Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

I am back in the frigid tundra. I kind of missed it a little. I'm not sure where I want to be, but anyways... that's not the topic at hand.
The topic is New Year's Resolutions.
It's curious how successful resolutions are. How much impact do they really have on our behavior? They are really just the first step- identifying goals. This is also the easiest step. It's hard to follow through and change our behavior. Nevertheless, here's my first step:

1. In the coming year, I'm going to have a lot of changes. In under a month, I'm moving down to Texas to stay with my dad for several months. Then I'm moving out to Nova Scotia. I don't want my environment to negatively shape me. I want to remain strong through the changes and grow from them, rather than compromise my morals as I have seen college do to some of my friends.

2. I want to make a stronger effort to do my devotionals. I have two books I want to go through, I want to finish reading through the Bible, and I want to find a church community in Halifax. I want to make God a bigger priority

3. I want to find a healthy balance between schoolwork and socializing. I can easily see myself getting wrapped up in school and not meeting many people. I am introverted, but I also get lonely, so I want to join a couple clubs and figure out how to prioritize my time.

4. I want to continue on my 101 in 1001 list. For this year I want to take a picture every day, just to practice. I also want to continue the reading I've done this year. I like that I made an effort to take the time to do that, and would like to continue. I want to finish my quilt in January.

5. I want to make a bigger effort to listen and be supportive rather than self-centered.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hey guys, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. It's hard this time of year to relax because there's always something to do. Just remember to savor the time with family and loved ones, and remember the reason for the season. Whether you're in four feet of snow or in a tshirt, I hope you have a marvelous day! I am in Texas until the 30th, when I will resume my regular blogging.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Wonderful Book: Original Sin

I just finished Original Sin, by Alan Jacobs (HarperOne, 2008) who is best known for his biography of C.S. Lewis (which I have been meaning to read). Amazing book. The key is the title description: "A Cultural History." Though the book is a chronological look at the history of the theology, most of the sources aren't known Christian specialists. I would describe the book more as a philosophical history with a strong emphasis on the Christian aspects. The book goes into fascinating viewpoints, always careful to show both sides. Though Alan Jacobs's opinion is obvious, he does not force his conclusions upon the reader, but allows them to draw their own based upon the mountains of research he has done.
The book is essentially a look at the natural instinct of humanity and the different figures who have advocated for both the saints and sinners.The book starts with Augustinian beliefs and the ancient church, but quickly moves on to examining Milton's Paradise Lost and the fall itself, frequently referencing Genesis, but paying attention to the language that notable poets and authors have used. Over the whole of it, Jacobs focuses on genetics (Is goodness/badness inherited? What are the implications of the conclusion?), slavery (Are we all equally bad? If those of different races are equal in morality, how can we justify slavery?), education (Should children be raised with strict discipline, or left to nature's whims?), and economics (If Marx believes in the good of society collectively, and Smith believes in the individual and the invisible hand, aren't both essentially saying humanity will make the best choice? Is there an alternative?). I've found the book's conclusions to be fascinating, and Jacobs has compiled it all with witty humor and tasteful jabs at historical figures.
The most important thing I am taking away from it is that history has proved through countless acts of violence and deceit that humanity, left to its own, is sinful. Jacobs points out that this drives many people away from it, or those who accept it feel there must be more to it. Many people who have advocated against the doctrine of original sin did so to deter complacency among the congregation; they were worried that people would use their "nature" as an excuse for their behavior. However, the acceptance of that doctrine should only encourage those who are struggling that they are not the only one. Furthermore, it only emphasizes the grace of God.
Again, I highly recommend Original Sin:A Cultural History. It's easy enough to understand if you have a mediocre grasp of world history and significant events/literary works (basically everyone I know...). I found it at the Calgary Library, so I'd recommend checking a local library. If you do take my advice, let me know what you think! ;)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pro-Life's Shadowy Past

I'm reading a book called Fatal Misconception and it's probably the most challenging read I've had in a long time. It's written in a very cynical voice, and at first, it appeared like the author was edging towards the pro-choice stance. However, after reading on, I see why. See if any of these phrases create a picture for you:

"After 1936, [the Soviets] withdrew contraceptives from the market, made abortion illegal, and offered mothers cash incentives to bear large families" (p.79-80)

"Women who failed in their duty to produce healthy workers soldiers, and settlers were also targeted..." (p.79)

I think the reason that people have diverged to the opposite extreme is because of motive. Obviously, though children are a blessing and abortion is murder, banning contraceptives and abortive surgery was not done on a moral belief- it was done to "benefit the state." There has to be a moral foundation for a law, otherwise people do not understand its benefit.

