Finding the Words

When I think back on my life as a young homeschooler (oh, that’s why she’s so weird…), I don’t recall very fondly spelling tests or “using words in a sentence”. It seems odd now, considering my love of grammar and rules. But there was something so tedious about having to come up with a random context for an unfamiliar word, in addition to spelling it correctly. One day, my mom asked my sister, Julie, to use a word in a sentence. Let’s say the word was “annihilate”. Julie promptly wrote down the following sentence, fulfilling all the requirements of my mom’s vocabulary quiz demands: “‘Annihilate!’, yelled the girl.'”

It was brilliant. For a moment, a whole new world of “using a word in a sentence” was opened to us. Until my mom came in swiftly and refined the rules. She did make Julie find another way to use annihilate in a sentence, and Julie did try “‘Annihilate”, whispered the girl'” before getting serious (our poor mother). From that point on, we just had to work a little bit harder at our creativity. 

Perhaps it is debatable whether or not we have enough words in the English language, but I recently had a notion to see if I could make up a few of my own. I guess you could say that in my post-formal-student life, I have been able to combine the necessity of learning new words, and the free-will of my sister to take control of matters in a little exercise. I have taken the liberty to invent some new words that define a few common feelings, with their corresponding usages in a sentence, and I would like to try them out here first, on you all, if that’s okay. Here they are:

Bibliogret [BIB-lee-oh-gret] n.: The awful feeling that you will never have enough time to read all the books you want to read in your one short life.

Cecilia gazed longingly at the bookshelves lining her living room walls, and was filled once more with the sad feeling of bibliogret that made her want to crawl under her covers and cry, and paint a picture with her tears.

Settlegate [SET-tul-gate] v.: The action of surrender when you recognize you will not be able to recover the comfortable position you were just sitting in after you sat up to do something briefly. 

His disgust was apparent when he was forced to retrieve the remote control from across the room, and subsequently settlegate.

Ephnesia [Yoof-NAY-zha] n.: The moment in which the list of crucial things you have to do before you allow yourself the luxury of crawling into bed becomes a perfectly good list for tomorrow morning.

Despite the fact that she had only written the first paragraph of her 25-page-paper due the following day, Felicia was suddenly overcome by the relieving feeling of euphnesia which allowed her to go to bed peacefully.  

Gastroception [GASTRO-sep’-shun] n.: The often undetected justification that takes place in your mind between the bite of food where you realize you are full, and the next one.

As Michael lifted the fork piled with stuffing and turkey into his mouth, he continued chatting with his second cousin as gastroception came and went and the smell of pumpkin pie wafted in from the kitchen.

What do you think? Do you find any of these to be helpful? Feel free to share your own sentences with one of these words, or make up your own new word in the comment section! Always remember, school can be fun.

Learning, Loving, Fancy that

Learning: I always loved school growing up. I loved everything about it. I loved the structure, the routine, the discipline, the rewarding feeling of a good grade after a long night studying. These days, I miss school a lot. Especially at this time of year. Recently, I have gotten really into Ted Talks (ted.com or Netflix streaming). They are such a great way to feel inspired in twenty minutes or less, and there is at least one for every topic you can think of. This one is the most recent one that got me super excited about all the things there are to learn in the world. I recommend it if you are having a dull day. 

Loving: Honey. In everything. Honey is so good! A while back, I made toast with butter, honey, and cinnamon on it and gave it to Eric. He thought it was so good, he started calling it “Jenny’s Famous Toast”. I thought it was funny because it is hardly an original idea, yet he gives me all the credit for coming up with it. And the name stuck. Now we just call it “famous toast”. It gets the point across a lot faster than saying “honey cinnamon toast”. What a time saver!

Anyway, honey on toast is delicious. Also, have you tried just honey and cinnamon in hot (not boiling) water? If you drink it before bed, it is supposed to do wondrous things regarding your health and such (some people swear by it as a weight loss program…). It is also delicious. Another reason I love honey is for its amazing moisturizing abilities on my face. If you wash your face as normal, cover it in raw honey for a few minutes and then rinse it off, you will notice immediately how soft and lovely your skin looks. Another reason I love honey (it’s a long list)? It is a natural hair lightener. I tell you all about it here.

