"Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such responses do we find truth." -Madeleine L'Engle

     Life rarely happens poetically. But if I look for beauty, perhaps I can make beautiful things. If I take risks and love people, perhaps I won't regret it. If I read books and fill my head with words, perhaps I can live a thousand lives. If I listen to other people, perhaps I will learn something. If I sing, perhaps my heart will be full of music. If I follow God, perhaps life will be astonishing. If I write, perhaps people will read my words. If I do not fear life, perhaps something wonderful will happen. If my heart is open, perhaps I will learn compassion. If I ask questions, perhaps I will find answers. Perhaps I won't, but perhaps I will grow anyway.

Listening / Awake My Soul - Mumford & Sons
Reading / The 100 Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared


Thanksgiving 2012

      I had a splendid Thanksgiving. We spent Thursday with my mom's side of the family and Friday with my dad's side. I guess we kind of split the rest of the time between the two families.
At the Wildermuth house we snacked on apple and pumpkin pie all weekend.
My mom's cousin Mike and Great-Grandma Wilson spent Thursday with us.
Sam and I stayed up late and played cards with Aunt Shayna and the two grandmas.
I ate potato chips and cottage cheese with my leftover turkey sandwich.
Uncle Paul and his fiance Carrie talked about wedding plans.
The dogs dashed around the farm like wild creatures.
We walked on the gravel roads with Shayna, then we abandoned the paths and just scrambled up the hill.
We battled with two different ovens in an attempt to cook the turkey and the pies simultaneously.
Grandma's puppy dog Fritz chewed up her boots.
We played cards and chinese checkers.
Aunt Joy and Uncle Tim taught us how to play telephone pictionary.
We stayed up late and doubled over laughing at hilarious stories. 
Shayna taught Ben and Jason how to properly watch football.
We lit a fire in the wood oven and spent a cozy afternoon in front of it . . .

At the Morris house we had loud conversations.
Grandma cooked the turkey upside down so that the white meat was super tender.
Uncle Greg ate worcestershire sauce on everything (as usual).
(Great) Uncle Jim and Aunt Fina were there.
Grandma made her famous rolls and Carolyn made the mashed potatoes.
We went on a very short walk . . . it was short because our ears froze.
Quigley went with us and wrapped her leash three times around Carolyn's legs.
We watched the Jackie Chan version of Around the World in 80 days.
Jason rode his unicycle in the basement.
Carolyn made faces at my camera.
Uncle Chuck, Greg, and David were there.
We crammed four people on one little love-seat.
Everything was big, warm, loud, and hilarious.
It was splendid. 


Thanksgiving Begins

     It was foggy this morning. Warm and foggy. We're spending Thanksgiving with our family. David left his car at our house and we all drove up together. My grandparents from both sides have always lived close to each other, so we get to see all of them. We'll spend tomorrow at Grandma W's house and the next day at Grandma and Grandpa Morris's. It's going to be gorgeous.
     Holidays are funny. I can't remember the exact details of last Thanksgiving, I just remember Thanksgiving. Each holiday blends with every other holiday and details blur. It's all tradition and familiar people and sounds and smells and tastes . . . in short, perfectly wonderful.
       Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you have a splendid holiday. Laugh a lot and eat good food. I expect that's exactly what I shall be doing.


A Passion for Balance (SOC Linkup)

     Today I'm linking up with my good blogging friends Cait and Mime. They've grown rather famous for their Streams of Consciousness linkups, which I have neglected to join until this point. Why? Oh, I don't know . . . maybe because the idea of writing a blog post in FIVE MINUTES terrifies me!!!! It was kind of brutal. Five minutes is so inadequate. Ah well, what's done is done. Be nice to me ;)
Today's Prompt: Your Passion

