Monday, July 30, 2012

I Will Go

All of life is darkness, was darkness, will continue to be darkness.

The black of night is all you know, and for all you could care, the black of night is all that will ever be. It is all darkness. Though you have eyes, you see not, for there is nothing to see. You stumble in the darkness and hide your deeds.

Yet, one day, you fancy something glimmers; and with the swelling words of a divine nature, the glimmer grows. The words are almost incomprehensible, and yet you can hear the light in those words as clearly as you can see it glow. The words are what bring the light; and from the words comes one word.
From the darkness comes a beam of light. And though the darkness tells you to turn away, you embrace the light; you will not look away. For a moment, the light is all you can see; in a marvelous moment, the darkness is gone, and the world becomes colors; for colors are the divisions of light. And once you see it, you must lose yourself in it, for losing yourself is exquisite in comparison to the agony of maintaining yourself in the darkness.

And as a result, the stunning scarlet of love, the firm gold of faith, the brilliant sapphire of hope; all of these and more you possess in ever-increasing measure. The light becomes your everything. The beautiful word that created the color creates a light within you.

The darkness is driven out; and though it tries to return, it cannot, for the darkness cannot put out the light. It is ever-burning; no matter how low it may fall, it will always be light.

And the light that is your everything speaks to you and calls your name, and you answer. You follow the light. All that is within you must have the light; because you were made for it. In the darkness, you were content to sit and play in the dirt. You were content with darkness. But once the light has been shown to you, the thirst for that golden beam drives you, for only in the light can you find fulfillment. For in the dark you ate and you were always hungry; you drank but you were always thirsty; you loved but you were always lonely. But in the light you are hungry not for food but for hope; you are thirsty not for water but for faith; you are loved by the greatest love there ever will be, and it is a flame that burns always. To be lost in that love is the greatest adventure of all.

Gently, softly, the light calls your name again. It speaks with as commanding as thunder and as gentle as the caress of a salty wave: "Will you follow?"

With your heart swelling and the light overflowing from your soul, the reply springs to your lips unbidden: "Surely, always, I will follow you!"

"If the way leads into darkness, will you follow?"

And your reply comes: "I will follow!" For to obey the word of that light is like the sweetness of the richest wine, and the joy of an overflowing spring.

And so you follow, and that is the adventure of life. For all adventure involves danger; and the danger is in the darkness. It wishes to encroach upon the things of the light, but you must not let it.

But even so, something feels missing. Though all you need is in the presence of the marvelous light, a divine restlessness overcomes your soul; a holy melancholy drives your spirit. Though you live in the light, the adventure seems less adventurous than it could be; the great romance of life seems like a lesser drama. What is it? What can it be, that feeds upon your very life and casts your mind into shadow?

And perceiving your thought, the great light returns to you, saying: "There is a great war waging; and to be one of my warriors is always the calling of those that live in the light. Will you answer the call?"

And, slowly, you say, "If you say I must, then I will!"

"Even to great cost to yourself?"

"Even to the most bitter cost."

"Then you will taste the bitterness, forsaking all for the eternal reward. Look down upon this world!"

Like you are seeing through a dark, dim glass, the grey world is shown to you; there are people down there walking in darkness. Eternal sorrow contorts their faces; and all are on a dim road into the uttermost darkness. They walk like blind men following blind men, and at the end of the road is a bottomless pit from whence there is no return.

With words of reluctance delaying your reply, you say, "What will you have me do?"

And the strong voice returns, "I would have you forsake everything you love in the world you live in. You will feel forsaken and alone, and you will feel like nothing you do matters or ever will matter. You must leave family, though they are dying; you must leave friends, though they forget you. You must be prepared to suffer sorrow and pain. I would have you give up your very life."

"To do what?"

"Do you not know? Look down upon this world. They are walking every day in darkness. They are looking for angels where there are none. They have thirsted and hungered and have been tortured with false love; can someone rescue them?"

With brimming confidence, you say: "You can!"

"You speak truthfully. But who is the man that walks among them? Who can see with my eyes? Only the light can turn out darkness. But who shall be the angel they look for? How can they find the words of light when the words are not spoken to them? In this world of darkness, who will be the light?"

You are silent.

