Thursday, January 30, 2014

Musical Inspiration

I think it is essential for every writer to have go-to writing music. This way, when the very finicky faucet that is inspiration dries up, you'll have some tunes to kick-start (hopefully!) some words. Here are my favorite writing albums.

1. Milo Greene, Milo Greene
2. Radical Face, Ghost
3. The Paper Kites, States
4. Fossil Collective, Tell Where I Lie
5. The Head & the Heart, Let's Be Still
6. The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow 

Insecurities Eclipsed by Mercy

Take me out of the darkness, O Lord. I will rest in Your embrace when my legs can't carry me any further.

I've been spending so much of my time and energy trying to be worth it. Trying to be something beautiful in my own eyes. But that's just it -- my beauty is not in the external, and I cannot earn my worth. That comes from Christ. can't do anything on my own. I am not perfect. Only Jesus is perfect. And by trying to carry things on my own, by trying to be "good enough" I am totally missing the point of grace: God made me, bought me, and has lavished me in His love and freedom. This is who I am.
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. - Romans 6:18

Lord willing, I will be making my home in the woods soon, sitting on that old familiar dock and getting re-inspired. I always have my best conversations with Christ there. I thank the Lord that He has let me absorb His wonderful beauty. The gorgeousness of the forest fills me with joy. The thing about the cedar trees is they do not worry about their appearances. God made them cedar trees, and they are content with that. They don't want to be oaks or maples or pines -- they only want to be what He created them to be. And I can take pride and joy in who I am as well -- because He created me this way. Booyah! I do not have to run this race alone. I am free. I am no longer burdened by the chains of this world. I don't have to be perfect. Christ will carry me. Run to the Word. Know Truth, the Word of God. Amen!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Character Sketch #1

I so enjoy sketching up a character and getting a feel for their various likes, dislikes, and behaviors when I'm writing a novel, or even just a new short story. So I thought I'd bring that same enjoyable description here....only this time, writing about people that I actually know.

Note: I don't own any of the following photos, nor do I know any of the people in them. But they totally fit the vibe I was looking for.

He is neither coward nor bravado, he is just boy. He sits quietly sometimes, drinking in the environment. Other days he speaks his mind, shares a laugh. There is something inherently, easily friendly about him that I can't quite place. He is comfortable with himself, but still human enough to avoid eye contact.

Simply by being around him I am more inspired. He has passion for life, an enthusiasm, but he is still young, still growing and making sense of the world. I get the feeling that his life is a balancing act; it is not easy for him to accept that he is growing up. And yet it would be equally difficult for him to remain a child.

Where did he come from and where is he going? I couldn't tell you. What I know of him is this: shy glances, hair the color of chocolate, paintings hanging high on a wall. I have nothing to hang onto but the details, mere commas in a lifetime of punctuation. Dream on, dreamer.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Music Recommendations: The Paper Kites & Milo Greene

So there's this band I'm rather fond of, the Paper Kites. 

I first heard of them months ago, and bought their single "Bloom" on iTunes. I've had an interest in them, but never purchased their album until, lo and behold, there it was, in the clearance shelf of my favorite record store. $4? Sign me up!

Another $4 purchase I made from the same store is a band that shares a similar sound: Milo Greene. I cannot say enough good things about this band. They are one of my favorites, and I will write stories as their album spins on repeat.  

If you're looking for chill, acoustical and woodland-inspired music to write to, drive to, or just live life to, I would recommend both of these bands. Milo Greene is my favorite of the two; they write their music with movies in mind, so their songs sound like a soundtrack to the best film you've never seen. The Paper Kites sound like a mix of Milo Greene, Bon Iver and Simon & Garfunkel in the best way possible.

Not too bad for $4 purchases, no?

Artists & Intellectual Types

So I'm having this obsessively obsessed obsession with all things intellectual, artist, poet. Really refined, pretentious stuff, people. Basically, I now want to be someone's muse, or splatter my hands with pink, blue and neon green paint, and use words like "lugubrious ".

Oh, or watch Dead Poets Society every day. There's also that.

It's probably just college that's doing this to me. I get to take classes with, and generally be around people that inspire me; essentially journalists, graphic designers, and/or people who drop SAT vocab words into regular conversation like nobody's business. It's giving me all these ideas and inspirations to write, to paint. There are so many different types of creators in the world, and it's so exciting. I'm actually kind of giddy about it.

Not to say that all of the intellectual, academic-types I'm surrounded by are hipsters. In fact, most of them aren't. But I'm just kind of following my Inner Pretentiousness here, and this is where it lead me.

