Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On the last 5 Julys of my life, Knee Pain, Roofing Tar and Zerubbabel and Me...

8 days.

I leave for San Jose, Costa Rica in 8 days. It is starting to set in. I am beginning to be really, really, really, really (...continuing forever reallys...) excited.

Since I was 14 years old I have been on 6 mission trips. *Crazy huh? In 2005 I went on my first trip, with Merge Ahead, to Temuco, Chile and helped to finish the building of a Church for the Mapuche Indians. It was a team of around 50 people and I was young, totally clueless about missions (and a lot of stuff...) and further away from home than I had ever been. And it was cold, rainy and hopelessly muddy like...the entire time. But I loved it. I fell in love with South America and the beautiful people there. The Mapuche are pretty much the greatest people on the planet. I have never again encountered such loving people; they have next to nothing, but it doesn't show in their unending generosity and joy.

*oh, hello ridiculously awkward 14 year old Bella wearin' a flame hat...
Putting up a fence next to the keep the sheep and cows out of the house of God...

2006 I went to Morelia, Mexico, again with Merge. Smaller team, totally different mission. A sports camp/VBS, helping at a conference, hanging out with kids in an orphanage just lovin' on them, and lots of church visiting.
*still very awkward 15 year old me, with a translator.
Giving a morning devotional teaching before we spent the day playing soccer at the sports camp.

2007/2008 I went with a team, associated with Mission to the World, to Fairmont, West Virginia. We did construction/work on houses and also ran a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in the mornings.
*Hi, 16 year old Bella, who roofed almost all week.

*I love working. Being dirty and sweaty after gettin' the job done is like the best feeling in the world

17 year old me *...look, it has been a year but I am still wearing the SAME shirt! That shirt will get its own blog post some day...* once again on a roof of West Virginia. Me and those 6 guys became the "dream roofing team."

Last year was complicated. I was in Costa Rica AND West Virginia. Back to back. 17 days of missions work. Got home at 2am Saturday morning from Costa Rica and left at 6 am the same morning for West Virginia. Holy. Insanity. Batman.

Costa Rica was intense. We ran a conference at a masssssive church (going back, baby!) in the center of San Jose. We traveled to some of the 28 churches associated with that church and did ministry there. We went out on the streets and did dramas/dances and then prayed for people. We saw some crazy healings and salvations. And then at the end of it all, on our day off, we bungee jumped of a 265 foot bridge.
And I get to be part of that again this year!!!!!!! (...minus bungee...)

Then it was straight off to Fairmont to roof some more (we don't just roof. Tons of painting, frequent deck renovations, dry wall, flooring, drain digging, etc... I just happen to be a team member who actually knows how, so they stick me on roofs frequently.). I discovered then that I liked good, old shingles over the tar and roll- roofing I used that week on a flat top roof. Tar is a tedious beast...


*praying for people on the streets of San Jose

*doing dramas, both in and outside of churches.

*puppets to christian (Spanish) kids songs

*Me and my boy Quixote. I have a strange attachment to this puppet...working with puppets absolutely KILLLLS my bad knees but, the kids are worth it.

*dirty hands of me (with bungee cord bracelet!), my friend Nathan, and our leader Bill, after pulling up ancient really dirty, really rusty tin roofing.

*what is sticky, stinky and hot enough to melt your skin off? ROOFING TAR.

So that is a little taste of what I have done with my life for the last 5 years in the month of July. And I am about to do some of it again.

Costa Rica this year involves another conference at the big church, Kingdom Takers, working with their youth group (of like 6,000 kids), more ministry at their smaller churches, a VBS, tons of street ministry and whatever else is thrown at us. 

No mission trip is ever the same and no matter what you prepare for there is always something that comes as an unexpected curve ball. And I think that is one of the reasons missions is so cool: you can't ever get good enough to do it on your own, in your own strengths and talents. You can never have enough prep meetings so that when you get there you actually know what is going on. You have nothing to give the people that is of any lasting value. And you can pretty much never make it to the end of the week without wanting to fall over with exhaustion or at least take out your frustration on some people.


And what is really amazing is that He always shows up and comes through for us. Some Christian youth traveling the world and painting houses or doing some nice little dramas and puppets is great. But it is totally pointless without God. I always pray that, at the end of the week or 10 days, people don't remember me, but that they instead remember God and how He touched them with His great, unfailing, never ending love through some random kid from CT. That right there is life changing. And not because of anything I did, other than be obedient.

That is what it is all about. My life verse is Zechariah 4:6.

 "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, 'Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty.

