An Introvert’s Winter

Hello Friends,

With this week being the coldest Pennsylvania has seen so far this winter I, gratefully, chose to stay inside.  Unfortunately, that means there was not much for me to see except the dirty white walls of my toasty dorm room.  And the lovely face of my green-haired roommate.  I did however see a few indistinguishable turtles walking around campus, bundled up in their winter shells to keep from freezing on their walks to the library or dining hall.

It was rather unnerving to pass these faceless eyes as the strode past, raising a gloved hand in friendly greeting. Personally I was afraid to wave back, and I am certain I said, “hi,” to several people I don’t actually know.  Hopefully my fellow introverts can relate, but I think there is something to be said for the social anxiety of waving in general.  Now, add the pressure of waving when you don’t know who your waving to.

We’ve all been there.  You see someone you only vaguely know, and there is a glancing eye contact.  Their hand goes up, and a smile spreads across their face.  Then as you raise your hand, surprised by the eagerness of this greeting, you realize, they weren’t waving at you.  And in that moment a small piece of you dies.  You stop believing in love and you start questioning the fidelity of all of your relationships.  But when the faces of passersby are covered with scarves, the stakes are even higher.

And so friends, unable to handle the intense pressure of simple social norms I chose the safety of my room this week.  I hope you found safety and comfort to, wherever you were and whatever the temperature.  Hopefully next well be more exciting.

Until next time, stay out of trouble.

Hello Again, Friends

I sat down to write my first blog post in several months and didn’t quite know where to start.  First of all, hello! This blog is not dead after all, and I hope to fully restore it to life over the next few months.  As you can see, there has been a little remodel to the look of this site, and there is more of that to come.  There is also going to be some new content added as these next few weeks unfold, which brings me to the point of this post.

I would like to introduce a new segment, which I think will be a lot of fun for all of us.  For now, I am titling this segment: My World.  Though the title is subject to change, the point of this segment is simple: I would like to invite all of you to see the world as I see it.  In my life I often see people, places, and things and imagine them into new stories.  So, each week I will write a short little blurb about my imaginings of the world around me that week.  I expect we will meet a lot of new characters along the way, as people-watching is one of my favorite things to do.

What exactly this will this look like? I don’t know.  But don’t worry, we’ll figure it out together.

Until next time, stay out of trouble!


In Too Deep

There is peace found with the river,
There is treachery too.
The water rushes and you shiver,
Then it stills into a pool.

And you watch the up and down.
And you fear the push and pull,
‘cause you think that you may drown,
‘cause you know you are a fool.

You’re a fool to stillness, fool to peace.
Looking at the surface, standing on the edge,
blind to its secrets, buried too deep.
So through the muck you try to trudge,

But it bubbles up in anger, and
crashes against the shore, and
you run from the danger, and
you fear it’s raging roar, and

when you’ve gone a distance
the water stills and calms.
You may wade without resistance,
In the shallows of the pond.

Movie Tuesday: Christopher Robin

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.47.30 PMRecommendation: This movie was not only funny, entertaining, and thought-provoking, but it was also very well-made and a wonderful trip down memory.

Writing/Screenplay: This movie was written to send a message, and it did so in a very artistic and successful way.  This was a script intended to remind its audience of the joys of childhood and the importance of using leisure well.  I would say the script succeeded in these things, by using some of the most classic Winnie-the-Pooh lines, consistently throughout the movie (keep scrolling to see specific lines in the quotes section).  There was a lot of wit and humor in the language of this film, but it was used meaningfully to both entertain and engage the audience as only Pooh can.

Score: 10/10

Acting: There are two aspects of the acting in this film, the voice-acting and the live-action acting.  For the characters of Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore the acting was very good, they stayed true to the iconic voices of the characters that I remember from my childhood.   The other voices of the hundred acres’ woods did undergo some changes and as a result they felt unfamiliar to me.

The live-action acting was excellent, especially that of Bronte Carmichael. Ewan McGregor also did a great job as an older Christopher Robin.  If I had one criticism it would be that unfortunately Ewan McGregor’s Scottish accent sometimes popped up, but all in all, the actors did a phenomenal job, maybe not Oscar-worthy, but certainly worth watching.

Score: 9/10

Cinematography: The use of color in this film to remind the audience of leisure and childhood was absolutely phenomenal and may have been one of my favorite parts of the film.  The mise-en-scene of this film was incredibly intentional and consistent, it was excellently done.  Though I did not notice any super fancy camera work, I really think so much effort was put into the set that fancy camera angles were unnecessary and probably would have been too much.