Likewise for feminism. I love love love the movie, Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio. It's based on a true story of a housewife in the 50's and 60's, and how she provided for her family of ten through entering poetry contests and jingle competitions- very encouraging. It's also a highly accurate representation of the times. The director found old footage of television clips, and intertwined them through the scenes. At one point, they ask a Miss America competitor, "If a woman was running for president, would you vote for her?" and she responds along the lines of, "I would not because women are emotional." Women may be emotional, but men are aggressive. Neither is essentially bad; they both have their place. However, men are designed to lead and they have God-given authority over their families. It would be wrong for a women to be president if it meant putting herself in authority over her husband.

The point of, the conversion to a pro-choice and feminist society was in rebellion to irresponsible beliefs. Banning contraceptives and abortions for one group, while eugenically discriminating against another only serves to benefit the state. Its racial preferance would naturally create tension. Similarily, saying women shouldn't lead because they can't is inacurate. I know plenty of respectable women who would probably do an equally decent job as some past presidents we have had. However, they love their place at home, and understand it's not for lack of ability, but a desire to serve elsewhere, that they do not hold that position.

I'm not sure if this makes sense. It's just something that has stood out to me as I have been reading this book. The ends don't justify the means, because the ends mean nothing without the means.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

*Sigh* Oh, Canada

I'm a little ticked at the whole democratic system. We had an election. Conservatives won. Now the opposition is forming a coalition and taking over. They claim Canadians aren't happy with Stephen Harper's economic plan. Well, then why would they vote for him!??! Everyone knows he's a conservative and wasn't going to spur on the economy. Not much has changed in the last couple months. It's "a slap in the face to all who voted in October."

They're leaving the decision up to the political candidates that usually vote with their party anyway. Insane!

Here is a good editorial.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good Morning, Beautiful!

What's this?
Comfortable, Lacey?

What are you doing sleeping on the clean clothes, ma?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Value of a Kiss

I recently had an interesting conversation about the value of a kiss. Too frequently people undervalue this great gift and either waste them on people who aren't worthy or they themselves are unworthy of taking it at that point in their life, and have other things to work through first (or both- a bad combination). I would like to point out that I think this is a decision that people have to come to on their own; I would not say someone who has a different opinion than me in this area is wrong, but I would say that if they have an opinion that they have not fully thought through, then they are wrong. It's something that needs to be addressed, especially if you're in a relationship.

It's not a big deal
The most important evaluation that has to be made about a kiss is if it's a "big deal". If it's not, then why does it matter? This conversation is a waste of time. However, I would say most people wouldn't walk up to a stranger and kiss them. It is somewhat a big deal, and takes a certain degree of intimacy before people take that step. But how big of a deal is it?

Let's look at a married couple. Is it a big deal if they kiss someone else? Yes. And the fact of the matter is that some day most people will marry. So, as you are kissing someone, you are kissing someone who one day will be a husband (or wife) to someone.

Well then, when?
However, I also believe that intimacy is an important part of any relationship. I don't think it's good to have a set-in-stone rule that it's a sin to kiss until you are married. However, it takes commitment. I believe that kissing someone who isn't, at least one day, your spouse, is nearing the line of cheating on them. Therefore, the way to avoid this is wait until you know they will be your spouse- engagement. Though it's not a marital covenant, engagement is a commitment and promise, and therefore should only be broken in "extreme situations."

Emil Ludwig (1881-1948) said, "The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because the kiss already has within it that surrender." I would add that surrender, done without commitment, is a dangerous emotion that frequently ends in people getting hurt and having regrets.

There are alternatives
As I stated before, intimacy is important in a relationship. Some people argue that kissing is a way to show affection, and I would agree. However, there are alternatives. A sweet note telling them how you feel shows affection. So does holding hands. The danger with kissing too early is kissing leads to other things. My roommate puts it comically (completely joking): "Kissing leads to stuff, and stuff makes you explode." She does have a point though: kissing is designed to lead to other stuff. A Chinese proverb says that, "Kissing is like drinking salt water: you drink and your thirst increases." Basically, I believe that it's important to keep things simple and uncommitted until there is a commitment.

Again, I understand that there are several different opinions on this, but I wanted to share where I am coming from. I would love to hear your comments, annonymous or named and welcome any discussion-sparking questions. I will withhold publishing if you'd like by mentioning that within the note.

Another good perspective here.

Picture by julpi Creative Commons liscence: Non-profit and non-derivative.

My Sternocledidomastoid

I got home from school today, and was talking to my mom. I jerked my head slightly to the left at one point and OW! It kind of hurt. So later, I was lying on my mom's bed on the phone and it happened again! It hurts when I lift my head, turn it, sometimes even when I swallow and definitely when I laugh. My kinesiologist roommate thinks I pulled my sternocledidomastoid muscle (aka neck muscle, but that sounds so much cooler). :P
All this, on thanksgiving, has made me realize three things: 1) I am thankful for my duel citizenship and the benefits it offers, 2) I am thankful for the normal use of my neck and my health, and 3) I am thankful for those who care that my sternocledidomastoid hurts (especially those who offer massages!)

