Posts Tagged With: NaBloPoMo

The Woes of an Avid Reader

I had an awful thing happen this weekend. I was reading what I thought was the third book in a series with four books. As I neared the end of book three, I could tell that the story was winding down more permanently than I anticipated (I compare the feeling to watching a TV show and realizing that it will be “To Be Continued” because they’re running out of time). I read the last page, then flipped to the front cover and discovered, to my horror, that there are, indeed, only three books in this series.

You see, every time I finish a book series that I love, I feel like a little piece of me dies – I have to say goodbye to the characters and the story. And, because I often read fantasy, I usually am saying goodbye to an entire land or world of the author’s creation. I have to find another book to read, or another series, or a new author. I’m sure my fellow book lovers can relate.

The series I just finished is called Beka Cooper. It’s one of four different series that author Tamora Pierce has written. All four series take place in the same land, though in different areas and different centuries/generations. I have read three of the four series in their entirety. The same night that I discovered Beka Cooper only has three books, I also discovered that I read all of these series in the wrong order – at least in the wrong order if you list the tales chronologically. I read the last series, then the third series, and then the first series.

So the question now: Do I read the second series by Tamora Pierce? Or work through my ever-lengthening list of recommended books from friends? Or re-read the Harry Potter series for the first time (I’ve read each of them once)? Or maybe steer away from the fiction novels altogether and do something crazy like re-learn Spanish?

Oh, the woes of an avid reader.

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Sisters

I have the best sister in the world. And yesterday was her birthday, so I’m going to pay a little tribute to her.

Shanna and I are 6 1/2 years apart. We never fought much (though perhaps her memories are different, since I’m younger), and now as adults, we’re best friends. We have three older brothers who are incredible, but there’s nothing quite like a sister.

Here we are, just a few months ago:

Hiking in southern Utah!

Hiking in southern Utah!

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane.

Sisters

Shanna holding me in the hospital. You can tell how excited she was ๐Ÿ˜‰

With my dad, Shanna, and my brother Jon at a dinosaur park. Shanna and I had matching outfits and matching scrawny legs :)

With my dad, Shanna, and my brother Jon at a dinosaur park. Shanna and I had matching outfits and matching scrawny legs ๐Ÿ™‚

Shanna and I had a tradition of sleeping next to the Christmas tree sometime during the Christmas season.

Shanna and I had a tradition of sleeping next to the Christmas tree sometime during the Christmas season.

Me, Shanna's friend Allison (who lived across the street), and Shanna. We made outfits out of plastic bags. Well...I'm pretty sure THEY made outfits out of plastic bags, and I was just along for the ride.

Me, Shanna’s friend Allison (who lived across the street), and Shanna. We made outfits out of plastic bags. Well…I’m pretty sure THEY made outfits out of plastic bags, and I was just along for the ride.

Our homemade Easter Sunday dresses from Mom. We're so stylin'!

Our homemade Easter Sunday dresses from Mom. We’re so stylin’!

Apparently we make the same face when we're sleeping. But we're cute, so it's okay :)

Apparently we make the same face when we’re sleeping. But we’re cute, so it’s okay ๐Ÿ™‚

Shanna, my mom, and I with our new boyfriends at Knott's Berry Farm ;) One of the best things about being adults is that we're best friends with Mom too!

Shanna, my mom, and I with our new boyfriends at Knott’s Berry Farm ๐Ÿ˜‰ One of the best things about being adults is that we’re best friends with Mom too!

And one more recent one, for the win:

"Riding" the carousel with our sister-in-law Chandi, Shanna, and me

“Riding” the carousel with our sister-in-law Chandi, Shanna, and me

Happy birthday, Shanna! Love you!

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Ten Questions

There’s a show called Inside the Actor’s Studio, where host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. Here are my responses to these questions:

1. What is your favorite word?
Defenestrate. It means “to throw something out of a window,” and I use it as often as possible (which, admittedly, is not that often). I don’t know whose idea it was to have a word for throwing things out of windows, but they are ingenious. Also, look up the Defenestration of Prague. It’s a real thing. History is awesome sometimes.

2. What is your least favorite word?
I cringe when people take the Lord’s name in vain – and it’s getting more and more common all the time.

3. What turns you on?
I find guys really attractive when they play with children or animals, or when they smell good ๐Ÿ™‚

4. What turns you off?
Smoking, drinking, piercings, treating other people poorly

5. What sound do you love?
Pouring rain, or thunder, or some combination of the two.

6. What sound do you hate?
People eating loudly – especially cereal, apples, or slurping drinks. Not a huge fan of screechy beginner violins either.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
I don’t curse, but I use substitutes like “crud” and “dang”

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Concert pianist

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Sales

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Welcome home, Katie!

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Throwback Thursday, Take 2

This Throwback Thursday moment is from summer 2005, the summer before my senior year of high school.

I belonged to an orchestra called Granite Youth Symphony. The symphony members came from high schools throughout the district, and each summer, we would go on a week-long tour. That summer, we toured to San Diego, CA, stopping in Cedar City, UT; Las Vegas, NV; and the Grand Canyon.

It was tradition at the end of each tour to mass-toilet paper a house of one of our four conductors (I believe it was a rotation each year). The only rule was that we had to use more rolls of toilet paper than we had the previous year. The conductors knew it was coming, and several kids would come back the next day to help clean up.

I believe we toilet papered the Thompson home with 612 rolls this summer (I’m not 100% sure of the count, but it was definitely over 600). Here are the photos I quickly snapped that night:

A handful of the members managed to get on top of the roof. We had so much toilet paper that a lot of it ended up just being rolled across the lawn.

A handful of the members managed to get on top of the roof. We had so much toilet paper that a lot of it ended up just being rolled across the lawn.

GYS toilet papering 3

Almost like decorating for Christmas, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

GYS toilet papering

The true “damage” was done in the trees. Also, check out the girl on the right side of this photo. I wish I knew who it was!

Sigh. Nothing like organized crime to bring symphony members together ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Dream Journal

I have always had a vivid imagination. Though most people outgrow nightmares, I still have them as an adult. However, I also have some pretty incredible dreams. A few months ago, I decided to start writing down my dreams in a “Dream Journal,” which is actually just an online document so that I can add to it whenever I remember my dream from the night before.

As I’m reading through my journal, there are a few entries I’d like to share, but we’ll start with just two.

Here is the first one, from 6/10/13 – the night before starting my new job:

My extended family (on my mother’s side) was lined up across a cement platform, about 2 1/2 feet wide, that extended from the shore of a lake into the middle of the lake. We were using tennis shoes tied onto the ends of strings to catch small crocodiles. The crocodiles bit the end of the tennis shoes, and then we’d pull them out of the water and set them in the water on the other side of the platform. I had the feeling that there wasn’t any specific purpose for doing this–we were just entertaining ourselves. Then a large crocodile swam up just as my niece Tessa (16 months old) fell into the water. Tessa landed on the crocodile’s head, and he started to swim away with her. My sister Shanna (Tessa’s mother) and I looked at each other. She said, “He’s got Tessa!” I said, “So go get her!” and Shanna replied, “You go get her!” So I handed Shanna my cell phone (strange that I was even holding it in my dream) and jumped into the crocodile-infested lake. I rescued Tessa and then experienced that moment of indecision where I didn’t know which was closer to me: the cement platform or the edge of the lake.

That’s where my dream journal entry ends for that day. How would you finish the story?

Here is the second one, from 10/10/13:

I haven’t been sleeping very well the past few nights, and it seems that my dreams are getting stranger and stranger to coincide with that. Last night, I was in a place that felt sort of like Epcot Center in Disneyworld, only without the rides. It had little areas of foreign-looking buildings. My brain decided that it must have been Ghana (even though it was nothing like Ghana). Then I returned home (again, nothing like my actual home). I ran my tongue behind my teeth, and about half of my teeth popped out! It was so traumatic! I was catching them as they were falling out and breaking off. I tried to figure out why they would be falling out and decided that it must have something to do with the foreign food I’d been eating. I called my dentist (I distinctly remember that I felt guilty because it was early afternoon on a Sunday, and I was asking him to work), then went to his office with my hands full of teeth that had fallen out. My dentist and his assistant put white crowns on my teeth, and the crowns felt really strange. I was hoping that they didn’t put the crowns on too quickly (instead of doing it right) so that they could get back to church. Also, at one point, my dentist said, “Katie, I told you we would end up doing this one day.”

I have so many others I could share! Maybe I will share a few more before the month is through.

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Best Aunt Award

I moved recently, and so I sorted through many old boxes and files. Among my decorations from my college apartments, I found this note from my oldest niece, Sage. She was 5 years old at the time (she’s 12 now). It really made me laugh, so I thought I’d share:

Note from SageHow is that for a compliment? I’m pretty sure it’s right up there with “World’s Greatest Aunt.” Or maybe slightly lower, like “Equally as Good as Some of My Other Aunts. I think.”

I think you’re one of the best nieces I’ve had, too, Sage. ๐Ÿ™‚

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In My Own Shoes

Yesterday I bought my 59th pair of shoes. Not my 59th pair in my lifetime (as if I could keep track of that anyway) – I mean my 59th pair currently in my closet. Call it an addiction if you must, but apparently I find it necessary to have flats and flip flops and heels in every imaginable color.

I just finished watching the movie Penelope for the first time. I promise this is relevant. It’s essentially a story of a girl who learns to love herself exactly as she is. In other words, she learns to be comfortable in her own shoes.

This is a concept I struggle with. Even with 59 pairs to choose from, I feel like I often don’t fit into the mold I imagined – or anyone around me imagined – for my own life. The life I thought I would have by the time I was 25 involved being married with children, and that’s not at all where I am today. I belong to a church where marriage is not just important; a successful marriage and family is the end goal. This is because we believe that marriage is not just “till death do you part” but that it is eternal and continues after this life. We get married for “time and all eternity.”

I love this doctrine because it gives us hope for a future where we can continue to be a family forever. I want that! However, this belief tends to put a lot of pressure on people like me who are a little older and unmarried. The decision of who to marry is also extra important because it’s for eternity. I am trying to choose someone I can be with for the rest of my existence, which is no small task.

I suppose the real trouble isn’t choosing who to marry. The real trouble is that being married with children is where I want to be, and I haven’t made it there yet. So everything else in my life – my living situation, my education, my career – all feel temporary. They’re like placeholders until I find the life I’m “supposed” to be living. And the outside pressure feels immense sometimes. Married people often add to the feeling that my current life is temporary (and perhaps trivial) by making comments that suggest I’m just waiting around until I find the right guy. I absolutely love the married people in my life. They have been great examples and a huge support system for me. I just think sometimes they forget. They forget the heartache and worry and stress and sadness associated with being alone. Society itself tends to treat single adults as if they are somehow younger, less mature, or less responsible than their married counterparts. It’s an interesting situation, and one I never thought I’d be in.

But the bottom line is that I’m not comfortable in my own shoes. It has little to do with the outside pressure, the culture of my church, or the comments others make. It has to do with me not really knowing what the Lord expects of me. I don’t know where I fit into society.

I am not unhappy. I don’t feel angry with God or with past relationships or with friends who have married younger than me. Being angry doesn’t change my situation or increase my happiness. I am simply taking life one day at a time and trying to figure out where I belong. Until then, perhaps I ought to work on being comfortable with who I am now.

Maybe I’ll have to even out the numbers and buy my 60th pair of shoes. Maybe they will be a perfect, comfortable fit.

