If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Good news, I got my permit today after many failed attempts! If you’re struggling to achieve something, keep working at it! Hard work and perseverance does pay off. To celebrate passing my permit test, I’m going to post a song that I feel fits the occasion nicely.

Good old Rascal Flatts. 🙂 It’s hard to believe that this movie came out nine years ago. I officially feel old.


Be Strong and Courageous

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

It is sometimes hard to put my jumbled up random thoughts and musings into words. There are a lot of things that I think about over the course of the day, and blogging has given me an outlet to try to organize these thoughts and put them into words. Recently, I have been thinking along the lines of sorting though life’s issues through the lens of a Christian perspective, and what that means for each of us. For some reason, I have a tendency to speculate over some of the most complex questions going on in society. A good recent example of that is the topic of transgenderism. I do not feel equipped yet to speak in depth about this issue, but I’ve spent hours watching videos and reading articles relating to this topic. I’ve even begun keeping up with the TV reality show, Becoming Us, which is a TV show about a transgendered dad. Some people may find it odd that I spend so much time on topics that don’t immediately relate to me. “Why do I do this?” You may ask. I suppose my reply, is why not? Why not go about understanding current issues in the society we live in the through the eyes of Jesus? I believe that part of living in the world while not being of the world, involves trying to understand people and walking alongside them in unique quests to lead them to God. Doing so involves what I’ve decided to label the three C’s. Courage, Conviction, and Compassion. I’d like to elaborate on each one and give my thoughts on what they should mean for us, as Christians

Courage. Let’s be honest. Being a Christian in today’s world takes courage. It takes courage to hold views that may not be mainstream. It takes courage to explain your thoughts and opinions to those that may disagree. It takes courage to try to find answers where there seem to be none. I think we all need to understand what we believe, why we believe it, and how we can apply this knowledge to real life. At times, we may even need to have courage amongst other Christians. Courage to look at an issue that brings knee-jerk reactions to many of your fellow believers. This is a courage that we can only obtain from God, who gives us the wisdom to muddle through life’s big questions. Which brings me to C #2.

Conviction. As Christians, our one source of truth is the Bible. When looking at new information from psychology websites and news articles, it’s important that we make sure it lines up with the Bible. I don’t think we should fear scientific studies and psychological research, as truth in life will always point back to God. In modern society, the Bible has gotten somewhat of a bad name. People say that it’s outdated, but I’ve come to find the exact opposite. Many things in the Bible speak into current issues in society. And I believe that even the most complex problems can be solved with the wisdom of God’s Word. Nonetheless, we can’t be effective witnesses with just the first two C’s. We also need the third C, one commonly demonstrated by Jesus during his time on earth.

Compassion. Anyone can preach words out of the Bible. Nonetheless, it will mean nothing if we don’t have compassion and love for hurting people. 1 Corinthians 13:2 says “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” This verse is along the same lines as a popular For King & Country song, likely based after this passage, called The Proof of Your Love. To have compassion is more than just giving your view on an ethical issue. This is walking with people living that issue. Christians can preach all day long on things like homosexuality and abortion but until we’re willing to walk alongside people in those situations, no one will see what Christianity and God’s love truly looks like.

Here’s a song by Christian singer, Josh Wilson that beautifully illustrates the point of this blog post. It’s called I Refuse.

Beautiful Article By Wesley Hill

In the wake of increasing discussion following the LGBT topic, I’ve stumbled across a powerful article by Wesley Hill, a prominent Christian speaker on this subject. I found it so good, that I felt compelled to share it with all of you, and I urge you to try to understand and be a friend to those whose struggle looks different than yours. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Hill and others like him, and hope that their philosophies, solutions, and musings, are continued in decades to come.



A Balanced Life

Good morning everyone. It’s been a couple of days since my last blog post, so now seems like a fitting time to write another one. Today’s topic, as you may have figured out by the title, is going to be about balance. In other words, juggling multiple things on your to-do list in a way that doesn’t make you loose it. It’s kind of funny that I’m writing about this during the summer, which is typically a more stagnant time of the year for me. Nonetheless, I’ve found lately that I’ve been having a harder time keeping everything in balance than I did during the school year. With unlimited free time, it’s a little easy to loose focus of goals and responsibilities. I haven’t done near as much writing for my book as I had hoped and I really need to study more to take my permit test again. Though I’m writing about balanced life, this reminds me a little of an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air when Will’s mom called him and asked if he was eating a balanced diet. He held up a pizza and a sandwich, balancing them, and answered yes

Here’s a GIF to illustrate this

If only balancing life were as easy as holding up food.

