Light and Reignite

Light and Reignite

Recently, I purchased a small “BLISS” box from Bookishsugarscrubs, on Etsy (don’t worry, mother, I used a coupon code.). There were four 2oz sugar scrubs, a pin, a watercolor card (?) and a very small candle.

The little candle had a fairly pleasing aroma, so I lit it right away, setting it on my desk. The first light was easiest, and the flame glowed brightly and strongly. However, after each re-light, it kept getting harder and harder for the tiny candle to stay lit. Even now, as I type, it is just barely above smoldering.

Then I wondered, what if that’s a parable for my own faith?

(And here you thought you’d gotten rid of those posts…. Heheheeee…)

When we first become Saved, that Light inside of our souls burns strongest and most brilliantly. However, if we don’t keep going back to the very Source of our Salvation, both in Word and in prayer, we will not stay “lit” for long, and, in some instances, that light may even, unfortunately, be extinguished.

Similarly, to burn, a candle must continually remain dependent on its own flame source, a lighter, or a box of matches. Even then, things can go wrong: The wick can be too long or too short for it to light properly, the wax too low, the ceiling fan blowing around too much, etc.

 

Our faith is like that, too. After reigniting and replenishing our faith by praying, reading the Word, or going on a Bible retreat/going to Church camp, we come back ready at bat… But harsh circumstances can just as easily come our way, making it easy to doubt, easy for that flame to die down or even out again. Maybe your best friend decided to become a Buddhist. Maybe your grandparent passed away. Maybe you were in an area where violent riots struck, or a massive natural disaster occurred, causing you to ask, “Why?” Maybe you’re at school or your workplace, and politically correct people badger you so much about how “intolerant” your beliefs are, until YOU start to question them, yourself.

My own faith has been like that, as of late. I can all too easily grow “lazy” in doing everything else, putting off devos and spending quality one-on-one time with my Abba til bedtime, when I’m already nodding off. Is this truly the worshipful attitude and mindset we ought to show Him Who gave His own Life for ours? I think not. (What can I say…? God tends to feed me little sermons in life when I need them the most…)

But whatever you do, hang tight. Go to Church, pray, get deep in the Word, to grow and make the flame inside you all the bigger and brighter. Keep going back to the Source of your fire, rather than sitting around doing nothing, and slowly letting it go out.

“Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning, burning, burning, give me oil in my lamp, I pray/ Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning, burning, burning, keep it burning til the break of day./ Oh sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna to the King of kings! /Sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna, sing, Hosanna to the King!”

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Image Credit:

https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-3121816-stock-footage-olive-oil-clay-ancient-lantern-lamp-low-flame.html

Jesus Loves… Me?

Jesus Loves… Me?

Broken

Beyond repair

Shattered

Without a care–

E

m

o

t

i

o

n

a

l

l

y

Volatile

And selfish; who

Or what

Could ever love

A beast?

*****

Jesus loves me;

This I know,

For His Abba’s

Holy Word

Tells me so,

Through His Son’s

Sacrifice

I remain

Strong,

And to Him,

Him only–

I do belong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

 

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Image Credit:

https://art-soulworks.com/pages/jesus-pictures

God Heal America

God Heal America

God, heal America

Land that I love,

Stand beside her,

Guide her,

So that she may no

Longer sin,

Fight the temptation

Within

And then finally

Finish

The work our Founders

Hath started

To begin.

Be her light from above,

Cherish her with

Your everlasting, perfect

Love

But, do not

Bless her;

Instead, heal her

Light her ways and err

On the side

Of caution, and

Cleanse all

Unrighteousness

From her wounds; open

Her eyes

That she might yet

See Your Face

Staring lovingly into

Hers.

 

Christ awaits the American part

Of His Holy Bride

To have a change of heart

Deep,

Deep

Down inside.

 

Amen.

Amen.

 

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Image Credit: http://religionnews.com/2015/07/07/flying-christian-flag-above-u-s-flag-isnt-a-federal-crime/

 

I.D. Crisis

I.D. Crisis

Broken

Shattered

Smashed

And torn to ribbons

Millions of tiny, little

Puzzle pieces

And among them is missing

The one piece of

My soul that

Used to ring

When played.

Why?

Why is it

Deflated, so

Underestimated,

Un-

Func-

Tion-

Ing;

I used

To be able to

Do it for hours

And stretch it

On for days

And my folks would think

Me

Crazy;

But now

… ….

Silence.

A bell tower

Without its most

Important

Component.

 

I am empty.

 

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Image Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/writing-on-paper_n_5797506.html

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

As many a character has stated and even questioned, “Are villains really bad? Are they even born bad– or just MADE that way?”

I’ve already gone into antags a bit; now I’m going to elaborate a little on a few specific kinds.

While I won’t bore you to tears with my little rave on the Darkling ( see, In Defense of the Darkling, for those interested), I will say it is a very interesting question to pose in general. After all, what’s a bad guy without character? Would Voldemort be Voldemort if he had a loving wizarding family? Was Sauron always that bad, and why? What would have become of the faction system, and more specifically, the Erudite, if Jeanine Matthews hadn’t taken it over?

As mentioned many, many times before, there are exceptions to humanizing or making sympathetic villains or antagonists: motiveless maligniters and traditional villains being the two primary candidates. Sauron, for instance, is a traditional villain. He’s simply oozing evil out his pores, because, well, just because (I mean, does he REALLY need to have a reason? He IS Sauron, after all…). Similarly, motiveless maligniters are essentially the same thing: their motives are either well-concealed, non-existent, or extremely muddied– so muddied you can’t quite piece together why it is that they do things. It’s so confusing, so perplexing, that there’s little chance you’ll feel for them.

Another kind of antagonist I am particularly fond of is the “Seems like a Good Guy at the Time, But Turns out to Be a Cruel, Villainous Jerk” guy (or girl). (For all you “Frozen” fans, think of Hans…) You may not think it, but these are actually fun to write up; you never know what they may do, and it’s a joy ride for both you and the reader– in fact, if you end up surprising yourself in writing a dramatic bad guy reveal towards the climax or end, there’s probably a pretty high chance you’ve surprised your readers, as well. If you want to write this character, be CONVINCING. This is one villain you want to play the sympathy card with (at the very least, temporarily), so they’ll expect it even less. Make them human. Relatable. Friendly, even sweet, unsuspecting, Machiavellian. Then, when the reader’s and other characters’ guard is lowered… BAM!

plottwistmeme

The only real danger with these villains is, however, that they may seem so completely sincere, so devoted to their cause, so human and kind at first, that even when the villainous reveal comes, you may have the readers defending their bad actions in favor of their pasts, and their personas, rather than simply be just shocked and horrified. If you were to write this kind of villain, I’d recommend doing so CAREFULLY (it depends what kind of reaction YOU want from your readers, too.).

Then there’s monsters. No, I’m not talking what you call a cruel but cunning and intelligent villain, though they may seem like it. I’m talking CREATURES. Maybe the antagonist isn’t even human, but a beast– a savage, heartless, mindless beast that thinks of nothing but destruction, its hunger unsatisfied, or even manipulation. Of course, if you wanted an interesting creature as a monster-antag, you could always take a leaf out of Mary Shelley’s book, in Frankenstein. The creature, as he is often called (Victor Frankenstein did not even bother giving him a name. Pathetic.), is very much human, and just wants companionship. The loneliness practically drives him to insanity, and certainly drives him to desperation, and soon he is killing with a vengeance, simply because Victor made him.

Lastly, the criminal masterminds. These are fairly easy to write up, namely because their primary objective is typically to either rule the world, or riches, or both (think Giovanni of Team Rocket.). Criminal masterminds are often wealthy, but not always. You don’t have to have the wealth or manners of a gentleman to be a genius, and you don’t need either to be a criminal. Genius is partly what separates the common thug from the brilliant, extraordinary masterminds. These are the people orchestrating oh so elegantly the conspiracies and grand heists of the century. And getting away with it… until YOUR protagonist steps out onto the scene to halt them dead in their tracks.

Of course, you could always pull an Artemis Fowl, too…

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Image Credit:

http://memeguy.com/photo/75830/misunderstood-disney-villain

https://memesuper.com/categories/view/74deb09ddf50c10eeed212fb0a3654da5e25269e/plot-twist-memes.html

Blog Updates: Summer Plans, Blog Post Ideas, General News

Blog Updates: Summer Plans, Blog Post Ideas, General News

This is just a post to let you guys know what’s going on this summer, and ask for any ideas/ recommendations you’d like me to blog about.

