First Coming – A Christmas Poem

First Coming

By Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace
He came when the Heavens were unsteady
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
He came, and his Light would not go out. 

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

…written by Jessica Warman

I discovered Jessica Warman’s books during my very first BEA. When I read YA, I tend to lean towards the Fantasy stories, and there are very few authors whose books attract me from that section. Jessica Warman’s Between was one of those books.

It’s set in the afterlife, where a girl is trying to figure out how she died and perhaps find some peace, at first I was skeptical about Between – especially since the protagonist wasn’t a likeable character. However, I was blown away, and when I had the opportunity to read Beautiful Lies, I practically jumped at it! Once more she did not disappoint.

In Beautiful Lies, two sisters – twins – go to the amusement park and only one comes home. The search for the missing sister commences and a mystery unravels.

While I still read mostly fantasy YA novels, Jessica Warman is one of the few authors I’ll deviate for.

Searching ABCs

Do you have a favourite browser? Mine is Chrome. I’ve been using it since Google released it. I love the search bar, it makes life so much easier. Just type in a letter autofill to a site you’ve recently visited or have visited often.

Two years ago I started an experiment, how would my searches/sites I visit, change over time?

Below is that table, I typed in a letter and chose the first thing Chrome served me back. It’s quite interesting – at least to me!

2014 2015 2016
Amazon AMC Theaters app.box.com
Bike to Work Challenge Box.com Book of the Month
Google Calendar Google Calendar Google Calendar
Google Drive Google Drive – KEEP Dropbox
ESP website (work) Google Docs Evite
Facebook Facebook Facebook
Gmail Gmail Gmail
Sosh HBO Go Hamilton Lottery Ticket
Intranet Instagram Instagram/IReadYa
My Fitness Pal Join.me Jetblue
Google Keep Google Keep Google Keep
Linked In New Life Hub Lit-Cube
Yahoo Yahoo Yahoo
Jazz Fest NetFlix Google News
Orbitx Outlook Outlook
Padmapper PayPal ProPublica
Work QA site Work QA site Work QA site
Redemption Center Blog Goodreads Relevant Magazine
Scholastic Store Planning Center Scholastic Store
Google Translate Twitter Twitter/shanella
Goodreads UPS UCH
Google Voice Virutal Piano Vocabulary.com
Weather.com WordPress Weather.com
XKCD Hulu XKCD
Yelp Youtube Youtube
Ziegfeld theater Zara Zillow

Starting with the As, it seems that I moved from browsing Amazon (still do) to browsing movies and movie times to learning music for my choir/orchestra group – starting in 2015, note the B line. Speaking of Bs, it seems I went from Biking to Singing to Reading – three of my favourite pastimes.

C & D show my love for Google and all its tools; from the Calendar to the Google Voice (2014 the year I actually went on dates with strangers) number that I created years ago.

This year a lot of people moved back to Evites – from Facebook Events.

Let’s skip over Facebook and Gmail and head straight to the fact that I still have not won Hamilton tickets, even though it’s one of my most visited sites!

There’s a lot of work related sites as well – Intranet, ESP, QA, Outlook and the Scholastic Store. But that makes sense, I do spend many hours a week there.

The Us are very interesting – there must have been a U book for that Goodreads entry in 2014. Then I went from tracking packages last year to looking at health insurance this year – thanks, conjunctivitis.

Overall, nothing too shocking for me here. I’m assuming my 2017 will be pretty close to my 2016, who knows, maybe I’ll do an addition next year.

… written by Diana Peterfreund

One of the most underrated writers I’ve read has to be Diana Peterfreund. I’ve read a few of her works and I LOVED them! But you don’t hear a whole lot of hype around her books.

In her Rampant series, she imagined a world where unicorns are not cute and cuddly, but highly dangerous, and only a certain group of girls can keep the beasts in check.

In her Stars series, she imagined world ruined by unchecked advanced technology, where society tries to strike a balance between what is what is good and what is dangerous while dealing with the descendants of those who were negatively affected by the bad technology. Does that make your head ache? Well, she does this while using two fantastic stories for her base plot, Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, and she executes it well.

Her first book in this series, For Darkness Shows the Stars, is one of my absolute favourites! I go back to different passages in that book from time to time – it does help that Persuasion is one of my favourite Jane Austen books.

I also appreciate that she doesn’t give you a lot of info-dumps while trying to get you to understand her worlds. I enjoy the fact that her stories are so vastly different and her worlds enchanting.

… written by Maureen Johnson

I read a lot. And, I have a book blog – or, at least I had one until I couldn’t keep up with life and blogging about books a few years ago. I’ve always wanted to resurrect it, but I haven’t quite found the time, and, if I was being honest with myself, I want to blog about books AND more, so… I’m merging my sites. I’ll leave my book blog up, but I thought I’d highlight some books that I really enjoyed reading to start the transition to everything in this blog.

I’ve read several books by Maureen Johnson. I like her humour and her Twitter feed.

Of the books I’ve read by her, The Name of the Star is my favourite.  Take a girl from the United States, place her in an English boarding school, add some murder and mystery with a touch of Jack the Ripper and you’ve got The Name of the Star.

On the more contemporary front, 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope, transports the reader to different cities across Europe, where a girl finds out about her aunt and herself. After reading the first book, I created a map of Ginny’s adventures, yes, that’s my creation, though, why Google Maps is telling me that I do not own the map any longer is really lost to me!

Another of her contemporaries is Suite Scarlett. This one is set in a hotel in New York – one owned and ran by Scarlett’s family.

Finally, there was a time when Zombies v. Unicorns was a thing in the not so distant past. Here’s a clip of Maureen Johnson, as Sarah Palin, talking about why Zombies are better.

I still don’t like running

halfmarathon

I did it! It happened! I completed a 13.1-mile race, and I got a medal to prove it!

I survived my first 1/2 marathon, but I haven’t been bitten by the running bug. I do have a greater appreciation for those who can do this in half the time it took me to finish (3 hours 26 minutes), and I have come away with a better understanding of my running style. However, running is not the first thing I’d do for fun. I prefer walks – slow ones, where you can marvel about your surroundings, or your walking companion(s).

Now that I am free of pain I might do it again, as long as it’s another fun run and I am not expected to finish the course in less than 3 hours. I will most certainly train better next time.

diagonally

While the run was the focus of the weekend, I have to spend a few lines reflecting on the near-perfection of Diagon Alley.

I loved that it was hidden away, behind an unassuming building. I loved the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts! I absolutely enjoyed the new ride. I still love Frozen Butterbeer and Fizzing Whizbees. But most of all, I loved the use of interactive wands to bring a splash of wonder to the park experience. Great job, Universal! Not only do you have more people buying wands, you also added a layer of interactivity to the park. If only there were more sections!

Next stop, Universal Hollywood!

Snow. Five Things (17)

Miles ran: 17.1 | Miles cycled: 0 | Steps: 258,297

— Thing One —

On Friday night, a light snowfall began. The light of the moon reflected off the tiny flakes causing an ethereal glow. Have you ever considered the beauty in freshly fallen snow?

Of course, 24-hours later, back and shoulders burning from shoveling thrice in the same spot to see the ground, I considered a snowblower. The snow threw me off my running, but today I ventured out again, happy to see at least three other people running in the park with me and no snow/ice on the path.

— Thing Two —

Being stuck indoors can be a drag, but I’ve recently picked up my reading again and managed to finished two books while stuck indoors. The Malediction Trilogy was recommended by a reliable reading source, and it wasn’t until book two in the trilogy that we both realized that book three will not be released until May!

It’s nothing entirely different from the typical YA fantasy lot – curse, creatures with magical powers and a protagonist who isn’t aware of their special abilities – but what did make it stand out from its compatriots was the lack of the dreaded love triangle and insta-love that seems to plague the shelves and turned me off of YA fantasy for a little while.  After finishing the second in the series, I started looking for other reads and have since pre-ordered four books (book three included). One of which downloaded this Thursday and which I have already finished.

— Thing Three —

I have also been catching up on Doctor Who. I have two episodes (excluding the special) that I need to watch, but I’m afraid to finish watching them because I’m so sad about what happened in Face the Raven.

— Thing Four —

In other attempts at being healthy – or eating well – I have joined Blue Apron and received my first package this week. It was a bit of an inconvenience – the address mix up and all – but I finally got the box delivered to my home and made two meals from the three.

If there is one thing that Blue Apron teaches you, it’s that cooking isn’t difficult and making delicious dishes isn’t a hard task.

— Thing Five —

I helped a friend out this week, and it involved taking out my guitar – which I belatedly realized needing its strings changed, badly! That night, I felt a strange buzzing energy pushing through my weariness, it has been a while since I played/lead in this way, and it felt really good. Coming from a period where I have contemplated quitting, I think this was the best thing that could have happened. I have to think on this more, but it’s quite a thing.

~*~