Monday, June 30, 2014

Motivation for Monday

I am not a Katy Perry Fan but I like this song and find it motivating to listen to as I get ready for my day so I thought I would share it with you on this Monday morning. 

Hope you enjoy.
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready 'cause I had enough
I see it all, I see it now

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar!

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
You're gonna hear me roar!

Now I'm floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready 'cause I've had enough
I see it all, I see it now

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Say something Saturday.

I can't say why I am in love with song because it is actually sad but it has been stuck in my head for the last few weeks so I wanted to share it with you. So after active YouTube searching I found this video of scenes from the movie The Fault in Our Stars, which I love set to this song. It is a beautiful combination of a sad but lovely song and sad and lovely story. 

Song: Say Something
By: A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera 
Video: The Fault in Our Stars
For the most part the clips seem to be from trailers but I am sorry if there are any spoilers. 

Edit: I was told that on mobile devices the video wasn't coming through so here is the link...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Remember to Live

Last summer I felt like it was the summer of movies because I feel I posted a lot of movie reviews, this summer feels like the summer of books as I feel I am making a lot of time to read. People here in Boston usually have one thing in common, we complain about the T. I used to try to get school reading done on the T but I didn't find it very effective, so I thought if I am going to have to ride the T or the bus to get around I am going to allow myself a treat of fun reading... so I enjoy my commute as I get to escape into my books. I feel like I have been reading a quite a bit and I don't always make time to post about them so if want to see what books I have read check out my page Summer Reading.

I finished The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic. Yes I know it is a pretty typical Blaire book, as most of it is set in 1912 and I am a bit obsessed with that time period. I saw this book in Target in May but as much as it intrigued me I didn't buy it, being more budget conscience. I was intrigued by this book not just because it was a story about the Titanic it is also a multi-generational story and I am always intrigued to see how writers blend two or more generations into one story. This story is about Maggie Murphy, who leaves her home and her beloved Seamus in Ireland to sale to a new life on Titanic. It is also about Grace, Maggie's great-granddaughter, who after her father dies suddenly leaves college and her life to care for her mom. Maggie has never talked about the Titanic until April 15th, 1982 (Grace's birthday). Through the story they both realize life cannot stop.

At seventeen years old Maggie Murphy as lost both her father and mother, when her Aunt Kathleen comes back to Ireland to come and take Maggie to Chicago with her. Maggie wants her sweetheart Seamus to come with her but his father is too sick and he needs to take care of him. Along with Maggie and Kathleen there are others from their village that go on this journey to make a new life in America. Here is one of the weaknesses of the novel, with multiple plot lines and characters to keep track of. The characters Harry, a steward on the Titanic, and her friend Peggy make sense for the story and the plot to move along. However, there is also the story of Frances Kenney, whose sister Katie is a friend of Maggie's and is on the Titanic, I couldn't figure out why her story was being weaved through the book as she had no interaction with either Maggie or Grace. There was also a secondary character Vivienne Walker-Brown, a famous actress, who is a good secondary character but I was thrown off when a letter of hers was in the middle of the book... it seemed to serve no purpose. I love stories being told from different perspective but I think they should serve a purpose and Frances' and Vivienne's story served no purpose.

One thing I loved about Maggie's plot is that it served as new perspective on the Titanic. I have seen the movie Titanic (with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) and that gives a good perspective of the first class lifestyle aboard the ship, but this novel gives the perspective of the third class passengers. So I thought that was a cool approach to the story.

Then there is Grace, the great-granddaughter of Maggie, she was in the middle of her freshman year of college and had found the love of her life, Jimmy, when her father dies because of a car crash. She then leaves school, her dreams of being in journalism, and Jimmy to take care of her mother. And in that her life just kind of stops. It is not until Maggie starts telling her the story of the Titanic that she discovers life goes on past tragedy. I won't go into details about what she does with this new discovery as it would be a spoiler.