I try and read it every day to remind myself to not try and do things in my own strengths. It is written on a sticky note on my desk. It is written on the floor boards under my rug, under my desk. And in all three places where it says "Zerubbabel" I have put a line through that and written in "Bella".
That verse doesn't stop applying to me when I am on missions trip; if anything it applies MORE.

And I cannot wait to be back in San Jose to see what God is going to use me and my team to do this time! I am only 8 days, what feels like endless practice meetings, 3 Sunday services of people praying for us, and 1 needing-to-be-packed suitcase away from it. I seriously cannot wait!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oh yeah, I have a blog.../quote-ables

Sorry I have been a little neglectful with the blogging lately. I may or may not have replaced times I would have spent blogging with soccer...*England is out, guys and I'm pretty heartbroken. They went out yesterday morning. 4:1 loss to Germany.

Today's post isn't exactly going to be made up of any quotes...unless you consider website links something to quote...

I want to share with you a couple sites you might want to check out and maybe even become involved with.

#1. Impact Nations is the ministry of Steve and Christina Stewart, who just so happened to come to my church yesterday and minister in our services. They are amazing people who are truly living out their faith in Jesus Christ. They aren't just Christians, they are REAL, LIVE Christ- followers. They bring the love of Christ and the Kindgom of God all over the world (they have currently 52 projects world-wide, where they do things like run medical clinics and install clean water filtration systems. They minister to the poor and downtrodden. And they see salvations and healings like CRAZY.) So, check out their site. That is what the Kingdom of God LOOKS like. And it is beautiful!

#2. After the 3 morning services at my Church I went over to a smoothie place (Emerald City Smoothie) run my a young man from our youth group to get a Mango Mania smoothie. I do that frequently but yesterday was a special occasion. 2 other guys from our youth group had arranged to have 10% of that days smoothie profits go to Love 146 ( ), an organization working to end child sex trafficking around the world. Our youth group learned about Rob Morris and his organization at the Awakening Youth Conference a couple months back and since then lots of our youth have been getting involved and doing different things to fund raise towards this cause. You NEED to check out their site as well. Watch this video and you'll forever be messed up.

#3. This is the final website I wish to share with you. In case you forgot, Merge Ahead is the youth group at my church that I keep mentioning. And also if you forgot, I am going with them to Costa Rica in...11 days! That link will take you to our mission's site. Check out pictures from last year's Costa Rica trip (look for me! I'm the one with long hair and glasses!) or maybe even consider donating to my trip this year (I'll show up as Bella, not Isabella). Still a bit of fundraising left to do (and don't forget about my etsy/artfire shops!)...  but please, definitely be praying for my team and I! And remember, for the 10 days I'll be gone you can check that site and follow along with my team. We daily posts pictures (some taken by me! ), video testimonies, and written recaps of what is going on (written by me!). Check it out and take part in what will soon be going on in my life! I'm so excited to be going back again! Thanks!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One Last Shot.

....and we're back!!! Long and busy week, but now I'm coming back attcha, Bloglandria!

The latest in World Cup news: England is playing again.

Tomorrow. 10 am, my time (sadly, I will be at work and missing the game. AHHH!!!) Hopefully this time they

The Friday game was...just horrendous. I was all dressed up, decked out in my England-pride gear, even painted my face, and then they played like FAILLLLLUREEES.
...look at me (I'm glowing strangely blue...?) with my awesome painted face. I also turned the 3 kids I was watching into Brit fans and got them to paint little flags on their cheeks! YEAAAHHH!  
{Technically my face should have been white with a red cross but the paint was soooooo itchy! Maybe they would have won if I had gone ALLLL out and put up with the itching.............}

This doesn't capture the full glory of me in my Brit flag (hand done!) t-shirt over a red and white tank top, red and white sweater, red skinny pants with ENGLAND belt, and even flag SOCKS! If it is worth doing it is worth over doing...or so I've been told.

oh yes that is right, I painted the flag on my nails! Sooooooo cool!

England is the 8th best team in the world, and they were among the favorites to win it all. But they sure didn't play like it last week. It was their coach's birthday and they couldn't even manage to give him a happy one. The players were not communicating. Not being aggressive. Not doing anything that they usually do. The star players must have forgotten that they were star players or something... It was almost heartbreaking! Rooney is known to do awesome things and...he didn't. Gerrard is supposed to be the captain but...he didn't play like it. The only team member who really delivered was goalie David James (Side note: my cat Tobin James has been renamed. His new name is Tobin David James. In case you wanted to know...). Poor injured David Beckham was on the sides raising his eyebrows and throwing his hands in the air. England's princes were sitting in the crowd with their arms crossed and faces grouchy-looking. The fans were boo-ing louder than the Algerian fan's horns.

