Monday, December 26, 2011

Ella, Spider Hammer strikes again...

So. Erm. Umm. We're moving.
I'm not going into details. I'm not, I'm really not, because I haven't the time.
And . . . I can't really go into my reaction. My response to it. Because it's not really cyberspace-safe. But . . . getting out of here, having a place of our own, I can't really tell you what that means to me.
And there's a lovely back deck and a clothesline and a hammock . . . and a gorgeous kitchen and a lovely little half-wall separating it from the living room that's just right for sitting . . . and I can bring my kitty with me, and she'll be safe and happy . . . and the neighbors are perfect . . . and it's a gorgeous old white farmhouse, which I love, with an oddly bungalow-type atmosphere, which is great . . . and there are two bushes of those lovely pink-and-white camellias like we had four houses ago . . . and I get my own room.
Yes, you heard me right. I get my own room. It's small, but that's perfect, and it's warm and sunny and has wood-paneled walls and lovely wooden blinds and it lends itself very naturally to the theme I want to take with it. So very naturally it was barely even a creative decision, more like just seeing what was there. I'm going for a sort of writerly, Victorian-era type feel, which will be . . . utter perfection.
So about the post title---- We were up at the new house today, cleaning (there's a lot of that to be done) and I'm attacking the cobwebs and dust bunnies and spider corpses (and a few live ones) in the corners and the ceilings and the window sills with a broom, sweeping and stabbing with a vengeance, which called to mind another similar time cleaning up at the church. I killed so many spiders that day that I made a couple of ill-fated jokes about finding some sort of name for myself (Ella, Spidersbane? Ella, Foe of Spiders? There's something in there, I just can't find it). So today, when I was doing quite the same sort of work, I had an epic little narration going on in my head about rousting the spiders and annihilating them. Spider Hammer strikes again?
Anyway, we'll be back up at the house tomorrow, and the next day, and basically every day for the next three weeks, when we'll just stop leaving. Things are going to get crazy. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Four trailers . . . Oh, it's Christmas!

Yes, I try to steer clear of Sherlock-related topics on here, but sometimes it's just not possible.
Because BBC gave us four trailers . . . in one day!!! Add that to the two scenes from Scandal in Belgravia they gave us earlier this week, and you have absolute insanity. I think they're just trying to kill us with suspense so that all of their fans will be dead and cannot watch the new series. Or something like that. Because we're all gonna die.

Trailer one.
Trailer two.
Trailer three.
Trailer four.

Aaaaand the sneak peek scenes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Would You Call This A Movie Review?

Or random ramblings on the topic of a movie I just watched? Either way.
So Toy Story 3. Never seen it before, didn't really feel like giving it the time of day. Saw it as corporate monster Disney milking one last sequel out of an old franchise.
But then I realize . . . that's not where they're coming from. That movie was the emotional climax of my generation. They waited this long very very on purpose. They were always going to tell that part of the story, but they waited until I, until we, those of us who were Andy's age at the start, are the age they wanted him at the end. Until that sad-sweet growing-up-time was where we were at in life. Because we've made the same journey as Andy, and now we are exactly where he is in the movie.
So, yes, no sequel is ever as good as the original, but this one really meant something. It was intentional.
And aside: That ending, people? Andy playing with the little girl? My kid brother is like, "Haha, what a dork!"
And in my head I'm like: "Come on, somebody tell me guys like that exist."

My Brain Right Now...

Consists, vaguely, of the paper I have due somehow pertaining to Jane Austen's Emma, trying to ignore the fact that I'm nowhere near ready for Christmas. A strange obsession with Scottie dogs that I can't entirely explain (ohmyword, I want one so bad). The novel I'm attempting to write; trying, as usual, to figure out what comes after high school; and the novel and the movie of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; The fact that I'm turning eighteen in February; New season of Sherlock starting January first (and trying how to figure out how to watch it January first, outside the UK, without turning to piracy); and that stupid game Minesweeper.
And, yeah, I think that's about everything. Have a great day!

Lol. I'm joking. By far a bigger deal than Sherlock or Scottie dogs was my best friend's wedding this past weekend. Joy and her Mark were married Saturday morning; yours truly had the honor of being the maid of honor. Corinne, Reese, and Joy's roommate at college Sue were bridesmaids.
Friday evening, the wedding party and assorted friends and family of the bride and groom got the church all set up for the reception; then all the bridesmaids slept over (or rather, didn't sleep) at Joy's house. Woke up before dawn to leave for the ceremony. Which was at the beach. The BEACH. Yes, it is the middle of December. Your point?
All of us girls got dressed at the groom's grandmother's condo on the beach. Typical fighting with hair and makeup, finally getting to wear those gorgeous dresses we'd picked out (ensemble was grey sweater dress, teal scarf-belt, teal tights, lacy black ballet flats) then had the traditional honor of helping the bride into her dress, buttoning the back, etc. She looked absolutely gorgeous. :)
Me, Joy, and Corinne had a sweet emotional little moment waiting for the elevator. Hugs all around and tearing up enough to endanger our eye makeup.
Everybody but the bride hobbled down to the waterfront, absolutely freezing. Took our places opposite the groomsmen, waited for Joy and her father to appear over the ridge. Played a few bars of the wedding march on the kazoo, shivered through the beautiful ceremony, tried not to cry (can you imagine the pain of tears literally freezing onto your face?), tried not to laugh when the wind tossed sea foam over the heads of the wedding guests, or when the waves started licking the pastor's shoes.
Hobbled back up the aisle after the new Mr. and Mrs. --------; arm-in-arm with the best man (who reminded me enough of my father that I couldn't take him or myself seriously); wedding party pictures in the lobby of the condo; piled in a van with Corinne, Sue, Reese, the flower girl, and Joy's parents for the hour ride back to our church for the reception.
Read the note Joy wrote me, that I hadn't been quite brave enough, and had been depending too much on my makeup not looking raccoon-ish, to read when she handed it to me. Tried not to cry.
Reception; sitting at the head table nibbling at meat and fruit and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Checked on Joy every few minutes. It has to tell you something about the kind of friends we are that we chatted about Doctor Who and quoted an entire scene from Meet the Robinsons. Some things never change.
Tried not to cry during Joy's incredibly sweet daddy-daughter dance.
Danced with the groom for about thirty seconds while the best man danced with Joy (to Song of the Cebu, oddly enough) to start off the "Dollar Dances," which is apparently a tradition, though I had never heard of it; then held the styrofoam cup out for anybody who wanted to pay a dollar to dance with the bride.
And the one time I really started crying: my Dad coming up, sticking a dollar in the cup, and dancing with my best friend. Watching the two of them dance and chat. I can't entirely explain why that was the moment, out of all of them, that got me, but it was.
Cha-cha slide and the Macarena; listened to my brother trying to get up the courage to ask his girlfriend (Corinne, had I covered that? Well, yeah, Andrew and Corinne=together. Everybody say it with me, "Awwww!!"), to dance with him. Snuck a dance with my baby brother Riley while giving him pointers on asking Joy's little sister to dance.
Tried (or pretended to try, knowing that there was absolutely no chance) to catch the bouquet. Held the pen and paper to scratch out what presents they got from who like a good maid of honor. Tossed birdseed at the happy couple as they made their way to the car, watched until they pulled out of the church parking lot, FIN.

