March 24, 2015

My April Poetry Challenge!

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month?

Well, I'm going to do something here on my blog next month that I've never done before. I've set a goal of writing and posting a new poem EVERY DAY during the month of April. But I need your help! I'm in need of some great poem prompt ideas! Share yours in a comment below.

To whet your appetite, here's are two bonus poems that I wrote a while back that I haven't shared with you yet.

Death Sonnet

When death like shadowed curtain falls
And casts its doom upon my face
I can’t resist its urgent calls
To follow to that unknown place.

The breath of life death slowly steals
And covers sight with jet-black ink.
The warmth of joy death does not feel
Of evil work alone it thinks.

As poison counts the beats of heart
So death will take its time to kill.
It will in due time play its part
In making life turn cold and still.

Now, death will not sit by and wait
For me to set the time and date.

Penguin Poem

Slipping, sliding
A cold belly-flop

Soaring, spinning
A flight under the waves

Deep, cool
Breezes float past my ear

A flutter of feathers
The water drops splatter and
cool to ice
on the white ground

Long waddle-walks
And a lifetime
of penguin praise to the Maker.

March 23, 2015

A Blast from the Past

I started keeping a journal when I was 7 years old. My family took a trip out west when I was that age, and I made sure to write down what caught my interest. It's neat for me to be able to relive memories through the eyes of my young self. Just for fun, the rest of this post is excerpted from the journal I kept on that trip. Enjoy!  - Laurel

We packed lots of things. We had Fanny Fae along. She is funny. She is a stuffed bear. She is mine. I got her for Christmas. I like going on trips.

There is a lot of corn there. I like corn. Do you? There is a place that has a silly name. I think there is 10,000 corn there.

We are going to the Badlands. I can’t wait until we get there. I can already picture it in my head – it looks bad. That is why it is called the Badlands because it looks bad. Get it? M-m-m-m. It was time for water and a snack. It was good. Then we went on our way. We were at the Badlands. We climbed a Badland mountain. They are high mountains.

At Wall Drug Store, I bought an Indian doll. She is special. She is expensive. She cost $5.00. I had $5.00, and I bought her. I do not have a voice for her yet, but I will someday. I will name her, too, someday. She is sort of big and sort of small.

We panned for gold, and I got some gold. It was shiny! I loved it. It was raining then, but I was inside of the building that had panning. We are going to Yellowstone Park. I can’t wait. I like what we did so far.

We rode in the clouds on a road in our car. Our ears popped. It was neat. It was great. It was terrific! It was fun. I saw animals. I saw two houses, lots of sheep, and a dog, and some more people, too. I like going on trips. They are exciting. We were at the Yellowstone Park. The lake was almost frozen. We looked for bears. We did not find any the first day yet – the first day in Yellowstone Park. We saw some mud volcanoes. It was stinky. I plugged my nose. We saw 30 buffaloes or more. We saw ducks in a pond. We saw the biggest buffalo in the world! We saw the geysers. I got to be a Junior Ranger.

We went swimming yesterday. It was fun. It goes to 8 feet water, and the shallow was 1 foot deep. Now that is so low. And 8 feet is deep. I cannot swim yet. I have swimmies. Do you like swimming? I do. We went to McDonald’s. We played on the toys. Then, we went on our way. We are going to the desert today. It will be fun. We went through a tunnel. It was fun.

March 16, 2015

Celebrating 2 years of marriage!

Dave and I dated for 8 months.
We were engaged for a little less than 3 months.
And now we've been married for 2 years!

I've shared about our love story before, but I couldn't resist posting a few more photos from our fairy-tale-like wedding day ... a day full of memories I will cherish all my life.

 He makes me smile. Like this.  :D

 March 16, 2013. The date imprinted on my heart.

Happy 2nd anniversary, my best friend and my love. I am proud and happy to be your wife.

- Your Laurel

March 9, 2015

50 Things About Me

Just for fun, here’s a list of 50 random things that you might not know about me:

1. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t an avid reader. (When I was in elementary school, I vividly remember picking up a large stack of The Boxcar Children books at the library. At checkout, the librarian looked me up and down and asked, “Are you sure you can read all of these in two weeks?” Yes. Yes I can.)

2. My favorite color is red, and it was the prominently featured color at my wedding.

3. I like tea. I don’t drink coffee.

4. I first tried Nutella when I was in Europe. (Does anyone else feel like Nutella makes all bread taste like a chocolate donut? Soooo good!)

5. I have never had a cavity.

6. When I was a child, I was obsessed with cats. (I was given a kitten for my birthday by a family friend one year. My parents didn't know about the gift until it was already given ... and I was so excited that my parents were nice enough to let me keep the cat, which I named "Butterscotch." The cat had to live outdoors, though, because my dad is allergic. In later years, I also developed a cat allergy. Sad day!)

