80,000 Word Challenge, Uncategorized

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (1)

Hey Everyone!

Alright, so it has been two weeks since I posted the start to my 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge! (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!) Today, I am keeping myself accountable and letting you know how it’s going.

After two weeks of writing every day, (well, okay, ALMOST every day, I took one day off for my one year anniversary) my goal word count was 16,000 words. I have a grand total of . . .

16,160 Words

Fantasy Word Count Goal 1

To be more precise, I am in my fourth chapter. I have 54 pages and 16,160 words.

Yesssss Yes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I am pretty pleased with how I have been able to stay on track with this project. I sometimes believe the start of any new project/challenge is the easiest because we are filled with so much passion and energy. I can feel this ebbing as I head into my third week and I know that this project will only require more from me as I continue forward. I won’t lie, somedays, the words just flowed, and other days, well, other days I was Ron . . .

Thank you Hayley Cavanaugh for showing me this meme!

My goal is to be able to keep up this pace for the next eight weeks by continuing some tips and tricks I have been implementing along the way:

  • Keeping a notepad handy so that I can jot down any ideas
  • Try plotting out the next chapter ahead of time to refer to when I need direction
  • Creating character boards on Pinterest (for fun and to keep my creativity flowing!)
  • Stopping at a certain point (THIS ONE IS KEY)
    • Once I hit my desired word count for that day, I wrap up my current thoughts and even if I have an idea for where I am going next, I jot down the general ideas (so I don’t forget them) but then I leave them for tomorrow. I’ll be explaining in an upcoming blog post why this tactic works!

Anyhow, that is it for my first update! Thank you to everyone supporting me; I hope to be able to share more about this project (plot, title, etc.) SOON!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Uncategorized

In Honor of my Papa: Denial

Refusal

Deep-rooted in crystal clear understanding.

Rejection

Even though the mind has already accepted.

The fact that you have left us.

In honor of my Papa who passed away last year, January 14th, I will be re-posting my grief poems in the hopes that those who read these poems know that they are not alone and that our loved ones are not forgotten.

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry, Uncategorized

We Build Up These Walls Between Us

Brick by brick, the wall rises and looms

Didn’t we just tear it down?

Mortar, brick, stone, gravel, and dirt

Piled on top, higher and higher

Building the wall back up

Didn’t we just tear it down?

Why is it that every time we clear the rubble,

Every time we can finally reach each other across no-man’s land,

When our hands can finally touch,

Why is it, then, that you decide to start rebuilding

Your damn wall?

And why is it every time the wall is rebuilt that you call for my help to tear it down?

And why am I pulling on my gloves?

Why am I grabbing my shovel?

Why am I so willing to break my bones and see my blood run

Just to help tear down a wall

That you will just rebuild?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry, Uncategorized

Parainsonmia (A Poem)

There is too much air in my chest

And not enough in my lungs

I stumble, reset, refocus

 

There are faces in the dark

With wisps of smoke for hands

That reach for me

My mouth opens to scream

And scream and scream but

No one hears a thing

 

I stumble to find the switch

For light that floods the room

Stumble, reset, refocus

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

God & His Church, Uncategorized

Are you lacking Courage in your Life?

Can we be honest with each other? Because if we are being honest, I think we can admit that at one point or another we are all lacking courage. We lack the courage to do what is right, to speak the truth, to chase after a dream, etc.

Recently, a pastor at Sandal’s Church spoke about courage, specifically Godly Courage.

Reading a passage from the Bible, the pastor focused on Judges 3:12-30 which tells the story of how Ehud, an Israelite enslaved by the Moabites, rose up against his oppressors and led his people to freedom.

Judges 3:12-30 (NLT)

Ehud Becomes Israel’s Judge

12 Once again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel because of their evil.. . . 14 And the Israelites served Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.

15 But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord again raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed man of the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute money to King Eglon of Moab. 16 So Ehud made a double-edged dagger that was about a foot long, and he strapped it to his right thigh, keeping it hidden under his clothing. 17 He brought the tribute money to Eglon, who was very fat.

18 After delivering the payment, Ehud started home with those who had helped carry the tribute. 19 But when Ehud reached the stone idols near Gilgal, he turned back. He came to Eglon and said, “I have a secret message for you.”

So the king commanded his servants, “Be quiet!” and he sent them all out of the room.

20 Ehud walked over to Eglon, who was sitting alone in a cool upstairs room. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you!” As King Eglon rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 The dagger went so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king’s fat. So Ehud did not pull out the dagger, and the king’s bowels emptied.[b] 23 Then Ehud closed and locked the doors of the room and escaped down the latrine.[c]24 After Ehud was gone, the king’s servants returned and found the doors to the upstairs room locked. They thought he might be using the latrine in the room, 25 so they waited. But when the king didn’t come out after a long delay, they became concerned and got a key. And when they opened the doors, they found their master dead on the floor.

