And now….onto something Completely Different!

I started a new blog!  Check it out Here! 

 

Girl%20With%20Lamb-755544Change is brewing in my heart and mind.  Explaining the change will encourage some of you, puzzle others, and mark me as crazy for a few of you – tis life and life where faith is involved.  As all of you should know by now if you read this blog with any regularity, I’m a Christian.  Specifically, I’m a Reformed Baptist.  As a Christian, I believe that Christ is constantly working to sanctify me and make me more like Him.  He asks me to live a life of sacrifice for His sake just like He did for me.  How can I do anything other than that??

In the process of that sanctification, Christ challenges us and pushes us out of our comfort zones.  He seeks to make us holy, not necessarily happy. (Assuming you understand happiness and joy to be two totally different things.) Recently, I have been challenged and convicted about my writing.  I don’t believe anything that I’m writing is wrong, but I have begun to wonder if it the best use of my gift.  This has been a very painful thought process, and a very long one.  I love my vampire/serial killer stories.  I love them.  They are a deep part of me.  They resonate with me.  I cherish them.  But my local church family and my own family are not being served by them.  I have been able to use them as a bridge to a few people in our church and I have forced them on others with threats of friendships ending, but they aren’t serving my body as a whole.

About a year ago, my husband was provided with the opportunity to start teaching in our Church. This is where his heart is, this is where he wants to go as the Lord provides.  As his wife, it is my goal in life to help him in everything that I do.  I want to help him achieve his dreams and I want to grow and mature alongside him, not away from him.  I want to be the old couple who still enjoys each other.  That takes sacrifice.  (And before anyone gets all feminist on me about him sacrificing for me, remember, this is me talking about me, not him, and he has sacrificed for me.  He does every day.  This is not an idea he foisted on me.  He gave me his opinion, of course, but he left me alone to sort things out in my own head, and between me and God.  There was no dictatorial edict from on high, but a loving friend at my side in the journey of life.)  Needless to say, vampires and serial killers don’t feature in his Biblical Studies….ever. So as he grows and changes, I want – more than I want to be published – to grow with him.

What does this all mean???  I’m not sure yet.  LOL.  I’m making a new blog where I can write things that will be more encouraging and edifying for my church.  It’s called a Gentle and Quite Spirit. I’m thinking about taking all the rumbling tumbling stories inside me and writing children’s books.  I hope to have children someday (sooner rather than later) and it would be nice to write stories for them.  I think there is a deplorable lack of decent, fun, and wholesome stories with strong life lessons offered to the youth of our day.  If we want them to stop acting entitled along with all their other problems, giving them more books like Perks of Being a Wallflower won’t help.  (I’m not saying that’s the problem entirely, I’m just saying stuff like that doesn’t fix anything.)  There are lots of thoughts stuffed in my head leaving me feeling like I need my own Pensive, and I have lots of decisions to make.  I can tell you this with all certainty, I will keep working on my stories, I’m just not going to focus on them.  I will use my gift to encourage and edify my church.   I will still honor our soldiers and look for awesome warrior stories to share with you.  I will find ways to express the concept of the Undeserved Rescue which sets my heart and mind on fire!

walk_away_by_iza87The new blog will still include the Writing Journal.  I’ll still review Books, Movies and Music, and I’ll still have Quotes.  Since these are the articles I get the most views and comments on, you and won’t be losing anything. In fact, other than a new layout, more content, and a few new categories, lots of you won’t notice a change.  At some point in time I will shut down the old blog.  This will be the last post going up on it.  If you don’t want to miss out on my Quotes tomorrow, please follow, or at least visit the new blog.

If you want to follow the new blog, you now know what my focus is.  I’d love to have you along for the ride, but I understand that some of you may find this offensive, uninteresting, and choose not to follow me as I change focus.  I understand.  For those of you who are interested, here’s the new blog.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and encouraging me for the last two years!  It’s been awesome!

Happy Halloween!

What's this? What's this?
What’s this? What’s this?

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

I often view Halloween as the gateway into the Holiday Season!

 Next is Thanksgiving and then Christmas!  I’m think of doing a series of short stories about our family Christmas Adventures, so be on a watch for that.

This is my first year not working on Halloween.  That means I probably won’t be dressing up….but I might carve a pumpkin just for fun!  And I’ll try to watch the Nightmare Before Christmas!

Have a great day everyone!

Writing Journal

old-showcase-many-old-heads-dolls-18361820I have been working on developing a new serial killer for my WIP Hero’s Story.  He was coming along nicely but not great.  I felt like I was missing something really creepy about him.  Each time he killed a group of boys they were dressed up according to treasured childhood movies.  While it made the clues interesting and the interaction of the cops interesting, it didn’t really creep me out.  It had no shudder factor.  It more just made me want to watch those movies again.  And to be honest, I really don’t want those movies to be creepy, so I was subconsciously fighting against using them.

