Friday, August 26, 2016

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Spider

1. Watching from the outside, 
    No one likes to notice
    The one looking in. 
    But the spider sees. 

2. I wish I could be like the spider. 
    When spinning and work is done,
    I could relax, watch, and wait
    For I know my food will come presently.

3. Someone lives with you, 
    And watched everything you do. 
    But they scurry at night, 
    And take no pride in appearance. 
    Your roommate is a spider. 

4. Everyone stops and watches
    When a spider has caught his prey. 
    But they never stopped to watch him wait, 
    Or to admire his invisible work. 

5. Lessons in table manners: 
    Eat quickly like the spider
    And cover your mess like a civilized person. 

6. Shiver, shiver, 
    Dart and quiver. 
    A jerking end for a spider's meal. 

7. As the spider eats her web before the storm, 
    Use today what cannot be saved for tomorrow. 

8. Hours of labor
    And no one sees. 
    Take it down
    And no one mourns. 
    The spider never gives up. 

9. It took one girl to scream for five, 
    Two more to call one guy, 
    Three to find the shoe, 
    And one poor dead spider who started it all. 

10. The view of the lovely pink clouds, 
      The stuff of stately paintings
      And deep musings, 
      Was ruined by the black spider and its pitiful prey. 

11. In the corner of the ceiling
      There is a black spot that never moves. 
      But the many eyes of the spider, 
      They watch. 

12. Pray your reputation never precedes you 
      As it does the spider. 
      For people never stop to ask
      Whether you're a common brown or a black widow. 

13. Spiders. 
      Those eerie, dangling acrobats
      On their lines of silk. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Traversing a season of Failure

No one ever intends to walk down this road. If you haven't been down here, you will one day. If this is your second or third journey, I'm sure you know how it feels.


After the initial flash of anger fades, doubts color everything gray. My summer was a season of learning about failure. It was not pretty and it was not easy. But, as I start this new academic year, I can say that I have grown through it.

There seem to be two stages to this sort of season when everything is going wrong.

First is the daily beating. I felt like I was asked to get up every day and stand by while failure punched me in the gut until I collapsed. But, being a hard worker and a believer, I had to get back up and face it again. Hard work and prayer are supposed to keep me from failure right? That is what I have always tended to think. So I kept getting up and kept working. Getting up, only to be knocked down again, gets really old really fast. I felt betrayed because I had done everything right. I was supposed to work hard and then God was supposed to bless my work. Instead, I experienced the resounding slap of failure ringing in my ears.

What comes second are the doubts. What has happened in one arena now threatens to seep into other areas of my life. Now that I've seen my shortcomings here, I see them everywhere. My pride is angry because it's hurt. My faith falters because I haven't been given what I asked for. I'm frustrated because I'm not as good as I thought I was. Maybe I think too highly of me? I don't want anyone else to see. These are feelings of loss, of grief. They plagued my thoughts as one season drew to a close and another loomed before me. Would this failing follow me into the new season?

Well, in a way it will. It's going to sting for a long time. Satan is going to use it to get under my skin and attack me.

I have to look my failure in the face and deal with it. Recognize that it is a part of who I am becoming.

But failure in one season does not define me.

I can allow it to shape me, but I cannot allow it to define who I am. Coming out of this place, I had to learn to ask myself what I was going to do with this. How was I going to allow God to redeem this? I tend to be a performance based sort of person. I base my worth on being the "good girl" who works hard. Making good choices and acting the right way was supposed to bring rewards. But life doesn't always work that way. Sometimes we can do everything right and still not have things turn out the way we imagined. During this season I often asked "why?" when I should have been asking "WHO?"

God is in control. He uses everything in my life, so nothing is ever wasted.

I can ask the Lord to keep teaching me what it is He wants me to learn from all this. I have learned to lean in closer to Him. I find my identity in Him, not my failures. I have to realize that I am not the first to struggle and I will not be the last. This is why I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I can reach out, ask for prayer, and feel God's encouragement and love through them. Hearing the words of godly people close to me helped me the most during this time.

I encourage all of you to remember that any season of failure is just a speck on your timeline! This right now is a part of our journey. It is another opportunity to die to ourselves and depend on Christ. This is an opportunity to mature and deepen our character as God prepares us for whatever the future holds.

The sting of the past comes daily and we have to daily surrender that to Christ. Lean in even closer and ask for help to understand. When we do this every day we learn to be thankful for God's constant presence. Even in this circumstance, even down this dark road, God is with us. God is for us! We can CHOOSE to believe that God is good even though the circumstances are bad. That becomes our weapon against the doubts when they come.

No one ever intends to traverse a season of failure, but the comfort is that you're not going through it alone. God is right there with you. I hope some of what I've learned encouraged you and points you back to the one who's watching out for you. In God's strength I've learned how to look my failings in the face and accept their part in shaping who I am. It's not always going to be easy, but I know who to depend on when I'm weary.

Keep standing up, keep walking on with courage toward what God has in store for you!


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Ark Encounter: What You Should Know

The voyage has begun! Noah's Ark, built to Biblical dimensions and packed with three decks worth of teaching opportunities is now open to the public! The opening of this historic park is important for Christians and Non-Christians alike to take notice of. This recreation of the historical vessel is a lasting reminder in our modern generation of the message of the Gospel!

