Sunday, December 20, 2015


Last month, I was sitting outside enjoying the warm weather, when a spot of color on the grey rocks caught my eye.

Most of my friends consider wasps to be generally evil and best dead or non-existent. To a point, I understand them. The stings are painful and being allergic would make the matter even worse. As for me, wasps have never bothered me. I respect them and leave them alone, and they return the favor. One journal entry from my junior high years details a class period in which I did my best to dissuade a wasp from flying through an open window, lest he be slain by my excitable comrades (I had named him Charles), and in some ways I am quite the same as I was then.

This wasp in particular was rather calm, choosing to walk rather than fly, which allowed me some interaction. I sat down and placed my hand beside him. He slowly crawled onto one of my fingers, crossed to the next, and then disembarked, a quiet and peaceful greeting. I pulled my camera out of my bag and took a few pictures of him as he roamed the rocky expanse. He was not threatening to me, physically or mentally, so I lay down on the ground watching him walk, the movement of his feet, the tilt of his wings, and his restful pauses. When I was forced to leave and continue my day, he was still there, and I cannot help but wonder what he might have told me if I could have understood.

Nearly a week later, I was lost in a train station of thought, not quite ready to board any train in particular. Contemplations, ideas, and dreams bustled about me, pushing, ambling, or simply standing in place as I was. A pondering waved as it passed and, not seeing where it was going, crashed into a rushing thought. The two of them fell over on top of memories of the wasp, which had been sitting cross-legged staring at the ceiling. My love of watercolor stopped to help them up, and there I was able to focus on the four of them, follow, and board the same train. The destination was an image and the desire to paint it.

I worked on it on and off for about a month, not because it was overly difficult or large, but because I was occupied with other activities as well. When I finally finished, I was excited. Yes, I messed up several times in several places. I almost gave up when I was working on the fire. But my wasp is so close to the image I had in my head that I don’t mind the smudges, smears, and regretted decisions as much as I might otherwise.

A flaming wasp in the rain to “cool,” but "cool" is not my intent.

A wasp is more than an annoying or even threatening bug to be slain on a whim. Sometimes, such actions must be taken, but not always. What is it like inside one's head? I imagine that sometimes a wasp must be awfully afraid. They live in a world so much larger in comparison to them than we do. How can such a small creature hope to survive in an existence teaming with giants and ogres? But wasps continue anyway, even striking fear into the hearts of their enemies. They are natural warriors with armor and weapons that they are never physically able to set down.

Humans really are small too. On some scales, we make about as much difference as wasps do. So why bother? Many people don't, but there are a few who are born warriors, much like wasps. They put their hearts on the line every moment of every day to push back the Darkness, everything from their own rage to the all too real nightmares of others, and they burn; they burn with a stunning light. The light and fire they carry within them has immense potential for destruction, their own as well as others', but they choose instead to protect. However, burning and fighting with such intensity wears on them, and often they long to stop their flight, to land, but the armor is part of their DNA, an exoskeleton. Even when they land, feet on solid ground, they can never take that armor off. So they fly, they fly through the darkness, inner light burning brilliantly, even when the sky lets loose torrents of rain, even when they feel infinitely small.

These are the Christians who pull us back on our feet when we fall, look us in the eye, and tell us it’s not the end of the world. They’ve been where we’ve been, and they’ve helped so many people before us. They remind us that sometimes we do have to fight.

I am not a wasp as much as I am a bee: fluffier and less likely to attack. Not everyone was designed to be a wasp after all, but we can still make a difference in our terrifyingly large world, even if that difference is only to a single flower.

Merry Christmas.
I’m so grateful for all of you, warriors or not.

Friday, November 13, 2015

In Case of Campus War or Invasion

College or University campuses are often much like their own worlds; even ones that are open to the public to wander about in have a different feel to them than the rest of the towns they occupy. Within campuses are different factions of students, usually created by residence halls, majors, and/or clubs. These factions are highly competitive, frequently competing with each other with tooth and nail in campus events.

One day it may not end with the games.