Other Pretentious Things I Enjoy:
-- Using enjoyably ridiculous fonts. Let's be real, people, these things are the bomb diggedty. I have serious problems refraining from browsing font websites to pick out THE perfect fontage for whatever character I may be writing about. Aaaand it's also the perfect way to convince myself I am, indeed, doing something worthwhile for my novel other than, well, writing it.

-- Umm, this photo that I found on Buzzfeed, basically detailing the most pretentious graffiti that ever was:

My tears
in a lagoon of admiration
people singing


-- Ok, I can't believe I'm actually about to use the powers of the Internet and my glorious, bloggy blog to do something DEVASTATING(ly pretentious). *sigh* But I am, and that includes posting a picture of a dog in a Civil War outfit, which, to me, is basically the most creepy thing that ever existed.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Please Humor Me

I'm getting kind of disheartened by the world.

I feel like I'm in the minority for being against gay marriage. The fact that I even have to type a post about this on my blog is ridiculous. But I'm kind of stunned, kind of floored because I feel like the gay agenda is everywhere. I disagree with this view. I'm not here to preach, but I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. What's more, I can hardly write that without fear of people persecuting me. We live in a world where it's totally fine to voice your pro-gay beliefs, but if you're against it, you get condemned in the blink of an eye. (Case in point: Duck Dynasty.)

I am a Christian, and I stand for Christ. I know that this blog doesn't garner a lot of page views, but I thought I'd make myself known on this matter. Because it feels like the homosexual agenda is everywhere (even Good Luck Charlie) and I want to make certain that in this day and age, people know that there are still those stand for truth. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Music Recommendation: The Doors

In addition to Coldplay and Avett Brothers vinyl, my record collection also gives a home to some old school jams. Including a The Doors' Greatest Hits. 

For whatever reason, I am really intrigued by this record right now, especially "Hello, I Love You." I usually don't think of The Doors when I think of ideal writing music, but their music has turned out to be pretty groovy. Some songs are chill enough to relax to, with a winding, kind of haunting sound, and others are strange and upbeat. And this is not even to mention that lead singer Jim Morrison was insanely, inexplicably attractive. The man was blessed, folks. 

Just a side note here, but I'm finding out things I never knew about myself, like that I really rather fancy guys (preferably musicians that came before my time) with really crazy awesome hair.
Exhibit A: Bob Dylan. 

^ This is currently the background to my email, so when I check for new messages, I see Bob. 

Exhibit B: Steven Tyler
Maybe not current day Steven Tyler, (DUDE LOOKS LIKE A LADY!) but at least this photo:

The Doors. 
Greatest Hits. 
Entertaining collection of songs, yes sir. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Art: Ludwig Knaus

So, every now and then I'll go from my current state of Never Using Pinterest to going super insane with inspiration and re-pinning every picture of country land or dark-haired boy imaginable, for my Novel Idea board.

In the process of doing so, though, I just happened to run across some pretty gnifty art by painter Ludwig Knaus.

There's so much emotion in the action and the faces of his people. I was especially struck by the painting of the girl in the field. She just looked so natural. I loved the detail in his work, the way he could convey a scene, a moment, a relationship with such gritty honesty.

What do you think of Ludwig's work? For me, it brings on feelings of nostalgia, melancholy, yet still manages to radiate this warmth. And there's usually little dogs in his paintings. YOU GO LUDWIG


There are places that I go to get the vibe I'm after. Mocha scented cafes with Bob Dylan playing softly in the background. Bookstores with so many books that they have to attach ladders to their shelves, so readers can reach whatever title they choose. A long, open, country road.

Some days I really want to a photographer. I think today is one of those days. If I was really good at snapping photos, maybe I'd take my camera and string it around my neck, and snap pictures while he drives us somewhere, out into the country, out where adventure sings.

When I get in this kind of mood, ideas for my novel sort of fly out of my head at rapid speed, and I end up eschewing writing that article I need to write, and just playing around with my book all day. It's usually nothing short of glorious.  

Also, I think it is essential for every writer to have go-to writing music. This way, when the very finicky faucet that is inspiration dries up, you'll have some tunes to kick-start (hopefully!) some words. Here are my favorite writing albums:

1. Milo Greene, Milo Greene
2. Radical Face, Ghost
3. The Paper Kites, States
4. Fossil Collective, Tell Where I Lie
5. The Head & the Heart, Let's Be Still
6. The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Still as the Sea

Things that make me jubilant about my college include: 

*The bookstore. Let's give it up: the bookstore is the best place on the universe. There is an adorable Barnes and Nobles on the corner of my college, under the parking garage, where I frequently sit and read magazines. There's even a mini Starbucks inside!

