"What Lies Within Us" | Exams Are Over & Oh, I'm Back!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

via Pinterest

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be... Our times are in his hand who saith, 'A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”   - Robert Browning

Dear Reader,
It's a sultry, wind-blown sort of November evening, with dappled grey skies and the occasional rumble of thunder in the distance. I woke up this morning with a silent quiver, as I flung aside the blankets and stared at the new day with kaleidoscope feelings of excitement, nervous relief and nostalgia because... well, it's been two weeks since my final study exam on the 11th. 

Last night, I went to a beautiful music concert with my sister Mary at the grand Old Museum Building - it had so many beautiful elements of lyric loveliness and pure art, in the united performances of the instrumentalists on the flute, clarinet, piano, harp and viola - in the music selection and the lovely world premier of wonderful compositions - not to mention the little sparkles of magic in the fairy lights, flower bouquet and the ever-essential deliciousness of tea and biscuits...! As I listened to the floating music of Jolivet's petite suite (look up his post-War music - it's quite lovely!) and in Chan's Nostaligia Collective in the tingling notes of the harp, the dramatic runs on the piano and the sweet song-bird of the flute, my heart soared, and I think it just really hit me, that...  

I'm done.
I've finished with school.

Those words feel so good to write, but also unfamiliar and strangely scary, just thinking how I've finally reached the end of an era, and am done with my school years.

I am so glad to be done though - so relieved, and thankful to all my loved ones, and just grateful for the Lord's enduring faithfulness through it all. My high-school education took some turns I did not anticipate or imagine, especially during this year; but I am thankful for that, despite the stress and struggles I had to overcome, as God was leading me in a wonderful way. 

If any of you have read my previous post a few months ago, I shared an essay I was writing for Macbeth, giving you a peep into what I've been doing in the past weeks of my studies. During the spring (autumn in the Northern Hemisphere :), I spent my time getting ready for 4 major all-day exams in English, Ancient History, Modern History and Visual Art. . . they were intense and more advanced than I had previously studied at school. But it was a challenge that I deeply enjoyed, despite the stress of a limited time-frame (I managed to do some serious cram-studying, guys!) and the Lord sent me just the help I needed. It was a great blessing and I learnt so SO much, I don't know where even to begin! Maybe I will share some of the things I learnt at another time, but right now it just feels so surreal to have completed something that was consuming my thoughts during all my waking-hours for the past few months. . . a hint of what university studying must be like I guess :D. 
Plutarch and Polybius were my constant companions through my Ancient History studies
Discovered Susan Wise Bauer - she's so good!
And Orwell, of course...
During those exams I, 
1. acquired a fear of the ticking clock ("woe is me, I have 5 minutes left to finish this 5-point argument thesis paper and my fingers ache, and I've only covered 3-points and I don't think I can do it!!!")
2. learnt to write dramatic and highly-emotional fictional monologues through the perspective of Daisy Buchanan, involving lots of imaginary champagne and tears...!!
3. developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of poetry (it's so fun!)
4. discovered that actually tyranny in Ancient Greece was not always that scary so long as you consulted the right oracles and had an Olympic record.
5. found that Julius Caesar could actually be deemed a likeable guy when you read him from the "right" sort of history books and that his life may actually have the characteristics of a tragic hero?
6. learnt that Hannibal's Punic Wars had a lot more to do with naval power than with elephants and that Hatshepsut was pretty much the Ancient Egyptian equivalent of a modern feminist. Just possibly?
7. concluded sagely that most likely fierce Marxism rather than Nationalism was the strain of Mao Zedong thought in Communist China. 
8. Finally, realized "Animal Farm" and "Of Mice and Men" are 2 stories that will break your heart in less than 100 pages. . . oh, and William Shakespeare was a blazingly brilliant bard, and his play "Macbeth" is every-bit as rich and exciting to read and study as I could have imagined! 

Now, I'm in a summer/Christmas break and I am both so, so excited and equally incredibly nervous about the adventurous journey ahead, and what might be in store as I take the next step in my education and love of the arts. It all really rests in God's hands, and I am learning that in a very literal way sometimes these days... it can be quite confronting but encouraging when I feel like all I have are 5 loaves and 2 fish, and there are thousands of mouths to feed and yet know that He will always provide and lift me up when I feel overwhelmed and over-taxed with worries and fears. "He who counts the stars and calls them by name is in no danger of forgetting His children." (Spurgeon). 

I must admit I feel a little scared sometimes of how the next step will be like. But as one person once said, "I do not know what my future may hold, but I do know WHO holds it." This makes me so happy. I want to abide in the arms of Jesus, and rejoice in Him always even when I cannot see the path before me. It's not blind faith, but a firm reliance in the absolute reliability and sovereignty of God in His Word. He will see me through the stormy night!

"There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." - Psalm 46

I guess those have been some of the thoughts running through my head, these last few days. Soon, I hope to write more detailed posts and discussions, which I am really excited about. But in trying to get back into blogging, and reconnecting with all my dear friends online and local, I've struggled to know what to say. There are so many things that have changed for me during this past year, that have influenced, inspired and challenged me. I've thought about things - like my writing and reading and future and what my faith truly means to me. But more than anything this year, I think I've experienced. From going travelling on a trip to the USA, studying intensely for major exams and doing some important life- decisions, I've felt broken and scared some days, happy and enriched in others - I've expanded and grown, cried and stumbled and learnt a lot. Yet, always my Saviour has been there, and strengthened my soul and helped me through it all. He's been so faithful. I'm just so thankful for His love, and the love of my dear family and friends - their prayers and sacrifices and continual encouragement. Even though in Commonwealth countries like Australia, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving like in America, I feel a silent prayer of thanks and worship to my God for all that He has done. And as I think about Christmas, and the months ahead and what they might contain, I find myself reflecting on the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." This is particularly so, when we think of the Gift of Christmas, and the awe that comes with knowing that Jesus came into this world for you and me and just how special and glorious that is!


During this summer, I'd love to get back into rich reading for my soul, and start writing creatively again. For one thing, I'm hoping to start rewriting my ancient Roman novel, The Crown of Life during Christmas - it will demand more research and possibly some story-outlining, but I'll have to tell you more about that in another post! And also I have a huge TBR that is awaiting me - I have started several books in the past months, and in a similar manner to what Schuyler shared on her blog in her last post, have finished a very few outside of my studies. Now that I'm on holidays, I'm trying to get back into swing of reading for pleasure with the right sort of book, after having had a rather taxing study year - it can be a bit slow going, but it's wonderful to be back! The books on my pile right now are all pretty exciting and rich and I can't wait to finish them. I've collected 2 new Rosemary Sutcliff books from Abebooks that I'm excited to dig my teeth into, borrowed a pile of ya science-fiction books from the library, and a Robin Hobb book, which I'll report back on. But right now I am reading a few chapters every other day from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis which I am finding to be a beautiful look into the life of faith and very accessible! For fiction, I've been reading Red Rising by Pierce Brown and it is just SO good! Totally loving it. . .  but maybe I'll review it on Fullness of Joy when I've completed it with some other Christmas-y posts, Lord willing.

And on this note, hello, my dear blogging friends! I AM BACK! :D Please message me in the comments below and tell me how you've all been doing the last few months? What have you been reading, writing, or studying? Do any of you have a special prayer request? I'd love to hear and share together. I've missed you all so much!

P.S. Lord willing, I shall be back soon with some other exciting posts, so stay tuned!

5 sweet note(s):

  1. I'm in college still but alway like to learn on my own too. I was trying to look up the music you mentioned (I need to work on my music knowledge and appreciation) and could not find the second piece/collection you mentioned. Susan Wise Baer histories look interesting, I've also wanted to try Veritas Press Omnibus collection.

    If you do read tons, please share, I get so many book recommendations through blogging, I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So great to read about what you've been learning and share a little of the journey the Lord is leading you on. Yes, loving the SWB histories here too; am on my second so far. Blessing to you as you start Christmas break and all the Lord has in store. Philippa x πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so proud of you dearie!! I hope you get to come to uni with me next year because that would be wonderful. I think you'd really like English Lit here, always happy to offer an ear if you do the subjects I did/am doing. I'm doing a music subject next year! Congratulations on finishing school!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations! Good to hear from you here on the blog again, I've missed your posts! Sounds like you've learned a ton this year. Looking forward to hearing about any book recommendations you find in the coming months... though I despair of ever getting caught up on my own reading pile o' books... life with three munchkins doesn't leave as much reading time as I once had... :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. aww.its been a long while since i have read a book! happy 2017!:)

    feel free to check my blog that i have started writing in after a long long while!
    http://webofbutterflies.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body..." ~Proverbs 16:24

It is a great delight to hear from viewers of this blog! Comments always make blogging a lot more fun, rewarding, engaging as well as being a blessing. So please type away! I try, busy schedule not hindering, to respond to each comment. And while you're at it, it will be lovely if you could sign the Guestbook page. Just please remember to keep your comments gracious and God-honouring at all times. Thank you!