Bless The Country

Last week, a typhoon hit China. It was close to Wenzhou where I am at. Luckily, it turned hours before it hit the city, however, other cities in China were not as lucky. In Wenzhou, we had high winds and quite a bit of rain. There was no flooding and object flying around. After the threat of the typhoon had passed, I went back to work, and practically forgot about it.

Yesterday, I went to a small fishing village located on an inlet that leads to the ocean. I had been there the week before when the typhoon was just beginning to approach China. At the time, there were several shops along the warf where the boats were stationed. Yesterday, the shops were gone, completely destroyed by the wind and rain. In fact, there was still so much water in the inlet, that at night, when the tide comes in, it floods the beach again and fills it up to the point, where it looks like just another lake.

In Fuzhou, a place where Hidden Treasures Home, a home for orphaned special needs kids, is stationed, flooded. The water came up to about mid-calf. The small town in Fuzhou is used to a lot of rain, but this was more than they could work with.

I might not have been affected, but others were. Please continue to pray for this country and it’s people. They need the knowledge and wisdom revelation of the Lord’s love for them.

One thing I have learned since I have been here is that, the Chinese who are christians, rely on very little to believe the existence of God. When I was in Fuzhou, God said to me, “I love each and every person here. I tell them that every week. The continued revelation of my love for them is all they need to keep worshiping and loving me. Why then do you, does your country, need to lay out a new fleece every day to know my existence? Why do you need to see a miracle to love me?”

That hit me hard.

One of my students was showing me a bug bite on her arm, and I noticed a bruise right below it. I asked her if that was a bruise, and she said, “Oh yeah! My mom got mad at me and she–” she imitated her mom poking her in the arm repeatedly. I had two reactions to that. The first was: How could a mom do that to her child? The second was: Eh, Chinese culture. I hardly thought about it because my student laughed. It wasn’t until later when I thought about it more.

I tell you this story because I want to show you how disguised love is here in this culture. I have seen it displayed and expressed a hundred different ways. I’ve watched one mom coddle her two year old daughter, and I’ve seen one student who is constantly picked up from school by his sister, and I’ve heard one student say he has no choice in what boarding school he goes to in the U.S., and I’ve heard one student say she is majoring in Law because her father told her to, and I’ve seen a grandma feed and teach a five year old everything he knows, and I’ve heard a parent yell at a student for not listening in class. Finally, I’ve seen a student with a bruise on her arm, given from her mother.

I don’t know the why behind any of these. I do know honoring ones parents is crucial, and I know parents want their kids to do the best they can in school. The word love is hidden under the word respect and honor. The act of love is hidden under the act of correction and punishment.

It is no wonder that all a person here needs is the knowledge of Jesus’ love to know he exists.

For I so loved the world that I gave my one and only son that whosoever believes shall not parish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

I have never heard someone say, “I love you” here.

When God says it to me, I know I feel all warm and fuzzy and loved. I think to a person in China, hearing “I love you” is a miracle. Isn’t it sometimes the same way in America?

“I love you.” Let that roll off your tongue.

I can’t say that in the classroom, so I say, “I am so proud of you.” I don’t know if my students know what that phrase means, but I tell them that everyday. I’ll get close to them at the table, make it a one on one conversation, and say, “_____, you are so smart. I know you are, and I want you to show me. I am so proud of you.” Before they even displayed anything to be proud of, I was proud of them. I’ve seen it change several students in a matter of two weeks. Students who wouldn’t sit still or listen to me, I would tell them I was proud of them for sitting still for five minutes or for listening to me for five minutes.

My mate May, is my hero. I tell her everyday. She helps me with everything whether it is shopping, changing the class schedule, learning the names in class, translating, or cooking. I’ve said, “I love you” to her once, and she didn’t reply back, but now when we go anywhere, we sit together, she hugs me, and we talk comfortably. So that she isn’t uncomfortable, I say, “May,” at the end of the day, “you are my hero.” All she says is, “Oh, okay.” That is enough.

This country needs love. Above all, this country needs God’s love. Displays of God’s love. Words of God’s love. Gifts of God’s love.

