Tag Archives: Growing Up

I Can Review That: Friends Who Move

28 Aug

This week we’re reviewing something that has become very relevant lately, especially among the young-adult demographic! Hopefully by the end, I’ll be able to let you know if this is for you or not.

If you missed the introduction to this series and want a refresher on how my reviews work, follow the link to my first I Can Review That. In general, it’s pretty self-explanatory: I review the things that don’t get the type of “ratings”that most entertainment media does. I try to use a topical rating system since the range of subjects is so wide.


I can review that

  1. Presentation 1/5 – This does not appear at first glance to be a productive or fun way to spend time, so presentation is low on this one.
  2. Mouthfeel 4/5 – As generally melancholic as the spirit of this activity was, it was the romantic kind of melancholy, the book was wonderful, and the actor reading it was the perfect choice. Plus the meme was in great taste, of course.
  3. Plot 2/5 – This event did not advance the plot or lead to any positive changes (yet?), so from an efficiency point of view, I can’t say it was the ideal choice, but it was nice interlude to show the mc’s character and motivations.
  4. Softness 5/5 – This was the softest event of my summer thus far. Picture me, sitting on a blanket in my tiny living room, with my reading volume loud as hell as I mumble, “Geez, Miss Angorian, literally every time you show up it’s an imposition, just leave,” and paint a lighthouse on a cool rock I found that morning. Nothing softer.

Overall: 6/10 I enjoyed it and would do it again. If any of you are wondering if it’s worth the trouble to have a cherished one move to another state, I would say to you, do you have control over that? Wow man. You have a lot of power. Anyway,  don’t force your friends away from you – you really need to let them do them. People have to move around to find where they belong and who they belong with, especially in their twenties. It sucks sometimes. You’re going to have plenty of other relationships stretch to uncomfortable lengths whether you like it or not, and you should really appreciate the people in your life while you have them in your life. Then that way, when they’re a little harder to reach than before, at least you get to have moments like these where you just roll around in the good kind of nostalgia and end up with some very cool painted rocks. I think I’m going to mail one to her.

That’s what I would say to you, anyway.

Hope this helps

Auntie Blog

14 Aug

The other day I heard someone react to being called “a mommy blog” with offense and discomfort. Yes, that’s my intro. Let’s dissect.

She was called a mommy blog because she was a mom who ran a blog and who blogged about being a mom. It didn’t seem like an insult. So we can assume one of two things about the woman who took offense:

1. She doesn’t like reading other mommy blogs


2. She thought she ran a different blog

Image result for I've been here gif

In the event of number one, it is fair to say there is a sizable sub-culture of people who hate something, become part of the thing to mock it, and then lose their way. That’s understandable. Hi, I’m Mikayla and I asked someone to take a picture of me dabbing a few weekends ago.

In the event of number two, well, she must have noticed at some point that she was both a mommy and a blogger. (I apologize for saying “mommy” so much)

Look, no judgement either way. But hey, a mommy blogger is not the worst thing to be.

I’ve felt like a mom in disguise ever since my own mother divulged to me that I have the frankly terrifying potential to be one someday. Fortunately, I am not yet qualified to be a mommy blogger, but I am more than cut out to be something very similar.

Auntie blogger.

This market is wide open.

I’ve never heard of an auntie blog before but I’m not naive – this is 2018 and I’m streaming my dumbass thoughts directly into your head via computer pixels, so I’m sure that an auntie blog exists out there. But let’s pretend the impossible has happened and I’ve had an original idea – I’m imagining what an auntie blog would look like and just how amazing I would be at it.

Look, If a mommy blog gets away with the occasional good-natured but dead-serious jab at her kids, how much more could an aunt do it?

mommy blog: “I would die for my kids, but I think they’ll be the death of me first ;)”

auntie blog: “I would die for my nephew, but he is objectively disgusting and if he were to try to touch me after eating, I would for sure punt him as far as I could.”

Mommy blogs write for other moms with advice about how to get their alone time, how to stop tantrums, and what the best kind of snack foods are to keep the kids from getting hyperactive.

Aunts? Could not care less about any of those things.

