Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bite Size

 It's a simple fact that bite sized midnight milky ways are even better than the full size candy bar. Okay, it's a 'simple fact' that my opinion is such at any rate. Not that I'm not hating on the full size version of my favorite candy bar, just saying that bite size is an even better thing. Why? Because there's more semisweet chocolate to marshmallowy nougat ratio. It's perfect. And given that it's a darn good candy bar to begin with, improving on greatness in a bite sized snippet like that is pretty impressive.

 Another area where I've discovered the beauty of a snippet is in postcards. I used to be of the mind that a letter worth writing was worth writing long. To be worthy of sending I thought I needed to embark on a veritable novel. Apparently I had not yet stumbled upon Blaise Pascal's words, “I'm sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn't have time to write a short one.” In the last couple of years though I've discovered that I enjoy simply hearing from someone, and small notes from dear friends make me very happy. Along with this I recognized what a great little thing postcards are and started sending more of them and notes too. A postcard is  agreat little snippet because it can bring the receiver a bit of where you are in a visual sense as well as forcing the writer to either focus on a single moment or edit a full experience into a few sentences. It's a great exercise in editing yourself. Which is something that I could often use.
 "Bite sizes" are on my brain because of the inspiration of a wonderful woman whose radio ministry I benefit from- Joni Erickson Tada. Joni's ministry, Joni & Friends, includes daily encouragements & devotionals in 5 & 1 minutes segments. I used to hear her as a kid when WCRH was on at our house and when I was living in NYC last year I rediscovered these clips online. Keeping on track & motivated was often difficult in the Big Apple and I was looking for something to spurn me on. Dragging myself out of bed to get to Manahattan and the stockrooms at Macy's it was great to be able to listen to Joni remind me of the goodness of Christ, and Whose I am, and encourage me in living in the light. And because I often got up twenty minutes before I needed to head out the door it was great to know there was something short but meaningful to help start my day right.

 While listening to her out of the blue the other day-it had been a while since I'd listened to a clip- I found it inspiring that she was faithful to this part of her ministry that looks like such a small thing time wise but has a big impact.  It made me start wondering what I could do in five minutes. In one minute. Mostly in terms of what skills and gifts God has given me to use. Where can those go?Writing a full length play seems daunting. But can I get onto working some sketches? What can I do in bite sizes? 
 Not just me though. The reason Joni's work is so effective is because it is centered in God in Christ. It's not just her work. She's doing it but it's the work God gave her to do. That's something crucial for me to remember as I look to work on bitesizes. So I'm going to be praying about & taking action in bitesizes. Because little midnight milky ways are delightful.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chcolate Pudding and Sunday Musings

I'm washing dishes when I hear my laptop give a subtle but firm
indicating something is wrong. The first one I notice but it doesn't faze me too much.
When the warnings continue into 2. 3, 4 I'm slightly baffled and curious given that I haven't been on my computer in about 20 minutes and no one else is touching it. I glance over and find that in actual fact that assertion is wrong. Because there's little Lily (who is undergoing a potential and trial name change. Mom thinks maybe 'Lily' is a little too soft and delicate for our wild little bit. I wonder why.) round and rounding on my keyboard trying to curl up for a nap and with my laptop protesting more and more frequently. This is after all the device I chased her around with the other night trying to get her picture. Obviously it's a landing pad for curious little kittens, and just the right size too.

