29 October 2015

Children of the Living God


The story of a man who took for a wife a prostitute, in symbolism of the whoredom of Israel against her God. 

I'll admit, the first reading (and perhaps second and third...) of the first chapter of this particular book in the Bible seems rather harsh. Yet, what we miss when we come to our God with the impression of a harsh God. What we miss when we read the Old Testament with the idea that the OT God is different than the NT God. 

I'll give you a hint, He's not different.

When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God."
Hosea 1:8-9

Can we take a moment to stop and grieve? There is such a rawness to these verses. Can you just imagine the turmoil that Hosea went through when God called him to name his son Not My People. He had beheld the sin of the nation, how they forsook their God and went after false idols. Much like our world now, Israel had found more pleasure in the lusts of the flesh than in the almighty power of the One True God. 

Sin is real. Is not the thing that stands between us and our God the coldest, harshest, most brutal of things ever? Like a wolf that stands snarling between a mother and her child, yet we ourselves created the wolf. This is the harshness. This is where the line must be drawn. So God says, "Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God."

Yet, with God, there is more. We see the Problem (sin) but we cannot stop there because there is the Solution. 

Hosea, imbued with the breath of the Living God to write the scriptures, did not stop with verse nine. He did not stop with the raw proclamation of the sin that carves the gap between God and man. 

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."
Hosea 1:10

Not due to any works on the part of Israel, for they, like Gomer, had given themselves over to the passions of the flesh and into union with false gods, but through the grace of a God who said, "It's not over yet," the promise stood that where the engraving on our hearts that had once stated 'You are not my people,' would crack with our hearts of stone and would instead pulse with the words, "Children of the living God." Hosea took Gomer to be his lawful wedded wife. 

Eve believed the deception of a serpent and approached the forbidden fruit, biting into it in sin, and then she gave the fruit to Adam, who took and ate. 

God's answer?

"Take, eat; this is my body."
Matthew 26:26b

I do not know if I can cope with the fathomless power of this grace. Yet there it is, in simple truth and profound mystery. 


26 October 2015


How many things have to die before there is life?
I weep at every grave, every death that seems to me
My hands are blistered from the shovel that gets no lighter,
For the ground is always frozen,
And there are always stones to dissuade me,
Trying to convince me to play again with the old bones,
To use my childhood eyes to make believe life—
I need life filled with eternal breath,
With no more thirst in my throat, for my soul is quenched by glory—
Yea, this is why I dig graves.
There is resurrection. There is life.
There are souls that never die.
There is a first day of dying,
There is a second of death,
But lo, there is a Third, when the tomb yawns and awakens,
Opens on the dawn, on the sun, on the Son of Man in full glory with eyes of flame and a voice of many waters.
Yes, Lord, there is death upon death and what can I do but mourn?
There is a field full of graves, seeds planted in living hope of an increase of harvest in the day of the Lord.
There is death, but yes, Lord, I believe that there is life, full and sweet,
One that does not end but reigns on, where very sense is baffled by the presence of the God of my salvation,
Jehovah, my Shepherd, my King, my Beloved,
Where the youths will no more be burdened by weariness
Or faint with exhaustion as they toil in the field,
But will run and not fail, whose knees will not weaken until they come closer to the Lamb,
Where they will fall down to worship Him with all the joy that there is space for in their hearts—
Yes, Lord, yes. I believe that I will look upon you in the Land of the Living,
Where the song shall never fade on my lips.
And I believe that every moment of this dying life on this fallen earth is worth the eternal weight of glory that remains to be seen.
All I ask for now, oh God, is strips of linen to bind my hands, that I may dig this grave,
That I may plant the seed that you pressed into my hand.
Another death, another life,
And a hope, awake and burning within my soul that gives me eyes to see the tomb,
And ears to hear the voice which speaks the words,
“Take away the stone.”

16 October 2015


It has been a long week. Not necessarily all the way in a bad way. I mean, I'll admit it, my fabulously awesomest best friend aka my sister moved out and that has taken its toll on my emotions. I keep thinking I hear her in the night (we shared a room for forever), breathing or moving, but then it's just like...earrings blowing off of the windowsill. 

Why I have a pile of earrings on the windowsill is debatable. 

