April Afternoon Tea with SJ + Camp NaNo Update

Good afternoon! 

I’m finally (?) back again for April Afternoon Tea with SJ! (Hopefully I won’t jinx this one…) 

It feels a little odd since I took a short hitout, but even during that short amount of time, so much has happened I don’t know where to start…

Just to begin with, imagine you’re sitting on a terrace of a manor overlooking the ocean. The water surface is pale blue, and the mountainside slopes gently in the distance. The sun is shining warmly, the flowers are in full bloom around the area, and a soft breeze ruffles your hair. We’re having rose-champagne tea in fine china, the sides are peach charlotte cake, cherry blossom bites, and strawberry mousse. 

Ready?

Here we go…

Ah, books. This month, my reading lagged a bit, but I did meet incredible books. The breakdown is the following:

April Reads

  1. Cinder -Marissa Meyer (YA)
  2. Kakushsigoto -Yoru Sumino (Jpn Fic)
  3. The Westminster Confession of Faith (O3)
  4. Files Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents -Lemony Snicket (MG)
  5. Nejimaki Dori Kuronikuru (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) Vol. 1 -Haruki Murakami (Jpn Fic)
  6. How to Run a Country -Cicero (O4)
  7. These Violent Delights -Micah Nemerever (Fic/DA)
  8. Here in the Real World -Sara Pennypacker (JFic)
  9. Democracy in America -Alexis de Tocqueville (O6)
  10. Forgiving What You Can’t Forget -Lysa TerKeurst (NFic)

Currently Reading: Cicero’s Basic Works, Iliad, Henry V

How about another cherry blossom bite? Or more tea? 

I’ve decided to add a new section to AF…Media! Here, I’ll share some music, movies, and other media I’ve fallen in love with for the month. 

Music 

Practising: Mozart’s Rondo in D-dur K485, Brahms Viola Sonata Op. 120 No.2 first movement, Debussy Claire de Lune

Listening to: Dark Academia Playlists, Mozart The Singles, Beethoven ‘Waldstein’ + ‘Spring’ album, Danish String Quartet Prism 1

Movie 

I watched A Beautiful Mind (starring Russel Crowe) and I. Just. Love it! I can’t say anything more than it has major DA vibes and features a mathematician because I might accidentally give away a huge plot twist in the middle of the movie. It reminded me of The Theory of Everything, so this movie is for you if you like the academia vibe with scientists. 

Manga/Anime

This is a totally brand-new section I desperately needed 🙂

I finished The Promised Neverland season 2, and although I guess they ran out of budget towards the end, it made me want to read the manga from the start again! We started Attack on Titan and it’s just…Wow. WHY DID I NEVER PAY PROPER ATTENTION TO IT BEFORE???

Anyhow. I can’t wait to go through this epic manga/anime! Also, Hetalia World Twinkle began serialisation again which I’m squealing all over the place about. 

So, Camp NaNoWriMo update. 

My original camp goal was 25K which I reached the beginning of this week. I’m almost at the 30K mark now, but I won’t be setting a word count goal. Instead, I’ll try to finish Book 2 which I’m at right now. 

A side note: Woodstone Abbey, as you might know, is insanely long. Part of it is due to the way I’ve decided to head the chapters. For instance, I have alternating chapters which are the Roman numeral chapters. In this chapter, there are three numerical chapters, which also have three to five small Roman numeral chapters. (Ex. I. Cognito, ergo sum C1: Dana Housie Beckett i. ) Mind-boggling, I know. 

More tea, anyone? I also stocked raspberry Earl Grey tea (which I’m actually drinking right now) and it’s heavenly. Perfect for spring. 

Right, then. Academics…

I found out I got accepted into a university in the Bachelor of Arts!! It’s one of the top three ranking unis in Canada (top 25 in the world, their website claims), so I’m super hyped. Fun story: The admission decision came five days before I realised it. I spent those days thinking I’d failed. #reasonstocheckyourinbox

I also got an entrance scholarship that covers about half of the first-year cost, and I still can’t believe it. My family’s suggesting I should go punch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. *cough, violence, cough, cough*

I think most of you might remember, but I talked about a super controversial topic on my blog last month–LGBTQ2+ and the Christian Writer. Well, there’s a continuing story to it. One of my IRL friends read the blog, told someone about it, and I was offered an opportunity to speak at a SOGI rally. (FYI, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) 

The focus was on parental rights and child medical transition concerning a court case that happened locally. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but I’m so glad I got to do this public speaking event! 

