So I Liked a Boy [part one: intro and storytime]

So, I liked a boy. Like liked a boy. For nearly ten months. So this post is about that, and hopefully it’s helpful to some of you. This’ll be a bit of a series; I guess we’ll see what God does.

Full disclosure, this feels very, very difficult to share on the internet, but here we are.

crush 1


He’s from my church here in Texas, one of the church-planters who uprooted their lives to tell people in Texas about Jesus. I started noticing that I noticed him July 4, 2019. All the college age small groups were going out to watch fireworks together (remember when we did things like that? Before Covid?). I’d been feeling really curious about him, so I approached him as subtly as I could and struck up a conversation.

Things went downhill from there in the following weeks and months. I liked this kid, and I had it bad.

I was soooo drawn to him, noticing (what felt like) everything—the way he’d pray, so full of faith and zeal. The way he would throw everything he was into worshipping God. The way he didn’t flirt with girls. The way he was wild. The way he was intentional with people who visited our church. The way he did anything Jesus asked of him 2300%.

I don’t know what a crush is like for you, but let me tell you what it’s like for me (trust me, this is going somewhere helpful, but it seems necessary to tell more of this story).

I would go to coffee shops and get a flutter in my stomach hoping and dreading accidentally running into him. Whenever his name came up in a conversation, my attention was jerked there like I was on a string. Every Sunday I noticed where he was in the lobby before church started.

My mind spun scenarios where I’d do or say something Really Freaking Amazing and he’d notice me. I wanted to be beautiful and mysterious and impressive and aloof and vulnerable all at the same time. I thought of a bunch of questions I wanted to ask him. I wondered what it would be like if he liked me too and we were to date.

I liked this guy for ten months, and by the grace of God, I am not the same now as I was on July 4, 2019, when I was beginning to get all infatuated. Jesus taught me so much through this season, and I’ve felt pressed to share it—starting with the things I felt silly for feeling and doing and thinking.

I was embarrassed.

This one probably won’t be universal, but I was so embarrassed that I liked him. Not because of anything in him (to this day, my vision no longer colored in roses, I hold to the fact that this dude is pretty freaking amazing).

Maybe I felt embarrassed because of the single Christian girl culture I know (i.e. that you’re either immature and boy crazy or you’re mature and thoughts of boys never enter your head ever). To me it felt like if I liked someone, I must not be satisfied in God or content in the singleness he’s given me. It felt foolish and immature to like a boy.

In my head I had built up this image of what a single girl should look like chasing after Jesus. Her head wouldn’t be turned by anything so petty as a boy. Her heart was given over to Jesus forever and always. She didn’t daydream about a boy; at worst she considered the necessary details of life; at best she ruminated on the rich things of God. Her singleness never felt hard. She was too mature to notice a guy’s haircut. She was too mature to be distracted by a guy nodding along to excellent points in a Bible teaching. She was too mature, too strong, too pre-occupied with the things of God to notice anyone of the opposite gender. Blah, blah, blah.

I was also embarrassed because it felt like incredible weakness to have affections stirring in me that were not returned. It felt shameful and wasteful (yeah, we’re going to have to talk about 1) why I didn’t try to make anything happen with him and 2) why I want to date as few guys as possible before getting married [if marriage is something Jesus has for me]).

All this to say and show that I was under a lot of lies, because that’s what all those fears were—lies.

The truth I learned:

It’s actually natural, healthy, and not at all immature to have a crush. And that it’s actually very necessary to think and pray about a crush a lot because how else are you supposed to seek God’s face on what

  1. could be nothing or
  2. also could become the most life-defining relationship you will have with another human.

For some, this may seem obvious. It wasn’t obvious to me. I felt like I must be idolizing a relationship if I was distracted and actually having to sort through my affections and attractions. I felt like I must be All Out Boy CrazyTM because I was crushing on some super amazing, faithful, faith-filled dude from church.

Anyway, that’s the start of the story and all the good things Jesus reworked in my heart over those ten months. I want to share a lot more on Penprints about this because there’s so much it would have been so good for me to know sooner but I either didn’t think to ask about or felt too embarrassed to ask about (embarrassment will be a running theme).

