Black Holes ‘n Stuff [maybe i’ve been thinking about outer space]

astrophysics

I’ve been thinking about space and astrophysics.

About the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. About how it is so unspeakably massive–massive enough to keep our galaxy of (at least) 150 billion (150 billion) stars orbiting it, massive enough that even light is pulled in by its gravity. Not metaphorical gravity. Real, physical, the-scientific-law-of-gravity type of gravity so strong that it draws light to itself.

There’s a point trying to think about that where my brain simply… stops. Hits a wall. Can’t compute.

And I’ve been thinking about the supermassive black holes holding other galaxies together. Humans don’t really know how many galaxies spin through this universe, but the current thought is about 125 billion. 125 billion galaxies. And that’s just speculation. The numbers change a lot because there’s literally so much to know that it’s impossible to actually know.

But let’s just say there are 125 billion galaxies give or take a few. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, isn’t very big compared to the others even though it has 150 billion stars. It would take 100,000 years to cross from one side of the Milky Way to the other. And that’s if you were traveling nonstop at the speed of light for all 100,000 years.

There’s a galaxy out there (dubbed Hercules A) that is 1.5 million light-years across. Hercules A must have an unthinkable black hole holding innumerable stars in its gravity.

We breeze over these numbers. Million. Billion. We toss them around. But we don’t truly have a concept for there being that many of anything. We can’t even actually comprehend Earth carrying 8 billion people on it; how can we even begin to fathom what it means that our universe is home to at least 125 billion galaxies?

And besides the truly staggering numbers that we use to try to describe the truly staggering size of our universe, there are innumerable mysteries in space.

Space. A vacuum where the molecules are so far apart that sound can’t carry. In our system, we can’t see the solar wind that moves through what looks like empty space. We think we know where cosmic rays come from; maybe we do. The temperature in space is a chilly −454.81 °F. Apparently there’s little to no friction in space? And invisible gravitational and electromagnetic forces as well as radiation are doing their thing (it’s at this point that I usually can’t remember what gravity is).

Scientists throw around theories about dark energy… and then there’s also dark matter–two different ideas about two different things, both of which are poorly understood (especially by me) and not to be confused with dark fluid and dark flow.

Dark energy is an unknown force of energy which is theorized to counteract gravity. On the other hand, dark matter is a type of matter that does not interact with light. Apparently we know dark matter exists because even though we can’t see the dark matter itself, we can observe how it gravitationally affects objects we can see.

The mysteries. There are so many mysteries. And for each mystery there are plenty of theories. We’re trying to name things we can’t even pin down, puzzling out and dreaming up definitions and possibility after possibility for mystery after mystery.

Yet we hardly even know Earth. We’ve been on little ol’ Earth a while, and we still don’t know what’s at the bottom of our own ocean. Can you imagine the mysteries we would find if we ever explored even a fraction of the other planets out there in the great black of space?

And besides the planets, thinking back to black holes… who knows what those are actually like. We certainly don’t.

Some think of space and shudder. It’s so inhospitable. There are so many unknowns. It’s just so big. Space–our physical universe–isn’t infinite, but it seems like it.

But thinking about space doesn’t make me afraid. It makes me feel small. Mount Everest and the oceans that seems so endless and formidable to my eyes are nothing next to even our own sun, much less the Hercules A galaxy. So much on Earth feels big compared to me. And yet Earth is decidedly tiny.

But it also makes me feel precious. Because Earth is decidedly tiny. But it was here on Earth that God let loose some of his most special creative endeavors. It was here on Earth that he made creatures in his own image. And it was here on Earth that infinite God took on physical flesh and proved his love for sinners in an act that transcends millions of light-years–it was here on Earth that God died and came back to life.

And thinking about space doesn’t make me feel afraid because God holds our entire universe in the span of his hand. I don’t feel afraid because all the unknowns of our universe are well-known–and designed by and delighted in–by God.

The unknowns reflect the infinitely deep wells of God’s creativity, and the simple unthinkable vastness shows forth God’s majesty and inscrutability and infinity and transcendence and beauty and glory and so many other things we don’t even have words for.

Space is big, and I am small. Space is cold and mysterious and dangerous, and I am perfectly safe in the hands of God, the same hands that mark off 125 billion galaxies like it’s nothing.

So I think I’ll keep reading the ultra-simplified versions of the theories and discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. Because even though my mind feels like it’s melting when I read about these things and think about them, I am comforted and my wonder wakes back up.

What do you think about space and black holes ‘n stuff?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this isn’t a very succinct post because my thoughts on all this are still pretty jumbled. Maybe they’ll unscramble when I’m not up to my neck in articles about this, but I guess there are worse ways to spend quarantine. Plus, posting something that has questionable flow, tired-brain writing, and zero links to sources kills a little of my perfectionism, so that’s good?

p.p.s. – the last month or so I’ve been thinking about space a lot, but then the other night I watched Interstellar for the second time and that really pushed me Over The Edge as far as getting stuck in a space-obsessed phase. I think I’ll be here a while. Any good book recommendations for astrophysics?

Christian, You Must Wake Up

Christian You Must Wake Up

Christian, what would you say your purpose is, as a follower of Jesus?

Christian, why did Jesus save you?

He didn’t save you so that you could live a comfortable life here on earth and then breeze past hell into heaven.

He didn’t save you so you could find fulfillment on earth in things other than himself.

He didn’t save you so you could chase your dreams or make a name for yourself.

He didn’t save you so that you could go on living your life and treating the immortal God like a side dish to your existence.

He didn’t even save you so you could go to church on Sundays and serve in the church.

He didn’t save you so you or your family could be insulated and “safe” in a squeaky clean Christian bubble.

He didn’t save you so you could hop from church to church as if you were a shopper unsatisfied with all the current church models.

He didn’t even save you so you could find a comfortable church home to go on Sundays, raise your babies in, squabble about chairs or pews or leadership, and be largely in the same spot spiritually five years from now as you are today.

He didn’t save you so you could eventually decide that you don’t need or want to be a part of his church.

He didn’t save you so you could occasionally read a Psalm and talk about the importance of hope.

Jesus came to earth, died, came alive again, and saved you so that you could have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). And when he said that, he wasn’t talking about your dreams or happiness. Jesus’ view of an abundant life is both incredibly general and incredibly specific.

Abundant life, eternal life, is knowing God (John 17:3). And when we know God, we love him. And when we truly love him, we obey him. And when we truly obey him, we show that we know him. And when we know God, truly know him, nothing is the same.

Jesus saved you to give you himself, and by doing so, give you unspeakable joy and zeal.

But joy in what? Zeal for what? The things of his heart, not yours.

Jesus didn’t save you so you could adopt some good mindsets and values from him. When Jesus saves someone, he’s after their whole mind, their whole heart, their whole life, everything. He wasn’t being melodramatic or figurative when he said people were going to have to lose their lives to follow him (Matthew 16:25).

How much do you think Jesus is worth if you aren’t giving him everything you’ve got? And by everything, he does mean everything—every attitude and intention of your heart; every desire and dream; every cherished, socially acceptable sin; every minute of your time. Jesus didn’t come to reform you in part; he came to save you and turn your entire world upside down, saved you to lay claim to everything in your life.

Anything short of everything is unacceptable (and if you think otherwise, how well do you actually know God?).

Christian, stop slumbering in mediocrity. Stop being content to do church (or not do church as the case may be).

“Lord, Lord.”

Near the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, he says this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This passage kind of makes me sick.

“Lord, Lord, did I not cast out demons in your name? Did I not do miracles in your name?”

And even to these, Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”

If even those who have (seemingly) done great things for Jesus aren’t actually his disciples, where does that put most American Christians? Where does that put people who don’t even read their Bibles? Where does that people who don’t worship? Where does that put people who tolerate sin in their lives? Where does that put people who aren’t making disciples?

