Moonflower

Moonflower

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2015

There once was a man so holy of heart,
though oft times he wondered when his life would start;
he roamed through his town with his shadow forlorn,
beset by a sense that the world he must mourn.
For, though holy his heart, a piece was misplaced,
which could not be found with imprudent haste –
like flowers that blossom with each merry spring,
the timing of Grace is a delicate thing.

And as this man rambled through well-trodden streets
he yearned for a beauty for his eyes to greet,
but where could he find such delight to the eye
when all his surrounds were a joy so denied?
How this man yearned for the blush of a flower
to inspire a smile through his lonely hours!
And so with a sigh and a drop of his head,
he wandered away to meet what lay ahead.

His feet led the way, knowing not where they went,
but being a vagrant bettered silent laments;
he would wander afar to seek what had been lost,
through valleys and tors, and sunshine and frost.
Perhaps, so he thought, if he ventured these lands,
someday he’d return with a flower in hand,
for with hope in his step and with faith in his soul
he would find the stray piece to make his heart whole.

Ever onwards he went, though the flowers he saw
were pretty and special, and yet nothing more –
he saw flowers of peach, of pink and of blue,
but knew that in spirit for others they grew.
Though he was perplexed by the flowers in sight,
for they wilted not beneath the blazing sunlight;
they were as gentle and as fair as could be
and suffered none in the heat – which was not so for he.

How he longed for the shade as he journeyed the dale!
Alas, no trees he found to offer avail.
The sky above had not even a cloud
to ease the travail he felt on the ground.
Only woe he had found as he travelled abroad,
and so, with despair, he cried out to the Lord:
“Why must my heart bear such sorrow as this!
Why is your Grace not enough for my bliss!”

So passed the day ’til the sun’s fall was due,
for the dusk welcomed he with a heavenly hue.
Relief was his own when the heat fell away,
and so he awaited the nightly display;
soon he would see the diamond dance of the stars
and moonstruck he’d be by the light of afar.
His wonder so grew for the dark mystery –
a vision of glory so melancholy!

But then as he trod ever marvelling still,
providence sang over wind-smitten hills;
it taught him of patience – his heart would soon sing! –
for he was so blessed, and a lover of spring.
The truth of these words he could not deny,
but his heart still wept for a flower to find.
But then his eyes met, on the horizon faint,
the shape of a tree that compelled to acquaint.

The tree greeted him with a smile and said,
“Hail, weary traveller, may my roots make your bed!
Dear child of God, I bid you rest beside me,
for you are my keeper and in return I keep thee.”
The man offered his thanks, expressed humble and true,
but the tree spoke again, for foretelling he knew:
“I have heard word that a flower you seek:
Turn and behold! The Lord’s flowers are meek.”

The man turned and beheld but he could not admire,
for this flower was frigid and stirred no desire;
she hid her bloom from the light of the sun
and retired her beauty to instead only shun.
But though this was so, he was caught by intrigue,
for what flower can hide with such quiet mystique?
How would she be if she opened her heart?
Would she be fearful, or broken, or dark?

The tree chuckled and said, with much good intent,
“You know in your heart this here flower I meant!”
The man did respond, “But how is this so?
For she is no heavenly image I know.”
And the tree so replied, “And so that should be,
since her beauty is only for your eyes to see!
She has been waiting for her sacred spring,
for the timing of Grace is a delicate thing!”

He sat down in thought, pondering over his plight
as he was amongst the ever darkening light.
So came to be the sky faded to black
and the stars sparked to life for him to gaze at;
they waltzed around the moon’s silver throne,
but how could it be the moon seemed so alone?
And yet, even so, it was the sphere of peace,
and night brought him many a sentiment sweet.

But then he noticed amidst the gentle moonshine
that now arose Grace, for the timing was nigh:
the flower, with care, did open her bloom
beneath the pale light of the moon.
Her petals were bold in a delicate white –
an angel that shone in God’s holy light!
Her beauty was more than he could ever tell:
she was the moonlight’s own precious belle.

But what did he see when she opened her heart?
She held a fragment – his heart’s missing part.
She was of heaven, this he now knew,
for within her the Holy Ghost surely grew;
she was his gift for his heart so divine –
the piece he had always been yearning to find.
With blessings abound the Lord showed him the One,
and his heart was anew – a new life had begun!

Nevermore would this man pine through the hours,
for he had found her – his little moonflower.

moonflower


It has been a while since I have done anything on this blog, and an even longer while since I have written/shared a poem. I believe I’ve said before that I never write poetry unless deeply compelled to, and ‘Moonflower’ came to be in quite a… Well, I was cleaning the house when out of nowhere the idea popped up in my mind. I knew I had to let this one out. I don’t think I’ve ever written such a long poem, either – it just kept on going and going! Still, it tells a story, so it’s okay.

As for the odd (and not desperately wonderful) sketch I did to accompany the poem… I’m not quite sure what happened with that, to be perfectly honest. It wasn’t supposed to be what it ended up as. I planned to draw a tree with a man kneeling by it, admiring a blooming flower in the moonlight, but, when I sat down at my desk with pencil in hand, the above happened. For whatever reason, I drew a woman’s hand with the flower coming out of it… And the rest is history. Make of it what you will.

