Lessons in Writing Hinduism Papers, Reading Harry Potter, and Eating Happy Food

“One book had a dark stain on it that looked horribly like blood. The hairs on the back of Harry’s neck prickled. Maybe he was imagining it, maybe not, but he thought a faint whispering was coming from the books, as though they knew someone was there who shouldn’t be.

He had to start somewhere. Setting the lamp down carefully on the floor, he looked along the bottom shelf for an interesting-looking book. A large black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled it out with difficulty, because it was very heavy, and balancing it on his knee, let it fall open.

A piercing blood-curdling shriek split the silence – the book was screaming! Harry snapped it shut, but the shriek went on and on, one high, unbroken, earsplitting note. He stumbled and knocked over his lamp, which went out at once.”

– From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, chapter twelve, The Mirror of Erised


My desk while working on school – thanks for the donut mug, Tina!

“…compare and contrast your selected worldview (Secular Humanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam) with the biblical worldview.”

Such was the prompt that drove me up the wall all weekend as I struggled to write a paper about the similarities and differences of Hinduism and Christianity.

I received the email from my professor on Tuesday announcing the dreaded monster that we ourselves had to create and submit by the end of the week (Today @ 11:59 pm EST). A few things that set me apart from the average college class student are as follows:

  • I am only fifteen and am still in High School
  • I love writing papers
  • I have an extremely organized and OCD note taking system

Thus, when reviewing the second bullet point—my loving papers—it can be assumed that I jumped at the chance to write this paper. You would assume rightly, for I was literally dancing with excitement at the news of a research paper—and on a religion (“of all the interesting topics”)!

I have always had a “thing” for Hinduism and eastern archaeology and religions since I was really little. I loved Indiana Jones (when I wanted to) as a little girl. Honestly, I wanted to go live in Egypt, wear a turban, become an archaeologist, and maybe dig up the Ark of the Covenant.

Ahem.

Considering that, it is obviously pretty plain to see why I chose the religion I did: Hinduism. I had always found eastern religion and things like that very interesting. Interesting, but not intriguing.

Anyway, skipping merrily to my computer, I logged on to my library’s website and reserved some books on Critical Thinking and Hinduism. I started thinking about the sources we had used in my class on the mystic subject. There were not very many meaty ones, so I knew that library books and a few books from my world religion unit last year would be helpful.

On Saturday my books were ready. Running errands for the coming week, my parents and my siblings stopped by the library on their way home.

Drrrrrr…the garage roared as it opened lazily, chugging and squeaking against the rusty tracks. I knew they were home, and I was ready to begin taking notes and composing a beautiful piece of writing! I sped down the stairs, thumping and stomping my way down. In the garage, my family met me with an armful of books. A big fat one had to be at least one thousand whole pages. The Norton Anthology of World Religions was, actually, over two thousand pages—and to my amazement, I learned it was only the first volume of three! I grabbed the books hungrily and sped back up to my room as quickly as I had come down. I laid all the books – three total – on my desk and opened them up.


“So…how are you doing?”

I think my head was about to explode when Mom popped in to check on me. I had been in my room for about three hours or so, working out my first paragraph: the origins of the world.

I wanted to say “not good,” but thought it would be pessimistic.

I was finding Hinduism to be a little less fascinating than I thought it would be. From the stories of incestuous creation possibilities, to the myths of Krishna, Durga and the buffalo demon, I was disgusted and mentally disturbed by the doctrines of Hinduism. The seductive goddesses and maidens, the lusty men and their partners, the goddess Kali who eats little children, and Brahma with his four-faced head. As for Kali’s husband, Shiva, let’s just say he lives up to his name as “Shiva the ‘Destroyer.'” I was desperately overwhelmed and in need of a good faint.

Exhibit A:

After finishing one beautifully written paragraph about Hinduism’s world origin beliefs, I took a bike ride alongside the river of my beautiful city. Fresh air felt nice. The leaves have turned yellow, orange, and deep red. The gentle breeze ruffled my hair and autumnal colored leaves skirted, flitted, and danced along the path with me. Fall felt nice.

The next day, I was ready to tackle the grueling task of writing four more paragraphs about Hindu doctrines: morality, death, identity, and purpose. I was practically hyperventilating. “Okay, here we go.”

I cried out to God during my shower, practically begging Him to give me the words to speak so I could finish this paper that was just as monstrous as the Hindu gods.


Click clack…click…tap tap tap.

Ah. The last period was placed. The last words were typed. I fell back on my chair and sighed in relief. I’m done! Every last bit of that paper is done. It’s all over. No more!

Elation. That is truly the only word that can describe my state after finishing the paper. Complete vivacious elation. Totally exuberant.

I glanced at my room.

It was a complete and total mess, so upon my deciding to clean it, I pulled out my radio and listened to my next chapter of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Audio.

