Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making Progress

A few weeks before Christmas I started working on Part 1 again. I figured while it was Christmastime I would write about Marie's Christmas in New England with her aunt. I did write a Christmas chapter last year, but ended up cutting it because it got too much off the beaten track and was practically a story in itself.

I've also been finding some great art to help me see the story more clearly (as I'm a very visual person) and gives me ideas for things to add to it. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite.

                                            Fiesty Little Thing by ~leonwoon on deviantART

This first one is my idea of Marie, after she has come back from heaven "..For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." - 1 Corinthians 15:52

                                               Lady of the Forest by *daekazu on deviantART 

Also when she comes back.


She's a very sweet girl, as you can see. ; )

                                                     Passive by ~jeremiasch on deviantART
 Alex in heaven =) 

I've also added two new characters in the last year, another girl and another boy, who are a bit older, like maybe later 20's. I'm still not set on that yet. So it will go something like this:

Part 1 Main Characters: Alex & Marie 
Part 2 Main Characters: Eric & Sarah

In Part 2, Eric and Sarah are dealing with end times stuff and Alex and Marie are up in heaven. Then at some point all four are united on earth in a kind of last battle. Should be really fun. ; )

                                              DMC: DANTE by ~fatalis-unus on deviantART

So this is Eric. It's probably the closest to what I'm thinking of that I've come across so far, except maybe the hair and the clothes (is that a cape?!) Maybe a combination of that and this guy on the right:

                                               On the Other Side by *Lleayhe on deviantART

I kind of prefer the longer hair, so I compromised and went with shorter for Part 1 and longer for Part 2. I figured in Part 2 he's not going to be getting his hair cut since it's THE END OF THE WORLD!! ; ) Oh! And he also looks a lot like Brandon Routh, who I just saw on Chuck last week.

                                                    Li close-up by ~Marhiao on deviantART

The lovely Sarah. I'm not sure about her age just yet. Because the 'kids' Alex & Marie are 20-22 (the first story taking place over the course of 2 years) and Eric being around 27...I just wasn't sure where to place her. Maybe in between like 25? The girl in the picture looks pretty innocent, but Sarah is not innocent at all. She's kind of a bad girl.

So there you go! There are lots of minor characters who I haven't really sketched very well in my mind yet. I can't tell you how much it helps to look at pictures to get an idea of what I want them to look like. Once I looked at enough pictures, I started to know what I wanted once I figured out what I didn't want. Maybe soon I will post some concept pictures of...um...stuff. Probably from Part 2 as well. Finding pictures for Part 1's locations are more difficult. Aaaaand maybe I'll post a bit of the text from Part 1...maybe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Progress at last

I'm getting tired of relying on other people's artwork to illustrate my own, so I took a stab at drawing a heavenly scene. This isn't exactly how it's going to be described in part 2 since the heaven I'm creating is very bubbly--literally the columns are like prism glass, if you can imagine that. ;-) Anyway, that's way too hard for me to try to draw, so I went with a kind of cream color. A white with a light blue shading would have done better, but I'm a beginner, so give me a break. :-P

This is a very small fraction of what will be described, but it's an idea at least. I wanted to do something more nebula-like at the top, but also lacked the skills there.

In other news, I wrote more yesterday, but it was part two because that's where my heart has been lately. I don't want those good ideas to go to waste just because it's a part I haven't technically started on yet. It will all be ironed out in the end anyway. I've started labeling sections of the story like "B003" so I don't have to worry about having two different parts on the same page.

I've also added a new character who will be in at least two of the parts. Not sure about his fate yet. I thought about doing a coin toss to decide, but I have a feeling I would just do whatever I want anyway.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Writer's Block

So it's been a while since I've worked on my story. I've just run out of things to write about I guess. I basically write when I have something to write about, and otherwise I just leave things as they are. I don't sit there for an hour with a blank sheet of paper and try to make something happen. I started writing a bit on Part 2 just because there were things I was starting to think of and I decided I didn't want to risk losing them.

Speaking of the different parts: I may not put these into separate books, like I had originally planned. As it turns out, I'm lacking a ton of material and so they may be more like short stories, maybe pulled into one book, like how The Lord of the Rings is constructed. Only not nearly as long. XD We shall see.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pie in the Sky

Have you ever had images and feelings inside of you for such a long time that you could never put into words or even truly understand? Somehow it helps to have artwork that seems in tune with my feelings and to put it into something that moves so it feels alive. That's why I've begun making slideshows.

