Monday, November 23, 2015

The Non-Official Best Book Awards #nonofficialbestbookawards

and then there was that time that we ran across that incredible idea on Pinterest.
and we did said incredible idea
and turned it into a TAG WHICH IS THE BEST.
(not the best tag. i meant that tags are the best.) (OH and hashtags. hashtags = best)
(sorry. i'm just REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS.)

People - i present to you:

The Annual Non-Official Best Book Awards Tag

Rule #1 - steal the tag. 
Rule #2 - fill in the tag.
Rule #3 - tag people to steal the tag
Rule #4 - SHARE YOUR LINK because books are best and i need more to add to my list. 

  1. Best Male Character
  2. Best Female Character
  3. Best Protagonist (good guy/main character)
  4. Best Antagonist (bad guy/opposing party to main character)
  5. Best Plot Development
  6. Best Plot Twist
  7. Book You Threw Across The Room Hardest (in either a bad or good way)
  8. Best Romance
  9. Best Action
  10. Best Other Book (i don't even know what i would put these ones under...but there were a few that deserved recognition.)
  11. Best Book That Made You Change the Way You Think
  12. Best Inspiring Book
  13. Best Book That Made You Learn Something New
  14. Best Sad Book
  15. Best Funny Book

my answers: please note that i'm very very picky when i pick favorites. and i try to look at EVERY aspect of the character (ie, how the author wrote them, how they responded in situations, what i liked/disliked about them, etc., etc.,) BASICALLY my answers are my own. as they should be. 
  1. Best Male Character: Park from Eleanor and Park. Down to earth, trying to be himself. And he cared, and showed it. How many people actually do that these days?
  2. Best Female Character: Lina from Between Shades of Gray. She is a girl with a purpose, even though her circumstances should have made her give up hope. She has a maturity about her, even though she is young and naive. But she keeps going, and even when she loses those around her that she loves, she still offers hope and encouragement to those around her. 
  3. Best Protagonist (good guy or girl/main character): Marie-Laure and Werner from All the Light We Cannot See. I haven't even finished this book yet, but it has such beautiful description, and Marie and Werner have the struggles that each of us have, the same fears, the same loves. I liked them best because i could relate to them.
  4. Best Antagonist (bad guy/opposing party to main character): Levana from The Lunar Chronicles. Truth be told, i wasn't going to put her down. But after Fairest, Levana took the lead for me. She is the perfect example of what happens when you let negative feelings (anger, hate, power, etc.) go to your head and take over your heart. Her story is actually really sad, but she is seriously one of the best bad guys i've come across. She is bad, not just for the sake of being bad, but because of how she let her past influence her into wanting to be bad.
  5. Best Plot Development: So far, The Reckoners series has got me hooked. It just keeps building and building and kinda gets you in that OMG-whats-gonna-happen-whos-gonna-die-and-why-have-i-ruined-my-life-with-these-books mood. you know what i'm talkin' about.
  6. Best Plot Twist: that thing that happens in Steelheart. with Megan..........if you haven't read it I CAN'T TELL YOU ANYMORE.
  7. Book You Threw Across The Room Hardest (in either a good or bad way): Eleanor and Park.  I was THIS CLOSE to climbing through those pages and smacking Eleanor upside the head because you just don't throw boys like Park away.
  8. Best Romance: Scarlet/Wolf and Cress/Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. SO BEAUTIFUL. *squeals* *flails* they are so adorable. just...GAH. it's perfection. (i'm such a romantic.) OR Eleanor and Park.....i mean, they're just so perfect. OR - ohmygosh OR Will and Alyss from The Ranger's Apprentice. (ok, i'll stop now.) AND PERCABETH. here's a newsflash for you: i ship a lot of OTPs. like, A LOT. #sorrynotsorry
  9. Best Action: The Reckoners. Duh.
  10. Best Other Book (i don't even know what i would put these ones under...but there were a few that deserved recognition.) All the Light We Cannot See. It's not romance, its not action, its not complete really needed its own category. seriously its got the best description i've ever come across in book format. SO GORGEOUS.
  11. Best Book That Made You Change the Way You Think: Paper Towns. Examples: "When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out." AND "Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn't always the way they actually are." And when i run across something like this, it actually changes the way i think. Broken people are beautiful, and i can't understand their brokenness probably ever, and the closest i can come to understanding is if i look at them as literally as possible. Who are they really? not what i think of them, but who they really are.
  12. Best Inspiring Book: Kisses From Katie. If you ever need to know how to follow God's will, how to trust him no matter the circumstance, and an incredible example of how to love God, then read this book. its really really really amazing.
  13. Best Book That Made You Learn Something New: The Book Thief. I can now swear and insult in German. (not sure if that's something i should be proud of or not...) (...probably not.)
  14. Best Sad Book: WHERE DO I START. I have only ever sad-cried in three books: Heartland, Bridge to Terebithia. and Looking for Alaska. Now, LFA wins this award not because of the book itself. i hated the book. talk about the number one way to get me to hate you, John Green. #hekilledoffthemaincharacter. (among other reasons, see this post) BUT i did like moral of the story, which is basically a bunch of teens searching for their great perhaps, that straight way through the labyrinth of suffering, the beautiful ending. In the last chapter, Pudge writes a paper for school detailing his way out of the labyrinth of suffering. and Pudge's way is to look for that bright light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. to believe that eventually everything will get better. to forgive the bad things that happen, and just keep moving forward. "Thomas Edison’s last words were: “It’s very beautiful over there.” I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful." (#wellripmyheartoutandcrushitwhydontyou) 
  15. Best Funny Book: every. single. installment. of Ranger's Apprentice. seriously. SO MUCH SASS. 
Now, your turn. 