I found myself on the twelfth chapter, The Mirror of Erised. In the chapter, Harry receives a cloak of invisibility from an anonymous giver at Christmas, and uses it to sneak around Hogwarts at night to the restricted section in the library. The books about Dark Magic were kept in the restricted section, and Harry was determined to look in them for the sake of curiosity and other reasons I will not discuss (no spoilers here). After opening up one of the books, there was a loud scream that split the silence. It turned out that the book was the one screaming! He shut the book and ran out of the library.

I thought it was rather funny how Harry had the same experience I had with books and libraries. Although I did not sneak around doing what I was not allowed to, I did stumble on some books that screamed at me and made me want to cover my eyes and ears at their heinous content. Between me and Harry, he was at a disadvantage: he had no one to run to.

But I did.

After feeling dirty, tainted, and disgusted at the research I had conducted on Hinduism, I ran to my Father God and my Creator. I was ashamed to do so. I had been researching other gods and immoral literature! How could I approach God that way? I will be honest. I still feel gross and dirty at the doctrines I wrote about. There was so much sin and immorality that the Holy Spirit grieved within me and I felt like running into a hole and hiding forever.

 “Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”

– Psalm 33:22, NLT

Graciously, the love of our God is unfailing. Just like the prodigal son, he came running to meet me when I was scared half to death over Kali’s bloody tongue. The gods of this world are like an ant inside of Jesus Christ’s big shadow. Even though I despaired over what I learned, it showed me just how wonderful and sovereign the one and only true God is. With all the power He has, He could do anything, and it would be alright. Instead, He shows us unfailing love and hope. And He’s always there with His arms open wide; ready to run out and meet us.

Luckily, after realizing all this, Mom had a steaming, satisfying, and comforting bowl of chicken tortilla soup ready with chips and a little cheese ready for me to devour. I slurped rather loudly.

It just proves to show you: sometimes God shows us His truths, love, and mercy when we write Hinduism papers, read Harry Potter, and eat happy food.

Cheers!

Hasta la vista,

Emily 🙂

P.S. Quick cosplay update!

I made my model for my Rey Last Jedi costume! Here ’tis!!!

I am so excited for the Last Jedi!! Did anyone else think it was weird seeing Phasma again? I did. I need to seriously get some second opinion. If you guys have any ideas, seriously shout it out. So weird. I thought they threw her in the trash compactor??

(Photo by 7831/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Also, I did not actually have time to make a costume for October 31st this year, so I bought a costume off CosplaySky. Yes, I did. While we are on the topic of Harry Potter, I decided to go as Hermoine Granger this year. I love Emma Watson 😛 ! I started reading the Harry Potter books over the summer, and Hermoine was like my alias at Hogwarts. I am such a policeman. I am really excited for this year’s costume stories, so stay tuned! Rey is going to be really awesome, too! I am so excited for The Last Jedi!!! Also, there is a horse at the barn named Star I have been riding lately, and he wants to be Harry Potter. Harry and Hermoine FTW at the barn’s costume contest! Wahoo! I will fill y’all in on it soon!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Emily

Why do some weirdos spell Auf Wiedersehen as one word? I shall never know.

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The Peace of God

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:7


Hello, my friends!

I do believe I promised a post explaining where I have been for the last million years and all the lessons I have learned.

Well, ok, not ALL the lessons (because that would mean I would never get this published), but just one.

Or two.

Maybe three.

Just kidding – probably just one!

Anywayyyy,

I have been having one heck of an epic summer, and I hope you have been too! We moved last year to a location known as “a high desert” and I have never lived anywhere more “hot” in my life. Today it was 102° and last week there was a reading of 106°. It’s crazy hot, but it sure makes you drink lots of water, which is a habit I have been trying to acquire for many years.

Cosplay. The dreaded word that’s been ringing in my ears just like that magic bell Polly and Digory rang in Charn (the one that woke the witch and cursed Narnia for hundreds of years)! AHH! Guys, I have failed all of my cosplaying assignments. There is no Elizabeth Swann/Will Turner costume and I have not even seen Dead Men Tell No Tales yet (*emoji with face of utter frustration*). I am learning to play the Piano Guys’ new song Themes from Pirates of the Caribbean, so that covers my multitude of cosplay sins…right 😉 ? I never finished Village Belle and never saw the film (everyone probably knows why), and even my little Spider-girl project for Homecoming I never told you guys about did not happen (but I did see Spider-man: Homecoming and I thought it was really awesome). Grr. I have become so overwhelmed with school, work, and the reason my summer has been out of this world awesome:

Horses.

Riding is all I seem to have done this summer, and it has been the ride of a life time.