There is a great quote in it and had it been my own copy and not the libraries I would have underlined it.  "Life is fragile, Grace--it is no more than a petal of a cherry blossom" (pg. 258). Both these characters face horrible tragedies and through book they learn they can't let tragedies define them but use them to shape a life worth living. Sometimes I spend so much time in my head and stuck in my own thoughts that I think I forget to let myself live. Even though this book for the most part is light hearted this is a good lesson to learn.
Last picture of Titanic afloat

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fun writing Friday

*-I promised you a lighter topic in my last post...
Over the last couple of months I have shared with you bits and pieces of my story, but I thought it would be good to go back to the beginning. In my last story I shared (might have over shared) parts of my Sisters of Pine Haven. Sorry if you considered it an over share, but I found it really motivational to share my story in order to keep writing. I love writing, I can't remember a time I wasn't filling notebooks with stories in my head. Besides this blog and countless school papers I have never been able to sit down at a computer and just start writing. I have always had to write out by hand every story. Then I go back and type it up, I found it useful when I am writing and I get stuck to take that time to type up my story and let the inspiration come back to me. This method got me through the Sisters of Pine Haven, and it was the first work I was actually able to finish.

I will not be sharing the whole story (because I hope to get published one day) but I will be sharing chunks of it with you my loyal readers. So stay tuned...
Steam train leaving Euston Station, London
My life begins with a letter. Maybe I should say my life changed with a letter since I received the infamous letter when I was twenty-three. It wasn't a bad letter but it forever changed my life. My new life began with a letter.
My dearest Rose,
                If you doubt the words I spoke to you the other night, don't. I have made you the promise of my love and my devotion forever.
                I have ordered us a simple room on the Northern Star Liner, it leaves from Liverpool on Wednesday and we will sail to New York as man and wife. No one can stop us not even the King. I promise. If you love me, meet me at Euston Station for the 6:15 train. I will be waiting to take you into my arms and away from the things of long ago.
                Believe when I say, all my love.
                In all the ways I pictured my life I never imagined I would be engaged to one man and running away with the man I did love. I had also never imagined love would cause so many knots in my stomach. As a child I imagined falling in love with a prince and having the fairy tale happy ending. However, my prince ended up being my best friend and the stable hand.
                It had been a week since I heard from Kelby but the plan was in motion. I could feel it. I looked at his letter once again then folded it up and slipped it in my hand bag. For the last week of May I felt a slight chill or maybe I just shivered from excitement. Either way I had to act confident and brave if I was ever going to pull this off.
                "Rose Gray," I was happy to say without hesitation.
                "Well Mrs. Gray." The ticket master noticed my thin gold band with a piece of glass in it. "Your train will be at platform six."
                "Thank you," I said handing him my money and hoping he didn't notice my blush at the fact he called me "Mrs. Gray."
                We weren't married yet but I felt it better to travel under that name so it would be harder for my family to track our where abouts.  Besides Mathilda Elizabeth Rose Harrington daughter of Percival Harrington and Ethel Harrington of Belmark Square had had her engagement announcement and picture in every paper in London. I hoped going by Rose would at least give me a bit of security in case any official read the wedding announcements.
                I looked down at the ticket.
May 25, 1921
Euston to Liverpool

                I took a deep breath. It was all beginning.

To follow story follow link of Grand Days

Monday, June 16, 2014

Facing some truths in my life

The Ten Commandments

I have been reading through the Old Testament and there is a big stress on idolatry and I guess this is easily thought to be bowing down to statue and maybe I have seen the movie The Ten Commandments too much because I sometimes picture that when I think of idolatry. While the commentary in my Bible always mention that idolatry can came in forms of wanting power, money or sex and I thought then I am good I don't really think about those things at least not in an obsessive way. So in some way I thought I was exempt from idolatry but in reading the Old Testament I have come to see myself more and more as an Israelite.

Let me go back, I am a child of divorce, and while I never thought my parents divorce was my fault, I felt the ripples of their divorce and believed that I could lessen the pain of it if I made them both happy with me. So from a young age I was a "people pleaser" so much so much that I felt like people wouldn't love me unless I made them happy. In that I never felt good enough to be loved because no matter what I did I didn't feel like it was good enough. For example one time my dad and I were at the hardware store and he mentioned something about wearing make-up (at that time I didn't wear make-up) and I just started crying because I thought "Really, really. I had just finished high school and gotten into college and was trying so hard to be the 'good daughter' and you are concerned about my make-up." I now know my dad made that comment only to be helpful but I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back. And my dad was just there so confused by why I was crying. Anyway needless I have often felt like no matter what I did I just wasn't good enough. It kind of felt like there was this hole in me that no matter what I did I couldn't fill and until it was filled I kept thinking people wouldn't love me.

