My First Novel

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After many failed attempts at trying to write a novel throughout the years, I truly believe God has now given me a story to write. And after over 16000 words so far, this story is taking form better than I could imagine.

The theme: Star Trek

My dream is to someday write a Christain novel or create a story entirely my own. However, as a beginning author who watches and reads A LOT of Star Trek, writing a story about a universe I already know, with characters that are already developed and unique, is a great place to start.

There is much left to write and many criteria I must follow in order for my novel to be approved and published by Pocket Books. Until then, here is a little introduction to the storyline:

Captain James T. Kirk and his crew are assigned a mission by Starfleet to find and capture Starfleet’s chief weapon’s designer, Brent Holster who went MIA during an investigation into an attack on a planetoid outpost just outside the Beta Quadrant. It isn’t long before Brent is discovered on a rather musical planet called Gerathia. An away team, led by Captian Kirk, ends in disaster as First Officer Spock and Brent are kidnapped by an unknown reptilian species during beam up.

The story then jumps between two perspectives, that of Captian Kirk, and Mr. Spock, who each face their own obstacles in not only returning Brent to Starfleet Headquarters safely but also in preventing a war with the Gorn, who had forced Brent to build/design weapons out of elements only found in the Beta Quadrant.

The Gorn. A species once shrouded in mystery makes their second appearance in Captian Kirk’s reality, bringing up memories and stirring up questions of Universal Morality.  Can a war truly be stopped in time? Is there any hope at reversing the damage that has been done? Will Captian Kirk again have to enter that dreaded arena and face the unknown where mercy may not be an option…this time.

To all the authors out there, I would love to hear how your publishing experience went and what steps were involved in the publishing process.

Thank you all, I will continue to keep you posted!

God Bless!

 

 

 

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Seasons

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By Rachel Sullivan

I can see the promise

I can see the future

You’re the God of seasons

I’m just in the winter

If all I know of harvest

Is that it’s worth my patience

Then if You’re not done working

God, I’m not done waiting

You can see my promise 

Even in the winter

Cause You’re the God of greatness

Even in a manger

For all I know of seasons

Is that You take Your time

You could have saved us in a second

Instead, you sent a child…

-Written December 2, 2017

Faith or Fear

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“The only antidote to fear is faith.”

-Woodrow Koll

Fear. It strikes your body like an electric shock, rooting you to the floor. Your heart jumps in your chest, your mind comprehends only the present moment, with no hope for the future.

How many times have I felt this fear?…strange as it may seem fear has different faces but its purpose is one, and one alone. To make you bow to another king, the king of this world. When we succumb to fear we put our faith in him.

Fear says, “I believe in the enemy,” Faith says, “I believe in God.”

You can’t serve two masters, and it has taken me many years to recognize what fear really is. It is a lie. A powerless entity that can only create the illusion of power, like how a bug in the light of a flashlight casts a huge shadow on the wall. I can believe in the shadow or I can, through the eyes of faith, find the small creature that it is and crush it underfoot.

What about the times when our fears became reality? Well, I’ve discovered that it is those who fear that receive what they fear the most. Those who have faith, receive peace and hope, life is seen through a wider lens. One that understands the brevity of life and also it’s great purpose and promised destination. Through this lens, suffering becomes a choice instead of a guarantee.

I’m not saying that life is always peachy for those who walk in faith, but if we truly lived like Christ, we would experience pain without truly suffering. It is like when a loved one dies who believed in Jesus, we experience pain at their loss, and yet we do not suffer for them because we have faith in where they are and that we will join them someday.

It takes practice, it takes spiritual growth to replace the lens of fear with faith. It takes believing that God is good all the time, no matter what we understand or experience in the moment. This assurance is the very foundation of Faith, without it, you can never trust in God’s Word, His Character, His promises, or His love. Would you put your faith in an enemy? a stranger? Never! and so God must become a friend and father to you. Only then can faith begin to form.

As a child, I ran to God like I ran to my parents whenever I was afraid. The only difference was that my parents could wrap their arms around me and turn on the lights, while God seemed like a silent and distant spectator. In fear, I no longer felt His presence, His peace and protection were drowned out by my emotions. And I was inexperienced in hearing and discerning His voice amidst the sea of others.

