Saturday, December 22, 2012


And the pangs of jealousy leap up. They jump up and down on my heart like a trampoline, willing me to notice them.

I shall not. I shall not notice them. I will ignore them as I try to talk to you, you who makes me jealous, regardless of the fact that we are good friends.

I-you-I am good at-you are too? Oh. I am really good at-oh, of course, you are too. I know! I have a really grade in that one clas-yup. You too.

I know you do not do this to spite me. In fact, you have no idea about any of my jealousy issues. I know you simply happen to be awesome. And I respect you and I love you, but at the same time I rack my mind for something I know I am better at. But no, I will ignore the jealousy creeping up. I will. And I walk away from you so it will not beat me. And my other friends talk about how awesome your writing is. That was the one thing I believed myself to be at than you. …yup. Awkward. And I can’t think of anything else. Surely you are better than me in every way.

I hear laughter in the background. It’s you. You are happy and I am sad. You have won. Bravo. Good job. And I hear more laughter in the background. This isn’t you.’s in my head.

I let Satan win there. I let the demons of jealousy take over and control every part of me. I tried to stop it. I failed to stop it. And I sigh and think of how you wouldn’t have failed. Then I go home dejected and cry.
This sounds very bad. But God used that moment to speak to me. In that crying moment (as with most of my crying moments) I am able to fall to my knees. I am able to go to God. I cry out to Him.

Why am I not as good?
He answers, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Oh, I forgot about that. …Why isn’t my faith as strong?
I have given you a measure of faith. -Romans 12:3
Of course…. Why is she more faithful, a better light for You?
I am busy making you someone no one else has ever been. –Psalm 139. I’m still working on you both.
Oh. Really?
Yes. I love you both.
I sent my son Jesus to die for both of you.
Oh yeah. I love Jesus.
I love you, Bria.
Thanks, God.

I failed the first time because I was trying to fight on my own.

I am not strong. Bria means strong, but I am not strong. I needed God’s help and I wouldn’t admit it, but instead continued to try on my own. It didn’t work. It never works. I need God.

I read her blog. She is a very talented writer and a very strong witness. That’s when the jealousy began to gnaw on my heart again. And this is the result. This post right here.

I ask God for the strength to keep the jealousy away.

I ask God for love for her, love that consumes and swallows up the jealousy trying to get me.

I ask God for joy at her writing ability and her successful blog.

I thank God that she is an amazing friend and I thank God that she can help me know Him more, because she has awesome faith.

Finally, I ask God for forgiveness. I’m sorry that I let Satan get a foothold. I’m sorry that I was jealous and envious. I know that both jealousy and envy have their root in fear, the fear that I will not be taken care of, that You have forgotten me or given me the wrong things and abilities. I know You have plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and that you will supply me with what I need. I’m sorry for that lack of faith that allowed me to be jealous and envious. Replace any further jealousies or envies with pure joy at her ability to reach and teach so many.

 I’m sorry, Hannah, for being jealous of you. Please forgive me.

And now, here is a link to Hannah’s blog.
Go read it! Away with you!

(Wow, I feel so much better. Thank You, Lord.)

P.S. I wrote this in August. Ever since I wrote this, I haven’t been jealous. We have become great friends and I can enjoy our friendship and all that God teaches me through her because I am not jealous! Thank You, Lord!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where is God? (Vice Verses.)

The news is so sad today.
The Connecticut shooting.
A bomb threat in a local school.
A suicide.
A murder.
A car crash.
The best news I’ve heard is that the woman in the car crash may not die.

The news is so sad today.

Why God?

I definitely can’t answer any better than this amazing old pastor of mine.


Finally, I understand this song. Or at least, more than I ever have before.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Psalm and Songs

May 6, 2011

Dear God,

Hey. I just want to start by saying that I’m sorry I put off writing another letter. I should have made time. I’ve been studying pretty much the whole day today (it’s Derby, so we have today off school), except a few breaks so I can concentrate better. I’m taking a break now. I’m alone at home, so I turned on some music. Casting Crowns’ Voice of Truth came on (I put it on shuffle on my iPod). I love that song. I wanted to find the Psalm he uses in part of it, so I did. I know You already know it, but I’m going to write it here anyway:

I lift my eyes to the hills-
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you-
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm-
He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going
Both now and forevermore.
-Psalm 121

I know I don’t say thank You enough. And I know that sometimes I say it and don’t mean it. I’m saying it now and I’m really meaning it. Thank You. I think I’m going to make another list.

