Fullness of Joy 6th Blogversary Q&A | GIVEAWAY!

Hello, my lovely friends! It has been a while. Since I last talked to you, all my assignments & exams have been completed. I've finished my first semester of uni! *smiles in shock and disbelief* God has been so good. Thank you all so much for your prayers for those exams, thank the Lord they went well and I got through them with God's help. Truth is, I imagined that as soon as I got on break, I'd swing right into things on this blog with zest and zeal. While I haven't lost motivation, once my exams were over I just lost all the imagined holiday-energy, & basically went into hibernation mode. It's just been really nice to relax and not have much to do in the day. I've been reading a bit, but not enough to actually finish anything. I have done a little bit of art, and started a sort of bullet art journal which I am thoroughly enjoying playing around with. I've been watching youtubes, and hanging out with friends at a bookfest (got me a nice little pile of books which I'll hopefully be hauling soon). Now, with one week left before uni starts (24th July), I am finally scrambling to do all the stuff I've been putting off doing the whole year (haha, welcome to my life!). 

To cut to the chase, a few weeks ago while I was still neck deep in exams, I posted online on this blog & other social media outlets asking my readers to leave some questions for a Q&A tag post I was planning on doing in celebration of Fullness of Joy, turning 6 years old on the 12th June! (What, Joy?! Lo and behold, your little baby blog has all grown up! *sniffs sentimentally*) 

I am finally here to answer the questions many of you kindly left me on social media in celebration of this blogversary. It's hard to believe it's been six years since I first started this blog and got to know so many of you. I haven't been the most active blogger over the years, but YOU who are reading this--whether you're a newcomer, or have been faithfully visiting my blog for months/years--I just want to thank you so much for sticking around & enduring my rambling posts & basically being amazing :). Stick around for some crumpets, tea & cake, why don't you? Ooh, and stay tuned for the end of this post, because I have a lovely surprise giveaway just to say "thank you" <3

Blog-keeping news: My last blog-design which I loved to bits & has been with me for several years now, has been malfunctioning really badly the last few days so I thought it is about time to give Fullness of Joy a fresh new look. What are your thoughts? Make sure you check out "Home" to see the header design (which my very talented sister Sarah helped me design), as well as the upper left hand tab, to see the other features. If there any issues that are bothering you with the format or the design, please let me know! 

Lydia Carns' Question:
1. What made you want to write/what was your first story?
I have always been in love with stories, since I was a wee little tot. I devoured them first by hearing them read to me by my parents, and then as a young reader. I loved making up stories during playtime, & my imagination took me to the most amazing places. Some 10 years ago when I was about 11, I started writing on a whim a story called Escape from Vanity, which was a sort of allegorical retelling of Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, Holy War and Christiana by John Bunyan. It was quite cringe-worthy and I never finished it, but it started me on this amazing journey of writing, & I can't imagine what my life would have been without the Lord guiding me on this path of writing and story-telling!

Jenelle Leanne's Question:
2. What is your all-time favourite book?
The Bible, absolutely. You know, lately more than ever, I have seen God's Word come alive to me powerfully, & it's been the greatest treasure and delight; it is my all-time favourite!

As fellow lovers of books and stories, you'd all probably know that this question is considered a hard one, but I do have some other all-time favourite books of course. No. 1 would be The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I do love these books so much, and they've have had such a deep impact on me in my life, my spiritual journey and my writing. I have to mention also some other non-fiction books: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew, Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Eliot, The Pastor's Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand, Selected to Live by Johanna Ruth Dobschiner, and Vanya by Myrna Grant. For other fiction books, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, The Shining Company and Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier... 

Jessica's Questions:

3. What is your favourite passage in the Bible and what does it mean to you?
It's so hard to say because cliche as it sounds, I love the whole Bible from cover to cover. I love the Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah...! I suppose some of my favourite set of passages would be found in the Gospel of John, chapters 10 through to 17. I know those are like a whole 7 chapters, but each verse within those passages are so rich, so comforting, and powerful. Both simple and profound at the same time. Reading the words of Jesus to His disciples, His teachings on love, His Spirit and work in our lives, His calling for us to love and serve one another as He has loved us - it is so precious and beautiful, and encourages my heart always.

4. What book has inspired you most recently?

My reading this year has not been the most inspiring or productive, which is a bit sad really, so it took me a moment to think of any. One book that stands out though is one I have not even finished yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying. It's Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, an amazing biography on the extraordinary life of Hannah More "Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist". I'm a little over half-way through this book, and for me the thing that has inspired me the most through reading about the life of More, has been her powerful impact as an eighteenth century Christian woman writer - fiercely courageous and yet gracious in her actions/words, with passion, conviction and an honest straightforwardness that is so uplifting. I find that especially with all my studies at university, it's like a breathe of fresh air ;).  I love reading how her quiet writing and work influenced society, while not compromising on what she believed!

