All posts by eclecticalli

I am finding my way on the meandering, twisting path of life, constantly surprised by what’s around the next bend. Working to embrace and face the challenges inherent with following your dreams, and writing the journey. A writer and dreamer, historian and theologian, academic and fantasy-world-creator, genealogist and gluten-free baker, crafter and reader, poet and life-long learner, constantly questioning and occasionally irreverent. Eclectic Alli is my personal blog, with reflections on writing, life, theology, history, or whatever may catch my thoughts. Disparate Threads is a fantasy-fiction serial-blog, I am trying to break out of the traditional book-format mold of storytelling, taking advantage of the blog format to build a world. Everything on Disparate Threads is considered "Draft," and I WANT reader responses and input! Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram round out my online presence, and I try to do little bits different with each of them.

I took this trip …

The past few months have been filled with changes.  I completed that thesis that had been swallowing all my time this winter and spring and I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Religion.  I said goodbye to the school I had attended, that had in many ways become my family, as it closed its doors after nearly 200 years of existence.  I packed up my life, after five years on the East Coast, and moved back to the West Coast to be closer to my family as I work towards further education on my career path.
Pretty Water ViewsNow, settling into my new home (and undertaking the fun process that is job-hunting), I am beginning to have a little time to start revisiting my blog – and trying to update it some more!
First up – the move.  I had promised a great many people that I would share pictures from my trip, so this seemed like a good medium to do that in!
As a gift to myself I took the train to get myself across the country – a much-needed vacation!  Technically, I took three trains – enjoying three of Amtrak’s routes on my way from Maine to Oregon.
First up – The Lake Shore Limited.  This is the train that I took from Boston to Chicago – sitting up in coach overnight (which is something I don’t think I can do again – didn’t really get much sleep).  However, I did get a chance to see some pretty country-side (which is really what this trip was all about). One of the first things that I learned was how tricky it was to take pictures from the train.

Pastoral Settings

Thank goodness for digital cameras and LOTS of batteries!

Continue reading I took this trip …

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Venturing from Thesis-Land – tales of a blizzard

Oh, yes… it’s been a while.
I am in the midst of writing my thesis – currently editing the second draft, and that’s been taking most of my time.  But, I figured why not take a moment to update this blog, since I really do not want to neglect it (perhaps I can manage to get up to one update a month? At least, to start….).
Among the things that have happened since my last update is some serious weather.  We had a blizzard – plus a few other snow storms (including one just this past week… I do wonder when spring will come…).
I am not sure I’d ever experienced a blizzard before.  I could remember one serious snow storm, but this was a new experience.  Where I live we ended up with 31.9 inches, over two days.
At the start of the storm  I went for a few walks during this storm.  The worst of it hit overnight.  We started getting the snow on Friday, around 3:30 I decided I wanted to go for a walk in order to see how things were.  The snow was falling pretty strongly at this point, but there were a number of folks at the corner kitchen-bar, where I got some yummy food before returning home.
The next day I started by taking some pictures from inside, before heading out for a walk (once the storm had completely died down).

Continue reading Venturing from Thesis-Land – tales of a blizzard

At some point I had something to say.

Christmas Day, 2012
Christmas Day, 2012

So I’ve had all these “Brilliant!” blog ideas over the past month. I was going to write a very reflective, and perhaps entertaining, piece about Holiday traditions.

Lobster Man on Christmas Day, 2012
Lobster Man on Christmas Day, 2012

And then I was going to write about celebrating Christmas when I am not a Christian. I was going to ponder about snow-storms, and how different places I’ve lived have handled winter. I was going to share with you all a little about some of the theological texts I’ve been working with, and tell you some more about Sebastian Castellio.

Then I was going to write about finding the “muse” and inspiration. Oh! And I was going to do a post about Gluten-Free cookie making, complete with pictures. I was going to undertake an exploration around “light”, and write up some genealogically-related musings. There was, of course, going to be a write-up and review of the recent Les Miserables movie. Something about nature, something about resolutions.

It is completely and entirely possible one, or all, of these will appear as blog entries at some point. I feel no need to be restricted to the holiday season to reflect on the holidays. And many of these things are things which bounce around my head.
But, for now, I just do this short up-date, a dangling promise that something was once going to be written, reflections were going to be shared. But homework got in the way, then a strained back, then the COLD OF DOOM – as I am calling it – and now entering two weeks of an intensive class, while still working. So… you get me saying *hi* and a couple of pictures of this winter so far.

Winter Storm Euclid strikes Maine
Winter Storm Euclid strikes Maine

A moments reflection

In response to the shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut this past week there has been a lot of conversation, argument, speculation, sadness, and anger.  I have opinions on issues like gun control, availability of mental-health care, the culture of violence, and other relevant issues.  But, that is not what I have been thinking about the most. Those are not the conversations I wish to engage in right now.  That isn’t where my heart, spirit, and thoughts have been.  I’ve been holding in my thoughts, in my heart, all those who have been affected by this.

My reflection….

For all the people this season, a time of magic and wonder, who are mourning the loss of a child.
For all the people this season, a time of family and laughter, who are mourning the loss of a family member.
For all the people this season, a time of laughter and friends, who are mourning the loss of a friend.
For all the people this season, a time of traditions and cookies, who are mourning the loss of a sense of security.
For all the people this season, a time to reflect on Peace and Love, who are mourning.
For all the people,
In this season of darkness, may we remember light.
In this time of sadness, may we remember the laughter.
In the time of tears, may we remember the smiles.
May we draw together, to hold and support all those in need.

Candles flame

What are the chances?

Slim. Slim to none, really.
That is, the chances of me actually being able to write a blog entry this week (and perhaps next week as well). End of the semester crunch, with deadlines and way too much work! So, instead, I’ll post one of my cloud pictures – because I kinda wish I could be daydreaming and just watching the clouds right about now….
But, some of the posts I hope to be putting up in the next month include some GF Christmas Cookie ideas, reflections on creativity, traditions, change… have lots of ideas, just lacking a little in the time department!

The Stole on the Wall

I have a Stole hanging on the wall near my desk.

You know, one of those things that many ministers wear to show that they are, well, a minister?  It’s bright, and I think beautiful – hand-woven with various Christian symbols on it: a stylized cross, fish, wheat, bread, some that I don’t quite understand.  While I am not Christian (I’m Unitarian Universalist, of the non-Christian variety… more on that later, I’m sure), I love this Stole.  It’s beautiful, colorful and bright, and one of the few things I’ve ever won, you see.  My first year of Seminary (I am now completing my third, and final, year), there was a group of students who were fundraising for a mission trip to Guatemala.  One of their fundraisers was to raffle off a Stole, and i bought a few tickets, and was surprised to find myself winning.

Stole
One of the squares from the Stole

At that point I had plans of becoming a UU minister.  I’d entered the program under the MA program, with no intentions of ministry, but I quickly found myself being drawn to the idea of professional ministry, of getting a Masters of Divinity and embarking on the challenging feat of becoming ordained (oh, the many books to read, papers to write, classes to take and hoops to jump through!).  And so, as motivation, as a reminder of what I was doing this work for – to help me in those moments when I just wanted to chuck whatever book it was I was reading across the room – I hung the Stole near my desk, and there it has remained for the past three years.
But my plans have changed yet again (a somewhat longer story…) and I am not on the path for Ordained Ministry (that is, serving in the role of Minister (getting the Rev. before my name) as recognized by a religious body), at least, not at the moment.  I am going to be earning the MA, and moving on to other academic programs (in history).  But, I still keep that Stole hanging on my wall, and I still find myself looking to it when the reading (and writing) gets tough.

Continue reading The Stole on the Wall

For the Love of Writing

Yes… I may be in the midst of applying to grad programs (for Fall 2013), gearing up for a cross-country move (Summer 2013), and completing a Masters Thesis so I can graduate from my current grad program (June 2013!)  Also, I am working about 20 hours a week at a job I love, and trying to maintain something resembling a social life. Not to mention this poor, neglected blog.

So, what did I decide to do in November?  I go and join National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I had already decided that I was going to run the Young Writers Program Version at work, so figured why not.  I could set the goal of 50,000 words for myself and try my hand at fiction writing again.  It has been a number of years since I’ve done any real fiction writing, and perhaps over a year since I’ve really done ANY.  I started to really write when I was in middle school, scribbling away in notebooks throughout the summer, and since I’ve had a computer I’ve typed them up – giving me files and files of fiction from different stages of my life.  Through high school and college I started to create a folder per year, in which I could store all the new writings in some sort of semi-organized fashion.  2009’s folder had very few documents in it – some which were copied from earlier years.  2010 had even less, and 2011 did not have a folder at all.  There was a time when writing stories served as my life-blood.  I could not imagine life without it, and I found my writing time to be refreshing, energizing, and just plain fun.  I thought perhaps I was replacing that with other kinds of writing: personal reflections,  newsletter articles, sermons and homilies.  And, certainly, my creativity comes into some of that work, but it wasn’t the same, no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was.

Continue reading For the Love of Writing