Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Top Ten Villains Tag

Rebekah from Rebekah's Remarks tagged me awhile back and it's time I catch up on the numerous tags I've been nominated for. So, who do I think of as the top ten villains in fiction? I know I'm going to miss several, but here goes.

  1. I was going to start off with Satan although I know that he has already been done by several people, but I don't know how you can do this post and NOT say Satan. He is the ultimate villain. The real-life villain. The threat to all us Christians. However, because villains are supposed to be fictional, I chose Nicolae Carpathia, the Anti-Christ from the Left Behind series. Yes, I know that the Anti-Christ will be real, but Carpathia isn't and is quite the villain.
  2. Captain Mortimer. He's the other one I can't help but say. You are probably wondering who this guy is, and in answer: he is the villain of my story, A Pirate's Tale. I haven't written too much with him yet, but I have every hope that he will turn out to be a super villain, one worthy of this post. :-)
  3. Again, I know that this character has already been mentioned, but I had to choose one from Star Wars, and the biggest villain there is Darth Sidious. He is so evil. A "wonderful" example of a villain—cunning, cruel, heartless.
  4. Agh, I feel like I am copying Rebekah's post because she mentioned this one too but I cannot leave this villain out of my post. The White Witch from Narnia is basically a representation of Satan. She is developed in both the books and movies as a cold-hearted (she does have a heart, but not much of one) and wicked enemy of the protagonist and Aslan. The stark contrast between Aslan and the White Witch makes her evilness stand out dramatically.
  5. King Respen and the Blades from the series by Tricia Minkerink, The Blades of Acktar. This series is so good, by the way. The Blades are trained killers for the king. Need I say more? They don't question orders and don't hesitate to spill blood.
  6. The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz is quite the "bad guy." Isn't her cackle so creepy?
  7. Don't laugh: Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmations. I mean, killing poor, innocent puppies for their fur? I think she traumatized me when I was little. :)
  8. The Pale Orc from the movie The Hobbit. He seeks only to kill, steal, and destroy. Sound like someone else who was at the top of this list?
  9. Arnold Ernst Toht from the first Indiana Jones movies is another villain high on my list. He stalks the good guys and only wants the treasure.
  10. Merek from The Silent Blade. If the definition of a villain is evil, seeking to kill the protagonists, and wanting to inflict maximum harm wherever he goes, Merek fulfills all three requirements and more.
  11. Yes, I'm going to cheat and add an eleventh villain. Zirtan from the Makilien Trilogy is a well-done villain. Evil describes him well.
  12. And . . .  a twelfth. Captain Francis Kelly from The Pirate Daughter's Promise is a ruthless, cruel, and greedy pirate. Another excellent example of a villain.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my choices of top villains. Do you agree with any of these? Thanks for reading, and thank you, Rebekah for tagging me! My family had fun coming up with some of these!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Recommendation: Blessed Child

Several weeks ago, I told you that I read Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright (both excellent authors!) as one of ten books read in March. It was recommended to me by both my parents as possibly one of the best books they had ever read. That was enough recommendation for me. Within a few days, I'd started reading it and was captivated. The above link takes you to one of several locations on Amazon where you can buy it. It is the first of two books. I have not yet read the second book (A Man Called Blessed) but I hope to very soon.

The plot of Blessed Child follows an orphan boy who was raised in an Ethiopian monastery his whole life. He had never been outside it except for when he was a very young baby but he is forced to flee the monastery when enemies boldly attack. Relief expert Jason Marker and French Canadian nurse Leiah help him escape but don't realize Caleb's special power until later. As the world falls in love with Caleb, his enemies have to stop him before he destroys them entirely.

This story is amazing. In my book, this deserves the highest possible rating.

As I previously mentioned, the plot intrigued me to no end. At the same time that I was at the edge of my seat, I wanted to cry. Caleb's personality is so . . . innocent. It actually made me examine all the things that I might watch, read, or say that I don't think anything about. It amazed me how much of this is not necessarily bad, but it certainly is not innocent. It also made me look at my faith and compare it to this amazing boy's.

