Thursday, December 27, 2012


The prospect of anything may induce excitement-- but it is not because of the place or the party itself that you become excited. It is because of the memories of the past, the hopes for the future, the people who will be there. And contrarily, the memories, the people, and our attitude can make it something we dread. It is not the event itself that creates the atmosphere, but what we bring to it.  

Atmosphere is not substantial. The music, the decorations, the people; they do not create an atmosphere. Instead, it is our own reactions to those things, those triggers, that create it. Our feelings about them, our memories tied to them, our attitude towards them inspire the atmosphere.

Consider what atmosphere you are creating.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


the friends I've made these last three and a half years of college
sitting down and reading for a few hours for the first time in months
keeping a journal, even though the class requirement is over
having things to do, people to see, places to be
new tea pots and knicknacks
crafty Christmas presents
going for a swim at my school's new recreation center
sketching in new notebooks
sketching on new pages of old sketchbooks
Sunday pot roast
an idea for an unusual Christmas play
Christmas party after Christmas party
singing Karaoke, even though I can't carry a tune

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In A Very Large Nutshell

I. Love. Les Miserables.

The first time I really heard of it was when I watched it on TV with my dad. It was the 25th anniversary version, with Alfie Boe as Jean ValJean. We came in part-way through-- at On My Own. I watched in awe. I really had no idea what the plot was, who the characters were-- anything. But multiple times I was nearly moved to tears by the music and lyrics. When it was over, I bought two of the songs on Itunes.

Since then, you could say I'm obsessed.
After several false starts reading it, and upon the recommendation from Noel, I got it on audible. I finally finished it (60 hours) last week
Just about a year ago, I saw it in London, at the Queen's Theater. What an experience!
I saw a high school production of it, too.
I went to a voice recital on campus and it was wonderful just to hear it sung.
I plan to see it in theaters. Maybe more than once...

The story itself, though, is so sad. So 'miserable'.
Jean Val Jean just keeps acting opposite how everyone expects him to. He honestly cares about many of the other characters more than himself. And he has the strongest conscience of all the characters. And things from his past just keep looming in front of him. I think its a beautiful story about rising above expectations, about doing good even to the extent of sacrificing self, about what is right, and what is wrong even through it is socially acceptable...
It is just wonderful. 

For some reason I just can't find it in me to like Cossett. Listening to the whole book actually reinforced this initial dislike. I think it is because I find her childlike, petty and annoying.

And my favorite characters would have to be Enjrolas and Gavrosh. By far.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


I was hearing mentions of Mother Theresa nearly every day. after a week of it I got some biographies from the library, and still it continued for another two weeks. I'm amazed that Mother Theresa made the decision to leave her family and country to become a nun when she was only 18 years old. I don't know if my 18 year old self had the courage. I don't know if my 18 year old self was focused enough on God to be sure if He was really calling me to anything or not. Reading about her life, the bits and pieces that led up to how she transformed the world, her childhood homelife was vital to who she became. Really, the things we know her so well for her family was doing when she was a child. Don't underestimate the impact of parents.

Also, I've been reading Prayer by Richard Foster. It is reawakening a longing within myself, deep within myself, in a place I didn't know existed. I crave the intimacy and prayer life that Mr. Foster writes about, and I'm reminded of the times when I had it. But then life continues and is persistently distracting. And I get my priorities all inverted and suddenly I'm replacing my prayer and meditation time with getting my make-up just so, and getting a few minutes more sleep, or watching a movie, or crafting -- or blogging. It's an interesting way to learn that I can do no good in myself, that I need God to move in me. But I've actually got to be open to Him moving. I've got to put myself in positions where He has free reign.

A few weeks ago I found a book that stopped me in my tracks. The title wasn't at all familiar, but the cover art seemed to be. Just by seeing it I knew I had read it before. I had read it over ten years ago, and had been trying to think of the title for quite some time since then. When I saw this book, I knew I had found it. I did not even open it or read a synopsis. I was sure. So I bought it. I will read it soon, and I'm hoping it was one worth remembering.

Mother Teresa: The Early Years, by David Porter
Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, by Richard Foster
The Art of Keeping Cool, by Janet Taylor Lisle

Thursday, November 29, 2012


In 2010 my family spent a couple days in Seward. Its a coastal town, squeezed in the small space between the mountains and the ocean. We went to a restaurant, all six of us. It was one of our first nights in Alaska and Dad was trying to convince us to try fish on this trip. Dad insisted that Alaska was ideal because the fish was guaranteed to be fresh. So, I decided to get it over with.

