Tag Archive | moments

Midterms :)

Well, I’ve been busy the last few weeks. I’ve had a couple of midterm projects that were a bit stressful. I loved the assignments themselves, but the deadlines just ruin everything. One was an eight page analysis on some of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. It was only after I turned it in that I realized what I actually did was more of a synthesis than an analysis. My teacher could see the disturbed expression on my face (can you blame me? A lot of my grade count on what I get on this paper) and there was silence for several moments before he said “I’m waiting for Azure’s mind to be put at ease.” I actually thought it was at ease, all things considered. I was confident in turning it in, because I didn’t procrastinate, and I worked long and hard on it, I even took it to the writing center to get some questions. I hope my grade will reflect the effort I put into it.

 

The other one was an assignment where I had to find 50 references to Greek and Roman culture in our modern culture, like the fact the several people in Harry Potter that are named after characters from Greek mythology. That was so fun, but a little bit strenuous since I didn’t have much time to do it after the other assignment.

 

It could have been a horrible experience, but it wasn’t because I didn’t procrastinate. As it was, it was merely a bit stressful, because I was still saying up until nearly midnight for several nights in a row so I could get everything done. Still, the universe seemed intent to reward me for my effort, because yesterday I got to watch the first episode of Season 3 of Sherlock. Such a good show, such a good episode. I love good entertainment. It makes me so happy, so much so that it’s kind of weird. I would love to be able to create good work like that. Maybe one day I will actually draw or write something that’s really awesome. If I could get close to that… that would be amazing.

 

Life is good. Busy, but good.

Busy

Things have been pretty busy lately. There’s schoolwork, of course, and then there’s being a Gateway Seminar Facilitator, but this week I’ve also been involved in a few unique project. On Sunday I helped a roommate prepare for her preschool lesson by coloring in pictures of fruit. It has been a long time since I’ve handled crayons. I tell you I was itching for my prismacolors. And then I stayed up until past midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday folding cootie-catchers for a different roommate, they’re to be her wedding favors. Thank goodness that’s over now. Staying up until past midnight when you have a 6:30 am class is not a good idea. That’s why I’m so tired now. Despite all of the other things going on in my life, however, I’ve managed to stay on top of my schoolwork fairly well, which I am incredibly grateful for. My grades mean a lot to me, and I think I did well on the tests that I’ve taken this week. I think you receive blessings like that when you take opportunities to help out other people. It seems backwards, but somehow it works.

 

As for facilitating seminars, I did that again this week and it went pretty well. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and my co-facilitator is great. I think I’m doing the right thing, and I hope that it is a blessing to other people.

 

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my life. People who have been great to me and for me, who have cared for me so much. They gave more than they received from me. That kinda blows me away, and it has made me want to help other people out and make a positive difference in their lives. The tricky part is finding out how. This week has just been great because those opportunities have almost literally fallen into my lap.

 

However… it doesn’t come without sacrifice. Like right now I’m really tired, but I have to go visiting teaching and complete an assignment or two before I pack it in tonight. Naps may be wonderful, but they’re not nearly so effective as a good night’s sleep.

Another reason why people are awesome

I know I haven’t written in a while. I’ve gone back to keeping a computerized journal, where I can write a little more freely than publishing it here online. Also I’ve been emailing my friend who’s currently in Thailand, which is kinda like a second journal, so there hasn’t been a lit of point in writing here. Things have been busy. I became a volunteer worker for one thing, I’m a Gateway Seminar Facilitator. It’s like being a teacher, but they call it a “facilitator” because rather than teaching we are supposed to be facilitating discussion about “Inspired Learning and Teaching.” I facilitated my first seminar yesterday. Most of the others got to observe a seminar before facilitating one, but I was one of the first so I didn’t have that option.

It didn’t go terribly, but I was a little down with the results. I thought there was more I could have done. I emailed my friend, going into detail which I won’t bother to include here. I still feel great about being a facilitator, like that’s what I’m supposed to do at this time, but I was significantly humbled and in a little bit of emotional distress.