 Upon rescuing said laptop I found that the touch pad was off, the keyboard not typing and the wireless disabled. sigh. Well sigh and laugh. The cat did inadvertently teach me some features on my laptop I was unaware of and all problems are now fixed.
 It's a beautiful Sunday with blue skies and no humidity. Sitting outside this morning it was actually even a little cool and I was reminded of fall days. Two times in particular. One from here at the Burrow the fall before I left for AmeriCorps. The feeling of doing a show I loved, a bag of great hand me downs, Halloween at our house, the great big spider web we made between two trees in the front yard, home school Mom's proclaiming my black outfit made me look like a New York actress. The feeling of home and doing what I loved.
The other a fall visit to Charlottesville, the nourishment of familiar camaraderie with an old friend, tea and talks, walk by the river with Bonnie and Maggie May. An October birthday and red lentil stew. The feeling of happy comfortable friendship.
In both, belonging.
 I love the fall and fall memories.
 This morning may or may not have started with chocolate pudding. Let's say it's safe to go with the first. I found an incredibly simple and delicious recipe for chocolate pudding on a Paleo website. For chocolate pudding it's fairly healthy too. If not healthy then certainly guilt free. Depending on what kind of coconut milk you use (I'd used unsweetened.) if you use good dark chocolate and good vanilla then the only sugar is from the chocolate and that is very minimal sugar. And in my opinion when it's dark and good quality the pros outweigh the cons anyway.
 Anyway, long and short is take
2 cans of coconut milk
2 cups of dark chocolate chips
1 dash vanilla
(the recipe called for cinnamon too but the Whitacre women decided to forgo such a silly interruption to chocolate.)
Combine the milk and choc over med low heat and add the vanilla. The recipe wasn't specific about how long to heat it so I just went until the chips had melted and a little longer. Really I think you can just go til the ingredients melt and combine. (only I could turn this simple recipe into a 4 paragraph novel.)
 Then pour it into some dishes, cover them and stick em in the fridge.
 You're supposed to wait about 2 hours but I think I barely made holding off that long. At that point it was fairly thin in consistency but not exactly liquid. It tasted delicious. The longer it sat the more pudding like and firm it got but really I think the 2 hour mark was the best tasting one even though it was thinner.

 So yeah. Chocolate for breakfast. Yum
 Happy Sunday!

*Oh and 'Lily's' potential name switch is Ysma. Like Eartha Kitz's character from 'The Emperor's New Groove' who incidentally turns into a small cute cat. Lots of vivacity & wildness shrunk to a cute small kitten. Possibly perfect.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Long Time No Post

Good grief Charlie Brown, I knew I hadn't posted in a while but January?! I say again, good grief! So essentially this whole year, of which we are eight whole months in, I have not posted a single post. That's rather silly. Particularly because in many ways I've really had a stellar year.

 In February I started dating a handsome cellist. I've known him for three years and liked him from the start. We met through Masterworks and share a great group of friends, including several who have long been rooting for the possibility of this relationship.

   March took me back to the SeaBird and Baja where we had incredible encounters with grey whales and I got to kiss one. I beamed for hours. During this boat stint I reunited with some old boat friends and worked with a new group that was the most team oriented and positive group of stews I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

 After a break at home for Easter and a trip to Cleveland to see Bobby (he would be the cellist), May took me back to the boat in Alaska. Despite the magic of kissing whales in Baja during this short fill in stint I saw the best sight I've ever seen while working on the boat, and one of the top moments of my life; my Mom on the Sitka dock. Doors opened, God provided, prayers were answered, crazy awesome things fell in line and my Mom got to join me for the last week of my stint in AK.

It. Was. Awesome.

The weather was unbelievably good- we'd had so much rain the previous two trips, nearly every day, and hardly any for her trip. We saw actual sunshine multiple times. The guests were a good group and Mom and I both met several neat people. And the animal sightings which would have been excellent for any Alaska trip, were unreal for this early in the season. To go into it all would take far too long for this little sum up but we had a grand time & even got to fly back together.
There was only a little sadness in the venture and that was for my poor Dad who missed Mom so much I'm not sure he'll ever let her out of sight again. They're pretty cute on being reunited though.

Most recently was Masterworks where instead of the theatre program I nannied for my good friend (and veritable little sister) Kaelen and her precocious two year old Abel. He's has the biggest vocabulary of any toddler I know and says the most clever little things. My favorites from our time together were "I miss my Mommy. Do you miss your Bobby?" and
 "I'm grumpy too. Wanna snuggle?"
"Call me Mr. Suwah (Sir)"

It was really good to be with Kaelen again, to talk late at night and fall into our old rhythm of friendship as if we see one another everyday. And it was good to be around such great fellowship of old Masterworks friends, and new ones too, and to be encouraged in my walk with God. And seeing my boyfriend every day? That wasn't half bad either.

So now it's back at home before I move to Cleveland in two weeks. Sam and I have been playing bananagrams and watching Psych episodes and I got to visit the Howlett family and my beautiful *nieces, Scott and Corey from Belhaven, Alexandra and her family.

 There have been lots of mini adventures in between, things learned, good visits, new people, times of quiet. And hard stuff too. Even with all the happenings that make this year so grand, I've been struggling too- particularly after NY- with a sort of numbness. Mostly that's been in regards to acting but other things too. I think it's breaking up some though, for which I'm glad, and I'm very much looking forward to a new move to Cleveland in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for reading~

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things that fall on your head in the night

Late last night I opened the fridge to put away some left out item and was shocked to feel something tumble down, graze my head, and hit the floor. I thought it was a bottle or some such refrigerator item until I looked down and saw for a brief second sprawled on four paws our new kitten, Lily. I only just caught the glimpse of her and laughed at a cat having just fallen on my head and the look of both of us so surprised before she sprinted away.

