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Oh wow

Didn't realize it had been over 3 years. Well ollo there.
I started this LJ back in junior year of HS in 2002. Wow it's been 13 years
I hang out on tumblr mostly now under the same name:)

Of Camphor and Colds, a drabble

Of Camphor and Colds
By Abby
Rating: G
Notes: Drabble. Title says it all. Rose/Doctor 10.5. Please R+R
o O o O o O o
“Well, at least let me rub some on for you, ya?’
Rose watched as the Doctor groaned and shifted under the covers. He was being less than the perfect patient, looking like a child with his hair sticking up in every direction and the comforter pulled up under his chin.  He eyed the jar in her hands with disdain. “Besides, it doesn’t work anyway.” His voice croaked.
Rose looked down at the ointment. “Mum used to put some on my chest when I was little. Always made me feel better when I was sick.” She opened the lid and breathed in the scent. “And ‘sides, I like the way it smells. Reminds me of Christmas.”
The Part-Time Lord snorted, only to end up coughing, whining miserably when it finally subsided. “Not like I have too many fond memories of Christmases past.”
“There was last Christmas, remember.” Rose thought back to their first Christmas in this universe, and their observation of the mistletoe tradition.
“Mmm” said the Doctor, obviously reminiscing about the same thing. “Still, it doesn’t work. It’s the camphor playing tricks on your brain. It makes you think that your air passages are open when they’re really not.” He sniffed.
Rose gave up and tossed the jar on the nightstand. “Fine, then.” She moved around the foot of the bed and plopped down on her side, tugging off her socks and slipping between the sheets. Switching off her bedside lamp, the room was plunged into temporary darkness. Eventually, her eyes adjusted and she saw that the moonlight tinged everything blue, including the Doctor. It made his skin look even paler than it already was, and she felt compelled to snuggle up against him, laying her arm across his chest.
“Uf, don’t put any pressure on me.” He said grumpily, and she retreated off of him. He must have felt bad about snapping, though, because he scooted over so their sides were touching. Rose felt his hand seeking out hers, and he brought it up to his lips to kiss her lightly on the fingertips. “I haven’t been sick in over a century.” He explained quietly. “If there’s one thing that I miss about having the full Gallifreyan physiology, it’s the ability to catalyze toxins and infectious diseases.” He coughed again, groaning at the burning in his lungs.
Rose waited for his breathing to settle down, then leaned in and kissed his covered arm. “I hope you get better soon, though.” She mumbled, rubbing her cheek against the flannel of his pajamas. “If anything so I can snog you proper again.”
She smiled in the dark, expecting some sort of cheeky reply from his side of the bed, but there was only silence. “Doctor?” she whispered, sitting up a little. No answer. After a moment, though, a soft snore was emitted, and she realized that he had fallen asleep. He had had a trying day, after all.
Tugging her hand free of his grip and tucking him in a little more, she settled herself back on her pillow, letting the comfort of his warmth next to her lull her into sweet dreams.

Fleeting (A Doctor Who Drabble)

A Doctor Who drabble
by Abby
Rating: G
Summary: Immediately following "A Good Man Goes to War." The Doctor muses on what he has left behind. Angst + General + Doctor/Rose 


Love is fleeting.


And it hurts.


If there was one thing that remained constant throughout his eleven lives, it was this knowledge.


Now that the recent regeneration had burned away the strong emotions of his last incarnation and packaged them in a way that he could now examine them with an objective inner eye, it was shockingly clear to him now.


The constant pace of his 900 years and the urgency to move on to the next exciting place had dulled him to any other need but flight. But after the Time War, he couldn’t even do that anymore. No matter where he traveled in the universe, he knew he couldn’t escape his own self-hatred and the image of his screaming homeworld seared into the back of his eyelids.


His pain had made him vulnerable. Weak and unable to see the trap he was setting himself up for, the day he reached out and took Rose Tyler’s hand. Her youthful innocence and sense of wonder refreshed him, and the way she looked at him, it gave him hope that somehow he was redeemable.


And the selfish, old fool that he was, he loved her for it.


But her faith in him was the faith of a child, he thought bitterly. She observed his feats of bravery, saw his youthful face, and called him wonderful.


She did not know him.


She did not know the old man that dwelt within, the old man that once had a face to match.


She did not know the contradiction that pressed on his soul, where he mourned and loathed the lost Time Lords simultaneously.


And she did not know that the one thing she asked of him was the one thing that would destroy him completely.


So when he left her on that beach for the last time, he gave her the only version of himself that was capable of giving her what she wanted. The metacrisis didn’t have his burden to carry, didn’t have the ability to destroy everything he touched. But it did have a human heart that was capable of giving love that was worthy of her blind trust.


He flipped a switch and went to work deftly entering the coordinates he desired, musing on his condition and where his life had brought him. Looking up from his console, he glanced at the TARDIS doors where outside Amy and her husband were drawing strength from his promise that he would indeed save their daughter. But then he thought of River, and that day in the library.


He never failed to disappoint the ones who love him. In the seemingly timeless span of his life, their love is fleeting.


And it hurts.

Getting Ready to Graduate?

So I should be done with school in about two months. I feel estatic about finally having the free time to do what I want, and I am impatient for it. But at the same time I have a huge amount of fear for what happens next. If I graduate, that suddenly means that I have to start seeking out new situations and new ways to make use of the education I have received.

