Friday, September 30, 2016

Blog Pause :)

Hello dear readers!

I just wanted to let you know that, due to a family vacation, this blog shall be totally neglected for at least one week beginning October First. Which means yet another skipped Catholicism Explained post....

The Road Goes Ever On print:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bookshelf Tour Tag

So! I have been tagged for the Bookshelf Tour Tag by Anna at Light From the Shadows. Thank you ever so much, Anna! This tag was splendiferously fun. Speaking of splendiferous things, you should go check out her blog; it's quite splendiferous. (And isn't splendiferous a splendiferous word? Spell check says it's not a word, but google has it in its dictionary, so I shall use it to my heart's content. Splendiferous! Splendiferous! Splendiferous!)

Now! On to the tag! Oh, and a quick note: I don't really have my own personal bookshelf. (Gasps all round, right?) My books mingle with the rest of the family's in the shelves all round the house. So...when I say a book is "on my shelf," what I mean is that it's "in the house."

Now on to the tag.

A short but powerful book

Hmm. The Screwtape Letters is under 200 pages, and it's pretty powerful. 

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” - C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters:

Also 198-page Blessed Jose: Boy Cristero Martyr (which really needs returned to its permanent owners...oops). It's a really obscure book, but it about moved me to tears. 

Aaaand I'm currently reading Fingal's Quest, by Madeleine A. Polland. I'll list it again under "an obscure book," but it's around the 200 page mark and so far it's - challenging. Not just powerful, but challenging. 

A good long book

The Lord of the Rings! It's one of those you can bury yourself in for weeks. And it's sooo good....

Top 100 Science fiction and fantasy books - meaning to read this series:

Favorite classic (on your shelf)

Okay, so choosing a favorite classic is like asking me to choose a favorite book. It's impossible. So I'll give you a list of three:

A Tale of Two Cities
The Song of Roland
The Scarlet Letter

A Tale of Two Cities– Charles Dickens (through Craftlit) « Stewartry:

A relatively obscure book

Relatively obscure, or super obscure? Because I've got quite a few...

Arms of Love, by Carmen Marcaux. 
Fabiola, by Cardinal Wiseman
Fingal's Quest, by Madeleine A. Polland

An underrated book

Til We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis. I don't know that it's underrated so much, but nobody knows about it, and honestly it's one of my favorite C. S. Lewis books...

Oh, this book, this book, this book! I'm writhing and reveling in the beauty of it right now! It's enough to rip me to pieces, it's so lovely...oh, Orual, oh, Psyche, oh, Fox, oh, Bardia! Oh, the wonderful beautiful philosophy of it all!:

An overrated book

Stuart Little, by E.B. White. Don't get me wrong, I love E.B. White! But I hated Stuart Little. The ending left me totally flat. I remember flipping frantically through the book after I was done for any clue that there might be a sequel, or that there had been pages ripped out, or that I had gotten an edition that was only half the real thing.... 

With an ending like that, I just can't see how Stuart Little is such a beloved children's book.

Stuart Little Comprehension Questions ( free download):

Most reread book

Probably Anne of Green Gables. I read that the first time when I was about eight, and I've probably read it three or four times since. Maybe five. (Isn't that a sad, pathetic little number?)

It was October again when Anne was ready to go back to school—a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain—amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through.  -Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables:

A book you haven't read

Ugh, so many. My TBR is largely composed of books I bought/was given but haven't gotten around to reading. Ivanhoe is the most recent - one of the few non-school ones that doesn't stare at me with an expression of reproach yet, because I've only had it for under a month.

"Dark sits the evening upon the thanes' castle,      The black clouds gather round;      Soon shall they be red as the blood of the valiant!      The destroyer of forests shall shake his red crest against          them.      He, the bright consumer of palaces,      Broad waves he his blazing banner,      Red, wide and dusky,      Over the strife of the valiant.":

A short story collection

My collection of  Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales. Does that count?

Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales -- so full of wonder, tragedy, unhappiness, and devotion.  They captivated me as a child and they captivate me as an adult.:

A non-fiction book

Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson. Which, coincidentally, would also fit under "a good long book" and "a book I haven't read"...

My current read: Didn't think 900 pages was too long until I saw that the book is 3 times the size of a normal book!  Very well written so far.:

A book (physical copy, not the story itself) that has an interesting story behind it

My Shakespeare collection! About ten years ago (probably when I turned 8), my grandma gave me $10 with the very specific instructions to spend it at Half Price Books. But we never got around to spending it. (In my family, we never spend birthday money like that. It's just how we operate.) Every time we passed a Half Price Books, for nine years, I would say, "Mom, I've got ten dollars to spend in there!" And Mom would say, "Not today, sweetie, we've got the kids with us/we're too busy/etc." It got to be a running joke.

Finally, last summer, we went to Half Price Books. We were planning on seeing a production of Romeo and Juliet that evening, so I knew exactly what I wanted. I went straight to the drama section, and there was a beautiful copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The price tag? $9.95. I didn't have to think twice, and I finally spent my ten dollars.

The best part of the story? Had I spent that ten dollars at the age of nine, I probably would have bought a collection of American Girl books. I grew out of those a long time ago. But now that I waited until I was 16, I've got a keepsake that I'll probably enjoy for the rest of my life. Good things come to those who wait!

Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet. Henry V. Macbeth. A Midsummer Night's Dream. King Lear. Lovers of literature will immediately recognize these as signature works of...:

That concludes the splendiferous Book Tour Tag! I tag the following splendiferous bloggers:

And anyone else who wants to participate! If you are not a blogger, then feel free to share your answers in the comments below. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lillian Update

So, I didn't give a Lillian update on this blog last week, but I did work on Lillian; and I'm quite pleased to say the word count has reached 20,164. Two weeks ago it was 9,849. Isn't it happifying when word counts double like that?

Maison Garfield Dollhouse. This would have been my dream dollhouse when I was little!!!:

I'm still loving this story! I don't think Lillian herself is...that's what makes it so fun. In the past two weeks I've pushed her into fairy-infested woods, a town of dollhouses, and the company of rather irksome characters. She thinks they're irksome, anyway; I just think they're fun.

So tell me! How are your stories coming? Do you delight in making your characters squirm? What are some interesting settings you've written about recently?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Beautiful People - September

You thought I was going to skip Beautiful People this month, didn't you? did I. :) But it's all good, because in the end (before the end, really) I remembered!


So. Beautiful People is a wonderful link-up hosted by Cait and Sky, and if you haven't already you should definitely go to one of their websites and join in the fun! It's a great way to get to know your characters (and a chance to talk about them as much as you who could say no?). 

This month, after a bit of deliberating, I've decided to feature Pep, a fairy from my current work in progress Lillian

It is SO MUCH EASIER to find fairy pictures than it is
to find any other character type on my humble
opinion. This is a spectacular rendering of Pep. :)

How did you come up with this character?

I honestly don't remember. Probably I discovered her in the fairy-inhabited lake my family's been visiting for the past ten years, peeking out from behind the lady's slippers or skimming over the water on the back of a dragonfly.

On my ninth birthday my grandparents gave me a notebook with a picture of Tinkerbell on the front. I decided to write a story about fairies in the notebook, and Pep was the heroine; but I'm pretty sure Pep existed before that Tinkerbell notebook came into my life. (By the by, Pep was very similar to Tinkerbell for a very long time. I think she's grown into her own character by now; but there was a time all my fairies were practically plagiarized from Disney.)

Has she ever been starving? Why? And what did she eat to break the fast?

If she ever has been starving, she's never told me about it. I can't imagine her getting into a situation where lack of food/drink is a problem; she's so familiar with edible berries and mushrooms and woodsy things like that, and she hardly ever leaves the wood. Still...I suppose it could happen...

Apple Blossom Fairies, Cicely Mary Barker:
Okay, so Pep doesn't have any little fairies around to
take care of...but I just may have to give her some. 

