I thought today we could do things a little differently! =)
So, I'm going to tell you about me and the history of my writing life. As well as a few of my favorite things!
I'll try not to bore you!!
So, let's dive right in, shall we?
I was born in New Braunfels, Texas, the second oldest of Chad and Pam Israel’s six children. So even though we moved to GA when I was three, I’ve always been a country girl at heart!
The day we moved to GA was the day I penned my first poem. Well, more of a rhyme to be more precise. Walking into a gas station restroom with my mother, my three-year-old mind couldn’t grasp the fact that people could actually let a room sit so untidy without having the urge to clean it! Listening to my mother sing “Jesus is the King,” I decided to add my own line and wittily piped up, “Jesus is the King, King, King. This bathroom’s not so clean, clean, clean.” (By the way, you just read something that I’ve never shared with the rest of humanity, so you have my permission to feel very, very proud.)
And as they say, the rest is history!
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had a story going on in my head. Even before I could write I would tell myself stories for hours, stories that would continue for months and months, in which I was almost always the heroine!
I began writing seriously after my ninth birthday. Two stories that I particularly remember writing are tucked safely away in a Precious Moments notebook. One was about a princess (of course!) and the other was about an Indian. I don’t believe I ever finished either story, but I remember how much fun I had building something out of nothing and pouring my emotions out onto the page!
Shortly after my fifteenth birthday, my great grandmother passed away. It was in the car, on the way to her funeral, that I wrote my first poem. I remember the day vividly. We were listening to a sermon on the radio when the preacher said something about “the wonderful day of his life.” Mulling those words over in my head, I thought of a sentence that rhymed with it and then shortly thereafter, the entire poem started coming together in my head. I asked my mother for a piece of paper and she passed back a green and purple notepad, in the shape of a bunny rabbit. A few minutes later I held in my hands my first poem, “That Wonderful Day of My Life.”
I read it at my great-grandmother’s funeral, a day that I’ll never forget.
Many more poems followed that one. As an introvert, poetry was a way that I expressed myself and my feelings. If I didn’t understand something or if I was going through a certain trial, I often times turned to the purple floral notebook and wrote a poem. Over a hundred poems filled the pages of the notebook, and another one similar to it.
I published my first poetry book in 2013, with over thirty of my favorite poems. Another poetry book followed that one the year after.
In 2015 I started the first chapter of my debut novel, A Higher Ransom, and published it about a year later. A Dim Reflection followed, in the year of 2017, as well as another poetry book and my first devotional. I finished the last book in the trilogy, A Marvelous Redeemer, during Thanksgiving weekend in 2017. It just added itself to my pile of undeserved blessings!
Shortly after I published A Higher Ransom, I had the pleasure of attending a large conference where I was able to set up a table for my books. It was at that conference (not even four months after I’d published this novel) that I met the founders of Grace and Truth Books. I gave them a copy of my novel, and shortly after that, they placed an order for several copies! I’m proud to say that Grace and Truth carries my novels, and what a blessing that has been! (By the way, I owe all of that to the Lord, first and foremost, and then to my daddy who first started speaking with them at the conference. Without him, my books probably wouldn’t be sold by G&T today!)
In the spring of 2017, I joined the Young Writer’s Workshop. (The best thing that’s ever happened to my writing life!) On September 30th, 2017, myself and a few other writers were moved up to the role of Student Mentor.
I can’t even begin to describe what a blessing YWW is in my life. I’ve met countless writers and made so many new friends. My website went from less than 200 site views a month, to over 2,500 (and counting!)
But, even though writing takes up a large part of my life, trust me, it’s not all I ever do!
When I’m not writing, I can usually be seen working around the house, reading my latest WIP to my younger siblings, and playing in our family band, “Fret Not.”
I can’t really remember a time when music wasn’t part of our family. I started taking piano lessons before I could read. In fact, my piano teacher almost didn’t take me for that exact reason! But, I’m so glad she did! Even though piano didn’t “click,” for me, as it did for my older sister, it paved the way to a world of other instruments. I play the mandolin for our band, and enjoy taking the lead vocal parts with my sister, on a lot of our songs.
I’ve been homeschooled since Kindergarten. Pulling my sister and I out of school was the best decision my parents ever made. Because of it, I’ve been able to pursue my passions and dreams, with nothing holding me back. It’s opened up a world of endless opportunities! I graduated from Homeschool in the year of 2016. My parents have always encouraged us to be very entrepreneurial minded. I started several home businesses (that never really took off) before I found that writing was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Words are a part of me. They always have been.
Being a writer doesn’t just mean being able to write words. Being a writer requires an incredible amount of patience and persistence, two of the main reasons that most writers never end up completing a book.
My mother periodically reminds me of something my Sunday school teacher told her when I was about three. She told my mother, “I can’t believe the attention span Aleigha has! After about ten minutes, all the other children will be running around playing. But Aleigha, after thirty minutes, she’ll still be gluing little sequins on her craft sheet, one by one.”
And not much has changed since then! Spending hours in the kitchen making mini desserts that will be eaten in less than ten minutes, is actually my idea of a fun time! (Even though I typically have at least one meltdown during the process.)
Spending months on a book, pouring my heart and soul into the pages of the story, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the way I do best, is something that will always be a part of me.
I hope I never write a book strictly for entertainment. If I ever do that, you have my permission to lock me in a cold, dark, cell, with nothing to eat or drink, and unleash a thousand moths into the room. (Yes, I said “moths.” It’s perhaps the only phobia I have. Feel free to laugh, but most phobias aren’t usually realistic.)
My desire is to never write just words, but to write words that will change people, impact them, and help them to grow stronger in their faith.
I write to share the Gospel with others, to empower, encourage, inspire, and let readers know they aren't alone in their struggles. I write to share God's love, faith, and precious story of redemption.
I write, not because I’ve mastered all of the fruits of the spirit, or the art of trusting fully in Him (because I haven’t). I write, because the Lord has ignited in me a fire. A burning fire to share with others the lessons He is teaching me.
A fire, that I pray, will continue burning brightly until these hands are stilled in death.
Woah, that went downhill fast!
But honestly, I hope you’ll join me on my writing journey! I can’t wait to see what doors the Lord opens in the future. Because, when you give your life to Him, there’s no telling where He’ll take it!
And as promised, here are a few of my favorites!
Beautiful Isle of Somewhere (SUCH a "beautiful" song!)
And Nearer My God to Thee has always (and still is!) been my absolute favorite.
The Bible (Of course!)
Nonfiction | Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (This book, John Bunyan's autobiography, is by far one of my favorites!
Fiction | I can't choose!! That's like asking a writer to choose their favorite author. There are too many beautiful stories out there!
I'm not a very picky person! I like Chinese, Mexican, Italian, American, pretty much everything!
It's a tie between Panda Express and Chick-fill-A! =)
I love everything caramel, soft peppermints, gummy candy, lollipops. (Yeah, my candy choices are pretty amateur.)
It's a tie between Green and deep purple, but royal blue is pretty hard to beat too!
What are some of your favorite things? Write them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!
Another one of my favorite things are quotes! I love a good quote and enjoy making up my own too!
I read a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt yesterday. She said, "Do one thing every day that scares you."
I think there's a lot of truth to that statement. We, as Christians, should always be changing, and to change, we must Do Hard Things. (That's another amazing book, by the way!) In order to grow, we must be ready to do things that scare us. It can even be as simple as overcoming the fear of moths. (Trust me, I'm getting there, but not yet!!)
So this week, let's all do something together.
Let's do something hard. Let's do something scary.
And let's do it for His glory.