Lovely Verse.

IMG_1606

Poetry is such an understated, under appreciated type of writing. I was privileged to do a summer program for, I suppose you could call us “scholarly” high school students, and during this program around 350 sixteen or seventeen year-olds spent five weeks on a college campus getting a taste of what college would be like. We had classes that we signed up for, and events to go to. There were many speakers and performers, and it was truly one of the best times of my life. During this time the class I chose was “creative writing” because I had come from a family of writers and thought it would be fun. My teacher came in the first day, wearing a loose, white, button up linen shirt and slightly-baggy khaki pants. He had salt and pepper gray hair that was that length of “too short to be long, but too long to be short”, but it wasn’t so noticeable because it just sort of stuck up and out all over, moving every time he spoke because of how passionately he did so. The first day we did an exercise called “free-writing” and it was invigorating. We were given strict orders to write without stopping and just to write of whatever came to mind for two straight minutes. If you couldn’t think of what to write you wrote “I can’t think of anything else to write…” and so on. We then picked the “juiciest chunk” and used it as the prompt for the next two minutes. This doesn’t sound that difficult, but if you write fast for two minutes straight your hand will immediately start to cramp (which was saying a lot when mine began cramping despite 10 years at that point of classical piano lessons and learning trills that lasted for 8 measures…).

What I was left with were pages of my soul that were now in material form that I could go through, sort, and cherish. Hopes, worries, desires, quirks – they were all just barely under the surface of the skin when I wrote like this, and it was pure catharsis. From this technique we learned poetry – appreciating it, reading it, reciting it, writing it… and I have been in love with this expression of human language ever since. It forces you to slow down, and chew on a few words. It forces you to think and empathize. When you’re writing it, it forces you to pick out your “juiciest chunks” of lines and only use the best ones, making it like having an entire bowl of just marshmallows instead of the normal bowl of Lucky Charms.

I don’t know why, but my soul is always touched by some well-written verse, and I wouldn’t be surprised if poems find their way to this blog a few times in its’ life.

So, enjoy this short, yet stunning poem by Emily Dickinson. This poem was one of hundreds discovered in her desk after she died, and were simply published in a few volumes and titled by number. Note the enjambment of the words- that is, note how she cuts lines off and starts new ones in what seems like the middle of a thought. This is intentional. Try reading one line and visualizing it by itself, then the next line independently as well. Now put them together and see what you get. Note her uses of capitalization and personification – “Sunset” instead of “sunset” – as if Sunset were its name and not just the word for it. She also uses rich adjectives, and throws in an interesting bit of verse on spirituality- speaking of the sunset as if it were God’s watchful eye perhaps. She speaks very deeply as well about human existence, imperfection, and nature. All of this within just a few lines, and there is still more we could talk about, but I won’t make you wait any longer.

552

An ignorance a Sunset

Confer upon the Eye –

Of Territory – Color –

Circumference – Decay-

 

Its Amber Revelation

Exhilarate -Debase –

Omnipotence’ inspection

Of Our inferior face-

 

And when the solemn features

Confirm – in Victory –

We start – as if detected

In Immortality-

 

– Emily Dickinson-

 

Just let that settle in for a bit, maybe re-read the lines over a cup of hot coffee and mosey on the front porch for a while.

 

Until next time,

L.E.

Lovely mornings.

As promised, here are a few of my tips to becoming a morning person and learning to appreciate one of (at least in my opinion) the most wonderful times of the day. It’s so, so worth it.