But the voice of truth continues, "This is your call. Those of you who live in the light, walk in the light. You must give up everything for the sake of the light; and this is what the light commands you to do: to go. For there is always this question: who will go? Though they leave behind family, who will go? Though they leave behind fellowship, who will go? Though they give up their very lives, who will go? Though the way is hard, who will go? Who will go to rescue those destined for eternal darkness? Who will go to show them their light and salvation? Who will be my warrior to the corners of the earth? Who will dare take up the sword and fight the ultimate battle for the souls of those in the darkness? Who will shed tears for the lost? Who will cry for the broken? Who will lift up the weary with a message of strength and hope? Who will go?" For the briefest of moments, the voice pauses.

And then, the light says, "Though it will cost you everything, will you go?"

You say nothing at first; for this is a decision that will change your life forever. And yet the words of the light worm into your memory and fill the divine melancholy of your soul; for indeed, even in your own case, it took the words of light to bring the light.

A tear slips down your cheek. You swallow hard and your breathing shudders.

And the questions pound in your mind: Who will preach the words of light? The entire world is waiting while walking in darkness. But who will show them the light? Who will be burdened for those lost?

And the words of the light haunt the core of your being: though it will cost you everything, will you go?

You gather up your faith and courage. They are small; but they are enough. Even faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains; and now the time has come to move souls out of darkness and into light. And it will cost you everything.

In the smallest of voices, you must say, "I will go."

And that's enough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cold? In Africa?

Yes, yes, it's true. You can get cold in Africa. It's 75 degrees and I've been consistently freezing for the last month.

But there's more than one type of cold. Right now, I have the sneeze-hack-sniff-and-sneeze-again type of cold. It's not too fun, especially since it's cold-ish and raining right now.

However, one good thing comes out of it; as a result of my cold (the sneezing kind), my voice is deeper and raspier. I've discovered that I can now sing TFK's "Phenomenon" tolerably well. You have no idea how fun it is to sing that song when you can actually sound like the singer (somewhat). I think my siblings are getting tired of it, though. ;)

Other news? Well, my backspace key has stopped working. Yes, you read that correctly. MY BACKSPACE KEY HAS STOPPED WORKING.


This is going to put a damper on my writing, since the backspace is the most important key on the keyboard. Now I have to use that pesky "delete" button, which takes ten times as long.

Whoa. My backspace key just started working again!

*hallelujah chorus*

That was...interesting, anyway. :P

Also, I've discovered that it's possible to taste mothballs, even though I've only ever smelled them. I ate a Liberian Snickers bar that appeared rather white-pasted on the outside, like it had been melted, frozen, melted, refrozen, whatever. It just tasted...wrong. Like mothballs.

In addition to all of this, my grandparents are coming in TOMORROW.


That's not very long.

Needless to say, we're extremely excited. (: Besides bringing themselves (which is, of course, the most important part), my grandparents are also bringing essential supplies - that is, schoolbooks and normal books and Kansas shirts and Cheez-Its. ^_^ Packed in the luggage is a signed ARC copy of Liberator, Bryan Davis's newest book, which we got in a contest.

*listens to Phenomenon for the umpteenth time*

Quite honestly, I don't have anything else to say. How's life going for you all?

Au revior!

[NOTE: This was pre-written yesterday and didn't get posted 'til today.  My grandparents have arrived safely, thank God!  It's so good to see them again!] 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Am I Supposed to Blog? Oops.

You can award me the "blogger who blogs the most" award. Yup, that's me.


It's been a fortnight since I've posted on here. That's a while, isn't it? Days kind of blend together in the summertime. Let's see, what's happened since I last blogged? I feel a list coming on.

- I've finished my outline for my next novel, codenamed Tornado C. Huzzah! Writing begins soon! I haven't written in any novels since November. I've done tons of revisions and completed five long short stories, but I haven't done any actual novel-writing for quite a while!

- On a whim, I've started yet another short story. It's a half-allegory-half-mystical fantasy that's going to be pretty cool. I've written a thousand words in it so far. :) The title? "The Flame That Does Not Burn". I'm focusing a lot on theme this time around. I mean, more than usual.

- I've read some books, but less than usual, since I've felt rather sick recently. DragonLight by Donita K. Paul is one, I've also read through several of the Epistles; right now I'm rereading Raising Dragons. I only have the first two books in Dragons In Our Midst, though. O_o

- I've listened to a lot of TFK and some other artists as well. My favorite songs keep changing. Right now, my favorites are Monster (Skillet), Break The Silence (Thousand Foot Krutch), Down (Thousand Foot Krutch), and We Are (Thousand Foot Krutch). They'll probably be different tomorrow. :P Down is a consistent favorite, though. I love that song.

