The Giving of Thanks

I missed Thanksgiving. I’m in Chile, and they don’t celebrate it here. Yesterday my host mom pulled the Christmas tree out of storage and it makes me sad because it reminds me of the Thanksgiving shaped void in my life right now.

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday next to Christmas and my birthday (which tie for first). I love the amazing delicious beautiful food that I’m allowed to gorge myself on once a year and not feel bad about my life choices. I love that my family goes around the table and says what we’re thankful for.  I love the story behind the holiday of two races coming together and celebrating their friendship and the plentiful harvest. I love that once a year, all over the country, no matter how terrible a person’s life is or how pessimistic someone is, they have a reason to think of the things and people that make their life wonderful and express that to their loved ones. I love that families who are broken can set aside their differences for just a little bit, eat an amazing meal together, and say something they are thankful for about one another. I love that when you normally wouldn’t express this to someone, you have the excuse of a holiday to tell them just how much you love someone and are thankful for them. I love that we have a once a year reminder to thank God for blessing us so abundantly and we remember all the things in our lives that are worth being thankful about.  I just really love Thanksgiving a lot!

I wish I was in the States right now. I’m missing it by nine days!

But on the bright side, I can still be thankful even from 5000 miles away from home. Obviously.

I’m thankful for my family. My mom and dad are wonderful and they’ve taught me so much. They’ve stuck together through the good and the bad and they’ve set an amazing example for what it means to love unconditionally. Rachel has a beautiful and fun personality. It’s been wonderful growing up with someone so close in age and to know I will always have someone to talk to and turn to. Lucas is funny and has a kind heart. He is a protector and I know he’ll always have my back. Jonathan is so creative and affectionate. He’s really sweet and he loves to love by spending time with his family. Even though we’ve all had our differences and we get fed up with each other sometimes, I know that in the end family is forever and we’ll always love each other.

I’m thankful for Zach.  He has a beautiful heart and a creative mind. He loves God and strives to honor Him. He is loving and thoughtful and sweet and I kind of really love him. 🙂 I’m so blessed to know him and to have dated him for the past year.

I’m thankful for my friends. Elaine, Kayla, Lauren, Caroline, Xanda, DJ, Tris, David, Jihoon, Sodam, etc. They are all beautiful people who I love dearly. They encourage me, challenge me to be a better person, and make me laugh. I’m so blessed to know every one of you.

I’m thankful for Grove City College, for the opportunity I’ve been given to receive such an excellent education, and the amazing friends I’ve made here.

I’m thankful for Chile and for the experiences I’ve had and the memories I’ve made and for the people I’ve met. I’m especially thankful for my host family, Rosy and Manuel, for caring for me and inviting me into their home and family for four months.

I’m thankful for music, and the beauty of nature, and everything else I love that I don’t have time to talk about right now.

Last but definitely not least, I’m thankful for God because all of these other things I’m thankful for are gifts from him. Even though I don’t deserve it I’ve been forgiven, saved, blessed abundantly, and loved unendingly by the creator and sustainer of the universe and that is truly amazing.

Okay so I know I’m posting this a day after Thanksgiving but that’s okay because we can be thankful every day of the year!

Also, I will be posting about Machu Picchu and other adventures very very soon I promise!

Peace!

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The Antique Store Which Never Ends

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In Bellefonte there is an antique store that never ends. Inside are rooms upon sideways rooms and several floors with creaking staircases filled with ancient treasures such as old records, dishes, and Jacob’s ladder. The place is both creepy and awesome. The floors and walls are crooked and every step makes the floor sigh and screech in protest. I chance across an old keyboard and snap a picture. I wish now that I had taken more pictures because the place is fascinating.

I walk through the rooms, browsing the old records until I remember that I don’t own a record player. Suddenly I realize my siblings have disappeared so I set off in search of them.

Old dusty shelves and tables are covered all the things people no longer treasure but hope that someone else will. Glass and china dishes, antique books, broken dolls, old decor, naked mannequins, and a cracked guitar are abandoned in the warehouse that never ends. One cannot help but wonder where all these objects have been before this antique store.  It gives me the chills and suddenly everything has a life and an old sad story. I would hate to be stuck in this place after closing time.

Somehow I end up back where I started. Mum is examining the dishes. She is like a child in a candy store, calling us to look at this or that and trying to decide if she should buy the tiny glass creamer jar to match the sugar bowl that she has at home. We go down a level and find a cute blue type writer. Rachel writes a story on it and I ask mum to buy it for me but it’s super expensive.

