What separates us from the animals? My psychology professor asked us this today. Answers varied: Government, morality, technology. And religion.
Theory by theory, he discounted each of these. Studies have shown that wolves have government, monkeys have morality and apes can use technology. He came to religion and said, "The fundamental part of religion is ritual. Babies have been given this test. There's a puzzle box. All you have to do is remove a rod, but if the animal is shown a human, tapping the sides of the boxes, turning around, spinning the box around and then removing the rod to make the box open, the baby will complete the whole ritual without ever figuring out that all you have to do is remove the rod. It's just that simple."
My mind races through the options, my indecisiveness rendering me petrified. There are too many turns. What if I get lost? What if something dangerous lurks behind the corners? I've heard too many stories.
I'm sure he can see it on my face. The fear of the huge maze.
He comes and stands next to me, tall enough to see over the walls.
He looks down at (hyperventilating) me and slides his hand into mine, intertwining our fingers.
He smiles, "Are you up for an adventure? I'll lead. Promise I won't leave you. What do you say? Do you trust me?"
Do not fear, my child.
I am the Lord your God who divided the sea whose waves roared...And I have put my words in your mouth. I have covered you with my hand.
You have a job to do, love. I am watching you every second of the way. I am behind you, holding you up. I promise I won't let you fall.
Show those with no hope my love.
LIsten. To them. To me. To those around you. And write about it.
Share my heart with a world who has trouble hearing me.
Trust me, darling.
And go change the world.
Head breaks out of the womb.
Angels scream glory across the skies unable to keep in the joy
The very stars brighten with wonder.
And as a mother with tears still on her face
Places the newborn baby boy in a feeding troph dragged out of a cow's stall,
The earth sighs in relief.
Ecstatic, joyous relief.
Obscure and unexpected.
So like our God.
Our Savior has come.
Ever wonder what the reasons are for everything that goes on in your life? Ever tried begging God to give you the answers for everything? Yeah. Me too.
Generally, it's about the big things in my life. About my future. About my family. All those big things that you naturally go to. And many will direct you to Romans 8:28 where it says, "For God works everything out for the good of those who love him."
Everything. You often look at that verse and think about the big things and tell yourself that your future will work out. God works everything.
Ever consider that maybe it's referring to everything in your life. All the way down to which shift you work? To the way you drove to work this morning?
Yesterday, I was disappointed because I wanted to work one of the big events for my work. I was originally scheduled to work it and I was excited, but they switched me last minute to a little one down in a different building. It was slightly awkward because I was working with another quiet person. Lot of long silences. Anyway, we finished that one early. I helped clean up as much as I could and then he told me I could go home. The other event was still going as I walked out the door. The people who were working it were on break and as I was walking out the door I saw one of the girls sitting by herself outside. I sat down next to her, asked her if she was okay and she began to tell me about how she was irritated and I got to calm her down and hopefully help her work go smoother for the rest of her late night.
But I never would have been outside at that moment unless I'd worked the smaller dinner. In fact, if I hadn't lost the Windex to clean the metal chafers, I wouldn't have seen her either. If I hadn't stopped to talk to one of the other girls working. If I hadn't accidentally walked out the wrong door and had to backtrack. But as it was I was in the right place at the right time.
In my darkness
Both sides, light and dark, Jesus and Satan, asking for my attention. Darkness tugs at my body. Anxiety curls in my soul.
In my weakness
I'm so inadequate. I'll never be able to do this right. I'm too clumsy. It's too much. I can't do it. Anxiety places more items on my list. Not enough time. I can't do it on my own.
When I'm here again
Darkness hurls me down to my knees. I can't see anything but the floor. I'm trying to trust Jesus. I'm trying so hard. But all I can see is dirty carpet beneath my tired fingers. My shoulders weigh with everything. It's too much. It's too much.
You find me.
A gentle hand on my shoulder. Fingers slipping into mine. Eyes meet. He's on his knees next to me. Brushing my hair back. Helps me to my feet. I stumble, but I'm standing. One by one he pulls weight from my back. Spins me around. And he says two words. Trust me.