Sadly, these next couple of weeks the most writing I will be doing will be academic (cough… finals… cough…), but until then, ideas will continue to stir and simmer beneath my brain’s surface– a bubbling cauldron of opportunity and potential. Which is why I ask now: What would YOU like to see me blog about? More spiritual/Scriptural/mini sermon-type things? Fangirly blog posts, fan theories, etc.? Life stories that are inspirational? Letters from Eikon, as well as the rest of the gang? More reviews? More blogging stories similar to “The Junk Collector,” and “The Deceiver”? A Q &A, or even an advice column? Be sure to sound off what you think in the comments; I welcome all constructively critical comments, suggestions, new ideas, and advice. 🙂 I don’t have a particular preference on what to write, as long as I’m not forced to write something dull, ultra-romantic, or super-academic… (academic papers should be limited to the school year, period. That’s what I say, anyhow.)

On ANOTHER note… Yes, I will have more free time on my hands this summer than during this semester, but will still be fairly busy. This is due to me having an internship with an indie publishing company as an editor (YAY for experience and credits!!!), an independent study class with my adviser/brilliant Writing professor, Dr. Williams (it’s called, “Building a Novel,” class… AND I get credits for it. 😉 Couldn’t ask for a better deal!), and working for a summer camp within walking distance of my place, as kitchen help (I need money for an Israel trip I’ll be taking with a class over this Christmas break). On top of all that, I’ve already gotten a request from a former piano teacher of mine to help look over and edit one of HER books (I’M GETTING REQUESTS ALREADY, GUYS!!! SO EXCITED!!), chilling with friends, etc. But I am certain I’ll be able to make time to blog at least a couple times a week, so no worries. You haven’t seen the last of me… Bwahahaaaa…

That aside, not much else is happening, except the usual stressing about finals, when I’m going to take books back to the bookstore, and so forth. But hey, that’s the typical college student for you. (Only, I don’t go get coffee or alcohol to drown my woes in.) Other than that, I’ve been super-hyped for several of my personal favorite Etsy stores, as well as the bookish store, “Behind the Pages”. These people are seriously talented. They make beautiful bookmarks. They make candles, perfumes, body lotions, body soaps, sugar scrubs, and lip balms that SMELL like your favorite characters. (I almost literally kissed the Darkling. Several times. #Ihaveproblems) I kid you not. Bookified from Etsy specializes in writing you letters from all your favorite fictional characters IN THEIR OWN VOICES (and trust me, she is GOOD at it). PagesnPolish is an Etsy store that has been on break for a while, but will be opening up again in a week or so, and she does NAIL POLISHES BASED OFF BOOKS AND BOOK CHARACTERS!!! AND she’s coming out with new ones the instant she reopens!!

…You ought to have gotten the gist by now of why I’m a poor college kid.

Oh, and since I’ve been blabbing about it for a while now– and I apologize fervently for not giving you guys the link sooner– our book, “The Oddities of Room 34,” is now available on Amazon for buyers. It’s relatively cheap at the moment, only a little over $3, so hurry and get your copies now while supplies last… or before we jack up the price. 😉

Trust me, it’s a good deal, though. I’ve read and helped workshop all the stories, they’re all fabulous. Sure, there’s a creeper story in there, but for the most part you will be wonder-struck, amazed, and glued to your cozy reading chair, hankering for more.

https://www.amazon.com/Oddities-Room-34-ENG-344/dp/1545273448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492803886&sr=8-1&keywords=the+oddities+of+room+34

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Image Credit:

http://www.pokemonpets.com/Shiny-Vulpix-Pokemon-Pokedex-2037

Reasons Why Attending College is Like Attending Hogwarts

Reasons Why Attending College is Like Attending Hogwarts

I hope you guys don’t mind, but one thing I’m going to be doing a lot more on my blog is posting not only more reviews, and more story posts, but also more random, fangirl-y posts. These often will be quite sporadic, so keep your eyes peeled… Because you never know when my inner geekette may zap the internet next…

fangirlgif1

You know how I was talking a while back about how Hogwarts houses can actually directly correlate to certain PokeDex Holders from Pokemon Adventures? Well, a few months ago, my roomies and I were talking HP, since we all like it, know about it, and one of said roommates is a MAJOR Potterhead. (We’re talking totally geeked-out Hufflepuff. In a kinda good, very… interesting sense. LOL) Another one of my less fangirl-y roomies mentioned how, despite Hogwarts have middle school to high school aged kiddos in it, most real middle and high schoolers can’t really relate to Hogwarts. Much. Whereas in college, or university, you get the much fuller sense of being at a place similar to Hogwarts. And the more I thought about it, I thought: She’s right.