It was a game that put me on the edge of my seat and sent me into a lot of screaming/arm flailing at the television. Their chances of advancing out of their group is now very small. Slovenia is in the lead with 4 points. But if USA and England (each 2 points currently) win their matches tomorrow they would both advance. Or at least one of them along with Slovenia. Time will tell... (If neither England, my team, or USA, my homeland, advance I've decided I'm going to be Argentinian. They play beautiful as a team...but are a little weak on defense.)

So my team did awful. But I still love them. I will still support them in this next game. I will still wear all my England t-shirts ( and jerseys...hoodies...socks...belts...hats...) with pride.

I just sure hope they step it up this time so I don't have to cry..........


So is USA! See ya later Algeria and Slovenia!
Good work, my people, good work!
Now they advance to the next match up of the remaining 16 teams. England is going to have to play either Germany, Ghana, or Serbia (deciding games in play right now) and IF they win that stage they play ARGENTINA in the quarter final.
Which would be very stressful, as I would have a hard time knowing who to cheer for... Argentina is my second fave. But I know where my loyalties lie.
Oh well, I at least won't have to watch them lose to Portugal-Cristiano Ronaldo, evilest of evils- again like I did four years ago. That was torture.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All Dressed Up with Everywhere To Go...

After I did the post about me and the 22nd birthday tutu adventure I realized what a costume addict I am.
 I have concluded I cannot and will not turn down any opportunity for which I can dress weird. Somewhere in me there is still a kid that wants to play dress-up and I seem to be unable to control her.

**(I blame/thank my mom who let me wear whatever I wanted as a kid. Didn't do Halloween, but she let me dress as whatever I wanted all other days of the year.)
Just look at me in all my fashionable childhood glory...**

Parties, fairs, performances, no reason at all. I am unleashing my craziness on the world through the means of my wardrobe. And I have pictures to prove this...

Shakespearean acting. This was 2008, King Lear. I was Goneril, which by the way, was a fantastic part. Not only did I get to not DRESS like me, I got to act unlike me.

This one was a couple weeks ago. I was supposed to be helping my friend buy a costume for an upcoming dance recital (Michael Jackon's Thriller...). We found said costume, and that is not it. That is us messin' around with bizarre clothing. We found some fantastic rain pants ("Lets buy them and wear them on our Costa Rica trip!!!!") and then some fantastically hideous tops to match. We decided that we are BOTH the Fresh Prince(sses) of Bel-Air. Or something.

Shakespeare 2007. Love's Labours Lost. Rosaline. She was fun, but not as fun as Goneril.
And in 2006 I played the fool. Literally. Launce of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Super Hero Theme Night with MergeKids (my church's children's ministry). We leaders dressed as made up and real superheroes.  And oh yes, you had better be believin' I can do a full, flat out split!

This...well...I can't really explain this. But it may or may not have involved Buddy the Elf, several Luchadors, maple syrup, stretchy pants, Rave Dancing, a photo shoot and The ChaCha Slide. Lets just not talk about this...

3-D Movie glasses. Which we punches the lenses out of and wore out to eat after the movie...

"Lets find the ugliest clothes in the store and try them on!!!!"
We do this a lot. These are our outfits for when we join the circus.

Renaissance Faire. Oh heck yeah. I will take ANY opportunity to wear my pirate ensemble publicly.
*I can't find the one of me in a "medieval wench" costume playing an electric guitar. That one is really special.*

Shepherd boy David and Joseph from the Bible. It was for children...

 The other occasion on which I wore the tutu. Emily was going to a banquet and was all dressed up and gorgeous. I was hanging out with her before hand and raided her closet for some more dressy attire...such as a tutu.

Yup. It's official. I love costumes. A lot a lot. Give me a reason, any reason, big or small, and I'll find a way to play dress-up.

**there will be very little bloggin' going on for the rest of the week. I am going to be house/kid sitting for some of my favorite people in the whole world. See you all on Monday.

**ps: England is playing again on Friday!!!!! I am going all out and wearing every piece of flag-bearing clothing possible. And I have a LOT. Pictures will commemorate this experience.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eco-friendly tomfoolery...

Guess what I'm making now?

A crocheted bag. Of bags. Plastic bags.

Yes. That ugly mess up there is my attempt at saving polar bears, the ozone, whales, small shrubs, pelicans, and...what not (*pardon me as I roll my eyes. Welcome to America, where we save animals and trees and kill babies...*) all while being creative.

