My Friday Favorite Five

It’s time for another Friday Favorite Five!

It’s been a while since my last Friday Favorite Five post. I’m excited to be doing another Friday Favorite Five post today. 🙂 Here we go…..

ONE: Cheesy Rom-Coms

I have always loved and will always adore cheesy rom-coms. The first rom-coms that I ever watched were Kate & Leopold and Leap Year, and ever since those movies I’ve been addicted. Hallmark movies are some of my favorites, and Christmas is one of the best times for romance movies! Last night I watched Life as We Know It (SO cute!), and as I type this post, the Hallmark movie From Friend to Fiance is playing in the background. If you guys have any good rom-com suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

TWO: Chilled Chai Lattes

I’ve been working on creating a chilled (I don’t have ice okay??) Chai latte recipe, and I think I’m getting close to creating THE ONE. Basically I steep two Chai tea bags in 2 cups of water in the fridge overnight (start with hot water so that it is stronger). The next day, I remove the tea bags and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two tablespoons of brown sugar. I make sure it’s all mixed together, then pour the sweetened concentrate into a glass and mix with almond milk. This drink has been satisfying my cravings for Chai during these hot, sunny days, and it’s delicious!

THREE: College Vlogs

My freshman year of college is coming up, and I am so excited! I’ve been watching some college vlogs to learn more about what a little bit more about to expect, what to bring, etc. Here are two vloggers whose vlogs I’ve learned a couple tips from:

Marrisa Nicole | Ohio State University | College Tips and Hacks + Vlogs

Sophia Pruett | UNC Wilmington | College Guide + Vlogs

And here’s a blogger who has been helpful as I’ve been creating a packing list: Sophia Lee of By Sophia Lee

FOUR: Surfaces Music

Surfaces has been one of my favorite music groups to listen to lately! Their music is so fun, bright, and positive. You might know their song “Sunday Best.” It’s one of my favorites of theirs!

FIVE: Poldark

You all may be thinking… Does this girl do anything but drink Chai, listen to music, and watch TV and YouTube???? The answer is yes, I do, but I’m just listing some of these kinds of things that I’ve been liking okay??? Okay, back to Poldark…..

My mom and I just finished the last season of Poldark (which is on Amazon Prime). It was such a good show, but I felt a little unsatisfied by the ending. Nevertheless, I’m hoping to rewatch it soon. 😉 Seriously, if you like period dramas, try POLDARK. I want to read the books too!

What is one of your favorite things?

Guest Post By Tessa Emily Hall: Can Our “Imperfections” Further Our God-Given Calling?

Guest Post By Tessa Emily Hall: Can Our “Imperfections” Further Our God-Given Calling?
I’m super excited to be hosting Tessa Emily Hall of Christ Is Write here on Notebooks and Novels today! Her next first devotional for teens, Coffee Shop Devos, releases next month, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on a copy! =D 
About Coffee Shop Devos

There’s something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend–engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?

Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer. Along the way, you’ll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage–regular or decaf–to enjoy while you read. And don’t forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos

Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated–almost as though you’ve shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.

Click here to pre-order Coffee Shop Devos on Amazon.
Click here to mark Coffee Shop Devos as “to read” on Goodreads.

Doesn’t it look fantastic? I’m excited to get to read it! =D But for now, I’m happy to get to read this lovely guest post that Tessa wrote. It’s not only encouraging, but it is also a challenge for us to discover who God made us to be and what He put us on this earth to do. I’m excited to get to share this with you all! =) Happy reading! 

Have you ever felt different from others your age? Maybe you’re not into the same hobbies your friends are into. Perhaps you’re not as social, don’t have as many followers on social media, or don’t care about shopping.

This is how I felt in middle and high school. Like I stood out. Like I was the only introverted girl my age—the only one who preferred to stay at home on the weekends and write rather than hang out with friends.

I felt like something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I fit in?

The thing is–I didn’t want to fit in. I didn’t want to become someone that I wasn’t just so I could receive acceptance. Yet even this made me feel as though I needed to be “fixed”.

