Confession: when a friend of mine recommended I read books and commentary by and listen to sermons from John Piper, I initially wasn’t a fan.
I was in my early-mid 20’s and made a lot of recent mistakes with sin. I knew I needed to transform my life and to re-evaluate my relationship with God and change my ways, but I wasn’t quite ready yet. Piper seemed to me like a harsh, bitter, old man who was always yelling at me not to do things.
Fast forward now to my life as a 28 (almost 29 year old) and I can’t get enough of Piper!
Piper hasn’t changed at all, but I have and for the better. I have grown in my walk with God and discovered just how much I need him in every aspect of my life. I didn’t want to listen to Piper and how he was always telling me what not to watch or read or think or do, but I’m ready to hear it now. Now I understand that Piper isn’t trying to yell at me at all; he’s simply trying to get me to correct my behavior and turn away from sin and deny myself so that there will be less of me and more of Him.
Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life really narrows in on this idea. I was initially drawn to this book due to the title. I, like many other 20-30 year olds who pick up this book for the first time, was looking for answers. I feel as though I am never completely satisfied with my life. I always feel like I’m missing out on the next big opportunity or falling behind in different aspects of life. I always question what God’s will is for me and how I can fulfill it. As a little girl I thought that I’d get married by 18, have two kids (hopefully twins) by 21, and be living in New York City, well on my way to becoming the CEO of Rolling Stone Magazine. Laugh with me now.
The second thing that drew me in to Don’t Waste Your Life was it’s simple brown no-frills cover. It reminded me of the brown bags I’d use as book covers for my school textbooks back in the day before Book Sox were a thing. Piper didn’t need to impress me with a fancy cover or marketing. He came to deliver a message and he wanted to get me by reading the book. The simple cover also reminded me a lot of the plain red (or white, depending on your version) covers that J.D. Salinger used for my all-time favorite novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger taught me that some of the best books are the ones that don’t need a fancy cover. This philosophy held true for Piper as well.
I didn’t find the answer I was looking for regarding where I should work or when I should get married and have kids or what I should do with my life or how I could know what God’s will for me was.
But at the same time – I did learn all of those things and so much more – just not quite in the way I was expecting.
I have been wasting my life, and I need to stop that immediately.
According to Piper, the number one way a person can waste their life is by living in a way that does not make God a priority. By priority Piper means that everything we do in life should reflect back to and glorify Him. Our lives are not for us, they are for Him and living in a way that is pleasing to us but does not reflect Him and his glory is sin and the very foundation of a wasted life.
One of the earliest points that Piper makes is how we should avoid boasting and basking in our accomplishments. Now this doesn’t mean we can’t be proud of our work and things that we have achieved; we should be proud of these things because we should be doing them to bring honor, praise, and glory to God. However, we don’t want to live off of our accomplishments and to lose focus on what or who we’re working for – our heavenly father. We want to be humble and to avoid being prideful or selfish.
Piper also stresses the importance of magnifying Christ through both pain and death. This reminds me so much of the Biblical story of Job which I have recently been reading through. Job went through many hardships, but he still held on to his faith and refused to curse God during these difficult times. We need to be more like Job and to learn to thank God not only for the good times, but the trials and hardships in life as well because they remind us who is in control and they make us stronger in our faith.
Furthermore, Piper reminds us that our main goal in life should be to make others glad in God and that this may involve taking some difficult risks in life for the reward of God’s glory. We need to constantly reflect Christ and to live our lives in a way that helps others to see Christ in us. If we are constantly miserable or questioning God and failing to praise him during hard times, others will see that and may be turned away from following God. However, if we are able to maintain our faith and to thank Him even during these times of trial others will see that and see that we are set apart from the rest of the world and they will want to know why and they will want to learn more about Christ and how they too, can be followers.
As for risks? It is our job as Christians to bring others to Christ and this may not always be a fun or easy or even safe task. Piper reminds us of Philippians 1:21 which states, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We must live our lives for Christ, even if doing so results in our death. Piper further reminds us of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” We may die in our faith in Christ as we work to share the good news with others who are not yet saved. We will be persecuted and many have been already. But dying in the name of Christ is not a wasted life, it is a noble, honorable life that God will reward.
