starry starry night

starry starry night

She covered her head with her hoodie and rushed past them, the dam of her emotions bursting and overflowing into glistening drops falling fast down her cheeks. A blast of cold air shocked their lungs and stung their faces as the door slammed shut, and then all was silent inside. But outside she was running, running heedlessly into the open air. She had no control of her frantic legs, her frantic tears, her bleeding heart beating as fast as the angry words that had felt like bullets plunged into her soul. Fate led her legs to stop upon colliding with the door of her car. She stepped inside, stiffly and mechanically. The open sunroof let in the scintilla of a thousand stars, but she had no eyes for light.

paint your palette blue and gray

The sliding drops blurred her vision and the world was nothing more than a wild watercolor of blues and grays. The stars were lost in a whirl of pain and a deep-rooted emptiness which she had always felt but never this keenly and raw.

look out on a summer’s day

She remembered the sunlight that morning and the peace she had felt, and each recollection was another stab – another reminder of the things they had said, the things that had left her breathless and bleeding in the dust. The golden peace that had begun to rise, like the sun, into her life and into her mind had now been stamped into another lifetime and left nothing but this gaping, caving hole.

with eyes that know the darkness in my soul

That gaping, sagging, sucking, whirling chasm was filling her, it was consuming her faster than anything she had known. She was falling into this darkness, with not a friend in the world to reach out and clasp her hand. Had headlights been shining in her face, she would not have seen. Her eyes were blind to any earthly light.

shadows on the hills

She finally collapsed onto the steering wheel, a heap of convulsive shaking, a sobbing, whirling void. She saw shadows as she closed her eyes, shadows of memories she had once thought were too precious to desecrate. But now she knew that nothing was sacred here, not a drop of life in this valley of black hills.

sketch the trees and the daffodils

Her phone lit up for an instant, glaring the bright pastel colors of her homescreen into her face. “Flowers are my aesthetic” … flowers now seemed so false and fragile. They were bright and beautiful one day, ashes the next. “Just like me,” she thought, bitterness growing just as readily as the bloom that had once been budding in her heart.

catch the breeze and the winter chills, in colors on the snowy linen land

Her soul was freezing, freezing; it crept like frost on a window pane into her mind and grew like icicles into long, sharp daggers. She shivered in her unheated car and felt her hands: ice cold. The gray and blue haze hovered tentatively in the air around her, the wind whispered silvery sick words through her open car windows and wrapped around her sagging frame.

starry starry night

A chill shook her out of the dark and she opened her eyes again, while her fingers found the window switch. They rolled slowly up, silencing the wind and shutting out the whispering. As the last hopeless tear glided down her cheek, she inhaled sharply and prepared for another deluge, another piercing memory, another quick knife-stab. But fate allowed her eyes to drift through the open sunroof, and they caught upon the stars. They hung on the stars, and wove themselves into the stars. There it was, there was light. Her pupils widened and she gazed, gazed long and hard into the vast expanse of this dome of the heavens. She felt a Being was gazing back into her own hurt, torn, trembling shape. She felt a Presence beside and above her, it surrounded her in an aura of comforting warmth. As she poured her broken soul into her gaze, she saw the millions of scintillating lights and a Voice breathed words of healing. “You are not Alone. I am always with you.” She remembered those words that had been long discarded in her mind: even in her darkest hours He was with her. Those words were now filling the void; a new strength was replacing the pain. Fresh tears streamed down her face now, tears of joy and relief. As she bent her head in exhaustion and gratitude, she remembered that it takes complete weakness for God to rebuild true strength. She fell asleep into the new, stronger existence dawning upon her life.


a night in nyc (part one)

i woke to the shout of, “Get up Jul, Dad is taking us to New York with him!”

i didn’t get up. not then at least.

i sat in bed for a few minutes and tried to understand what had been shouted into my room by my sister. but it only sifted around in my brain and mixed itself into the muddled pool of thoughts generated by a negligible amount of sleep and (for a teenager) arising before double digits.

but finally I got up and trudged the two floors up into my parents’ room, grinding my tired eyes with my fists and feeling half asleep.

Mary was beyond excited and brimming over with bubbling girly enthusiasm; the sight of her dead-looking, bedraggled older sister, as joyless as an unexpectedly startled cat, was sinful in her eyes when the prospect of traveling by train to the country’s biggest city was on the brink of becoming reality.

even my Dad had that look of concealed excitement; or perhaps astonishment at the fact that he was taking two teenage girls along on a business trip.

i plopped myself onto my parents’ bed and rubbed my eyes.