While I was in Vermont a couple weekends ago I saw a bag crocheted out of plastic bags in a cute little artsy/handmade stuff store. I could do that, I thought to myself. The only reason I thought to try it was because...I hadn't before. I am always looking for new things to try, just to add to my list of "have dones." Making something out of shredded plastic bags had not yet found its way onto my list, so I went home and began.

The bag is going to be 2 big front and back panels, and 2 small rectangular panels for the sides and bottom. All attatched together with 'yarn' made of black garbage bags. But this could very well take me the rest of my life! I have been cutting up bags, into like 3/4 of an inch strips, and tying them together to form a yarn ball *all the ugly ends will disappear later*. The one front panel I have done is about 14 inches tall and 15 inches wide. And that had taken me about 25 bags. And now I'm out...

Not to mention it is slow going, crocheting out of stretchy, thin plastic. But once you get it together it is really dense. And sort of ...crunchy... and weird. Hmmmm...

I have no idea what I am going to do with this when I am done. Take it shopping and never take a store's bags again? Or...I will...go to patriotic events (it is all red, white and blue...) and...put stuff in it? Like...watermelons and apple pie...

Basically I am just going to use it for the conversations it will start...

"Uhhhh, WHAT IS that crunchy mess you have over your shoulder"
"Oh well, this is my special bags bag. Don't you want one?!"
", thanks. I don't think I can handle anything that... special."

I'll be sure and post pictures when I am done...if it isn't 300 years from now... Ugh. I need more bags!

**(disclaimer: I care about the environment. I care about God's earth and what we've done to it. I am a person who loves nature and animals immensely.  I just think people have their priorities waaaay out of whack when fluffy critters come before human beings...)**

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Moment we've all been waiting for...

...And by "we" I mostly just mean you should flip that "w" over and make it "ME"...

Today is June 11th, 2010. Does that date have any significance to you? DOES TO ME!

TODAY THE WORLD CUP STARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You may remember back in the winter I went all fanatic about the Vancouver Olympic games? Now imagine how excited I was then and times it by like...maybe six...and that is what I am right now! Like the winter olympics, the World Cup only comes around every four years, and when it does, I GO CRAAAAZZZZY.

I love soccer (futbol...). I think, as an American, I am supposed to like football and baseball and stuff... but I don't. Football is cool and all, but FUTBOL, now that is the stuff!

Tonight the FIFA World Cup kicks (no pun intended, really) off in South Africa. I have a highlighted schedule hanging on the side of my new file cabinet. I have the FIFA site shortcutted on my desktop. I'm READY.

 First game is South Africa vs. Mexico. 32 teams. And a month from now the two remaining teams will face off in the final.

My money (okay, not real money.) is on England. Okay, I could be a good American and route for USA but...let's face it, they won't win. England very well could (they haven't since 1966, but this time I think they may. They'll at least be in the final four. Hopefully the final two. Perferably THE final winner). Some of the team's best players are out injured but they still stand a chance. A big one. If they win I will...I don't even know what I'll do. I will be going INSAAAANE. (unfortunately, I will be in Costa Rica for the final. {weird, last time I was in Mexico...} So my team will have to deal with me freaking out there. The guys at the church, Kingdom Takers, will no doubt be able to tell me what is going on. Costa Ricans love soccer too. So we can freak out together!! I am actually sorta excited for this culture shift in which the craziness will be taking place. I will actually be experiencing soccer with people who CARE about it. WHOA!!!!).

I am a true Brit at heart. Born and raised in the USA (...and may or may not be singing Bruce Springsteen at this point...), Italian and Hungarian for the most part, but there is a little, bitty part of me that is British and that part shines through in times such as these. My team is gunna kick some butt. And I'm pretty amped up about it. I will be spending a lot of time screaming at my 'telly' during the next month. (most of my screaming when England plays tends to be aimed at Peter Crouch. He is the tall guy who heads stuff like all the time and frequently misses shots on goal. And I think he is part stork, but that is another story...) And I might be sportin' my England-related garb during important games, just like a real fan. I might even paint my face with the red cross, tie my Union Jack around my neck and round around my neighborhood...maybe...just to say I did it. And to take pictures...'cause y'all know you want to see that.

Now what will be reaaaaallly interesting is tomorrow when my team (which we have identified as England) country...USA. Sorry, but I will not be acting very patriotic. I love America and all but...England ALL THE WAAAAAAAAY!

**and yes, in case you are wondering, there are some changes on my blog. This morning I made the mistake of messin' with Blogger's new template designer and I jacked up everything and then basically had to recreate my blog from scratch. It was blue, then it had orange text and the words were all over the place and...disaster. And it is still wrong. I dislike the white text, but until I can get things realigned like they were, it is staying white, so you can actually like...READ it. Blarg.**

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Step aside, Jackson Polleck, Bella's taking over...

I love splatter painting. I absolutely love it. Some things in life just always make me happy (walking in the rain, random dancing, the smell of coffee, certain songs) and splatter painting is among them. Usually I am painting props and backdrops for my church's Youth/Kid's ministry, but if given the opportunity to do my art elsewhere, I'll take it. Any flat surface'll do.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had been looking for a file cabinet in which to...file things. As usual, Yahweh provided just what I needed.

You see that? Yup, it says free. And you want to guess what it is? Whoa, that is RIGHT, a FILE CABINET!!!!!!
When at my family's cabin in Vermont for a long weekend, we found this baby at a tag sale. And strangely enough, the guy didn't want any money for it. Little rusty in places, and one side was a tad dinged up, but FREE? Really? All the other ones (even used) were $50 and up. Oh for SURE I will take one for free!!!!! We stuffed it in the back of my Durango and brought it back to Connecticut.

Before picture. Required a bit of sanding and some tricky taping off. Also, I fought a small battle, armed with "Goo-be-Gone" and a rag, against that sticker, but before long I had her all ready for paint. Red paint.

High gloss, candy apple red, metal paint. 2 cans. My arm actually hurt when I got done from holding the nozzle down. And my hands were a weird pinky color.

Hello beautifulness, my name is Bella.
*tape still on. No, I did not paint the handles... I'm way more pro than that!*

Do you guys see that thing? How awesome is it?! I don't know if anyone else is as excited as I am, but... this is seriously the most amazing piece of metal ever. I bet even THE Jackson Polleck never had a storage/filing system as cool as this one!

I adore it. Not only do I now have a place to store things, I have a place to store things that is red, splattery and hotter than wasabi. ANNNND it is metal so I can magnet things on the side! It is right next to my bed, so when I wake up the first thing I see is my crazy, highlighted calendar stuck up on the side of it.
**And in case you read the other post and are wondering, no, I haven't gotten magnetic words yet. But I assure you, I will.**

Yeah, that is right, you should now be feeling jealous. Take it easy, that is a sin.

Anybody else want one? Like I said before, I will take any chance I get to stick my hand into a paint can and spread the drips around in an artful manner. And I may or may not have signed my name on the back of it...could be worth millions some day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Story from the Archives.

I was recently going through a bunch of my writing materials and rearranging them throughout my room/desk/shelves/closets/life. One of the key pieces in all that I write is a ginormous black, spiral notebook. It is unmarked, undecorated, very much unlike all of my other notebooks. Nothing's glued to it and there are no words written on the front. It is the 5 subject kind, with pockets galour. And in it is...everything. Notes. Drawings. Random musings. Outlines. Character sketches. Stories. Stuff I printed off the Internet. Articles I hack out of new papers. Sticky notes. Quotes. Research. More musings.

Quite literally, when it comes to my writing, everything besides the actual manuscripts.

Today, on a tea break in between novel manuscript edits (*those happen when I am sick of staring at my computer screen and the words I have written on it and decide I need some hot, caffeine-filled liquid. Today's choice: Pomegranate infused black tea, no sugar, just a bit of milk*), I was flipping through that notebook and came across a pencil-written, short story which I apparently (according to the date in the right hand corner of the first page) wrote last May in my cabin in Vermont (also according to the first page). I very vaguely recall writing it... The title I gave it was "The House of Windows."

It's ...really weird. Not my normal writing style, not even my normal genre. And 'holy intentional sentence fragments, Batman!' I think Strunk and White and all the middle school grammar teachers of the world would faint if they read it.  I have to confess, I love choppy, short, fragmenty sentence structures (has anyone noticed?). Not all the time, but I'm not ever really against it. In the right amount, at the right time, I find short sentences- even fragments- to be very exciting. For the most part I try and control this, otherwise no one would ever want to read anything I've written, but...looks like on May 24th, 2009 my control slipped.

Not sure what prompted my writing of this, or what was going on in my head, but I have a foggy memory of that being a weekend on which I was reading some Ray Bradbury (I love him, but boy, does he write odd stuff)... that generally brings the inner (...just barely...) weirdness out of me.

So take a looksy. Don't know what will become of this story (especially as I am still not sure of where it even came FROM). Just thought I'd share.

