Sunday, December 25, 2011

Silence that can't stay quiet...


Stillness is my strain.
My heart will flood in effervescent silence.
I drown in wonder.
But it is peaceful, this shaking awe.
My soul burns to sing.

Shattered I stumble,
before a splintered manger and laughing cross.
You will reshape me
with unshakable and faithful hands.
Bind with freedom's chains.

Afflicted by light,
burning from windless reverence to wild song.
Give me melody.
Joy so ferocious and strong a word,
quiet and clarion.

Fullness overflows
Through wonderment that ruptures in vibrant praise and dance.
Can I comprehend
the beauty of grace, extent of love,
the face of my King?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Portrait - G. K. Chesterton

Fair faces crowd on Christmas night
Like seven sons a-row,
But all beyond is the wolfish wind
And the crafty feet of the snow.

But through the route one finger groes
With quick and quiet tread;
Her robe is plain, her form is frail--
Wait if she turn her head.

I say no word of line or hue,
But if that face you see,
Your soul shall know the smile of faith's,
Awful frivolity.

Know that in this grotesque old masque,
Too loud we cannot sing,
Or dance to wild, or speak to wide
To praise a hidden thing.

That though the jest be as old as night,
Still shaketh sun and sphere
An everlasting laughter
Too loud of us to hear.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Win!

I suggest avoiding procrastination. 10,000 words in one day, especially when you left your reading glasses in the Las Vegas airport, is painful.

NaNoWriMo is over. My novel is not. But it December and I feel like I have a life again, and MERRY CHRISTMAS! :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

NaNoWriMo is suffering against awesome things like my brother's wedding and gadding about the country.
I'm currently at 18,426. And I've been doing crazy stuff like writing 6,000 in one sitting and dorky things like that. If it weren't for word wars, I might just be dead. I still haven't given up yet. Foolish...and hopeful.

That puts me at 40,814 total for this version of my novel.
When the document opens I don't stare sickly at it for a half hour before I start typing something like, "And then a volcano exploded, burying them all in its ash" or "Ramirez tactical genius was no match for the alien invasion. The world would not remember that night"...like previous versions. I think we're getting somewhere.

Ramirez is getting on my nerves and Lilly is so confused she confuses me...and I spent one cold night of guilt imagining Judvor's blood on the snow...but other than that, things are going all right.

According to NaNoWriMo.org's terrifying statistics I need to write 3,158 each day. Think I can make it?

Perhaps rambling thoughts on PA, poetry, and my bro's wedding to come.... Most likely silence while I write in other places.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poetry Procrastination

Getting distracted instead of starting NaNoWrMo...

This was inspired by an intriguing fictional character who has deep psychological issues. :-) It's still very rough, but here goes...


Alex

Beat your head upon this wall
You need more or you need less,
But nothing's letting you run free.
If it was easy to just confess.

There's a heavy weight somewhere,
Swinging from your angry soul.
You remember all the faces
But that hate is in your own blue eyes.

You have an answer for guilt
Laughing at you and wild pain.
But numbing blood and its questions
If it would only shout forever.

There's no answer you can hear,
You filled your ears long ago.
"It's never too late," they repeat.
But they never knew people like you.

Don't fight at the bloody tree.
Death only hurts a moment.
But this dying is forever.
You know falling down is killing you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drugged on Bookstores and Poetry

Many things happened last week (a thoughtful blog post not included).


Noteworthy incidents involved happy moments in two different book stores...and the spending of money...and the bringing home of books. More Chesterton, Wodehouse, Doug Wilson, Dr. Leithart, Dianna Wynne Jones, and Ray Bradbury.



I also picked up my first Billy Collins book, Ballistics. I think I discovered some poetry that my Mumsie actually likes. :-) Dance of joy!

So far, none of the following poems have captured me like the first, but the whole book is worth this one...

August in Paris

I have stopped here on the rue des ├ęcoles
just off the boulevard St-Germain
to look over the shoulder of a man
in a flannel shirt and a straw hat
who has set up an easel and a canvas chair
on the sidewalk in order to paint from a droll angle
a side-view of the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

But where are you, reader,
who have not paused in your walk
to look over my shoulder
to see what I am jotting in this notebook?

Alone in this city,
I sometimes wonder what you look like,
if you are wearing a flannel shirt
or a wraparound blue skirt held together by a pin.

But every time I turn around
you have fled through a crease in the air
to a quiet room where the shutters are closed
against the heat of the afternoon,
where there is only the sound of your breathing
and every so often, the turning of a page.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Joys of Writing...

20,000 words into the 13th draft of my story and all my characters are having identity crisis! Good times... :-P

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Magical Word Counts...

Been doing a lot of planning, scheduling, and goal setting these days.

I've told myself I can monologue about my WIP as soon as I'm back to 25,000 words (yes, I started over). Right now I've set a daily 1,000 word quota. Some days are more torturous than others, but it's all been worth it. Back up to 12,000.

Teaching and tutoring again for the fall. Always helps keep me with a fresh perspective.

Been writing scraps of sad looking poetry...which makes me immensely happy.

Did you see the rainbow today? Too bad something so majestic makes me think of something trivial...like little green men. Sort of like the word "magical". Hmm...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist - Brant Pitre


Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre

Rating: 6
Readability: 6
Impact: 6

Read it Again: No. Might refer to a few passages.
Recommend It: Not over other books on the same subject.

What to Expect

Observations on the Lord's Supper from the Old Testament and what we know of Jewish life from a Catholic perspective. 

Feels written by the rules (in good and bad ways), but with some big gaps in his arguments. Many of his observations are fascinating and true, but some of his approach and conclusions are puzzling.

Most of the book doesn't touch on specifically Roman Catholic doctrine. What is more startling and prevalent than he's brief passages and weak arguments directly on transubstantiation, is what he seems to say about Jesus.

Pitre focuses on Jesus divinity in several areas, but seems to imply in several others that Jesus didn't know what was going to happen to Him. His Christ seems not to know how His own life was written. This scared me. This topic, however, is so complicated and has so many definition arguments, it's hard to know what he's actually saying. 

There also seemed a big separation from spiritual and physical ideas and commands. Which, I guess makes sense along with other Roman Catholic beliefs, but I'd never thought about it that way before.

