Sunday, November 15, 2015

Be Strong and Courageous...

My heart has been heavy since Friday night, weeping for our world and the horrors it holds. I cry with Paris all the while trying not to give in to fear, trying not to give in to hate... I hear the echo of ISIS in my head saying, "this is just the beginning of the storm" and I feel panic creeping in. 

"Be strong and courageous..." My Lord says.

"How?" I whisper. 

Social media ignited as people shared their own thoughts on the terrorist attacks in Paris. Some sending prayers, a few questioning the hearts of those who would kill without mercy, many angry and using this crisis to support one political stance or another... It's overwhelming hearing all these thoughts, and finding no comfort or peace in them I turn off my computer feeling more depressed then before. What was I hoping to find on Facebook anyway? Am I really surprised that both the right and the left are angrily using this tragedy as a means to further their political agenda? Am I really surprised that there is a cry for the blood of our enemies? 

No, I guess I'm not. 

And part of me wants to rally with them and cry out for war against these violent men, this ISIS... Kill them before they kill us! 

The other part of me is sad and weary and something about this cry for blood doesn't feel right... 

I've been thinking a lot recently about our rights. It's a hot topic these days. Everyone everywhere is all about their rights. It's been all consuming and I'm fearful that my rights are being taken away and given to others who could care less about my rights or whether I have them. It's so easy to give in to fear or anger, it's so easy cry out at the injustice. But then I hear this still small voice telling me to "Be still" and reminding me that something far bigger then me is at work. Maybe, just maybe God is wanting me to stop demanding my rights? Maybe he wants a faithful servant who seeks after her God first, letting go of these rights and trusting them to Him instead? 

This flies in the face of my Americanism... My ancestors laid down their lives so that I could live free! And you're asking me, God, to lay down those, rights? What if I don't get them back? What if no one else will fight for my rights once I lay them down? 

"Be still and know that I am God..." And "Be strong and courageous!" Is His response.

And then I think of Jesus. How "he was lead like a lamb to the slaughter and yet he opened not his mouth..." He never demanded his rights. He never even demanded justice... Some of His last words were ones of mercy and forgiveness. "Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they do." Jesus had every right to demand justice, but He knew that if He did He'd condemn all His people to death and hell. Why? Because we all deserve death and hell! Not one of us is worthy of the love and mercy of our holy God, so the very last thing we should want from Him is justice! Jesus gave up all His rights as God to give me the right to be a child of God.

Likewise Paul never demanded his rights as a roman citizen. He reminded people of his rights and used them to further his mission when he could, but when his chains came he accepted them meekly. He didn't cry at the injustice. He never railed against the government. His cause was never his rights, it was furthering the gospel whether in chains or no. And he was willing to lay down his rights if demanding them distracted from sharing the good news of the gospel. 

This is the heart of the gospel, that the son of God came to seek and save the lost. 

And He did this not to be served, but to serve. 

In a culture that's all about me and my rights, it takes a tremendous amount of courage and humility to be a servant and lay down my rights... But I want to be selfless like my Savior. I want to be like Him more then I want my rights. 

What a scary thing to say...

So what, you ask? Why this bunny trail about rights when you were talking about ISIS and the attacks on Paris?

It's simple really. Laying down my rights have everything to do with how I should face ISIS. I told you this call for blood was bothering me, especially this cry for Christians to rise up and start a second crusade... I believe Christianity now more then ever needs to look different from radical Islam because IT IS vastly different from radical Islam. We spout a God-given right to purge the earth of evil men which sounds an awful lot like their cry of "kill the infidels!" The problem is I don't see that God-given right from scripture... We were told to be salt and light, to go into the world and make disciples, to share the good news of the gospel, and to be faithful to the word and to Christ. Likewise Jesus told us to turn the other cheek and take care of the widows and orphans... Where does it say that we are to purge the earth of evil men? 

"'Vengeance is mine,' declares the Lord, 'I will repay.'" 

What draws people to join ISIS? I believe it's the ideology behind what they do that moves people to join their cause, which has nothing to do with becoming a Muslim. My husband put it this way, "people are drawn to this idea that they have the right to savagely kill anyone who disagrees with them. That's what pulls people to join them. It has nothing to do with a desire to pray to Mecca five times a day." Of course it helps that Islam allows for this destruction of all infidels, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about what is drawing others who could care less about Allah. They want the freedom not only to demand their rights, but also to kill anyone who disagrees! It's this same ideology that threatens Christianity. It would be so so easy to do the same thing, but we are told to take care of the sick, the needy, the fatherless.  WE the church, not the government and certainly not these government programs. I believe Christ wants us so busy taking care of and ministering to others that there is no time or room for a bloodlust that says God gave us the right to kill those who disagree with us. 

