SUMMER

So much has happened this summer, and I honestly haven’t even begun to write about it at all. So check out this song:

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Two Poems I Wrote

Warmth 

I want to close my eyes and face the sun

‘til all the blackness fades to light

lie in the grass after a run

and fall asleep at noon so bright

jump and twirl in a yellow dress

barefoot watering the flowers

on my hair feel the wind’s caress

never measuring the hours

then set up a camp and tent

so we can watch the daisy’s birth

and the apricot sun’s descent

as little bugs fly from the earth

Great White 

I jump in the boat that’s parked to the right

We speed along, laughing and smelling of fish

Then halt to a stop, my flippers go squish

No clouds in the sky, it is all bright

The camera clicks on, and so does its light

This is the moment; I’ll soon get my wish

Fins, tank, and mask are checked off with a swish

But I feel sudden fright, is my wetsuit too tight?

Slowing my breath, I push away fear

And then my whole body is under the blue

Sun ribbons on floor, everything clear

Peacefully floating through deep aqua hue

That’s when I see her, smooth, graceful, and near

I turn off my camera, and take in the view

Have Courage & Be Kind: Spring

In March, I saw the new Cinderella movie. It was absolutely beautiful. The music was gorgeous, and the cinematography did not disappoint. Most importantly, though, the overall message of the film – “have courage & be kind” – will stick with me forever. God calls us to show His love to those around us (be kind), and that takes a lot of courage in a world full of hate. So this motto – “have courage & be kind” – is a wonderful one to live by every day.

Also in March, my little sister and I posted our first duet together… Check it out:

I traveled to New York City with my high school band, and loved it there. Walking down those streets, among so many people, I felt like such a part of everything. It’s hard to describe, but when I was there, I felt alive.

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In April, I was in my school’s spring play again. This time, I had one of the biggest parts. It was the original Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid, and I was one of the little mermaid’s older sisters. I had this one line where it was just me in the spotlight, and I was talking about my first experience coming up to the surface to see the human world. The wording of my line fit me perfectly: “This is the best of all. To lie in the moonlight on a smooth stone, and to look at the edge of the world. To see the lights of the city twinkle like a hundred thousand stars… and to hear the music of humankind. This is the best of all.”

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When prom rolled around, I went without a date – even through grand march. Dates are so overrated. Making Cinderella entrances is way more fun.

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And that brings me to where I am now. There is only one week left of school (I can’t believe I’m writing that!) and even though I don’t really like high school, I don’t really want to leave yet, either. It seems like my teenage years have only just begun, and now I’m just being thrown out into the world. Sometimes I want childhood to last forever, but there are grand adventures ahead…

We can only “have courage & be kind.”

18

A month ago, I turned eighteen. No, I didn’t go skydiving or get a tattoo (not yet, anyway). I spent the day sitting at school, playing mandatory pep band for a football game, and then dragging two friends to go see Dolphin Tale 2 at the movie theater. The biggest thing that happened to me on my birthday, though, was that I became a vegetarian. That’s right, I haven’t eaten meat in a month! Happy autumn!

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Of Us All – A Personal Narrative

I’ve never really fit in with people my own age. This fact becomes more real to me every day. Butterflies and Bible verses hang on my bedroom walls. Not a single celebrity poster can be found. Screens have become the focus of lives, but oh, how I wish technology would just go away so we could all live with nature. A less noticeable difference in me, though, comes out of my mouth and my fingers. Some would call my taste “obscure,” but I like to call it “my kind of music.” Indie folk, post-rock, and classical each grace the world with their melodies. No one that I had ever talked to seemed to agree with me on music, though, until one afternoon this summer.

I signed myself up for the Paul Spring songwriting workshop as soon as I saw the listing on the internet. My little sister, Amanda, showed interest as well. The date in June grew closer and closer as leaves grew greener and greener. Then it arrived.

Enormity struck me as we entered the library. I wanted to spend a week in there exploring the endless shelves of books. We had to go up to the front desk first, though, and ask where the workshop was taking place. The librarian at the information desk had long, dry, brown hair. Reading glasses perched neatly at the end of her nose. “The workshop is down that way to the left,” she pointed.

We turned and walked into the room, right on time, but only a few girls Amanda’s age, thirteen, sat there. Paul Spring stood at the front of the room in all his glory, softly strumming on his guitar. An awkward silence hung in the air. I felt the need to whisper.

Amanda and I took seats at an empty table. Lined, yellow pieces of paper and mechanical pencils lay dauntingly before us. The other girls were already writing something on theirs. Huge windows let in sunlight.

As minutes ticked by, more kids began to wander in. A few started talking. Then a group of three boys, unlike any I’d ever seen before, entered the room. They held themselves so confidently that the walls seemed to light up with their presence. I only got a quick glance, not wanting to stare.

Just a few seats remained by that time. One of the empty seats happened to be right next to mine. The tallest of the three boys, with black ear gauges and a faux hawk, came and took that seat. Like a character straight out of a John Green novel, he didn’t belong in real life.

“Hi, friends,” he said to my sister and me.

“Hey,” I said back, trying to copy his casual vibe.

Paul then looked around and decided to start the program. “First I’ll have us all go around and share our name, favorite songwriter, and what we want to learn this afternoon.” His words sent chills of nerves through me, but they began anyway.

Going around the room, one of the three boys, Joe, said “John Mayer.” Amanda and I looked at each other in surprise. I had never met someone, let alone a guy, that listened to my kind of music! Andrew, the one with the gauges, liked Rush. Ben, the last of the three, liked Beethoven. No one mentioned Justin Bieber or Eminem. It was beautiful.

Sorting through my favorite artists, I decided to say Jack Johnson. My voice sounded shaky at first, but I pushed through, smiling the whole time. As I said Jack Johnson, the three boys, especially Joe, nodded their heads in agreement. That small expression made me feel like we were becoming friends already.

After every person had shared, the songwriting portion began. Twenty voices chimed in; we all declared that our favorite musical genre was the greatest. Eventually, we decided to write a pop song for the sake of ease. Strumming some chords once again, Paul came up with a chord progression. Everyone could agree that it sounded amazing.

But then Andrew asked, “Could you explain what you just did there, to get that chord progression? I thought that was part of the class; you were going to teach us to write songs.”

Twenty heads turned and faced the taken aback leader. “Oh,” he said, trying to regain his composure, “I normally just have you guys make up the song lyrics.” Then almost smugly, he asked, “How many of you play instruments?”

All twenty hands slowly rose to the ceiling. We shared knowing beams.

“Wow,” he said, clearly astonished, “I normally don’t have musicians.” No longer trying to sound superior, he added, “Well then, I’ll give you guys a little music theory lesson.”

I reached for a yellow piece of paper. Had they seemed so daunting to me only an hour before? Notes soon filled them with their shapes. We wrote of life in Minnesota. Ice storms, Purple Rain, and road construction were all mentioned. Laughs sprinkled throughout, mostly caused by Ben. Andrew amazed us with his vocabulary and knowledge of everything. Joe shared his musical expertise. My sister and I sent out imaginative ideas. The Beatles would have frozen in wonder if they could have heard our chorus. That catchy tune still bounces around my mind every once in a while.

Until that day in June, I had never realized that people my own age with similar musical interests existed in Minnesota, let alone in this county. They didn’t merely live in novels; they lived here. When we finished writing, Paul played our song for the public. Only a few parents and passersby stopped in to listen, but it was enough. They got to hear a piece of us all.

The Glow

Here’s a “crystal moment” in my life that I wrote about for my CIS writing assignment:

I felt the glow before I saw. Those blue lights on my skin beckoned me from afar.  As I edged closer, the sounds I heard expanded and changed from cacophony to harmony. People from all across the country sang. Twenty thousand worshipped. My heart beat faster as I nudged my way through the crowd. That dome could have held everything. An open space in the vast sea of seats came into focus, and I took it. Blue lights and harmonies burned their place in my memories.

I joined them.