It wasn’t until I grew closer in my relationship with Christ that my desire to receive approval from man began to fade. It wasn’t until then that the truth laid out in Psalms 139:13-16–which says that every detail of myself was selected with a purpose–that I began to accept who I am. And during this time, I had a realization:

My “imperfections”–what I once thought were flaws–are actually the very traits God will use to further my calling. 
You see, the enemy doesn’t want me to love who I am. Instead, he wants me to resent the very aspects about myself that God views as beautiful. Why? Because he wants me to refrain from embracing my potential and pursuing my calling. A calling that could result in the furthering of God’s Kingdom. 
But now that I’ve learned this tactic, I can allow God to transform these “flaws” into strengths. Just as He originally intended. No, not even so I can gain human acceptance–but so I can play my role in building the Body of Christ. So I can tap into my fullest potential and pursue my calling.
Does this mean perhaps God created each of us in a way that could aid us in pursuing our unique path? Does this mean He gave us our personality, strengths, gifts, desires—and, yes, quirks—for a reason?
I believe so. I believe He purposely crafted each us differently so we could contribute to the work of His Body (The Church) in various ways. He wants to send His message throughout the ends of the earth, and we are His hands and His feet (1 Corin. 12:12). The way He formed us is directly correlated with how He wants us to further His ministry on earth.
What I once viewed as a weakness — being introverted — was actually a God-given strength to help me fulfill my calling: writing. If I wasn’t an introvert then I wouldn’t have the ability to stay quiet and observe in a social setting. I would also probably go crazy if I had to stay at home and write for hours on end!
What is it God has called you to pursue? You might not know the entire picture, but perhaps you have an understanding how you’re different. You’re familiar with your personality type. You understand your various strengths and interests. What if these unique facets that make up you are arrows pointing you toward your unique calling—or at least hints that could give you a glimpse into what He might want you to accomplish on this earth?
My challenge to youSpend time with God today. Ask Him to help you accept every part of who you are–yes, even the “flaws”. Then, see if He reveals ways you can begin to tap into your potential and pursue your unique path.

About Tessa

Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House September 2018. Tessa’s passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent for Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PURSUE Magazine. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website:

Visit Tessa on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook and subscribe to her mailing list

What is one of your “imperfections” that could be pointing to your God-given calling? What’s your favorite coffee shop drink? 

The Get to Know Me Tag: Writer’s Edition

It’s time for a tag! And not just any tag… It’s the Get to Know Me Tag: Writer’s Edition, created by my friend Savannah @ Inspiring Writes. Thank you for letting me steal this tag, True! =) I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and am so excited! Before we jump into the fun, we have some rules…
The Rules
– link back to the person who created the tag –
– thank the person who tagged you –
– share the tag graphic (I kinda made my own… *hides face*)-
– tag eleven bloggers (this rule might be broken xD) –
Vital Stats And Appearance

Name: Micaiah Saldaña

Nicknames: My dad will sometimes call me Caiah, but that’s about it. =)

And for the questions I skipped… *points to above photo*

First novel written: I’m going to go with Light in the Dark here, a serial I posted on my old blog. It just…. Never got finished. Ever. And I don’t know if I want to go back and see all the messiness. xD

First novel completed: Runaway was my first “novel” that I finished, but since that’s in a notebook I don’t know the exact word count. I still refer to it as my first novel though. xD

First award for writing: I got a second place award in Tessa Emily Hall’s Monday’s Minute Challenge. It was small, but I was so excited and kept sending in pieces. I ended up getting first place a couple times after I started honing my skills. *flexes writing muscles* xD

First publication: First publication… I had a few articles published in PURSUE magazine (check out the new issue here!), but my first piece of fiction to be published will be my short story Dear Jamie, Love Rory. And guys. IT COMES OUT NEXT MONTH!!!!

I hope to see you all here at Notebooks and Novels on July 19th, which is Dear Jamie, Love Rory‘s release date and the kick off day for a blog party I’m planning to celebrate its release! =D 

First conference: I haven’t attended any writing conferences yet, but I am working towards a trip to an ACFW conference. =D

First query/pitch: Nothing here either…. YET. 😉


Novel (that you wrote): Ummm….. The one I’m working on now. Currently it’s in the idea/brainstorm/find-an-actual-plot stage, but I’m calling it Where Has the Sun Gone right now. I already love it!

