Monday, December 28, 2015

Happenings of the Month: December 2015

So, I’ve decided to try out a new segment on my blog, morphing things I’ve tried before and adding in some inspiration from other blogs. You remember my Entertainment of the Week posts, right? Well, I enjoy the concept of those, but they’re difficult to keep up with weekly. So I’m going to make it a monthly thing instead. I really love the idea of doing a monthly wrap-up, though (My blogger friend Katie does really fun ones on her blog A Writer’s Faith – check out her most recent one here). So I’ve decided to combine the two ideas. You’ll have to let me know what you think. Here we go!

Monthly Happenings Dec 2015

Entertainment of the Month:

  • Movies/TV

Cinderella (2015) – I saw Disney’s live-action version of this classic fairytale when it came out in theaters earlier this year. I loved it then and recently bought it on a whim. Everyone loves the idea of a Cinderella story; seeing it fleshed out in live-action is really wonderful. The film maintains a sense of fantasy with the vibrant colors and unique camera angles while telling a beautiful story of courage, kindness, and true love. I highly recommend this one.

  • Books

Maid to Match by Deanne Gist – Tillie Reese is on the cusp of everything she ever wanted. As part of the prestigious Vanderbilt estate at the turn of the nineteenth century, she’s in the running for the coveted position of lady’s maid to Edith Vanderbilt. With this position, she can travel, wear beautiful clothes, support her family, and help the poor. But though the Vanderbilts are immensely kind, they are strict about romances among their staff. And Tillie is about to experience sparks with Mack Danvers, a mountain man suffering through employment with the Vanderbilts for one purpose only: to help his sister. Tillie’s determined to experience life; Mack’s convinced that she’s dooming herself to lifelong unhappiness. Which way will true happiness lie? This is an adorably sassy, sweet story. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers, as it is quite heavy on the romance, but it’s clean and highly satisfying.

  • Music

"Light in the Hallway" – Pentatonix – From the acapella group’s debut original album comes this gem of a lullaby. It’s haunting and uplifiting all at once; I’ve got it perpetually stuck in my head.

"Epic Bruno Mars Medley" - Peter Hollens & Roomie – I am completely in love with Peter Hollens’ music, and he has the most wonderful way of doing Bruno Mars songs. Seriously, check this out.

My Life This Month:

Having a break from school has been wonderful, and I’ve prepared a lengthy to-do list for myself during the break. Unfortunately, I seem to be falling behind on that list. Gotta remedy that problem…

Christmas, of course, dominated the month of December. I was very much in the mood for Christmas music this particular year and listened to a lot, mostly through my Anthem Lights (Holiday) Pandora station. We bought a star for the tree for the first time in very possibly forever. And, to my great surprise, all I could find were ones with lights in them. I wasn’t happy initially, but the star we went with has softly changing colors, and I’m rather pleased with it. In addition, I managed to get fun WIN_20151227_23_26_12_Propresents for everyone and stayed basically on budget. Yay! I also received amazing presents from my family, including the entire Harry Potter novel set. It’s so pretty!

With the rest of my break, I’d like to get a handle on some writing. I’ve done almost none in the last few months, and I miss it so much! But I’ve got to stop relying so heavily on inspiration. It is, as the saying goes, extremely fickle.

I’m going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this week! So excited!

Other Web Things:

The Storymonger (one of my personal favorite bloggers) is starting a web serial. Get a sneak peek here!

5 Reasons You Should Be Investing in Other Blogs - This Incandescent Life

Green Gables Fables – This modern adaption of Anne of Green Gables and its sequels is absolutely captivating. They’re in Season 2 now, and I am always on edge of my seat waiting for each week’s episode.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Let me know what you liked or would like to see more of. What was your December like? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Month in Proverbs: Part 1

Before I get into today’s post, I’d like to quickly mention that I’ve chosen another winner for my Reading and Writing Giveaway. I was unable to get ahold of my previous winner, so the new winner is Athelas Hale! Congratulations! I’ve sent you an email with the details.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been going through the book of Proverbs, reading one chapter a day. I intended to finish it in one month (31 chapters is handy that way), but my laziness has stretched it out. Anyway, from each chapter, I picked a verse or two and expounded on it for myself. Now I’d like to share some of those thoughts and verses with you. I’ll probably do about 4 or 5 verses per post, depending on the length. Let me know your own thoughts on these verses in the comments!

Month in Proverbs Part 1

Proverbs 1:32-33 “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Wisdom protects us. Complacency leads only to destruction. We think that it will keep us safe. We think that, if we only keep to our routine, stay safe and normal, don’t draw attention to ourselves, blend in, we’ll be fine. But that’s a lie. Complacency doesn’t help us. It doesn’t bring us peace. Only in the wisdom and truth of the Lord can we find rest.

Proverbs 2:10-11 “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

The closer we grow to God, the more we love learning about Him and gaining knowledge. I think about the many times during school when I complained and didn’t want to learn whatever I was studying at the time. Wise people love to learn, especially about our Creator and Lord. They recognize that knowledge is a blessing and that, on our own, we know nothing. I want to be wise and embrace the lessons that God sends my way.

Proverbs 3:21-22 “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.”

Good people get into bad situations. It happens. We often say that they were “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Yet how many tragic deaths and wrongful convictions might be avoided if people applied their brains? How many situations that go badly might never happen if people thought about the situation? Discernment, recognizing a situation for what it is, is protection for the innocent.

Proverbs 4:18-19 “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

The dawn of day is a beautiful, peaceful time. Sitting quietly and watching the sunrise is an amazing experience. Thus, this imagery is gorgeous. Everyone knows what it’s like to stumble around the house late at night when it’s pitch black inside and out. We hit corners, step on Legos, and get ourselves into general pain and frustration. The path of the righteous is full of light and peace, not darkness and confusion. Why wouldn’t we want to follow the beautiful path?

Proverbs 5:23 “For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.”

God’s people should be marked by discipline. We often view discipline in a negative light, thinking of it as something that takes all the fun out of life. That view is skewed. Discipline isn’t the absence of joy, but it is the setting aside of folly, which leads to death anyway. Joy and folly are very different things. One is healthy and beautiful; the other is destructive and selfish. Thus we should run after the Giver of Joy and run from the Bringer of Folly. Discipline is a life-saver.

