Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh gosh! This melts my heart... I am going to miss these little people so much when I am gone ='

love love love the Baker family!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Well... we ordered pizza and I introduced Lew to Julian Smith.
Long days aren't all bad =)

It's official... Samara's bored

*That is how I feel right now =/
Long shift at work today--10 am to 9 pm--and right now its slow. I can't decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing. But the paycheck I get after this will be good =)

(the video cuts off... so you may just want to go check it out on youtube)

Ok. Finished the Auralia Thread last night. I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes. Two characters, Myrton (a gardener) and Warney are having a conversation -

Myrton: Here you'll find the greatest freedom. Know what that is?
Warney: Solitude?
Myrton: Humility... Surround yourself with things that amaze you and you'll forget about comparing yourself to others.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wow! Only 8 days and so much to do!

Update on my mac -

Bad news: the genius bar did in fact confirm that the hard drive is dead as a door nail
"She's not only merely dead
She's really, most sincerely dead..." haha

Good news: the guy at the genius bar told me how to get the best deal [i.e. buy the hard drive somewhere else and have apple install said hard drive and the OS]. So, I ordered a hard drive from amazon that should be here by wednesday. When all is said and done, the repair should cost me less than $50 =) Zinedine (my mac) should be up and running in time for its 4th birthday (july 2 =)

I'm still praying for the Lord's provision over this trip. I mean, He has provided over-abundantly. But I still need his grace so desperately!

I've started packing and going through checklists of what I have and what I need. It's so strange... 6 weeks is quite a while, but not like I'm moving there... just in between. Travel is so much fun. Just nerve-wracking in the best way possible!

Oh and I should let you know that I still have about 60 pages left of Dorian Gray and the most of The Ale-Boy's Feast to finish. But if I own the latter and can therefore bring it with me.

Oh, and any suggestions for what movies to bring on the plane? I'm not allowing myself to watch any movies whilst in England, but the plane ride will definitely require a little entertainment. But there are several movies my mother would never let me take. hmmm... suggestions would be great!

Have a great Monday everyone!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

cooking incredible home-made dinners. good music. abundant laughter. garlic. a little bit of sherlock and a lot of b.c. beautiful hopes. shared memories. chai. road-trip plans. un peu francais. dreaming. pictures of cute babies. long-time friends who know they've only just begun. comfy clothes. peonies. film conversations. book conversations. lots of conversation.

...these are what make a lovely night and a happy heart :)

Sadness... :(

My computer's hard drive crashed this morning--just 10 days before my trip to England.

Please pray for a quick and cost effective solution.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Announcing "Featured Artists" - Josh Garrels

I've been meaning to do this for a while. As in, over a year now.
I often share these thoughts anyway, but I've decided to add a "Featured Artist" segment to this blog. I often find myself with new obsessions with books or musicians or actors or photographers and I wanted a forum to share what I appreciate about them. These won't be once a week or once a month... just whenever I find a good one. And please feel free to tell me what you think about the featured artist or other artists that you like.

The debut Feature Artist is: Josh Garrels
He just released this new album and all 18 beautiful songs are available here for free =)
My personal favorite is "Ulysses," a gorgeous ballad based, obviously, on The Odyssey.


I’m holding on to the hope that one day this could be made right.

I’ve been shipwrecked, and left for dead, and I have seen the darkest sights.

Everyone I’ve loved seems like a stranger in the night

But Oh my heart still burns, tells me to return, and search the fading light.

I’m sailing home to you I wont be long

By the light of moon I will press on

Until, I find, my love

Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown

Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones

But true love is the burden that will carry me back home

Carry me with the memories of the beauty I have known

I’m sailing home to you I wont be long

By the light of moon I will press on

So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home

Before I lose the one I love, before my chance is gone

I want to hold her in my arms

Check out his music and his fan page. Tell me what you think =)

I really miss my long hair and my layers.
I'm not able to go get a new haircut right now, but I've been looking for new ways to do my hair.
Today's feat: the fishtail braid.
It is far from what I hoped it would look like and i don't think you're supposed to need as many bobby-pins as I used, but I like it. I like that it is different. I like that it looks like actually did something with my hair. And I like that it simple!
It would look way better with my hair down, but I'll have to wait till tomorrow to try that.
Oh... one other thing I've really been missing: my lipstick.
The bag that had my burt's bees, lipliner, lipstick and a few other essentials went missing a while back :(
Part of the sadness: the bag was my favorite little bag and a high school graduation present from my sister.
Major sadness: I lost my lipstick :(
I had this lovely color, "Bellini" by BE.
I just need to suck it up and buy some more. But you know that "what if I find it" feeling?
Oh well...

