April 30, 2013

Michigan Difference

Alright, alright, I know I've been posting a ridiculous amount of pictures, but 
OH MY GOSH, Y'ALL!  Did you see the sky last night??  

Maybe it's just because I'm especially touched when the sky is beautiful, but wow...

April 29, 2013

Just Can't Beat a Michigan Sunset

It's true...  And I believe that if I do end up moving away someday, those Michigan sunsets are one of the things I'll miss most about this place.

April 27, 2013

"No. You may not eat it."

I took the cactus - *cough* Enzo - outside for the first time today.

At first, he didn't know what to do with himself.

April 26, 2013

dirty cars + doodle boards + midnight chocolate milk ~ 7 Super-QuickTakes (vol. 5)

--- 1 ---
Well, Christopher Columbus, I realized this morning, as I rushed out the door to Mass... Miss Aida is in desperate need of a wash... Poor thing.  Oh, the perks of country livin'.

April 25, 2013

A Stroll Down Memory Lane {phfr}

Last Saturday, I discovered some old(er) pictures hidden away on my laptop, and I thought I'd share some of them!

Oh, why doth time so quickly fly?

{pretty}

Some friends and I went to a corn maze last fall - my first time ever (surprisingly to most people).

I just couldn't resist snapping this picture.

The sun was setting so perfectly - I had to indulge myself.
 My mother made this yeeeeeears ago, back when she lived in California.

April 24, 2013

Books 'n Books 'n Throwback

My parish is having a homeschool book sale this week, so I spent most of last night holed up in my offfice, organizing and stickering and boxing around 200 former school books from the various shelves and nooks and crannies and cabinets in my office.
this isn't even half of the books...  isn't my piano so picturesque?
It's funny to me...  

April 23, 2013

Singlehood isn't so bad... (:

I don't know about you lovely folks, but it seems to me there is an overbearing mentality in the world that there's something wrong with being single.  That being single isn't good enough, or that I'm completely miserable without a tall, dark, handsome Prince Charming by my side.

April 20, 2013

Trying hard and huffing and puffing to get back in the loop...


Wowwie… color me being out of it.  My apologies for that bout of somewhat uncharacteristic nonexistence.  For the past few weeks, most of my time has been consumed by final exams and portfolios, and movie-making.

Regrettably, I don’t have much to write about today (go figure), but I’ve posted my most recent film projects below for you to enjoy if you so desire...  Nothing too fancy, but I am proud of them, so of course I want to show them off.

I put this one together from the "blooper" footage of the March for Life in Washington DC back in January, and some of the video footage I took on Good Friday morning, when a group of us prayed the Stations of the Cross at a local Planned Parenthood.
During our day in St. Michaels, Maryland, Aemilia was hallucinating.  :p

April 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes (vol. 4)

--- 1 ---
Well, this week has been less than amazing emotionally speaking...  I tend to crawl under a rock and go into hibernation mode at the slightest detection of drama - always have - but this time around I couldn't seem to get away from it.

April 18, 2013

Rainy Day {phfr}

{pretty}

One of my favorite times to be alive is during thunderstorms...
For me, it is the perfect time for writing and thinking and creativity... 
and, of course, running around outside in the pouring rain taking pictures of all the things,
while my dear mother is yelling at me through the kitchen window 
to "put a jacket on and get an umbrella for Pete's sake!!!"




April 15, 2013

What I've Learned from Anne with an "E"


I’m sure you’ve all heard of the darling Anne Shirley of Prince Edward Island, a chatterbox of a girl with a wild imagination and carroty orange hair, who one day finds herself in the care of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert – and quite by accident.

I’m sure you know the story of her smashing a chalkboard slate over the head of Gilbert Blythe for calling her “carrots” and kept a grudge against him for years.  And of the time she dyed her hair green intending it to be black.  And the time she put liniment instead of vanilla into the cake.  And of the time she (quite stupidly) attempted to walk the ridgepole of a kitchen roof on a dare, and the time she sold her neighbor’s cow because she thought it was hers and she was sick to death of putting up with it…

Her list of ridiculous (and laughable) snafus goes on and on.

