Hello everyone! I’ll try not to make it a habit to post tags too often, but I thought I’d just do this one, just so you all can find out a bit more about me… More
2019 has come to a close, and if it had just come to a close, and it was January 1st instead of 12AM on January 4th, this would make more sense. But play along and pretend it’s January 1st.
It’s New Years Eve, (well it was, at the time I started writing this) there will be food, fireworks, noise, family and friends. It’s a small end of year for us this year, no going to visit relatives, and the whole family isn’t here. But that’s okay.
I’ve thought a little bit about 2020. There are a lot of things to add to the list of things that I could do better. A lot of things are changing. I’m moving schools. That is, I’m moving from homeschool to a big VCE public school. That’s crazy! I’ve been thinking about it, and it scares me. It excites me and I’m grateful for this opportunity, but it’s also scary to think about it. It’s a massive school with new people, it’s a different environment, and it’s the last two years of my schooling. I have that nagging thought in the back of my mind that tells me I’ll never be good enough.
This is the time of year where we usually set expectations for ourselves. It’s so great to make goals for ourselves, but this can be a time where we can compare ourselves to others. We plan vigorously for the next year, and we lift the standards for ourselves so high so that we can be better, that we feel discouraged because we can never reach them. We make goals to be like that popular girl who always looks perfect, or that guy who is good at literally everything. Been there, done that.
Maybe the reason we never reach our goals is because we set them too high. Maybe the reason we don’t change is not the fact that we actually don’t change, but we don’t notice the change. We’re too busy shooting for the highest star, that we don’t notice the star we’ve already caught. I’m not saying to shoot high, go for it! But if it’s for the wrong reason, it’s not healthy for us.
In the youth theatre that I am part of, the director always says that she’s not looking for who is the best singer, or the best actress or the best overall performer. She is looking at us as individuals, and if we are making magic to the best of our ability. Not to the ability of the best singer in the room. To the best of our ability. She looks at whether or not we’re doing our best; pouring our heart and soul into what we’re doing. She wants us to reach for OUR star and no one else’s.
I’m still learning to set goals for myself and no one else. I’m learning to set the goals that I want to set, not the goals that I think other people want me to set. I want to be the best I can be. And it’s still a learning process for me. But I’m learning to reflect on myself and what my goals as an individual are.
And I’ll get there someday. And so will you.
P.S the backround featured image is from Canva.com
Now before we get started,
I know it’s late, but better late than never, yes? I pray that you all had a wonderful time celebrating Jesus and family. 🙂
Over the past year, I had the privilege of performing in the ensemble of Les Miserables with our Youth Theatre. I can safely say that it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Over the eight shows, we received standing ovations and roaring applause, and tears and laughter. As well as gaining and strengthening some great friendships, I got to see firsthand the ‘behind the scenes’ of it all.
Some musicals are for entertainment purposes only, and while Les Miserables is certainly entertaining, there are powerful themes of love, hope, forgiveness, and redemption.
I have yet to watch Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s Broadway or London West End performance of this musical, but if you have seen any version of it, I can only guess that it touched you. To my great delight, I recently received my DVD of our performance, and I straight away put it onto my laptop and prepared myself for a good laugh and cry.
The scene in which the Bishop shows Valjean mercy and compassion is always a very touching scene for me, embodying the very essence of the production; love. And of course, the young, barricade boys fighting and dying for their freedom always manages to bring the waterworks. Ultimately, the entire musical means a great deal to me, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
So without further ado, here are nine things that Les Miserables tells us about life.
1. Our pasts do not define us.
We all make mistakes. We’re all human. Sometimes our mistakes come back to haunt us, and it’s easy to live in the falsehood that our past defines who we are.
Jean Valjean is the perfect example of this. From the beginning of the story, Valjean is looked down upon by others, especially by Inspector Javert. Valjean is part of the chain gang because he stole a loaf of bread for his sister’s starving child. Because of this, even when he is given a ticket of leave, his papers and his brand always remind both him and society of who he is.
We see a remarkable change in Valjean. Despite his past he is running from, he leads a loving and compassionate life, putting others before himself and lovingly raising his adopted daughter. He embraces who he truly is in God and in himself when he tells Cosette the truth about his past. He is no longer 24601. He is Jean Valjean!
Because of God’s grace and salvation, we can live with the hope of a better future. What is important is how we live our now in preparation for the great future God has in store for us.
