september bullet points…

It’s been too long, you’ll say. Well, that is completely true. You’ll have to forgive me, because it’s going to last a while longer. But let’s review the main stuff, shall we?

  • This is my senior year. While I am kept busy (and occasionally swamped), that means that within a year, I will be a college graduate searching for a job. Which means, some sweet day, I will have time for non-school related activities. Like blogging.
  • I still take photos, but mostly post them to Instagram from my phone. My camera only tends to travel with me when I visit family, and then I try and take pics on camera AND phone, because of occasional lighting and speed issues on my phone. But my phone quality keeps improving, so it’s my go-to. Laziness? Maybe. Sometimes,  you do what you have time for.
  • The Lord has blessed me with a lot of spiritual growth this year, partly because of attending a new church. Sometimes, I want to shout for joy… and then a new school assignment “calms” me down. But my Savior has been gracious, and is working on me in the patience area, as well as the worry area. Not the same, I assure you.
  • I am enjoying my history classes, as always, as well as taking another fiction workshop. So, I spend a LOT of time reading for class, and writing assignments. Which is why most of the time, I don’t have brain space for any other kind of writing. Except, you know, on FB or on my Instagram posts.
  • What else is there? Some of you began following me because of my trip to Australia… what is it, 5 years ago now? While I keep in regular contact with my Aussie friends, I do hope that in the next year or two, I will be able to afford to go visit them, finally. And visit all the places that I didn’t get to, last time. But maybe, once I graduate, I will have time for more trips here in the U.S., too.
  • Continuing that thought, I have been on several road trips this year, mostly to the beach and PA and Virginia. To visit family and friends. But mostly, I wasn’t in a writing mood, because I’d been “schooled out” at that point. There are times when you never want to go near a computer again.
  • Along with the above JOY about knowing the Lord better this year, along with that comes a renewed interest in a few things that I’ve slacked on over the years. Playing my guitar or playing the piano. Trying new things, mostly art-related. Getting a bike, and taking some leisure skills at school, like tennis and top ropes. So, since writing and blogging still remain in my list of things I like to do, I’m more likely to do them when I’m not busy AND when I’m particularly happy/joyful about something. When worry and frustration crowd things out, the fun things slide, because… well, that’s playing with avoidance tactics, as I see it. If I’m blogging in order to avoid studying, then I’m shirking what I have to be doing. I want to keep my GPA up high, you know. 🙂
  • So, all that to say that, I’m praying for more patience and to hand over the worries, as well as to make sure I’m not slacking on my schoolwork. It’s a mixed bag when it comes time to thinking about blogging. But I’m trying to get it back into the list of things that I CAN do, when there is time and freed up brain space.
  • Thanks for hanging in there! I just thought I’d include a collage of photos from this last month, just for a bright spot in the writing blather that I’m including here. I hope you have a blessed month and the rest of the year, in case I get tied up totally with school until Christmas!

daily snaps…

It’s been a very busy week… or maybe I should say month. Keeping me on the run from morning till night! My German classes are trying to stress me out… but you know, “He giveth more grace…” I keep praying for the mercies that are renewed every morning, and God never fails.

Just thought I’d share some snaps from the last few weeks. 🙂 I know, I know, I can do so much better, but haven’t found the time! I’ve even been wanting to write, in my spare moments… but it can also turn into an avoidance tactic. If I’m writing for any length of time, I’m probably shirking at something else.

So, now I need to get moving and read some chapters in my schoolbook before heading to class. Have a great week!

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thinking & writing hard…

It’s almost here. The end of the semester, I mean. Which means all the deadlines are coming faster and faster. But I’m on top of it. I slammed my way through two papers, over Thanksgiving break. A good thing, too, considering that our printer broke down and I haven’t been able to get a copy (yet) for my dad to edit of my BIG ten page paper. Mom’s going to print it at work tomorrow, while we wait for the new printer to arrive on Tuesday. Who knew that we couldn’t live without printers?