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If an aunt were running a blog like that, their advice would be about what phrases are funniest to teach kids, and which vines compilations are best suited for littles under seven. If I found a auntie blogger or youtuber who could teach me the sneakiest ways to film my niece when she’s singing without her noticing and stopping immediately, I would be all over it. And don’t tell me that’s creepy. No one is going to believe me when I tell them she knows all the words to “Gloom Boys” and I NEED them to it’s IMPORTANT to me and it SHOULD BE IMPORTANT TO HER BECAUSE THAT’S SICK AND SHE SHOULD BE PROUD

Aunts and uncles need more media-based support! We need advice! Especially for a certain subset of us, who are required to be better aunts and uncles because we’re kidless ourselves.

It’s not that we singles owe any special effort to the kids or to ourselves, but we do owe a debt to someone. We owe a huge, crippling debt to the sibling that bit the bullet and gave our parents grandkids so that the pressure would be off of us.

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For that gift alone, we really have to be amazing.

You know those “if you’re free, thank a veteran” bumper stickers? It’s like that. If you’re watching episodes of the Punisher on full volume in your home that stays clean until you mess it up, thank the brother or sister who spends all their free time raising tiny human beings.

Lastly, a mother’s love is great, but it’s a totally different brand from an aunt’s love. That’s not to say it’s not better, obviously (I have not ever spent 24 hours in excruciating pain in a hospital for my niblings’ sake; and if I ever do, you can bet I’m going to resent them for it), but it is miles different. Kids need moms, but they need tall friends who can tell them stories about their moms too. That’s what I’m here for.

It’s good to have that kind of variety when it comes to affection.

Plus, there’s a bonus for the parents too! Since an aunt’s motherhood is vicarious, all the negative motherhood-related emotions are significantly lessened; shame from over-posting the kids on social media, disgust from cleaning up a toy that has been covered in mysterious slime, frustration from getting an angry two-year-old into bed; it all registers a different way. For us, it’s novelty. But my mom?? and my big sister??? Doing what I choose do for 3 hours a week but every single day and all in a row and because they have to????

Image result for yikes gif

(and also thank you)

I adore my niece and nephew with all my heart. It’s not always fun, but hell if it ain’t good. We as aunts and uncles need to remember that any babysitting now is a direct deposit towards a future good buddy that we might not have to load up a carseat for. That’s enough to keep me going.

Here’s to my fellow aunts and uncles! Here’s to being cool while kids still think we are. Don’t forget: every one of our respective nieces and nephews are the cutest in the world, but mine most of all and the rest of you can get dunked on xoxo

Field Guide to North American Office Staff

7 May

Regardless of how true it is that every person is unique in their experiences, interests, and strengths,  everyone’s had an unexpected deja vu when shaking someone’s hand for the first time.

Whether it’s a face or a personality, humans are always drawing comparisons from people we are meeting to people we already know. That feeling goes away the better you get to know someone, but first impressions take a while to shake, particularly if that impression was that you might as well have already known the person in question.

I’ve worked in a number of offices (Do you like how I won’t reveal how many? I think it’s cute), and I’ve met a number of interesting people there (Do you like how I won’t revealing how many? I think it). What I have really found interesting though, is that you get to meet certain people again and again when you go from office to office.

It may be that a certain kind of person gravitates towards office jobs, or it may just be a small world. You tell me. Here are the people you meet in an office, Five-People-You-Meet-in-Heaven-style.

Related image1. The Walking Dead on AMC

This person shows up bright and early every morning with a face they probably pulled off of someone else for a snack on the way to work. It’s hard to tell if their expression is calm or angry. They seem to know everything; and if they find something they do not know how, they dismiss it as unimportant. How long have they worked here? Longer than anyone can remember.

How to Identify One: Ask them how it’s going. If they’re a Walker, they’ll respond, “Oh. It’s going.” Bonus points awarded if they then proceed to take the longest sip of coffee you’ve ever seen in your life.

Variant: Warm Bodies. This version of the Walking Dead has a heart of gold. Slow and decaying, but golden.

2. I Don’t Break Pens I Destroy Them by Saint MotelImage result for pen chewing gif

This person spends a lot of time on the phone; they spend a lot of that time looking for something to do with their hands. They spend the most time disfiguring, chewing on, and snapping writing utensils into numerous sections. No one is sure if this is a sign of aggression or boredom, but it’s taking its toll on the office either way. The Pen Destroyer will often pat the desk and demand to know where the pen they were using went – it’s on the floor. It’s in eleven pieces.

How to Identify One: Try to check out their pockets or purse before they leave work. Are they sneaking a few pens home for further torture? Report them immediately. This can’t go on.

