Snow. It flickered around him, purity upon purity like the reflection of her unpolluted heart. Snow. They've killed you, Snow. They've taken you from me and the rest of this undeserving world.
The snowfall pattered against the ground; it caressed his face, soft yet cold, as her hands had always been in his.
"Why are you always so frozen?" he teased her.
"I was born in the winter. The wise women said I took the curse from the land," she would laugh back, trying to pull away in that shy way she had.
"Like snow. You're like snow. Cold and beautiful and pure."
"That's why they call me Snow White."
She never knew how beautiful she was. The Queen would keep her locked away, the castle mirrorless, the staff silenced if they dared breathe a word about the princess's beauty. For the strength of a kingdom is marked by the fairness of its ruler, and the fairness of a ruler is marked by the fairness in her heart, and the Queen's heart was diseased and decrepit, like an apple polished red on the outside and rotting with worms within. Conrad, even in his early days fostering with the mysterious bayerische royalty, had sensed the darkness within. He remembered as a boy watching the Queen with suspicion, draw to her for her beauty, yet repelled by the malice beneath her entrancing ice-blue eyes, golden hair, and goddess-like figure. And with Snow—Princess Lisbeth—he could never see beyond her perfection to the shadow of her stepmother. Yet it was a shadow that loomed over both of them as the years drew on and Snow's beauty increased.
Some said the young princess was an immortal, blessed by the moss folk, the creatures that lived in the woods, for her mother was greatly favored by them. Conrad had certainly though much the same when he had met Lisbeth, all those years ago as children. The Queen would have never allowed the meeting, had she known. Lisbeth was supposed to have been shut away, like the flowers and things of beauty sacrificed on the Queen's altar to the dark goddess of fertility Éostre. But somehow that day, she had escaped from her hidden rooms, and the young fosterling Conrad had found her in the woods, lying in the snow with her head against a tree.
He had thought her an immortal too. After all, who but an elf herself could possess skin as white and flawless as new snow, eyes green like fresh spring sprouts, hair dark as the coals from a dying midsummer fire, and lips scarlet as the vibrant leaves of autumn? He was in love immediately, even if he wouldn't admit it for years.
And now it was too late. Snow. I will find you. I will bring you back, even if I weep every step of the way that I must carry your body instead of have you walking beside me in your winter. His steps seemed to falter, as his heart did, at the thought of what he would find in the Black Forest. Already the shadows seemed to draw long, the playful snow deepening into the menacing blizzard so far from Snow's laughter filled winter glade where they often met. Why did I never tell her?
How could he have told her he loved her? Snow herself was never allowed love. Every year the Queen watched her with growing antipathy, watched the princess thrive and laugh and love and give her heart to everyone she met despite the agony of her own hidden existence, while the Queen shriveled and snarled and loathed and let her heart shrivel with every heart of her enemies she ate to preserve her allure and power. It seemed Éostre was a dark master indeed, for every evil ritual the Queen performed seemed to grant her little beauty and much torment to her chained soul. And yet still Snow lived, a reminder of innocence and love and a heart true and noble.
A heart she gave me. A heart I should never have been trusted with. Snow herself had hardly trusted him with it.
"I don't know if I've ever loved," she'd told him, days before she was sent away with the huntsman.
"What do you mean? Everyone who meets you, you love," he'd replied, for it was true.
"That's different. That, I cannot help, and it is not the same at all," she'd laughed. "Love that I could speak; love that I could know was love and recognize as good and beautiful. That is hard to find. Papa didn't love me because I was a girl, and the Queen certainly doesn't because I threaten her. The only one I know might have loved me is Mama, and she is dead."
"Maybe it's something you don't know you have," he'd said, pleading desperately, earnestly with his mind that she would show something—anything—that she returned his feelings. And yet fearing if she did, for the Queen had forbidden love to her as well. It was only politics, after all. Should Princess Lisbeth take a husband, the Queen's rule would end. Should—God forbid—Snow marry him, his uncle would finally have his excuse to seize Bayern from "that usurping whore of a Queen." If he even got his armies within Bayern's borders, long ensnared by the dark creatures of the forest, of the Queen. And if the Queen let either of them live long enough for the wedding to even take place. No, it was safer to deny himself his feelings and protect Snow. It was always about protecting Snow, after all, because she mattered most, more to him than his own life.
