Posted in writing

Tick-Tock This is a Clock

I have a question for you.

What is Time? 20200802_061137

Everyone talks about this elusive creature called Time, but has anyone ever found it? What does it even look like? Is it some sort of genie, that grants all of your wishes? Or is it a nasty troll, that steals moments away from you before you can get to them? Joking aside, my question today is, how do you find time to write?

As writers it can be difficult to find the best writing time. A time when your brain is fully functioning, and ready to be let loose onto the paper, or when the hundred-and-one other things you do are taken care of (for now). I usually tell myself that after I finish this thing, or before I do that thing, I can write. But before I know it, the end of the day is looming and I realize it’s too late for writing. The whole day has gotten away, because I was too busy waiting for the right time.20200730_195516

But what is the right time? So many authors have tried to tackle this issue with their own tips, suggestions, and schedules, but none of those things have stuck with me. And lately I’ve been struggling with fitting writing into my day. Even though I don’t have a full-time job, the day easily gets filled up with so many other tasks, chores, and projects.

But here’s the thing; there’s always going to be dishes that need washing, or laundry waiting to dry, or a million other things on your to-do list. It’s a never ending cycle. So I’ve learned that the perfect time to write is now. In between all of those endless tasks, you might have ten, twenty, or even thirty minutes to spare that can be used to make progress on your writing. You don’t need to set aside a whole afternoon to write, you can write now.20200801_184617

I know there are some days that writing is just not going to happen, and that’s fine. It’s important to allow yourself space to breathe. But there are other times when you want to write. You wake up and tell yourself that today is the day! You’re going to sit down, and work on that exciting scene… But first you just have to do this little task, or that little chore, and then the day will be yours. The hours will tick by, the sun will go down, and then it’s time to head to bed. You’ll sit there baffled, wondering what happened, because you were supposed to write today.

When you rewind all the moments of your day, you’ll see the moment when you finally sat down at your desk, with a few minutes to yourself. And what did you do with those minutes? I haven’t checked Instagram for a while. Oh! A new video was uploaded, I should watch it. And so on, and so forth, until the window closes, and it’s now time for you to make dinner. This kind of thing happens to me a lot, and it’s something I’m trying to work on. Maybe you feel this way too, or maybe you have much better time-management skills than I, but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one.

A daily reminder I tell myself, is that life doesn’t follow a pattern. Some days are busy, some days are slow, but through all of it, there’s always a few minutes free to be used at your will. And if writing matters to you, you can use those minutes for all they’re worth. I’m learning that to be a writer, you don’t get to spend endless hours building up your word-count; you might only get a quarter of that. Every day is new, and different, and should be treated as such. And chances are, even on the busiest of days there will come a moment when the opportunity arises to write. So seize that moment, before it’s too late.20200724_153058

I hope this post inspired you to keep going, even when things are rough, and it feels like writing is getting further away from you. Take heart friends. Keep calm and write on.

 

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in WORDS, writing

The Writing Diaries pt. 3: Potato-Potahto-Tomato-Tomahto

Hello!

Welcome to part three of the Writing Diaries. (If you missed the first/second post, you can start here.) Today, we’re going to discuss how you tell your story.

20200209_181342

 

When you think of your favorite story, what comes to mind?

Often, when I think back on stories, whether it be in the form of a book, a TV show, or a movie, the first thing that comes to my mind isn’t necessarily the plot – it’s usually everything else. Essentially, story and plot are one in the same, but I consider plot to be the black and white road map, whereas, story is the rainbow of color that makes it unique.

Say you’re planning a road trip – your plot is the destination, and your story is the route in which you take to get there. You might take the scenic route, or you might take the highway. Either way, the path you choose is up to you. While the plot is still the ultimate destination, how you get there is what really matters. You have the freedom to expand, and explore across a vast variety of landscapes. And if you happen to stray too far from the path, you always have your road map to get you back on track.

20200519_203545

 

Here’s an example of plot vs. story – if someone asked you to describe the plot of a particular book, or movie, you could probably do so in just a couple of words, and it wouldn’t sound very exciting.

Someone: “Hey what did you think of the plot for The Lord of The Rings?”

Me: “The usual, hero must destroy the evil thing to save the world.”

Not all that gripping.

But if you’re asked to describe what the story is like, the imagery, and nuances require a bit more detail.

Someone: “Hey what did you think of The Lord of The Rings?”

