Sunday, January 24, 2021

humor as dry as a desert

Isn't it "funny" how suddenly

It is perfectly fine to destroy community?

Isn't it "funny" how easily

The meaning of love has been twisted?

Isn't it "funny" how successfully

We have been convinced to cover our faces,

Our identities, our expressions,

Wherever we go?

Isn't it "funny" how thoroughly

Some Christians have pushed aside the Great Commission

As if a not-so-novel sickness changes the unchangeable,

The Word of God?

It's all so "funny" that my heart is shriveling.


The Great Commission:

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, emphasis mine).


This poem is probably terrible - I'm not the biggest fan of free verse, let alone can write it well - but it's a raw and true reflection of the despair I struggle with on a daily basis, and the words just kind of spilled out of me last night.

I'm not proud of my despair. God instructs us to not let our hearts be troubled, but I allow my circumstances to overwhelm me way too often.

I almost didn't publish this because of the deep hurt it reflects, and because I know I'm guilty of downgrading the importance of the Great Commission due to more personal excuses than our nationwide/global circumstances. I'm afraid of being hypocritical; I'm afraid of acting bitter. So, ideally, I should have shared a simple piece about trusting God and His unwavering control, about how everything works together for good for those who love the Lord. To be honest, though, that wasn't how I was feeling last night, so I wanted to take a moment to be genuine and just share what came out of my heart even if inspiring isn't the first word I would use to describe what I've written.

Covid and practices or regulations associated with it are a controversial topic in Christian circles. I do my best to understand where people who disagree with me are coming from biblically, so if that's you, all I'm asking is if you could try to understand where I'm coming from biblically too. We don't have to stand down from what we believe to step into each other's shoes.

If you struggle with the same despair I do, now you know you're not the only one.

The Lord's Truly,

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2020 // small 2021 tbr

It wasn't terribly difficult to narrow my reads of 2020 to five favorites, considering I only read 34 books in all. I can't say it was my best reading year - in fact, it was probably the worst reading year I've ever had in terms of quantity. In terms of quality, however, it was still fantastic. I think only one of the books out of all 34 was two stars, with no one-star reads to speak of.

My five favorites cover a fairly wide range of genres. A fantasy (of course), a YA contemporary, a classic dystopian, a memoir, and a YA dystopian. Without further ado, here they are! In no particular order.

It feels like a million years ago when I read this book (aka March), but I can't forget the impact it had on me. This time travel centric story BLEW MY MIND, and when I look back on my experience reading the whole series, I can't help but feel incredibly nostalgic. I miss the unique Christian allegory it provides. I miss all the characters in this book, Foxbrush and Daylily and Lionheart and Eanrin... I miss the worldbuilding and the writing style and just... all of it. <3

One of the highlights of my summer! I remember sitting in the shade of my church's empty playground while reading this one weekend and being utterly wowed by the tight, beautiful writing. And the SHIP. *swoons* Probably my top favorite YA contemporary to date.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

So unique, so thought-provoking, so vibrantly meaningful with every paragraph. And I've never encountered a writing style anything like this. I can't even describe it, but it's HEAVENLY. It's like the writing style I've always wanted to read, always wanted to write. The way this book is written makes the dystopian setting, the characters, the dialogue, and everything else stand out in THE MOST effective way.

I finished it and immediately wanted to pick it right back up and reread it, which is rare for me. (Not gonna lie... this is very likely my #1 favorite of this list and thus of the whole year!)

 Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

Memoirs inspire me in a special way fiction books can't, if I'm being completely honest. Katie's radical faith and her heart for beautiful little brown children from "third-world" countries is something I aspire to more deeply than I can express. <3 This was such a timely read in the midst of my growing desire to travel to Latin America again and minister to the amazing people there. I pray my faith is forever stretched and challenged by this short but powerful book.

A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes

What a cold, gut-wrenching, powerful, incredible novel. This is the book where I fell in love with the characters. I wasn't sure about them in book 1, not even Solomon and certainly not Parvin, but now I love them alllllll. Especially Parvin, and especially Solomon. XD

Everything about this story was amazing. I have zero complaints. None. Loved every single moment of it.


My Goodreads goal for 2021 is 40 books, ten higher than last year. I thought I would keep things simple and stress-free for this smol TBR, though, and simply list five books I want to make absolute CERTAIN I read this year. Five books I'm dying to read above all the other titles on my huge, general TBR.

In no particular order...

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I've been meaning to read this classic for YEARS. More years than I could probably count. It's going to be my first read upon my return to university, and I'm very excited!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I started this one years ago and wasn't in the mood to finish. It's high time I finally picked it back up and formed my own opinion on this controversial story.

That's right, I finally plan to read Harry Potter! My hope is to read the entire series over the summer. (Yes, this TBR is essentially me trying to mend the fact that there are so many well-known, well-loved books I haven't read and should have read a long time ago. XD)

I've been meaning to read this book for years as well and finally got it for Christmas, so you can bet I'll be picking it up soon. Although I was rejected - obviously - writing a Snow White novella retelling and submitting it to the contest for inclusion in this anthology was a wonderful experience that sparked one of my closest friendships and really grew me as a writer, so that's one unique reason I'm so desperate to read the finished product. And the stories chosen quite simply sound AMAZING, so I'm dying to devour them.

All I've read by Victoria Schwab is The Archived duology, but I absolutely LOVED it (especially the second book!), so I want to make sure I read more from this author in 2021. My plan is to read her other YA duology, then try out her adult books. But I don't know if I'll get to those this year... We'll see.


I hope you enjoyed this post! Be sure to leave a comment down below with your thoughts on any of the books I mentioned, your own favorite reads of 2020, or a snippet of your TBR/reading plans for 2021. Happy New Year!!

The Lord's Truly,