Thursday, December 18, 2014

I didn't fall in love with you - I fell into infatuation - A Short Story

Original Picture From Pinterest

** A Short Story - Work of Fiction **

     They always ask me, “How did you fall in love?”

     That seems like a silly question... I've lived enough to realize I didn't fall in love. Maybe some people do, but we certainly didn't. No, I didn't fall in love with you.

     I fell into infatuation.

     It was born of admiration and idealistic notions, wrapped in the way you laughed and how, when you smiled, I wanted that smile to be at me. It was born of watching you speak, with confidence and compassion, and tangled with the way you calmly fixed problems. It was born of my longing for companionship, and yet peppered with my insecurities that said, “You're only maybe good enough for him.”

    Infatuation is a crazy creature. It knows it may not have a shot, but it's insanely curious. It reads into every teasing smile, every quick hug, every chance encounter. It hopes for lofty dreams of being totally loved and accepted, but doesn't much dwell on any hard work involved. Infatuation just.... imagines the best, with all the warm fuzzies. Infatuation, ah, it was full of colors and daydreams of tomorrows, even though I hardly knew you. All I knew was that I wanted to, no matter what it took.

    So I tried for your attention. You didn't at first take much notice... but I watched from a distance and tried a little harder. Finally you got the hint – it still makes me laugh as I remember the moment you finally understood I was interested. We talked awhile and then a little while more... for days, and then weeks. You made me laugh – I made you think. We talked about the world, God, and all our funny little wonderings. We opened up our hearts and began to be real...

    Then I fell out of infatuation... And grew into love.

    Loving you was harder... That first time we fought, I thought I'd mangled things beyond repair. I sobbed so hard I could hardly breathe. Part of me wanted to hide - that would be the easy way out. Part of me wanted to run away to a time before you... But I couldn't. It scared me... imagining life without you. And I realized, no matter how much it hurt, I was willing to fight for our friendship... There were difficult times, but I truly loved you in-spite of it... and I could see you loved me too.

     I apologized. You apologized... It really was a stupid little thing, knotted with misunderstandings. Hours of sorting out later, and we were once again friends. Just a little smarter.

     But that wasn't the only time we had a misunderstanding... And that wasn't the only time that loving you was painfully hard... I battled jealousy. I battled my fear of you leaving. I battled my fear of hurting you.... You had your own insecurities you brought.... Still, by God's grace we grew closer together. Loving you was hard, but it was so much better than infatuation.

     Love was born of knowing you – trusting you...

     It was born of sharing my deepest longings – then being shown what you were passionate about. It was born of tested promises, and wrapped with the long talks we had about life. Love was born of a dozen and a half times we apologized, and interwoven with the trust that grew. Love was born of being willing to sacrifice my time and my plans, and seeing you do the same for me. Love was born of aching under your sadness, and asking God to be your strength. Love was born of both joys and pains – growing stronger with every act of trust.

     I fell into infatuation, but I grew into love. That's what I tell people when they ask about falling in love.

~Ophelia - Marie 

*Author's note - Admittedly, I've never been in a relationship - but I do know what it's like to be infatuated. And, in a friendship sense, I know what it's like to love - to struggle through the painful bits, and the misunderstandings, and yet only grow closer through it all... So, though this isn't a story I've experienced, I still feel qualified enough to write it. ;) I hope you enjoyed it... Maybe it made you think....

See - infatuation doesn't ask anything of you. Love does. Love takes work and self sacrifice. When you love someone, you are opening yourself up to the potential of getting hurt - they see you clear enough to know how to hurt you... When you love, you are agreeing, in a sense, to give up some of what you want, for their best, and to be there for them, no matter how you feel... But you do so because it's worth it... to know and and be known, to love and be loved... To love, in a pale reflection of the way God does. 

 Infatuation takes a moment's fancy - Love takes time and experience to grow.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Wonder

               This is the fifth (and last) post in my 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' series. The other posts are on the topics of not growing up beyond Dreaming, Caring, Playing and Hoping.

I don't want to be so "grown up" that I no longer wonder.

I don't want to stop living with wonder
Because I let it be drained away
And life is now only routine.

            It's easy to start going through the motions in life, especially when things get in busy routine. Get up, do this or that, go to work, do what needs to be done, come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again the next day. We often see generally the same people, have generally the same interactions, and just... do it again and again. Time marches on, and  we can get in the mindset of, "just another day."