Other than that, learning Chinese, man. It's hard. Like, I am terrible at learning languages. Half the time I am thinking to myself, Why on earth do I think that I can EVER learn this language? And the other half of the time I'm sweating over my accent marks and wishing that I knew how to read/write the language other than in pinyin (English characters. Well, barely English with all of the accent marks. I'm going insane.) But then I just have to go back to the reason WHY I am learning Chinese.... Because I'm going to China to work in an orphanage. Don't ask for details, I don't have them. But I know I'm going because God told me so. 

So yeah, then there's that. I'm like, I REALLY REALLY want to go to China, NOW, God! So I'm always not-so-subtly hinting at God that I, like Tintin, I'm looking for answers. I do this not-so-subtle hinting as I drive by the glorious sunset, and......yeah, God. I get the drift.

I need to slow down. 

And I get that. I know that. So I take the next turn a little slower, take a deep breath, and begin to say Psalm 139, slowly and gently. Because God is good. God is really, really, really good. And He knows exactly why I need to wait. So He gently, but firmly closes doors. And then He patiently listens while I try my hardest to work things through on my own until finally, finally I do the thing I should have done all along--call on Him. 

He doesn't always give the answers that I want, but He always gives an answer. And that is very encouraging because it means He's always listening. Even if it's just an, "Okay, Hannah. I hear you. Now take a deep breath and slowwwwwww down. Do not worry about your life." 

Worry's a bit of an addiction for me, sometimes. Seriously. It's like, I almost want to do it because at least I have control of part of the situation, right? It's so silly. 

*deep breath in, then lets it out slowly*

Wow. You know one thing I was thinking? I was thinking how the sky is not just pretty at night. And how the trees are not just pretty in the summer or even the autumn. God speaks poetry through every season, every change in lighting, in time, in life. Just as there is beauty in childhood all the way up through all stages of adulthood. I want to have a heightened sensitivity to this beauty. 

And more than that, I want to see the completion of beauty in my Savior face-to-face. How incredible will that be? Wow. I can't wait. 

Whew. That felt really good. You guys should try ranting sometime. I'd love to read it in the comments, if you so desire. :-) 

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
Psalm 68:19-20

15 October 2015


So heyyyy! Did you notice my new blog design? *grins stupidly* I mean, it's not exactly an entirely new design, but there's a fancy schmancy header (which I'll rant about later) and I did a little less-than-expert changes to spruce it up a bit. Since it's mostly the same design/template, credit still goes to Twenty-One Designs (Now Lynde Avenue Designs, I guess!), but I fiddled around with it so anything that looks weird was probably me. ;-)

BUT THE HEADER GUYS. Seriously, isn't it LOVELY (And PERFECT?)? I could just stare at it all day. You know Treskie? If you don't, you should. She's an incredibly talented artist, an incredibly fun and amazing blogger, and an incredibly wonderful friend. So go throw money and chocolate and love at her. Tell her, WOW WHAT AN AMAZING BLOG HEADER YOU DID FOR HANNAH JOY'S BLOG. HOW ARE YOU NOT FAMOUS?

So yeah, Treskie, you da best.

So yeah. My mind is in a bit of a buzz right now because I'm a happy camper.

Merlin. Colin Morgan. Bloopers
Quite honestly, the best part of Merlin was the bloopers.
Anyway. How's life going for the rest of you? I'll try to get a for real post done tomorrow.  