We have all heard of the glorious sunflower, yes? It is sunshine in a flower, blooming and flourishing in the sunlight.

But did you know there is a moonflower? What a gentle thing this flower is! It does not bloom during the day, but rather once the sun has set. It blooms throughout the night.

Lovelovelovelovelove

I want a garden full of moonflowers, so I may see its white beauty, and feel as if the moon’s essence dwells before me in a delicate flower once the night falls. And maybe these moonflowers can be grown amongst some sunflowers, for when one opens the other rests, and the sun is a joy to behold! The sun and the moon, different as they may be, are very much one. Though, for me, my heart lives on the moon.

An aside: I wrote a little song about the sun and the moon once – a ‘love’ story, if you will, between the two. 

‘So the two share the sky, though at differing times,

yet they long to know something more.

Can the sun hide away?

Can the moon see the day?

Would their yearning soon make them fall?’

***

I feel very much like the man in the poem at the moment. A wanderer. Lonely. Mourning what is not there to be mourned. Maybe I too should wander away in pursuit of my flower… *sigh* 

*

May you find your flower, be it one of the sun or the moon,

and be at peace, my friends.

Blessings keep you,

~JKM

Christmas Miracle

My dears, hello. There may be some fellows out there who have noticed my blog has been rather inactive as of late, for indeed, I have not been posting anything. Cutting all short: I lost the will, well and truly. The past several months have been incredibly difficult for me – I’ve been sprawling in sludge, really – and it came to be that I could not face anything at all. I have had nothing to blog about recently, anyway, and creative inspiration flew out the window. Besides, I have been frustratingly busy, especially in December. Curse that month and all its holiday obligations.

I have had a particularly severe case of Ebenezeritis (that is, Scrooge Syndrome) this past Christmastime. I am a yearly sufferer of this, but this Christmas was something else, quite frankly. I don’t think I have ever been more Scroogey in my life. Even looking at wrapping paper infuriated me, seeing merry Father Christmases and gaudy font, and snowmen and reindeer and sparkly stars and all the rest. Ugh. I always find it quite amazing how low I become on the brink of Christmas – so 22nd, 23rd, 24th. It is almost as if someone – or something – flicks a switch in my mind that turns off any hint of light in my eyes, and I see nothing but obscure shades like in the night-time. No wonder I turn into Scrooge. As a result of this internal darkness, I seek nothing but isolation and personal reflection around Christmastime, which I appreciate is the complete opposite of what is accustomed for the festive season. But, fear not, for my Christmas Days never turn into antisocial affairs, no matter how much I may want it to be as such. This year, I saw wider family on the day, which is not a typical Christmas for me, and it seemed like everyone in the household was plagued by a hideous cold that has been lingering around. And so, I spent the day recoiling from the endless splutters and spewing from those around me. Gotta love family, right? 😉

I hope everyone else had a more merry time of it, though. Not that I had a bad day. I didn’t. It was fine.

But, I have a question:

Do you believe in miracles?

What about Christmas miracles?

I said earlier that I have been having a tough time of it for the past few months. Truth be told, I’ve been having a tough past eight years, but the last few months really have been something else. Certainly something different, anyway. Cutting it short again, I fell back into depression quite badly (I never actually left the merciless grasp of depression to begin with, but I had slowly been climbing up that very slippery slope. I guess I lost my footing and took a plummet downwards). Not only that, but this time around I developed panic disorder, leading to ridiculous agoraphobia and I basically did not step out the back door for a month or so, and if I did, it was with my wonderful mother who basically held my hand the whole time like I was a young child again. She came to my rescue, most certainly. It had been a long time coming, in a way, and I had finally grown wise enough to realise that I cannot help myself without admitting I needed help. I had known I needed help for years, yet never acted upon it, for admitting it is through an entirely different door whose key is terribly challenging to acquire. But it is situations like these that call upon our inner valour, and it is up to us find that key, unlock the door, and reveal our strength to both ourselves and to the world. Upon my admission of needing help, I have ended up on anti-anxiety medication (which are also anti-depressants) and I am in the process of therapy – it is a nightmare, really, but it must be so. I am only several weeks into my therapy, and I have basically spent every single session staring at the clock on the wall, at which my therapist believes it is apt to make jokes. The other week when I was with him, I looked to the wall for the clock, but it wasn’t there…

“Oh, there’s no clock,” I said, secretly quite mortified by this. I had my watch on, though, so catastrophe averted.

“Yeah, I told them to take it down,” he casually replied.

“Did you?!” I could not contain my surprise.

*laughs* “No!”

I mean honestly.

Anyway, panic attacks have been a problem over the last few months, but thankfully things have improved for me dramatically and I haven’t had a panic attack in many weeks, and since my anxiety has lessened I am now able to walk out on the streets alone. As inconsequential as that may sound, it was/is actually a huge breakthrough for me considering how bad I was not too long ago. Any other panic suffers out there will understand. But on Christmas Day, I experienced something which I can only pin as being a miracle. It was. It really was.

