Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some Reflections on 2008

Books I’ve Read (I am pretty sure it is the shortest list I have ever had)
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Quest for Love by Elizabeth Elliot
Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
Anne of Windy Poplars
Anne’s House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside
by L. M. Montgomery
When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy
King Lear
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Under the Tuscan Sun by Francine Prose
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
Marriage and Family by Robert H. Lauer and Jeanette C. Lauer
Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
The Secrets of Songwriting by Susan Tucker
Thr3e by Ted Dekker
Let Me be a Woman by Elizabeth Elliot

Favorite Movie of 2008
I actually didn’t see that many movies, at least ones that were released this year. I kind of liked the Batman movie and the Twilight movie, but nothing really amazing stood out to me.

Favorite Songs Released in 2008
Low – Flo-ri-a ft. T-Pain
4 Minutes – Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake
Viva la Vida – Coldplay
Won’t Go Home Without You – Maroon 5

Favorite Songs that I’ve Listened to in 2008
All the TSO songs
All the Nickel Creek songs
Ben Folds, “The Luckiest”
Sweeny Todd Soundtrack
Evita Soundtrack

New Friends I’ve Met (in person…those who I have not met in person yet, I hope you are on this list at the end of 2009!)

Things I’ve Done
Gotten a laptop
Turned 18
Started to take piano more seriously
Discovered a love for composing and not just simple songwriting
Realized I don’t have to get married RIGHT NOW
Gotten more interested in reading my Bible and theology in general
Heard my life calling from afar
Completed an undefeated swimming season

Gone real camping for the first time
Tried my hand at sewing clothes (I have yet to see what the finished product will resemble)
Been more passionate than ever about homeschooling my own kids
Decided college is not for me (“college torture, / college university! / Arts and crafts is all I need, / I’ll take calligraphy / and then I’ll make a fake degree…”)
Played Ultimate Frisbee and really liked it
Won my heat and placed 10th for butterfly at the TSA championships
Started this blog
Decided I’m VERY done bragging about my accomplishments

Best Thing of 2008:
NO MORE SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Time to start learning… :)

My thoughts at the beginning of the year:
My GOSH…I am going to graduate and THEN WHAT!?!??!?
If I don’t get married to *insert name here* then I don’t know what I will do!

My Thoughts at the end of the year:
You have to take time to listen to what God’s plans for you are. But he will reveal them to you eventually.
Right now I have as much chance of marrying ______ or _______ as I do anybody else in the world. So why should I give anybody, especially them, any romantic attention or thought right now? Crushes, no matter how you justify them, are crushes and mean nothing….


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Habits are Habits

Before I get on with the rest of the post, here are the songs you guys failed to guess....

3. "Eveline" - Nickel Creek
4. "Tangerine" - Led Zeppelin
5. "Why Can't This Be Love?" - Van Halen
9. "Sweetie" - Josh Rouse
12. "Where the Streets Have no Name" - U2
14. "Our Love" - Amy Grant
15. "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" - Sweeny Todd Soundtrack
17. "Little Green" - Joni Mitchel
19. "Next Year" - Foo Fighters
20. "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" - Glass Tiger

Okay, on to other matters.

Here is a thought for ya - eating bad is like watching pornography.

YES, that sounds extreme, but it really is a good association, if I do say so myself.  So let's say there is this guy who is 19 or 20 and he is watching pornography.  Not addictively, but not with any plan to stop any time soon either, perhaps he doesn't really think about it.  Then one day, he says, "oh, it is fine now.  It is not going to hurt anything because I am not married.  Once I get married, I will stop so that my relationship with my wife is the center focus and pornography does not hurt anything."  And then suppose I have been eating carelessly, which I often do, often justifying it with the common swimmer-ism "I can eat everything I want to because I burn a days worth of food off in one workout!".  Besides that excuse that is limited to, well, swimmers, I can also think, "Well, I am young now.  When I get married and pregnant I will then eat healthy so my baby gets proper nutrients.  But until then it doesn't matter."

There are two reasons why it does matter.  If you watch porn, it sticks in your mind.  It is there forever, and even if you forget, it will probably come up later.  Bad food stays with you forever, too.  Eventually you get to the point where you cannot digest all the fats, so they are stored, and fat cells as well.  They will come back to haunt you and some things could be harmful to your baby.

The other reason is that by the time you are married/pregnant, you will be addicted and it will be almost impossible to stop, even if you know it is best to.  

That is why it is just as important to be as careful with what I put in my mouth as with what I "put in" my eyes.  My mom thought I was kind of crazy for buying a prepregnancy book today from Barnes and Noble.  "Making plans we don't know about?" my dad asked.  Well, yes and no.  I got it mainly because I am interested in health/pregnancy/midwife stuff and this was the only thing there I really wanted besides a little herbal medicine handbook.  Okay, that is a lie.  I always want to buy the whole bookstore!  But I told myself I wanted to spend my giftcard on health-related books only because I have plenty of novels and animal books already that I haven't even gotten around to reading yet.  That said, besides wanting the book for educational-occupational purposes, I thought it would be a good book to read now so that I can go ahead and change any bad habits I have gotten into now rather than right before I get married.

Just one of those thoughts...


Friday, December 26, 2008

What Bob Has to Say

My iPod Shuffle's name is Bob.  And this is what he has to say today in the latest episode of "Lazy Blogging" with material pirated from Allison's blog.

Step 1: Put your iPod on shuffle (unless you are privledged enough like me to own one of Bob's cousins, then this step is not necessary)
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 20 songs that play no matter how embarrassing (unless they are instrumental...I had to skip 11 of those)
Step 3: Bold over the songs that someone guesses correctly (that means you, loyal fans, are to guess what song it is by the opening line)
Step 4: Looking up the lyrics on any search engine is totally cheating and that's not cool (this also means you, loyal fans.  You will be banned fans if.....well, I just wanted to make that rhyme).

1. It took a lot to turn away, Blood and water from one side  
2.  All of your life now you have denied
3.  Eveline grips the railing as her lover calls her to the seas
4.  Measuring a summer's  day I only find it slips away to grey
5.  Whoa-oh here it comes, that funny feeling again
6.  I used to rule the world
7.  Tell me where it's hurting, are you burning?
8.  I'm gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware
9.  Two lazy dreamers on a winter's night making plans for the spring
10.  An angel returned that night through the sky
11.  I read the news today, oh boy
12.  I want to run, I want to hide
13.  We all know the girls that I am talking about
14.  I don't know what to say to you, tears are on your face
15.  Green finch and linnet bird, nightengale, blackbird, how is it you sing?
16.  Momma never said it would be like this
17.  Born with the moon in Cancer
18.  Eva's pretty hands reach out and they reach wide
19.  I'm in the sky tonight, there I can keep by your side
20.  You take my breath away, love thinks it's here to stay

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It Feels Like Christmas...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One More Sleep Till Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Guess Sin Doesn't Matter Anymore...

If this post sounds confused or is just purely from lack of organization since I am trying to see this from many different angles all at once....

Christians seem to have this idea that they are all under grace and that all the old laws do not apply anymore. Well, I have been doing some serious thinking, and I do not think that it is true. I mean, of course we are under grace. God gave us a precious gift by letting his son come down here and die for our sins. But just because someone died as a sacrifice does not mean that we can keep on sinning, does it? No…that is ridiculous. And anyways, why would we do that to somebody who just paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we would not have to pay it ourselves? That is selfish. The Bible says, “for by grace you have been saved through Christ Jesus.” It does not say, “for by grace you have been saved through Christ Jesus, so why don’t you go ahead and sin all you want since Jesus went through all that pain for you.”

I do not think there is essentially anything wrong with being carefree. After all, God says “do not worry about tomorrow for it will worry about itself.” He did NOT say, “do whatever the &#$@ you feel like doing today because tomorrow is a new day.” But, you might ask, why should we not sin? And why is it sin anyways? IT IS SIN BECAUSE GOD SAID SO. How can you call yourself a follower of God and then pick and choose the commandments that you feel are best suited to your lifestyle and obey only them? That is like saying, “I am a child of ME”, not “I am a child of God.”

Of course, I know that nobody is perfect. I am not perfect, and I would never go so far to say I am anywhere close unless I was fooling around. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God,” but that is no excuse. God accepts that because he wants to accept everyone. That is why he made it possible to be saved merely through faith…because he knew it was impossible to be human and save yourself just by attempting to follow the law exactly. But you should not say, “Well, I guess we are all sinners…it is inevitable that I am going to sin anyways so I might as well not try to stop myself.”

Our reason for not sinning should not be for securing a place in Heaven, either. If we are all “justified freely by his grace”, then we are all going to Heaven, simple as that. However, as I said in a previous entry….don’t you think we owe it to God to obey his simple commandments? He has given us such a precious gift of grace and eternal life when we don’t deserve it. So why don’t we try the best we can to deserve it?

