Beautiful People // September Edition

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

After a far-too-long break from writing, I am back at it! Kind of. I'm linking up with Beautiful People this month as I focus on my newest novel, The Scars We Choose. This book has a special place in my heart because 1) I love psychology and 2) this book is from the perspective of a nurse. I've always wanted to write a medical type story since I'm a total medical geek. TSWC is going to be one of the heaviest, most emotional books I've ever written, which makes me nervous (because I'm normally a happy person, y'all). To help me with that, I'm going to try writing this story by hand, because that always makes me take my time and put more emotion into my work.

This month I'm focusing on my kind-of-main character, Alexander (or Alex) Lucas. He was active duty in the marines until he was diagnosed with PTSD. Now he's at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda.


1. How did you come up with this character?
I've always wanted to write a novel about PTSD and I've always wanted to write about the present day military. So I joined the two ideas together. I just brainstormed about what the most relatable character would be and Alex popped into my head.

2. Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?
While Alex has never been legitimately starving, the closest he came to it was on a mission where he went two days without food. He ate the first edible thing he came across -- instant food packets that you mix with water.

3. Do they have a talent or skill that they're proud of? 
Alex can burp the alphabet. He's quite proud of it.
On a more accomplished level, he was the best sniper in his unit.

4. List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.
a) seeing someone disrespect the flag or the military fills Alex with a rage that he didn't know he had
b) bullies -- especially when they prey on the weak ones who can't fight back
c) people who don't fulfill their duties

5. What is their favorite type of weather? Least favorite? 
Alex used to leave the heat, but hates it ever since Iraq because it brings back too many memories. His favorite weather now is when it's numbing cold and snowy.

6. What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?
His MBTI personality is ISTJ - Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. One of the major characteristcs of this type is a strong devotion to duty. They say people with this personality type excel in the military, which is exactly what Alex did.

7. Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?
Alex can't really think about the future or the present. He's stuck in the past, replaying what happened over and over again. The prospect of any type of future scares Alex, because of what he's seen and done. He doesn't think he'll ever be able to get over the past.

© A. Jarrett
8. What is their favorite thing to drink?
Ever since high school, Alex makes himself a kale smoothie every morning. He tosses some almond milk, kale, protein powder, celery, and one raw egg into the blender. He claims it's delicious, but no one believes him.

9. What is their favorite color? Least favorite?
Alex absolutely hates yellow. He says it's obnoxiously bright. What he doesn't say is that the color reminds him of his best friend in Iraq, who had a canary yellow shirt. His favorite color is olive green, like the color of an army truck.

10. What is a book that changed their life?
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. Alex's nurse, Ellie, recommended the book to him. She read the book after her brother's death, so Alex decided maybe it would help him. It did. He bought a copy and wore the spine of the book out.

Anyone else doing Beautiful People? Who is excited for NaNoWriMo?


On Being Overwhelmed

Monday, August 15, 2016

It happens. Life keeps marching on and all of a sudden, you are adulting. Fun, yes. And also no. Along with growing up comes stress, bills, college, bills, work, and bills. I'm not complaining. But today as I was sitting through the first day of my nursing program, it hit my how overwhelmed I was. I hate to admit this, but I felt like crying. I suddenly started to wonder if I could do this. Then it hit me:

I couldn't do it.

I can't do nursing school. No way. It's too hard.

At least, it is on my own.

But then I remembered the last part of John 15:5: "... apart from me you can do nothing." 

I know I'm not strong enough to do this on my own. And whatever you're going through, whether it be school, or work, or whatever is overwhelming you -- it's okay to admit that you are weak. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness.

So how do we stop feeling overwhelmed? Give it over to the Lord. That's easier said than done, especially if you're like me, who wants to fix everything myself. Trying to do things myself will just lead to burnout. Here's the cool thing, though. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philipians 4:13). We have free access to Christ's strength, if we ask for it.

I wish I could say that I practice what I preach when I'm stressed. But I'm still learning. Something that helps me is listening to songs that remind me of God's power. The most crucial thing I've learned though, is to constantly be in the Word. Reading the Bible and talking with God at the beginning of the day is a must for me. I can tell when I skip, and I'm pretty sure my family would say that they can too. Find verses that will help you when you feel like you can't go on. Some that have helped me are Proverbs 16:3, Matthew 6:33, Isaiah 41:10, and Galations 6:9.

Don't get discouraged when you feel overwhelmed. It's completely normal. It's good to realize that you can't do something on you're own. That's what keeps us humble and ultimately, what makes us realize that we need a Savior.

What do you do when you're overwhelmed? I'm open to advice!! 