     I’ve never thought of myself as a passionate person. I’m easygoing and solid, both outwardly and inwardly. At times I can even be stoic. I don’t get particularly worked up. I don’t write morbid or angst-filled poetry. I don’t have the stereotypical artistic personality. I’m just not that way.
     Just because passion doesn’t characterize me, doesn’t mean that I don’t have passions. It’s taken me a while to realize and admit that. I think my first, most obvious passion is creating. I love to create. You can tell that based on the things that I choose to spend my time on and the things that I choose to put effort into.
    But other than creating? I think my passions are a little weird. I’m passionate about understanding other people’s opinions. I’m passionate about not stating things or viewing things in black and white. I’m passionate about maintaining balance in all areas of life. That’s a weird passion for a teenager . . . or for anyone really. Balance. I’m not sure why it’s so important to me. I think I’ve seen what can happen when people go off the deep end. I’ve seen what happens when people only consider one set of facts and opinions and completely discard the other sets. It’s hard to explain really. But that’s what I’m passionate about . . . creating, thinking, and comparing/balancing ideas.

^more or less. ha!
Want to join the linkup? Click on over to the Notebook Sisters and make sure you follow these five rules:

1. Set your timer and write for 5 minutes.
2. Publish! (No editing. This is rough, unrefined writing.)
3. Grab our SOC button from the sidebar.
4. Sign in with our LinkUP on Sundays.
5. Stop by the other blogs and say hey!


How to Be Cozy

Looking for a way to stay cozy this November? Here's a method that has never failed me.

1. Choose at least two of these clothing items:
a) sweater
b) fuzzy socks
c) sweat-shirt
d) mocassins
e) slippers

2. Choose a hot drink:
a) tea
b) cocoa
c) cider
d) coffee

3. Choose a or b and combine with c, d, e, or all three:
a) couch//armchair
b) bed
c) comforter
d) fuzzy/furry blanket
e) lots of quilts

4. Choose a book:
a) Anne of Green Gables
b) All Creatures Great and Small
c) The Chronicles of Narnia
d) Insert favorite cozy book

Cozy now? Good. Now all you need is some snowflakes floating past your window. Maybe some cookies too ;)
P.S. Leave your choices and suggestions in the comments :)


Beauty & Thankfulness

    This year I've grown some. I think I've started noticing beauty more than I usually do. I've started looking for it on purpose, and I've found it in small things. I've consciously thought to myself this is lovely, this is wonderful, I like this. Sometimes I've remembered to thank God for beautiful things, but more often I haven't. I'm glad for the times I did. I thought I might feel dumb thanking God for trees or windows, but I really don't. It seems right.

     I wish I would grow a little more. I've been crabby for several months. Life has been rough since moving. It hasn't been rotten, it just hasn't been smooth, and I haven't responded well to that. I still notice beauty. I still feel like I'm cheerful, and I feel like an optimist. But optimism and happiness haven't really transferred from my head to my attitude and actions. It's easier to be a crabby bedroom-hermit, I guess. Noticing beauty is great, but I want to learn how to express that in my words and attitude.

     I'm thankful that I get to create beautiful things. I'm thankful for books, words, quotes, and libraries. I'm thankful for music and art. I'm thankful for genres, opinions, styles, perspectives . . . variety! I'm thankful that I'm an individual. I'm thankful for nice clothing, leather bags, comfortable shoes, and hats. I'm thankful for colors, textures, and shapes. I'm thankful that I've always had reasons to believe in love. I'm thankful that my grandma is safe. I'm thankful that her cancer is gone. I'm thankful for my camera and my dog. I'm thankful for my brothers and my parents. I'm thankful for new beginnings. I'm thankful that I'm free to notice and create beauty. November has been a good month. And I want, very badly, to get back into the habit of happiness.


Caramel Apples

     I made caramel apples today. The caramel didn't turn out perfectly smooth, but it tastes really good. I rolled most of them in pecans and drizzled them with chocolate. I dipped the last four apples in white chocolate and coated them in cinnamon sugar. We haven't eaten them yet (although we've sampled most of the ingredients), but I'm fairly confident that they're going to taste amazing. I like Sundays.