       Let me tell ya though, just because life has routine, doesn't mean we have to become complacent. What if today, starting right now, you told yourself you were going to try to do your very best in everything for the next twenty-four hours? Everything.

        What if you tried to have a good attitude, even when you didn't feel like it? What if you answered everyone kindly, and tried to get along? What if you looked at whatever tasks you have to do today and tried to do your utmost best? ... What if you looked at the world with wonder at the fact that God is holding it all together and let that reminder spring you forward into facing your day?

       Know a good way to keep from getting complacent? Every day seek to pray for someone you never have before, no matter how well you know them -  Also pray for your friends, family, and leaders. Pray blessing into their life, and ask God to send them His overabundant joy. Look for ways to encourage others. Find something specific to thank God for giving you today. It's harder to become complacent when you're placing your focus on God and others. It's an intentional choice. (I'm not always good at remembering this, but I find the days I go into with prayer, are days that I more easily see God's hands at work.)

I don't want to release these bits of life
In favor of being mature
And unknowingly become cynical.

         It's all around us, ya know. There seems to be this notion that to be mature means to be stiff... or more... formal... To lose the sense of fun, and to become someone who only day to day does what is required of them. We become used to the wonders around us, and stop finding the same joy in them. But I don't believe that's how it should be. *Came across this beautiful post* :

I don't want to grow out of looking in wonder-
Dancing, knowing, touching the gloriousness of being alive-

           I want to look at life and have moments where the joy of being alive can't be contained. Do you know that feeling? *Grins* It's kinda hard to put into words. That joy when I've seen God answer a prayer, and I can see so clearly how He worked it out. That joy when I've had a hard day, but God sends someone to encourage me. That joy when I feel an overwhelming sense of love from my Heavenly Father, and I'm reminded all over again how much He cares for me. 

           Or things like this - simple little things - like listening through music and suddenly realizing how perfectly this song fits with what I'm trying to say. "You are the song, You are the song I'm singing. You are the air, You are the air I'm breathin'. You are the hope, You are the hope I'm needing - You are." I want to have the type of wonder that I know God is the song of my heart, the life I need like the air, and that He is the hope driving me to live with abandon. (Aaand, there goes another song that fits this post. *Adds it to the end*)

The type of wonderment that makes me treasure moments,
Holding fast to the knowledge,
That life is beautiful in Christ.

          There's a quote by Doctor Seuss that says, "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory."

          That's why when something makes you happy, treasure it. Don't hesitate to tell people you love what they mean to you. Don't assume things will stay the same - but don't let that make you afraid. Let that knowledge fill you with passion to care... If your moments are to become memories, make them worth remembering. If you are to become a memory to someone, may that memory point to Jesus and the wonderful difference He has made in your life.

         Each moment is precious. Some are hard, some are long, some seem more than we can bear... but I know that life is held by God. Life is beautiful because Christ is in it, and He holds us every step of the way. He is the reason I can live with joyous wonder. Remember that. Marvel in that truth.

Ah, may we never cease to find wonder in the world around us. To live with abandon. 
To shine the light of Christ.
To dream and care and play and hope...
To live life in awe of God's unchangeable grace.

That life is beautiful in Christ.

Now my final question for you is: How will you continue to live with wonder?

~Ophelia - Marie

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Hoping


              This is the fourth post in my 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' series. The other posts are on the topics of not growing up beyond Dreaming, Caring and Playing.

I don't want to be so "grown up" that I no longer hope.

I don't want to stop hoping
Because all I see is the practical side of it
And everything is black or white.

         First, I'd like to say I'm very practical. Ha, and I've been told I'm very practical for as long as I can remember so I don't dispute that claim anymore. (Much. ;)  There's always the days I'm emotional and feel the farthest from practical...*Grins a little* Life. ) It's gotten to the point that when people laugh and comment on that aspect of my personality I just grin and say, "Yeah, I'm very practical."  Yuppidy, that's me - the person who loves to dream, care and play through the ups and downs of life, but still tends to send things through a level-headed filter... eventually. ;)

          But... I've been learning for the zillionth time that there are a lot of things in life that aren't black and white. There isn't always a wrong choice and a right choice. There are several gray inbetweens built on preference, situational circumstances, and other factors. Not everything has a practical answer that clearly draws a pinpoint line on what decisions I should make. Sometimes the pros and cons seem pretty evenly matched and when it's not a moral dilemma... what is the right choice?