However, Piper is quick to point out that this does not mean that everyone is destined to devote their lives to becoming a missionary. While missionaries live noble, God-serving lives and it’s one of the most honorable professions a person can have, God has other plans for some of us. That doesn’t mean that we can’t serve, honor, glorify, and worship God in our secular lives. Not only can we do those things, but we should. Some ways in which we can honor God is by performing our jobs to the best of our ability, thanking Him for providing us with the job, and searching for opportunities to witness onto others in the workplace and to also allow others to see Christ in us through our work ethnic, positive attitude, and the way we choose to live our lives both inside and outside of work. Additionally, we can honor him with the income we receive from our jobs by choosing to spend our money wisely and to always be giving and generous with our money. Before we buy more materialistic things that we don’t need, we should use our money to help those who are poor or are in a greater need than us.
I don’t know about you, but I know I have some major life changes to make. I need less of me and more of Him. I need to make changes to make sure I am constantly living my life for God, because otherwise my entire existence will have been nothing but a waste. Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life stirred up something deep within me and encouraged me to get up and make a change in my life. That to me is a sign of not only a good book or author, but a good pastor and an even better follower of Christ.
Hey guys! Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Today is a really special day for me because it’s the 1 year anniversary of being activated on my right ear. Hurrah!
I apologize for the lack of updates. I know I promised you guys back in like August that I’d post on what it’s like to teach with cochlear implants…and now it’s the end of December…sorry! Between working full time at Penn Medicine, teaching 3 times a week at Rowan, and taking two graduate courses towards my MA in Writing, I haven’t had much time for blogging. But the good news is that winter break is finally here giving me a little bit of free time to give you all an update!
Before I begin I just want to apologize ahead of time for any major typos in this post. My laptop is currently on life support and the…
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Whoa, look at me blogging 2 days in a row! It almost makes up for the fact that I’m still only on Day 15 of the 30-day writing challenge that should’ve ended like a week ago…almost.
Today’s challenge is to write about 3 of my pet peeves. This is an easy challenge for me. My three pet peeves are abbreviations, bad grammar, and bad manners. Here’s a breakdown for each:
1. Abbreviations. I can almost guarantee that you’ll never meet someone that hates abbreviations more than I do. I am definitely guilty of using them, but I cringe every time. Sometimes using abbreviations is necessary because you are truly pressed for time and need to write something down as quickly as possible (this was especially true back in my journalism days when I had to write several messy notes down and wanted to get as much information down as possible when interviewing a subject).Other times I have to use them to save space on paper or Twitter or whatever. Sometimes it’s for SEO purposes, more people use the acronyms then spell out a word, which means the abbreviation could be my keyword I’m trying to rank for (or people hardly even know what the abbreviation stands for, as is the case of the word SEO). But regardless of what the reason is, I still hate abbreviations. When I see an abbreviation I think it’s a shortcut for writing which means it requires less thought and effort, or to say it in more simple terms: it’s lazy. I hate laziness, especially when it comes to writing.
2. Bad grammar. You better believe I’m going to proof-read this post and try to catch as many major grammar errors/typos as possible before I hit “publish” after complaining about how much I hate bad grammar. I understand that we all make mistakes from time to time and typos are more frequent than ever before thanks to smart phones. I’m not talking about people who have the improper use of a comma or whatever. This is what I’m referring to:
i Rly h8 ppl wh0 TyP3 LyK3 Diz.
That might be cute and cool when you’re like, 11, but no self-respecting adult should ever type like that. It makes you look stupid, uneducated, and as if you’re incapable of writing in complete sentences. I would argue that it’s also lazy, but not really. It takes more effort to tYp3 LyK3 D!z than it does to type like this. Save yourself the time and effort and trouble, just write like a normal human being, please.
3. Bad manners. For those of you who don’t know me that well, I’m kind of obsessed with the 1920’s and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s works where he focused on the roaring 20’s. These books captivate me because the people seemed so much more classier than they do today. One of the biggest differences between the people from the 1920’s and the people today? They had manners! Imagine that! Now I’m not saying we all need to walk like we have sticks up our backs and to be perfect all the time (no one is perfect but God), but what ever happened to basic manners? You know how many times people slam the door in my face when I’m entering/exiting the gym? Too many to count. That drives me insane. It takes about 2 seconds to hold the door open. Are you really in that much of a hurry? Another one for you: people who refuse to say please or thank you or even greet/acknowledge you. I notice this the most often in the store. I worked in retail/food service collectively for about 4 years. People are rude and ignorant, sometimes you work really long brutal hours, and you pretty much never feel like being there. That doesn’t mean you should be rude to people, though. It doesn’t take that much effort to say “Hi, how are you” at the beginning of an order and “thank you, have a nice day” at the end. It is a big deal, a very big deal. If I notice someone is unusually friendly, I’ll give them a bigger tip when applicable (Bain’s deli in Camden probably made more money off me and my tips than actual food I brought…they were so nice that I gladly tipped them way more than I should’ve) and that interaction could be the only interaction a person receives all day…you never know. It pays to just take an extra second or two to practice good manners and be nice to people…trust me.
These are three of my biggest pet peeves. Do you agree with any or all of them? What are your pet peeves?
As I sit here and right this tonight, I feel a mixture of emotions. I am very saddened because a close friend who is like a little brother to me is hurting. I know that he just got his heart broken and he feels like dying. And I feel so incredibly angry at the girl who broke his heart even if it wasn’t done intentionally. I don’t know who she is and I don’t know the circumstances but all I see it as is a stupid girl who broke my little brother’s heart.
But I know, regardless of what happens, he’s going to be okay. Maybe they will get back together and put this all behind them. Maybe they’ll realize they don’t belong together afterall. You can’t predict the future, only time will tell how their story pans out. But I do know he’s going to be okay and maybe this is exactly what he needs right now. Being single can definitely suck, but it can also be a blessing in disguise.
It’s been just over 5 months since I called it quits with my boyfriend. That sucked. We dated for a little over a year. It was both of our longest and most intense relationship. I could have sworn I was going to marry him. I felt a connection to him the minute we met. He just seemed like the one. But then he didn’t. As I got to know him more, I realized I loved him more than he loved me and this just wasn’t going to work. I wanted it to, but it just wasn’t met to be. So I called it off.
Our breakup was ugly. Broken plans for the last time. I got my hopes up and he crushed me for the last time. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was so frustrated, hurt, and angry. So I flipped out on him. I told him I was done.Then I hung up the phone.
“Whatever. I’m done.”
Those were the last words I spoke to him.
It’s been over 5 months and he’s never bothered to call me back. That speaks volumes.
It hurt like hell at first. I cried a lot. I wanted to die. I was so incredibly lonely. I didn’t know how to go on with my life because he was my life.
But I did it. I pulled myself together and went on with my life, and did some pretty cool things. And I know that despite my little brother’s broken heart, he’s going to pull himself together and he’ll be okay, too.
Here are 14 weird things that happened when I called it quits with the one I was supposed to marry.
1. I stopped to smell the roses, or look at trees, anyway. I used to like to take long walks without a destination. I’d just walk all around Washington Township and see where I’d end up. But I didn’t do it that much once I was in a relationship. My boyfriend consumed all of my time. He wasn’t home much, so I’d spend all of my time waiting for him to call, text, or get home. I remember one of the first things I did when we broke up was take a very long, far walk. I went to a farm. It was October and all of the leaves on the trees changed colors and the apple trees were in full blossom. I couldn’t believe the beauty of nature. I couldn’t remember the last time I really stopped to look at it. I missed it.
2. I became a member of the library. The library was one of my favorite places to go as a kid and I missed it as an adult. There was a big library down the street from me that fascinated me. The Margaret Heggan library. I’ve been wanting to go and check it out for the longest time. Right after calling it quits with the one I was supposed to marry, I walked there. It was a far walk but it was so worth it. Walking into that library was like walking into my home. Even though I never been there before, I knew it was exactly where I belonged.
