Saturday, March 31, 2012

So grateful for friends.

Wrapping up what's been an especially difficult and disappointing week, I've been really grateful for the friends who have messaged and chatted with me. But then there are friends who blow you out of the water... I mean like friends who mail you dark chocolate from half way across the United States! What an amazing package to come home to tonight!! Beks - you are the best, most incredible friend. Thank you!

Friday, March 30, 2012

[Via Megs]

I had read the story before, but this was a beautiful way of sharing the narrative.

Oh, and Barter Books - must visit!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In requiem...

Today's is a commemorative post which I've been planning for a while. As you may have guessed from some recent posts, I have very lately been introduced to the works of Virginia Woolf and, subsequently, I have gained a deep respect for her. Not only is her writing style impecable and her thoughts profound, my heart has broken over her life story. I find several similarities between her own tragic childhood and my sometimes traumatic one. I found myself often moved because, in her, I see some of the things I have been spared, some of the incredible ways God has intervened in my life.
And God knows the ways in which He attempted to intervene in hers, but sadly (for her and for the rest of us) she chose a different path. After several bouts with insanity, and fearful of Nazi invasion, Woolf chose to take her own life.
On March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf left the Sussex home she shared with her husband Leonard. She filled her coat pockets with rocks and walked into the River Ouse, drowning herself. She left this heart-breaking note for her husband:
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.
Before studying Woolf's life, I think I only judged the fact that she committed suicide. But after reading her own reflections and autobiographical essays (some written just months before her death), I feel such a deep sadness. I only wish she could have known the hope of Christ's love and, through that, the true purpose of her amazing gift. In reflecting on her life or other artists I admire, I often think, "Who was sharing the love of Jesus with that person? Or did the church just reject them?" And then the Lord challenge me, "Who are you sharing My love with? How would you act differently if you knew this classmate or that co-worker was to become a world-renowned artist or businessperson?" Ouch. Convicting reminder.
So today, while I mourn the premature loss of this literary great, I also find myself provoked to love deeper and freer than ever before.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So, I heard about this film (based on a novel) called Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Didn't sound like my type of film, but an interesting concept. Then I learned Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor were playing the leads and thought, "Oh, that's cool." And then I saw the costumes in the trailer. Wow.
I loved every one of McGregor's ensembles.

[Cute sweater!]

[So academic... love.]

[A tie while fishing? Seriously? That's adorable.]

Not recommending the movie (it still looks odd), but I am loving the costume design.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

spring break round-up

The other day I was thinking and didn't feel like I had done a lot over spring break, but as I recounted parts of my spring break, I realized that wasn't true. Here are just a few of the fun things I've done over break:

Finished The Man Who Was Thursday [Gilbert Keith Chesterton]
Read A Severe Mercy [Sheldon Vaunaken] and The Sign of Four [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle]

I took my first solo-road trip and went to Portland for a few days, which included a fabulous visit to Powell's. I also got to catch up with my good friend Maia, whom I met studying in Oxford.

Went to the Cinema twice. Once to see The Artist on a date with Charlli:
 and The Hunger Games with Josiah

 Visited IKEA for the first time as an adult. 
Completed a project with the spoils of the IKEA visit:

Got to get all dolled up for both the CCA Auction
 and a wedding.
Plus my trip to the MAC counter with Christine.
[I still absolutely love playing dress up!]

Checked my inbox and mailbox obsessively for news from Oxford

Stayed over with my sister and her family for a night, where I enjoyed Ross's fabulous steak and re-watching the Downton Abbey Christmas special [sigh =].

Sent my good friend Lois off to England with a fabulous double-header of great period dramas.

Had a Packer-Surface girl date in the sun this Saturday. We walked all around Juanita Bay and got to see a bald eagle.

Also went on an amazing Seattle date with my aunt Kristina.

Worked more shifts to make some extra $$

Got to introduce Stephanie H. to Sherlock (BBC).

Phone chats with my friends from far-away, like Beks and Kristina D.

