It’s been a very tough week for me, emotionally. I think some of you could probably tell from my post on Thursday, that I’ve been going through a lot of personal things and am struggling to figure stuff out. I don’t know if it has to do with being a teenager, or a girl, or just a human being on this massive spinning ball we call Earth.
Yesterday I woke up in a funky mood. My mouth still hurt and I was having a pretty lousy morning. Our family had planned a trip to the beach to visit our cousins over the weekend, and eventually decided to go without me because of the whole mouth/bad mood thing. So I sat alone in my house for a long time over the course of the day, trying to be productive and get stuff done. (ha!)
The more time I spent by myself, with nothing but my work and my thoughts to keep me company, the more I began to gain new perspective on my situation. I think the problem is that all this summer I have been living like one of those people that is constantly moving. Constantly going—always trying to jump from one thing to the next. Every day is filled with things to do, places to go, people to see. It got to where it all just felt too heavy, like all of my concerns and problems and issues were weighing me down like a two ton brick. Which left me wondering, when did my life become such an endless circle of business? When did I lose the ability to just sit back and look at life’s little details, and fall in love with everything I hold dear all over again?
They say that there are two types of people in the world: dreamers and realists. I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve always been the kind of person who sees the beauty in life and all its details. To sit in a chair on our back porch on a hot summer day and watch the bees hover and quiver over the blossoming butterfly bush and feel the little droplets trickling down a glass of ice cold lemonade. And not worry about time or people or anything I was supposed to be doing. Just to be.
I once read a quote online that really stuck with me. I copied it down so that I could remember it when life felt too busy or rushed and I just needed a reminder of why I need to slow down and enjoy it:
“Life has loveliness to sell, all beautiful and splendid things, blue waves whitened on a cliff, soaring fire that sways and sings, and children’s faces looking up, holding wonder like a cup.” – Sara Teasdale
It’s so true. Life is full of loveliness. Yesterday, as I was sitting alone, I really began meditating on this. My own life is full of beauty and wonder. All of the things I love and hold dear…
Black and white keys producing the sweetest melody. Bunches of faded flowers laying on a windowsill. Baby deer munching on fallen leaves outside my bedroom window. Stacks of old books containing secret worlds and dreams within their yellowed pages. The essence of a smile caught in the shutter of a camera. Ribbons of sunlight shafting through the blinds and hitting the bare floor.
This is life. This is beauty. This is what keeps us moving on even when we feel depressed and confused and don’t know the difference between up and down any more.
I hope I’m always a dreamer. I hope I always see the beauty in cracks and dust and all of life’s little moments. And I hope that I never get so bogged down in the business and weight of life that I forget to live.
I got such a good response from last week’s fairytale-themed photoshoot, that I decided to share with you another one. 🙂 This is one of my sister’s best friends, also named Emily. Even though Emily’s hair is a bit darker than in the book, when I saw her I immediately thought “Alice in Wonderland”. It was one of my favorite books as a child (although I didn’t really like either of the movies), so I knew that it would be really fun for me to do.
So the last time Emily came over for a sleepover, I asked her if she would be willing to do an Alice in Wonderland themed shoot, and of course she said yes! (Emily loves having her photos taken–and why not? She’s so pretty!) So we pulled out a borrowed white vintage dress and dragged Hannah’s armchair outside in front of an impromptu tea party table. It was all a bit maddening, actually, which only made it all the more appropriate. 🙂
Here are the photos, along with some quotes from the book:
“Let’s pretend the glass has got all soft like gauze, so that we can get through. Why, it’s turning into a sort of mist now, I declare! It’ll be easy enough to get through…”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
“This time she found a little bottle, and tied round the neck of the bottle was a paper label with the words ‘DRINK ME’ beautifully printed on it in large letters.”
“Who dares to taint, with vulgar paint, the royal flower bed? For painting my roses red, someone will lose his head.” -The Queen of Hearts
“How is it you can all talk so nicely?” Alice said, “I’ve been in many gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk”.
“In most gardens,” the Tiger Lily said, “they make the beds too soft–so that the flowers are always asleep.”
“Curiouser and curiouser…”
“When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! I have seen so many extra ordinary things, nothing seems extraordinary any more…”
“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam-
Life, what is it but a dream?”