At my church we are going through the book of Hosea and talking about how God pursued the people of Israel. If you don't know the book of Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute and in the story she runs back to her former ways and Hosea has to buy her freedom back. Hosea's life was a symbolism for God's love to his people. Because while they were praising other gods and falling for idolatry, God still loved them and still called them his people. It really is an amazing story. Last week my pastor was talking about idolatry and while this thought had been floating through my mind he said something about when we have idolatry in our lives it might present itself in different ways but at the heart of is idolatry. He gave an example but the best example of this comes from my own life.

I will say, while I have never sought power or money I have sought love and acceptance to the point where I would say it was my identity. In fact when I was dating my most serious boyfriend, to date, I started putting the hope and trust I should have in God in him and when it ended, it crushed me. I almost felt I lost my world.Anyway, going back, to my example I feel my desire to be loved and accepted as become my idol... it has manifested in people pleasing and it has manifested in my insecurities and in my pride. But at the heart of it, I just want to be loved.

The other day I was walking down the street thinking about my outfit hoping that it was cute and it hit me "hey I think its cute and I only have me and God to impress." And God made me, He formed me and He knows all the details of me. He knows my ups and downs, my good times and bad times and he knows all my flaws and He still calls me "Beloved." The verse Psalm 45:11 comes to mind "The King is enthralled by your beauty honor Him for he is the Lord."

As I am writing this it sounds silly that I struggle so much with love and acceptance because God loved me so much He sent His son to live a perfect and humble life, die as an innocent sacrifice for all my sins, and conquer death so I can have a new complete life in Him. I would love to say that I got this now under control but these feeling have deep roots in me and it is a process to get to. But I am blessed to have God, my family and friends to support me in this. And slowly I hope to hear God's words of love instead of the words of fear in me.

So while I may not be bowing down to a golden calf like the Israelites I definitely need to work on not bowing down to other gods in my life.
Hebrews 10:23- This verse has come to me a lot in the last few weeks
*- I promise a lighter topic next time.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Song for Saturday

Originally by Hillsong

I don't remember when I first heard this song. I know I first heard it at my church and since then I have been obsessed with it and I think it speaks to how I have been feeling lately. 

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Weekend Flick

I will admit I saw some screen pics of this film on Pinterest and it looked cute so I read up about it and the story line looked good so I thought I would give it a try. Plus it is a Rob Reiner film and so far I have been pleased by all his films.

The story is set in the 1960's about Juli and Bryce who live across the street from each other and while Juli has had a crush on Bryce since the day they met Bryce has been avoiding from the day they met. It is told from two perspectives first being Bryce's who like most children and pre-teens just tries to fit into his surroundings. The other perspective is Juli is kind of a free spirit, her father is labeled a "dreamer" (as if that is a bad thing), but Juli really just tries to see beauty in everything. The story follows them from 2nd grade when they meet to 8th grade. At the start Bryce tries to ignore Juli but after some time he ends up liking her (or at least the thought of her) and by the end of the movie they actually end up talking.
Bryce realizing his feeling for Juli
What I liked- Most of the film is voice over so there is not much dialogue but hearing their thoughts is really interesting. Though the book and screen play were written by adults you felt as if you were in the mindset of a pre-teen who is just trying to figure things out. Also you get the scenes from the two perspective so you can understand both sides of the story. I also liked that while Juli likes Bryce she is not afraid to speak her mind or tell him off. She was quiet but she spoke her mind when it mattered. 

