Goodbye September [a fall-ish tag]

Julia from over at Lit Aflame tagged me to do a Hello September tag, but alas September is almost over. So I’m calling it Goodbye September (in case the title of this post didn’t clue you in). Thank you so much for tagging me, Julia!

This is very much a written-in-my-jammies-from-under-a-blanket post. Aka: super chill. Let’s go, kids.

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The Rules:

hello september blog tag.jpg~Please copy the questions below, answer them, and then write out your new questions (or you can even copy these) for the people you nominate below your answered questions.

~Please nominate at least three bloggers, but try to avoid ones that you know have already been tagged.

~Lastly, include these guidelines in your post, and use the tag picture!

The Questions:

  1. Do you like fall? Why or why not?

Yes, I like fall, but not for fall’s sake.

I like fall because it means summer is over and winter is on its way. If you’ve been around Penprints for a while, you may remember this post about how much I love winter. It is my absolute favorite season, and I enjoy fall because it’s the gateway to winter.

I love that though so many things die in the fall, they die in the promise of resting for the winter and bursting back to life in the spring.

So, yes, I like fall.

  1. Favorite fall book?

Now for this one, I couldn’t decide. Because so many of my favorite books take place in the fall or partially in the fall. Like A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes. Like Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. I don’t have a Nadine Brandes problem, I promise. Like The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.

So for now, let’s go with those three. :)

  1. Favorite fall time memory?

Ohhhh, I really like this question.

My siblings and I were all homeschooled, and Mom would take us out to a pumpkin farm almost every year to pick pumpkins and go through a corn maze and get donuts and such. Those were always fun, very fall-ish trips.

But more dearly than that, I remember school starting up and the little routines Mom would put in place for us. We’d go pick out calendars—one for each of us—and each morning we’d pick a sticker for the weather and then a sticker just for fun to put in our calendars.

Part of our morning routine with the calendars was for my brother Luke (only two years older than me) and me to recite the months of the year, the day’s date, our address, and our phone number to our older sister and brother—Arielle and Caleb. They already knew that info, but they were supposed to help us memorize it.

I don’t know what it is, but I just love thinking about that time in the mornings—excited about my new calendar, picking out stickers, sitting by my sister, rattling off our address to her and Caleb, probably wearing some jeans with embroidered flares and a nice, bulky, pink sweatshirt, Mom somewhere in the background getting other school stuff for the day out.

Even though it’s a mundane memory, I just loved being with them like that—simply and daily. I miss it.

  1. Picture fall as a character and write a small something from his/her pov.

This one is sooo good, but my creativity is nil probably because I was just crying about how my siblings and I are all grown up and won’t be doing the calendar stickers or address recitations together ever again and the happy-sadness drained me. So, I’m going to take a rain check on this one; maybe I’ll make it into a post for later this fall!

  1. Is there a song that makes you think of fall?

I have no idea why, but Lion’s Den by Little Chief makes me want to pull on socks, cozy up in a blanket, and weep for joy. Also, Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons. Maybe it’s the mellow, calming nature of both songs. I’m not sure.

I just want to climb on a train, listen to those songs, and cry softly and happily as trees of golden orange pass my window. (Trains also make me think of fall? Apparently?) *writes the rest of this post listening to those songs on repeat*

  1. Wind or rain (or both)?

I say both, but if I have to choose, I say rain. I could write a love song to the rain, and maybe I will one day. (Or maybe it’ll be just a really bad poem because I can’t write songs or poetic poetry.)

  1. What is your favorite warm drink?

Chai lattes! Recently, I’ve been getting dirty chais (chai lattes with a shot of espresso), and one of the baristas at my local coffee shop recommended I try it made with half and half instead of whole milk.

Kids, get the chai made with half and half instead of whole milk (it has a special name, but I cannot for the life of me remember it).

I loved chai lattes already; the moment I tasted a chai made with half and half, I wanted to renew our vows (the vows between chai lattes and I, obviously). It was ridiculously, remarkably, and radically delicious. No. joke. (Chai is no joking matter, kids.)

  1. What do you look forward to doing the most in the fall?

Adding layers. I love adding layers.

I love helping the kids I nanny into their fleeces before we go play outside. I love tugging on a hoody. I love having the jackets hanging by the door.

I don’t know what it is about adding layers; it’s just so… warm and close. (I realize this question was probably supposed to be about apple picking or corn mazes or something, but I enjoy the little things.)

  1. What is the worst thing about fall?

Everyone loses their mind about fall.

Either they’re weeping about summer being over OR they’re weeping because they’ve been trying to break out their boots since July. Either they’re super sad and melancholy and whiny OR they’re shouting about fall from the rooftops.

Calm down, people.

  1. Give one tip or challenge for fall.

Regardless of whether you like fall or not, go into the fall of 2018 it with expectancy and hope.

Regardless of whether you’re experiencing a whole bunch of firsts or a whole bunch of lasts, live alive.

Make a fall bucket list and start checking things off.

Stop living in the past. Stop dreaming of the future. Embrace this fall day by day. Embrace this life day by day.

You will never again be with these people in this place at this time ever again, for when the fall of 2019 comes around, you will not be the same person you are now and neither will these people be the same as they are now.

You have been given the fall of 2018 to live once. Live it.

My Questions (I’m totally stealing some of these from Julia):

  1. Favorite fall time memory?
  2. Picture fall as a character and write something from his/her pov!
  3. Give one tip or challenge for this fall.
  4. What books are you reading/wanting to read this fall?
  5. Fall isn’t fall without…
  6. Of all the fall colors, which is your favorite and why?
  7. If you could dress up as anything for Halloween, who/what would you be? Why?
  8. What are ten words that remind you of fall (e.g. – crisp, golden, leaves)?
  9. Create a myth why about leaves change color and fall.
  10. What are you harvesting in your life right now (i.e. – what projects are coming to fruition, what things are you learning, etc.)?

The Tagged:

Pick one of these questions and answer it in the comments! And if you decide to take the tag, leave me the link!

With love,


p.s. – keep a weather eye on my Instagram tomorrow. Crazy things will be happening. O.o

p.p.s. – My dear fireflies (you know who you are)! A very exciting memo from High Command will be coming to your inbox next week. We’ll all just pretend I didn’t totally miss sending out a September memo.

A Love Letter to the Tales of Goldstone Wood [yeah, it’s a fangirl post]

I first heard about the Tales of Goldstone Wood while with my cousins eight years ago. Brittany, my eldest cousin, showed me a beautiful book she had picked up for just a few dollars at a little bookstore. It had one of the loveliest covers I had ever seen. It was titled Heartless, and it was written by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

It is the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, and it is my childhood. (Warning: this is a major nostalgic fangirl post with so many references that many won’t understand…. but I really don’t care. #sorrynotsorry)

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I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, living off of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia for as long as I can remember, but The Tales of Goldstone Wood took that love to a new level.

I read Heartless three times before Veiled Rose was released (Heartless was published in 2010, and Veiled Rose came out in 2011…). I devoured Veiled Rose and then Moonblood, but whatever expectations I had for the series could not prepare me for what came next. Starflower and Dragonwitch completely outdid everything that had come before them.

The books just. kept. getting. better.

goldstone 1.jpgGoddess Tithe, the first novella, was released on the heels of Dragonwitch, taking breath away yet again. When the opportunity arose, I signed up for the cover reveal for Shadow Hand, completely delighted that I could participate.

Bits and pieces about Golden Daughter were dropped, then came the cover and the buzz about how long it was (584 packed pages). Then Draven’s Light, a huge “novella” fitting the hugeness of the series, was released. I cried while reading it. Repeatedly.

The depth and richness of everything in the Tales of Goldstone Wood is incomparable. There are many excellent modern fantasy novels, but the Tales of Goldstone Wood series towers over all of them. There are so many good fantasy stories out there, but The Tales of Goldstone Wood dominates on every level.

So much can be said about the world(s) captured in the series–the cultures and kingdoms and histories. The lordly sun and the lady moon. The glory and purity of the starry sky. The Faerie kings and queens with their three lives. The halls of the Merry People and the throne room of the goblin queen. Rivers and all their craftiness. The Dragon and his kiss. The Knights of Farthest Shore and the Lumil Eliasul. Much can also be said about the stories with all their complexity and twists and the threads that trace through them—the wild fun and the wild danger.

But the world would be only interesting and the stories would be only adventures if it weren’t for the characters. The characters are what make these books more than just stories. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the people that leaped off the page and commanded attention and affection, each one unique and so so so so real.

stengl 1I never much cared for the Chronicler or Leta—probably because I’m very partial to Alistair and didn’t like that they didn’t see or appreciate his greatness—but the Brothers Ashiun stole my heart, their story devastating me every time I read it. Somehow, I came to adore even the Flame at Night with all her fire, hatreds, lies, and brokenness.

Not many people loved Una, but she was dear to me even with all her selfish whining. Felix, that dastardly little fiend of brother, has never stopped making me laugh, and watching Leo grow from the boy-prince into manhood with much trial and error is still one of my favorite things.

I wasn’t a fan of Daylily and Foxbrush, but that’s probably because I’m very, very partial to Leo, Rose Red, and Una (it’s like a love pentagon).

Draven’s courage and Ita’s resolve will never not give me tears and chills. I haven’t met Sairu yet, but from what I’ve heard, I think I’ll like her. The Panther Master broke my heart, and I sorely miss Sun Eagle.

Imraldera, the sweet, brave Starflower; oh, how she taught me compassion. And words cannot express the place Eanrin has in my heart, the most cat-ish poet to ever grace the page, so fierce and noble and unexpected in every way.

For whatever reason, I stopped reading the Tales of Goldstone Wood a few years ago, but then Anne Elisabeth Stengl announced that she won’t be writing any more of them.

So I went back to my shelf and stared at the books, feeling strangely, deeply sad. Heartless, Starflower, and Dragonwitch are on my special Favorites of All Time shelf. Golden Daughter sits on my To Be Read shelves. The others are gathered together on their own shelf, and I decided it’s time to revisit all the beloved places and reacquaint myself with all the beloved people.

This time, I’m reading them in chronological order—the order they take place, not the order they were published. Starflower has already reclaimed its place in my heart, and I’m nearly finished with Dragonwitch, dying over Eanrin, Imraldera, Hri Sora, Etanun, Mouse, and Alistair all over again.

I know not everyone who reads Penprints will “get” this post, but it’s been a long time coming. The Tales of Goldstone Wood are a prime example of the power and beauty of stories. They are pure, beautiful, and everything stories should be.

It’s strange how they only get better the more I read them, how sad and happy they make me at the same time, how much I’ve learned from them about people and life and myself and God, how deeply they delight and compel at the same time.

What stories made up your childhood? Have you read any Tales of Goldstone Wood? Do you have a favorite?

With love,


P.S. – I may not post next week. We’ll see. If I do, should I post about hope when hope is gone or the importance of growing up.

P.P.S. – I realize that as a love letter, this should probably have been addressed to the series instead of just talking about the series, but I thought talking to a stack of books might be a little odd. So I figured I had better just talk about them as if they were real since that’s less weird. ;)