My Squib

Glad I read the book. The typology and historical aspects give some good food for thought. It is the first specifically Roman Catholic book I've read, and although there were several things I disagreed with, it was a good experience. 

You can get most of Brant Pitre's interesting bits plus a wider and more organized look at Lord's Supper throughout the Bible, from Dr. Leithart's book Blessed are the Hungry.

One thing the book accomplishes well is making one think about the Lord's Supper and it's importance. We should disagree with Rant Pitre on some points (and certainly the Roman Catholic Church), but we must seek to understand Communion. We should know what God teaches about this beautiful feast and strive to know what it means. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Dragon's Tooth - N.D. Wilson


The Dragon's Tooth
by N.D. Wilson
Random House 2011


Rating: 8
Readability: 9
Impact: Interesting style. Memorable story.


Read it Again: Probably
Recommend It: Yup.




What to Expect

A story with many threads, gripping for all ages, but with the distinct flavor of being written by an understanding father of wild boys (and/or someone who has retained boyish delight).

N.D. Wilson combines the mundaneness of American living with fantastical keys, teeth, and hidden academies. He paints interesting characters and tells the unbelievable in such a normal, unapologetic way that it sends you knee-deep before you realizes you're only sitting in a chair reading a book.

The Dragon's Tooth drops a few characters, which was a little annoying, but forgivable. Overall it will make you scared, sad, and happy, but most of all, eager the next book!


My Squib


The Dragon's Tooth is somehow both darker and more frolicking than most stories. Which is, in some ways, just how Christian fiction should be. N.D. Wilson never lapses into homilies or Scripture verses, but can't help incorporating Biblical themes and language which form part of the backbone of the book. He's a great example of a Christian author--not an author who writes "Christian fiction".

The characters were interesting and I thought Cyrus was a wonderful lead...most of his characters use snarky wit in abundance, but have multiple other differences which make them distinguishable.

His descriptions are often both unique and artistic and his musings on death make me almost ready to forgive him for writing more kid's fiction instead of more Notes form the Tilt-a-Whirl. :-) I shall remain patient in controlled waiting for the rest of the series and hopefully some day...some adult fiction? That would make me blissfully happy.

I haven't been reading a lot of fantasy lately and to start a book of this size, I have to trust the author. I enjoyed every minute of it.

From the Book

If you've read the book we can discuss the finer aspects (including my two favorite characters...both amazing), but if you haven't read it yet, you really should. Should have read it the first week, but remembered to review it...unlike me. ;-)

If you haven't seen the book trailer yet, go check it out here. 

Fiction is good for the soul. And sometimes I need a reminder. Thank you, N.D. Wilson!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sometimes...



the only proper form of expression is a yellow smiley...on the beach.

This post is merely to say that I am currently dancing around my room in the throws of unquenchable joy. I have a shiny new laptop...that belongs to an alternate reality. His name is Hector.

I have never once exhausted his battery and I worked nearly all day yesterday on the go. From seven minutes to over seven hours is quit the change in a writer's life. He ways nearly four pounds less then my HP (he shall remained named so as to not hurt his feelings). 

I've restarted my novel (draft fourteen) and started planning out the next year of my life. Organized and productive. This may I be.

Have a good Saturday and restful Lord's Day. I shall continue dancing. ;-)

If this was skype...there would a little ninja rocking out here for a perfect farewell.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rambles on Love, Water, Trees, and a Paccaris

This is the year of roadtrips and this post is now horribly overdue. It's been locked in solitary confinement in my draft folder, and it now deeply desires to see the light. So here goes...

One Thursday we began our California adventure centered on Ellen's beautiful wedding in Sacramento.

My California experiences have been limited to Disney Land and several flights into San Diego for cruises. Most of it is uncharted territory.

Our first stop was at the Winston Wild Life Safari where we road camels, were attacked by an emu, fell in love with a stuffed leopard, and gawked at giraffes, bears, lions, yaks, and countless other creatively assembled critters.

We rolled into Ashland and satisfied our hunger with pizza, salad, and a Shakespeare faced cupcake. We were in town long enough to see several terrifyingly wonderful book stores and discover that Ashland is full of arty people of a very different type than Portland...Let's just leave it at that.

We only had time to see Loves Labors Lost, which I read in air conditioned tranquility on the drive down. They did well and humorously (although they explored awkwardness I was blissfully unaware of in the play...some of it primarily exhibited by a excess of men's tights and Russian dancing). They set in the 50s, which I enjoyed.

Loves Labors Lost is fairly new to me, but now it really has me thinking...what was Shakespeare trying to say? I wonder what he thought the conclusion was...judging by the name, I don't know. Another rambling post to come one of these days...

We finished the distance between Ashland and Sacramento Friday, and reunited with people from our own church. Monstrous jolly since I hadn't seen some in ages since I've been elsewhere. We invaded a sizable portion of their Best Western. We explored the gigantic mall and generally had a good time.

Saturday Ellen got married. It's still hard to believe. She was the stunning beyond comprehension and everything was beautiful and good and I wanted to weep through the whole ceremony and beyond. But I didn't of course. I was the soul of propriety. ;-)
 It is most strange to have a friend who is Ellen somebody one minute and Ellen somebody else the next. One minute single. One minute a wife. Marriage and love are most distinctly peculiar. And good, of course. :-)

Well everyone disembarked from our Best Western to enjoy Letherbys, the legendary ice cream world, I stayed back to work on a writing project, got nothing done, and went to bed ridiculously early.

It was wonderful to worship and fellowship with Church of the King on Sunday. Another reminder of the blessings we have as one body!

Sadly, we had to get back on the road and didn't have a lot of time to hang out. We stopped a couple podunk towns, and one of the million Clear Lakes of America...which was not even remotely clear, but had a beautiful dock and nearby green grass and prickles to run about in.

We arrived at a beautiful inn in another small town where we had enough time to read a bit, email important people, befuddle the vending machine, write, and watch a girly movie together before giving into sleep at a decent hour.

We got moving on Monday soon enough to visit the continental breakfast where Mama's toast took a flying leap to freedom...a noteworthy and startling event.

