Wednesday, December 20, 2017
            Home looks different from the rear view mirror, the familiar curve of the road twisted like the grin of the Cheshire cat, the letters of the water tower reflected and contorted, almost demonic, in the light of the early morning. Hands on the wheel of your Dad’s old chevy, eyes ahead, you can’t look behind you, so you glance into the mirror; the scurry of your own eyes is unnerving. White letters on green signs are blurred into insignificance as you drive ahead and then you glance back and the green is now a cold, metallic gray. It reminds you that you’re leaving home with every trace of you, every hair that has ever fallen from your head swept into a neat pile, thrown away, forgotten—they always did try to put you in boxes.
           Everything is different, nothing’s the same. You’re headed to Nashville where you last heard that I was, working double shifts at a beer shack on the rough side of town. You imagine me smiling as I rest my elbows on the bar top and listen to the tales of the follies of drunk men. You can see me tying loose blonde curls—just like yours—in a knot on top of my head. In your mind, I’m wearing the t-shirt I had on when you last saw me, the one I bought in Wyoming when I was pregnant with you, with the sunset and the buffalo. In your mind, my eyes still dance with the wind and turn green in the sunlight.
            You drive all day and night, pull your truck to the side of I-26 and hang a towel over the window. You can’t afford even a night’s stay at the nearest motel six because you only have $23.50 to your name. Everything else you blew for a gift you think I’ll like: a limited-edition Victrola record player, so limited edition that the vendor said that’s a real turn table, miss, and don’t you forget it. It’s sitting in the back seat with a dingy white sheet pulled over it. Each time your almost drift to sleep, you’re jerked awake with the fear that someone’s stolen it.
            The next day’s drive should only take two hours, but your legs are stiff from driving too much and your neck feels crooked from sleep with your head leaned against the driver’s window. So you pull into the slow lane, arrive in Nashville later than planned, and don’t have time to change into the new dress and tights you bought last week. You’re an hour late, and this is a slap in the face from fate or destiny or God or whichever higher power you’re choosing to believe this week. It’s a slap in the face because the hour you arrive is the hour I’m jumping in a taxi to catch a plane to Oregon—I’ve always dreamt of owning a Volkswagen Beetle and driving it around the streets of Portland, working in a coffee shop incased in pine forests instead of a dank bar with old men.
            So as you’re looking for free parking for you truck on the rough side of Nashville, I’m turning my pocketbook upside down outside the terminal gate, rummaging through its contents for the boarding pass. I pick up each item one by one and put it back inside, turning it over again. And as I’m turning it over for the third time I realize that I left the boarding pass behind the counter of the dank bar I swore I’d never again set foot in.
            The cabbie lets me out behind your parked truck, just as shiny and blue as when your dad drove it ten years ago. You’re standing in front of the door of the bar, staring at the fake I.D. you bought last year. At this point you’ve lost all faith in everything—I can tell, because it hasn’t been too long since I’ve felt the same. So I nudge you. May I help you? You turn your head and see my dyed-brunette curls bounce. They’re cut off at my shoulders, and I’m wearing the sort of sun dress that no one would want to be caught dead in where you come from. But you look me in the eyes—ours are the same, gray and tired—and see that I’m dripping in sweat, a nervous twitch neither of us can seem to shake. And there in the middle of a sidewalk covered in cigarette butts you feel known for the very first time. And you know who I am, I can tell, but you don’t say so. Instead you shrug sheepishly, flash your I.D. towards me; this is fake, I was going to use it but now I don’t think I will.
            I smile, and when I walk into the bar the musty smell of boiled peanuts and sunset rum hits me like a ton of bricks and I am floored. My feet are glued to the ground and I can’t blink because tears are falling down my face. I don’t want to leave, I realize, and I like this dank and musty bar because it reminds me of home. I’ve never possessed the same voracious courage as you do, the willingness to stuff your world into a carry-on bag and start all over. I like home, I need home, but you’ve always been a wanderer. So when the boss pulls the boarding pass out of his apron pocket and thrusts it at me—you forgot this—I pivot and run outside to find your feet planted firmly on the sidewalk where they were before. One-way ticket to Seattle, if you leave now you can make it. You smile, take the ticket, and I turn to leave so you can’t see the tears on my face but you scream wait. You’re pulling a white dingy sheet off an old Victrola limited-edition turn table, sliding it from the truck seat onto your shaking arms, holding it out to me: a penny for your troubles, ma’am. Our eyes meet one last time and I know that you know and you know that I know that you know, so you smile again, breathe thank you and climb into your truck.