(and give me credit for this list people. i stalked ya'll for like, 3 hours to get this list.) (yes, my internet friends are far and few between. so ya'll are special. :D )

Jana, from Jana's Faith and Lisez Les Livrez (This girl has two blogs. One for books, and one for everything else, and i will tell you that i adore both and her book reviews are the best.)

Cait from Paper Fury (This girl rules the internet. Not kidding. Her book blog WINS.) (Plus i really want to see what she does with this....)

Kate from the goodness revolt (Kate. i have no idea whether you read or not. but i stalked your blog and you had a book review post in there from like, a year ago, plus you did one recently. so i thought i'd give it a shot.)

Abbiee at Abbiee - who just posted about her TBR list (Hi Ab - i fully expect you to put that to good use and :)  yeah. no pressure.)

and if you're a reader or a writer or whatever,  and you want to do this tag...then BY ALL MEANS.
go write about books. :D

invisible handprints

short. blond. permanently rosy cheeks,
like he had just been in from the icy outdoors.
but he was nice.
and he dressed somewhere between gq and hipster.
glass water bottle. never coffee.
he was thoughtful.
he was funny, in his own way.
he always looked out the window at the sky when he talked.
(he never lectured. he talked.)
he encouraged. he guided.
(he never forced.)

i never knew him well
but he left invisible marks on me.
he was a teacher, a coach, a trainer
who handed me a sword
that looked a lot like a pen.

he was the one that said
you can do this.
you can write.
write whatever comes out.
write passionately, without pause.
write wholly.
edit later.
write until you fix the problem.
write about things that make you mad
(not the angry mad, but the crazy mad. the insanity
that makes you want to change things.)
write until you figure things out.

the best part is
he was right.
and so the hand print that he left was a good one.
invisibly white
you can see it glow slightly, still warm
from the branding.

i know her better than i thought i ever would.
another teacher.
there were actually three. but they've sort of combined themselves in my mind.
some fun. some drive. some melancholy.
some wit. some tact. some bluntness.
but she makes me practice even the things i don't like.
she helps me conquer those black dots on the page.
she makes me dig in.

i made her cry one time. playing a song that i didn't even know the meaning of.
i made her proud, i made her husband smile.
i made her laugh, playing the Can-Can with my left hand where my right would usually be
and vice versa. and she let me play it like that at the recital.

she left another hand-print.
its on the base of the tree. its part of the bark pattern.
its ingrained in me.
another invisible hand print, just as good as the other one,
but colder. it's older. its more mature.
i know i can use it.
when i can't go forward anymore,
and i have to decide whether to go up or down instead.

