Memories Like Fireworks

66 Days.

My adventure in New York was 66 days long.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been reflecting on the highs and the lows, the unforgettable experiences and the lonely days. Through it all, what did I take from it and where do I go from here?

I love the feeling of an expected train. The cool breeze swirls around me, whispering of its coming while blowing at my clothes and loose hair. It tells of miles traveled, souls carried, stories untold.

Millions of little food options are crammed into small corners and apartments; they aren’t an easy find, but a worthy one. Donuts and bagels worth standing in line for close to an hour (I’m looking at you National Donut Day), summer food festivals in the park, little hole in the wall mom-and-pop places serving food from other countries, and elaborate dessert restaurants that fill you to the brim and leave you wanting more.

The area of Brooklyn I lived in during my 66 days was just a 10-minute walk from Prospect Park, which is far larger than any park I’ve been to in Charlotte, yet is still not quite as big as Central Park. Summer time thrives in New York. Concerts in the park every week, food vendors trying to spread their love for food to the masses, baseball in Central Park, and Shakespeare In the Park. The parks of New York are a revolving door of friends and families who like to soak in the adventures and opportunities available to them. Just add the tourists into the mix and you’ll see why it’s so crowded.

The sights are extravagant, the plays magnificent, and the memorials elaborate. New York embodies the phrase, “Go big or go home.”

A tall building on 20th Street has an office on the 11th floor, which crams in two independent publishing houses and a book distribution company. This is where I spend most of my days, asking for project after project in order to teach me about the publishing industry. Some of my projects are simple, such as packing boxes with books, weighing them, and bringing them to FedEX. Sometimes I input data or create fliers and email blasts. Most of my days are spent helping one of the companies develop a new website, uploading content and formatting different aspects to make it more user friendly. My favorite days were those in which I spend working with manuscripts, copyediting, suggesting changes, and brainstorming how to rework scenes so as to make them more believable. I love being a part of helping people tell their stories. My experiences have given me an outlet to continue to do what I am passionate about, and now I work as a freelance copyeditor.

On Independence Day, the weather is gloomy. I take the subway to Coney Island with my brother. As we walk up and down the boardwalk, a chilly breeze tugs at our hair and clothes. A large flock of seagulls do a dance in the sky as they battle the wind. The rides are old and look rundown, though they appear to be working fine. My brother and I dip out of the crowds and into a building to buy tickets to the freak show. We walk into the dark room and find seats on the bleachers. A man is on the stage, explaining some of the history of the show and interacting with the audience. Eventually, he demonstrates the first act by hammering a long nail and a screwdriver into each nostril. I cringe in discomfort. A performer who lies down on a bed of nails and allows others to walk on top of her follows him. Other performers come one after another, displaying amazing contortions and feats. The spectacle is a memorable one, and I leave feeling content in being normal. As we walk back out into the salty breeze, I still can’t shake the eerie feeling of the place. It reminds me vividly of the first time I read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – it was during a storm at the beach. Certain smells have a way of bringing back memories. Even the rundown rides and the freak show feel like they could’ve been from the book. I smile as I think about this.

I took some trips to Pennsylvania and Jersey City, since they were so much closer to me than usual. Jersey City is a boardwalk galore. Shops squeeze together along the wooden walkway, their owners hoping to sell souvenirs, spray-painted clothing, and deep fried food. Giant, elaborate buildings line either end of the walkway, housing thousands of slot machines, poker tables, and gamblers with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. All the way at one end, by the Trump Taj Mahal, a Ferris Wheel stands tall in the blue sky – for just five tickets, you can be on top of the world. Another ride sends you flying in the air in a circle. I watch as my swing moves further and further out, eventually bringing me soaring over the ocean. I watch as the sun dances on the water below me. To my right (and then my left), I can see all the small people laying on the beach, walking the boardwalk, reaching for their wallets. Yellow and blue umbrellas line the beach, looking like something out of a picture. I later join the crowds on the beach; drink in my hand, soaking up the sun with one of my best girls. A successful weekend.

