Tag Archive | Jesus

Irony and Dementors: Exceedingly Joyous Musings of a Hogwarts Drop-out

Guten tag, friends!

That is German for hello, by the way. I have taken it upon myself to teach my tongue the beautiful language of German. Not that I am completely confident that I will finish, but my language-learning-app says I’m already 9% fluent in German. That’s enough to keep me going.

I had better get right to the point instead of boring you with my linguistic endeavors.

Well, here goes.

The story begins on one blustery autumn dawn, before the sun came up, and the wind was coming so hard that all the trees turned into skeletons within minutes. I had just gotten my cup of Dandy Blend “coffee” and was now sipping it with great etiquette in the covers of my twin bed. I reached for my journal and started writing earnestly.

“Dear God,” I began, as I always do. The letter to the Almighty God spanned about two pages, and all through it something in my heart was bitterly wrong. I felt strange. I had no feeling of enthusiasm, and there was no sense that I was close to God as I had always felt. I began to pray aloud, but something was not right. It felt like a dark cloud was raining and thundering over my heart, and I wanted to open up my chest to check if that was possible. It felt very real. As I reached for my Bible, there was a strange impulse to withdraw my hand. I resisted, and opened the thin, fragile pages of God’s love letter to the book of Matthew.

Something was dreadfully wrong.

There was no wish, no crazed zeal to hear what God was speaking into me. I felt gross, ugly, wicked. What was happening? I did not want such feelings to be in my heart, yet there they were. I wanted to just sink into a hole and never come out. “God!” I cried. “Please, I do not understand!” There was something very funny going on inside of me. I had just finished that Hinduism paper I mentioned from the last post, so I concluded that it was the source of my troubled spirit.

As the day drew on, however, the dark clouds gathered over my heart in torrents, and the darkness descended on my countenance. I searched my mind, and was determined to figure out what was the source of my sadness and the indescribably miserable feeling that I was very far from God’s hands. I missed the joy that flooded my heart and the soothing sound of the Spirit’s voice deep within my soul. I thought I could hear Him sometimes, but lies were creeping in, and I decided that either it was God’s voice, or it was a lie. I did not know whether it was God or Satan whispering into my mind. It was scary that I couldn’t discern which was which. I instantly remembered the verse “My sheep know my voice.” If I didn’t know God’s voice, then…

I cried to my parents, I poured over my Bible and cried out to God in my journal, but there was inevitably something in the way. Something I knew very well was a block in my path, but liked too much to remove.

In a desperate attempt to free myself, I listened to praise music, decided I needed to stop being legalistic, and was determined to be free and happy. I just wanted to live in joy of Christ, after all! All I want to do is live for Jesus!

Didn’t I?

A thin beam of freedom came through my dark box of sadness on a day I did not expect. I was sitting lazily in the car as we drove home from a recent college visit in California. My sister and I had just started listening to Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. It was turning out to be my favorite book in the series: Buckbeak the flying Hippogriff, Professor Lupin who was really a tormented, lonely werewolf in disguise, the new menacing dementors, Sirius Black, and Hermoine’s time-turner were elements that were fantastical and symbolic. I loved every word of it.

As I listened to Harry talk to Professor Lupin about his dementor complex, it made me think about my own predicament. Professor Lupin’s words were something that made me start thinking. Instead of quoting the book, which I tried to do, I will briefly explain Lupin’s lecture here.

He told Harry that being around a dementor was terrible because they sucked out all the happiness from you. They were cold, soulless beings who had no emotion, no sight, and no anything, really. If you were a immensely horrible person, you would get the “dementor’s kiss,” which is where your soul gets sucked out of you. Without your soul, there is nothing left for you to live for. There is no you.

It made me think of C.S. Lewis’s quote:

“We don’t have a soul. We are a soul. We happen to have a body.”

Instantly, I felt like my soul was slipping out of me. Myself was being drained from my body. My “self”—the self that is me. My identity. Me was leaving me. I was being drained and replaced with something all the more different.

Automatically, I knew what it was.

The hilarious irony of this grand story is the fact that Harry Potter was the dementor sucking the soul out of me. All I wanted to do was go to Hogwarts. I wore my Gryffindor scarf on cold days, I talked about Harry Potter at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I dreamt every night about being in a class with Snape or McGonnagal. It was horrifying.

