And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

She is made up of words that not anyone can understand;
her mind is a dictionary of sadness and heartache,
and her heart is a poetry book for the hopeless.
She is the prettiest song,
the perfect sonnet,
the most meaningful haiku,
and the longest novel.
It takes a while to read her
seconds to love her
and a lifetime to forget her.

A.A

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I am Catwoman. Hear me roar.

Sophie surprised us with a roomie date to the zoo after church today! While I like looking at all the animals, I’m always drawn to the bigger cats.

tiger

These babies were laying down and lounging in the sun. But when I came over, they walked around gloriously!

snow leopard

Whenever I spoke and whistled, the snow leopard looked up from his nap and stared at me. Know this: I was the only one that the darling bothered to noticed.

walking tiger

When I asked this precious one to stop sleeping and get closer, he walked from the other side of the cage to drink from the puddle in front of us and then walked into the perfect picture spot to lay down.

I am truly a cat whisperer. And that makes me very happy 🙂

What will Heaven smell like?

I have this feeling that when I go to Heaven, my olfactory glands (or whatever they are called) will explode. This might be a good thing because we will have perfect bodies then and maybe God’s idea of perfection is a noseless face. Maybe, after all this time on Earth, we will go to Heaven and find out that noses were a result of the Fall!

…But maybe not. Maybe we will still have noses and I will be assaulted with celestial scents so divine that they will clear out my sinuses for all of eternity.

I hope it smells like communion. I hope I will be enveloped by the smell of fresh bread, still warm from the galaxy-gas ovens. I hope there will be a sickly, sweet stench of red wine that permeates the atmosphere.

I hope it smells like dryer sheets, like the godly garments that He has freshly folded out of the Elysian laundry basket. Whenever I get dressed, I hope that that clean smell with always tickle my nostrils, teasing me and reminding that I have narrowly escaped the earthly curse of never-ending laundry. Now I shall suffer no more.

I hope it smells like bonfire, like the acrid malevolence of the splintered cross succumbing to the sulfurous flames. I hope the faint smoky smell with follow me wherever I go, clinging to my hair like the ghostly presence of a nearly forgotten friend. In fact, that’s how I got here.

I hope it smells like dude. Not a bad dude smell, but a good dude smell. I hope that whenever I give God a huge hug, that the rich masculine smell of my Father would pat me on the head as I go about my day. I hope that whenever I give Jesus a fist-bump, some of his essence would linger on my fingers — not a sweaty, awkward, “when-did-you-last-shower?” smell, but a comfortable big brother smell that beckons a smile to my face. And whenever the Holy Spirit greets my with a holy kiss (because that’s His thing and everyone just goes with it), I hope it’s accented with the teasing spice of expensive cologne — strong enough that the musk is noticeable but not so overpowering that you can’t breathe.

I hope that Heaven smells like communion, dryer sheets, bonfire, and lots and lots of dude.

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Books are a uniquely portable magic.

Why hasn’t she been posting “happy day” pictures? Not because she hasn’t been happy. Au contraire, ’tis because she hasn’t had the time to post!

I shall correct the error at once!

I’ve been so busy lately studying and getting my schoolwork done while managing other commitments (seen my post on my second Beacon article? Do you know how hard it is to get an interview with the president of your college? …exactly). In one of my many study sessions in the library here on campus, I noticed a bookshelf next to me with all the major classics.

library

Aren’t they gorgeous? I wanted to take one and flip through it but I was on a tight schedule and had to finish some Literary Criticism homework before the rest of my night whirled by. But they still made me happy 🙂

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Sequels are never as better as the first.

Here’s my second article for the Beacon! And to clarify, this is the unedited version.

Million dollar project upgrades east side of campus
By Sydney Sheltz

A fully-funded, million dollar project is underway to improve the east side of campus by adding state fencing along Liberty Dr., a brand new softball field, and a new athletic park entrance.

There are three phases in the renovation process. The first phase consists of adding the fence along the sidewalk of Liberty Drive. The project will proceed into the second phase with the demolition of the tennis courts and the softball field and finish with the construction of a new softball field. The final phase will complete the project with the building of the new athletic park entrance.

While the east side originally had no fencing and one un-lit sign announcing the campus, construction has already begun in order to add iron fencing next to the sidewalk and a larger, lit sign to alert visitors of the entrance.

Phase 1 has been already been delayed several weeks. Due to the unavailability of the custom-made fencing, it has not yet been installed.

The softball field will be torn down and rebuilt 10 feet south of its position to allow enough room for the fencing, which will continue onto LaSalle Ave. In addition, there will be a press box built on the east side of the field with a large Bethel College logo facing Liberty Dr.

“We would like this addition to make the east entrance look more collegiate,” said Dr. Gregg Chenoweth, current president of Bethel College.