I ordered halibut.

It wasn't bad, but I didn't finish it either. It didn't have a fishy taste, thank goodness, but it was different. It didn't taste like much.

Dad said halibut tastes like whatever you cook it in, so if I didn't like it here I may like it somewhere else. The halibut would look similar, but taste different because it had absorbed other things.

We are absorbent people. The little things we let into our lives add a bit of flavor. Some flavors are good, some bad, some unnecessary. But unlike the halibut we choose what to absorb and what to leave. We choose the impact these things have on us.

The music I listen to doesn't always have the best flavor-- sometimes it's just bland. And movies? I don't need all those extra seasonings swirling about. I've been choosing some books with good zest, though.
In eating we sense the flavors of halibut, and almost similarly, in our spiritual lives, through the fire the quality of our lives will be revealed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Growing Up

I feel like being honest.
When I started this blog at the end of 2006 I took the pen name "Marie" for several reasons. I won't get into all that now. I want to tell you something else instead. I want to tell you my real name:

There you have it

Friday, November 23, 2012

Simple and Extravagant Pleasures

Looking forward to trying this hot chocolate recipe
Humble strength
This color theory/ color matching 'game'  (I got a 8.2 on my first try- what about you??)
This video, again: Good conversations over homemade supper
This sermon by Eric Ludy
That feeling that your small group cares
Getting homework done so there isn't any to do over Thanksgiving while hearing the soccer game through the open window
How f.lux makes my computer easier to look at at night and early mornings
letters, of course

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two For Eternity by Carl Alves

Raiken and Vrag are immortal twin brothers. A few years after they die, they are 'reborn' into another family- almost always on a different continent. Vrag is the evil twin, always trying to gain power and supremacy over the world. Only Raiken can oppose him, and does his best to do so with every opportunity he has. The details and specifics of how this all works are revealed little by little as the chapters progress. (In my opinion, it would have been helpful to find a way to explain them earlier in the story).

Alves does a great job of helping the reader along this journey through history. We bounce from era to era, sometimes backwards but usually forwards, and to various continents. The characters lead vastly different each time they are reborn, and yet there were sometimes threads of commanalities that made sense and made it easier to accept that this was still the same person. It was usually always easy to remember which country and which time period you were in. It got a bit predictable, but it was still very interesting to read.

*Minor Spoilers*
The one major complaint I have is Raiken's reaction to Jesus. Raiken had followed Jesus, had believed in him. I don't quite mind that Vrag is Judas and didn't really die, but that lies are spread about his death so people wont go looking for him. Two For Eternity is fiction, I get that. [Many other historical things are twisted a bit in this book too, on purpose. See *] And yet he believes that mankind is basically good. His experiences with Jesus don't effect the rest of his lives. Maybe his excuse is that he doesn't need to worry about eternity because he will be continually reborn on earth- his soul cannot escape. And yet, that doesn't seem right either. Raiken says that it took him many years to understand why Jesus had to die, in a way that makes it seem as if he now understands. And yet that comprehension doesn't change the way he lives- he is exactly the same as he was before that life, except now he has a 'wise man' to quote once in a while. 
*Spoilers Over*

The fight scenes (and there are many) are well written and rather easy to visualize. Some of the characters really seemed fake and flat, but there were so many of them through the thousands of years it is a bit excusable. I do wish that Dalia and Sally were easier to believe, though, because they help sandwich the whole story, and are more important to the story than the others. The last third of the book had me laughing more than the first two thrids, sometimes the actual words, but sometimes the way they were said, sometimes the characters actions, and sometimes the narration. I wish the rest of the book had been more like that. But the whole thing had me reading, despite the things I didn't particularly like, and whenever I set it down I was eager to pick it back up to find out what happened.

*The back cover explains that Alves' book "takes many controversial interpretations of history", and this is true. It makes the story somewhat more interesting, attempting to give new information about events that changes them, without really changing them. Alves couldn't change the actual history because, well, its history, but he could change the behind the scenes way that those historical facts came to be, and he does.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

If my life were an adventure story, it wouldn't be very long.
Honestly, I probably wouldn't be the main character, but some unnamed, faceless quirky nobody.  Maybe someone the protagonist will miss, or maybe someone the protagonist doesn't even know exists.
But even if I were the main character, it wouldn't be a very interesting read. I don't usually take risks and I couldn't outrun starving wolves and I couldn't fight with a sword and I couldn't go days without food or water or sleep. Not to mention actually succeeding on my quest. (Because, if my life were an adventure story, it would be a quest, and not some other type of adventure).

Maybe that is why I read.

Maybe that is why I write.

All the adventure with none of the physical work.

Friday, May 25, 2012


You probably aren't the only one with your opinion.
But your opinion isn't the only one, either.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carl Alves: Interview

 (This Book Tour is put on by Pump Up Your Book)

Marie: What do you do when you get a 'mind block'?

 Carl Alves: I don't have time for writer's block or a mind block.  I work full time as an engineer at a pharmaceutical company, and I have two small children.  My wife is a physician and I frequently have to take care of the kids.  I write whenever I can even if that means a few minutes here and there.  I personally think writer's block is an excuse for not having the ethic to work hard.  I couldn't imagine telling my employers in my day job that I'm not in the right frame of mind to work.  Writing is like any other job.  It's work.  It's not glamorous.  It's not the romanticized notion that some people have.  Just plant your butt on the chair and get to work.

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

 Carl Alves: Writing is something I have passion for and I love doing.  Fortunately my day job compensates me well and I don’t have to depend on writing for income, which gives me freedom to write simply because I love to do it.

Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?
 Carl Alves: I would bring a magnifying glass to help me start fire, a spear to use for fishing and hunting, and a net also for fishing.  What can I say, I’m a practical guy.

Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?
Carl Alves:  I’m predominantly drawn to horror and fantasy.  Stories firmly implanted in the real world are fine, but I like to delve into the supernatural.  It allows me expound the bounds of reality and further dip into my creative side. 

Marie: Could you tell us three random things about yourself?
Carl Alves: I am fluent in Portuguese.  I have a BS in Biomedical Engineering as well as an MBA.  I have been to all but three states in the United States.

Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?
 Carl Alves: I generally work on about three or four different novels/short stories at any given time.  I like to bounce back and forth between them, which helps keep things fresh.  Right now the project I am most excited about is a novel entitled Beyond Ragnarok, which is a post apocalyptic version of what takes place after the Battle of Ragnarok from Norse mythology. 

Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?
 Carl Alves: Self-publishing has never been easier especially in light of the digital revolution the publishing industry is going through.  Self-publishing gives the writer complete control of their book, and also the ability to keep the bulk of profit from sales.  However, I would highly discourage a newbie writer from going this route.  For one thing there is a flood of self-published books from no name writers, and the chances of success are slim.  Don’t get me wrong, there are writers who have had great success self-publishing eBooks.  J.A. Konrath, Scott Nicholson and Joseph Nassise are among them.  But these writers usually have a history of books that have been published by traditional publishers and have already developed a following.  Most self-published novels are unprofessional, unedited garbage that don’t deserve to be published.  This reflects poorly on writers in general, and these books should never see the light of day.  In other words, don’t take short cuts and immediately go the self-publishing route unless it absolutely makes sense.

Marie: Which scenes did you find the most fun to write?
 Carl Alves: I absolutely love to write fight scenes.  I try to make them as realistic and visceral as possible, even when they involve supernatural characters with supernatural abilities.  I cringe when I watch a movie or read a story with a fight scene and my reaction is either ‘this could never possibly happen’ or ‘this writer doesn’t have a clue about what an actual fight looks like.’ I enjoy choreographing fight scenes in my mind and getting it down on paper.  “Two For Eternity” gave me even more latitude because my two main characters are superhuman in many ways, and therefore I can really do some wild things when they engage in combat, yet still keep it realistic.

Marie: What question have I not asked that I should, and what is the answer?

Carl Alves: What was the hardest part of writing “Two For Eternity”?
The hardest part of writing “Two For Eternity” was also the most rewarding.  My novel takes place over a period of over 12,000 years taking place in various time periods such as Ancient Egypt, the time of Christ in Judea, the Spanish Inquisition and World War 2.  I had to do a massive amount of research in order to get the flavor and customs of the times as well as historical details to make the writing look and feel authentic.  For each time period I did an extensive research, which was challenging because I had never done anywhere near that level of research.  But it was also very rewarding.  I learned so much in the process, more than I ever learned in any history class I had ever taken.  Hopefully the readers of “Two For Eternity” will be able to learn a little as well as be entertained.  

K. R. Morrison

Marie: Do you listen to music as you write? Why or why not?

K. R. Morrison: No.  I love quiet.  Music is a distraction.  Even typing in what I have written longhand while in front of the TV is very difficult.  My cats snoring as they keep me company, the ticking of the clock—these are gentle sounds that make up the only “music” I appreciate while I write.

Marie: Time and money aside, what would you rather be doing?

K. R. Morrison:Hiking through---somewhere.  Scottish Highlands, the Appalachian Trail, a pilgrimage to a holy place.  I love to be out in the world and seeing what has been placed here for us.

 Marie: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

K. R. Morrison:A way to get off when I wanted to, mostly.  Beer.  My notebook and plenty of new pens so I could get a lot of writing done.

Marie: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

K. R. Morrison:I like to write about spirituality.  There are ideas in the works that have nothing to do with horror, and I hope to get those written someday.  However, it turns out that there will be a third book in the series I am writing.  The characters in my current working manuscript decided that in the latest chapter I wrote.  So the others will have to wait awhile.

Marie: In an average week, how much time do you spend working on your writing?

K. R. Morrison:Since I work full-time, my writing does not get as much attention as I would like.  I spend sometimes 3-4 hours in an evening—either writing, typing my scribbles into the computer, or re-reading what I just typed to make sure there aren’t any time/space glitches or errors in spelling or grammar.  My fingers speak some form of ancient Swahili—I can’t believe what they type into the computer sometimes!!

Marie: What is your favorite part about being an author?

K. R. Morrison:Being introduced to someone as an “author”.  The little notoriety I have gotten.  Kind of fun when someone says how much they liked my book.

Marie: Can you tell us anything about a current project you are working on?

K. R. Morrison:My current manuscript, which looks like it will be twice as long as the first, is called “Resurgence:  The Rise of Judas”.  It is actually a prequel/sequel, beginning with the time after Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden.  Then it goes to the time of Judas, and those events, and then 15th-century Romania, where we pick up Vlad the Impaler.  Then to 19th century New Orleans, then to the present—where the book starts in at a few years after the first one.  This book has a lot more dimensionality to it—I am enjoying how the story is unfolding.  Cruel, horrible, at times—but there’s a lot of humor in it too.  Sounds odd, I know.

Marie: What obstacles would you warn beginning authors of?

K. R. Morrison:Do your homework on the various ways to publish.  There are so many ways, traditionally and electronically, that you shouldn’t just dive in with what you think you know.  Borrowing from Weird Al Yankovic, “Everything you know is wrong.”  Has been for me.  I’ve learned an enormous amount about publishing in the past few months—and will definitely think out my steps before publishing the next one.

Marie: Which scenes did you find the most fun to write?

K. R. Morrison:Definitely the ones where the family members are relating to each other.  I wanted to show a good, strong, loving family group, because that is what it took to bring the book to its positive conclusion.  They have fun with each other, and that reflects my life with my family members.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be Not Afraid by K. R. Morrison

(Book courtesy of Pump up Your Book. Follow the Book Tour Here)

This was my first vampire book. I read it in one sitting.

I appreciate that within this cultural surge toward vampires, and treating them as good, the vampires in Be Not Afraid are the bad guys, and they stay that way. This is partially due to Morrison's faith- or at least, the faith of her protagonist Lydia.

Lydia goes through some trying experiences that the vampire, Vlad, intends to put her into a spiritual valley- permanently. The middle aged woman nearly does descend into the depths of despair, but God tells her that he has not forsaken her. The story of Lydia's redemption ensues, as well as being reunited with her family. However, Lydia's trials are not over. God has been asked by his people to purge the earth of evil, and Lydia had already committed herself to be an instrument for His use and one of His tools on the earth. How much can Lydia handle? How will this battle of Good versus Evil end?

The text is peppered with punctuation misprints, which was distracting while reading. And there was, in my opinion, an overuse of exclamation points!! And yet somehow it was believable. There were scenes, granted, that my brain would not accept at all, but on the whole Morrison had me convinced. Being a book with a vampire as the main antagonist, there was a lot of blood- and I can't stand blood. I've fainted at the sight and mention of it before. And yet I kept reading, not quite able to put the book down.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Musings on Letters

Writing letter after wonderful letter. I understand, finally, why People of Old and even now cherish letters so much. The writer is captured on the page, forever to be found again in the marks from the pen. No matter how many times it is read, it feels fresh and just like a peaceful conversation under a blossoming apple tree, or a weeping willow on a perfect spring day. You can almost see the person next to you, and nearly every memory of and with them comes rushing back.