Thank You for always being there. I know I say this a lot too. Now, I really mean it (not that all the other times I didn’t, just now I mean it more). I don’t always feel You (because sometimes I’m not listening or looking for You), but You still make me realize You are there. I always remember when Maddie came and prayed with me. I wasn’t looking for You then, but You made Yourself known and really gave me peace. Thank You. Thank You also for just helping me to forgive myself for whatever part I played in driving Ashley away. I still don’t completely understand all that, but that’s okay. I know that You will use all that for Your glory. I don’t want to go on about Ashley anymore, because I have filled so many letters with stuff about her. This letter is about You and me and all the things I’m thankful for (okay, some of the stuff that I’m thankful for. There is no way I could say everything.)

Thank You for giving me the gifts and abilities I have. Thank You for my brain and that I have the ability to read and understand. Thank You that I can write (as in both the  ability to form words and put them on this page and the gift of being able to convey an idea well). Thank You for my imagination. Boy, writing would be really boring without it. Thank You that I have the ability to speak (once again both as in the ability to talk and the gift to be able to convey ideas effectively). I only wish (and pray) that I will have the confidence to speak. I can speak, I know that. I just can’t and I don’t understand why I’m so scared (well okay. I know I’m scared of saying something wrong and failing, but why am I so scared when I know that I know what I’m saying?). Please just give me confidence. Thank You for the growth this year (not physically, because I’m still only five feet five inches). Thank You for helping me discover more of who I am. Thank You for the confidence this has given me.

Thank You for everything that helped put me here, writing this letter to You. Thank You for everyone who has ever influenced my life. Thank You even for those people who have hurt me in some way (that’s not a lot of people, though. Thank You for that.), because I have learned more about myself and more about You because of those people. Just please help me not to hold any grudges against anyone. I realize now that they have helped me, but I tend to forget (or ignore) the things I decided in private when I’m in public.

Thank You for so many good Christian bands and amazing Christian authors. Thank You for David Crowder, Jon Foreman, The Afters, Brandon Heath, dc Talk, Casting Crowns, Hawk Nelson, Stellar Kart, Relient K, Aaron Shust, Abandon, Caedmon’s Call (I’m just a bus driver. Whoo!), Capital Lights, Chris Rice, Chris Sligh, Chris Tomlin, FM Static, Go Fish (Ladybug fryin’ on the sidewalk ), Kris Allen, Kristian Stanfill, Matthew West, Mercy Me, Newsboys, Nichole Nordeman, Plumb, Remedy Drive, Revive, Rush of Fools, Sanctus Real, Skillet, Sojourn, Steven Curtis Chapman, Storyside: B, Switchfoot (it seemed kinda unfair just to thank You for the lead singer ), tobyMac, Todd Agnew, and 33 Miles (and everyone who I don’t own a CD of). (Can you tell when I just started scrolling through iTunes? Hehe. That’s when they start going in alphabetical order.) Yeah. Thanks for all of the amazing bands. Thank You for the messages they tell through their music.

Okay, so I think I’m going to go back to studying (but I may try to write a little.) Talk to you soon.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Story I Wrote

This is a under-300-words story I wrote for Sparknotes Writer Wars. Although I wrote several stories for Writer Wars, this is my favorite. I just felt like throwing this out there for you all (meaning, I don't have any posts written and this was the first thing I thought of). The prompt was to write a story (300 words or less!) from the perspective of an inanimate object. My story (UNTITLED!):

