Sunday, December 23, 2012

november and december snippets

There are quite a few long snippets this time around. My excuse is that most of them are from Copper Blood, and I just love this story beyond all reason. So yes.


“You’re from 001,” the ambassador said softly, his voice matter-of-fact. The sounds of fighting from across the room had cut out, and Nate wasn’t at all sure who had won. For all he knew, he was about to get grabbed just like Brittany had been. But he had to focus on this, on pulling the trigger, on fulfilling his mission. 
There were two bullets in the gun. His life didn’t matter, only this did, the mission, he must he must he must he must 

He opened his mouth to speak, to say something, to excuse himself, to apologize. The man’s face creased in a slow, sad smile, lines appearing by his eyes. “I’m sorry, son. I’m so, so sorry. How old are you, nineteen? Twenty? It takes ‘em young.” The man stepped closer to him, pressing the barrel of the gun into his chest. The smile was gone, and only the sadness remained. “It was a mistake, all of this. Your creation. That thing’s creation. And I know it doesn’t make sense. But I’m sorry. Do what you must.” 

 Nate dropped the gun. “I can’t,” he said. “Go home. Go home and love that daughter of yours, because by God I can’t shoot you.”
- Copper Blood, NaNo 2012


Nate wasn’t prepared for the pain when it came. This time around, it shut out all thought, every impulse that was not of itself. The bite of the cuffs paled, and disappeared completely, lost amid the roaring beast. It tore through his mind, poured itself into his veins, a thing of molten fire that set his blood to boiling, so violent that the atoms seemed to split, reforming into chunks of iron and copper, crystallized remains of what had once fed him life. Pain tore at him from the inside, his whole body jerking against it.
- Copper Blood, NaNo 2012


“I guess you’re not a travelling person?” Nate asked, raising an eyebrow.

 She gave him a withering look. “That is putting it mildly,” she said. “Particularly when you have a hyperactive tribble and Agent K to keep you company, not to mention the ignoramus hunk of muscle that keeps trying to get away. She’s already kicked out our taillight and Nathaniel whatever-your-last-name-is, I swear to you, I am going to make you pay if she gets me stopped by the cops.”
- Copper Blood, NaNo 2012

There was no one about when he coasted into a courtyard, nearly crashing into a statue he hadn’t remembered being there. This landing was even worse than his last; he fetched up against a pillar, Jo half-cradled against him. No outcry had been made, no alarm sounded. Stupid Frey, was his last thought before he Shifted, falling onto the stones with one bare arm still draped over Jo. Stupid, stupid Frey.
- Caste, novel in progress

 - Kyla Denae

Saturday, December 22, 2012

this queer empty feeling

Do you ever get this feeling after you finish reading a book or watching a movie, of being absolutely aimless? I get it a lot, and I can't say that I particularly enjoy it. I went to see The Hobbit last weekend (lordy, it's already been a week), and I had that feeling for several days.

Still do, actually.
Shh.

It's not that my life isn't a nice one. It isn't that I'm particularly unsatisfied with the way my life is. It's simply that works of art like Tolkien's stories speak to me on some deep, primal level that even I can't access at will. And that is sort of amazing. Art--music, the written word, paintings--can speak to a person's soul far beyond anything else.

And that just makes me feel sort of awesome about being a writer. So I relish that queer, empty feeling deep inside. Because it means I have the oh-so-human ability to be moved by something beautiful, and makes me feel that perhaps, someday, I could move someone else in the same way.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, November 25, 2012

i'm a winner and stuff


I have no idea what my 50,000th word was.
I have no idea when I passed the mark, though it was at some point near 12:30am on the 22nd. 

The one thing I do have a very definite idea about is the quality of my novel. Goodness gracious, a lot of it is bad. But thinking back, I can remember a few moments of brilliance. I can remember that I've fallen in love with these characters. That, at some point in the past twenty-five days, I wrote the heart of a novel.

And that's pretty awesome.

- Kyla Denae

Thursday, November 22, 2012

perfectly laid plans

this post was originally written in the late months of 2010, just after I'd been accepted to go to China. I found it in one of my old notebooks, and liked it so much that I felt the need to share it. It's also rather relevant to my situation now, so that's nice.

I have  come to a realization: It doesn't matter what I want, God is going to blow my plans away.

You see, until recently, I had a plan. This November I was going to get a job. Next summer, I was going to maybe intern at CEF, though my thoughts mainly went along the line of maybe taking a summer off from money concerns, beefing up my bank account a little so I could buy a car and stuff. 2012 would come and I'd start fundraising for a trip to China.

Perfect, right? The most amazing balance of 'Jesus-work' and 'me-work'. Yup, just peachy.

Until God dumped this organization into my lap. It started innocently enough. I wanted to find a video of a Zambian praise song. Well, I found one...and a whole bunch more. Navigating to the webpage of this organization--Global Expeditions--I was thrilled to discover they had an opportunity for China. Great. You know, maybe as a survey trip in 2012...

no.
now.
or at least, next year.
2011.
you, china.

And there went my perfect plan.

So here I sit, contemplating massive mysteries. Mysteries like--"Why can't I have my perfect life?" (I'd be miserable), "Why now?" (because there's no time like the present), "How will I raise $4,000 in less than a year?" (Jehovah owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He has it covered) and, most importantly, "Why me?"

This one I've contemplated many times over the ten years my call has been present. I am a 5"7, redheaded, mayonnaise-white Texan who likes hot cocoa and hates dirt, loves culture but hates breaking out of her comfort zone...

I have to wonder...is God quite sure I'm the right one?

Someone once told me that God only calls those He knows are the ones for the job. God has something for me to do. I have no idea what, but apparently there's something. Even if that "something" is one soul, one life, one changed moment...well, that's enough for me. And in the end, God's plans always turn out way more awesome than mine do, anyway.

- Kyla Denae

Monday, November 5, 2012

is it really november already?

I knew it was November. I mean, obviously it's November. It's NaNoWriMo and stuff (which, by the way, is going swimmingly: I'm at nearly 17,000 at the moment, which pleases me greatly), and I know time is steadily ticking away, just like always, but...

but...

ohgoodlordit'snovemberwheredidtimego

It sank in today that I have two months and a week before heading to the Children's Ministry Institute.

That in two months and one week I will have to have 3,000 more dollars
That in two months and one week I will, to all intents and purposes, be all on my own

And I'm not at all sure how it got to this point. I remember first bouncing around the idea of going to CMI, this summer while at CYIA. I thought 'oh, I have plenty of time'. And here I am, six months later, not at all sure where my time went, or how I spent it, or anything. Is this how the rest of my life is going to be? Does time just start moving faster the older you get?

I sincerely hope not. Because that would kind of suck.

- Kyla Denae

Saturday, November 3, 2012

day three

The first day of NaNoWriMo passed so fast, I feel like I hardly blinked (though that might have been a combination of fear of the statues that seem to be everywhere and those weird gaps in my memory...). I got about 5,000 words into my novel that day, dealing with near-amnesia, a head-jerking doctor, and a main character who insisted upon having a girlfriend.

Yesterday, day two, I didn't get much written due to an eleven-hour long shift at work. I still managed to get about a thousand words written though (and no, I totally didn't stay up until midnight to get there. Honest. Shh).

Today, I'm hoping to hit at least 10,000, and hopefully get a bit higher. In pursuit of that, the next few hours of my life will be filled with existentialist crises as I force Nate to figure out what's going on, a combination of music from Matt Kearney, Clint Mansell, and Murray Gold, and numb fingers as they work way too fast.