I have trailered out to the cross country course a couple of times, went out for my first exhilarating gallop (lol when the tears start flying, Stephanie 😀 ), gave my best shot at a race across an open field,won two red ribbons at my first jumper show, have ridden three different horses, fallen off three times, and got carried away atop a runaway horse (kids, do not try this at home).

After the show, I felt completely worn. My body was incredibly sore, I was so fatigued, and I felt like sleeping for at least three days. When it came time for my next lesson, my eyes kept dropping down, the horse tripped after a grid, and I could not remember the simplest instructions or make those roll back turns. Trying to blink back frustration, I realized what was wrong.

My sickness relapsed.

Those “little” issues I talked about two posts ago (click HERE for that) were back, now they were coming in strong especially after all the hype and pressure of training for the show, the show itself, and other horsey activities. It was taking a toll on my memory which is something that has always scared me, so I did (and still am doing) something drastic.

I decided I would have to hang up my riding boots temporarily and focus on my health, because without good health I wouldn’t ever ride. That was for sure. My family has been so supportive of all my needs, and I constantly find myself thanking them for all their help! I love them so much and thank God for them everyday. Thanks, guys! It was pretty hard trying deciding to do it, and I cried a little. I was having so much fun and there were only two days (roughly) out of the week when I was not sitting atop a horse or at least at the barn.

It’s been totally strange not being at the barn all the time, but if it was not for this little hiatus, I do not think I would have had the ears to hear God or what He was trying to get my attention about. Thus, immediately after my decision was made, I decided it was time to really dig into the Word. I had been already, but now that horses was off of my mind constantly, I could probably have more of “an ear to hear” like those Jesus talked about when He spoke in parables.

Horses was totally from Jesus this summer, and He used them in incredible ways to teach me how to pray, how to seek His face, and how to be conscious of His omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent presence. Although I had become so close to Jesus during my horsey streak, I began to feel disconnected after I decided to take a break. So, I returned to that over-sized lime green moon chair and studied. Sinking and settling deep in that chair with my diffuser exhaling plumes of sweet-smelling lavender, listening to George Winston’s Summer album, and sipping roasted dandelion root tea, I learned the importance of peace.

The peace needed to hear God’s voice.

I felt so calm, so at ease, and so ready to listen. It was so quiet that the quiet was all I could hear. The lavender oils filled my nose and made me sigh and relax my shoulders. The George Winston music made me want to start laughing just from complete joy and love of life. If you want to know what the dandelion tea did, just look up the benefits of dandelion root tea – there’s a lot of benefits.

God had had enough of me just “getting it” and then rushing off. He wanted my time with Him in the mornings to be full of peace and rest. A time to embrace calm before the start of a bustling day. Quitting horses (temporarily, of course) has given me the opportunity to re-focus on the Lord and all that He’s given me. Though He drew me so close to Him during my awesome times at the barn, it was time to focus on everything else He was doing. It was becoming just about horses, but there was so much more about me that I was missing. Piano, writing, this BLOG (you guys are like yasssss), school, my beautiful books (almost done with Emma), my brand spanking new set of GenEd College Courses, our summer cross-country road trip (which I will get to in just a minute), and my awesome sister Ally who plays Nancy Drew PC games with me, cheers me on at my shows, and makes friends with all the local ducks turns thirteen next month:

Jesus has just shown me how to wind down and refocus.

Here’s to the peace of God!

“And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.'”

– God, from Exodus 33:14

Peace out,

Emily XD

P.S. That cross-country trip I was talking about is happening this FRIDAY!!! I am super excited. We’re going to Chicago, New York, Boston, Connecticut, and other eastern destinations I have never laid eyes on before! I’m super excited, and I created a travel blog called The Toiling Traveler so I can blog about all of my travels! I am going to be taking pictures this trip and blogging about everything – super excited for all the yummy east cost foodies, too! Yippee! Go ahead and check it out, like my first post, or follow the newborn blog and get to hear about my awesome journey! Totally stoked! 🙂

P.P.S. Here’s George Winston’s Living in the Country from his Summer album – take a serious breather and just let the melody sweep you up and away:

P.P.P.S. Here’s some horsey pictures for you guys! Hope you like ’em! I made them look really cool with BeFunky photo editor, lol!

Epic shot of me and Sunny @ the water jump – my sister Ally took the pic! Thanks, Ally!

 

Me and Sunny @ the cross-country course

 

Fun picture of me and Sunny over our widest oxer!

 

Me and Sunny @ the show – 2’6 class – movin’ up there!

 

Me and Sunny (Sun Bun) after a great ride – it looks like she’s smiling LOL!!

 

P.P.P.P.S. Ok, last P.S., but has anyone seen Star Wars VIII Trailer, The Last Jedi? I have, and this is the one cosplay project that will NOT go overlooked – check it out if you have not yet:

Ok, guys! That’s all for now!