After returning home, things began to change. Harry made me feel strange, and after asking Google a few questions about J.K. Rowling and such, I found my patronus! I decided that it was time for me to bid farewell to the world of Hogwarts. I got a bag and filled it with all my HP stuff. As sad as I was to see it all go, if this—this temporal, draining, sad stuff—was going to get in the way between me and Jesus, it had to go. I wanted my joy back. I did not want dementors sucking my identity out of me and filling it with nothing but empty stuff that’s all going to burn in the end.

I have missed Harry and friends a great deal. Ironically, we taught each other some great lessons, but in the end, I think I owe Harry both a hug for showing me the source of my bondage, and a smack on the nose (which would ultimately crack his circular glasses) for giving me such bondage.

After I closed the lid on our monstrous, green and very plastic garbage can, I felt like the sun was shining through those clouds and my heart started singing again. I felt like laughing, crying, singing, and dancing for joy. There was nothing that could take God’s love away from me. Nothing can ever steal my joy again, because I will not let it. Hogwarts failed to, and so will everything else. I started thinking.

I feel like the whole world is living in such a bondage. They’ve all got dementors hot on their trail, following them everywhere, and sucking people’s selves out of their bodies. Everyone has all got something that drains their joy, their energy, their vivacity for life, and in the end, their entire self has been murdered and is replaced with a horrific, lifeless figure who has no cause to live in the world.

I have started using the internet a little bit more for school, and some of the articles I get for my research projects are devastating. Sexual abuse is the media’s hot topic, pornography is ruining marriages (but is considered constitutional), the divorce rate is immensely high, North Korea wants to blow us up, racial tension divides our country, and millions of people are so tangled up in their strings that they do not know who to get out. They’ve all got dementors, and they do not know how to shoo them away.

They need the patronus of Jesus Christ.

Just speaking the name of Jesus Christ is even more powerful than “expecto patronum,” because it not only frightens away our dementors (like Harry’s patronus), but it destroys them, obliterates them, and reminds them that the devil is already defeated.

So, instead of listening to the Hermoine’s who tell you you’re only going to mess things up, go out there and yell the name of your Savior, your God, your King: Jesus Christ. Because you will save the day, you will bring light to others, and you will deliver yourself from bondage and freedom! So, I challenge you today, my lovely friends, to stand up and put off your bondage. Throw it off. Do not let it rule you anymore. You have so much to live for, and so much God has planned for you. Do not let a little dementor suck you dry just because you’re afraid to let it go. Ask God for that strength and courage to let go.

Maybe Harry and I will catch up one day, but I do not think that’ll happen. Besides, I kind of LOVE living my life dementor-free.

I love you, all!

Auf Wiedersehen,

Emily 🙂

P.S. Speak the words of Christ and speak your freedom with the power and authority that you have. Take Harry for example. For the love of gifs…

Expecto Patronum 😉

P.P.S. I have started work on my Rey costume for STAR WARS VIII! Yahoo! I am so excited. I made a few tweaks to my original design, but it is still going to be awesome. I will keep you all posted on it (once I get some nice pictures), and I’m going to work on it today after I finish waking up…even though it’s 2:00. heehee 😉

I’ll keep you updated on my German skills 😛

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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 🙂

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

Welcome, 2017!

Hey, everyone!

Happy New Year! I hope y’all had a beautiful Christmas-y season! I kept telling myself to write a Christmas/New Year post, but I was literally swept away with the tide and every time I got myself set to blog, something happened. I haven’t heard any news of what to blog about in my daily worships in the OLGMC (over-sized lime green moon chair), so I’m still waiting for a good topic. I know I’ve been MIA for a month, but I can tell the Lord’s cooking up something good to teach me, so sit tight. Also, the Legolas Cosplay Tutorial is just about finished being cooked up, so I’m excited! Getting ready for POTC in May, guys and I’m debating whether or not Beauty and the Beast is happening in March. I’ve got my fifteenth birthday next month on the thirteenth, so totally stoked! I’ll keep you guys posted, so stay tuned…God has got some good stuff he’s gonna divulge this year! Yippee-kai-yay (LOL, Mom)!