Genre: I’ve dabbled everywhere and it is SO HARD TO CHOOSE. Can I just say anything that falls under the YA Christian umbrella? Yes? Thank you. =)


Writing Music: Anything Fleurie and Ruelle, although I listened to a lot of alternative/folk-style music for Dear Jamie, Love Rory.

Time To Write: At night before I go to bed. Like right now. *innocent whistling*

Writing Snack/Drink: Salted caramel hot chocolate and anything sweet/baked/bad for me. Lately I’ve been making Nutella strawberry sandwiches and eating Sour Patch Kids. SO GOOD.

Movie: Ummmm…… Every Marvel movie ever made? xD To be honest, if I could only pick one movie, it’d be Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version). That movie…. ❤ ❤ ❤


Writing Memory: It’s a tie between seeing an email saying that I won One Teen Story‘s writing contest and having my mentor Tessa Emily Hall come to lunch at my house. ❤

Childhood Book: AGAIN I CANNOT PICK. I loved reading as a little kid as much as I do now, so it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite out of everything I read. But if I have to pick, it’d be the Chronicles of Narnia and The Jesus Storybook Bible. My dad read them aloud to my sisters and I when we were little, and I have such fond memories of them. Besides, they’re books I still enjoy today. =)


Reading: Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennet (see my interview with her here). It’s so good! ❤

Writing: A story about selkies, a rogue Fae, an English earl, a boy who tells the best stories, and a girl with eyes the color of the Sea. I plan on sending it to Spring Song Press this month. =) I’m also brainstorming THE STORY. We shall see where all that thinking goes. =) I know for sure that it’ll have lots of dessert…. xD

^^^^Lots of desserts like this. ❤

Listening to: Lots and lots of dreamy Fleurie music. Have I mentioned that it’s the best? AND HER NEW MUSIC VIDEO OH MY WORD. Click here to be amazed, and to have a great new song stuck in your head.

Watching: I’m excited to watch The Flash season 4 (it’s now on Netflix!) and am also hoping to rewatch Downton Abbey, my favorite tv show.

Learning: That new isn’t always terrible or scary and that it’s okay to take what feels like forever searching for and writing the story of your heart.


Want To Be Published: YES YES YES YES. I would love to publish a novel of mine one day! =D

Indie or Traditional: Both. I think it would be fun to publish a novella indie style and publish a novel traditionally. =)

^^^^Aren’t inspirational quotes the best?

Wildest Goal: To write a timeless classic that would be ranked alongside the works of Dickens, Austen, Brontë, and other greats, and for it to be as heartbreaking and touching as Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. A girl can dream, right?

I Tag…
Anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice, ice cream, Downton Abbey, and salted caramel hot chocolate. Also, we could totally be best friends if you love all of that stuff. Think of all the binge watching and junk food…..
Do you like Downton Abbey? What is one of your wildest goals/dreams? Have you listened to “Constellate”? What is one of your favorite desserts? Let’s chat, friends! =) 

Books and Boxers

Wow, it has been FOREVER since I’ve posted. Where have I been? Well…. I’ll fill you in next week, during my monthly highlights post, but before I fill you in on my favorite reads starring dogs, I will tell you that my family has a new puppy. *screams and throws confetti* 
His name is Bryzzo (Go Cubs), and I am OBSESSED with his tiny little paws and his absolutely adorable face.  *hugs Bryzzo* Look at him. Tell me that you’re not already in love with this little guy. I mean sure, he tried to eat my purse and has a thing against my little brother’s remote controlled cars, but he is just so sweet and cuddly and PERFECT. *sighs*
You all may remember Wrigley, my family’s ten year old boxer, from some of my past blog posts. Sadly, he recently passed away. =( We all miss him SO much around here. Life isn’t the same without him waking us up or chasing his favorite red ball, but Bryzzo has been keeping us on our toes!
Now that you’ve been filled in on the four-legged friends of Notebooks and Novels, let’s get to the bookish part of this post, shall we? =) 
And Now, For The Books…
The Shiloh Series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Shiloh series has had a special spot on my bookshelf ever since my Mom read all three books to my sisters and me when we were little. To this day, I still love the books, and I still hold Shiloh to be one of the best dogs ever in the world of fictional pooches. I mean, c’mon, look at his cute little beagle FACE. Even Dara Lynn couldn’t turn her nose up at that! 
Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
Ginger Pye is another book my Mom read to my sisters and me. Can you tell that she’s one of the reasons I love to read so much? =) But anyways, who doesn’t want a dog that tracks you down with one of your PENCILS? I need a dog like that to help me remember where I put all of my pencils, which I seem to constantly lose…. *hides face* 
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Because of Winn-Dixie is most definitely my favorite book out of all these that I’ve listed so far. Ever since I read it, I was in love with Opal and her dog Winn-Dixie who followed her everywhere in her small Southern town as they ate Littimus lozenges. I personally wish that my librarian let Bryzzo in, but he would most likely eat all of the books…. Trust me, I know from experience. *puts books on a high shelf away from dog* 
A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin
This is, in my opinion, the saddest book out of my lineup, but don’t let that scare you! There is (thankfully) a happy ending, so I was able to read it. Yes, I’m that kid who boycotted Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows because of the endings. Thanks, Mom, for warning me and therefore saving me from wasting boxes of Kleenexes. A Dog’s Life is such a fun read because it’s told from a dog’s viewpoint-like A Dog’s Purpose, which I have yet to read. BUT I SAW THE MOVIE. And, er, cried through it too. 