Hope to see y’all over at The Toiling Traveler!

Hugs,

Em 🙂

All God’s Children

Dear Friends,

Since May 18th, 2017, I have been absent from this blog. I have constantly reminded myself to “get around to blogging.” I could just never seem to have the time to sit down and write like I had so longed for.

However, three days ago, I received an email from my Gospel for Asia blog team with a new blogging assignment, and this morning the Lord came a-knocking on my heart. He reminded me of all of you readers, of the countless precious souls of Asia, and the length of my hiatus. Basically and simply, He told me I could not get away with it this time. The hounding was hard – the disobedience would be transgression. Thus, today, at 10:25 p.m., I have come to tell you a story. A true story. Frankly, I think true stories are the best. It is the story of a drunkard, a widow and her son, and the peace they found.


The man cackled and nearly collapsed in drunken stupor. His mother watched him helplessly. She knew it was her doing. She had often encouraged drinking and enjoyed a few drinks with her son, Sahdev, but she, Vahini, never imagined consequences this horrendous. The old woman pitied her alcoholic son, who spent all he had on the poisonous liquid.

Vahini knew she was obligated to put an end to Sahdev’s alcoholic rages, drunken shame, and endless addiction. When an idea finally lit up her mind like fire crackers on a moonlight night, she set right to work seeing it through: her son must have a wife. Surely a wife would force him to put aside his useless and ridiculous past time! Yes, a wife must be the answer. Maliciously concealing her Sahdev’s treacherous addiction, Vahini found a young woman named Tanu who, blind to the truth, married Sahdev.

However, much to Vahini’s horror, Sahdev became a violent man, abused his new wife, and his drinking did not cease as hoped. Instead of defending the helpless bride, Vahini sided with her son and watched in silence as he beat her daily. In the midst of this desolation, Tanu became pregnant. When Tanu gave birth to a son, Aakar, her husband died of alcohol poisoning two months later.

Free of her chains, Tanu hoped to live in precious peace, but no peace came. Vahini became the villain of our story and mercilessly blamed Tanu for the death of her son. Tanu, afraid for her child and her life, resisted and begged to remain in Vahini’s home, yet in response to her helpless plea, she was beaten for simply asking for help. Fleeing desperately, Tanu returned to her mother and father’s home: in the slums (pictured left – photo credit: http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com). Graciously welcoming their daughter and grandson, Tanu’s parents brought a smile to Tanu’s weary face.

Due to India’s cruel and unfair “caste system,” Tanu and her family were classified as “dalit” or “untouchables.” Essentially cursed by their fellow man, it was difficult for Tanu to find a job to help support her family. Acting as any kind-hearted father would towards his little girl, Tanu’s father, Chandrakiran worked as a daily wage laborer, a job someone of his social caste is confined to.

When Aakar became old enough to go to school, Tanu and her parents simply could not pull enough money together to give the child a proper education. Even when enrolling Aakar into free public school, the cost of the supplies crippled their finances. Heartbroken for her little boy, Tanu was desperate.

Seeing one of her neighbors sending her children to school one day, Tanu demanded to know how they managed the costs. The neighbor explained that her children attend Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope Sponsorship program. Feeling a wave of relief for the first time in many days, Tanu enrolled Aakar in the program in June, 2013. For the first time, Aakar received a birthday gift, school supplies, and an education of which many children his age of dreamed (from my resource I learned only forty percent of all people in India can read). Tanu and Aakar (pictured right – photo credit: Gospel for Asia Blog Team) continually receive God’s love, compassion, and redemption everyday from the Bridge of Hope Program. Tanu says that she has the biggest hopes in the world for her son. She believes he will grow to be a kind man who loves others more than himself and will choose a different path than his father, Sadhev. “I can see that my child is improving in his studies and learning good habits through the Bridge of Hope center. I only wish that my child will grow up [to be] a good companion and never ever become addicted to alcohol or any kind of bad habits,” said Tanu after she enrolled her precious son. 

The courage of a mother determined to fight for her son and for her life, the acceptance and love of grandparents who had a heart to give the willingness of sponsor in a different land who brought joy into the life of this beautiful child, and the love and care of our Lord Jesus who never lets go, gave this story a happy ending.  


“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

– Luke 18:16


I look at the world around me. It chills my bones. It breaks my heart. It makes the hair on the back of my neck prick up.

Then I look at a child. I see the little girl: ribbons in her hair, pigtails flying, and her cheeky grin making her eyes disappear beneath the ear to ear glee. I see the little boy: laughing at a joke that was not even funny, climbing to the top of the playground, and yelling for all to hear. I see the infant giggle for the first time. The gloom in my heart scatters. I see the little girl beg me to come to her tea party. The despair fades. I see the little boy ramming his truck into your shin. The depressing reverie turns to abundant laughter.

