Tuesday, February 14, 2017

summer of '03

it was hot
the summer we lost
power
for two days
dad listened
to the radio in
the car and I
stared at the
houses across
the street
he
was worried but
I was six and
all I cared
about was the
watermelon
we ate that
night
after dinner.

I was sitting in a lecture yesterday and my prof mentioned the Ontario blackouts of 2003 (I think that was the year??) and this one little memory came floating into my head. I scrawled this down right on top of my notes on change management, cramped in between subheadings and highlighted passages.

In other news, school is crazy, the sun appeared this week for the first time in forever, I sound more like Dory every day (oh look! Shells!), and Amanda Joy put up a wicked-awesome post about self love on Burning Youth.

Happy Valentines Day, readers! ♥

xx,
Olivia

Saturday, January 21, 2017

things that make me happy // 573-592




573. the mist that has settled over our city, like living in the middle of a cloud (or maybe a small town in Britain!)
574. trees as they rise up out of the fog when you drive down the country roads
575. how everything feels unusually poignant and serene, rich and heavy with meaning, even though I drive the same streets every day. it feels more mysterious these days.
576. walking in the rain
577. finally starting to grasp the scientific concepts from my astronomy lectures
578. coffee cake
579. teaching first aid courses for the first time in months
580. trying key lime pie for the first time ever
581. getting caught up with all of my favourite bloggers 
582. bookstores. I tried to buy a friend a birthday gift and ended up also buying a book for myself. oops.
583. the faintly rebellious act of underlining my favourite passages in books 
584. talking about God with people. asking questions. figuring things out. realizing that I'm never going to figure everything out. talking about it more.
585. learning to love my dreams
586. playing board games late at night with some of my favourite people
587. ice skating
588. snow in my eyelashes
589. seeing the city lights from the top of our town hall after dark
590. planning for my spring break trip
591. getting lost in uni buildings I thought I knew like the back of my hand
592. looking at the silhouette of bare tree branches against the sky

what makes you happy these days?
xx,
Olivia

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

cassiopeia

Everything you want to know about the constellation of Cassiopeia: what does it look like?  Where is it? What are the main stars? How far are they? What deep-sky objects can you see   Constellation of the Month: Cassiopeia http://www.constellationofthemonth.com:  
I couldn't focus.

I'd been home alone all afternoon, watching snow fall outside the big window, watching the clouds clear and the sky pinken as the sun set, listening to the same songs on the radio play over and over again. By the time 7pm rolled around, I felt like my brain was on repeat, too. I'd had my phone in my hand all day like it was glued to me, and every time I tried to put it down and picked up my journal, I'd find myself bent over the keypad again, neck curved down to punch in my PIN number.
I ran up and down all the stairs in the house four times, and couldn't shake the heat in my belly, the numbness in my head, the boiled-over feeling in my heart. I'd written a poem about telescopes, and I was sitting at the table watching car headlights flick by on the street next to the house, when I remembered the clear sunset and wondered if I'd be able to see the stars.
Without grabbing a coat, I pulled a shawl on top of my sweater and reached for the back door, feet in boots and a kind of desperation in my soul. I wanted to feel the cold against my skin, not hide from it -- I wanted to be pulled out of my warm, comfortable afternoon. I wanted to be awakened.

The snow on the deck crunched underneath my feet and I blinked as my eyes adjusted to the dark, the hair rising on my forearms. My breath clouded like smoke in front of my eyes, but when I looked up, I saw Cassiopeia. All my life, the only constellations I've ever been able to recognize were the twin dippers, but Cassiopeia had been on the astronomy midterm exam, and she was stuck in my head -- and then, she was right before my eyes, her lazy W stretched above the house. Seeing her sent a cold shock of energy through me, and even though I'd only intended to take a quick peek, maybe find the big dipper and then go back inside, suddenly, I wanted to walk. The deck stairs creaked as I climbed down, gulping back deep breaths of icy air until I could feel the chill in my lungs. I traced footprinted paths in the fresh snow behind the house, my eyes searching the sky. The wind whistled through my shawl and against my skin, and I imagined it going clean through me.

