A Blogday Celebration

Welcome to my blogday celebration!

gandalffirework

Well, oh-most-awesome-readers, the day has come! I’m so excited for it. While no birthday party can match that of Bilbo and Frodo, I hope to capture some of its excitement and cheer here. *admires the fireworks*  *tosses confetti* *hands out cake* Let’s celebrate!

{ fun facts}

In honor of A Glimpse of Starlight’s second birthday, I thought I’d share some fun facts about it:

  • It’s at 296 followers (email-only included)! Two hundred and ninety-six people with their own stories have taken some precious time to click the “follow” button and share a little bit of life with me. Thank you, every single one of you.
  • My first post on September 21st (the day before Hobbit day, I’ll have you know) was a short story, Worldchanger. It’s still one of my favorites.
  • This is my 248th post, which means I post roughly ten times a month. Yikes. I think, however, that the data is skewed from March 2015 when I posted a NaPoWriMo poem almost daily. I can’t believe you guys withstood that deluge. xD
  • I haven’t gotten any horribly strange search terms, but here are a few odd ones: “isabella morganthal” (not sure who/what she is or when she ever appeared on my blog, but hey); “roger burton beach scene” (this sounds like a painting?); “i’m obsessed with the word miscellaneous” (*cackles* yay for miscellany); “what does ponderful mean” (I love that my blog showed up for this)
  • It’s gotten 12,184 views. I honestly have no idea if this impressive or not (probably not but hey), but I feel like it’s an important piece of data so there.

{Qs and As}

So I was utterly blown away with all the questions I received. Seriously, guys, I was not expecting such a torrent, but I love it. I had bunches of fun answering them. Because I didn’t want this post to become too massive (which, heh, looks like happened anyway), I wasn’t able to answer every single question. I just picked my five-ish favorites from each person (if they gave me more than that). Thank you to everyone for these wonderful Fragen (German word for the day). Let’s hit it!

Abi:

If you could smell one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That autumn scent—the sweet, slightly tangy, fresh, clear scent of crushed leaves and crisp wind. That’s probably my favorite smell in the whole world, and I don’t think it would get old like other scents might.

~
If you could meet a single person of historical significance (dead or alive), who would you choose?

Ahhh. The first person who comes to mind is William Wilberforce, because not only is he my hero and I’d like to ask him about how he did everything he did and tips he has for people who want to emulate him, but he sounds like a genuinely fun, witty, delightful person to hang out with.

~
What is one of your writing quirks?

I never know how to answer this question, but something kind of quirky about me is that I’m a huge morning person—I work so much better and faster in the morning. However, I do my best writing at night. I write way faster then, too. ‘Tis a strange phenomenon.

~
If you had to choose between saving your stash of handwritten manuscripts or your cat (*insert some other pet you might be more attached to*) from a house fire, which would you choose and why?

This sounds kind of bad, but I’m really not a pet/animal person. However, if I were, I’d save the pet because it’s a life. I’m not going to lie and say, “I could always write the story again,” because I know from experience that that’s not as easy as it sounds. But it would still be easier to rewrite a story than, you know, resurrect an animal.

~
What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do before an audience?

Play the piano. I kid you not. I love acting, and I even enjoy public speaking. But playing the piano? Nope. I’m just not naturally gifted at it, so I feel less confident at it, and my first piano recital ever, when I was seven-ish, was a humiliating disaster. *shudders at the thought*

Sarah:

If you could, would you?

Without a doubt. Unless it was eating artichokes.

~
Pie or cake? Whichever you chose, what’s your favorite kind?

My only answer is to this tortuous question can be: Chocolate cake. Red velvet cake. Apple pie. Lemon merangue pie.

(Have you noticed that I can’t pick favorites of anything? It’s ridiculous.)

~
What’s one thing you like about living in Germany?

