Beyond the Bio | Take Me for What I Am

October 12, 2015

This is me, this is who I am.
A work in progress.
I am working on owning every idiosyncrasy and potentially weird or worrisomely off-putting quality about me and calling out my fear of what people may think.
Because I am fearfully and wonderfully,
uniquely made.
Redeemed and loved and treasured by not only my Creator but by my amazing family and true friends.
I am single. Some days it sucks when my hope wans. But for God in His perfect plan and comforting, Everlasting Arms.
I'm holding out for, not a hero, but for His best.
Not second best. 
Did I mention I'm a hopeless romantic? Give me a Hallmark movie I could've written better or a classic Boy Meets Girl tale and I'm hooked.
I'm an old fashioned girl and a vintage soul. You could say I have the sensibilities of an elderly lady since one of my ideal nights includes Frank Sinatra, tea, our cats and crocheting.
Give me an old typewriter, antique postcards, old books, estate sales, antique stores, old vinyl or vintage hats? I'm in heaven.
And the dreams closest to my heart are, for now by God's timing, not reality, are simple but they mean so much. I am a writer. An author. What I am not? A wife or mama.
So yeah. I can be a girly girl. I'm so not into sports and the only one I can tolerate (because I've had to over the years thanks to my awesome Dad) is hockey. Football aggravates me and while I can follow baseball, it bores me to no end.

Ronnie & I at the Age of Ultron premiere
I am however a voracious reader and lover of American history. The history of our country fascinates me so much more than present-day politics and history in the making that only causes me to pray, Lord Jesus come quickly.
Give me Union Blue and Confederate Gray in any paperbound book...
Gettysburg is the city of my heart and I would give anything to live there and I can talk about it and explore it endlessly.

Another thing I may not shut up easily about? Marvel movies. My favorites are the Captain America movies and I am staunchly a Marvel nerd over DC. Give me Cap over Superman any day, any time.

I have tons of useless but fascinating trivia and am trying to expand my knowledge of history, in particular...all of this info lies in countless books that make up a really diverse library, and beneath my not-naturally-auburn head of hair. Not limited to but including old movies, musicals, Broadway, celebrities, crocheting/fiber arts, homemaking, cooking/baking, natural birth and nutrition.
And quotes from movies and TV. My sister and I could probably speak our own language of just quips and sarcasm from shows like How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Parks and Rec, and Disney movies.
Quick--who can name from what show I got the idea for red cowboy boots from?
I'm a nerd. Sometimes a fangirl. A crocheter. Reader. History nut. Lover of little things. Old fashioned vintage soul.
I am...

Today's a Special Day...

October 10, 2015

Me, my best friend, and Scott.
I could not be happier. Thrilled. Weepy, smiling, and thanking God for my amazing "brother in law."
The photo was taken this past June.

I of course wish more than anything to be standing behind my gorgeous friend in her wedding gown today, but, God had different plans. This past June I got to meet Scott. Spend a long weekend with Gabrielle and him. See their amazing home.
And witness with my own eyes just how perfect they are for each other.
I got to witness the culmination of God's work, His works in progress in them as a couple, and so many prayers answered.
My heart is full.
And I wrote it out in two different letters.
One to the two of them.
I "reminded" Scott what a treasure he has in Gabrielle, my best friend, though, let me tell you, he knows this so well and loves her so much. Our whole weekend together I couldn't stop smiling at the two of them!
I wrote about how much I love them both and treasure them and how amazing it is to see how fantastically complementary they are with one another. They just fit. They're not perfect. They're the real type of people who're the first to admit that but also the people who work through it, communicate and are committed beyond a shadow of a doubt. I can't wait to see how God uses them as a couple in the future. But I am so, so grateful for how God's used them both in my life already.
And someday, Scott's going to fit right in and wonderfully with his Pittsburgh family.

January 2015; we had an inkling there would be a wedding this year or so at this point...

My second letter I wrote just to Gabrielle.
And I gave her a warning to read it before she goes and gets her makeup done.
But those words are for her and her alone.
There is no one else like Gabrielle in my life, and never will be. We've had our moments. Our share of good, the bad and the ugly both apart and when we've been together in person.
And now one of my biggest prayers for her is coming true today.
She is a beautiful bride. She will be such an amazing wife to Scott.
But beyond that, what I love about this amazing friend of mine?
She is staying true to who God created her to be.
Quirks and dreams and yelling at the TV during college football season...
She is now taking on Scott's last name today. She'll be moving her things from her longtime bedroom to her new, shared one at their home and really making the beautiful house a home. Which will be hard. The transition from one season to another is complete, while the next one of meshing two lives into one is only just beginning, and it is an incredible, life-long sanctification process.
And I am just so joy-filled to be celebrating this first day of the rest of their lives with them. I'm thanking God, smiling through tears, at His work in their lives and Love Story...
While I may not be there in person this beautiful day in Idaho, I am so grateful for all the times I have been there for her, and she for me, and for all the years to come where that will never, ever change.

Cover Reveal: While You're Awake Novelette by Amber Stokes

October 6, 2015

So many new books! I'm so excited to share the beautiful cover of my friend Amber's novelette, a Sleeping Beauty retelling, releasing in just a few weeks. Stay tuned on October 20th for my review and a fun giveaway.

About the Book
Sweet New Adult Contemporary Romance Novelette
Releasing October 20

There’s no rest for the fearful.

Ava always knew the bees would come. Just when she’s settled into a place of her own, freelance editing and savoring her independence, her rental house is invaded by a swarm of honey bees. And with their arrival, her lifelong fear morphs into a full-fledged panic that steals her sleep—and her peace of mind.

Keegan knows all about fear. When he meets Ava at the coffee shop where he works, he can’t help but come to her rescue. Together with his German shepherds, Sun and Moon, he sets out to break the “curse” that hovers over Tired Girl. But is it possible to conquer nightmares and live a dream while you're awake?

This sweet novelette is a contemporary re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that sheds light on the worries that bind us and the love that leads to peace.
 Author Bio
Amber Stokes works as a marketing content writer for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home. 
You can learn more about Amber’s books, sign up for her author newsletter, join the Amber’s Gems street team, and more at

Bonus Personality Quiz from the author:
Are you Sleeping Beauty, a barista, or an angel? This fun and quirky personality quiz takes some of the personality types from While You’re Awake and offers you a chance to discover how you inspire others. Hopefully you’ll be encouraged to keep being awesome, wonderful you!
*Disclaimer: This is just a for-fun quiz. The results are designed to encourage but not to diagnose! ;)

A Rainbow of Tears

October 5, 2015

This just fits for me right now. It's right where I'm at with everything dealing with my recovery, future physical therapy, missing my best friend's wedding, dealing with my lack of independence still...and the other night everything just kind of piled up and hit me and as I talked and prayed it out with Mum, I cried. And then I read this.

He was better to me than all my hopes;
He was better than all my fears;
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.

The stormy waves that marked my ocean path,
Did carry my Lord on their crest;
When I dwell on the days of my wilderness march
I can lean on His love for the rest.

He emptied my hands of their treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed,
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
The balm of His breath has not healed.
Oh, tender and true was His discipline sore,
In wisdom, that taught and tried.,
Till the soul He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.

He guided my paths that I could not see,
By ways that I have not known;
The crooked was straight, and the rough was plain
As I followed the Lord alone.

I praise Him still for the pleasant palms,
And the desert streams by the way,
For the glowing pillar of flame by night,
And the sheltering cloud by day.

Never a time on the dreariest day,
But some promise of love endears;
I read from the past, that my future will be
Far better than all my fears.

Like the golden jar, of the wilderness bread,
Stored up with the blossoming rod,
All safe in the ark, with the law of the Lord,
Is the covenant care of my God.

Streams in the Desert
Sept. 25th
L. B. Cowman

Dear September | 6 Things I Learned

October 2, 2015

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky for this month's What We Learned

  1. I learned to embrace my writing and got my groove back with it. Wrote the most words this month than I have since October and November last year when I was finishing up Amongst the Roses.
  2. I learned how strong my body can be. I got to put 50% weight through my right leg the end of this month, and it's feeling great so far. I am more fatigued to be honest...but it's getting there. Onwards and upwards.
  3. I learned a few new crochet stitches and have rediscovered my love of the craft in my latest accessory projects and having just finished a wedding present for my best friend.
  4. I've relearned the value of few, but so loyal and true friends. The ones who check up on me every day. The ones who so wish they lived nearer to hang out with me and brighten my days. But they do from afar and I don't know what I'd do without them. 
  5. I (continued) to learn the deep truth that when I am weak--literally and figuratively--God is strong. He has literally become my strength. My best friend, comforter, ever-listening ear and lover of my work-in-progress soul
  6. I learned to read again. I haven't read so many books, devotionals and a history book and fiction alike, since high school and I am loving it. It adds fuel to my writing and refreshes my heart so.

The Sound of Silver by Rachelle Rea | My Book Review

October 1, 2015

Read my review on the first installment in Rachelle Rea's Steadfast Love Series here, 
The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One is fighting for faith, the other for honor…
After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?
Barnes & Noble: coming Oct. 15
Books a Million: coming Oct. 15

My Review:

Rachelle's done it again with this superb sequel to The Sound of Diamonds. Continuing the story of Gwyn and Dirk, the story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. The back cover blurb above hints at a separation--and how. The depth Rachelle has poured into her characters as they both wrestle with their newfound faith and hearts broken by love is immense.

The same supporting cast of characters is in Silver, as well as Dirk's mother and two sisters and a new man on the scene who is not all that he seems. What I loved about Silver was that, while there was certainly less action and adventure compared to Diamonds, Rachelle maintained the pace and nothing lagged at all. It was refreshing, the slight change of pace, because as the reader is immersed into Gwyn and Dirk's world, we get to see more vividly how they process everything and grow individually and together.

This book has an especially happy ending. I can't give it away, but I will say one thing--don't rush through the reading to get to the end. Enjoy the rich imagery of the story, the journey the characters take, and the love of God that surpasses all understanding woven through every page. 

About the Author:

Times gone by snatch Rachelle close, so she reads and writes about years long ago--her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. In the space of a summer between sophomore and junior year, Rachelle wrote a novel set in 1566. Two years later she had finished two more novels and signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher. Her debut novel, The Sound of Diamonds, released in June 2015. The next two books in the Steadfast Love Series will swiftly follow.
Find out more about Rachelle, like that she's a homeschool grad and Oreo addict, at:
Facebook | Twitter | Website

Infinitely Yankee | Yarn Along

September 30, 2015

Reading: Jocelyn Green's Yankee in Atlanta, the third book in her Heroines Behind the Lines series. She became a favorite author after I read her Widow of Gettysburg (book 2) and I can't wait to get my hands on the conclusion of this amazing series, Spy of Richmond.

Having a lot of time on my hands as I recovery, and having just finished a wedding present afghan for my best friend, I needed a small project to do. Instead of looking in my multitude of books (legit excuse of not being able to go upstairs to look thru them) I Pinterested. Suffice it to say I have a lot of projects yet to do pinned and I'll soon build up my accessories stash with new hats and scarves.
I'm currently working on an infinity scarf in cream, started with this Andy Scarf pattern from Rescued Paw designs, but after the ridged border (the part of the scarf closest to edge of picture) I kind of went my own way and played with some new-to-me crochet techniques. It's almost done and I'm so loving how it's progressing. And...
It matches my hat I made in a little over 5 hours this past Sunday. It took me longer than expected because I haven't worked anything in a round in...well, ever. I had to make the size bigger than the pattern (the Hadley slouch) called for because of my big head and thick hiar...and again, I improvised and did my own thing after I got it started.

The Promise of October

September 23, 2015

October is one of my favorite months. It's after the sporadic weather of September, and just before the hustle and bustle of birthdays and Thanksgiving in November. October is when the light shines warm and gold even through the wind. There's something brighter about October. And it's almost here!

Happy Autumnal Solstice by the way.

This October will look different from years past for me.
This October will see me learn to walk again.
It will be busy.
Certainly not the busy I expected this month to be prior to April this year.
Prior to that, I haunted airline websites for flights to Idaho in October.
I haunted Etsy for just the right convertible dark red bridesmaid's dress.
I wrote my maid of honor speech before my dear sister Gabrielle was proposed to.
We knew. It was just a matter of timing before my brother in love Scott would put a ring on it.
We thought we knew. We never once pictured each other not at each other's wedding.
And then God dropped my surgery in my lap and things got upside down.
Now the promise October brings is twofold blessed and precious.
I may not be physically standing behind Gabrielle as her maid of honor on October 10, but I will never not marvel and thank God for her love story that He unfurled beginning November 8, 2014.
As her wedding day draws near, it is bittersweet I can't be there in person and will have to wait on photos. I'm teary-eyed writing this, to be honest.
But I know the day will be so beautiful. So much a celebration of who Gabrielle and Scott are, their love, and God's hand in their lives. And too, that despite my not being there, my place in their new life together will not budge one bit. Both she and her dear almost-husband have assured me of this.

The promise October brings is not only the joy of celebrating the start of a life between Gabrielle and her Scott...
But it's also a promise glittering with multiple facets and a deep, abiding light from the Author and Finisher of my faith.
His promises are yes and amen. His love is deeper than the ocean, wider than the heavens, higher the tallest mountaintop.
His love stirs the breeze to caress wisps of my hair across my face as I sit under a wide, old oak on our deck writing this. His creativity will color the leaves above me into different hues in a few weeks. He is the one who knows every single snowflake in heaven's storehouses.
I tried to make my plans this winter and He probably just shook His head and thought,
Daughter, you have no idea what good I am about to drop into your life.
I expected to be printing boarding passes, finding a last minute pair of shoes to wear with my bridesmaid's dress soon before jetting off to Idaho.
Instead I'm learning to walk again.
My hip is becoming stronger in it's healing.
And so is my soul, especially as it rests in the promises of October.