I also hosted a high schooling homeschooler panel discussion, which was immensely fun! 

So, yes, life happened in great quantity, and I’m glad it did.  😉

That’s about it for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this tea time. 

What did you think? How has April been so far? What are some books you’ve read? Music you’re listening to? Are you looking forward to school ending soon? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

February Afternoon Tea w/ SJ + The Liebster Award

Good afternoon!

It’s that time of the month again, except February is a special one…it’s been officially one year since I began the Afternoon Tea series! *inserts fanfare and cheers and  confettis* 

Reading back from February a year ago, I can’t believe how so many things changed. Also, I really want to go back in time and hug myself circa 2020. It’s okay, me. You’ll get through this. *ends self-care session*

Today, we’ll go back to the cabin in the mountains, except it’s howling outside. There’s a warm fire crackling in the huge fireplace, there’s plenty of blankets and pillows to go around, and from the sunroom in the back, we can see nothing but whiteness. There are little potted plants on the window sills with name tags that read: Oliver, Calder, Amity, and John 9th. We’ve got an assortment of fruit tea, macaroons, and yoghurt cakes with berries. 

Are you ready? 

Here we go…

Mini-February Update

I’m drinking berry tea with a side of boxed macaroons set. And if you’re wondering why today it’s a mini update, it’s because I was tagged for the Liebster Award! So obviously, I’ve got to leave some room at the end. 

Bibliotheca 

This month was a really weird reading month. I read 13 books, which is significantly less than my reading goal, but February is short. I also have been ditching my Omnibus list and haven’t finished them all…But, I did meet other great books, and Canterbury tales is seriously graphic like it should be labelled R18 so all’s well that ends well. I’m currently juggling between Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Travels of Marco Polo, and The Iliad. 

Academics 

I actually have zero memory of what happened academically…wait, now that I think about it, lots have happened. 

First. 

I applied to one of the universities under visual arts but had forgotten about it, and got a notice a week before the deadline to submit my portfolio. The only serious art I’ve done was back in 10th grade, and everything after that was lieu manga style which wasn’t accepted, so I had to scramble and put together something that hopefully screamed MODERN ART!!!

Second. 

I have a driver’s test coming up at the beginning of March and have been practising for evah. I failed the last two tests, but BC is super strict because you should see us all driving yet I hope I’ll make it this time around. Super stressed, but I think that’s normal. 

Writing 

Because I was suddenly busy conjuring up art portfolios, mashing up artist statements, trying to ignore my less than perfect transcript, learning to drive like I have confidence &c., writing has been slow for the month. I wrote a grand total of 10K in Elijacomb, but it’s a middle grade and why should I take it too seriously? 

Yes, I landed there. 

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to not take your writing seriously. 

So I promptly hurled my WIP out the window and began a new and shiny idea ™. I know, sacrilegious, but we all must make ends meet. 

Life

Life has been pretty normal. My mental health has improved greatly now that I take a lengthy time each morning for personal devotions. Oh, and I went skiing, which was fun! I was telling my mom and sister how bad I am skiing and on the day they were like: “You betrayed our trust!” Which was kind of funny. I did think I couldn’t ski well. 


With that being said, care to refill your cup? How about Mandarin orange and honey tea? Or raspberry green tea? Better yet, try this lavender macaroon. It’s absolutely gorgeous. 

Okay, now that we’re settled, let’s move on to the Liebster award segment! 

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you. (Thanks, Ariella!)
  • Answer the eleven questions he/she asked.
  • Nominate eleven more bloggers for the award.
  • Make sure they know you nominated them.
  • And ask your eleven nominated bloggers eleven questions.

The Questions:

1. What is your current favourite book/series, and why?

I’ve got to say, A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions. My obsession with Lemony Snicket started around October last year, and ever since I can’t seem to stop advertising his books. I guess I’m into noir children’s lit??

