"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." - C.S. Lewis

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sad and disheartening news - but all is not lost!

You must have noticed my absence of posts lately.  Well, life has kind of caught up to me, and I've had to make the hard decision to take a break from blogging for a while.  I find I haven't had time to keep up with/comment on the blogs I follow, and I really want to be able to do that to be a good blogger.  Not only that, I find I don't really have much to say to y'all that is all that important, and even though I think I certainly shall take up the internet pen once more, I think it's time for a sabbatical.  So, even though I *really* regret having to say this, this will be my last post for a while.

However, I am *not* going to delete this blog, so please keep following it, because you'll want to catch up with me when I begin again.  When I do, it will be with purpose and conviction.  You guys have been *amazing*, and I feel bad that I haven't kept up with your blogs and sites like I wanted to.

Also, a friend of mine has started an online support group that I want to share with you.  She is a really special person with type 1 diabetes, and she started this support group and website to connect with other people who have type 1 diabetes.  Please take a look - you will be blessed!

Until later, my faithful friends!  Continue to write for the glory of God!

- Madeline alias *the Bedouin*

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A study in description

Something I did for school.  The assignment was to describe something with more than just its physical appearance; to tell its essence in words.  It took a couple tries with a couple different subjects, but I finally settled on this one.


The ancient Bible was one of the first things I saw when I stepped into the room. Though its cracked leather cover, faded and worn from ages of poring and studying, was covered in a layer of fine, featherweight dust, it seemed to glow with an aura of sage wisdom and truth untold. The tome could have been as old as the earth itself - as I turned the first page, it cracked with the care and weight of being moved from its place. I replaced it and ran my hand along the cover, leaving an irregular blotch of dustless area that seemed to remove some of the hallowedness of the book. The dust gave it a sense of being the holiest book on earth - though it contained the same words as any cheap pocket Bible you could buy, it was not the same. If there was a Bible that God wrote with his own hand, this was the one. With gravity and splendor it had sat there in the dust for centuries, away from the prying eyes of skeptical readers, its enormous bulk threatening to crack the altar on which it sat with every tiny tremor of the earth, whether they be caused by marauding armies or tectonic plates. In silence, I backed away, and at the door I paused and looked at it again. Even though the high, gothic architecture soared above my head, even though the rows and rows of ancient and stolid pews vied for my attention, even though the golden crucifix, glorious and untarnished, hung in the nave, to me the stalwart and hallowed old book was the only thing in the room.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Novella news...and chocolate chips

Today I'm what you'd call *absolutely thrilled* because....

drumroll please.....

I've just hit 6,000 words in my novella!  Which, for me, is a huge deal, because that's halfway.  (Excuse me for a minute.)


Thank you.

Things are going swimmingly (which usually means something is about to go wrong...).  I've written parts one and two of four and done a once-over edit on both.  So I'm ready to continue to Part Three!  The excitement is growing!  The writerly happiness is brewing!!  The chocolate chips are disappearing!!

I think I'll have my brother make some frappuchinos to jumpstart Part Three.  What do you think?

In other news, I have a very long summer reading list.  To provide you with some droll enjoyment I shall show you some of the upcoming titles, and you can see what I'm reading.

I'm in the middle of this wonderful tale at present.  Yes, this is a school leftover, and yes, I've already passed the balcony scene.  I hope you don't need an overview of the plot.

I've read this before, but I don't remember anything.  This is also a school leftover.  I'm looking forward to it very much - Lewis is my all-time favorite author.

Apparently a collection of short stories in the Sherlock Holmes style in which Father Brown, a Catholic priest, solves crimes with panache.  This should be interesting.  Leftover from school.

A collection of fantasy short stories by a contemporary of C.S. Lewis.  Also for school.

This looks interesting.  It's science fiction - that's basically all I know about it.  It's the last book in my lit program.

This looks like a pretty hefty read.  I still haven't had time to do this one yet; hope I have time for it this summer.

Ugh, I STILL haven't got around to reading this!!  It's plaguing me with its presence!!!

Still haven't got a hold of this one.  The one at my library was checked out.

Finally decided to find out what this was all about.  The waiting list at my library is 40 people long, I kid you not.  So I guess it'll have to be Borders for me.

My grandmother swears this is the best book in the world, and my brother happened to have it on loan.  So I guess I'll read it.

I heard about this from a friend - so I want to check it out.  Again, the waiting list at the library is astronomical.

A perennial favorite of mine that I'm certain you're all familiar with.  Ah, the adventure, the pathos.  It never gets old.

Now, as I'm looking at this list, it seems a little ambitious.  But I'll see what I can do.  I'm a champion reader. *grins*

Till the end!  Endurance and victory!  For Narnia, and for Aslan!  Tora! etc, etc.