I found this song that I really like just a few days ago. I've been listening to it a lot since then and specifically while I was browsing book titles on amazon. I found this book about a space expedition and somehow the two themes clicked. The song seems to say in notes what I've been feeling and I realized maybe what my love of space has always been about. You may recall that I once said I distinctly remember at the age of twelve looking up at the stars and aching for something, but I didn't know what. I'm beginning to understand it.

C.S. Lewis put it this way: "We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning heaven. We are afraid of the jeer of 'pie in the sky'. You may think there is another reason for our silence about heaven--namely, that we do not really desire it. I find myself wondering if we have ever desired anything else. You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a single thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words. Again, you have stood before a landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turn to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw--but at the first word a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for ineffable suggestion by which you are transported." (from The Problem of Pain)

If heaven is made for us and us for it, I have a strong hope that mine will contain this thing that I have been yearning for, a glimmer of which is in this song. I wonder if our mansions are limited to buildings. Maybe that idea is more than just a place to house us; maybe it is a place made just for us that will fit us completely. Some say God is all we need, and that's true in part, but I believe He created us to need things outside of Himself as well.

If we only understood how complex we all are. It pains me to hear people call heaven a fairytale. The resistance to it comes from a shallow understanding of humanity. It must be that instinct to say that we aren't in fact thinking of heaven. We're too smart or too logical or whatever for that sort of nonsense. But we can't hope to find that thing we've yearned for for so long without heaven being part of that picture. Hell is not just the absence of God, but the absence of everything He created for us to long for from the hour of our birth. Being without it must truly be everlasting torment. Not only would the dream of obtaining it be forever lost, but we would lose everything wonderful we have here on earth as well.

Let me share part of my yearnings with you. I've always dreamed of space. I wanted to be an astronaut at one time--didn't everyone?--and I was pretty crushed when it was decided that the space shuttles would retire. Back in 2003 I had a very fleeting ambition to follow in the Columbia astronauts' footsteps and go to space myself. I knew that wasn't likely so I let it go. Then in 2008 when I got to go to the Kennedy Space Center that dream was vigorously renewed and I set it down as a to-do for eternity, when earthly limitations are just too great. Anyway, they had two imax movies that were simply amazing! One of them featured a girl in the future standing before a great valley on the moon and in that valley rested a city. 

Somehow that dream has persisted in my heart for three years. I tried once to put it into art, but without drawing and painting skills, there really is no way to express it well. Maybe someday that will be me standing up there.

I wonder if mankind will ever make a moon colony or advance farther into space. I have a feeling that those dreams of reserved for eternity and we're only meant to taste a small sample of it now.

So buckle your seatbelts: Part 3 is going to have space in it!! =D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Story Slideshow

I've been finding it very difficult to convey to people what my ideas are since they aren't yet on paper, so I spent about a week working on a slideshow. It still only goes so far, but it's a start, and better than nothing.

This video showcases pictures I've collected while working on the project. It's a summary of parts 1-3, without getting into details or spoilers. There are a few things thrown in there that are important in the story, but that people won't necessarily understand until reading the first book. Oh, and please note that there will be some parts about the end times and death and sad things like that, but those pictures didn't really fit with such happy music, so I left them out. I'm going to be producing another video sometime in the future that will cover those parts alone, and will hopefully be spoiler-free.

I couldn't credit everyone in the video description, so here is the list.

