Friday, March 31, 2017

A Farewell to March

So long, March.  It was nice knowing you.  Even if only for a short time.
Can you believe it?  This is the last day of March already!  (My, how time flies...where does the time go?...and all that.)
I'm gonna try to do something really wild today.  (Are your ready for this?)  I'm gonna try to write a blog post about random things that happened in March...all in the space of 1 hour.  You don't think I can do it?  (Well, neither do I come to think of it.)  Still, let's give it a try, just for the fun of it.
Ready.  One, two, three, GO.
Received one of the loveliest birthday presents ever in the shape of this blog post written by my dear friend Natalie!   I can't begin to tell you how happy it made me.  Seriously, it blew me away (on a balloon.  Had a hard time getting back down again, haha) and I just have to say THANK YOU again, Natalie, for being such an utter sweetheart!  *hugs*
Ate this entire bag of candy.  Well, just about.  I guess I did share a few pieces, but most of it I ate.  It was a birthday present from my brother.  (I really had the most wonderful birthday, people.  I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it was!)  And yeah.  Just wanted to note.  Whoever it was who said "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" really should have said "the way to a man and a woman's heart" because honestly (and I'm speaking for myself here) we women deserve to be included!  ;)
While we're on the subject of birthdays, this is what I got as a present from my parents.  'Tis quite a fun game, especially when we don't play entirely by the rules because then it's a lot easier.  (I like easy.)  And just for record, I'm pretty much an expert at finding three letter words.  (Which isn't surprising considering that three letter words are about the easiest words you can find.)  (I told you.  I like easy.)
Received a number of very sweet birthday cards/emails from a number of very sweet friends.  (Yes, I'm still talking about my birthday.  Sorry.  Apparently there's so little that happens in my life that a happy birthday is like a huge big deal!)  Anyway, just wanted to say thank you to all of you again for making my birthday one of the best birthdays ever!  (Fun fact: I got my first ever card from Europe!  Now THAT'S a big deal!!)

Found twenty-five of these under my pillow (as well as a box of chocolates on my headboard bookshelf) when I went to bed on the night of my birthday.  They were from my sister.  One of the sweetest, dearest people in the whole world!  Thank you, sister dear!  (And yes, she knows the way to my heart just like my brother does.  *wink, wink*)  (Don't tell this to anyone, but that candy is all gone, too.  This has been a very sweet month.)
Now I really am done talking about my birthday.  (Honestly.  You'd think it was the event of the year or something the way I've gone on about it!)
Moving on...
Finished this book--which is the second in the series I've been reading--and almost made it through the whole of the third book.  Currently feeling very proud of myself for having done so much reading this month! 
Finally had some weather appropriate to the season.   I mean like a real snow fall.  Big enough for work to be canceled and for my younger siblings to go out and play in the snow.  Big enough even for me to go out and play in the snow...but, 'hem, that's a story for another day.  (This picture is actually of a snowfall we had back in 2016, but I figured I didn't have to be entirely accurate.  Besides I failed to take any photos of this year's snowfall.)
Been watching quite a bit of Hogan's Heroes lately (and I mean quite a multiple episodes every available evening), which is why my intelligence has been rising at an enormous rate this month.  An enormous rate!  Seriously, I can't begin tell you how many stupid things I know now.  (Really though, this TV show is hilarious.  It's completely  ridiculous and unrealistic much fun!)
And speaking of my superior intelligence, I'll have you know it only took me four times of restarting the dryer the other day (because the load of clothes wasn't getting dry) before I realized that it wasn't going to get dry; that in fact I'd been running the dryer all afternoon to no purpose; and the clothes were as damp as they'd been when I started.  I took this dilemma straight way to my mother because that's the smartest thing to do, and she came in directly and diagnosed the problem.  The dryer wasn't blowing any hot air!!   Ah-ha!  So that's what it was!  A dryer without hot air simply does not dry very well.  I could certainly see the sense in that!  (So yes.  We've been without a dryer this whole week.  Slightly inconvenient, I must say.  Though I won't deny I have rather enjoyed not having to do any laundry!)

I've realized again that my writing is a very fickle thing.  Or perhaps it's my opinion of it that is fickle.  Whatever it is there's something wrong somewhere.  You know that story I was working on back in November for National Novel Writing Month?  Well.  I read it over sometime later and it was all too plain.  The whole thing was horrible!  Like really bad.  Lots of terribly awkward sentences, and lots of blah!  It would have be rewritten.  Entirely rewritten.  That was all there was to it.  
Enter this week.  I got it out one evening and read it again.  And oh, that ornery bit of writing!  I actually liked it!  Actually thought it was pretty good.  It was, in fact, rather disconcerting.  I mean, my writing can't do this to me!  How am I ever going to trust it if it keeps switching sides on me?  Is it good or is it bad?  What IS IT?!  (Fickle, fickle writing.)
Well!  That's all for now! And guess what?  I did not write this post in only an hour's time.  (What did I tell you?  I knew it was impossible.)  But at any rate I wrote it.  And finished it before the end of the month.  That's gotta count for something.
So long everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!
(And good-bye, March.  We'll see you next year!)