But despite all of these things, there are so many things to be learned from this beautiful and fiery soul, fiction though she may be.

She always tries to assume the best about people…  “A merchant in Hopetown last winter donated three hundred yards of wincey to the asylum.  Some people said it was because he couldn’t sell it, but I’d rather believe it was out of the kindness of his heart, wouldn’t you?”

April 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes (vol. 3)

Me be linkin'.  Again.
--- 1 ---
Have you ever grievously overcomplicated something that really didn't need to be grievously overcomplicated?  I did yesterday, when I was trying to backup my laptop to this nifty little gadget called Time Machine, something I only discovered recently. Apparently, it's like some sort of external hard drive where you can store all your computer files or projects that you're done with or not using at the moment but are taking up space on your computer.

Aaaaanywhoosle, I was transferring each file separately, because I was unaware of the "backup entire computer" button.  So, after about a half hour, I'm all like, "Blaaaaaah..." And my brain's all like, "What?"  And I'm all like, "There has to be an easier way to do this."  And my brain's all like, "Nah, you're doing fine this way... You're kind of sort of not-even-half-way done."  So I continued on for about another half hour, and then, out of laziness, I'm all like, "GOOGLE!!!"  And then I discovered the aforementioned button.

Macintosh: 1
Iris: 0
--- 2 ---
One of my favorite days in the Catholic Church is Divine mercy Sunday, which we just celebrated last Sunday.  It never fails to blow my mind that our God, who keeps the planets in their orbit with a thought, and could snuff us from existence with another, was 1) created us in the first place, 2) allowed himself to go through unspeakable torture and be crucified for us, and 3) has mercy on us when we screw it all up.  Wow.

We went to a little country church...
It is so beautiful and rejuvenating to see such a tiny group of people so on fire for God.  And man, do they sing.  So loudly and so clearly.  I would be seriously surprised if the passers by on the sidewalk are unable to hear the singing from the sidewalk.  It's a remarkable thing.
--- 3 ---
I love being a country girl.


--- 4 ---
I started another blog...  I know, I'm insane.  But in my defense, The Hanlin Chronicle is devoted to news stories and articles I write related to that sort of thing while this one is devoted to absolutely everything.  Beginning stages of organization, y'all.  Beginning stages...
--- 5 ---
The Global Awareness Project, a "traveling photo-mural exhibit comparing the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide" (such as the Rwandan holocaust), was hosted at a local campus yesterday and today, and I've been given the privilege of covering the event!  I only hope I am able to do an adequate job, considering the pathetic lack of (honest) media coverage of such things...

Please keep us in your prayers as we work the GAP...  We never really know what sort of response we're going to have, and we hope hearts are moved by our being there.
--- 6 ---
My first year of college is almost over... How strange is that!?  I remember, like yesterday, wandering the white-washed halls of the campus buildings, trying to figure out where I'm supposed to be going...

Oh, right... I still do that.  The place is a labyrinth!!!

Anyway, it's hard to believe how fast time has gone by...
--- 7 ---
Speaking of flying time...  A whole gaggle of my friends are graduating from high school in a few months... those wee babes who were in the junior class during our senior year at the homeschooling group.  I remembered that yesterday, and once again, I found it hard to believe.  Of course, just as our graduation, we knew it was coming, but it seemed so far off for such a long time, and then all of a sudden it was right there.

I'm sure I'll write about it again, but let me just say what a tremendous honor and pleasure it has been to live and grow alongside these amazing young men and women, and I am so looking forward to see where life takes them.

Well, that's it for today, folks.  Y'all go 'n have a great day.  Make it a great day!