3. I fell in love with reading again. I didn’t read very much when I was in a relationship. I’m not saying my boyfriend was an idiot (okay, maybe he was. After all, the bastard did break my heart and cheat on me and all…). He didn’t read like at all. He always told me it was boring which kind of discouraged me from reading. Also, it’s hard to read when you’re constantly spending all of your time waiting for your phone to read or waiting for your boyfriend to feel like actually coming over to see you.
4. I became much less anxious. I think I will always be an anxious person, but my anxiety was at all time high when I was in relationship, especially since I was in a relationship with a truck driver with a wandering eye. Towards the end of our relationship I became so paranoid and anxious that there would be days when I would burst our crying without much reason. I felt like walls were caving in and I couldn’t breathe. Sleeping without medication was impossible. I still take melatonin every now and then to help me sleep at night and sometimes I still battle anxiety, but it’s nothing like how it was before. I’m much more relaxed. I don’t have to worry about where he is, if he’s safe, and if he’s loyal. He’s no longer mine and I’m no longer his. It’s not my job to worry about him anymore.
5. I reconnected with old friends. Often times when we get involved in relationships, we let that person consume us. This is the biggest mistake I made. I felt so alone when I broke up with the one I was supposed to marry. I blew off all of my friends for my boyfriend all the time. I’m still working on changing things and fixing them up, but I am happy to say I started to reconnect with old friends. I think some people held off on talking to me because I was so exclusive with my boyfriend before, but now we’ve reconnected and we talk and it’s nice. I’m trying to get out and do things with people more often and break fee of my comfort zone. Ideally, I want to make it so that I never feel as alone as I felt initially if I ever go through a breakup again in the future.
6. I finally finished my darn novel. I started writing my novel after I received my cochlear implant, but I was kind of lazy with it. It’s hard to write a novel when your mind is only focused on your boyfriend, what they’re doing, where they’re at, and when they’re going to call and/or come home. I had more time when we broke up so I finally sat down and finished the darn thing.
7. I joined a writer’s group. Thinking of writing, I also joined a writer’s group at the library. I actually just got home from it. I found out about it in a quest to meet new people and make new friends while reminding myself of who I was, what I like, and doing more of the things that make me happy.
8. I strengthened my relationship with Christ. One of the reasons why I broke up with him is because I didn’t feel like he was a real Christian. He wouldn’t pray with me. He didn’t read the bible. Days before breaking up with him I began reading a book by Mark Hall from Casting Crowns called Thrive. This book centers on the theme of thriving instead of just getting by in life. I realized I was getting by with my relationship, but I wasn’t thriving. I also started reading the bible on a daily basis during this time. I truly believe God was pulling me out of my relationship and telling me to end it, so I finally obeyed. Since then my relationship with God has strengthened tenfold. I’m praying more and more often and they are much more deeper, meaningful prayers from the heart. I really engross myself with the word of God. I don’t miss church because I was out all night with my boyfriend. My boyfriend no longer pulls me from Christ. I ended my relationship with my boyfriend so I could have a stronger one with Christ.
9. I started going to a new church. I also started going to a new church. I loved the one I was attending, but I wanted to get more involved and to meet more people my own age. I walked to Trinity and really liked it. I’ve been going for about a month now and really like it so far. I’ve done things outside of my comfort zone like participating in activities even though I don’t know anyone. I met a girl who’s only a few years younger than me that also has a cochlear implant which was awesome. I want to try to make it out to the young adult bible study on Thursday where I should meet more people in my age group.
10. I began the application process for grad school. I decided that I definitely want to go to grad school and I began the application process so that I won’t back out or change my mind again. I mentioned this to my now ex-boyfriend before but he honestly didn’t really support me. He said he did but he was so concerned about the debt I’d be putting myself in. He didn’t think it was worth it. He didn’t value education like I did. Now I’m doing it for me — I didn’t need his approval.