In Christ,

Emily 🙂

The Awe-Inspiring Book Tag

awe-inspiringbooktag2016

Hi, everyone!

I have created a book tag with some bookish questions. And bookish is a word in case you were wondering XD .

But, before we begin, I wanted to tell everyone about my new YouTube videos I uploaded to this blog on the post 2016 Summer and Lessons Learned. I actually uploaded the Lauren Daigle and Hillsong United videos to the post so be sure to watch those when you get a chance 🙂 . Ok, I’m done talking—here’s the questions:


Question #1. What is the current book/books you’re reading (or just finished reading)?

Answer:  The Gospel of Mark by Mark the Disciple of Jesus 🙂 , and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


to_kill_a_mockingbird

Question #2. Did you like this book/books? If so or if not, why?

Answer: I love both of these books! I’ve read the Gospel of Mark dozens of times, but the book always gives me joy to live for Christ and shine out his light to glorify his Kingdom! As for To Kill a Mockingbird, it is extremely realistic, gives the reader a feeling of “really being in Alabama alongside the characters”. Harper Lee is an incredible author; she’s extremely descriptive and I couldn’t put the book down after reading a chapter. It also gave me the gory realistic truth about segregation in the United States during the 30’s up until the 70’s. I never realized how difficult it used to be for blacks and even for the whites who stood with them until I read this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.


Question #3. Where do you most often go to read?

Answer: I like to sit up high in a tree sometimes to read (call me daring, I love it). Sometimes I’ll sit on my bed or I’d lay in the hammock before it broke mysteriously. I do most of my reading in my bed before I go to sleep, though.


Question #4. What is the best book (or books) you’ve read this year?

Answer: Ooh, that’s a tough one. To Kill a Mockingbird is definitely one of my favorites this year. I had a good time laughing over The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I also really enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle. It was a very brain-twisting book—it made me think, which was what I really enjoyed about it. All the riddles and hidden morals were wonderful!

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Question #5. If you could live inside the world of one book, which would it be?

Answer: That’s very easy: Lord of the Rings. I would want to be an elf, live in Mirkwood, and fight spiders and orcs till the sun goes down. I’m a LOTR Geek with an affinity for elvish-culture. 🙂


Question #6. What is your favorite book or book trilogy/saga/quintet/series?

Answer: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Narnia 🙂

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Question #7. What is your favorite reading genre?

Answer: Fantasy/Action/Adventure


Question #8. When were you first able to read fluently?

Answer: Four years old


Question #9. What was your favorite book as a child?

Answer: If Elephants Wore Pants by Henrietta Barkow 🙂 My parents would read this book to me and my little sister pretty much every night before bed when we were little. I still remember every single little detail of the story!

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This was my favorite book as a crazy four year old 🙂

↓ Funny Star Wars pun below ↓

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Haha, moving on…


Question #10. Who are some of your favorite book heroes?

Answer:  Eowyn for sure! She’s beautiful, strong, valiant, and a warrior. What more is there to say? May that speak for itself, right?

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Second would probably be Legolas or Aragorn.

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May that also speak for itself…ahem.

My third favorite hero is Maria from the book The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge:

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In the story, Maria is numerously thrown into danger and always bravely stands up to fight. I can’t give away the plot of the story, but it was one of my favorite fantasy/adventure novels. Elizabeth Goudge is a British author (LOVE IT!!!) with extremely artistic and stylistic techniques in her writing. I couldn’t put this book down and it’s a very good read! Just, keep a dictionary next to you during the first ten chapters. Otherwise, it was an amazing read. J.K. Rowling, Author of the Harry Potter books says, “I absolutely adored The Little White Horse…”

Anyway, back to Maria. She is brave, courageous, and never gives up even when all odds are against her. She was my favorite character in the entire novel.

I also love Scout and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Meg from A Wrinkle in Time


Question #11. Do you have any favorite book quotes?