-- Part 1 --

0:00 http://skorpikore.deviantart.com/art/Eternal-Autumn-194960254
0:07 http://rdalpes.deviantart.com/art/Village-light-113732325
0:15 http://merl1ncz.deviantart.com/art/A-New-Day-In-Narnia-49148991
0:21 http://fhrankee.deviantart.com/art/Breathe-188682158
0:24 http://mathurin156.deviantart.com/art/Afghan-Girl-180564803
0:27 http://lithiumdeath.deviantart.com/art/Beautiful-Boy-79562085
0:29 http://ennil.deviantart.com/art/Absent-mind-34660827
0:37 http://achmetha.deviantart.com/art/Cross-104117118
0:42 http://dreamca7cher.deviantart.com/art/Im-Telling-You-A-Story-107274183
0:50 http://spotty-polka-dotty.deviantart.com/art/best-123073242
0:54 http://abcxyz91291.deviantart.com/art/Bridge-Over-Troubled-Water-160888941
0:58 http://chiplar.deviantart.com/art/Walk-191350987
1:03 http://perodog.deviantart.com/art/Detail-of-fortunetelling-106049358
1:10 http://souleaterristo.deviantart.com/art/London-Rooftops-198317067
1:14 http://madmanlear.deviantart.com/art/Moon-Lit-Mountains-201699037
1:19 http://skybase.deviantart.com/art/Following-Stars-47284778
1:24 http://oceansoul27.deviantart.com/art/Summer-Shower-196456095
1:29 http://ennil.deviantart.com/art/A-flower-in-each-hand-51817839
1:45 http://www.flickr.com/photos/55914770@N06/5251785831
1:54 http://www.georgiatraveller.com/2011/03/georgian-folk-costume-makes-comeback.html
1:57 http://sabriye.deviantart.com/art/Goodbye-53197339
2:00 http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlandolane/4795126464
2:06 http://ssuunnddeeww.deviantart.com/art/Brilliance-of-the-day-202279020
2:09 http://flina.deviantart.com/art/Tranquil-180033876
2:12 http://c4m30.deviantart.com/art/all-the-memories-we-ve-shared-173538958
2:14 http://c4m30.deviantart.com/art/in-my-dreams-tonight-144214930
2:17 http://whisperfae.deviantart.com/art/Suncatcher-192806601
2:23 http://islandtime.deviantart.com/art/p-e-a-c-e-104498646
2:26 http://drewyboy.deviantart.com/art/Fly-173407635
2:29 http://fhrankee.deviantart.com/art/Good-Morning-152398854
2:33 http://satiiiva.deviantart.com/art/My-morning-162334822

-- Part 2--

2:41 Heaven's bubble
2:45 http://jmonzani.deviantart.com/art/shine-my-life-59417457
2:48 http://snowskadi.deviantart.com/art/Gorod-90073303
2:52 http://justina-m.deviantart.com/art/Little-princess-95799053
2:55 http://tahnja.deviantart.com/art/His-Smile-Lights-The-World-190335880
3:00 http://chymere.deviantart.com/art/Spring-s-soft-light-110197521
3:05 http://narrator366.deviantart.com/art/FFXII-Balthier-110536913
3:10 http://smmr-sen.deviantart.com/art/and-this-is-a-true-friendship-118741916
3:16 http://nezma.deviantart.com/art/Temps-des-cathedrales-117202141
3:19 http://snowskadi.deviantart.com/art/Hall-144827354

-- Part 3 --

3:24 http://thered.deviantart.com/art/Jesus-Rider-on-a-White-Horse-3064515
3:27 http://samuraikirisuten.deviantart.com/art/The-One-True-King-73456736
3:30 http://rykardo.deviantart.com/art/Magical-Forest-100710026
3:32 http://reehbr.deviantart.com/art/Welcome-to-the-forest-145931241
3:34 http://razygraphicdesign.deviantart.com/art/the-return-home-167241301
3:37 http://gamefan84.deviantart.com/art/Visegard-Ideation-142764927
3:41 http://maril1.deviantart.com/art/The-Gate-of-Eternity-140251015
3:45 http://jonsama.deviantart.com/art/Pass-of-Enchantment-112126980
3:49 http://moon-blossom.deviantart.com/art/Olore-Malle-Path-Of-Dreams-13283965
3:52 http://fcagno.deviantart.com/art/Four-Seasons-Forest-Spring-156761046
3:57 http://ldiehl.deviantart.com/art/Golden-Fish-161423948
3:59 http://industrial-forest.deviantart.com/art/Big-Tree-Village-77553313
4:02 http://fcagno.deviantart.com/art/Arrival-in-Sochen-Falls-154535973
4:06 http://new-chaossapphire.deviantart.com/art/I-remember-123562294
4:10 http://megatruh.deviantart.com/art/up-182042062
4:13 http://balaa.deviantart.com/art/Pulpit-on-High-19236872
4:17 http://jerry8448.deviantart.com/art/castles-in-the-air-126583040
4:21 http://daniellieske.deviantart.com/art/Celephais-144296470
4:24 http://samburley.deviantart.com/art/Cultures-of-Nerath-185619909
4:27 http://izaskun.deviantart.com/art/Atlantis-150142385
4:31 http://darkmello.deviantart.com/art/Flying-Whale-111510949
4:35 http://djahal.deviantart.com/art/Peace-Keepers-114092069
4:40 http://loppi.deviantart.com/art/Neoclassical-City-146273750
4:42 http://phoenix-feng.deviantart.com/art/Garden-96088196
4:46 http://mikandi.deviantart.com/art/My-Dream-146322641
4:49 http://uildrim.deviantart.com/art/Simple-Gifts-70367960
4:52 http://fel-x.deviantart.com/art/The-land-of-dinosaurs-178850981
4:56 http://sedeptra.deviantart.com/art/Herfsttij-der-middeleeuwen-141975388
5:00 http://yuumei.deviantart.com/art/Open-up-the-Sky-141433474
5:02 http://kyomu.deviantart.com/art/Dreams-Illustration-163115358
5:06 http://anndr.deviantart.com/art/Dream-with-me-Once-again-144716843
5:11 http://peachysticks.deviantart.com/art/Ice-Wind-1-17335110
5:13 http://tania-s.deviantart.com/art/paradise-62052834
5:18 http://alanise.deviantart.com/art/Once-in-a-dream-177507865
5:21 http://milyknight.deviantart.com/art/My-secret-garden-118099905
5:25 http://b1nd1.deviantart.com/art/Always-Dreaming-134535158
5:29 http://ranarh.deviantart.com/art/Adagio-156059644
5:31 http://fcagno.deviantart.com/art/The-Kiss-in-Sochen-Falls-154943235
5:35 http://kandasama.deviantart.com/art/Peace-184629730
5:38 http://bendianna.deviantart.com/art/Cosmic-Mesa-176588726
5:43 http://natsuki-3.deviantart.com/art/The-magic-light-80397224
5:46 http://thienbao.deviantart.com/art/Lost-in-the-Clouds-21423013
5:49 http://phoenixlu.deviantart.com/art/Happy-Magic-Hour-193405275
5:53 http://shadcarlos.deviantart.com/art/dreamers-141381006