 What are some of YOUR favorite books with dogs in them? Tell me, so Bryzzo and I can get reading! Have you read any of the books I’ve included in my line-up? If so, be sure to enter the poll I’ve added on my sidebar and vote for your favorite! Do you have a dog? If so, what breed is it? Grab your favorite pooch and let’s swap puppy stories in the comments and chat!

A Quick Hiatus…

It’s finally SUMMER. *throws on sunglasses* Time to hack into my TBR, make a couple s’mores, and write till my heart’s content. *dreamy sigh*
You all have probably noticed this, but I haven’t been very active in the blogosphere lately. And to tell you the truth, I will continue to not be for awhile, due to more camping escapades, so I’ll be going on a quick blogging hiatus until July. Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon, and you’ll get to look forward to….

Some monthly highlights.
A post about 6 things my dad has taught me (I’m late again xD).
A quick blog series about some of my favorite books.
The writer’s tag. 
I hope to see you all around here soon! =)
 What are you doing this summer? What’s on your TBR? What’s blasting through your headphones?

The Liebster Award

Annndddd I’m back. It’s been awhile, but here I am, and I’ve been tagged with the Liebster Award by both the amazing Karyssa Norton @ No Coffee, No Can Do and Pip and Lolly @ Pip and Lolly. But first, the rules… 
Link back to the person who tagged you.
Answer the eleven questions.
Tag eleven bloggers and let them know.
Ask your tagged bloggers eleven questions.

So first, Karyssa’s questions…..

How long have you been writing? 

When I was little, I’d crank out bits of poetry (my first poem was titled “Apple Cider Bubble Bath”) and create my own picture books, but I first started writing seriously about two years ago, when I first learned that I was actually good at this whole writing thing through a school project. It was then that I began writing longer stories beyond trips to the carnival and it was then that I started my blog.

When you write, do you like to type or write by hand? 

Despite my many escapades with writing novels in notebooks, I mainly end up typing. First of all, my hand prefers it. Like, REALLY prefers it. Secondly, it’s SO much faster than writing by hand, not to mention neater. Lastly, there’s something about that clickety click sound as my fingers sweep across the keyboard that is so satisfying. Am I the only one? =) And yes, I just copied, pasted, and slightly edited this answer from the Sunshine Blogger tag. xD

Oxford comma: yay or nay and why? 

*cheers for the oxford comma* Yay! Because that’s what I was taught to be proper grammar when I was a little girl, it just looks right (in my humble opinion, that is), and I love the name.

Do you prefer movies or shows? 
No, my family’s tv does not look like that. Sorry. xD

Shows. Because then I can spend several seasons with the characters I love instead of just an hour and a half. It’s the same with stand-alone novels and book series for me. I prefer series for the same reason. =)

If you could only visit one other country, which one would it be? 

Ummmm…. Seeing that I’ve already visited a bunch, I’d head to Uganda (again). I miss the red dirt and smiling faces SO much. There’s no place on earth that I’d rather be than in the humidity and sunshine of Uganda.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? 