Variant: Michelangelo. The Michelangelo sub-type couples every phone message with an elaborate drawing of geometric angles and/or anime beta flashes.

Image result for youtube storytime gif3. The Youtuber

No one in the office is sure when, how, or why they know everything about this person’s life, but the fact remains that everyone does. Didn’t the Youtuber just start work last month? Have they been talking the whole time or something? There’s no way that you’ve had enough time to get to know this person as well as you do now. You feel a little creepy for knowing so much about them (and you’re not sure they know anything about you), but they don’t seem to mind. Sharing is caring, after all. They must care so much.

How to identify one: You do not have to observe this person for long to understand where they are on the spectrum of office life. You do have to listen for a while, however.

Variant: Olan Rogers. The stories an Olan Rogers Youtuber tells are off the wall. You know you found one of this sort if you actively avoid work so that they can keep talking.

4. TobyImage result for the office toby gif

They’re like…. an evil snail. You hate so much of the things that they choose to be. Why are they the way that they are?

How to identify one: Chances are if there is a Toby in your life, you already have them in mind. You don’t need my help here.

Variant: Michael Scott. This is more of a reflection upon the person identifying than it is upon the identified. It signifies the moment when you realize that the person is no worse than you are but maybe you’re kind of a jerk. However, sometimes people are just evil snails; that’s the way the world is, son.

Image result for mom gif5. Mom

Don’t be fooled – this is not a gendered role within the office. Male or female, the mom is the only one a Walker will go to for help, and the only person that doesn’t seem fazed by any of Toby’s Toby-ness. They know where all the pens are and they have the courage to tell the Youtuber when it’s time to just hush, please, for the love of all that is holy. They’re the person you would talk to if you were calling in sick, and the person who would definitely bring cough drops for you when you came in afterwards.

How to identify one: This person is between the ages of 35 and 56. They’re always busy because they’re working through a long line of people trying to get advice, training, and hugs from them.

Variant: Mom, but Mad. You’ll know this one when you see it. Don’t use that tone of voice around her.

This handy identification guide should get you through your first few days near a cubicle. It’s good to have some familiarity right off the bat, but please avoid my mistakes and enjoy responsibly; like anything that generalizes human souls into nifty pop culture references, it has an expiration date and goes sour the second you realize that the people around you are people too (yeah, even the zombies).

Happy Almost-Monday!

Real Life?

19 May

(Click here for this post’s year-old predecessor)

My current moment of celebration has been brought to us by this fact: I graduated high school last Friday night. 

It follows then, that now I’ve been on the receiving end of a surplus of advice and/or inspiring comments. I’ve been told both that my life has finally begun and that nothing really changes after graduation (Don’t be a motivational speaker, friend). Mm, and yes, my college plans have been questioned seventy-nine times in the past three days.

But even that is not enough to bring me down at the moment. I had a blast graduating, I did so with some terribly cool people, and I am super stoked to no longer be asked what school I go to, or what I’m doing after graduation. (the spirit of the second question will still be present often, but I choose to at least appreciate the change of tense)

I am no longer a high schooler. 

This is joyous news.

But I have a mission in today’s post, one that I must not forget – the geek speech. I mentioned this topic last year, when I got super stoked about putting fandom references in my grad speech and wrote a post (linked above) about how I would let you in on it someday.

That day is here. I have linked every otherwise-unidentified reference for explanation purposes.


*pats microphone*

First off, what a turnout!

How wild is this, huh?

All we did was complete twelve years of schooling. And now look at us. Dressed in glorified trash bags. How far we’ve come.

But where to begin on the list of people we couldn’t have done this without?

I do feel like it would be an injustice not to give a shout-out to my school curriculum, so as much as I’d like to ignore Abeka and Saxon, I do have to say thank you to Adventures in Odyssey and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego for being the thinly-veiled education machines that made up a good chunk of the important things I learned in my school years.

And of course, I have been immeasurably blessed by the people in my life. My friends are the best, most fantastic friends I could ask for, and my family is beyond marvelous. I can not say enough good things about them, and I could not have hoped for anyone better to be raised around. My parents, especially, have been so much better to me than I deserve. I want you all to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are loved. By so many, and so much, and by no one more than me – except maybe One. I thank the Lord for you daily, which leads to the next order of business – thanking the Creator who made every bit of this possible. Thank you for your strength, your wisdom, your unconditional love, and of course, for this moment. For all these bright young men and women who are ready to get down to business to defeat the tons of opposition that we may face.