One day, a faction may rise, smearing the blood of their enemies across their faces (or maybe just the ketchup from the student cafeteria), and declare that they will take campus by force, regardless of offers to surrender peacefully.

One day they may spread to another campus in their maddened frenzy for power.


Zombies, aliens, or both will invade campus.

Regardless, college and university students have various options to increase survival.

Always be as prepared as possible before war or invasion breaks out. Your friends will be grateful for a reduction of team deaths or captures by the enemy on your part.

Campus Familiarity: Indispensable.

Layout: When running and/or hiding from an enemy, know where you are and where you are going. Trying to use a map will slow you down. Maps do not show you short cuts either. Take walks around campus often, exploring new areas.

Buildings: Know which buildings store what materials and which would make for the best base of operations. Is there chloroform in the science building? Where is the clinic, and what antibiotics are readily available there? Which building is easiest to barricade and defend? This is all important and should be taken into account. Unless the business building is the best built or closest to several buildings that you will need access to, it is not likely to make an efficient base.

Rations: Starving during war or invasion is less than ideal.

Campus Bookstore: The campus bookstore rarely has only books. Generally this is where students can find shirts, jackets, umbrellas, and other various merchandise that has the school name and mascot on it. There are also microwavable foods and candy bars. Clothes and food are fundamental rations.

Vending Machines: Know where the vending machines are. Take special note of what each one has to offer. Chances are, there will be some variation.

Store Runs: College and University students will often take trips off campus to buy food items that the bookstore or vending machines may not have, such as canned foods. When on a food run, purchase a little more than is absolutely necessary and stash it somewhere safe. Unless there is a sale, buying extra in bulk is not recommended because, as a student, you have little money and need to pay for laundry, which is still important at this point.

Dorm Rooms: Be aware of how much food is where. Chances are, many of your neighbors will die in the initial outbreak of violence as well as later on, and their food stashes will be free for your use.

Team: Yes, this does have to be a group project if you want better chances of survival.

Basic Team Building: This may be difficult for introverts (like myself) to accept, but long-term survival requires a team, and that means socializing beforehand in order to identify the best candidates. These people will need to be able to get along well under the worst conditions as well as have practical skills. Never select someone based on appearance. Betty may be pretty, but if she has nothing else to add, she'll likely get someone killed. If one of your candidates is in a relationship, either reject that one or be prepared to support the extra member (unless you wanted both of them anyway). Melodrama is a headache at best. Also: pick people who are just a little crazy, but also reasonable. Balance between logic and free creativity.

Recruitment: Be tactful. If they think you're insane, they'll have nothing to do with you.

Leader: Having a leader is crucial. This will be the person who will make decisions and has to get along well with the team. He or she must be logical and caring. Life must be valued, but willing to be sacrificed when necessary. It's a hard role, and while many may clamber for it, very few can be trusted with it. Be wise when selecting your leader.

Other Offices: You will need people of widely varying skill sets. Your team may designate jobs such as spy, procurer of transportation, etc. You could also have only the leader named and the rest simply teammates. So long as everyone is somehow useful, the team should hold together.

Weapon Planning: Anything is a possible weapon, and different team members will be skilled with different types of weapons. Know who is best with what and then provide it.

Alternate Plans: Have a plan B. Also have many, many more plans. Know where to flee on campus and off. Do any of your teammates live far away from campus and other civilization? Go there. Anyone have ammunition at home? Stop there on the way. But always, be willing to change your plans.

Team Work: Listen to your leader, cooperate with your team, and be willing to set yourself aside for their sake. A lot will go wrong, but it may not go as badly as possible.

Base and Rations: Be aware of how long you will be able to stay at your base. Rations for that location will eventually run out, even if you feel inclined to experiment with cannibalism (not recommended). Know how long your rations will last and how far you will be able to travel on those rations before needing more. Plan accordingly.

 Many thanks to Jason for his help with this post as well as for his valued friendship.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


In memory of a dear friend. For her, those she touched, and those like her.

I'm beautiful
you tell me.
I am your dream,
but why am
I unable to sleep?

You want me near
you all times.
I haven't seen
friends or close
relatives for a while.

