Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


2 Comments

Blackberries

Wild blackberries grow along the wooded path we enjoy walking. A wooded path that runs alongside the River Stour, providing a small escape from the city. This fascinated me.

It reminded me of my childhood. It seems like a dream. Family loaded in a car, traveling to the magical forest of Harleton, Texas where buckets full of blackberries awaited.

The hot summer sun made the days longer. Sweaty, uncomfortable hours that stretched into eternity. Time didn’t matter, until it did; until it was uncomfortable. Juicy blackberries staining our hands and mouths red, thorns pricking our arms and legs, mosquitoes leaving itchy welts along our skin. Foot races between mother and daughter, father and daughter, sister and sister. A memory that seems like a dream, stretched into a timeless, shadowy vortex; swirling fact with fiction.


What is fact? What is fiction?

What can the imagination truly erase, if it’s written on someone else’s memory? Can we control our stories if they all just end up as hazy dream-like substances floating along our subconscious? What will be remembered if we let it all fade away?

The power of remembering is a gift. Even when it’s a curse. Even when you remember guilt or pain. At least you remember. Even when you want to forget…it’s probably better to remember. It’s easier to remember pain. That gives you the power to blame. Blame yourself, blame someone else…blame gives you power to color your memories in pain, even if it wasn’t all painful.

Remembering through ‘love’ might be harder. To color your memories with love, where there was love. To scream and fight and wrestle with the idea that love still exists, even in the moments that are factually, historically painful. And to remind yourself everyday that love still exists when the evidence isn’t in front of you. When it’s not something tangible, anymore, does love grow stronger or weaker? Or does that depend upon the stories you create? And does it grow weaker if you can’t control the story? If it’s written on someone else’s memory, does it grow weaker if they don’t, also, make themselves remember that love exists? The phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ comes to mind. Does it? Will it?

Multiple stories. Multiple memories. You can’t know what you’ll easily forget; what will hurt the most to remember. You remember the sun making you tired as a child. You remember blackberry bushes scraping your skin. You can’t know how other people see the same story. You just remember they were there. They were a part of something. It was real. You weren’t alone.


3 Comments

To Live Forever

MAGICMOONLIGHTSTUDIO57

“In every letter, in every line, she saw him. He hadn’t changed – he’d only grown into the man he’d meant to be.”

Diana Peterfreund, For Darkness Shows the Stars

“To my dearest….”

I read the faded script, ink dried on the page years ago, paper soft with age. Tucked between a loose brick on the bottom of the wall and a piece of driftwood, the letter seemed to have called for me to read its words.

My mind wanders through possibilities. Was the letter ever read? Was it laid here on purpose so many years ago? A secret hiding place between young lovers, a place to share their affection without being caught.

Did this letter fall from someone’s belongings? Perhaps the belongings of a mourning family, as they walked along this same pathway. Their husband, mother, brother…this letter a keepsake to that person, who kept it all these years.

I fold the yellowed page and return it to its envelope. Filled with possibilities and nostalgia, I daydream about the owner, wishing I could return it to its rightful place.

Part of me connects so deeply, I can’t even explain. I’m reminded of rifling through my grandparent’s memories. I’m reminded of reading the notes my parents wrote to each other. I’m reminded of the hundreds of small notes my husband and I wrote when we were younger.

I slip the letter in my purse, but thinking about it, I return it to its spot. Perhaps the letter will never be read again. Perhaps I was its first reader. There’s something beautiful about the mystery. That the words were even written at all provided a cathartic sense of love and purpose to the writer.

Beyond that, the story is unknown. But the writer’s appreciation for this mystery person will live on forever through his words. For what better way to live forever than by proof of deeds done from love?


This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter. Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.


6 Comments

Smelling the Tulips | Writing 101: Day Two

amsterdam_netherlands_tulip_fields

‘They’re my favorite flower,’ I hear my grandmother say, as I gaze over the vast field of never-ending violet. Ripples of color sway lazily with the breeze and, breathing deeply, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The soft smell of tulips sitting on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot as Elvis Presley sings hymns softly in the background. She liked listening to that CD in the morning. I make my way through the field taking photos I can’t wait to post, excitement I can’t wait to share.