Other things we’re going to get into:

  • why I didn’t try to get him to notice me/like me
  • what it was like laying down desire to know him and be known by him at the feet of Jesus… and then pick it up again… and then lay it down again
  • remaining focused on Jesus and his mission while feeling distracted
  • how the crush finally (finally) went away
  • truly trusting Jesus
  • general holiness
  • miscellaneous other things (like other fears that came up [including but not limited to body image, who he liked, etc.], being humbled, locking down my daydreams, etc.)

Don’t expect these posts in any particular order! We’ll just take ‘em as they come. I’m praying that it will be helpful for other single people to hear about the season that Jesus made so helpful for me.

With love,


p.s. –  tbh, this whole thing feels like my much less explicit version of The Reynolds Pamphlet from Hamilton. I definitely have a lot to learn about humility if this post feels like ruining my own life. Yikes. *awkward thumbs up*

p.p.s. – if anything I shared is confusing, leave a question in the comments or contact me directly! <3

My People Carry a Wound [a poem on racism]

I’ve said before that I’m not much of a poet and don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to poetry. That remains the same as the last time I shared a free form poem. So keep that in mind.

I wrote this poem because it was necessary to write to help me process the events of the last weeks. After praying and grieving and being confused and feeling bombarded by news and social media posts expressing genuine grief, rage, and condemnation, I still felt heavy (because apparently that’s what sin makes you feel).

So I prayed some more, grieved some more, wrestled some more, thought some more, got off social media for a few days, and asked God a lot of questions. I expect that cycle will continue. At the end of this round, there was finally some peace and clarity.

It was helpful for me to write My People Carry a Wound; I hope it’s helpful for you to read.

Note: “My people” in this poem refers not to white people or black people or all people but simply Americans.

old old wound (1)

My people carry a wound

It is an old, old wound
Carried by: many generations
Maybe even
Every generation

It is a deep, deep wound
Inflicted by: many hearts and hands
Maybe even
Every heart and hand

We have torn at the wound
As if it can be healed or cleansed
By scraping and clawing

And yet
And yet
And yet

After hundreds of years
The wound is worse
Our hearts are worse
Maybe worse off than we’ve ever been

The wound remains
So torn open
So full of poison
We wonder:
Will it ever heal?
Will we ever heal?


Brown, white, black, blue
The wound is so old
Brown, white, black, blue
The wound is so old


Do we even know:
Who we are without it?

Do we even know:
How to be without it?

Without the anger
Without the bitterness
Without the fear
Without the hate
Without the pride
Without the prejudice
Without the revenge
Without the shame
Without the self-pity
Without the sin


We don’t know the difference
Justice and revenge

We don’t know the difference
Humility and guilt

We don’t know the difference
Foolish pride and simple confidence

We all try
To bind our wound
We install rules, systems, protections
We protest
Stay silent
We spread awareness
Get educated
We make arguments

“But, no, I don’t understand”
“But, no, you don’t understand”
But, no, we don’t understand

And so
And so
And so

And we sow more wounds
Into that old, old wound
And more blood drips
From that deep, deep wound


We say:
We must fix it
We can fix it
This can’t go on

And yet
And yet
And yet

The work of our hands doesn’t last
For how can we prevail against
Such a wound?
Our emancipations
Our movements
Never seem to
Get momentum

A few decades or a few years
We find:
The wound is just as bad
As it ever was
Except maybe it’s worse now
Because with every generation
Its roots run older
Its roots run deeper


We want:
To blame one side

We are all to blame

Sin is in all of us

And so:
Hurt people hurt people

And so:
No one has the high ground

And so:
We are
None of us


Some on all sides
Will carry the wound
Down to hell

Some will reject
The Jesus way
The only way

And justice has two ends:
Jesus’ blood on the cross
Jesus’ righteous wrath on the last day

And Jesus is:
Than I am
Than you are
Than we are

So justice will be had
In the end
But will we ever heal
Before the end?

Are we doomed to:
This sundering of soul
This prejudice of pain
This madness of murder
This brutality of heart?