What do you think about these verses? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to discuss them with you!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Return to the Blogosphere with Gifts: Reading and Writing Giveaway

Oh my goodness, it’s been three months since I posted on here. What in the world happened to me, you might ask. Uh, school. School happened. I’ve hardly written anything at all, and I miss everything tremendously: writing, blogging, interacting with all of you. I think the break was good. College has dominated my life, and I needed to focus on that. However, I am ready to be back. I’m ready to write again. So, here I am!

Reading and Writing Giveaway

In the interest of maintaining both a steady presence here and a life outside the computer, I’m probably going to pull my posts back from once a week to 2-3 times a month. I’d rather take on a little bit and be consistent with that than try to cram everything together and utterly fail. I don’t want to do that to ya’ll or to myself.

So, in the next couple months or so, I have plans that include a series of short blurbs on Proverbs and (dun, dun, dun) another flash fiction challenge. Very excited to welcome everyone back with that!

As another welcome back, I’m also offering a giveaway, specially meant for all your readers and writers out there!

Michael Vey is a fourteen-year-old boy living in Idaho. The only thing special about him is his Tourette’s Syndrome, and some days he really wishes he didn’t have it. Everything changes for Michael, though, when he realizes that he has the power to use electricity and that there are more people like him. Created by an experiment at the hospital where he was born, Michael’s powers are not the only such ones on earth. And someone is trying to use these “electric children” to rule the world.

This is Book 1 of a seven-book series, and I have loved every one of the five books that are out so far. The plots are well-created, and the characters each have unique powers and motivations. I’d love to introduce one of you to this awesome series, too, so it’s the first part of my giveaway.

The second part is the soundtrack from How to Train Your Dragon 2. When I write, I prefer to have soundtrack music playing. It carries an emotion that is immensely helpful in setting up scenes. It is, after all, story music. I know that many of my readers also use soundtrack music, so I want to offer a CD that I have found to be particularly powerful. The soundtrack to How to Train Your Dragon 2 was composed by John Powell and is, in a single word, gorgeous. If you like soundtrack music, you will love this album.

This giveaway will run for a week and half. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Friday, August 28, 2015

The Fruit of the Spirit: It’s Not About Me

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”Fruit of the Spirit

If you’re like me and grew up in the Church, you’ve probably heard these verses a few times. You probably memorized them. Maybe you even did activities related to the fruit of the Spirit. Reading this passage recently, though, I realized something. It’s not about attempting these attitudes on our own. It’s about drawing near to God and letting His Spirit fill our lives.

Too often, I treat this list in Galatians as a checklist: I was patient yesterday, so I’ll work on goodness today. It makes me think of Benjamin Franklin, who had a literal checklist just like that for virtues. It doesn’t work like that, though. It’s called the fruit of the Spirit, which is a) singular, a package deal, and b) a result, not an action.

A Package Deal – As the phrase “fruit…is” implies, we can’t really separate the fruit; it comes together. Love, joy, and all the rest are not separate fruits to work on. They are one fruit that all works in tandem. Not perfectly, of course; we are human, after all. But if I’m growing in patience, I’m becoming more gentle, too. Think about it: as you become a more loving person, are you becoming less self-controlled? Of course not. Progress in one area is progress in another. Now, of course, we all struggle with some aspect of this more than others. Some may struggle being faithful, while others have difficulty being patient. Like I said, we’re human. But if you’re growing in closeness to God, all the fruit will begin to grow.

A Result – I can’t force these virtues on my own. Sometimes I wish I could, but that’s not the point. Fruit grows as a result of a healthy plant. The fruit of the Spirit is no different. It flowers when my life is connected to the Source of Life. Without being connected to God, that fruit is not going to develop. He’s the One Who makes it grow, not me. I want to seek Him with all my heart, to stop concentrating on trying to become a better person in my own strength. I just keep failing when I try it that way. He brings love and goodness into my life. He grows the fruit of the Spirit.

What do you think about the fruit of the Spirit? Have you ever tried to treat it like a checklist? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Thoughts on the Wall: Creating My New Writing Center

I honestly have no idea why it took me so long, but, for the first time in my life, I’ve put a bunch of stuff on my walls. Posters, a calendar, and, most excitingly, a writing center.

Writing Center

I’d had an idea for a while of an organizational center on the wall, specifically for my writing. So, I did some research, did a bunch of store-searching, and bought a bunch of materials I thought I might like to use. Then, since this stuff is expensive, I pared it down to my budget and took the extra stuff back. Having everything in front of me helped me to visualize how it would look and what I actually needed.

Ultimately, I ended up with four square cork boards and two white boards. I discovered that the cork isn’t quite as thick as I would like, but it works. The white boards are exceptionally light, which was handy for mounting them on the wall. Best of all, I didn’t have to use any screws or nails. I put everything up by means of picture strips and poster putty.

I quickly discovered that the process was much harder than I expected it to be. The cork tiles came with adhesive stickers, so I initially used those and put the left two tiles up. I was stuck between leaving them as squares and rotating them to diamonds. Once I decided that I didn’t like the latter, they were already on the wall. Problem number one: those stickers were extremely sticky, and they didn’t come off the wall well at all. I was left with about sixteen little squares that looked a lot like this:


Very annoying. Thankfully, I was able to get them almost entirely off with a combination of rubbing alcohol and lemon essential oil.

Next, I had to figure out what to do with the cork tiles. I didn’t like them as diamonds, but they were boring as squares, too. What they needed was colored backing! Enter scrapbook sheets, stage left. By turning the paper into diamonds and leaving the cork as squares, I got an effect that I like. Fastening them was a time consuming, but ultimately successful, endeavor involving the aforementioned Poster Putty.

P1020419 P1020418








Yes, my work area was a mess. Necessary at the time, but it’s all cleaned up now, so I’m a happy camper.

Getting the cork lined up and level was an unexpected hassle. I ended up drawing guide lines in pencil on the wall and using the level to fit them in carefully. I’m quite happy with the result:


It’s not crooked, trust me. That’s just the angle I took the picture at. Yeah, yeah, I know. Poor planning on my part. I was just trying to document the process as quickly as possible. Anyway, after getting the cork up as a frame, I was able to add the white boards. More guidelines and quite a bit of grunting later, everything was up:


Then came the best part: accessories!


Buying accessories was definitely my favorite part of the shopping expedition. And they add such color to the ensemble!