What if I find a new job?

What if I move away from everything I currently know?

These questions mill about in my mind. Over and over and over...

And suddenly a stillness falls over me.

The answer is: So what? So what if I find a new job? So what if I move away? I'll adapt. I'll grow and expand and find a new definition for my life.

The only thing that is holding me back is me. And that thought is scary and exhilarating all at the same time.

So, onwards and upwards!


Gene Kelly: A Brief Biography


Gene Kelly

Through the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, musicals were all the rage.  Thousands of people would pour into the theatres to see movies with lavish sets, expensive costumes and songs and dances.  Stars such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Eleanor Powell, and Shirley Temple graced the screen and brought entertainment to a time when the Great Depression sapped the hope out of many people.  In this land of musicals and escape, Gene Kelly was the king.  The audience loved him, and every film he starred in brought new innovations that left everyone on the edge of their seats.  He had mass appeal.  Why?  Because he was an everyday man.  No top hats and coattails for him.  Usually, Gene would perform in everyday clothes, the uniform of the working middle class and the blue-collar workers.  He was someone people could relate to.  This was something that was true both on the silver screen and off.  Gene Kelly started out life in the thick of trials and tribulations, just like many of us.  This is why his story still fascinates us today.

 Eugene Curran Kelly was born on August 23, 1912, to  James Kelly and his wife, Harriet Curran.  He was the third child of this Irish couple, raised in the Roman Catholic Church.  There were five Kelly children in total, and all of them were taught to appreciate the value of hard work.  Harriet believed that idleness was the tool of the devil, and every spare moment could be used to occupy yourself with something, whether it was homework, games, and practicing new dance moves.  This deep-seated value of hard work stayed with Gene all his life.  He never resented his mother for this, but always referred to his mother as “My saintly mother.”

Life was difficult in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Highland Park was known as an Irish slum in a city whose main industry was steel factories and other low-paying jobs.  Violence was frequently met with violence, and with Irish tempers, any slight altercation could be met with a fight.  Gene and his brothers knew this very well. Gene had a temper of his own, and when their mother would send them across town to their dance lessons all dressed up in frilly shirts, he always leapt to the occasion when the neighborhood boys would taunt them and call them “sissies.”

Gene’s father, James, was a traveling salesman, selling phonographs and Victrola records around the region, staying away for days at a time.  By the time Gene was 6 years old, the phonograph business was slumping.  The invent of radio had made it possible for every house to be filled with free music.  There was no way to compete.  So Harriet, being resourceful, found her children a source of income.  Her children became the Five Kellys, performing in weekly talent shows in order to win prizes.  The star of this show was Gene’s youngest sibling, Fred, whom his mother had decided would be the child that would rise to stardom.  For Gene, she had other ideas.  Ever since Gene battled a bout with pneumonia, she was determined that her frail Gene would not become involved with physical work, but devote his brilliant mind to law, one day becoming a Supreme Court Justice.  And that was just fine with Gene.  He didn’t care at all for dancing.  It was hard work and he was tired of the teasing that he would get from the other neighborhood children.

Despite his mother’s complaints about his weak health, Gene became very active in sports in high school, but never to the detriment of his grades.  He played hockey and various other sports, always excelling.  He even performed in several school plays and musicals.  As he grew older, he began to notice that his dancing skills were attracting the teenage girls, and by the time he turned 15, he decided that dancing was worthwhile, after all.  He was never short of a date to the school dance.

His renewed dedication to dance was well timed.  The country was plunged into the Great Depression and Gene’s father, being without work, had taken to drinking and moping around the house.  It was up to Gene and Fred to make the income.  With the spurring of their mother Harriet, they held small shows for the entertainment of the neighborhood children in their basement.  They also spent the weekends scrounging up gigs in seedy bars and clubs in downtown Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  At these bars, the patrons would frequently ignore their performances or crudely throw money at them as if they were trained monkeys.  Unruly guests would shout derogatory comments at them, using terms such as “queer” and “faggot.”  Though Fred was able to smile and bear it, these comments would incite Gene and in his great anger he would rush off the stage and beat up the drunk patrons, much to the dismay of the barkeep.

These experiences stuck with Gene all his life, and it was in these situations where Gene became convinced that if he were to be a dancer, that he would be a dancer people would respect and appreciate.  It became his life-long mission to prove that men could dance and still be masculine.  You didn’t have to be a gay man in order to dance.  Years later, he even went so far as to air a special on television called “Dancing is a Man’s Game” where he enlisted the help of Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and other athletes to show how many moves in sports were similar to dance moves.  Alas, despite his best efforts, the stigma that was attached to male dancers was never completely removed.

            Gene graduated from high school at the age of 16 years old and went on to attend Penn State University in order to study law.  When it became too difficult for him to juggle school and work for his family, he transferred closer to home to the University of Pittsburgh.  In order to make ends meet and provide money for his family, Gene frequently held two part time jobs in addition to his rigorous courses, although this never seemed to affect his grades.  It was there he became involved with the Cap and Gown Club, becoming its director and staging the choreography for their productions for four years.

