“To live a creative life…”

For a while, I forgot I had a Pinterest. Yes I signed up way-back-when when all my girl friends were first getting on it; I pinned a few things and promptly forgot about it. After all, I wasn’t really very good at the DIY (Do It Yourself) projects, crafts, wedding planning, or cooking stuff that all my friends seemed to be so zealous about sharing.

And then I read this post by Jeremy Cowart. When I looked at the type of boards he had, I thought, “Hmm…that looks more like something I could do.”

So I went back to my account on Pinterest. I was planning on writing today, but then I got caught up in this totally different kind of creative expression. I began thinking about the kinds of things I liked. I didn’t have all the “crafts and cooking” boards my friends loved, but I could post about books, music, quotes, dance, cool photos, art, travel, and other interests I had. I even have a board that just shows random things about me. And in the process, I even found myself pinning about home decor, clothes, hair, and other things I never thought I’d be into! (Who knows, maybe I’ll start a crafts or cooking board yet.)

I spent most of the afternoon thinking about my creative interests and how to express them. While I didn’t get around to any of the writing I had planned, I did get a chance to put some thoughts into another creative outlet: Pinterest. And guess what? However you do it, it’s fun to express yourself.

If you were creating a collage of your life, loves, and interests, what would it look like? I challenge you to find new ways to show off your inner self!

Let’s talk: What do you think of Pinterest? What’s your best medium for creative expression? Leave comments, and let us know!

Also, if you’re on Pinterest and want to share your creativity, feel free to leave your profile link in the comments for us to check out!

Slow Blogging

Golly. It has been forever since I wrote a post.

Bet you’d thought I fell off the ends of the earth. (Or that I’d simply stopped blogging. Either one.)

Well, I read this post on “slow blogging” the other day, and decided that slow blogging was better than no blogging. So I’m now making it my goal to, once a week, write a post. (I know this announcement is super-exciting to the two of you who occasionally still remember I once had a blog.) I’m even considering doing a once-a-week post on my writing blog again.

Because that’s another piece of news for you. I’m trying to start writing. I’ve been thinking and dreaming and reading about writing for a good while now, and I just started a piece of fiction yesterday. I managed to write 3.5 thousand words, which made me feel rather good, and I just knew I’d churn out a novel in no time.

Today, I’ve managed 215 words, and am now pondering if I shouldn’t delete that whole scene after all.

But I’ve decided that if I want to be a writer, I must truly WRITE. Even if it’s all a load of nonsense and never any good and no one ever sees it. I have dreamed of being a writer for most of my life, and dang-it-all if I’m not going to give it a shot. So I’ll probably be blogging about that process here, also.

(If you’re interested, “How to Write a Novel” by Tahereh Mafi is one of the funniest, most awesome things I’ve ever read. Love it. Go read it.)

Also, I have been reading a heck of a lot lately. If you’re on Goodreads, look me up.

Finally, if you’re one of those two people who would love to know what I’m doing in between weekly blogs, you can always catch me on Twitter (much more than on Facebook).

Thanks! See you next week.

100th Post – Living a Better Story

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine the other night. He was speaking about his sadness over a person who, as he put it, was “stuck on making rules instead of encouraging people to live a better story.”

Those words reached out and grabbed me.

I was particularly fascinated by the words “encouraging people to live a better story.” I found this tied in quite nicely with To Write Love on Her Arm’s words about “I am living a story,” and “your story matters.” Have we thought about the fact that we are living a story? And if we are, what do we want our story to be? What do we want our story to say?

My friend further elaborated on an idea he’s been pursuing in his own life, of taking the phrase “I want to be the kind of person who _________________,” and using it to build out who he wants to be. He went on to example, “If I want to be the kind of person who volunteers his time generously, then what do I need to do about that?”

It made me stop and ponder my own life. What kind of person do I want to be? If I were writing my story, how would I write out the next few chapters? What will it look like?

