August142012
12PM
12PM

(Source: oppabang, via doctorwholovesyou)

April32012

This song could be my own personal anthem. For far longer than I care to admit, I’ve felt like I’m trapped in this spiritual limbo that I’m powerless to escape from. It’s not as though I’ve never experienced the joy and peace that a relationship with Jesus produces. Just like Andy says, I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve held it in my arms. And that’s not something you can go back from. But, also like the song, I can’t seem to hold onto it. That feeling of comfort and security and the presence of God has been elusive to me for so long now. That’s not to say I never feel it. I go through periods where I think “This is it. Things will be different from now on.”  And I can echo the song again that I’ve pleaded, I’ve begged, I’ve bloodied my eyes to believe it will stick around. It hasn’t.

But even in dark periods of spiritual turmoil, I cling to what I know. I know that my God delivers his people from exile, but that he also sends them INTO exile (Jeremiah 29) in the first place. The place I find myself is not a surprise to God. For reasons unknown to me (and certainly through my own sin as well), he put me here. Perhaps it’s only to learn to trust him completely, and to beat every last ounce of self-reliance out of me. I hope it ends soon, because it is painful. And I’m weary of it. But I do believe that one day I will open up my eyes just to see the good work that he began in me finally completed. And all this will have been worth it.

I caught myself looking in the mirror
Wishing I was someone else
I was born, with a bleeding heart
And veins of loneliness

I know it, 
I’ve seen it,
I’ve held it in my arms
But love can’t seem to break me down

I’ve pleaded,
I’ve begged,
I’ve bloodied my eyes, just to feel it
To believe it will stick around

Swing wide the glimmering gates
Swing wide the glimmering gates

I told myself
the habits and secrets
were just to get me through
To get me through the nights

but I got lost in a world of angles
in city and grays and lies

And I feel it,
I taste it
the longing to be free

The joy of believing like a child


So you,
You there listening
Will you send up a prayer for me?
To help me find the light


Swing wide the glimmering gates
Leave your pride and pain
Swing wide the glimmering gates
And be innocent again
Innocent Again

One day I believe
I will open up my eyes
Just to see
The good work that was begun

And I’ll be
The only things 
I’ve ever wanted to be
And I’ll know that I belong

Swing wide the glimmering gates
Leave your pride and pain
Swing wide the glimmering gates
And be innocent again
Innocent again

February212012

A Book Release, and a Giveaway!

Good news, everybody!

I am very, very pleased to announce the release of the book Rising, Book 1: Resistance by Laura Josephsen. Laura is a fantastic author I first connected with on Twitter (yay Twitter!), and I’ve been privileged to read some of her work prior to publication. When I first read Rising, Book 1: Resistance, my immediate reaction was “Ohmygosh ohmygosh PLEASE publish this book so I can make everyone I know read it!” Needless to say, I am thrilled to be able to finally do just that.

If you want it in a nutshell, here is the book’s blurb:

All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country.

Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he’s attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king. Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse’s urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die.

And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon.

I already knew going into this book that I love Laura’s writing, but I wasn’t prepared for how completely gripping I would find the story. The book has elements of fantasy (it doesn’t take place in our world, but instead is a somewhat altered version of ours), which is partially what makes me love it so much (you know I’m a sucker for fantasy stories). But what is remarkable about it is that none of the fantasy elements seem forced or incredible. In fact, I found myself immediately accepting the integrity of the world and being drawn into the larger plot, which I think will appeal to anyone who reads it. The book has all the necessary components of an enduring story - danger, mystery, conspiracy, friendship, romance, political intrigue, looming war, underground resistance…you get the idea.

Laura does a brilliant job of perfectly balancing gravity and levity when telling the story, and I found myself chuckling at one moment and then gripping my chair the next. I never once felt like it was too dark or oppressive, but I also never forgot the gravity of what was at stake, for the hero/heroine and the world itself. Once I got a glimpse of where the story was going, I honestly found it hard to tear myself away from reading, even for a moment. If I had to compare it to something, I would say Rising is every bit as gripping as The Hunger Games, but, in my opinion, it’s better than The Hunger Games because it never loses its undercurrent of hope, even when the situation is dire and seemingly insurmountable.

Stop listening to me prattle on, though. Just go read it! It’s available in both e-book and paperback formats - here are the details:

You can also read the first few chapters here.

And now, the best part!

I love this book so much, I decided to buy a copy to give away to one of you. And because Laura (the author, not me referring to myself in third person) is so wonderful, she has graciously offered to write a personalized inscription in the book before it’s sent to the winner!

All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is spread the word on the interwebs about the book’s release. Here are the ways you can participate:

  • Tweet about the book’s release (and link to this post). Leave a comment on this post telling me you’ve done so.
  • Share about the book via this post on Facebook. Leave a comment on this post telling me you’ve done so.
  • Write about this book and the giveaway on your blog, and then leave me a comment telling me you’ve done so. This will earn you two entries to compensate for the extra effort. 
  • Pin this book on Pinterest (here's my pin if you want to repin), and leave me a comment here telling me you've done so.

You may do as many of these as you want, and I encourage you to! Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each method that you used (bloggers, leave two separate comments for a blog post so you’ll get two entries). The giveaway will end Sunday, February 26, at 11:59 pm. The winner will be randomly selected and announced/contacted Monday, February 27. 

Good luck!

*Disclaimer: I really loved reading this book. The author has not compensated me in any way for this review or giveaway, and my opinions are - quite obviously- my own. She will be signing and shipping the book to the giveaway winner, but I am reimbursing her for the cost of the book and shipping. I just really think the book is worth sharing, and that’s why I’m doing this!*

February152012
February142012
4PM
7AM

My Valentine’s Day gift to you: a bit of nostalgia from my college days. 

