Saturday, July 23, 2016

Life is Threefold

  How has everyone's summer been? Mine is not only flying by, but it is incredibly busy and there are so many things rushing around in my head these days, it's crazy. I'm currently working at a Christian summer camp for a week at a time with three day breaks and loving it. It's my fifth year as staff and even in just two camps I am happier and more fulfilled there than ever before. Also: exhausted. But that's a given.

  This won't be a very long post, but I figured I should try to update my blog with something because I'm not going to be very un-busy for a month or so yet. And yeah, it's not really about writing, but I hope that some of the things I share in this large ramble might be an encouragement to those of you reading.

  Something I'm learning this summer is that life is a threefold thing.

  Past. Present. Future.

  And you can't just take one at a time.

  If you only focus on the PAST you are going to be miserable. Trust me, been there done that. Focusing only on all the wonderful people, places and things that you miss will bring a bittersweet sadness that - if left to grow - will turn into something hard, cold and lost. It stops you from appreciating the things going on around you for how they are. It's incredibly painful actually to think only about what has happened and go about missing things you can never return to. There's no hope in that. Focusing on the past only has been my struggle for most of my life and is something I am slowly overcoming. It's one thing to appreciate, enjoy and miss certain memories. It's another to live in a frozen world that has happened and can never happen again.

  I've found that some people live only in the PRESENT. Their focus is so wrapped up in the here and now that they often get into trouble. Whether that stems from forgetting about past mistakes and experiences that should dissuade them from certain actions, or not realizing that what you do now has future consequences. Both of these options can lead to trouble. While living totally in the present and just loving the moment you are in is not wrong and can often be wonderful and euphoric, it can get sketchy when it begins to blind you to the possibilities of harm or danger. It's all about balance.

  Now, living strictly for the FUTURE pleasure or excitement will never get you anywhere either. You can never attain the future, thus, you will never be satisfied. You will always be looking for something, unable to be content with what you have and what you had. Many people make this mistake I think, especially in our day and age now. There's always something better to be had than what is had right now. This can do a lot of damage to a person. Constantly hunting and searching for that one thing that will complete them, but that one thing is always one step ahead, never to be attained. Granted, thinking about the future gives you hope and purpose and something to look forward to, but focusing only on what will come will do nothing for you at all.

  This is why I think life is threefold, and why you have to take them all in balance. I think the center of it all, however, should be the present. That is what we are able to use for good and effect, right now, right where we are. Rather than thinking about things that are too late to turn around or about those things we will do at "some point" we should look at what we have now and do our best with it.

  Here is a fitting excerpt from one of my favorite CS Lewis books, The Screwtape Letters, where he discusses the Past, Present and Future.

****READ THIS BOOK, OKAY?****

"The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present — either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time — for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence the encouragement we have given to all those schemes of thought such as Creative Evolution, Scientific Humanism, or Communism, which fix men’s affections on the Future, on the very core of temporality. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead. Do not think lust an exception. When the present pleasure arrives, the sin (which alone interests us) is already over. The pleasure is just the part of the process which we regret and would exclude if we could do so without losing the sin; it is the part contributed by the Enemy, and therefore experienced in a Present. The sin, which is our contribution, looked forward.
To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too — just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s word is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is now straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future — haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth — ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other — dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present."
  Have you guys been having any philosophical thoughts this summer? Do you think you live in one of these threefold things more than another? I'd love to hear about how you all are doing. Let me know below!

Monday, July 4, 2016

My June Highlights

  Yeah, I know this post is super belated. I was at camp staff training for the past five days and I am not only tired but very very busy for the next couple days and if I manage to get this out it will be a miracle...

  But miracles can happen.

 

  So this month ended up being (predictably) crazy busy and I had hardly a moment's pause. July and August are looking much the same so don't expect much from me in the way of posting over the next two months, life is insane in the summertime, but I look forward to living it to the fullest and telling you guys about it later on.

  Also, I can't believe it's halfway through 2016. Guys, this is not okay. Time is going wayyyy too fast for me.

  LIFE IN GENERAL


//END OF YOUTH GROUP. Well, the end for the year anyways. I am part of an epic youth group consisting of boys and girls from the ages of nineteen to thirteen who would band together and slaughter anyone in handball or dodgeball, any time, any place. We have a great group of God-loving people who also have a brotherly love for each other and a close camraderie that I really love. We have had many awesome (and violent) moments together over the past couple years. I look forward to going back next year and being too old but not giving a crap about it. :P\\

Our last youth picture (not all of us, but most).

//COMIC CON. The biggest city in my area held their first annual Comic and Entertainment Expo this month and it was pretty cool. Very small compared to the major cities in my province but still pretty cool. They had a board gaming table that we spent a good hour playing at. I didn't win. Won't say anymore on that.\\

//2ND ANNUAL PRINCESS PARTY. We had one of these at my house last year but it was actually a secret proposal between my friend's older brother and his girlfriend, that was really cool. This year we did it without proposals. Basically all the giant homeschool families in my area dressed up in medieval garb and came over to our farm and hung out in the decorated lawn, had tea and snacks and some of us older girls went to ride my horse in our princess dresses. It was pretty awesome. 

I couldn't choose one representative picture.

Great ways to desensitize your horse.

//WRAPPED UP RIDING. Since we'll be gone at camp most of the summer, we won't be at our riding lessons very frequently through the next couple months, so we got a good jumping lesson in before July came along. It was lots of fun, even though I was riding a difficult and testy horse.\\

This was Kyrianna, best video we got of the day.

