Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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      Back CoverExFeds, former Federal prosecutor Diane Munson and former undercover Federal Special Agent David Munson draw on their true-life experiences in this debut suspense novel about Special Agent Eva Montanna, whose twin sister died at the Pentagon on 9/11. Eva dedi cates her career to avenge her death while investi gating Emile Jubayl, a member of Eva’s […]
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    • July New Releases Clash
      Here at Clash of the Titles, the end of another month calls for the beginning of another Clash.We present to you five brand new novels for your perusing pleasure. Which would you pick up first? Let us know by casting your vote below! Check back here on Thursday, September 4th for the contest results.Big secrets never stay hidden, and it’s the darkest ones th […]
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    • Taking A Break
      If you are a regular reader you'll know I didn't post last week. We had just gotten home from vacation. Yellowstone National Park is fantastic. You know how things go when you get back. Well, that was the way it was for me. Add in an unplanned dental event and an 8 hour round trip to Chicago for a TV interview about Seeing The Life and you can prob […]
    • Sin Still Makes You Stupid and Your Stupidity  Ripples, Floods, or Tsunamis  
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    • Book Review: Healing Grace by Lisa Lickel
      When Grace Runyan experiences the loss of her husband, she moves to escape her pain and her past. She rents a home in a small Michigan town next door to a seriously  ill man with a young son. Grace’s personal tragedy and hurts run deep. The  more we get to know her, the more secrets we learn about her. As she begins to care for the little boy, and finds hers […]
    • Book Giveaway: Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship
      Here's your chance to win a print or electronic copy of my book, Mothers and Daughters: Mending a Strained RelationshipHere's a bit more about the book.Mothers and daughters. In perhaps no other relationship are our hopes so high, and the dysfunction so disappointing. You feel locked into a hurtful relationship that you must deal with, and it' […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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On a Final Note

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 20, 2012

Good news, everybody! My friend in Romania (she lives 7 hours ahead of us, so it’s after midnight for her) is STILL ALIVE! :gasp: That means the world will be fine.

No, seriously, if I hear another end-of-the-world prediction, I’m going to drive to wherever this person is and I will throw an angry kitten at him/her.

In other news, this is my last post here at Reflections. :cue weeping: “I’d like to thank the academy…”

Though my time here has been short (somewhere around a year), it’s been fun and quite the learning experience. If I’ve learned anything more about being a writer, whether writing blogs or stories or bad jokes, it’s that, writing is now and always will be a self-motivating job. (My keyboard stammered and missed the ‘s’ on ‘self-motivating’ for a second, so it said ‘elf-motivating.’ I could have left it and made a dumb Christmas joke, but I didn’t…) No amount of encouragement, inspiration or watching scary movies is going to get a book written. It’s all about sitting down and WRITING SOMETHING. This applies to me during my Christmas Break now more than it did during the semester, because now I don’t have homework to distract me.

Haha…yes, I think of homework as a distraction from my writings. I’m a terrible student.

This really has been nice, though. I’m not the best at coming up with topics on the spot, but either way, writing is writing, and I always learn more about myself and others when I take the time to speak my mind in public. Public…Internet…same thing.

I’m definitely going to try keeping in touch with the Reflections crew, and I’m thinking of starting my own blog eventually. I’ll get around to it. I have too many thoughts and ideas to confine them to a personal journal; I’d rather bounce ideas off other readers and hear what they have to say about this and that. I’d post a link to my ‘new blog’ if I had one at the moment, so for now I’ll just say, keep an eye out for me here on WordPress. Of course, this isn’t about me. It’s about Jesus, and I happen to be passionate about spreading the Good News, so if you like hearing it from me, then come find my other blog when I make it. We’ll spread the Good News together!

With that, I bid readers a fond farewell, happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah and winter solstice for whomever celebrates whatever. Happy Birthday Jesus! Thanks again for reading all my rantings, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

God The Holy Fetus

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 13, 2012

Weird title, huh? It’s a bizarre thought, it might even make some people uncomfortable, but I feel that it’s a point that many Christians allow to slip their minds. I personally hadn’t thought of it until recently, in the middle of a Bible study/Christmas dinner with friends.