Me: “It was awesome. The hobbit, Frodo, and his friends, had to battle evil forces, on their journey to Mordor, in order to destroy the One Ring, that held great powers, in the fires of Mount Doom. They had to go through the terrifying, Mines of Moria, and I’ll never forget how real the dank cold, and darkness felt. Oh, and I loved it when they visited the elves in Lothlórien. I wish I could live in a tree house like they do.”

That statement still describes the plot, but it also shows a glimpse of the route, that brought the characters to their destination.

20190921_184648

 

To bring this back into context, my novel right now, could similarly be condensed into a short statement; hero must stop bad guy from doing bad thing. Sounds pretty generic, right? A dozen stories with the same problem probably popped into your mind when you read that. But if so many stories fit that idea, what sets them apart? How you choose to tell your story, a.k.a., the path you take, is what truly matters. The places, the faces, and everything in between are what makes each story unique, and memorable.

While the ultimate goal in many novels is to defeat evil, we don’t necessarily read stories just to find out if good will triumph over evil. We read stories to experience new worlds, and see life through the eyes of the characters who live there. Through books, we are able to see things we may have never imagined, and feel things we never knew we could feel.

20200617_205458

 

It’s our job as writer’s, to bring our characters to life, and open the door to their world, to create lasting images, feelings, perceptions, and experiences that readers will remember for some time. As a writer, I’m still learning, and like anything else, storytelling takes practice to fine tune your skills and expose your flaws, along with determination and a certain amount of vulnerability, to do better on the next round.

By taking time to develop and explore your story world, you might find that it opens your mind up to new possibilities that may have gone unnoticed, if you’d only taken the highway. And if you’re like me, and lean more towards the pantser side of the street, you may find this idea of exploring your world to be an unlikely key to fleshing out your plot as well. At one point, I was struggling with how to move my plot forward, but I was able to find the answer I needed hidden in one of the physical features of my world. (The answer to my struggle, came from within the story itself!)

Remember, a story is more than the plot. It’s the people you get to know, the places you get to see, the life you get to experience – all through words on a page. Don’t be afraid to explore new avenues and leave no stone un-turned. If you want your story to affect readers, you’ll have to give them something to remember. So be sure to infuse your story with as much richness of life, and character as possible.

“Hey Siri, let’s take the scenic route.”

20200622_203011

 

This little series is dedicated to exploring, and documenting the different threads and shreds it takes to write a story worth reading. So thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you next time.

Lady S

 

Posted in Adventure

A Week in the Life

Hi there!

How’s it going? I thought I’d do something a little different from my usual posts.

Have you ever been curious about the way others live their lives? What does a normal day look like, for someone who lives a completely different life from yours? If that’s the case, then today is your lucky day, because I’ll be revealing what a “normal” day/week looks like for me, in a journal type format. You may be stuck at home, or you might be little affected by all of the strangeness going on right now, (at least on the outside), but whichever it is – I hope you’ll read on to see the many trials, and triumphs of my daily life.

Monday, April 27

Ah, Mondays; you either love ’em, or hate ’em. I don’t particularly hate Mondays, because I like to get back to my regular schedule, after loafing around over the weekend. Though I have to admit, Monday’s during my work season at the greenhouse, are a little more dreaded.

On this Monday, I had the morning shift at work, so it was actually pleasant. Everything went off without a hitch. And when I got home, I sat down and dug into some third draft edits on my novel. It felt good to make some progress, after not touching it for a few days. But later, I had to leave the comfort of my desk, and take my dog for a much needed walk. He’s been a good boy lately, and deserved the reward. It was a really nice evening, and we found a new place to explore. The night concluded with chocolate cream pie, and a random disco music party.

Monday was a good day. IMG_3514

Tuesday, April 28

Tuesday… my old nemesis. I don’t know why Tuesday has become my enemy, but we simply can’t get along. I had the afternoon shift at work, which left the morning completely free. With a million possibilities before me, I couldn’t make up my mind on how to spend my time, and in the end, I did nothing. Before I knew it, the morning was gone, and it was time for work.

When people hear that I work at a greenhouse, or when they visit one, they often view it through rose colored lenses. (Literally.) But I am here to shatter that illusion. On one hand, I truly love my job, because I get to work with flowers, and seeds, and dig my hands into the dirt. But on the other hand, it’s a very challenging job, physically and mentally. There’s a lot involved, and many different aspects to this line of work, which I’m not going to get into. I’ll share a few pictures, instead, to offer some insight as to what it’s like.

