than once. I laid awake last night praying for you, for our future--whenever that may begin. I confess to opening my eyes in the darkness of my room and going down the thought-avenue of, How on earth am I supposed to meet The One? What am I to do? How will I know? Where? When? How, Lord, how

To every season there is a purpose under heaven--even the singleness one, as I am learning and genuinely embracing every day. I have moments of wanting to rush God's plan as it involves my love story, but more and more, while the desires lay heavily on my heart, my gracious Lord gives me not only patience but joy in the journey as I abide in Him and the life He's given me now. The gift of singleness, or as one friend and I call it, The Lonely Time.

When we refer to this season as The Lonely Time, it's not to have an "oh poor me" attitude or wander about aimlessly hoping we'll just bump into The One someday and in a serendipitous movie-esque moment, just know he's the one we've been waiting for. I was expressing frustration to a married friend of mine via texts, I knew I was letting my idealist/hopeless romantic side take over, and I couldn't help but ask:
I wish there was just a way to skip past the meet and greet, tentative "getting to know each other" stage and just begin the relationship with, "Oh there you are. I've been waiting for you. Let's figure out life together." 
My married friend astutely replied, If only relationships were that un-complicated. { Thanks for that, Sarah. ;)  }

And it's true. If relationships worked like that--and who knows, perhaps they do for some and that's fantastic--we would have no room to lean even more heavily on the Lord, learn surrender and exercise blind faith. There would be little growth individually and as a couple. Every day of this Lonely Time is meant to draw us closer to God's heart. We never have this time again in our lives where our hearts can solely beat God and I. When that right guy comes along in the Lord's perfect timing, our hearts will have to open and grow some more to become one with that man, in the Lord's will. When we eventually say I do two lives of two sinners become one under God's ordinance and working together to make our love and life work is just that--hard work. It won't just be about me anymore. Then when children--a heritage from the Lord--come along, I'll have the shared responsibility of raising a human being to know and love the Lord and His Word. 

While the next season of life I'll enter into is one I look forward to, it is intimidating. As many questions as I pepper the Lord with about that Someday Soon, I often think on all the little unknowns after the I Do's and I'm going to be honest here--it scares the heck out of me. I quickly clasp my hands, shut my eyes and pray, I'm good with being single. I reeeeaallly am. Just keep having my friends get married and have babies and I'll be there and help them and keep writing my novels. That sounds good. But that is fear of the unknown and it has no place in my life with Jesus in my heart.

There is a unique balance to be struck between praying boldly and expectantly for the future, while living a God-honoring life in the present--with arms wide open to embrace whatever He brings me every moment. The future is at once exciting and nerve wracking, and during this season of singleness, one huge fault of mine the Lord's been so faithful to forgive and grow my heart out of, is that of being a control freak. I have to surrender my high ideals and incredibly detailed daydreams of what exactly my future as a wife and mother will look like because God's will is infinitely greater and better.

To my future husband:
I just haven't met you yet. And that's okay. I know it probably won't be in some marvelous serendipitous Hallmark movie way. I don't know how God's going to call me way out of my comfort zone for that time when we do first meet. Heck--I won't even know that you're The One when we do meet! One thing I do know is that He who is faithful and just to forgive, the Author and Finisher of our faith, will begin our story in such a way that everyone who knows us will see the His grace and perfect plan.

Bookshelf Tag!

September 29, 2014

I was planning on just picking up and running with this tag without actually being tagged, but then Emily Ann Putzke tagged me and I was legit. Also, keep an eye out on her blog for her historical debut novella, It Took a War, coming soon!

As I answer these questions, I also take you through my literal bookshelf in the form of crappy cellphone snapshots that turned out looking like they had an Instagram filter. I call out and tag Rachelle Rea, Sarah Elizabeth and Rachel Heffington for the Bookshelf Tag/Challenge!
From L to R: all of Jane Austen's novels, Little Women,
the green book is Pilgrim's Progress and the one
under that is Gone with the Wind.

1 } Is there a book you really want to read but haven't yet because you know that it'll make you cry? Perhaps not a first-time read, but the question leaves room for interpretation. Karen Kingsbury's Coming Home makes me bawl. I've read it once and I'll wait quite a while longer before reading it while sobbing again.

2 } Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.
Thanks to two awesome friends and their love of this author, Karen Kingsbury's first novel, Redemption, the first in a few series following the saga of the Baxter family. It was one of my first contemporary novels I had ever read. That's right--for quite some time I strictly read historical. Now I try to keep a balance when I make time to read--but historical is my tried and true standby favorite genre to read.

3 } Find a book that you want to reread. Too. Many. But, seeing as I just saw Gone with the Wind on the big screen in all it's epic, sweeping glory, I want to reread that novel. And soon, Pilgrim's Progress hopefully. It's been far too long since I read that.

In the middle you'll see Fire By Night by Lynn Austin,
Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof, Consecrated Dust
by Mary Frailey Calland, Chateau of Secrets by
Melanie Dobson, Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green
and Fly Away Home by Rachel Heffington.
Six of my all time favorites.
4 } Is there a book series you read but wish you hadn't? Ehh...I hate pointed questions like these. *crickets* And I'm back ten minutes later after wracking my brain. The Bailey Flanigan series by Karen Kingsbury is one I wish I never read. Don't get me wrong--still a great author. But this series, in my opinion, did not have a satisfying ending to me after she built up a certain relationship and promise of a happily ever after between Bailey and one guy who she did not end up marrying after all. *huffs*

5 } If your house were burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save? {personal addition} Besides the Bible? My novel, God's Will, because gosh darn it I worked too hard for it to burn up in flames. I would save Streams in the Desert also, as well as any other Civil War novels I could carry.

