Posted in Taylor


Hi All,

It’s been insane here lately. School. Work. Preparing for internship. And, oh yeah, a trip to Malaysia.

In undergraduate, I met a wonderful girl who lived in Malaysia, and was studying in the States. We quickly became best friends. She spent many nights at my house, and soon I had dubbed her my Malaysian sister.

I had heard so many things about Malaysia from her, and was thrilled when I actually got the opportunity to go visit her.

Although the plane rides were quite rough (missed connections, language barriers, exhaustion from the 2 day flight), Malaysia and the short trip to Singapore were wonderful. New foods, Buddhist temples, shopping, music, new friends, monkeys that tried to steal your things (they were at the Batu Caves), and hospitality unlike I’ve ever experienced. I made memories that will last a lifetime, and hope to see my Malaysian family again very, very soon!

Now, cut back to arriving back in the U.S. The inevitable question I got was: How was your trip? A simple question, right? Not so much. But I gave a simple answer: It was fun.

My mom even commented, “you spent 10 days in another country, and that’s all you had to say?”

No, I had so much MORE to say, but how do you say it?

How do you describe the warm people that filled your heart with such love and inspired you to love Jesus more than you ever have? How do you comment on an entire culture that is so unlike anything we have in the U.S. — warm people that make you feel welcome, acceptance of so many different religions, ornate decorations, the small customs that took some getting use to like taking your shoes off before entering a house? How do you describe the experience of new food, or of cooking your own meat a restaurant? How do you describe feeding elephants at a zoo–their magnificent power, yet gentle, understanding nature?

It’s so hard to put an experience like that into words, especially when I’m still learning about all the ways it has grown and changed me.

So, I keep the words simple: It was fun. But the word fun, is nowhere near sufficient.

(Also, I know picture are worth 1,000 words, but I haven’t sorted through them yet, there are so many! So, I’ll upload those later, but until now, my own words will have to do).

Have you ever traveled abroad? And what was your experience after coming back? Did you have trouble describing it like I do?


Until next time,


Posted in Colleen

Plotting to Music

When I am writing, it helps to listen to music without lyrics. It drowns out- not only the background noises surrounding me- but the messes in my head as well. It helps keep my focus on pushing out the story from my head to the keyboard and onto the screen. Often, I’ll type with my eyes closed as well.

So this got me to wondering… how much does what’s streaming through my earbuds influence the story I’m telling?

Music is a communication medium.  Music inspires. It can change my mood and attitude towards situations and people in life. If I’m in a terribly depressed mood, sometimes music is the only thing that can keep me going.

That being said, what am I listening to while I write? Perhaps it’s an instrumentally inspiring ballad that helps me motivate our protagonist to go on that life-changing adventure. Maybe it’s a piece that keeps me deeply focused and enables me to pour out the heart of a character in a way that will bring readers to tears with emotion. Sometimes a classical piece will inspire me to paint a beautiful setting- complete with Parisian cafés, cobblestone walkways, and lush tulips.

The artist composing the notes that stream through me probably didn’t know they’d be inspiring a captivating story beyond their own. But it’s awesome to be inspired by fellow artists and is something I’ll continue to think about. So the next time you go to plug your ears with something as you write, consider what kind of story you want to tell, and listen appropriately. It may make or break a scene.