I’d say I’m an introvert, but once you get to know me, well…. Just ask my friends. You’ve been warned. xD

What’s one random thing about you that few people know? 

One random thing…. Only one? *pouts* Well, I happen to be obsessed with typewriters. Seriously. I love them. They’re so pretty and they make that lovely click-click-ding-ding sound and they have some of my favorite font and—

I just love typewriters.

What is your favorite animal? 
I want one. 

*head bang* I have to choose between itty bitty otters, super cute sea lions, cuddly puppies, and fluffy chinchillas?! I don’t do well with these types of questions. I suppose my favorite animal would be a horse. I’ve loved nearly everything about horses ever since I was little, petting them, riding them, seeing them outside the car window, writing about them…. *sigh*

What quote (from a book, movie, YouTube video, etc) do you find yourself saying often? 

Believe it or not, it’s a Disney quote. From Frozen. Whenever my sisters and I are bored, I almost always ask, “Do you wanna build a snowman?” And you know what? They don’t tell me to go away!

If you could see yourself from someone else’s perspective, whose perspective would you choose and why? (It could be a family member’s, friend’s, your local librarian, etc.) 

I’d choose to see myself from my sister Malia’s perspective because her perspective would be very honest and down to earth, so I’d be able to see what I’m doing right and what I’m not doing right.

Would you rather live in the city, or the country? 
Isn’t it so fairytale like? =)

The country, for sure! Just think about it. *daydreams* A quaint little cottage where I can read, write, and bake all day and then I’ll walk outside and pet my pretty horses and cuddle the baby rabbits and watch the sunset and…. *cars whizz by* I did say I was daydreaming, right?

And now my next nominee’s questions…..

Why do you blog? 

I blog because it’s a way I can connect with other writers in an awesome community where we encourage each other and help each other grow. I blog because it’s a great way to help start my dream writing career. I blog because I enjoy writing posts and talking to my lovely readers in the comments.

What makes you feel on top of the world? 

Lots of stuff make me feel on top of the world. A scoop of salted caramel ice cream. A hug from my little brother. My dog deciding to (finally) cuddle with me. Spending time with my friends. Being sent into jaw dropping awe because of God’s incredible creation and His awesome majesty. It’s the little things and the big things that make me feel like I could fly on top of the world.

How do you cheer yourself up after a bad day or disappointment? 

I’ll either write a woe-is-me letter to God or binge read. Or both. Cuddling with and whining to my dog Wrigley helps too.

If you could live in any book for a week, which book would it be? 
*sigh* All the pretty books…

Okay, let’s see…. Not The Hunger Games, I wouldn’t last a week in that book. Probably The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. That would be SO fun to live in Narnia for a week. I’d get to wear pretty dresses, ride unicorns, stay at Cair Paravel, have tea with Mr. Tumnus, and ASLAN. Enough said.

If you could play any character in any movie, TV series, book etc. who would it be? 

Elizabeth Thatcher from When Calls The Heart. I’d love to teach a one room schoolhouse in an adorable little town out in the middle nowhere! Plus, she’s a writer, and I can find myself relating to her on quite a few occasions.

What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited or lived? 

I actually don’t have a favorite and simply cannot pick one in the place I’ve lived area. Each place I’ve lived has been special and unique, both in the location, the people, and the culture. But in the realm of places I’ve visited…. This is also super hard, but probably Uganda. I love that country to death.

If money wasn’t an object, where do you want to be in five years? 

If money wasn’t an object…. I’d want to have a big giant house in some foreign country with a bunch of adorable kids, and I’d bake them cookies and write them stories when we wouldn’t be out and about serving wherever we could. Basically, I want to be a missionary/writer/blogger/cookie baker/mom to many (aka like Katie Davis).

Are you a girly girl or would you consider yourself more of a tomboy? 

I’m not a girly girl (sparkles and the color pink don’t appeal that much to me), but I’m not necessarily a tomboy either (I mean…. What’s wrong with a day at the mall?) I’d say I’m somewhere in the middle. For example, I’d love to go on a hike and watch a baseball game, but then I’d also like t
o smear on facials and binge watch Downton Abbey.

What is your first memory? 

That’s a hard one (as if these others haven’t been difficult). I think I can vaguely remember chasing ducks somewhere…. But that’s about it.