To Christ followers, when you think of Christmas, what comes to mind first? The birth of Jesus? Bright stars, wise men and gifts? Decorated trees? Snow? Santa and reindeer? Krampus, even??? Well, if you think of baby Jesus in a manger out in the middle of nowhere, that’s definitely a good thing to realize. In other words, it’s good to grasp the knowledge of God’s humbleness and peace in entering the world He created. He didn’t explode from the sky with guns blazing, screaming, “ALL RIGHT. You guys messed up, and I’m here to fix it, so LISTEN UP.” Rather, He was born as one of us, grew with us and walked with us, to say, “I’m your friend and I love you, so let me tell you how this really works.” Still, I doubt people often consider the fact that, before God was baby Jesus, God was a Holy Fetus.

HOLY FETUS!!!

Think about it! Not only did God come to Earth in a barn filled with dirty animals and put Himself through natural childbirth. This also means God –the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, was and ever will be; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Alpha and Omega; the BIG CHEESE- sat in the womb of a human being for nine months, becoming that which He usually created from His throne in Heaven. He created and embodied at the same time. He patiently formed Himself inside one of the flawed creatures He was coming to the world to save! The Eternal Father took nourishment from a mortal and entrusted her with the task of carrying Him in her body until the night He would be born from her into an animal’s FEEDING TROUGH.

In the words of my local church pastor (you’re awesome, Pastor Kevin!), “GOD. BECAME. MEAT.”

I didn’t have a whole lot to say about this topic just because, it is what it is. I have a hard enough time just wrapping my head around it, much more coming up with a lot to say about it! I just wanted to share these thoughts with you readers as the holiday approaches. And with that, I say cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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Slow Your Heart

Posted by Luther D. Powell on December 6, 2012

Another college semester is near its end, and with every end comes a variety of emotions. No semester seems to end on a bland note. Maybe that’s just me, but luckily, this semester’s end is looking quite bright, and I’ve found happiness in my work and my friendships. In my battle with depression over the past few years, I would tell people, “I have my good nights and my bad nights.” However, in the past month or so, I can’t recall having what I would consider a “bad night.”

Still, I come to this sort of happiness and it’s almost like I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to react to it, because it’s been a while since it’s stuck around long enough for me to notice. My emotions reach a new height, but they come to a screeching halt when I realize I don’t know what to do with myself in this state.

My initial thought is to give thanks to God for providing me with this happiness, so I pray. I pray and pray and pray and give thanks until I run out of words, but my mind is still restless, trying to find an appropriate way to express how I feel.

So, what must I do? Have I literally been TOO happy lately? Does anyone around me even notice a difference? Is there supposed to be a difference? What do I do with this? How do I react?

Well, for anyone who has a similar issue, vague as it may sound, I believe it’s time to slow your heart. We’ve all let our emotions drive us from time to time, and I think I’ve spent so long letting negative emotion linger in me that I’m at a loss for logic. I’m happy now, but there’s still one thing I feel I should do to truly feel happy, to feel joyful. I need to slow my heart.

I need to find peace in my Lord, in His love for me, in His will for me. When a friend or family member gives you a gift, do you just thank them and run off? No! You thank them, then spend time with them. To me, it’s the same deal with God. God will bless you in ways you won’t even notice, and if you just thank Him and try to move on with your life without any sense of direction, your happiness will meet its limit soon after.

Another way to explain would be to compare this to a first date. On my first date, and many dates following with the same girl for that matter, my heart used to beat like crazy for hours. So much so that it made me physically sick. I couldn’t even eat anything when I was this girl because I was too excited to be with her! I think it’s easy to get so excited over what God does for you that you don’t take a moment to sit and rest your heart. You can’t concentrate, you can’t interact calmly, you can’t stop running around in circles. It’s okay to get excited, but we need peace as well. We need to slow our hearts.

So, try to find peace with God when He blesses you. Spend time with Him. Don’t just tell Him you’re thankful, show Him you’re thankful! Read The Word, soak it in, spend time in silence thinking on it. I hope this made sense to anybody other than me, thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Regarding Art School

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 29, 2012

Last night, I got asked a pretty blunt question, one which I’d expect to have been asked by now, but never took the time to come up with a good answer for. Until now. A friend asked me, “Why did you choose to go to school for art?”

Now, I could answer by saying, I like drawing, and wanted to become better at it and find a career in it. However, I know a handful of people who are fantastic artists who either didn’t stay in school for art, or never went in the first place. I don’t NEED art school to get better; just motivation and the will to learn more about my practice. It wasn’t until today that I really thought up good reasons for going to school for art.

I’ll admit, when people ask what I’m studying, and I tell them “fine arts,” I’ve grown accustomed to the looks of pity people give me. Probably thinking, “You’ll never find a job in that in Ohio, or anywhere else, ever,” which I can understand. I’ll have people tell me they admire my artistic talent, but I can tell what they’re thinking. Or rather, some people vocalize what they’re thinking. It’s generally accepted that artists have to really know their stuff to get anywhere in life (which is why I’m also a writer, ‘cause that’s one of those ambitious occupations people seek too, yes?), and I’m not offended by the notion. It makes sense. One doesn’t just draw pictures and sell them to people, although that’s what I’ve started with as an art career, so to speak. You have to develop your own style, figure out who wants to see it, what you could use it for or who else could use it, all that stuff that goes into making a business of any sort.

All that to say, I definitely understand why people might look down on an arts degree, or why any art students change their majors and/or drop out. Making a living off art is tough, hence why I’m also in food service and, again, writing novels. So, thinking on all the cons of being an art student, finding a specific, logical reason as to why I chose it is actually kind of hard.

But here’s what I’ve come up with, so hear me out.

Art school isn’t just about painting pretty pictures, or learning how to paint pretty pictures. It’s not all about methods or style. And it sure as beans isn’t about picking an ‘easier’ degree to aim for just to make a name for yourself, because trust me, everyone I know who went into art school expecting it to be easy was thoroughly disappointed.

The things I’ve learned as an art student, people don’t just pick up on in whatever daily life routines. When I tell people some of the things I do or think on, they look at me like I’m an alien, because people just don’t do those things. For example, being an art student has turned me into an all-out detail-nut. I pick up on things about people that they don’t even notice about themselves. Facial features, smells, mannerisms, BONE STRUCTURES. I remember my friends by all kinds of little things that I’ve begun to look for in reality the way I would look for details in a piece of artwork to find meaning or message.

Oddly enough, being an art student has given me a passion for learning about a lot of stuff that I went to art school assuming I could avoid. Science, philosophy, history, there are a handful of subjects I didn’t expect to WANT to learn more about, not that I ever hated them. But now, after spending night after night conjuring images with paper and pencils, my brain grows restless, and I crave new information, about totally random stuff! As a writer, I research specific things in order to compose a seemingly-authentic story that people can relate with, but as an artist, I’m stuck with whatever my brain comes up with, and I NEED MORE.

One last great aspect of being an art student, at least, one for me personally, is that I can express my love for God and Bible stories in ways that have been around since people. God’s message used to be spread through art by nearly every well-known ‘master’ artist such as Michelangelo and Caravaggio (my personal favorite), and people don’t seem to think about that anymore so much as, “Wow, artists back then were crazy-ambitious.” I can change that, I can bring back God’s message through art, and I can do it my own way to reach out to all kinds of people. To non-Christian art students, the equivalent is simply, one can reach out to people with wonderful, meaningful messages that are just as useful in life as any doctor, policeman, scientist or construction worker. Don’t go to art school just so you can get better at drawing stuff, go to discover a message within yourself that needs to be spread!

I hope this is informative for anybody wanting to pursue an art career or become an art student, and that it encourages my art-student-friends. Although art school is a bit difficult, it’s worth it to learn all the non-art related things that sneak into your mind. Thanks for reading, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m Thankful For…

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! I figured the best way to go about tonight’s blog would be to go generic. Why not descibe some things I’m thankful for, right?

First and foremost, I’m thankful for Jesus Christ. To me, He is many things; God, Savior, Friend, The Creator. I could fill this whole post with just His names, but I want to express my thanks for the things He has made and done for me. For one thing, I can’t thank Him enough for His forgiveness, and saving me (and the rest of the world, for that matter) from sin. I’m thankful for His endless love, His goodness, and the fullness my heart receives when I pursue Him.

I’m thankful for the family I was born into, and the family I continue to adopt in Christ. I’m thankful for my awesome parents and how they’ve provided for me all my life. I’m thankful for my two older sisters, whom, despite the regular distance between all of us, have always helped me grow as a person.

I’m thankful for friends. Best friends, semi-close friends, acquaintances, anyone I come into contact with who doesn’t immediately try to kill me. I’m always learning, and anyone who treats me with either respect or disrespect is going to teach me something. Those who show me love, whom I love, I am most thankful for. I can’t imagine a life without any friends. They help me stay who I am, and help me keep from being who I shouldn’t be.

I am thankful for music. My ability to hear it, my ability to make it. Metal music is my favorite, but I can enjoy anything with a pleasant tune and/or agreeable lyrics. God really knew what He was doing when He blessed mankind with the means and talents to create such wonderful sounds.

I’m also thankful for art in general, all sorts. Again, being able to make art is great. If I had no way to express some of the things on my mind, I feel like my head would probably explode. That goes for drawing, writing, anything one may call art. I hope my art and writing can inspire anyone else as much as the world’s has inspired me.

I’m thankful for my cat. Because… why shouldn’t I be thankful for my cat?

I’m thankful for the miracle of technology. For computers, cell phones, video games, internet, webcams, photography, television, refrigerators, toilets! I was lucky enough to live in a generation which got to see the arrival of a whole world of technology that people twenty years ago weren’t exposed to and people twenty years from now will think is prehistoric. Without Facebook –without internet!- I wouldn’t have gotten my first few stories published, nor would I have met a great community of writer-friends in the process of starting my career. I have access to so many people near and far with today’s technology, and for that, I am thankful.

I am thankful for nourishment. Food, drinks, caffeine. I try not to overindulge myself, but I sure do like being able to eat what I want, when I want, how I want.

I’m thankful for sleep, and for dreams. Dreams make sleep fun, and sleep makes me… normal?

I’m thankful for pillows and blankets.

I’m thankful for clothes. I like being warm, and I like being stylish.

I’m thankful for my ability to grow a beard.

I’m thankful for Bruce Willis movies, ‘cause he’s awesome.

I’m thankful for Godzilla.

I’m thankful for hugs and kisses.

I’m thankful for new places to travel.

I’m thankful for mysteries and adventures.

I’m thankful for books, reading, information, words and eyeballs.

I’m thankful for glasses. Having to wear them is a drag, but they keep my world from looking like a messy, blurry blob.

I’m thankful for fingernails. You never notice how useful they are until you let them grow a little bit.

I’m thankful for trees. They help us breathe, they’re pretty, and climbing on them is fun.

I’m thankful for comfy chairs.

I’m thankful for animals. All of them. Well, maybe all of them except for mosquitoes.

I’m thankful for transportation. Cars, boats, planes, trains, all that good stuff. Feet are nice too, but they don’t cross oceans very easily.

I’m thankful for senses. How could we do anything without them, you know?

I’m thankful for time limits, and for eternity. Time limits give me a reason to work faster, or slower, to decide when to begin and when to end. And eternity? It gives me a reason to stick around.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Family, Friendship, Happiness, Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Day in the Life Of…

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 15, 2012

It occurred to me in the middle of work this morning that I had to write a blog for today! Whoops! Sometimes, my entire week slurs together and I forget that certain days happen when I have to do things and stuff, it’s confusing. In the midst of my morning confusion, I decided I would just write about my day. ‘Cause I figured… I can do that.

I woke up around 10:30, fell asleep, and woke up again, probably several times. If you added up the collection of moments this happens during my life now, there would be like three whole years or so composed entirely of me struggling to decide when to wake up. I was officially up by 11.

Would have had time for breakfast, but I spent a full five minutes staring blankly at my computer screen, fighting the desire to post an interesting Facebook status update. I’m ashamed to admit, this happens on a fairly regular basis, mostly because part of me feels obligated, if I’m on Facebook, to post about what’s REALLY on my mind, considering, that’s the question in the little box when you first log in. It’s my duty to let my friends know how I’m doing, right? HAHA!

So I sit for a while, pondering, “What IS on my mind?” before concluding that most of the things on my mind would probably erase my ‘friend list’ in a heartbeat. No, seriously. I’m a horror author. If I just went around telling everybody what was going on in my head, people probably wouldn’t like me very much. I eventually decided not to post anything, then realized I no longer had time to throw together a peanutbutter sandwich.

I tossed on my work uniform: black, dress pants –check. Orange polo, still kind of stiff from the sweat of last shift –check. Nametag –check. Hat –check. You’ll note that I didn’t shower today; you’d think that, working in food service, being clean –REALLY clean, is crucial. At my campus food court, that’s not quite the case. Really, wearing a hat for 4+ hours, to me, just means nobody can tell that I haven’t washed my hair in a while. And bathing everything else? Well, that’s a little pointless when you wash dishes for hours and get food waste plastered all over yourself.

Brushed my teeth after getting dressed. Gathered what I needed for my drawing class which follows work. That took longer than expected, and with eight minutes before the start of my shift, I booked it to work. On a normal morning, my walk to work takes a solid ten minutes. My apartment isn’t far from the campus food court, so that’s nice. However, when I have to half-walk half-sprint in bursts to make sure I keep my record of punctuality, that’s not so nice.

My record of not-being-late has not been broken yet.

At work, I shuffled into an apron, clocked in, looked over the beverage coolers. They were already full, so I headed to the dish machine and started washing. Luckily, today, two other workers were sent to dish because there was nothing else for them to do. We tackled a rather intimidating pile of dishes in about an hour. I had earned myself a well-deserved lunch break.

For lunch, I ate a big ol’ stack of pierogies with an ice cold Coca-Cola (for those of you who don’t know, pierogies are Polish dumplings filled with  mashed potatoes and cheese. Basically Heaven in your mouth). I sat alone and  ate, watching customers pass me by, wondering what they would eat, smiling casually at those who looked over.

After break, I returned to the beverage coolers to find that a few slots had been emptied. That was my cue. I mounted my trusty steed –the stocking cart, and rolled into the stocking room, where all the bottled drinks are stored. With clipboard in hand, everything I needed written down, I started loading the cart full of drinks. I spent another forty minutes or so putting those drinks in the coolers.

The rest of work consisted of scraping old food gunk out of the inside of garbage cans. Not much to say about that.

Once work was over, I had a few minutes to browse Reddit.com, one of my favorite websites. It’s for posting pictures, funny stuff, news articles, basically anything. Scrolled through the ‘photography’ section, which just has a bunch of cool, inspiring pictures.

At 3:30, I headed to my drawing class. In which, I drew things. But not just any things. I drew my cat, because I did not feel like working on the project we were supposed to be working on. Call me a bad student, but I plan to do the next project in ink and water, and that’s not very easy to transport on foot. And, my instructor liked my cat drawing.

When I returned to my apartment after class, I entered a cloud of the sweetest-smelling aroma of grilled cheese and tomato soup. My roommate had a guest over and was cooking dinner with her, and offered to make me a sandwich. I took him up on that offer with glee. The sandwich –grilled cheese with chicken- was delicious.

By the time I had finished my sandwich, my roommate and his guest had already left to go do…stuff, I don’t know where they went. So, apartment’s empty. Know what that means?

DRUM MYSELF INTO A COMA TIME!!!

Which is exactly what I did. Drums. Then naptime. When I woke up, I typed this, and now I’m posting it. Later tonight, I’ll probably draw some more, catch up on my NaNo wordcount (I confess, I’m too embarrassed to post my wordcount here for all to see. It’s pathetic), and I might hang out with some friends if they show up like they normally do after the Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) meeting. I used to go to those, but choose not to now, for reasons I might explain another day. My friends who go usually come over to the apartment afterwards. If they don’t, more drawing, more writing. Maybe some reading in there, we’ll see. Bedtime anywhere from 3 am to 7 am. No, I’m not kidding. My brain works best during those hours.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my day. If I had anything else interesting to talk about, I would have posted about that, and not my day. So yes, I legitimately hope you got anything out of this. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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Vulnerability Exposes the Heart

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 8, 2012

This past week, I’ve been sick with something nasty. Can’t quite say what it is; apparently, what we know as the ‘common cold’ is a variety of innumerable illnesses which our bodies just happen to react the same way to. But I’ll say it’s a cold. A really, really bad cold. Coughing, sneezing, emptying tissues boxes by the hour, the works.

Being sick with this sort of thing really shows me my innermost self. And no, not just because I’m coughing my entrails out. I mean, sickness makes me irritable and cranky, probably because I’m so weak, so vulnerable. My head is throbbing and I don’t feel like thinking. My throat hurts and I don’t feel like talking. I can’t smell stuff. The rest of my body aches and it’s a chore to get out of bed. Can’t breathe and it makes sleeping difficult. Wah wah waaah!

All these factors contribute to my being less patient with my computer loading things on the Internet, the bus being ‘late’ by my watch, my soup tasting funny, all sorts of little things that I’m suddenly so bothered by. The question is, has my life really gone downhill since I’ve gotten sick, or is everything pretty much exactly the same as it always is, and do I have any right to grouch about things? Answer: Life is no different around me, just inside me, and I don’t really have the right to grouch.

My being sick could be caused by a number of things. I won’t say God has willed it, because I know He loves me and doesn’t want to make me sick. He wants to make me strong in Him. However, because I’m sick, it is easier for me to realize what my heart is really like at the moment, and how much I’m missing out on God’s love. If my heart were more like His, I wouldn’t be so quick to whine and groan at the simple annoyances that I, literally, deal with every day and am normally used to. It bothers me that I am so easily bothered by things when I’m sick and weak, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this issue. The blessing in it is that truly, I recognize my need for more Jesus when my temper flares up against silly things, and it certainly does that more often when I’m sick.

For example, I got slightly unhappy when I woke up from a ‘nap’ a few minutes ago, after having written half of this blog and after I planned to only sleep for an hour and a half before I would finish this and post it. Set two alarms. I don’t know how I slept past two alarms, and my being sick is no excuse. I woke up and started coughing angrily before sitting down to finish this.

So, am I saying God makes people sick when He knows we needs to straighten up? No, but I am saying that the timing with my sickness in particular fascinates me, because I know that He knows that I need to straighten up, and I know that He uses all kinds of things for His work to get done. Is anyone else out there catching something nasty and suddenly noticing the condition of your heart? This isn’t a guilt-trip; don’t feel bad about it. I mean, do, but in a healthy fashion. Recognize it and fix it! Maybe your sickness won’t be such a pain when you know that you’re right with The Lord, yeah? Food for thought. Er… cough drops for thought.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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On the Brink of No-Shave-NaNo

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 1, 2012

Last year, my blog-predecessor, Ben Erlichman, blogged at the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) about his plans for upcoming stories. I thought I’d do the same, for those curious about the different types of stories I come up with, and also to help motivate myself to write said stories. I’m challenging myself for NaNo, but I don’t have an account on the actual site, NaNoWriMo.org.

On another quick note, it is also No-Shave-November, or Noshavember for short. For most guys on campus, that means shaving off facial hair on the night of October 31, and letting it grow uncontrollably throughout November. For me, that just means trimming what beard I have, and letting it continue to do its thing for the month and probably through all of Winter. Because I, for one, do not want a cold chin in this nasty, Ohio weather.

These are all the different stories I currently have in mind to write eventually. A few are pretty well developed, most are just ideas tossed about scattered notebooks. If I remember correctly, Ben Erlichman made up a big planning chart for himself with all his story ideas, but I… don’t make charts. Like, ever. So I figured I would just brief you on each idea, without giving away too much meat, of course.

First and foremost, there’s the werewolf story. It’s the first real novel I ever started writing, and had it (and its sequel) complete until I decided it was terrible and had to rewrite it. The story itself was originally going to span for seven books, but I’m playing it by ear now, considering the vast amounts of changes I’ve made to it. The story follows a variety of characters, most of which are not human (werewolves, vampires, mutants, angels, demons, all that good stuff); teenagers in high school struggling to fit in despite their ‘abnormalities,’ immortals locked in ageless battle with others of their kind, unseen evils trying to end the world, unseen good trying to bring all the supernatural characters against the evil in order to save the world… It’s… ambitious. But it’s MOSTLY about werewolves.

