Monday, June 19, 2017

New Life Things™


Or, recent things in my life that I feel like talking about today. XD




~ Moving to My Own Apartment. {pictures upcoming, possibly. also, I feel like I have been moving for forever.}
will I move next year? who knows...
at least sticking to the same town, though, Lord willing...XD

~ Driving My Own Car to that new apartment. {Though I plan to bike to work as many days as possible, there is something very awesome about God leading us to the cheapest truck of its kind in the state immediately after the car I had been driving died...plus it's still under warranty, and should be something I completely don't have to worry about while Residency Things are going on...}
what, it has to do with cars. XD 

~ Starting an Adult Job™ for the first time, and my first job at ALL since starting medical school. {Today is the first day of training, you guys...we'll see what happens to blogging after I officially start. XD}
I wish I were not kidding quite so much right now. XD
But maybe at least I will no longer be going IN to debt?
That will be quite the improvement.

~ Finally discovering what it feels like to wait on hearing back from a publisher...you got my baby, publisher peoples...I may have separation anxiety...XD
*internally screaming*

~ Also discovering what it feels like to say that out loud. {I normally would not mention I'd sent something anywhere until I'd heard back...I'm being uncharacteristically open, you guys... XD}



~ Also trying to reconcile the thought of moving hours away from my family and having less time to be in contact with them than I ever have before. While simultaneously doing something harder than I've ever done. {It's medical boot camp, and from everything I've heard, just as bonding and as horrifying as you would expect...}



~ Reading a new book, as in Thick as Thieves.
I read The Thief back in...2009? 2010?, immediately turned around and read most of the series aloud to my family, and have been trying to make the people around me read the Queen's Thief series ever since. This spring I actually read The Thief aloud and sent it to one of my friends who recently was listening to a bunch of audiobooks, and then gave it to my sister for her birthday. {It's been delightful to watch her face as she reads through the rest of the series herself.}
This year was the publication of the 5th book, and this month is the first time I've read through one of Megan Whalen Turner's books simultaneously with one of my friends, stopping to freak out and share the awesomeness after every 2 chapters. 


The book is gold, and also gold was one of the "hint words"
that MWT threw out to fans while writing the book. XD

~ Figuring out taxes. -___- And I'm not even to the taxes part, just the signing up for stuff.
'nuff said

~ In other writing news, I just won a medical student writing contest with a poem I wrote in the middle of the night prior to an interview, and I will be published in a medical journal this summer!


~ I even had to set up a photography session with the journal's photographer in order to get my picture taken. Definitely New™.




I think that's all the recent stuff I wanted to talk about...stay tuned for whatever else randomness strikes my blogging fancy....XD


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lord, teach us to pray...



Our Father, our Father, our Father, our Father...You are Father to each of us, and bear the burden and care for each one. I do not have to hold it all, because You do.

Who art in Heaven...Your ways are not our ways nor Your thoughts our thoughts...You are above, we are below.

Hallowed be Thy Name...regardless of what You choose...holy, holy, holy is the Lamb that was slain.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...Your presence and Your power and Your place here and now and forever more...Your plan before and above ours, in the world and in our hearts.

On earth as it is in heaven...may we obey as if already in heaven, may Your power and Your glory be our highest good, may we taste and see that You are good, even here, even now.


Give us this day our daily bread...You have claimed us, You have translated us into Your kingdom, You are the Bread of Life...Give us You, spiritually and physically, show us Your love and strengthen our faith.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...make us like You in all ways, cover us with Your righteousness, Give us You, physically and spiritually.

Lead us not into temptation...keep us from the evil way, do not let our feet slip, protect us from the designs of the evil one. Make Thy way straight before our faces.

But deliver us from evil...wholly take us out of the way. Make clear the escape from sin, protect us from this fallen world and how it would seek to taint our relationship with You and with others. Be Thou for us, our Strength and our Deliverer.

For Thine is the kingdom...the kingdom which Your good pleasure would give us. You are Goodness, You are Love, at Your right hand is pleasure forevermore, and Your will for us is good.

And the power, and the glory, for ever...All power is Yours, all ability, all knowledge. You are infinitely able...You held the sun still in the sky so that Your will could be done and turned back death to bring us life. You, as Creator and as Healer, are able to heal our uttermost brokenness, to create in us a new heart, to make us new creatures entirely. There is nothing impossible with You.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June Snippets


What, I just did May? Shhhh. Ignore that. XD



I've mentioned this story before...and really, I had almost started it before I finished book one.  But, as much as I loved them, I wasn't entirely ready to spend another two years in the heads of the same characters I'd been in for what already felt like forever.