I had a terrible accident with my horse over a year ago now, and part of my panic disorder was suffering from delayed shock from the situation. As a result, even seeing horses on television occasionally causes the beginnings of a panic attack for me – not a full-blown panic attack, you understand, just a mini one, as I like to call it: I feel my chest tightening with a sneaky pain creeping amongst it, my heart starts palpitating, and my stomach flips and knots and nausea floods me. So. Understandably, seeing a horse in the flesh amplifies these ‘mini’ panic attacks into full-blown ones.

I live in a small town (12,000 or so people), and it only takes a few minutes to walk to all three of the linked Anglican churches from my house. The church that was holding Christmas Communion happened to be the one in the town square, and as I was walking down the road which leads onto the high street (basically the only main road in my town which also happens to be ‘town’ itself), I saw something I really did not expect to see. This just sums up where I live completely, to be honest, rural and slow-paced as it is, but I saw two horses with their riders walking down the high street. I was taken aback, halting my movement, and watched for a moment as the horses clipped on by. And that was it. Then I continued walking, with not a care in the world. Not one ounce of panic filled me. Not one bit. I couldn’t believe it!! Truly, as baffled as I was to have not collapsed in a panic attack, I was also awestruck, and I decided not to dwell over the mystery of the situation; instead, I smiled to myself more than I did at any other point that day, frolicking with inner joy. Because I am not alone in this. Alone, perhaps I would reach the end of the road in time – who can say how long it would take, though? But with God, I can hold His hand all the way, and if I stumble, He is there to pick me up again.

But isn’t Christmas Day a miracle in itself? The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, hmm? That’s what it’s all about, and if it were not for that miracle Christmas would not be celebrated in the first place. I think we all need to remember that. There are people out there who believe miracles to be a far-fetched concept, but I believe there are miracles every second of every day. Watching the sunrise is a miracle. Seeing the ever-changing hues of the sky is a miracle. Laughter is a miracle, tears are a miracle. Love is a miracle. Music is a miracle. Birdsong is a miracle. The seasons are a miracle. Blossoming flowers are a miracle. Life is a miracle.

And so we should love every second of what time we are given here on Earth. Even if it brings you depression. Even if it brings you panic disorder. For there are still miracles to be found, to be seen, to be heard. In fact, when you suffer from depression or any other mental issue, miracles are even easier to find. It is as though God leans down to you amidst your suffering to say, “Hey, I know you’re struggling, I know this is hard, so I will bless you to see the beauty in the smallest of sights and to know the strength in the simplest of situations. You will get through this. I am here.” Only in our darkest hours do we clearly see the light within ourselves.

I am sure your Christmas was blessed with many miracles. Did you see them? If not, no worries, for they will all be there tomorrow, too, just waiting to be found.

***

I should probably mention something that I should have mentioned a good while ago, but, as I said at the beginning of this post, I haven’t been able to face anything recently. My next post will be about Ilimoskus (though I have no idea when that will be) and I shall mention this ‘something’ then. I doubt I’ll post before New Year, so I wish you all a peaceful transition into 2015, and may joy and glee greet you on the other side. Let us reflect on all the positive 2014 gave us, and learn and gain strength and wisdom from the negative. Shine in your light, and in the light of the world.

See you on the other side, my friends 😉

And may the light from your heart always guide you

One Year on…

I feel as though over the past few months I have quite neglected blogging, although, this evidently is not the case, given I have indeed been posting throughout that time – not really any less than usual, either. I have just felt dreadfully detached from it over that time. It has been more of a chore for me to come on here and post since May. Perhaps this is because I have been bogged down by workload, or perhaps it is because I have needed time to myself. Who can say?

A couple of months back I said that I was going to start being more creative with my blog, which is still the intention, but this post is an aside – one I need to type.

For the past two months or so, I have been feeling unwell: drained, lousy, run-down. Perhaps this is another factor as to why I have felt so distant from blogging. I had progressively been getting worse over time, until finally, a few days ago, it all came to a head and now I am quite patently a rather unwell individual. I was so bad over the weekend that I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, but on Monday I saw a doctor, and fear not, fellow WordPress friends, I am now on the up. Turns out I’ve had a long-running infection in my ears for all that time, and it finally flared up into quite a severe one which made me wholly unwell, as opposed to just having uncomfortable ears. So, now I have to take absolutely massive antibiotics which look more like horse capsules, they’re that big, and I have wrapped a scarf around my ears for days on end because, somehow, that helps to relieve the pain. I don’t know.

But let’s get to the point of this post.

***

Today is something of an anniversary for me, a significant cycle of time that has passed by – or a daiamel, as the Ilimoskus would call it. It has been a year to the very day…

On 5th August 2013, 19:15, I had my accident, which ultimately broke my heart more than it ‘broke’ my physical body. And that’s saying something, really, given the state of my face after the incident. It took me about two months to totally, 100% recover – physically, that is. Emotionally, I still think I am still in the process of having deep wounds stitched up.