A: Flower arrangements that I’ve just planted.20200430_142954

B: The temperature in which they were planted.20200428_150107

Bonus: Everything in this picture was planted by hand. Impressive, right? (And this is just ONE greenhouse, of many.)20200415_170138

Eventually, I made it home to food, and AIR CONDITIONING. Not to mention, I did a little late-night online shopping, to soothe my worn out mind and body. It helped a bit. And thus, Tuesday came to a close.

Wednesday, April 29

Back to work for another long, hot shift. I planted many more flower arrangements, which turned out lovely, if I do say so myself. The day was a little more bearable, because I remembered to bring my Hydroflask, which saved my life. But even so, by the end of the day, I was hobbling out of there, because my feet hurt so bad. But in all, it was a productive day. The highlight was definitely a quick stop at my favorite ice cream shop on the way home. (Hooray for drive-thru’s!)

I was ready for bed by 8:30, but instead of getting well needed rest, I stayed up and watched random videos on YouTube. Then somehow, I wound up reading a bunch of old journal entries. (And I must say, I crack myself up.) Do you ever go back and read your old journals? It’s something I have fun doing once in a while, because I either cringe, or laugh! Then it was finally lights out, after a long day.20200503_205318

Thursday, April 30

A day off – F I N A L L Y! I was able to sleep late, but instead of feeling strengthened and refreshed, I woke up feeling like a corpse – groggy, and extra stiff. But the feeling wore off, and I felt alive again. That is, until I plunged myself into some hard-core cleaning/organizing. We currently have a lot of projects going on around the house, and since I had the day off, it was time for me to pitch in. After I got that done, another task was calling my name. My poor desk was getting more and more buried, underneath old coffee cups, shoe boxes, cookies, and other things that do not belong. It really needed some TLC, just like me.

20200430_141043

The rest of the day consisted of writing, editing, and some reading. I had planned on taking a nap, but things just didn’t work out. But speaking of which, I did manage to get in some exercise. A few lunges, a few pushups, and a few squats, before I called it quits. I didn’t do too, much because I knew I’d regret it the next day – and I did, but it still felt good to be moving. To finish off my night, I settled in to watch a K-Drama – and my day was complete.20200501_114034

Friday, May 1

Friyay? Not here, just a regular ol’ Friday, with nothing special to celebrate. Once again, I awoke feeling like I had been run over by a truck – a sensation that I’m becoming quite familiar with by now. Exhaustion is expected at this time of year, until the growing season is over. In the greenhouse world, business isn’t year round, otherwise, it just might kill a person! And luckily, the end is already in sight. For breakfast, I made myself a lovely egg-toast, and tea, (Lady Gray, my current favorite tea. <3). Then I parked myself at my desk, to read through some articles, and catch up on emails.

Before long, it was time to head to work. It was very busy, and very hot, and I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Sorry to be so graphic.) At one point, I got my finger stuck in a container, and injured it quite nicely. (It’s still sore.) By the end of the day, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry, or faint – but the important part is that I didn’t do either. I made it home in (mostly) one piece, and for that I was grateful.20200501_170654

Later, when it cooled off, I went outside to read, and hang out with my dog. I love to be outside when the sun is setting; it’s so peaceful with the purple desert sky, birds chattering with one another, and the sweet scent of blossoms on the air. It was a pleasant evening, but the best part was when a robin perched up in the tree dropped a squishy surprise on my sister’s head. (If you know what I mean… ;p) But she failed to see the humor, and did not appreciate the gesture. In the end, Friday was a tough day, but I’m still thankful for every minute of it.20200501_18411920200501_193512

Saturday, May 2

Work again. Today was another long shift, but I got donuts – and no matter what anyone says, ya’ just can’t beat that. It was long, and it was hot…just like every other day. But after work, I had pizza, and received a much anticipated package in the mail. Remember when I did that impulse buying? Well, that impulsive order had very fast shipping! Excitedly, I tore into the box, and pulled out the most beautiful, obnoxiously colorful pair of shoes I’ve ever owned in my life. (Actually, the most colorful anything that I’ve owned, period.) You may be wondering if I plan on wearing these bad boys out in public, and the answer is – no. But around the house, my tired feet will be very happy. And very eye-catching.20200502_184118