In the beginning, God gave man ONE SIMPLE RULE—DO NOT eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (You know, that is a pretty cool name for a tree. Nowadays we just have “magnolia” or “pine” or “apple”….those are so boring.) Adam and Eve could not see why God did not want them to eat the fruit, so they did, and look where that got us today. (Okay, it is probably true that if Adam and Eve did not sin, someone would have eventually done something.) God has made lots of commandments that do not make sense. Like, why can’t you eat pork? People eat pork all the time and it doesn’t hurt them. WELL….maybe you should not eat pork because GOD SAYS SO. Don’t you remember when you were a child and your parents told you to or to not do something, and when you questioned them they gave that frustrating answer, “because I said so”? I always hated that, because I liked reasons. I do not like doing seemingly unreasonable things: “Why do we only get to go 35 mph on this road? It’s perfectly safe to go at least 50!” I still haven’t figured out why Sunset Lake Road is that way……it takes FOREVER to go anywhere when I have to use that road.

Now, what if you still feel like you are under grace and that eating pork is not a problem? Well, that is your personal interpretation and conviction to believe that God has saved you thus, and that is fine. Still, wouldn’t it be better to be on the safe side? God may have even said, “It is okay to eat pork now,” but maybe he is also fine if you feel like you should stay with his original commandment. It obviously won’t hurt. And I am not saying anybody has to do this…this is just a personal conviction of mine that I have felt I need to adhere to. Why do we even have the Old Testament if it suddenly does not apply anymore?

Anyways, I have never read the entire Bible all the way through, so I have started doing that now. I may be wrong about some things. There is a certainty that you shall see more theological musings from me in the future. I am also willing to be corrected by someone who has read a part of the Bible that I have not. I just want to get it right, and I am very excited about all this!

I will talk to you all later,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Blog Response

A friend of a friend named Andrew posted a very interesting list on his blog a few days ago. I left a comment on his blog, but now I have decided that since that comment was so long I will just post it here. So here is Andrew's list:

"I believe the following:
1.  The existence of God cannot be proven or dis proven.
2.  If heaven does exist, it should allow the good in regardless of belief.
3.  Your life should be dedicated to being a good person, not praising God.
4.  Whether Jesus is or is not the son of God is not important, his teachings are universal.
5.  If God truly is almighty he would not need you to give him thanks. Remember that Jesus had skeptics but he didn't cast them as damned.
6.  IF heaven is disproved you should still dedicate your life to being a good person.
7.  Starting wars, genocide, and hurting innocent lives are evil deeds. God, if he/she is proven to exist should never give just cause to any of them.
8.  Religion has caused more deaths then it has saved (number 7), although anything could happen. Many murders may have been avoided because the potential murderer has religious beliefs against killing.
9.  Religion should not but can act as a moral compass.
10.  Religion should not be irrational or have rules.
11.  The history of a religion is not important. The only thing that matters is the lessons it teach to make you a better person."

And here is my response:

1. Perhaps the existence of God could be proven simply because of all the miracles that happen everyday that could not happen otherwise.

2. What if, in God's eyes, someone is not good because they refuse to believe in him? They may do good works, and may not be inherently "bad" in the way our culture defines the word, but by denying his existence a person commits a very big sin in God's eyes.

3 and 5. God may not need our thanks and praise, but don't you think we could at least give him that much? He has done so much for us, and the least we can do is thank him. That does not mean we thank him and then go murder someone, however... :)

4 and 6 are true, though the Bible does say that Jesus IS the son of God, so I believe it.

In number 8 you kind of contradict yourself, though you make two good points. God did not intend these things to happen, but humans are humans and they are selfish. Still, this world is only temporary.

9. Why should religion not have rules? Aren't rules what religion is essentially about? I think religion is about having convictions, personal and/or divine, of some degree or another. Atheism has rules--you can't believe in God. Otherwise you cannot be an Atheist because that would really be missing the whole point.

10. Being a better person is good, but you can do that without religion, and often people who call themselves religious are not very good people.

On another note, I find that people, usually agnostics/atheists, tend to classify people who believe in a higher authority as "religious", and I see that they obviously are not fully aware of what they are talking about. The term "religion" is really referring to something you practice dutifully, etc. Buddhism and Islam are religions. Catholicism is a religion. Christianity is more of a belief. Judaism can be one or the other, depending on what kind of Jew you are. The kind of Christianity/Judaism that I think is best is the kind that people had in the Bible and what Martin Luther addressed in the 95 Theses, and that is man having a personal relationship with God. Sure, there are things God requires you to and to not do, but it is not so much something you do ritualistically as it is something you do because you love your creator and therefore wish to keep his commandments.

11.  The history of a religion is very important, because all history is important.  You know the phrase, "history repeats itself"?  It exists because people aren't bothering to learn from the past...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Preoccupations of the Mind

Now that the Holiday break is upon me (almost...I have an exam tonight but I had no problem with the study guide so I'm sure it will be fine), perhaps I will be able to write more. I have been a lazy blogger all semester. Here! Read a poem I wrote a year and a half ago! Watch this thing on YouTube I watched over the summer! Yes, I have occasionally appeared live and in person, but most of the blogs that posted were scheduled in August. I don't mean to be so impersonal, but I wanted you all to have something to read while I had no time to write it. Consequently I am quite out of poetry until my brain can think up some more. Video of the Week shall be taking a break until I run out of time again (probably some time mid-January, so if you think about it, it really isn't that long). The truth is I really enjoy blogging, and wish to continue doing it. It just is a big time consumer. I'm not saying it wastes my time, but it probably is not the most useful thing to be doing either.

So...since something like Friday afternoon (after my English exam was over), I have started overwhelming myself with a bunch of information. That sounds a little funny to your Average Joe, I guess, who is probably scratching his head and wondering "why is she studying MORE now that she is done with school for the semester?" and why do people scratch their heads anyways? Does having your brain respond to something make it itchy? I don't scratch my head when I am wondering something, but perhaps I am used to wondering and I have become immune to brain-itches. Nonetheless, learning is something I have been waiting to do all semester! Sure, Sociology is interesting enough for a while, but then it just gets depressing and I start to think that maybe the reason the population is declining is because everyone is taking Sociology of the Family and getting depressed and discouraged about having families. I have not changed my mind, but let me tell you that some of this stuff is painful to study. And I am not even from one of those broken homes or blended families or anything else like that! I have talked to other people in the class who are not as blessed as I am to have a mom, dad, and siblings of origin who are a traditional family with joint sharing-something-or-other and we all love each other most of the time, and it gets to them more than it does me. However, I shall prevail.

What I was saying before I got off on that Learning. Oh, I also learned in British Literature, don't worry. It was a fun class. But all the paper writing drove me crazy, as usual. The only class I want to take over again where I had to write papers would be English 111. That was the best class ever....I could pick ANY subject to write about and could be as opinionated or satirical as I so desired. It was paradise. For me.

SO BACK TO WHAT I WAS SAYING TWO PARAGRAPHS AGO, I have learned a lot since Friday, and it hasn't even been a week. First of all, some friends came to stay over Friday because their parents went out of town. One of these friends really likes to educate people on very interesting things. I could just sit there all day and he would tell me everything about anything I wanted to know about. I don't know how somebody can have so much information in their head and be able to recall it exactly and then explain it to somebody like me in a way that that somebody can actually understand it. So after two days or so I learned a lot more than I expected to, plus he had brought some Michael Rood DVDs that we watched Friday night. Michael Rood is extremely cool, I have discovered. I like cool people. :D

After all of that, I then began doing all that I have been looking forward to all semester, which is learning. I have been studying law, religion, medicine/health stuff, and midwifery. It is all quite fascinating. The only problem is that I am now putting so much into my brain that I haven't really been talking to anyone. This blog post is the most I have said in five days, and this is writing. I don't know if my mother has noticed anything, but I seem to be having trouble keeping up conversation. She asks me, "How was your day?" And I answer, "Uh...good." "What did you do?" "Uh....stuff."

Yeah, I guess I still am a teenager, but I usually am...uh....responsive. I am a girl. I talk. At least, I thought I did, but I guess I don't. I am too preoccupied. I feel like Mr. Meredith from the Anne of Green Gables books. I am too preoccupied with my theological musings that I cannot seem to do anything but look glazed over and then go back to studying, perhaps writing down some thoughts on what I am reading. Yes, I had about three epiphanies yesterday, so I wrote those in my journal, and went right back to studying. I am sure I am driving my mother crazy. Sorry mom!

On top of all that, if I do have a conversation it is very surface, even with people I normally do not have surface conversations with. Take this blog entry for instance. I can't even think of anything to say other than "I have not been able to think of anything to say." I DO NOT FEEL LIKE CARRYING ON A CONVERSATION. Let me repeat....I am a girl and conversations are all-too-natural.

