Poem – Broken

Hello everyone! It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted a poem, so I’m going to share another one today. 🙂 It’s another ‘pinterest-inspired’ piece, and it’s fully based on my imagination. It is not based off of any person I know or any experience I’ve had. Just pure writerly imagination.. 😀

This is the quote that sparked my imagination:

who were you?

 

And this is what I came up with:

Broken

 

Who were you

before they broke your heart?

What were you like

before they crushed your dreams?

I wonder

if I could’ve known you,

and come to love you

For who you once were?

I would’ve liked to see you dream,

to see your face light up with laughter,

and your eyes spark with happiness.

But

I will never know now

because

you and your broken heart

have broken mine.

You are a doubter

because you once were a dreamer

who had your dreams crushed.

You are a breaker of hearts

because you had your heart broken.

I will never know

who you once were,

you, the broken-hearted.

I will never share

in your dreams of life,

you, the doubter.

We will never know

each other

because of the wall.

The wall of brokenness

that separates us.

Oh you beautiful,

broken

doubter.

I will never know

who you were

before your heart was broken.

~

That’s it for today, thanks so much for reading! See you back here next week! 🙂

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Top 5 Books – October 2015

Hi there! It’s time for another favourite books of the month post. I seem to do a lot of these, but that’s because time keeps marching on, and I keep reading lots of good books. 😀 I read a lot of good books in October, and I actually have 5 to review today! So without further ado, let’s get on to the reviews!

~

betsy

Betsy and the Emperor – Staton Rabin 

A monster has descended upon Betsy Balcombe’s small island home. Her family are being forced to put him up in their house until his quarters are finished being constructed. So she’s got the terror of her childhood stories, the boogie man of her dreams, living in her house. Not only that, he is the terror of all Europe, the nightmare of all who get in his way. And what is this monster’s name? Napoleon Bonaparte.

But as the weeks wear on, this monster-man does not really live up to his reputation. Instead of the frightening killing machine that Betsy expected, she finds a short, eccentric man that misses his family. As she gets to know him, she finds that she has met her match in wit, daring, and spirit. And this discovery does not just have the potential to change her life and Napoleon’s life, but indeed, to change all of history.

‘Betsy and the Emperor’ painted a vivid picture of the last years of Napoleon’s life, as well as the lives of other characters that surrounded him. It was so fascinating to learn about another side of Napoleon than the one you normally hear in the history books – to learn about the man who loved children, who loved matching wits with opponents, and who loved certain people very deeply. The story was engaging, partly because of the fact that it was recounting a little known side to Napoleon’s character, and partly because of the new, vibrant characters it introduced. Betsy was a relatable and fascinating character, and I loved watching how she changed during the course of the book. Overall, this book was very informative, as well as engaging and funny! I learnt a lot through reading it, and feel that I have a much more rounded picture of Napoleon than I had beforehand. I’m giving this book 8* out of 10 (no higher because some of the things the characters did I did not agree with morally, and there were some adult topics covered in a slightly raunchy way) and recommending it for ages 12+.

~

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The Island at the End of Everything – Kiran Millwood Hargrave 

Amihan’s worst nightmare has come true. She has been torn away from her nanay, and taken to an orphanage. Why? Because her nanay is Touched. And Amihan is not. She is now separated from everything she’s ever known, surrounded by strange children, and kept captive by fear and the cruel Mr Zamora. It is only by the strength of love and new friendships that she is able to protect the flame of hope that burns inside her. She must get back to her nanay before it is too late and she will do everything in her power to do so. The island at the end of everything is waiting for her.

The Island at the End of Everything is a really beautiful book. The themes of love and hope and of the strength of family and friends are very prevalent in this story. The writing was whimsical and imaginative, it fit the story perfectly (if that makes any sense :D). The story itself was very unique and captivating. I’ve never really come across anything like it, and that was a really positive quality about it! (I love unique-ness in books) I really, really enjoyed reading this book – it was beautiful both in the story and in the way it was written, and I loved seeing how it unfolded. I’m giving it a solid 8* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 12+.

