Category Archives: Blog entries

Why is medicine bitter, and poison sweet

It’s a question I ask myself and others often. You see all around nature we see it. Plant a seed, it has to die before life springs out. Wildfires make new homes for life. Through pain is new life brought out of a mother’s womb. In death we gain life, not always the same yet still life all the same.

You might notice the lack of a question mark, even though I said it was a question. Well that is because I’m not asking today, but answering.

Humor me for a second and entertain the notion that we are created. Which means we’d have a creator. One who made everything. Call this creator what you will, but let’s say it is intelligent since it made intelligent beings (laws of knowledge preserved after-all).

If say we were a painting, there would be a style. If we were a musical symphony, we’d have a melody. If we were a sculpture, we would have an aesthetic. Why? Because we created beings can create, and what we create have these things. So can we see these types of patterns in the “chaos” around us? Of course we can.

Sugar is what our bodies live off of, but in it’s pure form it does us more harm than good. Yet what is good (ie vegetables) tend to be bitter. Sure we season them, call them “savory” but in the end we just grow accustomed to some bitter in our diet.

So why is poison sweet, and medicine bitter? Well simply to show us that what is best for us, is not always pleasent. Like a parent disciplining a child, it is painful for both. Yet if you don’t the child’s behavior gets worse not better. So too is it with us adults, we make poor keepers of ourselves don’t we?

To start with there is a lie as old as time. We tell ourselves and others it all the time. In fact, I believe it might have roots in the first lie. “That we are all good people.” Or that “if you were to take the sum of everyone alive and you would have someone who was good”. Or perhaps you like the spin “the good I do out weights the bad”.

Lies every one of them! Let me soak my white shirt in mud, then rinse it in the gutter, is it really anything other than a soaking clot of dirty laundry? What weight does any deed have? And who assigns the weights or who sets a standard in which to measure them against? If we set them ourselves, is it not like congress setting their own raises and salary? Who are we to know how our performance really is in the end with our fading memories of anything a few hours old, let alone a lifetime ago?

If you were to take the sum of everyone you know what you get? The destroyer of creation, the beast, the antichrist, whatever you want to call it. Our ultimate and final failure. Adams first sin wasn’t eating the fruit, it was choosing the “go with the flow” instead of what he was charged with.

In order to get help you have to admit you’re sick first. Then that you need help. Then to seek out that help.

Oh but we know more than our ancestors, we have more knowledge. Why then does this centuries old book say that the fruit that made us broken was one of knowledge? Because it isn’t knowledge that saves us! Knowledge of how a virus works doesn’t help your system fight it. Fluids, rest and maintaining a healthy diet give your system what it needs, not knowing how a microscopic organism hijacks cells. You’ll find this to be true almost everywhere. Knowledge of what something is, is of little help to the remedy for it.

Yet aloe vera grows in the desert, Jewelweed next to poison ivy, even aspirin in the bark of a tree. A remedy next to the affliction, call it what you want but I call it mercy.

Medicine is bitter because, to get better than you are; it is not going to be a very pleasant experience. Poison is sweet not because it’s good, but because it is the lie. Such a sweet lie too, how it keeps you from seeing a doctor. How it helps you to refuse treatment. Surely you’re not sick at all are you? You’re not a bad person, certainly not as bad as some people… But there we go again setting our own standard, our own salary.

Sin is rebellion against our creator. But you see our creator is the source of all life, certainly all life we know. To rebel, to cut ties is to sever ourselves from the source of life. How can that lead to anything but death?

Of course, this won’t convince you if you don’t believe you are created. A man born blind knows nothing of color, of light, or how it can be bright. He knows nothing of the sun but the warmth on his face, a shadow of something greater. We are all thus born blind, but knowledge by itself does not teach us to see, we see simply by opening our eyes and believing what they show us…

And yet we are a blind people still… Lord open our eyes, let us see. We cannot lead ourselves out of this darkness, for you are our source of light, life, truth, knowledge, forgiveness, and most of all Love.

In Remembrance…

Another has passed before us. A pilar, a fixed point of which we did cling. She was a rallying point, a matriarch, a place were we did life with one another.