We finished practicing and he tucked me in his coat, laying his hand over me. I felt safe (I know it’s strange for a gun to ever not feel safe, but it’s happened).
As he walked, I daydreamed of hunting in the forest. I was ready. So ready, baby.
But I didn’t see the forest when he took me out.
We were on a street. I sat in his arms and watched the people. A little kid, his blonde hair flopping on his forehead with every step, ran by. Boy, he could consume ice cream (mostly chocolate) faster than I could spit out a bullet on my best day. His mother walked slowly behind him, but when she saw him nearing the road, she kicked off her heels and ran to him.
I felt a tickle then, like a feather rubbed against my insides, a sneeze about to erupt within. The trigger.
I looked to my master. His teeth showed, but it was no smile. It was like looking at the smile of a shark, knowing that if you can see it, you’re too close.
His hand went cold. Staring into his eyes… Anger. Anger so hot it had gone cold. He had been under the scolding hot water for too long. His skin, too broken to heal anymore, had grown numb to its effect. He had no control.
I didn’t… NO.
He pointed me at them. And my belly lurched as the first bullets escaped my mouth.
Running. Everyone was running. But there on the sidewalk. A pair of heels. And a chocolate ice cream, melting into his hair now, mixing and turning his hair a sick crimson-ish color. The color of death, of dirt and red clay.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
I’m sorry.
Bloody Sunday. The song by U2 (and the
cover by Paramore!) inspired this story.
I may want to edit that up some, but oh well for now!
I would love to read a story from you all too! Maybe even something about an inanimate object? (;  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ashley Wrap-up: Letters to God

Several short letters to God. I was going to write an Ashley summary and not post these, but I think it’s important to see exactly how my mood, mindset, and attitude towards the situation changed. The more I prayed and earnestly sought God’s guidance, the more hopeful I became and the more realizations I had.

See if you see what I’m talking about:

April 27, 2011

Dear God,

Kristin just talked to us about Ashley. So did Zelda. I am not going into what they said. I walked away at 8:22. I started tearing up. I’m still tearing up. I don’t wanna cry.

I don’t agree with any of what Kristin and Zelda said. Zelda keeps blaming me for driving Ashley away. I can see how they see that, since they are just getting Ashley’s perspective. I am not driving Ashley away. Am I? How do I talk to someone who distances herself from me and answers with one word answers? How do I talk to that? Both Kristin and Zelda said we should support Ashley. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be friends with her and help her through this hard time, but I cannot support her actions! I can’t let her cuss and talk about the things she does! I don’t want to hear it! I can’t stand by and let her play with her boundaries and everything! I would like to be her friend and support her, but I can’t support her actions. I honestly don’t know if I can be her friend if she’s going to do everything I’m completely against…..

I’m not strong enough to be her friend right now. I don’t know if You want me to be her friend. I don’t know. I would guess You would, but I would need YOU so much and so obviously. I don’t know I if I can even be around her without breaking down crying, like I’m practically doing now.

I care about Ashley. I can’t stand her going down the wrong path. I don’t care if she’s “discovering herself” or whatever. I can’t do it. I realize I’m being completely selfish right now. Please feel free to correct me. I want to be her friend. I want to be there for her and help her through whatever stinkin’ stuff she’s going through! I don’t know that I can. Apparently, I’m making it worse and driving her away, so maybe I should just go away and leave her alone, so I stop making it worse. ?

Please give me peace. I don’t care if You tell me what to do right now. I just want the peace that You bring. I just want to remember (I remember. I just need a reminder) that You are in control. Please help us all through this. I’ll probably write another letter, but for now:


April 27, 2011

Another letter, I know. I feel better now. Well, at least, I’m done crying. I sure hope so. Thank You for such great friends, who keep trying to make me feel better. Thank You for the peace I feel once again.

Umm. Not to get back into negative stuff, but at lunch Ashley didn’t even look at me. I’m pretty sure she’s mad at me. Honestly, I don’t know why she’s so mad. I only talked to her once about cussing. Once. She wasn’t mad right after we talked. But now, almost a week and a half later, now she’s mad!

Well, now it’s almost 1. I’m in art. I don’t know if I’m going to write more; I just felt like telling You I’m in art. Well, 10 minutes until social studies. Please help Zelda and I get along good. Help us to understand each other and just not take sides against each other. I don’t want this Ashley thing to break up the friendships I have with everyone (or anyone) else.

April 27, 2011

It’s now 9:10. It’s been about 15 minutes since I finished the last letter. Thank You for some peace and understanding. I realize that Ashley needs to learn her own way. No one ever listens when you try to tell them how to live. I realize that. I know that we should be there for Ashley no matter what. I will be there for Ashley no matter what. I refuse to support her cussing though. I’m fine with her “finding herself,” but I won’t put up with cussing. I can’t just back down and watch her ruin her life. I will be there, however.

