Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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Quick Takes Monday: Being Thankful

I missed Quick Takes Friday, but there’s always room for a Quick Takes Monday, seeing as I had half a post written. I thought today I’d do something different for the 7 Quick Takes blog hop, and take a moment in prayer to think about things for which I am thankful in the type of life I lead.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Temperature controlled showers. Yes, yes, I know how material that is. But temperature controlled showers – and I’m not talking about turning up the temperature all the time – are so good to have in the morning to wake one’s self up. Without being able to control the shower in the way I have done, I wouldn’t be able proceed with my day in the way I want.

So, for that, I am thankful for good showers, and I always will be.

~2~

The Internet – whether it be working or not. I am glad I came to age in a time after the internet became as popular as it is now. Sure, the internet is made for trolls and people hiding everywhere who want to corrupt the goodness of society, but it is also an amazing place for genuine people who, a 100 years ago, would not have had the opportunity to be as successful as they are now, thanks to job and career opportunities they happen upon thanks to the internet.

~3~

Companionship. From friends to family to acquaintances, everybody I meet influences the path I walk and the choices I make. Just a little bit. Just by joy and conversation and care. I am so so thankful for God bringing these people into my life.

~4~

Outerwear. Like, working gloves. Those to me are bliss when my fingers do not turn to blocks of ice. I have naturally cold hands – low circulation – which leaves me, even in a mild April day, tucked hands in pockets or under fleecy protection. I don’t mind – it’s a fate I have endured for many years, and I have my ways of dealing with it. Like gloves.

~5~

Discovery. Every day, even in the minutest of ways, we – as people and as scientists in this big, wide world of ours – are learning more and more about the world we are stewarding. We may never eradicate all human-killing diseases or we may never create the technology of our dreams or find every creature in every crevice of the planet, but what we do find, however small, helps to patch together an interpretation of life. To me, that is wonderful.

~6~

Contemplation. Another thing that I myself could not live without. The world would be a dull place if we could not think. For starters, there were not be this post. In extension of that, I am thankful for philosophy in terms of considering the world around me. So very often we get told not to take our gifts for granted; this is true, but the gift of being able to contemplate is not one so easily defined.

Even so, I pray that others will experience contemplation and knowing when to do the right thing.

~7~

Fiction. Namely, the act of being able to generate fictitious ideas. I often wonder what the world would be like without imagination and without fiction. Without the ability to weave a story to tell others. And, indeed, where would we be as readers? Reading is amazing and so often overlooked. But the fact that we somehow encode the orthographic squiggles on paper with a pre-taught corresponding phoneme is both highly unlikely and amazing.

Well, that’s the work of The Lord for you. Amen!

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Have a peaceful and blessed week.:)


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A Start to Lent

Happy Lent, everyone! Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the desert, fasting and enduring the temptations of the Devil. In this way, Lent is a time for us to fight against the many temptations that flood our lives and turn our faces to the Lord.

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My face – with an ash cross after the service this lunchtime.:)

Not looking so glamorous, but I feel that probably sums up Lent in a face. Looking away from one’s self and looking to what one can share with others. Putting ourselves even more second to God and what He is calling us to do. Forget the fancy clothes and descendant food; for Lent, God and Jesus’ sacrifice should be the better focus our internal selves. We need to put aside the business of our days to find the silence and Peace of God in our every day lives.

Speak Lord; Your servant is listening.


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7 Quick Takes: In Which Research Takes over my Life

It’s time to pop over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for Quick Takes Friday.:)

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~1~

Well, my week dashed past. Anyone else feeling that? I have so many tasks to complete, including a presentation for next Weds for which I have a block load of reading anyway. *phew*

~2~

I have started my Psychological testing! It’s very exciting, because this is part of my third year work, and entails a great deal of my final mark.

Plus, as I was reminiscing with my lab partner earlier, it was a long two years ago that the tables were turned, and I sat in the cubicle room, working on computer tasks. Now, I’m here. Wow.

~3~

It does, however, feel like all I do is work, dance, and watch murder mysteries. Which is frustrating, to say the least. Not the murder mysteries part, just the whirlwind of readings, submissions, and swing responsibilities.

