Tag Archives: loving the Lord

The (Real) Breaking of The Fellowship

10 Dec

Don’t be alarmed. This is not the end of EEB! This is a post about life, not a warning. We’ll be around for a while longer, God willing 🙂
Over the past few months, I have found surprising strength in God. Radically. Throughout the whole time, however, something hadn’t been quite right yet. I felt like I was taking awkward baby steps against high tide and didn’t quite have a heading. I was confused, but kept going. And even though I’m still growing, obviously, I think a lot of this confusion just culminated into answers while I was praying and reading my Bible a couple of days ago. I was praying about something in particular, which I will explain to you in a few minutes, and I opened up the Bible, looking for help. God pointed me to a scripture I had no idea existed in the context I was thinking, but it perfectly fit what I needed. Tears streamed down my face as all the pieces suddenly flew into place…it was amazing and broke my heart all at the same time.
It all started back in the summer. I had just learned that some people I knew didn’t think the same way I did about religious matters, which troubled me. They were Christians in the sense that they believed in Jesus Christ and God made the world, but we differed on a lot of other issues. And for some reason, I have the weird tendency to assume people think the way I do and to assume they’re perfect. When I realize this is not case (as it obviously never is), I tend to say, “Oh, that person needs help. He/she is broken and needs Jesus.” What hypocrisy! I always forget what I mess I am in. None of us are perfect.
The problem was, I didn’t know how to take disappointment. I kept trying to either defend the people in my mind and actions, or completely rejecting them. I prayed about it, and honestly I thought that both actions didn’t seem quite right: it seemed a bit extreme to avoid these people like I was a perfect saint since the only Real Perfect Holy Person died for them, but at the same time it was a really stupid idea to try to copy their mistakes! Anyway, I kept praying about it, but feeling confused. And then fear crept in, which only added to my confusion. What if I had to say goodbye? What if God was trying to tell me to go? And then what if He wasn’t? What if He put these people in my life so that we could grow in faith together and I was supposed to be His hand in guiding them? I couldn’t decide which one was worse because either way it would require more strength than I thought I had.
I decided, at least for the time being, that the best idea was to serve God in all I could and try to keep my spiritual ears open, but honestly it’s hard to be unbiased when you want Someone to say something.
For the next few months, I went through some terrible times. Some days, I became almost embittered, becoming scornful in an attempt to let go of these people. I tried to tell myself that I do without them; I tried to convince myself that I was strong and had the strength to “defy gravity,” so to speak. I had the Lord, so why did I need people anyway? These days didn’t last very long. After all, who has ever heard of a “wicked” Christian, pun intended? It became very clear that this was not the way of the Lord.
The other days were just as bad, if not worse. If I wasn’t copying these other peoples’ mistakes, I was living in fear of losing them, or perhaps doing both at the same time. Needless to say, it was a terrible, terrifying place to be.
Yesterday and today peace finally began to fall upon me. I was still worried, but I had decided that I was going to follow God no matter what. I was thinking about some friendships, almost dead, which had been hanging in the shadows for some time, and was nearly sick with worry. What if the same thing happened to my other friends and family who I had already been worrying about for months? The friendships I had already lost stung badly…I was still not healed from some broken relationships which had spiraled a long time ago. It would nearly break me if something like that happened with anyone I really knew well and loved. Once again, I prayed. I needed comfort, and answers. I didn’t know how to deal with not knowing the future. I didn’t know how to deal with disappointment. I didn’t know how to deal with tough times, or troubled relationships, or goodbyes, now or later. And then a miracle happened. I opened the Bible and found myself in Ezekiel. I flipped back a few pages, trying to find something to read and feeling literally lost because I didn’t think Ezekiel was almost in the New Testament (I don’t know the exact order of the books of the Bible like I should…) Then I “stumbled” upon Kings and found the passage where Elijah is taken up into heaven. As it turns out, this was God’s direction, not me simply browsing through the pages.
I had read about Elijah being taken up into heaven before, probably in a kids’ illustrated Bible, but I had never noticed his apprentice, Elisha. If you can picture Elijah as Frodo Baggins and Elisha as Sam, then you get a good idea of their relationship. As I continued reading, “The Breaking of The Fellowship” even started playing in the back of my mind, which certainly didn’t help the flood of feels I was going through by this point, nor did hearing my brother playing a moving rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” on a CD player down the hall. In the Lord of The Rings trilogy, Sam follows Frodo from the beginning of their journey through the end, and then to the final moments of Frodo’s life on Middle Earth, when he sails to the Grey Havens, which is basically a heaven for elves in the book. The story of Elijah and Elisha reads the same way. Over and over again, Elijah tells Elisha to leave him, but each time Elisha replies, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you” (2 Kings 2:2). Time travels on, and other prophets ask Elisha if he knows that the Lord is about to take Elijah away from him and up into heaven. He responds, “‘Yes, I know,’ Elisha replied, ‘but do not speak of it'” (2 Kings 2:3).
And then the climax of my emotional battle came when I read what Elijah asks Elisha just before his departure for heaven. 2 Kings 2:9 says, “When they had crossed [the Jordan River], Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’” (2 Kings 2:9). Several things hit me all at once, and I began to cry. Then the most amazing thing happened. The Holy Spirit began to communicate with me clearer than ever before; it was actually like God was right there holding me. I broke down.