Monday, April 25, 2011

What Does Forever Truly Mean?


This morning in my devotional time I read about eternity and being alive forever in Christ. When I think very deeply about forever, and try to fathom the concept of going on and on and on without end...it kind of hurts my brain.

I asked my mom if the thought had the same effect on her and she just shrugged and said, 'Not really.' I began to wonder if maybe God has given me a gift in being able to deeply understand His truths. Once in high school I thought about what it must have been like before anything came into being; before the world when there was just God and perhaps nothing but darkness outside of God's light. It's hard to imagine a time when there were no stars, no sun, no planets, no people. It's one thing to just scratch the surface of that thought, but let yourself really get lost in that idea. It should be truly mind-blowing. At least it is for me. And that's exactly my point! Am I the only one who gets how big these subjects are? Forever! The human mind doesn't know the true meaning of that word. Nothing we have now lasts forever. Spring ends; years end; lives end--everything ends. What's it like to go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever?

I think typically when we imagine heaven, we imagine an end to the heaven that exists now, and the beginning of our time on the new earth. It's comfortable for us to think of things as having an ending, so when I think about forever--and I mean really think about it--I literally have to stop at some point because it gets overwhelming.

Recently I've been listening to this song called Kiss of Heaven and it goes like this:

I'm walking a new walk, never be the same again
Dancing a new dance in Your Holy Spirit rain
Your breath of life has overwhelmed me and set my spirit free

I'm living a new life underneath Your morning star
Running a new race in the shadow of Your love
Your love is immeasurable too deep to comprehend

My Jesus, dream maker. My Jesus, life giver
I'm living under the kiss of heaven and I'll never ever be the same again

I'm singing a new song in the presence of my King
Giving You my heart, that is all that I can bring
You lit a fire inside of me that I thought would never burn again

The reason this song has special meaning for me is because I remember a summer night when I was twelve and I looked up at the stars and knew I wanted something more than this, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I'd always had a great imagination, and that fire is finally burning in me again for eternity, much more so than it ever has. I feel that God is opening windows and letting me in on things that I never understood before. I have been blessed with a very curious mind and I tend to be able to think outside the box. The other day I said, "what is taste?" Most people don't ask such questions, but I do. Is that strange? I just hunger for knowledge of everything all the time. I want to know...I just want to know whatever there is that's worth knowing. So I ask weird questions. ;-) Maybe the Spirit inside me is showing me how big eternity is and that's why I feel overwhelmed by the thought. Bottom line: I feel different.  