It’s now 10:03. I’m in algebra. I was thinking about how I once told Ashley (in that valentine about 2 months ago) that we are unlikely friends, but somehow we are great friends. Apparently, I was wrong. Since neither one of us is being a very good friend to the other right now. They keep saying it’s me. That not entirely true. I admit it kinda is, but it’s not entirely. Ashley has been distancing herself from us (not just me) for months. I just realized these past few weeks that something was wrong with her/in her life. For months, Ashley has denied us the right she uses so much: the right to an opinion. The right to speak that opinion and have people listen civilly. I listen. I’ve always listened. She…doesn’t. I say something she doesn’t like and she will either stomp out or yell over me. Why doesn’t she listen to us (cause it’s not just with me)?!

April 29, 2011

Dear God,

It is almost noon. I am in bio. We’re watching a video about ecology. I’m pretty sure I know a lot of it, so that’s why I’m writing this now. I don’t know if it’s a good thing that Ashley didn’t sit with us today, but I thank You for it. I feel like a lot of the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know this pretty much means the end of our friendship, but honestly I didn’t want to be her friend anymore. She wasn’t being Ashley. She wasn’t being my friend. So I feel like this is a good thing, at least for me. So thank You for that. I just pray for Ashley. I pray that she won’t hold anything against me or any of the rest of us. I just pray that You will be with her as she “discovers herself.”


And that’s the end of the last letter about her. (I have tons more Letters to God though. Yay!!)

Did you notice the shift in my thinking? The new thoughts and constant realizations, even in the midst of such distress and trials, are the result of prayer.

One of my pastors once said that when you’re listening for God’s voice, you need to think of all the new realizations you’ve had. All of those revelations, especially the ones you know you would never have thought of, are from God! In the Ashley situation, God was changing my mind; I was listening, and He was speaking! Basically, I’ve learned to listen better to God and to friends.

Tune in next week for (drumroll): Something that I haven’t decided on yet! Yay! (:

Have a wonderful night and day and whatnot!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happiness Cry: A Letter to God

Reminder: Ashley is the codename for a former best friend of mine. Former friend because of a fight. Our fight centered on not listening. Since then, I’ve realized a lot of my faults in the fight. I wrote this letter after the majority of the drama had disappeared.  (Also, the P.S. is a part of the letter.)

April 26, 2011

Dear God,

I feel like all I’ve been talking to You about lately is my issues and how terrible everything is. I don’t think everything is terrible. In fact, there are a lot of things that I really think are good and awesome. I’m going to go through some of them (by the way, some of them are people):

Hope. Thank You for Hope. She is a really good friend. She helps me with my issues and supports me in my walk with You. Without her this year I know that I wouldn’t be where I am in my walk with You; I would probably still be back at the nun thing. Seriously, though, I wouldn’t have grown as much as I have.

The sky. As Jesse (youth pastor) was saying how You gave us some things just for us to enjoy, I agree. The sky didn’t have to be blue or orange-y or reddish pink or purple (like it is right now where the sun is going down). Thank You for making the sky beautiful, even when it’s storming.

Clementine. She is a wonderful friend too. She listens to what I have to say, even when I’m rambling about
Hoagie (old crush of mine) or something I read. She also has great faith. And she invited me to Bible Study in the mornings! Thank You! Without her I would never have gone to Bible Study at school. I wouldn’t know Meredith or Maddie or Drew or Ben or Micah (why are there so many M names?). I never would’ve met some of these people since they’re seniors. Thank You for Clementine. Thank You that I have a friend like her. Someone who listens and encourages and comforts and so much more. Thank You that she invited me to Bible Study in the mornings.

Bible Study. Both the one at school and the one at church. Thank You for so much Christian support! Oh, I’m overflowing with love for everyone. Thank You! Thank You for Stacy, Cassandra, Gabrielle, Brogan, Maddie, Meredith, Drew, Hollis, Micah, Kenzie, and everyone else! Thank You for great lessons and teaching, for bonding and friendship, and for that comfort and support I’ve needed so badly these past couple months especially.