“what’s happening?”

details from all sides proceeded to fly over my head like torrents of rain; I was soaked within seconds until someone asked,

“wait … do you not want to go, Jul?”

i mumbled something completely unrelated and my entire family laughed at me while I struggled to pull myself together. it finally happened.

“The train leaves at 1:00 … you have an hour to get ready.”

Wet cat became energized rabbit in a matter of moments – travel, here I come!

~ ~ ~

fast forward to a relatively put-together looking girl speed-walking along the Acela Express train ramp, pleased that her highlighter is poppin’ even though she had 2 minutes to quickly makeup herself.

Dad steers my sister and i onto the train and we seat ourselves at the nearest table. Mary begins our 2-and-a-half hour ride by taking way too many ridiculous selfies. any time is selfie time for a hyper tween.

despite the fact that my earbuds decided to fail me in my time of need, the ride was smooth and many temple run weekly goals were smashed.

and then we stepped outside the station and there it was: city.

windy, towering, bustling, loud, aggressive, beautiful city ~ surrounding you like someone stepping right up into your face.

we climbed into a taxi and inched through the streets and up to our hotel: a mysteriously black-walked establishment with an air of vintage and an eccentric choice of fonts.

the bathroom door was partially see-through (oh my!) and those were the highest ceilings I’ve ever seen in a hotel. the beds were soft enough to suit, however, and we dumped our belongings wherever the most conveniently located surface was.

and then we were off again, out into the cesspool of cars, neon signs, people, buildings, and citiness in general. quite enchanting for those who have lived in suburbs all their lives.

the Thursday afterwards, reminiscing whilst babysitting

a tribute to classic elegance

i’ve loved graphite art ever since I was a nine-year-old in Mrs Dorothy’s class and i looked into her little hand-held mirror and drew something that looked nothing like me. but it looked human, at least. and i progressed.

i didn’t pick up a drawing pencil for more than a year prior to 2018 when i had the random inspiration to draw one of the most iconic actresses in history. i made a post about it a while ago: here is my audrey.

heartened by my apparent success, i threw away half of my life’s saving and bought a box of prismacolor pencils. i drew some more.

but every morning I woke up and looked across the room to see audrey staring back at me. and every morning I saw the same thing: something about the nose was just WRONG. that perfectionist itch began to scratch.

however my other favorite icon and princess begged just as hard to be imprinted by my amateur hand onto a fresh piece of paper … and there’s only one way to do it: graphite.

so i opened up my pencil case in various shades of gray and just BEGAN. here is my journey of trial – and error, error, error – to attempt to capture the countenance of the lovely goddess herself, Princess Grace.

taking the plunge; getting that initial lead on the paper
a bit more detail
looks a little like grace (what is going on with that eyebrow? XD)
al – most there

here is the finished product; yes, the hair is less than done but after toiling on the face i just couldn’t spend another hour detailing every last strand. maybe someday i’ll go back and finish it, but i’m content for now 🙂

sorry about the weird angles 😛

but ’tis my journey drawing one of my favorite classic actresses and I hope it does beautiful Grace some credit.

i’m amazed at how far i’ve come since last year … Grace is definitely an improvement over Audrey. now i feel like i should go back and draw her again 😛

here’s a link to my pinterest board with the original picture and other lovely shots of all the classic greats:

thanks for reading! power to the local dreamer ||-//

drawn by jul in graphite ❤

goodbye island

yesterday i stared through the water into the rainbow lattice of light that danced on the bottom of the sea – making all of the shadows seem like holograms – and tried to lock it into my memory.

the sun was dropping below the horizon but its rays were warmer and more golden then ever before. as they hit the waves they broke into prism colors scattered all over the coral and rocks.

all of the vibrantly-scaled fish ventured out during that heavenly hour, the pea-sized neon yellow-and-blue ones and the turquoise-and-black. they swarmed around your feet when you sat still, wandering close but never touching.

i saw a sea turtle – a young man as i fancied him, so graceful and strong and youthful and majestic and FREE … my mom fell in love with him. you wanted to hug him for being so beautiful.

it was a lovely last day … we walked along he beach and i extended my collection of pink rocks. this island is the only place i’ve seen with bits of pink in the sand ~ such beautiful white sand.

experimenting with my macro lens XD

the sky decided to be extra blue that night in order to see us off … it smiled its most photogenic hue.

we went into the Royal towers and walked through the gigantic fish tanks that wrapped the lobby and left a blue glow on the faces of rapt tourists gazing inside. i included.

the most gorgeous manta ray was there; the biggest sea creature I had ever seen. it swept through the tank with a wingspan unlike anything you could imagine; regal in a dark, refined way. i was breathless.

one last look at the glittering yachts docked in the marina village – glossy and beautiful while rocking lethargically beside each other.


we have arrived at the airport, successfully smuggled a coconut, bought our last desperate attempts at souvenirs, and are sitting beside the boarding area.

goodbye island: so lusciously green and soothingly blue~vibrantly alive and pleasantly inhabited.

maybe i’ll see you soon.

(please haunt my dreams)

day 10, waiting in line to board the flight

you’re an angel fallen down

Ruby – a song lost to most of the world but so wrenchingly beautiful that those who know it keep it close to their hearts – like the precious gem it is.

Don’t be alarmed … it takes a while for you to see beyond the dark, pulsing melodies, the desperate screaming, the seeming bitterness in the words. But beneath is such an impactful, essential message.

Ruby I hope I see you
I’ve waited all this week
For you to walk my way
Your soul will capture me

he saw her at church on Sunday, and unlike most people who would avoid contact with a disability such as hers, he saw beneath her defects and into the radiance of her soul

Your mama painted your room
a shade of pink, she said
But with your great arrival that shade has turned to red.

the tragedy of those born with Down syndrome is that most of them will never be born – their parents, after eagerly awaiting and preparing for their child, shrink in horror when they discover it has a dreaded extra chromosome. more than half of babies with Downs are disposed of before they have a chance to flood the world with their light. those who accept their gift are given a cross but also a light and a joy which only parents so blessed can experience. Ruby changed the world upon her great entrance: this song is living proof.

Ruby take my hand, please lead me to the Promised Land
Tell me, where am I from?
your eyes say, “Shada de da dum.”

he found within her a living link to heaven – a precious soul who had the permanent presence of God inside her. he knew she had already reached the promised land, through her childlike dependency and the simple purity of her mind. there was no pain or doubt in her eyes, they spoke joy and light. he looked those clear, bright orbs and saw something he needed so desperately – hope.

Ruby, you’re royalty
In your home land, they all call you “Queen”
Tell me, where are you from, your eyes say, “Shada de da dum.”

most people will see someone with Down’s syndrome and consider themselves vastly superior and look with pity upon the person. little do they know how great these people truly are – with souls as impeccable as the snow. our “intelligence” is an impediment to our beings, it fails us again and again. yet these people have a royalty which none of us will ever possess … they are cradled in God’s own hands.

You’re an angel fallen down
won’t you tell us of the clouds
You have fallen from the sky.
How high? How high?
You’re an angel fallen down
Won’t you tell us of the clouds

he saw her for who she was – an angel fallen down, a perfect soul glittering among the sin and blackness of humanity. he recognized his own guilt and crippling sickness and saw within her the respite he wished for so dearly. she knew the truth – she knew of the clouds and of the light.

You’re true and pure
You hold the cure
We’re all diseased, you hold the key.

she is the definition of purity – she holds within her “disabled” mind the entirety of the truth. our minds are impaired by sin and by the weakness of our wills, while her complete dependency upon God and man is what gives her the title of Queen.

You’re an angel fallen down

she’s a gift from heaven, a beam of light, sent from above as a model for us. why can’t the world see the treasure within her?

won’t you tell us of the clouds

she alone possesses heaven inside. she alone has salvation contained in her innocent self

You have fallen from the sky.
How high? How high?

she was a gift from above, a soul kept from heaven for only a short time in order to give us a glimpse of an angel. why can’t the world see the treasure they are given?

Tell our dad, “I’m sorry.”

he realizes his guilt, and sees the intimate union of she and her Father in heaven. he asks her to beg forgiveness on his part, she who lives in His love. he bends his head in humility before her, and before the world.

you’re an angel

i cannot do this song justice. just listen to the raw emotion and the meaning and the incredible message. be so grateful for the the bravery it must have taken to write this, how painful it must have been to sing this to the world.

how beautiful are those who are completely dependent on the love of God. And how brave and blessed are those who take upon themselves the work of His Love.

Ruby with lyrics

on sky and star

I’m sitting outside on the deck of the third floor of our hotel. It’s completely dark outside … except for the scintilla of lights winking across the 7×21 mile landscape.

“lost without you” is playing in my ears and I feel the wind brushing over my shoulders as the piano climbs into my mind and fills it with sweet nostalgia.

the stars here are stunningly bright, much brighter than in the states. on an island lost in thousands of miles of ocean, you feel like you are swimming in the sky. the diamond-points of light are proud, knowing they will never be lost to the world like the street lights bobbing around on the other side of the bay.

the soft whooshing of palm tree branches and the crashing of waves is accompanied tonight by the chattering of crickets. It’s quiet amidst such soothing lullabies of nature – you can look into the sky and feel the breeze more acutely – you can close your eyes and breathe in the tropical air without disturbance.

the clouds are sweeping across the sky so fast that it appears the stars are moving. the silhouette of palm tree branches points their many-fingered hands up into the dome of the night.

are there millions of tiny airplanes dancing in the sky tonight?

the wind whispers into my ears and over my shoulders again. there is so much peace; you are alone with your mind and the stars. occasionally the palm trees will whisper something to you, but they never give away your secrets.

lose yourself in the sky sometime.

feel alive and feel loved when you are lost in something so much more vast and ancient than you are.

pretend you are an emotional heroine in a movie looking beseechingly into the night if you are dramatic like me.

but then – let the sky swallow up all of your problems – hang them up for God to take between the stars.

and think about how you are worth more to Him who made this night than every night since the beginning of time.

lose yourself in love.

day 4, sitting on a deck chair, alone and thoughtful

on water and impressions

my first look left me with a drawn-out gasp and widened eyes. I had never seen the ocean so blue. I had never seen the ocean so clear. And I had never seen the ocean so beautiful.

I had no words for the moment, partially due to the fact that I had lost my voice the night before (singing “Dynamite” too loudly). But the overlapping cerulean-turquoise-periwinkle-blueberry blue ~ all melting and foaming and lapping so aesthetically into the white sand ~ bombarded my eyes, crippling both speech and vision for the moment. The sky – although its normal east-coast-US shade – was strikingly vibrant; it flirted with the tropical hues of the water so disgracefully that you couldn’t help but sigh in ecstasy. And snap 37 terrible iPhone shots.

but the water: so lusciously, pleasingly, scrumptiously clear. doesn’t it satisfy some kind of perfectionist hunger inside you when something is perfect? When your eye, already braced for an inevitable disappointment, seeks an imperfection it is sure it will find, and instead is met with perfection itself? It’s the visual equivalent of mouth-watering.

such was my reaction as I soaked in that beach, as I traced and embraced it with every motion of my eyes.

you see such paradises in magazine ads, boasting their brilliant white beaches, and you tend to look on them scornfully as if saying “Who would ever go to that wimpy beach … it doesn’t even have waves! I bet it’s so boring.” and you think with pride of Delaware’s murky waters but undeniably fantastic waves.

but instead all I could do was admire and marvel at this lovely stretch of sand and sea surrounding this lovely little island. how is your moat so bewitchingly clear? why did Neptune bless your waves with such a majestic melange of blues?

day 1 as I lay in my hotel bed and dramatize the events of the day

melt into the sunshine: a sketch

sitting on a broken beach chair beneath the shade of the enormous maple in the front yard. it’s 4:42 p.m. and the sunshine is golden – a rich, shimmering golden that embraces you with every beam that touches your shoulder.

the sky is blue almost to a fault – the brilliance seems more like a computer screen than the dome of the earth. only occasional wisps of clouds convince me that i’m not caught in a saturated, summer-drunk dream. besides, it’s only april.

Easter seemed to touch the frostiness of Lent and burst into a glorious “Alleluia.” A preview of summer. The thought absorbs me until I lean too far back in my dilapidated seat and fall hard onto the roots of the friendly maple.

my eyes now see the leaves above, rustling and touching each other pleasantly, dimmed a little by their brilliant blue backdrop. The golden beams of sunlight rush in again, temporarily dazzling my sight.

i sit up and sigh at the heap of pre-calculus in a mess at my feet. why does the sunlight have to be so tantalizing when my conscience is pricking about neglected homework?

miss maple sends an assault of helicopter seeds in response. the leaves and birds and sky whispers, “look at today – she is so lovely – you’ll never have her again. you can only revel in the moment.”

i throw an old beach towel over all the sines, tangents and asymptotes looking judgily in black ink from their pile on the grass.

“Heard your voice, there’s no choice, tore the curtains down, windows open now, make a sound” – Not Today

soak it up | every ounce | keep every joy of today for whatever struggles tomorrow may bring
Life quotes // inspirational // live in the moment
stay alive ||-//