On the other hand, I just realized that my “other” paper, which I thought was due on Thursday… is actually due on Tuesday. So, I’m very thankful that I had just come back with my history books from the library, when I made that discovery. My momentary panic attack subsided, and I was able to throw myself headfirst into the work. Currently, I haven’t officially started writing it, but I had the scraps of my thesis starting to shape up on paper. So, I’ll be getting up at a fairly early hour, tomorrow morning, in order to get more work done before I go to my afternoon class.

Come to think of it, I have no idea what we’re doing at that afternoon class… maybe a German party. We didn’t have homework for Thanksgiving break, aside from working on our German paper. That’s due next week, and I haven’t started it yet, since I had more papers to write before then. But now that my UK paper will be done by Tuesday, that means I can start my German paper early, and get ahead on my studying for exams next week.

Studying for exams is no joke, but it never wipes me out in quite the way that writing papers does, because you can plan and worry, but you still have to make sure you d a really good job of backing up your arguments and get your quotes and references right. On an exam, there’s only so much preparation you can do ahead of time, and they can’t hold you to QUITE the same high standard of writing as is necessary for a paper.

But I’m getting there on the writing and all the lots and lots of thinking… some days you’re just exhausted, and it’s just all the mental work. It would be a lot more fun if I could help decorate the house for Christmas, but I’ve had to sit that out again, this year, and let my mom do that. Of course, my head has barely processed the fact that Thanksgiving happened (oh, my stomach did, don’t worry!), so my head really doesn’t quite get the idea that Christmas is almost here. How about you?

Anyway, this rambling bit of blogging is intended to help me wind down a little from my schoolwork, and maybe it’ll even keep me from having weird dreams about the subject matter which I write about. I assure you, dreaming about my history books and math and things is VERY strange. On the other hand, I think my brain really does process some more of what I studied during the day, because usually on the second day of writing, I have a better idea of HOW to write it. What looks impossible to write at 8pm one night is usually doable, sometime the next day.

So, keep me and the other exhausted students in your prayers, and I’ll plan on having some much more interesting things to talk about, after exams are over. Because truthfully, a few interesting new things HAVE been happening, and I’m looking forward to sharing them, once I figure out the whys and wherefores and what-I’m-allowed-to-say kind of things.

Have a great week, and see you after exams!

if you’re keeping up…

I took a moment out of my busier-and-busier schedule to glance at my blog… and discovered that I hadn’t updated my book list since January. Well, considering I haven’t posted much this year, I suppose that’s understandable? So, I took a breather after spending ALL day yesterday, reading books for a paper that I have to write… and part of this morning, too, come to think of it. Short break to scarf up some homemade stir fry leftovers and start updating the book list. There are so many (I must’ve really been book bingeing in January!) that I haven’t even finished the updating yet, because I need to get back to work.

But this is to let you know that I’m working on it, and as soon as exams are finished (Dec. 11 is the last day of exam week), I should write a post where I commentate on what I read this year. It’s rather funny, I had almost forgotten that I was re-reading the Little House books after receiving them as a Christmas present last year!

On a different horizon, I will be starting an internship next semester, along with taking four regular classes, so I hope to have some more interesting things to write about, sometime soon. I’m not quite ready to share the details, but I’ll get there. So, while I’m looking forward to some more of my siblings arriving (today!) and the arrival of cousins on Thanksgiving day, I will still be making as much time as possible to write my papers and read all the necessary books in order to write them properly. Most of the books that I’m using are piled on my desk or on the deacon’s bench upstairs (I often work at the dining room table), but there’s at least one paper due in ten days that I have done no research for yet, and haven’t gotten any books from the library. Deep breath, we’re going to make it!

