NaNoWriMo

My dear reader,

I understand your confusion. Few have learned the meaning of that dreadful acronym. It is not for the faint of heart, and many who have braved it’s depths have fallen. Just go ask your writer friend and watch them tremble in fear.

Listen carefully and read well, you may not hear tell of this again. National Novel Writing Month is a challenge of utmost gravity. If you dare to brave this realm you may earn your writerly knighthood, or forever be doomed to the life of a squire eternally writing fanfiction and romance for a well known site where people will read your precious words for free.

This is the quest now given to you. It is imperative that you write fifty thousand words in a single month. The hourglass (dayglass?) of doom begins upon Midnight, November first. It is not the bravest, or the strongest who will succeed. It is not even he who has the most coffee…. (though that will certainly be of aid to those who cannot survive by tea alone….it is recommended that only the most conditioned spartan writer attempts this quest caffeine free.) pure determination will be what separates the victor from the vanquished. Few survive this chasm of charts, painful motivation, goals, conversations with madmen, and precious tea consumed in unhealthy proportions.

As one who has twice earned my rank I am here to warn the innocent younglings who would attempt this feat. You will find yourself obsessing over word count. Unless your friends follow in your footsteps they may absent mindedly be abandoned. Your characters will betray you. Storylines will warp into tales of woe you thought impossible for such an accomplished writer as yourself to create. Perfection, that holy grail of writing, shall be revealed in its true form. Abandon such hollow and fruitless pursuits! You will fail if that is all you seek.

I can guarantee that you will lose your sanity, but out of this dreadful chaos a novel shall be born! Maybe your blog posts will get messier as you type them up in a hurry to get back to your novel (of course, I would never make such a rookie mistake. My blog is perfect. 🙂 ) your hair will no longer be perfectly combed. Meals may be missed in order to type out that last page. Sleep will grow into a fabled legend. But as one who has survived and conquered I must remind you of one thing. Your novel is just around the corner. I suggest you start planning out that outline.

Yael

P.S. Expect more tales of writerly woe in the future, I shall speak of little else until my quest is complete.

Energy

In many ways I am the oddball of the family. We all have our quirks and I believe we have a larger share of quirks than most families. Yet I seem to have acquired an ailment that is peculiar only to myself. I am a morning person. Granted, there are members of my family who wake up long before me. They arise before dawn, slowly sip their coffee and do their bible studies, enjoying some peace and quiet before the day comes crashing in on them.

Most of the crashing is done by me. Cheerful, happy, wide awake, loud, obnoxious, talkative me. Oh yea. All of this is done with zero caffeine. I bounce out of bed and go through my morning routine with eyes wide open. The time I spend downstairs getting ready for the day is the twenty minute warning to the early risers that anything involving silence is about to end. About an hour after that my youngest siblings rue the day that my parents gave me a flute and paid for lessons. They don’t really appreciate that I am the coolest alarm clock they will ever have. I suppose they prefer one with a snooze button. 🙂

When I’m not daydreaming I can apply this energy to my entire day. Stuff gets done at hyper-speed and my ability to focus ensures that every subject on my shelf gets done along with my stories, chores, katas and blog. I usually have time to play with my siblings or friends somewhere in there as well.

The past few weeks have been nothing like that. I actually feel tired . It’s a weird feeling for me. Lots of things are going on right now. I’ve had several days where I wish I could just live in my bubble of schoolwork and writing so that I can focus on graduating. God has other plans for me right now. I’ve been given opportunities to help my family. My schedule may have been busy, but its more important that I serve those who need my time more than I do.

I have been taking this new list of tasks, and this new feeling of being tired and using it as an excuse. Not much progress is being made. That’s on me. It seems like the less time I have, the more I waste. I stay up later, struggle to wake up on time and the entire day slips away in five minute increments of distraction. This needs to stop.

Despite feeling tired, I actually have just enough energy to accomplish everything I have to do. I may not be bouncing off the walls, but I am never so exhausted that I can’t function. I thank God for making me an energetic person, and for giving me the energy I need to make it through every day.

