Thoughtful| Teshuva, the Return

IMG_4424.JPG

We, as finite creatures- tend to drift. To float away weakly after the pleasures of the world. We exchange the wonderful blessings of Christ Jesus, for the fleeting pleasures of sin. It’s a rip-off, but we don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to us. But it should.

Many of you have probably heard the C.S Lewis quote about the children being more content with mud pies than with the vacation at the beach. That’s us. We’ll take the mud pies, disguised to look like candy- and devour them.

But there’s good news.

We’re not given over to our sin as unbelievers are. The Lord will never forsake His own. He pursues us, He loves us freely. And above all- He convicts us. Have you ever felt that terrible poke right before doing what you know is wrong? Most of the time, people refer to that as your conscience. But did you know that the Holy Spirit, while being a comforter- is also a convicter? God doesn’t wink at sin, and He has indwelt us in the person of the Spirit. He is merciful and gracious.

I feel that the things that I have been doing are drowning out the love that I ought to have for God. I cry out, asking why God isn’t answering. Why isn’t He there? Well, He is. Sometimes God doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. Sometimes we alienate ourselves from Him. We neglect reading His Word and praying. And then we wonder why we don’t ‘feel’ Him there.

The Psalm most applicable that I can think of to repentance (turning away to return) is Psalm 32. It tells us what happens when we do not confess, and I gives us encouragement to return.

Blessed Are the Forgiven

A Maskil of David.

” Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

~Psalm 32

Sadly, sometimes it’s so easily said, and not easily done at all. I know when I’m in a ‘spiritual rut’ or find myself backsliding back into sin- sometimes the last thing I want is to return. Even though He loves me freely. Even though my current path will only lead to destruction. I still am content to wallow in the mud.

Sometimes we must wallow in the mud for a while to be brought to utter humility. We see our need of Him more clearly when He ‘hides His face’ from us for a while. But then, like the prodigal son—we return. He brings us back like lost sheep into His fold. We feast once again on green pastures. He restores our cast-down souls. He gives us drink from the clear, still waters.

waters.gif

He makes us to lie down in peace.

signature

Advertisements

Kindle Paperwhite + 5 free books

Kindle Paperwhite+5 free books.jpg

Hey guys!

I have been…not on this blog. If my stats bar serves me right…it’s been about four days?

Today I am going to share a product-ish review that has really impacted my reading life. It’s called…the Kindle Paperwhite!

You can get many different kindles off places (primarily Amazon). The main difference between this one and say, the kindle fire- is the intended usage. The paperwhite is intended almost exclusively for reading, whereas the fire- is mostly for internet, games, etc. Yes, you can read on it…but I think it’s much more painful on the eyes.

LoVeLy FeAtUrEs

*Changeable resolution (screen brightness adjustable). What’s really neat about this feature is that it was created to keep the eyes from having to adjust no matter where you’re reading at. 

*Many books can be carried and read on-the-go. I used to lug books around and devour them. Now, I can bring my kindle paperwhite along with me, stuffed with books and get away with it! It’s great. I also love how little it weighs compared to my stack of books 😀 . 

*Access to the kindle lending library. Library? What? You can borrow one book a month for free out of many great titles. The last book I borrowed is ‘Once’, which is a collection of fairy tale retellings by several gifted young ladies. It’s historically themed. My point? There are a lot of great titles out there that you may borrow. Only one a month though, so make it good 😉 . Some other great titles I’ve previously borrowed:

  • The Spinner and the Slipper- by Camryn Lockhart
  • A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold- By Anne Elisabeth Stengl

And there are a bunch of other nice books that you’d probably enjoy.

*Access to a bunch of classics. In the kindle store, there are so many amazing old classics. You can get the entire Oz series FREE. Literally anything in the public domain is free. 

5 fReE bOoKs

  1. Jane Eyre. This is a public domain book and is amazing. I know some people may not like it, but I love it. It is an amazing book. It’s a roller coaster of happy and sad all intermixed. It’s classic, and is by Charlotte Bronte. 
  2. Wives and Daughters. By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. It’s also public domain, and a classic. Interesting fact, the writer died before completing the book. The BBC series is really good, although they did have to guess the ending 😉 . 
  3. The Scarlet Pimpernel Books. I don’t know if any of y’all are familiar with the Scarlet Pimpernel or not. They’re a series of books set around the french revolution- and are about a daring Englishman and his brave comrades stealing french (destined-to-be-guillotined) victim’s from the clutches of the french tyrannous ‘government’. While not all of the books can be gotten free, you’d be well on your way to discovering a lovely British series. The books are written by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (that name, tho 😀 .). 
  4. Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I was in love with Grimm’s, especially when I was younger. They were my favorite when I was twelve or thirteen. Whether you want to read the original german-ish Ascenputtel (Cinderella), or you are dying to hear about Snow White…this book is for you. And it’s public domain. AND it’s by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. 
  5. Books by many different Biblical authors. In the public domain, you can find books by Martin Luther, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeoun, and many others. 

