Sunset: A Poem – Summer of Stories 2

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! I have another Summer of Stories post today! This week’s prompt was “write a poem about a sunset.” I hope you enjoy!


Some people see beauty

In the golden rays of evening

The edge of night’s burning

Some people see artwork

In the masterfully chosen hues

The pinks, oranges, and blues.

Some people see promise

In the ending of one day

Knowing the night won’t stay

Some people see the moon

As the sun fades into the horizon

And they watch the stars be strung

But I see a little of all tonight:

Beauty, art, promise, and the moon

And I sing a different tune

Because I see hope most tonight:

Though the sun may fade

There always comes a new day

Again and again the darkness falls

Only for again the sun to shine bright

Where there is day, there will be night

But where the night ends is beauty

Not only does the sun set, it rises

Shining on all God’s precious prizes

Won from death and Satan’s grip,

By choosing Him we’re saved and His

And so He wraps us in golden-ray kisses.

But those who have yet to come,

He calls them home, “I love you, son!

You can’t change that fact with what you’ve done!”

So when I look at a fresh sunset,

I hear a voice calling from the sky

“Glory, glory, to Christ on high!”


What do you see in a sunset? Let me know in the comments!

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Glass Beach: A Short Story – Summer of Stories 1

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today I have some writing for you because I’m part of Maggie’s Summer of Stories contest! (Writers! Join me! And hey, artists! There’s Avenue of Art on Evin’s blog for you!) This week’s prompt was “a walk on the beach in 500 words or less.” I hope you enjoy!


Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Beaches are often associated with vacations, tropical journeys, and wild adventures, simple pleasures for the luxurious and worn alike. But I’ve always thought beaches were promises and as I slowly walk the shores of the Glass Beach, I’ve never felt more certain. This beach isn’t a beach of golden sand. It’s a beach of hope. I close my eyes as I sit down beside the waves and listen to the gentle tide tell me the story of what once was, just as it has a million times before.

Long ago, dear child, this place was rejected. This place was filth and junk, a cruel dump of what no longer could do what people wanted. Shattered glass covered the shores, still and unloved. We watched the pieces lay in despair and we began our work, seeing what could be. The glimmering pieces were full of color and could reflect the light, even if now they lay sharp and painful. Slowly, slowly, we began our work. Day by day, we washed away the rejection, smoothed the pointed edges, and kissed the shining colors. The sun bathed them in light and warmth, urging them to shine. And as we worked, they began to shine. The hated glass, the broken vessels, the dangerous pieces that once were slowly faded, and the glimmering rocks appeared. Now, here you sit, comforted by their shine, their color, awed by what once was rejected. Dear child, there are waves like us in your heart, waves like us around you. Gently they’ll scoop you up and hug you and kiss you and wash you clean. Gently they’ll stand by until you shine like these rocks. But first… you need to surrender. You need to lay broken, rejected, open, and faintly shining. Then the waves will come. 

As I open my eyes, the waves have again convinced me that the world is not what I often think it is: a huge warzone, every man for himself. No, the world is a broken heart, waiting for the blood to flow from piece to piece, bringing pieces together into something whole. And, as I stare at the waves and slip a small piece of once-rejected glass into my pocket, I make a choice.

Today I will allow the flow. Today I will be both a wave and the glass. Today I surrender. 


The final word count was 391 words, so pretty short, and I know this post isn’t long, but hey! Short posts save time. Do you like this snippet? Do you want more? Let me know in the comments!

Middle-of-Month Check-In

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post is a little different from my usual ones, and, if you guys like this, let me know so I can make it a regular thing! I’m just going to give a brief life update and writing update (not all that much… these posts aren’t meant to be stressful or cause anger/offense/jealousy!) I’ll divide it into four sections. Let’s dive in!


Me

  • I have been pretty tired lately, which has meant less productivity.
  • I got back into a blog schedule, which means that if you follow all of my blogs you’ve seen some fun content!
  • I recently helped with my church’s VBS. I’ve never worked harder and this was my third, but it was so worth it… even if I did wake up early and come home with a headache every day.
  • I took my first ACT test and went to a public school building for the first time since second grade! That was interesting….

My Blog

My Writing

  • I got back into journaling for the most part after struggling during VBS
  • I’m about to dive into the alpha edits of WMM
  • I rediscovered an old story that… if I ever get time… I might fix.
  • This month hasn’t been the best, writing wise.

You

This portion will be where I feature my favorite little snippets of writing (no more than 1,000 words please and try to keep it short and very clean), photography (again, clean please), or art (you know by now) that you guys send me through my contact page! (For photography and art you will need me to respond before you can send the files.) I’ll try to feature as much as possible but I may not be able to feature yours, although I will try to respond with positive feedback because everyone rocks! If you guys like this, I might start adding themes. For this month, I’m going to feature Maggie’s amazing short story, since it really embodies the theme of Words!