Everything we sow in the wound
Returns as a violent revenant

And yet
And yet
And yet

Where our reason ends
Where our means end
Where our guilt ends
Where our anger ends
Where our ideas end
Where our pride ends
Where our way ends

There is the God of love
With a gospel of peace

And where the gospel is sown
Old things pass away
And new things grow

For where the gospel of
Is sown in
The heart
The mind
The soul
The body
The wound…
Grace grows
Compassion comes
Mercy multiplies
Patience perseveres

And yet
And yet
And yet

The growing is difficult
The growing is slow

The dying of the old things is difficult
The dying of the old things is slow
The dying of the old things
Flies in the face of all our instincts

For in the dying of the old things:
Sin: must be called sin
Wrong: must be called wrong
Everyone’s sin

Calling out wrong
This we know how to do

And yet
And yet
And yet

There is more
And it is not easy

For after sin is named
In order to hold to the gospel
To hold to the path of peace
To hold to the
Plainly spoken marching orders
Of the Lord of the gospel
It is not reparations
It is not revenge
It is not wrath
It is not silence
It is not ignoring
It is repentance that must come

On my hands and knees
On your hands and knees
On our hands and knees
Under the weight
Tasting the sorrow
The evil
The unholiness
Of sin gone back so many generations
And so rampant in our generation

And then
And then
And then

The turn
The forgiveness
The healing

The difficult growing of the gospel
Bears the fruit of holiness
Bears the fruit of forgiveness
Bears the fruit of Christ-likeness

For when
The gospel of Jesus Christ
Is sown in the wound
The impossible
Becomes possible

And then
And then
And then

The blood that heals our wound
Is the precious blood of Jesus
And the weight of all that sin:
My sin
Your sin
Our sin
My racism
Your racism
Our racism
Falls on Jesus

And then
And only then
The wound can close
And we will bleed no more.

With love and prayers for the hurting,


p.s. – songs to listen to: Side by Side by Wilder Adkins and Carry the Fire by Andrew Peterson.

My Dear Future [an open letter] [volume ii]

My Dear Future

My dear Future,

You’ve been bothering me again in recent months, invading my thoughts. I’d thought I’d dealt with you in my last letter, but I suppose I’ll need to deal with you in some manner for the rest of my life. But we’ve really got to stop doing this. Don’t pretend you’re innocent.

“What about tomorrow?” you constantly whisper. “What about next week, next month, next decade?”

What about when one of my roommates gets married later this month? It’s going to be so good but so sad since she’s become one of my dearest friends and will (understandably) be moving out.

What about when the new roommate moves in? What will that be like?

Questions. Questions. Questions.

All you bring up is questions, Future.

Questions about when my church is going to be strong enough to start planting other churches. I wonder who God will call to go and when. My best friends? Me? Where will we be sent first?

Questions about my small group. When will we be able to multiply (split from one big group into two smaller groups)? Which group will God call me to? Which friends will I stay with, which ones will I separate from?

Questions about tomorrow and later this week. Will they be smooth days? Or will I be on the rocks, fighting off spiritual attack and barely riding out the growing pains of my soul?

And what about when more of my friends start dating? What then?? What will that be like? How will Jesus sanctify us all through that process? What about me? What if I were to start dating? What if I never date? How will this look, what will it be like? Will I be able to honor Jesus with it, or will it be a struggle where I refuse to lay down my will?

Future, you’re spitting out questions like crazy. My attention is often on you, Future (which is probably all part of your plan). You inspire creeping fear. You demand a plan for every eventuality and especially the impossibilities. You demand I prepare. You demand that I always be thinking of what’s to come, forgetting what’s right in front of my face.

Enough, Future.

I won’t play your game.

I’ll think of Eternity, but not you, Future. (Oh, yes, I see the difference now. Screwtape told me the difference between Eternity and you, Future, so now you don’t get to hide in ambiguity.*)

I’ll think about when I get to be face to face with my beloved Jesus. But no more questions about tomorrow or next week or what might be to come. I will look forward to what is sure—Eternity, life forever with Jesus, but that’s it, Future.

I’ve been built and called to hope for heaven, for Eternity, for Jesus.

But I exist in this moment, in this day. I live in the Present, not you, Future.

I will not survive the Present until Future hopes and fears do or do not come to pass.