In Pennsylvania, I went with my brother to his boss’s farm for his annual summer party. The farm is huge – one would need a golf cart or car to get from one end to the other. By the barn and by the house, tents litter the place, offering endless food and wine or beer. A platform holds a live band, playing for hours. Trucks come in waves to offer popsicles, cupcakes, and ice cream – of the best variety. Along the hill leading up to the barn, hired hands man a rock-climbing wall, blowup water slides and relay races, and a mechanical bull. At the bottom of the hill, people fish or paddle board in the large pond. A bus ride down the long winding road by the corn fields brings us to a rodeo, where we watch bull after bull kick their riders off before they can even qualify – I believe only two stayed on long enough. At the end of the night, when our bellies are full, we all gather around for the final event. I sit sideways on a hay barrel, one leg tucked under the other, turning behind me to face the fence. I rest my arms on the whitewashed wood and my chin on top. There is a crackling sound and a small stream of light soars upward through the air. BOOM. Colorful lights dance across the sky, holding their form for just a second, and then they slowly fade, falling back toward the earth. BOOM. Another burst of color. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. Several fireworks go off at the same time, lighting up the sky as if it were no longer evening. After each burst, the colors fade, leaving behind trails of smoke as if to say, “Remember me. I was the best one, gone too soon. Remember that elated feeling.” As more fireworks fill up the sky at once, the smoke trails mingle, fighting to stay the longest.

My memories from New York feel like those fireworks, each one bigger and more colorful than the next. Each moment gone, leaving behind a trail of smoke for me to remember it by. I hope that the smoke trails stay for a long time, fighting to be remembered as the biggest adventure I’ve had so far.

It Runs in the Family

Three more days.

This summer I’ve been interning with Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press, two independent publishing houses located in New York City. One of my biggest projects was working on SHP’s new website, which is now live! My favorite projects have been working on editing upcoming titles (insert heart eyes for days). I have three more days of work and then I start packing up my life here and head back to my beautiful North Carolina! I feel like I’m leaving this internship with a whole lot more knowledge about the publishing field, which was the dream. I will also be working with both companies some after I leave — a huge blessing and an exciting step.

Today I was asked to write a blog post for both company’s websites about a comment I made the other day, where I stated that my brother loves books as much as I do. So, here it is: why I began to love books.

Before I take you on that journey, please can we just marvel on this beautiful sight I get to see almost every evening just outside my door in Brooklyn?


Do you remember how you got interested in reading books? I do. My brother got me hooked.

I have distinct memories of going to the library with my siblings and following my brother around to see what he would pick up. It had to have a good cover, of course. He’s an artist and it motivated his choices, even as a child. The books usually had some fantastical or otherworldly element. Those were the best stories – the ones that sent you exploring a new world. If he took a book home that he really enjoyed, he would hand it to me when he was done. Books like The Anybodies by N. E. Bodie, I Left My Sneakers on Dimension X by Bruce Coville, The Door in the Lake by Nancy Butts, or The Boxes by William Sleator. Because of his habit of handing books to me, (also because of my dad, who had me watch Star Trek: Enterprise and The X-Files) my childhood was filled of stories about aliens and magical realism. I wish everyone had this type of childhood. My imagination flourished in this atmosphere.

My interests have definitely expanded way beyond the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, but there’s still a heartbeat for exploring things unlike our world through stories. My brother still recommends things to me: books, movies, tattoo artists. His opinions and interests still play a large role in my life. We nerd out about pretty book covers and beautifully crafted words. When I took English classes in college, I would text him about the books I was reading. As I continue to take steps forward in the writing industry, I feel like I have my brother to thank for cultivating the love I have for literature and for giving me an endless To-Be-Read pile.

My whole family loves to read (thanks Mom and Dad!), but it’s my brother in particular who helped me form a passion for books from a young age.

I Love You. I Promise.

I’ll be there.
When the distance is too far
And time ticks slowly away,
I’ll stretch my arms across the gap
And bid the void no longer stay.
I love you. I promise.


I’ll be there.
When the world seems to be too difficult
And managing makes your energy diminish,
I’ll pull those roots of fear, they have no place here
And help you make it through today, these ten minutes
I love you. I promise.


