Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I have just learned a valuable lesson regarding blogging.

You get inspired, you write it.


Regardless of where you are or what you're doing. You don't wait or even remotely hesitate. You just write it.

Because if you don't, you will lose really incredible stuff that your mind cooks up.

Which is what has happened to me.

Yesterday, I took the train from one city to other. I should have known that I was going to get inspired.

There was so much going through my head at that moment. And my laptop was right at my feet.

I honestly had no reason to not just reach down, pick it up, open a WORD document, and just start writing until my fingers fell off.

But I didn't.

And now I regret it.

Because I can't get back what I lost. Who knows what it could have turned into, who it could have blessed. I'll never know now.

But I guess this whole thing has taught me something in the long run.

Missing that moment -- that one, crucial little flash that you can never relive -- is such a dangerous proposition.

You never know what friendship might be destroyed...what love could be missed...what life could be lost.

We must do more than just carpe diem -- we must seize more than just the day.

We must take every moment, every breath, every flash...

...because, if you don't, you never know what important moment you'll leave along the train tracks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peppermint Wishes

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.

~Bill Morgan, Jr.

There is something so magical about this time of year.

It's wintertime.


The snowflakes are falling, whispering their gentle way from the grey sky to join hundreds of their compatriots that already coat the frozen ground.

Sparkling lights adorn the eaves of roofs and twinkling Christmas trees can be seen peeping through the curtains of darkened homes.

The air smells of ice, balsam, hot chocolate, peppermint sticks, and the wishes of hundreds of children who dream of Santa Claus and brimming stockings.

Fireplaces flicker over the toes of children, clustered around while carols play from the stereo and laughter provides its own merry soundtrack to the homey scene laid out to delight any casual passerby.

Christmas does something to my heart.

I love the sight of a fresh-cut pine tree, adorned with white lights and sentimental ornaments, almost toppling over from the lift of the carefully wrapped packages that have been secretly placed there by loving hands.

I love the whisper of the falling snow and the smell of the frosty air that burns and delights your nose at the same time.

It's only at this time of year when I crave the taste of peppermint -- a taste which I normally avoid.

My nose itches to smell cinnamon spice and "Winter Balsam" candles. My ears tingle at the sound of some instrumental Christmas arrangement, or the thudding heartbeat of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra blasting from my iPod dock.

Call me a child. Call me a sentimental fool.

I don't care.

It's Christmas.

It's a time for peppermint wishes and sugerplum dreams.

It's the most magical time of the year -- when blizzards can be forgiven and the troubles of the morning are glazed over in the love of a family and the flavor of gingerbread.

If growing up means I have to leave this all behind...if it means I must become sensible and view Christmastime as nothing but a mad rush to spend money and obtain obscene amounts of stress...

...then I never want to grow up.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo

I breathe music.

It's been something that I've lived on since I was a tiny girl.

With a professionally-trained musician father and a mother with the singing voice of an angel, I was steeped in musical notes and treble clefs from the time I could walk.

I credit my parents with teaching me the value of putting my life to a soundtrack.

Every great movie has a soundtrack -- a score of music, a compilation of songs, a haunting melody. These notes speak more to the drama, strength, passion, and bloodlust of each pivotal moment than any detailed explanation ever could.

My life is no exception.

Maybe this is exposing more of my own quirks than I actually want to, but even still...

My life has a soundtrack.

My mood and my iPod run on very similar veins.

The rich, earthy tones of Imogene Heap and Joshua Radin speak to the mellowness...the twinges of romantic darkness that cling to the edges of my heart.

The light daisy-petal notes of Mika, Lenka, or Yiruma speak to the brightness and melodic tone of my spirit.

The powerpunch of Skillet, Anberlin, HIM, or Plumb generally refer to a bit of leftover angst lingering after a particularly strong moment of dark emotion.

The bouncy snap of some popular Top40 hit or the swish of a Michael Buble melody generally speaks to my growing need to move my body and dance like either a mad lunatic or a measured artist -- all mood-based.

The flooding rush of Brit Nicole, Brooke Fraser, Chris Tomlin, or Aaron Shust remind me for Whom I live...a musical way to remind me that I live for the One who broke my chains and set me free.

I could go on, but I think I've conveyed the idea.

Music runs through my veins like blood, scores cover my skin like invisible tattoos, and notes flood my head like flocks of brilliantly-hued butterflies over a dew-dusted meadow.

Music says what I can't. It screams when I have to be silent. It laughs for me when all I can do is cry, and it unveils those hidden corners of my soul that hurt too much to reveal.

So at the moments, when the echoes are screaming and the pain is flooding my lungs, threatening to drown me...

...I let the music breathe for me.

“'Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,'” says the LORD." ~Zechariah 2:10

Friday, December 17, 2010


Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love. ~Lucinda Franks

I am going to be extremely honest right here.

I love Christmas.

I'm like a little kid when it comes to this time of year. I am incredibly sentimental when it comes to Christmas.

I hate snow, but I want a white Christmas. I have this quirk about sleeping under the Christmas tree, looking up at the lights and ornaments, all of which have some sort of sentimental significance. Christmas gifts are more than boxes wrapped up in colorful paper and stuck underneath a bit of green shrubbery; each gift has some sort of personal direction toward the receiver that will really make them smile.

I even sit for hours with no lights on at night, just the Christmas lights and a few candles, just listening to my favorite Christmas songs and soaking in the magic that December seems to fuse my soul with in waves of music and pine-scented candles.

But there comes a moment in my heart -- generally in the last days before the big day arrives -- that the deep reminder of what this entire season is about grips my heart.

It's more than just the saga of a pregnant woman and her husband riding a donkey over the Judean countryside...more than shepherds and Wise Men gathering in a small stable...more than angels singing choruses and brightening the darkness with their heavenly light.

It's the reality that the King of the Universe -- the One that holds the stars in place and sends the thunderclouds to do His bidding -- stepped down from His throne.

He laid down His might, His power, and His glory...and stepped from Life to life.

From streets of gold and the lauding of angels to the inexperienced arms of a teenage Israelite girl and her rugged new husband...knowing EXACTLY what His purpose was.

He was born to die. For me.

So tonight, as I sit on my couch, looking out the frost-covered windows at the snow-covered street below, I cast my eyes toward the sky. And as a lone tear trickles down my cheek, I whisper a prayer of utmost and humble gratitude to the One who gave Himself to the world...

...Jesus, Your love is extravagant. More than I deserve.

Please, never let me forget.

You gave the ultimate gift that winter night.

You gave us Your life. Your love. Your blood. Your forgiveness.

Merry Christmas.

And the first time / That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior / And the first breath that left Your lips / Did You know that it would change this world forever...And I, I celebrate the day / That You were born to die / So I could one day pray for You to save my life. ~I Celebrate The Day, Relient K

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~Richard Wright

There's this thing with writers. It's something I've noticed with almost every blogger, poet, or novelist I have ever had the pleasure of knowing over the years.

We write what we know, not what we see.

When we write, we sit down in front of our computers or take our pens in our fingers, and begin to express everything that our hearts are feeling...that our minds know...that our souls ache to reveal. Every written document in the world has the personal stamp and touch of the writer brushed across it like an invisible watermark.

Recently, I took the time to go back over my blog and read the past fifty-two entries that I have published since May of this year. It was a bit frightening and a bit like revisiting an old friend.

It's similar to the feeling a young woman might get when going back over some old private diary or rereading old unsent love letters. There are sprinklings of amusement, maybe even a flush or two of private embarrassment. However, it also brings with it a fairly large portion of self-reflection and recollection.

The same was true for me. As I went back over my old posts, re-reading my ramblings, I was reminded of how far I have come in the past eight months. So many things have changed, and I will admit, my life is in an entirely different direction than I ever could have anticipated.

And then I sit back and look at what I had written and marvel that God allowed me to see a peak of something so a fragment of His plan for my life in the months that have passed and in the years yet to come.

It's like He's given me this "gift" of writing as a sort of illumination to help me see the road He has laid out for me.

Sometimes, it's a flashlight...a broad beam leaving nothing to the imagination.

Other times, it's a flickering candle...a tiny little splash of light cutting through the darkness, just enough for me to follow His footsteps on the path.

But either way, He gave it to me. I just have to keep moving forward...

...upward, inward...

...closer and closer...

I have no way of knowing what the end of 2010 holds for me. Nor do I have even the faintest idea of what 2011 will look like -- where I will go, who I will become...

...all I know is that I have this candle of words in my hand, the King of Kings at my helm, and an incredibly valiant team of warriors on every side.

I'm gonna keep writing what I know instead of trying to write what I see.

I'm gonna make it.

One word at a time.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind...the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ~John 1:1,4-5

Obsession (The Narnian Rant)

...there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."~Aslan, Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Everyone has an obsession. Something from their very earliest of days that has captured them...captivated them more than any other thing.

For me, it wasn't so much a "thing" as it was a place. A special, secret place only accessible to those who were chosen...chosen to slip from the wooden confines of an apple-wood wardrobe into a snow-covered pine forest with a lamp-post burning eternally at its center. A place where fauns dance, ordinary youths can become royalty, and a mighty Lion rules with Love.

When I was ten years old, my brother brought us a VHS tape of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. From the very first moments of the movie, my heart was captivated. I remember vividly sitting on that couch with my sister, hardly daring myself to breathe in case the magical spell of Narnia would break and life would once again be dull and ordinary.

From that moment on, I was obsessed. Narnia became an addition that my youthful mind could simply not release. I devoured the books, watched every film, and spent hours perusing commentaries written by others regarding this magical world that had woven its spell over me. In fact, I was so convinced that the world was real that I opened myself up to much humiliation and ridicule by my peers, often to the point of tears.

I am now twenty years old. The spell of Narnia has yet to break.

So tonight, when I went out (despite being sick) to see the brand-new movie version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I had wavering yet high hopes. I should have set the bar a slight bit lower, knowing what I do of Hollywood and the tendency to take a beautiful thing and fit it into a less than stellar mold. And after reading the interview on Yahoo!Movies (link:, I should have prepared myself for disappointment.

And yet, the innocent Narnian child dwelling in my heart was far too excited to pay my grown-up fears too much heed.

...flash to the end of the film.

As the credits rolled, I found myself sitting next to my husband in the darkened theater, my mind in a bit of a quandary. Honestly, I didn't exactly know what to think about the film that I had just seen. If I had not been an avid fan...or rather, a long-lost citizen of the Narnian realms...I might have left that film with an air of wonder and enchantment. For I will not deny, the movie was powerful and emotional enough to ring something deep in the heart of any viewer. However, knowing what I know and loving Narnia the way I do, I felt a bit muddled up in my heart.

There were so many things that I did not agree with...however, I will limit my observations in this rant to keep from sounding like a spoiled child or an overzealous fan with too much of an opinion.

1.) Eustace called his parents "Father" and "Mother." I almost leapt from my chair. Lewis wrote within the first six lines of the book that "...Eustace did not call his parents 'Father and Mother,' but 'Harold and Alberta.'" This might seem like a very trivial matter; however, it is something that Lewis specifically wrote within the first paragraph of the book. This means it was, for some reason, excruciatingly important to him as the author, and therefore, it should just as important to us as the reader. It bothered me.

2.) The Lone Islands were nearly unrecognizable. With the exception of the name and the barest shell of the events that actually were written to have occurred there, nothing was the same! The fact that Lord Bern was in a jail cell, the purpose of the slaves, the fact that Reepicheep was not taken captive...almost everything about that particular section was so discombobulated and so distant from the original that there was not even a whisper of familiarity.

3.) On the same note as the Lone Islands...when the youths are captured by the slavers, Caspian struggles against his bonds and cries out, "I am your King!" This irritated me to no end. In the book, Caspian SPECIFICALLY tells Edmund and Lucy to tell no one that they are Narnian royalty until the political status of the islands has been determined. In fact, when they are captured, Lucy desperately attempts to tell their captors who she is, but Caspian swiftly silences her with a shout and a look of warning.

4.) The romance between the Ladystar and Prince Caspian was tremendously underplayed. For the sake of piquing the interest of the tweenie-girl element, it was made to look like both Prince Caspian and Edmund were falling for the Ladystar. However, C.S. Lewis specifically wrote Caspian and the Ladystar to fall dramatically in love the moment they least, Caspian was supposed to. The Ladystar was to remain aloof for a bit before sending the prince on his way to finalize the last details of his quest.

There is much more...but I feel as though I have whined enough. I will, though, add a few positive notes that I found along with the negatives.

1. Eustace was SENSATIONAL. I was immediately impressed by their choice of casting, and he will most definately make a welcome addition to the cast. His acting was wonderful -- he truly had me convinced that he was the most foul boy to ever walk the earth, and his change from fiend to fierce and valiant warrior truly touched me. In fact, he was responsible for my two favorite moments:

a) The change from dragon back to a human boy. The connection, sorrow, and shame that Eustace shared with Aslan was truly amazing, and struck a chord with me deeply. Watching the love that radiated from the Lion to the boy truly reminded me of the way my Savior views me, even in my sin. It was a dramatic and touching moment, indeed.

b) At the very end of the movie, Eustace picks up the painting and moves to hang it back on the wall. In the same motion, Lucy and Edmund slowly step out of the frame, leaving just Eustace to remount the painting. It was a very beautiful and powerful moment, almost "passing the baton" from the final two Pevensie royals to the new warrior who will usher in the end. It was truly a moment that brought me to a flood of tears.

2.) The sea serpent. Breathtakingly epic and extremely frightening for a PG-rated movie. It was truly a mark of sweet genius on the director's part. To say I loved it would be an understatement, to be sure.

3.) Aslan. Need I say any more on this one?

All in all, I have not yet given up hope on these new renditions of my favorite tales. There is still a chance for The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle to rock my world and remind me of why this land holds me in such a tight captivity. The spell is not yet broken...and I pray it never does.

Never forget -- further up and further in.


Sunday, November 21, 2010


There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Life is complicated.

There are so many things that play into every day life, even those things that we primarily take for granted.

...even when we don't notice, things are complex.

It takes more than just the passing of time -- the turning of moments into years -- for someone to mature.

It takes the rain. The heat. The storms. The pressure. The pruning. The pain.

These things are not always realities that are easy for us to grasp. We want things to fall into place without any work or discomfort. We just want everything to be perfect right away.

And so we push away the pain. We shy away from anything that could possibly be the slightest bit uncomfortable...that might be hard.

We shut down the growth.

We settle into a pool of stagnant water...unmoving and unchanging. It may seem still and serene for the moment, but it eventually grows foul and rank, filled with impurities that cannot be swept away.

The foulness is trapped...we are imprisoned by our own good intentions.

...except Him.

...we hit rock bottom.

Sometimes, even the little things like breathing are almost too much to handle.

So many times, it feels like the entire ground is just shaking...nothing is standing still...

Sometimes, all you can do is reach up and take His hand, trusting Him to not let go.

I promise you -- He never lets go.

The world is unsteady sometimes.

He never moves.

When my world is shaking, Heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands. ~Your Hands, JJ Heller

Monday, November 15, 2010


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

There are so many things about life that confuse me.

The cruelty of separation is one of them.

It's a hard thing for me to wrap my mind around. Why is it that those people who mean the most to us are generally so very far away?

I am surrounded by friends who are involved in long-distance relationships, or are simply kept from seeing the one they love for one reason or another. Having dealt first-hand with the struggles of being in a relationship with someone living in another state, I know exactly the ache that creeps in from time to time.

It's not even those with whom we share a romantic connection that feel so very far away at times. I live with my husband and see him on a fairly regular basis; however, the rest of the people I care about are spread far and wide. Some are much closer to me geographically -- as close as a ten to fifty minute drive -- while others live in different states or even in other countries. Some are even as far away as Heaven.

So why do we do it? Why do we endure the separation from those people that mean the most to us, and still fight it out, even in the most complicated and crucial of moments?

Because it's worth it.

We do have the blessings of modern technology through cell phones, email, and social networks to keep us connected to those we care about. But even those things fail us sometimes... many nights do we go to bed with a heart twinging with the familiar ache of distance?

...the wish that we would hear the lilt of that familiar voice or catch a whisper of a too-long silent laugh?

Separation is hard. The fingers of loneliness and the chill of missing are very real.

...but then, does that not make the reunions all the more sweet?

"All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee to me."
~William Shakespeare, "Sonnet XLIII"

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we? ~Terri Guillemets

There are so many things I love about being a writer.

People ask me all the time why I'm drawn to the idea of being a professional authoress.

It's hard to pick just one reason.

...I have so many.

There is something so profound about writing. Among the pages of your own hand-written worlds, you can seek and destroy life's most excruciating hurts.

The written word can be wielded like a sword in the hand of a mighty warrior, or whispered in one's ear like a lover's private secret. It has such incredible power -- to lift up and to cast down, to bring healing or to rip into shreds.

A writer is one who has been entrusted with the care of one of the world's most beautiful and deadly gifts. It takes great discernment and a holy kind of wisdom to know exactly what to do with this gift.

The written word wove a spell over my soul in the 3rd grade; it's not something I've been able to break free from since. And honestly, I'm glad.

Writing is more than just allowing a pen to dance over a page, or fingers to fly over an eagerly waiting computer keyboard.

Hours are spent, pouring over lines of inky scribblings on scraps of paper. Ideas flit in one's head like a seemingly endless flock of butterflies, only resting in one place for a moment before spreading their wings and moving on to a new idea.

It can bring on so many emotions, so many wide-spread frustrations that those who are not writers do not fully understand. In fact, it can make you a bit crazy.

But then there comes that moment, when all is finally silent. The voices have slipped away, the ramblings have ceased. It's then that the conductor lifts his baton and the writer lifts her pen...and the dream begins anew.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beautiful Scars

"Hate leaves ugly scars; love leaves beautiful ones." ~Mignon McLaughlin

This morning, I took the black, inky tip of Sharpie to my arms.

It goes against everything we were taught as children -- how many times were we scolded for writing on our skin with pens or markers of various sorts?

However, today, I simply cannot think of a better reason to go against the grain.

So, Sharpie in hand, I carefully wrote four simple letters on each arm.
L. O. V. E.


Because I love you. And I've been there.

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA, is an incredible organization made up of hundreds of people all around the world, standing against the lie that is so commonly whispered in the ears of today's youth.

"Nobody loves you. You're not worth anything. You might as well simply die. All you can do to numb the pain is to draw that razor blade across your wrist. You're nothing."

And so, several times a year, people all around the world take out their Sharpies and write these four simple letters across the skin on their arms for no other reason that to raise awareness regarding depression, hate, self-mutilation, and suicide.

So many people make their way through this world hiding behind a smile, or simply trying to blend into the woodwork. They don't want anyone to know that their hearts are screaming, that their hearts are bleeding for lack of love.

I used to be like that. I tried to keep up a brave face and keep smiling. In fact, very few people even knew that my heart was dying and all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner and simply vanish. I wanted out in the worst way.

My own scars serve as a daily testament to where I was...where I used to be...the musical score to the most agonizing symphony I have ever found myself conducting.

This is why this day means so much to me. I want to the world to know that I've been there. I want those broken, wounded souls to know that they are NOT alone. They ARE loved...and not just by me.

You see, there was once a Man who wrote LOVE in the most ultimate, self-sacrificial way.

He wrote LOVE on His body in the blood-stained splinters of a cross.

And He did it for me.

The reality of this is so powerful to me, as a former broken angel, that it brings tears to my eyes as I sit here thinking about the extreme LOVE that was showered upon me.

I was undeserving. I was broken. Cut down. Covered in scars.

And His blood took my agony, my shame, and my fear.

He LOVED me. He wrote His LOVE on my heart.

He made my scars beautiful.

To Write Love On Her Arms Day -- November 12, 2010

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title. ~Virginia Woolf

The past is complicated.

There's only so much about the past that we actually want to dwell on; but even then, those few bits and pieces are tricky to deal with at times.

How many of us look back over our lives and wish that we had done things differently?

How often are our hearts flooded with "what if..."s and second guesses?

Is this why the idea of time travel is so appealing?

The idea that maybe...just maybe...we could leap through the threads of time and make a different choice...

For some people, the idea is intoxicating. For others, the idea has never even entered their minds.

It's all in how you look at it, I suppose.

The past is part of who we are. It's the stones that make up the road that we have passed over in our journey of existence.

Those old relationships...those moments we wish we could take back...those choices we desperately wish to's all part of the masterplan, set in motion by the One who holds our past and future in His hands.

Is it always easy to look back?


Are there times we catch ourselves standing on that cliff, looking over the mist-shrouded mountains of our future, and find our gaze drifting backwards to glimpse the past moments?


Is the past important? More than we will ever know. It's what got us here.

The past is the tool of God to move us forward...



...inward...'s not perfect.

But it is precious.

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. ~Psalm 40:5