The story I’ve chosen to work on for NaNo is what I’ll call a ghost-romance. It starts off like any other love story: two college students meet at a party, things are a bit shaky at first, but they develop a relationship. Lovey-doviness ensues. The fun part is, the guy has recurring nightmares about horrible things happening to the girl, and strange, disturbing things start happening wherever the girl goes. I won’t give away any more, but I’m pretty excited about this one.

I also have two other ghost stories in mind, one of which I plan to write as a short. The short will be about a vengeful spirit haunting its murderer. The other book will involve a single father and his toddler son (or daughter, haven’t decided). The child is lonely, and begins talking about what seems to be an imaginary friend. Coincidentally, spooky stuff occurs around the house once the child brings up his/her ‘friend.’ The father, being a devout Christian, suspects an evil presence, and seeks help from priests to rid his home of his child’s creepy buddy. Once again, without giving more away, things do not turn out as expected for the father, and he gets himself involved in deeper business…

I plan on writing extended stories stemming from the two shorts I had published a little while back, Double-Edged (in Splickety magazine) and Front Row Seats (in OtherSheep magazine). Double-Edged is essentially about a ‘church-soldier’ in a bleak, post-holy-war future, turning his back on the corrupt church sect which trained him. The extended story would make a good trilogy, taking place during and after the holy war the main character fought in, leading up to the events of the short story.

Front Row Seats is a short story about a man struggling through a recent divorce, his inner battle described in detail during a church sermon he attends. This is probably the least horror-related story I’ve thought up, but its uniqueness comes from the portrayal of the good and evil presence following him around in his daily life. The extended story would pretty much explain all this better than I just did…

Another book I have in the works is a murder mystery thriller. It’s still very premature, but what I have so far is an investigation on a series of famous, gruesome paintings of death (in the story, not real ones) which are being mimicked by a serial killer. So like, there’s some crazy guy going around killing people in ways which are identical to these paintings/drawings, something like that, and somebody has to stop him. Basic murder mystery formula.

To keep up with the times, I’ve inevitably thought up a zombie story. It was to be a short, but I might make it a novel or trilogy. Put simply, two priests fight for survival in a zombie apocalypse. At first I REALLY wanted to entitle it, “Mass of the Living Dead,” but I didn’t want to offend anybody and decided against it.

Finally, the most recent story I’ve come up with is about someone finding (or being given) an empty, old journal. As soon as the MC begins writing in this journal, he/she unknowingly opens the gate into an alternate reality, or maybe several, or the future, or the past, something that ultimately defies the laws of science and stuff. My initial thought was, “journal from the future. That would be cool,” but it’s turned into something bigger than that. We’ll see where it goes from there. The idea was partially inspired by Ted Dekker’s Circle books, but I want to make it scary.

Lots of ideas, lots of time for writing out said ideas. I hope you enjoyed catching a glimpse of the depths of my brain tonight. Happy Holidays for those who celebrate them, cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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I Prefer Walking

Posted by Luther D. Powell on October 25, 2012

I once had a silly argument with an art professor of mine about my drawing method. He was trying to convince me that I worked too slowly, and put more time into my work than necessary by drawing everything freehand. He saw it more beneficial to use a projector to trace the outline of whatever reference photo I was using to draw from. At the time, I thought it was odd for an artist to do that, and it almost seemed like cheating to me. My professor used this analogy to better describe his argument: “You and I are heading in the same direction, only you’re walking and I’m driving.”

I understand what he meant, and it turns out using a projector is a common practice among realistic painters, at least around here. They make things easier on themselves by using a projector to trace their image onto the canvas or paper before trying to paint everything, just so it starts off proportioned right. However, I find it much more therapeutic to start simple, making basic shapes before drawing in layers and layers of detail. I learn much more that way, studying the human form or animals or trees or whatever it is I’m taking the time to draw.

