Monday, January 31, 2011

Poem Contest... An Unprecedented Part Deux

I have a little secret.  My first name ISN’T Caroline.  Oh no.  I have a first name, alright, but no one uses it, really. 

I know that SOME of you know my first name…. and y’all, I’m sorry, are not allowed to participate on this little thing here.  But those of you who don’t know, let’s see how well you can guess!

I’m going to give you some options.  You pick the one that you think is correct!  I will then, in return, write a poem that rhymes with your name, quite like I did with Josie’s.  I think this could be a fun weekly (or bi-weekly) contest.

Start your engines, folks!

Is my first name…

     1.  Ivy

     2.  Lucy

     3.  Rebecca

     4.  Sara

     5.  Jenna

     6.  Rachel

Get to guessing, people!  You have a few days (we’ll just see how many people comment).  If several people get the answer right, I’ll draw one of those people randomly out of a (metaphorical) hat. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm POSITIVE that this will cheer you up.

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments on the last post!  Keep 'em coming, too, because I love seeing new people 'round these parts.  And thanks for not mocking me.  I would have.

Now, those of you who watched the video saw my rather... daunting ankle boots.  The heel is quite precarious, and I've been wearing them around the house here and there in order to break them in.  The problem is, we have wood flooring and it's quite slick, so I can't really walk very easily.

Because of this, I can't tell if they're so hard to walk in because of my floor, or if it's because I haven't worn heels like this since summer and I'm not used to it.  In hope that the former is the case, I'm wearing them out tonight.  Pray for my ankles, toes, and me, that we may remain friendly, or at the very least, cordial with one another.  After tonight, the odds of that are quite low.


Lately I have been noticing a trend around younger people, my age and down into junior high/middle school.  Negativity.

I usually cringe at the term "positive thinking" because nobody really knows what that means.  It also seems a bit touchy-feely to me, and I hate cliche terms like that.  But as of late, I'm seeing why so many people are talking about it.

Constantly, I'm seeing (and in myself, too!) negativity.  "This is the worst day of my life."  "I surrender!"  "This will never get better."

It's really, in a word, ridiculous.  When I notice it in myself, I cringe.  This past week I've been trying to be a bit more "cup half full."  Or even if the cup's empty, at least we HAVE a cup to fill!

But here's my problem with the idea of Positive Thinking.  It's not a question of positive or negative.  We're not magnets, people.  It's a question of grateful, or ungrateful.

Today, I choose to be grateful!

1.  I'm grateful for my warm house when it's chilly and rainy outside.

2.  I'm grateful for my ability to purchase clothes and shoes that I think are pretty.  I'm grateful I have clothes at all.

3.  I'm grateful for my mama and daddy and their incredibly wise counsel.  I don't always listen and sometimes I run, but I find that when I sit, listen, don't argue, and apply their words to my day-to-day, my life is just so much easier and more blessed.

4.  I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven who loves me more than I can imagine.  A Father who chose me before the foundations of the earth to be his child.  A Father who bestows his grace upon my unworthy head so abundantly, though I do not deserve it.

5.  I'm grateful for this week's study on the Reformation and Calvinism.  This is the first time I've studied it where I've really sat and thought about the concepts and tried to come to terms with the ideas.  Because I struggle with letting my feelings overtake proper judgment, I had to search for proof and realize these ideas from a Biblical perspective.  I feel so much stronger in my faith just from truly understanding how blessed I am and how comforting it is to know that God is superior, God is sovereign, and there's nothing I can do to break my faith with him.

6.  I'm grateful for fresh produce.  I love going to the store across the street and picking out the freshest of veggies and fruit.  I've been going through oranges and carrots like they're going out of style.

7.  I'm grateful for my online school.  We're about to sign up for my classes for next year, and my mom and I both realized that I'm going to be a Senior.  Next school year will be my last at home, and it's a little scary.  But at Veritas Press Online Scholars Academy, I have made several great friends, and I'm so happy for the opportunity.

8.  I'm grateful for music.  If I'm having a rough patch in my day and turn on some hymns on our stereo, it immediately lifts my spirit.  And it doesn't hurt to pick out some eighties music and rock out a bit, too.  Who needs Ke$ha?