And then: That idea totally belongs in a blog post. 

Yet-Here-We-Are

Sooooo, without further ado, I present to you, all of the ways that we college/university kids are like Hogwarts kids!!

  1. Sorting/Departments. OK, you can’t EXACTLY call declaring a major “Sorting,” but in a sense, it comes pretty close. Even during the Sorting process, the hat often takes into account the wearer’s wishes and personal preferences, so even if they’re indecisive, it helps them to decide. Once their house is picked, so is their dorms, their table, and who they will, for the most part, have classes with. Don’t get me wrong; at college/university, majors of ALL shapes and sizes share dorms, lunch tables, SOME classes, etc. But English Literature Majors discuss the great works of Shakespeare with fellow English Lits, Writing, and English Education Majors; Chemistry Majors work on blowing things up with other Chemistry Majors; Marketing and Business Majors converse and conspire with one another to get you to buy things– you get the general idea. Even though you’re not forbidden (obviously) from making friends outside your major (for instance– I’m a Writing Major, with two Engineering Major, and one Student Ministry Major, roomie(s).), you tend to gravitate more towards the people you have the most in common with, the people you’re most likely to see in very similar classes a LOT. Granted, we all take Gen Eds, so you’re bound to run into people you wouldn’t normally see, but for the most part, it’ll be familiar faces. sortinggif
  2. The Head of Department/ your Adviser is essentially the same thing as a Head of House– in a way, at least. Think of having Professor McGonagall as your adviser, or Head of Department. Now THAT would be amazing. (Not that you aren’t already the bomb.com, Dr. Williams 😉 ) mcgonagallgif
  3. Speaking of which, in both colleges/universities, AND Hogwarts, you call teachers by “Professor,” rather than “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.”, or “teacher” (the last would be incredibly awkward to call a professor/teacher to their face, whereas you can call a professor just, “Professor,” and they will still likely respond– unoffended. ). 
  4. In colleges/universities, as well as Hogwarts, it is often students’ first real experience in living independently. Visiting the surrounding towns/cities on weekends? Check. Staying in with friends/roomies? Check. Learning how to be an independent adult? Check. Doing homework almost constantly? Check. Getting involved in future- beneficial clubs and a host of activities to keep you busy? Check. HPfriends
  5. Branching out and meeting new people from different areas, different walks of life, or even the world. Ron and Hermoine were from different parts of the country than Harry; it was unlikely that they would’ve met at all if Harry had not to Hogwarts. The Patil twins are from India, and Cho Chang is implied to be Chinese. At my own college, we have a somewhat racially diverse group– I’d say about 75% white American, 25% other. The “other” includes blacks, Malaysians, Koreans (or a few Korean Americans 😉 #Molly), a New Zealander, and even a Japanese student or two. I’ve heard Spanish been spoken a few times by those fluent in it on campus, as well some Asian languages. Simply fascinating.great-hallgif
  6. You can often (though not always) discuss controversial topics with professors, without getting shut down for it. Harry was able to discuss the Chamber of Secrets with his, and many professors (though there are a good bit, unfortunately, who tend to shy away from such topics due to political correctness– happened to me with a secular history professor at a local community college.) are able and willing to discuss religion and politics… two pluralistic no-nos in high school society.snapegif
  7. You’re treated more like an adult. Even at Hogwarts, sometimes younger kids are given big responsibilities. At college, you are given these responsibilities and are expected to act on them as an adult.

Are there any other ways you can think of Hogwarts being like college/university?

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Image Credits:

You can now enjoy a magical Valentine’s Day dinner in the Hogwarts Great Hall

https://giphy.com/search/harry-potter

http://www.viralshack.com/tumblr-love-praise-for-professor-mcgonagall/

https://www.tenor.co/view/sorting-hat-harrypotter-gryffindor-hogwarts-gif-4929271

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=204317430

http://wallpapercave.com/harry-potter-desktop-backgrounds