Friday, February 27, 2015

Famous: Writing From Pain

I am obsessed with the song Famous by Kelleigh Bannen for multiple reasons.

One, because it's country. Two, her voice is so edgy. Three, the song lyrics totally resonate with me.

"I'm gonna make you famous/tell 'em all about you/gonna all know what your name is..."

Heck yeah.

A lot of people say that they deal with life by writing. For me, though, writing is synonymous with life. I don't think life needs to be "dealt with". Rather, writing is the fulfillment of life. I pour my life into writing and I pour writing into my life.

Basically, this is how it goes:

When I mess up. Good writing material.

When I'm hilarious. Good writing material.

When I hang with my besties. Good writing material.

When awkward moments happen. Good writing material.

When I say dumb stuff. Good writing material.

When I have to let go. Good writing material.

When I have to be confrontational about something important. Good writing material.

When my heart is broken. Good writing material.

"Good writing material" is basically my response to life in general. At the beginning of my freshman year, over two years ago, I emailed my cousin Faith (check out her extreme epicness here) about some things (by things I mean people) I was struggling with. Among lots of awesome advice, she told me that, if anything, at least I was gaining good writing material.

Upon reading this, I stood up and put my hand in the air, exclaiming, "PREACH SISTA!" In my mind, at least.

This concept was not new to me, but Faith's email reminded me that all the things that happened to me were mine. I could do whatever I wanted with them. I could let them fester, let them make me bitter, and drown in self-pity.

Or I could just acknowledge the hurt, give it to God, learn from it, and write it out.

From experience, the second option is much better, for everyone involved.

Some people are just too perfect (for better or for worse) to keep out of the pages of my book. My current MS is dripping with characters that are pulled together from people I've encountered. As writers, we're supposed to write about what we know, right? We're supposed to write realistically, believably...I've found that the best way to do that is pull from past experiences.

When I write, all the things I've always wanted to say just come out. I can fix mistakes. I can heal my heart. I can be new. Justice gets served to the people who've wronged me. When I write, I'm not different. I'm who I am supposed to be.

As for the song Famous, it has become my writing theme song. Especially when it comes to my villains-I-mean-people who've hurt me. Write it out, y'all.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

For Those Who Can't Speak

I highly dislike rap. Even if it is Christian rap, I cannot stand it.

I don't even like the song that this blog post is about. At least, I didn't like it until I looked up the lyrics.

One thing that has been on my heart a lot are the victims of human trafficking. It's something that I pray for periodically, but after reading this article, my passion really flared up. So many people have no idea, or very little idea, how many people are sold into slavery, particularly sex slavery.

It makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me cry.

The "fix-it" person in me wants to go beat up the bad guys and rescue the weak. I feel so frustrated that people can treat other people as though they have no rights.

Every single person is beautiful. It doesn't matter what they have done, what stage they are at in life, what religion, or what race. Every single person is made in the image and likeness of God.

That goes for babies in the womb who have yet to be born. That goes for Brittany Maynard, who took her life this past November. That goes for the homeless. For the elderly. For the Christians, Jews, and others being murdered in the Middle East and other parts of the world. For those who are persecuting them. For those being sold into slavery. For those selling.

Life is beautiful. God created it. God alone should be the one to take it away.

And through all this pain and evil...He is present. He has not abandoned us. There are countless stories of hope and about conversion pertaining to human trafficking, abortion, euthanasia, and persecution. God is working in all this. He is present, and He's already won.

When I'm freaking out about all the terrible stuff going on, I cling to His truth. The truth that evil will always lose. It already has.

Anyway, so here's the song that inspired this post, "For Those Who Can't Speak", by Tenth Avenue North.

I want to use my voice for those who can't speak. I want to stand up for the vulnerable, the weak, in my day-to-day life. God, use me.

Pardon the rap. But let the message sink in.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I am a control freak.

I used to have a need to fix everything. And everyone. RIGHT NOW. I used to try to fix myself all the time and beat myself up for not being the perfect person I was "supposed to be", for "not being enough".

Then I realized that I cannot fix other people or myself. The only standard I should be comparing myself to is God's and, in Him, I am always enough. He is enough for me.

Those are dangerous words to say. Rephrase that: those are dangerous words to mean. 

He is enough for me. 

I say that I love Jesus and I'm super involved with church stuff, but when it comes to truly giving my life to letting Him consume completely trusting Him with everything...

Yeah no thanks. Not interested. I have my plans, my ideas, and apparently I know way more about the world then God does.

After living like this for a while, I eventually came to the realization that my plans are stupid and don't work

So then I had to face the scary truth that my world was out of control and there was nothing I could do about it. Honestly, it had been out of control for a while because I had no anchor. I had pretended for so long to be "God" basically, that I started to believe it. Then the love of Jesus overpowered me and set me on fire with a desire for Him. All I want is to be His.

