Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beautiful People - Blakely (And Brothers)

Hello! I am so excited that Beautiful People is back!!! I was so sad when it was down in April... (granted I didn't have time to do it anyways, but... I was still sad). :P Anyways, this lovely little link-up is hosted by Cait and Sky, for the purpose of developing characters... and of course getting to rant about your beautiful little ink-and-paper people. ;) So, without further ado, I bring you my beautiful person for this month, Prince Blakely of an unnamed country... with a side appearance of his two irrepressible brothers, Francis and Edmonde.
1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
Well, Blakely is very, very close to his mother. All three of them are, but Blakely particularly. The three princes love their mother very, very much, even though they show it in different ways. Blakely - more by helping her, and being her confidant. Queen Gianna (their mother) relies on Blakely much at times, because the age is very dangerous, and Blakely is not only wise for his years, but incredibly like his father, and strong in character. Francis and Edmonde show their love in more teasy, affectionate ways, though, such as bringing her flowers, giving her a kiss, teasing her, pretending to worry her, or by play-bothering Blakely around her. Their relationship with their father was fairly close, too, though I suppose that they are closer to their mother because she has been the only one around for about seven years. Their relationship with their mother perhaps blossomed more because of it. But it may also be because of other difficulties. You see, Queen Gianna isn't incredibly old, and is still (as she always was) rather pretty (not to mention being a widowed queen) and so, occasionally, she receives a suitor or two in the palace. It makes the princes rather angry, especially since Gianna has absolutely no interest in any such thing. She, of course, can take care of herself, and is polite, but unyielding to the suitors, merely humoring. However, despite this, the princes, especially the two younger, get extremely suspicious for her, and dislike her suitors (particularly because most of them only want the throne). There is one particular foppish courtier that, while he never outright does anything about it, rather treats the queen in an enamored way, and it irks the princes. Duke Roanwall (that's his name) is also a rather foppish fool, and presumes to be a close advisor to the royal family, and always is close in presence, so he especially earns the dislike of the princes. Not to mention, he is aware of what the princes think of him, and is rather uncivil to them because of it. Not that they care as much about that as Roanwall's attentions to their mother. Blakely is mostly respectful to Gianna's suitors (unless they step over boundaries), but has no love of them. Francis and Edmonde, on the other hand, are rather outrightly rude to them at times, and always make clear their feelings on the matter.
Why is it that the only pictures I can ever find to fit Blakely's face are little kid ones?! Oh well. Since this is a parental addition of BP, I guess it doesn't matter as much.
2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?
Well, their father has been dead for seven years, but they have coped with it well enough through the years. Probably because they have always felt like - without their father - their mother needed their protection, and so they were to comfort her rather than feel sorry for themselves about it. And they have done quite the job protecting her, too, though she doesn't really need it. Blakely particularly has always been a stronghold for his mother.
These two look a bit like Francis and Edmonde, except that they don't look quite enough alike.
3. How did their parents meet?
Blakely's father was coming back from hunting, and a royal party from another country had come to treaty with Blakely's grandfather. With the party had come the rulers' children, including a young daughter. Blakely's father befriended the young princess, and they eventually were courting. Blakely's father liked to joke that when the treating party came, he was absolutely unattached in even the slightest fancying, and once it left, he was already wed. :)
4. How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
Blakely would feel very blessed, but of course would deny that he had turned out quite so good as his parents. He has always respected and looked up to them, both his father and his dear mother, and so to even be able to half measure up to them would make him a very good leader, and he believes he would be very blessed to be so. But, I believe that he has already fully measured up to them, and perhaps will one day be even better of a leader and a person.
The king and Gianna.
5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
Let's see... Blakely is 21, so at that age, Gianna was already married to Blakely's father, and was currently expecting Francis. Blakely's father at that age had just seen Blakely's first birthday, and was crowned king (because Blakely's father was about two years older than Gianna).
6. Is there something they adamantly disagree on?
Not really in Blakely's case. Blakely and Queen Gianna are very much alike in some ways. As for Francis and Edmonde, the only thing they really greatly disagree with Gianna on is the subject of hwo she treats her suitors. Ideally to them, she would just send them away immediately, without any formalities or civilities.
Okay, this looks EXACTLY like one of them as a kid (especially Edmonde).
 7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
Blakely was easy-peasy to raise, because he was almost just like his mother, and the only things he differed in made him an even more loveable child. Francis and Edmonde... Well, let's just say their pranking on people (particularly their pet teasing-subject, Blakely) got them into trouble a good few times (despite the fact that, unless it went too far, Blakely also thought it was funny).
8. What's their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
Blakely - when his father first was teaching him to fence. He remembers very well the first time he caught his father in a moment of hesitation and won the duel, while Gianna stood by and watched her Blakely smilingly. It's a memory that always causes Blakely to smile, and often causes him to become rather distracted in thought. Francis and Edmonde mostly share memories, for it was (and is) rare that they're apart for any space of time. Francis, though, remembers best a time when his father wouldn't let him into his parents' room, and kept preventing Francis from going in there. However - beyond all odds - Francis broke his way in. Gianna was in there, in bed holding little newborn Edmonde. She sighed, laughed a little and beckoned for Francis to come and see his new brother. Only seconds later, Francis' father arrived on the scene looking for Francis, ready to scold him. But, on seeing, the little scene, smiled, and relented, letting Francis stay to see his new sibling. Edmonde jokingly claims to remember this, but of course he doesn't, as Francis well knows.
This looks exactly like a young Queen Gianna.
9. What were they like as a baby/toddler?
Blakely was a very quiet baby, and for a while his parents wondered if he even could speak. Soon enough, he showed that he indeed could, but was more a thoughtful sort than a talkative sort. Francis and Edmonde, on the other hand, were quite opposite to this. They were always either talking or getting into something or other.
10. Why and how did the parents choose their name?
Blakely's name is an older name of the country with an irrelevant meaning (it means 'blackened', but - as I said - its meaning is irrelevant as to why it was chosen). They chose it for a different meaning. A neighboring country (which in the introduction of this story, I temporarily named Nova Italia) has a similar name, Belicilio, which means 'beautiful heavens'. Gianna, very young at the time she had Blakely, is now ever-so-slightly embarrassed to admit that she chose this similar name for him because of his very blue eyes, which reminded her of the 'beautiful heavens'. Blakely's father never ceased to tease her about that little fancy. ;) As for Francis and Edmonde, they were merely noble names of the country chosen because Gianna thought they were nice, innocent-sounding names (hah, you can see that names don't always match the person they are for, as time showed for Francis and Edmonde).
Well, that wraps it up, sadly. :( But there'll be another one next month! :D Also, by the by, there will not be a Catholicism Explained tomorrow because, due to celebration of two of my brothers' birthday, I did not have time to finish it, and I will be gone all day tomorrow. Sorry! :P But, what did you think of this Beautiful People? What do you think of Blakely? What about his two, ah, brothers? ;) Which of the three do you like best? Did you do Beautiful People this month? :) Tell me all about it! :D

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why Not To Be Obsessed With Harry Potter

Most of you, my audience, are probably feeling skeptical at this title. Probably something along the lines of "What? 'Why Not To Be Obsessed With Harry Potter'? But it's soooo good!". Well, before you go away, I'll tell you that this is not an anti-Harry Potter post. It's just an urge for moderation. I myself enjoy a bit of Harry Potter here or there. But not everywhere, all the time, every single second, like it so often is in the fan world. And it's not just personal preference, but reasoning behind it too. Still unsure about the post? Let me show you what I mean...