 Aren’t these magnets adorable? Honestly, I probably went overboard with the magnets, but I keep thinking I might need them. P1020426And the Pin-It magnets? Oh my goodness, aren’t they cool? The moment I saw them in the store, I decided that they were perfect. They have magnets on the back, so you can put them on the white board. But then they have cork and a little pin on the front, so you can pin papers to them. You might be thinking about the cork tiles I already have, and you’re right. I probably have enough pinning space without these. However, I can see using them to highlight particular pieces that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. And they’re so cute!

I also got a utility cup to hold extra stuff, and it’s magnetic, so I can stick it right on the white board. It ended up being smaller than I needed, so I added another container on my other wall, which, while holding extra markers and push pins, can also hold stuff related to my wall calendar. So, a win all around, basically.











Again, it’s not crooked, I promise. Just me in a rush to take pictures. Anyway, I am really happy with the extra container. I’ve had that basket for quite a while but have had no specific use for it. Thus, I was ecstatic to discover the perfect role for it!

Of course, anything involving a white board isn’t complete without markers. P1020428I’m so excited to use the different colors to make things jump out and separate sections.

Although this project started out simply as a writing center, it has morphed into a general organization center, which will probably be more helpful in the long run. A few days after finishing it, here’s what my wall looks like:


The bottom left section of white board is for blog stuff, so the bottom left corkboard is also for blog-related ideas. The top left section of white board is divided into daily to-do and upcoming school projects, while the entire right white board is for current writing projects. The remaining corkboards are for writing ideas and inspiration. I really am immensely excited about the potential of this area. Eventually, I want to put wooden letters above it all that say “WRITE.” I may also string pictures on these cute little clothespins I found. I want to make this exciting and fun as well as functional.

Do you have any kind of writing/organizational center in your room? What’s it like? Have you ever thought about making something like this? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Entertainment of the Week: August 11, 2015

Book of the Week:

Honestly, the book that would define this week would probably be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but I’ve decided not to use Harry Potter examples all the time. So, since I haven’t read much else, this week I’m going to spotlight instead a few books that I’ve bought recently.

The Zion Chronicles series by Bodie and Brock Thoene – I just acquired the last few, so I now own all five books of this series set in post-WW2 Israel. I’ve probably mentioned before how much I love the Thoene’s historical fiction; if you like that genre, then I definitely encourage you to check this series out.

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke – I recently read the Inkheart trilogy to its conclusion for the first time and loved it. This is the second book in the series, and I am excited to start my collection with it. You can find my review of the trilogy here.

The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke – This is an incredibly riveting, sweet story set in first-century Judea. It looks at the birth of Christianity through the eyes of a Roman centurion and a Roman serving girl related to Pilate. To be honest, I basically grew out of Janette Oke books years ago, but I’ve read this one twice, and I love it.

Movie of the Week:

The Hunters, starring Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids), Robbie Amell (The Flash), and Victor Garber (Argo, The Flash), is a fun adventure film with a good dose of cheese and a likeable cast. Exactly my type of movie. It reminded me strongly of The Librarians TV series, which I love. The main characters, Paxton and Tripp Flynn, have grown up constantly shunted off to boarding schools and convinced their parents don’t care about them. When their parents go missing, they learn that they’re actually part of a secret society that protects legendary items like the Golden Fleece and Cinderella’s glass shoes from the clutches of power-hungry people. With the pushing of Paxton’s former girlfriend, Dylan, also a Hunter, they set off to find their parents and save the world, with dashes of humor and romance along the way.

Music of the Week:

"Magnet and Steel" by Walter Egan

I heard this song at a wedding I was involved with over the weekend, and it was rather catchy, so I thought I share it with y’all. It’s from the late 70’s and, essentially, talks about the deep connection between the singer and the woman he’s in love with. It’s simple and fun and out of my ordinary genres, so it was fun to discover.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Truth in Space, Part 10

Well, we’ve reached the end of my short story, Truth in Space. I wrote this over a period of ten days, recording each day’s journal entry as if I were experiencing it myself, and, in the end, I was quite satisfied with my efforts. I hope you have enjoyed reading it! If you haven’t read all the installments, catch up:

Parts 1 and 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Parts 6 and 7

Part 8

Part 9

Truth in Space Part 10

March 8, 3022

Eventually, consequences always manage to come around and make themselves known. Mine have been creeping in quietly over the last two months. The angry warpagrams finally stopped about two weeks after we turned around; they must have realized that I wasn’t planning to answer them. We stopped on Veritas as planned, and, honestly, it was a lot more sobering than I expected. Even more so was our stop on Vortega. Fergus wanted to pick up his crewmates’ bodies, since I refused to bring them when he first came on board. This time I agreed. But digging up those bodies was one of the saddest things I’ve ever done. I kept to myself for several hours after we took off, since Fergus offered to pilot. Knowing that Fergus survived a horrific crash is one thing; seeing the broken remains of those who didn’t was quite another.

About halfway home, two long-distance cruisers met us and wanted to board. Evading them, we didn’t encounter anyone else until we were about a week out from Earth. That’s when the furious radio messages started. I ignored them for a couple days, and then I calmly informed them that I was headed for a landing at the main NCSP launch base. They didn’t appreciate that. I was fine until they threatened to fire on me near Neptune. At that point we were still four days out from Earth. Under threat of imminent destruction, I was ordered to land at the nearest lunar colony, the outpost Corona. I didn’t know what to do and was thinking it was all going to end on this sparsely populated moon. I wouldn’t be able to get the journal out to anyone.

Then Fergus disappeared and, next thing I knew, a cloud of thick white dust surrounded the ship. Next thing I know he comes racing into the cockpit, yelling for me to dive hard to the right. According to all logic, I shouldn’t have. But I did. And we managed to escape the ships. For the rest of the day, we did all right. But early the next morning they confronted us again. This cat and mouse game lasted another day and a half, and then we couldn’t run anymore. As Fergus and I gave each other worried looks, I realized that we needed to get the media’s attention. Rummaging through my supplies, I concocted a violent reaction and threw it into Earth’s atmosphere. The deafening explosion rocked the ship and left my ears ringing. But, sure enough, two news fliers appeared near us. I dipped and wove to make sure I had their attention. With cameras trained on us, the hostile ships were forced to let us land at the main base instead of the secluded areas they tried to direct me toward. I was lauded as a returning hero.

But it couldn’t last forever. The intense press scrutiny on me the first ten days protected me. But yesterday Fergus disappeared. The public assumed he was part of the crew. And the bodies? The press never saw them. He’s definitely missing, though. I only hope he’s still alive.

I discovered that he was right, after all. When everything is stripped away, you find your purpose. Aborting the mission took me straight into my fears. I’m under virtual house arrest here at the compound. My supervisors have threatened my parents’ safety at every public appearance I make in order to keep me quiet, but I have yet to see them in the two weeks I’ve been back. And about a week ago I realized that I’m not going to get myself out of this mess. Only God can. When I finally cried out, begging Him to help me, He came. And I realized how much I’ve missed Him. Every time I get scared, He tells me to trust Him, and that brings a peace I haven’t had in years. I’ve finally found my purpose.

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to write in here again. Obviously, it’s not safe here. But yesterday I found the file documenting Fergus’ mission. There are some details that have been erased, but I’m including it with this journal, along with part of my own mission orders. I could only copy part of them before nearly being discovered. I think I’ve found a way to get this out of the compound and into the hands of someone who won’t destroy it.

My name is Cassidy Hope Bridges, the only crewmember of the starship Galaxy. I was tasked by the National Coalition for Space Progress to travel to and chart Zako Sector, where I was to find a planet suitable for building a secret military base. From this base, the government of Western Earth, controlled by the NCSP, intends to annihilate the entire eastern side of the planet. On February 21, 2022, I returned to Earth with Fergus Darby, navigator and only surviving crewmember of the starship Wanderer, a ship tasked with the same mission five years before me.

To anyone reading this, I pray you make the right decision and receive the message the Wanderer’s crew tried to send so long ago: speak the truth. The fate of entire nations rests with you.


Two hours after writing her final entry, Cassidy gave it to a NCSP employee who snuck it into the hands of Johnny Davidon, a reporter whose brother had disappeared into the NCSP system years before. 3 days later, Cassidy was forcibly included on another mission into space. This time, the public wasn’t informed of any aspect of the trip. And no one knew where she’d gone. Because of the story told in her journal, investigators turned their eyes toward the NCSP. It took a great deal of maneuvering, since the government was incredibly tainted by the group’s fingers. After two years of investigations and hearings, though, the National Coalition for Space Progress was disbanded and its leaders imprisoned on charges of treason, conspiracy, and impeding an investigation, among other things.

Despite the success, no one could find Cassidy Bridges. Fergus Darby was mysteriously rescued about a week after her disappearance, but he knew no more than anyone else. Investigators were able to determine that a mission had been launched into space, but all documents relating to the mission had been destroyed. Using Fergus’ knowledge of the Zako Sector, a space fleet was dispatched to the area, prepared for anything. They finally discovered a base hidden on Laos after months of searching. Because it hadn’t been restocked in a year, the base was undersupplied and put up little resistance. Still, a squadron of fighter pilots was the first to land on Laos, nearly three years after the base was first established. The lead pilot? Trevor Maxoff, Cassidy’s former boyfriend. They would be married a year later.

I was born in October of 3028, once my parents had retreated from the public eye. The press still followed us throughout my childhood, though. Today they reside in peace and periodically speak about their experiences. My mother’s decision to stand up for the truth saved millions of lives, and my three siblings and I have tried to live up to her example. I pray that, by reading her story, you will be inspired to do the same.

Rena Dazine, oldest daughter of

Trevor and Cassidy Maxoff

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Entertainment of the Week: August 4, 2015

Ah, what a week it was! Work, weather, sickness… All kinds of things have been going on. Yet entertainment still finds its way into my life.

Book of the Week:

I first saw the movie versions of Harry Potter a few months ago and loved them. I’ve had every intention of reading the books, as well, but after finishing this first book yesterday, I can’t believe I waited so long! The Harry Potter series is famous worldwide, and it is easy to see why. The story of an abused and unloved child finding friendship and meaning in a magical world far removed from his everyday drudgery is charming and highly enjoyable. It’s easy to see that this series was first intended for children; it’s written simply and concisely. Yet it still carries its own magic within. Just because it’s for kids doesn’t make it less in any way. J.K. Rowling has created an incredible world with deep characters and a riveting story, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books.

Movie of the Week:

This movie is adorable. Featuring the voice talents of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, and Christopher Lloyd, this film fictionalizes the story of Grand Duchess Anastasia, the daughter of Czar Nicholas II of Russia. Knowing the story of the Communist revolution and downfall of the Romanovs, the entire premise of the story is inaccurate. Yet it revolves around a mystery that persists through the years: what if Anastasia survived? In this film, she doesn’t die with her family, instead growing into a young woman with no idea who she is. She falls in with the delightful characters of Dmitri and Vladmir, who are planning to con the real Anastasia’s grandmother into giving them reward money by delivering “her granddaughter” to her. The situation is clearly headed for a fairytale ending except for the evil presence of Rasputin, who is determined to wipe out the Romanovs forever. This is one of animation’s lesser known gems, and I’m very happy that I found it.

Music of the Week:

"Once Upon a December" by Liz Callaway

The movie Anastasia is full of music, but this is far and away the best song in the film. It’s incredibly haunting, sweet, and nostalgic all at the same time. I had it distinctly stuck in my head after finishing the movie.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our Sympathetic High Priest: Facing Our Temptations

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone is trying to comfort you, but they have never experienced what you’re going through? It’s hard to trust in someone’s sympathy when they’ve never been where you are. As humans, we seek shared experiences. Without them, bonds of trust can be more difficult to form. Sympathetic High Priest

Yet Christ is our ultimate Comforter. And He truly understands everything that we go through. In our time, the church, the Bible, and God are often considered to be irrelevant. Something established two-thousand years ago can’t apply to the present, they say. Conceptions about God are out-of-date and out-of-tune with a post-modern age. That’s what some say.

I disagree.

Our God is timeless. He has no beginning and no end. And His relevance to our lives certainly doesn’t end just because some human time has passed.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest Who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One Who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14 –16

That’s what I love about this passage in Hebrews. We can stand confident in the fact that Jesus understands. It’s easy to think that, because Jesus didn’t come to Earth in our time, He didn’t face the same temptations as us. That’s not true.

In Matthew 4, the story is told of Jesus facing Satan in the wilderness. He faced three separate temptations, and in them can be found the same issues we confront.