How do you tell people you love them? 

I don’t always say it, but I like to do random things to show people that I care through little things like asking if I can help them, how they’re doing, and engaging in a conversation, but also in things a bit more noticeable like leaving someone a note or doing a chore. I don’t just like to say “I love you,” I like to show it.

What do you want others to see in you? 

I want other to look at me and see a young woman who loves the Lord with all her heart and pursues him no matter what. I want them to see Jesus through my imperfect self; I want them to see a light in the dark.

I Tag…
Anyone who wants to do this tag! Surely eleven people will want to do this tag, right? =)
My Questions…
I’m going to be stealing some questions from my awesome nominees, since I’m feeling very un-original right now. =) 
  1. How long have you been writing?
  2. Oxford comma: yay or nay and why?
  3. What’s one random thing about you that few people know?
  4. What’s a quote that you find yourself saying often?
  5. Would you rather live in the city or the country?
  6. If you could be any character in one of you favorite books, who would you be? 
  7. Which national park do you want to visit one day?
  8. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  9. What makes you feel on top of the world?
  10. If you could live in any book for a week, which book would it be? 
  11. What do you want others to see in you? 
*gives you candy if you made it through this post* Will you be doing this tag? =) What’s one of your favorite animals? Would YOU rather live in a tiny cottage or a modern apartment? What is one of your favorite memories? What is a quote that you love? Grab some ice cream and let’s chat!

6 Things My Mom Has Taught Me

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I know, I know, this post is 24 hours late, but my excuse is in my opinion, EVERY day should be Mother’s Day. Moms do so much that they need more than a day of appreciation. After all, mothers are like doctors, cooks, teachers, therapists, errand-runners, dropper-offers, and so much more rolled up in one human being.

This Mother’s Day, I couldn’t help but think of all the things my mom has taught me over the years. Sure, as my teacher, she’s taught me everything I know from my ABC’s to 9×2=18, but she’s also taught me more than that, lessons that will stick in my head and heart longer than the quadratic formula. Here are just five of those lessons….

My Mom Has Taught Me….
What A Godly Woman Looks Like. 
What comes to your mind when the word lady pops up? An English noblewoman with impeccable manners and a gorgeous dress? A woman with a kind, gentle heart? When I think of the word lady, one of the people that pops up in my mind is my mom. Sure, she may not live in an English mansion or ride around in a barouche, but she’s every bit of the lady little girls dream of becoming. Watching my mom act and speak like a lady has shown me what a godly woman, or a godly lady, looks like. I hope that one day I can be at least half of the woman my mom is.
To Try, Try Again. 

My mom has taught me not only to have patience, but to try. And if you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t get the correct answer to a problem in school? Try, try again. Failed at that recipe? Do over! Couldn’t figure something out? Google it! Try, try again.
To Have Patience.
I am not a very patient human being. However, patience is a trait that my mom showcases with flying colors. How she is patient with my siblings and me all day every day and is STILL sane is beyond me. By watching her, I’ve learned that patience is more than not going insane in the checkout line at the supermarket. Patience, from my observations, is more like an attitude of grace and calmness when things aren’t exactly going your way. Every day, I try to be as patient as my mom. One day, maybe I will. *waits impatiently for that day to come*
Mother’s Day makes me think of flowers. Hence all the flowery pictures. =D
To Be Myself.
My mom has ALWAYS wanted my siblings and I to not give into peer pressure and be something we’re not. She’s always wanted us to be ourselves and hold onto our values despite all the pressure being put on us. She’s taught us that we are wonderful creations handcrafted by God, and that we shouldn’t go along with what everyone is is doing.
To Love God.
This is probably the most important lesson my mom has taught me. To love God with all I’ve got no matter what, and to follow him at all times. She’s taught it to me through Bible lessons, the words she speak, and the way she acts, which brings me to the next lesson my mom has taught me…..
To Love Others.
There’s a sign that hangs in our living room with a quick run down of Mark 12:30-31. Love God. Love others. The way my mom selflessly serves the people around her has taught me to love others. As I’ve watched her open our home to guests, love and respect my father, teach and care for my siblings and I, and basically just live, I’ve learned what it looks like to deny oneself for others.
Mom, thank you for teaching me all of this and so much more. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on and a role model to look up to. Thank you for all you do, from making muffins and doing laundry to reading Jane Eyre and watching Downton Abbey with me (we still have quite a few episodes, by the way =)). Love you, Mom! 