~ Madeline alias *the Bedouin*

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Candid Room Tag

So, Chris decided to tag *everyone* that follows his blog with the Candid Room Tag.  Which means, unfortunately for me, that you have to take a picture of your room, without cleaning it, and put it on your public blog.  So he wrenched it out of me.  *sigh*

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maya Angelou


A free bird leaps on the back

Of the wind and floats downstream

Till the current ends and dips his wing

In the orange suns rays

And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage

Can seldom see through his bars of rage

His wings are clipped and his feet are tied

So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill

Of things unknown but longed for still

And his tune is heard on the distant hill for

The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze

And the trade winds soft through

The sighing trees

And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright

Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams

His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

His wings are clipped and his feet are tied

So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with

A fearful trill of things unknown

But longed for still and his

Tune is heard on the distant hill

For the caged bird sings of freedom.
- Maya Angelou

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Writing and Beloved

Hi guys, sorry I've been neglecting my blog lately.  You know how it is with finishing up the school year and everything.  I've had no time for anything, much less writing.

About that, I just realized that I hadn't used my code for my free proof copy of my Nano novel from CreateSpace - so I decided I better spruce it up a little so I could send it in.  Unfortunately, the code expires the 30th of this month, so I really am in a bind as to whether or not I should throw myself into finishing/fixing it up by the 30th or just send it like it is.  I still haven't decided, but I guess I will have to soon - I'm leaning towards sending it like it is.

At any rate, my novella is on hold for the present.  I still have high hopes for it, though, and I think I'll get back to it more prepared to finish the first draft strongly.

I hope soon to begin posting regularly again - until then, here's something I want to share with you: the beautiful lyrics to a song my friend introduced me to by one of my favorite bands, Tenth Avenue North (you can listen to it in my playlist at the bottom of the page).


Love of my life
Look deep in my eyes
There you will find what you need
Give me your life
Lust and the lies
The past you're afraid I might see
You've been running away from me

You're my beloved
Lover I'm yours
Death shall not part us
It's you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we'll be
Our Love it unites us
It binds you to me
It's a mystery

Love of my life
Look deep in my eyes
There you will find what you need
I'm the giver of life
I'll clothe you in white
My immaculate bride you will be
Oh come running home to me

You're my beloved
Lover I'm yours
Death shall not part us
It's you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we'll be
Our Love it unites us
It binds you to me

Well you've been a mistress, my wife
Chasing lovers it won't satisfy
Won't you let me make you my bride
You will drink of my lips
And you'll taste new life

Cause you're my beloved
Lover I'm yours
Death shall not part us
It's you I died for
For better or worse
Forever we'll be
Our Love it unites us
And it binds you to me

You're my beloved
Forever we'll be
Our love it unites us
And it binds you to me
It's a mystery
It's a mystery

Friday, May 14, 2010

I've been awarded...

Thanks to Noah and Ness, I've been awarded the "Prolific Blogger Award" and the "Stylish Blogger Award"!  Thanks for thinking of me, guys!  =D

I will now award...

Now I shall award...

And now I have to write five random things about myself.  *sighs*
1. I have 7 siblings
2. I love rotini pasta
3. I can't stand clocks ticking when I'm trying to sleep
4. I'm scared of ghosts....
5. I don't like lace
I'll try to comment on all of your blogs in the near future...sometime...lol  When I get the chance.  But anyway.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Update and "rose novella"

I apologize to y'all for the absence of posts recently...my life has been really busy (whose isn't?).  This week is performance week for my dance school, and what with mother's day and all...plus I'm trying to keep up with schoolwork and still find time to work on my novella.  About that!  I guess it's high time I told you guys a little about it.  =D

My novella is based on a concept of my dance teachers' for one of our pieces this year.  The main theme is about sacrifice, and it involves some (hopefully non-cheesy) time travel elements.  The main character is a girl whose story is loosely based on Rachel Scott of Columbine.  Her family is having trouble, and she doesn't know what to do about it.  She keeps seeing this motif of a rose with long thorns on the stem, but she doesn't know what it means until she learns from God that she is going to die very soon.  She also learns that if she dies like she is now, without her heart being in the right place, her family will fall apart.  Then she is taken to two different places in history where she is shown things that prepare her for what she has to face, and hopefully the ending will be as cool as I'm imagining it to be.

At any rate, I have about 3,500 words done at the moment out of about 12-15 K (hopefully that'll be my ending word count).  I've finished the first of four major scenes - it needs a lot of editing, but hopefully I can get this thing taken care of in a pretty reasonable amount of time.  For me.  At this point I have no idea how long that is.  (Hang on, that's not funny...)

Here's an excerpt:

“What?” Alex blurted under her breath, suddenly apprehensive. “I don't know what to do!”

You don't have to – I do. But I need you to trust me, Alex. I'm calling out to you now, all you have to do is obey.

The rose snatched Alex's attention in the corner of her eye. The surface of its petals seemed to be dripping a dark, red liquid, like ice slowly drips water. It looked like the rose was bleeding. Fascinated, Alex couldn't tear her eyes away from the strangely morbid sight.

