// snippets //

I was going to write an insightful blog post today, but life got in the way and I am far too tired for it. So instead, I shall leave you with a few little snippets of writings. Enjoy!


The First Letter


Well, I guess that since you’re reading this letter, you’re either naturally curious, different from everyone else, or both. Whatever the case is, the fact that you’re reading this means that I was right about you.

Yikes, that sounded creepy, especially since you have no idea who I am. Maybe I should start over…

Hi, my name is Caleb. I’m seventeen years old, I live not too far away from this tree, and apparently I’m considered a Creative just like you.

I would tell you more, but I don’t want to overwhelm you; also, if you were to turn in this letter with my whole life’s story in it, well… it wouldn’t end well for my family. For a lot of people, actually.

I digressed, sorry. (I tend to do that a lot.) I’m probably totally freaking you out, but that was not my goal in writing this. I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone. Being a Creative is not a bad thing; it’s great, actually. The world you know, the society you’ve grown up in- it’s not all there is. There’s so much more to life, and you seem like the kind of person who is thoughtful and curious and brave enough to discover it. (I promise you I only eavesdropped that one time… don’t hate me too much.)

So, if you are who I think you are, will you answer back? Or if you can’t, do something to let me know you got this? I understand if you want nothing to do with me; I even think I sound crazy sometimes. (So does my sister.)

But… I understand you, Vanessa. And if you ever need a friend, I’m here. All you’ve got to do is leave a note right here in this tree hole. I’ll check for it as soon as I can.

Your (hopefully) friend, Caleb


Have you noticed that people naturally look more pleasant when they smile? Not a fake, plastic quirk of the lips, like people give so often, but a real smile born of genuine joy. A smile can make even the plainest face radiant.


There comes a pivotal moment in every person’s life when they have to be impossibly brave. They must be willing to whatever it takes- even risking their own life- in order to achieve the goal they know they must. This was Vanessa’s moment; this was the point in time in which she had a split-second decision to make: comfort or courage.

She chose courage. With a lift of her chin and resolve in her clear blue-green eyes, she stared unflinchingly at her captors and spoke the words that sealed her fate.

“I am a Christ-follower.”

{love, Em}

// Ignite drabble # 2 //

{Café Rendezvous}

autumn blythe and rudy grant

                The silver bell above the quaint little coffee shop let out a merry ding as he stepped inside, brushing the snow off his coat and glancing around at the room full of people. It would have taken a very observant person to realize that he was looking for a particular person; he was known as an incredibly stoic young man, for good reason. His face remained impassive, but there was the slightest flicker of emotion- though it was difficult to pinpoint what kind, exactly- in his cobalt blue eyes as he stepped into line.

As he waited, he casually scanned the crowded café again, and then- lo and behold- there she was. She would have been lost in the sea of faces, were it not for the long auburn braid he could always identify her by, or the vibrant purple and orange shoulder bag she always seemed to carry. She was standing before the automatic Mocha Creator, humming a bit as she formed her concoction.

He made quick work of ordering a simple green tea and stepping over to the Mocha Creator, in time to get a glimpse of the excessive amount of hot fudge she was dousing her drink in. He calmly stepped up to her, keeping his gaze forward, and murmured so that only she could hear, “Got enough sugar in that thing?”

A sharp elbow in his side was the only response he got, but it was good enough for him; a satisfied smirk crept onto his face. She kept her eyes locked on her drink as she leaned up and hissed in his ear, “Corner booth. Hurry, before it’s taken.”

He replied with a barely perceptible nod, keeping his gaze fixed on the flashing buttons before him. She grabbed her mug and slipped into the crowd, and he waited for exactly seven seconds before turning and heading in the direction of the secluded corner.

He slipped into the plush seat across from her, and she watched him with bright eyes over the rim of her mug. After a full minute of this, he quirked an eyebrow and asked, “Well?”

She grinned, set the mocha-filled mug down, and rummaged through her bag, producing a thin indigo book. “I went to the library,” she spoke in a confidential whisper. They both knew to keep their conversation private.

He couldn’t stop the chuckle that rose up from within. “You, frequenting a library? I never thought I’d live to see the day.”

She threw him a withering look and thrust the book at him. “Stranger things have happened.”

He allowed himself a small smile as he pocketed the book without even glancing at the cover. They couldn’t afford to have such things out in the open for longer than necessary, after all. He leaned back and took a long sip of his tea while she regarded him curiously. Feeling her gaze on him, he glanced up with a little frown. “What?”

