Friday, May 31, 2013

The Stuff (May) Smiles Are Made Of

~Graduating college
~Listening (and singing along) to the Wicked soundtrack while cleaning the dinner dishes with sisters
~Getting a license to drive motorboats, sailboats and wave runners
~Renting a few good movies and watching them with sisters who end up loving the movies too
~When I get to go to work and be creative
~Making it a crafty Mothers Day
~The roar of fans at U.S. Cellular
~How the windows are always open, night and day, and they give a background noise of wind, trees, and birds. Even at 4am
~Friends. It's that simple
~ Playing ultimate frisbee, when I thought I'd never be able to again
~Reorganizing. Something about taking away clutter and moving things around.
~Third graders! And when they ask if you remember their name (even though you've only been away for a month :) )
~ Cleaning the kitchen with younger cousins, and coming up with a (brilliant) idea for a childrens book, even if she's the only one who ever sees it.
~ Keeping a writers journal

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Be attentive.

I finished The Phantom Tollbooth this week, and loved it.
It's one of those books you can't believe you've never read once you've finished it.

It was full of wonderful plays on words that left me smiling and laughing.

And, mostly, what I got from it was the message 'be attentive'.

Maybe your town wont actually disappear if you stop paying attention to the beauty in it, but it might as well. Maybe you wont actually jump to the Island of Conclusions, but you lose the same amount of time when you jump to conclusions than if you had jumped to a real island.
Pay attention to words. To numbers. To how you spend your time. Pay attention to colors and sounds and people.

Be attentive.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Boat Licenses

Based on a few laws and when I was born, I can legally drive motorboats. But, I cannot drive wave runners. And my sisters cannot legally drive either.
So, earlier this month, three of us traveled to a boat safety class. Rules of the Water, basically.

The morning of the class was cold. Very cold. Not normal May weather, cold. We couldn't find any travel mugs, so we put our early-morning tea in normal Christmas mugs and took them with us to the class. We got there just in time, but to sit together we had to sit in the sixth row.

The class was led by the deputy of the town, in the marina. Did I mention it was cold outside? It was also cold inside because the marina does not have air conditioning, or heat. I was thankful I'd last-minute grabbed my Olivet sweater (which says 'alumni, and which I may now 'officially' wear), and wishing I still had a blanket in the trunk of my car. My nose was cold to the touch within minutes. I wished for gloves. At least my teeth didn't start chattering until after we'd taken the test.

When all three of us were done with the test, and the deputy had signed our licenses, we ran to the car and blasted the heat. We drove back, and huddled together until we were finally warm again, hoping we'd get a lot of use out of these licenses.

So if you need to know how many times to toot your boat's whistle to tell another boat you're going to give way to the right, or you want to know which end of the boat you should detach from the dock, considering the current flow and wind direction, let me know -- and I'll consult the booklet we got at the class.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The day feels long, stretching before you like a brilliant void. Like a black hole of nothing. You want it to be over. You ache because of the worthlessness of those twenty four hours that seem to have slowed for your personal torture.

The day feels long, stretching gloriously before you. Whispered conversations, ideas, and plans that seem to take seconds. Time walks peacefully next to you as you breathe deep and take life one crisis at a time.

The day drags. It is monotony. It is merely routine. Day after day drags dreadfully, dubiously.

The day prances playfully, like the sunshine. Adventure lurks, laughing and giddy, around every corner, every bud, every breath of wind, and birdsong.

Length boils down to perception.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Be Creative, They Tell Me

You'll come up with something. We want to see what you come up with on your own. We don't want to influence you. Just be creative. Go for it.
But it's not that easy.

Here are the rules you must follow. And your deadline.
Your creativity has to fit in this box.
And don't forget about these rules.
But it's not that easy.

Creativity is hard to define. I don't know about you, but I need a few parameters. When everything in the world is an option I go on overload and can't decide which way to be creative. As if it's something you decide. But the other extreme is when there are so many parameters you can't breathe let alone wiggle and get creative.

Creativity is complicated. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

My freshman year, a friend told me that her favorite book was Stargirl. A year or so later I was book shopping at a thrift store and saw the book. I decided to buy it, but it sat unread on my shelf ever since. Until this week.

It was one of those books where you couldn't predict the ending. Once in a while I predicted something during the book, but I could never pin how I thought it would end. There are many good thoughts, and some very good writing. Once in a while I read a phrase that seemed corny, but overall they were few. The characters, even Stargirl, were believable.

The book speaks about conformity, about staying 'who you are', about the value of friends.

When Leo needs to decide between friends, Archie advises him to think about whose company he values more. This gives Leo a lot to think about.

And me.

It made me think of James 4:4, and even Galatians 2:10 to an extent, which I'll let you read on your own.
Because like Leo, we have to make a decision. And if we apathetically don't decide, that is our decision.