Like Wonder-wounded hearers // Snippets of Story

Monday, 24 September 2012

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What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis, whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers?
I can hardly believe that it is already late September and Spring already is underway in Australia, with warm weather, rather hot sun, occasional storms and rainfall, and a general hectic couple of weeks where there's been hardly a moment to really sit and think and write. I have been rather sparse around here lately, taking an unintentional two-week blogging break and leaving you all without any posts or anything of particular interest. I do apologize, my dear friends. But it is a jolly good thing that there are the school holidays at the moment, so I have a wee bit more time to write and hopefully I can write up posts more regularly in the near future. 

So, for this edition of Snippets of Story by Katie from the blog, Whisperings of the Pen, what have I to show you all? I do not have much, except bits and pieces of oddments that I scribbled away in my notebooks throughout the months of August and September and that I perhaps shall refer to throughout my writing of The Crown of Life. Those scribbles hold some useful tid-bits and some rhetoric that is worth the trash-bin. But I shall cease speaking doom-and-gloom! The bulk of my writing this last month has been focused on an earlier scene, namely the Prologue, a sort of flash-back or back-story to the rest of the tale. It has been rather a hard-going section, particularly as I have very little historical resources handy or geographical knowledge of that time and place (think Roman Britain in A.D. fifty-something when most of The Crown of Life is centered in A.D. 60-67 in Ancient Rome and Israel), not mentioning that most of the characters being featured in the Prologue are entirely new! I am not sure how or where this Prologue scene will go or if it will turn out successfully, but there is always an amount of risk in being a writer and one cannot hold back from writing something simply because he is afraid what he will write will be trash or it will not turn out the way he wants it. But like Dickens once wrote, "Nothing that we do, is done in vain. I believe, with all my soul, that we shall see triumph.” That's so true! In God's Word we are also challenged so that we should not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not faint or lose heart.  So, with this in mind, I hope you enjoy these snippets, even if there are glitch-ridden and not shimmering with hues of brilliant literary diamonds :).

September Snip-Whippets

 Quintus’ face turned away, avoiding the fire-glint of light in Valerius’ eyes. “You shouldn’t be here,” he blurted, savagely.
"Why not? Have I trodden amiss or defrauded you, that you should stab me with daggers and speak in a manner uncouth and gross to your fellow man?"
"I make no jest, nor do I speak in riddles. I believe you understand me well enough."
Valerius smiled grimly. "Well enough."
  - The Crown of Life

The consul smiled generously, but Julius could see beneath the bright, friendly eyes a serpent ready to pounce, strike and slay. 

- The Crown of Life

As he ducked through the green, scarlet and gold flapping, something like a needle pinched him... a vague premonition of danger, but it was as veiled and undefinable as the faint scent of blood hovering over camp that would soon become a stench if Julius’ worst fears came true that day.
 - The Crown of Life

Anthea scrambled out of her cozy cocoon and fetched the scroll from where she had flung it a moment ago at the other side of the room. Falling lightly on a stool by her mother’s feet, she unrolled the scroll and started to read from where she had left off. It was an ancient ode about the glory of Rome and the power that had made it great, and Anthea could not think what made her mother insist on listening to her boring narration of it. But as she read, she realized that the normality of what she was doing was easing her burden of sorrow just a bit, and would be doing the same for her mother.
 - The Crown of Life 

 A shadow flickered in his eyes, pale grey and wolf-like yet without ferocity. 
The Crown of Life
The wine swirled in the cup and flickered mirroring the consul's face. Julius thought he could see the true reflection of the man within the pools of the liquid, hovering between shades of scarlet and brown, like the colour of old blood. 
- The Crown of Life
                                                                  Valerius could feel the parchment in his hand grow heavy... a dread thing it was now... a thing that demanded the judgment of his friend and jeopardized the peace of his conscience.

 - The Crown of Life

On the table Julius glimpsed a rough outline of the Britannic Isles, with the little eagle-sticks struck all over it signifying Roman encampments... Roman Legions... Roman power unchallenged. 
- The Crown of Life

The crisp autumn leaves blew and fluttered beneath his feet in a whisper of earth and rain. Slowly, he traveled the expense before him with another vision, seeing as though for the first time the tall pine trees to the north, heavily blanketed with a spiral of thick fog, and to the east, the rugged cliffs jutting out with deadly strength to meet the rushing emerald sea at its feet. This land was so unlike his home... so unlike Rome
- The Crown of Life

I wasn’t a very tall child, and my slight, skinny figure made me inconspicuous in anyone’s company. My eyes were as blue as forget-me-nots, just like my Papa’s, and that made me glad. As to my face... well, there was not much to tell of it: it was small and oval and all rather plain and boring. The only thing that probably made anyone like me was my smile... you see, I had those same adorable dimples on my cheek as Aunt Cahalin, and Aunt Cahalin was Beauty Incarnate.
 - Lancashire Secrets*

