My Dear Future [an open letter] [volume ii]

My Dear Future

My dear Future,

You’ve been bothering me again in recent months, invading my thoughts. I’d thought I’d dealt with you in my last letter, but I suppose I’ll need to deal with you in some manner for the rest of my life. But we’ve really got to stop doing this. Don’t pretend you’re innocent.

“What about tomorrow?” you constantly whisper. “What about next week, next month, next decade?”

What about when one of my roommates gets married later this month? It’s going to be so good but so sad since she’s become one of my dearest friends and will (understandably) be moving out.

What about when the new roommate moves in? What will that be like?

Questions. Questions. Questions.

All you bring up is questions, Future.

Questions about when my church is going to be strong enough to start planting other churches. I wonder who God will call to go and when. My best friends? Me? Where will we be sent first?

Questions about my small group. When will we be able to multiply (split from one big group into two smaller groups)? Which group will God call me to? Which friends will I stay with, which ones will I separate from?

Questions about tomorrow and later this week. Will they be smooth days? Or will I be on the rocks, fighting off spiritual attack and barely riding out the growing pains of my soul?

And what about when more of my friends start dating? What then?? What will that be like? How will Jesus sanctify us all through that process? What about me? What if I were to start dating? What if I never date? How will this look, what will it be like? Will I be able to honor Jesus with it, or will it be a struggle where I refuse to lay down my will?

Future, you’re spitting out questions like crazy. My attention is often on you, Future (which is probably all part of your plan). You inspire creeping fear. You demand a plan for every eventuality and especially the impossibilities. You demand I prepare. You demand that I always be thinking of what’s to come, forgetting what’s right in front of my face.

Enough, Future.

I won’t play your game.

I’ll think of Eternity, but not you, Future. (Oh, yes, I see the difference now. Screwtape told me the difference between Eternity and you, Future, so now you don’t get to hide in ambiguity.*)

I’ll think about when I get to be face to face with my beloved Jesus. But no more questions about tomorrow or next week or what might be to come. I will look forward to what is sure—Eternity, life forever with Jesus, but that’s it, Future.

I’ve been built and called to hope for heaven, for Eternity, for Jesus.

But I exist in this moment, in this day. I live in the Present, not you, Future.

I will not survive the Present until Future hopes and fears do or do not come to pass.

I will not survive the Present even just to make it to Eternity’s golden shores.

Today is the day my Lord has made. This moment is the moment my Lord has made. I will rejoice in it. I will live it.

Right now is where I am, and right now is where I will all be. Not hands in the present and eyes on you, Future. No, instead: hands in the Present, eyes on Jesus, heart fixed on what he’s doing today.

Today’s joys and pleasures—simple and wild and mundane as they are.

Today’s battles and responsibilities.

Today’s bread.

Today’s cross.

Today’s grief.

Today’s glory.

Everything I’m given today is good. I don’t expect and get goodness only in you, Future. I get good things now, today, every day.

I’m forgetting you, Future.

Yes, I’ll pray for the things to come—the friends to be saved into Jesus’ everlasting kingdom, the sanctification the Holy Spirit will continue to bring about in me, and all such good things. But my heart, my attention, isn’t fixed on you, oh Future. My mind and attention are no longer yours to play with. My heart, my mind, my attention are no longer stuck on next month’s small group multiplication or 2022’s church plant. Not next year’s boyfriend or next decade’s singleness. Not tomorrow’s growth or next week’s grief.

So, you can shut your mouth, Future. I’m going deaf to you and all your questions because I trust my Jesus and I want what he’s giving me today.

I’ve been given today; I’m living every moment of today.

Sincerely,

Rosalie

p.s. – yeah, kids, I’m finally back at the ol’ blog. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, only that it seemed like God was nudging me to get back into the game. So here I am.

p.p.s. – you can check out the original open letter that I wrote in 2018 to my dear future shortly before I announced that I was moving to Texas.


*In one of C.S. Lewis’s towering Screwtape Letters, he addresses the difference between being fixed on/hoping for Eternity and being obsessed with/a slave to the Future. He distinguishes Eternity and Future from each other by saying that being preoccupied with Eternity is being preoccupied with Jesus while fixating on the Future is more of being consumed with what could happen in this life—expecting things to get “better” at some vaporous Future date, fearing things will get worse, etc..

This distinction has been personally incredibly helpful because focus on Eternity reveals solid hope and faith while my fixation on the Future reveals fear and lack of trust. Both are forward-thinking, but one is far more helpful than the other.