Perhaps I am in Absorbing Mode. I am a sponge that may be in dire need of squeezing, but squeezing hurts, so for right now I am only dripping. Some day I will submit to being squeezed, but for right now just leave me be, and feel free to run water on me or dunk me in a pan of water...I am all for it!

Let this be a disclaimer--if I do not talk to you this week or do not talk much, please do not think I don't like you. That is not true. I [probably] like you very much.

Talk you you all later (heh heh...)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Video of the Week

His whistle is a Bb instead of a D like mine....but, man...I can only dream to play like he does one day...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


A friend recently asked whether I liked this guy that I have been hanging out with a lot and if liked me or not.  "Well, it's not really like that," I said.  "What do you mean by that?"  she asked.  I then wondered how I had gotten so good at being vague.  "It's kind of a long story," I said, as we happened to be texting and I happened to be cleaning the house while we were doing so.  "I'll e-mail you later with an explanation."

So I took a very long time carefully thinking out how to explain it, only to find out that she skimmed over it to find the juicy parts (juicy?  No.  And they would have made more sense if she had read the whole e-mail!).  So I decided to post it on here for all ye "we already know about big news or anything" people, in the hopes that you will tell me whether I explained myself well enough and in a way that doesn't sound TOO practical, dull, or rules-ish.  So, here it is:

Okay, here's the deal (like I said, it's a long story, so brace yourself). This is a natural thing for me because I've been brought up on the concept, and so has practically everyone else I know (we, the strange homeschoolers....). But, to put it as simply as I feel I possibly can while still making sense, we (me, this guy-friend, and our friends) see dating as kind of a frivolous thing. Some people do it for fun, other people do it because they like each other, other people do it because they love each other. But rarely is it ever for the purpose of getting married. Sure, you could turn that around and say, "well, you date to see if that person is the right person to marry." But there are problems with that. First of all, why use that particular format of spending time together and therefore get so emotionally attached to someone when it may not last? To have your heart broken? We all know that is absolutely no fun and it hurts just as much, if not more, every time it happens. Second of all, dating is even more pointless when the two people involved are not even close to being prepared for marriage. Referring back to item number one, you become attached to someone, and then what? You can't do anything about it. You can't get married. On top of that, throw in teenage hormones and an underdeveloped cerebral cortex (which, if you haven't taken any psychology courses yet, is the part of the brain which houses impulse control and moral judgment) and you have a GIANT potential mistake waiting to happen. The cerebral cortex is not fully developed usually until around 22 or 23.
Of course, a person, can learn to control his or herself in situations like that, which usually requires what I think of as "complete abstinence." That means not just not giving in to temptation, but avoiding anything tempting altogether so that the mind does not even feel an urge of any sort. Physical temptation, emotional's all the same really. But a person can control his or her own mind. This means saying "no" to certain things. Things like being in any sort of romantic relationship before one is ready to do something. If you give yourself over emotionally, then what? If you give yourself over physically, then what? Of course, this doesn't make sense to a lot of people, most of whom just live for the moment. But I am thinking of my future husband. Is he going to want to hear of all the guys I gave my heart to? Who I gave any part of my body to? No, because I would not want to hear the same story from him. I want to give my heart only to my husband, and I want him to give his heart only to me. If you think about it, emotional/physical relationships before engagement and marriage are essentially adultery to my future husband. They will sit on my conscience forever, even if I tell him (which I will--I can't lie to my husband).

So you are probably wondering, "how on earth am I supposed to get married if I can't be in a relationship?" and perhaps, "if I were to be in a relationship, I guess I would have to sit there like a cold, heartless statue or something, wouldn't I?" That is where "courtship" comes in. Yeah, it's an old-fashioned term. And the way that this is a lot like arranged marriages may be a turn-off. But here is the concept: A guy and a girl are friends. Maybe just friends who exchange a little conversation here and there during or after church, work, school, or something else like that. Maybe they have a big group of mutual friends and they all hang out together often. Maybe their families are good friends with each other. Or any other situation you can think of. The girl may like the guy, maybe not. Maybe she has never thought about it, but she really likes him as a friend. He more than likely likes her. And it's not for shallow things like looks, but it is really about personality. He has been observing her in her natural habitat(s); observing her interactions with girls, other guys, little kids, older people, and her family. Chances are, she has been observing him in the same areas. In their conversations they have surely found, like any friends do, that they have many things in common, and that they like being around each other. Now, depending both on the age of the two parties involved, as well as the readiness they feel, it may be months or it may be years. In my case I know it will be at least two more years (but that is really beside the point). But one day, when they guy has prayed about it and sought others' opinions on the matter (not just his friends, but also his parents and probably other people who know the girl in mind), he will call up the father and ask to meet him for breakfast somewhere. I mean, it doesn't have to be breakfast, it doesn't have to be a phone call...just minor details. :D But somehow or another, he will get into a conversation with the father, and, once he musters up the courage, he will finally ask to court the daughter. It took my friend's older sister's now-husband three breakfasts with her dad to come out with the question.  Hey, I mean, it's a test of manly courage and things like that.  :) 

Anyways, next comes the courtship part. Firstly, it is important that both his and your families are involved. Secondly, courting is not dating. Courting is spending time together, but not investing in each other emotionally anywhere near as much as you would in a typical dating situation. Let's just say that that is very hard to do. The point of the courtship would be to get to know if the other is really right for a spouse or not. Well, there is no denying that emotion is going to get invested. After all, how are you supposed to hang out with someone (and, often times, that someone's family) with the hopes of getting married soon and be expected to not fall madly in love with each other in that process? That's why emotion and passion are not the main focus, no matter how present they happen to be. What courtship focuses on is practicality and logic about the situation, as well as making sure that God is the center of everything (if you are religious, that is). You probably know from experience that, in love, our first inclinations are to...well, feel love for that person. And feelings are very should never underestimate them. Thus, a feeling of passion can easily get carried away with itself. If no rules, boundaries, or limitations are set (like Cesar Millan says :P), then of course passion is going to be the center focus. But before the courtship begins, plans are laid out. And guess who gets to be in charge of it and who keeps an eye on the two as the courtship progresses? The parents and siblings! Yes, that sounds like a nightmare to most people, but really....the people who care about you the most and know you best, AND who are NOT emotionally invested in the relationship (or, at least, not nearly as much as you are) are going to be there for you the whole way! And if something doesn't seem right, they will let you know. The reality is that courtships don't always end up in marriage, though it is pretty rare. The reason is that courtship is meant to get to see if that person is right for you to get married to. And sometimes they are not. But most of the time they are, and once the courtship has been going smoothly and you both feel like you are called to marry each other at that time (it could be weeks, months, or years...), then the guy will (with the permission of her dad again, of course) ask the girl to marry him. Once engagement starts, then romance can really step into the picture, emotionally speaking, anyways. But proceeding with caution is necessary, as nothing is final till he and you have been pronounced husband and wife. And once THAT happens, it is officially time to invest in each other emotionally and physically and everythingelseically!!! I hope all this has made sense to you. Please, berate me with questions if it so pleases you. I don't want to leave you scratching your head and wondering when the homeschoolers went mad, if that wasn't what you assumed us to be anyways.  :D

So, I've said before, my guy friend is a most amazing friend.  If something happens between us, then that is wonderful.  Now is just not the right time, and if the right time does come, the relationship will not go down like your typical guy-girl relationship you see most often in this culture.  I hope I have explained myself well enough and given you a different perspective that may even be inspirational!

Your friend,

Monday, December 8, 2008

Video of the Week

This video was recommended by Elizabeth B. the other night when she was at my house.'s funnier if you know the real song, but it's fine anyways. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Sight of My Love...

A Poem by Jessica Claire Barker

My love, my love
I see you there
I pause in the door way
And I stare
I've just returned
From rushing 'round
Now I'm home with you
Knowing I'm safe and sound
The corners of your mouth
Turned up in a smile
In wonderland
You have been a while
I long to ask you
Where you are
And where you've been
You have traveled far
My love, I know
In dreamland be
I don't wish to wake
You from your fantasy
I glide over-
Yes, I dare-
To kiss your eyes
And stroke your hair
"I love you," I whisper
As I lay my head down
I listen to your heart
'Tis the purest sound
Dawn breaks and I realize
The beats fade away
And I see I am caught
In the moment of today
I look down to where
My love should be
And I shed a single tear
Over what I do not see
"Someday," I murmur,
"You won't be a dream.
My love won't disappear
at the first sunbeam....."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Who Starts These Tag Things Anyways????

This is one of those "trying to be Sarah" moments.....I can't remember what kind of flower this is, though....but it was blooming in August, whatever it was, and I think it was a vine of some sort.  Moonvine?  I don't know.  This was about 7 in the morning, but, yes, I took it.  The focus is all off.....

