2021 birthday Q&A + Socratic circle | June 2021

Hey, everyone! Happy June to you all. I hope y’all are enjoying your summer so far!

For as long as I can remember, my mom has had me fill out a Q&A on my birthday (which was a couple days ago). This has always been an enjoyable tradition for me not only because it’s fun to do, but also because it’s fun to look back on and compare answers from different years. And this year, seeing as I have my own website now, I thought it would be fun to post the Q&A on here.

Also, since I don’t want to publish two posts so close together, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and go ahead and combine the Q&A with the Socratic circle post for June.

We’ll start with the Q&A!

What is/are…

Your favorite animal?

The African lion! You can thank The Lion King for that.

Your favorite color?

It’s unclear right now. Rose pink has been my favorite for years, but now hydrangea is vying for the top spot all of a sudden. Who knows how things will play out? =P

Your favorite food?

“Larry’s chicken,” a unique fried chicken recipe that’s very special to my family! We make it at least once every two months.

Photo © me.

Your favorite drink?

Any form of matcha green tea. Hot, iced, frozen, sweet, unsweet—you name it, I’ll drink it! XD

Your favorite dessert?

You know, for some reason this is always a tough question for me. Like, nothing really ever comes to mind…? I’m generally more into salty stuff than sweet. But I’ll admit, I love me some Texas sheet cake. With extra walnuts. It’s dangerously good. OuO

Your favorite thing to cook/bake?

Anything involving pie dough! Working with the dough is so fun and therapeutic; it takes me back to my Play-doh days. XD I also love how versatile it is—it can be used for so many different dishes, both sweet and savory.

baked pie

Your favorite restaurant?

There are a lot of factors that play into this decision for me: it isn’t just the food, and because of that, I can’t choose just one favorite restaurant. It would have to be Red Robin (for their fries/ranch combo, mainly), Carmelo’s Mexican Grill (for their barbacoa and the scenic drive), and Taste of Texas (for the atmosphere and their salad bar).

Your favorite hobby?

Writing! *finger guns*

Runners-up: Drawing, organizing (got a messy closet? I’m your gal 😉 )

open book on brown wooden table

Your favorite author?

Jane Austen. She’s an absolute legend. ⭐

Your favorite book?

Pride and Prejudice! Ever since 2018. I’ve become a bit of an unapologetic Regency nerd since then. ^_^

Your favorite movie?

The Lion King (1994). I don’t think that one’s changing anytime soon (although I’ll admit, the 2019 Little Women came pretty dang close last year 0_0).

Source: The Lion King (1994).

Your favorite TV show?

The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. It’s such a classic, and it’s what I watch when I’m feeling nostalgic or need an emotional pick-me-up.

Your favorite male fictional character?

*winces* This is always hard… Probably still Mr. Darcy. I go in and out of phases of liking different characters, but I like Darcy pretty consistently. XD

Runners-up: Kylo Ren, the MCU’s Loki, Sydney Carton, Kenai, Steve Harrington

Your favorite female fictional character?

This is less hard. 😛 Jo March! I love her spirit, her strong opinions, and that she’s a writer, of course. Although I still think she should’ve married Laurie. *sigh*

Runners-up: Elizabeth Bennet, MCU’s Wanda Maximoff, Makini

Source: Little Women (2019).

Your favorite OC (original character)?

Lysander. Still. I love that dude. I just hope I can write him justice. ❤

Character and art © me.

Your favorite music artist?

B! T! S! *struggles to form each letter with my arms* *fails* *settles for the finger heart instead* Borahae!

Seriously, never in my entire life have I been as into a music artist as I am now with BTS. I love their music and just their whole aesthetic. *whispers* And to be honest, I thought I was a little old for boy bands. 😛

This image is not mine, but unfortunately I don’t remember where I found it. 😦

Your favorite song?

“Dear Me” by Nichole Nordeman, similar to Pride and Prejudice, is the song I always fall back on for pretty much any reason. I never get tired of listening to it—it’s so full of wisdom. Since I’m in a BTS phase right now, though, I’ve been listening to a lot of their music, and I must say that “Magic Shop,” “Lights,” and “We are Bulletproof: The Eternal” are quite good. ^_^

Your favorite art…artist?

