February 3, 2017

Back in the Saddle again

Posted in Blogging, Books, Humor, Just Life at 11:22 am by catsinboxes

boot-449044_960_720I mean figuratively.  —It’s been quite a while since I blogged regularly.  But since I love horses and riding, why not add a picture?

It’s not the start of 2017, it’s not even quite the start of a month.  But I’ve been meaning to blog, so here’s to a start!

I have half an hour before work —one eye half on the clock.  What to write about?

Books.  I’ve started off the year reading quite a lot.  Favorites from January?  Hmm . . . I’d have to say Dianne Wynne Jones’ fantasy has been a new favorite.  I really enjoy her tongue-in-cheek humor and Year of the Griffin was a pleasant fantasy adventure.  In a sentence: a plucky young griffin is off to college to study magic, but the university’s methods are archaic, and she and her friends realize there is much more to magic than they are learning in the classroom.

On audiobook, P. G. Wodehouse remains a favorite.  I met Psmith for the first time, thanks to Leave it to Psmith.  Since I love Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle series, I had to enjoy this one!  Meanwhile, Uneasy Money was great fun to revisit, especially with Nigel Lambert’s excellent narration.  And if you are completely lost now, I apologize.  Remedy the solution by going out and getting The Most of P. G. Wodehouse.  As I wrote a couple years ago,

Combining understatement and literary allusions, slapstick humor and serious butlers, imperious aunts and impoverished aristocracy, The Most of P. G. Wodehouse should provide hours of entertainment to any Anglophile in need of a humorous read.  

On the biography front, I’m loving Ian Murray’s The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  There is much more I could say, and would like to say, about this book in particular and books in general, but the clock reminds me of my time constraint.  So, I will wrap up for the present.  I know this hasn’t been the most interesting of posts, but one has to start somewhere!

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August 26, 2016

Wayfaring Stranger

Posted in Blogging, Just Life, Singleness, Travel at 3:03 pm by catsinboxes

Five years ago, I wrote a cheerful recap of summer.  As I flitted from puppies to fairs, I was happy.  I know then, just as now, I was wondering a good deal about the future.  And then, as now, I know very little.

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world below

 

I love that mountain song and have for years.  The reminder —often needed— that this world is not our home.

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Another summer has come and gone.  This one marked by an amazing trip to Europe. The intoxication of traveling, of new places, of history.  The romance of a boyfriend at home.

Then a return to reality.  A break up, different values and different directions.

Learning, growing.  Recognizing that God is always good and sovereign —that is why I’m doing well.

Because, as much as I want a relationship.  I want God more.  And that means being single.

Single.  Wayfaring Stranger.  But not alone.  Because God provides community.  I’ve put down roots in the past years.  A new season lies ahead.  New adventures.  Friends, old and new.  It’s bittersweet, realizing it’s been 5 years.

I love Mercy Me’s song, Dear Younger Me.  What would I say to the younger me?

Don’t worry, dear, that you don’t know the plan.  Keep trusting.  It will be so good.  It will be so hard.  But the best is yet to come.   As the song says,  

Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger
In that fair land to which I go  

June 4, 2015

Settling in

Posted in Blogging, Cats, Faith, Just Life tagged , , at 8:05 am by catsinboxes

He’s curled on the bookshelf by the window —napping and feigning oblivion. It’s a sham. I know he’ll be up soon: bustling into the bedroom if I spend too long in there before returning to the living room. Or, he’ll start patrolling the apartment: pacing from room to room and vociferously complaining when I don’t let him out or refuse to fling open a window to give him a better view.

Oliver. The cat I didn’t want. God certainly has a sense of humor. This cat has more personality in the tip of his tail then some cats in the entire sum of their lives.

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“I think he has some Oriental Shorthair in him; he has that look.” —Says Mary, our regular mail carrier and a fellow cat lover.

So, while he was in rare form one day, I looked up “Oriental Shorthair” and read their personality.

The Oriental has a . . . colorful personality. They are closely linked to the people they claim as their own and desperately want to share their lives with you. In the busiest moments, your Oriental will find a way to interrupt your activities.

They usually bond with one person and become extremely devoted and dependent upon their chosen human. Expect them to be at your side, in your lap, and at the door to interrogate you about where you’ve been.  (Cat Fancier’s Association &  Petfinder Breed Profile)

This explains so much, and it’s Oliver to a T.

And I didn’t want a cat . . . hah! God knew better.

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May 30, 2015

Hiatus

Posted in Blogging, Just Life, Travel tagged , at 4:09 pm by catsinboxes


It has been quite a while.  All well-intended resolutions to blog were forgotten.  The semester flew by, full of work, laughter, friendship, and adventures.

Three weeks were spent at home in another crazy adventure, manning the home front with five younger siblings while my parents finished an international adoption.  It was a whirlwind: time with siblings, friends, books . . . greeting a new sister, packing the car and saying goodbye, heading back to Louisville.

Then, this week, I’ve been settling back in to the apartment.  It’s funny how two completely different places can be home, but that’s how it is —unfortunately they’re separated by two states, but it does make life interesting!

There have been blog posts I have written, on paper or in my head throughout the semester: an In Memorium tribute to our dog, and a post titled, “Lord, I didn’t want a cat.”  —That one about the sovereignty of God and stray cats.  I will still write it, in some form.—

As I look ahead toward summer, I know that I will soon be looking back.  Here one day, and gone tomorrow.  And when I look back, I want to see a summer of blog posts.

So here’s to summer blogging and a return from silence!

March 11, 2015

Four Years Later

Posted in Blogging, Faith, Favorite Quotes, Japan, Just Life tagged , , at 9:13 pm by catsinboxes

There are some dates you will never forget.  Today is one of those dates.

*Originally published on March 11, 2011, at the LEX Language Project blog:

It started with a faint rumbling. I could feel the floor vibrating under my feet. Around the office, people stopped work; there were exclamations, and then everything really started shaking. Within a few moments, I was sitting under my desk and listening to the sound of cabinets and everything else in the office being shaken by the earthquake.

This was my first earthquake in Japan. I knew Japan had earthquakes, so I was a bit surprised when my supervisor told me I should let my mom know I was okay. Wasn’t this a normal earthquake?

In the hours since then, and one powerful aftershock later, I have come to understand that this was much more than a standard earthquake. In fact, this was the largest recorded earthquake in the history of Japan . . .

I was in Tokyo when it happened.  It doesn’t seem like four years ago.  In many ways, it feels like only a short time ago.

Then, and in the following days, God was faithful.  Just thinking back brings a rush of memories.  Listening to Praise You in the Storm and not getting it, on my way to work that morning.  Listening to it the next day, and understanding.

Reading Isaiah.  Remembering Isaiah 41:10.  Remembering God’s promises, and though I was scared, not being afraid.

Singing You Raise Me Up in Japanese with believers that following Sunday, joining hands and praying.  The power in that calm moment.  “Do not be afraid; I am with you.  Be not dismayed . . . I am your God.”

Four years later, and all these memories can slip, but they come rushing back.  They come on March 11.  They come at other times.  So please, take a moment, and do not forget.  Remember Japan.  And say a prayer because, 4 years later, many people are remembering this day.

February 28, 2015

Literary Heroine Blog Party

Posted in Bible, Blogging, Books, Jane Austen, Just Life tagged at 6:35 pm by catsinboxes

Q.  Introduce yourself! Divulge your life’s vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

 My name is Hayley, and I’m a book-loving, Bible-reading, midwest girl transplanted to Louisville, Kentucky, and working on a degree in Humanities at Boyce College.  

Q.  What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

At risk of sounding like Caroline Bingley extolling the merits of a true lady, a true heroine must have common sense and back-bone.  She must possess a sense of humor and, if at all possible, she must like books!  Even more importantly, she must be empathetic and care about others —not everyone, we can’t all be Jane Bennets— but she must have some connection with other people.   

Q.  Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

  • Elinor Dashwood —Definitely number one!  
  • Emma Woodhouse —I plead guilty of being all too like Emma at times
  • Emily of Deep Valley —I’ve had a lot of waiting periods in my life, especially —like Emily— not going on to college right away.  (Here’s a review written much closer to that time in my life.)  
  • Anne Elliot —I’m not as quiet as Anne, but I do hope that as I grow older, I emulate Jane Austen’s most mature of heroines.

Q.  Five of your favorite historical novels?

  1. Sense and Sensibility
  2. Emma
  3. The Hobbit
  4. Persuasion
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird

Q.  Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why?

Elinor Dashwood . . . I understand her!

Q.  Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Mr. Knightley —he feels the most “real” of all Jane Austen’s men.  He is a friend first and not afraid to call Emma out on her short-comings.  

Q.  If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to – and what would you plan to do there?

I’d travel to the United Kingdom and visit battlefields, bookstores, castles, cathedrals, and museums —as many literary and historical places as I could cram into my vacation.  (Fun fact, I lived in London for 6 weeks when I was 12.  I can’t wait to go back someday!)

Q.  What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

Ooh, hard!  Right now it would be Regency England, but I love Homefront Britain during WWII, and Pre-Revolutionary War Boston.  

Q.  You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation, tap dancing… what is your act comprised of?

I love poetry, so I’d be happy to recite something, and then I’d finish with a piano solo, probably this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UaHl3d8Rlg 

Q.  If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

Hermione Granger; I have both the character and the bushy brown hair! 

Q.  Favorite author(s)?

Besides Jane Austen: Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Goudge, C. S. Lewis, Angie Sage, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, J. R. R. Tolkien and P. G. Wodehouse. . . to name a few  

Q.  In which century were most of the books you read written?

20th century with several notable exceptions!

Q.  In your opinion, the ultimate hero in all literature is…

Lord Peter Wimsey, my first literary crush 

Q.  In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is…

Moriarty is a classic but, really?  Lord Voldemort!

Q.  Describe your ideal dwelling place.

Bag End, or a quiet farm in the country 

Q.  Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence.

Classic but relaxed: I love dressing up, but I also love my jeans!

Q.  Three favorite Non-fiction books?

Taking the Bible as a given:

  1. Oxford Companion to English Literature (I love reading this reference book!)
  2. Tempted and Tried by Russell Moore (Wonderful, theological book)
  3. At Home with Beatrix Potter (Beautiful coffee-table book with gorgeous pictures)

Q.  Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

Yup, an Indiana Jones hat for me!

I’m imagining a summer day back home in Wisconsin —Kentucky summer days are far too hot!  I’d go walking with Mom, then, after my walk, walk out to the barn to see the horses and go out in the pasture barefoot to socialize (being very careful to mind my feet!)  After that I’d head inside, grab a glass of iced tea mixed with lemonade, and find a nice spot outside to read a book or catch up on journaling.  

Q.  Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat – in such a way as will best portray your true character.

While I’d love a beautiful hat, I’m on the adventurous side, so I’ll go for a Australian oilskin hat or a fedora.  If I didn’t wear a helmet horseback riding, that is what I’d be wearing!

Q.  Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.

Joining Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville; I am so thankful for my new “home” church.

Q.  Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

I love how the psalms are filled with the idea and admonition to wait on the Lord.  Psalm 33:20-22 so clearly ties this waiting with joy and hope in the Lord.  I’m learning to live this daily.

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.   For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.   Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. 

August 7, 2014

Beginning Again

Posted in Blogging, Books, Favorite Quotes, Just Life tagged , , at 8:38 pm by catsinboxes

It has been a long summer. There has been so much to write about . . . I have started to compose blog posts in my head. Then I have stopped.

What is the point? I love to write, but I have been busy, and working. But there is another reason I have not been writing, the reason for my last post:

Granddaddy. I miss him. Memories come back and catch me, sometimes unexpected.

Making coffee in the French press yesterday, I suddenly remembered his detailed instructions last year, when I was visiting. He showed me how to use a French press, explaining carefully just how to manipulate the plunger.

So I smile, and catch my breath, and blink before I can cry, but it hurts. And then, with that memory, comes another.

That is the funny thing about memories, how they flow together. For some reason, I keep thinking of a time, probably over a decade ago, when he visited Wisconsin. We went for a walk in our woods, just the two of us.

Fall

The path was rough, it was a new path then –not the beaten old path it is today. I think it was fall because the woods were bare, but the weather was perfect for a walk. As he walked along, he gave me a lecture about the correct use of words. He told me how many words today are not used properly, like effect versus affect. He told me about the sometimes comical misuse of some words in advertising. (Illustrating this with a story about a restaurant though I cannot remember which word was misused!)

P1080293And then, just as quickly, comes one, final memory. Why? I do not know, but I am so thankful. My grandfather was a soldier. He was gruff, yet he loved us so much, and he did not mind showing affection. He would give me hugs, and I remember them, brisk and slightly awkward, and then I –being female and affectionate– would finish by kissing his cheek -rather dry and slightly rough. And I remember the kiss.