Anyways, back to my point, as I got a little off topic here. I think that in some ways, it’s easier to get off balance in the summer than the school year, as homework takes up a good percentage of time during school. In the summer, it’s pretty much up to you to balance your time, and not spend too much of it watching 80s TV and reading blogs (confession time!). Thus, I’m going to come up with a couple of ways to keep life balanced (And try to follow them myself!)

1. Make small goals. You can’t expect to accomplish everything in one day. If you do that, you’ll either procrastinate everything or get worn out trying to do impossible tasks. In my case, this would look like writing a couple of pages in my novel a day rather than trying to write the whole thing in one day. It would look like starting on the book for my summer reading list and doing a little at a time, rather than trying to read the whole thing at once. If I make small goals for the day, I’ll be able to complete them, feel accomplished, and still have time to relax and read my new Karen Kingsbury book.

2. Be conscientious of how much time you’re on the computer. I’ll be honest. This is a hard one for me. In modern day life, it seems that everything we do is online. I have my novel to write, my blog, email, other people’s blogs…You name it, it’s on the computer. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed that when I’m on the computer for too long, I tend to get stressed and somewhat sluggish. Thus, I really have to be careful about that in the summer, as it’s very easy to spend hours attached to the screen without realizing where the time has gone. If you have the same problem, try to think of hobbies and pass-times that you have offline, such as reading a book, watching a movie, hanging out with friends, or spending time with your pet (In my case, a cat).

3. Take some time to relax. As much as we all have things that we want (and need) to do, it’s important to remember to set aside some time to relax as well. I have a tendency to push and push myself until I burn out, but my mom reminded me yesterday how I only have a little bit of time left to enjoy summer before school starts and things get crazy again. This year, on top of classes, homework, and working towards my writing/songwriting goals, I’m going to get a part time job (Which I’m super psyched about). Thus, I’m sure that things are going to be in constant go-mode come the end of August. I’m willing to bet that all of you out there are busy during the school year too, so I urge you to take some time to enjoy the summer. While it’s important to remain productive in the summer, it’s OK to take some time to read that new book or watch a good old episode of Who’s The Boss (An eighties show that shows yet another example of how my taste in TV isn’t exactly current).

To conclude, life is all about balance. You can’t work around the clock and you can’t relax 24/7. You have to balance work, goals, relationships, and chill-time.

As the Bible says, “There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…” Ecclesiastes 3:1


Appreciating Diversity: God’s Fingerprint on His Creation

I’ll be honest, people fascinate me. Some people like to observe trees or mountains or animals, but personally, I enjoy observing people. I find it incredibly interesting to observe differences among people. The ways that different people think, feel, and interact among others. Perhaps it has something to do with being an author. Being that I tend to see life as a story, it seems only natural that I would see people as an interesting cast of characters. Naturally, on the surface, there are the obvious things that we notice.

Baker. Activist. Stay at home mom. Career woman. Firefighter. Actor.

The list goes on and on. Nonetheless, I try to look deeper than labels. Why is that person the way they are? What life experiences has shaped that person’s political, religious, and life views? What are their deepest desires in life? What are their motives? I often find it incredibly hard to view people through the lens of black and white, because I believe that people usually have experiences and dreams that have helped shape who they are.

Furthermore, I don’t just look at outside experiences that shape people. I believe that a lot of who a person is at their core is the fingerprint of God. God’s stamp of approval, saying “This is my unique child, whom there is no one like.”

Perhaps a person is deeply moved by the underprivileged.

An expression of God’s compassion. 

Maybe a person is drawn to ensuring equality

An expression of God’s justice.

Maybe a person is into the arts, loving things like painting and music

An expression of God’s creativity. 

Unfortunately, as a society, we sometimes have a hard time understand and relating with those who are different than us. You see this everywhere, ranging from the local high school’s hallways, to hateful comments on Youtube and social media. Instead of embracing each others differences, we view people negatively for being different. What if we didn’t turn a nose down on people who are different, but instead embraced those differences? What if we saw those differences as a form of beauty, rather than a threat? I believe that if we appreciated, learned from, and tried to understand people who are different than us, we’d be a much kinder and more Christ-like society. God created mankind in His image. Though we’re all fallen as a result of Adam and Eve, I believe that we still bear the unique fingerprints of our Creator.