Hoagie. Okay, so I’m not just including him because I like him. I’m pretty sure You know that but just to make sure I had to say it. He really inspires me to be a better person. He just does some of those little things that I know I should do, but never actually do. (Now this next part is only because I like him, but whatever. ) I think I step out more faith because of him. Sometimes I feel like I’ll tell him about it and impress him. Of course, I don’t talk to him all that much so…yeah, that doesn’t happen, but still. Thank You for him. Thank You that I noticed his Not a Fan bracelet and his green shoes and wanted to get to know him. Thank You for just giving me the opportunities to get to know him.

Thank You for all my friends; I never thought I had so many people that really cared about me. Thank You for the simple pleasures and all those stupid things that lift me right up. Thank You for always being there. Thank You that I’m not in charge. I…oh. I would be such a mess; I wouldn’t even be recognizable. Thank You for everything. There are so many things that I didn’t even mention in this, but I thank You for all those things too.


P.S. I’ve never cried from happiness before. Today was the first time. After writing this (I wrote this like ten minutes ago) I decided to write some story ideas. I thought of how thankful I am that I have the ability to write and to write (what I think) is decently good. It made me start crying! Thank You so much! So I said while I was crying (like three minutes ago) that I wish I could hug You. Then, You know, I pictured hugging Jesus. That would be so awesome! Then I thought of hugging YOU, like You the Father. Is that possible? To hug You? Now? I love You.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Letter From God

After all (most) of this Ashley stuff went down and I was feeling blue (btw, those were the first Letters to God I had ever written), I was sent a Letter From God.  They were handed out at my church.

Mine says this:

Dear Bria,

Before I created the universe, I had you in mind. You were exclusively created and I love you more than you can imagine. It brings me great pleasure to see you fulfilled and enjoying life. I love it when you write.

I know life isn’t always easy, and at times you’ve found it tougher than you expected. Some of the dreams you’ve had, like being a teacher now seem silly, impossible, or too late. Don’t give up. Life isn’t over yet…I know the plans I have for you.

I know you’re disappointed about Hannah. But don’t worry-I’m greater than that frustration or anything you’ll ever face. Since death can’t hold me, then you know I can overcome your hurts, disappointments, and failures. Trust in me.

So here is what I want to say to you. Come to me and I will carry you. I really mean it. You don’t have to do this on your own.

Through the sacrifice of my one and only Son, your past failures can be forgiven, and your future can be different-for all eternity. The empty tomb serves to remind you that nothing is impossible when you put your trust in me. If you’re ready, I’m ready. Just let me know. I love you more than you can imagine.

The God Who Does the Impossible

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Failed, and We Laugh

I am in advanced precal. I’m a junior in high school. This is 2 years above what most juniors at my school take. And precal has been EASY. Like I-am-practically-falling-asleep-in-class-because-I-don’t-have-to-pay-attention easy. This is what I have told everyone when they have asked about school. “Every new class of precal is the most boring day of my life” and “I finish my homework before the class is even over!” have been my favorite phrases lately.




They were oozing from every word I spoke.

Yesterday we had a pop open response. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. Except for the fact that everything I knew flew from my head. I stared at the paper and nothing came. I didn’t know how to answer 2/3s of the question. …Yup.

Basically, I typed some things on my calculator and made it look like I was working. I hoped I would find an answer that clicked, something that just made sense in the problem. Nope.

And I think God was laughing. As I am now (even though I’m pretty positive I failed that open response). That situation served to not only make me see my sin(s), but made me repent and change my ways quickly. I was wrong. Yes, I still believe precal is easy, but now it is a simple this-is-my-easiest-class easy. Yes, I still believe it is boring, but now I realize that nothing is an excuse to let my attention wander. And I have definitely learned to not boast about it. That will just make me look stupid (again).

Plus the Bible says:

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.
-Proverbs 27:1-2

Therefore, as it is written:

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
-1 Corinthians 1:31

To sum this up: God has a sense of humor; I’m sure He was laughing. Don’t be prideful because He will knock you off your ledge in an instance, therefore bringing you back down to the level of humility you should be at. Which is the humility level of a servant (Philippians 2:7) or a slave (Romans 6:22).

This (humility) is something I am particularly bad at. So, Lord, help me have humility. Thank You for striping me of my current cockiness. Make my current state of humility last. Amen.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

God, Forever Reign

God is amazing! I realized that AGAIN today. I love it when this happens. All of the joy and overwhelming thankfulness fills me and I just LOVE. Then I remember everything (well, some things) that God has done for me. And often, I start to sing. We were singing the following song at Bible Study/Worship.

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me.

While singing this, God reminded me of grace. I remembered when I was disheartened, when I was angry at myself, when I was sorry, so sorry; and I remembered when God told me it was okay, not that it was okay I had sinned (Romans 6:1-4), but that He forgave me.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. –Ephesians 2:1-5

You are love, You are love
On display for all to see

And I think of this: 

God gave us flowers. Why? So bees had something to pollinate and fruit was made and we could eat fruit or we could eat animals that ate fruit, etc. God gave us flowers for an obvious reason. Now, why did God make flowers pretty? Yes, He made them colorful to attract bees better. But making them colorful and making them pretty are different things entirely. I have seen plenty of things that are colorful, but ugly (especially outfits. Too many colors!).

And God gave us the sky. The beautiful sky. Why? Because He loves us. He wants us to be happy, and beautiful things like the sky and flowers make us happy and remind us of His presence. Yes, I see the sky and think God. 

You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in

And this makes me think of those dark moments. I have had some real dark moments. Within myself and outside of myself. I have been so angry that I am scared of myself, of my very thoughts. I have yelled at myself to shut up and I have curled into a ball and wept. I have felt the crush of darkness, the suffocation that accompanies it. I have seen the darkness take hold of me, I have seen myself so ready to act on it. But I am here to type this and say that God pulled me back. Most of the time, I prayed in those situations, I cried out to God. But I remember a time that I didn’t pray, that God broke through the blackness of my soul anyway. And so, I can sing that GOD IS LIGHT. He has saved my life.

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. -1 John 1:5

You are my lamp, O Lord;
The Lord turns my darkness into light.
-2 Samuel 22:29

You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin
Knowing Jesus is knowing hope.

…that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. -1 Timothy 4:10

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling

In the same moments that God has pulled me from darkness, He has given me peace. He has silenced (not quieted, but silenced, like blowing out a candle) my crying, He has cut off my tears, He has muted my mutinying thoughts, He has made a peace settle over me. It is incredible. To go from weeping in a corner to drying my eyes and seeing how beautiful the sky is and how much God loves me is miraculous. I can’t do that on my own. It is God. God is my peace.

The Lord is my light and my salvation –
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life –
of whom shall I be afraid?
-Psalm 27:1

You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering

Sloth is one of the deadly sins in the Catholic church. Sloth is laziness obviously. But I think it’s more than that. I have heard it described as spiritual apathy, a spiritual laziness rather than a physical one. I have periods of time in which I have put off praying: “I’ll wake up early tomorrow morning to pray and read the Bible,” “I’m too tired to talk to God right now; it would just be garbled sentences and mush,” etc. This never ends good; I never pray the next day. Instead, I go a week or even two without reading the Bible or talking to God. This is my wandering. I have put off God, but He has never put me off. He is always there when I want to talk (and when I don’t).

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. –Deuteronomy 7:9

You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing

Why does the thought of God – and the very presence of God! – fill me with joy? Because He is INCREDIBLE! He made the universe (Genesis 1) and He made you (Psalm 139:13). Do you see the contrast there? He made the universe, which is big and important and HUGE and awe-inspiring and awesome and HUMUNGO! And then He made you. You are little (the average human is 5’7”) and your life is a fleeting shadow (Psalm 144:4) and you feel like nothing (maybe), but you are important. More important than the universe with its galaxies and stars. You are more important because Jesus died for you.

For God so loved the world that He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. –John 3:16

This is amazing. Really. This is why I sing.

You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Oh, I'm running to your arms,
I'm running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

I wish I could hug God. Like legitimate physical hug. That would be awesome. That’s what this part of the song makes me think of.

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say

I cannot express God in words. God is everything awesome all packaged into ONE and I can’t express that; it’s impossible. Of course, I am a writer, and so I shall still try to describe God. But my words will never do him justice. As Francis Chan wrote in Crazy Love, “Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”

You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” -Luke 19:40

Do not keep quiet. Please.