I'm not saying we shouldn't try to protect ourselves and those we love. I'm not even saying that there shouldn't be a war, but I am saying that Christians raising up an army as a second crusade isn't the answer. It buys into the same ideology that drives ISIS. Scripture is clear, as believers our passion should be for their salvation, not their destruction. 

Jesus said to love my enemy, if for no other reason then I cannot hope to pray for my enemy if I hate him. And my enemy needs Jesus so so much! I also know now that demanding my rights does not help me love my enemy, in fact it makes me hate him more. It makes me fearful and resentful and pretty soon I have no pity for him or his need for Christ. The minute that happens I've lost sight of the power of the gospel. I've elevated myself above every other sinner and have set myself up as god. 

I can be a good citizen who does what she can with the rights she still has without making my rights my cause. I can be faithful and trust God with them because no one can ever take away the most important right I have. It's the right that Jesus gave me: to be a child of God! In scripture this is really the only God-given right I have! All other rights are granted by our culture, they are subject to change by our government. But we live in obedience to Christ regardless. 

The Apostles lived in a very corrupt culture too. They faced terrible persecution but they didn't call for an uprising to overthrow the government, they didn't attack the violent men around them. Instead they were good citizens, doing what they could with the rights they had to further the gospel until the day they died. THIS is what Christianty should look like! THIS is hard core unashamed uncompromising passion for God and the lost who need Him so badly. THIS is not pushover Christianty, THIS is loving your enemies so much that you'd be willing to die so that they can know Christ. ISIS would never ever do that, but Christians have to stand for something else. Something other then violence. 

Are you willing to die so that those in ISIS could come to know Christ?

When I asked myself that question my answer was a resounding no. Of course I don't want to lay down my life for someone who would blow up a room full of people. 

But what if my answer was yes? What if every Christian could say yes to that question? What a testimony, what a contrast to what ISIS does, what a boat load of burning coal on our enemy's head! What an astounding thing it is to love your enemies when all the rest of the world cries out for blood. Can I say it, can I say if there has to be blood let it be mine? 

"Be strong and courageous" He whispers to me...

I can't. I'm unwilling...Lord forgive my unbelief! I want to want to be willing... I can at least try to pray for that.. It's a start.

Friday, April 3, 2015

My Novel!! :)

My novel, Unraveling Glenmore is officially published and released! :) It is available now in ebook format on for $2.99. A physical print copy should be available as early as next week for the retail price of $8.49. I'll let you know details when I do!

Happy Reading! :)

ebook Version, available now on!

Printed version, coming soon! :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Call for Wisdom... 50 Shades of Poison...

I'm wide awake and have a lot on my mind again. I know, it's been over a year since my last blog post so apparently my mind has been pretty light the last year or so. Or maybe I've just found other outlets besides writing on my random page on the internet. Either way, here I am to take up the quill again.

A good friend of the family posted a link on Facebook to an article about the latest craze of the day: Fifty Shades of Grey. The article was excellent, well written, and thoroughly researched. The author of the article is a Psychiatrist and it was her letter to young people warning them about the dangerous themes and lessons found in the books and movie.

Admittedly I have not, nor do I intend, to read the books or watch the movie. But, as you saw with my review on the Twilight Saga, I like to be educated before I offer my opinion. With these particular books though, I will not read them. Maybe this is a double standard, since that is the reason I read Twilight, and if it is then I am sorry. I'm not sorry for deciding not to read 50 Shades..., rather I am sorry for thinking earlier it was okay to read something I wouldn't otherwise read just so others would listen to my opinion. I fell into the trap of thinking if I read them, no one could then say to me "Your opinion doesn't matter. You're letting others judge the book for you, instead of thinking for yourself."

Well, tonight I want to apologize for doing that with Twilight last year. It's ludicrous to think that only those who actually read and/or watch something have the right to judge it as either good or evil. Where does wisdom and discernment come in if everything has to be experienced first-hand first? There are things we can know, things we can discern without having to subject our minds and hearts to things that are dangerous. And in our age of technology there are certainly countless ways to make an educated decision about 50 Shades of Grey without actually having to read it. Sure, there will be those out there that point their fingers and say, "You didn't read it, how would you know?" or "Oh look, another prude spouting off their mouth instead of shutting up and actually reading the book for a change" but frankly if that's their best comeback against well researched arguments and warnings against the movie/book, then I say "win! And thanks for proving my point!"