5. What are you studying at uni? I'm doing a Bachelor of Arts, currently majoring in English Literature and Ancient History/History :). I also am trying to fit in as many Creative Writing classes as I possibly can!

6. What's something you wish you had the courage to do? 
Oh, I don't know. I sometimes wish I was braver about being responsible and taking decisions, & on occasions do things not because other people have influenced me that it is the easy or comfortable thing, but because I know it is the right thing to do, regardless of the pain or cost of doing it to myself.

7. What book has dramatically changed your life (if there was one particularly, and aside from the Bible)?
Aside from the Bible, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (because both are totally given), I think I'd have to say it would be Lloyd C. Douglas' novel, The Robe. It's the book that inspired me to write my own novel, The Crown of Life, and gave me such a passionate love for Ancient Roman history :).

8. Who is someone (in history, or the present-day) who really inspires you? 
Hmm, present-day, my parents without question <3. In history: Elizabeth Elliot, George Muller, and J.R.R. Tolkien - to name just a few of the many in a great "cloud of witnesses"!

9. How do you make time to read and write in your busy life? 
*chuckles* My family would tell you, I suck at "making time" even for the hobbies I am passionate about. Normally, reading has not been a big issue. Back when I was homeschooled, I didn't have a whole lot of reading to do aside from homework, so any extra time I wasn't studying I was usually reading, filling in all the gaps between meals, sleep and other chores. It was absolutely wonderful! But since starting uni, I've had so much "required reading" to do I've had hardly any time for pleasure reading. I spend a lot of time on public transport, but I usually reserve that for my weekly readings or set texts which we're assigned. Also I find with any free time I do give myself, I am usually fatigued from doing further reading and would rather watch a light-hearted movie or an episode from a favourite tv show. So I am still figuring this out! As to writing, I feel like I have done more of that since going to uni, surprisingly both academic and creative. I did a writing course called "Narrative Fiction: Short Story Writing" last semester in which we were given a lot of writing exercises and short-stories to write that really helped me "get back" into the groove of writing. It was great fun, really. However, I barely touched my personal writing projects, like my novel or this blog. I really want to figure out a way to balance these two things in the coming months of study, so I'll keep you informed if I can ;).

Katherine Forster's Questions
10. Historical fiction novel whose setting you'd want to live in? 
I was thinking about that, and there are so many things that make me happy to be living in this particular day and age, most particularly the advancements in medical care and technology. Also come to think of it, some of my favourite historical fiction novels' depictions of their settings and events are in fact morbidly dark, dangerous and terrifying! But I think I would have loved to have been alive in the time period of The Acts of Faith Series (The Centurion's Wife, The Hidden Flame, and The Damascus Road), The Bronze Bow, Ben Hur, or The Robe simply because the 1st century was during the time of life of Jesus and the early Church, and being a part of that world of Ancient Israel or Rome during that time would have been so amazing, and worth all the hardships and sufferings. Another time-period/setting that would have been absolutely amazing on some levels (and equally scary on others) would have been the Victorian era in England with novel settings like that of Helstone in North and South and Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre :). 

11. Fantasy novel whose characters you'd like to get to know? 
Frodo and Sam, Gandalf or Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings would be amazing; Rose Red, Eanrin (Monster) and Starflower, Foxbrush or Sairu from Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Wood Series are characters that I absolutely love, & it would be so much fun to actually get to know them as friends? Also I think it would be kind of cool to meet Captain Thorne and Cress from Marissa Meyer's Cress (Lunar Chronicles series).

Annie Hawthorne's Questions:
12. What have been some of your favourite reads this year so far? What are your top recs of those reads?
I read 2 wonderful books before I started uni: Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff and Edwin: High King of Britain (The Northumbrian Thrones #1) by Edoardo Albert, both of which were excellent 5-star reads! Since then I haven't completed any personal readings, so it's all been confined to uni stuff. Some of the books that stand out to me from last semester include Shakespeare's Hamlet - very fascinating, but not as good as Macbeth personally; John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi (a morbid tragedy with a deal of language, but quite unique & fun to analyse); Songs of Innocence and Experience poetry collection by William Blake (this collection was a treat); Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (again quite dark & uncomfortable, but deeply interesting); and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Out of them all, I best loved Great Expectations - Dickens is quite wonderful really, & I absolutely relished studying his famous novel in class! Overall, I'd recommend Great Expectations, Outcast, and Edwin: High King of Britain very much :)

13. What are your fondest blogging memories?
Getting to know so many precious online friends/authors in the writing community! This has definitely been the highlight, and those times when I made "connections" via my blog with now close friends and kindred spirits always makes me so happy and grateful. Also growing as a writer, and being blessed in an encouraging community as I discovered more about the writing craft, while finding out wonderful books and authors I'd never heard of before was simply amazing. One of my fondest memories on this blog was I think on my 2nd or 3rd blogversary when I did my first giveaway and a week-long literary tag series that so many fellow blogging friends participated in, & it was just a lot of fun! Back in the day when it was especially popular, I used to be so excited (and nervous)  to share snippets of my writing on this blog.