Transparent is what it was. Clear before the entire world of onlookers who daily passed by. It was a house like no one had seen and they all thought that they saw right through it.

Smack-dab on the corner, where one lonely road met one slightly more homey, sat the house. Unlike every other house in the little town, just south of where populations were more than two digits, this house was different.

“Downright unnatural. Unearthly.” speculates a little blue-haired lady on her rocker, atop her paint-chipping porch. “It just showed up one day. Us folks went to bed and when we woke up, there sat that monster, glinting in the rising sun. Definitely unnatural. I don’t like the looks of it, so I try and not look.”

“I try and steer clear of it” says a man whose eyes are on the ground and thumbs are tucked in the pockets of his dirty-kneed dungarees. “Ain’t right. First I thought it was a…greenhouse of sorts, you know, with all that glass like that. But no plants livin’ in there, no plants whatsoever.”

Yes, the house was far from a place to cultivate greenery. It was the house of windows. All windows.

Every square inch of the transparent house on the corner was made of windows. Windows of every type. Boxed-paned windows, framed out in white; big, modern windows with extra thick and perfect glass; peep-hold sized windows; grands ones that looked like they belonged in a cathedral, and one large bay window to the left of the swinging glass pane that was the door. It was as though someone had raided a salvage yard and pieced together the house in effect.

No one could explain it, and nobody dared ask at the door. No one even came within a hundred feet of it. They’d just sit their on their porches, scratching their graying heads, unable to think of a reason why the odd folks inside would have wanted to build it.

“It gives our town a bad name…” mumbles a man, too busy to talk as he swings a hoe between rows of dirt.

“Who would want to live in a glass box?” says a fine little lady, snapping the ends off of an apron full of green beans, on her front door step. “Everyone can just look into their business. It is like they live in a fancy department store window or somethin’. Do folks do that these days? If so, we want nothing of it. Let them keep their business to themselves. That’s the decent way of living life.”

But apparently the folks in the house of windows were okay with leaving their “business” for the others to see.

“Enigmatic is what it is.” says a gentleman latching tight his barn door, and giving the lock an extra tug. “Don’t know why it is they chose to live that way, but I am not gunna be the one to find out.”

Enigmatic indeed, living in a box of pieced together window panes, transparent before everyone, surrounded by walls, of sorts, but walls clear enough to be seen through, if someone wanted to be brave enough to look.

But no one really wants to get close enough to look. Nobody wants to dare to get close enough to find out what it is all about. Too unearthly. Much too out of the ordinary. People of the town like their houses, with walls no one can see through. Sure, they like to share their business, just as much as the next person, as that is what small towns do, but only when and how they want to.

So they leave them be. They let the enigma of that house go untouched. They leave the riddle unsolved. People like enigmas, though mostly they just like to make up their own answers when they can’t seem to solve them. It is always easier that way.

No one really wants to know what it would truly be like to get to know those people who live in the house of windows. Gettin’ to know is just funny like that, most times. It takes too much vulnerability. And vulnerability, like a glass window pane, always has two sides.
**ps: this is today's second post. Check out the first one, also writing related.**


Lately I've been thinking a lot about my life. I've been thinking about things like my vocation, my calling, and my purpose. I've been thinking about what I am going to do with my life in the future and what I am supposed to do with it at this current stage.

I know God has put a big calling on my life. I know what I am supposed to do: write. Write books for unchurched, non christian young adults. Books that are different from the rest of the ...garbage... made available to them in the "Young Adult" section at your local bookstore. I'm a strong, passionate, Bible-believing Christian, who could easily write books which could sell in the young adult section of the local Christian bookstore. But that is not what I am supposed to do.

When I tell people I know that I'm not looking to send out my book to Christian publishing houses, but SECULAR ones, they look at me funny. Aren't I the kid who grew up in church, raised in a godly family? Aren't I that kid behind the keyboard on Sunday mornings? Yup, that's me.

In Mark 2:17 Jesus says "it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick." That is one of my life verses. Middle/High School kids are already bombarded with so much junk. The media is already trying to destroy them. Teens are confused, broken, and lost, trying to find their way through a world of hopelessness. Trying to somehow fill a void in themselves that only Jesus Christ can fill. These kids, they are the future of our world. And they are the sick. Jesus often used stories to communicate His love and the truth of His Kingdom. I intend to do that too.

