Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Styrofoam Ball

Warning: This post is not green. It might not be green, but it’s full of life.

Is your brain a Styrofoam ball? Stay with me…when you read blog posts, do you skim by them or do the things you read stick with you? I wrote an article for Exemplify about how to retain what we read and it got me thinking. I read so much during the day. At one time I can be reading as many as six books. In addition to that, I read magazine articles, dozens of blog posts per day and my share of school updates.

So what sticks?

I love how a Styrofoam ball in its original form is a white fresh clean slate. It’s filled with such potential to create. And what creating occurred in the pictures I posted?! When I first imagined this post, I envisioned a bunch of pencils protruding from a ball. These pictures feed my analogy much better.

My question is simple, not only do you retain what you read, but does it influence you? This happens often for me when I’m reading beautiful prose or descriptions in a novel. It stirs my desire to work harder to invent sentences like that. Also, I’m reading Lysa Terkeurst’s, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl and it’s impacting the way I think. After fighting with my husband the other day, the last thing I felt like doing was praising God, something Lysa encourages to do in times like this, and it was her encouragement that led me to do just that. It helped.

Finally, my initial vision of protruding pencils comes in handy for this question: Are you just shoving pencils into your brain or are you discerning with what you read, causing your mind to be decorated like these balls, with their flowers and genius designs?

Anything sticking to you right now?

*photos by flickr


  1. Books of inspiration stick with me like duct tape so much so that I want, and do, read them more than once. Right now I'm reading "Grace For Tough Times" by Mary J. Nelson. God sure knows what book I need to be reading and when!

    By the way, even the word "styrofoam" causes me to cringe...eek! It's like fingernails down a blackboard! So happy to see your pics of it beautifully decorated...eases that feeling! LOL!

  2. Your post makes me want to get crafty and get some styrofoam balls to decorate. :)

    I just finished "The Writer's Journey" and I have to say, a lot of things stuck to me--much more so than other things I've read on writing in the past.

  3. I'm with Donna, inspirational books stay with me. So do books with outstanding characters. It's harder with blog posts. Sometimes I find myself skimming and I know I should come back later because my mind is on too many other things. There are days where I can sit down and really absorb it all and others where I have to read a paragraph three times and I still have no idea what I just read.

  4. I better retain what I read/hear/experience if it strikes a chord with me. A beautifully written passage, most definitely. Writing advice, the message of music, that sort of thing, that moves me in some way.

  5. I am currently working thru Elizabeth George's "Finding God's Path Through Your Trials" and, in fact, will be posting today on the wake up call I got from it.
    It can be easy to listen but not hear...to nod but not take in...to write it down but never read it again. Good reminder that wise info not put to use is just excess information! :)
    Hugs to you today,

  6. Wendy: Your questions always show wisdom. Reminds me of Someone Else I know.

    I tend to retain information in an article or book, but not as much on blog posts, unfortunately. I hate to admit it, but I read them so fast, then zip my response, so I can go on to the next one. I learn the most from words I can ruminate over.

  7. Anything sticking? ROTFL! Way too much. I feel like I'm drinking from a fire hydrant, and actually swallowing quite a bit. And although I feel I can barely breathe, I can feel myself being transformed.

    What's sticking most of all? It's not about me, no matter how very personal it gets. It's ALL about Him.

  8. I think things that mean something to me stick with me. I have a really good memory when it comes to details. I can read something once and remember the craziest details, but this only works if what I'm reading applies to me or inspires me in some way. Your posts always stick with me. :)

  9. Confusion? Sorry, I'm treadmilling and this post really flew over my head. But yes, I will say that some reading does stick, though I"m not sure what that has to do with pencils, but yet other reading seems a waste of time. But when that happens I blame myself for not consentrating enough. My motto is that if someone took the time to write something, there ought to be a take home value, if there isn't for me, that's my problem, not the writer's.

  10. This cold is sticking too me and won't let go! Wait, that's not the answer you were looking for.

    *Digging deeper into brain*

    I'm kind of pragmatic. If something is helpful and will make my life easier, I tend to remember it. I just read James Patterson's Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas and part of it stuck with me. I'll be sharing more about it on my blog tomorrow :)

    P.S. I get to see U2 tonight-I'll tell Bono you said hi ;P

  11. What sticke with me is gorgeous imagery written with words. My deepest desire is to be able to do that. I see that you like Peace Like a River. The words and visions in that novel stick with me and woo me to read it again and again.

  12. I read so much during the day. I read fast too, but I think things stick that I don't know stick. Does that make sense? Like days later I'll remember something I'd read when I need to. Other things do seem to float off into unknown regions of my brain though. LOL

  13. Wendy you hit the nail on the head! It takes so much more than storing knowledge to be wise, it means you are driven enough to apply it.

    Every day you all teach me something about myself and the journey of writing. I'd like to believe it is being applied.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post!

  14. The Max Lucado books I've read throughout the years helped in molding me. One of my favorites is 'Traveling Light'. But currently, I find myself re-reading 'The Purpose Driven Life' by Rick Warren. It's been a guide in my life. I call it my second bible. By the way, I love that song, "God in the City" it's beautiful!

  15. I'm discerning. I try a pencil out for awhile...not too long, and if I don't like it, I yank it out and move on to something else. At least that's how I am with books. I have no qualms about putting a book half way through if it's not engaging my mind.

  16. I think Jessica voiced it best for me. Some things stick and pop back up when I seem to need them. I didn't realize I had filed them away.

    I am also reading a Lysa Terqeurst book," When Women Say Yes to God." It has really been sticking with me and I think the reason is because I needed it at just this time in my life.

  17. Wendy: You won a Jim Watkins book in my blog drawing, but I don't have your email to send to Jim, so he can mail you the book! Please email me at jeanettelevellie(at)gmail(dot)com. Your name and a link to your beautiful blog will appear on my posting tomorrow morning.

  18. Donna, I found it cool, how creative people got with them, too! Also, you sparked something...to pray about even the books I read.

    Jennifer, I'll have to look into that one. And I too had a craving to go buy some planet killing balls.

    Cindy, sadly, driving was a bit like that for me today. Not sure how I got to and from preschool. :D

    Joanne, I'd have to agree...music and strong writing advice stick with me also.

    Bina, I'm going to see Elizabeth George at a conference this weekend. SO excited. I loved her, Write Away.

    Jeanette, wisdom, you ARE funny, aren't you? :D Thanks for that, though.

    Anne L.B., anything other than my kitchen floor that is. :D Praise God for your last sentence. I love your knowledge of quotations.

    Lazy Writer, and thank you for your last sentence. Interested to find out if you decide to change your name.

    Eileen, your response had me laughing, both b/c it was super honest and also b/c I confuse myself sometimes. I tried w/ the pencil analogy, but I'm not sure it worked. That's the fun of trying...

    Beth, Bono will probably let you know we already spoke earlier today, but he's grateful you were kind enough to say hello for me. :D Hope you have a blast.

    Nancy, I'm with you. I could read that novel over and over. It was the cleverly worded descriptions that got me. Well, and the symbolism and the.........

    Jessica, perfectly understood. I just happened to be reading Lysa's book right after the fight and she mentions praising God. I tried it. It worked...pretty cool stuff. But that happens to me too...years later some powerful aspect of a book will smack me in the face. For example, I'll never forget how well Kingsolver nailed four POV's in Poisonwood Bible.

    Tamika, I think that's the trick, applying it. I think a lot of us want to apply it, it sounds good to apply it, but actually applying it is difficult.

    Ellie, music has also inspired me. I read Purpose several years ago and found it to challenge me in specific ways.

    Katie, I loved the visual of yanking the pencil out and what a gift...to be discerning.

    Ava, she has a very authentic voice and is quite funny, too! Very relatable. Glad you'll be around here often!

    Jeanette, I thoroughly enjoyed your interviews with Jim so I'm ecstatic. ROCK ON! I'll send my email.

    Well, you all played again and for that I'm grateful. Sometimes my mind comes up with the oddest things, but I think we can agree sometimes those things are the most memorable. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I do know I'll be back and better than ever.

    Here's to hoping you sleep without visions of sugarplum fairies...it's too early for that or for Halloween stuff for that matter.

    ~ Wendy

  19. Nope, I'm just shoving pencils into my brain.


    sorry, that's not really true but I just had to say it because when I read that line in your post it made me laugh. Very crafty. I am learning more and more about you and it is fun :D

  20. I'd say I'm somewhere in the middle. I retain some, and then repeat it to my husband, but the blogs I retain the most are the ones that made me think or helped me along the paths I'm on. Now, if I sit down and read a book, it's definitely flowers. If it's not, then I'm too distracted and I move on to other things.


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