Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Olympics!


     Tonight's the night! It's the night that the 2012 Summer Games finally begin! Now, I don't care too much about sports, but the Opening Ceremonies are worth all the hubub. It's a time when a country can show off to the world, and let everyone know just how wonderful they are. Now, I don't know anyone who thinks that England isn't great. so now, let's take a moment to appreciate all of the things that make the UK a wonderful place in honor of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Because let's be real. If Britain hadn't colonized the 'New World' our lives would be very different.

British Television.
I'm sorry that Nextflix has made it only possible to talk about British television... but not really.

Big, red, double-Decker buses
Because please tell me you don't want to ride in one.

Where else in the world could the graffiti street art of an anarchist be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars with such irony?
Great People
Such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Adam Smith, Dr. Suess, John Donne, William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, Newton, Darwin, the list goes on.

The Harry Potter Series
Even if you don't like/support the books, there's no denying that Harry has made a huge cultural impact on the world. 

So many other great books
I am of the personal opinion that the only good books are written by the British (and French, and the people from other countries that come to live in Britain). 

Amazing Actors
I'll admit, some of these are my personal preferences, but I can't be denied that GB puts out some awesome talent.

British Food
People come from around the world just to taste the wonderful treats that this country has to offer... No wait, that's everywhere else. 
That Dry Sense of Humor
Because when the world's going mad it's always nice to keep things in perspective

And there you have it: 10 things that make Britain great. Happy Olympics everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beautiful People

This month it's the Choose whatever questions you want month! I'm doing three characters: 2 I haven't really developed much, and one that's been with me a really long time :) Here they are, Meera Zhandi, Jennifer (Jenny) Miller, and Alekshuia Nagalo (Meera and Leks are from the same story [a fantasy], Jenny is in her own [somewhere between normal fiction and fantasy]). I don't really have any pictures for these, maybe I'll find some and add them later.

Meera Zhandi
If your character’s house burned down, and they were left with nothing but the clothes on their back, what would they do? Where would they go?
First off, she'd be super irritated that her house burned down, seeing as her best friend is a fire mage (for lack of a better term), and she'd actually be inclined to suspect her friend's involvement. But, she'd be more concerned for her parents than herself, seeing as how she didn't really have many possessions anyways since she works and stays in the temple. She would go back to the temple, where she spends a lot of time anyways and probably sleep there while trying to find her parents a place to stay.

Are they happy with where they are in life, or would they like to move on?
She's incredibly happy where she is in life. She's comfortable, she loves her work and she hates change. The only problem in her life are all the antics of Alekshuia that she has to put of with, going behind her and putting out (sometimes literally) all of her fires.
Are they well-paid?
She gets room and board, which is really all she wants. Her family gets a small stipend to live on for her work which is nice too.
Can they read?
She was able to read at one point. She is, however, mostly blind now and can no longer read. She does have heightened senses, so she can still 'see' in some sense, but it's mostly from using her hearing and sense of touch that she's able to discern the layout of her surroundings. But no. she can't read.
What languages do they speak?
She speaks Vallandian as her first language, and has learned to speak Kelmarian since she is a refugee in that country.
What is their biggest mistake? 
I don't know, depending on her mood she might say it was choosing to befriend Leks, but that's just if she feels irritated or tired (she can be crochety little things when she wants to be). Probably she would say her biggest mistake was choosing to leave boy she loved behind when she first ran to Kelmair as a refugee. She's never seen him again.
What did they play with most as a child?
She had dolls that she would play with.
What are their thoughts on politics?
She's incredibly grateful to the country that's taken her in, and is a monarchist through and through. She's incredibly conservative and supports the king, even if she dislikes his cabinet and advisers, vultures that they are.
What is their expected life time?
She's 100% human, but in another dimension so, probably around 100 years. That's about the average human lifespan, give or take 20 years.
If they were falsely accused of murder, what would they do? How would they react?
She'd be more irritated than anything. She's a foreigner and people are suspicious of foreigner, especially since it was her people who started the war with Kelmair. She wouldn't be surprised, but she wouldn't be afraid either. She has some friends in some pretty powerful places.

Jennifer (Jenny) Miller
What is their full name?
Jennifer Diane Miller
Does his or her name have a special meaning?
Not even a little bit. The first and last name was the name of one of my mom's friends whose sons I played with growing up, and for the middle name, I took  my friend's mom's first name. All for no particular reason.
Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?
Totally methodical. She hates change or the unexpected. Although she is a bit sloppy about her appearance, but that's because she's not really vain and isn't interested in other people's opinions of her. 
Does he or she think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (more importantly, does he or she actually have friends?)
She thinks inside herself, and no, she doesn't really have friends. She's not opposed to the idea of friends (and is incredibly lonely even if she doesn't realize it). She will, however, make friends in the future. She just needs to grow out of her own awkwardness and put on some confidence pants.
Is there something he or she is afraid of?
The dark (although she gets over that pretty quickly) and also of never mattering. That fear happens when you read as much as she does.
Does he or she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?
She reads. She's an incredibly uninteresting person, although she doesn't realize that. She's got a lot going on in her head, she just doesn't ever really let it out. She should probably start writing or something, but then she couldn't read as much.  People really shouldn't read all the time. (I can't believe I just said that).
What is his or her favorite book? (or genre of books)
Her favorite book is A Tale of Two Cities, and she really likes fiction about the French Revolution.
Who is his or her favorite author and/or someone that inspires him or her?
Her favorite author is Charles Dickens. She's read all of his books.
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Favorite season of the year?
She likes Christmas. Is Christmas a season? It should be if it isn't.