On a different note the animation was actually quite realistic and meticulous.  The lines between reality and imagination were intentionally blurred in the way the the 100 Acre Woods was animated, again done very consistently with the theme of the movie.  At first I thought having such life like characters in Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and so on would be strange, but it fit so well with the theme of the movie that after the first 5 minutes I didn’t even notice it anymore.

Score 10/10

Soundtrack: To be honest, I did not notice too much about the soundtrack of the movie.  This, to me says that music was used well to evoke the appropriate emotion from the audience at the appropriate time.  Beyond that I have no real comments about the soundtrack.

Score: 8/10

Overall Score: 37/40

 Favorite Quotes:

“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.” –Winnie the Pooh

“Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, that was too much day for me.” –Winnie the Pooh

Christopher Robin: “The tree I remember was in the countryside, not here in London!   There’s no opening!”
Winnie the Pooh: “I suppose it’s where it needs to be.”
Christopher Robin: “That’s a silly explanation.”
Winnie the Pooh: “Why, thank you.”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” –Winnie the Pooh

Friends to the End

Do you ever wish you had the power to fix everyone’s problems and just make their lives better?  I’ve been feeling this a lot lately as people tell me about their heartbreaking struggles.  I listen dumbstruck as they tell me of loved ones they have lost, hostile in environments they have lived in, and battles they have fought.  At a loss for words my only thought, my only wish is to go back in time and make those horrible things not happen to them.  What words of affirmation and comfort do you offer to people fighting battles that seem impossible?  What can you do to fill their lives with joy and happiness when all they have known is grief?  I think the most heartbreaking thing to see is someone who is resigned to their grief.  The people my heart bleeds for, the ones I want to help the most, are the completely closed-off-open-books.

The closed-off-open-books are the friendly people that make you feel like you know them so well right from the start, but then slowly you begin to see that you know nothing about them.  These are people who have been broken. They accept the fact that life has and will continue to beat them down.  Is it enough to tell a broken person that Jesus loves them?  Is it helpful to tell someone who’s fighting that God is still in control?  The truth is, I don’t know the answer.

Often times you read blogposts from people who come prepared with answers to the questions they are asking.  Most bloggers are that one kid in school that ALWAYS does the homework and is always prepared for class.  I’m not going to lie; usually, I am that kid.  But today, I don’t know.  Today I have more questions than answers.  I do know that I believe God is in control of every situation.  He is using His power to work good in the lives of all those who love Him, no matter the circumstance.  But when someone is watching a loved one die from cancer, is that knowledge comforting?  I know that I believe that God uses hard circumstance to make people stronger and draw them closer to Him.  But when you can’t find a job to pay the bills, does that knowledge help?  Today I’m the student who didn’t do her homework and is asking a plethora of questions in an attempt to try and mask my unpreparedness in the school of life.  All I know is that I long to help those in need.  To offer comfort and to give them some happy thought.  To help them find joy in times of peace and strength in time of trouble, because that is what good friend does.  And I would have no idea what it means to be a good friend, if Jesus didn’t show me.  For there is no greater friend than the one who would die a painful death to right your wrongs and save your soul.  So, who knows perhaps just being a good friend is comfort enough?

Penny’s Birthday Surprise

Penny looked up at the worn white house, with its dirty, chipped paint.  Ivy crawled up its sides.  Every window was broken, except for one, the upper right hand window.

“Grandpa, how come that house is so dirty?  Penny said.

“Because no one has lived there in a long time so it got run down,” Grandpa said.

“How come no one lives there?”

“Because of Old Maid Micknely.”

“Who’s that?”

“Old Maid McKinley was the last person to live in that house.  People say she went crazy.  My dad used to tell me stories about her from when he was a little boy.

“Oh tell me Grandpa, tell me!” Penny begged.

“Well, when my father was a little boy Old Maid Micknely and her daughter used to live in that house.  Great Grandpa became could friends with both of them and he and Old Maid McKinley’s daughter used to play together all the time.  Then, one day, Old Maid McKinley’s daughter was going to come over to Great Grandpa’s house to play, but she never showed up.  When they called Old Maid Micknely she said she hadn’t seen her since she left the house.   The police searched and searched, but the 8-year-old girl was never found.  It was then that people thought Old Maid Micknely started to go crazy.  She used to sit by that window in the upper right hand corner of the house with a candle all day and all night, rocking back and forth in her chair.  Everyone said that she was waiting for her daughter to come home.  She waited for years and years, but her daughter never came home.  Then one day someone noticed that the candle in the window had burnt out.  So they went to check on Old Maid Micknely.  That was how her body was found, upright, in the still rocking chair.  The townspeople decided to bury her in the front yard, so she could keep watching the road.  She had no family, no one to mourn her, and no will. So the bank seized the house, but no one wanted to buy the house that Old Maid Micknely died all alone in.  No one wanted their children playing over her dead body in the front yard.  So there sat the house, alone and empty for years.

