Wednesday 1 January 2014

New Year, New Blog

Instead of doing New Year's Resolutions this year, a friend I met in an Upper Room eRetreat gave me an idea: to pick one word to focus on for the year.  I'd been meaning to get back into blogging for a while;  ever since I left Scotland, I simply felt like my life didn't have anything much worth sharing.  I've put it off and put it off, until this suggestion made me think about what word I'd like to focus on this year, and I felt like it should be... write.

Letters.  Blogs.  Stories.  Articles.  Essays.  Postcards.  Journals.  Whatever it is, this year, I want to get back to my love of words and putting them on paper (or, in this case, on screen).

Will I write every day?  Yes-- just probably not in the same place every day.  I am going to try to have a couple of different blogs here, where I can play around with content.  This one, however, will be my main blog-- but I'll try to repost them here, as well!

The title of the new blog, The Daily New, is meant to evoke two main things: the traditional source of information (the daily newspaper), and the truth that 'The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning...' (Lamentations 3:22-23a).  I need to be reminded of God's great faithfulness every day, especially in the midst of times like the past few years, when I didn't feel there was any mercy or newness.  By writing here regularly, I hope to be able to see better those mercies, even if it only comes out in hindsight, and I'd like to share encouragement with you who are reading to look for God's new mercies daily.

For those of you who already have and do journey with me, thank you.  To those of you who may be new to my adventures, welcome.  May the blessings of God rest fully upon us all as we venture into this new year, and may each day truly be a new beginning.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Long, Long Wait

 I'm hopping in the TARDIS again today, to take me back to August 2010.  Want to come along?  Keep reading, then...

I ended July with a party, and started August with a party.  Well, sort of a party.  Aleithia had discovered that a Youth theatre group was doing 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' at the Lemon Tree as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.  A group of us decided to go, including Lynch, who had never seen the show before.  It was a big hit with all of us.  What's not to love about it, honestly?  I even dressed the part as Lucy, because my sister always told me growing up that I was just like her.  I can see *some* similarities, if I'm honest, and not all of them always flattering... but I still see myself more as a Charlie Brown, though I do have both some Linus and Lucy tendencies.  I'll just leave it at that. 

The next day, 2 August, was a momentus one for me.  Lynch agreed to be my offical photographer, and I'm so glad!  Otherwise I wouldn't have the awesome evidence of the day I submitted my thesis!  You can see those photos, as well as others from the month, here.  I started out by going to her office, the attic one, and using Joe's computer to use the university's printer to make the two copies I needed for my readers.  I took them to the library to be soft-bound, and then had about half an hour to wait before I could turn them in.  Lynch was ready for a break from her own thesis work, and the weather was nice, so we went for a wee ramble around the area-- through Cruickshank Gardens, around Seaton Park and St Machar drive, and back up to the uni.  By that time, it was time!  I went back to the library and the copy centre to pick up my now-bound theses, and Lynch accompanied me to Registry.  Now, usually anything that required a visit to Registry was sure to be an absolute nightmare.  I was expecting a nightmare, and instead got a delight!  After waiting in the queue, the lady in the window was not only helpful (and seemed to know what she was doing, which was a surprise, given other experiences there), but she was friendly!  That just never happens.  She congratulated me, and wished me luck on my viva.  I couldn't quite figure out where they'd found this person, but she must not have been a regular.  Still, it was nice... and I was done with the big part!  Lynch took pictures for me, and sang me a thesis-submitting song (to the tune of 'Happiness', from 'Charlie Brown'), and we went back to her office for coffee and chocolate and celebrations!  Jay even stopped by, bearing gifts in the form of a tube of Smarties for me (who was the smartie of the day, obviously).  It was great!  After Lynch finished her work for the day, I went with her back to her hoose, where we ate fish 'n chips (I think) and drank wine (I'm sure).  It was great to spend the day with her, celebrating finally being so close to being done.  Thanks, Lynch, for making it a fantastic day! 