Honestly, that is the best and only argument fans of the book can say against some of these well researched articles. (At least that I was able to find.) After reading the above mentioned article by the Psychiatrist, I found links to more articles written about Fifty Shades of Grey. These articles were all over the place. I read some that were pro (and I have to say that most articles written by fans had more to do with how the books "changed their life in a positive way" then an actual review on the book itself), some that were neutral (these were hard to read as well because frankly it's nearly impossible to take a neutral stance on these books), and of course some that were anti.

Overwhelmingly, the anti articles were the best researched. Many were written by medical professionals, psychiatrist, and Doctors. Some were written by single mothers, some by single fathers. Some by married parents. Some by Christians, some with no apparent religious preference. There was one that actually gave 50 different examples of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse within the story.... Compare these kinds of reviews to the articles written by those who loved the story, and I was floored. The pro articles consisted of rants about feeling judged for liking the books, and how Christian Grey (the so called "hero" of the story) is every girl's dream. After all, he's rich and handsome and he's just misunderstood.... sob, sob, sob. Not a single pro article gave good, well thought out, proof-from-the-text arguments for why the story was an amazing love story. Most were defensive and often fired offensive cracks against those who didn't like the stories. The lack of evidence that there is anything redeeming about the story at all made me feel sick to my stomach. Not because I wanted the story to be "misunderstood" or "misjudged", rather because billions of people all over the world read it and think it's a great story DESPITE the lack of evidence.

ALL of the anti articles rang loud and clear and were unified in their opinion that 50 Shades of Grey should be avoided. Their conclusion: It's a story about an emotionally, psychologically, and physically abusive relationship. There is an outcry from professionals who have read the books and say so, but there is also an outcry from women and men who say the same thing. But if that were all it was then why are so many people up in arms? Surely there are lots of books out there that depict an abusive relationship?

I'll tell you why, it's because 50 Shades of Grey has successfully made abuse look sexy and enjoyable, with a side message that if it isn't then it should be. THAT is the message of the book and why there is an outcry. It's one thing to write a story about an abusive relationship, but it's completely another to glorify that relationship and make it look desirable. Beyond all the other moral reasons for not reading the story (and believe me those aren't just minor things either) the fact that the story glorifies violence on every level should be reason enough to stay away. Why would we want women, men, boys, girls, or our society thinking those things are okay? In the world of 50 Shades of Grey it's not just okay, it's apparently the height of romantic love. Whatever happened to love being gentle? Kind? Patient? Not delighting in pain? Not seeking its own? Isn't that the kind of love we should be desiring? Not the kind that seeks to inflict pain on every level... 

And yet, this story has women all over the world lusting after the fictional Christian Grey? A man who cares about nothing but himself, who is manipulative, possessive, and abusive? Oh what a sick and sadistic world we live in that men like him should be the ultimate fantasy. And what of Ana? Alone, insecure, isolated from her friends and family, innocent in every way until Mr. Grey comes along, easily manipulated, made to think there is something wrong with HER instead of HIM? Somehow being like her is the epitome of womanhood?

Friends, the more I read about 50 Shades of Grey the more disheartened I become. I don't have to read the story to recognize a cycle of abuse. I have been there, trapped in emotional and psychological termoil with a young man I knew from college. I know the desire to run, the need to stay, and yes, even the trap of thinking I could somehow change him. It's a vicious scary situation that thankfully I got out of--mainly because of the love and support of friends and family. I was one of the lucky ones. My relationship only lasted a year and half, but there are women who are stuck in it for decades. Some never get out. To earn the truth, most abusive relationships end with someone dead and the other in prison. It's not a happy thing, and it's not something to romanticize.

The warning signs are everywhere. You don't have to know first-hand the cycle of abuse to see them. There are people all over the Internet, all over the world beseeching us to listen to their warnings. If you don't believe me, then believe the others out there who are rising up against this story and saying, "No, this is not something I want to be thinking on, engaging in. This is not something to encourage, this is NOT love, this is something that needs to die." Do some research, think long and hard about the books you are allowing into your home. Ideas can be dangerous and we shouldn't be allowing ones like this any kind of foothold. Please, exercise wisdom and discernment and recognize the warning signs for what they are. 50 Shades of Grey is toxic, there are professionals out there who agree. The warning signs are everywhere, even within the story itself. But I beg you, don't look there to find them. Look to friends and family who love you, and believe their wisdom. Look to the experience of those who have actually lived through something like 50 Shades of Grey and trust them more then anyone who says they read the book and loved it... a sure sign they missed the warning signs themselves. Why trust their opinion when they can't see it either?

