Harry Potter Quiz

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So, you guys...I finally finished reading the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. It was already like a month ago now, but I'm here today so that we can talk about all things HP.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed in the series. Rowling's writing was pretty amazing, but somehow, it wasn't quite as dreamy as I expected it to be. The characters that I thought I knew so well from a childhood of movie watching, turned out to have sides that I had yet to see. For the technical problems I saw in the writing of the books, the characters made up for it.

Book 5 was by far THE hardest book for me to read. I put it down for a long time because Umbridge was making my blood boil. And yet...As it was with Narnia, the book that got under my skin is the one that I look back on with the most fondness. I always loved the first book and I always said the third book was my favorite, but now that I've read them all, I know that five is the book that stayed with me the longest. The joy I felt at Hagrid's return is an experience few books have been able to create for me.

These stories tell the story of good and evil. They bring us face to face with the things we see and admire and dread in ourselves and in one another. Using a made up world that mirrors the spiritual and physical realities of our own, Rowling wrote something to life that will outlive us all. And rightly so.

How about some HP questions and answers?

Favorite book?
I've always said book 3 and then I wrote a review saying that book 6 was my new favorite when I finished it. So, it must be 6.

Favorite character(s)?
It may be cliche, but I grew a super special fondness for Hagrid that I never had before. Another character I finally grew to appreciate is Dobby. He drove me crazy causing trouble in the movies, but things were different in the books. 

Scene that stuck with you?
I'm going to go with the various talks around the fire in the common rooms. I want a family room modeled after one of them!

Quote you <3 i="">
 "'...Don't you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! Voldemort is no different! Always he was on the lookout for the one who would challenge him...'" (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, pg. 510)

Favorite movie adaptation?
#7 pt 2 will always be my favorite. I watched it over Christmas break a few years after it was released and it was the perfect ending to the saga. I remember thinking to myself, "We made it."

SPOILER: Biggest surprise?
Learning that Lupin and Snape are good guys. I have never been able to trust either one of them. I'm still not sure I do even though I'm supposed to.

Character you really didn't care for? 
Umbridge. That woman is evil in human form.

Do you know anything interesting about Rowling or the books or the movies or anything else HP related?
I read that she never got to really go over book 7 with edits and that it bothers her that it shows. I also read about the time she locked herself up in a hotel room to write and found that the stuff of dreams. If the stories about the girl who played Luna in the movies and Maggie Smith's cancer are true, that's inspiring! That's all I've got for now.

Is there one book that you think you NEED to read again?
The one I want to read again is book 3, just because. The one that I should probably read again is either 4 or 6. I flew through 4 and was super impacted by book 6.

What house would you want to be sorted into?
I always thought I was a Ravenclaw. The new site assures me I'm Hufflepuff. I'm so confused, but they're probably right.

Hogwarts or Ilvermorny?
I'm going to have to stay loyal to Hogwarts.

Memory tied to reading the series?
I started reading book 7 in the Boston Airport. I picked a spot by a huge window and had Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the wall I was resting up against. It was lovely.

I also want to remember finishing the series on July 30 in my favorite ratty old camp chair in the garden I never got around to planting this year.

Food obsession?
Where do I begin? Chocolate to ward off the effects of dementors. Hot coccoa and tea. The lavish meals at Hogwarts. The role food played in these books caught me by surprise. I enjoyed every minute of it.

How old were you when you first finished the series?
26. It was a long time coming, you guys!

Fav time of year to re-read it?
I expected to fly through them in a summer, which would mean that would be when I would want to re-read them. But, I think they're best suited to late fall and winter reading. We'll see if I stick to this belief!

Do you want people to read them (why or why not)?
Yes, I most definitely do. The thing is...These books deal with every theme we face and wrestle with in life and don't exactly seek to provide answers. They give you a safe place to confront them and leave you to think through the issues yourself. It's quite an accomplishment!

Which character would you definitely be friends with?
I had trouble settling on a character. I asked my Mom her opinion and she said (with zero hesitation), "Draco...You'd befriend him and bring out what little bit of good there is in him." She's not wrong. Like Anne Elliot before me, I'm always becoming friends with the people nobody else has time for.

After some thought (and a little help), I came up with Colin Creevy and Dean Thomas.

Which professor would you most like to have?
It's going to be a nurturing woman or a wise man. Which leaves Madame Pomfrey (technically a nurse) or the ever loved Dumbledore (technically the headmaster). Maybe Firenz! I'm definitely going with him.

Funniest moment? 
For some reason, the humor in these books caught me by surprise. Certain ones had me laughing constantly. I don't have a specific scene in mind, but I know Peeves made me laugh quite a few times!

Saddest moment?
There were points in book 6 when I got super, super sad. The kind of sadness you can't shake. I also found myself missing Sirius right along with Harry. And of course...the detentions Harry got from Umbridge literally made my blood boil. I cannot take children being mistreated by cowardly adults.

Happiest moment?
In book 5, when Hagrid returns. I got unexplainably happy over that moment.

LOTR, Narnia, or HP?
I still haven't read LOTR, soooo, I'm not really qualified to make a choice. Narnia is a faster read (I read those in one week). I'm going to have to pass for now.

Which family would you most like to be a part of? 
I think I would fit best in the Granger family. But, I'd want to have a family like the Weasley's. Don't we all? Also...Neville's Gran is pretty awesome, even if we had to wait until book 7 to see why.

Copy and paste these questions so that you can answer them in the comments, on your own blog, or in an email to me!!! 

All Along

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

June 4, 2011

I've been helping my Mom costume another show which means that with the exception of last Monday, I have been at the theatre for some kind of rehearsal or performance every single night since the beginning of July. I've hovered over an ironing board, steamed costumes, learned to sew on buttons, and been a master with blue painter's tape and safety pins. Green room shenanigans have involved learning all about Brigmophyseters and Megalodons from a little boy named George and swapping every imaginable story with the cast and crew. There may or may not have been a few rounds of Mad Libs as well.

In a few short weeks, we will have been living the theatre life non-stop for two straight years. There were times that I was convinced it was killing me (this is no exaggeration). I was staying up way too late and getting up as early as I always did. I was making dinners to go and squeezing in grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning whenever I could carve out the time to do it. I was driving here there and everywhere and turning the van into an office during rehearsals. I worked props and costumes and the hospitality side of things and even found myself backstage being a kid wrangler. I made a fool of myself using sports terms instead of theatre lingo (think half time instead of intermission, locker room instead of dressing room, roster instead of playbill, and having ZERO clue what "house left" or "stage right" meant).

That said, this adventure is coming to an end. My sister is ready for a break. My brother is starting classes at the college. And I've been told the next show they even audition for won't be until Christmas. We're two years in and the thing that has shaped every hour of my life since we've moved here is going to disappear. At least for this fall anyway.

In a way, I'm excited. There will be normal bed times and time for friends. There will be family dinners and movie nights. Our weekends will be our own. But, just like every hard thing, I'm realizing that I'm sad it's over. This thing that required so much of us all, brought us together. It gave me a chance to be stretched and pushed way outside my comfort zone. My brother and sister got to have THE time of their lives and I got to tag along for the ride watching them grow and shine and enjoy themselves. It gave me a chance to give and give and give and trust in the strength that God provides. The last two years have been the best kind of hard and an amazing gift. I knew it all along, but now I feel like I'm finally seeing them for what they were. Perspective...It's really something!

With the end of one adventure, comes room for another. As you all know, I've spent much of the last 10 years keeping house for my family and taking up other jobs as they came my way. It's weird and I've never tried to deny that. My parents made a commitment to me and I made a commitment to them and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of my siblings' lives and to be able to serve people whether they could pay me or not.

I wouldn't trade those 10 years for anything and the decision to bring them to an end came with a lot of wrestling. The thing is, my brother and sister are entering new seasons of their own. Our family is changing shape. And it's time for me to move on. I knew the days of being their "other mother" wouldn't last forever, which was why it was so easy for me to ignore the pressure I so often felt to "DO SOMETHING."

I got to teach them and play with them and cook for them. I got to help with Awana and summer reading programs and VBS and all the plays they were in. I got to be there for dentist appointments' and grocery runs and every errand associated with the animals they used to raise for fair. I got to take them out to eat and to the movies and spend endless afternoons at the park or the pool. I got to give them baths and read bed time stories and build Lego and play hospital. I cheered them on at Little League games and waited in the car during practices. I can still hear their giggles and look back on the times they needed a good cry and an extra hug. When they were little they were so afraid that I was going to move away and go to college and marry a big hairy man....There was so much dread with being sure that I would disappear.

And then, the years went by. I opted to do college online. I never did meet a man (hairy or otherwise) that made me want to get married. I moved away for a few short stints, but I always left most of my things at home and promised to return when my time away was finished. In some ways, I wish that I did have a house and family of my own. I won't have forever for those things to happen. But, then I look back on the last 10 years and I realize what a treat they have been. They've taught me to care more about what God thinks than what anyone else (myself included) thinks. They've taught me that my worth and value are not in what I do, but in who I am. They've taught me to do whatever it is my hands find to do the best that I can. In short, they've taught me to live by faith. I don't have a lot to show for those years other than gray hairs and laugh lines and some of the most precious memories I'll ever make. I've known it all along, but now I'm really seeing those years for what they were.

