Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door...

~Painting by John Howe, a wonderful Tolkien illustrator~

Tomorrow I'm leaving my cozy hobbit hole to begin my second semester of school away from home.

What a little hobbit I feel in this big world! Good thing, too, because if I were an elf or wizard who saw shadows of the future and was responsable for deciding the fate of the world, I would hide in my closet and never come out, even for all the riches of Numenor or all the darkest chocolate.

I'm sad at leaving my family. I love these folks, and the house will be even emptier now that Jonny has just left for school also. Ah, I feel such a deserter! But my mom wants me to go, so I'll do the best I can. I only have three more semesters left. I plan to come back home after I finish, to write and learn and grow and serve, untill my knight shows up to carry me away to a little castle somwhere. Hm, I wonder who he will be? Before I go off rambling about my longings for marrage (which I shall assuradly discuss another time), I must say that, while I hate having to leave my dear family in this emptying house, I'm also excited about the new adventures before me. And I hope that, like Chesterton's character Smith in Manalive, by leaving I shall learn to treasure home anew in more ways than expected.

"I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again." ~Frodo Baggins~

Friday, August 11, 2006

The power of the vacuum!

Cleaning house is wonderful.

Our house is lived-in. A sink void of dishes is a rare sight. If we had a mantelpiece, it would never pass Mary Poppin's inspection (though she just might forgive us since it's almost impossible to keep away dust in West Texas.) And most of us have a terrible propensity for leaving things lying all around the house. I unfailingly accumulate a stack of things at "my end" of the dining room table, and this past summer it has often included the following:
  1. Bible and journal
  2. novel
  3. spiritually/intellectually challenging book
  4. books "to read" (a largish stack, too easily pulled from the shelves which line an entire wall of the dining room, and too rarely actually read)
  5. quote book (to record pithy sayings from 2 and 3, if I ever find the pages again)
  6. tea pot and tea cup, and/or coffee mug
  7. pages from story I'm writing
  8. scribbled notes, brainstorm notebook, sketchbook, and topographical map for above (ok, not the map)
  9. Spanish textbooks, vocabulary cards, and grammar notes
  10. mail
  11. laptop computer
My mother often works on art stuff at the other end of the table, and between the two of us we end up taking over the table. Then we clean it up one day so we can start over again, hee hee!

Oh, speaking of my loverly mom, she has her own blog where you can see some of the things she does. I love living in an artistic house! I know I'm not always as appreciative of all the neat things she does, since I see it all the time, but when people come over and ooh and ahh, I'm chastened and reminded again what a treasure my mom is.

Back to the house: in some senses it is better than it used to be. No more baby toys scattered around in every corner of every room. No more high chair trays to clean. No more diaper-loaded trash bags to carry out. How sad, eh? And I'm not being sarcastic...weel, maybe a tad, but I do love babies, and their messes are small troubles compared to their worth. Our messes now just have a different content to them. They are more comfortable, and therein lies their danger!

But today we cleaned house. Don't you love a clean bathroom, just begging for a dancing candle flame to transform it into a cozy spa? I remember again the joy of vacuuming; it makes me feel strong to sweep around rooms with my hefty weapon and chase away to nothing bits of thread and dust. They could not escape me today! As an ancient swordmaiden I was, but my sword was a instrument of cleaning. I am no man!

And now the day is done, the floors clean, piano dusted, dishes loaded, feet tired with a good ache, and I am about to try to tidy my room a bit before bed. It is the receptacle and gravitating grounds of my stacks and piles of odds and ends. Come to think of it, some evens and beginnings are there, also. But at least the floor is vacuumed already.

I'm sleepy.
Messes are fun, but clean is also nice. And tomorrow I'll begin making more messes to have the fun of doing it all again.

Oh, before I go, here's the dirt and I conversing:

Dirt: "Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"

Me: "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Rael I am, Dale's daughter. You stand between me and my floor, sink, and clean house. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you!

(note: I did not write Lord of the Rings, which is Tolkien's, and which I have here shamelessly quoted and slightly altered. Honor is due the writer of the classic and highly applicable words from which parodies abound in our house!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vocabulary thanks, too much salt, and material

(Look at this poor fellow! I've felt like this when sleep is a nagging creature and nothing makes sense, least of all unfinished homework. I want to give him a pat on the back, a coffeemaker, and some lively soundtracks!)