  • Security: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread,” Satan says in verse 2. Jesus had been fasting for forty days. I imagine He must have been starving. Imagine the picture of soft, delicious bread dancing before your eyes as you stare at the dusty rocks. You’re God in human flesh; of course you can create food right then and there. Now, Scripture doesn’t specifically say Jesus imagined those things, but He was human. Yet Jesus chose to trust in God’s plan. He knew that He was in the desert for a reason; He chose not to put His immediate needs in front of God’s purpose. There are many security needs that can be overwhelming for us: food, shelter, money, relationships. And in our search for them, we can so easily lose sight of God. Jesus knows what it feels like to need something badly. He’s there to lift you up when Satan attacks you at your time of need.


Courtesy of Pixabay

  • Control: Satan next took Jesus to a high building and told Him to jump, trusting God to save Him. I’m sure Jesus knew that God would save Him. He could have stepped off that building and felt completely in control of the situation. Instead, He chose not to test God. We come up against so many situations that we want to control. All of our anxiety comes from wanting control, and most of us are extremely anxious. Yet letting go of control is freedom. Jesus knew that He didn’t have to be in control; He was letting God direct His path. When we face the desire for control, He’s right there, telling us He knows and urging us to let go.
  • Power: All the wealth of the world. All the power in every kingdom. Immense. Amazing. Unfathomable. Satan offered it all to Jesus and He refused. One of the great struggles of humankind is the struggle for wealth and power. We want it so badly. We make it our idol. We hurt ourselves and others in the pursuit of power. It can be as simple as wanting to be friends with the “cool kids” or as drastic as creating an empire that spans the globe. It’s all about power. And it all takes our focus off God. Satan tells us we need power to be happy. He told Jesus the same thing. Yet Jesus responded that only God deserves our worship. When we face a longing for power, Jesus knows what it feels like.

It’s interesting that the passage in Hebrews talks about Jesus as our sympathetic high priest. Jesus isn’t like our politicians, seemingly so removed from our lives that their “representation” is ludicrous. Jesus walked among us; He faced our trials. He was tempted by the desire for security, the fight for control, and the lust for power. And He overcame them all. He understands whatever it is you’re going through. He knows what it feels like. He cares. So don’t be afraid to take it all to Jesus. He’ll hold you in His arms and give you the strength to overcome.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Entertainment of the Week: July 28, 2015

This has been a week full of many things, not the least of which has been a diverse breadth of entertainment.

Book of the Week:

After reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it’s easy to see why it reached #1 on the New York Bestsellers list. Death, as the book’s narrator, is one of story’s core concepts. Death and words. It is a curious experience to read a story told by Death. It’s told in a way that lets you engage with the characters, yet, in a way, every emotion in the book is tinged by a kind of distance. That is the character of Death in a nutshell: distant but nonetheless engaged. Collecting souls is just a job for him; he neither particularly enjoys nor abhors it. He finds distraction from his job in colors: the color of a person’s soul, the colors of the sky.He tells himself not to get invested in the people he encounters, but every now and then one person catches his attention. One such person is Liesel Meminger, the book thief. This is her story, a story of a German childhood lived in Nazi Germany. It’s a deeply poignant and philosophical book, unfortunately marred by the excessive language. Nonetheless, I may find myself reading The Book Thief again.

Movie of the Week:

Honestly, I was only marginally excited for Ant-Man, the latest release from Marvel Studios. I think my interest got lost somewhere between the craziness of Avengers: Age of Ultron and my anticipation/terror about Captain America: Civil War. I was distinctly wrong about this film. In a refreshing change of pace, this movie focuses on the story of Scott Lang, a convicted cat-burglar with a strong love for his daughter, Cassie. Desperate to find a job, he is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym to wear a special suit that shrinks him to the size of an ant. Filled with great humor, loveable characters, and a nice break from the carnage of superhero films, Ant-Man is highly enjoyable and sets up Civil War in a gentle way while maintaining its own independence as a story.

Music of the Week:

Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

Liszt was one of the superstar musicians of the 1800’s in Europe. And not just as a pianist; his compositions are quite beautiful, as well. This orchestral rendition of his Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in particular brings to mind the Slavonic Dances of Dvorak with a distinctly European flavor and quick, soaring melody that incorporates marches.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Truth in Space, Part 9

Today we continue our space adventure via my short story, Truth in Space. If you’re just joining, please feel free to catch up on the adventure:

Parts 1 and 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Parts 6 and 7

Part 8

Truth in Space Part 9

Laos’ surface unsatisfactory. Continuing deeper into sector as planned.

Map sector as you go.

October 18, 3021

Well, things may have changed a bit since I sent that warpagram. I sent it after launching off the surface of Laos. Now we’ve been in flight for five hours, and, if my plan works, we won’t be heading deeper into Zako Sector. For about an hour after takeoff, I just rested. Well, as much as I rest these days. Then my brain started going. I’m actually supposed to visit a star next. Not to land, of course, but to run an energy assessment. Then I’m to land on the nearby mega-planet Jasper 9. I intend to do neither.

At the moment, Fergus is covered in grease and wiring residue, his sleeves shoved above his elbows and his hands fiddling with a mess of wires, gears, and lasers. My hands are covered in singe marks from the two hours I spent in there. The only reason I’m writing instead of helping is because Fergus told me to go lie down. I tried, but sleep wouldn’t come. What in the heavens am I doing? Somehow I’ve let my mindset change in the last week. Before I landed on Vortega, I was determined to grit my way through this mission for my family’s sake. When a powerful entity threatens death to your parents, you quickly become inclined to do whatever they want. And I kind of wanted to hang on to my own life, too. So do I no longer care about my parents?

Of course I care! Our relationship hasn’t been the best in the last eight years, ever since the move. But that doesn’t mean I want them to die, especially if I’m the cause of it. That’s what makes this so hard. I don’t want them to die. Yet my going off-course may result, probably will result, in their deaths. I’m an emotional wreck right now. For most of this trip, I’ve tried to push my conscience aside. I’ve tried to ignore the ramifications of my actions. I told myself that if I didn’t do this someone else would, and all I would have accomplished would be endangering my family. So I focused on them and suffered from an ache in my heart that only grew stronger with time. On days I thought I would explode, I wrote everything in here. Then I burned it until each and every rebellious, dangerous word was a meaningless filament of ash, released into the endless reaches of space.

And now I have nine days’ worth of journal entries in my palm, sizzling with what the NCSP would consider treason. I can still burn them. But that’s ridiculous. I’ve made my decision. This is the debate I waged with myself and with Fergus for an hour and a half. And, clearly, the arguments are still spinning in my brain. See, about an hour out of Laos, something snapped inside me. I was studying the flight orders pertaining to Jasper 9 and the star Arcadian. Mission leaders are hoping to power the sector base by harnessing Arcadian’s energy. They’re also hoping to use it for weapons. Reading that, I smashed my fist into the dash, cracking the reader’s screen. That got Fergus’ attention, and, when he asked, I laid it all out there. What did he do? He listened, nodded, and asked one question: “What path will you choose?” We went over every aspect – my parents, Fergus’ life, my own survival, the impending destruction of millions of people – and it came down to that one question. What would I choose?

When I was six or seven, my dad used to take me outside and point out constellations. He’d say, “See, there’s a mighty lion,” or “there’s the crown of a beautiful queen.” He’d tell me about people who travelled among the stars and say that they got to fly inside God’s glow-in-the-dark painting. Space travel was simple to me back then. It wasn’t another field for war; it was beautiful. When I was a little older, he told me something else as we gazed up at the heavens. He said that people made history among the stars, that our whole age was shaped by the decisions they made. Then he turned me to face him and said, “Just as much history was made by people too scared to make the right decision.” Whatever decision I make will have painful consequences, but I know deep down what the right decision is. Not the selfish one, unfortunately.

Once I told Fergus that I was aborting the mission, we discussed the best way to do that. I considered disappearing into space for a while, but I’d only have supplies for eight or nine months, probably fewer with Fergus on board. So I’d only be delaying the end result. Besides, I’m pretty sure there’s a tracking device somewhere on the ship. And we have a wild card that could change everything: this journal. So, we decided to head for Earth. We’ve hit a snag, though. The navigation system on the ship is much more strictly regulated than the one on the Wanderer, Fergus’ ship. I have enough freedom to avoid unexpected obstacles, but the ship largely flies itself via the computer hidden behind that mess we’ve been digging in. It’s a very delicate, complicated system that we’re trying not to ruin. The computer is key, of course, but the wires and gears are also important. I’m pretty sure I made exactly no progress earlier. Hopefully Fergus is having more success.


I went down and assisted Fergus for a while, but when an hour passed and he was still scratching his head, we decided to take a break. Fergus is sleeping and I’m, well, writing. And worrying. I’m not surprised that I had trouble with the nav system, but Fergus is a navigator. That’s what he studied to be. And he’s as lost as I am. I checked the dash when we came up just to make sure we hadn’t knocked something out accidentally. We had some minor shiftings while we worked, but nothing seemed out of place. We’re still hugging our designated course, racing toward Arcadian. What if we can’t reset the nav system? Do we just continue on as if it never happened? I don’t think I have the mental or emotional strength to do that. I’m afraid I would just break, shatter even. There must be something we’re missing. In order to reach the computer, we have to disable the lasers. But the lasers hold certain elements steady, so their function has to be duplicated. Or neutralized…


I am sweaty and covered in grease. I have a nasty singe mark along my forearm. I am exhausted. But I am headed home. We did it! I remembered earlier that the ship has different modes. One of those is Protective Mode, to be used in case of a close solar flare or some kind of space storm. When engaged, that mode retracts all parts that extend from the hull. Including those controlled by the lasers. With Protective Mode enabled, all but one of the lasers shut off. When we broke through the flight controller two hours later, a tremendous shudder went through the ship. I raced up to check the steering just in time to keep us from colliding with a meteor. The narrow escape took my breath away, and then I realized how much navigational control I had. We did it. Fergus finished up in the nav console, and then I turned us around. We’re going to visit Veritas on our way, maybe give Fergus some kind of closure. If he needs it. Maybe I’m the one who needs the reminder, not him. A reminder of why his friends died and why I’m going back. The journey will take us about four months, but we’re headed for Earth. The question is what awaits us when we arrive.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Entertainment of the Week: July 21st, 2015

So, I’ve decided to try out a new segment here on The Ink Loft. Every week, on either Monday or Tuesday (I haven’t decided which, yet), I’ll do a quick post highlighting my favorite books, movies, and music of the past seven days. It will be similar in a way to the Reviews in Miniature post that I had last Friday, though not as long. Anyway, it’s going to be a work in progress, so please let me know if you like it or not!

Book of the Week:

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’m loving Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series. This third book, The Strength of His Hand, has continued the trend. In this book, King Hezekiah comes up against the greatest threat he has ever faced, and in the process come important lessons about the idolatry in one’s own heart. This book was definitely thought-provoking, and I loved seeing it bring the story in the Bible books of Chronicles and Kings to life. Highly recommended for lovers of biblical fiction.

Movie of the Week:

I’ve never seen a Studio Ghibli film before, but a friend introduced me to this little gem and I really liked it. This animated movie, Castle in the Sky, tells the story of a girl named Sheeta, whose necklace puts her at the center of a military operation and an attack by pirates, both looking for the mythical, floating city of Laputa. With the help of a boy named Pazu, she is launched on a fantastical journey into the mysteries of the city. The English version utilizes the voices of Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, and Mark Hamill to take the viewer through a whimsical world filled with flying machines and quirky characters. It also has a gorgeous soundtrack. Though definitely different than what I’m used to, Castle in the Sky is adorable and unique.

Music of the Week:

MercyMe -"Flawless"

We’ve all got our problems that we can’t fix on our own, but, in the cross, we’re made flawless.

Chris Tomlin - "At the Cross (Love Ran Red)"

Though not brand new, this song has made quite an impact on me recently, talking about being washed clean at the cross. In some ways, it has the same message as “Flawless,” but the two songs tell it in completely different ways.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Reviews in Miniature: Inkheart, Inside Out, and More

Inspired in large part by a blogger that I follow and also by the fact that full reviews are exhausting to write, I’ve decided to give quick reviews of some recent books and movies that I’ve experienced. Hopefully they’ll be helpful to you.