Now, I realize that He was more present than my sleeping parents, those late nights when monsters invaded my room, He was speaking over me, wrapping me in His love and lighting my world with His peace. While my parents slept and even when I woke them, they could hardly understand what I was feeling or experiencing in those dark nightmares, they didn’t know demons tormented me, longing to rob me of my identity.

Through the lens of faith, my entire past suddenly looks different, clarity replaces the times of uncertainty and fog. The lies of the devil unfold and I see the goodness of God waging war over my life. Taking back what power I relinquished to the devil. Awakening my destiny in Him.

Do I still have moments of fear? Yes, but I recognize them as a part of my dead self that must be cut away. They are now just obstacles for my growing faith to overcome, lies that I must strike down the moment they surface. You can feel fear, just never let fear control you. Never end with fear, always defeat it with the truth. When I am afraid, I read God’s Word and remind my Spirit who has the victory in this. Exercise your faith like a muscle and it will grow and in doing this, your fears will become weak.

I get it, I understand. Fear is difficult, it is the war within ourselves that is the hardest to defeat. Thank God, Jesus already defeated it! We just need to start living in that victory today.

Do you struggle with fear?

How do you overcome it?

 

 

 

Tools

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There is a tool for every job.

Some tools aren’t ideal for a specific task. I learned this the hard way when I started my business in repurposing antiques. Sometimes a hammer wouldn’t cut it, I needed a crowbar, or a drill bit was too small. I never imagined that I would need several different types of hand saws! Trips to Menards became a weekly venture. There is a tool for every job, and if you don’t have the right tool, your job can become that much harder, and sometimes impossible to accomplish.

Though I now know what tools I need to fix and build things in my shop, in my life I know that I still turn to the wrong tools to fix my problems.

The Bible is a toolbox full of every tool you will ever need, and yet how often do I utilize it? Can you imagine trying to fix a broken table with your bare hands, all the while a toolbox is sitting right beside you, untouched? It seems crazy and yet I am guilty of doing this quite often.

The point is, God created us to be dependant on Him and His Word. Our hands can only fix so much, God knew that we would need tools both in our physical lives and in our spiritual lives to get the job done and overcome obstacles.

There are even tools to combat demonic attacks such as anxiety or depression. I truly believe that anything that isn’t life-giving to the mind and body is from the enemy and that God has given us tools to combat every weapon satan has at his disposal. 2 Thessalonians 1:2 says,

“Our God gives you everything you need, and makes you everything you are to be.” 

Pretty straightforward, we have been given everything we need and God is shaping us, molding us into who we really are. Picasso was truly a great artist, and yet he needed a paintbrush. I’ve seen some amazing musicians in my time, and yet they all needed an instrument, a tool in which they could express their passion through. At work, I couldn’t do my job creating windows without tools and machines to assist me.

Even when we feel independant we are still dependant on something. That is by design, and the answer to our greatest needs can only be found in God. There isn’t a problem too great for Him, we can’t surprise Him with a new kind of problem. He’s never had to create a new tool just for you. Everything you need, everything your parents have needed, your grandparents, and great-grandparents etc. can be found in the pages of His Word.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” -Ecclesiastes 1:9

Once I realized I needed a specific tool for a task in my shop, the problem wasn’t fixed by simply buying the tool I needed. I had to learn how to use that tool, and that took time, practice, and trust.

I had to trust in the tool, that it was what I needed and it was me that had to adapt, to learn to use it properly. We must do the same thing with spiritual tools. Just reading positive Bible verses isn’t enough to break you out of depression, or help you overcome doubt, you need to steward those words, speak them over your life, believe that they are the tools you need and that they have power. You must depend upon His Word like you depend on the air to breathe.

No more counterfeit tools, we need the real deal. Why fight the symptoms when we can find a cure? God has freely given us what we need, and His heart is that you would make use of what He has given.