 

Why I Wrote a Story About Death [i’m getting published again; ‘a kind of death’ release day!]

Today is the day that my short story, Eshe, gets released in Uncommon Universes Press’s first anthology, A Kind of Death: Tales of Love, Loss, and Transformation.

I’ve actually hardly talked about this? Which is definitely weird. Life’s been kind of crazy, and I’ve hardly sat down with my computer at all. Anyweys.

I want to tell you why I wrote Eshe, a story about death.

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I.

Sometimes it feels strange to say that I’m getting published in a collection of poems and short stories about death. I know how morbid it sounds, how some people definitely think, “yikes!” when they hear that title.

Honestly though, most of my stories involve death. If you’ve read any of my eight published flash fictions, you will find that four of the eight deal fairly strongly with death in some form or another.

But why do I come back to death again and again in my stories?

II.

Death was never meant to be.

This world was created bursting at its atoms with life and wonder, every piece perfect and whole and beautiful and glorifying to God.

Yet humans rebelled against God, pushed against his kingdom, and enter from stage right: sin and death.

This world is shattered now. Death comes to all things here; from the honey bee to the forests packed with trees to the stars galaxies away to the picked rose to the blue whale to the cells that make up the fingers that type these letters.

I’m still young, in good health. Yet I am decaying, dying. And so is this world.

Little ones only weeks old die in their cribs from SIDs. Graves fill with bodies of soldiers. The hearts beating under the papery skin of the elderly stop. Sickness and violence rob families of loved ones every way we turn. We can’t escape death. Death is a present reality.

III.

I write about death to see death rightly. It’s not romantic. It’s real, but it’s not normal. It’s not how it should be. It’s not how it will always be. It’s not the end.

I write about death to peer past this destroyed world and remember that there is another kingdom my eyes can’t see.

I write about death so that I can learn to die well.

I write about death because it reminds me to live well.

I write about death because in doing so, in a strange way, I see Jesus more clearly. I see his kindness, for only One of great love would submit to death to save a rebellious, self-destroying, dying people. I see his power, for only One of great might can redeem death itself.

And seeing Jesus more clearly gives me courage. Courage to not fear death. Courage to pray that every sinful, unfruitful thing in me be put death and that I be undone and remade again and again until he calls me home. Courage to believe that one day, death will be a distant memory, and being alive, being with Jesus, will forever be the present reality.

Death will come for me one day, but death will not get the final say over me. Only Jesus gets that.


aKoDCover.jpgA Kind of Death Blurb:

A princess who makes dangerous bargains with the afterlife. A man desperate to save his wife, no matter the cost. An uber driver for the undead.

Death, whether real or metaphorical, comes for us all. Yet it is not always the end. And in the depths of grieving can be the promise of hope and redemption.

The tales and poems in this anthology explore the depths of love, loss, and transformation. Whether in a reimagined folktale or a modern urban fantasy, A Kind of Death features a fine balance of tragedy and comedy, but always with a hint of wonder and hope.

As this anthology concerns matters of loss (all handled tastefully and without graphic depiction), certain stories might prove challenging for sensitive readers. Recommend reading with a hot beverage and/or a packet of tissues.


A Kind of Death is available as in paperback, hardback, and ebook.

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and UUP.

Don’t forget to enter to win a hardback copy of A Kind of Death along with two art prints and additional book swag!

I can’t wait for you to read Eshe. <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – here’s the Eshe pinterest board, if you’re interested.

p.p.s. – fun fact: Eshe is my favorite thing I’ve written to date.

p.p.p.s. – I get to be published with Savannah Grace again! And alongside Bethany Jennings for the first time! Whoop whoop!

Symphony of Words 2019: Winners

Today is the day Charis, Anika, and I finally announce the winners of our Symphony of Words writing contest!

First of all, I’m sorry that this announcement has been so delayed! Some unexpected, unplanned for life stuff/busyness came up for me and one of the other judges, and the judging process ended up taking a lot longer than we planned for. We are sorry for the delay, and we so appreciate your patience. <3

Also, thank you so much to everyone who entered! There were so many amazing stories and styles sent in, and it was wonderful to step into your imaginations. Thank you for sharing your creativity and heart with us! <3 <3 <3

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Now, without further adieu! The winners! Just click on the story title read the story and a note from each author about their inspiration!

Here are our honorable mentions:

Merie S. with her story The Nightingale Girl inspired by For King and Country’s God Only Knows.