Reviews in Miniature 1

The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke

 I first read Inkheart more than a year ago and loved it. For some reason, though, I didn’t get around to reading its sequels, Inkspell and Inkdeath, until recently. In this trilogy, Meggie’s father has the gift of reading characters to life from any book. He views it more as a curse, though, since it also sucked his wife into the book Inkheart. Through the course of the trilogy, the book’s author, Fenoglio, becomes an important character himself, Meggie discovers that she, too, has the gift, and everyone finds that the Inkworld has a mind of its own. These books are incredibly thick, and I loved every moment of them. Funke’s characters are deep and layered, and her world is breathtaking. The only caution I have is that, though they’re considered children’s books, I would hesitate to give them to anyone under about thirteen, because of violence and occasional language. Beyond that, though, I highly recommend them as an absorbing and imaginative read.

Inside Out (2015)Inside Out Sadness poster

Gah, I love this movie so much. That is my rather unprofessional summary statement. Anyway, in Inside Out, the latest release from Disney/Pixar, we’re transported into the head of Riley, an 11-year-old girl, to experience the story of her emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Each is a distinct personality, but they’re all bound together by the collective “we” of Riley. When the young girl’s idyllic childhood is interrupted by a move to San Francisco, chaos erupts in Headquarters. Joy and Sadness are lost in the mind, and Riley quickly spins toward a breakdown. The film has, of course, gorgeous animation and appropriate humor, but its real draw is the emotional impact. I’ve seen it twice, and I was struck both times by its themes about growing up, learning to grieve, and letting go of childish things. Inside Out is very possibly Pixar’s best film ever, and, from me, that’s saying a lot.

Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin

  I love Lynn Austin’s books, but, until recently, I hadn’t dug into her biblical fiction. With Gods and Kings, I rectified that. In this book, Austin tells the story of King Hezekiah, brought up in a land of idol worshippers but destined for God’s work. Bringing together biblical stories of Hezekiah, Zechariah, and Isaiah, Gods and Kings is enthralling and filled me with an incredible sense of history. I’m on book three of the five-book series now, and I’m enjoying every minute. Austin doesn’t shy away from the pain that sin brings, on full display in a land where the One True God is barely noticed while children are sacrificed to Molech. Nonetheless, God’s redemption is painted in a beautiful light, and I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical and/or biblical fiction.

Now, to round out this post, a few albums I recommend:


  Title: Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

  Genre: Christian/Gospel

  Favorite Track: Only You




Title: I Will Follow by Jeremy Camp

Genre: Christian/Gospel

Favorite Track: He Knows




  Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 by Alexandre Desplat

  Genre: Soundtrack

  Favorite Track: Courtyard Apocalypse


What books, movies, and music have you been enjoying lately? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Truth in Space, Part 8

Catch up on the space adventure:

Parts 1 and 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Parts 6 and 7

Truth in Space Part 8

Second test 8% neon remaining. Storm cleared. Orange sky.

Survey planet’s surface.

October 17, 3021

Well, I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone settle here. I mean, 8% neon? With such a low concentration of oxygen, that’s quite high. And that’s the strongest filter in existence, to my knowledge! The filter in my helmet is barely as good, making me hesitant to go survey. When I told Fergus that I might not make it back (I was mostly joking), he insisted on coming with me! I tried to refuse, but, since I do have an extra suit, he said I didn’t have any argument that he considers legitimate. I wanted to say he could die, but he just would have given me a long-suffering look. So, apparently, we’re both going. My extra suit fits him terribly, but he’s short enough that he can just barely fasten the important spots. His own suit wore through in several spots more than a year ago, but, thankfully, his boots still work. Mostly. My helmet, of course, has a five years’ newer temperature regulator and filtering system, so…


What my helmets don’t have is a radio. What’s the point when you have no crew and home base is too far away for radio? As it turns out, the lack of that particular feature is quite irritating when one is scouting an unknown planet with an only-slightly-less-unknown man. Yeah, that occurred to me on our hours’ long hike. I barely know Fergus. And, until a few days ago, I didn’t even know he existed. But I think knowing a person’s story is a big part of knowing him. When you’ve heard someone’s deepest pain and biggest regret, you’ve caught a glimpse of their soul. So, despite not knowing Fergus long, I feel deeply connected to him.

We set out at sunrise and stayed out about half an hour after dark. What a long five hours. I took soil samples, dug holes to see if there’s any water deeper down (there’s not), and did some mapping. My feet ache now. And Fergus hurts, too. I could tell by the little wince that kept crossing his face. He’s in surprisingly good shape, though. I don’t know exactly what he did on Vortega, but he’s pretty fit. Skinny, but fit.

When we got back to the ship, he startled me by echoing my own thoughts.

He said, “I never realized before how lonely you can be walking beside someone. I was lonely on Vortega, but it’s much worse being near another human being and unable to communicate with them.”

He said it was enough to drive you crazy. He would know, I suppose. How do you spend five years alone on an empty planet with nearly nothing and not go crazy? The four month journey from Earth to Vortega nearly did me in some days. After launch, I had audio contact with one of the lunar bases for all of a week. Then it was just me. I brought a lot of music and, thankfully, recordings of people talking. I learned Russian, for goodness’ sake! Otherwise I would have gone plum insane.

But, though Fergus has his oddities – his sleep pattern, his lack of communication, his tendency to startle easily, his little tics – he’s not crazy. His mind still spins normally, so to speak. So, I asked him how he kept from going insane. Apparently, he nearly did that first month or so, especially after his watch stopped working. Then, according to him, God gave him a routine. He explored every inch of the planet, moving his camp so that he was never in the cold too long. That routine is the reason his sleep cycle’s strange. For the first four hours (I’m still not entirely sure how he kept time), he worked out, ate, and did mind exercises. Then he would sleep, and when he woke up an hour and a half later, he’d explore and talk to God. Then he’d sleep and repeat.

The one thing he said that stuck out the most was one sentence near the end of our conversation. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I would have gone stark raving mad but for the purpose God gave me.” And that was basically the end of it. Soon afterward, he went to bed, and I haven’t seen him in three hours. I, meanwhile, have been nursing a brandy and staring out at the shadowy, pockmarked surface of Laos. The very idea of him attributing his survival to God’s provision makes me a little bit angry. That’s how people always talked at the little church where I spent elementary school. And I was a model churchgoing child until the summer before eighth grade, when the pastor’s son broke my heart and I realized that God wasn’t actually helping me. When we moved to Virginia the following spring, I went to our new church for two weeks and then never went back. So, no, I don’t have a habit of attributing things to God.