The rules:  Go to your picture file, go to your fifth picture, post it, and then tag five people.  Considering we all know each other, the people available to tag are getting mighty slim.  I will, as Lizzie did, tag some people who probably won't do it, but at least they will be tagged: Michelle, Chris, Mr. H......and....oh, good grief. I will re-tag Marck and Allison, even though Lizzie already did. You see, if two people tag them, then they definitely SHOULD respond, right??  Right.      

Monday, December 1, 2008

Video of the Week

I really thing this guy has a good approach to things...he's obviously a Libertarian...I like the way he confronts the issue. Good grief...Americans can be so shallow sometimes, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who notices!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Come True

The layers of beauty surround me
As I sit here alone
We both know who created this
Now I want you to be here
To share this with me
And not just now, but forever more

The quiet here is thrilling
But the scratching of my pen
Reminds me of where my heart has been
I can hear your whispers
From far away in my ear
Will you ever walk the path with me?

I’m afraid to write about you
Afraid it is not due
Scared to wish on a melody
For fear it won’t come true

I find myself pondering
Why it changes so suddenly
Will inspiration ever find me?
I feel my soul unwinding
Hiding behind a story book
Perhaps the tale should not be told

One day I want to be lost
In the sea of your eyes forever
And in the sounds of your stunning harmonies
You’ll never believe the affections
That sprung from our recent farewell
Ever since I’ve been blind to everything…

If you want to hold
My heart in your arms
Just tell me, I’ll let you
I know you’ll do it no harm


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

That's all I have to say.

Beware of leftovers...yeah. But even if you're sick of them, be thankful, or they might make you sick.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Le Papier est Fini!

If you haven't noticed, I've had a little obsession with typing/posting in French.  If it's annoying you, I am sorry.  I just really want to learn more French and I don't have time.  So I am just going with what I know.  That means that if something I want to say happens to translate into French in my brain oh-so-magically, then I will say/write it without much of a doubt (except perhaps on the correct pronunciation....)

So I am done with my last research paper for the semester and I am rejoicing, of course.  Yes, doing the Highland Fling and other dances I am famed for.  I haven't blogged a real blog in a long time.  The last time I told you how I was doing was for that "Tag" thing, and that doesn't really count because there was this thing entailed known as "structure."  I don't like structure.  It bothers me.  Organization is not bad, but structure...I won't even go into how it just messes up things.

So things are about to get drastically different.  I have re-thought my life plan for the 7,000th time since last summer.  Not this summer, just last summer.  I am going to stop having getajobaphobia and I am, instead, going to get a job.  I really want to work at either a bookstore or a pet store.  I am working on a write-up on everything about myself, putting my social security number in big print on the cover page, and giving that package to random people I see in stores.  

Next semester I am not going to go to college.  Every time I sign up for a college class I forget all the negative things like sitting in classrooms, being lectured, writing papers, taking tests, being told what to do, and things like that.  For the rest of my life I am vowing not to make that mistake again.  I DO NOT like being told what to do.  I am going to do what I want...and that is...

1)  Study music theory
2) Study creative writing more intensely
3) Read more books
4) Write more (poetry, stories, etc)
5) Compose more (like, music, you know?)

These would be done when I am not working, of course.  And I am going to use my money to either travel the world, buy myself a house (in North Carolina.......), or as my own marriage dowry or something.   Or maybe just...oh, never mind.  

In other general news, we got our piano tuned yesterday.  It's an understatement that I am quite ecstatic.  We haven't had it tuned since we got it 14 years ago...sad.  So now it sounds next to wonderful.  It's an upright, so it will never sound like a grand, but it's pretty pretty!  Also, Saturday I got to go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert!  It was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!!!  And that is also an understatement.  I'll be talking about it for the next decade.  :D

I really need to be getting on important things like chores since I haven't done much because I've been working on my paper.  It is a terrible paper.  I will fail the class.  < /low self esteem >  That's okay though!  I really don't care.  I enjoyed it, but what do grades matter when I'm not going to go to college and I am not going to change my mind about going to college???

I will write again soon.  I have to write lots of tiny paper summaries for my classes and study for a couple of finals (ugh...I sound so school-ish...I disgust myself), but I think I will have more time because I don't have to spend so much of it thinking about something I don't want to think about.  Isn't that liberating?  I'm considering re-naming this the Blog of Liberation again!

Anyways, talk to y'all later!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Video of the Week

They need no introduction...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Liberation

I’ve said I felt this before
But is it real this time?
Love stranded on an eastern shore
See the path to its west – a bending line
Has something liberated me?
Seeing he’s different in that he’s the same
My heart is unconstrained– my mind set free
Never again will worries maim
My soul feels the breeze blowing through
It has opened up its unused wings
Feels a sudden thrill, urges to fly to
The place where all spirits sing…


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Video of the Week

I'm not sure if you should listen to them....

Monday, November 17, 2008

In Which Jessica is Tagged and Also Tags...

Lizzie tagged me!

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write Six Random Things about yourself.
  • Tag a few other people at the bottom of the post.
  • Leave comments on their blogs, letting them know they've been tagged!
  • Let the person who tagged you know when you've written the post.
1.  I cannot decide whether I like winter or not.  I don't like it because the weather is cold, harsh, unforgiving, and uncomfortable.  However, I like it because when it's cold I can snuggle up and feel warm and cozy inside, read a book, drink all manner of hot things such as cider, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea...and there's Christmas!  

2.  I have a tendency to get ahead of myself in just about every area of life.  The latest has been a nice little habit of doing google searches for mountain retreats/bed and breakfasts with my honeymoon in mind....not even a particular person.  Just the honeymoon.  

3.  I have recently discovered (like, two days ago) that I play piano VERY EXTREMELY by ear...I was sitting down at the hotel in DC, with my "Alfred's Basic Keyboard Chart" (please don't ask...) (and who is Alfred anyways?) thinking that I could start musically notating a piece I am working on.  I tried to play it on the piece of paper, but I couldn't really remember what keys to press.  I was writing it down, but I have no idea if I'm right or not.  I kept thinking...if only the piece of paper made noise...and I thought I was a "doer" but I guess I'm just a "hearer."  I wonder if there's any hope left for me....

4.  I used to be very much a feminist/tomboy when I was, like, ten or something.  It was one of those embarrassing phases of my childhood, so I'm not quite sure why I'm telling you.  I just thought that boys had all the fun, and why can't girls go do things the boys did?  So I made a point to go against the pressure there was to be a girl and just do what I felt like doing.  While I've basically grown out of rebelling against anything girly, I'm still not an extremely girly person....however, I am NOT a feminist any more....

5.  I can carry cash into a clothing store and come out with it still in my wallet.  But I have to make a point of leaving all my money at home if I am going to the bookstore.  

6.  I have a large collection of countless notebooks that I've filled up over the years...and I keep  most of them in my bottom dresser drawer.  Come to think of it...that is my largest collection...

I'm going to tag Michelle and Chris.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Feel Like the Blogging Muscle Guy...

Maybe Matt, Sarah, and Lizzie might know what I mean by that, or we may have all forgotten...but nonetheless, here is another one of "those boredom/lazy blogging things":

Random Facts About You:

1. Favorite book(s) of the Bible: 1st and 2nd Peter
2. Largest collection that you own: 18 assorted jackets and hoodies
3. What instrument(s) do you play (if any)? Guitar and piano mainly, and to save my life I can get by on the bass, mandolin, Irish whistle, recorder, and ukulele.
4. You ultimate desire is: To be a mother and a writer
5. The song in your head right now is: "7 Wonders" by Nickel Creek
6. One thing you have never done is: Traveled anywhere outside the US *cries bitterly*
7. Your most common catchphrase: Um..."Oh, bothersome elephants!" (???)
8. Your favorite actor/actress: Johnny Depp
9. What is on your mind the majority of the time? Probably music...and wondering about life's complexities
10. What's your favorite drink? Those Bolthouse Farms coffee drink things.
11. Nobody could pay you to: Vote for Obama....?
12. Your favorite author: Charles Dickens
13. What book did you just finish reading? "Rainbow Valley" by L. M. Montgomery
14. What are you about to do once you finish this? Write a letter


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Video of the Week

Ron Paul on Obama...

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I wondered who would care
When I found you I went there
Nothing original, I discovered
All around you they hover

I’m less than a face in the crowd
Your boasting and their cheering so loud
I sit, mesmerized and lost
Life swallowed you up at such a cost

I think I thought that I loved you
And I don’t understand why they still do
But I guess you’ve never known
How to live life on your own
And you’ll never accept this as truth

When you look into the screen
Into my eyes it seems
You must know that’s what they all see
They don’t ask, “would he seriously look at me?”

I still wish I held your affections
You know there have been some tensions
When you grew into the boy you are
From my expectations you’ve fallen so far

I know your heart belongs to no one
Not even yourself
Do you even have one now, I have to wonder
What are you in this for anyways?

Whatever happened to the time
When we were young
When I thought I knew you?
It left with your soul years ago…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This Isn't Going Anywhere...