           It's hard to be hopeful in the mindset where things are all black or white. It's the mindset creeping in that says there are some situations God won't intervene in, and there are some things that 'just are the way they are'. Hopefulness drains away when we assume some things will never change, and don't look towards the future with trustful expectation of God's grace.

I don't want to stand so solidly in my ways
That all others are wrong
Since I am so right.

           I'm sure you've seen this thought before. It's the sharp thought process that says, 'This works for me, but my fellow Christian sibling doesn't agree. They must not be walking with the Lord as I am.' ... Or, 'How stupid and clueless people must be - don't they see this isn't working?'...

         There isn't a whole lot of flexibility or compassion when we react with mocking words and the intent to shame others. How likely is it you would listen if someone came up to you and started attacking your hardcore beliefs, and did so entirely with an air that they know more than you, and you're just a poor misinformed sap - or worse - you're blackened, hardened, and blind to the destruction you're causing? Would you try to understand and ask questions? Or would you becoming increasingly defensive to their fierce and unforgiving attitude? I think too often we outright condemn and steam-roll people with our belief instead of trying to listen to them.

         On one hand, yes, there are things that are wrong. There are things that are sin, and need to be spoken out against. For example, abortion is wrong - I don't care what anyone says - an unborn child is a child no matter what and is a precious creation of God and we have no right to murder a child. I do believe there are lies from satan we need to be combating with The Truth of the Gospel of Christ. I do believe we need to be an act of change against many of the sins the culture is calling, 'normal'. I do believe we need to be firmly grounded in what we know is right, and be unashamed to be a witness. We are to be light in this world and that means acting different from others and not bowing to the idea that some sins are 'acceptable'. Sin is sin, and the Bible is very clear about it.

          On the other hand... we need to keep in mind people are lost and hurting. There are many times when people need the blatant, hard truth put before their eyes and told to look at the devastation that their choices - their choices of unmarried sex, drug abuse, pornography, abortion, and others - bring into their lives, and the lives of those they care about.  But we also need to show we care about the people in these situations... Those are people who are bound in their sin. But for the grace of God, that could be me. But for the grace of God, that could be you. Confused, unrepentant, angry, hurting, scared, alone, constantly lied to - feeling backed into a corner with no other way out...That could be us, if God hadn't changed our hearts. I pray I never become so "grown up" that I act like I've got it so together that people don't feel they can approach me, or that I push them away with an unforgiving attitude. I won't show others there is hope, if I don't show them the Truth in love and understanding. There is hope - His name is Jesus.

*Keeps having this song run through my head*

           (A lot of this goes back to my post on caring, since that is a topic I feel very strongly about. I could probably write another entire series of blog posts on my thoughts here... but I tried to condense my thoughts down. Thus saying, I know I didn't even come close to comprehensively covering this point. Like, at all. *Keeps adding and finally figures I'll stop rambling for now* )

I don't want to grow out of hoping-
Trusting, watching, believing that God has good things ahead-

             God has good things planned. I believe so. I pray for that. If I died tomorrow or lost someone I care about deeply - if I lost everything like Job did- I know God would have a purpose to it, even if it was darkly painful to understand. He knows what is best. There are things in life that hurt, and there are times of deep grief and sadness. Know what though? We serve a faithful, strong, loving God who never sleeps, and who is concerned with justice. I can have hope because I know God sees so so so much more than I ever do or will about this life. Trusting and hoping is very difficult some days, but I know whom I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day. I don't want to grow out of believing that God is mighty and stands by me through life, no matter what happens.

The type of hoping that buoys my soul
Into leaping to actions of faith
And grasping God's promises.

             The Bible is full of promises that God has made to His children. Promises that He'll never leave us or forsake us.  Promises that He has loved us with strength enough that He sent Jesus to die for us. Promises that He will return for us and take us to be with Him. The promise that He has not left us here as we wait for His return - we have the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  The promise that if God is for us, who can be against us?  The Bible tells us there will be hardships, especially as Christians, but we are to entrust our souls to our faithful Creator as we do good.