Then today, my other good friend (he is, in fact, engaged to the friend currently in Thailand) brought me some chocolate. One bar was labeled “Day-after-bad-day-bar” and the other was labeled “Anti-bad-day-bar.” It was so sweet, and for a while I couldn’t’ figure out how he knew about my bad day yesterday. Then I realized that his fiancé must have told him and asked him to cheer me up (I had said in the email that after that experience I could do with some chocolate). That means that I not only have one, but two of the best friends in the world. How do people get this awesome? I want to be like that. It was one of the sweetest gestures I’ve ever received.

And all I could think of to do was say thank you.

But at least I got to be creative with the thank you. I created this card by putting my iTunes visualizer on full screen, taking a screenshot, and adding in words.

 

It’s friday gang

My art teacher would always say “It’s friday gang” on fridays.

 

Wonder of wonders, I did some coloring today. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on any art– about a month. It’s weird being back, because the pattern is so familiar, but it still has kind of a new feeling to it. As I said before, I don’t want to let my art skills get rusty because I’m working on other projects. I still hope to get those projects done before Christmas (less than two weeks already?) but this morning I’ll be doing art. I may work on my project in the evening. See, there’s a Christmas part at my church, but not all of the family will fit into our car, so some will stay behind. It would be perfect if I was left behind, because I can’t record comfortably with people around. Unfortunately, there’s always someone in the house, which is very small and not really sound proof. That’s why I usually go into the car to record, but that’s been harder to do since it got cold. But I might have the house to almost to myself this evening, so that’s a possibility.

 

I love that I can keep myself busy with all these projects and trying new things. It’s a wonderful opportunity. I just wish I could… give back somehow. Despite all that I do, sometimes I wonder if I’m actually contributing. But I think it has and will pay off in the little things, like when my friends ask for one of my prints or when my little sister quotes my comic to me.

Gratitude: because I owe it to the world

It’s November already. It won’t be long before I start another year of school. I have no doubt that it will be an adventure. Some of you know that this last year was a bit rough at times for me, especially during the school year and following family vacation. But it’s been a while since then, and things have gotten better. And now it’s November, the month of thanksgiving. So I wanted to express gratitude for all of the good and wonderful things that happened this year. I feel like I owe it to the world, especially after I’ve griped about it so much before.

 

As well as the lows this year, there were definitely some significant highs. I met two very good friends this year. They were both really nice to me and my sister, and we had fun times together. Some of their kindnesses include giving me a darling hat, giving me treats, making sure I was doing alright, buying tickets for a Piano Guys Concert, and so on. Out of all my experiences, I think making friends with these two was one of the greatest. I think of them often. Other friends I made performed other services, giving me treats, giving me a pillow, giving me a toaster, offering rides to the store, cleaning my oven, visiting, and the like. How do people get this good, and how can I be like that?

 

Another thing I’m grateful for is the success I’ve had with my artwork. I’ve created some images that I’m proud of. And they’re receiving more attention than ever before. I’ve had two people this year ask to have prints of my artwork. Furthermore, I’m grateful for the teaching opportunities I’ve had. On this very blog, I’ve had a homeschooling mom ask me for activity ideas to accompany The Book of Three, which I came up with for a school assignment. I also got called to be a Sunday School teacher, which has been my favorite church calling so far. I’m also grateful for being taken care of financially. When my computer started failing on me, things could have been really bad, but they weren’t because I had a buffer zone.

 

I’d like to give special mention to some of the entertainment I’ve viewed this year as well. I had a lot of fun movie nights, and saw a couple of performances and such, but there are a few moments that stand out above the rest. One was watching The Croods. At the time I saw it in the theatre, I was going through a really rough patch, an exhausting project that never seemed to end. I love watching movies, so it was the perfect thing to help pick me up again. The timing, then, was an important part of what made that experience so lovely. Another is watching a live performance of Les Miserables in Canada. I found it more impactful, perhaps because it was live, than the movie version which I saw a couple of months afterward. And of course, I have to say one of the great pleasures for me this year was watching Sherlock. Again, part of it was the timing. Vacation has never been so exhausting. Going to three different canyons in three days was not my idea of how to spend the summer. But to watch this, a work that is well written and clever and has characters as charming as Sherlock and John (each lovable for completely different reasons) was delightful.