I personally am grateful that God decided to make each of us so unique, and create a diverse group of humans. Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all the same. Not to mention that we wouldn’t function that well as a society. If everyone had my personality, we’d have a whole lot of people who wrote novels and observed people, but things like scientific discovery and mathematics would suffer greatly. Nonetheless, because of all of you out their with your unique and special personalities and concerns, our society is able to function in a way that we can flourish in multiple areas of life. I encourage you to take a fresh look at the unique and awesome people all around you and appreciate the masterpiece of God’s creation.

In the words of Britt Nicole, “you’re worth more than gold!” 🙂


Max the movie and a call to pray for our military

Good afternoon to all of you reading this. I just saw the movie Max, a military and dog focused drama that has recently come to theaters. It was an incredible movie, and I urge you all to see it. The movie has powerful messages about honesty, loyalty, and bravery, while reminding us how much people in the military sacrifice for our freedom. Sometimes we can take our freedoms for granted, forgetting that there are people out there every day, paying the price for the life that we often take for granted in America. Thus, I urge you to pray for the people fighting for our country and their families, because as I was reminded after seeing the movie Max, freedom is not always free. I’d like to give a shout out to all of those serving in the military who live in constant danger, often without being thanked.

Thank you to all of those bravely paying the

price for our freedom.


Bailey Flanigan: Leaving by Karen Kingsbury

Recently, I finished an incredible book that I mentioned in a previous entry, called Leaving, by the popular Christian fiction author, Karen Kingsbury. Thus, as I promised, I’m going to write a review of the book, doing my best to avoid spoiler alerting it for you.

The book Leaving follows the lives of four different characters, and contains a host of interesting side characters as well. The cast of characters includes

1. Bailey- An optimistic twenty-one year old girl, who’s skilled in singing, dancing, and acting, and dreams of being on Broadway.

2. Cody-Bailey’s ex-boyfriend. He has fought in the Iraq War and has been suffering from PTSD as a result. Currently, he is working as a football coach at a school in another town, whose team is currently failing.

3. Brandon Paul- A famous young actor who has recently become a Christian and who starred with Bailey in the blockbuster hit Unlocked. He has been friends with Bailey since they filmed that movie together and is beginning to have feelings for her.

4. Tara-Cody’s deceased friend Art’s Mom. She’s a very nice older lady, and very intent on setting up Cody with Cheyenne, Art’s fiancee before he died.

5. Cheyenne-A girl trying to move past the loss of her fiancee Art, and who has been spending much of her time visiting a young cancer patient. She becomes good friends with Cody throughout the course of this book.

6. Ashly-A wife and mom of three children. She is married to Landon, who has begun having lung problems.

7. Landon-Ashly’s husband. He is a firefighter whose lungs were injured on the scene of the 9/11 plane crash, as smoke engulfed the area.

There are more characters whom I could go into detail about, such as DeMetri and Ashly’s father, but that would make this post way too lengthy, as there are a lot of minor characters mentioned throughout the book.

The book opens with the Flanigan family sitting in church, as the pastor preaches about how things change, and how nothing stays the same except for Jesus, foreshadowing the changes that take place in this book. Throughout the book, Bailey reflects on some of these changes. Auditioning for a broadway show. How Cody left without an explanation. Her growing feelings for her old friend Brandon Paul. As Bailey reflects on these changes, Cody does his best to recover from things that have changed and wrecked havoc on his life. The way he still remembers the fear that he felt in Iraq. How he was forced away from Bailey by his mom’s psychopathic drug dealer, who threatened to kill any girl that he fell in love with. Meanwhile, the Baxter family members are dealing with changes and complications of their own, as Landon’s lungs seem to be getting weaker and weaker.

This book is a very enticing read. Kingsbury pulls you in with her story lines, making you care about the characters as if they were real people. She often cuts you off at the climax of the chapter, which keeps you reading to find out what happens next. There were points in this book where I was mentally shouting at the characters, hoping they’d make the choice that I was rooting for (Namely with the character ships).

This book is a Christian, realistic fiction novel with elements of drama, suspense, and romance. It follows multiple characters lives and it’s written in third person omniscient (A format that I particularly enjoy). If this sounds like your type of book, than I would highly recommend reading it. All in all, I give Leaving by Karen Kingsbury five stars. 🙂