            You’re on your way to Seattle now, where I hope there’s a dream waiting to pick you up and give you wings. You’re probably sitting next to a middle-aged man with too much body hair or body odor but you don’t care. And I wouldn’t know, but I’m willing to bet that home looks different, looks better, from thirty-thousand feet in the air.

Plane ticket


Saturday, November 25, 2017

they must be done,
must be done before Dad stumbles home,
stumbles home with beer.

Beer bottle in hand,
he tosses the cabbie a twenty,
twenty hours gone, now he’s back,
he’s back and fumbling.

Fumbling in the dark for keys
in his pocket, they aren’t there;
they aren’t there so he knocks,
knocks and pounds let me in.

Let me in, but the dishes are dirty,
so I meet stench of his breath,
his breath in my face whispering,
whispering did you do the dishes.

I do the dishes under rushing water,
it muffles his sighs that weigh,
weigh on my shoulders and eyelids and bones,
bones shuttering with the slam of the bedroom door.

The bedroom door,
behind it Mom lay ill,
lay ill two months past,
two months since she whispered warnings.

Warnings: don’t forget,
don’t forget to do the dishes

Senior Updates I

Saturday, November 18, 2017
What am I up to?
I FINISHED COLLEGE APP SUBMISSIONS. This was new territory for me. Both my older siblings only applied to one school and had no trouble getting in. I applied to four, all in-state, one public and three private. I'm hoping to study english and business, and both my older siblings are in engineering. There's been a weighing fear that if I do indeed study english, it won't be a useful degree, but I've prayed and prayed and I know it's what I'm supposed to do. All I have to do is wait and see what happens next.

I SPENT A WEEKEND AT THE BEACH. Boy, Kiawah is a dream. If you've never been, think private Island with spanish moss, cute houses, good food, great people; basically an Island dream. The weekend was spent with good friends, a week after a hurricane passed through (so it was pretty quiet while we were there). It was just what I needed as I was stuck in the business of first quarter. The weekend was filled with bike rides, sea shell hunts, jamming to T-Swizzle's entire Red, and havana-oo-na-nah.

I'VE WATCHED LOTS AND LOTS OF FOOTBALL. I'm not the biggest fan of the sport myself, but it's been on in my house for every hour of every weekend. It brings people together like nothing else can.

I'M AN EDITOR OF MY SCHOOL'S LIT MAG. Senior year comes with more responsibility. As an editor, I head up the reading and voting on of submissions, bake, and next semester I'll help assemble the magazine itself. It's fun, and I'm hoping it'll look good on college apps :)

I'VE ATTEMPTED NANO. I only have about 10k written on my current WIP, and I'm not beating myself up about it, because that's more than I thought I would get. Trying to juggle what I have to do and what I want to do is hard work. I can't let school take the back-burner, so I don't feel bad about only getting 10k words on my WIP. Let's face it; the only time I'll be able to participate in NaNo full-time is after I graduate college.

I SPENT A WEEKEND WITH MY GRANDPARENTS. My grandparents have some acreage out in the country a couple hours from my home, so a few weekends ago I drove down and spent a day and night with them. It was slow-living at its finest: grilling out on the deck, crossword puzzles and Stephen King over morning coffee, long walks in the woods. Sometimes, a little rest is all you need.


I SPENT A WEEKEND IN TENNESSEE. TN has had my heart since my family visited two Novembers ago, so I was stoked to go back this November. It was good food, worship music, and real conversations; an experience of raw humanity.

Good things
waking up to the glow of morning sunlight
warm sweaters, leggings, fuzzy socks, scrunchies
roar of the ocean water as if crashes over you, cleansing salt and sand on skin
laughter over nonsense, contagious and bubbly and pure
the smell of mountain air
standing around a campfire, singing to the King; we were strangers before but now we’re bound together eternally
golden hour sunlight
long hugs with good friends
no, really, how are you?
the gentle push from friends to do better, be better; they tell you because they care

“Kings” -- Sam Burchfield
“In the Light” -- The Lumineers
"Moving Mountains" -- The Brevet
"The Kitchen" -- Tow'rs
"Strawberry Blonde" -- Sam Burchfield
"Featherstone" -- Paper Kites
Truman -- Album by The Midwest Indies

