August 26, 2013

Music Lovin' Monday

Better-Maggie Rose

If there's one song that sums up every emotion, feeling, and thought that I've experienced this past summer, it's this one. I plan on writing a post on it at some point, perhaps in a few weeks. If you've ever lost somebody, I'm sure you'll be able to relate to this. I love how simple and honest it is, so I'll let the music do the talking for now.

Take Back The Night-Justin Timberlake 

When I first heard about the N'Sync reunion on the MTV Video Music Awards, the inner teeny-bopper in me gave a little bit of a squeal, but at the same time 1.) I'm more partial to the Backstreet Boys, and 2.) I more of a fan of Justin as a solo artist rather than as a member of a boy-band. And after watching him last night, I have to say that he gave a phenomenal performance! After Miley Cyrus left made face-palming and wondering what popular music is coming to, he certainly made up for it.  In regards to this song in particular, he could have been a little bit more sensitive with the song title. But I love the overall city-vibe of it, given that I'm very much a downtown girl myself. It might be just another substitute for carpe diem, but it's a funkier (and classier) version of that other one. 

Heart of Life-John Mayer

An oldie-but-goodie; I was making dinner the other night when this came on my easy-listening Pandora station. I love the message of it, and the way the guitar sounds is so calming.

Light Me Up-Hunter Hayes

This one is less popular and slightly different, but still good. I wish he had played it at Country Thunder, but unfortunately he had to cut the show short due to the rain. 

Days of Gold-Jake Owen
I want to end this on a positive note, so I will say that this one is just awesome! I can bet that this will be one of the defining songs of my senior year of college. And if I ever do make a playlist describing these last four years, this one will definitely be on it!

All video content can be found on Youtube!

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August 22, 2013

An Excerpt

As my senior year of college fast approaches, there is one goal that sticks out in my mind; not just to write, but to be known as a writer along with it. I'm now beginning the process of trying to get some of my work published, whether it be through an online magazine or somewhere more local. I'm also putting a little bit more effort to putting the blog out there, whether it be via Twitter, Facebook, etc. Any place that I can connect with people is definitely a step in the right direction! 

I've also mentioned that I want to lighten this place up a bit; more so that readers are not getting deep, heavy-reading material all the time. With that being said, I would like to share this excerpt of a story that I wrote, one that I've sent to several places with the hopes of it being published. It has been in the making since freshman year, and definitely one of the fictional pieces that I've enjoyed writing the most. This may not look the best format-wise, but only because Blogger won't let me use indentation for some reason. 

The door creaked open, three decades worth of nostalgia hitting him in an instant: boxes of clothing and stage memorabilia were stacked on top of each other, threatening to spill out on the floor. Plaques and awards lined the walls while various trophies were shelved in a display case. There were so many memories, and he had practically stuffed everything into one little room. Well, buried was more like it. Nevertheless, things always had a way of coming back into your life; this was especially true if it had shaped such a huge part of it, and became part of you in the process.

The guitars, some of Jackson’s most treasured possessions, stood stoutly in a back corner. The four of them were each reserved for a certain occasion; one was painted bright red and mostly used on stage. The second was for the recording studio and looked plainer then the others. The third, an electric, was only used when the band had decided to incorporate rock and roll into their albums. The fourth was the first instrument given to him at the age of fourteen; the age when music became more than just listening to the radio.

 The Moon Wrecklers was the name they had bequeathed to themselves before signing their first record deal; they had all tried coming up with something distinct, but it was either too silly or was already taken. It was finally borne under the neon lights of a dimly lit tavern; in a drunken stupor, his band mate Rick wondered aloud, “What would it be like to heckle the moon?”

“You mean, if you could actually touch it?” the rest of them replied.

 “Yeah, like grab it and shake it!”

   “That’s impossible!” Dan, ever the realist shot back. “You’ve been watching too many of those kiddie movies, Ricky boy. We can land on the moon, but we’ll never be able to grab it!”

 It seemed impossible, a word that seemed to closely relate to trying to get a record deal. For an hour they tossed around other ideas; hecklers made them sound too much like the mob or terrorists, becklers was just weird, and Necklers didn’t sound right at all.

 “What about the Wrecklers?” Todd suggested as a matter of factly. “Not too many people can come up with something like that.”

 “It’s tough, but not too tough,” Dan added.

“The Moon Wrecklers…” They pondered wistfully for a few moments, wondering if it would actually stick.

It did; enough to nearly take over their lives. 

I will post an announcement on the blog's Facebook page, along with my Twitter account if and when I hear anything. Replies often take a long time, so it could be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Thank you to everyone who has not only supported me on here, but in general as well!

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August 18, 2013

A Letter To My Sister

Dear Sissy,

  I know that we haven't called each other that for ten years, but since you're on the brink of going into high school, I figured now was a once-in-a-blue-moon chance to use it again. And just so you know, I'm writing this because I know that realistically you probably wouldn't read it had I wrote one by hand and left it at home for you. So in that spirit, I will do my best not to be overly sappy or sentimental, but no promises. I hope you will somehow come across this, so that I can pass on the wisdom that I've gained over the years

I can't believe that in a couple of days, you'll be walking through the doors of both mine and our brother's alma matter as a high school freshman. It's still incredibly easy to picture you as a rosy, chubby-cheeked four year old asking way too many questions or dancing around to Brother Bear and High School Musical. Regardless of how old you get, I will always somehow picture you as that, but that doesn't mean I'm not proud of the young lady you're becoming. It's likely that we'll have different experiences, but I would like to offer some insight as well.

First, it's normal to be nervous on the first day, and even for the first year. I recall being absolutely terrified of the possibilities and things that could go wrong. Not only did I not trust very many people at the time, but I wasn't completely comfortable with my decision to attend a private school over a public school. Not I don't know where exactly you are, but you seem pretty confident in your choice. However, my fear was more than just about making the right decisions and making new friends. It was about losing the friends that I already had at the time.

With that being said, always be open to meeting new people, and don't try to hold on to how life used to be. People will come in and out of your life at different times, but the ones who are meant to be there will always be somehow standing in the doorway. My closest friends are the ones that I didn't (and still don't) necessarily talk to every day or spend a ton of time with. Yet, we always are able to love and support each other. Sometimes we grow apart for a little while, but eventually we come back together.

My point is to appreciate who and what is right in front of you. They say not to have regrets, but my one big one is not really taking the time to genuinely get to know my classmates; not everyone will become part of your inner circle, but just because you aren't besties doesn't mean you can't care about each other.

Most likely you'll have your share of ups and downs; it's easy to look back and say "don't sweat the small stuff," but I also remember what it's like to be a teenager and not be able to see beyond certain things. Part of me wants to tell you not to worry about the boys and getting dates, because the chances of them caring about you the way you should want and deserved to be loved are pretty slim at your age. Yet, I never had a serious boyfriend for any of those four years, so I can't say whether you're better off being single or not. If one comes along and takes the time to get to know you for who you are, don't deny yourself that experience. But don't tie your worth and energy into one person's opinion of you. Know when to hold on and when to let go, and that goes for everything. You have more fun when you're willing to just let it happen if it's meant to. I've found that the greatest joys frequently turn out to be the unexpected (and unplanned) ones.

And this might be a little awkward coming from me, but I'm guessing you'll probably become curious about experimenting with alcohol at some point. I'm glad to see that you have little interest in it right now, but that can change over the years. It's easy to proclaim that you're never going to do something (I should know because that was me at your age), but you never know what kind of environment you'll find yourself in, or how things and interests can change at any point. I'm not going to tell you what you can and can't do in this regard, because it's honestly not my place. It should be a conversation for you and our parents to have together. I can only hope that when you're faced with any kind of temptation or pressure to do something risky, you'll ask yourself if it's worth it. Regardless if it involves drinking, drugs or sex, you'll ask yourself if it's worth giving up your dreams, your goals, and even your life for. 

But it's not so much about being a good person or never messing up as much as it is about being a kid. People now a days are in such a rush to grow up without realizing that there is a reason why childhood spans as long as it does. And granted, there is always something special about every phase of life that you go through, but don't constantly try to find shortcuts when one might be better than the other. That's not to say you won't ever make a mistake, but there's a difference between doing something out of curiosity and doing something when you know very well that it's a bad idea. 

My hope and prayer for you is about so much more than just making good choices, it's about the kind of person you become. When our brother and I were in high school, people had the tendency to compare us to one another; not to say that I didn't mind that, but it was tough at times trying to establish my own identity apart from him. I felt like not many of the guys wanted to get to know me because they were afraid of what he would do, or they would look as me as just "the sister." My point is, you have a chance to become more of your own person. Don't just wait until your senior year to make your mark, but leave a legacy for other people to follow. I have no doubt that you'll be a strong leader as an athlete, but there are other avenues of respect as well. I hope you'll become a young woman of kindness, compassion, and faith. While I'm not sure what you think of God, but I also hope that someday you'll find a spiritual foundation. It's not about religion, but realizing that there is something bigger than you out there, and there will be times where you have no choice but to trust it. 

I want you to be able to confide in me if and whenever you're struggling, but that's easier said then done. As I said before, we'll probably have different experiences and it's not always easy to relate to someone when there's a seven year age gap. I do want to hear about things like homecoming and classes and sports, but if you're comfortable enough with it, I want to hear about the tough stuff as well. And if you feel like you can't talk to me or Mom about it, it's always good to find someone who's a year or two older and has a good head on their shoulders. My closest friends from high school range from a year to three years older than me, and having them in my life has been more of a blessing that I can describe. 

By the end of it all, it may turn out that these next four years aren't your "glory days" and that's OK. It might just be a stepping stone to something greater, as it was for me. While the ride may not be the smoothest,  that doesn't mean you shouldn't throw your hands up and make the most of it. 

