Saturday, August 27, 2011

Today, I {am} love{d}

Today I am unreasonably happy. I can't stop smiling. It's like I have strings attached to the corners of my mouth and they keep lifting. I try and quit but...
Every time. *cue insane laughter*
Do I have a specific reason for this unshakable blissfulness? Well...
 I'm saved by Grace. Unbelievably lyrical. Free to run & to jump like a deranged deer. To ride like no one is watching {Hey, Roanie, wanna go fast?}. Drive like I have something to do in town -- and that Hammie needs to go too. Annnd I got a shot of espresso in my frozen hot chocolate. Booya. The epitome of frozen delight. Knocking the socks clean off that snowcone in my last post.

 I'm so glad to be this happy again. In the last month things have been a little off-kilter, mostly because my Mum had to work a lot filling in shifts for vaca-ers and so was hardly ever home during the morning/afternoon. Plus we have a ton of projects to finish before the dreadful white stuff from heck arrives. Some of them quite big. Like the chicken house needs finishing, the deck sanded and stained, the horse sheds need a bit of patching -- thankyou bored horses. And things like that.

 Another thing bothering me a lot: My faith.

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for
 and knowing something is real
 even if we do not see it. Hebrews 11:1

 Over the past weeks I've been getting a pretty clear message that I need to grow and share. Everything from the text to the sermons at church -- to my own nightly devotions that oddly keep saying things like
 "Is your faith the same as it was last year? Even last month? It shouldn't be. God's gift of faith and grace is not a stationary thing. It is a living thing that must either grow or diminish. Like a child that does not grow needs to be taken to the doctor, maybe you're in need of a spiritual check up." 
 My Bible readings are also patiently pushing me in that direction, like, "Hey Gwyn, don't be afraid to stand up and say something." Because the truth is, I'm a coward. I don't have tons of confidence or charisma when it come to talking to people. Especially about something as important as eternal life, because -- here it is, my fatal flaw -- I might mess up.

God, examine me and know my heart:
test me and know my nervous thoughts. Ps. 139:23

Well, big news, self! It's not about you! You are just the mouth piece. Chances are, if you ever get the guts to actually talk to someone about this stuff, you won't even be using your words. That's the thing about the Holy Spirit, he'll take care of it for you. Piece o' cake then, right? Ha. This is a girl that actually forms what she's going to say on the phone before she calls to ask if she can borrow a horse trailer. From her neighbor.
 I will undoubtedly blame this on being a certifiable introvert -- I love and need solitude like extroverts love and need to be social, I get very overwhelmed at parties where I have to talk to a lot of people I kinda-sorta know, I would rather listen to someone talk than talk myself. Unless it had to do with horses, animals in general, or writing.
 But it has become an excuse that I hide behind with laugh and a change-of-subject attitude. I've finely pieced my own veil, thank to the unfathomable love and patience of Our Redeemer. I mean seriously, after all humanity has put Him through, how can we not sing How Great Thou Art like the Warblers in the third pew? If it had been up to me, I would have chucked Earth away a looooong time ago. But that's exactly why I'm not God. I and I am so so so glad I'm not. Because no matter what we've done -- no matter what -- His arms will still open wide when we realize we just can't go it alone.

God is being patient with you.
 He does not want anyone to be lost,
 but He wants all people to change their hearts and lives. 2 Peter 3:9

 Thinking we can is like being an ant on an ant farm that doesn't believe it needs the little farmer to feed it bread and sugar each night. It thinks it can live off the sand in its own little world. But sand has no nutritional value, my friends. And the ant will soon end up dead because it was too proud to eat the sweet sugar from above and too proud to ask for help. And then the farmer will be sad.

You gave me life and showed me kindness,
 and in Your care You watched over my life. Job 10:12

Thank goodness God's a better ant farmer than I was. Mine lasted three weeks tops in those little plastic boxes and tubes. But as you can see, we're still here. But it won't last forever, just like any farm. The day will come when God will harvest and the wheat will be separated from the useless chaff. So if you're a bit of chaff now, you might want to think about putting out some grains. You'll be much prettier and happier for it.
On the day when the Lord Jesus comes. . . .
all the people who have believed will be
amazed at Jesus. 2 Thes. 1:10

I didn't plan this post, or if I did I didn't plan it like this. I just wrote what was on my mind or maybe even what was on my heart. I don't know if anyone will benefit from my writings today, but I know that I did. Putting your feelings into words seems to increase their potency and really clear up what the dickens you are feeling. Just scroll up to the beginning again, I had no clue why I couldn't stop smiling. Now I do.
I'm loved.
I really do matter.
The sunshines and the breeze is cool.
And I matter and am loved by the One who made both.
What's not to smile about?