One day as I ran my errands, I stopped at a light.  On my left, trees dotted the medium staked with rubber hoses so that the strong Texas wind wouldn’t blow them over.  Stuck in the wrapped around straps of the stake was a little abused doll.  It was missing limbs and its hair had been chopped off.  Something about it really made me shiver.   I just sat and stared at it.  It was like a little piece of abuse hidden away where only someone with the right twisted mind would see it.  Or, where the creator and dreamer of the men and women who hunt the twisted mind that stuck the doll in there in the first place would see it – me.

Around that time someone posted a picture on Facebook of their childhood dolls, complete with chewed off fingers.  While they enjoyed the nostalgia, I enjoyed being totally creeped out: twist-in-the-gut-with-a-desire-to-run-or-throw-up.

These two things reminded me that for a serial killer to be good in an urban fantasy novel, he needed a creep factor.  In my last WIP I used insane asylums.  This time I was using treasured childhood movies.  Not creepy.  So, I changed it.  I changed it from movies with fun clues, to dolls with a theme of tortured abandonment.  Overnight my story changed.  I began to see things which needed to be connected.  I found stronger themes that tied into the idea of Lost Children.  Characters were drawn together and my serial killer gained a creep factor.  Yea for scary toys!

By the way, if you find dolls a little frightening….never walk down the pink aisle at Target.  One step down its bright path leads you to a world of talking, blinking, giggling horror. flat,550x550,075,f

Quote of the Weekend

I’m bleeding out
So if the last thing that I do
Is bring you down
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bare my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you.

When the day has come
That I’ve lost my way around
And the seasons stop and hide beneath the ground
When the sky turns gray
And everything is screaming
I will reach inside
Just to find my heart is beating

Oh, you tell me to hold on
Oh, you tell me to hold on
But innocence is gone
And what was right is wrong

‘Cause I’m bleeding out
So if the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bare my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you (for you)

When the hour is nigh
And hopelessness is sinking in
And the wolves all cry
To fill the night with hollering
When your eyes are red
And emptiness is all you know
With the darkness fed
I will be your scarecrow

You tell me to hold on
Oh you tell me to hold on
But innocence is gone
And what was right is wrong

‘Cause I’m bleeding out
So if the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bare my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you.

I’m bleeding out for you (for you)
I’m bleeding out for you (for you)
I’m bleeding out for you (for you)
I’m bleeding out for you

‘Cause I’m bleeding out
So if the last thing that I do
Is to bring you down
I’ll bleed out for you
So I bare my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
And I’m bleeding out
I’m bleeding out for you, for you.

– Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons

( You may have noticed that I recently got into Imagine Dragons.  Not only is their band name great, but their songs are awesome, or at least a lot of them are.  I’ve run across a few I don’t really enjoy, but I guess that’s true with any band.  I like this song cause I believe someone did bleed out for me, they counted my sin, took it in and bled for me.  It is a good reminder of that.  I also like the haunted quality of it, which if you know me, haunted is one of my favorite things.  I blame that on Lord of the Rings.  This song might have something to do with my recent obsession with the idea of a Scarecrow:  An empty man, tied to a stick, protecting the field from ravens.  Wow.  Talk about some imagery and room for a great story.)

The Death of a Friend

September has been a very busy month.  It started with a head-cold, then a wedding during the cold, than a dear friend passing away, then a conference.  I coordinated the wedding with the cold and almost no voice.  I was the person in charge of the five meals for about 200 people attending the conference.  It was crazy.  But what I’m sharing today is about my friend who passed away.

These are notes I took while sitting in the hospice room for the last few days of his life.  These are very intimate notes, but I feel it is important to share them.  I’m leaving them much as they were when I wrote them, so please excuse the rough draft format.

9/14/13:  Early AM 

I’ve never been with someone when they died.  I’ve been to relatively few funerals.  My fear and repulsion for hospitals and any and all things medical coupled with the one too many things I know about crime scenes and thus how the body decays after death has led me to fear the side of a dying friend for many years.

But, I have entered a stage of life where I can no longer avoid hospitals and death.  God’s grace is sufficient and like a good hobbit I screw up my courage and visit my friends.  I have found love to be a great motivator.

So, here I sit, having been in the hospice room for almost 12 hours and only three of them spent asleep.  My brother “breathes” loudly in the hall.  My husband is finally lying down covered by my St. John throw, faithful to his friend to the end.  Glenn is sleeping for the first time in days and Flo stays by his side, nurse, wife, and friend.

We have kept the night watch.  We have been with Harry as he struggles to breath – labors! – and as his body shuts down.

