Friday, December 30, 2011

Nails and Needles

It's amazing how people string words together to create sentences. The English language is so bizarre. Not only are there exceptions to every rule, but we borrow so many words from other languages. It's been a blast hearing Mia practice her English. She so badly wants to learn. At the same time, we have a lot of fun with her little mistakes. ;)

Yesterday, for example. I decided we needed some girl bonding time...so I painted Mia's nails HOT pink! She wanted to show my dad her new mani, so I helped her rehearse: "Daddy, look at my nails." She waited until dinner time to make the announcement. Then, raising her hand in triumph, she loudly proclaimed to everyone: "Daddy, look at my needles!" lol

We all tried to keep a straight face, but it didn't last for very long! :P

This morning also had us in stitches. My parents have been trying to teach Mia family relationships: sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife, etc. Well today, as she was sitting on my mom's lap, she gestured to the bedroom where my dad was still sleeping. "Mama," she said, "Mama is Daddy's woof." We started cracking up. "Oh, sorry, sorry!" she cried quickly. "Wife!"

What a little cutie! Can't believe it's been over a year since we first brought her home. :) She's sitting on my lap as I type this post and picking out the words she can read here and there. Oh, I wish I could EAT this lively little girl with her long hair and flower studded earrings!!! But I don't think she would enjoy that as much as I would. She'd probably chew me out with a decided, "Don't touch!" :)

Hope you guys have a great New Years!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Romanticism in American Literature

So about a week ago, a friend of mine informed me that she doesn't believe I'm an English major because of my blog's atrocious spelling/grammatical errors. I retorted that here, I write as a speak--very different from the "professional" tone I use for school assignments.

She still was skeptical, so I said: "What would it take for you to believe me? Reading one of my papers?"

Apparently. ;)

So without further ado, Johanna, this is for you! And it's probably still full of spelling and grammatical errors. ;) (Sorry, it's so much later than I promised!)

[Side note: due to the 10-13 cited sources that nobody but my professor cares about, I've purposefully omitted them from this post. Also, some of the formatting has changed (ex. indented paras). Do not use without permission .]

Romanticism in American Literature
by Talia B.

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity." In his book, A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens encapsulates what has been since called the "age of Revolution" (Dickens). The late 1700s and early 19th century brought with it many historical enterprises, including a wave of literary talent whose impact is still felt today. It is easy to look at the present world and wonder how we can ever follow suit. What we fail to realize is that like today, the artists and writers of yesteryear were of their own time and place; individuals each having one voice. But their song was not to go unheard. Together, they expressed new thoughts and ideas, revolutionizing every aspect of society, and creating what became known as the Romantic movement.

History is full of eras where certain philosophies have predominated over others. There was the Dark Ages, a time of artistic and scientific obscurity, where the Roman Catholic church heavily influenced freedom of expression; the Renaissance, whose Protestant Reformation saw the rebirth of these pursuits; and the Age of Enlightenment, a period that placed particular emphasis on logic and intellectualism. It also served as a platform for the Industrial Revolution. But in response to the changing times, people also changed. A discontent swept over society, beginning in England and Germany and eventually spreading to America and the rest of Europe.

Contrary to the popular ideas of the time, Romanticism embraced individualism, inner spiritualism, and a reverence for simplistic living. It called for peace with God, man, nature, and oneself, untainted by the rigidity and formal structure of neoclassicism. Most historians believe that the origin of this movement began around 1798, with the advent of Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads ("Romanticism"). Although some assert that the rise of Romanticism came about so slowly that no hard-and-fast definition is plausible, most scholars agree on the qualities that define this age (Holman and Harmon).

Romantics by and large focused on three principal values: a love of nature, the inherent goodness of mankind, and a pursuit of the exotic (Kreis, Brians). Whereas the Enlightenment advocated technical and mechanical precision, order, and clarity, Romanticism focused more on artistic expression, interpretation, and imagination (Morner and Rausch). This "predominance of imagination over reason..." is probably best described in the words of William Hazlitt. He recognized the "classic beauty of a Greek temple in its actual form [with] its obvious connotations," versus "the 'romantic' beauty of a Gothic building or ruin associated [with] ideas that the imagination conjure[s] up (Holman and Harmon)." Among the "Characteristics of ...Romanticism [are included] subjectivity and an emphasis on individualism, spontaneity...solitary life rather than life in society, the belief that imagination is superior to reason...and [a] fascination with the past--especially the myths and mysticism of the Middle Ages (Morner and Rausch)." Others have more generally defined it as "A movement...that marked the reaction in literature, philosophy, art, religion, and politics from the neoclassicism and formal orthodoxy of the preceding period ("Romanticism").

As it pertains to the arts, the 19th century left its greatest impression on literature and prose. Beginning with the "great six"--Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats--poetry assumed more of a free-flowing tone that reiterated sensuality over structure. Romantic writers sought to make their audiences feel and experience all the more passionately, the power of the written word. Their work sought not only to express ideas involving the physical world, but more importantly, the "world within" ("Romanticism"). As a result, the first-person lyric came into prominence, a style most famously employed by Coleridge in his Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

But Romanticism was not merely confined to Europe's poetry however. America too, contributed her own fair share of literary and prosaic expertise. Men such as Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman were among the more well-known figures of the time. Although they all wrote poetry, with the exceptions of Whitman and Thoreau, most are remembered primarily for their works of fiction (Morner and Rausch).

In that regard, perhaps no American author has had the same lasting effect as the Father of the Short Story, Edgar Allan Poe. Author of such famous stories as The Fall of the House of Usher and The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe drew heavily upon the Romantic notion of horror: the "pleasing terror" designed to shock a rational public. In light of this fact, he is sometimes referred to as a Dark Romantic (Wikipedia). Many of his works allude to the fact that Poe harbored an affinity for the supernatural, yet another quality of the Romantic movement. One story in particular--Ligeia--rejects the classical conventions of the Enlightenment and replaces it with the novel, yet alluring ideology of the Romantic period. In the words of Floramaria Deter:

"Poe repeatedly points out flaws in the classical appearance of Rowena, 'the fair-haired, the blue-eyed,' by comparing her to Ligeia whose 'features were not of that regular mould which we have been falsely taught to worship in the classical labors of the heathen'...Poe clearly rejects classical beauty by killing off Rowena and having Ligeia, the heroine and the personification of Romantic beauty, live on through Rowena's body (Deter)."

Deter also notes Ligeia's supernatural effect upon the narrator such that he cannot identity the moment he first met her, nor how she came back from the dead. Unexplainable events similar to these also appear throughout Poe's other stories. In The Tell-Tale Heart, for example, the narrator is haunted by the still-beating heart of a man he murdered; The Black Cat alludes to an animal presence that never truly dies; and The Masque of Red Death to the personification of a disease that kills 1,000 courtiers in a single night. In each of these tales, the horror that is inspired by these combinations of macabre and magical cement Poe as a true-to-form Romantic.