Is there anything you're missing right now?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A travesty has occured. A terrible injustice that can't really be rectified.

Ok... maybe I'm over exaggerating. But really, it is terrible.
As some of you may know, over the last few weeks, I have been absolutely enthralled with Jeffrey Overstreet's fantasy series, The Auralia Thread. These past weeks have seen late nights and very early mornings. I have waited anxious and impatient for library holds to be placed and enjoyed the thrill of consuming books in just a few days. Girls like Auralia and boys like Rescue, kings and creatures and colors have all taken on a life of their own and become part of my reality.
As of last night I have finished Auralia's Colors, Cyndere's Midnight, and Raven's Ladder. The series ends with The Ale-Boy's Feast. At 12:05 am this morning, I was more confused than ever but proud of myself that I wouldn't have to wait as long for the next book to come to the library. After being gripped by the story, I had placed a hold on it a few weeks ago so that it would be ready now. But this morning I checked my holds on the library's site. I have no idea what happened. Where it showed a hold on the book only a few days before, as of today, there was no hold. How a hold could just disappear, I have no idea. It's bad enough that this series is 4 books rather than the standard trilogy, but to have the library system just turn on me--ouch!
So I caved and bought the book on Amazon. It should be here by friday and this weekend both my roommates and my parents are out of town. So I will be able to spend my free time with my book. Until then, I am working on finishing The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and should be done soon. Then I can fly away with my mind at literary rest.
I just wanted to post some passages I have been in lately, all from the Message -

"God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does... Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting Him set the pace, not proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade." - excerpts from Romans 3

"Abraham entered into what God was doing for him and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own... if you see that the job is too big for you, that its something only God can do, and you trust Him to do it... well, that trusting-Him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift...
"If there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise--and God's promise at that--you can't break it. This is why the fulfillment of GOd's promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does...
"We call Abraham 'father' not because he got God's attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody... Abraham was first named 'father' and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do." - excerpts from Romans 4, the whole thing is amazing!

[personal note: I just love the emphasis on trusting God to become... very much where I am at right now.]

"For you've always been a safe place for me,
a good place to hide.
Strong God... I can always count on you--
God, my dependable love."
- from Psalm 59

"He's solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
an impregnable castle:
I'm set for life...
God is a safe place to be."
- from Psalm 62

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lately I've been asking God what the purpose of art is. One of His responses has been "to reveal injustice and pain to inspire action."
This is so true. Looking at art in the past, it has been so influential in speaking up for the silenced and challenging injustices of the day. I'm sure people in England knew that pollution, harsh working conditions, and the lack of quality education were problems in the mid-nineteenth century. But once Dickens wrote about those issues, weaving them into the depths of his narratives, something had to be done. As the social realists were in early Victorian England, literature and photography was to the civil rights movement, and music was to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Arts and media portray the holocaust in horrific ways we would not dare ourselves to imagine. These can be so difficult to read, watch, listen to, and observe--but we persevere knowing that our discomfort is nothing compared to the pain of those this type of art attempts to portray.
For me, the very hardest type of art to watch is the abuse of women and children. It is hardest because it is most familiar, the most real to me. I personally know too many girls who have been affected and boys who have been hurt. I am as drawn to this type of art as I am revolted by the image it burns in my mind. This weekend when I saw Tree of Life, I cringed every time Brad Pitt yelled and I squirmed when he brutishly grabbed Jessica Chastain's wrists. But it is precisely because art is doing its job that I am so uncomfortable.
Tonight, I will subject myself to the art of injustice willingly. But this time it will be harder. It will not be Brad Pitt yelling and slapping. It will not be Keira Knightley left bleeding as a victim. Tonight it will all be portrayed by some of my closest friends. In Beauty for Ashes I will watch the pain of prostitutes and pimps, johns and slaves. Part of me is beginning to dread it. I know that my heart will suffer, but that is the point.

Art is meant to leave a lasting impression. Will you join me in getting an emotional tattoo? A statement that says we will not stand for injustice in our lifetime? Please join us tonight in Kirkland for Beauty for Ashes. You will not leave the same.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just saw Terrence Malick's new film Tree of Life. Breathtaking film. A good portion of the film is a series of awe-inspiring images of creation. The movie was able to create poignant albeit awkward, self-conscious moments of silence.
There were so many incredible meetings of form and content, mostly surrounding the movies themes of light and such, but also in the way it was blatantly Christian. Over half of the lines in the film were directed toward God.
"When did you first touch my heart? Where do you live? Are you watching me?"
Jessica Chastain was absolutely fabulous and definitely out-shined her higher payed co-stars. She also delivered some of the most amazing, yet convicting lines:
"There are two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. No one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end."
"Love everyone, every leaf, every ray of light. Forgive."
Ok... ok, she is very much a romanticist. Maybe that's why I love her so much. But so much of what she says is so true.

