Annie

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Frozen Heart

In Books and Movies, Musings on January 22, 2014 at 12:10 am

Last week after reading my post about Frozen a friend sent me a message on Facebook asking what my gift was that I had hidden.

It’s kind of funny, I said I lived “conceal, don’t feel,” and that is exactly what I was doing. For once, I wasn’t using a metaphor. This is quite literally what I did, and I didn’t even know that I was doing it.

When I was little I had night terrors. They eventually faded to simple nightmares. Simple. Ha. I would wake up, hyperventilating, heart pounding, and run to my parents bedroom to spend the rest of the night at the foot of their bed. When I was about 9 years old I began feeling unwelcome. And so, since feeling like a burden hurt more than my pain, I turned the off pain. I put my heart in cryostasis. Ice is strong. I had to be strong.

In the past couple of years, my frozen heart has gradually begun to beat. My counselors at camp were the first ones to start chipping away the frost. That is why I came back to camp. Even though I didn’t like that they were so touchy-feely, I couldn’t help but crave feeling.

A while back my Fairy GodMother gave me the title of storyteller. At first I didn’t really think that much of it, but I soon realized that it is true. A storyteller isn’t just someone who tells bedtime stories. I am a storyteller. Without feelings, a story just falls flat.

So, what is my magic? I see meaning where others see chaos. I can read people like a book. I know things I should have no way of knowing. Why couldn’t I do these things before? Well, I could. But since I couldn’t feel, they never developed past the point of infancy. I’m just now learning to crawl. Feelings aren’t my weakness. They are what give me strength.

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Melt

In Books and Movies, Musings on January 15, 2014 at 12:10 am

I finally saw Frozen last weekend. Several friends told me to watch it, so Hannah and I went on a little date.

There is so much more to this movie than I could possibly put in one post.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, PLEASE do not read this post! It is one that you need to see for yourself without tainted ideas about it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Desperately Complete

In Books and Movies, Musings, Short on December 18, 2013 at 12:49 am

Well, I did it. I finished An Acceptable Time. I’m kind of sad about it.

It’s not that it ended poorly. In all honesty, it’s only partially because it is the last book. It’s a series I started when I was somewhere around 9 or 10 years old. That’s actually about how long I’ve been blogging, now that I think about it. I’ve been reading it for most of the time that I can remember. And now it’s over.

It feels kind of like letting go of my last ties to childhood. It’s funny though. I still read a lot of kid’s books and watch kid’s TV shows. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books. I was excited when I finally got “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” from the library, and I plan to buy a copy for myself.

But even though I fangirl about Doctor Who, watch My Little Pony, and quote Princess Bride (and feel no shame about any of them), I can talk for hours about the need for Grace, what we can learn from and the fantastic literacy of the book of Revelation, or why we should be joyful. I realized the other day while playing a storytelling game that I have little to no desire to write fiction anymore. There are so many real things to write about, plus I’m kind of particular about stories and I can’t ever make one quite right.  I am finding that I love these things that I used to feel such an intense, burning indifference for (name that song).

So, why does this one thing feel like such a big turning point when this change has been happening for a long time? I really don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Sitting here, finished with high school, looking for a job, thinking about college, I can’t help but feel a desperate sense of completion. Finished with childhood and determined to start life.

I’m not sure how that works, but that is how it feels. Desperately complete.

A Boring Character

In Books and Movies, Musings, Short on December 11, 2013 at 12:10 am

I often find myself in a position of slight self pity because I don’t have an epic story. I have grown up in a Christian family, I was saved at a young age. I don’t have one of those dramatic testimonies. I am making peace with that. It’s a work in progress. The fact that even someone who isn’t all that bad still needs Jesus is what I have to keep reminding myself of.

But this lack of back-story has also made me frustrated for other reasons. If I were a character in a story, I would not get to be the one that goes off to battle, even though she is a woman. That is always a character that has some tragic back-story.

Eowyn was an orphan raised in her uncle’s court. She went through the pain of losing her parents and her cousin, having her brother exiled and seeing her uncle become poisoned and possessed. She was able to go off to war with the army. She did what no man could do.