Playing upon this mysticism, 19th century writers also revealed their love for the unnatural. Nathanial Hawthorne was particularly renowned for this quality, tweaking conventional norms at a time when society functioned on principles of tradition and order. Indeed, where the contrast between black and white could not have been more distinct, Hawthorne sought to encompass the grey areas of human existence--its complexities as well as its uncertainties. He did this by focusing on man's susceptibility to sin, the aggregations of symbolism, and the belief that all may not what it seems. Such ideas and more work together in what many consider to be Hawthorne's greatest work, The Scarlet Letter.

By paralleling an "enlightened" society with that of the early Puritans, Hawthorne, through his character Hester Prynne, obliterates three models of thinking. Firstly, he elevates an adulterer to the position of heroine; secondly, he suggests that, like Dr. Chillingworth, not all physicians have their patient's best interests at heart; and finally, he dismisses the age-old belief that men of God are incapable of serious sin. As a Romantic writer, Hawthorne adhered to the notion of individualism. This meant that he rejected the neoclassical preference for "half-god-half-mortal" hero/heroines and instead embraced "less-likely" choices: the outcast, impoverished, and even the deformed. Thus, Hester becomes the noble victim while those who hold traditional positions of power--like the doctor and the minister--falter and fall ("Romanticism").

Hawthorne also declares himself a Romantic by failing to explain all the details within his plots. This sort of purposeful negligence appears many times throughout The Scarlet Letter, manifest in the "elf-like" behavior of Hester's daughter, Pearl. The illegitimate child of an adulterous affair, we never understand why Pearl acts so strangely; in actuality, we are never meant to. Hawthorne uses ambiguity to advance his belief in the supernatural, especially as it pertains to heavenly or demonic activity. The idea of "all is not what is seems" is a key component to the Romantic ideology. It characterizes most of Hawthorne's short stories, including Young Goodman Brown, The Birthmark, and Rappacinni's Daughter. In all three of these examples, extraordinary events happen to people whom we believe to be ordinary. Goodman Brown receives first-hand insight into the hypocrisy of the human soul; an ambitious scientist inadvertently kills his wife trying to cure her; and an ill-fated young man falls in love with the poisoned daughter of a demented physician.

Yet being a perceptive writer, Hawthorne does not leave these events as simply "unexplainable" phenomena. Instead, he incorporates heavy use of symbolism and metaphor to make a point. In the words of Josh Rahn, "He [espouses] the conviction that objects can hold significance deeper than their apparent meaning, and that the symbolic nature of reality [is] the most fertile ground for literature (Rahn)." Most of Hawthornian literature focuses on one central object that reappears throughout the story. The Scarlet Letter for example, centers on the letter "A" as a symbol of shame and adultery; The Minister's Black Veil on a mysterious kerchief which the Reverend Hooper wears over his face; and Young Goodman Brown on Faith's pink ribbons. By using symbolism, Hawthorne not only tells a story, but also asserts his views on those subjects for which his stories stand: "guilt, family, honor, politics, and society (Rahn).

But if Nathaniel Hawthorne is America's master of symbolism in literature (Rahn), then Walt Whitman is America's master of symbolism in poetry. More than any other writer of the 19th century, "Whitman invented the myth of democratic America." He wrote: "The Americans of all nations at any time upon the earth have probably the fullest poetical nature. The United States is essentially the greatest poem (Chapter 3)." Romantics believed that the ultimate source of poetry was the poet himself ("Romanticism"). They also resurrected many literary conventions of previous centuries--like the blank verse--which fostered renewed appreciation for the works of Shakespeare and Milton. Whitman, though heavily influenced by the lyric poetry of England, employed this style in most of his poems. He also held fast to the notion of individualism, a quality exalted throughout his greatest work and crowning legacy, Song of Myself.

One of the tell-tale signs of Whitman's affiliation with the Romantic movement is his love and worship of nature. In addition to celebrating mankind, Song spends a good portion of its fifty-two sections deifying inanimate objects. As one source put it: "Whitman makes a practice of presenting commonplace items in nature--'ants,' 'heap'd stones,' and 'poke-weed'--as containing divine elements...[referring] to the 'grass' as a natural 'hieroglyphic,' 'the handkerchief of the Lord ("Romanticism").'" Such romanticism, in terms of word choice, also corresponds to the notion of "organic poetry," a belief which linked nature with art. Romantics believed that art, rather than science, was the only way to express absolute truth (Chapter 3). Whitman gave great credence to nature as having a passionate affect on his soul. He even went so far as to equate its power with that of a sexual experience. But while Whitman tended to see the great outdoors through the eyes of an artist, his contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, would view it in somewhat a different light.

Thoreau belonged to the league of Transcendentalists, one of many branches of the Romantic movement. He saw nature as more of a functionalist, asserting that nature afforded healing powers both emotionally and economically. In his book, Walden, Thoreau explored the idea that man is but the personification of nature itself. As such, he believed it ought to be protected but at the same time, utilized to best serve and reform society. Nature, in its fullest sense, served many purposes for this great American philosopher, writer, teacher, economist, and poet. One of these was self-realization. In the words of Wendell Glick: "A walk in the woods [for Thoreau]...was a search for spiritual enlightenment, not merely a sensory pleasure. One should look 'through' nature...not merely 'at' her (Wendell).

Another function of nature, Thoreau believed, was the bettering of mankind. By allowing people to return to their natural state--in this case, the banks of Walden Pond-- they would be able to "transcend" themselves into a greater, moral beings. Primitive living allows one to discover what is truly important in life. Thoreau believed that by "endorsing economic minimalism...one [would] better perceive the world, see what constrains [his or her] life, and...be freer to explore [his or her] inner self for divine insight" (Poetry Foundation).

Although he expressed an interest in science towards the latter part of his life, Thoreau is best known for his philosophical writings. His essay, Civil Disobedience, may well be considered a political manifesto for the Romantic movement. It voiced how 19th century Americans ought to view government and their place in it. As corresponds to the Romantic notion of individualism, Thoreau believed that martial law often denied people the ability to exercise moral law. "Obey the conscience, not the majority," he says (Thoreau's Civil Disobedience). His approach differs drastically from that of the Enlightenment. Although invoking reason, logic, and rhetoric, Thoreau's object is not the human intellect, but rather the human heart--the emotions. This is what distinguishes him from previous philosophers like Voltaire. Unlike his predecessors, Thoreau rallies his audience to action through the art of language.

Perhaps no one understood this concept of engaging readers so well as Herman Melville. Author of the well-beloved Billy Budd, Sailor, Melville understood the dichotic power of man versus nature. He also understood the potential of the romantic hero, calling into question the struggle of light against the forces of darkness. As a Romantic writer, Melville allowed some form of this evil to prevail in his stories. His classic Moby Dick is a notorious example. But other occurrences, such as Bartleby the Scrivener, also demonstrate this pattern.

The victim of a cruel and calloused society, Bartleby is a symbol of a thwarted existence. If ever he is asked to do something, he responds that he would simply "prefer not to." While this show of defiance initially incites anger on the part of the reader, eventually we come to realize that Bartleby is apathetically and inhumanely killing himself. As a result, our compassion is aroused and we come to pity the young scrivener, even as he is ostracized from the rest of the world and from himself.

This same dilemma is further developed in the story Billy Budd. Pride of the King's Navy and endowed with good looks, Billy represents the icon of Rousseauian "noble savagery." But after committing an act of mutiny in self-defense, his life is forfeited to the execution of justice. The sentence to hang Billy Budd has long baffled reader and literary scholar alike. On one hand, there is the concept of divine justice--the moral obligation of one innocent being to another; on the other, Melville presents the unforgiving rigidity of martial law. This recurring theme, combined with a flair for killing off his characters, has led people to indisputably classify Melville as a Dark Romantic (Wikipedia).

There is little doubt that all five of these men contributed something great to mankind. Whether it be in the power of their works, the ideas they presented, or the illusions they fashioned, each one stands as a shining emblem of a by-gone age. The Romantic era revolutionized America, and indeed all of Europe, in ways from which this world has yet to recover. Poe opened our eyes to the psychological potential of the human mind; Hawthorne to the concept of secret sin; Whitman, to the beauty of nature; Thoreau to our moral and political responsibilities; and Melville to the archaic contest between good and evil. The wisdom and the foolishness of the 19th century, its best of times and darkest hours, its successes and its failures, make it one of the most influential eras of history. And although its name brands has faded from view, as in Hawthorne's story, the beliefs and ideologies of that time have branded into our bosoms their own scarlet letter--one that will take on a life of its own, enduring until the end of time.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So This is Joe.

Hey Everyone,

So this Joe "filling in" for Talia. Actually to be honest, I broke into her blog account and decided I needed to inform you all of some things that she would never dare to post herself (for fear of strange comments and stranger e-mails). Suffice it to say, I am going to inform you of some things you do not know about Talia.

So when Talia posted her whole spiel about 10 things you don't know about her, and conveniently labeled it her "genius" you only scratched the surface of who she really is...

So I've decided to add to that list a little bit, with 5 things you REALLY don't know about Talia:

  1. Talia has an incurable state of OOOOOOCCCCDDD, which stands for obsessive obsessive obsessive obsessive obsessive obsessive compulsive compulsive compulsive compulsive disorder disorder disorder. If ever she is working on something she will have to make sure everything else is done EXACTLY the same way or she will literally get frustrated.
  2. Talia is passive-aggressive. I'll be working on a movie and show her something to "see what she thinks," you know, the thing that siblings do. As soon as I do, I almost always regret it. Here is a quote of what she'll say to me after watching a certain thing: "It's too bad you can't cut that one little thing out right there," or, "I wish you could raise the volume on that one spot," or, "Too bad no one can add that sound effect there." Need I go on? Pretty soon, a simple "what do you think" has turned into an hour long session of me correcting all the little things that she wishes could change. (When you wish upon a star...) By the way, her OCD plays into this a lot.
  3. Talia has if-it's-not-perfect-than-I-won't-do-it syndrome. We'll be talking around the dinner table and the subject might come up, "Hey Talia, what's your favorite movie?" Talia will sit there, thinking, looking to the ceiling for answers (isn't that weird that the ceiling is the ultimate-answerer?) After moments of waiting, she'll finally say, "Well I don't know if I have just one favorite. I have a lot of favorites, so I don't think I could name just one." This isn't so bad, except that we've been waiting for like...45 seconds in silence to get a response and that's the best she can do? Like she couldn't think to give us just one of her favorites! Also, she doesn't like participating in sports if she's not good at them. That's kinda random, I'm just writing these things down as I think of them. ;)
  4. Talia never displays OSA (Outward Signs of Anger). This means when she gets angry, instead of yelling or storming out of the room and slamming doors like most people I know, she'll just ignore you, stop talking, and have this look on her face of disgust/frustration. Meanwhile, I can just see the smoke billowing out of her ears and nose. But you better watch out, because although she won't lash out at you, once you've reached that stage, only a sincere, heartfelt apology will make her feel better towards you for the rest of the month! If you really did something to ruffle her feathers, she will store your deed in her memory bank for years, decades, or centuries.  She's got the Miranda Law down pat. At the most inopportune time, she will suddenly recall that minor act you did to her and use it against you. She'd be a good prosecutor.
  5. Finally, Talia has a fear of anything regarding the neck. I don't know if it's because she's read so many murder mysteries or because she read Dracula (which by the way was her first and last vampire story she said she'd ever read) but Talia is afraid of anyone touching her neck. Just the word "neck" or "throat" and she gets weak. She cannot talk about anything in biology related to the human heart or veins or arteries because that just makes her feel weak too.

Now before you think: "Wow, Talia's really wierd, " you have to give her some credit. She has an excuse for every one of her problems. Whether she gives you her psychological explanation that she didn't get her red wagon when she was a child or she gives you a good excuse like "I saw a video of open heart surgery when I was eight," the more you get to know her, the more things you find out. Unfortunately I don't have the time to enlighten you about her other more serious problems, for if I did she would probably have me horse-whipped...in her mind. (See #4 for details.  No OSA, remember?) In addition, I must leave before she realizes what I've done, and if this post disappears before you can read all of it, well, just assume I've been virtually horsewhipped.


Thank you all for reading this enlightening post about the TRUE nature of Talia! :)

Joseph


FYI, Talia allowed me the "privilege" of posting on HER blog. (By the way she sounded when she gave me permission, I would have thought I had the power to launch a nuke or something. That's another one of her disorders: she makes everything so dramatic. Ex: "I give you permission to use my computer, or I allow you the privilege of posting something on MY blog." Whatever. I still love her despite her "genius"! :D)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Boy. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday I was sitting here posting about Thanksgiving and now we're a mere five days away from Christmas! :O I apologize for my absence. Life has been crazy and extraordinarily busy of late. (When is it not?) So, I'll just do a little recap of December in the hopes that it will catch everyone up to date. ;)

Firstly. We celebrated Mia's one year adoption anniversary. Yay! Afterwards, we  took Mia to get her ears pierced. After all, she'd only been talking about it for the last year. lol You should have seen her gleeful face. She kept bouncing up and down squealing, "All-done China! All-done China!"

It's hard to believe how far we've come in such a short space of time. At this time last year, five of us were laid up in bed with the flu (which, counting both relapses, lasted a total of two months!) with an eight year old who evaded sickness completely and didn't know how to play with toys. Ugh. Don't even want to think about that experience. I remember the Mia of last year and marvel at her progress. I mean, talk about a miracle of God! Mia, in a few short months, has:
  • learned her ABC's (capital letters and lowercase)
  • numbers 1-100
  • basic reading and addition
  • cursive writing 
  • conquered her fears of animals, going down slides, and water 
  • grown a total of 6.5 inches
  • gained 17 pounds
  • learned to tie her shoes, ride a bike without training wheels, and pump her legs on a swing
All in all, it's been a great year. Hard, but definitely worthwhile. I can't imagine life without this fun-loving sister of mine--the cutest and the most competitive in the universe! Everything she does is an effort to be more like me. :) Today, for example, she informed that she would be having custody of my cell phone for a while. *rolls eyes* Yeah. Dream on, little girl...

Secondly, I had finals exams. And oh, boy did I have them! Two of my classes required thesis papers, 5 and 12 pages long respectively. Not too bad on the whole, but between working 30.5 hours last week and 28 hours the week before, it was pretty challenging to say the least! I don't know how full time employees go back to school. By the day's end I'm too exhausted to do anything. ;) But I digress. My American Lit. exam topic was pretty cool--all about the Romantic movement of the 19th century. Maybe I'll post it here sometime...I'm very proud of my "baby." ;) The other was on media convergence in the motion picture industry. Both received super nice grades. But I for one am super glad they're over. Now I can enjoy Christmas without the anxiety of deadlines!

Work continues to go well. I've been given more hours, which is a double-edged sword. It means more money...but less time for anything else. ;) I'm trying to be a good witness and share the love of Christ with my co-workers. But it's hard. I had exposure to profanity and less-than-appropriate conversations on my various sports teams, but it's a whole different level in the "real" world. And as a newbie, I know I haven't yet scratched the surface. People are still on "good behavior" with me. I'm hoping for opportunities to share my faith with some of the other girls. At the same time, I'm not a saint. And when one girl in particular gets on my nerves, my first reaction is to make snide comments right back at her. But I have to stop myself and remember who I'm representing. :) Gives a whole new meaning to "turning the other cheek." I've had people hate my guts before, but the ones who hate you passive-aggressively are the worst! And I'm going to stop talking now 'cause if I don't, I'm going to say something I'll regret. ;)

Christmas preparations are in full swing. Our house has been lit aglow with lights, and Mia is very thrilled that the presents under the tree keep growing. Everyday, she runs into our living room, plops herself down on the floor, and begins counting..."Mama give Mia present. Talia give Mia...Joseph give Mia...etc." She and my dad have this game involving "Christmas socks," where they try to "sniff" them out all over the house. It's one of those games I know my dad is going to play with his future grand kids. ;)

I just love this time of year. Not so much because of the presents and the decorations, but because of the love that goes into everything. It's truly amazing how the hard lines soften and new laugh lines are formed during the holidays. People seem so much more open, warm, and receptive. It's a pity it takes a date on a calendar to make us sympathetic towards each other. And in reality, it's not even about us. It's about Christ who came to this Earth as a little child, born unto a virgin, and destined to die on a cross. Thank you, Jesus, for that unconditional love.

Hope you guys are enjoying a wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Alarm Clock.

So I'm sitting at my desk yawning my head off. I've been up for 12 hours, and it's only 5:15pm. :(

I started a new resolution as of last week. My goal is to wake up at 5am M-W-F and 6am Tues/Thurs in order to work out and do devos before school. Needless to say I'm beginning rather sluggishly. I'm so not a morning person. AT ALL!! And it's so hard for me to function at that ungodly hour. No pun intended. Ok, maybe a little bit. :P

This morning really proved my lack of mental discipline. Took me a whole 13 minutes to gather the will power to get out of bed. *yawn* Anyway. I was this close to throwing my alarm clock out the window!!! 

Whatever. This afternoon I came home from work to find a piece of paper sitting on my nightstand. I don't know where it came from (and nobody's around to ask), but it's something I wrote in my 6th grade English class. As it pertains to how I feel at this moment, I thought I'd share it. :)

My Alarm Clock: The Anti-Sleep Nuisance

"If I could name one of the things I despise the most in this world, it would be my alarm clock. The little buzzer which reminds me daily at promptly 6:00 sharp that I have to do school, teach piano, wash dirty dishes, and do chores. If ever there was a depressing subject it is that of the alarm clock, Who wants to be awakened from a deep sleep, throw back the warm, soft covers and walk across the cold floor to turn off that annoying sound? And what happens more often than it should, you then have to walk back across the cold floor in order to steal a few more precious minutes in bed  and suddenly it dawns on you that today you have your finals, or a big project that's due, or that bratty little boy across the street that you're babysitting is going to give you another black eye. And then you lie in bed nervously biting your lip worrying over the matter. Can you see now why that disgusting, puny little clock can cause such big problems? No wonder there is such a large number of the population that struggles with anxiety?

Now, on a positive note, if it is summer and the next day you are going to a wonderful place such as Disney Land and you must wake up at 6 a.m., then the alarm clock suddenly becomes a treasured possession which saved you from the possibility of waking up late and missing that day of glorious fun. It's all in the way you look at it, I guess. Therefore, my conclusion is this: that depending on what you are doing the next day, decides whether the alarm clock is friend or foe. If it is a friend, treat it with care, if not, do everything in your power to convince your parents it doesn't work!" 

Not bad for a 13 year old, though I do say it myself! Amazing how the sentiment still rings true all these years later! Literally. :D

Think about that when you set your alarms tonight. lol

Blessings,
  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Ridiculous Risk

Today Nick and I helped Joe shoot a movie short for a AAA film competition. Our purpose: to show the dangers of texting and driving. Joe was our principal actor. Unfortunately, as he does not yet have his driving permit, Nick and I were required to push the car in neutral! It was pretty hilarious, the two of us huffing and puffing to move this giant vehicle. I'm sure I've never looked so ridiculous in my life. Poor Joe felt so guilty that he could barely act. We kept telling him not to waste our energy with a bad performance. :) lol Oh, the joys of working on a nonexistent budget. My only comfort was in the knowledge that everyone has to start somewhere. Even if it means manually pushing cars and using pillows for airbags.

Big dreams are only accomplished by baby steps. The menial, the mundane, it all works together to further a larger goal. You don't become valedictorian without first putting in four years of constant studying. You don't win the girl unless you first ask her to dance. And you certainly don't change things without first making the effort. Of course, even if you do play by the rules, there's no guarantee you'll win. Everything is a risk. There's a great potential for success and sometimes, I think, an even greater potential for failure. But are we willing to chance it anyway? To risk the rejection, the heartbreak, looking ridiculous in front of others. Let me tell you something, I felt pretty stupid this afternoon. Until I realized that I was thinking in immediate terms...not seeing the bigger picture. Joe may not have the right film equipment, the best cameras, or a fancy trailer to tow a car. But he has the right attitude and is willing to work with whatever he has.
I once heard the work of God described as "a gentle drizzle," accomplished one drip at a time. In the same manner, I feel as though Life is lived not in storms, but by a trickle of events that stalagmite into monumental super structures! I would encourage you, and remind myself, to "never despise meager beginnings" (Love's Enduring Promise). Because I know a God who can take the faith of a child and use it to move mountains! Unlike the wicked servant in Matthew 25, let us not bury our talents in the ground for fear of loosing them altogether; rather, let us risk them in the greatest venture of all...

Because is there anything too ridiculous that the Lord cannot use it for His glory?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

So many things this year, but just to name a few:
  • Mia and the upcoming anniversary of her adoption
  • My new job
  • My trip to Europe and China
  • The lessons I've learned this past summer and how the Lord used a painful experience to mature my walk with Him
  • The support and prayers of my parents and my best friend during that time
  • My dad, who works so hard and is always ready to listen to his sweetpea's tales of woe! :P
  • My mom, who has possibly the wisest counsel and always knows how to make me laugh!
  • Joe, who I can always count on for a hug and great conversations
  • Nick, who sharpens my wit with his sarcasm and lights up my day with his smile
  • My new college and the classes I've taken this semester
  • The S. family
  • M. and her new baby
  • The opportunity to swim again
  • BBC movies--always the perfect remedy for a stressful day! 
May your holiday be blessed and filled to overflowing with His joy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts...

So I'm sitting on my bed this afternoon wondering what I should do with my life. Or, rather, wondering what God wants me to do. I keep praying, "Lord show me something that is purpose-filled. Give me an arena where I can use my writing and my voice to glorify YOU!"

As I look at the world around me, I find myself wishing for a platform to express my opinions. The thought then occurred to me--I'm standing on it. Right here. Right now. This blog. It's my opportunity to share, on a larger scale, the issues about which I'm passionate, the subject matters that provoke me to sit down and type.
Life isn't about me. It's about engaging world around me and viewing it in the light of Scripture. People need people, much as we're becoming a virtual society. So often I find myself aching to have conversations that extend beyond the day-to-day grind. I want to sit down and have a lengthy discourse about a selection of literature I just read or a news story spin that made my blood boil! I want to talk about the struggles that Christians girls face but aren't willing to share aloud. If anyone will listen, I want to use this blog as that outlet.
Friend or stranger that you are, if you are tuning in to this blog, it means you have voluntarily subjected yourself to be my audience. And the nice part is that I don't have to know how long I held your interest. :) Actually, that's not true, I have SiteMeter. ;) But I suppose I could neglect to know if I really wanted to leave my ego intact. ;)
I guess my overall point is, don't be surprised if the tone of this blog turns very controversial. I will continue to post about the mundane, the trivial, and the ridiculous. But I'm also going to use technology to my advantage. I know when I have an opinion and, believe me, when it comes to most things, I'm not afraid to share it.
Some people are of the perspective that "silence is golden." That's great. So we can all be a bunch of non-communal gold statues who know nothing about each other or what we're thinking! That philosophy is not in my line.
I'm energetic. I'm enthusiastic. I'm me. And the older I get, the more I realize how much "Me" has to say! ;)
After all, my nick-name isn't "Talia Tell-ya" for nothing! lol
Anyway, I didn't mean to start monologuing just yet. ;) Comes naturally, I suppose. Oh, and just for the record (because somebody informed me that despite being and English major I use horrible grammar and punctuation on this blog), there is a big difference between formal and informal writing. Here I write as I speak and as I feel. I don't have time to go over and check thoroughly for spelling and punctuation errors. Believe me, if this was a school assignment, my adherence to the technical laws of English would be impeccable. But thank goodness it's not! ;) I've got enough of that to deal with Monday through Friday. ;)
And speaking of which...I'm already on the heels of tomorrow. ;)
Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend.
Nighty-night!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm NOT Crazy After All!

Actually, yes I am. But we'll just sweep that factoid under the rug for now.

I discovered something about myself today which I feel the need to share. Because it explains everything--or at least a very great part--of my genius! In case you haven't read any of my back posts, I'll give you a brief summation of what my genius entails:

Basically, anything and everything that makes me anti-normal! :D For example, the fact that I HATE public displays of affection, happy endings to stories or movies, and all manner of other societal norms which ought not to be tolerated! Read these posts for more thorough explanation...



My friend, I suffer from catharsis. Yes, you read that right. It was a term used by Aristotle to describe the effects of tragic drama. I learned all about it from my Literature textbook this afternoon. I quote:
"In Aristotle's view, tragedy arouses the powerful emotions of pity and fear, and, through experience of the drama, brings about a "proper purgation" or purification of these emotions. Originally, the word catharsis was a medical term, and therefore many interpreters argue that tragedy produces a therapeutic effect through an actual purging or "vomiting" of emotions--a sympathetic release of feelings that produces emotional relief and encourages psychological health. In other words, tragedy heals." 

Need I say more? :)

I suddenly find myself strangely un-apologetic. All this time I've thought my suppositions were without rhyme or reason. Now I discover that they are merely a form of self-preservation. I'm working my own therapy you guys...and I don't even have a degree! ;)

Laughing out loud (because I'm only half-serious LOL),

Friday, November 11, 2011

"I Made This For YOU!!!!!"

So apparently, I'm way behind on the times...but a friend of my brothers just introduced us to a guy named Julian Smith?

I know, I know. I live under a rock...and I need to get out more often...and yes, I was homeschooled. ;) But anyway. In light of the fact that I spent an hour watching Julian's videos when I should have been doing my homework (*cough* actually I was on "break" lol), I thought I'd post something 100% reflective of what I go through on a daily basis.
Watch the video. And then, my friend, determine whether or not you understand me a little better. ;)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Are You There?

So I don't know why I'm on a singing theme, but I figure since I'm on a roll, I might as well continue...lol

Just got back from running some errands. I don't know about you, but I love being alone in the car! There's something so therapeutic about driving 45 mph with the sun streaming into your eyes and the dusky wind whistling over your windshield (how's that for alliteration, Carreen? :P). I usually take advantage of these opportunities to sing. :P Ahem. That is, practice using my diaphragm. ;P lol I'm sure the people next to me at the stoplight think I'm totally crazy, but hey--it's not like they can hear me. I hope. :)

Anyway, as I was driving to and from the grocery store, I had that Jackson 5 song playing in my head like a broken record. "You and I, must make a pact...We must bring salvation back....Just call my name, and I'll be there...." 

Those lyrics brought me back to earlier in the afternoon, when I met a friend of mine for coffee. *sighs* Isn't it amazing how fellowship with another believer leaves you feeling so...encouraged? Exhilarated? Confident that the thing you're going through will come out all right in the end? Why is it that we don't share with people what's really going on in our lives? Why are we so adamant about putting up barriers to keep people out?

Let me tell you something, it took 18 years for me to learn to trust friends and even family members with my feelings. To be vulnerable enough to say: "Hey, this is what's going on in my life right now, and it really hurts. Can you pray for me?" I wish I had learned this lesson earlier. How much pain and internal anguish I might have saved myself! And how good it is to hear that you're not the only one!

You're not the only one who's going through a tough relationship.
You're not the only who doesn't know what to say to that guy that likes you, but won't take the hint.
You're not the only one to cry into your pillow at night.
To think about curling up into a little ball and refusing to start another day.
You're not the only one to look in the mirror and shake your head at the image you find there.

It's real. It's normal. It's life. And honestly, I don't think God intended for us to live it alone. Bear one another's burdens. That can be such a tall order. Who wants to admit they don't have it "all together?"

Some people live under the delusion that acknowledging one's feelings is a sign of weakness. For me, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. Because at the end of the day, it means taking off the mask and letting people see who I truly am. And it may not always be pretty. But what a blessing to have people who love you anyway! Who are there to see you--you--with all your imperfections and flaw and vulnerabilities! Who are "there" when you call their name! There to comfort you..."to fill your heart with joy and laughter."

I think all of us need to stop and look around at the people whom God has created to be HIS love with skin on. And if you're one of those people, ask yourself: are you there for the brother or sister in Christ who may just need an ear to listen...or a shoulder to cry on...a hug...a smile...a thumbs up. Something to say, "We're all in this together. Keep pressing forward. Finish your race, and I'll be running right there beside you."

Don't let pride keep you from experiencing all of God's blessings. Be that someone to make a rainy day smile!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Live Like You Were Dyin'

I'm one of those people who can't run without music. It's just an oddity of mine. I need something upbeat to keep my mind off the pain! :) But anyhow. As I was pumping iron this afternoon, the thought came to me that English majors have to rebel every once in a while! I'd been cramming my head full of literary devices and terms in preperation for my midterms next week. So I happily ditched Michael Buble for a much-needed country splurge . :) Now I'm not a huge fan of Tim McGraw, but one of his songs had such inspirational lyrics that I just had to share it with y'all.

The song talks about a man who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and what he would do with the time he had left. This is what he says:

I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
and he said someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying.

What would it be like to live like we were dying? How would we change? What would we do differently? The idea really got me thinking. Do I treat the people in my life as if I was never going to see them again? What kind of friend am I? What kind of sister or daughter? What kind of Christian? When people are around me, do they feel encouraged or discouraged? Loved or rejected? Am I really fulfilling my life's purpose? Am I doing all that I was put on this planet to accomplish?

So often I think we take life for granted. It's good times, it's hardships, the ups and downs, circular patterns, and clear-cut adventures! I know for me, I tend to get bogged down in the complexity of the future, trying to work everything out before it happens. lol What would it look like if I just took one moment at a time. Every day. Without worrying about the next week. What if I invested in people the way Christ has invested in me? Served as He served. Loved as He loved. Wouldn't that be the empitome of a fulfilled life? Being God's hands and feet to the people in my sphere of influence?

Take a moment and really think...what would you do if, starting tonight, you had only 6 months left to live? What long lost friend would you call up and invite to coffee? How much time would you spend in the Word? On facebook?  Playing games with your siblings? How would you begin to view your time in rush hour traffic? Is it a waste? Or an oppotunity to pray?

For me, there are some people in my past that require an apology. Many to whom I need to extend forgiveness. Dozens who need to know just how much I love them!

Don't let today bereave you of tomorrow's joys and sorrows. Embrace them! Cherish them! And know that pain and suffering exist that we may know the beauty of joy and laughter! Just like love is precious because we know what it is to hate.

I hope that we may become people who live our lives to God's fullest. Not wild and recklessly, but purposefully; that at the end of our lives we may look back and say, "I lived each and every day to the same extent as if I were dying."

Let this thought be our motivation as we tackle the upcoming weekend!

Love and blessings to all,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Poly-Tics. :)

Politics. It comes in two words. "Poly," which means "many"...
And "tics," which are blood-sucking leeches!

Fyi, I did not fabricate this joke. :) I got it from Christian comedian Taylor Mason. But it serves as a very nice introduction to this post...

I love politics. It's my life's blood (among other things). If there were no politics, there would be nothing to talk about, think over, argue, debate, etc. And I love debate.

I know politics can be a touchy subject for most people. And I'll admit, I can get pretty wound up in the midst of a heated discussion. The difference is, I can keep it pent up under a smiling facade so that nobody ever knows how I'm really feeling--and then go home and scribble about it later.

But to continue...

I watched the GOP Nevada debate on YouTube last Thursday. Very interesting. Enlightening, as I said to a friend of mine. I hadn't really been following the candidates until now. But I have to admit, my curiosity has been officially piqued.

Now before I go any further, I want to make clear that I am NOT endorsing any particular candidate at this time. Of course I have my favorites, but I seriously just want to make sense of all ideas rumbling around in my head. So without any further ado...

Rick Perry:

Don't know what to think about him. On one hand, he seems to have some really great ideas. On the other, he's not a very skilled debater, and his little tousle with Romney really lowered him in my estimation. A President has to be a politician in the sense that he needs to be able to exercise control his emotions. It's one thing to push your point; it's quite another to be obnoxious about it. I think his dogmatism really painted him in a bad light...more so than it put the pressure on Romney. So while I have no doubt that Gov. Perry has done some good for the people of Texas, I don't think America wants a time-bomb in the Oval Office.

Rick Santorum.
Seems to be an all-American family man. Not sure if he's the Presidential caliber we're looking for though. Almost seems too nice, if that's possible. He didn't get a lot of time to speak, but what he did say, I agreed with. The jury's still out on this one...

Herman Cain:
Well, for starters, I think he's a very knowledgeable businessman. However, I don't agree with his 9-9-9 tax plan at all. At least not from what they were saying at the debate. I do believe in a flat tax, but I don't care to be paying for "apples" and "oranges" at the same time. (Wasn't that a hilarious moment? I nearly died laughing. Let's see...how many times can we repeat the same thing without getting our point across? lol)

Mitt Romney:
Eesh. Slippery! That's all I can say. I don't know, Romney will probably do very well in the polls, but as a politician, I would be very nervous putting him in office. Reminds me of a cross between Bill Clinton and JFK. All charm and intelligence, but what's up his sleeve? One thing I will say for him though, he certainly can keep his cool under pressure. I went to one of his rallies back in 2008 and remember being very impressed by the way he carried himself. I think he has the look of a President.

Newt Gingrich:
Hmmm, I think I like him, but I'm not at all familiar with his career enough to say. Interesting what he said about a candidate's religion though. The moderator asked whether or not voters should take Romney's religion (Mormonism) into account when they vote. I thought Newt's answer was very poised and diplomatic and answered the question without coming across as too opinionated. Anyway, Rush Limbaugh seems to think he'd be a good pick...we'll see how he does in the polls.

Ron Paul:
I really respect this guy. He's one of the few who's willing to say what needs to be said without beating around the bush. At the same time, I think he's a little too radical. Which is why I don't foresee him doing well in the polls. There's only two things that I disagree with so far. 1) He proposes cutting defense spending by 15%. Bad idea, in my opinion. Even Ronald Regan knew that the most sovereign nation maintains "peace through strength." Secondly, on the issue of illegal immigration, I'm for building a wall across our southern border. I hope that Paul does well in his future career, but I can't imagine his views will be accepted by a majority of Americans.

Michele Bachman:
Okay, I know you're going to call me a feminist, but can I just say it would be really cool to have a female President in 2012? :) I mean, you talk about making history, let's make history. Not sure how she stands on foreign policy, but I believe she has the finesse, brains, and experience for a Commander in Chief. Lots I can say for this woman, but I thought her delivery was impeccable. I attended one of her rallies last year, and had the opportunity to ask if she would consider running for President. Though she gave me the round-about answer then, it seems I was right! ;)

Anyway, just something to think about. And again, please don't take my opinions out of context. Their just my opinions...and while this country is still free, I'm entitled to them! ;)

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two-Faced Tango!

It's truly amazing the conversations that can happen around the table.

A few days ago my family and I were sitting around after dinner discussing--what else--cats!

Fyi...We own such a creature, and it goes by the names of (and I quote): Mocha, Moo, Precious, Precious Petunia, Baby, Schmucums [sound it out for yourself] Schmucum-face, and all manner of embarassing titles which I DID NOT sanction! Anyway, I hate our cat! Not because its mean, but because its stuck-up and endowed with far more attention than any animal has the right to receive.

But to continue...

My mom had been looking through a magazine we subscribe to, when she found a story about a two-faced cat. Literally, the thing has two faces, three eyes, and one brain. Here's the picture in case you don't believe me.
 
Our conversation went something like this...
Mom, who loves any and all cats, crying indignantly: "The poor thing! I'll bet no one would ever adopt it. But I would."
Dad: "You would adopt anything."
Me: "Yeah, like the tailess cat you almost brought home from the shelter."
Mom: "I don't love based on looks. I would totally adopt a cat with two faces."
Nick, who is at times the most inane, self-proclaimed "Moo-lover" of the house: "Mom, Mocha is two-faced."

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! The brillance of it. That has got to be one of the most accurate descriptions of our cat I have ever heard.

But the night was still young.

A few minutes later, having agreed to disagree, we got on the topic of dancing. Now for those of you  who don't know, I've made it my life's ambition to teach my brothers how to waltz. I know some of you are laughing right now, but c'mon! I'm not the only girl who wants a guy who can whirl and twirl me into his arms. My brothers are great guys, but I figure I'll give my future sister-in-laws a little extra bonus! :D They can thank me at the alter! lol

Anyway, we were teasing one particular member of the family who can't dance to save his life! (Teasing is a regular commodity in this household!)
--Right! You? Can dance? Give me a break!
--Hey, that reminds me of the show "So You Think You Can Dance."
--Wouldn't it be funny if you changed the intonation of that sentence?
--Let's try it!

Here's what we came up with. And just for kicks, I'll act it out for you. Ready? :P

Ok, here's the phrase normally: So you think you can dance?

Now, licking my lips, I cross my arms with attitude, snickering: SO. You think you can dance!?

Change. Now I'm the skeptic cowboy in an old, black and white Western, looking you up and down in a voice dripping with challenge: So, YOU think you can dance, huh? (Let's see ya do it then!)

BANG! You're dead. Scene changes. Now I'm the teacher calling on you before the entire class. My glasses are perched on the tip of my nose, and I'm glaring down your throat with that smartly ridiculing look: So you think you can dance! (Well, thinking isn't everything, you know.)

Change. Now we're on the playground, and I've got my finger pointed at you as I'm doubled over laughing hysterically: So you think YOU can dance?

Change. I'm the timid girl who nobody thinks about, summoning up the courage to accept the football captain's invite to prom: So you think...you can...dance?

Change. We're standing in a dark, deserted alley in the heart of NYC. It's two in the morning, and I say, rubbing my chin with my fist: So you think you can...*side long glance to my buddy standing next to me* dance?

The End. *bows* *curtsies* *catches bouquet*

Thank you very much, I'll be here all week! :D (10 points to whoever can tell me what movie that line is from!)

So yeah, just a little insight into the happenings of our home-life. And now that I've officially made a fool of myself, I'll bid you a charming adieu! :)

Hope you guys are having a great evening!

Monday, October 17, 2011

When Flowers Fall.