My hopes for the holidays include catching up on finishing some painting projects here at home, helping decorate (maybe, if I finish my papers in time) and doing some volunteer work at the place that I will be interning. But that’s still a few weeks out. For those waiting for me to find my new “angle” on writing my blog, though, I hope to have it soon, and be able to write more often. Because it really takes something that EXCITES me to start writing regularly again. Here’s hoping for the best in that area, and I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!

schedule juggling…

I found an empty draft on my blog, called “up-is-down,” but I have no idea what that post was meant to be. It’s like the letter you started to write to a friend, and you stopped at “Dear Genevieve…”. But unfortunately, you don’t even remember who Genevieve was, much less what you were going to tell her. Maybe that’s an unfair description, because I remember all my friends’ names. More like finding a letter your grandmother started and then never wrote. I know that “Up is Down” is the name of a piece of music on the Pirates 3 soundtrack/score, but I don’t know if I was about to write a post about music or what. I guess we’ll never know.

Instead, I changed the title to something much less interesting, as I consider the ins and outs of planning for several weeks in advance, which I rarely do, if I can help it. Usually, during the semester, I will go about two weeks in advance, if I have a lot of papers due, along with having to study for a number of exams. This time around, I’m passing on my new work schedule for the school year, as well as a few last minute details of the summer schedule… and also processing in my brain the fact that… school starts soon.

Where did the summer go? I’m not even sure. But the fact remains that this year, I will be attempting something new. I am going to try and work and go to school at the same time, which might not sound like such a big deal to you, but I’m really not used to it. And because I do all my studying and writing in the afternoons and evenings, I will only work mornings, a few days a week. But it is still a new experiment for me, so if you think of it, pray for me.

And for those longing for me to post about books or photos or SOMETHING else besides school, I really am getting back into the swing of writing in general, and thinking about something fun to share. I still have one other unfinished Saturday books draft lying around, so I need to either go find some old pictures, or get myself to another bookstore. Let me see what I can pull together. And again, to all my regular followers, thanks for your patience.11268352_10153277500634976_608610108_o

P.S. I hope that the weather is treating you well, wherever you are! It’s been so hot and humid here that the air conditioning tends to run all night… and that’s with our family keeping the temp set fairly high by southern standards! It’s not unusual for me to get out of the car after driving home from work, and my glasses will fog up. And because of that humidity, we’re prone to the occasional thunder storm. I drove into a deluge the other day, on the way to work, and was flat out terrified by being unable to see a thing, even while driving incredibly slow. And this afternoon, while going over my schedule in the dining room, there came several cracks of thunder, completely out of the blue. I truly do mean out of the BLUE, because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, from the angle I could see it from. Then, the sky dumped out a lake’s worth of rain (or at least, it seemed like it) for a few minutes, and then stopped. Somewhere, a rainbow must have been shimmering, but I missed it. Stay cool, wherever you are in the U.S., and I hope your summer continues to go well! (Yes, I know the Aussies are grumbling that it’s winter where they are, so please stay warm, my friends.)

the lost saturday books…

Not having written any interesting blog posts in some time (it’s alright, you can admit it to me), I was sitting here considering writing one about the Elizabeth Gaskell mini-series (serieses? for two of them?) that my parents and I just watched. But since the layout of WordPress has changed a bit recently, I became aware that several drafts were still filed away. Surely that was a mistake, or I had never written anything in them except a title.

Instead, I found two posts that I had started after trips to the bookstore, as a continuation of my Saturday books postings that I used to make while I was in Australia. Both of them were listed as having been written at least a year ago, so I probably wrote them during the summer, too.

I double-checked to make sure this wasn’t a post that I had published, but it had a previous version in the drafts. So, though I make mention of the movie, The Giver, not having been made yet, I think that other bookworms will still find it interesting. How funny that one of the books that I took a picture of, I brought a copy of it home from the library the other day! Maybe finding this will give me the writing “jog” that I needed, in order to get blogging again. I hope you enjoy my book musings from this long year past!

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I was getting antsy to do something or go somewhere, over the last few days. So, B&N gift card only finalized my decision to head to Greenville, where I’m pretty sure I spent well over two hours in the bookstore. Just soaking it up, drooling… you know how it goes. Because there’s nothing like looking at the books, in person, as opposed to just looking at pictures, online. Eventually, I grabbed a coffee from their Starbucks, and resisted the urge to spend money on anything in their glass display case. IMG_20140809_151703760But every trip into a bookstore starts the same… even if I have to go visit the rest room, I come back to the front, and methodically make my way through the store. First, the main display books, then the sale tables in front of the bestsellers, and then I work my way back through the store. Each one is a little different, so I don’t hit the sections in order after that. This time, I reached the new Fiction, and then wandered into the teen fiction. And for once, I was surprisingly pleased with what the store stocked and how they laid it out. Maybe it’s very different, even between the Woodruff and the Haywood B&N’s. In case any G’ville people are reading, I was on Woodruff Road. IMG_20140809_151539310I quickly realized that while I’ve raged at the “Teen Paranormal Romance” section, in the past, they didn’t have one labeled that way, this time. Teen Adventure & Fantasy, Teen Romance, and general Teen Fiction. So, while all the authors that are trying to be StephenieIMG_20140809_150501261 Meyers, Suzanne Collins, Victoria Roth, and James Dashner are scattered throughout, they weren’t as visibly obvious as previous horrible book sections that I’ve seen. So, I was able to go back to picking up books that had fascinating looking covers, taking pictures, and intending to look up descriptions of some of them when I got home.

Honestly, if I could spot one of Judy Blume’s books right under the Teen Romance sign, I figured they must have been fixing aIMG_20140809_150329495 few of their past issues. And there’s a possibility that some decent books may be buried amongst the garbage, as well. And, of course, with The Giver being made into a movie, amazing authors like Lois Lowry are on full display. That can’t be a bad thing.

Among other options, I was curious about the book The Fire Wish and what the sci-fi looking cover on a new Ann Brashares book could mean. I was rather annoyed with the final Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book, and never finished it, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a good writer. So, what could an author of a few books I enjoyed me up to next? I’ve forgotten what the blurb said, by now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go look it up later. But there is much to be said for having some amazing artwork on the cover of a new book. I’ve never been sure how they chose books in the olden day bookstores before cover designs came about.IMG_20140809_153407498_HDR

And then I made a beeline for the children’s section, to see what marvels of literature may have surfaced in there. I always find myself stepping around at least one parent and child, and given the opportunity, I’ll recommend a book to them. But I rarely get that chance, unless one of them is monologue-ing about “What do you want to read?” or “But those books never have anything exciting in them!”. I can’t imagine how any of these ideas can be possible, but I suppose if all you read is Captain Underpants, you can’t have much idea of what a good book really is, can you?

Please remember, unless I mention a book or author, particularly saying that I’ve read them, please don’t take any of these picture posts as recommendations. Do your homework, before handing a book over to your child. I’m sure you know that, but please remember I haven’t read a lot of these. But The Glass Sentence, Rooftoppers, and Marina certainly caught my eye with their covers, making me curious to know more about their stories. Can you see why?IMG_20140809_153619436

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And there it ends…. perhaps a trifle abruptly. I haven’t figured out how to find the date for when the last draft was made yet, what with the new-ish WordPress layout, as I said. I will look into the other post and see what I come up with. Perhaps it’s time for a resurrection of the Saturday books lineup. And since I’m always taking pics of interesting books, when I’m in the brick-and-mortar stores, it’s not like it would be difficult to do. If I could just make myself get in the mode again!

Here’s to new goals of writing, and hoping that you are enjoying your summer reading! Now there’s an idea… I really need to blog about what I’ve been reading, and update my book list. I hope to write again soon, and please feel free to share with me what YOU have been reading!

a not-hiatus…

I’ve been writing on my blog so little, that I’ve wondered whether I should actually declare (like some do) that they’re taking a certain period of time off from writing. But in the end, I don’t want to do that, because when something interesting which I do actually want to write about comes along… I need somewhere to write it!

