Saturday, 13 December 2014

Notes from a Camp Session

-Do you know what delight is?
It is a sweet day, breezy, 

-Ice cream cooling down, 
Sleep that comes to the weary. 

-Passion ignited, creation 
Only a glimpse of the
-Held for us in 

It's a place of music-
Wafting out of an open
Meeting you near the 
Poppies and peonies 
Bursting with a multiple 
          color scheme
-Delight is the robin's song 
upon finding nourishment -
sharing his good news with 
comrades - satisfaction of 

-A helping hand, small favor,
          holding; love.

-The sun, bursting from drab
clouds who've lost their power
          to diminish glory.

A sister's glance - caring, knowing;
Brown eyes wide, showing kind. 

Little feet, pitter, pattering - steps
directed by givers of care.
A feat completed, practiced for;
          Challenge defeated. 

Seeing loved ones - running to; 
          Being, embracing. 

Being the object of One's
THOUGHTS - we are
          His always;
Delight is in Him. 

John 1. Isaiah 40. Psalm 119.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

"The Man Who Did Not Smile" Analysis

         A Mere Cover of Misfortune

          With loneliness permeating his writing, Yasunari Kawabata is noted as one of Japan’s major novelists before the great wars (World Wars I and II). Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1899, he lost his family early in his childhood, a factor which very well could have influenced his bleak and fragile writing style which mainly consisted of novels and his well-known collection of short stories known as Palm of the Hand Stories, which are meant to be received as miniature pieces of artistic prose. One such story, specifically “The Man Who Did Not Smile” (which was written in 1929) illustrates the lonely and bleak fragility with themes of nature and reverse psychology, the character’s (the author’s) yearning for peace, and that though that the outer layer of something may be beautiful, is a façade and what is underneath is usually quite disappointing.  
          “The Man Who Did Not Smile,” is the tale of an author whose story is being filmed. He rewrites the ending to the story being filmed, and decides it would be a “beautiful daydream” to wrap the reality of the “dark story” in masks “appearing all over the screen” (129 Kawabata). Eventually, he finds enough masks. However, when he visits his ill wife in the hospital and she accommodates the requests of their children to ‘try on’ the mask, he notices that after it was taken away, it revealed the reality beneath and he perceived the “ugliness of her own countenance for the first time” (132). The main character attempts to remove the mask scene but discards the message, illustrating that perhaps, with an ending where masks appear, he is masking the likelihood that he may not have been able to create the precise ending for the film.
          In the first half of the story, there is a focus not only the color green, but also on nature, something especial to Kawabata. In Japanese culture, the color green is symbolic for rest, renewal, peace, and calm and is also associated with nature and fresh, growing verdure (Madden). Kawabata uses these themes in a reverse way. Although the green or celadon colored sky in the beginning relieves him because he has rewritten the film’s ending scene, the green dawn of morning itself is only a mask to the dark night, much like the appearance of smiling masks at the film’s end is a mask to the gloomy and obscure story.
          Taking place in a ward of a mental hospital, the film the main character in involved in is a picture of imperfections which punctuate everyday life. The author does not possess a name, nor does anyone else in the story. This lends the few pages of “The Man Who Did Not Smile” an air of nondescript anonymity and uncertainty. In the story, the main character wishes for inner peace in the creation of a fitting ending to the film, but he does not find it there, for it is much more difficult to find masks than he had imagined. The wandering he and others do in search of various masks could represent a seemingly endless searching for some type of end or means that does not guarantee satisfaction. When he mentions that he was overjoyed, had a pleasant sensation, and could sleep soundly, it was only a façade; this peace over a mediocre ending would not gratify his overall yearning for harmony.
          Though everything becomes more dim and hopeless to Kawabata’s main character, he is able to rewrite the film ending and include masks attempting to cloak the dreary story in grins. However, outer layers are façades and whatever is underneath them usually burns through like sulfuric acid through fibers. The masks cannot cover the fact that what is underneath is imperfect because he knows imperfection; his wife is deathly ill, deteriorating, and he cannot stop the degradation of her health (Kawabata 131). To this author, life is a span of time in which people hide behind masks to cover their distress. Within this lifespan, art, even his art, is no good; it is merely an expression of pain, it cannot conceal the misfortune that occurs in life (132).
          Kawabata’s work is 
                    “sad, fagile, and unbalanced…far from presenting fumes of prettiness, continuously
                     surprising and often intensely unsettling; at their best, they are unequaled in portraying
                     the psychic cost of aesthetic pleasure, the deadening of sympathy and sense in minds 
                     highly susceptibility” (Phillips). 
         Readers are drawn in, bitten, and left in a dream-like state attempting to grasp meaning behind the prose. “The Man Who Did Not Smile” is a writer’s piece that colors a painting of dawn. However, with the struggle for peace amidst the knowledge that nothing in creation, not even a smiling mask, possesses the ability to cover the face of reality and misfortune, Kawabata prods readers to ask the question if the piece he wrote was a picture of dawn, or rather of the coming darkness. The character’s personality was gloomy, and despite his efforts to brighten the ending, fate would have none of it, for even gentle, smiling masks are a mere cover of misfortune.
Works Cited
Kawabata, Yasunari. Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. San Francisco: North Point, 1988. Print. Madden, Thomas J., Kelly Hewett, and Martin S. Roth. “Managing Images in Different Cultures: A Cross-
          National Study of Color Meanings and Preferences.” Journal of International Marketing 8.4 
          (2000): 90-107. EBSCO MegaFILE. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. Phillips, Brian. "The Tyranny of Beauty: Kawabata." Hudson Review 59.3 (2006): 419- 428. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. 
          Wilson)Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

