Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Storm

  I woke 
if the world was ending
  I huddled in bed
to the back door rattling on it's hinges
the eerie black claws of a tree branch's shadow 
to a jumpy
off-skew rhythm
Lightning snapped
too many negative image photographs of my bedroom
I wandered the house
for destruction
I marvelled
that four walls and a roof
create a pocket of safety
in the center of violent passion
This morning
the world is a strange loveliness
like a fantastic reality
like a gift
like sun on glass

post signature

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hello. I'm Here.

Well we got home from Virginia last Sunday night and I jumped right into working, and all those other things that happen during the week that suck up time like a dry sponge. 

What HAVE I been doing the past week?  I don't even know... 

This trip really exhausted me, so I've been falling into bed and sleeping hard every night... dragging myself out of bed in the morning, literally not being able to keep my eyes open long enough to get the coffee started.  Isn't that interesting?  No?  Well, that's my excuse for not posting.  :)

The tournament was amazing.  I spent a lot of my time in the library atrium of Regent University watching Luke and Sarah play and freezing, freezing, freezing!  I think the A/C in that place was set to like 30 degrees or something.  When I got a break from babysitting I watched speeches.  And blinked in awe.  For a girl like me who can't speak in front of a crowd to save her life and has always been of... let's say "average" intelligence :) the things I saw these kids do was astounding.  Talent by the bucket loads, and I'm not even exaggerating. 

Just for a little taste...  This is the Duo Interpretation that won first place.

I was actually in the room watching this exact performance and when they were done Mom and I turned to each other with huge eyes and said "WOW."  These kids are AMAZING.  It's a little intimidating to be surrounded by so much talent, let me tell you. 

I wish I could explain more about what NCFCA is...  but I know I wouldn't do it justice.  If you are interested you can poke around the website and see more of what it's all about.  There are so many different speech categories that I don't really know all of them, not to mention debate.  I got an opportunity to watch some "Persuasive" speeches, and that may have been my favorite part of the event.  I saw 8 students give speeches that they had researched, written and performed themselves on whatever subject they felt strongly enough to speak on.  The whole point is to be able to persuade the judges of your point of view.  I saw speeches on everything from Sarcasm to Homosexuality in the Church, Autism, Being a "Doer", Gun Control, Terrorism...  I was in awe.  They all persuaded me. :) 

We also got to do fun things like go to the beach, visit Monticello, Richmond, swim in the pool (or, in my case, watch Luke and Sarah B, swim in the pool) :)  It was a good trip.  Long, but good. 

But, as always, the best part?  Coming Home.  :)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

What We Did in Richmond

    The main attraction for us in Richmond was St. John's Church.  This is the church where the second Virginia Convention met in March of 1775.  This is the church where Patrick Henry made his famous speech.  The one that ends "Give me liberty, or give me death." 

The reason this speech is so special to us is because this is the speech my brother Joe is performing for the speech tournament he is in this week, which is the whole reason that we're in this area in Virginia to begin with.  :)

Anyway, we knew St. John's Church had to be a stop on this trip.  Another very cool thing is that every Sunday in the summer months and many other time throughout the year by special appointment, the church has a re-enactment of the debate that led up to Patrick Henry's speech and the speech itself. 

One word: AWESOME. 

Joe was even drafted to help perform in it!  We were walking the grounds before the reenactment and met a man in charge of the Patrick Henry Foundation.  In the course of conversation Dad mentioned that Joe had studied and performed the speech.  Evidently they always draft a member of the audience to perform the part of Reverend Selden, who opened the convention in prayer.  Joe was the right size to wear the costume.  :)  So, he got to perform in the reenactment and watch from the front row.  :)

 Here is Joe in his Reverend Selden costume with "Patrick Henry"
 With "George Washington"
 With Mom and Dad :)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Going on a Road TRIP!!

   I'm leaving for Virginia bright and early tomorrow morning with some of my family.  My brother is going to the National Speech Tournament and the rest of us are going along for the ride!  I'll try to keep this blog updated while I'm gone. 

If I don't... then I'll see you all in a couple of weeks!

post signature

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

May Book List

41.  The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer-(****) (280 pages) I can't even tell you how many people have told me that they thought I would love Georgette Heyer's books.  I think she was a contemporary with Dickens....  don't raise an uproar if I'm wrong ok?  Anyway, she wrote a bunch of romances and some mysteries.  I read one of her romances a while ago and it kept my interest and I guess I enjoyed it... but, not enough to go looking for more of her books.  Then a friend of mine read this one and said it was awesome, so I checked it out.  And it is pretty great.  Very funny.  Predictable, but still engaging and I loved all of the characters.  I might look up more of her books.  :)