This typhoon was just another eye opener for me.

I hope it is for you too.

Please continue to pray for them and for me.

么么哒。

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Lesson Planning, Cooking Fails, Climbing Mountains, Tower Sight Seeing, and lots and lots of shopping.

Really, I think I should have just titled this “A Little Bit of Everything” or “I’ve Done it All.” I think those are perfectly acceptable short blog post titles. Do I use those? No. Who ever wants to use such clickbait titles. *cough*literally every smart blogger in the world*cough* Hehe.

SO! *turns and whispers to myself* “What have I been doing lately?” “Ugh, this is why you need to write a blog post every week.” “Okay, but I don’t, so what did I do?” “Well…, what’s the first thing in your title?”

Honestly…, I’ve only planned one lesson, and camp starts Monday. *insert two laughing cry faces, a legit crying face, and one more laughing cry face, then add #mood just to stay culturally relevant* (Wait.. Is “mood” still a trend in the States?) *facepalm* #BIGmood

Yeah. So a part of the lesson planning is cooking though. So the kids I’ll be playing with and “teaching” (It’s more important that they have fun while speaking English. I only teach until I lose their attention. Haha.) do an activity everyday, and most of those activities are cooking. One thing my Mate and I are trying to do is cook a dessert dumpling. So far, it’s failed every time. It has tasted good every time, but when we cook the dumplings, they all burst open and the fruit filling spills out every where. So that was a thing. Everything else I think my Mate has tried has been successful. I go in to the club tomorrow to work on some experiments and do some more cooking. I’ll let you know how that goes.

As for climbing mountains, Yes. I did climb to the south peak which was the highest peak of 华山 (Hua Shan Mountain [literal: Hua Mountain]) HOWEVER I freaking did it like a boss because I had a sore throat and didn’t cry once. Although, I was also super dehydrated. Oh yeah, and my blood sugar dropped. *waves hand in dismissal* Eh. I’m alive still. In all seriousness though, the mountain was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. All last week I was in Xi’an on vacation. I saw this beautiful Chinese dance performance; saw the Terra Cotta warriors. I even saw these beautiful towers called the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Everything had such a beautiful story and history, but nothing compared to those mountains. Looking over the edge of the south peak, being above the clouds, breathing air that wasn’t tainted by pollution, and just existing for one moment drenched in sweat with my calves screaming at me, and my lungs practically pushing it’s way up my esophagus (I was coughing a lot), I felt like the Tower of Babel was pointless. Why waste the labour on building, when one can climb a mountain. I think that’s as close to Heaven as I’ll ever need to get before I die. It was refreshing. For a moment, it was like I saw what God saw when he created the world, and let me tell you, it was good.

I briefly mentioned the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Those were beautiful, and told a lot of Xi’an’s history. They were tall and beautifully painted. I took a ton of pictures but non on my iPad or Computer that I can share. *sad face* However, when I was at the Drum Tower, I got to see this beautiful music performance. It was wonderful. I love traditional Chinese music.

As for the shopping… let’s say I’m out of money.

STORY TIME:

I’m walking down the Muslim Quarter of Xi’an where all the shops are. I see this beautiful set of Panda chopsticks. I, obsessed with pandas and chopsticks, run forward excited. The lady of the shop sees me as her pray and jumps forward, ready to strike. I suddenly realize my mistake in showing too much interest in her wares, and worry that I won’t lower the price any. She says, “You like? Forty-five kuai. Just for you.”

I cringe inside. That is far too much money for just a pair of wooden chopsticks–no matter how beautiful they may appear. I can by anything in her shop off of Taobao for way cheaper. I can feel my smile fall and walk away.

“Wait!” the lady yells. “For you, forty.”

I wave my hands at her. “No, it’s okay. I don’t want to buy them.” What a lie. She knows I want them.

“Fine fine. Thirty.”

“No! Really, I don’t want them.” How much must I lie to this predator.

She waves a paper fan at me. “Just for you, twenty-five.”

“Thank you, but really, I don’t want them,”I continue to shamelessly say to her.