I love you so much, and I know you're going to do well. Despite that I may be away from home a lot of the time, I will always be here to support you and take care of you in whatever way you need it, which is why I've written this. I wish you the best for your first day, as well as for this new and special chapter in your life. 

Love always, 

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August 13, 2013

What I'm Loving Right Now: Music Edition

In terms of blogging, these last couple of months have been pretty deep and heavy; not to say that I won't continue writing in that regard, but I wanted to give myself (and readers) a bit of a break. For future reference, I will call this Music Lovin' Monday, but for now I'll just give you a taste of what's been on heavy Spotify, Pandora, and Ipod rotation.

Sunny and 75-Joe Nichols 
-I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it, and stood out in the pouring rain to hear him sing it at Country Thunder! It reminds me of being on vacation in Wisconsin, specifically when I used to go there as a kid. It has become one of my favorites, along with him as an artist. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing him again one day!

Runnin' Outta Moonlight-Randy Houser
-This always comes on when I'm cleaning my apartment, and I tend to get the urge to use my counter top as a drum set! It's also fun for a car ride when you're sitting in traffic. 

Robin Thicke-Blurred Lines 

-With questionable lyrics and a bit of risque music video, it's no wonder this song has taken a lot of heat. Next to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" it will probably become one of the most overplayed songs on the radio by the time the summer is over. Yet if it comes on when my girlfriends and I go out, I have no choice but to drop whatever I'm doing and just dance! It's that catchy. 

Cruise Remix-Florida Georgia Line and Nelly
-fans will complain that this is awful and in no way resembles real country music, but I think it's actually pretty neat. Initially I hated it, but then it grew on me; at the end of junior year I went out to eat with two of my guy friends, and when this song came out we all start singing it really loud and just had a good time. I guess you could say it reminds me of them now! 

Drink A Beer-Luke Bryan
-In honor of the fact that his new album is now out! It's very different from what he usually does, but still incredibly honest and I like it a lot. It's something to relate to and sums up a lot of what I've been feeling lately. When you don't know what to say or how to express yourself, it's just easier to do what you know. Sometimes it's crying until you can't cry anymore. Other times it's  just getting away for a little while...and having a drink while you're at it. Either way, Luke is one of my favorite artists and I have some incredible memories from the times I've seen him live. I would go every year if I could, and would love for him to be at Country Thunder again! He's so darn good with a crowd, and I love the way he says "Twin Lakes." *begins to giggle like a little girl*

I have quite a list, but would like to split it up as time goes on. As of right now, I will try to do this every other week, so that way I don't give an entire selection over the course of a month. Overall, it was refreshing to do something like this for the first time. Tell me, what do you think of this list so far? What have you been listening to?

All music video credits go to Youtube!

August 09, 2013

When Silence Fails

I thought that after coming back to campus (the first time), I would be OK. It felt that way on the outside, but as the following poem says, deep down my feelings and emotions were like a sleeping monster.  When I went home for Country Thunder, it was like being slapped in the face (figuratively speaking). I did my best to keep quiet, but it made those three weeks a lot worse. 

And that's why I haven't really written on here in that time; I was afraid that by trying to discuss it in writing, it would come out wrong and be completely misinterpreted. I actually did try several times, but always wound up deleting it. I remembered that when I'm really sad or even angry, I write poetry as a response. So in the midst of trying to find a counselor or a pastor to talk to, I thought I would share this. I wrote it as a way of expressing how I've been dealing with these last two months, and my frustration at not being able to connect with the people around me.

The Life of Grief

Grief comes in many different forms
Morphing and changing with the passage of time
A tidal wave that washes over you, drenching you with tears
Chilled to the bone in shock
Natural, yet paralyzing

If not expressed, it can become a monster
Sitting in the underbelly of the layers of what makes us human
Clawing, tearing, and lashing
I try to keep it at bay for the sake of others
But I’m not one to hide or fake a smile
It’s just not possible
And when it finally breaks free
It can either feel good, or leave wounds
Deeper than when the first tragedy struck

Grief has two lanes
One where there’s a legacy to honor
To give love and spread kindness, as that person did
There’s no traffic and you just keep going

The other is when you can’t ignore the hurt beating against your chest
You can’t deny that something big has changed
While not knowing what the “new normal” is
Figuring out if maybe you’ve hit a detour
Or you’re dealing with a hurting or bruised
If not broken heart

This is not a something that anyone can ease
There is no such thing
As making the hurt and loss completely go away
But even if you don’t know what it’s like
To travel this road
That doesn’t mean your presence has no value

Pain has no comparison
So don’t wipe away their tears
And command them to be strong
This is not about avoiding awkwardness
Let them show what they feel

Connection doesn’t always mean sharing similar experiences
It doesn’t always have to involve words
Ask, don’t assume

If nothing else, embrace them
 And let them know you’re there
Not just in the physical sense
But that you support them
Even if you’ve never been in their shoes

You don’t have to hold their hand
Just walk with them
Respect their feelings and expression
And allow them to heal

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