42.  Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson-(**) (244 pages) 1981 Newberry Award Winner.  Quite frankly, utterly depressing.  Two stars because it was very well written and the book had it's moments that I enjoyed, but, overall I found myself racing to finish it.  Because I didn't want to read it anymore.  The subject matter is weighty and quite a project to tackle.  Self-loathing, low self-esteem, etc. are things that many young people deal with and I wholeheartedly agree that the subject should be addressed.  But, I did not care for the way Paterson addressed it.  Not at all.  Young people that deal with these issues should be encouraged to talk about their fears.  I think it's dangerous to imply that if you just hang on until some indefinite point, it's possible that things may make sense one day.  Maybe.  Unfortunately many young people will have given up by the time that elusive point comes along.  I myself have had similar struggles (although not to the extent that Louise does in the book.  Reading about Louise's problems did not encourage me that other people felt the way I did.  Instead it depressed me.)  The book also has some rather adult elements in it that I would rather not have kids reading.  If I had kids.  :)  Note to parents:  Whatever you do, make a point of making sure ALL of your kids know how much you love them.  :)

43.  Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie-(**) (100 pages) I didn't even finish this one.  The first couple of short stories were good.  Awesome even.  But, I'm beginning to discover that a lot of Christie's short stories are actually ghost stories.  BORING. 

44.  The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner -(****) (280 pages) 1997 Newberry Honor Award.  I don't think I really understood this book the first time I read it.  I enjoyed it much more the second time through.

45.  A Holiday for Murder by Agatha Christie -(*****)  (167 pages) Maybe it's just me... but I think this is one of Agatha Christie's best works.

46.  Missing May by Cynthia Rylant- (***) (89 page) 1992 Newberry.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  One the one hand, it's beautiful.  The words, I mean.  Short and sweet, which I greatly admire.  It's about grief, and moving on and as far as that goes, I think this book is a jewel.  On the other hand, I hesitate to recommend it because of language, and some spiritual content.  Namely, the idea that communicating with the dead by way of a spiritual medium is perfectly ok.  I don't want to go into detail because I'd end up giving away spoilers.  But, that's my opinion.

47.  The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart -(*****)  (485 pages)  I think I already reviewed this book last time I read it.  So, this time around I'll just say that I LOVE THE BENEDICT SOCIETY!  I really do.  This book goes on my "Should've won a Newberry" list.  Now, THIS is the kind of book I'm talking about when I say books should be a good example, books should promote teamwork, education, books should inspire, books for kids should have CLEAN LANGUAGE.  I absolutely love the fact that the author does not feel he needs to cheapen his work with a lot of bad language.  Stewart says his inspiration for this book came from the belief that children are often seen, rarely heard, and always underestimated!  I can't decide which member of the Benedict Society is my favorite.  I incline towards Reynie.  I identify with him the most, even though he's eons above me intellectually.  But, then I LOVE Kate.  Love her.  I'm grinning right now.  And Sticky melts my heart.  And who wouldn't love Constance?  Seriously?  And of course, Milligan.  'Nough said. 

48.  The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - (****) (360 pages)  Again, I don't think I really "got" this book the first time around.  Much more enjoyable this time.  I'm beginning to see why Turner has such devoted and enamored fans. 

49.  The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner -(****) (385 pages) Third installment of the Thief series and I actually love that this book is told from an entirely new and different viewpoint. (side note: I love Costis, and totally sympathize with him.)  However, I feel like the author keeps trying to recreate the feeling and original mystery of the first book by making Eugenides an enigma.  But, by now, we already know exactly who he is and so it's a little redundant.  And that's my main reason (other than language) that this book doesn't get 5 stars.  This is the third time Eugenides is hurt enough to be forced to remain in bed for enough of the book to make it a plot turning point.  And earrings.  I'm a little creeped out that he's so into earrings.  That could just be me.  In fact, it probably is.  Ignore me. 

50.  The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart -(*****) (440 pages)  Have I mentioned that I LOVE the Benedict Society?  I do.  And I think I have a little crush on Milligan. 

51.  After the Funeral by Agatha Christie -(****) (192 pages) Very fast paced, as all of Christie's works.  Enjoyable.  Genius.

52.  Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix -(****)  (218 pages)  First of all, I love Haddix's writing style and her characters.   After that...  hmmm....  This is one of those books that addresses deep subjects for which there are so many questions and very elusive answers.  But, as one character says "I don't know all the answers, but I've asked all the questions."  I have to give Haddix huge points for even addressing topics like human cloning.  Personally, I'm against human cloning.  But, I've always wondered... what about the person? (assuming human cloning is even achieved.)  It's not their fault they're a clone, right?  Just like a child conceived in sin (out of wedlock) is not responsible for the sins of their parents.  There are a lot of questions.  Not as many answers readily available.  The one answer that the author seems to give us is "Life always wins."  Does life really always win?  I have to believe that in a world where God is in control that it does.  Even when bad things happen life can always come from it, right?  So many questions... but, as usual Haddix manages to wrap everything up super satisfactorily.  Which, in itself is very unrealistic, but so is human cloning.  I think.  


post signature
Related Posts with Thumbnails