* * * * *

"Let me explain. No there's too much. Let me sum up."
Overall, I had a marvelous time off. I read leisurely, spent lots of time with some of my favorite people, went on a few adventures, tried new things, had my patience stretched (in regards to Oxford), shed a few beautiful tears, laughed more than I cried, wrote a surprising amount, filled my journal with tons of quotes, survived the Ides of March, missed London a lot, sent and received letters, re-focused for the near future, and learned to choose peace + trust even more.

Ahh... goodbye Spring break, hello Spring quarter.
[photo-credit: Sarah]

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just realized that all my Spring classes are in the oldest and, in my opinion, most beautiful part of campus. The cherry trees may distract me... but that's ok.

What a fabulous way to end my UW career? =')
So happy that I finished a project today I've been had planned for a while.
My bedroom needed a few extra touches and now, thanks to my older brother, they have finally been added!

As you can see, the walls were pretty bare. But thanks to some hooks I've been meaning to hang for over a year and my trip to IKEA last weekend, I now have some fun details above my bed =)

I like it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Hunger Games!


I'm so excited, I'm having a hard time concentrating!!


Just debating dressing up or not...


Or maybe, the degree to which I'll dress up. Hmmmm.


Either way... "It's a big, big, big, big day!"
And I'm so glad its finally here!

Yesterday, I went ring shopping.
Haha... no really, I did. Just not because I'm actually in the market for a ring.
Last night I had the most fabulous date with my Aunt, who works for a jewelry boutique specializing in vintage pieces. So last night, her job was to do some recon on the competition and I was kind of the front for the recon. We went to several lovely places last night. I really liked Isadora (just up from Pike's Place). I got to try on a garnet ring there from the 1830's. The Bronte siblings were running around the Haworth moors and collaborating on fantasy pieces in the 1830's. Woah!
For dinner, we headed just around the corner for happy hour at Cafe Compagne--fabulous! After a delightful and leisurely meal, we settled down at the Georgian with a pot of cherry-rose, mint tea. What marvelous food and conversation! So grateful for Kristina and our relationship!!
Just got blessed again.
Its when He takes care of the littlest things I have to stop and ask myself, "Why do I worry when He ALWAYS provides?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Had so much fun today!
I got to go with a co-worker to get make-overs at the MAC counter =)
We had such a blast and, of course, now I want to buy a bunch of make-up.

The artist used this fabulous color on my eyes:
Its a pinkish-purpley color with hints of copper that is pretty amazing!

She tried the color on the left first: Nicki Minaj Viva Glam.
Woah! Bright, Barbie, hot-pink. It was fun, but a bit too fun for me.
I opted for something a bit more subtle, i.e. the one on the left (Viva Glam V)
My friend surprised me by buying the lipstick for me! So blessed.

She also introduced me to a new favorite hangout - Munchbar.
This picture doesn't do it justice, because on the other side there were cool, wood ceiling beams and exposed brick. Overall, the space was very fun and modern and very affordable. Plus, I can verify that they have really good garlic fries. I'll be back!

Such a fun date! I'm loving spring break a bit too much... I think I would be fine with this all the time.
[A lie, actually, after a few months I'd be begging to back to class, but it sure is fun to be able to have great, spontaneous dates!]
[London at sunset, July 7, 2011]

I miss it.
But I feel slightly closer to England this week because I have a handful of friends going!
Today my dear friend Lois will be landing to start her quarter long study porgram in London. I'm so excited for her! She's going to get to see great theatre performances, amazing literary and historical sites, and a few of the filming locations for our favorite British TV Shows
[Remember Lois -
Speedy's: 187 North Gower Street
Bart's: West Smithfield =]
I'm not sure if I'm more jealous that Lois gets to be in London or that London gets Lois. I'm going to miss her a lot. But I'm grateful we've made the most out of our time together--from giggling in Shakespeare class, sharing Sherlock videos, going to see Macbeth, and our fabulous British period-drama double-header, I have become so grateful for my anglophile, lit-nerd friend!
If you are interested, you can follow her adventures here: Lois in London.

I'm also excited for friends Kim and Andrew White to return to their native England on a way to a missions trip. On their way home, they also have a little getaway with Andrew's parents and four brothers. So happy for them!
Best wishes to all who are travelling to the beautiful land of Albion this week!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today is St. Patrick's Day and in honor of the British-Saint-who-moved-to-Ireland and for whom we celebrate Ireland every year, I thought I'd share just a few of my favorite Irish artists.
There are so many that I love (Kenneth Branaugh, George Bernard Shaw, Liam Neeson, Enya, and Peter O'Toole) even more whom I respect (Seamus Heaney, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, etc.) But there are just a few that I admire I thought worth it to share. So, in no particular order, here they are:

Andrew Scott

Oscar Wilde

Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis

Maureen O'hara

Paul Hewson, a.k.a Bono

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

dreaming of the city spires...

I sent my mom this print from the Etsy and told her "I want to go back... ps. can you get this for me for my birthday?"

Her witty response:
I can't afford the actual building but maybe the print.  Praying Father will supply the ongoing access. Love, Mom
 Hahaha... thanks Mom. She cracks me up.

But seriously, I miss this place so much right now. I suppose it isn't helping that I'm currently reading a book set in Oxford in the 1950's. Sigh. Oh, Jesus, if you want me there, please make a way for me to be there! 

musing moments with sarah

Me: What are you doing?
Sarah: Reading a biography for homework.
M: Oh who's?
S: Edgar's.
M: haha... Edgar Allen Poe's?
S: Yah, I'm studying the Transcendental Pessimists. I've started calling them the "TP's"
M: haha... they could be a band head-lining Ed, Nate, and Hermie with bigs hits such as "Nevermore" and "Ah Bartleby."

"Ahhh... I almost had a homonym error in a message to a fellow English major. Eek!"
"Samara Lynn!" giggles

Sarah: Can I have my hair-tie back now?
Me: If you stop shooting at me.
Sarah: Oh well, never mind.

You know you're a nerd girl when... get sad thinking about college graduation because it means the end of your OED access ='(

road trip playlist

It has served me very well and I highly recommend any one of these songs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Well, I think I did pretty good in Powell's today. I said "no" to quite a few tempting volumes, but I got a few fun ones. I purchased:

  • The Metamorphosis, and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  • A Room of One's Own and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • and Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (I love the film so much and was ashamed I'd never read the book... but now I have a fun afternoon to look forward to sometime in the near future)
I also got this incredible journal! It's cloth-bound and has a famous 1920's cover of Pride and Prejudice printed on the front. I have a book bag from Bath with the same cover and I just love it. Plus I thought this would be an appropriate journal for the next few months as I will be working on my longest Austen paper to-date. This should keep my motivation high and my thoughts flowing.

[from Out of Print]

Tomorrow I head back home, but it has been so relaxing to leave routine and the familiar, to have the time and space to fall in love with literature all over again, to allow the Lord to awaken and re-awaken beautiful things He placed inside me. It has just been a special time.

Well, I'm going to go curl up by the fire with A Severe Mercy for a while, but I hope the rest of you have a lovely evening =)

"Well it's easier to clench your fist and grind your teeth
than to look into the sadness that lives underneath.
Well, you can kill off all those feelings, they'll just turn to ghosts
They will take over your house and become the hosts
Oh how long?

A Man of sorrows walked the shores of Galilee
And his eyes were cast with joy towards the crystal sea
When the shadows will be gone with all these bitter tears
And my heart will hang on that till the dawn appears
Oh how long?

Oh you won't let me go..."

- Matthew Perryman Jones, Until the Dawn Appears
" I wondered whether, after all, small girls were not more--well, more adorable, sort of." - Shedon Vanauken, on first meeting his petite wife =)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Well, hello there.
I'm just tucked away in my Aunt and Uncle's living room reading and soaking in the Lord's unbelievable Love and Favor. This is the retreat I needed! I don't think I even knew how much I needed this until my soul found this wide open space. Just the car ride down was ministering and my reading this afternoon has renewed me in many ways.