When Jesus told the world that the kingdom of God belongs to the children, He told us that the kingdom of God is full of laughter, light, innocence, joy. It is seething with belief, trust, and dependence.

The kingdom of God does not belong to the adolescent or the adult. The kingdom of God is not full of worry, concern, depression, cynicism and independence.

It belongs to the children.

Children like Aakar who need the love and care God designed them to receive.

 I believe that God created children to be bundles of joy that would even out the worry and concern of two grown people.

The children of the world, the beautiful children of the world need us.

Joshie

The little smiles of the world need us.

John John

The minds who believe they can do anything need us.

Tanu and Aakar as a young child

The ones who make us smile and forget everything during tragedy need us.

I love you, Baby D!

The ones who laugh at the simplest things need us.

And from the arguments I just raised, I would say that we need them just as much.

Maybe even more so.

To all the children of the world,

Emily 🙂 – signing off

P.S. You can help a little one in need by sponsoring a child, donating to crisis funds, or whatever means you may feel God is calling you to give via one of the following organizations (these are ones I know of) and many more around the world:

Compassion International

Holt International

Gospel for Asia’s Bridge of Hope

Samaritan’s Purse

P.P.S. I promise that by the end of this week I will hopefully have a post regarding my absence since the beginning of May and the lessons I’ve learned. I hate leaving everyone hanging for two months. I will talk to you soon! Sending you much love 🙂

When I Run to Ma

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

– Abraham Lincoln


I am going to be bluntly honest. I must. Raw truth is the only way I can possibly illustrate my point.

There are a lot of people who do great things. They overcome great sickness and survive endless wars.

I haven’t been the victim of an endless war, but I am overcoming great sickness.

In January of this year, I went in to see my holistic doctor. Upon being checked, I was told that worms had invaded my body and my thyroid and adrenals were severely inflamed. My doctor, who was eager to expel the parasites from my body, gave me a six week plan that has lasted for five months. Gluten, dairy and sugar have come off of my menu and I take twenty pills and five medicinal liquids each day. Before bed each night, I am given a coffee enema and juiced fruits and vegetables.

I am reluctant in sharing these details with you all, but it is blunt truth, and as I said before, blunt truth is the only way I can express my feelings today.

As I am slowly coming out of this period of healing, I often selfishly pat myself on the back and look at how I have stuck to the healing process and how my efforts are beginning to come through.

Until a few weeks ago.

Most mornings I awake to the smell of boiling enema coffee, which I think happens to smell rather nice. It was about 7:30, which was thirty minutes before I had to head to work. Upon my arrival downstairs, I saw my mother picking up the large, heavy, and green dutch oven full to the brim of enema coffee. As the liquid poured out over the strainer eager to be free of the pot, Ma struggled to hold it up. I shrank back into the shadows of the stairs and realized what I had not in so long.

My ma is the one who pours endless cups of enema coffee into mason jars for my enema. Mom is the one who let go of all her old recipes to make gluten, dairy, and sugar free food. Mom is the one who prays for me every morning more than I even pray for myself. Mom is the one who makes juices every morning, reminds me to take my pills, and rubs inestimable amounts of essential oils on the ailing parts of my body. Mom is the one who rubs my cramping stomach at one in the morning when I begin to pass yuck. Mom is the one who stays up at night on the computer until three in the morning trying to find home remedies and solutions to ease my healing process. She is the one who stays up late doing the dishes for me when I cannot. She is my advocate and my body guard. She is my teacher and has given me the best education any human being alive could ask for.

Sometimes I ask myself why.

My mother does not school me at home because she has to. She does not pray and heal and care for me because she has to. She does nothing for me because she has to.

She does it for me because she loves me.

When I consider how I often treat her, my heart writhes within me.


Last week, I was desperately sad.

I do not remember what for, but I remember that I was distressed.

I cried in my bedroom, with my Bible in hand. Mother, coming to ask where a cell phone was, entered in and saw me weeping. Concern clouded her beautiful, big, brown eyes and she begged to know what was the matter. After telling her what I do not remember now, she smiled and, putting her hands on her hips like she always does when she gets a good idea, she proposed a thought.

I took that day to spend time with her and my sister and my brother instead of staying at home finishing up school. We spent the day laughing and looking for birds, beavers, fish, and bugs. We washed the car at John’s favorite wash, ate Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets and waffle fries (those are gluten, dairy, and sugar free if you are wondering), and I brought money to buy Emma and Sense and Sensibility at Barnes and Nobles (all the classics are on sale for $5 so go buy yourself some).

It was one of the best days I have had since the school year started.

And Mother, once again saving my day, declared it the first day of summer.


I do not know how one can make it without a mother, but I know it can dreadfully and distressingly be done.

