Wise, Old Panther Cat

I saw the Panther cat today. He was sitting on the brick wall this afternoon. I was tired from working, and so I went out to greet him. He blinked his green eyes cautiously and stayed behind the bush where he crouched. I peered back and stretched out a welcoming hand. Stretching out his black head, he sniffed my hand and nudged it. I pet him for a while and took this time to tell him about myself.

“Hello Panther Cat,” I started, settling myself on the wall, “My name is Claire. What is yours?”

We had a great conversation about flowers, mice, and pesky cicadas that always buzz much too loudly when one is trying to have an afternoon nap.

“I’ll tell you a story if you tell me a poem,” I said. Panther Cat agreed and I started.

“There once was a girl who loved to look at the sky and make observations on it. One day, when she was astutely observing the night sky and finding constellations, she heard something that made her look down.

“A piano. The notes struck the air with a satisfyingly bright noise. They seemed to float along on a cloud. The girl looked down from the rock where she always sat and tried to see where the music was coming from. She could see the notes away in the valley, they were sparkling, gold lights in the darkness.

“The girl followed the golden orbs of sound to their source and found a piano. It was sitting beside the road. It was white and shone like a pearl in the moonlight. A boy sat at the bench. Every time he played a note, a sparkling orb of golden light floated up and away from the piano and into the air.

“When the song ended, a new one began, this one was soft and soothing, and silver. The girl desperately wanted to say something, but when the song ended she had nothing to say but the truth. She clapped and the boy turned to look at her. ‘Thank you,’ she said, ‘You made me look down from the stars and realize that life really is on earth, and it can be more beautiful than the stars.’ The End.”

The sage Cat nodded his head and I pet him some more. “You promised a poem.” And it began.

The shy young girl

And the sage old cat

Sat on the wall

Discussing this and that

They both loved talking

About pink lemonade

They both loved stories

And red in all its shades

Colors were their favorite

Topic of debate

Which was the best

They each tried to expatiate

But when, at the end of the day,

They forgot their fighting

And cast their worries away

Stories appeared with the stars

Among their dusky brightness

 The stories were waiting to be told

Every evening a new one

A beautiful mystery to behold

It was hard to let them go

So when the sun began to rise

And reminders of real life appeared,

They looked up at the morning sky

Because hidden in the folds

Of the bright blue sky

Their stories were waiting

For the next night

“That was a lovely poem,” I said to Panther Cat. “It sounds just like something I would say.”

I don’t really know why I just wrote that. It was based on my experience today. I saw a black cat and church we (me and my sister) called him Panther Cat. 🙂 Good times. 

 

Beautiful Life

deer.jpg

I write about beautiful things all the time. I guess that’s because there are many hard things in this life. I acknowledge this. Life is hard and seems to make no sense. What I try to do here is not ignore the hard things about life, but remembering the beautiful things. By showcasing my love of life and beauty I hope to also show where this love and happiness come from in my life.

I didn’t used to be able to look around on busy or hard days and see beauty. I’m learning that the world is beautiful even when I don’t notice it. Every day I find it easier to see that beauty. Even when It’s hard.

Things I love:

I love burning, hot blacktop. I love playing “two-square” in the shade. I love running around the church and balancing on the wall behind it. I love the little green spider I tried to save. I love buying Gatorade and Pop Tarts from the dollar store. I love silent church buildings. I love fluffy white puffs that float through the air and turn into golden spots when caught by the sunlight. I love surprise summer showers that pour down in an angry torrent. I love listening to covers of old hymns. I love knowing that I am loved.

For I am His, and He is mine. Bought with the precious blood of Christ ~ In Christ Alone 

Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.

Unto you I pledge my love. ~ Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

If you really try and look for beautiful things then something will come up. Life is beautiful, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

A Beautiful Day and Honesty

Thought One:

The wind is blowing through the trees. They are all in sync. All of the trees in my neighborhood dance to the music of the softly blowing breeze.

I look up at the sky and see the sun, peeking through the clouds. Metaphors pass through my head as I squint up at it. I hold them each in my mind for a millisecond before letting them go like dainty butterflies.

I look at the ground and see many things. Life flows around them and connects them all together. They are all connected by life and the one who gave them that life. The pink peonies shyly nod at the visiting bees, and people pass by; their unique story swirling throughout and around them like the enticing scent of a mysterious perfume.

