Apps for Productivity

I love to use apps on my phone in addition to blogging to keep me organized and on task.  I am constantly looking for new apps, but here are a couple that I have already.

  1. ColorNote. It lets you write notes and make calendar plans in the six colors of the rainbow. The memo function and the calendar are separate, and you can set alarms to remind you of the events you put in the calendar. It is a colorful, fun way to track appointments and keep lists.
  2. Mastery. Mastery is an app I’m just starting to get into. The premise is the theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. So in Mastery you choose a few skills (they can be anything) that you’d like to track your time devoted to, and use the app for that. You set the timer to track your hours, and you also set rewards for yourself in the “store.” You could use the time you log practicing a skill to buy yourself an episode of your favorite tv show, or promise to get yourself a new purse, or give yourself a piece of chocolate. You determine the rewards and how many “coins” (earned through time practicing your skills) the rewards will cost.
  3. Goal Tracker. A simple app, this lets you set goals, indicate how frequently you would like to accomplish said goals, and then set an alarm to remind you. You can set goal alarms for daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. It is perfect for cleaning up around the house because you can schedule your chores. It isn’t good for long range accomplishment like Mastery seems to be, things like “become a better poet,” but it is great for things like “clean the baseboards.”

As I find more productivity apps that I like I will post them. I’ve used various ones and deleted them, but I might bring some back.

For now, here’s a to do list to keep me on task and focused this afternoon. This morning I took Angelica to a playground, went to Target, and went to the pharmacy. Now I need to do some other things.

-take a shower

-read devotionals

-do dishes

-add goals to my apps

-clean some baseboards. I really do need to do the baseboards.

-clean up Craig’s chair area

I am on the Spectrum

I’ve never written about this before, but I am on the Spectrum – the autism spectrum. Autism often presents itself differently in females than in males, because women learn to mask it and copy social cues from other people better than most men do.

As a kid I would do what is called finger posturing, which is similar to hand flapping. Sometimes I would contort my hands in weird shapes for hours. As I got older I learned not to do it in front of other people, but the drive to stimulate or “stim” as autistic people call it, with my hands was still there.

I have other stims too. It is common for people on the spectrum to listen to the same song over and over again, or even the same 20 second section of a song, because it stimulates them. I’ve been doing this for years. I can play one song hundreds of times. My music library is small but well played.

Although I love feminine things like makeup, I have a hard time relating to other females and I always have. Autism is said to be an extreme male brain, and as a child I used to say I had a guy’s brain.

Special interests are important to most people on the spectrum, especially those on the high functioning end that until recently was called Asperger’s. I have always had special interests. In elementary and middle school I used to spend summer breaks researching history online all day long. As an adult, I still research certain parts of history meticulously, like art history and marriage. I’ve also always had collections. As an adult I collect Swarovski crystal figurines. As a child I collected toothpicks from Friendly’s. The staff actually knew me and would ask what color toothpicks I wanted when my family would come in.

I have a lot of anxiety and I get overstimulated, which is common in people on the spectrum. If I don’t get enough sensory input I get anxiety, but if I get too much I get overwhelmed and have an anxiety attack. The quiet dark is my friend.

Making friends has always been a struggle. I don’t relate to other people, particularly other females, that naturally. I’ve also been so obsessed by my special interests that it has sometimes been hard to connect with other people that aren’t interested in the same things. I’ve often preferred books to people.

I’m a poet, and that is actually commonly noted among high functioning females with autism. They like to write and they especially like poetry.

When I was a child, my mother suspected I was autistic and took me to the doctor. Many doctors were called in to look at me and it was obvious something was wrong given what I was doing with my hands, but in those days doctors were even worse at detecting autism in females than they are today, and no one knew what was wrong. So they sent my parents home with no help and no guidance, and throughout my childhood it damaged my relationship to my parents because they had normal child expectations of me but I was not normal. I used to get in trouble for being in the shower too long, but the problem was I’d get in the shower and start stiming and I’d forget where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. I was a hard child.

Now more information is coming out about autism in females and how overlooked it is and the info is right out there on the internet and it is pretty much certain that I’m autistic. This is a long, but only partial, list why. I’m approaching my doctor about it and she seems like she thinks I might be as well. In doesn’t change the past, but it does change the future. Maybe I can look at myself with more love. I’ve been wired differently since birth (I was stiming in my crib as a baby) and I’m just a little different. Finding out I’m autistic answers so many questions I’ve always had, helps me understand myself better, and can maybe help me be more okay being just myself.

