Sunday, May 19, 2013

Are The Words of a Picture Worth Telling?

They say that "a picture is worth a thousand words", which I believe to be a completely valid perspective. My parents are in Italy right now, and receiving picture texts from them gives us kids a wonderful picture of what they must be experiencing (pun unintended); people always ask for pictures when someone goes on an adventure, and the phrase "pics or it didn't happen!!" reflect a desire to see rather than hear of an occurrence.

I lived for three months in London, which you can read about here, and there are around nine hundred pictures that I've posted on facebook about my adventures. Nine hundred. For around ninety days. Shoot, that seems really excessive.

We were in Paris, viewing the Eiffel Tower the first night of our weekend visit. The four of us girls enjoyed viewing the famous landmark, and right at 8PM the Tower began glowing with lights all over the tower going on and off. It had already been lit like normal, and from afar these strobe-esque lights gave the illusion that the Tower was glittering all over with diamonds. We were so fortunate to watch the lovely light-show as we had just been heading back toward the Metro, and we snapped away with our cameras. After a few pictures, Taylor and I realized that we were essentially taking the same picture over and over again, so we stopped to watch the fantastic spectacle with our own eyes. We discussed the value of photographing things (it's one of Taylor's favorite hobbies!) verses the significance of enjoying the moment.

Of course, we don't want to forget the best times in our lives, and that may be part of the motive for obsessively taking pictures. However, it's okay to just stand and bask in the experiences all around. The last day we spent in Paris, we headed back to say goodbye to the Tower before returning to London. My favorite part of those thirty or so minutes couldn't have possibly been captured by a single or even series of pictures. (A video, possibly, but that's another discussion.) There were the two precious French boys racing each other back and forth across the path, the women accosting us and attempting to get our money, and the large man singing and dancing around as he strolled along, winking at anyone who made eye contact and wearing a huge grin on his face. I breathed in the cool air of winter and smell of grass while basking in the sunlight beaming down on me. It was truly wonderful. I've observed that [in general] people with pictures of their adventures have an enjoyable experience, while those who really have an amazing or unique venture don't have nearly as many.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't take pictures of the gorgeous world we live in or of the voyages we take, but that we may want to take a step back and enjoy life outside the lens. Don't be so caught up in instagramming your dinner to enjoy conversation with the person across the table from you, or snap pictures with your friends without taking the time to really know them. I've been guilty of these things many times myself, and will probably continue to be. However, I aspire to look around me and take in everything via all the senses, not just by way of sight.

Now back to the title: are the words of a picture worth telling? By asking that I mean: is it worth missing out on what's around us in order to take the perfect picture? Is it worth it to take pictures of something and by extension not actually enjoy the image before us while we're there?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Boring Betty

Flashback to about twelve or fifteen years ago. When we lived in Farmers Branch, we lived next door to another little girl who was almost exactly my same age. We'd traverse back and forth the twenty feet between our front doors and play at each others houses. One day she was over at my house, and apparently we didn't do a good enough job of entertaining her (I'm not saying that she was spoiled, but she did have a lot of the toys and gadgets that weren't available in my home, so it took a little more to keep her entertained.) She told my mom that she was bored. To that my mom let her know that she could go right on home and not to say those words in her house. That child never again said the words "I'm bored" in my home. You may think that's a bit harsh (I don't), but that's how things were in my house. We didn't say we were bored, and as a family with four over-involved children we rarely had cause to be.

Now, I always tell myself and others that life is what you make of it. And yesterday, I was making little of my life. So after texting one of my dearest friends about how bored he and I both are, I called myself out, asking myself why I think having a bad attitude about having so much time on my hands is in any way alright (I do have inner dialogue with myself, but no one's had me tested for insanity yet). I have no business feeling sorry for myself because the only thing holding me back from doing something awesome is me.

This is the part where I tell you of the awesome thing I did. Prepare to be disappointed. All I ended up doing was helping with dinner, reading a bit of one of the four books I'm currently reading (I have readers ADHD, I diagnosed myself), seeing The Great Gatsby with my brother (it was great), and watching late night talk shows with my dad. It was a great time.

