watching, reading, and writing stories

Visiting Author

I feel like I’m growing up. Like Pinocchio saying “I’m a real boy now!” I’m an author who feels like shouting “I’m a real author now!”

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I suppose being an author could be loosely defined as writing something and actually finishing it, or maybe it’s finally allowing other people to read your work. Some people may define it as getting a publishing house to distribute your written creations to the masses. But what makes me feel like an author? Or at least on this occasion?

It was going to a middle school and telling them about the novel I had self-published: Finding Home: The Orphan’s Journey. There’s nothing like stepping into an environment with all those young voices asking what it’s like to write, how you do it, and what your favorite parts are. Suddenly calling myself an author seems like what I should be saying. If that’s what these students see me as, then I somehow feel its more true. It’s not just something I’m saying about myself, now it’s a title that others give me as well.

I had a lot of fun telling my story to the 6th-8th graders, seeing their reactions, answering their questions and encouraging them to give their dreams a chance. One girl even came up to me and stated that she had written a book too, and thought maybe she could self-publish it like me.

It was a surreal experience that I thoroughly enjoyed, though my feet did hurt by the end, and my throat was a bit dry. But all in all I had a marvelous time, and I’m looking forward to the next school I get to visit.

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Proposing and Predestination


So a couple of weeks ago, I had to try to explain predestination to some Jr. High kids at church. This is one of those subjects that can be hard to understand even for an adult. and oftentimes results in negative responses. I know I’ve had my issues with predestination in the past. So I started brainstorming about how to explain predestination. Then God revealed to me that “proposing” can be a great example or illustration of predestination. I know it’s not a perfect analogy, but it helped simplify the concept for the younger audience. So I thought I’d share it on this blog.

So basically when a guy is going to propose to his girlfriend, he usually puts a lot of forethought, planning, and effort into how he’s going to do it. It’s not usually a random thing. A guy can go to a lot of trouble trying to make everything perfect, and the plethora of videos on Youtube can attest to how extravagant a guy can get. But all these planned efforts have a purpose behind them; to show the girl that he loves her. In the end, however, when the ring comes out, the girl can still say “yes” or “no.”

Couple, Love, Sunset, Proposal Marriage, Water, Sun

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It’s kind of the same way with God. He has predestined, or planned out our lives, with events and circumstances in an effort to show us that He loves and cares for us. But we still get to choose between loving Him back or rejecting Him.

It doesn’t really make sense to say that God forces us to love Him, because He’s predestined it, anymore than a girl could say a guy is forcing her to marry him because of an awesome proposal. God wants our love to be real and genuine, not forced.

In addition, when a girl gets proposed to, most don’t respond with “Wow, I’m so awesome,” or start looking around at the people nearby and asking why the guy didn’t get flowers for everyone. Instead, what we hope to see is a grateful smile, an excited “Yes!” and a declaration of love from the girl.

I think that’s what God longs to hear from us. He doesn’t want us to start thinking all high and mighty of ourselves, becoming prideful, or start wondering if God isn’t fair because he doesn’t choose to save everyone. Instead He longs for our hearts to be filled with gratitude, love, and devotion to Him.

That’s how I try to respond to God’s choice to love me. Sometimes I do have questions, predestination is a hard concept to get, but ultimately I choose to trust that God knows what He’s doing even if I don’t understand it.


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Art and Asking Questions

Exhibition, Art Gallery, Gallery, Arts, Art, Painting

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Recently I went to an art museum with a friend and as we were walking around, looking at the exhibits, my friend asked “Why is this considered art?” I’ve been out of college for over a year now and my brain sought frantically for some explanation from my professors about modern art’s purpose. I mumbled something about art being made by an artist because it was important to them in some way, and explained that maybe the artist was exploring something, but that an audience might not understand all of why they did it.

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and I came across this You Tube video.

After watching the video I thought back to that conversation with my friend. While I don’t think art’s purpose is to make people better at noticing little details for their careers, I do think it has something to do with asking questions.

It could be that the artist is asking questions, and exploring answers through their work. But whatever the artist’s purpose, it seems like the viewers of art always ask questions. And that isn’t limited to the art you see in a museum. People ask what the author meant when he or she wrote such and such. And we usually have to come up with an answer for ourselves for why things are the way they are. Even children ask questions; from a young age they start to ask the “why” question about almost everything. And in some ways it’s not the answer that’s important, it’s the curiosity.

It’s easy to go through life oblivious to what’s around you, just going through the motions, doing what you’ve always done. Once you “grow up” and leave school, it feels like you should know everything now, you’re an adult. But even adults still need to ask questions.
So maybe that’s part of what art does, it reminds us that we don’t have everything figured out, we don’t understand everything, but we can still learn and explore and ask questions.

I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I guess the reason this has been rolling around in my head is because of something going on in my home town right now. A large group of churches has joined together to start exploring several big questions. Here’s a link to the page if you’re interested:

For the past several weeks I’ve been talking about deep questions like “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” or “Is there a purpose to life?” And the goal behind these questions isn’t so much to give a definite answer, but to start discussion. It’s kind of like the artwork in a museum. It doesn’t say why the artist made it on the little description but it starts a discussion. It makes us start asking more questions, start exploring, and maybe start learning something in the process.

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