I wouldn't trade them for anything. Not a house of my own. Not a family of my own. Not a bank account bursting with security for whatever tomorrow holds. There are some things that are worth more than you can ever imagine and God used the last 10 years to fill the cup that holds those things to overflowing.

As we made plans for this fall, an opportunity came up for me to apply for a job. I kicked the idea around and around and turned in my application hours before the deadline. In the meantime, I was offered another job. A few weeks later I went in for an interview. I left the interview feeling dread. Which job SHOULD I take? Should I take either job? Did the interview even go well enough to give me a shot at the job? They told me I could expect to hear back the next week. I made the decision I had to make and waited to hear back on the interview. I made peace with my decision and handed it all over to God. The next morning, I got a call. The interview went well and they were pleased to offer me the job. The first of August was scheduled as my start date, which gave me plenty of room for the commitments I had made with this last play that we're doing.

I'm getting paid to write on project based schedule and I'm working at a library. Those 10 years of learning to wait on God, I had quiet dreams coming to life. I dedicated myself to continuing to write. My hope was that someday something might come of those scribbles. Something has. Another dream that came to life was the realization that THE career I wanted was to be a librarian. I stumbled onto that dream when I used to fill in for Julie. During a long stint of that, one day it dawned on me that THAT was what I wanted to do. I researched degrees and positions and let myself get used to the idea of the possibility of it.

The same waiting and trusting and working that have shaped the last 10 years will continue now that I've got a few other commitments to juggle. The summer of 2017 will live on in my mind as the end of one season and the beginning of another. I've told you that there were things I was holding back until the time was right. Now you know what they are. There are a few more things I'm keeping to myself for now, but these ones are honestly the biggest.

As I learn to juggle everything and adjust to the way things are going to be now, I'm still planning to keep up this blog! I've given myself the freedom to enjoy this summer that may just be the last of its kind. Thanks for tagging along and reading when I write and commenting and emailing even when I'm not putting up fresh content.

You're the best!

Halfway There

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It's the middle of the middle month of the year. Summer is here in all its glory and as I always say, time is flying as fast as ever. I'm almost to the end of both my journal and my current purple notebook. These three things are working together to set my mind on taking a step back to consider the progress of the year so far.

This morning, I sat in my garden writing a fresh essay on the writing life and reading over the different things I've put down in my purple notebook.

I ran across this essay that I wrote on December 31st and decided that now is the perfect time to share it with all of you. We're halfway through this year already and yet that night at the end of December doesn't seem all that long ago. I'm sure you feel the same way...

December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

It's only almost 9, but I'm doing what I do when I check the time and adding three hours, which means that my family and friends on the east coast are minutes away from the big moment. I'm home with nearly 20 people and a Harry Potter marathon going on in my living room. A hot shower, dry hair, my fluffy bathrobe, some Bechet, and a cup of hot coffee are my companions now that everyone else is onto year five. I'm in my room with lamps and Christmas lights and the last 140 pages of book four. I'm doing something else I do...Wondering ahead to next year. Where will I be? What will I be doing? With who? What will my "word" be? Will I be as happy then as I am now? Happier? I've been thinking through things and seeing possibilities. And turning each and every one of them over into God's hands.

Last Sunday I was reminded that He RULES everything. The very Psalm that was comforting to me in the summer of 2010 is comforting me all over again. That summer, as I hovered around Baltimore in a plane with a big storm going on in the sky around me - complete with flashes of lightning - the words of that Psalm were on my mind explaining the peace I had. I've never forgotten that flight. I hope I never do. Trusting God in that moment was natural and easy and a total game changer. I guess it was because I didn't really have any other option.

I often wonder why it doesn't come so easily in other situations. The same truth applies. The same power He has over the wind and the rain and the lightning and even the course of that plane are exercised over every person I come into contact with, every circumstance, every opportunity, every ability...All of it. I'm going into 2017 with my mind set on these things and a resolve to BASK in His light. When I bask in the sun, I am full and happy and at ease. My cares melt away. I often doze off. There is nothing like it. I want it to be the same with God. It's going to take His Word. And it will be a good year.

I'm holding a few words back. They are here...I guess I'm afraid to unleash them. Why is that? Here in this "safe place" where they aren't going to go anywhere? Maybe that's something I'll work on. Why not now? Why do we hold things in? Is it fear of each other? Fear of being "found out"? And what is so wrong with that anyway?

Well, I started this piece with intentions. And it has taken a shape of its own. Holding back is harder than letting it out. I'm tired. Not sleepy tired, but the kind of tired that comes of writing your heart out. Only, I didn't quite get there.

* * *

2017 has been a year of much basking. I've been to MA and to SC. I've entered two different writing contests and put my words out there again and again. I've met so many new people and finally gotten around to getting to know people I've met since moving here almost two years ago. I've read less and written more.

My brother and sister have been in play after play. I've helped with props and costumes and volunteered on the hospitality side of things. I've packed more dinners to go than I can possibly keep track of and tucked little notes into each one. 

Circumstances really haven't changed much at all and yet I've poured myself into trusting God and continually looking to Him.

All in all, I'd say it's been a pretty good year so far!

How did you spend New Years?

What were your hopes going into 2017? 

What's on your mind now that we're halfway there?

A Little More On Faith

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

March 30, 2017
Back in May, Jay and I were texting about some life stuff. As it always does, it came around to God and His Word and the hope that we have in Him. Jay is famous for coming up with simple sentences that are packed with meaning. During our conversation he put 5 little words together and I've been thinking about them and planning to write about them here ever since. He said, 

"He heard us the first time." 

Jay's point was that so often, we pray and pray and pray like a little kid who is just SURE that our Mom hasn't heard us yet. After all, if she did...Things would certainly be different. God hears the prayers of His people. He doesn't sleep. He doesn't tune us out. He doesn't need us to shake His shoulders to get His attention.

This is not to say that we shouldn't keep asking or keep seeking Him. As we continue going to Him, this belief changes the way we wait. We pray and we rest assured in the fact that He has heard us. The first time. We can carry on, knowing that He heard us.

Not only does He hear us, but He also delights in this hearing.

When these two principles begin to shape the way we think, they'll be sure to shape the way we pray and live. This is faith in action. That kind of faith can't help but obey. It's the kind of faith that feeds obedience and delight and perfect trust in God. What comes after believing and praying like He heard us is trusting Him and putting effort toward what is up to us while knowing that the rest is up to Him.

We can ask Him to show us our part and to give us the courage and the strength for it as He grants us wisdom to see beyond the NOW. We can set our minds on trusting in His will, His way, and His time for the eternal picture He is painting of His power and glory. Even our requests are part of a story that will outlive all of us.

Remember this, He heard the first time and He is delighted to hear. Now, it's up to us to do what depends on us and trust Him with the rest.


Friday, June 30, 2017

I've got a fresh batch of letters for you today. They're a little bit sappier than usual and I hope you don't mind. Write a few of your own when you're done reading mine and leave them in the comments OR make a post of your own.

Dear Jean Pierre,

You French speaking darling, you...Thanks for being brave enough to shout "big cup!" across the airport late that night in Denver. I smiled and you drug your garbage can closer and the conversation that followed is one that I hope to hang on to for a good long while. You said, "we have God or we have nothing" and you were right. The joy in your eyes and the chance to use a little French and to talk about the treasure we have in God was a real delight. See you on the other side, my friend! I wasn't joking when I said I'd look for you.

Dear Brother of Mine,

Everyone keeps asking about my trip and my response is always something along the lines of, "Really good! Mostly." You're the reason behind that mostly. I enjoyed every millisecond I got to spend with you. The teary goodbye in the garage and the heart to heart and the letter you wrote me after I pulled out of the driveway...They mean the world to me. I miss you more than you'll ever know the same way you miss me. I can't wait to see you again. We're gonna plan it and you're gonna have some time off from work. I love you!

Dear Austin,

Thanks for choosing the healthiest restaurant I have ever stepped into for lunch that first Friday after I got home. I now know that I really like tangerines and that they make a great addition to a salad. I'm not sure that I'll go back, but it was way outside of my comfort zone and like everything in that category, it wasn't so bad after all.

Dear Old Bamboo,

When Leia watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang every single day I swore I would never ever watch it. Time went by and I ended up watching it. More time went by and my brothers and I would sing "The Old Bamboo" as we used the giant one that came from who knows where to get the stray birdie off of the roof. I had no idea that even more time would go by and the little boy dancing around in his underwear with the bamboo shoot that was five times his size would don a fancy costume and learn an amazing routine that he would perform on stage in his first professional theatre contract. What a run we've had!

What letters do you have to send today?

What has the power to make you sentimental?