Alexis C. with her story When I Belonged With You inspired by The Lumineers’ Ho Hey.

Kaitlyn K. with her story Porch Swing Hugs inspired by The SteelDrivers’ Where Rainbows Never Die.

Ash R. with her story Peony inspired by Taylor Swift’s Clean.

Now onto our prize-winning top three!

In third place: Abigayle C. with her story Remembrance inspired by I See Fire by Ed Sheeran.

To me, the author went a very unexpected route as far as setting and subject, and it was super refreshing! Not only is the writing tight, but the subject matter is handled with maturity and taste without wandering into undue morbidity or romanticism.

In second place: Emily H. with her story Stelle Tremanti inspired by Red by Taylor Swift.

I think what I loved most about this story was the feeling of being seamlessly taken into another period of time. With its winsome description and nostalgia-evoking writing style, I felt like I was just on the other side of a camera lens watching the story unfold in quick flashes. *dreamy eyes forever*

In first place: Bekah B. with her story Let Me Fall inspired by I Need U by BTS.

This is a very close story, told in such a way that you don’t just see the main character but you also experience her thoughts and emotions with her (which is a huge mark of good storytelling on its own). Unfortunately, I can’t say much more because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I will say that while it dives into some heavy subject matter (all dealt with well within this contest’s guidelines, but I just want to give sensitive readers a heads up), it’s a story you don’t want to miss.


Abigayle, Emily, and Bekah: you can expect an email within a week regarding the final details of your prizes! Congratulations!!

Of course, thank you, Anika and Charis, for dreaming up this contest and letting me participate in it as a judge alongside you.

Thank you again to everyone who entered!! I was, personally, blown away by the depth and breadth of the type of stories we got, and I’m so glad you all participated. <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – very sad news: WordPress crashed, and Anika’s blog has vanished entirely. *screaming ensues* If you want to keep up with her, be sure to follow her on Instagram.

 

Oh Beloved One Tour [giveaway]

Happy Tuesday!

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Oh Beloved One (OBO for short)–a magazine for Christian young women to remind them that they are beloved!

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A bit about Oh Beloved One.

Oh Beloved One is created by young women who believe that our highest calling in life is to love God and bring him glory.

The OBO team seeks to help other young women love God and bring him glory by providing content that assists readers in taking their next spiritual step.

The giveaway!

You will win a hardcopy of Independent, OBO‘s July/August issue with articles about solitude, breaking out of your comfort zone, and knowing when and with whom you can be honest about your weaknesses as well as everyday how-to’s every girl should know for life and more.

IMG_0800.jpgBe sure to enter this giveaway if:

a) you are curious about Oh Beloved One

b) you are trying to decide if you want to subscribe to OBO

c) you are a girl looking for some encouragement and edification

d) you enjoy getting mail

e) you adore aesthetically pleasing things (if this magazine isn’t #aesthetic, I don’t know what is)

f) the balance between godly dependence and godly independence confuses you

and/or g) you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter who would enjoy a copy of Oh Beloved One.

Enter the giveaway here!

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Fine print:

  •  this giveaway is U.S.A. only (sorry, international peeps!)
  •  this giveaway will close on September 23, 2019 (the last day of this blog tour)
  • the winner will be contacted by email

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This Oh Beloved One tour will be running all month long with a couple other giveaways happening along the way, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next stop (it’s with Jane Maree in a few days)!

– Check out the OBO magazine here

– Subscribe OBO‘s mailing list here

– Stop by OBO‘s Instagram here.

I’m so excited to follow the rest of this tour! I’ve known about OBO for a while now, and I’m so jazzed to spread the word about this beautiful magazine for girls.

Have you heard of Oh Beloved One? Do you subscribe to any magazines?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – all photos belong to Oh Beloved One

My Noveling Process [in gifs]

Noveling is a process. It’s arduous. The Arduous Process looks different for everyone, but I just want to share a snapshot of what noveling is like for me, personally.

Obviously, there will be gifs.

Here it is from start to finish (because there comes a point where a novel is finished, right? RIGHT????).

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The Spark of Creation (aka: when an new story idea strikes).

The moment of inspiration is different for every novel, but the moment it takes root, there’s no going back.

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This is the part where I cheat on the novel I was working on by thinking about and creating playlists and Pinterest boards for my new idea. It’s all fun and games in the beginning, when it’s forbidden.

