There was a moment when I realized that China inspires me more than almost anything else.  Not just China–adoption.  I’ve considered myself a writer for a long time and I’m almost always writing.  It was a sobering moment when I realized that I write the most during hard times.

I haven’t said it a lot, but I said it in this post (and shared this quote).  Adoption is hard.


It’s one of the hardest, most painful things I have ever seen.  Adoption is God’s plan B after man’s rebellion.  Children should not be orphaned, parents should not be abusive, babies should not be lost.  But they are, because the world is broken–we broke it, mankind.  (It is not, and never has been, God’s fault.)  Adoption is like the cross.  Adoption is recklessly hoping that we can pick up the broken pieces of what we shattered and trampled and fuse them together.  We can.  I believe that.  But it doesn’t eliminate the pain when things break, when people die, when people disappear, when important stories fade into the mist and nobody can explain to us why things happened the way they did.  If “adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy”, it must start with tragedy.  It still hurts.

And yet……

And yet I get most inspired to do what I love when I’m smack in the middle of it.  Why?  Why does pain inspire me?  Why does God choose to meet me in the brokenness, the squalor and the slime, and the mind-boggling heart-ripping pain?

I noticed this the last time I went to China (a year ago, this week).  Adoption, this insane, beautiful, painful, humbling, humiliating adventure, sparks my imagination in a strange way.

Why is this?

God created the world to be perfect, “good”.  So why do I find so much beauty in the brokenness?  Why do I find Him, so often, on the ground in the dirt?  God gave me this gift, and I believe, with all my heart, that I am to use it to glorify Him.

But then–

Then why does it thrive on pain??

I say we’re supposed to run to pain.  I run to it myself.  But then, like a regular hypocrite, I recoil again and thrash against it.  I cry, and whine, and scream for answers, and wonder why God won’t heal my cracking heart.  I press my hot face against my tear-stained pillow in the dark and realize, even amid my complaining, that my mind is still going–the gears are turning.  I’m going to have to write.  I collapse onto the ashes and smoldering cigarette-butts.  I nurse my bleeding fingers after pounding my fists against the rubbish piles we’ve made of forgotten bottle-caps and broken glass.  And again and again my cut, sweaty, blistering hands grope for my pen.  I thrive on pain.

But do I really?

“God is near to the brokenhearted.”

The human heart was made to be whole and beautiful. It was created in the image of God.  His presence is where we are filled and inspired; we cannot thrive on brokenness.  But the world is broken up and bloody, and God runs to the suffering.  He picks up the ends we snapped off in rebellion and pride, and He fuses them together; He gathers up what we’ve beaten and broken and makes them new.  He runs to the pain, He staggers to the cross and pours His own blood into our mess.  He accepts our brokenness and makes something wonderful out of it.

We do not thrive on suffering.

God runs to the pain, and when we run to it, we meet Him there.

Earl Grey Tea

I make horrible decisions pretty often.  But once in a while I make decisions like deciding to incorporate tea into Nieo and Star’s story world–that was a good decision.  You have to describe tastes, so I can now randomly make myself my favorite kinds of tea and call it story research.  Clever, I know. 😉

Happy Wednesday!!


While we’re talking about writer-ly things, I just read this blog post about what excites writers and knew I should share it.  I expected to relate with a few points, of course, but I did not realize I would agree with all of them!  Each new point and I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, yes, that thing makes me feel so excited!”  So if you’re a writer and you love reading about yourself (like me!), or if you’re not and you want to hear some things that make us whoop with excitement, click through and read ahead!


Happy Saturday!


All the Writerly Angst

I think one of the perpetual questions a writer asks is will anyone really want to read this?  I often find myself wondering if anyone else cares even a bit about the things I write about.  I have yet to find some perfect way to know what the world (or even my corner of it) wants to read, so I fall back on writing to myself–I like reading this kind of thing and I’ll trust that others do too.

So we have this post.

I love reading about other writers’ writing processes, so I’m going to take a little long post to talk about my writing desk.

When I finished writing Catania’s Forest close to this time last year, I was left with the inevitable question of what to write next.  The stories come and go so fast!

There was a quaint little story I had left lying around half-written called Blue Eyes Eastward.  I picked it up again and decided to finish writing it before anything else.  I got a new story idea partway through (Anchored, my pirate story) and started plotting it, but Blue Eyes was still a priority.

Well, then I had a setback, that started when I realized my villainess was sadly shallow.  In the end I realized I didn’t like the themes of my story at all, I was doing things I had seen other authors do and hated, and I needed to consider dropping it.  So that story died–I killed it.  And man! was that hard.  When I look back on it, I don’t feel much for that story, but at the time it was a very hard decision to make.  As Anchored was still deciding what it wanted to be and how many characters would live through it, I was not ready to start writing it (still not!).  So there was a lull.

And into that lull came “Nieo and Star”, the story I’m currently writing.  And guys, I love this story so much!  There literally aren’t humans in this story, it’s straight fantasy creatures, and my imagination is. in. heaven.  While Cat’s Forest was certainly fantasy, I was very focused on making it feel real and it’s darker than what I usually write (I know that some of you will find it amusing that I call Cat’s Forest dark, but it’s dark for me!).  And so as Anchored isn’t typical fantasy and all the important characters are human, and I’ve been toying around with some sci-fi lately, this story is just perfectly timed!  It feels so, so good to get back to good ol’ classic Medieval fantasy and remember why it’s my favorite genre.

But, of course, it isn’t all peaches and rainbows through and through.  While this has been a pretty peaceful stage in my writing with minimal writer’s block, it’s also lead me to think about being a writer more than usual.  This story feels unique.  It’s also very, very me.  It’s been a long time since I wrote something so fresh off my imagination.  It’s hard to put into words, but this story feels personal.  Which means it’s more fun to write, but it’s really scary!  I feel like I’m slicing a piece off my heart and pasting it to a page.

And hence: the inevitable question.  Does anyone want this stuff besides me?

And I don’t really have an answer.  Would people like Nieo and Star?  Would anyone read it?  I don’t know.  But I’m writing it anyway, and I’m writing it the way my imagination wants it, in hopes that someone else is like me, and someone else likes to read such things.

Anyway, I hope this post didn’t feel too down-in-the-dumps and someone found it interesting.  If anything, it was interesting to write!  Happy Monday!!