Never Mind the Haters

Good Monday, friends. In actuality, I’m on Garfield’s team when it comes to Mondays, but I have to note three Awesome things about this day:

20150620_142518

But she loves her kids

1. I get three hours to myself.
2. The sun is out.
3. While walking this morning, my dog did not try assassinating any other dogs.

Finally, I have a giant stack of books on my bedside table. This makes me immensely happy. But, If you’re an avid book reader like me, you’ve probably experienced criticism from reading-deprived persons. You’ve probably been laughed at, called a nerd, accused of being lazy and all sorts of unpleasant comments/treatment, but as we know, books change the world (for a list of some examples, go here).
Story is powerful–Jesus told stories that rocked the world, so there you go, the ultimate authority has, forevermore, made books awesome. And not nerdy.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I don’t believe in perpetually staying within the lines. Oh yes, me and my crayons explore the world of color inside and outside of “the rules.”

Do you want to know the truth? Why not? Telling the truth is biblical, right? I don’t have an agent to reign me in, so here it is: I don’t like having to market my books. I love writing, I love people, I love blogging and readers and interacting with readers, but I don’t like following the endless list of do’s and don’ts of marketing. To tell you the truth (and I know of some other authors who agree with me), it feels like self-worship. I don’t worship me. They say don’t make homemade book trailers, in fact, book trailers don’t sell books. Like, at all. But you know what? I’m visual. I like book trailers, and I know from experience that they don’t sell books, but I make them anyway because I like the process and winging around ideas in abstract, maybe even absurd ways. So maybe I wasted several hours making one…but I made one anyway. It’s fun and I enjoyed it.

Watch this (if you want to) without a shred of pressure. And tell us how you break the rules. Tell me I’m not swimming alone out here with my crayons and camera. =)

GO HERE.

Wake up to the Art Revolution

My maiden name is Darwin. Before I married, there was a two year season where cashiers everywhere exploded in curiosity—my debit card said I was a Darwin, yet a cross necklace hung around my neck.

“Are you related to Charles Darwin?” (Yes, indirectly)

“Did he really disprove his theories?” (I don’t think so, but he was aware his theories were unproven ideas as opposed to the stance of our modern educational system)

One of my acquaintances criticized my decision to write Christian Science Fiction. Baffled, I asked, “Why?”

“Because science and Christianity don’t mix”, he said.

I was happy to inform him that The Bible not only contained science, but his statement was a shockingly unsound stereotype.

Lesson number one: don’t be afraid to do your own research.

Despite the fact that some religions such as Christianity are quickly becoming taboo and misunderstood, people still search for the God of miracles. No matter how illegal, unpopular, hated, and stereotyped He becomes, there will always be longings within the deepest parts of us that will cry out for answers far beyond our knowledge. This is not ignorance–it’s a journey toward the extraordinary. One of the most powerful expressions of this journey is the arts—paintings, music, literature–those things that speak beyond the questions we don’t have answers for.

Picasso expressed his heart well in The Geurnica–his reaction to the devastation of the Basque town of Guernica when the Nazi’s targeted it for bombing practice during the Spanish Civil war.

guernica

I wouldn’t hang it on my wall, but I can certainly feel the anguish. I can read about the incident in the history books, but with Picasso’s painting, I get it.

Giacomo Cavedone shows us Stephan, the first man killed for following Christ. Here is the martyr’s last recorded moment:

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:54-70

220px-StStephen_GiacomoCavedone

A man willing to die for Christ is a man who knows Christ. In his last moment, Stephan was able to exist here and beyond simultaneously. That’s a powerful bit of history I would hang on my wall. Waking up each day with a visual reminder that beyond is close enough to touch would make my steps a lot more purposeful.

But art can be dangerously powerful against those wishing to silence a people. What would happen if religion was outlawed? And then the expressive arts, because it encouraged rebellion? Sooner or later, history might “lose” documentation that would encourage people to rebel against these laws.

We would fall into forced ignorance…

But what would God do?

What if God decided to show a boxed in world how uncontainable He was? Who would He raise up to peel open the door to heaven?

What do you think would happen?

This is a story I’ll be bringing to you in my soon-to-be-released book, Wake, brought to you by the newly formed Darwin House Press. If you have any of your own theories, feel welcome to share them in the comments.

Traveling with the Birds

Childhood summers were often spent with my grandparents, touring the roads of the western United States. Sometimes my brothers joined us and away we went, walking through the Redwood forest, looking for Ewoks and Storm Troopers; playing in the endless ocean or roasting marshmallows to the tune of crickets and busy highways that embraced America.

 

It was on these youthful adventures where bluegrass/gospel music rooted inside, becoming threads of fond memories. I might have made fun of that genre of music 100_0093back on the playground where everything was separated by “cool” and “uncool”, but inside, I was reliving the inner slideshow back by the campfire, listening to my grandparents harmonize their way into hearts of their grandchildren.

 

America. I can still smell the ocean where I first saw starfish, watching them for hours. I visited swap meets where people sold cool stuff like ballet shoes, antiques and books. And, of course, there was McDonalds. “The steering wheel automatically turns into McDonalds, no matter how tightly I hold it”, my Grandpa would say. A giant grin would creep across his face as he spoiled us with endless boxes of chicken nuggets with honey mustard sauce; a child’s gourmet meal.

 

One memory made when dining under the golden arches was the meeting of the Birds. Not the tweeting kind, but those that shared the same surname as my Grandparents. By the time we had finished our Egg McMuffins, and absorbed the smell of coffee into our clothes, we were invited to park the motor home in any Bird driveway available on our travels. After all, if we went back far enough, we could be related. And what says family like those named after the creatures that travel freely and sing love songs to America?

Back home, my brothers and I would enjoy the Arizona sunsets once again on My Grandparents front porch, shelling pecans and getting bit by mosquitoes before they became harbingers of this or that disease.

 

My grandparents may make their way into the pages of my book, singing their love of our country into the restless hearts of my characters. If you read about Earl and Geneva, sit down and enjoy the legacy they leave. They will be singing, “I’ll fly away” and watching a family in search of what they already know: Faith in America.