Little Things Like Destiny

My sister went back to college this morning.  It’s been so great having her back home, and I’m going to miss her like crazy, but I am glad she’s getting back to her path toward whatever is waiting for her.

Last night, we were talking about what we’re supposed to be doing in life.  She told me that even though she knows she’s on the right track and in the right place, she can’t help but feel that there’s something she’s not doing, that there’s something waiting for her.  I know exactly what she’s talking about, because I felt the same way when I was in college.

There’s this notion today that kids are supposed to have everything figured out, but the truth is that’s almost impossible.  Yeah, some know what they want to do, some know their goals and work tirelessly to achieve them.  Some know that they’ll grow up to be doctors or lawyers or engineers.  But there are just as many, if not more so, who literally do not have a clue.  I was one of them.  I’m tempted to say that I’m still trying to figure it out.

It’s weird to look back and think about how everything that’s ever happened to you has been leading up to one moment or one discovery.  For example, my time spent working as a summer camp counselor up at Lake Texoma.  Growing up, I was outdoorsy, but not the camping kind of outdoorsy.  Everything about a job at summer camp was way outside my comfort zone.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have even known the camp existed if I hadn’t, by chance, noticed a flyer for it in the mail one day.

How cool is that?  It’s like, destiny came to me by mail.  Because I do think I was destined to work at that camp.  I met some of my very best friends at that camp, had some of my very best experiences, learned more about myself and grew in ways that I never thought possible.  Working at that camp gave me everything I didn’t know I needed.  And I still need it.

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I like to believe that your destiny will find you, even if you have no idea what it is or where it will lead you, and of course, I think we all have many, many different destinies.  It was my destiny to adopt my kitty, Midnight, and save her from the sewers.  It was my destiny to read the book that led me to realize I wanted to be an author.  It was my destiny to work at a summer camp in a place called Pottsboro.

I guess what I’m hoping to say with this post is that if you don’t know what you’re doing, where you’re headed, what’s going to happen, you’re not alone.  In fact, I think you’re one of the lucky ones.  Your possibilities are endless.  It’s all out there waiting for you.  And when it finds you, it’s going to be amazing.  Take it from someone who’s been there, and who hopefully has a thousand more destinies waiting.  Your life is going to be amazing.

Back to Joy

I’ve been a dreamer and a make-believer as far back as I can remember.  Honestly, I always thought I was just a late bloomer, that my mental maturity developed at a slightly slower pace than my peers.  Then, during a talk with my mother shortly before my graduation from grad school, I told her how anxious I was about being a real adult and how I was afraid I was still so behind my friends in terms of “real world achievements.”  Instead of assuring me that I was completely normal and that I had nothing to worry about, however, she told me, “Well, maybe you’re just different.  You have always marched to your own tune.”

At first, I really wasn’t sure that was a compliment, though now that I’m older, I’m pretty sure it is.  I like being me.  I like the things that I do and the way I see the world.  Somewhere along the line, though, I’m afraid a vital part of me got lost.  Even though I’ve made it a priority ever since I was a teenager to hold on to the dreams and ideas that have always brought me so much joy over the years, I can feel the harsh demands of money and status and reality striving to pull them away.  Above all, the artistic soul craves freedom, and in a world where money and power are the Alpha and Omega, true freedom is hard to come by.

Like several new adults, I’ve let the idea that “I have to do this” and “I have to do that” in order to be successful get in my head.  Guess what?  It’s made me miserable.  That’s not how it’s supposed to work, is it?

I’ve never believed that there was only “one true path” to success or happiness, though I’ve met several people who begged to differ.  I’ve decided that I’m going to take the next few months to see if I can prove them wrong.  The new book (the title of which I will hopefully be able to reveal soon) will be out on July 1.  Along with editing, formatting, and working on new manuscripts, I’m going to try to get back to what it means to be joyful, to be confident, and to live each day the way I’m meant to live it.

