Compassion

me meme1

It’s true, you know.

Compassion is a beautiful thing.

Don’t just sympathize. Do something to help someone in need. This is good advice for me, too. With Christmas coming up and the idea of St. Nicholas (giving to those in need with a gracious heart), I think it’s appropriate to share some ideas for ways we can easily help others in need.

CURE International

As Our Own

Heifer International

Compassion International

Union Gospel Mission

Immanuel’s Child

With a grateful heart, when we know we do not deserve what we have, we can receive joy in the giving!

 

Full Body Silhouette

After the last one, it was suggested I do a full body instead of just the head (a bust).  Well, here’s what I got.

All artwork in this picture is mine.

All artwork in this picture is mine.

bodytree1

Sneak Peek?

I’ve been working on cover art instead of finishing my edit…not sure why, but it’s been enjoyable all the same.

Here’s a sneak peek at part of the latest idea.

Would love your comments and feedback!

The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey

The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey

Second-Sight

The future we see through broken and twisted spectacles
There is not sure sight to know the path
We trip along, hoping to grasp a rail
When in fact, none is to be had
Not with our hands, at least
Only our hearts can lead
For our hearts see what 
Eyes cannot see
Feel what hands do not feel
Touch what bone cannot touch
Deeper is marrow than that of bone
The core of one life is beyond imagining
When hearts reach out to search the blindness
Our hearts can go to places our bodies are unwilling
In the heart lies the soul of a man and desire to love is there

Just a quick poem I wrote for a friend…kinda-sorta.

Q&A #5: from Author Tracy Lawson

question of the day 5

This lovely lady, author Tracy Lawson, was kind enough to leave me a question!

Tracy Lawson speaking to an English and Publishing class at Princeton High School.

Tracy Lawson speaking to an English and Publishing class at Princeton High School.

Her second book, Counteract, is the first in a series. It was published recently and she’s doing an amazing job of marketing, but I can see it is a lot of work!  She’s working on the third book right now. The second book is in the pre-publishing stages of editing and all that jazz.

Tracy’s question for me is

How did you create the protagonist in your current WIP?

I have to laugh because this is one of those questions that makes me nervous. HAHA Why would it make me nervous? Well, the answer is that I have to divulge information about myself when I answer her question.

See, writing was not something I could just do without having really had a place to start from…a personal, almost secret place in my heart. I wanted to write for a long time but didn’t know what to write about. I couldn’t get past the fear of not knowing enough. I still struggle with fear. Some of that fear is of rejection and ridicule.

I’d like to answer her question, though.  It should be something simple! Tracy’s question isn’t meant to make me uncomfortable or fearful. Maybe answering it will help me be less so? Maybe answering it will help other writers have new(old & already done through the ages) ideas of where they can pull characters from within themselves?

Maybe I’m just complicating things! :) That sounds more like me. So, without further ado, I will introduce you to my protagonist and how I created her.

Meet Caityn.

Caityn, Princess of Taisce - betrothed to Theiandar, High Prince of the Twelve Realms

Caityn, Princess of Taisce – betrothed to Theiandar, High Prince of the Twelve Realms

Caityn is a central character to my story. While it is certainly about her, she is not the only important one. Caityn, though, is who I found in myself last year. I found her and brought her into this Work In Progress (WIP) because of my own struggles. I felt lost within myself and as though all my emotions were misplaced. I didn’t feel like I loved the way I should or that I cared for anyone beyond myself. That sounds dramatic, I know, but I felt empty. I had no good reason for it.

I was finally talking to God on our way to church one morning, pouring out my fear at who I was becoming. With my eyes fully open, I watched the rolling hills, cliffs, river, houses, dilapidated buildings, bridges, and trains all zoom by. But, it was in that small window of time while I prayed with my eyes open but not seeing where something was woken inside my mind.

This princess, this beautiful daughter of the king, who was loved and cherished was not safe in the world any more than anyone else. She was just as vulnerable to attack against her heart.

How did I create her? Well, I guess maybe I didn’t, but she was born from inside me. There was a truth that was hidden deep. That Sunday morning reminded me of it. I, like Caityn, am a beautiful daughter of the King. In his love for me, he has risked everything to save me and bring me safely home. I want to share the hope that comes from the truth of knowing you are loved and the joy that comes from loving in return.

 

Thanks, Tracy!

As much as I am embarrassed to share, I still love to do it!


Do you struggle with finding hope, joy, and peace? I think we all do, but I’m so thankful for the love of God.  His love gives me a place of solace and a well that never runs dry.  I can go to him and he is faithful to fill me up to overflowing.

 

Tell me, my authoring friends, how did you create your protagonist(s)?

 

Why Did I Choose Fantasy?

I talk to people in person about my writing almost every week now. EVERY time someone asks me about my book it usually goes something like this:


Person: “Rachael, I saw on Facebook [I heard] you are writing a book. What’s it about?”

Me: (Starts to sweat. Thinks, how do I explain this in simple and interesting terms?!) “Oh, you know . . .” (more sweat, less eye contact) “Well, it’s about this princess – oh, and a prince. And, they, um, they are about to be married when the princess’ beauty is stolen. But, not just her outer beauty . . . her inner beauty, too.  Her love. She is ugly and not nice.” (Thinks to self that I sound ridiculous) “They have to go on a quest to get her beauty . . . her love back.”Um me

Person: (stares without immediate response) “That sounds interesting.” (some people are actually more expressive and say things like, “That’s great. I look forward to reading it.” That sort of thing. Very polite.) “What made you decide to write a book?”

Me: (feeling awkward and tongue tied. Still can’t make solid eye-contact) That’s a nice plant. The floor pattern is geometric. Come on! Focus! “I, um, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but this story just kind of hit me last December, early January, and I had to write it.”

Person:  “Wow. Well, good luck!”

 


This is only one variation of the conversation I end up having, but the point is that people are so kind to me, and I end up feeling like I look like an idiot, who can’t make eye contact, with a lame story.

Writer friends- I’ve written out a couple different synopses-type explanations, but how on earth can I get over this nonsense? I know it’s not far from the mark that I am an idiot (I’m willing to admit this because I’ve proved it on too many occasions), but I don’t think my story is lame. I freak out every time I try to describe it to someone without telling them the whole story. I get nervous and it’s like I can’t find the right words to describe anything, let alone a story that has been poured out of me.

This brings me to the question of the blog post. Why did I choose to write this story as fantasy fiction? Here’s the thing, my story, if it weren’t what it is, could have been set in a completely real and natural-laws based part of the world. Except, it can’t be. “What?” you say.

The subject matter than I deal with in my book is not something physical, and in order to tell my story, I needed a little magic.  Some may argue that magic truly exists. I think there is a spiritual world hidden all around us, but I wouldn’t say it exists as we think of magic. Magic is a tricky thing to deal with and one that I have struggled with endorsing at the adult level. I am never sure how I feel about encouraging the belief in such a thing, but when it comes to telling a story about things that have spiritual and soulful applications, it makes the telling more simple and comprehensible.

image from picsmobi.net

image from picsmobi.net

Fantasy is a good home for telling stories that dive into our inner-selves, past the physical interactions of people to the deepest recesses of our hearts. My book is such a story. In fantasy writing, I can make the world whatever I want, however I want. I can build upon the essential things the story needs to tell about without being limited by the “real” world.

I can take from the “real” world those things that help us stay connected to the story, but I can add things “unreal” to the story to cause a physical representation of the souls of mankind. It can give good and evil an actual face. I can use fantasy to portray love in a way that wakes our imaginations to see the width and depth of real love.

In fantasy, I can show you what I mean when I say that a heart without love or hope is an empty life. Without a little magic to help me, I don’t know how else to show you this kind of emptiness in a very physical way. So, that is why I chose to make my story fantasy and that is why magic is present in this made-up world. I want to show you this real-world truth with pictures instead of just words . . . fantasy has taken the words and painted a picture for us to see . . . a fantastical parable.

 

My friend, what are you thoughts on fantasy and magic?  Please share!

Q&A #4: from the Veronese Dragon

question of the day 3

 

Victor B. over at The Veronese Dragon decided to ask the hard questions in life!

Well, I’ll give it a go!  :)

Victor asked,

What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything? :-)

On that note, what is your personal meaning of life, and success, and happiness?

 

The answer to the ultimate question of life – everything – is obviously pie. Yes, I spelled that correctly. P-I-E. Huckleberry pie to be more specific.

Only kidding! I don’t know the answer to the ultimate question, because I don’t know the actual question. The second question, I can definitely answer, though.

“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 You might be saying, “Huh?” What does that have to do with anything?” Well, for my part, it is everything. Apart from the grace of God, my life would be without meaning. Success would become purely selfish-gain, and happiness would be measured by the “next big thing.”

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not perfect. I can be uber-selfish and strive to please myself above anyone else. I can have temporary success in my pursuits and even find happiness for a time.  The problem is – it’s temporary.

