Brief Humor & Check-Ins

“Don’t believe the hype”: Writing Updates, Story Releases, Podcasts and some Music

One of my favorite bands is 21 Pilots. They write a lot of deep, authentic music and advocate strongly for mental health. Sometimes the phrase “Don’t believe the hype” (from one of their songs, The Hype) will come into my mind when I find myself distracted by something in the world. “Buy this product” American society says, or “Join this group; network with this person; this is what success looks like–don’t you want to be like them?” Or “worry about this catastrophic event now”, says the 24/7 news cycle. Sifting through this information overload, trying to sort the gold from the fool’s gold is sometimes an impossible task. “Don’t believe the hype,” I will sometimes tell myself. “Just keep walking. Don’t be distracted.”

I have been walking through a difficult season in my life. It’s involved exhaustion, being extremely overworked and other personal challenges. It’s devoured my time and energy and, a long story very short, enough has been enough. I have been stumbling along with the guy in dusty sandals through the ordeal, learning to lean on him and not myself. He is leading the saint and I to calmer waters, but it’s taking some time to get there. These past few weeks have felt like the last miles in a very long bike ride. Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling. Eyes on the finish line, eyes focused forward, trying not to be distracted by any sideline games and foolery.

Writing wise, I have a few updates I’ve been posting. As a recap, I will be publishing a short horror story, “The Letter” this Fall in an anthology with other authors (preorder link here). My first short children’s story, “The Mermaid and the Yellow Jellyfish” is coming out this December as part of Fae Corp’s Kid’s Week (preorder link will be up later). I hope you’ll check out both and leave reviews. I have another short story I’m waiting to hear back for another anthology, and have been continuing to submit my novel to agents.

A more personal achievement–I donated blood for the 25th time recently. This was a goal I had been working towards for the past few years. If you ever thought about donating blood, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a constant need, as blood has a limited shelf life. Each donation can save up to three lives.

I also wanted to share a podcast I came across recently, for those interested in Christian and Jewish history in context of the Bible. It’s called the BibleProject. Currently, I’m listening to a talk on the 10 Plagues and Exodus. The history, the original Hebrew text and words–all so fascinating. So far, I have really enjoyed their balanced, loving approach to presenting and understanding the Bible and Christianity. I’ve also been on an Egyptian history kick, so all boxes crossed there. Good to listen to while bee-bopping on the rider, or doing some gardening. They’re funny, too.

I’ll end it here with a another song that’s been my jam lately. Stay well and happy writing.

Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts, Reposts/Reblog Shares

Blog Share: The Lord Is a Warrior, and That’s a Good Thing — Like An Anchor

I’ve been revisiting my Spiritual Warfare series of posts as I work on my next study guide about the Armor of God. While most of that series’ focus is on us fighting spiritual battles with God’s help, studying that topic also highlights a role God fills which I don’t think we talk about all that […]

The Lord Is a Warrior, and That’s a Good Thing — Like An Anchor

Highly recommend subscribing to Marissa’s blogs. They’ve become part of my weekly, Saturday spiritual reads. Cheers.

Brief Humor & Check-Ins, Christianity: My Journey & Thoughts

Being Wearied & Laughing at Yourself (Humor | Reflection | Christ | Endurance)

We found about eight letters yesterday from our Compassion kids, stuffed in our mailbox. It had been a long, tiring week and it was heart healing to see all those letters, written by our kids, hundreds of miles from us in America. We got new pictures of one of our girls from Ghana; she’s growing like a weed and is six years old already. The passing of time always complexes me.

I got out the step stool to change out her framed picture on our wall–an easy enough task, right? I couldn’t get the two nails (one on top, one on the side–a unique, heavier frame) to line up just right with the hooks on the frame. I could feel my anger (and really, just exhaustion) rising up inside me and I pushed back a curse word behind my teeth. Tried the frame again. Failed again. It was personal now. I yanked the troubling nail out of the wall, tried again–nothing. And the curse fell from my mouth.

Now, all of this struck me in two ways: 1.) I was much more tired than I realized, as I normally do not curse or get frustrated so easily and 2.) It was a little funny. Here I was, standing before our wall of our framed children’s photos, with an Isaiah quote displayed prominently above them, and this phrase just pops out of my mouth like wild horses. It was like a priest dropping a bowling ball in the middle of church service and screaming “Foul!” Just a bit comical in juxtaposition. I’m sure my guardian angel raised an eyebrow, shook their head and suggested I go take a nap. Like pronto.

I don’t always realize when I’m worn out. Oh yes, I’ll say I’m tired–I can feel that. But can you always tell when you’re wearied–when you’ve been going too far, for too long, without a decent break? I think that’s harder to pin down sometimes.

And as I write this, I think of our Haitian kid, whose photo I received as well in the mail–him and his mother standing next to some animals they were able to buy with a gift we sent them. They’re still recuperating from the earthquake that happened last Fall. Their faces were pinched; they looked too thin to my American eyes. And sad. Who the heck was I to think I could “fix” their lives by sending a gift of money to help them rebuild?

And then I’ll see the Ukraine footage on the news. The headlines that are rolling out, that remind me of primary documents I read in graduate school for my history degree. All the crimes of war, instantly streamed around the world, as we wait for Russia to tiptoe across the sandbox line of Ukraine’s borders into the NATO sandbox. There is real weariness; there is real sadness.

Christ was often wearied while on earth. I don’t blame him. Can you imagine walking around in a hot and arid climate, surrounded by 12 gaggling young men day in and day out, while trying to talk sense to snooty religious and political leaders of the day? Or have people shun you from your own village–even your own family? Or have people give you “the look” when you dare be kind to prostitutes and tax collectors? I think I’d be tempted to order some greasy fast food, sit in a desert and have a conference call with Gabriel. “Gabriel, hi. It’s me. Yes, the Son of God. Look, can you get dad on the line, please? I’m not so sure this is going well, and my feet are killing me in these sandals. Haven’t they heard of insoles yet? Thanks, I’ll hold. Oh great, they forgot my ketchup packets…”

I was reading one of Marissa’s blogs the other day, and she wrote something that summarized the effects of the fall quite well: when we make a mistake, or struggle, we tend to run from God instead of to God. This sentence reverberated in my mind all week. I think my angel was playing ping pong in my head with the words. “Do you get it now, my little green bean connoisseur? You can’t do it all yourself.”

So today, I’ll write a snarky blog mixed with a good dose of humor and humility (check), eat some good food (in progress), and rest–even if Gabriel needs to threaten me with a Nerf bat. I cannot save the world, but I can certainly help be a light and good steward of what has been given to me. I write letters to our kids and pray. Over Easter weekend, we’ll be starting to till the ground for our big pollinator garden, and hopefully hanging up some bat houses. And I’ll be painting a scene from the Hobbit. Stay tuned.

We live in a chaotic, dark world–one with nails that won’t align with frames–but Jesus is there to help us hammer it out.

After all, his father was a carpenter.