The Excitement of Christianity

Being a Christian is exciting. I got brand new devotionals on Saturday, the first devotionals I have ever had. We went to Books a Million and I found so many I loved that I just couldn’t stop. One of them even talks about headcovering. That spoke to me immediately. But all sorts of topics are covered, and they are designed for women. One focuses on women of the Bible and verses addressed to women. Another has morning and evening reflections for each day based on scripture. Another is a Biblical meditation on finding beauty.

If you like self improvement, living creatively, creativity and art, studying, reading, and anything timeless then Christianity is a thrill. Personally, I love always having something I’m working on, and my faith always gives me new goals to accomplish. Whether it’s delving deeper into the Bible, working on my personal relationships, or practicing submission, the quest to follow my Savior always means I’m a work in progress. I like that feeling.

Worship creates so many opportunities for creative people because there are so many ways to worship God. Singing, writing, painting, crafting, graphic design, photography,carpentry, and so many other things can be used to worship God.

If you like reading, the Bible is an amazing book because no matter how many times you read it you will stumble across verses that feel brand new because you are seeing them in a new light. I recently read one page of the Bible ten times in a row and it was so thought provoking that I’m going back to that page. As I get older and have new life experiences, verses speak to me in ways they didn’t used to. One verse can apply to numerous subjects and situations. I love education and discovery, and I feel like I get an education every time I open the Bible.

Maybe one of the most exciting things about Christianity for me is that it isn’t fashionable. It’s not cool. It’s timeless and unchanging. It’s more vintage than vintage. And yet, like a dancer, my faith is flexible, pirouetting gracefully from era to era, just as full of energy and vitality today as it was at its birth.

Christ is electric ecstasy.

Moyock, North Carolina

I’ve decided to write about Moyock, North Carolina in the hopes that I might meet other bloggers and writers in Moyock, Elizabeth City, and the surrounding area in Currituck and the Outer Banks. Whenever I read my blogging magazines I’m always struck by how many bloggers meet other bloggers and crafters because they find out from one another’s blogs that they are writing from the same place. I’d love to meet another blogger in Moyock. Surely there must be one, although it is a small town. But I can’t be the only one here dreaming out loud on the internet.

I blog from deep in Moyock in a little yellow cottage with white shutters and a room over the garage. It is a new house with lots of windows. We built it from the ground up, choosing the floor plan and the cabinets and counter tops. My rooms are all bright, from the bright, pure white of the living room to the neon green of my craft room, the neon orange of the laundry room, and the sexy red of my master bedroom. Next I want to paint the FROG grape purple, and paint a bathroom dream blue.

On cold winter nights I enjoy the clear view of the stars that Moyock has. In Virginia Beach, where we used to live, you can hardly see any stars from all the light pollution. But here in Moyock you can see thousands of stars.  I also like the large lot sizes. It’s nice to be in a neighborhood but yet still have so much space.

Of course, living in Moyock has also been an adjustment. It is the most rural place I’ve ever lived, and two years into being here I’m still not used to having to drive 30-40 minutes minimum to go to the places I want to go. I drive a bit more than an hour to go to my favorite beach. It takes me an hour to get to my parents’ house. But I do love the quiet, the space, and the seclusion.

Are you dreaming, crafting, parenting, blogging, or doing anything else interesting from Moyock, North Carolina or near there? If you are, I hope you get in touch. Comment or email me.

It is People I am Tired of

For the past several years I have labored under the illusion that I was sick of photography. What I have come to realize over the past week is that I am not tired of photography, I am burnt out on photographing people.  The only people I  love to photograph are family members. I am tired of photographing people and I don’t want to photograph models anymore like I used to.

I love still life shots, nature photography, macro photography, and lifestyle photography. It is not that I am not interested in people, but just that I feel I can say more about the human condition and speak to the soul more by photographing the objects of civilization and the nature that surrounds us than I can by photographing people themselves. It is just my personality.

