Sunday, October 15, 2017

summer move forward

At the end of May, Carly Rae Jepsen had a new single come out, and I was obsessed with it. I listened to it like five times in a row.

And that wasn't the first time that month I'd done something similar with a song. And it's not really my usual modus operandi to get obsessed with a song like that. I should probably put these in a playlist so I don't forget them. So I did. My Summer 2017 playlist was born. And because I think it's interesting, I'm going to talk about my playlist a bit now. link on spotify

1. The Outfield - The Night Game
sometimes i feel like walking up to your front door, but i'm so far away
Discovered this one when scrolling through someone's blog. She touted its summer jam vibez, its "lost recording from the Police" style, and I listened to it. Then...I listened to it a few more times. Then it became the only thing I listened to that day. And then, eventually, it ended up as the first song in my Summer 2017 playlist, because I discovered it first.

I wanted to play it at all the softball games. I sang it to myself when I ended up standing in the outfield during one fateful game. I jammed to the bridge, wondering why you gotta be so hard to get.

2. Cut to the Feeling - Carly Rae Jepsen
cancel your reservations, no more hesitations, this is on
YouTube came through for me here, knowing that I was...listening to a lot of CRJ. I happened upon the video site one day and this was a recommended watch. "A new CRJ? Yes please," I said. And we obviously know I loved it.

I turn this song on when I need a mood lift, when I need to be energized. Maybe dance a little (I've danced to this song in my living room more than once). When I wanna to say to someone "Let's skip to the part where we're in love."

3. Faint of Heart - The Strike
i been waiting forever, waiting on this to start
Hey, shoutout to Facebook sponsored posts! I clicked on one (but only because I already knew that The Strike was pretty cool) to listen to their new album, and this one for sure got me. And it fit in with the other songs on my playlist remarkably well, with its 80's style and yearning lyrics. (which literally can describe all three of these first ones.)

This one joined the playlist right when I felt like I'd been waiting forever, wondering if this was going to go anywhere or if I was going to be too faint of heart.

4. Honey and Milk - Andrew Belle
the moon's right there in front of me, I can see it with my mouth
Spotify's Release Radar alerted me to a new(ish?) song by this artist, whom I have been known to listen to. I can't say I ever got super obsessed with this one, but something about the dark lushness of this song appeals to me.

5. Cold War - Foreign Figures
ask myself what I want more, something lifeless or someone to adore?
So one reason I'm making this post is I found out this week that this is a Provo band. I discovered that because Spotify made me a mix of some REALLY disparate artists: Vocal Point, Paul Cardall, David Archuleta, Rob Gardner, The Strike, Piano Guys...etc. And these guys (and Mindy Gledhill, which is understandable, and Josh Groban, which is not). So I did some googling and discovered that they fit right in!

Anyway. I like the beat on this one. And the violence, even though it's a cold war. I also like the way they sing "overzealous."

6. Asido - Purity Ring
with our palms facing up
Just stalking some guy's twitter and he mentioned the new Purity Ring single. I listened to it and decided that it was weird, and it should still go on my playlist. (I listened to it with the lyrics in front of me just now; what I chose above was literally the only phrase besides the chorus I could previously pick out, but wow is this ever a depressing song.)

7. Cruel Summer - Daniella Mason
poolside, dancing on my own life
I added this one after Labor Day after hearing it on the Release Radar. It's catchy and, I mean, I do have to admit that my summer didn't turn out as I might've dreamt. Not that it was that bad. It just ended...anticlimactically. Whatevs. It was nice to have a song clearly mark the end of summer, so I knew when to stop adding to the playlist.

So that was my summer in seven new songs.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

the light in me will guide you home

Wow did Cape Disappointment live up to its name!!

I really liked our little excursion out that way but it actually was disappointing in a lot of ways:

  • As we drove into Washington it started storming. Since most of the day had been hot and sunny, this sudden change was a little disappointing.
  • We followed Google Maps' directions toward Cape Disappointment and it sent us to a military facility where we were for sure not allowed. A little disappointing.
  • There was another lighthouse in the same state park or whatever, so we went over that way. We had to pay to park there, even though it was the end of the day and raining so we wouldn't be using the pass any more. Disappointing because we'd really lucked out with not having to pay much thus far, and it felt expensive.
  • As we walked over to the North Head lighthouse (or whatever it was), in the visibility-reducing fog (disappointing!), we discovered that this lighthouse was under construction and largely obscured by scaffolding. How disappointing!
Here are some pictures of the event.




