Tibias and Tectonics.

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Sherlock Holmes isn’t aware that the earth revolves around the sun. Sherlock Holmes is way smarter than I will ever be.

I’ve been rereading A Study In Scarlet lately, and I think my favorite part is when Watson is shocked to learn that Holmes has no knowledge of astronomy.

“That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
‘You appear to be astonished,’ he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. ‘Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.’
‘To forget it!’
‘You see,’ he explained, ‘I consider that a man’s brain is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.’
‘But the Solar System!’ I protested.
‘What the deuce is it to me?’ he interrupted impatiently: ‘you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.'”

It got me thinking, what am I stocking my brain with? I’m certainly not overly careful with only taking in useful information (I don’t think I’d love Jeopardy so much if I didn’t have such a wealth of useless trivia). But really, what is the information that I’m pushing out in order to keep the more consequential stuff in place?

For me, the ‘why should I care’ category is, unfortunately, science. Space, elements, the bones in the human body… I couldn’t tell the difference between a tibia and a tectonic plate if they slapped me across the face. I think science is a really important subject, and I hugely respect scientists. But I’ve never felt called to the scientific realms, and honestly, I have never seen any reason to look further into a subject that will have little bearing on my writing. (Unless I someday write a story about a scientist, then I would willingly dive into the scientific world, with fervor!)

How about you, what’s the subject you pretend doesn’t exist?

PS- For advice, I asked my mom, “what’s something I know nothing about?” Her reply was “dairy cows”, so I figured I’d add that to the roster. I know nothing of dairy cows.

PPS- A parting word from Holmes: “‘It’s quite exciting,’ said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.”

photo credit

Hair and Cares.

I dyed my hair.

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Maybe I’m thinking way too deeply about this, but I feel like it’s a really symbolic situation.

See, my hair has been blonde since I was born, blonde is my comfort zone. I’ve slunk through life, not challenging myself. I thought that if I stepped out and did things that scared me or liked the things I wanted to like, I’d be gaining attention, and attention scares me to death.

So when I made a split second decision to go red and ran out to buy some Clairol Red Hot; sat down on my grandma’s antique kitchen stool and felt my sisters slather my hair with dye, I was a little nervous. (Mainly because my hairstylist told me not to dye my hair red, and I am not generally a rebellious person.)

Then one of my sisters looked at my bright orange head and told me, “Margaret, you never would’ve done this a year ago,” and she was 100% correct. A year ago, red hair was a “yeah right, maybe someday when I’ve brave” idea. It was just was too huge of a commitment.

What if I change my mind? What if it looks bad? What if it’s too bold? What if people don’t like it?

But for once, when I looked at the dye soaking into my hair, I realized that I wasn’t scared. I knew that I was a different person from the doubtful girl I was a year ago.

I’ve learned that it’s kind of fun to do the thin

gs that scare you. Facing my fears in the past year has given me the power to quiet my doubts. And when I looked in the mirror and saw my new hair, I didn’t feel anxious anymore, I felt brave.

Like I said, probably reading into it way too much, but there’s my deep thought for the day. 🙂

Happy And Birthdays.

[Note: Normally I’m a very private person, but I think this is something that’s very important to be honest about because I thought I was the only one struggling, and perhaps my journey can help someone else]

I’ve always hated my birthday. I spent my sixth in bed with chicken pox, my tenth and my twenty-second in tears, and quite a few others in just a generally sour temper.

See, I have a mean little part of my brain that I like to call my “happiness” sector. It’s the part of my brain that’s always compartmentalizing, always looking around at my life and saying, “Are you sure you can be happy with this?”

I’ve always been a big people pleaser. A kind word could make my heart soar, a disparaging comment could bring me down to the dust. When, after high school, everyone I knew was reaching what I saw as the heights of their lives, going to college, making new friends, doing things that I wasn’t doing, I fell into the false belief that that gave them more worth. My happiness sector told me that I didn’t add up, because I wasn’t checking all of the boxes that society told me were normal for my age. I felt guilt for not living up to society’s expectations for me, and I compared myself to others who were living up to them.