Wuthering Heights -- Emily Brontë
The Grapes of Wrath -- John Steinbeck
Their Eyes Were Watching God -- Zora Neale Hurston

And Then There Were None -- Agatha Christie

PS - we have a pup now; he's a boston terrier and his name is rocky

Blue Wooden Kitchen Table

Sunday, November 12, 2017

We never had much except mornings around the blue wooden kitchen table with meat from the neighbor’s pigs and grits from our make-shift mill. Grandma held a pen cap between her teeth, brows furrowed at the Sunday crossword. Grandpa was looking down at his latest Stephen King through thin wire glasses while he dabbed the corners of his mouth with a red and white checkered napkin. Eleven letter word for prominent, Grandma mused, and Grandpa said, Illustrious. He chuckled as Grandma hit him over the head with the rolled-up newspaper and said, I was asking Lila Jane, Hank.
            They wanted to send me to the boarding school across the state border, the one where Momma went to be a writer. On the shelf above the kitchen sink sat a jar, LJ’s school fund scrawled across the front in permanent ink. Grandpa would come home from the bank every Friday at drop a twenty in. Every month when I watched Grandpa sigh and lay his head in his hands while he paid the bills I would climb onto the countertop by the sink to get the jar and bring it to Grandpa; at first he would push it away with his tired fading hands, but then he would look up from the check book and his blue sparkling eyes would meet my hazel ones as he would reach out to cup my cheek with his palm and whisper maybe someday.     
But someday came and Grandpa collapsed on the linoleum and never woke up. I can't forget Grandma's murmurs of oh Hank oh Hank oh Hank my Hank when we lowered him into the ground the next week, how they folded up the American flag and laid it in my shaking hands because Grandma was too weak from the tears to grasp anything in her fingers.
The next morning Grandma and I sat at the blue wooden kitchen table and I skimmed Grandpa's copy of Children of the Corn. Grandma said, six-letter word for Russian peasant, originated in the Sixteenth Century and I breathed muzhik; she smiled when she tapped me on the head with the rolled-up newspaper. 
The jar on the shelf above the kitchen sink was long-empty so we replaced it with a picture of Grandpa in his uniform from the war and I rode the school bus to the local high school so we could save gas. Grandma tried to make coffee in the mornings but one day she sputtered over the words this coffee tastes like dirt, can you make it for me, Hank? So Grandma moved to the old folks home a couple towns over and I quit school and worked four jobs and made barely enough to cover Grandma's rent. 
The chairs of the blue wooden kitchen table creaked as I sat to dial the wretched numbers of the wretched man in the city apartment two states over. I’m in trouble, I said, and he recognized my voice. His words were slurred when he asked you’re not pregnant, are you. I said no, I’m not pregnant, but Grandpa’s dead and Grandma’s lost her memory and I can’t pay the rent. I got a check two weeks later, a big check made out to Lila Davis. I scoffed when I opened it because I didn’t know that girl, I was Lila Jane. But I signed the check and put it in the bank and went back to school and worked two jobs instead of four. And things got better.
           Momma had always told me hard work pays off in laughter so I grew to relish the achy feeling at the end of the day when my muscles felt like jello and little pieces of my hair were stuck to my forehead with sweat. I’d sit down to eat dinner at the cafe where I worked and smile as I ate because this was a place of unity and equality. In these walls no man had power over another. The beggar laughed with the Ivy League school girl over a song on the radio that had too many words and didn’t rhyme, and they took their coffee the same, black with two sugars.
I was taking classes at the University a couple towns over, in the same town as Grandma’s old folks home, and I’d sit and do Business Calculus at the blue wooden kitchen table after I got home. And one day a knock on the door yielded the view of a red-haired boy and some friends from the University. We need a place to stay and we heard you have extra rooms, we’ll pay rent, they said. So they sat at the blue wooden kitchen table while I changed the sheets in Grandma’s bedroom and the guest room. I told them about Grandma and every Sunday we’d take the crossword to her. Sometimes she thought the red-haired boy was Grandpa but it was okay because their laughs were the same, like honey on a buttered biscuit cooked golden brown.
A few semesters later by the exchange of golden bands the red-haired boy’s sheets became mine. We were having coffee at the blue wooden kitchen table and I was wearing his old Ghostbusters tee shirt when we got the phone call. Two weeks later Grandma was in hospice, but she had always said don’t hook me up to those machines, Lila Jane, let me go when I’m ready. So we let Grandma fall asleep and never wake up, and when we lowered her into the ground the next day it was just me and the red-haired boy there to say goodbye. He brought Sunday’s crossword and laid it on her grave, and I could hear from heaven the way Grandma rolled her tongue at the word fervent.
Two years passed and my belly was growing with the life of another human and the wretched man from two states over knocked on the door. Except now he was broke and cold, lost all his money from gambling on the Las Vegas Strip. I need a place to stay. I thought about how he didn’t come to walk me down the aisle of wildflowers when I wedded the red-haired boy, how his wedding gift was herbal tea, the only kind I didn’t like. But the red-haired boy smiled and shook my father’s hand and he stayed with us for a long while, in exchange for the money he lent to help us get by all those years ago.

He was sitting at the blue wooden kitchen table when he said it: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. So we helped him back on his feet. He worked four jobs and rented the guest house out back, came home every night with muscles like jello and hair stuck to his forehead with sweat. And every Sunday we’d eat meat from our own pigs and grits from the mill. Little red-haired Hank ate from the spoon his Grandpa held out for him, and I whispered words to my red-haired boy as he filled out the Sunday crossword. We never had much more than that, but it was enough.

Why You Should Read The Blood Race

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This month, I had the privilege of reading Kate's debut novel, The Blood Race. It was a whirlwind, in the very best way. Genre-wise, Kate's book is a blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary. I'll be the first to say that I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi. However, The Blood Race is so well done in every way -- with a thrilling plot, complex characters, and deep themes -- that I absolutely fell in love. Read the blurb below, and if it doesn't convince you, by the end of this post you will know that you, too, absolutely have to read The Blood Race!

He’s spent his life running from who he is. She’s been trying to escape her past for 100 years… 

Born with unexplainable abilities he struggles to control, college student Ion tries desperately to integrate into his new school and finally put his dark past behind him. But after making a serious enemy, which leads to an accidental rendezvous with the mysterious old man next door— and his hauntingly beautiful but troubled young protégée Hawk, Ion realizes his life will never be normal again.

Late one evening, Hawk drags him by the hand into a closet-turned-rabbit-hole to an extra dimension, and Ion finds himself stumbling involuntarily into a secret society of training for “anomalies,” teenagers with a special set of abilities. Just like him.

As they train to become Protectors of future Earth, battling each other as well as their own demons, both Ion and Hawk begin to realize that they are far more alike than they realized. Unsettlingly so.

When the Dimension is shaken by an unthinkable betrayal, will an ancient prophecy bring Hawk and Ion together—or will a deadly threat hidden in plain sight cost them both their powers… and their lives?

Pinterest: faejackson4This plot is the perfect twist of action and introspection. One minute, an epic fight, the next a raw & poignant look into the inner depths of a character. For me, this is a perfect formula for a novel. If it's all action, I end up skimming to find the big plot points and get on with it; if it's all introspective and feely, I get bored and decided to read something else. (Raise your hand if you also have the attention span of a goldfish!) The way Kate writes is riveting and intriguing all at once. 

Kate switches perspective between the two main characters, Ion and Hawk. So just when you think you're figuring out one of their storylines, the point of view switches, and you're left wondering. The Blood Race definitely caused me to neglect some much-needed studying, but it was so worth it.

the journey is the reward
Whether or not you're male or female, young or old, The Blood Race's story will hit you hard. It's a story of two characters finding who they are meant to be, getting confused and broken in the process, and having to find a source of hope and comfort because of it. That's the basic human struggle, isn't it? This life is messy, and the characters in The Blood Race have messy lives. There's no glossing over or sugar-coating. I know if you are completely honest with yourself, you will find yourself nodding along with Kate's writing. "Preach it, Kate!" you will say. As these characters lives unwind and rebuild themselves, I'm willing to bet that you'll find a little bit of yourself in the middle of it all.

The allegorical power of this novel will knock your socks off. I was totally nerding-out towards the close of The Blood Race, because as the story came together, the real-world connections blew my mind. A good novel always makes you feel and think deeply, and that's what The Blood Race did for me. As Sensei offered the gentle wisdom of a good leader to Hawk, I was reminded of the gentle wisdom of the Father. When Hawk and Ion had to make difficult decisions, I was reminded that the leaders in my life let me make my own decisions so I can see the big picture. As Hawk accepts who she is as a Slider and what her calling means, I contemplated who I am and what my calling means. The real-life connections are endless. This is not a lazy-day read. By the end, your mind will be reeling. The Blood Race has the capacity to give you confidence in who you are and inspire you to be better all at once.

Have I convinced you get? If I have please please please hop on over to Amazon to purchase The Blood Race, available in paperback (!!!) and kindle!


When she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run. Emmons lives in the often-snowy hills of rugged Vermont with her husband and dog named Rocket.


Check out Kate's website here!

Author Interview / Livy Jarmusch

Monday, July 3, 2017

My friend Livy Jarmusch  is releasing her new book, The Coronation, in just three days! Together we have teamed up for an author interview. As an up-and-coming novelist, I've always been curious about how others experience the writing process. Check out my questions and her responses below!

In Kindergarten, I was quite confident of the fact that I wanted to be a writer. But, I also wanted to be an illustrator, actress, singer, songwriter, dog-trainer, teacher, and dolphin trainer. (Haha, you know how we are in Kindergarten!) I had many different dreams, but writing has always been a dream that remained on top of the pile of all the rest.

Oh yikes. My first story was about a dog named Bozo.Not very impressive. And not what I write about these days either, haha.

I do! I have one older brother. We're four-years apart, and I'm ashamed to say that we fought quite a bit as young kids! But now that he's all grown up and is married and has a family of his own, I'm able to see him from an entirely different perspective. My brother was a great example of pursuing a relationship with his future wife in a pure, Godly manner. Because he and his wife have done things God's way, and chose to remain pure, it's so encouraging to see how richly the Lord has blessed them and their family within their marriage. Although I didn't think much about it while I was writing The Coronation, I can definitely see aspects of my brother and his personality, in Addison's character.

I'm a Christian, so everything I do is motivated by love. It's motivated by my relationship with Jesus, and my desire to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on this earth! It doesn't take much looking around to see that this world is so completely broken. People are suffering all over the planet, and whether their pain stems from poverty and starvation, addiction and abuse, or even just battling depression and discouragement, there is so much that needs to be done! I believe that everyone who follows Jesus has a unique call and purpose on their lives, and can impact the world in a powerful way. So my prayer is that the Lord will use these works of fiction to not just entertain and delight, but to inspire, encourage, and minister to whomever He desires to touch through it. Stories are powerful because they have the potential to bypass the mind and go strait to the heart. And while some might argue that my writing style is too wordy or "preachy", I believe it's a unique way the Lord can use me to speak to others, through these tales.

To fall more and more in love with Jesus each day, and to truly see things from His perspective! As much as I love writing and pursuing my dreams, there is an even greater call, and that's my main focus: to know the One who made me! Each of us are invited into this beautiful relationship with the King of Kings and it's completely up to us how deep we want to go (or not go) into the river of His love. Jesus is the vine, and I am the branch, so my goal is to abide in Him and His love, and then whatever fruit is expressed through my life, will just be a natural expression and extension of that core relationship with Him.

The writer who has has the most influence on me, is Lisa Bevere. Now, I know she isn't a fictional writer, but she has a very distinct style, and it changes in each of her books. The first book I read from her, "Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry" had a very whimsical, flowery tone to it, and I felt like I was reading a lullaby. After that, I found my writing taking an obvious spin in that direction, and I think our writing styles are very similar because of that. I also love how her tone dramatically changes from book to book, depending on which topic she's discussing, so I look forward to doing that in the future as well! The Coronation has a very distinct author voice, and it sounds like a narrator is reading you a translucent fairy-tale, and even though that is exactly what I wanted for this book, I'm pretty confident that my future projects are going to be quite different.