I realized that Elijah’s words needed to become my attitude towards everyone because I would have to tell them all goodbye one day. Everyone. Friends, family, everyone… not just fleeting friends who visit for a season and then move on. I had already been thinking about one person in particular through all of this turmoil over the past few months….in fact, throughout this post I have been saying I was concerned about “people,” but in reality I was mostly concerned about one person who I love, and whose position in my life seems most uncertain and unpredictable. Well, when all of these thoughts began to unfurl, this person immediately came to mind, and then Sarah. I didn’t know why she came to mind, unless I was thinking of the relationship between Elijah and Elisha because over the years she has definitely been an Elijah and a Sam to me. She has guided me through many a Mordor! However, at the moment, I still wasn’t sure why I was thinking about her in particular; I did figure this out the next day, however, and I will explain in a moment. But while I was thinking about Elijah’s attitude and inevitable goodbyes, I suddenly had a shadowy mental image of a light in a dark tunnel, and stairs. I suddenly believed in God and in heaven more than ever before; it was like I was catching just a glimmer of things to come. I felt just a drop of God’s presence deep in my heart, and it was enough to totally make me believe like never before. While all of this was going on, God seemed to be whispering in my head, “Can’t you trust me with these people? I have them safely under my wing and we are all going to be together in heaven one day. Because of this, there is nothing in this world that can truly separate you from them. You might be apart from them for a little while, but I’m not trying to separate all of you in the long run. So why would you try to blame me when goodbyes come, and why are you worrying about when you are going to have to tell them goodbye? Can’t you trust me?” This was the first time I had felt so much confidence about all of the believers I know (and the ones I don’t know) being together forever someday; it was amazing! It also showed me that my focus had been in the wrong place. I had been too concerned about “forever” in the earthly sense of the word, forgetting that “forever” literally means eternally in the spiritual sense and is much more important than anything which “matters” down here on earth. The good news is that, while earthly forever is somewhat of a myth, spiritual forever is a truth and it was the one God was giving me confidence in!
I realized that since goodbyes are inevitably coming, we must each be warriors. We must be strong enough in our own faith to stand and lift others up when they fall, and we must have enough faith to keep fighting after life or death has taken our fellow warriors away from us for a time. However, all the while we must be gentle enough to receive help and to give as well as receive love. We’ve got to have special people in our lives without becoming overwhelmed by the fear of goodbye. Essentially, we’ve got to be fearless warriors. For years I had read Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” but honestly I didn’t, and probably still don’t, fully comprehend it. To me, it seemed like one of those pious sayings which mean well, but, well, don’t mean a whole lot, like “Bless your little heart.” But really, it means that we draw all our strength from the Lord.
I did discover why Sarah was in that vision, and it does have something to do with finding strength in the Lord. The next day I talked to her, and discovered she wasn’t as perfect as I had always imagined. She was going through hard times, too, which I somehow didn’t believe was possible for her to do and probably why I hadn’t opened up to her so much about some of the problems I was facing. While I was talking to her, though, it hit me: our strength does come from the Lord and everything we do is supposed to be modeled after Him. In our lives there are many “idols,” but once we are past the stage of “monkey see, monkey do,” I strongly believe that there are no more “role models,” just “role virtues.” This is because we all stumble, and if you think people are perfect, you will be sorely disappointed. And this is going to sound very hypocritical, but when I hear other people aren’t perfect, I tend to label them as “a mess,” quite forgetting that I am in the same boat! Some days, I am not even in the boat, metaphorically speaking; I’m holding onto a lifesaver outside of the boat, fighting waves of doubt. Point being, we do have spiritual leaders in the Christian community, yes, but I really don’t care if you are a new Christian, devout Christian, pastor, etc. If you are breathing in this world right now, you and I have equal chances of letting doubt and the world overtake us without God’s help. If you are in doubt right now, I urge you to keep going. God is with you, even if you can’t see Him, and I promise He will speak to you, as He spoke to me after months of waiting. And I will live by Elijah’s standard: I want to do what I can for you before I am taken from you or before you are taken from me. If you are a Christian, you are my family and we are supposed to lift each other up and pray for each other because no one in this world is free from doubt and we are all in the same boat. If you are not a Christian, then I wish you would talk to me all the more because there is hope in Jesus Christ!
So as the world rages and falls into the dark shadow of Mordor, stay strong, my friends. Keep fighting the good fight in Christ’s name, as He gives you as much strength as you need for your calling. Love your friends, family, and everyone you come into contact with, no matter how long or short you may know them. Don’t worry about how much time you have on this earth, or how much time you have with people, but trust that God, who has them all safely in His hand, will give you just the right amount of time needed. And then use that time wisely. Pull the lost around you into our boat so that more people will be a part of the Lord’s promise of bringing all of the believers together again in heaven. I can hardly wait until we are all together with God in a true “Fellowship of the King.” 🙂