And finally, pray for our society and our culture... pray that God will give us eyes to see and ears to hear so that we can turn away from stories that glorify violence. Pray that we will turn back to God and glorify Him, for He is praiseworthy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Hello! Well, it's late and I'm blogging once again, but tonight I'm feeling more subdued than silly. I've had a lot on my mind tonight--very weighty thoughts about the world, and the errors that wrong thinking can lead one to. Usually when I get into these kind of moods I can't sleep until I've gotten them off my chest somehow, and since it's far too late to talk directly to a friend I'll have to settle for a rant. 

Life can be so hard, and sometimes I think it'd be all too easy for me to become paralyzed by fear. I'm thinking watching the TV show Jericho with Josh wasn't the best idea right before bed this evening. It's a show about a post apocalyptic world and begins with the bombing of multiple U.S cities. Jericho is a small town in Kansas that becomes shut off from the rest of the country and the show depicts their struggle for survival after the fallout from the bombs.  More then that though, the show dives into several different themes. Themes like mans true nature, the survival of the fittest, kill or be killed, you can't trust anyone, neighbors turning on neighbors, and without a government we can make our own rules. That's just to name a few. The show is well made and sucks the viewer right into the drama. It is also very stressful to watch and, in a word, depressing. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. It truly is a show that points not only to the total depravity of man, but also to the most desperate need every human has: hope. 

I think this is true not just in shows like this though. Everyone everywhere has something or someone they place their hope in. In fact all cults, all religions, all ideas are centered on a hope of some kind. It doesn't matter if it's as big as politics or as small as wanting to eat ice-cream, everyone single human being understands hope. And everyone needs hope. It's those who think they've lost all hope that tend to end their lives themselves. Homestly without hope the ugliness of this world can seem pretty overwhelming. It's on this fundamental level I believe all humans can relate to one another, and I think it's pivotal. 

Where then should our hope lie? 

I've thought about this all night, and of course my answer is going to sound cliche. After all I'm a Christian, so of course I'm going to say our hope belongs in Jesus Christ. But I don't want that to be a cliche. I don't want those who don't know Christ to be immediately turned off by my answer. I say it not because I've been taught to say it, but because it's truth. And because I know how desperately the world needs hope: true hope, a LIVING hope.

In a world like Jericho where the hope of Christ is not presented in any way, I see people grasping at straws. I see people loosing compassion for fellow men and women around them, I see people denying reality, I see people reacting with fear, becoming subject to their own selfish impulses, and putting their needs above all others. I see mans depravity with all the shackles off, all restraints gone. And what I see terrifies me because it's a world very much like our own.

Wait a minute, I say to myself, why are you afraid? 

Because the potential evil of man is scary, I respond. 

But Jericho is a fictional story, and you're forgetting something, I argue back....

Then it hits me. No matter how similar Jericho is to the real world there is one major difference: Christ! We have Christ, sent to us by a loving Father, sealed to those believe in him by the Holy Spirit. It is He who makes all the difference. He may not ever come up in the fictional story of Jericho, but not so here and I praise God that we are never so hopeless as Jericho's portrayal of the world. God has not left us alone, but has intervened for us, despite us, so we can have hope. 

Hope in what? Hope that this world isn't all there is for starters. Hope that by the grace and work of Chrsit we can begin to say no to our sinful nature and NOT EVER forget about things like love and compassion-- even if, God forbid, there is a nuclear fallout. Hope that we too can become like Christ and see God face-to-face. Hope that we, like this world and all it's falleness, are not left to our own devices and ultimate destruction, but can come before the throne of grace and find forgiveness there. Hope that our inheritance is heaven--an eternity with God--where sin, tears, suffering, ect. will be no more. And finally, as though the afore mentioned hopes weren't enough, hope that God will give us the strength to finish the race here on earth well, so that we can stand before him and hear him say, "well done, good and faithful servant." 

It's this hope that I want to represent to the world. I've been called to be His salt, His light, and His hope bearer. So you see I can't curl up in a ball and hide away in fear. How can I proclaim boldy my hope one minute and then run and hide the next? The world so badly needs hope, and here I am, one of many, who knows where the only true hope can be found. It's not just one hope among many, it is THE ONLY hope. This is why I can't let myself be paralyzed by fear. God does not want me to hide His hope from the world. I've been called to be faithful, no matter the circumstance. And in the end may God's glorious hope shine from me, so that those seeking hope will find a LIVING hope in Jesus Christ! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Random Thoughts and Sleep-ball! :-)

Well I've failed again. Not that I really have to tell you that! :-/ Obvious! 