We spent 12 hours on the road, primarily starring at big tree. The Redwoods truly are beautiful. I think my next writing trip scheme should include running off into one of the parks and living under a dead log (preferably with internet access). I like open spaces, light, and big hills, but there is something very peaceful, quiet, and promising about a tree that's been going steadily upwards since the signing of the Magna Carta.

We stopped at one park long enough for me to climb up on a fallen log with journal, pen, and Bible and sit six feet above the dry forest bed and do some scribbling.

The Redwoods are good for thinking and they seem to be good listeners too. If you need somewhere to think some serious thoughts, find a stalwart tree-friend, carve your name, or get dizzy in record time, go to the Redwoods.

We visited a strip of California coast, but just missed the sunset and any California warmth.

Our next stop was in Bandon and late into the night after much confusion and turning about, a restaurant with salmon that was indeed food of the gods. We ran wild on the beach for the morning and then visited another miraculous wildlife safari where we got to cuddle with eight week old Bengal tigers, an eleven week old leopard, be thoroughly disturbed by various monkeys, stare into the jaws of a yawning lion, and fall in love with the simple attraction of noteworthy pig, apparently called a Paccari.

Going back to Bandon and ridding horses on the coast is a future must.

We drove all the way back to my brother-in-law and sister's house that night and stayed up way to late talking and staring at the stars on their deck.

After a week that involves much more car travel then generally considered appropriate, it was good to be home. An awesome adventure that now seems like a few years ago. It's been a crazy, glorious summer.

Life is good. Even with all its so very not good moments.

The end.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Back from a Week at the Beach...

Is it true you see me in this field tonight?
Is it true that you sent me to this fight?

Break me on the mountain,
Just don’t trap me in the valley.

Is this how you lead me in sun and in rain?
Is this how you feed me when I’m in pain?

Shatter me on the rocks,
Just don’t wash me out to the sea.

Is this what you meant by the nails and the cross?
Is this what you meant by living as lost?

Leave me in the desert,
Just send me heavy rain.

Is this what you planned in the void before time?
Is this why you made me too weak to climb?

Corrode me in the wind,
Just let me fly away again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Placid Happiness or Active Contentment?

I believe I have sometimes fancied Christianity the key to placid happiness. A level playing field. The answer to a mature, academic levelheadedness.

Instead I wonder if it does not create a more ferocious sorrow as well as a more violent, untamed joy. We are no more numb to occasional dark despair than we are free from spontaneous song. Rather than drugging the senses, Christianity redefines them.

Faith, by nature, cannot be indifferent. It is incapable of being a state of neutrality. It is, rather, the wild, unexplained mystery of contentment. Emotions not dead, but vibrantly recreated. Passion is no longer dull, but deep with the colors from beyond our cosmos and imagination. Bound by freedom in a quiet, confident trust in the Creator. If we can breath through real tears and real laughter, it is through the power of faith. Placid happiness is breakable, and worse, stagnant. When covered by contentment, faith's sorrow and joy are as deep as the Cross and as strange as the Resurrection.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Useless ramble from Starbucks...

I look through red, sheer curtains,
That flutter in thunderstorms.
Sharp lightening shows the dancers.
A world that can love and hate.
I can not feel the downpour.
Only thunder rocks my bed.

I ignore the white coat say
“Tomorrow is a new day.”
He’s a dancer. He can’t know.
Tomorrow is my today.
I can only watch my window.
A lens weak or maybe strong.

Where’s the electricity?
Please let me be burned and bruised
You don’t have to understand.
Just wheel me into the rain.
Give your hand and let me stand.
It’s a thought I need to heal.

I am estranged by a fog.
There is no fog with thunder.
The dancers forget their music.
Mine is clear and strong. Let go.
I will dance away the fog.
Perhaps dancers stumble too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Defending Constantine - Dr. Peter Leithart



Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom
by Peter J. Leithart
IVP Academic 2010


Rating: 8
Readability: 7
Impact: 8


Read it Again: At least portions.
Recommend It: Yes.






What to Expect


Defending Constantine is organized somewhat like a backwards Against Christianity. The first portion sorts through history and what accounts we have of the times of the early church, before, after, and during the reign of Constantine.

The entire book is theologically grounded and continually shows the tension and relation of Church and State. Many portions read like an essay or thesis against writers and thinkers like John Howard Yoder. Other sections are simply history with thoughts from an open Bible.

Defending Constantine is a history lesson, argument, and theological discussion wrapped up in a fascinating character and time in history.
A few sections may take some persistance, but the whole book is well worth the read and is organized with typical Leithart clarity and infused with scattered humor.

My Squib


I didn't know near as much as I wanted to/needed to about this era of history, so I was delighted with this book.

The scale of research, quotes, and organization alone was an impressive feat. Dr. Leitart attacks hard questions and arguments while looking through a wide scope of history and constantly referring to the Bible.

I am perpetually confused about what the relation of church and state should be and he addresses this even more in Defending Constantine than in Against Christianity. 

The book gave an extended lesson on how theology, even minor ideas, affects the outworking of much of what we do. I found the discussion on pacifism particularly intriguing.


Dr. Leithart's arguments against John Howard Yoder are an interesting look into debate and thinking. By the end of the book, he has turned most of Yoder's arguments against Yoder himself.


This book was perfect for me on a number of levels, but it was well worth the time for the early church history alone.

Don't expect heroes to be perfect. But when imperfect people bow the knee to Christ, they can do great things...and who knows the consequences.

From the Book


"The church is a polity, and thus any ethical or political system that minimizes or marginalizes Jesus and his teaching hardly counts as Christian."


"In the end it all comes round to baptism, specifically to infant baptism. Rome was baptized in the fourth century. Eusebian hopes notwithstanding, it was not instantly transformed into a kingdom of heaven. It did not immediately become the city of God on earth. Baptism never does that. It is not meant to. Baptism sets a new trajectory, initiates a new beginning, but every beginning is the beginning of something. Through Constantine, Rome was baptized into a world without animal sacrifice and officially reognzized the true sacrificial city, the one community that does offer a foretaste of the final kingdom. All baptisms are infant baptisms. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shopping for Time - Carolyn Mahaney and Co.

Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw




Rating: 8
Readability: 8
Impact: 8




Read it Again: Already have. :-)
Recommend It: Yup


What to Expect


Carolyn Mahaney and daughters challenge the way we spend our time and how it shows our priorities while offering perspective, tips, and strategies to accomplish what we're really here for.


My Squib


I'd read this with my mom and sisters a few years ago, but thought it was time for a reread.

Shopping for Time does not simplify life to a 12 step guide towards the perfect existence. Instead, it explains five ideas to help the day fall into place and get what really matters DONE. Rise early, pursue Christ with Bible in hand, take time to plan (alone if necessary), evaluate and pursue proper relationships, and be productive in daily life by depending on Christ.

A great encouragement if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. (Guilty as charged.) And it's short and direct enough that you won't even feel bad taking the time to read it. It's an even more beneficial break than Facebook. Promise. ;-)

The style is easy, humorous, and doesn't take itself to seriously.

From the Book


"In the end, our highest goal each day is not a flawless execution of our plans or increased productivity. It's our relationship with God, walking in dependence upon him throughout the day. We should not be more consumed with the completion of our to-do list than pleasing and glorifying our Savior. Whether we're sitting down to map out our day, simplifying our to-do list, or receiving an interruption as a 'sovereign delivery',  we must above all, plan to depend. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick thoughts on "The Adjustment Bureau"



I watched this in a Moscow park with my bro and sistah. We laughed...a lot. But the movie didn't make it. 

I just simply had to say something about the dialogue between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. It was quick, funny and spontaneous, while remaining believable. 

Unfortunately the movie deserves it's PG-13 rating all the way...and David (Matt Damon) and Elise's (Emily Blunt) relationship lacks some virtue and chaste qualities. :-/ Really too bad, because their romance in other ways is both refreshing and interesting.




Guys could take a good lesson from this. All girls really want is to be irrationally pursued. A guy who's decisive and proactive. The more streets the guy run down with a white shirt and rolled up sleeves, the more points he gets. 

Matt Damon pursues his bride with all he's got and he's willing to sacrifice everything in his life, including being with Elise, for her own good. And...fyi...even though this is sweet, it's a dumb move. I don't know about guys, but girls (at least any I've ever been around) would 100% rather have happiness (and an awesome fellow) than a disturbing dance career. ;-)

The other potential that fell flat in the movie was the whole chairman/angel/destiny deal. Some of the allegory was intriguing and fit, but it ultimately flopped. Besides the hats and occasional painful dorkiness, the conclusion seemed like an easy way out. The Chairman seemed to be both God and the villain, and was either purposefully befuddling his "agents" or a little indecisive himself.

Freewill was too big and complicated of a topic to tackle with coffee spills, headgear, doors, and George Nofli.

World Magazine gave a good and thought provoking review on this movie when it was in theaters. I disagree with some of their estimation of the romance, because I really think the characters were drawn well...their actions fit. Maybe I'm just young and immature, but the dialogue really was an interesting study.

If I had to rate the movie, I'd probably give it a five...mostly for the dialogue and generally "colorfulness" of the filming, along with the good acting of the two star characters. All other aspects, acting and otherwise, mostly deserve derogatory attention. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lost in a Mountain of Books


Strahov Theological Hall - Original Baroque Cabinet
(What my room does not look like.)

I've been a bit more erratic than usual, so here's a variety of excuses.

A long time ago I made a pact with myself that I would review in some manner every book I read. This accomplishes several things.
1) I'm forced to think about what I've read and come to some sort of conclusion.
2) I don't waste my time on books I don't think are worth reviewing.
3) I have a good catalog of my book list, changing taste, and hopefully maturing opinions.
4) I get to bore all my blog readers to death.

Life has made reviews difficult lately, so I have a monstrous stack lined behind my computer waiting for review. The following days (perhaps weeks) will include some tedious bookishness, but I also want to talk about seeing Les Miserables (swoon), various Shakespeare plays, multiple movies, and something squibish on our trip to California.

Because of business with other writing projects, don't hold your breath for any original posts (not that you would). I'm going to try and post twice a week...possibly more or less depending on what I've been reading or watching lately.

So if there is a flurry of activity and it all seems a bit dull it's because I'm trying to fulfill my pact and keep up with myself. I've had doubts about continuing this blog. Its continued existence hinges on the personal benefit I get from having to think through things like book reviews.

Yesterday I decided to reorganize the various shelves of books that dominate our room. Volumes from Borders' sales were still sitting around homeless. Carrying around stacks of books made me giddy and I reached for a pen and paper to create a current book list. I finished with 150 titles. Yeah...there might be a lot of book reviews in the future.

Somehow, no matter how I arrange my books...by author, subject, title, height, or color, there's still not enough shelves.

Other recent activities include reorganizing my life and priorities, involving a great deal of painful decisions. making lengthy lists, schedules, and a shiny new budget. How am I possibly going to fit in all those books? I have a book to get to the publisher! And when is my story going to get done anyway? And the Romeo/Juliet/Hamlet screenplay is sad and lonely, scrawled in a chiastic structure in the closet.

In some ways it feels like summer hasn't begun, but so much has happened since winter it can't possibly be anything but the end of summer. Next week is September. Take a deep breath. Life will go on...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wise Words - Dr. Peter Leithart


Wise Words: Family Stories that bring the Proverbs to Life
by Peter Leithart

Canon Press (2003)


Rating: 8
Readability: 9
Impact: Very interesting look into this sort of writing...


Read it Again: Already have. :-)
Recommend It: Of course.



What to Expect

Simple stories that are grounded in a specific Proverb but build off much more Biblical symbolism and typology. Unpretentious. Good for all ages.

My Squib

This is, of course, a very different sort of read from Dr. Leithart, but still holds all the thought and honesty of his other books. He opens with a quote I am completely in love with--

"Stand fast! And keep your childishness.
Read all the pendant's creeds and strictures,
But don't believe in anything
That can't be told in colored pictures."
~G. K. Chesterton

Dr. Leithart holds true to this principle and does so beautifully in Wise Words.
I rationed this book because I didn't want it to be over. The stories are short, simple, playful, serious, and imperfect, but they will continue to roll around and grow in your noggin if you let them in.

