Take Courage; A hymn by someone who doesn’t write hymns

I am doing a daily devotion on American Hymns by She Reads Truth  and it’s inspiring me to write my own hymns. I figured I would share one. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to write music or else I would share with you the tune . So, I recommend finding your own tune if you’d like to sing along.

It’s been a great discipline of writing my own words of worship, taking my favorite Scripture (see below for what I am referencing), and worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth.

Take Courage

Let your heart take courage
Let your heart take courage
Let your heart take courage in the Lord

Let your soul find rest
Let your soul find rest
Let your soul find rest in the Lord

And all will be well
When the Son returns
Coming in the clouds of heaven

And all will be well
When the Son returns
Coming like a thief at night

There will be no tears
There will be no mourning
There will be no pain
in Him

And all will be well
When Christ, Messiah returns
When promises delivered
When prophecies fulfilled

So let your heart take courage
Let your soul find rest
All will be well
All will be well
In Him

Song inspired by Psalm 27:14; Psalm 62:5; Revelation 21:4; Revelation 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:2

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Changing Spaces

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I have been working in my writing alcove for the past year whilst living in my place. There’s been some good nights and not-so-good nights in that little space. The not-so-good nights can be defined as: nights where I did not sit there and write.

Now that my roomie has moved out and the second living area is open, I have decided to temporarily set up shop there until the new roomie moves in. I’ve been thinking about it all week. Sometimes you just need to change up the atmosphere. That’s why writing in cafes and bars around the city has encouraged many a words, but alas this lady has little money right now so spending money to write is not the greatest idea.

So Saturday will be my writing day in my new space!

Today my goal is to finish mapping out the novel. I, unfortunately, have been writing this novel for so long that I wrote out of chronological order, so I need to go back and map out where I’ve been to go forward. This is another reason why I have stalled on this book. I hate mapping out my creative work, but alas I need a framework to continue on this story. I have never done this part before and it’s obvious that I haven’t because I have six novels that need to be finished.

So, I need to get crackin’ because this life isn’t that long and I am easily distracted.

What’s your Saturday goal?

 

Writing Prompt: How Did You Wake Up This Morning?

Let’s start off April with some writing prompts because I need help to get back into writing.

Prompt: How did you wake up this morning?

Rules:

  • Write for 15 minutes
  • Do not edit or proof
  • Choose whichever genre
  • JUST WRITE

I changed my room around yesterday. So when I woke up this morning I was no longer looking at a wall filled with hanging photos of friends, but rather the ceiling corner next to my window. It was still early. The sun wasn’t out. Yet who knows these days as the rain comes and goes bringing a darkness that just lingers.

I looked at the clock and it showed 3 o’clock in the morning. I still had at least another 3.5 hours to sleep, yet my mind was racing with what transpired in my dream. It felt so real.

Dreams are like a quilt of experience, memory, fear, and hope all wrapped up into some type of vivid narrative — well, for me at least. Blame it on the reading.

This dream was more of a nightmare, which was more a memory from my youth. A memory I didn’t remember until now.

I was young and alone at my childhood home on Campbell Ave. I was either eight or nine — cannot recall. My parents were both out, possibly working. They could also be down at the usual Block Party that happened during those longer summer California nights. My brothers were out — so maybe the Block Party does make sense — and I was reading in the living room when I heard the door bell ring.

We lived on the corner of a rather busy street for East Side; although, the neighborhood was pretty far away from actual town, so there weren’t many strangers that came through. You usually knew where you were going if you were to visit our neighborhood.

I came to the front door and asked who it was, and a voice, a shape, a shadow of a man said on the other side that he needed to use my phone. His car broke down and he needed to call for help.

Instinctively, I knew not to trust the shadow on the other side of the door. I was quiet, wanting so badly to see what he looked like, but this door did not have a peep hole and the windows had mosaic designs that altered the view.

I remember feeling scared and unsure of what to do. I didn’t feel like I had a voice to tell him to go away. What if that was mean? What if he really did need help? What if he got angry? What if he came in the house? What if he found out that I was home alone?

“Hi, Little girl, can I please come in and use your phone? I will be really quick.”

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Well let me talk to your dad… your dad is home, right?”

Silence.

“So, you’re home alone?”

How could he figure that out, I thought? I panicked. What do I do? Is he a bad guy? Do I call 911? Or is he is a normal guy and I can trust him?

So, I responded, “I can call for you. Just tell me what the number is and I can call for you.”

“Just let me in. It will be really quick.” His voice had changed. There was an urgency to it. And then he started to bang on the door. Slamming his fists against it.

Instead of running to the phone to call 911, I laid on the floor as low as I could possibly get. Why? Well, you see the phone was in the room next to the door that had a window. If I went in there, what if he could see me? And if he could see me then that would mean I could see him and then he would be real.

Even at age eight I was still playing the game of if I can’t see him, he can’t see me.

He banged and banged on the door.

“Let me in!”

I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t want him to trick me. I didn’t want him to know how scared I was. I didn’t want him to somehow get in the house using the power of language. So I laid on the floor, holding my breath, hoping he would give up.

And he did.

I heard a sound of a door opening but it came from the garage. It was my dad! The man must have fled, but I didn’t check. I wouldn’t check. That door was staying locked.

Looking back, I don’t recall telling my parent’s what happened that night. I wasn’t sure if it was real. Did that man really need to just use the phone? Or did he know that a young girl was home alone? Just like today, it felt like a dream — a nightmare. Would anyone believe me?

I went back to sleep and woke up at a reasonable hour still thinking of that nightmare. I know why it popped up in my head. I am now living alone and with that comes some fears. I am thankful to live in a multi-family dwelling, so I am not completely alone. I also live in a dense city, so that too also quells any fears.

Yet, I also know that this morning I was scheduled to be the Cantor and to lead service in the Lord’s Supper. There’s spiritual warfare going on, folks, and I am not blind to it. It’s been happening all weekend. Last night, with this; the night before, waking up in the middle of the night feeling as though spiders were all over me. Yup, another fear of mine, spiders.

I am not surprised by it. Living as a missionary comes at a cost. I know that God will not forsake me. I know that He fights for me. I know that I have weapons of my own to use and that I am not alone.  It will not destroy me, however annoying it may be.

Though it did scare me and scared me then as a little girl, I can’t help but thank God for protecting me that night. There’s so many instances in my life where some very, very bad things could have happened (and at times, some bad things did happen), yet God protected me and/or healed me.

So while the enemy tried to throw me into fear; I fell into God’s love and protection.

And that’s how I woke up.

The End of Tea Time With Tawny

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Alas, the podcast experiment has ended.

I’ve hit my data limit. I can no longer afford to do this podcast, literally.

I’ve gone back and forth about it for weeks now asking: do I create a Patreon account (I did), do I ask people to help me fund it (nevermind), do I try to fund it myself (I can’t), or do I let the experiment end?

I’ve wrestled with it and I have finally come to the conclusion that it’s ending.

Thank you to everyone who listened to the podcast. Thank you for the encouraging tweets, messages, and conversations. It means a lot to me.

I had a great time doing it and I will truly miss it, but it’s time to say farewell.

So farewell.

The archive will still be up (though I had to delete some episodes to make space for the goodbye episode, which didn’t happen because it wouldn’t let me upload it without paying. So this is my goodbye).

A Poem For Your Birthday

It’s been awhile since I wrote some poetry. I will not pretend that this is perfect. I studied literature at university and I know how a poem is supposed to be structured, but I say whatevs.

Yesterday was my brother’s birthday and it’s hard to love someone who has only abused and disappointed the ones who love him. Boundaries are key when loving an addict, so while it’s been a year since I last saw him, I wanted to wish him a happy birthday.

So, here’s a song, a hope, a wish, a prayer, a poem…

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Sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes
Running on cracked streets and chasing lies
A boy drifting in the spaces in between
An adult who never became a man

Some day, some day you will love rightly
Without demand, without design, without fear
Some day, some day you will be a brother, a son, a father
Without regret, without guilt, without shame

The depth of pain seems to swell at this time of year
When I am reminded of yet another year without you near
I go to my Savior King and I beg on your behalf
To melt away your heart of stone and break his grasp

The fallout of choices, the path you chose to take
Has left you in despair, behind bars, with all your mistakes
It’s not too late my dear brother to turn and walk anew
But until then I sing this song to you

Unencumbered Elephants

As I said in another post, NaNoWriMo is the month I usually work on writing a novel, but alas the amount of responsibilities piled on me forces me to skip this year’s festivities. Except I am determined to write a creative piece on this here blog, kind of, sort of, weekly.

So, here I go…

First week’s prompt was Write a scene from the day of a wedding: Loving an Addict’s Daughter.

This week’s…

Prompt: Grab 3 random words from Random Word Generator.

Rules: Write a solid 10 minutes. No editing. Just writing.

  1. elephant
  2. sea
  3. crew

“It won’t be long until we reach the elephants,” Captain Marquis announced over the speakers. My heart could barely contain the new increased rhythm as I tried to steady myself as we hit each wave, moving closer to land. I had been waiting for this moment since I was a little girl when I first saw The Jungle Book. The idea of a large animal who never forgot astounded me. What would life be like if you could really remember everything? Every detail of your life? What stories could it tell me? And what would it tell about our first meet? I am sure it won’t remember how excited and terrified I was to meet it, but will only recall my placid reverence when I approach it on its terms. Sometimes it’s best to detach the head from the heart when you’re working for 18 months with a crew at sea.