 

To sum up…this product is very worth it!

signature

 

Patchwork Quilt| A Life Update

IMG_5802.JPG

 

And what does that lovely header for this post mean? Why is there a roadway? Well…friends, I went somewhere. But that will come later. I will start with a semi-comprehensive look at the past…two or three weeks? Here we go.

We had a very random snowfall that was very tiny, and melted almost immediately. I did take a photo of a plant in it though…

IMG_5580.JPG

And then a day or two after that, I got the opportunity to try out slow sync flash. You basically set a slow shutter speed (I mostly did 2 seconds or 2″) and spin in a circle while the flash fires. It makes for VERY weird photos but is nonetheless quite fun to do. And it’s especially cool if you’re outside at night.

IMG_5612.JPG
This is not edited. This type of photography just results in looking this way. Cool, huh? Ignore how dumb I look 😉 .

You can also use objects. I did this one in my studio/office.

IMG_5616.JPG
I love how the flash freezes the water.

And then after a few days it was time to go to a conference! This is photo from in the car.

IMG_5632.JPG

Then we got to the hotel…which wasn’t awful. But I still don’t really like it.

IMG_5764

IMG_5728.JPG
And this is a room at the conference building that I like hanging out in. It’s sort of become a cliche for me, since we’ve gone for three years now.
IMG_5735.JPG
And snacks and drinks were provided at the break times.
IMG_5788.JPG
And outside the building there is this lovely bed of pansies.
IMG_5802.JPG
And then there was this trip home. And we were all exhausted.

More Recently…

On Saturday, we were at the YMCA–when mom told us we were going on vacation NOW. We hadn’t packed. We didn’t even know where we were going…and our family of eight had two hours to pack. And one of those hours we would have people over. But…those people happen to be the family I am getting to do a newborn photo session with. So this was my first opportunity to get a peek at baby Eva Marie. And she’s adorable! I think the session is on Friday. I’m going for a studio look.

henderson
Look, she has hair! 

Our 1 and a 1/4 day ‘vacation’ was to our grandparents house. One night my grandpa showed me his father’s old film camera a bunch of other cool stuff that went with it. Sometime, I want to try film.

IMG_5959.JPG

IMG_5960.JPG

IMG_5958.JPG

The I decided to try an interesting technique using a tiny fisheye lens.

IMG_5972.JPG
No photoshop required!

IMG_5979.JPG

Then we were home. And I took some pictures of our red bud tree.IMG_6006.JPG

Then some photos of unnamed one 🙂

IMG_5875.JPG

 

And that’s pretty much all that I’ve been up to for fun.

What have y’all been doing?

Have you ever gone on unexpected vacations?

signature

New Website Design…

Perhaps some of you have noticed my drastic change on The Misty Mountain. I have completely changed my website look! I chose to use two complementary colors (orange and blue) because I am semi in love with that look. I am also attempting to adopt better structure. This is going to be a bit bumpy (especially since I’m not done designing my website yet) but I am glad for all y’all’s patience. Thank you, guys- for following my blog, and hopefully I can start being more accommodating to what y’all want to see.

Have y’all taken my survey yet?

If you haven’t, hop over to it and vote! At the end of two weeks I’ll use the biggest voted choice and do a post on the winning thing. Basically the survey is really just a poll asking what kind of posts you most want to see. If you’d like to more of something else (not listed) then please comment on the poll with what it is. And as a side note when I mentioned photography, it more refers to very basic things. I have a photography website (as you know) where the most of photography is mentioned.

My blog header

Now that y’all have seen my header- what do you think? Do you like it? I am working on some other blog-related design stuff, so if you have suggestions- please share them!

Thank you!

~Emmaline

Christmas Tree Drawing

This is a simple post!

A very simple drawing, too. I drew a Christmas tree for my very last art class ever. You probably know I stopped art classes. But this was my very last drawing. My art teacher’s words were: “It’s harder than it looks.”. And my friends, it actually was a LOT harder than it looks. One advantage is that most anyone could probably do it just by looking at it! But it was a lot of fun just the same. 🙂

 

IMG_1052.JPG
Title: “The Christmas Tree” Drawing by: Me 🙂 Media: Mixed. metallic marker,  prismacolor colored pencils, black ink pen, green and black sharpie markers.

 

So, Merry Christmas (soon!) from The Misty Mountain ;p  !

~Emmaline

People Post #10: Cinderella

Hola!

(no I am not Spanish all of a sudden 🙂 )

Welcome back to my People Posts! We are currently at number ten. I haven’t posted anything really drawing related in a long time. I was going to have Cinderella done weeks ago, but we went on vacation–so…uh-huh. But as already announced, I drew (attempted) Cinderella from the 2015 movie as portrayed by Lily James. This was my first go at a person in color at art class. I really enjoyed it, and the dress was lots of fun to mess with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

To me it’s so amazing how much better quality the drawings look now that I have a camera again! No more webcam pictures for me 🙂 !

 

What do you think?

What do you think I should start next?

Did you watch Cinderella 2015?

 

~Emmaline

Pinterest Inspired Crafts Class

Howdy howdy!

(That’s for my friends who live in Texas 🙂 )

Yesterday afternoon I was given the (scary) fun task of ‘babysitting’ my three younger siblings. Mom and my older sister were off to Nashville for H’s piano lesson. And dad was sick, so I was in charge. A few moments before they left- Mom asked me if I would do a ‘fall’ craft with the kids. I had been wanting to try out a few Pinterest style crafts and so…I did. And I am happy we did.

 

The Hand Trees…

craft1.jpg
Nathanael with his ‘hand tree’.

 

craft2.jpg
Josiah with his…

 

craft3.jpg
…and Ellie with hers.

Sorry about the blurriness… for some reason my siblings didn’t enjoy standing still for long! 🙂

IMG_2291.JPG
Ellie working on her tree…

 

IMG_2288.JPG
And this was the start of my tree…

 

The Fall Leaves Wreath

 

Then we went and gathered fall leaves, emphasis on color.

IMG_2300.JPG
I only have a photo of Ellie’s, but you can follow the link up there and check out my pinterest board. Ellie’s is more unique than the one on pinterest, and I was proud of her design skills. 

 

 

Have y’all done any fall-inspired crafts lately?

What is your #1 favorite thing about fall?

Do you use pinterest? (I’m a pinterest crazy person!)

What do YOU think of our crafts? Any ideas for another craft? 🙂

 

~Emmaline

 

 

Book Review| Beowulf

Hello!!!!

I just felt like putting exclamation marks on this post. I am in a good mood, I guess. Today I am just doing a book review on Beowulf.  I am also going to be sharing a scene from my book-in-progress WarchfulThe scene takes place a little later on in the book. If y’all aren’t familiar with what I’ve already mentioned about that…it’s a Christian fiction dystopian novel. Mouthful, huh? 🙂

Let’s hop into the review then…

 

Beowulf

A New Verse Translation…

…by Seamus Heaney.

My rating- 5 stars

beowulf

 

Besides the gorgeous fact that this book’s paperback cover allows you to feel the texture of the chain mail (expiring over that fact, BTW 🙂 )– why would you read a book like this? Well first let me just mention that I read this book for the  Gileskirk curriculum. And as I’ve been glad for all the other books I’ve read for Gileskirk…so am I happy for the reading of this one.

Fantastic book!

It’s one of those books that you’re just fascinated by. Okay…that I’M fascinated by (but you might be too, who knows! 🙂 ). This translation is easy to understand and yet Seamus Heaney manages to give you a flavor of times past. True, this story is a legend. So what? It’s an interesting, well-written legend…and it’s classic. But on to some more definitive ‘points’.

My Thoughts…

// This book (translation, content, etc.) is well-written.

// It gives you a step-back-into time feeling. Enough said.

//It is, however a poem. Not the rhyme type, BTW. If you read this there won’t be any Mother Goose…

jack
Yes, I borrowed this off the internet.But no worries…as you can see, no one is going to think I drew it or anything. I mean it has whoever did it’s credits all over it 🙂 This was for your entertainment only. But anyways…I love this picture. 🙂

//The story is all the wonderful medieval knights and distress and monsters…YAY!

//There’s a difference in the book. I believe whoever the original writer of this poem was a Christian. And I’m pretty sure that the characters in the story were supposed to be pagan. If I’m wrong about that–correction is in order.

//It’s actually interesting. This may seem like a no-brainer…but I just thought I’d add it to make sure that it is clear. There is a deadly fight, there is another deadly fight…and you guessed it–another deadly fight farther along. There are evocative descriptions…things that really get the brain going.