Does she have a talent or skill that she's proud of? That's silly; there must be something.

Well. There was a draft or a short story a long time ago where she tamed a dragonfly. Which was unheard of. So does the courageous ability to govern wild insects count?

Oh, oh! I remember something. She can fight. I mean, it's not like she's got a black belt in karate or can wield a blade with the skill of Inigo Montoya, but she's not afraid to sock a Turvy in the nose. I think she's glad she can do that, but to say she's "proud of it" might be a stretch. Such tomboyish goings-on are rather frowned upon by the Fairy Queen.

List 3 things that would make her lose her temper.

I'm so glad you asked!

1. Turvies teasing/bullying something smaller and weaker than themselves. (i.e. Lillian)
2. Forest-folk caving to the influence of the Turvies and adopting their rowdy ways.
3. Anyone insulting the Fairy Queen.

Sweet pea fairies.  Cicely Marie Barker:

What is her favorite type of weather? Least favorite?

Oh, Pep likes every kind of weather, but I think she must like September weather most of all. And not the kind of hot September weather we've been having around here this year. I mean the real, exhilarating coolness of early fall, a coolness soaked through with warmth and sunshine - a clear blue sky littered with piles of white cloud, and a sun that sheds golden light over the world, and a light wind that teases the turning leaves from the trees.

Least favorite? Hmm. She probably wouldn't appreciate a long, drawn-out, drizzly week of cold gray rain. Thunderstorms she'll welcome with open arms, but a week of drizzling? No thanks.

What is her Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?

ESTP-A, apparently. I looked up a list of ESTP characters and a few that I knew included Scarlett O'Hara (ew), Rhett Butler (double ew), Han Solo (all right, I can see that), Tintin (that delighted me), Robin Hood (definitely), and Grantaire from Les Miserables (hmm....).

You're in mixed company there, Pep.

Illustration for the Narcissus Fairy from Flower Fairies of the Garden. A girl fairy runs from a group of narcissus on the right, with her hand raised, calling out.                                       Author / Illustrator         Cicely Mary Barker    A young Alondra, I think:

Is she more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?

Oh, certainly worry about present problems. Pep's not a worry-wart; when she encounters a problem, her attitude is more, "Okay, let's fix this, it'll be an adventure!" than it is, "Oh no, what are we going to do?!"

What is her favorite thing to drink?

Goodness, I had this figured out at one point. What fairies drink, I mean. Have you ever had a home-made ice cream float? Red pop or root beer? You know that yummy cold foamy liquid that's left over after you've eaten all the solid ice cream? The sort of drink fairies have in the summer-time is kind of like that. They also drink nectar. In the winter they have more of a really really creamy hot chocolate - except, they're not limited to chocolate as a flavor. Those would have to be Pep's favorite drinks.

The Cherry Tree Fairy... We want to put a cherry tree in the corner and make the…:

What is her favorite color? Least favorite?

Pep likes to wear soft woodsy colors, like green and brown. Stains don't show up so easily on them, so she can be a bit rowdy (gasp! that's the word that describes the Turvies!) without really attracting the Fairy Queen's disfavor. A princess is supposed to be neat and tidy at all times, you know - even a fairy princess.

Least favorite? Hmm, she doesn't really have one. Unless it's black. I can't see Pep ever wearing black or much appreciating anything which had black as a dominant color.

What is a book that changed her life?

Sad to say, I have no idea. (It's a pity, isn't it?!? This is such a fun question! Maybe I can sneak it into the next BP post...?) You see, the collection of books in the Fairy Queen's library is quite different from any collection of books in our world. No human authors, y'know. So while I'm sure there is a book that has been a big part of Pep's life, she hasn't shown it to me yet or told me much about it. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll have to write it...

So that's Pep! I hope you've liked this sneak peek into her character. Have you ever written about a fairy? Or looked up your characters' personality types? And are any of you doing Beautiful People this month? (If so, I'd love to read your post!!)