How to begin? Well, it may look like me running to Menards to buy new tools, you may have to ask God to point you in the right direction, maybe ask a pastor about where you should start in His Word. Find out what tool you need and grasp it! And never settle, never be content with partial change, don’t just fix one leg of a broken table, restore the whole thing!

God bless you all

 

 

 

 

Copycat Painting

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Have you spotted an image online that you would love to be able to paint? Maybe a favorite TV show or movie character for yourself or as a gift? If you are good at tracing and/or are a perfectionist, this form of painting will work for you. At least till you hone your creative skills.

Step 1:

Find an image, preferably something that is simple with definite lines/borders for tracing. I would steer clear of real images or paintings with a lot of fine details. Cartoons like this one below are the easiest to start with.

Once you have your image, expand it to the size you want on your laptop or computer screen, (if you have a printer, print away!). If you don’t have a printer, prepare to gently trace the image, never press hard against your screen! I just lay a thin paper on my laptop face and lightly trace all the lines inside and out of the image onto the sheet.

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(Here is the original image of Neiliel a.k.a Nel from Bleach)

Your trace should look like this with all the major components clearly copied.

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Step 2:

Here comes the tricky part, cutting out your traced image. The thing to remember here is to take your time, try not to skip over fingers and toes and do the best you can at keeping your cuts smooth.

Just focus on cutting out the image as a whole first. Follow the outer line. Once you do that, trace the image onto a canvas. You can use a pencil or pen depending on how you want to fix any mistakes that might occur. If you use a pen you can use white paint to cover up mistakes (assuming you are using a white canvas).

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Step 3:

Now it’s time to cut out the finer details. That means dissecting your whole image into traceable pieces. For example, I followed the line of her skull helmet, after cutting that out I traced it onto the canvas, lining it up with where it would be. I repeated this throughout the image, cutting along where her hair framed her face and tracing that, cutting out her eyes and tracing them, feet, fingers, arms etc. Till the image looked like the original traced upon the canvas. If you own an art projector you can avoid all that cutting!

Step 4:

It’s time to paint! This is the fun part, start by painting in all the base colors, don’t worry about shading. Try to stay within the lines, if you do overlap that isn’t a big deal, often you can thin the paint by drying your brush and then moving it over the line you had covered, the pen should show through and you can retrace it later.

I painted Nel piece by piece. It took two coats to cover the darker parts like her clothing and hair. After each piece was dry I then mixed a little black or brown into the paint to create a shaded hue for the wrinkles in her clothes, the shadows of her features etc. If shading doesn’t look smooth and natural, add a tiny drop of water to your mix. After that, I re-traced her lines with a thinly pointed marker.

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If you notice, the original painting added detailed shading lines to the skull helmet, I improvised by adding a darker hue and crisscrossing lines instead to create a broken cracked look to the skull, since Nel’s helmet was broken. You may need to add a touch of improvision to your image to substitute more diverse painting styles or details. In other words, the painting can be as detailed as you want it to be, you decide the stopping point.(I left out the extra details in her hair)

(My finished painting is at the top of the page)

That is how you copycat paint! if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below, I would love to see your paintings! 😃

Buried Treasure

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The Parable of the Talents 

(Matthew 25:14-30)

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a]and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 Now after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Lord detests buried treasure.

This parable isn’t just speaking about material treasure but spiritual treasure as well. Such as our spiritual gifts, talents, skills, words, dreams, and even our time and love. Bury any of these for long and just like the coins, they will tarnish and rust. And nothing can be gained or protected by such an act.

We are to be good stewards of everything God has given us, and that means investing and using what we have been blessed with so that we may bless others. In this way, we store up treasure in heaven that does not decay.

The honest truth is that there is no room for selfishness in heaven. What the Lord blesses us with isn’t for our benefit alone, but for the benefit of our brothers and sisters and those who will someday join our family. God loves all of us completely and uniquely and expects us to love each other the same way, even if we are imperfect at it.

Also, when God calls us to use a particular gift/blessing, He expects an immediate response from us. We can’t bury His commands, or postpone His call. For 2 John 1:6 says,

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.”

