Annie

Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

The Most Successful Dud I’ve Ever Written

In Actions in Activities, Musings on February 5, 2014 at 12:35 am

Last week I wrote a letter to my mom.

It was one of my “last minute not really proofread but whatever” posts. It was done, I only had a few hours until it would go live and I needed to go to sleep. Still, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I noticed that I kept mentioning moms. Then it hit me. It went something like this: “Man, Mom is really brave. More moms should be like her. I really need to go to bed. What time do I need to get up? I talk about parenting a lot. Hey, Mom!”

It didn’t take me long to make the changes needed. I didn’t think it was my greatest post ever, but there was only one person I really wanted to read it anyway.

The next morning I had to be up early, so I shared the link to my usual places, then left the house and didn’t get back until 8pm. I was exhausted, so I decided to check Facebook and my email and go to sleep. I got as far as checking my email and finding that my blog had gotten over 150 views that day. Well, yeah, not going to bed right away. It turns out that someone shared my link on a fairly high-traffic page.

I learned two things about blogging that day.

1) Just write. Really. I know everyone says it, but it’s true. Write the words your heart is saying. It doesn’t matter if you get views, just do your best. I sincerely thought that post was a flop, but it was for my mom, so I didn’t care. Write for yourself, not for some enigmatic group of people who may or may not ever find you. Blogging will never be very rewarding if you are only trying to get people to your website.

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2) Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to share what you love. If people don’t like it, they won’t join you in it.  If people like it, they will. Don’t be afraid to get to know influential people. If you become friends, cool. If they ignore you, cool. Don’t be afraid of success or failure. If you succeed, learn from it. If you fail, learn from it.

Writing is something I love, so I’m going to share it.

Do you love writing? Do you have ideas about things? Check this out! The world needs new ideas. Share yours.

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Danger, Will Robinson!

In Farm and Family, Musings on January 29, 2014 at 12:20 am

I’ll be honest with you. This week, I was kind of in a panic about my post. I had one written out, but it just wasn’t clicking. Then I saw this video suggested on my Facebook news-feed.

Dear Mom,

Thanks  for letting me do most of these things. I don’t think you ever let me drive a car, but I remember when my best friend and I accidentally became pirates with those CD copies, and you didn’t freak out. Thanks for letting dad teach me how to make fire. I wouldn’t be the one and only Fire-Breathing-Pigeon if you hadn’t let your baby strike that first match. I bet you’re pretty glad I never got very good at making throwing spears with my hand-me-down Swiss Army knife. I’m sure it was kind of annoying to find things I had “fixed”.

I realized a while back when I was babysitting, that play like this is nerve wracking. I hadn’t ever been on this side of it before. Play is really a scary thing. It’s so worth it though. When we made see-saws with a brick and a board and then jumped on them, it was the coolest thing ever. Hey look! Physics! Now when I see kids doing the same thing, I’m thinking “Is the board going to snap? What if it slips and they hit their head on the brick?”

I know it feels like yesterday that I was the one of those kids with wide eyes, taking their own lives into their hands. I had a marvelous time. You know that I learn things best by doing them, and you knew that you couldn’t teach me some things. Basic physics, cause and effect, problem solving, simple engineering and mechanics. Playing dangerously and hours of playing Gizmos and Gadgets are the basis of all my understanding of physics and a big part of my love of science.

So Mom, thanks for putting up with me. You taught me more that way than you ever could have with a book. Thanks for learning to be brave. I have a feeling you are going to need to keep being brave for a long time yet. I love you Mom. I hope I can be you when I grow up.

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.

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 »

For Passion

In Actions in Activities, Musings on January 8, 2014 at 12:33 am

I love seeing people talk about things they love. The fire behind their eyes, the intonation of their voice, the excited gestures. It’s beautiful.

Last week I went to a conference in Colorado called For Action. It was a conference with a purpose of preparing my generation, the millennials, to go and, basically, take over the world. And I have got to say, it was amazing. The things talked about were as different as the fantastic speakers themselves, but what they all had in common was passion. They love what they do, and you can tell when they speak about it. DSCF1115

Not only did our speakers do things they love, they gave us tools and helped us find our passions and pursue them. For some that was writing, or politics, maybe computer programing, there were several of us interested in activism of one kind or another.

Now, if you’ve known me for a while, you may know that I used to be part of The Rebelution. I read and still own the books, I went to the Do Hard Things conference twice, I was active on the forum and never missed a blog post. I was even working on a “hard thing” type project.

I’m going to be honest with you. When one of the speakers asked if anyone had read Do Hard Things, I hesitated to raise my hand. I was embarrassed. See, I don’t agree with much of what The Rebelution teaches. Not anymore.

The difference between For Action and The Rebelution doesn’t look too big from the outside. Both are trying to enable young people to be leaders and do amazing things. The thing is, The Rebelution told stories of other teens who have done these things, but didn’t talk about finding your passion or gifts. They were unwittingly pushing a one-size-fits-all ideology.

At For Action we met and actually got to talk to people of many ages who are passionate. They don’t necessarily do things that would be considered “Hard Things”, although many do. They do things that will last. A small burst of radical differentness isn’t going to change the world, a life of passionate, infectious differentness will.

So, what do I want to do with my life? I want to be infectiously passionate.

JOY!

In Musings on December 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Lately I have been thinking about guilt. I have a lot of it. Guilt that I shouldn’t have done something that I can’t really fix now. That I missed an opportunity that I should have taken. It’s usually that I did something I shouldn’t have. But there is something that I have heard a lot recently.

We can’t mess up. We are given a free gift that we could never earn and can never deserve. We are on the winning team, and we won’t be kicked off.

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Because of this, we should be joyful, but so many people aren’t! Why do we do that?! We go around all torn up because of our guilt.

We have a little thing in our family. It started when someone said something about a guilty conscience, but kind of stumbled over the words and said conference. “Welcome to the Guilty Conference!”–turns to the side and hides face”Oh! I can’t believe I said that!”

So often Christian gatherings turn into Guilty Conferences! We get together, and instead of rejoicing and celebrating the freedom we have in Christ, we mope about and talk about all the rules we are following, and how hard it is to do, and how “people these days” aren’t following them.

How about this? Be honest about your own failures, but don’t focus on them, because you are free from them, use them to point back to how amazing God is. And then, celebrate. Even if you are just celebrating the fact that God can use someone as messed up as you, that’s a start. Just truly be happy. Seriously, there should be a whole lot more celebrating in the Christian community than there is. Why don’t we get excited about things? We have so much to be happy about!

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.

To My Brothers And Sisters

In Musings, Short on November 27, 2013 at 1:20 am

A while back I posted on Facebook asking our friends for suggestions about blog topics. Someone said I should talk about purity. I don’t think I have ever addressed this subject that so many are obsessed with.

I don’t like the “purity” movement. I don’t think it leaves room for openness and honesty with our brothers and sisters. And, I think it has a lot of ramifications that go unnoticed.

I have noticed an alarming number of unwed 20-somethings. When found in the secular culture everyone assumes it is because they are avoiding commitment etc, but why are there so many in the Christian homeschooling community? Shouldn’t we be marrying and “taking dominion of the earth”? There is at least one issue with this. Guys and girls aren’t allowed to talk to each other much. In the immortal words of Widow Paroo,

“It’s a well-known principle that if you keep the flint in one drawer and the steel in the other, you’ll never strike much of a fire.”

The main reason is that in the quest to keep from thinking “impure” thoughts, guys and girls neglect 1 Timothy 5:1-2.

Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.

Since we only view a member of the opposite sex as someone’s future mate, girls and guys usually end up just, well, avoiding each other. This is so wrong! We are both created in the image of God, and are told by Him to treat each other like siblings!  

The worst part that it takes the focus away. Instead of focusing on walking with God as a family, we avoid each other and talk about how fantastic it is to do so! How about be open and humble with each other. We all have struggles, we all need grace, we all long for support. As children of the Most High King, we are not only princes and princesses, but brothers and sisters. Not all princes are Prince Charming, most of them are our brothers. Let’s treat them that way.

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. 

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