Wednesday, July 28, 2021

10 Songs When... // Windows Down

Hey all! Who else loves a good county road, the scent of fresh cut hay, and wind in your hair? I know I do! Today's addition for this blog series (and last installment) is all about songs to jam to when you've got the windows down on a summer day! 

In no particular order: 


1. Cruse by Florida Georgia Line

2. Getting Good by Lauren Alaina

3. Fly by Maddie and Tae


4. Homemade by Jake Owen


5. May We All by Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw


6. Seasons Change by Scotty McCreery

7. She's a Wildflower by Lauren Alaina 

8. Wide Open Spaces by Dixie Chicks 

9. Almost by Thomas Rhett 


10. Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts 



YOUR TURN! Whats your go-to music for driving with the windows down? 
Comment below with a country song that's on repeat! 

Also, can you believe that July is almost over?? How is that possible!!

Many Blessings, 
Brooklyne Elysse 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

10 Songs When... // Dance & Karaoke

For the third post of this blog series featuring MUSIC, I'll will be sharing 5 songs that you should listen to when you want to dance and 5 songs that are great for an entertaining karaoke night! My sis may have helped me come up with some of these ones! 

Dance:

1. Can't Stop the Feeling

2. I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston


3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper


4. Ladies In The 90's by Lauren Alaina 


5. I Hope You Dance Lee Ann Womack


Karaoke: 

6. Champion by Carrie Underwood


7. My Heart Will Go On by Céline Dion


8. What If by Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina 


9. I Hope You're Happy Now by Carly Pearce and Lee Brice


10. What's Your Country Song by Thomas Rhett 


Do you like to dance or karaoke? I love to when no ones watching *winks* How is your July? Any fun summer plans? Comment below! 

Many Blessings,
Brooklyne Elysse

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

10 Songs When...// Time Travel

Today's installment of "10 Songs When..." blog series is all about the oldies! I present to you *drumroll* 10 songs that will take you back in time when music was actually pretty cool, lol! Here's a bunch of random oldies that make me smile: 