Comparing this to walking, actual-foot-walking, kind of describes that way I choose to go about life in general. I don’t have my own car yet, and a shuttle bus drives all over my school neighborhood, so I wouldn’t use a car here in Bowling Green much anyway. While at school, I learn to appreciate walking for many reasons. I feel like driving makes trips monotonous. In my hometown, there’s not much you can look at while driving fifty miles an hour everywhere, but if you walk, that’s a different story. You pick up on things while walking, little things that mean a lot if you take the time to analyze them. For example, out of the many concrete slabs which make up the sidewalk leading from my apartment to campus, there is a single block that seems to be frequently used to spit out chewing gum. Why? I don’t know, but there’s gum stuck all over this one slab of concrete, and it will probably stay that way. How many people have spat gum there? Maybe the same person? What flavors of gum are all over the concrete?

Yeah, that’s a weird example, but you see what I mean? I learn so much from walking, from taking things slow, stopping and smelling the flowers and finding out which ones have thorns, watching the birds fly overhead and figuring out which cats are strays and which ones are people-friendly.

With all that in mind, take a moment to ask yourself this question: in your walk with God, are you really walking, or are you driving? Do you and Jesus stop and examine the gum on the sidewalk, or are you always saying, “Not this time, Jesus, I’m in a rush”?

I’ll be honest in saying that lately, I’ve found myself driving through my spiritual life instead of walking, which is why Lisa filled in for me last Thursday (thanks bunches once again, Lisa!). I’ve been busy just being busy, and not being busy with God, and I needed some time to “smell the flowers” in my Bible. It’s tough recovering from a mess of work and coming out to let Christ fill my life all over again. It’s like, the minute you stop walking and start driving, you’ll see God through your windshield like any other building or landmark you’re used to passing every day on your way to work. It’s better if God’s in the car with you, probably better yet if He’s driving, but walking with Him is just as productive even if it takes longer.

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

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The Joys We Don’t Know

Posted by Luther D. Powell on October 11, 2012

A very interesting question came up during a Bible study with a group of friends a few nights ago. The study involved the Christian perspective of death, and what it means to die as a follower of Christ. Reading from Philippians, Paul was describing how he wouldn’t be ashamed when he would finally come to the throne of God. This brought up the question, when we get to Heaven, will we even be able to feel ashamed? This question led to a broader one: when we get to Heaven, will we experience emotions we can’t experience here on Earth?

The so-called “Joy of The Lord” is rather mysterious to me. I know it when I feel it, I think others do too, but I don’t really know just how to… summon it, so to speak. To channel it, to hold tightly to it when I have it, it’s a difficult task. I am aware of a certain heightened positive outlook on things I get whenever I’m “on fire” for God; when I’m at a spiritual high, when I feel like I’m growing and growing closer, helping someone else grow closer, that sort of thing. But to just ask for it, to wait for it, I rarely just have it.

I believe some people have it a lot more often than I do, for sure. I can see it in people, hear it in their voices. The mystical joy of The Lord is fascinating to me, because contemplating this question from my Bible study, it makes me feel like the joys we know here are only a fraction of the positive emotions Heaven may offer. To recognize a special happiness that I only receive when I feel closest to Jesus tells me that Heaven could be filled to the brim with versions of happy we can’t comprehend with our wittle human bwains.

I don’t know about you, but I can imagine pure ecstasy while sauntering along the cosmos with my Creator. But what I can imagine here on Earth is probably nothing compared to the awareness of joy we’ll get in Heaven. Our imagination here has limits like the rest of the aspects of our Earthly life, but in Paradise, where there are no tears, no sin, no sadness, where goodness reigns eternally, there could be endless joys.

I’m kind of ranting, I know, but just think about it! I treasure every moment of peace, happiness and joy down here because, like any other person, I realize I’m going to die someday. But unlike EVERY human, I must remind myself that there is a better afterlife with my awesome God where all sorrows will be forgotten. Not only that, but we’ll probably gain emotions, senses and passions we never knew existed when we spend time with Jesus.

I’ve been sick and these past few days have been kind of rotten, but thoughts like these bring me peace emotionally, mentally and spiritually. If you ask me, it’s a pretty good sign if just thinking about the joys of Heaven bring you peace while you’re still on Earth. I hope this brings you readers a sort of peace as well. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Happiness, Hope, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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