Isn't it nice that so many things come in families? Even languages. My Spanish vocabulary words for today were many, but thankfully so many were similar to English that I almost learned them all! For this, today I am very grateful. I suppose I should also rejoice for recent, endless stacks of words which make me realize the ease of these. Grudgingly I do, though I've sometimes grumbled that the teacher couldn't reasonably expect students to memorize those three-inch high word decks. (I always like to forget how late I start studying. Hm, why might that be?) Observing now my attitude, another ever-present blessing shows it's face. Christ's goodness covers my horrid procrastination and unthankfulness, always, forever, and nothing can take it away! And He wants me to see and trust, not just "try harder," for glorying in His cross makes the difference.

Theology and philosophy are such my predictable rambling grounds. Mayhaps the only doorway I know into the curious land of Blog opens here. But there are more pithy, potatoes and toast and string-cheese fields further on, if I can only get there! Salt eaten plain is rather nasty, eh?

Admission: I love new clothes. The new feel and smell, the inviting possibilities for new combinations with old things, and the very beauty of them, suddenly make choosing garb in the morning no longer a dread chore, but an anticipated treat.

Confession: I have a tendency to scorn the "modern materialistic girl who's obsessed with clothes." I often build up in my head pictures of people who are actually unrealistic or at least rare, and resolve to avoid their foibles at all cost. Now, there may be those who can spend more in one shopping trip than I have on my biggest purchase ever (my li'l laptop), but I do hope I will love them no less for it! I really have a thick head, for I feel I'm only now learning that it's ok, and perhaps even good to enjoy wearing pretty things. Astonishing thought!. Or perhaps the astonishment comes from finding things on sale that are not only elegant, feminine, and classy, but *gasp* modest. Jump for joy and three huzzahs for such wonders! I don't have to dress in dumpy clothes to honor my Christian brothers and future husband, and in fact, perhaps I honor them better by dressing more like a woman. Obvious, yes. Is it my love for extremes that sometimes inclines me to baggy pants and tee shirts? They are not bad, I know. Two of my dearest shirts are tees. But I guess the main danger comes from not caring or, perhaps, caring too much.

All that was meant to eventually say that I went shopping with my mom, and we found quite a few nice things on decent sales. I keep sneaking to peep in my closet to make sure they're real, and fondling them. My Great Aunt Ginger (Virginia), who I just saw in Colorado, helped remind me that looking nice and feminine is important. Seeing beauty seems much better than theorizing about it, as speaking a language is better than cramming and forgetting. And knowing Christ is far greater than simply knowing about Him.

(I must learn not to go on and on like this. A few focused paragraphs should be my limit. Having written this in segments late last night, I'm wondering if I should delete it; it seems almost more sarcastic than thankful, and I fear it is terribly dull, or at least unhelpful. And I can't seem to make the font consistent...)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
~Psalm 65: 9,10~

I've always loved this poetic description of rain. It makes me think of Disney's old short film, Johnny Appleseed, which showed rain coming down on furrows, making the youngling trees shoot up.

"The Lord is good to me
and so I thank the Lord.
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the appleseed.
Yes He's been good to me."

In the new Narnia movie, after winter is over, Edmund redeemed, the battle won, and the Golden Age about to begin, renewing rain falls pattering over the land. Regrowth, cleaning, blessing after the dry season.

And yesterday, I stood outside and watched it come down in sheets. Here in dusty West Texas, where little cars drown in flash-flooded streets for lack of proper drainage. In our very front yard, which my mother has been struggling to keep watered, because one sweltering day is all it takes to wilt flowers and fry grass. The wet stuff came down as rippling brushes, sweeping the street clean, dotting the sidewalk with circles and rings, and dripping from the blackened pine trunks. Of course, I had to get out in it a bit and plash with my toes, joyfully half-soaking myself before growing cold and running inside.

And this on the day I had determined to watch for a blessing about which to blog.

I've decided that since I've been cynical and far too critical lately, and since I've nearly forgotten my new blog already for lack of "things to talk about," the logical thing to do is to blog about
blessings. No matter size or perceived importance, that's what I expect to do for a while now. Maybe I'll keep away the sarcasm, and not write, "I got a 65 on my Spanish quiz today. Hurrah." Or maybe there will be those days. But I think it should be interesting, and hopefully the Lord will open my eyes to His ever-present blessings.