 

I’m grateful for the books that I read for my Young Adult Literature and Children’s Literature class. Some of them I don’t think I ever would have come across unless I read them for these classes. I’m also grateful for some of the hikes I went on during the family vacation. They were beautiful. Also, I had a pretty unique experience first semester, being a back-up dancer for a talent show performance (of course, our performance was more to flaunt our lack of talent), which can never be repeated and which I’m grateful for.

 

Finally, I’m grateful for the times I had with my family this year. My brother came back, I’ve had some fun girl nights and conversations with my Mom and sisters. It’s lovely to watch things together and chat with them

 

I suspect I’ll be expressing more thanks throughout the rest of the month, but this is a good start.

 

 

The struggle

This current project is being a real pain. It’s so slow, and difficult. When I first start coloring, I can get into it and keep it up for a while, but if I take a break and revisit it, suddenly it’s nothing but tedium and I can’t do it. What I really need is something else to work on so that I can feel like I’m being productive while I sludge through this project.

So I did work on something else today, a little video project for an event I hope will happen within the next year. Unfortunately, that won’t keep me occupied for as many days as this current artwork will. So I’m considering starting another art project, but I really don’t like having two going on at once.

 

I continue to try to… ‘live in the moment,’ I guess. That’s never been one of my strong points. But I do know how to enjoy the simple pleasures. Right now that’s being able to open my window and have some cool, fresh air in my room. I plan on taking a walk later today and bringing my camera. Hopefully I’ll get some nice pictures for you.

Fall’s flights of fantasy

The air’s getting cooler. Fall is my favorite season, my very favorite. When I was younger I took an especially romantic view of it. Fall, I decided, was the time when magical things happened. The trees change colors, the weather becomes more temperate, and the harvest brings treats like pumpkin pie and hot chocolate. In my mind I’d add that this, of course, also made it the best time for dates, going on walks, and setting aside time to read a new Calvin and Hobbes comic book, wrapped up with a blanket and well stocked with peanut butter-cracker sandwiches. In one of my old journals I described this tendency of mind as a ‘flair for the theatrics.’

 

Nevertheless, I do like to indulge in these little flights of fantasy which get to ignore certain parts of reality, like paying for Fall semester insurance and the fact that my little brother is still struggling with his health. It’s good to believe that something wonderful might happen soon, for no other reason except that it’s Fall, which is my favorite season and therefore full of magic. Any little excuse to be a kid again.

 

This year already has great potential. My brother is coming home from his mission in October. So, for a time at least, we’ll have our whole family together again. And though I have read all of the Calvin and Hobbes books there are, I have found another source of the wrap-up-in-a-blanket-and-enjoy-some-comedy variety of entertainment; Studio C season 3 begins in October as well, dedicated to providing clean comedy to be enjoyed by the whole family. We will undoubtably visit the indian mound near our home, especially when my brother comes back and we look for ways to spend time together. It’s a beautiful place, and even more so with the turning of the leaves. Plus, if my brother is back by that time, I can use his camera– which won’t have a broken LCD screen like mine does. This is great, because I’m hoping to get lots of good nature photos for a project I have in mind. Treats seem likely enough. And when the kids get a break from school we’ll have even more time to watch movies together and play DDR and have girl nights. After all, I still need to get my Mom to see Sherlock, and to get my youngest sister into Sense and Sensibility and Emma.

 

The fun thing about the future is that it hasn’t happened yet, so there’s no reason not to believe that you’ll get at least one spark of that magic.  The trick, I believe, is being aware enough to notice when you do get those sparks. I hope that people, in their passionate pursuit of intellectual progression, don’t forget to school their sensibilities as well. We miss too much in life if we leave out those parts of it that make us human.

 

Finished listening to The Screwtape Letters by the way. Well worth looking into. I would recommend them. My brother has previously recommended Merely Christian to me. The Screwtape Letters is the only work of C. S. Lewis’s that I’ve read aside from the Narnia books. It’s a shame, because I think at this point in my life I would find all other works of C. S. Lewis’s to be far more interesting than that series. Don’t misunderstand, they are good and valuable books which I think everyone should be exposed to. They are, nevertheless, aimed at a younger audience, and I find myself eager for a higher level of engagement than they provide.

 

Hello my people

I have internet again. And I’ve got some down time. It’s been busy since last I chatted. For all of that, I don’t feel like I have much to say.

