Not Just Another Night

by Ariel J

It is not a pleasant evening to be in town. The streets pour with people – most of them irritable, and most of them voicing their annoyance. Here a child who won't cease his shrill whine until hoisted on his mother's shoulders; there two men arguing heatedly about who ran into whose cart and subsequently toppled its contents into the dirt; everywhere people pushing, crowding, yelling for a relative, trying to keep their sanity amidst the cacophony.
And that's not to mention the animals. Chickens in little cages squawking pettishly at the unsteadiness of their transportation; horses bearing children compliantly and donkeys being pulled along by red-faced men; and cows following slowly, unconcerned about the whole matter.
The resulting racket is unpleasant, to say the least, but what choice does anyone have? If the king said to go to your hometown … well, you went to your hometown. And quickly.
Every other minute a new sign is put out in front of yet another inn: No Vacancy! Somehow, though, these signs don't seem to deter people from pounding on the poor innkeepers' doors.
Amidst all the chaos, who would notice a frail, elderly man hunched in a little corner between two wedged buildings? No one – and no one does. He simply sits there, skinny arms and legs tucked under a frayed blanket, inches away from the swarm of human beings but seemingly untouched by it. His face is placid, yet almost a little sad. But then perhaps not, as his bushy eyebrows are relaxed and his wrinkly face unagitated.
But now – something seems to get his attention. He turns his head slightly to the right, to look at the inn right next to him. There's a younger man at the door once again, pleading with the owner. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the aged man continues to watch.
The younger man, who is lean and strong though not handsome, gestures to a donkey a little ways away. The creature carries a woman who is heavy with child. The man continues to plead with the host, who is still shaking his head. Then the innkeeper disappears inside for a few moments. The old man still watches.
The man emerges with a couple blankets and a lamp. He steps out into the dusk, closing the door firmly behind him. The younger man, looking grateful, moves to get his wife. He takes the donkey's reigns and gently leads the animal forward, following the host. As they pass by the old man, the woman offers him a feeble smile. As if startled by this, he simply watches her with a blank face as they disappear around a corner.
Then, slowly, a lopsided smile spreads on the lined face. It remains there as he slips lower into his blanket, the sky growing ever darker.

Deep into the night, the old man awakes with a start, as a woman's cry fills the air. He blinks, eyes wide, listening. Again a outcry, this one more like a shriek, breaks the silence. The man calms a little, realizing what is happening. He almost smiles and looks up at the night sky. The stars shine effortlessly in the deep darkness, those stars he has seen thousands of times before. Softer groans greet his ears now, but he keeps his eyes on the stars.
Then the man frowns. He squints, looking into the distance. A strange sort of glow comes from near the horizon. It is like someone dropped a bit of the sun's radiance into the black sky. The man is still peering intently at it when it bursts into greater luminance, as if multiplying itself. He stares, wide-eyed, the gleam from the radiance faintly lighting up his face.
He looks astounded as soft strains of some kind of music creep through the dry, cold air. Or is it music at all? It's too quiet to tell, but whatever it is, it is warming. Yes, it is a sound that is warming.
Then, as if finished with its errand, the bright glow vanishes abruptly. For two seconds a soft light hangs in the air where it had been, but that soon disappears as well.
For a whole minute, the old eyes continue to stare at the spot, perhaps hoping the radiance will return, or perhaps doubtful it even occurred. Then the man shakes his head slightly, his face baffled. He leans his head against the ill-painted wall beside him and closes his eyes.

Not five minutes later, he is once again roused from sleep. This time it is by talking. The deep voices are hushed, but still a disturbance at this late hour. Blinking drowsily, the old man looks around, as if slightly confused. Then he looks right as footsteps grow louder …
Four men run by – in a rather disjointed run, for each looks this way and that, searching for something. It is too dark to see who they are, but the fact that they are awake at such a time of night suggests them to be some sort of night watchmen. Their words are too quiet to be understandable, so the old man simply watches them, silently.
Then they are gone, the voices and footsteps getting quieter until someone shouts. Abruptly the running feet stop. The old man's face is in concentration, as if listening for some other sound. But none comes. The men must have found what they were looking for.
Seeming to be a little miffed that this second interruption was not as grand as the first, the old man quickly resituates himself and once again closes his eyes.