Later that night, my sisters and I, gathered up a bunch of snacks, and we brought out the old Nintendo 64′, to play some serious throw-back video games. Super Smash Bro’s, and Snowboard Kids, were the games of choice, and even though I wasn’t very good, it was fun to reminisce about our childhood days. But the party couldn’t go on all night, as it was almost passed my bed time. After putting the games away, I managed to read a chapter in my book, Paranormia, by Paul Regnier. Before I knew it, my eyes were too heavy to hold open a minute longer, and I checked out for the night.20200502_211249

Sunday, May 3

A day of rest, at last. After having weird dreams about tarantula’s, (don’t ask) I awoke feeling not very awake at all. But even so, I got out of bed and made some much needed, herbal tea. Then I headed outside for my weekly, outdoor Bible reading, with my sisters. When warmer days come, I always look forward to quiet mornings outside with my Bible. Surrounded by trees, and flowers in the open air is my favorite way to study Scripture. For the rest of the day, I didn’t have big plans – resting, reading, and writing were the main agenda – just what I needed.20200503_110030

Looking back, it was a very full week. I didn’t have much time, or energy to get done everything that I wanted to, but I’m thankful for what I did accomplish. And I’m happy that I survived another tough week at work.

Also, I found that I listened to a lot of the same music last week, which kind of made it the soundtrack of my week. That soundtrack was, Hoppípolla – their new album, Spring to Spring. I listened to it almost exclusively. So if you want to know what my week sounded like, and you enjoy the sound of the cello, and lovely harmonies, I think you might like them.Screenshot_20200503-125343_YouTube

Hopefully you all had a good week – working hard accomplishing tasks, or maybe just taking things slowly, one day at a time. No matter what your days look like, I hope you are well, and feeling blessed. I hope that you can find a moment to remember what you have to be thankful for, even though everything around us seems quite rough.

* * *

Thanks for sticking around, and reading about my week. If you found this at all interesting, perhaps I’ll do this again some time.

What were the trials, and triumphs of your week? Tell me about it down below, I’d love to hear from you!

Yours truly,

Lady S

Posted in WORDS

Sunshine Tag

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re doing well, and enjoying the change of seasons. I’m finally able to enjoy the outdoors again, now that it’s no longer hazardous to my life. This summer was brutally hot, but I’ve made it through, and I’m grateful for the respite winter will bring.

Today I’ve been tagged by Chelsea, from An Ordinary Pen for the Sunshine Blogger tag. If you have some time, you should hop over and visit her site. You can tell her I sent you!

Anyhow, we’ve got eleven questions in need of answers, covering a wide variety of subjects… Let’s begin, shall we?

If you could learn any language in the word, which would you choose?

There are lots of languages I find interesting, and would like to learn, but if I had to choose only one– I’d pick Japanese. I’ve mentioned before, that I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a couple of years now, but I have not been a very good student as of late. One step forward, two steps back, as the saying goes.thumbnail_20191019_155419

Do you have any pets? If so, share a pic!

I have a nice little herd of pets, who all tend towards the un-photgenic end of the spectrum, but you can view my attempts below. For reference, I have 3-5 cats, (it’s kind of complicated) and 2 dogs… But also a rabbit and some chickens, and possibly a turtle, though I’m not certain. (It was too hard getting pics of them all!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Do you prefer using black pen, blue pen, or a weirdly colored pen?

I like a classic look, so I mainly use black ink. But if I’m feeling rebellious, I will use a blue pen now and then.

Do you have an app on your phone you feel you couldn’t live without?

I don’t have many apps on my phone, but the few I do have, I often wish that I didn’t, since they inevitably encourage procrastination. (I’m looking at you, Instagram.) But for the sake of this post I’ll say YouTube, because I’d likely be lost without it.

What’s your current favorite song?

If you don’t know, I’m a big K-Pop fan. That being said, my “favorite” slot is subject to change quite frequently, as the influx of new music is almost overwhelming. But one song I can listen to over and over again is, Wanna Go Back, by Day6. It’s a song about missing your childhood, in the midst of growing up.

What was the last movie you watched?

The last movie that I watched was a horror-film, that I’ll spare you the name of.

What did you think of it?

To be completely honest, I thought it was lame, with a capital “L”. Scary movies lately, are just not good, or even scary for that matter. There’s usually only the barest hint of a story to them, and in the end, they all turn out to be carbon copies of one another. I think I’ve seen enough of the same ol’, face-painted, screeching woman in a long white dress to last a lifetime.

Are you a collector? (Stamps, coins, china-figures, etc.)