As a child, I would often have frightening dreams. I always knew this:

When I ran to Ma, everything would be alright.

Me and Ma at Disneyland when I was five years old

I love you Mom,

Emily 😉

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

– George Washington

Amen, George.

All the More Joyful

 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands…

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” 

Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify him!”

…they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”

John 19:1-3, 5-6, 15


Good Friday.

The day when grown men’s eyes water and women wail.

The day that gives every man breath yet chokes us in the grip of solemn remembrance, agony, and death. Since I was a young child, I will honestly say that I have shown an unhealthy partiality towards the Friday before Easter Sunday.

I dreaded Good Friday.

Every year my heart writhes and struggles intolerably in the furious, bubbling cauldron of sorrow and death and sin.

A tradition that has lasted for a long time in my family is Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. We watch it every year during either Good Friday or the Saturday that Jesus was in the grave. Its explicit and accurate details of Roman crucifixion and Biblical truths is incredible, and every year I have to watch it with a box of tissues on command.

Once more, my heart writhes and struggles intolerably in that furious, bubbling cauldron of sorrow and death and sin.

Until this year.

It was naught but a few days ago, as I was bracing for my epic clash with Good Friday, that I sat up one night thinking. What I am about to say you might possibly think ridiculous, ludicrous, stupid. Think what you will, and say what you will, but I believe it, and that is what matters.

Anyway, as I was saying, I sat up one night thinking. I always think of Good Friday as a mountainous, terrible hump before sliding down into a heap of goodness: Easter. I sat thinking of how that hump was only a few days away. I decided that, since everyone else was asleep, I could talk to the One who was not: Jesus. I smiled and began my complaint. “Why do we have to remember Your death every year, Lord, when we know You have already conquered it? Why do we have to shed tears and pray prayers and remember sorrowful things? Why can we not simply celebrate the Good News that You are alive and offer us eternal life and salvation and everything?” I did not have to wait long for His answer. It was blown into my head and soul, and my heart skipped a beat then just like it always does whenever I get an answer. “If there was no awful torture on Friday, there would be no miracle or joy on Sunday.”

Shame flooded my mind and I wanted to cry.

I stared into the wall and thought.

Thought more.

Thought even more.

How selfish I had been. Neglecting to acknowledge pain and torture that I myself never even felt. The love that compelled the God who made me to willingly choose the path of mockery, beating, flogging, crucifixion, and ultimately, death.

I have heard that the whips the Romans used when flogging a criminal had animal bone and glass in-bedded in the cords of rope. The flogging exposed the bones in Jesus’ back and made Him bleed exorbitantly. Flogging was a death sentence to all criminals, but Jesus did not die when He was flogged.

I have been told that the cross Jesus carried halfway to Golgotha was 50-100 lbs, and he struggled to carry it on His raw, bleeding, and weak back.

I have listened to men say that when nailed to the cross, the nails passed through Jesus’s wrists and would have burst the Median nerve, which would have caused excruciating, burning pain in both of His hands. His legs would have been angled forty-five degrees and his feet nailed one atop the other. Due to this position, His ribs were angled up, causing unthinkable pain just to take a breath.

And He hung there, just like that, for six hours.

Such love I do not understand. Such love is so deep and infinite that our human minds will never understand.

Sometimes I wonder if He saw my face. I wonder if He thought of me up there on that cross. As the blood fell in streams from his gushing wounds, perhaps He thought of Emily. Perhaps he thought of you. When the temptation to end it all in the blink of an eye filled His tormented, wracked body, He pressed on because of us. “No, I must do it for her! I must do it for him!” You fill in the blank.

Such love is incredible, unimaginable, indescribable. I can not understand it. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane a few hours before He was arrested, He prayed:

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

– Luke 22:41-44

Jesus, knowing the torment, the betrayal, the humiliation and death He would face, willingly walked into it anyway. He was in so much pain even before the hour had come that he began to sweat blood! But He did it nevertheless. Why? Because He loves me, and He loves you.

Now when one sits back and thinks about that, it is incomprehensible. Then when you combine that with the fact that He never stayed dead, it is even more amazing!

That is why today, on this Good Friday, it was the best Good Friday. I wept in church, sang with tears on my face, and, though felt so strange, I was in anguish and felt the peace of Christ’s Great Love.

This Easter season, I encourage you to reflect upon the sacrifice Christ made on Good Friday. It makes it all the more joyful when you wake up on Sunday, exuberance fills your heart, and you remember that Christ is risen!

In Him,

Emily 🙂

“‘It means,’ said Aslan, ‘that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards…”

– C.S. Lewis, from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Concerning Snacks, Lent, and Inflamed Thyroids

Life demands a lot.

