“Emma Pearl Ramsey…is a poet and hopeful novelist, a literature enthusiast, and inspired by all things creative. She loves vintage fashion and black and white movies. When she is not studying for her BFA in Creative Writing, she lives at a place called Rambellwood Farm, a green and growing place way out in the Piney Woods of East Texas, where she and her sisters cook food, make jam, and sing in four part harmony. She co-writes her blog, A Banner of Crimson, with two of those sisters, Johanna and Grace.”
Today I am honored to introduce you to a lovely writer and beautiful soul who hails from my own sweet Texas. She has long blessed me by her poetry and prose shared online. I am also pleased to include photography by her beautiful and talented sister, Johanna. Sit down and savor this one, friends! -Everly
The day is bright, and warm, languid with the moist heat of a Texan summer. I am sitting in a chair, my notebook a quiet weight against my knees, my pen cool and firm against my fingers.
I am not writing. I am making a list. The kitchen, clean after lunch dishes, presents a shining face, oblivious to the ambitious plans my fingers are tracing across a lined page. Dinner must be made, a good, healthy meal, something to soothe the ten souls I am feeding.
But, sitting there, the pen wrapped between my fingers, I long to forget the garlic to peel and the cheese to grate. I long to drown myself in story, to feel the images shed from rapid fingers, swift as the words falling from my heart.
But no, dinner must be made…
and when it is finished and, once again, sparkling and still, my bones will want rest, a cup of tea, a movie, or a book. My desire and passion will be there, waiting inside me, but my motivation will be nonexistent.
Someday, I tell myself, someday. But, when I have my own home, will it be any different? I deceive myself with that small word. Someday. There is no someday. There is now.
Dear Father in Heaven, my desire burns here inside my chest, hot, pounding feverish against my bones. I want to write, to really write, all the time, to watch you work the miracle of words through my fingers.
But I am so weary, so worn by care, and pain and struggle, by life. How do I lift myself, my head, and my heart, and do more?
with Me beside you,
When you wake,
and stumble from your sleep
I will lift you up,
and raise the heaviness from your eyelids.
I will put song on your lips
while your hands peel peaches, soft and rosy
into a bowl.
I will put stories in your head,
while your arms are flushed with warmth,
elbow deep in dishes and soap.
I will strengthen your desire,
not for writing, but for Me,
and in seeking me, My heart will
pound from your pen.
Trust that I can do this
despite the tasks pressed against you
Trust that you are Mine.
So here I go, with all my might, with a prayer, and deep breath, yearning to hold on, and seek Him, and find Him.
Please welcome my dear, long-time, real-life friend, Kate! She is a brilliant and hilarious young woman, so basically…you’re welcome! -Everly
People always talk about counting blessings, which is great! However, how many times do we think of the benefits of difficulty in our life? Sure, it is a blessing you aced that Biology test, but what did you learn the first time you failed an exam?
1) It’s easier to measure negative experiences. Scientifically speaking (*quickly tosses on a white lab-coat*), things can’t be “proven” without measurements of some sort. Good memories are measurable but, honestly, how easily do you remember all the good things that happen to you? In psychology they discuss “cognitive biases” one of which asserts that we remember (and, in fact, can’t forget) bad things that happen to us. Think about it. Do you recall the time that nice old man opened the door for you at the supermarket or that time a stranger took a head of cabbage from the produce bin and shook out the water all over you at the supermarket (the last one is a true story…and yes, I’m still bitter about it…but this is not relevant…)? The last one is more memorable and negative feelings are usually stronger than positive ones. Which one hurts more: falling in love with someone or breaking up with someone? This also explains the general tendency to complain, even years after the incident took place.
So, next time some “Sunny Sue” tells you to stop griping and count your blessings and you can’t think of any, just remember the woman who shook cabbage water on you. What did you learn from that? Nothing? Really? Okay…well, you learned to keep a safe distance from people wielding damp vegetables. Oh! And it’s kind of a funny story…right? See, there is something positive to be learned!
[Note: The first time I heard of “cognitive biases” was while eavesdropping at a coffee shop. This happens frequently…
Note II: Of course it isn’t always true we remember more bad things, but it is something to think about.
Note III/Random Fact: Did you know that crows never forget a person who did something bad to them? That’s right. So every time you shooed a crow away from your car or yelled at it because it swiped your sandwich, they ALL remember your face. How creepy is that?
2) As I briefly mentioned before, we can learn more from negative experiences. Like the example with the Biology test I discussed at the beginning of the post…you passed the test? Wow, that’s great! Congratulations! Do you remember the first exam you took? Oh yes, the one you utterly, tragically failed. But you learned something from that, didn’t you? You learned that you first must STUDY, a very very very valuable lesson. Sure, it would’ve been great if you had realized that before the test. So what if you didn’t fail the test for lack of trying, just an unfortunately incomplete knowledge on the subject? You still learned something. By going to talk to the teacher or other classmates, you learn the correct answers and can understand why they are correct.
In that way, hardship also brings us seconds chances. Since you didn’t do well on the first test, the second time you can alter your reaction.
So what if you panicked last week when that thing happened and freaking out just made it worse? There’s always another hardship! And now you know next time not to panic and just go with the flow.
