Friday, October 31, 2014

WBI: Prince Humperdinck

Mwahahahaha Happy Halloween to you!

And, to commemorate such a special day, we’ll be doing our first WBI analysis on (da-dadada-da-da!) Prince Humperdinck, from The Princess Bride. The movie. We’ll stick with one medium.

Photo Credit:
Florin’s own Prince Humperdinck is planning a war. With the king infirmed and neighboring lands ripe for attacking, Humperdinck and his closest advisor, Count Rugen, engages himself to the most beautiful woman in the world—already planning her demise. His bride-to-be, Buttercup, is captured by Humperdinck’s hit men, to be executed and left on the Guilder plains. However, Humperdinck’s plans are interrupted by an unruly pirate (Buttercup’s true love, Wesley) whom Humperdinck captures, tortures, and later executes. In light of the distraction, he plans to strangle Buttercup himself on their wedding night, but is ultimately bested by Wesley and left to face his own cowardice.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Δ1789&
Role :: prince of Florin, the main political entity ruling in the king’s old age
Goal :: start a war with Guilder (cause chaos, obtain personal, financial, and political gains therein)
Bonus :: familial ties (hereditary kingship)

A Study

handsome—okay, yes, it’s an opinion. But no scars, he’s not deformed, not ugly. We’ve come to expect ugly bad guys, so, to a degree, this is a “surprise.”

smart—not the brightest guy in the universe, of course, but he knows what he’s doing.

keeps his plot to himself—unlike other villains who have a problem keeping their business to themselves, Humperdinck keeps his plot between himself, the Albino, and Rugen. The end.

faithful employees—again, the Albino and Rugen. He hires people who he can trust. There’s no doubt of their loyalty, and in the end, it is the protagonists’ initiative, and not Humperdinck’s plan, that is his undoing.

manipulation—Humperdinck convinces honorable people to do dishonorable things by disguising the dishonor; he’s sneaky.

useful skill—there is no greater hunter than Humperdinck. This not only makes him a little more interesting, but it gives him something useful to do when Buttercup gets kidnapped; it adds dimension.

coward—ultimately Buttercup, who is not exactly muscular or threatening, ties Humperdinck to a chair and everyone else gets away. For someone so intelligent it seems a pathetic way to end.

big kid—I say that Humperdinck wants to start a war for personal, financial, and political gain, but that’s just the excuse he would give his advisors. He’s bored, and war is his game. It’s an effective character flaw, but it’s hard to respect someone who doesn’t respect his subjects.

Big Idea

What is certain is that if Wesley hadn’t been there, Humperdinck would have won. Humperdinck mastered going with the flow—when Buttercup didn’t die on cue, he made other plans. When Wesley got in the way, he killed him. In fact, if it weren’t for Miracles, it’s likely Humperdinck would have started the war he wanted.

What can we learn from him?

  • bad guys need to be a real threat—if we didn’t know that Humperdinck could and would do these terrible things, we wouldn’t fear him half as much
  • they can’t prepare for every eventuality—Humperdinck didn’t plan for Miracle Max, and likewise, somewhere and somehow there is a hole in the plan to exploit
  • select flaws are powerful—Humperdinck has done nasty things, but his bad side boils down to just a couple things; expanding two or three defining features and making them as despicable as can be can be more effective than sin after sin after sin against him
  • hobbies are made to be exploited—Humperdinck hunts for sport, but the personality of a hunter, especially as he tracks down Buttercup and Wesley, reveals his cruelty

And, to conclude, my favorite Humperdinck quote: “She is alive, or was an hour ago. If she is otherwise when I find her I shall be very put out.”

That’s a wrap! Future TPB ideas include Count Rugen, Inigo, Fezzik, and Wesley, but we’ll see where we go!

Well, what did you think? My WBI Posts are still works in progress, so if you have any suggestions on how to make them clearer or more useful to me, shoot me a comment or a message through my contact form! And, for the record, do you have any more thoughts on Prince Humperdinck?

