I Will Praise Him Still

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"Why am I so depressed?  Why this turmoil within me?  
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God."

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In the Midst of Despair [A Prayer]

Have you ever had one of those down days?  Where you feel like everyone and everything is against you?  Even though you know God is on your side and He alone can give you the comfort you need, you still feel. . .alone.  It seems redundant, but still, it can happen. 

Thursday was a beautiful day.  I awoke to sun-filled clouds and a cool October morning.  Praise to my King who gives me breath! 

We had our second wood-fire of the season in the old fire-place, to ward off the chill.  Quiet time over breakfast, with my Bible turned to Psalm 37. "Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely.  Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desire.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday." (Ps. 37:3-6)

Working at the dance studio from 1:30pm to 3:45, taking inventory of costumes to be used for the Christmas recital.  Variety, ballet, and tap till 6:15pm, then it's back to work!  And home by 8pm, with a yummy Mexican rice dish that Julia made for dinner, and an episode of the A-Team to conclude the day!

Lying in bed, I'm overcome with worry for my future--gotta find a part-time job somewhere; the library is not hiring right now; where else can I try? in the meantime, how will I pay for this and that? what about this? etc. etc. 

Needless worry.  I know God is in control.  He holds my life in His hands, and I am eternally grateful, but sometimes life is overwhelming.  As a result, I composed this poem:

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Though I trust Your faithful will;
Though I praise You ever still,
In the dark of the night long,
My heart cries out this song:
Oh my God, hear my plea!
Rescue me from the driving sea!
When the world beats me down,
And in despair I seem to drown;
When my future is unclear,
And my worries always near;
Though Your voice whispers love--
My lack of faith, I'm ashamed of.
Though my heart is Yours to keep,
Why do I still cry myself to sleep?

Then, just this morning, guess what I read in my quiet time over a breakfast of pancakes and sausage?

Psalm 38, Prayer of a Suffering Sinner.

These are the verses that stood out to me:

"Lord, do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath. . . For my sins have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear. . .I am faint and severely crushed; I groan because of the anguish of my heart.  Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You.  My heart races, my strength leaves me, and even the light of my eyes has faded. . . [However] I put my hope in You, Lord; You will answer, Lord my God. . . Lord, do not abandon me; my God, do not be far from me.  Hurry to help me, Lord, my Savior."  
(Ps. 38:1,4,8-10, 21-22)

Wow.  Just how I felt. 

I don't mean to depress you!  This is just one way God shows me His love.  That in my darkest hours, He doesn't stop loving me!  His Word is there for comfort, reproof, and guidance.

Though He is silent, He is never far.  Though unseen, He always stands by your side.  And when He deems it necessary, He will carry you.  We are not alone!

This brings to mind a fiction trilogy I read a while back called, The Door Within.  Throughout the three books, the characters had a one liner that stood as their battle cry to give courage where courage was hard to find, comfort in the midst of despair, and peace when all seemed hopeless:  Never alone!

Worrying about the future is pointless and an absolute waste of time. 

If Christ is in me, what have I to fear?

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Excerpt from "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" [THE ROOM]

I don't know if I mentioned this or not in my review of Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but I wanted to share this excerpt with you from Chapter Seven: A Cleansed Past: The Room.

In this chapter Mr. Harris tells of a dream he had, a "particularly stirring one."  Please read this!  It will give you a whole new perspective on your thought life.

The Room

"In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.  There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.  They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.  But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.  As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read 'Girls I Have Liked.'  I opened it and began flipping through the cards.  I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. 
      And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.  This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.  Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
      A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents.  Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.  A file name 'Friends' was next to one marked 'Friends I Have Betrayed.'
      The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird.  'Books I Have Read,' 'Lies I Have Told,' 'Comfort I Have Given,' 'Jokes I Have Laughed At.'  Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: 'Things I Have Yelled at My Brothers.'  Others I couldn't laugh at: 'Thing I Have Done in Anger,' 'Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.'  I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.  Often there were many more cards than I expected.  Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.  
      I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.  Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards?  But each card confirmed this truth.  Each was written in my own handwriting.  Each signed with my signature.
      When I pulled out the file marked 'Songs I Have Listened To,' I realized the files grew to contain their contents.  The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file.  I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
      When I came to a file marked 'Lustful Thoughts,' I felt a chill run through my body.  I pulled the file out, only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card.  I shuddered at its detailed contents.  I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.  
      Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage.  One thought dominated my mind: 'No one must ever see these cards!  No one must ever see this room!  I have to destroy them!'  In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out.  Its size didn't matter now.  I had to empty it and burn the cards.  But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card.  I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when when I tried to tear it.
      Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.  Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.  And then I saw it.  The title bore 'People I Have Shared the Gospel With.'  The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused.  I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands.  I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
      And then the tears came.  I began to weep.  Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me.  I fell on my knees and cried.  I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all.  The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.  No one must ever, ever know of this room.  I must lock it up and hide the key. 
      But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.  No, please not Him.  Not here.  Oh, anyone but Jesus.
      I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards.  I couldn't bear to watch His response.  And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.  He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.  Why did He have to read every one?
      Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room.  He looked at me with pity in His eyes.  But this was a pity that didn't anger me.  I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.  He walked over and put His arm around me.  He could have said so many things.  But He didn't say a word.  He just cried with me. 
      Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.  Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.  
      'No!' I shouted, rushing to Him.  All I could find was to say was 'No, no,' as I pulled the card from Him.  His name shouldn't be on these cards.  But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.  The name of Jesus covered mine.  It was written with His blood.
      He gently took the card back.  He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the cards.  I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.  He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, 'It is finished.'
      I stood up, and He led me out of the room.  There was no lock on its door.  There were still cards left to be written."