I guess what the dialogue does is introduce you to the characters, but, like for the one about the two people on the lake, the beginning few pages do little more than that. They have nothing to do with the story I had in mind. Perhaps, I have to think to myself, I was/am just doing some "prewriting." I had already created these characters in my mind, and created the situation they were eventually going to end up in. But now that I really think about it, I'm getting to understand how they interact and live in normal life before the story enters into the main part where real things happen. If I use any bit of this in the real book, it will be much shorter.

Anyways, in that case, and keeping what I just said in mind, comment whatever you feel like, but if you have something to say about character development, that would be most appreciated. It's very hard to explain, but basically with me, I sit down to write about these two or more people, with this plot in mind, but then I start to write an introductory interaction, and all of a sudden I see the two talking in front of me, and they sort of carry on their own conversation without my direction/guidance...something saying, "okay, it's time to stop chatting and time to start introducing other elements of the plot." It's also much harder to dictate what happens in story ideas that come from dreams. If it's normal every-day stuff, it just flows into what I'm writing, which usually happens to be normal and every you get what I mean? It's like...if you are playing piano kind of randomly, and just sort of picking here and picking there. You have a specific direction you'd like the song to go in your mind, but then your fingers are doing something else. It may be good, it may sound not as good as you had hoped. All you know is that the music is just playing itself now, and it's no use trying to control anything till the music is done being in charge.


Okay, here it is:

The sun had decided to rise on that day. A day like any other day, seemingly. It may have occurred to some readers that, in fact, the sun rises everyday, we just don’t see it some times. And those same readers may agree with me when I say that those some times happen to be the times when life seems at the peak of gloom; the kind of days when one would much rather simply stay inside and sleep away the day.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on whether the reader is an optimist or a pessimist), on the day on or in which this story begins, the sun shone in the bright blue sky with such radiance, that every resident that resided on the long, thin strip of land that was Seahawk Island, North Carolina, USA, couldn’t help but rise from their beds with a sense of hope and joy, and an unexplainable energy that everyone felt simply must be channeled into doing a million productive things at once, and preferably out of doors.

This is the kind of attitude that possessed 17-year-old Amber Barton, a certain dweller on the said island, to throw off her covers, bound down from the top bunk in the room she shared with her 10-year-old sister Catherine, and dance towards the kitchen gleefully. Perhaps it had occurred to her that she was in no need of caffeine, perhaps not. Nonetheless, she quickly brewed some double-strength coffee, poured it over ice, added sugar, chocolate syrup and topped it off with whipped cream. The reader must understand at this point that Amber Barton was certainly, if anyone, liable to do and over-do most tasks she set her heart to. So this Amber did in the case of her coffee making that fine morning.

After preparing such a treat, she ran to retrieve White Fang by Jack London from atop her dresser before heading outside with these two finely paired items to execute the undertakings usually associated with coffee and a good book. Her boxer, the most loyal companion whose name was Wiley, was at her heels as Amber went out the front door. He lay down beside her contentedly as she sat with her back against the large oak tree which predominated the front yard of the Barton home. Occasionally Wiley would glance up at his owner, as if he was wondering if Amber was going to feed him yet. Otherwise he would relax; he was most likely sure that Amber would feed him once she was done with her present occupation.

Wiley became distracted for a moment as a figure appeared in the doorway of a house slightly further down than the Barton’s house on the opposite side of the street. He raised his head and his ears perked up. Amber’s head never changed position, but her eyes followed where Wiley was looking. She spotted the figure, and made a point to make sure he didn’t see that she had seen him. “No Wiley,” Amber commanded as the boxer inched forward excitedly. “Stay here.”
Wiley obeyed reluctantly, laying his head down but still watching the figure as the latter walked through his own yard, down the street and into Amber’s yard. Wiley let out a little whine.

“Alright,” Amber consented. Wiley eagerly got up and traipsed over to the visitor. Amber looked up from her book as Wiley led a tall blonde boy of eighteen towards her.

The boy smiled at her. “I see the sun woke you up early, too.”

“Yes it did, Omar. What are you up to this morning?” Amber smiled casually back.

“I was about to go on a run, actually.” Omar patted Wiley as he said this. “Would you like to come along?”

“I don’t think so,” Amber declined, shaking her head and looking away from the burning green eyes of her visitor.

“You don’t like running, do you?” Omar teased, squatting down on the ground.

“Not really. I function better in the water.” Amber expressed. The conversation was going nowhere. They were always like this. As much as she liked him, for some reason the conversations between them were monotonously about shallow, meaningless things. Amber and Omar had developed a good relationship based on small talk, but Amber wondered why it never got any deeper. If Omar really wanted to get to know her, he would make attempts at different topics of conversation, such as, “what view do you take regarding women in the corporate world?” or “what is it about dogs that you find so fascinating?”

Somehow, conversation starters such as these were a rarity.

“Well, just tell me if you ever change your opinion on running. It’d sure be nice to have a running partner,” Omar mused, glancing down the road, as if scoping out his destination, mentally preparing for the trip ahead.

“I’ll be sure to,” rejoined Amber, once again looking up into the green eyes. Her heart was, for a moment, filled to the top with admiration for the green eyes, though she was not sure why such a thing would stir up a great bout of emotion in anyone. With the fear that she might melt away in the presence of the eyes, which to her were quite the equivalent of a sweet, mourning Celtic melody, she averted her own quickly.

“You know,” Omar piped up, staring at Amber, unaware of the effect his staring implements were having on the person whom they were staring at, “you really should broaden your horizons.”

“They are quite broad enough, thank you,” Amber responded icily, avoiding the eyes. What if she looked at them and was so mesmerized that she forgot herself and did his every bidding? Though, perhaps when she was doing the talking she could spare a glance. This she did as she added, “Perhaps you need to find something else you like to do besides run all day, and make noise when you’re not running.”

“I don’t make noise, I’m practicing my music and expanding my repertoire of instruments I can master!” Omar protested defensively.

“Well, over here, it sounds like noise.” Amber stated, beginning to hope Omar would just go on and leave so she could stop being miserable about all of this shallow conversation.

“The sound probably just doesn’t carry right.” Omar concluded.

Finally, Amber could not stand it any longer. “Look, Omar, if you want to sit there and talk to me a while, at least we could talk about something deeper than the same old things we always talk and argue about, you know?” She scolded herself for being so cold, and immediately felt bad. Amber was not used to speaking so much of her mind.

Omar, to Amber’s surprised, was rendered speechless. On a couple of occasions, he opened his mouth to say something. At the end of the second attempt to speak, he clamped his mouth shut and simply glared at Amber.

Amber chuckled. “I suppose you haven’t the slightest idea what deep conversation is, Omar Pollard.”

In a most mature fashion, Omar stuck out his tongue at Amber, and promptly resumed his standing position, saying, “I’m going to run a mile—just one mile—and I’ll think about it.” He turned towards the road, breaking into a jog and yelling, “I’ll be back in a few minutes, don’t go anywhere!”

Amber, in the rebellious manner with which she was most comfortable, did go many places while Omar was away. She went into the kitchen to put a bagel into the toaster, finished White Fang, read three pages in the next book she intended to read, Under the Tuscan Sun, put honey on her bagel, prepared some superfood in some orange juice, talked to her just awakened Dad about putting a hammock in the front yard, and rolled out a picnic blanket.

Upon his return, Omar found Amber, on her stomach, relaxing upon this very blanket, eating her bagel, reading her new book, drinking her strange green drink and occasionally glaring at Wiley, who looked quite attracted to the bagel.

“Alright, I have it!” Omar grinned as he wiped the single bead of sweat as it formed and wound its way down his forehead. “As a matter of fact,” Omar continued, sitting down in the grass Indian-style, in front of Amber, who barely glanced up, and didn’t say anything, because her mouth was full, “I have quite a few questions to ask of you, but never have because…well, I don’t know. Since you seem to invite them, I guess I might as well ask them.”

“Proceed,” Amber said after swallowing. Wiley assumed this meant him, and made a lunge towards the bagel. With a snap of her fingers and a strict utterance of “no,” Amber sent Wiley back into his lay-down position. She took another bite of her bagel, and looked up at Omar expectantly.

Omar piped up, “Why are you always reading or writing? What do you write about? What do you read about? Do you like other things? Why does that dog follow you around? Does anything you like have to do with the fact that you constantly are exposed to chlorine and have water in your ears and a swim cap and goggles squeezing your head?” He huffed, throwing his hands on the ground. “That’s enough for now…” he muttered.

Amber slowly chewed her bite of bagel, looking up into the sky and contemplating her answers. She finally swallowed and took a drink. “First of all, it’s nice to know that you know how to start a conversation. Questions are always good. Not questions like, ‘do you want to go on a run with me this morning?’, but questions like you just asked. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. Now, can you answer them?” demanded Omar.