I’m amazed that I have done this.  I have visited Harry, my Grandma and spent all day with my father-in-law in the hospital.  And while I have not changed my revulsion for them, I am here.  I haven’t “felt” the hand of God, but I have thought, “I love these people and I must do my duty.” (Maybe that’s what the hand of God feels like.)  It is so ordinary and I am so thankful for it.  For the quiet working of God to aid me to be motivated by love.

So, Brother Harry lays dying.  Not real quickly I must say.  He has no family here, only his church.  But as far as I am aware, he has not been alone at all.  Men and women have gathered to sit at his side, hold his hand, stroke his brow, pray, read the scripture, sing.  We have sung his favorite hymns and the hymns he wrote.  We watched him try to sing with us.  We felt him squeeze our hands when his favorite passages are read, and like Sam at Gandalf’s death, we have spoken often of his banana pudding.

So, I sit and watch a friend die.  A man I love because he encouraged my husband.  And you know what I think….Harry’s gonna get to see Glenn Wilkinson before the rest of us.

My facebook post that day:  For the believer death is but a door to heaven.  It is the ending of one story to begin the real story in the presence of Christ.  And dear believer….this story has the best ending through the path to it has been dark.”

A quote sent by a friend: “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” – JRR Tolkien

9/14/13: 9:00AM while Price reads Revelations out loud to Harry.

Listen.

Listen for his last breath,

Feel the twist in your gut,

Is this the one?

A moment of bi-polar emotion.

Fight. Fight to stay alive!

Go. Go. Let go.  We will soon follow.

So we gather.

We hold tissues tight in our fists.

We sing in broken voices.

We share intimate moments of tears.

We hold his hand unsure of being held.

We talk unsure of hearing.

We read unsure of comprehension.

And we listen

Together, we listen for your last breath.

Even now, when he lies lost in dark halls of his mind laboring to breath, hot with fever, he serves his church.  Even as his last few hours slip away, we are encouraged, brought together, given new opportunities to serve, given new love for each other.  As you come closer to haven’s door, we, gathered around you, examine our own future deaths and find peace.  We see the love of the saints.  We see you surrounded by hymns and the Word and by tears and laughter and we know we are not forsaken.  Even in death, You are with us, our mighty brother who already conquered death!

(I have, on my next page, the words written out from Before the Throne of God Above and Into the West.) (http://instagram.com/p/eP6SugTFFU/)

9/15/13:

Watching Harry, I’m struck by God’s beautiful multi-tasking. I’m beginning to understand joy in the midst of suffering.  Our church hurts, yet here we are gathered around Harry with all the members singing, praying, reading the scripture.  We are laughing and crying, crying with people who I’ve never cried around, watching people cry who I’ve never seen cry.  And we are united.  So as the Lord takes Harry home, as he finishes the work which He began, we are made stronger.  We are untied and we are challenged.  As the Lord takes him home, he is using Harry to help us love each other more.  He is using Harry to sanctify us.  Harry’s faithful testimony has been mentioned again and again.  And the Lord even used that.  If Harry hadn’t been faithful, he might have died in his apartment alone, but God used his faithfulness to preserve Harry.

“I have so many friends, and I don’t know why,” is what Harry told his niece before he became mostly unresponsive.

9/18/13:  (Harry passed on the morning of the 16th.) 

I spent the weekend carefully watching my husband.  When did he become the man I always wanted him to be?  When did he get so strong?  As I watch him hold the hand of a dying friend, as I listen to him sing and read the scripture, I couldn’t be more thankful for this man, my friend.  He sacrificed his time, sleep, his work to stay by Harry.  The Lord granted his request to be there with his at the end.  But the part that I remember and cherish the most is him holding Harry’s hand and reading the book of Revelations barely able to keep his voice steady.

20130914_090833

(We were there at the end, when Harry died, along with my parents, our other pastor, Glenn and Flo, and Ben.  It was the first time I held someone’s hand as they passed away….I know it will not be the last.  But I do know that God is good.  He will finish the work.  He has conquered death.  I hope and pray my death serves my church as well as Harry’s did.)

 

Quote of the Weekend

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold
When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

I want to hide the  truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s  nowhere we can hide
No matter what we breed
We still are made of  greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you  feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where  my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where  my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

When the curtain’s call
Is the last of all
When the lights fade out
All the sinners crawl
So they dug your grave
And the masquerade
Will come calling out
At  the mess you made

Don’t want to let you down 
But I am hell bound
Though this is all for  you
Don’t want to hide the truth
No matter what we breed
We still  are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom  come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my  demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s  dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my  soul
I need to let you go
Your eyes, they shine so bright
I want to  save their light
I can’t escape this now
Unless you show me how

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

– Demons by Imagine Dragons

(I like to think of this song as Fortunatus’ song to Akilina.  He loves this pure angel but he has blood on his hands, he’s cursed.   He always feels like he doesn’t want her too close.  The song has a beautiful pleading sound to it that I love.)