Throughout everything in my world this afternoon flows the beautiful hope of a summer yet to happen. Memories are waiting to happen, lives are waiting to change, and dreams are waiting to be made and accomplished. Everything is possible all of a sudden, simply because it’s summer.

It’s a beautiful life, but hard too.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I’ve honestly started this post about four times. None of the times before this felt right. Now, as I sit here looking out on my front yard and evaluating life as I know it, it feels right.

Thought Two:

Can we be honest? Please. Because most of the time we aren’t completely honest, not with ourselves and not with others.

Are we ever okay? Really and truly, fine? When we speak these words are we being truthful? I’m not okay. Constantly. It’s okay to not be fine. It’s okay to be hurting. And it’s OKAY to say that. When life gets hard. When we are hurting. It’s okay to admit that. Why do we think that we have to be strong all the time? We don’t have to, because we can’t. There is no possible way to be fine all the time.

The question of whether or not other people can help us is irrelevant. Other people aren’t there to help you all the time. The real question is whether or not we care about the people who care about us, enough to tell them about what is going on in our lives, good and bad.

I fail at this all the time. I did today. But pretending to be fine is never the answer. Being honest is the answer.

I’m still not sure what this post is about. It’s really just the thoughts that have been floating around my head today. I love this beautiful life of mine. I love the beauty in the world, I love summer, and I love honesty. Yes, I’m scatter-brained today, but what can you expect from a girl who has about a hundred things running through her mind at a time? 😉

Listen to good music and be honest with yourself and others,

~ Claire

Fresh Encouragement Everyday

Encouragement is something that seems hard to get these days. Everything in our lives seem so big and scary and bad that we  simply don’t see the beauty in the small, good things. It is only when something comes out at us that is as big as the problem that we feel encouraged. This simply should not be. There is so much encouragement to be found everywhere.

Sometimes I have bad days (today isn’t one of them) and when I do it’s usually because I’m being selfish. Rarely is it because something bad is actually happening. Yet, I’m always amazed at the encouragement that I get when I’m in these bad moods. Sometimes it’s something as simple as seeing the sun rise in the morning while the grass is wet with dew. The colors spreading across the sky like fingers or floating across it like water-color paint. Seeing this beautiful example of God’s love and sovereignty makes me realize that my bad morning doesn’t matter. It makes me look at things in a new perspective. Why does God give us such undeserved encouragement? (Love) 

Everyday fresh encouragements meet me, but sometimes I miss them. Here are the ones that I didn’t miss today:

  • Ephesians 4
  • Deck ball with siblings
  • Cinnamon popcorn
  • Playing the piano after church

If you need encouragement than read Ephesians 4. Actually, read all of Ephesians. It’s a good book. 🙂

Farewell and listen to good music. 😀

Three Random Thoughts

My brain is always moving around and coming up with strange thoughts. Here are some of the most recent…

1. I love that right now is now. Sometimes I can’t imagine a time when it won’t be now, but someday it will be ten years from now and not today. Someday I won’t be practicing with a bunch of teenagers every week for a play. Someday I won’t be living in this house. Someday I won’t take myself so seriously. Someday I’ll be thirty years old. Where will I be then? I hope I’m still me, but the truth is; I probably will be a much different person. Honestly, the more I think about growing older the more I have no idea what I want in life. The more I have no clue what direction I’m going in. The more I have no idea, the more I don’t care about having no idea.

 
2. I love my childhood, but I wish I’d grown up in the nineties so I could experience that as well. So many things happen in other people’s lives that I have no idea about. I wish I could know everybody’s story so that I can have that in my brain. I wish I could know the good times and the hard. I wish I could get to know the fads of every year and know the catchphrases and idiosyncrasies of every generation. But more than simply knowing them I want to experience them, or come as close as I can to experiencing them. I guess I love original stories and I don’t want to be stuck in my generation. I want to go beyond my generation to the ones before so that I know their stories as well as I know my own. 

3.  In the early hours and late hours of daylight, everything is heightened. Everything seems more alive and colorful. The green of the grass and the blue of sky seemed to take on a dreamlike intensity. In the evening the world takes on a beautiful scent full of summer dreams and dewy grass. In the morning the world smells like warm sunlight and delicate flowers. There is something in the air at these times of the day that makes the most reserved want to do something crazy and gives the restless peace. The morning, with its bright eyes and sleepy smiles, inspires and reminds us that the world is a beautiful place after all. The evening, with it’s sly smile and winking eyes, reminds us that even after a long, hard day… life is still worth living.