She squirmed in her seat, never one to keep still for long. “Aren’t you gonna ask me what it’s about?”

Can you tell me what it’s about?”

She paused, chewing her lip. “Um… more or less, yes.”

“Then by all means, proceed.”

“Okay, well…” For once in her life, she put a lot of thought into her next words before saying them. “It’s about the history of the French revolution.” She gave a very subtle nod after the last word, and he got the hint.

“Sounds intriguing.” He leaned back in his seat, feigning polite disinterest when in reality his fingers were itching to open the tome and begin to read. “Thank you for procuring it for me.”

“You’re welcome, Rudy.” Her amber eyes danced mischievously.

He gritted his teeth, mentally cursing the day she had found out his given name and came up with a nickname for it. Yes, it was best that they used code names when above ground, but did she have to go with that nickname? “Is there anything else you wanted to discuss… Marie?” Two could play at this game.

She glowered; it was to his advantage that she absolutely despised her middle name. Then, before his eyes, her face fell and she slumped back against the seat. “I like this coffee shop better than the one at home… I feel like it’s easier to breathe up here.”

He sat up, and his brow furrowed at her words. “Why is that?”

She let out a sigh. “Things haven’t been the same.” A humorless laugh escaped her. “Of course it’s not the same; how could it be? I may be forgiven but I’m sure not trusted by anyone anymore. That’s what betrayal does for ya.”

Something in his blue eyes grew soft, and that startled her more than any of the flashing anger she’d seen in them countless times ever could. “I trust you, Autumn,” he said quietly.

“You’d be the first, so thanks.” She stared down at her lap. She could take any amount of sarcasm, but compliments never failed to unnerve her.

“Hey.” She glanced up, and he continued. “You’ve always got a friend in me, no matter what. You know better than anyone that I can relate to what you’re going through.”

She gave him a wide-eyed look of surprise. “Thanks. That means a lot, especially from you.” A small smirk played on her face. “It’s funny, once upon a time you were the last person I’d expect to befriend.”

“Stranger things have happened,” he quipped. “On another note, how is your research going?”

She arched a dark eyebrow as she lifted her mug to her lips. “Pretty well, I think. I’ve found some kinda surprising things. Well, you wouldn’t be surprised at all, but they’re much different than I thought they’d be, anyway.”

“So are you any closer to joining us for real?” He knew he shouldn’t push her- Autumn Blythe was a rebel at heart, every bit as much as he was- but his curiosity made the question slip out.

She shrugged. “It’s hard to say at this point, but I’m definitely more open to it. It seems historically sound so far.”

“That’s because it is.”

“Stop.” She held up a hand. “I’m deciding all of this for myself, remember? That was the deal.”

He sat back. “You’re right. My apologies, mademoiselle.”

She nearly choked on her mocha. “What are you, French?”

He briefly considered telling her that he enjoyed getting a rise out of her, but decided that part of the fun was in the mystery. Besides, if she could dish it out, she had better be able to take it. “You don’t like being called a lady?”

She wrinkled her nose. “Um, no. I’m not a fancy person.”

He had to laugh. “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

“Hey, I’m supposed to be the sarcastic one in this relationship.” She threw him a look over her mug.

His eyebrows rose to the ceiling. “We have a relationship?”

He was completely satisfied when her cheeks turned a brilliant shade of red. “A platonic one!” she spouted.

Making the girl of fire- the Walking Entity of Sass, as her twin brother called her- uncomfortable was just too much fun. He sent her a mocking look of despair. “Only platonic? Ah, mademoiselle, you wound me!”

The mug in her hands slammed onto the table as she leaned forward, dark eyes narrowing. “Rudy Grant, I swear…” she hissed.

He innocently sipped his tea. “Have you ever tried tea? This café makes it wonderfully.”

“Don’t change the subject! What do you mean, I wound you?” Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates and her tan face actually grew rather pale. “Don’t tell me you actually…”

He began to laugh and shook his head, blonde curls flying everywhere. “Autumn, relax. I’m messing with you.”

She recovered quickly; a sly smirk was on her face in an instant. “You mean the great and mighty Adonis can actually make a joke?”

The tables were turned, and now it was his turn to be uncomfortable… how was it that she always managed to do that to him? How did she constantly break through his once-impenetrable wall of armor? Maybe it was a little less firm these days, but still… she was the only one who could crack it so effectively. “I’m not an Adonis.”