(Oh, and my apologies to anyone who was looking for yesterday's Catholicism Explained...I never got around to picking out a topic. Pathetic, isn't it? I blame the terrible institution known as The School Year. Which is actually a lame excuse, especially on the weekend. But I ramble. Share your ideas for next week's CE in the comments, too, if you want!)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ten Reasons to Read G. K. Chesterton

So, if you know anything about me, you might know that I have a mild obsession with G. K. Chesterton.

After a due amount of thought, I've decided that you should form a mild obsession with G. K. Chesterton, too.

And so I am going to give you ten good reasons why you should drop whatever you're doing and pick up a volume of Chesterton instead.

1. His quotes are stupendous.

Chesterton's one-liners are perfection. Thus, he is really really really fun to quote. Don't believe me? Google "G. K. Chesterton quotes" and see for yourself. Or just stick around and read the rest of this post - I had lots of fun raiding my Pinterest board for this. :)

G. K. Chesterton quotes:

2. He takes fairy tales (and all fiction) seriously.

Fellow writers, if you ever find yourself doubting the importance of your work, read Chesterton. As a big believer in the value of little things, he puts a great emphasis on the importance of fiction. Fairy-tales, poetry, novels, legends - these are the things, he believes, which shape people's worldviews in sometimes imperceptible but always important ways. A writer comes away from his work with the feeling, "I can add something good to the world just by doing what I love."

~ G.K. Chesterton:

3. He's hilarious and profound at the same time.

Many times I've come across something in Chesterton that makes me crack up laughing - and then cock my head and say, "Oh." Any time you stumble onto one of these paragraphs, you come away with a double jewel: 1) you get to laugh, and 2) you get to ponder an interesting truth for the rest of the day.

"Jesus promised His disciples three things... " A favorite G.K. Chesterton quote!:

4. He's full of surprises.

Just when I think I can predict Chesterton's opinions on any given matter, he'll come out of the blue with some never-before-heard paradox that knocks me off my balance. Then I hold the book at arm's length, squint at it, and laughingly say, "All right, Chesterton, now you've gone too far."

And then I read the next paragraph.

And then I agree with him.

So, while Chesterton is great fun to argue with, be forewarned that you will probably always lose.

"Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind as of opening the mouth is to close it again on something solid." ~G.K. Chesterson:

5. He makes sense.

There's a book by Dale Ahlquist called G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense. "Apostle of Common Sense" is really a great title for Chesterton. Lots of people think of Chesterton as too hard or complicated for laymen to read, but really, that's not a proper view. Chesterton's not complicated at all. He's deep, yes, and he's also full of paradoxes that twist your brain in delightful ways; but at the same time he's simple. He's all about bringing out the obvious truths which are in the world all around us, but which we can't see because of all the false philosophy blown off by prominent but ridiculous thinkers all the time.

Chesterton points to why the Church objects to contraception (for more discussion of human and societal consequences, see Paul VI, "Humanae Vitae"). Sex is ordered to procreation: this doesn't mean that we have to try to conceive every time we have sex-- rather, we acknowledge that this is what sex (and any pleasure that comes with it) is ultimately for. Either sex is related to procreation, or it isn't. To say that it is only when we "want" it to be is unreasonable for inviting incoherence.:

6. He's eloquent.

One of the most beautiful poems I have ever read is Chesterton's Battle of Lepanto. The rhyme scheme and meter are flawless, the alliteration delightful, the choice of words exquisite; and the poem rolls with rollicking rhythm up hills of suspense and down flights of emotion to a glorious climax and a smile-evoking conclusion.

But it isn't just in poetry that Chesterton writes beautifully. He brings loveliness to all of his writing, whether it be his Fr. Brown detective stories or a book of philosophy.

G.K. Chesterton:

7. He gives a fabulous defense of Christianity...and truth in general.

Chesterton was a brilliant man who converted to Catholic Christianity because he was convinced it was the truth. As you might expect, then, he's fabulous at arguing the good intellectual sense of Christianity. In searching for truth, he found Christianity, and he's very eager to share his discovery with the world.