If only he had been there. She had been taken by the huntsman in the night, and Conrad hadn't heard about it till the morning. And then he had nearly been killed himself after storming into the Queen's rooms, sword in hand.
"You deny us our rest. It is very precious to us. It is hard to sleep these cold nights," said the Queen, still in her shift. But even in her shift her skin shone supple and perfect, and Conrad felt the unpleasant sensation of wanting her, except he didn't want her, he couldn't want her, because she was not Snow and she was everything he detested. He tried to imagine her as a goblin, or a gargoyle, but every moment he looked at her it became harder to imagine.
The Queen saw, and she smiled, dismissing the maid combing her hair and approaching him, lips parted. She leaned close, so close, and for a moment Conrad thought she would kiss him, and he wasn't wholly averse to the thought, especially as her thumb brushed his face, ever-so-softly... But then he saw Snow in the wintry glade, Snow so close to him as they watched the birds singing to each other, and he remembered how then he had taken her hand and smiled at her, and she had smiled back, and he had promised himself that should he ever kiss a woman, it would be Snow and Snow only. And suddenly the Queen seemed to shrivel in his eyes. Her breath, puffing against his face, made him recoil with its dragon stench; her eyes sank in her face and the pupils narrowed to reptilian pinpricks; her hair dried up into thin strands on a diseased, tumorous head, and her body, seductively turned towards him, bent as if with a thousand years of death weighing her back and dissolved to bones and thinly-stretched flesh. At first he was afraid, and then angry, and then he remembered Snow and the watery well of pity surged in him. The Queen was dying. She who had lived for centuries off the hearts of her enemies and Éostre's dark power of malice could not stop the destruction of her corrupted soul.
And then he was back to the present, staring at a woman who saw what he saw and who was angry that he saw it.
"Éostre desired her blood to drink last night," she replied coldly, pushing him away and stalking to sit upon her bed of pillows—a bed that many bayerische soldiers had shared in return for their loyalty. "She threatened to destroy the kingdom in fire and darkness if we did not offer our best—our very best. To our dismay, that meant the offer of our own dearly beloved stepdaughter—the Princess Lisbeth. She was taken to the Black Forest at midnight and left. The dark creatures have taken her and left nothing. We are very sorry."
Except she had lied. The huntsman told him that very day that Snow lived—as if her beautiful soul could ever die!—and Conrad rode that very day to the Black Forest, where he found her.
And she was safe and she lived and when he saw her Conrad wrapped her in his arms before his sense could conquer his love. He would never forget that day, when she had died and lived all at once in his mind. If only it would be so now. If only I would find her and she would be alive. If only it was not true. But he knew with the darkness swallowing the kingdom that it was true, that Snow White, the life and love of the land was truly dead and the Queen had finally triumphed. And just as the land was dying, so his heart died too.
He told her that he loved her, that day, when he clasped her in his arms, tears streaming down both of their faces. He couldn't wait any longer; if this would be their last day together he had to tell her.
"I thought you were dead. I thought she killed you," he said, leaning his chin upon her head, breathing in the scent of the fir trees in her hair. "I love you too much to lose you, Snow. You are more precious to me than anything in this world."
She stiffened, sucking in a deep breath, like she would before diving into an icy river. Conrad pulled away, looking deep into her eyes as the tears froze on both of their cheeks. She could break his heart, but he cared not, so long as she lived. He could die every day of her not loving him, and yet he did not care, so long as he could know she still breathed and the Queen had not taken her from him—from Bayern.
But she was smiling, smiling and crying all at once, and she squeezed him ever tighter. "Conrad," she whispered, pressing her face into his chest. "Conrad, I love you. I love you, and it is good, and it is beautiful and more wonderful than I ever imagined."
And they stood there, each holding the other, and Conrad never wanted the moment to end.
But it did end. Everything must end, as the beauty of spring becomes the darkness of winter and the flower fades and the darkness grows ever greater as the kingdom becomes the realm of the dark goddess Éostre.
