Annie

Archive for September, 2013|Monthly archive page

Live Dangerous

In Musings on September 26, 2013 at 12:41 am

Lately I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. In there among the fandoms and random word obsessions, there is a good bit of deep, contemplative thinking. This is what makes it to my blog most of the time nowadays. I’m not sure what to make of this. I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

If you are new to my blog, but you know me in real life, you may be thinking you are on the wrong blog. There are very few people who I talk about this stuff with. You probably see me as the girl who is either the youngest in the room or the oldest. Quiet most of the time, and then randomly coming out with odd little things that don’t quite make sense. Or I might always be talking, but about things that really don’t matter that much or one of my fandoms. It kind of depends on where you know me from, but in either circumstance, you are probably pretty confused right now.

If you only know me from my blog, and you met me on the street, you would not recognise me. I’m not as introspective in everyday life as I am on here.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. It feels kind of hypocritical. I’m two different people based on where you see me. But, this is who I am when I’m really me.

This really bothers me. I am a person who needs adventure and danger. I get weird when I am too safe for too long. I am an adrenaline junky. I love suspenseful movies and stories. I love rollercoasters. I love traveling.

But, I still fall into a rut of complacency. I don’t do anything radical. I get lazy and unintentional. I end up hurting people because of my carelessness.

I want to live dangerously. I want to do hard things. I want to be intentional. I want to be someone that people see as a profound thinker.

I write on here to work on being bold.  It’s not normal for me to share things like this, but I’m working on it. I want people to really know me.

Last Sunday I volunteered to lead the girls discussion in youth group. It was about the question of why we fellowship with other Christians. I love thinking about this kind of thing, but it usually just stays inside my head, or comes out my fingers to this blog. It was kind of weird, I had said I would do it before I realized what I was saying. It just kind of popped out. I was terrified, but I loved it. I attribute that spontaneity and boldness to my openness on my blog.

The fun person who talks about Doctor Who, Robin Hood and Lord Of The Rings is really me, but, like everyone, there’s more to me than that.

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That Will Suffice

In Actions in Activities, Camp, Musings, Pictures on September 24, 2013 at 12:22 am

Sunday they had a Summer Missions ice-cream social at church. I didn’t get to share anything, we started going to this church right after camp, but there were several people who spoke about their time at one camp or another.

There was a lot of the normal “what was the highlight of your time there?”, but there was also a good bit of “what did you learn?”. You may remember my five part series, “Re-assimilating“, about my first time as a counselor at Camp NeKaMo. It was really cool to hear all that God did this Summer.

This got me thinking, what did I learn? I mean, I wrote about what happened and about the adjustment of going from camper to counselor, but what did I learn this Summer, not just at camp, but when we got home and got our sleeping bags hung up?

Even before my two weeks as a counselor began, I was feeling overwhelmed. My lifeguard training is a more obvious example of what I was learning in subtle ways the whole time. I am not sufficient on my own.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can’t do anything on my own.

Everyday, up early to go to Bible Study, full steam ahead all day long, and then try to get to sleep before midnight. It was exhausting. By the end of week one I was so tired I couldn’t think straight (and I have enough trouble with that anyway 😉 ). But, it was so rewarding to pour love into those girls and I feel so blessed to have gotten to be a part of their lives. I had to lean on the Lord. I’m not very confident in my teaching abilities, and I have a hard time praying out loud in front of people.  It was a really stretching 2 weeks.

After camp was over I was trying to find a job. I was pretty much broke and there were no babysitting calls. I never did find one, not even at McDonalds or Taco Bell. Quiz came around. We were talking about goals for the season. I really want to go to Nationals this year. It’s my very last year as a quizzer and I’d like to go out with a bang. I started praying that God would get me to Nationals. I didn’t know how He was going to do it, but the best way I could think of was to give me a job.

I was lying on my bed one night after a long day of babysitting and running errands when I realized something. It was only a couple weeks after I started praying to go to Nationals that I got my steady childcare jobs. As I was trying to fall asleep, it struck me. God gave me a job. It was so amazing to see God answer a prayer in such an obvious way, and so quickly. It really gives me chills. God is so powerful. He listens to us. He loves us.

Me and my Squishy! This picture doesn’t really have much to do with the rest of the post, but I love it. Josh is living proof that God does amazing things. 🙂

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do.

Life is Good

In Musings on September 19, 2013 at 12:31 am

I have a lot to complain about.

I have a cold. I didn’t get as many chapters memorized as I wanted to this month. I don’t have a job. I don’t have a husband, boyfriend or even a potential boyfriend. I don’t have a lot of free time anymore. I’m not in school like most of my friends. I don’t really have all that many good friends. I don’t have a laptop or a car. Basically, I don’t have everything I want.

But, right now, I’m feeling really good about my life. I’m busy, but that means I don’t have time to be as lazy. I don’t have a job, per se, but I have childcare jobs pretty much every weekday. This is something I love doing and it’s the equivalent of a part-time job. I’m content in my singleness. Contentedness comes and goes, but for now, I’m happy. Nearly all my friends live really far away, and I don’t have very many, but the ones I do have are very precious to me. I’m saving money to get the material things I need, but they aren’t urgent needs. I have what I need for now.

I’m feeling really blessed. Blessed to live in a time and place where these things are attainable.

I was watching Robin Hood the other day. The episode featured an Abbot who was betraying Robin and his gang. No one could understand why he was lying about them and condemning them. He had been faithful in the past and stayed out of politics for the most part. Why was he suddenly misleading the people? The Sheriff had something that would ruin the Abbot of Kirklees, but what could be so precious that he would be so evil? For most of the episode I was thinking it must be some scandal that the Sheriff was threatening to expose. That’s how it usually goes. Then Friar Tuck has a little chat with the Abbot. This is bigger than scandal. It is heresy. The Abbot would be in deep jelly babies if this came to light.

Before I tell you what this blasphemous act was, I want you to remember what time this is. It is before around the Renaissance. This is a time of extreme superstition and dishonesty.

So what was the Abbot doing that was so wrong? He was translating the Bible to English. He had been translating the word of God into the language of the people for ten years.  And the Sheriff had his manuscript.

The story comes to its peak, the Abbot is still carrying on his charade, Robin and the gang are tied and about to burned at the stake. The flames are licking up the wood, Robin gets free and escape is eminent, but worthless unless the Abbot will retract his sentence. The Abbot knows Robin is a good man, so he tells the truth. The Sheriff throws the manuscript into the flames and the Abbot tries to retrieve his work. The show ends with a pair of bandaged hands holding a burnt page and a pen. “In the beginning…”

I know this is just a TV show, but I couldn’t help but tear up at the end. The lengths that these men went to get the Bible to the people is just something most of us take for granted. They were going against the church, the most powerful authority at the time. They were persecuted for spreading the Gospel.

It is amazing to me.

Sometimes I feel like I have a lot to complain about, but then God uses something as trivial as a TV show to make me so grateful. You know what? Life is good.

I Think She’s Trying to Speak To Me

In Actions in Activities, Camp, Musings on September 17, 2013 at 12:09 am

You may not know this about me, or maybe it’s so ingrained in my being that I do it here too, but I’m kind of known for my strange metaphors and correlations, and very creative and abstract imagery. I find links in things that, I’m told, make people’s heads hurt. 

One night at camp we were having Divisional Campfire. Banty was telling the story of Joseph. She asked the girls what kept him going. What gave him strength? Several girls piped up with answers that were good, but not quite what she was looking for. Banty was about to move on, but I noticed one of the girls was kind of sitting behind her and still had her hand up. I said “Faith has an answer!”

Banty has this face she makes when I say something weird. It’s like she can tell I’m serious, but she’s not sure what planet I’m from. I could tell it wasn’t registering, so I repeated myself and pointed. She finally translated my alien dialect and got the answer she was thinking of. The next day we were talking about it. Banty was one of my CILT instructors, so she’s seen me in a Bible study. She said “I know Annie says things that make me think sometimes, but I wasn’t getting this.” That is a good illustration of what I mean about strange phrasing. “Faith has an answer” would be something I would say! 

I did this again at Bible Quiz practice last week. We were having a time of sharing about things we’ve learned from our chapters. Several people shared about James 1. This wasn’t a surprise, it’s a great chapter and pretty much everyone has it memorized. They were all saying pretty much the same thing. If you have faith God will give you wisdom, or that we should be doers of the word and not just hearers. And then raised my hand.

The main thing I see in this chapter is the focus on our actions and reactions.

In the first half it is talking about testing and temptation. It is about exercising your faith muscle. Under trial you strengthen that muscle and it shows up as perseverance , and that strength helps you through temptation.

The second half is about not just looking at the plaque on the wall for it’s beauty, but actually doing what it says. Instead of just studying it and saying “My, what a beautiful piece of work. I wonder where the bathroom is?” actually following the directions on the sign and finding the restroom. 

This really made me think about how our actions and words affect everything. It made me think about being intentional in our words and deeds. Not being absentminded or careless. If we don’t do things on purpose we are just hearing the word. We are letting things just happen, we aren’t doing them. 

I shared this, in a slightly more rambling way and not in as many words. Everyone in the room got that same look. That “You’re really cute, but I don’t know what you’re saying!” look. I like to think I just dig, not necessarily deeper, but at a different angle, than most of the world. 

Last week Dad showed me something in his sermon notes that made me make the same face. He was using Greek letters and other symbols to make some sort of pictograph. I had no idea what he was doing, but at least I know I come by it honestly.

This Side

In Musings on September 12, 2013 at 12:32 am

From this side of the keyboard, it’s pretty exciting. I know it may be tough to fathom from that side, but it’s true. I never know when I’m going to have a random stranger comment or a sudden spike in views.

Most of the time I get on after being away for the day and I find nothing has changed. I don’t have any views or comments. I’m still waiting for someone to link back to one of my posts. It’d be really cool if that happened some day, as long as it was for a good reason. You know, one of those hard hitting, knitty gritty deep posts that people go nuts over. Maybe one day.

Sometimes I come back and I’m greeted with a comment. This always gets me just a little bit ecstatic. That notification, in a sea of notifications, get’s me more excited than any of the others. A comment or message on Facebook, meh, probably not for me since the family shares a Facebook page. An email, probably just a promotional or a message from the library telling me I owe them money. But a comment on my blog? You pretty much just made my day.

Likes and follows are tricky. Most of the time they are just from random people I never hear from again. I’m never really even sure if they actually read my stuff or if they are just fishing. Most of the time it’s just fishing. And then every once in a while, there’s a follow that gets me excited.

There are a few things I’m trying to work on with my writing. I’m trying to step away from the “newsy” type posts and towards the topical posts. You may have noticed this if you have been reading for a while. It kind of just started developing at first. I would be writing, and then I would go off on a tangent. This kept happening. I would be telling you a story and I’d end up with a moral! What? This had always been more of a “letter to grandma” type blog, telling about what’s going on in the family. My blog has been slowly evolving from a friends and family newsletter to a collection of topical posts. It doesn’t really matter if you know me personally now. This may sound cold, but to me it’s a good thing.

I’ve been making mental notes on blogs I consider successful. One of my very favorites is Cynthia Jeub‘s blog. She has really inspired me to share more from my heart. I don’t need to hide who I really am, this is my territory. My domain 😉 . When I first started reading her blog I thought it would have more stories of life with 15 siblings and I was kind of disappointed when I found out it wasn’t. She actually doesn’t mention them all that often. But I like what I found instead much better. Cynthia is humble about her struggles.

One of the things I’ve realized in trying to improve my blog. My posts are way too long. If I am browsing a website and I see that an article is really long, I’m probably just going to skip it unless it looks really intriguing. So I’m working on that. I’m going to have to keep telling myself that it’s ok to be in-exhaustive on a subject. You can always come back later and go deeper. It’s better to be concise and still have their attention by the end of the post, than to fill them in on all the details and be boring.

I hope I never stop writing. It is my getaway. My escape. It let’s me create my own world, or see the real world in a different light.

So, there you have it. The view from the keyboard.

What to Read? Before They Can Read

In Books and Movies, Musings on September 10, 2013 at 12:01 am

::FANFARE:: I have been posting every Wednesday for a little over a month now, but I’m about to change that. This week I sat down and started writing. I got done and had enough posts for about a month. So, I have decided to post twice a week! From now on, you can look for me on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So, I was thinking, and I said to myself, “Annie, why not do a post with a list of favorite picture books? It’s not that hard to find ok ones, but you can get stuck in a rut.” So I kept thinking to myself, and I decided to go ahead and do another post in my What to Read series . These are some of my favorite books to read out loud.

1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin J.r.

This is a fun alphabet book. My mom may kill my, but I like it better than Dr. Seuss’s ABCs in terms of the verse. It just kind of makes you want to rap the whole thing. By the way, kids really like it if you do rap or sing this whole book.

2. Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein

Another weat grork by Sel Shilverstein. This book off quirky poems is all jumbled up.

3. The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales by  Jon Scieszka

A book of unconventional fairytales. This is great for anyone who likes “Fractured Fairy Tales” from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

4. Love You Forever by  Robert N. Munsch

This is one of those sweet mama-baby books. I can’t really read it out loud, but I do read it to myself sometimes, with a box of tissues handy. Some day I’ll read it out loud to my babies, but for now it’s for the mama’s. 🙂

5. Press Here by  Hervé Tullet

This is one of those books that I just kind of had to open. It’s so fun! Follow the directions and see what happens in this colorful book.

6. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

We were wandering around Target one day when we saw this book on the rack and had to read it. Out loud to the whole book section. It is so CUTE! Very simple, but adorable! It reminds me of Rainbow Fish in a way, maybe the artwork, but it’s really pretty much the opposite story.

7. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Another book I just love! I read this to myself every once in a while, just for nostalgia’s sake.

8. the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child

We first met Charlie and Lola on the video shelf at the library. These are very sweet stories about a brother and his little sister, “I have this little sister Lola. She is small, and very funny.” Charlie is a very kind older brother who takes good care of Lola, they really remind me of Adam and Hannah (on most days). There are many lines that have become Hallisms, such as ” Such-n-such is my favorite and my best.”

9. Anything by Dr Seuss

Not a title of a book. I just mean it. Dr. Seuss was an amazing writer. He was so creative. I really haven’t read any of them that I haven’t enjoyed in some aspect.

There are so many good picture books out there, this is just a very short list of some of my favorites. What’s on your list?

What To Read? The Later Years

In Books and Movies, Musings on September 4, 2013 at 12:17 am

So, last week I talked about books for pre-teens and young teens. Those are mostly books I read when I was around 10-13 years old.

But what about older teens? That can be even harder sometimes. You get tired of re-reading Redwall (sometimes…), but the books for our age are even more disgusting. For some it’s so hard to find things to read that they just stop reading once they are done with school. I think it’s important to continue stretching yourself and reading good books. It can get hard to find these good books though. So I present for your reading enjoyment, my favorite books for older teens and young adults:

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness  Emmuska Orczy

When people ask me what my favorite book is, this is what I say. It has mystery, it has drama, it has action, it has (appropriate) romance, it has daring rescues, it has clever disguises, it has guillotines. Set in the French Revolution, taking place in both England and France. We follow the beautiful Marguerite Blakeney as she tries to save her beloved brother. The only way is to identify the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel, and in essence hand him over to Mademoiselle Guillotine. But will she find out too late?

2. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Another favorite set in the French Revolution. This one is more complicated, as Dickens often is, and it took me a while to figure out who was who. Still, confusion aside, I love Dickens’ style and imagery.

3. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, by William Goldman

This one took me so long to figure out. It’s not an abridged version. It’s the original. Please just read it. At times the movie follows so closely it’s like reading a script. A few of the places are different, the Zoo of Death for example, but for me this made it even better.If you enjoyed the movie I would definitely recommend the book. It follows close enough that you feel like you know what is going to happen, but different enough that you aren’t sure. Buttercup and Westly don’t seem to be as tender as they do in the movie, but it doesn’t take much away from the story. (Taken from my Goodreads review)

4. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Another classic from the mind of Jack. Written as a series of letters from an older demon to a younger demon he is mentoring. It’s interesting to think of things from this perspective. Very thought provoking.

5. The Fishermans Lady (and The Marquis’ Secret) by George MacDonald

Almost a cross between Kidnapped and The Scarlet Pimpernel. The very first book of George MacDonald’s that I read. I love a good adventure book, if it is set in Scotland, even better. Fun Fact! George MacDonald was a favorite author of three of my favorite authors, J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle.

6. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The nerd in me couldn’t leave this off the list. It is pure fluff and has an extremely rambling and almost nonexistent plot line. There is some language and more adult themes, but it is so hilarious. If you like Doctor Who you will most likely enjoy Hitchhiker’s Guide (Adams did write a few episodes after all).

7. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

An amazing sci-fi series by the man who is generally thought of as being a fantasy writer and theologian.  I actually read these when I was about 11, but I would recommend them for older teens. I was too young to understand them very well. Full of twists and turns

8. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

The classic epic story of good versus evil. This story has so many good lessons, it is a sweeping epic, there is rawness, there are heroes, there is brotherly love. Most people know at least the gist of the story, so I’m not going to further spoil it. I will say though, even if you have seen the movies dozens of times, please read the books. The movies, while they do a pretty good job, leave out some of the best parts.

9. Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer

The story of how Veggietales got it’s start. I really love behind the scenes stuff, so this was a treat. Now, I realize this is the only book on my list that isn’t a novel, there is a reason for this though. As we get older, it’s also important to read (or begin reading if it hasn’t been your habit) non-fiction.  For most of the rest of our lives we will be reading non-fiction. I’ve found that great way to get a taste for books about real life is through biographies and the like.

While some of these books have a bit of language (nothing stronger than what you hear on PG movies or TV shows), the main reason I list them as books for older teens is because I want them to be appreciated. Most young teens could handle them, but they won’t get nearly as much out of these books as some one a little older will.

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