summer journal {June}

I know it’s 2/3 of the way through July now…..  I’ve been all over the place with traveling, work, and then more traveling the past 3 weeks, so I sincerely apologize for not getting this up sooner.

And since I’m so late, I’m not going to go as in depth as I did for the May post….

{what I did}

Honestly, not much worth blogging about for most of the month.  😉  I got back from the beach and worked and did a lot of assorted babysitting.  The last week of June, I got to go up to Mt. Morris, New York with a couple friends and attend the Lamplighter Guild — a intensive week of exploring various creative disciplines from a Biblical worldview with people who are masters in their fields.  More on that further down…

{what I read}


I read The Hawk and The Dove while on vacation.  It was actually Mom’s book for her book group, but both my sister and I ended up reading it, too.  ❤  It is a collection of stories handed down from mother to daughter over generations — stories of a monastery in 14th century.  The author, Penelope Wilcock, has an amazing way of making both stories so completely relatable and realistic and beautiful — both the mother and daughter and their family, as well as the monks in the monastery.

The stories follow a little Benedictine monastery in England.  When the Abbot dies, a new monk is sent to replace him as the leader of the monastery.  His new name as a monk is Columba, which means dove.  His name prior to taking his vows was Peregrine — hawk. Whoever named Father Peregrine after a dove had either great faith or a severe sense of humor.  Peregrine is intelligent and quick and can run a monastery.  One night, Brother Edward trips on a body left on the floor of the chapel.  And Father Peregrine has many things to confront.  I don’t want to say too much more…

Various shorter external plots/journeys on account of it being a sort of Canterbury Tales-type of collection.  But a very well-woven, consistent, internal plot/journey, both in the daughter listening to the stories and in Father Peregrine.

And, it’s a pretty short, quick read.  So, you can’t not read it.


I finished this one the day we got back from the beach.  I spent probably half the car ride home ready to scream at the characters.  And then I think the last 8 pages or so got wet with tears.

I had seen this book recommended in a couple places, and I thought the blurb sounded intriguing.  A lighthouse keeper and his wife decide to love the little girl who washes up on their island.  “When she is two, [they] return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.”  O.O

One of the many things I learned at the Guild is that, “Story is a journey of the emotions”.  In that light, this book is a stunning example of storytelling.  I rode the emotion all through the words and characters to the last page.

But in the end, I think I ended up wanting something.  wanting the Truth and redemption that M.L. Stedman and her rather fatalistic worldview couldn’t bring.  As emotional as it was, I’m not sure if it was a story that needed telling.  It gripped me, yes.  The characters were strong, yes.  But did it point me to the truth?  Not really.  It took you to the abyss of a broken world and left you hanging on the edge.

A book with slightly less of an emotional roller coaster.  😉  This is a book by Bodie and Brock Thoene who have written quite a few books of well-done historical fiction, including the Zion Chronicles.  This one is non-fiction, straight from experienced writers to writers who are still trying to figure things out.  It’s very straightforward, practical, and answers a lot of the questions I wished I knew to ask.  It starts where all things should start — your motivation and heart.  And, of course, they are writers:  They know how to weave stories and words and knowledge together in a way that is easy to read and to follow.


Oh my.  I read a lot of good, emotional books this month!  This one is 500 pages, but definitely worth every bit of the read.  It is set in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, not too far from Asheville, NC.  The characters are extremely well-written.  I found myself continually wondering at how realistically and unpredictably Catherine Marshall wrote people.  And so many people!  And so many character arcs!

She does an incredibly good job at writing the relationships, too.

friendships.  I choked on tears once or twice.

mentorships.  Miss Alice is steady character, and yet very complex.   Catherine Marshall unfolds the backstory and the relationship one intriguing step at a time.

romance.  It’s not anything like that stuff you read on the back covers of all those Amish ‘Christian’ fiction novels.  (you know what I mean, right?)  It’s so much more real life.  It’s believable — she never pushes it.  It’s build around working together and sharing common passions.  It’s all born out of the character development — not the other way around.  It’s unpredictable down to the last page and half.

It’s all. so. well. done.  I don’t know if I could ever write relationships that well.

Lots of other things I could say about it, but I need to keep this short.  😉

{what I wrote}

I didn’t post anything on Halaran in June.  shame on me.  I worked on a short article earlier in the month, and then got to be part of an audio drama script!

At the Guild, we explored writing and storytelling with John Fornof (Focus on the Family, Odyssey, Lamplighter Theatre) and Paul McCusker (Focus on the Family, Odyssey, Beyond the Mask).  And I got to be part of the writing of a bookend story for one of the upcoming Lamplighter Theatres, Dashed to Pieces.  It was a very different, very fascinating writing project.

As the script writers, we had to get most of our work done early on in the week since we weren’t the only ones working on the audio drama project.  After us, the voice/stage actors auditioned for the parts we wrote. Then, after a incredible push to get the scripts done in time (but that’s another story), we recorded all the parts.  Then, the music and sound design teams took over and created the entire world that you can’t see of an audio drama. At the end of the week, we got to hear it all pieced together.  It was incredible to see everybody’s blood, sweat, and tears come together into a completed project.  ❤

Lamplighter Guild 2016

{what I thought}

never mind this part.  Hopefully more thinking in July.  🙂


How is your summer going??  Have you read any of these books?


9 thoughts on “summer journal {June}

  1. Hey Rachel! It’s Grace Anne from the Lamplighter Guild. I was looking at your brother’s creative writing blog for our class when I remembered what you had said about having a brother in the creative writing class! I hope you had a wonderful summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi!! Sam just told me that the Tuesday and Wednesday sections had shared links, and I was thinking I needed to find your blog!
      My summer was wonderful. 🙂 Honestly, one of the best I’ve ever had. ❤ Hope yours was great, too!! I'm heading over to look at your blog now…..


      1. Yeah, I was looking at all the blogs when I realized he was your brother! I had actually already seen your blog when I was looking at the ones from previous years, but I didn’t make the connection!
        Mine summer was awesome. It was busy, but a lot of fun. By the way, I love your blog name!

        Liked by 1 person

seriously -- I'd love to know what you think!

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