Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday Psalms: Chapter 90

I’ve just got one psalm for you today, because my thoughts on it are comparatively pretty long. Let me know what you think!

Sunday Psalms Chap. 90

Psalm 90:4,12 “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

We cannot fathom time the same way God does. We are bound by time, yet He exists completely outside of it. The concept is so far beyond our ability to comprehend. Oh, we think we grasp it. And maybe we do, in part. But can you really imagine existing outside time? We’re not even capable of describing the concept without reference to time. We say God existed before the beginning. Before and beginning. Both time words. It’s just impossible for our human brains to fully comprehend.

But that’s okay. We don’t have to comprehend it all. Faith doesn’t require perfect understanding. And, really, it’s quite comforting to me that God isn’t bound by time like we are. He doesn’t feel the pinch of time, doesn’t feel constrained by it. He never feels that He doesn’t have enough time.

God just is.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. They all exist for God in a way I can’t understand.

For us, two-hundred and forty years of American history seems like a long time. A lot has happened. A lot of people have come and gone. We know, though, that America is a comparatively young country. Others have been around for hundreds of years. Humankind has been on this planet for millennia.

And God sees it all. He sees our stories played out, as individuals and as nations, repeating in cycles. But it comforts me to know that He sees it all, the sum and total of all human history, in perfect balance. And it all points to Him and His great love for us.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted just one psalm before, but I was kind of rambly on this one, wasn’t I? What do you think of these verses? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Happenings of the Month: January 2018

It’s been a pretty full month for me, and I didn’t quite get to all the blog activity I had planned. But I was determined to write my Happenings post. So, here it is.

Happenings of the Month Jan 2018

Entertainment of the Month:

  • Movies/TV

The Last Jedi, people. I actually had a full blog post planned to talk about this, but I wasn’t able to get to it. But I did finally get to see the newest Star Wars film this month. And, overall, I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect. I felt it was a little too long and rather rambling in places, but I’m fascinated by the themes that are being explored in this movie. I’d say it’s darker than The Force Awakens but not to the point of Rogue One (which was just too much depressing for me). It also seemed to be charting some more original territory, even while utilizing some of the forms of Empire Strikes Back. Again, not perfect, but I enjoyed it.

  • Books

I decided to take part in this 2018 reading challenge that my friend Liv mentioned in one of her posts. Though you don’t necessarily have to go in order, I was already fulfilling the first one, a biography, when I started. So, that’s my first entry for the challenge. Enduring Courage by John F. Ross is the story of Eddie Rickenbacker, a race car driver and WWI ace who was one of America’s first real celebrities.

 I own the hardcover version of this, but I had to link to the paperback cover, because, I mean, look at it. It’s gorgeous!

It’s really a much bigger story than just that, though. It’s about America’s love of speed and the experience of aeroplane warfare in its first arena. It’s about the importance of hard work and the reality of death. Ross tells the story of a child of immigrants who pushed his whole life to come out on top but who never seemed to approach life from any sense of arrogance, who wasn’t necessarily the most likeable man but never asked anything of others that he wouldn’t do himself. I found this biography to be engaging and well-written, giving me a picture of both a man and the world he lived in. I learned a lot about World War I that I had never known before. Definitely recommend.

  • Music

I’m loving a lot of songs right now, many of them current singles on Air1.

“Higher” – Unspoken – Last month I shared the song “Miracle” off their latest album, and I almost did it again this month before realizing that I already posted it… I’m kind of in love with that song. This one is equally as amazing, though. It’s all about shouting our praise from the rooftops, regardless of our circumstances, and the beat is so catchy.

Live on ForeverThe Afters – This album is so good. Every song gets my feet dancing, but they also affirm some really important truths. I am buying this album shortly, and I am ecstatic about it!

“Get Down” – Finding Favour – Another insanely catchy song, this one is very pointed about one thing – when things get bad, we get on our knees and pray. It’s an encouragement every time I hear this song.

My Life This Month:

I’m solidly back to school now, and I’m already sick of it. I mean, I’m doing a little better now that I’m on top of my assignments. But it’s like a major case of senioritis, except that I’m not a senior yet! So I don’t even have the satisfaction of graduating this semester. I’m trying to keep my eyes on the big picture, but it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the feeling of slogging through school (bog, slog, what’s happening to me???) I’m reminding myself that God has a point in all of this and that I want to be open to the lessons He’s teaching me along the way.