Now I just need more friends to recreate more fairy tales. Rooses, I’m thinking it’s your turn! 😉
When I was a little kid, probably around ten or even younger, I remember once hearing someone say, “It’s tough being a teen.” To my ears, this sounded like the biggest piece of bologna (I can’t believe that’s how you spell it!) I’d ever heard. Being a teenager sounded great. Slumber parties, makeovers, driving in cars with friends blasting Hilary Duff on the radio. (Although, looking back, I don’t think any self-respecting teen would blast Hilary Duff on the radio. Or the Dixie Chicks, whom I also adored at the time) No cares, no worries, and perfect hair.
Then I became a teenager. Thirteen. Braces. Ick. And then fourteen. High school. Algebra. Biology. Double ick. And then fifteen, and all the responsibilities that come with that. And before I knew it, I found myself saying aloud to someone, “It’s tough being a teen.”
Whoa. Hold on there. When did all this become tough? When did worrying about driving and college and what my life was going to look like beyond the next two years become so important to me?
Reflecting on all of these questions led me to a whole new perspective on the life of the American teenager, and caused me to rephrase my original sentence. It’s since been amended to this: “It’s scary being a teen.”
Because, when you come right down to it, it really is scary. For the past fifteen years, I’ve basically been living in a bubble, so to speak. The most pressing thing in the world is school. The most annoying thing is chores. The most exciting thing is when you’re done with school and chores and can actually do something else. That is life. That is how my world operates.
But there’s a whole big world out there beyond school and chores that I know almost nothing about right now. The world of work and house payments and medical insurance and love and pain and other words that make me cringe when I hear them. A world that will suddenly come crashing down on me two years from now, in the summer of 2013, when I’m finished with school and chores and finally an adult.
That’s what’s scary about being a teenager. It’s not just having do deal with mood swings and no one understanding it’s no one’s fault but your own if you fail miserably at it.
My mom was encouraging me yesterday to look beyond the scope the next few years and pray about what God wants me to do with my life. What are his plans for me in the next five years? The next fifteen years? The next two decades? It’s time for me to start looking at the bigger picture. Not just what’s coming around this riverbend, but what the whole river looks like. How can I use my life, and my time, and my talents to sail down that river as a champion for the Lord?
It’s tough being a teenager. It’s really, really scary being a teenager. And I’m sure things don’t clear up any once you’re an adult. But, until then, I guess I’ve just gotta keep praying that God will make things clearer for me. And if any of you figure all this out, please send me an email and let me know. Cause I’m still scratching my head most of the time. 🙂
Hey, everyone! I don’t have much time today to think of something funny or thought-provoking to write about. I’ll try to find some time tomorrow to do that, lol. I do have some more photos to post one of these days… *Sigh* It’s like I always say, “I’m a Pro at crastinating.” 🙂
But, whatever. What I do want to let you know about today is a really great charity cause that’s being advocated on one of my favorite blogs, The Empowered Traditionalist. I’ll share the link below so you can check it out for yourselves. Basically, The Empowered Traditionalist (run by Christa Taylor) is encouraging her followers to purchase “raffle tickets” that are really donations to orphan resue operations in India. Each ticket is five dollars, and not only does the money go to a great cause, but each ticket also makes you eligible for two really fabulous prizes. Think lots of clothes, accesories, etc. *wink* Really, cool, huh?
I’m waiting for my pay check so that I can buy a few tickets of my own. I’m really excited about this cause, and I encourage you to buy a ticket for yourself or someone else today!
Okay, so yesterday I gave you all the big news that my book is finally available for preorder, and today I’m sharing with you the trailer! Before I got into the whole publishing process, I didn’t even know that books had trailers, like movies. So it was the weirdest feeling watching my book trailer. I think that overall they did a pretty good job. I probably would have done a few things differently, but so far Zondervan’s company has done a FANTASTIC job making all of my hopes come true in publishing this book. It’s been the best experience ever. 🙂
Anyway, here is the trailer. It says the book is coming out in March 2012, but I think it has recently been changed to February. Well, watch the trailer and tell me what you think! I’m so excited for this book to come out so everyone can actually read it! 🙂
Hey, everyone! I figured it was about time to give an update on my book. It’s finally available online for preorder, on the Zondervan website, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. This is beyond exciting for me. Here is the cover:
They also have a description and my biography and photo and everything on the Zondervan website.
