Today I read chapters 9-10 of 1 Corinthians. There were several parts of chapter 10 that really stood out to me. The first verse that caught my attention was one that I have previously highlighted and it is 1 Corinthians 10:21 which states, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakes of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” What this verse means is we have to be careful who we choose to spend our time with, what activities we decide to partake in, and really what we VALUE in this world. Do we value God or do we value man? You can have God or the world, but you can’t have both things.
This reminds me a lot of the Jeremy Camp song, “Give Me Jesus”. I saw Jeremy Camp perform a phenomenal show at Living Waters church in Burlington last weekend and the words really stayed with me in this song in particular. The words of this song are very simple and it works. Perhaps that was Camp’s point even – to strip the song of the bare necessities – Jesus. The chorus simply states, “Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus” (Camp). If you’re a Christian and you are truly saved and truly choose to follow God and to live in Christ, that’s all you need in the world. When we die and go to heaven nothing here on Earth is going to matter; the only thing that matters is our love and belief in Christ.
Here is a lyric video featuring Jeremy Camp’s “Give Me Jesus”. Thanks to iamSB for posting it on YouTube!
Another passage that stood out to me was 1 Corinthians 10: 26 which states, “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God created this earth and everything on it including all of mankind. We need to honor God in all that we do and remember to whom we belong. This ties in with verse 31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” As Christians and disciples of God we need to consider our actions and how we live our lives and the things we choose to partake in each day. Are we glorifying and honoring God? Do our actions show us as being God’s people? Can everyone see Christ in us?
1 Corinthians 10 concludes with verse 33 which states, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” It is important for us to live Godly lives and to act in a way and to live in a way that is god-pleasing and god-honoring so that people will see Christ in us so that we may reach those who are not saved and to help to bring them to Christ. This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect; we will never be perfect. It just means that we will strive to be the people that God created us to be and that people will see Christ in us and be so inspired by our lives and the way we live in Christ, that they will be compelled to follow Christ, too.
The controlling values of 1 Corinthians 10 might look something like this:
Purpose: We must reject the world to follow God.
Context: Following the world will cause us to sin, commit idolatry, and separate us from God.
The opposing controlling values may look like this:
Purpose: Following the world will give us more opportunities and grant us higher status among society.
Context: Chasing materialistic worldly things can never fully satisfy us; only the love and grace of a savior can fulfill us.
Actually, looking at that again now after letting it sit, perhaps the opposing controlling value may be:
Purpose: If we don’t follow the world, we will be missing out.
Context: Following the world closes the door on God where we will receive better gifts than what the world can give us.
Am I living a Christ-focused life? I want to think yes, but to be honest, this is something I need to work on. Attending a public university and juggling my Master’s courses with teaching and working full time can be a challenge. I am guilty of putting God on the backburner so I can do all of these other things when in reality God should always be my priority. When people look at me and my life, is God the first thing that comes to mind? I’d like to think so, but I can’t help but think they see me as being a student or a social media marketer first and a Christian second. I need to fix this.
These verses really touched me today because 1. I need to get back to reading my Bible on a daily basis and not just immersing myself in his word, but LIVING his word and living for Christ and not the world. Also, 1 Corinthians 10:33 reminds me so much of my mission statement and what I want to accomplish in life; to please God. I am writing a novel not for my own gain and not for my audience’s gain, but for the glory of God. Everything that I do in life is for God’s glory and to honor and serve him and to share his love and his word with others. This is something that is so easy to forget and something I need to be reminded of. When I grow tired and when I question my work and why I am doing this, I remember him. None of this is for me, it’s all for him and I am exactly where God wants me to be doing the things he wants me to do for him.
Hey guys! So first things first – I hope at least one of you noticed I’ve been doing some work on this blog! My goal is to make it look slightly less like a blog and more like a website. I think it’s (sort of) getting there? It should at least make it easier to find things on here and maybe over time help with my SEO, or so I’m hoping. Eventually I’ll work on purchasing a domain name and hosting, but in the past I’ve spent a fortune on web hosting for a website I didn’t do much with, so I want to make sure I know what I’m doing and have the time to invest in this blog to make the investment worthwhile first.
Today I’m on Day 17 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. Today’s challenge is to write about a quote that I try to live by. Easy: none.