I will not survive the Present even just to make it to Eternity’s golden shores.

Today is the day my Lord has made. This moment is the moment my Lord has made. I will rejoice in it. I will live it.

Right now is where I am, and right now is where I will all be. Not hands in the present and eyes on you, Future. No, instead: hands in the Present, eyes on Jesus, heart fixed on what he’s doing today.

Today’s joys and pleasures—simple and wild and mundane as they are.

Today’s battles and responsibilities.

Today’s bread.

Today’s cross.

Today’s grief.

Today’s glory.

Everything I’m given today is good. I don’t expect and get goodness only in you, Future. I get good things now, today, every day.

I’m forgetting you, Future.

Yes, I’ll pray for the things to come—the friends to be saved into Jesus’ everlasting kingdom, the sanctification the Holy Spirit will continue to bring about in me, and all such good things. But my heart, my attention, isn’t fixed on you, oh Future. My mind and attention are no longer yours to play with. My heart, my mind, my attention are no longer stuck on next month’s small group multiplication or 2022’s church plant. Not next year’s boyfriend or next decade’s singleness. Not tomorrow’s growth or next week’s grief.

So, you can shut your mouth, Future. I’m going deaf to you and all your questions because I trust my Jesus and I want what he’s giving me today.

I’ve been given today; I’m living every moment of today.



p.s. – yeah, kids, I’m finally back at the ol’ blog. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, only that it seemed like God was nudging me to get back into the game. So here I am.

p.p.s. – you can check out the original open letter that I wrote in 2018 to my dear future shortly before I announced that I was moving to Texas.

*In one of C.S. Lewis’s towering Screwtape Letters, he addresses the difference between being fixed on/hoping for Eternity and being obsessed with/a slave to the Future. He distinguishes Eternity and Future from each other by saying that being preoccupied with Eternity is being preoccupied with Jesus while fixating on the Future is more of being consumed with what could happen in this life—expecting things to get “better” at some vaporous Future date, fearing things will get worse, etc..

This distinction has been personally incredibly helpful because focus on Eternity reveals solid hope and faith while my fixation on the Future reveals fear and lack of trust. Both are forward-thinking, but one is far more helpful than the other.


How To Do Something You’ve Never Done Before

Have you ever felt the urge to try something that you’ve never done before?

Maybe you’ve never skateboarded a meter in your life, but you want to try it so bad. Or maybe you’ve never held a guitar or any instrument before, never written a line of poetry either, but an itch starts to grow, an itch to write songs because there are things you’ve seen God do that you want to proclaim. Or maybe coding is starting to sound really appealing, but you don’t have a background in HTML or even computer science. Or maybe you want to garden and grow stuff but you don’t know the first thing about green things.

It’s not something you want to make a living off of, but it’s something you desire to do, something you want to try, if only for a little while.

Does it feel hard? Does it feel like you’re too old to start something like that, like if you wanted to get into storytelling, you should have done it when you were seven, and since you’re thirty-seven or seventy-seven, you’ve missed the window of opportunity?

Does it feel like you’re foolish for wanting to break out of your current skill set? Are you worried that people would wrinkle their noses at you and ask, “Why do you want to do that? You’ve never done anything like that before.”

So instead of feeling excited, you feel almost guilty for wanting more, for wanting to do something different, something new.

This, my friend, is for you.

how to do something youve never done before

So how do you do something that you’ve never done before?

How do you write songs when you’ve never played with poetry a day in your life?

How do you start writing stories when your creativity has looked vastly different all your life?

How do you start painting when you know nothing about color theory or what the different brushes are for?

How do you start a daily comic when your drawing skills haven’t been cultivated since kindergarten?

How do you do anything you’ve never done before?

Just start doing it.

Start by just doing it, even if you feel like you’ve got no idea what you’re doing, because honestly, even if you keep this up for ten more years, you’ll probably still feel like you’ve got no idea what you’re doing (feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing is the plane of existence that I live on, friends).

So start by actually starting. Do it right now or put it on the calendar for some time in the next week that you will start and do whatever it is for at least twenty minutes. Even if you don’t know where to start, you can still start (trust me, I know).