When I was a kid, I used to collect feathers— eagles, pigeons, chickens, peacocks, you name it. But more recently, I’ve begun collecting enamel pins. If I ever travel, or visit a new place, pins are a nice souvenir to bring home. Plus, they’re just so cute!thumbnail_20191019_144902

What’s your favorite non-fiction read?

When it comes to non-fiction, I have a strong preference for nature-oriented books. One such book is, The Maine Woods by Henry David-Thoreau; a narrative of his explorations into the untamed woods. There is nothing especially exciting about it, as there are no life-or-death action scenes, or groundbreaking ideas. But it brought much peace to me each time I opened it up, and read through his accounts.

If you had to move to another country and live there for the rest of your life, where would you go?

Believe it or not, this is something I think about all the time. And I’ve come to the conclusion, that I’d be quite chuffed if I could live in the English countryside. The rolling hills, and mild weather sounds glorious to me. But the French countryside sounds lovely too. I wouldn’t be picky.

If you suddenly became leaders of a typical fantasy land, what immediate social/political/environmental reforms would you make?

Hmm… This is a tough question. But perhaps, I’d rid my land of those dangerous fight-to-the-death competitions fantasy lands are so fond of. Because if I were a citizen of such a place, that would not be my ideal living-condition.

~~~

And that’s a wrap!

Many thanks again to Chelsea, for tagging me. I had fun answering her questions, and I hope that you enjoyed reading them.

And since I’m a compulsive rule-breaker, (when it comes to tags, anyway) I’ll not be tagging anyone specific. Instead, if you fancy answering these questions, feel free to do so, and say that I tagged you! Or if you’d like, you can answer the questions in a comment down below. I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Lady S

Posted in WORDS

Reviving Inspiration

Hello, friends! Sorry for vanishing on you, but I’m back now, and hope to be posting more regularly.

Let’s move on with today’s post:

20190818_203358Reviving Inspiration

As of late, writing has been taking up much of my time, and brain space. I don’t typically talk about my writing online, but I thought I’d open up a bit today, and offer a glimpse into my writing journey. At the time of this writing, my very first novel has been completed. *cheers & applause!* It may be a tangled mess that needs work, but at least I can say I’ve finished the thing!

It took a lot longer than expected to finish the draft, but I’ll allow myself some slack, since it was the first work of fiction I’ve completed in years.

You heard that right– years.

But let’s start at the beginning.

In my early teens, I realized that writing was something I really enjoyed. So naturally, I began to write short stories, one after another. And then… I stopped completely, for a good three years. For some reason I had lost interest; be it laziness, fear, life or just plain discouragement, I don’t know.

But then, a couple of years ago, (2017-ish) I felt compelled to take up the mantle once again. I dusted off my ol’ writer’s cap, and allowed the story ideas and creative juices to start flowing.  (Little did I know, I was in for a looong and bumpy road.) With this resurgence of inspiration, I tossed together a very vague plot, and jumped right into the first draft.

I wrote a few chapters, and was on a roll, until I realized that I had dug myself into a hole. Painted myself into the corner, was up the creek without a paddle… You can probably get the picture. It was a wreck, and I ended up abandoning it.

Going back to the drawing board, I came up with new characters, different plot, yet still the same old quandary. What I like to call, naivety. (Until recently, I was a pantser in the extreme; writing by the seat of my pants, as they say. It makes me cringe now, thinking back to my lack of forethought.)20190816_143215

After trying, and failing four times, I had to sit myself down, and have a serious discussion. I had to admit that I had no idea what I was doing. And no matter how much I pretended that I didn’t need to plot, I was W R O N G.

This fact was further cemented, after I read K.M. Weiland’s books, Outlining Your Novel, and Structuring Your Novel, (both of which I highly recommend). After combing through multiple articles from her website,(and Story Embers,) I made the executive decision to begin a proper plot. It was difficult and awkward at times, but gradually I became accustomed to the process.

Fast forward through a long and painful process, I’d written the first draft. It was most definitely not a future best-seller, but it was a real story, with a (somewhat) consistent pace, and (slightly) recognizable structure, and most importantly, it was complete!

It was the first story I had completed in several years, and my first novel, e v e r. Currently, I’m neck deep in the second draft, in the throes of editing, and revising. But dare I say, I’m actually enjoying it. Though I may moan and groan, I know this is a very necessary step in working towards a future in writing. Becoming an author does not happen overnight. (Am I just realizing this now?)

For so long, I felt that writing (and completing) a novel was too far-fetched to be a reality. You too, may feel that your goal is beyond your capabilities, but don’t ever give up. Persevere, and work hard because in time, it is possible to reach your goal. 20190816_142808

I’ve already started outlining my next project, which I can’t wait to start writing, but I’m holding myself back, until I have a solid structure to build my world upon. I still have much to learn, and in fact, I have more questions now than ever. But that’s okay. Taking the time to study and hone my skills, I feel more hopeful about the future. And I’m going to keep striving, working hard and pushing forward.

So write on my friends! And remember, if I can do it– you can too!