Triple Unicycles

Ben, Jason, Sam
     I had a nice quiet morning . . . I did a lot of writing and a lot of reading. I'm still behind on my word count for NaNoWriMo, but I've almost reached 10k. Woot! 1/5! In the afternoon, the boys all went to the park and Mom and I followed. See those three amazing people? Those are my brothers. :) You've probably heard about them before.
     All three of them are crazy about unicycles. It's kind of my aunt's fault . . . she bought one a few years ago, and Sam used to ride it in Grandma and Grandpa's basement. Then he bought one of his own . . . then he outgrew it . . . then he passed his old one on to Ben, and Jason got one for his birthday. The rest is history. Most recently, Sam and Ben acquired a "giraffe" unicycle which, as you can guess, is the super tall one.
     Today was extremely warm for November. I think there was a half-day at school, and there were a lot of people at the park. The boys get a lot of attention and funny comments . . . which they love. Sometimes comments distract them though, and they end up crashing ;) 
     There aren't very many colored leaves anymore, but there's this one giant tree on the corner on our street that's still very colorful. It's tall and oddly shaped. The top half doesn't have any leaves and seems to be partly dead. But there's a giant cluster of yellow leaves at the bottom, and they positively glow, regardless of what time of day it is. I still have no idea what I'm doing with the Canon T3i, but I'm enjoying it. Who wouldn't, with such interesting subjects?


NaNoWriMo Updates

     This novel-writing business has been interesting. I don't think I'm dedicated enough to make the 50k, especially since I'm 3,000+ words behind right now. However, I haven't written this many pages of fiction in a long time. I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter if it's all crappy at the end . . . I'll have 50,000 words! Good enough reason to keep writing?
     As far as updates go, the first two days were really smooth sailing. But the rest of them? Maybe not so much . . .

November 3

6:00 P.M. - I need to write at least 985 words tonight. I don’t wanna!
9:00 P.M. - Okay, okay. *Grumbles* I did it.
9:06 P.M. - Yay! I finally have a chapter that lasts for more than one page :-/   

November 4

6:32 P.M. - I suddenly feel as though I wrote everything in the wrong order. It’s all a mess. I introduced the characters and their backgrounds at the wrong time. It doesn’t make much sense, and I’m about to conclude that most of this is CRAP.

November 5

9:08 P.M. - I am totally re-writing this. I’m switching the perspectives, switching the order in which I tell events, developing my characters more, and probably changing my favorite character’s name. Aaaand of course I also happen to be 2,800+ words behind. Oh joy! I do not have time to catch up before going to bed.
10:10 P.M. - Well the word count has not risen. I’m going to have an awful time catching it up. However, I have written out descriptions of my characters and I feel much better. Next step is re-organizing and re-writing scenes from different perspectives.

November 6

11:49 A.M. - Aaaaaaaaaa!!!
7:49 P.M. - Ugh. UghUgh.
9:23 P.M. - Edited and re-organized all evening. I know, I know . . . not supposed to edit! But I feel better. And more than a thousand extra words appeared out of nowhere, so that’s good too.

     Can you tell that I'm horrible at first drafts? Horrible, horrible, horrible. I want to edit the life out of every sentence. I just can't leave it alone! Can't ignore the imperfections and keep going. Eeeesh! And this is completely unrelated, but I am really ready for election night to be over! 


November, November . . .

     I always think of November as a very dreary and grey month. Most of the leaves are gone, and everything is bare and chilly and wet. It's never been one of my favorite months.
     This November is just like any November (today is quite grey), but I think it's going to be a good month for me. Everything is finally starting to fall into place. Sam and I filled out our college applications for next semester, and we're going to driving school in a couple of weeks. Uncle David comes over on Sundays and eats lunch and supper with us. The fence is finally up, and the dogs are content. The house is still a work in progress, but it's slowly getting better. In a week or two, once the plaster-work is finished in my bedroom, I'll be able to paint it and make curtains for it and turn it into my happy space.

     We have a church now, and I'm glad. It's a very large church . . . on the small-ish side of mega, actually. It's quite different from a lot of the churches that we've attended in the past. But it's where we're at, and I think it's where we're supposed to be. The youth group is simply huge. Sam loves it, but it kind of scares me. Yesterday night was the first time that I actually enjoyed myself. I'm not an extreme introvert, but I am in new situations. It takes me a while to warm up. I have to have some time to figure out what's going on, and I have to be comfortable before I can loosen up and interact with people without freaking out. Sometimes it seems like I'm the only person who feels that way, but I know I'm not.