Other Sources: Wikipedia, Wikipedia, SparkNotes, Princess Bride Wikia


This is Humperdinck's Venn Diagram, if you were curious.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Your Turn: Books on the Go!

via Goodreads
It is a good thing I bought Embassy, by S. Alex Martin—it has become an adventure book.

What do I mean by that?

As of the day you’re reading this, I’ve owned this book for twelve days. Now, I originally bought the book because it was the next book at the top of my to-read list, and I needed another ten bucks or so to get free shipping on Amazon—I don’t feel about guilty saying that, because I find it incredibly hard to get excited about books I’ve never read.

In fact, I walked into all my favorite books dead positive I would hate them, but that’s a story for another day.

I bought an mp3 player, and I was excited, because flashy new toy, and I thought I knew what I was getting. Surprise! I didn’t. It was yuck. It ruined my Wednesday, too. On Wednesdays, I listen to Les Misérables for an hour and a half. (Don’t worry, I got to do it today!) For the life of me I could not find my Les Mis album, and I must tell you—a Wednesday without Philip Quast is a sad Wednesday indeed.

And so, rather than deal with the blatant lack of good music, what did I do?

I read Embassy.

I will not return Embassy.

It’s become an adventure book. Exciting things seem to happen when Embassy’s around. It is a book one can use to avoid awkward silences during AP Biology. There have been stressful moments—Embassy is a non-judgmental companion who will not chastise you if you are awake at midnight, looking for sweet escape. This was the book I was holding when my sister’s shelf dropped on my calves. They are still bruised. And this was the relief I sought after taking the ACT again.

Believe me, if you want to ruin your day really quick, take the ACT. And have your calculator break at the beginning of the math section.

Also, if you buy the physical book, be warned: the spine is a little hard to bend. So I haven’t. One night I was reading and I was into it for a good thirty minutes or so before I realized I had school tomorrow, and I lifted up and there was a line of blue on my leg where the spine edge dug into it—so be really careful while you’re reading because I kind of panicked while trying to make my skin all the same color again and immediately thought thoughts of terror and amputation.

The cover also scrapes sweat out of your fingerprints.

So, believe me, me and Embassy go way back. And I feel sure that you have had a book that seemed to be there for a few exciting events in your life. Maybe you were reading it when your house was attacked by aliens. Maybe it sang you to sleep when a loved one died. Or maybe you took it with you on international travels and saw the world with its pages at your side.

I can’t be the only one.

What are some of your most memorable ‘adventure books’? And, what adventures did you share with them? Tell me your stories in the comments below!

[Side Note: I wrote a review of Embassy here, so I will not be giving this book a Thursentary, probably. But, if you’re curious about what I thought there I am, in all of my colloquial glory.]

Monday, October 27, 2014

Merry Christmas

Flickr Credit: Moyan Brenn
I’m writing this in October, and I’m listening to my Christmas playlist, even though there’s little over a week until Halloween.

Wow, Heather, you’re really weird. It’s weird that you’re listening to Paul McCartney and Eleventyseven and the Wiggles and Enya and some random lady singing in German. It’s weird because it’s not even Black Friday yet. And a lot of these Christmas songs are heavily seasonal which means that unless it’s snowing, I don’t want to hear it.

Well, Merry Christmas yourself.

Okay, yeah, I get it. The reason Christmas is special is because it happens once a year—if we got presents every day and we ate huge turkey dinners with our families we’d be sick of it all in no time. That’s as it should be.

But, fun fact, the point of Christmas is not actually to support the American consumer society. Unless you’re Kohl’s, in which case you can stop reading. I don’t even like the flip flops I bought from you.

Christmas is about Jesus.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, okay. Or if you celebrate it non-religiously—okay. I’m not going to bug you. But the reason Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are little stripey bars on my Google calendar is because a chick gave birth to her son in a cave, some two thousand years ago.

I believe that that child was the Son of God. People have called me out on the details, the debates go on and on, and I myself have sneered at the nativity scenes (Birth was not a new concept. Do you really think they were going to make a girl give birth with a cow breathing in her ear? That’s not just ridiculous and cruel, that’s a really good way to have someone kill your cow. I’m going to guess there wasn’t snow—I’m sure some schmuck had time to take the animals outside before the performance began).

Funnily enough, the details don’t really matter to me anymore.

The thing that does matter to me is why it happened.

There God was, having a ridiculously great party up in Heaven, hitting up on the dip and getting His groove on—and then He was like, “Hold up.”

And of course, when God says to hold up, everybody holds up.

“You know what would really make this party? _________ would make this party. Oh my gosh, we need to get them here, like, pronto. Jesus, can you get onto that?”

And Jesus, being the bro that He is, was like, “You got it Pops—back in a few!”

And I’m sure God doesn’t talk like that, but I talk like that, which is kind of my point. That blank wasn’t empty when God said it—he was thinking about me. And you. Your third grade teacher. The UPS guy. Everybody.

Heather would really make this party.” 

Valentina seriously needs to be here.” 

“I want Omar dancing on that floor, pronto.” 

“Where the heck is Fernando? Get him!”

Every dang person ever would add a little something extra to that party—and God wanted it. God wanted it so bad, He sent His own son down to earth, as a person—and not the oogly-boogly mystical ghostie kind but the kind with earwax and bellybutton lint and toenails—just so that he could die.

He could die, we could live, and we would rock the house until Kingdom Come and beyond.

Talk about an invitation.

Why don’t we get excited about that more often?

I am invited to the greatest party ever. I don’t even like parties, and I think that’s completely dope. And Christmas started it all—for us.

I’m invited to the greatest party ever! I was worth it. There was a guy who was like, “Yup, I want her on my invite list,” and he DIED so that I could come. He wanted to be with me. Forever.


So I’m listening to Christmas music. Maybe it’s a little cheap, because a lot of the songs do depend on that one day—but screw it. There’s a kind of love embedded into music, that brings up memories and feeds the soul.

Also, it reminds me: Heaven is gonna be a heck of a time.

(Don’t believe me? Listen to this and this—two of my favorites. We don’t have to be boring!)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Walden-Bond Index: Revealed at Last

All right, all right—I’ve mentioned this a few times now and at last I’m making it happen. Yes, I’m going to be blogging about villains. Behold.

The Walden-Bond Index: A Condensed Version

For too long I’ve loved villains, but I haven’t had a decent way to classify them. I mean, what’s the most important thing to know about a villain? Their tea choices? Yearly income? Shoe size?

I came to a decision: no more questions. The Walden-Bond Index is my way to categorize villains and antagonists by three main factors: role, motivation, and bonus points.

role: their job descriptions and regular duties

motivation: why they do what they do

bonus points: their deluxe features

And yes, we’re going to separate the antagonist from the villain. They’re not mutually inclusive—an antagonist can be a good person as much as a villain can be. The important thing to remember is that we are looking at these people through a fictional lens—we must read and watch with open minds.

antagonist: the force that makes the problem in the story

villain: a selective representative for an ideal (possibly destructive); a hero of the night*

Each component will be represented by a symbol, which shall be as follows.

Role (Normally one category)

an organization, company, institution, or government as a whole

a Body is usually represented by one or two people to speak on its behalf; these are called “Hands” and are signified with a lower-case gamma

example: The Empire (Star Wars)

villains only; leaders marked out with idealistic and purpose-driven goals—especially for the sake of legacy

variation: Evil Scientist (less idealism, more Godlike interpretation of self)

example: Kananga (Live and Let Die)

operative who works within preexisting political and financial structures, often in a position of power

example: Hans (Frozen)

the arms, back, and legs of a loftier villain

variation: Hit Man (specific kills for cash, unclaimed by employer)

variation: Igor (lab assistant, especially to evil scientist)

variation: Assistant (antagonist only; serves a superior in a likely less violent position)

example: Kronk (The Emperor’s New Groove)

constructors and operators of new technology; typically ignored

variation: Doctor (usually medically or biologically-based, also ignored)

example: Boris (Goldeneye)

bringer of justice; may adopt other roles to exact their punishment on others

example: Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd)

villain only; killer, typically a confidante with a higher capacity for leadership, critical thinking, and good humor

example: Butler (Artemis Fowl)

Lone Wolf
a person who works of his or her own accord for his or her own goals—no superiors and no legacy

variation: Bully (antagonist only, puts down others for one’s own sake)

example: James (Twilight)

Agent of Chaos
creator of chaos and, by extension, evil

example: The Joker (The Dark Knight)

antagonist only; the common criminal, the ordinary wrongdoer

example: Thenardier (Les Misérables)

Motivation (as many as apply)

(Note: every one one of the following motivations can apply to a hero just as much as a villain—it’s just that most antagonists and villains use these motivations in a destructive way, rather than constructive. I have mixed in a few examples of constructive motivation below to make my point.)

the dissolution of preexisting orders, structures, or systems

examples: American Revolution (historical), Loki (The Avengers)

consciously and intentionally committing unforgiveable acts (or acts that are difficult to forgive, anyway) with the intention of hurting others

example: Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter)

a set of standards placed upon others and society; everyone is accountable to those standards

examples: Civil War (historical), Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter)

actions that are a direct result of one’s brain’s physical makeup, including mental illness, insanity, and psychology

examples: Lenny (Of Mice and Men), Gollum (Lord of the Rings)

actions committed because they are in an occupational position where they must follow orders

examples: Rolf (The Sound of Music), Gibbs (Pirates of the Caribbean)

the manner in which one chooses to live his or her own life

examples: Polyphemus (The Odyssey), Shepherd Book (Firefly)

the position where someone needs to do something if they want to live

examples: Jean Valjean (Les Misérables), Diabolus Darkdoom (H.I.V.E.)

Personal/Material Gain
the wish to get something physical or characteristic, presumably for a future benefit

examples: Dr. Horrible (Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog), The Volturi (Twilight)

the acquisition of strength and authority over a certain discipline

examples: The Darkling (The Grisha Trilogy), Arisaka (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja)

the accumulation of currency, or something of an equal value which can later be used for trade  or miserly purposes

examples: Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger), Prince John (Robin Hood)

Bonus Points (as many as apply) [note: list still in progress]

supernatural or unnatural capabilities controlled by the owner

variation: curse (uncontrollable powers)

example: Kronos (Percy Jackson)

extreme wealth ready for disposal

example: Syndrome (The Incredibles)

especially unique or lavish living and/or headquarters

example: Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove)

Family Ties
close connections with forebears, allowing for special privileges or training

example: Joffrey (A Song of Ice and Fire)

a particularly attractive or clever appellation

example: Cruella de Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmations)

Ultimately, an Alpha motivated by chaos, evil, and idealism possessing superpowers will look something like this:


Now, this is complicated, yes? Yes. Don’t worry—we’ll delve a little deeper into each subject as we go, and we may even broaden the list. However, I was trying to be short.

That’s the gist, though.

A couple last things—these aren’t “the categories” by any means. Along the lines of what Captain Barbossa once said, the index “is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”

The title—this is named after two of my favorite sources of villains. The first is Mark Walden, the author of H.I.V.E. and the original creator of the ideas of Alpha, Political/Financial, Henchman, and Technical Streams within his fictional school. Those ideas are his; however, I didn’t change it because I couldn’t think of better names. I’m hoping he doesn’t sue me—because I cannot afford that kind of money. We can change them later, maybe.

The second name belongs to James Bond himself, who duels with some of the greatest villains (and the worst villains, come to think of it) in our time. The WBI didn’t seem complete without including him in the mix!

Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear them below! Obviously, I’m not done yet, so anything you want me to clarify or change, I’m willing to give it a listen.

Until then—think evil thoughts, and enjoy the calm before the storm.

What do you think are the most important things to know about a villain? Who is your favorite villain?

*rest assured, I plan to go into depth on what I think a true villain is later, however, I’m trying to be brief. More later, I promise.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursentary: Thrice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

Fun Fact: I’m gonna put my announcements at the top because I know this part is easier to read than the bottom part.
Announcement 1—I guest posted at Baiting a Musetrap yesterday! Go take a peek!
Announcement 2Be here Saturday. Someone is going to be posting a particular piece that will introduce a new web series—stay tuned!

Okay, now you can read the review.

I don’t know when I first read Once Upon a Marigold. I just know that I loved it. As you may remember during September, my princess month, I learned the final book of the trilogy had been published earlier last year—obviously, I had to read it immediately.

Let’s just say it was immensely enjoyable.

Star Rating: 4/5
Because: healthy romantic relationships, disagreement, father power, not a lot of baby drama, lots of respect, perfect world with realistic problems, second chances, dragon with allergies, royal duties, bravery, motivated bad guys, party scene, carpe dium

via Goodreads
The Rundown (via Goodreads)

“Princess Poppy, the bouncing baby daughter of Queen Marigold and King Christian of Zandelphia-Beaurivage, is in terrible danger. The kingdom’s former torturer-in-chief and poisoner-in-chief have joined forces to kidnap the baby as an act of revenge for their exile! Can a ragtag parade of rescuers—including the king and queen, the evil kidnappers’ mortified children, five dogs, a white elephant, and a washed-up wizard—save Princess Poppy in time?”

Spekalation: Why It Was Awesome (Top 13 Edition)

1. healthy romantic relationships :: do you know how much faith Jean Ferris gives me when she writes these amazing romances? Yeah, they kiss and stuff, but Christian apologizes as soon as he realizes he done messed up; Marigold works hard to be kind rather than create conflict. How true love is that?

2. disagreement :: on that note, Christian and Marigold disagree sometimes. A lot of times the idea of disagreement isn’t breached in fairy tales, or else it becomes a huge conflict. Ferris’s couples don’t have to agree on everything to love each other, or to make their relationship work.

3. father power :: Swithbert is an integral father figure—to everyone, always. He loves all his daughters, though none are his by blood, and when they all grow up, he decides to become an adoptive uncle to Phoebe and Sebastian because they never had good paternal role models growing up. I love him.

4. not a lot of baby drama :: babies are interesting people, but they are also very dramatic. Poppy does get kidnapped, which is dramatic, but what I mean is that Jean Ferris didn’t spend a lot of time talking about how long the labor was or how many painstaking hours it took for Poppy to roll over or anything like that. Christian and Marigold surprisingly act like normal people for new parents.

5. lots of respect :: Christian and Marigold insist on a human respect for other people, period. They’re kind people, generous, and understanding—people are given the chance to be humans.

6. perfect world with realistic problems :: fairy tales are often criticized for being “too perfect,” and I think Jean Ferris remedies this perfectly. The land is ruled by perfect idealisms and good people, but sometimes there are bad people and unforeseen problems that simply have to be dealt with—which is really how our fantasy stories ought to be.

7. second chances :: people are judged by their own actions, but they are also given the chance to remedy their behavior and become a functional and important part of society. There’s always time for change until you die—which is an excellent theme.

8. dragon with allergies :: I just find the idea of a dragon allergic to the forest it lives in so funny. And that she falls in love with an elephant. Crazier things have happened!

9. royal duties :: the king and queen do actually have jobs as royals, and they take their responsibilities very seriously—which is cool. Too many fairy tale royals spend all their time focusing on themselves and not their people (like Olympia in the first book, come to think of it).

10. bravery :: everyone has a different scale of bravery, and I always love how the characters ultimately decide that their fears are not as important as the deeds that must be done.

11. motivated bad guys :: the villains, in this case, are miffed about being fired, but even though they are a little “normal” as villains go, they serve as decent contrasts to Christian and Marigold themselves.

12. party scene :: at the end, there’s a baby party. And it’s nice that the gifts are given with more reasonable grace under the guests’ watch—you’d think fairies are stupid with the silly gifts they give.

13. carpe dium :: as always, Jean Ferris writes the best happily ever afters.

I had forgotten how long it had been since I read these books, so I was a little surprised, actually, when I realized Thrice Upon a Marigold is written for a much younger audience (I’m getting old…). Still, I think people of all ages would do well to read a refreshing fairy tale like this one.

That being said, I suggest you go read it. Carpe dium!

Have you read the Marigold Trilogy? What did you think? If not, do you think you might want to read a fairy tale like this?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fairy Tales

Flickr Credit: Mario Lapid
As I mentioned in my latest TBR post, I have a two-volume set of Grimm’s fairy tales, and because I am taking a literature class and all too often the original fairy tales sneak into the backgrounds of other stories, I have reread them.

(And by “other stories” I don’t just mean Cress, which has broken my heart and made me want to claw at Marissa Meyer’s feet until she comes out with Winter). 

However, I am kind of developing bones to pick with fairy tales. Marissa Meyer can take a tale and spin it so that you are paralyzed with feels, completely absorbed for an entire Monday and incapable of paying attention in your classes.

Older fairy tales? Not so much. They’re like, ten pages maximum, bare as can be, and a little bit sickening in an enjoyable sort of way. Allow me to explain.

The youngest child is always the main character…

I do not just have a problem with this because I am the oldest and feel slighted, although I do not deny it would be nice to have an oldest child who was not exceptionally cruel and lazy and male.

…or, they are an only child.

The parents of said child were also abnormally infertile with one exception, which does give me the wondering if the mail man doesn’t make more rounds than usual to that particular house. It’s a little funny, is all I’m saying.

Also, that child is probably a guy…

Guys are pretty much the only people worth writing about apparently, as they are the only people who have adventures and the only kind of child anyone would want, anyway.

…and nobody likes him…

More often than not, this is the underdog we’re reading about. He is the youngest child, nobody wants him, nobody likes him, there’s every chance he’s ugly, and there’s a surprising number of these characters who are as dumb as a brick.

…unless she is actually a girl…

Every now and again the story is about a girl, but she won’t be anything like those ladies in “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” in The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

…in which case she is abnormally beautiful and selectively resourceful.

I have not yet met an ugly girl in this book. There’s always some solution the girl can use, like tricking her dad into giving her fabulous gifts so she can run away, but her goal is almost always marriage, and her brain is turned on about 10% of the time.

(As a side note, the other female characters in these stories are usually princesses, stunningly gorgeous, and either so pure the angels cry or so evil that devil spawn shun her. There’s really no in between.)

The middle class is nonexistent.

It’s like we’re in Spain after all the Moors and Jews were driven out by Isabella and Ferdinand. There’s people with a trade, but these tradespeople are remarkably bad with money, and so there are the very rich and the very poor—although the developing middle class may not have been apparent when these were written.

More than that, unrealistic things happen…

I am supposed to be suspending my disbelief, and I understand that, but for one thing, I can’t understand why so many parents loathe their own offspring. People get kind of excited about having kids in my exerience.

…especially regarding random time lapses…

A person can be born and reach manhood in the same sentence. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve always felt like there’s a little stretch between conception and somebody’s eighteenth birthday. I dunno, maybe that’s just how I was raised, but this is how it is in Fairy Tales.

…magical animals…

These forests. They are entirely populated by animals that used to be human but were enchanted by evil witches. There’s a 90% chance these animals are royal too, which makes me seriously concerned for the political standings of the surrounding countries—who the heck is in charge of these lands?

…royal marriages…

Not that I’m bashing marriage between social classes, but political marriages were very valuable. At least, I would assume it’s cheaper to hold a wedding than a war. Marrying your daughters off to third-born dunces doesn’t seem kingly to me.


Hans my Hedgehog was born a hedgehog because his father said he would have a son, even if it was only a hedgehog. I know, I know, symbolism when his hedgehog self gets burned off, I know, but I am taking AP Biology and I don’t think that’s how it happens.

…reasonable sources of help…

They didn’t have Google, okay, but sometimes these characters do incredibly unwise things and the only reason they are saved is because a magical animal pities them too much to let them die.

…or other worldly laws, physical, magical, or otherwise.

There’s a chick who can fit three dresses in a walnut. Cannibalism is common practice among evil stepmothers. Magic is used willy-nilly as a deus ex machina without ever actually pinpointing how stuff works or why it could. The world is crazy, I tell you.

I must admit, they do make good bedtime stories. And I read my favorite last night: The Story of One Who Set Out to Study Fear.

There’s morality, there’s Biblical references, there’s key points that are used over and over again in our own literature—but I’m not so unrealistic as to think they’re the epitome of story time material. They’re bare bones stories about the neglected, the unwanted, and the unworthy—and their ability to find good in the end.

Not bad.

But forgive me if I find Cress more emotionally moving.


Heather’s Good Sense not found
Please denote your favorite fairy tale in the comments
While Heather undergoes a system reboot

Thank you for your cooperation

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On Lumberjacks: A Chainsaw Story

I love my dad. He’s an intelligent guy, very generous and good at what he does. He’s an accountant. I do not have a problem with accountants, except for that is the kind of job one does behind a desk, and he wanted to cut down the tree in the back yard.

Not really in his job description.

I love him, but trusting him is a different matter entirely—especially when you are tied to the tree being cut down.

See, when you cut down a tree with a chain saw you run the risk of the blade getting pinched, especially if the tree leans in the direction opposite that you want it to fall (that’s called back lean). By attaching his three eldest daughters to a rope tied to the tree and having them use their combined body weight to pull the tree back, my father could safely use the chain saw on the tree and expect it to fall where he wanted it.

So there we were, standing in terror and contemplating our upcoming deaths. It had not escaped our attention  that said tree stood taller than our house, two electrical lines ran along in a very close vicinity, and the house and the fence—not to mention US—could easily be squished if Dad’s master plan went awry.

It did not make me feel better that Dad’s lessons came from Boy Scout activities more than twenty years ago and how-to videos on Youtube.

You can imagine how excited we were to watch our dad saw through the trunk and begin the reaction that would send us to our graves.  Well, maybe just break our bones, judging by the top of the tree. Or we could die. We didn’t know.


It sounded exactly like it does on TV. I hopped out of my harness lickity-split and watched as the tree fell like a thousand-point deer.

It landed exactly where Dad wanted it to.

Photo Credit: Holly H, my sister

We were all pleased—to be alive, to have avoided impending doom. We laughed. We did it! Woohoo!

I guess I think that’s how God seems sometimes. God is God, sure, but maybe he’s not be qualified to deal with this particular sin we’re tied to, right?

He says he can cut it down, make it better, and all we see are those things that may electrocute us or squish us flat.

And somehow, God forgives us, cuts out our mistakes and failures and does it with a 100% success rate. He saves.

Neither my dad nor God have ever really struck me as lumberjacks before—and yet, here I am. They’ve succeeded with every tree that hits them.

Unfortunately, with our trees come consequences, and I had to spend part of the afternoon helping stock up on firewood for the winter. Alas!

Where have you seen God in your life today?