Books and Movies, Musings

More Than Just Books

“I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. Don’t cry. You won’t be able to stop. Don’t start.”

It seems like lately I’ve walked into many places thinking this. I get anxious before tests and decision making, two things I have been doing quite a bit lately. But I don’t often leave a place with this running through my head. There was no crushing medical diagnosis. No loss of a much needed job. No one died. You may laugh, but I was leaving the library. I’ve been volunteering there for over a year now, and this afternoon was probably my last day. I’m starting college next week.

When I told the children’s librarian that this was my last day she smiled and said “Well, I guess I knew you would get a life some day.” But I didn’t work at the library because I didn’t have a life. I worked there because I loved it,library and it was part of my life. It was a hard year for me. I was figuring out life. Who I am. I was hard on myself, even cruel at times. My future went from set and definite to this current state of flux and uncertainty I’m in now. But no matter how rough of a week I was having, or how tired I was, every week I would have the library. Two hours when it didn’t matter what else I did with my life. All that mattered was that J comes before K and 4 comes before 5. It reminds me of in A Wrinkle in Time how Meg goes through the multiplication tables to calm down, because it is steady and unchanging. Alphabetizing and shelving books is the same for me. There’s nothing trivial about it, Bab goes before Bac, and when it feels like your world is doing backflips, that is a very comforting thought.

When the branch manager heard that I was going to school she said “Isn’t this enough education for you?” We all laughed, but I learned so much in those two hours a week. I’ve never really kept any kind of job that wasn’t super flexible for a very long time. Even though I could tell them I couldn’t come one week or that I needed to change from Friday to Thursday, I was still expected on a certain day, at a certain time, unless otherwise specified. I took debate and bible quiz, but those were both things that I did in school and I couldn’t change the time that classes and meetings were. Volunteering was the first thing I did where I was in charge of deciding I was going to do something, and then do it. It sounds weird, but I kind of learned how to adult. I was expected to be grown up. I was expected to not make a mistake. I was expected to straighten up other people’s mistakes when I noticed them. I learned that I can be liked by people who don’t have to like me. Maybe these are both odd things to learn from working for free at a library, but that’s where I learned them.

I can’t believe I’m starting school on Monday. It will be an adventure unlike any I’ve ever taken. I’ve traveled alone all over the country. I’ve witnessed firsthand the birth of 3 of my siblings. I’ve been pseudo-mom to around 20 girls. Getting up in the morning, driving, sitting through classes of more than 10 people, studying, and interacting with people I’m not related to on a daily basis. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this, but I bet I’ll end up back at the library.

Camp

Return of the Fire Breathing Pidgezilla, Part I

I’ll be honest, I’ve not had an easy time putting together this post. I’m not sure what it is, but camp was hard this year. Everything about it. I’ve started and restarted writing about it half a dozen times. By the facts everything went DSCF1975swimmingly. But for some reason, I’m having a really hard time putting together a coherent post about it.

First I wouldn’t miss camp for the world, then I was ok with missing a week, then I wasn’t planning on going at all. Then my plans fell through, a date was wrong, and I didn’t get the job. I was confused. How did I go from adamant about going to not even planning to go to camp? Maybe I’ve grown? I don’t know, really. I think perhaps camp had been a kind of crutch. I’m really not sure how to describe it. I’m learning that I am incredibly loyal, to the point of blindness. Don’t get me wrong, camp is a great thing, but I think I had become so loyal to NeKaMo that I was potentially missing other opportunities. When I opened myself up to other ideas, it kind of threw me off. Funny how that works.

When it came time to pack, I was such an emotional wreck that once I got my stuff together I just laid on my bed and cried for a couple of hours before finally falling asleep. The drive down to Truman Lake with a friend was fun, and relaxed me quite a bit, but I was still tense. Actually, I spent a lot of time over the two weeks in some state of stressed. But it was a really beautiful time too. One night, after doing something that some would consider– eh-hem– rule bendy, I came back to the cabin, where my girls had been asleep for hours, and wrote.

