TCK Higlight: Karissa Chmil (Storylight Blog Tour)

Dear friends, where to begin? It’s been several months since my last posts. I’ve been applying to universities like crazy, and doing senior year, and trying to work on Truth4TCKs 2022 (more info on that soon!). Although I don’t have a new post for you today – I will soon – I have a lovely interview with TCK and writer Karissa Chmil for you. Enjoy.


What’s your story? (Not where are you from, because that’s an annoying question.)
Well, where to begin?
My name is Karissa Chmil, a young nomad on a quest to let the banner of Soli deo Gloria fly across the world one story at a time.
I was born in the United States, and by the age of seven I had picked up a few nomadic qualities—traveling six hundred miles every three weeks will do that to you. A little under three years later, I moved to the French alps, spent a few wonderful years there, and currently live in Western Africa.
Things haven’t always been easy—in the past five years I’ve said countless goodbyes, had siblings spend weeks in the hospital, have lost friends back in America to suicide, and more. But I don’t think I would change any of it—because, by the grace of God that I’m named after, all this fire has only served to bring out the gold.


What brings you joy?
Little moments—laughing with siblings over the most random of things, teasing my friends, walks in the twilight, singing when I’m alone in the house, hearing the little girls I take care of finally learn to say my name, the quiet at prayer meeting as we all cry out to the Lord and let His peace wash over us, long talks with my mom, watching candles flicker at night, teaching my friends simple words in English, slipping into stories, endless email threads with my best friend. . . As a friend’s mom says, “happiness is a feeling; joy is a choice.”
And I will choose, every day of my life, to find joy in the tiny, hidden moments.


What are your favorite latest reads?
I’ve just finished the Wingfeather Saga, which was definitely worth the read. Because of Mr. Terupt is also one I finished (re)reading recently, and I’d highly recommend it. On the nonfiction side, I’ve just begun a book called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, and, so far, it’s proved fascinating.


How does your multi-cultural worldview affect your reading life?
I would say that my multi-cultural worldview makes every book I read deeper, because I can see it from so many different angles. French culture, American culture, honor-shame culture—all of it makes me see the characters and their decisions in a much more significant light.


Tell us about your blog!
Storylight is a blog that focuses around the tagline Remember the stories, which champions the idea that, when you’re hurting or confused or you’ve messed up at something, you can go back to the stories you’ve read, to the character’s you’ve grown with, and let them teach you and heal you.
It features flash fiction, bookish articles (such as Is Reading a Waste of Time?), book reviews, book recommendations, and soon-to-be author interviews—in short, it’s a hopeful, purposeful, bookish atmosphere, and I’d love to see you over there!


There you have it, dear friends! I’m planning on getting back to posting regularly after this long hiatus, and thanks for being patient with me. I hope you go and check Karissa’s new blog out!

Fifteen Blog Tour

Hello dear friends! Today, I have the immense honor of hosting a part of Amie Anne Woleslagle’s Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt for her new poetry book, Fifteen, which releases on October 23rd! I got to interview her about herself and her book, and I am so happy, practically struck by stars, to be able to share this with you.

I’m happy because I need a book like this. I struggle with thoughts in my mind – dark shadows floating and piercing – and poetry is such a beautiful way to shine a light into people’s hearts.

Also, here is the beautiful cover:


Hello Amie Anne! I’m so glad to have you as a guest on my blog! First of all, if you could describe yourself with four words, what would they be? *Also I really love your name, it’s so unique and beautiful.* 

Awe, thank you. I think I would describe myself as loyal, ingenuitive, dedicated, and vivacious.

Also, what’s your favorite flavor of tea, or if you aren’t a tea person, go-to Starbucks drink?

See, I love both tea and Starbucks, so I shall answer both. My favorite flavor of tea is lemon at the moment, though it changes. I also love chai, Irish breakfast, English breakfast, and Earl Grey. 

Can you give us a quick description of your book?

Absolutely! “You’re not the only person who struggles with mental health issues, not the only person with demons floating in your mind. Fifteen is a book of poems crafted from one teenager dealing with mental health issues to another teenager in the same place. It covers true friendships, embracing joy, self acceptance, and living your faith while struggling with mental illness, all the while showing that, in the end, flowers will bloom in the ashes of your pain.”

Why did you write this book and what was the process like?

I wrote this book as a project given to me by a friend, and then it snowballed from a freebie for my email list to a book that I’m publishing. Definitely not where I saw it going, but I believe God knew just where it needed to go and who needs to read it. 

What has been the funnest (that’s a word) part of the process?

Definitely connecting with people. It’s been such a wild ride, but it’s been amazing to be able to connect with authors and readers alike.

What has been the hardest part?