~~~

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found some small bit of inspiration in this post. And if you’re ever feeling discouraged, don’t forget that somewhere out there in that big wide world, there are others like you, (and me) who are struggling too. But through prayer, and hard work you can make it through!

Until next time,

Lady S

 

 

 

Posted in Adventure, photography

S U M M E R

Ah, summer, a most beloved time of year. It’s the time for exploring, adventuring, and of course, the ever-important-staple… ice cream. Though we have some time yet, before summer officially transitions into fall; I can already feel the change in the air, (despite the still-hot temperatures). The change of seasons, is such an integral part of  life, yet it still manages to catch us by surprise.  It’s mysterious and magical when a season begins to change, and in some inexplicable way, it makes me feel closer to God. My senses seem to be more heightened and I feel more aware of life, itself.
So in tribute to my love of summer, and this year’s memories, here’s a look back:

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 5.31.36 PM

With any season, there are certain things that you only do at that particular time of year, and as I was thinking back to what I’ve done, I was thinking that I really hadn’t done much.

I didn’t go on any extravagant trips, or accomplish any spectacular feat, (as I always dream of). But then I remembered all of the small, seemingly insignificant things that I’d done. And I had to smile to myself, when I realized I hadn’t done “nothing” at all.DSC03666

Like the fact that I went swimming, in an actual pool. I once vowed that swimming pools were off limits, germaphobe that I am. It was only going to be oceans or some other great, natural body of water. (Both of which I live very far from.) But this year, I found myself neck deep, in a public swimming pool. Not once, but TWICE! I have to admit, though, it wasn’t as bad as I feared, and I actually had fun. Especially because I was able to spend time with my friends and family. And surprisingly, I managed to avoid catching a brain-eating amoeba along the way.
Hooray!

DSC03713Another unexpected surprise, was my sister convincing me to “camp” OUTSIDE. I’ve never  been camping, and I can’t really say that I’m sorry. The closest I’ve ever come, is sleeping in a hammock, in my backyard. And I never wanted to do that again, simply because I didn’t get any actual sleep at all. Why would I make myself miserable all night, when I have a nice comfy bed, right there; the notion baffled me. Yet at 3 a.m., I found myself in the back of my dad’s pick-up truck, piled with blankets, and pillows, staring into the night. I watched the stars streak their way across the sky, listened to coyotes howling in the hills, and felt the warm summer breeze on my face. While I didn’t get a wink of sleep all night, I did have a lot of fun playing card games, and eating snacks late into night, with my sisters.

 DSC03723

Summer is also the time when we harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. This year happened to be a very good one for peaches. We didn’t get many, but the ones we did get were enormous, and beautiful, and exquisitely delicious. The memory of biting into the sweet, sun soaked fruit is one I won’t soon forget. Nothing beats a summer harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables! I’m just sad I ate them all.DSC04640

Something I don’t always do, yet is always a treat, is going to an all-American baseball game. Nothing else quite captures the essence of summer, like wading through swarming swathes of people, squeezing into hot crowded seats, and paying for exceedingly overpriced mediocre snacks. Though I’m not a huge fan of baseball, or large crowds, it’s nice to get out and enjoy it for an evening. Especially when fireworks are involved. DSC03170

There are dozens of other little things that filled those lurid, summer days. Like climbing onto the roof in the evening, for a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. Or making late-night runs to the drive through for ice-cream, spending lazy afternoons watching stormclouds march across the horizon, and countless other ramblings.DSC04605

Whatever shape or size it comes in, summer is one of the most special times of the year. My life varies very little, but it’s the subtle changes that make all the difference. In a few months time, when I’m shivering beneath a blanket, I’ll be able to look back at these fond memories of the time when it was warm, and green. I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what my summer looked like this year. And no matter what you did, I hope you breathed in deep, and cherished even the tiniest, little flavor(s) of the season.