Making The Transition

2:27pm 4/21/11

Some thoughts I had this morning about memories in heaven:

A friend once said we probably won't care about our lives on earth once we're in heaven, but that makes it seem like our time here holds no weight. God could take us all right now if that were the case. Our memories are part of who we are and can't be separate from us. Yes, God's Presence will be a truly joyful experience, but God didn't create beings that couldn't think of anything else but Him while He was around. Maybe we're like that now, but we won't be in heaven. How are we to do our 'holier work above' if we're gaping at His feet?

What about people in heaven that lived thousands of years ago? We'll want to ask them what it was like, and I doubt they're not going to care to share it with someone from the future. Humans love learning, and I believe God designed us to want to discover things ourselves, not have it handed to us on a silver platter.

If memories are the records of our experience on earth, we're essentially living history books. Since the earth will be destroyed, we are all that is left of the past, and I do believe that past is valuable, even if it is really no longer needed to advance civilization. It's something like flowers--they're not really good for anything practical, just to be something beautiful. In the same way, asking Grandma what her life was like is really fun, and might help us discover something about ourselves, therefore I don't see any reason for it to go to waste.

At one time I considered that maybe people in heaven couldn't remember earth, but that theory quickly became a ridiculous one, and probably not biblical. Pain won't be a problem with God around. He won't need to erase our memories to make that happen. There are things in our lives that we can look back on that were painful at the time, but aren't painful anymore because we are different people now. That could be true for heaven as well. It doesn't seem likely that God would erase our memories, and if they're still there, why not talk about them, explore them, and even ask God about them?

On the topic of being changed, I've been thinking that maybe our bodies hold our souls back. C.S. Lewis theorized that Adam and Eve probably had total control over their bodies and could obey as long as they were willing (none of our current inability to do right). At some point they decided not to obey, and something happened that made them unable to always do right in the future. They literally became a different creation. Once you know right from wrong, there's no going back, just like anything else you suddenly know. God's Word says we become new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). I wonder if our brain holds us back in a sense because we will understand so much more once we are without it.

However, there is one issue I'm working out. The Bible says “...For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes. See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit." -Isaiah 65:17

This is the Lord speaking, but I'm not sure if this is talking about past things not coming to our minds or to His. It could be the past things will be a part of our memories, but we won't need to hold onto them like we do on earth. The fun things can be shared and laughed about, and the things that happened that caused us pain don't need to be brought up. That's how I plan to portray it, anyway. It's important to understand that reminiscing on earth can be bittersweet and sometimes painful, but without pain, we can freely share our experiences and remember the past world and the beautiful things that once were. Logically, it wouldn't be fun at all without memories. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting to know the neighbors

The Georgian people are very hospitable. In my book my girl character learns from their generosity how to bravely reach out to people, which is something I seriously need to learn how to do myself.

Yesterday I was shoveling the eight or more inches of snow so we could get to the alley where the trash can sits. Our neighbor (who has a garage) was out there shoveling so he could get his car out. I've always been nervous around his family because for one thing, they both drink and smoke and have gotten in trouble with the police quite a few times. No one would wonder why I'm a bit afraid of them. The mother says really strange things (or so I hear) and I'm curious if she's mentally sane. I feel guilty because I need to be open to anyone and not reserve the gospel for only the 'right' people. These people need it more than anyone. It's just so hard to get involved and to worry about getting in a situation where you can't get uninvolved.

As we were shoveling away, not speaking, nor even acknowledging each other, someone went down the street in an ATV or four wheeler. The guy was going quite fast, and looked like he was enjoying himself. I instinctively smiled and turned toward the neighbor, like people do when they want to share a joke with someone. The neighbor was smiling too.

I feel like I've had a slight breakthrough; a chance to see the humanity in others and it melted away my fear. Maybe he wasn't really a pothead or a drunk. Maybe he wasn't so bad. Maybe somewhere in there is the jewel Jesus died for that I should love.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Very different ideas