The only thing that brings me constant meaning in my life, the kind that satisfies to the core, is walking in a close relationship with the God who created me. I’m designed and made for that specific purpose, and it’s because of  the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that I have a constant source of hope. Knowing him, following in faith, meditating on God’s Word, and looking to please him bring me deep meaning which leads to peace, joy, gratitude, humbleness, faith, love, compassion, empathy, and even success.

 

 

“Philosophers can debate the meaning of life, but you need a Lord who can declare the meaning of life.” 
 
Max Lucado,

“I do not live when I loose belief in the existence of God. I should long ago have killed myself had I not had a dim hope of finding Him. I live really live only when I feel him and seek Him”

Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

 

Thanks for the question, Victor.

I appreciate how I really have to think about these questions.

In giving honest answers, I have to step out of my comfort zone.

I’m grateful to you for taking the time to read along with me.  I know I’m random, but I hope it only helps you appreciate your own quirks.

Embrace who you are! You are made beautiful.


F. Scott Fitzgerald Gets It…Do you?

find this one on pinterest

found this one on Pinterest

Thursday Humor-The Wife Song. Good advice.

Rachael:

Okay all, we need a little stop for some humor, so I’m re-blogging this fun video from my bloggy-friend, Ronovan, today. Take a moment to smile! :)

Originally posted on ronovanwrites:

View original

Q&A #3: from Hugh’s Views and News

Question of the day 2

Hugh,

from Hugh’s Views and News,

asked a good question for which I hope I have a worthy answer.

Hugh is curious-

he wants to know what my advice would be to anyone wanting to start a blog.

Hugh already has a great blog.  He really doesn’t need my advice, seeing as how I’ve got an okay blog. :)  I think great outstrips okay any day, but hey!  Who’s judging?! (everyone, but that’s beside the point. haha)

I’ve been given advice about my blog. Of course, I didn’t get any of that advice until after I started one. Well, no, I take that back.  I think the first piece of advice I got about blogging was from some friends and family on my Facebook page. They noticed me writing long “notes” on my timeline.  They said, “Why don’t you start a blog?” I’m not sure if they thought I had a talent for it or if they wanted me to blog so they wouldn’t have my notes pop up on their news-feeds….I get the last laugh, though, because I always post a link to my blog. It likely shows up on some new-feeds. HA!  Just kidding.  I love my people and they tolerate me.  It’s a relationship I can work with. ;)

Here’s my advice

ONE: Either have a theme or don’t.

People seem to go either way on this and I think both ways work as long as the people visiting your blog know what to expect. There are millions of topics available, so make your voice heard. Be as random as your want or as specific as you desire.

TWO: Be Y-O-U.

Just be yourself.  Don’t try to be or do something that isn’t you.  People can tell, even in writing.

THREE: Try to be consistent. 

I struggle with this, but wish that from the beginning of my blog I’d set a schedule for when I would post.  It can be anything really. Suggestions would be once a week, once a month, every day, every other day, Mon-Wed-Fri, or something that fits your lifestyle and your topics.  It helps people who follow your blog to know when they can expect a post from you.

FOUR: Don’t let other people’s blogs dictate what you write.

Your blog is yours, not someone else’s.  Besides, who’s to say that your blog and what you write about won’t matter to someone, help, or encourage someone?  Your voice is important and you can make a difference.

FIVE:  Blogging is a community.

Check out other blogs. Get to know your fellow contributors. Leave worthwhile comments, not just links to your own blog.  Being active in any community is a small part of what makes it a better place.

SIX: Choose a “WP Theme” for your blog.

But, if it’s not working for you, don’t be afraid to switch.  Just try to stick to a similar format, though, so that people don’t have to try to relearn how to navigate your pages. (9/30/14- check out: RonovanWrites. He has some great advice for extra customization, too.)

SEVEN:  Use photos and memes.

I’ve been told this is important on more than one occasion, but sometimes it can become overcrowded or distracting, so don’t go overboard! Make sure you keep them as closely related to your post topic as possible. This is a skill I have not mastered! ;)

EIGHT: Don’t be afraid of HTML.

It can be a little tricky, but there are thousands of websites out there that have lots of HTML code available.  They spell out exactly how to use it. So, when you are comfortable with your blogging skills, try switching to “Text” mode after you’ve typed up a post and add some extra HTML fanciness…like font size, color, style, etc. :)

That’s probably enough advice from this girl!  Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog.  Thanks again, Hugh, for the question!

Before you go,

What questions do you have about starting your own blog?

&/OR

What advice would you offer to our friends who’d like to start a blog, but might be overwhelmed with the prospect?

I’d love to see your questions and answers below! OR, even better,  if you’ve already got a blog, write a post highlighting your advice for starting a blog. THEN- please post a link in the comments on this page so that anyone visiting can find more great advice! :)

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