He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God. Ps. 40:3

Before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not feeling philosophical

Hello, everyone! How's your summer going? Good. Speaking of summer, that's what my post is going to be about today. A sort of summer recap/photo montage/howcowit'salreadyAugust21st!
{gasthp! I just remembered tomorrow is my parents' 30th anniversary! Gaahh!!}

Also on the subject of this wonderful time of year, I've been seeing a lot of bloggers posting about wishes for autumnal weather, and I'm like ....whaaa?? Are you bannaners??
 You see, some of us have to live with six months of snow. Six. Months. That's like eight lives in human years, people. So when the leaves start turning, it's a cry fest. For me at least.
 But enough of this disheartening talk! On with the photos!
The essence of summer itself. But I have to ask, Am I the only one who buys cherry so I don't go around  looking like a loon with blue teeth? I mean, seriously. Whatever kind of syrup they use, that dye will not come off your face for three months, short of skinning yourself. It's probably chock full of bad things like rat poison, too. But, hey, who really cares, right? It's a little $2.50 bowl of icy-cherry goodness on a hot day at the reptile and jungle bird garden.
I've rather neglected my blog in the last few months, for proof you need only look at the header; it's been there for since May. My posts are also becoming increasingly rare, it seems. If you've been wondering about this, I shall tell you why. No, it's not the usual "I'm busy".
I just seem to have run out of things to say. Sad really, but true. Ideas for posts used to spring to mind very often and I would just run with it, sprinkling photos throughout. But now it appears my life has become to dull to write home about. Or maybe I'm just doing the same things I've already posted about several times. I mean, I can't imagine you wanting to read about my every ride.
Unhappily, this pall has seeped into into my writing career as well. I lack the words to express myself properly, especially when it comes to TLOS. I'm trying so hard to get it right this go round that my style has become stiff and uncomfortable. Nothing wants to flow.
 Mum wants to start school again this week, so maybe that will help. I seem to write best when I should be doing a math lesson. Oooh how I'm dreading algebra 1!
My eldest sister was here for an in-between semester break lasting for ten days. We of course rode horses {can you imagine living without a horse??}, went back-to-school clothes shopping where I got three shirts for decent prices. Thank you, Gordmans! Love that place because lets compare:
 1 solid color cami:
American Eagle - $15.99
Gordmans - $4.99
Yeah. No contest.
 Did you know that in the Bible, modesty of clothing applies not only to the neckline but the price? In other words, it's not very modest {and certainly not practical} to go out an buy $150 jeans. But you knew that, right?
"Summer is butter running down your chin and corn mush between every tooth." - Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes are simply the best. I picked up two new books of theirs the other day when we went shopping. In case you haven't heard Borders is bankrupt and going out of bis. everywhere, so if you're lucky like I was you can nab some Calvins and Hobbes for six bucks a piece and spend the long car ride home laughing into your seat cushion.
You know me. I love snakes. Well, most snakes... You see that? That is the face of the devil incarnate. It is also the only snake that will actually make me feel uncomfortable looking through the Plexi glass of its exhibit. Boas, I can handle. Black Mambas? Awesome. But rattle snakes...? shudder. I've had a few encounters with them and they are just evil. They'll try an get you with no provocation. They are also the snake that is up top on the Big Vicious Killer Snake USA list at #1. They are responsible for the most human snake-bite related fatalities in the States.
 So, Mr. Rattler? Just go away. And leave my dogs alone.
Meanwhile my little brother is bent on burning down the kitchen with his omelet-making. Just as long as he doesn't try flipping in the pan. He's tried that with pancakes to disastrous effect. Aiiiieeeeee!!! What is he doing with the pilot light???? I gotta go!! -gwyn

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another page turned

Yesterday I went to the library and limited myself to checking-out two books, The Hunger Games and The Demigod Files.

I came home at 3:30pm.

It's now 6:24pm the next day, and I have two books to return to the library.
 That's 525 pages in eight hours, I think. And right now all I want to do is tell everyone to be quiet so I can think about them. Ha. Fat chance. I'll write what I think instead....

The Demigod Files
by Rick Riordan

The Demigod Files are a sort of...well... file of short stories and pieces that didn't make it into Riordan's original series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, plus a few bonuses like 'portraits' of some of the characters, character inter views, a map or two, and a few word games sprinkled here and there. In short, a fan guide of sorts.