“Fifteen!” She yells. “Final offer.”

I look at the beautiful box. I ponder if I should actually get them. There is no need to feed my collection (or addiction depending on how you look at it). She continues to insist that the offer is just for me, as if I know she doesn’t say that to everyone. “Fine. I’ll take it.”

I walk away a happy customer.

THE END.

I did so much bargaining like that. I loved it! I ended up with a pair of chopsticks for me and a friend, a keychain for my sister, a new glasses case for me, a bottle opener for my father, a thimble for my aunt in Indiana who collects them, two Chinese children’s books, and a Terra Cotta Warrior coin for a friend. I loved all the shopping I did.

After shopping, on Friday, I couple of my friends and I wandered into this beautiful park. We found a place with a bunch of lotus flowers, and took a ton of pictures. We sat down in this beautiful pagoda/gazebo where we were able to sit and listen to the birds. It was a nice place to cool off from the sun. It was especially nice when a man came in and played the Chinese instrument that only has one string. The whole thing was like a fairy tale. I didn’t want to leave.

Then we took a plane back to Wenzhou, and I ended up not only with a cold but also an ear infection. So here we are, present day. I’m tired, taking as much garlic gel capsules as possible, and just chillin’. (I say that after I had a super busy day today.)

I took a taxi to a Starbucks to meet one of my Chinese professors who is visiting China for a couple weeks. We got to go shopping, got our hair washed and styled (NOT cut), then we went to Wenzhou University to advertise ORU. I made a lot of new friends, but with the ear infection, and my body trying to repair itself, I was exhausted and ready to cry by the time dinner ended.

Tomorrow, I’ll have most of the day to chill, and just mentally prepare for camps.

I thank God everyday for supplying all of my needs and bringing me here. His timing is perfect. I’m still reminding myself of that about several things. But really, this place is home to me. I love Wenzhou, the city, the food, and especially the people.

Prayer Request:

1. I’m actually still working on financial aid and student loans with ORU. It’s hard to do form China, and it’s even still hard for mom to do from Michigan (because ORU is in Oklahoma). Please pray that everything gets worked out quickly and smoothly without any stress or hassle.

2. Please pray for healing! and for continued health in my body and everyone else I work with. (Especially DT right now, as he is experiencing pain from a kidney stone.) Please pray that everything is cleared up by Monday when camp starts. We have an awesome God. I was nearly crying in pain on the plane from the cabin pressure and the infection, and the Lord reminded me how he healed the guards ear that Peter had cut off. God was like, “You’re not even attacking me! Haha. Of course there is healing blessed to you.” It has been given, I have received it, and now I wait for the manifestation of it. I am calling it into being as though it already is.

3. Camp! We are expecting failure. I’m new. I’m not going to be perfect. Please pray that the failure is fun though. “Whelp! These dumplings failed.” *takes a big bite* “But it’s still delicious!” I say as all the kids look at me oddly. Please pray that things are Safe and Fun and IF the kids learn then great.

I can’t think of anything else at the moment. I trust that you will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as he guides you while you pray.

Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate it.

再见!

List of weird things I have eaten in China:

  1. Cow’s neck
  2. Pig’s brain
  3. Some sort of bug
  4. Spicy Mango (not “weird” per se, but my Host gave me a weird look when I said it.)
  5. Scorpion! (Okay! Funny story with this. Eating Scorpion was like the one thing on my bucket list to do in China. So I get the opportunity to do so, and it just taste like cajun popcorn. Wonderful. THEN, the guy who sold it to me and my friends, was like, “Pay me twenty bucks, and I’ll eat a live one.” So we paid him, and MY DUDE ATE A FREAKING LIVE SCORPION. Then my Korean friend allowed a scorpion to run on his hand. I ate one, but I wasn’t adventurous enough to touch one.)

Yup. Bye!