The things that connect us. The purple tulips in May, on her birthday. The slightly burnt coffee every morning strictly at 7 am. The voice of Elvis Presley in the morning. Things that connect all of us. The entire family. I don’t have to explain my nostalgia for Betty Boop, because they have the same nostalgia. I don’t have to wait for the laugh track when I mention my appreciation of salt and pepper shaker collections because they appreciate them too. They get it.

mamawThis woman who lived a full life, filled with everything from a childhood in the country to one of glitz and glamour. She lived. Her feisty, talkative personality filled her house with laughter. Her love of collecting filled her home, literally. But it was beautiful. It was all beautiful. Specifically I’m not talking about her milk glass collection or china teacup sets. Or her extensive, beautiful gold and diamond jewelry, mostly rings. She treasured those rings and wore them, all at once, on special occasions. No, I mean sneaking in her wardrobe as a child and playing dress up in her 1970’s polyester nightgown-and-robe sets. I mean waiting until she went to the kitchen to slip into her storage room to gaze wide-eyed at her giant collection of Betty Boop coffee cups and dolls and shirts. Once I gave her an old life-sized cutout of Betty Boop. She displayed it in her living room for years.

Finished Painting of Baker Homestead

We were never incredibly close. Or, perhaps, we were. To be close to Mamaw, was to savor the small moments. To be present and willing to listen; to be patient and willing to wait. I wasn’t a good roommate. I wasn’t. After college, I was just grateful for a room in her home at all. I came home exhausted from work and shut myself in my room to decompress for hours. I couldn’t stand watching The Bachelorette with her–even ironically–so I left that to my cousin. I would snap back with an attitude after 30-too-many-times her telling me to not wash my dishes/clothes/self while she was watching her evening shows. She couldn’t hear them, otherwise. I was patient, but I still think about the times I was not. Of course, she had an attitude as well. The kind of attitude that comes with the privilege of aging and not caring at all if what she said offended. To be close to Mamaw was to not care if she did offend, because you knew she was just trying to tell her funny story for a good laugh. Or she was just trying to make sure her precious Betty Boop valuables weren’t broken by the hands of a curious child.

I drift in and out of these memories of my grandmother. Visiting the fields of tulips is like an amplified megaphone; each petal, each smell shouting a memory directly at me. The beauty of those flowers, stretched miles and miles and miles, is overwhelming and awe-inspiring. These fields connect me to my grandmother, they connect us all. They affect me like they affect my family. There is a beautiful trust in that. Even thousands of miles apart, I know I am not alone. Through a simple song by Elvis Presley, we can share a memory, a story, a laugh. Through a single tulip, we can ensure our family history will be remembered in the most beautiful way.

29913_506954848433_7143211_n 281956_2246564133430_539645_n


This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

I’d love to visit Amsterdam during their tulip season for my grandmother! It’s on my Bucketlist, even. This spring I at least hope to visit one of England’s beautiful gardens.


Leave a comment

Around the House – Painting


Our flat feels one part kid’s art on the fridge, and one part Pinterest Paradise. But making my own art and using washi tape to display it was a lovely solution to the ‘no nails’ rule in the lease. I quite enjoyed painting/drawing these.

I used my new colorful rug as inspiration to fill the pages with more color and abstract shapes. Painting is interesting. It’s relaxing and fun. And 9 times out of 10 I really dislike what I paint and end up casting it aside, but the process of painting will forever be my favorite part.


Leave a comment

Lately


Things are slow and sleepy these days. With the rain and cold creeping back into Canterbury after a few weeks of warmth, it’s hard to be motivated to do anything but bundle up.
I’m currently:
Designing: Logos
Writing: Letters to my little brothers
Playing: Faster Than Light
Prepping: Packages to be sent to the states
Learning: How to take photos in bright lights
Celebrating: Taylor being accepted into a 2 week summer course in Paris
Planning: A game night at our flat for the students of CBC
Painting: With acrylics for more wall art (still haven’t mastered water color)
Scheming: Something secret for a certain 4-1-2015
Dreaming: Of blonde hair (ombre again??)
Watching: The Office (of course)

Enjoying: Snapchat. <-See my latest videos. And add me if you so please! UN: lyssssabeth

 


Leave a comment

25 Things | An Update

11001792_10206612130211781_2661737535745996963_n

These winter months are flying past us.

Moving to the UK, I did fret just a little about the weather, however it really hasn’t been a problem. On a daily basis, yes, it’s much colder than Texas, and it rains so much more. But so far Texas has had more snow than Canterbury, so the cold is not so bad. I think you just learn to acclimate to wherever you are. In Texas I never would have wanted to walk in the rain… with cars so readily available and absolutely necessary to get around most places, walking wasn’t an option. With no car and every store imaginable right in the vicinity…we have no choice but to bundle up, grab an umbrella and go. It’s not bad at all, it’s just the norm.

