Saturday, October 31, 2009


If you're going to read one thing here, read Amy's post on Desert Spirituality over at On A Joyful Journey. It's a further meditation on the journey God lead her on after she lost her oldest daughter, and exactly where He took her is a wonder.

A church in my old diocese has been forced out of their property:

In the days leading up to the turnover, there were few visible signs of change at the church. One, however, was unmistakable, contained in a message from the Book of Hebrews on the marquee out front. "You joyfully accepted confiscation of your property," it read.

On Sunday, Holman plans to preach about its meaning, quoting from the remainder of the passage as he tells parishioners that their fight for their principles will bring "better and lasting possessions" -- a reference, he said, to Jesus.

Then, given the day, here is a post appropriate for All Hallow's Eve, Not Afraid of the Dead.

And, for tomorrow, Susanne Dietz writes For All the Saints.

I'm thinking of making this coiled cloth basket - so pretty!

And the obligatory YouTube videos:
Love this - the best moment is when he first takes the audience to a new note, and they all laugh in delight as they realize what they just did:

And this video makes me think that sometimes it just really is worth it to work really really hard to train your body to do something that delights you. (Which is why I'm considering taking up the unicycle.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

next year's devotional plan

I’m almost to the end of my year of reading through the Bible. And part of me just wants to dive right in and start again. I can feel it changing how I view the world. But I think I’m going to make reading all the way through an every-other-year thing. That sounds unsatisfactory right now, but if I take the long view, and think about having it be every other year for the rest of my life, that sounds okay. (I know I can't know what's going to happen or if there even is going to be a rest of my life, this is just the plan I'm going with, if the Lord wills it to be so.)

I think next year I want to memorize big chunks of it.

But how big? And which chunks? That’s what I’m thinking about.

Top contenders in my mind right now:
1) memorize a gospel. Probably John or Mark.
2) memorize Ephesians.
3) memorize James.
4) memorize James and Ephesians.
5) memorize the top Psalms (i.e., Psalms of Ascent, Psalm 1, Psalm 90, etc.)
6) Choose 12 long passages and memorize one per month. Go for some prophets, some wisdom lit, some gospel, some epistles.
7) memorize one epistle, and a few other long passages.

So . . . yeah. Too much good stuff! :D

Part of it is that I want to really let some of what I’m reading this year sink deep, deep, deep. Also, memorizing scripture will also, I think, change how I look at the world, and in the right way. I want Christian eyes and a Christian mouth, and for that I need a Christian heart. I want to read the words over and over again, until they get so familiar that they're boring, and then until they get so familiar that they are amazing.

I also need to decide what version I’m memorizing in. I have a strong leaning towards King James, just because it’s the most beautiful, but I don’t want to lose any meaning in out-of-date or inaccurate translation. I don’t want to do NASB because it’s clunky, and I don’t want to do NIV because it over-translates in parts (nope, I'm still not over "flesh" being translated as "sin nature").

I suppose if I have the whole year to memorize it, I’ll have plenty of time to read it in a couple of other translations, so doing it in King James shouldn’t jeopardize my understanding of the passages or book. I can make sure I know what the words me, and educate myself about any inaccuracies.

Anyone have any good translation suggestions? Anyone else interested in making 2010 a year of Bible memorization? (It'd be cool to have a few partners in the venture, even if we weren't memorizing the same parts.)

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

p.s. I suppose it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: the biggest thing I'm doing in order to make this decision is laying it before the Lord in prayer. It might be that I get to choose, but I want to know if there is something specific He wants me to do (maybe I'm not even supposed to be memorizing!).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Songs I know about because of youtube

There are a few songs I wouldn't know about were it not for the wonders of youtube. And yes, I now own all of them, the better to enjoy them. (Pay those artists!) Maybe you'll like them too. Happy weekend to y'all!

(I'm not sure this is the video that originally introduced me to this song - some of the art is kind of goofy, and I don't remember that - but it's a great song, nonetheless.)

Love this!

(I might have linked to this before, but the stop-motion photography is really amazing.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

going grey

I just read a long thread in the well-trained mind forums about hair-dying. It was really funny, because most of the responses were something along the lines of "well, I'm fine with others going grey, but I started going grey so early that I had to dye."

