Posted in Life

Happy Birthday, D! (The Ninth)

Happy Birthday to my friend D! Her birthday was Friday, and to extend the celebration, here are some of her funny quotes from the past year.

 

Basically, I decided not to read a productivity book last night, because it looked like a long-winded waste of time, and decided to jumpstart my productivity without it.

If I ever send a GIF, know that I meant it with the depths of my soul and thought it was Deeply Important.

I’m involved in witchcraft because of my love for pandas, apparently.

I pray for him occasionally. I also pray for everyone who knows him just in case he has not repented.

In response to some disturbing Bible story coloring pages: Why do children need coloring pages about genuinely horrific things? Do we give them coloring pages about horrible events in the news to help them process them? XD

Look what just came up in my Amazon suggestions. “Game play is the same as the classic UNO game, but there’s a wild card rule unique to this deck. Look for the “Wild Power of Friendship Card”!” Uno is not about the power of friendship. It is not about cooperation. It is about cackling evilly while you make someone else draw four multiple times in a row.

What’s going to be really rough is when we reach the 2040s, and “the forties” will no longer obviously refer to the 1940s. I’m glad I realized this now so that I have twenty years to prepare myself.

Now you can no longer say, “Never have I ever spontaneously combusted.”

After using it on a Saturday: It is always Throwback Thursday when I want to be ironic while bringing up a random memory.

I had a full on fight or flight reaction to this book. And by fight or flight, I mean fight.

This novel seems like something the homeschool moms of my childhood would have adored, but I feel confident that a majority of their children would have liked it too.

I sorted through the sea of scrap paper one shots that have been accumulating on my desk, and I have SEVENTEEN stories I wrote at work that I still haven’t typed up and/or finished. So. When I get back from out of town, let’s have a writing night where I focus on typing up all of this. If I die, I don’t want someone going through THESE personal effects.

While we were in the hotel last week, I took a moment to reread a recent story and thought to myself afterwards, among other things, “The obscure C.S. Lewis quote was CHEF’S KISS!”
And then I was like, “But I am the chef. So that is an extremely vain thing to say.”
But, on the other hand, I do know my audience extremely well. XD I wrote this for myself alone, and myself thoroughly enjoys it.

Also, TBT to Dad thinking the rental van was going to break down when my sister and I were both typing about 90 wpm in different rhythms and he thought it was the car.

This has also been a fan favorite. With me being my own fandom here. XD

I accidentally pressed the panic button once at my job, and it worked! Complete panic immediately broke out!

If you have ever heard me say, “People faint FORWARD, not BACKWARD,” while watching a movie, a TV show, a skit, or playacting children, you may be eligible for compensation. You can direct your complaints to this book. [Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All]

On special blankets in children’s entertainment and their usual horrible end: I don’t like that blanket-loving children having nothing but 1) Linus and 2) devastation.

Maybe just don’t sell your Cursed Objects for $25 or any other price?

I only just learned last year that Stitch is an alien. I was SHOCKED. I knew that ohana means family, and that family means no one gets left behind, because the Internet drilled that into me, but I had no CLUE that Stitch was an alien.

On a children’s historical fiction book: It’s fairly depressing, but in a historically accurate way.

Since I am already telling such a ridiculously lengthy tale, I’ll throw in the detail for free that I spent time admiring a cute guy’s nose for maybe fifteen minutes while we waited to get started.

Whenever I run out of creative ideas, I just start drawing. I let the muse take me into darkness and creepy faces.

 

For more, see:
2021
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2015
2014

Posted in Life

What I Did Today

Our copier at the library is very old (for a copier) and just barely functional. We’re all rooting for it to give up the ghost in hopes of making the replacement we’ve been told is coming actually arrive. Even the repairman wants it to die so he doesn’t have to deal with it anymore.

So when a coworker suggested we give it a tombstone as a Halloween decoration, I went for it. We were pretty amused with ourselves.

Posted in Writings

Miscellaneous One-Shots

I have a whole document full of these tiny stories that are so small it’s easier to contain them somewhere than give them all their own home. Here are a few little fluffs for your reading pleasure. I think the only thing you need to know for context of the first one here is that Kieran is an Elf and slightly magic and can make injured people feel slightly better by touching them.