Things that make me overjoyed about leaving previously mentioned college for a year spent studying the Word of God: everything. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Music Recommendation: Hillsong United

Sometimes, I feel like a Christian music snob.

This is because a lot of the Christian music that speaks about Jesus just sounds, in my opinion, very bad. Poorly produced, carelessly written. It doesn't sound genuine. And I love singing hymns and songs of praise to my Creator, but a lot of new Christian tunes sound tired, formulaic.

Enter Hillsong United.

Also known as, awesome. Aka, glorious. Better yet, a group of talented (and handsome) young Aussies who have style, musical finesse, and a love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I saw them at the 2014 Passion conference, everything within me said, FINALLY! Here is a band who wants to glorify God, but are actually musicians. This is how the Lord should be glorified: passionately and with care for the craft.

"Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy." ~ Psalm 33:3 

I believe God has created us to create, and to enjoy that process. I think He likes watching us painstakingly piece together a song, giving thought to (even dwelling on) the lyrics, and watching our creative imaginations at work.

Most of all, I believe God wants our worship to be genuine expressions of our hearts for Him.

Hillsong is changing my view of worship. I praise God for this band, and the passion they put into their work.

*commence the music perusing*

Passionately Passionate

Home from Passion; please excuse my crazy eyes:

I would like to praise God for all that He has done for me. I want to declare the praises of Him who has called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Thank God for the Passion conference, the hearts of those that want to rally our generation into an army for the Lord. Thank God for chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream, sweaters with reindeer on them, bearded hipster men, the Word of God and bowls of spaghetti.

It was weird waking up this morning without all of my best friends. Passion 2014 is over, which means no more 1 am Waffle House trips, no more card games on the bus, no more worshipping together in the arena. And that saddens me.

But while my best friends aren't always around, I do have the Lord Jesus Christ as a constant source of comfort, inspiration and strength throughout my every moment.

This morning I sat before Him with a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, and the book of Jeremiah. I earned that although I am small, fearful and afraid a lot of the time, God is using me (and will use me!) regardless.

I am more than a child who doubts, who doesn't have the right words. I am a vessel for God's love and glory. Insecurity has no place here.

"Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you, and will rescue you," declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 1:8

How about that.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Obsessions: Music

As obsessed as I am with music, I've never actually done anything especially daring when it comes to making musical purchases.

Ok, I did buy a banjo. There was that.

And also I seem to have let my entire Christmas list become overrun with vinyls of all kinds.

And then there is the fact that I tend to get extremely, intensely a little giddy about new music purchases and proceed to take startling selfies with said music purchases while in my car (in a band tee, no less).

Don't worry, I wasn't driving. AS FAR AS YOU KNOW

Also, just this morning I took the time to arrange the CDs I planned on listening to on the way to school for a Glorious Photo Opportunity.

And what did I end up listening to? A mix CD and the radio. OH THE CHOICES I HEAP UPON MYSELF IN BOUNTIFUL LOADS

Eh, anyways....

All this to say, yes, I am quite music obsessed, but I have never pre-ordered any such musical instrument/device/record as far as my very limited knowledge goes. But I think I just might have to do that, my good people, because Needtobreathe is releasing special edition colored vinyl and so on and so forth in a special preorder package for their fifth album. WHAT

That will be all, thank you, feel free to move about the rest of your day. HUZZAH!

Headed to the Dome (Sort of)

Well, I can't hardly believe it, but in less than twenty four hours I will be embarking (Lord willing!) in a massive bus stuffed with my uncle's young adult church group, headed to my third year at the Passion Conference. WOWZA.

God does amazing things when we least expect them. I love it! God's surprises have only ever brought me goodness, and His allowing me to go to the Passion conference with this wonderful group of believers has blessed me beyond belief -- first in 2012, then in 2013, and now, in 2014.

This year is going to be a little different, because the Passion conference is actually a shorter event. And, it's not in the Dome. So.....I don't really know where we're going. I feel like with only hours to go, I should not only:

1. Know this
but also
2. Be Packed

Neither of these things are true.

Anyhoo, it's only a two day conference this year, which is fine, although a little disappointing. My group also won't be getting to stay at the lake house we enjoyed in the previous years, but no matter -- it's going to rock!