I feel better already!

Sound off in the comments.  For what are YOU grateful today??

Friday, January 28, 2011

Haul Video/Let's De-lurk

Hiya everyone!  I finally got my haul video edited and uploaded.  I only got a few things, but I loved everything I got.  I hope you enjoy the video!

And, I will just go ahead right now and apologize for my accent.  Before I filmed it, I had been listening to a podcast by two Southern ladies, and I know that I tend to get my Southern accent really strong once I hear it from other people.  I was working really hard to tamp it down, but it's fairly clear that my efforts were mightily insufficient.  And I'm trying really hard not to notice the hair in my face and the wonky arrangement of my scarf, so please, if you will, I ask that you do the same.

I am tagging some ladies, Lauren, Emilyann, Amanda, and Valentine, to make haul videos of your own, if you please.  :)  Of course, it's totally optional, but I'd love it to pieces.

Now, I said this in the video, but it was at the end.  And let's just be honest here.  Not too many of you are going to watch that whole thing.

Basically, I just wanted to shout out to my readers, especially my lurkers.  I'd love it if you quiet folks would de-lurk, because I love seeing new people.  I know I have several followers who comment, and I so appreciate it.  But if you're not a follower, or you are a follower and have never commented, please just leave a comment and say hello, because I'd love to "meet" you!

Don't be shy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fol-de-rol and Fiddle-dee-dee

I'm immensely pleased.

Exam week was technically over on Friday, but I had one paper due today that was quite lengthy.  I finally managed to tie up all the loose ends and I finished it last night, after copious amounts of reading and preparing.  It ended up being twelve pages which is... rather... extensive.

But, I am thrilled to say that I'm back to the usual homework grind, and it feels so good.  In comparison to the stress of exams, it's a breath of fresh air.

Plus, I got my MacBook back yesterday and I am just tickled.  I've set her back up and am now coddling her with utmost care.  Next time we go to a place that sells them, we are buying a back-up hard drive because I don't want t lose anything ever again.  It wasn't a huge deal, but I did lose a book I was writing, and although I was only on the third chapter, but it's still sort of sad.

As I've said, tomorrow Mama and I are planning on going to the outdoor thrift market.  I asked a few of my ladies what they would think about me filming a "haul" video for a Very Stylish Girls post, and they loved the idea!  So once I get the time, I'll make a video showing y'all what I got and how I plan to use each item.  I'm excited!  I've watched those sorts of videos on YouTube and I love them, so I hope you enjoy it too.

For now, I'm going to do my easy breezy non-exam-related homework and paint my fingernails.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, January 24, 2011


That, my friends, is the sound I make when I'm excited about something.  Right now, I'm excited I am excited about loads of things!

Number 1:  On Wednesday, my mom and I are hopefully going to an outdoor thrift market.  The timing finally worked out, and I'm so thrilled.  I love accessories and hope to get some good ones for not so much cash.

Number 2:  My mom just alerted me that I might possibly be able to get professional highlights in my hair soon, before we leave to visit the states.  You see, I'm very, very fair-skinned, but I have very, very dark hair.  It's so dark that it's almost black!  In the end, it's a little too strong of a contrast for my taste, so I've been highlighting it out of a box... however, we have been unable to find my favorite kind anywhere! you can imagine my delight.

Number 3:  We're visiting the states soon!  I'm not sure when exactly, but sometime next month.  I'm happy to see my brother and my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins... plus, I'll get to visit colleges!

And, well, we all know I'm tickled to death about getting to be reunited with Starbucks.  I have wept over our vicious separation.

Number 4:  My MacBook should be back with me this afternoon.  I'm just glad Sophie's healthy.  She's been a great contribution to my life, and her poor little hard drive just couldn't take all the love I poured into it, I think.

Number 5:  My Uggs have only left my feet for showering and sleeping.  I look forward to many happy times together.

Number 6:  I know it's not for months upon months, but I'm thrilled to death about my online school's End of the Year Gathering (eotyg for short) this summer.  I can't wait to meet all my friends!

