Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hobbit and Christmas

So for those of you who are not so hopelessly fangirlish as I, last night the trailer for The Hobbit came out. In fact, I'm pretty sure you're not as fangirlish as me. But still.

My Tumblr dashboard has been blowing up this morning with gifs of the trailer.

Am I upset?

Not at all.

In fact, I've quite enthusiastically jumped into the reposting craze because, after all, it's Tolkien. How can I not love it?

I never got to see Lord of the Rings in theaters. So getting to see The Hobbit in theaters will be epic. I absolutely cannot wait. Sadly, I must wait--for a year. (On the good side, I will get to see The Hunger Games, Brave, a new season of Sherlock, the beginning of a new series of Doctor Who, and The Avengers between now and then. Somehow, I shall survive.) I've also decided that I want to go to the midnight premiere, which of course means that I must make some effort to look pretty, right?

And what better way to do that than to dress up like an Elf? Hopefully I'll be able to purchase the needed clothing before next December.

But don't worry. My entire existence is not currently centered around Lord of the Rings. I don't think, anyway. There are bits of it that are not tied to the amazingness that is Middle Earth. Part of those bits involve Christmas! It is, of course, quickly approaching, and my siblings have really gotten into the giving spirit this year--which is perfectly alright, because I'm broke.

That's a very small picture of our "Christmas tree". And my sister's knees. And the presents surrounding our tree. The tree is made of cardboard, in case you were wondering. Yeah. Told you we were cheap.

Basically, there are 50 presents under that tree already, and our parents haven't done any shopping (and don't tell anybody, but I've not finished mine, either. Yeah, it's gonna be a long week).

So yes. That's what's going on in my life. Fangirling and Christmas preparations. Just a regular day in the life of me.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finished!

With the rewrite of Valiant.

Now I just have to edit.

Meh.

I ended up with nearly 67,000 words, over 10,000 words more than the original. 280 pages, formatted for CreateSpace.com, is how many it took to retell this story. I'm really happy about it.

And, if everything goes as planned, in July you should be able to buy it on Amazon!

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I order you to go read this blog

Nothing in me wants to get a mediocre job
and work 9-5 and go home and crash because I'm exhausted.
I want to crash because I'm exhausted from fighting for the oppressed.
fighting for those who have no hope, no reason to exist.
fighting for those who are so fragile that they need my protection.
fighting for those who rarely receive positive human affection,
who are begging for my embrace.
fighting for those who are physically and spiritually starving.
fighting for those who would sleep at the dump if I didn't pull them under my roof.
I never thought I'd say this but I want to be a soccer mom.
Not the typical American one...
but the type that has so many kids that I can't remember who goes where when and
every morning packs unrighteous amounts of rice into lunch kits.
That has kids under her roof from all walks of life
all different experiences
but come together as one.
The idea makes my heart race because I finally have a passion that is outside of myself.
It pumps me up.
I know I must plan and prepare for this.. but:
but what am I supposed to do in the meantime?
There's only so many coffee shops I can take up residency at
and so many janky thrift shops I can buy out.
What good does that do me in the long run.
Seriously. Go to this blog and just read. She just got home from the World Race, and she will challenge you. (Give it up. is an incredibly fantastic read. Made me cry. Go read it naow.)

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Post-NaNo Thoughts

Well, NaNoWrimo is finally over. Final word count was 74,000, a number that has increased to over 79,000 in the days since NaNo ended. I got a bit excited yesterday about my story. ^.^

I'm putting True on hold for a few weeks so I can wrap up Valiant. I'm currently building up to my big battle in that story, and since I'm going to be getting five free copies of a novel, I figure it might as well be Valiant. Who knows, maybe eventually, Valiant will be up for sale on Amazon!

Anyway. NaNoWriMo this year involved all the usual emotions: optimistic excitement, hope, absolute despair at my rubbish writing, second-guesses about my topic and plot (which isn't very original, it must be said), and then the frantic hurrying that always typifies NaNo. I didn't finish my novel, far from it; I'm pretty sure I have at least another 70k, and possibly even more after that because I'm not at all sure how I want to end--or when. Should be interesting. -.-

Next year, I'm going to be sure that I have a better plan. Or something.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNo '11 ("True") Excerpt

Another, more serious one this time. They're in a network of dungeons, trying to break out my main character's cousin.

They met their first prisoner a few dozen paces beyond the staircase. As the light of the lantern glanced along another set of bars, a scrap of shadow shifted, scrambling up. Knobby knees stuck out under the remains of what might have once been trousers, a dirty shirt hanging off the top of his body. A massive beard twisted on his cheeks, falling halfway down his tunic. A thin hand came up, shaking as it tried to ward the light from its owners eyes, but at the same time, the man tried to catch a glimpse of the light.

In the next cell, there was another unfortunate, and another in the next with a few more beyond, all crowded into one cell. A woman was in the next one, her face thin in the light of the lantern. She squinted against the light, just as her fellow prisoners had done. Jakov stopped dead, staring at her.

Her hair was dark and tangled, her face pointed and, perhaps pretty once, her skin perhaps once darker. She extended a hand through the bars, a hand that had known privation before the prison. She was Yahafin. Jakov took a step toward her, hand fumbling for the key, hoping to find it, hoping to let her free, but a heavy hand landed on the back of his coat and pulled him back around.

“Ya can’t go lettin’ ‘em all out, boy.” Till growled. “We’re on a mission, ain’t we?”

Kojnebi,” the woman called out as loudly as she could. It came out as little more than a whisper between her cracked lips. Her hand trembled as it stretched towards him, begging, pleading with him. “Kojnebi.”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he murmured back as Till put him back on the path and gave him a none-too-gentle shove forward. He glanced back once, just as the light fell away—she had sunk down to the ground, her dark eyes still looking after him, pleading.

Jakov’s body felt empty as he walked through the dungeon. People looked up at him from their cells. Some had torches burning on the walls opposite, evidence of the guards they’d not yet seen. Some seemed newer to the prison, not yet completely broken, with enough energy to scramble up and try to attract the newcomers’ attention. Most just lay on the floor, managing to lift their heads or open their eyes. Some could summon only a weary twitch of their fingers.

Some lay still and cold, the pallor of their skin and the unnatural stillness of their forms evidence that they would never rise again.