For the last few weeks at least I've been researching Eastern Orthodox Christianity. I'm taking it slowly because the theological lingo is a bit difficult to swallow. At first I only had minor disagreements with the teachings, but recently I started a chapter that I just could barely stand to read; filled with things that seemed contradictory and misinterpretations of Jesus' words. At some point I think I will go through my notes, posting the differences between Orthodox and Evangelical faiths, as my characters will be believers of these. Not until I finish the book though, and I'm not even halfway. Oi.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've been wondering if my dedication to this story is healthy. In my devotional it says "anything you spend the most time on becomes your god". It seems like nothing like this should be obsessed over or thought about constantly. The thing is I'm not really obsessing over it...I'm just thinking a lot about God and mankind and all that makes up the big picture. I've had this voice in the back of my head saying something is wrong with me, but well...I have a lot of time free to think. Wouldn't you think about this kind of stuff if you were stuck inside more than the average person? And in winter? I think you would. So I know I'm not really obsessing. And anyway, isn't this what I'm supposed to obsess over, if anything? Wouldn't God be pleased if I was obsessed with him? I feel like maybe I'm finally turning in the right direction and paying attention to God and his work, and that seems foreign to everyone. Maybe that's why it feels like it's wrong...like we should be doing 'more important things' like what everyone else does instead of spending time trying to understand our reality in its fullest. A lot of the writing I've done and the research has helped me grow in the Spirit, and also to learn more about other ways of worship.

For the record, when I say a lot...I don't mean I'm with my pen and pad all day long. I probably spend less than an hour even actively working on any part of my story, even ideas. But things come to me during the day, and I think about those who have been lost actively through the day. Maybe not when I'm busy, but certainly when I'm in a more restful state, just puttering around the house. It's hard not to feel watched when I've heard there is a 'great cloud of witnesses'. Maybe I don't want witnesses. But it's hard not to think about them when I know they might be watching and sometimes I wonder what they're thinking about. Do they see everything? It's important that I wonder about this because at some point it's going to be in my second story.

I think that's all it really is. Because this story is so deeply rooted in not just present reality, but in another reality, that I can't help but get lost in it. If you sit still for a moment and just think about existing forever and ever without end. Absolutely no ending. It is such a huge concept to fathom. It's quite overpowering. This is the kind of stuff I have to take in every day. So it's going to take effort and an a lot of brain power. See? I've answered my own question. You try writing about eternity and not let it overpower your thoughts. It's a huge undertaking, even if I've not really begun that part. As I said, I have to figure it out sometime...I may as well start wondering now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For such a time as this

Over the last two weeks, I've been watching Glenn Beck's show on Fox News. He's been talking about the power of the individual, how we can solve our own problems, instead of waiting around for the government to do it for us. It inspired me a bit, but I don't really know what I can do to help. I'm an artist, not an engineer. This has made me question the point of the story. If it's just a fantasy piece, am I wasting my time?

These are dark times. I cling to the hope of heaven so much because it really gets me through days when it feels the world itself is despairing. I've been working on this project for eight or nine months so far and in that time I've begun to really long for Christ's return. Tonight I felt it the deepest. After church this morning, someone told me a lady we know is really down, enough to say she'd lost her faith. She's one of the strongest women I know, and at that moment, a cloud came over me. What is happening that everyone is struggling so much? It feels like the sun has indeed gone out.

I think these may be the last days. I know the great depression and the holocaust were extremely bad times, but it seems the world is all in a gradual decline. I don't see how this could not turn into world war 3. I just pray that Jesus returns soon before we all lose hope.

Maybe I'm wrong in saying it's divine providence that I write this story. But maybe I'm supposed to write it because the times are so bad. Maybe that's what my purpose is: a light in the darkness! If everything were peachy, it wouldn't have nearly the impact! More than once since I've started this project have I heard these words, and only now are they sinking in: "...who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14

For such a time as this. =)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

If the Chinese immigrant says it's true...

You will become an accomplished writer. 

This is the fortune I got in my fortune cookie last night.  The ones I get always seem to match my life. Do people who can't read get fortunes like this one? It's like the magic 8-ball. Totally random, but kind of fun to see. =)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be the story

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. -2 Cor. 3:3

In yesterday's 'Daily Bread' I read that it's lovely to write a book, but it's even better to be a book. In his book, The Practice of Piety, Lewis Bayly, chaplain to England's King James I, said that "one who hopes to effect any good by his writings" will find that he will "instruct very few...the most powerful means, therefore, of promoting what is good is by example...One man in a thousand can write a book to instruct his neighbors...But every man can be a pattern of living excellence to those around him."

I thought this was profound. It never occurred to me that my life might speak louder than the words of any story I could write. Yet I'm also reminded that there are some things that can't be shown by how we live. The purpose of this story is not to "instruct" others about how to do good, but to show them the reason we are changed, to show "the hope that we have". People think that heaven is a place where everyone hangs around on clouds and strums harps and somehow has wings. And they think that version of heaven is where eternity will be. So when we say "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrew 6:19), it doesn't sound like it's all that great. Certainly not that it could be so wonderful that no amount of suffering could outweigh it.

