Category Archives: Life

Our House

These past few years, our church has been in the process of renovating a bowling alley to meet in.  We sold T-shirts for the campaign that read “Our House.  Our Story.”  (They’re cool–I still wear mine. 😉 )

Well, we’ve been meeting in “Our House” for a while now, and it’s beautiful.  We’ve done amazing outreaches in Our House’s neighborhood, hosted many events from weddings to funerals, and worshiped God there so many times.  Mom and some of the Littles spent some extra time there during the week last summer, cleaning the bathrooms.  I often went with them.

Our whole family attended a graduation there a few weeks ago, and us “older kids” stayed late to help clean up.

Confession time: I’ve always hated helping people clean up after parties.  I’m happy to help, but I never quite know what to do or where to put things away–and I hate situations where I don’t have all the information!

I started helping some other girls who were arranging the sanctuary chairs, when my older sister called me to help her clean the bathrooms.  I followed her out, and ran straight to the closet where I knew the cleaning supplies would be.  I took the job I always did, and it felt so familiar: I snagged the stainless steel cleaner, sprayed the sinks down, scrubbed the faucets, wiped the water-marks off the paper towel holders.  This was my house, this was my story, I knew what to do.

We propped open the door to the men’s bathroom, and I didn’t even feel that awkward scouring the sinks there.  I got down on the ground and scrubbed footprints off the floor, and let the feeling of home sink in.

Having our house wasn’t really about stained-glass windows, polished pews, or (even!) an air-conditioned place to meet.  It’s a place where everyone fits in, everyone can serve.  A place where we can be a family.

My house, my story.

Your house, your story.

Our house.  Our story.

A Post for Pip

From December, 2016

He had no name then–at least, no one had told me if he did or not.  He had no face, no mental picture, no name.  But I knew he had a soul, and I knew that every hard “situation” is made up of people–beautiful, hurting humans beings, made in the image of God.  I knew it must become personal, because he was a real person, back then too.

So I called him Pip. . .

~~~~~

They told me, and I was shocked.  I didn’t know how to cope with this.  But I knew I had to do something; even if I just had to care.

And care I did.  I prayed–hard.  I dreamed and imagined; and I hurt–with every inch of my heart.

And I called him Pip.

Then he had a face.  And then a name.  As a matter of fact, several names.  Pip wasn’t any of them.  But that was alright; all I ever wanted for him was them.  But a piece of him will always be mine too.

And in a corner of my heart, he’ll always be Pip.

I recently prayed a friend through a terrible illness, and felt the widening rings of the enthusiasm and joy that spread from her recovery, and I thanked God and let my full heart over flow.

And I bled my heart out in a dark basement, while we watched recovery fade out of sight and felt health slip through our fingers (but not hope).  I came face to face with death and felt the contact burn sear my heart.

And then I threw myself on my knees and pleaded for life.

The answer to that prayer was no.

I don’t understand why God would spark life, and then end it so soon.  I don’t understand, but I know God is good.  In the pain, in the mystery, in life, in death, in the tears, the blood, the sweat, the fire, the storms, the brokenness.  He’s good.

And I believe He loves him more than I do.  More than any of us could love Pip.

So I trust.  And I stay; and I care, and I pray.  And my mind reels and my heart bleeds, and I feel the brokenness become a part of me; like it became a part of Him as the nails drove into His skin.

I watched the funeral on the live stream, and I let the pain soak through their saturated hearts and drip onto mine.

And I loved Pip.

He opened my eyes to a new angle of the world I had always been blind to.  He touched me, and others; and broke our hearts for a crippled world.

I’ve learned to love my world, and I’ve learned there’s nothing wrong with that love: God created us in it for a reason, and He called it good.  But it’s not really my home, none of us really belong here.

Pip’s time was shorter here, but there’s still a reason for it, and God is still good.  He didn’t belong here any more than I do, and God took him home early.

This world was not his home.  There’s a reason God let us meet him, but there’s also a reason He took him back.  This was not the place for Pip.  But in heaven, there a place for him, that’s where God knew he had to go.  A place that’s perfect.

For the little boy called Pip.

Big Brother

I know, I know, I should be writing about Aragorn–but this is important.  Because we celebrated my brother’s eighteenth birthday yesterday.

So this post is for him.

This post is for my big brother, who has been the best I could ask for.  It’s for my Gandalf, who has been taking me on adventures for just about as long as I can remember.

This is for the man who has taught me, played with me, protected me, forgiven me, and shown me that men like Aragorn and Eomer are not confined to fairy stories.

This post is for the man who drove me to the theater, bought my ticket, sat through an entire princess movie with me, claimed he wasn’t bored, and didn’t even tease me (very much) when it made me cry. 🙂

This is for the man who taught me that chivalry is not dead, and that boys are cool too–no matter what other girls have said to the contrary.

Happy birthday, brother!  I love you.

My thoughts on Halloween, and something new

Our family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, and has not for years.

We haven’t gone trick-or-treating since the time I discovered my passion for stories and costumes.  While I’ve sometimes felt disappointed about not participating in such a popular holiday (certain aspects of which would be right up my alley), I think my parents are right in deciding to do other things.

I don’t want to offend anyone who does celebrate Halloween, and I  don’t blame you.  Halloween is fun, you get free candy, and some people come up with really neat and truly beautiful costumes.  Halloween can be fun, and it can be done well.

But we don’t celebrate it, as so many people use it as a way to emphasize–and even celebrate–what’s dark and ugly.

Starting about last Halloween, some Halloween decorations started to remind me of villains in The Lord of the Rings, A Christmas Carol, and other stories I love.  I began to wonder how I felt about this, and why I watch The Hobbit but don’t celebrate Halloween.  I began to realize this year that Halloween puts emphasis on villains, and ugliness.  Whereas, these stories I loved rather celebrated the good.  While someone dressing up like a Ringwraith would look a whole lot like the Halloween costumes I don’t appreciate, there’s a difference between having a holiday to celebrate ghosts, and liking a story that contains similar elements, which are portrayed as bad.

So.  All this to say: I want to try something new.

I came to the conclusion recently that costumes are cool, and Halloween can’t have all of them.  So I’m going to pick a day this spring that Little Sister and I are going to wear costumes instead, and I want to invite you to do it with me.  I’m not thinking anything fancy–probably just hanging out at a local park.

Any Omaha people interested?  If you are, would the last week of May, or the first week of June work better for you?  Sometime Saturday, or a weekday afternoon?  I want your opinion!

More ramblings, starring Reese

Do you remember when I did the Describe Tag, and asked you all to help me name one of my characters?  Well, I’ve officially named her Reese Shattercane.

I actually named her shortly after I did the tag, but forgot to post again.  I recently remembered I promised to follow up with you guys, so. . . here we are.  Her name is Reese.

Sorry I’m late!

I just finally got a feel for the plot of her story, which I’m excited about.  It’s not very high on the “What To Write Next” list, but I still like playing with it, so it’s fun to know where I’m going!

 

In other news, I bought my first piece of Star Wars fan gear last month: Jyn’s stardust necklace (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

(Apparently the fans have dubbed it Jyn’s “Kyber necklace”, but I have been calling it her “stardust necklace” to myself since I left the theater, and I prefer that. 😉 )

My Lord of the Rings gear is getting excessive (as in, two shirts, a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a Galadriel crown), but this was my first Star Wars piece.

 

I posted about reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream recently, if you remember.  Well, I read The Tempest today, and it’s giving Julius Caesar (my favorite Shakespeare play) a real run for its money.

“My library was dukedom large enough. . .”

-The Tempest, Dover Thrift edition, page 6

Shakespeare was a master!

Happy Wednesday (because it is one), my amazing readers!

What’s in my heart about family tonight

Today, I pulled a drawer out of a metal cabinet, and accidentally ran the sharp corner into Michael’s back.  Later, he sat on my lap and taught me how to make paper airplanes.

We give and we take, and we laugh and we cry, and we cuddle and complain, we wound and we heal, and we all grow.  And somehow we do this miraculous thing called family; and I will always fight for it, because I will always believe that family is God’s heart.

More ramblings (cause I’m still getting my act together), and happy new year!!

Happy New Year, my friends!

We’ve had three birthdays, New Years, and a Christmas party since I was here last, so the posting has slowed down.  I was going to post this yesterday, but Mom and the younger crew were watching The Sound of Music, so what could I do? 🙂  I’m hoping to post the behind-the-scenes for Cat’s Forest soon, but school just started, so we’ll see how fast I can move.

Technically, school started today, but all I had to do was lay around and read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I find quite enjoyable.  I’m doing all Shakespeare for Great Books this year (YIPPEE!!).  I decided to try and read Midsummer in one day (because I’m crazy), and Mama let me only do that for school today (because she’s wonderful).  Shakespeare’s writing style is one of the most beautiful things that ever happened.

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in. . .” (20)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dover Publications, Inc.

In other news, I got all the geeky Middle Earth books for Christmas/my birthday, and I’m so happy!

I also got two other novels, so I’ve been mostly reading lately, and the written words have dropped significantly.  When I finish the five Christmas books I have left, I’m hoping to get back to my own stories–to be honest, I kinda’ miss them.

And (because random, silly Middle Earth pictures are apparently the thing right now), this is my favorite variation of this quote yet:

I’m loving this so much! 😉

Happy Thursday, my friends!

A post-Christmas post of ramblings

I should have realized how much Cat’s Forest would take over when I decided to post it almost everyday, in the busiest month of the year.  But I of course I didn’t.  Anyway, I didn’t post about Christmas much, except for my story.  I might do some deeper Christmas posts now, after the fact; but I think this was mostly a year of Catania, and that’s okay.

In the meantime, you should read this post that a fellow blogger of mine posted yesterday:

He’s Here: The Christ Candle ~ Ramblings of a Writer

This authoress has mastered the art of word-craft, and this post is simply beautiful.  The peaceful flow of the words is pleasant and calming, and it paints a crystal clear picture of the starry nightfall of the first Christmas.  You should read it.

 

Hopping down an unrelated bunny-trail, do y’all know about the whole “elf on a shelf” thing?  Well, my Mother found this, and I couldn’t help but share it:

So awesome, I really have no words.  I lost Santa elves about the time I found Middle Earth. 🙂

Merry Christmas, readers!!  Thanks for reading my rambles.

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Four

So I was making up part of a story, earlier this week, about a warrior coming back to consciousness after being knocked out, and I managed to make myself feel so dizzy I fell down a flight of stairs.  It was special.  Embarrassing definitely, but still rather amusing.

Sometimes, my imagination works altogether too well.

Anyway, tell me what you think of Tyre. *nervous smile*

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Four

~*~

The centaur towered above Catania by more than a head and shoulders. His glossy chestnut sides glistened with sweat in the westering sun, and his velvet shirt was stained with it; he never moved slower than a trot. His course, brown hair splayed across his green-clad shoulders; and his short, dark beard masked the lower half of his sun-tanned face.

“I need your help, Tyre.” They never wasted time on greetings.

The centaur drew himself up to his full height and squared his shoulders. “I don’t have time to help little girls.”

“I have an offer to make you,” Catania corrected herself impatiently, turning to walk back towards his tower beside him. She had to move quickly to keep his pace, but she was accustomed to brisk walking.

They caught up to Jéru and his charge, and moved passed them, Tyre shuffling disgustedly around the swine. The pipe music had begun again. The herd moved slowly, and soon fell away behind them. Catania itched to explain herself, but she could see the centaur had other things in mind.

“Why were you talking to that renegade, Catania?” he finally asked.

Catania was surprised he had had the decency to wait until the swineherd disappeared behind the bend in the road. They had almost reached Tyre’s tower now. Catania had never been inside it. Guessing from the gold embroidery that often curled its way across the centaur’s clothes, it must be a magnificent place.

“Is it a concern of yours if I am polite to him?”

“It’s my concern if you sympathize with cowardly rebels.”

“Look, Tyre, I’m out here risking my life. I’m not their slave. What do you want? I can’t start a revolution. How far would I get? A little elf-girl with a knife and a bow?”

“You would get farther than you’re getting mooning around shooting naught but deer,” Tyre said authoritatively.

“I have to eat,” Catania snapped. “It’s not like you’re laying siege the city either.” She was not one to pick a fight, but something about the arrogant centaur always managed to make her especially snappish. “Now, look. I just shot a deer, and I need you to help me get it back to my kitchen. I’ll give you a third of the meat?”

The centaur hesitated, then shrugged. “Very well, don’t just stand there then. Where did it go down?”

P.S. Make sure you didn’t miss my last Cat’s Forest post!  I’m going to be posting very often to get all the parts in, because I want to post the last one on Christmas Eve.  I’ll have it on the Stories page afterwards, if you would rather read it then at your own pace.

Writing

So earlier this week, I finally decided it was time to buckle down and finish Catania’s Forest.

I decided to make up a posting schedule starting next week, hoping that would motivate me to finish writing by the weekend.  And then I figured out I was going to my speech club’s practice tournament tomorrow, and. . . needed to finish my speech.  I decided to go ahead and try to do both, and write myself off a cliff, because I’m just like that sometimes.  I’m happy to say my speech is going fine (and I have the excuse that I just got home from China and am “technically” still jet-lagged, if it goes terribly), and (drum-roll please) Catania’s Forest went to the editors today!!  That sounds awfully official.  It’s really just my parents–but they’re awesome proofreaders.

So, all that to say, I’m done writing Cat’s Forest, and it should make it’s appearance on here. . . soon.  We’ll just play it safe, and not say anything more specific than soon. 🙂