Friday, August 26, 2011

Fear of Failure

It came to me suddenly, and will not let me go.  It's an idea.  A story idea, to be specific.  The plot and characters are blooming in my mind, taking up permanent residence, demanding to be given a voice. 

And I'm scared.  Terrified, really.  I'm scared that:
  • I won't be able to do it
  • I'll get half way through the book, and get stuck, and won't be able to finish
  • I'll write trivial crap that nobody wants to read
  • That I'll be exposed and ashamed
  • I won't be able to flesh the characters out correctly
  • I have no idea how to go about getting published
  • Who would want to publish me, anyway?
  • And where, in my packed day, will I find the time? 
The entire process frightens me.  I think, really, because as long as I have known how to put words on paper, I have wanted to write a book.  I used to write and publish my own little books as a kid.  I had a whole series about Annie the Ant.  So this dream of writing a book is my oldest and dearest aspiration.  A lifetime of longings can stack up pretty high, and weigh mighty heavy.  Held up against that, the fear of failure is near overwhelming. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Media Monday - 'Big Brother' Week 7

Welcome to what used to be called, 'Netflix Movie Monday'.  This is where I review a movie / tv show / documentary that I have discovered, found interesting, and want to share.  As Big Brother is my annual summer time obsession, and it's on three times a week, Media Monday will be dedicated to BB recaps while the show airs.

The longer this season airs, the more I am convinced that the show is being manipulated by the producers.  They chose the competitions, and tailor them to the contestants that they want to win (more on that later).  And you still can't convince me that Brendan got 1,000,000 votes to return to the house.  Please.

Sunday, August 14 - Head of Household Competition and Nomination Ceremony

Everybody is quickly reshuffling their alliances, with Adam and Shelley bouncing back to the Jeff/Jordan, Brendan/Rachel camp.  Kalia, Porsche and Danielle appear to be on the losing side ... until Dani wins the HoH competition, against all odds.  She puts Shelley and Adam up on the block, both as pawns.  Her real target (according to her), is Brendan.  She doesn't want him to have a chance to compete for the veto, so she's hoping to back door him.  A risky move, in my opinion, but probably the best one for her right now.  I'm starting to have respect for her game.

Wednesday, August   17 - Veto Competition and Ceremony

Again, against all odds, Brendan and Rachel are the only ones who don't get picked to play in the Veto competition!  They sit on the sidelines and put through the entire competition, including some snarky remarks when Kalia wins a tropical vacation, and Jeff wins some more cash.  Jordan wins a phone call from home, but gives it to Shelley so she can hear her husband and daughter's voices.  Really, Jordan is about the sweetest thing ever.  In return, she gets to wear the 'humilitard' for an entire week.  It's actually pretty darn cute, with a pink tutu and pinwheel hat.

Jeff, Danielle and Adam are the last three men standing at the Veto competition.  Jeff and Dani throw the final two rounds so that Adam can win, thereby taking himself off the block and keeping their hands clean.  Very smart move.

At the Veto Ceremony, Dani nominates (surprise, surprise), Brendan to replace Adam.  She calls him a 'zombie', who keeps coming back.  Hopefully he'll stay gone this time!

Thursday, August 18 - Live Eviction Ceremony and Head of Household Competition

Despite all their scrambling, and Rachel's pouts, Brendan gets evicted, with Rachel the only one voting to keep him.  Brendan and Rachel get mad at Jeff and Jordan for not voting for Brendan.  Jeff explains very logically that even if they did vote for him, he'd still not have the numbers.  So why should Jeff and Jordan alienate themselves for a lost cause?  Makes sense.  But doesn't placate Brenchal.

Brendan leaves the house (hopefully for good), and becomes the first member of the jury.  He's getting the master bedroom of the jury house ready for Rachel to move in next week (let's keep our fingers crossed!).

The HoH competition looks mighty familiar ... would it be the same one that Jeff happened to win two years ago?  Why, yes, it is.  If I were a newbie houseguest, I would not be happy with the producers' choice of competitions.  We're left in suspense as to who wins HoH.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spiritual Warfare

Burnt grass stretches away on all sides of me.  I am alone in this field of emptiness, save for a single tree in the distance.  It stretches dry branches to scratch the dark, lowering clouds.  There is ... SOMETHING ... lurking on the rims of my perception.  I can feel its hunger as it silently, slowly, stalks me.  

The tree is my only hope.  Up its branches I can climb to salvation, through the darkening clouds and out into brightness.  I start for it.  Now I can feel the darkness pressing hungrily at my back.  I pick up my pace.  The stretch of withered, stubbly field between me and the tree grows shorter, but I can also feel the something gaining on me.  

My legs are clumsy and ineffective, weighed down as if I am running through thigh high water.  I press on.  Suddenly the rough, cracked bark of the tree is before me.  I made it!  As I look up to reach for the lowest branches, I can see the uppermost ones parting the ominous clouds.  There is a strain of light coming through.  It illuminates my next handhold, and I grab on, swinging gratefully up.  

But not quick enough.  A basket ball sized sphere of soft flesh and feathers leaps from the darkness and slams into my chest.  I fall to the parched earth.  It presses down on my chest, a suffocating blackness.  Feebly I beat my fists against its feathery sides, but it only pushes harder.  I can't breathe.  I can't think.  I can't speak.  Panic chases terror in cold waves.  I know I am dying.  It'll be over soon.  

One thought flashes through the darkness.  "Say the name of Jesus."  I open my cracked lips, but my tongue fills my mouth.  I can't utter a word.  I can't even think the word.  I force my teeth together in the first syllable.

"Jee ... Jeee ...."  The darkness has almost burrowed a hole through my chest now.  It wants me.  Somehow I move my swollen tongue in my mouth. 

"JEEE - sus."  

Exhausted, I woke up.  My own familiar bed was a damp cocoon around me.  I lay for a few moments in the darkness, trying to to slow the beating of my heart.  "It was only a dream,"  I reassured myself.  "Just calm down, and go back to sleep."

But I couldn't calm down.  It seemed as if the darkness from my dream followed me into the night of my room.  I lay there, catching my breath, and staring into the thick darkness surrounding my bed.  Fear was a palpable thing, pulsing, pressing, pushing close.  

"If I can only make it to my parents' room,"  I told myself, "they can pray for me.  And it will be ok."  Gathering my courage, I swung my feet over the ladder of my bunk bed.  Now that I was facing the darkness head on, its power began to diminish.  Growing braver with each step, I left my room.  

Just one more corner, then I would be there.  With hope now blooming, I turned the corner.  And was brought short by what I saw there.  Suspended in the darkness, a face snarled at me.  It was a dog, with boar's tusks sprouting from its snout.  I blinked, and suddenly it was gone.  My heart leaping up my throat, I jumped through my parents' door, and began shaking the sleeping form I found there on the bed.  

It was my dad.  Together we prayed through the early morning darkness.  The heaviness began to lift as the sun rose.  Roosters perched along the village rooftops heralded the morning, and the coconut trees stood black against the pre-dawn grey sky.  

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.  A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you ... for you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.  No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.  For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. 
Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.  With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.  Psalm 91:5 - 16

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Keeping On Top of it All

I am all alone.  The pool beckons, crystal clear and bright in the sunlight.  I slip gratefully down the stairs in the shallow end.  One step.  Two steps.  Three.  Four.  Now it's up to my waist, warm as silk.  I move towards the deep end, going slowly down the incline.  

Now the water is a little cloudy around me.  I go deeper.  The cloudiness thickens into fog.  "Maybe if I dive down, I can find the clear water," I think.  I dive.  I can't see beyond my outstretched fingertips.  Suddenly the bottom of the pool is before me, and I'm boxed in by the milky thickness.  

Try as I might, I just ... can't ... find .. the clarity.  

Do you think that, perhaps, that dream was precipitated by this?

... or this?

Those are dirty dishes.  And clean laundry.  Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by the encroaching piles, the constantly threatening disorder of my life.  No matter how on top of things I am, there is ALWAYS something that sneaks up and bites me because I wasn't paying attention to it.

It is a constant, deep slide from clarity into fogginess.  And it will overwhelm me if I let it.  What's my survival method?  Get out of the 'pool'.  Get perspective.  Take a step back every day (several times a day), to feed my soul.  Just open my Bible, and let those healing words wash over me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Little Change is a Good Thing

With the new school year, I've decided to dive head first into the world of homeschooling.  I'm figuring most of my blog readers probably don't really care what thematic unit I'm doing each month, or how I'm incorporating base ten blocks (or care what base ten blocks even are).  Homeschooling is not the purpose I had in mind when I started up this little blog.  However, I'm feeling the need to publish Sophie's school year as it progresses.

SO.  With all of this in mind, please direct your attention to the little menu at the top of the page:  Ta daaaaa!!!  A brand new, super duper 'Homeschooling' tab.  I'll blog about all the little things we do for school there, so it won't clutter up (and bore) my home blog.

Media Monday (or close enough) - 'Big Brother' weeks 5 - 6

Welcome to what used to be called, 'Netflix Movie Monday'.  This is where I review a movie / tv show / documentary that I have discovered, found interesting, and want to share.  As Big Brother is my annual summer time obsession, and it's on three times a week, Media Monday will be dedicated to BB recaps while the show airs.

So.  Indulge me in a little rant.  Some of you might be wondering why I didn't blog last week about Big Brother, and why I'm a day late on this week's post.  Simply put, it is a matter of apathy.  Disappointment.  A virtual throwing up of my hands into the air in an, 'I quit!'.  Why this sudden change of heart, you might ask? Why the frustration with your self-proclaimed 'summer time obsession'???

All these questions can be answered in one word:  Brenchel.

Allow me to explain.

Two weeks ago, Dani won HoH.  (Yay!)  She went on a mission to evict Brendan.  The houseguests fell into line and voted him out.  Finally.

Rachel subsequently went into self-destruct mode.  The veterans lost the HoH challenge to Kalia, Dani's new sidekick.  Kalia nominated Rachel to go up on the block.  All well and good.

And then it was announced that a special twist was coming after the next eviction, during which the evicted houseguest would get a chance to get back in the game.  This caused Kalia to second guess herself.

In the dumbest move in Big Brother history, Lawon volunteered to be put on the block and asked to be evicted.  He was sure he'd be put back in the game with special powers.

The houseguests unanimously voted Lawon out, keeping Rachel in the game.  Lawon competed against America's Choice (Brendan), lost (of course), and just like that, Brendan's back in the game.

So here we are, two weeks later, come full circle with Brenchel securely intact.  This is reason #1 that I am fed up with the game.  Reason #2 is that I am very skeptical that America voted to put Brendan back in the game, over Dominic, Cassie and Keith.  This 'reality' TV show is seeming more and more scripted as the season progresses, causing me to become disillusioned and loose interest.

And lest you call me paranoid, here was the discussion following the picture of Rachel embracing Brendan when he got back in the game:

The only person I really like, who is left in the game, is Shelley.  And guess what.  She's on the block this week.