Update: November 28th
My other kinesiologist roommate offered to give me a massage, and it felt wonderful. I woke up this morning feeling rested and loose, but sort of a dull pain, so I looked in the mirror and the back of my neck is actually bruised. Hah. No ponytails today!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Air Mattresses and Frenchies

There's a lot going on in our little house on the icy road. This week, Aberhart High School is hosting the National Seminar for debaters, and since I was in debate last year, I volunteered two beds for billeting (mine and Kassi's). OH YA, KASSI'S HOME! :P
So we've been sleeping on the air mattress, in the game room. It's awkward to sleep with someone else on an air mattress, because with each move, the whole bed goes up and down (Newton's laws of physics and all). However, we're managing.
The girls that are here are both from Montreal and are very sweet. I watched one of them debate yesterday [in English] on direct foreign aid, and she had a good handle on the concept. I also listened to way too much French for my own good. It really is exhausting listening to an incomprehensible foreign language for hours. Today the girls have four debates, all impromptus (two British parliamentary and two Canadian parliamentary style).
As for myself, I have been working through 1 Corinthians, 1 Chronicles, and Fatal Misconception (historical narrative on population control). At first, I didn't know what to think about Fatal Misconception because it is written with so much bias against both the pro-life and pro-choice side. It sorta ticked me off. I mean, pick one side. I don't know. We'll see- I'm only on pg 64. I'm also on section 4 of my Princeton Review AP Calculus Study guide, and that's going really well. I ought to get off this and do some Calculus and Social homework. Procrastination is such a pain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Models Wanted

I really want to work on my photography in general because it's something I would like to get serious about in the future. I find it easier to do nature shots like landscapes and scenery because I hate putting people in an awkward position where they are the only focal point. Plus, then people feel like they have to pose, and it looses the candidness.
I understand how awkward it is to have someone take lots of pictures of you, especially if they pose you in a certain way (prom, church grad, my sister, etc). I understand that you're self-consciously thinking about how the pictures are going to turn out. I am equally guilty of shying away from the camera, especially when certain people become shutterbugs (I am working on it). However, I really want to take more shots of people and expand in that aspect. Not even so much in social groups, but one-on-one or couple shots. Looking back over my shots of people, they're all group pictures or children, who could care less if they have a lens in their face.

To do that, I need supportive friends... who want to model. I'll give you all the electronic copies you want, and even take it upon myself to get a few prints if you're interested. I would really appreciate the practice. If anyone wants to take advantage of the offer, please let me know. :)
Photo by Anne Ruthmann, Creative commons licence: Attribution, Non-commercial, Non-derivative licence.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Halifax: Trip to Lunenburg

Here's the route for Lunenburg. The yellow arrow, pointing the yellow dot, is Peggy's Cove from the day before. The red dot is Lunenburg, home of the Bluenose, and the green dot is Mahone Bay (the bay, as well as that town, is called "Mahone Bay"). This trip was a bit longer, and involved some extreme map examining (I'm still not sure the exact route we took coming back). We also got to view Lahave, Upper Lahave, Lower Lahave, the Lahave ferry, and Eastern Lahave, all within a thirty minute timespan. They really liked to name towns Lahave.
Anyway, Mahone Bay is a little town, known for the view of its three churches. We stopped at a couple little craft stores, as well as watched a demonstration of pewter crafting. Then, in Lunenburg, we stopped for fish and chips and wandered to the ports. This is where the Bluenose I (and subsequently, Bluenose II) were built. It was in port being winterized, so we caught a glimpse but couldn't get much closer. Mostly, we just explored small towns, which is lots of fun. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Halifax: Trip to Peggy's Cove

The map does not do the trip justice, especially since I don't think you can read the names. :) The red line was our route, heading southwest first, and continuing clockwise. One afternoon, we decided to take a trip out to Peggy's Cove. It's about a two hour drive on the route we took. Peggy's Cove is a very tiny town that is known for its lighthouse and big rocks (basically...). The view is supposed to be spectacular if it's clear, which it wasn't. However, it was still fun climbing around on the rocks and avoiding large waves. We also went into the town (which is basically a circle of houses, clustered around the harbor) and walked around the boats. There were TONS of lobster traps. Here are some pictures from that voyage.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Come to Canada

Because we're number 2! :P

Halifax: The City

I've made it back safe from my trip. Halifax is such a unique city. It is still small- less than 400,000 people, and has several universities within its limits. This results in a very young population. At one point, the average age within the city was 28. It's also very Scottish. Some of the older population still has a very strong accent, and all the town names are Scottish. There are also a lot of pubs, and I love pub food, so that was very nice. :) A lot of the jewelry we found had a celtic design. Just little things like that. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

The only downside is the weather. When it was nice out, it was beautiful, but that didn't happen often. It was mostly rainy and foggy. While I like rain and fog, my skin feels gross after a day of humidity. We shall have to figure out a solution to that, because I think that's where I'm headed. :)

