Archive | May, 2012

Snippet From The Fault In Our Stars By John Green.

31 May

Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and finally bought The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Though it’s a teen book, I read Looking For Alaska (also by John Green) seven years ago and absolutely loved it. Even though I’m not very far into the book, I’ve already come across some great quotes. I have a feeling that this book will be full of words that I’ll want to refer back to again and again. Here’s the synopsis of the book (according to Amazon.com):

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Anyway, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes so far. It rung so true with me that I read it 3 or 4 times just because it was so honest, true, and applicable to so many books that I’ve read in the past. 

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.

Thoughts? Isn’t this just so perfect? Even though I’m not done with this book yet, I highly recommend it, as well as Looking For Alaska (which captured my heart the first time I read it seven years ago).

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

30 May

In continuing with my “Barbara Kingsolver kick,” I read Prodigal Summer. It was a bit different from the other Kingsolver novels that I have read because of its strong focus on nature and the natural world that surrounds us, but I think that is one of the reasons that I really loved it (since I am a mountain/nature girl at heart). Here’s the synopsis according to Amazon.com:

Barbara Kingsolver’s fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel’s intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.

Of the three “stories” that made up the novel (Mr. Garrett, Lusa, and Deanna), I was most drawn to the character of Deanna. She is a wildlife biologist that lives alone in the southern Appalachian mountains who observes coyotes that live in the surrounding wilderness that she calls her home. I think I was most drawn to Deanna because of her satisfaction with living alone and isolated from the world, content to live among nature rather than humans. That is not to say that I would isolate myself that severely with no contact with the outside world. However, I understand the fact that Deanna is content with living among the wilderness. In that sense, she is not alone. She’s surrounded by woods and creatures that she has a strong connection with than she does with humans. Don’t get me wrong. I’m social. However, I love the mountains. Numerous times this past semester, I left campus and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway (only about a 7 minute drive from campus). I’d bring along my camera and a book, and I’d be perfectly content. There were times when I did bring along a friend or two, and that was fun. However, I was most content when I went alone. I think that is because when it was just me, my camera, and a book, I was able to move at my own pace, stop at whatever overlook I wanted, and sit gazing out at the Blue Ridge mountains for as long as I wanted. I could just sit and appreciate the beauty around me, and most of the time, I left the Parkway with a clearer head and a stronger love for the Blue Ridge Mountains that I am so happy to call home.

Therefore, if you love nature, I highly recommend this book. It’s amazing!

Tuesday’s Tunes: A Closer Look At The Art Of Missing.

29 May

 

Yesterday I listened to this song on repeat for over an hour, letting the lyrics sink in and waiting for the painful memories that I knew would surface in time. That’s the special thing about music. Each song is unique in its power to allow all kinds of memories to rise up, ranging from childhood moments to moments that only lasted a split second in the scheme of your life, yet moments that seemed to have a stronger hold on you than you seem to have on the current life that you’re living.

While listening to this song, I thought of the art of missing. It’s been an idea that has rolled around in my head for the past few days. However, I’ve been unsure as to how to bring life to it through my words. However, putting off writing just because we are stuck is not what true writers do. We move forward, muddling through the words that we know we yearn to say, waiting for the moment when they decide to allow themselves to be seen by someone other than ourselves. Anyway, the art of missing has been on my mind lately. Isn’t it a bit of a funny concept? It’s almost like a hunger for something that can only be satisfied by some kind of contact. Often times, I find myself missing people who I’ve just talked to or just seen. I think that’s probably because I
have had a habit of getting attached to people and then I have always hated any kind of goodbye. Whether it’s goodbye for a few days or a few months or even a year, it’s never any easier. However, by some miraculous twist of fate, we move forward. We place one foot in front of the other, knowing that walking ahead is our only option.