You are here, You are here
In your presence I'm made whole

I don’t know what or where God wants me to go, but I feel full with God; I don’t need anything as long as I remember that God is here and God knows what He is doing.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” –Exodus 33:14

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. –Psalm 16:11

You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

I love this quote:

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway. –Mary C. Crowley

And because of all this, because I can remember some of the things God has done for me and because I know that God loves me, I can sing this honestly:

My heart will sing
no other name
Jesus, Jesus

(Forever Reign by Hillsong United) 

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Writer Is A Gunner

Because it's been a while since I've posted and will be a bit longer until a real post, I am posting this quote. Here you go:

“...writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up. Like other gunners, the writer must cultivate patience, working many covers to bring down one partridge.”

This is from Strunk and White’s book The Elements of Style. Very helpful book. You should get it. Yup. Have a fabulous Labor Day! The end.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Interview with Teens: Part DOS

8. How has your writing evolved since you started writing?

Dakota: Well, it's not written in crayon anymore, for one thing. Haha, I use a computer now, instead of scribbling in notepads held together with tape. Erm, I suppose it's become more mature, hopefully more in-depth and involving....but probably not. ;)

Bria: My voice has certainly improved as I’ve been writing. When I first started to write consistently about two years ago, I was childish in my writing. I liked to make my writing seem clever by telling jokes. Of course, this didn’t make my writing clever; it only made me look stupid for sacrificing the story for petty jokes. And now, instead of that, I sound like this. Let me tell you: this is much improved. The only way this evolution in my writing came about is because I write, so write. There’s no way to become better at writing if you never write.

Ravena: I used to fill up notebooks. Now I use a laptop. (On a serious note... I like to think I've gotten better, that I'm using less unnecessary words and am able to end up a piece of writing which is closer to what I imagined in my head. I can't really say though. I mean, it happens over such a long period of time, evolution, that sometimes it seems like nothing has changed at all. Oh no wait... nothing has changed at all. I still write like I did when I was eight. *Cries.* Let's move onto the next question :)

Elizabeth: My writing evolves constantly as I get older and my writing improves. It also evolves based on my current major influences and inspirations, as well as my experiences.

9. How do you feel about teens being published/self-published?

Dakota: It's awesome!! :D I applause them with a vigor spurred by both jealousy and pride. I SALUTE THEE, SIR!! And madame. ;)

Bria: Respect. I am nowhere near publishing anything (besides blog posts). I have so much respect and admiration for teens (anyone, really) who can control and motivate themselves enough to not only finish something, but to publish it too. If you’re reading this and you’ve published something: you’re awesome!

Ravena: OMG I AM SO PROUD OF THEM I WANT TO GIVE THEM ALL A GIANT HUG. Good for them for proving the stereotype all teens are lazy dodobrains (yes I made that word up) is wrong.

Jane: I think it's awesome, but only if they have talent. I'm always drawn toward books written by teens, I feel that they have a pulse on how teens actually think, and do. Better then a 30 year old woman. I'm not saying that the 30 year old woman doesn't have any talent, but sometimes a teen just hit's it on the nail.

Elizabeth: I think it’s great that teens are published. It’s valuable experience, and it shows that creativity isn’t restricted by age.

10. How do people react when you tell them you write, if you tell them at all? If you don't like to talk about it, why?

Dakota: If I tell them, they're usually like, "Oh, that's cool. What do you like to write?" If I don't tell them, it's b/c I don't think they'll care/appreciate it, or b/c I'm still insecure/self-conscious about what I'm writing. Also b/c doing something, no matter what it is, without anyone knowing about it, gives whatever you're doing a secretive, dramatic, spy-like feel, and makes it 10x more fun!! :D

Bria: People know that I like to write, but not many people realize that I want to be a writer. This is probably partially due to one of my friends. You see, I told one of my best guy friends that I wanted to be a writer. He looked at me and he was confused. “Why?” he said. I told him, but the confusion didn’t go away. “Why would you want to do that?!” …yup. Just so you know: this guy is not a jerk. Some people just don’t understand.