Letters are a wonderful thing. Take the time to write to the people you love. Emails just aren't the same, but better than nothing. Even a bit cheaper if you're trying to be frugal. But there is nothing like opening your mailbox and seeing your name personally scrawled onto an envelope. You don't know exactly what this mysterious envelope holds, only that it is for you. The curiosity tares at you as you tare at the envelope. Taking out the handwritten pages is a feeling you should never let grow old, no matter how many letters you receive.

So write to the people you care about.
Write to them today.
You will probably get a letter back.

Friday, April 13, 2012

what a mess

bookshelves overflowing with library books.
half the dishes are washed,
the other half are on the counters and table.
caterpillars trying to be butterflies.
floor needs vacuuming.
clothes need folding and hanging.
letters need writing.
still haven't fully unpacked from two weeks ago...
kettle is whistling.
one novel is waiting to be read
another, to be written.

the kitchen sinks are clogged.
homework is everywhere.
papers and projects and exams, oh my!
I think I'm catching a cold.
nearly out of cereal.
nearly out of patience.
sister coming to visit. (where will she sleep!)
bathroom could use a clean.
desk could use tidying.

Three Weeks 'Till School's Out For Summer

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Jesus Interposed His Precious Blood

Part of 'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing', one of my favorite hymns

Here I raise my Ebeneezer,

Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

He is risen!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Never Alone

You should go read this post, over at 'Stuff Christians Like.' Its a satire blog, but this post is rather lacking in it. Jon tells about the #1 thing he's learned while on the road speaking (as you can tell from the title...)

My favorite line:
"Being in God’s will doesn’t mean you won’t encounter obstacles or problems in your life. It means you won’t encounter them alone."

Books Instead of Movies

(If you think this post is going to be about the Hunger Games, or any other book-to-movie, sorry.)

My professor offers extra credit for a 700 word write up connecting a movie to our class topic of the day. You have to watch the movie within the last two weeks (or go rent it and watch it again), and you have to bring up the title during class to get it approved, and give everyone else a chance to watch it and do the write up.

Its a great idea, I think. It gets us students to think critically about whatever American Government Topic we are discussing that day. It gets us to apply what we talked about in class and read about in the chapter to a movie, which, as a future teacher, I think is a great way to 'trick kids into learning'.

One day, near the beginning of the semester, after class I asked the professor if I could read children or young adult books instead of watching movies. I could read a lot of thoughts on his face , one of which went along the lines of 'No one has really asked to read a book instead of watching a movie before, hmm.' Out loud, he said, 'Sure! I don't see why not!'

However, I've found that it is much more difficult to think of books that have to do with specific political issues, than it is to think of movies. With some help, though, I've found enough and I'm on my way to the maximum extra credit offered.

Hooray for books!

(If you're wondering, no- I have not seen the Hunger Games. Maybe I'll see it in a few weeks. Or when it comes out on dvd. We'll see.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

In Passing

I was at a conference recently, not the reading one, but a different one for teachers (and pre-service teachers).

Some friends and I were walking the huge, packed halls trying to find the room we were supposed to be in. The place is huge, and there are so many people, and we're already late, but we keep searching. Better late than never.

In passing, I heard one teacher say to another, "But its not in the standards, so I'm not going to teach it."


I realize the reality I am going to be teaching in, where we really do want the students to learn certain things by certain grade levels. I understand the reality of it. I do not know what the teacher was talking about, maybe it really was something that was okay to drop from her curriculum. But, how sad is that?

There is so much out there that our standards (Illinois, or Common Core even) don't cover (or wont, when they finish writing them). And thats expected. The standards can't cover everything. The students can't learn everything. I mean, the teachers can't even teach everything. Sometimes they don't even cover all the standards. But How Sad that things we love or things students love are being ousted from our schools because we just don't have the time and motivation to teach it. (Which reminds me of my conclusion to my post on Beowulf)

It is reality, I know.
But that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Or that I can't try to change it a bit when the 'pre-service' comes off my title, and I'm a full fledged teacher.

Monday, April 02, 2012


Sometimes you are really hard to get along with.
Sometimes you drive me crazy.
Sometimes we see things differently.
You've got to understand I don't get sarcasm.
You've got to understand I'm not taking as many classes as you, and that's why I can 'goof off''.
You've got to understand that I unwind differently than you.
I've got to remember you get stressed out.
I've got to remember many groups and people vie for your attention.
I've got to remember to take a deep breath and remember its not the end of the world.