Even though I'm continually growing in my faith and my relationship with Jesus, I have to tell him to take control of everything every day. I have so many fears that prevent me from trusting Him.

This is sort of how my thought process works. Brace yourself.

I am so not good enough. Everyone else is just better, more composed. No one else fails as miserably as I do. I'm never even going to get published. Can I even write? Am I supposed to even be doing this? Ugh and what the heck about college? How am I going to pay for it? Where am I going to go? What am I supposed to do with my life? And I'm so scared about what is going on in the world right now. I'm going to die, we're all going to die, and then I'm really never going to be published.

This is the perfect example of someone who is not anchored in God. I need to be reminded daily of who I am, of how beautiful I am in the love of Christ. I need to trust God that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be in life. As for what is going on in the world? All I can do is pray, pray, pray. God wants us to ask for things...He is always in control, despite how grim any situation may seem.

I think everybody struggles with this in some respect. We all try to figure things out on our own, and get upset when they don't work out. We need God's grace to hand over everything to Him. He's way better at being in control than I am.

To bring this full truly mean the words "He is enough for me", means to firmly believe that God is in control. It means to not question, but to pray without ceasing. It means to firmly believe that God's plan is more powerful than anything else.

It means that I stop trying to fix everyone, that I let go and let God. Because He's got this and He's the only person worth living for.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Complete and Utter Nonsense

That title should be the name of this blog. Sheesh.

So I finished AWAKEN last month. As in, the draft. Finally. Nearly two years after the idea was born and seven versions later, I finally have a working draft. But there is still so much to do. (One of the excuses of not blogging so much this past semester-- my MS is so time-demanding and consuming and my characters get so jealous whenever I work on anything else. I can practically feel their glares now. Settle down, Cassandra. I'll be back.)

Since finishing in the beginning of January, I have literally experienced the biggest case of writer's block I have ever had the misfortune to have. I cannot get myself to work on anything. The only writing I have done in the past month is journaling, basically. (Oh! I got the cutest journal as my YAY I FINISHED A BOOK present to myself!)

I've started multiple blog posts and deemed them all "trash", but a couple of very supportive (probably too much so) friends keep bugging me to write a post (because that's what writer's do, right, they write). So if the following post is complete and utter nonsense, blame them.

Random things happening!

I'm hosting a St. Valentine's Pathetic-Not-Pathetic Single Girls Pride and Prejudice and Food party! Because single girls are not pathetic, but every girl turns pretty pathetic as soon as Colin Firth makes an appearance on-screen. And food makes us pretty pathetic too.

I finally got around to reading Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It's one of the books that was on my shelf labeled Everybody Keeps Telling Me To Read This And I'm Seeing It Everywhere But It's Not Time To Read It Yet. It was extremely good-- definitely held up to the hype. PLUS I found out that Ransom is married to Tahereh Mafi, author of the Shatter Me books. That kinda made my day. #RelationshipGoals

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My sister Catie and yours truly
We went to the March for Life last month! As always, it was absolutely inspiring and totally moving. Life is so beautiful, pass it on! We went to the Life Is Very Good Rally, which featured Matt Maher and Rend Collective as well as speaker Chris Stefanick. Perhaps just as incredible as the March itself was visiting the St. John Paul II Shrine. It was so amazing, I think I'm going to have to write a whole slew of blog posts about it. That should help break my writer's block. But seriously, the whole experience in DC, especially the shrine, moved me to tears.

I was sick this past week and my best friend brought me Klondike bars because she's just amazing.

My deep avarice toward math has not changed, but only increased. It's at an all time high right now. I am finding it hard to see the reason why Algebra II matters when I want to work in the journalism field. The only letters I want to work with are the ones I can use to actually write something, thank you very much.

And speaking of journalism, I had been planning forever (as in, since freshman year--seems like forever ago) on majoring in Theology. Well, plans change! I think I'm being called to Liberal Arts. There is such a need for good, strong journalists dedicated to the truth. My top college pick right now is the University of Mary in North Dakota, but who knows, that could change too.

I started this blog the summer before my freshman year. I was on the brink of a roller-coaster, so much was about to happen (another slew of blog posts right there). Being in the second part of my junior year, high school is almost over. Funny, it seemed so infinite when it started. Now, I'm being thrown into the realm of college applications and student loans.

Sometimes, it seems kind of scary. Okay, lie, it is a lot scary. Going away from home? Being all by myself? Sure, I could stay closer, but I feel like this is something I really need to do. Fear that I won't be able to pay for college, that I will fail in some way (or a lot of ways) sometimes nearly paralyzes me.

But I believe that what God calls me to, He provides for. That if He wants me to go somewhere, He will carry me. And that truth dispels every single worry that I have about the future. I know that I am safe in His arms. He's kept me afloat this long. I believe that He will never fail me.

Thanks for putting up with my random, sporadic posts, guys. I really, really appreciate y'all. And look, my writer's block has dissipated! You guys are the best.