I am reading a fabulous book right now (at least, fabulous 6 chapters into it). I love fantasy books, particularly because there are no limits. What if we set ourselves into “fantasy writing mode” and wrote our story with no limits? No I’m not saying we could all design super-powers for ourselves (if we could, I’d have dibs on flying), but what if we took away the boundaries of some of our believed-lies and self-doubt and REALLY LIVED?

I want to find out what my story looks like. I want to find out what it means to live. I hope you do, too.

The end of the chapter

I was an avid reader as a kid. Personally, I used to hate the ends of chapters. This was especially when I was young enough that my mom read to me, and inevitably she would come to the end of a chapter where she’d stop until next time. Or when I was a little older, and I’d read in bed at night until it got late and Mom would say “Get to the end of your chapter, and then go to sleep.” In both instances, I always hated the end of the chapter, because it meant stopping for a time while I was dying to move onto the next chapter to find out what happens.

Well, I’m at the end of a chapter again. Except this time, I kind of wish I could sit right here on the final page.  This time, I wouldn’t mind stopping at the end of the chapter. You see, a fairly important part of my life is coming to an end. I’m about to leave the city I went to college in, the city I’ve lived in for six years. I’m about to leave the church I’ve gone to and loved. I’m about to leave my sister and a few good friends who will be staying behind here. And I’m about to leave the kids at the children’s home that I’ve worked with and loved for the last 15 months.

The next chapter involves…well, I’m still not sure what. Most likely it will involve moving to someplace near Dallas for a time. It will involve finding a new job that I can keep for roughly a year before (possibly?) going back into a grad program for psychology. I will probably be living again with my parents which will be an adjustment, as much as I love them dearly. I will be finding a new church and new friends. In other words, I have an idea of where this next chapter is headed, but very few concrete details.

I have two weeks left here before my job ends. Two weeks to say goodbye and then to turn the page into the next chapter. Except part of me is a little anxious about the next chapter, and that part would prefer to sit as long as possible on the last page of this current chapter. Because ending the chapter means ending something I have loved, and I wonder if I’m ready for that.

But then I remember…back to when I was little, when turning that last page and going on to the new chapter meant excitement, and discovery, and a whole new part of the story.

How to become one of my favorites (…if you’re a book/movie)

This blog topic is thanks to the wonderful suggestion from my dear friend Ashley. I put out the open-ended question “What should I write about next?” on places like Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, etc., promising to write about the best topic. Since only two people responded, I will write about both of their topics in separate posts. Ashley’s topic gets to go first, since she was the first to reply. 🙂

I have thought more about what I like in books than in movies, but I believe the general principles apply to both. Allow me to share my humble opinions with you.

A good book/movie has:

1) A twist in the plot. I cannot stand stories that are utterly predictable. Granted, most stories have some elements of predictability. But if I could sit down and write out the ending for you, your book/movie is not going to be one of my favorites.

2) Thought-provoking material. Most of the time, I want stories that give me something to think about. Probably because of my psychology and English degrees, I like analyzing. I like finding symbolism and layers of meaning. Now, before I sound like a total nerd, I enjoy mindless stories as well. I am a fan of nights where I curl up on the couch with ice cream and a book that is as pointless as ice cream is to weight loss. But, overall, at least give me some kernel to gnaw on if you’d like to be one of my favorite books/movies.

3) Engaging content. By this I mean that the story has to pull me in. It must be able keep my attention; I don’t want the hours dragging by as I’m reading/watching the material. My favorite books/movies are the ones where I end up shocked by how quickly time has flown because I have been so engaged in the story.

4) A range of emotions. I like to laugh; I like to be moved to tears. If a book/movie can do both, genuinely, then it’s a favorite.

5) A bittersweet ending. Now I can’t say this is a must for every book/movie, and a good deal of my favorites do not have this. If, however, the story can end in a bittersweet way, with you feeling happy and satisfied with just a hint of regret about something (even if it’s only that the story is over), to me that is true genius. Any story can end well. It takes brilliance to find just the right tone of a bittersweet ending. If a book/movie can do that, it is a favorite.

Any agreements/disagreements to my list above? What makes a good book/movie for you?

Is it possible? I have a…break?

