Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Importance of Stories – For You Are A Writer





The Importance of Stories – 
For You Are A Writer 
12/29/15 

I saw myself in your writing tonight.
I saw the parts that make me laugh
And some days I hope for.

Even if the characters are on a created world, 
Or are a made-up creation of you,
And don't ever mention history,
Or the Bible - 
In good writing,
They still matter.
They matter because they are built on real emotions.
They are built on the things that make you laugh,
The things that make you sad,
The things that you're hopeful for,
Or angry at -
Your emotions and imagination can be captured
In bits of writing...
If you let them.

I believe writing - 
Creating -
Is a way we remind each other:
“You are not alone.”
“I know what this feels like.”
“I've been here before.”
“I understand.”

I understand this laughter.
This hope,
Joy,
Anger,
Weariness,
Wonder -
I understand – 
And though you've never lived the crazy story my character has,
They are echoing true emotions
I've experienced,
Or understand from others...
In this way, they are important.
They are real.

I believe we feel connected most to writing we see ourselves in -
As who we are now
Or who we hope to be.
We write characters we want to be -
We write strengths we wish to gain -
We write broken lives that show our understanding of sorrow -
We write friendship 
And laughter
And pile it with the things that are meaningful to us,
And bits of longing -
We write life as we're seeing it today -
Or how we hope to see it tomorrow.

There will always be those who don't see themselves
When they look at your writing.
They will try to place a box in their mind 
To categorize who you are
And what you've created.
They will assume that everyone looks
And sees they way they do.
They will think
You waste your time over something 
No one cares about....
In well-meaning ways 
They will try to get you to let go
Of something that is beautiful.
And
Though you can respect their place in your life:
Your words are not for them.
You did not write for them.
They can not declare your words invalid 
Just because they don't understand.
You have not created to touch their heart...
Don't let that make you believe 
You can't touch anyone.

I saw myself today -
Because you wrote something real.
Perhaps it's imperfect,
But even so it is filled in reality
Of true feelings...
Your words say as a quiet echo -
“I understand.”
On the basest of levels I know you wrote well 
Simply in the fact 
I related to your words -
And I smiled.

In the end -
I'm not sure it even matters if you ever publish -
Though that would be wonderful...
What matters the most,
Is finding joy in something 
God gave you to 
Enjoy.
God is a God who writes -
Who wrote through people,
In different styles
And voices,
And in many different books.
He gives us the gift to create 
So we can reflect Him in this way.

No matter where your words take you
When you write Truth -
True emotions,
True relationships,
True bravery,
True brokenness,
True life -
I believe God finds joy...
Because you are using a gift 
He delighted to give you.

Never be ashamed that you have 
The Talent 
The Joy
The gift
To see the world 
Differently.
Never be ashamed that you see stories
Deeper
Layered
Meaningful -
In ways that others don't have eyes for.
Never be ashamed that stories excite you
And you are inspired to create.
Never be ashamed that words comfort you
And allow you to express 
When you aren't sure what to say.
Never be ashamed that you find strength in creating,
Even when you doubt your own abilities.
Never be ashamed that there are times you write little -
For no matter the voices of others, 
Or your own voice you have to fight in your head:
You are a writer.

You are a person who enjoys things of beauty.
You are a person who relates to others' creations.
You are a person who sees the pieces of story 
Others would miss.
You are a person who understands what it takes
To create well
And you're trying to learn even more.


So enjoy the little things.
The beautiful things.
The stories of others that entrance you
And the stories you're trying to create.
Enjoy them,
Because God made you to do so
In this wonderful way
That allows you
To be uniquely yourself.

~ZA

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Moments Between

Photo Credit - Unsplash
(Emotions from being with people I love...)

I live in the moments between the memories -
Seeing the fragments as pieces
Waiting to become whole.

I come alive in wild laughter
And linger on the edges of peaceful dreams.
Colors wash through me as echoes
As I relive every joyful moment -
The ones that created me.

I sing
In the moments between here and then
Filling the spaces to remember
Every piece that brought us here.

I am in the simple things;
Out of sight,
Almost silent
Until I break free to dance.
Whirling
Bounding
Swirling through the stories
We live every day.

I live in the moments between the memories -
Knowing fragmented pieces
Will one day become whole.
~ZA

Monday, November 9, 2015

If He Loved The Broken


The Garden of Gethsemane - taken by a friend when she was in Israel.

