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Archive for June, 2016

So last weekend we went to the beach with a couple of friends. It is amazing how just some sand, sun, and water can completely change your perspective and mood. I’d been going through a super depressed slump, both due to some personal things and because of the current political environment. Since I do want to be an Intelligence Analyst at some point, I figure I should do better about keeping up on news, but, man – reading news every day is so depressing! And facebook does not make it better! It like, dramafies everything (yes, yes I did just make that word up). So yeah, downhearted, depressed, didn’t even want to think about writing (More on writing, btw, at my soon to be public-ish blog: Once Upon a Story – you should go look at it to make me feel better about my page views).

Then, I got to the ocean. Oh, glorious sun, sand, waves, water – everything about the beach and ocean is just soothing, and magnificent, and calming and romantic. I swam in the ocean, laid in the sand, enjoyed the feel of the extremely strong sun on me, had ice cream and in general just forgot about the world’s political and moral issues.

But the best part, I think, was that night. Our friends had gotten a hotel on the beach (Yes, my husband and I, being cheapskates, er, *ahem, fiscally responsible?, found a hotel about 20 minutes away that was way cheaper), and after they put their baby to bed, we sat on the balcony and sipped various beverages and chatted quietly and looked out over the ocean. I forget, until I see it, how much I adore the ocean at night. Almost more than during the day. It just looks so . . . magical.  Oh! I even wrote a poem on it! I forgot! I had thought my days of writing random poems were over because I didn’t have a free enough imagination anymore, and then it just suddenly worked. Not that it is good, by any means – it is awful, I am quite sure (some parts rhyme and others don’t) – but it was fun to write, so I will share it with you and then let you get back to your own lives.

Ode to the Ocean (How many times has THAT title been written?)

I should have known by looking over the sea

Never again would my heart and soul be free

The silvery moon wavering over the calm

Only served to further the charm

Oft I’d been told from far and wide

Of the beautiful but cruel mistress of the tide

And that all it took was one’s first glance

Over the vast and indescribable expanse

Your soul would sigh in romantic succumb

To the mysterious deep where the mermaids hum

A desire deep down undoubtedly lit

To never remove from shore or ship

I suddenly knew without thinking twice

Where I would always return, no matter the price

To this intimate, silent, yet resounding lair

That spoke your emotions, understood any despair

And no matter how many books, poems, or emotions

Try to capture the incredible magic of oceans

They will never quite be able to convey

The full majesty of the watery display

moon

 

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So I recently finished Mere Christianity. Believe it or not, it is the first C.S. Lewis book I’ve ever finished outside of the Narnia series. Took me a long time to get through it – mostly because I have a hard time with nonfiction. Give me a fiction book, and I will devour it voraciously – just Saturday I finished an entire book in one sitting. Nonfiction books I tend to plod through carefully and painfully, no matter whether I think the subject is interesting or not.

But Mere Christianity was excellent. I know everyone says it is excellent – but I was still very pleasantly surprised. One of the last chapters really stood out to me. Well, a few of the last parts did, but there was one in particular that really hit me and I wanted to write about it – so now I am looking through the book, since it has been a week or so, trying to remember which one it was. And I think I found it. 😛 It is the chapter on whether Christianity is hard or easy.

Lewis reminds us that God says to give Him all, as a Christian. That he doesn’t want bits and pieces of you – or, as Lewis puts it, branches – He wants to chop the entire tree down so that He can work in you. What really struck me, and I didn’t like it, but at the same time I recognized its truth, was this sentence: “Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked. The whole outfit.”  I mean – what Christian thinks of handing over innocent wishes and desires along with potentially harmful ones? I had to pray about that one – because handing over my wishes to be a writer was surprisingly painful – especially since I already thought I had given it to God and realized I hadn’t.

Handing over the desires to show people in my office what it meant to be a Christian was also hard, because what harm could there be in that? It took me awhile to figure out that, yes, God wanted that part too. Because one, if I said or did something He wasn’t ready to show them, it could turn them off to Christianity instead of on, and two, I was trying to be the example to them instead of letting God be the example to them. It was a humiliating lesson to learn. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t witness to them – it only means that I need to hand that desire over to God so that He can control when and how I witness to them. At least that is what I decided. Either way – God still wants and needs control of it – all of it.

