Saturday, December 26, 2020

Embracing Our Story

God writes the best stories if we choose to accept His path. That's what this post boils down to. I hope as this crazy year draws to a close that you value your role more than ever.

During 2020, I went from knowing that God was worthy of my trust to experiencing that again. 

I got a great job (during a pandemic).
I got diagnosed with epilepsy (and wasn't panicky about it).
I had a ton of car repairs (but funds and helpful relatives).
I cried a lot (and learned that's okay).
I got a boyfriend (after some emotional turmoil).
I joined a new church (and watched it mostly online).
I re-engaged a new project on a whim (and am self-publishing it in 2021). 
I tried a lot of new things (and won't revisit half of them).

In short, this year was hard, but I spent each moment more determined than ever to live. I know it was hard for all of us. But at the end of the day, 2020 doesn't go down as a bad year in my book. I know who writes my story, and after seeing this chapter, I'm more confident now than ever that God is the best Storyteller. Not just for me, but for all of us.

It's part of me being made in His image that I got the storytelling gene, and I may never get over how cool that is. But let me tell you, His story for you is better than any you could ever write for yourself. Whether that feels like a reality or a dream, I pray you can embrace that truth as we step into yet another chapter of His story.

I kid you not when I say that this online community God blessed me with is a huge part of what kept me sane during 2020. Welcome to 2021, my dear friends. 


What's something you're thankful for from 2020? Any word for the year or resolution for 2021?

Saturday, September 26, 2020

When Pressed for Reading Time

Let's be real: I'm short on time these days. This is my first blog post on here in e o n s. I barely have time to check my email, let alone send replies. Squeezing in my editing work around my full-time grocery store job leaves me minimal time for writing and social media posts. So reading? It's (sadly) at the very, very bottom of my priority list.

Reading is still a very valuable pastime to me, though! It's still edifying and entertaining, but ... I am learning that I do read differently when I'm pressed for time. Because when I've got time for maybe 10 books in a year instead of 50+, things are bound to change a little, right?

What I'm Reading

Historical fiction. I think we all know by now that it's my favorite genre and always will be. (If this is news to you, welcome to the Abi-love-his-fic club. Please send recommendations.) I want to soak up other cultures and other times and learn new things about history all while enjoying a good story!

Powerful themes. Confession: I will read a bad book if it has good themes. And by "good" themes, I don't mean that they have to be mindblowing or super unique. They instead need to be a well-written arc in the book and speak to me for where I'm at in life right now.

No-fluff plots. The faster a story engages me and hints at the grandeur of a plot left to unfold, the better. I love complexity and long books just as much as ever, so this doesn't mean I want short or shallow. I just really appreciate intentionality. 

Standalones. While I just bought myself a 13-book series for my bookshelves ... I hesitate to invest in a series these days. A couple hundred pages? Sure. A couple thousand pages? Eh ... Standalones hold more appeal for me than ever simply because I have less time to spare.

What's Changed

More DNFs. The amount of books I start and read only a page or (if they're lucky) a chapter of these days is so vast that I don't even bother listing them all on Goodreads. Because it's not always the book's fault if it didn't click with me at this precise moment.

Fewer genres. Most of the books I DNF (do not finish) these days aren't what I typically read anyways. And most of the books I do end up finishing? Yep, historical fiction.

More editing. As my editing business continues to grow, I get paid to read more books than before. While it's still a side business, it's also still my dream job. So paid editing having higher numbers than my casual reading is new, but it's also okay. Just because I'm editing a book doesn't mean it can't be an enjoyable read at the same time.

Fewer reviews. I hate this, but it's true. I try to make sure the books I actually finish go on Goodreads. But reviewing them? It's not a common occurrence these days, which is a pity for everyone, I know. Even when I do review them, it's super-duper short (almost more like an endorsement) than it is thorough and detailed and organized. Oh well ...


Truth be told, I just realized I hadn't blogged in eight months, even though I've been intending to for a while. Apparently, I can still only go without talking at length about books for so long!

How did your reading habits change during this pandemic season? Any recommendations now that you have some insight into my adjusted reading habits?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Little Women (and the power of relating)

If you've been on the internet at all the last few weeks, you've probably seen a trailer advertised for the 2019 Little Women movie. Maybe you've even seen friends lending their opinions to social media. I'm here to add my voice to the crowd in praising it as a film but also diving into why I found it to be so masterful.

I was thrilled to see Little Women nominated for a host of Academy Awards, because I do think the film deserves it. But it wasn't the movie's female director, predominantly female cast, historically accurate portrayal of a woman's plight, or breathtaking cinematography that made it memorable to me, as Hollywood is espousing.

I think the reason I loved it so much was simply because I related to it.

I've consumed a lot of movies and books in my lifetime, but the ones that stick with me are the ones I relate to. The ones that touched me in ways I didn't expect, resounded with something deeply personal. 

The beauty of the entire story of Little Women to me is that it takes a single family and shows you a million different sides of life. Different dreams, different life paths; different virtues, different struggles ... all born out of a shared upbringing. I think that the story succeeds in offering true diversity in character. And by doing so, it also offers a wealth of points for readers (or viewers) to grab onto and say, "I feel that. I understand because that's me."

For me, I'm always going to relate to Meg as the firstborn girl. The one who has the traditional dreams and won't be laughed at for them. 

I also relate to Jo as a restless soul with a pen in her hand, with which she hopes to make a difference.

Perhaps you're more like Beth, Amy, or even Laurie.

This particular version of Little Women did well, I think, because it chose to tell more than just Jo's story. Greta Gerwig took a beloved classic and filmed it to create a contrast between life as an adolescent and life as an adult. By doing this, it gave everyone something to relate to. Loss. Growing up. Dreams. Disenchantment. Struggle. This made each character's personal journey more powerful and authentic, despite how much they were like us.

So as a writer, keep in mind that people don't always need something brand new. They just need something familiar framed in a new light, with new people living it.

I hope all of you go see the new Little Women and thoroughly enjoy it for the masterpiece that it is. (Yes, even if you didn't like the book!)

The magic of story always amazes me, no matter the medium, and this movie's rendition of one of my favorite classics was no different.


Long time no see! This post was going to be an Instagram post, but I decided the blog needed dusting off, and I needed more room. ;)

But that wasn't exactly a typical review, was it? Have you seen the new movie? Read the book? Which March sister do you relate to most? Tell me your thoughts!!