I will say that I’m looking forward to seeing my family tomorrow. Those are my people, you know? The summer is not far from being over, and I still haven’t seen them yet. I look forward to the time when I’ll be able to do stuff with them again. Mostly watching movies. What can I say? That’s how I like to spend time with people, watching movies and chatting all throughout and after. And even though I’ve had a pretty interesting adventure out here in the west, I honestly feel–

You don’t believe me yet, do you?

I’ll continue anyway.

– I honestly feel like the best part is going to be when I can be with my immediate family again, and we can hang out like we always do; trips to Cedar Park, watching movies, making popcorn, showing off our creations, and suchlike. Really, you don’t a major vacation to spend quality time with the family– even though that’s good fun and can get you out to see a lot of cool stuff. But if you think family time has to be something big, you’re not going to be very effective in establishing those bonds.

You just need to find your niche. For instance, when I was a kid the ‘family’ thing to do was play a board game together. I found out I wasn’t really into board games. I like watching movies with my family. Now, not everybody likes to watch movies with me. But that’s okay. That’s why you do several different things. Some people can play the board games, while others watch the movie or make the popcorn. Let’s not all try to fit one mold here, but go out in a number of different directions so we can reach out to all of our family members. It’ll be harder for some than others, but that doesn’t mean you love them less.

Waiting

In previous posts I have mentioned my excitement about the release of Phoenix Wright 5 in the United States. I e-mailed my brother about it, and his response was; “I think for you the anticipation is probably as fun as the game.” I suppose it’s true to some extent, but it’s strange isn’t it? You would think that waiting for something but not having it yet would be torture.

 

There must be some sort of rhyme or reason to this, but I can’t be sure of what it is. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that I started to enjoy the anticipation partly out of… convenience. The best illustration I can give of this is with movies. I love to watch movies, and when I was young I would get excited about movies that were coming out. But going to the theatre would be a bit too expensive for a family of eight to do more than once or twice a year. So we would have to wait for the movie to get into theaters. And then we would wait for it to come out on DVD. And then we would wait for the library to get it. And then we would wait until we could check it out. Over time we’ve learned to enjoy the process a little bit.

Back home we have ‘request parties,’ where the Wielder of the Library Card would get onto the library website, and the rest of the family would list all of the books and movies they were interested in, and then they would be requested. Then, based on rough calculations of when the library would receive these requests, we would  plan library trips and possibly movie nights.

 

But this happens with other things as well, right? I mean, think about waiting for Christmas. Or Summer Break. You can… plan things. When I was a kid, I’d make really big ‘to do’ lists for Summer Break to ensure I don’t get bored. I think they included things like ‘watch movies,’ ‘draw pictures,’ and ‘do puzzles.’ Around Christmas I would plan Christmas activities, like decorating my room and making Christmas presents for my siblings. Do you know that I still do sometimes make Christmas presents for my siblings? They’re much more sophisticated, of course. Last year I made a comic for my sister. I’m still happy I did that.

 

The point is, I am glad that we can learn to wait, and even take some pleasure in the waiting. I think to anticipate something could be a good thing. We learn patience, and we enjoy it. I can… be moved to action while we wait, if that makes sense, when we anticipate something. And learning to do so… that’s a talent that’s hard to recognize we have sometimes.

The things I could do

There are just some days when you feel like you can go out and take on the world. I imagine this seems to contrast rather a bit with yesterday’s post, but yesterday I had an encounter that kinda lifted the spirits. It was one of those simple things. I came back from doing yoga with my roommate, and I saw the friend whom I will call ‘The Guy Who Cleans My Oven’ And we were going up to hug eachother, but had a bit too much energy that night, and I ended up getting clothes-lined. Also my knee got bruised so I had to sit on the ground for a bit before I felt like walking. So it was a bit painful, but it was also really funny. I smile to remember the experience. So now I just feel awesome for little reason.

And to think, it’s a three-day weekend! There are extra-credit assignments I could do, there are things I could create, campus events I could attend, so much that could be done, and I’m excited. It’s so wonderful to have these things brewing in one’s head. Just yesterday I was thinking about how I would like to do some polymer clay works with marbles– like create a wizard’s staff or a crystal ball. Today I was working on Zazzle a bit, and I might experiment with some of their other product options. It feels so good to create!

Life is lovely again people.