“Give sorrow words;the grief that does not speak knits up the o’erwrought heart and bids it break.”-Shakespeare

 “Sing, silent sparrow of the morning.
Drown out the weeping sound of mourning.
Morning comes in waves of sorrow,
Somber as the day that follows.
Still, morning comes.
Wake, though the heavy feeling lingers.
Catch and release it in your fingers,
Then let go.
Morning comes in waves of sorrow,
Somber as the day that follows.
Still, morning comes.
And I’ll never forget you, dear.
When the sun appears,
You’ll be my light.
And though it wasn’t said, my dear,
Every moment here you’ll be my life.
Morning comes in waves of sorrow,
Somber as the days that follow.
Still, morning comes.
So sing, silent sparrow of the morning.”
-Lucy Schwartz

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In the light of this personal tragedy that I’m now working though, and all of the thoughts it brings to my mind, I’m finding this song to be a great comfort.

Life is something that we, without a doubt, take for granted. We are not promised or guaranteed tomorrow, or even the rest of today. Are you ready?

I know and trust that Carol was a believer who had a strong and beautiful faith in Christ.
I also walk by faith, but I know I take my life for granted, so I hope and pray that I’ll be ready to meet my Savior when the time comes.

“I hear Your voice and I catch my breath.
‘Well done, my child, enter in and rest.’
Tears of joy roll down my cheek.
It’s beautiful, beyond my wildest dreams.
I want to run on greener pastures.
I want to dance on higher hills.
I want to drink from sweeter waters in the misty morning chill.
My soul is getting restless for the place where I belong.
I can’t wait to join the angels and sing
my heaven song.”

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”-Marcus Tillius Cicero

Death is a difficult thing to comprehend.

Even if you believe in life after death, as I do, more often than naught it just fills us with so many questions, which can be answered in ways we don’t like, ways we don’t understand, or sometimes cannot truly be answered by our own logic at all.

Why does someone die? Because their purpose is fulfilled? But then why must it be fulfilled so young? How is that even possible when so many people live to be 100 or more? Why must the leave us? And why does it have to happen so suddenly? Why does it have to be so hard?

I had a friend of mine from high school who died today. Very unexpectedly, after a tragic accident at work, and now she is gone.

Our stubborn and strictly human/earthbound state of mind brings us to say things like “It’s not fair,” or “She died too soon,” or even to question why she had to go…
I believe that every person is specifically called away from their life on earth by Jesus Christ when the time is right–when their purpose has been fulfilled, or they have lived life to the fullest extent that He intended for them. But even knowing and believing that in my heart, when death calls a loved one it is so difficult to wrap my mind around it, to fully comprehend it, and to accept it. I’ve been sitting here all morning, crying, and asking myself those same questions I listed up above…Why?Why did she have to die so young? She had just gotten married a matter of months ago, she was going to school, she was surrounded by family, she was living life, and it just seems so hard to believe that she ran out of life to live in this realm. Again, my shockingly human mind tells me that it is unnatural for someone to die so young. We are at a time in our lives where we are supposed to be getting married and having children, not dying…death is supposed to be for when we are old and grey and wiser, more experienced, and surrounded by children and grandchildren…right?

But, even though this is one of those things that is just a struggle to comprehend, I am grateful to be reminded that she did lead a full life. She grew up, made memories, graduated from high school, lived, loved with all her heart, laughed til she cried, fell in love and got married, etc. And most importantly, she had an opportunity to love God and share His light with others. She has stepped out of this human frame of life, but she is still alive, living in her eternity. Her life did not get cut short, but merely moved to the eternal realm.
We will all always miss her, and of course we think of what a tragic loss this is for us. From the eternal perspective of God, however, and now her as well, she did not lose anything, but gained the freedom that she knew she would inherit from her Savior one day. Now she is able to put off the struggles of human bondage, and live a sinless life in heaven where she can dance, sing, laugh, praise, and love her God and Savior in ways she never knew existed til now. And she can wait for those of us who will join her again when God personally calls us as well.