But oh, does it not make you ponder? Why should I have been so lucky to have not a hint of abnormality upon my face? How did I get away with that?

Is it dangerous to ask such questions after you’ve experienced such a trauma? Perhaps. But then, I still have a life to question when I so easily could not have, and that is a blessing.

What are you left with after such a trauma?

What physical scarring do you have? What emotional scarring do you have? What do I have?

Physically, I got away with it, as I said. I have a slight indentation on the bridge of my nose where it was cracked, but no one would ever notice this unless they were a nose doctor or if they stared at my face/nose close enough to finally see it, but I would most certainly scream at and push away anyone who ever attempted such a thing. My jaw took most of the beating, though, and to this day I still have problems with it. I am likely to for the rest of my life. It is frustrating, but then, is it not a small price to pay for being alive? You cannot see this issue with my jaw, though; if a stranger looked at me, they would never know I ever underwent such hell.

Or does it tell through the eyes?

Emotionally, it is a different story. Emotionally, I bleed – as much as that five hour waterfall I had coming from me that evening 😉 Accidents leave you more emotionally damaged, it is true. Although my physical person may not have any scars, my heart sure does. Since the accident, I do not like letting people near my face, and I most certainly do not allow anyone to touch it. Not because it hurts, you understand, but because it is more of a conditioned reaction. It is almost as though I do not trust people, that they will hurt me if they touch my face, which makes no sense, given the accident had nothing to do with people, but there we go.

But why did it hurt me so? It hurt me so because I lost my dearest friend. My gentle girl. I loved her so very, very much.

I haven’t spoken properly about this accident since it happened, and I don’t know if I will ever sit there and tell someone all the details. I don’t know if I will ever want to. I have had far too many unfortunate circumstances occur in my life that make my heart cry blood whenever I stop to think about them, and so speaking such things aloud rips my heart out completely. People always say that talking about it makes things better, but I disagree. For me, not talking about it is how I heal. And that is how I’ve always lived my life, since childhood.

There is only one thing I will have to tell out loud, someday, or else I will never move on. But it is a waiting game, and I have always known that. That time will show itself when it is ready; though, the thought terrifies me, all the same.

But, you see, I don’t need to tell people my problems because there is one who already knows them without having uttered a word.

Physically, this accident hurt so much. Emotionally, this accident hurt so much.

But what about spiritually?

Why, oh why, did this have to happen? I have often wondered. Why indeed. But who am I to question that? We all walk our path – we all go where we are meant to – and for whatever reason, this needed to happen to me. God knows why. I’m not quite so sure. I haven’t worked it out yet. I haven’t quite worked out why half the things have happened to me in my life, but they hold their purpose, even though I do not understand.

“Like the river is bound to its flow, life travels where it is meant to go.” – So says our wise friend, Gnotsu, in Times of Old.

There is undoubtedly a comfort in letting yourself drift with the river, but just because you drift, that doesn’t mean you are lifeless – in fact, it is quite the opposite; if you accept your fate to drift with life, you have time to enjoy and appreciate all the beauty and simplicity it offers, and even see the light in the shadows, but, if you spend your time fighting against the current, where does your attention lie? Certainly not on the world around you. It lies on the current, and nothing more.

And so I drift, accepting that this accident happened and that I lost my sweetest girl because of it. But accepting still hurts.

But maybe it was my fault, somewhere along the line. If you pray to see the way, yet sew your eyes shut, God will have no choice but to rip your eyes open. And that will hurt. A lot. There will be much blood and many tears. If you pray for a clearer mind, yet keep walking through the fog, God will have no choice but to hurl you from it, and you will land most painfully and undignified. But He only does it because He cares, because He loves you more than you will ever comprehend.

This accident caused many more wounds on my already wounded heart, but, over time, these gaping wounds have been stitched up, slowly healing. And who holds the needle, who bears the thread? Why, it is He, of course. I may not talk, but it is in silence that I talk to Him, and He is the grand power, the ultimate healer.

In this life I’ve lived, why have I suffered so? So that I can give, while learning how to G R O W.

*

“You did not ask for this life, this life asked for you.” – So says a character in the upcoming Book 2.

There is a path waiting for each of us to tread, and our souls are summoned to it. It is our path alone, for there is no one who can walk it better.

**

I will always see the words

that you sewed

on my heart

These are some words from a poem I once wrote.

What are these words?

Faith. Hope. Love. 

***

Thank you for reading this. May peace always dwell within you.


Orate Door is a poem I wrote specifically about my accident. It is probably the most personally emotional poem I have ever shared on this blog – that and Darling Moon, which I wrote a few months after Ornate Door. Both poems are there, should you like to read them.

I have had a highly creative post planned for weeks and weeks now, but I have not found it within myself to even attempt to create it. Even so, know that it is planned, and that one day you shall see it. Besides that, blog inspiration has left me, so I don’t know when you will next see interesting posts from me.

Imagine Award and Lighthouse Award [Spread Your Wings and Touch the Sky]

The third and last award post! I can hear your sighs of relief as I type. It was supposed to be only one more award, but then Mr. Stevick Steven nominated me for another and disrupted my plans. How inconsiderate. JOKING! Thank you very, very much, Steven, they mean a lot! Atypically for me, I am rather excited about these two awards, for reasons I shall explain in just a moment.

So, as mentioned, Steven from moodsaplently (or simply ‘S’) nominated me, firstly, for the Imagine Award, whereby its purpose is to highlight blogs which make special use of creativity and passion.

the-imagine-award

According to the rules, I must state 3-5 reasons why I like the S blog, and, of course, the Hewerishly handsome Steven himself:

>> His humour is simply fantastic. It really is the type humour which makes me giggle most of all.

>> He shares his amazing drawings/portraits regularly, and they are such a treat. One of these was Nick Hewer (i.e. a self portrait)

>> He has such inner strength and light which he should always remember! <- I hope you’re paying attention, Stevick, or I will go all Mother Jenny on you, despite the fact I’m not actually a mother, but shhhh. He is not shy to admit on his blog that he is low, that he is struggling, but still he comes into the world of WordPress and makes others smile with his words, or brightens up a day, and that is a truly wonderful thing.

>> He is a creative spark! I like creativity.

>> This probably shouldn’t be a reason, but we have an insane amount in common, and when I say ‘insane amount’, I seriously mean that. It borders on creepy. But, it’s always nice when you have things in common with people.

And now, in accordance with the rules, I am to nominate 3-5 blogs for the Imagine Award:

Maugryph’s Blog

Valourborn

The Eye-Dancers

Now, did I not say I was excited about these awards? Why? As though Steven could read my thoughts, these two awards reflect everything going on in my mind at the moment – more so than usual, anyway. Regarding the Imagine Award, I think it’s fair to say that I’m quite a creative individual, and so receiving an award regarding imagination in all its glory, well, it’s always nice!

The perception the world seems to have with imagination being akin to unicorns prancing upon – or beneath – rainbows really does irritate me, though. This is probably because I’m Little Miss Pedantic, but where did this associate between unicorns and rainbows come from?? Unicorns, mythologically, do not prance gleefully with rainbows, but rather keep themselves incredibly elusive while being desperately proud, pure, noble, strong, and, to some degree, fierce creatures, said only ever to approach virgin maidens, which is why Medieval writers associated them with Christ, who “raised up a horn of salvation” and dwelt in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Additionally, they are not the harmlessly frivolous creatures the world perceives them as today, but they were said to actually kill people who tried to catch them, or who pretended to be a virgin maiden.

I appreciate I am not being overly creative or imaginative right now. Allow me to rectify this issue.

I would love to be able to say I know all this about unicorns because I secretly have one residing in the little copse of trees in my back garden, and he spends many an hour telling me of his kind while painting rainbows with the magical touch of his hooves and creating a gloriously paradisal setting by turning early morning dewdrops into diamonds, but, alas, it is not so. I read some books.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the magical notion of unicorns, but magical in the sense of beautiful mystery, not dancing with leprechauns and fairies (and don’t get me started on fairies, that’s all wrong, too). Although I acknowledge the idea of the unicorn is something that has played on human imagination throughout the ages, personally I don’t think they should be the image of creativity. I have always viewed imagination/creativity to belong to the humble bird. Besides, if rainbows must be in the frame, then it is a bird that can fly away and ‘touch’ the sky-path of colour and dab the tips of its feather into the palette to paint the world as it sees fit. Birds are also the symbol of freedom, right? They are free to fly anywhere they like in the realm of IMAGINATION.

Sorry, that had to be done. But look, a rainbow!

Birds can swoop low or soar high; they can go wherever the urge takes them. And so can we, for our minds are birds, and they possess wings just waiting to stretch out and fly! Think of everything we could touch in the sky.

Which leads me nicely onto the next award.

***

Steven then nominated me for the Lighthouse Award, which is for blogs that bring light to a dark world.

the-lighthouse-award

This award excites me in equal amounts as the first one (and I appreciate I haven’t properly explained why I’m excited, but I’ll get to that at the end of this post). Firstly, this award seemed like a bit of a “coinkydink”, as Stevick put it. Earlier on in the day, before I saw that he had so kindly nominated me for this award, I was listening to a song that was strangely relevant:

‘A spark soaring down through the pouring rain and restoring life to the lighthouse. A slow motion wave on the ocean stirs my emotion up like a raincloud. When did the sky turn black? And when will the light come back?’ – Beautiful Times by Owl City (good ol’ Owl City, eh)

Anyone who follows my blog, or who has read my book, will probably already know how much I love to play with the concept of light and dark. It is something that means a lot to me, and is something I will always keep in my writing. It goes without saying, then, that the deeper, creative meaning behind lighthouses makes me, quite literally, beam. Inside and out.

Perhaps light and dark doesn’t have such endless possibilities as with a flying bird, but still, I believe it can be interpreted in a variety of ways. After all, rainbows are not the only things in the sky. What about the sun? The moon? The stars? There is endless light in the sky, so as long as you can see it, believe it, you will always hold its uplifting message in the palms of your hands – or nestled beneath your feathers 😉 And what about the light of the Son…?