When you’re able to, read blog posts about it, watch YouTube tutorials about it, talk to people you know have experience in it, maybe take a class, and keep starting.

Keep starting.

In the beginning, put it in your to-do list one to three times a week for twenty minute increments as a starting point.

That consistency, that repeated stomping fear in the throat, and simply doing it strengthens your muscles (these are metaphorical muscles, unless the thing you’re starting is some sort of workout insanity; then it will actually strengthen your literal muscles).

Don’t overthink it.

Just don’t. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it. You can tell people if you want. You don’t have to, though.

One day, this thing that you’re starting today may be a big deal, something hugely integral in your life. But for now, for today, it’s a seed, a spark, an inkling. Let it be a little thing. Don’t overthink it.

Don’t expect too much of yourself.

This sounds bad, but it isn’t. Have realistic expectations. Don’t put the expectation on yourself that you have to be great at it right out of the gate.

Build a dam against perfectionism starting right now.

Don’t feel like you have to share it.

I am a huge believer in sharing our gifts. But I also think there’s special beauty and freedom, especially in the beginning of something, for it to be private, shared with God only or maybe a select few.

If you want to share it, share it! But if this little adventure only ever stays between you and God, that’s okay too. It doesn’t have to tangibly affect something or someone; there are many seemingly intangible and unquantifiable “results” that it brings out in you that are more than enough to make it worthwhile.

Also, privacy, especially in the beginning, frees you up to have a lot more fun without other people’s expectations (along with your own) breathing down your neck.

Have fun.

Seriously. Have. some. fun.

Have some fun! Unharness yourself from expectation and enjoy creating or skateboarding or doing whatever it is you’re doing.

It is okay to do things just for the fun of it. I’ll say it again: it is okay to do things just for the fun of it. The fun of it can glorify God.

Practice and persevere before giving up.

Don’t do something once and decide you’re awful at it. Practice. Keep starting for six months before you give up.

I say six months because it is enough time for your skills to sharpen drastically, but it’s also enough time for you to cycle through the various imposter syndromes, hating it, loving it, honeymooning with it, etc.

By the end of those six months, if you hate it or even are just meh, feel free to throw in the towel. Don’t ever think that just because you start something you have to do it for the rest of your life. Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t.

Seek God.

Honestly, do this the entire time, but I put it near the end because I don’t want you to get the impression that seeking God for this is going to involve praying and fasting and a moment of clarity and weeping when you think you’ve got the green light from him. I put it at the end because I don’t want you to overthink this (think about it, but don’t overthink about it [have fun finding that balance {also, notice how overthinking is a theme}]).

Just keep talking to God about it. He knows the interest in this thing has been stirring in you (it could be that he’s been the one stirring it up) but tell him anyway. Confess to him why you’re scared to start and all the things you’re overthinking about it (because you’re probably overthinking about it).

Then, submit it to him. Submit your desires to God.

Then, test it. AKA: start!

Again, at this point, this new thing isn’t a big deal, so don’t overthink it. Just start and see what God does.

Just because you started and stopped something now doesn’t mean you’ll never start it again.

If it “flops” now (aka: you’re not loving it, and it becomes clear that this isn’t the time for this adventure), just know that you don’t have to feel foolish or sheepish if six months or six years or six decades down the road you want to try again.

Honestly, when it’s the right time, the right season of life, when this new thing will accomplish the most good (remember, good doesn’t have to be tangible or concrete), then God will make sure you don’t drop it. Seriously, he won’t let you drop it until it’s the best for you and most glorifying for him for you to do so. Or maybe it’ll be best and most glorifying for you to never drop it. *shrug* I guess you’ll just have to find out.

There you have it.

Now you know how to do something you’ve never done before. While writing this post, I had mostly artsy/creative things in my head, but I think this advice goes for most things—running, mountain climbing, carpentry, steel fabrication, surfing, scrapbooking, etc.

What is something new you’ve wanted to try for a while but haven’t? Why not?

With love,


p.s. – Olive Tree (you know who you are), this post is for you, precious one. Go write that music.

p.p.s. – I feel like I said “honestly” and “just” way too much in this post, but I don’t even care because this post was definitely a we’re-sitting-across-from-each-other-at-a-coffee-shop-and-I’m-going-to-encourage-you-to-try-the-thing type of post (aka: remarkably informal, lacking only gifs).