Fancy that: Remember when I wrote about the fifteen things we learned from Anne? Well, it was published on Lydia Mag as well, and Sullivan Entertainment found it. Sullivan Entertainment is the company that produced the Anne movies. So, when they contacted me to see if I was interested in doing a giveaway, it was as if L.M. Montgomery was speaking to me herself. I have to tell you that it was a big moment in my life. One of the requirements for entering the contest is to share the biggest lesson Anne taught you. And let me tell you, I love reading all the comments. They give me chills, frankly. The way L.M. Montgomery has touched so many of our lives through Anne…it just warms my heart. If you haven’t entered for your chance to win Anne of Green Gables on DVD, you can do so here. The contest closes on Friday, so hurry!

 

A new me for 27

Rather than be discouraged and fall into a puddle of despair whenever I don’t feel persuaded to blog for several days at a time, I have finally learned to ask myself a question or two. I learned this once several months ago when these feelings manifested themselves into a new blog lay out. It was like a light bulb went off in my brain when I realized I could make my blog into what I wanted it to be, instead of making myself conform to my blog. Don’t you love life’s surprises? They have a way of making you feel happily stupid sometimes.

If you think about it, this is kind of the way life works, too. You feel like you are in a rut, and rather than feel discouraged you make a few changes. You get bangs, or buy a new color of nail polish (hypothetically speaking, of course)…anyway, I finally figured out how I would like to transform my lackadaisical attitude toward blogging into something that works for me and not against me. It’s not a new blog layout this time, but a new ‘about me’. Since ‘I’ am a human being and therefore always changing, it would make sense that I re-write my ‘about me’ from time to time, wouldn’t it? My blog name will always be the same (as far as I can see into the future), and the core of my being will always be the same and therefore always be a part of my blog. But, this on-going project of mine needs a little–as Joe Fox would say– “tweaking”.
 
bangs
 
And, since I turned another year older last week (I am now three years shy of thirty, folks), it does feel like a good time to do a little organizing and re-evaluating. Last year for my birthday on my blog, I made a little wish. It kind of became the theme of my subconscious for a year, and has revealed itself in many forms to me since I turned 26. For year 27, I want to stick with that theme, but a little more intentionally and a little less accidentally. 

It’s funny how for so long, I felt really attached to my ‘about me’ section. I felt like it captured what I wanted to convey 100%. And look at me now, moving on. Perhaps I will reevaluate my ‘about me’ every birthday. It could just be something I do.

Below, I am going to post my old ‘about me’ for historical purposes (feel free to skip). Below that, the new ‘about me’ (which will take its more permanent place in the side bar on the left).
 
[My name is Jenny. My husband’s name is Eric. 

He is from Virginia, I am from Oklahoma, and we are currently living in the DC area. We both have real, grown-up jobs, but we love creating, collaborating, making music, taking pictures, making movies (him), and writing (me), more than the work that pays rent. Isn’t that how it always is?


I love viewing the world in a certain light and I write to portray that. Life is never as perfect as blog posts sometime make it seem, but it is beautiful. We live in a fallen world, and sorrow and suffering exist. But I believe that God will one day restore the earth to how it used to be. And for now, I am working on being grateful for every little thing that He has given to me. 

I love writing, literature, coffee, food, ballet, languages, movie nights, fashion, puppies and my family. By combining the things that warm my heart–both the good and the seemingly mundane–I hope to amplify the goodness of creation and the joy of life by delighting in the ironies, color, and beauty of this world.There is so much more to living than the world would have us to believe. For as C.S. Lewis so poignantly stated:“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
 
I write about a lot of things here on Jeneric Generation, but one thing is consistent: in everything, I long to understand the meaning of a holiday at the sea.]
 
New about me:
Hello! My name is Jenny. My husband’s name is Eric. He is from Virginia, I am from Oklahoma, and we currently live in the Washington, D.C. area. We both have real, grown-up jobs, but we love creating, collaborating, making music, taking pictures, making movies (him), and writing (me), more than the work that pays rent. Isn’t that how it always is?
 
Sometimes, I have strong opinions. Always, I have a lot of questions. I don’t care so much about being right, as much as I care to know the truth. JenEric Generation is a safe place for honesty. I am a writer, and I’ve claimed this space on the internet to sort out whatever  thoughts and ideas happen to be consuming my brain waves at the moment (oh, and sometimes just to share my favorite outfit). I feel better when I have ar-tic-u-la-ted my thoughts. If we disagree on anything, tell me so, or even challenge me, if you feel inclined. I will not think less of you one ounce, if you won’t think less of me. Deal? All I wish to do here is be a little bit braver, by being a little bit more honest with myself every day. It is risky business sometimes, but I’d rather look ridiculous than be generic.
 