Ladies and gentlemen, I have had no kid-math to do since Monday evening! I handed my two girls off to another lady on staff, and she/others will be watching them till this Sunday when I come back and take over for part of the week. That night I got to go out and celebrate my birthday along with two other friends who had birthdays close to mine. Where did we have this wild and crazy party? Most definitely at Dairy Queen! (Heck yes. Watch out, world.)

The next morning I drove to visit my family in the Dallas area. It was my sister’s birthday, and she was under the impression that I still had to work till Wednesday (which was the original plan). So she was super surprised when I pulled up, and ran out the door screaming and ended up crying when she hugged me. It was pretty sweet. I can’t believe my baby sis is growing up so fast! We had a good day together with our family, including a home-made birthday cake. (Ok, seriously, there aren’t four people in this world who can go through a birthday cake faster than my family.)

Since then…well, I’ve hardly known what to do with myself. Mostly it involves reading and being online. I’ve been working on the book I mentioned before, Enchantment, and it’s very good. I’m almost done with it, and then my sister is insisting that I read the next three books in the Twilight series. So other than reading, talking with people online, and spending time with my family…um, nope, nevermind. That’s pretty much all I’ve been doing. Oh, and sleep.

Well. Hmmm. What on earth do I have to talk about when I don’t have children as inspiration? I’ll have to work on that.

If you had a few days off, what would you be doing?

New poem on my writing blog: She walked in the night.

Continued math: now there are 2

6/11: 4 – 1 = 3 girls.

6/12: 3 – 2 = 1 13-yr-old.

6/12: The remaining 1 13-yr-old + 1 set of super-kind house parents = super-happy Katy who has 19 1/2 hours all to herself!

6/13: The remaining 1 13-yr-old + 1 new 5 year old = Katy’s job for the next 56 hours.

Children’s home = more practice at math than I’ve had in a while. (Sad, but true.)

So, all of that math = (I mean, equals) where I am now: I have 2 girls to watch until I get time off. And I am very excited about that time off! Once I found out for sure what my hours would be, once the end was in sight, I literally felt like a load had lifted off me. Last night was especially wonderful because of the afore-mentioned super-kind house parents who agreed to take the 13-yr-old for the evening.

Now, I know the question that is burning in the back of your minds. Katy had 19 1/2 hours with which to do absolutely nothing. What on earth did she do?

I’m so glad you asked. I will tell you:

2:30-5:15 – Watch Disney Channel (yes, really), briefly surf the Internet, and lie on the couch, still watching Disney Channel (yes. really).

5:15-7:30 – Supper with my awesome friend LaShay at Rosa’s. Yes, I totally had three tortillas with nothing but butter and honey.

8:00-11:00 – Randomly surfing through a few tv shows, then concentrated reading time in a new book I got from the library. It’s by one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card. I have loved him forever because of his book Ender’s Game, and now I have ventured outside his sci-fi world into the fantasy one. Ladies and gentleman, a possible new favorite book of mine: Enchantment. It is a fascinating, intellectual fairytale-that-clashes-with-the-modern-world story, and I am totally digging it. Not done yet, but I’ll definitely post more of my opinion on this book when I finish it.

11:30 PM – 9:00 AM: SLEEP! I fought it off as long as I could, because I wanted lots of time to read. But I finally gave in, and it was glorious. Also, it was literally the most amount of sleep I have had in two weeks (I had stopped sleeping well, averaging around 6 hours a night as opposed to the 9-10 I need).

And now I’m back to this job I love (a.k.a Preparation to be a Mom 101). The girls and I have had a good day, including lunch at Chick-Fil-A, nap time for the younger girl, and a visit from one of the girls’ moms. Currently, the 13-yr-old is playing with Barbies and the 5-yr-old is listening to Miley Cyrus music videos online (funny how easily they could switch activities and be having just as much fun). I think we may watch a movie a little bit later before bed.

Final piece of math for you: last week + Katy’s time-sheet = the discovery that she worked an 84-hour week. Yes. Really.

I’ll have the two girls for the next few days, and of course I will keep you updated on our adventures.

You’re welcome.