God, I have so much junk inside me these days, I found myself thinking. I make everything so complicated with worries and complications and what-ifs and guesses about my future. I imagined the wind cleaning me out, sweeping the cobwebs out of my head and stealing away all the things I'd been holding on to that didn't really matter at all. When I reached the end of the lawn, I turned around, walking back to the house in my own footprints and trying to only think about the things that were actually important as the wind howled around the corners of the house and the hairs on my neck raised to attention.

I almost missed it, stuck in my warm, numb little bubble inside the house, tied to my phone and penning poems about stars with my head down and the lights on. I almost missed Cassiopeia right above my head because I was too busy writing about telescopes and trying to focus with my smartphone two inches away from my pen. Tonight was a unique kind of gift - not the kind I'd been asking for, with all the answers tied up in a bow, but a reminder that there is so much beauty in the meantime. There is so much going on outside of my tiny little world; there are so many things bigger than even my most insurmountable problems. Tonight was a reminder that God likes to surprise me, and that he cares enough to wake me up even when I'm being particularly slow and dull. God's all about the little things... and tonight he gave me a sliver of sky, because he loves me too much to let me do this alone, and because he knows the keys to my future are safer in his hands than in my own.

Goodnight, Cassiopeia. It was nice to finally meet you.

just some thoughts from last Thursday night... what does the sky look like where you are? what is your beauty in the meantime?

xx,
Olivia

ps.
I put up a post at Burning Youth before Christmas and completely forgot to share with all of you! It's about rest - and still applicable! Check it out here and show the awesome Burning Youth authors some love!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

back at it

Tumblr Polaroid mini calendars:  

Today's the first day of school after Christmas break, and I'm sitting in a coffee place close to campus in between classes. The hot chocolate they serve here has real chocolate in the bottom of the cup, and I have to stir mine every few minutes so it won't settle - it's the best cocoa I've ever had. They've already decorated for Valentine's day even though Christmas was last week, and there are red sparkly hearts dangling from the light fixtures on the ceiling. It's kind of nice, I think, to always be looking forward. What's next? What can we celebrate today?

I've never been the type of person who writes (or keeps!) her New Year's Resolutions, but I tackled it a little differently this year. Last week, even though it was still technically 2016, I opened my journal to a fresh page and thought, what do I actually want to change this year? What growth am I ready to commit to, what plans can I make that I will actually be motivated to keep? And it worked - 
I wrote a short list, only five or six goals for myself. Trust God more. Let go of things. Plank for a minute every morning (I've already missed as many days as I've made on this one, but that's okay.) But when people ask me what I'm aiming for this year, it comes down to two things. 

Smile more.
Look in the mirror less.

I want 2017 to be less about me, about how I look or what makes me feel good or what I want out of life - less time spent looking in the mirror, patting invisible out-of-place hairs back where they belong and crying over pimples I can't wish away, anyway. I want 2017 to be less concern over what people think of me, and whether or not I should put mascara on before going out tonight, and if people will notice the bags under my eyes that I'm looking at for the fifth time today. 
I want to stop judging my body and caring more about how I look than where I am and who I'm with. 

I want 2017 to be intentional - about smiling at people I know, and people I don't. I want to smile at the people I love, and the people who just drive me nuts. I want to smile when I feel amazing, smile on purpose, smile with my eyes and my face and my whole entire heart - I want to smile when I'm feeling sad, and admit to people that things aren't perfect, but there is still good in my life. I might be sad, but I know that there are still things to smile about, and I want to spend 2017 searching for those things. I want to pour God's love out to people every chance I get, and start looking for opportunities to love others even when it's hard. 

I'm excited about a new year... a fresh slate, with "no mistakes in it yet," as Anne of Green Gables once said. I'm excited for new adventures, and closer friendships, and mysteries I haven't even begun to unravel yet. I'm excited for another year with God, another year being loved by Him and trying to figure out how to love him back. I'm excited.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? What do you want to do more/less of? What are you excited for in 2017?

love, love, love,
Olivia 


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

editing over Christmas break


One of the things that I missed most when I started school was having free time to write. Last year, while I was working (and not in school) I finished NaNoWriMo, and then over the summer, I took another look at my baby first draft, and thought this is not right. So I re-wrote the whole book (the worst/best idea of my life), but when September hit, I had no time left to edit. The second messy draft of Seeing Voices has been hanging over my head for a long time, and now that I'm finished with my exams, I've been diving back through the pages that I wrote this year.