So tomorrow, I start anew. The day belongs to the Lord. He knows what shall pass, and He knows my to-do list. I have faith that He will provide the time and energy for me to finish everything that needs done. Also, that He will grant me the wisdom to know what absolutely needs done and what can wait for another day.

But for now, I should go to sleep before everything turns funny. (The quirks of a sleep deprived Yael.) Besides, my tea cup is empty. Fare thee well mine audience! I bid you,

Goodnight.

This Is Why

I am a writer. Why?

I get to be a kid and a grown up…simultaneously. My stories can be filled with fantasies and flights of fancy that weave adult problems and serious topics through them.

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With words I can provide a beautiful little world for children. A place of escape. A place that prepares them for the real world. I can challenge peoples minds and provoke thought. Treasure, food, rest, encouragement, beauty…all of this can be placed between two bound pieces of paper.

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I have been given a chance to heal the broken. Answer questions. Share the knowledge that has been bequeathed to me. When a youngling reaches that valley between childhood and adulthood I want to find the words that may be their guide. In those times when courage is lacking and darkness has come if I can share light, then I must share it. This is the time to be a hero. To share wonderful new adventures. To mature and learn. Life is not as difficult as it seems, I am to remind them of the One who gives them strength.

Empty pages

When men and women have grown they have not finished learning. This society pushes us to do everything we possibly can in a single day. Spending a rare moment to enjoy…anything….should not be rare at all. But if that is spent on a story, I hope to share something that is worth every second. Perhaps my words can provide a new perspective. Adults need rest too, and encouragement can be given by anyone. If my stories can bring back fond memories of childhood games, provoke thought and encourage the weary then I am blessed.

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I do not write alone. God has given me a gift. Through His guidance, stories are crafted with prayer and help. The worlds that I serve as a scribe to were given to me. They are Eliyahu….Belonging to God. As am I.

Sharing stories gives me joy. Maybe God will use that for lots of people. Maybe it’s just for that one person who really needs it. I have no idea. I couldn’t ask for more.

Empty Peace

We’ve all experienced something. That something that forces us to push our emotions into a tiny little box and hide the key. No matter how small the trial is, to us it can be devastating.

Emotions are a weakness. I watch as people break. They fall. They crumble apart into a screaming mess. Or they just sit quietly, crying when they think no one is looking. Trying not to let the pain or fear or loss take over.

When my turn came, I had to be strong. I felt like I had to be the one to support the others. My family and friends needed me. Emotions are selfish. They make you wonder why this is happening to you. I had no time to wonder. I had to fix what I could and hold together the threads that threatened to snap.

Or so, in my twelve year old mind, I thought. In all my life I have never once suffered any trauma. I still have two parents, all of my siblings, wonderful friends, and most importantly, I have a relationship with Christ.

But darkness comes to all for a time. Army life means deployment. Church life is like family life. The ones you love are the ones who hurt you the most. To me, it seemed like the world was falling apart. In my mind I was glue. I kept it together.

There is no sin in locking emotions away like that. At least when such actions are needed. Yet it was not that emotional void that was keeping me together. And I certainly wasn’t the one keeping everyone else together. I was emotionally cut off. Void. And a master at appearing normal. Adults assumed I was just a serious, grown up little girl. Kids figured that I was boring, nerdy, and older than I looked.

Yet much of that behavior stemmed from a need to be in control. Everything around me was outside of my reach. Myself, and what was inside of me, was mine to rule. My kingdom was ruled with more than iron. The fire that should have burned bright within me was stamped down into coal and ash.

The process of change is painful to say the least. No creature was meant to live this way. Jesus, who is in control of everything, the King of kings, was so passionate that His anger drove men from the temple. His sorrow was such that He wept for His friend Lazarus. His dread of what was to come at the Cross was so great that He sweated blood. His joy in obedience influenced His parents. He laughed, He comforted, His emotions were pure.

If my God has so much passion, how can I say that it is better to do without? To abandon a gift that God has given me because it is more convenient for me to throw it out?