I love lots of things about Germany, but one special thing that I’ve really been enjoying is how there are gardens and plants everywhere. Even in cities, every house has a garden, and they can fit so many plants and beauty into such small spaces. Stores and office buildings have pots of flowers outside or window boxes. It lifts my spirit to look around and see so much natural beauty.

Would you rather live in Rome during Nero’s reign or Paris during the French Revolution?

I really love this question, for some reason. It’s my nerdiness coming out. In terms of being able to survive, I’d pick the French Revolution because I feel like I could, I don’t know how to put it, play the game and make it through. I could figure out which way the tide was turning and just go with that. But part of me things it would be so cool to be a Christian during Nero’s reign—like, to see the unity between the Christians and the courage they showed in the face of such danger and to really have to stand up for what I believed in. I guess I’d like to see if I could stay strong. So I’m actually going to go with Rome.

If you were given a chance to live in the world of the Goldstone Wood series, or the world of any other fantasy book/series that you love, would you take that opportunity? Or would you remain on Earth?

Ahhh, those places all would be amazing to visit—but that’s it. Visit. I’d want to stay here because, well, that’s where I’ve been put. This is where my destiny lies, to sound all dramatic. This is where I can best make a difference, it’s a place I want to change for the better. This Earth isn’t my home, but it’s where my path lies, and I don’t want to leave that path (permanently. I’d love to visit those other places. =D).

~
Do you know how awesome you are? *hugs*

Awww. Thank you so much. I hope you know how awesome you are. *hugs back*

Elle:

What song(s) would make up the soundtrack of your life?

“You Will Find Your Way” // Andrew Peterson

“Nothing is Wasted” // Jason Gray

“Reaching” // Carolyn Arends

“Sound of Silence” // Celtic Thunder version

“O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” // Selah version

“Penholder” // Flyleaf

“Hold Me Now” // RED

 

What would your lightsaber’s color be?

If we’re going by what the colors traditionally symbolized, I’d be green, used by Jedi who fight more mentally/spiritually. But in terms of just color, I’d prefer purple or blue. Let’s go with purple.

~
Which spren would you attract the most of?

Oooh. Probably creationspren or anticipationspren.

~
What color do you speak in?

Purple, with a tinge of hot pink or spicy red or brown depending on my mood (hot pink for when my inner extrovert comes out, spicy red for when I say things I’ll regret later, and brown for when I’m in the dumps). But ideally and usually just purple.

Do you have a favorite number?

I have two (surprise, surprise). In my mind, nine is purple and two is blue, which are my favorites colors, so they’re my favorite numbers. They’re also the numbers of my favorite sports players (9, Drew Brees; 2, Derek Jeter). I also really like three because the pattern of three is everywhere, from nature to music to theology.

Sarah II

What are your favorite pens/pencils/journals?

This question makes me happy. =D I just got these new colored pens, and they’re perfect—they write smoothly but don’t run. I also have this really nice purple mechanical pencil (it’s actually Really Nice Purple Mechanical Pencil II, because I lost the first one, to my deep dismay). As for journals, I found this gorgeous Moleskin notebook at Barnes and Noble (I am so in love with that store) with a scene from The Hobbit embossed—in color!—on it, and then Tolkien’s illustrations from The Hobbit (plus quotes) inside. That’s where I write down any random story ideas, scene snippets, lines of poetry, etc. I call it my Conlatio Notionem, which is Latin for gathering of ideas.

dsc_0064

What kitchen untensil are you most like? 

I asked my mom about this one, and she said a spatula because they’re helpful, thorough, and come in pretty colors. =D

~
What’s your goal this year for your blog?

That’s actually something I’ve been thinking about recently. I’d like to branch out and be brave and try some things like hosting a link-up (I actually have an idea for one that I’m really excited about; I’m still working on the details, but hopefully in the next few months I can try it out). If I had to put it in a sentence, my goal for this year is to deepen the community here, continue to write the very best I can, and venture into some new territory.