~4~

Speaking of Swing, you may have heard (or not) of Scott Cupit, a swing teacher who runs the London scene. Reading University are very excited (and blessed) to have him teach us tonight in a one-off guest workshop.

Scottie was the one who ran the World Record Charleston – for which I am an official holder now – and it’s fair to say that I am in awe of his skills, especially as he’s been taught by the legendary Frankie Manning.

Here’s a clip of him dancing.

~5~

I may not remember to talk to Christ every day, but I know that he is here beside me, guiding me. When I have a rough or busy day, like yesterday, with multiple things not going my way, it’s definitely comforting to know that His plan is leading me somewhere. I just don’t know where. Keep the faith, wanderers. Deus vobiscum.

~6~

Editing. I did a bit more this week, yippee! *insert jumping animal here*

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Thank you, Facebook stickers!😛

Granted, not much has been done, amount-wise, and most of my thoughts have been on structural edits/upping the tension.

~7~

Here’s a favourite new line of mine. It’s probably the most explicitly aggressive Rion has been to his family. I never thought he would actually pull a pistol on anyone, but – innuendos aside – considering the amount of warfare training he has, raising a weapon is actually a natural reaction.

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7 Truths About Your Baptism

A homily by Fr Stephen Wang.

I’d definitely say that, until recently, I’ve rather taken the fact of my baptism for granted – it’s something that happens and, unlike Jesus (or any adult who is baptised), children baptised in their full innocence don’t understand or even remember that they’re being initiated into the family of God. Regardless of this, they’re blessed by God and are saved from the moment they’re conceived.

Of course, it’s important to remember this, which is why this homily is meaningful to me. Baptism gives even those who have not yet learnt about God the welcome into His arms.

Let us all today give a thought to our baptisms and what they mean to us.


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Pray First, Worry Later

In an offhand comment made about the ecumenical community in which I live, my conversation partner and I discussed how to find God in the silence. By Grace, this coincided with the homily/sermon given by the pastor this Sunday morning, focusing on today’s passage of 2 Corinthians 12:

7 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

It is human nature to fret, is it not? Evolutionarily, to draw defences around ourselves at the very sniff of threat to us and ours. We are inclined to worry.

Yet, I may add, we have also been conditioned by our modern society to do so, with its implicit/unsaid rules about being, doing, and having. So, by that logic, it’s contrary to society that God is enough for our safety and security. – Yet, what does Paul say? He admits that it’s worth his boasting about his miseries and worries – because in weaknesses, we rely on God for our true happiness. Not mortal trappings—God. Not our own sheer will-power—God. Even our natural instinct to worry is outdone by God’s power to provide for us.

To provide salvation.

That’s why I called this post Pray First, Worry Later. Offer your issues up to God and He is already at work for us.

Happy Sunday. I hope your week (and year!) goes well.

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The Christmas Spirit

I went to Mass in Leeds Cathedral this morning. It was a beautiful building (new to me, as I’m still learning about Leeds life) and an energising service to celebrate the last Sunday of Advent and Mary’s Yes to the Lord. I’ve always loved the fact that John jumped in Elizabeth’s womb when in Mary’s presence – he recognises Christ even before he sees Him with his physical eyes, proving the power of the Holy Spirit extending even to the very very young.

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The famous painting of Mary and Elizabeth, The Visitation by Mariotto Alberti

That’s an incredible thought; and a greater blessing for those Christians who are expecting around this time of the year.

This year in particular, I’ve not felt the most Christmas-y. I have never much overly enjoyed Christmas, simply because I’ve never overly enjoyed commercialism, and I feel that the older I get, the easier it is to see commercialism at every turn. Nevertheless, today, 5 days before the actual event of Christ’s Nativity, I’ve finally started to feel the emotion and wonderment that is Christmas, the gathering of family and friends together to celebrate how much God loves us by giving us the greatest Gift.

Here is the Spirit Incarnate to come and save.

Even if you only enjoy Christmas for its holiday aspects, I wish you safety and comfort this December.

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