The school itself was beautiful. I have decided to go to Dalhousie, which is one of the top schools in Canada. It was actually the first English-speaking University in Canada, founded by looted American money after the War of 1812. :P That will give you an idea of how old the campus is. It's located streets from the ocean, and has an really well-rounded mathematics program. I actually took a calculus class on Friday, and throughouly enjoyed it, as weird as that sounds. The amount of content that was covered is at a good pace for me. Here are some pictures that we took around Halifax itself. The first is the Math and Stats building at the University. The second is inside the Halifax Citidel, the old fort that was built there. The third is by the clock tower at the Citidel. You can see how cloudy it was for the second two.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

First Snow Pictures

I took Ziggy and Lacey outside to get some fun shots in the snow. Not many turned out, as I am still trying to figure out how to deal with the lighing issues that snow creates, but here are a couple good ones.

And some not so good ones (so you can see the fun we had). If anyone knows how to fix this dull, seemingly underexposed look, let me know. It may have to do with ISO. If you'd like the settings that the picture was taken under, let me know.

I messed with the histograms (somehow?) a little, and liked the effect. Then I cropped the last one, so here's the updated version:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mars Hill Church: Seattle, WA

Hey guys! Just wanted to share a favorite sermon podcast of mine- Mars Hill Church. The style is modern, but the theology is sound. Some consider it too old-fasioned, but I believe it's very Biblical. They are also currently ranked #3 on iTunes podcasts under Religion and Spirituality, so congratulations! :)
You can check them out there, or get their current sermon series at
... I would consider the current series for high school students and up (that means not you Emily!) but they also have all their old series up as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Crazy Busy

The Crew:
35 bags for one house! Wow!
Nicole and Jen

I have been rediculously busy recently, but now that things are calming down, I figure I should do a personal update for those of you that rely on this blog for those sorts of things.
-I "resigned" from my job, due to various causes that I cannot elaborate on here because of papers I signed.
-I figured out what university I am going to, got accepted, and am heading out to Nova Scotia to check it out in exactly two weeks. If anyone knows anything about me and universities in Nova Scotia, you can probably connect the dots... pop over an email if you'd like details.
-My friend Kim and I organized a leaf raking charity for our school. We raked leaves around the neighborhood for Operation Christmas Child, and raised over $250. (Pictures are above)
-I only have two real months of school left! Yay!
-My wonderful mommy finished her nursing exams! Now all she has is her practicum!
-I bought an external harddrive that was priced beautifully for the size. What this means for you: more pictures at a better quality!
-The quilt is scheduled to be finished within a month. Look out...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Step It Up, Dudes!

It's a sad, state of affairs out there...

Monday, October 13, 2008

PhotoLife Contest

Hey guys! Hope all you Canucks had a happy Thanksgiving, and you Americans had a happy Columbus Day. Today was the [extended] deadline for Photolife's Image International contest, and above are the photos I entered. Hope everyone has a wonderful week! [Notice I took Hazel out of the photo with Paige. Oh lovely Photoshop]

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Reflections on Me, Myself, and Bob

How many of you have heard of VeggieTales?
I'm guessing at least 90% of my readers have.

How many of you loved VeggieTales?
I'm guessing if you raised your hand the first time, you did then too.
I remember our first [and only] VeggieTales VHS. It was "Are You My Neighbor?" and my mom bought it second hand back in the garage sale days. My sister and I loved that movie. I can still hear Larry say, while he is stuck upside down in a hole, "Uh, I'm a cucumber!" While I glimpsed other episodes at friends' houses, the adventures of the Gourd brothers have stayed with me.
Me, Myself, and Bob is the autobiography of the creator and original producer of Big Idea and its most popular show, VeggieTales. It's a wonderfully written saga of the rise and fall of arguably the most successful series in Christian film producing.
I honestly don't know what I was expecting when I picked up this book. It was sitting on a shelf at the library, and it had Bob on it. That right there attracted my attention, because I had heard rumors of the Veggie platter sinking. I picked it up, looked at the cover (yes, I'm shallow when it comes to picking out random books), read the back, and got it. I started reading it last week and it's such an amazing story. Granted, when I was little and watched VeggieTales, I didn't appreciate all the work that went behind any sort of movie, but I didn't realize that at the time, the creation of a computer anamated character of that quality was rare. VeggieTales was among the first of its kind. The story only further enhanced my love for this adorable series.
Furthermore, it was created by a man with no university education (Bible college drop-out) on a self-taught basis. The first Veggie episode that aired was thirty minutes long and completely created by a team of about three guys. The voices were provided by those three and acquaintances. It was inspiring to see them overcome the struggles they encountered and the different ways God expanded their ministry.
As Phil Vascher walks his readers through his [rather familiar sounding ;) ] goals and beliefs on media, it is inspiring to see the motivation he had. Many of the facts he discusses are still true. Children spend more and more time in front of the TV. Disney is still responsible for Cinderella and Desperate Housewives. Large media companies are interested in making a profit and not positively impacting the youth of America/[Canada]. Phil's dream was to change that, and his dream is to still change that.
You know that question, "If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?" and people usually say George Washington or Mother Theresa. I think Phil Vischer would be one of the first invitations out.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Haven't Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

I've just been reading like crazy. Anything and everything. Here are my current library check-outs (plus Vanity Fair). Fatal Misconception is a non-fiction on the shifts in social demographics after the introduction of contraception. Me, Myself, and Bob is the biography of the inventor of Veggie Tales. Classics for Pleasure is a series of essays on famous classics. I don't plan on reading it all- just the ones that interest me. I like to see what other people's opinions are on what I'm reading, and they usually have some excess background knowledge or insight that helps me develop my own opinions. Finally, the Redemption of Sarah Cain is the idea for a wonderful movie, Saving Sarah Cain. It's a novel about an aunt of orphaned Amish children, and how all their lives adjust once she gains custody. And it's by Beverly Lewis, which is generally a good thing. :) I also finished I Chronicles two nights ago, and so I'm working on II Chronicles. In small group we're reading Crazy Love.

I've also been taking some beautiful pictures of the fall. Calgary is so beautiful this time of year- especially when the temperature decides to stay up! Keep your fingers crossed, because we haven't had snow yet! Here's one of our window ornaments. I loved how the leaves in the background matched the wings, and the sky further exaggerated the blue.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cameras Galore!

My school's photography club is all old-school, film, dark-room. Which is great! Except I didn't have a film camera. Notice, the past tense. :)
Yesterday I bought a Pintax MEsuper for $25. Amazing, I know. Especially after I cruised $200 ones on Ebay.

Pintax's birthday: somewhere between 1977-1984, aka older than me.

Also, I have decided to name my cameras, because I'm a girl and we like to name things. So I went to I decided the Pintax should be a boy, and the Canon should be a girl.

Lovely pictures that Clover took of Plato (no, I would not do that to my own children).

I would post the picture that Plato took of Clover, but it may take a few more minutes to process... :P
The funniest part: It has no battary. I took 15 pictures, trying to figure out how to adjust the shutter speed before consulting the manual (yes, I'm slow). Once there, it said that it was adjusted in the screen, through up and down arrows. I pushed, but nothing happened. So I read on, and apparently it works at a 1/125 speed on default without battery. I opened it up, and alas! I had just assumed it was working because it took pictures! Which kind of stinks, because I don't think any of my pictures were bright enough for that speed, but THAT'S SO COOL!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Plan Like a Communist

In social we're doing economic systems right now, and learning about the different techniques of Lenin and Stalin. As you know, the government has the responsibility of planning the economy in communist countries. They would have these long range goals, and then shorter ones with structured priorities and more detail. Then they would weigh the different resources at hand and edit the goals accordingly.

While I really disagree with the communist principle, I respect the amount of organization that goes into that. However, as Stalin, Lenin, and myself have found out, life rarely goes according to plan. Stuff happens. Things fall through while opportunities spring up. There are some days that I wish each minute could be prioritized and completed with a neat check box.

However, I think you'd miss a lot of the beauty of life. While it's true, our God is organized and structured, the universe is not linear. Each minute is so complex. For instance, Fibonacci spirals in nature, positive feedback loops in birth, and the structure in languages. Today I realised how much the pi blows my mind. The best plans in life are ones that humans can't create.
See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out
- "Beautiful Day", U2
Photo by Dunechaser, . Attribution, noncommercial, share alike creative commons license.

Monday, September 15, 2008

100 Snapshots

A Work in Progress: Right-side link again

1. Safety

2. Stale

3. Feathered: Seagull that was investigating a McDonald's bag on Prince's Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

4. Hot

5. Open

6. Forever

7. Love

8. Touch

9. Colorless

10. Blue

11. Smell

12. Growth

13. Irony: Bacon for supper in St. Monas, Scotland.

14. Wrong

15. More

16. Feel

17. Muse

18. Child

19. Within

20. Pale

21. Earth

22. Torn

23. Scars

24. Stray

25. Drops

26. Against

27. Dry

28. Fresh

29. Covered

30. Bold

31. High

32. Shadow

33. Concrete

34. Vein

35. Rush

36. Yellow

37. Empty

38. Cliché

39. Central

40. Loss

41. Wonder

42. Sweet

43. Poetry

44. Heavy

45. Fall

46. Chair

47. Statue

48. Kool-Aid

49. Dark

50. Breath

51. Garbage

52. Silk

53. Teacher

54. Cream

55. Wash

56. Corner

57. Rose

58. Field

59. Two

60. Red

61. Music

62. Rope

63. Decrepit

64. Chase

65. Dream

66. Dance

67. Smile

68. Smirk

69. Reflection

70. Soul

71. Lock: Entry to Roswell Chappel in Roswel, Scotland.

72. Key

73. Rust

74. Find

75. Lose

76. Drag

77. Wind: My kite on a September day

78. Rest

79. Swing

80. Meeting

81. Vacant

82. Hazy

83. Release

84. Gather

85. Swarm

86. Road

87. Wait

88. Stand

89. Distance

90. Trapped

91. Desk

92. Detach

93. Shatter

94. Home

95. Shy

96. Tackle

97. Begin

98. End

99. Time

100. Life

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Lessons of Vanity Fair Part 1: Blood and Water

I am still reading Vanity Fair, and a part stood out:

"And so I am tempted to think that to be dispised by her sex is a very great compliment to a woman." (p. 124)

Why? Jealousy. The Writer continues:

"How is it that Amelia, who had such a number of friends at school, and was so beloved there, comes out into the world and is spurned by her discriminating sex! My dear sir, there were no men at Miss Pinkerton's establishment... When George, their handsme brother, ran off directly after breakfast, and dined from home half-a-dozen times a week, no wonder the neglected sisters felt a little veaxation." (p. 125)

This quote makes you angry when you know of the fate of George and Amelia (watch the movie, then read the book).

I may be moralizing, but it appears the lesson here is that blood ought to run thicker than water till that water becomes blood (and I'm not referring to Moses), as hard as it may be at times. What do you guys think the balance should be between friends and family?

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Purity is something that people generally try to achieve, but find hard to define. There are some things that are impure, and some things that are pure. Then there's the blurr in the middle, with a faint but definite line separating the pure fuzz from the impure fuzz. Furthermore, different situations may be more or less tempting to others, that may or may not result in a compromise of mental purity. Basically, it's a personal level.

God makes it clear that "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Phil 4:8).

I've been doing a lot of thinking on what purity means in the last two weeks. I have come to a conclusion: that ring there (points to her ring above) is not a promise to my friends. It's not a promise to my parents or even my future husband. It's a promise to God, and He holds me to account for everything I've done. I think a major stumbler in the whole purity social sector is the emphasis on the motive. True Love Waits talks about the joy in being able to tell your spouse that you came to your marriage pure, but what about God? He has higher standards than your physical purity- He cares about the state of your soul and mind as well.

I have had some deep struggles with this in my past, and they continue today. These last two months have been like riding a bike uphill steadily, but now that [I think] I've gotten to the top, the view is amazing. I'm reminded of God's faithfulness and find joy again in spending time with Him. Our God is good. :)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Did You Know That....

I have freaking amazing friends. I can't even start to describe them. They're such an encouragment through life's struggles and temptations (MC and CS) and amazing laughs (CH and BZ). They're fun to catch up with (SC) and sad to say goodbye to (RL, AF, and KL). In fear of sounding corny, I don't know where I'd be without all of you. I miss each of you (since everyone I've mentioned in this blog is {not, no longer} in Calgary) and hope to see you soon. You guys are awesome.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Roll Call

If you're a regular reader (ie, check about once a week or more) please leave a comment with your name (If you'd like it not published, just mention). I just realized how many "direct" readers I have, which means people are typing in my address rather than clicking links to it.

What's scary is out of all the oh-so-many in Katy/Richmond/Houston, they're all using different browsers and OSs. Which means there's more than one of you out there. Just curious who you are. :)

Yes, I'm Asking For It

I don't want to talk about politics now. Really, I've had enough.
So I'm not- here are two articles which, though written at the extremes, I agree with. I wouldn't write them so assertively, though I probably should... so I'm starting my assertiveness by backing them. Here they are:

"Sarah Palin... Ya, I'm Going There"

"More Thoughts On Palin" (written by the same blog author)

Ok, forget that. I'm writing. I really don't know how to feel about this. I mean, this is an amazing step for Republicans to have such a pro-lifer, family-lover on board, but like the article said, this is a major responsibility, and I have qualms putting her in such a position over so many people. How she organizes her life is her business, and I am in no position to judge, but it's all very oxymoronic and ironic. Ah the inner turmoil. This election is becoming so personally abnoxious that I'm glad I have 6 months... oops, 4 (where'd they go?) months till I'm 18.

I may write something less politicish soon.
Comment if you wish, but please no directed politicish/feminism/social equality arguments- I'm sick of it, though I will publish them for public discussion, unless requested not to.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Future: A Scary, Yet Exciting Place

I thought I had all this university stuff figured out. I would go to U of C, I would apply to HBU as a fall-back, and I would apply to Rice because they're waiving my application fee, and to deny them would be idiotic.

Then I got several "talks" by parents and grandparents about my major choice. I find linguistics interesting, but I definitely see their point... for what?

So I started looking at other majors. Then other schools.

I thought I was back where I started. Confused, frustrated, and exhausted.

Google helped, as well as college board and a few college sites, but what really helped me was a comment from one of the girls I worked with. She said, "You use numbers all the time, and you're so literal about it. 24 hours is 24 hrs, and you just wrote undefined for your '$/hr'."

So I thought. I still plan to take at least a couple linguistics classes, but I'll probably major in something mathematical. Actuarial Science sounds interesting. Then Dalhousie University came up again. I haven't considered Dalhousie for a couple years. They have a sturdy math department there.

In any case, I have about four months till I want to have all my applications finished. I still have to take the SATs, and who knows what college board is doing about my National Merit standing.

Who knows where I'll be headed in 365 days.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Would You Make A Good President?

I just finished watching the Saddleback Forum, where Rev. Warren presented identical questions to both presidential candidates separately. It's probably the most I've heard from either man, and I'm starting to feel a little more hope than I was, either way. The fact of the matter is, Obama and McCain seem like strong men. I don't agree with each point that they make (though I was surprised to find myself favoring Obama over McCain in two answers). Their answering styles were unique- McCain was quick and to the point, and Obama meandered a bit. However, throughout the interview, what impressed me most were the questions. They were the type of questions I would ask my president. The topics were varied, but relevant to my life. Then I started thinking about my answers to the questions. Sure, not all were relevant ("Why do you want to be president?") but they gave me significant insight to myself. I've posted them below. Take some time to think about them- I believe they're questions we should all ask ourselves every once and a while. If you want, you can even pretend you're running for president.

1)Who are the three wisest people you know, and who are you going to rely on heavily?
2)What would be your greatest moral failure in your life, and what would be the greatest moral failure in America?
3)What was the most gut-wrenching decision you've ever made, and what is the process you used to make it?
4)What viewpoint did you have 10 years ago [personally, I'm going to go with 5, since 10 years ago I was a pipsqueek] that you have changed your mind on due to more knowledge/experience?
5)As a Christian, what does it mean to trust Christ on a daily basis?
6)Abortion: At what point is a baby entitled to human rights?
7)Define "marriage."
8)Do we still need federal funding for research on embryo stem cells?
9)Does evil exist, and if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it, or do we defeat it?
10)Would you require that faith-based organizations [church missions] forfeit their right [to hire those with similar beliefs (potential discrimination)] to access federal funds?
11)Do you think better paid teachers should be paid better (merit based pay)?
12)Taxes: Define "rich."
13)War: As an American, what is worth sacrificing American lives for? What would be the criteria for sending troops in for a genocide?
14)Which supreme court justice(s) would you not have nominated?
15)Would you be willing to create an emergency relief for orphans, like Bush did for AIDS?
16)What do you think the US should do to end religious persecution [worldwide]?
17)When do our right to security and our right to privacy collide?
18)In one minute, tell me why you want to be president?
19)What do you say to people who oppose me [as a pastor] asking you these questions [in a church]?

If you want, feel free to comment, though I'll definitely be moderating closely.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sour Milk

I am in a blogging frenzie. Anyway.

I was just on the phone with my aunt when I caught a whiff of something bad. I have the house to myself for the week, and though I haven't accumulated enough dishes where I have needed to wash them (I've only had breakfast at home. I've been working and sleeping for the last week), I have rinsed each off and I couldn't think what the stench was. I glanced around the area, and noticed a tea pot that was on the table from when my mom had company over... before she left. Next to it was a small milk pitcher. From before she left (four days ago). Now, I can handle baby diapers. I can deal with animal waste (I've been the family doggy doo scooper since I was 5). I have picked up roadkill from the side of the road, which is a rather long story. I can hold someone's hair back when they're sick. But I don't do spoilt milk. There's this gag reflex, and I just feel like holding my own hair back. I think it's mostly the stench, but it's also partly the visual. Milk just shouldn't look like that.

Anyway, the "milk" is down the garbarator (which ran about 2 minutes till I was sure I could smell nothing). I am now doing all dishes and clearing every surface of this kitchen, so help me. If there is anything that was not found before, it will be found now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Compilation of Randomosity

A few thoughts:
  • This isn't really a thought. It's more of a story. So my dog really has a thing for rummaging through garbages (I personally don't see the joy in it). The two are locked in the kitchen all day while I'm at work, and though I feel sorry for them, I see no other way around it. The main kitchen door is baracaded by a shock matt (which is off) and a baby gate. The other door has french-style glass doors. I came home today and Lacey was on the other side of the fence, all obstacles intact. All household garbages well explored. Thank goodness trash was collected this morning. I apparently have over estimated her jumping ability.
  • I was on my way home from work today the radio was playing "Kathleen" by Josh Ritter. Upon closer examination of the lyrics, the guy is quite the womanizer, but the opening line was so romantic that I thought I'd share it: "All the other girls here are stars; You are the Northern Lights." *sigh*
  • If you frequently check my "To-read List" (HA!) you'll know I'm rereading Blue Like Jazz. I'm getting quite a different perspective out of it from the last time I read it. However, it's that sort of book- very open ended and up to reflection. On Sunday, our pastor was talking about the Trinity, and off on a dogleg he was discussing the complexity of God. He used a quote from John Wesley: "Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man and then I will show you a man who can comprehend the Triune God." Since that's rather double-negative based, I prefer Donald Miller's view: "[God] will make no more sense to me that I will make sense to an ant." Why is this important to understand? My pastor said, "If He's small enough that you understand Him, He's not big enough to help you with the struggles of life." That's a rough summery of Blue Like Jazz for you. Donald Miller is trying to show that God is larger than Christianity- that Christian Spirituality is the larger box that holds Christianity, because though inspired by God, Christianity is a religion carried out by men. He says, "For much of my life I had been defending Christianity because I thought that to admit that we had done any wrong was to discredit the religious system as a whole, but it isn't a religious system, it's people following Christ; and the important thing to do, the right thing to do, was to apologize for getting in the way of Jesus." I really like this book, but you sort of have to read it to get all of what he's saying. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Favorite Recent Pictures

I don't know how "recent" you'd consider these actually. They're from a two weekends ago, when I went to go visit family over east of us.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here Be Dragons

I just finished a novel that I picked up in Westminster Abbey's gift shop. Here Be Dragons by Sharon Penman is about the Welsh Princess Joanna. She was King John's (as in Robin Hood John) illegitimate daughter that he married off to the Welsh Prince Llewelyn. The story begins with Llewelyn's youth and their marriage, leading through the reigns of King Henry II, King Richard the Lion Hearted, King John, and King Henry III (the English kings died at a faster rate than Llewelyn). For someone who doesn't revel in history, I felt the book was wonderfully written.

From what I can tell through minimal research, the historical accuracy of the novel is impeccable. In the author's note, she said, "I took but one factual liberty; Llewelyn captured Mold Castle in January of 1199, but I placed the siege in April, the better to integrate the Welsh and Norman story lines." I can hardly say four months is worth a squawk. However, the book isn't a historical chronicle. It is in every sense a novel. What Penman couldn't elaborate in plot she put in dialogue and character insight.

However, I'm sorry to say that I can't reccomend this book and keep conscience. I want to, I really do. It's probably the best historical fiction/romance I've ever read, but there is just way too much unnecessary graphic description. As I read through it, I wish so much that I owned whiteout, so that I could read it again and again without subjecting my mind to unnecessary descriptions (for a lack of a better term).

I find it so frustrating that authors (and film producers, and singers, and... etc) feel it is necessary to elaborate on private matters. One of my favorite books, Redeeming Love, is a story about a prostitute. It explores some of the same struggles that Joanna faced but did so tastefully. I think Here Be Dragons has the power to be an amazing insight into humanity, with or without the sexual descriptions, and would win a wider audience without them. Some of the main themes are guilt and forgiveness, and Penman deals with them wonderfully.

My favorite scene was near the end, when Joanna and her daughter Elen are discussing Joanna's infidelity and remorse. It's the first conversation they've had where they are truly honest with each other and Elen learns about her mother's youthful lack of confidence: "'But scrape away the surface gloss, dig through the glaze to the raw clay, and you'll find a little girl forbidden to play with the other village children, a little girl who'd lie for hours in the heather above Middleham Castle, wanting only to belong.'" (Penman, 748)

PS: When I buy whiteout and deface my copy, I welcome anyone who wants to borrow it rather than the original version.

Photo by Gabriela Camerotti. . Creative commons licence: Attribution, Non-Commercial.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It's Been a Day

I was up this morning at 7 am, and it's now midnight. Yet I don't want to go to bed. I was just hoping, maybe... but alas. It's been such a cram packed day.

I spent the weekend out watching my cousin play baseball. They had an awesome game, won 11-4. He got two homes himself, so nicely done cuz. Then I drove back this morning so that I had time to shower and have dry hair for work at one, this afternoon. I worked four hours, and then had a delightful time chatting with my dear girl, Bee. I got some unfortunate news from Jess, and then an email from my dad. Those tend to be exhausting, though I doubt intentionally so.

Then I heard news about rain. Lots of rain. Hurricane levels. Heading for my home. [Praying for you guys]

Maybe that's what this is... homesickness? You'd think I'd have grown out of this after a year. I really ought to.

I have to work tomorrow at 11, so up at 9. I can't wait for school, because after school is home. ETA January 28th.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Life just got a little bit busier. My boss took me up on my offer, and I am scheduled 6 days a week for the next two weeks (35+ hrs a week). I'm happy about it in one sense- I wanted to work my rear off this summer and earn some money for school (I'm starting to look at the math, and it's not pretty math). However, other things need to be compensated for. Such as blog writing.
Therefore, I'm going to be cutting back to one or two posts a week till mid September. In the meantime, check out this picture. Digital cameras are amazing, you know? Zoom is just, wow!

Look who snuck into my picture! You know who that is right? I mean, she has a flag on top of her car!

Have a nice week! :)