3) You can meet people! All of these are to be considered case-by-case, but sometimes through really unfortunate circumstances you can meet cool, weird, fun, or exciting people. Remember that time you got stranded at the Minneapolis airport because of a blizzard? Sure, you ended up spending the first night on the airport floor, but what about the next night when you were still stranded and the airline gave you hotel vouchers? You ended up riding a shuttle to the hotel and met a U.S. Army brat who had grown up in Okinawa, Japan (and who also happened to have an uncanny resemblance to one of your friends) and four college students from Japan. Aside from meeting those cool people, you also discovered the SPAM museum and got to tour the Mall of America. Oh, that never happened to you? Well, I bet you had some similarly interesting acquaintances with people due to an unexpected delay or incident.
4) Difficulties shape who we are and who we become. We wouldn’t be where or who we are if we didn’t have a past and an inevitable part of the past is hardship. I truly believe adversity is crucial and essential. Have you ever seen those kids that never had to work hard for anything, stayed comfortable, and just had everything handed to them? Their stories aren’t interesting. Throw a few difficulties and uncomfortable lessons in there and they would be different people with a completely different outlook on life.
So, if you’ve already counted your blessings, go back and remember all the awkward, embarrassing, inconvenient, lousy things that have happened to you in the past week and add them to the list. Which brings me to #5…
5) It makes your list longer! If you include difficulties with your list of blessings, you’ll have the longest list of blessings ever! Not that it’s a competition, but still…winning is fun.
Meagan Peckover comes from a family of six people, a lovebird, two dogs and seven ducks. She lives in the place where trees grow greenest and m range tall, in a little yellow farmhouse in the midst of a valley. Sh loves to read for long hours, and always roots for the under dog. She is currently writing a novel for young adults, and is waiting to begin her senior year in homeschool this fall.Today I am proud and pleased to introduce you to one of my favorite writers, dearest friends and most faithful pen-pals. Please give a warm welcome to Meagan Peckover!
I read Aristotle’s Ethics when I was a freshman in high school. It was assigned, I didn’t go out of my way to read it, and I didn’t really understand it when I did. But the very act of reading, or listening, or recording, is often enough to let some glimmer of truth within the story shine through. I didn’t catch all of Aristotle’s meanings, but I saw this one sentence that spoke volumes, and wrote it down. It is from Book 2, Chapter 3:
“Hence we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and be pained by the things we ought; for this is the right education.”
I’ve tried to phrase why we should not become numb time and time again, but there it was, said better than I ever could. Writers, especially, do not become numb. If you are numb, if you don’t feel, if you do not care, you are a bad writer. Some people have been criticized for putting themselves too much into the story, for letting their beliefs speak too loudly, and I think, Isn’t that what a story’s for? Jesus spoke in parables. Fairytales were written to instruct. Aesop wrote fables to teach morals. When I write, I write because I think that the best way to ever speak of God’s love is in a story, whether that be fiction or nonfiction, historical or fantasy or sci-fi, it all has a place.
Aristotle knew even back then that the most beautiful people, the most intelligent, creative, imaginative people are the ones who have not seen the world’s horrors, turned their backs and said, “I can do nothing, thus I will feel nothing.” The people who change the world, the ones who write the best books and paint the most exquisite paintings and do the most heroic deeds, they are the ones who see, and who feel; they mourn for those who go unmourned, they have compassion on the compassionless, they look at the sick and the bleeding and the dying and they see a person. These people have had the right education: they are pained by the things they ought to be pained by.
Let your writing teach you, let it be painful, and let it be joyful. Writing is something you’re born with. I think that somewhere, deep in the womb where it is warm and dark, God puts a tiny seed in our tiny heads. And I think that this seed grows into a magnificent gift that drops more seeds, tinier seeds, seeds that sprout into homes or books or gardens or prayers. One of the seeds that grew out of my head was a character, a girl, named Eden. I don’t know all about her yet, but she wrote this, and I think it sums up what I’m trying to say.
I used to dream about people. Not people I knew, just everyday sorts of people, the ones that you pass in the street or in the grocery store or order coffee from. When I was awake I would stand in the middle of a crowded room and just look at everyone, all of them going about their lives and living in a way that I never could. They would live a life that I never knew, and there is a mystery in that. I wonder if anyone ever thought the same about me. I wonder if anyone ever looked at me and thought, Now there’s a girl with a life to lead; she’s going places. I wonder if anyone ever thought that. I remember passing people, looking at their faces, trying to imagine how they saw themselves, and I would think, She has no idea how beautiful she is. He has no idea that every step he takes is a miracle. It was sad, sort of, thinking that other people couldn’t see what I saw.
It sounds silly when it’s written out, like I walk around with butterflies in my hair and stars in my eyes, and I can’t see that some people are made prettier than others, and some people are made more talented than others. It’s not that, really. I understand that we aren’t all equal across the board. It’s just that-everyone has their own spectacular beauty hidden right inside them, and they don’t even know it. I think sometimes that we just have to wait and find out what that is, but other times, I wonder if maybe our beauty is for this world at all. Maybe there are some people who won’t discover how spectacular they are until they move on past death.
Please, go out in the world, and do not be numb, but find the beauty that is tucked in every person on God’s earth. You writers, feel the sting of the hungry and the fatherless and the widows. Do not let them turn you to ice. Writing is God’s gift to use, to help us make more sense of this broken world, and how it is being redeemed.