“What do you mean?” she breathed. “What's happening?”

You will be killed on Friday morning.

At first, Alex didn't really believe what she was hearing. But as the feeling grew on her, the force of the unspoken words grew stronger, and she knew it to be true. She'd be a fool to not understand.

If you do this without me, the tragedy will destroy your family.

A doubt crept into her mind, a doubt that suggested she was being forced into what was about to happen. What kind of a choice did that leave her, if this feeling rang true? But she knew that it did, and pushed the doubt away, struggling to maintain her bearings. What did this mean? What options did she have?

“Is there any way I can survive?” Alex found herself pleading with reality, panicking, trying to find a way out of the future. “I don't want to die!”

They have made their choice. I won't stop them – I gave them free will, just like I gave you free will. I gave it to all humans alike.

“How -” she faltered, “how do I save my family? How can I fit the rest of my life into one night?” The impact of what she knew to be true was rushing at her like the full force of a freight train. Her mind was spinning out of control, and she clutched the sides of her head with white fingers.

Put your trust in me, Alex. I can turn your death into something greater than you could ever imagine – perhaps even stop another tragedy like the one that will kill you. And it will bring your family together – trust me, Alex. I don't want you to go down without me. You will be lost without me.
~Madeline alias *the Bedouin*

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Project Dance

Now I shall do my overdue post on my trip to Project Dance.  =D  It was at Times Square, New York City, and the dancing lasted all day long on a stage set up right in front of the Millenium Hotel.  Our dance, set to Josh Groban's My Confession, went very well, and I think we were all very pleased with the result.  =D

It was a total blast the whole time, besides sore feet from walking all over the place.  Friday night we had an awesome time of worship and prayer - God really touched my heart.  On Saturday night we went to see Wicked on Broadway - that was really good, especially the costumes.  My favorite character was Glinda.  If you'd seen it you'd know what I mean...*laughs at self*

Between shopping, dancing, and sightseeing, we practically ran around the entire time.  But it was probably the most fun I've ever had.  It wouldn't have happened without my amazing teacher!!

Watch the recap video here!

My group is exactly 23 seconds into the video - with the black shawls.  The song playing in the background is the song for the group dance we all learned - the people with white T-shirts in the video are doing the *super fun* group dance.  Doing the group dance in the middle of the Times Square intersection was such an experience - the passers-by stopped to look and cheer us on.  Some even started dancing with us!  Also in the video are scenes from Friday night's worship service at a nearby high school.

I had such an amazing time and am already praying that I'll be able to go next year!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Speak with conviction!

A really great video my friend sent me.  We all need to watch this - it's a poem by Taylor Mali.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have so much to tell you all - I don't have time for it now, though, except to say that I got back from Project Dance NY on Sunday and had the time of my life!  I still have to get the pics from my friends b/c I didn't bring a camera, so for now eggs will have to do.  lol  Also, I'll have to post an update later on my novella...but anyway.  Hope you enjoy this, I thought it was hilarious!  I got them in a forwarded email.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A new project in the works

First off I'm going to admit that I believed the Google article that said they changed their name to Topeka.  (Yes, I clicked on the name, yes, I read the article, yes, I was incredulous...yes, I believed it.  How embarrassing.)  *phew*  Glad that's out of the way... (I didn't realize it was April 1st, all right?  Geez.)

Okay, now I have to announce a project I've started work on - I'm doing a novella based on the theme of one of the dances my class is doing.  I haven't started wrtiting yet, but I'm gathering ideas in a notebook and outlining a little (if you can believe it, I've never outlined anything in my life, but I have this sneaking feeling that it's going to help me tremendously).  I really can't wait to get started - the main theme is about sacrifice, and it's going to have parts set during a few different times in history (it may sound cheesy, but yes, the main character *does* time travel - it's just different than you're imagining, I expect).  The only trouble I am currently having is pinpointing the identity of the MC.  I know it's going to be a girl, and I think I might base her off of Rachel Scott of Columbine (or someone like her) but I'm not quite sure yet.

Anyway, so far I'm excited about it, and I'll expect it to be probably about 15,000 words when finished, perhaps less.  I'll keep you updated - please pray for me, if you can!  I know I can't do this by myself, and I need all the help I can get.

Oh yes, and - I just got a haircut!  Now my hair is a grand total of two inches long!!  I LOVE IT!

jk....(you weren't fooled, were you?)

Read about some of Google's best April Fool's jokes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I'm feeling violated...

All right, I've told several people I was going to do this post, so here it is - I know I don't usually do politics on here, but as I'll explain, this is not just politics.  This is real.

We all know that our government passed socialized healthcare a few days ago.  I don't know whether or not you are/were an Obama supporter, but whatever party you side with, I don't know of anyone who is happy in the least with what just went on.  There is no possible way that our Congressmen and women and Senators could not have known that over sixty-five percent of Americans did not want this bill to be passed into law - but they passed it anyway.  They looked at their constituents and said, "We don't care what you think, and we're just going to do whatever the heck we want."  That makes me angry, and I don't know what you think, but I thought these guys were supposed to be working for us, not the other way around.