Speaking of lessons, I had a confrontation of sorts with a friend of mine the other day that has really got me thinking. He was criticizing some things about how I seem to approach life, and it really opened my eyes to the fact that I’m far more closed off to people than I realized. I’m still trying to work through it all, but I know that I don’t want to live like this. I want people to see God in me, and that doesn’t work very well when I don’t let them in.

In addition, there are a lot of other emotional currents going on, and I’m starting to feel like I’m drowning. I have got to separate myself from things that are not my problem, something I’ve always struggled with. But it’s not healthy. Empathy is a good thing, but taking on burdens that I shouldn’t be is not. It’s an ongoing lesson that God is teaching me.

On top of everything else, I’m suffering a major case of the January blahs and want winter to be over. That’s a hard one for a lot of people, I know, I haven’t quite figured out how to conquer it, unfortunately.

Other Web Happenings:

How to Create Space and Time for Writing – Go Teen Writers – Go Teen Writers is doing a really great series this year that they’re calling Grow an Author, and it’s all about sharing each of their writing processes in hopes of helping each of us. Which I think is awesome. This particular post is about making time for writing, which is something I definitely struggle with.

Spirituality: A Forgotten Key to Character Development – One Year Adventure Novel

So, there you have it. How has January been for you? Watch/read anything interesting? Want me to post more about The Last Jedi? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Psalms: Chapters 85, 86, & 88

I had gotten out of the habit of daily Bible reading over the last several months, and I think that has definitely hurt me. So, I’m working to make the time for it again. Part of that is getting back to my Psalms project, and I figured it was time to start posting them here again.

Sunday Psalms Chap. 85, 86, & 88

Psalm 85:8 “I will listen to what God the Lord will say; He promises peace to His people, HIs saints – but let them not return to folly.”

As Christians, we are made holy, set apart. What was once our nature is such no longer. We are freed from bondage to sin. We are made new.

We don’t have to return to our folly.

Friday, January 12, 2018

On Failure and Flash Fiction (Updated)

So, this post was supposed to be my entry for my Flash Fiction Challenge #5. I received a fantastic prompt from Blue:

A man buys time – literally. What is the cost?

I mean, what a great prompt! And I actually had a story going whose concept I’m quite intrigued by. But then I realized that I was going way over my thousand-word limit and that the story is just too big to condense. So, I switched to a different story. The problem is, this was yesterday. And I had other things I had to do in getting ready to go back to school. So, now I have two unfinished stories in response to this prompt but nothing completed.

And after I gave everyone three weeks instead of two…

I feel really bad about this. I’ve posted my story late before (for my first challenge, I think), but I’ve never not completed it. I just couldn’t fit it in this time, unfortunately. Not the best start to what I am determined will be a better writing year than 2017. However, I’m not giving up. I do want to apologize to my readers and the other participants of this challenge. I will be giving both of you feedback. For the time being, though, I’ve decided to post the beginning of my story, so you can at least see what I was working on. I do intend to finish it, and, if you like it, I’ll post it here when I do.

The other two participants in this challenge, however, did finish their stories. You can find them at the following links:

Blue - The Silversmith
Athelas - Flash Fiction

I am very proud of them both, and you should go check out their stories!

As for my attempt, without further ado:

They were busy today. They always were.

Dylan Forsythe’s lips tightened as he watched the revolving door across the street, always in motion, the last rays of sunlight glinting off its glass. People going in, a look of hope or fear on their faces. People coming back out, those looks generally smoothed into a long line of despair. The lump in Dylan’s stomach grew with each new face.

Of course, there were exceptions. There was the pretty young red-head, her chin held high, a smile on her lips. She had clearly gotten the news she’d come for. Few did.

Dylan studied the soaring stone building, windows staring out like gateways to the depths of hell. There was no sign, but it didn’t need one. This building was the country’s only place to purchase the most precious commodity in the world: time.

Heart beating faster, he leaned against the cool brick beside him and pulled up his sleeve. The counter fit snugly against his wrist, a sleek blue with silver digits: 3 days, 8 hours, 17 minutes, 24 seconds.




His breath caught, and he slid to the ground. Only three days left.

Just over three days and he’d be dead.