I just finished watching the premiere to the third series of Sherlock--the new BBC version. It was fantastic! I won't say anything else because I don't want to be a spoiler, BUT I will say if you haven't seen it you should. The first two seasons are on Netflicks Instant play. . . Go catch up so we can discuss! :-) . . . I can only assume that if you are still reading it's because you've already seen Sherlock. Why else would you still be here? :-) I may be an epic failure when it comes to blogging regularly, but I'm rarely wrong when it comes to good TV shows. 

You'll be glad to know I haven't completely failed in everything I said I would do. I did finish editing my novel, and even have a few queries sent out! 1 out of 5 isn't bad, right? 

Oh, I made up a new game today! It's definitely brilliant, and perfect if you're tired (quite literally) of football! (Which I am! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy-ish football as well as any girl like me could, but the playoffs are sooooooo stressful!) Anywho, the game is called "Sleep-ball" and the rules are super simple and easy! Anyone can play! 

Game Set-Up and Game-Play:
1) You wait for the football game to start--any football game will work, but the only one left is the Super Bowl. (Disclaimer: If you enjoy watching the Super Bowl commercials you may want to hold off trying to play Sleep-ball until next season.) 
2) You must challenge yourself to a nap. NOT just any nap, it must last as long as possible through the football game, BUT YOU MUST WAKE UP BEFORE THE FOOTBALL GAME ACTUALLY ENDS! 
3) Once said challenge and terms are defined you curl up with a blankie, pillow, and your pet of choice, and fall asleep. (Note: You must actually be asleep or you're disqualified!) 

Wake up Before half-time = you lose! 
Wake up After half-time but before 4th Quarter= 50 points
Wake up sometime within 4th Quarter = 100 points
Wake up for 2 min warning of 4th Quarter = 150 points and you win! :-) 
Wake up After game ends = you lose! 

I tried Sleep-ball out this afternoon and I won 100 points just for napping during the football game! :-) What a lovely way to wake up, right? Of course now it's nearly 1:00 am, and I'm wired and writing a blog-post. . . So I guess I should list some possible side-effects from playing Sleep-ball. 

Ahem. . . Side-effects could include the following: Sleeplessness, overt silliness, disorientation, sudden aversion to bright lights, the occasional giggle fest (yes, this applies to men too), stomach aches (which is really more a side-effect from the afore mentioned giggle fests), a sudden desire to eat ice-cream and chocolate (preferably together), strange but brief feelings of paranoia (because naturally you've been up too late and are now on a sugar high), rapid heart rate (obviously from the paranoia), and death. (The last in unconfirmed, but I have to mention it just in case!) :-) 

There you have it, "Sleep-Ball" in all it's glory! Way the risks and ask your doctor if "Sleep-ball" is right for you! 

My picture for today: (I know I'm way way way behind, but shhhhhh I'm trying to pretend I'm not!) 

Have a wonderful pleasant night! Thanks for reading and sleep sweetly! 
:-) Leah 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 4th Picture!

Today I'm thankful for the love of my life! :-) So privileged to walk this journey of life with him. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

It's The Little Things...

Three days into the new year and already I've fallen behind in my New Years resolutions! Sad but predictable really. I made the usual ones of course: get into shape, change my diet, write more, etc. But alas, so far I've written nothing (obviously), I had some chocolate after lunch today, and so far I haven't exercised with the exception of walking my dog Arti. 

I am resolved to do better. Not just on my obvious resolutions. I want to play the piano and tin whistle more. I want to post a picture a day of something I'm thankful for (I read another blog with this idea and I think it's wonderful! I figure I'm only three days behind, but I can post three today and be all caught up!) And most of all I want to blog and write more. I'm blessed to have published one children's book so far, but I have so many more stories rolling around in my head begging to be written down. Two years ago I made a news years resolution to write three pages a day and by April of that year I completed the first draft of my debut novel. Currently I am on the final draft and then off it goes to the publishers! There is no reason why I can't be that resolved again. So here you go, my top three news years resolutions:

1) Post a picture a day
2) Update my blog at least twice a week
3) Write one new children's story a week (I'm working on a children's series!) and finish the final draft of my novel! 

Picture(s) of the day:

My dog Arti :-) 

I love coffee, humor, and NOT waking up too early! 

Tremendously thankful for my little family! 

:-) Leah