So while I'm doing that, I'm going to just paste this excerpt from my novel and run.



            His mom and dad were nowhere in evidence, though he could hear the sound of some TV commentator coming from the living room. Heading that way, he went into the kitchen to find himself a drink, only partly focusing on the tinny voice on the TV.

            Until, that is, it mentioned Doctor Kane. Rounding the corner, cup of soda in hand, he leaned against the wall leading into the living room and focused on the screen. A man, sitting behind a desk, was gazing seriously into the camera, the younger woman by his side nodding seriously as he spoke.

            ‘Doctor Herbert Kane, as we’ve said, has been one of the foremost experts in the new field of Neural Reprogramming, which is basically where the brain is taught, through some means both medical and psychological—we’re really not quite sure as to the exact process, too much mumbo-jumbo,’ the commentator gave a nervous laugh. ‘But the applications of this process, this operation, could be immeasurable. Apply it to, to criminal justice, to mental illnesses…’

            ‘You could literally transform the world,’ the woman chimed in.

            ‘Well, obviously,’ the man said. ‘Which is why Doctor Herbert Kane–’

            Nate turned away and headed for the stairs, unwilling to sit around and listen to them sing praises of a man he wasn’t sure about himself. Then again…whatever it was that Doctor Kane had done to him, it had ‘immeasurable’ applications.

- Copper Blood, WIP 2012 NaNoWriMo novel

- Kyla Denae

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

fourteen hours and counting

In fourteen hours, I will embark upon an epic marathon.

I will meet new characters
see new places
invent fantastical new turns of phrase
I will laugh
cry
tear my heart out
dance around my room in pure happiness
go on song-finding expeditions when I think my writing stinks
think my writing stinks
think I'm brilliant and the next Shakespeare
I will find new friends
perhaps torture a few characters
kill a few more
let a few live in happiness
or something closely approximating happiness, anyway
in other words, in fourteen hours
NaNoWriMo 2012 begins.
let's do this thing.

- Kyla Denae

Friday, October 26, 2012

snippets of october

One of mine is quite long this month. But honey badger don't care. I love this scene from Dark Dawn, mostly because it sent one of those delightful little shivers, of mingled fear and wonder at what I've created, up my spine. You know it's good when you get one of those. Either that, or you're overwhelmingly, hopelessly lost in an idea of your own importance. Either way.

Without further ado, here are this month's Snippets, a blog challenge-thing put on by Katie, from Whisperings of the Pen!



It was Durion Keljên, or Durion Keljên-who-had-been. His long, dark hair was the same as she had seen before, his eyes the same queer mixture of black and white, but there was more madness there now, and more power. 

 It was from him that had come the voice. He had raised a great staff above his head, a curving thing of wood that was taller than she. At the top of it, a black spearhead crowned it, marked it as a weapon. Dark robes billowed around the man-that-was-not-a-man, his words booming from deep within, making him seem worse than any sorcerer in any tale she’d ever heard. 

"My children,” he called, voice fell and terrible. “Our time has come. In the time-before-time, before Darv’ii exiled me,” the creature spat the name of the Dwarvish god, saying it as a curse, “I was great, mightier than He, mightier than the Dawn he had forced upon me, forced me to love. And I would have taken the world, would have been in dominion over it. But the Creator resented me. Resented my power, and He cast me down, imprisoned me below the depths. I say no more!” A burst of lightning, a boom of thunder came from the creature’s staff as he brandished it once more above his head, and the Ladwalden hooted and shouted, a sound as of a mighty wind, the mouths of a thousand thousands all crying out. 

 The creature raised a hand for silence, and continued once the vale had ceased to ring. “We will take back what is mine, what is ours! We will take the world for the night beginning with the children of men. I will stand before the King, this Darv’ii who believes He is great, and I will raise my hand against Him. And we, my children, shall be great in His place.” 

 The roar began again, swelling above his words, and the creature suddenly turned, a satisfied smile on his face. He looked down at Anarisia, straight at her, and he leaned down to peer into her eyes. 

 He could see her. She knew he could, and the breath seized in her throat, the presence of darkness and evil crushing down on her again. 

“Go home, little human,” he whispered, voice eerily intimate. “Go home and carry your tales. And when you see her, tell my sweet sister that she shall not live long after our Father.” 
- Dark Dawn, novel in progress


The war consumes him, catching him up in its firm grasp. Adrenaline pours through him, filling every cavity and cell with intended purpose, flooding his body with the same manic desires as the ones around him. On and on and on, pushing, pulling humanity, for there is a purpose and it must be fulfilled, though he knows not what it is, nor what it is for. 

 Something beckons, Something beyond himself, Something that could perhaps save him. Perhaps here is the answer he has been searching for, in the fevered eyes of a madman and the raised hands of a million men, all pledging their bodies and lives and souls to the madman who claims to lead them. 
- Something, short story 


- Kyla Denae

Monday, October 22, 2012

of hobbits and a revolution

Today I realized that The Hobbit comes out in fifty days. Now, that may not seem like an incredible happening to some of you, but I'm pretty excited. I've been waiting a long time for a rendition of Tolkien's smaller (and arguably less serious) book. I've never liked it quite as much as I liked Lord of the Rings, but I'm always up for another, fresh journey to Middle Earth, no matter who's taking me.

The film edition of Les Miserables (with Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman) comes out a couple weeks later, and my mom has promised to take me to see it (mostly because she didn't manage to get me over to our hometown's small theatre company's production of it). I'm quite excited about that one, too.

I read Les Miserables earlier this year, and adored it, utterly and completely. As I told a friend last night, it just gives me a lot of literary feelings. It has everything I love--religion, history, romance, adventure, believable character arcs, beautiful people, horrible people, and a little bit of the in between. It deals with the story of a character that I firmly believe is one of the most amazing to ever grace literature, an opinion that may change (but I really hope not, because I really love Jean Valjean)--a character that changes so beautifully, whose inner thoughts are so wonderfully illuminated through the events of his story--and it has another, albeit minor, character that is so wonderfully, purely Christian that it makes me smile just to think of it.

So I'm excited about that movie, too. Because I can't wait to see it, to see one of my favorite stories brought to life. Of course, that comes with the added clause that, if it stinks, I reserve full right to be very angry and rant to everyone I can about how horrible it was. But that's a whole other issue.

For now, I'm excited, for quite shallow reasons, about the next few months.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, October 21, 2012

i will decide what to do once i decide

There's this really funny thing about my future that I'd like to share with you. I'm never quite sure what's going to happen in it.

Now, I'm fairly certain what's going to be happening with me for the next four or five months, at least at this point. I'm going to be working, and then attending the Children's Ministry Institute. After that...well...I'm not quite sure.

I usually take long missions trips in the summers, or at least I have for the past three summers. I've been to three different continents and come home to my own. I've made friends in three countries, friends who have often gone back home to even more countries--from China to Taiwan and Canada and Mongolia, from Zambia to South Africa and Zimbabwe, from Romania to Hungary and Germany.

But for the first time since I was fourteen, I'm not planning on...anything. At this point, anything after April is one big, fat question mark. And even said question marks looks vaguely confused, like it was drawn by a kid with ADHD who's just gone on a massive sugar binge and can't draw straight to save his life. In other words, I'm really, really (really) not sure what's going to be happening in my life.