She snorted with a toss of her ruddy locks. “Tell that to your little fangirls.” She gestured behind him, and he turned to see a group of buxom young women sitting on barstools, staring at him and giggling obnoxiously. He groaned in exasperation and turned back to the only female he could tolerate at present. “And this would be why I prefer to stay home.”

“Oh yes.” Her amber eyes mocked him. “Heaven forbid Adonis actually caring about something other than his cause and his books!”

He stiffened. “I do care about things. Besides, you’re not exactly one to talk.”

Her face was mirthful. “Believe me, I know. Aunt Ellie has been trying to find me a guy for years, but she doesn’t get that I’d rather be an awesome old maid than have to get married.”

He had to smirk at the mental vision of Autumn’s eccentric great-aunt matchmaking. It wasn’t hard to believe. “Finally, someone understands my sentiments!”

She quirked an eyebrow. “You mean you want to be an old maid?”

He deadpanned. “Yes. Exactly that.”

Her laughter was golden. “I’m just saying, it’s kind of weird that a guy as good-looking as you is completely uninterested in a relationship.”

He froze. “Did you just call me good-looking?”

Her face was cherry-red again. “No! Well, yes. I mean… argh. C’mon, who could even make the argument that you’re not good-looking?”

“Evidently not you.”

She refused to meet his gaze. “I’m done lying, so no, I can’t.”

He sighed, glancing out the window. “Well, thanks, but I don’t like my appearance. It’s more of a curse rather than a blessing.” Female attention was an annoyance to him; it made him uncomfortable and distracted him from his work. Plus, it irritated him to no end that they swooned over something as shallow as physical appearances. It’s not surprising though, he mused. We’re above ground right now; the girls up here don’t really know any better.

Autumn smiled- a real, genuine smile that softened her features and made her look almost pretty. “You’re really something else, Rudy Grant.”

“I take that as a compliment.”

“Good, because it was one.”

They shared a quick smile in a moment of comradeship before turning their attention to the nightlife of the city outside. Snow swirled around, illuminated by the glow from the streetlights. The skyscrapers were all lit up and the streets brimmed with life, with flying cars and cheerful faces. Autumn’s eyes shone as she took it all in. “What I wouldn’t give for my camera right now. Why didn’t I bring it?”

It still baffled him that she had a secret love for photography- she didn’t seem the artsy type- but he didn’t comment.

She tore her gaze from the scenery to give him a little smirk. “It was only a few months ago that I wanted nothing more than to be a part of this world. Seems like a lifetime since then.”

“And now?” He looked back at her.

She shrugged, eyes distant as she stared outside. “I’m starting to see that not everything is what it seems.”

He nodded in agreement. Truer words had never been spoken. “That’s good, though, isn’t it? That everything is multifaceted.”

She let out a huff of disapproval. “Depends on what it is. When someone tells you they want to help you find your freedom, taking their words at face value could get you shot.” Instinctively her hand went to her side, where beneath her coat there was a scar that would always bear the memory of what she’d done.

He winced, his own memories of that time rather painful. “Did I ever tell you how sorry I was for that?”

She grinned. “Multiple times. But I keep telling you, silly, it’s not your fault!”

He leaned forward with a frown and whispered, “But it was my dad-”

She moved closer as well, expression perfectly serious and voice just as soft as his. “You’re not your dad, Grant. Just because he’s an idiot and decided it would be a good idea to try and kill my dad…” He winced again and she grimaced. “Sorry. Went a bit too far there. But it’s true- you’re not him. The second you stopped associating yourself with him, you became your own person. You and your dad are two completely different people. Thank goodness for that,” she added lightly. “I sort of like you, and I’d rather not have to fear for my life around you.”

He laughed, to hide his immense relief at her words. “You won’t have to. I promise. I find you somewhat tolerable as well, and I’d be loathe to lose your companionship.” There was a lull in the conversation, in which he glanced at the digital clock on the wall and started. “It’s getting late. We ought to head back home.”

She sighed and reluctantly slipped out of the booth. “Alright.”

He stood and got out his wallet, and she opened her mouth to protest, but he held up a hand to silence her. “Yes, I’m paying, and no, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Her eyes shot daggers into him, but she obediently remained silent as he paid for their drinks. They left the cozy, noisy store together and stepped out into the harsh cold. Autumn shivered and quickly buttoned up her black trench coat. Grant glanced at her. “Going straight home?”

She nodded and looked up at him, brushing her bangs out of her face. “You?”

“Yes, the back way.”

She nodded again. “Okay, I’ll go the other way then. Wait, I actually remembered to charge and bring my teleporter this time; I’ll just use that.”

“Good.” There was a pause; his face grew thoughtful. “Y’know, we really ought to make more of an effort to see each other. It’s pretty sad that we live in the same vicinity, yet our busy schedules keep us from much communication.”

A grin played on her face. “Actually, I’ve been intentionally avoiding people lately. Ironic, isn’t it: an extrovert wanting to be alone! But you seem to genuinely not mind my presence, so I think I’ll make an exception.” She winked.

They exchanged a few friendly parting words before going their separate ways into the snowy night. Grant turned and watched as the auburn-haired girl melted into the crowded streets, and he couldn’t do a thing to conceal the smile on his face, even if he’d wanted to. During the course of the past hour or so, he’d not only gained a book that would be helpful in planning the revolution, but also a- dare he admit it? Yes- a friend in Autumn Blythe.

They drove each other insane, but they also understood each other in ways that nobody else did. In hindsight, it was inevitable that eventually they’d have to admit to being friends.

As Grant made his way towards the park, towards the giant weeping cherry tree that would take him back to his underground home, he silently thanked his Father for all that had transpired during the little café rendezvous.

Hello, everyone! It’s been a rather eventful but lovely week so far, and I wanted to post something so here you go. 🙂 Have a wonderful day, my dears!

{Love, Em}

// Ignite drabble #1 //

{g l o w}

vita city glooooow

So many lights on in this city

The people still walk in the dark

I watch them as they’re passing by me

I hide the truth inside my heart

‘Cause I’m afraid to lose control

I’m comfortable

But there’s something in my soul

They need to know

Shine, shine, shine tonight

It’s time to let it show

Burn bright, light the fire

That leads the way to hope

The Maker of the stars lives in our soul

We have His light, what are we waiting for

Get out and glow

If we loved with no hesitation

We would hold the purest light

So spark a holy revolution

Against our fears, we can’t be quiet

The city on a hill can’t be displayed

Until we take our faith, set it ablaze

If we don’t go

How will they know

The love we show

Get out and glow

//Glow by Moriah Peters//


The lights of Vita City illuminated the night, but it was only an illusion. The people were walking in darkness and they didn’t even know it. They were too preoccupied with their performances and dining out and clubbing to take notice of the looming darkness in and around them.

There was only one exception. There was one girl in this city who walked around with a fire in her heart that would never die out. But nobody else saw this true light- they were so enamored with the illusion.

Perhaps if they had taken the time to stop and look at the way the girl’s blue-green eyes sparkled with a joy that had never been present before, or the way a little smile always played on her face, as if she knew some delightful secret and was cherishing it, or the way she practically floated through the city, as if it was impossible for her feet to touch the ground… perhaps if they had noticed that, they would have gotten a glimpse of the light inside of her.

If they had opened the worn copy of Pride and Prejudice that she carried as she slipped through the city, they might have realized that they were not the words of Jane Austen, but rather words so powerfully true and revolutionary that they were considered illegal these days.

But of course, nobody would dream of accusing quiet, petite Vanessa Lancaster of doing anything illegal. Sure, she was a bit strange, what with being a Writer and all… but her love of books and constant daydreaming were harmless flaws that could be easily overlooked. In fact, Vanessa herself could be easily and conveniently overlooked.

Oh, if only they knew just how wrong they were.

The joy in her eyes came from her recent salvation- earlier that very evening, actually, she had given her heart to Jesus. She’d hurried down to the underground society where all of her friends (she considered them more of a family than her biological one, really) lived, her heart beating erratically as she asked if anyone had seen Caleb Blythe around. He was by her side in an instant, asking her what was wrong with the utmost concern in his chocolate eyes- he knew of the troubles she had recently had with her family, how her parents had kicked her out of the house and burned most of her books and writings. But this wasn’t about that; she knew that it was time. Breathlessly, with a mixture of nerves and excitement, she told him, “I want to be a Christian. I’m tired of drifting back and forth. I’m ready.” And so, surrounded by her dearest friends, she had bowed her head and surrendered her life to Christ.