Over and over again, your love and your mercy remain. No matter how far you find me where I am. Over again.
--Over & Over Again by: I Am They
I don't have a lot of time, but I want to present you with a quick thought this morning.
Remember that verse somewhere in the New Testament of the Bible where Jesus was telling his disciples that if they stopped the people from singing, even the rocks would begin to sing praises to God? And lots of other parts in the Bible where it says that the earth praises God? I got to thinking a while ago and I jotted it down in my journal, that nature praises God just by doing what it's made to be doing. The rivers flow where their supposed to. The rocks provide foundations, like their supposed to. In Isaiah 6:4, a verse I was reading today, the seraphim shook the doorposts, singing like they were meant to. They do what their meant to do, no more and no less. Why should we do anything different?
We are created to love others and God. You don't have to do everything. Something your friend was created to do, may not be the same as yours. Don't compare. Just be.
Alright everyone. This blogging business is hard. Especially while I’m taking four college classes and struggling with that already and now I’m about to start working a part time job. I may not have a lot of time for blogging this school year. As it is, I’ve got to get up at 6:00 in the morning to write or get a moment to spend time with Jesus or exercise. I’ll do my best with it though. Maybe try to write a little piece of a weekly blog post every morning during my writing time.
Additionally, I’ve given myself permission to not be perfect. Every time I’ve been sitting down to write a post these past few months, I’ve just stared at the screen, wondering how to word my topic perfectly. I’m not eloquent by nature. (But if you happen to find this blog eloquent, then I’d be very happy. :) My writing is more focused on emotions and characters than beautiful descriptions. I’ve felt recently that God has shown me many topics I’ve wanted to blog about, but haven’t because I couldn’t find the perfect words.
So, here’s to imperfection. Thanks for bearing with me. :)
I'm so sorry everyone. I know all my family wants to know how the Brazil trip went. But things have been so busy and chaotic, that I haven't gotten a chance. I've tried for weeks to come up with some eloquent post about all the things I learned and all that, but I've decided to go simple and to the point.
It was awesome! I miss it all the time. I miss the people, I miss the boat, I miss the Ray of Hope team, I miss doing something actively for God. What I'm going to do is answer the FAQs that I get from everyone.
What language is most common there?
Most everyone speaks Portugese, but some tribes have their own language and some people speak Spanish. Very few know English (Although there was one boy who was going around telling all the girls, "You has beautiful eyes.")
What did you do there?
We went to two tribes and three villages and at each one we did "camp." Which means that we went into each place, played with the kids for a bit and then started a service, where we did a mix of worship and VBS songs (both English and Portugese). Someone would give a testimony and then a sermon would be preached. We often did a drama skit. Sometimes there was a puppet show. Some of the tribes performed for us. One tribe even danced with us (That was so much fun). Then we split off into groups. Older boys played soccer, kids under 7 or so did crafts, older girls did beading or made bracelets. We had a prayer team and a medical team. We fed them a meal and played games with the kids, blew bubbles, handed out clothing to those who needed it.
What was your favorite part?
There was one point where the Ray of Hope team in Brazil found a picture perfect beach with white sands right on the Amazon. One of the men made tiki torches and lined a path leading to a hut where they barbecued sausage and steak for us and then we stood in a circle on the beach and worshiped and prayed under the thousands of stars. I really felt like I heard God that night and I got to minister to one of my new friends.
My favorite tribe, we didn't get to stay there long, because we got there late and we had to leave before mosquitoes came out. One of the girls had malaria and we didn't want to be exposed to that. But, anyway, they were so welcoming. They hugged us, performed for us and with us, recited verses for us, painted our faces, played with us. It was so much fun.
Was it hot there?
It was only in the high eighties, low nineties the whole time, but with 100% humidity, you're constantly sweaty. I sweat in places I didn't even know I could. I'm not usually a sweaty sort of person, but I literally dripped sweat most of the time.
How was sleeping in a hammock?
Surprisingly comfortable. Especially when we were driving and there was a breeze and the boat was rocking the hammocks back and forth. It was even better when someone was playing guitar in the background. I could get used to that. :)
Did you see any snakes?