After all, the protagonist of every story finds herself in a battle at some point.

And we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one. Cos it is, you know? It’s the best. Remember, all of our stories have already been written by the best author our universe has ever produced – or, actually, the best author that ever produced our universe. And stories are not meant only to entertain, but to teach. There are lessons in stories. The moral of the Three Bears, for instance, is never break into someone else’s house. The moral of Snow White is never eat apples. The moral of WWI is never assassinate the Archduke Ferdinand. What will our stories tell others? That’s up to us. But we really ought to make it interesting, make it inspiring. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. And you know God does not create anything that doesn’t make some sort of glorious difference in the world. After all, no artist can resist signing his work.

The world didn’t come with any extra parts, but it didn’t come with any that were interchangeable either.

We all have something that no one else has, and that thing is exactly what the world needs, and the thing we need to give away.

In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” This place is not our home. But any good houseguest knows that you should leave a place in better condition than when you first arrived in it. It’s no different here – except that you don’t usually find opposition when you try to clean a guesthouse.

The world, however, will do what it does best and tell us to do what everyone else is doing, and to stick to the status quo but the status is not quo. The world is a mess, and we just need to… school it. It is our job to educate the world, to go and make disciples. Be fishermen, be fishers of men. So we’ll beat on, boats against the current. And, I don’t know, fly casual.

Madeleine L’engle once said, fittingly, “When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up, we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

This isn’t my favorite truth to accept, but it’s definitely a pre-requisite. I don’t pretend to be grown-up now, but I know I’m on that road. I mean, all children, except one, grow up, but our pace on that journey, the way we deal with the walk, who we become along the way is all on us. And this milestone we call graduation, it means growing up far, far less than it represents it.

Regardless of age, you have always been important, you have always been something. Age just reveals the facts that always were, and experience uncovers the you that always was. Never let people look down on you because you are young. Set an example.

And if you’re ever discouraged, the world gets on your back, and you find yourself beating yourself up and saying that now would be a really good time for you to grow up – don’t ever allow yourself to be downtrodden. Growing up is an adventure, not a destination – and that’s your secret.

You’re always growing up.

Thanks for sticking with me today and for the past years.

Catch… you… later.


In closing, I just want to extend the warmest thank you to my excellent friends who used the moment after to yell out,

“No you won’t!”

Sweet Spot

20 Mar

Today’s post requires an explanation. 

I’m taking a class at a local Christian College (the Kilns) called Personal Calling and Mission. For the midterm project, everyone had to give a “sweet spot” presentation to illustrate what each individual was passionate about, and to apply learned concepts in the class. The following post was my sweet spot presentation (given in speech form), so know before you dive in: It has nothing to do with pop culture, it’s quite personal, has no pictures, and, for a blog post of mine, it’s lengthy, my friend.

Quite lengthy. Should you choose to proceed, do so with caution.


I have a name, but it might tell you more if I told you something different about myself: I am an INFP. According to the well-known Briggs Myers personality test, that stands for Introvert, Intuition, Feeling, and Perceiving.

In my case, or a condensed version of it, that means I’m a sappy, wildly imaginative person who’s bad at small talk and has a sometimes questionable work ethic.

I admit to a certain amount of temptation during the test to manipulate my answer. I was kind of hoping for a different personality type. I didn’t have a certain one in mind, but I was shooting for a specific niche, a sort of divergent style of personality with a whole new combination of letters (e.g., WOW), and it would lead to a secret encoded page in the back of the book that said, you were meant to do, no doubt about it, [fill in the blank].

That didn’t happen.

I actually ended up with the same personality as someone else in the class, which kind of felt whatever the opposite of empowering is.

I found myself wishing, against all the force of my common sense, that I had gone first so I didn’t, heaven forbid, look like a copycat. To explain away that last statement, I want to remind you, I’m the youngest of three daughters, and the closest in my family to being a toddler.

My prologue to this class, Personal Calling and Mission, starts several weeks ago. I was looking over the term’s available classes with a friend, and she pointed to one I was thinking of taking, and asked if at the end of the class, someone was going to hand me a slip of paper identifying my true calling in life.

I responded, pretending to joke around, “I certainly hope so.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t continue to hope so throughout the class.