Ravena: I hate telling people I write, unless they're other writers.  People don't understand how much it means to me, or they generally tend to think I'm strange (I've only talk about it with a few of my closest friends (hi Asli, Mariana and Jodie) plus my mum but she doesn't count.) I guess I don't want to bring it up, because I feel weird.

Jane: I don't really tell people. Writing is more of a hobby for me, then a serious thing. When I tell my friends there okay with it. I don't really bring it up, because it's kind of hard to bring it up without bragging, so I don't unless I'm asking for advice or trying to work out a plot point.

11. How would you like people to treat teen writers?

Dakota: As equals? As interesting people that matter? As individuals with more things to say and more creative ways to say it than most people realize? Something like that, I suppose.

Bria: Respect would be nice. And encouragement. We are going after our dreams and an awareness of that would be awesome. Awareness by way of less homework would be especially nice. Hint, hint, cough, cough.

Ravena: Like royalty. Only joking (a little.) I would like people to encourage teen writers, but take us seriously too. Is that possible?

Elizabeth: People should give teen writers a chance. We don’t all write high school dramas or vampire novels. There are some extremely gifted young writers who are just as good as older writers and they deserve to be taken as seriously as anyone else.

12. What is acceptable content for a teen to be writing in your opinion? (Eg. genre, romance elements, age etc.)

Dakota: Hmm, anything but smut. SMUT MUST NOT BE WRITTEN!! BY ANYONE!!! EVER!!! But especially by teens. Mature (in body) and independent as they may be, THEY'RE STILL JUST KIDS!! Basically, anything you wouldn't want your parents, or grandparents, to read, you probably shouldn't write it.

Bria: I don’t know. I’ve never thought about this. Generally, I don’t write characters who are older than me, because I don’t know if an eighteen-year-old will have different thoughts than little sixteen-year-old me. But that’s just me.

Ravena: I think anything is acceptable. Teens know about the goodness and the badness in the world, and all the little bits in between. They should be able to write whatever they want.

Jane: Basically anything, except hardcore erotica or any romance novel where the characters aren't teens.

Elizabeth: In terms of content, I hate smut in books from any age, but I think it’s something teens especially should avoid because it reaffirms stereotypes about young writers.

13. What advice do you have for teen writers who are just starting off?

Dakota: Hm...For starters, ignore the doomsayers, or course. ;) And, DON'T be like me, meaning that you should have a writing schedule, even if it's just, "I will write 100 words this week," or, "Every Tuesday at 6, I will sit down and write for 15 minutes." It doesn't have to be a lot. Hm, what else? Write whatever you like (yet remembering what I mentioned before), however you like. Sci-fi in a notebook, fantasy on the computer, mystery on you iPod. Whatever, it's entirely up to you. Never let anyone tell you a certain genre or way of writing is stupid or wrong. And....PUNCTUATION MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!!! Example:

"Let's eat grandpa!!
Let's eat, grandpa!!"

You see????
Oh, and one more thought; A cup of tea (or coffee, but mostly tea) is a writer's best friend. ;)

Bria: You tend to hear the same advice so I’m going to try to throw something new in. “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12, the Bible) Don’t be discouraged and don’t believe that others are better than you simply because they are older and “wiser.” I’ve read plenty of books written by people who should be old enough to realize their writing stinks. (That sounds harsh, but we all know it’s true. Some people write bad books.) Get yourself some confidence, get your writing out there (blogs, contests, etc.), and live by this quote from Ray Bradbury: “If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories –science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Ravena: Don't ever give up, no matter how many rejections you get. And there's no rush to get published. Some of our favourite authors weren't published until they were waaaay out of their teens, but look how happy they are now!

Jane: Take inspiration from everything. Write different things until you find the one that's your fit. You don't have to be an author to write, just write. If you’re good, good for you, if not that's okay because no one has to see it.

Elizabeth: I advise young writers to practise constantly. It’s the only way to get better. Experiment with other genres you don’t usually write in, and read lots! Reading different genres from different periods from an array of different authors also helps a lot. Keep exercising your creativity. Challenge yourself to be inspired by anything – this helps avoid writer’s block. It gives you a chance to discover what works and what doesn’t. Also, do not get stuck in one genre (especially fanfiction!)

There you have it! Do you agree with any of it? Do you disagree with any of it? Tell me, I command thee.