No, but I did hold a caiman (related to the alligator). I dropped it in our boat because it thrashed before I had a good grip on it, which freaked everyone out. It was funny and a little embarrassing. I got to redeem myself and held it again. It was maybe two feet long.
Was it life changing?
Yes. Yes, it was. I made really good friends. I got to see another way of life. I experienced the effects of spiritual warfare. And I heard God's voice so clearly there. I think of it all the time and I'm hoping and praying to go back next year.
Here's a video that shows you a little glimpse of what happened there! Enjoy!
I'm so so sorry about my irregular blog schedule. Life has been crazy busy with getting Strep Throat, :P going to a writer's conference, which I'm hoping to do a post on soon, applying for jobs, doing VBS and preparing for my trip which is now in less than three weeks. (SO EXCITED!) That's my usual disclaimer. So, that aside, here we go:
Simple words have so much power. A handful of letters can bring so much joy, with little to no effort. A simple, "I love your smile," literally made my day today. How hard is saying something like that? It's four words.
Here's the thing: Everyone dreams that they'll be the one to change the world, right? It's a noble goal, but sometimes it seems way too lofty to ever attain. It's something we dream of but never comes to be. What if your goal was to make one person's day? You don't know what their day has been like. You don't know if they've had negative things spoken to them all their life. What if you were the first in forever to actually notice?
I challenge you. Find a person today to be nice to. Smile. Ask them how their day is going. Actually listen. Say something life giving. See what it might do.
Okay, I'm so sorry. I didn't post last weekend and I'm in the midst of finals and am totally brain dead. I can't seem to think of anything deep to present to you, so I decided to share our new puppy with you. My grandma's, technically, but she lives in our basement, so we can pretend it's ours. His name is Hugo.
Oh, and you can check out the post on my writing blog if you want to. That's not too intelligent either, though. :) Here's the link, if you wish: http://nerdywriter15.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-power-of-words.html
Also, enter here for a Kindle and a bunch of Christian ebooks. http://www.rachelstarrthomson.com/giveaways/kindle-paperwhite-christian-fantasy-books/?lucky=841
Let me take you on a journey. Imagine these scenarios in your mind.
A large room full of nearly four thousand people. A band of twenty plays at the front. The sound is cranked all the way up. Nearly all crowd around the stage raising hands and singing their lungs out. The bass booms through your chest and the music is so loud you can't even hear yourself think. Words hammer through your head, the only thing you can think about. Words of worship. Words of song to God. It's powerful.
A small room not nearly full of twenty teens. A band of five plays at the front. The two leads are dressed very casually and slightly off tune. The volume isn't very loud, and sometimes your thoughts wander, but even so, there's an aura of peace in the place, despite the rag-tag group of worshipers.
A bedroom with two kids in it. A huge boombox in the corner, belting out songs of worship. The children are dancing to the music and singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs.
Is there a difference?
Before this week I'd say, yes, they're very different. I can worship better in the first setting rather than the last. I can get into it and raise my hands and feel my heart beat faster. I can worship. But over the past few days, I've realized it's not so much what you feel, but simply that you're giving. You don't have to be reduced to tears by the powerful lyrics to worship. You don't have to raise your hands.
Just realize that there's a God in heaven who's sitting up there, on his heavenly throne, elbows on his knees, chin in his hands, hanging on every word that you're saying. Basking in the fact that you love him enough to sing those words to him.
And it's okay to be moved by the words. It's okay to raise your hands.
But He loves you. You love Him.
Just rest in that fact.
And quite honestly it happens to be a very good excuse this time. (Not just, I didn't feel like it, like it has been for the past few times.) I've been doing clinicals for the past few weekends from 6:45 in the morning to 5:00 at night. Weekends are normally my blogging time. And even though I got home at 5:00 it doesn't mean that I didn't have things to do. Every night after I came home, I showered, (which for you who don't know me takes quite a while) because I was in a nursing home the whole day and felt a bit dirty. And then add dinner and relaxing to movies or *shudder* homework. I haven't had time to blog. Sorry. I will try to be better.
