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Blackmail is Wrong.

*Firm nod*  It’s true, campers.  Blackmail is wrong.   Illegal.  Despicable.  Base.  Unlawful.   Reprehensible.  Evil.  Iniquitous.  Bad.  In short . . . Just plain wrong.  And it is due to this wrong (illegal, despicable, base, unlawful, reprehensible, evil, iniquitous, and don’t forget bad) sin that I am hereby posting.

Anyway.  It is my duty to come up with a post . . . So, what has been going on in my life recently?  In short, not much.  NaNoWriMo ended (*weeps pitifully*) leaving a blackhole in my life.  I am currently attempting to edit, although that is going slowly (as in . . .  I got through the first page, slowly).  But hey, a page is a page, right?  I have set a goal for myself, however.  To have the whole of the first novel edited by the beginning (note:  beginning, not end, not middle, not relatively – near – the – beginning, or even right after the begging of, but the beginning) of Christmas break.  *Unresigning nod*  After that, off it goes to the good ol’ beta readers, then I beginning another round of editing and . . . out to the public she goes!  (The public being Writer’s Cafe and anyone else who cares  :P).

Yeah.  If I can ever get past the first page.  :P  Anyway, I have also been reading The Two Towers lately (I am currently at the beginning of chapter four), school has been a bit much recently, and . . . yeah.  That’s life.  Boring and . . . . lifeless.

I would like to blog regularly (don’t break out laughing, please.  I really would).  Of course there’s also a lot of other things I would like to do . . . .  Do a podcast, finish my book, read The Complete Works of William Shakespeare from cover to cover, become a world famous authoress . . . .  But for now, I’ll stick with regularly posting on my blog.  *Sigh*

Anyway, cross your fingers and maybe I’ll actually come back to this blog.  Perhaps.  ;)

Haha,  Anyway . . . . I’ve actually been home for awhile now.  And I haven’t posted (as you can obviously see), being the wretched blogger I am.  However, I finally got moving toward the post.

The last couple days of London truly were splendid.  We saw Les Miserables (*cough* See the title *cough*) which was . . .  incredible.  Not as incredible as the globe, mind you, but incredible nonetheless.  :P  I absolutely loved the music the story was naturally fantastic, and just how the coreographed everything with the revolving stage was incredible.  All in all, definitely a 10 out of 10.

We also saw Westminster Abbey, but I really wasn’t able to enjoy that as much.  There were altars, statues of saints, votives, and statues of mass murderers (Mary Queen of Scotts, anyone . . . ?) all over the place, to the extent that I really only wanted to get out of there (although the stained glass windows were incredible).

We also saw the Imperial War Museum which was . . . the Imperial War Museum.  It certainly was interesting, and I certainly learned a lot, but I would have perhaps preferred something else in our last couple hours in London.  Ah well, it was good nonetheless, and it was Peter’s turn to choose something.

Well, after the Imperial War Museum we left London by train and stayed at a hotel near Gatwick, leaving Gatwick relatively early the next morning to make our trip back over the pond.  And I have to tell you, that was the best plane I ever saw.  No, I wasn’t in first class, but they had these touch screens in front of you where you could choose movies or tv shows to watch, games to play, music to listen to and all that.  However, the best part . . .  ?  They had electrical outlets under the seats.  Meaning Peter plugged in his laptop and had a pleasantly constant stream of power.  And of course I, in my infinite wisdom, (*cough*) brought several disks of Stargate along.  So we ended up enjoying watching Stargate for several hours straight.  *Grin*  I must say it was a good way to end a fantastic trip.