Indeed, there are times when emotions have to be controlled, and God provides us with the strength to do so. In the trials of darkness, silence is better than the ruling of passion. But when the dawn came, God gently prompted me to take back the joy He had meant for me. Slowly, He healed the void I tried to run to when I should have been allowing God to heal me.

I have learned that some emotions are a release. Without them it is impossible to praise God with all that I am. And when I am pressed upon, my emotions can be used to become a reflecting light, hardened and purified by the one who gave them to me. When I feel, I feel the same things that my Savior experienced. Such joy is too great for me.

I am thankful for my emotions. They remind me of who Jesus is, and who He made me to be. Still I struggle. In times I forget and look back at that void of empty peace. But that’s all it is. A hollow filled with ash, a single imprint pressed upon it. I have already been formed, made to reflect the light of my maker. Diamonds cannot return to dust.

Leviticus: Diseases, medical insight & priestly duties

Life can be crazy busy. Today for instance. I went from here to there to everywhere starting at seven a.m. and ending at nine. From horses to eyeballs to stories to children, I worked a variety of different jobs and studied a wide variety of topics. The people I studied were even busier.

When I was a little kid, I thought the book of Leviticus was boring. More than that, it was confusing, dull and dry. The last book I wanted to read. So I kinda skimmed through it so I could say that I read it and moved on. But for my AWANA homework, a bit more is required. So I began reading it and paying attention to the details.

I’ve always known that the priests of the tabernacle had many duties in the past. Leviticus gives us detailed instructions on how to sacrifice animals, what to sacrifice them for, and how many times to sprinkle their blood over the altar. I found this information to be fascinating, but not nearly as much as their other duties.

When God set the priests in charge of the tabernacle, they were more than priests. The most fascinating part of being a priest, was that one also became a part of Israel’s CDC. God provided detailed information on diseases like leprosy, how to dispose of corpses, and uncleanliness.

The rules that never made sense to me were actually God’s way of keeping His people safe. Rules on uncleanliness were very thorough instructions that reduced the spread of disease and promoted good health and hygiene.

Who knew that Leviticus of all books would have such interesting information? I imagine that the Israelites were some of the healthiest people of their time because of the regulations God had given them.

I use this now as a reminder to myself. When God tells us to do something, or not to do something, it’s because He has our best interest in mind. Even if it’s not what we want, God’s plan always ends up being better than what we had determined.

A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. – Proverbs 16:9

I am thankful for Leviticus. I would highly recommend it to medical students, particularly those who study diseases & how they are spread.

The Blessing of Obedience

Today as I am at work, I think of how I got this job. About a year ago, I began searching for employment. I had applied at a couple of places with no success, but I wasn’t too worried about it. I had no need for a job right then, I was simply making plans for a future.

When my brother and I wanted to start taking a Karate class together I was a bit more motivated. Obsessed would be a more accurate description. My brother had never shown such an interest in anything, and I had been dreaming of learning martial arts since I was a little girl. (I’ve got dreams, no really just much less touchy-feely…your dream stinks. *Random movie scene end* 😀 )

That was really my only motivation to get a job, but my family can tell you that it doesn’t take much. Once I’m motivated that’s about all I’m going to think about, talk about, do, and plan until I succeed or fail beyond recovery. So as the weeks went by, I began to realize that I was paying way too much attention to job searching. (Although seeing my brother look for wanted signs and tell me who needed workers where was pretty adorable.) So I began to pray about it.

I knew that my focus should be on God first, not a job…so I didn’t ask for a job. I just asked that God would keep my mind focused on Him and that I would give Him control over my life. And I did. I let Him have it and stopped worrying.

I’m not even sure that two seconds passed. My Mom yelled for me, phone in hand. She said I had a call and to run. (And with my Mom, that means RUN like you’re gonna die if you don’t.) A lady was on the phone that I had spoken with once or twice before. Several months previously she had casually asked if I would be interested in a job someday. I had said yes, thinking she was only half-serious. Well when I answered the phone she said “Would you like to start Saturday?”

My brain just about popped. I was like “Lord, really? You were just waiting for me to let You have this?” I was flabbergasted. And sure enough, He gave me the job I have now. I’ve been blessed with a boss who puts God first, and who is willing to work around my schedule. There is no way I could have gotten a better job on my own.

I don’t ever just want to work to get a paycheck. I want to work to the best of my abilities, and glorify God through my work. I don’t always succeed when I’m in a hurry or something goes wrong, but I want to work cheerfully and with the desire to be as helpful as possible. God has put me exactly where He wants me and blessed me.

Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. – Psalms 37:4

I thank God for my job, and for my boss.

Thank God for hard work, and a healthy body.

Something we take for granted every day, is the ability that God has given us to move, breath and run. With 650 striated layers of muscle connected to our bones, we have more complexity in our muscular systems alone than many machines. Each part has to work perfectly. When a muscle is damaged, the entire body is affected by it.

I believe that Americans in particular have short changed themselves. We have no need to work hard, run very far or do especially tasking chores. Even the tougher jobs like farming, logging and mining have been made relatively easy with modern machinery. (You still don’t want to pick a fight with a farmer…they’ll knock you right into King Arthur’s court, in case you were wondering. I can’t say what the other hard workers are like. I suppose I won’t make them mad either.) We don’t really get to appreciate the massive capabilities of the bodies that God has given us.

The people who do work hard, definitely appreciate it. I hear a lot of complaints about sore backs, knees, bruised hands and the occasional kick or bite mark, but the people here feel alive. The kids in sports will somewhat be able to relate (but hopefully not with the biting bit….mostly….) as they challenge themselves and learn how to become better and better at what they do.

Yea, hard work is hard work. There are days when it’s not fun at all. But I am thankful that I have the capability to work hard. I feel satisfied after a days work when a lot of progress has been made. There is something wonderfully pleasant about falling into bed feeling sore all over and too tired to bother brushing my hair.

I think that’s what makes activities like sports, martial arts, gymnastics and whatever else so great. It brings people a challenge to better themselves, and one another. More importantly, God specifically said that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. My body was made to be a temple. That’s something that should be taken seriously. I mean, I wouldn’t let dirt accumulate on the sanctuary floor, and I wouldn’t let a bunch of birds and animals in, and I certainly wouldn’t cover it in sparkly sequins just for fun.

Yet I pretty much do whatever to my own body. Oooo, skittles!! I don’t feel like doing stretches today. I can totally chug a whole gallon of milk. Icecream? You betcha! How did I get this bruise? Well, I was sort of….ya know…I have no idea, actually. Eh, what’s a doughnut going to do in the long run? Speaking of running, maybe I’ll just go running next week. I gotta find out what happens to Thea, I don’t care if it’s eleven o clock at night. I would rather watch youtube than do this extra homework. It’s not like it’s required or anything. Hey, I only have a few hours before my siblings realize I stole their book so if I don’t finish tonight I may never see it again.

Now, I’m not saying all of those things are sinful and wrong. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that says you can’t read fiction or eat icecream every once in a while. And for those who feel like they want a piercing or they want to cut their hair and dye it to look like flames, I have no evidence that would tell me that it is wrong.

What I don’t understand is why we don’t even think for a second about the consequences. Sure, we aren’t causing any lasting damage for the most part. But I rarely think about how amazing it is that God gave me the muscles, height, unique facial structure and skin tone that He has given me. I don’t know that I’ve ever stopped to thank Him for them. Admittedly I don’t always feel very thankful for my height (or lack thereof) but that’s an attitude problem on my part.

Consider your body to be the gift that it is. God gave it to you for a reason. Maybe it would be good to spend a little bit of time thinking about how to use it for Him. And perhaps, I should treat this gift as something to be taken care of and not just used and abused per my every whim. Of course I will still challenge myself, and that will lead to bumps and bruises and sore muscles. But from now on I want to think about the challenges I take, and whether or not they will glorify God or be respectful to what He has given me. (Milk chugging was probably not one of the challenges I should have tried.)

So today, I am thankful for the body and mind that God has given me. May I use it unto His glory.