It's safe inside
where others
can't see me or
hurt what's yours.
You say I'm your princess.

You never mean
to hurt me.
You wish I would
I think I'm scared of you.

Maybe I do
deserve this.
Surely I am
the reason.
This is for my own good.

It's love?

If I let you beat me,
will you be satisfied?
If I do all you say,
will you stop hurting me?

Broken skin.
Fresh, dark bruises.

Please let me rest.
I promise
you can proceed.
I beg you
a moment, please, of rest.

You fell asleep.
And I knew
If I stayed here
I would die.
I had to escape this.

No more.

I have turned my weakness
into strength,
My running blood
to amber,
gem of courage.

Because I was broken
I can help
heal those like me.
I reach out
into darkness.

They are lost in the dark
as I was.
I bring them home,
back to light;
they aren't alone.

I touch lives and change them.
Whole classrooms.
taking new course.

From weak to strong,
I am anew.
My Father calls.
"It's time to rest.

"Come Home."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Letter to the Guitar Player a Few Nights Ago

Dear Stranger,

I came to the rocky cliff to sit on stone and watch the fading of the world below. Mere moments after, I heard you take your guitar out of its case and begin to practice. I didn't recognize the songs. One was on the verge of familiarity, but even if you had freed the words of song to soar in the evening light, I doubt I would have been able to name it. There are so many songs that I am able to warmly greet but a few and only nod in passing to others.

I watched a sky ablaze settle into deep smoke as mist arose, a wyrm insubstantial, engulfing ebony trees. I finally left, not quite half an hour later, as darkness obscured my already failing vision. You were still playing.

I paused on my way. "You play well."


The shadows cloaked your face. I don't know who you are. I don't need to; the music was enough.

With thanks,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Used Bookstore

The buildings were old and weathered. Some sported paint and new signs, but the rest were comfortably the same as they had been for many long years. Walking along aged concrete amid the faintest sprinkle of rain, I glanced at the dusty windows of unused businesses. Where a comic book store had its short run, boxes, an old wardrobe, and an easel populate the darkness, illuminated only by the light shifting through neglected windows. A few more yards and a door greets me, paint chipped but cheerful regardless. I wrap my fingers around the metal handle and push gently, noting the pale semicircle on the floor that marks the door's daily repeated path. As I step inside onto the wooden floor, I take in my surroundings and close the portal. Two cats occupy the counter, one curled tightly in sleep and the other simply lounging, watching me with clear, green eyes. I know these cats, if only in passing. I have sat on the floor with them, running my hair stick back and forth across the uneven surface as they pounce, bat, and bite it.

When was I last here?

A year? More?

I make my way to the back corner where science fiction and fantasy are laced together on the shelves, followed by one of the cats. Grace tossed aside, he leaps from the counter and charges past the shelves; his little thudding feet leave echos trailing behind him. Immediately, he jumps upon a chair, staring at me with loving eyes. I lean over, allowing him to climb to my shoulder. There I stroke him, soft fur sliding past my finger tips, pulling a silky purr into the air. This is not enough however, and he continues to climb on me, finally settling on my back, leaving me bent over to accommodate. His feet tucked in beneath him, he is the contented victor, having conquered the giant. I stand, bent over like a broken doll still left on display and stare at the books on the bottom shelf. Cookbooks and photography. I make a mental note to return, but never do. A minute passes and the cat leaves with no explanation. I straighten and take the last few steps to my chosen genre.

Here, where spines wear authors and titles like strange garb from the far away lands in which they take place, I inhale and close my eyes, soaking in the atmosphere of the books that no longer have homes. This is a shelter, a place where those who find themselves unwanted are taken, a place where those who are lonely come.

The cat has returned. He sits beside my feet, talking to me. His voice fills the space around him as clearly as if it were solid matter ballooning from his small form. My gaze flitters across the shelves and comes to rest on a note taped to a nearby door.

"Do not let cats in this room no matter how much they beg."

He meows again.

"No." I tell him, gentle and firm, but I still smile.