Anyway, getting to the point, I'm here to post a very late birthday message to my very special sister, Abby and to participate in Emily's character game that she posted a month (or maybe two) ago.
Happy 13th birthday, Abby. (I know that you're now 13 years and 1 and a half months, but who's counting). I love you so very much and I can't believe you're already a teenager. I still consider you my little sister, you know that? I have this need to protect you all the time. :) So don't get mad at me when I won't let you watch PG-13 movies. Even though you're 13 now. You're a talented writer and you always can make me laugh. I love getting your hugs when I'm mad or stressed, even if I don't always tell you at the time. Your chocolate chip cookies are amazing and I love watching you grow up, even if it is a little sad. We were always a trio, me, you and Emma. We liked playing orphans and filming corny movies, in which we sported fake British accents. We loved building forts and playing in them for hours on end. There was the Eeyore fort, the tree house (that's only about 1-3 feet off the ground), the igloo (which sadly isn't with us anymore). I have so many good childhood memories with you, like building David's creek, carving our names into the big aspen tree right outside our window, playing Food Network Star with leaves and flowers and pieces of bark, playing Lion in the Net with the ratty old hammock that used to hang on that dead tree outside. And even now we're making memories, with our late night theme nights with chick-flicks and snacks, Dutch Blitz tournaments, gambling with candy over gin rummy, helping each other solve Nancy Drew video games. I love you so much and I hope you know I do. :) Happy birthday!
Now for Emily's character game. I am copying and pasting the rules from her blog.
I have a game. If you would like to play, here is what you need:
-Dr. Elemis Pott's blog
-And don't die.
Purpose and Goal of the Game:
Dr. Elemis Pott's entertainment.
Got that down? Good.
If you love movies and fictional characters as much as I do, you'll love this game.
How to Play:
1. Find a character in a movie, TV show, or book that looks most like you.
2. Find a character that acts most like you, and you think other people see you as. (Don't ask someone else. Come up with it on your own).
3. Find a character that expresses you childhood best, or has a story similar to yours.
4. Find a character that expresses your *takes a deep breath and prepares to say a very corny sentence* inner you. (Not what people see you as outwardly).
5. And finally, find a character that shares a habit or interest that you also have.
6. If you have a blog, you may blog it, or if you wish to send it to me through email I'll post it as a guest post. If you like.
Here are mine. This could go so many ways and I'm just the slightest bit tempted to ask the guy sitting at the computer next to me what actress I look like...I am way overthinking this.
1. Find a character in a movie, TV show, or book that looks most like you. Quick sidenote, how can I find a picture of a character in a book that looks like me....Maybe if it's a picture book, I guess.
2. Find a character that acts most like you, and you think other people see you as.
3. Find a character that expresses your childhood best, or has a story similar to yours.
Or maybe this...
4. Find a character that expresses your inner you. (Not what people see you as outwardly)
5. Find a character that shares a habit or interest that you also have.
The worst part is waiting. Waiting while someone's suffering and you know there's nothing you can do about it. She couldn't eat or drink because the passage to her lungs was stuck open. She kept pulling out her feeding tube so they finally gave up on trying to keep it in. She was having trouble breathing. She was nearly blind.
Great-grandma Reene passed away at 12:43 yesterday afternoon. She was 88 years old a month ago. She's now reunited with her brothers, sisters, miscarried baby, dad and the mother she lost when she was seven. She was ready to go and she wasn't afraid of dying. We all know it was the best thing for her. I mean she's in heaven now, walking, when before she was confined to a wheelchair. Seeing colors no earthly human has seen, when before everything had lost it's color and most of it's shape. Breathing the cleanest air ever when before she was fighting for her every breath. She's way happier now and we will see her again. The hardest part now is that we're going to miss her until that point.
I am going to miss kissing her soft, wrinkled cheek when we go to Pueblo for her birthday party on New Years or when we go to get chilis at the old-fashioned farms out there.
