Hope

All posts tagged Hope

A Time to Die Giveaway and Blog Hop

Published September 3, 2014 by Ashley Townsend

Hey all! My author friend and dance buddy Nadine Brandes is kicking off a blog hop in celebration of being one day closer to the upcoming release of her fantastic dystopian thriller “A Time to Die.” *cue the flurry of applause and dead-faints of excitement* The blog hop where I answer Nadine’s prompt “If you had one year left to live” will be live on my blog on September 26th, so put it on your calendars! But for now, Nadine has her own answers and an Amazon giveaway on her blog to whet your bookish appetites.

To enter the giveaway, you’re going to have to put in a little effort and follow the link below to Nadine’s original post at http://nadinebrandes.com/2014/09/03/if-i-had-one-year-left-to-live-a-time-to-die-blog-tour/

 

If I had one year left to live…

…I might stop writing.

*Gasp*

My heart shreds into confetti at the very idea, but one year isn’t very long. I’ve thought quite hard over this concept. Let me explain, for a moment, why I’m even blogging on it.

Today I’m kicking off the blog hop to promote my book, A Time to Die. Over twenty bloggers will be joining this hop to answer the prompt, “If I Had One Year Left to Live, I Would…” Hopefully this also prompts you to think about what you’d do with one year left to live.

Once the question enters your mind, it gets pretty sticky. Trust me, I know. I think about it all the time.

You Have One Year

In order to answer this question, I need to step back and examine what’s important, get to the nitty-gritty. Yes, writing is important because it’s my passion, but what is even more worthy of my complete devotion and sacrifice of time? Of course, it’s my Savior, Jesus Christ and I would fill my last year with things, actions, and choices that I believe He calls me to. But, since I’m playing crystal ball and trying to predict my future actions,  here are some things I would do with one year left:

Either stop writing, or speed-write. 

Don’t take this the wrong way. I do not want to stop writing. Writing is my passion. BUT, if I knew for sure that I would die one year from today, I would really ask myself how much time I could devote to writing without sacrificing time better spent elsewhere.

Another thought that crossed my mind is committing some hard-core writing months (about three or four) to completing the Out of Time series. For the sake of my readers (yes, for you!) If I couldn’t finish it in that time, I’d start looking for authors who could finish it/polish it for me.

I would go to Russia.

Going to Russia and interacting with the people there has been a long-term passion God has placed on both my and my husband’s heart. It’s a long story that I won’t get into now, but we would travel there to live for the majority of my last year. Hey, maybe I could keep writing while there! ;)

I would write intentional letters.

Words are my passion. I would make sure I had a stack of letters to be given to each person I love after I passed on, hopefully encouraging them to pursue life and God full-speed and to REJOICE at my joining Christ in heaven.

I would visit my relatives.

I grew up away from most of my relatives so I didn’t build the relationships with some of them that I would have liked. I would take at least two weeks to a month and road trip (with the hubby, of course!) around America, visiting them, having intentional quality time with them, and — with some — trying one last time to share the importance of Christ.

I would pray and fast more.

This is one of those things I already try to do, but I’m a spiritual wimp. Praying is the more tough side of relationship with Christ for me. I would love to devote hours — and I mean carpetburns-on-the-knees hours — to praying, fasting, and communing with God. The one time I intentionally fasted and pushed myself past my human desires, it completely changed me. And that was just one time.

Some little things:

I would go skydiving, sleep on an overnight train (preferably the Trans-Siberian Rail, which — if I go to Russia — would be very doable.), ride a tandem bike, and send up a desperate plea to J K Rowling (who probably won’t even see it) asking her to let me treat her to a cup of tea.

But, these are little things. Inconsequential things. Not big enough to be labeled as dreams, they’re just desires that would provide me with temporary happiness and then a good story.

 

My real goal in my last year would be to live as passionately as my weak, shy, cowardly human body allows for God’s glory. The point of this blog post is not just to dig into my dreams and last-minute pursuits. It is to show me (and you) my deepest desires — the things that are most important to me — and hopefully inspire me to pursue them as best I can right now, whether I have one year or ten years left.

 

So how about you? What would you do/change/think/stop doing if you had one year left to live?

 

Finding the Road. . . Again.