But if I’m being honest with myself and my readers, I have reached a different stage in my life from when I started this blog. No adventures in Australia await me, until I can graduate and save up more money, even though I might see some Aussie friends in the next month (possibly in DC). I’m not stuck in a job that doesn’t require much thought, so I don’t have tons of spare time to go take photographs, either on campus or around the local botanical garden.

Instead, I’m continuing on a different “adventure” that occupies most of my time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I made the Dean’s List in my first semester back in school, and then reached the President’s List on my second. I hope and plan to stay on the President’s List for as long as possible, hanging onto all those A’s. Admittedly, it still annoys me that I couldn’t quite make that A in Military History, during that first semester. My ability to remember and explain military strategy for essay exams “did me in”, just slightly.

I try and remind myself of all these things, when I feel like I’m neglecting my blog. But when you spend a lot of time writing for school, and editing and re-editing everything, you don’t always feel like writing anything else! This semester, while I feel a bit like it’s a slower collection of classes, the differences in what I’m required to write fills in the gaps enough to keep me running full tilt.

For example, my Geology and Western Civ classes never have any written homework, only reading, and it’s just a matter of keeping up and being prepared for tests. Other classes have homework, but no exams, and the homework is fairly easy in Geography. The writing for my other class… well, let’s say that it’s a different type of writing than I usually do for my history or literature classes. I have to work hard during the week, sometimes, to give myself swathes of time to write on the weekend. Or at least, empty my head enough of other things, in order to be able to write.

And certainly not least of all, I’ve been getting back into my Bible studies, on my own, and realized the need for my daily times spent in the Word of God. I always make time for that after I’ve finished my homework, which means that I have to stay on top of everything, so that I will be finished.

Perhaps I’m only reiterating what I’ve written about, on and off, in the last few months. But sometimes, I need to write it out to convince myself. I am a writer, which means I always need an outlet to write on. If not on a blog, then in e-mailed letters to friends. But now, I have other outlets that allow me to blow off some of that writing steam that builds up inside.

So, busy as I get, I never plan to go on hiatus from this blog… if I did take a vacation of any sort, I would probably spend more time blogging, especially if I went somewhere interesting. But it may be a long, long time before I come back to blogging as a very regular thing. Because I need the time and brain power for other things right now. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you read through all that, thanks for staying with me. Have a marvelous week, and I promise I’ll come back eventually, ok?

yes, school did begin…

Wow, I obviously haven’t blogged in a long time, since a bunch of the layout of WordPress has changed since I posted last. While I pause and take it in, I was also amused to see the words “beep beep boop” appear, while it was loading something. I like it. However, if I had time to write a longer post, maybe I would find things I don’t like, who knows? Later is soon enough for that. I’ve been dawdling too long before starting my homework, since I only got home a little after five o’clock.10663419_10152641779959976_2114633157_o 10631944_10152639017179976_1356275817_oAs you may have guessed, school has started, and while it MIGHT be a slightly easier semester, that doesn’t mean I’m not busy. On the contrary, when a class decides to make things easier for me by not assigning homework or not having exams (believe me, I’m not complaining), I make sure I’m not slacking. I will read the required chapters in the textbooks, even if my classmates never do…10631615_10152632571709976_1372230258_o10677506_10152652087769976_751291241_oClemson campus is a bit chaotic in spots, because construction seems to be going on everywhere. Well, they ripped down the front of Freeman and are rebuilding it, and they’re building a HUGE new building behind the library that will play “bookends” with the Academic Success Center. In the meantime, it’s a mudhole surrounded by blue walls, and the amphitheatre in front of (or is it out back?) Strom Thurmond might be gone forever. I’m not sure.10647438_10152652332859976_1213714174_o10612340_10152656663014976_2081171943_oI will try to be less remiss with my writing, in future… but school comes first. And I have plenty of writing to do for a few of my classes, as I’m sure you understand. Have a great semester, and I’ll try to get on here a LITTLE more often.10667837_10152652362439976_1318342408_oP.S. Please notice that while construction seems to be everywhere, there are still plenty of lovely views all over campus. It’s good to not ignore them, amidst the chaos.