The rest of the month was full of fare-thee-wells and waiting.  Both RitaB and Aleithia were leaving soon, and we had some get togethers to send them off.  I helped Aleithia move flats just a few weeks before she left, which was wonderful for her, I'm sure.  Not me helping, the need to move.  Anyway.  RitaB also threw a big party, where we all ate food and sat around talking, trying not to be sad about the impending goodbyes.  I also spent the last evening she was in town, trying to help her pack all she could into the allotted one checked bag, and taking home with me all the stuff she couldn't, in order to redistribute it to people who might want or need it.  Except for her beloved sleeping bag, which I ended up bringing home to reunite with her.  But that's another story.  RitaB had wanted to go to Slains Castle before she left, and we finally found a day that had nice enough weather to make the trek from the Bullers of Buchan down to Slains and into Cruden Bay.  I had done that hike with Barb a few years ago, and it is seriously one of my favourite places in all of Scotland.  I love it, and so I was quite happy to go with RitaB.  We hiked around the cliffs, took lots of pictures, and enjoyed all that the northeast of Scotland has to offer.  We didn't even get rained on that day!  It was glorious, and the photos are here.  It was good to have some fun things going on, because I still didn't know what the heck was going on with my visa, so I was still hopeful that I'd be staying in Scotland-- and I'm never happy with saying good-bye-for-now to friends.  It was hard, but I'd rather have known them and let them go than to not have known them. 

Other than that, I spent my time trying to relax and catch up on stuff (like going to the cinema) that I'd not had time for in a while.  When the weather was nice (and sometimes when it wasn't), I got outside as much as I could.  I always enjoy taking photos, and the flowers were just amazing.  The photos of those, from the summer on campus and in Seaton Park, specifically, are here.  Now that the concentrated thesis work was done, it was both fun and strange to have all my time to myself.  I have never been very good at waiting, though, so I was anxious to just get my viva done already, and be ready to graduate in November. 

Thank goodness Lynch was around to keep me busy, with food and drink and cinema and chats and... oh, just being my friend.  Especially with everyone else leaving...

Monday 13 February 2012

The Big Finish 2010

 Another trip down memory lane, continuing with the summer of 2010.

After seeing Macca with Paige, I just hung around her wee Alva flat after she left for America for a bit.  It was, again, a good place to do some focussed work and not be distracted by much of anything.  Except the Famous Alva Highland Games, which I already posted about ages ago.  You can read that again here, if you forgot.  The World Cup (football) was going on at the same time, and whereas in January I didn't turn on the tv except to see the New Year's Doctor Who episode (*sob*), this time I had a the matches on (even though I didn't pay that much attention to many of them).  I can't help myself-- I just love national sports.  Club sports, not so much.  Maybe that's why I'm not such a fan of the NFL?  Go figure.

Anyway.  I was quite lucky to get to be in Alva to work, and I worked hard to get ready to submit by the end of the month.  After being robbed (which you can read about here, if you've want to hear the story again), I wasn't sure what I was going to do about finishing-- I had lost my computer, Lynch's loaned computer, and my thumb drive.  Even worse, I'd lost the past three weeks' work, a lot of which was fixing footnotes and other busy work.  Luckily, however, I managed to get a laptop on loan from the university for a couple of weeks.  Generally they hadn't been very helpful with things like offices and information, but this time I lucked out-- they had a laptop that had been returned by a faculty and had not yet been reassigned.  They didn't need it for another three weeks, and I was only going to be gone for just over two.  Yay!  It was a university miracle.  It was an older model and not all that great, but it had wireless internet and Microsoft Office, which were really all I needed.  I gratefully borrowed it, and gratefully returned it.