~

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Where Dandelions Grow – Lydia Howe 

Destiny longs to mend the broken relationships within her family. But she needs to find out where her family went first. Her first step towards forgiveness and reconciliation with them is also step of hope when she moves back to the town where she grew up. Through some surprising friendships and a job at a whimsical coffee shop (btw, if I were to find this place actually existed I would go there in a heartbeat because it sounds AMAZING. Seriously, a bookshop combined coffee shop where you can write = pure happiness in my books :D), Destiny will soon find out that life is never quite how you imagined it, but that forgiveness and hope have surprising power.

‘Where Dandelions Grow’ was such a charming book. I bought it because I’ve had previous interaction with the author, Lydia Howe. I’ve followed her blog for years (and loved it! It’s such a great resource for writers and readers alike), and recently had the privilege of beta reading one of her books. I really like her writing, and this book was no exception! The setting, the characters, and the story all melded together into one really sweet book. I loved the character of Destiny – I related to her love for writing so much! The town of Swallow Ridge is described so wonderfully (I wouldn’t mind living there one day! :D), and, like I said before, this coffeebookshop called Noveltea sounds SO cool! ❤ 😀 I loved seeing how Destiny grew throughout the course of the story, and the themes of family and forgiveness were really beautiful and encouraging. I’m giving this book a solid 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 13+

~

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Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain has it all – the apprenticeship he’s been dreaming of, a position of authority among his peers, and a comfortable house to live in. He’s got his life stretched before him, full of possibilities and dreams. But then disaster strikes, and with the cracking of a crucible, everything shatters around him. Unable to continue his apprenticeship, pitied and bullied in turn by his peers, his position replaced in his house, life seems very dark. Alone, unemployed and crippled, Johnny is alone in the wide world, and the world isn’t a very comforting place to be at that moment. Boston in the early 1770s is a hotbed of political unrest, foreign soldiers, and whispers of rebellion. Not exactly the place you’d want to be with nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. But some surprising turning of events will soon give Jonny a role in Boston that he never could’ve dreamed of. His life will never be the same after he is swept away in the turning tide of the Revolution….

‘Johnny Tremain’ is an absolutely beautiful, fascinating book. Esther Forbes brings the world of Johnny to life in incredible detail. You can tell that there has been an immense amount of research and time put into making it as historically accurate as possible. And the story itself is stunning. It’s a coming of age story about a boy who has to find who he really is when his identity is stripped away in a tragic accident. It’s an adventure story about a boy who gets caught up in the very heart of the American Revolution. It’s a friendship story showing how relationships can spring out of unlikely places and grow into a bond that ties many hearts together despite differences, distance and death. It’s a historical story, detailing the exciting events that led up to the explosion of shots in Lexington that were heard around the world. It’s a story about perseverance, about healing, about hope, and about freedom. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was my second time reading it. I’m giving it a very solid 9* out of 10 for the historical accuracy and beautifully touching storyline. I’m recommending it for ages 12+.

~

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Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi 

A devout Muslim sets out to prove Christianity wrong, and has his life transformed by the person he least expected – Jesus.

I picked this book up because I had been studying Islam in school and was interested in learning more detail. I literally read it in less than 24 hours, and goodness gracious, this book is amazing! Seriously, it’s one of the most informative, helpful and fascinating books I’ve read in a very long time. It chronicles the true story of the author on his journey from being a dedicated Muslim to a convinced Christian. Mr Qureshi writes in a very clear, readable manner, but he also manages to convey a very large amount of information within the 300 odd pages of the book. He provides a vivid picture of what it was like growing up in a devout Muslim family, as well as a window into the Islamic culture and beliefs. He gave a clear introduction to the basics of Islam, as well as answering many different questions of why Muslims do the things they do.

Not only that, but he tells the story of how he became a Christian in very intricate detail. His story begins with intense questioning of Christianity, leads to many doubts of Islam, and ends with finding truth in the person of Jesus Christ. He shared the arguments his Christian friend gave for Christianity and how he responded to them as a Muslim, and he gave the reasons why he began to doubt Islam, and the reasons why Christianity began to attract him. His testimony of how he eventually became a Christian is absolutely fascinating (hint: it involves some really amazing dreams!). I came away from this book really encouraged for two reasons:

  1. – This book really bolstered my own faith as I read how Christianity can stand up against intense questioning and is able to convince even the most antagonistic to it. God is at work, and it was so wonderful to read the testimony of how he transformed Mr Qureshi’s life!
  2.  I found that I had a much more rounded picture of Islam and had learnt ways to relate to Muslims more. In this day and age it’s very easy to vilify Muslims without learning the facts about them and what they believe, and I found it really helpful to learn about Islam from someone who had been there himself.

I would really recommend that everyone read this book. For people that know Muslims personally, for people who want to learn more about how Islam relates to Christianity, for people that are searching for the truth themselves, this book is a powerful and educative tool. I’m giving it a very solid 10 out of 10*, and recommending it for anyone and everyone above the ages of about 14. If you go out and buy any book after reading my reviews, this is the one for you to buy!

~

There we are – my top 5 books I read in October! Let’s chat! Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favourite books you read last month?

 

Short Story – Praying for Rain

Welcome back! Today I’m sharing part 2 of the story I began to share last week.

And I also promised a reveal of the title because I couldn’t think of one last week . So, without further ado, let me introduce ‘Praying for Rain’ (part 2)! The title is short and simple, and, I think, suitably captures what this is story about. I hope you enjoy the conclusion! 🙂

~

Another week passes, then another. The horizon remains empty, and the house grows quieter. Everything takes on a dreamlike quality, as if we are moving through a sea of molasses. It takes ten times as long to do my chores. It’s just too hot.

The sky stretches above the fields, tight and blue.

The sun mocks us.

Dust covers everything.

I walk with Papa to the fields. Everything is the same. The plants droop, the ground beneath is cracked.

The corn is dying.

Papa caresses a leaf as he always does, tender in his devotion to his crops. But this time, the leaf doesn’t whisper in his palm. It gives a small broken crackle, and falls apart. Papa stares at the leaf in his hand. I watch, heart aching. Then slowly, he balls his fist around the leave, squeezing until his knuckles turn white. When he opens his hand, dust falls like rain to the dry ground at his feet.

He turns and walks away.

I am left alone, surrounded by acres of corn that has given up hope. My heart aches fiercely behind my faded calico apron. It beats until I feel as if it will choke me. My throat tightens, and tears well over.

“Why?” I whisper. I turn in an aimless circle, trying to comprehend the loss of hope as the cornfields blur in a haze of hot tears.

“Why?” I say it louder, as the tears fall faster.

“God, don’t you hear me?” I shake my fist at the unrelenting sky.

“We need rain. Can’t you see? Just look!” I gesture angrily at the fields around me.

“We need rain.” I cry harder, tears rolling down my cheeks. They create shining tracks on the film of dust that covers me.

“God! If you are there, if you can hear me, then answer me!” I scream up at the sky.

“Send us rain!”

Then I collapse in a dusty heap on the parched earth, my tears soaking into the ground as soon as they roll off my face.

~

Tomorrow arrives, then tomorrow, and another tomorrow. I am numb with despair.

Every morning I stay in bed until I am forced to get up by Mama’s call. I don’t look at the sky. I know what it holds, or rather, what it doesn’t hold.

Every night, I crawl into bed. I don’t pray. Instead I let the tears roll silently down into my ears until I fall into a restless sleep.

I dream of an angry God, holding back rain as a punishment on poor farmers.

I dream of the sky taunting us with the hope of thunder and lightning, but holding back the promise of rain.

And then worst of all, I dream of rain. Sweet, cool refreshing rain that soaks into the ground and brings life and hope once again.

But then I wake up and realize it was just a dream and that I am living in a nightmare.

Hope died with the dust that fell from Papa’s hand that morning.

The rain will never come.

~

I lie in bed, after living through a day that was the same as yesterday. I wonder briefly if tomorrow might break the pattern of dusty monotony, then decide that no, it will not. Tomorrow will be the same as today – hopeless and rainless.