This probably surprises some of you. I used to be obsessed with quotes. I used to keep a “Quote Book” filled with my favorite quotes (all written in a variety of colored ink to make them stand out). It had hundreds and hundreds of quotes and at one point, I got pretty fanatical with updating that book. I even saw it as my prized possession that I wanted to give to my future husband or kids one day.
I have a little bit of a digital version of the “Quote Book” on my Facebook page right now, but I’m planning to take most of it down since it looks a bit obnoxious, but anyway, here’s a screen shot so you can get a glimpse of how it looks now:
That’s not even half of what is currently on my Facebook page. Most of them are quotes I cam across in my reading as an English major. Only one is a verse of scripture.
I still really like and enjoy all of these quotes. They inspire me, motivate me, encourage me, and do all of the things a good quote should do. But I stopped living my life based on them or based around them. Instead, I choose to live my life based around scripture, the real truth and way of life. The bible is the book of life. Emerson, Thoreau, Good Charlotte, Stephen Kings, and my friends have some great words of wisdom, but I shouldn’t base my life around anything in the world except scripture.
Here are some of the bible verses/passages that have had the most profound impact on my life. I am purposefully not going to include what the actual verse is because my hope is that I can encourage one or more of my readers to open the bible (in this case, Google also works) and find out for themselves.
- Proverbs 3:5 – I can be an anxious person. Sometimes life becomes really overwhelming and I don’t understand what God is doing in my life. This verse is a great reminder for me to not overanalyze situations, but instead, to trust in God.
2. Matthew 6:25-34. This goes along with some of the same principals with why I love Proverbs 3:5 so much. Not only am I am very anxious person, I’m also a worrier. This verse is like God’s way of saying “Knock it off!” This is probably one of my most shared bible verses. Whenever a friend tells me they are overly worried or anxious about an issue, I often tell them to read these verses.
3. Ecclesiastes 4:9: This is a really special verse to me. It is supposed to be talking about the value of friendship and companionship. However, I came across it for the first time at the end of last summer. During this time I was trying to decide whether or not I should go bilateral. My parents told me “Don’t decide, pray to God and he’ll give you the answer”. When I read this bible verse I knew God was telling me to go for it.
4.Proverbs 31: I won’t go into detail, but I made some really, really, really bad mistakes in some of my past relationships. I had major regrets and for several years thought I was unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. I knew that he loved and forgave me for what I’ve done, but I was so ashamed by actions that I couldn’t love or forgive myself. When it first happened and I first opened up to a friend about it, they referred me to this verse. They told me that I’m a sinner just like every other woman on earth. I’m not perfect, but I don’t have to be. The best I can do is strive to be like a Proverbs 31 woman.
5. Psalm 91: This is a really important bible verse in my family. Back in 1992 or 1993 my dad was about to die from kidney disease. At this time we attended the Pitman Church of the Nazarene. At the time it was such a powerful, amazing church filled with the holiest people you could imagine and one incredible pastor. One woman we went to church with, Mrs. Helene Vail, would visit my dad in the hospital (she’d visit the family too, and sometimes would watch my sister and I as we were only 3 and 6 at the time) and she told him to read this verse. It always had a profound impact on his life and I think made a huge difference in the fact that he survived. God took care of him, just as this bible verse said he would.
6. Romans 12:2 This verse reminds me not to care so much about stupid, superficial, materialistic things. It doesn’t matter. Not one bit. I can enjoy those things, but God should be my priority. Always.
7. Matthew 12:28: I get stressed, overwhelmed, burnt out, and exhausted at times. Sometimes, I feel like I’m going to have a complete melt down. This verse is my reminder to let go and give it God.
8. Psalm 24:4: This goes along with Psalm 91, and may have also been a verse recommended by Mrs. Helene Vail. Even when death is at your doorstep, you can still find hope in the Lord.
9. Psalm 23:1: This goes along with Romans 12:2. Anything I don’t already have, I really don’t need in life. The Lord always provides.
10. Romans 14:13: I, like every other person in the world, can be pretty judgemental at times. (If you say you’re not at all judgemental, you may have a bigger problems on your hands…because you’re a liar). This verse reminds me not to cast judgement on others, but rather, try to help them out and not further derail them from the path of righteousness.