Notes: Writing about such dark hopelessness is often my greatest thankfulness cultivator. Joy and wholesomeness does not come without struggle and depth; Christ is our depth, and with Him we need wear no mask, for he sees the ugly and the beauty underneath. Nothing is hidden from His sight. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Japanese Lit: Renga

Written in a poetry workshop work-group - I love this:

Soft, white owls roosting-
See the comings and goings.
Camouflaged, preening.

Shallow puddles all around;
Splashing in the frigid cold.

I suppose this could be
the start of new beginnings,
or perhaps it’s not

Flowers growing green as spring,
Birth and joy has filled the air.

Children chase the sun
making use of longer days
Memories shine bright

I dream of younger days here,
Where wind through white pines whistles.

Coke stays on my hands
Pepsi came flipping my mind
She takes my cup now.

Nature decays with summer days,
She dost roam where she pleases.

The smell of dead flesh
The fox trots stealthily close
Ready to consume.

Bright eyes, burning like fire -
Boldness wanes to lesser light.

The sadness hangs here,
A melancholy embrace.
Frankly, nostalgic.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Music for your Monday// Simon & Garfunkel

Time, see what's become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities.
I was so hard to please.
Look around,
Leaves are brown,
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

Hear the Salvation Army band.
Down by the riverside's
Bound to be a better ride
Than what you've got planned.
Carry your cup in your hand.
And look around,
Leaves are brown,
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

Hang on to your hopes, my friend.
That's an easy thing to say,
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend that you can build them again.
Look around,
The grass is high,
The fields are ripe,
It's the springtime of my life

Seasons change with the scenery;
Weaving time in a tapestry
Won't you stop and remember me

At any convenient time?
Funny how my memory skips
Looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme.
Drinking my vodka and lime,
I look around
Leaves are brown,
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

There's a patch of snow on the ground."
It was a very SuperTramp, Simon and Garfunkel, Magic Man and Bo Kaspers Orkester  type of weekend.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sunday Morning//Homework Break

Cousin quotes:
"WHAT!? But none of this matches!!" 

It was so delicious we cared not;
Dutch coffee is the best.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Short Weekend Home

Went home for the weekend; was much too short.

 ...and back in Mpls. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Of Seven Blessings: August Endings//Before School

The official end to the summer here in Minnesota is the State Fair. Some years I've worked and volunteered at the Fair and therefore gone 4-5 times. This was a fairly (no pun intended) good year, as I went three times total. It's still going on, but I don't think I'll be going again this year. Opening day I went with my cousin and a grad-school going friend; the second day I ended up going with my family, which was amazing since we rarely go on vacations; and the third time was with a friend of mine since he's off to school this week. I liked how different all three visits were. God's blessed me with such great friends and family.

It's absolutely amazing how God provides the best of the best. Cream of the crop. Creme de la creme.

Hot. Steamy. Sticky. Wet. Rainy. Refreshing. Beautiful.

Going through The Universe Next Door by James Sire with family friends of parents; it's wonderful getting to know people that were always just your parent's friends, but now, that you're grown, it's changed. You've grown and are now able to learn from them.