I can hear the low murmur of Papa and Mama talking in the other room. They thought I hadn’t heard them talking earlier, but I had. They were murmuring about giving up the farm, of going to the East to live with Mama’s sister. Whispers that signalled the final end of everything we’d ever hoped, dreamed and lived for.

Tears come much easier now than they used to, and so I lie there, stifling in the darkness, stifling my sobs. Sleep eventually comes, long after their murmurs have stopped and the harvest moon has risen. I am restless, drifting in and out of nightmares that are too close to reality.

Then a noise cuts through my shadowy dreams, jerking me awake. I lie there, panting softly in the heat, straining my eyes in the darkness.

The noise comes again, a strange intermittent tapping that seems to be coming from the roof above me. The tapping grows in intensity and loudness, as if someone is throwing stones randomly from the sky. I cast about in my sleep-fogged brain, trying to identify the noise. It seems vaguely familiar, as if I had dreamt about it long ago.

Then the truth hits me with the force of a train. I leap out of bed, tripping over my discarded clothes in the darkness, crashing into the door. I tear it open, heedless of my elbows or the clothes or the hinges.

“Papa, Mama!” I scream.

Dashing through the kitchen, I pull open the front door.

It is as if heaven stands before me.

The smell of life comes flooding into the house, dispelling the smell of the dust that has filled our nostrils for so long. I look out through tear filled eyes at the rain that thuds onto the ground.

Somehow I find myself in the front yard, screaming for joy. My face is turned up to the sky that drops its long awaited gift upon the earth. I run and jump and skip, my heart singing for joy.

I turn and see Papa dancing with Mama in the puddles of water that have quickly accumulated on the ground. I can’t tell if they’re crying or laughing – I don’t know myself whether I’m crying or laughing. Rain pelts my head and runs heavy down my face, washing away the dust of despair.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I cry over and over again, laughter bubbling up between sobs.

I run to Papa and Mama. I can see the joy dripping from their drenched clothes, feel it radiating from their gleaming smiles. Papa’s eyes flash with light, Mama stands straight and strong.

We join hands and dance together, as the rain pours from the sky.

 

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Short Story – …?

Hello everyone! Today I have the first part of a short story for you all to read. It was born on Monday after a brain wave and 2 hours of writing. 😀 And, just to up the tension a bit, I will be revealing its title with the second part next week. (That’s definitely not because I haven’t thought up of a good title yet, or anything. :P) I hope you all will enjoy it!

crops died

Every morning, I stare out over the horizon, longing to see the clouds that mean rain is coming. Every morning the horizon remains empty, curving downwards like a celestial frown of disapproval at my hope.

Every evening, I kneel on the worn floorboards and pray for rain. Every evening I lie on my sagging bed in the stifling heat, wishing for the coolness of a storm. Every evening I drift off to sleep, dreaming of the elusive pattern of raindrops on the roof above me.

But every morning, I wake up. And it hasn’t rained.

~

Papa stares out at the horizon with me, every morning. Then he strides off to inspect the fields. Sometimes I tag along with him. The ground is hard and hot under my feet. Dust puffs up and coats my legs, my dress, and my mouth.

Our fields stretch out almost as far as we can see, up to the horizon. We walk among the rows of corn, planted with such hope and anticipation last spring. The plants droop, tired of the sun, tired of trying to grow. The corn is shrivelling on the cobs, the small kernels withering even smaller, unable to draw sustenance from the barren land. Papa caresses the limp leaves with his work worn hands as he passes through the field. I look up at his face, trying to read what he is thinking. But his thoughts are locked behind the sunburn, and his eyes are hard and sad. Just like the ground we walk over – they let nothing out and nothing in. He doesn’t smile much anymore.

Mama seems to shrivel a little more every day, just like the corn in the fields. The heat gets to her. It wearies her, she says. It wearies me too. It saps all of our energy, taking with it our hopes of a good harvest and another solid payment on the mortgage. Everything is showing signs of weariness. The limp, dust-stained dresses I wear. The shrinking portions of food that Mama serves up in the dusty kitchen. Everything is full of dust and is heavy with the burden of despair.

