Remembrance

By BlueJay

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Bombs exploded, bullets stung

Orders were to fight then run

For the men who went to war

Little food and dirty water

Life was sometimes just man slaughter

For the men who went to war. [Read more…]

Memorial Day Sale!!

Freedom; who doesn’t love that? Especially the freedom to write and publish. That didn’t come easy. It never has. Freedom is costly and the required price is a life. It always has been. memorialdaysalepinterest

Lives have been lost; and we celebrate and honor those lives by remembering them.

We thought we’d do something special and offer some lovely discounts to you awesome folks!

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EVERYTHING is 10% off!!! AND if you have an order of over $50 we’ll throw in some free shipping! Just swing by the shop, snag your swag, and enter this code: memday16
This swell offer ends May 30th at midnight EST. 

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Decked out in your new swag, go thank a soldier for fighting for your freedom!

KP Book Review: The Wingfeather Saga

If you are searching for a book that encompasses the wit and the humor of the Princess Bride along with the charm and imagination found in The Chronicles of Narnia, (and even if you weren’t) The Wingfeather Saga is just for you. wingfeatherreview

Andrew Peterson opens the series with the book On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, where we begin in the town of Glipwood and are introduced to the three Igiby children, Janner, Tink, and Leeli. Peterson’s writing style is quick-witted, fast-paced, and—as I like to put it—bouncy, which easily draws you into the world of Aerwiar and its inhabitants, including, but most certainly not limited to, Quill Diggles, Thwarps, Skreean Snickbuzzards, and the most feared of them all, the Toothy Cow. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Christi Eaton
Christine Eaton is a college student who loves stories and hopes to publish children’s books. Wearing flip-flops in December, frequenting the beach, and taking every opportunity to visit Disneyland, Christine relishes living in sunny Southern California. She can usually be found happily sipping tea, memorizing lines from the latest play she is a part of, caving into her addiction to chocolate, writing encouraging snail mail, or listening to music, which is usually something folky like Andrew Peterson or the Gray Havens, or some Broadway musical (and rarely anything landing between those two categories.) Art is one of her largest passions, and her walls are covered in her sketches and paintings. Christine yearns to use her skills to glorify God by illustrating and writing her own children’s books that will teach children more about Jesus. Some of her favorite authors include A.S. Peterson, Francine Rivers, Louisa May Alcott, and Andrew Peterson. She is so thankful for the opportunity to manage Kingdom Pen’s social media accounts and help out around the Kingdom wherever she can. From the encouragement, enthusiastic young Christian writers, and her fellow staff members, KP holds a huge place in her heart and she is excited about encouraging young writers to write well and glorify God through their writing.

Dust and Ink

By Mallory O’Bier

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Clickety-clack,

New and black;

Click-clack-ding!

And the paper rolls back.

[Read more…]

Silver Strings

By Jada Morrison

Melodies flow from silver strings

As the player draws her bow

Song flows full and free

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow

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Spotlights shine upon the scene

Varnished wood of the violin gleams

Everyone sits in silence

As in a wonderful dream [Read more…]

Depression’s Journey

Darkness. Shadows. Pain.

Just another human.

Just another life.

What was the point?

Was it worth the fight?

Every sunrise a battle.

Every sunset a temptation.depressionsjourneypoem

Doubt. Fear. Anger.

Monsters in the closet.

Death.

The terrifying escape.

Just another human.

Just another life.

What was the point?

Was it worth the life?

Faith. Hope. Love.

Spirits that clung.

Life. [Read more…]

KP Book Review: Jude the Obscure

What do you do if you find that you made a poor decision in the person you chose to marry?

This is one of the main questions that Jude the Obscure is wrestling with, and one that dominates the main plot of the book.  The story focuses on two characters: Jude, a humble stonemason who dreams of eventually entering college and entering the world of academia, and his cousin Sue, who works as an assistant teacher in a school.  Both characters have large hopes and dreams before they both rashly enter into marriages with poor partners.  And so, after they both find themselves in miserable marriages, as they begin to fall in love with each other instead of their spouses, the question becomes: what do they do next? judetheobscurereview

Without trying to spoil much of what happens next, suffice to say that neither Jude nor Sue end up following biblical commands with regards to the permanence of marriage.  Thomas Hardy, the author of this book, wrote in a postscript to the book that:

“My opinion is that a marriage should be dissolvable as soon as it becomes a cruelty to either of the parties.”

And the book ends up playing that opinion out.  Both characters make rather scathing attacks on the institution of marriage and most of the book seems to view their immoral and foolish choices with approval, which automatically leads to a question:

What is the value of reading this book? [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

The Portrait Gift

Hello Kingdom Pen Community!!

This is Rachel Ramm, the very behind-the-scenes, the so-far-behind-the-scenes-it’s-like-I’m-not-even-there web designer.

portrait project pinThe reason for that extended title, is that I’m not actually a full-time web designer. In fact, I’m not even 25% web designer. It’s more like 5-10%. Most of me is actually a fine artist, specializing in oil painting.

However, I’m writing to you now to let you know about a watercolor portrait project that I’ve been working on over the past year, and which is now nearing it’s end. I also created a video about it and entered it into a Korean Beauty contest, but more about that later.

For now, let me start the story from the beginning:

In the Spring of 2015, having recently returned from a trip to South Korea, I searched for a way to synthesize what I was learning about this new culture, with my concern for children and my vocation as an artist. At that time, a documentary called The Drop Box was released, telling the story of that same country, whose misplaced values do not allow for the flourishing of “the least of these.” This society, while outwardly succeeding, is seriously wounded at it’s core, as evidenced by the lowest birthrate, highest rates of abortion, and one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

Processing this information led me to the idea for a series of portraits, where I could reveal both to the children themselves, and to all people viewing the art how beautiful children are, making visible how intrinsically valuable they are. The concept of human dignity and the value of children is centrally tied to our understanding of who God is, and what it means to be adopted as his sons and daughters, members of His eternal family, and younger siblings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who can possibly understand this without first experiencing loving a child with a pure love, not based on ability or connections or education or wealth? Who can behold the beauty of God’s grace without first seeing the dignity of an individual, and wonder at the First Artist’s best creation?

By God’s grace, I am walking a path that will lead back to Korea to work on portraits of children in the orphanages of Seoul, and for now I am doing and learning what I can closer to home.

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As a way to test this idea, I searched for a children’s home close to where I live now, and my search lead me to Edgewood Children’s Ranch in Orlando. Here, kids with behavioral and academic issues could get help 24/7. Each child that came to the Ranch had a heartbreaking story, and was on their way to continuing the cycle of brokenness unless they could get intervention.

I went and took a tour of their small campus, and got to walk around the small village of “cottages” where the kids lived, learning to keep their things clean and organized. I got to see their classrooms, where they took a more self-directed method of learning, similar to home schooling. I also saw the fields where they grew their own vegetables, and then ate lunch with the kids and enjoyed hearing about how God had provided for their needs in George Muller-like miraculous ways.

More than all this, I saw the love and care of the staff, from the “cottage parents” to the administration, everyone was dedicated to helping these at-risk kids get back on track.

I really didn’t know what I had gotten myself into, but I knew I was on the right path.

In October of last year, I went back with all my photography gear, and took photos of all 42 students. I took the photos back home and ended up painting watercolors of every face.

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Each portrait took 4-5 hours, not including the time it took to edit the photos, photograph the art, mount and mat the final pieces. I also created a printed book that would serve as a yearbook for the Ranch, since they hadn’t had the budget for one in 6 years.

It was so fascinating to paint so many different faces! What impressed me most was not what made each face different and unique (although there was plenty of that!) but the realization of how many similarities there were!

Fast forward to this Spring, and as I neared the end of this project, I found out about a contest whose theme was “How do you make people smile?” The prize was a trip to California, and coincidently, a certain graphic designer and I had been planning our own trip there and had been saving up the money. It was an eerily perfect match!

So I submitted my first video, which introduced the Portrait Project and included some speed painting, which was really fun! Apparently everyone else thought it was fun too, since I was selected as a semi-finalist!!

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For the second round, I had to create another video, with the same theme, except this time making it a commercial by including this company’s skin-care products in some way.

Well, KP Community, you know better than anyone that the best way to deliver any message is through story! Even commercials. So I packed up my paintings, and made the 3 1/2 hour drive back to Orlando. I wouldn’t just give the kids’ their art, I would get their surprised first-reactions on film!!

And this is where I need your help! The story is currently to be continued, because this final video is still up for public vote!! And the winner won’t be decided until this Thursday night 🙂

If you’d like to be a part of this story and help decide how it ends, please go vote for my video here!!

There’s not much else I can write that would be any better than seeing the looks on the kids’ faces yourself. I guarantee that watching it will bring a smile to your face as well 😀

With all my heart,

Rachel

Here’s a little teaser trailer:

If you have a project you’d like to share with the KP Community, we want to hear about it! Email us at kingdompenmag@gmail.com

*UPDATE 6/8/16*

Well, I didn’t win the contest, but I got a much better prize! Sometimes rewards are much different than you think, so don’t stop sharing what you create and pursuing the dreams that God puts on your heart. You never know how what you do may impact others for the Kingdom, so don’t grow weary while you wait for all your hard work to bear fruit! Be patient and give thanks along the journey.

All Art is Christian Art

All art is Christian art. That’s a rather bold statement. Immediately, objections start to pop into our minds. “But what about modern nihilistic art?” “What about a novel that teaches spiritualism?” “What about someone screaming viciously into a microphone with zero identifiable words?” All of these are good objections, but rather than disproving my statement, they lead us to the deeper question that lurks behind them all.  allartischristianpost

What is art?

We are Christians and we base our lives and beliefs on the Bible. Let me bring you to the very beginning of that book. Genesis 1? Yes, Genesis 1:1 words 1-5, “In the beginning God created…” Two words stand out most in this string of five words. “In the beginning” is kind of like an announcement that a big statement is about to be made. Then we get to “God”: “In the beginning God.” Now that’s something. God is preeminent because He is first. How fitting for the first four words of the Bible. But if He was in the beginning, how does the story continue? Well, God created. God created. The first doctrine we hit after the preeminence of God is art–creativity. Art comes before the doctrines of marriage, work, sacrifice, etc. Perhaps this is because art is what is most obvious and sometimes most important to us. We know God exists by His art. We are deceived, rarely by argument but more often by the art that is tied into the argument—the emotions, the symbols, and the imitations of cosmic ideas.

“God created.” That is our first introduction to art in the Bible. Shall we move on? Shall we keep looking for the meat of what art really is? No! It’s right here! Let’s slow down a bit and dig into the depths of richness right before us. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Daeus
Daeus is the published author of two books, Edwin Brook and Treachery Against The House Of Fairwin. He is a Christian seeking God’s face when he remembers to and finding that that is all he was seeking when he seeks for something else. He is a joker who takes himself too seriously and a sack full of ambition who likes to relax. Among his top interests are poetry, reading, philosophy, theology, gardening and permaculture, athletics, marketing, psychology, and interacting with his friends. You can also find him participating in such activities as ranting about the glories of frozen raspberries or making impromptu music for every occasion.
He also is a fanatic over The Count Of Monte Cristo. Be thou forewarned.
If you would like to sample his work, you can get a free copy of his novella, Treachery Against The House Of Fairwin at the link below.

KP Book Review: Dreamlander

What if, in your dreams, you enter into another world?  What if the world of dreams was set in a fantasy setting with some splashes of steampunk and a growing schism between two warring nations?  What if normally, you and your dreaming self can only remember snatches of the life that you live on the other side?  But what if, unlike all the rest of the populace, you were able to fully remember what goes on in both the waking and dreaming worlds? dreamlanderreviewpost

This is the basic premise of Dreamlander, K.M. Weiland’s third published novel.  The protagonist of the story, Chris Redston, has spent the past several years of his life running away from his responsibilities and duties.  But when he becomes the Gifted—the only person able to remember both worlds—and inadvertently brings destructive forces into the dream world, he’s going to need to learn to take responsibility and learn how to fight if he’s going to save both worlds from crossing into each other and destroying themselves. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.