Which makes me think that, actually, it's probably pretty normal to start go grey in your twenties. We just don't think it is because there are so few women in our country who don't dye their hair.

I freely admit my bias: I dislike dyed hair. Doesn't make me think horribly of women who do, I just really prefer seeing real hair. I think it's more interesting.

But, whichever side of the (non)debate you fall on, isn't it weird to think that we see so little natural hair that we have no real idea anymore of when people commonly go grey? Or how much of the population actually is blonde? (A much smaller proportion than you'd think if you just go by how much blonde hair you see. Same for redheads.)

I think the funniest story about this I've heard comes from my mother, who has the most gorgeous hair I've ever seen (which, sadly, I didn't inherit). It's a deep gold. Just the loveliest dark blonde, with natural light highlights and red lowlights. And unlike most blondes, it's incredibly thick. (Did I mention that somehow it didn't get passed on to me?)

Okay, actually I like my hair. And with my olive skin, I'd make a really silly blonde. But still. Not fair. (Also not fair? The fact that my brother has long eyelashes and I don't. He's a boy! He doesn't need them!) (Um. Love you, Josh!)

Anyway, one day my mother was standing in line at the grocery store, and a lady waiting with her asked her where she'd had it done. My mom thanked her, but said that it was natural. The lady said, "No, where did you get it done?" "I was born with it." "No, really! Where . . ." The conversation continued along these lines for awhile, my mom insisting she was born with it, until the lady threw a fit and said, "Fine! Don't tell me!"

What's so funny about this story to me is that fake color has become so common in our society, that when someone sees the real thing, she can't believe it isn't fake. If I were a preacher, I'm sure I could get a moral out of that somehow.

My mom's hair is starting to go grey now, though it's hard to see, since the grey blends in with the blonde. My hair is going grey too, and it's easier to see, since I'm dark, although it's still just four or five hairs.

Will I dye my hair as the number increases? I don't know. I don't plan to, but I now you change your mind about things sometimes as you get older.

Though from what I've observed so far about my greys, I think I'd rather have their texture changed than their color! (And I could see dying my hair grey completely if the slow transition gets to be too much of a pain. Honestly, I'm hoping for my great-grandma's beautiful pure white.)

What about you? Do you think it's weird that seeing a grey-haired sixty-year old is less common than seeing a brunette one? Did you (like me) start to go grey in your twenties? Is our idea of what "looking old" is screwed up? Do you like dying your hair, and if so, do you think that fake highlights ever look as good as real ones? I know I'm in the minority on my opinion about how dyed hair looks, so I'm curious about what it looks like from the other side.

And again: no great moral point here, and no hate for those who are on the other side of this. It seems to me mainly about aesthetics. (Though here is a fascinating article about some of the possible sociological effects.) Any thoughts?

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

p.s. Okay, I don't quite hate all dyed hair. I think that dyed hair that is an unnatural color (e.g., purple) is kind of fun. I don't like dyed hair that is trying to look natural, 'cause it's annoying. Dyed hair that's trying to look dyed? I think is kind of awesome. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Wow. Wow. That entire series was worth it for the last book. I don't know if I've ever read a book that concluded so well.

My hat off and the deepest of bows to J. K. Rowling. Wow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Harry Potter vs. the Cullens

I'm having a very weird literary experience right now: I'm reading both the end of the Harry Potter books and the end of the Twilight books - first time through, on both counts.

I'll follow with a fuller review of both later, but just now I have to say that they've very different from each other, despite both being YA fantasy.

I've read Stephanie Meyer says her books are about love. And I've read that J. K. Rowling says her books are about death. And I can see why they'd each say what they've said.

But here's the thing, as I go back and forth between the two series: I think they've got it switched. For one thing, Meyer's love reads a bit more like lust to my eyes, and I can't help but twine that with the theme of death, as in "the wages of sin is". (Despite her best efforts - and her stories are very compelling - the "undead" never lose their creepiness. If you think about it, that's probably a good thing.) And there is death aplenty in the Rowling's books, but I keep thinking of, "No greater love has a man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends." For all about her stories that makes me uneasy, in their best sections, they're about that kind of love.

And then, when I think about that verse, the "no greater love" one, I think about what Jesus said next, that he has called us his friends . . . and then I'm not thinking of Rowling's books or Meyer's books at all, but rather about Jesus.