These are just a few of my favorite bible verses that have impacted me greatly. The entire book of the bible is what I strive to live my life based around though. Every single verse is important and impactful. Scripture is far more powerful and valuable than any ol’ “quote” and much more worthy of basing your life around.
First off let me start this post by saying Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I’m thankful to have all of you reading my blog!
In addition to today being Thanksgiving, it is also my friend Todd’s 27th birthday. But in my eyes, Todd will forever be 17.
For those of you who don’t know, Todd used to be a good friend of my sister and I. He grew up in the same town as me. Unfortunately, Todd committed suicide 10 years ago, when he was just 17. His suicide came as a complete shock to me and everyone that knew him and it was the inspiration for my novel, Escape.
I think about Todd every single day. Not just on his birthday or the anniversary of his suicide. I never stop missing him or wishing that things could have been different. It never gets easier to accept that he committed suicide,if anything, it gets harder.
I think about how his life would be now if he never made that one bad decision that cost him his life. He would be 27 today. I imagine he’d be married with at least one child, probably a son. He would have made a great husband and father. He was a very loyal, defensive kind of person. I think about what kind of job he would have had. He was both very intelligent and hard working. I know he would have been successful. For some reason I think he could have been a successful accountant for a fortune 500 country.
Or maybe he wouldn’t have been an accountant at all. He was a great soccer player back in his day. I don’t see why he couldn’t have pursued that further in college and possibly even gone pro. Hey, anything’s possible, right? Who’s to say he couldn’t have been the next David Beckham?
Being Todd’s birthday, I am a bit sad today. Sad that he cut his own life way too short. That I can only imagine and play the “what-if” game about his life. His life ended before it had a chance to begin. No one will ever get to see him be that loving husband or protective father. We’ll never watch him be a successful accountant or pro soccer player. He’ll always just be that 17 year old student at Pitman High School.
But with today being Thanksgiving, I’m also feeling thankful and blessed. I’m thankful and I feel blessed that I got to know Todd during his 17 short years of life. I only wish I had more time to get to know him even better. I have been blessed to see Todd’s smiling face and to have worked with him as a camp counselor for one summer. I’m thankful for the way he acted as a friend to my sister, a supporter, and a listener during times when she felt she had no one. Todd was one of the best friends she ever had.
I’m inspired by Todd. His story is very sad and never should have unfolded the way that it did. But now I see just how short life can be. I’m inspired to make the most of it and to never give up. I’m inspired to take action against suicide…to encourage others to talk about it. I believe that if Todd had talked about it, the way he was really feeling (which was completely hidden from everyone), he might still be here. I’m inspired to work to make sure this never happens to any of my other friends in the future. One friend dead from suicide is far more than enough.
Happy Birthday, Todd. I know you’re looking down on us from heaven today. I just hope you know how thankful and blessed we all are to have known you. You made such a strong impact in your 17 years of life and I can’t wait to see you again some day.
Image credits: Tulip Driven Life
Let’s face the facts: if you’re a writer you’re going to write about your own personal real-life experiences, even if what you are writing is fiction. It’s only natural and something that all good writers must do. Sometimes things in our life can be defined as tragedies. Tragedies are events in which have the ability to leave many permanent emotional scars on us. They change us, for better or for worse and are not things that easy to just simply “get over” or even come to terms with or make peace with. This is part of what makes tragedies great for writing inspiration. When we write about our experiences dealing with tragedies we are allowing ourselves to free our souls of things that may have been buried deep within us for some time. In a way it can be like searching for our own sense of inner peace, understanding, or acceptance of the situation. It can also be a way to solicit advice to others that may be dealing with a similar tragedy in their life, or even just a message that they are not alone.
Image Credits: izquotes.com
Unfortunately, in order to get to that point of inner peace or soliciting of advice, we must recall and un-bury the tragedies we have dealt with. This can be a very emotional and difficult task, as I saw for myself as I was working on my young adult novel dealing with themes such as teenage depression and suicide. Writing the first draft of my novel hasn’t been very difficult, until I got to chapter 9. Chapter 9 is the novel’s climax and most emotional chapter. In this chapter one of the character commits suicide.
My young adult novel is fiction, but it is largely based on real life experiences. A close friend and former classmate of mine committed suicide when I was 12 years old. Even though it happened about 9 and half year ago, it is a tragedy that has forever changed me. My goal with writing my novel is to inspire others to get help, speak up about mental illnesses, and prevent them from having to experience the same tragedy I myself have experienced.
Image Credits: Pichu318 ‘s DeviantArt
In writing chapter 9 I was forced to recall the suicide of my friend. Every little detail from what happened before his suicide, when I found out about it, and the aftermath.I procrastinated a lot while working on this chapter because at times it was just too painful to deal with. I try to block out the pain I felt when he first committed suicide, but for my novel I needed to remember it all.
One thing I did to help free me of my procrastination and to help me get chapter 9 done was I live-tweeted the events to the best of my knowledge. I recalled what my day was like at school on the day of my friend’s suicide. I tweeted about what happened after school, how I found out about his suicide,his viewing, what went on after that. I tried to write down every single detail I could remember. It took me three hours and over 100 tweets. I did it consecutively without stopping. I felt that it was the only way for me to “get it all out”. I was afraid that if I took a break I’d never finish it.
Image Credits: Press Index
I understand that some tragedies may be too deeply personal for an author to live-tweet about or post on any form of social media, but social media isn’t the important thing to worry about. The important thing is that you’re writing. Even if it’s just in a personal diary…WRITE! Write everything you remember about the tragedy. What happened before? What happened as the tragedy took place? What happened afterwards? What were you thinking? What were you feeling? Do you remember who you were with? What was said?
When you write about the tragedy try to recall every single detail as accurately as possible. This will help you to reflect on the tragedy and how you handled it along with how others handled it. You don’t have to include it all in your novel. Feel free to use bits and pieces and fictionalize it as much as your heart desires. Once you have the tragedy written out scene by scene, fictionalizing it will be easy. The hard, emotionally challenging party of writing it all out is already done with.
Don’t be afraid to write about tragedies. Many of the greatest works of literature are tragedies (Shakespeare, anyone?). If you’re writing fiction there’s no need to worry about the truth, either. Tragedies help people connect and relate not only to your story, but to each other. By writing about tragedies you will be doing someone a favor, someone who may feel alone in their situation will read your work and say, “No, I’m not alone. This person went through the exact same thing.”
Image Credits: Chasing Death: Losing A Child To Suicide
In sum, my advice to you in dealing with tragedies as a writer is this: cry. write. cry. and write some more and don’t stop until you’re finished.
Image Credits: Get Sparked
I’ve been on a pretty good writing kick as I continue on my first draft of my young adult novel about teenage depression/suicide. I usually get between 1,000-2,500 words in each day. The first four chapters seemed to come naturally to me. I had no problem with finding the inspiration and coming up with topics to discuss in my novel. However, once I hit chapter 5 writer’s block struck and I had no clue what to write. I know the general direction I want my novel to go in and how I want it to end, but I struggled to figure out where to go next or which steps to take to get to the end. I’m only about 13,500 words in…way too soon to end it! Plus there are still many questions/issues to address before reaching the final conclusion!
One thing that helped me beat my writer’s block was music. As a teenager (and even to this day) I was absorbed by music. What I listened to depended largely on what I felt. Most of my favorite musicians and songs were my favorite because of the lyrics and the messages they gave me. I feel as though their is a song for every emotion/time period of my life.
My novel centers primarily along the themes of teenage depression/suicide. The teens in my novel are bursting with tons of emotion. Music is a way they can tell each other and readers what they are feeling without having to actually say it. I was also able to incorporate music directly into the plot of my novel. One way I was able to do this was by creating two working playlists for two of my characters…my main character, Rachel, and her crush/friend James. I gave Rachel considerably more songs since she is the novel’s central character and it is told in her view where you get to see ALL of her thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a first-hand basis. I will post the playlists along with videos below, but to keep from spoiling anything I will not explain further. Feel free to post your reactions/possible predictions to the songs I choose in the comments!