Suddenly the lights dim and we figure it must be closing time. We head for the room’s exit and mum stops to ask some random hipster browsing through the records if we should pay here or upstairs. He looks momentarily confused and Rachel exclaims that he’s just a shopper! Mum is embarrassed and everyone laughs. Hipster tells her that he is indeed a customer but yeah, you pay upstairs.

Mum remarks that they could film a horror movie in here and the cashier agrees.  She tells us about the ghosts that go down into the basement and wait for the lights to go out. Yikes! Mum pays and we leave. When we step into the sunshine it seems as if I walked out of a dream because that place just feels so unreal.

People, go antiquing.

Ode to an Asian Fern

Disclaimer: Not my photo. I Googled "Asian Ferns"

Disclaimer: Not my photo.  I Googled “Asian Ferns”

Today I was bored, so I looked back through my old documents that I have saved to my laptop. I found a folder called, “My Poetry,” read through it, and realized it was actually decent.

Here is a poem I wrote in high school.  Like “Ode to the Cheese,” this poem is not actually an ode, so I have no idea why I called it that.

Anyways….

~

Ode to an Asian Fern

In the world there is a quiet town

There is a house there is a room

And in that room, by the window bound,

Stands a blue vase

Filled with a fern.

~

Green leaves reaching up

Hanging down all wispy

Like a weeping willow.

Are you sad, little willow fern?

Why weep with the sun in your eyes?

~

Is your home far away?

Japan and China calling calling

Your branches reaching longing

And your branches drooping falling

For you cannot answer.

~

Just outside the window

Wind caresses trees leaves

And you cannot feel

Rain falls gently to the earth

But you cannot drink

Sun shines warmly

And flowers smile, receiving

So close yet so far.

~

A glass wall blinds you from life

Yet you exist on in silence

Weeping, reaching to the sun

That you can see but never touch.

~

Cry little Asian fern

And I will cry too

For the fern in the house

For the quiet town

And the wide wide world

Who will never know the Son

The Doctor’s Wisdom

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

The Roar of Our Stars by Alice X. Zhang

The Roar of Our Stars by Alice X. Zhang

I love Doctor Who. I’m just a nerd like that. I actually own a pair of high-top All Star Converse shoes which are custom designed to look like David Tennant’s maroon Converse and say “Allonsey” on the back. They are my favorite shoes.                                      … Anyways…

One of my favorite quotes is from the episode called Vincent and The Doctor.

(for non-Doctor Who watchers, The Doctor is a Time Lord which basically means he can travel through space and time.)

~ Spoiler alert!! ~

Episode overview: Amy and the Doctor travel to meet Vincent van Gogh and defeat an evil monster. In the meantime, Amy finds out that Vincent will die by his own hand. She and the Doctor try to help Vincent battle his depression, and for a little while he seems okay. After defeating the monster, they bring Vincent back to a modern museum and allow him to see the incredible impact that his work will make on the world of art. He is speechless and thanks them both when they bring him back to his own time.  Amy and the Doctor have hope that his life will change for the better after their encounter. They return to the museum, only to discover that there is only one addition to his artwork and he took his own life in 1890. Amy is distraught and the Doctor comforts her with these words:

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

This quote is beautiful for two reasons.

  1. It affects how you view your own life. You are able to feel deep pain and also deep joy and know that both experiences are equally valid and important. It allows you to be living in pain and despair but still be able to find beauty in the movement of the stars, in a memory, or in a stranger’s kind word.  It allows you to life fully and in the present and realize that all of your experiences – the good and the bad – have made you who you are today, and that is painfully beautiful.

  2. It also concerns to how you interact with others. Even if you know you can’t change someone’s life circumstances for the better, you can bring a little beauty into their life with a kind word or action.

That is what this quote means to me.

I like Doctor Who. Do you? What is your favorite quote?

(Disclaimer: the picture is not mine. It is by Alice X. Zhang.)

Miss Posy

When I was eight, my family moved to a little house right outside of Atlanta, Georgia and Miss Posy was our neighbor. At 96 years young she was as sweet as Southern tea and not as fragile as she looked.  Even though she was tiny and wrinkled, she moved quickly and gracefully with just the slightest hint of a limp. She had soft white curls to compliment her bright smile. The casual clothes she always wore were ideal for gardening and for making a body feel comfortable and at ease around her.

Spring wildflower nosegay in a vase

(this is not my photo; I Googled Posies)

Lucy.