She has passed through the door which we are not yet meant to follow. Yet we all must pass through the threshold one day. It is this parting which breaks us. It is a goodbye that causes us to grieve. You do not grieve what you did not love in your heart, and there is much love in us for her.

And yet we do not grieve as the world does. For the world has no hope of what is to come, for what is beyond the veil. For the believer our hope is two fold.

First we know that we enter into God’s house. Into the loving arms of our savior we commit our spirit. Yet even that is not where our hope ends. We are promised new resurrection bodies like Christ. Body’s that are physical, eat, walk, and yet are free of all suffering.

I count her passing as a prayer answered, for her suffering is at an end. We will miss her for the rest of our lives here, but the time of our suffering is short, and the time of our mourning is shorter still. It is good to mourn, for even Christ mourned for his friend who he knew would be restored before the end of that same hour. But we should not let our mourning swallow us up, for we are still found with hope.

I love you Grandma, and I miss you greatly. Even so our time here is numbered, but our days in glory are without end. I will see you again, I just am needed here a little longer.

May God’s love and grace sustain us all. It is enough.

Made with love (aka the chocolate covered peanut argument)

Made with love, is something you might find written next to a meal, sweet, or snack. Most often made by someone’s loved one to enjoy and share with others.

It’s a strange expression though isn’t it? Love is not an ingredient you can buy at the store. It is also not something you blend into a batter. You cannot sprinkle it on top of anything. Yet somehow, we can faintly detect that it’s there in our food.

The culinary field is one of both art and science. A cook is as much a chemist as they are a sculptor. Science is the pursuit of knowledge and truth, both can only be discovered not invented. Art by contrast is the field of creating things from other things, to express emotions in a relatable way. Any cook is both the chemist and the artist, a wonderful blend.

So let’s take a closer look at “made with love” and see if we can prove it.

What is flavor? Why do we taste? A simple check of if something is poison to us or not does not need to be so varied. So for arguments sake lets say bitter is for bad, and sweet is for good. Why do we then have sour, savory, salty, creamy, and nutty? An argument can be made for a more diverse sense of smell (and our sense of smell is more diverse) but why do we have such variation in flavor? It serves no evolutionary benefit to our species.

On top of this mystery, why do combinations of flavors often taste better than one alone? Sweet and salty, savory and creamy, sweet and sour, bitter and sweet, nutty and savory, the list goes on. There is something irrational about it. Combinations should overwhelm yet they harmonize. It’s almost like flavor is connected to the creative side of us, yet is repeatable and measurable like the science side.

Yet all flavors and combinations were there from the beginning, we don’t invent them we discover them. On top of this, combinations of flavors are also found naturally. Let’s take one example, the peanut. 

Peanuts (when roasted) are savory, creamy, nutty, and salty all on their own. Yes we add salt, but if you cut out sodium from your diet even unsalted peanuts would have a bit of a salty flavor. People have been eating this food for hundreds if not thousands of years, yet alone it doesn’t compare to it’s combination potential in modern times.

A second example, chocolate. Yes chocolate is a modern confection, but people have consumed cocoa for hundreds if not thousands of years. We have been making bread for thousands of years too, so it’s not a far stretch that we could have been making a more modern form of chocolate for as long, the chemical process is similar (dry, crush, blend, bake). Cocoa is bitter, but has a mild sweet undertone. With modern chocolate we flip that and make it sweet with the bitter undertone.

Now we can trace back consumption of both these foods to eras past, yet together they make a near flawless combination in the modern day.  Chocolate covered peanuts are sweet, salty, creamy, savory, bitter, and nutty all at once. You can taste them all, not one aspect drowned out by the collective flavors. A simple but extraordinary combination, that existed undiscovered for thousands of years. 

Our senses are how we experience and process information about the world we live in. So flavor is too information, but what does it inform us about? Well, good, bad, chemical properties, and dare I say a hint of Love? Flavors like chocolate covered peanuts have existed from the start of it all, as such do they not point to something or someone who cares about us?