And here’s where you can buy it!
Now everybody do the happy dance with me!!!!!!! 🙂
Okay, so our friend Emily recently moved to Hawaii, and for our last ever sleepover we decided to do a wild, crazy, Cinderella-themed photoshoot. Emily is so stunningly beautiful and photogenic, that she pulled off every look of the Cinderella story, from rags to riches. We borrowed the blue gown and pulled my white one out of storage, and pieced together a peasant look out of odds and ends in my wardrobe. Then we picked a spot near our house and spent the next few hours blissfully shooting away.
Emily, we miss you and had so much fun! There will never be a more radiant Cinderella! 🙂
Now, who’s ready for a fairy tale with extra cheese, lol? 😉 I copied a lot of it out of my old edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’ve always thought it was hilarious how really ridiculous and out-there things happen in fairy tales, like tears turning rags to a gown. And everyone falls in love at first sight. You gotta love that.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young woman who lived with her stepmother and stepsisters. She was forced to do hard work: to rise early, before daylight, to bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. She had no bed to lie down on, but was made to lie by the hearth among the ashes, and they called her Cinderella.
Now it happened that the king of the land held a ball and out of those who came his son was to choose a bride for himself; and Cinderella’s two sisters were asked to come. She thought to herself, she would have liked to go to the dance too, and begged her stepmother very hard to let her go. But the stepmother said, “No, no! Indeed, you have no clothes and cannot dance; you shall not go. You would only put us to shame.” And when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Cinderella went out sorrowfully and sat under the hazel tree and cried.
But it happened that when her first crystalized tear fell upon her lap, her rags were magically transformed into a magnificent gown, and her bare feet were covered in glittering glass slippers. When Cinderella looked to see who gave her this gift, she could hear nothing but the wind, whispering through the trees. “Be back by the stroke of midnight, or all will disappear.”
The moment she stepped through the doorway of the ballroom, all eyes fell upon her. The king’s eldest son was instantly smitten, and stole Cinderella away to his secret gardens to dance the night away with her.
The prince never wanted Cinderella to leave and was devastated when, just as the clock struck midnight, she slipped out of his arms and away from the castle, leaving only a golden slipper behind on the stairs.
Cinderella stopped to pause for breath on the drawbridge, looking behind at the castle she feared she’d never enter again.
But the prince was determined not to lose his lovely partner. The next morning, he searched the kingdom high and low until he found the perfect match to the abandoned slipper. As he slipped her foot into the golden heel, the prince knew that he had found his bride.
The couple prepared for the fairy tale wedding of their dreams, united at last…
And they both lived happily ever after! 🙂
Thanks to everyone who was praying and thinking about me yesterday when I got my wisdom teeth out. It was a whole lot less traumatic then expected–only one actually had to be cut out, the other three were merely pulled. I’m in little to no pain at all, my mouth is just a little swollen. My family keeps saying I look like a “cute little chipmunk”, but I’m forgiving them because they put in the word “cute”. 😉 Probably the only downside to all of this is that I lost a lot of wisdom… However, I now have a valid excuse the next time I do poorly on a test. (“But, Mom–I lost my wisdom teeth! How can you possibly expect an A out of me now?”)
Funny story: Before the surgery, they gave me laughing gas. I think this is just supposed to make you happy and relaxed, but I actually really did laugh. More than that–I burst into giggles. I was sitting there, with this oxygen mask blowing pink, sweet-smelling stuff in my face, and my body started tingling. That, of course, made me chuckle and then I suddenly realized: Oh, the irony! I was laughing, and they were giving me laughing gas! In retrospect, this is not funny at all, but my drugged up self started wiggling around with laughter. I remember telling the nurse, “Gosh, I feel like such an idiot! I’m laughing! And they gave me laughing gas!” Then she laughed too, naturally.
Not much to do now other than eat soft foods and work on my computer. I did finally finish editing some old photos that I really think you all will like. I’ll put them on here tomorrow, so be looking out for them! 🙂
So I came back from giving my two workshops this afternoon and a really cool thing happened. I was in the middle of giving a piano lesson to my sister, Hannah, when I heard Ruthie shout for me from the computer room. “Rachel?” she asked. “How do you spell ‘could’?”