I got home to Aberdeen and Kenny told me there was good news and bad news, regarding the break-in.  I asked for the bad news first, and found out that the insurance folks weren't going to cover any of my stuff, because they said I was a lodger and should have had my own renter's insurance (even though they had ages before said I wasn't considered a lodger because I wasn't on an official contract...).  That meant I would have to buy a new computer, for which I did not have the funds.  Yikes.  I was not happy.  Luckily, the good news was that Kenny is awesome (which I already knew) and that because the insurance company made him angry by that, he just claimed for his stolen laptop and then gave me the new one.  He had recently bought himself a new one, and the stolen one was the old one, anyway.  So it arrived just a few days after, and I got to finish my thesis on my shiny new Samsung!  Have I mentioned that Kenny is the best?  Because he totally is, and not just for this.  This is only one small example of why he is awesome. 

I had intended to submit before Harry Potter's birthday, but due to the loss of work and having to redo so much annoyingly time-consuming stuff, I ended up finishing in time to submit the first of August.  Or rather, the second, because the first was a Sunday.  But since I was, for all intents and purposes, done, and because I just wanted to, dang it, I had a Harry Potter party!  It was 31 July, his birthday, and in celebration of me being done-- because it was the whole HP controversy that got me started down this thesis road to begin with.  Lynch, RitaB and Aleithia came, and we had fun.  It was a small celebration, but a much-needed one with some of my closest friends.  We had custard cremes (and everyone managed to avoid the canary cremes!), cockroach clusters, chocolate frogs, Gryffindor-coloured cupcakes and rice krispy treats and deviled eggs, and Butterbeer!  Plus some general party food, like cheeses and other goodies.  Basically, we just sat around and ate, but that makes for quite a good party in my book.  And that celebration meant that I was officially done with the major part of the thesis.  Woot. 

You can see all the photos from the month's activities here

Saturday 11 February 2012

Mostly Macca

I've been trying to figure out where I left off in 2010 with my story-telling here, and it seems like it was sometime around June.  Some of the events I know I talked about, like the Famous Alva Highland Games, but at least one very big event I somehow missed.  Maybe I needed more time to calm down from it before I wrote about it?  I'm not sure.  Either way, this is where I'll start:  Paul McCartney in Glasgow, with Paige.  You can see the photos here, under the 'Pictures and Videos' tab, in the albums labelled 'June' and 'Macca'. 

It was the second annual summer concert spectacular for Paige and I.  We'd seen U2 in Dublin the year before, as you might remember (it's not like talked about it very much, ha).  I can't remember why, but I hadn't bought tickets for Macca early-- it might have been something to do with finishing my thesis and all that being up in the air, but I'm not sure now.  Anyway, as it drew nearer, and as Paige was still in town, I decided I couldn't live without trying to go see him for the third time.  So I asked Paige if she'd be interested (and really, why wouldn't she be?) and she said YES!  Because everyone should see a Beatle live if they get a chance.  And we had a chance, because I found some nice tickets on eBay, and got 'em.  So. Excited! 

I got all packed up and headed to meet Paige in Alva for the first night.  It was the first trip for my wee traveling companion, Amoose Bouche.  I was going to be staying in Alva after Paige left for America, in order to do all those other things I wrote about earlier, so it was nice to drop my bags off first.   Things were off to a good start, and we got a good start the next day.  We caught the train to Glasgow, where we were going to be staying with my friend Liam, who was a fellow PhD.  It was very kind of him and his flatmate to put us up (put up with us?) for the night so we didn't have to pay for accomodation.  Finding the right train and then the right building to arrive at the right flat to leave all our stuff took longer than we expected, but luckily Liam came to our rescue and found us at the station, walking us back to his place.  I hadn't seen him in a while, since he'd moved to Glasgow, and Paige had heard about but never met him.  Sadly, we had to drop our stuff and dash in order to get to Hampden Park on time.  So we visitied briefly, dropped our stuff and dashed, making sure we had their numbers so we could get back to the right place later that night. 

There were loads of people streaming into Hampden, as one would expect for a Macca concert.  Our seats were on the floor, off to the right.  They weren't U2 good, but they weren't bad at all.  We were a little late, so we missed most of the opening act-- I honestly can't even remember who it was.  A girl.  Honestly, I couldn't be bothered.  I was just glad to be there in time.  We were on the end of a row, which was nice.  There were loads of different types of people around-- people our age, people our parents' age, people with wee ones.  It was quite an atmosphere;  the older couple across the aisle just in front of us had been drinking (a lot) and were quite enjoying themselves-- singing and dancing and having a ball.  It was hilarious, yet endearing.  I watched them a good bit during the evening, partly because they were in my line of sight and partly because they were so entertaining in themselves. 

The show itself was amazing.  Of course it was.  Sir Paul is an entertainer;  it's just who he is.  Everyone sang along, on pretty much every song.  I don't think we sat down hardly at all.  We laughed and swayed and just soaked it all up.  Somehow he makes you feel like it's just a small friendly gathering, sitting around the campfire kind of vibe.  There are the showy elements, of course, with the pyrotechnics and videos and such, but Macca himself just seems to have so darn much fun that everyone else does, too.  I think he loves us being there as much as we do.  It was my third time to see him (April 2002 in DC, October 2002 in New Orleans, and June 2010 in Glasgow-- a nice combination), and I do hope I get to add more to that.  As long as he keeps touring, I'll keep going to see him.  Even though he does most of the same songs, they're the songs everyone wants to hear.  And he has a big enough body of work to switch things up some, so it's never exactly the same.  But people go because they love the music, and that's what he gives us-- great music. 

After the show, we left with the thousands of other people to catch the trains back into the city centre so we could get home.  They were running special ones, I think, to accomadate our numbers, and we finally got on.  We got one stop down, however, and everything shut down.  The train just went dark, and we had no announcements to tell us when or if we might be moving again.  It was packed in there, too-- so many people, all of whom had just come from the show.  That might be a recipe for short tempers and annoyance, except that it didn't work out that way.  From somewhere behind me, someone started singing (rather drunkenly, but not at all badly) Hey Jude, I think it was.  You could see people glancing at each other, not sure what to do.  Some were giggling, some were confused, some were just waiting to see what happened next. 

What happened next was that someone else joined in, then someone else, and then someone else.  When the song ended, another was started.  And before we knew it, our whole train carriage was giggling and singing along to whatever Beatles or Macca song someone was brave enough to pipe up with in the lulls.  It was, actually, quite breath-taking;  in an odd way, it was a taste of the Kingdom of Heaven for me.  Not that there is anything inherently religious about Beatles songs, and as much as I love Sir Paul he is not deserving of worship-- but to have a bunch of people, from all different ages, races, backgrounds, all joining together, raising our voices and sharing this profound moment of togetherness, simply due to the fact that we had in common one thing: the concert we'd just experienced... it was amazing.  It made me wonder how much better the world would be, and our lives in generally, if Christians could share more moments of such togetherness... but that's another issue to explore in another post.  Still, it was a profound and moving moment for me, and a great conclusion to the concert. 

It wasn't the end of our adventure, however.  When we finally got back to Liam's, he and his flatmate (Adam, I think) were still up and waiting for us.  They knew we hadn't had time to have dinner before the show, so they cooked up some goodies for us-- salads and quiches and bread and cheese and wine.  It was a feast!  They stayed up with us for a long while, chatting and making sure we felt at home.  They were amazing hosts, for certain!  And it didn't end there-- the next morning, they made us breakfast, and we stayed around the table, talking about life and religion and music and culture and art and all kinds of deep things, for hours!  It was one of those times when the conversation just flows, where everyone both listens and shares, and where you enjoy each other so much, even if you don't always agree.  It was incredible, actually.  We had intended to head back to Alva much earlier, but we probably would have stayed longer if Paige hadn't been set to leave for America imminently.  So, wishing we could stay longer but knowing we had deadlines to keep, we gathered our things, thanked our friendly hosts profusely, and headed back to Alva. 

It was, simply put, an all-around amazing adventure. 

Monday 6 February 2012

Telling the Truth

I haven't blogged in a long while about what's been going on (or not going on) in my life.  I have a year and a half of things that I haven't written a single post about.  To be quite honest, I'm not really sure that I want to write about them-- any of them. It's not that I don't want y'all to know what's been going on, or to share any of my adventures and struggles with you.  It's more that I don't want to think about them myself.  It's easier to just ignore them, and let the past be the past, and figure out a way to just start over here and now. 

Except it's not really easier to do that, is it?  I mean, you can't just leave your behind in the past, as Pumba says.  It doesn't work.   It might make things seem easier in the short run, but in the long run?  You have to deal with things, or you don't ever get better.  I've been very consciously not thinking about even the good things in the past eighteen months, because even those are too sad for me to look at closely.  I haven't emailed friends, because I don't want to think about how much I miss them.  Because I don't want to talk about how I feel like there is nothing good going on in my life right now.  Because I don't want to admit how bad things really are, inside. 

All that ignore is not making things better.  I'm not sure that's it making them worse, but it sure isn't helping anything. 

I was talking with my one friend with whom I spend time on a more-or-less regular basis, and she's a bit of a busy-body by her own admission, always trying to fix things for people.  She's had a pretty rough year herself, and we were commiserating over things.  I had no words of wisdom for her, but just a listening ear and sympathy for the struggle.  For me, she had a suggestion:  write. About the feeling of dislocation I'm suffering, about the struggle with being where I don't want to be (in more ways than one), about feeling lost and empty and unproductive and all the things I'm struggling.  But to write about the past year and a half, good and bad.  To tell my story, because to do that I have to face it and (perhaps) work though it.  At least deal with the fact that it exists. 

I'm not at all happy about this suggestion.  Obviously.  Because I don't want to talk about it.  Okay? 

I know, I know.  I hear you.  It's not okay.  I get it.  I'll try. 

For a start, I'm writing this post.  Laying it out there, why I haven't kept in touch or blogged.  It's hard for me to admit that I'm struggling, because I don't want to burden people with my troubles.  I (stupidly) feel like I should be able to deal with my own problems.  I say stupidly because I know darn well that we are called to carry each other's burdens, and that is part of what friends are for.  I expect others to let me help with their burdens (as well as their joys, to be fair), but I'm quite often not willing to return that favour.  I had a friend recently who very pointedly said to me, 'I hope you wouldn't rob your friends of a chance to bless you,' in response to a discussion of homeless and hungry Americans (I said I would be both of those if it weren't for staying with family).  Oh, if only it were so easy for me to see it that way! 

I struggle with that, though.  Am I the only one?  Probably not.  It seems like a very American mindset, the 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' and be all self-sufficient.  It is not, however, a very Christian one.  I'm working on that.  I'm not even sure I want to post this, because it's a bit too raw and honest.  I don't want people to think less of me. 

Seriously?  Yes.  Even though I know full well that y'all, who are my friends, will not think less of me for being honest, or for struggling.  Still I worry.  And keep it inside, to myself.  I know that doesn't make sense;  I know that I am holding myself to an impossible double-standard, and am acting in ways that I would not want my friends to act if they were having hard times of any sort.  So please forgive me, friends, for behaving in ways that actually deny your friendship.  I don't mean to do that;  I am thankful for you, I really am.  It's myself I am fighting with, and I don't know if I'll win this one.  But I will try-- to write, as my friend suggests;  to be more honest about, well, everything; to give you the opportunity to be my friends in the same ways that I want to be your friends-- and to let you, if you're willing, to help me carry my burdens, and give you the opportunity to bless me.  Because, honestly, I know that works both ways.  I just forget sometimes. 

Tuesday 31 January 2012

My Friendship Fears

I almost skipped church on Sunday.  I really wanted to.  I was being lazy, and wanted to stay in bed instead of get up, get ready and get going.  I tried to convince myself that it would be fine to skip, to worship at the Church of the Holy Comforter (except that I have quilts, instead) because, after all, I'd been to church pretty regularly lately.  Everyone deserves a day off, I reasoned. 

I was not convinced. 

Eventually, I did get up, get ready and get going, and got there ten minutes late (which, to be fair, is pretty good for me).  I wasn't terribly happy about it, but I was there, for whatever reason.  I suppose it was reason enough that I couldn't talk myself into any truly good excuses for staying home that day.  I like the church I've been attending when I'm in town, for its mission and its heart for Jesus and people (if not so much for its contemporary service.  It's well done, mind, but I'm truly a traditionalist at heart.), and I know a few people from my growing-up years who attend there--as well as a few new friends from this return time. 

So there I sat, mind not really on the sermon (about eternal life, and actually a pretty good one).  I was just letting my eyes wander around, to see who I could see.  I hadn't spotted 'my' people on my way in late, so I was sitting on my own, which I don't mind at all.  I always hope it'll mean I meet new people, but rarely do people actually speak to me.  Not that they're rude-- but never mind;  that's another story for another time.  As my eyes wandered over the backs of heads, I noticed someone in the front row.  Sitting next to a couple my parents' age.  With whom I went to church growing up, and was involved in Chrysalis and Emmaus with them and their youngest daughter.

I thought it must be a coincidence.  And then she turned her head, and I perked right up as I recognised her for certain-- it was their youngest daughter, a friend of mine who I had not seen in easily a decade!  Actually, it's probably been longer than that-- more like fifteen years.  I was so excited, and couldn't wait for the service to be over so I could go up and speak with her.  I had visited with her parents several times at church, which is always a joy, and had asked after her.  But I hadn't expected to actually get a chance to catch up with her! 

Then, as I sat there, trying to listen to the sermon and waiting for the end of the service, I started to worry.  Maybe I shouldn't go up to her.  Maybe I should just leave, and if I ran into her and her family, then fine.  Maybe I shouldn't seek her out.  Because what if she doesn't remember me?  What if she hasn't thought about me at all in those intervening years?  What if she's not interested in catching up?  What if I like her more than she likes me, and she doesn't care if she sees me or not?  What if? 

See, I do this to myself a lot.  I always worry, when I haven't been in touch with someone or haven't seen them for a long time, even if we've kept in touch.  I always worry that it's going to be horribly awkward, that they haven't missed me as much as I've missed them (or at all), and that they might not even really remember me or care that much to be reacquainted, sometimes despite what they might say beforehand.  Friends who have moved away say, 'Come visit!' And I say, 'I'll try,' but what I mean is, 'I think you're just being polite and don't really want to see me, so I'll politely agree to try and visit but not work very hard at it, just in case.'  Because I would hate to actually show up and have things go badly.  I'd rather not go up to my friend for a catch-up after all this time in case it's not what I'd like it to be and instead it is what I'm afraid it will be. 

In all these cases, I struggle with the fear of rejection, or at least with the fear of being a non-entity.  Even worse than a blatant rejection, I think, would be polite disinterest or a blank nothingness.  Would I rather stay alone and keep my memories of the friendship past than risk finding out there's absolute emptiness in the relationship now?  Yes, often I think I would. 

And yet that never, ever happens.  I have never yet had a situation where the person I wanted to see wasn't also delighted to see me.  Sometimes it's a little awkward, if we haven't seen each other for a very long time, as we relearn how to be in the same physical space-- but more often than not, it's just like no time has passed at all.  And still I'm always surprised that they are as obviously overjoyed to be with me again as I am to be with them.  Always. 

Why is that?  Why do I seem to always forget the evidence of past experiences, of friendships in general, and instead revert to the fear that I am nothing, nobody, not worth remembering or missing?  Am I the only one who struggles with this?  Or are we all struggling to remember that we are worthy, that people love us, that those we miss are missing us, as well?  I think for me, it comes down to what my head knows but my heart forgets.  It happens to me not just with human relationships, but in my relationship with God, as well.  I know with my brain that God loves me, despite my sins and flaws.  I know that it is God's grace that enables me to live and love better than I would otherwise be capable, that offers me forgiveness and a chance to try again when I fail, and that encircles and infuses my relationships with that same love and grace.  I know these things with my mind--but I all too often forget them with my heart.  Which means that, instead of trusting God and the grace, love and mercy he wants to shower me with daily, I instead turn to fear and worry--especially in my other relationships.  And in turn, I lose sight of the fact that friendships by definition require more than just one person--more than just myself.  Simply because I have called people friends, the chances are far better than I give them credit for that they feel about me the same way I feel about them. 

I just tend to forget that part.  Despite the fact that I am always reminded of its truth.  Like this past Sunday, when I finally gathered my things after church and walked up to catch my friend.  I hesitated, then tapped her on the shoulder.  She turned around, saw me, and we both just beamed.  Big hugs were shared, introductions made to her wee man, and quick catch ups on life were exchanged.  It was so great, for both of us, I think.  Life moves on, people come and go--but real friendships do stand the test of time.  I know that, and Sunday reminded me, yet again, to believe it. 

I can't assure you that I won't still struggle with this.  I can't promise that I'll not be nervous about seeing you again after a long absence.  I can't even be sure that I'll be any better about keeping in touch--especially about getting back in touch, when I've been out of touch for so long.  But I can assure you that it's because I care about you and think so highly of your friendship that I am hesitant, as stupid as that undoubtedly is.  I can promise that I'll try, and that I will make a concerted effort to get back in touch (through email, phone calls or letters).  Because I do miss you, my friends.  I'm just fighting the fear.  

Sunday 29 January 2012


I suppose I more than made up for my lack of cinematic adventures by the reading habits last year.  This list is impressive, even to me!  That's almost a book a week, coming in at 50 books.  Nice.  I wonder if I can keep this up?  Probably not.  Oh well.  It was a pretty good reading year for me, anyway. 

Also, if you are interested, I'm on Goodreads, which is where I keep track of all my books.  I'd love to be friends with you, if you're on there (or I can send you an invite, if you aren't and would like to be). 

  • A Year With Aslan *****
  • Walk On ***
  • The Secret Life of Bees ****
  • Dead Beat ***
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan ***
  • The Lost Hero ***
  • The Gift of Fear ***
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes *****
  • The Renegades of Pern **
  • Praying in the Messiness of Life **
  • The Last Olympian ***
  • The Sea of Monsters ***
  • The Titan's Curse ***
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth ***
  • The Wrath of Mulgarath **
  • The Lightning Thief ***
  • Blue Like Jazz **
  • The Sign of Four ***
  • Blood Rites ****
  • A Study in Scarlet ****
  • Mockingjay ****
  • Catching Fire ****
  • The Hunger Games *****
  • Cugel's Saga ***
  • Death Masks ****
  • How to Live with a Neurotic Cat **
  • Nerilka's Story *
  • Frisky Business ****
  • All the I Needed to Know I Learned From My Cat ***
  • Camber the Heretic ***
  • Stardust of Yesterday **
  • Why? ****
  • Summer Knight ****
  • The Skylark of Space ****
  • The Fur Person *****
  • Dewey ***
  • The Prophet *****
  • Grave Peril ****
  • Moreta ***
  • Lose, Love, Live ***
  • Fool Moon ***
  • Saint Camber ****
  • Facing Your Giants ***
  • Dragonsdawn ***
  • Conspiracies ****
  • Storm Front ***
  • Camber of Culdi ****
  • Everything's Eventual ***
  • Heats in Atlantis ****
  • The Hour I First Believed ***