So then we got home.  And now life is back to . . . . boring old usual.  As for right now, however, I decided that I’ve sadly neglected everyone’s comments, so I’ve taken it upon myself to reply to everyone’s comments on the trip (haha):

- Jenn: Haha!  Of course I knew it was you.  :P  Your name was a little too perfect not to know (plus I’m a huge cheater and saw your e-mail.  ;))  Anyway, my dad has feet problems so we had to sit at the Globe (*Phew*).  Let me say that I’m generally not one for standing around.  haha  Also, unfortunately we didn’t get to see Cambridge. still, Stratford was keen.  And I loved that tea.  It was absolutely dreamy to be eating a real English tea.  *Grin*

- Tim: You’re right.  I should have known what “alight” meant, but in the flurry of the moment I never even got to see the sign, my mom only asked about it after the train had already pulled out of the station, haha.  And the foreign-ish pastor was actually pretty keen.  What I found most difficult was not allowing myself to sink it a bit of a haze and just listen to his voice, instead of what he was actually saying.  But besides for that, it was pretty nice.

- Rebecca: Stonehenge, The Globe, and Stratford are all well worth seeing.  All of them are pretty scenic too.  *Loves them all*  haha  And yes, I’ve “read” the book many times (not quite “read” though, since we don’t actually have a copy . . . we do have it on tape though, and I’ve listened to it multiple times.  *nods*  Positively brilliant book!).

- Sarah: That is really keen that you did a paper on Salisbury!  *Would be quite interested in seeing it*  And believe me, I highly enjoyed the whole trip, haha.

- Alan: Unfortunately we only got to see everything since the organ is going under all that renovation.  I did buy quite a few CDs there though.  haha

Hello, everyone!

I must say that this has been a fantastic Lord’s Day.  For the last week now we’ve been busily touring London/England and yesterday and today it’s been wonderful to simply sit back and enjoy some truly fantastic and uplifting sermons over the past two days.

Speaking of ”fantastic and uplifting sermons” . . . The conference was absolutely wonderful!  Last night, we listened to two sermons from a Welsh pastor, the first on Christ as our high priest and the second on prayer.  Today, we had a Yorkshire pastor for both services, who preached in the morning on Christ as our high priest in the Old Testament and in the evening on the holiness of God.  As I said, both sermons were wonderful (as well as a good bit convicting . . . ).

This afternoon, we went to Edgar and Thelma Andrews’ house.  Edgar Andrews is actually a very well known scientist and theologian.  He pretty much wrote the Theory of Fracture (at least that’s what I think it’s called . . .  It pretty much explains why things break down eventually).  He also wrote ”A Glorious High Throne” (a commentary on Hebrews) and numerous other books, both theological and scientific.  Anyway, that’s all to say that you’d never know how brilliant he is when talking to him since he has such a kind and humble attitude.  When my dad has been here the Andrews have really taken him under their wing and made him feel like family.

The afternoon with them was also quite enjoyable.  We had a truly English lunch with ham, crab apple jelly, and plumb preserves (I believe . . . ).  We also had a ”tea” (I know, not a big deal, but I’ve never actually been to a ”tea” before), for that we had fruitcake, scones with jam, (and tea, of course!).  LAter in the afternoon, the Yorkshire pastor came over and spoke with all of us.  He had quite a few interesting stories to tell, of both the two (different *jaw drop*) congreegations he pastors, as well as his experiences with some of the racial tension in 1960s New York City (in some of the black riots . . . Actually, some of those stories were a bit more scary than you’d expect from a Sunday afternoon conversation).

After church in the evening, it was actually pretty sad parting from everyone.  It’s amazing how close you can get to people in just a couple of days.  It was especially sad since my dad probably won’t be coming back there again, so it was almost like we were moving or something.  They really did make us feel so welcome there, and gave us such fond farewells.

Anyway, I have to go since I only have a few minutes of internet left (*sigh*).  I’m going to go spend the rest of them on Isaiah now! *Wave*

 - Grace

This is part two of my series on London . . .  For part one please scroll below.  Thanks!

Hello, everyone!

Well right now we’re happily coasting along the positively English countryside on our way to the Battle of Hastings.  We’ve actually gotten to see a surprising amount of sites outside of London.  On Monday when we went to see Stonehenge, we took a small tour bus to get there and they purposely took us on all the twisty-turny small back roads.  We passed countless fields of bright yellow of canola flowers as well as a hillside with a white limestone horse cut into the hillside and an incredible amount of Celtic burial mounds.

Well, yesterday (Thursday), we went to Stratford Upon Avon by train, and so far it was definitely my favorite scenic trip.  You see, Stratford is pretty much in the center of England and we passed loads of gorgeous countryside.  Specifically, we passed loads of sheep (during lambing season, mind you, so to every adult sheep there was at least one lamb).  Since at one time I myself I considered the occupation of being a shepherdess, I was positively thrilled at the sight (I haven’t seen so many sheep since the Duchess County Sheep Fair).  Needless to say, it was gorgeous with all the new born lambs either prancing around after mommy or just learning how to stand.  *Dreamy sigh*

Today, we’re going on another train trip in the countryside.  This time headed specifically for the location of the Battle of Hastings (1066, anyone?).  Right now we’re on the train there and the view is quite different from both previous trips outside London.  We’re headed toward the coast this time, right on the English channel across from France and everything is far more hilly, with far more trees than open fields although not quite forested (since woods are in England).  We still did see several canola fields and sheep though.  ;)

Now both tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday we’re journeying by train again, this time to Wellwyn Garden City for a preaching conference on Hebrews.  I’m actually rather looking forward to seeing how that compares to our other little jaunts across the countryside.

As I already mentioned, we went to Stratford Upon Avon yesterday and it truly was wonderful.  We toured three houses yesterday, Shakespeare’s birthplace/early adult home (which was wonderful), his daughter’s home (which was pretty good . . . they had a wonderful display of all the different early Shakespeare versions and editions), and then the third house we toured was his granddaughter’s home (which didn’t have as much to add).

(This blog post is now interrupted with the announcement that we just missed our stop.  *Snap*  Well, “just” isn’t quite an accurate term since we missed it two stops ago.  But we just realized we missed it right now . . . you get the point.  We wanted to go to the Battle of Hastings, so we bought tickets for Hastings.  However, we actually needed tickets for Battle.  Not Hastings.  Who names a town Battle?  When it’s actually the Battle of Hastings?  Hello?  Anyone?

So anyway.  Now we need to ride all the way to Hastings and then back to Battle.  When we initially passed  Battle there was a sign which said “alight here for the Battle of 1066.”  However, we thought it meant “get on,” not “get off here for the Battle of 1066.”  It appears our translation was slightly incorrect, so there’s your vocab lesson of the day.  )

Okay.  So now we’re a bit forward in time to where we’re back on the train and headed toward Battle.  Stratford really was lovely though.  We got to two of the houses in time to see a pair of actors perform two different scenes form Shakespeare (Hamlet’s sililoque and the subsequent portion with Ophelia, and the scene from Much Ado About Nothing where Beatrice and Benedick have their little verbal confrontation).   Both scenes were extremely well done.

While in Stratford, we bought the Complete Works of Shakespeare (yay!).  I’ve actually wanted the Complete Works for several years now, so I was extremely happy to see it there.  However, I was informed that Mother had been planning to buy me a version for this coming Christmas.  But the “major keen” factor of actually getting it in Shakespeare’s birthplace (*eep*!) rather outweighed that.  Besides!  What’s so terrible about getting it early, anyway?  I’ve been more than enjoying it already!

Thanks to our numerous travels I’ve also finished Mort (by Terry Pratchett) in pretty good time (in fact Peter’s already finished it too!  Haha).  I must say that the book was most excellent.  It was quite humorous (so much so that parts of it merited reading out loud to various members of the family).  Now I’m going through Dante’s Inferno.  I must say that the change in pace/tone/volume was a bit jarring at first but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

I believe that just about sums up the events of the last little while . . .  I’ll tell you about Hastings (or rather Battle :P) tomorrow.  If you’re curious, here’s my schedule for the next couple days:

- Tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday we attend a preaching conference at a Reformed Baptist church in Wellwyn Garden city,

- Monday we go to the British Museum all day and then attend Les Miserables in the evening (more on that later!),

- Tuesday we attend a military museum of Peter’s selection along with touring Westminster Cathedral,

- And then Wednesday we fly home (*dismal sigh*).

Well that’s it for now!  Talk to you all later!  *Wave*

- Grace

Hello, campers!

London, I must say, is absolutely fantastic!  Granted, we’ve been incredibly busy but it’s been wonderful nonetheless.

Anyway!  We stepped off the plane on Sunday, dropped our luggage off at the hotel, and then promptly went to Saint Paul’s.  Unfortunately, however, they didn’t allow visitors since they had services and we were unable to go in (we were a bit dizzy with fatigue anyway at that time).

So we went to Saint Paul’s today (Wednesday) and it was positively lovely.  I was entranced by the ceiling especially, I could hardly stop staring at it the whole time I was there . . . .   It was interesting though, the Puritans originally hugely opposed the extravagant painting of the ceiling.  Sir Christopher Wren (who originally designed Saint Paul’s) even went so far as to hide the paintings on the dome.  I’m not quite sure who’s position I’d take on the matter though.  On one hand, I definitely understand Wren’s point of view, after all it’s incredible art to the glory of God, right?  But then the Puritans definitely have a point as well.  It’s not glorifying to God if it distracts you from Him during prayer and the preaching of His word.  Hmm.  Like I said, I’m not positive as to which side I’d buy.  Although I’m starting to lean toward the good ol’ Puritans.

Anywho!  Last night (Tuesday), we went to see King Lear at the Globe!  So far it’s definitely the highlight of the trip.  Everything was done in true Shakespearean fashion with the complete absence of scenery (and near complete absence of props), renaissance music, and even having the Groundlings not even allowed to sit (or else they’d get tossed out.  Wow, they looked tired by the end, haha).  The acting, however, was phenomenal and naturally the play was top-notch.  All in all I couldn’t have imagined it being any better in the least.  It truly is a dream come true.  *Happy sigh*

Well after the play we walked back to the hotel right along the Thames.  The river walk was gorgeous with all the lights making everything gently glow in the evening.  I know Peter took some truly beautiful pictures so I’ll try to beg some off him later.  ;)

Let’s see . . . What else has happened . . . *Thinks*  On Monday we went on a day-tour and saw Stonehenge along with Avebury Stone Circle and Salisbury Cathedral.  I must say that Stonehenge was ten times as impressive in real life as it is in all the pictures.  The place is absolutely massive and simply stunning.  It was actually rather keen just to stand there and realize that I was actually staring at Stonehenge.  Truly breathtaking.

Both Avebury Stone Circle and Salisbury were wonderful but they were slightly overshadowed, Avebury by Stonehenge, and Salisbury by Saint Paul’s.  However, at Salisbury we did get to see the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta which was an incredible experience.

Well I have to go check Isaiah now.  I’ll talk to you all later!  *Wave*

- Grace

Well right now I am in the Continental President’s Club courtesy of Newark Airport.  *Grin*  And at this point it bears some mentioning that there are a million reasons to love the fact that Father travels so much.  Airline miles, hotel points . . . and definitely the President’s Club.  Of course, it also bears mentioning that there are a million and one reasons why *not* to love him traveling so much.  But still.  Sitting in a pretty nice club with free wireless internet?  Anyone would love that!

So anyway, I’m here for another twenty minutes until the plane boards.  *Nod*  And after that it’s just a hop and a jump over the pond.   The part before that little hop and jump has been rather eventful, however.  There was quite a bit of packing (did I mention that I get my procrastination honestly?  Not a single member of my family packed a single twig until today), setting up arrangements for poor Celia (who is staying all alone at the house.  SarahB5 is being kind enough to kitty-sit while we’re gone though), and probably the most earth-shattering event (well, at least for me) was the death of Meekens.  *Sniff*  (Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, Meekens is my beloved computer).

Anyway.  She was letting out a rather bad burnt-plastic smell whenever I tried to turn her on before I left, so she got left behind (I’m actually on Father’s pooter at present).  And while she’s not officially dead . . .  I’m more than a bit worried.

However, at present I’m mostly ecstatically excited (I got over the it-hasn’t-quite-hit phase rather quickly).  So I’m afraid Meekens and (most of) the rest of the world will have to wait until after London.

Talk to you all later!  *Grin wave*

- Grace

Don’t you just hate those “oh man, that was dumb of me” moments?  I’ve been suffering from a few recently . . .  While they do make interesting learning experiences (and rather humorous moments to look back on later) those moments always seem to leave that little itching sore spot for awhile.

Well unfortunately enough I did make one of those little “whoopsies” this last week.  It was only around twelve hours after the whole joke was finally over that I realized it was an oopsie, of course.  But when it hit . . . . wow did it hit.  And then of course the only thing left to do is write out fifty apologies.  Send them.  Send fifty secondary apologies.  And then smile and try to repair the damage.  The worst part about it in my opinion, is the part where you’re all forgiven, but everyone’s holding grudges against someone else for what was, in all reality, your mistake.  So then you write out another fifty apologies trying to get everyone to forgive the secondary party and . . .  Well, it goes on.  A ways.

By now I’m assuming most of you (if not all . . . ) know which event I’m referencing.  It was certainly an interesting experience (one of those things which my good Father calls “a good idea at the time”).  And in the end, everyone forgave me/the other involved party for it (well, mostly . . . . ).  But the thing that stuck with me is the dread knowledge that eventually, I’ll end up doing it all over again.  Not the exact same events, mind you.  But the same mistake.  People always say “you learn when you’re a kid, that’s why you’re a kid,” but in the end people rarely change.  Becoming a Christian is one of those rare events (although when you think about it, even that you don’t do of your own will or power), but in the rest of life change is nearly impossible.  Growth happens, definitely.  But deep down, you’re still the same sinner constantly messing up.

Yes, well, enough of those thoughts, eh?  This last week (well, okay.  Fine.  Several weeks, since I nearly abandoned yet *another* blog) have been pretty busy.  We’re leaving for London tomorrow (which really hasn’t sunk in, oddly enough.  I’m hardly even excited.  Which is odd for me, since I get excited incredibly easily), so there’s a lot of packing and a slew of school work.  Thankfully I’m ahead in most of my subjects (but not quite all of them, *cough*) so I do have quite a bit of work left to do.

The preparations for London so far have been fun all by themselves though.  Peter is coming home tonight (yay!  It may not have hit me yet about London but I am nearly ecstatic about Peter), we’re getting fancy new neck pillows (alright, maybe not all that fancy, but new pillows.  That’s always keen), and best of all . . . . Books.  Lots and lots of books.  *Happy Sigh*  We haven’t gotten a box of books this big since we got our yearly summer books box.  So this is truly an occasion to remember.  The full list of books is:

  • Dante’s Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso,
  • Terry Prattchett’s Mort,
  • One Thousand and One Nights (various authors, I suppose),
  • Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel,
  • Isaac Asimov’s The Naked Sun,
  • Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot,
  • Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers,
  • and the Hundred Year’s War.

Whew.  Quite the list.  I’ve also read Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents along with Neil Gaiman’s Neverworld. The former book was excellent, actually.  Not fantastic, but still excellent (if a bit dark).  The latter book, however, was amazing/atrocious.  The plot, characterization, pacing, were all pretty incredible.  Gaiman has an extreme talent for fantasy/sci fi in my opinion, and I greatly enjoyed the plot twists.  However, the novel was greatly spoiled by a rather large amount of foul language and a few inappropriate scenes.  In the end I simply skipped most of the book and read the last couple pages to see what happened.  I was extremely disappointed, actually.  Not just by the book, but by the fact that an author had a talent like that and had to spoil it in such a manner.  Such more is the pity.

Well, that’s it for now.  Hopefully I’ll be blogging/e-mailing/chatting/posting on Isaiah over the next week and a half while I’m on vacation, but the debate on whether we’ll actually have internet or not is extremely iffy.  *Sigh*

Anyway, I’ll talk to you all later!  *Wave*

- Grace

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