I really love all of Thomas Cole’s work! The message of his art can be interpreted different ways, but I think we can all agree that everything he paints is just gorgeous. (#Aspirations!)

Runners-up: Michelangelo Caravaggio, Charles Willson Peale

Your favorite piece of art?

Thomas Cole’s The Oxbow. I want a gigantic print of it framed on my wall!

Your favorite vacation destination?

It’s a tie between England and Disney World. Both places are just so dearly special to me. I know, I’m so predictable. XD

Your favorite school subject?

Whaaat? I don’t do that school stuff anymore! XD Just kidding. Kind of. Anyway, it’d have to be literature—preferably British, but I’ll take what I can get. ^_^

Your favorite thing to wear?

Either a loose, comfortable sweater, a cute wide-brim hat, or the perfect pair of jeans (emphasis on perfect… I can’t stand uncomfortable jeans >_<).

Your most prized possessions?

Too many to accurately name. I love the things I am blessed to own (and if I don’t, I promptly get rid of them XD). But my Bible, my phone, my Austen books, and a certain stuffed lamb—who shall remain unnamed, for her privacy—are probably some of the most important to me (for differing reasons).

Your favorite thing about being 18?

I think it’s a tie between being able to vote, getting to sign up for a bunch of birthday rewards, and graduating. It was definitely something of a breakout year for me!

Voted printed papers on white surface

The funniest thing you can think of?

Argh, this is a classic instance of all the answers leaving my head as soon as the question is asked. >_< A good fallback here is my all-time favorite meme, which unfortunately I don’t have saved, but this is what it says: “‘My babies!’ I scream at a group of men who are actually older than me.” It just…yeah. It pretty much sums me up. XD

Also, my ever-growing collection of out-of-context quotes is always a good place to find some laughs. ^_^

BTS, an example of said meme, because I was blanking on everyone else who might apply. XD Source.

Your favorite memories from the past year?

More come to mind the more I think on it, but here’s what I got after about five minutes:

  • Rediscovering the Little Women franchise
  • Swimming in and canoeing on the lake in Illinois
  • Having breakfast at the Disney restaurant in Orlando
  • Relaxing at the Hill Country Resort in San Antonio
  • Watching WandaVision with my family
  • Exploring Fredericksburg and Luckenbach and watching Bluey at the hotel
  • The feeling of finally being done with high school and the anticipation I feel for the future

Your goals for your 20th year?

  • Spend more time growing closer to God & trusting in Him
  • Finish Foxhunt, take a breather, then start outlining the second draft
  • Get an article published somewhere
  • Get a poem published somewhere
  • Successfully complete my first year of college
  • Get my driver’s license (hopefully within a couple more months)
brown concrete building

That’ll do it for me! ^_^

Now, on to the Socratic Circle.

Before we dive into the question for June, let’s address May’s Socratic circle, which posed the question, Can the ethical ever be suspended for the sake of a higher power? I am thrilled to say that there were two awesome responses to this question!

The first response came from my friend Hazel. This is what she had to say on the topic:

I think that this question is a matter of how far someone will go to gain approval. If you’re the type of person whose self-image relies on what other people think of you, then yes, you very well might do something unethical to stay close to a higher power.

Then of course there’s the question of why a higher power is asking you to do something unethical. Are they testing your loyalty? Is there a conflict going on? Do they not want to clearly get their hands dirty (like they need a scapegoat if someone finds out what happened)? Is there literally no reason at all?

Another thing is that a ‘higher power’ doesn’t have to be a person. It could be an idea that someone decides to place above everything else. It kind of creates a chain reaction, where the person in charge doesn’t want to be blamed, so they hand the dirty work to the next person, but they also don’t want to be blamed, so it keeps getting handed down. That basically creates a contingency, so if the leader gets accused, they could blame it on someone else.

I think whether or not a person would doing something unethical for a higher power depends on the amount of pressure to conform and what the threat is if you don’t.

The best examples I can think of for stuff like this is Star Wars, but no, I will not go into details because I get annoying really fast.

I have no idea where this was going, but here, have some free, mid-morning, I’m-supposed-to-be-paying-attention-to-math-class thoughts!

