The Music Tag

Music has a way to connect with souls.

To capture emotions and give us a voice. 

Well thanks to Chalice, I have been tagged and I get to share some of my music picks with you. Randomly sure, but all the same, it’s music sooo… 😉 

Here are the rules:

  1. Write ten songs that come on shuffle (no skipping).
  2. Write your favorite lyric from each song.
  3. Tag some people.

I have this habit to save albums that have been suggested by friends so that I’ll remember to listen to them later. So I’ll follow the directions, but *coughs* not at the same time. In other words I will not count those songs that might pop up and that I can’t endorse, and have never listened to before. 😛

Okay on to the music.

I have so much music. Let’s see where this goes… 

 

Gravity of Love | The Brilliance

Here is a song from an artist I listen to a lot. The Brilliance have lovely songs with simple but truth-filled lyrics.

This is the gravity of love
Just as the moon follows the sun
Your love is reaching
You’re holding everything

 

I love the analogy of God being the gravity – the pulling, throbbing center and heart – of love.

 

Steady As She Goes | Sky Sailing

Ah. Where are my true Owl City fans out there? 😉 

Yes, “Sky Sailing” is Owl City… er I mean Adam Young. Yes, confusing. Three names and all. Anyways, this was a side project he did once with just one album. Steady As She Goes is one of the songs on it.

 

Farewell nightmares
I am free
Welcome streams of sweet dreams
That settle over me
What lies out there?
No one knows.
The tide could bring in anything,
So steady as she goes.

 

Budapest | George Ezra

Hahaha, I knew one of these songs would come up eventually. And by that I mean a song shared by a older sibling from an artist who probably has other songs I would never listen to. I’m pretty sure this is the only one by George Ezra I’ve ever heard.

It’s a fun one. 🙂 

My acres of a land
I have achieved
It may be hard for you to
Stop and believe
But for you
You
I’d leave it all

 

 

White Christmas | Bing Crosby

…what can I possibly say about this one? It’s a classic and sounds like home. ❤ 

I think my favorite verse is the first one.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I didn’t realize how much I miss Christmas music…

Remember Me | Andrew Peterson

What was the probability an Andrew Peterson song would turn up?

Yeah, pretty high.

This song is from his most recent album, Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1, which is absolutely amazing.

Just days ago the sky was stone
The trees were standing stripped to the bone
You could hear creation groan

But I write these words on an April day
And the earth is drinking the early rain
The hills remember green again

 

 

Music, They Call Me | The Gray Havens

Gray Havens! 

I discovered them about three years ago now and finally got to go to a concert of theirs about a month ago. They’re such a sweet and cute couple and it was an amazing experience. 

I also hadn’t realized how many of their songs I had memorized. (:

They fell in love
With the sound of voices
Singing choirs, made up of souls
They’re beautiful
Shouting stories they want told
And God hopes as he listens close
For a trace of worship, singing
Alle – luia, we sing Alleluia
We sing Alleluia, we sing Alleluia 

I love that part. ❤ 

 

Fools Rush In | Ricky Nelson

Ah ha. So the 50’s music peaks it’s head out. 😉 

Favorites lyrics…?

Er.

Come on it’s just a fun song.

 

Danny Boy | US Air Force Airman of Note

More 50’s! But super fun instrumental band so no favorite lyrics here. 😉

Now I want to swing dance…

 

Take Good Care of My Baby | Bobby Vee

Well.

Sensing a trend of an era perhaps…?

Again I can’t say I have favorite lyrics. *shrugs*

 

Hambleton’s Round O | Bare Necessitates 

This song is pretty awesome. It’s a song for English Country Dancing (picture Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet).

(…oh and in the BBC version not the other one because one is obviously much better 😉)

My family and some friends are organizing a dance in my community that will be in a couple weeks and I am sooo excited and this song is not helping subdue it.

Favorite lyrics of the song:

 

 

 

 

And there we are. 😉

I suppose I am expected to nominate someone but I know what’s it is like to drown in tags.

Feel free to serve yourself a session of delving into the depth of your music libraries, or enjoy guilt free silence.

And with that happy last Friday before NaNoWriMo!