You can read more here, on Figment.com.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Official NaNo '11 Winner!

Yes, I am an official winner of NaNoWriMo 2011! See, see? It's been a very...interesting ride, as always. But it's well worth it, of course, and I have...1/3...of a new novel to celebrate over!

True will be going on hold in a few days so I can finish Valiant. I'm looking to claim my CreateSpace winner goodie and using it to get another proof copy of my first-ever novel, which I'm rewriting at the moment. Then I'll probably launch back into True, get it finished up...

And maybe edit last year's NaNovel. Hey, hope springs eternal.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day of Thanksgiving

Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
Psalm 18:49
So today is Thanksgiving for those of us in the US. As of this moment, we've gotten the turkey in the roasting, the yams are ready to go in the oven, the potatoes are baking with the pecan pies, the greenbean casserole is mixed up...and we've only had to make two Walmart runs. That just might be a record, but I can't remember. I usually block the whole cooking part of Thanksgiving out because it gets messy, real quick.

However, since it is Thanksgiving day, I thought I'd offer up my top ten list of things I'm most thankful for this year. And then state my declaration to remember to be thankful more often. Because that's always a good thing.
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalm 75:1
So here, in no particular order:
  1. Books. This goes without saying. But it's true. And it deserves to be number one. Yes, yes it does.
  2. Jesus. So maybe this should be number one. Oh well, it's over and done now. I'm thankful for Christ's sacrifice, what he did though I didn't deserve it, and could never deserve it. Also, I'm thankful for books that tell me about him. So see? Number one really was number two all along, you just didn't realize it until just now...
  3. Movies. Now I'm just being shallow. Know what? I don't care.
  4. Freedom. Freedom to do so many things. To complain. To leave. To write uncomplimentary things about the government no matter what other people think about it.
  5. The ability to get up in the morning and not hurt. Except, sometimes, this one isn't really applicable. Like one morning last week.
  6. Food. Very, very obvious, I know. Hey, I can't help what I'm most thankful for!
  7. Family. Another very obvious one. Yes, sometimes they drive me completely nutty. But I still love them.
  8. Crazy, absolutely bonkers friends. Like Cassie and Mirriam. Or any number of the friends who live nearer me. You're all amazingly insane, and I love it, and I love you. Never change.
  9. Generous people. Generous people who are willing to send a silly teenage girl halfway around the world with their hard-earned money. You guys are awesome.
  10. The internet. Because without it, I couldn't have met so many amazing people or learned so many wacky things.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thank all of you for being there, for reading my blog, and for just being yourselves.

In other news, at the moment, this is how I feel:

"Running on caffeine and a prayer, baby"

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Heart Sore...

"At one of the Graveyards here in [my hometown], the officials in charge were asked by a group of Muslims, that they demanded a section just for Muslims. The officials told the Muzzies NO."
"Why don't they demand a free ride back to their country where they can get the respect they deserve."
"shudda told em for christains only"
"‎the christian graveyard would be decapitated heads and nothing else. We just need to NUKE THE SONSABITCHES."
My heart hurts right now. The above conversation was carried out by one of my friends on Facebook and several of his friends. They all claim to be Christian. And they make me weep for what Christ's Church has become. They make me weep for all it was meant to be. They make me weep, because this is not what it is supposed to be.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you...
The person who said that was killed. He was forcibly dragged from his private prayer meeting in a private garden, betrayed by a man he had spent every moment with for the past three years--training, teaching, loving. He was dragged to a place where the most important people in the religion that had worshiped his Father for so many centuries accused him, beat him, and called him the foulest names in the book. Then they sent him to the despised Romans, the people who had wrested control of his people's homeland from them, just to add a veneer of legality to the whole proceeding. He was beaten, his back torn open, his life's blood poured upon the ground. He was mocked and humiliated by the people he had come to save. And then they put him upon the most sophisticated, yet most brutal, torture device known to man, and let him hang there to die. Through his blood, we find remission. He came back to life for us, so we could find freedom. He's building a beautiful place for us, where there will be no more pain.

That is what someone did for us, someone so very important.

And yet, somehow, people still think that their words are okay. That somehow, they have no bad repercussions. That somehow, they're still being good ambassadors for Christ.

The annals of the past are filled with stories that seem quite frightening. Pioneer missionaries, first making inroads into Africa, bringing the light of the Gospel. Their stories are filled with dangers, fears of the unknown. Cannibals, plague, wild animals, tribes that worshiped strange spirits and listened to the every whim of medicine men. These missionaries could be killed at a moment's notice. And, very often, they were. They gave their lives for the one who meant everything, who had sacrificed so much and given his all for them--and they gave their lives for much the same reason. Yet it never made them stop, never made them wonder whether there was a different way. They died, and others filled their place.

Disease. Victory. Famine. Joy. Death. Life.

Where is the love that would do that? Where is the love that sent these people to those places to die? More than that...where's the love that sent the most important One of all to die? Where is the love that would say "not my will, but thine be done?" Where is that today? Where is the love that would say, "You know what, you're trying to kill me. You're in bondage, enslaved to this idea. Let me tell you about my Savior. You don't want to hear it--that's fine. There will be others, with the same sort of love, the same undying passion for you, a sinner who has murdered and lied and stolen. They will come to tell you of a man, who was so, so much more than a man, who died for you."

Where is the Christian love that will look at dead Christians overseas and see it as a reason to send yet more missionaries? Where is the Christian love that will spend hours every night on its knees for lost men who know no other way? Where is the Christian love that will cry out, from the depths of a bleeding heart and will say, "God, send me! These are your children, your precious creations, each one unique and beautiful and wonderful in your sight! Send me to change them through you, to make them new creations, to show them the beauty and wonder that can only be found in you!"

Where is the Christian love that will look up into the eyes of an executioner and say, "I forgive you." Where is the Christian love that will give up its own salvation for the sake of its lost and dying brethren?

Where is the simple, earth-shattering idea that there is something stronger than hate and lies, and that it is truth and love?

Where is the love and desire that turned the world upside down with a handful of poor, illiterate men and women?

Somehow, people think that because they're not like us, because their rhetoric is as hateful as ours, because they've insulted us, Christ's words don't matter anymore. Love can't possibly conquer that, they say. Roadside bombs and enemy armies and conspiracies--when have they ever stopped Christ's message?