- We have four cats and three dogs. They eat a lot of food. And now that the three kittens are growing up, I have to change out the litter box a lot more, or they "go" underneath my bed. In those times, I have to sleep while breathing through my mouth. And since it's been raining, the sand is wet and holds odor very well. Continuing on the subject of rain (and steering it away from cat litter):

- It's been raining. A lot. Our local lagoon has filled up and drained itself out once already in the past week, and it takes a lot of water to fill it up. (When the lagoon drains out, the local people turn out to go tramping down in the mud and fish in what little water is left.) Also, there's a live crab in one of our water bins. What puzzles me is how it got in there, because the steel bin is three feet high and sheer. Then I thought we ought to have a crab farm in the water bin, but I'm not sure if our crabs are edible...

- My sister (Vrenith) entered an dragon art contest the other day. Her division (fifteen and under) only has seven entries, so the proud brother I am says, "She's SO going to win!" I'd give a link, but I write my blog posts offline.

- My other sister ("Manny") also entered a contest, with me; Bryan Davis was holding a contest in which the entrants would take a picture of themselves and one of his Dragons of Starlight books. His three favorites would win an ARC of Liberator, the last of the series. (ARC means Advanced Reader Copy. That means we get it before it comes out officially!) Turns out that he decided to give an ARC to each entrant, so we got a copy. He sent it to my grandparents. Speaking of which:

- My grandparents are coming to visit in TWO WEEKS. GAAH! So excited! And they're bringing the Liberator ARC. (:

Now that I've subdued you with the Dreaded List, I will now subject you to more horrifying poetry. ;) It's in the same sort of style as "Rising Up" but I don't like the verses quite as much. I really like the chorus, though. :)


Hold Onto The King

It thunders outside, echoing the inside of his mind
He's putting pen to paper, knowing that he'll find
There's a way to do it, a path already traced
But now he sees it's the most difficult he's faced.

Because in his ears are the jeers
Of those who might speak
And in his tears all the fears
Of his failures peak
But he has one more thing
In the pain and the rain
Hope lends him a wing
He holds onto the King.

You wouldn't tell by the face, but he's scared inside
Because they'll tear it apart and they won't let it slide
Sometimes like this it's hard to do the right thing
But when you're facing the "saint", it's even harder to sing.

Because in his ears are the jeers
Of those who might speak
And in his tears all the fears
Of his failures peak
But he has one more thing
In the pain and the rain
Hope lends him a wing
He holds onto the King.

He can see the words they'll say, blowing in the air
He looks out the window, pain in his stare
Will he write it? Can he do it? Or will he fail?
Will he be able to follow a divinely appointed trail?

Because in his ears are the jeers
Of those who might speak
And in his tears all the fears
Of his failures peak
But he has one more thing
In the pain and the rain
Hope lends him a wing
He holds onto the King.

He decides, hope collides
With fear, and wins
He will try and he will die
The world, it spins
There was nothing, hope is rushing
Into us, it does
Make the best and the rest
Is up to us, because:

Though in your ears are the jeers
Of those who might speak
And through your tears you'll find your fears
Are gone for the week
Now you have one more thing
Through the pain and the rain
Hope will lend you a wing
You must hold onto the King.


I don't think I quite accomplished anything in this blog post. O_o What's happened in your week, readers? I'm sure it's been considerably more interesting than mine. ^_^ I wonder if the life of another person is more interesting simply because it's not YOUR life. Hm. I'm going to have to ponder that one...


Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Adventure of the Ordinary

I love the Narnia movies. They're awesome, and I really hope that they come out with more. The depth of meaning found in them, despite secular production, is fantastic.

However, one thing has always bothered me. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (my least favorite of the three movies), Reepicheep says something that's intended to be comforting and meaningful. "Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people," or something to that effect.

Not only do screenwriters often butcher the PLOT of books, this one evidently didn't know the author's philosophy as well. The very thing that makes Narnia so wonderful is that it can't happen. It's not ordinary. But if an extraordinary thing happens to an extraordinary person, is it so extraordinary after all?

G. K. Chesterton says this on the subject:

"Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining of the dulness of life.

"This is also why the new novels die so quickly, and why the old fairy tales endure for ever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central.

"Hence fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world."