A night of the starsDSCF1917
Full of laughter and joy
 
A night when they burbled
And spilled over
And rained down
 
A night when the moon hid her face
When she turned a blind eye
And let the small ones have their fun
And they danced with joy
And had their frolic
 
Their joy drifted down
Falling on heads uplifted
Watching their dance
Drinking their joy
Words were made for nights like these

DSCF2062One afternoon I sat with Robin during free time while she worked on something in the rec hall. She asked “How ya doin’ Pidge?” in her usual perky, but incredibly sincere, Robinish way and I thought about it for a moment before simply answering, “Happy.” Yes, I was stressed a lot of the time, but I wasn’t just thinking of at camp. In general, I’m happier than I was last time I talked to her.
Robin and I seem to have a way of surprising each other every time we talk. This time it was her turn.  “I can tell. You aren’t as mopy as you were last year.” I thought I was going to be the one shocking her. I didn’t feel mopy last year, and I did this year. I also didn’t think she would remember much about me from last year. I’ve been finding out that people actually do remember me a lot more often than I thought they did.

How did I get yet another nickname? What happens when you throw Pigeon and a handful of squeally, panicky, Pathfinders on a nature trail? Who is worse about staying on task, Pigeon, or a camper? These questions an more answered in the next addition of  “Return of the Fire Breathing Pidgezilla!”

Farm and Family, Musings

Danger, Will Robinson!

I’ll be honest with you. This week, I was kind of in a panic about my post. I had one written out, but it just wasn’t clicking. Then I saw this video suggested on my Facebook news-feed.

Dear Mom,

Thanks  for letting me do most of these things. I don’t think you ever let me drive a car, but I remember when my best friend and I accidentally became pirates with those CD copies, and you didn’t freak out. Thanks for letting dad teach me how to make fire. I wouldn’t be the one and only Fire-Breathing-Pigeon if you hadn’t let your baby strike that first match. I bet you’re pretty glad I never got very good at making throwing spears with my hand-me-down Swiss Army knife. I’m sure it was kind of annoying to find things I had “fixed”.

I realized a while back when I was babysitting, that play like this is nerve wracking. I hadn’t ever been on this side of it before. Play is really a scary thing. It’s so worth it though. When we made see-saws with a brick and a board and then jumped on them, it was the coolest thing ever. Hey look! Physics! Now when I see kids doing the same thing, I’m thinking “Is the board going to snap? What if it slips and they hit their head on the brick?”

I know it feels like yesterday that I was the one of those kids with wide eyes, taking their own lives into their hands. I had a marvelous time. You know that I learn things best by doing them, and you knew that you couldn’t teach me some things. Basic physics, cause and effect, problem solving, simple engineering and mechanics. Playing dangerously and hours of playing Gizmos and Gadgets are the basis of all my understanding of physics and a big part of my love of science.

So Mom, thanks for putting up with me. You taught me more that way than you ever could have with a book. Thanks for learning to be brave. I have a feeling you are going to need to keep being brave for a long time yet. I love you Mom. I hope I can be you when I grow up.

Books and Movies, Musings

Frozen Heart

Last week after reading my post about Frozen a friend sent me a message on Facebook asking what my gift was that I had hidden.

It’s kind of funny, I said I lived “conceal, don’t feel,” and that is exactly what I was doing. For once, I wasn’t using a metaphor. This is quite literally what I did, and I didn’t even know that I was doing it.

When I was little I had night terrors. They eventually faded to simple nightmares. Simple. Ha. I would wake up, hyperventilating, heart pounding, and run to my parents bedroom to spend the rest of the night at the foot of their bed. When I was about 9 years old I began feeling unwelcome. And so, since feeling like a burden hurt more than my pain, I turned the off pain. I put my heart in cryostasis. Ice is strong. I had to be strong.

In the past couple of years, my frozen heart has gradually begun to beat. My counselors at camp were the first ones to start chipping away the frost. That is why I came back to camp. Even though I didn’t like that they were so touchy-feely, I couldn’t help but crave feeling.

A while back my Fairy GodMother gave me the title of storyteller. At first I didn’t really think that much of it, but I soon realized that it is true. A storyteller isn’t just someone who tells bedtime stories. I am a storyteller. Without feelings, a story just falls flat.

So, what is my magic? I see meaning where others see chaos. I can read people like a book. I know things I should have no way of knowing. Why couldn’t I do these things before? Well, I could. But since I couldn’t feel, they never developed past the point of infancy. I’m just now learning to crawl. Feelings aren’t my weakness. They are what give me strength.

Books and Movies, Musings

Melt

I finally saw Frozen last weekend. Several friends told me to watch it, so Hannah and I went on a little date.

There is so much more to this movie than I could possibly put in one post.

SPOILER ALERT

I have been coming to grips and learning who I really am. At the For Action Conference we did a lot of self examination and introspection. It has taken me a while to accept that this is a good thing and not self centered. In fact, to not take a good look at yourself is to ignore a certain bit of the image of God. You can’t be all you can be and use your gifts to help others without knowing who you are. Frozen was an amazing picture of my journey so far.

Elsa has a beautiful magic. As a small child she uses it and enjoys it. But then something happens and she is told that she must hide her gift. She puts up walls and keeps everyone out. She resents her gift.

I did very similarly. Our family bought into some very harmful teachings just as I was beginning to find my magic. I stopped showing emotion. Oh, sure. I never looked like it. At worst I was just shy. And, that’s ok for some people. But it’s not me. I lived “Concealed. Don’t Feel.” for 8 years. I remember the night that I decided I couldn’t share anymore, that I only hurt people when I did.

Elsa slips up and uses her magic. She runs away to the mountains. She’s alone, but it’s ok. Lonely freedom is better than life in a crowded box.

This summer when we changed churches I left my crowded box. I have been lonelier this school year than ever before in my life. As terrible as this sounds like it would be for an extrovert, I found the people who actually refuel me. These are people who think for themselves, who ask questions, and people I can relax with and talk to without feeling like a burden.

Elsa was forced to come back from her beautiful ice castle because others were hurting. She couldn’t just leave them there to suffer. She had her time in the castle to practice her gift, but in the end you can’t live alone. She has to go back to free the kingdom from the cold.

I’m leaving the castle now. I was forced. It would have been so easy to just stay alone in my frozen castle. I can’t sit idly by and let people hurt, especially when they hurt in ways that I used to hurt. It’s important to spend some time in the castle to learn who you are and to rest, but when you are done resting, it is time to move to action. Even if it just means being different, that is still action.

Elsa knew she had to leave her mountain, but once she got back to Arendalle she didn’t know how to end the winter. In the end she figured it out, and it looked obvious. Love. It wasn’t true loves kiss that broke this spell. It was love for her family and her kingdom.

I’m leaving my castle because I love. I love my sisters and brothers who are stuck in their crowded boxes. There isn’t room to find their magic, let alone use it. But I still love them. So I’ll come down.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it GO.

That perfect girl is gone.

Elsa’s love melted the kingdom.

I’m here to melt.

{PART 2: Frozen Heart}

Books and Movies, Musings, Short

Desperately Complete

Well, I did it. I finished An Acceptable Time. I’m kind of sad about it.

It’s not that it ended poorly. In all honesty, it’s only partially because it is the last book. It’s a series I started when I was somewhere around 9 or 10 years old. That’s actually about how long I’ve been blogging, now that I think about it. I’ve been reading it for most of the time that I can remember. And now it’s over.

It feels kind of like letting go of my last ties to childhood. It’s funny though. I still read a lot of kid’s books and watch kid’s TV shows. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books. I was excited when I finally got “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” from the library, and I plan to buy a copy for myself.