Uh, YES! Pretty much every other day! Haha. Seriously though. Writing is HARD. It just is. Although there are many aspects of the process that are gleefully exciting and incredibly energizing, at the end of the day, writing is a craft that you have to practice, practice, practice. And the truth is, I'm not as good as I want to be. Of course I want to improve my craft. Of course I want to be as flawlessly legendary as Jane Austin. But is that going to happen overnight? Absolutely not. Is that going to happen sometime in the course of my life? Eh, it's debatable. I suppose I'll just have to wait and see!
But yes, discouragement can creep into the mind of a writer far too easily, nearly on a daily basis. For me, the most important thing is gaining (and keeping) God's perspective. Whenever I feel like throwing my book out the window, crying angry tears, and burying my writers dreams in the dirt of doubt, I climb up into God's lap and ask, "What in the world am I doing? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Why do I stink at this? Am I completely squandering and ruining my life? HELP!" And He is always faithful to whisper to my heart, remind me of my heavenly reality, and let me know what HE thinks about me. Once I regain His perspective, all is well again, and I can carry on with joy and peace, and excitement for the future! Writing isn't easy. But then again, nothing about this life is.
So whether you're a writer, or a painter, or a blogger, or a babysitter, whenever discouragement pounds on the door of your heart, run into your Heavenly Fathers lap and say, "Dad! Get the door, it's for You!" Sweet sister, there is no need for you to entertain negative voices and lying doubts. Just carry on in confidence, no matter what the enemy says. Remember the words of Jeremiah 29:11 and keep on keeping on.

Livy is the founder of Crown and Beauty Magazine and the author of six books, which you can check out here! The Coronation is available on Amazon for kindle and paperback preorder. It will be officially available on July 6th!
Livy's Social Media:


The Coronation:
Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities. Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene. 

Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig. 

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?

The Coronation is Book #1 in The Tales of Tarsurella Trilogy.

The Coronation is available on Amazon for kindle and paperback preorder. It will be officially available on July 6th!

a list of things that are true

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

if you're reading this, all of the following are true:

1. you are alive. as your lungs rise and fall, your body is taking in air -- 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and less than 1% other gases -- and turning it into energy and sustenance and life. because you are reading this, your time isn't up yet. go do big things.

2. you are sitting on a land mass that is in volume approximately 260 million cubic miles as it orbits the sun at 66 thousand miles an hour whilst it rotates at various speeds around 1000 miles an hour, depending how far north or south you are from the equator. as we sit still, we are moving at rapid speeds. we are living, breathing miracles.*

3. the sun is 92.96 million miles away. if it were any closer, you'd scorch; any further, you'd freeze.

4. inside your skull sits an organ composed of neurons, dendrites, axons, water, and fat that gives you the capability to turn these squiggly lines into meaning and comprehend that meaning in a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second.

5. the average human heart beats 108,000 times a day. yours is beating right now. never forget that feeling.

6. love is not a societal construct. it exists, and you are capable of making someone feel it. share some love today, okay?

* information courtesy of NASA

adios, junior year

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Last year I told you all a few things I learned from sophomore year. That was one of my favorite posts of the year to write, I think, because I learned so much about myself, and as I typed the words, I came to a series of realizations. This year, I've tried to think of what I can take away from Junior year of high school, but I've got nothin'. Nada. Zero.

Last week, I only had one exam to take, because I made A's in every class but one. I only had one exam to study for, one exam to look for on the exam schedule posted online, but still, I came up short. I had thought the exam was Friday, but on Wednesday morning at 11 am, less than an hour before class started, I realized that for two weeks I had been reading the exam schedule wrong, and the exam was indeed on Wednesday. Not Friday.

To me, that was the reminder I needed that we all fall short on a daily basis. I had so much sitting on my plate -- mentally, at least -- that I could not even read a schedule the right way. I was so distracted and so preoccupied that I could not even manage the date of the one final I had to take. Junior year was really just a huge neon sign screaming, You are not Wonder Woman. You cannot do it all.

One evening during the school year, I was exhausted from homework and working out and everyday life, so I decided that I would study a little before bed for my upcoming APUSH test, then get up early to prepare more. That was my first mistake. My second proved fatal. I slept through my alarm, waking up three hours later than I had planned and barely leaving enough time to get ready for school. APUSH was first period, and I hardly knew what the test was on, much less enough information to actually pass. After a small breakdown and a hug from Mom, I headed to school, feeling completely hopeless and inadequate.

Later in the year, while reviewing for the European History AP exam, I was supposed to give a short talk on how I would answer an assigned short answer question. I had read all the information I needed to, and this time I was prepared, but as I walked from the back of the class to the front, my brain turned from an intellectual machine to an over-obsessive, self-conscious organ that lost all ability to function while so many eyes were glued to me. I stumbled over my words, rambled about Henry of Navarre and the Edict of Nantes, then quietly scurried back to my desk. The rest of the class, I fought the urge to burst into tears. It wasn't pretty.

In the end, neither of these occurrences, nor the many others in which I fell short, ended up mattering. I made five A's and one C that may as well have been a B. When I apply for college, that's all they'll see. But what those days and nights taught me was valuable.