“Then answer them and stop drinking that weird spinach drink!”

Amber cleared her throat as she set the glass down. “I am always reading and writing because I find them fascinating enterprises. I usually read about things like animals or foreign countries or anything else with exceptionally good writing or intriguing plots. I write about anything that comes to mind, sometimes utopian cultures or teenage girls or something else—either something I know everything about or something I can totally make up. This dog follows me around because I am his female. He adores me, and respects me. Wiley does not love me because I smell like chlorine”—

-“I never said you smelled like chlorine,” protested Omar.

“I said I smell like chlorine,” declared Amber. “Anyway, in that case, Wiley probably does know that my main smell is chlorine. And I am not in any way mentally incapacitated by chlorine exposure, having water in my ears, or by having my head squeezed by a cap and goggles. Ask anyone.”

Saturday, November 1, 2008

As I Sit Here Quietly

The evening is warm
Are we so close?
Hands are cold
A quiet drive home

Transcribing words in my head
Seems like my thoughts are all dead
Dusk comes and I say goodbye

Can you whisper melodies
Can they echo in the silence
Is there a way to tell a friend
A desire never murmured before?

To find a pair of green eyes
Against a mask of ivory
Are they surprised to see
My blue ones among the rest?

I am not the only one who hears
The inseparable polyphony…

Did you dream about me too?
Is it all different now?
I’m taken aback
How did this ever come about?
Such good friends, the three of us
Yet something separates us all…


Thursday, October 30, 2008


"Don't try to do anything about this. Don't try to make anything happen. Surrender all of your confusion to me and rest assured I will bring you peace. Can't you see I am God? Nothing is impossible with me or in me. It is only when you attempt to do things without me that those things become impossible."

But I'm not trying to do it without you! I want what you want in my life!

"You do not realize it, but you are trying to do it without me. You are worrying too much about who I've chosen for you and how your romantic life is going to happen. In doing that you contradict yourself because you always end up trying to solve the questions and uncertainties yourself now, and you aren't letting me take over and work my wonders on my time......"

YOUR time?? You have all of eternity, and I only have 100 years!

"Don't you think I've carefully thought out your 100 years on earth? Besides, it is not about how your earthly life will turn is how your life will turn out for all the rest of your eternity."

*grumble* I know....

"Now, surrender it all. Be completely honest with me and yourself. When has giving it all to me hurt you before? Something as simple as getting lost in the tried to find your own way back and you couldn't. But once you put your face down, didn't strain to look ahead and let me lead you home, you got there quickly. Why can't you have that faith in all areas of your life?"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Video of the Week they are. Keith and Kristyn Getty performing my new favorite song of theirs.....*tear* *sigh* It's about how they would walk the Ribbon Roads of Ireland together, long before they even started really courting, and how they still love to do it's just so beautiful there. It's just such a sweet song.....*goes off to get some more tissues before she watches it again*

The Ribbon Roads keep rolling
By castle and shore
I remember every rhythm
Of wild ocean roar
There we have wandered
As dream dwellers roam
The Ribbon Roads keep rolling
From long, long ago

The Ribbon Roads keep rolling
Unbroken and free
Full of hidden memory
That calls you and me
If footsteps could whisper
They surely would tell
The Ribbon Roads keep rolling
With songs they know well

Oh my love and friend of mine
Walk with me till the end of time
Hold my hand mile after mile

Oh the Ribbon Roads keep rolling
They’re heavy with sighs
They seem like shining rivers
In rain-blackened skies
But here comes the morning
In crimson and green
The Ribbon Roads keep rolling
As they’ve always been

Oh the Ribbon Roads keep rolling
From dusk until dawn
The road that we have taken
Has taken us on
We see where we came from
And see distant bends
The Ribbon Roads keep rolling
Till our journey ends…

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The meadow was green, full of beautiful weeds, wildflowers, wisteria and unkempt shrubbery. A miniscule waterfall poured delicately off a brown stone ridge. Moss lay in patches around the flat rocks by the shore of the stream, the sun shined as it was meant to. It showed off the radiance of all things green which were in the meadow; it shimmered on the stream, darted and danced between the waves of the waterfall.

A small girl sat on the water’s edge, feet in the water, pen in hand and a book of blank paper on her lap. Her long, wispy dark brown hair rippled as a gentle breeze whistled through the leaves of the brush. She wrote fast, intensely, and powerfully. A whippoorwill called from the top of the stone from which the waterfall descended, but this was a quiet she craved.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Blog Response

This is in response to Chris's blog entry, "Why I am Agnostic."

So the good ones die young? Firstly, that is a generalization. Secondly, death is most certainly not an end-all. Death is a gift, really, because though man has screwed the world up, God has kept heaven beautiful. While life here may seem great, heaven is a wonderful place that just gets forgotten about because people are so concentrated on life here. As for letting "bad people" live longer, we are on earth to learn to love God. Ozzie learned to love God, so God took him to with Him in heaven. He may have died tragically, but that's only as we shortsighted people here on earth see it. We don't see the big picture. So perhaps God is giving the "bad or at least not-so-good guys" more time here on earth so that they may learn to love him as much as Ozzie did. Of course, time does run out eventually.

The man who murdered John Lennon had serious problems. Lots of Christians don't like certain lyrics...but I think most of us see it as "that's the way that person is" and we can either try and help them...or if they are formerly a member of the Beatles, then we can just not listen to their music and get over it. Of course, I still listen to John Lennon, but I just don't take the lyrics seriously. But killing someone is just...absurd. Anyways, it's breaking one of the ten That guy had problems.

Why prepare for your "journey into the afterlife" when you are in old age or getting terribly sick? You may walk outside your door tomorrow only to have a stampede of rhinoceroses trample you to your death (try not to think about it...but it could happen). In my opinion, you should always be preparing for your afterlife. Okay, so that sounds a little silly just saying it like makes me think of how the Egyptians buried all their cherished worldly possessions with their dead bodies so they could have all those things in the afterlife. But God says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be." Basically...while I suppose it's a good thing to be working here on earth, we shouldn't place so much importance on things that aren't going to benefit us in the long run. While it's good to enjoy the moment, we shouldn't live solely for the now and not care about any consequences, whether those consequences are suffered here or elsewhere. All of that to shouldn't try to save your soul when you know it will be too late very soon. I think that it's better - for me, anyways - to devote myself to God now. Anyways, I'm going to need Him a lot during my life.

Sin is at the bottom of everything, and man brought sin into the world. God never intended for the world to get as corrupted as it has become. But He already flooded the earth once and He promised He wouldn't do it again. In the old testament God was very judgmental...if that's the right word...well, justice was served quite a lot. Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, Cain was cursed and sent away, the earth was flooded...bad people died left and right, and the good people prevailed onward ho. But since Christ came and died for us, taking all our sins upon him, God hasn't just struck anyone down with lightning anymore. Christianity is all about loving and forgiveness and gratitude. People forget that, though. If anyone watched that video on Chris's blog...what a waste of a nice song. It was incredibly sad and I wish I could do something to help the guy understand...but I am almost afraid of him. I don't know if I would want to encounter him on the street or anything...

If anything has any comments on this, I encourage you to please do so on either my blog or Chris's blog...this isn't just some lighthearted issue here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Video of the Week

So, by the time I finally found a version of this scene that played what I actually wanted it to, I can't embed it, because the person-who-put-it-on-there disabled that feature on that particular thing. SO I shall prevail onward ho and simply do like I did in the old days when I just had a link from my blog to youtube. I am going to preface the viewing by saying that I know none of this ever really happened in the books. I guess for a movie, you need more than 11-year-olds playing in a clearing all day to make it exciting. Despite all that, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story is still a good movie on its own, and this is my favorite scene *sniffle*

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Television's Negative Effects on Young Minds

Our present society consists of children who are constantly being entertained by images played across screens. Once a child reaches the end of his or her senior year of highschool, on average he or she has spent 11,000 hours in school and 15,000 hours in front of the screen (Costa 55). T. Berry Brazelton and Stanley I. Greenspan state in their book The Irreducible Needs of Children that “there’s a need to protect children from the overuse of TV. … When people worry about TV, the focus is on content, which is a problem, but the greater insult is the passivity” (128). Melissa Ruth, a developmental psychology professor at McMaster University, explains that “it’s not about what’s happening when a kid is watching television—it’s about what’s not happening” (qtd. in Muhtadie A1). States Jane E. Brody, “Watching television fosters development of brain circuits, or ‘habits of mind’, that result in…aggressiveness, lower tolerance levels and decreased attention spans, in lieu of developing language circuits in the brain’s left hemisphere” (F7). The brain is not making the connections it needs to while watching television, and as a result, children who watch an excessive amount of television can have lower grades, less of an imagination and can even run the risk of becoming unhealthily overweight. Parents need to monitor and regulate their children’s television watching habits so as to enforce and encourage cognitive abilities, motor skills, and learning motivation in these growing beings.

To state the obvious, thinking is critical for everyone. Furthermore, how an adult thinks generally relies on how he learned to think as a child. What type of schooling did he have? It makes a large difference in what a child is interested in, as well as how he behaves and thinks, depending on whether the child attended public school, private school, a Montessori school or if he was home schooled, among other options. The same statement goes for how a child chooses spend his free time, or how his free time activities are chosen for him. While an activity like reading promotes literacy, critical thinking, and imagination, watching television promotes nothing. A child does not think while watching TV. Instead, he absorbs.

To summarize Mary G. Burke, television is a passive experience, and while children’s eyes are fixated on the screen, countless things are not achieved cognitively. Children are not solving everyday problems because they are not interacting with any causes of the problems, such as other children whom they must get along with, sticky situations that they must get out of, or instances that call for the child to be calm and confident. Burke also touches on the idea that children are barely engaging in enough conversation with their parents, and what conversation there is is rarely deep or significant (50).

“Good learning and good problem-solving require active involvement and persistence,” explains Jane M. Healy. “Many people intuitively feel that exposure in early childhood to a great deal of television may create passive learners” (201). In this case, children will expect information to be presented to them but will not be very familiar with other learning essentials such as critical thinking and active problem-solving. “Children with less developed cognitive skills may prefer passive, nondemanding forms of entertainment to active, demanding ones. Television presents vivid, moving images; books and newspapers demand reader-generated imagery and are sketchier in terms of visual detail.” The more television that is watched by children, the more addicted they get to the passive state their brain assumes. Also, the children will be less likely to want to read, do puzzles, or put much effort into homework, as those sorts of activities require the brain to be actively applied (Krosnick, Anand and Hartl 89).

Obesity is presently at an all-time high and steadily rising. One of the main reasons for this most likely is television watching in excess. According to Jane E. Brody: “A child glued to the tube is sitting still, using the fewest calories of any activity except sleeping. Such children get less exercise than those who watch less television, and they see many more commercials for unhealthful foods and beverages. They also have more opportunity to consume such foods than do children who are out playing” (F7).
Unregulated television time means more time that the child spends sitting and eating and less time engaging in physical play, so the he runs the risk of becoming overweight. Also, while watching television with commercial breaks, children are seeing advertising for unhealthy food, which they then beg their parents for. The parents purchase the food, and children consume it while watching still more television. This is a serious health issue. Most parents say they want to help their children overcome or avoid this problem, but few do anything about it.

While in front of the television, children spend their time watching others perform physical tasks while they themselves learn nothing except how to sit and stare. Television is not an environment, it is not even an environment stimulus, so children cannot be expected to be able to explore and learn.

According to Mary G. Burke, “Children watching TV aren’t using their hands in three dimensions,” and they need to learn how to do many different physical, hands-on activities ranging from “clapping games to building, banging, weighing, molding, digging, stirring and simply touching, with a variety of materials.” She goes on to say that “these activities are necessary to sensory-motor integration. … TV and computer screens restrict development to a flat, two-dimensional surface” (50). If children, to address the extreme, do not know how to move, then they simply sit there. We can expect nothing but for them to join the obesity epidemic.

Excessive television watching decreases curiosity and learning motivation. Paraphrasing Mary G. Burke, children lose sense of their own imagination and creativity because of so much TV exposure, and resort to acting out scenes or potential scenes from their favorite shows rather than creating their own characters and situations (50). S. Eckstein states, “New electronic toys encourage children to get back to their screens by moving or ‘talking’ in response to what’s happening on their tied-in TV shows or DVDs” (qtd. in Alliance 22). Imagination has become foreign to children, and they above everyone else desperately need it, as imagination assists in their thinking and problem-solving skills that carry on all through life.

Parents need to moderate television watching. It is important to do so because children have very little self-control. It is a high recommendation that televisions are not placed in children’s bedrooms, to say the least. Additionally, Jane E. Brody says: “Half of American households have three or more [televisions]. In addition to the family or living room, there are often televisions in each bedroom, the kitchen, the basement and even the bathroom and garage. With access to television wherever children may be, it is hard for parents to control the amount and content to what they watch” (F7).
However, there is still hope. Parents have the power to set rules in regard to television watching. They have the power to put time limits on day-to-day viewing, lay boundaries on what and when their children watch, and even eliminate extra unnecessary televisions. T. Berry Brazelton and Stanley I. Greenspan announce that “an hour [of television] a day is realistic. But if we’re talking about an ideal amount, I would try to reduce TV to half an hour a day during the school week and an hour a day or maybe two hours on the weekends” (129). Television, in curbed amounts, can actually be quite harmless. Very few people in this world are willing to completely give up the television(s) in their homes. Nonetheless, while totally going cold-turkey is understandably unreasonable for most, cutting down on the time that children—or whole families—spend watching television is not.

What television does to the bodies and minds of children is a serious issue that is commonly addressed but also commonly ignored. It is very important to see that childhood is a time when children are growing, both cognitively and physically. Television seems to put this growth on hold, and in excess can even stunt it. It appears that television also rids children of the imagination, creativity and curiosity that are such a marvel of childhood. If children cannot control themselves in their watching, then their parents need to step up to this task. The effort will be for the good of not only the children, but the whole family as well. “Our time isn’t organized around TV schedules,” says John Bank on his family’s decision to toss the TV ten years ago. “We spent more time talking, exercising, playing games, and doing hobbies, and there’s no more frantic rush to finish homework ‘before my show is on’” (5). Children’s corporeal state, problem-solving skills, school performance and imagination will all benefit greatly from a reduction of television time. They may whine and complain about the new rules at first, should parents decide to set them but, in the long run, will be grateful and more happily balanced.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Dream

The Dream…
A Poem by Jessica Claire Barker

A dangerous dive into harmony so faint
Strong whispers plummet hoarsely into oblivion
The mystery of a still-lying, melancholy ocean
Where an empty echo hardly resounds

The apathetic sky allows itself to be alive
An old fence caringly stands
A new gate daringly grants you entrance
Where an abridged river longs for freedom

The shrouded symphony feels regret
As the water stirs meaninglessly
To fully abandon the attractive novel
See the audacious dawn weakly abate

The cricket’s music sadly abbreviated
See the hidden source of the borne chaos
Searching for your crying eyes in a photograph
At last, the colorful flame aborts…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Video of the Week

Okay, here's another edition of, "you watch these two videos and then watch the actual Video of the Week." Fun, right? But this time, you don't get to cheat. Watch both trailers through and then the spoof trailer. It's even funnier if you've read the book...but I won't make you do that...

Friday, October 10, 2008

It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times...

I had a bad day sandwiched by two really good days, so I guess it got a little outweighed, don't you think? Yes, I am actually going to write about a few days in my life now, rather than just my thoughts on life. Enjoy, as this doesn't happen often. You know why? Because it takes forever to write everything down. So, since I'm supposed to be sleepy and going to bed and nice things like that, I'll try and condense it as much as possible...

WEDNESDAY: I woke up, fell out of bed, and dragged a comb across my head....okay, no. Paul McCartney did THAT. I woke up, stumbled out of bed, hit the alarm, and stumbled back into bed. I do that so often now that I don't even notice. I do it in my sleep. I don't even remember doing it. I just know I did because my alarm was set for six and I woke up at nine. Not that it bothered me. I ate my breakfast, forgot to drink coffee again, and probably...I don't remember what I did next. I think my mom took the boys to get hair cuts, and I sorted laundry or something. When they got back, we all ate lunch (about two hours after breakfast for me...but that's not as strange as last Saturday when I woke up at 11:30, ate cereal, and immediately after ate cream of broccoli soup). Then we drove to the Y's to pick Hannah and Noah up for swim/water polo. After everyone went inside, I drove to my friend's house thinking I was just picking up him for water polo, but then I ended up taking his brother and sister as well. And we kind of left about 15 minutes later than we meant to, so nobody got to swim beforehand. Water polo went well...Lizzie and I were on the same team, and Alex S. and Kara were on another... :( Someday we'll all be on the same team again.

Okay, now here's the good part (I mean, it seemed good). One of my friends wanted to go to the NC State water polo clinic/scrimmage thing that night at TAC. Nathan and Matt couldn't go because they had obligations to be all "Radical"-ish and stuff, Noah had some other Bible study/prayer meeting HIS parents were doing, and I had Sociology (*sighs out of utter and complete boredom*). I asked my parents if I could just go for the first 45 minutes of Sociology in order to get my name on the roll and have some class time, and then leave for water polo, but they said I couldn't (that made me mad). was all going to be okay!! I went to class, and there was a note on the door...there was not going to be any class that night!!!!!! I was very excited. It was if I was just destined to go to the water polo thing.