Tiptoeing wasn’t my brand of walking; I stomped and thudded with my woollen socks on the timber flooring to the other side of the bed, shaking the narcissus flowers dangling from a glass vase set near Heather’s dresser. 
Lancashire Secrets*

“Quintus! In the name of every immortal god, stand back!”
- The Crown of Life

The early days of spring clung pitifully to winter's chill, though little stabs of yellow marigolds and daisies and bleeding violets tenaciously defied the sever temperatures that whipped like a cold gale up in the Galilean hills; it was an icy wind that challenged the arrival of the new, vibrant season of spring, when frisky lambs danced on wobbly limbs over the heather downs, and flowers sprung up from the ground like a triumphant army, blazing with a cacophony of colours to greet the golden sunshine. 
- The Crown of Life

"This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
Lamentations 3: 21-24

*Lancashire Secrets is a random children's story I started last year, but never got any further into than a few pages. It is mainly a fun little nonsense of no significance... yet it might one day grow into something...who knows!)

"You are my Hiding Place" September 11 Edition

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Who will ever forget this day?
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Though I was only a wee little thing of five, nearly six, the memory of that day is still strong in my mind. I still recall, like the vivid flashes of a movie's scenes twirling one after another, the raw emotions prevailing everywhere on that day: the horror, the tragedy, the pain, the sorrow, the loss of life, the weeping and the tears. My family and I were at a Christian missionary conference then... I remember a sudden confusion that evening, a sudden look of horror on people's faces. I remember the tears, and I remember the embracing and singing and praying of that night at the meeting, when everyone prayed and comforted each other midst the grief and sadness. I remember the singing so clearly "Peace, Peace, Peace" they sang.  It had been the song already prepared by the music team earlier before the tragic events, and oh! so appropriate that day though none knew it before hand. The words of the hymn went something like this...

Your peace has passed our understandings
It is in us and will never cease 
No matter what the enemy says 
You fill our lives with peace

Peace, Peace to God's people everywhere. (2x)

Even if our feet lost their way
Your Spirit is in us and around us 
Restores our souls and guides us 
And fills our hearts with peace

(Repeat Chorus)

God's peace You've left for us
Not as the world gives do You give us
As long as Your Spirit lives in us 
Your people will always be at peace.

                                                       (Repeat Chorus twice)

I remember visiting my grandparents home later and catching quick, horrifying images on the TV screen of a white building in an explosion of orange flame and black smoke. I did not understand it all then and what that had happened, but I saw the horror of that day as everyone did and it shook me.

As I grew older, I got to know more of what happened. Like history. But unlike something that happened and we read about in textbooks for school, this thing happened within our lifetimes. Our world has never been the same since then.
Lives were altered forever...
The world has changed forever...
many died and their loved ones are still suffering even today...
And we cannot forget!
Never. Ever.

In the midst of life's storms... especially tragedy's such as these... we have and can cling to God's Promises written within His Holy Word. They are true and faithful, and a shelter and tower in the times of trial and pain. Praise the Lord Jesus that He is always, always with us and will never leave us or forsake us.
I thought to share with you this song, "You are my Hiding Place" about trusting in the Lord and that He is our Hiding Place. I pray it will bless and encourage your hearts today as we remember yet again September 11 and the events of that fateful day.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14: 27 (KJV)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 
John 16: 33 (KJV)

The Cross still standing...

A Faith Lesson From A Symphony

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Today I am excited to be having one of my older sisters, Mary, guest post on Fullness of Joy! Do not forget to close the music playlist at the bottom of the page before playing the music videos in this post :). Enjoy!
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Hello everyone, I’m so glad to be writing to you on my dear sister’s, Joy’s, blog. I recently finished a Theory of Music exam. It’s amazing how much I learned from and enjoyed the material that I studied. The first two movements of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony were one of the things that I had to study and make an analysis of. I enjoyed it so much, and learned a lot too. So please play the tracks as you read about the great background and history behind the composing of one of the greatest Symphonies in history.