If He Loved The Broken 
9/24/13

If Jesus knew your story,
Do you think that He would care?
Did you know that He is watching?
He's seen the pain within your stare.

If He could heal a leper,
And cast a demon to its knees,
Then He cares about the broken.
He hears His children's pleas.

If He could calm the ocean,
And bring dead men from the grave,
Then He has the power to rescue;
He has the strength to save.

If He could feed the thousands,
And change water into wine,
Then He can change what's little,
And fulfill every need of mine.

If He prayed for His disciples,
Though they all would run away,
All Heaven cries this echo,
“Lord, free Your child today!”

If He trod the path of sorrow,
And heard His friends all weep,
Then He knows the pain of loving
And the knife that cuts so deep.

If He loved the man beside Him -
A criminal left to die -
Then I know He holds forgiveness,
Though I stumble and I cry.

If He had the will to suffer,
Enduring every lash and scorn,
Then I pray that He'll remind us,
He loves us though we're torn.

~ZA


Monday, November 2, 2015

Pretending To Breathe - Short Story


                                                             (**I have no plans to write this in full. It's simply an idea. **)



"You were born not breathing - in fact, you didn't breathe until your first birthday."

That's how my mother always began the story of my birth. We would sit out together under the stars and she'd tell the tale. The tale of how I never once took a breath, or even cried when I was born. Though all the windows were shut, a breeze wrapped around both of us and mussed her hair. That's when she knew - I would never truly breathe, but I would be hungrier for the air than most people ever are... 

That first year, she told the people of the town she was off to visit her sister in the mountains, and we lived alone in a hunting cottage. That's what she tells me. 

I vaguely remember her teaching me to breathe. The steady beat of: in - out - in - out - until it became almost second nature. When I was maybe four, after we'd moved back to town, she taught me about the different kinds of breathing. We practiced panicked fast breathing, and deep gasps after running, and regular breaths for keeping up appearances. Whenever we went out of the house together, she'd gently tap me on the nose and say, "Remember to breathe, Fenn." For those first few years, I thought that was normal.

I was about six when I asked her about my father.  To her credit, she didn't lie to me and say he was some great man, off in the world... She simply told me they met one day when the King's soldiers went through town - and she never saw him again, or knew his name... 

On my tenth birthday, as she again told me the story of my birth, I asked her if she knew what I was.  I was different - I was beginning to realize how strangely different.  I felt the wind wrap around us, and I pulled it closer so that it swirled through the Asp trees. It was comforting... I understood it was something I shouldn't have been able to do.

 She didn't answer me for a long moment. Finally she said, "I'll tell you when you're older." In her tone there was no room to argue... But I could see in her eyes... she was afraid.

When I was thirteen, my mother married the baker, Tovis Keff. He is a good man, though I've never brought myself to think of him as a father.  Next month they are expecting their first child, and I am both excited and afraid for it... So much has changed in the last couple years, but I feel no closer to the answers.

Who am I? What am I?

Sometimes I go deep into the woods and let the wind roar through the trees. My mother wouldn't approve. I know that... but then, she'd probably rather I do it there, than unleash it within the town. I've done it before accidentally on a smaller scale... after that, she didn't let me out of the house for two weeks. She told everyone I was sick, until the air around me stopped dancing, and I was in control. 

Yesterday I turned fifteen... and my mother again didn't tell me what I am... She said I am better off not knowing. Tonight I sit on the edge of a cliff and look down into the darkness that the moon can't quite reach. Tomorrow I'm going to the King's Tournaments. I will become a soldier, and I will travel the continent until I find out what I am... Maybe I am dangerous, but don't I deserve to know? 

I stand up, feeling the breeze lap at my unkempt hair. The air covers my arms in goosebumps. I walk to the edge of the cliff - and jump.  The wind wraps around me, slowing the plunge, angling me gently. I let it fill my body with a thrumming ache as it howls up through the trees.

And then -

I stop pretending to breathe.


~Ophelia - Marie

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Come Delight

Picture

Stop.
Pause.
Take a deep breath.
Sit back and ponder this for a moment with me.

Isaiah 57:15
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says—

he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.

