Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Strange Case of the Unexpected Tiny House

I’d say that it started as a regular day at school, but it hadn’t. It had been a week since the hurricane, and the aftermath seemed to be the only thing on everyone’s minds. Everyone felt off, but at least we all felt off together.

After class, I turned everything in to the front desk. There, the ladies were giggling. There was a strange new addition to the usual cars parked behind the building. Unable to resist, I headed back there with one of them.

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There, we found a tiny house on wheels. It definitely wasn’t what I had been expecting. No one really knew where it had come from or why it was there. Perhaps it had been parked there so that the buildings would block most of the wind? Perhaps it blew in from somewhere else, like the catfish people found on their porches?

The tiny house on wheels vanished a few days later. No one knows where it went. I like to think it’s off on a new adventure… that doesn’t involve hurricanes.

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Reading the Inklings: Robert Harvard (Preparation)

The adventure of reading the works by the Inklings (besides just Tolkien and CS Lewis) is about to begin. The ironic thing, though, is that it’s actually about to start with CS Lewis.

Only a few of the books I plan to read are available as eBooks at the library and most of them are already checked out. So I decided that it’s okay to start with one of the authors I’ve already read before: CS Lewis. After all, the only non-medical journal work written by Robert Harvard (who was indeed a doctor) is an appendix in Lewis’ The Problem of Pain.

I can’t believe I’ve never read The Problem of Pain before, but now seems like an appropriate time. Life has been hard, and I could use some encouragement from someone who’s been there as well. And it only seems appropriate to read the whole book before the appendix written by Harvard.

Have you ever read The Problem of Pain? Do you have trouble finding the books you want via library eBooks too? :)


Merry Christmas!

From the Roberts family to yours, have a very merry Christmas!

To celebrate, here’s a hilarious video a friend shared with me. It’s really an advertisement for Star Wars drones, but the video that precedes it is great. Enjoy!


Quoth the Raven

While I certainly wasn’t thinking about it last week with Hurricane Matthew on the way, last week was the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s death. While I’m not usually for dark things (life is hard enough; literature is a means of relaxation), his works have always fascinated me. The amount of suspense and techniques that he employed make me love him as a reader and a writer.

One of my favorites has always been “The Raven.”

A year or two ago, I discovered a reading done by the late Christopher Lee. His voice couldn’t be more fitting, deep and menacing yet filled with sorrow and regret.

But I recently discovered that he’s not the only famous person to read it. There’s actually one by Christopher Walken out there. Yeah, really. And the contrast with Christopher Lee’s reading is amazing.

It always amazes me how two different people can read the same thing and create a different feel based on their inflection, tone, and cadence. This is no exception.

Do you enjoy the works of Edgar Allan Poe? Do you know of anyone else who’s read “The Raven” or any of Poe’s other works?


Three Characters

Over the past two weeks, I’ve noticed a new fad on Facebook. Friends choose three different fictional characters that they feel describe them as a person and then post a picture of each character. I’ve nodded and giggled at the ones I’ve seen so far because they’ve seemed so true to each person.

Though I’m not sure if I would actually post one, I started the inevitable wondering about what I would post if I were to take up the challenge. How would I describe myself in three characters? That answer turns out to be much harder than I anticipated.

It’s easy to fall back on favorite characters. Usually, something about those characters resonates with the soul, sometimes because they are similar. But sometimes they are more the epitomes of what I hope to be.

When I was a tween, I loved watching The Crocodile Hunter. Steve Irwin is no fictional character, but I watched each episode with great interest. It’s not because I was especially interested in catching dangerous animals or khaki. It wasn’t even the Australian accent, which I loved. It’s because he had something I felt that I didn’t: courage. He didn’t bat an eye at picking up a venomous snake or leaping on top of an unwieldy crocodile. He knew what he was doing, and he did it fearlessly.

I wanted that. So I began imitating him in my own way. I would catch the bugs and other critters that came into the house that used to send me onto a chair in fear. I learned how to call alligators (and was rather successful at it). And whenever I faced a truly frightening situation, I would ask myself how Steve Irwin would handle it and proceed from there. Slowly, it changed me and I gained the courage that I wanted so desperately.

There’s something to be said for having a model to follow. Fictional or not, knowing someone else’s story can give that needed encouragement to make it through or become something better.

So how many of my favorite fictional characters are actually like me and how many are what I aspire to become? I’m not sure. Maybe some of them are a combination of both. And maybe that’s okay.

And if I had to pick three? I’m still not sure. There are so many stories and so many characters that deserve some consideration. Inevitably, I’ll decide on three eventually, but that is not this day.

If you had to pick three characters to describe yourself, who would you pick? Or are there too many choices for you, like there are for me?


The Silmarillion Recap: The World Has Changed (or, Did This Just Become the Story of Noah?)

Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.

Last week, gathered his navy and set sail to start a war with the Valar. This week, things don’t go as he planned…

Akallabêth part 17

Tar-Pharazôn has done what no other Numenorean has dared to do before. He has gathered his navy and sailed West to Valinor, breaking the one rule the Valar gave them when they established Numenor in the first place. It’s an unprecedented move, and one that certainly never should have been done. (Note to self: This is why you never allow Sauron to become your closest advisor!)

Now, Tar-Pharazôn and his navy have not only broken the Ban of the Valar but have sailed straight up to Valinor itself. Unlike Eärendil (the only other half-mortal to accomplish this feat), he isn’t on a mission of mercy, come to beg for the Valar’s forgiveness and plead for help. Instead, he’s there for war because he’s been completely and totally deceived by Sauron.

The Elves who live in Valinor are the first to see the ships. Seeming to know what it means, they flee inland and wait to see what will happen. It isn’t long before the answer comes. Manwë has been the head of the Valar since the beginning. He often consults with Ilúvatar, the one responsible for creating everything, but he has been in charge of Arda thus far. In this situation, though, he hands all of the authority over the world to Ilúvatar, who gets right to work.

The only major changes to the geography have been due to the War of Wrath between the Valar and Morgoth and the creation of Numenor. Now, though, everything changes drastically. There are two changes, though, that are worth noting.

The first is what happens to Tar-Pharazôn and his navy. The shoreline of Valinor transforms into a chasm, sinking all of the ships and burying Tar-Pharazôn under the collapsed hills. In doing this, Ilúvatar removes Valinor from its original place on the map and takes it somewhere unreachable by brassy mortals.

The second takes places back on Numenor. Ever since Amandil left, his son Elendil and his family have been hiding out in their ships. It’s been the only way to stay away from Sauron and those who would gladly sacrifice them in Morgoth’s temple. It’s fortunate that they’ve done this because Numenor is overtaken by a giant wave and sinks, taking the rest of the Numenoreans with it.

While this is happening, an intense wind blows Amandil’s ships far from the sinking island, towards Middle-earth. Life is definitely about to change.

Next week, Amandil and his sons set up some familiar kingdoms.


The Silmarillion Recap: Ar-Gimilzôr and the Dúnedain’s New Low (Or How to Get Under the Valar’s Skin)

Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.

Last week, the Dúnedain took some serious steps towards straying dangerously far from their origins. This week, the new king, Ar-Gimilzôr, crosses a serious line.

Akallabêth part 7

Life has been hard for the Elendili for many years now. Long ago, the decisions of the 13th King of Númenor (Tar-Atanamir) split the Dúnedain into two distinct groups: the King’s Men and the Elendili.

The King’s Men are completely loyal to the Kings of Númenor… even though they have been openly against the principles that Númenor was founded on and no longer show proper respect to the Valar, who saved them from Morgoth and gave them the blessed island to live on in the first place.

The Elendili, on the other hand, have wanted to follow the kings, but they know that the kings are headed in the wrong direction and refuse to give up their loyalty to the Valar. They still are friends with the Elves and seem to remember where their people came from, even if they do fall into the same fear of death that the King’s Men have.

Up until now, the Elendili have lived torn lives but have remained part of society. However, when the 23rd King of Númenor, Ar-Gimilzôr, takes power, things change dramatically. Ar-Gimilzôr sees the Elendili as an outright enemy and feels disdain towards the Valar and the Elves. That special White Tree from Valinor that the Elves had brought as a gift now withers in the castle’s courtyard. It’s the perfect symbol for how he feels towards the Valar and Elves, and it’s like foreshadowing of what comes during his reign.

While his predecessor, Adûnakhôr (20th King of Númenor) settled at refusing an Elvish name (as they had been doing since the beginning), Ar-Gimilzôr takes it to the next level. Not only is there to be no Elvish spoken in Númenor, but the Elves aren’t even welcome in Númenor anymore. On top of this, he removes the Elendili from the western part of the island — the part closest to Valinor and at the port where the Elves from Valinor used to visit. It’s a bold move and a strong statement.

During this time, many of the Elendili decide to spend more time in Middle-earth, where they can socialize with the Elves who stayed there (like Gil-galad) in peace. Though the Elendili do it secretly, Ar-Gimilzôr knows, but he’s just glad to have them off the island and far away from the Elves of Valinor. After all, the Elves of Valinor see the Valar face to face often, and he’s convinced that they’re actually spies for the Valar. If they were to find out all of the things he has planned, then it would be serious trouble for him.

Unbeknownst to him, though, the Valar know exactly what’s happening on Númenor, as well as what Ar-Gimilzôr is planning in secret. And the Valar are angry about it. In fact, Ar-Gimilzôr doesn’t have to tell the Elves to stop coming to Númenor. The ships just stop coming. Not only will the Kings of Númenor find themselves without the friendship of the Elves, but the Valar have removed their protection over them as well. The king doesn’t realize it, but he’s made a huge mistake.

Next week, all hope might not be lost. Sometimes the loyal are just hiding in the shadows… even in the king’s own court.