Rose it makes my heart smile

I love roses. I think they're amazing. I don't have any reason for thinking that, they just are. Beautiful and fragrant and wonderful. When I was a young girl, my mom would sometimes get a rose catalog in the mail. I would hoard it for months, just poring over the different varieties and picking my favorites. Sometimes I would ask my mom if we could plant some, but they were pretty picky about the types of soil that each variety would thrive in, and it didn't always work.

Some do, though. We definitely have some roses in our garden that I remember from the catalog.
Me as a 13-year-old by our rose bushes.

My obsession with roses was such that when we had to come up with a presentation about something in my Plant Breeding class, I remembered the catalog (which I believe came from the International Rose Test Garden, because it showcased the winners and stuff) and presented about breeding roses. It was a terrible assignment, but at least I talked about something that interested me more than corn.

I still love roses even though I don't think about them as often as I used to. On my recent trip to Portland we decided to hit up the International Rose Test Garden (where they test new rose breeds to see how they'll do in real life) and it wasn't until we were on our way there that I remembered that going to this garden was probably a childhood dream of mine. To actually see the place whence the catalog pictures came? How could I not want that?

(PS I paid a dollar to get in to the garden but it was actually free/voluntary donation. An unexpected boon!)

And it was really nice. I took some slightly blurry pictures (I'm an indifferent photographer but my camera is also the worst) that don't quite capture it, but maybe a little.

It was probably my goal to take a picture of the plaque adjacent to a picture of a rose, but then I realized I didn't want to do that so many times. But I did once!

Like, I'm pretty sure this is a Peace rose. It looks like what I recall from my childhood.

This is the guy that started the garden.

Blurry, but nice vivid colors
I loooooooved these.
Cynthia modeling some beautiful deep crimson roses
Here we are, blissful in our surroundings
A nice little poem as we neared the exit.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

trace all my books [2017 pt. 1]

Hello everyone!

I've read some great books the past six months and thought I'd make a little video talking about them. Only problem is...this video is so boring. It is 15 minutes of uninteresting blather about books, which is too bad because they're books I like and want you to like too (I guess).

Good news about the video: I look pretty nice. So you can watch it for a couple minutes and relish my face for a bit. Once you get to the part where I couldn't figure out how to edit it you can stop.

Because here's other good news about the video: I'll summarize it in this blog post! You'll still get all the information you otherwise would.

Most of the books I read fall under the categories of fantasy, teen romance, fairytale adaptations, and ... other. Here's the books in each category that I've thought were worth mentioning:

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner: I've already blogged about this one.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst: Girls with magical skills have the opportunity to go to academy to learn to hone their talents. If they're really, really good, they might become heirs to the queen. The main character comes to the academy, determined. But she's actually a really bad student. So is she gonna fail out of the academy or is she going to be queen? Or something else?
A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: A princess who's done what she's had to do to protect her kingdom and a prince who's never been allowed to do anything in his empire are partnered in a supernatural tournament where the prize is a wish. The writing in this one is beautiful.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein: Prequel to Code Name Verity. Julie's last summer at her grandfather's estate.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald: Sara has come all the way from Sweden to visit her elderly penpal in Broken Wheel, Iowa. She arrives in a ghost town...but actually everybody's at the old lady's funeral. Sara stays at her house...and the town concocts a marriage scheme to get her to stay forever.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: If you don't know what this book is about, you might want to look it up before you decide whether to pick it up.

Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas: A fractured Sleeping Beauty retelling, sequel to Ash & Bramble. It was really enjoyable.
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison: Second in the Tyme series, a fun adaptation.
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix: A fun fairytale thing. I love fairytale adaptations.
Hunted by Meagan Spooner: Probably the best book of the year so far. I did nothing but read this book. It's Beauty and the Beast but also Russian fairytales.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato: They schedule the same practice room and start writing notes to each other. Music! Epistolary! Pretty good.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Mink (or, as she's known IRL, Bailey) just moved to the same town as Alex, her online friend who keeps inviting her to his town for the film festival. But she just...won't tell him. She wants to find him first, to hedge her bets. Meanwhile there's this super annoying guy at work....I really liked this one.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Dimple can't believe her parents are letting her go to coding camp without getting on her case about finding a nice boy. Rishi can't believe that he came all the way to coding camp to meet his future wife (according to their parents it's basically a done deal) and she a) didn't know who he was and b) hates him. I love it.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: Rachel's moving back to the city after living on the coast with her family for three years. But she can't be around the ocean anymore. The only issue with the city is it's where Henry lives. He was her best friend...but not anymore. I just read this one today.

