Entertaining Ourselves To Death

To introduce this topic: I was walking through Walmart with my Mom when I was little, and these Cable-TV salesmen walked up to her. She politely said “We don’t have a TV” as we walked away and they stared after us like we were aliens.

Our family still doesn’t have a TV. We have computers and everyone over 16 has a phone, but my parents prohibit overuse of technology, and for good reason. Any doctor these days will tell you that computers, phones, and TVs have a negative effect on the brain, as well as physical and emotional well-being.

Just going outside and enjoying the fresh air or sitting down and writing something with pen and paper have become forgotten. Most people are just sitting around on their phones or laptops. (I say this as I’m on the computer writing this.)

Now, computers and phones have become a necessary part of life. (Honestly, TV really isn’t. Unless you consider boredom life-threatening.) We use them for everything. School, work, financing, communication, hobbies, etc… And that’s not really a bad thing. It’s a tool to help us with life.

Over-usage has negative effects, though. It really does. After being on the computer for hours on end, I feel sluggish and my eyes burn afterwards. It’s a time-sucker and we’re in danger of entertaining ourselves to death.

I don’t have a phone. Sometime in the next year I’ll be getting one, but I still don’t have one. Almost every friend I have has a phone. And it does make me feel slightly like an outsider, ostracized just that little bit more. It’s hard to fit in when someone asks you what your instagram or snapchat is and you answer: “I don’t have a phone.” And you can’t text your friends. I don’t disagree with my parents that I shouldn’t have one yet. It’s just the rule in our family that until you’re sixteen or have a real job (babysitting and dog-walking not included), that you don’t get a phone.

So I don’t have the problem of phone and social media addiction. I talk to my friends on my email, and WordPress and Pinterest are both things I enjoy to do. So don’t feel sorry for me, I have plenty of time-suckers to ease myself away from thinking. Or from feeling.

No one these days has to muse if they don’t want to. They never have to be alone – they can always have their device. It’s okay. We don’t have to think in our generation. Don’t worry.

But when was the last time you just breathed it all in? When did you last lay on your back in the grass and look up at the sunlight filtering through the trees? Or thought about the world, and why you’re here?

Just something to think about.

 

 

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What a Wonderful World

You know one of my favorite parts about friendship? It’s just so dang fun! You get to share the good times together. And when the goings get tough, you’ve got someone to stick by you. But those good times just cement you together. They make you so much closer. They just give you things to share. Memories, laughter, beauty.

I have an image in my mind. A sunshiny room, rays of light streaming in the dusty window. Dust motes floating illuminated through the room. I’m sitting there, looking at something. It’s a sculpture made of copper wire. It’s a tree. It has a tire swing hanging from it, motionless in its metal haze. This is a good memory of mine. I’m in Gran’s room, looking at all of her treasures on the walls and the shelves. All of her memories.

Memories are so special. Imagine a world without memories… Just the thought is terrible. Isn’t the way the world is so beautiful? Sometimes, when I’m listening to music, and my chest swells with emotion, and I’m filled up with all this love and beauty, I just think about the world. And how perfect its imperfections are. And how I’m so, so grateful to have the time I have here.

People. So incomprehensibly beautiful and terrible. Capable of horrific things, capable of lovely, pure things. So tender, so cruel. A paradox. I see the good in them. And I think to myself….what a wonderful world…

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Absence

I have been absent for the past 5 or 6 days due to an unplanned trip for a funeral. Tomorrow I am leaving for a week long mission trip, during which I obviously will not be keeping tabs on WordPress. Thanks for understanding.

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Everybody

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 “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”  ~Billy JoelScreen Shot 2018-05-29 at 11.24.06 AM.png

Summer Book Recommendations

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Okay, so we all need a few book recommendations to get us through the summer. Or maybe we don’t. It’s honestly kind of a sad world. Just take one glance at the Jimmy Kimmel video where they ask someone to name ONE BOOK in the whole world and you’ll get a little less confident in humanity. I’m only half kidding.