From the Book

I had many favorites but "Ivy and the Prince" was near the top. The allegory aspect may or may not have made me bawl like a baby. :-P Quotes out of context might sound a bit strange, but this sentence was beautiful-- "Her heart broke with pain and joy and the terror of love."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Radical Together - David Platt

Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God  by David Platt
Multnomah (2011)



Rating: 8
Readability: 8
Impact: 9


Read it Again: Yes.
Recommend It: Yes!




What to Expect

Pastor David Platt moves from his best selling book, Radical, focusing on our own ambitions and expectations, to Radical Together, a book that focuses on the position, responsibility, and power of a community of believers.

Radical Together is a call back to a Christ-centered vision for the Church--her energy, resources, and focus.

The book focuses on both home-based discipleship and missions abroad, in a manner modeled after the Gospel.

David Platt is direct and engaging. He doesn't smooth over the tough stuff. If you aren't prepared to be convicted or spend time in serious evaluation, don't read this book.


My Squib

Radical Together draws its arguments and conclusions from the character of God and the fallen state of Man. The Church is a body of sinful, messed up, complicated people...all wrong for this beautiful, momentous task, but together created for a weapon of victory.

We are called to be selfless followers of a self-centered God. He is not our slot machine. We are His servants. There is no greater joy than serving, glorifying, and enjoying Him as He has called us!

A book taking the Church this seriously is both refreshing and somewhat depressing... We've been doing a pretty rotten job.

Both of David Platt's books have given me a lot to think about and evaluate in my own priorities and attitudes. They are dangerous stuff. I'd love to talk to someone else who has read them and has another take.

They've been my book of choice to give away for 2011, but I guess I still haven't decided what I think on all their aspects. Time for a reread... If only there wasn't so much else to read too! ;-)

From the Book

"Are these steps radical in and of themselves? For some the answer has been yes. For others, the answer has been no. But for all, the aim has been to set our lives and our churches in motion by putting ourselves in positions where God can mold our hearts with his gracious Word for his glorious purpose."

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Radical Reformission - Mark Driscoll

The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out by Mark Driscoll
Zondervan 2004



Rating: 6
Readability: 8 (as long as you don't mind PG-13 content)
Impact: 7


Read it Again: Probably not, but got some good notes.
Recommend It: Maybe




What to Expect

Pastor Mark Driscoll tries to answer the question of open evangelism without compromise. He raises a lot of excellent questions and brings interesting facts and observations into discussion, but failed to give me a satisfying answer to the challenge.

His style is interesting and engaging but he goes beyond PG-13 sometimes. The world is a sticky, dirty place, and I don't mined some honesty and grime if it's to a point. In Radical Reformission, it seems like Pastor Driscoll is simply being earthy to prove that Christians can be earthy.

Overall the book is a interesting look into evangelism and how we've tangled ourselves. There is certainly plenty of wisdom and insight anyone can learn from.

My Squib

This book was good. I guess my main beef with it was on its view on the relationship between Gospel, the Church, and culture. He starts the book with this diagram in the introduction--


I could be just grossly misunderstanding this, but he does try to explain. I think culture/church will always be a complicated problem, but it seems like culture should flow from the worship as community of believers. His general lack of acknowledgement of the Church was a strain for me through out the whole book.

Here is a very un-techno diagram of what seems like a more natural/direct order of things.


This is big topic and I certainly know I don't have the answer, but Radical Reformission raised some questions that fascinated me.

I thought the book lacked a big picture look. Some of his answers and the Bible interpretations seemed overly simplistic. People are complicated and some of his answers just didn't allow for that.

Partly this book is older...in his recent sermons and writing I see a different flavor that seems much more like the wizened sage who's been battered a bit more with the stupidity of human nature.

I have learned a lot from Mark Driscoll and he has a lot of wonderful, insightful things to say. But if you're looking for a book on this topic I would recommend Radical and Radical Together by David Platt before picking up Radical Reformission. Pastor Driscoll is a stronger on home-based missions, but I left unsatisfied and still puzzling about

From the Book

"God desires to bless all nations and cultures of the earth through us, and so he has sent us into exile in places and among peoples no less strange or lost than the Babylonians. I would never have chosen Seattle as my place of ministry because it is one of the most politically liberal, expensive yet uncharitable, and least churched yet most self-righteous cities in the nation. But as Paul said on Mars Hill, it is ultimately God who has chosen my birthday and address, placing me in Seattle today (Acts 17:26). Likewise, where you live is a place of Babylonian exile where God has placed you to be about reformission. And it is incumbent upon you to be wise, faithful, and fruitful, like Daniel was, so that the gospel can take root in your Babylonian soil."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random thoughts from Idaho


I spent several hot days in Boise and Moscow this month. I was very blessed to be able to attend a friend's beautiful wedding and visit people I haven't seen in half a decade.

Most of the time I felt like I had the IQ and social graces of a delinquent moose, but God knew I needed the break from normal life.

And because lists are so handy and random...here's just a few highlights.

-The wedding.
It is always magical (not in the fairy-dust sense, but in the gut wrenching, awe-inspiring way) to watch two committed people who have waited, worked, and listened to council, finally stand in front of a body of believers and declare their love to each other. Suddenly your friend is a Mrs. Somebody. It's crazy.
God is good...and love is both beautiful and terrifying.

-People.
I got to see dear friends and old acquaintances. I got to meet lots of new people. Generally I had an awesome time with good conversation, arguments, and brainstorming with funny, wonderful, intelligent people. :-)

-I spent a large part of my time writing on my current project...which isn't going so well...fyi. Writing and reading in various coffee shops was a sweet break. I spent a few days living in Bucer's. I shall miss it.

-Stargazing late at night after tromping through a damp golf course. I saw three shootings stars and managed to close my eyes at just the perfect time to miss the other dozen. Froze to death and had an amazing time.

-Singing.
Singing in Friendship Square, singing in a resthome, singing on the street, singing in church. All good.

-The moon.
Saturday night, there was the most glorious moon creating stunning lighting with dark clouds. I could have stared at it all night, but Benjamin and Susannah were there to talk me into being rational.

-Play structures.
Personally I love swings and all play structures no matter how small. Unfortunately, no one would brave them with me...Susannah...Bobbi Jo. Hem hem...

-Saturday picnic with a mob of NSA types. Awesome opportunity for conversation and people watching.

