I've Got the Moon in my Pocket

There's this special Look that I've begun to observe among my guy friends that have found the women they intend to marry. I'm only just starting this study, having at first only had one subject couple to observe, but I've now seen it in two separate cases. Pardon my clinical language, as I try to explain what I'm thinking here.
Take for example your favorite pair of friends that are in a long term relationship, something that you know (either by gut instinct, or the presence of an engagement ring) is probably gonna go the distance. Observe this couple in their happiest moments and you might see the expression that I call, the "I've Got the Moon in My Pocket" face, called so because I thought of the most amazing yet impossible thing you could possibly possess, and came up with the Moon. I mean, how happy would YOU be if you had possession of the moon?

I first observed this Look in the face of my dear friend John, a man that I would proudly claim as brother. His now fiancee, Sarah, is one of the dearest and best friends I have ever made; her spirit is cut from the same bolt of gossamer cloth as mine. Their wedding is in a little over a month, but once upon a time, before they were engaged, we'd had a gathering of friends all returned from spring break. As we walked around campus that evening swapping tales, John had somehow managed to sneakily tell the four of us close girl-friends that he was planning on proposing to Sarah in the near future, asking us to be on call for assistance when he should deem the time right. Their biggest story from break was the fact that they had been looking at a house that could possibly be their first home someday. As I walked my friends I saw in, this smug gleam in John's eyes. That, my dear readers, was the Look. Its a mixture of pride, joy, and love. Its a look  that says, "I have found the one my soul loves".  I've seen it on occasion from him since then, on the night they got engaged, in random pictures from family gatherings, and its one of the biggest things that makes me believe that they are meant to be.

There's another pair of friends I have, also recently engaged and soon to be married. I met Isaac when he stayed with John on a scholarship weekend as a high-school senior, and Mary Clare at the dinner table one day this past year. Both are some of the most mature freshmen you will ever meet, and arguably the most precious people on campus. As a quiet observer of many things, it was a joy watch these two grow together over the past year and when they announced their engagement a few weeks ago, I was among the many thrilled at the news.
In the college chapel tonight, the local ballet studio performed the first night of their annual recital, which Sarah and I went to see. There were so many adorable tutu-ed little girls and graceful young women, all dancing to the glory of God. My personal favorite number of the evening, was a double pas-de-deux, featuring Mary Clare and Isaac, and another couple from school. The boys were there to lift and twirl their partners and not much more, but the choreography was simple and beautiful.  I couldn't help but notice how radiantly Mary's smile shone as she danced; she practically glowed with joy. Then, I noticed Isaac--sturdy, dressed in black, a strong anchor to Mary's extended leaps. He never took his eyes off her. Even from the balcony, I could tell that he had the Look.

I am almost positive this is the expression that will be on the faces of these two young men when they each see their own beautiful bride for the first time on their wedding day. For those of you who like to look back at the groom when the bride steps out into the aisle, you know what I'm talking about.

Its the small things in life that are often the most beautiful.

Emergency Distress Plan-- In Case of Tears Make Coffee

We're getting so close. It is now two weeks until summer, and in the past week I've mopped up other's tears, and made mugs of tea and doled out hugs and kept a stiff upper lip, staying strong for those around me. I wrote two papers and did a group project this week. I've had endless appointments, meetings, library events and social gatherings to go to. I've applied and interviewed for jobs, and sit here, trying not to fret as the future of my summer hangs in the balance, dependent on the outcome of these efforts. And now its Friday, and I've drained every last drop of energy from my body. I am emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted.  I feel like at any given moment you could come across me in a puddle of tears in the middle of the cafeteria.

If you, dear reader, happen to be that person that finds me in my state of watery distress, here are your instructions. First, Coffee. I take three sugars and two creamers to mask the taste of the nasty cafeteria stuff. Second, don't try to talk me through it. Also, don't try to make me talk. What I'll need is just a quiet friend. and a hug. Third, when the flood has subsided, kindly instruct me to go take a nap. If I protest, you have my permission to use a straitjacket or whatever other means you deem necessary.

Oh, and if I start quoting overly dramatic, semi-emo sounding literature, don't worry.  It's probably just Anne of Green Gables.  "My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes" is one of those melodramatic sayings that I  love best from that precocious ginger. When I'm upset, I tend to imitate either her or Amy March. It usually cheers me up.
Also, if you see me reading "inspirational fiction" otherwise known as "christian romance", please try not to judge. My brain probably can't handle anything deeper than a puddle at the moment. Just know that Lori Copeland is not my usual fare; I will return to bigger and better books when I am recovered.

I think that covers everything in my Emergency Distress Plan. I feel better knowing that if something goes wrong, there will be someone out there that knows what to do for me.

Exciting ventures

Here's a story that starts back at Christmas break--on Christmas Eve actually. I was hiding from from the craziness of Christmas cookie baking up in my room, having put too much butter in the first batch of shortbread.  I  was organizing folders on my computer and coming across my creative writing portfolio, I decided to do something with the some of the essays I had written for Dr. Impson's creative non-fiction class. So, with a little surfing of the interwebs I came up with a couple of contests and writer anthologies that were taking submissions. Fixing up my drafts, and formatting  everything to meet guidelines, I sent them in, then went back down stairs  to rejoin the chaos, completely forgetting about the entries.
Then back in February, I got an email from the editor of the Young Writers' Anthology, a publication of the VerbalEyze writers cooperative based in south Atlanta, informing me of their decision to include one of my essays in their May edition. I was surprised, excited and full of questions. The email came on the perfect day, when I had been questioning my creativity and generally just stuck in a rut. There's a Sylvia Plath quote on my wall in the dorm that says
"Sometimes I feel so stupid and dull and uncreative that I am amazed when people tell me differently"
Yep, that pretty much sums up what I felt then, and still feel every time someone likes what I write. I try not to let it go to my head, but it's pretty encouraging.