Those same people would call me idealistic. We have to fight, because they're trying to kill us. Jesus never said anything about not defending yourself. I have my head in the clouds, because we need to fight back: they're a threat!

And we can turn the world upside down. Let's not return hate with hate. Let's not respond to the killing with more killing. Let's reach out to these people, Christians, run the risks, spread the Word. Let's do something a little foolish and utterly, wonderfully mad, like inviting a bunch of Muslims and Christians over to our house for a hamburger cookout. Let's find out why people are being radicalized and do something to stop it. Let's realize that our rhetoric only feeds theirs, and stop running our mouths.

Most of all, let us live like our Savior did. Let us be willing to die for him, as he was for us.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo, 50k, and Dallas

Yes sir! My 50,000th word was 'that'. Quite anticlimactic, I know. But hey, it is what it is. Last night I hit 50,000 words on NaNoWriMo, an accomplishment that I am quite proud of. 10 days! That's how long it took me to write 50,000 words on a novel.

Unfortunately, I'm only about one quarter through the events that I had planned for this novel. That's less exciting, just because that means I probably have another 150,000 words before I can be done and get back to Valiant. Either that, or True is going to end up like Ravaged Time, and I'll be scrambling in September and October to finish it before NaNoWriMo.

Of course, I might not even be in the US come September 2012! Hopefully, as you know, I'll be heading to Zambia, Africa. As a sidenote, one of my good friends Chelsea (who is currently on the World Race and will be back in the US in approximately 9 days, and back to my house in the beginning of December), is considering coming with me! We'll probably make a quick, month-long detour by China if everything works out, so...yeah. I'll keep you posted! :D

In other news, my mom and I are going to be driving with some friends to Dallas, Texas today. There's a Students for Liberty conference we're going to be attending. We're gonna get free books. So yeah. That's pretty exciting.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And...Go!

So NaNoWriMo began on Tuesday. After writing over 7,000 words that day, I wrote only 4,000 yesterday, bringing me up to 11,000. But all is well in the world of NaNoWriMo, for I am projected to finish on November 10th-13th, provided I keep up this level of writing! It makes me happy, because I have three days where I have nothing scheduled but writing!

Now, just to display what my characters are getting up to this month, here's an excerpt of my third chapter, as Sonakali and Jakob prepare to leave Environ and head to the Valley of the Kali:
Sona didn’t speak to him again until they reached a small hut on the edge of the village. It, unlike most of the other houses they’d passed, was much like the little house Jakob had woken up in: small, drafty, barely holding itself together, and what was sticking together was mainly there through some complicated combination of wind angle and prayer.
Sona stepped up to the door and gave a little knock. It promptly flew open, to reveal a rather wild-haired older woman. She glared first at Sona, then at Jakob, then grunted. “You’re the Princeling and his Warden, I suppose? Yes, o’ course ye are. I’ve known Jakob Isriel since he was a boy.” She narrowly stared at Jakob for a second, then extended one bony hand and crooked a finger at him. “Come ‘ere boy.”
Glancing at Sona, a bit surprised, Jakob stepped forward to stand before the old woman. She glared up at him, then lightly slapped him on the face. “She tells me you don’t remember who you are, nor where you came from. How careless, boy, to leave your whole life behind you. Useful, I’ll grant ye that, but careless. Look at ye, standin’ there starin’ at me. You and your cousin used ta’ look at me jus’ thataway. Poor Jakov. I figure he’s dead then?”
“We’re not sure where Jakov Isriel is, madam,” Sona said, speaking up for Jakob. “But the Kali are working as hard as they can to find him.”
“They’d better be,” the old woman grunted, then stepped backwards into her hut. “Come inside here. I’ve got your packs, those ones you wanted me to get you. They’re safe. Like I told you. No one ever bothers to come down and see Aunt Yutil. She’s just an old woman, they say…”
Jakob stepped into the hut behind Sona. It was dark inside, except for the beam of light coming in through the door. There were no windows, and he couldn’t see anything but the dim glowing of ashes that were the only remains of a fire in the corner. He could hear Aunt Yutil rooting about somewhere inside the room. Did she need light to see, or was there some sort of magical, mystical process that she used?
Finally, she reappeared in the beam of light, holding two rather old, dirty canvas packs. She thrust one at each of them. “There’s enough provisions and water here to get you to the boundary. No farther. I’m trusting you, Warden, to get him there safely. Watch out for birds. Goodbye.”
She practically shoved them out the doorway, and the wooden plank that served her for a door slammed against its frame. Jakob heard something slam down behind it, along with the rasp of a metal latch.
“She is somewhat paranoid,” Sona explained, throwing the pack over her shoulders.
If you'd like to read more, I'm posting it on Figment as I write! Feel free to tell me here what you think or create an account over at Figment. We love new people, and we don't bite. ;)

Off to reach new heights of word count,

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Snow in October and NaNoWriMo

Last week, it snowed here. Last Thursday, to be precise.

It was rather miserable, actually.

Because I was sick. And my bedroom has no insulation to speak of. And our heater smells. And it was cold. But anyway.

The snow was pretty, all four inches of it. It lasted until Friday morning, when it all went away, because our weather is mental and can't decide what it wants to do. Right now, it's about 65 degrees outside, which is actually quite nice, because fall has officially arrived. It's nice. Maybe now our trees will actually have time to decide it's time to change.

In other news, tomorrow will be the first day of November! As a consequence, I will most likely be posting either quite often or not at all (depending on my procrastination level), since NaNoWriMo begins!! I'm going to be attempting to knock out my 50k by the 10th of the month. We'll see how it works. It's only about 5,000 words a day, and if I can get in a good starting spurt on the days between Tuesday and Thursday, I should be able to knock it out!

I also have incentives this year, in the form of kitkats, york peppermint patties, 5 gum, and oreos. So yes. We'll see how well I can do!

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Right on Time

So. Sometimes, I find God's timing nothing short of...well, pretty hilarious, actually.

I mean that in a very, very good way.

Being the control freak and worrier that I am (anybody remember the absolutely frantic posts I wrote back in April? I do.) I've already begun to spazz about the roughly $5,000 I'm going to need for my planned summer activities.