Laughter wakens the ancient man. Oh, but laughter, indeed! Who laughs in the middle of the night?
As if genuinely displeased this time, the man stubbornly keeps his eyes closed, unwilling to be awakened. Four men run by him, talking in intense voices, and – yes – one of them laughs. As they energetically pass through the street, one sees the sleeping man. He slows, as if unsure whether to wake him. Apparently he decides it worth the disturbance, for he runs up to the feeble man and shakes him gently by the shoulders.
Wake up, old man, wake up!” Obediently the man's eyes pop open. He looked surprised, and slightly scared.
The younger man grins at him. “He has been born. He's been born tonight!” he says eagerly. His listener watches him, brows furrowed. “He has finally come to us – the Messiah!” He stands, raising his hands to heaven. “Praise Jehovah, the God of Israel!”
As if unable to contain his joy while standing still, the younger man rushes off in the direction of his companions, leaving the old man with a stunned face. Slowly he reaches for his blanket, which slipped off him in the other man's exuberant shaking. He draws it back up around himself, and his expression slowly changes to awe, wonder.
Then he allows the full effect of the words to overcome him. The crooked smile, which earlier appeared tentatively, now covers his face in an instant. For the final time, he closes his eyes, but the smile does not go away.
Perhaps, just perhaps, it was a pleasant night to be in town after all.


Perfection and Weakness Fused Together

We've all heard the Christmas story. So much that it seems like it's almost lost its sense of miraculousness. God really did come down to earth as a human.

 I love the way Tosca Lee* puts it in her book “Demon: A Memoir.” Hearing this familiar story from a demon's point of view puts it in a whole different light, showing us just how amazing it really was. But enough said. I'll let her words speak for themselves.

(The “she” is Lucian, the demon, and the “I” is Clay, the person Lucian is telling the story of the world to. Lucian is speaking here.)

        “Had it not been for the identity of the baby, it would have been an otherwise unremarkable night, and your polite 'Greensleeves' would have been an appropriate soundtrack, after all. But it wasn't an ordinary baby. It wasn't an unremarkable night.
        “There had been rumors. Prophets ranting about saviours.” The demon's cup of tea sat steaming in front of her, neglected. “Then the news came: A messiah was imminent.”
        “How did you feel about that?” I asked.
        She folded her hands on the table and smiled. “Oh, I wanted to see it! After all, it had to be a Herculean job, being a savior; it didn't seem possible for one man. And we began to speculate among ourselves which of his favorites El would raise up. Perhaps he'd be a man of breeding and education. A leader of men. A great general – a soldier, in very least.”
        “But this guy in Bethlehem… ”
        “A carpenter's kid born of a teenage pregnancy.” She covered her eyes with her hand and shook her head. “It was so ridiculous. El was making a clay child in the womb of some ordinary girl with a boring name. An unremarkable virgin – and not even the best-looking girl I'd ever seen – pledged to mary some carpenter or another in some insignificant town. Suffice it to say, it didn't look promising.” I felt now a strange tension in her, a tautness.
        “Finally we realized El's plan was far more extravagant and unimaginable than anything we could have fathomed. And as I huddled on the periphery of that night, I saw a shot of light, heard the heralding Host. The pulse of the world fell silent, one sound only filling the void where that deafening announcement had been: the first wail of a newborn human.”
        She lowered her head. “Had I blood, it would have frozen in my veins, for I recognized the voice in that human cry. And the knowledge of it rushed upon me all at once: Elohim, Creator Almighty, had sent that part of himself, the very part that had spoken the words for the forming of the cosmos before my inception, had planted himself in the womb of an insignificant girl. He had arrived in person. Do you understand? Flesh! He had taken on flesh, true flesh! The sentence of humanity. God himself in the clay body of man.
       “Here, suddenly, was the unfathomable combination: the perfection of El in a fallible mud body. Perfection and weakness fused together.”

Unfathomable. Yes, it was. Let us treat it as such!


It's coming...

A couple nights ago our family went caroling downtown. I love our downtown – its so old-fashioned and small and downtowny. And I love how the alleyways are filled with shrubs, vines and little benches. But I digress. ;)

Our family sings four-part harmony, and we've learned some new Christmas tunes this year, so we went out in the freezing cold weather to carol to folks downtown. Just the four of us. Despite the fact that my nose, toes, chin and fingers were half-numb, I had a grand time. It's just that feeling … Let me try to describe it to you.