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words." -1 Thess. 4:13-18

That's all I want to do. I want to say that this hope isn't fantasy. It's not just words in an old book. It's history that hasn't occurred yet. For Christians this is just extending what they already know or have imagined about the afterlife. For those who "separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12)

Furthermore, everyone says that believing in Christ will give you a better life, more joy, hope for salvation, but we say nothing of heaven; we say nothing of everything that is to come. I'm going to do just that.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. -Hebrews 10:23

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I found a Bible tool online so I can look up Georgian next to English. I thought this would be awesome if my boy character wanted to send a bible verse for my girl character in Georgian. (Still undecided as to names.) I haven't figured out if it should be in Georgian writing or in Latin (the letters most languages use). I just wanted to share this because it's something that came to mind today kind of randomly (if that ever really happens ;-))

I just thought since Georgian is not a very well known language, it should be in the book somehow, right? I mean I can't imply they're speaking Georgian all the time and not have any actual Georgian in there. I think I'm just avoiding it because that means I'd have to actually learn Georgian and that's a big undertaking--including grammar and all of that. I think I'm going to need to find someone who is a native speaker. I do have someone in mind, but we're just getting acquainted and I don't want to ask something so huge of her so soon in our friendship.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gilocav shoba, Sakartvelo!

Today is Christmas Day for those of the Orthodox faith. According to Wikipedia, the Orthodox Church (with the exception of Romania, Estonia and Finland) still use the Julian calendar for calculating the dates of moveable feasts. Some Orthodox churches have adopted the Revised Julian calendar for the observance of fixed feasts, while other Orthodox churches retain the Julian calendar for all purposes. Christmas for Georgians is still on December 25th, which aligns with January 7th on the Gregorian calendar, used for everyday life.

I've been listening to a song called "25 Dekembersa k’riste ishva Betlemsao, Alilo" which I think means '25th of December Christ was born in Bethlehem, Hallelujah'. Something like that. I like listening to songs in Georgian. It's like learning a language in slow motion. ^.^

Monday, January 3, 2011

From Paper to Text

I have so many papers written that I think it's time to type them up so they can be managed on the computer. At this point, I'm writing everything out of sequence so it's really easy for my papers to get out of order and all kinds of chaos. This is another big step in the process and means it's really coming along. =) I'm trying not to get critical about anything just yet because it's all so rough at this stage. Maybe that's why even now I'm putting off doing it--I know I'll nitpick? So far I'm not much impressed with anything I've written, but give it time. I know somehow it will turn out.

This has been a packed year for me. The list includes two marriages (one being my brother's), numerous graduations, the loss of thirty pounds, renewed health because of that loss, miscellaneous revelations about my life and what I want to do, and this incredible knowledge of so much more than me and this world.

My story isn't just a story. It's a collection of feelings and experiences that any of us could have. It's the story of everyone who came before us, and everyone who waits for us. I feel inept at translating my feelings from my heart onto the paper because it's something that doesn't really fit into words. It's destiny, hope, love, LIFE. It's everything we've ever dreamed and more. The story is just a mere imitation of the ideas I've come to hold dear, but it can't go untold. I have to write it down. Transferring it from one to the other has been the greatest journey. I was unsure before, but now I know wholeheartedly that this is what I was meant to do.

Recently I've started drawing closer to God. It happened one day when I was so exhausted mentally from trying to do things on my own strength that I felt physically weak. I cried out to God in that moment and he started reeling me in. Every day I've been diving into the word. My sister-in-law gave me a book with devotions that are written as though Jesus is talking to me. It's the most wonderful thing I've read. I can't wait until He really is speaking to me and I can actually hear His voice. Something has changed, and though I tend to yo-yo back and forth from Him, I know that something's different. I see my struggles as contained within each day. Before I considered them all strung together, each wave of forgiveness having to cover all of them. And if I screwed up once I felt terrible (as I should) but in a incredibly condemned way. Now I look at each day as new. Instead of saying I fell yesterday so what's the use in getting up today, I now don't even look at yesterday's mistakes. They're covered. I don't have to make the same mistakes today. I think that's what it means to be free while on this earth. Not being weighed down with every failure. To make a long story short, I've grown a lot this year, in ways I can't possibly realize now. If I hadn't been working on this story...I don't think much of that would have happened.