There are plenty of Christian books for good, little church kids who specialize in being "not of the world." But my Jesus said to be in the world, and not of it. You can't change the world from inside the safety of your church. Or from inside your Christian bookstore. I will have a hard time reaching the sick from the shelf of a store that nonchristians don't set foot in. (I could keep going here for quite some time. I am pretty passionate about this topic, but...that is another post.) And there are lots of GOOD Christian fiction books out there too, but those just aren't what I am supposed to write.

When I walk into a book store, there are plenty -too many- secular books out there for teens, presenting all sorts of options for their lives, blurring evil into good, giving them all sorts of ideas on how to try to fill that void that they cannot. Those are not the books I will be writing.

What I write is/and will be Christian, not because of a sticker on the side of the book, who published it, or the place it is filed in the store, but because of who I am. I am not going to be a Christian writer, but instead a writer who is undeniably Christian. I was created to glorify God in all that I do, including my career. Christian isn't my religion or what I do on Sunday. It is who I am. The ultimate purpose of my life is to be a follower of Jesus. Everything in my life is to stem out of my love for my Savior. My career, what I write, is to reflect that.

My goal is to reach the sick. My purpose is to point the hopeless towards The Hope. My calling is to change the lost and dying world with the help of Him who changed me. That is what I was made for.

I am currently reading a book  called "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. I've blogged about Shane and his books before. He is a Nonfiction, Christian writer with a great sense of humor and a straightforward, non sugar-coating style. He is personal favorite of mine. In this book he talks about his personal experiences of working with Mother Theresa and starting his own organization known as The Simple Way. The overall theme of the book is discovering what it looks like to be a TRUE follower of Jesus and how to live as Jesus did.

In chapter 4, titled "When Comfort Becomes Uncomfortable" he goes into talking about careers, callings and vocations. Here is some of what he has to say on the matter...

"...and folks were asking me what I was going to do when I graduated from college. People always want to define you by what you do. I started saying "I'm not too concerned with what I am going to do. I am more interested in who I am becoming. I want to be a lover of God and people."
I was convinced that what we do it not nearly as important as who we are. The question is not whether you will be a doctor or a lawyer, but what kind of doctor of lawyer you will be. What would twenty-year-old Jesus have said if they asked him "What are you going to do when you grow up?" I don't know, maybe something like "I am going to turn the world upside-down. I am going to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors until people kill me.""
I agree. At the end of my life, when I have died and am standing before my Heavenly Father, he is not going to be so very concerned with what college degree I have. Or the publishing house that is associated with what I wrote. Or where they sold it. Or how many sold. What will matter will be how I served Him.  If I loved the people He loved enough to send His son to save. And what I did with the life He gave me and if I used it to bring Him glory.
When I meet Him face to face I don't want to hear  "well done, Isabella Kiss, you published _x-number_ of books and got a degree in ___". I don't want to hear "Well done, good and faithful writer of American Fiction and Youth Literature." or "Well done, famous author."

The words I want to hear are "Well done, good and faithful SERVANT."

So I will be an author. I will write. I will use written words to reach the people He died to save, those who are still hopeless and lost. And I will do it all to serve him and bring him glory. THAT is what I am made to do.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Muffalatta Madness.

In my last post I told you about my early morning adventures with a whackadoodle bird I named Muffalatta.

Weeeelllll...the adventure is still going strong.

Muffalatta Bottomless-Steak-Fries Crazy-Head(anything/anyone that sticks around my house long enough gets named, renamed, and then nicknamed very quickly) "Muffa" for short,  has become my new alarm clock.

5:28. 5:32. 5:33. The last three days he has been pretty timely with his wake up call routine. Shows up around 5:30 and then he continues on usually until around 9:00 am (but one day he came intermittently up until 4:00 pm)...I'm telling you, this bird is CRAZY.

He flies up, lands on the window and then begins to *PECK,* like a a woodpecker, only...he is a Robin and my window is glass...

Very,very strange. I have come up with a couple of options as to why this is happening. Here tis;

a) He is just insane. Seriously. I don't know where he came from, or what caused this but...HE CRAZY!

b) He sees his reflection and is trying to...protect his territory or something...? Possible, I guess. But I tried several things to cover up the window, or put scary looking things in it to ward him off but...nope. He keeps coming. And as of when are robins territorial? And also, why did he just decide to do this? I've lived in this house for over 4 years and in this room since February...WHY NOW? Where has this bird been and why has be started this tomfoolery NOW?