It challenged me at the same time that it thrilled me. The characters are well developed and the plot was fabulous. I would HIGHLY recommend it! You must read this. I know that you will thoroughly enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Wonders of Spring

You won't believe what my sister and I just found. We were collecting leaves for my Biology Class and happened to see a cracked open egg on the ground and a whole egg beside it. Of course, we set out to find the nest and when we did . . . let's just say I've never see anything like this before!

Opening the bush...
A peek inside the nest...

Where's Mama?
Mom watching close by
 Aren't these two little guys adorable? Watching them cry for "Mom" was so touching. I can't even really explain it. :) It was like a miracle.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Coming Soon . . .

A few minutes ago, I went outside to do some writing, but ended up taking a few pictures instead. Isn't this frog cool? He was probably about the size of the palm of my hand. I tried to catch him but failed. :( I tried though!
Many of you expressed an interest in reading character bios for A Pirate's Tale, so I will get started on those. Thank you all so much for showing me your interest! I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

Also coming up are a few tags that I have been nominated for over the past weeks. I also would enjoy posting on the history of the English Bible if that would interest you. I recently studied it so my head is full of information. :)

And finally, Katie Grace is holding a giveaway on her blog for an informative book on writing from Go Teen Writers. There are only three days left to enter so hurry on over! (While you're over there, you should really subscribe. Her blog is wonderful!)

Friday, April 15, 2016

My WIP: A Pirate's Tale

This month, I will refrain from hosting another writing challenge as many of my readers are busy participating in Camp NaNo, and several of my other friends are hosting a month-long contest. Instead, I think it is time that I share with you my most recent work in progress. (I prefer to call it my "writing in progress".) I have dubbed it A Pirate's Tale, but the title may change as the story grows into a novel. Here is a short summary I have written to give you an idea about it.

Samantha Mayer thinks that she is finally about to get married to Neil Hinds and begin a life on her own, but when she starts to be followed by mysterious men and is threatened, her dreams for the future run the risk of being destroyed. When Neil's past is revealed, Samantha must decide whether she can love him for who he is, not who he was. With continuing threats on the lives of her family and herself, Samantha faces the biggest choice of her life. Are her dreams worth the safety of her loved ones? When everything goes wrong, will Neil be able to rescue his reputation—and his dame—at the risk of his own life while he battles against old temptations and painful memories? They both must make life-changing decisions to trust God's protective hand in their time of greatest peril.

Now, let me assure you that the entire story is NOT a romance. That's not my style. Rather, it is a tale of adventure, danger, lost treasure, and pirates with the aspect of a threatened future. Let me give you a general overview.

Setting: Barbados, 1715
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: April 4, 2016
Length to date: approximately 9,400 words
Target Length: 75,000-100,000 words

As time goes on, I would be more than happy to do character bios if you would enjoy that. Thank you for sharing in my eagerness of this venture!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why can Christians believe in the Resurrection? Part 3

So far in this series I have discussed two ways that people attempt to say that the Resurrection never happened. I talked about how some think that Jesus only swooned and how others believe that the disciples stole Jesus' body. Today I want to talk about a huge reason that further disproves the idea that the disciples stole Christ's body.

If Jesus never resurrected, then what about everyone who saw him after his death? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after his resurrection at the same time—"most of whom are still alive." In the last post, I said that these people would not "lie" about seeing Jesus. Non-believers would agree. Instead, they say that all these people hallucinated. In addition, Jesus also appeared to many other people over the course of the 40 days after his resurrection until his ascension. A significant amount of these were individuals or small groups.

Think about what these people are saying. Five hundred people hallucinated and saw the exact same person. (Not to mention the many small groups and individuals who saw him.) First, five hundred people would not all hallucinate at the same exact moment. Second, even if they all did hallucinate, they would not all see the same things. Third, even if all hallucinated and saw the same things, the hallucination would not last for as long as Jesus was with them. As for the individuals and small groups, why would that many people all have the same hallucination with slight variations?