If you want a good review of the film before seeing it, you can read a good one by Christian film-critic Jeffrey Overstreet. Here it is in part 1 and part 2.

If you see it (or if you already have), I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm still processing so much and I'd love to hear other people's ideas and interpretations of meaning.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ugh... did it again.
Another day off, another Jeffrey Overstreet novel finished.
This one in less than 48 hours.
At least I'll finish the series before I leave at the rate I'm going

A random thought struck me the other day:
I can't take any library books with me to England.
I mean, I wouldn't have the book long enough.
Isn't that strange? I'm going to be gone longer than a book can be checked out from the library.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today I got to hang out with a few kids who are way too adorable.
This morning I watched Miss Eden. We wore our stunna' shades together and just walked.
But oh gosh, when she wrapped her little hand around two of my fingers as we were walking, my heart just about melted.
[photo credit: Chris Moody]

Such a beauty!
[photo credit: Veronica Moody]

Then this afternoon, ma familia went over to my sister's house. We got to play with the buddy boy and hold the little princess. So much fun.

He is currently in love with balloons and i think it is too cute!
[photo credit: Melissa Baker]

Miss Ida is now over a month old! Cannot believe it. But because she was born early, she totally still has a newborn cry. And mostly she just sleeps. But when she is awake, she has the dreamiest look in her eyes.
[photo credit: Jen Bryan]

Being with these kids makes me really want one of my own.
I mean, not right now. I'm not married--I'm not even in a relationship.
But, just last night I got to a place where I could say, "Lord, its ok, if I need to wait to have kids till I finish school and its later than I wanted. I'll wait, I know it will be ok."
But then today, my heart was like, "Never mind. Can I just be a mom instead?" =)
Oh silly heart. I know that the Lord plans for me to be a mom and that it will come in his perfect timing.
Till then, I plan on just enjoying other people's children!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How is it that literature can work on me like a drug?
Not necessarily a bad drug, mind you, but drug-like nonetheless.
What is it about a book that could enthrall me for three days straight so all I think about is finishing?
What magical power does it possess that it could keep me up late and make me get up at 5:45 on my day off???
I sometimes am ashamed to admit, but I love this drug.
I love the way it's deep words and ideas can hold me aloof from reality just enough that I get a bird's eye view--like being on laughing gas and feeling somewhat out of body.
I love the way a beautifully woven novel soothes and invigorates me like the caffeine in my chai.
Mind you, I have overdosed once or twice.
One time I really over-did it--I consumed one 500 page novel whole. One summer day. Gone. Leaving me reeling and starved for more beautiful words and people.
I try not to do that, and couldn't even if I wanted to, with a job and other responsibilities.
But so often now, I come across stories that do not have that power and it leaves me said.
"Where is your magic little book? Why don't your words hold power the way others do?"
Searching can be difficult, but always worth it because I do love this one recreational drug.
When I get through with one variation, as I did this morning, it leaves me feeling productive, but unsatisfied, craving another and another.

Time to find a new one to rival the beauty of what I just inhaled.
Oh, how do you never cease to do this to me?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Had a dream last night that someone wrote me a letter asking me to court. In the dream, I never saw who it was, but I did see a name:
Alfredo Fornaldo

I can't decide if that sounds more like an Italian entree or an Italian footballer.
Either way, if you find my dear Alfredo, please tell me.
bahahahahaha... :)
Thank God! And why?
Because He's good,
because His love lasts..."
-Ps. 106.1

In my preparations for Oxford, one of the last details I was concerned about was what would happen after Oxford. Specifically, I had no idea how I would pay for school next year with rising tuition and without working the whole summer. But I knew that if the Lord wanted me to go on this adventure with Him--and He was very clear that He did--that He would provide for all of my needs.
Well, last night I received a hand-addressed letter from the undergraduate chair of the English department informing me that I won a scholarship!! I applied to it months ago and hadn't heard anything. But I did receive one of the scholarships and it will cover almost the entire first quarter!
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, "The Lord pays for what He orders." But can I just share from my own experience, "It's true!"

He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than all we ask, seek, or imagine (Eph. 3.20)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Went for a walk this afternoon, got caught in a spring rain shower... made me think of this =)