Dreams Do Come True

Do you remember my first blog post, when I mentioned my goals? I really achieved maybe one of those short term goals, and I really haven’t achieved any of the long term ones. HOWEVER, I am one step closer. I still have a year of college to go until I graduate, which also means I have a year to go until I move to China, but I can proudly say that I am writing this in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China. I am interning at DT Club, having the time of my life. I have laughed a lot (admittedly gotten angry a few times), and successfully haven’t cried yet (though, I did want to at one point). The Lord has rested his hand on my shoulder and lead me to here. It is not a mistake, it is a fulfilled dream.

Shall I lead you through everything step by step?

“Elizabeth, I am incredibly interested in your life and what you’re doing. I love living vicariously (mostly boringly) through you and what you write, but I am busy. I do have a life outside of the few blog posts you remember to type out. Please, do try to keep it short.” (I’ll admit, I imagined this with a posh upper state New York voice.)

Fine. Short it is.

The plane ride was fourteen hours. I took the whole flight with a stranger who quickly became friend and soon roommate. We sat in a McDonalds in the Shanghai airport laughing and crying while trying to play card games for nine hours. We arrived in Wenzhou shortly after, and leaving the airport, stepping outside the doors onto actually ground, not another tiled flooring was like stepping through the door to my house after a fourteen hour car ride from Oklahoma to Michigan.

You know that feeling, surely. You’ve been sleeping in a hotel bed or one of those springy cabin beds at camp for a week or longer, and you can’t wait to get home to your bed. You walk through the door of your house and all you can think about is sinking into the memory foam under your cotton sheet and allowing your head to fall into the three pillows and five stuffed animals lining the headboard. At the same time, you are so excited to tell your family about your vacation that you don’t want to go to bed. You don’t know what to do so you kind of talk in circles and you don’t even know if your awake anymore. (No? Just me?)

That’s what it was like.

Everything I had ever seen in the dramas, been told by my teachers, and dreamed of for three years seemed to collide all at once, and everything I had prayed and begged God for, eagerly seeking after, was real.

That night, my new friend and I were thrown into meetings and work. DT didn’t waste time introducing us to classes and getting us teaching. I experienced little to know anxiety, pushed myself into stores alone so I could practice my Chinese (since I can only talk to the students in English), and enjoyed every minute.

Funny stories:

1) A girl leaned close to my ear and whispered, “Is your hair made of gold?”

I said, “Yes! It’s blonde.”

“Your hair is so pretty. I like gold. It looks like my dog.”

2) I kneeled down in front of a table of girls working on their discussion questions and asked, “Do you guys need help?”

“Yes!” the girl in the middle said.

“What is it?”

“Is your hair real?” All the girls leaned in. (Because blonde hair is so real, it’s important that they know.

“Yes, it is.”

They all gasped. The middle girl said, “It’s so pretty!”

Needless to say, my day was made both times.

What else should I tell you about?

Even now, my host family here are speaking in Chinese (Wenzhou dialect) to each other. I love it though. This is all the exposure I have been craving, and I am now receiving it.

“Did you experience any culture shock?”

Not really! I was a little surprised that they don’t flush their toilet paper. It’s taken me the week to get used to that. (OH MY GOSH IT HAS ONLY BEEN A WEEK.) I’ve been doing a lot of lesson planning, and trying to get my homework done too. I have loved the crazy, maniac like driving. Crossing the road is like a hit and miss. (Hopefully miss. I would hate to get hit.) I have really loved every second. Like I said: It was instantly home to me, and there has never been a moment when it hasn’t felt that way.

Here are some pictures. If you want more specifics let’s create some dialogue!

We were so tired after all of the plane rides! It was exhausting, but we powered through smiling, laughing, (and sleeping).

This was my first 包子steamed bun. It was delicious. Although my kids made fun of me for eating it before dinner, since it’s a breakfast food.

Here are some of my kids and I. I have no idea where we’re at. They gave me a tour around Wenzhou. We got on a bus, got off and ended up here and played some fun claw machines. (Also, I am guilty of talking to them in Chinese. But they talked to me in English, so it’s okay, right?)

Here is a night city view from my friends apartment. (It’s not that good, but it’s what you get. Although, the view from my new place is MUCH better.)