While talking with a couple (best friends), I was thinking about how truly good our relationship is. We have a discussion. It doesn't seem right; we dig in the word. So many of us never let ethical and political subjects surface because of how we've either been taught or how we've grown up. These friends are different. We do discuss. This is fellowship.

Amy Grant, Journey, Sting, Russ Taff, Switchfoot, and Organ music sound ten times better with this gear. If our house were a meme, the floor we're on would be moving/pulsating with noise vibrations (comical, perhaps, irritating to neighbors...well, erm, maybe).

After completing my CNA course, I promptly took my exam. Though a little nerve wracking, a friend of mine ended up being there, and we just happened to be prepared with one another for the skills examination, meaning it was less stressful! Again, evidence of God's grace in that he knows what puts our hearts at ease.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Music for your Monday: Easy Way

As summer ends commences yet another autumn, I'm reminded of ends, beginnings, and things old and new.

Moving out this month is a progressive action...but working through everything we've been doing is summed up in this song.

I know what it's like to live on the run and move like a hurricane. I used to hope that I would come to a part in life where everything would calm down, but life isn't calm. And it isn't about getting. It's about experiencing, loving, and being where God calls you.

So, my friends, I'm stuck on believing HIM.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


Guess what?! I am going to my first music fest!

I can't display excitement accurately virtually, as we all know excessive exclamation points point to fanatics, but that's beside the point.

Very overjoyed about this music fest. I've never been to one, and with only having been to two concerts in my life (said concerts being Fernando Ortega and Tobymac), I can't wait to finally see Switchfoot (plus so many others!) in person. I've been a fan for years since I first discovered them through the library and my old Sony CD player. I remember telling my parents last year that I "had to see Switchfoot before I died." It sounds a little extreme, but I was pretty serious. God does all things in his wonderful timing, so I am more than content to go, especially since I'll be introduced to some artists I probably need to catch up on. Wouldn't you be?

Currently my spring/summer has been brimming with life:

  • Thoroughly enjoyed my trip to NYC New York. Would definitely go back in a heartbeat. 
  • Finally made it to lead photographer for summer camp; this has been a dream of mine since 4th grade, and I am so happy to have been given the honor. 
  • Signed up and paid for my entire CNA class. What a blessing.'
  • Moving out at the end of the month! Very excited.
  • Growing: God completely redirected my focus over the past month. Readjustment is something I needed badly. The things I've struggled with, they will always be there as a past, but I have no desire for them.
He makes beautiful things out of the dust. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Music for Your Monday: Drive All Night

i ain't lookin' for a free ride home...

I have a new favorite song by the band needtobreathe called "Drive All Night". And it really does make you want to drive.  All night - or at least for a really long time.

All the exciting feelings I had last year, riding on a high of being almost done with my last high school semester, doing things seniors do, having money to save (and spend), and travelling, they're back. Ever since France, I think I will want (nay, have) to travel every Spring. It's just the way it is and will be, peeps.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Saturday, 10 May 2014

PROM: 2014

Hi all! My lovely siblings went to prom this weekend, and because I acquired my fabulous Canon T3i (cue cheer), I did a shoot. Needless to say, they had fun.

I'm pretty sure she was saying "goodbye studies!" right there.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

5 Reasons to Listen to More Classical Music

Photo Credits

#1. Better Study Music.
Not only does classical music rank in the little-to-none lyric category, but it boosts brain functioning. Some of the best are violin and piano concertos, full-length ballets, and opera overtures. Some are intense, some are light-hearted, and some are entitled a joke. Classical music helps you hone in and focus on your studies while limiting the distraction of lyrics.

#2. Boosts Literacy.
Who doesn't feel smart when a piece is heard and they are able to name it within five second of its beginning? Maybe not everyone, but it is never a bad idea to be knowledgeable about all types of information. People like a literate comrade, and music and history often correlate, as do history, art, and literature. Who knows where you could go with a new-found knowledge of Shostakovitch or Copland? 

#3. De-stressing Effects  
Listen up, evrahbody! Classical music has an amazing potential to calm nerves and (hypothetically) detox you of your stress levels. I have made a good habit of keeping up with assignments and such related to school and only once had to stay up through the night for a project. I worked straight through the night with my classical friends and reached the end sooner and with less stress than expected. 