Socialized healthcare - socialized anything - is not American.  A free country is not entrenched in a system against their will - that kind of thing is what happened (and is happening) in countries like Russia and China.  With this system, too many people will be forced to do too many things that they don't want to do - including paying stiff penalties if they don't comply with the healthcare system.  It is scary that our country is beginning to show alarming and blatant signs of turning into a socialized superpower.

My cousin's husband is a Cuban-American - his parents came over from Cuba to escape from the dictatorial government there that oppressed countless people.  He recognizes the threat to freedom that is in this healthcare bill because his parents saw the same thing in Cuba.  They, along with millions of immigrants who come from oppressive nations like Cuba, understand more than we do about this threat - they realize that we are only a few steps away from becoming like the countries they left.  Too often do we take our freedom for granted - we have become less vigilant, complacent in our routines, and in that we have failed to see what is taking place right under our noses. 

I know that, as a Christian, I don't need to worry about my personal future.  God's got it - but that doesn't mean in the slightest that He wants us to sit back and let our government bully us around.  We need to make ourselves heard and let them know that we will not stand for this.  We will not allow them to use bribery and backroom deals to pass a bill that we don't want - is bribery something that should be allowed in a democracy?  And by the president of the United States?

I am tired of this, and I think a whole lot of normal, everyday folks are tired of it, too.  They are waking up - they are seeing what's happened while they weren't looking - and they are ready to fight back.  They are ready to scare their leaders into listening to them - not with weapons, but with words - and soon there will be so many of us that they can't help but listen to us.

Watch Glenn Beck's show from Friday and get a more in-depth view of what I'm talking about.  This man is on top of it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I've been tagged!

*Live In A Book Tag*

I've been tagged by Celebrilomiel (Celeb) over at Melody of the Miscellaneous!

Rules: Name eight books you'd like to live in for a week, and then tag eight people.

(in no particular order)

1.  Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire by Wayne Batson.  Pirate adventures rock.  I would totally love to be in that book.  Wielding swords and awesome pirate pistols and fighting off enemies!

2.  The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.  I really want to see what Aslan's Country looks like and what the ending looks like! ...all right, fine, and include all the other Narnia books in this one too.  But especially this one.  I love Narnia!

3. The Slopes of War by N.A. Perez.  I'd never heard of it until last year when I read it for school, but it's REALLY good.  I'd want to live in it because I'd want to experience what the Civil War was like.

4.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  Yes, I picked this book.  *sigh*

5.  Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.  One of my favorite favorite books ever since I was little.  I'd want to experience the Revolutionary War and perhaps meet Johnny - he's an interesting character.

6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  This book is just so classic and epic - I would have loved to travel along with the group, meet Gandalf and Bilbo and all the dwarves...*sighs* And the dragon would have been coolness.

7. Nothing to Fear by Jackie French Koller.  This book has a completely wonderful set of realistic characters that I would LOVE to meet, especially the MC, Danny.  It's set during the Great Depression, another time period it would be ultimately cool to see.

8.  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  It just piques the imagination - pirates and all that.  Totally cool, awesomely epic.  Just all-around a good yarn.  I'd love to see Long John Silver in person...and Jim...and all those people.  It would just be so cool.

Okay, now that I've done my duty, I will proceed to tag eight people.  =D

Lydia @ Plum Pudding!

Rebecca @ Singing in His Name

Storyteller @ Storyteller: A Writer's Journey

Jacob Parker @ The Yodeling Dwarf

Nathan Petrie @ Whispered Roars

Brianna @ Writer's Thoughts

Wayne Batson @ Enter the Door Within

Chris @ My Ink Spot

I'll comment on your blogs to tell you you've been tagged...sometime when I get the chance...so if you see this or get the comment, whichever comes first, YOU'VE BEEN TAGGED!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

The story of Mrs. Frisby is a truly charming tale among children's novels, lighthearted, but at the same time gravely serious about the problems of the animal characters.
The writing is quaint, readable, and engrossing, and Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is a main character you cannot help but sympathize with. I rooted for her all the way on her journey to save her youngest son, Timothy - braving the cat, an owl, and Farmer Fitzgibbon along the way.

Don't be mistaken, though - this is not simply a whimsical farm tale with talking animals. Subtly and quietly, certain pertinent issues are introduced - and even though they're not very deep, it carries the book out of the realm of simply a story for kindergarteners. All in all, it's a lighthearted, matter-of-fact story that you'll most likely enjoy, whether you're in first grade or a college graduate.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is one of those old books that comes with a reputation - I knew it had one, but wasn't exactly sure what it was.  So it was without very much bias that I cracked open my 643-page paperback copy - basically, I had no idea what to expect.  I found myself very pleasantly surprised.