That's it! That's about how the video went. Except not as interesting. If you thought this summary interesting. Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

inside the labyrinth walls

It's been a heady, exciting week. You know, I'd almost forgotten what it's like to get a New Book and excitedly read it and discuss with other people who are excited about the New Book and venture outside my comfort zone. But that's what the past week has been!

Last Tuesday I dressed with extra care. I thought my hair had a nice little Queen of Attolia vibe. My lipstick was on point. Fashion was, once again, my armor against anxiety. Why was I anxious, you ask? Because many, many months ago I decided that if I ever bought a book, I would go to the local indie bookstore to do it. (It's called The King's English, by the way, and it's a nice place.) And then the news of the New Book came out and I knew I'd have to buy it. Even though I don't believe in buying books in general (I mean, libraries exist).

Everyone at the bookstore was very nice but it was still very anxiety-inducing (I stood at the shelf for 5 minutes, holding the paperbacks of the rest of the Queen's Thief series, until I got up the courage to ask someone where the new book was).

Anyway, success was mine, I made it out of the store with all five books in the series. I set them in my lap so that on the drive home (which was HORRENDOUS, I live very close to the bookstore and it took me forever to get home) I could give them little hugs every once in a while. I do that with long-awaited library books too. Books deserve hugs too.

And then I took pictures of them and set them on the table for the next few hours while I spackled the walls. Here's the picture:

Almost certainly filtered. It's on Instagram.
Is now a good time to talk about the Queen's Thief series? I don't think I've straight-up ever mentioned that they're the books I'm talking about. They are one of my most favorite series of all time. And it is impossible to talk about them because everything is a spoiler. Gen is a thief and he does things and things happen to him? That's the best I can do.

I stayed up WAY too late reading Thick as Thieves (the newest one), couldn't finish because I started way too late at night. And I made the righteous choice and didn't bring it to work to read "during lunch" because I've learned by now that means I read it "all the time" and sometimes it's nice to actually work.

And then I couldn't even get back to it until late Wednesday night! Two late nights in a row! It was like those previous times in my life when the company of a boy was more scintillating than the idea of sleep. It was just like that! Except it was a book. There were boys in the book. Not quite the same though.

(My review: I hope eventually I'll like it better. I like it fine but I don't love it like I love the others. But that is a usual feeling for me, it's happened with all the other books because they're all so very different. So the outlook is promising.)

Then I decided to get active in the online community of Queen's Thief fans. I made a post that, as of today, has 71 comments on it discussing my insights and questions (and a fair amount of off-topic rambling, I guess that's normal). This is a series that is great for discussing.

I also immediately started rereading Thick as Thieves, in hopes that further exposure will help me love it sooner. Time will tell.

Saturday night! Saturday night I made a big huge leap and decided to go BACK to the bookstore because the author herself, Megan Whalen Turner, was going to be there and so would Shannon Hale (who is great. I love her. I love them both!). When traffic isn't horrendous it turns out the bookstore is only 10 minutes away, then I spent another 10 minutes looking for parking. And then I found the place it would be held and discovered that 15 minutes early is not early enough to get in the front.
I'm going to add pictures from my Snap story to this post for those few that don't check my Snap story. Weird.

I ended up sitting next to a girl from the same online community as me (though of course we don't know each other), so that was kind of fun! And just look at how many people love MWT and the Queen's Thief (and maybe also Shannon Hale)!
I stole this from Shannon's twitter. I am visible in this picture. x
Everyone was pretty excited. It was a good energy (and a beautiful night). I took some bad quality pictures the first few minutes (the only kind my phone knows how to take) and then remembered that I can also take video, so I recorded the rest of the evening. I don't know if that was gauche or not. I wasn't the only one.
There they are!!! So exciting! They're telling us they're not going to talk about children.

Pixelated authors
I am ashamed of myself for laughing as loud as I did when Shannon made that quip.
Anyway after that was when I started the video. It is a 45-min video. The video quality is not good but the audio is sufficient. And I've just listened to it again and it's entertaining! So you can watch if you want. (I thought about just clipping out parts that I thought might be more widely enjoyed, but it's hard for me to know. Lots of bantering and talking about YALLWEST and also no spoilers about the books.)

After we finished we all joined the signing line. There was a little something on the event that said people who bought their books from The King's English would have priority, but that wasn't true. It was fine though. The line was extremely long (I have some pictures of the line but they are not all that interesting).

