Monthly Archives: April 2012

Cardboard Shelves

I finally have a little reading corner set up in my apartment. Even though I’ve lived here for six months now the place is still under construction, so I am not ready for any permanent shelving. But, I’ve really missed my books. Just seeing them out again helps me feel more settled. For my beloved books’ temporary home, I created some cardboard box shelves (covered in newspaper for a more finished look) and unpacked and dusted off some pictures to put on top.

Now my little corner, which is actually more like a section of the wall, is cozy with some color sprinkled in. I’m slowly starting to feel slightly more attached to this place. I’m not sure when I’ll have time to actually sit down and pick up a book, but I just feel better knowing that I can if I want to. Now maybe with my French books out in the open I’ll be more motivated to pick up them up once in awhile too.

I love reading corners, porch swings, and hammocks because they represent a place of rest, not sleeping per say, but a relaxed state of peace. Those moments can be hard to find in the midst of life’s demanding schedule, but they’re there. Eventually the clock reaches quitting time, chores and errands are finished, and it’s time to relax. My favorite part of the day is night time. Everything that had to be done is done and if not it will keep till tomorrow. I love the feeling when everyone else is asleep, the TV is off, and it’s just me and my thoughts. I hate going to bed because I want to hang on to that feeling as long as possible. I know it can’t last forever, but it is so satisfying while it does. The longer I linger the closer morning gets, so I finally let go—almost ready to face another day. At least I know it won’t last forever, and when it’s over my reading corner will be there.

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Finding Something Fresh in the Familiar

I love to travel to see new things and to experience something inspiring and fresh, but sometimes in my rush for the next adventure I neglect the beauty around me. So here’s to discovering treasure in your own back yard. Stop this week and really take in the local sites  you walk by everyday.

In the ally behind my apartment.

 

This is why I take the back roads.

 

Parker adopted my parents awhile back. We named her after the one of the characters in Leverage because she’s a loner, slightly crazy, but you can’t help falling in love with those eyes.

 

The Bellrose Waterfowl Reserve at Sunset. It is only open to visitors a couple times during the year, but it is definitely one of the area’s hidden treasures.

 

My favorite tree at the local park just down the road.

 

 

 

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Putting the World on Hold

Some weeks my mind goes blank when it comes to writing. It’s a rare occasion because I love to write so much that I usually blog about once a week, journal, then of course there is the newspaper which often comes out to two to three stories plus a weekly editorial, and I recently started writing a monthly article for Rejoice Always a magazine in Northern Ireland. I love to write so much that I think I would write even if no one ever read a single word. Although, it is much more rewarding when people do actually do read it.

Writing helps me process and connect with experiences and people, some of whom I’ve never even met. It makes me slow down and truly experience an event, such as a hike through the woods, or capture a moment like listening to the sound of rain hit the roof as I fall asleep.

When I write, it’s as if life is put on pause just for a second, and I get to wander through the enchanting world of words picking out that perfect phrase to describe a feeling. I stop and taste the wind, feel the touch of spring day slowly awakening, revisit a memory, a sound, or an elusive moment of pure contentment. I know I can’t stay in that safe place forever, but writing helps me hold on to it just a little bit longer. The world slowly starts to make sense to my confused little head.

It seems to be true that the more you know the more you know you don’t know. Sometimes that feeling can be depressing. When I graduated from college I felt like I had less answers and more questions then when I started not only about life and my area of study but about myself. Writing helps the world make a little more sense even if it is only for a moment. But, it is not only my little world. There are times when I’ve written about something and someone will say, “that’s it. That is exactly how I feel.” Two worlds connect, and that is a beautiful thing. A while back I stumbled upon the blog Everyday-isa and starting following it. I look forward to each new post because they are so deep and full of feeling. I always seem to walk away from her words feeling refreshed, challenged, and inspired.

In college, one of my communication teachers referred to certain experiences as an apocalypse which, in old English, refers to something being uncovered or revealed. I think this idea of apocalypse is why most passionate artists work seeking to uncover a truth or a feeling, something almost other worldly, a connection with the soul. It is a God-given piece of us that makes us human—the desire for something more than this world, the hope of something almost magical that causes someone to forget where they are and imagine so much more. But, in the end, this feeling allows us to fully enjoy this life living each day with wonder and feeling.

