A Tree’s Revelation to the Meaning of Faith

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What once started as the tiny seed in the palm of a child’s hand, has now grown into the sturdy, dependable tree that now holds the grown child in it’s branches.

Trees have always fascinated me; all plants have really. I love studying the way that that tiny seed grows. The way the leaves unfold ever so gently and provide the food the tree needs to survive on; the way it produces fruit in some form or fashion to pass along its seeds for new trees to grow; and especially the way it uses water, soil, carbon dioxide, and sunlight as it’s primary needs for survival. But the most profound thing about trees that I have recently learned, is the way they revealed “faith” to me.

My family and I recently acquired two young Cedar Elms, by accident. The way we acquired them is really irrelevant to the story, however, we are unwilling to plant them just yet, as we are only in a rent house and plan to move soon, preferably taking the trees with us. When we ended up with the two young trees, at the beginning of summer, my dad jokingly commented that “these can be our faith trees; the first part of the house we want so badly” and though I considered it a joke as well at the time, I haven’t been able to forget about it. Every time I journey across the yard to water them, for the past few months, I find myself contemplating the meaning of faith and what these two trees have to do with it. I could feel a deeper meaning, a lesson that I knew could be learned, yet I couldn’t access it yet.

So, the mornings and afternoons in which I would spend 10 to 15 minutes in the hot Texas heat to water the baby trees, I would admire them and simply think, trying to learn the lesson that I knew they were going to offer. Well, a week passed with me being out of town and I had forgotten to arrange for someone to water the trees in my absence and therefore on my return, they were well on their way to dying. One of them, which is younger and seems to have the better soil in its pot, was simply beginning to yellow and therefore was a lot easier for me to save. However the older, taller tree, had brown crunchy leaves that fell rapidly with every gentle breeze. This tree was my favorite for some reason, even before the lesson I learned from it.

I watered it fervently, making sure to not over water, yet I knew its situation was dire. I watched its leaves carefully as the dead ones continued to fall, waiting and hoping to see some new green ones sprout. It was almost a full week before I saw the tree begin to improve, the dry ugly leaves had fallen completely and the tree was bare and naked in its pot. But one small branch by one small branch, the greenery began to replenish. Now its lush with leaves just as the other one is, yet this one looks even stronger than it had before.

But while it was still recovering, I finally found the revelation that I had felt was in the midst of these trees. The tree itself is a representation of the faith we have in God’s presence in our lives. Not the faith in God in general, but the particular faith that we have in the way He interacts in our lives.

You see, it wasn’t enough for me to just believe that the tree was still alive, just as it isn’t enough for us to just believe that God cares about our lives. It wasn’t enough for me to have just said “If God wants the tree to live then He’ll make it live” just like it isn’t enough for us to say similar phrases about the situations in our lives. Yes, the first step is to believe, if I hadn’t believed that the tree was alive, I wouldn’t have tried to save it, but action needs to follow that belief. I had to water that tree every single day, once in the morning and once at night, for 4 minutes at each interval. It took only 8 minutes out of my day for me to save that tree. Isn’t that how we need to nurture our faith? By taking the time and quietly studying the Word and contemplating the powerful and fascinating way of God’s nature, isn’t that the best possible way to build our faith in knowing that He will act in our lives? And by studying and inviting Him in, we are making it possible, “cultivating the soil” if you will, to make it more probable that He will act. And all it takes is that little bit of time in the morning, and that little bit of time in the evening.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalms 1:3 (ESV)

Fans of Goodreads and Instagram!

My two favorite social medias blending together?!?!?!?!?!?! YES PLEASE! Check it bookish fans😉

Literature Approved

I have a bookish app recommendation for those of you who love Goodreads and Instagram! This app is called “Litsy” and I’ve only had it for a day and already I love it! It’s set up a lot like Instagram yet it has many of the same features as Goodreads does (shelves, opportunities to post quotes, reviews, and blurbs, all with some cool pictures of your favorite photogenic books). It is for a mobile device (you can’t access your account from a laptop) and only available on the Apple Appstore currently but I assume that they are working on making it available to Android users as well.