That's what I'm excited about for now, and my heart is just so happy about it all.

May you have something to get excited about,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And We Have a Winner

The winner of yesterday's mini-contest is.....


She was the first to guess that no, I have never crashed a golf cart, because that would be incredibly difficult.  And also, she guessed I have not had two eye surgeries, because in reality, and get ready for some shock....

I've had three.  Long story short, I had a lazy eye that would just sort of wander around (I was very young) and they couldn't fix it.  The first two times flopped, but the third time stuck (pun completely intended.)  I now have near-perfect vision.  My last eye doctor was shocked, and I'm just happy I don't have to look like this anymore:

At least I knew how to accessorize.

My eyes were "fixed" then, but my vision was still bad.  Somehow, though, it just sort of healed itself in the past few years, and my far vision is 20/20.

Oh yeah, and I still sleep quite a bit, too.  They haven't been able to fix that.

And my hair?  I wanted to look like Velma from Scooby Doo.  I think I succeeded.  (Mom, why'd you let me do that to my hair??)

And without further ado, here is the (goofy) poem for Josie!

Josie, Josie,
Pretty as posies,
With flaxen hair,
And quite a flair.

Josie Hope,
You're not a dope
About your cheetah-print jacket
You made quite a racket.

I want one.

Josie Hope
Please don't mope
Even though this poem is strange
Even though most find me deranged

Josie, hon,
Congrats, you won!
You picked out the lies
And this poem's the prize

Josie, Josie,
Pretty as posies
You won, you won
And now I'm done

Bye, y'all, and have a nice day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Three Truths and Two Lies

Well, today I have absolutely nothing to say.  So what do I do when I have nothing to say?

I do a meme!

I saw this one earlier this week and thought it would be a fun game to play, since I actually have people who comment now.  So I'm relying on YOU to make this fun!

Here's the deal:  I write five things about myself.  Three are true, but TWO are false.  You have to guess which TWO are false.  First person to get the answer correct gets a poem written about them in the next post, because I really have nothing else to give you.  I'm exciting like that.

You ready?  (And remember, TWO are false.)

  • I have eaten octupus legs (I guess tentacles is a better term) and I enjoy them immensely
  • I have been on TV
  • I have had two eye surgeries
  • I won't eat burgers unless they have ketchup on them
  • I have crashed a golf cart into a tree

It's your time now, folks.  Choose wisely!  (And family, since you know the answers, don't give it away.)  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cold as Ice

Thanks for all your great comments on the last post!! I'll be sure to look those books up.

I'll give you a little teaser, too... I'm going to have a giveaway soon, but I'm waiting for the item to ship to my house before I officially announce what it is.  It's a challenge/giveaway, so I hope y'all are wearing your smarty-pants when I post it!  Keep your eyes open for it, kids.

Today, Dad got off work early and we went to the embassy to mail some packages.  I went over to the package window to see if we happened to have any mail for us, and we did!  It was my brand new Uggs and some things from Old Navy!  I was simply beside myself with excitement.  Unfortunately, that didn't last long because I didn't quite dress warmly enough for the weather.  It's been fairly "warm" here, but the Italians bundle up like crazy if it goes below 60 degrees.  I'm usually still able to get by with a sweater and boots and leggings the past few weeks, but not today.

I should have worn a coat.  I looked at all the Italians, all toasty in their duvets down coats with fur trim, and I was a little jealous.  I need to get better at checking the weather. It's still strange for me to have to put on more clothes to go outside.  I admit, sometimes I miss the ease of slippers (or flip-flops, as y'all mainland Americans call them) and shorts.  Quite an adjustment.

Beyond that, I'm much more adjusted to the cold than I thought I would be by now.  It's not so bad if you're dressed just right, and it only ever really bothers me when I'm inside, of all things.  I don't like being cold at night when I'm trying to sleep!  Especially because I have an annoying habit of kicking my own quilt off, no matter how cold it is.  I think my body is just a little confused as to the lack of space... my bed here is very small.  But now, with my new Uggs, my feet are toasty warm.  I highly recommend them.