I guess I knew that before this year, but I guess you could say that it just “sank in.” Since turning fifteen last month, I’ve learned a lot of different things about life. Life has become…how can you say this without saying the word “dutiful?” I’ve taken on a lot more tasks these past few months, and I suppose that’s why this blog has been crying out for a post.

It all started on March the first: Ash Wednesday. I was very excited for the season of Lent to fall upon us, and I was just as anxious to fast “something.” I decided on snacks. That was hard enough to make me really pray and seek my Savior for the things that really mattered in our relationship. {I say hard enough because you people really don’t understand how many snacks I eat. I’m a hobbit when it comes to food. I eat breakfast, then I eat second breakfast, then I have elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.

Ok, not literally, but seriously, I eat a LOT of snacks because I have a thyroid problem which always makes me hungry.}

Considering that, I was going to have LOTS of time to pray and seek the Lord during Lent. I carried myself well until Sunday when Mumsie Mum offered me a tortilla chip she had just fried up for dinner. It was a sample. It wasn’t a meal, so it was a snack in my mind. I instantly freaked out.

“No thanks, Ma. I’m good,” I replied innocently with a smile on my face. She scrunched her face. I never refused a taste-test. “No, here, try some,” she urged. I smiled again, a little uncomfortably, and said, that it was alright. In the end Ma was offended and I ended up having to divulge my secret and spill the beans about fasting snacks.

Worst move.

It turned out that Mom thought it was a heart-felt fast and a good one, but when one’s thyroid is out o’ whack, you can’t starve yourself; when you’re hungry, you MUST eat. So, I decided to give up fasting snacks.

I tried fasting second helpings at dinner, but I crashed and burned.

It was essentially impossible to fast for Lent, and I felt utterly despondent and defeated. I couldn’t possibly be right with God if I wasn’t fasting for Lent! Come on! This is Lent! I kept thinking “I need to fast something, I need to fast something…” but kerplunk. As soon as my thoughts took off, they fell right back down again.

So, here’s what I did in retaliation to my predicament: I skulked about and walked like a hunch-backed person. Kicking myself (not literally 😛 ) whenever I thought about Lent and how everyone fasts during this season. I couldn’t fast, and now the Lord wouldn’t see my love for Him. I continued to feel this way until Mom opened up the Bible and read from Matthew chapter nine, verse thirteen. Jesus re-quoted a verse from the book of Hosea:

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

– Hosea 6:6 NIV

It really hit home for me, as I had been stressing about not fasting for Lent. I love Jesus, I know I do. I thought that fasting would prove to Him and maybe even myself that I did love Him. Because of this passage, however, I realized that all God wants is my heart. He sees my love for Him, and He knows that I want a deeper relationship with Him, and I don’t need to fast to pray for those things. I can still pray for them whether I’m fasting or not.

One of those things that Christ has shown me is to have grace on myself. I won’t go to hell and He won’t abandon me because I’m not fasting for Lent. Just because I feel sick from thyroid ailments and can’t serve in Children’s Ministry doesn’t mean I’m an evil person. The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. He wants me to love and observe Him rather than be the perfect Christian. He wants me to live my life for Him, and whatever comes my way, to accept the circumstances and carry myself as the young lady He has equipped me to become.

Jesus loves me this I know.

That line is one of my favorites, and I think it can be turned around to look like this:

I love Jesus, this He knows.

For my love will tell Him so.

Jesus knows that I love Him. He sees my heart that yearns to please Him and live in His ways. He knows all, and sees all and since He can see the inner depths of my soul, He can see my hunger and my thirst. I don’t have to prove my love to my Maker. He already knows everything. I don’t have to convince Him of my love.

I hope this encourages you, my dear readers! I feel as though a burden has been lifted off my shoulders and I can let go of legalism and unnecessary stress. Having a thyroid problem has been a gift from God. It’s shown me how to NOT be stressed. Before I knew my thyroid was inflamed, I was constantly stressing about everything. EVERYTHING. I’m not kidding, everything. Recently, however, I learned that high stress levels are bad for your thyroid. So, this has made me calm down. It’s made me totally “chillax.” Living life with no extra freak out moments and panic attacks has made my walk with Christ stronger and also, ironically, my thyroid. I am happy to declare that on my last visit to the doc’s office my thyroid was not inflamed.

Love ya,

Emily 🙂

P.S. Here’s a little cosplay update 🙂

So, this Friday is opening night for Beauty and the Beast! Eep, I am very excited! So, I’m getting last minute preparations done on the Village Belle. I’m not giving anything away until opening night (I’ll post picks then). Here’s one cute non-give-away picture for your enjoyment.

Haha, I know it’s pretty boring, but trust me, you’ll be glad I saved the finished product for Friday.

Love you!