For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

April 11, 2013

Pictures From My Phone, Garden Stuff, & Nostalgia {pretty, happy, funny, real}

{pretty}

There's a small historic village and park not too far away from my home, and it is one of my favorite places to be.  I could sit and think for hours... and I do have to watch myself, because otherwise I'll lose track of time and any other productivity that may have taken place that day will go right down the drain.  This place holds some of my best memories, too... late night strolls with dear friends, my first Red Bull (I blame Caitlin for the brain damage), swing dancing in the gazebo with the twinkling white christmas lights strung along the beams and braces, massive park-wide water balloon fights...

Memory is an amazing thing, don't you think?  Remind me to write about that sometime...


Yes.  I'm one of "those people" who always has stuff dangling from my rear view mirror... haters gonna hate.  Anyhow, I was driving to Panera for a sister date with Aemelia, and I couldn't resist snapping a picture of this...  The sun was reflecting off the beads and shooting little beads of light all over my car's interior.  The bunch of gold string is my graduation tassel - I can hardly believe that was almost a year ago already...  Where does the time go!?

This is an old-ish picture from Holy Saturday when I was making the boeuf bourguignon, and I realized yesterday that I never took it off my phone.  Fun fact:  the statue in the background used to belong to my grandfather on my mother's side.  He used to collect those back in the day.

Also, someone remind me to wash the windows...

{happy}

My garden is popping up and I'm getting super excited!  All of my sunflowers are doing-a-little-more-than-peeking out from under the soil, and I have a few corn stalks popping up, too.  The herbs are taking a bit longer, but I can see the basil, so I know it's alive.  IIIITS ALIIIIIIVE!!!  Ok...




{funny}

A few weeks ago, Chloe' and I were messing around with Photo Booth (which basically consisted of her tackling me and holding me still until the computer took the picture), and afterwards, I put this picture as my desktop background on my laptop:

So, whenever I open a document now, Chloe' is staring at me around the corner.  I may or may not have had a hysterical laughing fit (in the middle of a very crowded Panera) when I discovered this.

One group of my favorite YouTubers is called "Blimey Cow," who's videos I watch religiously upon their release every Monday.  I was keeping up with tradition this week, only this time on my cell phone due to the excessive amount of running around my mother needed help with, and paused the video when she needed my help carrying something.  The results made my day.  Beware the evil eyes of Jordan Taylor.

{real}

I miss California.



I brought some rocks home with me, and I put them on my windowsill.  They smell like California.


But I really, REALLY miss this girl and all her wonderfulness.
39 (I think) days until she comes home!!!  Good lord, I can't wait.

Have a great day, folks.  Make it a great day!


Of Possible Interest:

Linked toooooo...
round button chicken

April 9, 2013

Write About What Hurts

A dear literary friend of mine, Ernest Hemingway, said once, "Write clear and hard about what hurts."

Nostalgia.

For me, it hits the hardest when the trees are bare and the sunshine is obviously failing at its feeble attempts to break out of his prison of clouds and the long brisk nights seem to be for nothing more than looking back.

These are some more pictures from my recent trip to California…  

April 8, 2013

ERMAGERD... LERBSTER

Soooo... Apparently the Liebster Award is a thing.  And I'm pretty super excited to announce that Jeremy Booth over at Los Viajes of an American nominated me for one yesterday afternoon (as I was rushing out the door like a madwoman... super late for a Die Hard movie marathon with Christopf and a few other friends).

The Liebster is designed to introduce new authors of up-n-coming blogs who have less than 200 subscribers to the web world.  In other words, major publicity.  So now, I have to post 11 random things about me, answer 11 questions given my by the gracious Mr. Booth, and nominate 5 other bloggies to do the same thing.

Being a rebel, I'm switching up the order a bit.
I nominate:

1. My dear Aemelia at Bluebird.  She's one of my closest friends, and a beautiful, amazing, talented human being.  And I love her.  Yes, I may be biased.

2. Mah bro, Christopf, at Writing with the Door Closed.  Check it.  Cool dude talking about cool stuff.

3. Sweet Miss Hatcher (who I've never actually met) at This Sunkissed Farm.  Just a darling, darling bloggy.  And she talks about chocolate pudding.