Published December 13, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

don't let past ruin future

It’s been an interesting few weeks. . . . Well, couple of months, if I’m being honest. I have spent most of my free time pouring over list after list of literary agents and publishing companies to get “Chasing Shadows” picked up by a physical publisher. But almost zero publishers, Christian and otherwise, are accepting unsolicited manuscripts. That led me to creating a query letter and setting out in search of an agent who believes in this story as much as I do. But every agent I found was looking for something different, so each query letter sent had to be tweaked and reworded. After that it was a waiting game until I either got rejected or they asked to see the manuscript, and let me tell you, I got rejected a lot; it’s a little painful to admit (ACK! My pride!), but, yeah, about 58 times. The plus side was that they were all very kind and “encouraging,” and nearly every agent said my query letter was perfect, so if you need some direction on writing a query of your own or how to deal with some seriously repetitive rejection, I’m your gal! ^_^ Or we can just eat chocolate together. ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

success is not final

Another little hiccup was that almost none of the Christian literary agents are looking for the element of fantasy, and the agents interested in time travel don’t have an interest in promoting Christian fiction. So it put me in a teensy bit of a bind. I was alone at work one day when I got my magillionth rejection, and I basically had a mini meltdown in the bathroom. Though I reference it in my stories, I’ve never actually felt a broken heart until the moment I read the words “Thanks, but.” Yet that is honestly what it felt like. I spent an hour busying myself with insurance billing so I didn’t have to make a choice between believing all the other rejections and moving past it. But no matter how hard I tried to block it out, there would be these brief moments where God’s Voice snuck in and reminded me that it was a choice. Soooo not what I wanted to hear at that moment, but then I realized that the entire Shadows Trilogy is based off of this principle: “Everything is a choice.” I’ve written about it for years but never fully understood until a few days ago when I realized I was choosing to wallow and stop trying. To tell you the truth, that scared the stuffing out of me, so I played a little Russian roulette with my Bible (it’s a highly scientific process), but the verse it flopped open to was completely non-applicable (I have no need to trade in goats OR sandals, dangit!!!). I was going to give up when I kind of begrudgingly flipped to the next page, and a small, random, un-highlighted verse caught my eye:

“He will not fear evil tidings. His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7

Psalm 112

…….. Oh. That was a tad spot-on. And this simple, random thing made me realize that so many times the answer is as simple as us being willing to turn the page or round the corner, to not give up when the answer doesn’t readily present itself. I decided then that I didn’t want to live life as a victim anymore and chose to have a better attitude, to not give in to despair and give up on Hope. Yes, there are still times when my friends are talking about graduating and boyfriends and careers and traveling the world, and I’m just sitting here like, “Oh, yeah, I love rocks, and this part-time community college student is totally going to have a best seller before 2090.” But I’m choosing not to believe the Devil’s lies when he says God made me the way I am with no purpose in mind. Even when I don’t know what that purpose is, God knows exactly where He’s directing me. And you, too.

I so wish I could tell you that I received hundreds of offers and that I have an incredible underdog story to tell, but alas, not as of this moment. So why am I admitting all of this? Because I want you to know how low I fell and how far and gently God was able to pick me up. . . . I didn’t realize until I typed those words just now that “Chasing Shadows” is all about that. Cool beans!

louisaI want to create the type of book that is intriguing and fun, serious and clever, full of incredibly realistic and relatable characters, and also the kind of story that won’t just appeal to those who were raised in a Christian home. Yes, of course I want to reach those who have already heard God’s message, but I so desire for readers who are only interested in secular books to connect to the story and characters—no “in your face” Christianity, but a guilt-free book that they love and learn from and that has God’s heart at the center of the story. THAT is what I want. I always wanted to follow in the footsteps of my mom and grandma, who both love and loved to write, and Jesus was the ultimate storyteller. Why wouldn’t I want to be like Him? So I know He has a plan for my wandering thoughts and inner story-maker, but as of right now, I have absolutely no idea what that is. But I’m trusting that God has a plan, and whatever spiritual journey you’re on, He has a plan for you, too, and it will be one of Victory. Our job is to not lose our enthusiasm for our passions along the way as we enjoy the ride.

success failure to another

If you have an unpublished manuscript of your own that you want to put out there, Deep River Books is having a contest and will give the winner a full-ride publishing contract with Carmichael Publishing. The contest is going on now through January 15th, so take a chance and put it out there! You never know what might come of it. http://www.deepriverbooks.com/contest.html

Revision Derision

Published September 17, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

reclining

Editing and revising can sometimes be my least favorite part of being an author. You write something that, in the moment, you feel is so inspired. That is, until you read back over it and wonder how much sugar and coffee you had at the time to make you type such nonsensical gibberish in so hurried a fashion. Then comes the fantastic task of trying to make sense of what you were working on. And don’t even get me started on summarizing! Yes, I would love to describe 900 pages of my blood, sweat, tears, and emotional turmoil in 200 words or less. YES! You’ve heard me share my agony over writing a synopsis before, and it hasn’t changed.