I first met Miss Posy at the garden gate. Several days after we moved in, my siblings and I were playing “Narnia” in the back yard.  As usual, I was Peter and Aslan (because I was the oldest and the wisest), my sister was either Edmond or Susan, and my little brother was Lucy. Naturally, since Lucy is a girl, we dressed our poor brother in a cute green dress that was patterned with tiny colourful flowers. He took it in stride, and played the part perfectly.

We chased each other around the yard for a while, laughing, giving dramatic monologues, and ordering each other to act out this scenario and say that line as children like to do when playing make-believe. That went on until Lucas ran up to the fence that divided our yard from the neighbor’s, put his hands on the metal rail, and peered through at the old lady who was watering her flowers and watching us with amusement.

“Hi! I’m Lucy!” my little brother beamed up at her.  She smiled back at him, amused and apparently unperturbed by the four year old boy in a dress. In a lovely Southern drawl she responded, “That’s nice! I’m Miss Posy.”

She appeared to be harmless, so my sister and I emerged from behind the tree and ran over to the fence. We made a new friend that day.

Gifts. 

Miss Posy’s house had rooms full of knickknacks, toys, and useless pretty things; trash to most, but treasures to Miss Posy and the neighbor children she befriended. Two days after we met Miss Posy, my siblings and I were in the yard pretending to be lions. Miss Posy came out of her house, smiling knowingly and holding her hands behind her back, and padded across the grass pathway between our houses.

“Children! Come on over here I have something for you,” she called to us. We ran over to the gate and she held out her hands to show us three treasures. She gave my brother a superhero action figure, to my sister she gave a tiny doll-sized china tea set, and for me she had a necklace. The pendant was a carved metal arrowhead that held a Native American currency coin. I kept that necklace for years and wore it constantly until the sock monster got tired of eating socks and decided to try eating metal instead.

Dog.

My mum takes a nap every afternoon. Unfortunately, Miss Posy had a dog; a little yappy mutt that looked like a mop. And every afternoon during mum’s nap time an old man would come out with a wheelbarrow to weed Miss Posy’s garden and clean up her yard. Miss Posy’s dog would yap at him incessantly. After several weeks of not sleeping during nap time, mum got pissed. One day she was at her wits end and she prayed that God would “make that mutt shut up!”

The next day, we saw the little dog dead in the wheelbarrow and the old man was digging a hole.

We all felt sad for Miss Posy, but mum said, “Be careful what you ask for, cause God just might answer your prayers!”

Cat.

In the Spring the trees bloomed and the birds began to nest. A robin couple built a home in the tangled branches of a bush in our front yard. Mrs. Robin laid four beautiful blue eggs in that tiny nest. Mr. and Mrs. Robin would take turns sitting on the eggs and my family would watch the changing of the guards from our living room window. Soon the couple started bringing back worms and we peaked into the bush to discover four tiny little fuzz-balls.

Miss Posy was a crazy cat lady. She had at least five of them and they ruled over her house, her yard, and her neighbor’s yard. One day we heard a royal ruckus in the front yard. We ran outside to see a black cat tangled in Mr. and Mrs. Robin’s bush and millions of birds swooping and dive-bombing the offender, screaming at it to leave now and never come back!

Mum promptly joined the screaming birds and yelled at the top of her lungs, running at that cat and waving her arms like a windmill. She scared it so much that it finally managed to free itself of the bush and went streaking across the yard towards Miss Posy’s house.  By that time, Miss Posy had heard the noise and was making her way over. When she saw what her cat had been up to, she grew livid! As the cat ran past her she made a swipe at it, missed, and yelled, “Yeah you better run you devil!” She came half-running over and we insured that the babies were unharmed. They were fine, but Mr. and Mrs. Robin were understandably agitated. Miss Posy apologized to us and the birds for the disturbance. A few days later, she informed us that she had locked her cats in the basement until the babies took wing.

I sort of felt sorry for the cats, until that proud day when I watched from the window as Mr. and Mrs. Robin taught the juniors how to fly.

chair.

I went inside of Miss Posy’s house once, shortly before we moved again to be closer to Dad’s work. One blisteringly hot afternoon the old lady invited my mum and three siblings over for tea and a chat. The living room was small and cozy, and had a wealth of random things hanging on the red walls, cluttering wooden shelves, and sitting on the carpeted floor. Along the wall was a long sofa with a quilt hung over the back. The room smelled of flowers and dust, and three cats could be seen in hiding the shadows and stalking haughtily between the furniture. But perhaps the most prominent feature of the room was a red armchair positioned across from the sofa and in front of a large window draped in red curtains. The effect was that most of the room was dimmed in a friendly shadow, but the armchair was illuminated by the light that streamed in through the window.