My word, why do I do this to myself?

Basically, I'm going to be focusing on Romania fundraising. That's about $2,000. I'm hoping to be able to go to Zambia on $3,000. But, back in September, it seemed like a smart idea to tell God that I wasn't going to start fundraising for that trip--I wanted to focus on Romania, and if he wanted me to go to Zambia, I'd trust him to provide.

See, this is why I do things like this to myself. I think that I'm actually going to be able to exercise a little bit of trust. But I don't. Silly, silly me.

This is probably more of just a commentary on my character more than anything else. Of course I began stressing about it. I started thinking about all the reasons God might not want me to go to Zambia, then I started thinking about not going to Zambia, and then I thought that maybe not going to Zambia might be better. Then I thought about little African children and their singing and their playing, and that ended that.

Because you see, I love Africa. But I still don't know why I do this to myself.

And so the cycle begins again. Trusting, believing God will provide because, after all, I want to go to Zambia. But what if I want to go to Zambia, but God doesn't want me to go to Zambia? What will I tell the missionaries? What will I tell the people I've told about my potential trip? Will they feel let-down? Am I letting this trip become more about the people around me and my own desires than about God? Will that make God not want to let me go to Zambia? Will I not get to go to Zambia?

But I want to go to Zambia!

So here I sit, full of countless worries, and then the money issue plunks right back into my lap. Almost $4,000 before the first of the year? Please. You've told maybe half a dozen people you're planning to go to Zambia. And your blog readers. All four of them. Woopiee for you. You're not going to be able to go to Zambia. That's simply too much money, and God's obviously not going to just plunk it in your lap. Maybe you should start fundraising. Maybe you should just forget this whole thing you're doing. After all, this faith is passive. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't express itself in works. Sure, you're starting work for Romania, but that hardly counts.

And I think, for just a second, that maybe I should just give it up, forget the whole venture. Just be content with going to Romania.

And then my pastor preaches on the awe-inspiring faithfulness of God.

*"God is faithful..."

All the time, no matter our circumstances, no matter what we think he's doing, God is always, always faithful. He will never forget us, he will never forget our needs.

"That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge...So that ye come behind in no gift..."

As my pastor put it: 'we can have confidence in Him to accompany us as we serve and venture out for him and stretch in our serving Him.'

Ouch.

Okay, God.

Not quite what I expected.

But okay.

I think I'm ready to try out that whole trust thing again.

No, I've not gotten some big check. No, I still have absolutely no idea how God is going to provide for a $2,000 plane flight to Zambia, Africa before the first of the year. Not a single clue. I don't know by what means he's going to send that money. I haven't the foggiest. But one thing I do know.

He is always, always faithful. He always has been, He always will be.

And everything will work out for His glory. So here I am, trying yet again to set out on this journey of faith and make something of it other than a huge mess.

*Scriptures from 1 Corinthians 1:5, 7, 9

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Waiting for Winter

A Winter of Magic and Mayhem


I love the time of year where winter is just starting to approach. I can taste it in the air, so tantalizingly close, yet still so far away. It's just chilly enough to have to put on a sweater and yet I can feel snow, just waiting to fall, high above.

winter | Tumblr



I love the beginnings of winter, just those barest tinglings that tell us it's coming. And even though yesterday it was 87 degrees (though today it's only in the 60s), I can already feel winter creeping up.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Monday, October 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo Characters

So I'm impatiently waiting for the new NaNoWriMo website to come online. If it hasn't already. I don't think it has, because nothing's been wiped yet. 'Tis sad. I want to see my new, shiny, un-purply ticker! Meanwhile, what is there to do but make Polyvore sets of my characters? And so, I present to you, the characters of "True", NaNo '11!!

Jakov Isriel, the amnesiac true king. He has to fight to get his throne back, which is quite a fun process, actually.

Jakov Isriel

Sonakali is the Throne Warden, one of the few remaining in the bands of the Kali. She is a shape-shifter, a magical being that can take the form of a unicorn or a human at will. She mostly chooses to take the shape of a young woman, for various reasons.

Sonakali


Jadira al-Salidin is my heroine! She's a spunky Princess turned Gypsy, turned Princess, turned homeless vagrant. Quite an interesting girl, as you can tell. She is a Yahafin, a group of people something like Arabians. They live in the vast deserts of Kadrah.

NaNo '11: Jadira


Jadira al-Salidin



This is Tomas Jolend, who is a "bad guy" in the beginning, but really isn't so bad once you get to know him. He's actually quite pleasant. And as you can see from this set, he and Jakov have a bit of a rivalry. Since it's rather small here, here's what it says:

(Tomas is first, Jakov second)
"Well, don't blame me. It's not my fault my forefathers stole from you'rs."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that, Jolend."
"Really, Isriel? Well, let me make it clearer for you. It was seven hundred years ago, and you're only jealous."
"Really? How so?"
"Oh, I don't know. Because your girlfriend likes me better than you?"
"That's prepestorous."
"Just man up and admit you've lost, Isriel."
"That...that...shut up. Just shut up. I'm your king, anyway."
"Whatever you say, my liege."

I don't know if I'm going to actually be able to utilize this conversation. But I hope I will. Because it is brilliant, if I do say so myself.

Whatever You Say, My Liege


So there you are! My NaNo characters--at least, the good ones. :))

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

NaNoWriMo...

Is almost upon us! The brand new site launch is today...and no, I haven't been checking in every half-hour to see if it's happened yet.

Not even once an hour.

Okay, maybe once an hour.

Possibly a bit more than once an hour.

I'm not pathetic. Honest.

I've had my idea for this year's NaNo novel since...oh...January. December. Possibly November. But it was the tail-end of November.

Once again, I'm not pathetic. I do have a life. It just gets regularly eaten by things.

Like NaNoWriMo.

Anyway. This year, I'm going to be trying fantasy again! The plot centers around a stolen throne, an amnesiac heir to that throne, his cousin, shape-shifting unicorns, an Arabian gypsy, and an evil league of kings and queens who want to keep control of all Kadrah for themselves.

It's going to be pretty epic, and I can't wait to get started. I've written out a plan/outline/thing on my iPhone, which I really need to finish, and I have no less than three versions of a map, including one hanging on my wall that I've not yet finished drawing. Hey, I only hung it up around April. I do have a cover though! See?

