Friday Link Love

I’ve had a long and slightly rough week, so this week is going to be five YouTube videos that I love without much commentary. These are the videos that I watch when I’m stressed and I need to relax.

(I think it’s obvious why I love this song.)

I wish I was a Weasley.

Favorite band sings a beloved hymn

(No comment)

One of my favorite songs

Why do we fall?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about failure. Professional failure, personal failure, academic failure…it’s been on my mind. In my professional life, I’ve been watching my students learn, and I’ve been watching how they handle failure. Some of them are afraid of failure. In fact, one kid told me point blank that he cannot fail.

Here’s the thing. I completely disagree with that concept. I think he can fail, and I think that we all NEED to fail. I think that failure is absolutely vital for growth. We have to fail so that we can learn how to bounce back from failure. As Alfred told Bruce Wayne, we have to fall so that we can learn to pick ourselves back up.

Failure provides room for growth. Some of the best things in my life have come as a direct result of my failures. I never would have become an English teacher if I hadn’t failed the OPI. I never would have started pursuing my master’s in TESOL if I hadn’t lost my first job. In the moment, I perceived each of those events as a failure. Those moments hurt. Some of those moments really, really sucked. But then, I had to pick myself up from each of those failures and move forward. I had to reassess my life and move forward.

And I’ve grown from those moments. I’ve discovered how much passion I can have for TESOL. I’ve rediscovered my love of teaching through that experiences. Through both of those moments, I learned how much I love teaching people about things that I am deeply passionate about. My failures have made me stronger. My failures have taught me more about myself.

Yes, these moments have been difficult. Yes, I’ve been hurt. Yes, I’ve had dark nights and struggles. I’ve cried. I’ve yelled at God. I still have difficult moments. I still struggle to understand why I have faced certain difficulties in my life. But I know that God has a plan for me. I know that there are things that he wants for me. I know that he is working in and through those circumstances to make me holy. That doesn’t automatically zap the hurt of failure, but it does give me a glimmer of hope. God wouldn’t have allowed me to encounter those moments if he didn’t intend to do great things with those moments.

And in some ways, I’m grateful for the failures. I’m a stronger person because of them. I’m a better person because of them. I don’t like the failures, but in falling, I’ve learned to pick myself back up again. The falls, the failures-these have helped me to grow. They’ve made me stronger. I wouldn’t be who I am without those falls. Falling made Bruce Wayne into Batman. It makes me a stronger version of myself.

So why do we fall? We fall to rise. We fall so that we can rise to greatness.

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love Jane Austen. Most people who know me are well aware that Pride and Prejudice is my second or third favorite Austen novel-depending on my mood and my attitude towards Captain Wentworth that day. It is also a truth nearly universally acknowledged that I do love a good parody. I dearly love to laugh, after all.

From BBC America

Therefore, it was with great delight that I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back in 2009. I took flack from some friends for enjoying a “rip-off” of Austen, but I didn’t mind. I liked the book. I thought that it continued the original novel’s themes well. I felt that zombification could be used as an analogy for the marriage market that Austen is so carefully criticizing in her original work. I immediately began hoping for a movie adaptation, but that was a bit slow in coming. It appears that many people were interested in such a project, but it took a while to get all of the ducks in order. And then, about about six months ago, it became apparent that all of the ducks were finally in order.

The movie came out yesterday, and naturally, I had to see it on opening night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t know when the last time a movie (that wasn’t made by Mel Brooks) made me laugh so hard. It was a bit violent, but overall, it was enjoyable. The acting was good. I really enjoyed Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet; I thought she brought the right level of independence and sweetness to the role. I felt that Sam Riley was delightfully gruff. Charles Dance was a pleasant surprise as a Mr. Bennet who would far rather see his daughter alive and in full possession of their mental capacities than happily married to men who would see them leave their zombie-fighting days behind them. Lena Headey was a divine Lady Catherine de Bourgh who reminded me of Madame Kovarian from Doctor Who, and I liked that about her.

pride-prejudice-zombies-characters-1However, my one gripe with the film is that while it contained the spirit of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, it was not terribly faithful to the novel. It was a true representation of the spirit of the novel, but it left many events out of the film. Now, I understand that this had to be done for the sake of time, but I’d really been looking forward to watching Lily James fight ninjas. Yes, it gave me a strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet. Yes, it gave me many moments of strong, independent women taking care of themselves. I had many pleasant moments of saying internally, “Yes! Sisters be doin’ it for themselves!” But there were no ninjas.

Admittedly, the loss of the ninjas was not the only change. The role of Wickham was changed, but I didn’t mind that too terribly. I felt the changes functioned well in the context of the film. A few things about Charlotte’s relationship with Mr. “Eleventh Doctor” Collins were changed, but that helped with the time management of the piece. Also, Matt Smith did an excellent job of playing an absurd Mr. Collins. But it would have been nice to see a showdown between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine’s ninjas.

Overall, it was enjoyable. I laughed a good deal, and that was definitely worth it. I would recommend it to people who like both Jane Austen and Monty Python. If you don’t like both of those things, you probably won’t like it. The script isn’t the greatest thing ever written, but that’s okay. I wasn’t expecting it to be brilliantly written. I have my Colin Firth-Jennifer Ehle P&P for that.

My official rating of it is a B. I would have given it an A if there had been ninjas, but no ninjas, no A.

Friday Link Love

I’m back. And here are the links that I love this week.

Muslim Clerics Make a Historic Declaration: This is just beautiful. I love these moments when people can look past labels or boundaries and respect their fellow humans just because they’re human.

How China’s One-Child Policy Led to 30 Million Bachelors: I’ve been predicting this for years.

17 Things Anyone who is Obsessed with Tea Will Understand: This is my life. Also, I need to go make another cuppa.

Meet the Cardinal who “Recharges for Battle” by Fasting from Food and Water: This guy is impressive, and as the author of this article says, I am far from being opposed to the idea of seeing this man as Pope some day, God willing.

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill are going to meet: THEY’RE GOING TO MEEEET!!!!!!!! Father, make us one!

Friday Link Love

Happy Meatfare Friday! I’m back with five more links that I love.

Why I Love St. Francis de Sales: A great reflection of the influence and power of one of my favorite Saints

The Health Benefits of Knitting: I’m doing something that helps me with more than just improving my wardrobe and my fine motor skills!

Love in the Time of Zika: Why being pro-life means caring about the environment

To the Woman Who Won’t Date a Man Who Makes Less than Six Figures: What really matters in serious relationships? Personally, I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

Celebrity Deaths: A Christian perspective on why we mourn the passing of celebrities whom we’ve never met

Friday Link Love

Here are five more links that I love.

I Can’t: Jenny Lawson’s response to Alan Rickman’s passing. Farewell, dear friend.

A Small Moment Captures the Big Picture: A look at a beautiful moment from Pope Francis’s recent visit to Rome’s Great Synagogue

A Common Date for Easter/Pascha?: Oh, let it be! Please!

Mayim Bialik Got “Modesty Shamed”: An interesting discussion about modesty

Empathy, Photography, and Perception: Thoughts about the public display of images of the corpses of aborted babies by those opposed to abortion; on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this is a timely reminder that we are called to love both our friends and our enemies. Also, it once again raises the question of whether or not the use of these images is effective. (I don’t believe that it is.) We need to respect all humans. The gratuitous use of these images of these poor, sweet, dead children of God is not acceptable.

Also, on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I’d like to leave you with three thoughts/quotations from minds that are far wiser than me.

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.”
-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

“Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.”

– Blessed Paul VI Humanae Vitae

Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

-Jeremiah 31:15

Father God, forgive us our sins and grant eternal memory and blessed repose to the soul of each and every child who has lost his or her life to abortion. Give them a place where the just repose, a place where there is no pain, sorrow, or mourning. And Father, give hope and peace to the hearts and minds of each person who has been in any way impacted by this sin or any other abuse of human life. Help them to know Your love and kindness for You alone love us all.

Dear Barnes and Noble…

Dear Barnes and Noble,

We need to talk. Something has been bothering me for a while, and I feel like it’s time for us to discuss our differences. I’m becoming increasingly disinterested in shopping in your stores, and I’d like to try to explain myself. I want you to understand why a bibliophile hates your store.

I love books. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I adore books, and I love to read. I love nothing better than curling up with a good mug of tea and a wonderful book. You do sell books; I’ll admit that. And you do sell some good books too. I visited one of your locations this past weekend, and I noticed some lovely books on your shelves.

But there are some things about your stores that bother me. First of all, I do not like that i have to go upstairs to find the proper literature. I have nothing against maps or journals or cafes or movies or music. (I might have a problem with candles and such however…) However, it bothers me that I have to go upstairs to find the real books…you know, the fiction books and the nonfiction books. I want to buy the books about history and religion and sci-fi and poetry. I like those books. Those are the books that I want to buy.

If I wanted to buy a puzzle, I’d go to a toy store. Actually, that’s true of many of your products. If I wanted to buy toys or games, I’d go to a toy store or a place like Target. I go to a bookstore to buy books. When I walked into your store this past weekend, I was looking for Fury by Salman Rushdie, but you didn’t have it. I wanted to buy all three books of C.S. Lewis’s Space Triology, but you only had Perelandra, which is the second book. The second book is useless without the first and the third books. I wanted to buy books, but you didn’t have them. However, you did have PLENTY of Star Wars paraphernalia. It seems to me that you care more the people who want to buy a Darth Vader cookie jar than people like me who want to buy a Sue Monk Kidd book in paperback. (I prefer paperbacks to hardcovers because they’re easier to throw in my purse.)

I’m getting sick of finding toys and games and things that aren’t worthy of a bookstore. Bookstores are happy places. They are supposed to protect our souls. Cookie jars do not protect our souls no matter how delightfully nerdy they may be.

We are what we read. If we can’t access good books, then how are we supposed to become good people? I like puzzles and board games; don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want those things in the sacred temples of the bibliophiles. I want my sacred temples to be safe havens, places where I can escape a consumeristic society and just focus on becoming a more perfect version of myself. I want to find my sacred temples as warm, welcoming places, place that are quirky. They should be places where children can discover new worlds and adults can escape into old familiar havens or new adventures.

That is not how Barnes and Noble makes me feel. It feels like a store, not a shop. It is not a temple or a haven; it is just a place where people go to buy stuff. It feels frenzied. It feels busy. It feels money-oriented. It doesn’t feel like a place where I could curl up with a book and rediscover my childhood or conquer an unknown world.

Oh, Barnes and Noble, these days, I only visit you with a gift card in hand, and I suspect that trend will endure in my life. You are not a shelter or a haven or a temple for me. You are a gateway to a sacred world, but you are a gateway that is cluttered with many distractions from the sacred world. A bookstore should not distract us from the books in any way. Instead, the sacred temples should do nothing but point us to the holy objects-the books.

It is for this reason that I will give my custom to the small, locally-owned stores. They may also have to order the Space Trilogy for me, but they are focused on the sacred objects. They know what matters in the world of literature.


One who worships at the altar of literature

Dear Readers,

Please patronize the locally owned book stores, the proper bookshops. They are owned or perhaps more rightly curated by those who also worship at the altar of literature with us. They understand the world of literature, and they will support us in our quest for the best literature that life has to offer us.