Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Yesterday morning I woke up feeling very cold and empty. No particular reason, just the early morning gloom that I sometimes wake up with. I got out of bed and dressed and went into my prayer closet (I do literally have a prayer closet, or rather I have my icons and prayer books on a bookcase in a closet) to do the Morning Prayers.

I wasn't really thinking about it, but at the end I reminded myself to kiss the icons that are on the top of the bookcase and hung on the walls. As I did so, I realized that I'm not all alone. The icons reminded me that there is the cloud of witnesses St. Paul talks about, the Church Triumphant, which prays for us if we ask it. I literally felt so warm and joyous! It was such a remarkable change from what I had been feeling just before.

It strikes me as interesting that I needed that physical contact with wood and paint to remind me of the Scripture. I needed my cloud of witnesses there. I think that is one of the reasons I love the Orthodox church. It recognizes that we do live in a fallen world and need our senses raised up to heaven.

My "prayer closet"

A blessed day

Today is the Old Calendar beginning of the Nativity Fast AND St. Herman of Alaska's feast day AND St. Paisius Velichkovsky's feast day! It ought to be a blessed day if any of them are!

St. Herman

Troparion, Tone 4

Blessed ascetic of the northern wilds/and gracious intercessor for the whole world/teacher of the Orthodox Faith/and good instructor of piety/adornment of Alaska and joy of all America/holy Father Herman/pray to Christ God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 8

Monk of Valaam and beloved of the Mother of God/new zealot of the desert-dwellers of old by thine ascetic labors/having taken prayer as thy sword and shield/thou didst reveal thyself as terrible to demons and pagan darkness/wherefore we cry to thee O saint Herman/pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

Troparion, Tone 4

O Paisius the joy of Russia/the boast of Athos and the wonder of Moldavia/by thy divinely inspired teaching, thou dost direct us to the found of wisdom and salvation./And now enjoying in heaven the vision of Christ God,/entreat Him to grant us His great mercy/and save our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 1

As a patristic bee, O Father Paisius,/thou didst gather the precious pollen, collecting and preserving the teachings of the Holy Fathers,/ and the golden honey of sanctity produced in thy hive/thou didst bequeath by God's Providence to the last Christians/to guide us in leading a God-pleasing zealous life./Therefore let us struggle while it is still day/with the time and weapons which God has given us.

St. Herman on Orthodox Wiki
St. Paisius on Orthodox Wiki

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I did it!!!

50, 015 words and I'm not done yet! But I'm an official winner. The proof:

And you know what? I can't wait for next year. Even though I have no idea what I'll write about.

Almost there

I'm at 49, 659 words. And I'm not going to bed until I'm a winner. Actually, I think there's a little more story left to be told, so I may be more than a winner.

I'm excited, but a little sad to think that soon I'll be leaving my characters for awhile. Oh well, I have other characters just languishing for a little attention.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I just decided that I wanted hot chocolate even though I've had tea several times already today. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to go fill up the water pitcher, which meant walking down the hallway again.


Well, it's filled now, so chocolatey happiness will be arriving soon. And I won't be able to drink it after Wednesday, when the Old Calendar Nativity Fast starts. And if you don't know any of those capitalized words, it's all right.

I hate feeling like I have so much to do! I also strongly dislike those helpful people somewhat older than myself who, when I express that feeling, respond, "It'll only get worse." Not really what I wanted to hear, although I'm sure it's true. But I still haven't written anything in NaNo today, I need to continue my study abroad essay, I need to write a poem which is different from all the other poems I've written for that class, I need to do Russian homework, I need to do laundry, I need to return books (honestly, that one's not happening), I need to write up my Christmas gift/card list STILL, I need to post about the novel we're reading for my literary theory class, I need to finish the prizes for the giveaway winners (no, I haven't forgotten, yes, they're almost done).

And it's 7:00. I'm procrastinating. But I also want to update this blog, so I don't feel this is a waste of time, especially as I had to wait for the water to travel through the water filter anyway. But it's done now and I have (proverbial) miles to go before I sleep. So au revoir!

Art History resources

These are a few resources that have come up recently in my Art History course (Medieval Art and Architecture). These would be helpful for homeschooling, or for anyone interested in this sort of thing.

Turning the Pages: A British Library website where you can look at a number of original manuscripts online and turn the pages with your mouse. It is amazing. The Lindisfarne Gospels, The History of England by Jane Austen, and Mozart's musical diary are a few of the possibilities. Did I mention how cool this is?

