Cake Day 25

Here’s one blog post that doesn’t require days of tweaking. Today is my birthday! God has allowed me to see 25 this day, and I could not be more grateful.

This year and much to my best friend’s annoyance(that’s an understatement for an island woman),  I didn’t know what I wanted for my birthday. At the very moment I have everything that I need: air in my lungs,  transportation, a job, a few close friends, people rooting for me, and a God that loves me. While I have little to no physical requests at this time, I do have a few requests for the Most High.

Spiritual Growth I don’t want this to ever stop. There is so much more I don’t know. There is so much that I do know that I have only scratched the surface of. As I continue to age I wish to further my knowledge of the Bible and anything else that makes it seem clearer or expands further into God’s word.



Significant Other I love the bachelor life; I’ve accomplished more than enough. While I am in no rush to get hitched up, one day I do want to have someone not just to hold hands with and lay next to, but someone who can help me grow as a human being. If I have to wait a couple more years to meet such a person, then I will happily wait. I tell all of you who are constantly jumping from one relationship to the next, there is nothing wrong with being on your own. 



More years I desire to live a long life. It would be amazing if I could live to be in my hundreds. Reading through scripture it is remarkable how long one could last upon the Earth. Then again I don’t wish to see 969 like the Bible says Methuselah did, because I might not look as dashing as I do now, and I would hate to see how messed up the world is if Christ hasn’t come back by then. No, if I live to see my nineties I will be just fine. 



Wisdom However clichéd that ol’ saying may seem, knowledge and good judgement truly do come with age. I can honestly say that I am different than the 20-year-old I once was, who I wish I could slap in the back of the head. To make a long story short, love and grief were two of my best buddies that year. But with some growing up and prayer it all get better. I can now say that I love myself first, and if I’m ever feeling low that all I have to do is get down on my knees and pray. At this point in my life I feel like I’ve made a few poor choices, but all I can do is learn from it and not throw myself into my own internal damnation.

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?” -2 Chronicles 1:10

To Always Find Work That one summer I wasn’t employed was a real bummer for me, because I like being able to pay for stuff myself as well as make money by my own sweat. I pray that there is always a job out there for me.

Good Health I pray for this all the time. I pray that disease never ever touches me and that I don’t decrease in health by welcoming any unnecessary substances into my body. The gym, however how much it kicks my butt, is always going to be a home away from home for me. May these muscle gainers I take make me heavier, because 118 pounds at 25 probably makes certain women jealous. I predict that it is going to take a good woman who can cook to puff me up. If you can do that and cook as good or equally to my mother, then I will gladly give you my name.

Hopefully everything I ask of my God is appropriate. All of these things I expect not over night, because God is not one to rush anything. I encourage all of you, the next time your cake day comes around, think deeper about what you truly want. As a former professor of mine likes to say, “Be well. Be groovy, and have a nice day.”


Sources:

The King James study Bible: King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995. Print.

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1464347601390-25e2842a37f7?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=u9skeqysm1g-annie-spratt.jpg&s=e9b9216972c6c6bc37dbaa7fcb3c342a

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1481326086332-e77dd61a4ea1?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=orh5jiynate-matheus-ferrero.jpg&s=70296edb0f327e2182b7ffe5630428fa

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1471829698930-3649e02a48bd?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=mg9zfb9nslu-robert-g-allen-photography.jpg&s=b2ec60cd03d67c258f1589ba517550ad

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1473993702977-1706a7f23164?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=bebqppehem4-ben-white.jpg&s=1aec7353ed4e5706fec0c37590c70880

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1475650522725-015d35677789?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=ocrpjce6gpk-vitaly.jpg&s=7390c89a31931ab2f9bf8746ea171a1d


Not a Religious Blog

I’ve published two blog posts in a row with a religious theme. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I was born in the church; raised in the church; and molded by it. You can bet that I can’t go a short time without referencing God at least once in something/to someone or just praying on my own time. You can see it on my blog. Despite how religious themed my site can come off as, I don’t consider it a religious blog.

When I first started David Speaks,  I was wondering if it would have an overall theme. I told myself no, because I wanted to write about anything, and I wanted there to be something there for everyone. One thing I didn’t want it to be categorized as was a religious blog. I know it’s ironic because of my character, but I had my reasons:

1. Not everyone is a Christian. I had to be reminded of this in college every time I wrote something with a religious reference. It can be quite frustrating, especially when people can write about everything else. Believe it or not I do appreciate that everyone is not a Christian or of any religious denomination. I have met beautiful individuals who are of other faiths and some who don’t believe in any religious backgrounds at all. Dare I say it, some of these non believers seem to show better character than those who attend church. 