Answer: Yes! I loved it in Narnia when Aslan says to Lucy, “You doubt your value, don’t run from who you are…”

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This quote is literally essential for girls going through puberty and hormonal stress! The world tells us we have to look like supermodels and actresses to look gorgeous, when really, that makes us doubt our value and makes us run from who we were really are. We run to change our image with makeup, and tons of other things I could get into. We run from who we were originally created to be, which takes our eyes off Christ and focuses our eyes on ourselves.

I love Gandalf’s quote:

“…All we can decide is what to do with the time that is given us…”

Also, I love Eowyn’s quote “…no living man am I…” from the book The Return of the King! Here’s the quote (some of the notes were taken from Wikipedia):

The Witch King declares, “I will bear you away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where your flesh shall be devoured, and your shriveled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.” The Witch-king further boasted that “No living man may hinder me,” referring to the 1,000-year-old prophecy by the Elf-lord Glorfindel, foretelling that the Witch-king would not fall “by the hand of man”. Éowyn then removed her helmet and declared:

“But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

– Eowyn, my other girly hero besides my mother 🙂

She totally deserves a gif for that – I know this gif is from the movie, but who cares, right? She’s still awesome and gorgeous.

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I also loves one of Aragorn’s quotes from the Lord of the Rings (I’m not sure which book, and he has a lot of quotes)!

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“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.” -Aragorn

For most of you who don’t know me, I’m a people-pleaser. That isn’t always bad, but the world won’t always be the nicest and you can’t always take their advice. Thus, when my “valiant” (haha) actions go unnoticed, even the little things, that doesn’t make them unworthy. They are still things God put in my heart to do, and God saw me, which is all that matters. God was pleased with me and he is praising me even when no one else is. That’s why I love this quote!

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The Time that is Given Us

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you not think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” 

– Matthew 26:52-53


“I don’t understand.”

Those three words either:

A. Make me want to hurl

or:

B. Make me want to cry 

   Sometimes I just don’t understand why things happen the way that they do. I often wish that I could grasp my predicament by the throat and demand cessation. Or simply say “no more” and my dilemma would cease haunting me.  

I want to believe that God works everything out for the good, and I want to believe that he has great plans for me, and I want to believe that my future is in his hands. But when circumstances “get hard”, those are the times it’s hard to know that those statements are true. It’s like my mom says:

“Real Faith in Christ is like this: you are a sponge. When times are wonderful, you soak up lots of concepts; whether good or bad, only you can say. But, when times become increasingly hard, you are squeezed, and whatever comes out is who you truly are.”

– The Amazing Mom Patty 🙂

Thus, the past few months I’ve learned this: My faith is defined by the hard moments. My story, my life, is defined by the trials and tears. If I didn’t go through the things I do and if I didn’t feel the feelings I feel, my life couldn’t be crafted and my faith couldn’t be refined. I think of Joseph:

Thrown into a well by his own brothers, sold into slavery by them, and accused of abusing his master’s wife, he was ultimately cast into prison for a crime he did not commit.

After many more turns of events, Joseph actually became second in command to Pharaoh! He ends his story by forgiving his brothers as they come to beg for food during a famine. He says:

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

– Joseph, from Genesis 50:20

Thus, I have learned:

Nothing in my life will go as splendidly as Christ has planned if I don’t experience some type of physical, mental, or spiritual pain.

Babies cannot be born without labor pangs. We cannot have a spring without a winter. There is no harvest if there is no cultivation. There is no endorphin that comes unless you look back and see all the perplexing trials and vexatious predicaments that God has put into your life to bring you “that far.”

This week what really made me understand was this: Jesus at Gethsemane

Judas, Jesus’ own disciple comes to betray him. How? With a kiss. He kisses Jesus, saying, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And Jesus, most likely saddened, says, “Friend, why have you come?” What blows my mind is that Jesus still calls him friend. As they bind Jesus, Peter swiftly pulls his sword out of it’s sheath and cuts off the ear of the servant of the High Priest. Jesus responds:

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you not think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” 

– Matthew 26:52-53

“How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen thus?” How could my life be fulfilled if I didn’t have to lose so many friends? How could God write my story if I decided I wouldn’t listen and let go of Instagram? How could Christ show me horses were my passion if I decided it was too scary to get back on after falling off? How could God show me His love for me if I had decided it was too hard to follow Him?