But, there are also some days where revising feels like reimagining the entire story, seeing it from a new angle where the ideas you originally put down on paper can fit so seamlessly into a new and more complex plot that you’re devising—those are the days that just make you smile and remind you that you don’t want to be doing anything else, the days that give you the courage to keep pressing on.

courage ralphu  

Every spare second I have between work and school (halfway there for one of my classes, so huzzah!) is spent on my laptop, pouring over the “Chasing Shadows” manuscript at the same time that I plot out the series’ conclusion on my note cards. I introduced an entirely new character and renamed another to subtly throw in some Robin Hood elements for my own enjoyment, and then I had a “Holy mackerel!” moment when I realized that it would beautifully complicate time travel for Sarah; it makes everything so much more disastrous because they fear her presence is corrupting the past. My favorite “Rising Shadows” fan and fellow writer, who is actually named Sarah—you are the absolute best, girl!—enjoys tormenting her characters as much as I do. I think it must be an author thing, because the farther our characters fall, the higher we have to lift them up, and watching them rise from the mire is a beautiful thing. Anyway, after I let God take the reins on this story, he completely opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for the final book, and I’m adding some minor and major elements to “Chasing Shadows” that are totally setting the stage for a bunch of disaster and perfection in the next installment, which is coming along rather nicely. Even my fellow writer and blogger-friend, Sarah (who is 100% Team Will Taylor), fell for Damien Lisandro against her will. Honestly, he is one of my favorite characters, and I’ve never written someone into a story who controls what I write as much as Damien—every time he entered a scene or opened his mouth, he owned the scene, and I found myself grinning like a giggly school girl or grimacing because I wanted to fix him. I have never been so happy to change an older, moderately interesting character named Bormeo into a handsome, cheeky Spaniard who is caught up with the wrong people, but you love him nonetheless. I can’t wait for you to get acquainted with him, but he’s mine, so don’t get any ideas. 😉   

love fairytales best of all end

God has been so faithful throughout this process, and I love you guys for sticking by my side! I’d appreciate some prayer, though, because I have to make a few big decisions soon—kind of a huge career jump that I’m looking for the Lord’s guidance on. Wish me faith! (sounds way better than luck!)

And can I get a smattering of applause or a “woot, woot!” for a new record of absence to this blog on my part. Four weeks, baby! But, seriously, sorry about that, and don’t be shy about sending me scathing reminder emails to get me back on here. Haha. Time has flown these past few weeks. In that time, “Deception” by CJ Redwine came out, “Thornhill” by Ms. Peacock was released, I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist, and my baby sister, Katie, turned the big 1-7 yesterday. Can’t believe the little girl I used to finger paint with outback (actually, that was just a few weeks ago, but we’ve matured in that time!) is all grown up with her own blog and the title of official Zondervan Book Reviewer under her belt. So proud of you, Kiddo!

www.booksandwonderfulthings.wordpress.com

Oh! I almost forgot. Friday, October 18th, I will be at the Casa de Oro Library Branch for a few hours to talk about my books and the publishing process, and I’m especially looking forward to getting to know a lot of you at the party that day. A few of the San Diego branches are getting started with teen and college age groups one Friday of the month to get kids back into reading, but there is no age limit. Everyone is welcome! It will just be a fun afternoon of getting to know one another and getting involved. If you know anyone in the area, encourage them to come and bring a friend, or if you want me tell kids about the publishing process at your school or library, just shoot me an email. You have no idea how much I love meeting you guys!  

I’m super jazzed and honored to kick off the first Friday of Teen Week and hope to see some of you there! ^__^

 

 

Half Agony, Half Hope

Published April 8, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

I breathe, I sleep, and I dream in story form. A carefully phrased string of words can create complex characters who find residence in my heart and are permanently etched into the walls of my soul.

books

This is a far more dramatic take on how stories and writing impact me, though the feelings are 100% true. I imagine that if I went to a BA (Bibliophiles Anonymous) meeting that my confession would sound a little something like this: “Hi, my name is Ashley, and I’m a bibliophilette.” (This is where you would all chime in with the slightly creepy, collective “Hi, fellow crazy person”) Yes, I dream in stories and find myself acting them out in my head during everyday life. I was the glassy-eyed kid staring out the window during class, imaging a fantasy world just beyond that cruel glass partition (I will probably dedicate a future post to the cruelties of allowing kids to see, but not touch, the outdoors during class). It’s actually quite entertaining—and distracting—to have a weightless book or multiple stories with you at all times, so no complaints. Move aside, 1 lb. Kindle!

victim of books

When people starting to ask me why I wanted to start my career with a Christian publisher—since I would have so much more reach with a secular house, I was told—I simply have them refer to the afore mentioned delusions. Then there’s the “middle ground” (a.k.a. moral compromise) question: Would you ever be able to alter your writing style so it has more appeal to secular markets? Able? Yes. Willing? That would be a resounding no. Why, you might ask?

Because my stories consume me. dream while awake

I can’t always pin down the exact moment when they come in and take over my life, because it can sometimes be slow going, but they do every time. I have lunch with the characters, spend the afternoon writing about their lives, and then go to bed envisioning what the next day might have in store for them. They occupy my waking and sleeping thoughts and resonate with me. If I hear a phrase or if I see something that reminds me of a character’s actions or what they might say, then I am immediately transported into the story. I smile when my characters—and other authors’ characters—are happy, grin like an idiot when they’re being cheeky, cry when they do, and hope for the same splendid ending that they wish for in their lives.

creative before sleep

The other day I was writing a very emotion scene for the sequel to “Rising Shadows” (currently “Chasing Shadows”) and sensation in readerwas honestly balling my eyes out—I could hardly see my laptop keys to type!—because I knew what it meant for Will. Sadly, I can’t give you the “nod” to let you know if it’s good or bad for him and those he cares for, because that would completely ruin the book for you. And then just before that, I had to kill off a character I had quickly grown to love, and when Sarah wept with loss and regret, I cried softly, matching my tears with hers. When I forced her into the arms of someone else for comfort, I was a distraught wreck, conflicted over what I had done to get her to this moment, but knowing it had to be done. Half agony and half hope—isn’t that Captain Wentworth’s line from “Persuasion”? I even took a moment to think over the lack of a future for this erased being as Sarah contemplated that same reality.

do something creative every day

So, clearly, I’m a crazy author who thinks her characters are absolutely, 100% real—they are, I tell you! But I like to think that it just means I’m passionate about designing relatable people that live and breathe on the page, as much for me as for those who read. But you can see why I don’t want to compromise: If I don’t have some moral base at the center of my stories, an encouraging conclusion to the hero’s journey, then what is it, exactly, that will be consuming me so fully? I want readers to pick up my novels and know that they aren’t simply “fluff,” but to be assured that they have a purpose and will impact them in some way, hopefully for the better.    

write the book you want to read

I started the sequel to “Rising Shadows” with the intent of making Sarah fall and lose her faith, to stumble into the darkness just a little to show that we can come out of it. But no matter how hard I pushed, how many precipices I forced endings we love to seeher to tread upon, and no matter what obstacles I sent to block her path, she has proven herself to be too strong to fall completely. It was actually kind of funny to have her fighting back at me when I tried to give her a gentle push downward, though sometimes it was frustrating to have her and others constantly thwarting my designs. But then I realized that I kind of like that about her—the fact that she’s a fighter even when, from her perspective, she thinks that she’s failing and seems to have as many fears as I do. At least she’s willing to try, sticking her neck out there for her friends, and is always prepared to fight for what she believes is right, though she isn’t always as secure as she would like to be. Sarah struggles with the same doubts and—usually—makes the right decision in the end. I suppose as far as “character” qualities go, those aren’t too bad to focus on. So if I’m going to be consumed by something, I want it to be unwavering, passionate faith and strength, even amidst the trials. The strength of a lion and the meekness of a lamb, right? Something to work towards and write about, I guess. So if you will excuse me, I think I’ll go map out my aspirations in story form.

writing

P.S. Something I realized this week: Success is not getting it right the first time. It’s kicking discouragement in the seat meat when the door slams in your face, and then you either bust the door in or attempt to scale to the window above it. I’m fairly certain Edison was anti-discouragement.      

living the life she imagined        

 

Lady in White

Published July 2, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

“Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou wilt make me full of gladness with Thy presence.”