Around the same time, Gene’s old dance school had gone bankrupt, and Harriet Kelly decided that it was worth the investment to buy out the business and start a dance school of their own, calling it The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance.  Although it was touch and go at first, Gene’s easy teaching style and the recent introduction of Shirley Temple in the movie theatres led many children to be enrolled in classes.  Harriet rented another space in a nearby town, Johnstown, insisting that Gene be able to teach at both locations.  For a period of time, Gene managed to juggle his own courses, two part time jobs, and extracurricular activities, all while spending his weekends teaching at the two locations of the Gene Kelly School of Dance.

As time went on, Gene found himself spending more time thinking about the stage than he did about law.  On trips to the library, more books on ballet and dance history were checked out than law books, and Gene could imagine himself choreographing on Broadway.  He knew that show business was a difficult pathway to take, but that didn’t squash his enthusiasm.  Much to the delight of his siblings, he would find new ways to incorporate dance in his everyday movements, dancing around the dinner table while serving up mashed potatoes.  Despite being very active in teaching dance and performing at the university, hardly any of his friends knew just how obsessed he was.  He would discuss philosophy and sports at the bar, but it was only when he was drunk that he would start pirouetting in the streets.

Finally, Gene decided that he no longer wanted to be a lawyer.  He intended to drop out of university, but he was deathly afraid of what his mother would say.  He rehearsed over and over what he planned to say to her.  When he got around to stating his intentions, he was surprised to hear his mother say that she fine with the idea, that they should instead focus on founding a national chain of Gene Kelly dance schools.  He refused this notion, and set out instead to New York City to pursue fame and fortune on Broadway.

After some fruitless searching, Gene finally broke his way into the musical scene. Along the way, he met his future first wife, Betsy Blair, who was a fellow cast member in the production of Diamond Horseshoe.  Within two years, he was starring in the lead role in a musical called Pal Joey, and everybody was talking about his star quality.  1941 was a big year for Gene. He and Betsy were married, and David Selznick, a famous producer in Hollywood, offered Gene a contract that he simply couldn’t refuse.

His first movie role was a starring role, opposite Judy Garland in the film For Me and My Gal.  Due to its popularity, MGM bought out Gene’s contract and he continued making movies with them.  They noticed his talent in choreography, and by the fourth film, Thousands Cheer, he was able to devise one of his own dance sequences with a mop.  A couple of films later, they gave him even more liberty with the choreography, letting him design the entire choreography of the movie Anchors Away.  The result was the legendary tap dance where Gene danced with an animated Jerry from the cartoon Tom & Jerry, the first time any movie had integrated animation with live action.  The audience was so impressed that he was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards of 1945.  Even Fred Astaire, a dancer that Kelly himself looked up to, invited Gene to dance with him, and together they performed a dance-off in the movie Ziegfeld Follies.

It was at the height of his movie career that he decided to enlist in the U.S. Naval Air Service in order to do his part during World War II.  During this time, he was stationed in Washington D.C., where he helped to write and direct educational films and documentaries.  This involvement sparked his interest in producing and directing, and by the time the war was over and he returned to Hollywood in 1946, Gene was brimming with ideas.

Raring to go and with the backing of the studio, Gene took his ideas about production design and used them to innovate how musical scenes were shot for films. As popular as ever, his movies were released in quick succession: The Pirate, The Three Musketeers, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, On the Town, and Summer Stock. In the next film, An American in Paris, Gene felt truly able to spread his wings in choreography. With one of the largest budgets of the time, Kelly designed a dance sequence in the movie that lasted 18 and a half minutes long (A record that still has not been broken) that showcased modern ballet. The film was critically acclaimed, receiving six Academy Awards in 1951. Gene also received an honorary award for his contributions to musicals and choreography up to that point.

People didn’t think that Gene Kelly was capable of outdoing the spectacle of An American in Paris, but he managed to do it the very next year; In 1952, he starred in the movie Singin’ in the Rain. In what has been considered the greatest musical of all time, Gene danced some of the most iconic dances of his career. Even those who have never seen the movie are familiar with his famous tap dance in the rain.

Many stories circulated about the filming of this movie. For instance, during the filming of the rain scene, Kelly was burning up with a fever, but insisted on continuing the shoot. He was as hard on himself as he was on the people he taught. Everyone knew that Gene was a strict, albeit good, teacher. Sometimes, though, the pressure was too great for people. Donald Connor, one of Gene’s co-stars, claimed that working with him was one of the hardest things he had ever done, calling him a “tyrant.” Debbie Reynolds, the other co-star, was new to the whole thing. At the age of 19, this was the first movie she had ever shot. Unable to keep up with Gene’s rigorous step routine and slow to learn the steps, Gene, out of his hot Irish temper, yelled at her for not being able to dance. Rumor has it that Fred Astaire, upon visiting the set, found Debbie crying under a piano and offered to help her learn her steps. This was a prime example of his childhood indoctrination of hard work creeping into Gene Kelly’s professional life. He was never satisfied with his own work, and by extension he was never satisfied with anyone else’s. Freud would call this a classic case of projection: seeing his own flaws in other people.

In 1951, Gene signed a contract with MGM to spend several years in Europe shooting films with funds that had been frozen in Europe. The movies, beset with technical problems, ultimately flopped, and Kelly headed back to Hollywood in 1953. He was dismayed to find that the demand for musicals had declined rapidly, and MGM was cutting the budgets on the musicals they had planned to shoot. The result was a lackluster Brigadoon, where the lack of budget forced the entire movie to be shot on constructed set. At this point, Gene Kelly negotiated for an exit from his contract with MGM.  The next movie, It’s Always Fair Weather, did moderately well, known for a scene in which Gene danced in roller skates, a routine that he had come up with when he was still performing with his brother Fred. This movie was followed up by his last musical with MGM, Les Girls. Finally, having complete control over his final project, Kelly produced and directed his first film, a B-movie called The Happy Road.

When his contract with MGM ended in 1957, Gene was 45 years old and unsure of where his next step should be. His midlife crisis resulted in his divorcing his wife, Betsy, with whom he had one child, Kerry. For a time, Gene went back to the stage, directing a production of Flower Drum Song. He also traveled to France at the invitation of the French government to write and produce a ballet for the Opera Populaire. The result was Pas de Dieux, a Gershwin-inspired ballet based on Greek mythology. The ballet became wildly popular and he was awarded a special commendation from the French government.

After returning from France, he remarried in 1960 to his choreographic assistant Jeanne Coyne. He had two children with her, Bridget and Tim, and they remained married until she died in 1973. Gene continued to star in various movie roles, dabbling in non-musical movies and putting on specials on television, such as Dancing Is a Man’s Game and many other revues. Some of the highlights of his later career included his first opportunity to produce and direct his first big budget musical film, Hello Dolly, in 1969 starring Barbara Streisand. Despite the elaborate sequences and the big names associated with the film, it was a flop. The age of musicals was officially dead. After several more minor roles, his last major film appearance was on Xanadu, a roller-disco extravaganza where he was convinced to dance for the silver screen one more time. Even in his old age, his dancing partnership with Olivia Newton John proved that he was still lively and as good a dancer as he was in his youth. Sadly, the film was a major flop, although it gained cult classic status in later years.

Gene, admired though he was, was not without his quirks and flaws. His Irish temper was always with him and no one was ever quite certain when he would be incited. He was an outspoken liberal, which brought him grief during the McCarthy trials. But he stood up for what he believed in, even when Hollywood threatened to remove his first wife Betsy from her starring role in Marty for having communist connections. His ultimatum was that if they didn’t restore her role, that he would pull out of filming It’s Always Fair Weather.  A struggle with his faith left him a devout atheist for the majority of his life. He couldn’t reconcile the idea that the Roman Catholic Church supported the Spanish dictator General Franco. In the end, he settled for living his life to the best of his ability and was always reaching toward the next big thing.

Gene entered his third marriage at the age of 78 to Patricia Ward. He was married to her until he died of a massive stroke in 1996 at the age of 84. He left behind him three children and an extensive list of accomplishments: 12 awards, 24 musical movies, 9 stage productions, and a large list of directing accomplishments. He is considered one of Hollywood’s greatest legends. It’s a sure thing to assume that his mother and the rest of the world were certainly glad that he decided to become a dancer instead of a lawyer!


            Cheri Fuller, author of “Talkers, Watchers, & Doers,” presents an approachable guide for parents who have children of different learning styles and capabilities.  She explains how children have a tendency to lean toward a particular processing and learning style, which she has broken down into three categories: talker, watcher, and doer.  Providing a guide to discovering a child’s natural talents, Fuller also gives tips on how to foster certain skills in children who lack them.  Finally, she advises parents about how to be active in their child’s education take the role of teacher at home.  Many of Fuller’s methods have roots in cognitive processes, which I will discuss as well.


            Talkers process information best when it is presented in an auditory format.  This means that they prefer to not only hear what they are learning, they also like to engage in conversation in order to process and repeat what they have learned.  Fuller explains it this way:

The strong auditory learner with language talent will enjoy many aspects of school.  In kindergarten Brittany is the first one to answer questions in class.  Mentally processing the teacher’s questions and verbalizing the answer is fun for her, and she can do it faster than anyone else in class.  She enjoys listening – to a point.  But if she has to sit still and the teacher talks the whole class period, she finds the lack of interaction boring and likes to join in the talking. (Fuller, pg. 44)


This form of learning is very familiar to me, since it is my primary method of learning, as well.  I learn best when nothing can interrupt my ability to listen and then verbally process and restate the information.  This can sometimes become a problem in the classroom, when there is competing auditory information. 


Fuller warns that “they can also become distracted by noise in the classroom or in the hall, and their love for talking to classmates can become a problem” (Fuller, pg. 45).

            According to psychologists, most people employ verbal rehearsal when storing information in their short term memory.  People frequently translate information and even visual information into acoustic codes so that it can be used in rote rehearsal (Reed, p. 80-81).  Although it is suggested that this is a method that works best for short term memory and not necessarily for storage in long term memory, Fuller suggests that for people who are fascinated with sound, auditory learning is more effective for them when storing long term memory than any other form.  For that reason, she encourages people who are Talkers to employ study skills such as making use of audio-books.  Fuller also talks about how tape-recording is useful:  “Although Ann is a good student in her first year of law school, she finds that when she tape-records her twenty page outlines of notes on each course before the final and then plays it back several times, she makes higher grades and has better overall mastery” (Fuller, pg. 49).

            So how do you cultivate this skill in children who are weak in their auditory abilities?  It can basically start at any age, although Fuller says that earlier is always better.  In preschoolers, games like “I spy” and the encouragement of story-telling can foster good talking and listening abilities.  For older children, you can encourage them to read their homework material out loud and then ask them to summarize what they have just read (Fuller, pg. 57-58).



            A Watcher is a child that processes information best when it is in a visual format.  They excel at forming images in their mind and sometimes are the quietest students in the class.  Reading comes naturally to them.  Chris is a good example of a Watcher:

            By age eight, he had read almost every volume [of the encyclopedia]… He would rather learn about something by reading about it or analyzing it in his own mind rather than listening to someone talk on and on in a lecture.  And from the many pictures he drew in childhood to the four years of art he took in high school, creating sculptures, watercolors, and designs remained one of his favorite pastimes. (Fuller, pg. 82)


Visual learners can sometimes be ignored in the classroom, but they are usually very good students.  They usually are well organized, good with comprehension, and they remember approximately 70 to 75 percent of what they read the first time (Fuller, pg 84).

            These abilities should come as no surprise to people familiar with cognitive processes.  It has been demonstrated that memory improves when we are able to form mental pictures (Reed, pg. 154).  With visual learners, they seem to be able to more easily imagine concepts and abstract words, hence their advantage of being able to memorize text.

            So if visualization is a powerful tool, how can we encourage it in children?  One easy way to make learning more visual is to encourage them to color code their notes and create symbols that highlight key concepts.  Younger children can learn new words and ideas by creating flash cards in which pictures that represent the word are drawn on the opposite side.  Children can aid in the creation of the drawings to further cement the concepts in their mind.  For preschool children, fostering visual skills can be as easy as asking children to describe what they see, and getting them involved in playing board games like Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land (Fuller, pg. 87, 95-96). 


            The final group that Fuller discusses is the Doers.  Doers are hands-on learners, and tend to learn best when they are interacting with new information and material.  They are highly kinesthetic and tactile, sometimes being attracted to the mechanics of how something works or obsessed with perfecting a motion, perhaps a dance move.  Doers usually have the toughest time in a traditional classroom setting, and Aaron is no exception:

The way Aaron and similar kids learn often gets them in trouble… Aarons hands-on way of finding out how things works also means dismantling the remote-control car he got at Christmas and taking apart Mom’s toaster when it wouldn’t pop the toast up.  Although he’s now the best swimmer on the YMCA swim team and a gymnast…Aaron is restless when he has to sit for long periods at his desk doing pencil-and-paper seat work… (Fuller, pg. 61)


Children like Aaron are often cited for being disruptive in class and are known to have high energy levels, but are capable of learning when they are able to somehow make their learning experience “real” to them.  Things like science experiments and dramatizations appeal to this group.

            In cognitive terms, Doers are exceptionally good at scripts (the sequences of a task), especially physical scripts, and are constantly thinking of how to improve their scripts.  It seems that their preferred method of coding Long Term Memory is through procedural memory, which is memory for actions, skills, and operations.  This may be a benefit, since procedural information is less likely to be forgotten compared to factual information (Reed, pg. 119).


            What do we do to encourage kinesthetic learning?  In early stages of learning when children are not yet able to think in abstract terms, appealing to them through physical tasks is crucial.  Children can learn math skills by adding and subtracting objects like beans and popsicle sticks.  Magnetic letters can be physically rearranged to form words on a board.  Science concepts are illustrated with experiments, aquariums, and dissections.  And in preschool children, physical affection (like hugs and pats), coupled with interactive toys and simple arts and crafts can help foster physical learning (Fuller, pg. 66, 77-78).


            The final word of advice that Fuller offers is that parents need to be active in their children’s learning, be it in the home or in the classroom.  Parents should start early with attempting to detect the learning strengths of each child, encouraging their strengths and fostering the areas where they are weak.  Good study skills can compensate for future difficulties in the classroom.  As for being active in your child’s learning experience in the classroom, Fuller has this to say:

How can children’s different learning needs be met and strengths built on in a classroom with over twenty children?... Make the teacher aware of the child’s learning style, but don’t expect her to change the class instruction and procedure just for your child…Ask for modifications that will help your child succeed and learn. (Fuller, pg. 140)


For instance, is your child Talker/Listener?  They should sit at the front of the classroom so as not to be distracted by the noises of the hallway or other students.  Is your child a Doer?  Ask if there is a way for your child to sit near the back so that they can stand up and move around a bit when they are feeling restless.  As a parent, it is up to you to ensure that your child succeeds and makes the most of their abilities.

Sometimes, a status update is simply not enough. I take time out of every day to check in to Facebook and update my status, but when I look back at what I've posted over the course of the week, it seems inadequate. It doesn't paint an accurate picture of what I've been feeling and thinking, and so I think it's time to make a journal entry and ramble to my heart's content.

Perhaps the best place to start would be to list the things that I am thankful for currently:
  • I am thankful that Dann is a thoughtful, loving person who supports me even when I feel like I'm in a bi-polar emotional state.
  • I am thankful that I have lots of groceries in the refrigerator, and so far this week I have successfully executed several good dinners.
  • I am thankful that I live in a comfortable apartment and am sheltered from the cold nights, especially when I know that not everyone recently has been that lucky.
  • I am thankful for my cat, Bella. It may sound silly, but the greatest thing about Bella is that she is excited to see me and she loves me even though she has no idea what is going on in my life and regardless of how well I am behaving.
  • I am thankful for tea and coffee, and how they are a comforting part of my morning routine. And my afternoon routine. And my evening routine.
  • I am thankful for the crisp weather we are experiencing. Every step outside makes me feel like my lungs are being refreshed with cold, clean oxygen.
  • I am thankful for new episodes of my favorite shows this fall season. I wait eagerly for Tuesday and Fridays to come around so I can watch the latest eps of Castle and Fringe on Hulu. I'm a sucker for a good story.
Now that I've gotten that out of my way, here are some things that have been bothering me:
  • I feel like I have burned out on school. In fact, I feel like I have burned out on a lot of things. It's not that I don't like school, but ever since I started last September, it has almost been non-stop. I don't really get breaks between classes or quarters. All of these mentally challenging classes plus a practicum/internship plus a full-time job makes for a very run-down Abby. I thought about taking a break from the next class so I could have some time to myself during the Christmas season, but it turns out that it's not possible because the next class won't be available again for at least two years. If I want to graduate at all in a timely manner, I will have to stay in the program and continue taking the courses in the order that they are given to me. I am frustrated at this and relieved at the same time. This is because even though I know I won't be able to get the rest I need, there is a voice in the back of my head that is telling me that if I did take a break from school, that I might be tempted to never come back. I need this degree, and I need to finish it. After so many years and so much money poured into getting this Bachelor's degree, I would feel like a failure who squandered her resources and has nothing to show for it.
  • Money has been tight as of late. Of course, I'm quite sure most people can say that right about now. Most of the time I can be responsible and restrict my spending. I've been making more meals at home, have eliminated my weekly visits to the chiropractor and physical therapist (although this makes my back hurt), and I have consistently talked myself out of buying items that I would like but I don't need. But every once in a while, I slip, and when I do, I get extremely angry with myself. For instance, I got a manicure/pedicure this last week. I justified myself by telling myself that my toes needed to be worked on anyway so that way I don't get ingrown nails in the future (and that would cost more money for a podiatrist to fix them later). Dann doesn't mind when I pamper myself. In fact, he practically encourages me to most of the time. But by the time I got home, I was annoyed at myself because I was spending money on frivolous things when we are worrying about things like rent and utilities. This last week it was nails, the week before it was makeup, and the week before it was shoes. It's hard to stop myself when noone is telling me no, including myself.
I wish things would stop, if only for a little while. I don't want to feel obligated to be anywhere. I want to have my brain to myself, not taken over by psychological theories and errands I need to run. I want to sit down and work on my novel, or take a hike along a beach, and not have to stop or cut my time short because I have an appointment or a due date.

So if you see me in person and you ask me how I'm doing, I'll probably say, "Busy" and mean it in more ways than one.


Growing up, I thought I knew what it meant to be a wife. Having been raised by a woman thoroughly trained in the ways of the nuclear family housewife, I was certain that I knew proper from improper, and what was appropriate versus inappropriate for a lady to do. Women who were proper ladies didn't raise their voices, didn't argue, and conceded to the opinion of her husband. Women weren't meant for the public arena, weren't meant to hold high positions in the church, and certainly weren't expected to keep a job after having children. As I grew older, my ideas changed slightly. I believed that women were entitled to their say in a marriage and were just as equal as a man, but they were to play the role of servant and respect the final say of her husband. I wanted there to be equality, but my old beliefs and the new ones sprouting in my head never truly reconciled, and I forced myself into a belief system about a woman's role that was shaky at best. Now, having spent spent time alongside my husband seeking to understand what it meant to be a Christian, I feel I have come to a clearer understanding. The article, “The Theology of Domestic Violence,” by Susan Hall, further confirmed what I was feeling in my heart.

I can't say I was surprised to learn that Christian women “stay far longer in the abusive context [of marriage] and in far more severe abuse than their non-Christian counterparts” (p. 1). I know several married women who have been abused in some way: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and abuse of their trust. If you ask why they are still in their abusive relationships, I will hear a range of explanations from “it's my fault” to “I cannot change him, but if I humble myself and pray hard enough, maybe God will.” We think we have evolved so much as women in the last century, but books still publish and we still believe the same lies that were just as powerful sixty years ago. A book I was given when I was newly married urged me to change my husband by first changing myself to conform to his liking: to be sexually appealing, to be a good cook, to be a good mother, and to be physically fit. I ate it up, and since this book was a best seller, I assume many other women did too.

This brings me to the women at New Way Ministries. These women are all escapees of dangerous relationships. Some of them seemed to have escaped too late. Much of their once bright personalities seems tarnished or hidden under the layers of hurt and mistrust that they wear. Because hurt and mistrust is all they seem to carry in their hearts, they unfortunately pass this on to their children as well, creating a generational curse of emotional disability. It is staggering to look down through history and see how one single abuser can end up unknowingly abusing and damaging an entire family line.

Some of these women seem to be impeccable house keepers. They work hard to keep everything clean and orderly and they are well versed in cooking; what people expect of a good wife. They bowed to every wish of their husband, thinking that this is what would get them love and value. In turn, their husbands took advantage of their good will and abused these women. It seems to be very confusing behavior, but if you think about the dynamic of the relationship, you realize that when there is an unbalanced state in the relationship where there is one person subservient to another, the dominant person will not respect the person under him, having come to the conclusion that “subservient” is equal to “lesser.” Trust is abused over and over because the woman is placed in a position where she has no say and no power in her own marriage.

What really is heartbreaking is the fact that many of these women have no means of being independent. When they arrive at New Way Ministries, they have no skills or even basic knowledge about life in the real world. Susan Hall addresses this fact:

“Finances are a critical factor in understanding why women remain with their abusive partners. Economic dependency and a woman's lack of resources are directly linked to her choice to stay in an abusive relationship... Without an advanced education or lengthy work history, these women often must raise a family on a minimum-wage job in a service profession. Since this means, many times, that they must live at or below the poverty line, many women feel that they have no choice but to stay in the abusive context.” (p. 3)


In a typical scenario at New Way, a woman goes from being dependent on her husband to being dependent on welfare in order to survive. She hasn't held a job, and because her husband sought to control her and keep her at home, she doesn't even know how to drive. A caseworker will come in and help her with many things: help her get into school or a job so that she can become self-sufficient, place her in parenting classes, teach her budgeting skills, and educate her about what a healthy relationship looks like.

Identifying a healthy relationship is something that many Christian women may not be able to recognize. So what does it look like? What does the Bible say about a healthy marriage? In the way I have come to see things, a healthy marriage is reflected in a healthy relationship with Jesus. In the Old Covenant, there were many laws that set the standard for righteousness. If you wanted to be right in the eyes of God, you had to follow the laws to the letter. If you disobeyed one, it was the equivalent of disobeying all of them. There was no way that sinful man could measure up in the light of such a high standard, and so there was a chasm created between man and God, reflected in the separation of the masses from the Holy of Holies in the temple. The subservience of woman to man was a mirror of the subservience of man to God; inequality in the marriage was a reminder of the inequality in our relationship to God.

When Christ died for our sins on the cross, the curtain was torn in the temple, giving all people access to the Holy of Holies. There was no longer a chasm that had to be crossed, and all who believed were seen as righteous in the eyes of God. So where does this leave Christian women? Paul was very clear about this in Galatians, saying in chapter 3, verse 28, that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NIV). If you believe and are a Christian, there is no longer any hierarchy; Christ leveled the playing field. We enter into a relationship with Jesus based on mutuality and love, and this is what should be reflected in a healthy Christian marriage. But what about the verses about submission in the New Testament? “As we analyze the Greek words for submission, we find two options: hypakouo, which denotes 'obedience,' and hypotasso, which has a wide semantic range but is closer to the idea of 'accept, honor, or love'” (p.4). This type of submission has been described by theologians as a voluntary yielding for the sake of love. This is the type of submission that is described both in our relationship with Christ in the New Testament, but also when it comes to wifely submission. Christ works in us and uses our gifts; we are not hidden and eclipsed by Him, but rather He chooses to let our individuality shine as we work in unison with Him to reach out in love to the world. So should this be the case in marriage. Husband and wife must work together in love, one not eclipsing the other. If Christ's love for the church was more often used as model, and we truly understood what that love means, domestic violence would no longer be seen as an acceptable, inevitable result.

 8. The History of Your Loves and Hates

This section is about attachment and passion to persons, places, or things.


When I was a child, I was obsessed with fairy tales, sci fiction, and anything fantastical beyond reality. Mermaids, “Star Wars” and others things of that nature fascinated me. These interests have followed me into adulthood, and I still am very much a fan of science fiction.


Most of my fondest memories growing up are connected to Camp Goodtimes, a camp sponsored by the American Cancer Society designed for children who were currently or formerly cancer patients. I would look forward to the one week a year where I would be surrounded by kids who understood what I went through and it wasn't treated as anything out of the ordinary. The entire atmosphere was one of love and support for one another, and the staff, doctors and nurses at the camp were there to make things as silly, exciting, and as fun as possible. I made many lifetime friends at camp, and I had the ability one year to be a counselor myself and return the favor to other kids who were going through what I went through. I still dream of going back some day and being able to counsel again. It has been difficult with my job and schooling to be able to do so.

My greatest passion in life is to travel. I was allowed to go on a trip to Western Europe when I was 13 year old, and again to the British Isles when I was 17, and ever since then I have wanted nothing more in life to be able to travel every place there is to see and to taste the food, see the history and culture, and meet the people. It motivates many of the decisions in my life and when I spend too long of a time in one spot without traveling to somewhere new, I become very discontent.

Love has always been something that I wanted very badly since I was a child. Perhaps that is why Disney movies appealed to me so much when I was a little girl. The princess was rescued and the prince was so in love with her that he faced many dangers just to be near her side. When I grew up and became very self-conscious and insecure, I was convinced that no one wanted me in the way a prince did a princess. I became very familiar with unrequited love in high school and lived a very rich fantasy life.

I also was familiar with the downsides of love as well. Many of my family members have experienced heartbreak and relationship problems, and I was able to observe and redefine what love meant to me without having to make many mistakes myself. When it came to love, I lived vicariously.


By the time I met my future husband, I felt I had a fairly realistic idea of what love was. Love was an action, not just a feeling, because feelings can come and go and mislead you. Feelings alone lead people to cheat and hurt others. I was determined show my love through not only emotion, but also in words and action. I had to remind myself that even in days when I didn't feel like I was being loved, that I needed to make a conscious decision to love back regardless. This has suited me very well in my marriage, I would like to think that my marriage has been a very happy one throughout our four years together.