Hand in hand with this: Chesterton is very passionate about truth - the clear, unchangeable, everlasting truth. There's nothing wishy-washy or vague about Chesterton; he wages a direct and unrelenting war on relativity.

"Tolerance is the virtue of the man WITHOUT convictions."  And on a more personal note...It'a called enabling.:

8. He makes everyday life sound beautiful and dramatic.

You really can't expect anything else from someone who talks seriously about believing in fairies and dragons. What does it matter if the dragons he speaks of are metaphorical? They're still real, and they're more terrifying and dangerous than anything from Grimm or Perrault.

Chesterton has a trick of pulling the blind of routine away from our eyes and showing us the world as it really appears - as it would appear to someone seeing it for the first time. And it turns out that it's a strange, wonderful, beautiful place.

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. - G.K. Chesterton    *****   Printed on your choice of backgrounds: card stock in:

9. He's delightfully cheeky.

There's something fun about seeing someone poke fun at those the world tends to hold on a pedestal - to see someone who, instead of bowing down in awe, points and cries out, "Why, there's nothing so spectacular about them after all."

That's what Chesterton does all the time - he's like the little boy at the end of The Emperor's New Clothes. He'll take one look at Darwin or Freud and say, "Not only is this philosophy false, it's laughable."

And he does it so calmly, in the affable companionable way of a man leaning back in his chair and remarking on the amusing behavior of a group of funny children.

G. K. Chesterton quote on hating Christianity.:

10. He's an author you can make friends with.

Goodness, that looks cheesy in writing. Hopefully you know what I mean. Have you ever read so much of an author that you feel that you get to know him? That you could recognize his style, his voice, his opinions on things? 

I suppose you can make friends with any author - after all, to share heartfelt writing is to in some way lay bare your soul - but it's especially easy with Chesterton. He's just so likable

G.K. Chesterton Quote | Christianity:

So there it is. Chesterton is amazing. Go read him right now. (The Father Brown stories might be a good place to start, if you need a suggestion.) :)

What do you think? Are you a Chesterton fan? If so, what's your favorite thing about him?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Catholicism Explained - The Rosary

Catholicism Explained is a day late this time around, but that's better than totally absent, right? :)

Today, we're talking about the Holy Rosary. Our previous discussions have included:

The Holy Rosary is one of the most popular devotions among Catholics - and little wonder. This practice, recommended and loved by countless saints and holy men and women of God, is a perpetual way of keeping the life and virtues of Christ in mind.

The Basics

What is the rosary? It's a prayer made up of meditations on the life of Jesus and Mary. Although it's a fairly long prayer, it's simple and easy to learn. If you can pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be, then you can pray the rosary.

Praying the Rosary is easy. Let's show you how.:

The Rosary isn't just a bunch of formal prayers, however. The real heart of the rosary lies in meditation on episodes from the Gospels. Each set of ten Hail Marys (these sets are called "decades") is dedicated to a different episode, or "mystery," which we think about while reciting the prayers.

There are four sets of mysteries, which Catholics pray on different days of the week:

The Joyful Mysteries
(usually prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation of Elizabeth
3. The Nativity of Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

The Luminous Mysteries
1. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River
2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4. The Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor
5. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper

The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowing with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion

The Glorious Mysteries
(Sundays and Wednesdays)
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension of Jesus
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit 
4. The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
5. The Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth

The Rosary has been called, I believe, a "Gospel on a string" - and that's precisely what it is: a way of going through Jesus' life in a quick, easy, and yet profound way. It's a daily twenty-five minute-long Bible study.
This is a wonderful way to think of the rosary. The 20 different mysteries that…:


So, how did we get this prayer?

Well, the Our Father, of course, comes straight from the Bible - it's the prayer Jesus taught us to say. The Hail Mary also has Biblical roots - it begins with the greeting of Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you," and continues with the salutation of Elizabeth at the Visitation, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." It ends with the plea that Mary pray for us: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the our of our death." (Catholics believe that the faithful in Heaven can pray for us just as those on earth can pray for us - more on that in a minute.)