11 October 2015

The West Peak

Dawn was on fire.
The flames licked the golden grass and set the meadow ablaze.
The air was thin and cold and quiet,
My heartbeat was the only sound.
The mountain was bare and still, and my will quavered at its height.
Conquer it, conquer the peak, I muttered,
But within one step I knew that I, not it, was conquered,
For my ankles were weak and my lungs were heavy,
And the mountain stood, unmoved.
Oh, that I would have the faith to say to this mountain to remove itself, and yet—
I do not want it to be moved, I realize.
I want to climb it, not to say I conquered it,
Not to boast my strength,
But, Oh God, to see the view.
But now I stumble if I look around, so I must watch my feet,
Head bowed, like prayer.
So I step forward, and I slip backward,
At moments, I crawl.
I trip, and I fall.
And it is good.
The grace of God is unfailing, I say, with hands gripping rocks and eyes lowered,
Even here, on the stones of trial and injury,
Through strife and weakness,
I call upon the Lord and He answers me.
If I had wings to fly up the side of this mountain,
I should not now know the nature of my God,
I would not believe that He is near to those who are weary in spirit,
I would not feel His love for the least of these,
I would not comprehend the promise that even David prophesied in his distress,
That I may not hear your voice in the silence of the wind,
That I may lay awake at night in fear,
Yet, you are holy.
Even on the barren side of the mountain I am not put to shame,
For my hope is in you. Indeed, my hope is you.
So with trembling legs and aching lungs, I set my foot upon the heights.
The summit is mine, for a moment, but I surrender it back to the One who made it,
Who formed every stone with care, and who placed my feet there.
And I look out, Oh God, to see the view.
I behold with wonder the immensity of the sky,
Stretching to the North, South, East, and West,
Breaking upon the distant horizon carved out of mountain ranges,
An ocean of blue, and barely a cloud to break the endless sea.
Wonder does not cease with the sky,
For the valley is seamed with the gold of aspens ready, born ready,
To be sown in anticipation of resurrection.
What joy they have in their death,
And what glory they bring to their Father, knowing full well of His goodness
And proclaiming it to the world with all the might that flows through them like refined gold.
Is this, then, why we burn? Is this why the mountainside is rocks without end?
For to be like the aspens, ready to die for my beloved,
And, even more so, ready to be resurrected to eternal life with Him,
I must first be sanctified, clothed in His righteousness,
Bathed in His blood and wrapped in His garments,
Like a babe, born again,
And these are the labor pains.
But behold, I have looked out over the Promised Land,
I have seen its glory, and when I die I shall enter there and its splendor shall be more than I could ever imagine,
Because my King is the lamp; my God is the light that defeats all of the shadows.
So I wait in hope and in joy for what shall come with the dawn. 

Photos taken by my Papa

05 October 2015

Oh, I'm a Writer?

Admittedly, some days it doesn't feel like it.

But then other days, I get tagged by the wonderful Abbie with a writerly tag and I remember that I am, indeed, a writer. ;-)

And just saying, the way that Abbie did it with snippets was awesome, so I shall endeavor to do it like that.

So I'm going to admit it right now... I made this edited...thing... and then AFTERWARDS realized that I had said BY Hannah Joy which is not true because I didn't make this tag. So I didn't want to reload Ribbet on my computer because man it is slow some days. So I whipped out paint and did a poor job at editing. I think it just proves my point. ;-) Okay, I'll stop poking fun at my own writerness now...maybe...


Well.... I drink tea. Chai, usually, occasionally Earl Grey or English Breakfast. Maybe Peppermint. I eat...well, I don't generally eat stuff, but then sometimes I just all of the suddenly get ravenously hungry so I go upstairs and raid the cupboard for any food that there might be. It usually ends up being cashews, crackers, or Craisins. 

David started back toward the cottage without responding. Marcus grabbed his shoes and hurried after him. “Is it lunchtime yet?”
“I’ll bring it out to you,” David muttered. 


It depends on the day, really. Most days, I pull up YouTube and play one of my many playlists. They include a lot of artists, including but not limited to Sleeping At Last, Indelible Grace, Andrew Peterson, and Josh Garrels. Other days, I'm like, SO DISTRACTED MUST LISTEN TO MUSIC WITHOUT WORDS so I listen to classical and movie soundtracks. Though granted, I mostly listen to music to drown out other noise. I actually tune the music out for the most part and then suddenly I'm listening and I realize WHAT THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG and I stop writing and listen to it. 

He waited. He held his breath and tried to cover all of the other noises in his head.


 "Alright, hands up, who hasn't betrayed the group?"  @Hannah McManus  @Kelly Darnell Okay, this is like super feelzy now!!!!! jkfjakjfkajkfakfjkriueeifnsv!!!! I'm okay. NO, I'M REALLY NOT! D':

I'm not going to lie, it's adoption blogs and/or adoption Instagrams. 

