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.