Best hopes for your journey! We’re here for you all.
If you are still here, thank you for reading this super-long post! I hope it was a help to you. And just so you know, there will be more posts in the near future. 🙂

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The One About Co-Writing (Part Two)

7 Aug

And then they… no, they didn’t dance. They finished the one about co-writing.

 

6. Discuss the Book and All Future Plans for the Book Frequently. This may seem like a weird thing to do at first, but I promise it’s worthwhile. No one will be more supportive of you and your future (obviously awesome) fandom than your co-author. So talk about it. Where do you want this book to go? What are your dreams? If your dreams are as bad as Flynn Riders, then come up with some better ones. While it may seem like you’ll never get anywhere, laughing about who you think your readers will ship in the future and drooling over certain publishing companies will help not only to set your standards of achievement high, but it will also make you and your co-author closer. Along those same lines, you’ll establish similar aspirations for the book. This is very important. If you’re envisioning yourself as the next New York Times Best Seller and your buddy is really just wanting to write a story to share with the family, then he or she might not be so inclined to slave over the manuscript like you are. Talking about where you want to go with the book will also help you tackle the big discussions in chunks instead of all at once. Do you want to have more than one main character? How long of a book are we talking? Do we want to make this into a trilogy? A saga? A series? Multiple series? When should we draw the line and maybe move on to other things? Brooke and I went through this a lot with our “cycle” WilderQuest. A lot of times, we let all of our gushing ideas accumulate for months before we addressed them, and because of that, our ideas would often clash and clash hard. Again, communication is the key.

 

7. Keep the Book Consistent. What tense? What point of view? Formatting. It is a big deal. Let no one tell you otherwise. Ever. Because it is a big deal. Especially if one of the people involved is OCD. That was me, Sarah, if you were wondering. This is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind while you are co-writing. A lot of times, you and whoever you choose to write with will have very different ideas of how things should look. In fact, your styles will likely be very different as well. And although it can become a really big road-block if you let it, there are a lot of ways to avoid locking up over inconsistencies. This may end up requiring you teach a few Microsoft Word short cuts to your authoring compatriot or sacrifice your own ideal title headings for ones that your buddy likes more. Again, be ready to compromise and work through the problem with God’s grace and serenity. Agree on and then set up a chapter template, make character description sheets up, and share what you think about each others’ writing. Brooke and I often talked through inconsistencies that arose, making notes of some character’s preference for certain things and also how to properly indent paragraphs. And more often than not, all that was needed was brief clarification. Here’s what happens when you don’t do this:

“Evangeline huffed in irritation, glaring at Liz with her cold, dark brown eyes.” — Chapter 2, written by Sarah

“Evangeline’s bright blue eyes flashed; fear was evident in her face despite the chaos of battle.” — Chapter 11, written by Brooke

See the dilemma? While these sentences didn’t actually come straight from WilderQuest, this very thing actually did happen. You’ll find that you and your friend will likely have characters that the both of you created almost entirely by yourself, or you’ll come up on a part in your book where one of you planned out the battle scene to the gory details. These aren’t bad things, but always keep in mind that the other person working with you is probably not telepathic. If you have things planned out to the very last dotted i on the page, be sure to share this and be willing to compromise if your better (writing) half has an idea. Plot bunnies multiply exponentially where inconsistencies are, and no one wants to have to chase all those fluffy mongrels off.

 

8. Make Achievable Goals. The word “achievable” here is very important. Goals will be the things that help propel you through the tough times of novel writing and also push you to the breaking point, and goals will also often be a test of your teamwork finesse levels. Whether it’s a goal to reach a certain word count, write a certain number of chapters in a week, or a setting and meeting a certain dead line, you will find that it is very important one, that these goals that you set can actually be achieved, and two– without butting too much into the next point, that you encourage your friend to meet the goals that you do set. Seriously, just knowing that someone else who you know is human (because who can be sure about these big time author people) tacking a crack at reaching that really hard goal will help you to do better, even if you don’t achieve that goal in the end. Granted that nothing is quite as satisfying as knowing that you and your writing compadre have reached a goal on time. So strive to meet those goals. Or make a point to laugh about them later. Both are pretty enjoyable, although one of them is decidedly more productive.

 

9. Encourage One Another in Writing and in Life. This is definitely the biggest benefit of writing with another person. Although, undoubtedly, you will have your ups and downs, good days and days that main characters end up in dark pits being tortured to death, you will also have days that you finally pull out of your writer’s block and the first person to throw you a party and send you cake is your co-author. Days that you’ll disparagingly decide that your novel will never go anywhere and you might as well stop now and take up some profitable career now like your mom has been telling you to for the past sixteen years and the one to dispel all that is your wonderful, high-spirited writing buddy. In fact, you’ll find that the friends who write together, often stay together. Like, seriously, Brooke and I have been life-buddies since the tender age of two. There is something about spinning a tale with another uniquely amazing individual that is really pretty awesome in-and-of itself, and you will likely discover that the people who “get you” the best are the people that you write with. So, with this pretty awesome relationship in mind, don’t overlook the importance of daily making an effort to build each other up and encouraging one another to strive for each of your “bests” — whatever that best looks like. And if you’re pen pal is just having a rough go of it in general, be there for them– pray for them. Trust me, riding through the storms of life with someone is one sure way to ensure that when you write together– it’s just that: together.

 

10. Co-Writing Can Be Lots of Fun. So Enjoy It. One of the best feelings you’ll have while co-writing is the moment when you and your friend finish a book, and you read back through it and realize that you’ve shared a very unique part of yourself with another person who feels the same way. I have learned so much from co-writing and continue to learn about not only my own style and abilities, but also about other people and how to best interact with others. Truly, nothing will improve your writing as quickly as working together with other talented individuals because you will find yourself wanting to put forth your best so that they will do the same. Instead of standing on the precipice of a new novel alone, you will be standing with a friend and fellow warrior. Some of the best memories I have are from late-night role-playing sessions, really, freakishly long book planning discussions, and the intermittent moments of shared insider jokes and character impersonations. So have fun with it. Co-writing is probably one of the most fun things you’ll do. And while it does take a lot of work on the outset, the rewards that you reap in the long run will far exceed the little troubles that you go through at the start.