If all these people didn't hallucinate, or lie about seeing Jesus, then what other options are there? Only one. They did see Jesus. They saw him after his death, and after his resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead and lives today. He lives in you and me. He is risen! Praise God!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why can Christians believe in the Resurrection? Part 2

In yesterday's post, I covered the impossibility that Jesus had only passed out, not died. Today, I will explain why it was not possible for Jesus' disciples to steal his body from the tomb and then claim that he rose from the dead.

The Roman soldiers were placed to guard the tomb for this very reason. They wanted to stop the idea that Jesus was God's Son, not enable the disciples to steal the body and promote the idea that He resurrected. These soldiers were armed, highly trained men. The disciples could not have simply scared off the guards or fought them.

Paul recorded that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after his resurrection—"most of whom are still alive." (1 Corinthians 15:6) In other words, "Go ahead and ask all these people! They DID see Jesus after he died." Five hundred people would not lie about seeing Jesus. They did see him after he rose from the dead.

Perhaps the largest proof that Jesus rose from the dead is the mere fact that nearly all of the disciples died martyr deaths. If by some chance they were able to steal Jesus' body, when faced with recanting their beliefs and saying that Jesus did NOT rise from the dead or death, would they continue with their ruse even though they knew that Jesus never rose? Or would they recant and explain that they stole his body and live? Even if one of the disciples did choose to die for the sake of their lie, eleven others would not do the same. Who would die for a lie?

After reading this, I pray that you can understand and explain why this theory that the disciples stole Christ's body from the tomb and then claimed that he rose is ludicrous. He is risen! (He is risen INDEED!) Tomorrow is the final post in this "trilogy" that discusses in greater depth the five hundred who saw Jesus after he rose.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why can Christians believe in the Resurrection? Part 1

As Christians, why can we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? When a non-believer comes up to us and gives us a reason that we cannot believe in the Resurrection, what will we say to them? Non-Christians often try to come up with any reason—logical or not—to get out of believing in the Bible. One of the theories says that Jesus did not rise from the dead but that he only swooned—passed out—on the cross and never actually died. Not only does this theory sound ridiculous, but it is impossible based on facts.

For one, when the Roman soldiers stuck a spear into Jesus' side when he hung on the cross, they punctured his heart. We know this is fact because it is recorded that blood, and water, flowed out of the wound. (John 19:34) It was not discovered until some time after Jesus' resurrection that water does indeed surround the heart. In the days of Jesus, this bit of anatomy was entirely unknown, and there would be no reason for John to lie about water coming out of the wound if  he did not even know about water surrounding the heart. Therefore, both blood and water came out of the hole in Jesus' side, indicating that his heart was punctured. He had died.

In addition, the Bible says that Jesus had been beaten beyond recognition as a man. (Isaiah 52:14) A man from the gawking crowd had to carry his cross for him because he was so weak. If this was the case, how would Jesus who would then be nailed hands and feet to a wooden beam, and hand for three hours with a crown of thorns thrust into his skin, suddenly become strong enough without food, water, or medical attention to "wake up" in three days and roll aside the massive stone put over the entrance to the tomb and walk out. He would not be able to walk, much less unwrap himself from the burial cloths, move the stone, AND scare the guards so badly that they fled on likely penalty of death! It is impossible. He had died.

I hope that you can see and understand a little bit better why this idea is impossible. Jesus died. There is no other option. He died and remained in the tomb. On the third day he rose from the dead with the power given to him by his Father. Angels rolled away the stone. Jesus died and defeated the power of death. He is risen, hallelujah!

I hope that you feel a little better equipped to explain why it is impossible that Jesus only passed out. Coming tomorrow is another post refuting a second theory about Jesus' resurrection.

Friday, April 1, 2016

March Highlights // An Invitation!

Hello, Faithful Followers! It's time for me to catch you up on what's been going on in my March, why I've been so absent lately, and finally, an invitation to read a book together! Guess I'd better get started . . .