c) He wants to come live with me. I'm a Kiss (my mom's side of the family). I like nature and nature (generally) likes me. I've always wanted a bird and for a long time I considered becoming a licensed rehabilitator so I could have big, bad, carnivorous things like falcons, ravens and hawks in my care. A pirate with something a little more menacing than a parrot...
Though a robin might eat live worms, I never, ever, ever, ever pictured a robin on my list of critters I'd  like to have...maybe Muffalatta is trying to change my mind? He keeps this up, I might seriously let him in. Though the cat Tobin desperately wants to eat him, Muffa doesn't seem to mind too much. Tobin keeps launching himself into the window -knocking down all sorts of things on my desk- during the pecking routine and Muffa just keeps coming back. (As I am writing this Tobin is standing up behind my computer screen quietly meowing and flicking his tail -into my line of vision- with great anticipation...)

d) God wants me to get up at 5:30... This is possible, I guess. Back when I was 11 (I was a really odd kid from like age 10 up until...maybe 15/16...or now...or I still am...) my normal wake up time was somewhere in between 4:30 and 6:00 am (I wanted to get up, read my Bible and then do art projects before school...?). I'm not quite that crazy any more and I only get up that early if I have to. But Muffa is messing my sleep schedule all up. Or God is intervening? God used birds in the Bible so maybe Muffa has been commissioned to get me out of bed at the butt-crack of dawn? I try and go back to sleep, but he keeps coming back every few minutes and pecking incessantly on the might just give up on sleeping past 6:00 very, very soon.

This whole thing is just craziness. What I thought was a one-time, weird experience that would make a cute video and blog post has turned into...I'm still not really sure what this is. Still deciding. Open to your opinions (a? b? c? d? all the above? none of the above?).

I would mostly just like to know how long this is going to last so I can start going to bed earlier and drinking even stronger coffee when I wake up. Or train Tobin to like birds...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wake up call by way of sandwiches and birds...

This morning I woke up at 5:52. That for me is a little unusual. On most days I am up around 7:30/8:00 (save for Sundays when I am up at 5:30. Worship team sound check at 7:00...) But this morning sleeping past 6:00 wasn't going to happen. Why?


What? A ginormous sandwich (...filled with meat...) kept you (... a vegetarian...) from sleeping in?
Well, no, not exactly. It wasn't a muffalatta sandwich that woke me up, but a bird, who I named Muffalatta. (just because it was the first thing to come to mind...)

This is he.
Craziest bird I have ever met. And he and I are pretty well acquainted at this point. I talked to him about 13 times this morning.

5:52 am my sister is saying "a suicidal bird keeps flying into our window!"
I sit up. There is indeed a crazy bird on my window sill. A robin. He is beating my window with his wings and pecking at it quite furiously with his beak. I get up and ask him what his problem is. He doesn't at all care that I am two inches from him, separated only by glass. Soon he flies off into a near by tree. I get back into bed thinking "hmmm. weird." I intended to go back to sleep...

But 2 minutes later he is back. And he isn't suicidally flying INTO the window. He flies up to it, quite gracefully, lands on the sill, and then begins flippin' out again.
 I get up and look at my desk (which is up against the window he is on) trying to figure out if there is something he wants, or something that is upsetting him. I move the metal silhouette of a raven/crow (I have a thing for ravens.  I have a metal one on my desk because live ones in my room aren't permitted by law. His name is Cornix Astrum if you care...) thinking maybe this robin THINKS he is a blue jay and wants to attack my raven (blue jays taunt big birds...). I thought maybe if I removed the fake raven, the robin would be able to chill himself out. Nope.

He leaves. And he comes back. Over and over again.

Now, I assure you, this bird looks healthy and sane, as far as birds go. Plump and pleasant looking. Not old. Not sickly. Nice looking feathers and bright eyes. I've seen sick birds and this wasn't one. This was just a trouble making, loco bird.
It was a male, so he wasn't trying to take anything off my desk to make a nest, and it isn't trying to protect its young. I promise you, there were no worms on my desk. And I don't think it was because of his reflection...
So I still have no clue what his problem was. He just kept coming back, pecking at the glass, and being a spaz.

So my only conclusion was he wanted to come in and live with me.

"Lacianna, I am about to open the window and let that thing in here, just to see what it is he wants."
"No, you're not. And he will fly right into the ceiling fan."
"Nope. I'd turn it off first. Maybe he wants to be my pet chipmunk. Only one way to find out..."

**fear not, I did not let a bird in my room. Mostly because my cat would have eaten him. If I didn't have three cats, I might have tried it...**

Muffalatta the crazy robin from MyNameisNotKing on Vimeo.

*sorry it is fuzzy. I was taking it from my bed and the zoom on my camera is not so awesome...


Related Posts with Thumbnails