The rules say I must share up to three ways in which I like to help people. Well…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love– 1 Corinthians 13:13

It says in the Bible that money is the root of all evil, so why not say love is the root of all that is good? For you cannot help another if you do not have love in your heart, can you? Kindness, compassion, charity – these are all products of love. So, that is my answer, plain and simple. Love.

Though, I also like to help people with words, whenever possible. I am a writer at heart, after all.

A good friend of mine came to visit me the other day, and, as he put it, we “gatecrashed Spring Harvest for the day.” Despite the fact I nearly threw him out his wheelchair (neither of us were paying attention ’cause we were looking at something, and I rammed the chair straight into the kerb. This is what happens when I’m left in charge), we had a really brilliant day. While I was there, I saw a top which I simply fell in love with, for some reason (I’m never like that with clothes), and my friend SO KINDLY treated me to it, even though I was there for about ten minutes trying to talk him out of it. But we must humbly receive.

lovelifelivelove

I think that top to be quite appropriate right now, don’t you? You see that orange strip on the sleeve? John 15:9.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

But moving on from love, everyone wants a light in the dark, don’t they? Whether your light is Jesus, or whether your light is merely the meaning behind it all, that longing is the same. When you can see – or find – a light in the dark, does it not seem even more beautiful than you ever thought possible? It is a most precious thing.

Here are my nominations for the Lighthouse Award. The following are my lights in the dark. They are the lighthouse when I feel lost at sea, guiding me back to shore with a smile. They are the sun brightening my day. They are the stars glistening when the world falls into shadow. They are friends.

Rick at Jesus, Light of the World

Alex at Valourborn

James Radcliffe

Dear Sherri P at A View from My Summerhouse

Of course, Steven himself is also a lighthouse of mine.

***

So, there we have it. I am finished with awards. Though, now let me quickly explain further why these two mean so much. You may have already got the jist of it, but imagination/creativity is my life, given the story I am in the middle of writing as an author, and light in the dark is a massive part of my inspiration. I said in an earlier post (the Sunshine Award, I think) that I am going to start posting far more creative things from now on. When I first started this blog, I did so with the intention that this would be my ‘author blog’, and that I would promote my book and story through it… Well, I haven’t done that at all, really. So, I finally decided I would start to do that. If creative is what I am, I should be sharing that with the world, through stories and poems and through Ilimoskus itself.

And, do you know what? I’m actually going to start talking about my book more. Why shouldn’t I? I’ve always been shhhh hush hush about it, as though I am almost embarrassed to say that I have written a story. Well, that’s ridiculous, quite frankly. Get a grip, Jennifer. And again, do you know what? I have always played down how much Ilimoskus was inspired by my faith (that is, Christianity) in fear that it would put people off reading it, for I would hate them to think it’s a preachy tale (because it really isn’t), and also because I never particularly wanted people questioning me about it. But, no longer.

ILIMOSKUS is an environmental fantasy tale about a race of elemental beings (fire, earth, air and water) who live on Earth, unbeknown to humans. The first book of the trilogy is Times of Old, which takes the reader into a stark collision between fantasy and reality. It was inspired by nature, and God, and life. So there we go. 

  • It is fantasy because I love the imagination and freedom fantasy gives.
  • It is environmental because I love nature and the environment, and I care for it greatly. The world seriously needs to respect it more.
  • There is a stark collision between fantasy and reality because… read this post.
  • It is a trilogy because only when the three are put together is the whole story told. They are a trinity: three distinct existences, yet one tale. Does that remind you of anything? *coughs* The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit *coughs*
  • It was inspired by nature because, as I said, I love nature, and I spend so much of my time looking at it, being with it, walking in it.
  • It was inspired by GOD because He is everything, and everywhere. And there is so much in between the lines of my story linking to Him. In fact, half the time it’s not even in between the lines, because characters just full on blurt it. He IS the lines, and the words. If you do happen to read my story, look at the Ilimoskus themselves. Just look. (How terribly convoluted of me there, but I can’t be giving it all away 😉 ).
  • It was inspired by life because, as with everyone, I’ve had some less ideal times, and writing is how I heal myself. I take my negativity and pain and turn it into something good, something creative, something priceless. Writing is my escape, but it is also my duty. Ilimoskus is a story of life. Birth, death, suffering, laughter, friendship, love, guilt, secrets, courage, wisdom, hope, faith, duty, betrayal, reconciliation, conflict, growing up! But, out of everything, the emotion is what it’s all about. At least for me.

“May the light from your heart always guide you”

Hey, look: light!

If you do actually have any questions about Ilimoskus, contact me and I’ll get back to you.

All glory to the Lord, because, without Him, I would be nothing. And Ilimoskus would not exist.

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter. Let’s think about the true meaning, and not just gorge on chocolate 😉

Just Listen…

I know I said I was not going to post again until the new year, but this doesn’t really count. I went to a Cathedral Service last night and I simply had to share what we Anglicans experience throughout it. We hear those who are blessed by God with the voices of angels.