One might expect such a long book with such old-fashioned language to be dry or tedious - happily, it was neither.  I found myself helplessly and very willingly compelled to read until past midnight in order to find out what happens to Jane.  The old-fashioned language and British grammar, far from being cumbersome, added quite a charming touch to the story (I admit I often "tried out" the various accents in my head!)

Jane's story is mostly one of tragedy - there is a central love story, but it is not sappy or sentimental in the least (I've never seen the movie, but I'm pretty sure it's highly romantic).  The characters, Jane at the foremost, are highly realistic - none of them are perfect, all their flaws are evident, and the physical descriptions are nothing short of brilliant; she outlines in precise, encompassing detail every aspect of a character's appearance and attitude and what Jane learns about their personality through it.

In short, Jane Eyre kept me completetly enthralled all the way - I felt for her, was keenly aware of her emotions, and wished for her dreams to be fulfilled - sometimes a frustrating task for the reader!  Like Jane, the storytelling is level-headed, sensible, and realistic, with just enough imagination and fantasy.  I was thoroughly satisfied with this tale.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blog button for tribe contest

If you are in another tribe, please do not copy or use this button.

I painted a watercolor of the seven elf lords and decided to make a button out of it to earn a few extra vanadils.  =D  I emailed Wayne Batson about it and he said if you post it on your sidebar it is worth 100 vanadils, so please do this if you are in Swiftstorm to gain a couple extra points!!  If you put it up, please include a link to the Curse of the Spider King Amazon page.  Thanks!

ALSO:  if you are going to use it, please do not use it in any other way except for a sidebar button or included in a blog post - it is original work, so please respect that.  Thanks.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"I don't want to go by myself!"

We were in the car last night, and my little sister Gabrielle (age four) was sitting next to me.  It's dark out, and she's looking at the moon.  This was approximately the ensuing dialogue.

Gabrielle:  "I wish I could touch the moon."  *sigh*

Me:  "Well, if you grow up and become an astronaut then you could."

(some time passes)

Gabrielle:  "But I don't wanna go by myself!"

She is so adorable.  Oh yeah, and you have to hear about what she said the other day...(we were also in the car.)

*police car passes us*

Gabrielle:  "Oooo, a police car!"

Me:  "Gabbyelle, you wanna be a police when you grow up?"  (she nods with a big smile)  "Then you could drive one of those cool cars."

Gabrielle:  "Yeah, with those cool blue headlights."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So many books, so little time...

Well, at the moment I feel kind of swamped.  First, I'm way behind in reading for school...which makes it harder to read what I have lined up to read for fun (which is the reason I'm trying my best to avoid lining things up for fun...).  It's just that *Robinson Crusoe* can get a little tedious...it's taken me quite a while to get through it.  You don't even want to know how many weeks (yes, weeks) I'm behind in school reading.  *sigh*  But I just wanted to share with you my lineup so you guys can just get a glimpse of the stuff I'll be reading (hopefully) in the near future.

Going Solo, an autobiography by Roald Dahl of his years as a military pilot...

A Separate Peace by John Knowles...don't know much about what it's about...

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien - no idea what that's about  *looks a little scared*

and the last of the school books (up to now) - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Now for the for-fun titles...Dewey by Vicki Myron (my grandmother gave it to me for Christmas and I still haven't read it...*sigh* I feel bad...)

Aaand last but not least, the book we all know and love...*winks*...Eragon by Christopher Paolini.  Everyone's always telling me how "amazing" it is and I've just never gotten around to reading it.  I guess I'm behind the times a little...heh heh...

Obviously, I've never read any of these books before.  If you have, I'd love it if you'd drop me a comment and tell me what I'm in for.  ;D

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Historical fiction or fiction set in history?

My assignment: write a historical fiction short story set in any time period I choose.  My problem: what constitutes historical fiction?

I've been wondering about this lately, and I wanted to know what you guys think about it.  Is historical fiction a story surrounding a particular, specific event?  Or is it a work of fiction set in any time that's before now?

I could easily come up with a storyline that is set in a historical time...but doesn't really have much to do with an actual event or social issues of the period (for example: is Anne of Green Gables historical fiction?).  Obviously, a story like To Kill a Mockingbird is historical fiction, as it deals with social problems of the time.  But technically, if the setting is before now it's in history, and if it's not nonfiction it's fiction.  That presents a very broad scope.

What do you think?  I'd like your opinions if you have the time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Start Here

I'm pretty sure the majority of you have either heard about or read the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris.  I own it myself, and it has got to be one of the best books I've ever read.  It's an inspirational, challenging book, written by teens for teens, in order to spread the message that we can do more than we think (and more than our culture expects us to do).

Now Alex and Brett have authored a new book, Start Here, which illustrates how to put Do Hard Things into practice in our day-to-day lives.  It's basically a starting point - and if you reacted to Do Hard Things like I did - will hopefully help to channel the excitement that comes from reading the first book!