From the corner of the booth in the breakfast nook, Kieran watched over the top of his book as Cyrus made coffee. He knew Cyrus hadn’t felt well all day – he had the little crease between his eyebrows Elian got when he was pretending he didn’t have a headache. But he didn’t yet know him well enough to tell if that came from a concerning reason or was just a random nuisance.

Coffee in hand, Cyrus slid into the other half of the booth. But he put the mug down and got close enough to lean his forehead against Kieran’s shoulder.

Kieran very carefully did not react to this new development, reading a few pages in silence to let Cyrus be still. Then he asked, “Feeling better?”

“Yeah, actually,” said Cyrus.

“Something going on you want to talk about?”

“Not really. I just didn’t sleep much last night.”

That could still be concerning, but he didn’t sound upset about it. “I’m not sure caffeine before bed is the way to fix that tonight.”

Cyrus just chuckled as he sat up. But that wouldn’t do, so Kieran put down his book and reached to lightly press his thumb into that crease between Cyrus’ eyebrows, knowing the direct touch would help more. He was rewarded with some rapid surprised blinking as tension drained from muscles beneath his fingers.

Then he put an arm around Cyrus’ shoulders to keep him there, picking his book back up with his other hand. Cyrus grabbed his coffee mug, holding on with both hands and sighing a bit as he relaxed into Kieran’s side. Good. Might as well do what he could to counteract that caffeine before Cyrus tried to sleep.


“Will you let me drive you home?” Jared asked over the noise of the soccer crowd around them. He wore his eager puppy dog face. It used to have no effect on Grace, but it was getting harder to resist. She thought continued exposure ought to have the opposite effect.

Still, she wrinkled her nose. “Not if it means hanging out at McDonald’s with your whole team first.” She’d done that once. Once was enough.

“I’ll take you home first and meet them there,” he offered.

Grace hesitated, then agreed, “I’ll see you at your car.”

“Thanks! I’ll hurry.”

He wouldn’t, but she knew he thought he would. Grace took her time squeezing through the crowd and finding Jared’s car in the parking lot. There she leaned against the trunk, crossing her arms against the night and shivering. She’d come to this game by herself, and she knew Jared meant well trying to save her a walk alone in the cold night, but she would be warmer walking than waiting for him.

Who knew why she let him think it helped.

He appeared before the parking lot had become entirely devoid of cars, warm in his letterman jacket, duffle flung over his shoulder. “Thanks for coming,” he said, beaming at her.

“You did great,” Grace said awkwardly. By now he had taught her enough about soccer to understand what he did, but she still didn’t think her compliments should carry any weight.

“Because I knew you were watching.”

“That’s a lie,” she scoffed.

He shrugged one shoulder. “It’s not the only reason, but I think about it.” Before she could overthink that too much, he dumped the bag on the trunk and tugged at her arms so he could take her hands. Then exclaimed, “Grace, your hands are freezing!” He lifted them to his neck, covering them with his own. He was hot and sweaty and he rubbed his thumb against her wrist and something in Grace’s chest fluttered.

She didn’t know what to say. To Jared’s credit, he just smiled at her fondly instead of giving the knowing smirk he could have used as he said, “Let’s get you somewhere warm, yeah?”


Space germs hit everyone eventually. Even Kieran had dealt with a few illnesses his space-and-time-traveling friends’ immune systems were used to and his wasn’t. He was only surprised Quizzer’s newest companion hadn’t succumbed sooner.

Not that Elian acknowledged being sick. He went about his day apparently unfazed, but Kieran saw the pinched crease between his eyebrows and the extra pallor beneath the slight tan he’d begun to develop. So Kieran decided to go about his day unobtrusively in Elian’s general vicinity.

Quizzer noticed, too. Kieran saw her notice, saw her notice him loitering, saw her agree with a small nod that he had this one handled.

Elian was doing research on the console computer with Kieran reading nearby when Elian’s eyes went unfocused and he started to collapse where he stood. Kieran leaped from the couch and just stopped him from hitting the floor.

Elian’s eyes fluttered open as Kieran sat down and adjusted his grip to something hopefully more comfortable for them both. “Kieran?” he mumbled.

“You know,” said Kieran, “I am the undisputed expert at pretending I’m not sick, but you’re not bad yourself.”

“I’m not sick.”

“Sure you are. You’re also a liar. I’ll allow it today because the space germs are clouding your judgment.”

“The what?”

“Germs. They’re these tiny organisms that cause-”

“I know what germs are, Kieran.”

“Oh, okay. I really thought ‘space’ was already in your vocabulary, so…”

“Shut up.”

Elian closed his eyes again, and Kieran used the moment to run a hand through his hair and subtly check for a fever. He didn’t feel one yet, but he suspected it would come.

“Are you ever going to let me up?” Elian asked.

“Yes. To go to bed. Then I’m going to make you tea and you’re going to sleep and you’re going to feel better.”

“Do I have any choice in the matter?”

“No.”

“Fine.” Elian shifted, and his head resting against Kieran’s shoulder felt almost purposeful. “But if you’re insisting, I think it’s only fair to make you carry me.”

Kieran gathered him closer, prepared to do just that. “Be careful what you wish for.”


“Eric.”

“What.”

“At least open your eyes.”

He did and found Mia sitting on the floor by the couch, her face inches from his. “Yes?” he croaked.

“You’ve been sick so long I have to go to the grocery store,” she complained.

“It’s been two days.”

“Yes. And we’ve run out of milk because our poor children, fending for themselves, spilled a whole gallon of it trying to make cereal for breakfast.”

“I was in the kitchen at the time,” he reminded her. “I cleaned it up. This happens whether I’m sick or not.”

She ignored this. “Tristan is taking a nap. Ariadne is Not. Do you want me to take her with me?”

Eric looked around Mia at his daughter, who had blocks spread across the entire living room floor. Those blocks seemed to multiply every time one of the kids dumped them out of their box. “You don’t need to do that.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m not that sick, Mia. We’ll be fine.”

“On your own head be it.” She leaned in to kiss his nose, and Eric poked hers in return. On her way by, Mia stooped to hug Ariadne and told her, “Take good care of your daddy while I’m gone, okay? He doesn’t feel good.”

“I will,” Ariadne promised, all seriousness for a moment.

When Mia had gone, Ariadne dashed off to her bedroom. Eric yawned and waited, prepared to remind her to put the blocks away before she spread out some other toy, but she returned with a stack of books.

She paused by the couch to look him over solemnly, then climbed up to join him, making Eric scoot as far back as he could to give her room. “I can’t read much right now, Ariadne,” he said, his scratchy voice proving the point.

“You’re not ‘posed to,” she said impatiently. “Mommy said to take care of you.” And she opened one of the books on her own lap and started reading aloud.

She couldn’t actually do that yet. Not really. But some books they’d read so much she had them memorized.

Eric was going to cry, which would not do good things for his already congested nose. He hadn’t realized she’d picked up on Mia reading to him when he was sick.

“Ariadne,” he said when she paused between books, “you’re the best daughter.”

She nodded in satisfaction, then followed it up with, “You’re ‘posed to be quiet. I’m reading.”

He could hardly do anything else.

Posted in Life

Good Evening

I don’t have anything I feel like writing about. I’m mentally worn out from my work schedule being a complete mess – and thus making the rest of my life a mess – for approaching three weeks now. My bedroom is a disaster and I haven’t found the energy to fix it.

But I’ve been watching my friend’s very cute puppy! Her name is Rosie. So here are some cute puppy pictures.

Posted in Christianity, Life

Great Books I’ve Read in 2022 – Part 2

He Who Fights with Monsters by Shirtaloon
I mentioned this in a post about books a couple months ago. My brother recommended the series to me. So far I’ve listened to three of them. I’m still behind; the seventh comes out next week. But I’m enjoying them and I’m not in a hurry.
The main character is Jason, an ordinary human who wakes up in a world full of magic and monsters with his own personal video game interface. He learns things and accumulates lots of friends. They all have personality and great interactions. I love the group that has formed around him. Few of them would have become friends of their own initiative, but Jason has brought them together and they’ve become a great team who all care about each other deeply. Their interactions regularly make me chuckle, and there are plenty of deeper emotions along the way, too.
It’s also a rare case where I think I enjoy the audiobooks more than I would reading them. They’re very long, and I think I would find the length overwhelming, but the reader is excellent, and I’m happy to listen to just a little at a time.

Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World edited by Judith Durant
After many years of only knitting, I have been learning to crochet over the past several months. I’ve also been trying to use up my yarn stash, and this book was the perfect combination of those two things. The projects are sorted by yarn weight, and there’s so much variety. If you like things made out of yarn, you can most likely find some options in here. I checked this out from the library and made several projects. They came out well. I will probably borrow it again, or perhaps acquire a copy to keep.

Peanut Butter Dogs by Greg Murray
Exactly what it sounds like: photographs of dogs eating peanut butter.
I found this on display at a library and immediately took it home and looked through the whole thing.
Their FACES. It’s SO CUTE AND FUNNY.
Unless you’re afraid of dogs, you need to see this book.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien selected and edited by Humphrey Carpenter
I had a moment last year when I went, “Wait, why haven’t I read this book yet???” and I bought myself a copy. Then, of course, it sat on my shelf untouched for a while. But I picked it up this spring when I was sick and ran out of library books. I ended up reading it in bits and pieces between other books, because it was very slow reading. But excellent. I learned many interesting things and found the sources of quotes I’ve seen often. I also came out of it very sad that Tolkien wasn’t able to get The Silmarillion published before he died.
If you’re interested in The Lord of the Rings, this is well worth the time.

You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly M. Kapic
In You’re Only Human, Kelly Kapic challenges the notion that we should always be doing more, reminding Christians that God made humans with limitations and those limitations aren’t sinful as we often think or imply, and properly honoring our limits also honors God. He discusses the theology of this concept, then considers what living it out might look like in different areas of life.
I think this is so needed and important, and I’m very glad I read it. I recommend it highly.

For more book recommendations, click here.

Posted in Christianity, Thoughts

Does God Like You?

When I ask [“Does God like you?”], I try to keep eye contact, but it is amazing how quickly people drop their eyes to the ground. It is painfully clear this is an uncomfortable question. Rather than interrupting the uneasy silence that often follows such a question, I sometimes notice eyes starting to moisten. Why? What is behind this visceral reaction to a simple question? – You’re Only Human by Kelly M. Kapic

I have a writing problem: villains.

The worst villains in my stories have little depth and tend to come across as doing evil things For the Evulz. This is because I know – I know – from experience – that as soon as I give them personality and motivations, I will go, “But look at all the good things about them. Look how hurt they are. Look how good they could be,” and I will want to give them a redemption arc. And sometimes, storywise, one needs a villain without a redemption arc.

I think there’s a picture here of how God feels about sinful human beings. The God who “loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” The God who “wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.” I love my characters. I like my characters. As soon as I get to know them, I want the worst of them to be better, not just so they stop doing bad things, but because I like who they are and I want it to shine.

As finite humans, I’m not sure we’re capable of liking every other finite human in the world. Interests and temperaments and personalities differ, not always in compatible ways. We don’t have the capacity or time to deeply know every single person. This means that for us, treating others with love sometimes has to be a choice we make in spite of not liking them much. Although we can instead make sinful choices out of our limitations, the limitations themselves are not inherently sinful. God made finite humans and thought it very good.

Good news: God is not finite.

God made you very good. He knows you. He sees all the reflections of himself in you, and he wants you to shine. And he has the capacity to do this with everyone, all at once.

Our human necessity of loving in spite of not liking can taint our picture of God. It can make us feel God loves us only because he has to, with no sense that he actually likes us. Which is not a recipe for a healthy relationship, is it? Do you want to take all your problems and sins and praises to someone who just puts up with you because they’re supposed to? What about, instead, someone who really thinks you’re great? Who likes your smile and they way you get excited about your favorite kind of weather, who likes to hear about your thoughts and ideas, who likes to see you happy because, well, it means you’re happy, who just likes you?

Sin, of course, also taints things. God hates sin. Ignoring that does no one any favors. But if all we ever tell people is that they’re a sinner and God hates sin, the logical conclusion is, “God must not like me. He just loves me because he has to.” And we’ve come right back around to the problem.

(For more on this topic without me inundating you with excessively long quotes, I highly recommend chapter 2 of You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly M. Kapic. Here are a couple relevant paragraphs:
“Have you ever felt that your parents, or spouse, or your God loved you, and yet wondered if they actually liked you?…”
“While I understand where they come from, claims that God can’t stand to be in the presence of sin are fundamentally opposed to the gospel and the nature of God….”)

