Middle-of-the-Month Check-In: July

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! How are you all doing? It’s been a month (how, I don’t know) since I last checked in and it’s that time again, so let’s dive in!

Me

  • An amazing friend of mine from Salt Lake City came to visit for the first time in two years! It was such an amazing day…
  • We went on a day trip to Denton, Texas! I’ll be posting about that on my other blog soon, including my shopping haul. 😜
  • I posted for Diamond’s Camp Happy Heart twice this month! Go check out her blog. It rocks.
  • My family finally found time to plant flowers! Between COVID in May and commitments we just hadn’t done it until now. I’ll insert a gallery of photos after this section.
  • The Star That Always Stays came out on July 12! It’s so good so far! I haven’t quite finished it though because….
  • I have a church camp and a conference in the next two weeks! This camp is the highlight of my year…. I love it so much! But two weeks away from home means a lot of planning and packing. It also means that all posts during that time are written and scheduled in advance so I won’t be responding to comments for a little while. But still talk to me! I’ll answer as soon as I get the chance.
  • Last but not least, my family went through our homeschool library! I may do a bookshelves tour in the future if anyone is interested. We have a lot of books. 😅😂

My Blog

My Writing

  • What Matters Most needs more development than I originally thought. I want to give it room to be the best possible so I’m taking a break until I can focus on it and then I’m expecting it to be nearly a year before it will be 100% ready for publishing.
  • I decided that, when I do NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll work on either What Matters Most’s sequel or I’ll work on The Lies I Believed. Since it’s narrowed down it will be easier to plan when October comes around.
  • I wrote two short stories and a poem this month. They are all posted above in the blog section.

You

For those who don’t remember, this portion will be where I feature my favorite little snippets of writing, photography, or art 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.) For this month, I’m featuring Emma’s writing!


What is the purpose of a story?

Is it to entertain you, to occupy the dull hours of a night or day?

Is it to help you escape, to live in another’s world for a few hours, only to eventually have to return to your own?

Or is the purpose of a story to teach? Are stories merely nicely-decorated conduits for information, meant to make the learning go down easier? Are they like the flavoring in sickly-sweet cough syrup, which disguises the medicine’s bitter taste but doesn’t quite do it well enough to make the medicine taste good?

Is a story meant to promote a cause? To sell a product? To convince an audience to believe that what you say is true?

Maybe a story is all of these things.

But maybe not.

Maybe a story has one purpose, and one only—to glorify God, the best storyteller of all.

God is the ultimate author. He has written us here on earth so that we may glorify Him, and He is more than worthy of all the glory that our stories can give Him.

And every story bears the mark of its author’s Creator. In the triumph of good over evil, in the sacrificial love of a father or mother for their child, in the anguish of a heart groaning over the darkness of the world, and in the quiet peace that comes when that groaning heart finally sees the light

What is the purpose of a story?

Is it to entertain you? To provide escape or relief? To force-feed you a message, or to advertise?

No.

The purpose of a story is threefold: truth, goodness, and beauty.

With these three together, we will point to the Maker of all, who wrote the story of the world, and by whom our story is continually being written.

Truth. Good stories portray the world as both dark and light. The world is not safe, but the world is not hopeless. In it there is unspeakable cruelty and evil, but there is also unspeakable grace.

Good stories must point to truth. If they do not, then they have failed to display the Maker the way He truly is.

Goodness. A story with no light is no story at all. Yes, the darkness is pervasive, but to show only the darkness is to ignore the better half of the picture. There is goodness in the world, and a good story will show it: goodness standing against evil with courage and strength, and goodness that can never be overcome by the dark.

True stories must point to the good. For how can vice with no virtue show us a virtuous God?

Lastly, beauty. Beauty is the color to the painting of humanity. It takes a cold stone and makes it a marble sculpture; it takes cloth and paint and makes it a breathtaking masterpiece. What is true and good should be beautiful, and what is beautiful must be true and good.

Beautiful stories point to our Creator better than any dry prose. He is true beauty. And how can something remind us of Him—our father, lover, and friend—if it is not beautiful?

This is the purpose of a story. Every good story bears the mark of our God, and our God is true, good, and beautiful.

Perhaps, using stories, we can fight back the darkness and let our light shine more.


That was really thought-provoking and beautiful! Don’t you agree?

I’ll be putting up a submissions page soon (hopefully. A lot is going on, so I won’t promise it immediately), since the contact page is somewhat difficult for files. But next month’s Middle-of-the-Month Check-In is already open for submissions! Make sure you submit your best work in 1 image or 1000 words or less and keep it clean please! I can’t wait to see what you guys have for me next month!

Now I’d like to take this last paragraph to ask you some questions because you warriors are amazing. 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? How are your projects going? 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!