4. Darling Tess, who I've never met either (yet) and is getting marrieeeeeed, over at Little House in Chicago.  Sweet blog I've been reading for a few months now.

5.  Emily, over at Everything Relevant is on the Floor.  She uses one of my FAVORITE quotes as part of her blog description, AND she writes stories... So yeah.  She's amazing. 

^^  The rules for y'all:
(Your mission...) Should you choose to accept, post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions I've written below.  Then, pass the award along to 5 of your favorite bloggers (with under 200 followers) in your same post, tell them you nominated them, and then do the same thing I did to you.  No tag backs, but please throw a link to your bloggy post back to mine. :)  Do all this in a post of your own.

That being said, anyone remember those annoying-as-heck "100 Things About Me" email chains going around a few years ago (or maybe they still are?), or know about this?
If not, that's totally okay.  You can stop reading if you so desire, because the rest of this will probably be lame.

You've been warned, so I shall proceed.

Random stuff you don't need to know about me:

1. I have a problematic addiction to orange flavored tic tacs.

2. I tend to drive way too fast when I listen to Lana del Rey and FUN.

3. I almost ran over my father with my pick-up truck when I was first getting accustomed to driving it.

4. I do not have, nor do I plan to ever get a tattoo.

5. I think about proper spelling and grammar more than a mentally healthy human being should.

6. I am able to recite two movies from start to finish: The Princess Bride and Remember the Titans.

7. I think Smartees are absolutely disgusting and I will never be able to fathom Caitlin's obsession with them.

8. Gilbert Blythe is my example of a perfect man.  I couldn't give a rip about Prince Charming.

9. I hate having my birthday celebrated.  Always have.  Don't know why.

10. My favorite childhood activity next to riding my horses was climbing things.  Not necessarily trees, just things...

11. I prefer guy movies over chick flicks.

Random questions from Jeremy to me:  (I don't know if I'm allowed to be sarcastic or not, so I'm just going to go ahead with it.)

1. What is one hobby you wish you had more time for?  Eating.

2. What is one bad habit that you cannot kick?  Obsessive compulsive cleaning rampages on things that don't need to be obsessive compulsively cleaned.

3. If Earth was being abandoned and the human race was leaving for another planet, what natural feature would you miss the most?  First of all, I seriously doubt that will ever happen.  Second of all, if it did, it would depend on what the new planet was like.  I would probably miss the water.

4. Who is the one person who often makes you laugh until you cry?  Chloe'.

5. Tell me your favorite fruit, favorite vegetable, and one other favorite food. That's cheating... You can't ask 3 things and have it count as one.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  Anywhoosle:  Fruit - strawberries; veggie - tomatoes; other food - orange tic tacs.

6. What is one place you have been to that you think more people should know about?  St. Michaels town in Easton, Maryland on Chesapeake Bay.


7. Where do you consider to be your local watering hole?  I don't have one.

8. What is one international dish you wish you knew how to make?  Skorthalia (Greek garlic dip).  It probably isn't that hard, but I haven't gotten around to learning how to make it yet.

9. Who is your longest lasting friend and when did you meet?  I met Emma in Kindergarten.

10.  If you had a hot date tonight, what would you wear?  If, hypothetically, I ever had a "hot date", I'd probably end up wearing good ol' jeans and a t-shirt, although it might (MIGHT) depend on where we're going.

11.  How has your relationship with your blog changed throughout the time you have written it?  Relationship?  I don't know... I just write what I think.  Always have.

11 Rrrrrrrandom Queries for the people I nominated:
1. If there was one place in the world you would travel, where would it be?

2. Have you yet mastered the art of parallel parking?

3. What is your favorite word?

4. What is your favorite season of the year and why?

5. What are you looking forward to doing most this summer?

6. What is your favorite quote or words of wisdom?

7. Coffee or tea?

8. What is the last movie you watched?

9. If there is one person in the world (living) whom you aspire to be like, who would it be?

10. What/who/where is your inspiration for writing?

12.  What is your favorite thing to do with your family?

Have fun!