I hope these random thoughts help make this morning a little more interesting. Remember to come up with your own random thoughts, because you never know where they may lead. 🙂

The Genius of Adam Young

SO EXCITED FOR THIS:

I mentioned in my Switchfoot post that, besides listening to Switchfoot, I’ve been listening to some Owl City. I think some is an under-exaggeration, because I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Owl City over the past few days.

I haven’t been listening to Owl City for long, only about a year. Not even that long really, because I discovered Twenty One Pilots at the same time and fell in love with them so much that I haven’t really listened to a lot of Owl City since July. Then, maybe two months ago, I started listening to Owl City again and I really fell in love with it. Owl City (A.K.A Adam Young), is so upbeat and positive. The songs are colorful and the lyrics are either of dreamlike impossibility or have a deeper meaning than they seem to at first.

Here are some of the lyrics from the album Ocean Eyes:

1.

Are you there, or are you just a decoy dream in my head?

Am I home, or am I simply tumbling all alone? – On the Wing

2.

It hurts just to wake up, whenever you’re wearing thin

Alone on the outside, so tired of looking in

The end is uncertain and I’ve never been so afraid

But I don’t need a telescope to see that there’s hope

And that makes me feel brave ~ Tidal Wave

3.

Home will always be here, unseen, out of sight

Where I disappear and hide ~ Umbrella Beach

4.

Home is a boxcar and it’s so far out of reach

Hidden under umbrella beach ~ Umbrella Beach

5.

You and I left our troubles far behind

But I still have just one more question on my mind

For all my pals who live in the oceans and the seas

With fronds like these, well,

Who needs anemones? ~ The Bird and the Worm

6.

As many times as I blink my eyes

I’ll think of you tonight

I’ll think of you tonight ~ Vanilla Twilight

7.

When violet eyes get brighter

And heavy wings grow lighter

I’ll taste the sky and feel alive again

And I’ll forget the world that I knew

But I swear I won’t forget you

Oh if my voice could reach back through the past

I’d whisper in your ear:

“Oh darling, I wish you were here” ~ Vanilla Twilight

8.

We drank the great lakes like cold lemonade.

And both got stomach aches sprawled out in the shade.

So bored to death you held your breath and I tried not to yawn.

You make my frown turn upside down and now my worries are gone. ~ Hot Air Balloon

😀 These lyrics make me smile.

I listened through many Owl City albums, all of which are great. Then I discovered something AMAZING. Adam Young started a new project this February. He is creating and releasing an original soundtrack each month. If you want to read more in-depth about it you can check out the link above.

Yesterday, I went to YouTube and decided that I was going to listen to one of these scores. I chose the first one (because that’s who I am), Apollo 11. I started the first song and I was immediately swept away into a story that was perfectly told without words. My big take away from this score is that it was so… cool! It’s just an awesome soundtrack. With the bass and electric guitar taking center stage it really sounds like I’m in a rocket ship exploring the frontier of space. It’s ethereal and beautiful. I think Adam was born to make this kind of music, because he does it masterfully. My favorite track would probably have to be CSM Dockingbecause it’s so awesome!! 

Apollo 11 was just the beginning, because Adam has made four soundtracks so far. As  fast as I could, I listened to the others: RMS Titanic, The Spirit of St. Louis, and The Ascent of Everest. I went in order and listened to the March soundtrack; RMS Titanic. As soon as I saw the title I knew that this soundtrack would be heart-wrenching. It was.

Note: I listened to the film score for the 1997 movie Titanic, composed by James Horner, to see if the two soundtracks sounded similar. They really don’t at all. Adam’s interpretation of the Titanic tragedy is so eerie, while the James Horner soundtrack  is much more, I don’t know, dramatic I guess, and really Celtic sounding. I enjoyed the James Horner soundtrack. I really liked the use of the Celtic sounds and themes. It was good. Very 90s hahaha. XD

However, as good as Horner’s soundtrack was, I love Adam’s creativity in going a different direction. I can imagine how hard it would be to come up with a creative soundtrack for something that has been done so many times before, but he does it. The soundtrack does such an amazing job of telling the story of the Titanic without words. I think it does the job even better than the previous film score! The moment I started listening to the first track, Southampton, I was swept away in the story. The second track, Boarding, is full of the excitement of boarding that giant, luxurious, “unsinkable”,  ship. Another thing I loved about this soundtrack is that there was absolutely no foreshadowing, which I  would really hate in this soundtrack. It was in the moment; exciting when it needed to be, spine-chilling when it needed to be, and heart-wrenching when it needed to be. All throughout the soundtrack I was on a journey. I was on the Titanic. I was watching it sink. It was a beautiful feeling.

My favorite track, without a doubt, is Lifeboats.  This track is…gorgeous. It’s a piano track, until about halfway through when the hymn Nearer My God to Thee begins to play on a violin and it’s lovely. I don’t usually force people to listen to something, but right now I order you, to listen to this song. It’s only two minutes long. Please, listen to it and tell me what you think. Actually, just listen to the whole soundtrack. It’s all amazing.

The next Soundtrack The Spirit of St. Louis is definitely different than RMS Titanic. It’s much more electronic based. The Spirit of St. Louis tells the story of Charles Lindbergh‘s nonstop flight from New York to Paris on May 20-21, 1927. The soundtrack encapsulates the feeling of adventure and daring that Lindbergh must have felt as he was in the air. It tells the story so well that I feel like I know the story, without actually knowing very much about it. Again, this soundtrack takes me on a journey, this time over the Atlantic ocean with Lindbergh. Now I want to know more about this man who won the Orteig Prize and a Medal of Honor for crossing the Atlantic, solo, without stopping.

My favorite track is probably Wheels DownIt’s my favorite track for several reasons. A) It reminds me of Owl City, because it is based (I believe) off of a track called Seagulls by Port Blue, a project made by Adam to create dreamscapes. Yes, you could argue that Wheels Down doesn’t really fit on this soundtrack, because it wasn’t really made for it, but it sounds like it does belong and that’s why I love it so much. 🙂

Last, but not least: The Ascent of Everest. The soundtrack for this month is shorter than the other three, but just as beautiful. This one also has electronic elements in the forefront, but also some awesome bass-lines humming away in the background. Awesome. This soundtrack is about the first two men to make the journey to the highest point on earth. The tracks feel windy and cold, and dreamlike. It really transports me to Everest. Adam’s creativity with this soundtrack is definitely present. It’s definitely not how would have composed it, but I like how he made it feel modern. If the soundtrack for the Titanic had been like this it would not have worked. At all. But for this soundtrack it does.

I’m not sure what my favorite track on this one would be. I haven’t really listened to it enough, but I’ll choose Base CampThe softness of this track is awesome and I love, love, love the bass!

I think it’s safe to say two things now.

  1. I LOVE Adam Young
  2. I LOVE these Soundtracks
  3. I will be reviewing Adam’s next next soundtrack sometime next month (they come out on the first of each month).

I hope you will take my advise and listen to these soundtracks. All the information about this project can be found here. Enjoy!

Contentment

Peace and contentment

Some days, I find this easy. I wake up on these days, and the whole world is a beautiful place. I find school easy to focus on, people easy to get along with, God easy to talk to, and beauty easy to find.

Other days Most days though… I struggle to find peace and contentment. I struggle to keep my temper. I can’t see anything beautiful in anything. School becomes either a mindless chore, or something that I simply can’t focus on. I struggle to talk to God, most of the time because I feel so… guilty.

I don’t know what to do about it, because I won’t do anything about it. That’s the problem. I want to to see the beauty in the simple things. I want to help others and love life. I want to live for something more than myself. Some days, I just can’t. 

I think there is a problem in our society. Well, there are many, but the one that I notice the most is the lack of contentment. All we see is what we can get and there is so much we can get.

We fail to see the beauty in the little things.

We only see the cars and not the people inside. All those people with lives, problems, opinions, happiness, and souls. All we see are the problems that these people create for us. Why can’t we see them as hurting, struggling, living, breathing humans? Why can’t we see the hurting behind the eyes of people? Why can’t we see the brokenness in the way they walk? Why do we see them and not feel something other than passiveness or annoyance?

We never see the bees buzzing around spring flowers. We never stop to just admire how all the colors of all those flowers can blend together in a single field and look so beautiful. Not one is out of place and none of the colors clash. Why do we never slow down for even a second to look at the trees and admire them for being what they are? Can we not stop, for even a second, and see how perfectly all of creation fits together like a puzzle?

Why can’t we look and see the details in everyday life? Why can’t we notice the color of the shutters on a house, or the tininess of a baby’s fingernails, or the way clouds look at different times of the day? Maybe some of those things seem unimportant, but they’re not. These little things make up big things. Little things are never unimportant. It’s only when we stop noticing them that we ever think that way.

What are the answers to the questions? We can’t see these things because we let “bigger” things get in the way. We let life get in the way, our own busyness, of the important things. Loving others and realizing that simplicity is absolutely stunning, is something that can change the way you look at the world.

I guess I’m saying all of this because I’ve realized that people and their lives are important. I’ve realized that the simplest things in life are some of the most fulfilling. Yet, I always try to fill my life with busyness again. It’s a constant struggle.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Ephesians 4:8

One last thing… None of us can do this by ourselves. We all need God’s help. So ask for it.

April Days

More pictures today because I have been at the soccer field a lot over the past week or so and because I get bored during school sometimes. 🙂

 

image

My science book

image

My sister (Abby)’s artwork

image

image

image

Pictures of the sky at the soccer field (on different days).

April has been good to me, not too many rainy days and not too many sunny ones. I love being able to sit outside on the porch all day while I do school and taking bike rides with my family (which I did yesterday). I also love going to the soccer field and watching/commenting on the game… while trying to do school. I usually (always) end up watching the game and not getting anything done. 🙂

Other things that have been going on:

On Sunday nights (at church) I teach a class of four to seven year-old’s along with a couple of friends of mine. Listening to their (the kid’s) answers to the questions I ask them is really encouraging, because I can tell that they are actually learning something. 🙂

Also on Sunday nights, I sit in on the practice for a play that we are putting on for Vacation Bible School in June. I’m in charge of the sound effects and whatnot. I love my job. 😀 The play is so hilarious and I love watching my friends (and my sister Abby) get into character.

Big news! Today, I watched a how-to video on Rey’s (from TFA) hairstyle in the movie! I tried it out and am happy to report that it is really simple and fun to do! Here’s the link. (Yes, it is supposed to start in the middle)

Nostalgia and Bubbles

14

Image Source indulgy.com

Today. Was. Tiring. I don’t know whether i’m tired because my family babysat two little boys in the morning, or because we watched three little girls in the afternoon, OR because we had all five of them at the same time for a few hours. 😉 Whether or not I’m tired, one thing is for sure, I had a really great day! 🙂

Some days are beautiful because something absolutely amazing happens, or because the whole day is perfect, but some days are beautiful because of their abundance of simple joys.

Have you ever thought about how beautiful bubbles are? The way the morning light hits them when you’re “slicing” them apart with “lightsabers” alongside a four year-old is absolutely beautiful. 🙂 I love bubbles. There is something so lovely and childish and nostalgic about them.

Speaking of nostalgia. Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot is giving me creepy-crawly-nostalgia-feels all over. I am listening to it at. this. moment. It is amazing. You should be listening to it too, because it is such a lovely album! I used to listen to this album on repeat years ago, and it is still amazing!

Hallelujah, I’m caving in. Hallelujah, I’m in love again. Hallelujah, I’m a wretched man. Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance. – Always (From Hello Hurricane)

I think bubbles are beautiful because they seem so magical. Little spheres of soap, floating through the air, clothed in a shimmering, rainbow. How magical is that?

And nostalgia, what a wondrous feeling. The strangest thing is that nostalgia is also a sad feeling. There is something so beautiful in the fact that something as simple as a certain smell, a movie, or anything at all can trigger such an emotional response, (at least in myself) simply because it reminds us of days gone by. The sadness comes when we, inevitably, think about how much we miss the past. That is sad for two reasons:

  1. Those old days really are gone forever… 😥
  2. Sometimes we forget that today can be pretty good as well

I know that nobody lives a perfect life, but we can all choose to be joyful. I think if we are always stuck in the past we forget that our life now is important, because it’s what defines our future. Living in the past is depressing.

That said… how lovely is nostalgia!? I think it’s a lovely feeling, even if it is sad sometimes. Just remember that the rest of you life is ahead of you. Never be so caught up in the past that you can’t see that there are things to do and see here in the present, and dreams to dream of the future.

I’m losing ground and gaining speed. I’ve lost myself, or most of me. I’m headed for the final precipice, but you haven’t lost me yet... I’ll sing until my heart caves in. No, you haven’t lost me yet. Yet (From Hello Hurricane)

Streak: 13 days