Monthly Archives: April 2016

Proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

I read this verse during my devotion this morning and the words have been at the back of my mind all day. First, I think this would be a great graduation verse, way better than Jeremiah 29:11. 

Second, though, I have been thinking about how hard it is to acknowledge that in the end, God determines the steps I take. I don’t mean in the big things. It is comforting to look back on my big life decisions and see how God was at work. What is hard to hand over is the little things.

Today was a big day for me. I was hosting an open house event for my office and I really wanted it to go well. With this verse in mind, I told myself it was okay to relax. Whether I succeeded or not, God was in control. Almost, I allowed this realization to calm me.

However, there was another voice that refused to calm down. Handing everything over to God was too much like giving up. I told myself I needed a stronger internal locus of control, not something to pass decisions off on. I needed the extra stress, I reasoned, to keep me sharp. I want to be stronger, grittier. Which wasn’t necessary bad. 

The problem is when I begin to draw a false line between ‘handing my stress over to God’ and ‘being responsible.’ They naturally flow together. Letting go does not mean behaving irresponsibly. If anything, it reminds me where my priorities should be. I just wish it didn’t feel like such a hard balance to learn sometimes! 


The Color of a Balloon

“Elijah, I don’t know what to doooooo,” I wailed. “I didn’t want to go with blue and white balloons so I got blue and green. I am afraid they are going to be ugly. Do you think they will be ugly? I’m afraid they will be. I should have gone with blue and red. But I didn’t want it to be awkwardly patriotic. But I should have done it. What was I thinking? I got blue and green. What if they are HIDEOUS together? What am I going to do? BLUE AND GREEN WAS A HORRIBLE IDEA. What do you think? They are going to look horrible together.”

After a few non-committal shrugs, my sensible youngest brother finally replied, “If they don’t look good together, just separate them.”   

Sometimes, a sensible word is all it takes. Immediately, I calmed down. The problem wasn’t insurmountable, it was barely an issue. However, I was so freaked out by a million little details that I couldn’t see a solution. 

Today was very long and full of details; I hate details. I am a big picture person and I don’t really care if the balloons are blue or green or even white. Yet I think I ought to care and I worry that I have made the wrong decision and it becomes a big, insurmountable Issue. 

Thankfully, my family members know when I’m getting lost in the details. I am grateful for them and all the other sensible people in my life. They provide strength, wisdom, and the occasional epiphany for when I lose sight of the event because I am so focused on the colors. 

 


A Re-rereview of The Blue Sword

Today I finished re-reading The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley…again. Not only have I read this particular book countless times, I have reviewed on this blog before. However, once again I find myself disagreeing with an earlier opinion. I loved the story in high school, found it disappointing in college, and now love it again. I love because in it I see the younger me, but also because I see the current me too. I see the themes, ideas, and characters that fed me. It is like the Inkheart quote:

“Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?…As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.”

The Blue Sword is an old friend. We had a bit of a separation, but now we are good again. In fact, better. Looking at the story now, I realize what an impact it had on me. It wasn’t that I wanted to visit Damar, like I would Narnia. It was rather that I wanted to be Hari, in a way I never felt about Susan or Lucy. I emotionally connected with her. I understood her boredom and I wanted to escape it like she did. I wanted to go on a quest. I wanted to discover secret guardians and magical abilities. I wanted to be a brilliant horsewoman and swordsman and save the day. I loved Hari for her confusion and frustration and emotions. I loved her for her courage. I wanted to face the world with the same determination as Hari; I too wanted to be part of something greater.

In 2011, I raved about the book but claimed it was only a 4 star. In 2013, I semi-criticized my own contentment and basically declared myself too grown up for the story. Now, I find myself a little older and (I hope) a little wiser and I relate more to C.S. Lewis’s words to his goddaughter, “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” For me in 2016, this is beyond a 5 star read. This is a cherished memory.