11. I stopped seeking everyone else’s approval. If I want to do something, I do it. I don’t need anyone’s approval. If I want to walk to Glassboro, I wil. If I want to cut my hair, I will. If I want to go to Grad school, I will. If I want to go to NYC, I will. If I want to be front row in center at a Good Charlotte concert, I will be there. If I want to go bilateral, I will. Screw anyone else and their opinions. It’s time to do what I want to do and not care about what anyone else thinks about it. It’s my life.
12. I got extremely angry — and saw everything for what it really was. Nothing like hanging up with the one you’re supposed to marry and, 5+ months later, still not getting a call back apologizing for being a jerk to you. I see where I stand now. I’m only sorry I wasted so much of my time loving someone that clearly didn’t love me back. I won’t make that mistake again. I’d give in and apologize for ending things so harshly, but every time I think that way I remember how angry I am that he just let me go without even attempting to come back.
13. I stopped waiting. I used to spend all of my free time waiting on my boyfriend. Waiting for a text. Waiting for a call. Waiting for him to come over. Sometimes he wouldn’t call or text and I would’ve wasted 48 hours doing nothing but sitting on the couch or laying in bed staring at the phone that never rings. When I’d ask him why I didn’t hear from him he’d say “I just didn’t feel like talking.” (Translation: I felt like talking to my side chick today, not you). The worst though was the time when I started waiting for him to come over and pick me up for a date around noon but he didn’t come until about 10:30 at night. I don’t waste my time waiting on people anymore. Life is too short to waste your time waiting on things that don’t matter or aren’t really that important.
14. I changed. I’m not who I was 5 months ago. I’m trying to go back to being the person I’m supposed to be. I’m rediscovering my passions and interests and reevaluating what I want out of life. I learned that the right person will come along at the right time, and when they do, I’ll know. I won’t have to try so hard. I won’t have to wait on them. I won’t have to change who I am to please them. It will be effortless and they won’t keep me waiting and they will love me just as I am.
Breakups suck. They are perhaps the worst thing a person can go through. Some days are better than others for me. Yesterday was his birthday. Today my TimeHop app showed me all of the pictures of us together the day after his birthday which was when we reunited after being apart for 2+ straight months. They were some really hard days. But it gets better. Sometimes we need to break in order to become whole again. I have so many new and exciting things going on in my life that I know wouldn’t be happening if we were still together. In some ways, breaking up was the best thing to ever happen to me.
It’s hard and it still feels weird and it still hurts, but life goes on. One day, when I’m ready and not a day sooner, I’ll meet someone else that will make me forget I was ever hurt in the first place. One day, that person will show me why this one relationship had to end.
Sometimes good things have to fall apart to make room for great things.
Great things are better than good things. Better days are coming. I’m going to be okay, and so are you, little brother.
I decided to read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore after hearing my friend talk about it and spotting it at the library. A book about a bookstore? Well, I love books, so this must be something I’d love, right?
I was not disappointed.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour bookstore is more than just a bookstore. It’s a bookstore filled with magic and secrets just waiting to be decoded. The bookstore simply needs the right person at the right time to decode the messages. Clay Jannon is that person.
Clay begins working as a clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore after losing his job in marketing at a bagel shop, NewBagel. However, it turns out to be more than just a job and more than just a bookstore. Clay becomes friends with the bookstore owner, Mr. Penumbra rather quickly and soon learns that the bookstore is far from ordinary. He is given some rather unusual instructions such as the importance of keeping a logbook and not to read the books from a specific corner of the store — books that are placed on the Waybacklist.
It doesn’t take Clay long to realize that these books aren’t the same as regular books and that the “customers” that come to Mr. Penunmbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore aren’t really customers at all. Rather than buying books, Mr. Penumbra’s most frequent visitors all borrow books from the Waybacklist, and the books are filled with strange codes that they spend years trying to comprehend or decode.
Clay soon learns from Mr. Penumbra that these codes are written and read by members of a society known as the The Society of the Unbroken Spine, the leaders to be exact. They are known as their Codex Vitae, which are like memoirs of their lives and they possess wisdom and knowledge on key elements of life, one of the biggest of which is the secret for longevity or perhaps even immortality. How will you live on even after you are long gone?