There's a complete article on the history of the rosary here. I've copied and pasted a few paragraphs in italics below, since the authors on the EWTN website know much more than I do. :)

The origins of the rosary are "sketchy" at best. The use of "prayer beads" and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and has roots in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middle Ages that strings of beads were used to count Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Actually, these strings of beads became known as "Paternosters," the Latin for "Our Father."

The structure of the rosary gradually evolved between the 12th and 15th centuries. Eventually 50 Hail Marys were recited and linked with verses of psalms or other phrases evoking the lives of Jesus and Mary. During this time, this prayer form became known as the rosarium ("rose garden"), actually a common term to designate a collection of similar material, such as an anthology of stories on the same subject or theme. During the 16th century, the structure of the five-decade rosary based on the three sets of mysteries prevailed.

Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ. 


Objections and Answers

Now that we've discussed the definition and history of the rosary, how about a little defensive argumentation? I'll pose three possible objections and answer them as best I can. (If you think of an objection not covered here, please leave it in the comments!)

1. Isn't the rosary giving Mary too much honor?

I can totally see how it might seem like that. The rosary is a very Marian prayer. But remember that Mary always leads to Jesus. We can't honor her without glorifying Him. Her greatness lies in her absolute submission to God, and she has no glory but His reflected in her.

And Jesus is the central focus of the rosary. The mysteries revolve around Him - His coming to earth, His life and ministry, His death and resurrection, His honoring His mother at the end of her life. The rosary is having a chat with the Mother about her Son - Mary, like all mothers, loves to talk about her baby. 

Also, the Hail Mary itself gives Jesus all the glory. Notice that there is a qualifier in its praise of Mary - "blessed art thou among women." There is no qualifier for Jesus; He's just "blessed." The implication is that while Mary is the greatest woman, Jesus is the greatest ever

From Mary:

2. Isn't it bad to pray to saints?

This is kinda a topic for a separate CE post, but I'll address it briefly. A common concern is that Catholics praying to saints is some form of forbidden communion with the dead. That's not what it is. For one thing, the saints aren't dead - they're alive in Christ, even more alive than we are. And when we speak to them, we're speaking to them through God. Because we're all part of the Body of Christ, whether or not our bodies are alive, we're all connected and we can talk to each other. We're one big family whom death cannot separate.

Why ask the saints for prayers when you can go straight to God? Because their prayers are so powerful! And it never hurts to have someone praying with you and for you. Imagine you were to meet a person known all around the world for their sanctity, a revered preacher or a sainted missionary. Wouldn't you askt hem for their prayers and take comfort in the thought that such a holy intercessor was pleading your case before God? Of course you would! That's just what's going on with the saints.

Devotions | Awestruck:

3. Isn't the rosary vain repetitive prayer?

When my family first began to pray the rosary together in the evenings, my younger brother, then about five, used to get understandably bored. Trying to cut prayer time short, he would protest at every new Hail Mary in an exasperated groan, "But we already said that one!"

So is the rosary repetitive? Yes, I guess you could say that. At least, it's repetitive from a physical standpoint. We are saying the same words over and over again. On a deeper level, though, we needn't be repetitive at all - we should be meditating on the mysteries, and taht means going deeper and deeper into thoughts of Christ - not repetitive at all, but ever wonderful and new.

Jesus did not forbid repetitive prayer - only vain repetitive prayer. Remember that He Himself prayed three times with the same words during His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Is the rosary vain? Only if the person praying it makes it so. Any prayer can be vain if the person praying does so with the wrong attitude.

catholic holy rosary, St Padre Pio:

So! What do you think? Have you any thoughts on the rosary? Questions? Concerns? Objections? Arguments? And if you have any ideas for improving this feature, or any suggestions for the next Catholicism Explained post, let me know!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gregory's Interview

It's time for Gregory's interview!

(Before we begin, an apologetic sidebar to my dear readers whom I've been totally ignoring in the last few days. Life's been rather busy recently, but I plan to catch up on all my online stuff - including replying to comments - as soon as I can, hopefully tomorrow.) :)

Medieval little boy:

Well, Gregory, are you ready for your interview?