a bit of an audible compass, it is.
hers is the voice that guides it.

but these hand prints,
these brands.
they did actually hurt at first.
when they first got there, it was an icy-hot searing pain.
a door opening, an opportunity
to grow and become just a little bit more myself.
one of those hidden doors that you don't realize is there until
someone waltzes in and starts moving soul furniture that's been there for years
and behind it materializes a rusted sort of door in the wall and you can feel the room behind it
suddenly being hollowed out and made empty.
empty of all the unnecessary, full of possibility.
and then that someone waltzes out again, saying: use that thing i gave you. see if the door opens.
and then they leave, and all that's left is their voice.

they helped.
the short professor
and the music teacher.
now both are voices in my head.

guiding me. principles:
write everything, then take out the extra.
play slowly, then challenge yourself.
go to that room and bury yourself in the possibility and the passion that resides there.

and both, when i've given up
when i'm discouraged, when
i don't think i can do it anymore,
they pull me up, and say
no. you're going to finish this.
you're going to do this.

and i wonder at what point they will stop being
the short professor and the piano teacher.
and they will become my own voice.
at what point will they become a part of me.
at what point will the hand prints spread, becoming the ridges of my soul
spreading out of the hollowed-out room and into the rest of me.

and at what point will i say the same things they told me
to someone else

and when and if i do, will it leave a hand print?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Guest Post: Jana (she's the best :) (also DAY 12: collaborate)


Jana from Jana's Faith has kindly agreed to post on here. You should really check out her blog because her pictures are awesome and her writing is thoughtful and she's really just AN AMAZING PERSON.

(also she designed this blog. she is the fairy godmother of blog design, seriously.)

But yes: she's here. Give her a warm welcome! (that means lots of applauding and smiley faces and comments.) :D

hello peoples!  thank you to my longtime and fantastic buddy, sami jean, for letting me put my words on your blog, talk about trust!

anyway, when i was contemplating what i should write about and my thoughts ranged from gushing about books, blabbering about beautiful music *ahem, ed sheeran*, or providing a six page essay on why everyone really should love coffee and chocolate as much as i do, sami gave me a great idea.  so i'm gonna go with it and talk about traveling because i love it ever so much.  and i've had a post rolling around in my head about if for a while…

one). make your own soundtrack to life.  

seriously though, you know how there's always that thing floating around on pinterest that says "i wish my life had a soundtrack"?  well i totally agree, especially when you're traveling.

because now France sounds like owl city (especially this song and this song) and random french rap songs (don't ask me why, it's just what was on the radio).
and london is a weird mash-up of anthem lights covers and adele.
above: the coolest rhino statue i've ever seen (never mind that it's the only one) in front of museé d'orsay, paris

two). write people profiles. 

i've just started doing this but i wish i would have done it as i traveled.  because sometimes there are those people sitting across from you on the subway that is so cramped you have someone else's bag in your lap, and that person is just casually doing a crossword puzzle.
or there's that lady who, in the middle of a blank lot in London, has set up an easel and is painting a crazy complex modern art thing.  and i'm sitting/standing there with a billion different lives for these people.  and i've come up with some pretty convincing ones… like the one about the girl in the floppy sunhat and a killer sunburn, she just picked up and left one day to go travel around europe… oh, and she lives with her grandma.

so write them down, even if it's just for yourself so when you're old and moldy you can tell your grandkids about when the old italian guy randomly walked up and started demanding that you take a picture of him with your dad.
pic: artist lady in the middle of london, i couldn't tell you where we were as we were semi-lost when i took it. 

three).  journal, journal, journal.  write, write, write. 

tips for yourself or others in the future.
where and what you ate and if it was bad or good.
what you actually wore that you packed and what stuff you disgustedly shoved in the bottom of the suitcase, because it just didn't work.
all of the amazing things you saw, felt, heard and did.  and smelled, don't forget to add in those smells.
pic: the harbor in marseille, france.  

four).  always look at everything as an adventure.