The Phoenix on it actually has relevance--one of the legends of Kadrah is that a Phoenix is seen and heard only when a true king is crowned. It has a place in the story, and it's going to be pretty amazing to weave the threads of this story together.

I can't wait. Now if I can just shove the inner editor back into his box (he doesn't like to go very much), and can ignore the feeling that I'm a totally rubbish writer, this NaNo should be pretty awesome!

So. Who else is going to be doing NaNo? (I'd like usernames if you're willing to hand them out--I'd love to add you all. :)) )

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Monday, October 3, 2011

And Summer 2012 Has Been Booked

If everything shapes up the way I'm hoping, I'll be leaving home the 6th of June, 2012, and except for a few days here and there, will be gone until the end of September, 2012. Why? Because I'm insane like that. Let me break it down for you.

Summer 2012, Dream Plans:
June 6th - leave home for Christian Youth In Action training sessions
June 9th - return home, put clothes through the was and pack for Romania
June 12th - depart for Romania
June 26th - return from Romania, put clothes through the wash and pack again
July 1rst - depart for Zambia, Africa
September 30th (or thereabouts) - return home, in time to start planning for a 2013 trip, hopefully to China.
The trip to Africa is still up in the air: God is really going to have to supply for that, because right now, it looks like it'll probably cost at least $3,000 or so just for my plane ticket. (Romania will cost substantially less, probably in the vicinity of $2,000.)

So. Please be in prayer. I'm going to be focusing on Romania, and I hope to be funded before too long, that way I can focus on helping my little sister, Emma, who is also going to be going to Romania. So far, I have a few fundraisers planned that I'll probably be doing, so we'll see how it goes! But since I will be focusing on Romania, that leaves Africa. So, what I'm doing is just praying. God knows my need far better than I do, and if it's his will for me to go to Africa, then go to Africa I will.

We'll see what happens in the next few months! Please be in prayer. :))

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

I'm In Love...

With a 900 year old alien who travels through time and space.


In a blue police box.

His name is the Doctor. And my mother says I'm obsessed. She's probably right. But I'm in good company. Mirriam (Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden) is just as obsessed. So it's okay.

Speaking of Mirriam, she drew a picture of the Doctor for my seventeenth birthday. It's so purty! I mean, lookitlookit:

Isn't he awesome?! Anyway. This has been a random interruption of our normal programming to inform you that I'm in love with an alien. This is the end of this public service announcement.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Confidence and Glory

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:26-25-31
I find quite a bit of comfort in this passage. I'm not much at all. But through God, I am made wise and righteous...and it's only through him that I can be made so. I can have confidence--or, as this passage puts it, glory--in the fact that I am sanctified by the blood of Christ. I can worship him, glorify his name, with the knowledge that he has made me clean and called me to a great purpose...no matter how I looked before.

Not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called...
He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Deep Heart's Yearning...



I found this graphic on Tumblr recently. And I'm sort of in love with it, even though it's awful and shows just how terrible the world actually is.

Sometimes, it's so easy to fall into a pattern of life, where nothing matters but my relatively easy, blissful existence. Then I go to Africa, where people don't have even 1/4 of the things I consider necessary for life--they're thankful for the bare bones, the food they get, the clothes they wear, the roof over their heads. And they're happy with it. My American mind can't wrap itself around that.

Or I go to someplace like China, where it's difficult to be a Christian. (Speaking of which, I got a new shirt for my birthday: it says "This shirt is illegal in 51 countries" on it. And I'm quite pleased with it.) And I realize just how fortunate I actually am. Today in church we had a missionary to Turkey who preached. He talked about how the people there are Muslim because they've never heard the Gospel. For real--literally none of them have ever heard the Gospel. They simply don't know that there's any other way to live life!

I mean, to think that I could have so easily been born somewhere else, where life could have been so radically different because of some random genetic accident...it's amazing. But here I am, having heard the Gospel, having chosen to accept Christ, having Him in my heart and my life, being free...and all for a purpose. I firmly believe that. And I also believe that my purpose has something to do with all those problems that are in that graphic up there.

This world has a caste system. That system is so firmly entrenched that it's virtually impossible to even jostle it. I don't know how to move it one fraction. I don't know if it's even really possible. But one thing I do know, and that is that two men turned the world upside down in Acts. They had an entire nation who knew exactly what they stood for because of one simple belief they held --that there was Someone who loved them, who died for them. Who loved me. Who died for me.

And in the end, the one thing that can cure any spiritual ailment, the one thing that can lift anyone up above what they were born into, is Jesus Christ. It's the Gospel. Simple as that. And that is my life calling.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Birthdays

So as some of you may know, today is the birthday of two very special hobbits! I speak of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, of course.

It's also the birthday of Cassie's little sister, Cora. So happy birthday Cora!

It's also my birthday. I'm officially 17, and so far, it's pretty awesome. My siblings are doing all my chores for me. Haha. So yeah. That's about it!

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If the World Were a Village of 100 People

If we could reduce the world’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:

The village would have 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 13 people from the Western Hemisphere (North & South America), 12 Europeans, and 1 from the South Pacific
51 would be male, 49 would be female
70 would be non-white; 30 white
67 would be non-Christian; 33 would be Christian

As to their ages:
30 would be 0-14 years old
63 would be 15-64 years old
7 would be 65 years old and older

20 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation
18 would be without access to a safe water supply
39 would lack access to improved sanitation
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
7 people would have access to the Internet
1 would have a college education
1 would have HIV
2 would be near birth; 1 near death
6 would control 59% of the entire world’s wealth; all 6 would be US citizens

Sources: The Global Citizen, May 31, 1990, Donella H. Meadows (unless otherwise noted below), The CIA World Factbook<br>2001 (age, birth, death, internet), 2001 World Development Indicators, World Bank (HIV), Adherents 2001 (religion) Bread for the World (malnourishment), United Nations Population Fund (food security) The Global Supply and Sanitation<br>Assessment 2000 Report (improved water, improved sanitation.)

Found at Jaz's Mission Journal. As he said, it's a very sad view of the world around us, neatly boiled down to show us just how bad things actually are.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Month Ago Today....

A month ago today, I climbed onto a plane that took off in LA and landed in Amarillo. I met a young man in the airport who had just gotten back from a missions trip in India, and who was delighted to find someone who was willing to just sit around and read their Bible. (Yes, that was me, and I was reading the epistles of Paul I believe. Love Paul.)

I also met a young woman and her mother on the plane. We talked non-stop about books and missions and the mom's airsickness. She was deathly afraid of planes during turbulence...which was bad, because we hit some pretty crazy turbulence above Las Vegas. Jazmyne and I were glad God had pulled out a roller coaster for us; her mom wasn't so amused. Jazmyne wanted to go to the Philippines on a missions trip next year, but her mom was a bit wary of letting her go so far away. I got to talk to them and encourage Jazmyne.

There are so many little things about China that tend to slip my mind. Like about the old men and women who wandered the university campus, looking for a few plastic bottles that they could take to be recycled in exchange for a few yuan. Or the Chinese girls who brought me a Bible. Or the way some Chinese people put 'yeah' at the end of every sentence, or how they'd stop in the middle of a sentence to stare into space, searching for a word. Or the camp director's habit of speaking in this ridiculous, excited, Billy Mays' style voice.

If you ever go on a trip like that, remember to keep a very good journal.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (紫涵)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Trap of Modesty Standards

Before I get started, let me just say that this might be a hard blog post. It's been hard for me to process all of it. I've had to counter the feeling that I'm being wrong or unspiritual. Which is, of course, sort of the point of this post. Let me just say that I am in no way attacking anyone or any organization/church. If you feel as if you're being attacked, I'm very sorry. But I feel that what this post is about needs to be said, because nobody else is saying it. What I talk about here is something I've observed not just around me, but also in my own life. I speak not from judgement, but from experience.

It has been my observation that standards of modesty hurt, rather than help, the issue of modesty in general. Now before you dismiss the rest of what I'm about to say, please stick with me on this, because I'm going to explain. By "standards of modesty", I mean specific rules that "have" to be followed in order to be "modest." For some churches, it is dresses-only. For others, girls are supposed to wear culottes in their off-hours. For some, modesty is whatever covers you above your knees. Basically, what I mean by standards of modesty is simply the rules that we're supposed to follow so guys won't notice how our bottoms look. This issue is dwelt upon in the church so often, hammered into extinction, then dredged back up to be preached upon again. In some cases, these standards are good, and help.

I am of the opinion, however, that overall, such standards are hurting the youth of the Christian church. I'll deal first with the girls, then with my theories about the guys.

For the Girls

I'm sure we've all felt it. I know I have - those little pricklings of self-righteousness, the ones that start way high up in your brain and work their way down into your heart. Or maybe it's the other way around. I'm not sure. But I know I've felt it. It's that insidious feeling, the one that makes me think poorly of other girls around me because of the way I'm acting.

"I read my Bible every day. Why doesn't she?"

"I make sure to treat everyone with respect. What is he doing, acting like that to her?"

And yes, "I dress modestly. Why can't she just put on some clothes? Doesn't she know she's causing guys to stumble?"

Yes indeed. It's that little worm that causes us to look down on those around us, and exalt ourselves. Not exactly the attitude of a servant. It's certainly not a spirit of love that motivates such thoughts.

Now, before we go any farther, let me make something very clear. I am not bashing modesty as a value. I myself make an effort to dress in a way I consider modest: my shirts are generally not sleeveless (I've made somewhat of a compromise this summer, because it's been 110 on average), and my capris come to my knees. My jeans are never too tight, and if they are, I wear a long shirt. The only thing I am bringing into question in this post is the standardization of such principles, making them hard-and-fast rules. Why am I bringing it into question?

Number one, because of the self-righteous attitude that comes into play, as explained above. I can attest from my own experience that, when I feel as if I'm adhering to some kind of "Godly, spiritual rule," no matter how ridiculous, I start getting a rather superior attitude. Instead of looking at the people around me as precious souls, I start analyzing their dress, seeing if they measure up to what I consider right. Not only have I felt this in my own life, but I've seen other girls, and even sometimes mature older women in the Lord, react in this manner. They bash on other girls and their dress, sometimes loudly enough for the girl they're discussing to hear.

Maybe this is a fault in our own hearts'. If that is the case, then perhaps this post should have a different title and motivation. Perhaps, for some of us, it is a completely different issue, one that should be dealt with in our own hearts. Perhaps it is a mixture of both.

However, I believe that since we dwell on this issue so much, it does become something of litmus test for True Christianity. "Well, look at that girl. How does she dress? Well, she can't really be spiritual. She wears pants, sometimes even to church!"

"Well, that girl wears shorts. So-and-so wears tank-tops. They need to get their hearts right with God. We'll pray for them."

And so it begins. Girls are weighed, not by their actions and their heart, but by their outward appearance. We try to change how they dress first, and then expect their hearts to follow, rather than attempting to change their hearts through the blood of Christ, and then expecting their behavior to change. Meanwhile, other girls - in the youth group, sitting next to them in church - are weighing their dress in the balance, seeing if they are worthy of Christian notice.

In turn, this makes girls who don't adhere to these standards feel like terrible people. They don't feel "Christian" enough, so they try to come up to the standards...and then they feel fake, like they're working too hard at something that should hardly be work at all. And in reality, that's true. Legalistic standards never help a church, they can only harm it. When we begin to weigh people's spirituality, their walk with God, their salvation, upon how they dress, we have degraded the message of the Gospel down to the level of New York's Fashion Week.

Now, I understand that there are certain rules that should be followed by God's people. But those things should be motivated, not out of a fear of social condemnation, or bogeyman tactics wherein our "relationship with God" will be irreparably harmed, but rather through a sincere love for and from Christ. So perhaps, instead of drumming into girls that they are bad Christians because they dress (or don't dress) a certain way, we should just teach the love that passes all understanding.

For the Guys

This section is bound to be shorter than the last one, for quite obvious reasons. I'm not a guy. In case you hadn't noticed. I've never been a guy, I don't intend to ever be a guy, and that's just fine. So you have been warned. This section might be way off. So for any guys reading this, feel free to correct me. I shall then feel stupid about my hypotheses, remove it from this post, and try to forget I ever posted it in the first place. But from what I've observed, this seems to be true. Also, this is how I'd act if I were a guy. Naturally, I'm not, but if I was, this is how it would go. "This" is, of course, what I'm about to talk about. Anyway.

