My Bucket List

This is my bucket list, guys.

  1. Learn to ice-skate legitimately in a sexy leotard
  2. Skydive
  3. Bungee jump
  4. Go back to France
  5. Become a master of the culinary arts
  6. Be classy and learn to swing dance exceptionally well
  7. Study a completely useless language
  8. Be in a movie with lines
  9. Get married
  10. Own a highly lucrative company/business
  11. Buy out the BMW franchise
  12. Live in Alaska
  13. Own a vineyard
  14. Own/ live in a light house
  15. Obtain a firearms license
  16. Survive a zombie apocalypse
  17. Stay healthy
  18. Have a glass greenhouse
  19. Get a pilots license
  20. Own a plane and a helicopter
  21. Go on an art trip to Europe
  22. Illustrate a children’s book
  23. Hang out with the Foo Fighters
  24. Graduate College
  25. Do Parkore
  26. Visit the capital of every state
  27. Go to Italy, Japan, Spain, China, Germany, Norway, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, France,
  28. Learn to weld and work with metal
  29. Start an art movement
  30. Free the youth of America from the oppression of required core classes after the eighth grade
  31. Learn to properly string a guitar
  32. Farm chickens
  33. Go to the Festival of Fire in Valencia, Spain
  34. Walk the pilgrim Camino in Northern Spain
  35. Dress like Audrey Hepburn and take pictures in front of Tiffany & Co.
  36. Learn to navigate Chicago and NYC by heart
  37. Go to a horse race and dress snooty
  38. Live on an oligotrophic lake
  39. Learn the way of the Locksmith
  40. Become proficient in advanced self-defense
  41. Participate in a Rhube Goldberg exercise
  42. Achieve accidental fame on Youtube for a single video
  43. Have abs of steel for life
  44. Spartan kick something into awesome consequences
  45. Dress Like Emma Watson
  46. Go to the Olympics
  47. Read and watch all of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies: All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Measure For Measure, Merchant of Venice, Merry Wives of Windsor, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Tempest, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Winter’s Tale, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus, Troilus and Cressida
  48. Grow and harvest fields of lavender
  49. Learn to hack computers
  50. Have a tree house
  51. Learn to skateboard passably
  52. Drive the old Route 66
  53. Have a field of poppies
  54. Go to the Grand Canyon
  55. Go to the Mesas
  56. Learn to surf/windsurf
  57. Have a dog that will follow me around without a leash
  58. Participate in a flashmob
  59. Live in a colonial house
  60. Make a video with my future husband where we talk to our future selves about why we will NOT get a divorce
  61. Visit the Sonoran Desert
  62. Plant bulb flowers in random places/ in my yard
  63. Ride the Hiawatha
  64. Have an ATM in my house
  65. Go up in a hot air balloon
  66. Participate in the running of the bulls
  67. Take an American Gothic style wedding picture
  68. Go to the Chateau de Pierrefonds
  69. Visit the 7 wonders of the world
  70. Learn to wolf whistle
  71. Go to a legit circus
  72. Go to a Renaissance Faire
  73. Read War and Peace and enjoy the living crap out of it
  74. Get someone to write a song for me
  75. Be in a music video
  76. Jump through a chalk drawing into another world
  77. Find/explore  some secret tunnels
  78. Have a rooftop garden
  79. Witness the northern lights in person
  80. Hotwire a car
  81. Hang some swords on a wall in my house
  82. Never have a boring marriage
  83. Go ultralighting
  84. Experience time travel
  85. Learn to dive
  86. Go to Sequoia National Park
  87. Adopt a pseudonym
  88. Go up inside the JBU clock tower
  89. Visit Sainte – Chapelle in Paris
  90. Visit Hagia Sophia
  91. Go to Finland and sleep in a glass igloo
  92. Visit Lake Retba in Senegal
  93. Go to Lichtenstein Castle in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
  94. Visit Benagil Cave in Algarve, Portugal
  95. Go to Goodwill outlet in St. Louis
  96. Go see the Mother of Pearl clouds
  97. Defeat the polygraph machine
  98. Get licensed to marry people
  99. Ride the Harry Potter train in Scotland
  100. Read the Apocrypha
  101. Go to the Vermonte Chapel in Rome