Being ordinary is the greatest adventure of all, so to speak. If we are ordinary, everything not like us—not normal—must be extraordinary. And that makes life a lot more interesting, now doesn't it?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rising Up: A Poem

So I haven't posted on here in a long time. And that's entirely my fault. To tell you the truth, there hasn't been much to post about. With summer here, writing is taking precedence; and writing posts go to Teenage Writer. But the proud, the few, still follow this blog, eh?

Guess what? I'm going to subject you to a horrible bit of poetry. Happy birthday.

However, the poem is a rather serious and heartfelt one. In it, I ventured, through a series of words and vibrant pictures, to help the reader feel what I mean, rather than tell them. Thus, I wrote it in sloppy rhyme-and-meter. To get the best results, you can read the poem aloud in a fast manner.


Rising Up

I open my eyes, take a look around
Hearing not a rustle, hearing not a sound
I used to see in grey, but now—but now
I can see! is it not so? listen how
I found in surrender I was strong
I found submission in my song
Because really, is silence better than sound?
Open your eyes, take a look around.

Blinding, I'm finding
The euphoria is rising
It's crazy, hazy
But colorful as lightning
Can you hear it?
Can you see it?
It comes from within
The liquid burns
My heart churns
But I'm rising again.

Don't listen to the voices coming in the night
They're telling you to quit, that everything's all right
Don't be content with the way things are
They don't worry about the future 'cause they can't see that far
They say to look away and always leave it be
But what they don't realize is that these chains are breaking free
We can't quit, never, because nothing's ever right
Don't listen to the voices that are coming in the night.

It's blazing, and crazing
The flames are burning hot
It's calling, I'm falling
But more often than not
I hear it
I see it
It's coming from within
The flame burns
My soul yearns
Rising up again.

We'll never be content, we'll always be the rebel
We're warriors on enemy grounds, fighting off the devil
But rising up, it's burning out, it can never rest
The spirit of eternity and spirit of the blest
Don't wait for it, run, run until you faint
To victory is running the ever-burning saint
Wake up, don't sleep, 'cause here comes the devil
Never be content with sin, always be the rebel.

It's pouring rain, insane
Never let it stop
It's calling, I'm crawling
I'll make it to the top
I'll never sleep
And though I weep
It's coming from within
My passion burns
My spirit yearns
And I will rise again.

My passion burns
My spirit yearns
I'm rising up again.


Do you feel what I meant to say? What does the poem tell you?

And what do you think I ought to post about on this poor blog? *glances at the dusty, forlorn thing fondly*


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Who Are We?

Some days ago, I read a rather mediocre youth book.  It was about God's will, and it was a prime example of watered-down theology. It impacted me in the wrong way and lead me to write a fiery post about passion for God and His mission purpose.  It was three pages long (over two thousand words), so I stuck it in a Word document and left it up, intending to publish it on here sometime soon.

However, yesterday my computer died, and it didn't recover the untitled document.  All that remained was a long poem that I had written after the post was finished.

Basically, the poem below is my post, in less words and a rhyme-and-meter.  The post was perhaps a little too fiery to put on here, anyway.

*ahem* In other words, enjoy the poem, and let me know what you think.

Who Are We?

Who are we? Drive this into our minds!
Beside Your holiness, we are but dust!
Reclaim us for Your purpose, Lord
We must do something, we must!

Can we sit in comfortable churches
To listen to a sermon and a song
And then go home and do nothing
As if acting on our faith was wrong?

Lord, transform us, let us not conform!
We must battle, we must fight the fight
Against the powers that hold this world
We must burn for wrongs to be set right!

There are souls to be saved—Lord
Our blackened hearts You must make anew
There are lives to be won, so Lord
Let us burn, let us burn for You!

For your glory! let it be our cry
Be of good courage, and strong!
We must wait for your glorious day
Though the night be long.

Raise up the war cry, children of God!
Raise your swords, Christians, and shout
You have the full armor of God, man
By His strength, throw the devil out!

The darkness must be held back,
It is for the soul we battle the night!
Be strong, with a passion you must love
If we are to win, we must fight!

Throw off the sin that easily entangles
Men of God, rise up! Take heed!
Though we are but naught, the God we serve
Shall strengthen us in every need!