But anyways, here’s my list of books you should read for the summer. Some of them I’ve done reviews on, so that’s kind of cheating but…ah, well:

  • The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau — This is a book-turned-movie that has a lot of similarities to The Giver. It’s a fascinating read and the ending is the best part and well-worth the suspense. Though somewhat predictable in some areas, still a great story and pretty short read. 
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry — I’ve already done a book review for this book here. It’s a great book and really engaging. Highly recommend.
  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak — This is an incredible book. Not gonna lie when I say I cried in several parts reading it…you know that kind of racking “crying” that doesn’t really count as crying, and there’s no tears, but it’s when you read something really profound? Maybe that’s just me. It’s powerful and it isn’t depressing, but very thought-provoking and emotional.
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, by Judith Kerr — I literally just finished this book and I loved it. Maybe I just really like books that are people’s lives. It’s about a Jewish girl during the Holocaust, but doesn’t involve much of it. It’s more just her story of where she went and what she did. It drew me in immediately and there was a certain charm and frank way of writing that made it really attractive. I also hear it’s autobiographical, but it’s written as if a story, from the third person.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith — I’ve already done a book review for this as well. It’s more of an emotional review. But I absolutely love this book! It’s one of my favorites. There are different opinions on it from different people, but as I said, I love stories about people’s lives and that’s what this is. It’s a longer book, but well worth it to me. Again with the racking sobs that aren’t really crying and without tears. This book also has a lot of talk about being autobiographical, but again written in third person. It does have a bit of a disturbing part where she is almost molested that you can skip if you’d like.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee — Yes, it’s a classic, and if that deters you from reading it, so be it. But this is an AMAZING and challenging book that was the author’s sole published book. She considered it to be a simple love story, but it is now one of the most well-known American classics. This book is fantastic and really powerful. I’m a fast reader and I was really interested so I read it quickly, but it might take different people longer to read. It’s well worth it.
  • Our Town, play by Thornton Wilder — When I started this, I was really confused for the first two acts. I mean, they were really good, but there was pretty much no point. But I kept going to the third act and I was like ohhhhhhhhh. You have to just keep going because it’s so amazing at the end, and made me actually cry by how amazing it was. I usually finish books pretty late at night and so that also may be why I cry at the end of them. I cry at powerful parts of books that are so relatable that it’s achingly familiar.

And that’s all she wrote, folks. I hope you actually read these books instead of just skimming through this post and forgetting about them. That’s the amazing thing about books — they stay with you and become a part of you if you let them take you up and away. I have to recommend them so you’ll read them, but try not to go into them with any assumptions and just let the words seep into you. It’s fine if you don’t end up liking ’em. Hey, you can say you tried. All of these books have spoken to me in a powerful way and stayed with me as some of my favorites. Hope they do the same to you.

Beautiful

 

deep feeling…

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You sit down to paint a picture, an image in your mind, a feeling, but what you see in front of you when you’re finished is nothing in comparison. It’s like trying to relay a dream to someone — all the description in the world can’t recreate the feelings of the dream.

Isn’t every form of art just feeling? You’ve mastered it when you’ve mastered the feeling of it. When someone looks at it, listens to it, reads it, they feel something deep that wasn’t there before.

So imagine a light brown, thick wooden floor. Imagine a window with the rustic touch of a tree branch for a curtain rod, a rough, white cotton curtain flowing down from it. A country curtain. Imagine a big bed, just a mattress on a stand with wheels, pushed up against the wooden “headboard” panels nailed to the wall. Imagine a colorful quilt draped over the bed, a comforting presence. Imagine cool white daylight streaming through the window. Imagine a bedstand, a dresser, a small desk-table with a chair. Imagine a bedroom in a big, country cabin that used to be a bed and breakfast, the Lodge. Imagine two girls laying on the bed, feet hanging off the bed, socks hanging off the feet, maps and blueprints all around them, a few keys and bottles, giggling like crazy, laughing until they have to clutch their stomachs.

Imagine two boys, a few years older than the girls, barging in, and dragging them off into the woods! Imagine an ATV and a fifteen-year-old boy and his sister’s best friend zooming off into the woods on the trail. Imagine an “unrequited love.” Imagine that these memories are things that people will look back on their whole lives.

Imagine fireflies glimmering around the woods, with a bunch of lovely people around a campfire. Imagine the same two girls, the exact same height, running as fast as their legs will carry them across the dewy grass at dusk, the exact same speed, and then collapse into the grass, laughing. Imagine trips to the pool, imagine tramps through the woods, imagine amazing music, imagine a basement full of bunk beds, the bunk beds full of knives and airsoft guns and things the teenage boys will “need.” Imagine kids having the time of their lives.

And imagine loosing that. Feeling it yet?

**Song of the day: Bitter Water, The Oh Hellos.**