On Knowledge

If you knew everything, would you be happy? I used to think so. I wanted omniscience. I wanted to bask in the truth and the absolute. I wanted to know the answers to all the whos, whats, wheres, whens, and whys. I took pride in the knowledge I already possessed, so if my knowledge became infinite, certainly I would be all the more satisfied. Such were my thoughts. I have been of the mind for a few years now, that to know is not to understand or to appreciate. To know is simply to acknowledge and nothing more. In my Biology class at John Brown University, we’ve recently been covering some rather large issues. Evolution, the age of the earth, the order of the sequence of creation events in Genesis, etc. In the ongoing world debate, people who believe in God and profess Christianity seem to want to side with scripture. They become literalists in their views regarding these topics, while Christian scientists tend to side with the research they’ve done. At the end of the day, it seems that these people have begun to argue their points for the sake of being right, rather than to further the kingdom of God. They choose their side, and become vehement advocates of whatever that side is trying to sell, just so they don’t end up wrong. The example that has been set here for future generations of Christians has evoked nausea within me. Therefore, I have decided that none of it matters. I don’t know how old the earth is and I don’t care. There is ample evidence for several theories and you know, they just don’t matter to me. I can profess whatever I want in this life; whatever I believe to be true and right, but if I do it for myself and not for God, then what exactly is the point? I already know a lot of things, but there are infinitely more that I don’t know. And isn’t that beautiful? Think about it. You know a whole lot of things, even if you don’t feel like you do. But that’s boring, knowing things. I have found that it is much more interesting to not know. That’s where faith comes in, no? I think I much prefer that. There’s mystery and adventure there, and the potential for growth.

Go love someone today. But don’t make it about you. Make it about them.

-Alyssa

Infatuation

[ in - fach - oo - ey - shuh n ]

Definition: foolish or all-absorbing passion

Synonyms: fascination, obsession, passion

The purpose of this post is to inform, and maybe to advise if you feel like keeping an open mind, so listen up kids. A friend of mine recently suffered a break-up with a boy she cared a lot about. She is profoundly upset because she believes that she loves him, and all she can talk about is how she has never felt the way she felt with him in any other relationship. She throws the word “love” around A LOT regarding him. Here’s the thing, though; she just met him. She says she loves him, but she has known him all of a few weeks. I don’t want to completely discredit love at first sight or any of that business because I can’t prove that it doesn’t happen, but I do know that it at least isn’t too common. I keep telling her that love is something that develops over time, and that what she feels now is merely a strong infatuation, but she insists on reverting to “love”. So now I’m telling you. Maybe you’ve felt this way too. I know that I have. My aim is not to reproach people for experiencing strong romantic emotions,  because honestly that really can’t be helped. I just want it understood that those feelings are not love. Love, romantic love specifically, is something that happens after all of the chemicals and hormones of infatuation die down. It is, I think, the closest to selfless-ness that mankind ever gets. This is not because we become truly compassionate and empathetic all of a sudden, but because our significant others become such a part of us that there is no other logical option than to make that person feel loved and cherished. It is a love second, unfortunately, only to self love.

Maybe this helped you, and maybe it didn’t, but I felt pretty strongly that I needed to post it. Call it coincidence or call it God, but lately I’ve only felt the need to post something when it’s been about love. Personally, I don’t believe in coincidence.

February Fourteenth

I hate Valentine’s day. Not because I am a feminist, not because I hate pink with a vengeance, and not because I have the mindset of a hipster in that I inherently avoid conformity. I hate Valentine’s day for two main reasons:

1. I puts pressure on people to show love to someone or to be loved by someone.

2. It was meant to be commemorative of Saint Valentine, and now it’s about chocolate and hearts.

First of all, if you love someone, you should show it YEAR ROUND and not just on your anniversary, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day. I know, easier said than done, right? Regardless, Valentine’s Day has been put on a pedestal as a day that husbands/boyfriends better not screw up or their significant other will poison their coffee the next morning. If Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about showing love, WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THAT, I ask you? If someone screws up in a relationship, ESPECIALLY if their intentions were good, what kind of love rejects them for their failure? It would seem that the world has gone COMPLETELY MAD. This so called “holiday” has made love about material things and turned acts of love into trophies that we can show to all of our friends. It becomes less about mutual affection and more about what we get from the other person. i.e. HOW DESIRABLE THEY MAKE US LOOK TO EVERYONE ELSE.

And then there’s the UNFOUNDED IDEA that there is something desperately wrong with you if you are single. (Yes, I just began a sentence with “and”. Get over yourselves, grammar Nazis ) This has been slowly integrated into the psyche of the western populace, and IT’S NOT OK. Being single can be lonely at times, but for the most part, there is an INVIGORATING FREEDOM. Maybe that doesn’t sound as good to you as being with someone, but think about it. People who are single can make drop of the hat decisions without consulting their significant other. They can have as many pets as they want, they can buy whatever they want, etc. Obviously some people go overboard with this, (CAT LADIES & HOARDERS) but that gets into moderation which is another story altogether. I’ve heard that love is very hard to define, but I’ll take a crack at it.

Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tenderpassionate affection for another person.”

Urbandictionary.com says love is “the most spectacular,indescribable, deep euphoric feeling.”