I Shall Not Want

I bit my lip. I squirmed uncomfortably. I sighed. I knew no one else sitting in the chairs knew what my heart was feeling. But I did, and therefore I wanted to run and hide in a hole from the truth in my heart. What made me feel violently compelled to shrink away from my own soul? Perhaps it was what the speaker spoke. He spoke it with passion. “Our identity comes from being involved in our community and from good Christian relationships with other brothers and sisters!” In the back of my mind I was thinking, “Wait a sec, that doesn’t sound right…” and in the front of my mind I was thinking, “You need to be more involved in people and your church, girl!” When the last hymn was sung I bolted from the room in pursuit of my mother, who had left early because my little brother Joshua was getting fussy during the session. He lasted an hour without moving, but babies will be babies, I suppose. As I walked out of the building into the biting, bitter January bluster, I held my gloved hands up to my face to warm my freezing cheeks. “Was the speaker right?” I wondered. “Is it wrong to not be in a current friendship or deep relationship with another believer?”


That was the first of my always revolving thoughts. It haunted me awhile, and everywhere I went it always seemed like every speaker and pastor put such a HUGE emphasis on the Christian “community.” I’m not anti-social, but I’m in a season right now where it’s hard to get plugged in with a bunch of Christian peeps. I feel condemned very often for not being in a circle with lots of Christian familiars.

I’ve been working hard lately. High school is so overrated, for all you elementary and middle-schoolers who dream of high school. It’s not what Disney makes it out to be, trust me. Algebra, Geometry, Biology tests, essays, reports. It’s a lotta hard work, no kidding (my favorite subject, however, is probably literature…I’m in the process of reading the beautiful novel from eighteenth century England: Pride and Prejudice – it’s got to be my favorite read this year and one of my new all-time favorite books). Anywaaayyyyy, back on topic. I’m a busy girl. Plus, I’m an athletic girl. This spring is my first hunter jumper show season, so I’m getting cooking with my beautiful equestrian sport. I’m getting all set to work with my Dad in his logistics company, and I’ve got SAT’s this summer. *Exhaling for a brief moment.* It’s been so hard to get anything else done, and I’ve been trying to write this post for a while! I barely had time today!

In a nutshell, The Lord’s got me in a season right now (click HERE for a post about seasons) where it’s simply impossible to have some friends. But, whenever I got to church or hear a message on the radio, etc., I feel condemned for not being apart of relationships with other believers.

Christian friends are beautiful friends. I’m not against having friends. I wouldn’t mind some friends about now, trust me. But I’ve learned to let friends come into my path, not go out seeking them. I’ve learned to let them come to me. Let God lead them into my life. If He wants me to have a Sam Gamgee, then he’ll give me one. But for now, I’m without friends…or am I?

The truth suddenly dawned on me when I left the building into that biting, bitter January bluster. I had had it up to here, as my Ma would say, and I couldn’t tolerate that sinking feeling anymore. God knew that, and that’s why he gave me this thought: “Sometimes people are so concerned about the community outside of the house that they forget to see the community already in the house.” My heart leaped and I’m sure if my chest wasn’t there to push it down it would’ve soared beyond the moon. I turned to my mother, and told her of my newfound revelation and she rejoiced with me.

I had it.

The community given to us is the community we must serve.

The community God has given me at present is not a community outside my home. My community is my family. My Mum (lol, Ma), my Dad, my sister and my brothers. They are my friends. Friends that can never be taken away or friends whose ties can never be severed.

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Mother and Father of Asgard and Hulkie Me

What is so often missed is the community you are born into; the community of the family. If anyone can understand you more than you understand yourself, it is your mother who has already walked in your footsteps. If anyone can make you laugh harder than you ever believed you could, it’s your Father and your little brothers. If anyone with whom you can talk about handsome male persons of your liking and not feel ashamed, it’s your mother and your sister.

My duty is to Christ, my family, to the people whom I love (and that’s a lotta people!). I love them more than I could any friend or acquaintance. I share more with them than I would any other familiar or colleague in this world. They mean more to me than a thousand horses or a million dollars. I do believe I would die for them.

My dear friends, look to your family. They were the first friends that the good Lord ever gave you. The first person you ever locked eyes with was probably your father or mother.

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Families are so often overlooked, and yet they were the first system God ever created in human nature. My family has become precious to me more than ever and through God’s teaching and lessons, I have not want for any friends. God has been my shepherd and I am no longer in constant want. Let God bring them if he may, but for now I am content.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

– Psalm 23

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Beefy Bro Joshua

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When you have way too much fun taking selfies with your four-year-old brother.

What better friends could a girl ask for? Amen.

Namárië,

Emily 🙂

P.S. I don’t know if I ever told you guys how to pronounce Namárië. It’s Nah-marr-eeey-eh. Thanks guys. I’m a big Tolkien junkie…love ya