- What a wonderful opening night for Little Women! I really couldn’t have asked for anything better. All throat issues subsided amongst the cast. We all hit our marks, improvised well when we didn’t, and stayed in tune and energetic. The audience was responsive and enjoyed it very much. And I didn’t fall during that one dance number.
- I am ashamed of myself. I’m sure you’ve noticed, my dear readers, that I’ve been freaking out the past few days. I have never had so many panic attacks in my life. I had three breakdowns on Monday. Three. That’s not healthy. Not at all. I reacted to the stress very, very poorly. And I’m sorry.
- Here’s why I was freaking out: I have a speech Friday and a major paper due Monday and another major paper due Tuesday. I thought I had performances of Little Women every night until next Thursday—two this Saturday—and I had no idea how I was going to manage it all.
- My speech is written and cited. By the grace of God and divine intervention.
- Turns out I don’t have a performance next Monday. That gives me the whole evening to work on my paper for Tuesday.
- Which frees up the weekend for writing the other research paper.
- Which means I might just…make it.
- Which means I freaked out unnecessarily.
- Which makes me feel very silly…and I am quite humbled by the whole affair.
- I am grateful for the stressful things. I am grateful beyond words for those who have gone out their way to make me feel better. I am grateful to be in a musical. I am grateful to have a voice with which to sing and praise my marvelous God.
- I would probably be much better off if I spent more of my breath praising God than screaming in panic.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So here’s the plan.
I’ll go to bed early so I can stock up on sleep. That’s what I’ll do.
I’ll get up early and plow through a speech outline, an essay, and a reading assignment.
Then I’ll take a break and eat something.
Then I’ll study for hours on end, like I did today, trying to assimilate information about long-dead philosophers.
And then I’ll go back to school and panic until the last day of exams.
Sounds like a plan.
Synchronize your watches for Operation Kamikaze.
Also, it’s December. How did that happen?
Thanksgiving break has been marvelous. Really. Family, food, friends—all the essentials were there. Not to mention more sleep than I’ve gotten in weeks. And now the house is all decorated for Christmas, top to bottom—all that remains is to trim the tree, which is already belighted.
Trouble is, it’s hard to enjoy all of this with my impending doom hanging over my head.
I looked at my syllabi today. I shouldn’t have done that. Okay, I should have, but the things my heart rate did when I looked at my syllabi would probably qualify me for a trip to the ER. I had to sit down. There is literally more to be done than there are days in which to do it all.
I have met my match in this semester. I have officially bitten off far more than I can chew. I’m fairly certain that the end of this semester will see me either dead or clinically insane.
So here’s a heads up: my posts are going to get really, really short over the next two weeks. We’re talking a sentence a day, here. The goal of the blog was to keep me writing—well, I’ll be writing, all right. I’ll be writing two research papers, one essay covering the activities of my internship, one speech outline, one five-paragraph essay over my speech outline, conducting research for the speech and the two papers, and doing nine performances of Little Women.
I am doomed.
And that is all.
“What will you do when I’m gone?”
The question startled Ameryn. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t thought of the likelihood before—in fact, she thought of it increasingly—but hearing it aloud from the princess’s own mouth was more painful than she’d imagined.
“Gone?” she repeated. The emptiness of the word made a hollow space in her heart that quickly filled with apprehension. She distracted herself by running the brush slowly though Aileen’s thick curtain of hair as they both sat on the princess’s bed, staring out at the stars through the massive picture window.
“You know,” Aileen explained, “married.”
“Married…” Ameryn swallowed. “It doesn’t mean you’ll be gone, you know. Whoever you marry will be king.”
“Yes,” Aileen said. Her expression was vague. It seemed to Ameryn that her expression grew vaguer with every passing day.
“Do you suppose Nayr will want to rule Kharador remotely once he’s married you?” She was only half joking.
Aileen smiled a dazed sort of smile, but made no reply. A silence followed. Ameryn played with a strand of Aileen’s hair, focusing intently on it, trying to ignore the warning bells in her head.
“Do you think you’ll ever marry, Ameryn?”
The Guardian laughed. She wasn’t sure where the laugh came from. It was not a funny question, nor did it have a funny answer. The laugh felt dry and forced in her mouth.
“Dearest, really?” She put her hands on Aileen’s face and turned it toward the vanity mirror, so Aileen could see both of them clearly. “Look at me. There is your answer.”
“But you are lovely, Ameryn,” said the princess. For a moment, her old voice returned—the voice of the Aileen who was fully aware of herself, not the dazed and distracted girl of the last few weeks. “You are lovely to me. I’ve known you for as long as I can remember, and I have never thought you ugly.”
Ameryn stared at her face in the mirror. “Thank you, dearest. But your opinion comes from years of close acquaintance. No man who has ever seen this face has…has stayed for very long.”
Aileen turned to look Ameryn in the eye. “Was there someone once?”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you have someone once, Ameryn? Did you ever love someone?”
Ameryn sniffed. “Love is a heavy word. I won’t deny I’ve found a few of the Wolfguards rather handsome—”
“—but I wouldn’t call that love. Why bother giving your heart to someone who’ll never want to keep it? Waste of time and energy.”
“What about that boy you’ve told me about?”
“The elf boy. Zon.”
Ameryn looked out the window at the autumn stars. She was ashamed of the grief in her heart. Grief for a lost dream—for a lost soul. After all these years, she had hoped she could have trained herself to forget.
“We were children,” she said. “I wouldn’t have called that love, either.” She smiled ruefully. “Besides, you have no idea what a little terror I was. We played together, but I was more annoying than anything else.”
“He was taken by slavers?”
“Yes,” Ameryn said. “The same that took me.”
“Perhaps he’s out there looking for you,” Aileen said dreamily.
Ameryn’s eyes were still fixed on the stars. “How often I’ve looked up at the heavens, watching the stars and the moon in their nightly dance, and wondered if he was out there, looking up and seeing the same stars, the same moon. And maybe, just maybe, he likewise is searching for me in the stars as I search for him.”
The stars kept on with their dull sparkling. They made no reply.
“But he is not,” Ameryn concluded. “He cannot. He is dead. He died a long time ago.” She smiled down at Aileen, who was looking up at her guardian with a worried expression on her face. Ameryn tried to alleviate her concern with a gentle smile.
“So you see, my dear, I will never marry. The only one who’d known me as long as you have—long enough, it seems, to think I am lovely—is long gone.”
Today was Thankfulness Day, otherwise known as Thanksgiving. Why we have a traditional day set aside for giving thanks and without making it a daily thing, I’m not sure. Perhaps because eating this outrageously every day would give us all permanent indigestion, which would probably put a damper on the spirit of thankfulness.
I will now give you exactly what you were all expecting from me on a day like today. I will give you a list of things I am thankful for.
I am thankful for when things go wrong. I am thankful for all the rotten days—and trust me, I’ve known many—because without the rotten days, I would not grow. I would stay the same. I would never have a chance to flourish in adversity. I would never flourish at all. I would not learn to trust the Lord for everything.
I am thankful for the things I do not understand. I am thankful that I’m not really sure where my future is headed. I know it will be a great adventure, but I don’t know the perils that are before me, and I’m not sure if I’ll remember my pocket-handkerchief. But not knowing keeps me humble, and makes life an exciting surprise, like a Christmas present that’s a big box filled with little boxes that I open every day. God has a perfect plan for me, full of surprises.
I am thankful for people I don’t like. There aren’t many of these people, it is true. My father once told me that the reason we don’t like people is often because we see a bit of ourselves in them—a part we don’t like. Learning to get along with people who annoy me teaches me about myself and how I need to grow and change. It also helps me to recognize that everyone is different, everyone has struggles to face and dragons to slay, and I’m no better than my neighbor. God has been gracious to me, so I should be gracious to other people.
I am thankful for the dark days of my past. Dragons from those days still come back to bite me. But without the horrors I’ve been through, I wouldn’t appreciate what I have now. I have so much now. I have more than I ever could have asked for. God is far too good to me.