Today I've been very satisfied with a couple of good books, some productivity (which always puts me in a good mood), and sunshine. I think when my mind is spent either in the world of another or not delving into an intellectual vacuum, it's much easier to be positive and enjoy the time given to me. I could spend hours reading a book or watching a TV show, and I think it's because I enjoy the fictional community of it. I've missed the community I had in London and in Abilene, it's one of the things I value most. In addition, give me sunshine or give me death. Being in the sun alleviates all sadness and has been quite refreshing after several months in the less than sunny Isles of Britain.

So if you're bored, go read a book. Reading not your thing? Let's hope you have Netflix because there's seasons upon seasons of fun shows to watch. If you're sad, get outside! Move! If that doesn't put you in a good mood I hope you live in the arctic where there's no sunshine for you not to appreciate (apologies, I don't mean that). And if you miss community, hit up a friend, or write a letter.

One of the most wonderful, positive, and encouraging activities out there is letter writing. I love love love sending letters and receiving them. So if there's anyone actually still reading this, do shoot me a message and you'll receive a handwritten letter by yours truly.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

An Ode to Mom

Thanks, mom.
Thank you for putting me in sports and letting me decide which one to pursue.
Thank you for giving me a two year minimum for the various musical pursuits I've had.
Thank you for taking me to church.
Thank you for not using your BA or MA in favor of taking care of the four of us as best as you know how.
Thank you for understanding my independent nature.
Thank you for watching war movies with me (Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot, Braveheart, Band of Brothers, and many more).
Thank you for watching chick flicks with me.
Thank you for instilling a love of reading into your children.
Thank you for being realistic.
Thank you for making healthy eating a thing in our home.
Thank you for both your physical and emotional strength.
Thanks for buying me books and taking me to the library.
Thank you for when you home-schooled me, because I learned much more than I would have from the less than stellar public school that I would have gone to and for using that time to build a solid worldview.
Thank you for putting me in private school for a few years. I made some great friends there and grew a lot.
Thank you for letting me go to public school, because we both know I needed that social interaction and the opportunities I was able to have there shaped me in many wonderful ways.
Thank you for not crying when you dropped me off for college.
Thank you for always being honest and valuing the truth.
Thank you for pushing me to be better.
Thank you for encouraging me.

My mom is really an amazing woman. Her and my dad lived in Israel for a couple years and came back several months before I was born. She understands the value of travelling and seeing the world from many different angles. She buys stuff for herself-never. It's a big event for her to buy more than two clothing items for herself in the span of six months. Her and my dad are really the Dream Team, they work together so well and present a united front for our family. My mom is strong and loyal and very real and has taught us kids the value of hard work.
 She was the first woman to the top of a mountain in her group around ten years ago.
 She and my dad prioritize life so that we can go on many adventures.
This was almost three years ago. 
My mom and dad are the rock which hold our family together.

 I've referred to London, Abilene, Westcliffe (CO), Tulsa (OK), and Coppell as home in the past two years. But really, my home is with my parents.
 As the oldest of four children, I've already become a testament to the above statement. There's a reason mom says what she does. It works.
I'm very thankful to have a mom who believes strongly in the power of hugs. She always tells me that I don't get enough hugs. After going for three months in another country with very few hugs, my mom knew that I needed that silent yet physical exhibition of love. And for that, I am thankful.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Cliche Post About Being

 I like the above image quite a bit. Partially due to it's creativity and partly because of the words; and also because it looks vintage-esque and I like that kind of stuff. The quote, if you will, reminds me in part of one of my dear friends. I admire her for many reasons, but especially for the way she is her own woman. She expresses herself through fashion and always looks lovely, but has to put up with criticism from others because of it. As surface level as it seems, her ability to overcome expectation and dress in her own style permeates her personality. This beautiful woman dresses in her own mode of fashion (and pulls it off, I might add) and it reflects her unique personality. She isn't swayed (so far as I can tell) by what others may think of her, but she is who she wants to be, not what someone else wants for her.
Isn't that awesome? I think so. 

