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.

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.

~*~

Five Things (15)

Miles ran: 4 | Miles cycled: 0 | Steps: 65,497

Time seems to move slowly when you pay it no attention but slips through your fingers when you notice. I turned around, and suddenly it was 2016, and that leads me to …

— Thing One —

A new year, a new page, a new chapter, and in a moment of temporary madness, I signed up for a half marathon. The Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, to be precise. I hate running, but I hit the submit button anyway. I think I did it because of runners, in particular, runners who speak of running, poetically. You know who you are!

Also, for some reason, thirteen miles didn’t seem so far at the time; however, walking from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Botanical Gardens does. I might regret this decision.

— Thing Two —

Because of the above, and because I don’t want to hurt after this run, I’ve decided to train – which means running, which means, running outside, which means … why did I think this was a good idea in the first place? This past Tuesday was run day. And it was 11 degrees outside. And the cold seeped into my bones. I thought I’d never be warm again. Apparently, I tend to be dramatic when it comes to running.

— Thing Three —

And then my car refused to start. Turns out, I needed a new battery. It’s been six years since I bought my car; I guess it’s the battery’s time. It served me well, and will be missed, but I like putting my key into the ignition without having to worry if I would need a jumpstart.

— Thing Four —

My new binge-worthy Netflix show is Murdoch Mysteries. I started watching Season One a while ago and recently picked it up again. I love the idea of a turn-of-the-20th-century detective using scientific methods to solve crimes. There is a lot of humour sprinkled throughout and I think that any 21st-century person will enjoy the tongue-in-cheek references to modern technology that they imply. 

— Thing Five —

If you’re looking for a funny, fantastical, futuristic, post-apocalyptic, fairytale retelling, YA novel, then have I got the series for you! The Lunar Chronicles was one of my favourite recent reads. Absolutely love the female leads, though I wish the male leads were fleshed out as much as the ladies. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Melissa Meyer has to offer.

 

Goodbye; Hello.

A year that started out expectantly ended in despondency. Yet, it wasn’t all gloomy, 2015; there were several rays of light in the cloudiness that seemed to follow me. And those spots of sunlight are cherished.

I will remember with fondness the meals that I shared with friends who reached out and offered a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. The coffees we drank and the desserts we consumed as we talked for hours about the happy and the sad. The words of encouragement and the whispered prayers that passed their lips. I experienced some genuine friendships this year, and I am forever grateful.

The joy of music that reignited in my heart at the end of the year (while suffering a hard blow to my self-esteem) in the form of The Symphony Chorus. I am so happy that I found this group this year. Their affection and passion for creating music together bring me peace – more than I’ve felt in a very long time. There’s something energizing about singing with them on Monday nights and in concerts.

Although it was tough for a few months, the satisfaction of finishing a huge project was a highlight this year. There’s nothing more gratifying than completing a complex project.

And of course, the fact that 2015 is over and my family is intact is a blessing. The angels were working overtime with this lot, but I’m glad that all my aunts are fine and that we are ending the year with everyone alive and well.

So, here we are, we’ve completed another orbit around the sun, and we find ourselves beginning a turn. I hope this rotation brings life, and once more I find myself excited for what it might hold.

 

When I was 16…

Or, Memories of My 17th Year.

I was in Lower Six studying Biology, Physics, and Maths1 at Queen’s College, Guyana, and for reasons unknown, I found the Krebs Cycle fascinating.

My friends and I hung out in the Bio lab because the teacher was fun. There was a non-poisonous snake that someone found and brought to the lab, I don’t remember if we named it, but I do remember the boys trying to stuff the snake down the girls’ shirts2.

Before classes, my friends and I would help each other with homework, and play games – mostly chess. I also was a part of the Library Club, just in case you doubted I was a geek. I was a Prefect3 assigned to a Form One class, where most of the responsibilities included helping the Form Mistress and making sure the class behaved – with the added benefit of being called “Miss” by the lowerclassmen.

Around this time we finally got hooked up to the internet at home – it was a dial up modem. I wasn’t allowed to go on until after homework, but I figured out how to mute the sound of the dial-up and snuck on a few times4.

ICQ was the thing to use. Even if it wasn’t the thing to use I’d probably have still used it because I liked that they had such a smart acronym5. I used it to chat with my friends at school – and random chats.

One of those randoms was a guy from India who couldn’t believe I was a 16-year-old girl because I didn’t talk about things like “hanging out at the mall” or “teen magazines”.  He sent me an eCard from 123greetings with the Backstreet Boys “Quit Playing Games” midi in the background. I don’t remember the content of the card, but I don’t believe I ever chatted with him again after that6.

I loved the song Lately by Divine and secretly loved Hanson’s MMMBop. I still liked JTT and Devon Sawa, and still watched things like Saved by the Bell, Sister Sister, Growing Pains, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters.

My love for books started at a young age, I was still a huge Famous Five fan and loved Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys novels – especially the combos. I read my first real romance novel that a friend from school let me borrow. It was more historical than the contemporary type, but I decided that I preferred mysteries. Around this time I read my first YA novel, written in the first person7. Of course, I don’t remember the name of the book; there was no Goodreads back then.

I would often practise playing the keyboard. I believe I also started playing the guitar, mostly because a keyboard wasn’t portable and for some reason I pictured myself needing an instrument that I could take on the road with me.

This was a transition year for me. My family had started the process of migrating to the United States, and I knew that it was my last school year (so I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have) before moving. It was strange, still going to school but knowing that I would never graduate with the friends that I had, some of them since I was 11 years old.

I could go on, surprisingly I remember a lot from this year of my life, but I’ll finish this here. Exit; pursued by a bear.

———-

1 I think I also took English, but I can’t remember my English classes, so I’m going to assume I studied those three subject.

2 Of course, at the time, it wasn’t funny, especially to someone who is afraid of snakes. However, looking back at the memory now, I never felt threatened by the boys, they weren’t malicious, just teasing and being, well, boys.

3 Probationary, as Upper-Sixers were usually the full-fledged prefects.

4 Sorry, dad!

5 “I seek you” – just in case you didn’t get it.

6 What he didn’t realise was, I was into pop culture, but wasn’t interested in chatting with someone across the world about something that “everyone” talks about, I was more interested in what life was like in India.

7 The book was on my shelf for a while, but I couldn’t get into the first-person writing style the first time around, I enjoyed it the second time around.

~*~