Monthly Archives: January 2012

Maps Are Cool

I have suddenly become overtaken with an unexplainable interest in maps, specifically maps that have a creative spin to them. I’m not sure what triggered this strange behavior (this is how my zany mind operates), but I now find myself scouring the internet for unusual interpretations of maps. So I’ll share, and maybe you’ll develop an insatiable desire for more maps in your life too.

We’ll start with a typographic map of the United States:

Then there’s this one, which presents each state as the title of a famous movie that took place there:

And now one that depicts each state by its license plate:

Moving along to a wider scope, we have this gorgeous watercolor illustration of the world:

Watercolor World Map Illustration: Earth in Technicolor print

A typographical layout:

And lastly, this incredible portrayal of the leading economic and social themes in each area.

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Now try and tell me that wasn’t fun.

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Twitter Road Race

This Saturday, January 21, 2012, marks the first ever Twitter Road Race, and you should join in on the movement!

My awesome friend alerted me to this universal social media inspired race, and I just had to pass it along. It takes place anywhere in the world – on the treadmill at your gym, in your neighborhood, at the local park, during the 5k race you are already signed up to run (I fall into this category) – the venue is totally up to you. All you have to do is register here, run the 3.1 miles, then report back with your finishing time Saturday evening. Nothing to it. At this point, there are over 700 runners participating, and they represent countries far and wide across the globe.

Get in on the action! And don’t forget to print off your official race bib!

For more information, visit the founder’s website and dig around for a bit.

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What I’m Loving Wednesday

I love that I have finally updated the Book Lover portion of my blog. It’s been months since I added the last book I read, and, to be honest, I’m not sure that they all made the list, but that’s an oversight I’m willing to live with. It’s a new year, and I’ll try to be better about recording my book life going forward. What’s important is that The Hunger Games trilogy made the cut, because those books are incredible. The kind you absolutely can’t put down, even if it means not getting adequate sleep before work the next day or risking injury because you are walking down the stairs with your nose in a book. That kind of good. If you haven’t already, read these before the movie comes out in March!

I am loving this picture. I randomly stumbled upon it on the web and was instantly drawn to the dreamy, ethereal quality.  It makes me want to be there, laying in a field of poppies under the hazy glow of the sun, at this very moment.

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I love drinking hot tea. The warmth of the ceramic against my perpetually cold hands, that first sip where you can literally feel the heated liquid moving down your throat and radiating through your body. The spice, the aroma, the oversized mug, the comfort. My boss’s wife gave me the red mug below for Christmas along with some delicious Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice black tea, and the combo is a truly delightful way to begin my day.

And lastly, I’m loving these words, because they are true, and because they make all the difference in the world. They are where my identity comes from, where my confidence is found, the source of my hope, and the reason my future is secure.

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The Unforeseen Challenges of Blogging

Blogging is many things to me. It is a live journal, a way to sort out my thoughts, a creative outlet, an opportunity to share, and a challenge. Challenging for several reasons, some of them quite obvious, some lurking just below the surface.

I have many random ideas floating around in this jumbled, sporadic, ever-churning brain of mine. I would say at least 90% of them don’t make it to print. Some are better left tucked away in the caverns of my mind, but some would make great blog posts. Of course, that requires A) that I remember the train of thought long enough to document it, else it’ll easily get swallowed by some equally riveting idea swimming around up there, and then B) that I take the time to pamper it into a finished product. Once the idea is captured, I then have to begin fleshing it out. Kneading the dough, if you will. Examining it from different angles, deciding where I want to take it. What do I want my readers to leave with? How do I want them to feel? Once I’ve churned out a basic draft, I reread ad nauseum, adding a bit here, nipping a bit there, until I’ve fashioned something worthy of being taken public (worthy being a very subjective term here). Only after deliberate labor do you get the finely tuned finished post I’ve chosen to share with the world

But that’s only half of it, and frankly, that’s the easy part. I love the writing process, so that part comes naturally. Which is why I relate so well to Ernest Hemingway’s statement:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

The other thing you have to worry about is content. And audience. And whether that content will offend said audience. My life doesn’t involve just me, and praise Jesus for that, because that would be a painfully lonely existence. There are stories worth telling, but I’m not the only character; there are other personalities to protect. Maybe they don’t want their story told. Or maybe somebody doesn’t appreciate my opinion on a particular topic. Or, on the rare occasion, I’ve had a reader disgruntled with what I’ve written even if it has nothing to do with them. Where do you draw the line? How much do you hold back at the risk of salvaging others feelings, versus how much do you willingly share in an act of personal vulnerability? There’s no solid answer, and therein lies the complication of it all.

And don’t even get me started on the time factor, because we all know I struggle in that department.

And then there’s this handy piece of guidance, which reminds me not to take any of it too seriously, anyway:

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The Haze Has Lifted

It’s that time again, ladies and gents.

Time to start fresh and new, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in anticipation of all the future holds.

Or so they say.

Not me, not this time around. I kicked off the new year with an uncharacteristicly low level of energy. I didn’t hit the ground running. Quite the opposite in fact. I spent my first few days of 2012 plastered to the couch. Sure I finished a book and several movies, but that is not my definition of productivity. At first I thought I was just being lazy, but then I realized I was physically sick. Guess that makes my inactivity a little less excusable, but it’s still hard for me to digest. First day back to work, my boss noticed my malaise and generously sent me home to rest. I sipped some chicken noodle soup and a mug of Emergen-C, and then I was out. I slept approximately 13 hours before coming back to work the next morning, and it made a world of a difference. The haze has lifted, and I’m starting to feel like myself again. Good thing, because I missed me.  

I’m a couple days late to 2012, but I’m here! Let’s do this!

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It Gets the Worst at Night

I was parked in my mom’s emerald-green minivan when he grabbed my face and pulled me in for a kiss.

Urgent. Unexpected. Our first kiss. Our only kiss.

Maybe I would have reacted differently had I known what was to come.

I was 16, awkward as ever. He loved me fully, and he made sure I knew it. After he was gone, years later, I regretted pushing him away, making him stop. Not because I want to kiss him romantically, but because I want to remember him. To savor his presence. He was my best friend. I loved him deeply, just not like that.

Looking back, it makes perfect sense. It was his first time to kiss a girl and he wanted it to be me, so he made it happen. He was always like that. Determined, stubborn, and persistent. He leaned his head through the open window and went straight for my lips. I cut it off before it had barely even begun, nervously fumbling over my words before I drove off in a hurry.

I didn’t change anything between us, fortunately. We carried on with our comfortable friendship with ease. We had a special connection that doesn’t come around all that often. It was sincere, authentic. He protected me ferociously, unabashedly proclaiming his feelings for me while respecting my boundaries at the same time.

I thought he would always be around. I guess you naturally have that mentality until you experience loss. But life doesn’t always unfold according to our plans. Rarely does it, in fact.

I miss him so much it hurts. I continuously fight feeling his absence, but tonight I openly weep. It has been nearly six years since he left. My heart is so heavy, it literally fastens me to the bed; I can barely lift my head to wipe away the tears.

His mom held me tight after the funeral and told me that I was one of three women he had ever loved. Tonight, it aches. Allowing myself to feel the pain is a nightmare, except I’m awake and it is real. It hurts. But I think I’m supposed to be here. I have to expose this burdened heart in order to heal.

Josh, not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I’ll see someone who resembles you, or run by your house, or just pause for a moment to honor your memory. I love you truly, and I hope you knew that.

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