Friday, June 27, 2014


   When one writes a blog for a year, it is inevitable to come to a point in which no ideas present themselves. Interestingly, I haven't had that problem recently. Maybe it's because I've actually been writing a lot more and thinking more. Whatever the reason, I recently came up with the idea to write a blog post on words.
   Last week I talked about how I went to a conference. It was an interesting experience, mostly because the only conferences I have been on before in my life have been retreats with my church's youth group. I have spent most of my life around Christians, and, being homeschooled, I've never encountered many other teenagers. This made the conference of high schoolers all the more of a shock to me. Why? Because not everyone talks like a grandmother.
   This is probably not a surprise to anyone that has had any experience out of the 'holy huddle' (church culture). It was not that I was ignorant of profanity (I've watched television), but having people the same age as me use culturally frowned upon language without a second thought was kind of equally horrifying and fascinating. It made me seriously consider how I use my words.
   For example: is saying a bad word after I smash my finger with a hammer really that much different than saying a word like "Rats!" in an identical situation? Isn't the heart issue the same? If I speak a 'clean' word profanely, is it not the same as if I had swore? Surely to say God's name is not evil, but to say God's name in vain is an abuse of that word. If I substitute 'sugar' in for a swear word, is that not taking 'sugar' out of context as much as the swear word?
   There lies the truly interesting conclusion: if a word is only to be frowned upon when used in a profane or harmful way, can 'swear' words be used in a nonprofane way? Is it profane to use a culturally frowned upon word for poop? If that is profane, then why is poop not viewed in the same light? And if I call someone a poophead, is that not the same as swearing at someone? If I mean the same thing, does the term I use really make that much difference?
   Regardless of the logical issues or how it should be, it must be admitted that some words are looked at differently than others. Some people will view something differently depending on the word used. And people make judgments based on the words we use. Therefore, how can we use our words to build others up? How can we use words to tell about beauty, even if there is darkness surrounding it? How can our words affect those around us?

What do you think? Can words be used well? Does the heart behind the words cause words to be good or evil? Or are some words inherently profane? 

Book update! I received the proof for Trapped and have finished the final edits! The second book in the Kitten Mysteries series should be published by July 1st at the latest!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


   Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to a conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The goal of the conference was to teach us (the attendees) how the Farm Bureau worked and how it interacted with the state government. All the kids were split into different groups based on interests (dairy, beef, swine, or equine) and then those groups sent several members into the conference 'House of Representatives'. This house was supposed to act as the embodiment of the PA House of Representatives and I was chosen to be one of those representatives. It was a fascinating experience simply by being able to experience how government worked and how bills are passed. It also showed me how government can help or harm its people. However, neither of those thing were at the front of my mind; instead, I was most focusing on how and if my faith should be involved with my choices.
   Some people might read that last sentence and be confused. "Of course your faith should affect how you live," they might say, "otherwise you don't really believe it." On that point I would agree. However, I come from a denomination that believes strongly in separation of church and state, because whenever the state mixes with the church things tend to get ugly. On that point I also strongly agree. Thirdly, when writing bills that affect those of different faiths, it is crucial from a political viewpoint to keep religion out of the mindset so that all can have free rights to practice their religion (unless it harms another person).
   Thus, I was faced with a dilemma: Do I allow my faith to dictate the ethics I use to write the bills? or Do I set my faith's ethics aside in order to make a choice which is best for the state?
   Something that I found most fascinating was what happened at the beginning of every session: there was the Pledge of Allegiance and an Invocation. Because of aforementioned separation of church and state beliefs, this prayer at the beginning of every session made me slightly uncomfortable. Prayer that God will direct our leaders is all well and good, but should the leader's be asking God's blessing if they are not willing to follow his will? And should a country follow God's will, would that country still be able to survive? And should following God be the wrong choice for a nation, would it be sound for the nation's leaders to follow the ethics of God?
   The other thing done at the start of the session, as stated above, was the Pledge of Allegiance. This action also has theological implications. Christians are called to serve God above the state. We are to respect the state and honor its leaders, but not to be loyal to it above all others. As such, is it blasphemy to pledge allegiance to the state? Are not Christians born into the Kingdom of God, which is a kingdom separate from the kingdoms of this world?
   I could go on, but I'm pretty sure you either understand my dilemma or are bored of my asking questions which you find pointless. Thus, I shall end by stating how I solved my dilemma: I performed my duties as a member of the House. I did that which was best for the state, and left my theological ethics for personal matters, embracing a different set of ethics for the bills I proposed. How did I reconcile this? Well, it's all basically a big game and I wasn't truly enacting any laws. Had this been real politics, my decisions would have been majorly different or, at least, I would have spent a lot more time deliberating over the decision.

What do you think of my dilemma? Can you see my struggle or do you think I was over complicating the situation? Leave a comment below and thank you very much for reading.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cover Reveal

   I was going to come up with something clever and original for the title, but I figured a direct and to the point title was probably just as profitable. Though, technically, I'm not gaining any profit from this release, so I suppose a different description would be more apt. Relevant or not, I figure I should stop talking about nothing and reveal that which I speak of in the title.
   Voila! The cover for Trapped:

   Isn't it beautiful? Much thanks to Anthony Rice for crafting the amazing cover. I'm actually starting to get excited about publishing this book (other than the feeling of get-this-over-with I've had for a while). I'm hoping to have it published by the end of June, July 1st at the latest.

   What do you think of the cover? How's it look? Leave a comment below!

Friday, June 6, 2014


   I hate writing. Writing is something that I have to force myself to do. I don't like it, it's difficult to actually write something good, and I can never actually polish something good enough to like.
   As I've been finishing up Trapped, this has been something I've really been thinking about. I've wondered whether I should even continue writing. Should I keep at something I don't enjoy? Sure, just because you don't enjoy a job doesn't mean it isn't necessary. However, I'm not really making much money off this endeavor and I could be making more money at something I dislike less (or more). So what really is the point of this? Is joy a necessity for all actions?
   As I've been thinking over this, I thought about the Fruit of the Spirit (found in the book of Galatians) and, after reading over this, I started wondering if I've been thinking about this all wrong. See, in our society we use the word "love" to cover an emotional/chemical reaction. This has set my thinking to consider joy in the same way. It thought joy equaled happiness, and I've never been a real happy-go-lucky type of guy. I'm more of the serious guy sitting in the corner who doesn't smile much, but doesn't frown a lot either. But I've never considered that to be embracing joy.
   However, as I've studied and learned, I have come to realize that the word love is not used in the Bible to refer to a chemical reaction, but rather to a conscious choice. In fact, in order for the Fruit of the Spirit to be something which is possible to actually embrace, they must be choices, not emotions. It is not possible (without drugs) to feel the same way all the time. Happiness is an emotion, something which is a chemical response to good things that happen to us. In the same way, sadness is a result of a chemical process which is a response to something bad happening. We cannot always feel sad or happy regardless of our circumstances. We can choose to feel such ways, but it is near impossible to continually disregard our circumstances to embrace an emotion. Thus, just as love is a choice to do that which is good for those around us, joy must also be a choice.
   And if joy is a choice, then surely hate is a choice as well. Therefore, even if I feel angry or frustrated about my writing, I am not really hating it uncontrollably. Hate must be a choice that I make. And if I am choosing to hate my work, then there is still the potential for me to enjoy it.

Have you ever thought of this before? Have you chosen to enjoy something regardless of how your emotions react?