Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Love: A Study on 1 Corinthians 13, Day 3

Love is…kind ~1 Corinthians 13:4

This seems like a no-brainer. Of course love is kind! If it was mean, it wouldn’t be quite so popular. Fortunately for us, this can be obtained the same way patience is. The thing is, we like to believe ourselves generally to be kind people, so we don’t think we need help in this area. Well, after some reflection, we might find that we’re not as kind as we think we are.
I am “kind” to people’s faces, but I tend to be not so kind behind their backs. I claim that I don’t gossip, but there are times when I am in a pissy mood that I am downright cruel to my friends and to people who don’t deserve it. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m not even kind to these people’s faces. You see, I am fluent in sarcasm. It usually comes out before I think about it and immediately want to bite my tongue. You see, sarcasm is rarely used out of good will or kindness.
Our words are our most powerful weapon. Remember that phrase we used as children when people called us names? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” What a load of crap! No matter how many times we say that to ourselves, the names still hurt. Who hasn’t been hurt by words or used words to hurt others? The guys in the Bible knew that the tongue held some true power, and they warn us time and time again to use it cautiously. “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10).
This is harder than it sounds. “No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). So, if this is so impossible, than how do we fix it? Well, we can’t—not on our own, at least. This is another job for our dear friend, Mr. Holy Spirit. Remember those fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness..? What do we need to do? That’s right, abide in Christ, and we won’t immediately be the kindest people in the world, but it will gradually become easier for us to be. The more time we spend with God, the better we’ll get. We just have to make the effort.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Love: a study on 1 Corinthians 13, Day 2

Love is patient… ~1 Corinthians 13:4

            “Love is patient.” We’ve heard this verse so many times, that we rarely stop and think about what it’s actually saying. I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty impatient person. Someone tells me to be patient, and I roll my eyes. I’ve always been about five steps ahead of myself, doing the “why-must-I-wait?” dance, hoping that I could grow up sooner, get married quickly, get out of school and start living my life already. This carries into my relationships.
First of all, I cannot stand waiting on God. I’m continually asking, “Why can’t my timing be Your timing?” Who do I think I am? I know I’m not smarter or wiser than God, so why I do I pretend to be? Part of it is our fallen nature. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a control-freak. That’s part of my selfishness coming through. Whoever said “the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8), knew what he was talking about. And, well, remember that one angel, Lucifer, who thought he could commandeer the universe? It turns out he’s got a little bone to pick with God, and he’s trying his damnedest to take down God’s people and feed us a little bit of his own medicine. So, don’t worry, impatience, even with God, is not uncommon.
If I’m impatient with a perfect God, I’m certainly impatient with imperfect people—other drivers on the road, significant others, friends, authority, the world in general. I don’t like to be late. I also get impatient when I see a problem in the world and a simple solution and somehow they don’t meet immediately. It’s frustrating.  If I’m supposed to love my neighbor, I have a feeling I might be missing something.
Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. The implication is that if one receives the Holy Spirit, a natural product would be patience. Sounds too easy, right? There’s got to be a catch. Well, truthfully, so many people assume that the Holy Spirit dwells with them because they said a prayer once to accept Christ as their Savior. That’s wonderful, but it’s only the beginning.
“Ah, here’s the catch,” you say. It’s not so much a catch as it is an explanation. You see, Jesus states in John 15:4 (another “fruit” passage) that one must abide in Him to bear fruit. Abiding is the act of enduring, remaining, or continuing with someone or something. It implies constant attention to its subject and living each moment with it. Abide in Christ—live in Christ. Let your soul remain attached to Him, gleaning from His Word. Allow for your time and effort to be taken up by Him, and you will naturally yield patience (along with the other fruits of the Spirit).
I have a warning, though. This will not come easy, nor will it come right away. It’s going to take some patience.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love: A Study on 1 Corinthians 13, Day 1