Here's a few little snippets of what I've been finding as I read through my notes again...


Clearly, I wasn't that happy with the state of my writing

Oh, apparently I found something I liked

Me on Oct. 16th had no patience for anything

I wish I could remember how late at night it was when I was writing these comments...

Did I forget how to use the question mark on my laptop?? who knows.

Do you ever find hidden gems like these when editing your second or third (or fifth) drafts?? Wanna share some of your favourites?

xx,
Olivia




Friday, December 16, 2016

first semester


first lecture hall
first parking pass
first bad mark in an English class (!)
first major research essay
first year I looked around and realized that I have more best friends than I can count
first ever night class
first time I stayed up past midnight studying
first month I counted the cycles of the moon and knew what they meant
first time driving with snow tires on my car
first time I had fun studying for a midterm
first time I looked around and thought, here I am
first time I absolutely knew I was in the right place
first three-hour exam in a gym with hundreds of other people
first semester of university - check.



on Tuesday mornings I'd walk to the social sci building and set my computer up in the caf, and by the time an hour had passed, the three seats around me would be full, friends stopping by between classes or on the way to work (didn't get much studying done, but whatever).

I never stopped feeling like campus was a castle in England and I was a girl in a book, my backpack a little too heavy (20lbs, to be exact) and my hopes sky-high.

the first time I was handed back a bad mark on an English paper, and how sweet it felt when my next essay was returned with the words "nicely done!" typed at the bottom of my last paragraph. I sat with one of the girls from my tutorial in our lectures, and we'd exchange study notes and try to guess when our prof would hold the next pop quiz.

I fell in love with a local radio station during the half hour drive to school and now suddenly I find myself flipping to the station all the time, even when I'm not driving

lying on one of the couches in the physics and astronomy building in between classes

watching the first episode of gilmore girls in a crowded library with one of my childhood besties - we each got an earbud and crowded around the computer screen while people moved and laughed and walked by somewhere way in the background

study notes on index cards, something I never did in high school but am now in love with. and HIGHLIGHTERS. who knew?

the exhilaration of writing an English exam within a time limit, trying to force an idea to pop into existence and bloom at your fingertips in a matter of seconds, instead of letting it bubble slowly to the surface. the risk of sitting with your chin in hand to think as the clock ticks away your time.


I could go on... oh, forever. I've missed this! What firsts have occurred in your lives this fall? How do you feel about school?

xx,
Olivia





 


 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

surprise! #notdead

Sherlock was going to try this technique before the whole french waiter routine.:
couldn't resist.
 
So,  it's been a little while. I've been scrolling through Bloglovin', watching the unread post list grow larger and larger, and I've been missing this awesome community, but guys.

I am so, so, so SO busy.

Between university life (all of the memes out there? Accurate) and work and trying to have some semblance of a social life and weekend retreats with my church and finding the time to make muffins every now and again, PLUS midterms (I have one on Monday) and essays and readings.... my dear little blog has slipped to the bottom of my priority list. And at least for a little while, I'm afraid that's where it will have to stay. Thinking about blogging has become a source of stress, just one more think on my to-do list that never actually gets done... and I never want blogging to be about guilt. So, this isn't goodbye, or even "see you later." This is just a post to let you know why I've been a little more absent of late, and why you're probably not going to see a multitude of posts from me in the next few weeks. I'm not going anywhere... and I fully intend to post LOTS over the Christmas holidays, but for the next few weeks, I'm giving myself the freedom to step back. (Hopefully, this will give me the time to hang around YOUR lovely blogs a little more often!)

So, with that off my chest... how's life? I seriously did miss all of you... and once these exams are out of the way, I'm looking forward to updating you on my first semester of school! 

Lately I've been...

...drinking homemade peppermint hot chocolate! (and thinking about Christmas!!)
...watching the Musketeers (Hannah and I are being very disciplined and trying to save it as long as we can!)
...reading Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (such a gem of a series, 100% reccomend)
...studying with colour-coded notes (yay for organization!!)
... listening lots to this lovely album


Lots of love to all!! See you again soon.
xx,
Olivia