For now, I must bid you adieu.  I'm still a busy, busy bee, but I'm trying to find time to talk to you.  Thanks for sticking with me, folks!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just some thoughts and some things.

Well, hello there, everyone!  I found a perfect spot in my day to blog, and I'm so happy about it.  I just finished the exam I was most worried about, so of course I am mightily relieved.  I'm still a bit under the weather, but I'm just so happy that stress is foisting itself off my shoulders little by little.

While digging through the depths of my iPod, I found a new favorite band by which to study!  Normally, I listen to Frank Sinatra because I know the songs really well, so I'm not distracted by it and it's just pleasant background noise.  But this new one is perfect because you can't really understand much of what they're saying anyway.  When Will was here, he gave me some of their CDs.  The band is called Bon Iver, and so far what I've listened to is perfect for studying and schoolwork.

I'm sorry my posts lately are just blurbs.  I haven't been up to anything significant enough about which I could write a full length post.

My Kindle crashed the other day.  That was fun.  And then, on Sunday, we discovered my MacBook's (her name is Sophie) hard drive was defective when it decided not to turn on one day.  So they are both no longer with us... but I should get Sophie back from the technician today or tomorrow, and Amazon is sending me a replacement Kindle.  Until then, my eye is twitching.

This weekend, if I get all my work done, I'm hoping to go to a thrift market with my mom.  I didn't catch the need-to-go-thrifting bug until we left Hawaii, and here in Rome you can by no means just drive down to a Salvation Army.  No indeed.  Italians are very into brands.  But I don't care so much, as long as the clothes are cute, so I was thrilled to hear about an open market where you can get great pieces for better prices.  I think my four cardigans need a little rest.  Let's see what I find, shall we?

I love orange season.  Now that I'm on this health-kick, having a bowl of oranges on the dining room table, aka my school work-space, is perfect.  I have oranges right in front of my eyes, so they're the first things I think to eat, as opposed to rummaging through cabinets to find significantly fattier snacks.  And the oranges at our market are delightful; they are sort of a blood-orange/classic orange hybrid and they are unreal.

I finally finished Twilight, but it'll be a while before I'm able to drag thoughts out of my head and paste them together coherently.  My sincerest apologies.

I do enjoy a good historical fiction book.  If you have any to recommend, it would be much appreciated.  I'm in a rut of not exactly knowing what to read, so please, shout out to your favorite books.  Keep in mind, I very much dislike sci-fi, and Lord of the Rings was not my cup of tea.  Although, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia.  I'm nothing if not consistent.

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A quick favor

Hiya everyone.  I'm just dropping by momentarily to ask for some prayer.  You see, it's exam week at my school and I have two big tests to take, plus some other schoolwork and various projects I have to get done by tomorrow night.  This morning, I woke up feeling terrible and am pretty sure I've come down with something akin to the flu, so I ask that you pray for me in all of this madness.

I need to be able to focus on my work and do well without letting my icky feelings overcome me and bind me up.

Thank you so much, my friends, and I'll be back with you as soon as my schedule clears up again.  I'll be praying for all of you Veritas Press kids like me out there who are taking exams this week, too!

With much love,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Love, and Loved, and Holy Light

A tapestry of blue
Blowing in the air

Whipping fro and to
A blanket of despair
Wind speeds quick
Storm clouds blow in
Out goes the wick
Slapping fabric makes a din
Words then pour from The Book
The candle flickers once again
If you see, once you look,
fire catches all we disdain
More words; small is the voice
But it overturns the lantern
once is made the choice
The tapestry catches; burn, burn, burn
Fear, anguish, pain, and fright
turn to ash in the flames
Love,and Loved, and Holy Light
No more death remains
All's gone still 
No sound can be heard
But for the fire that made death nil
The quiet voice that echoes the Word.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Babysitting Tips, Part 1

Hello.  It's been a while.  I'm Caroline, if you forgot.

I'm not probably going to get back on the daily blogging wagon for a few days, because finals are this week.  But I promise, I will do better soon!  Here's a little nibble while you wait.