The second response came from another friend of mine, J. S. Clingman @ My Little Hole in the Ground. Here are his thoughts:

This question can be interpreted however you like. I’m going to interpret it as asking whether an ethical or moral framework a person lives by can be “suspended” when it is contradicted by a higher-up’s dictates. 

Not to make things complicated, but I think it depends. I think there are instances in which one might be obligated to forego a lesser moral obligation in order to fulfill a greater one. Choosing the lesser of two evils, in other words.

This is going to be a weird example, but please bear with me. You are trapped in an evil supervillain’s volcano, and he’s locked up a friend of yours in a giant cage dangling precariously over bubbly, hot magma. He says he will release your friend if you commit suicide. The supervillain, in this instance, is “a higher power”. If you believe in the Bible, you would probably consider suicide wrong on account of the implications of several verses (Exodus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Deuteronomy 30:19). But in this instance, I think it would be okay—even noble—to commit suicide to save your friend’s life. “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

Great thoughts, you guys! I’m impressed with y’all’s discernment and wisdom in addressing this question, and I love how you both took a slightly different approach in doing so. I can tell that you both drew from your own interests, schooling, etc. to compose your answers, and I think that’s so cool. Thanks so much for participating!

Now, let’s keep our brains at full steam ahead, shall we? The question for this month comes from a sermon my pastor was giving in Sunday school a few weeks ago. In my opinion this issue is slightly easier to wrestle with than May’s question, but I still think it’s a good one to chew on.

Is grace truly the opposite of justice? Which trait is the more important for us to embody?

(Okay, technically that was two questions. Oh, well. XD)

If you’re interested in expressing your views on this issue, please feel free to comment about it, write a post, short story, or poem, make a piece of art, or literally anything else; and I will collect any entries and feature them in the next Socratic circle post. Just be sure you keep in mind the following:

  • Define your terms! If there’s one thing my homeschool curriculum has taught me, it’s the importance of this practice.
  • Keep your submission PG, please. I will not feature anything that contains vulgar content of any kind.
  • Be sure to comment below and let me know about your submission(s) by June 30 if you wish for it to be featured. (There is a chance, of course, that I’ll simply happen upon your submission—I follow many of the people who follow me—but I can’t guarantee it.)
  • Please feel free to tag others to participate in our circle! The more the merrier!
  • And of course, you’re welcome to post, comment, etc. on a previous month’s (i.e. May’s) Socratic circle issue as well—just know that it won’t get featured in the next post.

And, just like last time and as always, if there aren’t any responses to this question, that’s totally fine. The point of these posts is to get people (including me) thinking. Certain issues may not require outward expression for some, and that’s okay. ^_^

I can’t wait to see how this month’s Socratic circle unfolds!

Whew! I do apologize for the length of this post, everyone. I didn’t mean to draw things out quite that much, but I guess that’s what happens when you combine posts. XD

Anyway, that’s it for me. If you stuck around to the end, thank you, and I hope y’all enjoyed! I’ll see y’all soon! ^_^

11 thoughts on “2021 birthday Q&A + Socratic circle | June 2021

  1. Hello, Havalah! First of all, I’m new to your blog, so, hi! I’m Samantha (Sam for short), Catholic nerd, book blogger and reader extraordinaire. It seems like you and I share a lot of interests–philosophy, theology, Jane Austen (1995 P&P is the BEST), writing, and the MCU! 🙂

    So, anyhow, now that I’ve introduced myself so that I don’t seem like some random person wandering onto your blog: on to your Socratic Circle question! I LOVE this idea (civil and reasoned philosophical debate is one of my favorite things EVER), and I’m excited to contribute my thoughts to this month’s!

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “grace” in this question. I suppose there could be a complex discussion of *why* God gives us grace (and I’d probably be up for that. XD) but it *seems like* (and obviously, correct me if I’m wrong!) what you mean by “grace” here, (i.e. a freely given gift, an attribute of God that is often seen as being in opposition to justice) is the same as what I’d usually refer to as “mercy”. (Definition: “the loving kindness, compassion, or forbearance shown to one who offends (e.g., the mercy of God to us sinners)”) Primarily, to start, I’m going to address whether mercy is the opposite of justice in God, because that seems like the easiest place to address it, to start.