This is an excerpt about the book from their website:

"The Rebelution is an unlikely movement. It isn't the result of carefully laid out plans -- it was just two ordinary teen guys with a blog and a desire to glorify God.

It's also never relied on slick marketing or targeted ad campaigns -- instead it has been driven by ordinary teens like you spreading the word in your circles of influence.

Do Hard Things -- and the Rebelution as a whole -- is a grassroots success story. For the message to continue to reach our generation, it will take that same motivation and determined action. That's why we're asking you to join us in an exciting effort.

Two years ago, rebelutionaries drove Do Hard Things to the Top 5 on the Amazon.com Bestseller List - where it stayed for over 24 hours and shocked the publishing world.

Here's the question: Could we drive Start Here even higher? To the top spot? And what a platform to spread the message to a wider audience than ever before!"
To get this book off the ground, the Harris brothers are having an Amazon Book Bomb on February 23, 2010.  For every book you preorder on that day (if you plan on doing that, put your email address and the number of books you plan to buy on this page), Alex and Brett will donate one book to a ministry or organization to distribute free to people who can't afford them.

If Do Hard Things was any sign, I would highly recommend Start Here to any teen who is ready to do what they thought they couldn't.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Debate on predestination - in reply to Seth

On the Underground forum, we've been having a debate about a few theological things, one of them being predestination.  A fellow writer from the forum, Seth, just posted on his blog about what he thinks about predestination (click the link above to read it).  Instead of clog up his comments section, I thought I'd just reply here.

I'm going to say right out that I do not belive in predestination (the belief that God chose beforehand only some people to be saved and not others, and that you cannot turn to God unless he "lets" you.  Please someone, if you have an objection to this definition, say so!  :D ).

Seth quoted a couple verses from the KJV that supposedly support predestination.  (As a side note, King James himself was quite involved in the process of overseeing the translation work - he made sure that the new Bible supported the Divine Right of Kings and other theological traditions and wording.  In addition, King James was an Anglican, who believed in predestination.)  Those verses do not have to support election as Seth or myself have defined it simply because they use the word "predestination".  I will just touch on one of them before I go any further.

"In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."  Ephesians 1:5-6  NIV (The "in love" at the beginning is the end of verse 4.)

All right.  The word "predestined" simply means that we, as humans, were made to be adopted as sons.  That's what we were made for, that's our purpose.  But if we live like it isn't, we are rejecting our "destiny".(And note the phrasing "in love he predestined us" and in "accordance with his pleasure" - that means that God wants us to be his children and knows that we will be the happiest when we are his children!)  Now obviously, not all of us are going to be adopted as God's children.  According to those who believe in election, that is because of God.  He has not chosen to save them.  But take a look at this verse - I Timothy 2:3-7 (NIV):

"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL men—the testimony given in its proper time.  And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles." (emphasis mine)

Wait a sec - if God wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth - and if Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all - that must mean literally what it says.  He wants ALL to be saved.  And right at the end there, he adds "I am telling the truth, I am not lying" - and that he is an apostle and "a teacher of the true faith".

If God wants all to be saved (and that is not the only place it says that!), then why would he choose only some and not others?  That is the question that no one has yet answered for me.  And why would such a loving God withhold from a human the chance to be saved from hell when he has done so to others (and when it is not based on the person's actions)?

In my opinion, the doctrine of election practically erases the Gospel message.  By claiming that each person's destiny is prearranged, Jesus' call to turn from the old way and accept him is useless.  A person who is not chosen will, of course, never do so; a person who is chosen will be "converted" by the power of God sometime during their life anyway.  So either you go to heaven, or you go to hell - it's prearranged, and basically, nothing you do on earth matters.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that nothing in this life matters.  There is a cry from every page, from the very heart of God, to turn to him and throw away our old life.

Of course God knows what we will choose in the end.  But he does not make us choose it.  We have to choose - that's the bottom line.  True love does not make anyone do anything.  I believe that God IS love.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some great links

I just kind of want to promote some other people's blogs and sites that I follow - young authors, "real" authors - and sort of get some links around so you guys know who's in my loop.  Check them out:

Wayne Thomas Batson, Christian fantasy author

K.M. Weiland, Christian author

Christopher Hopper, Christian fantasy author

Jacob Parker, young author

Brianna, young author

Nathan Petrie, young author

Seth Reid, young author

Storyteller, young author

There's tons more in my sidebar.  Please check them out!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm going to be really sore tomorrow

I went back to dance for the first time today!!!  lol   I am so happy.  I had to take a semester off because we were moving, and I missed it so much.  I've known all my classmates there pretty much since I was four, and it was awesome and amazing to get to see them again and see my teacher again.  =D  I'm only doing two days a week as opposed to five, what I used to do, but it's still great to be back.  It's a wonderful, family-like feeling with the people there...and I'm so glad as I'm probably going to be able to go with them to perform at Project Dance in New York City this year.  That would be my first time...ahhh I have to vent my happiness to you guys I hope you don't mind!!  lol

But anyway it's a great, small Christian school, and I'm so happy I get to be a part of it.  =D

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cry Out to Jesus!

This is a favorite song of mine that I've been thinking about lately.  It really illustrates God's heart for us - I think it is SO sad when some Christians (or even non-Christians) think God is all about laws and regulations and how you have to be good to get to heaven, because all he really wants to do is love you.  =D  So I hope this encourages you.

"Cry Out to Jesus" by Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back agains
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus

When you're lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Everyone's asleep!" and the perfect father

Okay, so before I do my *real* post I have to share with you guys something my little sister Gabrielle (age 4) said this evening....

She had just taken off her princess dress-up outfit and then claimed that she didn't want to put her real clothes back on.  We were in the schoolroom in front of the big picture window.

 Me:  Gabrielle, you better put your clothes on, or all the neighbors are going to see you without NOTHIN' on!  *in mock horror*

Gabrielle:  No they won't!  They're all asleep!  (points to the houses)

Me:  No....they're not...(it's about 5:30)

Gabrielle:  Yeah!  See, the houses are PITCH BLACK!

Me:  But that doesn't mean they're asleep.

Gabrielle:  Oh yeah...maybe they're playing hide-and-seek in the dark.  After dinner.  *some thought*  If they already had dinner.

I thought that was hilarious.


My real post is a little something I was thinking on the other day...I'm sure most of you have heard of the American boy, Sean, who was kidnapped by his mother and taken to Brazil.  His father battled the Brazilian legal system for five years to get his son back, and finally did on Christmas Eve 2009.  If you haven't heard the story, take a couple minutes to look at the website, Bring Sean Home.  We watched a documentary about the whole thing the other day.  Besides feeling all warm and fuzzy at the end, I was touched by several things in the story.

The father, David Goldman, had a sad story.  His wife took his son to Brazil on what he thought was a vacation with his wife's Brazilian family, but after his wife got there she called him several times and hysterically demanded a divorce and full custody of their son, Sean.  Of course, he refused, and said in the interview that he had no idea why his wife wanted a divorce.  That alone is tragic enough.

An international treaty demands that abducted children be returned to their country of birth/citizenship within six weeks, but Brazil paid no heed to the treaty, and only after five long years of battling, agony, pain, and worrying for his son did David get Sean back.  During that time, David's wife had remarried and died after birthing a daughter, but her family refused to give Sean up, and even, the documentary said, told the boy derogatory things about his father to try and turn Sean against his own dad.

All the while, David was dedicated to one thing: getting Sean back, no matter the cost, no matter the time, no matter the drain on his physical well-being.  If you had seen his face when he talked about his mission you would know what I am talking about.  It was a mission that he was determined to complete.  David was tormented by the thoughts of the emotional trauma Sean must be going through and the lies his Brazilian family might be telling Sean about him.  All he wanted was his little boy home safe, even if it took years.  He was a dedicated father who loved his little boy with all that he had in him.

 Now...that led me to realize - this is a human father we're talking about here!  I was somewhat taken aback with the thought that God, our heavenly Father, loves us even more than David Goldman loves Sean.  He is the Perfect Father - all he wants is to have his lost children home safe...no matter the cost, no matter the time.  And he will do ANYTHING, whatever it takes, to get us back.  Even when people try to smear him and convince his children he doesn't care about them and he's a harsh and judgmental ruler...nothing they can say will deter him from his one goal.

Can you imagine how Sean's father would feel if he was forbidden from ever seeing Sean again?  Telling his son he loved him?  Can you imagine how the Perfect Father feels when a child of his rejects him or never comes home, never finds out how much he is loved?  EVERY TIME a person dies without never knowing his Father, it hurts him the same way.  Because he cares for every one of us, more than we will ever know.

He longs to hold us in his arms and tell us he loves us.  And whether we know it or not, there's an aching place inside us that wants to run to him.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A chance for life

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."  - C.S. Lewis

Everywhere you look today, there will be something that attracts your attention, whether it be media, sports, activities, shopping, or even schoolwork.  There's always something to keep you busy, something to do or see.  But the problem is, none of it has any substance.  Our world is full of things that aren't real - that don't really matter.  We need things that do matter.

That's why I've decided that I'm not going to have just another entertaining blog.  We have enough meaningless distraction around us, but not nearly enough that makes us think.  So this blog will be different.  If nothing else, I hope it gets you thinking.  And I don't want it to be just another opinion out there - I want, more than anything, to inspire you to take a new look at things and use your own common sense to make decisions.

This post, I'm going to get to the bottom line - what I believe about the origins of the earth and why.  I haven't really written anything like this before, so bear with me.  And it might be a little long, but I hope you keep reading.

I believe in the creation of the earth by an Intelligent Designer, as opposed to the hypothesis of evolution.  And not because my parents say so, or because the Bible says so, but because I took the time to think about it (although I agree with both what the Bible says and what my parents believe).