“More.” The little boy’s smile was contagious as he

watched the teenager add a scoop of strawberry ice

cream to his cone.

“More.” The woman took the cup of water from her

husband, who held her hand while she went through

the pangs of childbirth.

“More.” Adjusting the tire pressure slightly, the man

grinned at his grandson as they admired his very first bicycle.

“More.” The young woman winced as the dress was

tightened, then smiled at her beautiful wedding dress in the mirror.

“More.” The man’s greedy hands closed around the

coins, tossing them to his comrade.

“More.” Taking a couple flower pedals from her

husband, the woman sprinkled them over the new

grave of her son.

Words.

More words.

But less words.

mean more.


Isn’t that amazing?! I love it so much!


Now I’m going to take this last paragraph to ask you some questions because you guys rock! You can answer as many or as few as you want, but this is my chance to get to know you better and to learn what you guys want from me! So here we go. What have you done this month so far? How are you doing? What would you all like to see from me in this next month? If you’re an author, what’s your current project? What are your plans and hopes for your writing? Do you like this post? Would you like to see more of these? If I do more of these, should I do themes or leave them open to anything? Let me know in the comments! See you soon!

Why I Journal + A Peek Into My Journal

Hey, warriors! How are you doing today? I’m excited, since I get to talk about a big change I recently made in my life in today’s post! I’m going to tell you the reasons I journal, show you my journal, and give you my best journaling tips. Let’s dive in!


Why I Journal

On May 18 this year, I made a choice. I was already planning on launching my blog on May 20th, the nine year anniversary of the tornado that changed my young life, so, after reading an inspirational magazine(don’t judge ok? Magnolia Journal is helpful) I decided to call the day my new year. Kaley’s New Year. You may already know the details of that from this post on my private blog (sorry if I don’t let you in; it’s private for a reason. Still, I might if you request it.) but one of the changes I decided to make was to start journaling.
So I did; on May 19th I was so excited I wrote an introduction and from May 20th on I’ve written an entry every day possible. I try to start each day with the date, a word of the day, and the time my first entry starts. Inside I list what needs done and, at the end of my day, I recap just a little and rate my day. Some days I’ve had insanely short entries and skipped several parts but I’ve tried my best to write one every day. I’ve only missed two days this far and I’m at over 50 pages.
But why do I journal? Because I need to be freely confined. I need a plan each day, but I also love to be creative and able to do whatever I feel like doing. I have certain things that need done, but I also try to have fun and chill time. I journal to remember, to mark my growth. I journal to process what’s happening to me and I journal to vent feelings and thoughts I just don’t need in my way. I journal to figure out why I’m doing what I’m doing and I journal to figure myself out. It’s been amazing.

A Peek in My Journal

Here’s a snippet of my journal…. It might not all make sense and it might be a little weird but it’s who I am. I like it. (Click on the pictures to see them better.)

So You Want To Journal?

  • Here are some things to keep in mind if you journal or want to start journaling:
  • Journaling isn’t hard! You don’t need to write five pages every day. Last night I wrote less than five sentences. That’s fine! If you need to skip a day, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay.
  • You don’t need a fancy journal. I’m using a fairly small one that fits in my back pack by Soul Scripts, my favorite journal brand, but it was a gift. Any journal works fine!
  • Try and make a set time to journal each morning and evening if you can. It’s good to start the day with goals and end with reflection time. But if you only have ten minutes to journal a day and it’s at lunch time, that’s still fine!
  • If you didn’t notice, journaling is forgiving. Why? Because a book can’t talk back and it’s whole job is to help you learn and grow into a healthier, stronger, wiser person. It isn’t very healthy or wise to beat yourself up.
  • I love to start each entry with a word and its definition when possible because it gives me something to think about as I dive into my day.
  • I also love to end the day with a rating and a short bit about why I rated it that way. It shows me what I like and what I don’t like and I get to know myself even better.
  • A journal with blank spaces for page numbers is amazing because you can fill them in as you reach them. It’s so thrilling to realize, “hey! I’ve written twenty pages!”
  • Be honest with yourself. Some days aren’t good days and you don’t need to pretend they were. But often, bad days have some highlights. Don’t drop the good all together, but know that there’s a little light even in the rain and that it’s going to rain sometimes.
  • I took notes from a conference in my journal at one point and wrote twenty pages in two days. Your journal doesn’t just have to be for to-do lists and reflections. It holds anything and everything!
  • I try to bring my journal with me when I go places because sometimes you need to calm down even in public and a journal is a place for silent ranting. It’s also a continuous check-list with things you need to do and things you want to do, as well as dates of when things happened. It’s a great thing to have on hand at any time.
  • A journal is great inspiration and practice for authors, too! If you keep one, don’t slack on your writing skills because this is a place where you want to put words on a page daily. Make it worth it!