One day, when I was about 16 years old me an a few buddies decided to go and explore Old Maid McKinley’s house.  When we went inside everything was exactly as Old Maid Micknely had left it, just a little dustier.  We went upstairs to the window and found Old Maid McKinley’s rocking-chair sitting by the window.  It was so strange; the chair wasn’t dusty at all, everything around it was, but not the chair. On the windowsill was a candle and a box of matches, just like Old Maid Micknely would have had. So one of my pals decided to light the candle and right when he did chair began rocking back and forth.  We could her the chair creaking against the floor as we ran down the stairs and out the door.  We never went back, but that candle burned for the rest of the week.  Great Grandpa joked that Old Maid Micknely was home because the candle was glowing, but he didn’t even know the half of it.

“Did anything ever happen after the candle went out Grandpa?”

“Only once, on your mother’s 8th birthday.”

“What happened?”

“The day your mother turned 8 years old Old Maid Micknely must have been home because a candle glowed in the upper right hand window of the house all day and all night.”

“Oh Grandpa,” Penny said, “that’s silly.  You’re just trying to scare me, because it’s my birthday too, but I’m too big to believe in ghosts.”

“Suit yourself, but that is a true story Penny.”

“Sure it is Grandpa,” said Penny doubtfully.  As they began to head for home Penny turned for one last look at Old Maid McKinley’s house and she suddenly started to believe her Grandpa’s story.  It would seem that Old Maid Micknely had come for a visit on Penny’s birthday too.

How? Well . . .

How can I write?
How can I write well,
when I have yet to live,
to break out of my shell?

How can I live?
How can I live well,
when I have yet to think,
to learn for myself?

How can I think?
How can I think well,
when I have yet to feel,
to let my heart swell?

How can I feel?
How can I feel well,
when I have yet to dream,
to discover new realms?

How can I dream?
How can I dream well,
when I have yet to write,
to pen out a tale?

Dance Flower, Dance!

The young flower laughs in the sun,
blossoming for all to see.
Playfully its petals fly, dancing
as the wind plays a beckoning tune.

The young flower sighs in the clouds,
blossoming, but no one sees.
Its petal falls slowly to the ground, for
the wind plays no song; it can’t dance around.

The young flower cries in the rain,
blossoming, its petals droop for all to see.
Petal cling tightly to shield the naked flower,
as wind blows harshly, to make the flower dance.

The young flower shivers in the snow,
It’s blossoms have all been blown away.
Naked in the wind it tries to sway,
As the winds song tauntingly plays.

Loyalty Lies (Part V)

The next day Jane took her almost full dust-bucket and broom into the room of one of the higher ranking soldier’s staying at the Governor’s house.  Slowly, as she cleaned, she made her way over to the desk.  There sitting out for the world to see were what looked to Jane’s untrained eye to be some sort of military plans.   Jane felt a little bad for calling Ben sloppy, this was sloppy.  And now she was faced with a dilemma.  She could take the plans and give them to Ben, she could leave and tell Ben to come look up here, or she could not say anything at all.  The second option seemed the best to her.  If she told Ben to look for something up here she wasn’t exactly being a traitor, but she wasn’t exactly being a loyalist either.  Middle ground was good.  She jumped at the sound of footsteps and voices outside the door. One voice said, “I don’t know why these colonial girls are so proud.”

“Me neither, like that house maid around here.  She acts like she’s too good for us,” said another voice.

“Exactly, it’s not like she’s a lady, she has no standing.  She should feel flattered that we even know she’s alive,” said the first voice.  Without evening knowing what she was doing Jane stormed back over to the desk, grabbed the plans, slipped them in her dust bucket and ran out of the room.

Jane found Ben as quickly as she could.  Out of breath she pulled him aside.  Ben stood there very concerned as he watched a flushed Jane stick her hand into the dirty dust bucket.  Her grabbed her hand and said, “Jane, what are you doing?  What is wrong?”