Moments later, one of the store workers enters that back room, and the cat slips in. She calls to him, trying to navigate the stacks of boxes, all of which hold promising books. He proves stubborn however, and refuses to emerge.

I return to the books. There are names I recognize and names I have never before encountered. Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton catches my eye, as does The Gnome's Engine. I start my book pile with them. I've never heard of the writer, but if I only read authors I already knew about, I would have far fewer books and much less happiness. I step to the side and lift my focus a few shelves higher. There, tucked away in shadow, are various works of Patricia McKillip. With a quiet sigh floating to the floor in the company of now startled dust motes, I carefully bring down Od Magic, still robed in Kinuko Y. Craft's cover art. This is a piece of my beginnings. I remember curling up with my mother under the covers of her bed, sunlight gleaming in the windows as I listened to her read, her voice crafting poetry from prose. Od Magic was one of our favorites, the color of the cover matched by the color of McKillip's descriptions and characters. Yes, well known and loved, this book will accompany me home as well. I also select Riddle of Stars, having never read the trilogy before, and had I unlimited time and the ability to do so, I would clutch more books to my heart and bring them home like baby birds in need of a mother, but Earth spins on her toes with no intention of slowing, no matter how desperately I may plea.

Forcibly removing myself from the shelves where temptations beckon me sweetly, but not quite ready to leave the quiet little store, I cross the floor again, this time entering a little reading nook, populated by chairs, a couch, and a few small tables the perfect size for a pile of books and a laptop to comfortably sit together. The nearest table is taken by a dozing fellow. A little out of shape, his dark hair is warm from sunlight. I give him a polite hello as I take the chair closest to him. He opens shining eyes and answers with a soft meow and a tail twitch. We talk in whispers, gentle sounds in different tongues, as I rub behind his ears. We can hear the store workers talking.

"Brody got in the back again." Her voice rests somewhere between concern and irritation.

"I'll go get him." A man answers, seemingly resigned.

This place is owned and run by a family. They don't aim to make it large or particularly profitable, so it stays small and quiet near the edge of the square in a town where most citizens would rather go hunting than read, and there is nothing wrong with that. I like the small and quiet. I love the empty spaces and dancing shadows. I enjoy the peace here.

The door to the back room opens again, and I hear the man talking to Brody. "Go over there. There's a girl over there. She'll pet you."

Sure enough, I hear once more the echoing of little cat feet. Brody crashes onto the table between me and his brother. Tail high, he greets me with trilling song as I restack the toppled books. These he chooses to rub his cheeks against whilst sprawling across my purse.

"You can stuff him in your purse and take him home with you." The man reminds me of my father, not fond of cats, but loving people who are, and thus doomed to look after the small, bothersome beasts. Regardless, they are a part of his team.

I laugh. "I already have enough cats at home."

"Another cat person," he chuckles to himself before walking away into the forest of covers, spines, and pages.

I never once looked up from cats or books to see his face, to sketch in my memory how his face folded when he smiled or the manner in which he took a single step.

Eventually, I ease Brody off of my bag with apologies and careful movements, finally making my way back to the front desk. Somehow, I still have credit here, and it applies to all the books but one. I pay what is due and thank them, slipping back out the door with a little wave goodbye to the cats. It's sunny out by now, and I wish it wasn't. Rain, however light, always seems right when the day involves a used bookstore, especially a quiet one, but I count my blessings that the books stay easily dry.

Once in the car, I flip the pages of each book, smiling at them lovingly. Each used bookstore smells slightly different, as if the books have been talking to each other, sharing their stories and trading news of outside places. One day, when I am old and many of the books in my library are even older, my skin will be wrinkled and the books' pages will be yellowed, and both will still be filled with love and quiet.

And maybe, just maybe, a bit of cat hair.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Box Turtle Buddy

My sister and I were enjoying rare free time together last month when we spotted a box turtle in the yard. We raced to the fridge to grab a couple strawberries and embarked to make a new friend.

He seemed to appreciate our gift and ate his fill before ambling away.