#4. Enhances Sleep.
This may be slightly biased, as I grew up on Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Brahms, and Bach (Yo-Yo Ma's first recording in particular). As an infant, the brain was trained that when it heard classical music at bedtime, it was time to sleep. Whenever issues with sleeping in a new place (or slight bouts of insomnia arise), this music is soothing, familiar, and relaxing. On the other hand, when one must rise at the hour of 4:30 in the morning, it is refreshing to hear a beautiful piece of sound call you from your slumbers compared to the doleful and wretched time clock blaring its impatience.

#5. Excellent Inspiration. 
Stirring the soul and emotions because of its godly reflections, this music can be a wonderful inspiration to artists of all corners. I listen when writing, when designing visuals and layouts, when researching, and because of the flow, my brain can work more efficiently. Music can't teach you certain skills, but it is a way to boost ideas, creative juices, and the like.

There you have it. Some of my reasons why you should listen to more classical music. I hope you try out some new pieces and/or composers. Enjoy!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Music for Your Monday: Rend Collective

More than Conquerors

Hi all! Spring has finally woken up. Isn't that a precious gift from God?

After a tough week/weekend, I spent a lot of time in God's word and listening to some encouraging music.

We are more than conquerors. Even though it's good to be a conqueror, but we're even more.

We are defiant in His name; He is the power in our veins.  

Boldly can we approach His throne of grace. That is akin to spring; awakening.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Music for Your Monday: The Reckless Raging Fury

Hi all!

Here's a taste of Rich Mullins. I've had an appreciation for his music ever since I was little, and now more than ever, I know it is because of the deep, poetically spiritual lyrics he created. It is a blessing to listen to artistry like this. Lyrics below; have a beautiful Monday.

There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own 
And He keeps His fire burning 
To melt this heart of stone 
Keeps me aching with a yearning 
Keeps me glad to have been caught 
In the reckless raging fury 
That they call the love of God 

Now I've seen no band of angels 
But I've heard the soldiers' songs 
Love hangs over them like a banner 
Love within them leads them on 
To the battle on the journey 
And it's never gonna stop 
Ever widening their mercies 
And the fury of His love 

Oh the love of God 
And oh, the love of God 
The love of God 

Joy and sorrow are this ocean 
And in their every ebb and flow 
Now the Lord a door has opened 
That all Hell could never close 
Here I'm tested and made worthy 
Tossed about but lifted up 
In the reckless raging fury 
That they call the love of God

Monday, 24 March 2014

Music for Your Monday: Grieg's Wedding at Troldhaugen

Good afternoon!

I seem to feature lots of Grieg here, most likely out of admiration.  This piece was playing on Minnesota Public Radio this morning (when I got to my cancelled 8:00 am...), so I enjoyed the music instead.

This is Grieg's Wedding at Troldhaugen. At first I thought it was a piece of a rendition from The King and I, by Rogers and Hammerstein, but nope. It does sound like it, though, and I hope you enjoy this delightful piece.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Romans 8:6-8: Hostile Enmity? NO.

Ever been saturated by something? And no, I am not talking about hydrocarbons or fats.

I was reading Romans 6 recently, and the raw purity soothed me. With new plans for the summer and fall, especially moving out (woo!), I needed some concrete. I read the ESV version, and then decided to compare it to three others here:

ESV: "For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

NIV: "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God."

KJV: "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

In a sense, the versions seem to hold different dialects almost. The ESV, when stating "to set the mind on ____ is ____", sounds as if it's all us who are doing the mind-settting. That's where I liked the NIV better, as it reads "the mind governed by". Now that's a joint effort of of us and the Holy Spirit.   Also, the words carnal and enmity in the KJV version are steel-cut. They lacerate. Also, I appreciated the word realm in the NIV version; just like the word govern, it contrasts sharply. The Holy Spirit will govern our hearts with us, but if we are carnally minded, we belong to an entirely different realm that even we don't have charge over. That realm? It's flesh.

So, if I were to do a "mash-up" of this verse, I'd combine elements from all three versions.

"For to be governed by the carnal mind is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The carnal mind is in hostile enmity against God and is not subject to God's law because it cannot be. So then those who belong to the realm of flesh cannot please God."

We must trust, and not in the flesh, so let us not walk in hostile enmity but trust.  Let Him saturate your soul, for He will take us where He wants us to fly.

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Calvinist: John Piper

Evening, friends.