6 } Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings you fond memories? Oh SO many! Fire By Night by Lynn Austin is part of her Refiner's Fire trilogy and she is a favorite author of mine because of this Civil War series. Also, the Shadowcreek Chronicles series by T. Elizabeth Renich I read quite young--they're pretty unknown and dated, but the adventures and sweeping stories in--you guessed it--the South during the Civil War were an unwitting influence upon my own writing. So much so that in my childhood novel{s} I rather obviously plagiarized much of the series!

7 } Find a book that inspired you the most. While on my Kindle app bookshelf, Jocelyn Green's Widow of Gettysburg is truly superb and was a huge inspiration for my own writing. Joanne Bischof's trilogy was fantastic as well...I can't pick just one.

8 } Do you have any autographed books? I do! Melanie Dobson signed her latest release, Chateau of Secrets to me after I won it in a giveaway a few months back and let me tell you--if you're into historical fiction, specifically WWII mystery/fast paced adventure stories, pick up this book. You won't be disappointed.

9 } Find the book that you have owned the longest. The Jane Austen collection. :)

10 } Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy? Karen Kingsbury I was incredibly skeptical of at first. I was very stubborn about staying true to my favorite historical inspy fiction, but I'm so glad I gave Karen's Baxter family series a chance!

Fall Faves | The Circle

September 24, 2014

via Pinterest
Linking up with September's The Circle over at In It's Time. Since apparently autumn officially began yesterday and not on the twenty-first as I assumed, I couldn't pass this one up.

1. Favorite fall fashion/clothing item? Sweaters. Long sleeves. Layering. Slipper socks. Scarves.

2. Favorite fall drink? Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. I know it's not the healthiest option, however with nonfat milk and no whipped cream, a lot of calories are trimmed. And once I pick up some pumpkin pie spice from the store, I'll be trying out a few DIY PSL recipes.

3. What's something on your fall bucket list? Finish my novel. Preferably before October 24th, the day I fly to South Carolina to visit Rachelle and Sarah!

4. Favorite fall recipe? Pretty much each and every soup or stew we make for dinner during the fall and winter months. But for my Grammy's birthday this past weekend I made a pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese icing and toasted walnuts and it was a hit!

5. Halloween candy or Pumpkin Spice Latte? Pumpkin Spice Latte. Unless a kind elderly lady brings in Halloween candy to work--then I'll grab a fun-size Milky Way if the work day demands.

6. Favorite fall scent? Burnt leaves, rain in the air and turkey.

7. Favorite fall holiday? Thanksgiving. It looks like this year that we'll be hosting it and I'm actually excited about that! It will look different than in recent years but it'll be great having it at our house.

8. What is fall (weather) like where you live? Brilliantly blue, bright sunshine, darker nights and mornings, the leaves are just beginning to turn. And of course we have our gray, rainy days more often than not, but all of those common fall days are sometimes interrupted for a brief few hours of 70+ degrees of Indian Summer.
In Its Time

Anon, Sir, Anon by Rachel Heffington Advanced Review

September 22, 2014

The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger.

In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with an affinity for fencing and a penchant for placing impossible bets.
When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door.
Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.
From the author of Fly Away Home and one winner of Rooglewood Press' Five Glass Slippers contest, my friend Rachel Heffington has done it again with her debut into the mystery genre with Anon, Sir, Anon. If for some odd reason the back cover "teaser" did not convince you to "add" it on Goodreads and mark your calendar to check Amazon November 5th, it's release day, allow me an attempt at reviewing the book without any spoilers.
This novel is a delightful, cozy trip over the pond and back in time to the 1930's where we meet truly unforgettable characters from their first lines of dialogue. The main characters, Farnham and Vivi, are uncle and niece. One, a convalescing Shakespearean actor and the other is deemed an old maid by her family and sent to care for her uncle to give her something to do. What Vivi does not bargain for--besides the difficult to read relative who at first makes her jump with his use of, Bang! instead of cursing--is being embroiled in a murder mystery her uncle seeks to solve.

For me as a reader, it's a toss up as to what I love more--a solid beginning that begs to have the pages turned and as fast as possible--or a happy ending. This book has a fantastic opening and a wonderful ending--trust me. But my personal favorite is the opening. 

Not only through her use of vivid imagery and clever turn of phrase in description and dialogue, Rachel whisks you into the oh-so-delightfully British world of Vivi and Farnham, she takes you on a truly exciting journey and turn of events with Vivi being the only one to recognize the murder victim, and just when you begin to think one thing--BANG. A huge game changer cause for a gasp and tossing the book or reading device across the room. At least that's what I did

Vivi and Farnham are memorable characters--they leave a lasting impression. The sharp wit and humor present through their jaunts through foggy English countryside hunting down clues and putting them all together makes for a story truly unlike a typical mystery "who dunnit" novel.