7. Together, my sister and I read every one of Jane Austen’s novels aloud!

8. I don’t like plain tomatoes, but I do like tomato sauce, salsa, and ketchup. Weird, I know!

9. I was 23 years old when I had my first kiss.

10. I played the violin from 2nd grade through high school.

11. I love my husband. He’s honest, humble, hardworking, and funny. And handsome.  ;)

12. I began keeping a journal when I was 7 years old.

13. I can sing the alphabet backwards.

14. My favorite constellation is Orion, and it’s usually the first one I spot in the sky when I gaze up into the heavens on a clear night.

15. I have never broken a bone.

16. I am right-handed.

17. My favorite letter is D. It's been my favorite letter ever since I learned cursive in 3rd grade!

18. I prefer dark chocolate.

19. Dave and I have two pets: a red fish named Sir Percival Blakeney (Percy for short) and a Shih Tzu named Molly.

20. My favorite superhero is Batman. I also like Captain America.

21. I look so much like my mom that complete strangers comment on it when we’re out together!

22. Hockey is the sport I can most tolerate watching.  :)

23. I have had a lot of fun being in plays over the years. I love playing characters that are very different from my personality in real life. My favorite of the parts I’ve played so far was an angry hillbilly!

24. I have gone swimming with stingrays.

25. I can recite all 50 states in alphabetical order.

26. I am not a morning person. I typically prefer not to communicate verbally until after 10am.

27. I don’t like any kind of dressing on my salad.

28. Some people think I am tall, but I am actually the shortest of my siblings!

29. One day, while I was stopped at a red light in my car, I was rear ended by an SUV. The driver apologized, saying she was distracted because she was thinking about donuts. True story!

30. I’d prefer going to a play than a movie.

31. Owl City is my favorite musical artist.

32. My name, Laurel, has two meanings: flower and victorious.

33. When I want to cheer myself up, I watch video clips of babies laughing.  :)

34. When I was in high school, I fell flat on my face one day and had to get stitches! I still have a scar above my upper lip, but you have to look closely to see it.

35. According to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am an ENFJ.

36. I have been to a leper colony.

37. When I was a kid, I used to get in trouble a lot for talking in class.

38. People say I look like Molly Ringwald.

39. My favorite animal is the humpback whale.

40. When I was a child, my favorite food was my mom’s Broccoli Cheese Soup.

41. Autumn is my favorite season.

42. I have had panic attacks. They are awful!

43. I sponsor two little girls through Compassion International.

44. My favorite punctuation mark is the em dash. (Yeah, I am a bit of a grammar nerd!)

45. I enjoy baking and trying new recipes!

46. I don’t mind looking at mice in a pet store when they are behind glass, but it freaks me out if mice are skulking around in my living space!

47. I like opera, especially The Barber of Seville and The Magic Flute.

48. When I was a teenager, I used to volunteer in the dementia unit at a nursing home. (One lady was convinced that she left her oven on and had to go back to check on it constantly. Another had a baby doll that she swore was a real child. My favorite was a lady who thought she was a teenager like me. She’d grab my arm when I came in. “I’m glad you’re back!” she’d say. “I don’t know why I’m stuck here with all of these OLD people.” She regaled me with stories--including one about how she snuck out one night. She made me promise I wouldn’t tell her dad!)

49. My favorite people to sing with are my family.

50. Of all the Disney princesses, I find that I most identify with Snow White. Animals always seem to love me. I even met with a whole family of deer one time on a walk! I also love to sing. And then there’s my skin color … definitely a beautiful white!

Do you share any of these things in common with me? What are some random facts about yourself? I'd love to hear from you! Just post in a comment below.  :)

March 6, 2015

Dear Me: A Letter to 16-year-old Laurel

What advice would you give your teenage self? In celebration of International Women's Day coming up on March 8, I took part in Youtube's #DearMe initiative. I apologize for the lack of video quality, but I still thought this was worth sharing!  :)

March 4, 2015

Our Summer Bucket List

It's still cold ... and the ground is covered with snow.

But seeing as March 20 is officially the first day of spring, I think now's as good a time as any to start thinking about a summer bucket list. (Plus, the thought of doing anything outdoors in the sunshine fills me with warm fuzzies right now!) I created a list of things I was looking forward to doing last summer. I carried some over from that list to this one ... and am adding in a bunch of new ideas!

1. Mini-golf and/or regular golf.
2. Kid stuff. Like sidewalk chalk and bubbles.  :)
3. Canoeing.
4. Blueberry picking. (I enjoyed doing this last year. We picked so many, I still have a little left in our freezer!)
5. A picnic in the park.
6. Lots of visits to the beach!
7. Hike in the woods.
8. Go swimming and/or visit a splash pad.
9. Enjoy a sweet treat at an outdoor ice cream shop.
10. Go to a baseball game!
11. Make a sand creation.
12. S'mores!
13. Water park.
14. Read outside.
15. Visit the dunes!
16. Rent a popup trailer and go camping.
17. Stargazing.
18. Fly a kite!
19. Make paper boats and sail them.
20. Feed ducks.
21. Visit a zoo.
21. Water balloon fight!
22. Go to the fair.

And there are still many weeks before summer begins, so the list may very well grow between now and then! What do you think Dave and I should add to our summer bucket list?