Browsing the Desiring God website, I found an amazing piece of art. This is poetry of God.

May this hearten you as it did me; leave a note if it did. Blessings.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

All the Fitness He Requireth

Evening, friends.

After not being able to attend church for about two months, I was finally able to worship together, with family, at church.

It's been a lot of 'getting it together', and I become tired of people judging.

"When are you moving out?"
"Why don't you have your own car?"
"Do you even drive??!"
"So, tell me, why aren't you at a University?"

Um, well? Yes well.

Going to church today was the best thing that's happened to me in a long time, and God really opened my eyes to some extremely frivolous things I've been spending my time on.

Through this winter I've felt physically sluggish and have wanted to exercise more. When March 1st arrived yesterday, I was emphatic to start a routine. And I did.

Then, I went to church this morning, and just sat soaking everything in. Everything was all so relevant, and the fervor of the children's choir was ever-so-convicting. After communion and the message, I thought about how little time I've dedicated to Christ personally and how I'd never actually do that to one of my friends. Sin is so distracting, and as Pastor Jason stated (in his message on Hebrews 3:12-15), it is because it promises fleeting pleasures. And we all know how they over-promise and under-deliver.

Christ does neither.

As the sermon came to a close, I thought about my regimen, one day completed, thirty to go. We stood to sing one last melody, and I did so with gusto, it being a favorite.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

With that said, my eyes were more like thrust open. Seriously, how much more clear could it be? Nor of fitness fondly dream?! All the fitness he requireth is to feel your need of Him. I knew I had to stop. Quite convicted, I walked out, realized there was no one I knew at all, walked right back in, sat down, and prayed for a while.

A friend saw me later and we continued together for a time, but I learned a lesson today. Christ is more important than anything I dream of fondly. And oh, ever-wandering, doubting, little Israelite; Look at His mighty hand and the dangers He has delivered you from, and rejoice. 

Here are live links to the sermon and a recording of the song. Enjoy.
Fernando Ortega and Amy Grant: Come ye Sinners Poor and Needy
Bethlehem; Sermons by Date

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Run After His Story


"...and then they took the story away from her. It was quite a sight; her with a very empty folder, one which had held many words of sensibility, wit & humor. She was overwhelmed, but hesitant for only a moment before remembering: It was not her story - it was God's."

"So then what did she do, Grandma?" they asked, their almond eyes bulging with curiosity. 

"What did she do? She ran after it. And fast." 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Of Seven Blessings

Good evening, everyone! Here are some points that blessed me during the past few weeks .

Accountability: Driving this winter made me notice how rough the roads are, even after a thaw. You're driving through life, and whoosh! All of a sudden, there's a winter freeze, the road stiffens like slap-bracelet, and when you think everything is warmed up and the ride will be smooth, you hit a bit of a, well, hole. I can't write flowery language about holes though; this one I'll dub the lazy hole, and I fell away from feeding my soul. What surprised me is how starved I became. Spiritually hungry, I ignored the pangs until numbness set in and I grew tired and lethargic instead. When I recognized the ugly head of apathetic lethargy, I understood I wasn't actively fighting.
When a realization is made, one either ignores the said realization and sits in despondency, or he or she exerts the effort to change. Which is my attempt at present: A friend and I keep one another accountable. What fed you today?

Ice Skating – Lately, Minnesota has experienced the brunt of “frigid” 30-40 below temperatures. A few weeks ago, it was -8, and warm. Thus, we skated on the pristine ice of Centennial Lakes. The two of us; practicing, spinning, remembering.

Provision: Hours – I though I was going to have all of last week (Friday) off work. At first I was bummed, my mentality tuned to saving for school, but I soon became excited at the thought of an entire free day. Until...I was asked to pick up for a cook at different building. Yeah, it's a little daunting, but what's the blessing is that I'm earning money I wouldn't have otherwise earned.

Tumbler – When the temperatures were hideous last week, I forgot my water tumbler in the car and it froze and broke. There's nothing like it to keep me hydrated at work when I'm running around crazy; I've missed it at work and have been trying to purchase another. Thursday night, I put belongings away in my room and turned around to see an abstract, marble-like water tumbler on the sewing machine. Wacky and just for me. Thanks Mom.

Focus: School was miserable last semester. I didn't understand my sciences, and the only thing that made too much sense was the nutrition which was all too easy. Because of that, I had a greater tendency to not focus. This week, God's blessed me with the study mentality; the one that says “Oh, wait, did you just say you didn't understand that? Go back. Now. Read it and do every practice problem until you know why it works that way.”