The Bayeux Tapestry on Youtube: An animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry. Honestly, the music is my favorite part. I got Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, and O Fortuna.

Make your own Bayeux Tapestry.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Molly tagged me for this meme, so I guess I'd better do it. I actually didn't even notice that she'd tagged me until now, and unless I finish it I'll forget. So here goes:

5 Things I’m Thankful For Meme:

1. Write down five things that you’re thankful for.
2. Tag five friends who you’d like to see participate in this meme.
3. (Optional) Include a link to this post and encourage others to place a link to their completed meme in the comments section of this post so we can keep track of the thankfulness running around the blogosphere.

I am thankful for:

1. My parents. You may all say, "Aw, how sweet" if you wish. It's true. They gave me so much that I cannot even imagine life without. I mean, Orthodoxy, homeschooling, the list just keeps going on and on.

2. Books. No, seriously, this isn't a frivolous one. I should just make a collection of all the wonderful quotes about books there are out there. But here's one of my recent favorites, from a movie version of Arabian Nights: "Stories tell us how to live and why." And that's so true. There is a reason I am an English major. Books are so much a part of my life, it's slightly ridiculous. As you can probably tell, if you spend any time around this place.

3. God. Well, maybe this should have gone first. I mean, yes it should. It's first in importance. But I'm typing these as I'm thinking about them, and so often we start with the mundane (not that my parents are mundane, but you know what I mean) and move up. I don't have a conversion experience, or a time when I accepted God into my heart. He's just always been there. And now I work at deepening and strengthening my relationship with Him, growing and learning ways to serve Him. But I hope and pray that it will always be there.

4. Chocolate. Okay, this one is frivolous. But I am also thankful for it. Dark chocolate, of any amazing. I'm done.

5. Hmmmm.....I guess this one would really have to be friends. I don't know how I would make it all on my own! So many times my friends have given me the encouragement and guidance I've needed desperately. Thank you all.

And I'm never sure who's reading this exactly, so if you'd like to, you're tagged!

What ho!

I know I said I wouldn't be online, but guess what? I found wireless in the living room. Evidently it doesn't go all the way back to my bedroom, which is where I'd always tried it before.

Thanksgiving was nice. We had a few people over for dinner from church.

I've been enjoying the Alexander McCall Smith books. My mom and I have been reading them. My family tends to pass books around to each other. Anyway. That be my book update.

And I'm at 43,000 words at NaNo. If I write 2,000 words a day for four days, I'll win. I hope it works!!

Time for lunch!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bye for now

I'm going home for Thanksgiving, so I'll be off-line until sometime Sunday. See you then!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thinking about language

I've been taking Russian for the last three semesters. It's an interesting language to study because it's so much more subtle than English. Russian makes all kinds of distinctions that English doesn't bother with, or at least doesn't bother with anymore. For instance, if you're going somewhere on foot you use a different verb than if you're going somewhere by transport. And then there's the imperfective/perfective question: is this a repeated action or are you going to/have you done it one time and one time only? English really only uses "to go" in these situations. Well, I guess you can count "to drive" and "to ride," but that gets a bit iffy.

And then there's "where." English uses "where" for "Where are you?" and also "Where are you going?" and "Where are you coming from?" Russian uses a different word for each of these. My professor explained it in terms of where, whither, and whence. Which is interesting, because suddenly I understand so much better how both the Russian and the English words function. This is true of whom as well. Before I studied Russian I couldn't point out the direct object of a sentence to you and I don't know if I had even heard of indirect objects. But because Russian uses different cases for the subject, the direct object, and the indirect object, I can now figure out what they are in English. Most of the time.

Which leads me to this: sometimes the things we study make strange connections to entirely different areas. I mean, who knew that studying Russian would clarify English grammar for me? I guess there is some correlation there since they are both languages. But I just wrote a paper from my art history class which relied heavily on the ideas of the historian of religion Mircea Eliade, whose work I had first read in my Celtic Spirituality (Christianity, although it didn't say so) class first semester.

And leads me finally to this: let your mind make connections. We usually get our education in discrete packages: this is art history, this is math, this is English, this is Russian. We don't have to leave them in those discrete packages. Cut the string and let them be friends. Okay, yes that metaphor was a little strange. But you get the point. There are interdisciplinary connections. Explore them and see where it takes you.