1. Demi LovatoSongs
- Give Your Heart a Break
2. Selena Gomez Songs:
- Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
- Who Says
Sick Of You
3. Black Vile Brides Songs
- Perfect Weapons
We Stitch These Wounds
4. Bullet For My Valentine
- A Place Where You Belong
6. Twenty One Pilots Songs
- Kitchen Sink
1. These Hearts
Friends Don’t Let Friends Die Alone
2. Bullet For My Valentine Songs
- All These Things I Hate
- Pretty on the Outside
- The End
3. System of a Down Songs
- Chop Suey
- Lonely Day
Image Credits: Media Dis & Dat
I recently discovered deaf rapper, Sean Forbes after being referred to him by my older sister. After hearing about 10 seconds of his song “I’m Deaf“, I immediately fell in love. I wrote a long letter and in my letter I explain just what makes me love Sean and his music so much. I’d really love to hear back from Sean as he is such a huge inspiration to me and I’d love to hear more of his story. You can view my letter to Sean Forbes below:
I have recently discovered your music after being referred to you by my older sister, Noel. Noel saw a story done about you on Fox News and immediately informed my dad about you, telling him that he had to tell me to give you a listen. My sister was interested in your music because she’s a huge fan of Eminem. Anyone that Eminem endorses, she endorses. When she heard that you were being signed by a label that helped Eminem get his record deal she knew that you must be great. More than being a fan of your music, my sister was immediately hooked on your story and inspired by the way you overcame your obstacles with being deaf to become an accomplished rapper.
Even though I am not a rapper or any form of a musical artist, I can relate to your story well. I am legally deaf (I have a 90+ dB hearing loss) but consider myself a member of the hard of hearing community rather than the deaf community because I have never learned sign language and I operate with the hearing world. I am inspired and in awe of you for going to college, getting your engineering degree, and becoming a famous musician even when everyone seemed to turn their backs on you and not believe in your ability to succeed.
Just like you’ve known from a young age you wanted to be a musician, a career that many people don’t think the deaf are capable of having, I knew from a young age what I wanted to do, and it too was in a field that many people don’t think the deaf/hard of hearing are capable of succeeding in; I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer.
Many people have the misconceptions that those who suffer from hearing loss will never be able to read, speak, write, or hear music. You’ve defeated the odds with your music. I don’t make music, but I am in love with it. I’m currently listening to some Pink Floyd and I will be ordering your album and listening to it on repeat in the very near future.
I’ve defeated the odds in my own ways, too. I never listened to anyone that told me I was “deaf and dumb” or incapable of success. When I was younger I would read everything in sight, something that I still do to this day. I took an interest in writing from an early age and published my first poem when I was just 10 years old. I have recently graduated from Rowan University with two bachelor’s degrees, one in Writing Arts and another in English along with a concentration in Creative Writing. I also graduated as a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Communications honor society. I have previous work experience in the fields of writing, social media, and editing. I am looking to expand those skills into a full time position now. I never listened to anyone that told me I couldn’t succeed as a writer due to my hearing. You know how you’re extremely passionate about music and use it as a way to express yourself? That’s me and my writing. Words are a very important way for me to communicate. I can’t always hear verbal communication, but I can always read words and write my own.
Sean, you’re very inspiring to me and I’m so glad that you’ve followed your dreams and are really making it big now as a musician. You’ve had all of the odds against you, but you’ve beaten them all. I can’t begin to tell you how refreshing it is to see a deaf musician redefining music and showing people that yes the deaf community listens to and loves music, too! I love your song “I’m deaf” for helping to bring awareness to the deaf community and I also love your song “Def Deaf Girls” for the way you show appreciation and respect to deaf girls. The deaf community is often times ostracized from the rest of society and made out to be a weird little community of people. You’re here to show the world that those views are wrong. It’s like that quote from Frederick Schreibert, “The deaf can do anything the hearing can do except hear.” I think you and I are both living proof of that.
Image Credits: YouTube
I was sad to see on your website that you don’t have an upcoming tour dates for the Philadelphia area. I would really love to see you perform and/or hear you speak in the future. I’d really love to have the opportunity to meet you as well. I am not currently in school, but I’ve considered trying to talk to some people at Rowan University (my alma mater) to see if they could try to book you for an appearance. If I ask maybe they’d let me attend since I’m alumni and all. I was also wondering, if it’s not too much, could I please receive an autographed photo or something? Anything you had would be amazing. I’d love to continue to share your story with others. It truly is inspiring.
Thank you so much for your time and more importantly, thank you for giving a voice (a very beautiful one at that!) to the deaf and hard of hearing community. I can’t wait to purchase your album and listen to it until I completely wear it out and I look forward to one day meeting you in the future and learning more about your story.