Although I'm technically of the age to have a real job, it's a little tricky.  I wouldn't be very good at a job in Europe because I only speak English, and I don't know if they allow American teens to work here.  So for now, I rely on babysitting!

I've been babysitting since I was eleven years old, and before that I was a "mother's helper" a few times. I've definitely gotten to the point where I'm comfortable taking care of children in any age group, from itty bitty infants to ten year olds.

I've definitely learned a lot about babysitting in all the time I've been doing it.  These are a list of tips that I thought I would share, since most of my readers are teens!
When clients (I just like to say client because it's fancy) ask how much you charge, do not hem and haw.  No mumbling, "Well... you know... whatever you think is best."  This is not a good plan because they truly want to know!  I've never had a problem where I got paid less than what I thought was acceptable, but it could happen to you. What I say is something like this:  "Usually when I babysit __insert number of children here__ kids, I usually charge from _dollar amount_ to _dollar amount."  
Money is tricky.  I can't give you an appropriate per hour charge because I don't know your situation.  I'm beginning to think in euros, but in dollars, my minimum is $5 mostly, and the highest I've ever been paid was I think $10 an hour.  My average (at the client's choice) is usually about $7 or $8, but it all depends.  
Here's a great tip; it's one of my favorites.  When you babysit, make a point to clean up the kitchen and the toys after the kids go to sleep.  Of course, if they're old enough, you can have them help you, but usually I just have them pick up the toys and I take care of the kitchen.  I always try to leave it cleaner than the parents left it, if I can.  I remember once, I cleaned up everything and washed some dirty dishes in the sink, and the mother thanked me profusely when she got home.  And the kicker?  They hired me again!  If you go above and beyond, it's always noticed.
I've before gotten phone calls from people I didn't know.  One good thing about being a reliable babysitter is that you get referrals, but honestly, I don't ever babysit people I don't know.  I don't like the idea of going into someone's house, even the house of a friend's friend, if I don't know the parents and if I don't know the type of child.  I wouldn't suggest it.  I had my father call the person back and explain the situation, and they understood.
I would suggest taking a babysitting course.  Even if you know a lot about children and maybe have siblings of your own, it's great peace of mind.  I like knowing that if a baby was choking on something, I would know how to help them without injuring them further.  I even have a trusty little certified card in my wallet in case anyone ever asks, which they never do.
Always bring something to do.  I find that sometimes families won't have TVs, or the parents stay out late.  I usually bring a book and I often bring homework.  I've never fallen asleep on the job, no matter how late, and I don't intend to.  It doesn't seem very responsible to me; so I always bring plenty to do, and I always ask beforehand how late they are staying out, so that I can bring enough things to last for that amount of time.
Dress comfortably.  I never really wear just a t-shirt and a pair of jeans day-to-day, because I like wearing nice clothes, but I make exceptions for babysitting.  It's ok if you don't look like a glamour-queen!  Long sleeves are a no, because they get in the way of giving baths.  Wear a hoodie over a t-shirt if it's cold, and just take the jacket it off when the sleeves get in the way.  Jeans are best, because they're flexible for stooping down, running around, and playing on the floor with the kiddos.  And wear shoes that are easy to kick off because some families don't like it when people walk around the house with shoes on.
Give hugs and kisses to little ones.  Kids love having an older person to look up to and hang out with, so snuggle 'em to bits.  I always ask if they want to sit in my lap, and I always kiss their heads when I tuck them in.  They appreciate affection, and they act better when they know you like them, no matter how temporary the gig.  And don't be afraid to get a little kid-ish yourself, as long as you're still being responsible!  Have light saber wars in the backyard, try to beat them on Mario Kart wii (and it's not unfair because I NEVER win) and put on a princess tiara every once in a while.  It goes a long way for those little people.
That's all for now!  I'll have a part two as soon as I can.  I hope these tips were helpful to you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WW and Whatnot

I'm on the final book of the Twilight Saga now, and boy howdy do I have a lot to blog about.  But I'm going to wait.  I'm going to finish it out and then release my opinions onto the internet.

And if you're a "Twi-hard" fan, then I ask that you do not read the post, because, I assure you, you will not appreciate my words.


I thought, for accountability of sorts, that I would go ahead and tell you this new little lifestyle I'm living. It's called...

Weight Watchers.

Now, before anyone goes crazy thinking I have body-image issues and am crash-dieting, fear not!  Weight Watchers is a lifestyle, and it's really, really great.

I'm only on my second day, but I already feel a difference.  You count points based on the foods you eat, measured by the calculator on the WW website.  For instance, a tablespoon of sugar is one point.  I have a limit of 29 points every day, based on the fact that I lie within the healthy range on the BMI (body-mass-index) scale.  If I were overweight, I would then have more points, because it's not good to shock your usual diet too quickly.

In addition, I also am starting at 15 minutes a day for exercise.  I've been running up and down the stairs in our apartment building and then doing lunges, crunches, stretches, push-ups, etc. in my room.

This is... certainly not easy.  I've always struggled with fitness, because I really don't like getting sweaty and gross, and I'm always sore after the fact.  But let me tell you, though my calves burn every time I move and my stomach muscles (or lack thereof) tense when I bend the wrong way, I feel great.  I like knowing that it's all for a good reason.

I don't have any specific goals with this.  I'm not aiming to lose fifteen pounds or anything like that; I just want to be healthier.  I have five servings of fruits and veggies a day and eight glasses of water, and at the end of day two I already feel better.  This whole WW thing is purely a lifestyle change.  I like it because I can eat the foods I like, but counting points makes me aware of what exactly I'm eating.

(Let me tell you, if I sat down in front of a movie, I could probably down two sleeves of Ritz crackers without thinking about it.  The ten I devoured counted out lovingly on my plate with veggie soup last night?  Four points!  That's some perspective.  And every one of them tasted really, really, really good because I was aware.)

That's all for now, folks!

Friday, January 7, 2011


I know I haven't been a good blogger.  I'm still getting back in the groove of school (and not being able to sleep in) and so I just haven't had much to say or the time to say it.  Plus, midterms are coming up!  I almost broke my fingers writing out all my theorems for geometry on flashcards yesterday.

I just realized I'm really bad at cursive.  Really, really bad.  It looks the same as it did in fourth grade when they required you to use it for everything in school.

My brother has departed.  We're going to miss that fella, but we'll see him next month.  We're going to parents' weekend at his school in February, and I'm also going to get the official tour of Covenant (Will's college) and also look at Belmont University in Nashville.  I can't believe I'm already looking at colleges!

(And I'm pulling for Covenant, by the way.  It's my favorite.  And Will says he wants me to go there so he can "keep an eye on me."  Ok, Will, you just keep thinkin' that.)

I'm so happy to have gotten a MacBook for Christmas, but there's one (and only one) downside.  One of my favorite free photo editing programs,, doesn't work on the mac!  I usually use in conjunction with picnik, and picnik by itself doesn't offer many possibilities.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I liked because it was sort of a simple PhotoShop, with cropping, exposure settings, layering, input/output settings, etc.  Help me out, guys!

By the way, once you go Mac you never go back, and I strongly suggest that you all make the switch if you haven't already.  This laptop is a dream.

I ate way too much over break, and now I'm trying to get back into good habits.  For me, the breakfast of champions is two boiled eggs.  That probably sounds gross to a lot of you, I know, but I love boiled eggs.  Plus, they have great protein and keep me full pretty well.  I just put a little salt on those babies and it's an instant breakfast.  I always keep some on hand.

Another healthy snack I like are nutri-grain bars.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't read the nutrition facts on the wrapper.  But they're called NUTRI-grain, so they must be healthy.

Right?  Right?

If they aren't, please don't tell me.

Now, because I like to contradict myself, I'm going to tell you right now that my favorite candy is strawberry Twizzlers.  My best friend may or may not have mailed me some, and I may or may not have had two yesterday.  But I'm making those puppies last.  These Italians don't know what they're missing.