Some people paint others sing. Some people sculpt, run, dance, and create films that make other people cry. Whatever it is that makes you feel alive, do it. Find beauty and cultivate it. Find your talent and grow it even when that means failing at times and having days when you have no idea what to write about.

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Beautifully Painful

During the recent Hunger Games movie craze I talked my dad into going to the movies with me not to watch the Hunger Games but to see October Baby. I had planned to go with a friend but due to some bad planning on my part it didn’t work out, and at the last minute my dad graciously agreed to go with.

I’m the kind of person who believes that watching movies should be a shared experience. On occasion, I’ll watch one by myself, but generally I want to talk about what’s going on, and if you talk to yourself people tend to give you strange looks. I have a bad tendency of talking during movies usually asking questions and occasionally threatening to throw a pillow at the screen if a character becomes particularly aggravating. My older brother and one of my friends from college hate watching movies with me because of my tendency to ask questions. “I don’t know what’s going on either,” my brother will say. “I’m watching this for the first time too. Stop talking and just watch the movie.” I’ll be quite for about five minutes before blurting out “What did he do that for.”

My favorite movies tell a good story preferably one based on a true story like Miss Potter or The Pursuit of Happyness. Although with true stories, I tend to get so interested in the person’s life  that I start reading up on them and often end up disappointed when I find that my favorite part from the movie never actually happened.

But back to October Baby. It was an extremely well done movie and what piqued my interest was the fact that the movie was inspired by the story of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. What made me actually go watch the movie was seeing an interview with actress Shari Rigby who plays the role of the mother who attempted to abort her child. When the film’s producers asked Shari to play the part, they had no idea that she had had an abortion earlier in her life. She said she got the script and was just stunned at the similarities between her story and the one she had been asked to play. Shari said the movie turned out to be a healing experience for her as she journeyed with her character who ultimately receives forgiveness from her daughter and comes to forgive herself as well.

It was a beautifully painful movie to watch, but those are the kind of movies I love the best because life is often beautifully painful. Sometimes I get annoyed when people try to give simple answers to everything that happens in life. The older I get the less answers I see and the more brokenness I encounter. But there can be a beauty and growth in brokenness and a sense of maturity developed during times of pain. Of course we all wish life wasn’t so  painful and that situations like abortion, genocide, break ups, and terminal illness didn’t exist, but often it is the things that we want the least that, as humans, bring us together the most and develop us into the person we seek to be.

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Is This Home?

Sometimes Facebook threatens my sanity. When I click on my profile page a little blue box with a world map tells me to, “Add your hometown to stay in touch with friends from home.” I’d love to. I really would, but I don’t really know where I’m from.

I suppose that is the ever present dilemma for missionary kids (MKs), military kids, or anyone else lumped into the third culture kids category. We don’t really know where we’re from. I stalked some of my MK friends to see what they put as their hometown. Some put the town they live in now, others put the town where they lived the longest as a child, many others just left it blank.

The oh so popular “where are you from” questions usually leaves me stammering some vague response as I try to determine if the person who asked (what they thought was a simple question) really wants to hear about the three countries I’ve lived in or if I should go with the simple solution of responding with the name of the town where I currently reside. This presents a problem when people from the town I live in now ask me the question knowing that I didn’t go to kindergarten with their grandchildren.

Where am I from? I don’t know; pick a place. I’ve move 13 times. I’d like to say Rethy, Zaire. Although Zaire is no longer a country. It is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Facebook doesn’t seem to recognize Rethy as a legitimate place it be from. So I leave my hometown blank. But, can I really claim Rethy even if Facebook did recognize it? I left when I was almost nine. My Swahili has gotten very rusty, and my blue passport clearly says American.

I don’t mind being a confused MK. My first airplane ride was well before I turned a year old. I’ve gotten to see things that some people only read about or see on TV. I have friends from six different continents (sadly no one from Antarctica yet), and I’ve gotten to eat some amazing food and meet some incredible people. Would I trade it—not for a second, but I would like to know where home is. If you are an MK, how do you answer the where are you from question? What makes you feel at home? For me it is chai, being on an airplane, or wearing a Kikwembi. If you’re not an MK and you ask someone where they are from would you suggest they give you the long answer or the short one at first and then a longer one later? I had someone tell me that MKs can be hard to get to know. If you feel this is the case, I apologize. We DO want to get to know you it’s just that sometimes we have trouble just figuring out who we are. Please don’t give up on us.Image

Self Portrait: The African Side

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