The experience of taste is without a doubt the closest we can come to a repeatable, measurable, and scientific way to show inteligent design to our five senses. If not a loving creator, why then would we have so many flavors? How do you rationalize the wonder of chocolate covered peanuts without a God? We eat because we hunger, we eat what doesn’t taste bad to us, so why then do some things taste so good that we can’t help but want more?

Answering the Call…

To those who need to hear this, even if that is only my future self when I stumble.

The world is at war with God, with christians, with truth. It always has been, and it will continue to be until the end. Was it not a lie which lead Adam and Eve astray in the story of the fall of man? Falsehood is the opposite of truth, which is why to lie is a sin. God is truth, so when you tell lies you are rebelling against truth, against God.

We are to “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”
Ephesians 6:14‭-‬15 ESV

The truth is, everyone has a soul that will live when this life is over. God wants everyone to live with him forever, but will not force any of us to him. We may choose to live for ourselves, country, the latest trend, another person, our own sense of justice, or anything that isn’t God. When we do that we choose our own Hell. Hell is eternity without God, not because God doesn’t want us, but because we rebel and don’t want God.

That righteousness isn’t our self righteousness, but God’s righteousness. For “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
Isaiah 64:6 ESV
If you think your own actions “make you a good person” your missing the point. God inspires his followers to do good things that glorify God. It’s never about us, it’s always about God.

The Gospel of peace. I can think of no better explanation than this: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
John 3:17‭-‬18 ESV

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”
Ephesians 6:16 ESV

We do not blindly believe, it is not blind faith that has existed for nearly two thousand years. It is faith in the truth, a sturdy foundation. Stand firm, and do not let the flames hit you, because the flames do in fact come for those who stand up for Christ.

Do not forget the helmet if salvation. “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”
Ephesians 6:17 ESV

We must draw our swords, we must share the gospel, we must spread truth, we must shine a light into the darkness to reveal sin and to show the way to redemption. We cannot abide with good intentions that try to take credit for themselves. All good things are of God, and there is not one good thing without him. “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
James 1:16‭-‬17 ESV

We need to be bold, we need to stand for the things God stands for. We will not stand alone for our God is with us. So do not be afraid to draw your sword (the Word of God) and fight! We are besieged on all sides, even within our own churches. Rebuke falsehood, reveal truth, spread God’s love, and his word. You will see him moving, and the world move against you.

Remember each other in prayer for our path is not easy: “To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”
Ephesians 6:16‭, ‬18 ESV

May we all start, today to follow Jesus’ words here:

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34‭-‬38 ESV

Do not give up when it gets hard: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:10‭-‬12 ESV

May God bless you and keep you. My post is done, but I am not. I cannot pretend to not care anymore. It’s time to reach out like I’ve not done in years, I must heed my own advice and answer the call… To arms! “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
2 Corinthians 10:3‭-‬6 ESV

The archetype

So now that I have covered four of the most common archetypes, we should talk about why I have covered them.

Archetypes exist for a reason, they are things that exist throughout littature, reguardless of region, language, or religion. These are not things that any one author created, but something the collective of all creative minds have shared throughout time. While it isn’t necessary for all or even any to be used, they are effective literary tools that are easily understood.

What is the reason I felt like I should toss my voice in the wind? There are a lot of modern stories which are attempting to challenge the archetype system and writers who claim it is boring and predictable. This is a problem with story telling at it’s core.

When we tell stories, we want people to understand them. We want the reader to: learn whatever wisdom we wish to impart, entertain for a measure of time, and be able to tell others about the story. This is true for almost every story ever written, reguardless of origin.

So why are archetypes used, it doesn’t seem like they are nessarry? Well, it all comes down to the first and last goals of a story.

The first goal of a story is to be understood. There are lots of things we do to accommodate this. We use a common language, the proper use of grammer, use words that can be understood, provide context for words or ideas being introduced, and the use of recognizable story elements. This is effective communication at its most basic. So if you remember; archetypes exist everywhere in the world, and are practically universal. As such, when you use them the readers can easily understand the basic motivations and premise of the tale without having to strain themselves.