//HOMESCHOOL GRAD. My oldest friend, Kenzie, graduated this spring and we had a great party for her to celebrate not only that achievement but also to send her off as she prepares to go overseas to the Cameroon in Africa for a missions trip this next year. She will be dearly missed, but it was really good to celebrate her and have a huge, fun party full of games and dancing and laughter.\\

Again, couldn't pick just one picture.
//GOING-AWAY PARTY. To go along with the Kenzie theme, us older girls had a surprise party for her as well as some of us took her on a horseback ride on her grandpa's trails. We had supper together and played some games and broke out into song by the end of the night (this group is full of incredible musical and vocal talent). It was a good night.

Us oldest females of the homeschool clan. Many pretty faces.

Some of us at the top of Moose Mountain.

//BELATED GRAD TEA PARTY. So the ladies at my family's church didn't know I graduated last year and felt bad so they put on a grad tea for me and I was allowed to invite some friends and we basically did our own thing. Cause we're cool like that.\\


 //NEW BABY. One of my horsey friends, Janna, and her husband Cragg who used to work for my dad, had their first baby this past week. His name is Blair and he's actually pretty cute (this coming from someone who really doesn't like babies).\\

He's also tiny.

//STAFF TRAINING CAMP. I looked forward to this all June and wasn't disappointed. Our annual staff training camp was just as fun as ever and is making me super excited for the summer. A couple of highlights was when we practiced an "evacuation", got on a school bus, drove to the nearby(ish) town twenty-five minutes away, stopped at the 7-11 for candy and then went to the arena to watch the pre-Canada day fireworks. It was a surprise and pretty neat. Our camp is a wilderness camp and it's so weird to load up and head back into civilization all as a group. The particular town, though nice, has some very strange people (including a man who brought a whole toilet to sit on to watch the light show, no joke). Another highlight was when we were playing baseball and I caught someone's almost homer and got them out and the whole group of staff just made this "ooo..ooooo...OOOOHHH!" noise that was absolutely awesome. XD Anyways, I'll stop bragging. It was a great time.\\

  All in all, June was super cool life-wise and super busy. There's tons more I didn't even cover, but there are some of the highlights.

WRITING THINGS

  As you may have gathered from the chaotic mess of the above section, I didn't get much writing done. I am one chapter away from my goal with Faithless of getting to 20 chapters before summer and I may be able to do it in the next couple days before camp, but unlikely. In any case, that story is starting to take shape and though it will need a lot of editing I am enjoying it and I think it will be pretty cool to read.

  I got all my edits back from the lovely Abigayle Ellison and I am so excited to get a chance to sit down and work my way through them (eventually). Once this summer calms down and the chaos lifts I will be doing that for sure.

  Other than that, I didn't really do much writing this month. I just tried to get as many chapters of Faithless done as possible. I think I got three or four or something like that, which I will decide to be satisfied with for the moment.

READING THINGS

  At the beginning of the month I actually did quite well in this aspect, I read three books all in the first week and nothing since. :P I doubt I will get much read over the summer, but I could try to do one or two maybe...

THE ROAD by CORMAC McCARTHY. I really enjoyed this one, it was written very uniquely and was an emotionally complex read. It really made me think and wonder and put myself in the character's shoes. It's for mature audiences due to darker subject matter, but it is a good story and I recommend it for sure.



   



A GRIEF OBSERVED by CS LEWIS. After reading 'Til We Have Faces' last month I wanted some more CS Lewis in my life, so I picked up this, which is one of only a few of his books I haven't read. It took me about half an hour because it's very short, but it definitely made me think about and question things as well. It is a series of letters/journals that Lewis wrote in the wake of his wife's death and though I have never experienced the death of such a close loved one, that is a big fear I have and I could definitely relate to the things he was saying. It was a hard book, but a good book. Very recommended.




THE BELL JAR by SYLVIA PLATH. I had heard about this author and this book for awhile so I picked it up at Chapters and started it. I found it really interesting and almost relatable in ways that were startling. It is a story about a young woman on the brink of success who falls into a year of mental illness that nearly destroys her and I think that the matter-of-fact, blunt and clear-eyed observations of the main character and how some of them are similar to mine...it was neat but almost creepy, if that makes any sense.





BLOGGING LIFE

I hardly made any posts this month but I gained a couple followers, to my great surprise. I can't imagine next month will be very active at all, but that's alright. When I come back I'm sure to come back inspired.

Current blogger stats...
2547 pageviews
6 followers (so happy about this actually!)
42 posts

Looking forward to what next month brings!

GOALS

I won't be making many goals for the next couple months cause I know I can't meet them, however, I can do a few things, and I will try.

My June Goals

///FINISH FIRST DRAFT OF FAITHLESS. I did not do this but I came close to twenty chapters done and I think the end mark will be something like thirty, so maybe summer will bring those next eleven? Who knows.\\\

///FINISH 3RD DRAFT OF THE SORCERESS AND THE SQUID. This one did not happen but I'm hoping there will be some time for it this summer...hoping. Praying.\\\

///WORK ON SHORT STORY. This didn't happen. I haven't touched that thing for months now. Ugh.\\\

///FINISH OUTLINE FOR SUMMER PROJECT. I did do this though I may not get the chance to actually write it much. We'll have to see.\\\

(This was just me basically saying how I did nothing productive this month. How sad.)

My July Goals

///DO MY CAMP WORK WELL. This sounds easy but it's actually really hard to be happy, enthusiastic, kind, generous, encouraging and smile all the time. We'll see how it goes.\\\

///WRITE TWO CHAPTERS OF FAITHLESS. This *should* be doable. Theoretically. We'll see.\\\

That's all I'm asking for myself this month, it'll be a miracle if that much happens.

  Anyways, it was my 19th birthday yesterday and I am now closing in on being a senior citizen in my twenties. Today I am having my party and I should probably get up and get ready for that...hehe. But hey! I managed the miraculous! My June Highlights post is now up. You're welcome.

  How was your June? What sort of cool things happened to you? Tell me about them!