NaBloPoMo Day 8: Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho!

I do not have a commute anymore, as I am currently an SAHM, but I used to rather enjoy my daily commute, especially when my husband and I worked at the same school corp. I would drive into work in the mornings and he would nap. He would drive home in the afternoons, enjoy his IPR programs, particularly “All Things Considered”, and sometimes I would nap. Most times, though, we would talk. We have some of our best talks in the car.

Now Ben makes a 40-45 minute commute each way every day alone and I miss that time with him. No doubt about it.


NaBloPoMo Day 7: Thoughts are Made of Single Words

The prompt for today asks me to write about two words or phrases that make me laugh. Truthfully, I cannot think of very many that I find that funny but I can think of several that are very profound and have stuck with me over the years.

One of them is one by Eleanor Roosevelt: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” It might seem a little pessimistic but, honestly, it turned the tide of my mental talk in many ways. I cannot tell you where I first hear or read this quote, but it stuck with me, even if the proper words were lost and all that remained with me was the idea.

I spent a most of the first half of my life living in fear or people’s bad opinion, especially in my community. I truly and honestly believed that if people, including my parents, ever found out that I wasn’t the perfect girl they believed me to be, my life would be over. In a way, I think that fear was compounded by the thought that, if I didn’t ever leave the island and something happened that proved me painfully human, I would be stuck there. Stuck in the disappointment, stuck in the embarrassment, stuck in the whispers, stuck in all of it. Leaving for college afforded me the opportunity to forge my own life, my own path, my own reasons for believing as I believe and living as I live. Not for someone else’s approval but for God’s and, honestly, my own.


Another quote that has stuck with me is one by C.S. Lewis: “Do not shine so that others can see you. Shine so that through you others can see Him [God].” I have a ministry and purpose in life and I have been given the gifts to accomplish that purpose.  I want to reach out to the heart that is lonely or lost, that needs encouragement, that needs to know that someone is there and cares about them, regardless of sex, creed, belief system, skin color, whatever (theirs or mine). But I don’t do it because I want people to admire me. No. I do what I do because I want people to see God and His love for them. If I can be a vehicle for such love, I am all for that.


NaBloPoMo Day 6: No One but “Mister”, No One But “Missus”…

Next year,  I will have been married for ten years. My husband and I have learned a great deal about each other, yet there is still much to learn. Ben works extremely hard each and every weekday (and Sunday) to make sure that I not only have what I need but that I have the means to get what I want. He frequently asks if I am okay and if he can help me if I seem stressed or tired (which is far more frequently than I like to admit). He continues to endeavor to learn my love languages and surprises me with little gifts now and again. He encourages me, tells me how proud he is of me, how glad he is that I am in his life.

I try to keep aware of Ben’s moods, ask if he is OK, if there is anything I can do to help when he is not. I endeavor to support him, uplift him, and encourage him through his teaching and pastoring work. I remind him all the time that I love him deeply and dearly, I am here because I choose to be here, want to be here, and I am not going anywhere.

We call each other helpmeet because that is what we are to each other: we are not only doing life together, we are helping each other through it, supporting and each holding the other up through times of life that are rough. We understand that there are periods of life when one will carry a higher percentage than another. Mine was when Ben was injured in a car wreck, his ankle in a splint/cast and him on crutches/a cane for four months. When I was pregnant, Ben took on a higher percentage of everything in life. Since having our daughter, he has taken on being the sole breadwinner for our family for the first few years of her life as I have been at home with her. We understand that there are periods of life when one will carry a higher percentage than another. However, that does not stop us from being grateful and wanting to make sure that we are doing whatever we can to help each other.

We have walked this road together for almost ten years. We are still growing, still learning each other as we age and grow and change along with life. We have made a great beginning together, I believe, and I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Green top, black pencil skirt, and black fascinator 2

NaBloPoMo Day 5: It’s Not You, Strawberry. It’s Me.

There aren’t a huge number of fruits that I have tried that I dislike; however, there is one fruit that I dislike in its “fruit” form and that is a strawberry.

When I was a child, my grandmother worked in the kitchen of one of the largest resorts on our island and, when I would visit her at work, she would give me either an apple or a whole strawberry. Of course, when your grandparents gives you something to eat, you’re expected to eat it. So I did. As a result, I have grown to dislike eating strawberries unadorned just by themselves. I think it’s a texture thing. If the strawberries are mixed into an ice cream (Hagaan Daz strawberry ice cream is a long-time love) or a cake, a salad, or some such thing, I am ALL about it, and I LOVE the flavor. But I simply cannot abide strawberries just by themselves.

Sorry. It’s not you. It’s me. Too much of a good thing, I guess.

NaBloPoMo Day 4, Part 2: The Little Candlemaker

This is based on a roleplay character that I played for a total of five hours. I still feel like I could have lived her up a little more and, apparently, she agrees, because she has stuck around, poking her head out of her room in my imagination and whispering to me.

= = =

“Little Candlemaker”. She didn’t mind the title. It was usually said pleasantly, with the smile of one happy to see her. A few times it had been murmured in soft tones, a hint of pleading and want layered beneath. It really hadn’t even bothered her when the gruff old barber had called  her “little match girl”, which she knew was purposefully meant to be annoying; it was just his way. She had usually repaid it with an affected roll of her shoulder as if piqued, to satisfy his attempt.

On average, however, she did not mind the byname “little candlemaker”. It amused her on most days and she rarely distributed another thought about it.

But when one man said it, when one man called her “little candlemaker”, she found herself taking pause. Her entire form’s reaction was different when the words rolled from his lips. Skin warmed, heart thudded, gooseflesh popped up on her arms. But why was that? She had known him all her life and he had never glanced her way a second time.

But now…now things were different. Secrets were out in the open, the threads of the village drawn tighter, stronger. All were considered as family, all considered protected. Now, everyone knew.

She worked the magic of the flame without fear of reprisal and assured of protection. She filled the village homes with light and peace and faith. In the flickering blue hearts of the flames set to her candles, people breathed in calm and amity. She worked the little magic in her blood for the good of her fellows and not just herself, turning her own fortune around.

And she repaid the charity shown her in the only way she had at her disposal. Their home, their livelihood, the seat of their power was filled with her candles, burning brightly into the night, the wicks never burning down, the fat, intricately-carved tapers growing shorter far more slowly than one should expect. She never requested anything. They had saved her life, saved all their lives. She had had nothing, been in fear for her life, and their family, his family, had saved her. He had promised her that nothing would happen, that what she feared wouldn’t come to pass. And it hadn’t. She would repay them, repay him in his lady’s stead, as best she could for the rest of the days that her nimble hands could dip, form, and carve wax into light.

And she wouldn’t admit to herself how her gaze lingered on him. Not at first. How she found herself more and more often at the tavern, spending time with others with the hope of passing words with him. She gave him smiles, though she was unable to hide the color that would spread delicately over her cheeks. She knew his loyalty to his family, to his kin, the prevalence of their family line. She harbored no hope in that vein.

And yet she nursed the little spark within. Held it in her hands and brought it close to warm her like the first kiss of sunlight to appear on the horizon.

"Girl with a candle. Self portrait" by Zinaida Serebriakova (1911)

“Girl with a candle. Self portrait” by Zinaida Serebriakova (1911) .

NaBloPoMo Day 4: The Downfalls of Age

Honestly, I had never heard the term “ageism” until I saw the writing prompt for today, that instructs me to write on my feelings on ageism. So naturally, I looked it up and found it defined, most basically, as: the stereotyping or discrimination of a person or group of people because of their age (Ageism Hurts, This term was, upon its coining by Robert Neal Butler, used to refer to  stereotyping and discriminating specifically against the old but it can be and has been applied across the spectrum since 1969.

There is no leg on which I can stand to deny the truth of ageism, on both ends of the spectrum. The older are often considered “out of touch” or “behind the times”, the young considered “entitled”. Now some might not consider this discrimination but it lays the groundwork for the disregarding of the wisdom of those who have gone before and the strength and innovation of those who are adulting now. Denying someone the ability to work and provide for themselves because they would be in need of skills education is selfish and unfair. To disregard someone’s excellent work and ability based solely on their age or “lack of experience” is unwise and foolish.

Wisdom is not based undividedly on age, nor innovation singularly in youth. We all have something to bring to the table.

Now, I haven’t seen “The Intern” yet but something tells me that I am going to really enjoy this movie and the message that it brings:

NaBloPoMo, Day 3: Threads Spun and Woven, Though Some Are Cut

Honestly, I tend not to buy books that I’m not sure I will be interested in at least, love obsessively at most.

One such member of the latter is indeed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I was just rereading the reviews/reading updates that I wrote on this novel in my book blog the first time I read it and I couldn’t help but smile. I have passed this book recommendation on to no fewer than four or five people and have referenced it COUNTLESS times in writing for my roleplaying games, weaving into a particular character’s storyscape and drawing other characters into it like the winding circular pathways of the Cirque itself.

When I began The Night Circus, I noted:

9/22/2011 –  I bought and started this book while on a weekend vacation in New Orleans a few days ago. It has been quite a long time since I have been instantly captivated and charmed by a book and The Night Circus does that beautifully. The characters are intriguing, the world colorful and lovely and intriguing. It is a world that you want to sit and watch unfold and that is a very encouraging start to a book.

As I read  through and marveled at the story that Morgenstern had woven, I was captured and enraptured entirely. I reread and gushed and thrilled and wept and rejoiced. When I finished it a little over two weeks later, this was my final entry:

10/8/2011 – FINISHED: I finished this book in the quiet of a sleepy Saturday morning and in the company of friends. No better way to do so, I think. I have to say that I was quite pleased with the ending, with the way that the important parts of the stories were laced together and bowed, like the laces at the entrance to Widget’s dream and memory tent [my personal favorite].

This has been the first book in a long while to capture me as it has and I must tip my hat to Miss Morgenstern. She has perhaps only one grammatical quirk that could tend to annoy me, if I decided to let it. But I won’t.

Thank you, Erin, for an amazing debut. May all your future efforts be as fruitful and, if I and other reveurs may dare to hope, perhaps someday we may all return to the Circus together.

= = = =

Sometimes, books just do not turn out the way that you hope they will. When I read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange, it was at the height of the Austen supernaturals. Books such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters, and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter were huge then and so I picked up this particular volume to see if it would be any good and appropriate for my 8th-grade classroom. Throughout most of my review/reading updates, I was very pleased with Grange’s writing, her description and the lyricism of her dialogue as well as her command of the Regency and the world abroad at the time. She is a true Austenian and it composes the majority of her writing career, which I find absolutely amazing and stunning! Darcy’s story was interesting and she built up a villain in the background that left me waiting with bated breath to see what would come of this building conflict. Therein lay the rub, though. This was my final entry on this novel:

FINAL UPDATE, 10/17/09: She dropped it, right at the end! Awwwww, it had such potential but the climax came so late that Grange seemed to cop out at the end of it. It had so much meat for a wonderfully dramatic falling action and resolution. Instead, she chose the safe way, gave Darcy a way out and made it, in my opinion, far too easy. The potential that was built up disappeared into the night to lick his wounds for another hundred years (which it was just a scratch really), and I am left unsatisfied and disappointed.

Grange’s writing is lyrical and lovely but…the full meal just wasn’t there. Sorry, darling, but you missed it. By about a mile. In the end, you could have strayed from Austen’s style and done us all a great service.

I generally despise being hard on authors because I understand how difficult it is to create and be successful in this particular art medium. But, at the same time, a writer as well as a reader, I have a critical eye. And the ending of this book has colored my feeling towards it in its entirety, unfortunately. When I left my teaching job, I left the book behind in my classroom and, even before then, never bothered to pick it up again once I had finished it, sadly enough.

Novels and stories are like threads. Some threads are grasped and grasp in return, woven into a tether that never fully lets me go. And some threads are cut loose so that they may soar off like spider silk and, hopefully, find someone whose heart is right for them to tether themselves to.

NaBloPoMo, Day 2: Written on My Body (Or Not)

I don’t have any tattoos. It’s just not for me. I have nothing against anyone who does, however. In fact, I have seen some absolutely beautiful body art in my years. I have researched tattoos for roleplay characters.

My favorite of said characters is probably Daenara Heron, a circus snake/belly dancer vampire who had a cherry tree tattoo. The trunk and roots wrapped up and around her left hip and the branches spread out in full blossom over her back and shoulder blades. She saw it as strength and beauty, grounded in strong roots. She had been born Roma, her identity rooted deeply in her family and their traditions. The tattoo reminds her of them and her history, even though those near and dear to her have all long since passed away.

NaBloPoMo 2015, Day 1: Awed & Fascinated

Elen verch Phellip, also known modernly as Courtney Pritchard, has always fascinated me. The width, breadth, and depth of her knowledge, skill, and creativity constantly leave me in a delighted state of awe. She and I have known each other and been friends for about ten years and in that time, I have never failed to be amazed by what this woman can accomplish creatively. An active member and participant in the Society for Creative Anachronism, an art major, and just general overall amazing hobbyist, I have seen her manufacture (and own several) magnificent creations from pen, paint, textile, words, makeup, and film. Her journal layouts make me swoon. The beauties concocted from her needle and thread draw girlish titters. The ink samples she sends make me want to sink into their colors and write forever.

Aside from all of this, though, wonderful as it is, there is an emotional and intellectual depth to this woman that I am always plumbing, always looking further into. I am fascinated by her, her personality, her heart, her mind, her interests, the way she sees the world. This woman is become one of my best and dearest friends in the world and I am in awe of her. I do not know all of her, not by a long shot, but I have been privileged to see more and more into that lovely heart and soul. I only hope that she will continue to allow me in as she is also teaching me how to let her into my heart and soul as well. ^_^


Waxing Idyllic

I am convinced that I am a woman of fractured soul – modern and idyllic, city mouse and country mouse in one.  But, for this endeavor, I shall choose the latter. I have always dreamt of the idyllic, of rolling hills, villages, woods, streams, meadows, etc. Seriously, I would be a hobbit if I had the choice and be most happy with it, I think!

Now, I have never been to the United Kingdom or Europe, though I have wanted to for as long as I can remember. Despite that lack of visitation, I still think that I could find myself happy in a quintessentially lovely European village. Row houses and cottages with flowers blossoming in window boxes, hedgerows, and gardens. A lovely home for me and mine — me to make cozy and mine to fill with our own brand of eccentricity. Walled gardens to play, relax, and read in. Shops and the like within walking/biking distance and the city maybe a train trip away.

Yes, I definitely still dream of the idyllic life, though some would say that I already have it.