 

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Well, there’s our take on co-writing. Did you think of something that we missed now that we’ve reached the end? Think that you could explain one of the points better? Have a story to tell that fits one of our ten points? Tell us about it in the comments below!

New Contact Form

7 Aug

Hi, guys!

We just want to let you know that we have a new feature of EEB! You can now find our contact form in a drop-down menu from the “About” page at the top of the webpage. We are super excited about this, because, although we had a contact form before, we really would like to encourage y’all to submit questions about writing, faith, and life in general! You now can have a significant impact on what kind of posts we put up there.

You're going to have to sharpen your pencil for this one, guys.

You’re going to have to sharpen your pencil for this one, guys.

Now, we are, of course, going to continue with our usual posts and writing updates (and probably come up with some fun, random posts too — *spoilers* Sarah’s been thinking about starting a serial on idioms in the English language), but we are also super excited about building a community of writers who are for the kingdom of God! This is why your input is super important. You are all what makes this blog so much fun to write, and as a team we want to keep building up our relationships with you guys!

So don’t be afraid to drop us a line– even if it’s just to say hi. You guys are awesome, and we are excited about this new opportunity for us to all grow closer together.

 

-the EEB Writing Team

 

REMNANTS: Season of Wonder Book Review

24 May
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Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa T. Begren

In the ruins of a once prosperous world, Adriana—one of few select Remnants: extraordinary teens with extraordinary gifts—has finally received the Call, which will take her far from her humble home in the ever-rainy Valley. Alongside her life-long friend and knight, Ronan, Adriana joins with other Remnants and their new, fearless leader Raniero who seems to have special abilities of his own. Pursued by the dark forces of Pacifica, confronted by new challenges and fears daily, the Remnants and their Knights must learn to trust in the Maker as he leads them farther and farther into enemy territory.

Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa Bergren has once again become a romance novel to capture the tomboy’s eyes. After falling in love with the world Gabbi, Leah, Luca, and Marcello in Bergren’s River of Time series, I was eager to meet the newest additions to Mrs. Lisa’s “merry gathering.” While I cannot claim that Remnants: Season of Wonder was as great as the River of Time series, Lisa Bergren was able to convincingly establish a fantasy-dystopian realm with new ideas and lots of thrills. At any given time, Bergren can make you laugh, gasp, or cry out, and it was an adventure in itself just to read.

The Strengths: Remnants had very strong, relatable characters, a convincing romance, and one of the best embodiments of the struggles of leadership that I have experienced. As a leader myself, I identified often with Raniero’s burden as the protector and guide to the group. Bergren captured the “whole” picture of leadership and allowed for the reader to see that just because you are a leader, you aren’t perfect. Even more important, the life of a leader must be one led with total faith in God (or the Maker, as He is called in the book), a willingness to endure hardships for the betterment of the group, and an overwhelming mindset of self-sacrifice. I also appreciated the allegory that was present in the book and hope that the readers will see that develop more and more as the series progresses.

The Weaknesses: My main critiques of Remnants are the sometimes overly simple world building as well as the romance, which slipped into cliché every so often. Many times, I felt like the world could have been made more original if the names and places in it were less plain. In the same way, “the Community” and “the Maker” seemed a little underdeveloped. Although it wasn’t a major problem, I felt like the world could have been constructed with more dips and crannies than presented. Along the same lines, I felt like the love story bordered on cliché several times with the idea of Adriana falling in love with her protector and the idea of forbidden love.

All things considered, I enjoyed the book immensely and feel it deserves every bit of four stars. I can’t wait to read the next book and continue watching the world of Remnants take shape, and I would recommend this book to anyone who has a flair for adventure and romance.

EEB: Sarah’s Video Introduction

21 May

 

EEB welcomes you to our blog and to the King’s Road!

Liebster Blog Award 2014

9 May

EEB was recently nominated by the fantastic Victoria W., the author and founder of Miss Tadoodles Corner, for the Liebster Blog Award.

What is the Liebster Award? It’s actually quite simple: it’s an award just for blogs, given by bloggers. Now, before you turn your nose up at what seems like a “chain” award, think about this: somebody thought enough of your blog to nominate you and also give you the opportunity to spread that joy to other bloggers. We here at EEB think that’s pretty great.

Now, if you are nominated, there are a few guidelines and rules you have to follow. And not Barbarossa’s idea of guidelines and rules. We really want you to follow these.

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and have less than 1,000 followers.
  5. Answer 11 questions posted by your presenter and ask your nominees to answer 11 questions.

Here are our eleven random facts:

  1. Brooke and Brenna are both into theater and have acted in lots of plays and productions.
  2. Sarah has never worn make-up. Ever.
  3. Brooke and Sarah’s first book was called The Kids at Krystal Cove. They don’t really speak of it to anyone… and they have plenty of reason not to!
  4. Brenna almost got snow in May!
  5. It’s already been 92 degrees where Sarah and Brooke live.
  6. Sarah and Brenna’s longest Skype conversation was almost four hours long.
  7. Sarah and Brooke’s longest phone conversation was also almost four hours long.
  8. Speaking of phones, Sarah and Brooke are convinced the FBI is after them because they regularly hear tapping on the line while they’re talking on the phone!
  9. Liz Elestir is based on how Sarah imagined her hero-form would be while she and Brooke were writing WilderQuest.
  10. All of the girls, Brooke, Brenna, and Sarah, are the oldest siblings in the house. Sarah has one younger sister, Brenna has two younger sisters, and Brooke has one younger brother.
  11. Sarah accidentally left her Bible outside during a torrential downpour. She is still using this Bible now.