Also: If, by chance, you are an Actual Human Being and are reading this right now, feel free to pray for me. I have no idea what God's going to show me, but I know it's going to be THE BOMB DIGGITY

See you on the flip side, Georgia.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You're Gonna Hear Me Roar

When I was younger, I was OBSESSED with The Lion King. Literally, obsessed. Not only did I have all of the Lion King toys (still conveniently located under my bed -- #maturity), but I thought I was a lion. I proceeded to crawl around the house on all fours and do ridiculous, lion-like things. And you can bet on what I asked for for Christmas: you got it, a lion. ....That never happened. THE WOE

While I have since put my Lion King days behind me (as far as you know!), it made an unexpected re-appearance into my life today.

You know that really emotional moment where Simba's dad is all blurry and pink in the sky and shouting words of encouragement at his son in James Earl Jones's big, booming voice? Well, I do. And it occurred to me that maybe there was some wisdom in that film, after all. Because Mufasa tells Simba to remember who he is.

So often I get sidetracked. I forget that I am on this Earth for a reason, and that reason is to spread the love of Christ to others. If you haven't noticed, it's kind of an unpopular message. And yet my identity, who I am, is wrapped up in the Lord, and when I forget that, I fail. Instead, I'll see myself as small, or fall for the lies that the world dangles in front of me.

The moral of the story? Don't listen to what the world tells you about yourself. Set your sights on God, focus on Him. Any problem or opposition you have in this world is to be expected. Run into the arms of He who knows you, who made you. Because only He can tell you who you are.

I'm not lion! ;)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Be Still

When I walked out of the house this morning, I was armed with more than just the fuzzy goodness of my favorite sweater (but seriously: this thing has reindeer on it) -- I was clothed in peace.

As a worrier, I tend to worry about oh, I don't know, everything. Big things, of course, like what if I can't find a job once I graduate from college, or what if my house burns down? But small things, too, like worries about my eating habits, homework assignments, job. Ridiculous, petty things.

For a long time my mother and others told me that worrying was a sin. That didn't sit too well with me. How was worrying a sin? What was I doing wrong to myself, to others? As far as I was concerned, I was just anxious.

As it turns out, worry actually harms my relationship with Christ. Someone who is webbed in worry is not walking deeply with the Lord. That's kind of a punch in the face, a wake up call to someone like me - how can I say I really know Jesus if I'm always eaten up with doubt?

I'm not always keen on speaking up in class. Whether this is common for most writers, I don't know, but it is for me. So I was a little reluctant to take an Ethics class this semester. How was I going to articulate my beliefs about the death penalty, when I wasn't even sure what my beliefs were to begin with? It was a little unnerving.

But God has been singing peace over me this week, and it has been wonderful. None of my worries about my Ethics class came true, and what was more, I felt so relieved to not have spent my entire weekend ruminating about it. Worry wastes a lot of time and energy! Instead, I spent that time talking to God throughout my day, fellowshipping with Him. It felt natural, and I definitely didn't miss the anxiety.

God is not just the God of refuge in our most intense storms. He is here through it all, beside us in whatever we are experiencing, whatever life has for us. Remember His presence in your daily life, because He wants to fight for you. All you have to do is be still.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Films: The Social Network

So, I may or may not have a crush on Andrew Garfield. And by crush, I mean a super obsessive problematic obsession. Obviously.

It all started when I saw him act alongside Emma Stone in The Amazing Spiderman, which, for the record, was amazing. It is now sitting amidst my treasure trove of DVDs (Harry Potter and The Lion King among them) on my shelf.

Usually I do not get too enthralled with actors and don't watch movies as a hobby of sorts. I will watch a film, and then go on my merry way. But now I've started watching Andrew Garfield movies, and even gotten my sister obsessed. Which leads me to The Social Network.

This film dared to do what no film before it had done: combine one pleasantly awkward actor {Jesse Eisenberg}with one alluringly British one {Andrew Garfield}, throw in a little pop star status {Justin Timberlake}, and expertly depict the rise and fall of the social media site I use daily {Facebook}.


It's a great movie, with excellent acting, casting, music, film's just a glorious, all around enjoyable experience. If you can find it {I checked my copy out at the local library}, I would recommend watching it for your viewing pleasure. The film details backstabbing, Harvard rowing and Andrew Garfield adorableness with ease. If nothing else, watch the movie to understand the following quote about chicken cannibalism:

And, I can't explain this following photo, but I feel like it somehow applies.

