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To Make the World Beautiful

It will never rain roses. When we want more roses, we must plant more roses

I Took a Walk With the World

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I took a walk with the world one day
We strolled the sands of time
We watched the history of man
Play out before our eyes

We followed different conquests
Battles throughout the ages
We came across sorrow and grief
That never made it to histoy’s pages

We saw the swords draw blood
We watched the bombs fall
And it seemed there was no end
To the horror of it all

When I could watch no more
I asked: “does it hurt?”
He turned to me: “it does
But I bear it because I must”

“I am fraying at the edges
Rolling downwards in despair
I am tearing at the seams
But cannot find help anywhere.”

“Gaze around, scattered about
My broken pieces can you see?
And the worst part is
There is no one who can mend me”

“From past to present men have tried
They have done all they could
But in the end all they achieved
Was creating more harm than good.”

“I brave the pain, endure the sorrow
Stand strong despite the raging weather
All because I have yet to find
Someone who can put me back together.”

His words cause me to weep
To hold him and to cry
To wish I could take away
The hurt collected through time

In desperation I glanced behind us
In the distance a man did stand
Tears pouring from his eyes
Nail piercings in his hands

He called out to the world
Begging it to turn around
But the world did not move
From his seat upon the ground

I turned to the world and whispered:
“The heart of this tragedy you know
Is your Mender stands beside you
But you turned your back on Him long ago.”

 

(picture found on freeimages.com)

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Grace Abounds

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It really all started with a desire to create something beautiful out of a junk most everyone throws away—leftover wax.

When a candle burns, some of the wax (or paraffin if I am going to be completely correct) trickles down and gets stuck to the candle holder. You knock a candle over and get paraffin onto the table and you have to spend hours scrape it off and then you throw it out, because who needs those tiny scraps? When a candle gets too small, you throw the remnants out.

I don’t. I scrap it off the table, I pick it off of the candle holders, basically, if there is paraffin wax anywhere, call me, I’ll clean it off of your furniture, and what’s more, I’ll do it for free.

Why am I so obsessed with paraffin crumbs? Because the beauty of paraffin wax is that it is never useless; just because most of the candle is gone doesn’t mean you have to throw the scraps away. It can be reused.

Making candles is one of my favorite hobbies, and I mainly do it out of old candles. You take the wax, melt it again, prepare a wick and a frame, pour the hot liquid inside, and then just wait for it to harden. Voila, a brand new candle.

The thing was, I didn’t just want plain, old boring candles, I wanted them to be scented and I told this to my friend, who suggested we go to the mall where a big supermarket for hobbyists had opened and we could find anything we wanted there. She needed to buy some things as well and we could have a fun shopping strip.

Great idea! Except the mall was five Metro stops away. To clear up, problem wasn’t because we had to go by Metro, it was my friend has an 11 month old baby, and the particular Metro stop we needed doesn’t have ramps on the staircase. (And she’s got this big, chunky buggy. It’s great for plowing through the snow…not so great for staircases with no ramps.)

There was another option, take two stops, then get out and catch a bus the rest of the way, but that would extend the journey by at least half an hour, thanks to jams, and ultimately end up being more exhausting for the baby and for us. My friend had suggested this option because a few weeks earlier while traveling by public transport she had received some unkind comments from grouchy ladies who were annoyed at the large stroller that got in their way and they decided to be mean about it. So I understood she wasn’t very thrilled about trying to drag a buggy down a rampless. I think she was afraid we would have to deal with a host of unhappy people in a hurry to get out of the Metro and exasperated at two young girls struggling with a buggy and blocking up staircase

But I have faith in humanity. I told her right out: We’re going by Metro, someone will help us, trust me, I know this for a fact.

And I was right; we had just gotten up to the stairway when a young man walked past us. He stopped suddenly, glanced at the stroller, glanced back at the stairs and then retraced his steps and asked, “do you need help carrying the stroller down?”

My friend was surprised, she really had not been expecting anyone to help us, but I was not, because like I said, I have faith in humanity, and faith is believing what you don’t see, and knowing something before it actually happens.