2. I’m no saint. I think the wrong thoughts as well as do the wrong things. No amount of Christian music, prayers, blessings, or sermons could ever make me feel like those biblical figures such as Enoch, Job, Elijah, or Christ. I figured,  how could I talk religious stuff when I slip up every now and then. I don’t want to say something on here and do anything contrary to what I share. I have seen it happen in my own church before. Speakers will say something on the pulpit during service and I will hear about them saying or doing something crazy that is exactly what they preached to others not to do.

3. Church isn’t that popular. As a Christian who has gone to public schools and a public university, I can attest that religion is not one of the top 3 top things people in their teens and 20s are discussing everyday. They seem more captivated by the lastet song, latest reality show, or latest celebrity feud. How does any religious piece compete with that?

But then I thought back to what a handful of my English professors preached to me and dozens of other writers- write about what you know. Being raised in the church, church would naturally be something that I know. To not talk about it would be denying readers knowledge that could provoke and inspire. As I continue to write anything with a religious theme or reference I am not going to preach at you, and I can promise you that I will never condemn anyone, because I would sooner cast a stone at myself than dozens at someone else.

Church isn’t the only thing I wish to discuss on here. I pray that I can come up with other inciteful and thought provoking posts such as my previous pieces Interracting With a Stutterer and Dear Writers, should we be Censored? . I must remember that there is nothing wrong with talking about what you know, even if it doesn’t seem as popular as others topics. I encourage all of you other writers to keep that in mind youselves. 


Sources:

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1477672680933-0287a151330e?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=qcjc1kpa4na-daniel-tseng.jpg&s=225fadbcdb8a68cadaad39fde8ea5828

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1429216967620-ece20ff3a5f9?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=dqweaohsavc-olu-eletu.jpg&s=938405842d17d2ad674ea05028e9ca82

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1430747562296-5556d17a15a5?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=oldm7mnhdic-stefan-kunze.jpg&s=025156b335c6ea8392299cc3faa80190

King David’s Psalm

Maybe I’ll flop my gums about the new U.S. president. How about the riots and endless wars on social media regarding Mr. Trump? Nope, not this blogger. How about a song instead?

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my last post about one of my favorite hymns, so I thought I’d share with you yet another song that is special to me. That song is entitled The Law of the Lord.

The song to my knowledge is not found in a hymnal(at least not an Adventist one), but instead found directly in the Bible, specifically the book of Psalms. This book of the Bible is very unique because it is actually a book of songs. “The English title comes from the Septuagint, which entitled the book Psalmoi, meaning ‘Sacred Songs Sung to Accompaniment.’ The Hebrew title for the book is tehilim, ‘praises’. If one word could be chosen to describe the book, certainly ‘praises’ would qualify, for there is no psalm that does not contain an element of praise”(The King James Study Bible: King James Version, 857). The verses and chorus of this song are Psalms 19: 7; 8; 9; 10; and 14; which goes like this:

“The law of the LORD is perfect,/ converting the soul:/ the testimony of the LORD is sure, /making wise the simple.

(Chorus) More to be desired are they than gold,/ yea, than much fine gold:/ sweeter also than honey/ and the honeycomb.

The statutes of the LORD are right,/ rejoicing the heart:/ the commandment of the LORD is pure,/ enlightening the eyes.

(Chorus)

The fear of the LORD is clean,/ enduring for ever:/ the judgments of the LORD are true/ and righteous altogether.

(Chorus)

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength, and my redeemer.

(Chorus) ” 

If you need to hear this song, here is a demonstration. Hopefully I did this song justice. Forgive me because inhad a bit of a sore throat going on. Also, please excuse my hair. I know I need a haircut. 


These words were spoken and written by none other than King David, perhaps one of the greatest musicians of all time. King David was a skilled harp player. He played the harp for King Saul, who had an evil spirit upon him, causing Saul to feel refreshed and the spirit to depart( 1 Samuel 16:23 KJV). According to 1 Chronicles 6:31 , King David orchestrated worship services in the sanctuary of Israel. The book of Psalms contains 150 chapters, and Kind David wrote 73 of those psalms (The King James study Bible: King James Version, 857). In 2 Samuel 23:1, right before his death, King David is fittingly remembered as “the sweet psalmist of Israel”.


My favorite part of this song is the chorus.The law of the Lord should indeed be more desirable than gold or any treasure upon the earth, and much sweeter to us than any type of food like honey from honeycomb.


