Sunday, January 30, 2011

a book for your life

Here is the first book recommendation I have for you.
I've had the pleasure of reading this book for the last few years. Each day is a small excerpt from a variety of his major works; Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, A Grief Observed, Surprised by Joy with other speeches and radio bits mixed in. It's a really wonderful way of becoming acquainted with his books (he wrote over 30), his genius, and his astounding wisdom. 
I am almost always able to read through a passage and just as I begin to remember it his point, word choice, or sheer simplicity strikes me - it's always a surprise and always illuminating to read him. 
I know that my Barnes & Noble has this book waiting for you and I want to greatly encourage you to purchase it, I think it is a beautiful idea to each day make a small pursuit in the name of wisdom and logic, and of course, our good Lord. This is a book that you could read every year of your life, probably the only book I plan on doing that with, I like the companion I've chosen, I hope you will like him too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a tulip update

So I promised a few more pictures of what I have been enjoying in my little apartment this last week. Here are a few of my lovely mystery tulip pictures.

So pretty!

They are still blooming which I am just amazed by. I don't know if you can see my one casualty, the smaller little striped tulip has not made it and I have no idea how to treat/prune/care for these things as they are bulbs and that's a weird thing to be. If you have any tips let me know, otherwise I'm going to hit up my grandma and google for some advice. My grandma knows absolutely everything about plants. She was always admiring or being sweet about whatever my mom was trying to grow (sorry mom, you know how I love you). I never had much interest in plants, I would save on occasion for these odd little pink plants that I would see at Lucky's (our old grocery store) but they always died and I was always sad about it. Oddly, a friend just gave me one of those pink ones and it's in my kitchen. "There's an irony there but I'm not drunk enough to figure it out" - a favorite quote from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf - so please don't worry, I don't get drunk at 11 in the morning or to discover ironies. 
The only time flowers meant something to me was when my dad would bring me roses for my birthdays. It was always special to get those roses from him because I knew that he hated them. Hated? Yes, and he hates them still. If you can imagine working for a mortuary where there are endless streams of flowers that you have to carry all about you would probably grow less fond of them too. My dad always said that the roses he brought me were recycled funeral flowers, I didn't care and now, I'm not so sure as they were always absolutely beautiful roses and I remember a few bows being tied on them that he certainly wouldn't have put there.  . . hmmm! Jeff, we need to talk. It doesn't matter though, those birthday flowers were so special to me that I hung them upside down in my room - copying Glenn Close in Sarah Plan and Tall - and preserved them. I still display them in a vase in my room and I made the pleasant discovery this last year that they are perfect Halloween decorations. I still look at them and think of my darling father who lavished a ten year old girl with twelve long-stem red roses - I'll never forget that sweetness - it's a rare thing. It's amazing how happy flowers can make you, even a decade and a few years later. thank you dad (but we still need to talk).


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Globe

So, I am about to start working on my thesis, really I am. Since it will likely be the topic of the year on my blog I believe I should attempt to explain it so that when you read "thesis" on here, you will understand the pain and the grandeur of what I am referencing. 
I am in love with Hamlet (when it is in Italics it means the play, not the man - I love the play, not the man). More than Hamlet I am in love with Shakespeare and have been slowly falling for him over the last four or five years. I find most of his work completely divine in its meaning, power, relevancy and testimony to the beauty and tragedy that is wrapped up in each individual. I had the privilege of seeing three of his plays this summer at The Globe theater in London - if you go to London you will be an idiot if you miss The Globe - a big, sad, uncultured idiot. It is an experience that changes you, makes Shakespeare comprehensible and links you with the audiences of the last four hundred years that have been enjoying his plays. Bryce and I had groundling seats (they only cost £5 but you do stand the entire time) for Henry IV: Part 1, one of the more famous history plays because of the infamous Falstaff (played by the exquisite Roger Allam) who makes his first appearance here. Bryce and I laughed so much, we were enthralled, overwhelmed, swept away by the comedy, the brilliance and the ambiance. We were beaming at each other by the end of the three hour play, shaking our heads and laughing still when we heard - "are you coming back tonight for part 2?" - "PART 2!" we looked at each other with victory in our eyes "Yes yes, we are!!" With that my darling husband let me peruse the amazing Shakespeare gift shop while he ran down to seek out two remaining groundling tickets for the upcoming performance. Yes, we had just stood for three hours - we had also been walking non-stop as we were in Europe and that is all you do - but we did not care, Shakespeare had won both of us over and we were willing to give up all comfort for him. - It was an amazing night, one that I will never ever forget. It is pure joy when the person you love most dearly gets a glimpse (or a full seven hours) of what you are most passionate about. Bryce understood my love and zeal for Shakespeare that night more fully than ever before and to this day when I remember that afternoon & evening my heart softens and my eyes tear up, it was heaven on earth for me and I was blessed to have with me a husband that recognized my joy and then shared it with me.
Huh, as you can see, my passion prohibits me from reaching my point: My Thesis - ah yes, remember that? I will pause here to draw attention to the fact that, clearly, my brain is not working - I cannot focus, I can only go on and on and on about anything you like - except my thesis.  ahem.
Attempt two: In my thesis I am writing about Hamlet (the man) and how he experiences death and grief, how those emotions are likely reflections of Shakespeare's as he had previously lost his father the year before and his son, Hamnet, a few years earlier. While I cannot make the grief connection an important aspect of the thesis as it is purely speculative, I am fascinated at the truth and reality that Hamlet's mind illustrates as he struggles to understand, digest and live with death. So there, in a very small nut shell that is what I will be researching and working on until October. I will be posting quotes, notes & probably some pictures too with the hopes that you learn a little more about Hamlet than you ever cared to know. 

Here's a glimpse of the fun Bryce and I had at The Globe - again, make sure you go and then when you do, write me a REALLY long letter telling me how right I was and how much more complete you are as a person. I'll enjoy it.
The Great Roger Allam as Falstaff (and yes, he's in V for Vendetta and plays a creep).

Another reason why The Globe is my paradise, there is a Starbucks across the street.

The stage set

Resting our weary feet but still oh-so-happy!

Thanks for reading this one and putting up with me. Now I really need to get to work on my thesis, really. Here I go!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

mystery tulip

In my theme last week of finding some lovely but simple activities to brighten my day I found myself at Trader Joes (which I am finding almost as addicting as Target) and outside on their curb I found some potted tulips for just $2.99. The colors were gorgeous, purple, pink, yellow and white and I seriously could not decide which one to get. Mind you, I am an extremely decisive person, it's one of the things I am proud of - I know what I want, I find it, I get it - simple. However, this whole which-tulip-is-best thing pushed me over the edge so with a suggestion from my mom I grabbed one with some buds on it but no color showing yet - A MYSTERY TULIP! "What a perfect idea mom!"
I ran home, put it in one of my favorite pots that has housed many cut tulips but never an entire plant, and I waited for the blooming to begin. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that this plant has brought me unreasonable amounts of joy. Maybe it has something to do with being home-schooled for nine years, but waking up each morning and peeking at the buds to guess their color & then last night seeing that they are a deep and beautiful purple has entertained and thrilled me exceedingly. I can't seem to stop myself from taking endless amounts of pictures in all angles of the new blooms. It's as though I'm afraid God won''t repeat himself and I HAVE to catch it right now before the moment is gone. I'm trying to learn what that says about me, I know that I am a tragic sentimentalist - an English professor (my favorite one to be exact) told us that all English majors are extremely sentimental and that that is because we find meaning, beauty, and a piece of something timeless in so many, perhaps too many things. So in three simple and barely blooming purple tulip buds I am learning of how deeply I cherish moments, why I have to visit Disneyland at just the right time of day, and why I cry so damn easily - (well maybe that's just a thing I got from my mom) but in any case, I am learning of myself through a tiny piece of God's creation. I don't even have to go outside, the plant is in here with me astounding me with how simple & lovely God's imagination is.
I'm sure there will be more photos to come, but enjoy this one - and maybe sneak over to TJ's and grab yourself a piece of original creation for just $2.99.


Friday, January 14, 2011


Today I struggled; do I go to work (it is sort of optional as I set my own hours) or do I do the dishes and clean my house? While neither is particularly thrilling I am always more excited about the idea of being home and taking care of the things I fill it with. However, as domesticity does not bring in the money I pushed myself into my car and headed off to work. Then at the third red light I made a u-turn and went home. I happily hopped into my little apartment, changed into a little black skirt and a comfy sweater and settled into my kitchen to do the dishes. I splashed myself in the face with water and had so many dishes to do that I didn't even have space for all of them. While my dish-washing wasn't a complete success, as some are still waiting for me in the sink, I feel so happy, glowing, and proud of myself. I'm about to set out the door to go to Target with my mom, one of my all-time favorite traditions. We will get coffee, browse, splurge (just a little but come on, it's Target!) and stock up on all the necessaries. I am so excited and it's days like today when I realize that this - taking care of my home - is what I am meant to do. While now is not the time, as Bryce and I really must work hard to make our little lives comfortable and adequate, I look forward to that future and feel so blessed to have a husband that I know will do everything in his power to make it possible. 
So there you have it, it's one o'clock in the afternoon and all I've done is make the bed, do the dishes, clean up a little, and not go to work - I couldn't be happier (well, I will be at Disneyland tonight so I may be a little happier then). It is in living the simple life where I consistently find the most meaning and joy. So go, and do something simple today!

Monday, January 10, 2011

colors - a poem

Looking back to dark times in life is discouraging, difficult and often pushes us into reasoned sadness. As I fingered through the pages of an old journal I had reserved for my rare creative moments, I found this poem written from a time of personal despair and grief. However, when I read it the sad feelings are remembered but not allowed to hurt me.  And I feel the hope the comes out of sadness, I remember that grief brings blessing, that pain is a problem (to reference the iconic C.S. Lewis) because we must endure it to see the beauty in the end. 
{Incidentally, I think this poem will solve some of the mystery surrounding the name of my blog - enjoy}


I lost the colors
my own and my ability to see them.
amber, forest, shell and cocoa tones - 

my daylight was darker than an unmooned sky
all the colors faded from me and lost their glow
they turned to whispy white and patched grey shades
I became dark like the close black shadows I saw around me
darker and darker till
even the whispers of white began to char

but He came
the maker of color brought light that pierced my prison black place
and my eyes
he put the green back into them
and I saw the darkness
coveringdrippingpouring out of me

he wrenched it out so I could see - 
puddles of oily black and muddy grey below -
and then He made me white.

he held me 
stretched me out
repainted me with his colors.

- written on august.8.2007 by me