Warmth – Thursday was NOT warm. At all. I got off work early afternoon and planned to walk to the college to study before my evening class. Well. I excitedly walked out and made my way to the street, the corner, and splash! There went my right foot into the icy-cold wet, and for the next ½ mile, I walked with a soggy appendage. This is a blessing. Normally, I would be upset. Ridiculous, right? But in so many of these cases, I go without something and realize how good it is and how thankful I should be.

Unity – At work. Yes, we all have our jobs and “things” we need to get done, so I let go; let God direct steps. Conduct. Be the conduit. Lately, I have noticed how growing closer to people at work, while a delicate subject, can be beneficial on both sides. The little acts of kindness that are natural to me because of Christ's mercy and grace do have an impact; and be it ever so small, it still may be a seed.

Any fun weekend plans?

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Thought Poem

A four stanza poem in no particular meter/rhythm, written after observing some distasteful behavior. Wasn't really sure if I wanted to post it...but here it is. That which I observe on occasion inspires me to go to greater lengths through HIM to be a light. Passion fuels. Can we not have back the days of decorum?

The people are lost and don't know it;
That makes me depressed - I don't show it.
Their basic, raw mean is for money,
But they still don't know where they're running.

Hell is a real place and I know it:
Saying it isn't won't "blow it"
Away, for what would the cost be for living
If I didn't tell what Christ's given??

We're all toy soldiers, who, because we are, 
Don't know what it is to be real. By far,
If we did we'd be quite alive, 
And no one would suffer hell fire and die.

They don't see God's ways aren't our ways,
That His days are His days.
God's judgement is perfect, our sense so flawed;
That he sent His son is cause for awe.


because it's not our strength that lends us fuel.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Heart Throb

Evening! In the midst of ignoring pop culture and its oddities, I dropped into Minneapolis and was greeted by this billboard.

I've been wanting to post about it for quite some time, but I'll keep it short and sweet. Honestly, with certain kinds of art (the classic kind, Baroque, Renaissance, Classical, Impressionistic, etc.), you can't go wrong; there's almost always something to please.

Take the Doryphoros (hint, picture...), for example: There are only four of these dudes in the world. FOUR. We have where are the others? Italy!

Here's my point. Go to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Minneapolis owns great works - stupendous art - and I will enlighten you on one point; you can't go wrong with this art throb because he's not going over the deep end.

...and...I hope you understand the satirical nature of these matters?

Monday, 27 January 2014

Music for Your Monday

Hello all!

Shift pick-ups and
tired school school-doing
prevent my hand
from writing (wooing)

You to my blogging page.

Well then. With that said, here's a little Relient K for your Monday. 

(Apologies for Spanish subtitles...this was the best quality vid. I found.)
This piece is a ditty on how, when the band gained a new drummer in 2007, they received quite a bit of criticism. In response, they sang about it. How droll. Anywho, they stated that "So here it is; it's just me/a different drummer but the same old thing."

It takes some getting used to, but the point is to not let the changes (or criticism of the latter) that whirl around us reconstruct our worldview, opinions, and beliefs.

"...for the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."

If you think of it, He is always looking for special ways to encourage us! We just have to praise Him for it.

Enjoy your Monday, friends; I'm off to work and studying.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Music for Your Monday

Good afternoon!
Here's a favorite Grieg piece of mine with a rediculous little animation.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Broadway's Phantom of the Opera in Minneapolis


Apologies for the little lotte of lateness. Or big lotte. Last Saturday, my sister, a friend, and I made the most of the our free weekend before classes set in (have to make it sound like a snowstorm, you know) to go on an adventure.

Our night on the town began with...

Despite remarks about our nice chinchillas (fur coats), we found our reserved booth and ordered a delightful spread consisting of "wee burgers", a crudite platter (with absolutely heavenly hummus), the staple of fish and chips, and the best stuffed mushrooms I have ever (laid tongue on) consumed. This makes me sound like an eating beast, but what of it? When delectable mushrooms are found, their place of origin deserves to be made known, if only so others may partake of the said mushroom glory.


And now, for the part I've been working/waiting to tell you about: The obsessed, the sad, the psychotic, mesmerizing "angel of music", OG, Phantom of the Opera.