Beginning of the End // Excerpt

Saturday, July 2, 2016

How is your writing going?


Why Nursing??

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Two years ago, I was adamant that I was not going to become a nurse. In fact, I said many times, "I will never be a nurse."

If you had told me then that I would be in nursing school today -- and loving it -- I would have thought you were a crazy liar.

And yet here I am.

Yesterday was orientation for the student nurses starting in the fall. Can I be honest with you? I was a little terrified. The instructors tried to scare us (and did a pretty good job) so we would be aware of how hard nursing is. I sat there wondering if I could really this. Is nursing really what I want?

Then I thought about what made me decide to do nursing. Why did I leave my perfect job at the daycare for this? Maybe it's because I got excited every time someone asked me a medical question. Or because I was constantly looking up medical procedures (yes, I know... I'm weird...). Or maybe it's because I was always saying, "I could have so much fun being a nurse!"

My heart kept feeling a tug to become a nurse. I knew I would enjoy it. But see, there's this little thing called fear. And I payed more attention to fear than to that tug I kept feeling. Until one morning at work, our darling 9 month-old came in late. While we (my coworker and I) talked to her mom, we all noticed a rash on the baby's stomach that soon spread to her back and neck. Then her voice started to get raspy. I checked the baby out and told her mom that she should go to the doctors. Thankfully, the baby turned out to be okay -- it was actually just a bad heat rash -- but I suddenly knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to be a pediatric nurse. Specifically, I wanted to work in the NICU.

I want to be a nurse because no matter how stressful it is -- no matter how tiring it is -- it is totally worth it to hear someone say, "Thank you." When someone is in the hospital, they're scared and want someone to tell them it's okay. I want to be that person. I enjoy taking care of people and I want to encourage people when they are at their lowest. What better way to show God's love then to serve others?

All these thoughts ran through my head while I was sitting in orientation. And suddenly, I didn't feel as overwhelmed. Nursing is what I want and I will not let myself forget that.

Why Nursing? This is why:


A Novel Idea Link-Up // 6-21

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hello blogglings! After a much-needed, unplanned break, I am back! Between summer classes, working, getting things in order for my nursing classes in the fall, and a trip to the beach (which was wonderful) my summer has been busy to say the least. I did make time to sit down and write at the beach, though -- something about salty-air breezes gets your creative juices going. I felt like writing a novel in one sitting. Then the power went out. Oh well. I'm back at it now, and ready to write.

 This week, I'm linking up with Sky and Ashley's A Novel Idea. The prompt is to write a back-cover blurb for your novel. Writing cover blurbs are one of my favorite things to do, because it helps me sort out the key points in my novel. It's also a little terrifying -- a synopsis can make or break your story. I know how much I rely on back-cover blurbs when I'm buying a book, so I want mine to be just right. That's probably why I have a million synopsis ideas scattered all around. 

After discovering the traitor, everything changed. Then the bombs fell. And life came crashing to the ground. Brynn believes that the spy -- once her friend -- is behind the destruction of their home. She disobeys orders and sneaks away to kill the traitor, though she can't shake the suspicion that he might be innocent. Brynn decides to ignore her feelings and go through with her plans -- until the traitor contacts her first.  

Have you linked up? If not, I'd still love to read your back-cover blurb!



Friday, April 29, 2016

And so finishes another semester of school. Next week is finals (cue tears and craving comfort foods), then I get a week break before summer classes. If all goes well, I'll be graduating next July. It's still not completely sinking in.

This year has been amazing. By the last week of January I had a major answer to prayer that caught me off guard (but in an amazing way), I turned 20, threw an adoption shower for my aunt, and voted for the first time. It might not seem like a lot to you, but in the first four months of this year, I feel like I've lived a lot -- which is super exciting since Live is my one word for 2016.

I guess if I had to use one one to describe how I'm feeling, it would be thankful. God has sent so many blessings my way and it's a little overwhelming. I can't even begin to count my blessings. But I can try.

I'm thankful for....

friends who really care

my college and career sunday school class

warm weather

a boyfriend who encourages me 

pictures drawn for me by the adorable little munchkins I babysit

passing my latest lab exam with an A

woods to take a walk in

the freedom to vote

ways to keep in touch with friends that I haven't seen in forever

gift cards to my favorite store so I can get new clothes

new books (oh the smell of new books!!)

conquering my voice recital without forgetting words or tripping

not breaking my face when I ran into the door yesterday in front of my whole A&P class (let's not talk about it)

my brother and sister (they're hilarious, in a good way)

parents who understand that I'm stressed about finals

my amazing church family

the 2nd season of  Fixer Upper on netflix

answered prayer

getting to meet my new cousin soon!