That being said, whether rainy and cold are normal or not, it’s certainly hard to stay motivated when all I really want to do is watch Netflix bundled in a blanket. Everyday is a decision to give in to that laziness or continue on with my list of 25 things. And sometimes I choose the TV marathon. I won’t lie. But, as long as the end goal can be the same, then this will be a productive, satisfying year. I’d say I’m off to a good start in accomplishing that!

Let’s talk details: Most of what’s on my list isn’t something just the check off and be done with, but as a way to learn from and add to my life. Here are some updates to a few things.

1. Learn basic French | Learning another language is no joke. I’ve really enjoyed learning simple phrases. I can recognize about 50 phrases or words and write most of those correctly (I struggle with the punctuation).  Speaking is more difficult, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2. Take better photos | I don’t know about better, but I am learning more about my digital camera. I love taking photos around the city!

4. Visit all the countries in the UK | Check Scotland off that list

8. Learn to be | This one is usually easy for me, but lately I’ve been working until midnight some nights, just not wanting to stop being productive.

16. Become more involved in church | Taylor and I  have just been added to the Canterbury Baptist Church Student Volunteer Team. We will be working with university students, helping plan activities and meals and growing the students church community. We have been getting to know the leaders and students of this group for quite some time now, so I’m very happy to work with them. We’re cooking Tex-Mex for them this Sunday! We’ll see what they think of some of our favorite foods.

20. Send more snail mail | Yay! My request for pen pals was a large success! I just sent out a handful of postcards and plan on sending more once I get everyone’s address.

I’m excited about this year. The weather is warming up, I’m learning new things all the time. (Like, I had no idea mother’s day is celebrated on a different day in many countries. It’s March 15th here). I’m looking forward to March!


Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s Day!

IMG_6902

I had the most fun making these little punny valentines cards! I wanted them cheesy, colorful, and to match a personality, interest or job description! Each card took about 5 minutes to make (not including the tiresome job of searching for puns!) I mailed these out a couple weeks ago and I hope everyone thought they were as great as I did!

IMG_6897


Valentine’s Things
Valentine Puns
Coworker Valentine

 


Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s Day! In Scotland!

I’m thrilled about going to Edinburgh, Scotland for the weekend! We’re staying at our first airbnb home, and plan on doing as many free things as possible! We’ll be winging it, but here’s some I’m hoping to check off the ‘list’! Taylor almost went to Edinburgh for his PHD work, so we’re excited to see it for that reason, but also because of all the Harry Potter inspiration!

Harry Potter Valentine Cards Puns Literary Valentine HP J.K. Rowling Horcrush lol

1. Edinburgh Castle

Travel Goals: Edinburgh Castle

 

2. Balmoral Hotel /Clock Tower – Where J.K. Rowlings wrote the last Harry Potter book

Balmoral Hotel clock tower ~ Edinburgh, Scotland ☛ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balmoral_Hotel3. Elephant House – Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book!

The Elephant House in Edinburgh where J.K. Rowling wrote! I love that there's a "Birthplace of Harry Potter" sign. :) I'm already perusing their menu to see what I'll have, even though I've no idea when I'll go...

4. All the lovely streets! Everything looks like Harry Potter!
Cobblestone Street, Edinburgh, Scotland


Harry Potter Things
Printable Marauder’s Map
Printable Harry Potter Valentine’s Card

 

 

 


Leave a comment

I’m 25

24 was a great age for me.

23 was allowing negativity to build up all around and inside me. 23 was about realizing that mistakes were made. 23 was about learning lessons. So 24 was about embracing those lessons and changing my entire attitude.

At 24 I healed. At 24 I opened up. At 24 I stopped letting negativity decide my choices and started finding ways to produce positivity.

I learned that silence is wise, but responsible confrontation is healthy. I learned when to use either of these methods.

I learned a great deal from working with young girls; about how my actions and choices affect others and how I allow others’ actions to affect me. I learned that justifying wrong actions for wrong actions is life-draining. I learned that I had changed, not at my core, but just by opening up and allowing myself to grow into a better version of myself.

At 24 I learned to dance unexpectedly, be happy with being dorky, be healthy.

I learned to get rid of the ‘things’, learned what it means to leave everything and everyone behind, learned to not let fear stop me.

25 will be something else entirely. Mistakes will be made, like at 23. Personal growth will happen, like at 24. And we’ll see what else I can learn and see and do at 25.


Birthday Things
My Year of Adventure
25 Things To Do at 25