~
What’s some lessons that God’s been teaching you?

That it’s more important how He views me and not how I view Him—but also that I often think of Him the wrong way. He’s far bigger than I let Him be and far more loving than I let myself believe. That it’s not about what I need to do but what He’s already done. That the Christian life is not a checklist, it’s a relationship. That He’s the only one who can condemn me, and instead, He has declared me innocent.

~
What do you do when you’re stressed?

Go off by myself and either read and listen to music or pray and think. Writing helps, too—I often journal more when I’m stressed, and I tend to write more poetry when I’m stressed too. And I cry too, if I’m stressed enough.

Shoulda Broughta Book:

How do you find inspiration for your posts?

Oh, goodness. I’m always pondering something, and I always have a lot of thoughts about things I’m learning or books I’m reading, so sometimes it’s pretty easy: I just have to take an inventory of what I’ve been thinking about recently and go with that. I also just try to be aware of the world around me and what that triggers inside me. Like, if I notice how the sun makes a pretty pattern on my quilt, what does that make me think of? Maybe the little gifts of God or the beauty of everyday life, which ends up getting turned into a post.

~
Assuming you enjoy writing, do you have any goals or dreams for your talent?

I do enjoy writing, quite. =D Well, I plan to study some kind of writing in college—technical writing/communications. While I love creative writing, I don’t feel that I could make a good living off of it. xP I’ll always continue it on the side, but for a career, I want to write some kind of non-fiction. I’m still trying to figure the exact details of that (someone remind me that I don’t have to have my whole life figured out yet). ANYWAY. Short answer: I want to write for my career, and more importantly, I want it to help people somehow.

Why is reading important to you?

Reading is important to me because it both refreshes me and challenges me. It lets me explore worlds I’d never otherwise be able to, and it teaches me about my own world. It’s a way of connecting with others—both the author and my fellow readers of that particular book. It puts me in the shoes of others and teaches me empathy. It feeds my imagination and nourishes my soul, while also inspiring me and strengthening my brain. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally—it’s one of the most important things I can ever do.

Is there a novel you wish more people would read?

All the ideas I’m getting are books that I feel like lots of people do read. Let’s go with The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge because of the characters and everything they learn or Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgumery because it’s a lovely story with many inspiring themes. Go read both of those, guys.

Lydia:

What fictional character are you most like?

Oooh. The first one that comes to mind is Janner Igiby of The Wingfeather Saga, because I can just really relate to his struggles and personality, even his place in his family—and of course his love of words. Leta in Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Dragonwitch also reminds me of myself, with her struggle between wanting to stand out/ pursue her own dreams and wanting not to draw attention/cause tension.

~
If you had to listen to one song on repeat for a whole day, what song would you choose?

Probably Andrew Peterson’s “Romans 11 (Doxology)” because those words of praise set to that peaceful yet inspiring music would be such an uplifting background for my day.

~
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

When my friend and I were traveling to South Africa, we had a six-hour layover in D.C., so we decided to take the metro to see the monuments. Unfortunately, the bus ride to the metro station and the metro ride itself took so long that we only had time to dash (with our gigantic backpacks) to the Washington Memorial, take an awful selfie with it (and lovely construction stuff) in the background, and fly back to the metro. I was so proud that we figured out how to navigate the metro by our little selves—and that we made it to our flight in time. xP

~
What’s something on your bucket list?

*grins* I’m going to pick a few:

  • visit all 50 states (I’m over halfway there, I think)
  • see the northern lights
  • learn sign language
  • have some writing of mine published

If you could broadcast one sentence to the entire world, what would it be?

Whoa, what a question. Either Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” or something like, “You were meant to live for so much more” (credits to Switchfoot), because sometimes I wish I could just wake people up and show them how fragile and fading the things they hope in are, and how there’s truth out there and real salvation and an incredible purpose for their lives.

Lakunsterlin

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in your travels to Germany so far?

*flails* I guess the Alps. We vacationed in an Alpine village last time we lived here, and just being able to look around me on any side and be surrounded by these massive mountains was incredible. Walking in the mountains was even cooler (literally and in its popular usage), and the town was so quaint, with gorgeous windowboxes on every house.

Would you say that so far Germans have proved to be “unfriendlier” than Americans, “friendlier,” or just “other”/”different”? (this question has come up several times in my experiences, but I don’t know if I’m objective, so I would love to know what your experiences have been so far)

So, you’re walking down the street in Germany, and you pass a strange. I the American smiles at them and says, “Hallo.” And they either ignore me or frown at me like I’ve committed some crime. That’s the type of thing that makes me feel like saying they are kind of unfriendly. But I’ve met many nice, helpful Germans, who, once you start talking to them, are just as “friendly” as Americans. So when I think about it, it’s really not unfriendliness. It’s just, like you said, otherness, a different culture. They might not wave at strangers on the path like Americans would, but if there’s a reason for you to be talking to them, they are very kind and open. It’s just different cultural norms/social customs that make them seem unfriendly. Once you can look past those, they’re no less friendly than Americans.

 What would you say is the best way to keep yourself focused while reading? How do you not drift off into your own imagination whilst trying to enter an author’s own imaginary world? 

Hmmm. I’m often so engrossed in the book that my own imagination doesn’t interrupt me that much. However, when it does, I sometimes just accept it. Like, clearly my brain needs to imagine and consider all these things, so let’s roll with it. Reading becomes a vehicle for my thoughts to soar. Sometimes I welcome that. Other times, when I really want (or need) to read, I do a lot of underlining/writing notes in the margins. Interacting with the book on the physical level helps me ignore my rowdy brain, and because I’m on the lookout for good quotes or places to converse with the author, my mind stays more focused on it. If I’m getting story ideas from the book, I write them down in my Contatio Notionem. I find that after I’ve done that, my imagination rests because it knows I’ve catalogued whatever it so desperately wants me to know.

Victoria

Would you rather live in Rohan or in Gondor?

By the Valar themselves, what a question. I love hills. Rohan in the movies stirs my heart. But Gondor has mountains and ocean, which I love even more. So, Gondor. With a vacation cottage in Rohan.

~
The doorbell rings. You answer it. Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey are standing on the doorstep. Each one wants you to come help them with cases they’re on. With whom do you go?

*squeaks* Help? But no, I know which one. Lord Peter Wimsey.

~
Favorite ice cream toppings?

Chocolate fudge. Whipped cream. NO CHERRIES EWWW.

~
Waffles or pancakes? (Or more importantly, TONS ON MAPLE SYRUP OR NO?)

PANCAKES. And ABSOLUTELY NO MAPLE SYRUP. That stuff makes me sick. And also, only my dad’s pancakes. They’ve ruined me for any others.

~
You’re walking down a street, and a girl with a knife runs out of a house in front of you and looks wildly around. Your first impression is most likely a) AHHH SERIAL KILLER RUN FOR MY LIFE b) is an horror movie being filmed here? c) oooh how can I write a story about this? d) I was too busy daydreaming to notice anything.

B & C, with a combo of both, like “Whoa, is one of my favorite books coming to life?”

{party favor}

You asked for a short story, so here you go! I wrote it for a contest, so the first paragraph is the prompt. 

sunsetoceanpainting

Oliver stared at the ground as he walked swiftly through the hallways toward the office. He was aware of the whispers and snickers directed at him. The students’ stares bored into him like tiny needles. He felt his face flush. Did they know his secret?

All the lies he’d worked so hard to build around the truth were about to come crashing down. His hand trembled as he grasped the doorknob, the plaque above, engraved with “Office of Ms. Arnolds, Vice Principal,” glaring down at him.

~

Lynette Arnolds stared wearily out the window at the tall prairie grasses undulating in a dance that reminded her of ocean waves—oh, dear! She shouldn’t think things like that!

Shaking her head, she rose and paced across the room. Just the other day, she had been secure in her job, confident that she and this whole institution were involved in a noble task. Now?

Now, Oliver Olsen had ruined everything. She’d found his painting that morning, cleverly hidden behind a shelf of books in the mustiest corner of the library. She should punish him, she knew—in fact, she should not even be seeing him at all. Mr. Heisman should, as head principal. Everyone knew how he would handle the situation.

But that was precisely why she was meeting the boy first. Because, bother it all, his painting was beautiful.

~

“You know why I have called you,” Ms. Arnolds said to Oliver, safe behind her desk.

He shifted, unwilling to sit down. “Yeah.” He opened his mouth to say more and then shut it.

Ms. Arnolds raised an eyebrow at him.

“Well,” he said. “I just—it’s just that, why not send me to Mr. Heisman? Isn’t this offense worthy enough for his attention?” The sarcasm in his voice pooled in the air.

She shifted her eyes away. “Nothing artistic—literature, music, movies, none of it—is allowed here. Why?”

He answered by rote. “The arts entangle our feelings and distract us from reality.  Only  math and science provide us with the practical tools necessary for—”

“But do you know why,” she interrupted. “The real reason.” Her eyes bored into his.

He shrugged, uncomfortable from her strange mood. “I could guess. For some personal reason, Mr. Heisman doesn’t like art.”

She nodded. “I knew him before all this,” she told him, softly. Then she began speaking quickly, nervously, her hands fiddling with papers on the desk. “He and his wife—she was everything to him—lived by the ocean near the art school where he taught. One awful day, she got caught up in a rip tide. She was never seen again. He moved here, started this school.”

The art school where he taught? Oliver shook his head. “I don’t know what to …” He tried again. “Did his wife like art?”

“Yes. They met because of their love of art and the sea. She’d sing to him, he’d write poems to her. I remember stopping by their house one evening to find them painting on the beach together.” Ms. Arnolds stopped suddenly and glanced at her watch. “Listen, I can keep our meeting and your transgression from him until tonight.”

He frowned.“What do you mean?” What did this all mean?

In answer, she asked, “Have you ever seen him cry?”

“Never.”

He was about to snort at the idea of Mr. Heisman crying when he noticed the expression on Ms. Arnold’s face. She was frozen there, behind her desk. Her eyes bored into his, begging, and he had no idea what she wanted.

“Ms. Arnolds…?” He faltered as she suddenly came around from behind her desk to grip his hands.

“He needs to cry. It’s the only way to save him. He’s never grieved for her. He just bottled up all his feelings, stuffed them in a cave along with anything that reminded him of her. Please, you must make him cry.”

“What—how?

“Beauty,” Ms. Arnolds told him. The pressure of her hands hurt. “Reveal your truth. Save him.

~

After lunch, Oliver entered a small study room. All sound and motion stopped. Sweat coated his palms, and he contemplated turning tail and running. But Ms. Arnolds’ words echoed in his mind, and all he could think of was Mr. Heisman’s stone cold face, never smiling, never crying.

Jeff, the math geek, glanced up from his calculator and asked casually, “So, Jacobs. What did you see Ms. Arnolds for?”

Oliver swallowed, stepped forward. His walls were about to collapse completely. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears, his heartbeat and Ms. Arnold’s save him.

“She found a painting of mine.”

“You … paint.” Jeff’s eyes had grown huge.

Oliver lifted his chin, feeling strangely free.“Yes.”

The word reverberated through the room.

Then Jeff shrugged. “Hey, I read fairy tales. Got a whole book of ‘em under my bed.”

Oliver stared at him, bewildered. Trying to speak and finding that he couldn’t, he glanced around the room at the sea of wide eyes. Then, above his pounding heart, he heard them: other confessions tumbling out. It was as if his and Jeff’s confessions were daggers hurled into the glass barriers between them all.

