12 Reasons why Life is Good (even if doesn’t seem so)

12 Reasons why Life is Good (even if doesn’t seem so)

Life is never perfect. It’s never always great either. Perhaps hardly good, at least in your opinion. Here’s one good thing about life: you’re entitled to that opinion. If you say life isn’t good, well alright then. If you say so. But perhaps I can slightly change your opinion…

  1. You’re reading this. You know what that means? You have a computer, you have internet, you have the money to have the computer and internet, and you have the time to spend on the internet. Isn’t that good?
  2. You’ve got a friend here. Hello, that’s me. Maybe I don’t know you personally, but I can be a friend if you’d like.
  3. A sunrise and sunset is never not beautiful. Isn’t it extraordinary how we can see these things hundreds of times but still be in awe?
  4. Books. Unless you’re not the reading type, then…
  5. Stories that help us escape. If that means a book or a TV show or a movie franchise or a video game, then there you go. It’s something that lets you escape the world for just a little while.
  6. Music that makes us dance and sing. Music soothes the savage beast.
  7. The oncoming of Fall. We all know what that means: pumpkin spice lattes, scarves and boots, fuzzy socks in the house, the exscuse to have a warm fire on, snowy photoshoots, days off due to weather, etc.
  8. Those days off. Whether it is weather-induced or not. Don’t waste them!
  9. The opportunities are there. Can you see them? You have to go looking. You might think there’s nothing left for you, but have you even tried?
  10. Guilty pleasures. You know what it is.
  11. Coffee and tea. And if you don’t drink either…well, you probably have an alternative (although I hope it’s not soda…).
  12. This too shall pass. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Nothing will be forever, and that’s what makes life good.
Advertisements
5 Moments that gave me an Inspiration Surge

5 Moments that gave me an Inspiration Surge

We can’t easily forget those moments, when something or someone so deeply inspired us that it birthed an idea in our minds or changed our way of thinking or made us take action. I’ll bet you can name one significant event. Let me share five.

  1. The day I watched The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I saw the first Chronicles of Narnia movie when it came out in 2005 before I even knew about the books. It was thanks to my brother who expressed enthusiasm for this unbeknownst story, and his insistence of me reading the books. I saw the movie, and I fell in love. “What is this story?” I asked my brother. He gave me his big fat copy of all seven books when we got home, and that was the start of a lifelong infatuation with Narnia and C.S. Lewis. And this was all before I discovered I wanted to write just like him…
  2. The first day of seventh grade English. My teacher, still a good friend and inspiration to this day, welcomed us to her class, and then ordered us to take out a pencil and paper. We were to write in silence for five minutes. We couldn’t stop, and we couldn’t erase. If we had nothing to write, then we wrote don’t know what to write over and over. When the timer began, I was thinking about The Legend of Zelda. I would watch my brother play the games, and he had recently finished Ocarina of Time.  So, in those five minutes, I wrote a short story about Link and the little MarketTown of Hyrule. That was the story that, at the end of the five minutes, I leaned back from and stared at with a tingling sense of awe. It was the moment I realized, I loved that. 
  3. When I heard my fourth grade teacher had said, “she’s going to be a writer.” My fourth grade teacher (who was also my second grade teacher) was another teacher that made a mark on my life. She saw the gift in me first, years before it came up on its own. I didn’t know she said this until years later, because she wrote it in a letter to my mom. It was confirmation to me, and a surge that kept me going.
  4. After I cried on the bathroom floor while healing from a broken back. There was a point during that season when I feared that I would never run or dance or climb ever again that I broke down in the bathroom. My mom found me and prayed over me. Something changed after that day. My attitude toward my injury shifted. I began to see the opportunities that lay in wait. And when God let me know, “Even if you were paralyzed, you’d still be able to fulfill your purpose,” it was all different after that. I thanked God I wasn’t an athlete.
  5. December 31, 2015. I made the decision to quit a previous position this day, and though the process was hard, I relished the feeling of a fresh start when it came to pass. It was a great way to launch the year of Independence with a reassuring message that I can move my feet and not make an earthquake if I didn’t want to. I can move my feet and make a path appear.

What are some unique significant moments that inspired you and made a little change in your life? What event gave you a surge of Inspiration?

5 Books that changed my life (and you should read them)

We all have those special books that really made an impact on our lives, and we can never forget the stories. They go through our heads again and again. Here are five books that personally affected me:

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. This series is what basically what birthed and defined my interest in writing, and what landed C.S. Lewis as my absolute favorite author. I almost feel as if these books were written just for me. Their beautifully pure aura of magic and childlike adventure whisks even the oldest among us away, and makes us all dream of going to Narnia.

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. Everything about this book was mind-blowing and stirring-deep-in-the-soul. By page three, I was sold. The kind of depth of emotion this novel stirs up, mostly through Zusak’s exquisite writing, is one that sticks with you forever. It’s one of those novels I tell everyone, everyone, to read. You must!

The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book amazed me more so for it’s author. This man created not only a fictional world but languages, races, a history, and more. The Silmarillion is literally a history book of a nonexistent world. And this was all in this one man’s mind! That right there is an inspiration to writers.

Surprised by Joy, By C.S. Lewis. This story is amazing and so inspiring, and it’s an autobiography! Whether one shares the faith of Lewis or not, it’s such a beautiful story to learn about. His faith transformation and journey of becoming the writer of The Chronicles of Narnia and other beloved novels are just a few factors that make him my absolute favorite author.

The War of Art, By Steven Pressfield. Playing off the infamous title The Art of War, this book addresses our inner enemies of creativity and discipline. It expresses how to overcome our ambition inhibitions and continually, and successfully, produce and create. Already on board with the philosophy, this book helped me apply the principles and actions that made me a better person.