Recently, I sat uncomfortably while a full church auditorium laughed at a preacher joking about how sometimes he doesn’t like his child even though he loves them. As an adult, I understand that he meant sometimes his child is frustrating and disobedient and he doesn’t like those things. As a child, if I’d heard one of my parents tell a roomful of strangers they didn’t like me sometimes, I’d have been devastated and horribly embarrassed, and I might not be over it to this day. Disliking the problematic things someone does and disliking them personally are not the same, and it takes maturity to separate the concepts.

How on earth do we expect our children to grow up with a secure relationship with God if we think it’s funny to inject insecurity into what’s supposed to be the safest, securest relationship in their earthly life right now? If I’d had children of my own in that auditorium, we would be having a conversation about how sometimes Mommy doesn’t like their actions and choices, but they never ever need to worry that Mommy doesn’t like them. Mommy doesn’t just love them because she has to, she likes them very much.

For the record, I talked to that preacher, and he graciously agreed to think about what I said. I can’t do that with every single person who laughed. But what I can do is tell you, you, whoever you are, reading this right now:

God doesn’t just love you because he has to. He likes you very much.

(Quoted or referenced: John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4; Genesis 1:31)

Posted in Life

If You Could Tell Your Younger Self One Thing…

What would it be?

I don’t always have answers for these sorts of questions, but I do for this one:

“Someday, your hair will curl.”

(I did nothing to my hair before this picture, other than wash it and let it dry.)

It’s nothing earth-shattering. But really, young me doesn’t need to worry about stressful things that haven’t happened yet, or get spoilers about good things that haven’t happened yet. But I know that at any point in my childhood, with stick-straight hair that I wished would at least be a little wavy, I would have been delighted to know for sure that my hair would develop curls as an adult.

What would you tell your younger self?

Posted in Life

Doctor Who Video Editing

I realized I didn’t share this here. I recently got in the mood to rewatch Doctor Who, and as I watched the Ninth Doctor’s season, I remembered this video I wished existed, so I decided to make it myself.

At one point in the process my computer did things and lost all my progress, so that was obnoxious. But I’m proud of the result.

 

Posted in Life

Started My New Job Yesterday

I’ve been trained for the day-to-day parts of reference for subbing purposes for a long time. So I just… walked in and did that. No one has given me any instructions on what my actual responsibilities are now. Guess I’ll have to ask for that (though it’s slightly tempting to wait and see how long it takes for someone to realize I need it). The website where we clock in and out hadn’t even been changed to schedule me as reference instead of circ.

It’s a good thing I’m responsible and competent.

Can’t say I’ve gotten myself excited yet, especially after the lack of any helpful acknowledgement or information, and I might have gotten teary walking past the teen section yesterday. But I did buy myself a pretty, refillable planner since I’ll have to actually keep track of program dates and the like now. Seeing it pleases me.

Posted in Christianity, Writings

Crosses

Clouds lie low over a field, thick and dark and rolling. Though they leech all color from the grass, rain never falls.

Spread across that grass: crosses. They lie flat, in ever-widening circles, every direction I turn, ready for victims.

An impossible task. But I try again.

The condemned squirm. They howl. They reason. I kneel on skin, try to pin them down, but they twist away or the hammer slips or they fight me off or I slide to the grass in defeat and let them go. I’ve never gotten one to stay.

But this time surer hands encircle mine. Another more solid than I adds his weight. The nails drive true, and when I glance back at our work, they remain on their crosses.

At last we stop. Sweat coats my hair, slides down my back. My hands ache. As I catch my breath, the crosses around me begin to lift, dropping into waiting holes in the ground, a jarring thunk thunk thunk thunk thunk.

The ground quivers, stills.

I spin slowly.

They hang there, bare and exposed, and I know them so well. I recognize their jealousies and greeds and longings and idols and a hundred other impurities.

They look like me.

And still they squirm and howl and reason and it’s awful and tears drip down my face but he is merciful. He breaks legs, sparing me the hours this could take. Slowly they fall limp, lifeless limbs hanging from nails as his once did.

And I am new. I stand taller. I smile as he takes my hand to lead me away. His clothes shine as they always have, and I reflect his light, dressed now in blood-cleansed white.

I don’t look back.

Sunlight breaks through heavy clouds.

 

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:24