Honestly, I walked into the music store and wanted to clear the shelves for you! How hard it is not to get distracted in such a lovely place. I know you know what I’m talking about, because every way I turn in there I see you reflected back at me in the instruments.


So I'm not totally sure if this actually happened DURING writing, but it was probably the worst. 

I have this Purple Ninja flash drive that had these cute little spherical hands made of rubber. I have the tendency to chew on things while I try to work out my plot difficulties. So I happened to chew on the ninja until the hand popped off. 

That is not the worst part, guys.

Then that little, tiny, rubber, spherical thing got stuck in my keyboard. For weeks I labored under the problem of first not having a working W, then V, then S, then numbers that did not work, causing me to have to copy and paste those letters when I needed them. Finally, I got a little fed up, and I chased it, as best as I could, towards the top, hoping I could at least get it out of the way, if not get it OUT. 

Eventually said ninja hand made its way to my backspace button. 

I could not use my backspace button.

Heh heh, his face is funny I could seriously just sit here and watch this all day! XD

And then there came a day where I was really angry at something or other. I don't remember what it was. In a fit of rage, I tore off my backspace button and picked up the purple rubber hand and threw it, and then tried to slam the backspace button back on. It did not work. 

So I had no backspace button until I went to Goodwill and bought a keyboard to plug into my laptop. 

Cephas sputtered his lips in irritation. “Did you even listen to the prophecy?”
“It said nothing about books.”
Cephas took up one of the books, thankfully one of the thinner ones, and smacked Marcus over the head with it. “To think it had to be a shepherd boy! Always with thicker skulls than their calluses!” 


The best thing that ever happened to me was probably finishing a book. That was pretty exciting until I despaired when I reread them. ;-) How I celebrate small victories... well, occasionally writing will be such a task that I will have to bribe myself. "If you write 300 words, then you can go and watch that funny video that your friend sent you. If you get to the next scene you can read a Pocket Princess comic. GIRL IF YOU GET A SENTENCE WRITTEN YOU CAN MAKE YOURSELF A CUP OF TEA. YOU CAN DO THIS, I BELIEVE IN YOU. JUST WRITE SOMETHING, ANYTHING." 

Cephas lowered his finger slowly, then said, in an entirely different, brighter tone, “I shall expect you at the palace tomorrow morning, early, so do yourself a favor and do not make too merry.” 


Is this like... I am going to spend dedicated time writing for a month and thus cannot communicate with people, or like, I don't talk to you while I'm actually sitting at my computer typing in my book? *shrugs*

Anyway. I always talk to my sister. She's my writer friend. I run plots by her, spoil all of my books for her and her alone, ask for writing tips, commiserate about writing problems, and talk about the purpose of writing with her. So she's my go-to.

I also have a group of friends that started as my writing club, so I obviously talk to all of them while writing, though I never spoil stuff for them if I can help it. They are awesome.

“If you do, you could do something very helpful for me. Could you speak to the boy with the broken nose for me? He has not told me his name, therefore I refer to him as UA (Unidentified Acquaintance).”
Amber was startled. “Bones? You want me to talk to Bones?”
“I do not understand your request.”
“Whatever. What do you want me to talk to him about?” 


Hidden flaw?

Getting all down on myself because I feel like I'm no good at writing.

Secret to success?

Will Scarlett! This has to be one of my favorite quotes! "I stand up for what I believe in." This is why he was one of my favorites. He was SO dedicated to his cause and that meant something to me.

XD But really. If I were to write just to write, I would get nowhere, because there's nothing behind the story, no backbone, just funny quips and entertaining plots, nothing more. 

“It’s perfect,” Amber said breathlessly. “How…how do you do it?”
Elliot cocked an eyebrow and tried to hide the flush that came to his cheeks. “What do you mean?” he asked, picking up Lenny.
“Make words…do that.”
“Uh…rhyme? Well, I have Lenny to help out with that…”
“No, I mean…they just sound so perfect together. It’s…art.”
Elliot smiled a half smile and said, “Do you believe in God?”
Amber was a little taken aback. “Uh, yeah..?” she said uncertainly. “I guess…kind of.” She bit her lip and blushed.
“Well to explain how I write poetry, I’d have to start there,” Elliot said, then flipped on the switch to turn Lenny on. Lenny stretched as if he’d just awoken from a long sleep, then latched his metal claws onto the shoulder of Elliot’s jacket. “Once you’re ready to hear that answer, Amber, let me know.”