So, I went, and for a while my friend and I just stood around wondering if anyone else was going to get there. I knew that it usually takes a little while for the whole gang to get over there and to start doing anything, but it was 15 minutes later than the starting time, nothing was set up and nobody was there. Finally, I mustered up the nerve (having my friend along helped) to ask some tall guy standing around wearing a red warm-up suit and carrying a red backpack if he was there for the water polo thing, and if he was confused too. He said he was there for water polo, but that he wasn't confused, only disappointed. But, to our luck, four more people actually showed up!! We didn't get to scrimmage...we only worked on shots and some offense/defense stuff, but my friend got a lot of one-on-one advice from that guy that's there who always gives you water polo tips. I think his name is Bobby or something like that. After water polo, I drove my friend home, went home myself, and may have gone to bed some time, but I don't remember. But when I woke up it was...

THURSDAY: I woke up at 7:30, one hour before I was supposed to leave to get a hair cut. I didn't want to take a shower, because I knew that I would get my hair shampooed at the salon, but because I had been swimming a lot, I had not had an official shower since Tuesday morning, so I thought it was a good idea if I just took one anyways. So I did. Then I drove to the hair salon-place, and from there on it was down hill. I asked her to re-give me layers, long bangs, and to cut my dead ends off while still retaining most of the length on my hair. Now, normally this particular hairstylist is the only person I trust with my hair, because she has curly hair too. But either she was having an off-day or my off-day just cursed me with other people behaving off-ish, but now I have not-as-long-as-I-meant bangs, I really needed one extra, shorter layer in my hair, and I don't think it's any bit longer than it was last December when I got it cut. I mean, I understand that I had a lot of very long, ugly dead ends, probably two inches of them. So if, in the course of a little under a year, my hair grew 2 1/2 inches, then she cut the 2 inches of dead ends off, I am left with only a half inch of actual growth on my hair. And if it grows another fourth of an inch by December (if I'm lucky), then all my hair would have grown this year is 3/4 of an inch!! I know that seems a little petty, but I really like long hair, and I really, REALLY regret cutting it chin-length in 2006. before then it was down to the small of my back, and I didn't even appreciate it. ANYWAYS, I was a little frustrated over that.

But now I can't remember what my darned problem was, but I was an emotional mess all the rest of that day. I won't go into the dirty, gritty details, but it seemed like everything bothered me. All I wanted to do was either yell and scream, or go play something very angry-sounding on the piano in the hardest, fastest way I could play whatever it happened to be. Although now I do recall putting on my Braveheart CD and attempting to be serene for a moment. But then I felt the inspiration to play Camille Saint-Sans' Cello Concerto (I think that's what it's called, but I don't know...) on the piano, which has a lot more notes in it than I noticed, and I had happened to put that on a CD with the Scheherazade (spelling suggestions, anyone? I think it's right, but what doth I knoweth?) on it, which I had been picking out on the piano for a while, but when I put that on and tried to play along with it, I realized I had been playing it flat, all this time! And while I normally wouldn't care, it just made me more mad. So I gave up on trying to play the piano, because after a while I just couldn't play it hard enough. Then, I knew what I wanted...I wanted to swim, and swim as hard as I could, forever! But then I thought that I should probably get the dishes and laundry done. This was in the evening, and my parents had gone out on a date, and I needed to get stuff done. But by the time I did, and got my stuff ready for swimming, I checked the was 7:53, and TAC was going to close at nine. Of course, that threw me into a fit of rage, because there wasn't anything else I could do with my pent-up energy. I was basically miserable the rest of the night. I just went to bed after a while...

FRIDAY: Um...I woke up at nine again. Maybe nine is my magic number. Anyways, I ate breakfast, took a shower, and tried to take Kara's advice on straightening my hair by blow-drying it straight first and then using the straightener, perhaps using some gel to help along the way. Note to self - never take hair care advice from Kara. She was just born with perfect hair that looks good no matter what she does with it, and if she does nothing, it looks even better. It looks the best of all when she takes a shower at night and goes to bed with wet hair, because she wakes up and it's straighter than her normal princess-like wave. I am NOT lying or exaggerating, ask anyone (the Mattrix [her brother], Lizzie, or Sarah [mutual friends], for example). And of course, like anyone, she assumes that everyone's hair is just like hers. But my hair is the kind of hair that most humans have, and it has tighter curls and more frizz. In all my 18 years I still have no idea what to do with it, probably because I've never met someone with hair just like mine (and for the first 11 years I didn't really care about my hair [and none of you will be seeing pictures of me during that period]). I can brush it only when it's wet, and then I must leave it alone. Even after the hairstylist straightened it, I can't brush it. So I think that it's not the curls that cause the frizz, it's just the texture of my hair. And that's very depressing. I always have wished I had the beautiful black, straight, silky, and shiny hair like Asian people have. I don't think it would look right on me, but I love it. Maybe I'll marry the Japanese sushi-making guy at the sushi bar that I went to and then all my daughters...

Oh, that's right. So I tried to do my hair, and in the end it looked like my hair, only the curls were a little more wavy, and it was significantly more poofy, neither of which I was really going for at all. I was doing all this, because my mom was taking me to a nearby sushi bar for a belated birthday present. I really wasn't eyeing the sushi-making guy, I just thought he was good-looking and tall, and that his sushi was very yummy. I had never had raw fish sushi before, because mom said I can only have it when it's fresh. So I tried it today, and I didn't like it very much, because raw fish tastes just like when you're at the beach, and a wave rolls over you and you get a mouthful of salt water. Yeah. Nothing exceptional in taste, and it's very slimy, but that was the fun part. :D The cooked sushi was delicious, though, and I ate way too much. Fortunately they also had some Miso soup that I could have to balance it out. But just talking about it is making me thirsty...*takes a water break*

Okay. After we got back, my dad called to give us some details about my great-aunt Mot, who was at the rehab center and apparently passed out some how, and was rushed to the hospital, where my dad and my grandma had been for the past little while. I answered the phone next to the couch, and after my mom and I talked to him, I forgot to get back up, and I fell asleep for about 40 minutes. In case you're wondering how that happened, my mom's mom took my brothers up to Creedmoor on Thursday and they are staying through Saturday, and I guess my mom was so caught up in all her cleaning she's finally getting to do that she forgot to wake me up. But I woke up myself anyways, and cleaned my chinchilla cage before a change of plans occurred. My dad needed me to go with him over to my great-aunt's apartment and get my grandma's car, and drive that and my dad's car to the hospital so that my grandma could go home when she needed to. During that trip, my dad tried to convince me to come to the Cary High School Homecoming football game with him, but I declined (nicely, of course). I didn't really want to get all caught up in all that public school mumbo-jumbo going on there, and please--if you are or were public schooled, don't take that the wrong way. I just know I would feel really really extremely out of place at something like that, and even if I knew people there, they probably wouldn't be close friends and would all just hang in their own groups anyways. It would be like going to church at Colonial Baptist, but seven thousand times worse. I really didn't want to go.

So after not going, I was home again and did some more chores before finally setting off to conquer my inner raging demons or whatever (unreleased toxins are more likely). I went to TAC and swam. I knew I needed to just swim mindlessly and think over all my issues of time wasting and what to do about making money and accomplishing goals and other problems I just swallow and forget about but that keep coming up, no matter how much I continually force them down...yeah, I think Thursday was like a "Problem Vomit" day or something. But anyways, I started out in the warm water pool, thinking I would swim mindlessly, but then I kept counting my laps, and by the time I got to 450 (yards, not laps, for all you non-swimmer people), I decided it would be a 500 yard warm-up, and then I would move onto something else. Well, when I stopped, I realized how warm I already was, so I moved to the cold-water pool (okay, it's really just called the "competition pool", but it sure is cold). I meant to swim mindlessly again, but this time I started doing a 200 IM, and while that's slightly mindless, I have to concentrate on actually surviving and things like that. I mean, it's usually pretty effortless, but I think I am still really out of shape. I haven't done any real work out for about two weeks, and then I just swim with masters, and they mostly just do freestyle. I made myself do a 100 butterfly, and it was very hard. This is just wonderful. On average in a Masters practice, I'll do maybe a 100 butterfly all total, and that's on an interval of some sort for 25s or 50s. When you're me, that's pathetic. Butterfly is supposed to be my best and most favorite stroke, and now I'm beginning to favor breast stroke, and that's just not right (again, if you're me). I've hated breast stroke ever since I started swimming on a team, which really was only about 3 years ago, but still...wasn't fun. Recently, though, I've developed the theory that I have been doing the stroke in a non-efficient way, and now that I've changed that, I don't have to put as much effort into it, but I have no idea if it's really faster because I hardly get to practice it or race Kara or anything...

I think my problem is that I really miss the Seahawks and I want to go back very extremely bad. Well, we're just going to have to do something about that...but I don't know when. :(


P.S. I really did mean this to be short, but how can I cover 3 days in a short entry? So if it takes you 3 days to read this, it's understandable. ;)

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