There's A General Obsession With Harry Potter
Everywhere you see it. EVERYWHERE. In bookshops anywhere you'll find the books, in movie shops anywhere you'll find the movies, in shops of miscellaneous types anywhere you'll find its various merchandise. Online, everywhere you go, memes and products of this fantastical craze. And it's gotten a new resurgence with the eighth book and the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them movie. Rare is it that on any list of great modern writers compiled that you don't find J. K. Rowling, this series' authoress. Rarer still is it that any actor or actress associated with the Harry Potters is ever forgotten as such. And rarest of all is it to find somebody who hasn't at least heard of Harry Potter. Why is this exactly? Let me lay out the values of Harry Potter:
1. It is even on first glance very unusual, and there is no literature preceding it that was along the same ideas. In other words, it seems incredibly creative.
2. The characters are in large quantities, thus making it easy for just about any reader to find at least one character that they love.
3. The sub-plots are numerous and complex enough to satisfy the most picky readers.
4. It's extremely popular, and if you've read it then you will not have a hard time finding at least one other person who has.
5. The main moral virtue displayed in the book is courage, which is a very pleasing virtue to read about, of course.
6. The world-building in it is very assuming, seeming to be of incredible loftiness in genius.
7. The writing set a new era in fiction and fantasy particularly, making way for many new concepts and types of writing.
These, I believe, are the main values of Harry Potter. And now that I have laid them out, showing I do see value in this series, I shall proceed with my argument concerning it. In light of these values, why shouldn't we be obsessed with Harry Potter? Here are a few reasons.


The Writing
This may seem like a contradiction to #7 in the list of values, but the writing is very sketchy. (Please, before you jump down my throat for this, because I do the things I am listing of Harry Potter in my own writing, remember that I am writing this post as a reader more than a writer, and that these are published books, expected to be better in writing, whereas mine are not.) The writing is just messy at times. Many people reviewing the books have trouble even figuring out what POV they are written in. The writing often goes into lapses of the exact same phrases, sayings, and thoughts. For instance, if I had a dollar for every time somebody said/thought 'such a git', or 'some bloke', I would have enough money to buy myself a formal evening dress. The language in it is very unrefined, though actual swearing isn't in it for the most part. The language patterns of everyone are almost the same, with only a few exceptions.  And many times you see a scene's POV being led by someone who is not the MC, and has no personal relation to him, and only appears once in the entire series (this isn't as much a technical problem as the others, as some of these random POVs had a point, but it still bothered me personally). And sometimes the world or the characters can be rather inconsistent. Inconsistency in world, particularly the magic factor, can be found especially in the movies, but also in the books occasionally. This is not to even mention the factor of small-scale writing, such as creativity or consistency in what is stated to have happened (things like 'he said', or 'she picked it up'). I can thank the book for setting a new era of writing, from which came many a good development and enjoyable book, but I can also be frustrated with it because many not so favorable (or tasteful) books came from this era as well. Overall, the writing is extremely modern in this factor, and I'm not too terribly impressed with it. However, it's not technical perfection that makes a book perfect, and I am all for reading books that are not technically perfect, it's just that their other values must outbalance this.
The Characters
Again, you may think I'm contradicting myself when I say that many of the characters are not their own person, but merely a wind-chime for whatever bit of plot or comic relief to blow through. There were many characters that had almost the exact same speech pattern/opinions/phrases/reactions very frequently. I sense that this is perhaps just a channeling of Rowling's 'character style', a.k.a. her tendency to make a certain kind of character when no other ideas for it were to be had. For instance, many of the so-called 'quirks' of smaller characters (such as Dean Thomas or Lavender Brown) are often stated once, maybe twice at the very most, and then left out of the character completely, making that character rather disappointingly a 'blank slate' once more. Truly, for many characters, I felt as though the name, gender, and Hogwarts House was all I had to go on for their character. I can say the same for some of the teachers even (in particular, Professor Sinistra). I am rather ashamed to say it, but I can actually see very well why certain characters were not shown in the movie. That is to say, they merely did not have enough character in them to make it to the chopped-up movie screen. Now, there were a good many lively, creative, wonderful characters to. Professor Snape (particularly movie man) was an amazingly well thought-out character, and I can well say that the only part in any of the movies which caused me to cry was the climax revealing his past. And no Harry Potter quote makes me more sappy than that lovely little "Always" of Snape's. And then characters like Hermione were also fairly thorough, though not quite so likeable or pitiable as Snape. I think my problem with the characters mainly is that Rowling put too much of the same elements in all of them, elements that were not to the effect of showing her style, but merely making the characters rough mirrors of each other. All the good guys liked to wittily insult/disrespect the bad guys. All the bad guys had greasy hair or were huge. It's only these stereotypes of Rowling's that bother me. Other than these, I enjoyed the characters very much, and they were in great quantity to be enjoyed to be sure.
The World
I'm going to make this very short, because my only complaint is perhaps a slightly unfair one (as I willingly admit), but still worth mentioning as a note. I see in many aspects of the creatures and places of Rowling's thing perhaps too similar to other fictional worlds. There are many creatures/places/concepts of the Harry Potter world that are rather copied (whether intentional or not) off of the original great fantasies, like J. R. R. Tolkien's work, and also that of C. S. Lewis. Now, like I said, this a bit of an unfair complaint, because you really just can't write a fantasy that doesn't copy one of the greats in some way. They just formed the genre fantasy, especially Tolkien's Middle Earth-related books. There is about a 90% chance that if you write a fantasy, it will have something in common with Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, or The Chronicles Of Narnia. However, I have mentioned this scruple merely because it is worth noting, lest another person note it and think more critically of it.
The Attitude Behind It
I'm just going to say it, and hope that no one jumps down my throat. I'm sorry, but many of the attitudes Rowling has taken concerning Harry Potter are very highly disturbing. For instance, how many here know that she was herself interested in real witchcraft and demonic arts before she wrote Harry Potter? Obviously you wouldn't guess that much reading the book, but just hearing about it kind-of shook me for the book. And then there's her constant publicity-netting. Anything to get publicity. Write an eighth book with a bajillion contradictions and absolutely no point? Sure, that should get some publicity! Let the whole thing practically be written by somebody else and just put Rowling's name on it for that publicity? Why not? Make a movie, and somehow eventually another saga off of a single book Rowling wrote that didn't even tell a story but was for Harry Potter world research? Somehow glean a whole tale that wasn't there from it? What a brilliant idea! Change anything at all about Harry Potter in interviews and everything previously said on the spur of the moment, just to keep it out as hot stuff? Of course! And then there's Rowling's support of LGBT stuff, also - I believe - for publicity. In fact, she has even proposed the idea that in the prologue to Harry Potter (which is what has been named Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them) she will make Professor/Headmaster Dumbledore LGBT. In fact, she now claims that he was the entire time, even though there is absolutely no proof of this in the original books. While one can look past all this, it is still a bit unsettling. For me, I just don't particularly relish reading books with an authoress who takes these attitudes towards them.
The Magic And The Morals
To those who G. K. Chesterton would describe as 'bigots' (in other words, someone who disapproves of certain sets of morals but has none of their own), I would suggest they don't read this one. Because morals is one of my biggest problems with Harry Potter, and I don't intend to skim over the subject. If this post has become too critical for anybody, then I merely suggest that they stop reading.
My problem with the magic is not, as I've mentioned it, that it's inconsistent, but merely that it is too suspiciously close to real witchcraft. Surely to the ordinary reader it is innocent and quite fine. However, sometimes you reach certain tiny little details about the world that are suspicious. Like the use of terms such as 'astrology', 'divination', and 'transfiguration'. Things that smell of real witchcraft's odds and ends. This disturbs me, especially for someone who knows books like those of Montague Summers, one of the most renowned authorities and historians on the subject. And, even reading only bits of his books, I can see perhaps too clearly the resemblance to Harry Potter. Now, because the books themselves are mostly innocent of real, evil witchcraft, I would pass this by. But then, because of those details, it opens the mind of the reader up to the real thing. Bit by bit, the reader find themselves less and less closed-up to the idea of magic. Now this wouldn't be a problem for a mature, well-taught reader. But it is those readers who have no idea that it is a problem for. Most of my audience are probably right about now very skeptical. But, this is not my only problem moral-wise with Harry Potter. In fact, the far more obvious problem with its morals, and perhaps the one to be worried about, is the attitudes of the characters. They are unforgiving, often disrespectful, and sometimes even deceitful. Often they cheat, lie, break rules, or steal to get their objectives, and have very little scruple about it. Now, think of how that looks to the very young reader of Harry Potter. It looks as though they're saying that stealing/lying/cheating/breaking rules is okay if it gets you what you need. That's not a very comforting moral message, is it? And none of the main characters in Harry Potter seem to have much respect for their fellow being. They frequently insult, wish to hurt, or otherwise disrespect people who don't agree with them or are mean to them. And it's not just the people they're against, even. I cannot count the times when Harry himself got angry at his friends and just started rolling out insults or rants because some childish complex of his is being hurt. And I have never seen a book where more anger is portrayed. I don't read them often, and I make intervals in between reading them, because I find sometimes it can make me angry if I read them too often and too close together. It just makes a book less enjoyable for me when all the characters are constantly angry at their enemies, at one another, and at just about everything that happens. It just makes me feel on edge and guilty, as though I were the one being so unforgiving and angry. And rare is it, unless it was his friends he was yelling at, that Harry Potter ever apologizes for his tantrums or fights. And his best friend, Ron, is - if possible - a worse case, as he often doesn't even apologize when it is his friends he fought with. I just find it unusual that someone should be obsessed with an anger-fest book, or rather an anger-fest series of books.