Here’s our (Sarah’s) answers to Victoria’s questions!

  1. What’s your favorite time of day and why? I love that moment just when you wake up and you either get to turn over and go back to sleep (which is almost never for me!) or get up and face the day. It’s always a great moment for me because the day is still full of possibilities, and we get to choose to pick an outlook for the day right then! Fun fact: I sometimes wake up to “Sherlock Lives” from the Season Three Soundtrack of BBC’s Sherlock television show.
  2. How would you describe your eye color in a book? Hmmm… I guess something like, “Her eyes were somewhere stuck between gray, green, blue, and brown. They were storm of color that spoke just as deeply as anything she ever said; sometimes they were filled with laughter, other times with disapproval or just thoughtful reflection.”
  3. If you had 3 wishes from a genie, what you would ask? (3 rules apply: 1. Can’t kill. 2. Can’t make someone love you. 3. Can’t bring the dead back to life). I would wish 1) that I would have the ability to time travel, 2) that I could visit my own fictional worlds (but have a plot-shield so my villains couldn’t kill me!), and 3) that I never messed up while performing piano pieces! That drives me crazy! Every time!
  4. Favorite band and why? Favorite… I don’t think you realize what you’ve done here. Because you’re asking me to do a thing. And you know what? No. I refuse to answer. I cannot pick a favorite… I just– that’s not a nice question. I can say that I love all kinds of “Jesus Music,” soundtrack music, and some pop (like Bastille and Imagine Dragons!).
  5. Favorite childhood memory? When my dad used to tell me and my little sister fantasy stories while we lived in South Georgia. He’s probably the person who really first inspired me to start writing.
  6. Would you date/marry someone twice your size? Erhmmm… this is quite an odd question. I guess if I was really in love and I felt like God wanted us to, I would. Haha! It would still be kinda crazy, though.
  7. What’s your top 6 favorite foods/drinks that you couldn’t live without? Water (yeah, I’m one of those people)… blue box Mac’n’cheese… really good, soggy sauteed green-beans… McDonald’s french fries… Burger King’s Whopper Junior (with cheese and no onions)… any kind of ice cream.
  8. Now, cut that 6 in half; Which 3 out of the 6 would you choose to live without, forever? You’re just not being nice, are you? Hmmmm… I guess ice cream, green-beans, and Whopper Junior.
  9. Do you like like heat or cold better? Heat! I used to like the cold better, but after this Winter, I am all for some nice warm summer weather. Besides, when it’s hot, that means I get to work on my watch tan!
  10. When was the last time you ate peanut butter? Erhmmm… I don’t know? A couple months? I’m actually not a really big fan of peanut butter. Don’t throw things! I like all the other normal American things.
  11. Do you love/follow Jesus? Oh yeah, sister! Of course! And I do know that Brenna and Brooke do as well.

Now, for our questions for you nominees. Are you folks just dying to find out who we nominate? Hehe. I am loving keeping you in suspense. Shush. I’m not a terrible person.

  1. Of all the books you’ve ever read, which one impacted you the most as a person and how?
  2. Name one guilty pleasure that you have (and don’t mind sharing).
  3. Which do you like better: the beach or the mountains (there is only one right answer to this question)?
  4. Choose and defend: Star Wars or Star Trek?
  5. What is your biggest pet-peeve about Internet culture?
  6. Big thunderstorm is coming toward your town. What is your reaction?
  7. What super power do you wish you had?
  8. Your name is called at your district’s reaping. What is your strategy for the Hunger Games?
  9. What is, in your opinion, the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
  10. What does your ideal adventure-quest-thingy consist of?
  11. You have ten words to describe yourself in. Go.

And, without further adieu, our nominees:

  1. Miss Hannah from Sword of Ink
  2. Those Awesome People at Worldpen
  3. The One and Only Author of Adjustedsails
  4. Reagan Ramm in his Arsenal
  5. Katie Comstock from Writer’s Ramblings
  6. and the Ink Slinger

Thanks again, Victoria! What a great opportunity!

-the EEB Team

And So The Story of My Life — Preview of Sarah’s New Novel

23 Aug

Chapter 1: If Summer Were Longer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today.

It seems like an exceedingly normal word. Today, I will do this. Today, I will do that. And, yet, I realize that at one point, today may seem like a very important word. I got married today. I had my first kid today. My first book was published today. Or maybe even things like, my mother died today. My husband enlisted today. I was told I have cancer today. None of these are true — but, they aren’t until the day that they happen. Every single day has a lesson… every single day has a purpose.

And if we don’t think about life like that way? We become creatures who get up only to get up and go to bed only to go to bed. Empty. Shallow. What can I learn from every day? What can I take away from each and every moment?

Is it like music? When you see everything for the first time in such crystal clear quality that every other day pales in comparison? Or, perhaps, like the hunt for information? Waiting for the answer to a question? Some days are better than others. Some days inspire me, while others… others don’t.

And if I don’t make each and every day from now on count, what am I going to tell God when I die? Well, I did some things here and there… nothing really important, though.

What if today, I brought someone to Christ? What if today, I showed someone the love of God? What if today, I was able to stop someone from committing suicide? What if today I made a difference?

What if I went to Middle Earth–

Joking.

But, onto my reasons for starting this thing today. Yes, the thing which you are currently digesting mentally (and possibly reading in a voice you imagined that is very different that my actual one). To be honest, I have no particular reason. Perhaps, in the future, I will look back, smile and give you a long winded explanation as to why on earth any self-respecting teenager would, on the next-to-last day before school starts back, begin writing a tale about… well, normal things. You should learn now that I pride myself in my strangeness.