26 While the servants were waiting, Ehud escaped, passing the stone idols on his way to Seirah. 27 When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills.

28 “Follow me,” he said, “for the Lord has given you victory over Moab your enemy.” So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallow crossings of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing.

29 They attacked the Moabites and killed about 10,000 of their strongest and most able-bodied warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.

From Ehud, we can learn a lot about Godly Courage. Here are some basic steps:

  • To have courage at all, we must first turn to GodThink of Ehud. In the passage it says that Ehud was a left-handed man which is translated to mean that his right had was either damaged or bound, meaning he was most likely cripple in some way. His courage could not come from his own physical abilities, but instead it came from his faith in God.
  • Next, we must prepare for action.Although Ehud did not know what he would do, he had prepared a dagger beforehand ready for anything.
    • I Pete 1:13 says, “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.”
  • After turning to God and preparing, we must face our fears.Again, Ehud was only one man and when he first went before the king, he let his fear get the best of him and he left. However, it was after leaving the king that Ehud saw the stones of the idols and trusting in God, he prepared to face his fears.
    • Courage is not the absence of fear but acting despite the presence of fear.
    • Courage in not about personality, but it is about our purpose in serving God and being a difference maker for our generation.
    • I Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” Isn’t it wonderful how everything comes back to love with God?
  • Next, we must do what others won’t.Ehud was not the most skilled warrior, remember his bound-up right hand? However, he was willing to do what others would not because of his faith in God.
    • James 2:18, “Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deads?’ I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” Indeed, our actions speak louder than words and reveal who we truly are.
  • Lastly, we must lead with what God has given us.All of us struggle to find our way, to find our courage. All of us were given a specific purpose and sometimes it is hard to find that purpose. Whatever it is, God equips us with the necessary tools to get the job done.

What do you need to be courageous about this week?

***I am a Christian and a follower of Jesus, but I am in no ways an expert. I am always happy to discuss my faith with anyone who wants to have a genuine conversation, but I will never respond to hateful comments.***

Poetry, Uncategorized

Do You Know (A Poem)

Do you know

That when you sit beside me

I am completely captivated by your presence

Do you know

That when you put your arms around me

I feel safe, secure, and surprisingly hopeful

Do you know

That when you touch my hair

I exhale in relief

Do you know

How much I love you

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Flexibility of Fairy Tales, Uncategorized

The Twelve Brothers by Grimm

Image result for the twelve brothers grimm

Today, we’re taking a look at my Bookshelf. Recently I re-read “The Twelve Brothers” by the Grimm Brothers…

Summary

In a kingdom, there once lived a King and Queen with twelve sons. However, when the Queen became pregnant again, the King declared that if the child was a girl, they would have to put the twelve sons to death so that their daughter could inherit all the riches. The king prepared twelve small coffins in case his wife gave birth to a girl. But the Queen could not stand losing her sons and so she warned them to run away until the child was born. If the child was a girl she would wave red flag to warn them to stay away and if she waved a white flag they could come home.

Lo, and behold, when the time came, the Queen raised a red flag and so the brothers fled further and deeper into the forest, vowing revenge on any woman that they should cross, “If we run into a girl, her red blood will flow.”

Now, they were understandably upset, but killing the next girl you meet might be taking it a bit far.

The brothers lived in the woods for quite some time and Benjamin, the youngest, often remained at home cooking and cleaning the house.

Ten years later back at the castle, the young princess grew into a beautiful girl with a kind heart and a golden star on her forehead. When she discovered twelve boy shirts, she asked her mother the Queen, who confessed everything about her brothers. Being 10 years old, she was, of course, quite old enough to leave the castle and venture into the forest in search of her brothers.

The princess came across the brother’s cottage and found only Benjamin in the home. When he realized who she was, Benjamin was overjoyed and hid her until the rest of the brothers came home. When they arrived he made them promise to spare the life of the first girl to cross their threshold. Once they agreed, Benjamin revealed the princess and all of the brothers were overjoyed as well. Together the twelve brothers and one sister lived happily in the cottage together.

One day, the young princess went out to pick twelve white lilies for her brothers. However, when she picked the flowers, her brothers were turned into Ravens and she was left alone. Then, an old woman, who probably owned the flowers, mysteriously advised her, “There is one way to save them, but it’s so hard that you can’t possibly hope to free them that way. You would not be able to say a word for seven years, and you wouldn’t be able to smile at all. If you speak just one word, or if a single hour is missing in the seven years, then everything will be in vain–in fact one word would kill your brothers.”