February122012
"There on your bended knee you sowed the seeds of our history."
Seven years ago today, Michael (Vincent!) asked me to marry him. Last night we were discussing the length of time that has passed since that night, going back and forth about how recent it seems in our memories and how much has actually happened during those seven years (nearly a decade!). In the interest of full disclosure, this picture was actually taken the week we started dating, not the day we got engaged (1.5 years apart), but the few pictures I could find from the post-engagement hurrah were not terribly flattering, so I vetoed their inclusion. Anyway.
For kicks and giggles, here is the blog post I wrote that night seven years ago. I didn’t use capital letters back then. And I used apostrophes sparingly. This is horrifying to me now, but I had radical ideas about instant messaging, email, and blogging back then. Oh well. 
"12 Feb 2005
wow i don’t even know where to begin. if you want the short version, go to BLUETURISMO.com and read michael’s blog. if you stay here, prepare for the looooong version. 

so michael asked me to marry him tonight. i know! i really hated to tell him no, but….

just kidding 

so i was feeling bad because he found his valentines present (a dinky dvd) early…so when he accidentally let it out that he was taking me to outback for valentines day, i was actually somewhat relieved…we both screwed up our surprises. so he told me not to get too excited about my other present, since outback had been the big surprise. he took me there tonight and we had a VERY good expensive big meal and headed back to statesville. on the way back, he put brad paisley in the cd player and played the mud on the tires song, which is kind of informally (a little more formally now) “our” song. he was singing it to me, and i was smiling so much my cheeks hurt, and i figured from the song that he was going to take me out to the country to look at the stars (out at my grandfather’s house, some of our most special moments have been out there while stargazing). so we pulled into the field and got out of the explorer- the sky was BEAUTIFUL - and he asked me if i wanted my surprise. i was standing in front of the explorer - it was dark but he had left the headlights on- and he told me to close my eyes while he went to get it. i closed them and waited…and when he told me to open my eyes, he was in front of me on one knee holding out a ring. and i was shocked. and overcome. and i just looked at him thinking “oh my God” and then i kissed him and kind of pulled him up to standing and kissed him some more and finally somewhere in there managed to whisper “yes.” i thought my knees were going to buckle. i can’t describe the feeling, just that i was overcome with happiness and gratitude and…ok i’ll spare you the rest, but the point is i love this man and now i’m going to marry him!

the ring is beautiful, in case michael’s post didn’t give you enough details (it didn’t). i have never been a jewelry person, but i really cannot stop staring at it, it’s mesmerizing. anyway im exhausted, so i probably shouldn’t write eeeeverything that’s going through my head right now…

everybody who faithfully reads this already knows, but if youre reading this and hearing it for the first time, no offense….i was going to tell you. promise.

aaaaaah!”

"There on your bended knee you sowed the seeds of our history."

Seven years ago today, Michael (Vincent!) asked me to marry him. Last night we were discussing the length of time that has passed since that night, going back and forth about how recent it seems in our memories and how much has actually happened during those seven years (nearly a decade!). In the interest of full disclosure, this picture was actually taken the week we started dating, not the day we got engaged (1.5 years apart), but the few pictures I could find from the post-engagement hurrah were not terribly flattering, so I vetoed their inclusion. Anyway.

For kicks and giggles, here is the blog post I wrote that night seven years ago. I didn’t use capital letters back then. And I used apostrophes sparingly. This is horrifying to me now, but I had radical ideas about instant messaging, email, and blogging back then. Oh well. 

"12 Feb 2005

wow i don’t even know where to begin. if you want the short version, go to BLUETURISMO.com and read michael’s blog. if you stay here, prepare for the looooong version. 

so michael asked me to marry him tonight. i know! i really hated to tell him no, but….

just kidding 

so i was feeling bad because he found his valentines present (a dinky dvd) early…so when he accidentally let it out that he was taking me to outback for valentines day, i was actually somewhat relieved…we both screwed up our surprises. so he told me not to get too excited about my other present, since outback had been the big surprise. he took me there tonight and we had a VERY good expensive big meal and headed back to statesville. on the way back, he put brad paisley in the cd player and played the mud on the tires song, which is kind of informally (a little more formally now) “our” song. he was singing it to me, and i was smiling so much my cheeks hurt, and i figured from the song that he was going to take me out to the country to look at the stars (out at my grandfather’s house, some of our most special moments have been out there while stargazing). so we pulled into the field and got out of the explorer- the sky was BEAUTIFUL - and he asked me if i wanted my surprise. i was standing in front of the explorer - it was dark but he had left the headlights on- and he told me to close my eyes while he went to get it. i closed them and waited…and when he told me to open my eyes, he was in front of me on one knee holding out a ring. and i was shocked. and overcome. and i just looked at him thinking “oh my God” and then i kissed him and kind of pulled him up to standing and kissed him some more and finally somewhere in there managed to whisper “yes.” i thought my knees were going to buckle. i can’t describe the feeling, just that i was overcome with happiness and gratitude and…ok i’ll spare you the rest, but the point is i love this man and now i’m going to marry him!

the ring is beautiful, in case michael’s post didn’t give you enough details (it didn’t). i have never been a jewelry person, but i really cannot stop staring at it, it’s mesmerizing. anyway im exhausted, so i probably shouldn’t write eeeeverything that’s going through my head right now…

everybody who faithfully reads this already knows, but if youre reading this and hearing it for the first time, no offense….i was going to tell you. promise.

aaaaaah!”

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