Random folks will toss out nasty comments when something gets in the way of a busy schedule, but there will be someone out there who will help, someone who is kind, someone who will be happy to carry that stroller down.

I have discovered recently that posts that clog up my Facebook newsfeed tend to be the type where people complain about how unkind mankind has become, how hopelessly stupid, how downright evil. Apparently, when someone crossed in front of the line, when he said a nasty remark to you, when she made a crude comment, we’ve got to tell the whole world about it and add how mean people are and how unfair it is. What is more, in light of many recent tragic events, it seems mankind has truly gone beyond hope. One can look around and see nothing but blind hatred. But wait, there is a beautiful verse in the Bible, a verse that is perhaps one of my personal favorite. …Where sin abounded, grace does abound much more. (Romans 5:20b)

In the darkest moments, when humans prove to us just how terrible they become, love shines brighter than ever. Even in the worse tragedies, people will unite together and support one another; it is a truth that has been proven time and again. owever this is also true in the mundane, commonplace, everyday life,  though few seem to noticed it. I do wish people would take time to write about those things on facebook, instead of telling me how mean humans can be.

I was on the bus the other day, and an older lady tripped when trying to get on the bus and hurt her leg. Another girl and I helped her up and walked her onto the bus. A man inside the bus had already jumped up and led her to a seat. When it was her stop, a lady, who was also getting off, offered the old woman her arm, saying in a cheerful voice that she would walk her as far as the lady needed to go.

When my sister travels with her two children on public transport, people from all walks of life, from dignified gentlemen to scrappy teenagers get up and offer their seats to the children. Babies cry on the bus and fellow passengers make funny faces to cheer them up. I’ve even seen old, frail men stand up on their wobbly feet and offer their seat to a pregnant woman.

Why don’t we write about this on our statuses? Is it because we fail to notice them? It is easy to get insulted and angry when someone is mean to us, while at the same time turning a blind eye to silent acts of kindness happening behind our back.

One day I wanted to make something beautiful, so I went to the mall, on this same day, an unknown young man became something beautiful when he willingly sacrificed a minute of his time to help a stranger with a baby and a stroller. Acts such as these are easily forgotten, because unlike candles, they can’t put out on display. They happen for one moment and are forgotten, and yet such acts are what make this world beautiful; they remind us that people care, people love, people will help. They tell us that no matter how scarred and ruined our world, it is still beautiful if we take to be a little kinder, take time to be a little blinder to the faults of those around us. When we praise a little more.

Mankind can sometimes be thought of as leftover wax from a burnt up candle; the goodness is gone and only bits and pieces remain. But it isn’t gone! Collet the leftovers, melt them over the fire, and trust me the goodness will become whole again, and candle of love will burn brightly once more, and it will shine out in the darkness.

Where sin doth abound, grace abounds even more.

(picture found on freeimages.com)

To Live With Pain; To Learn to Heal.

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My love for story writing goes way back, there was nothing funner than coming up with a story game for my sisters and myself to play. My love for writing came a little later, but it was impossible for me to not spend at least an hour of the day typing out the stories that came alive in my head.

When I was eighteen, I was introduced to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a marathon to write a 50k novel in a month or less. I’ve done it every year since then, it is a wonderful motivtion for me to get the novel out and not keep dragging it out. Because I am a history nut, I often write in Historical Fiction, and twice I attempted Fantasy.

This year I decided to do two novels, as opposed to one, and I turned away from His-fic deciding to focuse on the Young Adult genre. Both my novels deal with life…they deal with my observation of life. Characters and situations are fictional; thoughts, feelings, emotions, those are real, they are based off what I went through and what friends and family went through and were kind enough to share with me.

The other day I was writing a scene that had been on my mind ever since the 1st day of NaNo. The two main characters are sitting on the couch, each has just shared their life story, each story is filled with loss, pain, and emotional heart break.

At last the boy turns to the girl and says, “but I have learned that with time-”
She nods her head, “with time you learn to live with the pain.”
The boy shakes his head, “no, what I was going to say is with time you learn to heal.”