Heart high. Jacket snug. Deep breaths of cold, dry air. Happy faces. Seeing my breath as I sing.
Smiles, thanks from strangers. Dad's top hat. Singing louder, into the winter. Horse drawn carriage trots around corner. Tianna points. Smile, enjoy it.

Christmas is coming.


Present Tense: Yay or Nay?

Okay, I really need your guys’ opinion on this. Please read the following paragraph.
I followed Marcus into the front room and stopped short. Wow. It was huge. The staircase was like as wide as my bedroom, and the two would-be tall house plants were dwarfed by the towering ceiling. I looked around in wonder. Was this seriously someone’s house?
That is called past tense, and is how the majority of books are written. Now read this paragraph.
I follow Marcus into the front room and stop short. Wow. It’s huge. The staircase is like as wide as my bedroom, and the two would-be tall house plants are dwarfed by the towering ceiling. I look around in wonder. Is this seriously someone’s house?
This is called present tense, and it unusual in published books. In my opinion, though, it’s much more personal and, well … present. It feels as if it’s happening right now. I think it really draws the reader in, as if “I” is, indeed, the reader.
So I need your opinion. Shall I go with the tried and true, which, though not as cool, is more accepted? Or shall I go with the unique, the risky … yeah, you can tell I’m biased. The only thing that prevents me from going with the awesome present is that I’m already committing 2 novel no-no’s with this book. 1, having all three viewpoint characters be first-person (I, me) and 2, it’s gonna be longer than the average novel. So it is really worth it to add to my literary sins and increase the difficulty of getting it published?
Needless to say, I can’t decide. Please comment and give me your honest opinion. I don’t care if you’ve never even considered writing a book. Just tell me which you think would be more desirable – a better book or better chance of it being published and therefore reaching more individuals?


"In the good old days..."

I love elderly people. Seriously, they're amazing. It's almost as if they're a different type of people altogether. Maybe that's just because most of the people I talk with are either my age or my parents.

But old folks? They rock.

This revelation came to me when I joined the Rogue Gold Band, a jazz band in town comprising of a dozen or so elderly musicians - and me. Every Monday as I pack up my trombone into the trunk, I smile as I anticipate all the friendly smiles, corny puns, playful jokes, heartfelt compliments and warm laughter about to surround me. It's a beautiful break of every day life.

It almost seems to me like time slows down when I'm around these folks. They take life slower, and I'm pulled into the ease, pulled away from rushing and stressing. It's a time I dearly need.

Another thing I love about these people is that they've been through so much of life. That alone is really cool to think about - "Wow, she's been married, had kids, had grand-kids" - it sure makes me realize how much of life I have ahead of me. But the stories they have to tell! I think that's why they are often eager to talk. They own an array of beautiful and horrible experiences and are only too happy to share them.

You'd almost think that after so many years of life, these people would be perfect, fully matured and sanctified. But the truth is, they're sometimes unreasonable, overly sensitive, self-absorbed - just like us. It's a sober reminder that our sin nature will only be removed, by the grace of God, when we die. And it gives us all the more reason to be diligent in our pursuing the fruits of the spirit, never assuming we will just "be a better person" when we turn 21, or 25, or 40, or 90. Now, in essense, is the only time we have.

So. Go take a moment, and think about when you will be one of the "old folks". Will you look back on your life, on the days when you had boundless energy, and smile? Or wish you had used it in a wiser way?

Oh, and go talk to an elderly person. I guarantee they will make you smile.  :)


Be Still

I've been afraid to post lately. Afraid of being mediocre, of wasting your time, of making a mistake in something about God.

Yes, I know, it was very vain of me, but it's the truth. So here I am again, hoping to make some sense and somehow help you to glorify God more. That's pretty much my purpose in life. :D I mean, not just through this blog, but... you know.


My sister and I both have kindles. The other night, my sister says, "Hey guess what? They're making games for kindle. I tried one out and it actually worked!" 

"Cool," says I. Then I thinks, Wait. What?!?

The whole purpose of a kindle is to read. It's like a book, okay. But just in case you don't feel  like reading, you can play a game. Seriously?
What is wrong with this picture? There's nothing wrong with playing games, don't get me wrong, but my point is, it seems as if the culture is doing everything possible to make sure consumers aren't bored. Think about it - iPads, iPhones, tablets, kindles, you name it. Nothing is wrong with those things, but aren't they all designed so that we will never be bored?