April 6, 2013

Easter Kidhood Projects

These are some projects my brother and I did "back in the day."  The Unit still keeps them around the house, I have nothing else to write about, and it's still technically Easter, so here you are!

my rendition of the Hill of Calvary, made with a few paper plates, scissors, and some paint.
my clay crucifix.  I made this in art class in 3rd grade, and it actually won an award.
It was hung in a legit art gallery downtown for a few months, too.

my brother and I made this out of a paint stick, toothpicks & twigs, plastic beads, and some scrap cloth.
Ok, maybe this one isn't Easter themed per say,
but we leave it up year-round just for fun, and because the Unit likes to look at it.

our play-dough rendition of "Jesus things."  clockwise starting at 12: the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, Jesus meets the Weeping Women of Jerusalem, the Sacred Heart on fire with Divine Love
Now get off the computer and go do something productive.


April 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes (vol. 2)

Me be linkin'.
--- 1 ---
The Triduum liturgies at my parish were, as always, breathtakingly spectacular.  I always tear up at the foot washing on Holy Thursday (our pastor washes the feet of our parish Knights and Squires of Columbus), and on Good Friday when we honor the crucifix.  We switched things up a bit this year, so instead of having separate stations set up around the sanctuary as in the past, there was only one giant crucifix in front of the altar in the center aisle, made of olive wood from the Holy Land.  Everyone in the church kissed the hands, feet, and side of the same cross...  It took twice as long but it was twice as moving to me.  And, our Easter Vigil blew my mind yet again.  I had the opportunity to work the camera this time around, so I was blessed with the best view ever.

It is always so touching to see "our" young seminarians serving on the altar, and to be a part of the churchly welcome to all the baby Catholics.  Welcome home, y'all.  Welcome home.
--- 2 ---
I told you food is important to me.  This is probably some of the best soup you'll ever have.  Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Panera.  Thank you, Aemelia, for introducing me to this wondrous concoction.


--- 3 ---
Creeper chicken is still at it.  I've decided to call her "Nugget," for if I have my way, a nugget she soon shall be.


--- 4 ---
I've fallen in love with this song, and have listened to it about 50,000 times.


--- 5 ---
As per family tradition on all the big holifeastays (being Christmas, St. Patty's Day, and Easter), the Unit and I trundled over to my youngest Aunt Nancy's house.  Only this time, we were so late (by no fault of mine, may I mention) that the party ended up consisting only my aunt's small family and ours.  Still, we had a ball, and bless their hearts, they gave us the warmest welcome, and pulled out all the already-packed-away food and gave us a feast.  Y'all have any special Easter traditions?

--- 6 ---
I made another little video...  This is Ojai, California - the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and, God-willing, my future home.  The song is also very special to me...  An old friend and I used to listen to it over and over while we were mucking out stalls years ago.  I love you, Celisa!



--- 7 ---
I've decided that one of my Summer 2013 goals is to see as many of the beautiful and historic places in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and nearby Canada as I am able, making lots of "day-or-two" getaways with only some of my closest friends.  As much as it was worth it, and one of the best weeks of my existence, I pretty much murdered my bank account by going out to California, so while I save up for the big 'uns, I'm going to see my own wonderful state, and the parts of others I can get to easily and inexpensively.

the adventure fund is up and running!
fun fact:  this is the jar I found at Emris Forest.


Now y'all go 'n have a great day.  Make it a great day.  Go make today ridiculously amazing.




Linkin' up to the Conversion Diary:



For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

April 4, 2013

Eastertide {pretty, happy, funny, real}

{pretty}

I took this picture on Good Friday after the liturgy at my Church.


And this one on Holy Saturday morning in the front of my house.


{happy}

We have a winner!!  One of my California zinnias decided to pop up early and surprise us all.
("Us all" being me.  Forever alone.)


{funny}

My mother has a chicken who takes the role of neighborhood stalker a liiiiittle too seriously.  She likes to sit on the back porch and watch us.  It's creepy.  Also, you should know that I hate chickens.