To be honest, I don’t really want too much out of life.  I like being outside.  I like blue skies and green fields and forests and rivers and oceans.  I want a good book to read.  I want to get healthy, in mind and in body.  I want to do good and take pictures and write.  I honestly don’t care if anyone knows my name or if I get a fancy car or designer jewelry (though a lake house would be AWESOME).  Or maybe the truth is I want everything out of life, it just doesn’t seem like all that much by today’s standards.

Regardless, I’m going to try to make it all happen.  Wish me luck!

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All Photographs Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2014

Easter Flowers

Hello, friends!  

Today is going to be spent marking up the sequel’s manuscript and ever so enjoying the long and grueling fun and exciting process that is editing.  

To make up for the lack of interesting post, here are some pictures of beautiful Easter Flowers that I took at the Arboretum yesterday.  

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Happy Almost Easter! 

The Wind Chime House

One of the coolest dreams I ever had was about a brick house on a hill.  It was around dusk and I was seeking refuge, from what I don’t remember.  I just knew it would be the perfect place to seek shelter.

It was a very modern house with large windows of every shape and a red shingled roof.  Inside, immediately to the right was a large spiraling staircase that stretched for several stories.  There, in the center of the staircase hung the first wind chime.  It was the largest wind chime in the house, at least fifty or sixty feet.  Silver chimes hung in a circle and in the center of the chimes hung a stunning crystal the size of a bowling ball that cast rainbows on every wall.

To the left of the staircase was the living area.  A fireplace and mantle sat across the room, facing the front wall.  Statues of faeries, dragons, and other mythical creatures sat on the mantle beneath a giant ceramic clock.  The tiles of the clock were mostly several shades of yellow that formed a Celtic sun with blue and green background designs.  Several wind chimes, ranging in size from a few inches to several feet long, hung from the ceiling.  The one I remember the most hung right next to the window.  It’s longest scarlet chimes were at least four feet long.  Another wind chime was made of purple and silver spirals.  Bronze butterflies made up the chimes of another.  Sunbeams poured through the open windows, casting a faint glow on everything it touched, and even though there was no wind, the chimes sang in perfect pitch.  Everywhere I turned, wind chimes of every size, shape, and color.

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I can only guess my mind modeled the Wind Chime House after this wind chime building at Scarborough Faire.  One day, I’d really like to write a story about it.

I love my dreams.  Well, most of them.  Some of them are actually really disturbing, but ones like The Wind Chime House make it all worth it.  One of my goals in life is to master the art of lucid dreaming.  Although I’m not there yet, I’ve gotten better at saving myself from unpleasant situations.  Several of my nightmares involve a highway that is hundreds of thousands of feet in the air and I always end up driving off of it.  It’s usually about that time when I think to myself, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” and the dream changes.  Last night, I had an extraordinarily creepy dream, even for me.  I dreamt that my entire arm was covered in spiders and they were biting me over and over again.  Now, I’m not scared of spiders (usually), but there were so many of them and they were so gross and they kept biting me and it actually really hurt, so I thought to myself, “Okay, time to go back,” and I immediately transported to a different dream.  However, my arm and hand were still bright red and stinging from all the spider bites.  How weird and how cool is that?  That we can feel pain from something that isn’t even there?

I’ve managed to lucid dream a couple of times.  Apparently, I’m not very ambitious, because every time I figure out that I’m dreaming and that I can literally do anything, all I ever want to do is fly.  I fly everywhere.  I even once stopped to gloat at a little kid in my dream that I could fly and she couldn’t.  Wow, way to be a jerk, dream self.  The one time I ever did anything other than fly was plan out a romantic date night with Ben Barnes (aka Prince Caspian from Narnia), but the moment he showed up, I sent him away to change shirts and I woke up before he came back!

WHAT THE HECK, BRAIN?!  Why would you DO that?!  You get Ben Barnes, you KEEP HIM!  You don’t just dismiss him because he’s wearing the wrong shirt!!!

I was so mad when I woke up from that one.  It was also the last time I effectively lucid dreamed.  I’m hoping that the fact that I can somewhat control the bad stuff in my dreams means I’m getting closer to achieving overall lucidness.

There have also been moments in dreams where my dream self will remember dreams that I’d had months earlier, that my conscious self had forgotten.  Those are weird.  My most recent one I had, I was at this train-themed amusement part with my best friend.  We were on the train that you had to take to get there and I was showing her around and telling her about the trip that my high school class and I had taken on that same train to that same amusement park.  I’d had that dream about my class at least six months or so earlier and I hadn’t thought about it or remembered it until I woke up the next morning.  It’s almost like existing in two separate worlds.  My conscious self remembers what goes on during the day, my dream self remembers what goes on at night.

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I’ve also had dreams where, honestly, I don’t know what I’m thinking.  Well actually yes, I know exactly what I’m thinking, and it pretty much just proves what a truly um… terrible and paranoid individual I am.  I think I’ve already shared the stories of whenever I dream about zombies, I lock myself away in the safest room and leave everyone else (including my blind friend) to fend for themselves.

I’ve also had dreams where I’m about to undergo surgery to have one of my legs amputated.  Oddly enough, I never care that I’m about to lose a leg.  I do care, however, that I have to be put under anesthesia and if there is one thing I hate in this world, it is going under anesthesia.  I’ve only been under once and it was like waking up from being hit by a truck.  It was the worst feeling ever.  I couldn’t focus on anything, everything had a fuzzy white boarder around it, and I had nausea radiating to my kneecaps.  I.  Do.  Not.  Like.  Anesthesia.  As it turns out, my dream self hates it just as much as my conscious  self because it’s all I can talk about to my doctors.

“Now, are you sure you gave me the anti-nausea stuff?  Because I hate anesthesia.  I always feel so sick after.  Remember, I want that medicine.  Please, please don’t forget it.  Will you just like, inject it into my IV or something?  Can you give me a high dose?  I really don’t want to be nauseated.”

Seriously, I might actually be a crazy person.

There are a few of my more disturbing dreams (AKA the ones involving bodies and moldy caskets and demonic cemeteries) that I’ve actually incorporated into Cemetery Tours and its sequel.  I’ll probably write a post about them someday, because they’re actually pretty good and really creepy.

However, I really wanted to end this post on a bright and happy note.  Now, I know leg amputations aren’t exactly bright and happy.  That’s why I’m including some more photography, of flowers that remind me of my prettier, more lighthearted dreams.

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Enjoy, everyone!  Talk to you tomorrow.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

All photographs Copyright Jacqueline E. Smith EXCEPT the one of Ben Barnes.  Sadly, I do not know him.

Photography

Last night, my mom and I went out to eat at our favorite restaurant.  We got to talking with our waitress, who told us all about her love for photography and her aspirations to earn her Master’s Degree so that she may one day teach photography at a university.  I love meeting people like that who know what their dreams are and who believe in making those dreams their reality.  I like to think I’m like that, but sometimes I wonder if, even though I wrote my book and am trying my best to get it out there, maybe I not quite brave enough.  Some days, I think I’m doing the absolute best I can, but most days I think, “No… there’s a lot more you could be doing.”  I just need to figure out what those things are.

In the mean time, however, our discussion last night reminded me of my own love for photography, and how I enjoy nothing more than spending the day outside on a warm sunny day (not today) and taking pictures.  I know this blog is predominantly for my writing updates, but I thought that I could take a day to share my other passion with you.

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All images Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2014.

The Great Pumpkin

“There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people; religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

Wise words, Linus.  Wise words.

As an author of a ghost story, of course I love all things Halloween!  Here are a few of the pictures I took yesterday at the Arboretum.  Enjoy!

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Happy Halloween!

All photographs copyright Jacqueline E. Smith © 2013