I’ll be there.
When your heart seems to burst with joy
And you can’t imagine a better day,
When you get to share your life with those you love
Don’t forget my words, don’t forget to pray
I love you. I promise.


I’ll be there.
I promise to never let you go
To walk with you through hard times
Bless you more than you know
And shape you to be mine
I love you. I promise.

Riding the Subway

I leave to catch the train about fifteen minutes earlier than usual. I didn’t have anything else to do to get ready and I needed to refill my Metro card. The train before my usual departure time arrives and I immediately regret it. All the cars were packed with people – double…triple the normal number. I wedge myself in, trying not to touch anyone, and grab the silver, vertical pole. The speakers announce our next destination, the doors close, and the train lurches forward.

A train full of eyes unseeing. No one makes eye contact. Bodies hunched over books and phones. Headphones dangling out of ears. All these bodies meshed together as one in the train, completely unknowing of the different souls and lives. It’s likely we’ll never see each other again. New York is a pretty big place.

A younger guy holds onto the same pole as I. He’s got some of those large, over the ear headphones on and he’s bobbing his head to the music. With the hand he’s using to hold onto the pole, he starts tapping his fingers to mimic the cord progression of his silent song. The other hand is down by his leg, strumming with an imaginary pick. I watch his hands for a while. The train shutters to a stop. A few people get off and are quickly replaced by more. I watch as a woman rushes to make the train before the doors close. She slips in and I notice sweat droplets collecting on her upper lip. Summer isn’t always kind.

Twenty minutes have passed and the train screeches. This is my stop. I shuffle around the people in the train to make it through the doors. The station smells of piss and cigarette smoke. Everyone squeezes through the exits and rush to work, making sure not to look at the homeless man sleeping in the corner or make eye contact with those around them.

New York is a lonely city.


The Hardest Goodbye

Don’t let me go
Don’t leave my heart in pieces
Don’t let me go
Please beg me to stay

It hurts me to see
Your tears clinging to your lashes
Your bottom lip quivering
Your attempt to smile


Don’t tell me to be brave
Because I’m certain I can’t
Don’t tell me to be confident
I’m sure I don’t know how

It feels like I’m saying goodbye
Instead of we’ll soon be together


Don’t let me go
Don’t leave my heart in pieces
Don’t let me go
Please beg me to stay

Don’t let me go away

Oh, What Marvelous Things

Here’s a song for you lovely
Remember that it is for you only, for you only
I love to watch the light you spread to the room
See how it dances from you to me to you
With our laughter, bright white sound
I’ll build a castle that won’t fall down
And when I’m done
The clock will stop and from
Our heads will come bright flowers

Dear, did you know that people love each other
Just like we do, just like they do
Dear, did you know you’re all I ask for?
So hold onto me, hold on with me here
And you know that until the stars fall I’ll always love you


Oh, when the day is blue
I’ll sit here wondering about you
And how the pollen fell
All around your face in strange yellow patterns
But I wasn’t prepared for this
Oh, lying in the sun
Everyday feeling all of the magic in life
You might find the wonder


You are nothing what you seem
You’re always looking out for me
I know that I have taken things
I’ve taken things I had for granted
I know this one thing’s for sure
I won’t let you ever walk out my door
Let’s break the walls down
And find how to live
Cause you and I have
So much to give


I cut the moon in half
And stuck a piece to my hair
It made the back of my head glow
Golden yellow and then I took
Ten stars on sticks and placed them in my small metal
Bucket and I gave the other half of the moon to you
Oh, so you wouldn’t forget me while I’m gone


(Poem created from the lyrics of nine Eisley songs: “My Lovely,” “Sunfeet,” “Just Like We Do,” “Lost At Sea,” “I Wasn’t Prepared,” “Marvelous Things,” “I Could Be There For You,””A Sight To Behold,” and “Plenty of Paper.”)

Pictures taken by my good friend, Hunter. Take a look at her pictures here and her blog here.