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

        Love is a pretty big deal. It’s paramount to the Christian faith. Jesus even says in Matthew 22:37-40 that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. If you follow those two commandments, you’ll follow the original ten. John even states that God is love in 1 John 4. It must be pretty important, then. 
         What is the opposite of love? As a child, I would answer “Hate.” In recent years, I came to the conclusion that indifference is a more accurate response. But the true antithesis of this genuine, unadulterated, selfless, unconditional love that comes from God is selfishness. Think about those commandments. Nowhere in Christ’s speech does He say that one must love himself. This is what makes God’s love so radical. Humans are inclined to think of themselves first, but Christ came down to reverse that. The cure for selfishness is love. 
        Society got it all wrong when we came to the conclusion that we need to love ourselves in order to love others or have others love us. I’ve come to another conclusion: We must allow others to love us and let that love change us. Once we can accept God’s love, we are able to love others. It’s so huge that it transforms us, or at least it should. When every single person stops worrying about loving themselves and starts focusing on loving God and others, every single person will be covered and filled with the highest form of love. 
        This sounds idealized, and in a perfect world, with perfect people, it works. But not everyone in this world will choose to love each person in their lives unconditionally. In fact, very few people will. Fear and selfishness creep in when we try to make these breakthroughs. We worry, “Who will love me?” The answer is simple enough: God. He’s already proven His love to us. It’s time to pay it forward to our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our acquaintances, and our enemies. 
       Jesus came to preach this radical love that changes people. Don’t you think it’s about time to let it change you?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Young Martyr

Another small piece for my Intermediate Fiction Writing Class:
The castle looked like a five-tiered square wedding cake on a rock in the river, the eves thrusting out from each layer like gray waves. My fear of bridges kept me from crossing the bright red one that separated me from the tower in front of me. This bridge seemed even more questionable because it contrasted too much with its gray surroundings.
“Just go on ahead, I’ll catch up.”
“Are you sure? I can wait with you.” Stacy’s suggestion was ridiculous. She’d never be able to tour the castle if she stayed with me. I immediately rejected her offer and sat down on the bench that overlooked the river and provided the best view of the pagoda.
I imagined that the rooms probably looked like the typical traditional Japanese architecture found throughout our short tour of Japan. My four friends who endeavored to enter the Matsumoto Castle were probably having a blast imaging living there or reveling in the history of the building.
I was drawn to the water that must have been twelve feet below me. I watched a spot where it would swirl behind one of the poles that held up the bridge. The water seemed to be fighting against this unnatural barrier, willing for it to give in and be carried by the current. The support stood its ground, though.
Few other tourists were at this spot. There was an old couple speaking German who were getting their picture taken by a young woman artist whose abandoned easel stood meters away. Besides their short exchange, the surging water made the only sound.
I continued to watch the stream of water in silent contemplation.
Below the surface, a light object being carried by the current caught my eye as it passed my favorite spot. I followed its progress as it slowly rose to the surface. Feet, followed by hands, and finally a pale face emerged. I blinked and squinted to make sure I saw it correctly. I walked up to the edge, and saw, as the figure passed below me, my lifeless face staring right back up at me.

Monday, August 30, 2010


You may need to read this aloud to get it. I wrote it for my intermediate fiction writing class, and it's based off of Picasso's painting Guernica. Enjoy!

Many people say that the brightest light on earth is that from the sun. But, in this darkness, daylight is only a speck in the distance. It tries to connect us to the outside world but fails at reaching this far.
I watched the soot form a shadow on the glass in my hand. It was the only thing I could think about. The flame would briefly lick the glass between the flittering caused by movement in the air around it. But, momentarily, it would still itself long enough to grow and reach the glass above.
I ignored the din around me, hearing only a buzz accompanied by the beat of my heart. I concentrated on that flame, counting the seconds between its calm moments, measuring the fierceness of its dances, willing it not to go out.
Buzzing swelled into an unnatural, high-pitched ring. And then—darkness.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alexandria Payne

So, I have started writing fiction for pleasure, wanting dearly to have something to publish soon. I've started out with a young adult fiction story set in the present day. I really don't know where Alex will take me, but I hope somewhere fantastic. Here is just the opening. Tell me what you think!