Lily is part Siamese and a new edition to the Burrow as of this week. I'm not really big on cats, or pets at all really, but she is truly a cutie. As I type she's perched once again on top of the refrigerator watching Lukas on the computer and peering down at what ever interesting- or not- is going on down below. Several times today cereal boxes have hit the floor as she makes herself comfortable on her new perch and knocks them over. She also fell on Mom's head this morning.

She is a wild thing and we found out her first night here that if it moves, that's where she is. Samuel and I funneled this discovery into our own entertainment by inventing a new game we call "volley cat". It sounds much worse then it is. Sam sat on his bed and I sat on mine- they're parallel to each other in his room. Lily would start on one bed and the person on the opposite bed would rustle either sleeping bag or sheet- whatever fabric makes the most noise- and she would pounce across the room to that bed. Then the other person would begin the same thing immediately as she hit the opposite bed and she'd pounce back again. We wore out before she did.

The origin of the term cat nap has become apparent too. During one round of volley cat we thought we'd tuckered her out because she finally stretched herself out on my bed and was still. For approximately two minutes when she came back with renewed energy.

She was such a doll we really wanted her to stay in the room for the night but I had concerns about that prospect.
"Sam I'm afraid we're going to squish her."
It was at this point past two in the morning. Volley cat had really kept us occupied.
 He laughed at me. "Then put her out." He didn't seem as worried about squishing as I did. She's just so tiny!
 "You're not afraid you're going to squish her?"
 He laughs again. "If you're worried about it just per her out Faith."
 "Okay. I want her to stay, I just don't want to squish her."
So we put her out.
"She's putting her paws under the door." said Sam
"meow" said Lily.
 "meow! meow! meo..."
"We won't squish her!" I yelled passionately & opened the door.
 That lasted for about two hours of restless sleeping on everyone's part. Lily slept but kept moving from bed to bed. Sam couldn't sleep because she'd lay right on his chest and he suddenly understood the squish fear factor. I eventually couldn't breath from the newness of cat fur. So out she went with loud protest from her. I suppose she eventually found another place to happily sleep though because the meows did stop.

 She's now reclining on her back as if sunbathing on top of the fridge. Absolutely an adorable feline.

(*This is rather an odd picture but I have some battlewounds trying to get a picture of the car with a not particularly mobile webcam.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Works For You?

Isn’t it funny how one little thing can open up a door of motivation or inspiration? I’ve been feeling unmotivated lately. This week I made a phone call to a friend and left a silly message using our 'back porch' accent. Suddenly I felt like I could write, like I wanted to say things, do things. Like waking up on the right side of the bed. (Currently if I wake up on the wrong side I hit the wall. Literally I mean.) Other funny things will open up doors of inspiration too, or the feeling of being yourself again, a reminder that life is hopeful, that what seemed unsolvable now has possibility. Sunshine in dark cobwebby corners.

On this topic of motivation…how do you discover the best way that they personally work? I remember in college a professor recommending to a classmate that instead of doing something this way (say plowing through, sticking to one thing until finished, etc.) because of his personality he should try stepping outside the ‘norm’ and do it this other way (working in bursts of time, not holding to just one project.) Using what works for you instead of adhering to what you consider the ‘right’ way to do something can increase your productivity not to mention relieving self placed pressure. I say this like I know, I’m guessing that this would be true.

When I was in YWAM our first few weeks were for class time and lectures. Before we started our leaders talked to us about how different people learn in different ways. We were given permission to stand and walk around if it didn’t bother our teachers and if it helped us to concentrate/take it in. We also had things like stress balls, things that could keep our hands busy if we were tactile learners. And some people do best with the good old fashioned sit still and listen. I recently heard someone echo what my best friend in college told me in regards to studying- how if you just paid attention in class you shouldn't’t have problems. But while that worked for him, I can pay attention, I can listen, I can take notes, but it does not mean that I will absorb. Maybe part of that is over stressing, and feeling like I won’t absorb it. Perfection poison.

I feel like I get stuck trying to do things the way I think they should be done, the way they ‘ought’ to be done, when maybe that’s just blocking me and isn’t beneficial. Where’s the line between discipline and trying to force a mold that isn’t working? Thoughts?