You see, the scary and laborious things in life are the things that shape our lives from child to adult. It reminds me of something that Gandalf said:

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I edited this picture myself on picmonkey hahaha XD

Frodo didn’t want the Ring. He hated the Ring, and he tells Gandalf his deep sorrow. Gandalf, (in his awesome Grandpa voice) tells Frodo that our situations are not for us to decide. Basically, we can’t pick and choose what trials and quests (love that word quests XD) we want in life. But, we can decide what to do with the time that God gives us.

One final note:

Three days ago, I was reading a passage of scripture in Matthew about Jesus on the cross.

As Jesus hung there, suffocating, breathing his last breaths, the crowd menacingly taunted him. “If you are the Son of God, save yourself! Look, He saved others, but now He cannot even save himself.”

Recently my folks and I put our home up for sale. We didn’t understand why our home wasn’t selling, and we felt taunted. That day, when I read that, I heard God tell me that those taunts we heard the enemy whisper (i.e. “why isn’t your house selling?”, “if God wants you to move, why hasn’t He sold your house?”), were just like the taunts Jesus received on the cross. But what happened three days later? Jesus rose. And God told me that in three days something awesome would happen with the sale of our home.

Today is the third day. Our house is being offered on.

I was ecstatic when Mom told me! God had made a promise to me, I believed it, and look what he’s done! The suspense was killing me, literally. Ok, maybe not literally, but mentally. XD

All I’m saying, people, is to hold on. Through the fire, the storm, the darkest night, or the coldest winter, God’s got something fantastic waiting on the other side.

Trials do hurt, they can sting, and tears sometimes come, but they are some of the greatest things you can endure! They’ve shaped me into who I am today, and I don’t really know what I’d do without ’em.

It’s like Gandalf said, we can’t decide what problems we want/can handle, but we can decide what to do with the time that God gives us.

All for now, folks!

Namárië,

Emily Greenleaf XD

P.S. Here’s a future cosplay…update…thing XD:

Pirates of the Caribbean Elizabeth Swann! I’m not the hugest Elizabeth fan – I mean, in my eyes she’s overrated. Plus she’s one of the biggest drama queens I’ve ever seen. I wanted to do a combo of Will, Elizabeth, and Jack, but that would take too much work {just kidding}. Anyway, I think her costume in The Dead Man’s Chest/At World’s End is a lot more…shall we say…conservative than her formal gownish contraption she wore in The Curse of the Black Pearl. However, I don’t have all negative things to say about Izz (as Jack calls her). Keira Knightley is downright gorgeous and her British accent is glamorous (and I say glamorous with halos and sparklies everywhere).

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This drawing was designed by yours truly and I hope it turns out well…ha…ha…ha XD. I hope to have it done by the time the new movie comes out next year (in July, I think).

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“Wha?” (and there’s the famous Keira Knightley nose flare…)

I love gifs.

Ahem.

Also, Disney is making a Beauty and the Beast movie that’s coming out in March of 2017! I’m not a huge fan of the original Disney Princess cartoons, but I love the actual films they’ve been making (Cinderella 2015, Maleficent 2014, and now Beauty and the Beast 2017)! Here’s the trailer:

So, I also designed a Belle cosplay for the movie in March! Here’s my design:

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Soak it up, people XD – and don’t make fun of Belle’s hands in my drawing. 🙂

Furthermore, there’s Rogue One coming out in December. I’m not super excited about it, but I am excited, so I’ll probably just go to the movies as Rey. I’m not saying Rogue One looks unscrupulous, but I’m not as excited for it as I would be for Star Wars Episode Eight. You feelin’ me?

By the way, what’s with Doctor Strange? I’m just not a fan – Tilda Swinton just looks intimidatingly creepy (with no hair and all), which makes me run away, so I won’t be doing any Doctor Strange cosplays any time soon. I loved Tilda Swinton in Narnia, but again, she was given an ultimately creepy role as Jadis.

Ok, last thing on cosplay: Legolas. I’m gettin’ there peeps…we’re moving, ya know? I hope to get the pictures done THIS MONTH SOMETIME before we move. So, with that being said, I will bid you adieu. Adios, amigos!

Ok, I’m done 🙂

Actually, here’s another poll. Ok, now I’m done.