One thing many seem to struggle with is figuring out who they want to be and following through and actually doing it. 
I'm included in this, don't get me wrong. 
 Of course, we always want to be better. 
(I have an entire other blog post based on that one sentence, stay tuned.)
The thing that distinguishes those who succeed in their personal self improvement related goals and those who don't (from what I've seen, at least) derives primarily from two things: 
1. a positive/negative attitude
2. drive/desire/caring/etc
If you have a negative perception of yourself, it is harder to believe that you're capable of becoming the even more awesome edition of yourself which you totally could be.
And if you don't want it bad enough, you won't get it. Obviously.
I see this in myself especially in two of my weakest areas: in school and in working out. Learning is awesome, reading articles pertaining to psychology, religion, sociology, or ethics could even be considered a hobby, but my educational self esteem has been lower than necessary. Although I am totally capable of more, I've been held back many times by telling myself (and others) that I just don't have it in me when I totally do. Last fall I both over-committed myself socially (as per usual) and took a number of more difficult classes than I'd taken thus far in university, and my parents expressed a lack of confidence in my ability to succeed which reflected the way I used to view myself. However, I sought to overcome these obstacles and did. Looking back, the main changes I made in myself to become successful included a positive attitude about what I'm capable of and a drive to reach my goal.

It's certainly not as easy as it sounds, but it's doable. You can do whatever you want (within reason, let's not break any laws here). Train your mind to think positively (oop, another blog post coming), be empowered, you're way more awesome and lovely and capable than you imagine. Don't care so much what others think. Set goals for yourself. Be what you want to be.

The above image does not mean that unicorns are better than rhinos. 
They're just my personal preference.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I Do Not Know How To Pronounce The URL To This Blog

Well, here I am. Starting another blog. After chronicling a semester abroad, I realized that I really enjoy blogging. Putting my thoughts out there, going on tangents, letting cyberspace know all the mundane details....I love it. And since blogs are so focused on self (although the purpose of the blog may be for others, the content is usually about that individuals lifestyle, DIY projects, fashion, adventures, etc) (notice: I said "I" four times in like three sentences) this is a nice place for me to decide what I want to talk about and share myself with whoever ends up following along. In addition, the beauty of a blog is that it doesn't necessarily have to be high maintenance. I make no promises about how frequently posts will be made here, and this may just be a thing this summer while I have little to no social life living in my hometown which hasn't actually been my home for around two years now.

It's kind of the middle of the night right now, so I'm  not entirely sure how much sense I'm making, but I don't entirely care to go back and edit it. Reader discretion advised: I don't edit blogs before posting them, aside from a quick skim through to ensure what I post is not entirely nonsensical. I realize that there's a double negative in that statement, and I'll leave it right there. Grammar Nazis and English majors out there: be warned. I'm not here to impress you.

That being said, I really am tired. But I feel the need to explain this blog real quick, because doing it later will just be a chore and I'll probably be in the mood to talk about something else.

The title to this blog: "Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Be afraid of nothing." is my paraphrase from a book I've been reading recently by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, you guessed it, I've been reading through The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, the pace at which I've been reading is utterly shameful due to my over-investment in social networking and/or my ADHD and recent propensity to read articles more than actual literature). I really like that quote and feel that it relates to where I'm at right now. Although I'm back in Texas, which seems (and literally is) very far from the excitement of Europe, life is what I make of it. I could come back and live a drab existence, or I can live my life to it's full potential (cliche, sure, but true). And really, the only thing to be afraid of is fear itself (I'm full of cliche's).

To explain the URL to this blog (I'm working on learning how to pronounce it): that word "ewlychiad" is the Welsh word for efflorescence (thanks to the wonderful BBC translator). Efflorescence is a word used in chemistry, but also means 1. the state or a period of flowering. Or 2. an example or result of growth and development. It's become more and more apparent over the last few months that I am immersed in a time of changing and becoming, so that's why that's significant. Why translate it into Welsh? Partly because I'm moderately obsessed with traveling/going back to Europe. Partly because the URL "" is already taken and I was too lazy to come up with something new. 

Why have a bike background, Lydia? Well folks, I  just think it's cute.

So here's my blog and now you know the reason for the titles and the names. Now to bed and I will hopefully be more entertaining in the future. Welcome aboard and goodnight!

Also I don't know what the deal is or why everything has to be highlighted....

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