------
         The high and exalted One lives in His people. Think about that. God is infinite, and yet He chooses to make His dwelling place in us .That's an amazing amount of Love... To be so Truly Good, and to live in ones so truly broken - and to love us all the more inspite of that.

           The other day I had a conversation about this... And still, today, those thoughts are rattling about in my head. *Grins* Do you ever just get excited as you ponder the Truth of who God is in you?

        As a friend said today on FB: "I'm pretty sure that if we could truly understand the love God has for us we wouldn't be able to stand up, let alone walk around."

          World changing, mind blowing, ever-present, perfect LOVE... *Grins* It just hit midnight, and I need to go to bed, but I also feel like writing an excitable post about the Love of God. But bed.

But look at this!


John 3:16 
 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 2:20 
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5 
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

1 John 4:9-11 
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.


Zephaniah 3:17
 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

         That is a lot of Love...

        So - back where I was going with this, and then I'm going to sleep - I ended up scrawling half of this poem all over my bulletin margins this morning. Now I've semi organized it, and written some more. It's far from perfected - kinda like this blog post... but in this moment late tonight - it's simple joy... God is good.
______________________________________

Come delight in His glory.
Come laugh with me in joyous awe as He thunders,
"I Am the Alpha and Omega.
The beginning and end."
Lift your hands in wonder.
Raise your voice to join the song of the nations.
Echo the call as generations of people
From every stretch of the Earth,
Pour out in powerful worship,
"Holy!
Holy!
Holy!
Is the LORD God Almighty -
Who Was and Is 
And Is to come!"

Try to grasp in this moment
The Majesty of our Father.
Look to Him -
Laugh.
Weep.
See the nail-scarred Master,
Love bright in His eyes,
Smile upon us - His precious Children.
Be enveloped in a Love that spans into Eternity.
Feel the One who set the world into motion
Gently
Touch 
You.
Come see the Lover of your soul.
Come delight in His glory.


~ZA

Monday, October 12, 2015

Jorthan - Short Story

Pinterest
(**I have no plans to write this in full. It's simply an idea I wrote out this afternoon in one shot. **)



I remember the first time I killed him.

I was only eleven at the time. We were training with light swords – weaving around each other and striking with wild force. We had nicked one another several times – quick scratches and small slices – but nothing that was a winning blow.  Nothing that kept us from fighting.

This was one of our fiercer fights. I was sure I could find a way to disarm him.  Master Kaff was over twice my size and in his late twenties, but I was faster than he was. It was my Talent. He had been training me for about six month, since he first found me. He still kept me at bay most days.

At one point he stopped our sparring with the flick of his hand. I paused respectfully and lowered my weapon.

“You are holding back, Jorthan.” Kaff folded his arms and glared at me. “You almost had me, but you didn't strike with enough force.”

I felt my shoulders droop.  “I didn't want to cause you harm, Master.”

He simply looked at me for a long moment before he raised his weapon. “Again.”

I hated his disappointment; the way his eyes had taken me in and dismissed me. Everyone around me looked at me with awe. Kaff looked at me with acceptance – someday we would be equals on the field... That day, I saw a flicker of scorn.

My attack was vicious. I sprung at him and fought him with all I knew. He had taught me everything I knew about weapons, but I had also taught myself how to maximize my speed. I was a blur as our blades crossed, and our feet slid in the sand.

And then... 
Suddenly.

He stopped fighting me. He had rolled to the ground, and I plunged my weapon towards his chest. We had practiced this move over and over. He had taught me how to deflect, and get back up until I was sore all over. But this time he didn't move or try to block me. The blade went through him and straight into his chest. 

We both screamed. His was a death cry that echoed off the stone walls. Mine was a cry of sheer terror. His eyes went wide, rolled back, and he was gone. 

I stumbled back, yanking my sword with me. Blood welled from the wound and I dropped the weapon. 

He was dead. I had killed him.

I flung myself to my knees. My hands went uselessly to his chest, trying to stop the blood. My body shook and my stomach heaved. “Master! Master!”

I only remember bits after that. There were two of Master Kaff's trusted servants stationed in front of the door so we wouldn't be disturbed. I remember both men bursting in. Ven grabbed me from behind in a bear-hug and moved me from the body as I screamed. Ballis touched Master Kaff's neck lightly before saying, “He's dead.” He scooped up the body and nodded to Ven as I struggled. “Take him to his room. I'll take Kaff upstairs.”