1. Say You, Say Me by Lionel Richie 

2. (I've Had) The Time of My Life 

3. Making Love Out of Nothing At All by Air Supply


4. The River by Garth Brooks



5. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor 

6. From This Moment by Shania Twain


7. You're Still the One by Shania Twain

~~~

8. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by The Andrews Sisters


9. Comin' In On A Wing And A Prayer by The D-Day Darlings 

10. Happy Trails by Roy Rogers <3 



Have you heard of any of these? Whats your favorite song from times gone by? 
Share them in the comments and I may add them to my playlist!

Many Blessings,
Brooklyne Elysse 




Wednesday, July 7, 2021

10 Songs When.... // Comfort

Heyyyyy!

I'll be doing a fun little blog series for the month of July! I was pondering taking a hiatus because I have less time to dedicate to actually writing out thoughtful posts, but I brainstormed a way I can do both. I'll be posting four installments of MUSIC with different themes. You may not have known this, but music is a outlet that I go to when I need motivation or just simply to jam while cleaning, etc. So if you love music like I do, then you'll be excited about theses posts! And hopefully in August, I can get back to "real" posts && maybe even some updates/photo dumps! 

But for now, I hope you enjoy this blog series, "10 Songs When..." Today's installment will be featuring 10 songs to listen to for when you are needing comfort: 

1. Famous For (I Believe) Tauren Wells, Jen Johnson

2. Blessings Laura Story


3. Middle of My Storm The Clark Family


4. Fighting For Me Riley Clemmons 

5. Tell Your Heart to Beat Again Danny Gokey


6. Whisper Natalie Grant


7. Steady My Heart Kari Jobe


8. Just Be Held Casting Crowns


9. You Will Make A Way Mallary Hope


10. Just as I Am The Ball Brothers 


Have you heard any of these songs? Which one is your favorite? 
Are you excited for the rest of this blog series? 

P.S. I hope everyone is having a great summer! 

Many Blessings, 
Brooklyne Elysse


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

10 Tips For Improving Your Blog

Heyoooo everyone! Today's post is going to be informative, *whispers* or at least, that's my goal! 

To any new bloggers or young people who feel like their blogs aren't reaching their potential, this post is for you! 

Disclaimer, I'm by no means a pro. But, I have a good bit of experience on my side so that will come in play for today's post. I've learned a lot over the years of blogging, and when a friend once reached out asking for some blogging tips, I thought "why not make it into a whole post dedicated to it!"

Let's begin, shall we!?

1. The Blog Aesthetic 

When someone first comes across your blog, what is the first thing they see? Everyone likes to start assuming things about the blog right from the get go. When someone first clicks on my blog, I want people to see that this is a lifestyle blog with Christian themes and down-to-earth vibes. One might say my blog has a rustic look due to the wood background. Others might be drawn to my header because of the horse or the little slogan thing, "Penning Life, Faith, and Heart." (Kinda cheesy but it works for now!) Your blog aesthetic is SO IMPORTANT. If your blog looks like you didn't put a lot of effort into it, then what is keeping your readers there long enough to read your content? 

Ways to improve your blog's look: The most obvious thing is the header. I designed mine using Canva. Also, blogger has different templates to use for background and overall format (aka sidebar). But it all comes down to what you like and what you think will work best for your blog.

2. Content vs. Audience 

Bloggers need to know their audience in order to create content that they know their readers will like reading. For example, I know my readers loved my monthly wrap ups (that I haven't been able to do in a long while, sorry!) They also love photo dumps and lifestyle posts. On the other hand, you have to take into consideration what YOU actually like writing. After all, this is your blog and you can write anything you wish! Not everyone likes reading poetry (I don't actually like reading other peoples poetry) but on occasion, I find inspiration for my own poems. I share them anyway, just because, not necessarily for it to become a popular post. So keep your blog a nice balance between content that your readers will enjoy and also the content that you enjoy writing. 

3. Consistency, is it key? 

Um, yes. Without a doubt, consistency is one of the most important things about blogging! Find a schedule that works for you and go with it! Change it whenever you need, but if you can get into a groove, your followers will know when to look out for your posts! I love blogging once a week. I keep posts scheduled ahead of time so that I don't go crazy, but blogging on Wednesday's have been such a good way to keep my blog consistent. 

4. Say "yes" but not all the time

When you first start blogging, it's really important to participate in the blog tags, collaborations, etc. Whenever you have fun, interactive posts, your blog will become more popular. So next time someone reaches out to guest post, or do a tag collaboration, don't miss out on a fun opportunity! (Obviously make sure they're a legit blogger friend and not a scam...)

On the other hand, say "no" when you feel a burnout coming. Don't bend over backwards to create fun content, make sure you have good boundaries. Hehe, it's harder than it sounds!