What are you thankful for?


Two Decades // April Playlist

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It has been one whole week since I turned twenty. I'm two decades old. It's a little hard to believe. When I was a little kid, twenty seemed so old. I never really pictured myself being this age. One thing I've learned in this life (although it seems like the more I learn, the less I know) is how amazing God's grace is. I fail everyday, yet Jesus still died for me. That's mind boggling. I have so much to be thankful for and I don't deserve any of it.

My April playlist is a bunch of songs that mean something to me. All of these songs were kept on repeat at different times of my life (go ahead and judge me). Can You Feel the Love Tonight was my favorite song EVER when I was little. Kindergarten and first grade was the Backstreet Boys phase (I was in love with Nick Carter) and fifteen year-old was the One Direction phase (apparently I had a thing for boybands. sorry, not sorry). This playlist is on a constant loop for me as we speak. Oh, nostalgia!

Dear ten year-old me,

If I could tell you one thing to prepare me for the next ten years of my life, I would say that God knows exactly what He is doing. Sometimes things don't work out. But oh, sometimes they do and it's oh so wonderful when things do work out. The next thing you need to do: start exercising right now. Don't wait till after high school -- you'll regret it big time. Oh and please be careful on your bike and climbing trees. That doesn't end well. Enjoy every single minute with your best friends, they won't be around forever. When you make no-bake cookies, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS PERFECTLY (it might take you a few years to figure that out, but you'll get it eventually). Start taking voice and piano lessons as soon as you can and don't forget to practice everyday. Oh and writing a novel is hard work -- you're first draft will be absolutely horrible and you won't ever want anyone to read it, BUT writing gets better the more you do it. Oh and pay more attention in Anatomy and Physiology when you get to high school (you're going to go to college for nursing, in case you're wondering). Twenty is an amazing age to be. 2016 is an awesome year as of April -- you have the best people ever in your life and you will be so happy to see where you are. Trust me.

Love, twenty year-old me 
Yes, driving is just as fun as you thought it would be. 


Life as of Late // March Playlist

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring is finally here out in the country and I'm totally ready. 2016 has already been an amazing year and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store. Lately I've been....

Studying like crazy for Anatomy and Physiology and getting things around for summer classes. This semester is flying by -- how is it going to be over in just a month and a few weeks??

Preparing for my voice recital. The song I'm singing is I Enjoy Being a Girl, which I absolutely love to sing, but it's kind of a flirty song and I... am not the most flirty person. It's definitely going to be a step outside my comfort zone, but hey -- if I don't go outside my comfort zone, it won't get bigger.

Excited for baseball season to start. My brother is playing for the high school team again after taking a year off. I cannot begin to describe how much I've missed watching him play. And let me tell you, he is a.mazing. No, I'm not saying that just because he's my brother -- he really is good. Just trust me.

Listening to Les Mis. Because why not? Anytime is a good time to listen to it. Oh and feast your eyes on this video.

This will totally be my kids.

Finishing Finished my new favorite tv show, Lost. Let's just say.... I haven't cried over a show like that in a while. But you need to watch. Really.

Reading The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. This play is hilarious, people. Seriously, I laughed out loud multiple times. And if you've never seen the movie, I highly recommend it -- definitely one of my favorites!

Trying to get back in the habit of working out. Ehh it's getting there.

Suffering from allergies. As wonderful as springtime is, pollen is my enemy. What would I ever do without Claritin-D?

Anndd, the playlist for this month. Yes, most of these are Les Mis songs. No, I am not sorry.

What have you been up to lately?


The Scars We Choose

Monday, March 7, 2016

One of the many ideas on my To-Write list was a novel about a PTSD patient. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has always fascinated me, but I didn't study it too much until psychology class last semester. If you'r'e unfamiliar with PTSD, it used to be known as shell-shock and was linked to soldiers in combat. It develops after a traumatic experience and is characterized by flashbacks, nightmares and continuous fear. We know now that anyone can get PTSD: car accident survivors, abuse victims, and nurses. You could even develop PTSD from watching something traumatic, like coverage of a natural disaster on TV.

Causes, symptoms and statistics on PTSD, not here, about half of all children who have been abused.:

I was disappointed when we only skimmed over PTSD in psychology. I started to research like a madman (I'm good at that) and discovered that there isn't much awareness for PTSD. Sure, there are some movies and TV shows where a character might have the disease. But the stories don't even begin to touch on what PTSD really is.