Because as much as I need to be reminded that I am special and unique, I also need to be reminded that I am just like everyone else. We all fall short. We all feel unprepared. We all are completely blind in knowing the future. We're all given a life sentence on this earth, and none of us knows how long that will be.

I'm catching up on a She Reads Truth Bible study that is Lent themed. Long story short, I got super behind on my reading during Lent, mostly because of school, and didn't start catching up until recently. Today, I opened my Bible with an anxious heart, wanting to control every circumstance, accomplish everything on my to-do list, and come out unscathed. When I finished, God had shown me that it is not my job to try and control everything. Claire Gibson wrote, "God is with us, even in calamity. Our fear is not proof that our God is absent." 

I know it is so much easier said than done, but can you do me a favor? Try and focus on God's promises today instead obsessing over what will happen? I know politically, culturally, economically, and just about every way else, we are in turmoil. But don't let that stop you from living your life. Don't let all the little things you have to do distract you from the beauty you can experience every single day. Life is short, and no matter what they tell us, your grades don't matter as much as who you become.Create a person you would be proud to call a friend. Most likely, if you're reading this, trigonometry won't help you in the future, but becoming someone you don't mind being, or someone you like to be? That's priceless.

Fellow rising seniors, how did you survive the dreaded junior year, and what did you learn? Let me know in the comments!

ALSO! FUN NEWS!!! I now have a monthly newsletter! If you don't see the option to sign up on the sidebar to your right, click this link. You'll receive monthly updates and exclusive content!!! EEEP!!!

to be seen

Thursday, June 1, 2017

it happened when i was running my fingers across the piano keys. the most unlikely of times, really. i had a recital in a week, so i was practicing. generally, i hate practicing, but my piano teacher had instructed me to write a story with the music; and that, i can do. my fingers played but my mind was somewhere else. and before i knew what was happening my heart was clenching with the feeling i get when i am inspired. and i realized something.

the girl in this song, whoever she may be, wanted to be seen.

it's the introvert's greatest paradox: the desire to be seen for who she is. i know who they think i am, i know who i think i am, and i know who i want to be. but they only see what they want to.

they see the things i carry around with me: books, music, a journal, a camera. they hear the things i say: too often complaints concerning the slowness of this life, or broadway lyrics i don't have the voice to sing, or random hypotheticals that carry no relevance. they see what i wear: usually, this time of year, a casual tee from old navy or loft with jeans or jean shorts; birkenstocks or other sandals; and the one casual necklace i have, a pearl tied in the middle of a leather band.

i have to remember that they don't see things as i do. their brains are not hyperactive in the areas of self-preservation and self-consciousness, as mine is. i obsessively predict what everyone is thinking and why she's thinking it, perhaps to try and relieve the anxiety, perhaps to make it worse. so again and again i come to this question: do they see me?

there are many things i am not and a few things i am.

i am, by no means, an artist. i am a writer, perhaps, but all too often i cannot take what i see and translate it to paper an ink.

i am not a perfectionist. i am, however, afraid of the repercussions of imperfection. the motivation to achieve that perfection is nonexistent.

i am not a thinker. i like to think, but i think in terms of feelings. i struggle to keep from turning those feelings into facts. sometimes i catch myself before those feelings become a justification for something i shouldn't do. sometimes i don't.

i am not an all-a student. i always make a low b, sometimes a c, in math. i don't usually have the motivation or the energy to force my brain to think in such confined parameters. 

i am not a child prodigy. for a long time, i wanted to be. then i realized that the spotlight is too hot for kids like me. i am mostly just a normal kid who wants to make it in this world, and that's okay.

i am not an activist. i try to be. i can talk about, write about, issues all day long, but when it comes to actually doing something about them, i never know where to begin. perhaps i'll grow out of that.

i am not a genius. the more i learn, i find, the less i know. it is humbling to live in a world so full of things to know, because i know i can never know all of them.

i am a writer, a dreamer, the proud owner of a perpetually messy mind. i may not be unique, but i strive to be. i may not make a difference yet, but i want to. i may not talk much, but i relish the moments when i feel the sun on my skin and smile because i am alive. i may seem boring, but i like to stargaze and feel the wind in my hair and laugh till my insides ache.

those are just a few things. do you see me yet?

p.s. the annual q & a vlog is coming this summer. i'll post officially asking for questions in the near future. thanks for reading <3