14. Do share what you're enjoying most about uni right now!
Uni so far has been really adventurous & has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone at times, but I am loving it so much as well.
Things I currently love:
  • studying what I love! Some days, doing that can feel a bit torturous (like when it's way past midnight & you've got to submit a 2000 word research essay about the Reformation before morning, & can only snatch 1 or 2 hours of sleep before dashing off early to catch the 6:45 bus to a 9:00am morning tutorial the next day :'). But really, some days I would just shake my head and smile, incredulous that I'm finally doing the subjects that I'm passionate about. It's an incredible feeling to really hold onto, even when things aren't all roses and sunshine. 
  • Making new friends/getting to meet people on a weekly basis :). I tend to be an extroverted introvert, so usually it's exciting to be able to interact and socialise with others a lot, & it's been amazing getting that opportunity over the last months. I've met some really lovely people! Over this break though, I've realised I've got an introverted side of me that is basically starved during semester. It's popped its head back on at the moment :'). Some days I def. just miss being home with my books (and family) in my messy, cosy room, alone in peace and serenity :). Still, it's been a real adventure and delight, and like Bilbo Baggins, it has taught me a lot of things. 
  • Life experiences/gleaning stories. Following on that same vein, one of the main reasons I especially wanted to study on campus when I started uni was the opportunity to meet people, gain life experiences, observe the world around me, and have lots of stories to treasure and write, which I probably might not find in my room ;). Some days I'd come back home with little tid-bits & ideas based off funny and quirky people I observe on the bus, or the way uni staff and students act at Merlo's cafe, and the things I hear and engage in with my lecturers/tutors and fellow classmates. Intense conversations with friends and classmates that give me a wider view of the world, and people's struggles & dreams and aspirations. As someone who loves stories, those things can be gold. Stuff that can inspire me to write, think and grow as a person, an author and a follower of Jesus.
  • Studying a Bachelor of Arts can be both incredibly rewarding and thrilling, as well as terrifying and intense. I'm enjoying the ride though, and it's teaching me a lot, academically, as well as a person. Not everything I learn is incredibly useful or wholesome, and sometimes the real challenge is to be able to filter and take the good stuff, and reject the bad stuff. But then it's also really exciting learning so much, how to write good argument, analyse texts, research history & write better (fingers crossed, one day ;).
  • The bus-ride(s). This one strikes me as almost funny to write, as I frequently complain over how long a journey it is to get to uni via car & change of buses. But actually I usually just treasure this time, which is one of the few times in the day I'm by myself to just read my Bible and seek the Lord's face, and ask for His guidance  & help before I start the day. I also get to do most of my humongous pile of "required readings" on the bus, so it is really a life-saver!
Liz Koetsier's Questions:
15. What is the number one thing you have learned from blogging?
Blogging taught me how to write. Really. Getting the opportunity of interacting & making friends with not only respected authors, but also fellow passionate writers my age going through similar journeys as me, was eye-opening, exciting and taught me so much. I've got such amazing memories of reading countless blogposts by friends and people I barely knew - some still posting, others who've moved on in their lives now. They all impacted me. I got inspired to write better fiction, & was thrilled with countless blogpost ideas to write myself (very few of them actually got written let alone published ;). I also discovered so many amazing books & authors through my friends, as a result my rather tiny fiction shelf expanded to several bookcases, & an unending wishlist of books I long to read. I learnt through blogging, & interacting with other Christian writers what it means to "baptise the imagination" write fiction with truth and conviction, and with Heaven in mind. What's the biggest lesson? Perhaps it's been the lesson I'm still learning even now, to read and write above all for yourself in the end. Don't try to please a particular audience or read/write/do something simply because it is the popular thing, if it just doesn't interest you or isn't your style. Let blogging help you grow, and by extension it will inspire others as well :)

Hannah Hixon's Questions:
16. What inspired you to start blogging/keep it up all these years?
I was first inspired to start a blog from a homeschooling friend of mine also called Hannah who had her own blog. She got me excited to try and have one of my own *smiles at memories of little baby blog*. What's made me keep it up all these years? I'm much slacker at posting than I ever dreamed I would, thanks to my studies & how busy life has become. But I am still so passionate about sharing on this blog, having the space to be creative and share thoughts, ideas and stories with others. I wish to continue having a platform to not only share, but also to be able to connect with other kindred souls in the future, Lord willing. I'm not as organised or regular as I'd like to be, but hopefully I will slowly be able to fit it into my new schedule and get back to regular posting ;)

Sarah Y's Question:
17. I'm curious about the history of your blog, from infancy to it's present?
Basically, the 1st year my blog was private and I just shared thoughts & little things that made me happy, while getting inspired by epic and amazing blogs out there. I didn't make many new friends or anything, just shared my work with those I knew, & it was quite fun! I then made my blog public and very slowly my blog grew over the next two or so years. It became one of my favourite hobbies, & it was also exciting as I slowly but surely was able to connect with other likeminded people. It was really special :). Having such a platform to share & make friends & grow as writer/reader has been simply wonderful, & I can't recommend the experience enough! The last 2 years my study-life with first high-school and now university has taken up most of my time so if I can squeeze in a post once every month or so, I'm quite pleased. Also I think with expanding technology in recent years, & joining outlets like twitter, Goodreads and Instagram, I've still been largely able to keep in touch and connect with writing kindred-spirits, by sharing little updates regularly that isn't as time-consuming as writing a large blogpost like this one. But I've never tired of the experience of blogging, & still believe it is absolutely one of the best ways of online journalling, growing as a young writer, & building an audience/readership for the future :).

Livia Rachelle's Questions:
18. Where have you traveled? What are your top countries/famous places etc. to which you wish to travel?
I love travelling! I haven't done it in months, but is always a thrilling experience. So far I've been to the United States (Atlanta, Georgia), England (London, Oxford & Cambridge), and Egypt (I was born in Alexandria). In Australia, I've lived in & visited parts of NSW, & our capital city Canberra. 

There are so many places I'd love to visit though! I'd love to visit New Zealand, and more countries in Europe like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain. I'd love to visit Ireland, Scotland & Wales, as well as explore more of England itself -- go to the Lake District and spend more time in the smaller towns. That would be so lovely. Likewise I'd love to visit and explore more states and cities in the United States again. Ah, there are so many places that in the long-run I'd enjoy visiting! But most of all, I'd love to see more of Australia & explore its towns/cities & natural landscapes. There is so much I have yet to see of it, & honestly Australia is such a beautiful country.

19. Do you speak or are you learning any other languages? 
I know a tiny bit of Arabic. I can only understand it & speak it very poorly, but not read it. I'm not learning any new languages, but I would love to learn German, Latin/Italian, Spanish and maybe a tiny bit of French? 

Also Elvish, because it's a thing.

20. A long book or difficult book you want to read?
At the moment I've got 3 books on my shelf I want to read, but haven't had the time to pick them up due to their size: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (I love big books!)

21. Little known favourite books?
The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin is a little known novel that is so good. I highly recommend it, folks. Also I think Rosemary Sutcliff, Elizabeth Goudge, and Elizabeth Elliot are authors that are vastly underrated and deserve to be read/talked about way more.

Sophia White's Question:
22. Can you tell us more about the Crown of Life's progress? (If there's been any, with those exams.) I've been watching your Pinterest board for it, and I love it already despite only having read the snippets you've posted here. 
Thank you, Sophia! It warms the cockles of my heart to know you liked the little glimpses of my novel on my Pinterest storyboard & the few snippet posts I've shared. So far this year, progress has been slow with writing. Procrastination and perfectionism have been a real struggle with me over the past year or 2, & only now am I trying to get over that, really. Also uni has taken up most of my time and energy. But I'm really passionate about this novel, & am excited to continue scribbling away at it over the coming months! At the moment I'm very slowly working on a proper re-draft of Crown of Life, but I'm very early on in the project & there's a long way to go yet. I hope to share more about in a post soon though, so I'll keep you updated :).