There's only so much you can say about death and love in fiction before your mind forces you back to the bright light of the real world in order to sit and contemplate the victorious One who by dying conquered death, and that because of the great love He has for mankind.

And so I'm back to wondering why I read fiction at all. Perhaps because even in its imperfection, fiction prompts us to ponder reality in deeper and deeper ways. Perhaps it's even the imperfection itself that prompts us toward meditating on God and his mercies. When we read world-building exercises that are lacking in some areas, it makes us think about how they're lacking, and what is really true, in the real world, the one God Himself made. The good parts of the fiction show us the glories we might, for our blindness, have missed on our own (like how Aslan makes you realize what joy really means) and the imperfections make you yearn for the real, God-created world again (like how Edward Cullen makes you shiver at the idea of an all-human eternity).

I don't know - and I'm not trying to start a Harry Potter fight or a Twilight fight. I think in both cases you can make a decent argument for reading them and a decent argument against. (Though, disclaimer: I'm pretty sure Twilight would be bad for teenage girls full-stop, and not because of the vampires, but because, though the heroine saves herself for marriage, she acts nothing like the way a real girl wishing to be chaste would need to act. If you want to be chaste in the real world, you have to flee temptation, not wallow in it. That's just the reality of making the decision to wait till marriage. You have to be like the little sister in the Song of Songs, you have to be a battlement. And in terms of how virtue is practiced, Twilight is wildly unrealistic, and I don't mean unrealistic in the "there are no werewolves in real life" kind of way. Fantasy is supposed to be unrealistic in that way. But virtue is supposed to translate pretty directly in fantasy; that's the point of the genre, really. Bella's actions are just bad modeling, and Meyer is so good at making her situation emotionally appealing that I think the book hangover could be very damaging at that stage of life. I'm sure there are exceptions, but fifteen-year-olds aren't known for their objectivity, you know?)

Okay, I got way off track there. Anyway, anyone else read both series and have the same impression? Oh, and am I going to change my mind when I read the last few books?

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

p.s. Touchstone has an article in its upcoming issue about Twilight that sounds absolutely fascinating.

Finding Your Voice, or, It's All About Worldview

In writing circles, people talk a lot about "finding your voice". This confused me for a very long time, until I realized that what they meant - aside from being consistent stylistically - was "have a coherent worldview that you always write from". In other words: be a an integrated person, and let your writing come out of your true self. Also, hopefully? out of your mature self. (Um, make that, maturing self. As that process oughtn't to come to an end till death.)

Voice has a lot to do, I think, with what you think is important and with what you think is true. You're not supposed to write didactic books (i.e., stories where the moral is the point, rather than the story being the point), but on the other hand, nobody likes stories that lack a moral perspective (even if that perspective as simply as, "happy ever after is good" - a common moral in your basic romance). I think that "voice" is where that moral has to come in. It's not what's explicitly said in the narrative, it's what's implicitly assumed on the part of the author. And those implicit assumptions are a lot of what attract us to an author. For instance, one of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, has an implicit assumption that biology matters - that a person is not just soul, but body. Their bodies matter: their disabilities, their level of exhaustion, their gifts, their predispositions, etc. That always comes through in her stories. Her characters aren't just cerebral; their decisions always show up in their bodies or their actions. I appreciate that, and it's something that draws me to her books.

One day, when I was thinking about voice, and about mine in particular, I came across this quotation in Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel:

The gospel of grace calls us to sing of the everyday mystery of intimacy with God instead of always seeking for miracles or visions. It calls us to sing of the spiritual roots of such commonplace experiences as falling in love, telling the truth, raising a child, teaching a class, forgiving each other after we have hurt each other, standing together in the bad weather of life, of surprise and sexuality, and the radiance of existence. Of such is the kingdom of heaven, and of such homely mysteries is genuine religion made. The conversion from mistrust to trust is a confident quest seeking the spiritual meaning of human existence. Grace abounds and walks around the edges of our everyday experience.

I read that recently as I flipped through that book, looking for a certain anecdote. But, in all this thought about what my “voice” as an author is, I thought that this came close to describing it.