Snow couldn't stay within the bounds of civilized Bayern; the moss folk living in the forest took her in, for the sake of her mother's goodness to them. Conrad rode whenever he could to see her, even as his uncle threatened war and he was often sent himself to spy out the borders of Bayern and send back coded missives to Preusa. The Queen detested him every moment he was in her walls, but she knew she needed him for his position—for negotiation and to keep his uncle from declaring war in haste. Conrad knew the King of Preusa, however; his uncle would not lose the wealth of Bayern to save a useless nephew who was not even his heir. But even as the shadow of evil encircled the kingdom, hope still existed for Conrad, because Snow existed.
And now she was gone. The trees seemed to taunt him with their dark branches clawing at his face, so different from Snow's gentle touch. He would cry, but his face seemed frozen in a mask of cold—or pain. My Snow. My beauty. The hope of the kingdom. The light against the Queen's darkness. Gone like the sun at end of days. Gone like the smoldering fields at Éostre's wrath. Gone like the beating hearts of the hundreds who had faced the Queen—and fallen.
Up ahead a clearing broke the darkness, and a circle of light seemed a haven for the last glimpse of brightness in Bayern. The moss folk. Conrad knew them little, but he respected their arts and their hatred of the Queen and their love for the good—for Snow White, their princess.
The eldest of the folk, a small wizened man, his face expressionless, nodded at Conrad as he approached. Some of the tree spirits seemed to weep, their bodies rocking as if with the cold winter wind. The elves watched the casket in the center of the clearing, and Conrad's breath caught as he spotted the pale face within. The casket was exquisite work, to be sure; jewels and inlaid silver adorned the structure, which was made from a strange crystal known only to the moss folk. But the woman inside outshone the casket like the sun outshone the moon. Even in death, Snow's face was tranquil, bearing always the quiet strength of her life and laughter. Conrad fought the tears rising in his soul. I was too late, my love. I didn't protect you. I should have been there. I should have killed her before she could hurt you. You never deserved this. You are fairest in heart, fairest in mind, fairest in appearance. You are perfect in every way and she's killed you—she and her dark goddess and her sniveling lackeys.
The moss folk let him be as he knelt beside the casket, taking Snow's hand, colder in death than it ever was in life. One by one they drifted away, yet the light in the clearing stayed and the blizzard began to dim.
"You're beautiful, Snow," he had told her one of the first days they knew each other. "You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen."
"Thank you," she had replied. "I don't know what that means, but thank you."
How could he explain it? How could he explain what beauty was to one who had never been allowed to hear the word, who had never been allowed to look in a mirror and see her own face or attend a ball and hear the compliments men gave women when they loved them?
He took her to the forest. She loved the flowers. Snow always loved nature more than the foreboding walls of the castle. "It lives and it breathes and it feels," she would say. "It was given us to tend; why would we not love it?"
"This," he told her, brushing a crocus coming from the damp soil, "this is beauty. It is pleasant to look upon and pleasing to be around and wonderful to experience. It shows us light and makes us wish for something greater."
Snow smiled, and, damp and all, laid on the ground, her dark hair sprawling around her as she pressed her face to the crocuses. "It is all of these things," she agreed. "But am I? The Queen thinks I am unpleasant to be around. I must be so, or else she would not keep me in this castle far from everyone, in the midst of nowhere."
"No, it is not so," he'd told her, lying beside her. "Because you are all of these things, so you are beauty, you are fairest, and someday you will show the entire kingdom that what I say is true."
"And the Queen will be gone and the shadows will disappear and all of my kingdom will be beautiful," she'd laughed, as if she'd never expected it to happen.
But he'd made a promise in his heart that someday it would happen. Because if anybody could reverse the darkness that had been descending upon Bayern from centuries of greed and depravity, it was Snow.
The snow had stilled by dawn. Conrad had wept and watched and wept again. It was over. It took merely an apple, a fruit of the forest, to steal from him his love and from the kingdom its life. Snow must have thought she was helping a poor old woman when she bought the fruit. She knew enough of her subjects' poverty. Loving even in death, he thought, gazing upon her still face. Smile. Please. Smile and wake up and tell me it was all a dream or a lie, that you're alive.
"My lord," a voice murmured from behind him—it was the wizened man. "My lord, the Queen's men have been pillaging the towns nearby. They're looking for you. It may be best if you take the secret paths out of Bayern to Preusa."
"A moment more," he whispered, rubbing a finger over Snow's small hand, as if she could feel it and respond.
"Watching her and wishing will not change the past," the moss man said. "She is gone, and you are the only one who can fight for us, Prince Conrad."
Conrad knew he was right. I will do this for you, my love, he thought as he released her hand and stood. Even if I should die facing the Queen's dark magic, I will do this for the kingdom you loved. He looked upon her face once more. We could have been married. Entwined for life, two trunks of one tree, man and wife in perfect unity. Snow would have adored children. She loved all things innocent and good, and her light would have made them good. We cannot change the past. She is gone. Hope had died with her.
He looked down at her face, and on an urge bent to kiss her—their first and last kiss. I will love you even in death. And perhaps soon I will join you and we will be together at last in the Halls of the Mighty King, where there is no dark Éostre or Queen to harm you.
Her lips were soft against his, and a tear dropped against her cheek. She won't wake up. She won't sit up and put her arms around you and kiss you back. She's gone. It is time to go forth and fight the last battle for her.
He pulled away, squeezing his eyes shut, steeling himself with a ragged breath for the war that must be fought, the war he would not return from. But as he looked at her face for the last time, it almost seemed as if life returned to it. The cheeks seemed to grow rosy, the eyelids to flutter, the breast to rise with air. His tears were deceiving him—but no! A flash of green appeared under her long lashes—the green of spring and life and hope. Suddenly he was by her side, and she was coughing, and he was cradling her in his arms and holding her as the last wedge of the poisoned apple left her throat and she leaned against him—cold, gasping, and weak, yet alive!
"Conrad—Conrad," she whispered when she'd caught her breath. "Conrad, the Queen—"
"I know," he said, now tears streaming down his face in earnest. "You're all right. Somehow—I know not how—you're alive."
"The kiss of true love," whispered the wizened man, a smile slowly spreading across his face. "A long-ago legend proved true. It seems there is light left in Bayern."
"Snow, Snow," Conrad said into her hair. "I love you. I love you more than my life itself."
"And I love you," she replied. "And our love will vanquish the darkness of the Queen and sent Éostre to the underworld and bring back the beauty of my kingdom."
For indeed, love is the greatest beauty left in this dark world, and the only thing that can restore what was lost to us.
Ok so I’m seriously considering and looking into buying land and a custom build tiny house.
that being said, I’m not looking for 50 acres or anything that big. I simply want two or three acres enough to be apart from other people and I can support a donkey and a goat.
I’m still researching, but bills will be much cheaper and so far they are made much more efficient.
After all why heat or cool spaces that you don’t use?
You can work with a designer and design your own tiny space, there are so many options to explore it’s almost limitless.
The only problem I keep running into are HOA’s. Many of them want to tell you what size of house, if it’s built on a mobile frame then that classifies it as a mobile home and many don’t want those or manufactured homes in their area. I understand why, trust me I’ve seen enough trailer trash so I get the reason. However not everyone is that way and I’ve seen wealthy people have trashy yards and houses!
Also, I don’t want mine to look like a rectangular box. So I like the A-Frame cabin look or the round stucco Earth house. I just love nature so much, that I need to be part of it and in it and have it all around me. I love the feeling of a dirt floor, however for a home, wood floors or brick are my favorite.
I want a huge wood burning fireplace in between the kitchen and the living space and a antique stove and refrigerator with and antique sink.
I want the outside to blend in with the surrounding environment so that it doesn’t take away from the natural beauty of nature.
So we will see if this dream comes true.
15 Best Biographies of all time.
"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson: This biography of the late Apple co-founder and CEO offers an in-depth look at the life and career of one of the most influential figures in technology.
"Einstein: His Life and Universe" by Walter Isaacson: This biography delves into the personal and scientific life of the world-renowned physicist, Albert Einstein.
"Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" by Walter Isaacson: This biography explores the life and legacy of one of America's founding fathers, including his work as a scientist, inventor, and statesman.
"The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass" by Frederick Douglass: This autobiography, written by the famous abolitionist and civil rights leader himself, offers a unique perspective on the history of slavery in America and the fight for freedom and equality.
"The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough: This biography tells the story of the Wright brothers and their invention of the airplane, exploring their early lives, their struggles, and the impact their work had on the world.
"Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow: This biography explores the life and legacy of one of America's most important founding fathers, including his work as a statesman, economist, and military leader.
"The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris: This biography charts the rise of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, from his childhood to his political career and eventual presidency.
"The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Malcolm X and Alex Haley: This autobiography, written with the help of journalist Alex Haley, offers a powerful and personal account of the life and legacy of civil rights leader Malcolm X.
"The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank: This autobiography, written by a young Jewish girl during World War II, offers a moving and personal account of the Holocaust and the experiences of those who lived through it.
"The Story of My Experiments with Truth" by Mohandas Gandhi: This autobiography, written by the Indian political leader and civil rights activist, offers a personal account of his life and his philosophy of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou: This autobiography, written by the celebrated author and civil rights activist, offers a powerful and personal account of her childhood and the struggles she faced growing up as a black woman in America.
"The Long Walk" by Slavomir Rawicz: This autobiography tells the story of a Polish soldier who was captured by the Soviet army during World War II and forced to walk thousands of miles to freedom in Siberia.
"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot: This biography tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cancer cells were used without her knowledge to create the first immortal human cell line, HeLa, which has been used in many scientific discoveries.
"The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" by Benjamin Franklin: This autobiography, written by one of America's most important founding fathers, offers a unique and personal account of his life and legacy.
"The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln" by Lord Charnwood: This biography explores the life and legacy of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, including his work to end slavery and preserve the Union.
The Landlord of Mona Lisa’s Smile
I wish that I found myself sooner, so I had time to fix what I left behind me, withered and destroyed in my rampageous wake. While the fallout begins to settle around me, and I lay here on my deathbed with particles of dust burning into my eyes, I realize I should’ve taken the time to love myself first, before all else, so I could’ve had the confidence to chase my dreams earlier in an attempt to ratify a peace within. Only then would I have achieved the capacity for loving someone with absolute surety, with a higher level of maturity, and with an undeniable honesty. Only then could I have offered you a rent-free key to an uncluttered room dedicated just for you, with your nameplate fixed on its entrance door, deep inside my interior walls.
I wish I had loved you more.
I wish I had loved you deeper.
I wish I had loved you the way that you loved me, and regret not offering you the opportunity in return to feel the wholeness, and warmth that I did with you in my life.
Not loving you the way that you deserved, will go down as the Mona Lisa of my failures.
Swinging on the Altar
I was sitting there in my room, laying on my bed, enjoying some much-needed rest. I lay there in the hazy light of dawn, staring at the clock as it ticked, ticked, ticked, ticked on. I lay there on my bed, silence being the only thought that filled my head. I closed my eyes once again and began to listen to the sounds around me. The slight breeze of the summer winds through my curtains, the puffing noise of the scented mist coming from my glowing machine, the steady sound of shadows fading and whispering their last words to me, and the slight ting, ting, ting, ting of my floating altar hitting its teapot.
Ting, ting, ting, ting?
What an unusual sound for me to hear. What an odd sound for this time of day. Or perhaps not? What altar is swinging? Which being is calling for my attention? The shadows that just slipped off to sleep? Or the creatures of my dreams coming back to take me?
Ting, ting, ting, ting.
I slowly sit up, and turn my head to the altar shelf, where I keep my hanging altar and their offering plates and teapots. A black one with a lotus plate is swinging, gently swinging, causing the ever so soft, ting, ting, ting, ting I keep hearing. I pause for a moment, holding my breath and once again closing my eyes.
Ting, ting, ting, ting.
The fans are off, the breeze has since stopped. So why is the lotus plate gently swinging and tapping its teapot? Is he calling me again? Or is it something else? It must be, for he shouldn't have any current need for me. But as I keep my eyes close I can still hear it.
Ting, ting, ting, ting.
I open my eyes and quietly murmur “are you calling for me?”. I turn towards my altar and see that the lotus plate has stopped swinging, now it is staying perfectly still. As if it had never moved in the first place.
“Ting, ting, ting, ting.”
I softly sing into the room around me. I look towards the floating altar once more, and it begins to swing.
Ting, ting, ting, ting.
It answered me, stopping as soon as it had started.
The Heart of the Christian
The mild oplalescent light shone through the flat, multi-colored dell computer screen throughout the pitch-black, opaque room. Secluded, isolated, lonely, hungry, and tired defined me. Time passed seamlessly from one moment to the next. Dopamine rushed to my prefrontal cortex as I anticipated and saw multiple 25 year old women ambling across the screen. Wide eyes, full cheeks, and a refined nose encapsulated their faces. Their luxiarant long blonde hair set sail as they strolled with their long, limber legs. The outline of their voluptuous breasts were visible and framed amidst the blue-satin dresses they had on. Expectantly, each woman started taking off her clothes for my viewing pleasure. Any model, any woman, any time, for as long as I wanted with no pushback. I lived for the dopamine rush-my God. And I was going to hell. God’s wrath was upon me and the time to repent was closing. Why repent if hell is one big party where I can experience sin and live in pleasure? The life I always wanted and dreamed about included beautiful women, luxurious cars, traveling, and a comfortable life. What more could someone want? That life sounds pretty good. Pretty good to me.
$200 buy-in! Take your seat said the poker floorman wearing a sharp-looking black suit. More dopamine. One more all-in. Cold hard cash. The dealer dealt me pocket aces. Unbeatable, right? Aren’t these the best cards in the game? I’m ALL-IN. Intuitively, I knew I could lose. Forty yellow $5.00 chips backed my decision to shove all the cash in the middle. Now I just wait. Sweat slowly dripped through my body as my heart started pounding faster. And faster. I felt like a racecar driver on a nascar track ready to crash at any second. Like Dale Earnhardt. Here goes nothing. My opponent flips over pocket Kings. The flop comes Ace, 2, 7 with two spades. Seems like I have this hand just as locked up as a maximum security prisoner. Turn comes 9 of spades. River comes 10 of spades. Uh oh. I don’t have a spade. How could I lose this hand flopping the nuts? My opponent doesn’t even remember if he has a spade. He comments “I remember seeing a black card, hold on.” He turns over the king of clubs and my set beats his pair. I took the chips and ran out of there. It was as if I was running away from something else. Running away from something and toward another. But I couldn’t figure out what it was. Not yet.
Riing! My smartphone lit up. It was Dave, the guy I met at church. He asked if I wanted to go to church. Begrudgingly, I consented. The pastor talked about believing in the Gospel. He said that God chooses who goes to heaven. God is Holy and judges sin. And if we repent and believe in Jesus Christ as the God-man who died for our sins and was raised, we would have eternal life. He is Lord over our life. At first, I was angry. I don’t need church or Jesus. We just live, die, and live our happiest life now. I knew my life wasn’t perfect but I wasn’t a monster was I? But I listened. There is an eternal life after this life he said. We are either going to eternal heaven or eternal fire in Hell. Hell isn’t one big party but eternal punishment for those who don’t repent and believe in Jesus Christ. The conduct of our life will demonstrate if we are really saved- saved from God’s wrath. Whatever. I said. I want to live my life the way I want to live it. I don’t need Him.
Today, I’m a new man. Becoming a Christian is the greatest transformation anyone can ever undergo because it’s not about external actions.I used to think life was about living for the Dopamine rush and selfish pursuits. But I’ve come a long way and now live for Him and His Glory as a result of a transformed spiritual heart. I live for God and that’s all I need in light of eternity. Being a Christian isn’t about doing a bunch of moral things. Morality is a result of having a new heart comprised of new affections, desires, and longings. I live in light of eternity because I believe in the Gospel. This is the new nature I have- I’m an adopted son of God as the Bible says. I understand the God who judges. We were headed to hell but he provided a way out- through his Son Jesus Christ. The old self, the old heart is completely gone. The new self with the new heart lives on. 2 Corinthians 5:15- “and he
died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” As a Christian, I don’t live for myself but for Christ who died for my sins. Going on, Titus 2:11-13 sums up the new life of the Christian- “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the hope of the Christain and the reason for Godly living. This life sounds pretty good. Pretty good to me.
Today, I’m a new man. Becoming a Christian is the greatest transformation anyone can ever undergo because it’s not about external actions. I used to think life was about living for the Dopamine rush and selfish pursuits. But I’ve come a long way and now live for Him and His Glory as a result of a transformed spiritual heart. I live for God and that’s all I need in light of eternity. Being a Christian isn’t about doing a bunch of moral things. Morality is a result of having a new heart comprised of new affections, desires, and longings. I live in light of eternity because I believe in the Gospel. This is the new nature I have- I’m an adopted son of God as the Bible says. I understand the God who judges. We were headed to hell but he provided a way out- through his Son Jesus Christ. The old self, the old heart is completely gone. The new self with the new heart lives on. 2 Corinthians 5:15- “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” As a Christian, I don’t live for myself but for Christ who died for my sins. Going on, Titus 2:11-13 sums up the new life of the Christian- “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the hope of the Christain and the reason for Godly living. This life sounds pretty good. Pretty good to me.
Blessed Be the Ashes of Our Love in Perpetuity
Blessed be the ashes of our love, for they are data. Carbonized ghosts of our lives together, deconstructed in final entropy, but always present somewhere. Perhaps omnipresent within a latticework that only requires collapse to reverse engineer our love.
Perhaps some sentient creature will one day be able to sift these ashes into organs that can sense the collapsed latticework existentially--another sense like sight, hearing, or taste. An alien sense. What will that creature see? Hear? Taste?
That creature will know us and know our love. All of it, all of us, all at once. And it will make for a lovely day.
Tea, why so different?
(Sorry it shifts POV's a lot. Just how I write sometimes.)
Opening the lid, H moved over to deposit the tea cube into the pot. He moved so steadily, moving with grace and the speed of years. Cee was in the living room where she was sitting with Lily, Kurai, and Hikari. Lily was splayed with both paws up in the air and Kurai and Hikari were wrapped around Cee. a small table just a few inches off the ground was right next to her. The t.v. in front of them displayed one of their favorite anime. playing in the background. A half finished model was set on the floor. Its bright colors a contrast to the dark of the dogs. Movement from the kitchen caught her eye as she saw H move around the blind Vulture, Kuroi Shin'en. he moved over and set himself down next to her holding 2 cups of tea. She took the one closest to him and smelled it. She took a sip and scrunched up her face.
"what don't like mine?"
"I'm not too fond of ghost pepper tea."
He gave her the other tea. She took a sip and smiled.
"There it is, I haven't seen that in a while."
"your smile, love, your smile."
she looked down at the half-finished model he picked up after siping some of his ghost pepper tea. he started on one of the things wings. It's an intret design requiring almost 100 pieces alone. his mind was so complex but he had trouble expressing it. But she remembers when they first met she thought he was nothing too special but now being one of only five who knew the truth H was exciting. but his taste in some things was a little questionable. she moved her hand into his left pocket. and pulled out a vile with black liquid. she poured some into his tea and stirred. he looked at her with a curious expression on his face.
"Have you had your daily dose today, love?"
"So here you go your daily dose of Black Spine Poision. Keep your strength up dear."
she moved down and snugged deeper into the giant wolf behind her, his soft fur so cuddle worthy. when she first stayed with her, the place was devoid of any chairs or a couch. but after seeing the dogs (at the time I thought they were fluffy dogs.) I thought why not and fell in love? It took me 3 years before I realized they weren't dogs but 2 were wolves. setting into her fur so white it looked like the light side of the moon or freshly laid snow. Maybe that is why he called her Hikari.
H moved over to her once he was done with one of the wings. the model he was working on only had the waist, 2 wings, and the head done and he had built over 500 parts so far, it was one of the most complex and expensive to ever come out. rangeing around ¥650,000 or just under $5,000. it had about 2000 parts and even came with an LED inner frame,
he put it down and moved closer into Hikari and leaned his head into Cee. he looked over at her. she was drinking her tea and looking into the oblivion.
"Yep, just thinking."
she smiled the smile you smile when your thinking something stupid and it will lead with you to the rabbit hole.