My family kicked off the month with a much-needed burn day to clear out all our fallen tree branches and pruning work. The day was a lot of fun and the whole family enjoyed our traditional relaxing into the night by the dying embers once all the work was done. I also enjoyed taking numerous pictures!

On the sixth of March, we packed up the car and went to church. Afterward, we drove to my grandparents' house and celebrated my grandma's birthday with them. Again, I took lots of pictures. :D From there, we traveled back to Shaver Lake for some more snow time. We took a downhill skiing lesson for the first time! At first, I was pretty apprehensive, but I soon found that I loved downhill skiing! (Even though I didn't get to try out the bigger slopes. :( ) However, the only two downsides to that day were that the whole family (mostly myself) had gotten NASTY sunburns. We had everyone calling us “racoon eyes.” *sigh. Anyways, the second downside that actually was a tad funny was that we thought we lost our cell phone, so my dad drove all the way back to the snow park, and after he got back . . . we found it. Lol. The next day we went cross-country skiing and then played in the snow with a few friends who had gone there at the same time as us. By the end of this trip, everyone was so sore and tired. On the day we drove home, it snowed as we were leaving. It was beautiful but I wasn't able to get any good pictures. :(
At the ski resort.
The following Friday my sister and I had to give presentations for our homeschool group. Mine was about the Captain Shackleton expedition that I wrote the journal entries about. I got nervous and didn't do too well so, I'll not elaborate on this night except by saying that I did have fun hanging out with the younger kids in our homeschool group. :)

The good thing about that Friday night, was that it marked the beginning of our Easter vacation! Yeah! We got a two-week break and much of it was spent cleaning our garage and classroom, painting the classroom, and building it into my Dad's future office. This summer, we plan on moving rooms around so that my sister and I finally get out own rooms!!! I can't wait! We did take a break from all the work for the Saturday before Easter (where we celebrated with dear friends), Easter Sunday, and my sister's birthday. Then, my grandma came to help us finish converting the classroom. So that is the reason for my recent absence from my blog. This project has taken all my energy!

You may be wondering if, with everything going on, I managed to read my ten books. The answer is yes, but barely. I literally had to read the last two books plus about a hundred pages between yesterday and today. But I made it! Every book was great and my total pages ended up as 2,047! Here is the complete list.

  1. Silas Marner, George Eliot (202 pages)
  2. Golden Filly: Go for the Glory, Lauraine Snelling (126 pages)
  3. Golden Filly: Kentucky Dreamer, Lauraine Snelling (130 pages)
  4. Golden Filly: Call for Courage, Lauraine Snelling (122 pages)
  5. Dear Enemy, Jack Cavanaugh (288 pages)
  6. The Kingdom Series: Kingdom's Dawn, Chuck Black (145 pages)
  7. Blessed Child, Ted Dekker and Bill Bright (349 pages)
  8. Left Behind: Desecration, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (405 pages)
  9. The Kingdom Series: Kingdom's Hope, Chuck Black (138 pages)
  10. Adventures of the Northwoods: The Hidden Message, Lois Walfrid Johnson (142 pages)

As I previously mentioned, I enjoyed reading all these books. Dear Enemy was very fun to read, but Blessed Child was amazing! I plan to read the sequel in April. Speaking of books I plan to read in April, I would like to read The Hobbit. I read it awhile back but don't remember much of it. This is where you come in! I not only want to read The Hobbit, but I want reading partners! Whether you have read it before, or never before, I would love to have you join me in reading it! My plan is to read five chapters a week. There are nineteen chapters, and we should be done reading it by the end of the month. Then, on May first, those of us with blogs can post our thoughts on the book and J. R. R. Tolkien! I would also love to chat about what we are reading with those of you who choose to participate. I have set up a blog for those of you who choose to participate. I hope that you can join me! Please send me an email and I will send you the link to the blog. If you get partway into the book and don't want to continue, or cannot, or can't do a blog post, that is totally okay! Don't worry about it! This is not meant to cause pressure.

So how did your March go? Have you enjoyed reading any of the books that I read this month? Will you be joining me in my goal to read The Hobbit? Have a wonderful April!