I know of and am friends with many people who are not religious, yet still they are moved by the sheer and often haunting beauty of a church choir. How can you not be? The sound speaks to everyone in some way or another. Deep in our hearts it resonates peace and love. The call of God in carols brings mankind together in this festive season, at this most special time.

King’s College, Cambridge, is a world-renowned choir, and they are truly, truly magnificent. This is them singing a carol that was sung at the service I attended last night. I could listen to it forever. Even if you are not religious in any way, I ask you, please, to just listen. You need not even look. Close your eyes and just listen… Listen to the peace and the beauty, and let this carry you warmly into a merry spirit so you have a most wonderful and blessed Christmas with those you dearly love.

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

I feel as though I have a lot to cram into this post, so it’s a bit lengthy. Just to warn you!

1) Firstly, I have been horribly miserable this year, and I have had many dark moments from which I thought I would never escape. Not too long ago I met up with two old friends and I told them that this has been the worst year for me since I was 14. I appreciate that won’t mean anything to anyone out there, but basically, when I was 14, I had a bad, bad time. Bad. So bad that I lost myself completely, and one could argue that I am still in the process of ‘finding myself’ again.

I am one of those people who cannot help but pour their heart and soul over what they write, like spilling a full inkwell of emotion all over the page. Earlier this year, I wrote a piece of creative writing and shared it on this blog; I urge you to read it, purely because it’s so… well, perhaps people may deem it unexpected from me, given everything else on my blog. Of course, you don’t have to read it at all, but if you would like to, it is here. That piece of writing is a perfect example of how my current emotions and state of mind lurch to the front of the stage for all the world to see. It is a very dark piece. I read it back every once in a while and cannot even comprehend how foul a mood I must have been in to write it. It is vile to me, yet in its own, twisted little way it is quite moving, for it is real.

2) Secondly, I am the author of a deep fantasy novel called Ilimoskus: Times of Old, which is the first part of what will one day be a trilogy. In fact, while I’m on the subject, if anyone out there is wondering, this is how you pronounce ‘Ilimoskus’:

ih (like the i in ill) – lee – moss – kus (the u being pronounced as the schwa, or “uh”)

So, with that in mind:

ih-lee-moss-kus

Continuing on… The Ilimoskus are the stars of the show, for they are the fantasy race the entire trilogy is about. It is their story. If anyone has read the book, you will appreciate just how much depth I went into when creating them (just like any other fantasy author, I guess): the Ilimoskus have their own society, traditions, beliefs, sayings, items, songs/poems, language, history, and creatures. And when I say language, I mean you could actually have a conversation in their language. And when I say history, I mean a history that goes back so far it isn’t relevant to the storyline in any way. And when I say creatures, I mean I created creatures that belong to their world alone. I’ve done more than that, too, but I can’t tell you or else it will be a massive spoiler for books two and three. We can’t have that 😉

But who are the Ilimoskus? Or, what are they? Keeping it brief, they are beings of the elements: fire (Flamikus), earth (Humiit-kus), air (Aeriikus), and water (Agwikus). They are, essentially, nature itself. And what is their story like? Well, an Amazon reviewer called it ‘Avatar meets Lord of the Rings’, so make of that what you will (Avatar as in the film, just to clarify.) If you would like to know more, I suggest you visit the Ilimoskus page.

***

Well, putting 1 and together gives me the reason for writing this post. Ilimoskus has been my life for years now, but this past year (the year my book was published) I have been very low. Throughout the latter half of 2013, I have wanted to shred the book I published – inner turmoil like I wanted to murder my own child (makes me think back to this post) – which is no doubt a product of my serious misery for everything this year. However, early this December, something marvellous happened. A sense of hope! I thought about Ilimoskus fondly for the first time in I don’t know how long. It was as though God suddenly tapped me on the shoulder saying, “Hey, why are you so sad? Look at what we have created together!” He called me to look back at the words within the story, for that is where He lies: in the words. So I did.

The Ilimoskus, on the whole,  are a peaceful, kind, harmonious race of beings – sometimes, if I view them from a distant, I believe they seem almost perfect. But nothing is perfect, and that includes the Ilimoskus. However, despite the inevitable flaws in their society and individual personalities,  they are wise. Far wiser than humans. And with this wisdom they speak some wonderful words. God is in those words – or rather, that is my firm belief – and through the wisdom and guidance of these [His] words, my hope has been restored and my heart holds love for my story again. I have missed that love so much.

‘They would miss each other’s company like the sky would miss the sun’s brightening light.’ – Times of Old, chapter 33

That pretty much sums up how I’ve felt without that love for Ilimoskus. And I am sure Ilimoskus has missed me, too, for how else is it supposed to be told?

I wish to share some of these words with you, for they help me greatly, and I can only hope that they may help someone else out there, too. Although most of what I am going to share with you are the words of specific characters, the first two are generic Ilimoskus sayings.

***

Icktis que yer kard fait ya phyde urma

Or, in English: The light from your heart will always guide you. I’ve already explained this one on my blog before, so if you’d like to know, see here. This saying is hugely important throughout the entire trilogy; one could argue that it is a sub-theme entwined into most aspects of the story, resonating exceptionally well with the characters – especially so when it comes to the duo that is Rhu and Nax.