My voice is something like “domestic glory”. It’s about home and sex and God. It’s about seeing God’s glory in the middle of home. It’s about what “home” means. It’s about romance and dogged faithfulness. It’s about grace not just once, but every day. It’s about salvation in the midst of grinding tedium. It’s about how grinding tedium isn’t grinding tedium but is, on second glance “a long obedience in the same direction”. It’s about how we, male and female, reflect the glory of God. It’s about how a view of the mountains ravishes your soul but how you are not allowed to spend all your days gazing at the mountains. But about how someday that stomach-dropping thrill of terror and delight will be permanently yours when you fall down at the feet of Christ on the Mountain of the Lord. It’s about how sex is not a spectator sport, but how at the same time sex can be used as a metaphor for just about everything and how we put almost everything into it: hope, fear, delight, duty, joy, desire, anger, escape. And how it’s not just a metaphor, but our en-souled bodies acting out a spiritual truth: this is unity, the two shall be one, the two are still two. And there is fruit that comes of that, there's new life. And in life there is fecundity and there is intricacy and the waste is at war with the abundance, and not everything good survives but everyone who turns to Christ is saved. And life's a mess and we hate the mess and He hates the mess too, but He will come in triumph and judge the living and the dead. And it will one day be all put right and it will one day be finished.

Anyway, I’m babbling now. But this is something like what I’m about. That if you look very hard, you can see it. You can see God’s glory in everyday life. And that every day we walk in the midst of a story. Real life is NOT less interesting than fiction. And good fiction is NOT less true than real life. We walk in the midst of a story. We are not the authors. But if we look closely, we may be able to discern the author’s intent. And if we ask, He may help us to see it as He sees it.

So when I write, I write stories that try to say that. Not by saying all that, like I just did here. That would be non-fiction, and I'm just not that good at it. But this is my worldview; this is what other writers would call my "voice". And if I do my job well, when you read my stories, and follow my characters through their adventures, for an hour or two, you might see the world something like this.

And writing all that makes me remember, once more, why I have to be careful about what I read. Because my thoughts and emotions do tend to echo the novels I've read recently. In other words: there are authors out there who have really good, strong voices, and you should always beware of letting someone else into your head. :D

Anyone else get "book hangover"? And who gives it to you? Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? Or, as I suspect, does it depend on the author?

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Amy at A Joyful Journey writes about the living with the loss of her eldest daughter and the hope of Christ in Grief in the Shadows. This is the gospel. Thank you for sharing this, Amy.

For my fellow writers: This Is Your Job.

A post from Matt Kennedy: Why Read the Bible? I especially appreciate his reminder that we all worship something.

The customer's not always right . . . especially when it comes to those new-fangled computers. This is hilarious - thanks for the story, Josh!

And again, thanks to my brother: check out this ceiling covered in beetle carapaces. It's beautiful!

After reading up on growing out my hair, I couldn't help but find this trailer really interesting. I have no authority to speak to the issues this movie is about, but the way culture and personal appearance interact is eye-opening.

Hope you had a good weekend!
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Friday, October 9, 2009

reading the New Testament after reading the Old

I'm reading the Bible chronologically this year, and I've just made it out of the Old Testament (yes, in October).

Wow. It's like when you've spent a few months watching TV shows on your little laptop and then you go over to a friend's house and see something on her HD. You thought you'd been watching before - and you had - and you thought'd you'd gotten the gist of it - and you had - but you had no idea how brilliant and big and glorious it all was.

Reading the gospels after reading all of the Old Testmanet is like that. My jaw keeps dropping.

I read Joseph addressed by the angel as "Son of David" and the weight of that label astounds me. He's introduced by the gospel writer as "a righteous man" and then, when he obeys the angel without question, you see that it's true. With his simple obedience and good heart, this is an Isrealite Jeremiah would have swooned over.

I hear the story of Jesus making a whip of cords and driving the merchants out of the temple and I almost can't catch my breath, because it's HIM, it's the LORD. It's the same Person, the same words, but all of the sudden He is a man and He's present and this is what the God of Jeremiah and Isaiah and Ezekiel does when He becomes incarnate. He chastizes and punishes, and yet spares, and He tells you why He's doing it and He cares. It's like the words of the prophets come to life and walking around. In fact, that's exactly what it is.

This isn't anything new and special; I think everyone who's read the OT and then the NT has probably seen this. But it's stopping me in my tracks with amazement nonetheless. Because it's the same personality. The continuity isn't in genre or time period or even cultural mores. But it's in person. Jesus is God. With the OT so fresh in my mind, I can see it in every word He speaks, in every action He does. This is the God who created, who loved, who chose, who guided, who dictated, who rebuked, who urged, who forgave, why will you die, oh Israel?, who promised. This is what God looks like when He becomes man, this is what He has to look like. This is why writing "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever" was true. Because He was, and He is, and He will be.

Wow. Just, wow.

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Monday, October 5, 2009

falling in love, but not for real

So, as I was doing dishes, I was thinking about my WIP (work-in-progress). Specifically, I was trying to think of a good model for my heroine. There are actually a few real-life people she reminds me of, but I need a different physical model.

I read an interview recently where an author said that when she copies her friends’ personalities for her characters, her friends never notice unless she copies their looks too. As soon as she copies their looks, they say, “hey, that’s me!” But if she just copies their personalities, they never know it’s them.

I thought that was really funny.

Anyway, that’s part of the reason for finding a celebrity to serve as my heroine’s physical model. But here’s the creepy part (at least, when I discovered that this was true, I thought that it was a bit creepy): to write a romance, you have to be half in love with your characters. I mean, you have to be able to think like the heroine enough that you fall in love a bit with your hero. Otherwise, you can’t write her emotions properly. And you have to think like the hero enough to fall in love a bit with your heroine. The creepy part? Trying to fall in love a bit with a character that you’ve based on someone you know just feels really weird. Hence: the celebrity model.

(quick interjection here: my current hero and heroine are NOT based on anyone I know. For me, that's just too awkward, because if I truly based a character on a friend, how could I ever answer them if they asked? But they do remind me of a few people.)

But then I got to thinking: if it feels weird to fall in love a bit with someone you know, shouldn’t it feel weird to fall in love a bit with someone you don’t? with that celebrity model? Or, even more pertinently, with your character? Isn’t that a bit odd?

I suppose the first answer is: it's not really falling in love. It's just something like falling in love.

But after having said that, I don't think I have a good answer, at least not without defending fiction itself as an enterprise. The whole point of stories is to identify with the characters. You get scared alongside the hero, gird your loins for the battle when he does, groan at his defeat, wince at his stupidities, share in his triumphs – all this as if they were your own. Your arm is seconding his at every sword thrust.

And fiction, as such, seems pretty defensible. Parables, at least, are. And don’t we find ourselves there?

Which brings me back to my hero and heroine. The first point of novels, I think, is to entertain. Drawing you in is the point. Otherwise, you’d just read essays. If a novel is a message book, it’s a failed novel. Let’s get that clear.

On the other hand, if the novel has no message, it’s probably a failed story. But the message should come out of the story. The point is, that we live life. The point is, if we learn nothing from our life, we’ve lived it badly. It’s the same for our hero and heroine.

So, what about romances? Well, part of the point of reading romances – aside, of course, from the main point: reading a good story – is learning a bit more about what it is to love. How we ought to desire, to woo, too win. How to begin as we mean to go on. How to be begin at all. How to begin again.

(Which is part of why, btw, a certain variety of romance is crap. Because the answer of “how do I order my desires aright?” is not “by taking a thuggish brute, having lots of implausible s** with him, and thus turning him into Dad of the Year.” Yeah. No.)

Romance is the glory of finding someone utterly Other, nonetheless loving him, and shaping yourself round so that you can live happily together. It’s surrendering a life where you put yourself first, and committing to – ever after – making someone else’s good your good too. It’s self-sacrificing to the level not just of your soul, but of your body. It draws you out of yourself and at the same time gives you a reflection back at yourself so that you can see the beauty you didn’t know was in your own face.

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

p.s. I finally decided that the person my heroine resembled most physically - though she's not quite right - is Robin Wright Penn, as she was in the Princess Bride.

Friday, October 2, 2009

crown braid on shoulder-length hair

Kerry asked, so . . . here is what my crown braid looks like from the back (forgive the glare from the flash!):

In this picture, I started the braid over at the right, just above my ear, braided all the way around, counter-clockwise, and ended in a tail that would have stuck a couple inches off the right side of my head. I then pinned that tail up so that it ended at the same spot where I started the braid, which makes it look like a complete circle.
And this is what it looks like from the front:

I'm sorry I don't have a picture of my hair down. It's only down in early in the morning and late at night, and it's usually dark then! But it's about at my shoulders.