I am always drawn to authors who claim Robin McKinley as a favorite author. It is like we share a secret understanding about fantasy and what makes it good. This book is at a level with my other favorite fantasy novels, like Plain Kate, The Silver Bowl Series (the first two, at any rate), The Queen’s Thief Series and The Chronicles of Prydain. However, it tops them because it comes with a special connection from growing up. I treasure The Blue Sword because of that, and I hope I won’t lose thta knowledge again.


“Lost Boy” by Ruth B

I have had the song “Lost Boy” stuck in my head over the last few days. I have a like/dislike relationship with the song (love/hate seems too strong for the emotion.) It has a beautiful, melancholy melody with memorable, nostalgic lyrics. It really is quite pretty. However, the literary literalist in my brain always feels the need to chime in…and the literary literalist objects to the idealization of a rather morbid children’s book. 

Here are the lyrics to “Lost Boy”:

There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely, ” and ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling
Even Captain Hook, you are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

And for always I will say

I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality

Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

Pretty, right? But here is the thing. In the book Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, Neverland is far from an ideal escape world. It is literally a world of warfare, where Indians hunt Pirates and Pirates hunt Lost Boys and Lost Boys hunt Indians. And what do they do when they catch them? They kill ’em! But guess what, if you are a Lost Boy and manage to not get killed by a Pirate, Peter Pan kills you himself once you hit puberty! Peter Pan is the only one who never ages. Everyone else does, and pays the consequence when they do. Fun, right? 

Don’t judge the book by its morbidness. At least, judge it after you’ve given it a try. Peter Pan really is a wonderful, childish, yet wild story. I really enjoyed it. You just have to erase from your mind the Disney version!  

So actually, the song has very little do with the actual story. I know there is probably a whole, involved argument that could be made about mixing stories with pop culture and the different appearances it takes. I’m not sure I am up for it tonight, though!

Here is the song on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3m_V1XNPxA 


Why Is Waking Up So Hard To Do?

In the spirit of not waiting till the last moment, I decided to write this post first thing this morning. If I’m honest, this is a mediocre solution because I’m still half-asleep. However! This phenomenon has inspired today’s post. Why is it so hard to get out of bed? 

I decided to start with a simple Google search and, like with most Google searches about health, quickly concluded something was dramatically wrong with me. Does grogginess in the morning really mean I have chronic fatigue or restless leg syndrome or an underlying psychiatric disorder? I’m guessing no. If that were the case, just about everyone I know has something seriously wrong with them! A little more research, however, and I did find two “answers” that made a lot more sense and actually offer some helpful thoughts for getting up in the morning. (That said, they still came from a Google search, so I am taking them with a grain of salt) 

Observation 1: Phase Delay
Basically, everyone has an inner clock inside their head that tells them when to wake up. Often, that inner clock sets a later time than life requires. It is possible to reprogram the clock to an earlier time, but you have to remain consistent. Sleeping in on the weekends often “resets” that clock and confuses your body. Those extra hours of sleep cause more stress come Monday because your inner clock now things your wake up time is noon. http://bit.ly/1qLMXU8

Observation 2: Sleep Inertia
According to this article, when you sleep, you go through 4 different sleep cycles. If you wake up in the deepest part of that sleep (stages 3 or 4), “the hormones that keep us sleeping soundly are still coursing through our bloodstream.” http://bit.ly/1Nt4lHW The advise from the article? Don’t hit the snooze button. Even if you feel groggy, force yourself to get out of bed and shake off the grogginess. Otherwise you are restarting the cycles.

I am sure there are lots of other studies and reasons out there. I was just looking for a brief overview. I have realized that it takes discipline to get up in the morning. However, I found a few interesting tips on helping yourself sleep better and get up in the morning that make it easier. For example, it is helpful to reduce screen time beforehand, eat a light snack or drink some water before bed, have your alarm clock play your favorite music, and eat right when you get up. My favorite piece of advise, though, is this: Do Something Fun In The Morning. If you are looking forward to something, it will motivate you to get out of bed! http://huff.to/1sqGJGb


What Pinterest Reveals About My Brain

 

Some of my boards on Pinterest are normal and self-explanatory and have titles like ‘Comical’ or ‘Hunger Games’. This is not my natural inclination. I don’t think in normal, categorical ways. Some girls (like my sisters)  have cutesy, or at least practical, names for their boards.  ‘Nails and Makeup’ ‘Cute Hairstyles’ ‘I Would Wear That!’ ‘Something Yummy’ ‘abode’ ‘words’ ‘crafts’ ‘giggles’….for example. All are pretty self-explanatory. 

I tend to group things more…surreally. Or at least more randomly. For example: ‘Awesome’ ‘Random Moments of Awesome’ and ‘Random Things I Like’ are similarly titled groups with similar pins. Yet all of them are very distinct in my mind. I just don’t know how to verbalize the distinction!

For example, a few from Awesome: 

Mr. Tilney & Miss Catherine Morland:

Cinderella live action and animation movie by Rodrigo Yborra Art:

 :

adventures of George Washington:

 

From Random Moments of Awesome:

 :

WHAAAAT:

Hehehe:

aww yeah history:

 

And then there is Random Things I Like:

Rapunzel Pirate:

Smooth.:

Metabolism Boosting Foods:

Elsa at Christmas:

 

There are also my ‘For Anna’ ‘For Hope’ and ‘For Bethany’ boards, which are a little easier to explain. I pin things to those boards I think Anna, Hope, or Bethany would enjoy. ‘One Day I Am Going to Use This Meme’ is my favorite board because that is where I store gifs and memes for my Goodreads book reviews. I also have ‘Crafts’ ‘Crafty Patterns’ ‘Good To Know’ ‘Powerful’ ‘Wise Words’ ‘blog’ and ‘Blog Memes’ among other similar, but different, boards.

Now you might be thinking, ‘I DON’T GET IT. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS POST.’ And that is just the thing! This is what it is like in my brainPinning is a gut instinct. I don’t think ‘Princess’ or ‘Disney’ or anything truly categorical at all. I just emotionally react and stick it on the board based on my subjective, gut-instinct. I suspect this is an ENFP-thing. But at any rate, that is how my brain processes the world. I find it difficult to organize things or read maps or put things in little boxes because my brain is going ‘DISNEY…NO WAIT….MR. TILNEY….FUNNY…FOOD?..HISTORY!…HAPPINESS!’

oh my darling darling boy.. why so adorable and perfect? why???:

 

Also, I’ve really got to stop writing these posts so late at night. They turn out weird. I hope this one made sense! Until tomorrow! 

 


Whatcha Watching…? 4/23/16

I was going to do another ‘Whatcha Reading’ update but I haven’t been reading much lately. 

Actually, I should probably explain that statement. I am reading. Just not at my usual level. When I feel so inclined, I pick up Think Like a Freak by  Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt or Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. I’m also still listening to Don Quixote in the car. I finally reached the halfway point; the book is taking forever

For me, this is not reading. My focused has shifted (it does quite often) and I’ve been watching a Korean drama lately. It is called One More Happy Ending and I really like it so far. The plot follows 4 former girl band members years after their band disbanded. One of them is married, another divorced, another engaged, and finally (you guessed it) one is single.

The plot primarily follows the divorcée and is typical k drama trope. Cute, but nothing mind-blowing. However, the side plots following the other characters provide surprising depth. Though recently (I’m on episode 8) it has gotten a bit fantastical, their struggles seem realistic and genuine. It is interesting to see an actress like Yoo In-Na branch out into a different type of role as the “ugly” duckling. 

I don’t think I would recommend this as a first drama, but it is so far a nice, mature one, especially as a break from the high school dramas. Entertaining and with actual character depth…I look forward to seeing where this drama goes! 

One More Happy Ending: Jang Nara, Yoo Da In, Yoo In Na, Seo In Young. #kdrama: