Please Be Real

I debated about posting this. I almost didn’t. But I am, so listen up. ūüėÄ Just kidding. *puts on serious face*

 

I don’t like fake people or people who try to make me think that they are different than they really are. And neither, I believe, does God.

 

Now, granted, I have been guilty of being ‘fake’ myself a time or two. And I’m not proud of it. From my understanding, it is a form of deceit, much like lying. And since we all know and agree that lying is a sin, why don’t we come to the terms with the fact that intentionally false appearances are, also?

 

Proverbs 19:9 reads “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and¬†he that¬†speaketh lies shall perish.” Now, all Bible believers would agree that lying is wrong. We have been taught that since childhood. In my house, if you lied to Mom or Dad, there would be consequences that you wouldn’t forget for awhile. But what is this ‘false witness’ who is going to be punished?

 

From Webster’s 1828:

 

False–adjective

1. Not true; not conformable to fact; expressing what is contrary to that which exists, is done, said or thought. A false report communicates what is not done or said. A false accusation imputes to a person what he has not done or said. A false witness testifies what is not true. A false opinion is not according to truth or fact. The word is applicable to any subject, physical or moral.

 

Witness–noun

1. Testimony; attestation of a fact or event.

If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. John 5:31.

2. That which furnishes evidence or proof.

Laban said, this heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Genesis 31:44.

3. A person who knows or sees any thing; one personally present; as, he was witness; he was an eye-witness. 1 Peter 5:1.

4. One who sees the execution of an instrument, and subscribes it for the purpose of confirming its authenticity b his testimony.

5. One who gives testimony; as, the witnesses in court agreed in all essential facts.

With a witness effectually; to a great degree; with great force, so as to leave some mark as a testimony behind. He struck with a witness [Not elegant.]

 

 

So, basically, a false witness is someone who speaks untruthfully or, in this case, acts untruthfully. Let me illustrate:

 

I know several people who have the “no-pants-on-women” conviction. My family holds that standard as do several other families we connect with. The majority of the core families in our church hold that standard, and it is upheld for the church’s ministries (i.e. the choir, school, etc.).

 

Some people in our church, however, disagree or do not hold that standard. Does this make them any less of a Christian? No. Do I look down on ladies who do not hold that standard? No.

 

But, let’s say that we are attending a large, non-church related function such as Memorial Day Parade. (Just a note, this is loosely based off of vague incidents that have happened in my life or that I have heard about. The time and place are fictional.) Several people who hold the standard in question are going to attend, as well as several who don’t. I will be there, and I will be wearing a skirt. As usual. There is nothing out of the ordinary.

 

Now, as this is hypothetical, let’s say that you are a lady and you wear pants. If you see nothing wrong with wearing pants, and you can do so in complete faith, good for you! But you know that I am going to be there, and I’m going to be in a skirt. So you decide to wear a skirt.

 

Now, this can go either way, depending on your attitude and motivation.

 

If you think “Oh, Abilene’s going to be there, and she’ll be wearing a skirt, so I should wear a skirt, too, out of respect for her beliefs. I know she won’t be offended if I wear my capris but I want to respect her convictions,”, that is very considerate and I commend you.

 

But what if you think “Ugh, Abilene’s going to be there. I¬†really¬†want to wear those skinny jeans because they go so well with my shirt and show off my body, but Ab wears skirts. I guess I’ll just wear a skirt to make her think that I’m more spiritual,”, maybe there’s something wrong with your heart.

 

Now, I’m not saying if you wear pants that you’re more spiritual if you wear skirts, or vice versa. I know people who wear skirts all of the time and are less spiritual than people I know who wear pants. This was just an example.

 

But do you see what I mean?

 

The girl who thinks “I’m just going to wear a skirt to impress people. I really want to wear my jeans, but I want to make people think I’m better than I am” is what I would call a false witness. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying anyone who wears skirts is better than anyone who wears pants. This is just hypothetical and was the easiest example I could think of. But do you see how she would be a false witness?

 

She is lying about herself. ¬†She sets herself up as something she’s not. And I know that I have been guilty of this, too, not necessarily in the area of dress standards but in my speech and actions, so don’t think I’m just having a big rant about people that I think are fake. I’m writing this all out for my benefit, too.