“I’ve written poetry.”

“When I’m alone, I dance.”

“I found a way to listen to music. Guys, it’s amazing.”

This last revelation captured the attention of the others, who clamored to learn the secret. As they did so, Mary, a quiet chemistry whiz, turned to Oliver.

“I love colors,” she said, and he knew what to do.

~

Mr. Heisman’s hands were clasped behind his back as he surveyed Mary, Oliver, and Ms. Arnolds entering his office. Behind him, the fading sun slithered through always-closed blinds. Oliver tightened his grip on the shrouded package he carried, and by his side, Mary shivered beneath the principal’s steely stare.

“What brings you all here?” Mr. Heisman’s voice was a blank page.

Stepping forward, Oliver said, “We wanted to show you this.”

Mary and Ms. Arnolds took the each side of the package so he could remove the covering.

Mr. Heisman folded his arms rigidly. “I really don’t have time for any frivolity. Is this at all useful?”

Oliver lifted the cloth. A last ray of sunlight fell through a slot in the blinds and bathed the painting in a golden glow.

Beneath a rosy, fiery sky, waves danced in a thousand swirling hues of blue and green and gold. Mary had chosen the colors perfectly, Oliver thought, grateful. One wave in the foreground was tossed into a light spray, silver specks glittering across the canvas. In the center at the horizon the sinking orb of the sun blazed a brilliant benediction on the day.

Oliver felt himself gasp at his own work. How could someone want a life without this beauty? Then he glanced at Mr. Heisman. For one horrifying moment, the man’s face stood cold and chiseled like an icicle. Oliver felt bare, naked, with this child of his soul—this vehemently forbidden child—exposed before strangers’ eyes. If this doesn’t work, if this was all for nothing …

Then, through the door, came a sound Oliver hadn’t heard in years. One of the students, freed from their fear by his example, was singing.

My love has gone across the sea …

A strange tightness filled Oliver’s chest, and Mary’s hands holding the painting trembled. Then Mr. Heisman’s face crumpled, and he turned from them and wept.


And there we are! Thank you guys for being such fun, faithful followers (alliteration, yayyy). You’re the best. Enjoy the refreshments, and let’s chat!

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11 thoughts on “A Blogday Celebration

  1. That story is stunning. And it’s so funny because it has a much different feel than what I’m normally used to from you, and I love that for some reason.
    ALSO ALPS. AHHHH I’M SO JEALOUS. I WOULD LOVE TO GO TO THE ALPS.
    And it would be a reallllly long comment if I remarked on everything, but I do want to day that I love and appreciate and just love every single one of your answers. You’re such a wonderful soul. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy blogday, dear! I am so grateful for the beauty and joy and love of Christ that you’ve spread through this blog. The questions and answers were so much fun to read. And the short story. Gahhhh. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your answers to all the questions! I am impressed by your resolution with the living-in-other-worlds one. I’d have a lot of trouble with that. And on the girl-with-a-knife one- which book would you think would be coming to life?
    And your story is wonderful and gorgeous and I love the Wingfeather reference. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, Aberdeen!!! I love your blog so much and I really enjoy your writing. And that story was beautiful, the ending in particular. ❤ Thanks so much for all the beautiful things you create!

    Oooh, and I know Isabella Morganthal! She's a friend of mine from Bible Bee, and she's a self-published author. And her name showed up as a search term for me too, actually… but I really have no idea how it showed up on yours. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was SO awesome! All of your answers were stupendous! I adore that you can never choose favorites 🙂 And thanks for answering so many of my questions 😛 Seriously, all your answers were so interesting. I don’t know how you do it!

    Also, linkup?? I think yes 😀

    And that story was so beautiful! I really liked it. Did you win the contest?

    HAPPY BLOGDAY! Thanks for telling us some about Germany! If I ever get to visit, I shall be sure to meet you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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