The Beauty All Around Us

It’s funny or strange or something to me that I’ve been sitting here for an hour mulling the words “scene/seen” over in my head and not quite figuring out what I want to write about until I decided to type in “seen quotes” into Google. Isn’t technology amazing? I knew there was a quote out there that would get me going!

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller

I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life; I think it’s fair to say we all have; but when I look at a beautiful sunset, I don’t just see it with my eyes, it surrounds me and fills me up and there are times I can’t breath from the beauty of it. So, I’ve decided to do what Linda prompted and use photos and words to describe some beautiful things I’ve seen. Just know that photos don’t always portray what I actually saw or felt as I glimpsed the beauty this world has to offer.

Most of the things I find awe-inspiring are created by nature, but there are man-made things that create beauty as well. I was high a-top a casino (I can’t recall which one) in Las Vegas when I took this picture. I still wonder what it is about lights glowing in a city that can be so beautiful. We used to drive up onto the East bench in Salt Lake City at night-time just to see the lights glowing in the city below us. It’s almost like stars in the sky.

019

I found the next photo in my older pictures and it’s one I almost forgot I took. I went on a snow-mobile trip with the company I was working for and happened to snap this photo when we stopped in a more open area. I’m not sure I have any words to describe the beauty, the majesty of it. It almost feels like you are the sole person in the universe atop a snow-filled mountain peak and the glory of the sun is shining down on you.

049

Is there anyone who doesn’t love rainbows? This photo isn’t the best, but I remember the sky was a strange peachy color and the air felt so still, even though it was still clogged with rain, or perhaps because of it.

20130529_202148

We see some pretty dramatic sunsets on our Mountains, but the sad thing is, the most beautiful ones come when the air is at its nastiest; if there are fires burning away somewhere close or when the inversion sets in. I’ve seen more brilliant ones than this photo shows, but I think I liked this one because I managed to get the top of a tree standing tall and forlorn against the pink-covered mountains.

120

One of my favorite things to do is go hiking. We have many trails and plenty of mountain to hike in, I just don’t always have a buddy to go along with me. In this photo, I managed to talk my boys into a hike, but we didn’t make it to any specific destination because Jaxon’s asthma flared up and we had to turn back. This picture was taken only about an hour into the hike, but I thought it was lovely.

20130623_133902

My boyfriend went to California before Christmas in December and I was home alone for a few days. One morning, I had just gotten out of the shower and I heard a strange noise outside my window. I was pretty freaked out, but I decided to check it out anyway. When I lifted the shade, I couldn’t at first figure out what was making the strange noise, but it was loud. When I realized it was hundreds of birds sitting in the trees, singing and chatting, or whatever they were doing, I snapped a few photos. I still look at this photo and am amazed how beautiful it is – birds sitting in stark trees in the middle of winter.

IMG_0645

There you have it, my small glimpse into the beauty we have all around us. Pictures and moments like these help keep me grounded when all I can see is ugly darkness all around me. Things change, minute by minute, day by day and when you least expect it, beauty can shine through and brighten the darkest moments.

This is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.

Advertisements

Two Things That Bother Me About Goodreads Reviews

I seem to have a reading theme going on here where all I talk about is books and Goodreads. But honestly, I’ve read a lot this month; at least, I’ve read more this month than I’ve read in years. I suppose if you break it down into 4 books in one month, it would be one book a week, which really isn’t all that spectacular, but it’s better than not reading at all and more than most people have read in their life (can you even imagine?), so I’m good!

One of my favorite things to do after reading a book is go onto Goodreads and read a bunch of reviews. I like different perspectives and how others maybe got things out of the book that I didn’t. Now, this might be really weird, but I find I get more out of the two and three stars then I do out of the four or five stars. Four and five and all you see is the usual great, good, fantastic, couldn’t put it down type of comments. Not always, but most of the time. The lower stars sometimes have more insight into the book and the three stars especially will have a mixture of things they liked and things they didn’t.

The two things that bother me about Goodreads reviews:

One – Why the hell does everyone have to re-write the book? I usually have to skip the first two paragraphs because the review re-states the book. It drives me nuts! We have the snippet only a few seconds away and if you’re on a laptop or a computer, it’s at the top of the damn screen! If I’ve already read the book, I definitely don’t need someone else’s synopsis of it, especially a bunch of them. It annoys me to no end! If you do that, I would kindly ask you to please stop. (Maybe this is required for a review of some kind… I don’t know, I’m not a reviewer, but if it’s standard, why? Can’t we just link to the synopsis or something?)

Two – Why are people so mean? I’m not sure I recognized this one until I decided I liked writing and wanted to put a book out there, but I am definitely noticing it now. That book you just tore to shreds is someone’s work; someone spent hours, days, months, years even, writing that book and it is pretty damn scary to share you work with the world. I know everyone has their own opinion and I’m not trying to say you should only have nice ones, but geez, does it have to be so brutal?

My niece is a published author (L.K. Hill, Liesel K Hill). I went to one of her book signings and bought her newest book when it first came out last year. I was pretty excited to read it, but when all was said and done, I didn’t really like the book all that much. It just wasn’t my thing. There were parts that were good and it was good enough to get me to the end, but I’m not really one for historical fiction; it has to have something else to hook me. Anyway, I ended up giving it three stars and talking about the things I didn’t like in my review on Goodreads. But I wasn’t a jerk about it. At least, I don’t think I was. I just stated my opinion, no “this author is horrible; why the hell does she even write” type of stuff.

My boyfriend was pretty shocked that I only gave it three stars, but I told him I would rather someone be honest about what they thought then lie to me, so that’s what I decided to do. Nothing is perfect and in order to get better, we should embrace criticism and look at how to improve (note to self). It wasn’t easy though because she is my family.

But, I think some people go way too far in their negative opinion. How is it helping anyone to be so mean; especially when they make it personal. I don’t know. I guess it kind of makes me rethink my review yesterday, but I don’t think I said anything overtly horrible; just that I don’t like being messed with quite so much and I really want a book to have a better ending than that. It was pretty tame compared to some of the reviews I read this morning.

I realize there might be a fine line because anyone not liking something you write would be very personal to begin with, but I think it can be done in a way that isn’t quite so hurtful.

What do you think?

This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G. Hill. (I’m sad we are almost at the end, but proud to say I only missed one day!)

JJJ 2015

Gone Girl – The Review

Gone Girl

I can finally have my life back.

I was speaking with a friend yesterday at lunch (before the huge twist) and she told me one of her friends saw the movie last week and she described him as having “a dazed look”, and I was thinking that it was probably true, but I couldn’t have even imagined what was in store for me when I got home. And now that I’ve reached the end, I’m imagining that’s what my face looks like right now

Dazed, shocked, not really sure what to think. Did I like it? Did I hate it? I know I didn’t hate it, but it left me with a slightly sick feeling.

I should have known from my previous encounter with this author and the somewhat macabre reviews I managed to glimpse without actually reading any because Goodread reviews are just as good as actually reading the book sometimes. I should have known that I wouldn’t be satisfied with the ending.

I agree with some unknown person who said they didn’t like either Nick or Amy. They aren’t really likable people. There are points in the book, though, that you root for each of them.

Maybe that’s why I feel so… fucked. (I sincerely apologize, but I cannot review this book without some colorful language)

I feel like I’ve been fucked with and I’m not entirely happy about it.

The book was great in so many ways. Twists and turns I didn’t see coming. The writing style was amazing. I also loved that it was told by each character’s perspective. I guess I just don’t like being messed with quite so much. I don’t know… I take that back. I don’t mind being messed with, but I actually like to have some redeeming quality, something to root for that doesn’t get twisted into, haha, just kidding, that isn’t going to happen.

And there is still that thing I said yesterday, are people really this awful?

I’m not sure what else to say that hasn’t already been said. I think I will force my boyfriend to the movies this weekend so he can share in this sick, twisted fuckery with me. I need someone to share it with. It’s too much just sitting in my brain, taking up space, messing with me.

This is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.

The Emotional Upheaval of a Good Book

Remember this post where I lamented finding a really good book, a book I couldn’t put down, a book that blew me away with its twists and turns and left me exhausted with its emotional upheaval?

I am currently reading said book.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was, this book is depressing the hell out of me and I was thinking of this blog post in terms of how horribly depressed I was and how there are no redeeming qualities in the characters of this book and I wasn’t sure if I could finish it because I was taking it so personally.

I also looked up the author on Goodreads yesterday and realized she wrote another book that I read over ten years ago that kicked my ass. I’m pretty sure I threw the book against the wall when I was done with it. It was horrid – but it was more about being far too close to home for me; an emotional gut punch. I don’t remember much about the book, actually, just that it made me cry when it shouldn’t have and it hurt to read it. I finished it, though… strangely enough.

So, yeah, this post was going to be about books and how they can torment you and how I need some redeeming qualities in the characters, otherwise it’s just depressing and are human beings really this awful?

I left work early today and have been sitting on my couch reading my eyeballs off and about halfway through the book, something changed. The author wrote a curve ball that I was not expecting and I thought, holy shit, did that just happen? I was actually bugged when my boyfriend came home and wanted to spend time with me because all I want to do is read and finish and find out what the hell is going to happen.

I want to do that as an author. I want to emotionally tear someone apart just to put their pieces back together in ways they weren’t expecting. My boyfriend is looking at me like I’m an alien because I don’t think he’s ever seen me reacting this way over a book. I suppose I haven’t read that many good books lately; books that you can’t stop talking about; books that bury themselves deep into your psyche so you can’t even function because all you can think about are the characters and it feels like your world isn’t your world anymore; you are now in that world, living that life.

It’s jarring to look around and realize I’m still here; sitting on my couch next to my boyfriend. I’m happy I won’t be working much in the next few days so I can finish this thing.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, the book is Gone Girl by Gyllian Flynn. I should probably wait to reveal that until I’m done, because who knows how I will feel about it by then. But hey, if an author can mess with my emotions this much in a little over half a book, I’m going to say she did her job well.

I love reading! How about you?

This post if part of Just Jot It January Hosted by Linda G Hill.

JJJ 2015

How my knee learned that desks are hard immovable objects

Writing a blog post every day can be fun if you have stuff to write about, but pretty arduous if you run out of things. Maybe that has something to do with my life right now. I’m ending one job, starting another on Monday and my kids are at their Dad’s. There’s not much to write about and my creativity is lost somewhere in my brain (it happens sometimes), but it could have something to do with the fact that I am far more interested in reading than I am in writing right now. Besides, how interesting is my life really? Especially today when all I feel like I’ve done is rage at my computer over emails from the person who took over my job and is quite literally…

Well, I suppose no one really wants to know about all of that.

Instead, I thought I would regale you with a funny story, even if it was something incredibly painful and will definitely leave a bruise.

There I was, sitting at my desk, reading my iphone (I purchased a book yesterday) when I decided to cross my legs. Little did I know that the desk had other ideas. A loud crack later and I almost fell out of my chair, writhing in pain. My co-worker decided to be funny, and it was actually so funny I was laughing as tears were pooling in my eyes from the pain.

“Did you just hit the desk with your knee? What did the desk ever do to you?”

Bending over as a white light enveloped my vision, I gritted out, “The desk was in my way. And it’s still there.”

Desk – One

My Knee – Zero

Brought to you as part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G. Hill.

JJJ 2015

My Parenting Style

I received an email this morning from a pretty great friend. She sent me a link to Donald Miller’s blog and the post titled Great Parents Do This Well with her own words: “Me thinks you already do this… hence the great kids you have!”

First of all, I just want to publicly thank her for making me feel special today. I’m usually pretty down on myself for my own perceived lack of parenting abilities and to have someone tell me they think I’m a great parent is a bit overwhelming but actually kind of cool.

Second, I just want to say that the post she sent me is worth reading, so I suggest you click on the link because the rest of my post refers to it. I will admit that I’ve never heard of Donald Miller. I will also openly admit I’m not Christian and tend to stay away from Christian-related literature. A lot of that is from my own childhood and the pain associated with trying to fit a certain religious mold and never quite measuring up. I do realize there are great Christian authors out there and I’m doing myself a disservice by avoiding them; but I’m thinking baby steps are perfectly okay in this area.

I didn’t set out to be the type of parent who shows her weaknesses to her children. I started my parenting years in much the same way I was parented; trying to control everything and doing things because it was the “right” thing to do rather than what I thought was best for me and my child. “Right” is a subjective word anyway. What is the “right” way to parent? I don’t know that anyone really has an answer. I think we all tend to do what we think is “right” and hope for the best, which is all anyone can ask for.

But…

I’m not sure when the “right” way to parent became, “I’m your parent and I’ve already learned all those things so I know better than you what is best for you,” or “My child can’t see my weaknesses because I need to raise a healthy, happy child and if they don’t see how much I’ve screwed up, maybe they will avoid it.”

I was somewhere in my early teens when I was at my Grandmother’s house and she showed me and my siblings a picture of my Dad. He was pretty upset that she showed us the picture, but it still makes me wonder to this day why he didn’t tell us the things we saw in that picture. I believe his words could have bridged a huge gap. Perhaps I would have seen my Dad as slightly more human and maybe a little less of the rigid authoritarian figure he was. I would have perhaps understood his decision to turn to religion and his willingness for us to have religion in our lives as well. I understand it wouldn’t have been easy to share those things with us. Who wants others to know hard truths about them? Who willingly shares that?

I didn’t so much make a parenting choice as one was forced on me by my own weaknesses in life. As many of you know, I have depression and there have been times in my life when it was worse than others. When my children were small was one of those times and it was difficult to hide from them. I thought I hid a lot of it from them, but now that Adelle is older, she has told me that I didn’t keep as much as I thought from them. So, I can’t really take credit for showing them weaknesses that they saw or were a part of even when I was trying to keep them from it.

However, I did make a conscious choice when my daughter was around twelve to close the gap between mother and child. I believe to this day if I hadn’t done that, I would have lost her. I decided I would rather be more her friend and a part of her life than a parent and not even know her. Is it a balancing act? Yes. Is it harder to parent that way? Sometimes. Is it worth it? It was and is for me.

My children see me cry, not just at sad movies or at funerals, but on bad days when I’m crying for no reason. They ask questions and I don’t always tell them everything, but they do hear me say, “I’m just having a bad day.” When they ask me questions, I answer them honestly. Sometimes this has been embarrassing and difficult, but I believe they learn, even from the embarrassment. I’ve told them the mistakes I’ve made in life. I tell them the mistakes I make now. They will learn it one way or another, why not from their mom?

I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. I have apologized to my children for raising my voice or when I’ve been angry. I change my mind. I think it was just yesterday that Andru asked me if he could do something and I said no. He asked me why and I honestly couldn’t think of a reason why. So I said, “You know what? Go ahead. I don’t know why I said no.”

Children are human beings. As parents, it shouldn’t be okay for us to take their humanity away just because they are in a different age group or because we’ve been there and we know better. Do we want to protect our children? Sure. But in order to protect them how we want to, it requires us to have ultimate control and we all lose something in that process.

I know my parenting style isn’t accepted by everyone, and that’s okay. I’m doing my best just like everyone else and not everyone is going to agree on the best way to do it. But I do try to remember what it was like at age twelve or fourteen or seventeen. I remember what I thought and how I felt about my parents. I don’t ever want my children to feel that way about me. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t be who they want to be because I’m standing in their way.

IMG_7797

All of us the night before Adelle went back to North Carolina (The quality isn’t the best)

This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.