 

But wouldn’t you call someone who makes themselves appear as something different a false witness?

 

I think that especially young ladies struggle with this. We want to fit in, to get along with other kids our age. We think that if we dress a certain way or act like our ‘friends’ we can fool people. But, most of the time, we can’t. And so we come off as ‘fake’, because we are. Not because we want to be, but because we want to be liked.

 

And, I believe, that is one reason why many girls are unhappy. Because they¬†aren’t being them.¬†They talk a certain way and act a certain way and dress a certain way because they want to fit in, but those certain ways aren’t the real them. They could be more of make-up and Starbucks and high-end kind of girl but they hang out with kids who play street ball and haven’t tried a new hairstyle since fourth grade, so they pull on their old Nikes and suddenly become Bulls fans. They could have stellar campfire-starting and survival skills but their ‘best friend’ is a YouTuber so their hiking backpack gets stuffed in the back of their closet while they try to understand the purpose of vlogging. And some of them aren’t happy because they know that this isn’t who they are.

 

Well, my friends, it’s time to stop pretending and find out who we are, specifically who we are in Christ. It’s time to learn enough about our Savior to find out what He expects of us, so that we can be who we are in Him. Not play by another’s rules, but by His rules.

 

Psalm 139:14 says “I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Do you know that means to me? It means that¬†God created us the way we are¬†for a reason.¬†Not to mimic someone else or to change our personality to fit it, but to serve Him the way we He made us. So who cares if you play hockey but your friends are all about their grades? If they are truly your friends, they will love you despite your differences. You don’t have to dress like Taylor Swift to be cool. God made you the way you are and He loves you enough to go to a cross for you. And that’s the same God who created the universe. I think¬†that’s¬†pretty cool.

 

So, to summarize, God should be our focus. We should be who we are in Him, not pretend to be somebody that we aren’t.

 

–abby

 

 

 

Advertisements

It’s the Little Things in Life

It’s the little things in life.

 

A few weeks ago, our church¬†had its annual Jubilee (revival meeting), which was amazing, by the way. We had a singing tour group come through and I told Kenzie, my cousin, that I was excited to hear the group because when I had heard them sing during previous years they had sang one of my favorite songs. I don’t know the song on CD or anything so I was super excited because I thought they were going to sing it. I was disappointed when they had an entirely new lineup of songs and it wasn’t on the list.

 

Then, yesterday, we were sitting in church and our pastor asked for the special music. The man got up to sing and as he was playing his guitar and going through the first verse I thought “Hmmm, this sounds familiar. I know this song.” He got a little bit farther into the verse and it hit me. This was¬†my song.¬†I glanced over at Kenzie and she beamed at me. She had noticed, too. I was finally going to get to hear my favorite song again, this time sung Bluegrass style. I loved it.

 

It really is the little things.

 

–Abby

One With The Sun

Summer Field
By A.F. Moritz
Child
one with the sun
in trackless fields
of yellow grass and thistle, scent
of humid heavy air and the wing music
of bees and flies.
Child, slender
nakedness to itself unknown,
true colour of the light
dispersed invisibly
or glowing around the black hulls
of distant thunderheads, around
the grasshopper’s countenance,
solemn, vigilant and wise.
Green apples, poured full
of density, of crispness, float unmoved
under leaves on the slope. Brown
fallen apples nest
in secret whorls of grass. The apple tree:
alone in so much space. And below
in the woods by the water
a sweet dead branch
cracks lightly
in the shadow in the wind.
But here is an old track
through the grass head-high
to a child: who
made it? They must have
passed and passed by this one tree,
by the abandoned, tireless car
where rabbits peer out, and the circle
of black embers,
cans, springs, skeletons
of furniture. They too
passed here many times
on their way from the street’s end
to the oaks that screen
the river. There
the sun is nesting now, night
rises with pale flutterings
of white wings from roots
of plants and the black water.
–Abby

Though He Slay Me Ramblings: Part II

In my last post along these lines, I pretty much gave E.R. Burroughs full credit for the inspiration for my novel-in-progress. Then, not long after I posted that, it hit me that I also have another author whom I should probably be thanking. This post, as usual, has a little bit of backstory.

 

When I was young, I was a tomboy. Big-time. I still am, in many ways. But that’s besides the point. When I was about five, I fell in love with horses, and by six it was ranch life in general that fascinated me. I wanted to be a cowgirl. My room gradually shifted from being decorated with flower prints and dolls to leather skins and model horses. I was in deep. My sister, on the other hand, was my opposite. She loved pink and frills and Victorian style everything.

 

I had always loved reading and was in a constant state of looking for new books to read. I liked¬†American Girl¬†and¬†The Boxcar Children but I never really found any good books with the shoot-’em-up cowboy action that I wanted. My sister was into¬†Anne of Green Gables¬†and was trying to convince me to read the series but I wasn’t buying. I thought it was dumb. (Don’t worry, I’ve changed my ways.) She was also reading a book with a big kid riding a horse on the cover? I thought it was dumb, too, some sort of Victorian romance rubbish. That is, until I read it.

 

The book was called¬†Tucket’s Travels.¬†She finally got me to pick up her battered copy and I was in love by the end of the first page. This book had it all. Rifles, little sisters, mountain men, Indians (if you’ll pardon the expression), buffalo, cowboy types. I was hooked. It wasn’t a ‘cowboy’ book, per say, but it was awesome anyway, or so eight-year-old me thought.

 

I still think it’s awesome, actually. Written by Gary Paulsen, it is a compilation of a five- book series that tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy, Francis, who was kidnapped by the Pawnee after he strays too far behind his wagon train when he receives a new rifle for his birthday. It follows his journey from boyhood to manhood and from frontier to home. I loved the way it showed me Francis and his horse and especially his rifle. I loved how Francis was always getting himself into nasty predicaments beyond his control. I loved how it made the reader feel what Francis was feeling, whether it was fear, anger, love or any of the other emotions that a teenager’s roller coaster heart feels.

 

I loved the way it described everything in perfect detail. How Francis narrowly escaped death, lied to save his hide, found happiness, and learned how to be ‘savvy’. I loved Jason Grimes as Francis’s mentor and was angry when he screwed things up. I loved how it illustrated the life of a survivalist in a cruel wilderness.

 

I can’t pinpoint exactly how this novel of Paulsen’s has shaped my writing style, but I can tell that it has. It influenced parts of the plot of¬†Though He Slay Me¬†and showed me how to write in a descriptive way I wouldn’t have thought of had I only been going off of Burroughs. It doesn’t really make sense, but it has. I think every writer picks up different styles and techniques from almost every author they read. For that matter, I’m sure parts of my writing style is similar to that of Beverly Lewis, Jerry Jenkins, Ron Roy, Kate DiCamillo, and so many other novelists that I have loved and may be loving still.

 

I did this post mainly to give credit where credit is due and it somehow turned into a rambling account of my book reading habits as a child. Anyway, I really do owe some recognition to Gary Paulsen. If I hadn’t have read¬†Tucket’s Travels, I probably wouldn’t be writing. Like I said, I can’t pinpoint why, but it has definitely influenced me. Maybe I’ll do another post similar to this once I understand what makes it different out of all the hundreds of other books that I’ve read. It’s fascinating to think about, the way one book can touch and change so many lives while being irrelevant to so many others.

 

–Abby

My Summer+Photography Post

IT”S AUGUST.

School starts in a month.

I am not ready for this.

But here I am, typing away on Spike (my laptop–I watch too much¬†Flashpoint) when I should really,¬†really¬†be sleeping. But, hey, it’s only 12:02. The night’s still young.

Ahh, summer. The three months of freedom that every elementary and high school student relishes alike. Usually packed full of vacations, birthday parties, soccer games, camping trips, and trips to the pool. In an effort to actually blog, I will tell you how my summer has gone-so far-in one word:

Quickly.