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^^^ me having fun with all the new characters and plot bunnies and worldbuilding nerdiness ^^^

Everything is shiny and new and exciting about this idea, and I’m usually pretty jacked and acting kind of weird around the house.

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It’s very much like the beginning of The Lion King, when everything is bright and hopeful and beautiful.

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I am Rafiki; Simba is the new idea

Drafting Begins (aka: I write the rough draft of the novel).

It’s time to get started! All the Pinteresting and playlist-making and movie-trailer-dreaming has come to this, and it’s time to start actually writing the novel. I couldn’t be happier!

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Two chapters into the novel:

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But I’m not stressed because I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t plot out a novel before I write it; I just start with some inspiration and make most of it up as I go along (because what can possibly go wrong with that?).

This leads us to the next phase: intermittent snacking.

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The time eventually comes to kill off the first character. I usually meet this challenge with a healthy mixture of maniacal zest and sincere sorrow.

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I also tend to get stuck in research ruts, which is where I spend five and a half hours researching one minute detail (which I’ll probably end up throwing out further down the line in the editing process).

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^^^ me after getting stuck in a  research rut ^^^

By this point, we’re where everything is falling apart for the characters, and my main character has reached their lowest point (this is often called “the dark night of the soul”). All their hopes and dreams (and maybe even some of their loved ones) have gone up in smoke. It’s a very traumatic time. For the main character. Less so for me.

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^^^ me watching my characters hopes and dreams (and maybe even some loved ones) go up in smoke ^^^

Inevitably, I slow to a halt and spend a while existential crisis-ing.

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Shortly after this, I complete the first draft, which is hands down one of the most amazing feelings of this whole process.

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Editing Begins (aka: I try to fix up the story to make it presentable to others, and it promptly falls apart).

Editing usually begins well. I typically take a few month break (sometimes even more) between my first draft and my second draft and am thus very refreshed and ready to dig into my novel once more.

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I read the first draft, which often feels like I’m discovering the novel for the first time all over again. Except this time without all the frills and euphoric visions. No, this time, I read it with all the cynicism my dual personality can muster.

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^^^ actual footage of me reading dialogue from my first drafts ^^^

And then I begin to notice that there are some, well, some rather large problems that my witty back and forth banter with myself won’t fix.

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Then, I lose all comprehension of all words, story craft, plot structure, character building, etc..

Enter from stage right: the Google search.

Typical Editing Phase 1 Google searches look like:

  • how to tell if your novel has a plot
  • yikesyikesyikesyikes
  • how to plot a novel
  • why does my main character need to have a goal?
  • how to write a plot twist
  • wHaT IS A pLOt?
  • is my novel trash?
  • save me

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People generally think it’s pretty cool that I write novels, and this is the part (when I can’t recall the difference between an inciting incident and a plot twist) where they ask about it. I can’t help myself but respond thusly:

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Editing Continues (aka: something has gone terribly wrong with the story and I’m still editing it a year and a half later).

It’s usually at this juncture that I find some irreparable plot hole and can’t cope.

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me, not being able to cope with the gaping hole in my plot

Eventually, I do learn to cope…

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because if you can’t fix it, you might as well burn it

As I said, some people are kind enough to check in with me every once in a while. They’ll ask me again about my novel, to which I reply like Edna Mode:

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which is really code for “I’m dying*

Despair and confusion continues.

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And continues…

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After I’ve spent three years of my life editing a novel….

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After I’ve reworked that first chapter approximately 4543 times:

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Again, with the thoughtful, invested people asking me how the novel is coming:

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I am Mike, the inquisitor is Sully, the novel is Boo.

But then I start to get a second (or maybe this is the third? Or fourth? Or fifth?) wind, and things start to turn around. Something clicks in my brain; I get some sort of breakthrough. I see how to take this novel to the next level and end this hell editing.

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we all knew this gif was coming

I respond in the only way I can.

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In general, there is Renewed Vigor, and I’m ready to kick this novel in the butt.

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^^^ me and my Renewed Vigor ^^^

Me to my Renewed Vigor:

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And then, some time later, I finish the novel.

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And there it is, friends.

My noveling process from start to finish. Now, please excuse me while I get back to editing my novel.

What does your process look like?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this was going to be a serious post, but that clearly didn’t happen, lol. Someone *cough cough* let themselves loose on a gif-hunt, and now here we are.

p.p.s. – I think I may have used a record number of gifs in this post. I was also a bit loopy while putting together this post because I’ve been staying up late working on my novel and am thus a little sleep-deprived.