Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shine Like Stars

Philippians 2:14-18
"Do everything without complaining or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.  But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.  So you too should be glad and rejoice with me."  

~Caroline M.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stained Glass

background photo credit: Adrian Limani
Sometimes God's plans for our lives don't manifest themselves as warm, soft summer breezes.  After all, not much changes if the air is stale and gentle.  Life is not gentle.  But it is the turbulent drafts that catch the leaves during fall.  After the leaves have fallen, it is the wind that picks them back up, and even as they are buffeted and thrown about, they rise.  They fly - their flight is not steady; it is full of ups and downs - but they fly. 
Likewise, if our journey is short, where will it take us?  Surely not much farther than where we originally were.  Then, it is the long trials, the winding paths, that are worthwhile in the end.  We can chose either to protest and wander, searching for a shortcut, or we can run.  We can run with purpose and joy, because we know that there is victory at the end of the road. 

Stained Glass
By Caroline Meek

If the wind blows hard enough –
I won’t fall down,
I’ll fly.

I’ll run - 
I won’t stop going,
When the journey is long.

If the path is too narrow –
I won’t stumble,
I’ll watch.

 I’ll listen - 
I won’t feel blind,
When the night is too black.

If I’m too weak to act –
I won’t despair,
I’ll think.

I’ll speak - 
I won’t hide,
When I feel alone.

If I’m not good enough –
I won’t give up,
I’ll try.

I’ll love.
I won’t freeze,
When it’s cold outside –

If the water’s too deep –
I won’t drown,
I’ll swim.

And if my life shatters –
I won’t trash the shards,
I’ll glue them.

Friday, July 4, 2014

21-Hour Car Rides Call for Serious Backup

So, as I'm packing up for a long car ride - 21 hours to be exact - I go over the necessities for the trip.  It looks something like this...

1. 6 novels.  2 of which consist of 600 pages.  (I can not stress the importance of these items.)  My philosophy on travelling with books is to overestimate the amount I will need - by a lot.  So even though it's unlikely I'll finish all of these, they all must come.  And 4 of them are put into my backpack, which will stay at my side for the whole drive, just in case I'm not in the mood for 3 of them.  ;)  As for the genre of these books...I have one light biography-type book, a mystery, two fantasys, an old classic (school assignment), and one on writing structure and tips.  So typically, variety is as important as quantity.  ;)

2.  A handful of pens.  A large handful.  Mostly ink and gel pens.  Also a couple sketching pencils - only there in case I happen to feel inclined to sketch.  Usually they sit unused for the whole trip.

3.  Paper.  Also vital.  Most important is the 5 section notebook for creative writing.  Not to be forgotten is the clipboard full of blank paper; for scribbling, folding, drawing, or a spontaneous game of hangman - or tic-tac-toe - or connect-the-dots.  

4.  Snacks.  Can't live without them.  Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about these this time because my wonderful mother packed a boatload of them.  I love sweets...and cheesy cracker-type things.  

5. Some money.  Necessary, but not at the top of my list. ;)

6.  Business cards.  About a year ago, Olivia and I ordered 250 free business cards from Vistaprint with info about our book and blog printed on there.  Not sure I'll use them much, but my plan goes somewhere along the lines of leaving a trail of them in rest stops from North Kansas to South Florida.  Anyways...no one really looks at those, do they?  Still...

Trip Journal

Day One of the Very Long Drive

So...we got in the car and started driving!  The hours flew by...I slept for the first one. :)  My mom had packed these fun little sacks to open every hour - they contained everything from Sour Patch candy, to fake mustaches, to marshmallows and aluminum foil.  (That last one must be explained...we used the foil, marshmallows and pipe cleaners to make sculptures.) 

We ate in Nashville, Tennessee, at a little burger place for some reason called Paradise Palace or something.  Sitting in the country music capital of the entire nation, I started dreaming a bit about someday accomplishing something there.  Maybe one of my dreams will come true there, someday.


mom turned on the Mission Impossible song and I started dancing.  It was about 9:30 pm, so it was dark outside...and we had one of the car lights on.  Right in the middle of my 'spy dance' (which was carried out under the restraint of my seat belt), a car pulls up next to us.  Impulsively (and very unlike me), I do a weird, dramatic like motion - half salute and half wave - at their front window...which happens to be tinted, so I can't see their reaction before I yank my hand back and start laughing, covering my face.  Can't believe I did that.  As I waved, I can recall my expression as being a cross between raised eyebrows and a weird smile.  Goodness knows if the person was even looking...but with our illuminated windows, they would have had a clear view of my friendly-but-slightly-creepy salutation.