The Hype
This is a more personal, rather than logical or philosophical reason for disliking Harry Potter. But I feel that, when something has as many slightly out-of-place details as Harry Potter does, and is already as hyped and famous as Harry Potter is, then you don't need to fangirl over it or spread it on the world like butter on bread. And seeing as those books are about as well-known as PB&Js, they really don't need any help getting into the world.
Totally how it is.
Conclusion
So they're not the most flawless books. But they are still very enjoyable! I would only caution that strictly mature readers alone should read them, and definitely only mature watchers should see the movies. While there are many a reason why Harry Potter isn't perfect, there are still many good things to it. So, I'm not trying to tell anyone they shouldn't like Harry Potter or shouldn't read Harry Potter, only why not to be completely obsessed with it. Trust me, there are many a good fandom out there just waiting to be obsessed over madly. Harry Potter can afford to be a slightly lesser one on your list. :)
What did you think? Will I now get a blast of comments for insulting the nigh-untouched Harry Potter? Or perhaps there are readers who can agree with a point or two of the discussion...? I am eager to hear any thoughts on it - agreeing or not - so long as they're kept logical and polite.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Catholicism Explained: The Sacraments

So, I said I would try, didn't I? Well, this is me trying. I can only hope that these posts don't go completely wrong because of their frequent appearance. :) Today, I am discussing the Sacraments, a few of which have already been individually discussed. However, before I ship off the discussion, here are links to the previous CE posts, and to Miss Lucy Agnes' - the founder of this feature - blog, where the original Catholicism Explained posts can be found.
Catholicism Explained: Purgatory
Catholicism Explained: The Three Sacred Authorities
Catholicism Explained: Devotions and Sacramentals (Part I, What Are They?)
Catholicism Explained: Devotions and Sacramentals (Part II, The Origins Of)
Tanglewebs And Fairy Rings
Alright, now let's get to it! :D
Definition
A Sacrament, as defined by the Catholic Church, is an instituted sign of certain divine graces being bestowed. Here's a quote from the Catechism Of The Catholic Church on the matter:

"Sacraments are 'powers that come forth' from the Body of Christ [a.k.a., the Church], which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the holy spirit at work in his body, the Church. They are 'the masterworks of God' in the new and everlasting covenant."
- CCC, 1116 -
Basic Theology
So, in short, it's something that not only gives us grace from God, but is visible, so that we can know of those graces being given. These are very special things, Sacraments. They not only signify graces, but also carry out the graces that they represent. There are seven Sacraments, each with a special purpose. I'll go through them briefly today, and then do follow-up posts on each one separately (except in the case of it already having been covered by Miss Lucy).
Baptism
Baptism is the very first Sacrament a Christian receives, and is the 'key', so to speak, that unlocks your ability to participate in the other Sacraments. It's like the door that you open to get into the Church. :)  It gives you the graces of a member of the Body of Christ, and also absolves any sins upon your soul at the time you are baptized. There are different ways of participating in the visible sign, though, while the actual spiritual goings-on always remains the same in the valid Sacrament. For instance, the three ways I have heard of for being baptized are these:
1. The anointing of the individual's head with Holy Water (generally most Baptisms are done by a priest, but a deacon is also permitted to do so).
2. The sprinkling of the individual with Holy Water.
3. The immersing of the individual in Holy Water.
All three of these are valid, assuming that the proper rites are observed. None is greater or more grace-giving than another, and all are true Baptism. Usually, in a Catholic parish we tend to use the first method, but the others can be used (and are from time to time). For instance, all of my seven siblings were baptized this way, and as was I. There are several 'little t' traditions and 'big T' Traditions surrounding Baptism, but as I said, I will speak on more on the Sacraments separately at a later date.
Reconciliation
Reconciliation, also called the Sacrament of Penance, or Confession, is a Sacrament of immeasurable value. The graces it gives are those of absolution, or cleansing, which removes all trace of sin from the soul (like Baptism does, except you can receive this Sacrament as often as you need, whereas it is absolutely unallowed to receive Baptism more than once). The Sacrament of Reconciliation consists of a Christian confessing the sins that are upon his soul to a priest. The priest hears them, and, in God's name, absolves the person of those sins. The priest is only a mediator in the Sacrament, and is only there to be the forgiving mouth of Christ, and not as himself. Because it is a priest's job to bridge the distance between Christ and the faithful, it is only proper that this role in Reconciliation be fulfilled by a priest. This Sacrament will not receive a separate post, because Miss Lucy has already covered it most thoroughly here and here.
Holy Communion
Holy Communion, or the Eucharist, is the most important Sacrament of all. It is the transubstantiation of bread and wine into Christ's true Body and Blood. The faithful then receive His Body and Blood, under the guise of bread and wine. This Sacrament is what the Mass revolves around, and its Consecration is one of the great privileges of a priest. This, like Reconciliation, will not have its own separate post, because Miss Lucy has already done an incredibly job explaining it here and here.
Confirmation
This is the Sacrament that I have most recently received - the Sacrament of full initiation into the Catholic Church. You are a member when you are baptized, but when you are confirmed, you 'confirm' that you wish to be a part of the Church, you wish to serve it, and you wish to do as God commands. With this promise, you are initiated fully - as an adult in Christ, now responsible for your own soul and your own spiritual life in the Faith. This Sacrament bestows the graces of the Holy Spirit, called the fruits, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation, like Baptism, can only be received once in your life.
Matrimony
Matrimony, commonly called marriage, is one of the most beautiful Sacraments in my opinion. It bestows the grace of an unbreakable union between one man and one woman in God' sight, with His people as witnesses. It is for three purposes:
1. Procreation, to share in God's creative nature.
2. To share the most intimate, deep love that can be found within two human beings, enhanced in God's grace.
3. To aid both people in getting to Heaven, by each other's loving and spiritual help.
It is NOT for purpose of pleasure, lust, experiment, mere loneliness, or joke. Getting married for any of these reasons would be a horrendous crime against the Sacrament.
Holy Orders
This is the Sacrament that serves a similar purpose as marriage. However, instead of physical life-giving, the individual receiving the priesthood - or Holy Orders - has a duty of spiritual life-giving. In other words, he is to bring Christ's message to the world - to convert and save the life of all souls. The priesthood is a very hard vocation, and you can only receive it once in your life. The reason for this is that once you receive it, it cannot be undone. Once you are validly made a priest, you are a priest forever. However, there are cases where the priesthood is not valid, as in the case of female priests or unbaptized priests. Only baptized, fully in Communion, Catholic men can be priests in the Catholic Church.

Last Rites
Last Rites is a Sacrament only given to sick or dying faithful. It is only administered in the case where there is a possibility of death for the individual. It is a last Sacrament, meant to prepare one's soul for Heaven. It is only administered by a priest, and only to those who are sick or injured to the possibility of death.
Sealed... or Non-Sealed?
There are two types of Sacraments - those that have a spiritual seal, and those that don't. The ones that are sealed can only be received once, because to do otherwise would be against their nature (and Sacraments cannot be undone!). One that are not sealed can be received more than once, and some of them even are meant to be received often. These are the Sacraments that have a seal:
Baptism
Confirmation
Holy Orders
And these are the Sacraments that can be received more than once (though they also are inerasable):
Reconciliation
Holy Communion
Matrimony
Last Rites
Matrimony and Last Rites, though, can only be received a second time in special circumstances. For instance, Matrimony can only be received a second time if the first spouse is dead, and  Last Rites is received again on the occasion that you lived through your first possibly fatal injury/sickness (where you would have received Last Rites the first time), and then got another one (whereupon you would receive it again, see?).
Some Common Objections
Are you sure that they're even supposed to be taken as literal grace-giving things? What if they are just the sign, and not the fulfillment?
Sacraments are both sign and fulfillment. For instance, what would be the point of making a show of forgiving sin if they could not actually be forgiven? And would that seem rather unkind if sins couldn't be forgiven? And what would be the point of the Eucharist if all we were doing was pretending to receive Christ, while we were really just eating bread and drinking wine? Christ instituted the Eucharist so that we could still have Him even after he had gone up to Heaven. He would not leave us only play-acting, rather than truly Him. Don't you remember what he said at the Last Supper? This is my body, which is given for you. (Luke 22:19)
Why are the Sacraments so exclusive? Surely a person who lives like a Christian, but is not baptized, can receive the Eucharist? Or a woman receive the priesthood? Or an already-married person receive the Sacrament of Matrimony?
The Sacraments aren't exclusive! In fact, they are very inclusive. Any faithful Christian, living like a Christian, receives Baptism. And if it is not possible for them to receive Baptism, how is it possible for them to receive any other Sacrament? As for women becoming priests, we Christian women were perfectly happy not being priests  for long ages. Only with the feminist movement has any Christian woman started to consider the priesthood her 'right'. And feminism's core, to serve women and self, is exactly against the priesthood, which is to serve God. The priesthood is not a right. It is a gift from God, not a granted permit from men. Only men are gifted with the vocation to priesthood, because they are fulfilling the role of Christ - a man. However, women may be gifted with the vocation to religious life, which - excepting the role of Christ, which is the reason for only men priests anyways - has the same objective as the priesthood. And an already-married person cannot receive Matrimony. Matrimony involves making a vow to someone to stay with them as long as life will last. If they have already made this vow to a person, then it would be breaking a promise to them to remarry, and it would be lying to whom they wish to marry.
Summary
A Sacrament is an inerasable, both visible and fulfilling sign of God's grace given to His faithful. There are some which can only be received once, and there are some we may receive as often as every day. Some are for those just entered in the Church, and some are for those just about to enter Heaven. But all of them are important. They give us the grace to do what God wishes, and to avoid what He despises. They also can help us grow closer to Him, for they appeal to us in their visibility. I have received four. Others have received more. All I can say is that, in these troubling times, their value is immense to us, and they should never be abandoned. My only hope is that al the faithful can realize that.






What do you think? Are you perhaps also intrigued by the Sacraments? Or are you trying to learn about them? Was my post helpful? Any concerns? Debates? Additions? Comments? Anything at all is welcome, just so long as it is undemeaning, kind and well-meant. (P.S. Happy Mother's Day to everyone! And if any mothers are reading this, go listen to Il Divo's Mama today. It's a Mother's Day song if ever I've heard one, and so beautiful for all you lovely mamas.)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Hobbit Tag

Don't you love the name of this tag? I certainly do! Anything to do with hobbits, you know. :) Ahem. Anyways, I got tagged for this lovely little thing by the originator of the tag, Miss Kayla Marie (pretty name btw, Kayla. Not sure if it's a pen name or not but it's absolutely adorable). So, apparently the rules are merely to answer hobbit-related questions, and then nominate people. So, first I'll answer the lovely, hobbit-y questions from Kayla Marie.
1. Which hobbit do you relate to most: practical Merry, lighthearted Pippin, loyal Sam, courageous Frodo, or impulsive Bilbo?
Haha, I am so ashamed to answer this. I personally would say (also out of bias 'cuz Pippin = my fav hobbit) that I most resemble Pippin. I frequently am doing dumb things, and am the court jester more or less of my social circle, but get along with most people because of it. However. There is also a case for Sam with me, unfortunately. For anyone who doesn't know, I very highly dislike Samwise Gamgee. However, I have (difortunamente) many quirks similar to Sam. For instance, I love mushrooms (which is hobbit-like in general, I suppose), I love the sight of fresh-growing flowers, I like being in company, and I am devoted to my bestie almost to the point of being ludicrous (in fact, like Sam, I follow her around everywhere whenever I am within like twenty miles of her, and have known her since I came home from the hospital, so long time, haha). I also love poetry and writing things, and elves are my favorite Middle Earth creature. So... I would like to be Pippin, and am like him in some ways, but I regret to say that frankly, I am more like Sam. However, I relate to Pippin most in that I totally love him and know that moment where everybody's staring at you 'cuz you just did something dumb.
2. Are you afraid of spiders?
Ugh, yes! I HATE SPIDERS.
3. Are you more likely to be underprepared and not have a handkerchief handy when your allergies flare up or be overprepared and walk all the way to Mordor with and entire set of pots and pans clanging around on your back?
Lol, probably the latter. I am the person with my whole wardrobe in a suitcase when my family and I go on vacation. :)
4. What is your Elvish name?
I wish I knew... See, the root-word for my name means 'beauty', but I - even for my pause in typing to go and research among my books - could not find out what 'beauty' is in any Elven tongue. So, I guess I'll make one up, and say it's Ilithien (btw, even though I know how to technically pronounce that like an Elvish name, I have no idea if it means anything, so don't laugh if some LotR nerd commenter points out that it means 'cow', or 'pig', or something like that. :P
5. Are you part of a best friend duo like Frodo and Sam and Merry and Pippin or are you a loner like Bilbo?
Um, definitely a duo. And, as I mentioned before, unfortunately I'm Sam. Actually, scratch that, let's just pretend I'm Pippin anyways. ;)
6. What size shoe do you wear?
GRRRRR... Women's size nine. I am tall and also have large-foot genes, so I very much have hobbit feet, I'm afraid. :P
7. If you had a choice would you live in Rohan, Gondor, or the Shire? Or… Mordor?
Rohan. Definitely Rohan. MY LOVE ROHAN!!! Besides the Elven homes, Rohan is my favorite LotR country/kingdom/place. Always Rohan over Gonder (Hint: always Eomer over Aragorn, and definitely Théoden over Denethor!).
8. What is the farthest off anyone has ever guessed your age to be?
Do I sense I reference to the time in the books where Pippin is thought to be a nine year old human child? ;) Well, the farthest off anyone's ever gotten my age was when this old lady saw me pushing a shopping cart with my very large almost three year-old year-old brother in it, and thought that I was his mother. :P Uh, do I really look that old...?
9. Does your personality match your stature or belie it?
Um, I might say my personality matches my stature well enough. I'm five foot six, so not an incredibly unusual height, but I like being it (hey, Ginger Rogers, the famous dancer, was five six, so why not?).
10. What is your favorite riddle?
Probably the old black hats/white hats logic problem, but that's too long to put here. Perhaps... 'What have I got in my pocket'...? ;)
11. Do you wear any rings?
On occasion. I have a green ring with leafy designs on it that I call my Elven ring, and sometimes I wear that. I also have a battered old topaz ring, which I call my Echo ring, because it is almost exactly like a ring one of my characters is supposed to own (whose nickname is 'Echo').
Not what mine looks like, but still an Elven ring. :)
12. Would you be more likely to embarrass yourself by making a speech and forgetting what you were going to say or dancing on the table and falling?
Um, not sure. I think I could laugh both of those off, but the former might be slightly harder to, particularly if I wasn't among friends.
13. Do you ever feel like butter?
Yes, whenever I am in the South and it's really hot. ;)
14. If you were a hobbit, what would your name be?
Well, according to my research on nominal concepts of LotR for the (unsuccessful) search for my Elven name, hobbit girls generally have flower or gem names. So, I'll be funny, and say it's Bluebell. ;) Haha, no that's ugly, I'm changing it to Lorele (which, btw, is me making a feminine and hobbity-looking spelling of Laurel).
15. Do you like fireworks?
Oh, yes, I love them! Can't ever get enough of fireworks. ;)
16. How do you feel about trilogies?
Trilogies are my all-time favorite book type to read. I like series, but I always end up falling behind on them, and single books are never enough, so trilogies are perfect! :D
17. What is your favorite poem?
Maybe The Captain's Daughter (by I don't know whom). Or, actually, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. But then, I also enjoy Legolas' Call To The Sea by Tolkien (you can find it in the third book of LotR). At one point, I had all three of those memorized, but now... Well, The Road Not Taken is the only one I have even remotely remembered the first stanza to, so I doubt I remember much of any of them anymore.
18. Do you want to see mountains, Gandalf?
No thanks! I like seeing them and all, but they're not my favorite place. Especially not when they've got orc-infested Bal-Rog caves inside of them. ;)
19. Can you swim?
Yes, I can swim fairly well, particularly for a person who almost never goes out, rarely swims, and isn't very strong or hearty of breath.
20. You’re Frodo. You need eight fictional companions to journey with you to Mordor. Who do you pick? They cannot be from Lord of the Rings!
Hahahaha, I love this question! Okay, so my first pick will be Gwydion from The Prydain Chronicles (to take Aragorn's place), then I'd take Captain America (yes, I know he doesn't belong here, but he is fictional!) as second. Third would be Gris from Medallion, to be a guide and guardian type guy. Next, I'd take Geric, Finn, and Talone from The Goose Girl (What? They're all really sweet, loyal, brave, and awesome fighters, sooo...). ;) After that, I'd take Robin Hood (whom I think everybody knows the origin of). ;) And last, but not least, I'd take Dym from Enemy Brothers. He's not much belonging here either, but he can keep Cap company, seeing as they're both WWII guys (Psst! I still have not read Dym's book, but please do not rage at me for putting him in anyways).
21. What is your Recurring Short Person Dilemma? Not being able to reach high cupboards, getting a stiff neck from talking to tall people, your feet not touching the ground when you sit in a particularly high chair and the circulation being cut off from your legs so that your feet swell to twice their normal size? I’m not bitter or anything, why would you say that?
Haha, I'm pretty tall, actually. I am completely oblivious to short-people problems, but very much aware of the tall-people problems (like everybody being shorter than you, bumping your head on everything, having bigger feet, being clumsier and more off-balance, etc.). But I do imagine that not being able to reach things would be pretty hard.
22. If you could marry a kind of food, what would it be?
Wedding bells for me and brownies! :D Brownies! Brownies! Brownies! If they don't propose first, then I will! ;D
Haha, I think that wraps it up. Thanks for the tag, Kayla Marie! :) And the people tagged for it are...
Anna D.
Anna R.
Hope.
Can't wait to see what you do with it! :) Oh, and here are the questions:
  1. Which hobbit do you relate to most: practical Merry, lighthearted Pippin, loyal Sam, courageous Frodo, or impulsive Bilbo?
  2. Are you afraid of spiders?
  3. Are you more likely to be underprepared and not have a handkerchief handy when your allergies flare up or be overprepared and walk all the way to Mordor with and entire set of pots and pans clanging around on your back?
  4. What is your Elvish name?
  5. Are you part of a best friend duo like Frodo and Sam and Merry and Pippin or are you a loner like Bilbo?
  6. What size shoe do you wear?
  7. If you had a choice would you live in Rohan, Gondor, or the Shire? Or… Mordor?
  8. What is the farthest off anyone has ever guessed your age to be?
  9. Does your personality match your stature or belie it?
  10. What is your favorite riddle?
  11. Do you wear any rings?
  12. Would you be more likely to embarrass yourself by making a speech and forgetting what you were going to say or dancing on the table and falling?
  13. Do you ever feel like butter?
  14. If you were a hobbit, what would you name be?
  15. Do you like fireworks?
  16. How do you feel about trilogies?
  17. What is your favorite poem?
  18. Do you want to see mountains, Gandalf?
  19. Can you swim?
  20. You’re Frodo. You need eight fictional companions to journey with you to Mordor. Who do you pick? They cannot be from Lord of the Rings!
  21. What is your Recurring Short Person Dilemma? Not being able to reach high cupboards, getting a stiff neck from talking to tall people, your feet not touching the ground when you sit in a particularly high chair and the circulation being cut off from your legs so that your feet swell to twice their normal size? I’m not bitter or anything, why would you say that?
  22. If you could marry a kind of food, what would it be?
Seeya, hobbits! :)
What did you think? Did you think this tag was an absolutely delicious idea? Are you agreeing that hobbits are awesome? Is Pippin your favorite hobbit too? And what about your favorite riddle? :) Does anybody else want to marry a brownie?!




Monday, May 8, 2017

Catholicism Explained: Devotions and Sacramentals (Part II, The Origins Of)

So, I said I was going to do a follow-up post on my last CE, so here I am to do just that. However, today will be a bit of a different Catholicism Explained. For this post, I am going to go through stories of the devotions and sacramentals I mentioned in that last CE post. Mainly, I'm going to talk about where they came from, but I'm also going to have a few random stories of particular instances where a particular devotion/sacramental aided someone. Here are links to previous Catholicism Explained articles, and Lucy's blog, where the ones before these were posted and can still be found:
Catholicism Explained: Purgatory
Catholicism Explained: The Three Sacred Authorities
Catholicism Explained: Devotions and Sacramentals (Part I, What Are They?)
Tanglewebs and Fairy Rings
So I'll get right on to it! :)
The Chaplet Of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was given to us in an apparition in the early 20th century. An vision of Christ appeared to a Polish nun named Faustina (who is now a saint), telling her about His mercy. He informed her of how little people knew of it, and how He wished to remedy that. So he gave to her a prayer. A very simple, very short prayer - to be prayed on the beads of a rosary - that begged forgiveness from Christ through his Divine Mercy (hence the name of the prayer). It consists of these words (beginning with three prayers of the Rosary):
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
I believe in God, the Father Almighty...
And then the prayers that are native to the Chaplet:
O God, we offer you the body, blood, soul, and divinity of your son, our Lord, Jesus Christ - in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion - have mercy on us!
With these words, the Chaplet was instituted. St. Faustina introduced it to the world, and the devotion to it slowly grew around her. Now, thousands of faithful Catholics (and even some non-Catholics) recite this beautiful devotion.
The Scapular
The Scapular, like many devotions (including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy), was instituted through a divine apparition. It was given us by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as a devotion of a sort. It does have a prayer that goes with it (called the Office), but it also has a special connection with the Rosary (in fact, daily Rosary may be substituted for this Office prayer with permission). In fact, so powerful a connection that Our Lady even said to St. Dominic:
"Someday, through the Rosary and the Scapular, I will save the world."
And if that doesn't make one want to wear the Scapular, I don't know what will. ;) The scapular is a small, brown square of cloth that is worn around the neck, as in this picture.
 It has the impressive inscription on it:
"Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire"
which is Our Lady's promise concerning the Scapular. There are three conditions for the worthy wearing of the Scapular:
1. That you recite the Office (or, with permission from a priest, the Rosary) daily.
2. That you wear the Scapular, of course.
3. That you remain chaste in your station in life (whether it be a spouse, a single, or a religious).
There are many miracles associated with the Scapular, but here I'll only list a few.
***
Once, there was a ship, sailing on the ocean. It was caught in a storm, and seemed as though it were going to sink. A Catholic boy who was wearing his Scapular ran out onto the deck, and looked over the side of the quaking ship. Then he took off his Scapular, prayed for Our Lady to save them, and threw his Scapular into the stormy waters. Then, suddenly, the storm began to cease. And, just before it had stopped completely, one final wave leapt aboard the deck of the ship and carried the Scapular right to the young man's feet. A Protestant couple who were on deck watching the proceedings later converted to Catholicism due to their awe with the Scapular's miracle.
 ***
A young Catholic family was at home once, praying the Rosary. There came news that the neighborhood was burning. Soon enough, many houses nearby had caught on fire. There seemed to be no way for the family to escape safely, though. So they hanged a Scapular on their door, and then continued praying the Rosary. And the fire blazed on. It consumed the whole neighborhood. The whole neighborhood, that is, except their house. The fire reached every house around it, but their house alone remained untouched, though the fire had burned everything surrounding it.
The Rosary
The Rosary is one of the oldest devotions that there is, not to mention one of the most well-known. It is possibly the first full devotion to Our Lady (at least, that is still known today, I think). It was gifted to St. Dominic from Our Lady in a vision, to increase love in the hearts of the faithful for Christ's Immaculate Mother, and then was spread more by the apparition to three children at Fatima. Miss Lucy already covered the Rosary, and the Fatima apparitions extremely well, so instead of dwelling on the subject more, I shall merely link again to her post on the Rosary (the link to her blog at the top of this post will lead you to her Fatima posts).
 The Miraculous Medal
This is one devotion I didn't talk about last CE post, but an extremely influential and widespread one. The Miraculous Medal was also given us in an apparition of Our Lady. She appeared to a young nun, St. Catherine Laboure, instructing Catherine to make such a medal as Our Lady described. St. Catherine obeyed the instructions, and spread the medal anonymously for a long time, letting another person take the credit for discovering it. Eventually, though, it was revealed that Catherine was truly the one who received the instructions first. The Medal is devoted to The Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the many miracles Our Lady has caused through it (hence it's called the Miraculous Medal). It's a small silver circle inscribed with Our Lady's picture and a small prayer, hanging on a chain, to be worn around the neck.
***
One of the most Miraculous things about the Miraculous Medal is that it's proof of an age-old doctrine - that of Mary's Immaculate Conception. The words it bears are these:
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
And the amazing part of it is the phrase 'conceived without sin', a.k.a., Immaculate. It's especially amazing, seeing as this Medal was instituted a good deal of time before the Pope proclaimed the Immaculate Conception as an official doctrine.
Summary
I suppose my point in this post was to elaborate on the origins and Miraculous abilities of sacramental and devotions (though I'm afraid I had limited time, and still didn't cover all I had wished to concerning them). I am incredibly sorry to have to cut the post off now, but I unfortunately must due to time problems (you see, I am already posting this a day late, so...). :P
What did you think? Is anybody else noticing how haphazard and rag-tag the post is? Please do pardon it. In apology, I am going to try from now on to do Catholicism Explained posts every Sunday, rather than just every other. Any suggestions to better it? Any questions, concerns, additions? I love seeing comments of any kind for these posts, just so long as they are civil and well-meant.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Sunshine Blogger Award... Again :)

Yes, I know I've done this tag before. But I have taken it up again, from Lucy Agnes, Anna R., and the Miss Hope, so there. And thank you to all three of those lovely ladies for tagging me. ;) And... I'll get right to it without another bit of chatter.
These are the rules for it:
Thank whoever tagged you with a link back to her blog.
Answer the eleven questions given from the person who nominated you.
Tag eleven more bloggers and give them eleven questions.
List the rules and display the award.
So, I'll get right to the lovely questions from Lucy now. :) After that I shall tackle Miss Hope's (Anna's will then be taken after that, phew!).
Favorite old tv show?
Haha, my favorite tv show period is an old tv show. It's the lovely old comedy called I Love Lucy. :) I love that show soooooo much. And if anybody's asking, I am almost always on Ricky's side in their arguments. LOVE LOVE LOVE RICKY. Ricky is my favorite... He's just an amazing Cuban-accented, slightly sarcastic, scheming and clever, handsome show business husband. And that is a recipe for a Belle love if ever I've heard one. ;) The entire show is funny too, not just Ricky. I sometimes find myself oddly identifying with Ethel Murtz, Lucy's best friend (I am often dragged into harebrained schemes by my own nutcase best friend, like Ethel). And as much of a nut as Lucy is, I still love her (after all, it is I Love Lucy!). ;) And Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are so cute together in it. And Desi Jr., aka Little Ricky, is one of the cutest kids ever.
A movie you watched again and again and again as a kid?
Um... There were a lot. However, I'll do a very Belle-ish thing and shock everybody with my most beloved movie as a kid. ;) My favorite movie as a kid was not Scooby Doo, or Barbie, or any cartoon, even though I watched them much as well. It was an old musical movie called Royal Wedding, that starred Fred Astaire (shockers!) and Jane Powell (and if I have not mentioned it before on this blog, I am like the biggest Fred Astaire lover in the world). It's one of Fred Astaire's more obscure movies, which is unusual, since it's actually in color, and has a fairly well-known actress starring with him. It also has the loveable Peter Lawford acting in it for a lovely bit of variety. :) I have been watching it from childhood, even before I knew the beloved name of Fred Astaire, but was only watching him cluelessly. One of my favorite things to watch ever, even from the earliest days, has been the part in Royal Wedding where Fred Astaire dances on the ceiling of his room. I love that scene soo much... :)
Pet peeve as a reader?
When people cut sentences short and clip scenes that you need thought for. I hate having a tiny excuse for a two-sentence paragraph when you should have a whole soliloquy for what's going on in the character's head. But, unfortunately, such is the trademark of modern writing.
Pet peeve in real life?
When someone thoughtlessly and rudely tells you to stop singing. Especially when you were trying to get chores done. I mean, seriously, is it reasonable to ask someone to do chores and not be allowed to sing while doing so?! ;)
Fictional death you cried over?
Oh... so many... Well, there's Robin Hood, King Arthur, Gawain, Prince Rhun from The Prydain Chronicles, Boromir from LotR, Vernon Castle from The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle (which isn't really fictional actually, I suppose), Kit's father in the 2015 Cinderella, Violetta from the opera, La Traviata (The Fallen Woman), Marcellus and Diana from The Robe, etc., etc. A lot of deaths... ;)
The death of Violetta Valery from La Traviata. Only wish I could've found a picture of the version with Frank Lapardo.
A book you wouldn't mind getting zapped into?
Um, let's say Pride And Prejudice. I frankly would love to try my luck with Mr. Bingley (would say Darcy, as I like him better, but I fear it would be a tad more difficult). :P ;)
A book you definitely would mind getting zapped into?
Harry Potter. If anyone even thinks for one second that I'd like to be in the chaotic world of Harry Potter, then that party needs to think again. :)
What font do you generally use when writing stories?
Um, I just use the default font. Unless I'm writing poetry, in which case I use Lucida Handwriting.
Something you dislike simply out of obstinacy?
Well, rather hilariously, I have the same answer as Miss Lucy. Divergent is something I know very little about, but I refuse to like it because it is an extremely popular thing. And also Hunger Games too, even though I do know a bit about that.
Favorite thing about Easter?
I don't know!!! I love the awesome special vestments the priest wears for the Easter Mass. And I love the special choral hymns for Easter. And I love the whole Easter octave! And I love the vigil! I just love Easter! :D
Number one place you would like to visit one day?
Um, I'm gonna have to agree with Lucy, and say Rome, Italy. ;)
Alrighty, now for Miss Hope's questions. :)
What is the craziest dessert you have ever had or wanted? I mean craziest! The whole works!
Um, probably this s'mores-bar thing my crazy dessert-experimenter sister made that was really good. It was marshmallow melted over two stack graham crackers, then covered in chocolate and frozen. It was sooo good... I just wanna fall into a chocolate coma even thinking about it...
Who do you admire, and why?
I very much admire G. K. Chesterton. He was a brilliant, and yet child-like mind in a world that needed his warm-hearted logic. I truly wish I could have met him.
What toppings do you take on your pizza?
Um, call me crazy, but I just like an ordinary cheese pizza, thanks. :)
What is your least favorite movie/book/tv show?
Movie: possibly Brave. Also possibly Frozen. It might be a tie. Actually, I take that back. Even those two abominations pale in comparison to the movie Cats Don't Dance. That was... The most horrible cartoon experience I've ever had. And a mocking of my beloved Fred Astaire with a dumb cartoon ginger tabby. I'm only listing my least fav cartoon movie because usually when I don't like a non-animated movie, it's because there's something distasteful in it rather than merely being not my cup of tea. My least favorite book might have to be Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. That was the most boring, depressing, irrelevant book I've ever read, and I suggest you stay out of a forty mile radius of it. As for a tv show, I might say the new Scooby Doo episodes. What a destruction of an age-old beloved legacy. Plus they kinda adult-ified the series, which was originally supposed to be for kids.
If you could change into any kind of animal, which one would it be and why?
Probably a cat... Because cats are awesome. ;) And that's a very well-thought out reason, just so ya know, haha. :P
What is one thing you can’t live without that is not a piece of technology?
I'm agreeing with Lucy Agnes about soap, but since she said it already... Well, I would find it extremely difficult to go anywhere without an escort. Yes, I said an escort. ;) But my escorts are all gentlemen of the ink-and-paper type. When hiking or going to a park, I take the notebook containing my book, Alomina, so Percy can be my escort. When visiting a friend or relative's house, I take another notebook, for In Greater Hands, and have Vance and Bertie as my escorts. When going on vacation, I use Blakely (from Alagna) as my escort. When in the car, Errius is my ideal escort. And recently, I have a new escort too, but I'm keeping him a secret for now. Basically, I couldn't live without a notebook containing at least one of my precious ink-and-paper people. I cannot live without them! :P
Which famous person or celebrity would you never want to meet?
Um, most celebrities. But Oscar Wilde particularly. He was a scary young man, even if he converted on his death-bed.
You get to spend the afternoon with your favorite human being from history. Who is this person and what do you guys/gals do for the afternoon?
Um, I'm going to keep religious figures out of it, because two people already said Jesus and Mary, and after that, there are far too many saints I would wish to meet. Perhaps Fred Astaire? He always seemed like such an amazingly nice guy, and he would be somebody that wouldn't overwhelm me with their super-historic-awesomeness.
What were your top three favorite childhood tv shows?
1. Scooby Doo.
2. The Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh.
3. Blue's Clues (I actually watched Backyardigans more, I'm embarrassed to say, but I liked Blue's Clues better because Steve = awesome... and funny). ;)


Narnia or Middle earth?
Duh! Middle Earth by 100%. :)
How do you take your coffee or tea?
While I hate tea, I absolutely love coffee. And I take it with a ton of creamer, except in the case that there is no creamer, in which case I take it with half & half and sugar. I like my coffee sweet. :)
Now I can finally get to Anna's questions. Phew! :P
What is your favorite pastime besides writing and reading?
Singing! I am an amateur singer, and am trying to get better. I am a newbie cantor in a church choir, and a previous performer at nursing homes (mostly caroling or Christmas concerts). I also enjoy playing piano.
In LotR, Aragorn or Legolas?
LEGOLAS!!!!! WHO CARES ABOUT ARAGORN WHEN LEGOLAS IS HERE!!! ORLANDO BLOOM!!! YEAH!!!! (btw, I am aware that about the whole world is disagreeing with me on that question and glaring at me for it, lol). ;)
What is your MTBI personality type?
Um, I don't remember what it's called, but it's the same one as Robert Downey Jr. (Grrr!)
Who would you say is the worst villain of all time?
Ever seen the old Skydancers show? It's from the 80's, but I loved watching it back when it was Netflix. However, it has the #1 absolutely least respectable villain in any show of ever in it. And he looks like a fat, striped strawberry. However, since probably nobody here has seen the show, I will say Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. Haha, and yes, I do consider him the villain in that. For goodness sakes, it's Cap's movie, and he wasn't doing anything wrong! Whereas Iron Man made a lot of mistakes that had bad results, and was (thoughtlessly) antagonizing both Cap and Bucky, which makes him the antagonist in the movie.
If you could go into one book and live the entire story for yourself (either as main character, sub character, or bystander), which would you choose?
Um, I would live as Ani (the MC) from The Goose Girl. She gets to do a lot of cool things... except, she also gets stabbed. Twice. And kidnapped a few times. And almost bitten. And almost stuck into a barrel full of nails pulled by wild horses. But, all the same, her reward at the end would be all worth it. Spoilers... ;)
What is one of your favorite quotes?
"A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him"
- G. K. Chesterton-
As  military kid, this quote is especially meaningful to me, because it's another reminder of the reasons when, say, my dad gets deployed, or we have to move to another military base.
Would you rather have a griffin, a dragon, a wolf, or an owl for a pet? Why?
Um, providing it were tame, a wolf. Wolves are really cool, and then I would feel like Snake Eyes, with his wolf, Timber (there's a nerdy old G. I. Joe show reference to any dorks out there who love 80's cartoons).
What are your top three most favorite fandoms in the whole world?
1. Il Divo (a.k.a., the biggest obsession Belle has ever had in her life).
2. Opera.
3. Broadway.
I'll say two more, though, because I kinda cheated with Il Divo, because they're kinda Broadway and Opera in one.
4. Old b&w movies.
5. LotR.
The splendiferous Il Divo.
When you first get a story idea in your head, does it start with the characters, the plot, or the theme?
The characters. You always start with the characters. I found out the hard way. When you start out with the theme, then the characters end up - however colorful - all blending into the same mold; whatever one fits the theme. When you start out with the plot, the characters end up bland and stereotypical (especially in action-filled or fantasy stories). And the characters are the most important part of the story. Without them, there wouldn't be a story. And even the blandest plot can be interesting if the characters are good enough. Even the best plot cannot make up for unlovable, unrelatable characters. You start with characters, then plot, and theme comes as the story goes on. At least in my own process. :)
What is your decorating style? (floral, antique, modern, beachy, rustic, etc.)
Antique. Incredibly antique. Like Romantic period. Well, that's how it is ideally, but I find I have a mix of just about everything in my room. Elvis calendar, pink walls, Tangled bedspread, 1949 model poster, a pirate drawing by me, two Batman wall-art things, an antique mirror, a half-finished painting of a butterfly (by my mother), etc., etc. I have a very eclectic room, but ideally my taste is very old and classical (I want to get an Il Divo poster, though, so maybe it's not all old even in my head). ;)
If you were one of the four elements, which would you be? And why?
Haha, I actually took a quiz for which one I was, and I was water. Probably because I am fairly easy-going, but still somewhat reclusive. I'm not sure how the quiz determined it, though. :P
Phew! I answered all the questions! :D That took a while. Now, to tag my successors in this tag:
Blue
Anna D.
Kayla Marie
Anyone else in need of a lovely little tag to brighten their day. :)
And here are their questions to answer:
1. Of awesome friends in fiction, do you prefer Legolas and Gimli, Holmes and Watson, or Robin Hood and Little John?
2. Of awesome romances in fiction, do you prefer Eowyn and Faramir, Taran and Eilonwy (of The Prydain Chronicles), or Marguerite and Percy Blakeny (of The Scarlet Pimpernel)?
3. Of awesome solo characters in fiction, do you prefer Bilbo Baggins, Hercule Poirot (of Agatha Christie's mysteries by the same name), or Long John Silver (of Treasure Island)?
4. What country would you never want to visit in any time period?
5. What country would you definitely want to visit in any time period?
6. In fiction, do you prefer romance, friendship, or family bonds as a theme?
7. Your standard tv shows to watch are most similar to Doctor Who, Poirot Mysteries, or I Love Lucy?
8. Your standard book to read is most similar to War Of The Worlds, Harry Potter, or Pride And Prejudice?
9. Do you take coffee over chocolate, or vice-versa?
10. What was the dumbest, but most fun thing you've ever done?
11. Are you a daytime person, or are you more nocturnal?
That's all for now, but I'll come back soon with more tags. :)
What did you think? Did you agree with my answers? Do you like the questions I assigned? By the by, did I mention that I just won Camp NaNoWriMo (and that I will be posting some of it soon)? :D I am also back, and will start getting to the loads of overdue posts that have piled up through April. :P Did you do Camp NaNo? Were you crazy, and still blogging during it? Do have a chat with me! :D