And the funny thing is, I'm really okay with that. I'm okay with not stressing about where I'm going to get the money to meet my deadlines, and having to buy clothes to go overseas, and not having to worry about visas and passports and plane tickets and what happens if my plane goes down and I land on a deserted island with polar bears and ominous messages left random places with Others living on the island that all the survivors have to learn to live with and eventually we'll all die and end up in some light-infested afterlife-esque scenario. That sounds eerily familiar. But you get my point.

And even though I'm still having to worry about money (I'm not freaking out I'm not freaking out I'm not freaking out omw i've got to have $3,000 more by January 23 what is happening my life is spinning out of control help), and I'm still going to have to buy new clothes, and there are problems of transportation to worry about--real, genuine concerns, all of them--it's refreshing, in a way. I have something to worry about that doesn't involve culture shock and new foods and strange languages. I don't have to worry that I'll mispronounce a word this summer and end up in a duel that will end my life. You know.

At the moment, my life is so shaping itself that I'll be at home next summer, working with our local Child Evangelism Fellowship branch, being the summer missions coordinator and reaching out to the community in my hometown. And even though I still long to be a missionary overseas, and I still want to go back to China, and there are so many places I want to travel to and experience...I'm okay with that. I'm okay with staying put, with trusting God that He's got the plans this time. Because if there's one thing I most definitely don't want to do, it's go against Him just because I've got this agenda, this idea that I have to go somewhere every summer and reach people for Him.

Right now, Amarillo is quite a big enough mission field. It's not the most glamorous, attention-grabbing job. I'm not going to have any eyes popping or excited 'wows' as I tell people that yes, I'll be staying home and helping teenagers run 5 Day Clubs while trying to get new Good News Clubs lined up, and would you like to help us?, but I truly think that's what God has for me this time around. 2014 might be different. Hey, summer 2013 might even end up shaping differently than I expect. Because if there's one thing I've definitely learned about my God, it's that he delights in springing surprises on people (I get this idea that God likes to craft delicious surprises for us, and he sprinkles them throughout our paths, and just waits to watch us open them. As we get closer and closer to what he's planned, he starts getting ever more excited, like a grandparent who knows his present is waiting at the bottom of the stack, and just can't wait to see the delight on his grandchild's face. And the minute the child actually opens it, he's almost as excited as the kid because, wow, look at how happy he is. I think if God is just as awesome and wonderful as the Bible says, he has to get a kick out of how happy he can make us...that, and he has a sense of humor).

But if that happens, and I get a delicious surprise, whether it be a call in the middle of the night that hey, we'd quite like you to come stay with us for three months, could you arrange to get a flight to Thailand in the next three days?, or if it's a simple, friendly call from someone I've not seen in awhile...I'm quite sure I'll thoroughly enjoy it.

And if I don't, I'm sure I'll enjoy that, too. Because why are we put where we are but to enjoy it?

- Kyla Denae

Monday, October 8, 2012

nanowrimo 2012

Sometimes I get a really, really good feeling about a story before I start it. I can feel it, already yanking at my heartstrings, just waiting to be typed out in beautiful, exuberant, wonderful detail. Sometimes this heart-tugging comes later, when I'm halfway through and all at once realize just how beautiful the world I've created is. (Yes, I am in fact that egotistical.) All at once, I can hardly sleep for thinking of this-or-that twist, or an event I can't wait to write, or crying over my poor, poor characters and all that I, their loving creator, are forced to put them through. I felt this way about Royalty, my as-yet-unedited (but finished) novel about a young farmgirl who's pushed into a world of courtly intrigue.

And I think I just might end up feeling that way about this year's NaNo novel. Because it's pretty darn epic, if I do say so myself. This year's novel is currently named "Copper Blood", a title with absolutely no symbolic meaning as of yet. Except for the fact that copper wiring is sometimes used in some places, and wiring has a lot to do with this story. Sort of. Also because I like the sound of it. Just say it out loud. It sounds so polished and writerly.

Cover made by the wonderful Vincent from figment.com. He's got srs skillz
Anyway. Copper Blood follows a young man, Nathaniel, who is chosen by an unknown entity to undergo an operation that turns him into a superhuman. After a message is sent to his phone, he is led to the Nexus, a staging point for thousands of Commandants--the backbone of a new world police force, dedicated to eradicating warfare...for humanity's own good, of course.

This whole plan is overseen by a supercomputer, designed to create a contingency plan for a variety of disasters, both natural and man-made. It's ultimate solution was to simply take over the planet and administer everything from its own core processor...hence the invasion force of Commandants. Nathaniel finds himself thrown into this world of subterfuge and violence, and when the orders come through to subjugate the planet at all costs, he is forced to look hard at his own humanity and evaluate just what that humanity means.

Joining him are a cast of other characters who are at various stages of development. There's Brittany, my snarky, confident, but very broken, African-American heroine. There's Laren, a woman who once wanted to be a doctor but is now forced to deal with the fact that she's been turned into a ruthless killing machine. Mariah is probably my favorite; possibly the youngest Commandant in the world, she has been forced to live with a world inside her head, thoughts from everyone else threatening to overwhelm who she was. Slash, the computer expert, who is suffering under a secret that will mean his life, whether secret or no, and is out to prove what he's made of. And Rob, a man unable to trust himself because of the conscience-less monster he's been turned into--or at least, what they've tried to turn him into.

I'm just really, really excited about this year. Because this story is going to be amazing. I can feel it, just longing to burst out, to make itself known in the most beautiful way. And I can't wait.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, October 7, 2012

i am convinced i am part of an alien experiment

People keep calling french fries chips, which is obviously not an American thing to do.

And then people with English accents are following me around. I swear. They come into work all the time.

And then I forget sections of my life, which is weird, and things have changed when I get back to it. This was especially pronounced one day, which also happened to be the same day three different unconnected people referenced french fries as chips, and also the day several different people with English accents came in, which randomly switched to American accents at various points.

We've also begun calling our TV room the living room, with no apparent thought or changing of purposes in the two rooms that are our TV room and living room.

It is official.

My life, at this point, is actually an alien experiment to test just how perceptive humans are. Or something. Maybe I'm actually part of some kind of research, and my brain has created this fake world that's gotten mixed up with all the fictional worlds I love. At least I haven't started baking souffles yet.

Maybe the Doctor will come rescue me.

Yes.

Allons-y.

- Kyla Denae

Monday, October 1, 2012

autumn is my favorite

I love it when the weather just begins to turn. The air gets that subtle tang, a smell of mingled rain and burning wood as people stoke their fires, and just a hint of promised snow. Sweaters come out ahead of the cold weather, hoodies and button-ups and cardigans and those stylish little things that nobody wears except to church.

And boots. Every autumn, without fail, I get the sudden desire to buy boots. I never do (I'm usually too poor), but inevitably I'll be wandering about some clothing store and pause by the boots, and just stare. And I get this sudden urge to just go be all hipster and wear a little hat and a ridiculous jumper and nonsense scarf and skinny jeans and lace-up boots and go stomp through fallen leaves with my ridiculous (and ahemnonexistentahem) boyfriend as we take the most ludicrously cute pictures ever.

I find it hard to be productive in the autumn, too. At least, not productive in the let's-hurry-and-get-work-done kind of productive. I prefer to read; to curl up on a couch with fuzzy socks, a hoodie, and a hat, and read. I like to take a notebook and just sit in front of a window and write, write everything I haven't been able to say during the summer.

I'm always at my best in the fall, I think. At least writing-wise. I end up writing more, creating characters that get way down deep into my heart and never let go. Why that is, I have no idea. But it's true. And it's just one more layer to the reasons I love autumn.