You know what ALWAYS comes from comparison? Unhappiness. And unhappiness piles on even more discouraging thoughts, the “why can’t I be like everyone else?” and the “Will I ever be happy, when there will always be people who are better than me?”

Last year, on my twenty-second birthday, I was still in the trap of believing that I wasn’t living up to expectations. Just like many other years, my birthday brought my attention to the lack of anything to be ‘proud’ of. It brought my attention to all of the things in my life that I was missing.

It’s a dangerous place to be, basing your happiness off your circumstances. Last year around this time, 90% of my time was spent asking myself, “You’re not good enough, you have all of these things you should be dwelling on and worry about, you think you deserve to be happy?” I was always telling myself that surely others looked down on me, because I was ‘only’ this or that. ‘Only’ is a dangerous word.

But my question above, “will I ever be happy, when there will always be people who are better than me?” is the question that changed my life. Suddenly I wondered, why did it matter how I compared to others, when I knew there would always be someone to outrank me? When I finally gave myself permission to forget what others thought about me, and realized that the only opinions that mattered to me were those of my siblings’ and my parents’ opinions, my opinion of myself, and most importantly, God’s Opinion of me. I wondered how I had gotten to the point where the opinions of people I barely knew meant more to me than God’s.

ac94d1e87f1811e3a0620e39fd499eff_8 It was a hard change to finally come to the realization that joy was not based in checking items off my list, doing things that others would approve of. And when I finally learned that I could live my life without always asking myself what other peoples’ opinions of me were, I found true JOY for the first time in my life. It was joy based not in circumstances, but in the freedom I had found from expectations. God’s opinion of me gave me freedom and contentment instead of the depression I found when relying on the opinions of others.. I learned what it is to live a life free of expectations and free of circumstances.

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And this year for the first time in a long time, I am excited for my birthday. Because no longer am I compartmentalizing, wondering if I deserve happiness. I know what true joy is and that I can be happy. And though I haven’t achieved any hugely tangible accomplishment since last year, it has taught me a priceless lesson, how to be joyful in any situation. And for that, I can say that I am eternally thankful for my twenty-second year, theyear that begun with tears and will end with laughter.

[PS: Thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday. It will be a happy one indeed! I’m going to be wearing shorts all day, eating picnic foods and pretending that it’s summer. 🙂 ]

[Sorry I haven’t been reading any of your blogs. I’ve gotten really behind, but I will catch up soon!]

[PPPS: Enjoy.]

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As you can see, I’ve been familiar with hairspray from a very young age.

The Travel Bug.

Maybe it’s the gray skies outside my window. Maybe it’s the anticipation of the coming weekend that shakes up the wanderlust inside me. All I can say is that I’m reading to shake the dust of the Pacific Northwest off my shoes and hit the road.

My [dream] destination?

Monacoooooo.

 

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These pictures are mine, from a beautiful, dreamy day I spent there once.

See that water? The water that matches the perfectly clear sky? I’m going to be in that water someday soon. Or maybe not so soon…. I’ll be in it someday though.

154439_1583233895540_1929431_nI’m almost considering withdrawing all my money from the bank and hopping a plane. The only thing is that I’m not rich enough to live down the street from Monte Carlo, so for now, I’ll just stare at these pictures.

What’s your travel dream?

 

Pygmy Goats and Farms.

With all of the humongous lotteries popping up every time I turn around, I can’t help but find myself floating off into dreams of what I’d do with millions and billions of dollars at my fingertips. Barring donations to charity (because I would hope that donating would be a given) I don’t have very expensive taste and I always hope that I wouldn’t go nuts, no matter how much money I had.

But let’s be honest, you can’t know until you’re in the situation. Maybe I would end up going hog wild, buy a car for every day of the week and run up a charge account at Neiman Marcus. Like I said though, I hope not.

Honestly, the first thing that popped into my head that I would like to have is…. a sheep. I’d buy a sheep, hop in my car (okay, maybe I’d buy one new car), and hightail it out to Idaho. Then I’d buy a dumpy old farmhouse with good bones and spend all my time with Netflix on nonstop, DIYing the renovation process -I am the daughter of a builder. And when it was done, I’d buy a pygmy goat, some chickens, and a dog, and bribe my family to move there with me. And then I would live happily ever after on my farm. WIth periodic breaks for vacations to the Mediterranean just to break up the monotony. 😉

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I wish these were my pictures, but they’re not. Because I don’t live in Idaho.

What would you do if you won the lotto?

Same Song.

Aaaand as of yet, I still have not gotten any time to write this week. I have, however, found the time to read 90% of the posts on YoungHouseLove (which brought me to the conclusion that I need to acquire a fixer-upper, stat), bake two pies, watch five episodes of Hart Of Dixie on Netflix (which brought me to the decision that I need to move to Alabama), wash five loads of laundry, run errands I’ve been putting off for weeks and go out for fish and chips.e39ec8907d6711e398f312d253216e43_8

Isn’t it funny how many things there are to do when you’re supposed to be doing something else?

But hey, I’ve got the rest of the week, and I’m planning on devoting all of tomorrow evening to kicking back with a warm glass of milk and my master plan.

b43022047aa411e3a5570e29e0bdbc01_8If you need me, I’ll just be locked away writing… Or maybe cooking gumbo or washing the car or shopping or reading or riding my bike. You never know what will come up when you’ve got other things to do!

Goals and Terrors.

When I was in high school, Mondays always made me nervous. Why? Well, because I was always terrified of going back to class and learning that I’d have to, gulp, talk in front of people.

Yes, like zillions of people all over the world, I hate public speaking.. Attention makes my head get foggy, and when I have to think about what I’m trying to say with a bunch of eyes on me… things get sweaty.

So it’s not all that surprising that I decided on being a writer. It’s one of the most antisocial jobs out there.

At least before you factor in blogging, and networking, and all of those fun caveats that come along with the dream. But they really don’t count to me, because as long as all of you can’t actually see me fidgeting and getting all shifty-eyed while I’m trying to come up with the right words to say what I want to say, I’m cool as a cucumber.

In the grown up world after graduation, the occasions when I’m forced to speak in front of a large group are few and far between. Finally, my blood pressure has gotten used to seeing smooth waters.

But this morning when I woke up, I felt something strange. I felt anxious. My heart has been beating like it’s literally full of coffee and my hands are so sweaty that it’s probably safer if I don’t try to carry any china.

I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t have an impending speech or presentation. It’s almost more nervewracking. I’ve made myself a deadline, and that deadline is closing in with terrifying speed.

e457c5c84c0411e38ee212ae0e21946a_8I told myself that I MUST finish ALL outlining master plan-ing by my birthday, with enough detail that I could begin writing my book in earnest without stopping to think, “Wait, where am I going with this scene? What’s supposed to be happening?”. Enough detail for each scene so that I can go back to the master plan and know exactly what happens in each scene and how everyone acts toward each other, and how that ties into the eventual ending.

Which sounds a little over the top, but as I said, I’m all or nothing! I’m actually learning how much more fun it is to write scenes off a really detailed outline (I’ve cheated and written up a few scenes), and I just keep telling myself how quickly writing is going to go once that plan is all finished.

People, my birthday is Saturday. This is going to be busy week, and I’m scared.

Wish me luck!

How’s everyone else’s writing going?

Listen here.

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I think that it’s important to read a lot of well written literature while writing. It rubs off on the reader and raises the quality of their own writing.

Unfortunately, I’m a lazy busy person, and I don’t get around to finishing many books lately… I tried to read The Count Of Monte Cristo recently and fell off the wagon on page thirty. It’s sad, but when life speeds up, reading is the first thing to fall by the wayside.

Lucky for me, I have a beautiful little device called an iPhone, which downloads audiobooks for me to listen to so I can pretend that I’m academic.

I’ve heard some people say that audiobooks don’t count as books (for the very reason that you aren’t reading them), but I don’t like to listen to others, so I’m going to listen to audiobooks until the sky falls down and crushes my phone.

Or something like that.

It’s so helpful to be able to listen to stories while I’m doing laundry or driving or cleaning the house. Even though I’m not literally reading, I’m absorbing literature, and it’s helped me ‘read’ so many books that I know I never would’ve gotten around to reading.

I highly, highly recommend Librivox. It’s a free app, and I’ve gotten hours and hours of entertainment from it. 100% worth the (no) money.

Today I’m going to share a few of my favorite audiobooks in hopes that someone else can discover new books that they would’ve never gotten around to reading!

1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

imagesThis is probably in my top 2 favorite books. I listened to it on Librivox, and the man who read it has such a warm yet stoic voice that he moved me to tears multiple times (me, cry? Shocker, I know). I was so inspired by the very artful way that Harriet Beecher Stowe writes about the evils of slavery and how dark life seems sometimes, yet also about how God is always with us, even when He seems absent. I ‘read’ it during a period of my life when I was learning very parallel lessons about God’s Presence in my life, and I’ve never read a book that struck me so to the core.

2. Olive by Dinah Maria Craik

oliveillustratedI read somewhere that Olive was inspired by Jane Eyre, but I have to admit that I don’t see much resemblance, I loved Olive far more than I loved Jane Eyre. I’ve never read a book with such believably flawed characters. Olive is surrounded by so many imperfect people, but she is such a loving, lovable character in all the ways she interacts with them. Every time I read it I’m inspired to see the good in people and be more gentle hearted like Olive. Also, the girl who reads it on Librivox has such a gentle voice that I’m sure she’s the only person who could do the story justice.

3. Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry


I am aware that A.) This is a speech, not a book, and B.) I am making known what a colossal nerd I am. But I’ve got to share it. If it introduces anyone else to one of my favorite speeches, it’s worth it! I LOVE this speech, I listen to it on walks, or while I’m falling asleep. I listen to it and mouth along with the words, and when he says “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me DEATH!” ….. Chills.

4. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Magic. This book is magic. To me, it’s about choosing to be joyful instead of sitting around thinking of all of the things that could scare you. Running in the sunshine instead of complaining about how hot it is. Tending the garden so that flowers can grow instead of only seeing the weeds.

5. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

I’ve loved Little Women since I was a Little Woman. I had a major crush on Theodore Laurence before I had grown in my permanent teeth. Little Women and I go way back. But I’ve got to say, An Old-Fashioned Girl was definitely Louisa May Alcott’s best book. It’s about not growing up too fast and cherishing little-girlhood. It makes me want to go back to being a little girl and stay that way forever.

What are your favorite books?

Number One.

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I was twelve. I still thought that my pink overall shorts from Old Navy were the height of fashion, and when I grew up, I wanted to be Lizzie McGuire. I could jump 1,050 times in a row on a pogo stick without falling down but the closest I had ever been to love was staring at a boy from 500 feet away.

It was sometime in the summer before I started seventh grade when one of the friends invited me to see a movie with her (and her parents because, you know, we were twelve and weren’t allowed to go to the movies alone). I actually went to the movie having no idea what I was in for, because I had never been to Disneyland and had never heard of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Never in my life will I forget the moment when, at the beginning of the movie, Will Turner’s face came on screen for the first time, and  my life changed forever. It was the moment that I realized what love was.

ImageOkay, okay, it wasn’t love, but infatuation, definitely. Suddenly there was this new world out there with brave, brown-eyed, english-accented men who could fence and climb rigging and steal ships. He was so dangerous, he sailed with the good pirates… he fought the bad ones. He had a beard (well, if you could call it a beard).

I remember watching the end scene where Elizabeth’s dad asks her if she’s sure that she wants to be with Will, because he’s only a blacksmith. Then Elizabeth says, “No, he’s a pirate”, and the distinct thought ran through my mind that I had never been so jealous of another person in my entire life.

The obsession waned sometime in middle school, but it never left me, and that day has always stayed with me. To this day, just the theme music will take me back to being twelve years old, in the days when I would give my friends candy in exchange for them printing out pictures of Orlando Bloom to put on my binders. Will Turner will always be a part of my adolescence.

I think everyone has their own ‘Will Turner’, the person who, maybe through a movie, maybe through a book, opened their eyes to the big world of infatuation. Who is your Will Turner?