Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Highlights of 2013

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..

This may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean you by these stones? 7Then you shall answer them...

I have always loved the idea of standing stones and their meaning...and not forgetting what God has done is something on which I think we need to place more importance. So here I go through 2013! :) If 2012 was the year of small things...2013 was a year of big things. 

I applied to medical school, and each of the recommendation letters I was given was perfect and my application actually came together in time and just as it needed to be, with help from my mom and several lovely people at my college.

My interview was a hundred answers to prayer (including the fact that one of my interviewers has since read and loved my book, a miracle in itself).

It was followed by my acceptance into medical school, both a miracle (and no, I'm not just throwing that word around...my life itself is a miracle, given that I and my siblings were never even supposed to be born) and a confirmation of what I have been heading towards for the past 7 years. 

My first book was published - with everything from an awesome illustrator to getting endorsements from Jill Williamson and Regina Doman being entirely answers to prayer. (Those from Sarah Mally and Jessica Greyson were added blessings that made my happiness complete. XD God is sooo good.) 

Speaking of books, one I love was published this year...the finished product was definitely an answer to prayer, as I had been been reading it as it was written and praying for its brilliant author, Mirriam Neal, and for her gift to glorify God - Monster is gorgeous. 

While on the topic of books, there is another delightful author I pray for often whose second book was just published...I'm ridiculously proud of her and happy to say my little sister is lying in bed right now, laughing out loud over the beginning of Captive of Raven Castle. Again...God is good. 

After being accepted into medical school came an answer to the desperate prayers of my mom (and me :) - the provision of an incredible place to live with a marvelous family who have blessed my life in a million ways. 

And then I actually started medical school, which was terrifying and incredible and taught me far more than I was expecting to learn about life and prayers and miracles in general...after nearly dying of homesickness and then getting wretchedly sick-sick during finals week, I still passed what some call the hardest class in medical school - Foundations of Medicine. I called that good and a miracle and went on a whirlwind tour of visiting my horribly missed family that weekend.

The second course, Skin/MusculoSkeletal, was far easier - which ended up making it harder, as "easy" in med school is all relative, and some of my attempts at studying were definitely the wrong way to go about learning. I struggled far more than I should have, and when the final came...you may have noticed I was somewhat absent from blog-world, besides this post...[which, for those of you praying - I got 90% on that Monday test...managed to get a patient history in that afternoon, thought it was iffy for a while (even got the write-up turned in on time...it was good)...did ridiculously well on that Dreaded Lab Exam, which made me entirely happy, you better believe (I had finished everything but the final test and I was passing the class!)...] 
But I was not feeling strong...at all...A week of solid studying and 16 weeks of studying in general and skimping on sleep had left my brain in a fog that I struggled through during the entire test. And when I reached the end of four hours and finally clicked submit and saw my score...I walked out in a daze. There was no way I had done so badly...but I had. And there was nothing more I could do. It was a rough week until at last I was notified that the test had been revised and I had actually passed - a miracle I thought so unlikely to occur I had scarcely dared to ask for it. I used to say I lived my life by miracles...until suddenly realizing how little I knew about living by miracles and how amazing my God is to prove Himself strong through my weakness. 

So much has happened this year...I am learning to live by faith and not by sight...to trust that when He says all things work together for good He means it. I have met some amazing people, those I live with and my 'colleagues' at the med school, and gotten to know some people I knew before better - I am soo thankful for my friends, both those I see often and those I have not yet met face-to-face. I've discovered what it's like to no longer live with your family (there are definitely a few things I hate about growing up...thank You, God, that they're only a few hours away from me), and come to appreciate their amazingness more than ever before. I'm figuring out how to balance the future and the present  and the past (all hopes and dreams firmly grounded in reality, no regrets...it's definitely still in the figuring out process :). The goodness of God endureth continually, and it is such an incredible thing to follow His call and see that He is faithful to do it. 

Thanks be to God for another year and all He has done in my life and others. I am looking forward to 2014. :D

And thank you guys for being awesome - it's weird to think I've been blogging for 5 years and 6 months and everything I've learned from other bloggers and how we have changed each other's lives. Aren't you excited to see what comes next? XD

Monday, December 30, 2013

another episode of lost...

So. Some of you may remember that when it comes to finding my way, I have major skills at getting lost. (Really major. Hence the title of my blog post.) 

Lately, I've noticed it taking a turn for the worse. I generally have decided that I just need directions. Without them I have a tendency to get hopelessly lost...so I get directions before I walk out my door. One learns to deal with the limitations one has. However, even with directions, life is not always so simple as I would like.

Recently I was going to stop by the laundromat on my way home...so I glanced at the directions I'd pulled up, and set out. 
Except the first direction was "go east on Road In The Middle Of Nowhere." 
Bah. It's NOON. How am I supposed to know which direction east is?!? 

So I shrugged and chose a direction and headed out. But I got no more than 100 yards before I started thinking I'd probably picked the wrong way...but surely the roads joined up somewhere up ahead...so I shrugged and kept going. There were cars behind me, people. 

I recognized a few road names, though, which was good...and since I hadn't gone 5 miles where I probably should have gone 5 miles...I could probably turn on the next road and just go until I found another road I recognized. 

So I did. 

Until at some point I found myself staring at a very familiar-looking shack on the side of the road. I had just driven in a complete circle. 

That takes major talent, guys.  

(Also, if you go in circles when you're lost - and I am now living proof that you do - why are you supposed to stay in the same spot? You'll come back around to it eventually, and while circling you might find something useful... :P I suppose if somebody's looking for you it's different...) 

Well. Okay, so now I could go 5 miles on that road I was supposed to 5 miles on. Except...as I went past the sign I realized the road kinda had the wrong name. Handy, that. Well, if I didn't come to the next road in 5 miles, I'd know it was really wrong. (Come on. It had to be this way...) 

Except 5 miles further I was 5 miles further into the Middle of Nowhere, my next turn nowhere in sight. 

So I turned around, glancing at my directions again. Yeah...pretty sure I was going West the whole time. (Faced with four directions, I WOULD pick the one exactly opposite the direction I wanted to go.) 

Half an hour later, I was right back where I'd started in the beginning. 

Now when I looked at them, the directions made perfect sense, and I knew exactly where I was headed...(given that there was only one more road I could try, and that one led to Nowhere And Beyond, I kinda had no other choice) But if I'd taken a minute to look at them before randomly choosing my East, I would have figured out where I was headed. But instead I spent 30 minutes chasing down East. 

Sure it was a lovely day, and I was able to listen to Josh Groban singing Christmas music for a good deal longer than I would otherwise have been able to, but I found myself wondering when my brain had become so scattered I could not even FOLLOW directions, even when I had them plainly in front of me. 

But then I realized something. This is very much how my Bible reading has been lately. I know I need my life-directions, and need them badly. Without them I get absolutely nowhere. So every day I pull them up and glance at them, even as I'm already heading on my way. I don't know what I'm looking for, though, but there's a lot of familiar sounding stuff in there, and surely I'll get somewhere just going off that...

And then I find myself going in circles. Not, thank God, on the emotional roller coaster that I was on earlier this past semester, but simply in a I-should-be-growing-in-grace-and-godliness-and-oh-wait-haven't-I-seen-that-shack-before? sort of way. 

Funny that I was just reading about Rehoboam, who did evil because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord. If I'm not being intentional about about preparing my heart to seek Him and then seeking Him...I'm just spinning my wheels. Wasting gas. Wasting time. 

I don't want 2014 to be that way. There are a million things I want to do...and I'm realizing I need to be intentional about all of them. Focused. Still awake, aware, and abiding...but with far more focused intensity and intention. Taking the wrong road while driving on a Sunday afternoon is one thing...taking a wrong turn spiritually could be far more dangerous.

So here's to choosing my path thoughtfully...focusing on what God has called me to do...and being intentional about how I use my time and resources. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snips of Snippets...

the following snippets are all from Contract to Time Travel...
Phoenix Fire...

There was a blur of movement and she recognized the black-haired angel the instant before his open palm struck her across the face, viciously snapping her head back.
    “Keh, don’t break her neck, Dante.” Ja-Il sounded infinitely bored. 


The leader and the dark one dove to meet them both, and then Ty was screaming behind Ellian and he spun to see Kang-Dae there, black and white hair wildly askew, raging fury on his face. There was a knife in his right hand and he looked at Ellian as he reached for the boy, mockery joining the bloodlight in his blue eyes.


    “The…watch…isn’t…working…” he managed, forcing himself to breathe in between words. 

    “Oy, what’d you do to my Precious?” Chabry snapped, coming around the other side of the desk. He leaned against it, crossing his arms as he glared down at Ellian. “You know if you break it, I’m gonna kill you…speaking of killing, I need to talk to you about that sister of yours.”
    Dizziness disappeared from Ellian’s mind in a flash, and he was instantly on his feet. “What?” he demanded.



     “He’s done nothing—he’s just a child.”
     “And therefore useless.” Dante shook black hair from his eyes, then focused them on Hae-Jin. “What are you waiting for?” He brought his hand back, flipping the dagger he held and sending it hurtling towards Hae-Jin. “Is a knife easier for you?” he asked sarcastically.


     So what if his watch and his translator were across the room, held by the enemy freak with the crazily blue eyes. Which, while he was thinking of that—he raised his head, looking towards said freak. “Would you mind not playing with that thing?” 

     Those blue eyes went instantly to him, and his mouth snapped shut.


    Straightening, he gave a slight shake to his head, tossing black hair away from his eyes. Somehow in that moment his gaze met hers, and she felt ice shiver through her. Could the look he sent her way been made tangible, it would have bled her out.


in case you're interested, here is Contract to Time Travel's pinterest board...some pictures, a lot of quotes, a few snippets scattered throughout...Pinterest has been huge in writing this story. :D

while I'm on snippets, here's a longish one from The Sons of Bretton Meyrick...these boys make me sad...

    “Keep your educated talk to yourselves.” Tristan slammed the kitchen door. His brothers paused mid-sentence, looking up at him in surprise. Blair of course could never leave well enough alone, and he shoved the chair beside him back. 
    “Come join us.”
     Tristan snorted. “And say what? Oh, no, I agree with Galileo’s view of the sun? No, so leave me out of it until I’ve gone to bed.”
     For a moment there was silence, until Blair said pointedly, “If you’re going to bed, why are you drinking coffee?”
    “Because I’m stupid,” Tristan snapped back, taking another drink and dumping the rest of his tasteless coffee down the sink and starting for the door.
    “You are not,” Derek said, and Tristan grimaced.
    “Then why am I working as a mechanic and why am I heading back to work to fix the stinkin’ vehicle of the head of the police department, because he doesn’t want anyone else touching his car and if he doesn’t have it tomorrow he’s pulling me off the bounty hunter list?” He stomped out of the kitchen. 
    Blair raised his voice, calling after him, “That’s blackmail! He can’t do that to you!”

    “Yeah, I’ll call my lawyer immediately!” Tristan yelled back, making no effort to lesson his sarcasm.

^he was supposed to go to another story...but somehow he is reminding
me of this particular character...

and a random snippet from Chaos Allegro just for fun...a new character introduced himself this week, and already I find him fascinating. XD

“Ah. You enjoy reading?” The Harbor Master smiled benevolently, one hand coming to rest upon the boy’s shoulder.

The boy’s head came up as if a puppeteer had yanked his strings. “I despise it,” he said, showing his teeth in something that might have been called a smile, had it not been so savage. He made as if to fling the book upon the desk beside him, but set it down decently enough, almost as if by accident. 
The man reached out, touching the cover. “Julius Ceasar’s The Conquest of Gaul. In the original Latin. My boy, your jest is in poor taste. For one of your station to be reading this is something to be proud of.”
That savage smile remained, as if the boy’s lips had been set in stone.  Nor did he lower his gaze, but instead met the other’s eyes fearlessly. “It were no jest,” he said. “I had almost rather die.”
A frown slid across Harbor Master’s face. “Your words do you no credit. Why would you read, then, if you hated it as you profess to?”
The stone lips twisted slightly. “Because I have stared out yonder window until I could have gouged my eyes out from pure boredom. So I read.” The lips twisted yet more. “For the sake of my eyes.”


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