I couldn’t quite make out what Winnie’s gestures were from the other side of the crowded gym, but I knew it couldn’t be good. Her lips were moving frantically as she glared at me and continued to point at the ground where her foot was stomping.
I had been talking to Gina about who she thought was hotter: number 7 or number 24 on the opposing team, when her eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, and she just mouthed “Oh my god!”
I thought I had missed something exciting happen on the basketball court, like I always did. Just before halftime I decided to go to the snack stand to check out what food the moms prepared. It was just then that Keith managed to score from behind the three-point line—on the opposite end of the court—and he took his shirt off and threw it into the crowd on the bleachers, which he got reprimanded for by Principal Reich, who had to pry Keith’s jersey from a sophomore who was determined to keep it and—I’m sure—mount it on her bedroom wall. I only managed to see his abs disappear under his jersey again as he was being escorted to the locker room by Principal Reich, followed by the rest of the team and Coach Schwartz.
I whipped my head around, so I wouldn’t miss the whole thing only to see Winnie doing this weird dance by the doors next to the bleachers. The handful of people standing at the doors (because our bleachers fill up pretty quickly for the guys basketball games) were shooting her weird looks or snickering to each other, but single-minded Winnie didn’t seem to notice that she was causing such a scene. She was determined to get my attention. Once she did, of course, she started her foot-stomping-finger-pointing-thing that only meant one thing—Come here now!—which I’m pretty sure was what she was mouthing to me.
“What could she want this time?” Gina was saying. I just huffed and rolled my eyes in response as I got from my front-row seat on the stage behind the basket (perfect view of every guy on the court) and headed towards the stairs.
Unlike Winnie, I don’t like drawing attention to myself, so, ducking out of others’ views, I ran under the bleachers to the other side of the gym, coming out at the doorway where Winnie stood with her arms crossed, waiting for me to emerge. The moment my head cleared the low boards, she grabbed my wrist and pivoted, leading me out the door and into the hallway, where she suddenly dropped my wrist and stopped at the same time, causing me to trip as my hand hit my thigh. I knew that was going to leave a bruise soon.
Being the palest girl at Cedar Crest High had absolutely no pros to it, just cons. First off, I bruise easily, making it look like my parents beat me or something, which is so not true, they are the coolest parents in the world (according to my friends, who are just as much friends with my ‘rents as they are with me), but I’m scared someone’s going to see the bruises in gym class and call Child Protective Services on them. Secondly, everyone knows it’s not cool to be pale. Maybe if I lived back in the Edwardian times, I’d be highly sought after because paleness was equated with wealth, but now guys like Keith Penn or Channing Tatum go for tan, the darker the better.
This is a fact that I’ll never get, Sixteen magazine always claims that guys go for the “natural” look, but everyone knows that the girls with boyfriends are the ones who go tanning, like, daily (I know because, honestly, no one is born orange) and wear tons of make-up (without even blending it in to their necks, creating that disgusting jaw-make-up line. UGH!) and dye their hair blonde because guys like blondes. Well, I’m sorry if I’m not ready to conform to this Barbie doll look and lose my identity and uniqueness. I’d rather be the short, pale brunette that I am than a plastic doll with no personality. And, who knows? Maybe people will go back to the Edwardian view of beauty, and I’ll become the prototype for the “perfect” image. Right.
“Just what,” Winnie was saying, “do you think you’re doing?”
“What are you talking about?” Honestly, I don’t know what her problem was.
“C’mon, Alex. Do you remember anything about our conversation in homeroom this morning?”
“Yeah…” Shoot. I forgot. She made me promise to do something; I just don’t remember what.
“Oh, Winnie, I’m so sorry! I totally forgot until just now. Oh my gosh, I’m such a horrible friend.” I could tell by her nose flaring that she wasn’t happy with me, but she had to believe me. “Honestly, Winnie, I swear, I would never do that on purpose.”
I hate being such an absent-minded idiot. I always forget important things like this. My friends usually just rub it off when I forget; they make it out to be less important than it actually is because they don’t want me to feel too badly about it. But this? I don’t see how Winnie will ever forgive me for forgetting about our plan to sit on her couch all night eating pints of store brand ice cream and badmouthing Eric, who had decided last night that Winnie was too crazy to date her anymore and that they should “see other people.” Only he didn’t say crazy; he just implied it.
I saw the status update this morning as I was checking Facebook. “Winnie Shoemaker is no longer in a relationship.” Plus Eric’s completely heartless status didn’t help matters much. “Eric Wayne is glad that’s done. Now to bigger,”—I keep on insisting this is not a reference to her 34A breasts—“better things.” I un-friended him the moment I read that.

That's all I have for now, please be honest with any criticisms you may have! Thank you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A series of sketches of my loved ones' eyes

I always think of the eye as the window into the soul, so I'm obsessed with sketching them:
This was actually taken from my mom's baby picture. I love her. =D
My best friend since fifth grade, Kate, always has a twinkle in her eye (sorry for sounding cliche), and this is no exception.
My cousin, Jessica, whom I've always thought was one of the most beautiful people in the world. Still is.
Ji Eun, my best friend in high school, is from South Korea. I just love her eyes (almost as much as she loves mine (due to the fact that they're blue).
This is my eye. It seems as if I was either sad or tired (or both) at the time. Interesting, since the picture I took it from, I was smiling.
This is a random, imaginary eye. It may be yours!
This is my current boyfriend/love-of-my-life's eye. Not much else to say here.
This is my new friend, Sam, I actually drew this, not thinking of anyone, but it turned out lookin like her eyes, which I think are beautiful.
This was actually just an idea of an eye that I had in my head, as of now, I' can't put a name to it.