2. You can always look to God.
Have you ever felt sad? Happy? I have. So many times in life we can be angry, lonely, depressed, confused, or excited. But I have the encouragement and the promise from God that He will never leave me or forsake me. And that promise is for you as well.
When Jean Valjean is shown kindness by the Bishop and Valjean gives his life to God, he makes a conscious effort to look to God in all of his circumstances. God has become a big part of his life, especially when he sings ‘Who Am I’ and includes God in his tough decision. Even when he is singing for Marius’ safety in “Bring Him Home,” his song is a song of prayer to God. In this touching song, he sings:
God on high,
Hear my prayer.
In my need,
You have always been there.
You can take,
You can give,
Let him be,
Let him live.
Les Miserables shows us that through it all, we can look to God in the sad and in the happy times.
3. Freedom is worth fighting for.
It’s easy to feel as if hope is lost. That our freedom is out of reach and we can’t do anything about it. And then from there, it’s easy to sit back and ‘wait for it all to blow over’, as Uncle Max from Sound of Music says in submission when the Nazis are taking over Austria.
But the truth is, our freedom is worth fighting for. Our voices are worth being heard, and the truth is worth being told.
The barricade boys including Marius and Enjolras, depict this perfectly. These ‘school boys’ who ‘never held a gun’ fight for their country; their freedom. Although young, inexperienced, and looked down upon by society, they fought, giving their people a hope for a better tomorrow.
4. Love and compassion is the greatest gift.
A huge theme stressed in Les Miserables is love. Victor Hugo, the author of the book, asserts that love and compassion are the greatest gifts one can give another. He says that always showing these qualities should be the most important goal in life, and that love and compassion is infectious, passed on from one person to another.
Through simple acts of kindness, a person’s life can be changed forever. Through one act of kindness shown to Valjean, he passes on the kindness to Fantine. He looks past the situation and sees her dire need of someone to show her love. In doing so, he is able to rescue and adopt Fantine’s young daughter. The trio: Valjean, Fantine, and Eponine sing these words in the Epilogue, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
So what kind thing are you going to do this week? Whether it be smiling at someone, or volunteering at a homeless shelter, our kindness matters. Every smile and act of kindness counts.
5. Even the worst people are worth forgiving.
Oh, how easy it is to hate our enemies and love those who do good to us even though we are supposed to love our enemies. It’s a hard thing to do. But even if we don’t think someone is worth forgiving, ultimately, that decision is God’s, and He says that we are forgiven. How great is that?
Javert has been relentlessly hunting down our hero for eight years. Others may have seen Javert’s cruel acts to Valjean and to the lower class in society (he saw them as the righteous thing to do) as unforgivable, therefore he was not worthy of compassion or mercy as he showed none to others. However, Valjean turns all our expectations around when he shows compassion to Javert.
6. We sometimes make our own images of God.
It can be easy to create our own ideal image of God to fit our comfort zones.
We see this in Javert. He is so deluded by his own belief of God, believing it is his duty to bring Valjean to justice. By twisting up what God’s will for him is, he makes his own version of God that gives him ‘power’. God is just, most certainly, but Javert overlooks the other qualities of God; His kindness, His forgiveness, mercy and grace, and His eternal love for us. By doing so, Javert is able to justify his actions.
It’s easy to fall into this pit, believe me, I know. Sometimes we don’t even notice we are doing it. This is why walking close with God and learning from Him is vital for us to see who He really is.
So how can we be sure of who God is? The Bible is full of verses describing God’s greatness.
Exodus 34:6 says,
“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth,”
Among others, he is our redeemer, our rock and our strength, he is everlasting love, he is mercy and grace, he is Prince of Peace!
7. Misuse of power can lead to suffering.
Sometimes when we’re in a position of power, whether it be small or large, we can misuse that power just as Inspector Javert does.
Javert has so much faith in his flawed morality that it leads him astray. In his big song ‘Stars’, he sings these words:
He knows his way in the dark,
Mine is the way of the Lord.
And those who follow the path of the righteous
Shall have their reward.
And if they fall as Lucifer fell?
The flames, the sword!
And so it must be, for so it is written
On the doorway to paradise!
That those who falter and those who fall
Shall pay the price.
In other words, Javert believes it is his duty to thrust his understanding of righteousness on Valjean. He believes that if he fails to do so, he himself will pay the price. He lets his moral beliefs overpower his love for others, creating a twisted view of what justice and righteousness is.
Whether you are in a position of leadership at school, at church, or even at home, approach this God-given ‘authority’ with love and mercy. Because ultimately, God is the one with the power.
8. When we give ourselves to others, we begin to recognize our own worth.
In Valjean’s soliloquy, he says this: “For I had come to hate the world, this world that always hated me.”
But when this one Bishop shows him kindness by giving him a place to rest and eat, Valjean sees God’s mercy and turns his life around. As mentioned above, kindness is infectious. This rings true with Valjean when he commits acts of kindness without asking anything in return after he is showed compassion.
In ‘Who Am I’, when he faces the dilemma of freedom or a life of guilt knowing he condemned a man to slavery, he says: “My soul belongs to God, I know, I made that bargain long ago. He gave me hope when hope was gone. He gave me strength to journey on…” And from then he makes the decision to tell Javert who he really is.
At the end of the prologue, Valjean sings these words: ‘Jean Valjean is nothing now, another story must begin!’ But when he changes his life for the better, he can now accept who he is. He knows who he is. He is no longer defined by his past. He’s Jean Valjean!
9. What Kind Of Person Am I Going To Be?
One question is lifted up above all the others in Les Mis: What kind of person am I going to be?
Ask yourself these questions: Who am I going to be defined by? By God? By myself? By my peers? By society? All nine characters are from different walks of life; who I am most like? What type of person do I strive to be? Who am I now?
Jean Valjean, by the grace of God, turns his life around and does not allow it to be defined by his past. Javert, who lets his delusional idea of justice overpower his love. Fantine, all alone, a scorned and desperate mother doing all she can for her young daughter. Cosette, young and innocent, yearning for answers about hers, and her father’s past. The Thenardiers, conniving and sly, taking everything for themselves and trampling all over others. Eponine, chasing after a love she cannot have. Marius, young, and torn between his love for and duty to his country and his love for Cosette. And Enjolras, the young man who leads the barricade boys into a fight for their country and their freedom.
Ultimately, we are being asked what kind of person we are or what kind of person we are going to be. Are we going to try and get everything we want? Are we going to put ourselves above other people and give ourselves power and authority, letting convictions cloud our love for others? Or are we going to live with compassion and kindness like Valjean?
Only we can make that choice. Sure, the seed can be planted, but we choose if we’re going to water it or not. Through God’s saving power, we can be better.
Only we can decide to leave our past behind and live in the present to build towards the future. Only we choose our own path.
So which will it be?
Isn’t it great to be called by God?
Um, yes. That would be AMAZING, to hear God’s voice instructing me to do something. I for one would be so proud to be doing God’s work.
But… what if I like doing something, and I really want to keep doing it, but I haven’t been told by God to do it?
What if it isn’t really God’s plan for my life?
Hasn’t God mapped out my whole life, didn’t he know me before I was born?
In this case, I love writing. I love taking letters and crafting words, and then taking those words and crafting whole stories
that occasionally make sense. And with those words, I am able to impact someone for better, or for worse.
So, I wait. I wait for God’s gentle nudge, His gentle whisper in my ear telling me that yes, His plan for me is to write.
So why haven’t I heard Him?
Sometimes it’s just really hard to know what I’m meant to be doing with my life. Is writing just MY passion, or is it GOD’S passion too? Is it wrong to do it if God hasn’t asked me to?
You might be feeling this way as well. It’s super easy to feel this way, especially when we lose our inspiration.
GOOD NEWS. A quote from the awesome Brett Harris shared with me by a friend, in words that have been changed a little because I can’t find the actual quote,
God put that passion for writing in your heart for a reason. And God’s plans never fail.
Let me just expand a little. If you have a passion and a talent for writing, use it. That burning passion in your heart to craft stories, and that amazing gift you have to tell them; it’s in your heart for a reason. All God wants for His children is this: that in whatever we do, we do it for His glory.
It doesn’t matter if we love drawing, music, dancing, acting, playing sports, or writing, like Brett said, God’s plans never fail. We can be sure of that because of all the times God has made promises and kept them time and time again.
He knew us before we were born, He knows us. And that’s what is so amazing!! He knows our passions and what we love, and He uses those passions for great things. He’ll use us wherever we are, in whatever we do. All we have to do is surrender to Him. He’s given us these talents to USE for His glory. Isn’t that a calling in itself?