It’s not always good to reveal your cards, especially when you have no idea what you are doing most of the time. I was chosen to go on this expedition as one of the leading scientists, though to be honest, I didn’t feel fit for the job. My partners on this ship are more equipped, experienced, and mature than I, a 27-year-old who only recently graduated university. Sure, I hold three degrees but what do I know of life?

I actually took this job because I knew I would be able to see life. No longer would I stare at it through a petri dish and through screens; no, I Elizabeth Stevens would be touching life. Really touching it. And I will be able to see what wild, unencumbered, unengineered, and blemished life was really like. These animals won’t be perfect. They are not tamed and created by me, but something else. Something more powerful. More knowing. More mysterious than I could ever presume.

“Dr. Stevens, you’re needed in the cabin,” a voice announced over the speakers. It was time. It was time to walk on land again and finally see what others have only dreamed to witness and to study.

Loving an Addict’s Daughter

Since I will not be able to participate in NaNoWriMo this year due to all of my responsibilities (I am back in school, full time career, part time ministry, and sleep), I wanted to take a moment to spend ten minutes writing something creative. I rarely get to write creatively in this season of my life – I’ve tried to incorporate moments into my weekly schedule to work on my novel but I am not always consistent. I end up feeling guilty because I have papers to write, things to design, classes to teach, or dishes to do. So, here’s my ten minutes of writing (and hopefully this won’t be for the month!).

Prompt: Write a scene from the day of a wedding

Rules: Write a solid 10 minutes. No editing. Just writing.

“I tried, you know. To not let it get to me. To not be discouraged. She’s disappointed me my entire life, why would today be any different? I hate that I feel this way. I hate that I let her have this power over me. I could choose to ignore it. I could choose to let her be, but for some reason I can’t. I fall victim to her every single time and it’s a painful fall.” Sarah sat on the edge of the toilet clutching her white dress in her hands keeping it from touching the ground. She didn’t know what type of germs were in this bathroom.

Her fiancé, Jerry, knelt beside her keeping his balance by holding onto the toilet paper dispenser. He wanted to say the right words, but he couldn’t find them. So instead he did the only thing he could – he continued to provide copious amounts of toilet paper and let his fiancée cry.

“The most painful thing about all of this is that she won’t remember. She will destroy this day and not remember it tomorrow, but I have to go on forgiving her and forgetting about her destruction. I have to act like it’s okay for the sake of what? Peace? Our relationship?” She blew her nose into the already soiled toilet paper. It was covered in colors of black, red, and white and she laughed to herself. How could she have let her best friend put this much makeup on her? All of her good work was now destroyed.

Jerry’s legs were feeling numb. He wasn’t used to kneeling this long, so he decided to stand up but then quickly realized it made him look like he didn’t care.

“Are you sure you want to marry me?” Sarah asked, not looking into soon-to-be-husband’s eyes. She didn’t really want an answer, but she knew she needed to save him if she could.

“That’s not an even question to be asked. I knew what I was getting into when I asked you.”

“But did you really?”

“Well, your mom is crazier than I thought, but yes.” He paused and then decided to let himself be as vulnerable as he could in the bathroom the morning of his wedding. “I don’t know how to love you when you’re in this type of pain. I’ve never loved an addict’s daughter. I am not sure if I should fight on behalf of you; if I should fix your mom; if I should tell you to ignore her; if I should set up a barrier around us and your mom and we never talk to her again… I don’t know.”

He pulled her up from the toilet seat and lifted her head to meet his eyes.  “But I know this, I will be with you, on your side, until the day one of us dies.”

She inhaled and exhaled smelling his cologne. It was warm and smelled like home – the home they had made with one another. “I love you,” she whispered.

“I love you too. Now, let’s go get hitched.”

Writing Prompt: Memories of Furniture

Refe_56e5185800d7c_ANC5ACJ7V0.jpgDescribe your memories of a piece of furniture from your childhood home.

My home on Campbell Avenue is my quintessential home. It’s the house that stands as the archetype of home in my dreams. I only spent about 12 years in that place, but it was the first 12 years of my life when everything around me was forming my foundation.

My childhood room was a sizable rectangle with light purple colored walls and unicorn wallpaper that circled and lined the center of the four walls. I had a white mold that framed the wallpaper and many times in my childhood I would scratch my back against the chipped edgings.

I had matching white furniture, including a vanity and dresser. I also had a daybed that I usually liked to sleep under – I would throw all of my stuffed animals, barbies and blankets – and make a nest under the bed.  The furniture that strikes at my nostalgic heart the most is the wooden bookcase given to me by my dad. Why? Well, it held my treasure.

At night when everyone was asleep, after my parents had tucked me in at night and read me a book, I would begin my night of adventures. The rules were simple: I could be up all night but I was not to leave the room and I had to wake up for school the next day without argument. It was completely worth it. I am not sure how late I was up. I don’t remember clocks or watches — time was an entirely separate thing that only adults had to contend with.

When the house was settled, I would walk to my gorgeous bookcases and take every single book out from its place. I would stack them into separate piles, depending on what I felt like that night. Sometimes it was by color or by genre, and only sometimes by author’s last name. One time I organized it by length of time to read.

I had a clipboard that I would use to inventory my books. I would place each book back onto the shelf in the special order for the night and count my books as I went along. I had a system that was solely my own. And after some time of doing this, I would then select a book to read.

My favorite spot to read was in my closet. I enjoyed climbing to the top of the shelf with a flashlight and blanket and lay there all night reading. This is when the true adventure began. This is when I would leave the four walls of my room (or closet) and go on adventures with the Babysitter’s Club or with Juliet or with Frodo.

 


What are the rules to prompt writing? Set a timer for 15 minutes, grab a prompt, and write without delay. Forget about editing. Forget about diction. Just write.

This prompt brought to you by 300 Writing Prompts.

4 Tips For Finishing Your First Draft

 

 

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Photo by  Buatoom

Beginning this year I made a goal, well I added it to my Birthday Bucket List that I would complete the first draft of my novel. As someone who has been writing all her life (okay, since age 4), I have a problem with finishing things. I have so many starts or middles to novels, but rarely endings. So, this is why I at 30 will finally complete a novel!

How am I keeping this goal? Well, I thought I would share some tips that have worked for me as I hit the 32,000-word mark last night (okay, 32,123 to be exact – look at all those pretty numbers!).

Schedule Your Writing

Since January, I have kept a schedule of two days a week of writing. I try to write on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Some weeks I can do all three days, but I try not to burn myself out. This helps with the “I should bes.” Before I found myself constantly feeling guilty for not writing. I would say, “I should be writing, but instead I am watching Netflix or hanging out with friends.” Now that I have a schedule, I say, “I love that I just binged watch Daredevil Season 2 on my Wednesday night. I can’t wait to write tomorrow!” It really frees me up to write and also live my life.

Limit Your Time

This may sound like a radical idea, why should I stop the creative process? Shouldn’t I just write for hours and hours? If it works for you, do it. I’ve learned it doesn’t work for me. I’ve learned that deadlines are my friends. I was always that kid in school who would procrastinate and write the research paper the night before and get an A. So, I appreciate that my local coffee shop closes at 8 as I get there at 6:30 and I only have an hour and a half to write and I GET IT DONE. No time to waste on Twitter when the minutes are ticking.

Google Docs

Google Docs is free, accessible anywhere, and loves me. Yup, it loves me. I use a Chromebook to write, which is perfect as I can access Google Docs offline. I can also write when I am at home or at work or on break. If inspiration hits, I don’t have the excuse that my novel is somewhere else. It also helps with the anxiety that my computer will crash and I will lose everything. Of course, have a copy saved on your hard drive because the cloud isn’t a permanent solution.

Write, Write, Write

As I said, I have the days that I write, in the hours that I write, with the Google Docs available anytime – as you can see, I have removed most of the excuses. Yet, I will find an excuse because that is what writers do. So, I tell myself to “write, write, write.” Even if it sucks. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if I forgot what the character looked like (just make a note for later). I write. I can go back and change it, but for now, get those fingers moving. Get to 1,000 words. Get to 10,000 words. And eventually, you’ll hit 100,000 words.

I hope these tips help you in your writing. Let me know what tips work for you in the comments below.

Sharing My Big Dream

I recently posted the following on Instagram:

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I am going to dream ridiculously big here and share with you something that I like to giggle about: This place will be marked where Tawny Burgess wrote her novel. And some people will come to visit it and grab a coffee and take a photo. And they will think to themselves, I want to write a novel too. And that, my friends, will make me the happiest person. Not that that they read or even liked my book, but because it encouraged and inspired them to work hard at something and to take a chance on themselves and to use the gift God had given them.

There’s my big silly dream. Care to share yours? 

I cannot explain to you the anxiety I felt after posting it. I didn’t check my phone for hours. It’s scary to put yourself out there. And it’s not even putting myself out there that much either. If you know me, you know I like to write. I guess just being so honest about something that is so dear to me made me realize my Failing Forward goals for 2016 is going to be much harder, but also, totally worth the anxiety.