Beloved: In the Lord, Your Labor Is Not in Vain

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

beloved your labor is not in vain

When we serve Jesus, there always seems to be a little lying voice that invariably springs up whenever it gets the chance.

The voice says, “Give up. It’s not worth it. Nothing will come of it.”

Give up on getting up half an hour earlier to read your Bible. It’s not worth it.

Give up on talking to that person. It’s not worth it.

Give up on praying for that sickness. It’s not worth it.

Give up on your marriage. It’s not worth it.

Give up on holiness. It’s not worth it.

Give up on worship. It’s not worth it.

Give up on trusting people and being vulnerable. It’s not worth it.

Give up on fighting temptation. It’s not worth it.

Give up on church. It’s not worth it.

Give up on this ministry. It’s not worth it.

Give up on that relationship. It’s not worth it.

Give up on waiting for a change. It’s not worth it.

It’s too hard. It’s taking too long. Give up. Get swept under. Lose hope. Lose faith. Give up. It’s not worth it.

But Jesus says, “Be steadfast. Your labor is not in vain.”

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Jesus’ life was surely one of perseverance and steadfastness as much as it was a life of grace and love.

As little as we know of his childhood, he likely endured a certain level of contempt regarding his birth, which looked scandalous and disgraceful to world. During his ministry, he endured temptation, rejection, the unbelief of others, the great wear and tear his ministry must have taken on his body, reviling, constant attempts to entrap him by those who hated him, great crowds of people seeking him for his teaching but perhaps more for his miracles, and being very misunderstood, even by those closest to him.

And then, after all that, after a life of enduring, of persevering, of exemplifying steadfastness, he endured more, persevered more, exemplified steadfastness more. He endured the physical torment, abuse, and shame of the cross as well as the unspeakable emotional and spiritual anguish of the wrath of God, his Father.

And none of it was in vain. In all of it, Jesus was and is perfectly victorious.

heart banner mini 1

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Your prayers and tears and grief for your grown child to come back to God are not in vain.

Every week you lose sleep to get up early and get to church early to set up so that the service can run smoothly is not in vain.

The anxiety attack that hits you while you’re trying to lead in worship is not in vain.

The words you’ve invested in others—from the long, deep conversations to the simple “hello”—are not in vain.

The decision to deal with a crabby, missed-a-nap baby in favor of going to church is not in vain.

Every single time you open your Bible, it is not in vain.

The small group that struggles or seems hard is not in vain.

The acts of fidelity you make every time you turn away from sin of all kinds are not in vain.

The forgiveness that is hard, that you wrestle with, is not in vain.

The prayers for salvations or your own sanctification are not in vain.

The song you lift in worship when it hurts the most is not in vain.

Every risky letter or text you send in love is not in vain.

Every weight of depression you press through is not in vain.

Every scrap of loneliness you refuse to let ebb into self-pity is not in vain.

Every hardship or setback you meet as you toil along the climbing way, looking for the day Jesus welcomes you home, is not in vain.

It. is. not. in. vain.

It is not in vain because Jesus will always accomplish what he intends to in every act of faithfulness, no matter how weary you are, no matter how thin your faith seems, no matter how many times you slipped and fell along the way, no matter if you had no idea how it would ever be for your good.

Jesus bought the victory—which he gives to you—with his own blood, his display of ultimate steadfastness and fidelity.

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So entrench, beloved.

Where it seems like you’ve been slipping, like an avalanche is always one misstep away, when it seems fruitless and hopeless, when you can’t see God moving in your ministry or your life, when you wonder if it matters for anything, when you can’t see the point, when the enemy would have you doubt if it’s even the work of the Lord anymore, entrench.

It may still be hard. It may not turn out how you think it should. It may hurt. But it is not in vain.

Beloved, don’t give up.

Beloved, Jesus gives you his own victory.

Beloved, be steadfast, immovable, despite the doubts and questions and pain.

Beloved, always abound in the work of the Lord.

Beloved, in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.

With love,


p.s. – there won’t be a post here on Penprints next week! Details to come to those subscribed to my newsletter!