This ties into the last goal of a story as well. If a story is easily understood it is easier to remember. We want our stories to be memorable, the reason is two fold. First if it’s memorable then it’s both easier to convey your message or wisdom into the mind of the reader. Secondly it’s more likely they will share your story with others.

A story lives and dies in the mind of the reader. The text on a page or screen only help guide the mind to create that story. No one would have a best seller novel if the story wasn’t memorable. This is why we should use archetypes correctly. They are tools to help people understand the story.

If they understand it, they can remember it. If they remember it, they can share it. If they share it, the story never dies.

The Mentor

Week four of our series is here! This will be the last one, and next week we will be tying up archetypes in general.

The Mentor is probably the single most common archetype in my opinion. No matter where your protagonist falls on the moral scale, they almost always need a little help learning the ropes before they achieve their goals.

You’ve heard the saying “When the student is ready the master appears” or something to that effect. While you can trace the wisdom/proverb to an origin point, proverbs are by nature true long before anyone utters them. So that is where our mentor archetype comes in.

In my first novel “The Crystal Seal” you can also find this displayed in Mistar appearing very early in Cyan’s journey. This is very common in Fantasy, and several other genres as well. But why is it so common? And why (in the Crystal seal) was Mistar at that inn at the precise moment Cyan was there?

The commonality of the mentor is a bit paradoxical if I’m being honest. A story needs flow, and characters need growth. A teacher, or mentor, is the easiest explanation we can accept. Why do they grow in knowledge, strength, status, etc? Because, they had instructions from someone else who knew how.

This is something we all have experienced ourselves. None of us have lived by ourselves, on an island with no contact to anyone, for our entire lives (I know because the wifi there is terrible). We had people teach us a fair bit of what we know and can do. And not all mentors are kind and well meaning. Even bullies, and villains can be mentors too. Oh sure we picked up some things on our own along the way, but a story without any mentor at all tends to enter the dangerous waters of bad story telling.

I’m not saying you HAVE to have a mentor figure take up valuable time that could be spent on awesome X or exciting Y, but you do need to have some sort of consistent and understandable method of gaining new knowledge or character growth. A mentor has already gained said knowledge and growth, and is able to lead the student towards the goal. This is why mentors make poor protagonists (normally, but of course there are exceptions) because there is little room for them to grow.

Now back to Mistar. Why was he in that inn anyway? How long was he staying there? Well the story gives us clues, such as how familiar people seem to be with him, and his tab on the inn is also somewhat covered, so you can guess longer than a night, less than a month? Foreign currency is hard to judge the value of, especially when it’s fictional. Anyway, the story also asserts he wanders, and Mistar himself states he does teach, albeit not often.

In most cases the reason a teacher is standing at the ready doesn’t matter too much. Even so, there should be a reason right? In “The Candescent Vessel” (book two of the trilogy), we get more clues and reason for Mistar being there. Why not tell the reader up front though? Well, if I’m honest, my favorite teacher’s are the ones you don’t fully understand. They don’t need extensive backstory to be effective, just enough to hint at previous growth to show they aren’t completely crazy. But being a little crazy allows the reader some wiggle room in imagining said backstory, which is always fun.

This time I used some examples out of my own books, hopefully that helps explain what a mentor’s role in the story is. They aren’t the protagonist (normally), they are a powerful tool to facilitate growth both in knowledge and understanding for the student and the reader.

So why is it that a teacher appears when the student is ready? Quite simply, it’s because the student is finally open and ready to be taught. There is almost always someone ready to teach, if only the student is open to the lesson. And in my in the case of Mistar with my trilogy? Well, you’ll just have to read and see for yourself.

The Hero

Bare with me everyone, and settle in. This is going to be a long one haha.

What is a hero, why do we write them, do they even really exist? That would be a good thesis statement huh? Well modern writers seem to have trouble writing heroes. They think heroes are boring, and “cookie cutter”, but honestly those are excuses. Excuses being made by lazy writers.

Harsh? Yeah, maybe. But I’m not going to lie, we need heroes.

A hero is a pillar to aspire to. Heroes are a moral role model. So do they come in one shape? No, not really, but not because of what they stand for, but how they reach it. I’m sure nearly everyone has heard of “The Heroes Journey”. Truly a hero is not the end result but the path in which they traveled to become one.

Have you struggled with making the right decisions? Have you had trouble taking the high road when you have been wronged? Do you struggle with being a positive influence with everyone you meet? Is the endurance to keep going on when things become incredibly hard sound like yesterday for you? What makes someone a hero isn’t the “can’t do wrong” or “make’s the right choices”, it’s the struggle and overcoming of hard situations. The kind of situations, that we the readers, would have great difficulty taking action in the same way.

Their morals are not how we don’t relate to them, it’s how we should aspire to be like them. We identify with the struggle, we should seek to become able to also make the heroic decision in those struggles. It is incredibly difficult, and in our world we tend to only see darkness everywhere we look. That is why we need heroes in our stories, morals are instinctual, but do not happen automatically.

We all know when things feel unfair when they happen to us. Why then is it so much harder to see unjust things that happen to others? How can we be so cutting with our words when if those words were turned on us we would cry foul? Is it because we don’t want heroes anymore? Do we empathize with villains and antiheroes instead? Are we content to remain children forever whining about how unfair the world is? Is that not why we write heroes? Are we not trying to show that there is a better way? A responsible way?

We don’t write heroes that don’t have struggles, for if they struggled not they would they not be heroes? Honestly, look anywhere, look everywhere, we have examples of heroes in our world every day. Does the firefighter whine that the building is too hot to enter, or do they duck their head and charge in to search for the trapped people? Do the hospital workers turn you away because you could get them sick? or do they let you in and treat your aliment as best as they are able? Does the police say “nah, there is gun fire over there, I could get hurt” or do they try and stop the violence?

What makes those heroes different then the ones we write is they go through stressful things that a lot of us cannot always relate to. The heroes we write can be shown to struggle with more everyday things and over come them as well. Not to say any of those people in my examples don’t also struggle with everything we do, but when you see them you don’t see those struggles you see their heroic actions. We cannot get inside each others head and read their thoughts (Thank the good Lord for that haha), but in stories we can see that the heroes are not so different from you or me.

So when I hear fellow creatives say things like “heroes are boring” or “heroes are all the same”, I know what they are really saying is “I don’t want to grow up, and writing someone who does grow up and becomes something more is hard”

That’s all I have today, let me know what you think in the comments.

Summer Reading Sale!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry for the late announcement, but my summer of reading sale is just just around the corner! If you haven’t had a chance to read The Sage of Hytrae trilogy, the next few days are going to be exciting! To both encourage and celebrate summer reading my ebooks are going to be heavily discounted as follows.

The Crystal Seal, The intro into the trilogy will be free for 4 days. Those free days are: July 29th – Aug 1st

The Candescent Vessel, and The Sorcerer’s Gamble (Books 2 and 3 in the trilogy respectively) will be on sale for just $0.99 on: July 29th – Aug 3rd

Thank you all for your support throughout the years, and especially lately. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and may God bless you and keep you.

Summer update for 2020

Hey everyone!

Exciting news, I am once again doing a “summer of reading” where in july you will be able to pick up one or more of The Sage of Hytrae books for a discount! I am going to be promoting this heavier than any promition to date, so hopefully we will see many new people ready to read these exciting tales. I will have more exact details on pricing and dates in the next week or two.

More writing is underway, and I am still hopeful at getting a new book out this fall. This writing does include a new Hytrae based trilogy, which is my current “active” effort. I will have more to announce for that in the next couple of months.


I know this year has been crazy, and I hope all of you are healthy and safe. As always,

may God bless you and keep you.

Thanks again!

Hey Everyone,

Thanks to everyone who checked out my promotional book give-a-way. I hope everyone who decided to download it reads it and enjoys it. The price will remain at the lower entry of $0.99 (USD) for The Crystal Seal.

I hope to have some new project updates to post in the next month or so, please stay tuned!

Until next time, May God bless you and keep you.