As I wrote that, I realized people in our world can be divided into two categories, those who learn to live with the pain, and those who learn to heal.

I also discovered I can identify with both categories. When I was twenty, an incident took place that left me emotionally broken and hurt. For two years I lived with the pain, I learned to keep on in life, to smile and laugh despite the hurting of my soul, the empty feeling, the desire to give up. In fact I learned to cover it so well, no one suspected how much pain I kept locked away in my heart. And then, just recently, I took that pain to Jesus, and asked Him to turn it into something beautiful. Now I’m learning to heal, it’s a slow process, and it does walk hand in hand with pain, but I have found the hurt is slowly going away and being replaced with love. I can’t change what happened, I can’t fix what was broken, but I can give the shreds to the One who takes that which is broken and makes it beautiful, makes it whole.

That is why I feel confident in writing this novel, I know what I am writing about. True, everyone’s pain is different, but at the same time, sorrow is universal, and no matter what form it took in coming to you, know you are not alone. Others suffer too, in different ways, but heartache is heartache, and it helps us to unite, to bond, to love and support each other.

I hope in sharing my own experiences, through the art of fiction, others will learn that it is okay to live with pain, and more importantly, that it is possible to learn to heal.

To be broken is not to be irreparable, and damaged isn’t done for.

An Act of Kindness

Traveling in a stuffy hot train isn’t exactly on my list of fun things to do, but that is exactly where I found myself. It wasn’t one of those trains where there is air conditioning, electric sockets, and wi-fi. Oh no. Think of windows that don’t open, people walking back and forth along a narrow corridor, constantly rubbing shoulders with you, and absolutely zero privacy. It is one of those third class sort of trains, the kind that most likely don’t exist in certain cultures, but are more than plentiful in others. The train compartments have no doors and so you have no way to close yourself off from the rest of the passengers. Although, come to think of it, it wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the heat and the lack of air. The train trip lasted for two days, and it was in the middle of these two days that I found myself writing this blog post in an attempt to kill the hours that were literally crawling along at a snail’s pace. Seriously, how come when you are trying your hardest to reach a deadline that the hours just fly by and you hardly have time to blink before it’s all up and over, while when you don’t really have anything to do, the same sixty minutes seem to be an entire eternity?

Anyway, the mysteries and intrigues of time was not meant to be the topic of this post.

I was traveling with my three siblings and a friend on our way to a summer camp to be camp leaders. We had one compartment to ourselves, but because five people don’t exactly fit into a four-man compartment, my brother had a seat, or rather a bunk, in the compartment next to us. His was the bottom bunk, which is of course the prefered one for traveling. When I came to check on him a couple of hours into the journey, I was quite surprised to see him sleeping on the top bunk. Not that I thought much of it, I figured there must have been some kind of mixup or perhaps I had been misinformed, but I knew my brother was grown up enough to handle it on his own. (He is three years older than me, after all, and can take of such minor details without my butting in.)

When he showed up for dinner, he explained to me the reason for his being on the top bunk. The conversation went something like this.

Me: You’ve got a pregnant girl as a neighbour, don’t you?

Brother: Yup, how did you know?

Me: I saw her when I came to check on you. Who was the older man next to her?

Brother: Her father, he’s a really nice guy, very concerned for her. She’s like…really pregnant.

Me: Like she might have a baby on the train pregnant.

Brother: Yup. They had the top bunks so I gave her my bottom one so that at least these two days will be relatively comfortable for her.

I was of course greatly impressed that my brother had been so gentlemanly, and it was this little act of kindness that really got me thinking. When we go traveling, we often tend to think more about our comfort that the comfort of the person traveling next to us. How often do you want to trade bunks with your neighbor if it means you are going to get the bad end of the deal? More often than not, we don’t want to step out of our way and make the journey pleasant for our fellow companion if it means it will result in some discomfort for us. This is perhaps truest when going anywhere by public transport. You’re already not so inspired about being sandwiched between a bunch of random people, then you get in that bus or subway wagon and are lucky enough to find a seat to rest your weary feet and then some elderly person walks inside and you are faced with a decision: either stand up and offer the person your seat, or keep on sitting and pretend you didn’t notice them.