EDIT: This post was originally titled “5 Things My Mom Has Taught Me” but I realized that I actually had six things written after I published it. xD *hides face* Don’t worry…. I fixed it. 
 What are some things your mom has taught you? What did you do for your mom on Mother’s Day? Please tell me you also enjoy Downton Abbey, and that everything Jane Austen and Jane Eyre makes you flail. Let’s chat!

The Sunshine Blogger Tag

Recently, the amazing Savannah of Scattered Scribblings tagged me with the Sunshine Blogger Tag. Thanks, Savannah! =) This looks like a lot of fun! And I’ve been tagged quite a few other times (thank you so much, everyone! =)), so be on the lookout for more fun tagginess! If that’s even a word.
Which it should be. Anyways, the rules…. 
Rules: Answer 11 questions from your nominee, tag 11 bloggers, and ask them 11 new questions. 
Do you own any signed books?
Don’t you love the matching bookmark? =)
I do happen to own one lovely signed book-but only one, although I hope to add to that collection. I have a signed copy of Purple Moon by Tessa Emily Hall, and it’s one of my absolute FAVORITE books. Isn’t the cover lovely? Which brings me to the next question… 
What are three of the prettiest books you own?
AAAAHHH THIS IS SO HARD. I love book covers, and I have picked out books partly for the covers…. Such a shallow bookworm I can be. xD Well, here they are, and I have restricted myself to only pick books I own in print…. Not the millions of pretty e-books I have. 
Purple Moon by Tessa Emily Hall, my special 50th year anniversary edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund. Aren’t they gorgeous? =) 
What are five of your favorite blogs?
Wow. This tag is HARD. I FOLLOW MANY BLOGS AND I LOVE THEM ALL. I’ll pick five random ones that I love. =)

If you could re-write the ending of one book, which book would it be?
Hhhhmmmm…. This is hard to decide. I think I’d rewrite the ending to Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. It was just so SAD. And not what I had in mind for Katniss and Peeta and everyone else. If it was me, it would be more…. Confetti and happy and cupcakes everywhere. Which doesn’t exactly tie in with the rest of the series but why can’t party hats and giant cakes go with it?
How did you come up with the title for your blog?
Well… I have had two previous blogs, the first named A Little Bit of Everything and the second Ramblings of a Writer. As I prepared to start my current blog, I was practically banging my head on my piles of notebooks as I tried to think of an original name that would fit my blog. And then, I had it… Notebooks. I love notebooks. And novels. Who doesn’t love novels? So I named my blog Notebooks and Novels, after two things I love. =) 
What is the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?
The last movie I watched was Ant-Man. I liked it. A LOT. Okay, who am I kidding, I loved it! I just love Marvel, and I am NOT a DC girl. At all. But anyways, the movie was a great spin on the original Ant-Man story, and I think it was done very well. I also enjoyed how we got to see a certain Avenger in one scene…. Which is probably my favorite part of the entire movie. =D 
What’s one of your favorite memories from 2017 (so far)?
One of my favorite memories…. THAT IS WAYYYY TOO HARD. Probably sitting around the campfire beneath a canopy of stars with s’mores, my family, and a notebook. It doesn’t get much better than that, if you ask me. =) 
How is a raven like a writing desk?
I know this one! They both make NOTES! =D Thanks, Jest! And yes, I have read a bit of Heartless so far… And now lemon tarts sound lovely. =) 
What are your three favorite fandoms?
*head bang* Umm…. This is a hard tag. When I say hard, I mean HARD. How am I to pick?! Well, I’ll start with two obvious fandoms: Narnia and Middle Earth. I mean, Tolkien and Lewis. Who doesn’t love them?! And as my third… The Avengers. Earth’s mightiest heroes. And for the record…. Go team Cap. =) 
Do you prefer writing by hand or typing? 
Despite my many escapades with with writing novels in notebooks, I prefer typing. First of all, my hand prefers it. Like, REALLY prefers it. Secondly, it’s SO much faster than writing by hand, not to mention neater. Lastly, there’s something about that clickety click sound as my fingers sweep across the keyboard that is so satisfying. Am I the only one? =) 
What’s a story you’d like someone to do a re-telling of?
Hhhmmm…. There’s SO many! Probably “Thumbelina” for me. How has there not been a retelling of one of my favorite childhood stories yet?! If there is, please kindly direct me to it. Thank you. If not, then I have another writing project to attend to…