In the early 1800s, the great composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven, became aware that he was going deaf. He struggled with feelings of isolation and despair. At times, only his art sustained him. Around the same time, he spoke of searching for a “new way” of expressing himself in his compositions. Shortly after these events, he began work on his 3rd Symphony, which he eventually named Sinfonia Eroica (Heroic Symphony). The title suggests that the Symphony has a subject – the celebration of a hero – and expresses in music the ideal of heroic greatness. It was originally to be titled Sinfonia Bonaparte in honour of Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Beethoven at first considered to be the ideal and hero of the French Revolution. But according to his student Ferdinand Ries, when Beethoven heard that Napoleon had crowned Himself Emperor, he angrily tore up the title page, disillusioned when his idol proved to be an ambitious ruler on the way to become a tyrant, and exclaimed, “He is nothing more than an ordinary being! Now even he will trample over human rights, to serve his own vanity; he will now place himself above all others and become a tyrant!”  It has been said that the heroism that this symphony depicts is Beethoven’s own: that it represents his experience of being almost overpowered by affliction, fighting against despair, and winning back his will to create. The symphony has no real precedent in terms of its length, intensity, thematic richness, and “obstinate assertion of individual imagination”.
The first movement encapsulates this story of challenge, struggle, and final victory. The main theme serves as a protagonist, denoting a heroic character. In its first appearance, it trails off, or sinks down in doubt and insecurity suggesting an inner weakness. Over the course of the movement, the theme undergoes a number of transformations, as it strives upwards, tumbling back down, and by the end achieving a new form that’s no longer falling at the end but sustained in its high note as a sign of final triumph . Like Beethoven, in his personal crisis, the theme emerges from its struggle triumphant but changed by the experience.
The second movement is a funeral march with slow tempo and sombre mood. It has strong links to France during the Republic, with which Beethoven had great sympathy. France and Austria were invaded by Napoleon. So there was war and strife, turmoil and grief. This makes the funeral march very appropriate and personal. The main theme which reoccurs frequently throughout the movement is very sorrowful and sombre. The double bass often has triplets and ornamental notes which depict the roll of a muffled drum used in the Revolutionary processions that accompanied heroes to their final resting place, or perhaps resembles the tread of many feet stepping forward at a cruelly slow speed. Beethoven offers some consolation amidst the grief with a second theme that’s warmer and less intense. There is also a section that has the character of a Revolutionary hymn. The movement also reflects the inner turmoil Beethoven felt with the knowledge of his growing deafness.

As I was thinking about this symphony, and  looked at it and the history behind it, some things just struck me and I’d like to share them with you.

Let’s try to place ourselves in Beethoven’s place at that particular time of his life. Here he was, a great musician, and realizing and having to come to terms with the devastating fact the he was growing deaf. You can imagine the depth of his despair, hopelessness, and isolation. He could have just given up, and said what point is there in going on and composing? But he didn’t. He instead chose to hear his music with his inner ear and in his heart and was sustained by his art and made it a new way to express himself.

Even more so, when we look at the political circumstances of his time- Revolutions, wars, invasions, bloodshed, inhumanity and uncertainty. It was a time of strife, turmoil and grief. These events were definitely very upsetting to him and his ideals of liberty and his intolerance to injustice. Yet these were the very conditions and circumstances that influenced, inspired and became the means for the composing of one of the greatest and unprecedented Symphonies in history  

I’m sure we can all draw a faith lesson from all this. Just like Beethoven, we all find ourselves in circumstances that seem despairing and hopeless. We too are often surrounded by turmoil, disappointment, grief, and conflict. Or we might be facing spiritual struggles or conflicts in our own daily walk with the Lord. When God allows such circumstances to come our way, we have two choices - to give up hope, despair and question God’s providence, or choose to take hold of his promises and press on and by His grace emerge through triumphant and stronger through our experiences. Let us take our troubles to the Lord, let us cast them all on Him. Let us believe that He is at work in the world and in each of our lives. He can take whatever the circumstances and transform them, use them and even make them the means to the wonderful and glorious work that He has planned for our lives. He is the Master Creator, Master Craftsman, Master Redeemer, Master Healer and Provider, He is our great and wonderful Master, our Lord Jesus Christ. We may not always see His plan or purpose or even His work at all, but just as Beethoven wrote this great Symphony one note at a time, God’s purpose and work is done one step at a time. He is faithful who promised. He who began a good work in us will complete it. It may not be big and dramatic, but even the seemingly small and insignificant things of our everyday life are as important in the light of eternity. So I pray that listening to the Eroica Symphony and reading behind the scene would be a source of blessing to you as it has been to me. God bless you. 

About Mary:
I'm the second eldest of four girls (Sarah, Joy and Grace), living in Queensland, Australia with my dear family. I am a homeschool graduate and am currently studying music (piano and theory) by correspondence and enjoy it very much. I love the Lord Jesus so much and long to glorify Him in my life and grow in Him; He has saved me by His precious blood and made me His own! I'm trusting the Lord to guide me in my future, wherever it will lead. I really love playing the piano, and other instruments such as violin and flute as well as studying theory. When I'm not doing a music related activity, I enjoy home-making, cooking/baking, sewing, needlework, listening to audio dramas and watching wholesome movies with my sisters and spending time with my family and with sisters in Christ.