I believe that one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the art of missing is when you miss someone who may not be missing you in return. Not because they have told you that they don’t miss you, but because you no longer have the kind of relationship where it would be okay to ask that kind of question. In that instance, I’m missing someone who I used to know. Though that person is still around, they are not the same person that is etched into my childhood memories so precisely. Maybe, deep down, that person is still there. The person that I put so much trust in and looked up to for so long. The person who taught me to believe in myself and reminded me to never stop smiling. But truthfully, I probably will never know if that person from my memories still exists. That’s the tricky thing about time and the art of missing. Even though people say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, is time factored into that equation? To me, it seems like time is often the polar opposite of distance, causing the heart to ever so slowly forget the faces in one’s mind that were etched there so many years ago.

Through some recent introspection, I’ve realized that missing someone is like a hunger, but in another sense, it’s also like a sickness. A sickness that fills you internally, causing you to stop and wonder if there was ever a time that was spent not missing someone. Even though the art of missing does reflect the strong amount of love that people are able to show to one another, it’s almost as if the love is just never quite enough. The love is present, it has taken your hand. However, instead of simply having it take your hand, you want it to surround you, fill you up…and not leave you standing at a window looking out into a world that you are part of and yet isolated from. Even though missing someone shows that you care about someone and that you love them, it can also pull you under its current, leaving you to wave your hands frantically, waiting for someone to realize that you are, in fact, struggling to simply stay above water.

A Moment Of Being A “Normal” Kid.

28 May

It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I think back to the years before my surgeries and intense physical therapy, the years that I got to be a normal kid like everyone else my age (excluding the fact that even then, I was going to physical therapy twice a week).

I played t-ball and coach’s pitch before all my surgeries, and when I think back on those years, I remember just how happy I was. Even though I still walked different during that time (as I have my entire life), I was able to do everything that every other kid on the baseball team could do. I cheered in the dugout, went up to bat, stood in the outfield waiting for a ball, and walked with the rest of my team to high-five the other time while saying “good game,” even if we lost. As well as feeling like a normal kid, I was also able to be part of a team, and looking back, that meant so much to me. I don’t remember being made fun of during those moments, and though I probably was, I can’t remember it, and that’s when you know you’ve got special memories.

Specifically, I remember one of the games when I played coach’s pitch. I was up to bat, and Mr. Richard, my coach, stood on the mound smiling at me. He pitched the ball, and even though I hit it, it didn’t go far. It landed close to Mr. Richard’s feet. Even though there was a player from the other team standing behind Mr. Richard, Mr. Richard grabbed the ball and kept it away from him. At the time, when I was running to first base, I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew that the first baseman hadn’t caught the ball yet, so I kept running. As I was almost near third base, the biggest grin spread across my face as I realized what Mr. Richard had done: he was giving me my very first home run. I remember running as fast as I could from third base to home plate, and as soon as my feet touched home plate, everyone in the crowd jumped to their feet and cheered for me. In that moment, I felt like I was on top of the world, and more than that, despite my limitations, I had made a home run, just like every other kid on the team had at one time or another. It was a magical moment. There’s no other way to describe it.

I think about Mr. Richard every once in a while, and even though I haven’t seen him since I was a kid, I sit and wonder if I ever thanked him. I’m sure I must have, in one way or another. Whether I thanked him through the huge grin that remained on my face through that entire game or through one of the countless hugs that he became so accustomed to receiving from me, I’m sure he could tell how grateful I was for that moment that he gave me. However, sometimes I wish that I could explain that for me, that moment is one of the most special moments I’ve ever had. I got to be like a normal kid, and I got to feel the rush of happiness and excitement that comes with completing a home run. If only for one night, I wasn’t someone with Cerebral Palsy. I was a baseball player, a team member, and probably one of the happiest people in my small town, even if only for a moment.

Two Years Ago…

27 May

Yesterday I went to Salem Academy (the boarding school that I graduated from in 2010) to see the Class of 2012 graduate. I had a few really good friends who were graduating, and graduation is always a great way to see fellow Salem Sisters who have also graduated. My best friend Skidmore, who graduated from Salem in 2009, came to the graduation too, and I loved seeing her.