It wasn’t the lightning-bolt experience that some had upon getting saved; rather, peace and joy washed over her and, for the first time, she felt alive. Pandemonium had broken out after that- she soon discovered that being surrounded by Christians after getting saved is a joyous, wondrous thing. She was welcomed into their large but tight-knit family with open arms and much cheering and celebration. And when it came time for her to leave, the only thing that kept her from staying forever was the knowledge that she still had to look after her brother Gabe. Well, that, and the words that her friend Grant had spoken to her before she left: “Don’t give up Vita City completely. You’re in a unique position; you can influence this whole city for the Lord in ways that those who have always lived underground cannot. Who knows? You might just be the key to our freedom.”

The secretive smile came from the knowledge that she was now officially identifying herself as a Christian. There was a certain rush of adrenaline that came from this new identity; it was dangerous in the sense that, if she was found out, she could be imprisoned or even killed. It was the craziest thing she’d ever done, but she rather enjoyed the insanity. So she floated demurely through the crowded streets with a secret in her heart and her Bible- under the guise of Pride and Prejudice- clutched tightly in her hands.

She people-watched as she wandered, as she usually did, but noticed a slight change: she could no longer observe them with the curious but indifferent nature of a writer. Now, all she could see was the alarming amount of brokenness in each and every makeup-hidden face. For the first time, she saw people through her Father’s eyes, and the sight broke her heart.

How come I never noticed all of this before? she wondered, but she already knew the answer. Because, until now, I was part of the darkness myself. And if you’re a part of it and have been all your life, you won’t realize you’re missing the light.

She longed to show them all the Light, more than anything.  They needed it so badly. She wanted to sing her Father’s praises for the whole world to hear, to tell them all about the truth that had turned her life upside down. But this heartfelt desire was tempered by the sobering knowledge that she just couldn’t do that. To share her faith was a death sentence.

But what if?

It was those two words that led to several radical thoughts. What if I could tell them? What if I cast aside all my reservations and loved people the way Jesus did? What if our mission succeeds, and we get our freedom so we can actually do this without having to fear for our lives?

She spent a long time gazing up at the stars that night, from her perch in the branches of her weeping cherry tree in Vita City’s park. With no above-ground home to return to, she spent the entire night up in her haven, and hidden by the cover of pink cherry blossoms, she wrote a full page of notes in her leather-bound journal to share with the Pyros when she ventured below-ground the next day.

I think I’ve figured out what we need to do first, before we have any revolutions. We can’t simply go straight into barricades and fights; we must do what Caleb did for me and show the world that there’s more to life than what they see. We have to show them love, show them light, before we can do anything else. People aren’t going to allow us our freedom if all they see is our indignation- they must see our love first. Our calling is to care for others, so we need to establish that before taking this revolution above-ground. We can even quote the Bible to them in our ministry- the general public has no way of knowing that they’re illegal words (unless we use verses with the words God and Jesus, of course). I’m seeing the brokenness around me from a new perspective, and the people’s need for Jesus is just heartbreaking. But they need to see our love, our different-ness, before they’ll accept our Jesus. Let’s set our faith ablaze so Vita City- so the world- can see the light. It’s time for us all to get out of our underground comfort zones and glow!


vanessa glow

(I don’t own Glow by Moriah Peters. I do, however, own this drabble, the characters, etc. Hope you enjoyed it! ^-^)

// a welcoming note //


Hello, my friends! Welcome to my blog, and thank you for taking the time to visit!

For my first post, I think it would be fitting to explain why I chose the title I did: A Portrait of Grace.

I’ve always loved the verse in Britt Nicole’s song “World That Breaks” that goes,

And You are, You are the answer
The hope and the end to the searching
You are, You are the portrait of grace
You’re the one steady thing in a world that aches
In a world that breaks

So very beautiful. But really, when you think about it, God isn’t the only portrait of grace.

We are all portraits of His grace. As we grow and learn and stumble and get back up again, His loving mercies are interwoven through each day of our lives. On my own, I am nothing but a jumbled mess of brushstrokes that can’t even be classified as art, but I know my Creator can turn even the most broken canvas into a beautiful, radiant portrait. Portraits of grace are far from perfect; they are messy at times, especially from our limited point of view. But they are lovely in their messiness, and one day we’ll be able to see exactly how His grace turned us into masterpieces.

And this is what this blog is: a glimpse at the messy but grace-covered canvas that is my life. It is the musings of my mind, the breathings of my heart, and the scribblings of my pen. And I would love it if you journeyed on this adventure with me!

{love, Em}