Here is this lake a few of my friends have been swimming in everyday. (I have not. They swim laps, and I like to float.) It is by far the most beautiful place I have been. It looks like a blue lagoon of sorts. (I think this is the first place I also heard someone call me a 老外 foreigner.

This is where I had 火锅 It was delicious delightful food. Also, I ate pigs brain! I ate a few other things too, but I don’t remember much. I was too busy drinking have a container of apple cider and two bottles of water. (I only ate from the spicy side.)

Language Number Three (Four?)

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As most of you know, I love learning languages. In high school I learned American Sign Language. In college I designated Mandarin as my minor. Last spring semester, God told me to take Spanish my Junior year of college. Here I am, now, second semester of Junior year, and I have never been more motivated to study it, BUT it hasn’t always been that way.

Last semester, I honestly treated Spanish as a joke. (Now, before all you Spanish lovers get at me, God has really changed my opinion of Spanish.) I never studied for my quizzes–failed all of them. I never studied for my exams–miraculously passed all of them (except for the final…). And I did decent on all of the homework. I think I passed the class with either a C or a B. I don’t remember.

This semester! I came into this semester so ready to fantastic in Spanish and do just as good on the quizzes as I did on the exams last semester. I was ready to be a winner. And I was on the quizzes! but on other things? NOPE. BIG FAT NOPE. I failed so horribly that I cried to my mom and my Spanish professor after almost every exam. I wanted to drop the class and never come back to it. The reason I didn’t drop the class was because I believe God told me to take it.

I was conflicted though. I have yet to get an exam grade above a 68. (And trust me when I say it had dropped drastically low at one point.) Then I was talking to a good friend and he pointed out to me the end of Hebrews chapter 11. The entire chapter is the Hall of Faith, and it is telling us readers all about why people of the Bible are considered faithful. It gets to the end of the chapter and it basically says: Oh yeah! And there are like a million other people we can’t name, but they’re faithful because they were beheaded, set on fire, and crucified. (stated in my own words.) My friend was like, “That sounds horrible! But, they’re considered faithful because they were obedient. What do you want to be considered faithful for?” I knew instantly that I couldn’t leave Spanish class. I had to push through.

That didn’t stop me from constantly asking God for revelation though. I was always praying about it! Then one day, God was like, “Look! I need you to have a steady foundation in languages so that when your books are translated, you can assure that the gospel themes are not translated out of them.” I was amazed and have worked hard after that.

I had two exams this week and my final is next Monday. The first exam this week was an Oral Exam and I got an 84. I’ll let you know on the second one when I get the grade back, and I’ll for sure let you know about the final.

That’s been my journey with Spanish. I love it.

Let’s go back….

Elizabeth:

It’s a little to get sappy, but I was just thinking back on the summer we graduated. Summer of 2015. Honestly, that has so far been the greatest year of my life. I was motivated and doing things. I was routinely taking my vitamins, running outside (almost) regularly. We went on our first vacation by ourself in another state. That summer I was so happy. I took on the world that summer. We both did.

I dunno. I still am. I still can. But now, I just feel a little less motivated.

A lot less. Everything has fallen so perfectly into place, even with the hardships. I’m so thankful for everything God has done in my life. He has blessed me so much, and I know Hew will continue to do so. But now I don’t feel like I have anything to work hard for. The world has already been conquered. There is no Sherif for me to fight, no poor to give back to. Naturally, I want to si I’m lost, but I’m not. I know what God has called me to, but I don’t feel like there’s much to do if, anything to reach that now.

I’m just kind of really restless.