I took all of this in as Miss Posy led us into the room and invited us to sit on the sofa. She brewed the tea and settled into the red chair, swinging her legs up over the right arm and resting her back against the left. Miss Posy and Mum talked about this and that while we sipped tea and listened. I don’t remember specifically what the conversation consisted of, but I do know that I saw an old Southern lady with a young heart and I wanted to be like that when I grow old.

red

People’s lives are like lines that cross and intertwine. Some lines touch at a point and never meet again, sometimes they cross and intersect several times. Occasionally, lines will meet and run along together or two will encircle each other until the end.  But sometimes the most precious memories come from the lines that run together for a little while and then drift apart.

Every person you encounter plays a small role in making you who you are. Some play a bigger role than others, but the special ones leave a lasting impact with a word, a smile, or five precious memories of make-believe, treasures, life-lessons, a cat, and a red armchair.

Occasionally I associate people with colours.  Maybe it’s because of her warm spirit, her name, or maybe it’s the armchair, but Miss Posy’s colour is red.

The Controversial Controversy of da Vinci versus da Peasant.

On Tuesday I went to D.C. and took this picture:

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And it really bugged me because those silly scientists stuck a human being, who is created in the image of God, in the same exhibit as monkeys, which are created in the image of…well, a monkey.

You are welcome to comment what you believe and why, and we can have a discussion. I can’t claim to be an expert on the subject, so don’t call me ignorant or start bombarding me with facts and statistics and scientific or religious reasons why I’m wrong. This is just what I have come to believe over the years of reading the Bible, and learning about evolution in science courses.

I think evolution is a thing. It explains a lot, and some of it makes sense, and it can be observed on a small scale.  I don’t think it explains everything, nor is 100% accurate. Not even 0% in some of its claims.

I also believe that God created. He made everything, and things work the way they do because he made it that way. I don’t get it, neither to many of the super smart scientists even if they think they do, and that’s okay as far as I’m concerned.  But what I do know is a) there is design and order in the universe even when it seems random and b) God created Man in his own image and that sets us humans apart from other animals.

What concerns me most about the Evolutionary Theory is that degrades humans by saying that we evolved from apes. It’s like looking at a masterpiece and saying, “Naw; this wasn’t painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Some peasant fell and accidentally splashed paint on a canvas and this is what came out. Oops!  We could probably use it to mop up this dirt here.” scrubs the floor with Mona Lisa’s face.

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 (she doesn’t have a face now so I used Mr. Beans’ instead)

So this is what I believe. What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you agree, disagree, have something to add? Comment away!

P.S. da Vinci stands for the Creator, and da Peasant stands for random chance. This is by no means a derogatory statement about peasants. (actually, it probably is but whatevs.)

A Concerned Rubber Ducky

My writing prompt was open to page 29 of the nearest book and Google the first word you see. Use one of the images as writing inspiration for a letter.

My word was “Confines.”

This was my image:

Confines2

Dear Mr. President,

I am a rubber duck and I am confined in a cupboard.  Every day for about an hour I am roughly handled, chewed on, squished, and nearly drowned. At all other times I am locked up in a dark, moldy place with only the rubber shark and a bottle of bubbles for company.

This situation is not unique to me. All over the United States and the World, millions of rubber ducks are treated similarly or worse.  Statistics show that 20% are crushed by garbage trucks. 37% are attacked and torn asunder by vicious dogs. 53% are stepped on by large adults on a weekly basis, and a shocking 87% of all rubber ducks are brutally bitten by small children. Currently there are no free rubber ducks. This is unacceptable.

I am writing to you with a petition for the freedom and equal rights of rubber ducks everywhere.  We’re tired of feeling washed up and yellow. We want to fight for our rights even if we have to squeak ‘til our squeakers stop squeaking.

The time has come to stop buying and selling us as if we were mere toys. This is fowl play and really  gets me down in the mouth every time I think about it. Which is all the time, except one hour a day when I’m almost dying. The time is now to release us from the confines of our watery prisons and release us to the wild, where we belong.

So waddle you do about this? Will you just sit there in your office chair and get all quacked up by our miserabill plight? Or will you get your feathers ruffled and do sometime about it?

I’m asking you to write a bill which will do three things:

    1. Outlaw the buying and selling of rubber ducks
    2. Release all rubber ducks from captivity and grant us equal rights with real ducks.
    3. Give us integration courses, which will teach us how to survive in the wild.

Thank you for your consideration. Please get up at the quack of dawn to address this squishing issue.

I hope your day is going swimmingly.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Rubber Duck.