7 years of solitude for picking some flowers because that seems fair. Anyway…

Image result for the twelve brothers grimm

The young princess vowed to do just that and so she found a hollow tree, sat in it, and started spinning. (Who knows why she needed to spin.) One day, a king was in the forest and found the girl. Of course, he was so enchanted by her that he brought her home with him and married her. Although the king and queen lived happily for several years, she never spoke or smiled or laughed.

Now the King’s mother was a wicked woman who hated the young princess and believed that she was evil. Through the years, the mother constantly accused the princess of doing wicked and evil things. Finally, she persuaded her son, the King, that his wife was evil and sentenced her to death.

Even as the flames were lit, the princess did not say a word. However, just as the fire began to touch her clothes, the seven years ended and there “was a whirring sound in the air and twelve Ravens came flying through the air and swooped down. When they touched the ground, they turned into her twelve brothers.”

Image result for the twelve brothers grimm

The brothers rescued their sister from the flames who could finally smile and speak. She then told the king why she had made the vow to never speak or smile and he was overjoyed to find that she was not evil.

I don’t know if I could be as forgiving as the princess.

The King brought the princess back into the castle and they lived in harmony until their deaths. Meanwhile the wicked mother-in-law was put in a barrel filled with boiling oil and poisonous snaked and died “a painful death.”

Sometimes I really do have to wonder if these stories were truly told to children as bedtime stories.

Review

The Obvious Moral of the Story

  • This fairy tale is definitely promoting the virtue of long-suffering. To be long-suffering means to have patience and willingness to suffer based on your love for another. Clearly, the princess has long-suffering and is rewarded for her virtue.

The Not-so-ObviousMoral of the Story

  • What do we make of her poor brothers? First, they are forced to flee from their home and once they finally find happiness, they are turned into Ravens for seven years. I would argue that the not-so-obvious moral is endurance and perseverance. The brothers did not allow their situations to corrupt them.

The thing I find the most interesting about this fairy tale:

  • In the beginning, the king tells his wife that if their thirteenth child is a girl, their twelve boys must be put to death so that the girl can inherit all the riches. While I am, of course, shocked and horrified that any parent would want to kill their child or children, I am more shocked that in this story they want to kill the male children. In countries all over the world, it is often the female child who is killed or abandoned for not being male. The Grimm brothers definitely added a twist to the norm.

This is one of the Grimm Brothers’s longer fairy tales. What do you think of it?

Poetry, Uncategorized

Trapped

Hostage Hands

Immobile Legs

A body without a response

Phantom limbs

Craving movement

I see them strain

but feel them lying still

A dream

I know, but please,

wake me up.

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

God & His Church, Uncategorized

#metoo & God’s Church

Image result for #metoo

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the #metoo movement (have you been living under a rock?), let me briefly explain it to you. In the United States 1 in 4 girls are sexually assaulted; 1 – 6 boys are also sexually assaulted because evil does not discriminate against gender. Unfortunately, I know at least 3 women who are close to me who have been sexually assaulted.

The #metoo movement began as a way for fellow sexual abuse victims to support their sisters and brothers by coming out with their own horror stories. In additional to support, the frequency of the #metoo hashtag was intended to show just how vast this problem truly is!

Now, Sandals Church is asking the question that others everywhere are asking: where is God in this situation?

To further explain, Pastor Matt Brown, his wife Tammy and close friend Christina took the stage to help the Church understand God’s Heart for the abused.

This Sunday sermon was quite different from what you might expect from church. Pastor Matt sat on an armchair while his wife and close friend sat on a couch on the stage. Matt explained that this sermon would be different because of the subject. Both Tammy and Christina had been sexually abused and both were there to share their stories, but more importantly to share how God helped heal them.

Through their conversations, Pastor Matt laid out the basic outline for how God expects the Church to react to sexually abuse:

God wants us (the Church)

