CW14: Angela [a creative autobiography]

Prompt: Choose ten books, songs, or poems (or a combination of the three) to create a media autobiography of your life. Each item must relate to an important aspect or memory in your life.

#1 {Redeemed} “Beautiful Scandalous Night”   by Sixpence None the Richer and Bebo Norman 

I begin at the cross. The wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree. Can you believe that God died for us? It is so astonishing, so wonderful, so scandalous. The cross is my always, forever, solid rock, certain-sure truth that Jesus loves. No matter what happens to me, no matter what happens to my kids in Haiti, Jesus loves them. And I can trust a God who loves us enough to die.


#2 {Imaginative} “Roxaboxen” by Alice McLerran

Many of my most delightful memories include playing imaginary games very similar to McLerran’s Roxaboxen. Together, my sisters and I invented dozens of worlds. We were Indians, sailors, pioneers, and missionaries. We built forts and hideouts, ran important clubs.  It seems like it’s been forever and an age since we flew away to Neverland and chased Captain Hook away for the last time, but I still remember it fondly.

#3 {Bibliophile} “There is no Frigate like a Book” by Emily Dickinson


There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away, and Oh! the lands I have visited. In books, I’ve traveled across time, around the globe, and into worlds beyond. Stamped black on the pages of books you will meet my heroes, my teachers, and my friends. Books have contributed to my education and my happiness more than any other material possession.

#4 {Michigander} an old photo album

This is an unusual book to be sure. Perhaps I am stretching the rules a little bit to include it, but I searched everywhere for something to capture the essence of Michigan–my home on earth. I found nothing satisfactory. So I chose an old photo album that sits in our cupboard. It is my chest of memories.let them be little 49

I chose it because it captures the people I love.
It reminds me of the places I love. My church. My house in the country. My forest-yard.

And the things I miss. The deer. The snow. Fiery leaves in the fall. The Dutch culture.

And maybe I’m just painting pictures of Egypt, but it sure felt like Eden.


#5 {Trusting} “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken

Naturally, my heart broke to leave Michigan when we moved south. And it breaks again every year when we relive the goodbye. You can read more about that here.

Vanauken wrote “A Severe Mercy” after his wife, Davy, died. The title comes from a letter that C. S. Lewis wrote to him soon after the tragedy: “You have been treated with a severe mercy.”

I’ve chosen this book to represent the piece of my heart that struggles to see the severe mercy in tragedy, but trusts it is there. Because God is there. “A Severe Mercy” introduced me to Lewis’s five sonnets, and reminded me that I can’t see the big picture. Jesus can, and He’s in control.

#6 {Chorister} “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” Covenant Choir

Since I moved south ten years ago, I’ve been confronted with a culture that I find most uncomfortable. I suppose my family’s constant traveling back north has made it hard to embrace life in the South. However, there is one place (perhaps it is the only place) nestled close to this heart of the city, that I have come to love: PCPC, the Presbyterian church where I participate in the world’s most wonderful choir.  I can’t even begin to explain the enormous impact choir has had on my life and the way I approach worship.

“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” was part of an album we recorded several summers ago.

#7 {Friend} “Twice as Good” Sara Groves

I’m a quality-time girl, so my time with friends is especially important to me. I fondly remember those nights, up till one seventeen on the living room couch—just talking life, weaving heart-strands together. My minutes are always numbered—on the brink of goodbye. So I treasure every moment.

To Mollie, Christine, Mrs. Fray, Hope, Grace, Jenna, and Evanne: This song is for you. You all mean the world to me. It has been half as hard and twice as good walking through life with you. You have made my life sweet in so many ways. I only wish we lived a little closer together.

Sisters#8 {Sister} “Little Women” By Louisa May Alcott

Little Women represents a treasured corner of my heart: sisterhood. I am the eldest of four sisters. We used to play “Little Women” when we were small, but I usually played Jo rather than Meg. Lily played darling little Beth, and Robyn played Amy. Starla was too little to join us. I think we were attracted to the March girls because they seemed so very similar to us, and at the same time embodied many of our high ideals. Life moves on and we tiny women grow into little women. Little women–always sisters.

#9 {Advocate} “Sing Along” Christy Nockels

This song is my unceasing prayer since I returned from Haiti two months ago. Helpless to protect my children, unable to feed them, I can only cry out, “Great God, wrap your arms around this world!”

Haiti changed me forever. I’ve wanted to go to the mission field since before my family moved south, but I had never interacted with it. I only knew numbers. In Haiti I learned that “for every doorway there’s a story” and a person God loves.

#10 {Jesus’} “Holy Sonnet XIV,” John Donne

This poem is my prayer for each day, for each moment. I found it in Mrs. Neuman’s poetry class last year, and the words have never left my heart. I cannot count how many times I have whispered the lines in the dark, “Batter my heart, three person’d God…” Don’t ever stop pursuing me, Jesus.


  1. beautiful, angela! it’s a fun, well-balanced insight into yourself. i enjoyed the sarah groves references throughout. 🙂 i so enjoyed all of it–i’ve grown up loving that first song, the poems were so perfect, but the highlight was “sing along”. it gave me chills. thank you!

  2. This is great, Angela! =) I especially loved the part about how important your friends are to you, and your tribute to them. Quality time is my love language too, so I can relate 100%.

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