I believe that modesty standards do not hurt just girls, but also guys. If you go to a church anything like mine, modesty is taught on quite frequently. It's touched on even more often, like a passing mantra. "Girls should be modest, etc. etc." This is usually followed by a brief explanation of what constitutes "modest." Not only are the girls now looking around, analyzing what their fellow females are wearing to see if it passes muster, but it's brought attention from the guys. Followup teaching (probably not more than five minutes later) will then reinforce that if girls don't dress properly (that is, within the standards of the church), the guys will inevitably "notice them" and stumble in their thoughts, falling into a hormone-riddled trap of desire and, eventually, lust.

Now the guys have gotten pulled into the cycle. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but guys like the female body. It's sort of how they're wired. We girls are wired to like the way a handsome guy looks, particularly if he's buff and tanned. (C'mon girls, don't play shy. You know it's true.) That's the way our hormones work. Usually, this is a good thing. After all, it sort of ensures the continuation of the human race. It is only when this attraction turns to something more serious, that we call lust, that it becomes a problem. I know that the propensity of some teenage girls is to dress in a way that is intentionally alluring, making it hard for a guy to resist mentally finishing the job she started, if you know what I mean.

But do we make the job of looking away harder when we have defined standards of modesty? I think we just might, and here's why. We turn the female body completely into a thing of shame. It becomes a terrible thing to even look at a girl and say, "You know, she looks pretty nice." (This can also be a thing with the girls, but I'll deal with that in another post.) Instead of being able to casually acknowledge the fact that so-and-so is well dressed, they have to stop themselves...and that will just make them think about it more.

I mean, come on. How many of us have been specifically instructed not to touch something of our mom's, or a treat for later or whatever? After that, all we can do is think about it. It consumes us...and then we feel bad for even thinking about it, because then we want it. And so, it is my theory that we turn the female body into a thing of shame for Christian guys. He's afraid to even move the wrong way around a girl in case he gives the wrong impression. He's afraid of even looking at her, for fear he'll see something that will be a stumbling block.

And perhaps, when he does look at her, all he can see is how immodestly she is dressed. Once again, it becomes a litmus test. How is she dressed? Is she being a good Christian? Is she modest?

Of course, I've also been told that guys don't notice what we're wearing, anyway. That's also true, from what I've observed. I don't think I'll ever understand teenage guys.

So whether I got any of this right or not, I feel I've explained my thoughts tolerably well. Or maybe not. Probably, I'll read through this in a few years and think, "how ineptly I explained that." That's usually what happens. But for now, this will have to do. Once again, please don't take offense to anything I've said. It's just my thoughts, and thankfully my thoughts don't make the rules.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty (
紫涵)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Things China Taught Me

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
  1. It is, in fact, possible to pick up one grain of rice with chopsticks.
  2. If you're in China and you have white skin and a hair color besides black, you're practically a celebrity.
  3. This goes double if you're a white-skinned baby.
  4. When you see a western toilet for the first time in a month, a squeal is most definitely appropriate.
  5. Chinese people do not believe in elevators if the building is less than six floors tall. This is probably why most Chinese buildings are not more than six floors tall.
  6. Eating with your face two inches from your bowl isn't rude; it's the most efficient way to get food from your plate to your mouth when you're using chopsticks.
  7. There is a world of difference between American Chinese food and Chinese Chinese food.
  8. 16 hour plane flights can either be places of memory building or places of blessed sleep. Since the memories will mostly be of trying to go to sleep, it's best to find the "blessed" stage as fast as you can.
  9. When you go out on the roads as a pedestrian, expect to have to make a run for it...and still almost get run over.
  10. When you go out on the roads as a driver, expect to not be allowed to follow traffic laws.
  11. Learn to love tofu.
  12. Mattress? What is this strange thing of which you speak?
  13. Umbrellas are not just for when it's raining. The variety of uses you can put a good umbrella to are never-ending.
  14. The Chinese also, apparently, don't believe in dryers.
  15. It is wise to bring plenty of tissue with you. Even then, over the course of a month, you'll probably end up buying some. But no worries. It's very popular in China.
  16. If it looks like chicken, it probably isn't. If it's brown with some crumbly stuff on it...yeah, that's probably chicken.
There are more things I could put here, but I won't bore you. Just some of the stuff I learned on my trip.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty

Saturday, July 30, 2011

China Pictures, part 1

Here are some pictures! I'm starting with the second camp, because most of my pictures from the first are on my phone, and I haven't yet gotten them switched over. So here, for your enjoyment, are pictures!
A little pagoda thing at NPU.
Allison, one of my teammates. She was quite thrilled at the prospect of free toilet paper.
Some of my teammates. We were taking a walk!
Alice and I. Alice was another member of the logistics team. She's wholly dedicated to God. It's beautiful. I love her. :D
My roommate, Carissa, owned a guitar, and thankfully had the foresight to bring it with her. Since we were living in the same room together the whole month, we were able to have some pretty epic worship sessions!
Our life group at the second camp. Or part of it, at least.
There's the whole life group! Summer is hiding in the corner behind Hu, but otherwise it's all of us. :D
Mickey, Helen, and Aileen.
Catherine. She was one of my co-coaches at the first camp.
Angela, one of our roommates, and I. We were a testimony to her. Still praying.
Mickey, my coach at the second camp. She was...crazy. But I love her anyway. :D
Gracie and I. She was a sweet girl, a member of the logistics staff for the camps.
Xi'an's ancient city wall, built I think in the Ming dynasty. I took notes. Which will be used in future stories.

Stairs down from the top.
My roomie, Carissa, in the airport McDonald's eating ice cream.
Papa Johns in China! It's a sit-down restaurant over there. After that, we went to Dairy Queen which was just next door, but sadly I didn't get a picture of that. I did eat an incredible cranberry cheesecake blizzard, however.
爱於耶穌,
~Liberty

Friday, July 29, 2011

Teachings

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
There's a few questions people always ask when you go on a big trip. Number one is "How was it?" Number two is, "Did you enjoy it?" Number three, at least for this trip, has been, "Did you learn anything new?"