5. Sometimes professional is no fun

There, I said it. Yes, blogging is technically PUBLISHING a piece of work so you want to edit your posts and make sure your grammar is not all over the place, but at the end of the day, your readers want come to your blog to laugh at a joke or goof around with asterisks. *winks* I guess it depends on the post, but sometimes it's good to just sit down and write without worrying about it sounding professional. 

Also keep in mind that you WILL look back on past posts and see typos, everyone makes typos. Don't let the fear of not having perfect grammar keep you from your passion.

6. Be yourself 

Everyone is so unique and it's important to stay true to you! BE AUTHENTIC! Don't try to pretend to be someone you're not. What's the point in making blogger friends if all they see is the fake you?

7. Be aware 

If your blog is public, there will be times when you'll need to delete scam comments, block certain people, or simply be careful about the info you share. Recently, I've had to monitor my comments due to some inappropriate scam comments. Keeping those comments off your blog feed is important because you don't know who else reads those comments. No one wants to read through a blog and see those comments. It's like cleaning up litter. Everything looks a lot cleaner without it!

8. Reach out and comment on other blogs 

Find your blogging community. Invest some time getting to know your readers. Share the link to your blog and reply to those who've taken the time to comment on your blog. The first couple years of blogging, I read other blogs way more than I do now... unfortunately life is pretty busy atm and I've had to cut back on the amount of blogs I read and comment on.

9. Take breaks 

Everyone needs to take blogging hiatus' every once in a while. Just some time away from planning and posting. Every creative goes through seasons where they don't feel as inspired to create. So take a break! Your blog readers will understand! Also, taking breaks will help you reevaluate how you want your blog to run and if it is still a fun hobby for you to be doing. That leads to the final point...

10. Have fun! 

Your blog is to inspire others, encourage others, and uplift others. But wait, it can also be fun for you too! If blogging is a chore, then maybe its not for you. Blogging should be a fun outlet for you to share your writing and your gift with others. Keep it fun!


Were these tips helpful to you? How long have you been blogging? 
Comment below and share a piece of blogging advice! 

Many Blessings, 
Brooklyne Elysse 


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Waves of Freedom // *squeals* // Series Review


It's time for another book series spotlight and series review!!! Back in March of 2021, I posted about the American Heiresses Series by Jen Turano. And in June 2020, I posted the Wings of Glory by Sarah Sundin book series spotlight. Today, I'll be sharing my reviews for the Waves of Freedom series by Sarah Sundin. Beware, it's a longggg post because I could seriously talk about these books for a long time!

Book one I read from start to finish: 2-21-21 to 3-16-21

Book two I read from start to finish: 3-23-21 to 3-25-21 (three days!)

Book three I read from start to finish: 4-6-21 to 5-22-21

Through Waters Deep 

★★★★★

This book, y’all. Like, I just can’t get over it. I absolutely loved it!!

The characters, the plot, the message, the mystery, etc!

First off, Mary is the sweetest. She’s so honest with herself and you can really feel her internal struggle with overcoming stage fright and prideful thoughts (even though she was extremely humble.) I love her passion for helping people and her drive to better her character by pushing through her fears. And deciding to be bold even when she wished to be invisible. (I learned so much through her character!)

Jim. Jim was pretty darn awesome. I’m usually pretty picky about guy MCs. But Jim was so different than a lot of characters you see in fiction. I loved learning about his background and how he decided to start following Gods lead instead of “floating” through life. (Also I liked how his priorities changed.) His character definitely grew. I didn’t care for how he let Quintessa fawn over him, but he was learning how to stick up for himself. I also loved his friendships along the way. I love it when MC have best friends (as both Mary and Jim did).

The plot was amazing! I was very intrigued as to who was sabotaging the Boston Navy Yard. The mystery was great and the climax had my hands sweating. I almost couldn’t stand the POV switch because right when something suspenseful happened, I’d get to switch to another character and a different suspenseful part of the book. The ending was sweet and kinda just perfect for what the story was leading up to in each character. (Jim finally made some waves. And Mary got over her fear of being in the spotlight—thanks Jim.)

There was a couple characters that I would have liked to know what happened to them... like Gloria. She played a part in the first, but then kinda left the scene once Arch and her broke up. I’d also have liked to hear more about Mitch Hadley as he was thrown in at the end. Or at least, I don’t remember him being mentioned until the end. Lastly, I really wanted to hear more of Mary’s backstory... I feel like the readers got more of Jim’s story than hers. 