I made myself an account and a lot of the publishers that I review for are joining it so I imagine that it will get decently big very quickly and may become a lead competitor for Goodreads (which I still use). It’s super fun…

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Writing Opportunity for Writers

Hello lovely followers, how has everyone been doing? My life has gotten super busy with all of my college courses and soon work, so I’ve fallen behind in posting both on here and Literature Approved, and I do apologize for that, however because of this I have decided to open up Accelerate The Jesus Movement and Literature Approved for guest posts and book reviews. It took me a while to decide to actually follow through with this thought because these two places are incredibly special to me and I wasn’t sure I was ready to “share” my little bit of the internet, but with my constant busyness increasing, I’ve decided that instead of letting these two sites sit vacant of posts, that I would let some of the new writers I’ve had the opportunity to meet show their skills at writing; not “take over” but definitely keep the blogs going when I can’t. I know, I know, some of you just experienced an increase in heart rate at that statement, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not “leaving”, I’ll still be posting on here, I’m just going to be sharing the reins a bit.

How I plan on this working, is I’m going to leave open the application for anyone who is interested by having them email me (or leave a comment), but I’m also going to be going to some of the blogs I follow and asking the author’s of those, personally, if they are interested in guest posting because I’ve had the chance to meet some very talented writers, of all ages, and I’d be honored to have several of them guest post here or on Literature Approved. If you’re interested, even just in knowing a little bit more about what I’m asking, please read the following guidelines:

Being a guest on Accelerate The Jesus Movement:

What I require:  The posts that I publish are expected to be encouraging towards teens/young adults, boy or girl. I know that here recently, I’ve been publishing pretty much anything I want, from stories to series, but I really want to refocus back onto why I started this blog in the first place, to Accelerate Jesus into the lives of my peers. So the only posts I will be publishing from guests will be posts that encourage and inspire the readers. I may make exceptions depending on the idea pitched to me, but I am going to stick with this and will, myself, follow this when I post.

Benefits of being a guest: Though I will not give any of the guests access to self publish anything here, I will give them full rein to chose their own topics, pictures (if they see it suitable for a topic picture), and dates of publish. I also will post a short bio, bio picture (if desired), and links to personal websites.

My role when regarding a guest: I will be the editor for all of the posts, not meaning that I am going to rewrite everything to suit my taste, instead I will be checking for errors but more specifically ways to better the post and ensure that it makes sense to the audience. It will still solely be the author’s post, I will just be perfecting it. And before it is published, I will send the author the edited piece so they can approve of what I polished.

Being a guest on Literature Approved:

What I require: Literature Approved is a book (and sometimes movie) reviewing site for any and all ages who are seeking clean, entertaining books. Because I am very particular about which books I approve, only a few genres are available to have guest reviews; children’s booksmiddle grade, school classics and some YA fiction. Because it would be useless and unnecessary for me to read a book in order for me to approve of the review someone already wrote, I have to give a certain amount of trust in this area. I have a way to decide on which books can be reviewed but I will save that to explain to those who are interested in this role.

Benefits of being a guest: Once again, I will not be giving the guests access to post anything by themselves, however they will receive full credit for the review, a short bio, bio picture (if desired), and links to personal websites. The details of selecting the books to review will be saved for the explanation of whoever is interested in taking the role.

My role when regarding a guest: Just like with guests for Accelerate the Jesus Movement, I will be the editor of the reviews simply to polish them to perfection. Also, I will take the tedious task of adding all of the links and formatting of the reviews as well so all the guest will need to do is write the review and attach the cover image🙂

I think that I already have a few writers lined out for guest posts so please don’t hesitate to drop a comment or email me at typewritersheart@gmail.com for more information. I don’t have a limit for how many people can guest post (nor do I have a limit for how many posts a single guest can submit) so please feel free to pass this around to anyone who may want to guest post.

Thanks so much for reading this post and I hope that you faithful followers still stick around in the midst of this transition! Thanks again guys and I hope you all have a blessed day!

Creat a Backstory #2

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Here is a link to the rules and an example post in case you missed them or need a quick recap:

CREAT A BACKSTORY

And here is the character who needs a backstory! (Please be aware that I am unfamiliar with this photographer so if you decide to look up more of her work, be cautious as I have no idea what will show up.)

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Photo credit: Natasha Rodionoya Photography

I have to say that I am extremely excited to see what some of you will come up with; I absolutely love this picture!

Talitha’s Curse: Installment #2

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Read Installment #1 HERE

One- A Curse is Caused part 2

“Queen Serenity had her baby!” Cicili beamed and I stopped shredding, suddenly interested.

“A baby girl!” Cecil chimed in and I turned to face them. My mood changed for the better, I couldn’t help but smile.

“Yes a girl! And they are to call her Ayanna! Princess Ayanna Philippon!” Cicili finished with enthusiasm, practically bursting with joy.

“Well how nice!” I clasped my hands and beamed, “We shall prepare a meal for our queen immediately and bring Princess Ayanna some gifts!”

I was already planning out what would be needed to make Serenity her favorite baked potato casserole, along with her favorite lemon raspberry cupcakes, and began writing out my store list.

“Yes Cecilia that is expected, however, there is an organized list of which all visitors must sign up on in order to visit the castle. We wrote our names on the nearest date available, but I’m afraid that its still two weeks out.” Cecil explained.

“A list?” I asked, slightly confused. This was not a usual custom.

“Yes, apparently our queen wishes to visit personally with everyone who brings her and the young princess gifts. She had a list organized so that this could be accomplished; there is a limit to her seeing only 4 persons a day.” Cecil once again spoke, the one who always knew the practical details.

“Oh.” I said, not at all surprised that Serenity had done this, she had always enjoyed making lists when we were kids.

“When are we to go see her?” I asked as I pulled out my ever handy pocket calendar. Flipping to the week that was precisely two weeks from today. I looked up at the two of them, waiting for my answer.

“Oh it’s the 10th that we signed up on.” Cecil answered as she removed her outing slippers.

I wrote down “Go see Serenity” on the 10th and then moved over to the previous block which was the 9th and wrote, “Make food for Serenity.” I never did a single thing throughout my day without consulting my calendar first, so it was vitally important that making the food was listed the day before.

The fact that I had a small tendency to forget things over long periods of time was also a reason for writing it down.

“Okay girls, I must finish our dinner so that we do not starve when we go to bed tonight. So, if you don’t mind, please go busy yourselves so that I can cook without interruption.” I announced when I finished writing in my calendar and had placed it back in my pocket.

“Would you like us to help with dinner? We don’t mind at all.” Cecil offered, already washing her hands.

“Oh! Cecil can help you with dinner,” Cicili batted her eyes, “I must attend to the garden as the weeds are overbearing.”

She picked up her skirt and started walking towards to door.

“You put a spell on the garden that will not allow weeds to grow.” Cecil stated dryly as she dried her hands.

“Ah, yes of course. I was speaking of the weeds that are growing around the garden.” She smiled, “Off I go now!”

And she walked out the door, leaving Cecil shaking her head.

Cecil and I finished dinner a lot more quickly than normal. We were both so hungry that a few spells were involved to speed up the process.

Just like I don’t typically use spells throughout my day, I don’t normally like to make my food with spells either, mainly because it never tastes as good as a homemade meal. However, I was willing to make an exception. Once.

Pulling the cheesy potato casserole out of the oven, I asked Cecil to go ahead and fetch Cicili so that she would be clean for dinner. I set the table in her absence and a few moments later, our meal was dished out and the three of us sat down together to eat.

Not one of us had taken a bite, however, when suddenly the lovely doorbell that I had just installed earlier that day sounded off. A beautiful tinkling that lasted about five seconds brightened my mood as I tossed my napkin onto the table and rose to meet our guest.

“What a gorgeous sound Cecilia! Is that new?” Cicili spoke at the same time that Cecil asked, “Well who could that be at this hour?”

Ignoring both of them, I opened the door with a smile. But the smile vanished and all of the blood drained from my face when I saw Talitha standing there, a huge, unnatural smile on her face.

She was wearing all black, her normal attire, and her thick black hair was braided down to her ankles, also normal. She held her usual black spell bag in her right hand and an umbrella hung from her left arm; she always expected rain. What was not normal though, was the smile spread over her face. It even looked strange.

“Cecilia! Darling! It’s so good to see you!” Talitha exclaimed and embraced me in a brief hug before all but shoving me out of the way to let herself in.

Cecil and Cicili had heard her exclamation and, being familiar with Talitha’s voice, were immediately at the door, wearing the same expressions that I’m sure I was.

“Oh Talitha. It’s, um, surprising to see you.” Cicili attempted to be friendly and embraced Talitha briefly.

As I said before, Talitha was once a very dear friend to the girls and I, and it was nice to see her again after such a long time. But in light of her previous actions, and the fact that she was still banned from the kingdom, made me uneasy at her presence.

“How are you fairing?” Cicili practically choked on the words.

“I’m doing well Cicili! In fact, I am doing amazing!” She swept her arms around the room and did a happy twirl.

My mouth went dry and I tried to find something to say, but I was frozen where I was, completely unable to think. How did she cross the border? She must have used her magic, and that is extremely illegal!

“We were just about to eat,” Cicili began as she nervously looked at me.

I shook my head violently, knowing exactly where she was going with that statement, but she continued despite my silent protest.

“Would you like to join us? I believe Cecil and Cecilia made cheesy potato casserole, that was always one of your favorites-”

“But we understand if you’re busy, so please don’t feel obligated to stay.” Cecil blurted harshly, causing Talitha to raise her eyebrow.

In the awkward silence that followed, Talitha studied Cecil eerily. My breath caught and I found myself creating an escape route should something bad happen. My palms began sweating and I had to focus on telling my lungs how to breath. Talitha’s powers scared me and I didn’t want to be on her bad side at all, but nor did I want to be on the wrong side of the law, and I was quite certain that entertaining a person forbidden to enter the kingdom was on that wrong side.

****

Come back next Monday for Installment #3!

Talitha’s Curse; Installment One

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Prologue

Joyas. Joyas is a land in a faraway kingdom in a faraway place. She is a vast land swallowed by incomparable beauty coating every inch of her domain; from the individual grain of sand found on the outskirts of her lovely beach; to the colorful petal belonging to the unique flowers in her forest. From the snow on her mountain high, to even the deepest part of the ocean filled with creatures surrounding her.

As her name implies, Joyas is enriched with a strange joy found no where else. The culture is cheerful and welcoming, and her people are ever friendly. The natural food grown there is sweet and the animals are only native to their habitats in Joyas. And sadness and gloominess are unheard of.

It’s not that sadness isn’t felt by the people of Joyas, its that it isn’t allowed. Gloom was permanently banned during the reign of King Davion Philippon and his queen, Serenity Philippon. Though in the writing of the decree, he banned “the feeling of gloominess”, it is incorrect to say that a feeling could be banned. So rather, it was the people who carried the feeling who ended up tossed from the kingdom, never to gain entrance again.

King Davion had earned the trust of the civilians throughout years of humble and joyful service. With his playful, yet firm hand, he eventually won the favor of those who visited or engaged in business with Joyas too, leading to his immense popularity and ultimately, his power. Davion Philippon was by far the most favored king Joyas ever had; and his queen, Serenity, was just as favored.

There was just something special about their smiles when in public, or the way that they handled the people of Joyas with more understanding and gentleness than their ancestors had. No one knew for sure what it was, but nevertheless, all who knew them loved them and followed them willingly and without question.

So when it was announced that Queen Serenity would have a child, and that she wished for it to be completely free of gloom; everyone supported their idea of banning the influence of the unwanted feeling by deleting the carriers from the kingdom. It was agreed upon by all that banning gloomy persons was the most sensible way to protect the future heir.

Well, agreed upon by all except for one incompetent fairy.

One- A Curse is Caused

Standing at the sink, I sighed and scrubbed the dishes that were plied high as a mountain. With soap suds sloshing in every direction, I was anxious for the girls to get home with the cheese I had sent them to get for dinner. Looking at the clock again for the hundredth time, I huffed at the hour hand. Almost seven.

Another late dinner; I rolled my eyes. This was becoming a regular occurrence, maybe I should just stop sending them to the store.

I had only a cup of coffee for breakfast, because I had slept in, unintentionally of course. Then I had been forced to skip lunch to get a quilting order finished on time, and now my sisters were late for dinner; was I destined to starve to death?