I kind of dislike questions like this. They're annoyingly vague. I also never quite know how to answer. To the first, I usually give an awkward, "Um...it was good? Awesome. Amazing. Pretty cool." Inwardly, I'm thinking: what exactly do you want me to say? It was a country. With people. To the second, it's usually an emphatic yes. The third is usually also a yes, and that is what this post is about. Part of what I learned in China.

China, like Africa, taught me how lucky I am. Africa taught me how lucky I have been in the realm of material possessions. I have so much; the people there have so little. But China taught me how lucky I am to have the freedom to worship that I do. While at the second camp, one of my roommates was a Christian girl. She was involved in the underground church, and one day she shared with us the things they have to go through just to meet. She was amazed at how we could just go anytime we want to. Talking with her, you could hear the wistfulness in her voice as she contemplated what it must be like to not have to be afraid, to not have to sneak around and risk being persecuted by your own government.

Then there was one of the girls in my life group, who had never before heard the gospel. That is amazing to me. Here in America, we take that so for granted. Everybody, surely, has heard at least once, and if they haven't, they've had a chance to. In China, it's not like that. There is so much room in China, so many people, and comparatively so few people working for the Gospel, that people may be born, live, and die without ever hearing. I'm sure it's like that here in America, too, which is challenging. But it was really brought home to me in China.

I have it so, so lucky. Day after tomorrow, I'm going to pull up to my church building, climb out, and go to Sunday School. I'll sing at the top of my lungs during worship service, and not have to be afraid. I'll listen to preaching, straight from the Bible, and not have to worry about who might hear. Then I'll go home, and it might be that I'll have not even listened to the message. My mind could have been miles away because, after all, it's just church. I'll get to go next week, and the week after that. And next week, if our air conditioner is out, it's too hot. We'll just skip church. We can't be uncomfortable, you know.

The Chinese Christians I met taught me something very important. There is nothing more important than the Gospel. You can't hide it. You can't make it go away. There is no either-or in living it out. Either you are passionately committed to its message, or you have almost no part in it.

But the non-Christian Chinese also taught me something, a far more sobering lesson. One day, I was talking about the fringes of a religious topic with one of the girls in my small group. I was getting a bit excited, because I love this girl and I really wanted to get a chance to talk to her about it. But then she couldn't think of how to say what she wanted to, and appealed to one of the guys in our group, asking him to explain what the Chinese people now mostly regard as a god. (And, of course, there went the conversation.)

This guy turned to me and calmly proceeded to explain that the Chinese people, if they are patriotic and good citizens, basically regard their government as their god. Their whole concern is to serve their country and advance it. I sat there, listening to this, trying not to show my shock. I had known this was what was believed. I had read about it. I knew that China was infected with nationalistic atheism, that their leaders were practically prophets. But to hear it so calmly explained from one I considered a dear friend was hard to stomach. I now have a face to go with that belief. And that's tough.

Those statistics about how many have heard in China, how many have believed, are no longer just numbers. Now they have faces. They have names. Joy, Summer, Brian, Allan. They are people who I spent part of my life with. Who I love. It's hard to stay at home when you have faces looking at you instead of numbers. Numbers are convicting, friends are compelling.

In other words, I can't wait to go back to China. In fact, I can't wait to go overseas again, period. That's truly where my heart is. In the meanwhile: Good News Clubs start up again in a few weeks, and there will be opportunities for me to help with other outreaches locally. "Preach the Gospel to every creature" is truly an amazing command, because it never leaves with you with nothing to do.

In other news, announcing next summer's plans: I'll be going to Romania, hopefully. I'm also praying about going back to Zambia, Africa, but I've decided I'm waiting on God for that one. If He wants me to go, He'll show me. For now, I'm trusting and resting in Him...which will probably be the topic of my next post, because there's not enough space to deal with it here. :D

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
My trip to China was far too short. However, many good things came out of it. And happened on it. And I wanted to go home, and now I am home, and now I want to be back in China because it was epic. This post is liable to be rather scattered, owing to the fact that my thoughts are still incredibly scattered. Final impressions haven't really sunk in yet, so this is liable to be a post of simple reporting.

My team - comprised of 24 people from age 2 (our PD's daughter) to Jessica, our actual PD - left from LA on July 2, took a 17-hour plane ride, and disembarked in Guangzhou, China on July 4. The international date line is pretty silly, if you ask me. It does things to your brain. From there, we got a plane to Xi'an, which was where our global partner met us. I'm not allowed to give much information about said partner, owing to the security of their position in China, but they do summer camps. For Chinese people.

The first camp was for high school students, most of whom were about my age. We had awesome fun. I was the assistant coach for a life group of 11 students, all of whom became very good friends. It's amazing how you can make friends even when you can hardly speak to the people who are with you. The kids at this camp had taken very little English, just what was offered in their rural high schools, so it was difficult to communicate. But it is true that body language accounts for a whole lot of communication. Because, somehow, our life group still ended up with inside jokes that included myself and Drew, another of the GE people.

After that camp ended, we traveled a bit and ended up at a university campus, where we held Sunshine Camp. At this camp, most of us were only participants, which was interesting since they were all college students and studying crazy stuff like mechanical engineering and medicine. Kind of made me feel dumb. Anyway.

Sunshine was pretty much amazing. I formed so many awesome relationships with people there. Some of them I've already started emailing, because I miss them bunches, and obviously we've been apart sooo long. A whole five days. We might die.

We left Sunshine on the 23rd, and had a fun day in Xi'an the 24th. We went to see the terracotta warriors, which was pretty epic. I love history, and the warriors are definitely history. After we left the university at 4am on the morning of the 25th, we flew to Guangzhou and had a shopping trip. I bought the most beautiful dress, which I shall have to get a picture of myself wearing. :D

On the 26th, we departed at 9pm for Los Angeles, and arrived in LA on the 26th at 7pm. Don't ask how that's possible. All I know is that I was forced to relive two hours of my life. :P Not really. But it was pretty awesome, feeling like we'd traveled in time. Am I nerd? Oh yes. Do I love it? You bet.

So this post is far from insightful. Over the next few days, I'll post more of my deep thoughts about what I encountered on the trip. For now, be content with this. Maybe. Pictures will come shortly.

爱於耶穌,
~Liberty