I hope this post was helpful! Do you journal? Do you want to try? What journals do you like? How do you journal? Let me know in the comments!

Summer Reading Challenges To Try

Hey, friends! Welcome or welcome back to Words! As we enter into the summer, people my age and younger have more time and are starting to think about what to do with it. Meanwhile adults see the fun kids are having and, even though most are working, embrace the nostalgia, fun, and sun this season brings. If you’re looking for reading challenges for the summer, here’s a few I came up with! I’m doing two of them. Let’s dive in!


Two Books a Month

You know that one friend or family member who always has a list of books you should read? And you know how you normally have a few books for them? This is the challenge for the both of you! For this challenge, you and a friend swap a list of six-eight books and, over the summer, you each read two a month. This really helps knock out a little of that TBR and forces you and your friend or family member to chose which books are really the highest priority. My sister and I are on our second summer of doing this!

The Sequoyah Master List

As some of you may know, this next year’s Sequoyah master lists are out. I’m planning on reading through the children’s list later this year. This list isn’t extremely long but it has several fresh books worth reading. I don’t know what’s on the teen or adult list, though; you may want to research the content of the books.

Out of Your Genre

If you spend most of your time in a certain genre, you may want to try something different for the summer. For this challenge you choose a genre you normally wouldn’t read and find a number of books in the genre. This doesn’t sound hard but it can be! I read certain books much slower than others.

Family Book Club

If you and your siblings are around the same age, a fun option could be a summer book club. Everyone would pick a book they’d like to read and over the summer everyone would have to read all the chosen books. If you wanted to make it harder you could allow everyone to chose two. I think this challenge could be extremely interesting and a cool way to get to know your siblings better, even if you’re busy or have different schedules.

Other’s Choice

If you don’t have the one friend needed for the two books a month challenge but would love to do it, that’s ok! You can ask multiple people to give you one must-read book and organize your reading the same way. Ask people you don’t talk to as much, such as someone online you know or a librarian. This way you get a lot of variety and fun surprises!

Through a Library Section

This one is the most ambitious challenge: most libraries are divided into sections and, a month or two ago, I decided I’d read through one. I chose the children’s section. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m reading every book in the section, but I’m slowly reading through every title and as many summaries as possible. Then I choose the ones that interest me most. This is more organized browsing and so much more in-depth. I’ve found several books I wouldn’t have normally seen.


If you’re looking for book recommendations for the summer, I’m working on my reading list page. You can find my favorites and recent reads, as well as short reviews and content warnings. I’m going to be updating it often. Note, it’s still in progress and started recently. I’m still working on it. If you have suggestions for me, you can comment or reach out through my contact page.

Thank you for reading! What challenges are you doing this summer? Are you going to try any of mine? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Read More Kids’ Books Than YA Books: A Casual Conversation Post

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post will be pretty casual since I’d like to just have a sort of conversation with you, and first up on the agenda is an explanation as to why I just called you warriors and why I’m going to keep it up. Ready? *makes a cup of coffee* Let’s dive in!

Warriors

You’ve probably heard people say that the pen is mightier than the sword before, right? And you may have also heard of books changing lives, especially one book called the Bible (I’m a Christian and proud of it, changed by the Bible not because of words but because of the Spirit in the Word of God. Read John 1:1 if you don’t understand. But this post isn’t about what I believe in this regard.). If you think about it, a pen has begun wars and a pen has ended wars. A pen has started revolutionary movements and saved lives. If someone holds this power, I think they’re a warrior, don’t you? So I’ll be calling you warriors from now on. *sips coffee and nods*

So how are you guys? How are your writing projects going? What books are you reading? Any questions lately? I want to hear all about what’s on your minds, if you’re willing to be the warrior you are and tell us. I also want you to know that this place is a safe place. I will personally delete anything meant to hurt because this place is for a family, a group of friends, and a team of writers and readers supporting and teaching each other. Please get to know each other more in the comments! I challenge you to reply to one person you’ve never talked to before. Your words could change both of your lives, even in a small way. So maybe answer my questions. Maybe introduce yourself and say hi to everyone. I’ll be responding to as many comments as possible.

Why I read more kids’ books than YA books

What’s that your asking? *sips coffee and looks at you innocently* Oh, you clicked this post to find out why I read kids books and choose to miss out on all the excitement of stuff for my age? Not to be asked a bunch of questions and told you’re part of some family you didn’t really ask to join? *swallows coffee calmly* *sets coffee down* I should probably explain that. Since I’m a storyteller, I’ll start with a little story.

Every Wednesday I visit the library with my family. Normally I’m not thrilled to be there simply because I’m being tutored on how to take the ACT test best, but even still I always have time to look at books (although I admit that occasionally this time has been used for texting). One fateful day I decided that instead of sitting around waiting to test I’d look at the books. As I entered the children’s section, I overheard two boys talking (far too loudly for a library) about some Pokémon books. I ignored them at first since boys will be boys, but then the older boy made a comment about children’s books being babyish (except Pokémon, he meant) and he was going to look in the teen section because, he would have the other boy know, he was thirteen. Now I could tell the younger boy wasn’t extremely happy with this comment and I was one row over so I calmly peeked around the corner to tell them that I was older than them both and I was in the children’s section. The older boy was embarrassed that I heard him and somewhat insulted when I gently alerted him of how loud he was. But we both returned to perusing the shelves. A few minutes later I happened to glance up and spot him in the teens’ section. For some reason, I felt the urge to talk to this stranger again and tell him that he should look in the kids’ section, and I did so, offering my reasons. Soon after he was, to my slight discomfort but satisfaction, following me through the shelves of “babyish” books. Do you know what books he really wanted in the end? Take a guess.

He wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Hank the Cow Dog.

I laughed to myself softly and sadly when I saw that. Do you know why?

Books are often labeled “kids’” or “teens’” not only by the age of the characters but also by the content. This means that it apparently appeals to teens to read books filled with unnecessary language and actions that parents don’t encourage but their reading material discusses. This means many adult authors writing books for teenagers feel the urge to include the darker side of humanity in their work simply because they believe that’s what teens want to read and hear. They insert passionate romance and cussing into all genres and wave their beliefs like a banner. In some ways, this exposes their hearts, but, in many ways, it is cunningness or ignorance that children’s authors often don’t use in writing.

Not all teens want to act like they’re married to someone they hardly know. Not all teens curse like a walking dictionary of explicit language. Not all teens believe or want to be persuaded into believing in political views, religious ideas, or other concepts. Maybe some teens just want a story; maybe some teens just want to read about someone who is like them and makes it through whatever they’re going through. Some YA authors acknowledge this, but not enough do. I walk into my library’s teen section and am immediately disgusted by covers of romance books and titles that leave me in the dark as to whether or not I can trust the book. I’m afraid to open these books because I don’t ever know what I might find. These are the products of fools and masters both: the fools write this way because they only know their own heart, not teens, and the masters write this way because they know teens are most likely to learn a new way or new belief because their minds are still developing and trying to separate from their parents as they get older. If you’re careful about your companions, then you should be wary of these books because a book well-written becomes a companion.

Now I also read children’s fiction because it is simple and to the point. These books are about kids learning how strong they can be, what complex feelings are, and how to come together to make the world better. These books can be masterfully written and have you on the edge of your seat with a simple theme almost everyone can agree on. If we’re all so set on being politically correct, why aren’t we more aware of the way words often divide when they could bring people together? These books also contain imagination that teens scoff at and adults laugh at because it can’t be believed. These books are the treasures of childhood that have been preserved in some authors’ minds formed into words that make us gasp and laugh and smile with pleasure. These books bring us back to simpler times.

Now don’t get me wrong. Some “kids’” books would be classified as these teen books if someone took the time to read them before calling them kids’ books. I’ve started one that was ridiculously political in chapter one and I’ve read a kids’ book with bad language and some references that I very much didn’t care for. And some teens’ books are amazing. Dust, Shadow, and The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson are some of my favorite books, as well as Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. Ignite by Jenna Terese is beautiful and The Lunar Chronicles were overall excellent stories. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch had me up way past my bedtime. But even several of these books contain unnecessary romance and references. I’m starting to think that a book without a kiss (or a million kisses) is hardly a YA book. It shouldn’t be this way.

In my writing, I’m taking a stand. I don’t want to use bad language when it doesn’t add to the story (which it normally doesn’t, in my opinion). I don’t want to discuss only the romantic troubles teens suffer. I don’t want books about bullying to only be in the middle-grade category. I want stories that teens can relate to that encourage us to go down the right paths because a book is food for the mind and we teens are mostly offered junk. I want to change that.

What about you? What are your thoughts on kids’ books vs. teens’ books? Do you accept the huge amount of explicit content in YA or are you against it? What is your favorite YA book without much or no explicit content? Let me know in the comments!