Nearly a week ago, I was greeted by a visitor on the front step: the same turtle. Reckless, he ambled up to me when I sat down on the ground. I placed my phone on the concrete in front of him to see what he would do with it. The curious creature inspected it from all angles, bumping his beak against its edges, before losing interest. I held out my hand to him, much the way I do with the cats. This too he bumped his beak against. It felt like getting a tiny high-five. He began to walk away, and I reached out and stroked the back of his head. Instead of pulling back in his shell, he let me pet him. He was friendly and trusting, with beautiful markings.

I returned inside to finish some work, but I didn't stay in long before I returned to my reptilian friend, this time with blueberries. He found this quite exciting.

Not at all intimidated by my ever present camera, he treated it with the same interest as he did everything else.

Finally he made his way through the grass to continue whatever expedition of great importance he happened to be on that day, and I was sad to see him go.

That evening, I decided to do some research. Most turtle types are territorial, so it's very likely that this little box turtle is the same one we met when my family moved in and the same one I encountered almost exactly a year ago. Apparently, box turtles live from thirty to fifty years. I hope this one stays around that long; I've come to consider him a friend. The next step in my research was to determine what kind of box turtle he is. That step did not go well. He has five toes on his front feet and three on his back feet, however, his markings aren't consistent with the three toed box turtle. I honestly have no idea. As far as I know, he could be a box turtle cross breed or simply a mutant. Either way, he's a beautiful turtle.

My father will sometimes tease me about talking to animals as if they were people, especially when it comes to the cats. In some ways though, they really are like people. Not all cats act identically. The same goes for dogs, hamsters, horses, and even turtles. When we head out into the world, we make friends and allies. Each will be different and startlingly beautiful because of that. Animals are just the same. This is why I decided to name the turtle, because--besides it being easier to say a name than "that box turtle that lives somewhere around our house"--he, in his own turtle way, has an undeniable personality.

His name is Gerald.

Monday, May 25, 2015

In Which I am (as Always) a Geek

At the beginning of this month, I had the chance to hang out with Christian. When we stopped for lunch, the lady who was our cashier noticed my Spiderman t-shirt and asked if I had seen the new Avengers movie, Age of Ultron. I had not, but that was no hindrance for a conversation about Marvel. She told me about her grandson, who was obsessed with Iron Man. No surprise there. Little boys tend to love him. I think it might be all the cool guns he gets to play with. Make something go boom, and the boys will be fans. She went on to say that they told him Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr. One evening he heard on a commercial that Downey was going to be on a late night show. He begged to stay up to see Iron Man, and they let him, much to his delight. That's the closest many people are able to come to meeting their heroes. I have to wonder if maybe the boy will actually meet his hero in the flesh some day, or if he might step up to the "big screen" and be the Iron Man of a next generation. I suppose I'll never know.

Saturday however, I did finally see Age of Ultron. I didn't wear my Marvel t-shirt--but only because it was in the wash, otherwise there would have been absolutely no question as to attire. As far as sequels go, it was a good movie. I was surprised that I wasn't already aware of very much of the plot, considering the amount of time I end up spending on websites riddled with fandoms. It seems the Marvel fandom is better about spoilers than the Sherlock or Doctor Who fandoms. The after credits scene made me very nearly squeal, so I'm looking forward to the next film Marvel puts out (not that I wasn't already).

After a Marvel movie, the only reasonable stop is the bookstore. There were more people than an introvert wants to find in a bookstore at four o'clock, but books are books and I still had gift cards (how I hadn't spent them already is beyond me, but it's most likely that I couldn't decide which books to spend them on). I followed my usual route, skimming over the new releases before stopping at the journals. I had three blank ones waiting for me at home, but I knew I'd regret not stopping to flip through bare pages and investigate the new designs. One burly leather volume caught my eye and nudged me into a smile. It had no pattern printed on it, only two words: Carpe Diem. Appropriate for a journal, but it also made me think of an English teacher I had, and I made a mental note to mention it to her. She taught us to seize each day and to know the difference between seizing the day and being reckless. Carpe Diem is far more appealing to me than YOLO ever could be.