“For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11  

How about you?  Have you done anything special  this summer? What makes it “summer” for you?

Thank you for reading,

Lady S

Posted in WORDS

What Does God Mean to Me – A Tag

Today I have a tag to bring to you! This is the first time I’ve ever been tagged, and I want to thank Chelsea, over at An Ordinary Pen, for tagging me. You should definitely check out her blog.

Anyway, let’s get on with the tag – What Does God Mean to Me…

 

DSC_0600

 

Who is God to you?

God to me…is everything. The Creator, the Composer, the Completer, the Author of the universe.

I feel that God is too big, and almighty to limit to just a few words, but I think those listed above, get pretty close.

Which Bible verse do you think has shaped the way you live?

The scripture that has been most impactful on my life is, Romans 5:3-5.

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

For me, those three verses completely capture what it is to be a Christian. They remind me how I should live, (especially, in these insane, and scary times). It is a powerful reminder that life is hard. There will be many trials, and heartaches, but through our tribulations, we are beckoned closer to Him, and shown His magnificence and great love towards us.

Which Bible character do you identify with the most?

That’s a tough question, but I would say that someone I really look up to, is Joshua. When all of Israel turned their backs, and disobeyed God, only Joshua stayed by Moses’ side. He never gave in, or buckled and followed the masses. Despite how difficult and challenging things got, he remained faithful to the Lord. That is a wonderful reminder and something I try to focus on, and keep in the forefront of my mind.

 

What is your favourite way to praise God?

One of my favorite ways to be with God, and be grateful and appreciative for His blessings, is to just be outdoors. There, I am away from technology, and away from the distractions of the world. There, I can just “be”, in the midst of His creation, and relish in the beauty, peace and craftsmanship of His handiwork. Outside in the fresh air, is where I always feel the most connected to God; and feel such immense blessing and gratitude. I truly believe we are all meant to spend time outdoors. It can really bring our focus back to Him.

What is your favourite praise song or Psalm?

One of my favorite praise songs is, Joy, by Page CXVI.  It’s a hauntingly, beautiful rendition of a classic hymn.
I also really like, O God Forgive Us, by For King and Country. Seems I never get tired of that song, and it always touches my heart.

 

DSC_0909

 

So, I guess that’s it! I had a lot of fun answering these questions, and I want to again, thank Chelsea, for tagging me.

At the end of these posts, one usually tags others to participate, but instead, if any of you out there would like to have a go, you can answer the questions in the comments down below. Or if you have a blog, consider yourself tagged, by me.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure

Calamity In The Kitchen & Other Life Lessons

DSC_0336

My mom’s birthday passed recently, and as usual, I was in charge of making the cake. She’s a big chocolate lover, so I planned on using my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Everything was going according to plan; two cups of flour, one cup of milk, two cups of sugar… and so on. I finished fairly quickly and got it into the oven. I cleaned up the kitchen and put my tools away. And about thirty minutes later, it was time to bring the cake out.

I opened the oven and knew immediately that something wasn’t right. In fact, something was very, very wrong. It didn’t rise at all and it baked hard and solid. The color and texture was off too, not at all how it should have looked. I knew for a fact that I put the correct amount of baking powder, but I thought that maybe somehow, (however unlikely,) I had added too much flour. My mind was racing, trying to figure out what could have happened. I held onto the hope, that with some frosting it would be okay, and disguise my unsightly creation, and maybe even pass as edible.
But before icing, I decided to do a taste test, just to make sure that it was in fact, going to be edible. So with a butter knife, I gingerly cut off an itty bitty, piece.
As soon as it touched my tongue I was horrified! I couldn’t spit it out fast enough! It couldn’t be! Nervously, I looked back to where the ingredients sat, and confirmed my suspicions. To my great dismay, I saw in the usual place of the sugar bin, a big tub of  S. A. L. T. NO! Not two whole cups of salt in my beautiful chocolate cake! How could this happen!?

The cake tasted so incredibly bad, that I instantly felt ill, sick to my stomach. Nothing I tried would get the taste out of my mouth. After I broke the news to my mom, and everyone else in the house, and took a few moments to grieve the cake that would never be, (and also have lunch) I tossed the abomination straight into the trash!
A short while later, I felt more composed (and full) and ready for my second attempt. This time I would do it right. No mistakes allowed. I made sure to read every ingredient before it went into the bowl, twice.
Confident that I had done everything correctly, I once again put the pan in the oven. As before, at the thirty minute mark I pulled the cake out of the oven; and it was perfect!
Beautifully colored and perfectly risen. A success! Hallelujah, praise the LORD! My mom’s birthday wasn’t going to be ruined after all.
Later that night, when we finally cut into it, it turned out to be one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. And, in the process I even managed to invent one of the best, most delicious frostings I’ve ever made!

So what I learned from this mishap, wasn’t only how to make a cake properly, but I was also reminded how important it is to be vigilant about ALL our tasks. I learned that no matter how many times I’ve done something before, I should not allow myself to become lazy or complacent. That I should do all things with intention, dedication and focus and be present in what I am doing.
And when I’m feeling unsure, I shouldn’t ever be afraid to ask someone for help, (especially, when trying to verify whether the sparkly white substance in question is salt or sugar).

Secondly, on a deeper level, to me it was a living example of how God works.
When we think we have it all under control, sometimes we are met with a huge wake-up call, that actually, we don’t. Yet, we are not to lose hope, for our failures are rarely wasted and usually happen for a reason. That reason, may be an opportunity for us to learn something new, and to gain wisdom and understanding. When we DO try again, we will know better and our successes can be even sweeter.
We can see that cycle repeated throughout the Bible. God takes something that was sad, sorry and miserable, and transforms it into something wonderful.
That was quite a revelation, I received from a cake gone wrong, and no matter the situation, we can still find God, speaking to us in ways we might never imagine.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”
PSALM 37:23-24

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”
PSALM 119:71

If you want to know the recipe I used, you can find it here.

Anyway, I hope my mistake made you chuckle a bit.
I sincerely hope that all of your baking endeavors turn out better than mine, and that you never end up in a situation like this.
(Although, if you’re a baker, and you bake often enough, you’re bound to make a mistake or two at some point!)

Thanks for reading,
Lady S

Posted in Book Reviews

Into the Fire, by Kim Vandel

51hgx421dxL._SY346_

Kate is an ordinary college freshman. The biggest concern in her life is passing her med-school exam…until the day she meets Nathan, who reveals to her the existence of the Guardians.
He tells her she has been chosen by God, and has been given a supernatural ability that she must use for the good of mankind.
Disbelief, and shock race through her. Yet, there is the permanent flame shaped mark etched onto her wrist; proving that she was indeed Chosen.
Kate now struggles with the challenge of living her normal life at home, and embracing the call of the Guardians.

5/5 stars

I first heard about, Into The Fire, after reading a review/interview with the author, Kim Vandel, (shoutout to Kingdom Pen), and I thought it sounded interesting.  I stashed it away mentally in my future “to be read” pile.
When the kindle version went on sale, I snatched it up and started reading right away!

It’s been a long time since a book kept me up late into the night like this one did; it grabbed me right from the start.
The characters were my favorite part of this story. Each one had a distinct, and unique personality, which made them feel real, and relatable; and really set them apart from a lot of other books I’ve read.

I found it refreshing that Kate did not fall into the “typical teenager” category. And while she’s not perfect, she didn’t infuriate me when she made mistakes.
I loved watching her become stronger, both mentally and physically; and how her friendships with everyone (especially Hassan) grew.
When Hassan was first introduced, I wasn’t sure what to make of him. He comes off as sulky, and sometimes rude. But learning about his past explained a lot of that, and developed his character arc.

Another character I enjoyed was Ty.
In many YA books, the main character’s sibling(s) are brushed off to the side, and don’t play much of a role in the story. Often they are cardboard-cutout characters. But Ty wasn’t like that.
I liked that he and Kate would hang out, and enjoy being in each others company, even though they also irritated one another. Which in truth, is how siblings usually feel.
Also speaking of Ty… that ending! Gah!

My only critique was the role God, played…..which was’t a big one.
The Guardians were chosen by God, yet He wasn’t mentioned much.
It seemed like in Kate’s circumstances, she should have been turning to God, for reassurance and strength, especially, when facing tough situations. That didn’t really happen, and I felt it was lacking.
(Perhaps, that’s how it was meant to be, leaving room to grow in the next book(s)?)

It can sometimes be hard to find Christian YA fiction, that’s not boring, has a good story, AND awesome characters. But Into The Fire had it all!
I very thoroughly, enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it.
It was a breath of fresh air in the YA genre, and it’s definitely one of the best books I read in 2016. The series could become one of my favorites once it’s finished.
I can’t wait to read, Among the Flames, next!