//This book is easier to follow along with than I thought it would be. It really is easier. One thing that really contributed to its being easier…was the fact that they include little notes on the sides of the poem on each page. The notes basically tell you what’s going on. So if you’re lost, fear not! You will not remain lost for long.

*

And that’s the scoop. So get this book, and read it. And if you’ve already read it…hmm. Read it again? 🙂

 

What are your thoughts on reading legends?

Do you enjoy the style of old english writing? 

What do YOU think of the medieval era?

 

~Emmaline

p.s. Scroll down further for the bonus scene from ‘Watchful‘.

 

Watchful

Scene title: Jess in the cafeteria

*

I stir some lemon spice into my food. I add salt, then slop a spoonful of sauteed onions on the top. The salad bar is next. I pick and choose toppings. I avoid the dairy toppings and move toward the vegetable ones. Cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, carrot shreds, and collard greens.
“You gotta’ try one of these, Jess.” I turn hesitantly to find Garth, Maul holding his hand tightly. In his outstretched hand is a chocolate truffle.

“No thanks, Garth. I- I think I’ll stick with vegetables.” I answer. Garth frowns. Then he turns away, but not before he shoots me a look. It pains me more than I’d like to admit. Letting go of my friend is hard. But I am convinced it’s the best thing to do in light of the situation with Maul. I sweep the room looking for Prisl, and when I’m satisfied she’s not here- take a seat in a quiet corner. I have just taken a seat when I see my ’employer’ out of the corner of my eye. He exchanges comments with several young men, before coming and plunking his plate right next to mine.

“Mind if I sit here?” he asks in a polite voice.

“Uh-no. I guess not. But, um- don’t you want to sit with them?” I ask indicating a table crammed with young men- all of them capitals. He frowns.

“No, I generally sit in the quiet area. I don’t enjoy the rambunctiousness of that table.” he says, taking off his jacket and draping it over the chair.

“Well, I’m sure you don’t want to be seen with a- a tributary.” I get out. There is no way he can sit here. I’ve got to get out of here. 

“I don’t see what you mean. There’s nothing wrong with being a ‘tributary’– it’s just a silly old ranking for the school. It doesn’t describe the people it names.” So saying he promptly sits down. I unconsciously look into his eyes and exercise my gift. I jerk when I realize how closely I was studying him. He smiles a little at my embarrassment, which I try to cover by taking a sip of water. But I had enough time to read him. Nothing about him rings false. I saw nothing but honesty and humility in his gaze.

“Do you make a practice of scrutinizing people that meticulously?” I panic a little at the question. I try to keep my face impassive. It doesn’t help much. Why does my gift help me zero at hiding my own emotions?

“Yes- uh no…” I stammer. There’s no great answer to this question, anything I say could give me away. But maybe I can just be honest with him. I don’t think he’d turn me in because he suspects something…

“Sorry. I probably just made things more awkward, huh?” I nod before I can stop myself. He laughs. To my relief, his laughter isn’t loud.

“You know, Jess- you’re nothing like so many of the other tributaries I’ve met.” I startle at his using my shortened name. This is such an awkward conversation. I bet Prisl would’ve nailed it.

“Well, if it makes you feel better- you’re nothing like the other capitals.” He grimaces at my flipping the comment.

“I often wonder why there’s so much hate amongst the different people in the different ratings.” Everything about Chase- uh- my employer, is different. 

“You really are nothing like the others. None of the other capitals would even question the way things are. They are content to see us as far inferior and below them.” I crumple my napkin in my fist under the table.

“You care about them don’t you? The tributaries?” he inquires, dipping his head.

“Yeah. I care about many people here. I’ve grown with so many of them and I want to help them if I can.” I admit.

“I believe you can change them, and help them too. In some ways, just believing the way you do can change them.” ‘Just believing the way’ I do? He must know something about the religion of Vigor then.

“Thank you. I enjoyed talking with you, and I’m glad that I get to serve you instead of someone else.” the words I thought I’d never say. Who could’ve known a week ago that I would be grateful in working for a young man instead of a girl. 

“I enjoyed talking to you too. Here, let me take the dishes to the counter for you, so you can go catch your class.” Chase says. How did he know I have a class? But the mention of the class puts the question far from my mind.

Chop the Adverbs!

chop the adverbs!.png

 

You’ve probably heard this dozens of times. But it’s worth repeating: most editors dislike a lot of adverbs in creative writing. You’ve probably also heard the horror stories of the poor victims that showed up to the editors office and were told: “I need you to remove around 100 adverbs. I would recommend either completely changing the structure of the scene or adding a good strong verb instead.”