I won’t say rest in peace, because I actually hope that you, Carol Singletary, will rejoice in your new life, being happy to be free in a way you never would have been able to imagine.
We love you.

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“Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now.
Be quiet and wait for a voice that will say,
‘Come awake from sleep. Arise.
You were dead–become alive.
Wake up, wake up, open your eyes.
Climb from your grave into the light.’
Bring us back to life.
You are not the only one who feels like the only one.
Night soon will be lifted, friend.
Just be quiet and wait for a voice that will say,
‘Rise, rise, to life, to life.’
Shine.
Light will shine.
Love will rise.
Light will shine.
He’s shining on us now.”

-David Crowder Band

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“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like
a flower in the field; for the wind passes over it, and it
is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
Psalm 103:15-16

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though He cause grief,
He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast
love; for He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.”
Lamentations 3:31-32

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are
at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away
from the body 
and at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:6-8

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“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again,
and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
John 16:22

Get it right.

Okay, I have another snobbish attribute to fess up to. I cannot stand it when something is misquoted, taken out of context, etc.

Like any stereotypical girl my age, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, and lately there is this pin that keeps popping up with a picture of Robert Pattinson holding a book and it has this quote about dating a girl who reads. Every time I see this and a comment underneath saying something about how he can now be redeemed for saying this, I just want to slap somebody. Am I aware that this is a slight overreaction? Yes. But I can’t help it…

Does nobody check their facts?!

My problem with this is that he never said that. It’s an excerpt from a written piece by Rosemarie Urquico that I happen to love (although I might not recommend lying for the sake of syntax, because that is good for no relationship), and which says:

You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses, she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to an end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again, and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 am, clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to The Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want a world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

See?Let’s be honest here–do you really think Robert Pattinson said all that?No. I don’t think so somehow. While I embarrassedly admit that I had a slight obsession with him during my sophomore year of high school, I still just can’t really believe that he would say that.

Just…no.

Always check your facts before you pin something like that gush about how amazing it is. Because if you don’t, I will be there to burst your bubble and comment on your wrongness.
Sorry, not sorry.

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brent waggoner

ImageI have a confession to make: I am sexist.

Not that I’ve been paying my female employees less or expecting my wife to wash my feet every night, but… actually, let’s put it another way: I’m sexist when it comes to art.

I began having this realization two years ago, when I finally got around to reading Jane Austen. In my mind, her novels were about women chasing after men or vice versa, storylines whose protagonists could be replaced with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl without compromising their integrity. Imagine my surprise, upon reading them, to find novels that were as sparkling, clever, and poignant as any other classic I’d read. I felt pretty good about myself.

Fast forward to now. I’ve read over 300 books since 2007, and, by my count, less than 25 were novels by women. Of those 25, approximately half were Young Adult books and 2…

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“Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll…”-Lord Byron

“The beach is not the place to work; to read, write, or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, to damp, too soft, for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries down that faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists, and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points, and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even–at least, not at first.

At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the sea-shore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribbling.

And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense–no–but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps the channeled whelk, a moon shell, or even an argonaut.

But it must not be sought for or–heaven forbid!–dug for. No, no dredging of the sea-bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach–waiting for a gift from the sea.”
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Winds of Wander

“Lay, lazy sun,
Hanging heavy up above.
Drown in the drowsy afternoon.
In the green grass,where yellow flowers bloom,
The heart beats slow, and eyes will close,
They’ll close…
Vise hands, loosen up the reins.
That tight grasp won’t save you any pain.
Rock back and forwards with your breath,
From this stone house, the home you’ve never left.
The heartbeat slows,
And eyes will close…
Learn to float, don’t you worry so..
Let the winds of wander blow.
Up and away we go,
Where the winds of wander blow.
Up and away we go,
Where the winds of wander blow..”

-A Fine Frenzy

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