I finally got to the table and awkwardly (as is my wont) put all my books down on the table, jostling it right as she was about to sign my hardcover. I forgot to mention that I brought all the Queen's Thief books I own (except for The Thief, which I lent out). I didn't want her to sign them all, just touch them. Because I feel like I can have cred when I tell people "The author touched this book. You'll enjoy it." So she did. She thought I was weird but she did it anyway. What a good egg.

This is the first time this has ever happened to me. And probably the last.
Yep, here's the rest of my books. Yep, I toted these around all night while looking for parking and walking from parking and standing in that super long line.
It was a great experience! I don't usually want to go to new scary places by myself but I did and I had a good time. It helped that I really, really wanted to do this. And that none of my friends invited me to do anything that would conflict. I'm glad I went.

Monday, May 22, 2017

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 99]

About a month ago, I took my cousin Megan on a field trip with my department to...a which will remain unnamed but where it was reasonable to have the theme be "In His Footsteps" (His, of course, referring to Christ).

We spent a few hours wandering and finished the day with a keynote address related to the theme. My notes on the address are below.
Here we are, getting ready to listen to the keynote. We are not any place in particular.
"Come, follow me," the Savior said. Then let us in His footsteps tread.

When we think about following in people's footsteps, the image that comes to mind is of trying to fit your boots in the prints left behind in deep snow. But the problem with that image is that it implies that everyone follows the same path in emulating the Savior. And that's not how it actually works.

Take this scene from the New Testament, where Jesus and His apostles are enjoying a meal together. They've finished eating and Christ asks Simon Peter three times, "Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep." You know.

Then while Peter's still dealing with those implications, he turns around and notices Jesus and John the Beloved are having their own conversation. "Hey so what's John gonna do?" Peter asks.

And Jesus basically says, "Does that matter? Follow thou me."

Peter and John were (are? If John is tarrying till Christ come, he might be kicking around somewhere still) important parts of building the Kingdom of God. They had/have their own roles to fill in the way Christ asked.

So, too, do we have our own roles in the Kingdom of God. It doesn't matter what other people are doing. Everyone's path is different, but that doesn't mean we're not treading in Christ's footsteps.

We all have our own trials and tests. President Boyd K. Packer said:
Our lives are made up of thousands of everyday choices. Over the years these little choices will be bundled together and show clearly what we value.

The crucial test of life, I repeat, does not center in the choice between fame and obscurity, nor between wealth and poverty. The greatest decision of life is between good and evil.

We may foolishly bring unhappiness and trouble, even suffering upon ourselves. These are not always to be regarded as penalties imposed by a displeased Creator. They are part of the lessons of life, part of the test.

Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome and healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of age.

Some suffer disappointment in marriage, family problems; others live in poverty and obscurity. Some (perhaps this is the hardest test) find ease and luxury.

All are part of the test, and there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect ("The Choice," Boyd K. Packer, General Conference Oct. 1980).
The speaker also shared this story from Elder Holland, but I don't remember how it related. But it's a good story! Maybe you can come up with a connection?
Katie Lewis is my neighbor. Her father, Randy, is my bishop; her mother, Melanie, is a saint. And her older brother, Jimmie, is battling leukemia.

Sister Lewis recently recounted for me the unspeakable fear and grief that came to their family when Jimmie’s illness was diagnosed. She spoke of the tears and the waves of sorrow that any mother would experience with a prognosis as grim as Jimmie’s was. But like the faithful Latter-day Saints they are, the Lewises turned to God with urgency and with faith and with hope. They fasted and prayed, prayed and fasted. And they went again and again to the temple.

One day Sister Lewis came home from a temple session weary and worried, feeling the impact of so many days—and nights—of fear being held at bay only by monumental faith.

As she entered her home, four-year-old Katie ran up to her with love in her eyes and a crumpled sheaf of papers in her hand. Holding the papers out to her mother, she said enthusiastically, “Mommy, do you know what these are?”

Sister Lewis said frankly her first impulse was to deflect Katie’s zeal and say she didn’t feel like playing just then. But she thought of her children—all her children—and the possible regret of missed opportunities and little lives that pass too swiftly. So she smiled through her sorrow and said, “No, Katie. I don’t know what they are. Please tell me.”

“They are the scriptures,” Katie beamed back, “and do you know what they say?”

Sister Lewis stopped smiling, gazed deeply at this little child, knelt down to her level, and said, “Tell me, Katie. What do the scriptures say?”