In celebration of Fullness of Joy's 6th birthday I'm excited to be collaborating with my wonderful sister Sarah, who is lovingly sponsoring this special "THANK-YOU" giveaway with two special items from her fabulous Etsy shop, Of Simple Things, which launched some months ago. Her shop features delicately crafted hand-knitted shoulder bags, tea-time dish-cloths, hand-knitted kitchen towels, cross-stitch bookmarks and other delightful accessories, all hand-made with love & care. She's currently working on expanding her business, so check out her Etsy shop for new products that are perfect for your home, or as lovely personalised gifts for friends and family! (Of Simple Things now ships worldwide!)
Today Sarah is sponsoring for 1st prize, her gorgeous Keep Calm and Read On cross stitch embroidery bookmark featuring red tassel with beads - basically a must have for all bookworms out there!
2nd prize features this absolutely cute cross-stitch Squirrel Accessories Pillow, Antique Gold KeyChain with Lobster Clasp Swivel, Leaf and 'Made with Love' Heart Charm. I don't know about you, but squirrels always make me think of books & stories & magical forests, & basically they're darling!
Be sure to enter the draw for a chance to win one of those 2 prizes! Every entry counts, folks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


    *whispers* Can Sarah please maybe help out yours truly also?
    Seriously though well done on six amazing years of blogging and I can't wait to continue our time at uni together! :D

    1. Aww, thank you, Evie, you are too sweet!! :) Haha, I love your blog too!
      ME TOO! <3 It's a great delight knowing you & studying alongside you at uni :)

  2. Wow :O You sure received a lot of questions! Your posts are also fun to read, especially your little bracket insertions ;) It sucks that uni has so much required reading that we can't often read from our own TBR :( Though I suppose uni books aren't too bad >.< xx

    1. Haha, thank you so much, Jasmin, I'm glad this post was fun to read. I was a little worried it would be too long, but I had such a time at editing it/making it briefer - brevity is not my strength :P.

      Yeah, I know, it's a bit sad really! Oh well, I am actually kind of enjoying some of our "required readings" for next semester so far, so hopefully it will be good??

  3. Really like your sister's FB page! I've just finished reading High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin and absolutely loved it! Great giveaway. :)

    1. Aww, I am glad, Kaleigh!

      I would love to read "High as the Heavens" by Kate Breslin. It looks so good! Great to know you enjoyed it as well :).


  4. I love Sutcliff novels. I'm putting many of the books you listed on my TBR list.

    1. Ahh, Rosemary Sutcliff is just wonderful!! Do you have a favourite book for her?

      Aww, I am glad =) Thank you for commenting!

    2. That is hard. I loved most of the Eagle of the Ninth Series, Outcast, Warrior Scarlet, Mark of the Horse Lord, Shining Company.

  5. I really did love reading about Hannah More as well! Her life inspires me. I really should read Fierce Convictions again . . .
    I agree, personally I love Macbeth a lot more than Hamlet. (It might be because I had a teacher to dissect Macbeth for me whereas I was on my own with Hamlet. xD)
    Let's see . . . last movie I watched was the new Spider-Man. It was okay? A bit cheesy, but it wasn't too bad. I'm currently reading three books: A Branch of Silver by Stengl, The Martian Chronicles by Bradybury, and A Monster Calls by Ness. I'm not far into any of them but they seem interesting!
    Writing-wise stuff isn't going well. >.< Alas, I hope to get some substantial work done before the summer ends and school begins.
    Happy blogoversary! I hope your life is going well. =)

    1. Hello Victoria, thank you for your lovely comment!

      I need to finish Fierce Convictions - it was so good! Ah, if only uni did not eat up all my pleasure reading time :'(.

      Hmm, that's interesting how you also felt the same way about Macbeth > Hamlet. I personally got analyses help from my English teacher for both Hamlet and Macbeth, so I feel like maybe for me anyway it was more to do with the kind of stories they were??

      I own an ebook of A Branch of Silver by Stengl but haven't properly read it yet. How good is her latest book? :) All the books you're reading sound interesting, I'd love to know how you find them!

      Mmm, I can relate to struggling with writing much. Hope you find time to do the stuff you want to do before school starts again!

      Aww, thank you, lovely!

  6. Transitioning from the slightly more relaxed schedule of home-schooling to full-blown college (mine calls itself a university but doesn't teach on everything, so it kind of doesn't count) is hard. I think I'm fully transitioned now? Maybe? But I've been in school for four years now, and starting this fall (three weeks!) should be my last. And yes! The end of school does leave you drained and unable to hop into summer plans the way you thought you would.

    Creative Writing, British Literature, and History are what I'm studying too, though my official major is the first one. There's some Philosophy in there too.


    1. Hello Sophia,

      Thank you for your lovely comment - it's lovely to have you stop by!

      Mmm, I agree that transitioning from home-school schedule to university full-time is pretty overwhelming at first.

      Wow, congratulations on nearly being finished with with uni/collage! That must be so exciting. I love your subjects of study - all of which I hope to cover in part during my degree. At my uni we have the option of doing multiple majors which is a real blessing I'm finding :).

      Thank you for your comment!


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