I'm going to miss seeing her in the passenger's seat of my great aunt's car and hugging her and saying, "Hi, Grandma. It's Hannah." Because she can't see me. And hearing her say, "Oh, hi, hita. I love you." In her Mexican accent.
I'm going to miss witnessing her do or say things that most people wouldn't venture to. (That woman had spunk. She'll make it into one of my books someday.:)
I'm going to miss her coming up to the mountains and bringing powdered sugared donuts.
I'm going to miss taking her Little Ceasar's pizza, because that was her favorite.
I'll even miss watching the Wiggles in her trailer home, even though I hated that show even as a kid.
There are a lot of things I'm going to miss about her, but at least this isn't the end. Just a long wait until I can see her again. I was young when she began to lose her spark due to her decreased eyesight, so I'm looking forward to hearing her live up to all the stories that circulate around our family like some sort of legend.
Just please be praying, specifically, for her children and grandchildren who knew her a lot better than I did.
Time to fly, time to touch the sky.
Thanks so much. Just got home from the hospital. She's looking pretty rough, but she can breathe now that they sucked fluid out of her lungs. They think she's going to be okay, which is a relief, because a couple of hours ago, they didn't have much hope for her. God is amazing. :)
Also, here's a link to my GoFundMe account. I want to go on a missions trip to Mexico and I need 1,100 dollars to get there. So, feel free to share the link, donate, or just pray. Everything is greatly appreciated. :)
Please be praying. My great-grandma Renee is in the hospital with pneumonia and were going to see her right now. She's eighty seven and not very strong, so please be praying.
Gotta go. Leaving now.
Happy 15th, Emmamawywawywewa. You've been my friend since I was 1 and we have tons of pictures depicting our relationship. Like this one.
We played together until Abby came alone and then we became a happy threesome. We've done so much together and I'll always look back on us with happy memories. We've had our fights, some big and some small (like the one about the invisible grapes. That one was interesting.) And now we're growing up and we're talking about more important things, and attempting to do things with our lives. But we're not always serious, with all our inside jokes and bursting into sing at random times and talking about boys in the middle of the night (sometimes quite literally). You're a talented writer and artist and I know you're going to do big things with your life. You're beautiful and I love you so much. Happy birthday and enjoy your hat. :)
Aaaaaannnndddd... Happy 8th birthday, Lee Lee Bits. You're growing so big, I can't even believe it. We have so much fun doing things together like building snowmen, doing word wars and having tea parties with my teddy bear and your dolls. You're already a talented writer and artist and you're getting so smart. Thank you for being so cute and beautiful and loveable. Happy birthday!
P.S. Hope you don't mind sharing a post. :)
P.P.S. Sorry if there are any major grammar or spell check errors. I'm posting from my phone. (Got one finally and I'm so happy but the spell check is idiotic.)
About this time last year I was stuck in my faith. I couldn’t hear God and he seemed to be ignoring me. I’ve since discovered Him in a new way.
About this time last year I was stuck on my novel. It technically wasn’t even a novel. I’ve since finished it at 68,000, edited most of it and gotten 60,000 into a new novel.
About this time last year I couldn’t wait to grow up. I wanted to do things. Things I didn’t think I could accomplish at my age. I’ve since completed three college classes, gotten my driver’s permit (haven’t killed anyone yet J) and started a Bible study with my cousin.
About this time last year I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve wanted to do it since I was seven. But I couldn’t see any way to do it. I was only fifteen, and fifteen-year-olds didn’t get to travel to places across the globe to tell people about Jesus. I had no steady income, no way of getting the money to send me overseas. I’ve since been working on raising money for a mission's trip to Baja, Mexico through my church.
2015 has been a…year. I’ve changed a lot over the past year in ways that I’d never expected when I stayed up until midnight to celebrate the beginning of 2015, toasting the new year with orange juice in wine glasses, watching miniature fireworks over Pikes Peak with good friends over Skype. And I’m glad for the change. I’m falling deeper in love with God. I’m writing a book that I hope will help people. I feel better equipped for life, grown up, with a semester of college under my belt.
I’ve changed so much and it makes me eager to see what the next year will hold.