So I dawdled and told myself I had to wait for beta reader responses and then got them and dawdled some more...played with all my other stories--a chapter here, a chapter there...worked on editing Contract to Time Travel...wrote a proposal...sent Contract to Time Travel to 3 publishers as a somewhat drawn out simultaneous submission...messed around with new novel ideas...and then came back to this one. 

And found myself, for the first time in months, writing-writing. As opposed to the numerous variations {considering-writing...attempting-writing...forcing-writing...fighting-writing...etc.} that have been plaguing me for a very long time. New Life Things™ will be happening soon, so I don't know how long this will last, but right now I'm loving it. XD


~~~

      But even this could not completely stop the rumors. The whispers that some ordered to death had disappeared before the patrols could come for them. That a sky car bringing supplies to the capital had been stopped and all food and weapons stolen. That one of the government homes for children of traitors had burned to the ground but no bodies were afterward found. That one of the databases in Itai had exploded, and hundreds of records regarding biogen experiments, including the chimeras, had been destroyed. That maybe, just maybe, there was a way out of Itai, even, perhaps out of Makul itself. That somewhere there lived a people who did not answer to Amon.
The penalty for speaking any of this is death.


~~~

        “I think I saw Amon’s Shadow on the way to school and I think we should review the safety protocol about the angel.” The boy’s words spilled out of him like salt overshaken, and Eren drew his eyebrows together, lowering and not at all caring that he was doing so. 
        “First—we do not call him that.” How many times could he drill this into their heads? Words have power. “Name the creatures of Amon what they are and name your fears. Forget Angel, Amon's Right Hand, Head Assassin, Last of the Five, and call him Amon’s Shadow only when required. Even calling him a transgenic or a chimera—he is merely a man with spliced DNA and a mind twisted and shattered by years of experiments and abuse. Do not make it sound more impressive than you must. Second—what is our safety protocol?”



~~~

         “You going to be okay?” he asked before he thought. Stupid question. But it sounded better than are you going to start breathing normally anytime soon?
        She looked down at Ty and shrugged, the struggle to sound calm giving a ragged edge to her voice. “Good isn’t happening, but I’ll work on okay. Until either utter panic or overwhelming relief become more appropriate.”



~~~

        The street was there before them, and she stopped short, scarcely noticing the chimeras doing the same on either side of her. It was bleak and barren, but that place beneath the moonlight had been burned into her soul and she was bleeding now as if the wound had never healed. Ja-Il was falling, broken wings outstretched, lifeblood spreading across his skin; Dante screaming a horror too great for words; the others crying out in agony as the bonds that held them close were torn apart by sacrifice and by betrayal. 
      The burning ache of it wrenched through her, and still she stood frozen. How could it still hurt this much?


~~~

        “Forgive me,” he whispered. “The thought of cutting his throat is all that keeps me sane some nights.


~~~

        “Yes,” [he] said simply. 
        The older man shook his head, as if the admission were too brazen to believe. 
       [The chimera] stretched out his hand, as though he would slow the gathering storm. “I have fought and bled with you. You have known who I am, if not what.”

