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 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.