Of course, I could have used my fairy powers to make myself something to eat, or to finish the quilt by magic, but I usually like to refrain from using powers unless absolutely necessary. Being a fairy in Joyas was once a normalcy and enjoyable, but that was back before Talitha was banned.

Shivers ran down my spine at the sound of her name on my tongue. That fairy was a mystery who had once been my friend, even though she had been gloomier than the gloomiest of all gloomies. She was perfectly harmless and had one of the kindest hearts I’d ever known, she was just not one to smile often.

When King Davion outlawed gloom and they forced her to leave Joyas, something snapped within her and her actions of defense led to her to abusing her power; therefore, giving fairies a bad reputation.

Huffing and unintentionally slamming a plate down into the sink, a huge splash of water and soap came up and slapped me in the face. Caught completely off guard and trying not to explode at myself for such a mess, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Why had this day gone so bad? I had done my best to be cheery this morning but Cecil and Cicili had been at each other’s throats for who knows why. Then, when I finally couldn’t take it anymore and blew up at them, telling them to take their fairy grumblings to some place far away, they suddenly became best friends and ganged up on me and I ended up with a torn wing.

The day only went downhill from there, with me spilling things while I walked, running into the door because I forgot to open it, and I even ruined my favorite book by spilling laundry soap on it. And now I couldn’t even wash dishes without mishap.

Reaching for a towel next to the sink, I wiped the suds and water off my face and then began drying the dishes, willing myself to remain calm. I was drying the last dish, which happened to be my favorite tea cup, when Cecil and Cicili burst in loudly and scared me dreadfully. I dropped my teacup and stared silently at the shattered pieces scattered about the floor. I needed to go to bed and just end this miserable day.

“Oh dear Cecilia! That’s your favorite teacup! Here I’ll fix it!”

Cicili reached down and mended all of the pieces back together with her special touch of magic. She handed the fully restored teacup to me with a smile and said, “There you are! Now let us tell you the wonderful news that we heard from the dairy lady!”

I ignored her enthusiasm and set my teacup into the cupboard. After closing the door, ensuring that my teacup was out of harm’s way, I asked for the cheese and all but yanked it out of Cecil’s hand. I carried the block of sharp cheddar to my work space on the counter and began shredding it, uninterested in the town gossip.

“Queen Serenity had her baby!” Cicili beamed and I stopped shredding, suddenly interested.

****

Come back next Monday for the next installment!

Create a Backstory #1

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Create a Backstory is beginning! On the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month I will post a picture of a character (male, female, human or not) in which the participants will either comment or post on their own blogs the following requirements.

  1. First and Last name
  2. What type of world they grew up in
  3. A one or more paragraph snippet of what their story would be like.
  4. (OPTIONAL) A short scene that would be written to open the story.
  5. THE BACKSTORIES MUST BE VOID OF SEXUAL SCENES/OVERLY GRAPHIC GORE/ AND CUSSING!

Here’s an example of what the post would look like:

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Amanda Schultz

A high school student in a small town in Texas.

Amanda’s life is so repetitive and messy. She hates the never-ending amount of homework piled up on her bed; she’s usually an organized person, but clothes are scattered all around her floor because she’s never home to clean; and her friends have so much drama going on that she can’t ever get a break. All she wants is to be able to have some fun with friends who hate drama as much as she does and get away. So on the first day of summer, she packs her bags and heads out on a road trip across the country, making new friends and running into danger all along the way.

Look like something you would enjoy participating in? I hope so, because I have a couple of bonuses that I’d like to add. As I said at the beginning of this post, whoever participates can either leave a comment with your backstory or you can take it and post it on your own blog and leave the link in the comments. The following Thursday (so the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month), I will post my 3 favorite backstories here and link back to those blogs!

I don’t know how well this will work but I got some feedback from a few readers and I think that at least a few of you will really enjoy this! All of the pictures I use for characters will be found on Pinterest and I’ll do my best to give photo credit, but it’s really hard to hunt down the original photographer off of Pinterest….

Anyways, here is the character in need of a backstory for August 4th!

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Remember that if you participate though your own blog, leave me a link so I can read your backstory! Happy writing!!!