Kiz orra’ie iaoangxeiro amo hac fa ai pandughtei iaoangxeiru

Yeah, I know, that sentence looks quite scary. Quite a mouthful, too. It translates into English as: With every uphill climb there is a downhill roll. We all face hardships in life, but once we’ve overcome them, how easy things seem! We may sluggishly haul ourselves up a hill, but once we’ve reached the top the only way to continue onwards is by taking the easy route down, right? This saying isn’t actually in the book, but it is an Ilimoskus saying nonetheless.

“It is by change that we know nature is thriving; when the leaves fall from the trees and the flowers die, it is by this change we know that good is ahead, that nature’s cycle will come around once more, and that this time of bleakness must exist so the colours can return again.” – Kaidoyrr Allo, Times of Old

For those who do not know, Kaidoyrr Allo is the King of Fire (‘Kaidoyrr Allo’ being his official title, not his actual name). To me, those words say this: ‘Okay, so we’re going through a hard time, but when we reach the end of it the world will burst with life and love and hope! Good follows bad, just as the merry spring follows the bleakest of winters. It will get better.’

“It is a hard thing to do, to combat the darkness in our minds, but once we do, the world couldn’t be a brighter place.” – Kaarfhey, Times of Old

In the story, this is actually spoken by the character [Kaarfhey] in a memory. Kaarfhey spoke those words to his son, Colontri, who, at the time of the memory, was struggling with emotional darkness. After this memory, Colontri rephrases his father’s words for his own son, Nax, who is also facing emotional darkness:

“If we succeed in the challenging feat of swallowing our fears and embracing the life before us, the darkness in our minds will be overcome by the brightness our achievements bring.” – Colontri, Times of Old

And that is why I love this family – the Arrubii family. Kaarfhey to Colontri to Nax, passing down words of wisdom, words of strength, from father to son. Passing down their deep-rooted courage. Courage that runs in their blood.

“The storms of life can batter and bruise our outsides but never can they harm what lies within.” – Gnotsu, Times of Old

The character Gnotsu holds a deep, mysterious wisdom beyond reckoning. For that reason, I will let you deduce what you will from those words.

And finally, I am going to finish with this:

“Instead of becoming glum by the sun setting at the end of the day, why not rejoice in the light it will bring tomorrow?” – Nax’pala, Times of Old

There is always hope. There is always a reason to smile, even if it is just the fact you have woken to a new day. Those words remind me of some lyrics in an Owl City song, actually:

‘Waking up sad isn’t so bad if you look outside, ’cause all the signs say it’s a new day and you are so alive.’ – Hey Anna

God does not readily allow you to wallow in pity and sorrow; He blinds you with the sunlight and kicks you up the backside until you stand on your feet. Yeah, okay, I’ve been miserable all year, but that’s only because I’ve been walking around with my eyes closed and, somehow, dodged His kicks. But He never gives up on me. He never gives up on anyone. It really is quite amazing how guilty I feel when I’m miserable. Just throwing it out there: I’m truly trying. Regarding everything.

***

There are, of course, many more words of wisdom from Times of Old that I have not shared, for if I had this post would be stupidly long. And I couldn’t have that. Besides, those particular words are the ones which hold relevance to my current situation. Thanks for reading them, everyone!

I’m going to be away for a bit… so this will be my last post for a little while, I imagine. Life is getting in the way again, and I also have a lot to do. Whereas most people wind down at this time of year and take it easy, I’ll be barging into the new year with all guns blazing. I sense stress, somehow. Anyway, I’ll still be lurking around WordPress, reading and commenting and what have you, but not posting. So, I’m ending my last post of the year on a very hopeful note! Fingers crossed it lasts. However, this means I’m not going to be around for Christmas and New Year, so allow me to share with you a Christmassy photo:

kodixmaspres

This is my dog. He is Christmas baby, ’cause his birthday is Boxing Day! (26th December). He is totally obsessed with all things Christmas-related, and that really isn’t an exaggeration. Take this photo, for example: I TRY to wrap presents, but because he is so obsessed with wrapping paper, this is the outcome. And he’s not exactly small, so he gets in the way quite badly and makes it a virtually impossible task. I have to shut him out whenever I wrap now, and then I feel bad. On Christmas day when I have a little pile of presents, if I am not careful, I will turn around to find that all my presents are in fact gone and the dog has started to rip them open. You genuinely have to guard them. I should get a shepherd’s crook so I can poke him away. I have to get him his own presents (I’m not even kidding, it’s like having a child) and distract him with those. As annoying as it can be, it is quite funny – but then I would say that, since he’s my dog 😛

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas and New Year, may it be jolly! ‘Tis the season to be, after all 😉 I hope you have a very merry Christmas (: To everyone who follows my blog, likes my posts, comments, supports me, encourages me, and is a wonderful friend: I have a handwritten message for you – ’cause, you know, handwritten things are always more heartfelt (let’s just hope you can read my handwriting!)

mes

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2013