“Hush,” she hissed. “I don’t want anyone to know we’re back here.”  She found the plans and shoved them into Ben’s hand. “Here, take these.  I found them in one of the rooms.  Take them and don’t say anything, and don’t expect this from me again.”  Ben looked at the papers and then looked at Jane.

“Do you know what this is?” he asked, very impressed.

“No and I don’t want to.  I don’t want to ever talk about this again.  Just take them and hide them.”

“Alright Jane, if that’s what you want.”  Jane started to walk away, but Ben stopped her.  “I know your heart isn’t in this yet, but trust me, you did a good thing.  I’m proud of you little Janey.” Jane couldn’t help but smile.  As she stood there looking into Ben’s eyes, she thought this might be their moment.  He leaned forward and her heart just stopped.  This was it, he was going to kiss her . . . “Jane, Ben what is going on?”

It was Mrs. Bradfort from the kitchen.  So much for “their moment.”  “The Governor has asked to speak with you both.  You had better march upstairs right now,” said Mrs. Bradfort.  Ben tucked the plans away safely, and the two of them headed upstairs.

Ben and Jane entered the room, surprised to see that the governor was not alone.  He was with a soldier, the soldier whose room Jane had just finished cleaning.  “Ben, Jane,” said the Governor, “it seems we have a bit of a problem.”

“A problem, sir?” said Ben.

“Yeah, a problem,” growled the soldier.

“Calm down, Tom,” said Governor Trippingdale.  “Something has gone missing from the General’s room, something important.  A couple of his men saw you leaving his room Jane, and the general seems to think the two of you have something to do with it.”

“I was cleaning the general’s room a few moments ago, sir, if something has gone missing maybe I can help find it,” said Jane.

“Oh, I bet you could,” said the general.

“Tom,” interrupted the governor.

“Don’t ‘Tom’ me, I know they took it.  You know they took it.  They should be hanged, they’re rebels.”

“With all due respect sir, I don’t know what it is we’re supposed to have taken,” said Jane.  That did it.  The general was livid.  Governor Trippingdal tried to stop him, Ben tried to stop him, but he was a man with murder on his mind.

You filthy rebel!  Where are they?” he screamed. Then the General came close, he backed Jane up against the wall.  He slapped her once, and then again, and then again.  Until she sank to the floor breathless and weak.  For a moment the beating stopped and she looked up.  Governor Trippingdale was cowering in a corner, and Ben was on top of the General, who quickly threw him off.  Ben skidded across the floor and hit his head.  The General came over to Jane. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to her feet.  She screamed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, please, let me go,” cried Jane between smothered sobs.

“You liar!  What did you do with them?” screamed the General, spraying Jane with spittle as he grabbed her throat.  Jane could feel the pressure building up in her head.  Her eyes bugged out of her face.  She gasped and strained for breath, trying to speak.  As consciousness slipped from her she imagined Ben waking up, rising from the floor and coming to her rescue.   But he didn’t, he lay there on the ground, blood dripping down the side of his face.  Then Jane saw an image of her father sitting in the kitchen, wounded and broken, but glowing in the candlelight.

Thank you so much for following Jane on her journey. 

Loyalty Lies (Part IV)

Jane walked, disenchanted, to work, wondering why she had to put up with all those foul mouthed soldiers every day.  They were constantly teasing all the girls. Jane never cared much for flirting.  She didn’t even want to flirt with Ben, she certainly was not going to flirt with the soldiers. Still, work was work and she had to make ends meet.  When she walked in the door there was already a list of things she could see that needed to be done.

“Jane,” Ben called.

“Oh Ben, hello.  Is anything the matter.”

“No, no.  I just wanted to say hello and ask if it was okay with you if I walked you home after work today.”

“Yes, that would be fine.’

“Great! Your father’s invited me over to talk and I didn’t want you to think I was just going to follow you home or something,” he said with a smile.

“Oh no that’s alright,” Jane said trying to laugh.  She had no idea what on earth Pa and Ben could possibly have to talk about.  She would find out tonight, but still the thought of it haunted her all day.

Jane didn’t finish work until late in the evening.  She thought her family would all be in bed by the time she got home and assumed that Ben had changed his mind about walking home with her since it was so late already.  As she headed down the path, breathing in the fresh night air, she couldn’t help but wonder why Ben had wanted to walk her home.  And she couldn’t help but hope, just a little bit.  “Jane! Jane!” she heard a voice behind her.  Turning, she saw it was Ben running down the path after her. “Jane, why didn’t you wait for me?” he asked.