… even when you've been walking for, i don't know, hours and your converse that were really cute + comfy at the beginning of the day have turned into instruments of torture.
and then later, when you find out that you basically just did the most extensive walking tour of Paris in the history of man, hey, at least it made a good story and awesome blisters.
pic: pier at omaha beach, normandy 

five). eat the food. 

i'm really hoping that this goes without saying, but i'm afraid it might not: eat the dang pastry.  i don't care if you're on a diet or you've already eaten dessert twice that day, you must eat the food.  end of story, the end.  

because crepes will never again taste as good as they do when you buy them from the old man in the little hole in the wall across from notre dame. 

and those mysterious weird, apple dumplings that have ricotta cheese in them, and taste like heaven, will never confuse you as to how they are made as much as the do when you're there. 

and when you're in a pub, in london, and people around you are talking like in call the midwife, eat the fish and chips.  embrace the grease.  refuse the napkin. 
pic: somewhere in a back alley in europe that had an amazing ice cream place

six). get lost + out of the city. 

forget the map and just start walking.  or buy a ticket to some kind of motorized contraption and hop on, then get off when you wanna.
*disclaimer: i would suggest a little bit of research, just so you know that you're not getting off in the bad part of town (not that i've ever done that) or so you don't get back on said vehicle during rush hour.  because that last one might end up with you have full body contact to complete strangers… on all four sides of you. not that i've ever experienced that.* 
oh, and leave your personal space bubble at home, because it's just gonna get broken.  like stepped on, run over and then backed over again.  

one of my most favorite times in france was when we got on the train and didn't get off until the stops no longer had concrete and my foot hit the bare gravel when we got off.  and then there was the most beautiful french town that was home to 300 people, old caves filled with bats and cave drawings and the most amazing guesthouse in all of history.  so yeah, go see pictures of my baby faced self eating a slug and wandering through other peoples' fields here.
pic: a clearing in the woods outside of d'Arcy sur Cure

seven). go see dead things and really, really old stuff. 

i love museums, all around the world.  but european museums really have it going on because those countries have been around way longer than america has, so they have a lot more stuff from way back when.  and most of the time they have stuff from other countries from a long time ago *cough* mummies egypt what*cough* 

so go see the easter island statue (which disappointingly doesn't chew bubble gum), stare at granite statues of mesopotamian creatures that are twelve feet tall,  marvel at how humans can look at a rock + make a masterpiece out of it and try to figure out how people were able to actually read the rosetta stone to unlock the secret of languages, because it's kinda worn.  and the whole bringing ginormous, bigger-than-a-house pillars back from who-knows-where to europe in the 18th century is still mind boggling to me, howw? 
pic: some old guys portrait at the louvre in paris 

eight). take pictures.  a lot of them. 

because no matter how many you take you will always want to go back and take more.  which is why i have gladly agreed to go stumble around europe with sam for a while, at some point in life… preferably sooner than later. 
(and yes that is me, dreamily looking out to sea and feeling like a romantic poet…  although i think i was actually really trying to figure out how i could possibly move to the little uninhabited island.  i failed unfortunately) 

nine). look at the normal, everyday life of european cities.  (aka not everyone lives under the eiffel tower.) 

so, i lived in france for five months with my family when we were in language school.  and parts of it were good, great even.  the food was amazing and uber fancy cheese was really cheap.

but the amazing food was expensive, so just like in the states, not every meal was escargot and creme brûlée.

and if when you're walking down the tight, little streets with cute shops on either side, remember that 98% of the time people's whole lives are in the apartments above you.  
this is their everyday.  
they walk down a steep set of stairs and get their groceries for the day from the funny little market on the corner.  and that's just part of their day, they live normal lives with work, school, play and family all mixed in.  so be a nice american (see #ten) and respect the normal lives of others, no matter what language they speak or how cool their clothes are. 

also, economics lesson for you today: 
a lot of european countries are socialist.  which means that the government decides when the heat can be turned on in apartments and when it can be shut off.  which means that when it is in the 50's in october but the greater powers didn't think it was time yet, life indoors also requires coats, scarves and boots.  (not that i would know from personal experience… the frostbite didn't cause any long term damage anyway. )
pic: a backstreet somewhere in europe

ten). be a nice american.