Don’t expect much out of me in November. (Ha via blog at least.)

But I do like music, so what have you been listening to lately?

Until the distant hills are conquered and the writing blocks are crushed, may your paths be filled with bards and dragons!

~ evelyn ~

 

P.S. I just had to share this. Isn’t this baby bunny the cutest thing e v e r?? I got to hold it all through class today. Yes. You heard that right.

All. Through. Class.

img_2121

Jealous? 😉

One Down, More to Go || novel celebrations, considerations, and introductions

Let’s ignore last week.

Because skipping out on blogging to go on a field trip is nothing in comparison to my news of this week.

Are you ready for it?

It’s kina big.

Just kinda.

Are you ready? Okay here it is:

I have finished 51.

Wait.

Say WHAT

I’m DONE?!?

…and in the meantime all the rest of you are wondering why in the world it has taken this high schooler to finally learn how to count to 51.

No, its not because I’m homeschooled (thank you very much)

It’s because “51” is the title of what use to be my W.I.P. (which work-in-progress for those wondering).

Though to be honest it’s still a work-in-progress, but we’ll get to that later.

For now, confetti! Balloons! Cake!

In order to celebrate I will be ranting, rambling, and well. More rambling. Gifs.

And watching hobbits celebrate my great feats.

All that jazz.

But first, for those lost: 51? The initial seed of an idea was planted last November when I needed a break from NaNoWriMo (you know that thing where you write 50,000 words in a month) and so asked a writer-friend for a short story prompt so… I could write even more…?

I know it doesn’t make much sense, but wait until you are cranking a couple thousand words a day for the same project.

You get kinda tired of it. Especially the end of the second week. (Which is the point you decide that there are dragons in your world.)

NoNaWriMo in seven words:

Well I wrote a couple thousand words of a short story that felt more like a novel. I started plotting. I wrote a couple pages on how time-traveling might work and how it would effect users. By the end of those pages, I had met my characters. They had brought to me their problems, which I prodded and poked and plotted from.

Since then it has grown. It has had its highs and lows. Things developed and changed. Including the method of story-telling.

All until last week. I finished at the personal-award-winning length of over 75,500 words (what a big plump rabbit that plot bunny has become!).

It’s an experience.

Everytime I finish a novel, I sit back and stare as I try to swallow the fact that I just wrote “the end,” and I think, “Wow, maybe I do know how to do this writing-thing…”

And then I close it and step away. An hour later it hits me. When I’m scheduling maybe. Or passing the computer. Or unconsciously hurrying through chore because of those 1,000 words waiting to be written. Suddenly the mindset is shattered.

There dumps that all confusing but amazing sense of joy, sadness, relief, fear, and confidence. And then that renewed energy.

All of a sudden, it is done. I did it and as comma-depraved and pitiful the prose is and as sagging as the plot proves to be with every chapter, it is mine. All the sweat and mental circles I ran, the sleepless nights I poured into it, the long afternoons squinting at the pixels blinking back at me. All the scrawling’s in my school notebooks. All the holes I must have drilled into my wall as I sat at my desk oblivious of humanity and the schoolbooks before me.

But wait…

Done?

Actually done?

And that original fondness and excitement you had for the characters? It was never lost, merely muddled with the day-to-day grind. And you will no longer visit them.

At least not like this. Not like how it’s been.

It will never be the same with them.

All those problems they brought you have meddled away your summer with. And they’re less of a jerk for it too.

Maybe it will never be the same, but I will be returning. After a break I plan to edit a lot, starting with all those filler {ELEPHANT}s and {helicopter flight check?}s that I stick in when I don’t have time to research. And that I forgot about until handing it to a friend.

I always finish a novel with renewed vigor. When I sit down to write I find myself pulling out the upbeat tunes to dance through as I rip apart pages and scribble with red pens. Or something like that. 😉

Well summer is now gone. Fall has already arrived with all its luggage: Shorter days. School. Cold. Flaring colors.

And then another revelation rocks my little universe.

NaNoWriMo is just two weeks away.

And yep.

I’m doing it.

How could I not? Last year was fantastic and after spending almost the past year just on one novel, skipping from section to section, rewriting, and overthinking sometimes, I feel like a good rush of new words and ideas, and that feeling of defenestrating perfectionism and care. Kidnapping a couple new characters and also holding my inner editor for ransom.

Look sometimes you just have to write a random novel and that’s the truth.

*and everyone says amen*

I felt quite lost the other day realizing I have no idea what I was going to write. That since of complete loss. Overwhelming nothing-ness. There is a huge difference between a new chapter in a book, and starting a new book. Facing that blank white page with no history.

Suddenly all that confidence about knowing what I’m doing?

Out the window.

And suddenly I’m sitting at the computer wandering what the temperature is outside.

Where is inspiration when you need it?

Well, after waiting for a sudden creative revelation to hit for a week I gave up only to be most pleasantly bombarded by Eden.

How can you say no to her inspiring bubbliness? Or the prodding by a couple other people I had kinda convinced to do NaNo in the past hundreds of flocks of other eager writing friends. Well she came up with some ideas, which I absolutely loved and twisted together into something I hope will be digestible.

And so now the minor dumping…

Short Teaser

She was born without wings. He was born deaf. And the man was cursed, but he was not born that way.

Hopefully that mini dwarf blurb left you with a couple questions. (Or at least made you want to know more.)

Winged people a norm?

…and now thinking about it, I’m starting to grow extremely excited, scared, and about ten other emotions.

Want to hear more?

What else this novel will include*

  • outcasts
  • fog monsters
  • towering treehouse mansions
  • old maps
  • pirates
  • locked sea chests and riddles
  • angry mobs
  • a quest (to what though I have yet to discover)
  • magical ship with no crew

{*Disclaimer: This is by no means a complete list and is in fact only a list by the author. It has yet to be pitched to the characters. It is very much subject to change. Thank you. 😉 }

Extra Fluff

I tried my hand at making character collages/inspiration-boards…

Cora:

Salar:

And Azo:

And with that I think my introduction is complete-

Wait… I need a title?

You’re saying most books have titles? And ones not just randomly pulled from the number of playlists I have on Spotify? *cough51cough*

Okay confession. I’m terrible at naming books especially when I have no idea what they are about especially out of thin air.

I promise 51 is firstly: not about aliens. And secondly: relates to the story. And thirdly: no I don’t have 51 playlists anymore.

(Don’t look at me like that. You go count your playlists. They multiply like rabbits.)

Well, we will work on that one.

WELL

And that’s that.

You think the party is done though? Never. 😉

Chalice tagged me for this really cool music tag so return next week for another dose of ramblings, this time about music.

Prepare to be drenched.

Until next time, let the joyous hobbits dance!

~ evelyn ~

**all gifs extracted by my personal crew of dwarves from the mines of giphy**

Rambles at the 25 yard line

Good afternoon peeps!

Today is a great day.

Today is my break week.

Normally on Fridays either I have to get up really early to spit out a post or wait until after my co-op class and drag myself to the computer in the evening and crank something out if I still have the energy, but today I woke up, did a little Latin, a little nothing, a little reading, and a game with my little sister.

And what does break week mean? (…beyond feeling lost and confused and losing my school groove and flailing my arms.) It means I’m half way there to Christmas break and the end of the first semester of… my Sophomore year…?

Wow, already there?

Okay, Sophomore doesn’t sound as impressive as saying “junior” or “senior.” But still. Once this year is over, I’ll be half way done with high school.

I can never decide what time truly is.

A snail?

S o

s

l

o

w

that

 

you

 

find

 

your eyes

 

h u r  t.

 

And you’re bored.

And you’re suddenly hungry.

 

But then sometimes time is like lightning. So incredibly fast and blinding that it strikes you unconscious.

 

Or maybe then time is some strange combination.

Out of which we deduce time is Turbo:

giphy turbo

And in which case, it all makes sense because time is really just a fantasy.

I never have time.

Do you?

This year of school has been very interesting. I was expecting not to like Biology but so far it has only meant pages and pages of details on mushroom and fungi and the fatal illnesses they cause.

What’s not to like?

The pond water after four weeks of feeding and then killing off micro-organisms did smell up the entire building, but it was extremely interesting. (Not to mention spending the rest of the biology hour in the bathroom, cleaning again and again the droppers.)

I’ve been learning a lot of interesting systems for organizing organisms, interesting controversies, etc. It’s all been very inspiring for world building. And to think of all the smallest details that all work together to create the level of this world we see. (And now I can not look at a jug of milk sitting on the counter without thinking about why it should be in the refrigerator…)

But not only has all this been prompting a new view of my world building, it has given me a new appreciation for the beauty of the world.

In fact, the first slide of the semester that I looked at (that of a onion root) immediately reminded me of something.

Zentangle: that art where you fill in objects with small intricate designs.

Observe:

onion root
(not my photo, though this looks just like what I saw. Source.)

Isn’t that gorgeous?? It makes me want to find a microscope and stare at tiny particles all day.

And I thought I would hate biology.

Did I mention we got to take a walk during class to go collect mushrooms?

Oh yeah. And then we got to poke, prod, cut, and shred them up to go under the microscope.

img_1989

Beyond biology, there has been ancient epic poetry, endless logic exercises, and another round of Latin exceptions to all those Latin rules.

I was very excited though, because I actually used my knowledge of Latin when reading poetry a month or so ago when I stumbled upon a piece by Emily Dickenson in which the first two stanzas switch between English and Latin every line.

AND I UNDERSTOOD IT.

Talk about crazy.

Then the same thing happened with a poem by C.S. Lewis this week.

How cool is that??

Also in the past week, my brother discovered that Duolingo released a course in Latin!

I dusted off my old account and cracked open this interesting development, to delve into its dusky depths.

Turns out, its super easy and I have not heard a single mention of Caesar or the Gauls yet. (And bonus points, they use the classical pronunciation, the right pronunciation. #Latinsnob)

I’ve been doing an entire lesson or two per day and am already about to hit the half way mark through what they have.

It makes me wonder if I had memorized ending for declensions in Spanish all those years ago, I would have stuck around and pushed through.

Well, now I can talk to all my Ancient Roman Solider friends about theaters and actors and markets and relatives and even booklovers, instead of slaughter and death and defeat.

See if I tried out for a Ancient Roman play a couple weeks ago, the only character I could manage to play would be Miss Flite from Bleak House as I fluster about and say the only words I only know:

Hope! Joy! Youth! Peace! Rest! Life!

Dust.

Ashes.

Waste, Want, Ruin.

Despair, Madness, Death.

Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin.

Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon,

and Spinach.

(…everyone’s favorite bird of course.)

So, fellow scholars studying the wars of Caesar and the Gauls, if you’re interested in broadening your acting horizons for your next time-traveling adventures, Duolingo might be a good place. 😉

Also want to read something interesting, find 1 Thessalonians 3:11 in your copy of Biblia Sacra. It’s fascinating in Latin.

And for all the rest of you?

Don’t grow up telling everyone you hate science when you’ve never really taken a full science course

Until next week!

WHITE SHADOW

~ evelyn ~

The Simple Things Tag

If there was anyone who I would call the Sun-Drenched Writer, it would definitely be my wonderful cousin Camille who loves sunflowers, plants, the color yellow, and just about anything bright or cheery. She also has created what is now I favorite tag ever. (And I get the bragging rights to be tagged first muhahaha)

The rules are fairly simple and the idea behind it is as well. (Hence the name, right? 😉 )

  1. Link back to the person who started the tag and thank them. Thank you Camille!
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you and thank them. Also thank you Camille. (:
  3. List 5 simple things that make you happy with pictures.
  4. Tag one person.

Here are some things that make me happy:

#1. Live music

Sister playing piano. Brother playing guitar. Family singing.

On the porch. Around the campfire.

Concerts.

Though music in general is absolutely amazing.

#2. Playing games

The competitiveness. The strategy.

Catan. Pandemic. Seven Wonders. Spoons. The Homeschool Game.

#3. Things that come with fall

Sweaters. Boots. Tea. Pumpkin pies and cakes. Oatmeal cookies. Camp fires. Falling leaves. Camp fires. Candles. Crisp air.

Need I say more?

#.4 Downtowns

The shops. Quaint. Small. Personable and cozy. Beautiful buildings. Hidden Arbors. Shutters. Window Shopping. Thrift stores. Nestled Bookstores. Walking with friends.

And Christmas lights and music in winter.

#5. Road trips

Music. Podcasts. Audiobooks. Games. Blurred landscapes. Headlights in the night. Big citites. Gas station stops. New things. Strange things. McDonalds lattes. Goofing off.

And now that I’ve started I could keep going.

The smell of rain after a hot afternoon. Playing frisbee in a thunderstorm. Color-coordinated bookshelves. Organized art supplies.

This is the kind of tag I feel like I could do again and again because there are so many small things that make me happy. (:

Speaking of which, I tag…

Dekreel!

But really if anyone wants to steal it, feel free to take it and spread a little sunshine. (:

What makes you happy?

~ evelyn ~

Who Knew This Was a Trilogy? || liebster award 3.0

Hello my friends! Another Friday another day I open my doors and invite you in for a chat.

Today is a little interview from Chalice. aka the Liebster Award.

This thing spreads like wildfires, as it was written in the rules:

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and display the award. Thank you Chalice! 😀
  • Answer the questions provided.
  • Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers and make sure they know! Wow, last time I got tagged, it didn’t give you wiggle room on the number. Impressive…
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions

Okay! Into the questionnaire.

Question 1: What is something you feel like isn’t talked about enough?

Oh hmm. That is hard, because sometimes I feel like things are talked about too much. So maybe the importance of rest and prayer and meditation and making time for doing nothing every once and a while.

Question 2: What’s a song that is really special to you right now?

Oooh there are so many.

How about Yesterday by The Beatles? And Blackbird, which my little brother actually learned on the guitar.

I’ve basically just been listening to 60’s and 50’s lately.

Question 3: If you could go back and relive any memory, just to experience it again, what memory would you go back to?

Oh dear. My siblings and I were talking about this the other day.

I was a terrible kid.

Like… terrible.

I’m not sure I would want to relive many days were I made life miserable…

Oh but wait. A day on my family’s four-week road trip in our 15 passenger van for sure from five years ago. That trip was absolutely amazing. Totally one of those. Maybe the day at the Grand Canyon?

Question 4: Would you rather have dreads or be bald? (Just asking the important questions.)

Yikes.

Chalice why do you do this to me??

Being bald might be able to pull of elegantly. But then… I’d be bald.

And I’m quite fond of having hair. So dreadlocks.

Question 5: If you could speak any language fluently, which language would you choose?

Probably American Sign Language, though I guess that isn’t a language you speak. So either Irish (because I love it) or German (because if you know that and English you can get around Europe easily) or Russian (because apparently its known for taking forever to learn.)

Question 6: What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?

Buy an old downtown bookshop and reorganize, add a coffee/tea/pastry shop, run the thing, and host poetry readings

Question 7: Why haven’t you done the thing mentioned above? I mean, come on. You’ve always wanted to do it…

Well.

For starters, I don’t have enough to invest in such a project.

And can teenagers even own commercial property?

Question 8: What are three things off the top of your head that make you happy?

  • The way I wake up some mornings and find bagels and know my mom buys bagels because she knows I love them (…I say as I eat one)
  • The way my little sister likes to play games with me and pretends she’s older
  • My dad playing guitar

Question 9: What are three things off the top of your head that make you sad?

  • The ending of All the Light We Can Not See, which I just finished reading and am still trying to process and decide whether I liked it or not. 😛
  • Just about any of my favorite books. And favorite movies for that matter.
  • The way some people are treated because they are different.

Question 10: How do you want to change the world in your lifetime?

Wow.

That’s a deep one.

I’d say that I wouldn’t trust myself to impacting the world (haha it’s true) but maybe hope for at least just being a sincere person who really cares about people. And when I die people say something like “She was always there to cry with and laugh with and joke with and ponder with. She was a really good friend and she loved me.”

Something like that. 😛

Question 11: Do you wear socks in bed?