“They say, ‘Trust Jesus.’” And then she was gone.

Sister Lewis said that as she stood back up, holding a fistful of her four-year-old’s scribbling, she felt near-tangible arms of peace encircle her weary soul and a divine stillness calm her troubled heart ("Look to God and Live," Jeffrey R. Holland, General Conference Oct. 1993).
Perhaps it is just the idea that when trials and troubles come, in all their varied ways, we can "Trust Jesus." And follow Him.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

and the words, they're everything [wwis 15]

The main theme of this WWIS post is "Getting Ready for the Day."
My most basic instinct.
Yeah I don't have to do that anymore.
I've actually grown pretty fond of my bed in recent years. It has its quirks (the squeaky springs very likely keep my neighbors awake as I habitually toss and turn) but I'm still loath to leave it.
My feet honestly hurt worse after a day of flat-wearing than heel-wearing. How do you keep them on???
All any of us can do.

And a bonus "political" tweet (oh the halcyon days when I only got angry about grammar mistakes).
I quash this reaction all day erry day. Nobody knows what I really think, except sometimes my Twitter followers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

i have a prophecy

I've decided it's time for a Harry Potter opinion, and here it is: Harry was the only one the Prophecy could ever have referred to.

Here's the prophecy as Miss Trelawney spoke it:

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives....The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies....
So let's get into it a moment. Okay, here's what we know:

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches -- This is the subject of the prophecy. The thesis statement, if you will. What follow are the characteristics of this person:
+Born to those who have thrice defied him -- So, we know that both Neville and Harry fit this bill. Somehow. Go Frank and Alice! Go James and Lily! Fighting for what's right.
+Born as the seventh month dies -- also Neville and Harry. Dumbledore backs us up on these first two points:
"The odd thing is, Harry," [Dumbledore] said softly, "that it may not have meant you at all. Sybill's prophecy could have applied to two wizard boys, both born at the end of July that year, both of whom had parents in the Order of the Phoenix, both sets of parents having narrowly escaped Voldemort three times. One, of course, was you. The other was Neville Longbottom."

I actually disagree with Dumbledore on the fundamental conclusion (that Neville could ever have been the one the prophecy referred to), but that's the point of this post. We'll get there.
+the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal -- okay, stop. It is universally acknowledged that the "mark" is Harry's scar. How did he get that scar, anyway? The AK curse (as it is colloquially known in Auror circles, of course) doesn't leave a mark. Is it possible that the mark is the sign of the accidental Horcrux? Debatable, but that's also not the point. The point is: In one way or another, the scar is the sign that Harry's the one that can defeat You-Know-Who. And how did he get that scar?

Because Lily died for him, when she didn't have to. Voldemort gave her ample chances to get out of the way, but when she wouldn't, that's when she died. And that's when her protection over Harry came into force. That's why the curse rebounded. That's how he got the scar.

I don't really understand why Voldemort was willing to spare this Muggleborn girl who had narrowly escaped him three times, just because Snape asked. Maybe he wanted to reward him for overhearing the prophecy. Or maybe he just felt like it was a request he was willing to entertain until it became way too inconvenient. Either way: pretty sure he was only willing to spare her because Snape asked. Because Snape was obsessed with Lily. Hashtag #getoverit.

And I really do not believe that Voldemort would have spared either of the Longbottom parents. It would've been bam-bam-bam, end of the Longbottoms. :(

That's why Harry was the only one the prophecy ever could have referred to; it was only Lily's sacrifice that protected him and caused him to become an accidental Horcrux, which was how he had the power to vanquish the Dark Lord. Neville never could have, because Snape wasn't obsessed with either of his parents (as far as we know).

Here's Harry doing some wishful thinking, totally forgetting that he/his parents would probably be dead if Voldemort were still in power:
Neville's childhood had been blighted by Voldemort just as much as Harry's had, but Neville had no idea how close he had come to having Harry's destiny. The prophecy could have referred to either of them, yet, for his own inscrutable reasons, Voldemort had chosen to believe that Harry was the one meant.
Had Voldemort chosen Neville, it would be Neville sitting opposite Harry bearing the lightning-shaped scar and the weight of the prophecy....Or would it? Would Neville's mother have died to save him, as Lily had died for Harry? Surely she would....But what if she had been unable to stand between her son and Voldemort? Would there then have been no "Chosen One" at all? An empty seat where Neville now sat and a scarless Harry who would have been kissed good-bye by his own mother, not Ron's?