As I was sitting in the audience watching the Class of 2012 graduate, it surprised me to think that 2 years had already gone by since I was sitting down in the May Dell in a white cap and gown getting ready to embark on a new phase in my life: college. I remember my graduation day so perfectly, as if it was yesterday. I was so excited, and yet I was also incredibly, incredibly sad. I wasn’t ready to leave the one place where I finally had felt like I belonged only to have to start over again. I didn’t want to leave behind the friends I had made or the faculty and staff who had shown me what it meant to truly follow my heart and chase my dreams. And yet, I was excited for what college would bring. I was anxious to be in a new place with all new people who would all be on their own path of self discovery. I was happy to be done with the grueling academics of Salem, but knew in my heart that without them, I wouldn’t have been as prepared for college as I felt at that moment.

As I sat in the May Dell in my cap and gown, looking up at the all girls’ boarding school that was founded before the United States achieved independence, I was proud. I was proud to be part of another group of women who, though leaving Salem, would continue to think back on Salem in the years to come, relishing in the wonderful memories that shaped our lives. On that day 2 years ago, I was happy. I didn’t think that I would cry until I looked up to see my mom crying. However, in that single moment, all the sadness of what I was leaving behind hit me. But as I shaded my eyes from the sun and listened to girls from my class speak about their fond memories of this place, I let the tears fall. I cried knowing that the young women who stood around me would always be in my heart, even though we were all about to head off to colleges at far ends of the country, and even far ends of the world. And at the end of that day, I left Salem knowing that I’d be back to visit and that I had made some of the best memories and friends that I could have ever imagined.

When the graduation of the Class of 2012 was over, I felt a strange sense of deja vu. It took me a moment to realize that it wasn’t my graduation day, but the graduation of a class that I first got to know as freshmen during my first year at Salem, my junior year. Though it felt sad to see them leave the place that will always be home for me in my heart, I’m happy to know that one of my friends from the Class of 2012 will be heading to Asheville in the fall. It will be so exciting to have a fellow Salem Sister with me once again. Someone to explore Asheville with and talk about Salem with, and most of all, someone to create new memories with, even though both of us know that the memories that will forever bind us are those that were created in a place in North Carolina that I was able to call home for 2 years of my life. However, with my friend coming to UNCA in the fall, it’s as if something incredible has happened: Salem has become both my past and my present.

A Nicholas Sparks Book: The Perfect Beach Read.

26 May

When I was in Florida, I vowed to read one Nicholas Sparks novel. I’m a fan of Nicholas Sparks’ books (even though they have pretty much the same plot line). However, they are the perfect beach reads, and sometimes a light, cute romance is just what I need.

I settled on The Choice by Nicholas Sparks. Surprisingly, I wasn’t a fan of the last third of the book since it just felt so unrealistic. Granted, I know that all of Nicholas Sparks’ books are usually pretty unrealistic as it is. It’s why his books make perfect movies….because they portray the kind of true love that we all want but few ever find. However, that being said, either way I’m a fan of reading love stories. I have lots of Nicholas Sparks books on my bookshelves, and 95% of my movies are romances. Yeah, yeah, I know. I just can’t help it.

Anyway, here’s the summary of The Choice (according to Amazon.com):

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life– boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies–he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him…and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn’t help. Despite himself, Travis can’t stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heart wrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

As I said, I enjoyed the first 2 parts of this book. I always love reading how Nicholas Sparks writes the beginnings of love. Though often it feels “too good to be true,” I’d be lying if I didn’t sit and smile at the scenes that are just so cute. I mean yes, I don’t doubt that most almost-20 year olds would tell you that they wished they could have a love like the stories of love in Nicholas Sparks books. Who wouldn’t want that? Though Sparks’ book do hold a certain level of unrealistic tendencies, there is a reason why Nicholas Sparks is a New York Times Bestselling author. Women love reading about love stories. That’s a fact (well, for most women anyway). Though they may seem unrealistic, the stories are also cute, popular, and great stories to lose yourself in when you’re sitting on the beach with your toes in the sand.

So what is YOUR perfect beach read?

Photo Friday: Florida!

25 May

Here are some artsy shots I took while in Florida. Enjoy!

Happy Friday everyone!