The whole point of this post has been, of course, that I just really
really
really
love autumn.

That is all.

- Kyla Denae

Saturday, September 29, 2012

my feels will never be whole again

because of a television show.

The Doctor Who mid-season finale was this evening. And Amy and Rory Pond.
and the Doctor
and
and
my emotions.

I think I may never recover.

so if you see a skinny auburn-headed girl wandering the world someday, and ask her why it is that she can't speak above a whisper and why she is constantly crying, and why exactly it is that she's clutching a battered old sonic screwdriver to her chest

I will tell you now what she would say.

because the Doctor my poor baby 
he had a family and he lost it
again
Steven Moffat is cruel
that is all

- Kyla Denae

Friday, September 28, 2012

why yes i am ready for november

Ah, November. How to explain how much I love the exhilaration of fallen leaves, the first snows, a snappy chill in the air, the smell of wood burning in fireplaces, and the press of a warm mug filled with hot chocolate against my hands?

And then, of course, there's NaNoWriMo.

Forget everything else; NaNoWriMo is undoubtedly the most important part of the autumn season. It just sort of completes a year. After eleven months of having done nothing in particular, traveling and reading and writing a bit, trying to keep myself from getting too bored, all at once this wonderful thing comes again. And all at once I have a purpose! I must beat Mirriam! Nay, I must beat the whole world with my industrious word-crafting! My life becomes all about that purple bar at the end of the month, that simple purple bar that will tell the whole world (or, at least the bit that cares to check) that, hey, I'm accomplished.

I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. 
What did you do this year?
Bet it wasn't as awesome as this.

So I am very ready for autumn. I've been planning for months, as always. Well, by planning I mean figuring out who my characters were and roughly what I was going to put them through. Still don't know how it's going to end. Guess we'll find out when we get there, eh?

- Kyla Denae

Thursday, September 27, 2012

loving jesus beyond all reason

sometimes, i just get to this place where i realize how truly amazing jesus actually is.
like, i know he's amazing.
i always know that.
but sometimes, i'll just be sitting there
listening to music
or reading
or studying
or in a lull at work
or about to drift off to sleep
and it'll hit me.

jesus died for me
God of the universe
creator
holy
beautiful
outside of time
outside of space
big
impossible
amazing
all-powerful
all-knowing
just
possessor of all things

that God
he came to earth
and he was born as a baby
and he grew up like a mortal man
and then he died.

think about that.

just let it sink in.

God can't die.
no god can die.
even the greeks couldn't truly kill their gods.
the idea that gods of any form or fashion can die is a relatively newfangled fashion
arisen from the atheistic idea that there's nothing outside of us
that we are gods.

but this God did die
and he didn't just die because he thought it'd be interesting
he died for a purpose
for a reason
for a person
he died for you
he died for me
he died for the lost
the broken
the powerful
the needy
the unknown
the wealthy
the sick
the hopeless
the hopeful

God of the universe
the everlasting
came to an end.


that's not the end of the story, of course.
because what a dull story.
the good guy always wins
everybody knows that
as Satan rejoiced--his enemy dead--something was stirring
and a stone rolled away
the brilliance of a heavenly being made two soldiers fall over in a dead faint
and jesus came alive again.

his death saved us from the consequences of our sin
his resurrection freed us from the power of sin.
and it was all paid for.
and he did that for us.
even though we are what we are.
so sometimes, i get to this place where i realize how truly amazing jesus is.
and it just takes my breath away.
and i can't do anything but just sit, and think, and stare into space and marvel.
because i am loved beyond all reason
and i can't help but answer that love in kind.

- Kyla Denae

Saturday, September 22, 2012

in which i share a birthday

with two most admirable Hobbits.


If you must know, from the moment I first read Lord of the Rings and discovered that September 22 was both Bilbo and Frodo's birthday, it has become the most important part of the day. Because, after all, who cares about presents? Cake? Psh. Time with friends? I don't understand. Reaching the beginning of a new year? Yeah right.

No.

I share a birthday with two Ringbearers. Take that, world.

- Kyla Denae

Thursday, September 20, 2012

bursting with passion

Have you ever heard that saying--or, at least, some variation thereupon? I love listening and watching people talk about the things they're passionate about. Their eyes get wider, their voice speeds up, its pitch arcing toward the ceiling, their hands begin to move, and their whole body strains as if it will fly up along with their voice, every fibre of their being straining with the pure feeling they have about this thing.

I love having that feeling, too. I love feeling as if I'm full up to bursting...though sometimes, the expression on the face of the person I'm talking to ruins it. Sometimes (actually pretty often), people laugh, as if embarrassed by the warmth of your feeling, and they look away. No, they are embarrassed. And that's sad.

Because what's wrong with feeling passionate about something? What's wrong with expressing it? Why should it embarrass us to be utterly open about the things that move us, that make our hearts beat and our feet move and our voices speak and sing and shout? Because on an emotional, raw level, the things we care about are the things that keep us alive. So why is it that, sometimes, we try to hide those things, as if they're shameful?

So let me tear off my own cloak for a moment.

i am passionate about souls.
there.
i said it.

Sometimes, when I get to thinking about the world, and how big it is, and how many people live in it, and all the places that are so beautiful, and all the children who need a mother, and all the mothers who need some hope, and all the fathers who need some help, and all the souls that need Christ, I get to feeling so full up of feelings that I simply want to burst.

And I want to reach out to all of them, all at once so badly that it hurts. And not just an "oh, that touches my heart, ouch, why do I have to feel guilty and all these things" sort of hurt. I mean a raw, deep, visceral, physical hurt. And even though it hurts, even though it leads to this feeling that I'm been chosen for something that's impossible, that I'll never be able to reach out to all those people who need Christ, I love it.

I love it because it means I'm alive. I love it because it means God's not done with me yet. I love it because it means I've got a purpose for living here, that I've got work to do, that until the day I die I will have something to do. I won't be bored, because God's got plans. And in the meantime, I have this burning passion, deep inside, just waiting to be translated into action, one problem at a time.

So tell me--what is it that you're passionate about? What makes your heart beat faster? What makes your heart beat, period? I really do want to know.

- Kyla Denae

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

september's snippets

So in an attempt to actually make myself write more than I have been, I'm going to attempt the Snippets of Story project/thing/whatever that Katie over at Whisperings of the Pen puts on every month. There are only two this month, mainly because--well, I've not been writing as much, and what I have written doesn't really 'wow' me, but I did have a few good bits of description and times where I sat there and whispered, "I am so deep how do I do this I am so proud of myself yes."

And here they are. You're welcome.


Firelight played across the stone flags of the floor, washing over pages and leather bindings. A delicate pattern of light and shadow came right over her, sitting as close as she dared to the hearth, back against a cushion and book open across her lap. She had long since ceased reading, though, and Anarisia was staring into the flames, thinking and trying not to all at once. 
-Dark Dawn, novel in progress 

 either way, like or love or whatever is a funny thing. especially when you get to thinking about it. because what is love? seems to me it's sort of just this acknowledgement of the fact that both of you are alright, and the idea that maybe if two alrights come together they'll make an excellent. seems pretty absurd to me. still doesn't keep me from falling into it anyway.
-the eternal life of edgar alexander, stream-of-consciousness short story


 - Kyla Denae

Monday, September 17, 2012

carrying a message

One time I had a little kid ask me one of those really deep, philosophical questions that no little kid has any business asking. You know the ones--things just come out of their mouth, and you're left standing there, staring in shock down at their little faces, tipped back to you with a shy, sincere little smile, confident of the answer that you, their teacher/sister/older-person-at-the-moment will have a satisfactory answer for them. And then you just sort of stand there like, "uhhhh...where did that come from again why i don't understand even i don't have thoughts like that why is it that children are shown things not fair asdfjkl;"

Anyway. The question in this instance was very simple, and I actually had an answer for it, though I wasn't quite sure how to deal with it at the time.

why can't we go be with God right now?
do we have to die first?
and if so, why?
doesn't dying hurt?
why can't God just take us to heaven right now?
doesn't he love us?

