Glancing Back at 2018; Looking Forward into 2019

We’re already a few days into February 2019. That’s pretty crazy to me, blah, blah, blah. *insert assorted “the year is flying by already!!!” little nothings*

But since this is the first post on Penprints in 2019, we’re going to take a quick glance back at some highlights from 2018 and then look forward as I share some of my vision (i.e. my “word” for the year, the things I’m looking forward to, etc.) for 2019.

Let’s go, kids.

2018 2019


2018 was not an easy year for me.

A lot of hard things happened, much of which I won’t disclose, but many wonderful things happened too. In no particular order (definitely not chronological), here are some of those things.

  • Three of my flash fictions were acquired and published by Splickety Publishing Group.
  • I went to The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference with Arielle and Janie (sister and sister-in-law) which was so. good.
  • In February, I began to lead the weekly prayer night at my church in Wisconsin. I was privileged to lead it right up until the end of the year. I learned and grew so much through that experience about what it means to lead in the Holy Spirit instead of my own strength as well as the importance of being steadfast in prayer.
  • I went to Realm Makers 2018, and my soul was refreshed by time with my beloved creative peeps such as Katie Grace, Jeneca Zody, Nadine Brandes, Ashley Townsend, and more. :)
  • I got to hear Sara Groves in concert at an event with Arielle!
  • Fawkes by Nadine Brandes released. (Haha, you had to know this was going to be mentioned in this post.)
  • Splickety Publishing Group announced that it would be closing down at the end of the year. I started volunteering as a marketing social media assistant person thing for the reborn Havok Publishing, blessed to be able to work with Teddi Deppner and Kaitlyn Emery.
  • High Command (my newsletter) finally launched! (If you haven’t signed up, go ahead and fill out this form to receive the monthly-ish package of goodness to your inbox.)
  • I visited Texas in June 2018; on December 28, 2018 I woke up in a new home with three wonderful roommates and a new church in which to minister and to be ministered to.
  • I released Stars and Soul: A Sci-fi Flash Fiction Collection which received praise from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, Nadine Brandes, Steve Rzasa, and Just B. Jordan. (If you’ve been around Penprints for like, 2 seconds, you’ve heard that a few hundred times already, but I just get so excited and floored whenever I remember how blessed I was to receive those endorsements.)

Some of my favorite posts from Penprints from 2018:

*if you read nothing else here, read these posts

(I realize that that’s a lot of posts to include in my wrap-up. Out of the 39 posts that went up on Penprints in 2018, one third made this list of my favorites, but I’m actually kind of happy about that. I’ve grown a lot as a writer and blogger and am incredibly pleased with how most of the posts from 2018 turned out. Usually, I look back over the year and cringe over most of them; not so this year. It’s been a joy sharing these things so close to my heart with you guys.)


2019 will be wildly, radically different from any year I’ve lived so far.

For one, I now live in Texas instead of Wisconsin, away from my parents for the first time in my life.

My thoughts about my move and the new year can be summed up thusly: One bullet journal has been closed, and another has been opened. (C’mon, kids. There is no way in heck you thought we’d make it out of a post about a new year without a bullet journal reference [and if you’re surprised that a bullet journal metaphor has been deployed in this blog post, you must be new].)

For another, I am completely surrounded by so many people so deeply in love with Jesus and His gospel of peace. (For those of you who may not know or remember, I moved to Texas to join a church plant; FAQs may be found here.)

Such an environment is challenging, encouraging, and somewhat lonely all at the same time.

Lonely at times because I’ve only been here a month and am only laying the foundations of relationships. But it’s also lonely because fear likes to rise up and tell me that I don’t belong here with these people. It tells me that I don’t love Jesus enough to be here (which is ironic because I gave up much of what I love most to follow Jesus’ call here). It tells me that these perceptive, Spirit-filled people who talk about Jesus an awful lot will see through me and find me a fraud.

But I know that those are fears and insecurities that Jesus will grow me out of.

It is challenging because I know that with and through all of this Jesus will grow me out of many things. Which is challenging because there are some things I’m sure will burn a bit (or a lot) when He grows me out of them.

And it’s encouraging because I know that I have no idea how this year will go. I have no idea the people I’ll get to meet, the things from God’s hand I’ll get to witness, the change for better in me that is not in my hands but His.


“Secure” is my word for this year.


Thank you to Lauren Lulu Taylor for uploading this picture to Unsplash.

I am secure in the love of the Father. There is nothing that can shake me out of His love or favor.

I am secure in the salvation Jesus bought for me with His own blood. He finished the work, and all I have is grace.

I am secure in the sanctification that the Holy Spirit will keep working within me.

I am secure in the will of my King; He will bring His kingdom in and through my life.

I am secure in the strength of the Almighty; He will empower me to endure whatever trials He will use to refine me.

I am secure in the faithfulness of my God; He won’t leave.

I am secure in the goodness of my Father; He will give me good gifts.

I am secure in my identity in Christ; were all other parts of me stripped away or God asked me to give them up, that one defining gift will never be taken away or laid down.

I made this picture (inserted above) my cover for my 2019 Spotify playlist because it seems to fully capture my vision for 2019–light ever on the horizon, a father with his child, the child so fully trusting that her father will catch her.

The mood and motion and colors seem adventurous and trusting and joyful and hopeful and free.

*insert post bookend here*

That’s some of what I’m thinking of as we continue on in 2019.

Here’s to another year of that gif from Inception (you know the one), Lion King references, loveletters to fire, Nadine Brandes fangirling, and cracking myself up.

dream bigger 1.gif

(in case you’re new, this That Gif From Inception)

What about you? Looking back and then forward, what comes to your mind? What are some of your hopes for the year?

With love,


p.s. – it’s good to get back into this, kids. For a while there I wasn’t sure if maybe the season for Penprints was over in my life. But then God said, “I told you to rest, but when did I tell you to stop?” Thanks for reading and commenting (even though I’m The Absolute Worst at replying to comments, I read every single on and am so grateful for them).

After the fun of creating posts with God, this sweet community is my favorite thing about blogging.

Winter Bucketlist 2018

Since we are almost halfway through winter, I should probably have put this up on the ol’ blog a while ago or not at all, but whatevs. I like winter, and I haven’t even gotten to most of the stuff on this list, so it’s basically new.

winter bucketlist.jpg

  • Finish Draft Five of Beasts. Yeah, this old rag. Right now I’m doing a lot of re-evaluating of themes and characters. It’s an unruly story, and if it’s not careful, it will get torn down and rebuilt again.
dream bigger 1

this gif makes all the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve poured into Beasts okay

  • Reread The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The sequel–Reclaiming Shilo Snow–comes out on March 6, so I need to refresh on this beautiful, difficult story.
  • Reread Unblemished by Sara Ella. The final book in the trilogy comes out this May, and so I need to start in on the reread of Unblemished and read Unraveling so I’m all set for when Unbreakable comes out (I’ve had Unraveling for several months, but I decided to wait until closer to Unbreakable‘s release to read it since I’ve heard it’s a heart breaker).
  • Register for Realm Makers. (Done!)
  • Memorize Psalm 46. There are so many Psalms I want to memorize, but Psalm 46 is currently one of my favorites. It’s only eleven verses, so I think it shouldn’t take me too long to get this baby down.
  • Submit two pieces for publication. (one down, one to go)
  • Some sort of polar plunge thing. Apparently all the official polar plunges take place on New Year’s Day. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s already long gone. SO, I’ll probably wait until some of the ice melts on the lake and just go jump in with a few people hanging around to make sure they can drag me out in case I black out from the cold. (Fun fact for you: this is actually research for Flickering Lights.)
  • Visit an art museum. (Done!)
  • Read a book about French impressionists. As it turns out, I enjoy French impressionist paintings a lot. So I’m on the lookout for a good book about those French geniuses.
  • Go ice skating. I’ve only done it once before in my life. I had a very up-close and personal relationship with the ice and a bunch of bruises by the time I left the rink, but it was fun! I definitely want to try it again.
  • Go on an early morning walk in the snow. This needs no explanation.
  • Walk on a frozen lake. (Done!)
  • Go sledding. This is mainly because I recently rewatched The Giver and love the wonder of the main character when he goes on his first sled ride. I want to relearn some of that wonder.
  • Go snow skiing. I’ve also only done this once before–maybe I’ll tell you guys about that adventure sometime–and I MUST DO IT AGAIN.
  • Electronic detox. E’rebody needs one of these periodically, and it’s about time I had another one.
  • Watch Black Panther. No explanation needed.
  • Rewatch Gifted. I cannot stop thinking about this movie. I must rewatch it and take notes. So good.
  • Go to an open mic. Probably not to perform anything but just to get out of the house and do something I haven’t in a while.

What about you? Are there any things you want to do before spring melts the snow??

With love,


P.S. – nine days until Valentine’s Day, people.