This was written a loooong time ago--as in August 15th. I was waiting to sew up a square to photograph and then our camera went on the fritz and then I came to school. So here's the incomplete post.

I mentioned in this post that I was planning to start a quilt. Well, this did indeed happen and here is the proof:

It's a nine-patch quilt, which means that each square is made up of nine smaller squares sewn together. These are some strips of three which will in turn be sewn together to make the larger sqaure. I'm trimming excess thread.

Monday, November 19, 2007


It is most definitely hailing outside. Glad I'm indoors!

Beowulf and Tolkien

Given my track record with films made out of movies that I enjoy, it's perhaps not surprising that I am very, very dubious about this new "Beowulf" film. I mean, they cast Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother. And apparently she has no clothes on. Something tells me they're not too worried about staying true to the text, or even the spirit of the text. And I wonder if they'll even include the later parts of the story, you know when Beowulf fights the dragon. This is a pity because I, along with some other important people like J.R.R. Tolkien, see that part as pretty central to the story as a whole.

There's also this strange mis-conception going around the internet that Beowulf inspired The Lord of the Rings. Well, of course it did, there's no getting around it. It's part of the "leaf-mould" that Tolkien talks about in a few places. But the whole point of the leaf-mould is that it cannot be reduced to any one tree. It combines and disintegrates and becomes something different, a rich compost. So to say baldly that Beowulf was the inspiration for LotR is ignoring the complexities of any author's inspirational process and especially Tolkien's.

Read the poem, ignore the movie.

Thoughts on blogging

I wrote a post awhile ago while thinking about why I sometimes find it difficult to find things to blog about. I'm still thinking about that topic because it's interesting to me and I think I've found a few more reasons.

I don't have the life experience. I know that's not entirely true. I could have blogged a lot more about our cross-country move and its effects on me than I have, and there is a post about that floating around in the back of my mind. I could actually blog a lot more about college and being Christian on a non-Christian campus. In some ways it's not a good reason. But I think that there is some truth to it. I've never been married or had my own house or apartment. I'm just starting.

The other big one is that I'm afraid. Oh, I know it sounds silly! But, unlike some other bloggers (can't think exactly who at the moment) I had already been part of different online things and so I had seen how quickly a seemingly innocuous topic could turn into an all-out flame war. I don't want that to happen here and I'm afraid that if it started I would shrivel up in a little ball and die. I tend to over-react. So I've carefully avoided most controversial statements and, in some ways, most of the interesting topics. I think this is going to change, but it will definitely take some time. Little baby steps here people!

On an entirely different note, I was looking for that earlier post and came across my review of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. I hope this doesn't sound completely conceited, but I crack myself up sometimes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

~I spent an hour this morning straightening the Children's Lit section in the school library and I'm still not done. It was really messed up. At least I'll be able to finish it tonight and my OCD heart will be able to find peace.

~It was raining today and I forgot my umbrella, which means that I had to go a) to Russian b) from Russian to the library and c) from the library to the dorm in the rain. And I do mean rain. Not just a little sprinkle today. No, today had to be the day it was pouring. I arrived back here somewhat damp

~I enjoy candied ginger.

~I'm still not sure why all the angst this week. *shrugs* I think it's over now. [There was angst this week, but it wasn't apparent on here. And, as I said, I think it's over now.]

~I'm at 33,040 words on NaNo. YAY! Maybe I can make it to 35,000 tonight. That would be spiffy.

~Music and the decline of western civilization at the Common Room. I told this story there, but I'll tell it again. Last semester I took a basic group singing class and one of our assignments was to research a favorite singer and bring in an example of their music. For our actual singing assignments we were singing arias, art songs, folk songs, and a little musical theatre. I was the only one in the entire group who brought in a classical singer. I think my friend Anna did a classically trained singer who sings rock, but every other person in the entire room (this was probably 17 other people) did some sort of contemporary musician. The poor professor wrote on my assignment sheet, "Thank you so much for not doing a pop singer!"

~It made me happy when the DHM replied to my comment on that post and said that the HG and I are kindred spirits. I like kindred spirits, even when I haven't met them in real life.

~I like chocolate too.

~I'd like to move off campus next year because I am having major issues with fasting this year. But I'm not sure how that would work with money, especially if this summer is like last summer and I can't get a job. So....if you wouldn't mind praying about that, I'd appreciate it!

~We have a new quote on our door: "Then do not be so quick to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaNo day 14

I reached 30,000 yesterday! Yay! And I've only gone through 17 pages so far. I'm feeling a little more hopeful about this. So the goal for today is 32,000, maybe 33,000. (It would be nice. I'm not promising anything.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaNo day 13

I haven't written anything yet today, so this is really an update for yesterday. After yesterday I'm at 28,114 words. I've begun to go back and add scenes in as it became clear that I wouldn't be able to reach 50,000 just by going through to the end of the plot. I've still got 20,000 to go. I hope I can make it. On the other hand, I have time, so I can stop and think about it after I go as far as I can, if I need to.

Personally, I am officially in love with my main characters, which is not a bad thing.

Well That's Never Dry

Some amazing friends of mine are putting out their second CD, "Well That's Never Dry." You can listen to sampling from it on this page.

And here's some more information about their band, Living H2O.

Monday, November 12, 2007

War poetry

A poem for Veteran's Day, written by a young man who died in the Great War that sparked our observance of the holiday.

The Dead

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width a shining peace, under the night.

Rupert Brooke, August 2, 1888-April 23, 1915

Wilfred Own, another talented poet, died only a week before the armistice was signed. He died going over the top, just as so many other young men had.

J.R.R. Tolkien, one of my favorite authors, fought in France and lost two of his three best friends there. His experiences in the trench, I believe, greatly shaped how he portrays war in his books. From his foreword to Lord of the Rings: "One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was not less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead."

I do not consider myself a patriotic person as such, but let us honor the sacrifices that these men and many others like them (and now women) have made and continue to make.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I'm halfway there! 25,205 words! I'm very excited. I'm also taking a break. I've pretty much accepted that I'm going to have to go back and flesh out the novel to reach 50,000 but I wanted to do that at some point anyway. Let's just hope I don't turn on my inner editor and go frantic about the bad grammar.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Another NaNo update

At 19,291 words and haven't done any writing so far today. I'm starting to worry that I'll run out of story and have to go back and add scenes to make it to 50,000. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNo day 7

I'm currently at 15,329 words. I want to try to get to 16,500 by the end of today which would be exactly 1/3 of the way through. I think I might make it, but I'm going to take a break for a bit. Eat some chocolate, do some homework, maybe read for a bit.

Incidentally, today I wove a P.G. Wodehouse quote into my novel.

"All the same, she could not think why he kept the minister of education around. The man was a pest, a wart, and a pot of poison."

"The kid is a pest, a wart, and a pot of poison, and should be strangled!" ~P.G. Wodehouse, "Jeeves and the Chump Cyril"

I wish I could claim that I remembered this quote off the top of my head, but I didn't. I used a search engine. I did, however, know that there was one like it out there somewhere.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

NaNo update

I know I haven't posted anything for a few days. I'm currently at 10, 759 words. My roommate and I moved rooms yesterday and it wreaked havoc with my wordcount. I haven't written at all today--I'll update when I do. I'm hoping to get to at least 12,500. Obviously I've lost my excess word count, but I'm hoping I can get it back if I keep going.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Giveaway winners

Yes, I did say winners! I felt bad that 68 people entered and only one of you would win, so I picked two names out of my bowl. Congratulations to Jennifer and Chris (who posted as Anonymous)! I'll get in touch with you shortly.

To everyone: Thank you so much for expressing so much interest in this giveaway! Wow! I honestly thought maybe ten people would enter. Guess I was wrong! I wish I could make one for each of you, although I would never get my NaNo novel done if I did that. I will most likely have other giveaways if Shannon does them, so keep your eye out.

Friday, November 02, 2007

NaNo day 2

I met my goal of 2,000 words again, even went a bit beyond, for a grand total of 4,176. Just keep plugging away...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNo day 1

So, the first day. I reached my goal of 2,000 words pretty easily but I don't want to build too much on that. Still I only have one class tomorrow and I wasn't as exhausted today as I usually am at the end of the week so maybe I'll be able to crank out some novel.

October Reading List

This was actually a terrible month for me and reading. *SIGH* At least I read some good books!

Instead of Three Wishes--Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief--Megan Whalen Turner
Boy Meets Girl--Joshua Harris
Once and Future King--T.H. White
The Tombs of Atuan--Ursula LeGuin
The Golden Compass--Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife--Philip Pullman
The Man in the Brown Suit--Agatha Christie