Our pastor’s kids were taught that when asked to do a chore, they were to do it “right away, all the way, and in a happy way.” They are older now, and yet they still can recite the phrase, and do so with honor. They are the most well behaved and happiest kids I know, and their relationship with their parents is something Dr. James Dobson would be proud of.

Obedience to God doesn’t look like a king commanding his slaves, but a father correcting and guiding his children. Trust in the Lord and His great love for you and understand what an honor it is to be entrusted with His gifts. We don’t have to do everything right and we don’t have to be the best, remember, the master was pleased with all the servants who multiplied His talents, equally.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but think of all the things I have to be thankful for. Even amidst a difficult time, I can still praise God. He has given me much, and I must ask myself what I’ve really done with what He has entrusted me with. Maybe if we truly learned to steward what we have first, then God would open new doors and pour out more blessings on our lives. Maybe instead of just being thankful in word, I should prove it in action.

This is just a conviction I feel, a message I need to hear. What if most of our prayers are within our ability to answer? We have been given the tools in the form of the Word and the Holy Spirit. I believe that we are just learning to access what Jesus paid for on the cross. In other words, we have more to be thankful for than we are even aware of. If I could see what all God has given me, the list would never stop!

I don’t know what you are feeling this Thanksgiving, I don’t know what you are going through, maybe you are broken like me? Maybe we are all just broken vessels, but that’s ok. I’ve seen that it’s often the broken vessels that God trusts with His heart.

So I challenge you, get alone with God this week. Thank Him for everything He has blessed you with and then ask for a glimpse of the things you haven’t yet discovered. The things you didn’t know you had been given. Write it down, thank God for it even if you don’t yet know how to access it. To me, God had opened my eyes to all the times He had protected me when I wasn’t aware. And that is only just one glimpse…God is always speaking, what does He want to tell you?

God bless all of you and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

True Strength

 

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 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

-Psalm 46:1-3

We have all longed for it. We even pay to see it. Sitting, eyes glued to the screen, tears rolling down our faces, watching as on the movie screen a soldier runs back into the battle to retrieve a fallen comrade. The moment a hero takes a bullet for someone he/she doesn’t even know. There is something beautiful about a person who can keep standing back up, a person who can take a punch and who smiles back at the enemy as though mocking. It’s like nothing can touch them, like they can’t die…even as they fall to the ground, and their heart beats its last.

We long for such strength, we compliment those who display it. A friend battling cancer, or someone standing strong in the face of great loss. We say things like, “I don’t know how you do it,” or “I wish I had that kind of strength.” Meanwhile, in the minds of those displaying it, the reply is, “I didn’t have a choice!”, or “I hope you never have to find out how strong you can be!”

Sometimes I compare my hardships to others, it’s wrong, I know…I listen to someone hurting and realize that they are only just discovering what pain is. They are only just discovering their strength to endure it. And then I find myself in moments when I’m face to face with someone who is going through unimaginable pain, who is a veteran in the area of strength and perseverance. I find myself speechless and think, “have I learned anything?” The truth is, without Jesus…I am weak.

I’ve gone back to the source of what makes someone strong…and that is Love. It is greater than hatred, it is more powerful than mere admiration or respect. The love you have for your children, your spouse, your family, and your closest friends is the kind of love I’m talking about. And you know what, even that love isn’t enough! And so we must depend on Love itself…God, who gave His Son for us, who died the most painful death one could have on the cross. He would have died just for you…

Strength, true strength is a promise. It is for everyone who believes In Jesus Christ and who loves Him. Satan may try and cloud that love through lies, he may attempt to place doubt in your heart and fear. But just as your love for your children can never be extinguished, so our love for Jesus remains our anchor. We have seen who He is, and He has displayed His goodness to us! 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us”, this assurance and trust forms a shield against satan’s lies. The Bible exists as a testament to God’s reckless love. It’s truly one big love story, the greatest one ever told.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. -John 3:16

True strength is only love put to action. Learn to love well…and you will be strong. Trust in the Lord and you won’t be afraid, let compassion consume you and you will stand back up, Love God and you will mirror His heart. As 1 Corinthians 13 reads;

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

THIS is the KEY to TRUE STRENGTH.