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First Day

Do you remember your first day of kindergarten? Mine was tough.

At the end of first recess, the bell rang, and all the other kids lined up outside by the door to their respective classrooms. But I couldn’t remember which door was mine. I didn’t recognize any of the kids in my class yet because I was extremely shy. One by one, the teachers opened their doors and led their classes inside. I couldn’t find my teacher. I wasn’t even sure I was on the right side of the huge (to a kindergartner) school building.

The next thing I knew, the teachers were inside, the kids were inside, the doors were closed…and I was outside. I must have been the world’s most panicky 5-year-old. I walked around the building trying to find the right door, but they all looked the same. So I found a big pine tree at the front of the building, sat down underneath it, and started to cry.

I don’t remember how long I was there, but I’m pretty sure it was a few days. Or maybe the world’s longest half-hour. Eventually, the janitor found me (side note: my mom used to help me write my stories in a journal when I was small, and I described the janitor as a “big fat bald man”) and took me inside.

To my horror, my classroom was empty. The janitor led me to the other kindergarten class next door, where both classes of kindergartners were gathered, and told my teacher where he had found me. I still remember her response: “Thank you. I thought I was missing one.”

And I haven’t been back to school since. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Throwback Thursday

In honor of my mother’s birthday this week and theย current “Throwback Thursday” trend (which, admittedly, I’ve never participated in before), I want to share this little gem I found:

0285046331004

That’s me on the log, I would say maybe 10 years old or so, and my mom standing above me. This, folks, is proof of my courageous spirit ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t actually remember this moment at all.

I probably took about five steps onto the log, decided I would certainly fall to my untimely death, and then straddled the log and inched my way across. My mother, ever impatient (and amused) when I refuse to do something that I am perfectly capable of doing, is clearly laughing in the picture. The fact that she is standing in front of me indicates how slowly I must have been moving. haha.

In other news, check out those awesome hiking boots I’m wearing with my shorts! At least, I think I’m wearing shorts… Technically all you can see in the picture are my scrawny sexy white legs.

Thanks for the chuckle, Throwback Thursday! And happy birthday, Mom!

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A Little Change

If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be?

My impulsive reaction to this question was that I would not be so muchย ofย a perfectionist. But in contemplating it, the issue is more complicated than that. You see, a perfectionist is who I am – it’s a part of my core personality, and a strong part at that. Sometimes it’s a positive trait –ย I am careful, I am responsible, people trust me to get things done the right way. My over-achiever personality combined with my perfectionism has led me to accomplish a lot of great things in my life, and I love that.

What I don’t like about being a perfectionist is the expectations I place on myself. I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold others to, not because I think they are capable of achieving less than me but because I am more forgiving of others. When someone else makes a mistake, my reaction is to be positive and lift them up. “It’s no big deal! We’ll make it work! Buck up, little camper!” When I make a mistake, I really beat myself up about it. The worse the mistake, the longer my attacks against myself will last. “I can’t believe I was so stupid. What was I thinking? Why did I do that?” Rarely are my self-attacks productive, nor do they lead me to change myself for the better. I end up frustrated with myself and quite discouraged.

This reminds meย ofย a song called Gentle by Michael McLean.

Like a gentle wind can blow the clouds from the sky,
Like a gentle touch can ease the pain of goodbye,
Like a gentle smile embraces empty souls in lonely places,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Like the friend who gently builds us up when we’re down,
Like a gentle kiss can turn our world all around,
We’ve been hurt by others often,
We’ve forgiven and forgotten,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Life can be hard but
We need not be
So hard on ourselves,
If we will see

Like the Shepherd leads His flock with gentle commands.
With His gentle voice that only hearts understand.
One thing we can know for certain, He has borne the awful burdens
So we can be more gentle with ourselves.

One thing that I know for certain:
He will bear my every burden,
So I can be gentle with myself.

So if I could change one thing about myself, what would it be? I would learn to be more gentle with myself.

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