(Gregory, squirming in his chair, grins and nods.)

First question: what do you think of Ellen? Do you know her well?

Ellen? Of course I know her! She's like my sister, except she's not my sister because we have different parents. I like her. I like her a lot. I think she's the best girl in the whole world.
*cocks head, thinks for a moment*
I don't know any other girls.

What do you think of Arthur? Do you know him well?

Arthur's my brother! Of course I know him. I like him a lot, too. 
*a thoughtful grimace, grotesque in its intensity*
I don't know if I like him better than Ellen.

What's your favorite food?

Ohh, those soft rolls of bread Abel brings back from the castle sometimes! They're the best, especially when they're really buttery and dipped in soup. 
Just thinking about them makes me hungrier. 

Can you read? Do you like to?

*shakes head*
No, I can't read. Ellen says she'll teach me, but we never have time.

Now here's a series of "what ifs." What would you say if you were told Arthur was getting married?

*squints an eye at me*
Who's he getting married to?

(I shrug.)



Whoever he gets married to will be just like my sister, right?


Then, if it was Ellen, I'd say, "Hooray!"
That'd be nice. I wouldn't have to keep saying "she's just like my sister except she's not my sister." I could just say "she's my sister."

That's right. Now a sad one. What would you say if you were told Arthur was going to die?

Arthur?! Die?!

It's only a what-if, Arthur.

I'd - I'd do something to stop it. Go fight the bad guy who was going to kill him, or find a doctor if he was sick, or bring him food if he was starving, or something.

What if you were told he would be a general someday?

Oh, I wouldn't be surprised. Arthur can do anything.

What if you were told he was secretly a great king?

That makes me secretly a great prince, right?

*laughs a little*

Well, that wouldn't be half bad. We could live in a castle and have buttered rolls every day, right?

Sure. Now. What is your favorite prank you've ever played on someone?

Uhm....well, I stole Arthur's buttered roll one time when I pointed to the other side of the room and said "Look at that!" That was the tastiest prank. But Mother made me feel really bad for it, so it can't be my favorite.
Maybe...oh, oh! One time I convinced Abel there was a snake. That one was really funny, because it's so funny to see Abel scared. I tried it lots of times after that, and sometimes it worked, but never as well as the first time.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do I have a choice?

Pretend you do.

Anything but a serf! Maybe a king. A king who has buttered rolls every day. *grins* That'd be nice.

If you had a chance to go on a grand, daring adventure, would you?

*eyes shining*

Who is the most fun - Arthur, Ellen, or Abel?

Abel. Except that Abel never lets us talk bad about Garlon, and I like talking bad about Garlon. It's fun.

What would you do if somebody in your family died?

(Gregory looks unsettled.)

It's just a what-if, Gregory.

Cry. I'd be so sad.

Have you ever (or ever wanted to) run away? What caused it? What stopped you?

Running away? Ellen talks about that sometimes. Usually when it's just me and her. I never really think she will, but I always say if she ever runs away I'll come with her. It's no fun here. But we have to stay, because of Mother and Arthur and Abel being here and not wanting to leave. And besides, we couldn't go anywhere else. The wildlands are all around. And Garlon would catch us.

Have you ever seen Lord Garlon?

*cocks head*
Maybe once or twice, a long time ago. I don't really remember. Never up close.

Do you like spinach?

I like any food I can get! Except for Ellen's carrot-and-onion soup. *grimaces* We have that way too much.

Why do you like black griffins?

You told them I like black griffins?

No, but my sisters have kinda read that chapter...

Oh. Well, I don't really like black griffins, I just never saw one before.

Do you ever get slaphappy? That know, silly.

All the time!

Are you shy?

*cocks head*
I don't think so. Not around people I know. Maybe around strangers.
I never see any strangers, so I don't know.

Do you know how to ride?

No. Abel promises he'll teach me to ride someday, but we don't have a horse or anything, and I'm too little to ride a griffin.

Do you have any pets?

Sometimes I talk to the rat that lives in the corner.
*eyes grow wide*
Oh! Don't tell Mama there's a rat there!

*a smile*
Don't worry, I won't. What's your favorite time of the year?

The warm time. Then I can go barefoot, and I don't have to worry about only having one blanket.

Who do you play with when you don't play with Ellen or Arthur or Abel?

Oh, the other serf boys. And the rat. There's not much play time, though.

Do you get to see Arthur very much?

Well, I used to all the time, but now that he's a guard he's busy lots. I don't like it.

What's your favorite color?


Have you ever been seriously sick?

No. I've always been really healthy.

Is Ellen like a second mother to you?

No, she's like a sister.

Are there ever any jousting tournaments or anything at the castle, and if so, do you get to see them?

No, the castle's really boring. Nobody ever comes to Norsia because it's so far away from everything and surrounded by mountains. And it's cold and crops don't grow too well. At least, that's what everyone says.

Do you paint or draw?

There's nothing to paint or draw with.

Are you ambitious?

What's that mean?

It means you have big plans and want to do important things.

Like learning to ride a griffin?

I guess that could be considered an ambition. Do you ever want to do anything like, say, become a soldier?

Could I be with Arthur all the time, then?


Oh, then I want to be a soldier.

What is your greatest dream?

Well, I once had a dream that I could fly. That was pretty great.

No, no, no, I mean, what's your greatest hope? If you could have anything, what would it be?

A warm cloak, and a nice house, and as many buttered rolls as I could eat, and a griffin of my own that I could ride whenever I want.

Who's the best prank victim?

Well...Ellen usually snaps at me when I play a prank on her, so she's not much fun. And Arthur doesn't usually fall for anything. So Abel.

Does Arthur ever let you hold his sword or wear his helmet?

*eyes shining*
He let me hold his sword last time he came for a visit!
I never thought about the helmet. I'll have to ask him to let me try it on.

Have you ever sabotaged the carrot-and-onion soup?

What's that mean?

Me: know, ruined.

Oh. No. If I did that we wouldn't have anything to eat, and even onion-and-carrot soup is better than nothing.

All right, Gregory, I believe that's all! Thanks so much for letting us interview you.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Gregory! The candidates for the next interview are:

1. Romuald - from Gregory's story, a mysterious visitor with an eyepatch and a black griffin

2. Lillian - the titular character of my middle-grade fantasy, a tiny girl who thinks she's a mouse

Vote for whoever interests you in the comments, and I'll put up a bio soon! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lillian Update...a Day Late

So, technically this report was supposed to come yesterday...but, like Percy Wynn in the book Harry Dee (which I just finished reading aloud to my siblings yesterday), I shall "act on the principal 'better late than never'" and post today.

Last Tuesday the word count on my official Word document was 3,196. Today? 9,849. (Some of that was copied and pasted from stuff written earlier, but then I haven't typed up everything I wrote last week, so I figure it evens out.)

Obviously, I did not make my goal of 1000 words per day; but I am pretty happy with myself nevertheless. :)

Story-wise, things are going well. I'm safe from writer's block at the moment because I have stuff planned in some detail for about two, three more chapters.

Lillian is gradually getting pushed into a situation not unlike the one described in this poem...

The faery crossing:

And I'm having lots of fun introducing the characters from "fairy world." :)

Oh! And if anybody is interested in reading Lillian, the Prologue and Chapter One have been posted on the wonderful Inklings website. This is a delightful corner of the internet where you can not only read others' work, but submit some of your own for support and feel free to drop by, we'd love to have you!!

So I've chattered my tongue off about myself - now it's your turn! How are your writing projects coming? Word count goals? Character introductions? Plot points? Do tell! :)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Catholicism Explained Taking a Holiday :)

Hello all!

This is just a notification that Catholicism Explained has decided not to appear on this particular Labor Day weekend.

It will be back with a discussion on the rosary next Sunday.