Why? I don’t know. But I am so thankful that I have that memory.

What does all of this have to do with blogging? Because in the past couple years, I was so busy, and I blogged for him. He was so darn proud of this blog. He would remind me that people read it, so it was important I updated it. He was proud of all I have done as a writer, and he liked to see my writing. And so I would write, and I would write for him. Because I knew, in the faceless blogosphere, that hardly anyone would see my work . . . except that one person. I had one faithful reader, and that was reason enough to write.

I know other friends read this blog, and I am so thankful for you. But I know your lives are busy, I know you do not have time to catch every post. But he did. And he cared. And so I would write. Or I would intend to write. Sometimes a post became an email, sent off to him.

And now he is gone. And why should I write? Oh yes, I write for other things. I write letters, and I love writing for Redeemed Reader, but this blog is different.

Yet, as the summer concludes, and as fall stares me in the face with a daunting schedule, I need to write. And I need to write here. It is time to begin again. I pray I will be more consistent, especially now that I do not have a loyal reader (who never really understood blogging!) there to remind me, mournfully, that I have not posted for months.

In Out of the Silent Planet, there’s a beautiful line that I have been thinking about this summer:

And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back -if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day?

There is a place for sadness, that is why I cried as I wrote this post, but there is today and tomorrow and the beauty and glory of everyday grace . . . and how can I help but write?

May 18, 2014

Half a Year -Practically

Posted in Adoption, Blogging, Just Life, Travel tagged , , , , , , at 12:21 am by catsinboxes

Have you ever had this experience?  You stumble across a blog.  You read it.  You enjoy it.  You keep reading.  And then you realize that it has not been updated for months.  As my grandfather reminded me today, my blog is e pluribus unum, one out of many blogs causing this unpleasant experience.  For that I am sorry.

I do have several excellent excuses.
Boyce College

1.  I went off to college.

In January I became a transfer student at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky.  Two weeks ago, I finished my first semester.  I absolutely love college.  Not enough said, but I will move on.

2.  I have a job.

Well, I had several jobs before, but this is a writing job, a writing job involving books.  I serve as executive assistant at Redeemed Reader, a Christian book review website.  Over the past year, I have become increasingly involved with Redeemed Reader and my own blog has been, well, neglected.  But I have been writing about books as well as Ukraine!

I could keep going, but you, dear reader, are intelligent and –I hope– understanding.  Should I write about books?  I certainly have been reading!  I have read theology, and I have read history, and I have read quite a bit in between.  That is for another post . . .

Instead, I will tell you what happened after I finished my semester.

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I took a double-decker bus to Chicago, ignoring the mild undertone of vomit aboard the bus.  In Chicago, I narrowly avoided missing my train connection and only made it due to the kindness of helpful strangers and a confident ticket master.  What brought me to Chicago?

It was excellent and worthy of a post in and of itself.  My mom was there, and it was so fun seeing her and getting to enjoy the conference with her.  My favorite part of the conference?  Meeting Christians from around the world who are passionate about orphan care.  Also, getting to see and hear Karyn Purvis, a Christian psychologist.

Following the conference, we did have a little time to spend in Chicago.  It was a gorgeous day, absolutely gorgeous.

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Look at the sky!

 

Ooh, horses!

Naturally, I found the horses.

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It was a beautiful, wonderful day.  And then?  It got better because I went home.  I spent almost two weeks at home, two weeks with family and friends, and I am so blessed.  Now I am back in Louisville for the summer, and ready to work.  What else will I be doing?  Lord-willing, I will be blogging.

There, how is that for a post?  If you lasted through the end of this one, please know, tenacious reader, that it does get better!  Usually I write about much more interesting things, like books.

Your errant blogger and her faithful steed 

 

 

November 20, 2013

When in Doubt . . .

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Just Life at 9:50 pm by catsinboxes

About how to get back into blogging . . .

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Post a guinea pig picture!

August 24, 2013

City of Bones

Posted in Blogging, Book Reviews, Fantasy, Movie Reviews tagged , , , at 9:21 pm by catsinboxes

I might not be blogging here, but I am doing some work over at Redeemed Reader. Here’s my latest post: a movie review of City of Bones. If you aren’t familiar with this fantasy series, I can’t say that you are missing out, but the movie was quite fun!

http://www.redeemedreader.com/2013/08/city-of-bones-movie-review/

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