-My brother and sister came Saturday and we had a wonderful time bashing about and laughing continuously around Moscow. We had a delicious dinner in Bucer's and then watched a movie in the park on Benjamin's laptop. I have a pretty awesome family. The end.

-Picnic Sunday afternoon at the Arboretum with some wonderful ladies...and Benjamin, of course.

-The drive home. My tummy muscles are still aching from our laugh-a-thon.

-Everything and everyone else. Basically, it was awesome. :-)


It's good to be home and see the rest of my family...to be back in Oregon where there is moisture in the air and the weather stays reasonable.

Whenever you leave, you get a perspective coming back. Here are a few things I noticed--

-Portland is green. No...really... As soon as you see signs heading towards Portland you go from brown to green with some other bright colors mixed in.

-I need more book shelves.
This is my conclusion nearly every day, but especially after coming home from anywhere...and especially after visiting a few too many book stores.

-Our water tastes the best. Not open for debate, simply true.

-My room is mild wreckage. I need to throw out a quarter of it and reorganize the rest.

-My whole life needs some reorganizing. What am I trying to get done anyways? Why do I like so many different things? What's important? How am I actually going to get anything accomplished?

-I am truly allergic to animals. How inconvenient.

-Bumpiness don't go away when you leave and come back, but you do get new perspective. Time to jump back into reorganizing my room, life, and relationships.


Despite the fact that sometimes I just really didn't think God had done His planning right, I know that He did. Seeing friends again, getting my mind cleared out and refreshed, working away from home, and coming back to beautiful, green Oregon with all these people I love is just the thing I needed.

I'll need to go back and visit some amazing people in Idaho again soon. :-) That's the problem with going anywhere...then you have more people to miss. Thank you so much, all of you who made my stay awesome. I am very grateful for the past two weeks

The end.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Days...


I think I forgot how to write a coherent sentence.

This is awkward.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Persecutor - Sergei Kourdakov

The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov
Fleming H. Revell Co (1973)


Rating: 8
Readability: 8
Impact: 8


Read it Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes. Everyone should read it.



What to Expect

Sergei Kourdakov grew up in communist Russia and became a KGB agent in the 1970s. He excelled in his position as passionate youth leader, student, and athlete by day and persecutor by night.

The Persecutor (also known as Forgive Me Natasha) is his story of disillusionment with the communist system and confusion with Believers in the face of death and hatred.

My Squib

The Persecutor has no shinny turns of phrase or literary warm fuzzies, but it's written directly and honestly. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than the story of one man among thousands who suffered in Russia. Painful, powerful, and beautiful.

Kourdakov was shot only months after the book was finished. This is his true testimony to the world and his petition for forgiveness to the many Believers he persecuted. His prose is full of honor and respect.

I was pathetically ignorant of this period of history, so I am so thankful to have read a memoir of this caliber.


What would I do in this situation? Every once in awhile this question terrifies me. Would I take it with grace? How mushy are we as American Christians? Do we remember that we stand on the blood of thousands and thousands of Believers who have taken death with bravery and grace? Around the world people continue to die because they will not let go of the Cross. Right now...as I type this. Do we remember?

Monday, August 15, 2011

A few thoughts on Poland


Currently, my life has involved a lot of travel (if you hadn't noticed by the silence). Sometimes that means writing and reading get left behind, and other other times, they get accelerated.


There is no simple way to explain my two weeks in Poland. God was very gracious to us and gave us the weather, people, and opportunities He knew we needed (even if it wasn't what we thought we needed).

He brought together over 35 people from multiple churches and four countries, all united under one God.

Our main ministry was traveling as a choir, singing on the street, and handing out invitations to our evening concerts. During the evenings, we would perform about 45 minutes worth of music with a 15 minute sermon. In the rain our attendance wasn't so great, but some days we were blown away by the people who stopped, listened, and wanted to talk afterwards.

The CREC Churches there are struggling for fellowship and encouragement. Many have very few children in them and people are just beginning to pioneer homeschooling. Watching the Polish saints' humility and unapologetic living-out of the Gospel as missionaries in their own country, was both convicting and inspiring.

The days I will remember most were the ones where we sat in one room with people from over four countries speaking one common language in worship. Christ is victorious. And with Him, and only Him, there is true unity and fellowship.

At one meal, I ate roasted lamb with people speaking Russian, Japanese, Ukrainian, Polish, and English to communicate in whatever way possible.


God is good.
He blessed us so much...I hope we were able to encourage and bless the Christians in Poland as well. Experiences, lessons, friendships and strained vocal chords that will last a lifetime.

We're planning and praying for another trip in 2013. Lord willing.

I am so thankful that God made it possible for me to go. I was pushed way out of my comfort zone, stretched, challenged, and amazed at every turn. I have been blessed beyond measure, over and over again.

I could say more. But if you're really all that interested, you could read Reformation for Poland or Evangelos, and I could get some sleep.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book Addictions

I'm writing from Boise, because life ran away with me again. :-)

Did you know Borders is going out of business? Two book stores with sales in one day. Bad for my health (aka checkbook). But I did get some good books I've been wanting for a long time. :-)

Including Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee and The First Five Pages (both of which I've been wanting forever!).

By the way, the Next Generation Writer's Conference was amazing. :-) More writing stuff coming up...

Farewell,
Bethany

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Change is Part of Life

There are a lot of factors to the Erratic Muse's silence, but one has been my current aversion to the clutter on my home page.
There may be continuous changes throughout the next several days...or lets face it...it's gonna be weeks. Life is just about to tear off with me...again.

Feel free to give feedback and notify me if something isn't working.

I was very attached to the map look, but I need something less busy. At least for in this stressful phase of life. :-)

As I near the publication of my first book (YAY!), I am laying to rest my well used screen-name, Miss Pickwickian. From now on you can call me Bethany or Bethwackian, whichever you prefer. ;-) And please don't tell any creepy stalkers about my true identity. Thanks. You're a true friend.


In celebration of my attempted return to the blogging world and in anticipation for a new and improved Erratic Muse, I'll be hosting a giveaway! Keep your eyes open!

When the shuffling, clicking, and rearranging is all over, we'll have to do another for celebration. ;-)

Thanks for being patient. Miss you guys and all the bloginess of my former life.