            God's promises should fill us with great hope because we serve a God who can fulfill those promises. He is so powerful that there is no one greater for Him to swear by, so He swears by Himself. (That thought has fascinated me for awhile...) He has sworn by Himself, and paid for us with His blood - there is nothing greater He can do to show that we belong to Him. Oh what a glorious, hope-filling thing to ponder - God has made us promises and He will never leave us alone.

          Since I have hope in God's promises to me, that should change my outlook on life. Hope is a funny thing - it can drive us to do things we may never well have done otherwise. It may only be a spark, but hope can make all the difference. The difference between taking a chance, and shrinking back. The difference between sickening fear, and quiet trust. The difference between reaching for a dream, or letting it die. The difference between caring for someone, or giving up. The difference between taking time to find joy, or only dwelling on the worst.

         Mmm... Hope... I write that word on my wrist fairly often...thinking about so many, many things in life. It can be hard to remember at times to look around and have hope. Hope isn't just a feeling though. Hope needs to be grounded in the right place, in the right person. Jesus - our Savior, Redeemer, Creator and Friend. He is always with us. We are safe in His arms. He is the reason I can hope.

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield

In him our hearts rejoice,

    for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.

I had this written on my wrist for a few days for Self Harm Awareness day.
There is always hope.

Now my question for you is: How will you remain hopeful?

~Ophelia - Marie 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Playing

            This is the third  post in my 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' series. The other posts are entitled, 'I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Dreaming', and 'I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Caring'.

I don't want to be so "grown up" that I no longer play.

I don't want to stop playing
Because there are better things to do
And they must come first.

               That's not to say I don't want to take responsibility for what's important - quite the contrary. What I mean by that is I want to remember to take time to enjoy little things. I want to take the time to "stop and smell the roses", even if I've got "the garden to weed". 

              It's easy to become so busy and forget to slow down and just play for a little while. This life is fast paced and full of stuff that call for our attention. People seem to always be saying, "I don't have time for that!" I don't want to ever become so exhaustively busy that I don't have time to play, or enjoy life. I know I'll get busier as I get older but hey, I don't think that has to mean I'll stop having fun.

I don't want to despise twirling in the thunder storm
And stop marveling
In the beauty of the lightening that flashes across the sky.

          I wish I would still play like this little girl  and be enthralled by something as simple as rain. Though I don't show as much delight as she does, I do enjoy it even now - the sound it makes as it pours from the sky and strikes the ground, the smell of it in the spring air, the wonderfully cool feel of it on a warm summer afternoon, and the way everything green perks up after a hard rain.

          I remember one night at camp as I was heading back to the girls' trailer, it started pouring. We'd been having a long dry spell, but suddenly it began to rain. Thunder rumbled deep and loud, and I stood there and started laughing. It was pretty dark and ha, like usual I'd forgotten to bring my flashlight, but that only made the lightening seem all the more magnificent as it lit up the sky in response to the thunder. *Grins* I love this memory because I remember how happy I felt in that moment, in the dark, in the rain, marveling at the fact that God had created and sent forth that display. When I got back to the trailer I remember coming through the door and saying to the girls sitting on the couch, "It's raining!" and feeling so... delighted by what I'd seen.
(Yes, I know ya shouldn't stay outside when there's lots of lightening, and I didn't stay out long, for your information. ;) I stayed out long enough to be fairly wet though. ^_^) 

Me covered in fluffies. ;)

       I don't want to lose that joy over simple things, and the ability to be 'easily amused' at random fun. Things like rain, wildflowers, the ocean, early morning sunrises... Things like skipping around (often arm in arm) with friends, or making up silly back stories for Skype's emoticons, or helping out with a spur of the moment scavenger hunt for someone's birthday, or having a 'war' with fluff for the sheer fun of it. ;) Just... having fun for the sake of having fun, even if it might be considered a little odd, or too commonplace to be taking so much enjoyment out of it.
        Ha, I don't even know if I'm explaining this so that others will understand. *Motions with hands* Play. Do you know what it's like to play? To goof around, tease, and laugh until ya can hardly breathe? Or make up songs and games that are built of pure inspiration (or sugar... I think sugar late at night helps... ;) ) and often verging into goofy-insanity? Or looking wide-eyed at the sun- rise (that is different and yet as wonderful as the previous morning's) and again well up with awe? Or looking  at the clouds to find the pictures built in your imagination and the wind? Or running through the waves of the ocean and feeling the wild tug to go deep enough to be knocked over and plunge into the strong surging tide? Ya know what I'm talking about? Mmm, silly joy That. That is what I don't think we should lose, as we grow up - the ability to find that kind of pleasure and joy in the good things God gives us. 