As every summer does, this one has flown by. I’ve gone to the ocean. I’ve watched fireworks and an airshow. I’ve stayed up late watching movies and playing board games. I’ve survived a trip to an alligator farm. I’ve cried tears of anger and tears of sorrow and tears of joy. I’ve endured spending almost half of my bank account to buy Spike (It was a painful ordeal). I have watched people laugh and cry, rejoice and mourn. I’ve been cooped up in a house full of people and in a tiny room by myself. I’ve sorted through hundreds of books and videos and magazines and sat behind a desk and answered childrens’ questions and marked off symbols on cardstock with Sharpies. I’ve written and I’ve read. I’ve played volleyball and mini-golf and went to the gym. I’ve chatted with friends casually and also have had some pretty serious conversations. I’ve driven a vehicle bigger than a Lincoln Towncar for the first time. I’ve explored ruins of forts and walked through nature reserves. I’ve been to gift shops and Walmarts and souvenir stores and Winn-Dixie and museums and art galleries and libraries and churches and hotels and historical sites and malls. ¬†I’ve attended revival meetings and have been revived. I’ve made life-changing decisions and goofed off with other teenagers. I’ve¬†lived.

 

In a few short weeks, my summer will be gone. School will start. So will strict schedules, early rises, microwaved lunches, long lectures, lots of highlitings, speed-readings, flashcard making, equation solvings, homework beginnings. But will it be good for me. And I’ll wait for the funny teachers, the recesses, the weekends, the moments when I can live again.

 

And now (drumroll, please) it is time for the long-awaited photography post!!!!!

I am very much an amateur who hasn’t had very much practice. My bestie and her ‘brother’, though, are also photographers, so I can get a few pointers. If you want to check out her photography board, click¬†here.

And so, without further ado, here goes:

DSC00331DSC00548DSC00537DSC00524DSC00521DSC00329DSC00509DSC00508

 

–abby

 

Career Choices

You guys know the drill. You, as young teenager, are more worried about when your pizza will be delivered and when¬†Incredibles 2 is coming out on DVD than about your future and ‘what I want to be when I grow up.’

And then an adult looks at you, cocks their head, and asks the dreaded question:

“So, what do you want to do with your life?”

You blink. Why do people always ask this? Why don’t they just realize that, for the time being, you want to stay as childish as you can for as long as you can and don’t want to think about college and taxes and adult things? But now you have to answer, so you beg off with the words “I don’t know.”

Well, my friend, now I know.

Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to be a scientist. A vet was the first thing. I loved animals. Then it was a chemist, a marine biologist, etc. Above all, of course, I want to be a stay-at-home mom, but I’ve always wanted to get a nice education. When I reached my tweens, I dreamed of studying astronomy or computer science. I still would love to work for NASA and music is always a possibility. But I think I’ve found what God wants me to be.

For the past few years, I’ve heard a lot about the medical field. I’ve read books that housed characters that were doctors and watched shows where nurses were the heroes. I’ve had friends go off to college for nursing. I’ve heard of missions trips with large focuses on the medical side of things. My aunt is an RN. My cousin is an RN who works in the ER. Several people in my church have experience in the medical field. I’ve had to do a little bit of medical research for my novel, which I found fascinating. I liked studying the skeleton in biology. The more I think about, the more things in my life are pointing flashing neon lights towards the field of nursing.

I believe God wants me to be a nurse. It was never something I really wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to do something big, to make my mark on history. You know, like the first woman to walk on Mars or something. But I can’t get away from nursing. God won’t leave me alone. I’d much rather be an actual doctor or an astronaut or a concert pianist (haha I have no music skills) or college professor.

I really don’t know why God is leading me this way. I mean, I want to help people, but there’s other ways I could help people besides sticking IVs in them in hospitals. God just won’t let me get my mind off of it. I am really hoping this is of God and I’m not just somehow confusing myself, but I don’t see how it could be of me. If it isn’t of God, I pray that He’ll make that clear before I actually go to college for it.

Eventually, I think, He’ll bring Mr. Right along and I’ll marry. Then, I suppose, I’ll quit my job and become a housewife, which is what I’ve always wanted. But until then, and unless He tells me differently, I’ll be an RN.

 

–abby

Though He Slay Me Ramblings

I have decided that I really need to give an explanation for why I am writing Though He Slay Me.

 

Really, all the credit for inspiration should go to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

 

I was ten when I first picked up a copy of the original Tarzan of the Apes. I fell in love with John Clayton and was devastated when he died, along with his lovely wife. But then, there was a son who survived.

I followed that son on his journey from childhood to manhood. I loved how he was raised by apes who loved him as their own. I loved how he was smart and quick and agile, how he was caring for those he loved, especially his mother. And how he survived.

 

That was the part that really got me.

 

Survival in the jungle, I realized at age ten, was harder than I thought. Tarzan battled lions and apes with his bare hands, yet he know that being a man set him apart from the other animals. He knew that eating human flesh was wrong, so he ate deer and whatever else he caught with his rope or stabbed with his spear or killed with his strength.

 

Another thing that fascinated me was how he moved.

 

In all  the movies I had seen, Tarzan flew through the trees on vines. Not so. He climbed and leaped from branch to branch or swung on boughs, not vines. He was as graceful as a swan yet as strong as ox.

 

And when I was eleven, I decided that jungle life sounded fun.

 

I wanted to go to Africa, I told myself. I want to live like Tarzan. I want to run through the jungle being chased by apes and leopards. I want to leap from branch to branch in the treetops. I want to hunt, using only organic matter and my wits. I want to exist where few men dare to exist. I want to be in constant danger of my life and have fun.

 

And then, an idea known as Katie Riley was born.

 

I¬†couldn’t go to Africa, I knew, despite my daydreams. That was out of the question. I had no money and wasn’t born into a wealthy family. There was no way my parents were going to be able to pay my way, and probably not allow me to go, either. Nobody wants their teenage daughter in the jungle with no communication to the outside world. My being able to survive out there was highly illogical, anyway. The jungle wasn’t what I had dreamed, anyway. It was a lot more dangerous and frightful.

 

Ways I could get around this started forming in my mind. What if, for some reason, I was flying over central Africa when my plane crashed? Everyone else would be unconscious, and I wandered off, never to be seen from again, until several years later when I was finally found.

 

And then the Idea, the great, wonderful Idea occurred to me.

 

 

What if it wasn’t¬†my¬†plane that crashed?

What if it was a character’s?

 

I had tried to write once or twice before. I had started Soldier Boy and had written a few short stories and poems. But this was my first real inclination to write a full novel. So I started plotting.

 

Katie (or Jamie, I couldn’t decide) was a twelve-year-old girl who lived in Cairo (I was enthused by Egypt) as a missionary to the entire African continent. (How this would be possible, I have no idea. I was eleven. Bear with me.) When her favorite brother, Jack, was lost to the jungle after a plane crash in a tropical storm, Katie sets out to find him, as she cannot imagine life without him. (Talk about cliche.) Katie’s Search and Rescue chopper crashes in the jungle, also. As she is the only survivor, she must learn to live on her own, this learning many Tarzan-like skills.

 

From then on, my Idea blossomed.

 

Katie was definitely going to be her name. She was no longer twelve, but somewhere in the 14-15 age group. Her family and some others ran a small mission on the edge of the savanna. The goals of the mission were to reach ‘natives’ (for lack of a better term) to Christ. Incidents in the jungle realm changed, too. Though she was still to learn several Tarzan-like skills, her main crisis was her faith. She wanted her brother back badly, and everything she tried to do to find her why home and hopefully see her brother again (as she had a feeling he was found) seemed to be futile. Nothing was working. She was surviving, yes, but she was lost in the green abyss of the rain forest surrounding the Congo River. Finally, she would come to a breaking point where she knew she had to give it all up and give it to God. Whether she finds her family and gets home is still untold. (Mwahahahaha)

 

 

There are also several aspects to her breaking point (why she’s so afraid to lose Jack, etc.) and probably waaay too many subplots for a novel. But at this point, ¬†I don’t really care. I plan to finish the rough draft before January 1st, 2018, and start editing soon thereafter. Hopefully I didn’t give too much away. Sometime I’ll do a post about why I like writing in general, but I love Katie’s story because it inspires me.

 

And it’s all because of a man named Burroughs wrote a novel that caught my attention and ultimately changed my life.

 

–Abby