Alekshuia (Leks pron. Lex) Nagalo

What is their station in life? 
She's had many stations in her life. She was born in relative poverty, but when she was four was brought into the elite social class of her country. Which is still like relative poverty. It's hard to explain, but this whole class system is based on Plato's Republic. If you've read that you'll understand. She is now an adviser to the country's young king, and occupies some official position in their military.    
Does he/she have any siblings? How many? Where does he/she fit in? 
One half sister. She and her sister met briefly, unaware of their relationship to one another. The encounter did not end well. 
Who is his/her best friend?
Meera for sure. Despite their differences they would do anything for each other.
What is his/her family like?
When she was born it was just her and her mom, her father wasn't even aware of her existence. Her mom died when she was four and she was taken in by the state. Her mom was really a sweet and simple person, but she never got to know her very well. When she was a ward she was raised communally with other children. There was no one adult figure she could imprint on, so she's grown up emotionally stunted let's say. She's still very child-like in her interactions with other people. She met her father when she was sixteen. He's very closed off and professional (he's a politician, what did you expect?) and the two of them don't even pretend to like each other. And neither will acknowledge their relationship to the other, even to each other. She also has a half-sister.
What is their back-story and how does it affect them now?
A lot of her back story has to do with her relationships with her family members. Because her mom died when she was four she's pretty much retained the emotional capacity of a four year-old. This, in turn, causes many of her decisions to be a bit petty and emotionally driven. She tends to lash out a people she doesn't like causing them pain, and taking a few more casualties in the process. She's brilliant, and she's pretty cool and calculating when she has her emotions under control. Unfortunately it's pretty easy to set her off. She's really a simple person. She never had a family and that's all she really wants, a simple life with a family. 
Is he/she naturally curious?
Why yes, yes she is. Much to the chagrin of everyone around her.
What are his/her quirks?
She can change her face if that counts. She also is afraid of having hiccups and twiddles her thumbs subconsciously.  
Do they believe in love at first sight?
Yes, she's a secret romantic at heart.
What would they do if they discovered they were dying?
She would probably take it all in stride, she is over 400 after all! And then she would cry because life is so unfair. And then she would chastise herself and be chipper and happy and start crossing things off of her bucket list. And then she would throw something at a wall. Repeat.
How do they show love? 
She becomes incredibly loyal, to a fault. She'll do anything for that person and is very jealous of their affection. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Single and Happy?

                "So, is there anyone special in your life right now?” “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Wait, you’ve never had a boyfriend!?! Well, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time.” As a young (almost) twenty-something I get this a lot actually. In college a lot of people are branching out, getting into serious relationships and getting married by the time they graduate. And even before that people start dating as young as middle school now (if you can call that dating). In this culture it’s a  little, well, weird, to find someone who, not only is NOT currently seeking any relationships, but has nothing interesting to speak of about her past either.
     I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It happens when you go to college, and look at the male population and are like ‘Holy Cow, I could actually end up marrying one of you!’ But, more and more lately, I’ve been thinking about marriage and singleness and I’ve been feeling more and more that God’s calling me to be single. Now, there’s nothing broken in me, on the contrary, I’ve been planning my wedding since I was ten, I have all of my children’s name’s picked out, and I even have a wedding board on Pinterest and I want to Honeymoon at Disney. I have all these plans, but more and more lately I’ve felt like they’re my plans and not God’s. Still, a decision to remain single is daunting one in this society.
       I never dated in high school (and to be fair I know a lot of people who didn’t, even if that’s not the social norm) and now, in college, I’m still not really all enthused with the idea of ‘going out' with someone (let it be known that this is NOT a blog about the superiority of some form of courtship over dating, but is about the reason why singleness is not a disease). It seems a lot of my friends last year started finding ‘The Guy’ that is right for them, I have friends who are still madly in love with their high school sweethearts, and everyone else is on the lookout. It’s the subject of almost every conversation, many churches use their singles groups as mix and mingle forums and I’m just standing over here like ‘what, exactly, is the problem with being single?’ In our society there’s an enormous pressure on girls especially to be in a relationship with some guy. If girls go through a period of singleness they start asking questions like, ‘what’s wrong with me?’ ‘What is it about me that’s unlovable?’  Even in the church there’s a pressure for women to marry. We even look at older single women and think ‘How sad’. But, I put it to you, is that a Biblical perspective?    
     Simply put, no. I’ve been thinking about 1 Corinthians a lot lately (of course it would be that book) and Paul has some incredibly interesting things to say about marriage and singleness that I just haven’t been able to get out of my mind:

25 Now concerning virgins I have (A)no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who [a](B)by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the[b]present (C)distress, that (D)it is good for a man [c]to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have [d]trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, (E)the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not (F)make full use of it; for(G)the form of this world is passing away.
32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is(H)unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but [e]to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let [f]her marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart, [g]being under no constraint, but has authority [h]over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

I bolded the parts that I’ve been thinking about. I know that that’s long, but it’s best to look at these things in a broader context. The part that’s really been on my mind is verse 26. It’s not really clear what Paul meant by ‘this present distress’, there are lots of theories none of which sound more plausible than any other to me, but it got me thinking about the economic state of our country. Everyone knows that it’s not good right now, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s probably not going to get any better. In fact, many economists give it 10-15 years before a state of total economic collapse in America and maybe even a bit before that for the EU. This isn’t what Paul was talking about, but if this is not a present time of distress then I don’t know what is. But, I was thinking, say I did get married, that would probably happen in the next three to five years. Probably soon after that, say one to two years I would start having children. I don’t think that, if I did get married, I would feel morally comfortable taking the pill, so there goes birth-control. In ten to fifteen years I could probably have a family of three or four, all under the age of 10. If, then, a complete economic collapse comes, how am I going to provide for my family? How am I going to make sure they’re all ok? I can’t.

Well, that’s a selfish reason, some people may think. You’re not going to get married and have children just because of some sort of disaster that may or may not happen in the future!?! WHAT ABOUT THE BABIES!!!!!1!!!111. Well, no, I don’t think that’s very selfish at all. In fact, Paul would agree with me. Choosing to stay single isn’t a selfish decision. Paul indicates earlier in the chapter (v.7) that being Single is a spiritual gift from God (I’m not saying that I have that), and that “because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife” (v. 2). Also, the idea of staying single in times of distress is a logical one as well. If, as I truly believe, a disaster of an economic sort is coming on this country there are things that need to be done in the service of God. Women and orphans will need to be cared for, the message of the Gospel will be needed by people more than ever, spiritual services will be required that a wife and a mother just won’t be equipped to give. If I had those responsibilities I would be expected to care for my family first, I would be one of the people requiring assistance and wouldn’t be able to serve others as effectively. That’s not a bad thing. If I were a wife and mother I believe God would expect me to serve the needs of my family first. As a single woman, however, I believe that I could accomplish more for the kingdom of God, simply because I would have more time (v. 34).

Now, do I think that people who decide to get married are wrong for doing so? Absolutely not. Two people who get married in the Lord and raise their children for Him are doing a valuable thing for His kingdom. It’s not an easy job and in a large way they’re to be commended. They just can’t do all the things that a single man or woman is able to do. Any Godly married man or woman will tell you this. So, I believe that the Bible teaches that being single is far from being a handicap on a person, it allows the man or woman to do more for the Lord. I also believe that, for the time being, God is calling me to a life of singleness. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else, it just means that different things will be expected of me than will be expected of my friends who marry. So, if you feel called to a life of singleness, there’s nothing wrong with you. Even if you don’t feel called, but God just hasn’t placed anyone in your life right now, there’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, you are able to do more to further the kingdom of God right now than you could if you were in a relationship. You’re able to devote all your resources to Him because you don’t have any other obligations.

Well, I suppose that’s enough rambling for right now. Just some of my thoughts as I move into the world of adulthood and try and decide what God wants me to do with my life. Maybe this will help someone else too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


     So, for the past 10 days I've been at Precept Ministry's Summer Camp in Tennessee. My brother and I flew back yesterday so we're both glad to be home. Camp was so amazing! Precept Ministries is a company founded by Jack and Kay Arthur who are famous, in Christian circles, for the publication of their inductive Bible studies which encourage Christians to study the word of God for themselves. Every summer they have a camp for 14-18 year olds who want to learn to study the Bible in-depth. It's really different from any other Christian camp that I've ever been to. We have a lot of fun, playing with sports and getting to know other Christian kids, but we also spend about 5 hours a day in the classroom delving into the word of God learning to study it for ourselves. I remember my days as a camper and the amazing things that we learned about God through His word. It's a fantastic ministry run by people who truly love the Lord and want to share His word with the world.

     This was my first year attending as a councilor instead of a camper so that was a huge change. I was actually support staff, which is different.  But God truly blessed the camp this year (as He does every year) and He's shown Himself in huge ways this past week. I want to get more into it, but I'll devote several posts to that, hopefully with pictures. As it is right now my brother and I have made it home, and now we're getting ready to have family over for Fourth of July celebrations. My mom recently got a pinterest so we've been crafting all sorts of neat things all morning in addition to all the unpacking and laundry and general cleaning that's been going down. All I can say is it's good to be home and I'm looking forward to the future :)