Acts 2:28

Ruth Elizabeth Wimpy Smith

July 2, 1927—February 22, 2011

How could I possibly describe in a few brief words all that my grandma was and the impact she had on our lives? The truth is, it’s impossible; I can do my best to tell you about the things she did, the caring grandma and friend she was, and the fact that she loved her granddaughters. It wouldn’t do her justice to just tell you how fondly I remember the way she said “’Bye” on the phone—how her voice would get super soft and sweet as the word stretched out, and you could hear her smiling. I could try and explain her to you and paint a picture of the incredible woman I knew, but it’s impossible to just sum up someone so special, a lady who had room in her heart for everyone.

Ever since we were little, Grandma would throw her granddaughters these elaborate tea parties. Us girls would get all dressed up and pick something from her costume jewelry, and we ‘d spend the entire afternoon chatting and enjoying ridiculously gorgeous treats and tea from our china cups. Now I realize how much Grandma looked forward to those parties and what they meant to her, all of her favorite girls gathered around her, laughing and smiling. When each of us grand-girls turned ten, we received a special pin, and on our sixteenth birthdays, she gave us the completed journals she had been writing in since the day we were born, one special journal about each girl. Each year, she’d mark our heights on the wall in the laundry room, and it was always my goal when I was young to reach Grandma’s belt (in later years when I grew, she joked that we should get her a hat).

In recent years, she and my grandpa (the one who taught me my ABCs) took my sister, Katie, and I to the zoo a lot. We would ride the bus, and I still smile when I think of Grandma saying in exasperation, “Oh, Don!” when Grandpa tried to stand up on the top deck of the moving bus to better see (I love his curiosity!). My grandma always walked a little slowly, so I’d hold her hand, which was so cool and soft and reassuring. And then we would just stroll behind the group, holding hands and talking, just the two of us. Those walks became my favorite thing, some of the most special moments I can remember. I get a little teary-eyed thinking that we won’t get to hold hands for a very long time, but I look forward to strolling hand-in-hand again one day.

My grandma and I used to bake together, too, though we always seemed to get distracted and mess something up. We’d laugh over our baking gaffes, swearing that we would do better next time. Well, the next time we got to talking and forgot to add bananas to the banana muffins, and I still remember Grandma’s cute laugh and the way her nose scrunched up as she said, “Well, that’s new!” I know she would have loved to hear me relaying these stories, because she loved stories and writing; I got my ink-stained blood and love of books from her. Grandma was ecstatic when I told her that I wanted to be a writer someday because I would be living both of our dreams. She gave me a copy of Jane Eyre and wrote inside, “May this book inspire you to write your own masterpiece!” She passed away—peacefully in her sleep, completely healthy; the way I want to go—six months before she could realize her words had inspired me. When Rising Shadows came out on Tuesday, I spent a lot of time thinking about her and remembered that she wasn’t there to share my tears of joy. But I know that she is proud of me and overjoyed that I wanted to follow in her footsteps. And though I still wish she was here on earth so we could hold hands during those special moments and just sit together, I know that she is where every living soul wishes to be someday: Paradise.

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel (grand)mother.” -Abraham Lincoln  

Back in the Saddle…

Published June 6, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” James 2:14

Admittedly, I’ve spent hardly any time since Christmas break on the sequel to Rising Shadows, and it’s been a full two months since I even sat down to put thought to doc (the modern version of “pen to paper”). I believe I was actually terrified to sit in that chair again after such a long time and have my hands hovering over the keys, completely unable to form any coherent thoughts. I was afraid I would be uninspired and would stare at the unfinished manuscript, watching that awful black line blink on and off on that intimidatingly blank page, waiting to type the next word that would never come. It was almost paralyzing to imagine that Rising Shadows might be known as this fantastic novel that never received a companion, and I would be known as a one-hit-wonder. For some reason, my months of writing hiatus made me question if I would ever again experience a creative thought. So, I decided not to face that moment and continued to put off finishing the sequel, sometimes wondering if I hid away from the book, then maybe it would write itself or disappear completely.