Yes, he does. He loves us more than any of us can imagine. So why, exactly, does he want us to stay here on earth, in the midst of so much depravity and heartache and just plain stupidity? Why can't he take us to heaven--and since we know he can, technically, why doesn't he? Surely that would be simpler, removing his people permanently from the world?

Instead, we're supposed to live in a world that is not our home, in a place that is ruled by the Prince of the powers of the air, a place where disease and starvation and corruption and sin run rampant, where people kill people and justify it, where children get caught in the middle of armies and armies run roughshod over their people, where we can never hope to escape from the things we know to be wrong. So why? Why is it that God expects us to stay here? Wouldn't our Christian life be more pure if we were removed from all that?

Well, of course. And God could take us to heaven, and we could live with him the moment we believed in Christ. But God doesn't do something--or neglect to do something--just because. There's always a purpose. It may be difficult to see. But there is a reason, and there is one here. I believe it can be found in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 20.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ...
An ambassador is a person tasked to take a message for their home country to a foreign one. They are the public face of their nation in the foreign country, the one that brings the two parties together and links them, leads them to a bridge where common ground can be found. To understand just how amazing this task as an ambassador is, and what its purpose for the Christian is, let's look at the verses that come just before.
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the message of reconciliation; that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Through Christ, we have been reconciled to God--which basically means we've become his son in his eyes. We have been given the righteousness of God the Son, have been transformed and converted from the inside out, radically changed from a sin-laden state to a glorious life of freedom. We have been brought into harmony, our debt has been mitigated, God's sense of justice has been appeased, we have been reunited with God. And now, it is our job to be ambassadors, to take the message of reconciliation, of this radical change, to the rest of the world.

Put simply, the reason God has changed us and we are still here on earth is because he's not finished with us yet. We have a purpose. We are supposed to carry a message--the most important message in the universe.

- Kyla Denae
full disclosure: 99% of this post was inspired by a missionary to Alaska, Bro. Carter, who came through our church last night and preached on this passage. It was amazing, and I wanted to share. So there's that.

Friday, September 14, 2012

striped pyjamas and humanity

Some instinct prompted me, on a recent trip to the library, to pick up the movie, "Boy in the Striped Pajamas". And I'm very glad I did. I also now wish to read the book--but judging by the stack currently sitting to my right, I'm going to have to wait a bit before that happens. (No, I do not have eight books sitting in a stack next to me, calling my name in the most alluring tones, begging me to pick all of them up at once and finish reading them to delve into their many secrets and discover how the Constitution was ratified by the Federal Reserve, put into effect by Queen Eleanor, and determined by the people of Westeros...wait. I've gotten that muddled up, haven't I?)

Anyway. In my searching through the internet (because I do random things like Google things I've watched or read), I've discovered that there's a lot of debate about this film, and the book that it's based on. Apparently, the argument goes that it gives excuses to the Germans, or doesn't portray the Holocaust in all its horror, or turns something awful into a quaint little fable. I would disagree on most points.

Yes, the story is told from the viewpoint of an eight year old little boy. Throughout, he never quite grasps just what is going on literally in his backyard. He is pulled between the love and respect he holds for his father, just like any little boy, and the horror he knows, deep within himself, to be happening to Shmuel and his people. He is naive and innocent--perhaps unduly so, but he is. I remember myself at eight. Would I have understood questions of genocide? Would I have been able to see past the "pajamas" and the propaganda that was being thrown at my head every day by my elders? Would I have even been able to understand the fact that some people are wicked enough to want to exterminate my best friend?

So yes, you see the Holocaust through a sort of rose-colored glass. You see a little boy who simply knows one thing: there is another little boy across a fence, and that little boy is his friend. He does not know why his friend must stay on the other side of a fence. Even when he discovers just what his friend is, and why he is supposed to hate him, he cannot. Because Shmuel is his friend. Shmuel is a nice person. And he, Bruno, is the best explorer in the world, because he has found a nice Jew.

To me, the message of the story is not so much "there is redemption for people who do horrible things", it is "there is no point to horrible things". Even in the end (which was heartbreaking, it must be said), Bruno cannot comprehend why his father would lie, why this man he's looked up to would do this to people. He cannot comprehend, even as it's clear to everyone else what's going on, why he's being shoved in among all these people, or what's about to happen to them. Because he is innocent, and innocence can never understand depravity.

Does the story show all of the historical details? No, of course not. It's downright wrong in many instances. But that doesn't really matter. If you want historical fact, go read a biography. What The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas shows us is that humanity is capable of knowing what is right and is wrong, without coming down to the level of depraved. It shows that redemption is possible. It shows the way propaganda can influence a person--and how that person can rise above the influence of it. It shows the horror of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child...which is, perhaps, the most chilling way to see it.

- Kyla Denae

Saturday, September 8, 2012

life changing?

the people who stay behind on missions trips have come to expect big stories. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There very often are big stories. I've had some of my own, from Zambia and China. I saw God work in mighty ways in my own life, and sometimes, in brief glimpses, I saw just what he was doing in other people's lives, too. My outlook was radically changed by the poverty in Zambia and by the atheism in China, by the different aspects of a lost world strangled by starvation in one hand and by materialism in the other. But I've had trouble pulling together my thoughts about Romania, and not really because anything big and spectacular happened.

Yes, there were moments that still shine in my memory. There was Rebeca and Estera, two sisters who followed me around at VBS. There was Bethany and Cami, the missionary's daughters, who I grew really close to, and who I'm pretty sure were the people I was sent to Romania to minister to. There were other times: when I stood in the middle of a sauna that we once called an auditorium and taught to seventy kids, via a translator, about the miracle that brought Philip to a lone Ethiopian man on a desert road and then carried him away once his task had been taught and, despite the heat, I didn't feel hot or uncomfortable at all. There was the feeling of closeness to God as I stood above Budapest and, despite the people around me, looked out at a city full of all lights except spiritual ones, and realized that He was still there, though few claim His name. There was the moment when we were all in a castle and stood in the great hall and sang Amazing Grace. The words echoed from the rafters, filling me with a sense of how awesome that grace actually is, how amazing it is, how utterly awesome God must be (and also, as a side-note, discovered that Amazing Grace really shouldn't be sung outside of a place that can make it sound so beautiful just because of the acoustics).

But despite that, there was no life-changing moment that I can point to. There was nothing that broke my heart. The thing that came closest was, perhaps, when I was talking to Mrs. Tyler and discovered that there are only a handful of actual Gospel-preaching churches in Hungary...but that had very little to do with my trip as a whole. I suppose that, besides that, the one thing I really discovered on this trip is that I'm not called to Romania. I mean, I loved it. I have made friends there that will live in my heart forever, that I still pray for, who someday I'd love to go back and visit. But I can't picture myself living there for a long period of time like I can in, say, Zambia, or even China. God sent me to Romania for a purpose, I know that, he put that desire in my heart, and there were things that I believe I accomplished. But for the first time, I think I went to a place where I was doing the ministering, not necessarily being ministered to, and a place that is now closed to me, at least for the time being. That door has closed, my purpose there is over for the foreseeable future.