i think both from living in a european + african country and living outside of my 1st culture for the past three years, my senses have been attuned to the interaction between americans and the national citizens of whatever fine country you're in.  and there have been several times when i wished my french accent and fashion sense was better so i could try to claim that i was european.  in other words, i was not proud to be an american due to the lady screaming in english about long lines… so be a nice american.  

speaking english slowly, in an a n n u n c i a t ed voice doesn't help a n y o n e.  especially not the person talking, because, well it just doesn't work.  and i can say these things because i'm an american and i have the passport and bad french accent to prove it. 

and unless you're in italy, match the volume around you.  if you're in italy you can laugh, guffaw and be loud as you please because it's exactly how it is in the movies.  but if you're in… well anywhere else, channel your inner european and speak in lowercase, because it too is just like in the movies.
pic: versaille, because it's beautiful

so there you have it, ten tips on how to travel the world like a boss… or like a homeschooled missionary kid, whatever you prefer.  

you guys have any thoughts, tips or comments?  earth shattering epiphanies or requests for me to be your personal travel guide (which is totally an option)?  just let me know in the comments.
and come see me and say hi, here or here.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

contradiction moderation passion

i wish for love but cannot give it
i crave rain and hate the sunshine
why does the sun make me sad
while the rain lifts my spirits?

i am a contradiction

i scream for peace, but secretly
i fight wars with bombs and sacrifices and

i say, let it happen as it happens
it will all work out
but behind me i am scrabbling for anything
a secret latch
a doorway
a light switch
and when i find it i push push push relentless
because something must give or I will go insane.
because what if nothing ever happens?

when it does open up like
ipomea alba when the moon rises
i am happy
for a moment

because i am a contradiction

i want to move forward but i'm
comfortable where i'm at.

i want to have adventures but that means change
not just change of
scenery or
what i wear
or a lack of the comforts of home
but it means i must change too
i must learn i must adapt.
figure it out on my own.

but i am a contradiction

i wish for opposites
i crave differences
as black and white
hot and cold
but of course
of course everything must be in moderation.

contradiction or moderation
and i can choose neither
but I am both.

the only thing that
i don't think should be contradicticized
is passion.

that sweet terrifying swell that wells up
and takes over
charming as stolen kisses.

never live without passion.
the opposite of passion is not
any specific thing but rather
a lack of passion.
not having anything to be excited about.
not having a purpose
or a thing that makes you dizzy because you get so excited
or that thing that makes you cry because you're so happy
that thing that fuels your fire.

not the bad angry fire
but the fire that is your life
that fire that says "this is how brightly i'm burning,
this is why i live"

passion fuels that:
what are you passionate about?
what is it that you cannot have in moderation?

what is it that says
screw contradiction and feelings and logic
i must do this with everything i have
i must throw myself at this subject
i must immerse myself
i must live this

this is my purpose
not contradiction
but rather, passion.

i am contradiction
i am moderation
i am passion waiting
to pounce.
I am passion.
I am passion.


Thursday, November 12, 2015


FIRST THINGS FIRST: This lovely tag came from Kate @ the goodness revolt. so go check it out. :) 
second things: this was supposed to be a vlog, but i'm a rebel and a scaredy-cat, so no vlogs for me yet. maybe later. 
THIRD THINGS:  the tag. if you write, you're it. :D 

now let's get down't to business. 

WRITE FUEL: WHAT DO YOU EAT/DRINK WHILE WRITING? i will eat anything from edamame to ice cream to regular old dinner and usually only drink tea in unbelievable quantities. (i really really really love earl grey. like, if earl grey were a person, it would be a man, and we would be married.) (either that or this weird vitamin c tea that my mom makes that's like, lemongrass and rose hips and hibiscus. its actually quite lovely.)

WRITE SOUNDS: WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE WRITING? absolutely nothing. see, my brain works best when there is little to no noise. so, you can usually find me barricaded within a fortress of silence, violently typing away at my keyboard. sometimes my iPod is even banished from the room. even when it's off. just procedure, principle, whatever you wanna call it. NO NOISE.