Thanks for putting up with me and my erraticness,
Bethany

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Historical Fiction Giveaway



Road from the West by Rosanne Lortz


This promises to be another amazing book. Enter Rosanne's giveaway to get a chance  to win a copy before the book releases!

Watch for Road from the West's release on September 2nd. I am excited!



I've never allowed myself to get lost in historical fiction...and I want to read more. How about you? What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chorale Gaudete Psalm 63

I am recovering from jetlag and editing my manuscript like mad. I miss the Poland team, but I'm blessed to be back with my family. Can't wait to see my church family tomorrow!

Outdoor concert in Gdansk. Psalm 63.


Concert 05 - Poland 2011 from Miwaza Jemimah on Vimeo.

If you have not seen all the pictures and videos on Evangelos, you should really check it out. Tell them what an awesome job they did and continue to do!

Reformation for Poland has a fairly detailed journal of the entire trip.

Thank you all for your prayers. God blessed us greatly in our trip to Poland. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it. :-)

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Friday, July 15, 2011

Next Generation Writer's Conference

Yes, I am back alive after an amazing two weeks in Poland. There's a lot to catch up on.

For the moment, I just want to tell you about this free, online writer's conference coming up. Jill Williamson and others are working to make this possible. Check it out here.

I'm thrilled because I'll get some writer contact this summer even though I missed the Wordsmithy and will miss the OCW Conference. I also like it being free...

Hope you can attend.

Glad to be back in the blogging world, although life is still pretty crazy. This poor blog needs to be revamped, I believe. Maybe it's just my cleaning instincts coming out online instead of the piles of laundry and my half unpacked room... Off to work!

I hope you've had a wonderful two weeks.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blogging Break

I just got home from an amazing week at our annual Church Family Camp. What an excellent reminder of the encouragement, safeguards, and challenges of community!

I have two things that should be, Lord willing, accomplished before I renter the blogging world around July 14th.

1. My book, Called to be Fruitful Now will be at the printers.

You have no idea what freedom and ecstasy this will give my spirit!

2. I will be back from Poland a (hopefully) wiser, more experienced, probably exhausted person.

Thank you so much to those of you who have already been praying and showering me with encouragement. Your support is greatly appreciated. I continue to covet your prayers for our team!

You can keep up on news and updates from both of the following blogs-




You can also like Evangelos on facebook to get recent picture updates.

Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers. I look forward to sitting and writing some more thought through posts when my break is over. 

Thanks for reading. I'll be back in July. :-)
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl Movie

I loved Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl so much. Can't wait until I can see what they did with this movie.





Monday, June 13, 2011

Life

It is so much easier to critic than to accomplish...in everything. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Somewhere...there is progress.



I am the sort of man who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress by writing. - St. Augustine

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Covers




Recently I've been cooling my brain off from book edits thinking about book covers.

The working title of my book is Called to be Fruitful Now: A Mission for Young Women. It's a short Bible study on the calling of young ladies. My basic goal is to emphasis that we all have an intense job in every time of life, and that being a fruitful, productive, and serious Christian starts on day one.

I could go a lot of directions with the cover.

Books we've done in the past have always had comb bindings and watercolor artwork. I like it, but since my book is shorter I want a half page perfect binding look.
I also think my sister is going to do a photography cover. She'll to do an awesome job and Daniel will do a wonderful job with the lettering/formatting aspect.

I just want something that makes you curious.
I want it to be happy and colorful, but at the same time down-to-earth and gritty. I don't want it to be at all romantic. I want it to be very much hear and now...a modern girl in a modern world.

We've thought about a tree or blossoms or something, but that doesn't really get my idea across.

It would be very cool to do something with a girl and a tree. Sort of a "Eve in the Garden" look except the opposite. Have no clue how to do that.

The only option we've brainstormed at the moment that I even slightly like is a girl sort of hanging from a tree limb. lol. :-P

Have any ideas about book covers? What makes them good?

Thanks for reading my discombobulated thoughts.
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dare to Live - Andrea Bocelli and Laura Pausini



There is "one truth", but the rhyming is nice....

Otherwise love the lyrics, voices, and arrangement.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Friday, June 3, 2011

I am going to Poland.



On June 27th. It's so close, I can't believe it.
You've probably heard me talk about it in passing, but it's time for a full fledged post.

Everyone! I AM GOING TO POLAND!

It is a two week mission trip with other members of our church and other CREC churches in late June-early July. We're traveling as a choir of sorts...singing on the street and in a more formal concert stetting in the evening.

Poland is 90% Roman Catholic. It's not the sort of Roman Catholic you probably are thinking of. There really are indulgences posted on churches. Poland needs the Gospel. We'll be working along side pastors and churches our church has been involved with before.

We need lots of prayer and encouragement. Please help us by praying that God would open doors and give us the right words to speak.

You can learn more about the trip at Reformation for Poland and Evangelos. We'd greatly appreciate it if you can help tell others about our mission by word of mouth or by posting links on your blog/facebook. We want a lot of people praying and we want to alert others to the need in Poland.






There is so much to think about and accomplish.


-My book is oppressively looking over my shoulder, daring me to open the file and bash it into submission with the million and one edits it requires. That's my biggest deadline horror.
Besides the fact that it needs lots and lots of help internally, I still don't have a title or cover design.

-Many select sheep need to be managed and ready to sell. Lambs are ready to be separated etc...

-My room is still in the middle of reorganization.

-I need to get past the fact that the new episodes of  Sherlock aren't coming out until fall. Cwy.

-I need to work and make some money. :-/

-Practice our music and work on our Bible. I just need to learn a lot in general. I so do not feel ready for this!


Blogging may be touch and go for awhile, while I focus on other duties. If you're interested in what's going on for our trip, please visit Reformation for Poland (which I will hopefully be updating regularly) and Evangelos (which should have some epic pictures and videos).

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thoughts on "Thor"





I know I'm behind the times, but I only just recently got to see Thor (first movie in 3D). The following are random thoughts, not a well-thought-out movie review... Proceed with caution. ;-)

I really had no inclination to see Thor until I heard that it was another Kenneth Branagh/Patrick Doyle director/soundtrack team.