A lot of things scare me, but few so much as the future and the massive and potentially damaging effect that I am capable of having on it. This fear, I’m sorry to say, definitely crept into my early approach to the class. For example, as I was writing down my five-year-out goals, I initially held back – because what if, in five years, I look back on these goals and haven’t accomplished them? Are my grades in this class dependent on the 22-year-old me being a successful adult? I feel very uncomfortable placing so much responsibility with someone I have yet to meet.

I think that says a lot about me.

And whose goals and priorities don’t shift through the years?

When I was about seven years old, I wanted to be a professional singer. I sang all the time, to the point where my parents were forced to institute a “no-singing” rule at the dinner table. Of course it seemed like the eventual best choice to sing and get paid for it. That’s what a life calling is all about, anyway, right?

Today, due to many, many issues with it for me, the singing dream is gone. But one thing that stands out to me about that age in my life is from when that dream was still alive and well.  I had just told an older friend about my aspiration, and she replied,

“Well, every little girl wants to be a singer.”

True. But few things really tear down a dream like being told that the dream is commonplace – and not only commonplace, but a rite of passage, a phase that you’ll eventually get over.

I’ll concede that it was a realistic point of view, but in the worst way. Reality has its place, and that place is at least three kingdoms away from the hopes and dreams of seven-year-olds.

Furthermore, I believe I stressed earlier that the last thing I don’t want to believe that I am a copycat. I’ve certainly never wanted to believe that I belong in a collective group entitled, “every little girl,” a group that will one day collectively grow up and develop realistic aims.

I find, however, that that little soundbyte has stuck with me.

Of course, it’s been several years and dozens of “when I grow up”s since then. I’ve been through detective, spy, librarian, waitress, receptionist, married to a rich guy, masked vigilante, and coroner, but as of the past few years, I believe God is calling me to write in some fashion. I would love that to include a career as an author or screenwriter, but I haven’t gotten to look at God’s road map yet.

It’s wonderful to know at least a facet of your calling, and to be able to meet with others who seem to have the same one. I have a lot of writer friends – being a writer surrounded by writers is the best thing in the world in a way. There’s a whole community of people who think like you, share ambitions with you, and can help you, but in other, more selfish ways, there’s also a downside. For example, you see firsthand just how much better your friends are than you at doing the thing you love. You see how many people there already are in the career field, doing the thing you love, and then, if you’re me, there’s also a little voice that chirps every so often in the back of your head,

“Well, every little girl wants to be a writer.”

Even without the original statement that this one is derived from, I believe I would still feel this particular anxiety. It’s a very me fear. I’ve already said I don’t want to be in the “Every Little Girl” class, but it it’s even worse to worry that I won’t even be part of the acceptably gifted ones in that class. The writers that inspire me so much are the ones I’m terrified to be compared to.

As a result of this sort of fear, I have found myself in a trap: believing that to succeed in my own eyes means to succeed in the eyes of everyone else. Therefore, to improve in this area, I start to think that everything about me has to point toward my someday writing something that everyone will like.

Earlier in the class, when we were writing our short-term and long-term goals, I remember being a little bit disappointed with mine, as they turned out to have nothing whatsoever to do with what I want to be when I grow up. However, if I have learned anything in this class, it’s that “what I am when I grow up” does not stop or start with a career. It’s just in the mix somewhere. Furthermore, if our primary calling is to make God happy and my principal aim is to make strangers like me, then I’m doing it very wrong. Why would the opinion of a clay pot mean more to me than the opinion of its potter?

Everyone has their own areas of expertise and “transferable skills,” as the class text, Live Your Calling calls them, and there’s only one opinion of how we use ours that should matter to us: the One who created them.

My transferable skills started with writing, editing, and designing/creating for preferred career inclusions.

Those three are  things I love – and coincidentally, things that seem to fit well into my personality type.

The book’s description for INFP said, among other things, that this particular group of people care intensely for people and ideas, and are drawn to careers in which they can foster growth and development in others. I really found this to be true in me.

Now first: Lord knows I am not exactly qualified to be the wellspring of growth and development. I still get a stomachache when I think about paying bills, and I’m undoubtedly long overdue for most of my impending maturity. But what I do learn, I want to pass on. And what I have learned, I have always learned through what I love: through stories, and though words.

The whole art of words has grown and evolved, and it is always shifting into some new, beautiful medium to touch more people. You must love words; you must love the magic of communication to learn.

Words were never meant to be kept silent. If something is worth writing down, it is worth being sung, spoken, shouted, or whispered. More often than not, it is the verbalization that makes the words something special. As flames lick at anything to come too close, voices ignite words with a new life, unlocking the potential energy and turning it kinetic.

You won’t ever be able to avoid it– there’s a sanctity in words, and we’ve all experienced its glory. Even if that’s not something you tend to think about, you will always notice when that glory is spoiled. For example, I feel I can safely assume that all of us have had that terrible moment, in a classroom, in a Sunday school, in a club, etc. The group is eventually asked to volunteer to read a selection out loud and as that one kid raises his hand, he lifts up the words in print, and he slays them. Every word containing over seven letters has been stretched to an unbearable seven syllables, punctuated with question marks and nervous laughter.

In that moment, as you try in vain to block out the near heretical voice, you realize there is something magical in words written and spoken well, and it doesn’t take much to break the spell.

People have used words to build wonderful causes for the advancement of good and to raise armies of terrible evil in equal measure.

The gift of words is so powerful that God literally filled volumes with his own purest and truest of words just for us.

How crazy is that?

One of the best bits for me in those heaven-inspired volumes is in Deuteronomy 31:8. It says, “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be discouraged.”

I always feel, when I read my Bible and trip over a verse about fear, anxiety, and discouragement, that God is trying to kindly slap me in the face. I do find most things terrifying, and as I said earlier, one of the primary subjects in that broad “most things” category is the future.

My typical strategy for overcoming fear or discomfort is pretending the cause of that fear or discomfort does not exist.

For a very vivid example, when my dog, whom my family and I had had for as long as I can remember, died, I didn’t even tell my oldest and closest friends about it for a week or longer. My infallible logic was that if I didn’t think about it or admit it, it didn’t have to have happened, and I didn’t need to be sad about it.

That might be more sad than pathetic if it happened years and years ago, but it didn’t. It happened last August.

So it follows that when I’m scared of the future, I tend to pull on my forever-young attitude and pretend none of my questionable and lazy choices will ever have an adverse effect on my life.

One of my core values, as I found during the course of this class, is laughter/fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that – but when it starts to take precedence over another of my core values, truth, then there is a serious problem.

That’s what I’m trying to change. If anxiety and the avoidance of it is the driving force in my decisions, then I’m not going to live up the potential God created me for.

That’s what I love about Deuteronomy 31:8; it’s tailor-made for fearful people. It says “He goes before you.” God is with you now, absolutely. But not only that – he’s already been there with you. He’s been there before you, with you, and after you. He is eternal – no matter how much we’ve messed up and we will mess up, we are incapable of messing Him up. He created us on purpose, and He personally tuned our unique weaknesses and strengths. He knows very well what we can’t handle, and He’s given us every gift that we possess to handle what we can. There’s no way you can cling onto God’s arm too hard. If you were to even ask Him to carry you for a while, He wouldn’t refuse.

He hasn’t refused so far.

He knows this path, and He’s far steadier on it than you or I will ever need to be.

Every little girl wants someone like that.

I know I am beyond blessed to be one of His little girls, and I believe that knowing that is the first half of anyone living their calling.

The rest is faith.


18 Jul

“I find,” Clent murmured after a pause, “that it is best to treat borrowed time the same way as borrowed money. Spend it with panache, and try to be somewhere else when it runs out.” ~Eponymous Clent

I absolutely love this quote from Fly by Night by Francis Hardinge. And, fun fact if you’re interested in languages: this quote translates into modern English as “YOLO.”

In case you have been living in the mountains for the past few years, YOLO stands for “You Only Live Once,” and it has become the hashtag for doing stupid things. (No, mountain person, I’m not going to explain hashtags to you. Figure that one out yourself.)

The thinking behind this is that we are young, and we have one life, so… we should make bad decisions?

… For the sake of telling interesting stories later?


That’s not what it should mean.

Speaking as a teenager, I know for a fact that one of the things we hate the most is being treated like children. But if we act like children, then why shouldn’t we be treated as such? If we want to spend so much time asserting our youth with childish actions, then we kind of deserve the down-talk our generation gets.

I’m not talking “acting like children” when we go see Monsters Univeristy in theaters (no judgment, I did that the other day) or when we blow bubbles in public (even less than no judgment) or when we read kids’ lit just to feel like a nine-year-old again (one of the best things you can do). I’m talking about a lack of foresight. I’m talking about doing things without a thought of others or for the consequences; I’m talking about doing things for the sake of mere rebellion.

Child-like innocence is lovely, child-like joy is radiant, and child-like wonder is magical. Child-like reasoning is something no one desires.

One of my favorite scripture verses is 1st Timothy 4:12, which says,

” Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”

Let no one look down on you because you are young; but first, what I need to remember is to not give people a reason to look down on me because I am young.

Because, lesbihonest: #YOLO is not a bad thing.

YOLO is a good reason to live intentionally, to do good, and to have fun.

However, YOLO is not a good reason to act like a moron.

To quote Bill Copeland,

“How strange to use ‘You only live once’ as an excuse to throw it away.”

YOLO is a reminder to make the most of your life, and neither YOLO nore youth is an excuse to do thoughtless things. Or, at least, they’re not good ones.

Youth is given to us as an on-ramp to being adults, and if we’re not speeding up properly, we’re gonna get run over when we hit the parkway. It’s gonna be a mess, and we’re gonna back up traffic for hours, and everyone who has to take a detour is going to grumble and curse our names as they attempt to maneuver a new route. They’ll probably be late for dinner because of us. That’s not something anyone wants on their conscience.

That metaphor ran away with me.

Sorry about that.

Let me try again.

*clears throat*

You Only Live Once.

And my greatest wish is that none of us be remembered as the person who didn’t care about it.

Real Life

27 May

Last Saturday evening, I watched seventeen homeschool kids graduate from high school.

For me, it was mainly a two hour long reminder that next year, it’s my turn.

And then I have to start thinking about real life.

Be right back, I have to stress-eat myself into a stupor.

I was just talking to Invisible Woman about this, as she is graduating in my year. As we stood in a room crowded with people congratulating our friend who starts college soon, Invisible Woman said, “It seems like, as I get older, the graduates keep getting younger.” Right? I thought it would take forever to get to graduating age. Spoiler alert: It took a lot less time than that.

So let’s get serious. I suppose it’s time now. It’s time to start planning my life.

Whoa, slow down. Not that serious. I’m thinking as far ahead as graduation ceremony speech. Let’s not get carried away, here.

One thing is known about my speech so far (besides the pre-requisite thanking of my enormously spectacular parents and Creator). It must be one of the nerdiest things I’ve ever written. I want it to be subtle enough that non-fangirls and boys will just think that the speech is riddled with oddly-put cliches, but to those in the know – every word a reference. There should be Doctor Who and Lemony Snicket and Disney and Sherlock and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dr. Horrible and Fawlty Towers and Star Wars. There needs to be random selections spoken in a British accent and others to be pronounced as if I were Will Ferrell. And if I can blackmail one of my friends into completing a quote for me from the audience, I most definitely will.

I want to warn you all. I just might try the speech out on you to see how it goes over.

Graduation day is your last hurrah to your school days before something like real life begins (which I am, in fact, going to try to start planning), is it not? So what is the point in its being superfluously “adult”?

The day may come when I must act like a grown-up, but it is not that day!

That day we fight graduate!

The Mind of a Child

1 May

Some things are just easy to complain about.

There are some things that nearly everyone has had a bad experience with, like slow internet, telemarketers, or Adam Sandler. Another one of those things is very young children.

People are always complaining about kids. If I only had reports of kids to go on, I would probably believe that everyone under the age of nine was a murderous elf. Common complaints include “They’re selfish,” “They’re dumb,” and “They’re murderous elves,” and even though  these things can occasionally be true, people tend to forget how fabulous kids can be.

As grown-ups, jokes have to be “funny” to be laughed at, activities can’t involve imaginary pirates or time travel, and not all drama can be handled with bubbles (thankfully, some drama can still be handled with bubbles, if you just so happen to carry them with you everywhere you go). If you ask me, this greatly limits human interaction.

A four-year-old with whom I was playing house decided that our characters in the game should watch TV. Not allowed to watch any more real TV that day, we set up a fake one and sat down in front of it to stare for about ten minutes. I let him know I was changing the channel to Doctor Who, and then pointed and laughed. “What? What happened?” he asked. I told him that the Doctor had said, “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey… stuff.” He laughed for longer than I did the first time I heard it (that’s a long time).

I’m still not sure if he was being polite or if he genuinely found the words “wibbly wobbly” hilarious, but either way, he was a very good sport.

At my last choir practice, one of the guitar players brought his daughter, so he give his eight-year-old an iPad to entertain herself. After playing with it for about two minutes, she put it down and played the bongos instead. I applaud you, Guitar Dad. You raised a daughter that will put an iPad down without being commanded to.

These instances restored my faith in the next generation. However, while I’m stressing how under-appreciated the minds of children are, I should also probably mention their dark side.

As easy as it is to forget how wonderful a child’s imagination is, we really mustn’t forget how diabolical they can be as well. I mean, think about it. Who’s the scariest person in nearly every horror movie? I’ll give you a hint – it’s no one taller than four feet.

One terrifying instance I recently experienced was while I was helping babysit a class of nine kids. One six-year-old in particular is the rowdiest, and we’ll call him Carson. All of the other children were eating their snack while he stood in the middle of the room spinning in circles, swinging something invisible around. It soon became obvious that it was a weapon. A sword. Two of them, it appeared.

Carson thrust the invisible weapons in a V formation into the air directly in front of him, tensed, struggled, and then threw his arms out to the side with a grunt of effort. My eyes widened in horror. This was one of the occasions where I’m not very proud of my imagination. In that moment, I didn’t see a kid playing pretend. I saw a six-year-old cutting a grown man in half. I saw blood everywhere, and a delighted six year old in my care standing over a dead body.

I was babysitting an early-years version of Deadpool.

This explanation makes way more sense than it should.

A few weeks later, another kid in the class, five or four, was coloring a sheet of a happy boy and girl under an arch of words about God’s love. Little Jonah, smiling, selected a black marker, and proceeded to color both illustrated children head to toe with darkness. “They’re melting!” he told me. “His face is melting, and his eyes are melting, and his brain is melting…” he adopted a high-pitched voice, “Help, I’m meltiiiing!”

Cue the nervous laughter as I slowly back into a corner.

If you take anything away from this post, take this: next time you want to complain about kids, remember – not only are they more wonderful than you are giving them credit for, but they could also plan your untimely demise and  they would probably get away with it.

That is all.

Now run along and play nice with the others.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

11 Apr

When I was twelve years old, I got into a strange bout of entertainment depression. I’d come to the conclusion that no books and very few movies were interesting enough to hold my attention. During that bout, somewhere in late winter, I was browsing the children’s section of my library with little hope of finding anything suitable to my frighteningly picky desires. That was when I found the book series (authored by Joe Craig) that defined my literature experience for nearly a year.

Jimmy Coates: Assassin, the first in an eight-book series about an eleven-year-old boy with a mysterious secret: he’s not human. Well, not entirely, anyway. Jimmy’s DNA can be traced back to a test tube in a laboratory. Designed with stunning intricacy, Jimmy is a mere 38% human, the other 62% genetically modified assassin, created by the British government for the British government. Jimmy is programmed to be a fully functional killer by the age of eighteen, his human thoughts to be completely swamped by the killer inside. But that killer is not who Jimmy is. Even though his powers have been activated [very] early due to unforeseen dangers, eleven-year-old Jimmy will fight against the government, even against himself if he must, to escape a destiny that he has forsaken.

And there it is. That is all I ever wanted to read for a year. I don’t think I have to explain how much of an identity crisis I had when I realized that when I grew up I only wanted to be 38% human. But that’s not what this is about. This is about patience and how it pays off.

When I finished what was published of the series (book six of eight), I was thirteen years old.

I’m sixteen years old now. No new books have come out yet.

Obviously, I’ve read different books since then – the series helped me come out of my anti-book shell. But no new Jimmy was read. Not until now. Just a little while ago I learned that the next in the series, Jimmy Coates: Blackout, is being published in June. June. This June.

I’m no longer a part of this book’s intended audience, thanks to the extra three years the waiting process provided.

I’m much too old for Jimmy now, and the crush I used to have on him has been rendered rather inappropriate.

I don’t even remember how the last book ended.

But there is no way these things are going to stop me. Come June, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of that book whether I like it or not. Twelve-year-old me would be so proud.

All this to say, friends, family, and Fangirls, waiting pays off.

So hang in there, Sherlockians. (or should I say Holmesless Network?)

Your time is coming too.