I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. If that's "life changing" or not. Either way, I doubt anybody would want me to answer the question of "what did you learn in Romania?" with, "I'm not supposed to be a missionary there."

But it's true. And here I stand, waiting with eager expectation for the next door to open.

- Kyla Denae

Thursday, September 6, 2012

adventures in the kitchen

so tonight I wanted to make something special.
well, I'd planned to make them.
but still.
I found this amazing recipe for stuffed cheese buns, loosely based on the ones Peeta makes in the Hunger Games trilogy.
and they looked deliriously scrumptious.
so I decided to make them.
and then I took pictures.
because, you know, I always forget to document the things I actually do around my house.
mostly because they're boring.
but making stuffed cheese buns, especially stuffed cheese buns that turned out so wonderful, seemed like a good occasion to actually show you all that I do, in fact, have skills around the house.
yes.



mm, flour.
I love making pictures in flour.
and taking pictures of flour.
I suppose flour is kind of like my own personal brand of fire.
you know how people stare into fire.
I stare into flour.
no, that is not weird.
and you can't convince me that it is.


kneading for ten minutes makes your arms sore.
I know.
because I did it.


I used mozzarella cubes for the middle.
I think I might use bigger cubes next time, stretch the dough a bit more thinly over them.
and then I might mix up the cheeses, too.
use some swiss in the middle.
maybe a couple with cheddar.
that way my family will be completely surprised at what kind of cheese they get.
we might also have a guessing game.
"which cheese is in this bun?
let's find out!"




I sprinkled a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella over the top.
again, I think I might change that up next time.
perhaps use mozzarella and swiss, as the writer of the original recipe suggested.
add some parmesan, since I forgot this time around.


mm, fresh out of the oven.



oozy gooey cheesy stuff




so yes.
see.
I have skills.
also, you should totally make these cheese buns.
because they're delish.
especially with marinara sauce and meatballs, which was our main course.
except maybe you should also have with salad--
something that occurred to me (predictably) as soon as we were halfway through our meal.
yes.
good luck.


- Kyla Denae

Thursday, July 12, 2012

so it's been awhile

First it was our internet. And then it was a two-week trip to Lubbock. And then it was still our internet. And then it was a two week trip to Romania. So I have reasons for not having posted. Honest.
To begin with the first--our internet went down, apparently because our modem failed. We now have a new one and, while the 'net is still not hooked up to my laptop, I'm no longer suffering in the land of unconnectedness. Did you know that practically all my friends live on the internet? And those that I know in real life still mostly communicate with me via the internet? It's kind of depressing, actually, and I could probably derive some sort of lesson about the breakdown of communication in modern American culture from this happening, but I'm too lazy and jet-lagged to bother with it at the moment.

Christian Youth In Action (a nine day training program hosted by Child Evangelism Fellowship all over the US for local teens every year) was amazing this year. I got to know some people I'd not before, made some new friends, and had an awesome time. Ah, memories. You know that group of people you might have that are like a second family, who you can't wait to be around, who are always supportive and encouraging and, yeah, they have their problems and occasionally there's dramatic moments where we all want to strangle each other, but they're still epic? That's what the CYIA'ers are like. And I sort of love it.

As to Romania, I'll hopefully be making a few posts about that at some other time in the next few days. For now, let me just say that I'm trying to process, to decide what I think, to dredge up some memories from the jet-lagged morass. I'll get back to you on how that's going. But for now, pache (peace).

- Kyla Denae

Monday, May 28, 2012

but

'But' can be one of the most beautiful words. Think about it. But signals a reversal, a redemption, a change in thought. Such-and-such is true, but. I especially like it when I come across this word in the Bible. Very often, it means something exceptionally good is about to come along. Just like with this verse:
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. - 1 Corinthians 5:11
For some context--Paul has just finished talking about lawsuits between believers, and then gone into the varieties of people that won't see the kingdom of God. Thieves, fornicators, covetous, drunkards...all of these and more have no hope of inheriting the kingdom. They have been severed forever from God by the things they've done. They had a choice, they chose wrong, end of story.

Or is it?

The first part of this verse lets us know that Paul knows the church at Corinth intimately. He knows that the people in this church have committed sins--grievous ones. In fact, more than that, he knows himself! In 1 Timothy, he called himself a 'chief sinner', basically saying "I'm a bigger sinner than all y'all." This verse starts off with an acknowledgement of that fact, of the fact that every one is a sinner, that none of us can inherit the kingdom of God, that there is none righteous, no not one.

but.

but you are washed.
but you are sanctified.
but you are justified.

Yes, we've all done things that immediately disqualify us from going to heaven. Yes, we've all done things that disqualify us from having a relationship with Christ. Yes, we've all done things that disqualify us from experiencing the peace and joy that comes with that relationship.

but.

In the name of the Lord Jesus, by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, we have been washed. We have been sanctified. We have been justified. We are no longer our own, we are God's, we are no longer what we were, we have been dramatically reversed, like a great big 'but' has been made into the sum total of our lives. Our past record has been erased, and in its place have been put two words:

but Jesus.

- Kyla Denae

Friday, May 25, 2012

final countdown

We're nearing the last days before summer begins. In less than two weeks, I will be leaving home to head two hours south on a nine-day journey that I've taken twice before. And it's going to be amazing, because I get to spend time with friends I've not seen in a couple years, spend time with an absolutely awesome God, and teach kids about said awesome God.

In just over 30 days (one month. one. month.) I will be driving to Dallas/Fort Worth to get on a plane for Frankfurt, Germany.

God has something planned for this summer. And I don't just mean safe traveling mercies, or maybe a mildly fun time overseas. A year ago, I had a desire to go to Romania. I expected to maybe be counting down to another GE trip at this point. That didn't happen, and instead I'm going with my church. But that desire hasn't changed, and whatever's going to go down, I'm confident it's going to be something that's going to blow the lid off my expectations--again. And I'm so ready.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsts for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. - Psalm 63:1-2
- Kyla Denae

Monday, May 14, 2012

confidence

It's come upon me off and on over the years--this small voice, deep inside, that insists upon telling me that I'm not good enough, or not pretty enough, or that if I'd just act this certain way, or dress this certain way, or talk this certain way, I'd be popular. I've worried that my personality is the wrong sort, that my fashion sense is horrible, that my body isn't attractive...overall, I've had just about the same thoughts that most humans have at some time or another, directed towards myself. I'm sure we've all been there at one time or another; it seems to be a uniquely human trait, this problem of looking at ourselves and seeing nothing but problems. Perhaps it's just a side-product of being self-aware and sentient.

But amidst all this worrying about what other people will think of me, I've come to realize something. I can't make everyone happy. Someone in the world, somewhere, will find me annoying, or be upset about something I do and, in the grand scheme of things, only one person's opinion matters--one person in the whole universe, and that's God. And he, as always, has made it very clear what he thinks:
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. - Psalm 139:14 
We are 'fearfully and wonderfully' made--there is awe surrounding our forming, tiny miracles from the beauty of our growth in the womb until now, as our bodies constantly remake themselves literally every day. We are wonderful creations, in so many ways.
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. - Matthew 6:27-29
We cannot change our appearance through conscious thought, yet God has provided; he will continue to do so. We have been fashioned with as much care as the flowers that we adore so much. Take a peek out your window, or take a walk in a park. Take a moment to just pause and marvel at the variety of different colors and types of beauty God has created. You are one of those types, whether you believe it or not.
Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. - Proverbs 31:30
 The definitions of the world change. God's never will.
He hath made everything beautiful in his time... - Ecclesiastes 3:11a
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace... - Isaiah 52:7a
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair... - Song of Solomon 1:15
 - Kyla Denae

Monday, May 7, 2012

in fifty three days

The countdown has officially begun! In thirty days, I shall be heading two hours south to participate in Christian Youth In Action 2012, which shall be amazingly awesome, and filled with good times with friends, much squealing and laughter, and probably more than a little insanity.

Just twenty days after that (or something like that), I'll be climbing into a bus and heading to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where I and a group of twenty other people shall get onto a very large jet plane and fly to Frankfurt, Germany where we shall catch a connecting flight to somewhere in Hungary. I think. We shall then be continuing on to Timisoara, Romania, where we shall have two weeks of awesome ministry and team-building while sight-seeing and generally having fun times.

So let the insanity begin.

- Kyla Denae

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

wherein kyla gets a job

So, I have a job now.
I'm like all official and stuff
I even have a nametag.

I am now officially a front-counter, ringer-upper, drive-through-ish, dining-room-attender person at Chick-fil-a. Yes. It's actually not that bad; I've been working there for about two weeks now, and I quite like it.

But as a consequence of this change, I've had very little free time. It's really odd, being on a strict schedule. I've never had to be this conscientious of how I spend my time, where practically every minute is counted in order to get me where I need to go 'on time'.

I suppose there could be some deep, challenging lesson there somewhere, but I'm too tired to find it.

In other news
I am fully funded for Romania!

Yes. This makes me very happy. It's partly due to a reader of this blog

- Kyla Denae

Friday, April 13, 2012

trusting god for the water

A few nights ago, I was talking to one of my friends on Facebook. He's currently stationed overseas for his job, and we talk often about different stuff--usually writerly things, and occasionally we stray into more Biblical matters. This night, I was telling him about my deadlines and how they stress me out, and he made a very interesting analogy.

When I was fundraising for China, it was relatively easy. I mean, there were still times when I was tearing my hair out, thinking, God, this isn't going to work. But it always came, and I was fully funded days before my trip. But this time around, for Romania, I'm finding it infinitely more difficult, for whatever reason. To contrast these two, I needed $6,000 for China. For this trip, I'm needing about $2,500. Big difference there.

This friend, Travis, likened my struggle to that of the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert. They had no water. They'd run out. And here they stood, shouting at God and Moses and each other and anybody else who'd sit still long enough to be yelled at. Crossing the Red Sea had been so easy! Had God brought them here just so he could starve them? Was this really His will--for them to wander in this forsaken wilderness and slowly get dried up to death?

Of course, we know how that ended: Moses struck the rock as God had told him, and water came out. Maybe God's simply making me wait for my rock. (I do wish he wouldn't, but if there's one thing I've learned about God, it's that he doesn't particularly care about my wants most of the time.)

- Kyla Denae

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

my life is ridiculous

But that's okay. Emma and I are trying to fundraise like crazy--which is a lot less fun than it sounds like. You see, I've been comfortably crazy for quite awhile, and getting even more so isn't quite pleasant. Other than that...does it make any sense at all that it's proving harder to raise $2,000 than it was to raise nearly $6,000? I mean, really? In what universe does this make logical sense?

In other news, I want a birthday cake like this:

Maybe for my eleventy-first birthday. Maybe I'll go to the Shire. And then I'll travel to the Grey Havens. And that'll be fun /nerdism

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, April 8, 2012

the power of the grave

In church this morning, our choir will have sung a beautiful song called "I Will Arise". It's one of my favorites (and I'm slowly getting over the fact that I'm sick today and so didn't get a chance to sing it one last time. Alas), mostly because the words are just so amazingly beautiful. And the music is good. And it's stirring and wonderful and I love singing it because it's in this really nice middle-range, and... okay, I'll shut up now.
I will arise
like the sun at dawn's first light
I will arise
You can bury me that day
Seal the tomb and turn away
but the power of the grave will be denied
I will arise
Sometimes, in the midst of typical American Christianity, we forget the truth of the resurrection. It becomes just another one of those holidays that we celebrate with special church services. We go to church, say "yay, Jesus" and then go home for food and naps and go on with our lives. And we miss that moment, that one little moment, of just standing in the presence of God and saying, "You're the most amazing thing existence can offer. Thank you."

We forget how amazing his promise and its fulfillment was. Can you imagine Jesus' disciples sitting on a hillside somewhere in Israel, being told by their beloved friend, leader, and teacher that he's going to die? And not only is he going to die, but then he's going to come alive again? Maybe the second part didn't make as much of an impact on them. He couldn't die--he was God! They believed this with every bit of themselves, or tried to say they did.

But then he did die. Jesus Christ, their friend, died. Jesus Christ, God of the universe, died. Petty concerns faded. All at once, they were faced with the indisputable truth that they were going to wrap him in burial clothes and stick him in a borrowed grave, roll a rock over the door, and go back to their mundane existences. They didn't want to let it go; they gathered in a rented room instead, clustered together and clinging to one another like the last refuge of sanity. Afraid that the Jews would come get them, too. Alone. Feeling like there was nothing in the world to cling onto. Perhaps praying within themselves, shouting at God and asking why he'd let them waste three years of their lives if he was just going to take it all away from them.

They'd forgotten. They'd forgotten the promise he'd made them. Either that, or they'd simply discarded it as idle fancy. God can't die, they might have thought. Jesus died, hence we must have been wrong. Perhaps some of them still clung to faith in the face of uncertainty, not willing to let go of the knowledge that somehow, some way, Jesus would make it right because that's what he always did.
Death will have no victory
the grave will have no sting
the promise of the living one
the whole world will see 
Four women picked their way through a dark garden. The sun hadn't yet risen; it was just the right hour for them to know that it was no longer the Sabbath. They were following God's law to the letter, still going through the motions of life while heading to say goodbye to the dead. Joseph of Arimathea had given his own tomb up for their friend, a fact they were thankful for. The thought of leaving their friend and son and brother to be married in an unmarked criminal's grave was too painful. At least, this way, they'd be able to say goodbye properly, like good Jewish women.

Perhaps the first thing they saw were the two guards, slumped over in the pathway. Perhaps not. Perhaps the guards had already woken and picked themselves up, running away in fear when they saw the open grave. Perhaps the gaping hole left by the stone's absence was the first thing they saw. Either way, their first thought was obviously not that Jesus had fulfilled his promise. It was that he had been stolen, that some thief had come and taken away his body. Only later would this first impression be corrected, when Jesus came to visit them in their hideaway, appearing out of nowhere.

And even today, two thousand years after four women first discovered an empty tomb and then saw their risen Messiah, we still remember that event. And whatever we call it--Easter or Resurrection Sunday or whatever--the whole world has indeed seen and will continue to see the promise of Christ and his redemption.

Happy Easter.

- Kyla Denae

i'm operating on a deadline here


Last night, my sister and I went out "canvassing" in a neighborhood a few miles from where we live. Basically, we went door-to-door and sweetly asked if our kind neighbors would be willing to help us fundraise for Romania. In fifteen minutes of walking and knocking, we came away with about $50, which was really good. Of course, most of it was on her side--she got over $40, while I was stuck with $10. Apparently my almost-adult face doesn't inspire as much confidence as her sweet little stuttering self.

