NaBloPoMo Day 27: Delightfully Odd (or Weird, Whichever You Prefer)

Four Weird Things About Me:

  1. I am easily startled. Like bolt-like-a-bleeping-deer startled. Case in point, I was running on the elliptical this evening, had just finished a “hill” and had closed my eyes to breathe. When I opened them again and looked up, my workout partner was there and, even though I had my earbuds in, I know I yelled in surprise. She immediately apologized and said that she didn’t know I’d startle so easily and it’s why she hadn’t approached me from the side. But, yeah, it’s true. If I turn and something is in my line of sight that wasn’t there a second ago, especially when I catch it in my periphery, yeah, totally started — gasping, heart pumping, all of that.
  2. I am an absolute epistolary fiend. But, then, if you’ve been reading 11419026_940310942688566_484985028_nthis blog for a while, you know this already. I have at least seven boxes full of stationary and writing supplies. Writing letters and cards is a passion for me.
  3. I am a huge fan of period stories, especially television shows, bits of historical drama that I can devour visually. I love my books but I also love to be able to SEE the stories that enrapture me. Right now, my husband and I are binge watching season 3 of “Vikings”.
  4. I hate Velcro. Absolutely HATE IT! I have ever since I was younger. The sound of pulling it apart makes my skin crawl and my temples ache.

NaBloPoMo Day 24: The 21st Turn

I do not have any journal entries about my 21st birthday night aside from the mention that my friends and I were going to go to dinner and then a film festival (don’t even remember what the films were about). But I do have a particular journal entry from the night before my 21st birthday that I really like and would love to share with you.

= = =

So…soon (in a matter of hours), I’ll be 21, and I find that rather odd, honestly. I have a hard time stepping out-of-body and looking at myself, not as the little teenage girl who came here almost four years ago, but as a 21-year-old woman.

There are ways in which I KNOW I’ve grown. Only in the past year have I truly found what it means to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m a ‘walking contradiction’, and I like it. I’m a paradoxical simplistic, a semi-angsty romantic, as I once put it. I’m a girly-girl with a love for action and battle prowess; I’m a hobbit who speaks the tongue of Elves; I’m a wielder of pen with a love for the sword;  I’m a teacher who loves to learn; I’m a drama queen who has to work on graciously accepting compliments; I am a self-confirmed bachelorette who would someday like to get married; I’m a walking contradiction.

And I like it that way.

For years, I tried to be only one thing, what I thought people thought I should be: the perfect young lady, the angsty tomboy, the all-knowing sage, etc. No, it doesn’t work that way; I’m merely bits and pieces, as are we all–flawed but lovingly forgiven. This past year has just proven to me that God can put the pieces together in ways we could never imagine. Pieces that ‘should not go together’ come together perfectly in me. That’s not saying that I am perfect, but my Creator is, and I admire His ingenuity.

NaBloPoMo Day 22: Dressing for Success

I take great pride in how I dress; just about anyone who knows me will tell you this. I agonize over outfits and am rarely happier than when an outfit comes together just the way I envisioned it. I would like to say that my style is equal parts cute, vintage-lovely, elegant, and feel-good. Today, however, I questioned my choices as I rushed out the door, late as we were for getting on our way to church. I felt a little odd, almost frumpy, though I know I probably looked anything but that.

My choice this morning was a dress that I bought at least a year ago but had never worn before today. A lovely, lacy, little fit-and-flare dress by Xhilaration in a bright cream and then covered that with a cream and gold striped waterfall cardigan by Mossimo, one of my new favorite comfort pieces to just wear all the time. Beneath those, I pulled on a pair of black ribbed tights (I still call them stockings) and, though I wished I had brown ones to keep with the color palette, I found that that black made the cream of my dress and the cappuccino of my shoes really pop. Yes, I have these lovely, coffee-and-cream colored, Fioni leather booties that are probably my favorite shoes ever.  In my hair was a faux pheasant-feather fascinator headband, another one of my favorite accessories.

As I finally came home four and a half hours later and spied myself in the mirror, I decided that, even if I wasn’t happy with the outfit as a whole, I was extremely happy with how fan-frickin’-tastic my legs looked in those tights and heels.

Sunday's Outfit 11-22-15

NaBloPoMo Day 16: The Morning To-Do

I have a large planner on my kitchen table where I outline each month for myself and the family and then, on each separate day, I outline what needs to be done and all that for myself. Sections are labeled like “To Do (yellow)”, “Chores (green)”, and “To Mail (blue)”. I also have a “Personal (pink)” checklist for myself every day just for me. It usually looks something like this:

  1. Quiet time
  2. Workout
  3. Shower
  4. Drink Water
  5. Write/blog
  6. Read
  7. Gym (on certain days)

I will say that when I can get those first four done successfully with no interruptions (which is about half the time), I can feel excellent to start my day. They are specifically intended for the morning, before my girl gets up and about and life gets busy. The rest can be spread throughout the day and the gym usually comes last in the evening a few times a week. Some days, though, if things have been particularly busy and trying, my personal checklist just looks like this:

  1. REST!

NaBloPoMo Day 14: Am I Written in the Stars?

I only  know two of my zodiac signs: Taurus and the Pig/Boar (Chinese zodiac).

Taurus I have been familiar with since I was a kid; I would read my horoscopes at the back of the newspaper and magazines for fun and usually giggle at them. But I never prescribed any belief in them, truthfully. Doesn’t stop them from being fun, though.

For today’s writing topic, I reread a profile on Taurus, as well as one on the Pig/Boar. But, let’s deal with the bull first.

Continue reading

NaBloPoMo Day 13, Part 2: Art Threading Through Life

Today’s prompt: Put your music player on shuffle and write down the first three songs that play and what your initial thought is.

Pandora Channel – “Aladdin (Broadway)”

I am a huge lover of music and how the lyrics make me feel, what they remind me of, make me think about, etc. It’s almost impossible to separate my thoughts on a song from its lyrics.

  1. “No One Is Alone” – Into the Woods (2014)

Both: People make mistakes.
Baker: Fathers,
Cinderella: Mothers,
Both: People make mistakes,
Holding to their own,
Thinking they’re alone.
Cinderella: Honor their mistakes
Baker: Fight for their mistakes
Cinderella: Everybody makes
Both: One another’s terrible mistakes.
Witches can be right, Giants can be good.
You decide what’s right you decide what’s good
Cinderella: Just remember:
Baker: [Echo] Just remember:
Both: Someone is on your side
Jack, LRRH: OUR side
Baker, Cinderella: Our side–
Someone else is not
While we’re seeing our side
Jack, LRRH: Our side..
Baker, Cinderella: Our side–
All: Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.
No one is alone.
Someone is on your side
No one is alone.

I have never seen Into the Woods live, nor have I yet watched Disney’s cinematic rendition of it (even though I actually own it), though I did buy and watch the production with Bernadette Peters as The Witch with Ben for Valentine’s when we were dating. This is his favorite musical. He played the Baker in high school and has been in love with this challenging musical ever since. As such. I have learned a good number of the songs out of a sheer desire to share them with him. This song touches my heart in its reminder that we are never really alone, no matter how we feel we may be. There is always someone who is feeling similarly or who may understand you far more than you expect.

“Part of Your World” – The Little Mermaid

Look at this trove, treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Looking around here you’d think
Sure, she’s got everything

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty
I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal,
I want more!

This was the first Disney song I remember memorizing and identifying with. I’m sure my friends thought I had everything a girl could want. But I did want more. I wanted real relationships, real friends, real adventures, a chance to see and affect the world. As I have grown, my dreams have tempered some but I still desire those deep relationships, friendships, adventures, and the chance to do good in the world around me.

“Almost There” – The Princess and the Frog

Mama! I don’t have time for dancing!
That’s just gonna have to wait a while
Ain’t got time for messing around
And it’s not my style
This old town can slow you down
People taking the easy way
But I know exactly where I’m going
Getting closer and closer every day

This was me when I was in school. When I headed off to college at seventeen, adults would frequently (and jokingly, I know) ask if I was going to get my MRS degree. It might have been a joke, but I felt my intelligence and ambition were insulted by it. So I would look them in the eye and say, “No, that’s not the point of college.” I had goals to achieve, ambitions to fulfill. And, true to my word, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English Education and Master’s degree in Literature before I walked down the aisle with Ben.

NaBloPoMo Day 13: Walking Backward in Words

Last night, as my husband was working on setting up his post-apocalyptic city in “Fallout 4”, I sat on the floor of the den by his couch and opened a particular box. This box holds the dearest of my correspondence. Letters, cards, and photos, precious pieces of memory from friends, family, and loved ones. Stacks are held together by pretty ribbon, several cards or letters sometimes set together in the same envelope to save space. But I was in search of one letter in particular; it is coupled together with a candid photo of me and the woman whom I call my mentor, my “Frodo”.

Of all the years that we have known each other and the times that she has written to me, this is the only letter I have left. The others are probably packed away somewhere else that I cannot recall. So this is the only letter of hers that I currently hold in my close possession, and it is the most precious to me. This was a letter written to me for my wedding day. At the time, Erin was a missionary in Malawi and unable to make it back for my wedding (which broke my heart a little, I admit), but she sent this letter on ahead of herself, with instructions that it wasn’t to be opened until the day of my marriage ceremony. So I waited.

When I rolled out of bed on the morning of July 22, 2006, I reached over to the nightstand, where this letter sat waiting atop my journal. I opened it tenderly and devoured the words inside. It is two pages of plain paper, covered in words written in her lovely hand, and I could hear my beloved Adona’s (what equates to “Bosslady” in Chichewe) voice rising from those words to meet my ears. Even more so, though, I could feel her voice in my heart.

She wrote: “I wish you nothing but joy, Melissa, this day and always. I wish you trials and hard times to challenge you and Ben together. I wish you the simplicity of the moment. I wish you a grand adventure together, laughing, crying, and truly knowing each moment. For these things, and above all else for awareness of His Presence. I will continue to bathe you and Ben in prayer. And it is precisely these things for which I have no doubt — you will find them. You always have, since that first day I laid eyes upon you, and I saw a heart full of love and a life full of potential.”

This is an opinion of me that I have striven to live up to for the past, not only for Erin’s sake but for mine. To be the woman God created me to be, to show to others the love that He showered on me through Erin and other dear ones who have made such an impact on my life for so much the better. Erin saw what God was endeavoring to build in me long before I ever did and she guided me into ministry opportunities that have influenced me ever since.

Over the past almost-ten years, Ben and I have indeed had joys and trials, laughter and tears, and God has never left our sides, even when were stubborn and tried to do things on our own or our way. He has always been there, arms open to us and holding us tightly. And we have only just begun.

I sat and read and cried. I remembered and thanked God for my friend who, though still farther away than I would like, has done and continues to do so much good in my life. For her letter that got a beautiful day off to a memorable and tender start. And for her prayers that continue to follow and cover me day in and day out.

NaBloPoMo Day 12, Part 2: A Lady’s Journal Excerpted

Author’s Note: This is my journal entry from today as I sat alone in Panera Bread during lunchtime. It’s very stream of consciousness, I admit, but sometimes I just need to let my mind flow.

12 November 2015

Today is a most frabjous day! Today is my day out! A few hours all by myself! The little miss is out to luncheon with her grandparents so I can cavort by myself for a little bit. Of course, it’s only a few hours but I will take it!

So here I sit beside one of Panera’s big picture windows, watching the leaves dance around in the gales outside. Ladies bustle to and fro in lovely long sweaters, coats, and cardigans (of which I am one). Old friends are catching up at either table across from me. I just did my best Cho Chang expression and asked for a cheese pastie [though it was not a true pastie and just a cheese pastry, really]. And I am blessedly alone!

I am pretty in pastels and knee-high boots that lace in the back. My hair isn’t quite the fairy tale that it was yesterday, for being tousled and flirted with by nimble, windy fingers. (I am forcing myself to slowly down as I write this. There’s no need to rush right now.) I just watched a very handsome man with a handsome scarf exit his car and enter the restaurant. I just want to observe and record the world around me suddenly, the way I used to. It feels and tastes of winter outside, as if the Old Man’s reindeer are kicking up to be off on their heels. The air inside bites of too much cold for indoors right now. The sky is close and grey, thick like my favorite blanket. I just watched a leaf pirouette on the tip of its stem. My phone battery has run out; I really need a new one. That might be my Christmas request for this year. I find myself wishing to hear voices in the din, voices I know. I miss long lunches and longer conversations. Life can really get in the way sometimes, but I would never wish to change it. Too much risk and ingratitude in the wishing.

NaBloPoMo Day 12: Shades of Power and Beauty

A friend asked me my favorite colors the other day, for something she is making, and it took me almost a day to answer her, I think. Favoritism in respect to color is hard! Clothingwise, it really depends on the outfit and my mood at times. There are so many shades and so many reasons.

One of my favorite shades is pastel pink. It’s feminine and flirty and fun and it brings out the pink blush in my skin, my husband says. I think it does so in my cheeks. Put a white ribbon/headband in my hair and I feel all sorts of Betty Draper lovely.

I love maroon! It’s deep and rich and regal. It’s not as brazenly bold as red, maybe, nor dark enough to be too formal. But it’s heady wine shade makes me feel womanly, which is a power of its own.

Teal is cool, makes me feel mermaidy and fluid, like I can flow through anything, surmount any obstacle, or keep graceful under any stress. I usually pair it with black to round out the sultry side of the shade.

NaBloPoMo Day 9: On Down the Road

As I peer seven years down the road, I cannot See, of course, but I can imagine. I can paint my future with shades of “maybe” and “what if”, but, most of all, I can outline and foundation it with hope and faith and love.

In seven years, my little girl will be getting ready to turn ten and getting ever so tall and beautiful. If she follows in the vein that she had already begun, she will epitomize and embody the phrase “a fierce, spiky little thing” and I will still be admiring and working to temper her fearlessness and still trying to help refine her strong-willed nature. She will be reading and writing and imagining, hopefully still singing with all her heart and dancing with all that strength and exuberance that she shows now.

In seven years, I hope to see Ben exactly where God wants him and, moreover, knowing deeply and joyfully that it is exactly where God wants him and where he is supposed to be. Even more, it would thrill my soul if that coincided with some of the desires of his heart pertaining to ministry, learning, and writing.

As for myself, I am not sure where I will be in seven years. If I am working, I hope that it will be something that will enable me to make a good contribution to supporting our family, will not be too stressful (as in not drive me to therapy stressful), and where I will be able to use my knowledge and skills to be of assistance, even if it is just my organizational and editing skills. It would also be great if it was a job that I could leave at work at the end of the day and come home to be with my family with no guilt or proverbial sword of Damocles hanging over my head and drawing my mind away from what is so very important.

A great deal can happen in seven years and while I am hopeful for the future, I am not going to try to look too far down the road and miss those precious moments and experiences that are right in front of me today and just on the other side of tomorrow’s sunrise.