I kept my visit with the journals short and took my normal path to hunt down the graphic novels. I was a tad surprised when I came to the usual aisle. It had changed, allowing more room for manga and moving the Marvel comics and graphic novels to the other side of the shelf. I was fine with this. I had manga I was planning on taking home, if I could locate them. It seems that the next book I need in a series is always the only one not on the shelf, but Saturday was a good day for me, and I found both the books I had been looking for, despite having to stay out of the way of other readers. Although, this time it wasn't much of a bother. I heard a conversation between, presumably, a father and his daughter in her mid to late teens. Another father occupied the aisle with me, his child, however, was much younger, a boy of maybe eight, wearing a bright yellow t-shirt and talking almost constantly. Weirdly enough, I didn't find it annoying. A short while later I slid into the science fiction section and found the same father and son carrying a conversation that I couldn't help but grin at overhearing.

"That's a TARDIS!"

"That's right."

"The TARDIS is cool." The little one was silent for a moment, contemplating. "I want a TARDIS."

Don't we all?

I could almost hear his father smile. "Me too, Buddy."

"The TARDIS is a time machine."

"Well, it's interdimensional. It travels in more than just time..." He went on explaining the particulars of the TARDIS's traveling abilities to his son, and the boy listened.

I was beaming after hearing them. Be they American superheroes or British aliens, we all need someone to look up to. Nerd parents make me happy, and on almost any day, I wouldn't be able to say why. Today I can supply one reason, if not the whole picture. As opposed to other children, the children of nerds and geeks have special role models, heroes with extraordinary abilities, but it's not the abilities that make the heroes special. Superheroes have failings, flaws. They are aware of these flaws and are constantly working to overcome them. Sometimes the weakness can be an object like Superman's kryptonite, but often weaknesses are as common place as pride; the flaws often found in everyday people are reflected in their heroes. Heroes help us learn to overcome internally as much as externally. Children need that. The little boy is going to grow up, and his interests will change. He may come to believe that he's too old for Doctor Who, but he won't forget the love he had for it. He won't forget the Doctor who saves the universe by solving problems instead of killing, who runs to help no matter what race or species is calling out to him, and who cares about the individual people as well as their worlds. Although, at his age, he probably just likes it because of the time travel and aliens. Who's to say?

The duo wandered off, and I continued my perusal of the shelves. I made a point to stop by the YA books. Most are romance, but there are always a few gems. I am Princess X caught my eye. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have given it a second glance if the cover art had shown a normal high school girl. It didn't. The image was of a blue haired girl wearing a pink dress and holding a katana. But what sold me on it was when I noticed the author: Cherie Priest. That was it. The book was coming home with me.

I poked around in the graphic novels and was again presently surprised. There was Brody's Ghost by Mark Crilley. When I decided to improve my drawings years ago, my friend Maxine was the first person I went to. After she helped me with some basics, she had introduced me to Mark Crilley's drawing videos on YouTube, which have been a major help for both of us. We'd always been interested in reading Brody's Ghost, but we'd never come across it, and there it was in Barnes & Noble. I carefully slid the first book from its companions and added it to my growing pile.

After I checked out, I texted Maxine a picture from Brody's Ghost that I knew she'd recognize and added the caption of "Look familiar?" Needless to say she is going to borrow it the next time we see each other, and seeing as I was not the one driving and the book was rather thin, I read it in the car on the way home. I car sick afterwards, but it was worth it. Before I went to bed that night, I had finished my manga, and the next day I read through I am Princess X. Cherie Priest did not disappoint.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Raining Spring: In Which I Am the Polar Bear

After a few occasions in which the sky dumped snow and the night froze said snow solid for several days, spring may finally be setting in. At least I hope it is. I have woken up to find sunlight and bird song outside my window, only to have it cruelly snatched away by daylight savings. Thus, I am more than ready for spring, for flowers, for tall grass, and even for the allergies that come from all of those blooming plants.