Ven put me in my room and locked the door behind me. I curled on the floor and shook. Then I screamed. Then I raged about my room, throwing anything I could up against the walls.

He was dead. I had killed him. 

Somehow I made it to the next morning. I cried myself to sleep in gut-wrenching sobs that tore at my insides. Twice I threw up before falling into an exhausted sleep full of terrible nightmares.

When I awoke early the next morning, I stumbled down to the practice yard in a daze. It didn't even register that my door was unlocked, or that yesterday was real. It was a nightmare... As I reached for the door, I saw blood on my hands.

I yelled and stumbled back. Someone grabbed me from behind and shoved me through the door into the practice room. 

I landed in a roll, spinning around to land in a crouch with a dagger raised. Bloody sand clung to my hair and bare arms. I almost dropped my dagger as I saw my attacker.

It was Master Kaff. 

He was wearing the same bloodstained clothes from the day before. He pulled his own dagger out and lunged at me with a yell.

He was dead. Alive. Some sort of ghost. I was certain he was there to kill me. I fought for my life – slicing at him and bellowing at the top of my young voice. Many times I bloodied him with deep gashes. He cursed and only came at me harder.

It seemed like ages, but eventually he pinned me. His blade rested in the hollow of my neck, and his full weight pinned my shoulders painfully. My breath came in and out in shallow gasps. My vision went gray around the edges.

“Always fight like your life depends on it. Always fight to win. Fight to kill.” He stood up, then grabbed me by the arm and hauled me to my feet. “Go get your sword. We're going to fight again.”

That was the first time I killed him. The next time I killed him by my own skill... The time after that, he killed me.

My Master is a Visen. So am I. Only head wounds truly kill us. We are one of the last few Masters and apprentices – we will become unstoppable. 

~Ophelia - Marie Flowers

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dreaming With Trust

Pinterest


I've been talking with God about big things lately... Specific plans and hopes - Things that are rather big to wrap my mind around... He's been answering little prayers and fitting plans together, and reminding me that He hears. 

I hear you when you hope to go to a concert and worship with friends.
I can give you that day.
I hear you when you ask for work replacements - all three of them.
I can give you those people.
I hear you when you ask for a friend to email you encouragement today.
I can give you that reminder of hope.
I hear you when you ask for peace at work, after a hard day the day before.
I can give you rest.

Then He gave me something bigger to ask for... I don't know if the answer is going to be, "No" or, "Wait", but I find myself hopeful beyond normal practicality... 
Wherever I go, whatever I do, God is actively living in me. 
No dreams are too big for Him. 
So I wait, and I watch, and I pray, and I laugh -
Life is daunting
But God is watching out for me.


Dreaming With Trust 

I want to dream wild things -
Things so big that for a moment

I stop breathing

In shock at the enormity of my hope.
I want to pray for crazy requests
That seem almost too big to ask for.
I want to open my mouth wide to be filled;
Open my hands to receive great blessings.
I want to believe that God has my days planned
Therefore running full tilt towards Him is the safest I'll ever be.
I want to live like I truly believe
My life in Christ makes a difference. 

~ZA

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Time Ago


And sometimes - that's okay.


A Time Ago
8/25/15

I still remember who you were
When we first met.
We were different,
You and I.
A lot younger too.

Laughter and stories built us closer -
Shared heartaches and
Whispered dreams 
Drew the threads tight.
We played with the colors;
We created worlds
Full of wonder, quests
And new found friends.
We became bright specks in the turning world -
A safe place to run
When the Outside seemed too heavy.

                               We were on different journeys
But we crossed parallel paths.
We grabbed each other by the hand
To find 
The pieces we each searched for.
We became the encouragement to share
The goals,
The hopes,
And even the bits we didn't know what to do with.
We were alive together 
And it was as if we built community
In a place no one would've thought to look
Because we saw the echoes of ourselves
In one another.

Oh, it was not without the hard times
For we did not always understand each other.
We brought together 
Disagreements 
And shadows from our different worlds.
We caused each other tears
And sharp tones
And bitterness that drove some apart...
We were not perfect;
Not everything was easy 
As words became weapons and
Opinions became rule -
As some rose up in conviction
And some watched in dismay.
As we, in time, became very different 
From who we used to be....


