February 28, 2013

One Big Blaaaaaaaah...

Well, my dears, I don't know about you, but I have just about had it up to my schnoz (almost literally) with this snow/sleet/slush/rain/ice/gunk/stuff.

True, it's beautiful, but it's also cold.  Very cold.  I don't like cold. Or snow/sleet/slush/rain/ice/gunk/stuff.  Well, I don't mind it so much at first, but I'm usually ready for it to be gone by the second day of Christmas, and we all know that happened quite a while ago... but who's keeping track?

Okay, yeah... I am.  It's been 67 days.

As I write, I'm all snuggled up under a blanket with a warm cup of green tea, which, apparently, is supposed to be pretty healthy!  Something about natural antioxidants and reducing risks of getting cancer and such...  Good to know, since I down this stuff like some people do... I don't know... water??

Now, this is my cup of tea.

February 27, 2013

Snow Day?

Welcome to college, where "snow days" don't exist!

I do not like college. But, I realize what a tremendous blessing it is. I like the fact that (apart from a few exceptions), I am surrounded by people who genuinely want to learn anything they can get their hands on, something I was blessed with throughout middle and high school as well. One of my favorite things about being human is our ability to gain knowledge and remember it, and discuss or debate while using that knowledge when we disagree with a certain idea. I am amazed by that.

But, I won't lie. Sometimes school just feels like one giant omnipresent and expensive chore, especially when my syllabi are primarily full of things I've previously learned. What I wouldn't give to lounge around in pjs today, with a cup of hot coco (which I drink cold) by the imaginary fire (which is really the radiator) as I look out the door wall at the freshly fallen snow from the warmth of my living room.

Alas, here I am trudging through too many inches of disgusting, heavy, yet quite picturesque sludge on my way into class, to which I retort as politely as possible, "I ALREADY KNOW THIS."

There's my two cents for a cold, wet, annoying, but beautiful day.  Make it beautiful!

<3

Your comment makes my day. I really love knowing you were here,
so take the time to leave a note if you like! Thank you!
I read and appreciate every comment even if I can't reply.
Copyright Iris Hanlin

February 26, 2013

Writer's Log, Entry 1

I have been working on a particular piece of fiction for a while now, and I’ll admit that it was clearly struggling for just about that long.  During that time of dormancy, I took my liberty to browse through a few authors I quite enjoy, and got the idea of beginning a writer's log.  Hence, this.


God bless my editor, though, for his boundless patience - reading the same few paragraphs of my tale time and again without complaint and responding with treasured advice until a particular section is presentable.

I had a strong beginning, but as writer’s block settled in, ideas were harder to come by, and I have realized over the past few months that writer’s block is one of the most unpleasant things a person can experience – especially someone who loves words and just so happens to be making her second attempt to write a novel.  Sometimes the words just don’t come out; no matter hard you might try to wrestle them.  So, in my opinion, the best thing to do is let it sit for a while.  Life itself is inspiration, and you can always find a story if you look closely enough.

I also find inspiration in long, aimless drives through the country, no matter the season or weather.  It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, that’s for sure.  I like to watch the people I pass by, the buildings almost radiating silent character, and the numerous abandoned houses especially in this area, so full of timeless beauty and a long forgotten past.  Unspoken history.  Sometimes the shadows almost come to life for me in those old creaky, dusty barns and homes.

I found an old sofa in one of them not long ago, and I spread a spare blanket from my car on it before I settled down, and the atmosphere itself seemed to awaken something within my mind – and I wrote for hours.  My hand was aching when I realized I should probably head back home.  Reading back over the words I had so eagerly written, it is mostly one huge unorganized heap, but at least it’s a start!




February 25, 2013

Lincoln, PG 13 .: movie review :.


Last night I ventured to the lively and quaint downtown historical theatre near my parents’ home to a showing of Lincoln, a movie released last year, but one I haven’t had time to see until now.  It was excellent.

The world of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 America is a dismal one, as the Civil War rages on, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives.  Lincoln’s mission is to bring an end to the bloodshed, and to pass the monumental 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery of African Americans in the U.S. forever.  It’s a time sensitive issue, though, for if the Union and Confederacy just so happen to make peace before the amendment is passed, the southern states will obliterate any chance of it becoming a law.  Lincoln’s torn…  Early peace would save thousands of lives, but the 13th amendment would almost guarantee the liberty of an entire population.

Lincoln (2012, PG 13) was an excellent film, portraying intense perseverance in the face of evil.  Director Steven Spielberg brought in a handful of much loved and talented actors of the cinema.  Daniel Day-Lewis was fantastic as the soft-spoken and kind, but steadfast and firm President Abraham Lincoln, as he leads his faltering country through the bloodiest war it has ever seen, all the while fighting for the prohibition of one of the most heinous violations of humanity, slavery.  He is patient to no end, tolerating the endless and seemingly trifling petitions of the “common folk,” and laughing off the rather … excitableness … of his administration and slams from his political opponents with ease.  In the heat of all that’s going on, though, Lincoln remains completely devoted to his family, though perhaps more to his young son Tad than to his college-boy, Robert.  He is both merciful and graceful, pardoning many deserters, and is undeniably full of courage, making decisions that very well might turn away his supporters, friends, and wife.

Sally Field is a wonderful Mary Todd Lincoln, driven almost insane by their son Willie’s death, almost two years prior at this point in the story, but does her best to stay strong and wear a face of bravery for the sake of the nation. Her relationship with Lincoln is, at times, pretty explosive, but she supports him in almost everything and obviously loves her family very much.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the dashing and ambitious young Robert Lincoln, a law student with a tremendous longing to join the army.  His courage and will to do what is right, and to stand for his country and what he believes in is definitely something to be admired.

At the time of the Civil War, religion still flowed deep in America’s blood, so it was only fitting that this film was laced with great spiritual content.  And thank you, Spielberg, for not shying away from it!  Young, fiery, and rash-mouthed N.Y. Representative shouts to the House, “Congress must never declare equal those whom God has created unequal!” a claim, of course, which has no foundation.  There is talk of “insulting God” and faith in Him on the part of a few African American characters that the amendment will indeed pass.  One of Lincoln’s unlived dreams was to visit the Holy Land and walk in the places where David and Solomon walked before, something he and Mary discuss while on a buggy ride on Good Friday afternoon.  Mary, joking, calls herself a “soothsayer.”

Like a breath of fresh air in the world of the theatre, there is very little indecent or sexual content in this film…  Mary is shown in her nightgown-like undergarment, and congressional abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) shares a bed with his black housekeeper, though the two seem like a companionable older married couple more than anything else.

The violent content in the movie may be something of concern, as the opening scene includes multiple soldiers being killed, a vivid conveyance of the real horrors of war.  Men are stabbed with bayonets, shot, punched, and held in the mud to drown.  Lincoln rides through a smoking battlefield, surrounded by unburied corpses.  Lincoln takes off his top hat during this scene… something that especially popped out at me.  This man held tremendous respect for the fallen, and it was wonderfully apparent.  Robert follows two soldiers pushing a wheelbarrow through the camp – the contents turn out to be amputated limbs.  Lincoln is shown dead on a bloody pillow.
 
As for the historical accuracy of this film, a few things stood out to me as if they were out of place.  I seriously doubt Lincoln would have sworn so much…  There were quite a few instances of profane language, which might be of concern.  I also seriously doubt that Stevens was permitted to take home the official copy of the 13th Amendment for the night…  It just seems highly unlikely.  Lincoln, though he could be cool and distant, from what I have read of his personality, would not have slapped his son Robert, as he does in the film after an argument between the two. 

All that said, though, Lincoln was a terrific piece, demonstrating what it is to be a American and true manliness in the face of great difficulty and opposition.  The film was true to the nature of the time and the people living in it - Lincoln serves as an example for us all.  I say 2.5 out of 3 for language.

Have a great Monday!  Make it a great Monday!

February 24, 2013

Awkward & Amazing

Awkward

~ When the hedgehog scares himself. (Quite possibly one of the funniest things ever.)

~ Blowing my nose while the cat sits on my lap.  Startling said cat with the blowing of the schnoz.  Said cat looking at me with the most hilarious look of shock, horror, and "WHAT the...?"

~ Excel.  -_-

~ Having a runny nose but no Kleenex...

~ When I'm in the middle of saying an exceptionally lengthy sentence and I run out of breath, but I keep talking and my voice is high-pitched and squeaky by the end of my sentence.

~ Doing that in public. ^

~ Goats.  Need I explain?

~ The dream in which I murder my two best friends, rob a bank, and kidnap a baby.

~ The other dream in which I missed my flight to California and walked to North Carolina to catch the plane on its layover.

~ The other dream in which my best friend and I steal a dog after getting into a heated argument, and then I lose American Idol to my parish's priest.  (The upside is we met Keith Urban at American Idol...)

Amazing

~ When I spell "pulmonary embolism" correctly on a first guess.

~ Having entire conversations in quotes from a plethora of different movies.

~ Being a Valentine's Ninja (sneaking up on random people around campus and throwing candy at them... lovingly).

~ Having a breakthrough on a story I'm writing which has been dormant for a very long time.

~ Super, SUPER tender chicken.  (I love my mother.)

~ Hot tea on a cold morning, and drinking it under a blanket with my feet up on the sofa, looking out over the frozen lake and the snow-covered trees...

~ Accidental trips down memory lane...  I got lost (in a town in which I always, always get lost), and ended up driving past a dear friend's house, and the lake from where some of the greatest and most treasured memories come... including the time we went swimming in sub-40 degree weather and mud fights of the grandest scale.

~ Being able to use the same paper for two classes.  (Scholarly WIN!!)

~ The fact that I'm leaving for California on Saturday morning.

~ This child:

February 18, 2013

Don't Settle for Plastic Pearls

I heard a story a very long time ago about a little girl of five or six who loved to play princess.  She would don her sparkly dresses and plastic heels, and she always, always wore a strand of plastic play pearls around her delicate neck.  One weekend, when her father was off work, the two of them played together all day long.  He was the king, and she was his beloved daughter.

As he tucked her into her bed that evening, he said, "Do you love me?"

She giggled and kissed him on the cheek.  "Yes, Daddy…  I love you very much!"

"Then would you give me your plastic pearls?"

She looked at her pearls sitting in a neat little bundle in the jewelry tray on her dresser.  She loved them.  When she had them around her neck, she felt like a real princess.

"No, I like my pearls," she said.

Her father said softly, "That's okay," kissed her goodnight, and went downstairs.

The next morning, the little princess was so sorry and felt guilty for keeping the pearls all to herself, and so she remained until her father came home from work that evening.

When he came in the door, she flung herself at him, crying and begging his forgiveness, and holding out the pearls for him to take.  "I'm so sorry, Daddy!" she sobbed.  "You can have my plastic pearls!"

Her father smiled and put the string of plastic pearls in his jacket pocket, hugging his daughter.

He opened his briefcase and took out a small white box tied with a red ribbon and gave it to his little girl.  She opened it to find a string of real pearls lying on the cotton.

He fastened the necklace around her neck and smiled.

See, when we hold on to things of this world, material things, we're just hoarding our plastic.  It means nothing…  Our God is offering us the real deal, and all we have to do is accept it and give our lives to Him.

We say we love God, but do we trust Him?  Do we do what he asks of us, even though our humanity tries to persuade us not to, saying "it's too risky?"

Nothing in this life matters except God.  Don't settle for plastic pearls.

February 14, 2013

Happy St. Valentine's Day


Dear Lord, who art high in the Heavens,

Giver of Love and Passion,

And He who strings the heart’s cords,

Lead the Lovers this day, February ten plus four.

The day during the month of two,

When the date is the perfect number of God

Greater two souls and two hearts.

Some Loves are fleeting ,

But that which is built on you will never fail.

So guide the Lovers to know what is to be. 

Your truths the Lovers’ mouths should speak,

For Your truth is that which is honest to the heart.

Only this, then, should pass over the red lips of the Lovers.

Your art, the Lovers simply a medium.

It is only with True Hearts that You can create a Masterpiece,

So let the Lovers remember that their Soul’s Desire

Is the one for which You light their Fire.

And let it be You who creates the Art of the Lovers;

The art of two into one.


Amen.

February 12, 2013

I Hate Times Like These. . .

Good afternoon, everyone!

As I'm sure you've heard from one source or another, our beloved Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation from the papal office, something that hasn't happened in over 600 years...

And I don't know about y'all, but I hate times like these. I HATE waiting.
this is me at the moment.
Impatience is such a crutch. I want to know who the new pope is going to be and like a kicking, screaming child, I WANNA KNOW NOW!! (I can only imagine how the College of Cardinals must feel at the moment, with the knowledge that any one of them may be elected the next Vicar if Christ. Whoever it is, he has some pretty big shoes to fill.)

As much as we might hate the suspense, though, we are not alone.

Who knows how long Adam had to wait for Eve after God gave him the animals for companions?

Mary and Joseph searched for their child Jesus for three days before they finally found Him in the temple...

Christ waited until Lazarus was already dead to go to Martha and Mary!

Christ Himself was dead for three days before His resurrection, and even then, He hid His identity from Mary Magdalene at first...

But waiting is good for us. It reminds us that we are, believe it or not, NOT God, and it reminds us to TRUST. At least me anyway... (It also gives us a lovely opportunity NOT to be annoyed when we might really want to be.)

God is in ultimate control. Of everything. There is not one thing that happens of which He has no knowledge. Lord, help me remember that...

"Lord, my heart is not proud, not are my eyes haughty. I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me. Rather, I have stilled my soul. Israel, hope in the Lord, now and forever." (Psalm 131)

God bless Benedict XVI and his successor, whoever he may be. Show him the path of life, and help him guide the Church in the ways of the Lord.

Have a great day. Make it a great day!

February 9, 2013

Be You


Every single person was formed by a remarkable Creator.  He said so Himself through the prophet Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart."  (Jeremiah 1:5)

Every person was created with a noble purpose, and our duty is to give honor and glory to God through all of our actions - using the gifts He fashioned directly for us.  We each have a unique part to play in the Kingdom in which Christ is the center.  He did not create you to be someone you are not.  He made you to be you. :D

God gave us our looks and our voices and our distinct personalities for a reason.  He gave us unique talents and aptitudes because they make us who we are.

It's fascinating, really…  We serve a truly awesome God.  He fashioned every single cell in our bodies to have a specific duty, and then they are gathered together into tissues to organs to systems…  Our God is a genius - even that is an understatement. 

We are not accidents.  He formed our inmost beings and knit us together in our mother's wombs (Psalm 139:13), and he loves us more than we can even begin to fathom.

I know it's difficult not to compare ourselves to others, especially us women.  We constantly catch ourselves wishing we were more like someone else (at least I do)… it's part of the human condition.

But GOOD NEWS, we are all equal in God's eyes and He loves each one of us irrevocably.  To Him, we are all beautiful.

You are exactly who He created you to be.  True, we're all far from perfect and we have weaknesses and strengths of our own, but we must strive to be our true selves… let our God-given personalities and talents grow to be beacons of truth to the world.  And we need to let Jesus help with that.

We were created to know, love, and serve Him in this life, and to be with him in the next - an admirable calling to be sure.  In order to follow that calling, we must be ourselves, standing out from the crowd of "sameness."

We have to be who God created us to be.  If you try to live as someone else, the only thing that happens is theft of the unique and beautiful you from the world who sorely needs it.

Be you.

“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” - John Paul II
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February 6, 2013

A.M.D.G.

"Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.  All for the greater glory of God."  This is one of my sister's and my life mottos.  Short, and straight to the point. :)

One of my favorite things about being a Catholic is the access we have to the incredible wealth of Sacred Scripture.  As I sat in the silence of my parish's perpetual adoration chapel yesterday morning, I decided to flip through my Bible and see what stood out to me, admittedly something I don't do as often as I should.  To my surprise, quite a few verses seemed to stare at me from the pages, especially one from the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (10:31):  "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

I'm sure we've all heard it before, but it's always worth a ponder...

.: Am I really offering everything I am for the honor and glory of God?

.: Do I carry out my duties to the best of my ability?

.: Do all of my actions magnify, honor, and make known the beautiful, perfect, loving, and almighty nature of God?

.: In what state is my intimate relationship with God?

.: Am I living with integrity, keeping in mind that at all times our actions will reflect either our God of our own hypocrisy?

Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Here are the others, hoping they reach someone who needs to hear them...

"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.  The Lord has made everything for its purpose."  (Proverbs 16:3-4)


"For He will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.  On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone." (Proverbs 91:11-12)

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40:8)

Have a great day.  Make it a great day!

Your comment makes my day. I really love knowing you were here,
so take the time to leave a note if you like! Thank you!
I read and appreciate every comment even if I can't reply.
Copyright Iris Hanlin

February 5, 2013

Awkward & Amazing

Boy, it seems like it's been a while since I've published one of these...  So here y'are!

Awkward

~ Chatting online (via smartphone) with a friend who likes to send multi-part messages, and as a result, exploding my phone with vibrations until it vibrates itself right off the counter.  (*cough*  Chloe')

~ Seeing a mystery animal in the water at Chesapeake bay. (Aemelia thinks it was a jellyfish...)

~ Spelling my own name wrong when I sign the tab at a restaurant. (Shut up, Aemelia.)

~  Running to the cupcake shoppe in St. Michaels only to find that its closed for the winter. Quote Aemelia: "that's the saddest saddest thing I've ever seen," with the most hilariously forlorn facial expression.

~ Listening to the hedgehog slurping his worms.

~ That dreadful moment when I run out of M&Ms.  :(

~ Not realizing I have a serious case of hat hair and receiving the strangest looks from my fellow students as I walk through campus.

~ Falling asleep holding Enzo, and waking up to find him hanging out in the dollhouse with all the little plastic soldier dudes.
grumps















Amazing

~ Making these in the middle of campus with Chloe'.
yes, we did
~ Attending the March for Life 2013 in DC.

~ The Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which never fails to blow my mind.

~ Meeting up with over 20 people we know on the march - most of them unexpected.

~ Reuniting with some dear friends I haven't seen in about 8 years.

~ Spending a day at St. Michael's on Chesapeake Bay with my best friend.

~ Realizing that our waitress in St. Michael's is both Christian and pro-life.

~ Unexpectedly spending the night at Franciscan university with my brother's girlfriend and another friend of mine.

~ Skype-ing my brother who is at a Naval base across the country while we were at Steubie.

~ My hedgehog, and the fact that he was in a dollhouse.

~ When I don't have time to study for a test (not neglected to, just didn't have time), but I get an A anyway, because I know almost all the answers from personal experiences.  I even knew one of them because of a conversation I had with my aunt about three 3 years ago.  (Fun fact:  gazing directly into the sun can help improve your eyesight, and keep the pineal gland at a healthy size.)

~ When I find out that one of my best friend's friends from college in California is super-good friends with a new Hillsdale friend from South Carolina...  (I know, right?)

Awksome (Awkward + Awesome) (I can't decide)


~ Mastering the art of bouncing dry cat kibble off the cats head across the room so it lands on the floor in front of his nose.  (He thinks I'm insane.)  (I am.)  (Proudly.)

~ Remembering that I'm leaving for California in a little over 20 days and temporarily freaking out because I'm still so unprepared.  (AAAHHH)

 Have a great day.  Make it a great day! 

Love,