      The man crossed the room in two steps and there was no calming the fury within his eyes. “You are an accursed angel,” he said, and his voice caught in blinding pain. “And you are the monster that killed my wife.” His fist smashed into [the chimera's] face before [she] realized his intent.


~~~


            Aksel Storm raised his hand, running the other through his mess of brown curls and barely waiting until Eren pointed to him. “Know all available information at all times.”
          Min raised his hand again, clearly unabashed. “But that is impossible and exactly my point—the protocol is not a protocol at all. It is merely more things to think about and in a moment of panic we are to what? Stroke our chins and evaluate Amon’s Shadow for a weakness?”
           Aksel sent him withering glance. “We are not supposed to panic, brainless.” 




Thursday, June 1, 2017

#TWIN

from a trip to Florida

The past few months I've been working on memorizing John 14-17. {Mostly 14. I got bogged down because of traveling so much.} Every time I go through I hit 14:14-15, and have to pause a moment. 
if ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.  
If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
I keep thinking about the relationship between those two verses, and their straightforwardness compared to how very complicated they seem to us as humans...and then before I know it I'm in chapter 15 and in the middle of all the abiding, and having to pause again.

Abiding is something I've thought about for sure...but it's also a concept I've had trouble grasping. Like seriously, how do you abide in Him? It's clearly central to living as His person, the concept makes sense...but HOW?

In some ways my family has always been pretty close. Every so often my mom and I will say the exact same thing at the exact same time -- it happens more often the more time we spend together, and it always sets my mom laughing. "I guess I can die now," she usually says. "I've replicated myself." 

Perhaps stranger than that is when my two closest friends and I {one of whom I see on rare, light-filled days in which sugar and sleeplessness are closely entwined, and one of whom I have not yet met in person} do the equivalent online: type the same words at the same time while chatting with each other. We call it twinning. {Hence the name of this post.} The record is perhaps 3 of the exact same responses in a row for each of us, the odds of which I don't feel like calculating. 

This happens the most when we are in sync, obviously -- when we have been spending a lot of time together, when we are most in tune with each other's thoughts and moods, when we are, to put it simply, feeling the same thing.

It was thinking about this that finally made the concept of abiding click, and with it, a lightbulb flash of understanding regarding the command to pray without ceasing.

When I go for days without truly talking to my mother or chatting/messaging/texting my closest friends, this does not mean our friendship has ceased to exist. But, it means that when we talk again it takes just that little bit longer until we reach that place of being totally in sync.  

When I go for days without real, serious prayer time, this does not mean I am not a Christian. But it means that when I next pray, it will take that much longer before I am thinking His way. Prayer is not so that God knows what is on my mind {though I think He created us and Heaven because He actually does enjoy spending time with us, mind-blowing as that thought is}. Prayer is that I can know His mind, so that I can know His heart, so much as is possible for the finite to understand the infinite. So that I can be like Him. What else is abiding, but that closeness, that oneness, that unthinking knowing where my actions, my words, my thoughts, become His? 

How do I get there? I am guessing it works with my God the way it works with my people -- which is by loving them, caring about what they care about, and discussing everything under the sun with them and snatching any moment I can to share with them. Just as simple and as difficult as that. 

I have to keep thinking about John 14...but if I put John 15 into practice, I think it will become understandable on a different level. The times when I am in sync with my people are always amazing...abiding in God the way Jesus describes in John 15? Try to imagine that. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mystery of the InterVerse


So Blogger's search keywords under Stats aren't very helpful. {You're hereby notified I'm going to try out Google Analytics and see what comes of it...XD Curiosity killed the Kate, you know.} As an example of their non-helpfulness, would you like to see the top 10 ways that people have apparently reached this blog?

By googling:

seek him first
....I feel like I should apologize to the scores of people who were looking for a Bible verse and ended up here...there's a lot of extra information if you were just looking for Matthew 6:33.

firstseekhim.blogspot.com
...so what did you guys do? Type that address into google? Trust your instincts more! You had it right!

the grinch's dog
It continues to absolutely crack me up that of all the posts on this blog that I've written...THIS ONE has the most views. A five-minute post from back in 2009.

love quotes for him
....I don't know whether to find that phrase itself more confusing or the fact that it apparently brought 37 people to this blog.

grinch's dog
Again with that dog. -_-

i'm lost
...aaaaand that many of you ended up here via being lost. I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult...

exam comics
I guess I do talk a lot about exams? And maybe at some point I had some comics up?? I don't even remember it, though...hrm...what do you know about me that I have forgotten about myself...

dachapoo
SERIOUSLY.  I have to start paying that dog a commission or something...

3 billy goats gruff printables
Okay, THAT was kind of a cute post. XD And I always liked that printable.

grinchs dog
...I'm not even going to add up the total and see how many people she has brought to my blog...I should just take a bunch of pictures of her apparently, and stick with that for blog content...XD

Speaking of curiosity, though...I really want to know how you found my blog. How many of you who stuck around to read it found it because of that little dog? XD Or was it through fellow blogger sidebars? Tags? Interviews? I wanna know, Anne.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

On Abandoning the World and Walking with the One who Created it




from one of my 5am flights

And he walked with God and he was not. 

How is that for abandoned to God? Living so completely in and with and for and through God that you simply walk with him until you are not. He must increase and I must decrease.

~ Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; he was perfect in his generations; God did not take him. Instead, God directed him to build an ark.
~ Moses, to whom God talked as to a friend, a relationship unlike any other, afterward had a face that literally shone. So brightly he had to veil himself, as the temple was veiled to hide the Holy of Holies. That's how much his body reflected the Person of God with Whom he met. He was buried by God.
~ Elijah and Elisha raised the dead and called down fire and over and over and over again asked for and received the impossible. They heard His voice, saw the otherworld surrounding them...lived in that reality of the God who spoke in a still, small voice in the midst of earthquakes and fire, and who sent chariots and horses of fire to carry His servant home - or to protect them as they served Him on earth.
~ David, the man after God's own heart, of whose shattered prayers we can read pages upon pages, heard from prophets. He also up and asked God things and heard God answer him. But he was not allowed to build a temple for the God who spoke with him.
~ Paul, the passionate, difficult-to-understand missionary who traveled across the world and died for the One whose Name he proclaimed, heard a voice from heaven...and was later 'caught up to the third heaven', and that was enough.
~ Daniel, dedicated to the God who permitted the destruction of his entire life, was beloved of the Lord, visited by dreams and visions and angels throughout his life.
~ John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, not only walked with God incarnate, but in worshiping Him after saw Him as the King among the rainbows and candles, and was given vision after vision of the future of the world.

It doesn't happen the same way twice. 

There is no perfect pattern of here is how to walk with Me and here is how I will reveal Myself to you. It's the same God working with and connecting with different people in all these different ways. It doesn't matter how you think it'll go or what specific person you want to someday be like but rather it is about with Whom you are walking.

Abide in Me and I in you.

What does Abide means to you? What are practical ways that you abide in Him and forsake the world in which you actually live, while still being in the world but not of it
How you walk with God

Monday, May 22, 2017

Brief May Snippets


So this month I would like to note I have finished editing Contract to Time Travel...at least for now...and if you'd like a few traumatic dramatic moments in time...read on.


~~~


For a moment Amon did not speak, and in that silence they scarcely breathed.
"And what was Rui Arries' place?" Amon's voice was no louder, and more dangerous yet for the chill calm underlying every word.
"He was leader of the patrols before he betrayed you." Ja-Il’s voice was still as death.
"Have you worked with him before?" The words were gentler yet.
"Yes, my lord." Ja-Il answered, without any hint of explanation or excuse.

"Then should you have expected this?" Amon's lip curled viciously, and Hae-Jin lowered his eyes yet further.
~~~

Oh, God, please, please—
A shadow separated itself from the mist, and suddenly there was Phoenix, hands grasping futilely at a thin reza strap about her neck. Someone was effortlessly pushing her forward, holding the reza twisted just tightly enough to cut off her breath.
It was Ja-Il. His black shirt, silver lacing looped across one shoulder, swinging with his every movement, was buttoned only partially, and she could see the edge of the brand Amon had burned into him, the scar he would carry the rest of his life. Not A for angel, but A for Amon, A to show he was wholly and completely bound to the one whose name he bore, written with fire in his very flesh.
His lips curled away from his teeth as her gaze met his, and he twisted his hand slightly. One turn of his wrist and he could break her twin’s neck. What he had forgotten only God knew, but his hand on Phoenix controlled her as surely as if it were at her own throat.

~~~

Also, I would like to introduce Inside my Mind -- a partially gender-swapped story based on/inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and set on the moon.
collage by me; pictures & lyrics not mine

It will be part of a 4-volume set which also includes stories based on Sleeping Beauty, a gender-swapped Little Mermaid, and Medusa. I am having a blast, because a science-minded ambassador's son tapped by rebel leaders to bring an ancient princess out of cryo-sleep is delightful to write, while a young policeman going deep undercover because he fell in love with the daughter of a gangster while blissfully unaware that his boss intends to bury him along with much evidence of police corruption is also great. Medusa's story is far darker, but suffice it to say that she and my opera ghost have a great deal in common, and the company that destroyed their lives and that keeps the sleeping princess asleep will have a pretty reckoning ahead when she turns her deadly gaze on them. 
Athena/Maleficient is a great combination, by the way.


~~~
The world to come will judge me. 
It is inevitable. 
Whether they will judge me more for what I did in the beginning or the thing I did in the end...I do not know. No one will understand the times we lived or the horrors we faced or the decisions we were forced to make. At least we thought we were forced, believed we had no choice but to make the decisions that we did. 
My peers see no other choices yet. I am condemned, and this decision I understand. I have betrayed my orders and the secrets that should be most sacred to my trust. I beg no mercy for what I have done. 
Nor do I repent. Should any other have seen and heard as I have done, that one could not condemn me. As to the rest...they cannot understand. 
Ah, the world to come will judge us all. Yet the world does not even know my name. 
I go now as I am ordered, obedient in this, when I have been disobedient in so much else, and the name they shall place upon my grave will simply be The Persian.


~~~

He swore unthinkingly, cursing his spiritual coordinator to a place the coordinator did not believe existed, then put his hand over his mouth. 
“Bad 'com?” 
He started, then turned to face Galiaskarov. He had forgotten she was there. “I apologize,” he said. “That was inappropriate.” 
She looked at him, holding his gaze with almost unnerving directness. “Inappropriate, perhaps, but tragically not untrue.” 

~~~

"Yes?" Even through an obvious voice modulator the question was clipped and abrupt. 
"Ah...yes..." he said. "I am...not in the habit of speaking to the disembodied voices of ancient Roman goddesses." 
"I prefer the designation of ancient Greek monster," the voice said. "And would you like to get in the habit or is this conversation over?" 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

To live boldly

I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Peter was always a bit impulsive, always a bit of a leader...ready to jump up and follow a stranger, to go fishing, to chase after Jesus even when darkness ruled and he was terrified and everything pointed to his Leader dying and any who tried to defend him dying with Him, and that Leader had already refused the only help Peter knew how to give -- even then he followed, though he could not go all the way.

In that horrendous moment of realization and the wretched time that came after, in his repentance and his sorrow, Peter was purged. The fear the world had ingrained in him suddenly could not matter so much. Some forty days later at the beginning of Acts, Peter, having seen his Risen Lord and been charged to feed the sheep, does exactly that. He is the one to rise to speak, he is the one to explain to everyone what God hath wrought. He's also the one to speak to the lame man, and to again give a solid Repent-and-Live sermon. He's the one to respond to the High Priests when the disciples are hauled in for questioning. He's the second disciple Herod arrests -- clearly a recognized leader by that point. 

In Acts 10, God shows him the equality of the human race, and Peter, shocked though he seems, appears to understand and take the lesson to heart -- in the very next chapter he defends his position and clearly explains what he has learned. In Acts 15, Peter reaffirms what he has learned, and stands with Paul in refusing to force Gentile believers to be circumcised. 

And yet.

Paul mentions the meeting with Peter in his letter to the Galatians, and then states:
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision...But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Peter knew this. He'd heard it straight from the mouth of God along with a heavenly vision. He was the one who'd first convinced everyone else.
So why did he need Paul, of all people, to remind him?


The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 
As a child, Peter was one of my least favorite disciples. He said stupid things. He was always getting in trouble. He was irritating. Give me a Daniel or a Joseph, the former of whose enemies couldn't find a single fault with and even with the latter the worst than could be said of him was that he was a little too aware of how special he was. (For which you can scarcely blame him, considering how and by whom he was raised.) Growing up and realizing as I stumbled along the way how little like Daniel I was...Peter started looking a lot more interesting. 

My underlying personality is nothing like Peter's. I'm an INFP - a peace-maker with a rock-solid dedication to truth at my core. But, like Peter, being born into a fallen world changed a few things. I abhor conflict and am a people-pleaser and forget oh, so often, truths that God has already taught me. Peter, who spent ~3 years living with the Son of God and the rest of his life serving Him, forgot things that had been shouted at him three times out of heaven. No matter how frustrated I get with myself that didn't God teach this to you two years ago? WHY ARE YOU NEEDING TO HEAR IT AGAIN?!? ...this appears to be a function of living on this earth. The theory of "sin bents" and "besetting sins" and things written into our DNA that mean certain sins will tempt us more than they tempt others makes sense to me. 

This doesn't mean we get a free pass to shrug and move on. This means we pay attention when God teaches us something...and we tell everyone around us and we surround ourselves with people who, like Paul, are willing to call us out on any stupidity or sin into which we might fall. It might be different parts of the same core issue tripping us up in different ways (the fear of man caught Peter both times, though one led to denying fellowship with Christ and the other led to him denying friendship with His followers), and no matter the specific incident, that core issue might take a dozen calling-outs before we fully understand how to deal with it...so we had better use each of those calling-outs to learn as fully as we possibly can what we need to change in our life, and what lesson we need to write on our hearts.

 In calling me and saving me, Jesus Christ has begun a good work in me which He continues to perfect - He is daily making me more like Himself, more into the person I was originally meant to be. The fact that I am not that person yet is in no way a failure of His, and it is no license for me to give up the fight. We have been redeemed by Love and created by a Master Craftsman. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime, even for the Apostle Peter. 


 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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