Not giving in to the anxiety. I’ve never done all of this, and every step of the way there’s been these crippling fears and moments where I just want to scream because I. Don’t. Know. What. I’m. Doing. But God’s been there, and He’s given me grace and people to help me through this. 

Who/what has been the most influential in the creation of this book?

There are so many life experiences and people who have influenced this book. Each of the poems speaks to a different experience and different lessons learned thanks to different people.

What are your plans/dreams for the future?

*laughs* Well, those don’t really exist once the new year appears, so I guess everyone (including myself!) shall just have to see. 


If this hasn’t gotten you excited, I don’t know what will. I am so thankful to have been part of the tour. I have already gone and pre-ordered the book, and you should too! 

You can pre-order the paperback copy here, and the e-book copy here. If you pre-order it, you can sign up for some beautiful pre-order goodies that will be sent to your doorstep! You can fill out the form for the goodies here

A Lesson For Young People from Crime and Punishment

This summer, I had to read Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky as assigned reading. When I first started the book, I was frustrated, because it seemed like a boring and useless way to spend my summer. (And that’s coming from someone who likes books.) But about halfway through, things started to make sense and I began to enjoy it. 

The novel isn’t called a classic for no reason. The characters are masterpieces in and of themselves. It is known as one of the first psychological thrillers. Although some parts really were thrilling, it was the psychology that intrigued me.

In case you’ve never heard of this book, I’ll give you some background. The story is about a young Russian student who decides to quit college because he is poor and can’t afford it. He then contemplates killing a horrid pawnbroker who cheats people out of their money. The money-desperate student hates the idea and pushes it to the back of his mind. However, over time, he can’t get rid of it. He ends up killing her and the rest of the book is about his conscience and the way the murder affects him and his relationships. 

In the story, the young man has a theory about humankind. To explain it quickly, he divides humanity into two groups: the inferior group, and the superior group. Inferior humans have to abide by the law and have little value. They follow whatever the superior humans do. The “superiors” have the right to kill to accomplish their goals. This right isn’t a legal one, it’s just something that is necessary to bring actual change to the world. His example is Napoleon: according to the young man, Napoleon brought great change to society, but he did it through slaughtering thousands. Was it necessary? In his eyes, yes. 

So that’s his theory in a nutshell. It’s also what he uses to justify his murder of the pawnbroker at first. Throughout the story, he grows more and more aware of, and at the same time more and more resentful to the fact that his theory was wrong. He doesn’t want to admit that he isn’t superior, and his theory itself isn’t valid. 

In the last couple of paragraphs of the book, the young man is in a prison camp. He’s gone through excruciating hardship, which was his own fault, and he is looking into the future. He realizes he loves someone and he wonders what life will be like when he gets out of prison. (And to find out who that someone is, you’ll just have to read the book. She’s one of my favorite characters.)

And then there’s this line:

“Life had taken theories’ place.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about that sentence for weeks. 

How many young people have theories? How many young people are passionate about the ideas they have? How many young people get in arguments and riot and yell – all because they cling to a “theory”?

The answer to those questions is quite obvious: most young people have theories or ideas and are passionate about them. Myself included. 

But here’s the thing: only ideas grounded in life experience and wisdom will stand the test of time. 

And here’s the dilemma: young people don’t have life experience. At least, not that much of it – we think we know a lot more than we actually do. 

So how do we fix this? How do we make sure that our ideas aren’t baloney? How do we make sure our theories are well-grounded and that we are fighting for the right things?

To that I have two answers:

  1.  The Bible
  2. People who are much wiser than us 

God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

Colossians 2:2b-3

Ultimate wisdom and truth are found in Christ. When we root ourselves and are built up in Him (Colossians 2:7), we will gain wisdom. The more a young person is hiding God’s truths in their heart, the wiser they become. This is an amazing privilege because as teenagers and twenty-somethings, we don’t have that much life experience or personally-gained wisdom. However, if we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we will become much wiser than the average young person.

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:1-5

Wisdom is a treasure. According to Proverbs, one of the places we can find that treasure is our parents. They have more life experience than us and they are wiser than us. We should be quick to listen to their words. 

Young people should also be listening to other people around them who are wiser. Teachers, grandparents, wise (and perhaps older) friends, elderly believers, pastors, mentors, etc. We all have people in our circles who we can listen to and learn from. 

The young man in Crime and Punishment discovered that life is much more reliable than mere theories. Real experiences are more valuable than intangible ideas. Wisdom is gained as one gains years. 

Dear young person, you don’t know everything. You actually know much less than you think. Be humble. Be quick to listen. Learn from wise and godly people around you. This will serve you far more than any endeavor for a theory or cause. 

Then maybe we’ll become wiser, earlier.