People keep asking me if I'm sad, or trying to "commiserate" with me over losing my friend; and it's all I can do not to look at them like they've grown a second head. I'm not sad!! What kind of friend would I be if I could be so selfish as to be sad about the thing that has made her so happy? And you couldn't have watched the two of them during their first dance and not know that they are so happy.
I am over the moon happy for her, for both of them; and contrary to whatever anybody else seems to believe, I haven't lost a friend!! It's true that it'll be different now, because her husband has to be her best friend. That role doesn't fall to me anymore; and I'll definitely miss her, because we won't get to see as much of each other; but none of this means that I'm anything but happy for them both.
So, umm, congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. (I don't feel like making up fake last names).
Aaaaaand, now that's it. For reals this time. Ttfn!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

If I have to slog through another Wikipedia article, I might scream...
This has been maybe the most frustrating (though definitely the most fun) research paper I've ever had to write. Most of the frustration stems from the fact that I know, off the top of my head, most of the information I want to use, but I still have to find something to cite for it.
Thus the slogging through Wikipedia articles.
So I'm breaking and blogging, yes in the middle of a school day, and yes my rough draft is due Monday, but whatever.
So I had a sweet little moment last night, with my precious kitten Trudy. Less of a kitten now, but anyway. So last night, when my kitten curled up in my lap and buried her head under my arm, when she rubbed her head on my glasses and licked my nose, well, it reiterated to me why I'm a cat person.
See, dog's best quality is that they're "loving," but the thing is, they're totally indescriminate. They'll throw themselves adoringly in a very Doug-like fashion at the feet of, well, just about anybody. Sure your dog loves you, doesn't that just make you feel special?
Now cats? Cats are choosy. Call it snobbishness if you want, but they don't adore just anybody. They've got a sadistic sense of humor, sometimes they'll choose to shower they're attention on the one person in the room who hates cats, but that doesn't bother me too bad. I usually think it's funny.
But when a cat really decides to like you? It means you're something special. For some reason, the great cat mind has judged you worthy.

In other, non-cat-related news, I'm finally getting somewhere in Spanish, which is grand. I feel like I'm actually starting to get the hang of the grammar system. Still not much for speaking it, but the way I figure it, that'll come with time.

By way of scheduling; tonight is the children's ministry Christmas party, which I may or may not go to help with, depending on how much of my paper I still have to get done (so I should probably get off blogger, huh?); tomorrow possibly cleaning at the church in the morning (which I may also stay home from in favor of research paper); Stock-the-Pantry party for Joy and Mark tomorrow night; Sunday. And that's the plan. Sound like fun? Lol.

Weeeelll, enough procrastinating. Getting back to the schoolwork now. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Christmas Time Again

(no, not referencing that Third Day song, though I thought about it)
Can you believe it? It doesn't feel like it should be here, but it is. And today, it's definitely here.
There was cleaning this morning, with Grandma zipping around the house in her annual Christmas-decorating frenzy. Then Tabby's birthday party (which usually falls on the the first weekend of December, and kind of marks the opening of the Christmas season). She decided to go ice skating, which I absolutely adore. So I got to dust off my puffy coat and use my incidentally-matching gray hat/scarf/gloves. And the Christmas music and the time with friends, it's so definitely Christmas time.
Came home, had supper, and decorated the Christmas tree with my family, sat around the tree with the lights down low and sipped eggnog (and Constant Comment tea, quite a Christmas staple).
Christmas this year isn't quite how I'd have it, if it were all up to me. The Christmas tree is Grandma's artificial one, the ornaments are hers. Ours are buried in storage. And there's other stuff too, it's just, different this year, somehow.
Part of me wonders if it's just growing up. Does Christmas become less of a big deal the older you get?
The magic of the season is still there, it's still a big deal to me, but the older I get, the more disgusted I am of the consumerism of this time of year, from the stores to the commercials to the little kids whining for the latest craze to my kid brother begging for an iPod touch. My mind's ingrained reaction is, "But, that's not what it's about, Jesus is the Reason for the Season," or whatever.
But Confession Time: you know the scary thing? Jesus' birth isn't, really, the point of this holiday to me either. It's what Christians try to make it about, but it's really not! The scholars tell us that the birth of the Messiah lines up more with March, or September, but not December. We know that making December 25th about the birth of the king was really just a ploy on the part of the church to try to turn around a pagan festival into something the church could conscience. None of this is news to you.
But why is my Christianity still governed by this lie, this piece of propaganda that started circulating however many centuries ago? I still "celebrate" the birth of my Savior, in the wrong month, by giving and receiving gifts and all of the other trappings of the holidays. There are enough real reasons that I don't need a fakey reason to celebrate the God I follow three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year. dThis. Isn't. Working. For. Me.
Now, the thing is, I'm not willing to give up Christmas because of this! But if it isn't about Santa Claus, and it isn't about Baby Jesus in the manger, then what is it?
I've found the answer. And, of all places, I've found it in Doctor Who. Last year, the Doctor Who Christmas special was set on a far-off planet, on that world's equivalent of Christmas. One of the characters explains it thusly,
"On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops, and turns, and hugs, as if to say 'Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark.' Back on Earth, we called this Christmas, or the Winter Solstice. On this world, the first settlers called it the Crystal Feast."
Well done, everyone. We're halfway out of the dark. Isn't that what Christmas is about? It's about taking a moment to pause and step back from life. It's about the solstice, the longest night, the darkest day of the year; about shaking a fist at the elements and refusing to let the darkness around us seep into our soul. It's about brightening our world with little sparkling lights, making our kitchens smell heavenly, eating wonderful food, giving presents to the ones we love, and ringing silver bells to drive off the encroaching darkness. It's about making a reason to celebrate, or celebrating without a reason, in the very darkest part of the year.
So sure. Merry Christmas, if that's how you like it. Three cheers, well done, my fellow man. We're halfway out of the dark.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home again, Home again . . . .

jiggety-jig, or so the nursery rhyme goes.
Except not really.
The whole time at Nana and Papaw's last week, I kept trying to figure out why I didn't feel like I was on vacation. It wasn't that I didn't get to relax, it was the most laid-back week of my life. It wasn't that I didn't have a good time, because I did! It was just that that sense of other-ness, like what you feel when you check into your hotel room, never set in.
That's not because it was a familiar setting. I've vacationed in familiar places before, and I still get that feeling.
Then last night it hits me. I didn't go on vacation. I went home.
For just shy of a week, we were at home. Not sure what that says about me, or us, or whatever. Not sure that I should post it online, but again with the "nobody reads my blog," excuse.

And in other news, want to kill some brain cells and pass a reasonably enjoyable couple of hours? Check out the (I think it's ABC Family?) tv show No Ordinary Family. A souped-up, lengthened version of The Incredibles, minus JackJack. It's passably clean (watch out for Daphne in the first few episodes and Kate's romantic relationship around episode seven for content, but otherwise). The plotlines are trite and not very well thought out, but entertaining; the characters are pretty static, but the acting is surprisingly good. And besides, with this guy? I forget what I've seen him in (and don't recognize anything in his imdb profile), but I know I've liked him in something else.
.......because that was such a meaningful use of half a blot post. Woohoo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I have been one busy girl these days, so it's been hard to get to my blog, like, at all. This might've been obvious due to the length of time that my most recent blog post has been on Steven Moffat's birthday. So . . . yeah.
Happy day-after-Thanksgiving. Leftover sweet potato casserole and college football . . . my idea of a party. I'm not being sarcastic. For as much as I don't really care about sports, watching my family watch football is entertaining to say the least.
We're all feeling a little throwback this week, me, Mom and Dad, and the siblings are "out of town" staying with my grandparents. Out of town being, half an hour from home, so maybe we're overstating the situation, but there's an element of "over the river and through the woods" that makes it all okay.
Really, it's a change of scenery. And after two years of essentially the same thing, a change of scenery is enough.
It's been a really sweet time so far. Watching movies together and playing cards and just kinda chilling. "Family" devotions have taken on a fun group discussion feel, with Nana and Papaw sitting in. Interesting conversation this morning, about me and Mom and Dad's whole "Model is Broken" approach to church and Christianity. So yeah.
Joy's bridal shower was last weekend, which was also a sweet time. Little buttons you have to give up if anybody catches you saying the groom's name and swapping funny stories about the happy couple and identifying yourself by your relationship to the bride (Ahem, Bride's best friend, tyvm. Hahaha.) Cake with edible ball-bearings and the classic maid-of-honor role of scratching down who gave what. All a little stereotypical, but definitely in a good way. :)
My story (You know, Sherlock Holmes and the undisclosed title and whatnot?) is going well. Really well, actually. Never easy, but well.
And speaking of Sherlock ('cause aren't we always?), the season two of the new BBC series hits in (drumroll please?) JANUARY of next year. Very big grin.
Just finished Frankenstein for school. I can Quite Honestly say that I enjoyed it the LEAST of any book I've read this year. Paradise Lost included. It literally went flying across the room when I was done with it. The ending was (for the sake of spoiler-free-dom) Horrible. Just horrible.
But I get to read Gulliver's Travels next week, so it's all okay.
Aaaaand, I think that's it for now. Gotta go help with stuff. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy birthday, Steven Moffat!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Christian in the Fandoms (and related ramblings)

Can't I write a term paper without it having to be about something that I have to figure out in my own life? I mean, like, turnip commerce in Norway or something? Is that too much to ask? But noooo.
Internet Culture, Mass-produced Individuality, and Fandoms. Or something along those lines.
So now what? I have to figure out where I stand. Ugh. But what are blogs for, eh? Yes, a lot of this pertains to my earlier post about tumblr blogs, but whatever.

I'm a highly social individual. I need people, I need to talk and know that someone is listening. I need to feel like part of the group.
I'm also a highly sheltered individual. Homeschooler, don't leave the house, friends at church, but . . . yeah.
And, big shocker, I'm kinda, sorta . . . shy. Awkward. Socially useless.
Plus I'm kind of a nerd! No, really, I'm serious. I just am. I'm resigned to the fact. Star-Trek-watching, Doctor-Who-loving, sci-fi-geek-talking nerd!
All this combines to mean . . . the Internet is a pretty comfortable place for me. Online my awkwardness becomes tongue-in-cheek, my cynicism becomes snarky. It doesn't matter what I look like, because who uses their own pictures anyway? I can become exactly who I want to be, and my personality, which seems frightfully random in real life, is suddenly reconciled into something that makes sense. Know the lingo, know the memes, or have a good enough command of Google and Urban Dictionary to fake it, and you're a part of the group. A couple of keystrokes, a couple of clicks, and you've found scads of like-minded people.
And what better way to be with like-minded people than in a fandom? True, it's more a relative term than a place, but it doesn't seem like that. It's a virtual place, for a bunch of fabulously geeky people who all love the same thing. Obsession becomes the norm, rather than a thing that gets you eye-rolls from your friends and heavy sighs from your family. Seriously, the thicker your obsession, the more respect you'll have from other -insert lame-and-proud-of-it fandom name here- (i.e. trekkies, whovians, etc.). Fandoms can be fierce and protective and warmly welcoming and have something that's as akin to team spirit as somebody like me will ever get. Fandoms are people who put up all kinds of mischief and shenanigans that would, likely, make the stars and writers of the respective tv shows/movies/games/etc. blush. (Don't believe me? Go to google, start typing in "Martin Freeman is," and let autofill finish the sentence.)
But with a little insight, it's easy to tell that it's just a bunch of lonely people finding something in common with other lonely people. It's born of the psychological need for acceptance. There's bluster and pride covering it up, but that's the truth.
And there's the bulk of my hang-up. As a Christian, is it okay that I find these places, these groups of people, comfortable? Is it okay that some part of me seems to fit in here? I mean, God is all I need, and I've got a lovely family and lots of friends besides. Should I allow myself to enjoy that kind of fannish society? And that obsession? I mean, it's not an unhealthy obsession, none of the "fandoms" I consider myself a part of. It's just stories and characters I'm passionate about! I'm not one of the people that kills days making fan art and wastes oodles of money on costumes for cosplays. I actually sleep at night, instead of obsessively rewatching old seasons of the tv show. I've always had too much of a life, and too many responsibilities, and this inconvenient little thing called SCHOOL that's kept me from ever being a big part of any online community. I'm more of a passive observer. But . . . is it okay?
Things get more more complicated with the Sherlock part of things. The BBC series, written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, is sort of spectacular. And it's highly devoted fandom has created lots of very entertaining fanart and added extremely comical subtexts to screengrabs from the show and made fan videos montaging unrelated scenes in ways that give it new, hilarious, meaning. It's great, it's funny, it's entertaining.
But many other fans are people without my religious/moral scruples about what is acceptable entertainment and what isn't. Doctor Who, which was my first experience with web-based fangirling, showed some evidence, but Sherlock is even more so. There is language that I would NeVeR (!!!!!!) use in real life, but have learned to skim over without noticing online. There is . . . content . . . that is pretty shocking to my sensibilities and my belief system. I can scroll past awkward, cartoonish drawings of John and Sherlock holding hands (or etc.) fast enough that I don't really feel affected affected by it, but should I stay away anyway, even though the rest is fun and entertaining and sometimes uproariously hilarious?
Where do I draw the line on what is acceptable and what isn't? I mean, I know, Philippians 4:8, " 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." But . . . that leaves so much room for opinion. It's not a fixed line. The person who wrote my English curriculum last year argued that while Edger Allan Poe's fiction is not Christ-like or God-honoring in anyway and she personally disliked them (I proceeded to enjoy Poe's work to the extreme. . .), he wrote comparatively "excellent" horror stories, ergo, it's all okay by the yardstick of Philippians 4:8. So if it's excellent geekery and fan-stuff, then . . . does this logic apply?
It's hard to be a Christian online altogether. And I'm not talking about Facebook, that's practically real life. Same people you deal with, same faces you see every day. My grandmother has a Facebook, and she polices my page constantly. So, there's no lack of accountability there, to put it lightly.
I don't mean Blogger either. Blogs are great, even (especially?) if you're like me and nobody really reads it anyway. But, to put it bluntly, "Hi, Dad!" 'Nuff said.
I'm talking about the writing website where nobody uses their real names. I'm talking about the youtube community where you quickly learn what gets hits and what doesn't. I mean that other little social networking site, the Myspace wannabe, that you created a profile on out of curiosity, and you don't actually know anyone on your friends list.
You hang out in the forums, you quickly learn how people talk, and as a writer, I appreciate unique, or especially applicable, language. Unfortunately, sometimes that includes swearing, which is something I just don't do. But if the right word for what I'm trying to communicate happens to be a profanity, ugh! It's hard!
Then there's always that handy excuse that the Internet is just a new place, a new way, to be a witness to people. Sheesh, I've even used it myself, and in youth group no less! But let's be honest, people. Is there a (non-Facebook!) website we're a part of where we'd even think of witnessing to someone? I mean, sure, sometimes it'll work, but nine times out of ten, it'll just get you dismissed. You're, all of a sudden, another one of those Christian crazies, who can't leave their religion out of anything, and infringing on their rights not to be bothered when they're in their forums. And I'm not being critical, either. How could I? When even I have been guilty of wincing at a fellow Christian turning a conversation around to the things of God when that was . . . not the point. It's annoying. Is that a sinful attitude?
I guess the Church only has herself to blame, we've allowed ourselves to become ridiculous in the sight of the world, which would be why people don't take us seriously. We've allowed ourselves to be pushed out of involvement in the governing of our country, so they can claim we're 'infringing on their right' to not hear the Name of their Creator. And anyway, we should be a witness for Christ in our personal lives. We shouldn't need the Internet. But I digress.

And even "Christian" part aside; the Internet is such an enigmatic thing. It's populated by people who feel safe in their illusion of anonymity, and who have the opportunity to recreate themselves. The attractive young Asian girl you think you're talking to could be thirty, from Tennessee, and a guy. But even if it's not so blatant, we're all guilty of it. What else is an "About Me:" for? I mean, nobody ever really reads those things! It's just a chance for people to decide who they want to be. Here's one of mine from another website:
I'm a non-conformist, I guess is how you'd put it. Sixteen-year-old hippy, minus the drugs and the political blah. Homeschooler all the way, and proud of it, babe. If it doesn't involve my family, my friends, or my church, or some combination thereof, you probably won't catch me doing it. I'm a writer, or I'd like to be one, depending on your definition of the word writer. I'd like to call myself a writer, at the very least. I live life to the fullest, I'm myself no matter what anybody else thinks.
Well, it's definitely how I see myself, but I doubt anybody I know would describe me as such. And that's just it, I was given the opportunity to reinvent myself. Is that really safe? We've created this society of suppressed people who are out of touch with reality. Which is how there's phenomena like the "FarmVille Mom," and the geeky kid who buries his head in his most recent fanfiction, in the world that's more real to him than his own.
Some people use the Internet for evil, it's true. Of course, some use it for good (and more good). The vast majority, however, seem entirely neutral. If our ancestors would be shocked by the technology my generation has access to; instant world-wide communication, all the information I could ever want at my fingertips, etc.; I think they would be much more surprised by what we've done with it. At first glance, the Internet seems a vast, interconnected mass of cheeseburger-loving cats with bad grammar, *ahem* "Rickrolling," and this guy. So, really, what's the nature of the beast?
I can't even write without using the Internet anymore. Like how folks will hand-write "<3" instead of drawing a heart. I use emoticons and an abundance of punctuation to express emotions, italics for emphasis and *gives example* asterisks to show action. Note my masterful use of hypertext! It saves me the time and effort of explaining anything my reader might not instantly understand; gives me the power to make an effortless joke, pun, or sight gag instantly. Seriously, I don't know how I'm going to write a paper without it.
So I'm going to have to figure out where I stand on all of this in order to write a convincing paper. Or maybe I'll crank out fifteen pages on those Norwegian turnips. What do you think?
Happy Monday Morning!!
I usually hate Mondays, but so far this one's alright. I guess this past weekend was such insanity that a bit of routine is welcome.
Friday night was the sleepover some of us put together as a sort of last-splash-with-her-girls for Joy before her wedding. No, not the bachelorette party. That's something entirely unrelated. We ate cookies (*snort*), played Just Dance (3!!!), goofed off with some highlighters and my blacklight, watched our favorite movie, and got about four hours of sleep. Typical us-girls sleepover, but kind of perfect.
Next morning mom picked up me (and Isabel, whose mom said she could only come Friday night if she found somewhere to stay Saturday night) and took us to the church for an Epic Cleaning Session. Came back to the house, napped, cut the grass, finished choreographing the Christmas dance, watched Doctor Who, woohoo.
Sunday. Ugh. Church in the morning with all it's insanity (plus helping in the kids' Sunday School Class. I got to work with Noah, though, so it was all okay). Then all-day dance practice for aforementioned Christmas dance (What Child is This, MercyMe), with eleven girls ages seven-fifteen. Soreness. In. Bones.
Sunday night= babysitting for Women's Bible Study, Men's Bible Study, and New Members class, all at once. Eight kids: An eight-year-old girl, three five-year-old boys, Noah (nine years old, but also blind, so, yeah), Emmy (three, but mentally about thirty), and a nine-month-old. All in our church's nursery. A movie going, a bunch of crayons, my cell phone for Noah, some blocks and a couple plastic trolls for the boys, a stuffed puppy for Emmy, and utter chaos. But the baby makes it all okay. She is absolutely the most precious thing on the planet. Just old enough that I'm not scared to hold her for fear I'll break her, but to little to cause trouble. Kind of awkward, though. Last night one of the kids asked if she was mine. I'm like . . . No. Just no. *heebie-jeebie-shiver-shake*
So I came home exhausted, and sore, but it was a brilliant, happy kind of exhaustion.
Aaaand now I'm rewarding myself for surviving this past weekend with a little bit of delicious first-schoolday-of-the-week procrastination. Killed some braincells on my favorite rabid fandom blogs; one for Doctor Who and one for Sherlock. I'm so glad there are people more obsessed than I am to make fanart and gifs and catch hilarious parallels so that slightly-less-obsessed people can waste time on tumblr looking at them.
I really need to stay out of the BBC Sherlock fandom, though. It is NOT helping my story. Actually, it's brought on a rather vicious attack of writer's block. Too much with the crazy fans *ahem* "shipping" the concept of John and Sherlock as the, erm, odd couple, if you catch my drift. It tends to get inside your head, which is very distracting when you're trying to write YOUR John and YOUR Sherlock as, well, nothing of the sort. And besides, trying to write this:

With a brain full of this: (seriously, click the pic, it gets better)

Just. Doesn't. Work.
Ugh. Wish me luck.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Deliriously Delicious Crossing of Fandoms

Mmmmmm. Ready for this?
Doctor Who:

(Yeah, everybody knows about this one, but anyway):

Sherlock Holmes:

Sherlock Holmes:

Doctor Who:

(Sherlock, The Doctor, and Papa Moffat)

Sherlock Holmes:

(just refreshing your memory):
Now for the truly delectable coincidence:

Huzzah for Fangirling all over Blogger!!!

Another Day, Another Paper

Maybe I shouldn't get into the habit of posting school assignments here, but oh well. This project was to watch a movie version of Hamlet and "discuss staging." Feel free to ignore this post.

For this assignment, I watched the 2009 made-for-television version of the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2008 stage rendition of Hamlet. My decision was entirely based on the fact that it starred David Tennant, a personal favorite actor of mine; but I wound up enjoying it for much more than just that.
The movie seems particularly suited to the analysis that is being asked of me, as it deviates from and concurs with the original in very interesting ways.
The costuming is modern. Bernardo and Marcellus wear police uniforms; Horatio wears a sports jacket. This provides sort of a new medium to work with; allowing the creators to use modern conceptions of dress to mold and form the viewer's opinion of a character. For instance, Hamlet begins the movie in a simple black suit and tie suited to his mourning; but as he descends into his 'madness,' he dons a slightly over-sized novelty t-shirt and worn jeans.
The setting is present-day as well, as far as that Claudius's political lackeys tend to wear blue-tooth devices, characters ride in cars rather than carriages, and everyone carries hand-guns instead of swords. This also provides for an artistically pleasing but highly distracting switch of camera angles from third-person omniscient to a crackly, grayscale security camera at various angles near the ceiling. It did play into the plot in a minor way, though. In Act 2, Scene two, just before one of Hamlet's soliloquies, all of the other characters leave the room. We switch to the security camera; the actor scans the room, spots the camera, rips it off the wall, and throws it out the window. The prince's next line, “Now I am alone,” takes on an entirely new meaning.
The use of Hamlet's soliloquies bears mentioning. They were very well delivered, which speaks volumes of Tennant's acting ability. Also, a number of them he delivered into a small camcorder, adding a kind of a vlog-type feel that makes more sense to a modern mind than the actor pacing around and talking to himself.
The original dialogue was left mostly intact; with a very few minor adjustments. Here and there an archaic word would be exchanged for it's modern counterpart. Lines were cut out of some very long, repetitive descriptions and soliloquies. A few scenes were rearranged for the sake of clarity, with great success. As a whole, it stayed very true to the original.
The biggest difference was in stage direction and acting style. Either the scripts we read today leave a good deal of movement to the imagination, or the actors on the stage at the Globe Theatre stood very still, delivering their lines with minimal motion or physical communication. In the version I watched, actors and actresses move around comfortably, embrace, add little hand gestures and such; making the whole thing seem much more natural. These things also helps interpret meaning and portray a character's personality when the language is obscure; and add new, fresh meaning to the dialogue. The scene when Laertes takes his leave of his sister Ophelia and their father Polonius towards the beginning of the play is a good example of this. When Polonius begins to give his parting advice to his son. By Laertes' and Ophelia's manner, a rolling of eyes, a chiming in in unison with their father here and there, we understand that Polonius's long-winded counsel is familiar, frequent, and repetitive. Without changing the lines, the scene takes on a kind sarcasm and hijinks that makes it easier to understand.
The actors themselves add by their acting, as must needs be, their own new take on the characters. Horatio becomes gruff but lovable, further affirming my positive opinion of him. Polonius looses all that is sinister and becomes wise, foolish, doddering, comical, and dear. Gertrude shows real remorse that almost makes us forgive her. Rosencratz and Guildenstern are gullible, unintelligent, and overarchingly effeminate, which almost makes them interesting. Ophelia overacts, turning one of my favorite characters from the play into something utterly insufferable. I responded to most of her lines by pressing the mute button on my remote. David Tennant adds some of his signature charm and quirk and playfulness, his quick, jumpy ways and his dark edge to the title character, really bringing Prince Hamlet to life.
There was a bit of dirtiness added that I didn't see as necessary, though I suppose movie-makers see it as an attempt to appeal to a modern audience. The play-within-a-play was rather vulgar, with one of the clowns wearing a tasteless pair of novelty boxers. When Ophelia lost her mind, I was blindsided by her suddenly and needlessly ripping off her dress. These things really don't add to the play at all, rather cheapen it.
With the exception of Ophelia, the casting was excellent, boasting a couple of well-known names. Using celebrity actors, however, has a downside. Their work may be truly brilliant, but for many viewers, their past roles eclipse their current, making the play more difficult to follow. If, in your mind, you can only think of what was supposed to be dastardly Claudius as Jean-Luc Picard, it is unarguably more difficult to take the character seriously. If you think you hear The Doctor speaking every third time Hamlet opens his mouth, it is sure to be a distraction.
In conclusion, changing things like setting and dress, and acting style to something a modern viewer finds more familiar makes the play more accessible to him or her while still preserving the beauty of William Shakespeare's high, grand, gorgeous language. My twelve-year-old brother sat and watched the three-hour movie with me. He has never read Shakespeare, and has always expressed the heart-breaking, “Because it is Shakespeare, it is therefore boring,” opinion that seems so prevalent among today's youth. However, the setting was so familiar, the acting so clear, that he followed quite well and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

.................I need a vacation.
I'm tired in my bones and in my brain and in my heart. A nap doesn't fix that. A good long vacation, someplace cool and sparsely populated, pretty scenery and leisure time would. I wish.
Life is pretty crazy right now, if you hadn't guessed. School is taking up most of my brain. Finally finished Hamlet, though I still have to write a paper on it and watch a movie version. David Tennant just did a version though, so that's okay. ;)
Stressing over dance stuff, because I'm a ditz and I can never remember to schedule preschooler practices for a Wednesday night before Wednesday actually rolls around, so the widdles aren't getting the practice they need; and 'cause there's a practice scheduled on November sixth for the thirteen people involved in the Christmas dance. Problem there? I still haven't choreographed the stupid thing. It's just plain not working. No Joy to work with, can't work with Corrinne to save me because she doesn't focus and she gets intimidated trying to choreograph with me. The song doesn't lend itself to the number of people who want to be in it, but I've already advertised what song we're doing and GAH!! Lol. :)
And then there's Sherlock. Not that that's adding to the stress. Actually, I think it's partly keeping me sane. Reading Sherlock books and researching Sherlock timelines and working on the fanfiction-esque story I'm writing about Sherlock. It's hush-hush, though, 'cause I'm seriously serious about publishing it, possibly for the first time in my life. I'm not even gonna post the title here, because thus far I'm the only person on the internet to have the idea and I want it to stay that way. And there's my muse, Benedict Cumberbatch playing Sherlock Holmes on the new BBC series, where Sherlock is a tech-savvy, nicotine-patch-using darling. How darling? This darling. And this and this and this and this and this darling. You'll want to mute that last one, as it's set to irritating music. But anyway.
But all of (school, dance, Sherlock, writing, etc.) that is just hiding or distracting from or in the background of what's really bothering me.
It's this God thing. I know, isn't it always a God thing with me?
It all comes from this deep conviction that American Christianity and the American Church just . . . isn't working. We aren't really doing the job we were given to do. Everything is over-complicated and compartmentalized and tainted with the consumerism of the culture around us. We've gotten too far away from what the Church, the Bride of Christ, was originally supposed to be.
And every time I'm at my church, I don't have rest. I want to be AnYwHeRe else.
And any time I'm in worship, well, it's complicated. I keep getting this weird feeling like something's off. And I keep thinking of this one Bible verse, where God tells the Israelites that he doesn't want their sacrifices, he wants their obedience.
So I'm starting to think that maybe this is God getting me ready for something Radical. That He's got a calling for my life that has something to do with doing church and Christianity differently that what has come to be expected.
And my parents are really enthralled with ideas like home church; anything that's more real, more like Christ than a multi-million dollar building and Sunday mornings.
And then I started reading Ezekiel. First few chapters, the parts about God calling Ezekiel. I might as well quote it here:
Ezekiel 2 “Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you.” 2 The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. 3 “Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. 4 They are a stubborn and hard-hearted people. But I am sending you to say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ 5 And whether they listen or refuse to listen—for remember, they are rebels—at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.
6 “Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. 7 You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious! 8 Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.”
9 Then I looked and saw a hand reaching out to me. It held a scroll, 10 which he unrolled. And I saw that both sides were covered with funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom.

Ezekiel 3

1 The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. 3 “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 Then he said, “Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages. 5 I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. 67 But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. 8 But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. 9 I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.” No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen!
10 Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. 11 Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.”
12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. (May the glory of the Lord be praised in his place!)[a] 13 It was the sound of the wings of the living beings as they brushed against each other and the rumbling of their wheels beneath them.
14 The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and turmoil, but the Lord’s hold on me was strong...., 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.
20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”
So yeah. Not that I'm a prophet or whatever. But it feels suspiciously like God is saying something to me through these passages. I'm praying and searching, and a bit distracted. Trying to figure this whole thing out. Isn't that what life is about?

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Paper Written for School on the Topic of my Most Recent Literary Crush

So many remember Sherlock Holmes as first love. For some literally, for others merely literarily. The tall thin man with the hooked nose and this long fingers pressed together, eyes closed in thought. The quivering energy and the dizzying intellect. The dark, almost sinister, man we don't really understand, as seen by the friendly, commonplace man we know completely. And it's not just that we know him, it's that we are him. When it comes to Holmes, we are all simply Watson. We see the Man through a mist of myth and mystery. The living thing becomes the stuff of legend.
Why are we so enthralled with Sherlock Holmes? Where does he fit into our psyche? We do not identify with him, which is usually the basis of a truly great character. Quite the opposite, really. We are drawn to him because he is so foreign to us. All of his darkness and enigma and untouchability is what makes us love him.
There is a whole class of characters like him. From Jay Gatsby to The Doctor to Dr. Gregory House, we are compelled and enthralled (and in love) with what we do not understand. Which makes sense when you think about it. Why else would mystery novels (and movies, and television series) be so overwhelmingly popular. How else did Agatha Christie publish 66 mystery novels and 14 short story collections during her lifetime? Why are there more than 175 Nancy Drew novels and over three-hundred devoted to The Hardy Boys? Not to forget our Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories and novels about the detective are some of the most beloved, the most remembered, the most retold, and the most reinvented of all time. It's something we all, as human beings, have in common. To put it simply, we love a good mystery.
This is why plots like that of Doyle's “The Red-Headed League” fascinate us. Information is doled out to us in measured, teasing doses, stringing us along viciously. Yet willingly, obediently even, we eat it up, hungry for more. Through Doctor Watson's blind eyes, we see the same things Holmes does, but we understand nothing until we are told. We are frightened, what is coming? We are waiting in the dark with Watson, comforted by the presence of his revolver, straining to hear anything beyond the breathing of our companions, wracking our brains to attempt to understand what it is we are waiting for. We are disturbed at Holmes' description of the criminal, we wonder how it is he knows of him. We wait, holding our breath in childlike faith for the brilliant detective to reveal all to us. Then, to hear the name of the culprit, to learn how Sherlock solved the mystery. We realize how blind we truly were! How could we have not seen, how did we not also figure out the truth?
This is mystery. The question, the agonizing wait, the build in suspense, the revelation. Exposition, rising action, climax, denouement. Inching towards edge of our seat, relaxing again. This is why we love Sherlock Holmes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So there's a reason I don't post links to my blog on my facebook. There's a reason I don't advertise the fact that I blog. There's a reason I'm okay with not knowing any of the people that follow my blog. Except for Joy and Reese, and my Dad, and that one guy from my youth group.
It's a very good reason too. Sometimes I forget how good. But on nights like last night, I can't help but remember.

Sponsoring a Compassion International child shouldn't cause drama, but it does. It's my job to collect the money, and I find myself getting walked all over by people who think they can do it better than I can. I didn't want the job in the first place, I took it because no one else would. And now I really. Really. Want out.

An ego the size of Texas a leader does not make. Throwing out hints to the teacher's questions during youth group 'cause you're too good to answer them yourself does not a leader make. A friend. A mentor. A good example. Loving the kids younger than yourself. Making yourself available and accessible to them. Giving them a leg up in their walk with Christ, showing them your walk with Christ, giving good advice. That makes a leader. And brother? (Yeah, I know he won't read this, but I'm saying it anyway). The young men, the boys in our youth group NEED!!! that. Not whatever it is you think you're doing.

Some Wednesdays, I come home from church so tired. So very, very tired.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


It's crazy! How often my chemistry curriculum winds up sounding terribly romantic.
Take today for instance, "On the other hand, when strong bonds are formed, a lot of energy is released."
It's been like that throughout the entire course, usually when talking about chemical bonds.
And there's so much beauty in a Lewis structure, in looking at exactly how one element binds to another.
How can anyone look at the world around us, how can a high schooler taking chemistry, let alone a real scientist, say there is no God?
When there is order and beauty and romance to be found in this world, on an atomic level?
I'm just saying......

Friday, September 16, 2011

So last night, I got to go see Joy at her school. What? I hadn't covered that yet? Oops. So, yeah, my bestie is a college freshman. I would have already lost my mind without her here at home if it weren't for facebook, and the fact that her college is about forty-five minutes away.
Joy wanted me to hear the praise band, so last night, Reese (with Joy's older brother in tow) picked me up and took me to the school for "unchapel." Though, I'm still not sure what the difference is between unchapel and chapel.
There was the torrential downpour on the way there. Like, seriously, couldn't see the lines on the road, couldn't see the car in front of us, ugh. I thought we were gonna die. But, we survived. And then we got really . . . really . . . really . . . REALLY!!!!! wet. Attempting to get from the car to Joy's dorm room to meet up with her and her fiance (Wait, I didn't cover that either? Stupid life making it hard to blog. Yeah, they're engaged. Eeep!! :) And btw, guess who's the maid of honor . . .).We had umbrellas, but they don't really help when the rain is coming sideways and the puddles are three feet deep. And then we had to make it from the dorm to the auditorium. We gave up on the umbrellas and embraced the fact that . . . we were just going to have to be wet. Laughed at the guys and their insanity. Us girls walked super-slow to sneak in some catching-up time. It was great.
But anyway, I got to hear the praise band, and the speaker. It was an awesome time of worship. And of all the reasons I miss my best friend, I hadn't realized that one of them was that I miss worshiping with her! And being incredibly irreverent during the most serious of speakers. Don't get me wrong, we listen for sure, but there are always moments when they'll say something, that only me and Joy would find hysterically funny, and we're just gone.
Got to see her dorm room too, which was fun; and meet the roommate for all of twenty seconds, which was awkward; and hang out with Joy, Reese, Joy's brother, and Joy's fiance, all at the same time, which is always uproariously hilarious.
And there was the whole God-thing. Seems like these days, no matter what I'm doing, there's a percentage of my brain that just going, "Okay, God. What's next. High school is almost over, where are You taking me?" Last night, that percentage was pretty high.
The heavens didn't part (unless you count the scary lightening), God didn't strike me blind and give me a new name, I didn't have a vision or an out-of-body experience. But I did walk away, a little chastised, and with this one thought, that I might as well share with you:
Nothing is impossible for God. No, really, Luke 1:37 "For nothing is impossible with God."
What have you been been telling God is impossible? What problem has been too big to conquer? What hope have you shied away from, scared of getting hurt? What dream has been to scary to admit, even to yourself. I know mine! Maybe we even do it without thinking about it, just subconsciously adopting an attitude that God can do anything . . . except this one thing. So here's the challenge: surrender it to Him, and see what He does with it.

And then there's today. Kill myself attempting to get caught up in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, apply for more college scholarships, look at more college websites, Chemistry, double on Spanish for skipping yesterday, attempt to finish choreographing the preschooler's dance (Jimmy Needham, Just a Heartbeat) that I was supposed to start having practices for two weeks ago, pick a version of Do You Hear What I Hear for the Christmas Eve service (yes, it's early, but these things tend to get away from me), and attempt to find time to watch Howl's Moving Castle.
But the weather is really, really, really gorgeous, so it's all gonna be okay.
Have a great day, everybody!!

Oh yeah. One more thought. Turbbit.

See? Turbbit.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

...It Begins

"It" being senior year. Yeah.
Other than it being a huge deal, it's really . . . nothing. British Lit=piece of cake. Really, really, really yummy cake. Spanish=switching languages mid-high school career probably isn't smart, but it makes more sense than the French I was never going to use. And, switching from French to Spanish isn't that bad, switch a few pronunciations and gender-specific nouns and you're good to go. Geometry=*yawn*. End of story. And if physics is as fun this year as chemistry was last year, then no biggie.
So the actual actions of senior year aren't a big deal.
What is is the general idea of it. Ella, high school senior. Something about that . . . insanity!! And it might help if I had the FIRST idea, WHATSOEVER what happens after graduation. Mleh.
And then there's the whole thing of spending every day with my head in books again. Miss math one day, double up the next. Try to have English done before the kids are ready for lunch in front of the television (. . . Dick Van Dyke show this week . . . ugh.) Try to get my head around algebra problems. The same algebra problems as four months ago, coincidentally. I didn't quite finish my text book last year, so I'm stuck doing them. Again. Now. I'm starting to wonder if this is how Frodo felt when he came back to the Shire. "It doesn't matter that you been on adventures and saved the world and met elves and dwarves and men and wizards. Live in your house. Eat cheese, and smoked meats. Go down to the pub. Eat chips, watch telly." Whoops. Sorry. Slipped into Doctor Who there a bit. But anyway. I went halfway across the country this summer. I got a taste of how I want to live. I met a ministry that is . . . incredible. That I'm called to. I ministered to little Spanish-speaking children in apartment complexes in Texas. I met some of the . . . most incredible people on the planet. I co-directed a county-wide dance camp, twenty-five students, four teachers, five days. I lead Bible studies about God's love with two different age groups . . . and learned more than I taught. I got up at six o'clock every morning with Corinne (who stayed with us through the camp) to study God's word together. Girls (and their parents) from other churches who are fighting to get dance groups established were encouraged and equipped. And the Friday night presentation? Was beyond amazing. Exhilarating. The girls did awesome, I was sooo proud of them. All of the presentations came together beautifully, and you could really see how much they had learned over the course of the week. And, me and Joy's "secret side-goal" happened too. See, where we live, racial unity really isn't something that happens a lot. I'm trying to be delicate, please don't misunderstand me or be offended. As for myself personally, I think racial prejudice is disgusting. Vomitous. But it exists, on both sides, where I come from. And that week? Girls of all colors came together on even ground, and had a great time together. And their parents all came out Friday night to see what they had learned. Our sanctuary was full, and multicultural. It was beautiful. And it confirms my long-held belief, that the way to fix the problems of this world is to look to, to prevent them in, the next generation. Get the kids, and the adults will follow.
I've watched God do truly amazing things this summer.
And now I'm sitting on my couch. Reading Beowulf. Doing Algebra. I concede with my intellect that these things are important. But that doesn't mean I'm not overwhelmingly bored.
God's working on me, though. This morning, he really convicted me. That this year, this time, is where He has called me NOW. Only He knows what He has for the future, but it's my job to live for Him here and now. Which means doing algebra, physics, and youth group on Wednesdays, cheerfully as though for the Lord.
Dear readers, wish me luck.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh, goodness...

I just read over about the last six months of posts, and I realized a couple of things
A) I basically say the same thing over and over. Why do you guys put up with me?
B) I'm really a different person than that chick who was posting here a while back.
But anyway...

We've got VBS behind us, which is always a relief. Love it, wouldn't miss it for the world, really really glad it only comes once a year. Basically the same deal as last year, crew-leading first-and-second graders with Joy, 'cept our new friend Reese joined the team too. Well, not so new, I suppose. Since Christmas-ish. Remember the New Years Eve post? Well, yeah. But anyway, the kids were brilliant, like they always are. I love that age group!! They're still so sweet, and they still have that great attitude that they loose in favor of "coolness" around the time they turn ten.

Also, same deal as last year with playing a psycho part in a bunch of skits only small children would enjoy. This year, I was a star named Sparkle. Sparkle loves to sparkle and sing for Father God. See what I mean? Except this year, it wasn't craziness with Joy and the not-really-but-kind-of-friend-person-thing we got to work with last year. It was craziness with Joy's . . . crowd? Can you call it that. This bunch of really close (and really older than me) people that hang out at her house all the time. Her, her (twenty-two? I think?) older brother Al, her (increda-goofy, but increda-good for her, I definitely approve) boyfriend Mark, Reese (who's twenty-five), and Reese's mom Donna. I had a decidedly less than perfect attitude going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Still get the third-wheel feeling (new, and not fun, but bearable) feeling around Joy and Mark, but as a whole, it was really really fun. Reese is single too, so we pick on them together. Lol. But Reese is a really good friend too. And, Al decided I exist. I mean, he's always been nice to me, but with some decided distance there. Last week he treated me pretty much like he treats his other female friends, so less awkwardness there. And, of course, there's Joy. My best friend on the whole planet, don't know what I'd do without her, Joy. So it was really okay.

What else interesting has happened lately? Oh!! There was that whole thing with Stephen. Yikes. Can I post about that here?
So, I don't know if I've said it before, but a while back (okay, more recently than I wish), I really liked him. Maybe you could tell that from how I've talked about him. What you haven't been able to tell was how bad he hurt me. When you care about somebody, they have this ability to either help or hinder your self-esteem. He chose hinder. I understand not liking me back, that's just a fact of life. But he took it too far, and treated me badly. And it's like I said to, well, I forget who, but if somebody treats you like nothing for long enough? You start to, almost, believe it.
That might be the number one thing God did with me on that trip. He healed me. He cleaned every last remnant of the jerk out of my heart, and he used the guys on the trip, who treated me like a lady deserves to be treated, and like a friend, to remind me of my worth. More on them later.
But then I got home. Of course nothing had changed, I hadn't expected it to. I was willing to just let it go. Then during worship last Sunday, God just wouldn't let me go. It was like He was seriously there poking me, saying, "I don't care if you're over it, you can't just let a brother get away with that." I knew I had to call him out.
It was the scariest, hardest, saddest thing I ever had to do. After worship, he always goes to get a drink of water. So I bolted out of service, waited for him to come out, and called his name. I asked him if I could talk to him for a minute, I dragged him into the youth room. And I told him everything. I told him I didn't have the words to say to him, and that I was asking God to give them to me. I asked him what I've ever done to deserve the way he treated me, I told him I was OOOVVVEEERRRr him. I admitted to him that he had hurt me, and I told him that the next time a girl likes him, he needs to deal with it differently. I told him I loved him as a brother in Christ. I told him I just wanted to be normal again.
He wouldn't admit he'd ever treated me any differently than any other human being. He made excuses. He tried to defend himself. And no matter how mad I was at him, I didn't yell at him. I wasn't ugly. I went to him in love, I kept my patience. And when I'd said everything I had to say and he started to leave, I asked if I could shake his hand. He's the sort of person who takes a handshake seriously. And he shook my hand. Which, I think, means that no matter how much he disagrees with what I said, he heard me, and he had some shred of respect for me by the end of it. It was a truce.
After he left, I near about fell apart. Thank God (no, I'm actually being serious. Thank God.) Joy came out then to get a drink of water. So I dragged her into the bathroom and told her everything. She was proud of me. My mom was proud of me. His sister, my friend Corinne, was proud of me. I think his dad is even proud of me. He keeps giving me these funny grins.
But you know what? I think more than any of them, I'm proud of me. He didn't beat me. I did what God wanted me to do. I did it boldly, and by His strength, I did it well. It was so much more than hard for me, but I did it. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I think that's all the big stuff that's happened over the last few weeks. We did get invites to our dance camp out to the area churches, waiting on return on those. Looking forward, this week is downtime and helping mom finish the canning-freezing-pickling from the garden. Next week is, Lord willing, Exalt dance camp. Another week off, then our dance camp. Wish us luck!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

By the way, I'm home from Dallas. Have been for a week, actually. I suppose I could've mentioned that before the spazz attack about chinchillas.
I won't be posting all the minutiae here, because everybody here, can also go here, to my Dallas-specific blog.
However, my readers here get a better, more in-depth, more honest version of life than readers over there, because most of those readers actually know me, and aren't Joy or my parents. So, in the next little bit, look out for a couple posts about things I don't want to advertise to my entire church body, or my grandparents, or my whole facebook friends list, or people who actually WENT ON the trip, or etc.
Love always to my awesome readers!!!!
I show Corinne and Andrew this video of a chinchilla who enjoys being poked.
Andrew asks: Aren't chinchilla's edible?
My answer? This and this.
Hope you find this as funny as I did. Though, you probably won't.
I love the internet....

Monday, May 9, 2011

So I've been putting off blogging because I have nothing new to say. A Decidedly Better Attitude than last time (remember? a couple posts ago? The Stuff? lol.)
Life consists of:
School. Attempting to finish algebra, catching up in chem., fighting to maintain a passing grade in French, and being hopelessly ahead in history (the Civil War, oddly enough). Quit Bible a while back, as the Crazy Heretic was only serving to cause me to sin, by considering murdering him. Gave up on literature, seeing as how I've already read more books this year than most kids read in their entire high school careers. Getting ready for the *gulp* SATs. I just keep telling myself I can take them again next year.
Dallas. As in, missions trip to. Raising money, making plans, figuring out flights. If you aren't reading my trip blog, To Dallas (and Beyond?), then I should tell you that Mama and Daddy decided to buy my plane ticket. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still waiting on my "encouragement rep" to get back with me on last minute plans, packing lists, and such.
Aaand, last but not least. Actually, most, possibly. Dance camp. I don't think a day goes by that I don't get something accomplished for it, but I'm not stressin' about it anymore. I got a purple accordion folder, a clipboard, a planning meeting or two, and some perspective. Everything's gonna be alright. And I can't tell you how incredibly psyched I am. I know that it should feel like work, but every minute I spend on it feels like, I don't know, fun? We did finally decide to add a "primary" class, so our ages now run from six through eighteen. Eeep!!! My (incredibly talented dancer, daughter of my incredibly talented aunt and mentor) cousin keeps joking about coming. I don't think she actually gets how much that terrifies me. And it's possible that she's not actually kidding.
And, that's about it. Sorry for the recap!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Doctor Whoooooo.

Yes, folks, if you didn't already know, Saturday night was the season premier. Or, if you're like us, don't have tv, and wait for it to hit iTunes, Sunday was the premier. Either way, it happened. As you may've guessed, I'm a bit of a fan. Okay, a big fan. Okay, I'm kind of obsessed. Lol.
But for right now, I could just about kill the entire crew. From the head writer, to Matt Smith himself, to the smallest errand-runner on the set. Because they killed the Doctor. In the first episode.
It's possible that my dear friend Joy has already said it best, so I just might quote her article on it in it's entirety here.
"No matter how much you know that you know that you KNOW something can't be right or real in Doctor Who, there's always that little seed of fear.

You know the actors have signed contracts for the next three seasons. You KNOW that head writers wouldn't commit career suicide that way. You KNOWKNOWKNOW!!!! that something like that happening doesn't match up with the preview for the season or the interviews that have come out or the pictures that have been leaked from filming.
But that fear will always be there. Because the writers are JUST that crazy. The plot line is absolutely THAT unpredictable. The possibility is ALWAYS there that everything you thought you knew about this show could be turned upside down. So you sit there, and you tell yourself, 'Of course not. Moffat isn't that stupid. He's a later version, killed so that the earlier one can do things right where HE messed up.' You think, 'This isn't for REAL. This is another scare, like the marriage thing. Or the Jenny thing. It's gotta be less than it looks like.'
But you still feel like crying as that timelord body floats out onto a lake in Utah, burning bright in its funeral pyre. A small part of you is just about ready to give up hope on fictional humanity, shrivel up, and die.
D: Swear to me. On something important.
A: fingers and custard.
D: My life in your hands, Amelia Pond.
D: And, Doctor Song, you've got that face again.
R: What face?
D: The one that says 'He's incredibly hot when he's clever.'
R: ...*chuckles* This is my normal face.
D: Yes, it is.
Have I mentioned how much I usually believe Moffat deserves to die for his evil ability to leave off on a cliffhanger?"
So, yeah. Incredibly frustrating. This week, waiting for the next episode, might not be fun, but it's always good to know that another episode is just around the corner.

*takes a deep breath*

Well, thank heavens that's over. Craziest weekend EvEr.
Friday night was the Secret Church simulcast. David Platt, who wrote That Book, Radical, is the pastor of a church in Birmingham, Alabama. And this church puts on this event called Secret Church. Basically, they take about seven hours on a Friday night, have some very simple worship, and study the word. Dive down as deep as they can. It's about learning to identify with our brothers and sisters who live in persecution for their faith, all over the world. And my youth group congregated on our youth pastor's living room floor to watch it via simulcast. Fifty thousand people, all over the world, watching the same thing, learning the same things from God's Word, at the same time. Each Secret Church event focuses on a different area of the persecuted church, and Friday night's was India. Fifty thousand believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, praying the same thing at the same time, that God would move amongst the believers in India. Can you imagine? If the prayers of a righteous man availeth much, how about the prayers of fifty thousand? Incredible.
Of course, seven hours is a long time, and one in the morning is extremely late. Corinne and Isabel fell asleep. Tabby turned into a turtle . . . . not sure about that one. And Stephen? Well, he got that "You are keeping me awake, therefore I hate you." scowl on his face. Lol.
Got home around two Saturday morning, took a bit of a nap, got up, went to church for kid's choir practice.
Came home, cut the grass, did other preparation-ey things. And then it was Sunday morning. Hope your Easter/Resurrection Sunday/whatever you want to call it was blessed. We presented our dance in the 'sunrise' service, to the song Lead Me To The Cross, by the Newsboys. The real Newsboys, not Tait and friends. Anyway. It would've been great if I hadn't Tripped. Yes, folks, went down on my knees, stepped on the hem of my skirt, tripped.
Other than that, it was awesome, the girls did great, etc.
Helped with the kids Easter cantata type thing in the late service. Sat in a corner on the stage during their rendition of I Can Only Imagine, to hand the little soloist her microphone at the right time. Skittered up on stage to stand behind Noah, the little boy in our children's ministry who just so happens to be blind, hold his hands, and lead him through the (crazy fun) motions to Take it All. It was kind of awesome. Noah just has this outlook on life that's . . . refreshing.
Then WAM (worship art's ministry) practice, with the same kids, working with them on their hip-hop piece as a help to Mom. They're coming along so well with that one. It's so cute!!!
Came home, took a shower (dance, kids dance, more kids dance. How many people come home from Sunday-church sweaty?), went to Nikki and Dawn's for the annual Easter egg hunt. This year, all of us from Riley and up hid so that the four littlest cousins could hunt. Then us "big kids" or, "old people," depending on who you ask, had an awesome scavenger hunt, at the end of which lurked some candy and an iTunes gift card. I love growing up. :D
Went to Nana and Papaw's for a visit. Ate leftover ham. Then Riley started really not feeling good (went to the doctor this morning, sinus/ear infection) and we went home.
Watched the PREMIER OF DOCTOR WHO, SEASON SIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hehehe, but that's a story for another post.
Have a good day!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So I owe y'all an apology. That post yesterday was moopy, whiney, and not a great testimony. I'm not a-gonna take it down, 'cause that would be even lamer, but I am going to apologize for it. My attitude wasn't great, and I'm sorry for that.
I guess it all ties back to the fact that I'm not perfect. Not that I ever claimed to be, but I usually try better than that. God's not finished with me yet. But that's still no excuse for a lack of peace and a bad attitude.
So, forgive me?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Stuff

...for all that I'm not a huuuge Francesca Battistelli fan, if you've heard her new song the stuff, you might have an idea of how life is for Ella right now. If you haven't heard it, check it out here. And now, you get it. :D "Might not be what I would choose, but this is the stuff you use."
Okay, so it's not all that bad. But it's . . . something.
So saturday was the church giveaway, which wasn't such a big deal, aside from being at the church at eight in the morning. On a Saturday. An hour before I'd like to be up, at least. But I'm just whining. Then thrift storing for skirts for the Easter dance. Which is on Easter. Which is THIS Sunday. With Mom and Joy. And like, none of the people we were shopping for were able to go shopping with us, so it was all up to us. Which, as irritating as that sounds, was really a good thing, because when we all go shopping together, we fight, throw tantrums, and act like divas. :/
Then came home and planned for the DANCE CAMP. Which, we're actually going. The pastor approved the idea of me and Joy leading it, so we had a sit down and worked out a schedule that didn't require us to clone ourselves. We don't get to eat lunch, but we'll get everything done.
Sunday was church, which was kind of . . . not good. You know how sometimes the vibe is just different? Well, it was one of those days. I thought, between all of us girls, somebody was gonna die. But, I did turn in Compassion money to the lady whose bank account we're using for it, and only had to loan it three dollars of my own money besides my personal contribution to the fund to do it. Then church got out, one of the dance group girl's mom pulled me aside and got on me for not giving her enough information early enough. One of my friends pulled me aside AGAIN to ask me a question that was ABSOLUTELY not a major deal, and between it all, we didn't get the prayer time we really needed.
Sunday night would've been great, except for this one little kid who is driving me nutty. She's two. Terrible, terrible two.
Came home, slept, was woken up at quarter-to-eight by Corinne, texting to ask me if I was coming to Otherband practice today. I wanted to. I asked Mom. She said no, I had to do school, and my priorities were mixed up, because school should come first. We fought, blah, blah, blah.
Couldn't find my STUPID!!! Rosetta Stone headset, so it took me about an hour to get started in French, which I haven't done all year. Corinne called and said that the skirt I bought her makes her look like a "prairie girl." A.) I have no clue what that means. B.) It's just gonna have to be good enough. C.) If anybody else gives me bad new today, I JUST MIGHT SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Friday is a youth event. Which makes the dance girls coming over to tie-dye a shirt to wear in the dance extremely difficult, because the event runs 'til one in the morning. So, if we pull it off, everybody comes back to my house, we get up at an ungodly hour the next morning, tie-dye, skitter to the church for "practice" for the kids Easter program, where everybody's parents will pick them up. Come home, eventually untie and wash tie-dyes, bring them to the SUNRISE service the next morning, give them to their recipients. Who will change into them in the fifteen minutes we'll have to get ready for our dance. Somebody's is bound to not fit, and somebody is bound to hate theirs.
Then go to my cousins after church for the annual Easter Egg Hunt, which got old about six years ago, and is always awkward.
And on top of everything, there's this one stupid idiot. Who keeps popping up in my head, doing stupid things, breaking my concentration, and bringing me down.
Somewhere in all of this, I have to find time to send out MORE support letters for Dallas, hope to dear-merciful-heavens I get donations by the due-date of MAY SECOND, pick songs for dance camp, write a Bible study for dance camp, and try like anything not to kill anybody.