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

growing your hair long: a few tips

Heather asked what I'd learned about growing out your hair, so I'm writing up the list here. Please note, most of this is stuff I learned puttering around the forums on this site; I'm not an expert at all, so, as always, do your own research first. There's some disagreement about some of this (e.g., are silicone-containing shampoos good or bad?), but this is what I've settled on.

1) Don't cut your hair. As I mentioned in this post, it seems obvious, but it's often overlooked. Most hair-stylists recommend a trim every six weeks or so, but that advice is really for people who want to keep up their current style; six weeks is about how long it takes for a short haircut to lose its shape. If you want long hair, you really don't want to cut it often - you'll cut off all of your growth! (If I'm remembering correctly, an average rate of growth is about six inches a year.) If you're starting without split ends, you can probably get away with trimming about twice a year, and then only a little bit. (If you're starting with split ends, there are other methods.)

2) Change how often you wash your hair. Taking a shower every day is fine, but don't wash your hair every day. It doesn't need the detergents of the shampoo stripping it of its oils all the time. About every three days is good a good balance between getting rid of dirt and keeping your hair from getting too dry.

3) Change how you wash your hair. Some people like to go no-poo, but I like the simplicity of the condition-wash-condition method. The idea behind it is that you really need to wash the hair close to your scalp (that's where all the dead skin gunk is going to be), but the hair that falls past the bottom of your ears doesn't really need to be washed (this is, stripped with detergent). So after you get your hair wet, coat the hair lower than the bottom of your ears with conditioner. Then wash all the hair on your head with shampoo. Then rinse off shampoo and conditioner, and condition all your hair. Let sit and then rinse as normal.

4) Oil your hair. Doesn't that just sound like something out of the Old Testament? Coconut oil is popular, and I ended up finding a little jar of it in the small alternative medicine section of CVS (a section I didn't even know CVS had!) for about a buck fifty. You only need a teeny-tiny amount - about the scrape of a fingernail if you have air-conditioning and about a dip of the fingertip if you don't. Rub it between your palms (your palms will only barely be shiny if you have the right amount) and then palm it gently onto your hair, stroking down. Only put it on the hair past your ears; your scalp hair will get oily enough on it's own! This is basically for moisture; you don't really want enough to show, although it will make your hair a bit shinier, which is nice. Do this when your hair is dry, btw. (Again, some people think oiling makes things worse - do your own research and experiments. What works seems to depend on your hair type.)

5) Treat your hair gently. By the time it gets down to your waist, your hair is four or five years old, probably. It's fragile. Don't always pull it up in the same hairdo, stressing the same spots over and over. Don't tear things out of your hair: pull rubberbands out gently (and make them those nice, fabric-coated, no-seam rubberbands) and separate the tines of your bobby-pins before you pull them out, so you don't rip your hair while you're doing it. If possible, find a wood or horn detangling comb for detangling your hair; plastic combs all have sharp little seams up the edges of the teeth from the molds they were made it, and combing these through your hair is kind of like running curling ribbon over the edge of a scissors blade. Many people will advise not using bobby pins or rubberbands at all, and just going with hairsticks, but I like having my hair up in braids too much to do that.

Speaking of braids, check out this post to see what's possible with shoulder-length hair! I love, love, love my hair this way, and since I can do it both directions, it's not getting stressed the same way every day.

I hope this helps. There is seriously lots, lots, lots more over on the boards I linked to at the top of this post, including advice for folks once their hair is longer than mine is now, but I'm not including that because I have no experience with it yet!

To end on a hopeful note: most folks over there seem to think that just about everyone can grow long hair. Some people have special genes so that their individual hairs don't fall out after six or seven years, and they're the ones who can walk around with hair down to their ankles. But most people have a growth rate that will let their hair get down about to the bottom of their bottoms, if it's well-cared for. I'm really curious to see if this is true, because my prior experience is that my hair would grow to my mid-back and then stop. But it was full of split ends when it was that long, so I can see how it'd be possible that it could get longer if I can keep it undamaged.

Anyway, Heather, there's your list! Thanks for asking, it was fun to write.

peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell