My First (and Second) Nomination

I am so honored to receive my first ever–and second!–blog award. I’m positively giddy. Thank you Heather L. L. Fitzgerald from The Tethered World and Stephanie Florentino of The Gathering Fire for each nominating me, both of your blogs are a source of great inspiration to me as well.



For those who don’t know, Heather’s first book in a series of Young Adult fantasy novels is due for publication this spring! Heather is as much at home with dragons, gnomes, trolls, and Bigfoot legends as she is with a Christian homeschool girl for a heroine, delivering an adventure with a charmingly unique setting that departs from stereotypical YA Fiction.

Though a great fan of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia, Heather’s story-world is closer to that of J. K. Rowling’s, in that it is a fantasy world that breaks into our own, startling us with what was there all along but unseen. She has accordingly provided opportunities for readers to engage in her story world through other means besides the books–for the books are only a record of what exists outside them. You can go the website and read about the creatures of The Tethered World, follow the lead character, Sadie Larcen, on Pinterest, and follow her mom’s blog Land of Legends. You can also find pictures from The Tethered World on Instagram and hashtag photos that make you think of secret places and mysterious creatures. And over at Tethered Together, Heather writes frankly and winsomely about the woes and joys of being a writer, sharing things she has learned and encouraging writers to connect with other writers.

Stephanie is a fantasy writer, piano-teacher, and Irish-enthusiast. It is delightful to see the ways she blends these three interests. I look forward every month to her in-depth analysis of a hymn. She explains, musically, why the composer’s choices affect us the way it does–why one note leaves us longing for more and why another note makes our hearts swell with joy and how both strengthen the meaning of the words they melodize. She writes with the expertise of an accomplished musician, but in a way accessible even to those completely unfamiliar with music theory. And if that was not amazing enough, when she reviews songs written in Irish, she supplies her own translation! So far I have received only tantalizing glimpses into the fantasy novel she is writing, but I can already see how her gifts as a music teacher cross over into that of storyteller. A certain cadence, an attention to detail, and a lively imagination.

Now for the RULES of the nomination:

Post the award on your blog.
Thank your nominator, of course!
List 7 facts about yourself.
Nominate up to 15 other blogs you are inspired by.

Post the rules so people know them.

Here are my seven random facts about myself:

  1. I can easily read text backwards, upside-down, mirror image, and, with a little extra effort, upside-down mirror image. So far, I have found two uses for this talent: checking my younger siblings’ school work from across the table (much to their amazement) and reading t-shirts and book titles of IG selfies.
  2. I’m really slow to follow fads. I didn’t read The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter till seven, eight, and nine years (respectively) after I’d first heard of them. I still haven’t read The Hunger Games, the Percy Jackson series, The Fault in Our Stars, or Divergent. Generally speaking, I want to be really sure a book’s worth reading before I pick it up, and for me, part of that process is seeing if people are still talking about the book several years after the buzz has worn off.
  1. I am the owner of DesignCraft Jewelry, where I make “Stories You Can Wear” from wood I turn into beads on my daddy’s lathe
  2. I have 10 email addresses registered under my name. One is for this blog, one is for my piano primer classes, one is for a forum I started several years back and have since handed over to others, one is for a prank a friend and I did, one is my personal address, and one is my old personal address that was too long for people to remember, took too long writing down, and was frequently confused with the similar address of a girl in Missouri (this landed me with a copy of her church directory, an invitation to a Mr. Smith’s sock-themed birthday party, and an introduction to the head deacon.) The remaining four addresses represent the different phases of my jewelry business: EmilyJCrafts, Mimis_Pretties, DesignCraft Accessories, and finally, DesignCraft Jewelry.
  3. If you tickle me, this really happens: tumblr_mdk5rp43Mw1rrqglzo1_500
  4. I still get as giddy as a five-year-old boy when I get in glass elevators or stand under dinosaur skeletons. Because, clearly the elevator is a rocket ship and the dinosaur bones might start moving if you look long enough.
  5. I love surprises, provided they are carefully planned and I am prepared for them.

Raelea Hiller of The Starlit Forest

Raelea is a poet, self-consciously writing in the stream of J. R. R. Tolkien. Many have tried this, but Raelea displays the rare skill of truly dancing with language. She understands the rhythm of words and knows how to follow their lead, gracefully turning and swaying with the music she is teaching us to hear. Whether it’s a poem or an excerpt from her in-progress fairy tale, I always walk away from Raelea’s writing with a fresh love for words.

Shelbie W. of Called to Joy

Shelbie is a long-time dear friend of mine and fellow-writer. Back before she moved to Arkansas, Shelbie and I passed many a Sunday afternoon talking stories over our church’s fellowship meal–much to the bewilderment of those around us who often mistook our fictional creations for real people in real life! She nurtured and shaped my passion for storytelling and I have had the privilege of being one of her top editors and sounding-boards for the novel she is writing. As we’ve remarked before–our email and text fragments would not look good on our records in a criminal investigation, haha! Besides working on a novel, Shelbie also helps out with her family farm, ministers in her church, and writes beautiful, thoughtful, grace-saturated weekly devotionals on her blog.

Abby Jones of A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Abby. Where do I begin? Her blog is a rich mixture of quotes, meditations, reviews, WIP (that’s Works-In-Progress if you haven’t heard the term before), and short stories written for her nieces and nephews. As the daughter of a Reformed Baptist pastor and the wife of a man pursuing a pastoral vocation, Abby is solid in her theology, yet in tune with the nuances of storytelling–a refreshing rarity! She is currently in the editing stage of a Young Adult fairy tale which I have had the privilege of reading a draft of.

Her writing is Tolkienish but extremely compact and efficient. I am floored by how much she communicates in just a few lines. Everything in her story has the feel of something I’ve read in other fairy tales yet completely unique–like things I’d never heard before but felt like I have and had just forgotten. Her world is frightening but beautiful at the same time–quivering with hidden beauty waiting to be released.

Abby is great about supporting other writers all along the spectrum, from girls in their early teens trying out their hand at novel-writing to adult friends getting ready to publish. She has introduced me to so many other writers (including three of the ones mentioned in this post) and encouraged me in my reviews.

But probably the thing I admire most about Abby is her priority of serving in her home and church. This is demonstrated in both what she writes and how. Ironically, right now she inspires me by not writing. Because of a recent decline in health, Abby has taken a blogging break so that she can use what energy she has to being a faithful wife and church member.

Abby has shown me in word and deed what it looks like to submit your gifts to God and use them to glorify Him.

Deanna Brown of Strokeman’s Woman

I had the pleasure of meeting Deanna in a writing group Abby hosted and hearing an excerpt from the autobiography she is writing on her experience as a caretaker for her husband, who suffered a stroke several years back. Even though I didn’t know her at the time and was jumping in at a later point in her book, I was immediately moved by her story of love and long-suffering. She tells her story with raw honesty, sharing both the good and bad, but still with honor for her husband. Her love, her honor, her faith and dependence on Christ, and her commitment to her church inspire me.

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