Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New season

Hello, I've been meaning to write this for a while but, for those I haven't told, I'm excited to say that I'll be starting a new job a week from today =)

I am just wrapping up my current position and it has been such a blessing the last two years of college. It has been a great fit--they even allowed me to take seven weeks off last summer for my excursion in England!

But I am SO excited for my new position. About a month back I applied for an opening as a receptionist at an accounting firm in Bellevue. Honestly, it was one of a gazillion places I applied. But they were--and still are--one of the only companies to respond. After a phone interview, they asked me to come in. I chatted with a whole bunch of people on the admin team and everything went really well. At the end of the interview, the HR director and office manager came back in and told me that while interviewing for a receptionist, they'd had their eye open for an executive assistant to the president of their company. As the company's grown, they've needed someone dedicated entirely to him. They asked me to consider the role. I did. I met with the president the next week and that also went well... so they offered me the job =) This has been a hugely miraculous process--I mean, it's more than I had hoped!! And not just salary-wise, although, Lord knows, that's amazing; the whole position means more. More compensation, more influence, more challenges--but challenges that I feel ready for. I honestly don't think there will be an "ordinary" day in this role, and I think that's great!

So here's to new seasons, new adventures, hello's and goodbye's all at the same time.

Here's to tomorrow =)

Friday, July 27, 2012


So incredibly grateful for this guy:

[Josiah and I on graduation day 2012]
My brother Josiah is one of my absolute bestest friends!
Fourteen years ago today, he was handed a death sentence, a diagnoses of terminal lymphoma.
But God is so incredibly good and He interposed and gave Josiah life.

Fourteen years later, we are celebrating his graduation from college and now he's preparing to pack up his car and move off for grad school (which would be sad if it wasn't so exciting)

He is off to have some pretty amazing adventures and I'm so proud of him! But... I will miss him like the dickens!

Whether he's being silly, quoting disney movies, or cracking Boadicea jokes, Josiah can make me laugh like no one else.

[New Years 2012]
And it will be strange without him around.

[October 2011 - Husky homecoming with Dad's letterman blanket]

[September 2011 - Last, first day of school together]

[Jeremiah's MC graduation]

[Summer 2010 - a Summer visit to campus just before he started there]
Josiah, you've become such a deep person. No, not just in the sense that you can confuse mom with big sounding words in your (published =) articles. I mean that you are truly thoughtful, spirit-sensitive, knowledgeable, and compassionate. You have literally amazed me over the last several years by branching out to new types of people, working so incredibly hard, attaining things that seemed impossible. I'm so proud of you. And I'm so grateful for you!

Just wanted to take this day to appreciate who you are and the simple fact that you are here.
So grateful that God had plans for you on this earth that would take longer than 11 years to achieve. I'm so excited to see where those plans take you next.

Love you tons,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Legacies and loss

Walking this day with an aching heart. Words cannot express what we have lost in losing Pastor Dennis Trout. I know that he is whole in the Presence of the Lord--but right now, it is unbearable to think of life without him.

I don't think I exaggerate when I say that Pastor Dennis changed the life of everyone he came in contact with. I know he changed mine. Fourteen years ago when my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he, along with some of the other elders and pastors, came to our house to weep and pray with us. He stood with our family then as well as other dark periods of my life. His teaching on undistracted devotion and Biblical ethics have shaped the very way I view life. He spoke some incredible words that have impacted my life. I remember one chapel message entitled "Chairs" where he talked about the chairs we were destined to sit in one day as well as all the chairs in which we must sit on the journey to that destiny. He was absolutely unique--in fashion, in giving announcements, in reading stories at people's weddings, in doling out calf-raises as "punishment" in class, and just about everything else.
I so appreciate that he made a point of staying in touch with me--asking me every time he saw me, "Still getting me straight A's?" Yes, Pastor Dennis, I got you straight A's and I will continue to do so.
Pastor Dennis, I cannot believe that you are gone. I can't believe there will be no more hugs this side of eternity. I can't imagine family camp without you. I cannot believe that you won't be at my wedding.

But I do know that you were one of the best demonstrations of a father's heart and a principled, laid-down, spirit-led life. You will be so, so missed.

I had the privilege last month of going to see Les Miserables, Pastor Dennis's favorite musical. The finale reminded me of him and his fight and his love. It's been in my head all day.


God on high
Hear my prayer
Take me now
To thy care
Where You are
Let me be
Take me now
Take me there
Bring me home
Bring me home...

Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
All your grief
At last, at last behind you
Lord in heaven; 
Look down on him in mercy

Forgive me all my trespases and take me to your glory

Fantine, Valjean and Eponine:
Take my hand
And lead me to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken:
To love another person is to see the face of God

Pastor Dennis, thank you will never be enough, but its all I have. Your legacy does not die with you. But I am so happy that you are now with your Creator, basking in His glory.

I love you, Samara
One year ago today...

I climbed Magdalen Tower.