Ex. — I haven’t had a boyfriend. Ever.

And I’m pretty happy about that.

I’m going to be a Junior in High School this year. Yes, yes — I can hear the sniggers of you adults as you read this. “Big deal! A whopping, what, 16 years old? Boy! You’re getting on up there, aren’t you.” I’m not even 16 yet.

Funny story. First and second grade? I was homeschooled. And I did both grades in one year. You remember first and second grade, right? All the coloring, bubbling and such? Yes, it was a good year. But that makes for interesting conversation now that I’m a year younger than everyone else in my entire class.

Which is why the fact that two years from today, I’ll be leaving grade school and starting life in the real world. Without the people I’ve gotten to know over the by then 5 years in Public School. Without the umbrella of “kid” sheltering me from the world.

It’s a pretty scary thought.

Okay, I lied. It’s a very scary thought. I mean, sure I’ll have college to postpone it. But, after High School you’re an adult… you’re regarded by the world as a someone and not just a meddling kid. So what am I going to do between now and then to get ready for that? What am I going to do with these last two years of my childhood?

Probably spend them doing normal stuff like… well, writing books. Taking AP classes. Doing FFA-ish stuff. Asking lots of questions. Reading books. Editing for the school newspaper. Trying to maintain my Valedictorian status for one more year… Bleh, I can’t describe my life very easily in a nutshell.

Which I guess is exciting, because that perhaps means that I’m not a flat character?

And then, I don’t want to forget any of this. I want to savor every moment so that I can recall it in vivid detail whenever I need too. It really amazes me how much I change from year to year. So, why not record it. Why not write what happens every day? And if it gets boring, write glorified chapters about vests that allow you to teleport and magical Christian curls that allow me to travel through time?

I really, truly do not know if my story will ever be one that is worth calling an “adventure.” I really, truly don’t know if anything really exciting will happen over the course of the next year. But God can do some pretty amazing things, and I’m confident He has big things in store for me.

Because, if there’s one thing I am sure about, it’s that I will never be the same.

On the Same Day…

She was, in a sense, looking forward to school. Her vest needed to be taken out of storage and her things secured. But, as she had in the past years, she knew things would occur beyond her control.

Such as the annoying-one’s moving away. Her hair had never much liked the annoying one much, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized that she would miss the constant buzz of Brit’s voice in and out of her mind in a whirlwind of chaos.

Her name? Well, as far as she knew, she didn’t have one. She generally just answered to whatever name was on the role. School was indeed a very strange thing, she had decided. For the sake of discussion and blending in, thankfully her Higher-Ups had given her a relatively common name to answer to — Sarah.

Yes, she could build an identity very easily around that name. Perhaps too good an identity. She got criticism from her Higher-Ups often that she made herself all too well known. But, perhaps, that was the best kept secret. Someone so out there would generate fewer questions than someone who just watched and took notes all the time. “Sarah” was, in fact, a completely different being from a completely alien realm to Earth. Unfortunately, she didn’t know the name of it either.

Perhaps, where she hailed from, names were not so important? All she knew for sure was she had a quest on Earth and God was depending on her to do things correctly. Ah, now she remembered it, murmuring a thanks to the Almighty One. But she dare not think it for too long. The Enemy was always listening.

Ezyrthri. E-zee-THREE… She savored the taste of the name in her mouth for a long moment before pushing it to the back of her mind. Ezythri worked, currently, for the CIA as a student agent. It wasn’t a difficult job and she did what they told her. Most of the time. She always answered to God first, in any case.

Her vest was most important, though, and so she resolved to go did it out of her troves of things. It was exactly where she had last placed it, surprisingly enough. Things such as these had a tendency to run off and make themselves scarce as soon as she went to find them.

She took in a long breath and slipped into the very worn, almost ratty looking vest. It was gray and she always wore it inside out. There were numerous pockets and pouches to keep other things confined in. Her foster mother often tried to buy her new ones, but the others couldn’t do what this vest did.

No, Ezythri thought with a wry smile, nothing made on Earth is going to be quite like this vest. Her vest, in fact, allowed her to do a great many things. One of them being time-travel. The other teleportation. It also curiously kept her warm throughout all seasons. Ezythri didn’t quite know why this was the case, but she had never thought to bring it up when she talked to her Master. No, it never quite seemed appropriate.

A long sigh whispered across her lips as she closed her eyes and imagined what this school year would bring. She wondered who God would ask her to be a witness to… she wondered a great number of things, in actuality.

Though, there was one question that continued coming back again and again:

Would she be discovered?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

There has been much flailing to take place today. Mostly because SCHOOL and TOMORROW.

There were other things, obviously. Things like I saw my 8th grade Math Teacher for the first time in three years today. It was amazing. And nostalgia! Of course, I saw all my other teachers for the first time in a year, too. It is easily surmised that I did not stay near to my little sister while she went to her classes at all.

No, there was, indeed, too much flailing and nostalgia to be done. But, this is, in fact, the latter half of my day. It truly began this morning, quite normally, when I awoke to the thought of: “I’m going to be a Junior in High School this time tomorrow.” Junior.

If it didn’t seem real yesterday, it’s pure fantasy today. It’s impossible, really. Maybe it’s just one of those really strange dreams in which you imagine yourself older than you actually are. But then, no, it can’t be.

Something strange would have happened by now. Something very strange and not realistically possible.

It never ceases to surprise me that my teachers always remember me… I had been in the Math Teacher’s class for four weeks before I moved into Gifted classes, and yet, she still remembered me. Each and every one of my teachers always ask me what I’m doing, what I’m planning to do. I wonder what it will be like if I come and drive by after I graduate. I would do it in a heartbeat.

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SOURCE: PINTEREST II Provided Link: paianjenul.tumblr.com/post/4495737326; lacks author name.

The morning proceeded as normal. My mom and I talked about growing up and other sorts of normal pre-school discussions in which everyone is holding on with teeth and claws to the summer moments. After I finish recording this, I will probably go outside to spend my last few moments of freedom on the porch. It only barely reached 75 degrees today… 75. In Georgia. In August. A strange occurrence, most assuredly.

Today, I also had the pleasure of swapping e-mails with one of my favorite authors, Wayne Thomas Batson. I smile thinking about it because I had sent him a review of his book, GHOST, along with the first of the Bernifel Prophecies and he asked me to post the GHOST one on Amazon.

Which I did.

And then I posted it on Good Reads and my blog which I write with my co-author, Brooke Norris, and all other members of the EEB (Elizabeth E. Brookes) Team.  Although, for the moment, it is only the two of us… possibly new members. I am not sure. We are still evaluating the one in consideration right now.

But, the most exciting thing of the exchange was that Mr. Batson followed our blog! I was quite giddy for an extended period of time.

You know, I wonder a lot if I will ever be on the delivering end of that spectrum. If I’ll be someone’s favorite author someday… That would be pretty great. I want to be the sort of author that strikes up conversation with her readers. I want to be able to go from bookstore to bookstore and sign random copies of my books and put little messages to the readers in them. Just to do it.

I’m sure that’s against author protocol somewhere, but I would do it anyway.

Yes, looking back and remembering past school years can bring up a lot of happy and sad memories. I wonder what kinds I’ll make on the first day tomorrow. I wonder if I’ll meet anyone new. I wonder which teacher will immediately become my favorite. I have so many questions already and again and again I am confronted by the thought of “I will never be the same.”

Never.

Not after tomorrow.

Not even after the day after that.

And that makes me wonder, what did I do today that made today count? What can I do tomorrow that will make tomorrow count?

What does God want me to do with tomorrow?

On the Same Day…

Open House was always a curiosity to Ezythri. Her teachers already knew her for the most part and she would meet them the next day regardless of her presence at the meet-and-greet shuffle through. I shook hands, smiling and playing the part of the student whose name was Sarah.

Ezythri wondered if the FBI had killed her or if she was locked up somewhere… or perhaps they had sent her back to where she had lived before this? The place that she could not remember. Ezythri always thought it strange that things always seemed to root back to her vest– the very first memory she had was of that vest.

Her vest. It was her very identity, in a sense. A very secure thought when she was afraid. Yes, it was to her vest that Ezythri’s thoughts always wandered when she needed guidance. After the One Above, of course. God. Such a simple name for such an amazing being, she had thought when she had first learned His name.

Why not something more complex? To match the intricate nature of Himself?

Humans were so simple minded, Ezythri had decided. And very dumb not to pick up on all these little subtleties that should raise red flags in their minds. No one ever asked much about her past. It wasn’t that she didn’t have a story worked up, but they never seemed to ask “Sarah” much about anything before 8th grade.

Which was indeed a very strange thing to Ezythri. And she began to wonder who exactly this “Sarah” was… and if she would be missed if it were discovered that Ezythri was not in fact who everyone thought her to be.

Then, she had another strange thought. She couldn’t quite recall any training from the CIA… sure, she had little moments of inspiration that popped into her head occasionally that she imagined were from the Most High… but, what, she wondered had put those thoughts there?

She didn’t know. Maybe it was some sort of training ruse. So top secret even the agents couldn’t know about it. Yes, Ezythri concluded that must be it and continued on her tour of the school, noting everything that could be used as a weapon and how easily accessible it would be during an emergency.

Normal things, she decided. Normal things that everyone did.

But, in her deepest of hearts, Ezythri felt that something was, in a very cataclysmic sense, wrong.

And it had to do with what she couldn’t remember.

August 16, 2013

Today philosophy is running away from me, packing its bags and grinning like the Cheshire cat as it does. Beating my head against the wall won’t even begin to express my overwhelmed state. At all. I can feel the weight of school already straining on my shoulders. Everything is so… different this year.

I wish I could close my eyes and go back to last year… or to Freshman year. But then, I remember being the exact same way last year about ninth grade. Perhaps things will not be so horrible? I know it will grow to be routine and I recall somewhat this feeling… not as keenly, though, as I feel it now. Not as keenly at all.

A wry smile is about the best I have to offer at the moment. Exhaustion seems to be nigh. There are so many new faces… or, rather faces that are familiar but not close. It is similar to going to a family reunion and meeting with all your second and third cousins — you know of them and a little bit about them, but not really so much being close to them. I do not know. It is hard to get past awkwardness and find my footing again. Maybe there are a great many companions and friends coming, though. I pray so as I write this.

Sometimes it’s just hard when things are so different and you, waiting for so long over the summer (and dreading things all the same) for the school year, somehow expect for everything to be the same. That magically your friends will all be going the same direction in life as you.

But that’s just not how things go. That’s simply not the way the world works. And as much as I wish I could change that, I can’t.