Clay may not be an expert at cracking codes, but if there’s one thing he is good at it’s marketing and technology. After running a semi-successful Google Adwords campaign, Kat Potente, a member of Clay’s target audience, wanders into Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Clay soon learns that Kat is an employee of Google, and the possible key to decoding the books from the Waybacklist.
The two of them launch a campaign with Mr. Penumbra himself, believing that if they simply use Google’s technology such as their book scanners and computers, they should easily be able to decode the books and find out what the secret to immortality is.
However, much to their dismay, they soon learn that there are some things technology is not, nor will ever be capable of doing. Decoding Aldus Manutius’ Codex Vitae is one of those things. This is because while Google’s machines are capable of reading codes and analyzing them, they fail to really LOOK at the code.
The code was written entirely in a special font known as Gerritszoon. This is a popular font that is frequently in stores, on computers, and everywhere else imaginable. It is even used in Mr. Penunmbra’s shop sign. It turns out, Manutius was really good friends with the founder of this font, and the font is the real key to decoding the message.
After doing his own research that includes completing a mission from an outsider to track down the original punches for the Gerritszoon font, Clay discovers the font is very unique in that each letter contains different shapes and indentations that represent a message. Once Clay figures this out he is able to decode the message in his Codex Vitae, which is simply:
Thank you, Teobaldo
You are my greatest friend
This has been the key to everything.
I loved Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore because it is the perfect blend of old and new technology. I related to both Clay and Kat because I work in the field of digital marketing. Google and technology like Google plays a large role in my career, and I do much of the same marketing that Clay has done for NewBagel and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour bookstore. I also love books (physical books, to be specific) and bookstores. I always believed that no matter how advanced we as a society become with our technology, it will never fully be able to replace books.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore successfully demonstrates the importance of books. It shows us how there are some things books can do that technology cannot. It shows us how to be better researchers and listeners. We can’t simply rely on technology for everything and we can merely look at the surface of things like text, we need to go deeper to really understand what one another is saying.
The final message, or what Manutius hid in his Codex Vitae was disappointing to many members of the Unbroken Spine, but it was actually far more significant than they realize. Manutius is saying that friendship and fellowship is one of the secrets to success or immorality. We cannot succeed in life alone, we need to depend on one another to understand life, to progress, and to make contributions to the world that help to make our short time on life worthwhile or memorable so that we will be remembered long after we die.
Technology may continue to advance in time, but there is one thing that is certain: it will never be able to fully replace traditional books and the unique magic and stories they contain.
I have a confession: I had a real attitude towards Chris Fabry’s War Room. I almost didn’t give it a chance, I just assumed I was going to hate it.
War Room was recently made into a movie and it’s received a significant amount of praise, or what I like to refer to as “hype”. It even beat the widely popular mainstream non-Christian movie, “Divergent” in the box office. For a little Christian film, this is HUGE news.
I always tend to get an attitude towards books that receive a lot of hype especially if they’ve been made into movies, simply because they usually fail to meet my expectations. It’s a lot of hype and it’s just a trend, not something that’s actually good. Usually the best books are the ones no one ever acknowledges.
I also am a bit embarrassed to admit it now, but I thought the whole concept behind War Room sounded stupid. A whole book about people that pray and a woman that has her own prayer room? How on earth did they even manage to make a movie out of this? Sounds like a real snooze-fest, if you ask me…
But my mom was really excited about War Room and told me I had to read it, so even though I made up my mind ahead of time that the book was going to be stupid and a waste of my time to read, I still decided to give it a chance.
The first few chapters of the book were a little slow and I was unsure if this would turn out to be the disappointment I expected it to be or if I should continue on. Something in the back of my mind told me to keep reading, so I did. I have recently ended my relationship with my boyfriend of a year. Some of the conflicts between the main character, Elizabeth, and her husband, Tony, reminded me of some of the issues between my now-ex boyfriend and I. My ex and I were obviously not able to work past our issues, but I wanted to see how Elizabeth and Tony would work on their issues and I was rooting for them to work it out. I kept reading on because even though the arguing got annoying and repetitive initially, I was intrigued.