Hearing In Pieces

Andy Mineo is a Christian rap artist that has an older sister who is deaf. Growing up, he chose not to attempt to understand his sister because he didn’t understand her disability. He released a song called “Hear My Heart” in 2015, in which he shares about his selfishness and apologizes for never learning to sign in order to communicate with her. I got to see him perform live in November of last year and this song moved me. He began the song by signing about his sister and I realized: this is for people like me. His lyrics throughout the song are so humble and his desire is for the listener to feel the sounds and to understand his heart. Here are the lyrics from the second verse:

I remember your son’s graduation
That’s when I met your friends
And they was all havin’ conversations
But they was sayin’ stuff that I couldn’t understand
Then all of a sudden it felt like, I understood something I missed my whole life
For the first time I was wearin’ your shoes
For the first time I was hearin’ your views
I never knew how complicated life is when you feel so isolated
And I know we don’t speak much
Cause when talking got hard all I ever did was throw the peace up
My big sister Grace, I’m sorry I never learned to sign
And even though you were born deaf
I pray you forgive me for the years I lived blind

Not all people with hearing loss experience things the same way because there are so many different backgrounds and levels of hearing loss. Deaf actress Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God, Switched At Birth) says this about different experiences: “In the deaf community, there are different types of people who have different philosophies. Some believe that they should only sign. Some believe they should only speak. Some people say you should use cued speech. Some say you should use cochlear implants. Some say you shouldn’t sign. Some people say you should sign” (NPR, 2010). I’m not even technically deaf in a cultural sense (legally, I totally am). For those of you unfamiliar with the deaf world, I’m technically hard of hearing, and this is my experience with that.

I was born with hearing loss. Due to several ear infections in my early years, my parents didn’t realize that I should be checked for it until I was three. They had taken me to a speech therapist who recommended I get tested. This was when my parents had to make a big decision in how to raise me: hearing or deaf. Since I was already communicating verbally (thank you, speech therapist!), they made the decision to raise me verbally. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I became interested in learning about the deaf culture. I started to teach myself sign language and took classes in community college. If you want to carry on a basic conversation in sign language without any specialized knowledge, I’ve got you. I’ve learned a lot since opening myself up to people like me, but I still have a long way to go.

One thing that is wonderful about the generation we live in is that accommodations are available to me most anywhere. This was something that was actually hard for me to accept, because I’m stubborn and hated that I needed help. If I could, I would’ve figured out how to do everything on my own, but that’s not the easiest thing when one of your major senses is lacking. I also felt like I was trying to take advantage of the system. Sometime in college, I realized that people are more understanding than I thought. I still get stubborn about doing excessive things, but I know what I need. If we’re watching a movie together, you bet I’m going to ask you to put subtitles on. I would rather not let my hearing loss prevent me from enjoying myself.


With my sister in Disney World. The only recent picture I have that shows my hearing aids.

A big part of my experience with hearing loss has been lip reading. Since I didn’t get my first pair of hearing aids until I was 3-years-old, I developmentally relied significantly on lip reading. Even though it’s something that’s been so engrained in my identity and my experience with hearing loss, it isn’t easy. After all, if a normally hearing person is able to understand 30% of what you said from lip reading alone, they’re considered an outlier (Altieri, Nicholas A., David B. Pisoni, and James T. Townsend; 2011). Another research project looked at the difference between the lip reading accuracy of a person with early-onset hearing loss and a hearing person. This one concluded “[t]he speechreading accuracy of the participants with early-onset hearing loss (M=43.55% words correct; SD=17.48) significantly exceeded that of the participants with normal hearing (M=18.57% words correct; SD=13.18)” (Auer, E. T. & Bernstein, L. E.; 2007). Basically no matter how good you are at it, you still miss a ton. It is pretty hard to get by on just lip reading, and I definitely can’t. That being said, I struggle getting by without it. Communication with people on a daily basis is kind of like putting together a puzzle, piece by piece. I take all of the information I gather from even just a sentence during an interaction and put them all together and hope I completed the whole thing. I take the sounds I’m hearing and match them with the movements your mouth is making. I add this to the information I’ve accumulated from reading your body language and eyes to understand the emotion behind what you’re saying. Every little piece changes how the overall picture looks. Most people are able to put together all these clues subconsciously very quickly, though I’m sure many of you couldn’t do it as well consciously. For me, I have to consciously put together these pieces, which can be exhausting. My brain doesn’t do it automatically because I can’t translate sounds into words the second I hear it. One thing that I have gained from consistently doing this is the ability to be particularly intuitive. Reading your body language and eyes lets me understand people’s unspoken emotions more clearly. I love it because I can tell when something is bothering one of my friends pretty quickly.