That is scary to me! I hope when I finally get around to having an actual editor that I won’t have the worry of extra adverbs on my plate. And so that is my primary focus in my writing right now.

But let’s ask the important question first: “Why do I have to cut out my adverbs anyway?”

Why You Need to Chop Adverbs…

  1. Because it can turn the reader off by being repetitive or excess. It really can do that. Have you ever read a book that was just so…*yawn* worthy? I’m not just talking about boring. I’m talking about over-the-top descriptions.

Example:

Jill and Jackson rushed quickly about the house.

Let’s take a look at this. Jill and Jackson rushing around is fine. It gives you a sense of the urgency of whatever is going on in the scene. So why  inclusion of the adverb- quickly?  That just distracts the reader. You should always stay away from extra/excess/unnecessary modifiers and descriptions. In the above example, I just restated the verb using an adverb. Instead, I ought to have just stuck with my strong verb-rushed. The next example is a sample taken from the scene of one of my books- before I removed as many adverbs as I could.

 Example:

“Rohn?”

A short grizzly looking man with sinister eyes and a foul expression asks.

The tall man he addresses looks annoyed.

“Vice President Cain, how many times do I need to tell you I am President Rohn?”

Cain trembles slightly at the tall man’s obvious annoyance.

“I apologize, President Rohn. I am simply wondering what you plan to do about the Christian uprising that’s been occurring. It’s all over the place! Just yesterday we had to kill an old man who was making a fuss about repenting because the kingdom of God…”

“Stop! I know all this! Can’t your men even keep one old man from making a racket? I tell you to keep all the Christians in the city from proclaiming that garbage and you just allow him to do it until you must kill him? In front of all those people, too?”

“He won’t be spreading his religion any longer.”

The vice mutters in an injured tone.

“Cain, we must find the root of this rebellion and terminate it. Send someone to find the source. Do whatever you must do to end the resistance! Ever since that Paul Liberty had to defy me!”

“Paul Liberty? Isn’t that the man who refused to conform to our laws and bow the knee to you? He was a troublemaker!”

“Yes, that’s him! I never could understand him. He was offered every luxury imaginable and he chose death.”

“How irrational, Sir.”

“I know.”

“I think I have just the man to find the source for you.”

“Who?”

“He’s a ruthless man who will do anything for money. He fits into our society. He’s the same man that killed Paul Liberty, I believe. He’s a conformist, and will do whatever is best for his own welfare.”

A sly grin comes onto President Rohn’s face as his vice describes the man.

“His name?”

The president inquires.

“Martin Ashveld.”

 

You only see four ‘ly’ adverbs in this exchange. It’s been a while since I’ve actually looked at the sentence structure of this for a while. I am not sure if I should remove the adverbs I have there. I would say yes, because it seems that they’re unnecessary.

 

2. We need to focus on displaying what we’re trying to display. I write a whole lot in first person perspective. I have a big problem. I’m not so great at showing the reader what I want to show them- so I end up telling them instead. Adverbs can really be a cheap way to go. Instead of going all out…I can get away with some easy navigation.

 

Example:

The man leered at me threateningly pointing his gun at my head. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end…In a flash I managed to tie him up rather skillfully.

How could we have prevented telling this? I mean we want the reader to get involved in the heat of the scene. So we want to show them what happened, not tell them.

The example fixed:

The man leered at me (threateningly is removed, because it’s obvious he was threatening the girl- he was pointing a gun at her head after all!) pointing his gun at my head. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end… (In a flash removed) I managed to tie him up (I dumped skillfully as well, because it’s falling into telling them how. I stuck with the good strong verb.).

*

So that’s not near all the reasons I thought of…but I would recommend checking out Emily Tjaden’s post on cutting adverbs: http://www.thisincandescentlife.com/2015/05/9-reasons-to-cut-adverbs-from-your-writing/

Here’s another post I like on the same topic as mine and Emily’s: http://writetodone.com/shoot-adverbs/

Yet another post on the (same) topic: https://www.writingforward.com/writing-tips/writing-tips-abolish-adverbs

Another post that I think is good tells about HOW to get rid of your adverbs: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-eliminate-adverbs

 

Please don’t ‘shoot’ me when you notice that I use adverbs a lot in my posts (you might even find occurrences in THIS post! 🙂 ). I don’t have the time to sit editing my blog posts like that, but when it comes to writing—I think we can agree it’s way more important to be polished.

 

What are YOUR thoughts on cutting adverbs?

Do you tend to use adverbs a lot?

What is your stance on modifiers in general?

If you were to revisit a writing draft you wrote from long ago, would you find more adverbs or less?

 

 

~Emmaline