I decided that I wanted to write this novel more than ever. Characters and the beginning of a plot began to take shape. As I continue my research, it's amazing to see how much PTSD affects not only the patient, but everyone around them. There seems to be an idea that people with PTSD are dangerous -- and they can be -- but that isn't always the cause. I want that to come through in my novel.

And so was born The Scars We Choose. A nurse with a lot of baggage tells the story of Alex, a soldier with PTSD. The nurse, Ellie, dreads having to work with a PTSD patient, but the two end up bonding over their love of classic books (even though he hates her favorite book and she hates his), the Beatles, and their love of creating artsy things (he writes, she draws). Both of their worlds are falling apart in some way, so they take comfort in knowing that they're broken together.

I love both of these characters so much. Ellie deals with anxiety because of an accident with her older brother, and Alex acts tough and unapproachable, but he's really just a ginormous teddy bear. Since this novel is about PTSD and depression, it will have more of a dark undertone, which is something I'm nervous about. But my goal is to leave readers feeling hopeful not only about PTSD, but also about other mental health issues.

What are your latest writing projects? Have you ever written a novel about mental health? Do you have any tips?


February Playlist // Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Well, well, well. February just kind of snuck up on us, didn't it? And do you know what makes February so popular (hint: it's not Abe Lincoln's birthday)? Valentine's Day. So of course, I had to make a playlist full of lovey-dovey songs because I'm sappy like that. Enjoy :)

What are some of your favorite sappy love songs? Any fun Valentine's plans?

The Man From U.N.C.L.E // Movie Review

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Slick New Trailer For THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Spy Thriller — GeekTyrant:

I remember the first time I saw the trailer for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. What made it stand out was the fact that Henry Cavill was a main character -- in fact, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to watch it (yes, I'm that person). I finally got around to renting it and watched it with my family one night. It was a little slow to get into and somewhat confusing, but by the middle of the movie, I was hooked. When the credits appeared on the screen, I was upset that the movie wasn't longer. This is my new favorite movie, people. 

See Henry Cavill & Armie Hammer in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Trailer| The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Movie News, Armie Hammer, Henry Cavill:
Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Pictures & Photos from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) - IMDb:
Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin

The Man From Uncle fashion and style inspiration (
Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller

One of the things that makes this movie so great is the casting. All three of the main characters are wonderful. My personal favorite was Armie Hammer, who did a wonderful job of being a dashing KGB agent. His Russian accent was captivating.

The Story: (Synopsis from Amazon) At the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin must put aside longstanding hostilities to stop a mysterious international criminal organization bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of world power. With only one lead, the agents race to find a vanished German scientist who is the key to infiltrating the organization in the cool, stylish action adventure. 

What I Loved: As I said earlier, the casting is wonderful. The clothes were also adorable -- 60's shift dresses need to come back in style and so do teased side-ponytails. Also, if you like to watch movies with good-looking guys... Let's just say that this movie is perfect ;) Ahem. Now about the story. This movie is full of great lines to quote and dry humor (a personal favorite of mine). If you like snarky characters, you'll like U.N.C.L.E. There were two major plot twists that I didn't see coming, which made the story even better. Another thing I loved was the soundtrack. It fit the movie so well.

My personal favorite

What I Didn't Like: The story was a little hard to follow at first, but it did get much better as the movie went on. There were one or two things that I still didn't get understand after the movie was over, but after re-watching the movie, I caught things that I missed the first time. Probably my biggest complaint for the whole movie was that the ending didn't have quite enough closure. I think the reason is because that is the director wants to make a sequel -- the door was definitely left open for one.

If you take everything seriously, then this movie isn't for you. It's supposed to be a fun movie. No, it isn't a hardcore, realistic spy movie. You have to keep that in mind when you watch U.N.C.L.E. My whole family enjoyed it and that's saying something. I give this movie 5 stars -- like I said, it's my new favorite movie. I could watch it over and over again -- and I really hope that there is going to be a sequel. My recommendation: Go watch it.

Have you seen The Man from U.N.C.L.E.? What did you think? If you haven't, what are you waiting for??


January Playlist

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Here are some songs to start your new year off with. A personal favorite of mine is track one because 1) who doesn't love Mama Cass? and 2) it's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head. All of these songs follow my theme for 2016, Live. The only one that doesn't is Shut Up and Fish -- that's on here because I just like it ;)  Enjoy!

What songs are you listening to this month?


Beautiful People // 2016 Writing Goals

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It's time once again for Beautiful People! This month I get to talk about all my writerly goals. Writing my goals down always helps me stay focused (dedicated list-maker speaking), so this was a good way of planning my writing projects for the year. If you don't usually do Beautiful People, I suggest you join this month, even if you don't post it -- it really will help you.