I really, really want to watch the TV series as well…

2. What are your favourite genres to read and write?

Are you telling me to cut off my limbs?? 

Jokes aside, I’ve been re-reading my WIPs as of late and have come to this startling discovery: All of my stories have some sort of conspiracy and academia vibes in them. Also, ever since I found out dark academia was a thing, I’ve been going down that road. Considering everything, I think I like literary fiction of any genres, and especially books with lots of conspiracy and dark organisations with classy vibes. Go figure. 

3. What is your favourite fandom?

Narnia, for starters…And I’ve got to say, Marvel, even though I haven’t watched all the movies yet and started the movies from Endgame (I know, that’s not how you’re supposed to do it). 

Also, Anne with an E even though it has several problems with it. The casting was perfect, and I’m so sad they’re not continuing with it. Like, how come they never, ever, make it to Anne of the Island??? That’s the best part, y’all. 

This Marilla, tho. You just can’t help it. XD

4. Would you rather bring one of your characters to this world for a day or visit your favourite book world for a day?

Visit my fav. book world in a heartbeat. Why should I miss an opportunity to get to Narnia?

Me: Never miss a chance to get to Narnia.

5. What is your favourite kind of character to write or read about?

I love reading/writing intelligent and bent characters. Or weird ones. (It tells you already what kind of person I really am.)

6. Do you prefer coffee or tea? (Or something else?)

Tea forever. There’s a reason I host tea parties every month. 😉

7. Would you rather be really good at one specific talent or average at a wide variety of talents? Why?

I want to be really good at one specific talent, because that’s what having a spike is about…(I legit cried about not having a strong spike when I was applying to university last year. It still kind of haunts me.) Plus, being a genius in one thing and terrible at other things makes for a great story. 🙂

8. What is your passion in life?

One, Jesus, two, the Bible, three, stories. Also homeschoolers. Recently I discovered I’m mental about promoting homeschooling and helping fellow homeschoolers out. 

9. Do you have any “unusual” talents or hobbies?

Hmm…is it weird I self-host various campaigns starting with Eat Ramen Once a Week © and ending with Learn Alchemy and Canadian history? (War of 1812!!)

Or I guess being a violist is “unusual”. Or fighting in karate tournaments? Or…

This guy needs a proper hobby.

10. Would you rather live in a desert or a snowy region for the rest of your life?

Snowy region. And yes, I’m Canadian, you’re welcome. 

Except, I grew up with the temperate Tokyo climate.

11. Can you think of a movie adaptation that is better than the book?

Oof, I don’t know–why yes, I do know. Feel free to disagree with me all you want, but the Prince Caspian movie totally rocks. I mean, reference the BBC version and you’d know. 

The Nominees:

  1. Jenna Terese
  2. Kenechi Duatron
  3. Writing for Christ
  4. Bella Putt
  5. Emma Starr
  6. Mere Colloquials
  7. Eden
  8. Bree Dawn
  9. Ash Ronnel
  10. Jai Lynn
  11. Julia Witmer

My Questions:

  1. Would you rather be smart or beautiful?
  2. Are you a paper book reader, an e-book reader, or an audiobook reader?
  3. Winter sports or summer sports?
  4. If you could invite a book character for tea, who would you call on? 
  5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done in your life? 
  6. Would you rather write an epic or a series of tanka?
  7. If you were a book, what genre would you be?
  8. Train or bus? 
  9. If you had to spend the rest of your life as a car, which car would you be? 
  10. Who is most likely to murder you in your sleep? 
  11. Which author would you write a  love-letter to and why? 

Wow, that was long! Thank you for reading thus far. 

How was your February? What were some highlights of the month? A favourite read? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

Rethinking Reading Ethics

Hullo, world!

I am so excited about today’s post! Some of you may already know, but it’s been weighing heavily on my heart for some time now about a certain topic that is close to my heart…the art of reading. 

And not just reading, but reading ethics, specifically.

I know, I sound kind of bland when I say it like this, but ever since I reviewed my reading in this blog post, I’ve been extra conscious about how I read, what I read, and why I read. It’s probably going to be a bit controversial, and some people may disagree with what I’m going to say. But if you’ve ever felt like your reading has stagnated, or worse, deteriorated in some way, hang tight! 

Me reading last year.

Without further ado, I present to you: Rethinking Reading Ethics.

THE WHAT

But first things first, what the deuce is Reading Ethics? Well, put it simply, this is what I call the 5W1H of Reading. 

5W1H is WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW. Ethics is about the heart of reading–what is truly deep and meaningful reading? Why do we read what we read? When are we more prone to read, and how can we align reading with our beliefs?

Those are what Reading Ethics are about. 

THE WHY

What is of wanting most when we think about Reading Ethics is “Why do we read?” One exercise I often do whenever I don’t understand the reason I did something or think the way I do is asking myself “Why?” five times. I applied this principle to the question of reading ethics and why I read:

  1. Why do I read?
    1. I inhale [when I read]
    2. Knowledge is power
    3. Stories give me power
    4. I am found [through stories]
    5. Books complete me

Wow. Starting from an abstract statement like “I inhale when I read”, I got myself to admit that reading books complete something inside me. Let’s take a look at my response to reading ethics.

  1. I want to rethink and reinvent my reading ethics.
    1. Quantity is never quality
    2. I only have so much time
    3. I want to focus  on what really matters in my life
    4. We are what we eat
    5. I want to focus on God’s design and truth for my life

I think I already sort of knew the whys for this question, but it was still good to sort out my thoughts and reasonings. If you’re curious about what you think about reading, take a moment right now to ask yourself, “Why do I read?” and “Why do I want to rethink/reinvent my reading ethics?” (Or if  you don’t think you need to, still ask yourself why you don’t need to rethink it.)

BEFORE & AFTER

I also made a chart outlining what I was seeing in my reading ethics (specifically of 2020) and comparing it with what I wanted to see in 2021 or what it used to be like (circa 2019).

BeforeAfter
I read books that interested me or/and was on a reading list
My reading habit became inconsistent (ref. Reading Pie chart)
I will read in a rigorous way that takes into account my entire reading diet
It will improve imbalance and open new avenues and perspectives!
Quantity mattered more
Constructing a strong reading habit mattered, but quality fell away the more I read
Quality will matter more
What I put inside me is much more important than how much I have inside
I read to meet due dates and became stressed
I was  borrowing too many books and  not reading the books that mattered to me
I will only borrow books  once a month and return them before I borrow more
This will help with sorting out the books that really matter to me
Some books on my shelf be like:

From the above points, I realised that books had weight to them as grades did. Honours classes are much tougher than a normal class load, as do AP classes. Classics are much denser than YA. Specifically, Classic nonfiction is denser than classic fiction. Classic fiction dated after the 19th century is less dense than ones before that date. Scientific nonfiction is about as dense as Literary Fiction. 

Of course, these are my perspectives, and I know some people will disagree with me, but I came to realise I wanted to surround myself with books that were truly deep and meaningful. If you’re interested, take a look at my Weighted Book Chart.

READING LIST 0.5

So with these insights in my head, I came up with a new reading habit. I read not only because it’s fun and liberating, but because it’s my way of expanding horizons and becoming better equipped to serve God. 

  1. Omnibus 1 list*
  2. YA
  3. Omnibus 2
  4. Nonfiction
  5. Omnibus 3
  6. Japanese
  7. Omnibus 4
  8. Indie
  9. Onibus 5
  10. Fiction
  11. Omnibus 6
  12. Juvenile/Middle-grade

*Omnibus is a Veritas Press classical education program. This is the list if you’re interested 🙂

And that’s my rough reading list. I might change the order, but that’s what my current reading habits look like. As far as this month is going, I’m glad I made the switch since I feel much healthier in my reading diet reverting to more classics and books I don’t read as often. If I have more time in the month than what I have allotted, then I might read extra fiction or two. 

This is my way of Rethinking Reading Ethics. 

This is what reading ethics is all about!

What do you think? How can you rethink your reading ethics? Do you know why you read the book you read? What do the books you read tell about you? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!