The Phantom Graces Minneapolis

We were squished. With tickets literally screaming LIMITED LEGROOM in all caps, we quietly viewed our playbills and waited in well, serious anticipation. It was our first official BROADWAY musical, and what a musical to open with. 

I will assume those reading are familiar with the one and only intriguing OG and skip the summary and instead write of the experience. The original Andrew Lloyd Webber production starring his (then) wife Sarah Brightman as Christine Daae was the first of all Phantom productions, and I tried not to compare. (If you want to read my extensive thoughts on the Phantom, check out my first post, The Phantom or Raoul? Eros, Or...)

Phantom at the Orpheum felt right. It was indeed grand with the Neo-classic/baroque architecture and dimmed lights.  The scrim (screens with a pattern/image that can be seen when lit from behind) screen had a cob-web like effect that readied us for the opening scene of the auction while a second chandelier, the chandelier, hung close but oh-so-unattainable. Thus was the beginning, an auction of the music box twinkling out the Masquerade theme that reminds us of melancholy. 

Costumes for The Phantom were not over indulgent, per se, but fitting. The Phantom was dressed excellently, and as for hair and makeup, his head was utterly terrifying when Christine pulled the mask from his face. My favorite were the capes worn by Raoul and the Phantom, as well as the hilarious yet colorful barbaric vestments worn by the "opera singers" acting in Hannibal. Good job at humorously stereotyping ye olde opera, Broadway.

Some of the of the most interesting aspects were the sets. I noticed a massive theme, throughout the evening, that of strict round-about, that is, almost a mind boggling continuum; an air of something inescapable. When the Phantom brings Christine down to his (lair...) level, the couple disappeared behind the massive, main half-cylinder set piece, and reappeared atop it. While it turned to the left. Essentially, Christine and the Phantom kept walking, but seemingly went nowhere. Upon reaching the end (a drop off...), the set continued to turn, steps appeared, jutting out from the side of the set, and Christine and the Phantom descended deeper and deeper to an illusion. 

Concerning the voices, I do believe that Christine's voice could be slightly more seasoned. I feel some voices are akin to cheese...they become better with age.  However, although Michael Crawford is the booming and fearsome Phantom, Hugh Panaro did a stunning recreation of the famed OG, for which I give him full credit. 

I look at The Phantom much differently now that I have actually seen the production. Passion overrode common sense of a teacher who couldn't understand the hasty whims of young love in such "twitterpated" state. Phantom of the Opera is an exciting French novel by Gaston Leroux, a breathtaking feast for our ears, and an adventure for our eyes.

All pieces of art have messages, and though I admire the art in all its endearing wonder, I say: Watch out for the lies. Both Raoul and the Phantom vied for Christine's affection, and guess what? Phantom LIED to Christine and made her believe he was the "angel of music" sent from her father to teach her to sing. One suggestion: Next time you want someone to fall in love with you, don't lie to them. He or she will end up in your rival's arms.

I absolutely adored the evening, and we came back with memories that will remain for years to come. I couldn't help thinking how easily we fall into believing other things can teach us to sing.  We are only meant to sing one song, the praises of our Heavenly Father, and since He is the only one able to instruct us in this, we must go to Him and none other.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

As always, thanks for reading!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Of Seven Blessings


Here's some food for thought. 

Starting Anew - Anybody doing, or trying to do a lot of this lately? I have, especially by cleaning my room (erm, and attempting to keep it clean) and beginning new classes, but  most of all, being mindful of the word more and more each day. So often I am caught up in myself and how I could be doing artsy and impressive acts, when in reality, I'm just trying to make me feel better. Cleaning my room I found a little origami box, a leftover from a Father-Daughter Tea our church held last April, and inside? 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away, behold, all tyhings have become new."

Little Moments - I met a high-schooler at work, and, as believers, we have the greatest connection. We see the world differently and know it, and it has been a blessing to pray for and with her. She has a heart for serving the Lord, which sometimes puts me in my place. When I worked with her last, I sat with her while she waited for her parents, and we were able to share prayer requests and even read Psalm 139, reminding us to not only not think of the things of this world, but to think of God and His precious thoughts.

Driving - I admit, I do see it as a privilege, despite the wary faces of my family. I slipped into a small pothole yesterday, to the chagrin of la corps de familie, but all is well, and we continue traversing the roads of mid-wintered Midwestern Minnesota.