I am rediscovering my passion for photography and developing a style with my favorite camera and editing apps. I tend to like rich, saturated colors or high contrast black and white. Right now faded vintage looks are really in, but I like bright colors and deep shadows. My style may not be the popular style, and it may not even be correct. But I create images I like. It is Marie style photography, sharp and rich. I am working on finding my visual voice. Somewhere along the line I lost it. I think it is because I abused photography for so long, and I let photography abuse me. I took something good, a wholesome art that brought me to God, and I let it tear me asunder. I used good for evil and it chewed me up and spit me out in so many ways.

But that is a topic for another day.

Happiness and Love and Light

I feel at peace, like nothing can touch me. I am happy with my husband, happy as a mother. I’ve found God. I am creatively fulfilled with my writing. I have images and visions in my head all the time, and I get to spend my life trying to capture them on paper. I can explore other dimensions through writing poetry.e

I am joyful under my veil, ecstatic looking out my window. I am a writer, which I always wanted to be. I’m a housewife, which is the opposite of what I used to want to be, but I have found a lot of tranquility and freedom in it.

I love poetry. I am passionate about all the colors of the rainbow. I adore my daughter’s voice. I’m in awe of my husband’s love. I am complete.

List of things I love:

-My husband

-my baby girl

-my poetry

-my library

-silence

-film scores

-songs in minor key

-color

-God

-the Bible

-my veils

-the ocean

-scrapbooking

Iconography of a Sinner

This digital creation reminds me in feel and in color scheme of old iconography of saints, only this icon is of a sinner. The more we try to be like God the closer we will be to Him, though He is never far away.

The text is about how I connect to God. I believe in worshiping through artistic creations, loving out loud in color, and communing with God through creativity. Of course, actual communion is important too, and I’m not proud to admit how long it has been since I received communion.

The way God made me, I feel most alive when I am writing and creating. I worship through my creative endeavors, and I long to use my writing and art to bring myself and others closer to God.

Sometimes I question myself based on the verse in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, where He says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others.” Is blogging about my faith journey and submission and headcovering practicing righteousness in front of others?  I hope not. I don’t feel more righteous than anyone else because of my headcovering, and I write about that and my faith and submission because they make me joyful, and because by writing about them I can process my feelings. I am not more righteous than the next person. I am not a good Christian, and I certainly am not trying to project a different image of myself. But I write about my faith because it is important to me, and because I would love to connect with other Christians, and especially with people who might become Christian. You never know who is reading your words and how you might affect them. Sometimes I need to remember that. I would love it if this blog was part of my ministry, if at some point it touched even one person’s life or made them closer to God. If it sends someone searching I’ll be glad. I don’t know that it ever will, but by being as open and authentic as I can and by being willing to talk about God here I think it could potentially have that effect. We aren’t supposed to do good things for the sake of public recognition, but as Christians we won’t have much of a witness if we aren’t openly Christian in public.

One thing I’ve been really struck by are the number of Muslim poetry and faith blogs. I know the Christian ones must be out there, indeed I read some of them. But so many are so commercialized and seem so impersonal. Very few are even vaguely creative or interested in creativity. Whereas one of my favorite poetry blogs I follow is Hijabii in the Rain, a blog by a Muslim girl who writes out poems, dreams, and visions. I haven’t found anything comparable on a Christian website (if you have, please, please pass it along!) and I figure sometimes you need to be the change you wish to see. So to that end I’m going to publish more poetry on here in addition to writing about my daily life and faith. I want it to be a personal and creative space.

If I ever seem self righteous, please tell me and let me know what I could have said or done differently. I just want this blog to be an extension of myself and my life, and I can’t express myself without talking about my faith at least some of the time.

Pro Ana Eating Disorder Websites, AKA Thinspiration

Olivia

 

Bridges of rubber band

of twine                                               do not bend under your emptiness

the handsomeness of starvation, of Ana has you blind.

She is a surgeon

She will remove you piece-mail.

I am collecting the hair that falls exhausted from your head,

to bind a textbook,

a book I will write in your name about control

having it and losing it and needing it

and the freeing beauty of being human, of need, the pleasantry of a satisfied hunger.

Let shame bleed out under the table.

This is your body. This thinly flowing soup your blood.

 

This is our last supper.

Dine.

*There was a time in my life where I used to pour over pro Ana, thinspiration websites. I bookmarked pictures of girls so thin their bones would show and would use those photographs as inspiration not to eat the next time I was hungry. The pro anorexia world is dark, lonely, and evil and I feel pain for the girls and women who are lost in its vortex.