I started reading the Twilight series.  Now, now, before anyone stones me, I'm not one of "those" Twilight people.  I'm just genuinely curious about the series and why it's so popular.  After having read the first one, I understand why it's such a hot topic with teen girls.  I'm going to do a post on this eventually, but for now I can go ahead and tell you that here are a few points that I do not like about it:

  1. It's not well-written, like everyone says.  In fact, grammatically and stylistically, it's really lacking. 
  2. The only scenes that are relatively well-written are the ones that drag in girls.  The ones with romantic, lovey-dovey moments.
  3. Bella, Eddie-boy says he wants to KILL you, and he has to try really hard NOT TO.  Honey-child, that's usually a sign you need to run, girl.
  4. It sets up this perfect guy, and it makes an idol of Edward.  Guys could never, ever be Edward, but girls are going to spend their lives looking for this suave, perfect, sensitive, Victorian-esque, articulate, Greek-god man.  I mean, minus the fangs, he is literally perfect.  It's actually a little bit annoying, if you ask me. 
More on that later!  Have a lovely weekend, my friends.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Strange Phenomenon and Cloud Nine

Something very strange happens in our little neighborhood around this time of year.  It's actually really creepy at times, but so amazing.  You can not take your eyes away.  Last time it happened, I managed to film a little video for you!

Can you guess what that black, swirling cloud is, my friends?

That swirling black cloud that just gave you the heebie-jeebies.

BIRDS.  Thousands of birds congregate and fly in this great, black mass.  When my friend Lisa was here, they flew around and around our building, and the mass was so close to our balcony that we could have reached out and touched them.  Which we did not do.

But it's very, very creepy.  It's this giant black cloud, and for those of you who watched Lost, it's very much like the Smoke Monster on the island except the only sound is the beating of a thousand wings.

Oh, and when I shout "ARE YOU SEEING THIS???" in the video, it's because I forgot not to talk while filming, and was motioning wildly to my family.  And yes, they were seeing this.

Do any of you know what's going on here?  They've been doing this at random for a few months, and then they settle in the trees, tweeting like mad.  (And I just got a mental image of a thousand little birds on their cellphones sending out Twitter messages.  Oh, technology.)


Yesterday I was doing school and I was sitting at our dining room table right next to a window.  The sun was going down and was shooting bright, orange light right into the room.  I've always wanted to try photos with backlighting, but never had the chance.  I didn't have a model.... so I took a picture of my hand.

Caroline's the name, improvisation is the game.

What do you think?  For all you photography buddies of mine, did I do it right?  This is my entry for Carlotta's Cloud Nine photo assignment.  I like the way it makes my hand look really smooth.  What you don't know is I need to moisturize.  Really, really badly.

And, don't notice the chipped finger nail polish.  Or the fact that the sun kind of cuts off part of my index finger.  I'm a newbie with a magenta point-and-shoot camera.


Monday, January 3, 2011

10,000 moments

I've mentioned this before on the blog somewhere far back, but I work in spurts.  I'll do something really good for two or three days and then I slowly trickle back into old patterns of whatever it was I was trying to overcome.  I know that part of this problem is nerves.  This may sound ridiculous, but often, when faced with a hugely daunting challenge, I simply sit and stare at it and do nothing because it seems too big, as opposed to doing something to shrink it.

But here's my biggest problem:  I err on the side of the dramatic.  There's nothing that would appeal to me more than huge, life-changing explosions where I'm suddenly a new girl, ready to tackle her issues.

Yeah, it doesn't really work that way.  Somehow, though, I keep expecting it to work just like that, even if it's mostly a subconscious idea.  And it never, ever, ever has any effect.  I eventually burn out because I was running on feelings.  Feeling, my friends, is the fuel that will run out after only a few inches.

So, as I was checking through my list of blogs to read the other day, I came across one of my mom's posts.  Her blog is here.  She posted a quote from Paul Tripp, and I think it's extraordinary.  I encourage you, please go read the whole thing here.

This is my favorite quote:

You see, the character of a life is not set in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments. The character that was formed in those little moments is what shapes how you respond to the big moments of life.
What leads to significant personal change?
  • 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction
  • 10,000 moments of humble submission
  • 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained
  • 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken
  • 10,000 moments of courageous faith
  • 10,000 choice points of obedience
  • 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God
  • 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.
And what makes all of this possible? Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace. You see, Jesus is Emmanuel not just because he came to earth, but because he makes you the place where he dwells. This means he is present and active in all the mundane moments of your daily life.