I'm studying biology this year, and to many, reading into high school biology would mean strenghtening the student's belief in evolution.  But that would only happen if the textbook teaches evolution, which nearly all, if not all public school textbooks do.  The student would also have a part in that if he or she simply believes what they hear or read without actually thinking about it.  Fortunately, I do not have a textbook that teaches evolution, and also thought the logic through.  So, biology had just the opposite effect for me.  I have found that it is dangerous to the hypothesis of evolution if a student thinks too much, or even at all, about what they are being taught.  If they do, then the hypothesis of evolution very nearly disproves itself.

Take cells for example.  I am fascinated by cells.  Every biology textbook deals with cells.  No matter what the viewpoint of the textbook's author, it will almost without exception teach the parts of a cell, their functions, what cells do what, and their properties.  I'm no scientist, but from what I've seen, any self-respecting evolutionist author just might as well leave the whole discussion of cells and DNA right out of his textbook (and without those, everything else starts tumbling down).

The conundrum is a simple one.  Read any semi-technical explanation of any type of cell and you will see that there is no such thing as a simple life form (even in prokaryotic cells, the "simplest" type, which are hailed as being the closest relations to our oldest ancestor).  A cell has to perform at least eleven basic life functions to survive on its own.  If even one of those functions is absent the cell will die.  There is no margin for error.  Random chance would have had to get it right the very first time - everything in place, formed correctly, with built-in protection from harmful chemicals, and the cell programmed knowing exactly what to do (including, I'm assuming, asexual reproduction).  There was no time for a slow process of evolution or adaptation.  It was either exactly right the first time or it was dead.

That's not so impossible, right?  Well...uh...no.  Let me illustrate for you just how impossible it is.

Let's take a look at your primordial soup now.  Disregarding the fact that the environment had to be just right (air? water? a vacuum? a gas bubble?  where did any of these elements come from, anyway?), we now observe a swirling mass of chemicals, the origins of which we have no idea.  Allow me to use my imagination for a moment (after all, that's all that anyone's ever done regarding the origins of the earth, to a certain extent).  Now, supposing that all the ingredients necessary to create a living cell were already in this soup, we settle back and wait for random chance to produce life (a process called spontaneous generation, or abiogenesis, which has never been observed in nature).  A few million years go by...

We realize we might be waiting a while.  Let's give random chance a hand.  In fact, we'll go light on it by only asking it to produce DNA, not a functioning cell.  A lot easier, right?  You think?

We enter a lab primed with exactly the perfect conditions for generating life and pick out exactly the chemicals needed to create life, no more, no less (we don't even know them all, but let's assume we do just to make things easier).  We let them swirl around together.  We've helped random chance a lot, right?  That's made the job easier.  It should have, anyway.

Finally, we get more than a little frustrated.  Random chance is just not doing its job, and we've worn out our copy of Robinson Crusoe.  So we break down and bring in a team of experts - the most brilliant scientists in the world who know DNA as much as it can be known.  "Create life from these chemicals," we tell them.  So they set to work.  They use all their collective ingenuity, forethought, care, and planning that a human can muster.  They spend time, a lot of it, in that lab trying to create DNA.

But they can't do it.

"Why is that so important?  That doesn't prove anything," you say.  All right.  Let me break it down for you.

It's true that random chance can do some things that humans can do.  Take bingo, for instance.  There is a chance that, say, a six ball will fall out at a specific time.  But it is also true that a human can do everything random chance can do (they can make the six ball fall out).

Think of it this way.  You take all the supplies needed to build a house and repeatedly drop them onto the ground in a heap (okay, the foundation is already there, just to make it easier).  You do it again and again and again, but clearly you will never get a house, no matter how many times you drop the supplies onto the foundation, even if you did it for billions of years.  We're talking a house complete with plumbing and electricity - not only are the odds astronomical, it's impossible.  The catch is, a human CAN build a house, complete with plumbing and electricity, with exactly those materials.  How much more impossible would it be for random chance to do something a human cannot?  I don't think I need to remind you that DNA is so much more complex than anything involved in making a house, so much so that humans, who are the most intelligent living things known to inhabit this earth, haven't even learned everything there is to know about it.

Of course, if I started talking about ecosystems, reproduction, movement, and the human body...I'll be here all day.  So I'm done now.

I think that what a person believes matters.  In fact, it is the most important thing about them.  I also think that what we believe should influence what we do.  Random chance, by definition, is the most unreliable thing there is.  That's why I'd rather not hang my fate on it.  I refuse to trust that random chance did what a human cannot.  Because really, all it boils down to is trust.  No one was actually there when life originated - so I'm I'm going to trust that an Intelligent Designer created the universe, especially when this earth has the mark of intelligent design all over it.

My point is, don't just believe it.  Think about it for yourself.  Use your common sense - you could find that there's a whole lot you've been missing.