Monday, November 29, 2010

Between the Rocks and Waters

A good friend of mine, Katie Daniels, so graciously honored me with a poem recently. Her thoughts triggered by some of our conversations, she built a beautiful piece of lyrical writing about who I am to her, who she sees me to be. I thought the best way to communicate my appreciation for her heart and time would be to simply turn it into a guest post on my own blog. Thus, without further-to-do, here is the said piece of artwork:

A deep pool of still water
You keep your secrets
A solid rock in turbulent streams
You keep your knowledge

Questions, doubts and answers swirl in the waters of life
Tossing, turning, asking and weeping
Our hearts laid bare to the sky above
Not daring to trust, not wanting to know

There must be someone we can trust!
Someone who sees! Someone who knows!
We cry to the sky, to our God.
Help us!

Peace and serenity, hiding the troubles below.
A riptide can pull you under if you swim too deep.
Look to long and you’ll fall in and drown,
For none escape that silence

A silence that holds secrets you do not tell
Until the time is right and we will know.
A solid rock. We hold fast. We trust you.

Do not keep your secrets simply because there are no ears.
You have friends all about you, some in places you cannot see.
Your silence is your mystery; it gives us strength.
Your knowledge is your stillness; it gives us hope.

Thank you, Katie!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Of Writing, Of God, Of Marriage

*takes deep breath* If some of you have been looking forward to another one of those long posts of mine, you definitely have one coming now. I thought about making this into two separate posts, but I think everything just connects so well that it might be better to tell it all together. Grab your cup of coffee and your laptop. . . this may or may not take a while.

First off, I am sure many of you are anxious to know how NaNo is going. Believe me, God has blessed me beyond measure with my writing abilities and my capacity for truly pouring heart and soul into every page, every word. I hit about eighty-thousand words in total, and then slowed down drastically, partly due to illness and partly due to some exciting offers and opportunities God has been handing me left and right. This past month as been no less than breath-taking to be sure when it comes to all He has given me.

Yet, in the midst of all He has given, He has taught. In the midst of all He has developed, He has also torn down. In the midst of glory, He humbled. I am sure most of you have noticed the new blog look, if you are reading this post right now. The new blog look comes with a change in mind, change in heart, change in purpose. The teen years are definitely years when the most growing and shaping can occur, if willing. Folks, I am going back to my roots, to who I am at heart. But, at the same time, I am seeking balance for some new ideas that have been cultivating themselves in my heart, within much unwillingness I might add as well.

On invitation of a good friend, I have decided to explain what I have meant in the past by saying that 'I do not want to get married.' I think I have a much better phrasing for that now: 'I do not plan on getting married.' However, do not jump ahead of me here, not yet. There is much to tell in this tale.

Years ago, on the day that marked the start of high school and the start of my journey as a Christian, I pledged to not accept or even ponder on the idea of dating or courting until I had solidly graduated from high school. Those four years turned out to be a lot easier than I would have thought. The people surrounding me within the public school system did little to encourage me at all in wanting to pursue relationships, often times pushing me away to the point that I became a rather hard person to even be able to deal with a lot of situations at the level that I needed to. Honestly, I wanted nothing to do with guys. I could get by in my own way, in my own timing, through my own methods. I was a strong girl; I never reacted emotionally to situations (still do not); I never let anyone be disillusioned in thinking they could beat me in sports or subdue me in any way (still do not); I never let others' opinions phase my choices based on insecurity (still do not). I walked into an atmosphere where my only protection came from me and the only protection for my friends came from me. I did not take nonsense and still will not.

Yet, as hard as I fought the juices of feminism that ran through my veins whenever permitted, I never truly conquered it, never truly wanted to. I still believed myself to be unfit for the home life, wanting nothing to do with men or children in the future; it just was not my thing, if you get my drift. I am sure that it did not help I was far from a people-person, preferring my home and seclusion more than with a group of people; give me nature, give me my writing, but please never give me a party. Despite it all, God has started a work in my heart I will never forget, a work of moving me from denying the goodness of this world as a result of the evil I have seen.

As much as I hate to reveal it, I have discovered that marriage may be a good thing, relationships may be a good thing, a future as wife/mother may be a good thing. A great deal of this proof stems from some amazing friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, who have spent over a year in proving that there is good out there in this area just as much as there is evil. For the first time ever, in my life, I can honestly say I have come across a few guys I can consider 'good.' And what a miraculous discovery that was.

In all of this, I am probably greatly straying from my points, but I am attempting to take you on a journey, on my path of reasoning. God has changed my heart, my desire to live forever single and turn down any and all potential guys on sight. Instead, He has replaced it all with a faint hope, a glimmer of something more possibly lighting my world in the future. I can say this much; I will never give up my love for adventure, for the outdoors, for the physical labor, for sports. It is not in me to give up my passions simply for a change of heart, as I do not believe I must in order to follow God's calling. I am not changing who I am; I am changing how I view a specific situation.

So, my passions to be a totally career focused woman. . . changing. My passions for the specific careers I have spelled out I will still pursue whole-heartedly, but I am willing to change those plans should God change the direction of my life. Okay. . . you want it straight? I would like to be a wife and/or a mother in the future. But, I will say it this way. . . good luck finding a guy that would like to have a wife like me. I say that not harshly or with any amount of pride, but honestly and as forthrightly as I can. I will not be planning my life around marriage. I will be pursuing my dreams and if God choses to bless me with marriage, then so be it. I will not drag my feet and state an absolute no anymore, I promise.

So, all in all, my first post back contains a few different subjects, but I think the point remains steady through it all; God is still working in my life and changing my heart one piece at a time. Not only that, He is proving that they are pieces I can accept. I fully realize I am one of the most stubborn girls some people will ever meet and yes, that translates into my relationship with the Lord at times. At least this time, it only took me two months to accept, contemplate, pray, and read about the change rather than a year. God is so good!

Up until now, it has been all about me, but I want to speak to you all directly in regards to what I have learned. Not only have I learned to recognize Satan loves to tint what is good, but I have also learned that we, as humans, sometimes avoid the good the same as evil in order to avoid any possibility of falling, of failing. Not only have I learned that God can change my heart and plans drastically within a short amount of time, but I have also learned that He can change my heart without changing my love for certain activities or hobbies of mine. I do not have to change to fulfill a plan of God's; I simply have to be willing to move when He calls and go wherever He calls. Everything else. . . will fall into its place.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taking a Pause. . .

As some of you already know, I will be spending the entire month of November writing and writing and writing and writing. . . and I think you get the idea. A few friends of mine had spoken of NaNoWriMo before, but due to my school schedule and sports and speech competitions, I let the competition/challenge pass me by last year. Though some had said I should continue with it and just set a lower goal, my character simply would not allow it. I am an all or nothing person. I either put every single breath of life into something I love and want to succeed in or I do not put any effort in it at all. In case you were wondering, it does definitely form a rather insane lifestyle choice for me, but the aspiration and enjoyment I glean from it cannot be surpassed. Therefore, I will be completing NaNoWriMo this year, but with my own purpose and my own twist to the whole situation.

The entire premise of NaNo centers on writing a 50,000 word novel within thirty days. You cannot work on a halfway finished novel or combine a bunch of your old works simply to make a new work. . . no, that is cheating, my friends. You must start from the very beginning, from the very first word, and write a full 50,000 words of a novel. I will admit; such a high number seems like a monumental goal. But, for me, with six hours of a day dedicated solely to writing as it is, 50,000 words is not nearly enough. Thus, I have decided 100,000 words, most likely increasing to 150,000 words in the near future, is a reasonable goal for me. Such a goal requires five dedicated six hour days a week for three weeks, 10,000 words a day (sometimes it will only be 5,000 words mind you), two chapters per day (sometimes it may only be one), and one week of rest within the month of November. If you thought I represented insanity before, what think you now? But, wait. . . there is more.

The novel I am writing for NaNo is not just a combination of words I hope to file away for future reference or proof that I had achieved my goal. This novel will not stay hidden within my computer files like the rest of the ones I have written do. It will be sent out in hopes of publishing, in hopes of achieving something I believe God has laid upon my heart to pursue. Such a bold step into the world of actually copyrighting my work rather than just handing it out to people will not be easy, will not be achievable without faith in my Lord. While nothing is impossible with God, nothing is possible without faith. For me, this is a leap of faith, both in the manner of achieving 100,000-150,000 words in a month and seeking publishing, but I will do it. I will do this for the glory of my God.

However, I must ask you all to wait patiently on me during this time. I will not be posting on my blog at all for the month of November, as I do not wish to stifle my creativity more than I already do for the numerous other outlets I currently write for. I will be neglecting my blog for the time being, four whole weeks to be exact. Once I enter the editing process on my novel, I should be able to come back and post for you all again. I beg tolerance of you while I disappear for a while. If you would like to comment with encouragement, as many of you have so blessed me with in the past, I will definitely be reading every single comment and smiling at your kind words and thoughts. Your thoughts and prayers for this endeavor hold more value than anything I can think of. But as of now, this will be the last you hear from me for a while.

Disclaimer: I only post this to keep everyone updated. Please do not in any way feel discouraged if your word count is less than mine. I have every confidence that you are trying your hardest and are doing fantastic jobs and would love to encourage you in continuing that! Your success is not based on mine, but on your own goals and your own heart in doing it for the glory of God. Please do not feel compelled to try and catch up to me simply for the sake of feeling you need to in order to succeed. Keep up the awesome job you all are doing! :D