Taken from I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris.
Published by Multnomah Books.  ©1997
Chapter Seven: A Cleansed Past: The Room.  Pages 104-107.

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Wow.  When I first read this, I nearly broke down and cried.  As I sat there reading this chapter again and typing it out for you to see, I kept thinking, "What if, for every thought I had, I had to, unwillingly, write it down--be it happy, lustful, sad, or angry.  If I sat down--in reality, mind you, not a dream--and wrote down every single thought in every moment from here on, I would be just as ashamed as Mr. Harris was in his dream.  My family would see them, my friends would read them."  

To me, this blows my thought life out of the water.  Constantly, I must seek forgiveness for the thoughts I think, not merely the words I speak.  

". . .We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ."
[2 Corinthians 10:4-5, emphasis added]

"I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
[Matthew 12:36-37]

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Drama Update! [w/ link to Behind-the-Scenes]

The first weekend of shows has passed!  

All went rather smoothly, with only a few minor glitches.  More importantly, 15 precious souls were saved! and 48 others rededicated their lives to our King.  All praise to Him!

On the 3Maidens blog, you can see a load of pics I've posted with behind-the-scenes shots of the pre-production leading up to the first show.  Click here!

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Snippets [September-October]

I've wanted to do another Snippets post for quite a while.  It's been so long!  

Here are a few (in no particular order) from some modern concept stories of mine.  Plus a couple from Safia.

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      "Hang in there, bambino.  The truth will be revealed.  Secrets have a cost, and his time is running out."
--Tony Palladino (Chess' father), CHESS 

      "You think so?"  A movement caught her eye.  "Hey, I gotta go.  See you after school!  Love you, Papa."
      "Love you more!"  The connection ended, and Chess looked up, catching Ben's eye.  How long had he been standing there?
--CHESS

      "I--" she hesitated.  "I was found on the front steps of Caroway Orphanage," she paused and chuckled dryly. "Sounds like a fairytale or a movie, doesn't it?  You read about it happening in stories or watch it in a film, but never think about it as a reality. . . She found me on the brick steps wrapped in nothing but an old pink sweater.  And a note that said one word: Nanami."
--NANAMI 

      "I had just been rejected by a family I thought might finally take me.  I was wrong.  All hope of adoption disappeared.  My thirteenth birthday was that next month, and all the kids knew once you reached the teens you could 'say goodbye to family dreams.'  When I found out even they didn't want me, I ran to my room, planning to cry my eyes out, wishing I would die from the tears and melt away like the witch in Oz."
--NANAMI

      "Jack.  Wake up, ol' chap.  Ja-ack."  Edmund turned to Kyndi and winked, glad to see a smile in return.  In one fluid movement, he grabbed a pillow and tossed it point blank into his friend's snoring face.  With a sound that was something between a snort and a grunt, the burly man awoke instantly and sat up, shaking his head.  Kyndi laughed, but it faded at the sight of the long knife in his right hand.  Once again, she was reminded of their sensitive situation.  Still, it felt good to laugh after the previous day's tension.  She appreciated the lighthearted play at a time like this.
      "Come on, Teddy Bear.  It's time to go." 
      Jack looked at the two of them and rubbed his face.  "Ah, Ed.  I should 'ave known.  Only you would attack a poor chap with a bloody pillow as he lay sleeping." He growled, running a hand over his face.
      Grinning, Edmund stood. "Come on, Mr. Brandt.  Gotta find a new home.  They can't be far behind."
      "Already?" He shook his head, willing the grogginess of sleep away, but froze suddenly and glared quizzically at Edmund.  "Wait.  Did you call me Teddy Bear?"  
      Edmund nearly laughed at the look on his friend's face.  Pushing away the threatening grin, he replied, "Well, yeah."
      "Teddy Bear, my--"
      "Now, Jack.  There's a lady present."  
      In response, Brandt threw the pillow at him.
--KYNDI

      "He could return."
      "He won't.  This was a mistake.  He is not--his type is not such the fool that he will try the same thing twice."  She avoided his eyes, fearing he would see right through her.  The tremors had stopped, for now.  But she knew sleep would evade her the rest of the night. 
      "How are you so sure?"  
      She hesitated.  Should she tell him?  That she actually knew the man.  At least by sight, if not by word.
      An Ishadi Aznadhin.  
      A Hunter.
--SAFIA

      "You will never know the true power of Fear until you have been one of his prisoners."
--SAFIA

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Ok, I know.  That was barely enough to even become interested.  But writing on my end has been kind of slow.  Hopefully, that will change after the drama.  =] 

Thanks for reading!

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What's in a Name?

Leif
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Pronunciation:  LAYF

Meaning & History
From the Old Norse name Leifr, meaning "descendant, heir."  A famous bearer of this name was Leif Erikson, son of Erik the Red, a Norse explorer who reached America in the early 11th century -- five hundred years before Columbus.


Elam
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Biblical
Pronunciation:  EE-lǝm (English)

Meaning & History
Unknown meaning.  This was the given name of several people in the Old Testament, including a son of Shem, a son of Noah, who was the ancestor of the Elamites.







Arden
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  AHR-den

Meaning & History
An English surname, originally taken from various place names, and derived from a Celtic word meaning "high."

Leah's character.  =]





Doran
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Irish
Pronunciation:  do-RAHN, dor-EHN

Meaning & History
From an Irish surname derived from Ó Deoradháin, meaning "a descendant of Deoradháin."  The name Deoradháin means "exile" or "wanderer" in Gaelic.










Names via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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Happy Sunday!

Hello, friends!  Happy Sunday!

Please forgive me for the lack of posts.  My inactivity on the blog is due to my church's drama, in which my sisters and I perform our version of interpretive dance.  Our dear daddy portrays the Holy Spirit, with his awesome bass voice, and our knightly brother is an important member of the backstage crew.

Our first performance is this weekend!  I cannot believe it.  It seems to have come so fast.  

If you would be so kind as to remember myself, my family, and my church in your prayers, I would be indebted to you!  This is a huge outreach opportunity for us to spread the love of Christ to our community and state.  We are so excited!  So far, the number of reservations has reached nearly 2300.  With one week to go!


If you are interested in attending, see this post or click here to get online reservations.

Many thanks to you, dear readers!

Have a blessed day!


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What's in a Name?

As per request, here are some Elvish names.  These, and more, can be found on the site arwen-undomiel.com.  I may do another Elvish post, with Medieval next in line.  =]

Aranel
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  ARE-ahn-nell

Meaning & History
Elvish form of Sarah, meaning "princess."









Morohtar
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  MORE-oh-tahr

Meaning & History
Elvish form of Donovan, meaning "dark warrior."











Eleniel
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  ehl-LEE-nee-ell

Meaning & History
Elvish form of Esther, Persian name for "star."






Calanon
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  KAHL-ah-non

Meaning & History
Elvish form of Aaron, meaning "high mountain" or "exalted."










Names from arwen-undomiel.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

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Character Profile [Safia]

Because these posts are profiles of characters in my WIP, Safia, I only thought it fitting to share the info of the main character, for whom the story is titled.  =]

Safia Leifson
age:  17
height:  5'4"
weight:  118 lbs
eye color:  deep blue
hair color:  jet black
home country(ies):  Charan & Norska

Heritage:
Only daughter of Norskan father, Gunnar Leifson, and Charian mother, Faina Rouseau.

Personality:
Reserved.  Quiet.  Most like her mother in appearance--dark hair, petite build, slender form.  However, the blue eyes come from her father.  Compassionate, gentle; but at times displays her father's fiery temperament.  Aggressive when afraid.  Stubborn.  Independent.  Yet fully dependent.  (Does that make sense?)


Worst Fear:
The Ocean.  Though, ironically, that is the one place she feels she belongs--on a ship on the open sea.  This fear comes from the tragic loss of her mother, who drowned nearly eight years before off the coast of their beautiful beach cottage.

Personal Quote:
"You will never know the true power of Fear until you have been one of his prisoners."

Role in Safia:
Well.  The story is about her.  =]  She traveled the world, to the far corners of Everon and beyond, with her father and his crew on the merchant ship, Lady of Leif.  Fluent in numerous languages, because of the extensive travel, Safia is a bright, intelligent girl; beautiful, though extremely reserved.  Her trust is not so easily earned, as Rydan, crown prince of Gondoa, and his companions soon learn.
Ambushed on open waters, a great battle ensues.  Only Safia survives, as explosions after explosions send both ships down to the Deep.  Rescued by a royal ship of Gondoa, who is escorting the prince back home after a lengthy ambassadorial trip to allied countries, Safia comes into the care and protection of the men of the Victory's Crown.  With the help of Rydan, she journeys to Charan in search of her mother's family (the last wish of her father), and takes comfort in a valuable medallion given to her by her father, eventually learning to surrender her grief to the God she had abandoned long ago.

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Portrait courtesy of Julia!  Though she seems slightly older than I imagine Safia, I love the realistic look!  Her dress is based on this pic.

Thanks for reading!

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A Word, Guv'na?

boondoggle
Dictionary App (for iPhone)
noun  1.  a product of simple manual skill, as a plaited leather cord for the neck or a knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.  2.  work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.  3.  a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.  (emphasis added)

a.k.a.  OBAMACARE.


But we won't go into that.

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