“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self – all your wishes and precautions – to Christ. . . For what we are trying to do is remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good’. We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way – centred on money or pleasure or ambition – and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly.”

This paragraph also strikes me as so true. What harm can it be to be happy while we follow Christ, right? Plenty of harm, if it means placing ourselves above Him. If it means not handing even those joys and goals to Him and letting Him work an even greater purpose in our lives.

And then there was this paragraph. The challenge. The one that I am trying to take most to heart because it is a key step to implementing what I have learned.

“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

Living a life completely centered in Christ is not easy. But neither is it easy to live a life centered on yourself. For me, it is worth the sacrifices to let God rule in my life because I know, no matter how hard something might seem, He always has my best at heart and I trust Him more than I trust anyone in my life – yes, even my husband. 🙂 And, to my utter surprise, I have discovered one of the hardest parts is giving up wishes and desires you believe to be innocent. Yet, that is what it means to give your all to Him. And in the end, I firmly believe, you and the people around you will be better for it.

 

 

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You know I don’t write on politics or current issues very often. That is both because I hate confrontation, am filled with fear of confrontation, and because politics and current issues tend to make me so upset that I can scarcely breathe. My insides swell up and all I want to do is scream with frustration, and – you know how they say a character in a book “sees red” when he is incredibly angry ? I often see red. Literally. My eyes haze over and I can’t see anything clearly because I am so angry. So that is another reason I don’t write about politics very often. My incredibly sensitive nature has a hard time thinking about it for very long.

There is one thing, however, that has been bothering me long enough that I just want to say SOMETHING. And that is this year’s presidential election. I’ll be up front – I haven’t supported Trump from the beginning. I think he is loud, obnoxious, rude, and, no matter what he says, holds few of the conservative values that I do. However, I am not a “Never Trumper”, and I hold little respect for those who are. You cannot say “Never so and so” unless they clearly hold values completely opposite to you, and even then I am not so sure because you do not know what the future holds, or who the opposition might be. And in my opinion, it has come to that. I would rather vote for someone loud and obnoxious, but who holds American first, than a man who believes in socialism (something Hitler believed in, by the way), or a woman who should be in prison for committing treason. And even if he doesn’t actually, at least Trump SAYS he supports my issues, unlike the other two. Beyond that, I am almost beginning to believe that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Trump turned everything upside down because I am not so crazy about the America I currently live in.  But, again, I am getting off track.

What I really came here to say was – I am ASHAMED of America. ASHAMED. And not because of Trump.Look, if you hate Trump, that is fine. If you want Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or some random third party candidate as president, that is fine. And you know why? Because, *LIGHTBULB* WE LIVE IN AMERICA. Here is the awesome thing about Amercia. You can vote for whoever you want. You can attend any rally you want. You have the FREEDOM to choose who YOU think will be best for our country. So all these people who are holding violent protests at Trump rallies? Who defile people’s personal signs for Trump? Who tell all their friends that they aren’t Christians if they vote for Trump? I rarely swear, and when I do, it isn’t lightly, but that is all BS. Never before have I seen such a violent election where people actually think they have the right to stop people from listening to and/or voting for someone they want to. Like it or not, we are not in Mexico, or Europe, or anyplace that doesn’t offer political freedom and it is WRONG of you to try to stop people from voting for whoever they want to. And as for all the illegals who are protesting Trump rallies? Well, one – I actually think that ends up in favor of Trump since they legally are not supposed to be here, let alone have a say in who OUR president is, but two, I think it is SHAMEFUL that we are not standing up to it, whether we support Trump or not. If they are waving Mexican flags, then they should go back to Mexico because clearly that is where they actually want to be. We are AMERICANS and whether or not we are happy with the presidential election, we should be defensive enough of our freedom to stand up for the right to vote for whoever we want.

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