24 January 2011

Chesterton Quotes for Thought

I was online looking for a specific quote from G. K. Chesterton, and I found several others that have to do with my thoughts of late.

This reminded me of my recent Twilight post: "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."

This next has to do with my problems about loving with abandon what God gives me, and still being willing for Him to take it away. "The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost." I don't know how that helps me, but it does a little bit.

Here are a couple that help me when I have complainy thoughts about my body:

"When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?"

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."

And I just really identify with these:

"Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."

"Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life."

"Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable."

And for good measure, here are some funny but not less true ones that give us a glmpse into that odd, awesome way in which Chesterton thinks:

"The word 'good' has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man."

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

"It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it."

(I quite agree with this next one.)

"Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist."

"Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel."

I am going to Las Vegas tomorrow, to be with my dear Love, who had to leave last Wednesday. I'm going to try, and I hope you do too, to a lovely week, remember to be grateful, think poetically about cheese, and not to free anything from being what it is.

22 January 2011

creative influences

Too often I allow myself the lazy luxury of being influenced by the results of other people's inspiration and creativity.

When I think about creativity I think, what do I create, anyway? Not much, for someone frequently called "creative." (Not that it defines me just because other people think it, but, you know I'd like to really be that.) I create music I guess, when I sit down at the piano and just play to see what comes out. I don't capture the music though, so I can never re-create it. Sometimes I make things out of yarn, or draw things that I want to make or have. I create new ensembles from my closet when I have the energy. I paint furniture bright colors when I get bored.

It's very easy in our day to overload on the sort of second-hand inspiration that one finds from being exposed to other peoples' artwork, clothing designs, movies, music, photos and crafts; being exposed to other peoples' lives, really. And most of the time the people behind those influences are strangers to us. We have available many magazines and shops, not to mention millions of home, clothing, craft and design blogs where someone else's ideas are brought to life. A little goes a long way. I would like to be inspired by what is already around me: nature, cities, conversation with interesting people, colors, music, the rooms in my house and the shape of my life. I am, when I slow down and allow it to happen.

I want more of certain "outside" influences though: photographs, books, and music. Photographs are visual art, of course, but I mean photos like my brother's, that show life as the seer sees it, without any pretentions, as opposed to the kinds of pictures in magazines and other media. Music is important to me right now because for several years, I was so burned out that I quit listening to any music at all. I miss that and am getting back into it, seeing what is new and what old things I have missed. Books are just a given, although I guess it depends what they're about, but history, theology and stories are generally what I read. Since those are all part of real life, I don't consider them something I get too much of.

There is nothing wrong with taking in the fruit of other minds and spirits, but I just want to practice making that a secondary influence, some forms of it at least. The world of visual arts and fashion needs to be a lot less prominent in my thought processes. And I want to challenge myself daily to answer the question, "What have you created today?"

Sure, I have time on my hands, and in most other stages of life, I could not do this as thoroughly. But right now is the time I have, and I am happy to use it. I don't feel that I have time on my hands, but that is because I use it, thinking about things like this, and hopefully, being more creative.

08 January 2011


I like the idea of the story, I really do. Dramatic, melancholy romanticism has a special place in my heart. I have not paid attention to a lot of the hype, but I did have intentions of some day reading the books. Until several weeks ago, when I found this: Reasoning with Vampires, a blog whose writer describes it as "serious criticism of grammar and literary technique, satirical mockery, and plain mean-spirited bitchery."

Like this blogger, I was not prepared for the inconsistency of the writing and characters in general, not to mention all the grammatical mistakes! Reasoning with Vampires takes those things and highlights them, making it obvious to anyone who paid even scant attention in 4th grade English class how scary it is that these books were published, let alone becoming raved-about best-sellers. Each post speaks, quite hilariously, for itself.

This blogger is unbiased enough to be genuinely delighted when Meyer (in a rare and special happenstance) gets one right.

And here is one of my favorites:

It's not for everyone, but I have gotten many hours of histerical laughter from reading this blog, as well as a gratefully-received warning not to waste time even starting to read these horribly-written (I like hyphens) books.

07 January 2011

Heute ist Freitag :)

Today, my thoughts tend towards pop-tarts. And playing Chopin's f-minor Ballade.

Rush Limbaugh just said "happier than shaved ice."

I really like my ensemble of clothing today. Long, full black & neutral patterned skirt (tiny geometric pattern, just so you know), camel colored, 3-quarter length sleeve shirt with a map in one corner, orange beanie, brown combat boots.

(On that note: Several people have asked me to start doing "what I wore" posts. I'd love to, but one of those people should please sit down and show me how to get pictures from the camera to the computer.)

I am in the stage of the new year where I get the urge to watch the entire extended version Lord of the Rings trilogy. Every January for the last few years it just happens that I crave those movies and watch them all in a row! I am one third of the way through and I have gotten tons of ironing done.

It's a beautiful day in Austin today, but this week gets a gold star in my book because we had one fully cloudy, dreary, rainy day that lasted 24 hours! I was both shocked and thrilled not to see the sun.

06 January 2011

trust & fear

I am always excited at the beginning of a new year because lately, by the time the year ends, I can look back and say, "If you had told me a year ago I would be here today, or doing this or that, or whatever, I would never have believed you." All of those huge changes have been happy, good changes in my life, and sometimes I feel a little scared by that.

But God is not capricious, He does not have fallen human qualities like the gods of the ancient myths. He is good (Psalm 34:8), and does bless His children (Matthew. 7:11) and He does enjoy giving good things (James 1:17). But He is more interested in making us holy than happy. (Scripture reference, anyone? I guess it's more like a theme through the entire Bible, huh?) I am reminded of that by books, pastors and the lives of friends who are going through really tough times.

I trust Him to do what is best, but sometimes I am really afraid that what's best will be really sad and hard for me. How can I trust Him and still fear the future? Am I not really trusting? He has shown me that He is good and faithful over and over, and I believe Him. But I am still afraid.

I recenlty had a realization. This doesn't really answer my question above, but then again, maybe it does: From time to time, or in certain moods, I think about how hard it would be to lose anyone in my life who I love. I think about the loss of that relationship, that person's perspectives and humor and presence. Life is fragile and at any moment, we have to be prepared for that loss, or at least aware that it could happen. (I suppose it's never possible to be prepared.) But I recently realized that I never have to be afraid that I will lose the Lord--His perspectives, His humor, His presence. How basic, how fundamental to everything I believe, but I had still seemed to fear that along with the rest. Well, not consciously, but I had never thought about the fact. It was as if, in all my fearing thoughts, He said to me, "Here is something that you don't have to fear."

I am so grateful for that! But with the rest, I still struggle.

the only perspective I have right now

I have about five year-end blog posts saved that I just cannot finish. So much has happened this year and my mind keeps doing a recap, but always from different angles.

I think about prayers I have prayed for people, prayers that seem for now to remain unanswered. I keep praying. Then I think of all the prayers I've prayed that God has answered the way I had hoped: we moved to a city we love, my Love has come back safely from all his trips--I have been spared that awful phone call that's always in my imagination. He loves his job and has the energy to persue his hobbies, our place in Dallas has sold, we like our apartment, our cars have no problems at the moment, we had a lovely Christmas and Thanksgiving. I do not take these circumstances for granted. God is good, and when He answers my prayers this way, I feel that I understand His plan. But that's a pretty shallow, human perspective.

When I pray for a friend's husband to come back to her, and instead he leaves her with no hope of reconciliation, when I pray for someone to be saved and they die without my ever knowing whether they were, when I pray for someone to be healed and they're not, then I wonder about His plan. But just because I don't understand doesn't mean He isn't good. These things just remind me how limited our perspectives are as human beings. I say that in fear and trembling because I know that there will come times when I will not be able to see His blessings or imagine that I understand His will so easily, and I pray that I'll be able to still say then as now, "God is good."

Only one thing didn't "work out" for me this year in the way I thought it should: I applied to the master's program at UT and was not accepted. I was disappionted, but also kind of relieved. I still feel that this time in my life has been so blessed, and I am excited that the Lord obviously has some other direction for me right now.