What I didn't like- I thought it would be a film watching Juli and Bryce through the years, but it really focused on just 7th grade, this wasn't so much of detractor but just kept thinking that we would see them grow up. And while I thought Juli was a strong character I wish we had gotten in her head more because she had a compelling story and a great family dynamic and I felt Bryce hogged more screen time.While I understood Bryce just wanting to fit in I wish he had been nicer to Juli. Through out the film I could understand why Bryce liked Juli but I didn't get why Juli liked Bryce.It is based off a book so maybe you get more character depth in the book but I wish I felt more compelled by the characters. 
Over all - I would say it was cute film and good for a quiet night in. I felt it was pretty accurate... by that I mean there wasn't any huge party (which to me always seems to be in teen movies but never actually happen), the characters talk awkwardly (which was true for all my conversations with boys), and I felt like they could be true people. And while they never had a true conversation it was a cute coming of age story. 

When I was 12 or 13, I would have loved a boy looking at me like that.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Writing is a Puzzle (pt. 2)

I wrote "Writing is a puzzle" back in April but reading it and thinking it over I don't think it made much sense. Sorry about that, sometimes when I am writing these post my thoughts get carried away and it becomes a free flow of words. So let me clarify...

As a writer I am not really good at plotting out points and fine details, in my head I know where I want things to go but most of the time I let the character take me through scenes. For example in my last story Sisters of Pine Haven (still in revision) I based it loosely off Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility but I threw in some plot twist that were my own. I know writer's advise of knowing every detail of your story but I enjoy letting my characters take me on a journey with them. 

Now in my writing of my story The Grand Days (working title) I knew that I wanted Mattie to get into an accident, this is bring Kelby's feelings to light, but I wasn't sure how I was going to do this. I originally thought I wanted her to fall off a horse. Then I remembered I had already written that Mattie's father didn't own any riding horses. So how was Mattie going to get into a riding accident. At first I thought well maybe she could sneak off to Cranston Court (where she usually rides), however if she did that Kelby would never let her go off on her own... it was not appropriate back then for women to ride alone. So how was I going to have this riding accident with no horse? Well as I have stated sometimes I get inspiration from looking on Pinterest and back in April I found this picture...

And I thought how perfect is that. Mattie could easily get in a bike accident, but now how to get bike into the story and why would Mattie be riding that bike? (Especially since she was so used to riding horses.) Here is a little preview...

By good luck there something to change topics to. Shortly after Daphne's return a parcel arrived directly from London. A bicycle been sent to Daphne from a secret giver. Georgianna assumed that it was from one of Daphne's admirers, no matter how many times Daphne claimed the note was in Cousin Mildred's hand. Bicycles had replaced horses as the stylish mode for city girls to get around but they still had enough curosity about them. Daphne said she had grown quite accustomed to taking ride in the park on them and she thought this bike would be a good mark of civility in the countryside. Mattie wondered what use it would be as it seemed more likely to get stuck in the mud than a horse. However, she was thankful to have something to distract Georgianna with. By the end of the week they had christened the bicycle Cortez, after the infamous Spanish conqueor. 

In this way I feel writing is a puzzle because sometimes as a writer you know what you want to write but not sure how to get there until inspiration hits. In other ways I feel writing is a puzzle because sometimes scenes come into my head that have nothing to do with the current events of the story. I feel like those are puzzle pieces just floating around waiting to be of use. For example, going back to Mattie's accident, Kelby is suppose to see her fall and come to her rescue (very fairytale-esque) but Mattie doesn't really remember the details until years later. As I was writing about Mattie's recovery from the fall I wrote this scene. 

"Do you remember the day you got this," he stroked the side of her forehead feeling the scar beneath his thumb

"Yes I fell from that blasted bicycle."

"I knew then. As soon as I saw you fell, and thought you could have ded. I knew then, I ran to you faster than I had ever ran. I came to you and I called out, 'Mattie, Mattie, sweetheart'. It was foolish but then again it wasn't. You are my sweetheart and I felt from that day on I could not do without you."

He kissed her scar and she wanted to melt in his arms. "I guess I owe that blasted bike to letting me know of my affections," he whispered. Mattie giggled at joy in this moment. 

Now logistically this scene can't happen until years later but I loved where this was going and how it built up Kelby's feelings for Mattie so I scribbled it down. Now I am just waiting for my writing to catch up to this scene. Until then it is just a puzzle piece.
An ideal moment for Mattie and Kelby
Sometimes writing is only a puzzle that as writer is putting together. I think that is why I like writing because while I know the big picture of what I want to happen in the story I also get to explore the details of the story. 
In writing this post I went through some of my previous post of my Sisters of Pine Haven story and I realized how much I shared of it and I remember that being so motivating to my writing. Right now my story The Grand Days is just pen and paper but I will try to take some time to get it in type. I still have my thesis to work on but I know I need to keep up my fun writing to keep me sane. I will keep you posted on my progress. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A new page

Hello my lovely readers,

I have a new page on my blog... for my summer reading. I am trying to knock off some books in my never ending book list. For the most part I get these from the library but others have been sitting on my bookshelf. I have enjoyed getting lost in some books this last month or so and I wanted to share them with you.

I will try to keep my "currently reading" up to date as best as possible, but sometimes I fall a little behind. Sorry. But this page will let you know what I have read and a little bit of a review.

If you have any suggestions let me know.

Hope you enjoy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reading outside the box

Click on link for a review
I follow a lot of "writing boards" on Pinterest with lots of writing quotes, writing prompts and helpful hints. One thing I see over and over again is to read widely, which to me seems to say read from a mix of different genres. I am guilty of frequently only reading historical fiction and right now I have been addicted to WWI novels as I am trying to gain both inspiration and insight for my own story. However the last two books I have read and the book I am currently reading have nothing to do with WWI. I had Stella Bain in my bag and my co-worker was intrigued by the cover and asked me what it was about I said "a nurse in WWI" and he joked "Always WWI." Well as you can read from my post that I was not a big fan of the book. Then I read Divergent and then I read Lunch in Paris, though these books are nothing a like they are both about choices and how they define you.

Sorry I don't know the author of this quote
Lunch in Paris is a memoir of Elizabeth Bard who moves to Paris to be with the man she loves and while she has always idealized Paris she now has to fight against her "Americanized" ways to embrace the French culture, but sometimes she has to pick her battles. I felt she constantly had to keep choosing Paris and choosing that life style. In my last post I wrote about making choices and I am thankful that we don't have just one choice in life but sometimes in life when we make a choice we have to keep choosing that choice. I have chose to live in Boston (which is completely different then my background of living in Oklahoma and California) and even though I hate the long winters I have continued to live here. I have made a life here with my friends and my second family.  In continuing to live here I have grown appreciate and love things about this city for example when it above 40 degrees in January or February I consider it a nice day and if it is sunny I go on walks to let myself enjoy the day.

In my last post I was facing some adulthood angst about making decisions and trying to figure out my life and maybe that will happen throughout my life. However I feel as an adult sometimes you have to make decisions and you have to keep choosing them and not giving up on the choices you make even when they cause struggles because struggles give us stories.

Click on link for review of book
Sorry I did not mean for this post to become all deep, I guess that is what happen when I let my thoughts flow. I wanted to write that those stories may not be my typical books I read, I am happy I am reading them because they have given me more insight and have raised some thought provoking questions to ponder in my own head.

I am currently reading Dear Mr. Knightley, I first picked up this book because I thought there would be a Jane Austen connection with the title being such. It is not another retelling of Jane Austen book. It is about a girl Sam Moore, who has had a troubling past of floating between foster homes never really making connections as she hide behinds her books. However, she has been given a generous grant to go to Northwestern University's journalism school with the condition she must write letters to the benefactor, Mr. Knightley. I am only 80 pages in so I don't know all the details of the story but so far I am enjoying learning how Sam is overcoming her struggles. While the title of the book intrigued me it was reading an acclaim for the book that got me to read this novel... "Katherine Reay invites readers into each moment of a young woman's discovery that real heroes are fallible, falling in love isn't always better in books, and literature is meant to enhance life--not serve as a substitute for living" (Serena Chase, USA Today's Happy Ever After Blog). I sometimes think I am like Sam hiding out in the world of my books and my own stories but for life to truly happen I have to break out of that.

Though these books have nothing to do with WWI, they are inspiring me to think outside the box and really wonder about things in my own life... and not just getting lost in an epic historical novel.