baby steps…

One thing at a time… that’s the way to get through everything. You wouldn’t believe how a few small things that you’ve been putting off can get on your mind, and interfere with your thought process. It’s summer, you should be free to do whatever and relax! No, my small list needs to be worked through, and I’m not even going to tell you all that’s on it. But getting some much-needed encouragement from one of my followers (you do read me, you do!) was very helpful, and I finally checked off a small item. Who know that shipping some packages overseas could get on your conscience so badly? But ask one of my Aussie friends how long it took to mail a package, last time. Answer: over a year.

But now, it’s a lovely sunny day, a few of my brother’s friends are coming for dinner and bringing their baby, and people upstairs are making homemade pasta, spaghetti sauce, and Italian bread. What’s not to love about this situation?

Another thing I’m starting to work on is our former “pool room”, which also became my cousin’s bedroom before he left for Ohio, to get his Master’s. Or rather, he’s leaving for OH in the fall, but he’s left our house, which amounts to the same thing. And now, the pool room will become my room. In addition to my bedroom, of course. Some of you have seen pictures of the bookshelves, and then there’s a desk buried under everything. Now, it’s total chaos, because I had to move the desk to a different wall without taking the bed apart… next up, disassembling the bed. Then, there’ll be a gap in the mess to see through, and I have to look into donating things again. But I also put together another desk that has been in a box for forever.

Yes, you read that right, I now have two desks, side by side, and when there’s space to move, I’ll be able to roll my chair back and forth between them. But soon, soon there will be room. One thing at a time, remember? I promised to help with some cleaning projects and things around the house this summer, so some days I work on cleaning windows and vacuuming floors, other days I read (ok, I always read), and on some days, I work on my room in the basement. And those aren’t even on that mental list that I was talking about.

But here I am, making myself write again, because a little weight came off my shoulders when I mailed those packages, and maybe I’ll even get to writing about Seabrook next and posting the pictures. In addition to several posts about books that have been sitting in my draft section for some time.

To all my followers, both recent and past, thank you for reading and following along. Please forgive me for sounding a bit crabby yesterday, and hang in there. Have a great week!

P.S. For any other Aussies that have dropped by, congratulations to the Blues for winning the first Origin round of 2014DSC_0822, but I still say…. Go Maroon! Until June!

trying to do better…

My blog views are “rocketing” today, and I just realized that State of Origin must be happening in dear old Queensland, Australia. I wrote those posts so long ago, but what I had to say about rugby league football and the Queensland Maroons still applies, even if I’ve been away from AUS for more than 2 years now.

Meanwhile, summer is in full swing, and I haven’t felt like writing. Or posting. Despite just having been to Seabrook for my conference. So, I will try and shape up, and get back to posting now and then. If you have a blog, you’ll know that every blogger goes through ups and downs, trying to figure out where they are as a writer, and having days when you’ve got nothing to share. Or don’t know how to share it.

I even know that my stats tell me that I have over 400 followers, but even that can be a little depressing when I can tell that many of them are those “blogs” where they tell you how to get rich and travel the world… is that even fair, that they use you for advertising, when there’s no proof that they ever read your blog? I would like to know that what I write and the photos I take… I want them to be interesting to someone, or even to brighten someone’s day. No one wants their “followers” to be a bunch of fakes.

I don’t mean that to sound that harsh. Many of you have been following me since I was in Australia, and some of you probably do read my posts. I wish I could write something exciting and fun, like I used to, when I was chasing my Aussie kiddos…

If you’re a fellow blogger, and know what it’s like, I hope you’ll have a cheerful word for me. Some of my writing mojo is missing, and I can’t seem to find it again. Hang in there, and I should figure this out again.  : )DSC_0818 DSC_0821