I don't want to grow out of laughing-
Genuinely, fully, without thought of those around -
The type of laughing that others don't have to understand
But secretly wish they weren't afraid
To share in too.

              Being self-conscious can take away a lot of the fun out of playing. I know, 'cause I don't always join in, even when they look fun, and I'm learning to try new things even when I'm not all that sure of myself. I don't want to "grow up" and act like laughing with all I am is no longer permissible. ;) Yeah, okay, maybe with the right people I become a crazy hyper thing, but let me tell ya, you'll know for sure I'm having fun when you see that side of me. ^^_^^

            Ya know, God made us to enjoy companionship and with the ability to have fun. It struck me again just now that God takes delight in things. He delights in giving us what is good, and wants us to appreciate what He gives. He sends the rain, the snow, the sun rises and rainbows. He puts others in our lives for a reason. He gave us the ability to create things and share experiences. He is a God that sends blessings - we should take delight in them. We should take time to play.

            *Grins* I want to remain playful - laughing, teasing, playing, encouraging - going through life trying to be uplifting to those around me. Sure, there will be hard days, long days, and times when I don't feel like playing, but I want to have an attitude that still looks for joy in the midst of it all, with God's strength. He is the reason I can play.

Original Picture By Theodora Ashcraft

Now my question for you is: How will you seek to take time to play?

~Ophelia - Marie

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Giveaway and Guest Post - By Faith Blum

This is a guest post by my friend, Faith Blum. :D 
She is hosting a giveaway on her blog. Read this post for details on how to win  an Advanced Reader copy of Be Thou My Vision and an ebook copy of Aundy by Shanna Hatfield.

Book Blurb

The church was empty when I dragged myself out of the pew and headed out the door. As I opened the door, the corner of my eye caught a flicker of movement which I chose to ignore. I walked down the steps and was nearly bowled over by two wild boys. With arms grown strong and quick from man-handling two brothers growing up, I grabbed the two boys before they had a chance to escape me.

Anna Stuart is comfortable with her life. She may be a 30 year old spinster, but she has her routine and enjoys taking care of her father and older brother. One letter shatters all her routines, comfort, and enjoyment. After learning of her brother’s death, Anna feels like her life will never be the same again.

Then she meets two motherless boys. Did God place them in her life to lead her to a new vision of life? Can she trust God to give her the desires of her heart before she even knows what they are?

Writing sermons
By Faith Blum, author of the book A Mighty Fortress

I think the hardest part of writing "Be Thou My Vision" was writing the sermons. I only have two (or three) in the book and they are both fairly short, but let me tell you, they were hard to write! First of all, it was nerve-wracking to write a sermon because I didn't want to make any major theological errors. Secondly, the sermons had to be historically accurate, too! Preaching styles have changed quite a bit since the 1870s. Here are just a few of those differences:

  • Most people during that time thought they were Christians simply because they went to church or had a spiritual experience at a revival meeting.
  • Preachers often preached "brimstone and hellfire" sermons.
  • Pastors were more candid about sin
  • Terminology was slightly different

When writing the sermons, I had to be careful to keep all of this in mind and I still don't know for sure if I got it all right. I'm sure I messed up somewhere. When editing the sermons, I decided to edit more for theological accuracy rather than historical accuracy. Read below for the first fully-written sermon in "Be Thou My Vision":

“Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter seven.” Pastor Miles Jenkins waited until the rustling of pages quieted down. “We will read verses seven through twelve.”
“'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
“‘Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.'
“This passage talks about those who know something about God’s kingdom, but still seek out His will for their lives or have yet to come to know Him as their personal Savior. There is a giant difference between going to church and knowing Jesus personally. Those who only go to church without a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ will go to hell.
“Are you one of those people who comes to this house of God, but you don’t read your Bible or know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Or perhaps you are one of those who believe that all the good deeds you do will get you to heaven. The Bible is very specific and clear about that very issue.
“In this passage, Jesus explains how to know His as your personal Savior in a simple, yet difficult, formula. Ask, seek, and knock. Ask God your questions. Seek His answers in the Bible through prayer and asking your pastor or a friend who knows the Lord. And then comes the hardest step: Knocking. Knock on the door and ask God for His free gift of salvation.
“Why is this part so hard? Because we think salvation should be harder than simply knocking and asking. I have heard the question, 'Don't we have to DO something before God will accept us?’ many times. Or sometimes it is said this way, 'Isn't there something we can DO to earn God's favor?'
“The Bible answers that question with a resounding 'No'! No, there is nothing you need to, or can, do to earn salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.' Faith, not works. I guess we should add that to the list. Ask, Seek, Believe, Have faith, Knock, Accept. That's all there is to it. Simple? Perhaps. Belief and faith do not come easily.”
Pastor Jenkins looked toward the back wall; his eyes avoided eye contact for the first time during this sermon. “Although I grew up in a God-fearing home, I had a hard time accepting it for myself and making Jesus my personal Savior. And even after I came to a personal faith in Christ, having faith was often hard. When I knocked and accepted Jesus as Lord of my life, keeping my faith in line with God's word was, and is, the hardest thing I have ever done. Yes, even harder than watching my wife die. Even harder than accepting that her death would ultimately be for the best somehow.”
Pastor Jenkins cleared his throat and wiped the tears out of his eyes. “But that faith is what brought me through all those trials and it will continue to do so in the future. Every day I struggle and every day that I persevere is sweeter than the day before.
“How many of you have faith, but struggle with it? Know this, God is stronger than your trial or temptation and, if you ask, He will help you and guide you through.
“How many of you have yet to believe and put your faith in Him? God is seeking you. Do not hide from Him like the Old Testament prophet, Jonah did. Jonah was told to warn the Ninevites that they needed to repent or their city would be destroyed. He disobeyed, thinking he could hide from God. God found him and Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of a big fish. When God let him out of the fish, Jonah completed his mission.
“God seeks you just as you are. He knows you are a sinner condemned to hell. All He cares about is that you come to Him so He can save you from an eternity without Him. God does not want a single person to go to hell.
“Are you hiding from God today? Why are you hiding? Is your faith less than you desire it to be? Trust God and ask Him for help. Seek His face. Believe He can help you. Have faith He will accomplish His work in you. Knock on His door and accept His help and be ready for Him to want you to change.”
Pastor Jenkins looked over the sanctuary. For a fleeting second, I thought he looked me straight in the eye, asking me those questions personally. Then he concluded, “Let us spend a minute or two in silent prayer. After that time, I will close us in prayer.”

About the Author

An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, leading on the Holy Worlds Christian Writing Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?). As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.

Find Faith on:
To preorder a copy, just follow this link: Go Here. ;)


To enter the giveaway for an Advanced Reader copy of Be Thou My Vision and an ebook copy of Aundy by Shanna Hatfield go to Faith’s blog and leave a comment to either ask her a question, or make a comment about what you think about the article.

Friday, September 19, 2014

If The Words You Spoke Appeared On Your Skin...

All together, don't these just beg to be made into a story? 

If someone writes something along these lines, I wanna see it! ^_^

~Ophelia - Marie

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Random Thing I Do In My Spare Time... Clay Dragons

Lately I've been pretty busy: working as a nurse aid, puttering my way through poetry editing, and ... making dragons. ;)

These are made from Sculpy clay, and most of them have been glossed with nail polish.

(I also make clay animals.  Though I've been on a dragon kick lately. ;) ) 

My dragon family.

This is my best dragon I've made to date, I think. :) 

This cub is hanging in my car.

Flower Dragon

I recently made an Etsy shop: 
and I have a Facebook page:  to have somewhere to share my random creative spurt. ;)

This has been a "General Rambling" of  a craft type. ;)

(Head's up - I'm planning to do a giveaway in late December.)

~Ophelia - Marie 

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Caring

       This is the second post in my 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' series. The first post is entitled, 'I Don't Want To Grow Up - Beyond Dreaming'. 

I don't want to be so "grown up" that I no longer care.

I don't want to stop caring
Because I've put everyone in categorized bubbles
And they don't matter anymore.