Here’s to 2016 and more change for the better!
I have a perfectly legitimate excuse for not posting this weekend. Christmas celebration Saturday, as well as an after-Christmas sale mall shopping trip. Sunday, church and babysitting for six hour straight. Boom! There you have it. So. I apologize and here I am, posting, albeit a day or two late.
We're all waiting. Waiting to grow up. Waiting for school to be over. Waiting to be married. Waiting to turn 18. Waiting to turn 21. Waiting for enough money. We spend so much time looking ahead that we forget to live in what's around us. Shauna Niequist puts it this way: "Through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin." I've found myself falling into this trap, waiting to do things until I'm old enough, through with school, when I have more time, you name it. And I find myself missing out. Constantly working toward that one thing.
We're not promised tomorrow. So I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you. I'm gonna hold you like I'm saying goodbye. Wherever we're standing, I won't take you for granted 'cause we'll never know when we'll run out of time. So, I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you.
I've been learning to cherish the little things. The way the morning sun casts translucent shadows through the thin curtains. The way my family sounds when they laugh all together at a stupid joke. The way my little cousin smiles at me and laughs at the way he's creaming me at a card game. The way my little brother dances around singing, "The sun has got his hat on. Hip hip hip hip hooray! The sun has got his hat on and he's coming out today." The way me and my sisters have late night conversations that mean nothing and everything.
In another quote from Shauna Niequist: "Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. And strung together, built upin one another, lined up through the days and the years, they make a life, a person....I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold."
Our lives are made in these small hours. These little wonders. These twists & turns of fate. Time falls away but these small hours still remain.
So, be more aware. Look around your mundane, non-eventful life and notice the little pearls of beauty that may not be obvious to everyone. Something as small as the color of a soap sud as it rises out of the dishes. Or bigger. Write them down. Go over them. Love the people around you. If you like something about someone, tell them. Make their day. Give your dad a hug. Help Mom with the dishes. Buy a lollipop for your little brother (they're only 50 cents any way. ;). Live in the moment instead of waiting for your life to begin.
First and foremost: I'm so sorry I'm such a terrible blogger. Between finals and NaNoWriMo, I had no extra time to write, much less blog. I'm working on trying to blog on a weekly schedule. Every weekend I'll try to post. It may be give or take a couple of days, but I'm working on it. I hope to make a good schedule over break, that way, by the time school starts, I've got a good habit. Let's see how this goes!
And...the reason for this post:
As a writer, I tend to be especially intrigued by secrets. Call me nosy and all, but I would love to learn everyone’s secrets. Many of my characters have tragic secrets that always have a grand reveal toward the climax. And it kills me to be left out of a secret if said secret’s existence is made known to me. So, listen to this verse I stumbled upon yesterday.
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear him and he will show them his covenant.
Naturally, this drove me rather crazy with speculation, wondering what the secret of the Lord could be. So, I looked up cross-references of this verse and cross-references of those cross-references and cross-references to those cross-references. And finally came up with these verses, Colossians 1 : 24 - 2 : 4. It basically says that Paul became a minister to “fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations" and is "a mystery among the Gentiles." Well, what is it? Finally Paul says, it's "Christ in you. The hope of glory.” And it claims that in God and Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
It's such a simple answer. Nothing overly complicated. Simply that it's Christ in you. Think about that too long, though, and it blows your mind.
Hannah writes to satisfy her imagination. She's written six books so far--five of which need to be rewritten--and is working on a seventh. She ranges through a variety of genres, but favors contemporary YA, fixing broken characters. She wants to use her writing to change people and bring hope. She's currently going to college for Nursing and that takes up most of her writing time. She's a rather stereotypical writer, talking to imaginary friends, eavesdropping on people at the store, secretly being nosy, stashing herself away in her room with a paper and pen and chocolate and her teddy bear. She loves Jesus, the way the morning smells, her family of seven (four siblings), old movies, fairy tales, candles at night and helping people. She writes on another blog at nerdywriter.blogspot.com to hopefully build her chances of publication.
My Author Site: