I live!

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I’m not dead! Just, kinda… hiding from my blog…

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Procrastination is a nasty thing. But it’s not just procrastination. Recently, I’ve found myself dreading sitting down to write a blog post. I draw a blank when trying to write about anything. I’ve been having  a lot of doubts and fears about my writing, the quality and worth of it. I’ve also found that my blog isn’t what I want it to be. I’m not sure what I’m doing, except that I know I’m not doing what I want to be doing. I don’t know what direction I’m going in – it’s a complete rambling (which I guess is appropriate considering my blog title…).

It’s time for a change. I want there to be purpose to my ramblings, I want to be a blessing to someone, not just talking about stuff I really don’t know anything about. Not to mention I really want to move to blogger.

So I’m moving. Yep, Ramblings is moving to Blogger and getting a complete rehaul. A different name, look, and a slightly different direction. I’ll spend the month of May getting everything set up, and I’ll move there the 31st.

See you on the other side of the month!

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Christ is Risen! // Pascha 2017

 

Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!

Pascha! Pascha is finally here! Pascha, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is the word that the Orthodox use for Easter. It means Passover, from Hebrew I believe, transliterated into Greek and then transliterated from Greek into English. I don’t remember how exactly the date is determined, but it’s differently than Western Easter and it’s not often that the two overlap. This year was a rare occurrence in that I can tell my friends Christ is risen without getting weird looks.

This is the icon for Pascha

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You can see Christ, the new Adam, raising the old Adam and Eve from the grave and trampling on the gates of Hades. All the people in the back are various prophets and saints from history, including King David and St. John the Baptist.

The hymns from Pascha are my absolute favorite hymns of all time. The church we attended uses mainly the Russian tones for them, and I’ve tried to fine the same ones we use on youtube so you can hear it.

At the beginning of the service the priest sings “Come receive the light from the Light, that is never overtaken by night. Come glorify Christ, who is risen from the dead.”

We light our candles, singing “Thy Resurrection, O Christ our savior, the angels in heaven sing. Enable us on earth to glorify you in purity of heart,” and we process around the church singing, the bells ringing.

When we reach the doors again, the priest reads  Mark 16: 1 -8, where the Myrhbearing Women are told “He is not here, He is risen!”

Then the priest knocks with the cross on the doors of the church, saying “Lift up your gates, O you princes; and be lifted up, you everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in.”

From inside the church a man bellows back “Who is this King of Glory?”

They go back and forth, reciting the dialogue from Psalm 24, then finally the doors are opened, and we stream in, singing Christ is Risen at the top of our lungs.

Then we sing the Paschal Cannon, which is long and beautiful and amazing, and one of my favorite smaller hymns from it is the the Kontakion (in Tone 8 at my church)

You descended into the tomb, O Imortal Lord.
Yet you destoryed the power of Hades!
As conqueror You rose, O Christ God,
sying “Hail!” to the myrrhbearing women.
You gave Your peace to Your apostles
and granted resurrection to the fallen.

I tried to find what it sounds like so you can hear it, but there is literally nothing on youtube.

After this, and a homily by St. John Chrystosom that is read every year, we celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrystosom. Only, instead of some of the original prayers, we have Paschal prayers and hymns and it’s beautiful.

There is a hymn to the Theotokos (what we call Mary) that is sung several times during the service, and every service for the rest of Pascha, called the Angel Cried. My brothers generally sing it on repeat well into September.

Finally, here’s Let God Arise, my absolute favorite hymn of all time. The first line is actually written on the back of my cross in Russian. The “Christ is risen from the dead” at the end of this is the one we sing the most at my church.

I know it’s a lot videos. But I really encourage you to listen to all of them. They’re absolutely beautiful.

So.  Pascha stories. I don’t actually have a lot of those – I’ve only been to three Paschas in my life, but this year’s was pretty funny.

So as a part of the service, as I mentioned earlier, we process around the church. Then we assemble in front of the doors, read the gospel, sing Christ is risen, and then the knocking and “Who is this King of Glory?” happens. Only, this year, as soon as we stepped outside the church the wind blew all the candles out. Then half way around the church it started to rain. By the time that the Gospel was brought out, it was pouring. Father Tim read slightly quicker than normal. We sang Christ is Risen, then Father Chris knocked on the doors. But instead of saying “Lift up your gates O you princes,” he immediately opened the doors and said something along the lines of “Everybody in!” We all streamed in faster than I’ve ever seen before. *grins* My brother was soaked through his nice shirt. I happened to be standing right next to a couple with an umbrella, so I wasn’t too badly off.

What’s really funny is when you look at it from my dad’s side of things. He was the person who was supposed to play the devil, the one who demands “Who is this King of Glory?” He was apparently just drawing breath to bellow out the question when Father Chris pushed the doors open on him.

I’m afraid this post was a little garbled. But hopefully, if you’re not Orthodox, it gave you at least a little taste of what Pascha’s like. If you want to read the Paschal homily of St. John Chrysostom (I highly recommended you do), here’s a link.

Christ is risen!
Χριστός ανέστη!

What’s your favorite Easter hymn? Do you know “Christ is risen” in any other languages?

Blog Updates

Hello all!

You might have noticed my silence last week. You can blame school for that (and blogger’s block and laziness, but we won’t mention those). I’m afraid there isn’t going to be much of a post this Monday, either, just a few blog-maintenance things and an announcement. But more about that later.

For one, I’ve been working hard this past week to update and add pages and the like to the menu bar up there. *points up* Once I realized that I wasn’t going to get a post out on any day resembling Monday, I figured I’d actually work on revamping those.

  • The Bookshelf. It’s no longer a reading log but a virtual bookshelf of my favorite books. At the moment it only has a few books, but it shall be added to as time goes on and I read more (and remember books).
  • This is Me. Still pretty much the same bio as before, I just finally updated my age.
  • My Writing. Yay! First new page! Basically it’s a list of my various writing projects, with summary and status.
  • Links. Much links. I’ve got (most of) the places where I exist on the web, if you wish to stalk, a list of the blogs I follow (they’re all really good), and a bunch of helpful writing links (to be added as I make the related blog posts).

For the second, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I’m thinking I might want to switch over to blogger. I know, after all the formatting I did this week. I quite like the simplicity of wordpress, and the coding that appears to be involved with blogger scares me, but it can look really nice. And the comments on wordpress, at least this particular theme, do not let anyone reply after a certain number. I think I get three comments on a chain, and then it blocks replies. That’s kinda a big make-or-break issue. So blogger people, come and tell me why I should use blogger!

Lastly, the announcement. I’m part of Jessica Wheaton’s book cover reveal!! *squeals* That’s happening this Friday, so I’m going a little off my regular blogging schedule. I’m very excited to do this – the book looks amazing, and she’s a very good author, too.

That’s all for now. See you Friday!

What do you think of the new pages? Are they readable?
What do you think of a move to blogger? Would you follow?

The English Language

Image result for lindisfarne gospelsEnglish is such a great language, isn’t it? I mean, where else can you get a sentence like “All the faith he had had had had not effect on his life” and it makes perfect sense?

I’m afraid I don’t know much grammatically about the English language. I can use proper grammar, but it’s instinctual for me. I probably couldn’t define what an adjective is. I couldn’t diagram a sentence. I probably know more about Latin and Greek grammar than I do English. But I do know a bit about the history and etymology of it, and it’s fascinating to look at.

Just starting with the sound of the language. Chances are that the majority of people reading this post speak English fluently. Or your reading with google translate, but that seems less likely. Anyway, you probably can’t really hear how you or other people sound. Obviously, if someone has an accent that’s different than that used on a regular basis around you, it’ll sound different, but sound of the words, regardless of who’s speaking, is going to sound different than listening in to someone speaking German fluently. I remember when I was little and listening to a German mother scold her toddler on the playground across the street from my house. It was the first time I wondered what English sounded like to someone who didn’t speak it.

That was something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to figure out, since I can’t just forget how to speak English. I’m old enough now that even if I never heard or spoke it for 15 years I’d still remember how. But yesterday I was watching an American TV show for the first time in a long time. Normally I prefer the BBC to anything American. The majority of the cast is American, but there’s a few English actors (with wildly differing accents) and one Scot, so I had a chance to listen closely to the various accents all speaking to each other, and I noticed something. English sounds a bit like small stones tumbling over and over each other, pebbles falling. Listen to people speaking English, either around you or on Youtube. Can you hear it?

But that’s not why I wanted to make a post about the English language. I wanted to talk about the history, the way it changed. (Full disclaimer here: I’m no expert, this is mainly stuff I’ve picked up from various books I’ve read)

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to separate English into four “periods”. First, there’s Old English, also called Anglo-Saxon. This is, unsurprisingly, the language of the Anglo-Saxons. It was used widespread from roughly the 5th century, when the Saxons invaded England; to the 11th century, when the Normans invaded. It’s rather closely related to German. Then there’s Middle English, where the Normans’ French and the Saxons’ Old English melded together. This is much more recognizable as our Modern English, and you could probably at least get the gist of what you read if you picked up Canterbury Tales. Then there’s Elizabethan English. I almost included this with modern English. This is the language spoken in England around the time of Shakespeare, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Think “thee” and “thou”. Finally there’s modern English, which is what we speak now.

Do you know that you could probably read some Old English, or at least recognize some words? J.R.R. Tolkien, professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, composed a poem/riddle in Old English and translated it into modern English. The first two lines go like this:

Hæfth Hild Hunecan hwite tunecan,
ond swa read rose hæfth rugide nose;

At first glance it looks like nonese, or perhaps German, but when you compare it with the translation, it’s really easy to see the similarities.

Hild Hunic has a white tunic
And like a red rose, a ruddy nose.

It’s a re-imagination of the nursery rhyme “Little Nancy Etticoat”.

Then there’s Middle English, the language of England during the High Middle Ages, the time you think of when you think knights and castles and princesses. This is the language that Canterbury Tales were originally written in. This is the first two lines of Canterbury Tales, pulled from a (hopefully reputable) site I found by googling.

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote

While Chaucer had, by today’s standards, atrocious spelling, it’s still readable. The translation to modern English that the copy on my bookshelf has is this:

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root

Really all the translator did was change the spelling of a few words and translate one that we don’t use anymore. But it’s fascinating to watch the progression, even up to this point.

Then there’s Elizabethan English, the language of the King James Bible, of Shakespeare, of the Pilgrims. It’s now mainly used at Ren Faires and reenactments, or in some churches. Most people tend to think of it as the “fancy language”. The language people used talking to kings. I thought that, too, for the longest time, but I recently learned that that’s not the case. The thees and and thous are actually the intimate form, the words a father would use to speak to his child. Words like “you” were the formal words, as well as the plural. If you were addressing a large crowd, you wouldn’t say “I wish thee to remove thy chickens from my corn patch,” you’d say “I wish you to remove your chickens from my corn patch”. Or something to that effect. I don’t actually know the proper grammar of how the sentences went together.

When I first learned that I thought “oh, cool,” and proceeded to use it whenever I needed to for writing purposes and the like. But the more I thought about it, the more awe-inspiring it because. Because think about it. God, the Creator of the whole world, addresses us with “thees” and “thous”, and we’re instructed to do likewise. Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. So when we use “old fashioned” language in church, it’s not just “old fashioned,” it’s awe-inspiring and amazing and wonderful.

Now I must confess. This post was not just to geek out about the English language. There was quite a bit of that, yes, but I had a bit of an ulterior motive. Over the past two weeks I have come across quite a few instances of people talking about Shakespeare and saying things like “it was hard to read the Old English at first…”. The first time I ran across it I winced, but figured I was probably be a bit nit-picky and so ignored it. But after the fifth time in a week, I remembered I had a blog, and thus this post was born. But it’s still fun to geek out about language and everything that goes into it. I didn’t even mention the romance languages and how everything interconnected and all the cool stuff… Maybe some other time.

What did you think? Would you recommend any good remedial grammar program for high schoolers? 😛 

 

Here we goooooooooooooo!

Hello!

I have decided to start a blog. Do I have time for this?

But I’m doing it anyway. I need accountability for my writing, and , if I ever decide to get published, having a blog to shove at editors/publishing people (strictly in the politest sense, of course) is probably a good thing. Pulse I can advertise my friend’s stuff.

So you’re probably wondering who’s writing this at you. Or, more likely, you’re a friend or family member that I shoved the link at and begged you to take a look. Either way I’ll do a brief introduction. I’m a fifteen year old Orthodox Christian who loves to write and read and think. If you want to know anything else, look up there. *points to ‘This Is Me’*

I’m completely new to this blogging thing. So far all I have is a vague list of ideas for things to post about and a tag-thing that a friend tagged me in almost a year ago. I have stalked various friends blogs to see how they run them, but I am still feeling my way through all this, and this blog is currently under construction, new parts being added daily.

That’s all I can think of to say for now, so, until next Monday, have a moose.