I spelled it out for her and didn’t think much about it until a few seconds later when it dawned on me that no computer game would ask you to spell the word ‘could’. So I peeked my head in the door and saw her pecking away at keys of on the computer. A word document was up on the screen in front of her, with “Chapter One” typed in big letters. Then there were two paragraphs of sentences.
My little sister was writing. Just like me. It was so, so cool.
She let me read a little bit of it and it was really funny–a lot like my “A Lovely Young Dream” story. But I still thought that it was the best thing ever that after an hour of listening to me talk about writing she decided to try it out for herself. I felt so proud and honored to be her sister at that moment. It may have been a little thing, but to me it was really special. 🙂
P.S. This is my 50th post, which is another cool thing. 😉
Okay, so most of you already know that I’m applying to speak at several different homeschool conventions next spring. Well, this Tuesday I’m going to be recording my workshops, and I’d love for any of you who can make it to come! I’m going to be giving two different one hour sessions: “The Proverbs 31 Teen” and “How to Live Like a Writer”. Today I’m going to give you a sneak peek at the second workshop, just so you can see what it’s about.
If you’d like to come on Tuesday but need more details, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll clue you in! 😉
2) Ramble sometimes
Another tip that goes closely with keeping a writer’s journal is to let yourself ramble sometimes. Take a break from your fiction work and write just for the sake of writing. This can be done through a journal, through a blog, through descriptive papers done for school, or just by sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and writing down everything that drifts across your mind.
An exercise I do quite frequently when I’m stuck in the middle of a tough scene or can’t decide what to write next is to just take out my laptop and write about random stuff. Sometimes I write about what the view looks like out my bedroom window or interesting conversations I had earlier that day. Sometimes I even make up stuff—like writing a journal entry belonging to someone else, and putting myself in that person’s shoes.
Just going along with the flow and writing for the sake of it is so good for your creative skills. There’s no stress, no pressure. No one ever has to read it. Just write it, tuck it away in a folder or box, and leave it. DO NOT EDIT IT. There is absolutely no editing of ramblings. Nothing past fixing misspelled words and adding periods. No changing around sentences or adding adjectives. The whole point of the project is to let yourself go and do whatever you want. To edit it would be to murder it!
I thought I’d read you a short description I wrote one afternoon when I was completely drained. It’s dated November 13, 2010, and I entitled it “Honey Leaves.” This is a perfect example of what free rambling should sound like, unedited and raw, so pay close attention. 🙂
“The trees seemed to be lit from within. The warm, honey-smooth colors of gold and scarlet radiating from the branches. Some of the leaves had already fallen to the ground and turned an unattractive shade of brown, but the rest were still dangling from the twigs.
The bright sunshine started to fade and I figured dusk was setting in. Soon the sky would be grey and then dark and I wouldn’t be able to see anything. I frowned, missing the sunny warmth from the branches. Now it was only a fading light—like a lamp that’s light bulb was dying.
But then it was as if God had turned on a spotlight and suddenly the world was full of color again. A rosy tinge of pink winked at me from between the branches, lighting them from behind. And the trees were colorful and glorious, like they were before. The warmth spread to my heart, heating even my toes, which I didn’t think could be possible.
I watched the streaky colors fade from behind the trees until only a washed out grey remained. The trees were no longer lit. Everything just looked brown and black and I remembered how winter would soon come and it would be like this all the time.
And so I turned my face away to more important things. But when I looked back up again, just to see if it was completely black, I saw a flicker of pink. There it was, hiding behind the black branches. And I smiled, knowing that even in a dark world, there was still hope.”
Yes, it’s a little overdone, and if I were to go back and edit it today, I would change a lot of things. But I will not let myself edit it. I have to remind myself that it is not for a book, it is for me. It is not for an audience (although I suppose it is, if I just read it to you), it is for my eyes only. And it is a reflection of my writing and my style, unedited. It refreshes my mind and reminds me why I love writing, without any stress or pressure.
So have fun with your free ramblings. Be as creative as possible, don’t take yourself too seriously, and let it get your creative juices flowing. Maybe you can even use it in your best-selling novel one day! :)”
There’s more on Tuesday!!! 🙂