Many things get on my nerves. I hate heights. I can appreciate them as beautiful, but I always have the constant feeling like the ground in going to go out from underneath me. For the same reason, I hate deep water Because of my dislike for germs, I also dislike emergency rooms, outhouses, and anywhere someone unhygienic or sick might have been.


I think my greatest hate is that of ignorance and hypocrisy. So many people argue one side of the argument while either refusing to listen to the other side or belittle it. I like to know both sides of an issue before I make a decision about it. Some people don't want to educated on the matter altogether. After traveling and coming in contact with other cultures and mindsets, it infuriates me that many Americans don't make an effort to understand anything about people outside of our own country.


Another hate of mine is seeing a child who is constantly put down or ignored by their parents. Perhaps I feel this way because I feel like I was treated more like an annoyance or something that needed constant improvement when I was growing up. Children ought to be built up and encouraged, as well as disciplined, out of love and concern. What especially makes me angry are rich people or distracted people who have children and then pass them off to someone else to raise them. Nannies and churches should not be babysitters. If you have a child and then don't want to actually raise your child, then you shouldn't have children. Period.


I have hated several people in my lifetime, but I don't think that I have ever hated anyone enough to wish that they were dead. That's a terrible thing to wish. I had a bully when I was 13 who teased me because I was dork and didn't wear makeup. She took advantage of my trust and my gullibility several times in middle school and I hated her very much back then. About five years ago, it was announced in the newspaper that her car passed into the opposite lane and she was crushed by a semi-truck. It was a bit of a shock to read that she died, and I told my friend about it, who was also teased by her. Her response was different than mine. She simply smirked and said “Good.” I promised myself that I wouldn't be so callous that I would wish someone dead.


9. The Meaning of Your Life and History of Your Aspirations and Life Goals

Values, personal mission statements, goals and dreams are applicable to describe here.


I don't desire to have a lot of material things, and I can be fairly happy with modest possessions. What I really want out of life is to be someone who pleases God and to have the unhindered ability to learn and experience new places. I am not a naturally spiritual person, but I feel closest to God when I am able to experience how complex, strange and beautiful life is, and I find that in the variety of the world's culture, art, nature, and people.


To put this in more tangible terms, my main goals in life are to travel the world, learn as much as my heart desires, have children and raise them to know they are loved and supported, to find a career that feeds off of my strengths, and to love my husband to the best of my ability.


The largest motivators in my life is to live a life of knowledge, understanding, and love. I want to get to know people and understand where they come from in every context. I want to have a better understanding of how the world works and how everything interacts with everything else. I want to love people to the best of my ability and know that people have been changed as a result of that love. I believe that if people would simply be open to learn and to love others regardless of their circumstances, the anger and fear that is caused by mis-communication and misinformation would greatly disappear. I am aware, however, that this may not be a possible goal in this world, as I am very aware of the Ecclesiastical concept that “there is nothing new under the sun.” It is very wearying and humbling to remember this. My greatest hope is that I would see the world perfected on the New Earth.

6. The History of Your Gender Identity

6. The History of Your Gender Identity

Stick to the book here, we are not looking for details but mainly about roles and identity issues.


I was definitely what is called a “girly-girl” when I was growing up. My favorite things to play were dress-up, house, and barbies. I obsessed over Disney movies and imagined myself being one of the princesses, pretty and brave and getting the prince in the end. I would frequently pretend that I was Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” and that I became a human to go find Prince Eric.


I wasn't really exposed to many boys and the kinds of games or toys that interested boys. There had always been a rule in my house that I was not allowed to have boys playing at my house, ever since kindergarten. I didn't really desire to make friends with boys, either. My first true male friends were late in high school, and even then I felt the taboo of even hanging out with one.


I was very aware of what made a girl a proper “lady.” My mom would drill proper etiquette into my head: ladies didn't wear red nail polish, only older women were allowed to wear makeup, a lady waited for a man to ask her out. My mom would remind me to keep perfect dinner manners or else “no body will ever ask you out.” I suppose a lot of this advice came from an older generation and that is why when I repeated them to kids my age, they thought it was strange. Perhaps I am a little more old-fashioned than many of my peers.


My parents were fairly old fashioned, so much so that when it came to sex education, they were extremely tight-lipped about it. I think I remember asking my mother about it once, and she said “the only thing you need to know about it is to not do it.” It was kind of hard to know what not to do when you didn't know what “it” was. Most of my education about this subject came from sex-ed classes in school and from the books that I would sneak into the corner of the library and read in secret. I tried to check one out once when I was 13, but I was yelled at by my mom for it.


I disapproved of dating back in high school and middle school. Some of this disapproval came from the fact that no boy seemed to want to ask me out, and my line of reasoning was that if I wasn't given the chance to date, everyone who was dating was stupid. By senior year, though, I was thoroughly convinced that as teenagers most of us were simply not mature enough for dating, because I viewed dating as only a means to marriage, and I still believe that today.


I was very lucky; the first man I ever dated ended up becoming my husband, and he followed all the rules that my mom set out for me. He asked my parents permission to date me, and when the time came, he also asked permission to marry me. There are not many men out there today who would follow these old-fashioned rules, but it has been hard to reprogram the way I think about these things.