Our last snow and freeze was, admittedly, fun. In many areas of the yard, the ice was thick enough to hold my weight. I located especially smooth areas and let myself be a child again for a little while. Lying down with my back on the glass-like surface and breathing in the cold air, I contemplated the sky of a frozen Faerie Land. Moments later, I was sliding around in little half circles and giggling. There is no point in being grown-up if you can't stop and be a child at times. I also went about on my hands and knees saying "I am the polar bear!" I do not know why. It just happened. Occasionally, I would attempt to find weak spots in the ice and break it by slamming my "front paws" into it, like an actual polar bear might do. This didn't work quite as well as I had hoped, since usually it was my knees or backside that broke the ice instead, at which point my cry was "I am the fat polar bear!" because no polar bear breaks the ice that way.

Children play games where they pretend to be something or someone other than what they are. It's not something they plan out. They just do it. As we get older, we lose this ability. It becomes harder to shed our skins, to simply play. But maybe hope isn't lost for the grownups. Perhaps we can still step outside ourselves; it just takes a little magic.

The snow melt was beautiful. Light reflected off of the remaining sheets, illuminating falling drops and providing contrast to the vibrant green grass slowly being revealed. Taking my freshly charged camera, I set out once more to take some pictures.

Temperatures rose a few days ago. The little frogs began to sing again. Deciding to take a break, I trekked through the still muddy field into the woods. I hadn't journeyed far, when my cat, who had been following me at a distance, stood on her hind feet and stared intently at something over the hill. I had to walk a few yards to see what had attracted her attention, her litter-mate and my sister's cat, Shadow. Once he saw me, he decided to walk with me, which usually means he winds himself tightly between my feet. As I was on a sloping pond bank at the time, it is possible he was attempting to drown me. One can never say for sure with cats. After about fifteen minutes of frantic affection, he decided to follow at a more leisurely distance.

Venturing into a part of the woods I had previously left largely unexplored, I ducked under low branches and wove around fallen tree limbs.

Eventually, I came across a tree with a little well in its base where rain water and melted snow had gathered. It was the perfect size for a cat to drink from, which both Lizzy and Shadow preceded to do.

Finally, I decided to go home. Along my winding path back, Shadow found a stump on which to pose. Cats are fully aware of how beautiful they are and what colors bring that out; Shadow is no exception.

The last day or so, the sky has lazily drizzled rain from above, and the little peeper frogs have been singing contentedly. With God's blessing, this may be the beginning of spring, rather than a small moment of warmth in late winter. I'd like to be able to take more rambling walks with my camera and feline escorts for company in the near future.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reading Again

I was raised in a forest. Books could be found in almost every room of our little house.

Until I was twelve, our home was a white two story house surrounded by fields. The closest town, where my sister and I went to school, was nearly half an hour away. We grew up isolated, in a way, in our own special kingdom teeming with magic and wonder, two princesses of light, and our parents the gentle English major rulers.

The center piece of our house, as far as I was concerned, was a simple bookshelf. There was a row of books behind the ones that showed and books lying on top of those. I felt I would spend my life reading them all. Every night, my father would read to us before bed: a chapter from the Bible and a chapter from a fiction book. My sister and I would curl up against our mother and listen to tales of Fuzzies, Martian invasions, and water turned to wine. Many nights we begged for just one more chapter, and I remember Dad flipping pages to see how long it would be, if he could manage to read that much more. When he spoke, saying "I think we could," it was a victory, and we would snuggle closer.

When I was a little older, I would select books from the short shelves in my father's study, shelves assembled from bricks and planks of wood. I couldn't wait until I was older, when I wouldn't have to do homework or sit in school instead of reading. Now, I miss those days. Reading what I choose to read is a rarer commodity, precious. This last week, I was finally able to read two books from my own list. It's like stepping back into that house, light streaming through the windows on a summer day. I feel closer to being whole than I have in months.

There is a fulfillment in lifting another beings' thoughts and dreams from paper and ink and making it a part of yourself.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Letter to Tea

My dearest Cup of Tea,

The water is starting to steam. Soon I will venture back to the kitchen, rounding the counter to reach my destination. A kettle will be lifted, and water will spill forward and down into the biggest mug I could find. Then I'll have to leave you until I wander back again, slightly different from only a handful of passing minutes. Funny how that works, isn't it? I'll be the same person, but enough thoughts will have bustled through my brain to alter my mood, even if only by a smidgeon.

