Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t read but then you return to it later on and realize why you checked it out in the first place? I’m starting to see that with this book I’m currently reading called Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton. I’ve only read a few chapters so far, but I’m enjoying the story. I’ve seen it in emails for a while from authors I’ve subscribed to and at my local library, but always avoided it for some reason. So recently, I picked it up, but still left the book untouched. Until Thursday, when I finally started read a few chapters. Emotional, excellent pace, and great characters so far have me intrigued.
At the same time, though, I couldn’t finish another book and put it aside. It was a short story collection I checked out at the library. A few of the stories were fantastic, and then all of a sudden I lost interest and just gave up altogether. I’m bummed, but maybe one day I’ll give that collection another try.
Sometimes a book doesn’t fit what you need right now, just like things in life don’t happen when you want them to. Probably a weird comparison, but I have weird thoughts sometimes! I’m not sure what journey I will be taking with Hurricane Season, but I think it might be interesting. We’ll see if it makes my September Book of the Month!
I’m keeping this post short this week so I can catch up on some reading.
A week ago, you all read about me being in a difficult place creatively and spiritually. I felt like I was losing my purpose. However, I have felt a change in direction this week.
Ever since I read The Reason by William Sirls in 2013, I’ve come to believe that God uses people to encourage me when I am at my lowest. Sometimes, I even stumble upon the right book that gives me comfort and answers.
With Labor Day weekend, Barnes & Noble had a Labor Day sale. I decided to purchase Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh, her latest book on my to-read list. But I couldn’t decide on the other book I wanted to get. Reading reviews for a second opinion, debating if the second book I bought would be something I would cherish and read again, and wondering if I was just buying the book so I could get free shipping.
You might remember my review earlier this year of Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith and the story that led me to discovering this author and my path as a writer. She has since written more Biblical Fiction books, including her latest, A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story.
I chose that book.
Familiarity with the author
The themes of the book (hope, patience, being kind in the midst of meanness)
The story from the Bible (Hannah is the woman who would be blessed with Samuel, a boy who later becomes a great prophet)
Wanting to read a different story (this was the first book I’ve seen about Hannah)
I believe finding the books that I do that will help me understand my faith, myself, and my writing will play a bigger role in my journey going forward. Sometimes you need to learn about forgiveness and God’s goodness, other times about love and finding peace. Whatever literature leads you to these revelations, I pray you find them. I hope with these new books I will find the newest lessons I need to learn.
So one day, I can write a book that I will be proud of.
Today is September 1st. The end of one month and the beginning of another. A lot has happened since my last post before taking a hiatus. A trip of a lifetime to Montana, taking my social media break, and finding myself growing more insecure about my purpose and passion.
For two weeks in August, I was with my family in Montana. We were visiting Yellowstone National Park for the very first time. Along the way, we stopped in South Dakota and had the opportunity to see Mount Rushmore, another site we never saw before.
During these two weeks, I went whitewater rafting, photographed the numerous bison walking by my dad’s truck in the park, visited Grand Teton National Park, had horses visit us at the house we were staying, and got to sit in the big backyard and enjoy the mountainous view before me. I felt peace, connected with nature for the first time in a while, and did things I never thought I’d do five years ago.
Then I came home. Suddenly gripped with a sense of loss, loneliness, and depression, I started to view my life as disappointing. I felt at 25 years old that I was a joke of a human being. I felt I had let many down from God to family and friends and work. I felt most of all that I let myself down. I was looking forward to writing about my adventures for YAYWORLD when I came home, but then I lost my nerve.
Since, I’ve felt broken, wondering if I wasted my life on a passion that isn’t cooperating lately. Dwelling on decisions I’ve made. I’ve even been questioning my faith, again. I am not a perfect writer nor human being. I have had my ups and downs like everyone else. I get angry about things, I question a lot, and think a little too much. My emotions are not as bad as they were a few weeks ago, but they linger.
When I took my social media break, I felt free. I didn’t need to dwell on comments from random people I might never meet, fandom stuff, and more. I could slow down and remember what means the most to me: what’s right in front of me. I still have that perspective since coming home, but I further question social media’s role in my life.
A person’s journey will always have the peaks and valleys that define it. We will have our great moments of triumph, and our deep sorrows with failure and mistakes. However, compared to a year ago, I feel I’m where I’m supposed to be. Whatever the struggle in your passion, writing or not, you will find it again. Take a break from social media for your own peace of mind and perspective. Also, step out of the comfort zone and try something new; you never know what you will discover.
I know it has been over two years now since this blog began, and I am forever grateful to all of you who comment and read. Blogging has given me another outlet to reach out to others and share my thoughts, and I pray it’s making a difference in your life and take something away from each post and book review. May we continue for many more years!
I still have a few thoughts to think over, and this week has been long and difficult. Please know that I am finding my way and the hiatus was good for me. Taking time away from social media was a welcome breather as well. If you ever feel overwhelmed by the Internet and social networking, taking some time away will make a difference.
When September begins next week, I will say more.
But I am okay. I just need to find my heart again, one step at a time.
I am writing this to announce a hiatus for the first half of August for the blog. This is a decision I do not take lightly, but I am doing this because I need to step back for a few weeks…and reassess things. I hope you all enjoyed my Top 10 series during July.
No, this blog isn’t going away. Not by a long shot! But after getting sick earlier this week, I realized that I needed to step back. I need to be away from the computer, decompress, and take time for me. I also want to reassure everyone that there will be a Book of the Month review for August. The post will just come later in the month.
I will be back later this month with more posts about writing, more insights about what I learn, and more reviews. We writers need to remember that walking away for a while IS OKAY. Also, taking time to enjoy good books is how we grow in our writing. If I want to get a book done one day, I need to seriously consider things and look at what I can offer like authors before me.
Thank you all for your support, understanding, and respecting my space during this hiatus. Again, I will return. I don’t quit easily.
It’s the final post of my top ten series! I hope you all have enjoyed the lists and have come across some new reads, or rediscovered old ones from the past. We will see what August brings for the blog!
Here are my top ten general/contemporary Christian Fiction Books. Please note that this may be more mixed because of the multiple genres some books fall under.
I began this series talking about my top ten Christian Fiction Writers. For the final two weeks, I’m going to focus on Contemporary Romance and General Christian Fiction. One reason is because I have many of these books on my book shelf. I try very hard with my faith not to be preachy or force something on others, so I understand why some may not be interested in these final two posts.
But it’s more than that for me. Character development, real life lessons, relatability, and plot have made these novels memorable. It’s why I pick them up over and over again or cherish them every day on my bookshelf.
So here’s my top ten Contemporary Romance Books in Christian Fiction:
10) Ordinary Snowflakes by Jennifer Rodewald
9) Meant To Be Mine (Porter Family Series #2) by Becky Wade
8) Maggie’s Miracle (The Red Gloves Collection #2) by Karen Kingsbury
7) The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury
6) Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City Romance (Follow Your Heart #1) by Melody Carlson
5) The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck
4) A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert
3) Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh
2) My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
1) Undeniably Yours (Porter Family Series #1) by Becky Wade
Tune in next week for the conclusion of my top ten series!