I want to go back to 2015 and feel that rush of excitement and success as we go down the highway in your sketch van with John Farnham and Ed Sheeran blasting through the speakers. If just for a moment, I want to feel that rush again.

~~~~

Abby:

I get that. I dearly miss that summer with all my heart. But it’s normal to feel restless. I know that’s a cliche thing to say that doesn’t help much, but it’s true. Feeling restless doesn’t mean you don’t still have adversity to face and opposition to conquer, it just means you’ve gotten used to it. You’ve gone through the training period, like in all those movies where the hero trains, and is finally ready for the battle. You’re ready now to face what’s been planned, so look forward to that. There is still so much unknown and I’m very excited to see how you excel in everything God throws at you.

No matter what age you’re at, it’s easy to feel restless. I think what my friend said applies to all of us. There is still so much unknown that God has yet to reveal to us for us to adventure into. Don’t give up.

BREAKING NEWS

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*Trips on the red curtain as I move to take center stage* Quickly catches myself and straightens the imaginary crown on my head. *waves fancily* “Hello my lovely readers and strange narrator. Here is a quick recap of what has happened since we met.” *crickets from the empty audience* “Haha! Of course I’m not really going to talk about the past three months. More like the past week. Let’s get started.”

This is week has been disorienting as heck. I had some intense spiritual battles Monday and Tuesday night (nightmares and dissociating) and I’ve been scared to go back to sleep since. So what have I been doing? Binge watching Parks and Recreation. *naturally**as one does* ALSO I–the healthiest person alive–have a cold. I feel betrayed by my own body. It’s kind of annoying, but whatever. It’ll end soon.

I’ve barely been getting my posts up for the blogathon, but I have done them. I think I have missed one day. If I’m wrong, correct me. I’m not upset about it though. I’ll be happy to buy Tae dinner. Which, speaking of Tae, he redesigned his blog! Go look at it! I’m about to go do that. He’s amazing and if you’re interested in travel, you need to read what he’s writing about.

I finished another book. (It’s actually a book I bought last weekend on my birthday.) The book is Ryan Higa’s How to Write Good by (you guessed it) Ryan Higa. It was actually really good and inspiring. I’ll put a review of it up eventually. I’m about to start another book Autumn Princess, Dragon Child by Lian Hearn. It is the second book in the series The Tales of Shikanoko. Look forward to another beautiful cover.

Monday will be the start of dead week. (It’s crazy to think I have two weeks left before I move into this most beautiful mansion.) Surprisingly, I’m not stressed at all. I know God has things under control. As I keep reminding myself, His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Already two classes have ended. I’m studying hard for Spanish, and I should be studying more Chinese. Things will work out. I trust God.

Keep me in your prayers as I will keep you in mine.

I love you all! 么么哒!

I was tired. Okay.

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I have been so busy this weekend, it never even crossed my mind to put up a blog post yesterday. What was I doing? everything.

My parents were in town for my birthday. They drove down from Michigan, and spent Saturday and most of today with me. It was a lot of fun. We went to IHOP for breakfast, and then while they went to visit family I went to this ladies conference at church. They picked me up and we stopped back at University. I was able to walk them around the building where I take most of my classes and show them the library. My TULSA Best Friend met us by the IT desk to say hi, then we went to Barnes N Noble. It had been a while since I was in there so I felt like I could cry. I got two new books.

“Elizabeth…. Why? You aren’t reading the ones you already have.”

Yeah, your right. But I will read these ones, and hopefully it will get me into reading more books. I’ve been in a horrible reading slump, so I think this will help me. I’ll put a post up about the books soon.

After Barnes N Noble, we went looking for Goodwill. Unfortunately, we didn’t find it. Instead we found this place called “Quality Thrift Store.” It had a lot of nice clothes. I think I got around eight shirts for $50. On top of that, I found out that every Sunday their clothes are half off, and every Monday their clothes are $.99. Long story short, I think I found my new favorite place to shop.