Bringing my book to God in prayer. That sounds weird, maybe, but it is SO important. I mean, God made me a writer. He obviously cares about my stories. He's the one who gave them to me. I don't have anything that I have not received from Him. So giving it back to Him always works back to the reason that I write, which makes me want to write, which makes me go and sit down at my computer and be productive.

The beast drew back in fear, but Luthar raised his staff, prayed in a loud voice for strength to defeat the darkness, and then brought the staff down hard on the ground. 


M'kay, I'm not going to lie, I kind of have a lot. Most of them have to do with proper grammar. But so that I avoid offending people, I shall not mention them. XD  But one thing that annoys me that I am VERY guilty of is.... not writing. Like, you're a writer. Write. Stop whining and do it.

Merlin smacks Arthur .gif ;)

It wasn’t that he didn’t like reading, but an adventure story would be more up his alley, rather than a boring nonfiction book on things that probably didn’t actually exist, according to the little bit of the introduction that he had retained. Why write an introduction that debunked the whole book? Marcus sighed and continued flipping through the pages. 


*giggle* I totally just owned putting snippets in ALL OF THE QUESTIONS! It was fun finding things that sort of related but didn't totally. XD But because I'm nice, I'm going to write the last sentence that I wrote in one of my books.

There were obvious signs of life here, as a tattered cloak lay close to the fire.   

WOW THIS WAS REALLY FUN. WHOEVER WANTS TO SHOULD DO THIS. It's like, refreshing to take a step back and remember you're a writer.

01 October 2015

Oh, Breathless Autumn

It's here. The wind is turning to ice and the leaves are turning to gold and red for one last burst of glory before they fall. The air smells like ripe apples, crunchy leaves, and coolness. It's autumn.

I love each season for its personality, and the way it arrives just in time. Autumn is no different. She is gentle and shy, takes a while to open up, and doesn't stay for very long around here. But hers is a breathless beauty, as she slowly but steadily lights the forests on fire, a blaze of color before the barrenness of winter. As Autumn comes, you can't help but walk a little slower, admire the scenery, as you try to feel the depth of the essence of the wind as it tries to braid your hair. 

For me, Autumn has come in good time. The heat of the busyness of summer left me with the need to rest, to heal a bit. Autumn whispers that it is time, and I agree. It is time to sit back. It is time to process, to reflect. It is time, in some ways, to let go. And it is time, in other ways, to hold on. 

It is time to take long walks. To pray. 

I took once such walk the other day, and on that walk I realized something quite incredible. I was thinking about how often I felt like I wished that I could go back to when I was first saved, and that week or so of bliss in the joy of the Lord. But that day, I did not. That day, I realized the sweetness of the trials. How it only furthered my relationship with God, because I realized that I know Him so much better--and know how much more there is to know about Him. It was like I was standing on the top of a mountain and looking over the valley where I had once thought myself lost in, and seeing how every step of the way was a step toward God. And I realized just how grateful I was that I am not back at the first moment of salvation, for this joy that I have now is richer, deeper. Harder-won.

And I realized something else. I had prayed for a long time for me to understand the concept of praying without ceasing. Because at that point, I could not fathom it. I was struggling so much because to think of God, I had to set time apart out of the day--which is not a bad thing, but not something I felt that I could do constantly. 

Yet now--now the awareness of God is constant. God is always there. And I was realizing that. Every thought that passes through my head, everything that I see relates in some way to God, causing me to learn more and more each day. 

That is so incredible. It brought some crazy new meanings to when God says, "I will never leave you or forsake you.

So Autumn is a good thing. That chance to step back and see the great work that God has been doing, for during the summer my head is often pressed down to the ground as I plow through the busyness. 

So thank God for Autumn. Thank God for rest, for quiet days, for auburn leaves that know that death is not the end, so they proclaim the glory of God, the power of the resurrection. 

Autumn always seems to remind me that this is not the end of the story, but the beginning. 

Amen, Autumn. So be it.