But even though I fangirl about Doctor Who, watch My Little Pony, and quote Princess Bride (and feel no shame about any of them), I can talk for hours about the need for Grace, what we can learn from and the fantastic literacy of the book of Revelation, or why we should be joyful. I realized the other day while playing a storytelling game that I have little to no desire to write fiction anymore. There are so many real things to write about, plus I’m kind of particular about stories and I can’t ever make one quite right.  I am finding that I love these things that I used to feel such an intense, burning indifference for (name that song).

So, why does this one thing feel like such a big turning point when this change has been happening for a long time? I really don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Sitting here, finished with high school, looking for a job, thinking about college, I can’t help but feel a desperate sense of completion. Finished with childhood and determined to start life.

I’m not sure how that works, but that is how it feels. Desperately complete.

Musings, Short

To My Brothers And Sisters

A while back I posted on Facebook asking our friends for suggestions about blog topics. Someone said I should talk about purity. I don’t think I have ever addressed this subject that so many are obsessed with.

I don’t like the “purity” movement. I don’t think it leaves room for openness and honesty with our brothers and sisters. And, I think it has a lot of ramifications that go unnoticed.

I have noticed an alarming number of unwed 20-somethings. When found in the secular culture everyone assumes it is because they are avoiding commitment etc, but why are there so many in the Christian homeschooling community? Shouldn’t we be marrying and “taking dominion of the earth”? There is at least one issue with this. Guys and girls aren’t allowed to talk to each other much. In the immortal words of Widow Paroo,

“It’s a well-known principle that if you keep the flint in one drawer and the steel in the other, you’ll never strike much of a fire.”

The main reason is that in the quest to keep from thinking “impure” thoughts, guys and girls neglect 1 Timothy 5:1-2.

Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.

Since we only view a member of the opposite sex as someone’s future mate, girls and guys usually end up just, well, avoiding each other. This is so wrong! We are both created in the image of God, and are told by Him to treat each other like siblings!  

The worst part that it takes the focus away. Instead of focusing on walking with God as a family, we avoid each other and talk about how fantastic it is to do so! How about be open and humble with each other. We all have struggles, we all need grace, we all long for support. As children of the Most High King, we are not only princes and princesses, but brothers and sisters. Not all princes are Prince Charming, most of them are our brothers. Let’s treat them that way.

Actions in Activities, Farm and Family, Short

Change of Plans

As I have mentioned a lot lately, I am very busy. And, what that unfortunately means is, I need to cut some things down. I’m not staying up as late looking at Pinterest or watching Youtube videos, and now, I am not staying up late to work on my blog. Honestly, I’ve tried! I start to fall asleep at the keyboard! Mom says I’m on a grown-up’s schedule now. The scary thing is, I’m getting used to it. I actually tried to sleep in yesterday, the one day this week I’m not working, but I couldn’t sleep past 9.

Enough prevaricating about the bush. I’m cutting my blogging. *runs in circles screaming* NO! No. Not completely! I’m just cutting it back a bit for the sake of quality and sanity. Starting next week I will go back to posting every Wednesday. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been posting twice a week for very long. It’s only been seven weeks, but I think it served it’s purpose. I have been writing much more than I was before I gave myself a deadline. I think that is a key to getting things done sometimes. Giving yourself a good hard deadline and sticking to it.

I was discouraged about quitting. It seems like I’ve done that more this year than ever. I hate that. I don’t quit! But, in looking back, I noticed something encouraging. I have been posting every week since July 2nd, and either every Tuesday or Wednesday since July 23rd.

So, I’m not quitting, I’m just changing plans and reprioritizing.

Actions in Activities, Books and Movies, Farm and Family

It’s Working!

Or rather I am. I am so tired right now. This is the fifth day in a row that I have worked somewhere.

There is a corn maze just up the road from our house. Last year they sent an email to our homeschool group looking for teens to work there. I talked with the owners and we were all set, but because of the drought the maze wasn’t very good and they didn’t end up needing my help.

Saturday we were just sitting around talking and…  I don’t really know, doing our Saturday morning thing, when my friend’s mom (this is their second year working there) called saying they needed help at the maze. I jumped up, got out of my pajamas, and drove over there. The owner, Mrs. S asked how old I was and got excited that I was 19. “Can you drive an ATV?” Yeah, about 10 years ago I drove my great uncle’s for a few minutes, but I remember how and I’ve had my drivers license for 3 years, so sure, I can probably drive one.

Guess what I did for about 5 hours Saturday afternoon? I drove a four-wheeler pulling about 8 barrels-turned-train-cars. My thumb felt like it was going to fall off and I now have a fantastic sunburn on the backs of my hands. Once the sun went down and the train was put away, I worked in the concession stand for a few hours. I was surprised how many people came to do the maze in the dark.

Mrs. S asked me what time I could be back on Sunday, and basically, I have a job. I always knew this was how it would have to happen. All of my previous attempts had been fruitless.

It is so strange working this much. I’m hardly ever home anymore. I miss Josh and Hannah. I feel like they are growing up in my house as me, but I’m never home. I get up at 7 most days. Anyone who has seen me right after I wake up knows how big of a feat this is. I am not a morning person. By any stretch of the imagination. The sad thing I’ve found is that I can’t drink coffee in the morning. It makes me so jittery it ruins my day. My body is awake and my mind is not, or vice-versa. No bueno.

The only day I “have off” this week is Wednesday, and even then I volunteer at the library for a couple hours. Now, it would be logical to cut this out of my schedule. It isn’t an actual job, and it is my one and only day off. But I just can’t do that! I have thought about it, but only very briefly. I just love it too much. It’s quiet, relatively peaceful, and, basically, I get to be around books. Nope, library stays.

I know this isn’t my normal kind of post, but it’s what’s been on my mind. I am exhausted, but every day I am in such awe of how God has worked things together in a way that I never could.

 

Camp, Farm and Family, Pictures

Beautiful, Bald, Baby Sister

Sixteen years ago I my life changed forever. My little Meglet joined the family. My incredibly comfortable life as an only child came to an end. I had no idea what it meant to be a big sister, in fact, I only recently have been learning what it really means.007

It has been amazing watching Megatron this past year. This practically bald three year old has become such a powerful young lady. She’s always been more of a lady than I am. She liked pink, horses, playing house and girly stuff like that. I liked climbing trees, making mud holes, playing surgeon, hiking, and wrestling. I dragged her along and she learned to like my stuff too, but she’s always added a touch of flowers and sparkle (we seriously were the Powerpuff Girls, even though mom wouldn’t let us watch the show).006

I was quite happy being an only child, and I did my best to get rid of her when we were little (subconsciously of course). As she was learning to walk, I used any opportunity to make her fall on her face. Mom was pretty sure that her 4 year old was going to be a convicted criminal (hasn’t happened yet…). When she was about 4, I covered her in mud from head to toe. And, not just a light coating, I caked her in mud. Oh, by the way, I think it was maybe March or something? It was cold outside. I guess it was when I was around 8 years old that I accepted that she was here for good. That’s when all our best stories are from. When we started working together to create our mischief.

Megara has always learned faster than me. When I was 7 years old and struggling to learn how to ride a bike, she stole my bike and rode away. She is the only one of my siblings that I didn’t teach how to ride a bike. She learned to read pretty much at the same time as I did. She watches me do something and fail, takes notes and then does the thing better than I ever could. That’s how it’s always been. Meg can do pretty much anything extremely well. She gets frustrated if it doesn’t work after 2 tries. This drives me crazy. If I get it within 2 tries, I’m shocked, and it probably was just a fluke.008

This summer at camp I was so proud of my baby sister. Her counselor and DD, both ladies that I love and look up to, would talk about her. They told about how she was helping the other girls in her cabin and how she was so mature. Every single time I heard them talking about her I started crying. My little Meg, blossoming into such a leader. I just can’t help but think of how fantastic she is going to be as a CILT and then on staff at camp.

DSCF0111

I love you my creative sister.

Megan, Megara, Megatron, Meglet, and most of all, Meg.