Once we checked out with my clothes haphazardly thrown in a bag (the cashier didn’t even fold them), we went to this restaurant called “Louis Bar and Grill.” Not gonna lie, I was a little worried about the place on the way there. We drove through this really sketchy town, and the outside of the building was poorly lit. The sign was nice though. It was this lit up, cursive sign. So we parked and went inside. The place was crowded. Packed. We told the lady there were three of us and she told us that it would be a bit of a wait. We said that wouldn’t be a problem and all went to the bathroom. The moment we came out the lady was like, “Father.” **Not really. She called my dad’s name.** We were seated, and they brought our drinks, and brought our food. Everything was done in a timely manner, and it was actually really classy. The waitresses were really nice. To top it off, they had gluten free crust for their pizza! Then we went to Walmart, and I got pants. **Yay! PaNtS!*

So that was that. And then today they went to church with me, which was a lot of fun. We went back to Walmart to get some other things, and then they left. They took some stuff from my room with them too, because I didn’t want to have to store it over the summer.

All in all, this was the best birthday ever.

Thank you to all the people who were a part of it and made it good. **Insert sweet emoji** (Because I normally avoid my birthday.) So this was special.

Character Profiles!

My favorite thing whenever it comes to writing is sketching out the character until it comes to life and can finish creating itself. Have you ever had that happen? You’re happily writing along until a character makes you backspace a few words and gives you a few new verbs so that they can act according to their personality, or maybe they pack in a few more adjectives so that you can describe them the way they would prefer to be described. Even in dialogue, sometimes you can see your female character pop a hip out to the side, cross her arms in front of her chest, and ask you, “Would I really say that?” Sometimes as writers we raise our characters, argue with our characters, and fall in love them. Before all that happens, though, we must first give birth to them.

I imagine the process of us giving birth to characters is very similar to how Athena actually gave birth to her children. We think them up, design them in a very specific way, and soon enough there it is going on adventures and fighting dragons, and it isn’t long until they’re doing that without our assistance. One day we’ll wake up from a long coffee induced night of writing and find a complete manuscript staring at us from whatever word processor we’re using. So where does this imagining process start? How does it begin?

For me, it starts here:

Name:

Every character must start with a name. And so this list continues until sketched out before me is a person about ready to step off the page. All that’s left is teaching this new character how to walk. Here is what a complete character profile looks like for me:

Earth Name: Beatrice Glasser

Other Name: Averice Glasser

Nickname: B and Ave (probably Rice when she’s being teased.)

Eye color: Stormy blue-gray (sapphire blue eyes)

Hair color/style: Strawberry blonde hair cut in a neat bob, with permed curls that rest neatly along her neck and around her ears. (Long, curly white hair, with lowlights so that it is not completely bleach blonde.)

Age: 22

Height: 5’ 7”

Build: She is tall and lithe from running. She is not overly muscular since she prefers cardio more than weightlifting. Her shoulders are rounded forward slightly from sitting hunched over her computer or sitting on the floor reading. She has the most spectacular legs with curves to die for and small ankles and feet. (Still tall, but a more narrow than straight waist, and more of a muscular build than just being lithe.)

Clothes: Imagine every K-Pop artist. She mixes and matches various styles. Probably one of her favorite outfits is her ripped, boyfriend jeans paired with blacks heels. She will wear either her green or red and black plaid flowing tank top with either a short sleeved, long jacket or a colorful kimono over the top. (Black lace up boots, that go to the knee, black and white striped leggings, and a lacy, high-low, black skirt. To literally pull everything together is a full torso, black corset clasped in the front. As a separate piece, she has flowing, lacy, black sleeves that tie in front of her neck.)

Profession: She is currently a student attending ________ going for a degree in Creative Writing, and possibly thinking about getting a masters or doctorate in linguistics.

Characteristics: Averice is bubbly and witty with a dry sense of humour. She smiles a lot and loves people. Although, behind all of that she struggles a lot with self confidence and pride.

Residence: Xi Nu Theta (At school) Her house is in Michigan.

Extrovert or Introvert: Ambivert. She loves people, but she definitely gets her fill of them. She recharges from being alone, and honestly loves curling up with a book than with a person.

Hobby: Reading; watching T.V.; updating her blog on the rare occasion she remembers; learning languages in her rare spare time.

Favorite activity: Running. She could run for days, but classes and social situations normally demand her attention.

Favorite Meal: French Toast or any Asian meal, but normally French Toast.