The next athletic park entrance will be situated in a central location between the softball field and the Baseball Training Facility. The concrete arch itself will read ‘Bethel Sports Complex’ and there are plans to include park benches and landscaping within the area.

Renovation plans also include demolishing the tennis courts. While the dimensions meet regulation requirements, the quality of the courts are not suitable for conference play. Meanwhile, the Bethel College Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams are practicing at Knollwood Country Club and Baker Park in Mishawaka. Indoor matches are held at the South Bend Country Club and outdoor matches are also held at Baker Park.

When asked about the impact of this decision on the teams, Dr. Chenoweth said, “It is important that the tennis players and coaches know that we are not diminishing their sport by ripping down their courts. In fact, it’s the opposite.”

There are future renovation plans that include building new tennis courts on the south side of the complete softball fields, but they are not yet finalized. Until then, the site where the tennis courts now stand will be turned into a grassy area for student use and an extra intramural field.

The concept was approved in March of 2014 but the construction itself did not begin until August. The original intention was to have the project finished by winter of 2014. Due to delays and the late start date, the estimated completion date is at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.

I still like the idea of words being able to rock someone’s world. More wars are started by the writing of words than by the firing of guns. What makes our souls so susceptible to the wounds of words? Why, when we could be hurt more by the throwing of stones, do we take more offense to the things that are only present for the short amount of time it takes to say them? The words only exist for a fraction of a second but the impression they leave in the air and on our memories can last for a lifetime. Why so such immaterial things carry such material weight?

Maybe the secret lies in the ability of words to become material, the ability of the invisible to become visible. I’ve heard that it’s impossible for the body to remember physical pain. The brain can remember experiencing pain but it cannot remember the actual sensation. Words can repeat that painful memory without involving a painful sensation — with nothing lost, the pain memory may actually have a strong impact. Bruises heal and scars fade but the memories of those accidents never grow dim.

All words are a combination of 26 letters and yet they contain so many different meanings. All experience can be described through different combinations of the same words and be relevant to multiple people. How? What is the magical ability of words to do so?

I think words are personal. Because of this, I think it does the words an injustice to taper them for an audience. The words you write weren’t written for an audience; although I admit there are some situations when one can write for specific people, I believe that those moments are more like exceptions. Memoirs weren’t written for someone else, but rather the author; your life story was written for other people to read but also for the author to get their own, very personal story on a page.

So what do I want my words to do to you?

I want them to draw you in, tie you down to the chair and hold you hostage as your eyes scan the page, wanting to stop but not quite able to tear them away — sorta like that first sip of French roast coffee. It’s thick and coats your tongue so that it enrages your thirst even more. I want my words to be the beckoning finger of the witch in the fairy-tale, drawing you in and enchanting you with every syllable. I want to bring you under my spell and be the reason that conflicting emotion boils in your stomach like the aftereffects of a sweet-tasting poison.

I don’t write for you.

But this is what I want my words to do to you.

The day came when the risk it took to stay in the bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.

Isn’t it funny how you look in a mirror one day and don’t recognize yourself? It hasn’t even been decades or years or months later. Just 3 short weeks. 21 days.

There’s no grey hairs. No wrinkles, although the dark circles under your eyes may be considerably darker from the inevitable effects of a full college schedule. No physical change that you can see, except maybe now your cheeks are pinker than they have been in a long time and your eyes have a twinkle to them that you thought you lost a long time ago.

You look happy again. You didn’t even realize that you weren’t happy until you finally saw yourself in a moment when you were.

And you are. There’s a lightness in your steps as the paths you walk everyday no longer seem as long and you check your pockets to make sure you haven’t dropped anything because there isn’t a weight on you anymore — or at least, you don’t seem to be able to feel it. Your smile is so bright that you wonder if the real reason that autumn is coming is that you are beaming sunshine stolen from summer whenever you flash a cheesy grin. And in those pictures that your friend posted of you guys? There must’ve been weird lighting in there because there’s a glow in your eyes that wasn’t there the last time and it wasn’t a result of an Instagram filter.

It doesn’t take that long to change, only a change of season really — although it feels like forever. It was so gradual that it takes you by surprise. It’s like a baby bird who dreams of flying every single day, who stares at the sky up above and wonders how long it will be until his wings will be strong enough to carry him to touch the clouds, who perches on the edge of the nest as his mama teaches him Flying Basics 101. He goes 1 foot out on the first day and gets progressively farther, all the while wishing that he could try and touch the sun. Then one day, without warning, Mama pushes him out of the nest and as he keeps flapping his wings, he realizes that he’s finally capable of doing what he wanted to do all along. He can touch the sun and he never knew it because he was so focused on the struggles of the farther distances of the daily practice.

Finally realizing that you can soar. Finally comprehending that you can touch the sun and not get burned. Finally noticing that you can do what you thought you couldn’t do before.

Maybe that’s what it’s like to be completely happy.