{real}

If there's one group of people I especially admire, it would be "the nuns."  These women devote their entire lives to the service of God and His Church, and to powerful intercession on our behalf.  Everything they do is for others, and that is something to admire.


Have a great day!  Make it a great day.


Linkin' this to Like Mother, Like Daughter!

April 3, 2013

Frown Lines



This morning, as I pried my eyes open and forced myself to look into the mirror so I could get ready to face the real world, I realized something absolutely ridiculous.  I have frown lines between my eyebrows.

Frown lines.

I'm 19 years old, y'all.

Of course, I grabbed my face gunk immediately (I'd like to take a moment here to remind a certain girl named Caitlin to be proud of me for actually using make-up without complaint), and I began to wonder why I’m so concerned about a little tiny wrinkle…

Do I have some malformed default-thinking-face that forces my face into strange contortions unbeknownst to me?

Am I really that much of a crank?

Has my pride just gotten the better of me?  Again?

Followed by, "Gosh, I need to chill out!"

What, am I worried that I’m turning into a monster?  Everyone knows I’m stunning.  Just kidding…

But of course, this led to a deeper question once I had splashed a couple gallons of cold water on myself to force consciousness.

What is beauty, anyway?  Is it subjective or objective?  Do we decide what is beautiful or does something/someone else?  I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but is that really the case?  Or is it yet another societal misnomer? 

First, let’s define the terms.
Subjective – Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions
Objective – Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
Beauty – A combination of qualities that pleases the intellectual or moral sense.
(Thank you, Dictionary.com)

Dictionary.com agrees with St. Thomas Aquinas on this one.  His definition:  “Beauty is that which when perceived; pleases.”

I don’t believe people fully understand what they mean when they say things like “beauty is what we make it,” “we define beauty,” or what not…  By defining beauty, I don’t believe people are creating a whole new definition for beauty that they will live by…

We know what beauty is, but we may have different opinions of what it applies to. 

Example:  I may think Collie dogs are more beautiful than German Shepherds, while you think German Shepherds are the most beautiful breed of dog there could possibly be.

Example 2: I may believe Audrey Hepburn to be simply stunning, but you don’t care for her looks as much as you do Grace Kelly's.

Beauty cannot be objective if each person experiences it differently, but the fact that people disagree over what things or people are more beautiful than others does not do away with the fact that there is such a thing as objective beauty.

Example:  If you and I are sitting on a mesa in Arizona, gazing at the red horizon as the massive, golden sun sinks below it, and I find it completely breathtaking while you find it offensive or obscene, it is probably true that one of us is mistaken, and that beauty doesn’t even exist.

It’s the same for truth.  2 + 2 = 4.  I don’t think anyone would argue with that.  But if someone were to challenge me, saying that 2 + 2 = 53, then it would be safe to say he believes there to be no such thing as truth.

Back to formula –  *cough* I mean, beauty.  To say there is no such thing as objective beauty would be same as the declaration of nonexistence toward Aquinas’s definition of beauty, “that which when perceived; pleases,” and if you do that, you’d be blatantly denying the fact that people perceive and are pleased as a result.  The relativist response to this would probably be that beauty is subjective, but you can’t go back and try to describe something after you’ve just claimed it doesn’t exist, or else the whole thing will just fall apart into nonsense.  Can beauty either truth be subjective when neither of those things exist?

Inconsistencies, y’all!

I believe beauty is objective, and I’ve come to realize that I come from an existentialist approach, that there are two aspects to the experience of beauty. 

First, we realize something is beautiful, like that sunset on an Arizonian mesa.  Second, there is the notion that everyone else should find it just as beautiful as we do, and if they don’t, there is definitely something wrong with their brains.  As C.S, Lewis so eloquently stated, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world,” and if such a desire consumes us to proclaim the beauty of a thing, we can only accept the fact that there is such a thing as objective beauty.

Those are my thoughts for now.

Now y’all go ‘n have a great day.  Make it a great day.

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