We arrived safely in Birmingham, Alabama, and crashed in a hotel.

Day Two of the Slightly Less Very Long Drive

It's funny how when you're resigned to an incredibly long road trip, the first 10 hours go by very quickly.  But then the last 30 minutes feels like 10 whole hours in itself.  Anyways, I entertained myself mostly by reading, and writing these blog posts and other random things.  I also spent time just laying on my pillow against the window and listening to the wide range of songs my family put on, which included the 'Happy Song' (which grew increasingly less happy after it was played about 15 times), the Frozen soundtrack, Jason Mraz, country songs, and the occasional Cuban Salsa.

A certain amount of time was also spent with the six of us making duck faces while wearing stick-on mustaches.....and pig faces and detective faces...I don't know why...we kept them on for about an hour.  We went into a restaurant with them on when we stopped once, and collected a couple of stares and laughs.  It was great as long as we stayed in a group, being mutually and justifiably weird as we marched to the bathrooms.  Except, my dad walked in first, a couple minutes ahead of us.  He looked just plain weird.  


Just plain weird.

5:30 pm:
So, we drove so far south that the trees changed. That's pretty far south. Tall, skiiiiiiiinny liiiiitle trees with big, clunky, messy canopies. Kinda like a rain forest. They're pretty. I really like the leaves that look like nets over their branches. Also, the occasional lone palm tree in the middle of a field is cool. One thing I love (once we got to Naples) is how the trees lined up against the road a made something like corridors so it feels like we're driving down a tunnel.  

So far the second day has gone slower...we still have about 4 hours. I drove for 1 hour and 15 minutes in Georgia, a couple hours back. That made me kinda tired, so we watched Mega Mind. After I switched seats.

Me being sleepy
Speaking of sleepy, I just found out that the two cute, helpful, little allergy pills that I took last morning before we left home were basically generic Benadryl. Which would explain the hour-long nap I couldn't help but take very early in the trip (abnormal for me because I rarely sleep in the car). Oops. I thought I was just lacking sleep (which was probably true as well) so I pushed through it. That hour was the only hour I slept during the whole 21 hours.

Accomplished on this drive:
Slept: 1 hour
Read: 1 novel
Eaten: Many snacks
Watched: 4 movies
Written: 1 blog post

And so finally, we're here! The last two days have been great. I caught up some on sleep...and I'm working on some sun. Internet connection is not yet existing in our condo, which is why this post accounts for the last 4 days. :) We've kinda gone back and forth from the condo, to the pool, to the beach, which is great. My book has gone with me to all the places, as well as my snacks.  

We made it, guided by our faithful GPS, with Siri insisting every couple hours that we make a U-turn and leave the gas station, my mom placating her ("Hold on, sweetie, I know..."), and our fearless leader (father and designated driver) making loud and exaggerated Tarzan cries (a video of this phenomenon may or may not be available upon request).  

Us, before we started driving:

(Happy, calm, undaunted by the prospect of 21 hours together in a mini-van.  Clean car, clean faces...excited.)

Us, nearing the end of our drive:

Aged; grown mustaches and grumpy faces.  Progressively more insane.  Notice the trash and stuff now strewn across the back seat.  That was NOT there when we started. ;)


But yeah!  It was all worth it.  

Because I get to do this.....

Best. Thing. Ever.

So...peace out, everyone!  In a very small nutshell, Florida is awesome.

~Caroline M.  :)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The End of an Amazing Freshman Year, and the Start of Great Summer

So, I haven't posted in a while, but a lot has been going on.  With the end of school, finals, track, and an internship, I've been super busy.  I thought I'd give a quick update on the last couple months, as summer is finally underway....

Freshman Year in Review:
This year, I started public school at Sumner Academy, and it was probably the best year I've ever had.  I played on both the freshman and varsity volleyball teams, acted in the winter play (12 Angry Jurors), performed in our Poetry Slam, and ran long distance on our track team.  At our League Meet, the Sumner Girls won first place; I received a 2nd place medal for our 4x800m relay, 5th in the mile, and 3rd in the 2 mile.