     That's the way it is with everything, I guess. You have to warm up to the situation, and you have to wait patiently for everything to fall in place. I knew that, of course, but I'm glad that everything is coming together now. Ugh, it feels like I've been living in transition for years! But it's really only been a few months (since July I guess). I'm so very ready to settle in and build a new life. Now if only I could get rid of that plaguey library probation!

Currently listening to: Weave Me The Sunshine
Weave Me The Sunshine by Peter, Paul & Mary on Grooveshark


Five Reasons Why I Read Classic Books

 "Classic" - a book which people praise and don't read. (Mark Twain)

     Classic books are interesting creatures. Sometimes they get knocked and disrespected because they're old or boring, but sometimes they are held in unnecessary reverence, simply because they are "classic." Maybe the best attitude is somewhere in between the two. I don't believe that anyone should pretend to like a book that they hate. I think a book should be judged by its content and not by its label or reputation. However, I do think that classics deserve a certain amount of respect, because people have loved and admired them for centuries. Books can influence people greatly! I think it's good to be familiar with the books that have influenced the world. So without further ado, here are five reasons why I read classic books . . . 

1. Reading a classic book gives you a feel for different time periods. It gives you a better idea of what people were talking about and thinking about during the time that the book was written.
2. Classic books stretch your brain. They improve your vocabulary and they make you think about different questions, perspectives, and viewpoints. Additionally, some of them are pretty hard to plow through, so it builds character ;)
3. The more classics you read, the more literary references you understand. (And understanding literary references makes you feel extremely smart.)
4. Reading classic books helps improve your reading skill and comprehension. The more you read, the easier it is to read!
5. Reading (and finishing) a classic book leaves you with a sense of superior accomplishment. Aren't literary accomplishments the best sort?

     Some classic books are boring. Some aren't. You'll like some of them, and you won't like others of them. It's not as though all classic books are the same. They're as wide and varied as the books people write today. It's not a big deal if you don't like a certain "classic" book. But it's good to recognize that there is some value in classic books. Agreed?

P.S. Can you think of any other reasons to read classic books? What classic books do you like or dislike?
P.P.S. Thanks for all of your comments on my last post! I enjoyed reading them. DSLRs and NaNoWriMo seem to be popular topics in the blogging world, eh? ;)


Canon T3i and NaNoWriMo

     Hello readers. I have two large-ish announcements to make. First Announcement: I bought my first DSLR. Yepyep. It's a Canon T3i. I like it. This is isn't the best photo, though. I was kind of aiming the camera randomly and making faces at the mirror. (Don't make fun of me for holding it wrong. I'll figure it out eventually.) I suppose I'll be spending a lot of quality time with the user manual, in hopes that some photography wisdom will rub off on me.

     Okay, Second Announcement: Yesterday I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) It was definitely a last minute decision. Trust me to commit on November 1st, haha! It's the first time that I've tried it, so I'm not completely sure what I've got myself into. I didn't even know that it was this month until I read about it on one of the blogs I follow. Mom saw me looking at the link and told me that I should do it. I hadn't even remotely considered it, so at first I was like, "Nope." But then I started thinking, "November . . . I'm not in school . . . no classes until January . . . I'm certainly not busy . . . I'm slightly bored and depressed, actually . . . Hmm." So I signed up, and I'm doing it. I'm hoping it will give me some vague sort of purpose in life ;) I have 1, 976 words, so that's a decent start.

     As far as life in general goes, I'm helping my brother build a fence in the backyard. It's very dull and monotonous. We've had a few arguments and a couple funny conversations. I think we can finish it today. But I need to get off of here first. I'll talk to you soon! I have some blog posts planned and my brain is whirling with ideas for NaNoWriMo. (But don't ask me what I'm writing. That's the worst/hardest sort of thing to explain.)