Monday, November 5, 2012

32 Odd Facts About Me

(Disclaimer: It was 2:00 am, I had been editing speeches, studying English Lit, and writing apologetics essays all day and I needed to give my brain a rest by ranting something ridiculous. So I wrote a blog post all about yours truly. If you don’t have anytime to spare then take my advice and don’t even bother to continue reading. However, for those of you who think you have the time to spare (but really don’t), enjoy these enlightening facts regarding my personality and leave me a comment telling at least 10 odd facts about yourself.)

1)    I can make my tongue touch my nose (no pictures available)
2)    I fractured my skull at age 3 (pictures available)
3)    I have never dyed or even highlighted my hair
4)    I read Do Hard Things 23 times
5)    My handwriting is terrible
6)    Math questions give me panic attacks (well…almost)
7)    I refused to wear jeans until 13 years old
8)    I had blond curls when I was little
9)    I’ve watched all 8 hours of BBC’s Little Dorrit in one day
10) One of my dreams is to sing with Josh Groban one day
11) I would rather clean a bathroom than do dirty dishes
12) I was asked on a date by a married man when I was 13
13) Job was my favorite book of the Bible when I was little
14) I have never read The Chronicles of Narnia
15) I don’t want a wedding veil when I get married (unless my fiancé minds)
16) Michael Gambon is one of my favorite actors
17) I have (three times!) flattened guys twice my size for bullying other kids
18) I hate summer… but love summer evenings
19) I’ve eaten a roly-poly. Oh! and some ants too… but the roly-poly tasted better
20) I write silly things when I’m tired (in case you couldn’t tell)
21) I have never seen Singing in the Rain
22) One of my nick-names used to be Bully (I’ve moved to My Muslim Friend now)
23) I nearly cut off my brother’s finger with a pair of scissors once
24)  I never had to wear a head-gear or expander with my braces
25) I have a tiny mole on the inside of my eyelid
26) The term “mutual submission” makes me really mad
27) I have never had my hair cut professionally
28) I’ve never owned a phone
29) I used to play the flute
30) I only learned the Hokey-Pokey a year ago and the Chicken-Dance a month ago
31) I have three freckles on my right cheek
32) I get really weird when writing too late at night (but not this time… oh no)

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Worth the Wait" Part 4

Continuing her climb, the wounded and fatigued bride found herself entirely alone. “This is my journey,” she repeated, trying to comfort herself, “No one can travel it for me. Some may come alongside to aid, but I must complete it myself.” Yet she still longed for a hand to help for every step was pure anguish. Any minute her limbs threatened to give way, causing her to again plunge down the face of the cliff.  

But she had already gained back the ground from her last fall and had only a few yards left to scale. The chapel was mostly hidden by overhanging boulders, with just the tip of the steeple jutting out above them. Reaching the boulders and using what little strength she had left, she attempted to pull herself up. At last! The bride could see the full chapel only yards in front of her. Yet she could not seem to muster enough power to bring her body over the last hurdle for suddenly her feet slipped and were left dangling in the air.  She held on for dear life, but her arms were too exhausted to maintain their grip and she felt them begin to give way.

“No,” she gasped frantically as tears streamed down her dirty cheeks, “Not when I’ve come this far… not when I’ve come this far!”

Her fingers slipped.

Yet instead of plummeting to her death, the bride felt her arm grasped by a warm, strong hand that gently pulled her exhausted form over the last obstacle. The owner of the strong arm slowly placed her on the few feet of grassy ground between the chapel and the cliff. The hair that covered the bride’s eyes was softly pulled away to reveal to her… the old usher. Stroking her hair with his fingers and gazing at her with tear-filled eyes he whispered, “Well done.”

The bride burst into tears, as all the emotion and strain from the journey finally hit her tired frame. But the usher merely took her into his arms and let her cry. After some time he said, “Come, they are waiting for you.”

“I can’t go in like this,” she said, more tears spilling over.

“Like this?” was his reply as he raised her to her feet. “What fault do you find in your appearance?”

The bride looked at him incredulously but then followed his gaze onto her wedding gown. What surprise awaited her there! No longer was her dress torn, her limbs dirty, or hands bloody. Where each rent in her gown had been now was a cluster of diamonds and roses, as though a mist of beauty had melted together to weld each tear. The dirt and sand merely cleansed and purified the skin both on her limbs and face, making them clear as cream and her cheeks soft and rosy. The wind had gently untangled and whisked her hair into a stunning design, leaving it sprayed delicately with tiny diamonds. The bride’s lips had been seared to perfection by the sun’s rays, presently having a natural shade of ruby red.

Looking deeply into her eyes the usher explained, “No longer are you the plain, simple beauty from before your journey. Along the path you were purified, refined, and enriched to a deeper level of beauty. Because you were willing to take that course, one that many scoff at and ridicule, and because you fought the battle against many obstacles including yourself, your dream to save the revealing of your beauty for your future husband can now come true. My child, it is the very glory of your purity and innocence that makes you stunning.”

Tears and a smile of infinite relief, happiness, and contentment passed over the face of the bride. The usher gently led her to the door where he then motioned for her to wait as he brought the father-of-the-bride. She waited but could not resist the urge to peek into the room to see her lover. She cracked the door ajar. There he was, standing at the altar; waiting for her. His back was towards her, but his tall form still sent a surge of joy to her heart.

“Turn around, my darling,” she whispered, “I want to see your face.”

As though answering her request, the groom turned around to face the aisle. But oh! His face was still covered by a stand of pure white flowers.

“Not yet,” the usher’s voice said as he reached the bride with her father following behind, “His face will be revealed to you soon.”

“Take my arm, honey,” said the father-of-the-bride.

With a smile of complete and utter happiness, the bride took her father’s arm and cast a look of infinite gratitude to the usher.

“See, my child” He nodded, while a tear glistened in his soft eyes, “It is worth it.”

Suddenly the doors swung open, everyone rose to their feet, and the sweet strains of violin music began to play as the bride took her first step down the aisle. And then…

I woke up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Worth the Wait" Part 3

Sweat poured down the bride’s face and every muscle ached as she struggled to maintain her holds on the jagged rocks. With every grasp her hands were deeply cut by the serrated spires and with every step a new slit appeared in her simple gown. That dress, once so clean, plain, and elegant now was nothing more than shredded rags clinging to her weary form and carrying the stench of sand, sweat, and blood.

But she had almost reached her goal. There, towering above her in the direct sunlight she could see the dim outline of the chapel. The cool of its shade and the bright sparkles of the stained glass lifted her heart and gave her confidence. She continued her ascent with renewed vigor.

“Not much farther,” she said, “I can make it to the top.” But, growing confident in her abilities and relaxed in the knowledge that she nearing the chapel, the bride became careless. Her grasps became dangerously loose and her feet were no longer firmly planted.

“See!” she cried breathlessly, almost giddy in her exhaustion, “I said we would make it!”

“But we aren’t there yet,” warned the maid-of-honor, “We must keep our focus and remain faithful till we reach the church doors.”

“Oh but we’ve made it this far!” she answered carelessly. “Why be worried when the end is within sight?” In that moment the rock upon which the bride had foolishly placed her all her weight gave way. Her hands flailed around desperately trying to find a hold before she would be sliced to pieces by the angry knife-like stones below. But the wall of the cliff suddenly seemed slippery, preventing her from gaining a grip and causing her to slip farther and farther. A terrified shriek burst from her pale shredded lips as she realized her hopeless state. The wind whistled past her ears and questions raced into her mind during the split seconds of her fall. The entire journey, all the struggles she faced and battles she fought, were they all coming to their end here? Was her one act of carelessness going to destroy all she had hoped to save? Was all this… worthless?

Suddenly her body received an agonizing jerk and she was tossed onto her face. Dazed by the blow, she drifted out of consciousness for a few moments. When she came to, she thought at first that she was paralyzed, for she felt no pain and was unable to move. But as her head cleared, the pain returned. It was so intense the bride wondered whether every bone in her body was broken. Yet as she turned to see blood trickling from her hands and arms, she realized that in spite of the pain, she was at least able to move both legs and arms

Sitting up, the bride looked up to determine how far she had fallen and what had kept her from falling still further. A large shred of satin fabric hanging from a jagged stone above showed that her dress must have snagged its edge, swinging her onto the small ledge directly beneath. Looking up past the piece of cloth, the bride realized she had slid and fallen about thirty feet.

Her two remaining companions were nowhere to be seen.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Worth the Wait" Part 2

Part 1 can be found here

“Why this is lovely! No wonder you chose taking this trail instead of just walking through the front doors,” the maid-of-honor said as she and the bride strode through the woods. Upon seeing the beautiful and seemingly easy path, all the bridesmaids and many family members and friends had decided to follow the bride on her journey. She had warned them of the difficulties ahead, but their eyes were blind to the impending hardship and saw only the delightful woodland path. Shaking her head at their ignorance, brushing back her hair, and hiking up her simple satin dress, the bride began her quest.

“Why didn’t you make everyone come this way?” the maid-of-honor continued.

“Because this is my journey,” the bride replied after some thought. “It was my decision to take this path. Others may follow me, but I’m afraid if they have not made a strong commitment in their own minds to pursue this course, they will drop away as the journey hardens.”

She was soon proven right. When only a little more than halfway through the forest, the bride began to hear grumblings behind her.

“Is it much farther? Our feet are aching in these shoes…” asked a pretty cousin.

“Why, this is only the start,” the bride answered.

“Oh… I don’t think we’ll make it all the way then. My sister and I will go back and meet you at the chapel, all right?” The bride nodded sadly as they waved and soon walked out of sight.

Casting a knowing look to the maid-of-honor and saying confidently, “It will be worth it,” she turned and continued down the path. She tried to cheer herself up by thinking of the family members and friends still by her side, but could not shake off the images of the impending chasm and cliff she would have to climb. She had not dwelt on it long however, when a shocking new landscape appeared before them at the end of the forest. The group fell silent.

Stretching in front of them was an endless plane of auburn sand dunes, speckled with rocks and boulders of the same color. The burning rays of the sun shot down from the sky like searing needles ready to strike any who dared leave the forest shade. Even from where they stood, the bride and her party could feel the overwhelming heat on their skin and taste the grit of sand in their teeth.
Soon cries of, “This is ridiculous!”, “You didn’t tell us the path would be like this!”, and “You can’t even see the chapel from here!” burst from the lips of irritated wedding guests.

Tears of fear began to well up in the bride’s eyes as she looked at the road ahead and listened to their doubts, mumblings, and criticisms. Then, as though trying to convince her own heart more than the hearts of her companions, she slowly turned around and repeated the words of the usher. “Trust me,” she said, “It will be worth it.”

With many a scoff or harsh word, over half of her so-called friends and family turned to walk back the way they had come. Less than a dozen friends remained, but they included the mother-of-the-bride and maid-of-honor. Our bride smiled sadly to these two as she turned with resolution to the path before her. But as she took a step, a branch caught a fold in her satin dress, causing it to tear. The bride’s heart sank. The beauty she was struggling so hard to save, had it been ruined? No. “It will be worth it!” she said defiantly as a hot tear trailed down her cheek. With a deep breath, she stepped out from the branches’ protecting shade.

The sand was deep and the sun unmerciful, burning and stifling any victim within its reach. And the wind, that was worst of all! It began as a welcome breeze, but after time turned into a roaring howl, swirling large handfuls of sand into the face of the daring bride. Her entire form soon was covered in sand and her satin gown torn in more places than one. So parched from lack of water were her lips that they began to crack and bleed.

Finally, relief appeared in the distance as the group approached a block of shade cast by a tall cliff. Within its shelter, members of the party dropped to the ground in exhaustion. After lying there for some time, the bride rolled on her back and slowly opened her eyes. A faint, agonizing sob escaped her parched lips. For towering above her was a sight both dizzying and terrifying. Here was a path more daunting than anything she had yet faced; a sheer cliff covered with sharp, jagged rocks protruding from every angle. No footholds were to be seen while stones lay alert as giant knives, ready to cut and destroy any who tried to scale them. It was no wonder then that the remaining guests and wedding party members broke out in exclamations of anger and bitterness.

“Why didn’t you warn us that it would be this hard? You dragged us out here promising it would be worth it, that it would be wonderful and beautiful. But your ideas are a stupid, senseless fancy! From now on, you travel this foolish path alone.”

And so they left her. At this point the bride neither knew nor cared. Her dream of arriving at the chapel door in simple, elegant beauty and seeing the admiration in her lover’s eyes as she entered now had faded beyond even the slightest hope. All she now prayed for was the strength to survive the climb. But turning over she realized she was not entirely alone. The mother-of-the-bride and the maid-of-honor still remained. Both were just as tired and just as worn as she, but they had stayed by her side. Seeing their faithfulness gave her strength. She smiled a faint “thank you” and painfully rose to her feet.

Reaching with both hands to find a secure hold, she was about to begin her ascent when her mother’s voice delayed her movement.

“Sweetheart,” she said, “I know this is important to you and to him, but are you sure that…”

“Yes, mother,” the bride interrupted, without shifting her eyes from the path, “It will be worth it!”

To be continued...