We are nothing, our God is all!
The Savior, the Redeemer, the King!
Push back the darkness and take the call
From every nation the people will sing
We are nothing, our God is all!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Poeticisms: Part IV

You'd be surprised, but life in West Africa gave rise to all sorts of new poetry. I've had something of a poetry splurge the last few weeks, so this post may be a little longer than the others: however, I hope you'll brave it through and tell me how I did.

Unlike my other poetry posts, the poems in this post are almost all focused on real life or real things.

On some of these, I gave a note telling what inspired me to write that specific poem.

And any feedback is welcome. The rhyme and meter is far from perfect, but I tried getting it to the point where it rhymed minimally (at the least) and had a fairly consistent meter.

The Pen

Spreading words of inky black
A sword across a whitewashed page
The pen brings imagination back
And speaks of darkness and light and rage.

It makes the mind soar as birds
Or burrows with moles ere—
it takes you traveling in colorful words
With the pen, you can go anywhere.

Lullaby of Night

Elves dance in the night under twinkling starlight
Dwarves delve 'neath the stony ground
As men raise their burial mound
And the world is under night—
And the world is under night.

Dark things wallow in moonlight shadow
While light lays in watchful sleep
Things stir 'neath the caverns deep
Dark stirs quietly below—
Dark stirs quietly below.

The east grows pale and the men wake hale
And the fell, twisted creatures run
To deeps below, they flee the sun
But they are but a tale—
But they are but a tale.

Be not afraid of the wild, go to sleep, be mild
The morning brings a new day
Hush you, dear, heed what I say
Sleep well, my child—
Sleep well, my child.

Bar Music
(Bar music here is constant. After we moved into our house, however, the volume and consistency decreased, but some nights it's still loud. This was written on one of those nights.)

You rolled over, you turned, you tried to sleep
Hot and sticky, you closed your eyes
In the window, music began to creep
And lights obscured the eastern skies.

You glanced out the window, yes, it's true
They're at it again, all right
As if to affirm, the music grew:
The bar songs are playing tonight.

Life in Africa
(It's pretty obvious what inspired this one.)

We have hot days and sticky weather
Thin-mattress beds, far from feather
No running water, fluorescent light
Electricity by generator only at night
No wireless internet, and school to do
The list of our "problems" only grew.

Yet, can we not be thankful for things beside?
The cool sea breeze, the sound of the tide
The water pump, the security guards
The papers, the pens, the playing cards
Food to eat, cold water to drink
We're pretty blessed, don't you think?

Snowy Mornings
(One of my favorite memories is going to bed freezing and hoping to wake up to lots of snow in the morning. There's something wonderful about going to bed cold...or maybe that's just me.)

Children curl in freezing beds and blankets
While beside the heater the adults converse
'Neath yellow lights the warm faces
Bravely weather winter's worst.

O for those days of wintry childhood!
Children under quilts listen to the wind's cries
To look up grinning at the windows
Hoping to wake up to a white sunrise.

The Americans' Dinner
(We recently adopted "American Food Sunday", on which we make some American dish to change from the norm; that is, rice. I wrote this on one such Sunday.)

Dusk was simmering against inside light
And 'round the wood table were six white faces
Mashed potatoes, meatballs, corn yellow-bright
With cake, and frosting—my, 'twas a sight
An American dinner with American graces.

The Kitten

Four furry feet slip into the room
Two large eyes peer up at the bed
Then, she runs behind the broom
Stopping to sniff at a crumb of bread.

Then, silent, she slinks to the curtain
And, with tiny claws comes the attack
Then she pauses to listen, to ascertain
That the curtain won't be fighting back.

Then, appeased, she leaves the curtain behind
And springs to the bed, as if she flew
Curls up, and then pays nothing else mind
Play hard, sleep hard, that's the kitten for you.

The Land of Kansas
(I was feeling a little homesick one day and wrote this poem. 'Cos I love Kansas. (: It gives me warm fuzzies - and that's not a phrase you hear from guys every day.)

Which place has the tornadoes, the cows and the wheat?
Where is that country of grassy hills and pasture fields?
Look, see the white church where Mennonites meet
Beside the yellow field and the harvest of gold it yields;

The land as straight as an arrow and flat as the sea
The land of farmers and Indian names and small towns
It's the heartland, a great land, as you'll soon agree;
Where the sunsets give the fields their crimson crowns.

It's a place of tranquility, the farmland of peace
The place of the simple, the hard-working, the tough
So forget England and France and Russia and Greece:
The land of Kansas is the place to be, sure enough.