I Tag…
Jem Jones @ Jem Jones
Allie Taylor @ The Depth of My Faith
Karyssa Norton @ No Coffee, No Can Do
Mary Elizabeth Horton @ Sunshine and Scribblings
Rebakah Eddy @ Rebakah’s Remarks
Bellethiel Marcaunion @ Ramblings of a Pilgrim on the Way
Ellen @ Ellen’s Everyday Events
Andrea @ A Surge of Thunder
Bethany R. @ A Great God and Good Cocoa

My Questions…
What is your favorite type of post to write?

When did you start writing?
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to new bloggers?
Do you prefer Microsoft Word or Google Docs?
What member of the Fellowship of the Ring can you relate to the most?
How are you pursuing your dreams right now?
What is the hardest part of being a writer?
What is your favorite hot drink?
How do you come up with your story ideas?
Which do you prefer, ebooks or paperbacks?
What is one book that has made you cry?

Do you have any signed books? What are some of the prettiest book covers you’ve ever seen? How did you come up with the name for your blog? Which do you like better: Marvel or DC Comics? Let’s chat in the comments!

Remembering Stories

I’ll never forget March 2015. After turning thirteen, one of the first things I got to do was fly with my dad and members of our community to Uganda to serve with  Sixty Feet, a ministry that works with children in Uganda’s child prisons or “remand homes,” for a week. One week. That’s all it took to turn my world upside down.
In Uganda, I met a lot of different people with lots of different stories. Stories that coaxed tears from eyes. Stories that made me want to hold those who had those stories close and never let anything hurt them again…
There was Daniel’s story.
He and his little sister went biking one day in the big city of Kampala. Nothing bad was supposed to happen… But then he got lost. He tried to find his way home, but to no avail. Soon, the police found him and took him to a remand home.
Daniel was never reunited with his family before he passed away because of HIV.
There was Annie’s story.
I didn’t know all of her story, but I saw her joy. I saw her radiant smile. I saw her curiosity and what I could call a tendency for mischief blossoming. In the midst of the ugly… She was a spark of joy.
There was Eli’s story.
His Hard Rock Café t-shirt hung loosely on his gaunt frame, but I can recall seeing more than a physical hunger. He had wishes and dreams-one of which included going to America and meeting the famed American President. I got to teach him tic-tac-toe and chat with him for awhile.
I could tell multitudes of these stories. I could tell you about a little boy whose cries moved me to tears and about a young mother on the streets who begged for a single drink of water. I could tell you about a group of little girls who found joy in simply stroking my hair and a two-year old boy who stuck stickers all over his sweet face.
So many stories. So little space.  
Today, those stories still impact me. Because of those stories and that trip, a little boy named Matthias is playing with his trains as I type this. Because of those stories, God has challenged me to see the world through his eyes and not my own. Because of these stories, I have a deeper desire to be the hands and feet of Christ no matter where I am. 
I hope these stories will change your life like they did mine and that you will join me in praying for the imprisoned children of Uganda.  
If you’d like to learn more about Sixty Feet and their mission, plus more ways to help, click here. Do you want to help children like Eli, Annie, Carrie, and Daniel? To make a donation, click here. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them. =) 
What are some stories that have impacted you? Have you been on a missions trip before? If so, what did you learn? If you haven’t, where is a place you’d like to serve? 


Once upon a time, I went to Uganda with the ministry of Sixty Feet
In Uganda, I saw things. I saw kids without parents and homes. I felt God chipping away at my heart and I saw Him work on my parents’ hearts. He laid on my family a call to adopt. We then began the adoption process with AWAA
Nearly two years later, we have little Matthias home. Today, I want to share the video I made about my family’s adoption story. It’s a happy story, full of waiting and excitement, prayer and tears, with the best ending I could ever imagine. God is good. 
Thank you to everyone who supported us and prayed for us during this journey. You mean so much to us!