These activities kept me super happy as well as busy...in addition to these I had some great teachers and met some amazing friends, some of which graduated and will be greatly missed.  :)  Next year, I'm excited to keep participating in much of the same things: especially volleyball and theater.  I am currently writing a One-Act script and I hope to direct it for our performances in the Spring.  I've also got a great schedule of classes for my sophomore year, and I'm especially looking forward to being in Chorale!  :)  Thanks to everyone who made this year super great, and a big thanks to all my family who supported everything I did.  ;)



And so after the craziness of school and all, I had a week of doing nothing...in which I very quickly started wanting to do something again.  XD

Now I have started an internship with Mission Adelante, along with a couple other teens from the neighborhood.  This summer we will be busy learning to hear God's voice, helping lead kids' camps, discipling other teens, and just having fun!  One week in, though slightly exhausted after 40+ hours of 'work' and activities, I'm loving it and can't wait to see where this summer will take us.  :)


My 'writing life' has also been pretty busy - at times slow, but steady.  I made a resolution for New Year's that I would write each day for 20 minutes - like creative writing.  And here, on the 158 day of the year, I have managed to keep going, every single day with this!  At the beginning, I knew it would improve my writing skills, but I didn't expect the results I can see now.  To tell the truth, I would recommend this simple exercise to everyone - it makes writing so much easier and definitely a lot less of a daunting task.  Now, every time I sit down, the words come easier.  What I write each day always varies - sometimes it's a poem, a scene for one of my three book projects, a short story, a piece of a script, a 'letter' to a friend, or a random scene from a writing prompt.  No matter what I write, it all helps.  I encourage you all to try this, even for a week!  Set a time goal and just write...no matter if you consider yourself a writer or not.  This can help everyone.  :)

That pretty much wraps it up.  So far my summer has been wonderful, slightly relaxing, and very fun.   I hope yours are all going well!  :)

~Caroline M.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Storm Before the Calm

Why does God do what He does?

We often believe ourselves trampled, beat and worn by the things that happen, but what if these trials have the effect of a spring storm on dead grass?

The idea for this poem came from the video, “The Wall: Hopeless Situation” by Jon Jorgenson and the Anima Series.  Many of the alliterations used were created by him and appeared in the video.


The Storm Before the Calm
By Caroline Meek

Black dawn and fallen suns find revival,
And so a trial is made a triumph.
Muddled shouts and menacing calls turn loving and instructive,
And so a mess is made a message.
Those beat down and trampled are lifted on golden wings,
And so victims are made victorious.
The impossible riddle is opened for all to see,
And so a test is made a testimony.
The calm cannot be known in full
Without first a storm to strengthen its impact.


Zechariah 10:1 - "Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone."

~Caroline Meek

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Poem: A Face Unknown

A Face Unknown
by Caroline

Why am I here, asks someone unknown.
Here, in a place of two-sided intentions, What will I do?

Our land is obviously divided,
by the professed intent to care and help,
and the hard tendency to reject certain people
who have somehow been pushed into an undeserved field of invisibility. 

We drive people away and refuse to see them
for what they are, in our perpetual condition of great hypocrisy. 

A person tries, but for naught,
for we have already programmed
a system of inevitable failure for those
we have chosen to ignore. 

This person is as an alien in this place,
for it is clear we have nothing in common. 
But does this statement make us aliens as well? 
What planet have we come from? 

Please tell me, what do we think of these people? 
What have we decided?
While we choose to be blind, they see us.

What can I do, asks someone unknown. 
Do I not discern an almost willing spirit
in this person, or is it an illusion? 
For what else can I interpret this determination as? 

Somehow they still go on, despite our walls. 
Could such spirit be learned from? 
We admire such traits in our leaders. 

What are we?  I get the feeling our realities
are compromised or askew, for denying ourselves
the benefit of truly knowing these people. 

A stranger walks among us,
speaking, but who will hear?

Who is this person?  A face unknown,
because who will look at him
with the purpose to love? 
Unknown, this person from another place. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

7 Ways to Catch a Muse

Everyone faces that dreaded ‘writer’s block’ in one form or another. 

It’s an ugly disease that pushes us away from success and keeps us from working.  Writers and  ‘thinkers’ (in other words, all of us who use our brains), whether in the school or work place, have different ways of dealing with this problem. 

How to catch a muse?  There are many ways to go about this task and make writing much easier for yourself.

1. Routine

 Having a daily habit of writing makes a world of difference. 
This does not mean, ‘set a crazy high goal and beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it’.  A habit can simply mean a 10-15+ minute session with your muse (AKA brain) every single day.  It takes time to train your noggin, and making a small time each day is the best way to do it. 
After a short time of doing this, your mind is more open each time you sit down, and the inspiration is ‘literally’ waiting for a chance to be let out.  You do not have to be a ‘big-bucks’ author to make writing easier for yourself – writing is a skill that’s worth its time in every area of life. 

Write every single random idea that comes to you, describe the most abstract things, and let your brain     squeeze some of that creative juice out.

2. Visual Arts

The human brain is stimulated by sight – so give it some food for thought! 

Images can spark ideas, so if you are looking to catch a train of thought, find a site (such as Pintrest) stocked with photography, doodles, or masterpieces and let your mind get some exercise from running circles around the colors.  Sometimes the most random detail can be the start of the greatest idea. 

A picture can be a building block for a huge web of inspiration.   Know what you’re writing about, and look up stuff connected to that.  People are sources for story characters; landscapes create worlds, so on and so forth. 
Even if you don’t expect to get anything out of it, remember, your brain is so complex you can’t imagine what it’s capable of.  Who knows, you may surprise yourself.  Inspiration can come from odd places.

3. Grab a Friend

Two is better than one. 

A friend, no matter to what extent they are involved, can be a lifesaver in terms of writing.  Whether they give you that inspiration through their funny, dumb or ridiculously moments or actually write with you, their input will always be invaluable. 

Everyone needs someone to push them forward – having someone to encourage you gives your muse someone to succeed for: a shoulder to cry on, a fist to bump, or a fellow genius.  If you write with someone, your work is improved by that need to be good enough and keep up with the other person. 

A partner can give you feedback, point out your flaws, and come up with juicy ideas that never would have occurred to you.  

4. Those Tunes

Music can also get the thoughts circulating.  

A song that you can tune out but still enjoy the influence of is a great background for writing.  Many movie soundtracks or inspirational music works for this.  Don’t listen to anything that distracts you, but find something that fuels your creativity.  Calm and relaxing, or upbeat and fast-paced - whatever floats your boat.  We are all unique and function differently. 

It is important to get your mind into a good state, so smooth it out with a good melody, preferably one that also inspires you!


 5. Lists

Any sentence, idea or lonely single word is worthy of a place on your canvas.  There’s a bucket-load of great words in your handy head to pick from – try closing your eyes and picking one then expanding on it.

Lists of words that relate to each other in a theme (or ones that absolutely don’t) can later be organized into a full-fledged piece.  This practice can help your mind see the connections between words, and how they can make a great idea. 

Start anything random from a small prompt and do something new.  Change can be good – let yourself try something different, because a fresh start is often surprisingly helpful. 

6. Use What Works

No-brainer, don’t use something that doesn’t work. 

So get ideas from past successes, masterpieces by the classics that give you an idea of what works.  Reading examples in your area of inspiration is a great tool, because it betters your craft while introducing your mind to great ideas.  Don’t take someone else’s work – that’s called plagiarism – but give your brain a hand by showing it a vision. 

Get yourself motivated by dreaming of what your own works can become.

7. The World Around You

For a good idea, take a look at what’s around you. 

So much of what we write and think about has to do with the world we live in.  You may not think your own life and actions would inspire someone, but a moment from a another person’s life may well be your ticket to a first-class idea. 

Conversations can be found in millions of open places – walking through the city, sitting in the coffee shop, or at your local grocery store.  Just take in the words of a couple strangers and find a start from someone else’s life!  You don’t have to go far to find words, and sometimes it is the very fact that these anonymous conversations are so everyday and unimportant that make them inspiring. 

Keep your eyes and ears open for those muses hiding out in the open, deceptively easy to find, and make use of them!
~Caroline M.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Poem: Falling

by Caroline
Almost as a mirror, a blanket of snow
Silence from the muffling carpet, at night
Crystals in unison make a sea, of snow
Aglow by the rays of the moon, cold and bright.

Every color in white is drowned
Perfect white as far as forever
Icicles of silver impale the ground
Wind of stone cannot die, ever.

Stars rain in frozen form, falling
Skin stung and soft, eyes wide
A forest owl and wolf, dark, calling
Spellbound, is every thing outside.

(photo from: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-frozen-landscape-edward-myers.html)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

100 Word Paragraph Challenge

Found this on a fun writing blog.  (http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/)

Challenge:  To write a paragraph under 107 words, including the 7 word camp. 
Prompt: Every word he spoke was a lie. 

This is what I wrote.  :)  I thought it would be cool to do something from a different perspective than usual, something that most people would not do. 

Every word he spoke was a lie.  And still, even now he lies.  The little bird in the brass wire cage – you must not heed him.  For I know, as sure as my mother’s whiskers, that he lies.  The limp wing, the lowered eyes – they swirl in a thick fog of deception before you.  Every chirp he utters is an ugly threat masked in bright yellow, a masquerade to hide intent.  As small creatures in captivity, they are pitiable, but what the human eye cannot discern is their unfathomable power.  In the sky – out in the open, they are not so humble.   


(picture from Google)