Then I think of Maid Marian. In the BBC version of the story,  as the sheriff’s daughter, she was raised as a lady. She didn’t have rough life. It wasn’t until Robin left and Sir Guy took over that Marian became an interesting character. Nothing happened to her. She saw what was happening to others and acted. She took care of the townspeople. It wasn’t her own pain that provoked her to action, but someone else’s. She ended up saving lives and kicking some bad guy booty, all with no other reason other than that it needed doing. I could do that.

I just have to keep reminding myself that my story is just getting started. So far it hasn’t been very dramatic, but I’m not even 20 years into it yet. I can’t let this slow time get me stuck. There is a lot of time left for a good story.

The End

In Books and Movies, Musings on November 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm

You may not know this about me, I haven’t really talked about it much, but I have a love-hate relationship with endings. A good ending will leave me in a good mood for days. Whereas a bad one can make me mad at the world.

I like happy endings. The Guy get The Girl, the Baddie gets got, all is well in the world, and there is obviously more going to happen after you read the last page. It’s like, when you open a book you open a window to a different world. If, when you close the book, the world seems go on behind the pages, that is a good ending. Even though I don’t like books that are too realistic (unless very well written, like Scarlet Pimpernel or Kidnapped), I like an ending that is more like a beginning. Because that’s how life really is. It may be an ending of one part of life, but it goes on after that.

I finished a book like that last night. As always when you pick up a good book, you entered a new world. This time it was a world of books piled high, mysterious men, and scared little girls. There was no way of knowing who to trust, too many strange things were going on. It was wonderful. I often get sucked into books and forget that I am reading, in Inkheart it was so much more vivid. Like it was really happening. Some of the plotlines were predictable, but enough weren’t that it made everything suspect. If I ever do another What To Read list, Inkheart will most certainly be on it. The end felt more like a beginning. I guess that makes sense, since it is the first in a trilogy, but this was even more so than most I’ve read. It was enchanting.

I got another book from the library yesterday. It is one that I have been waiting for years to read. I have a habit of getting overly attached to series by dead authors. When I was around 10, I had just caught on to reading on my own and I went straight to “tough” books. Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, and A Wrinkle in Time. I stumbled through Jane Austin and slowly picked at Alcott, but I devoured Madeleine L’Engle. Even her name is more intriguing. After years of wanting to read the last book in the series, I found a copy of An Acceptable Time at the library. I got home and cried. How will it end? I almost don’t want to read it, just because then it won’t end. It reminds me of an exchange on The Shop Around the Corner:

Alfred Kralik (played by the dashing Jimmy Stewart): Pirovitch, did you ever get a bonus?

Pirovitch: Yes, once.

Alfred Kralik: Yeah. The boss hands you the envelope. You wonder how much is in it, and you don’t want to open it. As long as the envelope’s closed, you’re a millionaire.

I like how the BBC series, Robin Hood ended. I’ve heard so many people talk about how terrible it is, but I love it. Marian dies at the end of season two.  For a few fleeting moments they are wed, and she dies a beautiful death, in the arms of Robin. On the very last episode Robin dies too. He lies alone in the forest, and just as he begins to slip away, he sees Marian walking over the hill. Beautiful.

And then I wonder about my life. Part of me wants to have a dramatic and beautiful death. Actually, that part of me is a pretty big one. Something like Marian’s. But then, a nice quiet death after a life full of love and adventure sounds… nice. 

Superstitious Deism or True Love?

In Books and Movies, Musings on November 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I have heard several people refer to the UK as a “post-christian society.” This bugs me. It’s not just because most of my favorite actors, writers, musicians and tv shows come from there, but because I don’t think it is an accurate assessment.

They aren’t post Christian, they are post superstition. The Christianity that they have is primarily the Church of England. They are a cultural church, not a personal church.

When people around me refer to “Post-Christian” it is usually in response to my fangirling about either Sherlock, Doctor Who or Downton Abbey (No one complains when I talk about Robin Hood…). They respond this way because of the way that the British media over accentuates homosexuality or how they mock Christianity. Then they look at me like my Salvation is in question when I say something to the effect of “Yeah, but it doesn’t bother me.” A pig stinks.

I’m going to focus on the mocking of Christianity. This has usually been with Doctor Who. There are whole subplots and sometimes even plots, devoted to mocking Christianity. This one not only doesn’t bother me, I kind of agree with it. The only Christianity that most Brits have been exposed to is an archaic and superstitious religion. It is, dare I even breathe the word? Mockworthy. Because it isn’t true. Christianity without the Gospel is worth mocking. It doesn’t make any sense at all. True Christianity doesn’t make enough sense on its own, but without love and the Gospel, it is absolute folly. Why should we follow a 2,000 year old list of rules put in place by some cosmic being, that we aren’t really sure exists?

I actually don’t blame them. If that was the only kind of “Christians” I had ever met, I would probably mock them too. If I weren’t saved. But, because I know what they are missing, they both make me weep. I feel sorry for the mockers because the only thing they have is a foolish shadow, so they mock it. At first I get mad at the church-goers because they are only perpetuating this shadow, but then, I feel sorry for them because they don’t know any better.

It doesn’t bug me that they mock their “church”. That’s not who I am. What does bother me is that their “church” calls itself Christian. It is moralistic, therapeutic, deism masquerading as a way to salvation. If these mockers were confronted with a society of people who had a true relationship with the risen Savior and lived in a manner worthy of the Gospel, they would likely not recognize it as Christianity.

I’ll leave you with something I’ve been chewing on. How can we make sure our faith doesn’t become superstitious? What would it look like if it was?

Fairytales

In Books and Movies, Musings on October 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Reclined at the desk, devouring a toasty sweet potato, listening to the rain on the skylights above, I think about how life isn’t poetic.

No matter how I describe it, I’m still just eating dinner on a rainy night, wishing I had adventure in my life. I’m basically sulking right now. I want to do something awesome. I want to write something awesome. At the moment, it’s just not happening. My life is pretty boring right now. I don’t have many friends, and the ones I do have I don’t get to see very often. I have lots of ideas to write about, but then I sit down to write and I draw a blank.

I want to travel. I want to be a nomad. I’m too still. I need to move. My books aren’t enough, I need to live these adventures I pore over. I know they happen somewhere, but where?

I feel like Belle at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast. Consumed with books, living in a quirky house, waiting for life to begin while the world lives on around her, and brunette. I don’t exactly want to be captured by a monster, but that would be ok. I’ve always wondered how I would get along in a situation like that. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t just bury my face in my bed and cry like Belle does. There would be broken glass and probably blood. Actually, there would most definitely be blood, although I don’t know if it would be my captures or my own. Probably both. I would try to escape, but if I didn’t make it I would beat the stuffing out of the fool who caught me. If I didn’t win, and that’s a big if, I might pass out from blood loss.

But that’s not going to happen. Because life isn’t a fairytale. Not in this dimension. Maybe there is a dimension where there are still dragons. In that dimension I would probably be in the same situation as I am now, except with giant lizards. That wouldn’t help much. Even if the existence of dragons meant we were primitive and lived in conditions similar to the Middle Ages, I would just go about my business cleaning and cooking, probably wishing I could learn, but being a woman and a serf (or the other dimension equivalent) I won’t have the opportunity. I’m probably married to an old guy there. That’s kind of a disgusting thought. To make it even worse, I would know that somewhere, maybe somewhere close, there are glorious battles and vicious beasts. I’d like to think I’d be like Eowyn and go out to fight anyway, but in reality that kind of stuff didn’t happen all that often, and not to commoners.

I guess that’s why I like stories like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Brave, and Lord of the Rings. People, specifically women, living their quaint little lives and then something terrible happens. Whether it’s war, a family crisis, or marriage, something happens to shake them. Part of me doesn’t want something terrible to happen. But, then, nothing big happens without tragedy. Tragedy hurts though. I don’t want to hurt. But, I need adventure. True adventure only happens with pain, or the threat of pain.

That’s where I am right now. I’m just past opening credits and we are still establishing the world. Something is about to happen, there is just no way to know when.

It’s Working!

In Actions in Activities, Books and Movies, Farm and Family on October 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

Or rather I am. I am so tired right now. This is the fifth day in a row that I have worked somewhere.

There is a corn maze just up the road from our house. Last year they sent an email to our homeschool group looking for teens to work there. I talked with the owners and we were all set, but because of the drought the maze wasn’t very good and they didn’t end up needing my help.

Saturday we were just sitting around talking and…  I don’t really know, doing our Saturday morning thing, when my friend’s mom (this is their second year working there) called saying they needed help at the maze. I jumped up, got out of my pajamas, and drove over there. The owner, Mrs. S asked how old I was and got excited that I was 19. “Can you drive an ATV?” Yeah, about 10 years ago I drove my great uncle’s for a few minutes, but I remember how and I’ve had my drivers license for 3 years, so sure, I can probably drive one.

Guess what I did for about 5 hours Saturday afternoon? I drove a four-wheeler pulling about 8 barrels-turned-train-cars. My thumb felt like it was going to fall off and I now have a fantastic sunburn on the backs of my hands. Once the sun went down and the train was put away, I worked in the concession stand for a few hours. I was surprised how many people came to do the maze in the dark.

Mrs. S asked me what time I could be back on Sunday, and basically, I have a job. I always knew this was how it would have to happen. All of my previous attempts had been fruitless.

It is so strange working this much. I’m hardly ever home anymore. I miss Josh and Hannah. I feel like they are growing up in my house as me, but I’m never home. I get up at 7 most days. Anyone who has seen me right after I wake up knows how big of a feat this is. I am not a morning person. By any stretch of the imagination. The sad thing I’ve found is that I can’t drink coffee in the morning. It makes me so jittery it ruins my day. My body is awake and my mind is not, or vice-versa. No bueno.

The only day I “have off” this week is Wednesday, and even then I volunteer at the library for a couple hours. Now, it would be logical to cut this out of my schedule. It isn’t an actual job, and it is my one and only day off. But I just can’t do that! I have thought about it, but only very briefly. I just love it too much. It’s quiet, relatively peaceful, and, basically, I get to be around books. Nope, library stays.

I know this isn’t my normal kind of post, but it’s what’s been on my mind. I am exhausted, but every day I am in such awe of how God has worked things together in a way that I never could.

 

Life Lessons: Loki

In Books and Movies, Musings on October 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

(Alliterations are always awesome.)

As I have mentioned before, I make some kind of “out-there” connections. Well, hold on to your hats, ’cause I’m about to do it again. Bear with me. (Rawr.)

One of my most recent fetishes is the Avengers. I have tendency to totally geek out about it. It’s not because it is a popular movie, I promise. I just really like it! It is an awesome story, and there are some good lessons. I’m not going to do what I’ve seen way too many people do and try to turn something Christian. It isn’t, even though Captain America does say “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.” It has plenty of reason to be rated PG-13, but I still think there are some things we can glean from it.

After Loki and Barton break into the gala and steal some iridium, Loki then dons his gold armor and helmet and addresses the frightened crowd, ordering them to kneel.

Loki: Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

Loki is an absolute jerk and an awesome Baddy. He is so easy to hate. But, he says something there that is actually immensely true. We do crave subjugation.  There is a reason all civilizations have rulers. We need to be told what to do. The Israelites begged God for a king. But, they didn’t except God as their King. We were created to be subjects of God.

I heard a story on the radio the other day about a man who was on a mission to make a banquet from scratch. As in, grow the corn and shoot the turkey. It took him all year to get everything together, and when the time for a the meal came he invited a group of friends over to share it with him. As they were about to eat, the man looked out over the table and felt the need to stand. He stood there. He was a decided Atheist, he didn’t believe in any god of any kind. And yet, he felt the overwhelming need to thank God. But, he couldn’t thank someone he didn’t believe in, so he sat back down.

Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

But, then there is the little bit about freedom. This puts me in mind of the first part of James 1:25, where James speaks of “the perfect law, the law of liberty.” God gives us both. We kneel before Him and are subjugated to Him. But, unlike Loki, who would be a tyrant, God gives us freedom. He sets us free from sin and death. He created us and He loves us.

So, in some ways Loki is right, and then, he is so wrong. I love having a good, hateable villain. But he was right. In the end, we will kneel.

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?

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