I loved the character of Miss Clara, too. Her faith was amazing. That is the kind of Christian I want to be and I think we as christians should all strive to be more like. I loved the way she devoted her life to the lord and was so faithful and obedient to him. She prayed ceaselessly just as the bible directed her to do. I love that she prayed for EVERYONE, not just her family and friends. She even prayed for people she didn’t really know and she pretty much prayed that the lord would bring more people to her to pray for. And prayer was never just a one-time thing for her, it was a daily event and she made a point to develop relationships with those she prayed for and to follow up on the prayer requests, never ceasing in prayer until after the requests were met and addressed. This inspired and moved me tremendously. It made me reconsider how I prayed, who I prayed for, and how often I prayed. I wanted to become a prayer warrior just as Miss Clara did.
The concept of the prayer room amazed me, too. I never considered having a designated area of the home specifically for prayer, but it sounded like a beautiful concept and I began to think in my mind about how I could make one in my home like Miss Clara’s. I love how the writer described the room, I could see vivid pictures of it in my mind and I was encouraged to make a room of my home just like it. I’m not sure that I have room in my home now to make a full-fledge prayer room like Miss Clara’s, but I have made the living room my daily prayer area each morning and I am beginning to think that in the future when it comes time to buy my own home, that may be something I’d like to create.
When I first heard of War Room I made the common mistake that many other Christians and individuals in general tend to make. I dismissed prayer as being something Christians were supposed to do, kind of like a rule. But I failed to see how powerful it really could be. I obviously didn’t notice the subtitle of War Room which is printed in smaller letters beneath the main title, Prayer is a Powerful Weapon. But this book demonstrated it to me tenfold.
Things looked very bleak for Elizabeth and Tony in the beginning of the novel. Tony was a horrible person and Elizabeth was no saint, either. Divorce seemed inevitable and their daughter, Danielle, appeared to already be broken up by it. The family was falling apart and things only seemed to be getting worst with Tony’s unfaithfulness and the lost of his job. But when you’re down to nothing, God is always up to something. With the power of prayer, Elizabeth and Tony were able to restore their marriage and their relationship with their daughter, Tony was able to find a better job, and they were all able to come out stronger than ever before.
I like too that War Room never came off as being too preachy or cliched. I enjoy Christian novels and movies a great deal, but some of them can come off as being a little unrealistic or cliched. War Room showed Christians precisely how they are on a daily basis: imperfect, broken sinners, some of which didn’t really know God like they said they did. But through prayer, God was working through them and helping them to become better people. It didn’t mean they were perfect. Even Miss Clara who throughout most of the book carried the image as the perfect Christian wasn’t without fault, as the novel showed in the end. This is what helps to make the characters more easy to relate and connect to. Simply put, they are real christians and above all else, real people, too.
War Room, a book I was so sure I wasn’t going to like initially, surprisingly gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. This is one of those books that I’d consider to be life-changing. It did its job well; it encouraged me to get down on my knees, pray, and get closer to God.
Only one question remains now…when can I see the movie and how will it match up to the book?
I have just successfully completed the first week of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). How am I feeling? Tired doesn’t even begin to describe it…
I had planned to attend my first write-in at Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) this morning, but upon further consideration, opted out. It didn’t sound like many people were going to be attending and it just seemed more practical to stay home to write. I have a tentative date of surgery scheduled for December 14th to get my second cochlear implant. It’s coming up fast and it’s crucial that I stay healthy until then. Now with flu season being upon us and many college kids getting sick from restlessness and end-of-semester stress as finals approach, a college campus is probably the last place in the world I want to be.
I felt half dead for most of this week. I needed to sleep in today. Sleep felt like the most magical thing in the world. I can’t remember the last time my bed felt as comfortable as it did this morning. I don’t think I could’ve made it to the write-in this morning even if I wanted to.
I knew that NaNoWriMo wasn’t going to be easy, but I think I strongly underestimated just how intense it could be. 1,667 words a day is no big deal at all. Yesterday was the only day that I didn’t reach this goal. On most days I far surpassed it.