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” –The Brothers Karamazov
 
It is necessary to spell out to you what I believe: that my only comfort in life and death is that I am not my own, but belong to my faithful savior Jesus Christ. This kind of servitude is unfashionable and the most liberating love I have ever tried to understand (and I will never fully understand it)–and it’s that love that gives me the nerve to think that I can be courageous. I have nothing to fear, and I am trying really hard to truly believe that.  There is so much more to living than the world would have us to believe. Perfection is not attainable in this life, but settling for mediocre, in anything, should never be an option. It is also a crying shame. For as C.S. Lewis so poignantly stated:
 
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
 
We are far too easily pleased.
 
In summary, my goal here on JenEric Generation is simply this: in everything, I long to understand the meaning of a holiday at the sea.
 
If any of this suits your fancy, or if it simply amuses you, stick around and join the discussion; or watch silently from the wings. Either way, I’ll be here doing my thing.
 
P.S. I have been known to lose a certain level of sanity over a misplaced punctuation mark, or a grammatical error. If you ever see one lurking about, feel free to point it out in all friendliness. Together, I am confident we can eradicate all errors on JenEric Generation, and make this a place where correct grammar and syntax reside in perfect harmony. 

 

Six Reasons to be Proud of Yourself

In a world drowning us with information: how to have it all, how to make something of yourself, how to keep a job, it is easy to feel inadequate. I say: forget about  being a success, how about taking a moment to be proud of the things you take for granted on a daily basis? We tend to judge ourselves using only our short term memory: why did I pick that major in college? Why did I eat that for lunch? Why am I not nicer to people? Why did I waste so much time on the internet? Why do I procrastinate? 

How about we look a little further back when looking for validation in our lives, huh? How about a little love? Where is the love? I think you will find it in the recesses of your memory. Or, rather, in the early years of your life. Imagine yourself at age five, looking into your eyes right now. Your former self would most likely look up to you. Granted, she/he would think you are really old, but, she/he would most likely be proud of you. Mainly, because your younger self wouldn’t know any better. All adults have achieved success, to a five year old. You have reached the point where you can stay up all night and no one can tell you not to. And that is the ultimate.

As adults, let’s take a look at the things we do so easily now, that we forget to be proud of on a daily basis. If anyone in your life makes you feel like you need to make something of yourself before you can be taken seriously, take your cue from this list and remind them you’ve already come pretty far.

You are potty trained

This one is very easy to take for granted. When is the last time you needed an incentive to use the restroom? How about the last time you needed assistance? Probably not for many years. Remember wearing a diaper? Me neither. That is how far we have come. If you consider the contrast between your diaper stage and your current stage…I mean, wow. Not to mention you don’t need to be reminded to change your underwear.

You can read

Do you realize how difficult reading is? Consider this: you are so good at it, you can’t NOT look at a word without registering its meaning. If someone asked you to read even this long word–deoxyribonucleic–you could do it. You did do it. Congratulations! 

You can drive

You, my friend, are able to steer a large metal contraption down winding roads, in and out of obstacles if the occasion calls for it, over hills and down steep inclines, over paved highways and through muddy back roads. If a family of ducks crosses the road–you know what to do! If the school bus in front of you suddenly stops to pick up kids–you know what to do! Red, green, yellow….you know what they all signify. If you want to park but there is a fire hydrant, you know you can’t. 

You can feed yourself

I didn’t say you can cook, but if you can, even better. However, the fact that you are not totally dependent on someone else making you food is truly remarkable. If left alone for days on end, you will not starve. You can sustain life, and that is something to be proud of.

You can refrain from throwing a fit

In a public place, or while driving for instance, when things aren’t going 100% your way, you can keep it to yourself. You may let it out through an angry email later, or a bottle of wine with a friend, but you are able to refrain from throwing yourself to the ground and kicking and screaming when your boss asks you if your presentation is ready sooner than the original deadline. That is not a skill you just develop overnight. You have survived a tremendous amount of growth. What’s more: you are classy.

You’ve already memorized the list of prepositions

Remember how not fun that task was? Talk about a totally unrelated list of words. Have you ever seen a list so incongruous? Well, you never have to do it again. You may not even remember what a preposition is, or be able to name any of them. But all that matters is that at one time in your life, you knew them. You mastered that list and you are now entitled to the privilege of forgetting about that list.

I could go on, but dare I? I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a little bit better about myself. Puffed up, if you coax me. At the very least, I don’t feel the kind of worldly pressure I was feeling before I started writing this post. I hope you have been able to give yourself a break after this brief reminder of how uniquejust like everyone elseaccomplishedgrown up, you actually are.