This was completely irrational, since the longer I put it off, the more pressure there would be to write it and the closer I would get to my deadline; it wasn’t going to write itself! Then a few nights ago, I woke up at midnight in a moment of inspiration—unfortunately, I do all my best thinking at the most inconvenient times—and began scribbling ideas as fast as I could in the dark so I didn’t wake my sister, Katie. You can imagine my great relief when I spent the next afternoon pounding away at the keys, piecing together thoughts and words to create new scenes. Once I got going, it was like all the pressure I had been feeling for so long was lifted, and I began to remember how much I love to write. It honestly felt like I had never been away as I created new characters and picked up with the old ones, immediately understanding how they would react in certain situations and how they’ve grown. I wrote the epilogue to the story—chills!—and also this one farewell scene that left me in need of a tissue. All those fears were for naught, and they kept me from finishing the sequel, which was my greatest fear to begin with! (I believe that’s irony, or something like that) Needless to say, I have every intention of spending the rest of the summer dedicated to this next installment in The Shadow trilogy.

It was interesting, because the day after I finally got over my fear of writer’s block that kept me from attempting to write, my mom and I went to my grandpa’s to see some family friends who were visiting. One of the highlights of my very, very new career in writing was when a friend of my mom’s came up to me to say how much she has enjoyed reading my blog. She said that the words I write are so encouraging to her and very real, and I paint life how it really is and don’t try to make it seem perfect, because it’s not. Sometimes I feel like I’m just writing about what affects me and wonder if it will impact other people, so her words meant a lot to me. Talking with her encouraged me that all the time I’ve spent on this series and these characters will be worthwhile to some, and that’s all that matters. It gave me hope that I can touch people with my words and got me thinking—maybe I can impact people with my writing . . .

Have you checked out the official cover for Rising Shadows yet? If not, take a look at the “Rising Shadows” page on the left or go to www.goodreads.com and search for the book.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” –Shakespeare

Waiting on Hope.

Published May 8, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

“His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from His hand, where His power was hidden.” Habakkuk 3:4

 

 The sun rises in the east and sets in the west; it’s the same thing every day. Whether visible in a clear sky or obscured by a pillow of clouds, it’s always the same flaming orb moving through the sky. But there’s a different sort of magic hidden in that incredible sight on the distant horizon. You can glimpse the sun setting and rising a thousand times without fully seeing or comprehending its beauty or the promise behind it. Whether ascending or descending, the actual sun never changes, though each one affects and touches its viewers differently.

  Sunsets are wonderful and draw the most viewers to their crescendo of beauty at the close of the day. They can be likened to a curtain closing at the end of an incredible show, leaving the audience feeling satisfied as the stage lights fade and they head for home. A sunset brings with it feelings of contentment and this almost sweet nostalgia that makes you stare at the fading light in the distance with a wistful smile on your face long after the sun has gone down,.

  But to me, a sunrise is like the opening of the curtain. The anticipation builds, leaving you feeling breathless as the small lights over the crowd seem to grow dim with the brilliance of the spotlight on stage. A sunrise is a special, magical sight, bringing with it the promise of a new day as it erases all traces of the night. It always seems like this symbol of hope as it overpowers the paralyzing darkness and brings light to the world. I know that rainbows are a symbol of hope and the promise that God made to Noah, but sunsets are like that to me. I feel closest to Him when I’m bundled up in a quilt, breathing in the heavenly scent of morning dew and coffee, and watching in breathless anticipation as dawn just begins to break. The world seems to go still during that moment when you suddenly realize that the horizon isn’t black like it was a moment ago and that the stars above aren’t as bright.

 Those who are close to me have the misfortune of knowing how much I dislike early mornings, but a sunrise is the one event that I would actually get out of bed for at five in the morning. God speaks to people in different ways, and I see him in that bright orange glow as it throws brilliant golden light everywhere and forces the darkness to flee. I honestly can’t explain the joy and hope I feel as I watch the sun ascend and glimpse the magnificence it casts on the world around me. “When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,human beings that you care for them?Psalm 8:3-4

 It’s the same thing every morning—a spectacular sight bringing with it the assurance that yesterday is history and today is a gift, and also a reminder that God has already defeated the darkness. So do your own comparison this week. Take the time to view at least one sunset and a sunrise, and then decide for yourself which one you feel God speak to you through. You might even discover something about yourself. And I’m sorry that some morning-haters like myself may never take a moment to breathe in the most incredible sight they may ever behold or fully realize the blessing behind it.

 “There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” -Bern Williams

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