Tips to help turn yourself into a Morning person:
1. Make yourself get up the FIRST time you hear your alarm.
It gets exponentially harder to make yourself get out of bed every time you hit that snooze button, so the sooner you can make your feet touch the floor, the more you will get used to it. This is the hardest part of becoming a morning person.
2. Brew yourself a nice hot pot of coffee and learn to mosey.
The second part of step two will seriously change your life. What I call “moseying” is simply sitting and taking your sweet time to enjoy a cup of coffee. I have studied the coffee industry intensely when I spent a summer researching it in Brazil and all I can say is you won’t see many Brazilians with a massive cup of overly sweetened syrupy coffee covered in whipped cream speeding down the interstate because they’re running late for work. I have also learned this from my family and I have seen my parents get up early together and just sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with the sunrise nearly every day of my life. I also like to take this quiet time to pray and study scripture or journal. This not only has been what has turned me into tolerating early mornings, but (brace yourself for this) actually looking forward to waking up early. Some of the best conversations happen here, and it’s one of those daily decisions you can make that I will bet you a kilo of the finest Brazilian coffee beans you won’t ever regret. More articles on moseying to follow in the future ;).
3. Figure out what to wear and eat for breakfast the night before.
This seems a bit like what your mom used to do when you were in elementary school, but mom knew what was up – morning time is precious. Much too precious to spend the time frantically running around trying to find something clean/less wrinkled/less tight/matching/etc. to wear. I also enjoy working out in the morning after I’ve finished my coffee, so it’s very helpful to go ahead and lay out gym clothes and tennis shoes (which also gives me one less excuse to not go). When you can wake up without having to even think about what to fix or wear it will make getting up easier and more enjoyable.
4. Learn the value of watching the sunrise.
In my teenage days of sleeping in until noon, by the time I got out of bed my dad would say “good afternoon, you’ve successfully slept away the majority of your day.” He was mildly joking/scolding, but it stuck with me. We each only have so many days on this earth, and sleeping until lunchtime regularly not only is a huge waste of time, but it makes it that much harder every time to wake up early later. Now, I would be lying if I said I never sleep in anymore, and getting enough sleep is crucial to a healthy body and mind – but consciously make the decision if a couple extra hours of sleep is more valuable than the beautiful, quiet morning hours. Sometimes the sleep is more important – and that’s okay, just be intentional about how you spend your precious hours each day.
5. Be consistent.
One of the most important things in becoming a morning person is disciplining yourself to get out of bed, and it is so much easier for your mind and body to adjust when you get up early every day. It also gets easier if you train yourself to go to bed earlier instead of staying up the extra hour to watch just one more episode of Downton Abbey online (ahem…not that I’ve ever done that..). It’s like this though: when you adjust to going to bed earlier, you can wake up early easier; and when you wake up early, it will make you sleepy earlier and easier to go to bed and fall asleep.

So there you have it- five steps to learning to cherish some of the most wonderful, peaceful, and enriching times of the day that the majority of people sleep through and completely miss.

A Lovely Dwelling Place.

 

“I dwell in possibility.”

-Emily Dickinson-

How true it is. We each dwell in a possibility of some form, every day. My life has consisted of choices made each day, that evolve into consequences, and eventually settle down as memories. This blog will be my account of the life that I am blessed to live, the possibilities that I am blessed to dwell in, the people that I am blessed to know, and my attempts to better myself and the world around me through simply living and loving each day as it is given to me. I learned a tough lesson many years ago, that happiness is a choice, and to love is a conscious decision. Yet, how many days do we each spend just using up breaths, planning for the next day, and forgetting to cherish now, which is really all that we have any form of control over – and even then the attempts are usually fleeting. What we do have is a choice every morning when we open our eyes – will I dwell in the possibility of joy or the possibility of sorrow today? Both are options each day and the decisions we each make, even the smallest ones or the unconscious ones, will result in one or the other. I choose to be happy today because I have much to be happy for – a warm home, the opportunity to learn, people who love and invest in me, a fiance that I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with, and a robin outside my bedroom window that quite enjoys singing to me about the sunrise each morning. My hope is that you will join me often on this blog website and join in on the journey. I will be sharing quotes, scriptures, recipes, photos, videos, remarkable stories, advice, pleas for advice, failed and successful attempts to be more gracious and aware, and hopefully a few laughs along the way. I am praying that the accounts I will give, both the victories and failures that are each inevitable, will somehow resonate with you and inspire you to take the steps towards a happier and more fulfilling life.

So what lies ahead for this week? I will be referring to them as Spoilers (yes, I am a devout Dr. Who fan…). More lingo to come in the future.

Spoilers for week of 8.24.14:

  • Tips for becoming a “morning person” (or one of those people as my fiance so dearly refers to us as)
  • My feeble attempts at healthy meal planning as a college student
  • Goose-bump triggering poetry that you are missing out on if you haven’t read it yet

In the meantime – let some Claude Debussy compositions soak into your dwelling space a little bit. I am a huge fan of Late Romantic Era composers and this particular piece is so lush it makes me want to cry happy tears:

 

 

Until next week,

-L.E.