To be honest I only picked it up at the library because, out of the eleven or so books of R.R.'s {Including the Kane Chronicles which I was endeavoring to get hold of}, that was the only one not checked out already, besides The Lightening Thief. Blast! These summer reading program kids always get the jump on me when it comes to Riordan's works {which happen to be huge bestsellers}. Anyway, I brought home Files because it was something, and the hour and a half it took me to read it was not at all wasted. The shorts were written in the usual humorous fashion that I love about Rick Riordan's hand the most. Though, you could tell that these were 'just for fun' and lacked some of the reality of the original series. But I'm putting it down to lack of polish. I think if he had just taken a little more time with them, perhaps tweaked them here and there, or really edited them, they would have been up to par. But, as it is, all I can say is Good, but not as good as the original, The Lost Hero, or as good as the Kane Chronicles must be...grrmuffmuff.
 So if you see this book in the library and you liked Percy Jackson, heck yeah pick it up. For even though its small and not quite as good as the real thing, its still good. Like almond bark chocolate.

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Oh, where to start? It defied my expectations and widened my writer-o-scope on first-person story mode, to say the least.
 I've been hearing recommendations from all over -- ranging from Amazon reviews to bloggers to neighbors to friends. Everyone telling me I should read it. So for the past three months I've been trying to catch it unawares on the YA bookshelves at the library{I never go out and buy a book on recommendations alone - I have to know I'll love it} -- Unsuccessfully. Seems every other teen was camped out for the book as well, and with only one copy it's first come first serve. Well, yesterday it had just been returned. Ha ha! I had it! Though I don't imagine seeing its kin until school resumes.
 So what do I think of it? Hm.
 Writing: Superb. Collins certainly has talent, no question there, and skill, which is equally important.
  Setting: Wonderfully fleshed-out and very real. Almost too. real. Suffice it to say that after reading it and the news, I now have very little faith in the present government. Perhaps this is just a side-affect.
 The characters are beautiful and real, some of the most spot-on human writing I've read in a long time. The scenarios are frightening; the gore just enough to make you feel the gravity of the situation. The sweet endearing moments make you smile, and the playful banter can make you laugh. The whole book is an emotional roller coaster. Which is how it was meant to be and how it should be.
With all this could I have found a new favorite series? Maybe. It will have to work pretty hard to get past  The Books of Pellinor, my all time favorite, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't have a chance. gasp!

There's always something though, isn't there? In the H.G.'s case it was the whole Katniss-Peeta deal for me. I thought it a little over-excessive and felt that it was there mostly for Teen-bait. But the brilliant writing made up for it, I suppose. I might even have to go and buy these books!

Well, until I can get my hands on The Kane Chronicles,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A series of unfortunate events: Oil Painting

I realize it's been a ghastly amount of time since my last post involving any of my artistic endeavors, but there is a reason for that -- I haven't had any since now. Or rather then. It's been a week or two, and I am terribly behind.
 Anywho.... I finely got brave and took out my Grandmother's oil paints. She taught me up until I was about eleven or so, when her health began to fail her. I learned the fundamentals and probably much more, but I think I've forgotten most everything about oils. However, I set out boldly with a magazine page to create my first ever people person. Even when I was taking lessons all I ever did were flowers and bunnies and horses, never a people. But this particular people struck me as very pretty from her perfume advertisement in an ancient Victoria mag. So I decided to try it, but to practice first on watercolor paper instead of expensive canvass. And I'm glad I did. Here she is as a concept....
It all started well. Good base colors.... and the hair turned out much better than anticipated! I was believing I really had something going and was wishing I had started with canvass. A few days later however, after the first paint had dried, I attempted to add shading and depth. As you can see I utterly failed at blending the colors.
 How the heck do you blend with oils?? 
I've only just figured it out with watercolors{vaguely} and I tell you no similar method applies. After numerous experiments and messy mistakes {paper towels are my friend} and feeling discouraged and a little miffed at ruining such a promising practice piece, I hung up my smock {I just wanted to say that} and left for the more reasonable realms of watercolor, with better results....
This is Pete. I think you met? He crops up in just about every painting of mine. I did this for my Da's birthday card and was very pleased with it. The original design I drew back in 2008 but I liked it so much I did a copy and added color.
Watercolor and I have had in the past a love-hate relationship but we seem to have found some middle ground. I don't think I'll ever be able to paint wonderfully, but that's not going to keep me from making this little whimsical splotches.
I've been very inspired lately -- about everything. I would really like to sit down and do a good sketch, but TLOS is once again buzzing in my ear and I fear I must really get down to business in that department. You can see on my sidebar what I've done. Again. I despair at the moment of ever finishing. So I really must write! 
*sigh* I kind of feel like I'm on my own little island, though. Mum appreciates my stories and is always asking when she'll be able to read the next bit, but nobody else seems to care around here. Especially is it conflicts with me getting chores done. *sigh* Ah, well. Great masters aren't truly appreciated til after their dead, right? Haha :)

Til next time, then!