But not all of that was bad,
For we grew up. 
We learned how to hold together in hard times
And we tested our bonds.
We became deeper
Even when the distance pulled us farther.
We joined hearts in prayer
And voices to bring encouragement.
There was a sense of loss
And a sense that we'd shaken things loose -
But still a certainty we'd continue on
To bring something new.
We became different...

And yet -
I'll always know who we once were.
I remember you in the wild laughter
And I see you in a myriad of letters
And little gifts
And precious conversations.
I remember you in the silly things,
And the ringing joys
And the rush of shared accomplishment.
I remember all of what was 
Like I remember the sun in the reflection of the moon.
It's so very different 
But I cherish both.

When I am with you now
I still see the shadow of what we had
But there is a blank space we're filling
With new stories,
New laughter,
New tomorrows...
Change isn't always an ending.
I don't regret 
That we're here now,
But I like to look back on the journey 
We took to get here.

Because
I still remember who you were
When we first met.
We were different,
You and I.
A lot younger too.


~Ophelia - Marie

Friday, August 14, 2015

Will We Not Speak?



A poem inspired by:
Isaiah 5:20
20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,

who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!


******
Woe to those who call abortion good
and a pro-life evil,
Who put brokenness as wholeness
and destruction as "choice",
Who put life to death
and call death, "your life."
What misery we invite when we trade God's Ways
for man's wisdom
Turning away from the cries of the helpless
so that we may call our deafness, "Progress."
Searing our conscious
until nothing of horror brings us pain
and we see those little hands
as something disposable.

Woe to the nation that does not cry out,
"We have shed innocent blood!
Have mercy on us!"
Instead, we flaunt our right to choose
and hide from the truth that our heart screams -
"This is a child's life."

Stand up, people of the LORD
for those whose blood cries out.
Stand up and bear witness,
Weep, for the LORD is near at hand saying,
"I will hear your cry and come to your aide.
I will not be silent, nor will I turn a blind eye.
For I created your inmost being, 
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
I call this nation to repentance - hear me, my Beloved."

His healing comes little Christian
will you be His mouth-piece?

*
~Ophelia - Marie Flowers


This is the truth of abortion - this is the horror of abortion - but thank God for His Healing, and His truth, and His forgiveness through it all.




Saturday, June 6, 2015

What Will Heaven Be?



Inspired by:


What Will Heaven Be?
6/6/15

I see
The sunsets on the ocean,
The purple hyacinths in the garden,
The warm summer breeze rustling through the trees -
And I remember 
They are pale reflections of what I know is ahead.
Again I am left wondering
What will Heaven be like?

So I ask -

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/516858494705638432/

Ah, Lord.
What will Heaven be?
Will there be snowy mountain peaks
Drifting down into peaceful valleys?
Will I finally truly appreciate
The immensity of Your creation?
Will I enjoy the climb without the danger,
Or the snow-caps without freezing?
Will it cry to me to worship
As this Earth's creation echoes to me now?

He smiles down at me,
Oh dear child
Heaven will be more than that.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/516858494708408910/

And again I ask.

Ah, Lord.
Then
What will Heaven be?
Will there be vast oceans
Stretching out beyond what even my new eyes can see?
Will I play in the water 
And listen to You laugh with me?
Will I dive deep without needing to come up
Or play with creatures that now pose no harm?
Will the waves keep time with the song of praise,
And remind me again of Your power
As they remind me even now?

He answers with a gentle touch,
Oh dear child.
Heaven will be more than that.

https://www.pinterest.com/bushmaid/in-which-i-appreciate-beauty/
And again I ask.

Ah, Lord.
Then
What will Heaven be?
Will there be fields of wild flowers
Blanketed overhead with rainbows?
Will I see all the hues
My frail human eyes are missing now?
Will the vivid rainbows remind me
That You have fulfilled all Your promises,
As they remind me here, as I wait?


He pauses a moment,
Then Spreads His arms open wide.


Oh dear child -
Heaven is more than you can compare.
It is all My beauty and joy
Pouring forth forever and ever.
It is all My kindness
And creative passion
Filling every corner of all you see.
It is brimming with My Love and My Glory -
A place where you are wholly with Me.
That is what Heaven shall be.


~ZA