Oh well.

Of course, I have a deadline. So does she, to be technical, but meh. We both must have over $1,000 in our accounts by this Friday. And, predictably, I am sick this Sunday. I got queasy last night, and almost got sick a few times. And it stuck around 'till this morning. Really?

God, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying to do something for you. I mean, what's the deal? You say I'm supposed to go to Romania, and then promptly make me sick almost non-stop from December to March before then making me sick on the last actual fundraising day I have before my deadline. Not to quibble with the creator of the universe or anything, but that seems kind of silly.

So whatever your plan is, I would greatly appreciate it if it went into effect soon. Y'know.

In other words, dear readers, I would greatly appreciate prayer. I'm trying to do more praying than worrying, and trusting God in all this, but...well, you know me.

- Kyla Denae

Friday, April 6, 2012

and then i wrote this thing



Her robe billowed around her, the morning wind catching it just right. The black fabric, patterned with the delicate gold embroidery that she knew had taken had so much labor, was heavy enough to swallow her. It weighed at her shoulders, the huge sleeves fluttering around her carefully manicured hands. She focused on this, watching the pleated hem of the garment flowing away to her feet in lieu of concentrating on anything else.

If she thought of anything else, she'd surely go mad.

Barefoot, garbed in the light, gossamer pink of the Virgin, the two young women flitted around her. One finished pinning the matching pink streamers to her belt, letting them fall to the ground after the robe, to be detached in just a few moments. The other, her sleeves puffier than her long hair, arranged the robe's hood.

A crown on her head.

Slippers on her feet.

This was actually happening to her. Her hands were taken and she was slowly led forward, step by step, across the lawn and through the belt of trees that hid the Virgins from the world outside. She was led to her future.


- Kyla Denae

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

so i got bored

And I decided I'd change my blog title. Once, this was "Teenage Musings". Now it's "enough"...at least for now. I might change it again. We'll see.

As to the significance of 'enough'--I was listening to "Your Grace Is Enough" by Chris Tomlin today, and I decided it is one of my favorite songs. And also, I love this verse, and the context around it, right now.
It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. - Matthew 10:25
So there's that. We will return to our regularly-scheduled program as soon as I actually get a real post written.

 - Kyla Denae

Saturday, March 31, 2012

send the morning breeze

I'm not a morning person. I'm really, spectacularly, unequivocally not a morning person. I'm so emphatically not a morning person that it's given rise to several family jokes about waking the "bear", mostly from my dad (yeah, thanks dad). The past few days, though, I've been finding myself waking a bit earlier than usual, just as the sun rises. We had daylight savings time, so that might have something to do with it. But, since I'm awake anyway, I've been heading out onto our back deck to do my devotions

And I have to say that I love it. There's something about the early morning that makes the world seem alive. It's just waking up from sleep--the first rays of the sun shining on the dew that's just fallen, a few sleepy birds twittering as they begin their day. Flowers are opening toward the sky, their scent seeming stronger because exhaust fumes haven't yet blown their way into my yard. It makes me realize why David wrote
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory... - Psalm 63:1, 2
For whatever reason, it's easier to focus on God in the half-chill of the morning. Maybe it's because our minds aren't already taken up by all the junk that clutters them in the course of a normal day. We can fully devote everything we are to that one moment, to that one place.

- Kyla Denae

Friday, March 30, 2012

a week of days

Sometimes I venture into the deep depths of my iPhone picture history. Since my camera is currently out of commission (my cord disappeared into some black hole and I've not yet been able to buy another), my iPhone has gathered quite a few pictures over the last few weeks.
Edward loves his daddy. And daddy loves his Edward. Edward also likes being able to see everything.




Nutella to go. Be jealous. Very, very jealous.


A family of pinecones we found while walking about downtown.



- Kyla Denae

Thursday, March 29, 2012

remind me why i'm reading this again?

I dislike not finishing books. In fact, I dislike it so much that I make a point of always finishing books--well, except this one book that had some... well, less-than-desirable content. And also Water Wars. Goodness gracious, that book was so dull.

Which, incidentally, leads me to what is possibly the only reason that I would ever not finish a book. I grew up with the classics. I have fond memories of learning to read curled up with Curious George and Beatrix Potter, then moving on to the original Winnie the Pooh books, The Boxcar Children, and the Swiss Family Robinson. The Little Princess, a hearty dose of Nancy Drew, and when I was ten, Moby Dick and many of Jules Verne's books; that's what I cut my literary teeth on.

So when I read a book, I expect to live up to those books in terms of their believability and characters. The Little Princess is a classic for a reason: it's well written and it also has some of the best characters. I still remember them, and periodically go back to the world of a dreaming Sara, a fascinated Rebecca, and the dastardly deeds of Miss Minchin. I've not picked up a Boxcar Children book in forever, but I lived those adventures, and those characters will always form part of what I think of when I hear the word "detective" (or train). Jules Verne will always be one of my favorite authors, mostly because he managed to create beautiful stories that were long enough for me to not just blow through them, but also because his characters and his fictional scenarios fit each other so well.

And then there are those...other books. The ones that have no character development and whose plot seems to be hanging on nothing but a thread of self-importance. The pacing is off, to the point where the reader alternately feels as if she is slogging through quicksand or being pushed through the pages by a bullet train. These are the books that we cringe through, hoping that somehow, it'll get better at the end (I also try to imagine myself writing something spectacularly wonderful and showing up the author. Or just banishing them for their crimes against literature, but that's another post entirely).

They are books that, rather than describing things, tell you in the most boring voice imaginable, exactly what happened and when and where and what the character's hair and nails and teeth looked like when it happened because we all care a lot about how our Elf princess looked when she killed that fellow. Within these books seem to be the most amazing things possible--a person jumping around a circle of men killing them with nothing but her knees as she jumps from shoulder-to-shoulder, or the established rules of vampire lore suddenly coming undone...even within the book's own universe, or there suddenly being a bomb wielded by terrorists who had never been heard of before, but it's okay, because the book is only fifty pages long so far.

(In case you're wondering, I'm totally going to point fingers and name names. I just talked about the Inheritance Cycle, Twilight, and Water Wars respectively. Though the second is kind of a stretch. Stephenie Meyer tries, at least.)

So, dear future authors and current authors and authors that have been, 
Just remember that listing things is not an acceptable replacement for actual description that brings your characters and your world to life. Making a long list about all the things that would logically mean your five-foot-tall herbalist would lose against your six-foot-tall trained warrior, is not the same as describing to us the things that make it so...especially not when you've just done that. In that vein, repetition doesn't mean I'll get your point better, or suddenly realize that your characters are, indeed, traveling across a desert where there is no water and hasn't been water for the past century. Pointless repetition just makes me want to put your book down. Nor will repetition of the same words make me see your political point. It's already been drummed into my head during the first 800 pages; I don't need 80 more that are nothing but a radio speech to make me realize that you're trying to make a point. 
Also, please kindly remember that gory wounds are not the time nor place to make up for your lack of description elsewhere. No matter what you may think, they will not make your battle scenes any more gripping, nor will they make your whiny characters any more lovable. Gory wounds that are described in stomach-turning detail just make me want to put your book up and go read something less nauseating. If I wanted to read about that, I would have picked up an anatomy text book. 
In closing, dear author,  I would greatly appreciate it if you would get to the point instead of leading me on a wild-goose-chase for some semblance of a plot. 
With much love,
- Kyla Denae