He glanced across the street again to the building. The Department for the Regulation and Dispensation of Time. A mirthless smile twitched at his lips. A pretentious name to fit a building full of pretentious bureaucrats.

The harshness of a metal stamp against marble echoed through his head. The doom of the words now etched across his request form. Extension denied.

He pulled the folded paper from his jacket pocket, gaze searching for the official reason he already knew by heart: Essential capacity, easily replaced.

Easily replaced. That was the final judgment on Dylan’s life. After nearly twenty-five years, the government had deemed him worthless.

I actually wrote quite a bit more to this story, but now you’ve got a feel for it. What do you think?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happenings of 2017

Well, I definitely owe you all something of a year-end wrap up, since I didn’t keep you very updated during the year, did I? So much for my grand plans in March. Oh well. Such is life. I’m here now.

Happenings of 2017

Entertainment of the Year:

  • Movies/TV

I’ll be honest: There weren’t any stellar standout movies for me this year. There were good spots, but nothing that I really feel like raving about. I was really excited to see Wonder Woman but found myself kind of disappointed by it. There were certainly parts I enjoyed, but, overall, it fell kind of flat. I’m still not entirely sure why. I did see Dunkirk, which was very different in about every way from what I normally watch. I can’t say I loved it, but it was a different experience, for sure. I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which was hilarious and entertaining, if more crude than I appreciated. I finally saw Thor: Ragnarok a couple of weeks ago and thought it was great. The level of violence was a bit much for me in places, but I really liked what they did with Thor’s character. And the soundtrack… Ugh, so good!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Flash Fiction Challenge #5–Let’s Begin

Yay! It’s time to get writing, everyone. For a quick review, this challenge includes:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with their prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it. Below are your partners. Clicking on the name will lead you to the person’s blog.

No profanity, graphic violence, or sexual scenes in your prompts or stories. Find your partner and give them their prompt, along with a word count of your choice (but no more than 1000 words). Visit your partner’s blog and comment on their most recent post. Assign their prompt before you start work on your own flash fiction.

Because of the holidays, you will have three, instead of the normal two, weeks to write your story. It should be posted on Friday, February 12th, by 3pm Central Time. I will gather the stories and post links to them all as a late post on that Friday. Then you’ll give feedback both to the person who gave you a prompt and the person you gave a prompt to. I’ll remind you about that on the 12th. If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment here or email me at rachelleoneilwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have fun!

We’re back to a small group for this challenge, but that’s okay. We’ll still have fun!

I will give a prompt to Athelas Hale

Athelas will give a prompt to Blue

And Blue will give a prompt to me

I look forward to writing with you!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Flash Fiction Challenge #5

Hello again, everybody! Wow, I’ve missed this blog! So much for keeping up with it, huh? Well, I’ll have more of an update post for you later this month. For now, though, I’ve decided to get back to both blogging and writing with a flash fiction challenge! Can you believe it’s been almost two years since I hosted one? You can see the results from that challenge here.

Flash Fiction Challenge 5

For those of you who haven’t heard about my flash fiction challenges, every so often, I host a challenge that includes three elements:

  • A writing prompt someone gives to you
  • A writing prompt you give to someone else
  • Feedback for each of the participants by the various participants

“Flash fiction” is a genre of short fiction, generally around 500 words, but examples can be up to 1000 words. In our challenge, the maximum length will be 1000 words, but each person may assign a shorter length with his or her prompt. Prompts can be anything from a concept to a sentence starter to a picture, etc. If it can prompt a story, you can use it.

If you’d like to participate, comment on this post with the name of the blog you would be posting your story on. If you don’t have a blog, you can still take part! You do, however, need a way to comment. If you do have a Google account or some other way of commenting on blogs, comment here and email me at rachelleoneilwriter [at] gmail [dot] com. I’ll make sure to put you on the list.  On Friday, December 22, two weeks from today, I will pair you each with your partners and give the official rule list. You may sign up anytime between now and then. For now, remember the following:

1. Your prompt is dependent on someone I assign to you. You do not come up with your own prompt.

2. No profanity, sexual scenes, or excessive violence.

3. If you do sign up, do me a favor and spread the word about the challenge via Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, or some other method. You may use the above image to do so.

If you have any questions at all, please comment or email me. These are always a blast, and  I’d love to have you take part!