WRITE VICE: WHAT’S YOUR MOST DEBILITATING DISTRACTION? my mother. i love my mother to death. she's amazing; you would love her. BUT - i can be in my little zone, and she'll walk into the room and start talking and i kid you not my brain shuts off. it's like "oh mom is in the room and she's talking. EVERYBODY GO HOME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE." hence the barricading inside the fortress of silence discussed in the question above. so yes, my mom is rather distracting. 

WRITE HORROR: WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE WRITING? i once wrote a paper for an English class that was quite possibly the best piece of first draft ever written by my hand, except i had typed it, and my computer crashed and didn't save it (#327 of why i hate technology) and i had to rewrite the whole thing. but it wasn't the same. really guys: it was beautiful the first time around. i almost had a funeral for it. 

WRITE JOY: WHAT’S THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED WHILE WRITING OR HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES? usually its just a small line of something really beautiful that i really really like. for example, from my book, when my main female character gets kidnapped:
"and then he sprays something in my face and it feels like fire and then everything goes blacker than the night sky above us."
i don't know why but i REALLY love that line. so basically my small victories are really good sentences, and i celebrate by walking around with a stupid grin on my face. (i swear i'm not proud.)

WRITE CREW: WHO DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH OR NOT COMMUNICATE WITH WHILE WRITING? Jana and Jacob. Jana because she sings my praises (lol, she's also my cranky editor...). Jacob because he's not afraid to tell me when its terrible awful and i need to throw certain chapters away. and he's got really grand ideas usually. (there's always a few that i'm like "no. just no.")

WRITE SECRET: WHAT’S YOUR WRITING SECRET TO SUCCESS OR HIDDEN FLAW? write without ceasing. although its not actually possible. so do the next best thing: write in your mind without ceasing. practice your page voice. when i think, i think as far outside the rhetorical and cliche and the box as possible. when i notice smells, i think of what they remind me of, and when, and how it makes me feel, and i write two sentences in my mind. when i notice people, i fit their body to a voice, and their voice to a personality, and the personality to an adventure and voila, you have a story. i think the way i want to sound. i think the way i write. sometimes, i even try to write with voice inflections. (you may notice the excessive italicized and caps-lock usage.) and of course, sarcasm. i don't think i could live without sarcasm, so i try to add it to writing. sometimes. as in, when i'm feeling adventurous.  
i heard something on the radio that i think actually could apply to writing really well: they were talking about how to be a good listener.  and to practice being a good listener; so, listen to something on the radio or audio book or something, and then turn it off and talk to yourself about it. literally have a conversation with yourself. i think as a writer, because we are all of the characters and all of the scenes and all of the heartache and joy and EVERYTHING, its important to have the ability to play multiple parts. so its okay to practice that. just like its okay to make faces at yourself in the mirror. just like its okay to sing in the shower, or squeal at the slightest little things, or have any weird quirks. idiosyncrasies are our blood. be flexible. practice that. 

WRITE-SPIRATION: WHAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU PRODUCTIVE? a good nights rest and a story that is going to drive me insane. sometimes arguments get me in the mood, or even just a 10 minute walk outside to get the creative juices flowing.

WRITE PEEVE: WHAT’S ONE THING WRITERS DO (OR YOU DO) THAT’S ANNOYING? Any writing perspective not done well. For example, first person perspective ("I went and did this, felt this way, she looked at me, he glared at me, etc.") done from two different character's views, but you can't tell the difference.  when it sounds like the same voice, the writer is doing it wrong. 
or, third person perspective. a person has to be INCREDIBLE at third person perspective to keep me entertained. i have to feel like i'm in the story, which is why i tend to favor books from first person perspective. but if its done right, you feel as the characters do. you see the same things, fight the same battles, etc. etc., even in third person. if done right, it is an exquisite balance of dialogue, description, and swashbuckling debonair. (ie: it will sweep me off my feet.)
i can't do it. only one sentence? i already did about a whole paragraph? you're welcome. :)

Going back to my barracks, I stop by the watchtower. They watch everything outside and inside the base, so they’ll know if Nick left or not.
“Hey, Joe. Has anyone come out of Barracks 9?” I know the watchman. He’s usually on this time of night. We’ve talked a few times, and he always flirts, but he smells of engine oil and his hands are always dirty. He’s a Machine Specialist in the mornings.
“Well, look at you, all ready for war. Who is it this time? Did your boyfriend leave the toilet seat up?” Even though he can’t see my weapons, Joe knows that I’m basically an assassin. My jacket must be bulging from the handgun. Joe is trained to notice these things, though, the little things that no one else would notice. That’s what makes him a Specialist. He fixes the things no one else will, just like I take out targets that regular soldiers can’t harm. Joe leans across the counter into the open air, his scarf falling forward from his jacket. He frowns at it and stuffs it back into the unzipped portion of the leather coat. It’s falling to bits. I can’t believe his Sergeant hasn’t made him get a new one.
I roll my eyes at his audacity to suggest that I have a boyfriend, and ignore his question. “Uh-huh. Has anyone come out?”
“Only your boyfriend, about 5 minutes ago. Why?”
“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s my target.” I slide a bill across the counter. Standard procedure. He gives me information, I pay him.
“Keep it, sweetheart. What say you and I go get drinks this weekend instead?” He’s smiling a little bit, but the light is coming from behind him, and while his face is a little hard to see, I know mine is fully illuminated. Right now he knows I have murder on my mind. I leave the bill.
“No.” And then I stalk off into the night. And back. “Which way did he go?”
“Drinks,”  he says, and I pull a knife from the back of my collar.
“Where did he go.” It comes out as a demand, not a question.
Joe smiles. “That way,” he points to the left, in the direction of the gates. I start off. “See you Friday!” he calls. Idiot, I think.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF THE SNIPPET. oh, and do the tag. please please please do the tag....

one does not conquer a black diamond in reverse

NOTE: i wrote this post LAST winter. so it's old. but it still holds true. enjoy! (also, just fyi, all the photos are from pinterest.) (also, this counts as day 26 of blogtober: share an opinion. this is my opinion on perfectionism. and salvation. bombdiggity.)


okay, so I'm going through a ski obsession. Most of my awesome friends snowboard. But a few ski. While I am not an incredible skier, it is one of my most. favorite. things. to do. EVER.

My mom and I were talking about my perfectionism, which has begun to become just a little bit overwhelming. I told her that I felt like I was trying to ski my way UP a black diamond.
For me, this is a fairly hilarious mental picture. Think about it: I ski without poles. So whenever there is a slight incline which I must scale, I have to do the wide-legged, inverse-snowplow, almost-cross-country-ski (which I hate) motion which is basically me flinging my self forward and hoping I can complete that ridiculous action again before I start to slide backwards.
It's lovely.
By trying to go up a black diamond like this? That would be self-inflicted torture.
So, perfectionism = making myself climb a black diamond.

It can't be done. I cannot be perfect. (Not to bust your bubble, but neither can you.)
So, we're all going to fail. We are all going to make bobbles and slip-ups, and it's going to hurt as bad as my legs do the day after skiing.
Here's the catch: this guy lives on our metaphorical ski hill. And he walks around to the people like me who are trying to get up the black diamond. Or maybe they aren't even past the bunny hill. Maybe they are injured and hanging out at the lodge or the first aid hut. Maybe they are even the people who are at that almost-Olympic-skier level that make you kinda sick, because they go flying down the mountain doing moguls and flips and bleh. Anyway - this guy has lift tickets. Free ones. And he sees people like me, and the injured ones, and the inexperienced ones, and even the awesome ones and he gives us free tickets. We don't have to try and get up the mountain on our own. We just have to stick the ticket on our coat and get in line for the lift. The ticket is unlimited. Every. Single. Day. We are allowed to go skiing as much as we want. The ticket gets us to the top of the mountain every time without fail.
(This is such an awesome ski should be a thing. Free lift tickets? Heck yeah.)

32 Photos That Will Make Your Stomach Drop ---I see it as 32 Photos Of People Living Life To The Fullest. :)

So, we can't get up the perfection ski hill. But this guy gives us a free lift ticket that allows us to get to the top of the mountain, so that we don't have to be perfect.