Alfred Hitchcock - Now how in the world is THAT a blessing? Well. Last night....we watched VERTIGO, and it disturbed more more than any film I spent time on (well, next to the trailer of  the deplorable, don't waste-your-time Clockwork Orange). Of all the sci-fi, WWII, action, and murder mystery/movies, this was intense. Seriously, it wasn't graphic at all; I just take the mind part more seriously. (Wonder what The Birds will be like...) Going to sleep was interesting; thank goodness for Bach Fugues and praising God for the normal life I have with my amazing family, because sometimes, weirdness makes me even more grateful for them.

Borrowing, Lending - It's always lovely to help others when they need it; do someone's dishes one day, split logs another, make food, help with homework. I love when siblings share. Nothing specific, just share.
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
 for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:16 

FIRE - Please do not think of me as a pyro. You see, we have this hearty wood stove in our kitchen, and if cold, people are always found in 'the cove', or the little nook with chairs and bookshelves and other cozy things. Good for fellowship, see? And devotions before bed; one can't go wrong there.

Air - When snow melts, it possesses this peculiar scent. I call it the anticipation of Spring. It probably has something to do with the chemically strict melting point of water, but it's exciting. (But you're crazy, E, thinking of spring in Minnesota mid-January!) Hmph. As far as I know, Spring marches in when it does, so I can study away while it readies itself.

I hope you all have a lovely week. Stay in the Word!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Of Seven Blessings

Mpls: photo
Happy New Year!

The New Year - Celebrations. <<in the cold>> A clean slate. Looking back on memories made while facing those quite near. We people become easily entranced by all things new; bright; beautiful. Too often, however, we forget the rest; the creatures great and small, the things wise and wonderful, and the fact that our Lord God made them all. At the beginning of this New Year, I pray that I (and others) may be considerate to creatures great and small, but more importantly, heed the wise and wonderful. My Heavenly Father is Wonderful, a Counselor, and though I have much to learn, I will not fail if I heed His wisdom.

True Friends - When starting PSEO two years ago, I knew no girls. It was pretty exhausting (enough said). But, in the most unlikely of places, Latin class, I met a friend that I will always and ever hold dear to my heart. I'll call her Mae. She went off to college for Catholic Studies and Theology, and over break, we were able to have a little get-together with her and her twin sisters. It was refreshing, to say the least, to be around friends we truly knew. I think that's what love really is, too, knowing that deep down, God's given you a bond that even time can't break.

Food - So...I kinda have a thing for it...
Thursday I made a lovely quiche (threw it together, actually), topped it with cheese, and served it with a side of pepper and sea-salt ginger-maple sweet potatoes. o-so-sweet. And then we had pineapple. Whenever combinations like that work, I'm pretty excited. Isn't God amazing to create flavors that compliment one another so exquisitely?? Whoever thought pepper could transect with maple syrup and still taste, well, not only edible, but out-of-this-world? 

Complete Honesty - God commands us to know truth. If we know truth, we have no stigmatism, per se, because everything is clear. This fact plays out in life. Everywhere. Commitments, work schedules, favors, little things.  I had a discussion with my Dad about this. How, we could look at "telling the truth" or "being honest" as a duty of a christian. However, an adored wordsmith once said that love is higher than duty, and if we all stop to think about it, we're honest and truthful not just because it's a duty we're called to, but because we loved because HE first loved us. So when I speak the the truth, though it may hurt, I speak in love.

Sleep - Never thought I'd say it, but I have been officially taught the value of sleep. It's like sleep rose, took form, and verbalized a drowsy, inducing,"in yo face, Elleanna!" Or something like that, because yes, sleep is a gift.

Cleaning - Organization helps people boost their confidence as well as the "I'm-on-top-of-it" feeling. Which is pretty great, if I do say so myself. Cleaning is a blessing in that it's a beauty in a home/domesticated/OCD/perfectionist sense, and afterwards, I can actually find my music theory and photog shoot books...

Plans - Phantom of the Opera and Kieran's Irish Pub this weekend!!! (I'll get you a little Minneapolis culture post/Phantom review Monday.) Working the past month of weekends made me create plans extravaganza, and no one is stopping these girls from their winter break splurge to see the Phantom, including checking up on our beloved Grand Avenue in St. Paul in evening gowns. Look who's coming to dinner.

Stay warm! Minnesota is "frigid," and the weather will say no more.