I wanted to share a fairly long passage from the book I'm currently enjoying: A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, an Oxford scholar and the close friend of C. S. Lewis. Long (in age of tweets and texts), but rewarding, this bit reminded me of a choice I have often made and encouraged me to continue making that choice:
[Here Vanauken is describing himself in the third person, referencing an experience from youth] ...There he had sat, leaning against the bark, with Polly [his trusty dog] lying daintily at his side. He must have been, he supposed about fifteen. He couldn't recall what it was in his reading that had begun the train of thought - yes, he could; it had been the great brains in their towers in Stapledon's splendid  Last and First Men. He had been wont to despise emotions: girls were emotional, girls were weak, emotions - tears - were weakness. But this morning, he was thinking that being a great brain in a tower, nothing but a brain, wouldn't be much fun. No excitement, no dog to love, no joy in the blue sky - no feelings at all. But feelings - feelings are emotions! He was suddenly overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions. But, then - this was awful! - maybe girls with their tears and laughter were getting more out of life. Shattering! [HAHAHA]
He checked himself: showing one's emotions wasn't the thing: having them was. Still he was dizzy with the revelation. What is beauty but something that is responded to with emotion? Courage, at least partly, is emotional. All the splendour of life. But if the best of life is, in fact, emotional, then one wanted the highest, purest emotions: and that meant joy. Joy was the highest. How did one find joy? In books it seemed to be found in love - a great love... So if he wanted the heights of joy, he must have, if he could find it, a great love. But in the books again, great joy through love seemed always to go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still, he thought, looking out across the meadow, still, the joy would be worth the pain - if, indeed they went together. If there were a choice - and he suspected there was - a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and the depths and, on the other hand, some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now, chose the heights and the depths.
 Wow. I feel undone.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I'm heading out on my first, solo-road trip.
I am beyond excited!
I've been to Portland countless times... but its always been to visit family, and the city has become this fabulous, adventurous place without me even realizing it.
Several weeks ago when I found out I would have an 18-day long spring break (yes-18 glorious days!), the Lord suggested I try and get away. So here we go!
I'm going to be staying with my Aunt and Uncle, visiting my grandparents, and hanging out with a friend from Oxford (!!!). But other than that, I have very few plans. I'm going to visit Powell's and hopefully a few other fun spots... but I think there will be a lot of extemporaneous adventures--which is out of the ordinary for me.

I fully expect to get lost a couple times, and I have no doubt that I'll spend more money on books than clothes, but I think it will be such a fabulous time.

And I just have to give a shout out to my amazing Dad!
This morning he goes, "Now, we're getting an oil change today to make sure the car is fine, and I filled up yesterday so you should have a full tank of gas. And here's my AAA card if you have any emergencies." Oh... so precious! So grateful for him =)

Well, you can be on the look out for adventures in Portlandia over the next several days.
Until then I'll just be packing, getting my maps in order, and picking the perfect playlist for the trip down =)

A few treats from The Man Who Was Thursday

"No man should leave in the universe anything of which he is afraid..."

"...there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy." hahaha!

"...always be a comic in a tragedy. What the deuce else can you do?"

"Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world..." [Reminiscent of my favorite George MacDonald--At the Back of the Northwind]

"The philosopher may sometimes love the infinite; the poet alwaysalways loves the finite. For him the great moment is not the creation of light, but the creation of the sun and moon." <3

Just finished this morning and, of course, loved it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thoughts while paper-writing

I thought I'd share some of the random thoughts of this lit nerd whilst writing a paper on Ian McEwan's Atonement and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse (though, they don't really have to do with the paper)...

How was "intertextuality" not in my Word dictionary?

* * *

Random funny quote from Atonement (talking circa 2000): "It is quite impossible these days to assume anything about people's educational level from the way they talk or dress or from their taste in music. Safest to treat everyone you meet a distinguished intellectual." haha... good advice!

* * *

The original image for the Hebrew word for "help-meet" is of two mirrors opposing one another so that one has a view simultaneously into oneself as well as into the other infinitely. [Picture Inception =]
In A Room of One's Own Virginia Woolf said, "Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size." As many critics will point out, mirror references are proliferate in women's writing and writing about women. Woolf includes them; they are hugely significant in Jane Eyre; they are at times playful as in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There--but they are always significant. A woman looks into the mirror waiting and wishing to discover the meaning of what is reflected back. Ahh! I'm just in shock over that quote right now. She couldn't have known that was the meaning of help-meet (she probably would have resented it if she did). Just goes to show how deeply the Truth of our identity is rooted in our very fibers.