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions, but I think I'm simply going to resolve to be resolved.  It's going to take so much prayer and so much of God's abiding grace, but that's something I can count on.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Trip to Remember (Or block out completely)

When I was, oh, probably five years old, I lived in Japan.  My family and I took a trip to Tokyo Disneyland, but I don't remember it at all.  I only remember what happened afterwards.

In Japan, you get around mostly on public transportation.  That day, naturally, we took trains.  These trains are more underground metro trains, not Harry Potter-style trains.  There were a few different train connections we had to make, but my memory begins not at the beginning of this trip, but somewhere near the middle.  This memory is very vivid, but I only have flashes of the most memorable parts.  The rest of the story has been filled in by my family.


Picture me.  I'm short, chubby, have big coke-bottle glasses and look like a miniature member of the Geek Squad.  In a cute way, my mama would say.

I pretty much skipped everywhere.  Skip to the kitchen, skip to the grocery store, skip, skip, skippety-skip.

On this particular day, I was extra skippy because we went to Disneyland!  But now it was time to go home, and I was a little bit sleepy.  On one of the trains, I got my own seat right next to Daddy, so I was happy.  I wiggled and kicked my feet that couldn't yet touch the floor.  The train, though, started to fill up.

We sort of had an unspoken buddy system at that point.  In Japan, people don't really know what it means to respect personal space, so it was important that Will and I both had someone to hold our hand.  Mom had Will then, and Dad had me.

Finally, the train slowed as we made it to our stop.  I hopped up and Daddy took my hand, and we began to push through the people.  The people, however, pushed back.  Somehow, my hand slipped from Dad's, and this part of the story eludes me a bit.  He must have thought I was off the train and with mom, so he didn't turn back to get me.

The doors slammed in front of my face.  I proceeded to slam the doors that were in front of my face with my chubby little fists.  My heart raced, tears welled in my eyes, and I couldn't really think about anything but the fact that my parents were going to leave and I would never see them again.

Now, my dad is very good at making friends.  Wherever he goes, he learns peoples' life stories and knows their names shortly after meeting them.  On this particular train, he had met an Australian couple and was making conversation with them, so my family was standing just outside of the train in which I was so mercilessly trapped.

My brother Will, bless him, noticed that I was stuck on the tube of doom.  He pulled my dad's sleeve.


"Will, you don't need to interrupt."

"But Dad?"

"Will.  Please don't interrupt!"


I remember vividly seeing my dad whip around to face the door.  He told me later that he was trying to think of some way to get inside, to climb on the roof, to do something, anything. 

At this point I was screaming and crying and panicking.  Quite lethargically, a skinny Japanese conductor, who must have heard my cries for help, pressed an immense red button that loomed above my head.  And the doors opened.

I stumbled out of the train, was coddled by my family, and my Dad held me for the rest of the way home.  I cried all the way.

The End.

P.S.  It was the last stop of the train.  I would have been fine in any case.  None of US knew that, though.


This story showed up in my mind today because the streets of Rome were packed, and we almost didn't all make it onto the subway on the way to church.  I think I still have some... issues from this incident.  I always walk in front of my family.  Thinking about it, it's most likely because I fear being left behind.  If I were behind them and got swallowed by a crowd, no one would know.  Or at least, that's my rationale. And I get these little bits of panic when I can't see my family.  I don't know how many times my mom has had to say to me, "Caroline, we're not leaving you."

This post is already too long, so I won't expand on my Demophobia (fear of crowds).  I just, honestly, needed something to blog about.  :)

Have you had any harrowing experiences?

Che bella!!

One of my favorite bloggers is hosting a giveaway, and I thought I'd share it with you.  Plus, I get an extra entry for telling you!!  ;)

Carlotta at Pastor's Girl's Ponderings is giving away a gorgeous silver necklace, and I thought you might want to check it out.  Click here to enter!

(And I promise I'll get back on the blogging wagon shortly.  I have no excuse!)