“It was so late, I thought you’d have changed you mind.”

“No, I need to speak with your father, tonight.”

“Oh, about what?” Jane asked trying to ignore the fact that her heart just skipped a beat.

“I ran into him in the village the other day, while running errands.  He and I got to talking about some of the political things that are going on.  Your father suggested we sit down one evening soon and have a chat, we thought you might like to be there too.”  Jane’s heart sank to the ground, she only hoped her face didn’t go with it.

“It’s so late.  Does this political meeting of the minds really have to be tonight?  I’m tired, I’m sure you’re tired, and my Pa is probably already asleep,” said a disappointed and now exasperated Jane.

“It has to be tonight.”

“Well if Pa is asleep I won’t wake him for you.”

“Then I’ll wake him myself.”  Jane and Ben were both tired and agitated.  This was the first time Jane had ever seen Ben so serious and the first time Ben had seen Jane so irritated. The walk was quiet. Neither of them spoke again until Jane’s house was insight.

“There’s a light in the window, at this hour,” said a confused Jane.

“It looks like I won’t have to wake your Pa up after-all,” said Ben with a smile. “I’m sorry I yelled Jane.”

“Let’s go inside.” Jane smiled.

The small candle glowing on the wooden made the empty room seem warm and cozy.  There at the table sat Jane’s father, not at all surprised to see Ben.

“Pa why are you still up?  What on earth is so important that the two of you need to be up talking at this ungodly hour?” asked Jane.

“Jane, I’ve been waiting for you.  There’s something important we all need to discuss,” her father replied.

“So I’m told.  Well, what is it?”

“Jane,” Ben stepped in.  “Jane you and I have both been working at the Governor’s house now for several months.”

“Thanks for the news,” said Jane somewhat snippily.  She wasn’t proud of herself, but she was tired.

“Come on Jane, listen.  This is important,” said Pa.  “Go ahead Ben keep talking.”

“Jane, we’ve seen soldiers come and go.  We’ve heard them talk.  In the beginning they would discuss their military plans freely around anyone and everyone, but now they’re more discreet around me.  They caught on to the fact that I was listening.”

“Well, it’s very rude to eavesdrop,” said Jane.

“Yes, but Jane the plans that the soldiers are making, the information they have, it could be vital to the patriot cause.”

“Well, then you should have been more careful.”

“Yes, he sould have,” said Pa vindictively.

“Yes, I should have,” said Ben.  “But it’s too late to go back now.  That’s why we need you Jane.”

“Me, for what?”

“You’re plan B.”

“How flattering.’

“Come on Jane. The soldiers seem to trust you.  They don’t watch what they say around you at all.”

“So now you want me to spy on them for you is that it?  This is ridiculous, you were sloppy, you messed up and now you want me to save you.  To risk my job, to risk my life for your cause!” Jane was livid.

“For his cause,” interrupted Pa loudly , “this is our cause, this is all ours’s cause.  You’ve seen what the British have done to us.  How can you go into the governors house every day and see how he lives, and come home to this cabin at night after all the work we put in and not make this your cause Jane?”

“The governor gave me a job Pa.  That job saved our family, and I’m supposed to hate him for it?”

“Jane they’re thieves.  They’re stealing not just our money, but our freedom,” said Ben. “Think of how hard it was on your family when your Pa got hurt.  It wouldn’t have been that bad if taxes weren’t so heavy. Jane just think of the soldiers.  I’ve seen them when you’re working flirting with you, teasing you.” Ben was blushing. “They don’t respect you, and they don’t respect the rights of the colonies.  No one’s asking you to give your life, all we’re asking for is a little information.”

“Even if I could get you the information you wanted, what difference would it make?  It’s not like you can just walk right up and give it to George Washington.”

“Don’t worry about that Jane,” said Ben, “You get the information to me, I’ll get it to him.”

“I don’t know about all of this.  I need to think about it.”

“Don’t think to long Jane,” said Pa, “The time to act is now.”

“Why don’t you sleep on it Jane?  I’ll see you at work tomorrow, okay?” said Ben.

“Okay, goodnight Ben.”  When Ben had left Jane sat at the table across from her father.  Neither of them said a word.  He stared at the candlelight and Jane stared at him.  As she looked at the broken man across from her she wondered what it was that made him believe so much in this cause that he would be willing to sacrifice the little he had left in life for it.  She had never seen him look so vulnerable and she knew she would carry that image of her father in the candlelight with her for the rest of her life.

The final part to come next week