Also I should mention that this is now my phone wallpaper:

Thank you and goodnight.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Perks of Being Odd

There's a moment, sandwiched between the time you enter high school, and the years you spend at college, where you finally become comfortable with yourself, with who you are.

For me, this confidence emerged right around junior year, and continued to grow in strength throughout the remaining portion of my high school years. Some mighty strange things happened during my second semester of senior year, folks. I unleashed the weird upon the entirety of my classmates like you would not believe.

And in that moment, I embraced the truth: I was odd.

There's this song by Arcade Fire that goes:

Is anything as strange as a normal person? Is anyone as cruel as a normal person? Waiting after school for you they want to know if you, if you're normal too. Well, are you? Are you?

And it's practically begging to be the next anthem for high school outcasts worldwide. The so called odd people, the ones that aren't "normal."

What's weird is that when you're in high school, everyone is trying to be something that they're not, or something that they think they have to be. For this reason, I had a wrong self image of myself during my high school years.

I went through my teens thinking I was weird, because that's what everyone else told me I was. Then I got to college, and saw that there were others who had the same penchant for writing and creating (and laughing!) as I did. And anyone who had tried to stifle that joy was the one with the real issues.

While no one was overtly mean to me in high school, there was a lot of tension. Maybe it was my own insecurity that projected this kind of hierarchy in my head. Now I see that there's really no such thing as a popular person, or a normal person. We're all just kids trying to grow up during the awkward pains of our adolescent years. And while some of us choose to put on a pretty face and pretend that everything is fine, perfectly normal, I'd rather be odd.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week One

Today is Thursday, and Week 1 of classes is officially over! The start of my fourth semester has brought with it peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the bay, fun classes with friends new and old, and being stalked by a seagull.

God has really provided a wonderful first week for me. Often, I dread the start of a new semester, because a lot of the classes I have to take can be stressful, or worse, boring. But this semester has proved to be a very intriguing one. I'm taking a range of fun classes, including Ethics, Writing for the Mass Media, and History of Graphic Design. 

God also handled an issue that was really making me anxious. I needed one Natural Science credit this semester in order to get my AA, but since I (stupidly) waited until the first week of classes to search for a science course, they were few and far between. It was really stressful -- I considered everything from General Chemistry (yikes!) to an Evolution class (double yikes!) Praise the Lord that God is faithful to answer prayer. He placed me into an Environmental science class, along with my sister and good friend. 

Here's to a great first week of classes! HUZZAH 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


In an attempt to express myself adequately, I offer the following letters:

Dear Boy that Wears Snuggly Hats,
Thank you for wearing snuggly hats. I'm a fan of the knit beanie. Alrighty then.

Dear Blog,
Thank you for hosting a myriad of my words and photographs. Even though no one reads them, it's always fun to have a chronicle of things I said and did over time. And #graphicdesign what up

Dear Music Lover,
Wherever this unusually chilly Wednesday finds you, I hope it's with good tunes, your Bible and a cup of coffee. I'll be seeing you sometime soon.

Dear College,
I'm surprisingly enjoying my escapades across your campus this Very First Week of my Fourth Semester. You have brought me chilly mornings, enjoyable classes and encounters with friends new and old. So thanks for that, college. You rock for that. Don't hate me when I get all angry at you during midterms.

Dear Vinyl Store,
I have yet to visit you this year. But a trip is coming, rest assured.

Dear Head & the Heart,
Thank you for making music that makes me feel like I woke up in the woods. Even if I'm just driving downtown, I still feel woodsy. YOU ACCOMPLISH GREAT FEATS

Dear Photos,
I have been too lazy to take you.

Dear Socks,
I've been wearing you more often than not this week. My toes send you their appreciation.

Dear Me,
Sometimes, you aren't good at remembering. Sometimes, you forget the lesson you have just learned, or worse, think you know better, and try to do what you want. Newsflash: you're clueless. Stop trying to live in your own strength.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sophomore Semester

I woke up and suddenly I was four semesters into college. 

Today begins my journey into the second semester of my sophomore year. I don't know how this is possibly possible, seeing as I still have the maturity level of a very young child hyped up on Mountain Dew. But it's true. And I will be learning promptly, in less than two hours, back on campus. By the time you read this post, I will be swimming in syllabi.


I hope Monday finds you sipping a cup of coffee, relaxed and excited about whatever may come your way. I found a great verse that is somewhat of my mission statement this semester:

The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. - Proverbs 13:9

Be a light for Christ, wherever you are. Hold on to Him.
Happy Start of the Semester!