So I'm discovering very quickly...you can't take three Literature courses and not expect to feel some spark of inspiration! :) Today I was composing an essay when I a picture suddenly popped into my mind. I saw an old woman standing at a beach, dropping roses into the ocean swells. From there, I came up with the short story you're about to read. :) My class is studying theme, symbolism, and allegory right now, so fyi, this story is meant leave off ambiguously. It's not perfect by any means,  and the writing style itself is extremely different from my usual voice, but I hope you enjoy. :)
I'm not very romantic. But I'm sight of the ocean. That blue, sparkling, rippling vision that seizes my heart and draws me in. I cannot resist its gentle tug as I pull up to the sandy sidewalk, kill the engine, and step outside. The wind whips strands of hair out of my ponytail as the salty wind lathers my lips. It's about five o'clock. The sun is just hovering above the horizon and painting the sky a thousand shades of orange. I kick off my shoes, roll up my jeans, and walk off into the sandy wilderness, feeling the silken grains slip between each of my toes.
I walk, not knowing where I am going, up and down the rugged beach; sometimes jumping a wave or two, sometimes reveling in the way the sand clings to my ankles. What is it about the ocean that makes me want to sing? I don't know. Why does a gull soaring high and free pull the corners of my mouth into a smile?
I rub my hands over my face and feel a twinge of pain beneath my right eye. There's still some internal bruising though the purple color has faded green and the green to my normal skin tone long ago. Yes, the bruise has healed up nicely. And mom believed me when I said I had got it playing softball. I could always make her believe me. She didn't know--about him yet. And she never would, I'd make sure of that. The swelling hadn't looked so bad when I arrived home for the summer. That was the first time in my life I'd been scared to come home.
I sit down on the beach, sand filling my jean pockets, and hug my knees to my chest. There's a large boulder to the side of me and I lean against it pensively. Somehow the abrasiveness of the rock feels strangely comfortable, though it leaves funny marks on my arm. I stare out to sea just thinking, quiet, content in that summer way, inhaling the breeze and the accent of cold that signals night is on its way.
That's when I see her. All alone, tottering toward the water's edge.  She's standing about thirty paces from me, unaware of my presence. I'm glad she doesn't see me. I don't feel like talking to anyone just now. But she doesn't seem to want to either.
She stands with her small feet close to the water's edge, with the waves lapping at her shoes like a friendly dog. Her polyester pants have a perfect crease down the center of each leg, and I think she must have spent a lifetime getting them to look like that.
I look down at my jeans and t-shirt. Somehow I feel grossly underdressed. But of course this is the beach, so I'm fine. I look back up at her. She's fishing in her bag now. It's a large, paper brown bag, the kind you get from a small-town market. It's oddly shaped too, like whatever's in it is tubular and thin. I think it might be some sort of urn. Old people dump urns in the ocean, don't they?
I can see her frail and trembling hand reaching in. She must be about eighty years old because her wrist is shaking like a leaf. I squint my eyes, and half-wonder if it's her husband she's "burying." My eyes do a quick search of her left hand. No ring. Maybe it's in the urn. Then I tell myself to stop being ridiculous and watch as she pulls out a dozen roses instead. A gust of wind snatches the paper bag from her grasp. It flitters away in the wind. She takes a few painful steps to chase after it. But it moves too fast, and her legs are too frail. She resigns herself that it's gone, and I think perhaps that same bag will appear on another beach thousands of miles away.
I glance back at her. Her face is pointed straight out to sea, her eyes encircled in thick, plastic framed glasses, looking directly into the sun. She's blind, I think to myself. No one could keep their focus for so long. But I see that she's not, for anyone can tell her look is a deliberate one. She knows what it is she's seeing. And yet the dear old thing appears to be looking at nothing at all. She just stands there like a soldier at attention, receiving her orders from some invisible captain. Is it the ocean speaking? Or does she hear something in the wind? She cranes her head forward.
A rush of deafening noise catches me by surprise! I jerk my head up in time to see a black jet streaking across the sky. My heart is pounding hard, and I swallow a gulp of sea air to steady myself. I look over at her. She's staring after the jet, calm, quiet, and composed, as if she'd never heard anything at all. But I know she has, because all of a sudden, the wrinkled cheek begins to  twinkle in the setting sun. She is crying. I can see the shimmering tears slip from the corner of her eye and travel down her short, sagging neck, until they are absorbed into her shirt collar. She holds the roses very tightly now. Her hand is still shaking. I feel I should go over and help to steady them. But I feel I would be intruding upon some sacred ceremony, and so I stay put, a guilty observer.
Then sun has almost set now. It's half teetering on the horizon. I can see her blush in its warm glow, the pink rays overhead enshrouding her old frame. She clenches the roses tightly in her fist, and in the waning light, they look redder and than ever.
I watch as, slowly, she reaches for one of the bunch and lifts it to her lips. She holds it out before her over the rolling swells, hesitates for a moment, then lets it fall. I can see it rock back and forth at her feet before the tide carries it away. She does this eleven more times till a dozen, red roses are dancing in the water. Then she turns and hobbles back to up the dune. I hear the start of an engine. How strange I should not have heard it before. It puckers and put-puts out of ear-shot, and I am left with nothing but the evening sky and a dozen roses sailing out of the harbor.
©OrchardHouseScribblings2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

FINALLY!!!!

I got a job!

Today I followed up on applications I had turned in to various restaurants.

Well, one of the stops on my list was...well, I'm not going to say where. This is the world wide web, after all. :) But suffice it say, it's a fairly well-known business in a location convenient to where I live.

Anyway, I was greeted by the host, who referred me to his boss, who referred me to HIS boss! The lady that ended up giving me the interview was really friendly. And somehow, after a half hour of racking my brain, trying to answer questions intelligently, I was hired! Can I just say, the words "You've got the job," have got to be the most beautiful-sounding next to "I love you"? :D I guess "You won" also figures somewhere in that equation...

I'm SO thankful. I've been looking for almost two months with no luck. But God knew, and He picked out a better place with better pay than I had originally chosen for myself. AND. I still get to attend church Sunday mornings with my family!

I'm ecstatic. My first "real" job--and a rather nice one at that!

I LOVE FRIDAYS!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Just finished studying Henry David Thoreau this week. For those of you who don't know, Thoreau was the 19th century Transcendetalist, philosopher, and Naturalist who wrote Walden. He is also the author of the famous essay Civil Disobedience.

Anyway, most of his work is not rooted in a Biblical world-view. However, some of the things he had to say are very compelling. I've enjoyed reading his work...when it didn't put me to sleep! lol Unfortunately, I made the mistake of misreading my syllabus and doing two weeks worth of homework in one...so I basically read all of Walden in a single week. Yeeah. Don't ever do that. Not good for your eyes, digestion, health, morale, etc. My brain, as for as Thoreau is concerned, has been reduced to mush! 

But I digress.

I wanted to write down some of the inspirational quotes I took with me. Some are humorous, some are profound, and others just pertain to my life as yet. Hope you glean from them as much as I did.

"...You can't kill time without injuring eternity."

"A student who wishes for a shelter can obtain one for a lifetime at an expense not greater than the rent which he now pays annually."

"Those things for which money is most demanded are never the things which a student wants most."

"...Don't play life or study it--live it!"

"We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate." (How does this argument fit with the concept of facebook, I wonder? :P)

"One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon."

"None is so poor that he need sit on a pumpkin." (I'm so going to use that someday!)

"Often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross. If you give him money, he will perhaps buy more rags with it."

"I never knew, and shall never know, a worse man than myself."

And then, my crowning favorite...

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

So true, so simple, so right.

Hope you guys are having a great day! And smile, 'cause tomorrow's FRIDAY!!!! :D :D :D

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Guys I Love Best

I’m so glad I’ve grown up with brothers.

Girls without brothers, you don’t know what you’re missing. See, I’ve figured out there’s only one thing boys possess that girls can’t: testosterone. :P

It’s what makes the world go round...and round...and round...and then round some more. Like a merry-go-round on rocket power! :P
My brothers are polar opposites of each other in almost everything. One is a run-way model, the other belongs on the cover of Sports Illustrated. One likes directing films, the other likes starring in them! One is quiet and reserved; the other is loud and passionate! One is a long-distance runner, the other is a football player/sniper! One is a fireman, the other’s a cop. One plays guitar, the other plays drums. One show his sister affection by complementing her hair, the other shows affection by pulling it! lol

I love these guys to death! They’re the reason, I’m tough. They’re the reason I’m girly. They’re the ones who will open doors for me one minute and be arm-wrestling me the next; the guys who are my constant bodyguards, personal entertainers, and—I would say cheerleaders, but that doesn’t provoke a very nice image, does it? :P
We fight with and for one another. We discuss deep issues and then behave like immature teenagers. They tell me how guys think; I show them how to straighten hair, and what NOT to say to their future girlfriends! They show me how to fire a gun; I school them on Jane Austen. They tell me their dreams, and I tell them mine. And as they get older, I realize I no longer have two younger brothers to keep in order—though both are now taller than me. I have two great friends.

Thanks Joe and Nick for being the awesome guys you are! And I don’t care what anyone says, you’re both WAY cuter than the Jonas brothers!