Her excitement roused Kurai, who looked over at her before moving his massive bulk up and over to the vulture, letting it rest on his back, lying sown and walking back to the others, the vulture jumped down, landed awkwardly and snuggled right up to Kurai's side.
"Tea? why the hell are you thinking about tea?"
he looked at her and saw her smile. He sighed and motioned her to continue.
"Well, we are in love." he nodded. "We both like tea." Again, he nodded, "but our tastes are so different so that being said try mine. you never do."
She proceeds to shove her tea into his face. he backs up a little.
"Cee?! why? I don't like your tea!"
"You like spice so why not my tea? its got lots especially with the added 2 tablespoons of perperment extract?"
"that's different ok."
"No, it ain't just try it."
he sighed and took some as he took a sip and gagged.
he turned into a coughing mess and cee proseeded to giggle as Kurai bumped H's back with a back paw. trying to get the fit to end.
"FUCK, like I said different typoe of... spice."
her giggles settled down, she told him.
"I guess so I mean I only got 4 in there not 2."
"4 tablespoons, Bitch why?"
That earned him a whap on the head by her. she looked over and smiled.
"because though were so different you fuck we still enjoy so many things together I find it so interesting."
"Of course you do. fair is fair though."
She took out a white vile and downed half of it. Then motioning to his cup he moved it and she took a sip not even flinching as the spicy shit went down her thought and the poison made it to her stomach being nurlized by the white stuff.
"Nope, I love you and all and I like spice and shit and everything but this, this is shit, Ghost Pepper tea is not for me."
she settled down H right next to her and smiled.
He facepamed. as she whispered.
"Pepperment tea all the way, Love"
The Dread of A Dozen Roses
I write you with much apprehension, yet I am compelled to out of my love for Thomas. It's been roughly a year since I began dating him, but somehow he remains in my life. Why? Why do you allow him to be with me now, when the two boyfriends before him, you decided to brutally remove from my life, and subsequently sent me four black roses each time you made one disappear? I want to be free of you, but I notice your reflection in every window we pass, and never miss your car outside my house most nights until Eleven. Is this a game to you? When will you finally learn I'm not interested? It's been four years since you and I met, and you've forced yourself into my life everyday since; I assume by design, but I can no longer fathom the thought of losing my sweet Thomas, and if you cared about me as much as you have ruthlessly demonstrated, then you would continue to let us to live on, in love. I beg you to leave us alone, and stop following me. Don't hurt him like you did the others. I wish I could say that I would do anything to protect us, but that's not true, because I will never choose to be with you. Please find a way to move on. I know that your love for me feels real, but it's not. So, this time please don't send me flowers.
my dating life had been like those lollipops that gather dust and other unmentionable particles at the dentist's receptionist's desk. you want to keep taking one, and then another one, trying to find the one with the least amount of filth to take. but they're all despicable. they all leave a bad taste in your mouth that the dentist's mouthwash can't wash out. in fact, most of them land you in a therapist's office, paying copays you can't really afford, financially or emotionally.
when I first saw him, I was walking through the rancid air of an international pandemic. it was June and lockdown was in full swing. we were supposed to meet at a coffee shop. he was waiting on the sidewalk, out of the way. later he said he had never seen a picture of me, had no idea what I looked like. he was very tall. in a weird interaction where I was forced to contend with socializing with the barista, he swung in and bought me my coffee. we went outside and talked for a long time. a bee was buzzing near my hair and I remember being distinctly worried this was off-putting for him. but the conversation was easy and I found myself feeling a sense of comfort and normalcy that hadn't been a part of my life since long before the pandemic.
this is all very sweet. I felt like a kid out after curfew, seeing this man for a date. in person! like the before times! it was all so bizarre. and yet, from that day forward, it was natural. I could just be my quirky self and I wasn't judged for it? incredible. he was a genuinely nice and interesting person? unreal. cute with a moral compass? what?
I'll never forget the moment I first saw him. how he introduced himself, casually grounded and yet serious. if the pandemic hadn't happened, we would never have met. isn't life funny that way?
I think of meeting Tyler as like finding a king sized Snickers bar in the lollipop cup. It's one thing to find it, another to realize: this is mine. forever. Maybe the pandemic was the trip to the dentist, and meeting him was finding what was mine to take all along.