The days become a monotonous cycle. The same old chores, the same old food, the same old dust, the same old heat. And still, no rain.

I pray more now, hoping that perhaps God might answer if I keep up the petitions long and hard enough. Like that story of the persistent widow that Pastor Brown preached on last Sunday… I murmur prayers while I sweep the dust out of the house, while I feed the chickens, while I walk with Papa among the fields. “Please, send us rain.”

The prayer for rain rings in everyone’s hearts. When we go to town for Sunday church, we sit on the benches in the schoolhouse-turned-church and sing hymns, all the while praying for rain. We listen to Pastor preach about persistent widows, and Joseph’s coat of many colours, and how the Prophet Elijah held back rain as God’s punishment for Israel’s disobedience.

I wonder if perhaps God is punishing us for disobeying him. But it isn’t just us. It’s the whole town, the whole state, and maybe even the whole country. Words like ‘depression’ and ‘dust bowl’ and ‘heading North with the harvest’ are whispered between people as they file out of church after the sermon. No one stays long to talk. It’s too hot to be standing around in the glaring sun-filled schoolyard.

I walk home between Mama and Papa. We’re silent.

~

Summer slips by fast. The days all seem to melt into one hot nightmare. The corn shrivels even faster than Mama does. Papa grows quieter. And I pray even more.

One morning something cruel happens. Papa and I are standing together, looking at the horizon like we always do. It is hazy, but empty. We turn to go in, but I look back just once.

My heart stops.

There is a cloud.

I tug on Papa’s sleeve, calling for him to look. The cloud seems to grow bigger, and another one joins is. I look up at Papa, and for the first time all summer, I see a gleam in his eyes.

We watch all morning, sitting on the porch steps in the dust. The clouds grow bigger, blotting the horizon. The wind picks up, brushing my face with its cool fingers. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the wind. The dust rises from the ground, choking us as it dances in the air.

But still we stay. Watching. Waiting. Hoping. “Please, send rain.” I whisper. The clouds grow bigger, and my heart leaps within my chest. Even Mama is watching, leaning out of the kitchen window.

But as we watch, the clouds turn away. Like a child moves his toys in play, they seem to be moved by an unseen hand up in the sky. They turn west, and then grow smaller. The wind dies down. The dust settles.

And then the clouds slip over the horizon.

My heart sinks like a stone, dragging my hope down with it. Mama shuts the window. I can hear dishes clattering like the tolling of funeral bells. I look at Papa. His eyes are blank once again.

~

Part 2 coming next week! 🙂

(Read Part 2 here)

Poem – Behold!

Ah, it’s a weekend again. What bliss… Weekends are like gold to me, now that school has started back up. 😀 (Except when I don’t finish all my work and then have to work on weekends. But I’m working on that. :D) What have you all been up to this week? My week has been chock full of school work (no surprise, that. :P) and not much else. Such is the life of a high school junior…

Today’s writing piece is another poem that I wrote just the other day. I’ve been reading through the Old Testament recently and really loving it! After reading Amos, I was struck with inspiration and this poem was born. The Old Testament really is filled with such beautiful and poetic writing, it’s not hard to be inspired! I’d really recommend going and reading some of it, if you haven’t recently. Yes, it’s a bit dense in parts, but oh the promises that God makes to his people are so wonderfully encouraging! I love it… So without further ado, onto the poem!

Behold!

He who treads

on the heights of the earth,

also walked among man

through the depths of the valleys.

He who stretches out the heavens

like a garment,

also stretched out his arms

on a cross.

He who touches the earth

melting it,

also touches my heart

turning it into flesh.

He who turns deep darkness

Into morning,

also turns deep mourning

Into joy.

He who causes nations

to rise and fall according to his plan,

also causes me to rise

and soar on eagles’ wings.

He who breathed

the earth into existence,

also breathes life

Into my weary soul.

 

Who is he?

Behold,

the LORD God Almighty

is his name.

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