In the physical therapy place I go (for my knee) they have magazines in the waiting room. Doesn't seem out of the ordinary, but if you start to think about it... do we really need magazines? We have to sit in a chair for five minutes - akkk!! Quick, give me something to read! I can't just sit there and think.  I must be entertained.


I am guilty of this, okay, I'm not trying to condemn anyone; I just think it's sad that our culture is like this. What if, every time we had to wait, we made a habit of praying? That would be trillions time more useful than reading a junky magazine to "pass the time." One thing I have been working on (but often forgetting) is praying every time my computer locks up or makes me wait. I encourage you to try it.

So yeah. Keep your eyes open, and you'll start to notice this around you. And the next time you have to wait in line, in an office, or wherever, just sit and think. Be still, and know that He is God.



So today, as I was eating breakfast (Honey Bunches, actually, the best cereal on earth) I heard a very familiar sound.


I looked over and there sits Plie, my sister's cat. She cocks her head, staring at me. Well, you heard me. Let me in! Funny, I thought, how she looks straight at my eyes, even before I looked at hers.


Then I started to really wonder. Why do cats look at our eyes – or rather, into our eyes? Is it just because they move... or is it because they know? They know the eyes are "the window to the soul." It's an instinct. An instinct that clearly shows the mark of a Creator.

I'd never really thought about it before, but it is amazing. There is something about our eyes. Something I can't quite put my finger on.

But I like it.



I love and hate how practically everything in life is a balance. Not too much, not too little. It's great because not everything has to be absolute, the same for everyone. It's not so great because boy is it hard to keep that balance with some things.

Fiction is edifying; I can't read too much. Talking with old friends is incredibly enriching; I can't forget to make new ones. I need to get enough sleep; I need more time in my day! Writing blog posts and emails is a good thing; I can easily spend way too much time on it. Researching for my book is a fabulous thing; I need to start actually writing as soon as possible. See what I mean?

Anyhow, I've just been thinking about that lately. I suppose I should talk a little about normal life. Let's see...

I'm now the audio engineer and acting director for FI, so I'm really kept busy at shoots. Which is a good thing. Right now we have a week break from filming... let's just say it's very refreshing. :)

Yes, I know, I know, I'm still researching for my book. But I'm really getting places. You would not believe how much I have to invent for this world that we hardly know anything about. Did you know it was around 1500 years from the creation to the flood? With a warm, lush enviornment and lifespans up to 1000 years, just think of what they could've accomplished. Yep, I have to figure all that out.

I just got back from physical therapy... I think I'm progressing. It's just that I still can't straighten my knee in front of me using only my muscle. It's weird and frusterating. But I guess these things take time.

So. Yes. I have no idea what all that had to do with balance... but now that things are random I might as well give you a nice random picture. :D
I made this at wordle.net.Awesome site. I used the text of Psalm 36.

Good day!


Ah, Acting

I am currently enjoying the delightful task of portraying the somber Mary Bennet.


June 27 . My Surgery . MPFL Reconstruction

     “But take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
     I was saying Jesus' words to myself as the door opened. I looked up to see a dark haired nurse, clipboard in hand. Somehow I knew she was going to call my name.
     “Ariel Strom?”
     Oh, boy. Here it comes.
     My heart pounded as I stuffed my mp3 player back in my purse. As I tried to stand, my earbud cords kept spilling out. Keep calm, Ariel, I told myself. It's fine. Take your time.
     Finally I got the annoying cords in and zipped up my purse. I smiled at the nurse as she ushered me, Mom, and Dad inside. She told me her name; I was too nervous to remember it.
     “Alright. What's your name and date of birth?” she asked before we got far. I told her, and we moved down the short hall. “And what's Dr. Bents doing for you today?”
     “He's doing surgery on my left knee,” I replied, looking around the hospital-ish interior. It looked pretty calm and clean.
     “Can you be more specific?”
     I smiled. “Yeah. He's making a new tendon for my kneecap – out of my hamstring.”
     “Very good.” She pointed to a little half-room that could be curtained off. “So this is where you'll be.”
     Although there was shelving holding machinery on the back wall, mostly what I noticed was the clean, perfectly white hospital bed. It just looked … relaxing.
     The nurse had me change into a hospital gown and put my things my clothes, purse, and contact case into a bin that was stored beneath my bed.
     “So will I be on this bed the whole time?” I asked the nurse once I was situated, Mom and Dad in chairs beside me.
     “Mm-hm. They'll just wheel it into the operation room.”
     The first thing she did was to take my temperature and ask again which leg it was, which resulted in her marking my left leg with a little circley design. “Just initial that,” she said, giving me the pen. Now that gave me some serious peace of mind, knowing they would operate on the right – I mean, correct – leg.
     It was about then that I noticed that my bed wasn't long enough. It reached about to my ankles. And I'm only, what… five eight? They must not get to many tall people in there.
     Next she asked about allergies and once again what my name was. These questions resulted in two bands which she strapped around my wrist. One had several capital letters –meaningless to me – and one with my name, age, address, etc.. I kinda felt like a newborn baby.

     In the next fifteen, twenty minutes, things just kept being attached to me. I kept count. First it was the legendary arm-squeezer-to-find-blood-pressure-thing which squeezed my left arm to death every five minutes, and then a little thing that clamped to my finger, taking my pulse. Then came three round stickers around my heart. These she promptly hooked cords to which must've led to some machine. I was actually glad to have them, knowing they would be monitoring my heart while I was unconscious. But then … she laid a clear tube on my shoulder. And I knew what was coming next.
     The IV.
     Okay, so I wasn't that nervous. It just kind of creeped me out that it would be in my skin for so long. The nurse tied a blue rubbery thing tight around my arm.
     I looked to my mom. “Hm?”
     “What do you want for supper tonight?”
     I smiled, knowing she was trying to get my mind off my right wrist. “Well, hmm … ”
     “Go ahead and pump your hand,” the nurse ordered. I did, trying to force my mind to supper. It wasn't too hard, considering I was very hungry.
     “Do you want pizza? Or pasta?” Mom tried.
     “Okay, stop,” the nurse said.
     I stopped. “No, how about …  soup!”
     “Come on, vein,” the nurse muttered to my skinny wrist.
     “What kind of soup?”
     I had to think about this. The nurse warned, “I'm gonna whack it a little to get it to stick up.”
     And whack it she did.
     After a little grimacing on my part, I guess she got it to pop up, because she said, “Okay, a little prick here … ”
     Mom came to the rescue. “Didn't we just buy ravioli?”
     “Yeah.” There came the prick, hardly hurting at all. “For ravioli soup.”
     “Oh yeah … ”
     I felt something happening to my wrist but didn't want to look.
     “What kind of sauce was in that?” continued Mom. “I can't remember.”
     “Another little prick...”
     Again, almost nothing, now that my mind was involved in ravioli soup sauce. “It was just like pasta sauce,” I said.
     “Like tomato sauce,” offered Dad.
     Mom nodded. “Oh, okay.”
     “Yeah, with … ” I looked to the ceiling, searching for the word. “Umm, what's the word! With … it's like … arg. Cow?” I tried desperately.
     “Hamburger!” I cried.
     The nurse laughed. “Cow? Oh wow. You guys did great distracting her.”
     Yep. I looked down at the IV, which the nurse was now putting piece after piece after piece of tape onto. I kind of smiled, feeling a little ashamed at being worried over such a little thing.

     Time passed. The nurse left after getting my IV done. All three of us were nervous, no one really starting a conversation. Sometimes I would catch Mom or Dad looking at me a certain way – sort of sad and pitying. I guess I must have looked pitiful.
     “It must be weird seeing me like this,” I said finally. “All wired up. You know how you always look at people in the hospital like this, but it's weird that I'm the one in the bed with the IV.”
     I had brought my kindle to read, my mp3 player, and whatever else there was in my purse. But I didn't feel like using any of it. I just wanted to lie there. Although my heart rate was a bit fast, I could sense God there, calming me down.
     We talked a little about my book. Dad had a great idea, so I asked mom to write it down for me – my right first-finger was still in that annoying clamper thing. It felt kind of numb.
     “What time is it?” I asked Dad. The surgery was supposed to start at 10:45, so we had gotten let in by the nurse at about 10.
     “Seriously?” I couldn't believe it. “It's already been that long?”
     “I'm glad time's going quickly for you!” Mom inserted.
     I shook my head in amazement. “Wow. I wonder why they're so late.”
      Then someone got a brilliant suggestion – I think it was Mom.
     “Do you want to call Tianna?”
     I smiled. “Yeah!”
     We talked for about a half-an-hour. I told her about all the things attached to me, and she read off a couple of email and texts people had sent for me. In the middle of the call, Dad stood up. I paused Tianna.
     “I have to go, honey,” he said.
     I sighed, but knew he had stayed extra long. Too bad the surgery was so late. He leaned over and I hugged him. “Bye, Daddy. I love you.”
     “Love you.” He stood and smiled. “God bless you.”
     “Thanks.” I watched him leave, then picked up my conversation with Tianna. For probably the twentieth time, I blurted, “I'm so hungry!”
     Tianna voice said, “Me too.” A pause. “I'm fasting and praying for you.”
     My heart melted. Okay, that's melodramatic, but really, it felt like it. “Oh, Tianna!”
     “Well – ” she laughed a little, “I felt bad eating since you couldn't.”
     I love my sister. A lot.
     “Thank you so much! That means a lot to me.”
     That really topped off the overflowing cup-of-love-and-prayers-from-people.

     Finally we said goodbye; the doctor was coming to talk to us.
     “Hey, Ariel,” he said, holding out his right hand.
     I awkwardly gave him my IV and finger-clamped hand, which he shook as if they weren't in the way. I smiled.
     “How‘re you doing?” he asked. I noted his surgeon cap.
     “Pretty good.”
     I don't remember all he said. I think he checked my knee to see the mark and probably checked out my temperature and heart rate. As he left, I felt so thankful that he was doing the surgery himself. I'd been to two check-ups with him and felt completely comfortable with him doing it. Yet another of God's blessings.
     Next I had to use the restroom – after all, they'd been pouring sugar-water into me for an hour and a half! When I got back to my room, the anesthesiologist was already there, talking to Mom.
     “Hi!” he said when he saw me. “I'm Dr. Bob.”
     “Hi,” I answered. He looked kind.
     He got to work explaining to us what he was going to do. “I'll give you a sedator  first, to kinda make you not care as much, and then I'll do some drawing on you.” He looked at Mom. “So she'll have some purple lines on her skin, but they'll come off when she takes a shower.
     Then,” he continued, “I'll put some numbing gel on you and poke around with a needle to find the right nerves to block.” This didn't sound good, but then I knew this part would be the most painful. “So I'm gonna make your tendons twitch, okay, until I find the right place to numb.”
     I raised my eyebrows and giggled a little. It sounded weird.
     “Am I gonna be wheeled into the surgery room right after I get the blocks?” I asked when he was finished explaining everything.
     Good. I took a deep breath. Then, before I knew it, it was time.

     The nurse set a little oxygen tube around my face, with tiny things for my nostrils. The air was cold.
     I had waited till the end to take my contacts out, so I could be aware of what was going on around me as long as possible. Now, while Dr. Bob got his stuff set up, I finally took them out. I looked around for a moment, getting used to the enormous blur everything was now.
     Mom came up beside my head. “Good luck, honey,” she whispered. “Remember to say your Bible verses. I'll be praying.” I gave her a smile and she left. My heart kinda jumped; it was really starting now.
     They completely curtained me off, then gave me the sedator. I felt its effect almost immediately. My sight became dizzy, and I felt a little out of it. Weird.
     “Turn on your right side there,” the nurse told me. It felt weird to move being so dizzy. But here's where the sedator came in handy. I could kind of feel him drawing on my skin, and it would have tickled.
     “Okay. A little pressure,” the doctor warned. I tried not to get more nervous.
     Whoah! That was pressure, but it felt so strange I hardly noticed. What on earth was he doing? And then –
     I gave a little gasp. I could feel something … moving in the back of my leg. I realized instantly what it was: my own tendon.
     The creepy jumping continued until he must've found the right place. There was a little more pressure, and then nothing. I was pretty woozy when they asked me to roll back to my back.
     Now I could see the two people bending over me. Well, blobs of color that were supposedly them. Then the pressure came again on the front of my leg. But this time when the tendon jumped on the inside of my leg, I couldn't help it. I squirmed.
     It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've ever had. I was infinitely glad my contacts were out so I couldn't see the tendon twitching – feeling it was enough.
     It kept jumping. I kept squirming. Lord, please make it stop! There was nothing more that I wanted in that moment than it just to be over with.
     “That's not the place I want,” came Dr. Bob's voice. “I want the kneecap.”
     Then move it! Please!
     He did. Soon I could feel my kneecap twitching. But that wasn't nearly as bad.
     “That's the place,” he said and numbed right there,. I breathed a big breath. Thank you, God. Thank you that's over.
     I was in an odd state. Very tired, slightly nervous, dizzy, and very ready to be wheeled into that surgery room. I felt a little tinge of happiness, too. It was time. It was really time!
     “Feels weird,” I mumbled to the nurse. “I can sort of feel them getting numb.” In a moment I was ready to be moved. They pulled my bed out of the little curtained space and began wheeling me backwards into the operation room.
     As I came to a stop, someone lifted a mask-type thing over my face. “Think about some place nice and warm,” a voice was saying. “Think about California.”
     I blinked twice at the ceiling. Nothing was happening…

     I was shivering. People were putting blankets over me. I opened my eyes.
     How funny. I'm dreaming I'm at the hospital.
     Then somehow things came clear. Oh, that's right, I'm here because of my knee. Oh yeah, I just had knee surgery –
     It's over!
     I could have cried. It was over. It was done. My knee was fixed. The surgery was over!
     I was still shivering, but I wasn't cold. Especially with three blankets over me. But my body was trembling all over.
     I still had all six things attached to me. I felt kinda woozy. A nurse approached me.
     “How are you feeling?”
     “Uh, pretty good.”
     “Are you ready to have your parents come in?”
     I wasn’t quite … myself, yet. “Not quite yet,” I told her.
     “Okay. Can I get you anything to drink? We have water, juice – ”
     “Water would be good.”
     She nodded and came back soon with an icy cup of water. As I drank it, I adjusted to where I was and said a very thankful prayer to God. My leg felt weird – it was completely numb.
     After a couple mintues, I was ready for Mom and Dad. Soon I saw them coming as colorful blurs.
     “Hi, Ariel!” Dad said. He sounded like he was smiling.
     I smiled weakly. “Hi.”
     “How are you doing, honey?” Mom asked. She sounded concerned.
     My teeth clacked together. “I'm shivering. But I'm not cold.”
     Mom gently rubbed my arm. “Oh yeah. I had that reaction to anesthesia, too. I forgot about it.”
     “It's weird.” Really weird.
     “It'll go away soon.”
     “Oh, let me take your picture.” Dad pulled out his iphone. “Smile!”

     I did.

Love or Love?

I’ve been writing a bit from an angel’s perspective (due to my book) … and it made me realize something. Angels don’t have romance.
Now at first this sounds pretty obvious. After all, there’s only one kind of them where there’s two kinds of us. But hang on a second. First of all, I need to say that what I’m calling “romance” is what most humans call “love.” It includes all that sappy stuff - the heart pounding, breath stopping – basically it’s this feeling that God created for two people who are married (or almost). I could go on about how angry I am at the fact that everyone always assumes love is an emotion that you simply can’t control, and you can’t help it if you stop loving someone, and how real love is an action not a feeling… well it all boils down to the fact that most times the culture says “love” they mean “romance and a little bit of love.”
So there’s love on one hand: feeling, emotions, romance. And then there’s love on the other hand: choice, sacrifice, selflessness. The trouble is that we meld them together. After all, we’re much more inclined to show real love to someone we have special feelings for. we’re attracted to or admire or even feel pity for. They just kind of mush together, which can be really annoying since I think romance is rather silly and way over-glorified (although it does have it's place.)
So there I am at my laptop, trying to put myself in this angel’s place. I realized this might make for an interesting point. Imagine an angel watching God create the universe. Imagine him watching these two humans and trying to figure out this weird emotion between them – something he’s never felt, never seen, never known even existed. Maybe it hadn’t.
I got excited, because here this angel was, who had spent endless hours worshiping God and doubtless loved him… observing love #2 and trying to comprehend it. It was such a clear separation of the two. It was just… very interesting.
So go think about it, okay?


My heart is so full

I am the undeserving object of thoughts and prayers. I don't know how to thank you all
             enough for the countless emails, facebook comments and phonecalls I have
             gotten in the past few days.

I am overwhelmed. I feel so, so, very loved.

I am incredibly blessed. I know God was with me the whole 6 six hours I was inside the
             surgery center.