  • To Acknowledge the Problem
    • We cannot pretend that this is not a problem, it is, and it is something that we have to address and confront.
  • To Create a Safe Place for Healing by…
    • Listening 
      • So many times, those who have been sexually abused just need someone who will listen without judging, without pretending to understand, without offering “Christian blibs” – (God never gives your more than you can handle). Just listen.
    • Reporting
      • “Love . . . does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” – I Corinthians 13:6
    • Offering Support
      • Instead of offering advice, ask questions like “How can I help you?”
      • “Brothers and sisters… Encourage those who are timid. Take care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.” – I Thessalonians 5:14
  • To Bring them to Jesus
    • The abused don’t just need dealing they need the Healer.
    • “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” – Revelations 21:4-5
  • Warn the Guilty & Protect the Innocent
    • One of the most powerful things Pastor Matt did during this sermon came at the end when he touched on this bullet point. He admits that in a church as large as Sandals there are bound to be evil people and sexual abusers.
    • Pastor Matt issues his warning to sexual predators:
      • “This week I watched a father in tears in a court in the U.S.A. lunge at the molester of his daughters, a doctor whom he trusted, he lunged at them and he was stopped by police officers and if you listen very carefully, you can hear the police officers trying to calm him down by saying “We understand.” And the father is writhing and here is why: because no matter how long they lock that predator up there is no justice on this earth. But I want you to know, if you’ve been abused, you have a father in Heaven, and when he pounces, there is NO ONE who can hold him back. NO ONE. And Jesus Christ’s harshest words are these: If you hurt one of these little ones you are better off drowning yourself. . . . . . . 
      • If you want mercy from God, you must throw yourself to the mercy of the courts!
    • Pastor Matt’s encouragement for the church:
      • We are to be safe/ be a safe place for the abused.

Have you been abused? Have you been hurt? I am so sorry for your pain. I am sorry for what has happened. I know that there is very little that I can do to take away your pain, but there are people who want to help. Please seek help either from friends or family, your church or even from Sandals church at: move.sc/help to connect with Soul Care.

Watch the whole sermon here!

 

 

Redemption, Uncategorized

Redemption Pt. 4

 Redemption Pt. 4

This short story, called “Redemption,” was published in The Dazed Starling in 2015 and incorporates magical realism. All words and ideas are copyrighted by KaylaAnn. I will be sharing it in four consecutive parts. This story may include material not suitable for younger audiences or those easily triggered due to violent, sexual, scary, supernatural, or mature content.

I recommend a re-reading of the story as a whole! Consider the parts in italics as separate. I would GREATLY appreciate your comments on how the story builds and resolves, or any other comments on content and entertainment value.

This is part four – The Ending.

 

 

“Her blood pressure is sky-rocketing!”

“I don’t understand, she’s never had this response.”

“Get an IV in her STAT!”

Why are they worried about me? Don’t they understand He’s dying? Somebody help Him!

 

There’s a faint beeping in my ears. It echoes the beating I feel in my chest and fingertips. My body feels heavy, as though someone filled me with boulders. Even my eyes feel heavy. I try to remember. There had been art class, and then I had been taken to therapy. Then Lilith came to my room. I groan.

“Did you hear that? Maybe she’s waking up!”

But that wasn’t all. Someone else had come. Gabriel. He took me somewhere, then there was the room, and the memory and someone was hurting. Someone was in a tremendous amount of pain, for me. He was trying to take away my pain. I try to open my eyes.

“Galia, sweetheart, can you hear me?”

“Her vital signs are good.”

“What happened?” The angry voice belongs to my mother. I can feel her hand in mine.

“You and your daughter were both aware of the side effects and risks of electroshock therapy. She responded badly to her last session, but I believe we are making progress.”

“Progress!” My mother’s voice leaps at least two octaves higher. “You call being medically dead for a whole minute, process?”

“I will give you some time with your daughter.” I hear the door open and close.

Electroshock Therapy. Of course. I fell apart after that night. Adam Bret got away with it. The cops said I was drunk and his friends claimed it was consensual. Even my own friends deserted me. Who wanted to hang out with the girl who couldn’t cope because some guy didn’t call her the day after? Who wanted to be with the girl who couldn’t handle her liquor? I was asking for it. Everyone knew I was a slut, no one would believe I had been a virgin. They all said it, behind my back and to my face. I heard it so often that I started to believe it. Six months after I took some pills, but I didn’t take enough. My mom found me and brought me here. I was the one who requested shock therapy. I had heard it could take away memories. But it also caused hallucinations, like my dreams of Hell and Heaven. But were they really hallucinations or were they something more?

I remember the writing on the wall. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. My fault, but was it really? I remember the room where Gabriel took me. The room where I found Him. The One who was willing to die so that His blood would cover those screens that were constantly displaying my sins. No. Those were not hallucinations. I was dead for a whole minute, wasn’t I? Maybe it was in that minute I was given a chance to see something. A choice to be more than I am. A second chance. To trust and believe. My mom squeezes my hand. I feel a small drop of water hit my fingers.

My eyes flutter open. “Mom?”

Her watery eyes fly up, “Galia? Baby, you’re awake!”

I clear my throat. Yes I’m finally awake for the first time in what feels like years. I squeeze her hand as tight as I can.

“I’m ready to go home now.”

 

 

Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me and read all four parts! I hope you enjoyed the reading! I would also like to tell everyone that redemption is available for everyone. God loves you, no matter what you’ve been through and no matter what you think you deserve. You are loved by God.