I think that one of the biggest problems I have been facing with NaNoWriMo is extreme exhaustion, most of which is caused by me pushing myself too hard. My daily goal is to get 1,667 words done so that come the end of the month I have 50K. But do I really need to write 50K words this month? I entered NaNoWriMo with 33,173 words. Adding 50K words on top of that would bring me to 83,173 — that is a really long novel, especially for a memoir like the one that I am writing. Am I really interesting enough to have over 83,000 words written about me? Does anyone really want to read over 83,000 words about me? Probably not.
I hope I’m not pushing myself too far. For the first couple days of NaNoWriMo I wrote nearly 3,000 words when I really only needed 1,667 (possibly less due to my head start). I think this is why I’ve been so exhausted lately. Writing 3,000 words a day on top of my full 8+ hour work day, a trip to the gym, and all of my other daily activities is extremely draining. My body needed rest. I haven’t had a break or a time to rest in forever.
I wrote over 5,000 words today, but it didn’t feel too tiring or exhausting. It was exciting. I’m finally getting to the main point of my novel — the part where I begin to seriously consider getting a cochlear implant and taking the steps to make it happen. I was ableto pull a lot from my blog (www.confessionsofadefdeafgirl.wordpress.com) which certainly made for easier writing today. I should be able to do that much more moving forward which will definitely make my writing process much easier. I surpassed the magical 50K number today. I have a total word count of 50,171 words now, meaning my novel has reached official “novel length”. Even though I know I still have a long way to go with my novel before it’s really complete, that is still such an amazing feeling.
There are a few things that I’m wondering if I should have done differently as far as my writing process goes. The main thing is I’m beginning to think I should’ve organized or prepared better for NaNoWriMo. An outline that breaks my book into sections probably would have been very helpful — but would that have hurt my creative process? I’m thinking that once my first draft is complete, I’ll create an outline and put everything into a binder with subject dividers to help me to better organize my novel.
As for as the quality of my novel right now I feel like it can be summed up easily in one basic word: “crap”.
I have been just spilling out word after word after word. Some days this comes easier than other days. But I am aware of the fact that some of my analogies make no sense at all (I compared my hearing aid audiologist to a fisherman — what in the world?!?) and I’ve been using a ton of cliches and bouncing from idea to idea. In one section I started writing about meeting my surgeon for the first time and then went off topic and started writing about Sean Forbes for 10 pages or so.
My novel is very, very, very messy right now. It is nowhere near being ready for publication. But it’s over 50,000 words long with many more to go. It is a first draft. It is supposed to suck. It is supposed to not make sense. It is supposed to be blurry and confusing and a total disaster. That is why it is a first draft. The important thing at this stage in the game is getting the words down, the ideas out there. I can always make it pretty with originality, organized structure, and better analogies in the next draft, and the draft after that, and so forth.
NaNoWriMo has been a fun challenge and a great experience in the first week for me. I feel like I’m developing further into who I’ve always been: a writer. Not just any writer anymore, but a dedicated one that is determined to finish writing this book and publish it all in due time.
For many years I criticized NaNoWriMo because I figured, “Why do people go crazy every November trying to write a novel. What is stopping them from writing a novel any other month out of the year?”
But I get it now. It’s not about writing a novel in November. It’s not about the word count. It’s the fact that people are writing. They are becoming disciplined. They are making a habit out of writing and possibly really turning it into their career. Everyone does it in November, that is the official month for it. People feel pressure and have a support team around them encouraging them throughout the month of November to write.
It all starts in November with NaNoWriMo, but if you really truly win at NaNoWriMo, your word count doesn’t matter at all.
The true NaNoWriMo winners don’t have 50,000 words.
Some have 150,0000.
Some have 5.
The real, honest-to-God true winners of NaNoWriMo are the ones that don’t quit. They develop writing habits through NaNoWriMo and carry them on for the other 11 months out of the year, making an identity out of being a writer. NaNoWriMo is just the initial push they need to become who they always wanted to be and who they were always capable of being in the first place, they just may not have realized it.
I hope that at the end of November, I can declare myself a winner. And I’m talking about far more than the number of words I write for the remaining month of November.