I have been following this project almost since day one. As a Christian, I stand behind the message and historical accuracy of the Bible. As someone who enjoys everything ancient-man related, this project has me super excited! I just have to share that excitement with you! So here's what you should know!

The Ark

  • The largest timber-frame structure in the world!
  • 3 decks full of family oriented and educational exhibits!
  • Built to be historically accurate and environmentally friendly! 
  • Did you know? The ark was so long that 3 Nasa Space Shuttles could lay in a line on its roof?

The Other Stuff!

Guess what? There's more to the Ark Encounter than just the huge wooden ship! They're got a whole park planned out and I am so, so, so excited to see the rest of it come about!

They currently have...

  • The Ararat Petting Zoo
  • Extreme Zip Lines
  • A 2-story restaurant
  • Plus countless other exhibits within the Ark itself!

These next phases will be built over the coming years! They're planning on a..

  • Tower of Babel (seriously, I freaked out when I heard about that!)
  • 1st Century Village
  • A Journey through Biblical History
  • An aviary! 

This spectacular attraction opened to the public this past Thursday after an incredible Ribbon Cutting Ceremony that really set the stage for the premise of the entire project: to share the Biblical account of Noah and the Gospel with the world. This hasn't gone ignored by the general public. Countless news channels and newspapers all over the world have been covering this exciting story!

Not everyone is happy...

Of course, not everyone is thrilled about this. Several groups of atheists, free-thinkers, and scientists have spent a lot of time protesting the Ark Encounter as it was being built. 

When the Ark Encounter opened to the public on July 7th, one group stood outside to protest. They waved signs claiming the Ark taught genocide and incest among other things. 

Faced with protests, what did Christians do in response?

We should not chase away those who are skeptical about the historical accuracy of the Bible! Instead, we should invite them in to see for themselves. If you follow Eric Hovind on his Facebook Page, you'll see that he did just that. He brought twenty curious protestors in to see the Ark Encounter and decide for themselves. And they were not the only skeptic to come and visit the Ark that day.

Bill Nye, known to me as the "Science Guy" when I was little, came and visited the Ark! He was personally invited by Ken Ham to come and receive a personal tour. Ken Ham and Bill Nye have had a back and forth relationship ever since their 2014 Debate to answer the question "Is Creation a viable  model of origins in today's modern, scientific era?" To to surprise of everyone, Nye did come with his own film crew to tour the Ark. While touring, he and Ken Ham ended up having their second live debate in front of all the visitors. Hopefully, a video of their conversation will be released soon!

In Closing...

Now you know! These are some of the quick facts for what the Ark Encounter is and what the world's reaction to it has been. So, what are you going to do about it now?

As for me, I am eagerly awaiting my opportunity to go and see the Ark Encounter for myself! To accommodate the crowds, the Ark Encounter is having  40 Days and 40 Nights (ha) of extended visiting hours. Purchasing tickets has been made very simple. You can even bundle tickets to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter!

And I challenge you to keep this conversation going! If you're a Christian, then be prepared for questions about what the Ark is and what is means! If you're skeptical or just curious, then dig into it and see for yourselves! The Ark Encounter's Youtube Channel has tons of resources available.

Plus, there are several good documentaries out there that cover the Ark. Always be aware that each documentary comes with its own worldview and bias. Below you'll find one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy and continue the conversation about the Ark Encounter with your friends and family!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

An Original Pantoum: The Ghost of the Sun

In the grate a ghost of the sun slumbers
An ethereal being cloaked in cinders
Fire, vatra, lume, feuer
Chant her name, enliven the embers.

An ethereal being cloaked in cinders
Sparks in the tinder, her eyes flash
Chant her name, enliven the embers
The elemental relic in the ash

Sparks in the tinder, her eyes flash
Coal locks kindling, red-titian glowing
The elemental relic in the ash
From the hearth she’s rising

Coal locks kindling, red-titian glowing
Her raiment inflamed like crimson
From the hearth she’s rising
With a searing flare to escape her prison

Her raiment inflamed like crimson
White hands urge and scorch
With a searing flare to escape her prison
Toss the water in the hearth of the church

White hands urge and scorch
Fire, vatra, lume, feuer
Toss the water in the hearth of the church

In the grate a ghost of the sun slumbers.

by B. Youngblood

Monday, June 13, 2016

An Original Pantoum: The Woman of the Isle Prays

Through storms and over sea,
At ebb of light, slip into sleep.
In dreams, journey back to me.
Plunge beneath the somber deep.

At ebb of light, slip into sleep
Though danger may befall,
Plunge beneath the somber deep.
On alabaster shores I wait for you at nightfall.

Though danger may befall,
Take me back to see morning once more.
On alabaster shores I wait for you at nightfall.
Her freedom this spirit doth implore.

Take me back to see morning once more.
The vision wanes, the isle sinking.
Her freedom this spirit doth implore.
The world of my bondage is fading.

The vision wanes, the isle sinking.
In dreams, journey back to me.
The world of my bondage is fading.
Through storms and over sea.

by B. Youngblood