I am relieved. Though there were some uncomfortable (okay, downright vexing)
             experiences, there was never any bad pain in those six hours.

I am thankful. Praise God for doctors, for anesthesia, for nerve blocks, IVs, and kind

I am hurting but healing. My thigh is not yet used to missing a muscle.

I am annoyed at being dizzy whenever I stand. The faintness is an effect of my
             pain medication... but hey, at least it's not making me nauseous.

I am humbled by my family's serving me so constantly and lovingly. I love you all so

I am so happy. My left knee is actually tighter  than my right one now!

Thanks to Jesus,

P.S. A novel-style account of the surgery is coming soon. 


Thanks, God

I just wanted to take a moment to say this.

Be thankful.

That's it. Just thank God. Because you have every reason in the world to.
This morning my cat, Bori (okay, so her real name is Borealis) was meowing at me to change her water. As I moved toward the sink, she managed to get right in front of where I was stepping with my right foot. As a result, I couldn't step on my right and instead went lunging forward, catching myself with my left leg.
So this all just sounds like a fancy way of saying “I tripped,” but really, as some of you might realize, this could be an incredibly disastrous happening for my loose knee. Thus, after I had safely landed on my left leg, I sort of stood there. I was shocked. I just sort of froze, analyzing the situation. My top thought was:
My kneecap didn't come off. It should've come off right there. I'm fine!
I was amazed. And very thankful. I gave God a huge thanks.

So I guess the reason I'm saying all this is because it's something I'm working on – thanking God for what doesn't happen. There are SO many times my knee should've come off. And many I'm sure I never even realized. But if I think about, I become amazed at how often God has prevented my knee from going out. Instead of becoming depressed at the times it does.

So don't just thank God for what he's made happen. Thank God for what he's made not happen. :)

"My Book"

So I figured that many times in this blog I will be mentioning my book. (As it's a pretty big part of my thought life.) And every time I do, I don't want to have to explain about it. Soooo, that's what this is. To link to every time I say “in my book” or “it reminded my of my book.”

So. I'm writing this book. You could call it a novel but that word makes me cringe. So I don't. It's a story, biblical fiction, about the happenings before the flood. Mostly it centers around a girl who happens to be Noah's daughter. Now don't get too worried, let me explain.
It was one of those “moments of brilliance” we writers have, where God gives us an extra burst of creativeness and our imagination takes wing. And they're not too often, so when they happen we have to take note. Anyhow, I just got to thinking, what if Noah had a daughter? It wouldn't be too impossible, since the Bible doesn't mention daughters very much (actually... well just see the last paragraph.) But he DID, then she must not have been on the ark, because it mentions those specifically. Hmm. So I wonder why? Did she die? Did she turn away? But isn't she part of Noah's family, so would be saved anyway? Then why wasn't she?

With that, I just had to start a story. So far I'm in the progress of “researching.” I put it in quotes because there's not much actual writing recorded about before the flood times. The sources I've found so far that intrigue me are the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. Not Biblical, so it's not like they're true, but I have to create so much about the world anyway that I figured they probably are closer to the truth than theories people make up today.

Anyhow, that's “my book.” My goal is to finish it by the end of the year, or at least have 85,000 words of it finished. It'll be interesting to see if I make it, considering I've never finished a story anywhere near that length. I'm determined though. :)

Before I end I just have to say that I don't actually believe Noah had a daughter. But you never know, right? This is fiction after all. ;)


70 degrees

To stand outside, barefoot; to feel the warmth of the sun on my arms, then the coolness of the wind; to know that no one can see me but God; to delight in His delight in me.

Mm. This is joy.

I had one of those moments today. I love nature so much. It's enchanting like nothing else. Just to watch the trees sway, and hear the birds sing Рoiy, it sounds so clich̩. But it brings such a peace of mind to me.
I think I feel closest to God when I'm in nature – which for me means by myself in the backyard. It's not too big, but it's just so... magical. It's God's precious gift to us.
It makes me realize the nothing that I am, and the Something God has made me.

So now you go. Get up. Stop slouching indoors reading blogs! Go outside and revel in God's beautiful earth. He made it for you!

Postscript: (by the way, if you're reading this it means you're very naughty for not going outside like I told you to. What? It's raining? Rain is gorgeous! Go and jump in some puddles! Okay.) Don't expect every post to be like this. I was feeling poetic.