Aside from coming directly from scripture, this song holds a special meaning to me because it reminds me of what I consider to be “golden years” in my church. Make no mistake, I love my church, but sometimes I feel like it can be better. When I was much younger I felt a better sense of unity and love. There was more participation in socials. Back in the day we didn’t have potluck every Sabbath after the service like we do now, so members were encouraged to invite someone over to eat and fellowship. Also, members seemed more willing to step up to the plate and effectively take charge.

It was during these so called golden years that I learned the song The Law of the Lord. It was one of many songs we sang during Adventist Youth Symphony(AYS) . AYS was always something to look forward to. It was a way to close out the Sabbath by increasing our knowledge and relationship of God through activities. Over time we held it after potluck  because nobody liked coming all the way back to church near sunset. The issue now is that people are too busy socializing after potluck to want to participate in AYS. Quite discouraging. 

What happened? Was it just because I was too young to know any issues, or somewhere down the line did things actually change within my church? As I continue to sing this song, my hope is that one day my church family can actually feel more like a family again, and less like a a group of troubled individuals who see each other once a week. What song holds a special meaning to you?

Sources:

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1445445290350-18a3b86e0b5a?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=g6g93jtu1ve-aaron-burden.jpg&s=2571129966768e2d7fdb639bdd38b31

https://images.unsplash.com/33/IR8nDBZETv6aM6HdJ7RD_IMG_5784.jpg?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=rqhzrele2ss-sonja-langford.jpg&s=2cd7e36293959049ff9b5f1dab1d6cc5

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1475744214834-0cb9be6eb226?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=vrr9a2roobi-patrick-pilz.jpg&s=e1980cd3394085a35b78a0ab5e928714

The King James study Bible: King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995. Print.

All Nature Sings

Growing up in the church I have heard dozens if not hundreds of Christian songs, whether they be found in the hymnal; Holy Bible; or radio. One of my favorite songs ever is a church hymn entitled This Is My Father’s World.

A couple of months ago, I went out to Cheatham Dam to camp out with my parents and church family. Yes, despite how much time I spend in the cave that is my room, I do like going outside every now and then. More importantly, I love to camp. Our numbers weren’t quite as good as I was hoping, but the environment took my mind right off of that. In the morning, after emerging from our tent, I was mesmerized by morning fog hovering on the Cumberland River; fish popping their heads to the surface and disappearing down below; the singing of the wind through the trees; birds chiming in upon tree branches, harmonizing with the wind’s song; and the toasty camp fire popping on the wood. As I beheld the scene, I thought of the first stanza of This Is My Father’s World:

“This is my Father’s world/And to my listening ears/ All nature sings, and round me rings/ The music of the spheres./ This is my Father’s world:/ I rest me in the thought/ Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;/ His hand the wonders wrought.”

The originator of the hymn was minister Maltbie D. Babcock(1858-1901). Badcock was a poet and a lover of nature (“Hymn Story, This Is My Father’s World.”) During his pastoral days in Lockport, New York, Babcock would go on nature walks on an ancient upthrust on Lockport called “the escarpment”. On those walks he gazed upon the beauty of Lake Ontario, farms, and orchards (“This Is My Father’s World”). Before heading out on those hikes, he would say “I’m going out to see my Father’s world”(This Is My Father’s World”). His long walks inspired him to write a poem which comprised of “sixteen verses of four lines each”(“”This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics”). After his death in 1901, his poem was transformed into a hymn by Franklin L. Sheppard, who chose three verses of the poem and put them to music (“”This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics”).

I find myself singing this particular song often- during car rides, in church, or as I scrub dishes and clean off trays in my workplace. From the verses to the music, I know it all by heart. If you were to ask me to sing any other hymn from memory the most you could get out of me is one stanza, and the rest would be humming. Why out of all the hymns I’ve heard is this one ingrained in my mind like the alphabet, pledge of allegiance, my seven digits, and my social security?

Maybe just maybe I’m supposed to have this song in my brain. Maybe God wants me to know that no matter how chaotic the world may seem at times with all the heart ache and devastation, that it is still very much His world. You can see God’s hand in every living thing, from the most ancient tree to the insects that creep on flowers. What song holds a special meaning to you, and why?


Sources:

“This Is My Father’s World.” This Is My Father’s World. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

“”This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics.” “This Is My Father’s World”: The History and Lyrics. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

“Hymn Story, This Is My Father’s World.” Sermon Writer. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1475070929565-c985b496cb9f?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=7bjhtdogu3a-karsten-wurth.jpg&s=b318588b4004fff34562d4be6e0ff34b

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1446482972539-0ed52b3e9520?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=cqbjlus6t50-paul-summers.jpg&s=8607579d3d41b69337aea2a80acd746b

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1426170042593-200f250dfdaf?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=2shvy8lf6l0-lukasz-szmigiel.jpg&s=1168494a01a3ef48a0671db1cfada9c3

Dear writers, should we be censored?

This is my first blog post of the year. So long to 2016, and welcome to 2017. May it serve you well. I could go on about my resolutions this year, but I don’t want to be talked about if I don’t end up fulfilling them, so I’ll just keep those to myself. Instead let’s talk writing, because this post is long overdue.

Believe it or not I have written some wild stuff. Whether it be in English classes or a Facebook update with a not-so Christian topic. Once during college senior year, on a draft for a short piece I did in an English class, I received a comment for a line of dialogue which I used. That comment was “This can be offensive”.  I wasn’t trying to upset anyone. I was just using a phrase that is often used in real life by a certain type of person. 

As I sat in my desk taking in the comment, I thought about all the many pieces of literature that were considered offensive and even went so far as to be baned from schools and entire countries. I pondered about books such as Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mocking Bird” for its themes on race and adult issues, and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” for its constant use of the word “nigger”(“Banned Books That Shaped America.”). This brings up the big question: Should writers be censored?

Michele Cates, Austin Peay State University communications graduate, said writers should not be censored, but that it depends on the writer.

“Writing about issues gets people to talk about it and to bring light to serious and social issues. Even comics have written about issues such as drugs, race, and gender issues since they’ve started. This can be done in music, tv, movies, magazines media. Anything.”

“There are things I personally don’t want to write/draw about, but some I do,” said Cates. “I want to do it to make the audience approach or look at things differently then they have before. And maybe they can as a person stand up for what’s right or recognize something they’ve done before as wrong”

Social media correspondent James de Moss said that we should not be censored, but at the same time that we should be aware of what we write. 

“Creation is powerful, and every word processed onto the page is creation,” said Moss. “God created, and from his creation, all things have come. So to do we create, and all things can come from that which we create. We should be steeled against whatever those consequences are and be prepared for them. To write about something as difficult as addiction, for example, should not be censored, but at the same time, should be done in a way as to effectively convey the hardship of it. To glorify brutality, addiction, or pain is a dangerous thing. We wrote, and thus we create. If we must create, let our art be beautiful. Let our creations be fae magic, not fel. When we create, it should be to express, to show beauty, and show light, even if we use a dark paint to do so. I’m all for creation. But never will I create so as to destroy”


I think when you’re writing a fictional piece that you should have the freedom to write whatever you want. Yes, you are the one putting the words down, but the characters are the ones saying the dialogue and doing the acts that are considered offensive. As writers we have the ability to separate ourselves from what we are writing, just as actors can separate themselves from whoever they are portraying.

For example, let’s say I write a fictional piece involving a character who is homophobic and goes about harassing another character who is gay. Does that make me homophobic? No, I’m including the character because in real life there are people who dislike those of the LGBT community. Just like there are other issues in society such as sexism, racism, domestic violence, poverty, drug addiction, murder, rape, human trafficking, and torture. The issues go on. It is my opinion that not talking about those issues further allows them to happen. Writers, we have a responsibility.

As for non fiction pieces such as essays, speeches, or news stories, I think you do need to be careful with what you say because you are the one saying the words. In using your voice and addressing an audience you have the power to incite sadness, anger, hate, and violence. You don’t think words can hurt- they can.

Going off of what Cates said, I too think it depends on the writer. For example, during my college years at Austin Peay State University, I worked as a staff writer for the campus newspaper The All State. As a writer for the news section, I was tasked with researching; interviewing; and informing, but never inserting my own personal opinions into the article. And I was careful of what I said on my own personal social media accounts on certain topics such as politics. I did this to demonstrate that the paper was not biased. I wouldn’t call that “censorship”. I would call it “better safe than sorry”. Anything you say or do can reflect others.

One final thought, you can’t please everyone. There is always going to be someone who doesn’t like anything you do or say. All you can do is aim not to hurt and do what you feel is right. Write until you don’t feel comfortable. Do I think writers should be censored-no. Do you?

Sources:

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1431608660976-4fe5bcc2112c?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=o4-yygi5jbc-glen-noble.jpg&s=3e59a13af56c7650406d972de52b1ccd

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1472466287482-c6c7fe50b716?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=q9glzfhyggk-aidan-meyer.jpg&s=c61efd7a3f154ef307eb89c36568fa9a

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1469460684636-7c3d8da2241e?ixlib=rb-0.3.5&q=80&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=tinysrgb&dl=riqyl8ivwek-evan-clark.jpg&s=a93232fcb127484f183a25cd65bd7aea

“Banned Books That Shaped America.” Banned Books Week. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.