With all this puzzle piecing, there are some things that are particularly hard. Crowds are hard. Loud noises and multiple conversations make it hard for me to pick up specific sound cues. Accents are hard. It takes me a little while to get used to a specific person’s lip movement. The lip movements of those with accents are so foreign to me, I have trouble familiarizing myself with the words they are shaping. Mumbling is hard. When your lips aren’t distinctly moving, I cannot decipher what you’re saying. This does not mean I want you to over enunciate. PLEASE don’t do that. It really doesn’t make it any easier. Phones are hard. Relying only on the sounds, no matter how loud my phone is, is just not something I’m good at. Can you blame me? Really, being deaf is hard.


Being hard of hearing takes a lot of strength to get through the day-by-day life in a hearing world. I’m only human, there’s no way I can do it on my own. My strength to fight to be a functioning member of my community every day comes directly from God. Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Boy is that true. Every time I try to glorify my own strength and not give my struggles to Him, I get rundown REAL fast. God is my strength. It is through Him I have the ability to walk and not be faint. He gives me strength in my weakness and grace for every day (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). My only hope is that He is glorified through my experience with hearing loss.

Rosie Malezer says, “Your hearing status doesn’t make you a better person. Your humanity does” (How to Be Deaf, 2016). I don’t want you to feel pity for me or that you are superior. This one time, I had a stranger say, “You wear hearing aids? I’m sorry you have to go through that.” I’m not. Yes, it is difficult, but it’s part of who I am. It’s an aspect of what makes me – well – me.

Why Good Fences Don’t Make Good Neighbors

I listen to music from my high school years on a regular basis. I’m hard of hearing, so it’s difficult for me to figure out the words to new songs, and who doesn’t like jamming and singing along with their music as they’re driving down the road? Plus, if the lyrics are good or brimming with truth, why not listen to that junk over and over? Which brings me to the other day when I was jamming to some old school Krystal Meyers and the lyrics stayed with me for a particularly long time. The song is called “Together” (2006) and goes like so:

We all long to belong
We all need to be needed
Loneliness is our disease
Still we bite the hand that feeds
Where did we go wrong?
Insecure and self-sufficient
Building up walls instead of bridges

Let our lonely hearts collide
We’re made to live this life
Together, together
Reach across this great divide
Cuz standing side by side is better

All the pride we defend
Teaches us to pretend
Like we can make it on our own
But we were never made to walk alone

Let the lines between us disappear
It starts now it starts here

It’s about living life together, right? God didn’t make us to walk alone. That’s why he gave us our families, our friends, our community.


Taken in Panama City Beach, Florida

I had a ton of those surface-level friendships growing up. I didn’t know what they were at the time, but in middle school and high school, you become friends with someone because you both like the same band, or in my case, you both liked doing theatre. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but my friendships didn’t really go beyond that much. I could probably tell you a lot of facts about all the people I called my best friends (which was basically anyone who spent an extended amount of time with me), but did I really know them? Probably not – most of them at least. Knowing facts about someone and knowing them are different things. The second requires them opening their life to you and you doing the same. Why would you want to do that when we can get what we need from socialization with the surface-level friendship? But that kind of life is lonely. The song talks about belonging and being needed. You don’t get that kind of outcome from a relationship that stays above the surface. I was blind to this. I was temporarily satisfied by the surface, but then I went to college and whoa. My eyes were opened—by people who were bad at the friend thing and people who were good at it. I realized that I was running low on the small talk meter and I was thirsty for something more meaningful in my relationships.