1 Corninthians 13 states:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truthLove bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Ok. Maybe adding the Bible verse was a bit cliché, but if I’m being honest, it’s one of my favorite verses so I’m keeping it. Anyway, it is an excellent description of what REAL LOVE is. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better one. Even with all of these lovely definitions, I still haven’t  scratched the surface of the nature of love. The truth is, I don’t think love can be defined. It’s different for everyone who experiences it, but one thing stays the same; IT MAKES US BETTER PEOPLE. Not good people, just better people, because finally we are more worried about someone else’s happiness RATHER THAN OUR OWN.

Written Works of Wisdom, Witicism & Wonder

These are in no particular order. Read all of them. May they change your life as they have mine.

The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak)

I Am the Messenger (Marcus Zusak)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruíz Zaffon)

The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandré Dumas)

David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)

Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)

The Harry Potter Series (J.K Rowling)

Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli)

Twelfth Night (Bill Shakespeare)

Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier)

The Odyssey (Homer)

Notes From the Underground (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)

The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)

Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)

The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins)

House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones)

Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)

The Hobbit (J.R.R Tolkein)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

The Princess Bride (William Goldman)

The Neverending Story (Michael Ende)

Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt)

The Glass Castle (Jeanette Walls)

The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom)

A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)

Introspection From the Deep

Every time I post something on here, I feel like it should be something profound. This has been a major problem for me in the past as well as in this very moment because the second I start typing, I realize that I have nothing important to say. Why should this be problematic? Loads of bloggers write a profusion of useless drivel, so why should I feel the need to make an effort? Great question, rhetorical questioner. I have no idea. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Maybe it’s because I hate reading things that I feel are a waste of time. Maybe it’s because I want the things I create to matter. Another thing that bothers me is that I haven’t posted a single thing about art, which is what I had initially intended to use this for. Oh look, now this has turned into a list of complaints, and about blogging of all things! I don’t know if you tend to read things more seriously or with a bit of humor, but in all seriousness I’m laughing at myself as I read back over what I’ve written. Not with mirth or self-deprecation, but with grace. I assure you that I am in no way actually frustrated, this is just my way of thinking. I guess what I mean by all of this is that I dearly wish for the things I post to make you laugh, and maybe ponder life a little bit. I don’t, of course, intend to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with my thoughts, but I hope that you at least find them mildly entertaining.

This has been rather short, hasn’t it? Compared to my previous posts, anyway. Oh, well.  A Merry Christmas to you. Yes. I dared to go beyond the safety of “Happy Holidays.”

-Alyssa

The L Word

Ok, so as you’ve probably gathered, I like to draw. In fact, I prefer it almost to ANYTHING ELSE. I detest pencil, probably because it is the easiest for me, and also because it’s too shiny for my taste. I like the bold, flatness of charcoal, and I absolutely LOVE pen and ink. I’m not like normal art kids in that I don’t doodle ALL OVER EVERYTHING all the time. Not that doodling is a BAD THING, I just don’t feel the need and I never have. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m only HALF of an artist, but then I rationalize it and I tell myself that NO ONE CAN BE HALF OF ANYTHING. People can only be something completely or not at all. UNLESS YOUR BODY HAS BEEN BISECTED. Then I guess you could argue that you’re half a person. Physically. I guess. Moving on. I don’t really know what I want to do with art, I just know that I love it. I really think that people throw the word love around too much. I KNOW I do. E.g. “HOMYGOSH I LOOOOOOVE THAT MOVIE!” The English language, unfortunately, is not like Greek. In Greek, there are several words for love. Take a look:

AGAPE  ah-gah-pay: the “I love you” kind of love

EROS  eh-rahs: denoting passion and physical desire

PHILIA  fi-lee-ah: brotherly love, like in friendships

STORGE  stohr-jee: the kind of love you have for family members

If you didn’t notice, none of these kinds of love could be used to describe a movie, or really ANY KIND OF MATERIAL OBJECT.

Question: If the Greeks, notorious lovers of art, music, nature, etc. don’t have a version of love to describe love for material things, then who are we to use our ONE word that encompasses ALL FORMS OF LOVE to describe material things?

What does it all MEAN? It could mean that the ancient Greeks who formed and perfected the Greek language weren’t part of a BOOMING INDUSTRIAL CIVILIZATION, so they didn’t have a lot of material items to love. It could mean that the Greeks were PRIMITIVE and their culture just didn’t care. It could mean that as a predominantly first world culture, English speakers are superior to the likes of the archaic Greeks. Or, it could be that the Greeks were on to something. Maybe only subconsciously, but they were on to something. You see, when it really comes down to it, what do YOU REALLY LOVE MORE: your car, or your brother, sister, mom, dad, significant other, WHATEVER. Which is it? Are people REALLY capable of love for an inanimate object? A lifeless substance? You tell me. The reason there is no version of love for material possessions in Greek is because ANY LOVE WE PROFESS FOR AN OBJECT IS SUPERFICIAL AND UNREALISTIC. Whoever invented Greek knew what was up.

May you all use the word “love” LESS so that when you do use it, it will matter MORE.

-Alyssa