Yes, parts were sad. But I felt like it was realistic to the timeframe. Not everyone made it home to be with their families. I so appreciate the description. The details, and basically I just love the writing style!! 

The message was totally relatable. Overcoming fear, mental blocks, “silly” reasons for anxiety, overconfidence, lack of confidence, peer pressure, leadership, pride, self esteem, it was all there! I love the ties of Nehemiah and the lessons learned.

I know it’s a good book when I get so excited about it that I can’t stop talking about it. It’s just plain brilliant, ‘Kay?

I’d totally recommend this book if you are looking for a heartfelt love story, fun characters, and a exciting mystery! Probably more for older readers but I guess it just depends on your maturity and comfort level. 

But personally, I thought it was super sweet, extremely exciting, and now one of my favorites!! I can’t wait to read book two and three!




Anchor in the Storm

★★★★✰

4.5 Star! 

Can I just take a moment to say that if I'm reading a good book, I'll probably take a month to finish it. If I'm reading a great book, give me two weeks. But if it's AMAZING, the time it takes me to read it is a few days. In this case, 3 days! 

First off, I love this series. The characters are so realistic, the mysteries so intriguing, and yeah, I just love getting excited about books like this! 

Ok, now with the review. 

Lilian Avery. She's a spunky pharmacist with a disability that leaves her with a chip on her shoulder. I love spunky characters, btw! She was so brave and I admired how she worked through her fear, her past, and her insecurities. I also liked how the anchor necklace her dad gave her reminded her that Jesus is the anchor and hope in the storm. This theme was woven throughout the rest of the book. 

(Both books had Bible stories related to them and I love it when that happens in Christian fiction. Not preachy, but just so perfect for the story!)

Arch is Jim's best friend from book one. The readers get a different glimpse at his character. He's got a lot going on in his life and his role in the Navy has really affected him. I love how he always wanted to do the right thing. Even if that meant facing what he feared most. I don't want to spoil anything, but I wish that he and Jim would have made amends because I felt like I was left hanging. Hopefully book three will help clarify some of those loose ends. 

The plot book didn't feel as intense as book one, but it definitely held my attention and I kept thinking, "just one more chapter." (I was able to piece together parts of the mystery, although one part surprised me). However, backstories felt more complicated. There was some hard topics covered, the author didn't shy away from difficult subjects of the timeframe. 

I like the cast of character amount in book two better than book one. In book one, I had a harder time keeping track of everyone. But this book was easier to keep track of characters. I like how the MC's parents were involved in this book. <3

The half star I took off partly because towards the end of the book, there was a fight between MCs (come on, Arch... I thought you were done with "testing" your girlfriends. Is it just me or am I the only one who was actually glad that Jim punched him?!) that seemed out of character after all they'd been through together. One sketchy letter had him doubting everything. As well as some other minor stuff that bugged me. (The first half of the book was, for sure, a 5 star though!)

In the end, a AMAZING read and I'm so excited to read Dan's story next. Have I mentioned how much I like Sarah Sundin's writing style? Just, wow. It's a art and she has mastered it! I so appreciate the time put into researching and all the detail! I also love it when she adds movies and song titles to give these books such a old fashioned vibe!! 

If you're looking for a book that grabs your attention and only lets go when you finish it, then I'd definitely recommend this book! (A slight sensitive content warning for younger readers...)


^^ Photo bombed by a bee! XD

When Tides Turn 

★★★★★

 *steps on stage*

This. book. is. AMAZING! Mrs. Sundin has once again outdone herself! I keep telling my sisters after reading this series that if I could someday write a book that was half as brilliant as this series, then I would be fully content with my accomplishment. I hate picking favorites when it comes to books, but I can, without a doubt, say that this series is my FAVORITE historical fiction series! 

*mic drop*

Now for the review... 

When Tides Turn follows the story of Tess and Dan as they fight both internal and external currents on their way to seeing how God can "turn" the tides of their lives into something more than either of them could ever imagine. I love the mystery, the depth to the message, and the comradery of friendships. The characters were realistic and the romance was done so well! (They're love story was based off of friendship and also it went deeper than skin deep!! I say "Bravo" from someone who's picky about romance in fiction!) I so appreciate the attention to historical detail and I love learning new things as I read! I especially loved learning about the WAVES program for women! 

Characters: Tess. I got to observe Quintessa from the two prior books in this series, but this was first time I actually got to see who "Tess" was. Based off of her previous relationships, I felt bad for her. But with that history, I could see more clearly why she was so dead set on being useful and not just a ornament. I admire that, and I loved watching her character grow into a genuine encourager who was not self-centered at all. She brought color and energy to the story. *squeals* her and Dan were so perfect for each other! 