The problem, of course, is that Fergus’ state of mind matches his story. I honestly don’t know how he would stay sane for five years. Unless he’s right… I’m not sure I want to think about that right now. I’m not sure I want to think about anything.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Unseen: The Movement of God



Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Job 42:1-5 “…I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted…”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.”

All throughout the history of the world, people have felt the touch of the unseen, gliding just under the surface of the explained. Some attribute this to magic and fairies. Others say it’s a cosmic convergence. Still others refuse to admit that it’s real, either never having felt it or not wanting to believe they did.

Yet I know that the explanation lies with God. He works constantly in this world, even when we don’t notice. He moves in a realm that can’t be seen, that can only be touched by faith. But He is always working. I’ve seen so many signs of His Presence: healing in my family, provision during difficult moves, protection for me when my heart got in too deep. How much more must He be working on my behalf than I even notice?

Never let me forget Your work in my life, Lord. Strengthen my faith; help me to understand that You work in ways I cannot fathom, that the world is so much more than what I see. Teach me to be open to Your leading, Lord. Use me and take away my fear.

How do you see God working in your life? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear about it!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Truth in Space, Parts 6 and 7

*drum roll* I present to you not one, but two installments in my short story, Truth in Space. If you’d like to catch up, click the links:

Parts 1 and 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

And here are Parts 6 and 7. Enjoy!

Truth in Space Parts 6 and 7

Laos blanketed in lightning storms. Air low oxygen.

T/////// filter.

October 15, 3021

Like the telegrams of two and a half centuries ago, warpagrams are transferred one character at a time. But they’re a lot more complicated and have something to do with star energy. I don’t really know how they work. Anyway, because each character travels separately, interference of any kind can create gaps in the message. In this case, the storm sparking overhead probably caused the problem, though anything could be happening between here and Earth. Who knows what they actually got of my message? As for theirs, I’m assuming they’re talking about the air filter. I’m supposed to see if it can purify the neon out so the oxygen is useable.

I haven’t tried yet, because, honestly, I’m terrified of lightning. Always have been. And we’ve had some bright flashes pretty near the ship. Still, science says that if I stay away from the ship, I should be all right, since it’s taller than me. But what if it’s different here? What if the atmosphere acts strangely? What if – okay, I’m psyching myself out. So, I’m going to breathe. I’ll be fine. Besides, I have to go out there. They’ll be expecting results in the morning, and this test will take several hours.

Okay, I did it. And I didn’t get struck by lightning, though the hairs on my neck are still standing up. A tremendous blast electrified the air just as I reached the ship again. Oddly enough, when I dove for the ground, the baton-shaped instrument on my belt started beeping. Apparently the ground here, at least by the ship, is slightly radioactive. The fact just added to an already strong out-of-this-world feeling. Seriously, it was creepy. My chest is actually beginning to hurt from how fast my heart is beating. I refuse to go back out there until the storm’s over.

Fergus said something last night that I haven’t been able to push from my mind. When he was explaining how he survived five years on Vortega, he told me, “Funny that I never understood the point of my life until I had everything stripped away.” I can’t make it stop rolling through my thoughts. What point could he have discovered for his life while freezing, starving, and forgetting the sound of a human voice? When I asked him, he said, of all things, worship. I discovered his frostbite today. He’s missing fingers, toes, patches of skin. Part of his neck is a deathlike gray. And he says he learned to worship? I don’t know how to make sense of that. I didn’t ask him to explain. Yet I wish I understood.

Well, that was freaky. I had no sooner written that then Fergus wandered in here. He was just hungry, but his appearance startled me. He’s digging around in the cabinets now, and my gaze keeps shifting to his neck. How do you worship some god who supposedly allowed something like that to happen? How do you worship someone who lets evil men dominate the government? Who lets promising students be trapped into roles they don’t want? Who let Trevor leave?!

Obviously I wasn’t just talking about Fergus there. I got a little carried away, but I guess I’m angrier about the whole situation than I thought I was. I wish I could go back and change so many things. I wish I could have seen past the stars in my eyes when I got a dream project. Then maybe I would have noticed that I was losing someone I had a potential future with. Someone I didn’t want to lose. If I could tell myself one thing a year ago, it would be this: Pay attention to the good you’ve got. Don’t push it aside in pursuit of some fabled pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Too bad my past self can’t take that advice.


Air filter stripped 90% of neon. Running test again.

October 16, 3021

As promised, I didn’t venture outside until the storm abated. Which meant I was stuck inside for just under thirteen hours, which in turn means the sun has gone down not once, but twice since I last wrote. Days here are weird and I’ve darkened the windows because the daylight changes are messing my system up. Though, I admit, my lack of sleep probably isn’t helping. Still, ten-hour days don’t do anything to stabilize my internal clock. Not that I can actually see the sun, since dark clouds remain though the lightning stopped.

Whatever. The point is that the lightning stopped. So I was able to check the air filter. The results weren’t perfect. Ten percent neon is still pretty high. So, I decided to run the test again, since I am a scientist, and scientists are thorough. Could I sabotage the readings? Sure, but people could die. Yes, they could die either way, but at least this way it’s not because of my lie.

Anyway, the test had only been running for about an hour when the clouds descended toward us and monsoon-like winds began sweeping across the planet. I haven’t been able to see if the equipment’s all right, but, considering that it’s pitch black out there and that the ship has been shuddering for an hour and a half, I wouldn’t last more than a couple of seconds out there. So now I wait. Maybe the filter will come unsecured from the ground and blow away, leaving me with no concrete data to share.

I only slept for about three hours yesterday at some crazy time that reflected neither this planet’s day nor Earth’s. Fergus sleeps every four hours for about ninety minutes. I have no idea why, since Vortega, his home for the past few years, has about eight hours of light and six of dark. Maybe I’ll ask him when he wakes up.

The ship is still shaking. It’s scaring me. Honestly, I’m terrified that the wind might rip it to shreds, sending us into oblivion. Fergus and the crew of the Wanderer may have had the courage to give up their chance at survival, but I don’t want to die. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that. I don’t know. I don’t know what the right path is. And I’m not sure where my path is taking me. Somehow I started this with Fergus’ story, yet I keep indulging my own. It’s comforting, in a way. But there’s a chill deep in my bones that the wind just drives deeper. Maybe I’m just going to freeze to death.