Nope, for some reason I just can’t. If I ever try I end up tossing and turning and never end up falling asleep. Anyone want to explain the whole sock-to-bed thing?? Because I really don’t get it.

Now the round of facts…

  1. I have a little brother who can’t think of any random facts about me
  2. I like to count out of order and can do it without having to think about it because of a dance I went to once. (1 3 5 7 2 4 …can you guess the next number in the pattern? 😉 )
  3. I love wearing fuzzy Christmas socks and oversized sweaters
  4. I can wiggle my ears. (It took forever for me to find the right muscle, but hard word pays off, right?)
  5. There is a ground hog named Arnold that lives under my family’s back deck.
  6. I keep accidentally spelling “Liebester” instead of “Liebster”
  7. I just started reading a collection of C.S. Lewis’s poetry and am enjoying it immensely.
  8. I have three elephants in my room, but I don’t address them.
  9. I am working on crocheting my third blanket.
  10. I am also “working” on many other projects. (Some day I’ll finish them…)
  11. I use to get the number “eleven” and “twelve” mixed up.

My questions:

  1. When was the last time you cried while reading a book/watching a movie? What was it?
  2. If you could decide what subjects you study in school (real subjects mind you) what would you pick?
  3. How do you brainstorm blogging ideas?
  4. What time in the year is the earliest you think Christmas music should be allowed to be played?
  5. What is a Christmas tradition that you family has?
  6. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Do you ever make it?
  7. How do you like to study for a test?
  8. If you had to perform at least something on stage, what would it be? A comedy act? A song? A dance? A speech? etc.
  9. What are nine things that you have in your room?
  10. Would you rather live in a castle or a tree house?
  11. What is your opinion on whether a hotdog is a sandwich?

Aaaaand I tag….

Those who have only done the Liebster Award 2 times! Why not round it off with a neat bow as a satisfying trilogy?

And with that, I would like to announce me retirement from the Liebster Award, because three is the magic number. And I like trilogies.

Until next week comes

~ evelyn ~

10 little (somewhat random) things to do on a rainy day

Today the sky seems to be stolen from a 1950s film: Blurry gray. No blue.

Rainy days sometimes can be disheartening being stuck inside with little natural light and a yellow glare from your bedroom lamp, but there are always things to do none the less. And maybe it isn’t the fact that there aren’t things to do, but more the restlessness of a long afternoon.

Even when its sunny I have those days where I roam the house in search of something engaging to do.

I had been thinking about posting a list of activity ideas for such an afternoon since I absolutely love small random interesting tasks and the little things that brighten up the day, and then this happened.

Yep.

This is proof my friends. Great minds do think alike. 😉

Well here are (my) ten somewhat random – but interesting – things to do on a rainy day (or really any day because why not?)

  1. Warm up a marshmallow in the microwave. Note what happens. (**I am not accountable to whatever may happen when you do the aforementioned act**)
  2. Make coffee hot-chocolate (1. First put a scoop of hot chocolate mix in a mug. 2. Add coffee to fill half of the mug. 3. Stir that in until it is completely mixed, then fill the rest with hot water and stir again. Finally add a splash of cream or milk and if you like, froth it all and top off with mini marshmallows.)
  3. Use dry erase markers to draw on the window(s) in your room. Outline something you see outside. Do some school on it. Make a to-do list. Write a message and take a picture for a friend. Leave messages on your sibling’s windows.
  4. Send one of your favorite songs to a friend and tell them why you love it.
  5. Find a sunny quote and doodle it to hang in your room.
  6. If you have a bulletin board, use widowed earrings as thumbtacks.
  7. Pick one tree or  bush in your yard and look up what it is. (We have an Osage orange tree in our yard.)
  8. Make up a code alphabet for you and your siblings to use.
  9. Crank up music and sweep the house.
  10. And if it is just misting or a slow drizzle, simply open your window and enjoy the cool breeze and the smell of fresh rain and soil.

And I would have put sorting through closets and baking on my list but then it would look like I stole those ideas from Kenechi Duatron. Instead I’ll just say, go read her list too, because there are some really fun ideas there! (Like becoming Iron Man. 😉 )

Whatever you do, if you warm up a marshmallow in the microwave, make sure to report back. I want to know how it goes and what you think. 😉

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

ta-ta for now my friends

~ evelyn ~

 

Returning From an Afternoon Swim {poetry}

Shoes squish and splutter

across the muddy grass-pressed bank.

With every step my sockless toes are washed

and sprayed like dirty dishes in the sink.

The water squeezed back and forth

recycling remnants of Mr. McDowell’s pond

into a natural green clean machine.

I feel that I can wiggle my toes

inside their slobbering cases

the underside of lace and tongue

of sneaker canvas

lick along the gravel path back home

until they’ve scrubbed their subjects raw and red.

I tear them off.

They smell between soured water

used to scrub off dinner plates

and a cracked bucket from the barn

burrowed in a film of rainwater.

So I arrange them on the brick back porch

to bake beneath the sun’s sizzling scorch.

 

8.31.19 | pros to hiking at 4 a.m.

  • It is pitchblack and you can see the constellations
  • The four-lane highway is empty and forgotten
  • The air is chilly and cool
  • The crickets are deafening
  • You never see another soul
  • Deer pass you
  • The entire walk you can untangle the knotted threads in your mind
  • At the top the valley is filled with twinkling lights of far-away cities.
  • You get to watch the sky wake up from your high perch
  • When everything lightens, you can pass the time watching the thick fog move through the hills and listening to roosters from a distant farm.
  • You can hike six miles and still get home in time for breakfast

 

surviving a book shopping spree 101

We had planned it three different times.

And every time something came up.

Like a fair.

Or a wedding.

Or school-preparing.

And/or we just plan forgot, because well… we’re us.

My friend (who, for the purpose of this post and future posts, shall be given her rightful name of Eeyore) and I on the last meeting of our homeschool co-op this spring had come up with the idea of a joint book shopping spree. We both went home that very afternoon and made an envelope toward the cause. And began adding to it.

Slowly but surely, we fattened our pets and by the end of the summer, they had grown into (slightly) plump little envelopes sitting and waiting.

So – finally –  this Monday we woke up to a brilliant blue sky, grabbed our bags, and headed out for a day of wandering around malls and antique shops.

In short: it was amazing.

Here’s what we did to survive and live to rant about the awesomeness tell the tale:

 

#1. Plan a season ahead to start on saving

Books are expensive. (Can I get an amen?)

I don’t think I have ever gone on a book shopping spree before. Yes, I’ve bought a book now and then, but I always feel guilty spending too much on myself and avoided it. I would walk through stores and simply make mental notes of titles to ask for my birthday.

And so while the trip itself felt a little last minute in timing, we were very prepared thanks to Eeyore’s grand thinking four months earlier.

Every penny counts after all.

 

#2. Dig deep in your closet for partially used Chick-fil-a or Starbucks gift cards

Ah yes. If you want to stay out long (which, is that even a question?) check your closet. Below the stack of books, boots, and bags, who knows what you can find?

Or maybe there’s one in your purse.

That’s a good place to check too.

 

#3. Visit a used book store first

Thank goodness for used book stores.

Digging through shelfs and shelfs of cracked, battered, and torn books can feel a little depressing or frustrating, but it really is worth all the little treasures you find. That book of poetry overlooked. That signed novel tucked behind a thick row of other books.

Don’t pass up the used book store in your shopping spree. It’s a good start and who knows? You might come out only having spent a eighty cents on a beautiful copy of The Book Thief!

 

#4. Walk through the store once to get a feel for it, then take a second round

To do it right, you must understand your surroundings. Take a quick stroll through the aisles, locate sections, skim titles, and note where you might find coffee if needed.

Once you feel familiar with the store and its layout, you are ready to begin the real work. Roll up your sleeves and grab a basket. This might take a while.

 

#5. Bring a shoulder angel (or devil depending on how you look at it…)

AKA a friend.

There’s no one like a friend to help fill in your knowledge about books, stick their favorites in your face and demand you buy them, or pat you on the head and slowly pry your fingers from that copy of the complete collection of Winnie the Pooh, when you already own two other versions.

I know I know, the golden hardback cover is gorgeous and I feel the temptation too, but not today, okay honey??

Double points if friend-brought is a writer and will understand your exclamations of needing to write down a name for a character, or listen to your critique of a cover.

 

#6. Bring a list for the books you don’t end up getting but might want to read another time

AAAh

sO mAnY CHOICES

Rows and rows of them.

What about putting a handy dandy notebook to use? Add to that growing list of to-be-reads. You don’t have enough books on that giant until the list itself could be packaged and sold.

And lastly, for those homeschoolers out there…

 

#7. Save money!

Did you know that educators can join the Books-A-Million membership club for free??

YEP.

That means, you homeschoolers, you get special membership sales just because you stay home to complete your algebra lessons. (Okay technically its your mom that gets it, but still…)

We only just stumbled upon this fact Monday and we immediately put it to use.

Cause who doesn’t want to buy books for cheap??


 

Over all, after discussing our wonderful experience, Eeyore and I decided to try to make it a tradition in starting off our school year, but with one little change. In order to go? First make sure you have read every single book you already own.

Now excuse me while I go completely reorganize my bookshelf…

The Beauty of Words

Some people collect stamps. Others collect rocks or trinkets or magnets or keychains: things to remember places by or things to set on their shelf and admire.

I collect words.

But words aren’t quite as tangible as a rare rock or gold trophy, right? Words are almost abstract. Can you touch words? Can you taste words? Can you feel words?

Words are beautiful. I say them sometimes to simply taste them on my tongue. “Pomegranate” is a lovely example: It has an elegant, soft pop that slips back, like the edge a the tide, sliding up, sending a wave of chilly shock up your tingling limbs, and then pulling back.

Maybe not all words flow as smoothly as others, but with each I can taste a clear personality. Like the words, “lurid” or “dado.” The first begging to be sneered, the later to be stuck into a limerick.

Each word has a taste. Each word has it’s rhythm.

And that’s just the personality of it’s outside form.

What about it’s meaning?

It’s funny how specific words can be.

Have you ever wanted to know what to say when you throw someone out a window? Maybe it would be handy for throwing out insults?  Defenestration would be the word you’re looking for. What about describing your favorite activity? Curling up with a huge, thick book. Or curling up with a tome.

Or what about a sense of longing in your heart for something that is now gone. A wishful heart for the “good ole days.” A deep homesickness.

There’s a Welsh word for that. My favorite word in fact.

Hiraeth.

Even in its taste, the word whispers of deep longing.

It sounds like the kind of word you would stand on a distant moor in the middle of a misty morning and mummer to yourself.

One interesting thing I took away from reading the novel Watership Down earlier this year was the world building behind the rabbits’ language.

Different cultures, I realized, shape different words.

While we have no need for the word “silflay,” the rabbits need something to call the action of leaving their holes to go feed on grass.

That fascinates me.

But words are not only beautiful and interesting, they are powerful too.

I feel the glow of words shaped around love. I feel the sting of words shaped around hate and anger. In fact, as the Bible says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:24) That’s a huge power and, like from the quote in the old Spiderman movies: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Do you use words? How often do you use them? On a daily basis?

I do. A lot actually. And so, everyday I hold the power of life and death in my hands. Every minute, every second, I could explode. I could blow up in someone face and scream and yell and tear them down. Or I can take a deep breath. I can smile. And I can ask, “How can I help you today?”

You see, words are tools. Like a hammer, you can use it to build a house. You can shelter your family or bless a person in need. But also like a hammer, you can take words turn them into your weapon. They can be used to tear or build, to scream or laugh, to calm down or to stir up, and to dance or cry.

We all have heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” We curl up in the night and whisper it ourselves, saying it shouldn’t hurt when it does. But it just isn’t true.

We see in Proverbs 12:18 that wise words heal while rash words harm: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Also Proverbs 15:4: “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

In fact, I could keep going. The power of the tongue is a recurring theme in the Proverbs as King Solomon emphasizes the value of a prudent man’s words and the iniquity of rash man’s.

Words are also powerful because they shape one of the ways we communicate. They help us express our pains and share our thoughts. Collecting them can be useful.

So what are some of your favorite words?