    It may often seem like God’s mercy and His justice are opposed. After all, wouldn’t justice suggest that we be doomed to death and hell, for the Fall and the stain of Original Sin? Whereas God’s mercy allows us the hope of heaven through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    However, this is not the case. As a Catholic, I actually believe that God’s mercy and justice are the *same*, or, if you’d like an easier way of looking at it, work together. One of my FAVORITE examples of this comes from St. Anselm, who says (and I’m paraphrasing, of course) that God’s justice demanded reparation from humanity after the Fall, but that debt could only be paid by someone who was God. And in His mercy, He came to earth to die for us, and pay that debt! Mercy and justice working together. 🙂

    Another example that’s commonly used is that of suffering. God allows suffering in His justice (we all have sinned, etc.), but uses it to turn us towards Him, and grow in perfection, in His mercy.

    And yet one more final example: when a parent punishes a child for an offense, the punishment should be (and usually is) just. However, it’s also merciful, because it will help the child to go “in the way he should go” and become better.

    So, it behooves us to imitate both God’s love AND his justice. However, since God kind of has the justice covered (“vengeance is mine, says the LORD”) it is better to err on the side of mercy, especially if one is not the one in authority, as in a parent child relationship, for instance.

    I suppose that might seem like a bit of a cop-out of an answer, but I think it answers the questions satisfactorily…after all, one of the Catholic Church’s unofficial favorite sayings is “between two goods…why not both?” XD

    I hope that made sense! I’m working on a serious sleep deficit here, but I love philosophy enough that I still wanted to weigh in right away! 🙂

    Oh, and happy birthday!!!


    • Hi, Sam!! It’s nice to meet you! *bows with a flourish and offers you a virtual handshake* Yay, a fellow philosopher! 😀

      Wow, very interesting thoughts here! I am not Catholic (non-denominational Christian, actually), but I am interested in learning more about Catholicism, so I got excited as soon as you mentioned that you were a Catholic nerd. XD What you said 100% made sense – kudos for being able to formulate such an eloquent argument on a sleep deficit! XD I really like your St. Anselm example especially. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts – I’ll be sure to feature you!

      Thank you! ^_^


  2. “A certain stuffed lamb who shall remain unnamed for her privacy…” You made me laugh out loud! I always love your birthday Q&A.
    I’ll practice my deep pondering so I can comment on the next Socratic circle. XD


  3. hello there! (general kenobi XD)
    ignore my subconscious please. it just does that sometimes. anyway, lets see here…

    i define grace as the ability to limitlessly forgive, no matter what the other person has done or how far theyve “fallen.” wow, im really out here with the starwars stuff- BACK TO THE REGUALRY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING, uh… alright its serious time.

    justice i define as approved, legal karma. grace, as ive already said, is the ability to limitlessly forgive. i dont think theyre exact oppisites. its hard to define opposites in the first place, even with fairly basic concepts like good and evil. actually, scratch that, good and evil are really complex, even though it seems like they wouldnt be.

    i believe that justice and grace can often go hand in hand. say someone shoots a guy. justice, of course, would be a jail sentence, and yeah, that would satisfy most people. however, grace would be if the family of the dead guy forgives the shooter, and the shooter accepts forgivness and apologizes.

    grace and justice are equally important to embody, but because we live in an imperfect world, its really difficult. justice is often the first thing we move to because of our emotions. plus, grace isnt enough to deter someone from committing another crime. just saying, “oh, i forgive you,” isnt enough to stop a serial killer from murdering another person. forgiveness doesnt have as high a value in society anymore.

    the other thing is, i cant say, “oh, in a perfect world, grace would be enough when a problem comes up,” because problems wont come up. its really difficult to find a way to dsicuss something like this without the influence of our imperfect world.

    all in all, i think that grace is better for small-scale issues (an argument with an annoying guy in class, your friend stole all your hairties, etc), but justice is better in larger situations (court case, car crash, etc). id continue, but i have to go cut up a pepper to eat because i will throw my goldfish at the person nagging me, and i dont want to waste them like that. theyre the rainbow ones. theyre special.

    so yeah.
    enjoy ig???


    • Ha, what percent of the time do you introduce yourself with a Star Wars reference, would you say? XD

      Thanks for your comment, Hazel! I like your thoughts on this. You took a slightly different approach to the issue than I would have, so it’s interesting to me. I agree that it is difficult to embody grace and justice in our imperfect world. That statement, I feel, opens a whole new box of questions. Being part of this imperfect world, are we even /able/ to embody true grace and true justice in the first place? If we are, then why is our world imperfect? If we aren’t, then who can? The ideas of grace and justice must come from somewhere, after all. It’s a fascinating topic that requires a heck lotta time to wrap one’s head around, if such a thing is even possible, that’s for sure. XD

      Anyway, I’ll be sure to feature you! 🙂


  4. This was a delightful read, Havalah! Happy Birthday! I love that your mom makes you do an annual Q&A. That’s so fun! Really a tradition my family ought to adopt. 🙂

    Methinks I need to try matcha green tea now. Also, I haven’t heard positive reports about going to Disney World. My brother and his wife went, and they didn’t like it. Apparently, for them, it was a lot of waiting and heat and all that fun stuff. And I heard a comedian complaining about his visit too, recently. So… I’m glad you enjoyed it! (Which I was aware of before, but this post reminded me of.) Maybe I’ll have to visit sometime. If it doesn’t have too much to do with roller coasters… 😉

    That’s so cool that you’re 18 now, btw! I’m turning 18 myself, but later in the year. Kinda excited, but mostly not wanting to get any older. XD Like you said, though, voting is cool!

    I thought it was nice of you to respect that stuffed lamb’s privacy. People don’t respect the oppressed, proletariat class of stuffed animals nowadays. Really wonderful to see someone bravely sticking up for justice! #SocialJusticeforStuffedLambs

    Also, I’ll get my thinky cap on and pour my thinky tea for that Socratic Circle thing. Thanks for hosting this!

    Also, your mentioning Lysander reminded me that I need to get back to Foxhunt! I miss Lyse, even though he is a brat sometimes…


    • Thank you! It is a really fun tradition. My brother does it too. ^_^

      Yes, do! It’s got a really unique flavor you can’t find anywhere else. I recommend an iced sweet matcha latte. 😉

      Oof, yes, I should’ve mentioned that. Disney is not much fun right now with all the mask and social distancing requirements they’re enforcing. We went last August and honestly it was the most miserable trip I’ve ever taken. They won’t even let you drink water while you’re walking. You have to be “stationary” and “properly socially distanced from other guests.” It was absolutely maddening, especially in 99 degree weather and Florida’s signature humidity. So yes, Disney during Covid is not fun, and I’m not surprised your brother and his wife didn’t like it. Hopefully if they went back after everything there is back to normal, they’d enjoy it more. XP Although, granted, there’s still plenty of standing in line. XD

      Oh, I’m 19 now, actually. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. Sometimes I word year/birthday things like that in a weird way. XD

      My efforts towards stuffed animal social justice go unappreciated these days, so I thank you kindly, sir. Just doing my part. ^_^

      Awesome! Thank you! *wants some thinky tea*

      Lol, there’s always two sides to a relationship with Lyse. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know why I was never email notified for this. XD

        Ooh, iced sweet matcha latte. Sounds quite delectable. I’ll put it on the tea cup list. 🙂

        I think they went before the pandemic, although I don’t remember. XD I’ll have to check with them. I’m sorry you didn’t have a nice experience on your visit during the pandemic! That must have sucked. Goodness gracious, you couldn’t drink water while you were walking? XD XD XD It seems so paranoid to me, but maybe FL had it worse off than MO or TX…

        Oh, 19! I was a year behind. Sorry, I should have remembered!

        It occurred to me today that Lyse is kinda like your version of Marvel’s Loki… insofar as he’s a lovable character who is kinda a badguy who we still root for. 🙂


      • Oh, okay. XD Well, I’m sorry they didn’t like it! I suppose Disney isn’t for everyone. 😉

        No worries! 😉

        Interesting comparison! I’ve never thought as Lyse as being like Loki before, but I can definitely see it!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: July Socratic circle | Havalah Ruth Peirce

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s