 

Bonus: The Screwtape Letters, By C.S. Lewis. Yes, another Lewis book, but I did already mention he’s my favorite author. This book, comprised of letters written from a senior demon to his nephew, a demon-in-training charged with the task of the damnation of a particular young man on earth, was eerily and bone-tingling mesmerizing. Not because it was spooky, which it really wasn’t, but because it felt markedly real. It made me think that this really can be the way that demons go about trying to sabotage our eternity.

Book Review: Seraphina and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

As a writer pursuing the dream of becoming published, it’s inspiring for me to read authors’ debut novels. The debut of Rachel Hartman, Seraphina, was a true inspiration, as it was a debut that blew me away. Hartman takes the age-old typical of dragons and puts a new spin on them: they can transform into humans. With this refreshing addition to the arsenal of dragon stories, I thoroughly enjoyed a good ol’ return to my childhood favorites: fantasy. It had been a good while since I last read something genuinely and solely fantastical.

19549841

Seraphina follows the half-human, half-dragon Seraphina, a young musician living in the world of the royal court. Naturally, in such an environment, there is dark and behind-the-corner activity about. Seraphina desperately tries to hide the draconic part of herself as she gets wrapped up in conspiracy and murder mystery that shakes the tense feud between dragons and humans.

What blew me away the most is the amount of detail that Hartman obviously put a lot of attention, research, and passion into. In particular, the detail of politics seems so well thought out that this fictional world really could operate as well as any earthly country. Characters are beautifully fleshed out, especially physically. Hartman leaves no inch of them to wonder; we know what these characters look like and how they act. The dragons are fascinating. With their lack of comprehension of human emotions, it allows for some comical misunderstandings of which Seraphina finds herself a kind of translator between the humans and dragons in her life. There’s no wondering of the settings, either. The world of Goredd, as it is called, is so clear in my mind.

Though there were moments when I got a little lost with plot, I couldn’t tell if it was the book or simply just me not paying attention. A few deeper fantastical concepts, such as Seraphina’s “mind garden” I sometimes struggled to follow, but the confusion would soon pass. I did not fault the book too much for that. The length for Seraphina is just right; not too long, not too short.

shadow-scale-cover

I am currently reading the sequel to Seraphina, titled Shadow Scale, so I cannot give a full proper review on it just yet. I am approximately 3/4 through it, however, and have established a few choice opinions. It is longer than Seraphina, and thus there a moments when I feel a slight lag in the plot and action. However, the prose of both books is enchanting. Hartman knows how to spin words. Details are just as superb, if not sometimes a little unnecessary, but I would rather read too much detail than not enough. The climax is creeping slowing, but perhaps that is just me anticipating the end. For a good reason, I do hope. All in all, so far, I am not disappointed with this highly anticipated sequel. It came out around my birthday, and it was the perfect present for myself.

I highly suggest these novels to you, especially if you have as much a love for the world of fantasy and lore as I do. In the midst of this heavily populated genre, it’s easy for new members to become lost in the fray, but Seraphina and its sequel have stood strong and stood out, and I personally hope it stays that way for a good while. Well done, Ms. Hartman.

5 Healthy Distractions

More often than not, I need a distraction from woes and troubles that attempt to discourage me everyday. Sometimes these can be the only thing that keeps me going, depending on the kind of day. 

  1. Books! Honestly, what better educational distraction exists? I not only escape the world for a while, but I feel smarter, too.
  2. Volunteering at church. It’s been about four years now since I started volunteering in the media department, and I’ve really developed in skills. I’ve come to be quite a regular around church, doing almost anything and everything. And I love it. Besides giving me something to do, it boosts me up. Big time.
  3. Spending time with a friend who knows everything about me. My best friend knows more about me than any other person in my life, and she’s just the individual I can go to when I need to rant about something I cannot talk about with anyone else. 
  4. Writing! Can there be a better distraction? And considering how amazing it makes me feel, I wonder why I don’t write even more that I do now.
  5. Miyazaki films. Especially my favorite movie, Whisper of the Heart. When I particularly need an artistic boost, I’ll watch my guilty pleasure movies ^_^

What are some healthy (healthy!) distractions you indulge in?

Do what makes you forget the world

Have you ever been doing something, some activity or hobby, that makes everything in the background practically fade out of existence for a while and your mind to forget anything and everything except what you are doing right now in that moment? And you didn’t notice it was happening until you paused and suddenly life leaped out at you?

You can probably name one particular activity that puts you in that state of ecstasy. I have a few.

The biggest one is (surprise!) writing. But not just any writing. It’s when I’m creatively writing; fiction, short stories, poetry, skits and dramas. My head gets filled with imagination and I love, love, love how my current troubles melt away for a time.

Another activity for me is crafting. The moments when I was at my desk making handmade Christmas gifts for my family or decorating journals was some of the most peaceful moments I’ve ever had.

When I’m hiking and exploring and climbing, I am so swept up in the adventure the rest of the earth pauses and only resumes when I come back to normal life. Not to mention the physical activity feels amazing!

Reading. Oh, thank you, Lord, for books! And I imagine it’s a common thing that helps people forget the world, but I’m among them.

 

Getting away from the world now and then is healthy, and you don’t have to go somewhere or hide away in a remote place to do it. It can happen right where you are. Recognize those hobbies and activities that make you feel free and escape through them. When you’re beginning to feel the tremors of hardship, stop and go bake cookies, or dance, or play the piano, or take a walk, or research an interest, or take photos, or make origami animals, or string jewelry, or shoot some hoops, or read to children, or whatever makes the background fade away, the troubles melt, and your mind hone in.