He's so close to working it out, he just doesn't have all the facts (like the small fact that his terrible professor was obsessed with his mom). Also, I have such a hard time conceiving of a "scarless Harry" -- to me, the boy and the scar are inextricably linked...and it couldn't have happened any other way.

P.S.: Even though it really couldn't have happened, I still like this alternate universe where Neville was the Chosen One: boy with a scar (chapters 1 and 2 are Neville-as-Chosen-One what-ifs. Chapter 3 is a bleak "what if both Neville and Harry got murdered" and Chapter 4 doesn't have anything to do with them). (Also it doesn't contain adult content)
P.P.S.: all the images came from google image search. I heard people don't read blog posts without pictures anymore so I peppered some in.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

trace all my books [2016]

In a lot of ways 2016 feels like a wash as far as my own life went--as far as personal, social, or spiritual development. But then I remembered that I kept my resolution about 60% of the time! That's better than it could be. (And it might've even been more. 75%? The world is my oyster.) (My resolution was to make my bed every day, in hopes that once I was there I would kneel down and pray instead of not doing that...which did not happen 60% of the time. But the only real resolution was making my bed, and I did that a lot.)

We'll see if I can keep my 2017 resolution, which is to shower more often. Starting tomorrow!

I mean, I know I am different than I was at the start of the year. Too many things are the same, but there are some good differences I think. And some bad ones. When was the last time I cooked for myself? Not sure.

There's a lot to be disappointed in myself about, but we're looking forward.

Anyway, I decided to make a year-end vlog to roundup all the books I read this year. It's 10 minutes long so you may not find it worth your time (also because I used my phone to record it all, it's rather quiet). But there's a couple fun things in there. In my opinion.

I tried to say Happy New Year but my phone doesn't start collecting sound for a bit. Didn't know that. Anyway here's the rundown of books I thought were worth mentioning this year. Except I didn't even mention Hamilton. Or Harry Potter.

Books featured in this video:
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis
Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley

Authors featured:
Megan Whalen Turner
Diana Wynne Jones
Tamora Pierce
Terry Pratchett
Georgette Heyer
Jennifer Beckstrand

Here's to a good new year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 98]

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas music this year. Unfortunately not thinking enough to be fully prepared to write this blog post, but still thinking about it.

I've been thinking about how my favorite Christmas songs are the ones with some immediacy to them. I like babies, including the baby Jesus, but I don't really get excited about celebrating the birth of a baby so much. I like the ones where we think about what His condescension means for us now, and what it means when He will return.

There are so many wonderful Christmas carols in the world that carry a lot of that meaning for me, but for this post I've decided to stick a little closer to home, to the Christmas hymns I'm most familiar with. Here are my favorite lyrics from each of the 14 Christmas hymns in the LDS hymnbook.

#201: Joy to the World
No more will sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make the blessings flow far as the curse is found.

#202: Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
Sing in exultation

#203: Angels We Have Heard on High
And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains

#204: Silent Night
Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace.

#205: Once in Royal David's City
And our eyes at last shall see him, through his own redeeming love.

#206: Away in a Manger
Fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

#207: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

#208: O Little Town of Bethlehem
In this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in

#209: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Light and life to all he brings, ris'n with healing in his wings.

#210: With Wondering Awe
The heavenly star its rays afar on every land is throwing, and shall not cease till holy peace in all the world is growing

#211: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to man begin and never cease

#212: Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains
Hasten the time when from every clime, men shall unite in the strains sublime: Glory to God in the Highest. Peace on earth, goodwill to men

#213: The First Noel
surely there is a third verse somewhere that has some meaning. I like this song but the lyrics in the hymnbook are meh (to my standards).

#214: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
The world revolved from night to day

Then let us all with one accord sing praises or something to our Lord. Is a nice Noel lyric. Has some application to today. Or would, if I quoted it correctly.

Anyway. I really appreciate the opportunity Christmas music gives us to think about Christ more. Christ, His life, His sacrifice. What we can give Him, poor as we are, in return for the marvelous gift.

Finally, I can't let the post end without mentioning this special song, Carol of Joy. I mean, talk about immediacy. "Oh fearful world, to you is the song." In the bleak midwinter when we hear carols, listen to the music, understand the lyrics -- our hearts open to the Savior. That's what I love about Christmas music.

But I don't have anything to say about it that my cousin Megan hasn't already said. Read her words. Be in awe of her talent and sad that you don't even get complete sentences in my posts all the time.