"...that city with her dreaming spires" - Matthew Arnold

What a breath-taking experience. I miss that place so bad, but memories are sweet... and Inspector Lewis helps too =)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

portlandia in pictures

So, a few weeks back two of my good friends (one old, one new =) took a weekend trip to Portland. What a fabulous time we had! Yummy food, meaningful conversations, great books, British theatre, and two amazing ladies--what more could a girl ask for? =)

Though I'd share just a few shots with you:
[First stop =]

[So grateful for these two!]

[fun restaurant they were in he process of creating--had to take a peek]
[Sherlock moment! "I'm Sherlock Holmes and I always work alone because no one can compete with my MASSIVE INTELLECT!!!"]

[reading at St. Honore's]

[such a favorite]

[yum! They take French baking seriously--even their oven bricks come from France]

[Lois lovely with a favorite]

[fun and delicious pizzas]


[the writer]

Can't wait to plan another trip to Portland, but for now, I have a stack of books from Powell's to work through and some lovely memories to ponder on. Parfait!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012



I'm not whining or pining... but, sometimes I feel like that little girl.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

36 for 36: Happy Birthday, Benedict Cumberbatch!

July 19, 1976. Special day. Special because Benedict Cumberbatch came into this world. I am particularly grateful for this one incredible actor.

So, for his birthday, I give you, 36 things I appreciate about Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch:

1. Sherlock.
I will never stop being grateful for the entirety of this show--but especially the dynamic Benedict brought to life through his performance.

2. How self-deprecating he is

3. His impersonations

[just one example :]

4. Gratefulness - He is continually expressing gratefulness for the roles he's been given, the praise he's received--He is still genuinely shocked when other people appreciate his work

5. His relationship with his parents - Benedict is the only son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham (still married)
[Wanda and Benedict - via]
It was a performance of Glengarry Glen Ross

...that he broke his father’s heart with pride. “After the show he told me I was a better actor than he had ever been or would ever be. He was tearing up as he was saying it.” He has continued to be “terribly proud and utterly selfless”, revelling in his son’s success. When Hawking was well reviewed in The Sunday Times his father framed the drawing that accompanied the piece as a 28th birthday present. “Mum gets a bit emotional on first nights,” he says, “but Dad... he started to weep at the first night of After the Dance when he was telling me how proud he was. I didn’t know what to do. I just held onto him. I said, ‘You’re not crying out of relief that I got through it, are you?’ And he said, ‘No, you stupid boy. I’m crying because you were so wonderful.’

6. The way he so badly wants to be a dad

When asked his greatest disappointment, he responded: "Not being a dad by age 32."

7. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 

[While filming, Gary Oldman had to swim in a freezing cold lake. Cumberbatch offered to jump in first... verifying the water was, indeed, freezing.]

8. Hair - in a variety of styles

9. He looks good in period clothing

10. His funny faces

11. Amazing Grace.
When I first saw this I had no idea who he was, nevertheless it was my introduction.

12. Full name: Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch [Benedict is his, but the rest of the name is his dad's]

Benedict means "one spoken well of" and Cumberbatch comes from a Welsh word for "one who dwells in a wooded glen." haha

13. That his first stage role was as Tatiana, Queen of the Fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream.
He went to an all boys boarding school, okay? Haha... what I'd give to see that.

14. Voice.
It's been described as "a jaguar hiding in a cello..." ummm, yes =)

[Now, Benedict, will you please stop smoking so you and your voice will last longer??]

15. The Reichenbach Tear!

16. That he rejects celebrity.
His life isn't all out there for the public. As much as I wish I could follow his every move (more easily, anyway), I'm grateful he doesn't have a twitter or anything. It keeps him more mysterious.

17. That he gives everything to a role. I mean, the dude studied Komodo-dragons at the London Zoo to prepare for his role as Smaug.

18. His favorite poem is "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats. [I think the reason he lives in Hampstead is at least partly due to Keat's house there]

19. That--though he impersonates them--he's always respectful to Directors.
In interviews it's always Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Abraams.

20. That he's so awfully gangly.

21. That he really does look like an otter

22. That he's great on stage as well as screen. 
Three BAFTA nominations and an Olivier award on the shelf--not to mention a host of other nods??
23. Frankenstein. Brilliant and chilling in both roles.

24. His amazing displays of strength.
He's portrayed multiple characters who's muscles fail in some way (Frankenstein, Hawking, etc.) and he has such incredible command over those gangly limbs!
25. His buddies

[Tom Hardy - costar in both Stuart: a Life Backwards and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy]
[Jonny Lee Miller - co-star, and co-Olivier Winner, in Frankenstein]

[Martin Freeman - Sherlock, The Hobbit, need I say more?]

[Tom Hiddleston - War Horse]

[James McAvoy - Starter for 10 and Atonement]

26. His handling of the car-jacking situation
While filming To the Ends of the Earth (2005) in South Africa, Cumberbatch, along with some friends, were car-jacked. He was tied up, beat, and had a gun held to his head (you can read more details here). But he left that night not with bitterness or fear, just an intense desire to live. In one interview: "It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary."