Friday, March 24, 2017

At this moment I have...

Six emails I need to write
(But too little time and energy to write them)

A looooong "Ask Me Anything" answer post which is clamoring for my attention
(and not getting any of it)

A good book which I should be reading
(but which I can't seem to concentrate on for all the thoughts of what else I should be doing)

Dozens of blog post ideas in my head which are itching to be written
(while lack of motivation and inspiration do their work of sufficiently hindering that process)

The opportunity to go for a walk on a gloriously fine day
(and an appalling lack of will to do it)

A cold--which is stuffing up my nose, dulling my sense of hearing, and scratchifying my throat. 
(Yes, I said scratchifying.  Yes, I know that's not a word.  I made it up!)

Dark circles under my eyes I'm guessing
(if staying up till midnight is how one gets them)

A veeeery low functioning brain
(which you've no doubt gathered by this point)

And a satisfied smile on my face
(for having published a post with all that against me.  *chuckle*)

(But not a literal smile, you understand.  A figurative one.  'Cause literal smiles are too much of an effort to produce just now.  Doncha know?)

This has been random posts with Miss March.
Tune in next time to hear Miss March say...


P.S.  You know what?  I think I could go read that book now...or maybe take that walk...but no writing.  Definitely no writing.  My brain can't handle it.  (And this post is ample proof of that.  Haha.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ask me some questions and I'll tell you some lies

JUST KIIIIIDDING!  Of course I'm not going to lie to you.  What an idea!  (Who comes up with these titles anyway?) 

What this post really is, is an "Ask Me Anything" post.  I've never done one of those before, so I thought it would be a fun thing to try.  And besides, I know you all have dozens of questions which you've been dying to ask me.  

How do I know that?  Well, it's really quite simple.  For one thing I'm such an interesting person that a desire to know more about me is simply a given; secondly I rarely ever talk about myself so that makes me mysterious (and people do love the challenge of solving mysteries); and thirdly (and this is just a very little reason) in the past few months I have received hundreds of emails from all over the country begging me to share more about the famous authoress of Sunshiny Corner!  


*coughcough*  What?  You don't believe me?  Come on, people.  I don't make these things up.  *coughcoughchoke*  

Right.  So now that I have completely lost the good opinion of all my readers by spouting off untruths like a hyperactive Pinocchio (my nose is currently four-sizes too large.  Just thought you'd like to know that), let's get down to business, shall we? 

I hereby give you permission to ask me anything your hearts' desire (within reason of course).  Like for instance how old I am, what my favorite movie is, why I always stay up so late at night, why I said no to that nice guy when he asked me out on date...(just kidding. I said yes.)  (Just kidding again.  I made that whole thing up.  No guy.  No date.  It was nothing more than a figment of my imagination.)

So anyway.  Ask away, dear people!  Pepper me with questions.  And I shall salt you with loads of lovely answers.  (Yes, my humor is horrible today.  I get that.) 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A few words to the people of Candleford and Lark Rise {Season 2}

Laura Timmins,

I realize you are one who thinks very profound and deep thoughts, but if I were you I wouldn't waste time moralizing over the fact that Fisher was your one chance at love and now it's all gone.  Gone forever.  Because honestly, you had several chances at love even before Fisher came into the picture.  If you recall, you could have had Alf, but you wanted nothing to do with him; you had Phillip, but you ditched him; and as to Fisher himself, well.  You certainly didn't put up much of a fight for him.  Did it never occur to you that you could keep in contact through letters until such a time as you were both ready to settle down?  (I mean, really, girl.  You do work at a post office.)

Miss Lane,
You are a perfect example of a romantic heroine, for no matter how many times your heart is broken you never let that stop you.  You always fall in love again on the very next opportunity.  It really is marvelous the way you manage it.  

"You must leave, James.  Oh!  My heart is breaking..."
"...but, uh, mending very quickly with the help of James number 2, I think."

Alf Arless,
It seems you've taken my advice and gotten over Laura.  And that right quickly, too.  In fact, it was a such an extraordinarily fast turn around I could hardly believe it.  Really.  I'm impressed.

Mr. James Dowland,
If there were a contest for the moodiest person in the show, you would certainly win it.  Why you've got it down to a science!  However, I'm not saying this to belittle such a talent in you, sir.  No indeed.  By all means, be grumpy.  For you'll soon find that grumpiness and romance go hand in hand in Miss Lane's book.  She will not be able to resist you.  (One bit of advice, though.  Don't lie to the woman you love.  That's a sure way of losing her.  And, uh, pining yourself sick over her instead of going and speaking to her face to face, may not after all be the surest means of regaining her affections.  In fact, I'm afraid it is now officially over.  So sorry.)

Mr. Timmins,
It appears you must have given a bit of your grumpiness to Mr. J.D.  At any rate, you've grown much more cheerful of late, and that's a fine thing.  I approve.  (Besides, you've already got yourself a wife.  So why be moody, right?)

Mrs. Timmins,
Steady on.  Take a deep breath.  Right.  Now try again.  See if you can't start with the right words this time so your husband doesn't have the opportunity to turn an innocent remark into an intentional insult.  There.  That's much better.  Now we're getting somewhere.

Dear Timmins Children,
Your parents are about to have an argument.  This means it is now time for you to go outside and play.  Have fun!

Don't fret over losing your "job" at the post office.  You have a much higher calling.  Like finding lost people in the woods for instance.  You have to admit you're pretty much an expert when it comes to that!

Thomas Brown,
I hate to break it to you but people don't normally understand mutterings and stutterings and unfinished sentences.  And when dealing with Miss Ellison--who apparently has a knack for hearing only what she wants to hear--I do greatly fear that your attempt at words will be misinterpreted.  See?  What did I tell you?  Now your wedding is set for a date much sooner than you had anticipated, and you're in an absolute panic.  Take my advice, sir.  Calm yourself, slow down, think through what you want to say, form the words, and say them nice and clear.  This is what people typically refer to as talking, I believe.  Go on.  Give it a try.  I'm sure you can do it.

Miss Ellison,
Your constant twitches, and arm wavings, and claspings of the hands are beginning to wear on us.  Do try and tone it down a bit.  Also, if you could perhaps lose the over-exaggerated, creepy smile?  It would do a world of good towards improving your appearance.

Fisher Bloom,
I'm still trying to figure out how you fell for Laura.  Why she wasn't even being nice in that episode!  What do all you guys see in her?  (Oh, that's right.  She's the heroine.  You have no choice.  Poor fellows.)

That's sweet, but...WHY???

Dear Minnie,
I know you're just about the most romantic person in the whole world, and that it makes you ever so happy see people in love, but I must hint to you that some people don't enjoy having their romances talked of with such openness.  One must use tact on subjects such as these, and tact, Minnie, is one thing you do not possess.  So, on the whole, I think it's best that you just remain silent.  (Uh, right.  That was an impossible suggestion.  Pardon me.)

Well, hello!  You sort of popped out of nowhere.  Nice to meet you.  *shakes hands*  Will you be staying in the area long do you think?

Miss Pearl,
That was the most absurd attempt at a secret rendezvous I ever did see.  Heading out of town on opposite sides of the street, at the exact same time, and sloooowly (but really not so slowly) lessening the distance between yourselves until you're walking side by side right down the middle of main street!  And not only that, but timing everything so perfectly that you meet up right underneath the constable's wife's window.  I am absolutely blown away by the enormity of your thinking powers!  (Though on the whole I suppose it does rather fit with the general nature of yours and the Constable's behavior throughout this episode, which was not exactly big on brains, and which was in fact entirely ridiculous, uncalled for, and SHAMEFUL!)  (To put it mildly.)

Yes.  I am talking to you, ma'am.

Miss Ruby,
You're a very sweet person.  Not very quick on the uptake, but still sweet.  And you do have a most profound way of munching your food.  Why, one can practically feel the comfort you are deriving from it.  I think food really must be your "one weakness", even more than it is Miss Lane's.

Cinderella Doe,
What do you want to go around creeping people out for?  It's very inconsiderate of you.  We skipped your episode this time, miss.  And very glad we were to do it, too.

If you really are such a "little man" why is it you can't manage to eek out even a short bit of polite conversation with your father?  I would think you'd be able to at least say something.  Please.  The heavy silence is becoming very awkward.

Dear Queenie,
You must have been behaving pretty well this season for I find I haven't anything of interest to say to you.  Perhaps that's just the fault of my own short memory, but be that as it may, today is clearly your lucky day.  Ta-ta! 

Laura, you're getting that far away look in your eye again.  Please don't tell me you're about to say something profound.  I realize that with such a great knowledge of the world and such obvious maturity (coughcough) you must be positively bursting with wise thoughts to share with us common mortals--and I gotta hand it to you, your wise sayings do sound rather impressive when spoken in that lofty tone of voice--but...may I ask?...what do they mean
Have any of you ever noticed that Miss Lane falls in love with two guys named James? And that their initials are both J.D.?
Have you ever tried to make sense out of Laura's beginning and ending statements and found them peculiarly lacking in that regard?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Question of Motives

Do you ever second guess yourself and worry that you may be doing things for the wrong reasons?  Do you ever delve into the inner workings of your brain and screw yourself up digging endlessly down into that dizzying circle of self-doubt?  Do you question why exactly you did that kind thing for that person?  Or why you feel so happy and good about yourself after giving up something you want?  Or why indeed you feel the need to live a good life and do what your conscience says is right?  Is it because you truly and whole-heartedly wish to serve God and glorify Him above all else?  Or is there perchance a tiny, barely discernible, selfish ulterior motive beneath those good deeds, which is your true motivation?

I'm an analyzer.  And a worrier.  So yes.  I have worried about my honest motivations on numberless occasions.  And I'm ashamed to say that more often than not my motives probably are wrong. 

First off, read this post by Naomi because she says it really well.  This is one of the things I'm talking about.  The habit of doing good things while secretly, deep down, wishing to be noticed and praised for it.  We do it unconsciously.  We have the best of selfless intentions in mind, but when we're through we realize we're disappointed that we didn't get any affirmation for our noble endeavors. 

That's one example.  But there's another one I've noticed about myself, too.  Those times when there's nobody to see the good deed I'm doing, so there's no way of my doing it out of a desire to be praised for it.  In those times my motives must be unselfish, right?  I must truly be doing it for God and not for myself.  Is it not so? 

And yet that little voice in my head says that there's something still underlying it.  Says that deep down I'm doing it for a reason other than a pure desire to honor my Creator.  Am I, perhaps, only being good for myself?  I fully believe that obeying God is the right thing to do, but am I obeying Him because I love Him or because I want to feel secure in the thought that I am in the right.  That I am a good person.  That I am someone to be proud of.  (Because boy! do I like to be proud of myself.)

I've been reading The Lady's Confession by George MacDonald and this paragraph stood out to me as describing with painful accuracy the feeling I've had about my motives at times. 

"Faber's main weak point was, that though he was indeed tender hearted and did kindnesses not to be seen of men, he did them to be seen of himself.  The boy was in the man, doing his deeds and seeking the praise of his own conscience.  Though perhaps this was not a grievous wrong, it was poor and childish and obstructed his higher development.  He liked to think himself a benefactor.  Such a  man may well be of noble nature, but he is a mere dabbler in nobility, for a certain degree of pride is always inherent in such a view of oneself." 
[The Lady's Confession by George MacDonald]
This shook me rather.  Because I know it's true.  I'm prideful.  I like to watch myself do nice things for people.  I like to think that people are grateful to me for those things, and that they love and appreciate me for them.  Indeed I think about myself far and away too much.
And realizing this I naturally fall into a bout of worry and discouragement.  Because I want to have pure motives.   And yet lofty thoughts of myself always seem to creep in.  And so I fret over this wickedness inside me; grasping for some way to rid myself of it; and yet finding that in this matter I am utterly and completely helpless.

When you discover a sin in yourself, do you ever fall into the thinking that now that you've discovered it you can't move on until you've overcome it?  I do.  Knowing it's there means it is my duty to get rid of it.  Henceforth, immediately. 
But I can't. 
And that's where the hopeless feelings of unworthiness start to set in and drag me down until I feel that there's no way in the world I can ever measure up to God's standard, and be the person He wants me to be.  And guess what?  That's true.  I can't!  I can't do any of that.  It's God alone who can do it in me, and when I come to realize that, lifts the weight a bit.  And I cling to Him, and cry,
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;  Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way."  Psalm 139:23-24
God is the one who searches me.  He is the one who knows me.  He's aware of the deepest, darkest places in my broken and sinful heart.  Even before the foundation of the world He knew.  And still He called me.  Called me His own.  Reached out His hand, took me up, and said,
"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.  This I command you, that you love one another."
John 15:16-17
We cry out to God, hoping and pleading that He will see our contrite hearts and have pity on us. But do we not realize?  He's already done that!  We didn't choose Him.  He chose us!  What a marvelous, humbling truth that is. 
"Our Father which art in heaven, we Thy children are often troubled in mind, hearing within us at once the affirmation of faith and the accusations of conscience.  We are sure that there is in us nothing that could attract the love of One as holy and as just as Thou art.  Yet Thou hast declared Thine unchanging love for us in Christ Jesus.  If nothing in us can win Thy love, nothing in the universe can prevent Thee from loving us.  Thy love is uncaused and undeserved.  Thou art Thyself the reason for the love wherewith we are loved.  Help us to believe the intensity, the eternity of the love that has found us.  Then love will cast out fear; and our troubled hearts will be at peace, trusting not in what we are but in what Thou hast declared Thyself to be.  Amen."
[The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer]
It is God Himself who will work the change in us that we so desperately need.  God Himself that will purge all darkness from our hearts and make us pure.  We can trust Him for that.  We can throw aside all of our worries and fears and trust Him completely to mold us and shape us into the people He wants us to be.  It's not too big a job for Him.  Not in the slightest.
And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?"  And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:23-26