Holding the mug, I will feel the warmth sinking silently, softly, into my hands; skin, and then bone, warming at the gentle and firm touch of palm and pottery. The first sip will be tentative, then grateful. My insides will glow with warmth at your sweet touch. You mend all the wrongs in my little universe, even the wrongs that don't really have names and don't really exist anyway.

I stumble down the hall in the mornings to set the kettle on the stove because I love the process of slowly waking up with you in the early hours of day. When I come home, the kettle goes right back on the stove because you melt the day from me, allowing me to remember who I am, who the girl who roams the woods and fields truly is. She's more than reactions, numbers, and words. She is reflective thought and peaceful moments.

There is a special little gift you give me, my friend. You let me just exist rather than do, allow me to ponder, muse, and dream without the pressures of the world. Thank you for that.

Forever yours,

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Time, sun,
and we dry out.
Our dreams and velvet patience
evaporate, leaving us
hard and dark, curling up
a little more with each day. We crumble
at gentle touches.

Swept off the floor,
the counter, the table,
we give in to the final fate.

A breeze and we skitter
across the cool surfaces, soft
voices unfurling into stories.

Can it be:
roses do not simply die?
Fragerences last, as distant
voices whisper fading words.

just maybe,
we still hold worth
to the special few.

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Late

Well, late to be writing a blog post, anyway.

I should be going to bed, but my thoughts won't quiet down. I need to ramble, pick apart words and put them together in different orders again. I suppose that's where I find myself, in the space between reality and dreams, sitting in a dewy meadow under a vast universe of stars, tying daisy chains with clovers.

I'm messaging with Christian at the moment. I am truly blessed to have him as a friend. We talk about things that matter and about nothing at all. It's good to be able to have conversations about things that really matter on the inside. Sometimes we get lost in a world so focused on surfaces that we lose the way back into our hearts, and we can't find who we are anymore. We become mirrors that stumble along lanes of superficial social conformities, only reflecting and never projecting anything that isn't already packaged and labeled for our society. If everyone is a mirror, there is nothing to reflect.

Are we truly that afraid of ourselves? Are we truly that afraid of what we can do?

In a world full of mirrors, those who choose to become lights shine all the brighter.

Thank you, Christian. You are a light.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Let Us Shine

I have a special love for stars. They shimmer in a blue dark enough to pass for inky black, fragments of some glistening magic from afar raining down gossamer kisses. They beckon me into contemplation and enshroud me in comfort; they call me to open my eyes and dream.

They have inspired writers and other artists for ages. Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116" describes love as "the star to every wandering bark" (line 7). It doesn't really surprise me that he chose a star for his analogy. Sure, it makes sense logically, but it's also emotionally fitting. I look up into the night sky and I am awash in Abba's love. It's like He's taking my hand and pulling me into a dance, laughing.

"But when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars,
when I look at the stars I see someone else.
When I look at the stars,
the stars, I feel like myself."
Switchfoot "Stars"

Everything has an end, right? Even stars die. The thing is, starlight continues on through time and space, continuing to affect us. Oddly enough, we're like stars in that respect. We live and we die, but there's more to us than that, to which we are often blind. Each motion, each word, is a spark, the tiniest of lights in a vast darkness. Together these sparks define us, combined to make vast stars. We are seen within our solar systems, our galaxies, our universe. Even after we die and our bodies crumble into dust, the our lights continue on through space and time. Maybe in our writing, our art, our music, or simply the memories of others.

There is a long history of using stars to navigate. This also applies to us. We use stars like the disciples, saints, writers, and musicians to help us redirect ourselves to Christ, to stay on course when we can't see the shore. All of whom will continue to inspire others long after they die, whispering Father's love into hearts that are battered and torn, for all hearts are.

"Your love will lead us through the fight
Like stars in the night"
Tenth Avenue North "Stars"

He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Genesis 15:5

We are the descendents of Abraham and children of God, and we are stars. We are more than innumerable; we are lights in the darkness. We light the way long after we have gone.

"This little light of mine
I'm gonna let it shine"