We may not perfectly get along all the time, but we're still going to be friends because we are held together by something more than the superficial and surface level. We are sisters in Christ. We have many good memories together. And these little things aren't going to separate us-- not if I have anything to say about it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Playing Hooky

You're in Springfield, the capitol of Illinois for two and a half days for a reading conference. Just a few blocks from the old state capitol, and a few more from the current state capitol. What are you supposed to do? Well, skip one of your sessions, of course.

Outside the Old Capitol 

High-fiving a bronze statue

What I wish my handwriting looked like

Outside the Current Capitol
of Illinois.

Inside the new capitol

On the railroad tracks

Down the street from Abe's old house
(that actually looks pretty new...)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Illinois Reading Council Conference

The exhibition room at the conference

Patricia MacLachlan

Blue Balliett

A small part of the line for Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen

Some girls from our group being interviewed about the conference

Dessert and Tea

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Oh. We're leaving 24 hours sooner than I'd thought.
I'd say it was a misunderstanding, but that sort of implies a miscommunication,
 and really I just must not have been paying attention.
But, that's a good thing.
The departure time being sooner than I'd thought.
More reading.

Friday, March 09, 2012


Why have school assignments (high school and college) only required me to read through the first 800 some lines? The story does not end when the fight between Beowulf and Grendel ends.

When you read it like that, you get the impression that the story is more about Grendel than Beowulf. But the last couple thousand lines are just as majestic as the first thousand.

With a rhythm, and cadence to the lines.
With an apparent call to stand up and stand strong, even in the face of a monster that cannot be harmed by weapons, or an impenetrable dragon guarding its treasure.
With an interesting look at manhood.
With imagery, imagination, and impossibilities.
Wonderful impossibilities.

I can't believe the whole work of literature isn't required.
But let this be a lesson:
Just because it isn't assigned,
doesn't mean you shouldn't finish it. 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Return To Modesty by Wendy Shalit

I'd been excited about this book*, but was disappointed.

The book didn't feel applicable, or relevant. It was more of an informational read. With lots of quotes from magazines, and lots of satire. Lots of satire. I just kept rolling my eyes, trying not to get too annoyed at Shalit's attitude. I got the impression that she thought she'd already arrived, and we should follow her wonderful example. She also used a lot of loaded words, when talking about other people's opinions. I don't know, maybe this is ok, but I didn't like reading it. It seemed too condescending.

But really my biggest problem was the attitude Shalit had, her tone. She talked a lot about embarrassment, and shyness, and things like that, but proceeded to talk about anything and everything very openly and without restraint. With no modesty. She says, "When people ask me, Isn't it immodest to write about modesty?" her answer is "yes, of course it is," but argues that its ok because girls need to hear it. But my answer would be no. No, it doesn't have to be immodest to write about modesty, it just matters how you approach it, and how you discuss it, and what tone you use. I think that this could have been a great book, but it would need to be rewritten.

There were good quotes, Shalit did have incredible insights, and most of the information is great. But I found myself skimming the last chapter just trying to be done with the book, instead of being captivated by it as 'last chapters' should be, in my opinion. She had a lot of great ideas, and some thoughts that I'll keep in my mind and quote book, but honestly, I'm glad to be done with the book.

*(usually I'd include a picture of the book cover, but I'm opting out for this book. I don't even suggest finding it on Google)

Monday, February 27, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I picked up the book with a frown- I'd read it in High School and despised it. But I could get extra credit for reading and creating a write up of it, so I decided to plow through it as fast as I could.

Only, I couldn't.

Something has happened in the last five or six years, something that changed how I judge books. I think I finally grew up. My views on books have matured. In high school, I was discouraged because not a single required read was light, with a happy ending, and vibrant plot. I'd decided that there were enough sad and bad things in the world, and I didn't need to read to find that out. I lived it every day. If I was going to read, I wanted to enjoy myself. And now, while I still prefer the happy ending, I understand where the other endings fit. I understand their place.

I fell in love with Jem and Scout. Dill, too. Atticus is a wonderful father, who does his best to raise his son and daughter as a single parent. The first hundred pages are stories over three years that get us aquainted with the characters, the situation. And then the happy bubble is burst, and Bad Things happen, and Jem and Scout and even Dill have to decide how they will respond, how they will grow.

And despite her qualms against it, Scout turns into quite a lady.

Inspired to Aspire

So many things are building up momentum, so many things are starting to go right amid things that are starting to collapse. And there are shadows, flickers of doubt, but then I refocus on everything God is working. And it's amazing. It may be a castle on a cloud, but I'm still striving for it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spring Cleaning

 (couldn't find this one on youtube, so content yourself with reading the lyrics)

this song is along the same lines:

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Very similar to 1984, in that it is supposed to be the future. Except, in 1984, everything is structured to the maximum, and in Brave New World, all the rules seem to be unspoken. In 1984, you have to use doublethink to train yourself to think right, and in Brave New World they use a sort of brainwashing through the teen years, at night when they sleep. In Brave New World people are created, not born. People are given a life purpose and job, they do not find it for themselves. And in Brave New World, relationships mean nothing.

And then a new character is introduced halfway through the book who doesn't really understand these things. They call him Savage, but his name is John. I liked John from the beginning because he is different from the others. He has conviction, and passion, and he is scorned and shunned by everyone.  By the Indians on the reservation, because he is different from them, and because they don't like his mother. By his mother, because she'd never again be accepted in the 'real world', outside the Indian Reservation where the two of them are stranded.By the people in the 'real world', because he thinks differently than them, because he was born and not created, because he does not approve of they way they live their lives. But mostly I like John because he constantly quoted and compared things to Shakespeare.

Huxley uses an interesting plot to explore the meaning of relationships (be they romantic, a friendship, or a family relationship). He expressed how relationships mean more when they are earned. He showed how empty they are when they have nothing deeper than impulses due to physical attraction. There is even a great and interesting dialogue about religion towards the end. Ah, the end. Huxley explores what happens when a person is thrown into a culture completely different from what they are used to, and different from what they believe it should be. Will John accept it and learn to live that way? Will he find an escape? Will he pretend to accept it, but internally fight back?

Monday, February 06, 2012


I have insertional tendonitis. And maybe bursitis.
I just found out over the weekend.
Add that to the plantafasciitis I've had for eight years, and my feet are a bit of a handful.

It was starting to get to me, too. I was pretty much throwing myself a pity party on the one hour drive back from the doctor's. The doctor gave me a lot to do, and the healing process is going to take several months. In the meantime, lots has to change. Like the kind of shoes I wear, and by bedtime routine, and the activities I can participate in. It was almost too much to handle. I'm not going to lie- I cried a few times while I was trying to figure this all out.

But then God reminded me that I'm on his side. That his call on my life is still active. That if all these foot problems get in the way of that calling, I can call on him for healing. And if they don't get in the way, he still wants to use me. He still uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. I don't need perfect feet to do what God has called me to. And so long as I'm bringing the Good News, my feet are beautiful.

I'll be okay. God can still use me. I'm not going to let all these " itis' " get the better of me, and bring me down. There is something different about my life, and its times like this when it needs to show. It doesn't matter what 'Future' throws at me, I've  got God to help me through it. And suddenly, I'm able to laugh at the future again.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

It Gets Good At The End

my notes on Jonah 4:

"Jonah felt like he deserved God's grace and mercy and love, so he was bitter about it that others who so obviously didn't deserve it were going to get that grace, mercy and love. Don't get to the point where you'd rather die than see others get God.

God doesn't answer Jonah's prayer for death, instead He gives him shade. Talk about gracious and merciful God, who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster!

God caused the plant to die so Jonah would get angry, so He could make a point. Jonah cared about life only so long as it benefited and made him happy- God wanted all life saved and to know their right hand from their left hand.

God sure chose an interesting, flawed man to carry a message. And despite it, the message worked and the people repented in sackcloth and ashes! God used someone who didn't really want to be used the whole time. Woah! How much could he do through a willing person? Am I a willing person, or am I a Jonah? How is God trying to use me? Will I let him?"

will you?

When you

When you find out two and a half days before the exam that its not over the lecture at all- its over the text.

Yeah, that text you havn't been reading.

And suddenly all other plans go out the window.
(and you wish the book could follow ;) )

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I'd like to think

I'd like to think that if I were in a book, I'd fight for the good guys. That I would be loyal no matter what. That even if the bad guys were going to win and there was no hope, I wouldn't surrender, but fight to the end.

I'd like to think I'd do the same in real life.