Ravenous Reading: Legend by Marie Lu

Transient

This book is one of those rare books that completely and utterly blows you away.

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As an avid reader of young adult dystopian novels, I was naturally drawn to Legend. It is the first in a trilogy set in a future United States that is split into two warring nations. The two narrators of the story are teens that live in the Republic of America, in an equally familiar and futuristic version of Los Angeles. The future of each child is decided by their score on a test they take as a preteen. Those that score highly are allowed to further their education, and work their way into a high-ranking military position, while those who score lowly are forced onto the streets, susceptible to a ravaging plague. 15-year-old prodigy June achieved what has never been done before, by getting a perfect score on the test. She is well on her way to becoming a star in the military. Day, on the other hand, is a wanted criminal. Ever since he failed the test, he abandoned his old identity in hopes of survival, turning to petty crimes and hiding out in the streets in order to protect his poor family.

The two teens’ contrasting worlds collide when June’s older brother and guardian is murdered, and the Republic names Day as the prime suspect.

The following story is completely action-packed, a gripping and unpredictable turn of events that forced me to keep reading into the wee hours of the morning, no matter how tired I was. I definitely didn’t expect to already be so excited about it less than fifty pages in! I haven’t had a reading experience like this since I first read The Hunger Games in 2010. While the premise of Legend itself has similarities to THG and Divergent, it is a completely different and completely original novel. Marie Lu is a fantastic writer, and I’m so stoked to pick up the other books in the series! The dual perspective is well executed. Each chapter is perfectly paced and grabs hold of you, and the story world and complex young characters are very well developed. This is something I don’t get very often with teen dystopias, due to the fact that many simply copy popular ones or are too similar to each other in certain aspects. I’m not saying this about all dystopias, but the popularity of the genre means that settings, storylines, characters, etc. become predictable. This book was not one of those.

I totally recommend this book, especially if you feel burned out by other books in this genre. Marie Lu’s Legend is positively brilliant!

New Shirt Design: "Love Everlasting" for CANVAS!

I am excited to be back entering shirt design competitions again!

This latest design, for Canvas Christian T's, is called "Love Everlasting". My description is as follows:

"God's love is the kind of love that never ends. In Jeremiah 31:3b, He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." It's interesting to think about, considering our human love is often fickle and prone to change. I think it's amazing that God's love lasts forever. I wanted to subtly convey the powerful idea of love everlasting with this hand-drawn, grungy tee. :)"

This design came from a doodle I actually did quite some time ago that I unearthed recently. I wanted to make the kind of shirt that can be simple yet profound.

If you like the design, you can help it get printed and sold by C28 by going here to vote a 5, "like" the design, and post your comments!

http://www.canvasthreads.com/designdetails.aspx?id=10605

Here's to 2014!

Transient

We're almost two weeks into the new year, and, inevitably, I am still having trouble writing "2014" on everything. It hasn't really registered in my mind yet that it's January 2014. It's so surreal how quickly 2013 came to pass!
I rang in the new year with a small group of people, in our traditional New Year's party. The big tradition is usually that we pull an all-nighter. I've pulled this off for at least three years, but our 2014 attempt was proof that I'm too old now to stay up all night. I need sleep. :P (Photo above is from the party. I was tired at MIDNIGHT even with all the sugar I ate to stay awake. hahaha)
The inability to pull an all-nighter is not the only change that has come about in the past year or so. So many great things have happened. Also, a handful of not-so-great things. But 2014 is a chance to start anew, and I am rather excited about it!
I feel like there's something extra special about this particular year. I can't quite put a finger on exactly why, but it's a substantial feeling.
I guess a reason that 2014 is going to be big for me personally is that it will be my 20th year. It's kind of crazy to think I've been alive for two decades now!
But all things aside, I'm dedicating this year first and foremost to God, and I'm really stoked to see what he has in store for me--and for all of us--the next 365 days.
As for my website, expect to see a lot more t-shirt designs, book reviews, blog musings, and last but not least, MUSIC!

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)

When I look at the Stars.

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“...Praise him, all you shining stars.” Psalm 148:3b (NIV)

I was clearly exhausted around 11:00pm, forcing my eyes open as I drove home from work on the evening’s empty streets. I was mindlessly flipping between Christian radio and a pop station. I also had a small moment of panic when I didn’t feel my phone in my pocket, only to realize it was merely on the passenger seat when I reached a red light.

Needless to say, I was exceptionally eager to get home, and in much anticipation for bed time.

As soon as I get home on most nights like this, I usually head straight for the door, robotically getting ready for bed and hopefully getting some reading in before passing out.

But as soon as I got out of the car, this time, I looked up.

Now, in Temecula, it’s not always easy to see the stars. All the street lights and signs and whatever else tend to obstruct a clear view of the night sky. (And then, of course, sometimes there’s clouds up there, too.)

Well, for whatever reason, the sky was totally clear.

And I have to admit, just looking at the stars totally took my breath away.

Okay, I’m no science guru, and I’m definitely no genius. Starting in high school I actually did relatively poorly in my science courses... but that is besides the point.

How ever little I know and understand about stars and space, the more I learn--and the more I actually observe it--the more I’m just totally overwhelmed by God’s handiwork.

Just staring up at the seemingly infinite amount of lights in the sky, all with their own solar systems a lifetime away, thousands upon thousands of galaxies and wonders, coming together to form an awe-inspiring masterpiece... I just feel the presence of God. Simply staring at the vastness and the intricacy of what He created gives me the chills and honestly makes me tear up sometimes.

That moment was crazy for me. It’s not like I’ve never seen stars before! But it was almost as if I hadn’t. God met me right where I was and showed me his power and beauty, all by having me take a few minutes to look up and experience his majesty.

It seems so simple. Yet it doesn’t. It’s hard to explain.

But moments like that, really taking in the beauty of what God has made... it makes me wonder how someone can see what I’m seeing and think it all happened by chance!

It is my firm and utmost belief that God created the heavens and the earth.

He created the perfect scenario for our beautiful life-sustaining world to grow and thrive--if we were just slightly out of position in space, our planet conditions would NOT be so ideal! He made the small things, and he made the big things. He placed each and every one of those stars out in space, and he also placed each and every human being on Earth with a purpose.

Here is what I think is so amazing:

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”
Psalm 147:4

And yet...

God loves us even more!!!

He not only calls us each by name. He created us in HIS image. He set us apart from the whole of creation. And when we messed things up big time by sinning, God was willing to sacrifice his son for us, to save us all.

If God has a name and a purpose for mere stars, imagine what he has for US.