I come from a culture where offering your seat to the elderly is something that is expected from the youth, but with the times changing around us, I have noticed with a twinge of sadness that often young people don’t care to stand up. I will admit it is even a battle for me, especially if I’m traveling at rush hour or am carrying heavy bags. So my conscience is at war with my human nature as I try to come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I should keep my seat.

The thing is, making the world a better place is something that we, of course, all agree should done, but when it comes to the actually dirty work of doing it we seem to be a little less enthusiastic. We’ll share Facebook posts on how slavery should end and like that post that tells us how terrible racism is, and, of course, many of us will raise awareness about bullying by putting up that status that says bullying is bad and how ninety percent of the people won’t put up this status but we are part of the one percent that do. And then what? We pat ourselves on the back on how we are doing are part to change the world and go on with our lives. But honestly, is that really helping? I have yet to know what person who has benefited from the endless slavery posts that appear in my news feed, and I’ll tell you what, the beggars on the streets certainly haven’t gone down in numbers thanks to that status that all my friends keep sharing and sharing and sharing.

Don’t get me wrong, raising awareness through social media is good and important, but it isn’t going to do the trick if sharing a post is all you are going to do. I’m sure many of you will agree with me that it is so much easier to hit the share button on Facebook than it is to get up in a crowded bus and offer your seat to that old woman. But in the long run, who will benefit more? St. James tell us in his book in the Bible that faith without works is dead, and what is the use of telling people how terrible the world is if you’re not going to do anything about it? I have so many friends who sit and complain at how cruel humanity has become, how no one cares for others, how people are being mean to them and so on. Well, why don’t you get up and change that? Start with changing yourself, changing your attitude to people, and then get out there and do something for the good of humanity.

It really doesn’t have to be something big. Offer that seat to the elderly or pregnant woman. Instead of complaining on some social media how annoying that crying baby is, see if you can help the poor mother calm her child down.

My brother could have just felt sorry for the poor pregnant mother, given her a sympathetic look and kept his comfortable seat, instead he just quietly offered her to have his bunk and that was the end of it. No big deal. But I know the girl and her father are really grateful to him, because by his small act he reminded them that God still cares and kindness is not a thing of the past.

Sometimes making the world beautiful doesn’t mean some grand work of art, or some large, global ministry. Sometimes it is just a little act of self-sacrifice that makes the world truly beautiful to the person next to you.

That Pilot Post

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

If there is one thing I love, it is beauty and making the world around me beautiful. Honestly, when I was young, I never thought to be an artist, because art was certainly never one of my strong points. It was only a the age of 14 that I even supposed I could have some sort of talent in the field of art. My mother sent me to an art studio and the teacher there instilled in me not only a love for drawing, but a firm belief that anyone, that everyone, can draw. With time I moved on from just drawing to arts and crafts, and then at the age of 17 I discovered my love for writing.

I guess it is a mix of both that prompted me to start this blog. I often say writing is my love, but art is my soul, and I can’t see myself doing one without the other.

In this blog, I want to share with you a little of that soul, that love, that part of me that is both artist and writer. But not just because I want you all to think me such an awesome person (because seriously, I’m not). I believe in making the world a better place, a lovelier place, a place where you don’t have to be afraid, a place where all around is light and love.I try to use my art and my writing to do just this, to make the world beautiful.

This is just a little introduction to what my blog will be about. I’ll post some of my art, some of my writing, and I’ll also be posting my thoughts on life and our journey through it. But don’t get me wrong, this blog is not just about me, it is about all of you, because you are the world, and I hope you will come to see it as I do, as a wonderful place, a place we need to make beautiful.

Post Script.

     Unless otherwise stated, all photography in this blog is by my talented and wonderful sister Aelin. She makes this world beautiful through her photos and has kindly allowed me to post her work. Thank you so much, dearest love ❤

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