Day 4: West Virginia

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Journeyed through Hatfield-McCoy territory to my last stop- Guyan Valley! Great day with a lot of fun people. Happily surprised to find I share mutual friends with several new acquaintances. Home at last.

– Margaret

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Day 3: Kentucky

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Have driven thru three states already today and have arrived safely at ASP Chavies. I am enjoying discovering something special at each site (other than the fellows who are all great!). At Chavies, I love that thoughtful quotes and the pictures of literary spiritual guides decorate the walls. One more trip tomorrow and I’ll have visited everyone.

-Margaret

Growing in Gratitude: My (new) Day Job

Even though today was the first long day of a long week, I am so thankful to be able to announce that I am now officially the chaplain for Appalachia Service Project (ASP)’s Year-Around Program.  I  am tired and don’t have much energy to explain all the details now except to say that I will have the privilege to work with some great young adults who are spending the next year of their lives serving others and discerning their vocational calling.

Thanks for all the prayers and the patience in waiting for the big reveal.  Plan to not hear from me super regularly this week.  I will be traveling to four different states in the next four days and any spare minute will be spent resting up in preparation for the next drive.

-Margaret

“Love is not a disease.”

"Beautifully written.  Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy." -Christopher Paulini

“Beautifully written. Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.” -Christopher Paulini

I just finished reading a fantastic YA crossover fantasy novel– Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  I categorize it as a YA crossover novel because while it’s intended for young readers it certainly packs enough action, suspense, and complexity to be appealing to a more discerning palate like mine.  [wink and smile]

Briefly an overview:  Seraphina is Hartman’s debut novel about a world where dragons and humans co-exist in relative peace.  I enjoy reading fantasy novels, but haven’t read enough to have come across many dragons or be very familiar with dragon-lore.  So I’m not sure if this compliment is misplaced, but one of the things I loved about Hartman’s treatment of draconian typology was that her dragons are able to adopt human forms.

This motif of degrees of humanness is what puts Hartman’s work in the top tier of fantasy writing because it is able to draw a universal parallel between this imagined world and our real world.  The complexities of living in a world where appearances are not necessarily trusted and that persons are judged by their parentage is reminiscent of our world’s continuing dialogue on race and privilege.

Love and friendship between species (human and dragon) is Hartman’s recurring theme.   The title of the post is a piece of wisdom imparted from one character near the end of the book when he begins to recognize that love between human and dragon is something to be celebrated and not condemned.  Fascinating thoughts and a good reminder that love is without borders.

Definitely recommend you pick up this engaging fantasy.  With the sequel due next year, I predict Hartman’s dragons are going to be the next “it” book.

-Margaret

His and Hers: Reality TV Roundup

Last night was a big night for TV in the Fragwell household!  In the perfect storm of network programming, the premier of Survivor:  Blood Vs. Water and the finale of this summer’s season of Big Brother were scheduled by CBS for the same Wednesday night! [smile]  Happily the stars aligned so we could both watch most of both shows.  My new work schedule doesn’t start for another week and Caleb’s Wednesday night was relatively free considering the normal hiccups and delays that can happen with church Wednesday night programming. [smile]

A few spoilers follow so beware if you haven’t watched the episodes and plan too:

Overall, we were both really happy with the set up for the new Survivor season and the conclusion to Big Brother!  Caleb’s the real Survivor expert, but since we’ve been married he’s been putting me through a crash course of the history of this still popular after all these years reality show.  [smile] He and I love that this season features returning players and the loved ones twist is really quite genius.  The dynamics of the game seem to be much more complex and there is some unpredictability in a show that’s been around for a while.  Caleb says:  “Even though nothing can trump the first season or Heroes Vs. Villians, this season may come close to achieving Survivor gold!”  [smile]

If Caleb is the resident Survivor expert, I guess my few summers of watching Big Brother make me the expert in this regard. So then what can I say about Big Brother?!?  I guess, “Go Andy” is appropriate.  Honestly, for me this show isn’t so much about watching to see who will win, but watching the game in progress.  The premise of the show is such a fascinating social experiment.   While the finale was fun, my favorite episode this summer was that second double eviction when the big showmance was finally broken up.  So much drama!  [smile]

I must confess that I was a little hesitant to share our reality TV obsessions for fear it might shatter our super cool image.  [smile] Seems like reality shows like Survivor and Big Brother are out of vogue these days.  So I’m curious… are we the only ones still watching these “traditional” reality TV game shows?  I would love to hear what you thought of either show last night or hear what reality TV shows are your favorites.  Leave a comment with your reality TV confessions.

-Margaret