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, – Colossians 3:23
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
PS. The backround featured image is from Canva.com
Hi my smol potatoes!
Today I have a special collab for you, to celebrate the launch of Write In The Dark! Now, I know this is late, but we had some….. shall we say….. difficulties. XD
Due to my poor decision making skills, Esther came up with this collab idea, where we come up with assumptions for each other.
Without further ado, here is the collab.
Hi, my name is Esther Jackson. My dad is old, but my mom grew up in the earliest age. Tolkien’s rhymes and riddles are an inspiration. I’m pretty sure I have Aspergers, but I don’t know for sure. Second youngest, youngest girl, as many brothers as sisters. I enjoy a good cabbage shoe and any other language joke. Primarily homeschooled, but I have spent some time in small Christian schools. I make a point of trying to foolow God’s commands as much as I can. The best part of life is knowing that I don’t have to worry about dying for when Jesus wants me he will call, (until then, am I immortal?)
Favorite well known fiction book
Lord of The Rings, or anything by Tolkien.
Favorite well known non fiction (Bible excluded)
Ooh this is a hard one. I’m going to guess Anne Frank!
Favorite modern piece of music
I feel like I know this, I just can’t think of the title! I’m going to say Hillsong Glorious Day.
Favorite classical piece of music
Wild guess: Piano Sonate op. 13 “Pathetique” 2nd mov. (yes I looked up the name in my piano book)
To serve God and then have a big family while homeschooling all the way through. And also publish books.
Somewhere with family on the beach or in the woods for up to a week or more.
Dream book to write
A fantasy novel, or a historical fiction.
Favorite religious holiday
Favorite non-religious holiday
I don’t know many holidays…. New Years Day?
Favorite Bible verse
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (I couldn’t think of another verse)
Those are my Esther assumptions.
What did you think? Did you have any assumptions of your own?
I’d be surprised if I got any correct.
Since we were squeezed for time, I wasn’t able to get Esther’s responses to my assumptions, so I’m asking her to respond in the comment section. 🙂 Don’t forget to check out her blog and her part of the collab!
PS. The backround featured image is from Canva.com
Hello my smol potatoes! Thanks for stopping by. So why don’t you kick your feet up, grab a mug of tea or coffee to go with these cupcakes? *hands you a cupcake* I had a lovely chat with my friend Madi over cupcakes and comfy couches, so why don’t you come along and join us?
Madi: sits in chair excitedly waiting for Zielle
Zielle: runs /skips into the room Hi!
Madi: stands up and excitedly hugs Zielle YAY, you’re here! How are you?
Zielle: hugs Madi back It’s so good to see you!! I’m so great, how are you?
Madi: It’s so good to see you too! I’m great—I made cupcakes to celebrate your new bloggy! Would you like one?
Zielle: Ooh thank you so much! I would love one. By the way, I love your house!
Madi: Thanks so much! Would you like to sit down? I have these armrest-chairs so comfy you may fall asleep. offers cupcake
Zielle: smiles and sits down Wow, these are comfy. I love the maroon colour. It matches my blog! takes cupcake Thank you!
Madi: sits down Maroon is one of my favorite colors! Ooh, really? I haven’t seen your blog theme yet! Can you show me a picture of the design?
Zielle: Really? That’s so cool! I love the design, it was actually designed by Mukta! shows you a photo | takes a bite of the cupcake This is amazing!
Madi: Oh my goodness, it looks amazing. She did a fantastic job! What does Write in the Dark mean? And thanks — it was my second time making cupcakes myself. laughs
Zielle: She did, didn’t she? grins That’s a great question! Write in the Dark is a play on words for Light in The Dark. And plus, I love writing. laughs Well, you did a really good job! smiles
Madi: Oh, I love that! And I love writing too. grins and thumbs up Will you be posting any of your writing on your blog? And thanks!
Zielle: I sure will post some! Maybe not everything, but there will be some snippets. At least, once I have a set work in progress. laughs and sinks into the chair Ooh this is nice.
Madi: Oh, I can’t wait! I remember reading your writing on your old blog and loved it. Speaking of which, will you delete your old blog or nah? And oh yes, giggles these are super comfy.
Zielle: Aw, thank you! I don’t think I will delete it. I love looking back at my old posts, even if the majority of them are cringey. laughs
Madi: Old posts are the best to look back on! Except maybe the cringey ones. laughs
Zielle: laughs as well They are! Can you recall one of your cringiest old posts? I think the majority of mine were cringey.
Madi: I remember this one post where I wanted to talk about my teeth getting pulled out… on my doll blog. And also post a bunch of random selfies I somehow tied into the post so people could see what I looked like. laughs I remember really liking your posts! What kinds of posts will you post on your new blog?
Zielle: Oh dear! laughs I feel like I remember reading a post about something like that on your doll blog before. laughs again Aw, again, that’s very sweet! I’ve always loved reading your post, I always get some kind of enjoyment and inspiration from them. 😀 On my new blog, I will be posting writing snippets (as mentioned before), life posts which include posts about my faith, writing and teenage life. 🙂
Madi: laughs Aww, thank you so much! And I literally can’t wait for those posts — they sound amazing and I love lifestyle stuff. How will they differ from your old blog, if at all?
Zielle: Thanks again! That’s a good question! They won’t differ much, but I’ll be talking a lot less about homeschool since I’ll be heading off to public school next year.
Madi: Oh, wow! Are you excited or nervous for public school?
Zielle: Both! I’m very excited to be able to have this experience, but also nervous. I’ve met all my teachers and they’re all pretty good which is great! It’s a massive school, though!
Madi: Oh my goodness, that sounds insane! I’m so nervous for you, but I bet you’ll do absolutely amazing. Will you be blogging about that, too?
Zielle: It is!! It’s so exciting, though! Yes, I will be blogging about the transition and my survival. XD
Madi: laughs Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to read about that. I hope you’ll have a great time transitioning — and of course, surviving! What’s the URL so I can visit it?
Zielle: grins I can’t wait to write about it! Thanks, Madi! smiles Oh can’t forget that! The URL is writeinthedark.home.blog.
Madi: I can’t wait for its launch! I’ll be one of your first followers. grins Have you posted on it yet or nah?
Zielle: Aw thanks!! I have made one post welcoming you guys to the blog, but that’s about it! 😀
Madi: Yay!! I can’t wait for all your posts! Thanks so much for coming. hugs Zielle
Zielle: Aw, thanks for inviting me over! I always love chatting with you. returns hug
Madi: Come over anytime — and best of luck with your new blog!!
Zielle: Thank you so much!! stands up
Madi: Want some cupcakes to go? XD
Zielle: grins Yes please!!
Madi: grins and gives her a nice case of cupcakes
Zielle: grins and takes the cupcakes Thank you! opens the front door and exits I hope to see you soon! Thanks, again!
Madi: come over anytime! waves
Well hello again! Wasn’t Madi’s house pretty? I had so much fun catching up with Madi and chatting with her over those amazing cupcakes. I think I need to get the recipe.
Madi helped me out with my blog tour even though she doesn’t do blog tours, to help celebrate the launch of my new blog! She is such a sweet and encouraging person and is also a very talented bloggy friend, so I highly recommend you check out her blog which she just started! You may also know her from Life Undefeated, her author blog, and Delightful World of Dolls.
Thanks for joining our chat and joining me in the launch of my new bloggy!
PS. The backround featured image of those scrumptious cupcakes is from Canva.com
*breathes in deeply*
IT’S HERE!! Write In The Dark has finally launched.
First of all, I want to thank Noah, Enni, Mukta, Jo, Esther and Madi for taking part in my blog tour to help launch it.
Second, a HUGE thank you to Mukta from Born Free and Pique Studios for designing my lovely header! It’s so cozy and aesthetic, and I love it so much!
I should probably introduce myself, huh?
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Zielle. *bows* I’m a sixteen year old filipino girl located in Australia, who loves God, writing, acting, singing, children, potatoes, and all things music.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved crafting stories in my (many) notebooks, and still continue to do so. My favourite genres to write and read are fantasy and contemporary fiction, although I am still dabbling in genres.
Music is a big part of me, it’s there when I’m feeling down or need something to dance to.
On this blog, I will be posting writing snippets, posts about my writing, teenage and christian life, all in the aim to glorify God.
Thank you for stopping by, and I can’t wait to get to know you! Leave a comment below and introduce yourself, I LOVE chatting with you guys.
PS. The backround featured image is from Canva.com