       There are the people who "deserve our care" and then the people who "made wrong choices, and got what they deserved" - There are the people who, "Need our compassion", and the people who, "Need to just figure it out for themselves"- sadly, we hear this attitude all the time. We tend to rush in to help those who stumbled, but glare harshly at those who have habitually been walking on the edge of wrong choices (despite being told what would happen) and finally crumble under the weight of what they've done. We scold, and shake our heads, and throw out our words of, "We told you this would happen!" instead of showing compassion. The weight of our judgmental glances tell them that their chances are better out on the road.  

        Where would we be if God hadn't loved us, despite how messed up we are? Where would we be if He had left us to figure things out alone? Where would we be if we had to meet His standards, before He extended grace? Where would we be if our past kept us from finding a new future in Him? So much has been given to us that we've never deserved. We need to extend that same grace to others. 

        That doesn't mean people shouldn't be held accountable for their actions, and that there aren't real consequences for life choices people make. It doesn't mean we shouldn't try to tell people what will happen when we see them walking into sin. It doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to what harmful things people do to themselves and others in the name of being "sensitive". It means... praying for the broken, talking to them, showing them the love of God by our lives and actions, and seeking to genuinely care about them as individuals, even when they aren't very "lovable"...


I don't want to see someone crying
And hurry away
Because I don't have time.

         I don't want to get to the point in life where my agenda becomes more important than caring for others. It takes time to talk to hurting people. It takes time to get to know them, be there for them, and understand why they are hurting. It isn't easy. It isn't even always rewarding. It isn't without cost, or without occasional confusion and pain. It isn't without mistakes, or times that seem impossible. 

           I know I can't be there for everyone. I know that I can't heal the pain. I know that I am not always the friend I should be. I know I can not be someone's strength. I know I can not fix what people crush. I know I don't have all the solutions, or even a handful of them, a lot of times. I know I am not strong enough to fully bear another's heartaches. I know I haven't always been obedient to reaching out when I had the chance. I know there are times I have to step back from a friendship. I know there are days I can't handle trying to be there, and have to take a break. I know I can't do everything... But I do know many things I can do, with God's strength.

        I know I can listen. I know I can show I care. I know I can offer my friendship. I know I can extend forgiveness. I know I can speak truth. I know I can look at things from another point of view and offer ideas. I know I can pray down on my knees and beg for God's healing, peace, and strength for others. I know that I can make a difference in someone's life, if that's what God has for me to do. 

         When it comes down to it, will you take the time to show you care? Will you put aside what is "convenient" to reach out? A lot of times you don't even have to do much, it seems... Pray and be there for people - that's what is needed the most. But like I said, that doesn't mean it's easy... It's being the hands and feet of Jesus. It's showing love to those who often don't know what love really means -  the hope that is bound up in a relationship with Jesus.

I don't want to look at people
And only wonder what they'll give me,
How they'll help me forward,
And if they are worth my time.

         Life is full of people who will either have the means to repay our caring in some way, or who won't.

          There are people who affirm those who love them in their pain, and there are those who react harshly to offered help. There are people who accept love and gentle reproof, and then there are people who appear colder to kindnesses and ignore (or sharply reply to) anything that isn't uplifting and affirming... There are those who seem easier to love, and there are those that are much harder to love.

     I work as a nurse aide in a long term care facility. Not all of my residents are lovable. (Many of them are wonderfully sweet though, and I absolutely love my job.) Some are unkind and demanding and always seem to be complaining... But God calls me to be loving and patient with them too. I don't always have the right attitude, but God has been teaching me again the meaning of caring for those who can and will give you nothing in return.

        As I was thinking about that, these verses came to mind:

Luke 14:12-14
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Matthew 5:46-47
 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 

I don't want to grow out of caring-
Deeply, truly caring-
The type of caring that makes me cry
Though I don't know their name,
Or fully understand their hurt.

           I don't want to stop being empathetic, even though it hurts. I want Him to break my heart 'til it moves my hands and feet. Mmm, I want to have a heart of compassion to those around me, and not become cynical to the brokenness. I want to love others with no half measures - loving them the best I know how, in God's strength.

          God has shown me such perfect love. He teaches me day by day to rest in Him, even when I struggle, and shows me that I am not alone. His grace is enough for me. How can I do any less than seek to love others in even a fraction of the way that He has loved me? He is the reason I can care.

Now my question for you is: How will you show you care?

~Ophelia - Marie