So, the details! The 2013 College edition of the Young Writers' Anthology is titled "Springing from Halls of Marble" (why, I have no earthly idea.) and you can find out more information about it by clicking the link HERE. The cool thing about this anthology, is that the purpose behind it is to give young writers a chance to experience the publishing process, from contracts to communicating with an editor  to publicizing it to earning royalties in the form of a scholarship fund.
It still seems pretty surreal to think about... but I'm kind of excited. :) So, check out the links if you want, and thanks for reading this little update from my world!

Hymns, The Tallis' Canon and L'Engle

Tonight I'm studying for tomorrow's hymnology test.  Dr. Wilhoit gives killer exams, but its easier to study when you find the subject fascinating. As I read through my notes and come across familiar hymn tunes and titles, they play through my head in wispy song snippets. I've loved hymns since childhood. My first memory of Sunday night hymn sings is looking up "Nothing But the Blood" in the hymn index and raising my hand to request it when my turn came. Most of my churches growing up  used hymnals and I learned the basic concept of parts singing from my alto-voiced mother, a skill I would later put to use in forming my own harmonies in worship chapel and sight-reading for the various choirs I've been in. Hymns just stick in my head, and by the time I was sixteen and serving as an acolyte in the Anglican church my family had started attending, I had quite a few in my repertoire. My hands were full as an acolyte, carrying either a torch or crucifix as I processed in with the rest of the acolytes, lay servers, choir and clergy, but I didn't need to carry a hymnal to sing along as I carried the songs in my head and heart.

Now that I look at my notes again, I don't know what got me fixated on the Tallis' Canon tonight, as it isn't mentioned in this chapter, but it has been on my mind all evening. Libera has a lovely version on YouTube that I've been listening to as I work (Click Here to listen!). The text, by Thomas Ken, is that of an evening hymn--one that you might sing at that most lovely hour of Compline--known as "All Praise To Thee, My God, This Night." It follows a typical evening prayer pattern of thanking God for safety through the day, begging forgiveness for the days sins, and asking for protection throughout the night, capped with a rendition of the doxology. The tune, TALLIS' CANON is simple and beautiful, and as the title implies, can be echoed in a round-like form. (The Libera boys' choir is subtle and sweet in their execution of the piece.)

 I don't remember exactly when I first heard this hymn, but it was brought back in to my mind within the past school year as I was reading Madeleine L'Engle's Meet the Austins (for the second or third time) and its sequels The Moon by Night and The Young Unicorns. The Austin family is one of my favorite families in literature, and I harbor a secret hope that my someday-family will be something like them. The family is a noisy one, and one where music plays a big role. L'Engle mentions their singing of the Tallis' Canon at least once in the first book and, I believe, once in the second. She then introduces a character by the name of Canon Tallis (a Canon is a church official) in the third book. I began suspect that it was a favorite of  the author's and so I looked it up. I thought I remembered hearing it before then, but not where I heard it, so I'll say that the birth of my knowledge of this song began with L'Engle and the Austins.

Of all the author's in the world, Madeleine L'Engle is one with whom I feel the most kinship of spirit. I wish I could have met her before she died. I think I would have liked her even more in person... she was a librarian and an Anglican and a fervid imaginer and a writer of wonderful words. Ah, but now I am no longer studying for that test, and I'm getting longwinded. I'll leave you, dear reader, whoever you may be, with the text of this hymn. May your evening be blessed.
All praise to You, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath the shelter of Your wings.
Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray,
The wrong that I have done this day.
May peace with God and neighbor be,
Before I sleep restored to me.
Lord, may I be at rest in You
And sweetly sleep the whole night thro'.
Refresh my strength, for Your own sake,
So I may serve You when I wake.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Head in the Clouds

A concrete poem for Childrens' Lit. I love fun homework. Pardon my lefty-handwriting. Clicking on the picture enlarges it.

Enjoy Today

If I were to draw a Venn diagram of things I needed to do today and things I actually did today, the overlap would be very small indeed. But it was a beautiful day and the things I did were beneficial...more or less. :)

Things I needed to do:

  • Homework
  • Take home test
  • Work on resume

Things I didn't know I needed to do:

  • Spend time with the bosom buddy

Things I actually did:

  • Slept in till 9:30
  • Caught up with various areas of communication that needed to be tended to
  • Walked the long way up from lunch and enjoyed the cherry blossoms
  • Worked on resume
  • Went on an excursion with the bosom buddy (it did my soul good)
  • Played cards and Halo and watched Flashpoint at open dorm
You see, not very productive. But what is the weekend for if not to rest from everyday toils? There's always tomorrow after church to do homework. The cherry blossoms won't last long and when the chance arises to be with your friends midst the busy schedules we all have, take it. College doesn't last forever.

Enjoy today while you have it.