I'm just going to say it: Its GRACE. The ticket is grace and salvation and God's love for us. When we think about it like this, it's really kind of easy to grasp. All we have to do is accept the ticket, and then use the lift.

We don't have to be perfect, because we CAN'T be perfect. We will fail and slide down that stupid steep ski slope every time.

Thank goodness for free lift tickets.

Skiing the Crystal Mountain, Washington. Photo by B. Hazen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

indian trees

The tree leans over our house
waiting for wind.
A scar runs deep in its skin
and memories are scattered around its base
in tiny fragments.
It wishes to
scream out its story,
but it has no mouth to do so.

It's family is around us,
standing among the other trees,
each leaning in its own way,
each scarred differently,
each having different memories of the past.

The past tells of these trees
- they cannot tell for themselves -
and how the people off the land
journeyed through and
stripped off
the covering of the trees,
eating the woody flesh.

There was no other food,
and they did not take
enough to kill the trees.
Only enough to leave scars.

It makes one realize
that sacrifices leave scars.
Pain leaves marks.
Suffering leaves wounds.
And sometimes
one must sacrifice
as the trees.

They did not choose to be the trees.
They did not choose to provide food
for the people of the land.
They did not choose to be scarred.


They did choose to not die
from the pain.
They chose to keep living;
to keep breathing;
to keep making shade and oxygen;
to keep being trees.

They did not fall
to the ground and
rot into the dirt. They hurt.
They bled their sap.
They felt the wind against bare
wood and winced at it's cold teeth.

But though they hurt,
they continued living
long enough
to lean
over our house.

darn you, john green (my 10 favorite quotes)

So, you say John Green quote and its like #heaven.
Rule #1. Don't read the books becuase they are not clean. There is a hearty percentage of non-Christian content in these. And that content is gross and repulsive.
Rule #2. If you do read these books, there is some really profound and intense writing (I am indecently jealous of John Green's abilities as a writer) which will make you think that it makes up for the bad stuff which is wrong. The bad stuff is bad enough that you shouldn't read these.

but I did. and darn you, John Green, you came up with some INCREDIBLE quotes.

Allow me to share them with you:

note: these are all from Pinterest. But PROBLEM: some of them are grainy. sorry.
i didn't know how to fix it.  dang it, technology.

Day 31: costumes for Halloween

i wanted to dress up as Sadness from Inside Out.

that didn't happen.

i was not exactly forced, and i did have a good time, but it was something that was uncomfortable. and weird. and honestly i hate high heels. (although they are adorable.....)

because they just made it to the top of my hit-list.

we had a grand time. i mean: let's dress up and go to the Pride and Prejudice theater production (that was AMAZING i might add).

i love non-conventional Halloweens. 

note: photos are courtesy of Taylor....she's in the polka dots. :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

DAY 30: October Favorites

how to you say THIS IS MY FAVORITE.

(lol. it's called fangirling.)

October is OCTOBER. how can it not be a favorite?

it involves leggings and hot coffee instead of the iced we get in summertime. it means more blankets on your bed and awaking groggily to find that the sun is not up yet at 8:30.

October means its okay to spend an afternoon inside reading a book. because in the summertime that's apparently not okay. it also means new kittens because we need more mouse murderers.

it means that hunting season is here so Dad is gone for 10 days and every weekend until Thanksgiving. but when he comes back he smells faintly of woodsmoke and gunpowder and leather and if we're lucky, the iron-tinted odor of blood. (which is gross, but not actually that gross when you're used to it.)

it means that its okay to make pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING. it means its okay to turn on the heater. it means its okay to say 'ITS SO COLD' and your co-workers don't laugh at you.

it means comfort, and family, and giddiness because the leaves on the sidewalk crunch.

it means when you find that friend that absolutely LOVES red leaves that have landed on the round and she's SO HAPPY to have some to throw up into the air and you get a photo like this:

it means taking seven million pictures in the morning when the sun is just coming through the leaves on the trees and you're on the front porch taking them in your pajamas and bare feet and your toes almost freeze off.

its October. how can it not be a favorite? its the last hurrah before winter. its the last sprint, the last adrenaline rush, the last leaf as it falls from the tree.