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.

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(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.

The 2016 Highlight Reel

2017 is upon us, and 2016 is almost a thing of the past. So let’s go through part of my 2016 highlight reel.

The 2016 Highlight Reel.jpg

Flickering Lights.

Wow. I still cannot believe how well you all received that story. It was a wild ride, and I’m so thankful for all of you who took to the time to read about Marcus, Hermes, Winston, and Penelope. I’m most thankful to God for whispering that idea in my ear two years ago and make sure it actually helped some people. Writing and sharing Flickering Lights was a bit of a big deal for me this year.


We all bid the name The Fox Hole farewell when I renamed this blog in April. This blog shall forever more be known as Penprints. And I designed a fancy new header and put together a swanky color scheme as well. Because I don’t obsess over this blog at all. (I don’t even know why I’m including the name change in the highlight reel, but it’s late at night and my brain is sleeping.)

That time I could have died.

Yeah, July 6 was when I flipped a Ford explorer at least twice and walked away with three little scrapes, a minor concussion, and zero soreness. That was quite something; I didn’t drive for three weeks. I shared my thoughts on the whole experience in this blog post.

India and Nepal.

I had the privilege of going on a mission trip to India and Nepal this past fall. There were three other people on the team, and we held two pastors’ conferences—one in India and one in Nepal. Between the two conferences, over 220 pastors and their wives were encouraged and 40 kids got saved! God did incredible things (there’s probably a blog post or two coming on that).


I was introduced to NeedtoBreathe by my brother, and their latest album (Hard Love) has become my heartbeat. Also, Casting Crowns (one of my all-time favorite groups) released a new album (The Very Next Thing), and if I’m not listening to Hard Love, I’m listening to The Very Next Thing. From Hard Love, I recommend: Money and Fame, Be Here Long, Testify, Clear, and Let’s Stay Home Tonight (so yeah, like half the album). From The Very Next Thing I recommend: Hallelujah, Oh My Soul, God of All My Days, For All You Are, What if I Gave Everything, and No Other Name (so, yeah, again, half the album).


So, I didn’t read as much as I wanted to or should have (#storyofmylife), but what I did read was pretty fantastic. My top three picks from this year are Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous, Lit! by Tony Reinke, and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. (If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed the many, many, many posts on The Screwtape Letters.)

I have much to say about them, and so I’ll probably write a blog post at some point. For now, I’ll tell you this: Lit! changed the way I view and read books as well as what kind of books I want to read (thank you, Tony Reinke). Embracing Obscurity dealt painful blows to my pride and gave me a better view of myself in relation to God (thank you, Anonymous). The Screwtape Letters blew my mind. Seriously, peeps, my mind was blown. Repeatedly (thank you, C.S. Lewis).

Also, I burned a book this past summer. I read it, and it was well-written. But it was too well-written. It normalized dangerous ideas about a girl’s value, and so I decided that I didn’t want to sell it or give it away because I didn’t want to perpetuate those ideas. So I burned it (also perhaps a blog post on its way about that).


I finished Flickering Lights and released it into the world (as mentioned at the beginning of this post). Then I laid my Cinderella retelling aside permanently, which was hard but so good. That story couldn’t be fixed.

And I thought a lot about Beasts (my Beauty and the Beast retelling). And I thought a lot more about Beasts. And then I thought about it some more. And I realized that it had about as much structure as a bowl of Jell-O (hint: none). So I did a draft two that was one hundred thousand miles better than the first, but it was still a hundred different shades of bad. So then I wrote an eleven page outline for draft three, and that is the beast (pun intended) I’m in the middle of right now. And I have a deadline rapidly approaching, but I’m not freaking out at all because I definitely don’t put the “pro” in “procrastinate” that’s absurd.

Remarkable people I had the privilege of meeting…

Alea Harper—she’s a lovely blogger I “met” early this year, and I so enjoy reading her blog.

Abigayle Ellison: another beautiful blogger I “met” whose sweet spirit I so appreciate (and, she has a book coming out this February).

The entire TeenPact staff team for the Wisconsin 2016 state class. I love and miss serving with all of them.

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The 2016 Wisconsin Staff Team

Tina, the wise, wonderful woman who went to India and Nepal with me.


Tina and I on a suspension bridge in Nepal.

So many brave and beloved Indian and Nepali sisters in Christ.


Anu, a godly woman I met in India.

Favorite Penprints posts:

The entire Flickering Lights serial (guys, I’m just so jazzed that this project is done!)

21 Signs he’s not the One (as seen in The Phantom of the Opera)–I laughed too much writing this.

44 Signs You’re Obsessed with The Out of Time Series. The year is not complete without copious Out of Time Series posts, and this was my favorite.

Why I Write (wherein I got all serious for once and talked about why I write.)

Advent: Christ the Lord. The closing post for advent was my favorite in that series.

And I think that’s it, peeps.

What about you? What were some of the highlights of your year? What’s your favorite thing that happened in 2016?

P.S. – I’ll be back on Monday to start 2017 off right with a blog post. ;)

P.P.S. – Go look up Wasteland by NeedtoBreathe because I basically listened to it on repeat while I wrote this post because it’s so amazing.

P.P.P.S. – Did anyone see that Secret Life of Walter Mitty reference????