Saturday, July 27, 2013

Perfect



As I redid the formatting on Ransomed again, and ordered what had better be THE LAST proof copy, I  got thinking about perfection. If you looked at my room, you wouldn't think I was a perfectionist...*cough* but if you talked to my cover designer (guess who), you'd probably realize I was. (Can you change the color? The words? The entire back? The color again? Actually I liked it the other way better. The woman is an angel.) There are reasons a book I was going to have published by Christmas 2012 has just now reached its final form. :P

But what is perfection? A while ago I was complaining about being a perfectionist (or about not being perfect...), and someone said something that stopped me in my tracks



There are five man-made things in heaven. The holes placed in a perfect man named Jesus Christ. He was, HE IS PERFECT, and yet He is scarred for our transgressions and imperfections.



And I went o.O  When we think perfect, we think without pain, without blemish, cannot be improved upon in any way…The Merriam-Webster dictionary says: 

"being entirely without fault or defect (flawless), satisfying all requirements (accurate), lacing in no essential detail (complete)"

The person I was talking to went on to quote/say

He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man...so that He could redeem them from destruction of their souls, but He did not save the world from heartbreak or destruction. He was...perfect. He is perfect and yet...broken and bruised.

When I want perfect, I want the past erased, I want nothing wrong to have ever happened, I want there to be no possible better thing. But look at the Definition of Perfection as shown by God Himself - scarred and called the Man of Sorrows. He is perfect, and yet bears our imperfections...so that we can bear His perfection.

Which brings me back to one of my favorite verses. 


and you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight

Last year I wrote this and I don't want to repeat what I learned then - it has helped a lot this past year. But I'm realizing again that my very idea of perfection may be skewed. It's not just that He is making me perfect...it's that I have a wrong idea of what perfect is.

Which reminds me of a little thing I saw on pinterest or something that I love:
 
I don't know where I've even gotten some of my ideas of perfection...I mean, I have a decent GPA, my calc professor hired me to correct homework (she told my mom I was one of the best students in her class), and some classes that were called "really hard" I thought were ridiculously easy. And yet I look back and see my other classes. The ones where I flunked a test, where learned less than half of what I should have learned, or where a professor generously upped my grade because of the amount of time I had spent in his/her office. All of which means I'm a bad student!

And yet I took the MCAT after 3 months scattered studying (more like 1 month of studying; it was a crazy summer) and 'broke 30' the first time I took it, I interviewed at one school and was accepted a year early, without even having a 4-year degree. 

But...if I don't have a 4.0 GPA and find myself on the dean's list every semester...I a terrible student. If I don't get the 36 I wanted on my MCAT, I'm going to be an awful doctor. If everyone at my volunteer job doesn't love me to pieces, I'm a horrible volunteer. If I don't know every detail of everything going on in my siblings' lives, I'm the worst big sister ever. If my book has a single mistake in it, I'm an embarrassment of an author. And on and on and on. 

And then I go Wait. Why did I not have  4.0 GPA? Is part of the reason because my younger siblings spent half their days in my room while I was studying? Because there were people I needed to listen to on days before tests? Other students who asked me to help them study? Is that "perfect" GPA the thing I most wanted, or would I rather have other memories, of people who told me I made their day, of siblings who still come excitedly to tell me what new thing they've learned, etc? (And on the flip-side, is sibling-listener the only thing I am called to be? Or is God directing me to do something else with my life as well?)

What is perfect? Am I allowing God to order my days and give me His perfect schedule for me? Or am I throwing myself against a glass I'll never break because what I think is perfect and the perfect He wants are two different things? 

No, Christ's scars are not because of His own stupidity or laziness or whatever else  is my reason for failing at what I'm trying to do...but He is scarred, and He is perfect.

He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief...And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.

Who is defining "perfect" for me? 



Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Shattering of the Rose, final


and the final piece is set into place...the one that turns Brayden at last into Tam Lyn, and the one that will eventually change all their lives forever...

Park                                              Brayden                                                      Jennie                                                  Val  

Another awesome collage done by Jessica... :) she makes me want to write epic... XD




The Prince! The Prince is dead!
Brayden jerked awake, his heart pounding. But the waking was worse than the nightmare, and he shut his eyes, resting his head against the doorframe at his back, wishing he could block out the swirling memories of the past few days. Of that last wild pre-dawn ride with Park, racing their horses full out across the moors…of reaching the Ridge, only to find Prince Edward not there...of waiting until worry rode homeward with them…of arriving at the castle and finding it in utter confusion.
The Prince was dead, killed by a fall from one of those wild horses he insisted upon keeping in his stable. The news had been thrown at them in the chaos of the moment, and they heard it in a shock that held them motionless. But then his eyes had met Park’s, and the next instant they were both dashing headlong for the palace, Brayden’s heart nearly flying from his chest.
He opened his eyes, staring into the darkness that surrounded him. They’d known, he and Park, so soon as the reason for the prince’s death had been given, that it was murder. The queen had finally made her move, days before Edward’s coronation, just weeks after his wedding. At first they had feared a complete coup, and the safety of Edward’s new bride had been their greatest concern.
But the Princess Natalia was fine. So fine as an orphan princess and a newly made widow could be. And fine she would remain so long as Brayden had breath left in his body.  What more the queen was planning, he did not know, but of the fact she had a plan, there was not the shadow of a doubt. He just had to learn what it was, he and Park.
Brayden got to his feet, unable to sit still longer. Everyone knew the three of them had been like brothers, and surely no one knew better than the queen. She had told them they must include Henrik just the same, and they had thought her insane—they had known each other seven years before she married the king and brought a son from her previous marriage to live in the palace…half the time they spoke to each other in riddles, not even meaning to; no boy could share in that, not unless he had lived through it all with them.
Henrik. Brayden scowled, walking the thin strip of moonlight in the outer room, up and down. Even had he lived through it with them, he was one who would not have shared that closeness anyway. What he would do now was anyone’s guess. Did the queen plan to crown him, in place of Edward?
If she had so much as an inkling that they suspected the truth, Brayden thought, he would be dead, as would Park. They had to convince her they were on her side, that their only wish was for the country to be in good hands, that they had no opinion on the next reigning sovereign of Aviemore. He grimaced at the thought of such falsehoods.
He wanted the Princess Natalia to be queen, but as Park had pointed out last night, not only did they know next to nothing about her capabilities as a ruler, but Edward had not been crowned. Queen Christina was yet queen, only she was no longer carrying out her late husband’s plans for his son’s marriage and coronation. Did the prince’s widow, married such a short time, have any right at all to take the place of the woman who had been at the king’s side for years? If the king’s adopted son took the throne after such unfortunate accidents had befallen the royal bloodline, could any say him nay?
Brayden nearly cringed at the thought. He did not know what they should do, if there even was anything they could do, he only knew they must keep the princess safe. If that were all they could do for their country…Heaven help Aviemore.
He paused his pacing at the thought, glancing towards the princess’s door. In the silence that followed his footsteps, he became suddenly aware of a sound in the next room. Stepping closer to the door, he realize she was crying.
He leaned against the door, closing his eyes again, feeling as if he should not be listening. And yet…there was something so hopeless in the sound, so utterly alone. She had no kin here, no one she knew…even her childhood nurse had died before she came to this place. She seemed half afraid of the ladies in waiting, and he, for one, could not blame her.
A sudden resolve took him, and he turned, knocking softly on the door.
“Princess,” he said, then raised his voice just slightly. “Princess, I’m coming in.”
There was no response, and he carefully opened the door. Princess Natalia was sitting on the floor before the fire, one of Edward’s greatcoats thrown over her shoulders. She did not look up as he entered, but he bowed anyway, stopping short in the doorway.
“Are...” he began, then bit the sentence off. Of course she was not all right. “Is there anything I can get you, your highness?” he asked instead. He did not wholly expect a reply, and he was not surprised when she answered without raising her head, her voice muffled in her arms.
Her words, however, he was not prepared for, and the pain in her voice almost made him flinch.
“Can you keep me alive?”
He took an unconscious step towards her, going down on one knee at the side of the fireplace.
“I will keep you alive,” he said gently, then realized how far short of her grief those words came. She was abandoned in a strange country, among a strange people, and the one person whose responsibility it was to care for and love her had just died.
“I swear I will protect you, Princess, for Prince Edward’s sake,” he whispered. She raised her head, looking into the fire and he could see the tears trembling on her long lashes.
“And for your own,” he added, aching at the thought of her loss. She did not even know how much she had missed, but he did. He and Park had both known Edward since childhood, had both heard him raving about the girl he was to marry, and knew there was nothing he would not do for her. The two barely knew each other, and her short stay in the palace in the weeks before and after the wedding was scarcely enough time to truly understand each other…but he knew Edward had gone into the marriage prepared to fall madly in love with her.
The princess turned her head slowly to look up at him, her eyes glistening in the firelight. For a long moment she merely looked at him, before at last taking a shaky breath.

“Then…will you protect my child?”

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Shattering of the Rose, Part V


and the shattering continues...




once again, it is thanks to Jessica that Tam has the brown eyes he must have XD
“Mother! What in heaven’s name are you thinking? She’s a scheming witch, and this is utterly beneath you.”
“To serve my country’s queen? To befriend a woman who has so recently lost her husband and who finds herself alone with two young sons to guide and a country to care for? This is beneath me?” His mother looked at him a long moment, her grey eyes coldly stern. “And beyond insulting your mother, you have just called your queen what could lose you your tongue, were any other to hear it. Watch your words, Brayden Roxbury. I will not tolerate your impudence.”
His impudence? The queen was setting in motion plans that would utterly overturn their country, and his mother was chastising him for disrespect. If Edward was not crowned king soon…he did not want to think of what could happen.
“Mother…” Why could he not reach her? Why was she refusing to listen to a word he said?
“Mother,” he repeated, then took a deep breath. “She does not care about this country, I know she does not. To offer comfort to a widow—of course I would have no objections to that. But she is no grieving widow. I know she has been scheming for years, and now…I am afraid for our country, Mother, I am.”
There was no change upon her face and he stepped closer to her, everything in him begging simply for her to listen. “Father died for this country. He gave his life to preserve it. With his memory in your heart, how can you so callously step forward to  assist that woman in destroying it?”
His mother’s hand flashed out, and the next moment he was raising his head in utter disbelief, his own fingers brushing his stinging face. She had never raised a hand to him before, and he could not entirely make himself understand what had just occurred.
“Listen to me, Brayden.” His mother’s voice was like ice, and he stared at her, slowly dropping his hand back down to his side. He scarcely recognized the woman before him.
“Your father died for the king, and so for the stability of the country, I grant you. But if you think inciting rebellion in the palace would do anything for our country…then I pity myself for having raised a fool. If I can serve our queen, I will do so to the best of my ability. Whether she wishes to make herself queen regent instead of queen mother or whatever it is you are thinking, I cannot imagine, but I am sure it too will be for the stability of our country. Do not speak to me again on this matter.”
She turned away from him without another word and swept from the room, silken skirts sweeping the floor. Brayden took one step after her, then pulled himself up short, swallowing hard.

So that was that. What else was there to speak about, at all?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Shattering of the Rose, Part IV


this part of the story does not yet touch Tam...but someday it will, and is yet another piece that will shatter...


the Sophie and the Val who are to be...via google :) 
and, by the by, it is Jennie's part of this story that throws my timeline 
all off and makes me think the story will not be historical fiction. :P


This should be interesting.
Val stepped out of the way to allow his mother to enter the family pew box first. After nine months of interim preachers and very little shepherding, the country flock of Christ’s Church had a new vicar at last, and this Sunday was the man’s first sermon.
Wondering curiously what the man was like, Val took a step into the pew, only to bump into a cloud of silk and lace. Mercy’s sparkling blue eyes laughed saucily up at him, and she folded her fan to one side and then flipped it open to shield their faces from the rest of the church.
“Daydreaming already, Val? When we haven’t even seated ourselves yet? Or did you once again forget your poor little sister?”
He rolled his eyes at her—poor little sauce-box—and stepped back to allow her room to go in ahead. “I thought you were on the other side of Mother!” he whispered back, and she sniffed proudly, then started giggling.
“What?” he asked, and she pointed to the pulpit. Val’s gaze followed her finger as he swung the box door shut, and there he was. The new vicar of Christ’s Church, second son of Lord Wilcox, and someone none of them knew much of anything about. Scarcely had his mind registered the thought before Mercy was nudging him, as forcefully as she dared in church.
“His daughter must be here, then; can you see her?” she whispered, and he leaned forward slightly, craning his neck to see the far pew box closest to the pulpit.
“Yes,” he said then, for as soon as he saw the pew, he saw the girl. Or rather, he saw her hair. Golden sheets of it, cascading down her back like a river of sunlight. Then she turned her head slightly, and he saw she was studying the church, her eyes traveling over every inch of the plain architecture that made up Christ’s Church, a solemn curiosity about her.
“What’s she like? Come, Val, tell me!” Mercy was fairly bouncing beside him, trying in vain to see through the crowd.
He frowned—how exactly did one describe a girl?—and kept watching her. Even his untrained eyes told him her dress was probably half again as plain as that of the dress of any other woman or girl in the entire church, which said well for both her father and herself. They would not be upsetting any of the wives of the elders with that dress—the scandal that had sent the last vicar packing his bags had nothing to do with any of his children, but that had not prevented his daughters’ clothing from being the topic of much vindictive gossip which had but barely died down.
“Val!” Mercy begged, and he shrugged, frowning again.
Just then the girl turned, as if feeling his gaze, and their eyes met, and before he could look away in embarrassment, she smiled. A tentative smile, but a very real one, and one he could not help but return. So soon as he did, her smile widened, lighting her whole face.
Her father began to speak and she faced hastily forward, though her smile did not disappear.

“You’ll like her,” Val whispered at last, glancing down at his pouting younger sister. Her face brightened instantly, and he gave a decisive nod. “You’ll like her,” he repeated, and somehow he was sure of it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

So swiftly pass the summer days...




or, Why Moving Will Be The Death of Me


me for the past week...

Summer is disappearing on me, it truly is...but during the past weeks, I've found reason to wonder if, despite how fast it's going, it would not end up outlasting me. 

Because Moving Can Kill You.

Yes. Moving. 

I helped my grandparents move the contents of a summer cabin several years ago,  and it was truly a Thing, to watch me and my grandma hauling everything from General Mad Miscellaneous Boxes of Heaviness to Furniture Made of I-beams and Lead up the steps to the new residence...but we both survived (as did everything we moved, incredibly).

Even fewer years ago, my mom and I (with some help from my little brother) moved everything necessary for me to go to college and the rest of my family to have a three-year sport-and-music-fueled break from the country. Basically, we did this:

And now, with me going to medical school and my younger siblings now either too old or too young to take advantage of the free college option in our state (which was part of the reason they were along), we had to reverse the process. 



Somehow I don't remember those earlier moves being so dangerous, but by the end of three days, I had 20-something bruises. 

Given the number of them on my right shin, I realized that I tend to step forward with my right leg - and that moving results in any number of terribly heavy objects in one's path, which cause pain upon slamming your shin into them repeatedly. (My leg is still lined with perfect black-and-blue-and-now-turning-green circles.) 
Exactly what I did...only with a box of books



I realized that again when we got home and I carried a box of books (HEAVY books) into the living room - and forgot about the sunken floor. Since I landed on my left ankle and twisted it in the process, it was sore for several days. 


By which point we were on the cleaning phase. 




While mopping the basement, I was thinking about something else (if I remember correctly, it was my time-travel story) and I wasn't thinking about the drain in the middle of the floor. Which resulted on my right foot (of course) coming down on the very edge of its massive metal cover, which flipped up in the air, smashed into my ankle, and sent me falling down a two-foot hole. (Not that I measured it.)

haha, and yes, it bugs me that it should be either raised/from 
or razed/to here. Which do you think it's supposed to be? :)

Those of you who think this is pretentious of authors, it really isn't. It's not that we're too good to clean houses; it's that chores are hazardous to our health. 
Note to self: do not think about stories when anywhere near holes in the ground. Even covered holes. Especially covered holes.
This should be easy to remember, given that my ankle is still purple and very sore, 9 days later.







At that point one of my friends began praying bubble wrap around me, and I stopped falling down stairs and into holes. 

Not that unloading a moving van that had turned into an oven was exactly pleasant, but it wasn't particularly dangerous. Especially since our dad had just sprayed for mosquitoes and we were able to spend all day running back and forth without being eaten alive.


We live in Mosquito Hotbed of the World, you see - at this point in time the mosquitoes are back with a vengeance, hungry for the blood of their enemies...I got four mosquito bites coming in from the car the other day, and that was despite trying to evade them. Having to unload the truck through that would have been a nightmare. 








The worst thing, though, happened once I was reached the simple and humdrum job of cleaning the kitchen. What it was I'm not sure, but I had an allergic reaction to something in the kitchen (pepper??? seriously, that's the only thing I was around), and my entire face felt like it was burning off and I just about water-boarded myself trying keep my face under freezing cold water for half an hour so it didn't burn off. My mom thought I was going to stop breathing and die right then (from the reaction, not the water), but thankfully I didn't. (Obviously. The Benadryl she made me take as soon as I said my face was randomly on fire probably helped with that.) Finally my face was so numb I couldn't feel anything, even fire, and I went back to cleaning the kitchen. I'm a bit wary of the spice cupboard now, though. :P





But despite the numerous hazards of moving, none of which I was previously aware of, I seem to be still alive. Given that we are reorganizing our house, though, moving bedrooms, etc, I probably shouldn't relax yet, though...





But still...









Also, on a completely random note, Thank you, little sister, for bringing to my attention how extremely awkward Eskimo kisses are if you don't know what they are. 

Apparently she's forgotten them from when she was little, because we were sitting together the other day and I randomly leaned over and gave her one (I have no idea why; sometimes I really am random like that), and OH, the look she gave me was priceless. Honestly, I never thought about how weird it would be if you weren't expecting and didn't know what the other person was doing.



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