Favorite Season: That middle moment in between Winter and Spring when the snow is melting and everything is muddy, and there is that slight smell of rain water and slushy snow in the Meijer parking lot, but there are also shoots of grass popping up, and Robins start appearing everywhere.

Darkest thought: Maybe if I took like eight of these Benadryl I wouldn’t have to wake up for a few days. No more people.

Deepest secret: HELLA GAY. Nah, not really. She loved a man once, but things got ugly, and now she hates love. Unless it’s on other people.

Friends: Taryn (Tarence) and a bunch of other useless acquaintances.

Mortal enemies: That stupid cat.

Achilles heel: She wears her heart on her sleeves and trusts everyone she meets.

Goal: Find the cat and graduate with a degree. Possibly survive.

The profile is always different depending on the project. Sometimes I take away some of the questions and sometimes I add more. It depends on how detailed or how basic I want my character to be. For example, all my characters don’t have two names. This character does because she goes between two different worlds.

An empty character sheet looks like this:

Name:

Nickname:

Eye color:

Hair color/style:

Age:

Height:

Build:

Clothes:

Profession:

Characteristics:

Residence:

Extrovert or Introvert:

Hobby:

Favorite activity:

Favorite Meal:

Favorite Season:

Darkest thought:

Deepest secret:

Friends:

Mortal enemies:.

Achilles heel:

Goal:

Please feel free to copy it, or go to this google doc. I want to share this with as many people as possible.

Creating characters is one of my favorite things and this is how I do it.

Are there any other methods that you use? I would love to hear them! I would also love to see what types of character you’ve created! Comment below or shoot me an e-mail, and let’s get some dialogue going.

Keep writing! You can complete the story inside of you. 加油!

Blogathon Challenge, Start!

Hey all! Sooooooo, I’ve been absent for only the whole beginning of the year. Oops. I’ve been busy. Although, I suppose that’s not a good excuse. We’re all busy. Why am I here now? Well, get this. A friend challenged me to a blogathon. This will be my post for April 1 (because I haven’t had one sleep yet, so it’s not the next day. lol). Believe it or not, I actually have a lot of posts lined up for this month. I’m excited for this push that I have to actually sit down and write. oh, yeah, because let me tell you, we made a bet. My friend and I said that for every day we miss posting, is one meal we have to buy the other person in China. (Yeah, he and I are gonna be in China together.)

Guys! I’m so excited for the month of April though. Not only will I be feeding you all content, but I’m going to be fed love! My parents are coming to see me on my birthday, and it’s the last month of school. Praise the Lord. Junior year is almost over, and China is right around the corner. I’m so excited.

Keep me in your prayers for this month. God is delivering me from a lot and challenging me a lot as well. I have exams almost every week this month, and one of them is my Writing Proficiency Exam that I have to pass to graduate. I’m excited for the growth that is going to happen, but also I’m a little nervous.

I will also keep praying for all of you!

Alright, now. I’m expecting all of you to keep me accountable with posting everyday. Also, here is my friend’s blog so you can all go bother him. If you want to join us, let me know in the comments below! Things get done better and faster in groups! (Although, all my group projects in college would say otherwise.) Let’s do this together and support each other. We were created for just that.

么么哒!加油!再见!Good luck! See ya!

That Twinkle in Your Eye

This is a poem I wrote on Christmas Eve. I originally wrote it with one person in mind, but as I prayed over it, God had someone else in mind. I was just sitting in the living room with my mom and a friend, and in the middle of the conversation, God said, “Her. Quick. Give it to her.” I already had the poem under the tree, attached to a letter addressed to someone completely different. At first I was like, “Nah. You’re wrong,” but the longer I sat there the more of an urgency I felt to give it to her, so I got up and went to get it. When I brought it back to the living room, my friend said, “You have something for me.” She could just tell by the way I was standing there, that I had something to give. I said, “Yes. I wrote a poem for you.” Her reaction was, “YOU WROTE A POEM FOR ME. OH MY GOSH. I’VE NEVER BEEN GIVEN A POEM.” It was a better reaction than what I could have expected. There are many times when I feel I have nothing to give except my words, and I think sometimes that’s all God asks, is to give what I have.

Before I go, I want to ask, what do you have? Whatever talent you have been given, give it to others in return. The joy on their faces is the greatest reward and income you could receive.

Without further ado, here is the poem.

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