1. What were your writing achievements last year?
To finish editing the first book in my trilogy, Beginning of the End, and start the sequel, Out of the Ashes. I did both (!!!) and even plotted out some other story ideas that I'm pretty excited about.

Almost done school!  Time to start working on my victory dance!
(victory dances are a normal part of my life)

2. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
More than anything, I want to finish Out of the Ashes. Then I'll have to edit (yay). There are so many other story ideas that I want to work on too, so my goal is to attempt multitasking this year. It should be interesting. 

3. List 5 areas you'd like to work the hardest to improve this year.
Write more -- as in everyday.
Edit mercilessly instead of keeping pointless scenes (even if they are my favorite).
Create more diverse characters, so they don't all sound the same.
Show, don't tell.
Create twisting plots instead of predictable ones.

4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?
I'm not planning on it. My cousin is my writing buddy, so we kind of have unofficial competitions to see who can get more chapters done. But other than that, no.

5. What's your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this 
Right now, my cousin reads my book for me. One of my other friends is reading my book, too. I hope get more beta readers to get good variety of opinions. Which is super scary.

Grown men can scream like little girls and it’s totally OK. | 27 Lessons That Everyone Can Learn From "Psych"

6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books 
you want to read for research?
Most of my writing-related reading (say that 5 times fast) will all be research. I specifically want to read some psychology books for a story idea I'm really excited about. I wouldn't mind reading a book about getting published, either.

7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
Unfortunately, that would be my main character, Brynn. She's so confusing. One minute she wants to rip your heart out and then the next... She doesn't. Maybe she's just a hormonal teenager. I don't know. I'll probably do a lot of character interviews and then write out a bunch of different scenarios and see how she reacts to them .

8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what's your plan of attack?
I don't even know. I try not to think about it. Honestly, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. In my eyes, my writing will never be good enough to send out. But I want to start looking for an agent and then work from there. We'll see what happens.

9. Toni Morrison once said, "If's there's a book you want to read, but is hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." What are the books you want to see more of, and what "holes" do you think need filling in the literary world?
Oh goodness. I absolutely love reading historical fiction, specifically the Civil War and WWII. And the Revolutionary War. One of my favorite eras is the 1920s -- but I haven't seen too many novels set in that era. I would also like to see more psychological novels where a main character has a mental illness. There are so many books to write and so little time...

10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
I want to finish Out of the Ashes and hopefully finish another book that I've been plotting, The Scars We Choose (more on that project soon!!). I'd also like to get Beginning of the End polished to the point where I feel comfortable enough to send it out.

What are your writing goals for 2016? Just remember -- you got this!

13 Things to Do Before Your Next Relationship


Another Year: 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's hard to believe that another year is over. I'm going to be twenty this year. Twenty. I still can't quite comprehend that. As I said in my previous post, 2015 was a crazy year -- but you know what? I think I had a pretty good handle on it. My word for last year was Fierce. Believe it or not, I was fierce last year. There were times that I wasn't, but I did so many things that I never thought I would do.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what my one word for 2016 would be. What do I want 2016 to hold for me? How do I want to change? I finally came to the conclusion that I want to live, not just survive. I want to remember what a beautiful thing it is to be alive and breath fresh air into my lungs. I don't ever want to be afraid to live. And more than anything, I want to live for the One who died for me. So my one word for 2016 is Live.

2015 Bucket List
Blog more
Finish editing my novel & then start the sequel
Read lots of books
Stay organized
Make a new recipe once a week
Take 1 picture every day
Stop biting my nails
Go on another fun girls trip
Workout every day
Step out of y comfort zone more

No, I wasn't able to cross everything off. But you know what? The 3 things I did cross off are a big deal to me. Plus, I did a ton of other fun things. I went to my first live concert -- it was freezing cold and pouring rain, but totally worth it to hear Josh Turner sing live (seriously). I'm determined to cross more things off in 2016.

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”:

2016 Bucket List

Finish Out of the Ashes and continue to edit Beginning of the End

Write more letters

Workout everyday - if not everyday, then at least twice a week

Wear more dresses (because they're adorable)

Practice piano and voice everyday

Sing a solo in church

Teach myself to play my ukulele

Go to the drive-in movies

Read 20 books (pathetic, I know. but hey, my college schedule is crazy!)

Learn how to drive stick shift

Learn how to change the oil in my car

Start one of the novels on my To-Write list (other than my trilogy)

Make one new recipe a week

don't just exist--LIVE:

Have a wonderful year and a great week, lovelies.