Dan. Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling *ahem* back to the real Danny in the book... Dan was so serious and dull at the first of the book. But then-- then a certain curly haired blonde brought some color into his overworked, mundane life! Two things I loved about Dan's character, his sketching hobby (sailboats!) and his integrity. He literally stopped himself from doing what he knew would bring him earthly happiness in his career and instead, did what was right and left the judging up to God. Similarly, in real life, God can turn what once seems like plans gone awry into some epic turning of tides! Just, yes, yes, yes! There needs to be more God honoring men in fiction (also Dan had his not so amazing moments which just showed how realistic his character was!) Also, I loved the message of rest that the reader gets when reading from Dan's POV.

I especially loved the glimpse into the other characters from other books! So good! 

The mystery was really good. I was slightly confused here and there and I wouldn't say it as exciting as the first two books... but it still made for an exciting ending. One sad part of the book is the Cocoanut Grove Fire. I guess I need to brush up on my history because I was even more saddened when I saw that it was a real event. 

Concluding thoughts: Just go read this series! You won't regret it! The history, the characters, the setting (!), the excitement, and the themes that can seriously be applied to real life. I'm so impressed with Sarah Sundin's writing style and I'm pretty sure my family and friends are tired of hearing me gab about this series! 



Waves of Freedom Series

★★★★★

This series is my absolute favorite historical series EVER! XD I mean, you're talking to the girl who took her books to the lake to just get pictures of them with the water... that's how crazy I am about this series! When I first began this series, I had no idea I'd like it so much. I had no idea it would leave me with so many takeaways and lasting impressions. The characters are all so realistic and how they overcome their trials is written in the most brilliant Sarah Sundin fashion. I'm so glad I have physical copies of this series on my shelf!! 


What's your favorite historical fiction series? Have you read this one yet? 
Which was your favorite?  Comment below! 

Many Blessings, 
Brooklyne Elysse


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How Far?


This is a poem I shared on the blog May 2018. 
I'm sharing it again just with slight revisions. 

(How far?) For You, Lord
Written by Brooklyne 

How far would I go for You, Lord?
How much would I suffer for Your name? 
How long will I be faithful in the calling You have for me
How much would I give (up) for You? 

Would I travel 9,429 miles, for You? 
To be a light, the salt of the earth
Telling those I’m around about Your goodness and mercy
It's not all about me, but about You

Will I take that leap of faith, for You? 
Way outside of my comfort zone 
For a chance to be Your hands and feet
Overcoming my fear and failings

Would I stop doubting and start having faith, for You? 
Then I could stop fearing those giants 
And start hearing your calm reassurance
Blocking out all noise but Your promise: You will never leave me

Is it truly the Cry of My Heart to follow You?
When following You means being different
When following You means surrendering self
When following You means Your will, not mine
When following You means becoming heaven-minded

~*~

How far would I go for You, Lord? 
How far would I go it to bring one person closer to You?
How far will I take up my cross and follow you? 
How far will I be a soldier, for You?

Lord, please give me what it takes to travel across mountains and oceans, for You
Give me the strength I desperately need for when I suffer for Your names sake
Give me courage when I step out of my comfort zone, following Your will 
Give me words (to open hearts to you), when I have no words on my own

Lord, please give me what it takes to serve You 
Give me comfort when I’m hurting
Give me calmness and peace when anxiety threatens
Give me enough faith (and surrender) to trust in Your plan

Lord, take away my selfishness and worldly ambitions 
Take away my doubt in Your plan
Take away my worry that things will go wrong (my fear)
Take away my stubbornness, as if I could do it on my own

Lord, take away sinful nature that always is searching to satisfy
Take away my bad habits that cripple me to do Your work
Take away this unproductive fear of the unknown
Take away my micromanaging (You are in control)

~*~ 

Lord, I know you will give me my every need 
(You see the desires of my heart)
For look at the Lillies of the Field
Help me to trust in Your faithfulness 
(You are oh so faithful)
Be my guide and my strength. 

Next time I wonder how far I will go for You
Remind me of how far You went for me.
You left Your throne for me
You suffered for me

Lord, You came to this earth to die for me.
Because You love me
(oh how you love me)
Because You care
(You call me beloved)

Jesus, thank You for all You have gone through… for me. 

What is one area in your life where you feel God is teaching you something? Are you listening? What amazing way has God been moving in your life? Comment below!

Many Blessings, 
Brooklyne Elysse