It was cold to start off the morning. And rainy, as well. My little sister woke me up at 6:30 A.M. with the sounds of tooth-brushing and lights being turned on in the bathroom. No matter how innocent the “Oh! Did I wake you up?” was, she still might pay for it later. Honestly, it was probably for the better. It wasn’t one of those days you were simply aching to get up.

I don’t know how many trees the high school killed in preparation for today, but it was at least a forest or two. Advisement was full of it. Most of the papers I will be throwing away. What I want to know is who needs insurance at school?

First period is AP Physics. Interesting. We did a scavenger hunt. I was the second one finished, but, then there are only seven people in the class. Seven. That’s it. And most of them are people whom I did not know well. Oh well, ’twill all be good in the end, I suppose.

Second period is Journalism. Simple. It is outside of the normal Journalism period which makes me sad since there are a number of Seniors I wish I could at least have one more class with. But with a stoic smile, I will bow my head, say my peace and let things be as they will. The sky isn’t falling and I’m not dead yet. Neither are they. I promise myself things will work out. I hope they do.

Third period and I’m in for AP Language. My teacher seems pretty engaging (and a bit insane). Calls everyone by their last name, too. Also interesting. A lot of familiar faces in there. Probably one of the only classes I really felt comfortable in. Although, it is writing and I tend to do alright in those sort of classes.

Fourth period is another AP class — AP U.S. History. Another interesting class. More familiar faces. Mostly just the guys that I’m friends with. Which means they tend to do their own male thing and females aren’t exactly smiled upon. So, another interesting class. Seems like it will be fun. And challenging.

Fifth was from one of my favorite teachers. We might have blown something up… I will say nothing more. The class itself is Agricultural Mechanics II (abbreviated by everyone as Ag Mech. II), but adherence to a particular topic or standard isn’t exactly the teacher’s main goal. I actually missed the last half of engines last year due to working on my science fair project, which is going on to national competition in a couple months.

I have third lunch this year. Made the mistake of eating a spicy chicken sandwich on my first day, too. My mouth and throat were burning for about an our. That made sixth period interesting. Found some new prospective friends in their. The former over-seer has left and now we have a different one. Which is frustrating just because I don’t know quite what to expect… and it didn’t help that by this point in the day I was calling Sophomores Freshman and Seniors Freshmen. Needless to say I was glad for the opportunity to shut up and sit in the glorious silence when we returned home.

Accelerated Math III goes without saying. We took a quiz filled with questions that required you not to over think things. I did alright. At least I ended up with one of my friends (who taught me Spanish for a long while Freshman year) in math with me.

The bell was a much asked for blessing when it did finally ring. I was out of my chair and flopped outside to wait for my mom in a heartbeat. I’m not ready for Monday. Not at all, really. But, this too shall pass.

And, again, I will survive. I mean, if today didn’t kill me, how bad can the rest of the year be?

In summation, the last 24 hours have been a blur. A really big blur. Junior? Yeah… that title means nothing. Other than the fact that we’ve done this 3 times instead of only one. Exciting stuff, really.

God help me not go completely insane… the world doesn’t need another psychopath running around.

On the Same Day…

Ezythri was more lost and confused than usual. As far as first days went, this one was good and bad. Something, she though, was missing. Something big. She wasn’t quite sure what it was. Maybe she should have worn her vest, but for some reason she hadn’t wanted to.

It had been cold enough today.

She was glad when the day was over. Just get it done. Just keep moving. There is little else that went through her mind. Just keep moving. Hopefully, her next assignment would be clear soon. She hoped it would be. High School was hard enough without something to keep her going.

There were a number of people she didn’t see around her anymore. Among them the Brit. That was unfortunate, she had decided. The Bego made many appearances throughout the day, but even her participation was limited.

Strange, Ezythri had thought, very strange indeed.

Sleep met her like a long forgotten friend that night. The nagging feeling of her lack of memory was reduced greatly. She prayed that night that her next mission would show itself soon.

She prayed that it would be successful.

And that, perhaps, she could be the Reaper for once instead of the Planter.

August 17, 2013

Silence. I wish so very much for silence. I started the day at 7:00 AM to get ready for a presentation to the watershed association of my area about my science fair project. It went well. Lots of questions. I would have been in so much over my head if my advisor had not been there to help. Truly, this is a strange world we live in.  I stayed after to attend the chemical training to become a certified Adopt-A-Stream volunteer. The test was harder than I had expected. I hope I passed it. It was raining the whole time. My board and other stuff got a bit wet, but that’s okay. Everything turned out for the best. I hope my advisor won’t mind the fact we used her testing kit since the trainer didn’t bring one… if she did, then it’ll just have to be okay. I may not tell her. Lord, that I could write something more coherent and flowery. I’m afraid I should save such things for Monday. Rode home with one of the volunteers. My mom wouldn’t pick up her phone and they didn’t want me to have to wait for my dad to get there alone. Left just after that to go eat dinner with friends we only see about once a year. Merry is certainly not as responsible when she is around other people. Finished off the day riding home. The rain almost lulled me to sleep. Rest did not visit me today. I doubt it will visit me tomorrow. There is altogether too much to do. God will be faithful, I know. I just wish it weren’t so hard these first few days.

On the Same Day…

I have nothing to say about this day other than the fact that I wore my vest but had no opportunity to use it. I wish I could have. Still no sign of my mission… no sign of anything really. I keep getting the feeling I’m in a dream and for some reason I can’t wake up. It is like I do not know myself at all…

-Ezythri

And I Will Never Be the Same