I am thankful for everything. Every little thing. Every big thing. All the things past, and all the things to come—and all that I have right here, right now.
Thanksgiving is a big holiday in the Rambler family. For my father, it holds even more weight than Christmas.
And of course the biggest part of Thanksgiving is the food.
Alright, it’s the second biggest part. The biggest part is gratitude. What would Thanksgiving be without thankfulness?
But the second biggest part is the food.
Mother and I spend the whole day before Thanksgiving cooking. My responsibilities revolve around baking pies (three minimum: two pumpkin and one apple) and taste-testing the dressing. Mother is the kitchen fairy who makes everything taste wonderful, and I watch from the sidelines in awe, stepping in when I feel that I won’t mess everything up. I also wash a lot of dishes.
This is probably my favorite day of the year. I am no cook, but my mother is, and I love to watch her. I hope that twenty-one years of following her around the kitchen will have soaked in by the time I find myself out on my own.
We depend on each other on Cooking Day. She repeats aloud the list of things that need to be made at least ten times during the day, asking me if there’s anything she’s forgetting. She never does. Every year there’s green bean casserole, turkey, sweet potato soufflé, dressing, yeast rolls, cranberry orange relish, the three aforementioned pies, and some kind of salad. See, now I feel as though I’m forgetting something—and she’ll comment and correct me. I wonder why she worries about it. She’s the one who reminds me to put salt in the pie crust and all the other things I tend to forget when it comes to cooking. She’s the wizard. I’m just a little flying monkey wielding a whisk.
Somehow at the end of the day, it all gets done. It always tastes delicious. The leftovers always last for weeks. We make ten different kinds of turkey dishes over the next few days following Thanksgiving. It is the inaugural day of the Rambler holiday season. It’s beautiful. It’s marvelous. It’s one of my favorite things to do with my mother—cooking, laughing, making messes, and sharing memories. Cooking Day is on my list of things I am very, very thankful for.
My paper fetish often gets the best of me. I have more empty journals than I could ever fill. Most of them are gifts; some of them are gems I bought for myself. I am mesmerized by blank paper. I have started many journals but finished very few.
I started one my freshman year of college. That journal holds a lot of stories. Sadly, most of them are stories I would like to forget. I never finished that journal. There are a few blank pages at the end. Not a happy chapter.
The summer after my sophomore year, my best friend gave me a journal. It’s blue with swirling white designs all over the cover. It’s hard bound and opens flat, as all my journals must, since I have bad enough handwriting as it is without fighting an obnoxious, unyielding hill of paper sloping down to the book’s gutter.
I started this journal the first day of my junior year of college. I filled it with everything. I wrote at least once a week. This book is the story of how I rediscovered the world. It contains poetry, stories, snippets of my family history, my daydreams, my fears. What I was afraid to say aloud, I wrote down. What I did not think anyone would understand, I wrote down. The things I hated about myself, I wrote down.
But most importantly, I wrote down the things I wanted to be sure I’d never forget.
I finished the journal yesterday. This may be the first journal of its kind that I’ve filled from cover to cover. I’ve filled prayer journals and devotional journals, but never a journal of my life. What was really lovely was that it ended at a good part. It was a successful conclusion that tied in to how the story began.
I feel prepared for the next chapter—the next book.
I have the next journal lined up: a Moleskine journal, Hobbit edition, that came with a map to the Lonely Mountain, just in case I ever want to go there. It will follow me around everywhere, just as the last one did. I shall write my adventures, for I know now there will be many.
Life, after all, is an adventure, isn’t it?
You know what today is?
You probably just looked at your desktop calender. Or your planner. Or whatever it is you look at to figure out the time and date.
Today is the 25th of November, which can only mean one thing. I am about to say nine magic words:
One month until Christmas. Have you finished your shopping?
‘Tis not quite the season yet. I know this very well.
But it is mighty cold outside, as any Anytowner will tell.
This week’s the week we’ve waited for–
We’ve but two days–just two days more
‘Til we can say “At last! We’re free!
Free to sleep! To eat turkey!
I am afraid there’s nothing more that I can say to you,
So here’s a picture of a tree made from cans of Mountain Dew.
“I like pickles,” said she. “Do you like pickles?”
“Yes, rather,” said I. “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason,” she said innocently, taking a sip of tea that was still too hot.
“Hmm. Sure.” I looked over at where my untouched mug of spearmint tea sat on the desk, waiting for me. i have a post to type. My hands are still occupied.
“Your ‘I’ should be capitalized,” she said. I chose not to fix the error, but to record the moment instead.
“Yes, I thought so,” I replied. I am running out of ideas. My brain is too shot, and my head is too flighty too think of anything at the moment.
“Hot chocolate trumps pickles,” she mused, staring at the screen from her perch at my elbow.
“Most certainly,” I agreed. “Especially when shared.”
“My thought exactly,” she replied, smiling.
“Three more days, and then we’re free.” She laughed. “You know you’re excited about something when you bring it up every ten minutes.”
“Free to do what?” I asked.
“Oh, you know, sleep. Eat.” Her smile got a little wider. “And other nice things.”
I smile, too. The world is full of such wonderful things. Pickles. Hot chocolate. Tea. Thanksgiving. And friends–the best of friends.
Even in a random world–even in a pickle–friends are still among the most wonderful things in the world.
1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *gasp* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
2. Is it over?
3. Are you sure?
4. Oh, thank goodness.
5. Because outside of last night and most of today, it was a pretty awful excuse for a week.
6. What doesn’t kill us makes a stronger, so they say. After this week, I might was well be an Olympic weight lifter.
7. In all honesty, I learned a lot through the ups and downs of this week. So maybe it wasn’t such a bad week after all.
8. And next week, I get to go home, eat food, and sleep.
9. Next week is Thanksgiving.
10. I will have so many reasons to be thankful this year. I do every year, but my point remains: I have many, many reasons to be thankful.
If your name happens to be Roxanne, I apologize in advance.
The title refers to the angelic Roxanne from the play Cyrano de Bergerac. She is flawlessly lovely, gracious, resourceful, and kind. I would venture to call her “intelligent,” but I cannot in good conscience call her that. Despite her many fine qualities, she remains an idiot.
Why, you ask, is she an idiot?
Allow me to preface my explanation with the statement that “love at first sight” is a myth. I know it makes me sound cynical—and maybe I am—but love does not happen as the result of a single glance. Attraction, yes, but attraction is not the same as love. Too many people confuse the two and suffer the consequences.
Roxanne is an idiot because she fancies herself in love at first sight. She falls in love with Christian, a good-hearted but empty-headed young man with a pretty face but not much else to recommend him. But Roxanne sees that pretty face from a distance and declares herself in love without even having a single conversation with him. Not a word. None. Zip.
Imagine her disappointment when she sits with him, tries to talk to him, and discovers he can say nothing. The only reason she agrees to marry Christian is because Cyrano, the long-nosed warrior-poet, steps in and provides him the words to say. He does it well—too well, since his rapturous poetry stems from his love for Roxanne, who never paid him any heed because he was “just a friend”—and ugly.
Roxanne is an idiot. She fell for a pretty face—but it was the heart of the poet Cyrano that really won her.
Ladies, listen up. Don’t pursue a man just because he’s good-looking. A pretty face can hide an empty head—or a hollow heart. Don’t discount a man because you’ve stuck him in the friend zone. Don’t write a man off because you don’t think he’s attractive enough. Don’t give me that. Don’t be ridiculous. A person’s heart is of far greater weight and worth and beauty than his face. Faces fade. Strength weakens. A man’s character is irreplaceable.
Had Roxanne been smart, she would’ve opened her eyes to what was right in front of her all along. She would’ve seen Cyrano, the prince of poets, for what he was: utterly brilliant and indescribably beautiful.
But she didn’t. Because she was an idiot.
Other than that, the play is great.