What will Jesus say to you on the last day?

Christian, you must wake up.

Christian, you were saved to have eternal life, which is knowing God.

You were saved to be about the mission that Jesus called you to.

You were saved to grow and change and become more like Jesus.

You were saved into Jesus’ Church, without which you cannot be and do everything that God has called you to be and do.

You were saved to go home to Jesus at the end of all this, to rejoice in him with all his saints.

Don’t hear all this as saying you’re not doing enough. “Enough” is vicious, perfection-based word. Hear all this as call to think, to consider if you’re too easily pleased by this world, too contented with the status quo of your life, too American-minded in your knowledge of God and his heart. I know I have been.

I have settled for far less than what God wants for my life. I have been indifferent and slow to kill sin. I have been dazed and distracted by this world and the things I’ve wanted out of it. I have chased my dreams instead of God. I have not seen God as he is and thus my response to him, his love, his words, and his commands has been lackadaisical.

But no more.

I hope the same for you. Christian, for the sake of your soul, for your joy, I beg of you: wake up.

With love,

Rosalie

Why I Wrote a Story About Death [i’m getting published again; ‘a kind of death’ release day!]

Today is the day that my short story, Eshe, gets released in Uncommon Universes Press’s first anthology, A Kind of Death: Tales of Love, Loss, and Transformation.

I’ve actually hardly talked about this? Which is definitely weird. Life’s been kind of crazy, and I’ve hardly sat down with my computer at all. Anyweys.

I want to tell you why I wrote Eshe, a story about death.

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I.

Sometimes it feels strange to say that I’m getting published in a collection of poems and short stories about death. I know how morbid it sounds, how some people definitely think, “yikes!” when they hear that title.

Honestly though, most of my stories involve death. If you’ve read any of my eight published flash fictions, you will find that four of the eight deal fairly strongly with death in some form or another.

But why do I come back to death again and again in my stories?

II.

Death was never meant to be.

This world was created bursting at its atoms with life and wonder, every piece perfect and whole and beautiful and glorifying to God.

Yet humans rebelled against God, pushed against his kingdom, and enter from stage right: sin and death.

This world is shattered now. Death comes to all things here; from the honey bee to the forests packed with trees to the stars galaxies away to the picked rose to the blue whale to the cells that make up the fingers that type these letters.

I’m still young, in good health. Yet I am decaying, dying. And so is this world.

Little ones only weeks old die in their cribs from SIDs. Graves fill with bodies of soldiers. The hearts beating under the papery skin of the elderly stop. Sickness and violence rob families of loved ones every way we turn. We can’t escape death. Death is a present reality.

III.

I write about death to see death rightly. It’s not romantic. It’s real, but it’s not normal. It’s not how it should be. It’s not how it will always be. It’s not the end.

I write about death to peer past this destroyed world and remember that there is another kingdom my eyes can’t see.

I write about death so that I can learn to die well.

I write about death because it reminds me to live well.

I write about death because in doing so, in a strange way, I see Jesus more clearly. I see his kindness, for only One of great love would submit to death to save a rebellious, self-destroying, dying people. I see his power, for only One of great might can redeem death itself.

And seeing Jesus more clearly gives me courage. Courage to not fear death. Courage to pray that every sinful, unfruitful thing in me be put death and that I be undone and remade again and again until he calls me home. Courage to believe that one day, death will be a distant memory, and being alive, being with Jesus, will forever be the present reality.

Death will come for me one day, but death will not get the final say over me. Only Jesus gets that.


aKoDCover.jpgA Kind of Death Blurb:

A princess who makes dangerous bargains with the afterlife. A man desperate to save his wife, no matter the cost. An uber driver for the undead.

Death, whether real or metaphorical, comes for us all. Yet it is not always the end. And in the depths of grieving can be the promise of hope and redemption.

The tales and poems in this anthology explore the depths of love, loss, and transformation. Whether in a reimagined folktale or a modern urban fantasy, A Kind of Death features a fine balance of tragedy and comedy, but always with a hint of wonder and hope.

As this anthology concerns matters of loss (all handled tastefully and without graphic depiction), certain stories might prove challenging for sensitive readers. Recommend reading with a hot beverage and/or a packet of tissues.


A Kind of Death is available as in paperback, hardback, and ebook.

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and UUP.

Don’t forget to enter to win a hardback copy of A Kind of Death along with two art prints and additional book swag!

I can’t wait for you to read Eshe. <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – here’s the Eshe pinterest board, if you’re interested.

p.p.s. – fun fact: Eshe is my favorite thing I’ve written to date.

p.p.p.s. – I get to be published with Savannah Grace again! And alongside Bethany Jennings for the first time! Whoop whoop!

Oh Beloved One Tour [giveaway]

Happy Tuesday!

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Oh Beloved One (OBO for short)–a magazine for Christian young women to remind them that they are beloved!

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A bit about Oh Beloved One.

Oh Beloved One is created by young women who believe that our highest calling in life is to love God and bring him glory.

The OBO team seeks to help other young women love God and bring him glory by providing content that assists readers in taking their next spiritual step.

The giveaway!

You will win a hardcopy of Independent, OBO‘s July/August issue with articles about solitude, breaking out of your comfort zone, and knowing when and with whom you can be honest about your weaknesses as well as everyday how-to’s every girl should know for life and more.

IMG_0800.jpgBe sure to enter this giveaway if:

a) you are curious about Oh Beloved One

b) you are trying to decide if you want to subscribe to OBO

c) you are a girl looking for some encouragement and edification

d) you enjoy getting mail

e) you adore aesthetically pleasing things (if this magazine isn’t #aesthetic, I don’t know what is)

f) the balance between godly dependence and godly independence confuses you

and/or g) you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter who would enjoy a copy of Oh Beloved One.

Enter the giveaway here!

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Fine print:

  •  this giveaway is U.S.A. only (sorry, international peeps!)
  •  this giveaway will close on September 23, 2019 (the last day of this blog tour)
  • the winner will be contacted by email

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This Oh Beloved One tour will be running all month long with a couple other giveaways happening along the way, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next stop (it’s with Jane Maree in a few days)!

– Check out the OBO magazine here

– Subscribe OBO‘s mailing list here

– Stop by OBO‘s Instagram here.

I’m so excited to follow the rest of this tour! I’ve known about OBO for a while now, and I’m so jazzed to spread the word about this beautiful magazine for girls.

Have you heard of Oh Beloved One? Do you subscribe to any magazines?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – all photos belong to Oh Beloved One

My Noveling Process [in gifs]

Noveling is a process. It’s arduous. The Arduous Process looks different for everyone, but I just want to share a snapshot of what noveling is like for me, personally.

Obviously, there will be gifs.

Here it is from start to finish (because there comes a point where a novel is finished, right? RIGHT????).

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The Spark of Creation (aka: when an new story idea strikes).

The moment of inspiration is different for every novel, but the moment it takes root, there’s no going back.

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This is the part where I cheat on the novel I was working on by thinking about and creating playlists and Pinterest boards for my new idea. It’s all fun and games in the beginning, when it’s forbidden.

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^^^ me having fun with all the new characters and plot bunnies and worldbuilding nerdiness ^^^

Everything is shiny and new and exciting about this idea, and I’m usually pretty jacked and acting kind of weird around the house.

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It’s very much like the beginning of The Lion King, when everything is bright and hopeful and beautiful.

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I am Rafiki; Simba is the new idea

Drafting Begins (aka: I write the rough draft of the novel).

It’s time to get started! All the Pinteresting and playlist-making and movie-trailer-dreaming has come to this, and it’s time to start actually writing the novel. I couldn’t be happier!

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Two chapters into the novel:

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But I’m not stressed because I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t plot out a novel before I write it; I just start with some inspiration and make most of it up as I go along (because what can possibly go wrong with that?).

This leads us to the next phase: intermittent snacking.

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The time eventually comes to kill off the first character. I usually meet this challenge with a healthy mixture of maniacal zest and sincere sorrow.

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I also tend to get stuck in research ruts, which is where I spend five and a half hours researching one minute detail (which I’ll probably end up throwing out further down the line in the editing process).

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^^^ me after getting stuck in a  research rut ^^^

By this point, we’re where everything is falling apart for the characters, and my main character has reached their lowest point (this is often called “the dark night of the soul”). All their hopes and dreams (and maybe even some of their loved ones) have gone up in smoke. It’s a very traumatic time. For the main character. Less so for me.

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^^^ me watching my characters hopes and dreams (and maybe even some loved ones) go up in smoke ^^^

Inevitably, I slow to a halt and spend a while existential crisis-ing.

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Shortly after this, I complete the first draft, which is hands down one of the most amazing feelings of this whole process.

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Editing Begins (aka: I try to fix up the story to make it presentable to others, and it promptly falls apart).

Editing usually begins well. I typically take a few month break (sometimes even more) between my first draft and my second draft and am thus very refreshed and ready to dig into my novel once more.

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I read the first draft, which often feels like I’m discovering the novel for the first time all over again. Except this time without all the frills and euphoric visions. No, this time, I read it with all the cynicism my dual personality can muster.

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^^^ actual footage of me reading dialogue from my first drafts ^^^

And then I begin to notice that there are some, well, some rather large problems that my witty back and forth banter with myself won’t fix.

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Then, I lose all comprehension of all words, story craft, plot structure, character building, etc..

Enter from stage right: the Google search.

Typical Editing Phase 1 Google searches look like:

  • how to tell if your novel has a plot
  • yikesyikesyikesyikes
  • how to plot a novel
  • why does my main character need to have a goal?
  • how to write a plot twist
  • wHaT IS A pLOt?
  • is my novel trash?
  • save me

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People generally think it’s pretty cool that I write novels, and this is the part (when I can’t recall the difference between an inciting incident and a plot twist) where they ask about it. I can’t help myself but respond thusly:

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Editing Continues (aka: something has gone terribly wrong with the story and I’m still editing it a year and a half later).

It’s usually at this juncture that I find some irreparable plot hole and can’t cope.

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me, not being able to cope with the gaping hole in my plot

Eventually, I do learn to cope…

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because if you can’t fix it, you might as well burn it

As I said, some people are kind enough to check in with me every once in a while. They’ll ask me again about my novel, to which I reply like Edna Mode:

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which is really code for “I’m dying*

Despair and confusion continues.

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And continues…

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After I’ve spent three years of my life editing a novel….

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After I’ve reworked that first chapter approximately 4543 times:

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Again, with the thoughtful, invested people asking me how the novel is coming:

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I am Mike, the inquisitor is Sully, the novel is Boo.

But then I start to get a second (or maybe this is the third? Or fourth? Or fifth?) wind, and things start to turn around. Something clicks in my brain; I get some sort of breakthrough. I see how to take this novel to the next level and end this hell editing.

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we all knew this gif was coming

I respond in the only way I can.

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In general, there is Renewed Vigor, and I’m ready to kick this novel in the butt.

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^^^ me and my Renewed Vigor ^^^

Me to my Renewed Vigor:

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And then, some time later, I finish the novel.

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And there it is, friends.

My noveling process from start to finish. Now, please excuse me while I get back to editing my novel.

What does your process look like?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this was going to be a serious post, but that clearly didn’t happen, lol. Someone *cough cough* let themselves loose on a gif-hunt, and now here we are.

p.p.s. – I think I may have used a record number of gifs in this post. I was also a bit loopy while putting together this post because I’ve been staying up late working on my novel and am thus a little sleep-deprived.