27. That he loves London and Great Britain so much =)

28. He's complained of the shape of his head, comparing it to Sid the Sloth's

29. The crow's-feet, because it means he's smiled so often in his life...

30. That even though it terrified him, he was willing to dare the runway for his favorite designer, Spencer Hart

31. He's still a fanboy

32. The suspenders - he openly admits his interest in fashion is relatively new... and he blames it on Martin Freeman. "There's a man who knows his threads," he told one interviewer

33. His thoughtfulness - in an interview with the guardian, he offered to share a tea-bag with the journalist while sounding off on the subject with everything from "tea ceremonies to post-colonial theory..." Moreover, he spent his gap year teaching English in Nepal, contemplating his decision to pursue acting.

34. Humor - if it isn't obvious through other things posted, the bloke is hilarious! He's constantly cracking jokes about himself, his colleagues, impersonating people, dancing, etc... he just enjoys life and enjoys making other people laugh.

35. Intelligence - a "public school" education, a passion for research, and an expansive vocabulary all contribute to his knowledgeable approach to roles and interviews

36. Just him =)

Benedict, 35 was a fabulous year, but I'm hoping 36 is even better [of course an Emmy nomination isn't a bad way to start]! Here's to another fantastic year - Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So, this weekend, I finally saw Batman Begins and Dark Knight

I know! I know!! I should have seen it already... but I had been dreading Dark Knight for so long (4 years to be exact). But I decided a while ago that I wanted to see Dark Knight Rises--and that meant facing the darkness. 

And while [for various reasons I won't go into now] there were parts I really didn't appreciate, I loved. the. ending.

"I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be."

Woooooow!!! Watching this movie reminded me a lot of Sherlock, especially the Reichenbach Fall. I had heard people compare Moriarty to the Joker before (but, seriously, he's way more likeable... and better to look at ;)


But tonight I was struck with the similarities between Batman and Sherlock Holmes. Both want to stop evil, but both are faced with horrifying choice. And both respond with incredible self sacrifice. 

I didn't get to write my reaction to Reichenbach right after its airing, but I can now (and, surprisingly, Batman recalled some similar feelings for me). As a student of art and of literature, I've wrestled for years with trying to understand what God calls beautiful and how he defines a hero. And I don't have the answer to that question.

But I know that self-sacrifice is beautiful.

These two dark, canonical figures remind me of so many Biblical heroes--with their flaws, their egos, their sin. But they also remind me of Christ because they'd put reputation, priorities, their very lives on the line for people they loved even more than themselves.

I cried like a baby at the end of Reichenbach not only because it was heart-wrenching portrayal of how much Sherlock truly loved John, but because it was just a small representation of the fall Christ took for each of us. After the disciples mourned for 3 days, as John mourned for 3 years, the finality of death was shaken and the Hero returned... but only after the greatest display of love.

I don't mean to over-spiritualize things, but, the way I see it, God is the original author and any truly good work mirrors His in some way. Death and resurrection is common enough in literature, but I have been deeply moved by these film adaptations' as a type of Christ's love for His Bride and His people.

For now, though, noticing all of the similarities, I think Sherlock is my Dark Knight =)

update 7.19.12 - 

[Worlds collide at London premiere of the Dark Knight Rises 7.18.12]

Friday, July 13, 2012

Been on my heart and mind lately... perhaps I'm drawn back to a year ago this weekend, when I got to visit the house in Hampstead where he penned this poem. Perhaps I just love it. 

Listen and enjoy:

MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains  
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,  
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains  
  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:  
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,         5
  But being too happy in thine happiness,  
    That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,  
          In some melodious plot  
  Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,  
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.  10

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been  
  Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,  
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,  
  Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!  
O for a beaker full of the warm South!  15
  Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,  
    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,  
          And purple-stainèd mouth;  
  That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,  
    And with thee fade away into the forest dim:  20

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget  
  What thou among the leaves hast never known,  
The weariness, the fever, and the fret  
  Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;  
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,  25
  Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;  
    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow  
          And leaden-eyed despairs;  
  Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,  
    Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.  30

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,  
  Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,  
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,  
  Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:  
Already with thee! tender is the night,  35
  And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,  
    Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays  
          But here there is no light,  
  Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown  
    Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.  40

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,  
  Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,  
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet  
  Wherewith the seasonable month endows  
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;  45
  White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;  
    Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;  
          And mid-May's eldest child,  
  The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,  
    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.  50

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time  
  I have been half in love with easeful Death,  
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,  
  To take into the air my quiet breath;  
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,  55
  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,  
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad  
          In such an ecstasy!  
  Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—  
    To thy high requiem become a sod.  60

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!  
  No hungry generations tread thee down;  
The voice I hear this passing night was heard  
  In ancient days by emperor and clown:  
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path  65
  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,  
    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;  
          The same that ofttimes hath  
  Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam  
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.  70

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell  
  To toll me back from thee to my sole self!  
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well  
  As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.  
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades  75
  Past the near meadows, over the still stream,  
    Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep  
          In the next valley-glades:  
  Was it a vision, or a waking dream?  
    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?  80

[Keat's house in Hampstead Heath]