"In dry places, such as parts of Africa, India, and the Middle East, rain is greeted with euphoria." ~Wikipedia~

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sobering joy

Today some sudden horrid thoughts attacked all in a rush. What if I marry a regular "nice guy" by accident? What if married life is much less exciting than my expectations? What if I never have kids and the opportunity to teach and nurture and grow younglings of my own as a legacy? Or what if I'm a terrible mom? Supposing I don't finish college, when my parents and grandparents are counting on me? Suppose I do, but I need to work and can never find anything better than selling chicken, again? Will I always sit at home mindlessly surfing the net, doing the endless circle of life that is dishes, and never get to do any big great work?


And almost in the next moment a warmth and a glory take fear's place. I remembered that Christ would still be with me, and I could rest in my all-sufficient Redeemer. Me, my whole life, can and should now be seen through Christ's glorious cross! All dulness He can make gleam. All misery He has made profitable and a way to fellowship with Him. All the unexpected little beauties and daily common things He's just waiting to show me and say, "See? I made that person able to smile! Guess who thought up that fly spider? And the cat with all her pert cleaning instincts and content thrummy insides? Sit and listen. I have saved you to know my glory! No life, knowing and showing that, is worthless!"
I'm still praying for the godly husband beyond my dreams, and a great many more good things. But the greatest gift is already mine.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Quotation marks...or covers?

My quote book is practically full now, aside from a page or two with a bit of space left. Seeing it filled with scribbling is akin to finishing a journal, leaving one with a sort of satisfied "ah" inside just to hold it, turning the pages and remembering all the pleasant books in which the gleanings first dwelt. A bit like a scrapbook of words. Now I aim to re-do the cover. I never liked it much. It bears a quote about following your deepest heart's desire or some such pop-psycho mumbo. I'm going to do something with bits of paper, I think, a collage of sorts using a clearish glue called "Mod Podge". I have so much paper I should put to use, I just might do some other things at the same time.

(at the end of the day)
Ah, here it is! Not quite what I expected, but I like it. I have tons of old Lord of the Rings calanders and such, and here I put some of them to use. Though it was hard at first ripping them. So precious...

~front cover~

~back cover~

Friday, June 23, 2006

Simmer slowly on brain's back burner

Reading bad reviews can be amusing. It's chilling sensation to actually feel the person pulling out hair as they pound the keyboard, steaming their faces up all red-ish. Cooking tomatoes to chuck at the offending writer/filmmaker. Do they know that sometimes I feel so sorry for the catsup-stained, abused work that I take pity and read/watch it for myself to find and savor the good points? Do either of us know, or take care to ponder the ethics of reverse psychology?

I've already expressed some skepticism I have of the book. Maybe I was too hasty. Hmm. May the Lord give me a soft heart and a wise head! Coo, coo, hiss-hiss, as Bill Jack says.

Time for me to percolate po-ta-toes for dinner while my thoughts boil. I might also order my word-ponder strange...

A heartwarming, feminine site

About a year ago, I came across the wonderful place, the Young Ladies Christian Fellowship. I've been haunting it often recently. Gretchen, one of it's founders, was just married, and while I'm happy and almost jealous of her, it's also rather melancholy. She was such a strong encouragement as another single young lady, and now she's abandoned our ranks! The "Old Maid" section has ominously disappeared. But the site is still lovely. It has some wonderful quotes, such as a page full on my favorite beverage besides tea:

A morning without coffee is like sleep.
-Author Unknown

This one is quite poetic:

Coffee makes us severe, and grave, and philosophical.
-Jonathan Swift

One more. This is too fun.

This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.
-Honore de Balzac, "The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee"

Is that not fabulous?


A new blog. So young, so very small and inexperienced. It knows not it stands as one among millions starting their future so bright, with dreams to capture all blog readers with witty humor, piercing beauty, and soaring life-changing wisdom.

For now I shall let it dream on, oblivious to harsh reality. In the meantime, methinks it will not mind a bit coming to my service in posting favorite links, pics, poems, quotes, and the like. A little helpmeet it shall be. But oh, what a task!


As for the title, I hope to reflect beauty I've been given and point back to the Beautiful One.