“Loneliness is our disease / Still we bite the hand that feeds / Where did we go wrong?” What causes us to fight against the very thing that will help our loneliness? Self-sufficiency and pride are probably the two most common things. We hate showing any sign of weakness by asking for help or opening up our lives. Krystal Meyers talks more about this in the second verse: “All the pride we defend / Teaches us to pretend / Like we can make it on our own.” Our pride is dumb. Dude, when has it ever helped anything? It’s a flat out sin and it’s making us think wrongly about how we are supposed to do life! We can’t make it on our own. That’s why God had to send His son to die for us, because our attempts at making it on our own are just hurting others and ourselves: it’s pushing us deeper into the clutches of sin and calling us to be in denial about how limited and small we are. Jesus came to take away that power of sin, stop going back to it. He’s offering a more joyful, satisfying way of life, and one way He chooses to do this is through community.

At the end of the first verse, Meyers says that we are “building up walls instead of bridges.” It’s a protection thing. We got hurt by something or are afraid of being hurt by something and we build up those walls. I used to have a wall I built up around my heart that made me afraid to say, “I love you.” I felt like I had said it when I didn’t mean it and because of that, I felt like I didn’t know what it meant. The thing about walls is that they keep the bad stuff out, or at least they try to, but they don’t let people see you. I wasn’t able to show my heart for a while until God started knocking that wall down. We’re not called to have a wall separating ourselves, we’re called into love: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:14-15). It’s not going to be easy, of course. People won’t respond the same way you are trying to. Some people have their own walls or will try to attack your lack of one, but that person has their own struggles and the way they respond shouldn’t give you cause to treat them poorly. I love quotes, and this one sticks out to me when thinking about loving people: “Just remember that sometimes the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are” (Paper Towns, John Green). That’s why surface-level friendships don’t work when you are living in community and loving each other. Some people don’t want to open up their lives to you because of their protective walls, but I think the more we love them and open up our lives to them, the better we are able to show how to live in a community.

Robert Frost wrote a poem about the walls we build called “Mending Wall” (1914). The narrator and his neighbor have to mend the stone wall between their property once a year because of the wear and tear, or he jokes that it could be elves. The narrator keeps asking his neighbor why they have to have a wall to divide them and the neighbor always replies: “Good fences make good neighbors.” The whole poem is about the narrator’s internal struggle with this. He says, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” because it seems to fall down every year, due to the changing weather or perhaps the hunters. Yet he looks forward to this event every year because that means that he finally gets to interact with his neighbor, whom he only sees during this event. The narrator’s longing to know his neighbor is normal.

We’re all sinners. Life is messy and sometimes we don’t want to share the mess with others or step into their messes, but God calls us to community. Sometimes I want to be selfish and only relate with people I think are cool, but that’s not what God calls me to. He calls me to community. He calls me to real life lived with others, without all the makeup covering our less lovely spots, because how are we supposed to encourage each other and build each other up if we only know the facts about people, not their life? Hebrews 10:24-25 shows us what community looks like: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” There is joy and encouragement in community!

One thing that I struggled with in the beginning of my college years is feeling like it was unfair. I felt like I didn’t have any friends trying to know me on a deeper level or invest in me, so why should I do that for others? That’s selfishness. T.M. Moore says, “To love with the love of Jesus is to seek others, and not simply to wait around for them to find their way to us” (2016, “The Disciplined Life: Getting in shape to seek the Kingdom of God”). Jesus didn’t wait until He felt like He fit in before He reached out to others. He was mocked. He was despised. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hid their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not.” Did that stop Him from loving people? Heck no, techno! He sought to know people and love people to the point that He died for their salvation. You may ask how you’re supposed to be a friend and reach out to people when you don’t have an example of someone doing it to you. You do. That’s one of the reasons Jesus came: to be that example for you. He even encourages us by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He can use you in areas you feel the weakest. After all, Moses told God “I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). But did that stop God from using Him? You guessed it.

There’s a verse that I read the other day that I want to share in closing. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 and 12 say, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! …And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The writer of Ecclesiastes talks throughout the whole book about how our actions are vanity, futile, like striving after the wind. They’ll never reap the reward we desire, which is why we must fear the Lord and strive to live in community. These are things that will bring blessing and satisfaction. So, kick down those walls, stuff your pride, and follow Jesus’ example in loving people.


And It Happened In a Coffee Shop

I often have people asking to read stuff I write when I tell them my dreams to work with and write books. I thought I would let you take a peek at something I’ve been working on for a while. I love criticism and feedback on my work. You have a voice: use it.

I have another post coming up soon with more of my thoughts. If you haven’t yet, take a look at my previous post about my sister and our experience with her mental health. Hopefully I will be posting a healthy mix of posts featuring my thoughts and my creative writing. Anyways, here we go…


The bell on the door rang as she walked into the coffee shop. Charlie smoothed her blue skirt and walked up to the counter to order a hot chocolate. The barista handed her the foam cup. She looked around for a seat, but the shop seemed to be having a busy day. A tall boy with caramel skin was doing homework at a table towards the back. Charlie walked over to him.
“I see you at school, you know. I know you.”
“I think we are in AP English together.”
He gave a short nod and then returned to his homework. Charlie pulled out the chair across from him and sat down.
“Yeah, that’s right. You sit a couple rows back from me.”
He didn’t respond.
“My name is Charlie. Well, it’s Charlotte. I’m known as Charlie.”
“Rodney,” he responded, not even looking up.
“Cool. Well, I typically come here after school. Not much happenin’ at home and all. And this is one of my favorite places to do homework.”
Silence. Charlie tapped her fingers on her cup. She gave up on waiting for a response that would never come.
“So, anyways. Do you mind if I share this table with you?”
“No,” he responded, still looking at his book.
“Thanks. I’ll shut up now.”


Charlie struggled to open the coffee shop door against the wind. Once inside, she adjusted her t-shirt and pushed her hair out of her face. She bought a bottle of water.
Rodney was at the same table again. She walked over, dropped her backpack on the ground and sat down across from him. She grabbed the book Something Wicked This Way Comes out of her bag and flipped through until she found her spot. Rodney looked up to see who had disturbed his peace, rolled his eyes and looked back down at his homework.
“’Well, what tongue does the wind talk? What nationality is a storm? What country do rains come from? What color is lightning? Where does thunder go when it dies?’”
Rodney looked up once again. “What?”
“It’s a quote. Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes. I feel like it’s fitting with this storm coming in and all.”
“I heard that there’s going to be some real bad rain, but it should blow right through.”
Rodney put down his pencil and sighed. “Are we really going to do the cliché weather small talk?”
“Hey, I did it in a much more creative and imaginative way. I think I should get some credit for that.” She smiled and pushed her hair out of her face.
He looked back at his homework.
“My uncle read this book in college. He had a friend recommend it. He loved it. Says that it is magical to read. That Bradbury had a talent with words. He came to visit around my tenth birthday. Gave me the book and the movie for my birthday. He wouldn’t let me watch the movie, though. Not until I had read the book. He wanted me to appreciate the writing. He would read it aloud to me before I went to bed every night…” She trailed off. Rodney noticed that her smile was gone. She was staring at her drink with a blank look.
“Are you alright?”
“This book makes me sad.”
“Then why are you reading it?”
Charlie was still staring, as if she was merely talking to herself. “I’m dealing with some conflicting emotions. I was hoping that it would help me sort them out a bit, but now I feel that it’s a mistake.” She shook herself back into the present and began to pack her stuff up. “I’m sorry I bothered you. I will stop distracting you in the future. I need to go home before this storm gets too bad.”
She slung her backpack on her shoulder and left.

Thursday + Friday:

It rained for two days. The roads became flooded almost instantly. The sky was dark even during the day. School was canceled.


The bell jingled. Rodney walked in and noticed Charlie sitting on the other side of the shop, engrossed in a book they had to read for AP English. He walked over.
“I don’t mind, you know.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t mind you talking to me. You’re not bothering me.”
She looked down, embarrassed.
“I mean it.”
He sat down across from her and they worked on homework in silence. The corner of her mouth had turned up, as if she were hiding a smile. It stayed that way for the rest of the day.