* * *

Just one of the ways in which Virginia Woolf's novels are different than most:
Her characters are lovely, but they don't seem to have a life of their own. I (sadly) don't believe we will ever cease to have spin-offs and sequels of Elizabeth and Darcy. People muse about the characters in Jane Eyre long after they complete the novel. The whole uproar surrounding Atonement is "what really happened to the (completely fictional) characters?" But Woolf's characters have this remarkable quality about them to seem entirely realistic and significant while reading them. They are clearly identifiable. But once the narrative ends, so does the character's existence.

* * *

"The very stone one kicks with one's boot will outlast Shakespeare." - Virginia Woolf (sad but true)
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." - Matthew 24.35 (amazing!)

* * *

Life connection #1 - Virginia Woolf lost her older half-sister, Stella, 101 years to the day before my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

* * *

On a sadder note, I always thought Virginia Woolf had chosen to not have children due to her feminist views and in favor of her career as a writer. I was sorely wrong. According to the critic I am reading, "It was the decision of her doctors and Leonard Woolf early in 1913 after three earlier (and, as it turned out, one impending) bouts of insanity that Virginia Woolf should not have children." She later said that she was "always angry with myself for not having forced Leonard to take the risk in spite of the doctors." Furthermore, the critic adds, "In her bouts with anxiety... her thoughts of childlessness and her sense of failure are always interlocked..." This makes me inexplicably sad. I can't help but think that if she'd had children maybe she wouldn't have sunk so deep into depression, maybe she wouldn't have explored lesbianism, maybe she wouldn't have committed suicide. I know its of no use to dwell on "ifs." But reading her works and reading about her breaks my heart and makes me yearn for the possibility of redemption.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recipe for a paper-writing atmosphere:

  • A comfortable place [but not too comfortable...zzz] to be strewn with books
  • A very good playlist--upbeat, but not distracting--complete with headphones
  • One grande chai (study buddy! =)
  • A snack (preferably honey-nut cheerios)
  • Sweats
  • Hair in a bun
  • Prayer
  • and... A word of encouragement:
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.
He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound].
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired."
- Isaiah 40: 28-31 [the Amplified] 

On your mark, get set... GO!
Welcome to the adventures of a sleep-deprived Samara:
Nearly missed my bus this morning after setting off my own car alarm at the park & ride =/
To do today:

1. English novel final
2. Shakespeare final
3. Finish final paper for honors
4. Keep calm and carry on

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I recently found out that The Hunger Games trilogy is finally available in paper back. I wish that had been an option back in December when we bought our set [I vastly prefer paperbacks] =/
But you wouldn't believe my initial reaction to the news. I seriously thought, "Paperback? Do people realize what this means, people? THG can now be taught!!" Yep. A very helpful lit professor informed us last quarter that for a professor to assign a book in a university course it has to be 1) in print and 2) be available in paperback. I sometime have "professor fantasies" - I can totally envision a "dystopian futures" course. Oh goodness... too much fun!
Snow with dawn.
Sun and flowers at noon.
Must be (nearly) spring in Seattle.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So, last night I saw Macbeth! (again =)
It was mind-blowing!!!
It was kind of hard to have high expectations after seeing the play done by the freaking Royal Shakespeare Company. Fortunately UW's Undergraduate Theatre Society presented it with a completely different approach--I'm actually not sure how they could have been any different.

RSC: July 2011

[The Macbeths: Jonathan Slinger and AislĂ­n Mcguckin]

[The pic of the stage I snuck before it started hehe =]

If you want, you can watch a clip of this production here.

UTS: March 2012

[The Macbeths: Jay Myers and Jocelyn Mahers... the did such an incredible job!]

[Macbeth in a pool of blood]

I just finished writing an analysis on how these two performances approached the creation of terror. Cool stuff.
After reading the play, seeing it twice, and writing on it, my emotional investment and, therefore, estimation of it has increased considerably. Shakespeare did some amazing things in this play and I feel like I've only scratched the surface with it.

I'll leave you with this: a shot of the very young Ian McKellen and Judy Dench as the Macbeths for the RSC.
[Wouldn't it have been insane to see them perform live?? I can hardly imagine how good that would be!]