My original indifference was mostly because I'm not a huge superhero/Marvel fan and for some reason it just really seemed like Chris Hemsworth should be Sean Bean...and he wasn't. (Don't try to make sense of that one.)




I walked into the theater with a lot of recommendations but not much idea of who as acting or what the story was all about.

It was a good movie.

Thor was a refreshing character...far from perfect but not blatantly retarded (not the typical "bad boy"). I thought Hemsworth acted wonderfully. Thor was a sympathetic, changing, and mildly complex character who acted realistically (even with the god-factor in there). He turned into a true hero...the best produced by hollywood in a long time.
By the end of the movie, I forgave him for not being Sean Bean, but that was about as far as it got.


Anthony Hopkins was superb (duh). His character (the king) kept much of the movie from becoming cliche.

The whole cast is very typical of a Kenneth Branagh film and meshes together beautifully.

There were moments of goofiness, predictability, or complete unbelievability, but over all, the movie was a fun and clean 114 minutes.


If you know me...you might know what is coming next...
Depending on how you look at it, plot spoilers may lie ahead. Also...let me just say that Tom Hiddleston looks a lot different with straight, black hair.

From the first moment you see Loki you know that they are going to make him have all of these unresolved issues and that he's going to turn against Thor. He's the good boy who will turn bad, while the bad boy will turn good. I was literally hoping beyond hope that they would have just let him be an amazing brother and son. I loved him from the beginning and I knew they would do this to him. Come on. It's so overused.


He could have been amazing.
I want to see a movie where there is simply a supporting character like Loki could have been. I want to see a movie where the child can truly accept the fact that his parents love him for who he is, no matter where he came from. I want to see a movie where a guy can be from the enemy race and still be a good guy.


There were just so many things about the whole situation that I didn't like. It really put a damper on the movie.
Please don't sacrifice a potentially awesome character just to come up with a plot element. There are other more original options.

And of course he's not dead. Who dies in these type of movies?

I know it's all based of a comic book and I'm going to refrain from blaming people like Kenneth Branagh, but it makes me want to rewrite the story.


Having said all that, I did think it was the best superhero movie to perhaps ever come out (maybe not my favorite, but the best).

They did a great job keeping it interesting, crazy, and clean. Thor was very much the lion and Loki was very much the serpent, but at the same time the characters were more morally complex. It had an interesting focus on the purpose and place of war and actions of individual characters.

At first I thought they were going to do a lot with the whole "god" thing, but they actually go out of their way to explain him as not being a god at all (although he still is the god of thunder...not sure how that works). Certainly the most unobjectionable movie of its type.

Really enjoyed it. I'll just have to make up an alternate reality for the whole Loki aspect.

Visit my sister's blog to see her take.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Les Miserables" for Life


Thank you to all who contributed in various ways to the Les Miserables event.

Unfortunately I had the flu last week and was swamped creating a new missions blog, editing my sad book, and trying to catch up on life after engagements, graduations, and general insanity. I would have liked to dedicate much more time and thought to the whole event, but I'm happy with the participation, ideas, and fun.

Thank you to those who donated their time, efforts, and resources. It is all greatly appreciated.

Les Miserables is far from done on the Erratic Muse. It's probably going to pop up on a regular occasion. There will be more Javert posts...I'm sorry. It doesn't seem like I ever get tired of it and I continually think of things to wonder about the story...just not sure how to say them.

I'm still waiting to sit in front of a live production and to see a decent, true movie adaption. We'll see. I'm sure Les Miserables is not done with me or the world at large.

Thanks again,
Miss Pickwickian

P.S. Tomorrow I'll finally post my Thor review that's been waiting and then I'm going to finally talk about Poland! YAY!

Second Prize Essay

Visit Unoriginal Originality to see Jennoenell's second prize essay, Redemption.  You'll enjoy it. :-)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What was Victor Hugo trying to say?

Today I refer you to Rosanne's blog to read her winning essay, The Root of the Matter: Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
An excellent look at how a religiously confused author could write something so amazing and how we should look at it.

Read it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

~Les Miserables Contest Winners~

Original artwork by Elizabeth from My Father's World

Thank you everyone who participated. I only picked the top seven essays for placement, but I appreciate all who took the time and entered.

I learned a lot from reading your essays, not only on Les Miserables as a story, musical, and movie but also on completely different views. I was surprised at some of the plot elements that came up differently depending on where the essay writer had first experienced the story (musical, book, movie versions).
The viewpoints were so wide and wonderful that I got a much bigger idea of how Les Miserables is seen by many people. I didn't agree with you all, but I found it all fascinating and educational. Thanks for your hard work!

We had four judges who worked hard to rate these essays on style, grammar, content, and interest. This was a blind contest. The judges did not know the essay authors.

If you are a winner you will receive an email with info on receiving your prize and remarks on your essay. Thanks for participating.

Now...to the placements. :-)

"24601: Chains will never bind me"

Ring by Foxwise

7th Place
Charity from Live in Living Color for her essay, Rescue and Redemption.


Original artwork by Elizabeth from My Father's World
6th Place
Anna for her essay Les Miserables, Popular from Day One!

Charm Necklace
5th Place
Susannah from Life is too short not to wear Red Shoes for her essay, Eponine vs. Cosette, in the musical of Les Miserables.

"There is a flame that never dies."

Bracelet by Foxwise

4th Place
Emma Selmo Johnson for her essay, Les Miserables Essay on changes in the new American tour.

Say it Sweet
has a beautiful collection of Les Miserables themed posters full of awesome Victor Hugo quotes.
3rd Place
Katelyn for her essay, Mercy, Justice, and other Melodies in Les Miserables.

Amazing 20 page long book with graphics, quotes, and lyrics from Les Miserables designed and created especially fort his event by Picture Perfect.
2nd Place
Jennoelle from Unoriginal Originality for her essay, Redemption.


1st Place
Rosanne from Rosanne E. Lortz for her essay, The Root of the Matter: Victor Hugo's Les Miserables

Thank you all again.

A huge thank you to all the people who contributed greatly to the prizes--for your creativity and generosity.
Thank you to the judges and everyone who gave feedback.

Hopefully you'll be seeing some of these essays around soon. :-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian