Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Forest For The Trees

I recently talked with a friend of mine about trees. We share an affinity for trees for similar, but not identical reasons. There's just something about trees that is just reassuring and solid. They've seen a lot of history. Unfortunately, the same thing I love about their resilience and the reliability of their presence is also the same thing that also causes me to take them for granted. They're always there. Mostly, I notice them when they change with the seasons, which always gets me thinking about how they survive the cruelest of winters to come back every spring.
This conversation got me thinking about other things in nature that I'm drawn to. There are certain things I love that I (and most people who know me) am completely aware of. Lilacs, rainbows, anything having to do with spring. But I bet there are things in nature and in life that I'm drawn to without even realizing it. I'm going to make an effort to discover some of these things.

Current Music: This Is Me (You're Not Talking To), Randy Travis
Current Read: Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thirteen Random Things

  1. One of my favorite bloggers, Lee over at Little Nuances is back online. I'm quite happy about this and I hope you'll check him out.
  2. There's this quote that I'm loving as of late. I just can't bear to put it on my list of faves next to the stuff by Mother Teresa and Emerson. "They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But that's only if you twist the blade and lift up."
  3. I'm really starting to dislike emergency rooms.
  4. I found a new text & graphics tool, similar to Wordle. This one searches google images and blends them with the text you enter. Not sure about the applications because of copyright issues, but it still looks like fun.
  5. My friend Paula posted pictures of the bears in her yard to her Facebook page. This totally made my day. I can't wait to go to Alaska!
  6. Now that the Olympics are over, I need to seriously consider getting back to working out. I couldn't very well go work out over the last 2 weeks. I had to watch those athletes!
  7. I found this great video game for people with cancer from Hope Lab. It's quite a lot of fun. Except when your character dies. There ought to be some counseling involved if your character in the game where you are fighting cancer doesn't survive.
  8. I'm stalled on my current reading project.
  9. Let's not even talk about my current writing project.
  10. Furthermore, Netflix has effectively stalled my movies for the upcoming holiday weekend. I'm media deprived.
  11. Did you know the leaves start to sound different late in the summer even before they change color? Seriously, if you listen they rustle more and just sound more autumn like.
  12. The Anti Cruelty Society has a program where they temporarily house animals in crisis situations including domestic violence.
  13. It's really hard to come up with 13 random things when I haven't written in a while.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

13 Favorite Gifts

  1. A couple of Christmases ago I got a custom made poster for my brother, showing the night sky over Chicago on the day he was born. This was special for him because his birthday is on September 11th. His reaction was priceless.
  2. The Christmas before last was a very sad one for me. A good friend of mine sent me Kleenex.
  3. The first Christmas with my college roommate I got her a Disney movie she said was her favorite. She laughed until she cried when she opened it because it was one of those things that she'd just never get for herself.
  4. I love the dictionary my aunt got my for my 8th grade graduation. The inscription makes it even more special.
  5. Along with that I love the thesaurus my brother got for me.
  6. Another aunt got me a postal scale so I can mail manuscripts without having to go to the post office. More than just office equipment, she invested in and validated my efforts at writing.
  7. Several years ago I gave 90% of my beanie baby collection away to my young second cousins. There were many children and many beanie babies; pretty much the kind of fun Christmas is all about.
  8. My ipod. Just about the only big ticket item on the list. It really improves my quality of life to be able to have portable music.
  9. The tooth fairy gave me a great teddy bear when I got my wisdom teeth out.
  10. I looked for a long time for the perfect bear for my kitchen (I need at least one bear in every room). When I was on a random shopping trip with a friend we found a Smokey the Bear. He got it for me just because.
  11. I've given a bear to each of my friends when they have a baby. That's fun.
  12. An old friend lost her childhood toy in a fire. I went on a mission to find a replacement in antique stores. It was so worth it.
  13. The ornaments my mom gets for my Christmas tree, because she supports the idea that only teddy bear ornaments are allowed on my tree.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gold Medals

Once again I have a random stream of consciousness going that I'm not sure will amount to anything coherent. Last night I was at a meeting, so the lack of posting wasn't related to my lack of organized thought.
I'm loving the Olympics. The gymnastics, diving, and swimming are my favorites. Though I'm not quite sure why we have both volleyball and beach volleyball.
This week I gave my Creative Writing group the assignment of creating their own category of competition and handing out gold medals. Without exception, my group members gave out gold medals for merit in some area of relationships. Perhaps it was someone they directly interacted with and benefited from; a parent, a teacher. Other times it was simply someone they admire for how that person relates to others. Someone who has been a role model or demonstrated dedication towards helping others. I have to say I was proud of my group members for acknowledging that compassion, honesty and other relationship characteristics are more deserving of medals than speed or physical strength.
As an aside, my friends LeAnne and Crystal, along with Awareness, have posted some excellent thoughts as of late. Stop by and visit them for something a little more substantial than when I'm writing at the moment.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Do you ever wonder if God understands everything about what you go through? Some people think He'll understand about the big stuff, but sometimes it seems like the day to day stuff we deal with is fairly inconsequential. We kind of treat those things as though they are simply things we just have to deal with on our own.
I'm sometimes guilty of falling into that trap myself. The other night I was reading the Psalms and these verses reminded He gets even the "little things."

"My heart is in anguish within me,
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
And I say ' O that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
truly I would flee far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness;
I would hurry to find a shelter for myself
from the raging wind and tempest'...
It is not enemies who taunt me-
I could bear that;
it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me-
I could hide from them.
But it is you, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend,
with whom I kept pleasant company...
My companion has laid hands on a friend
and violated a covenant with me
with speech smoother than butter,
but with a heart set on war;
with words that were softer that oil,
but in fact were drawn swords."

Friday, August 08, 2008

What Is There To Say?

About a year and a half ago I experienced the loss of someone I was very close to. Many people were very supportive of me during that time. Since then, I've experienced other losses and I've learned a great deal, some through the support of others and some in the absence of that support.
Now one of the friends who was so supportive during my time of grief is mourning a loss of her own. And despite everything I've read, everything I know about loss, and the countless acts of care and concern I've experienced from others, I do not know what to do or say. I cannot think of anything that would do justice to the kind of friendship she has shown me in my times of need. I cannot think of anything that can for one second diminish the helpless, empty pain of her loss.
There is hope for the future. And that does not change the fact that now is hard.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

13 Things About Happy Fun Night

  1. I've got a disc of Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends to watch tonight!
  2. I'm thinking of downloading this very cool video game targeted towards people fighting cancer.
  3. The Olympics start in two days and I'm very much looking forward to watching.
  4. I've got the AC off and the windows open for the first time in days.
  5. I still have some Dean's chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream for dessert.
  6. I've also got some delicious bread someone from work gave to me.
  7. I have lots of podcasts to catch up on.
  8. The train tracks by my house are now designated a quiet zone at night.
  9. I'm actually starting to feel like I might want to get organized.
  10. I'm actually starting to feel like I might want to write.
  11. The book discussion has started off well.
  12. It's less than 3 weeks before my friend comes back to work.
  13. Everything feels better after a really good thunderstorm.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Assorted Thoughts

Normally when I come back from a conference I take a day or two to metabolize all the information that was presented. So that's why I did not post yesterday as I usually try to do on Mondays. I'm still pretty lost in my head, so this isn't going to be the organized reflection I was hoping to write. I toyed with the idea of just posting the word salad in my brain and asking you to make sense of it, but I decided to try to make it a little more put together than that.
  • My brother says social networking applications are basically a big time sink. To some extent, I agree; but we all need a bit of something to sink our free time into now & again. Today I read an article on reasons to Twitter. Two reasons stuck out for me. One is that you are limited to posts of 140 characters. It forces you to write tightly. The other reason is it also forces you to think about what you do on a more "moment by moment" basis. Twittering puts your daily activities in a virtual fishbowl. So might the "time sink" actually lead to better choices for how to spend your time?
  • A quote I heard at the conference this weekend "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist." This really resonates with me & I've shared it with a few people which has led to some great discussion. Maybe I'll post more about it later.
  • I'm re-reading Walking On Water by Madeline L'Engle. If you follow this blog at all, you know it's one of my favorite books. Every time I read it, I get a new insight. Last night I read how artistic choices are choices of love. Both love and art are creational (is that a word?) and relational. And at times, confrontational. She says, "In a day when we are taught to look for easy solutions, it is not easy to hold on to that most difficult one of all, love." Later, she speaks of writing a novel as a risky venture many of us would step away from when it "demands a conscious falling through the window, a journey through the looking glass." Yes, I can see the connection between art and relationships.