Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is the Resurrection and the Life...

http://www.coolestmommy.com/2010/04/have-blessed-easter.html


Friday, April 6, 2012

Truth is a whole lot scarier than fiction...




"Be careful - it's people like you who are going to end up in concentration camps pretty soon here. 
Have a good Easter!"


My mom walked out of the hair salon in more than a little shock today. She'd just had a two hour long conversation with one of the salon employees about it being Good Friday and what Easter was truly about... and that was how he ended the conversation. 

Just think about that statement for a moment. 

People like you - meaning people who believe the Bible when it says Jesus Christ is the Son of God and who want to live as He would have us live. You're obviously a scholar of the Bible the man said at one point in the conversation. 

Are going to end up in concentration camps - this isn't some random creepy hair dressing place in a back alley. This is a hair salon run by someone who helped develop Aveda Hair Coloring, and the person my mom was talking to was a typical resident of this city, though one a bit more educated on Emperor Constantine, the Council of Nicaea, and the events surrounding the Last Supper than most people. He certainly had a different take on them than my mom... but he knew about them. He was quite aware of the present state of the American government... and that it how he sees it.


Be careful: Happy Easter - he wasn't saying all this as if he were angry about the conversation or annoyed with her as a person, but merely as a matter-of-fact statement given how things are shaping up today. 




It's people like you who are going to end up in concentration camps pretty soon here.


Do you really think that day is far away? 


He sure didn't. 




And really, how can you, when articles like this are being published in international peer-reviewed journals for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics? 


Protecting, defending, and caring for children is where my heart lies, and reading something like After-Birth Abortion: Why Should The Baby Live? should be enough to make any of you sick. 


At its base is a completely logical argument - exactly what pro-life people have been saying for decades. 
What changes the day you are born except for your environment? What is the magic moment in which you become a person? Why should it be perfectly fine to kill you one moment when the next it's suddenly wrong? 


The reply? 
Nothing. So there is obviously nothing wrong with killing an infant after it is born either. 


In their own words: 


Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.




Unsurprisingly, people responded to the article with outrage. The response of the journal's editor? 


What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.
What the response to this article reveals, through the microscope of the web, is the deep disorder of the modern world. Not that people would give arguments in favour of infanticide, but the deep opposition that exists now to liberal values and fanatical opposition to any kind of reasoned engagement.


This is our society. 
Infanticide can be morally justified - disagreeing with that idea in a less than scholarly manner the true evil. 


How has such "fanatical opposition" been historically dealt with? Think about it. 


The Holocaust happened in large part because nobody believe it could happen.
Unless we all open our eyes and refuse to be lulled into helpless complacency, what exactly is going to stop another Rwandan genocide, another Holocaust, another Armenian genocide, from occurring? 


Fellow Christians are being tortured to death for their beliefs every day. What is so special about the U.S.? 


Yes, I write fiction, and yes, I have a lot of imagination... but I'm not imagining these things. This is the picture I'm getting from groups as widely varied as medical ethicists (who have a big say in the future of our healthcare, by the way!) and hair salon workers. This is what people are saying.  


To include words often quoted and yet seemingly seldom acted upon,      
all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
It's hard to act on, for sure. Edmund Burke also said 
nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference 
and that is just as painfully true - I'm definitely talking to myself here, as much as, if not more than, to anybody else.  


But if you are one of "those people" who believe the Bible really is the Word of God - are you living that way? Are you acting on what the Bible says while it's still legal? Are you trying to reach those people who will completely shut themselves off as Christianity comes more and more under attack? 


Jesus came and died on a cross some 2,000 years ago so that we might have life... and that we might have it more abundantly. 
Let us live it then for Him, abundantly, passionately, fully, knowing we have been given this life, in this place, in this time, because there is something here for us to do.  



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What I've been doing lately...

Isolation and Characterization of Bovine Milk α-lactalbumin 

 February 28, 2012 
(and seriously, you steal this... you DIE. *ahem* it's called plagiarism and you don't want to know how many hours I spent working on this thing. I care if you steal it.)

 Abstract
 The ability to isolate and characterize alpha-lactalbumin has potentially important links to discovering the cure for things such as Type II Diabetes and Autism. Here, whey was purified from milk, affinity and size exclusion chromatography were used to separate out alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin, and an SDS-PAGE and a Bradford assay were performed. Molecular weight of alpha-lactalbumin was found to be between 9,436.37 D and 15,131.4 D, and compared to the known weight of 14,200 D; molecular weight of beta-lactoglobulin was found to be 17,317 D and compared to the known weight of 18,400 D.

Introduction
 Bovine milk, a substance providing necessary nutrients for human development, can be divided into whey and caseins. Caseins, which appear in cheese and paint, are also of interest in autism studies, especially in how a casein-free diet affects autism. Whey, the other main, though lesser, component of milk, stimulates insulin release and is involved in regulation of blood sugar.

Whey is made up of about 58% beta-lactoglobulin, 13% alpha-lactalbumin, and 12% other proteins. The ability to purify proteins can be of utmost importance in studying things such as diabetes and autism. In this case, various methods were used to purify and characterize the proteins found in milk in order to estimate the molecular weights of alpha-lactalbumin and other proteins. By bringing a protein to its isoelectric point, it will precipitate out and can then be separated. Centrifugation, preceded by acid and heat-induced precipitation, can be used to remove caseins from milk, leaving behind the whey, which can then be further separated into alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin.

Affinity and size exclusion chromatography are used to separate them further. Size exclusion chromatography – using Sephadex gel filtration methods – allows the beta-lactoglobulin to run through faster, while the alpha-lactalbumin is caught along the way. Affinity chromatography – using a Cu(II)-IDA-agarose affinity column – is more specific, targeting one type of protein. Since alpha-lactalbumin is a metalloprotein, it binds to metals and can then be eluted with something that will break the copper-alpha-lactalbumin bond . Following purification, UV spectroscopy and SDS-polyacrylaide gel electrophoresis can then be used to further characterize the protein. Performing SDS-PAGE separates all proteins by molecular weight only, with smaller molecules traveling further down the gel. A Bradford protein assay gives the absorbance and can be used to find the protein concentration . 

Materials and Methods 
 One hundred mL of nonfat milk was centrifuged at 16,00g for 45 minutes in a refrigerated centrifuge, after which pH of the supernatant was adjusted to 4.5 with dropwise addition of .5 M HCl. The solution was then heated at 37oC for 30 minutes while being stirred, before being centrifuged at 16,000g for 30 minutes. A .45 µm syringe cartridge filter was then used to clarify the supernatant, resulting in isolated proteins.

 Chromatography was then performed, using Sephadex G-25 fine mesh and a 100 mL slurry of .02 M Tris at a pH of 7.0. Baseline was established and then four mL of whey was added. More buffer was run through column using an eluting solvent supply that kept a constant solvent flow into and out of column. There were two peaks and it was run back to baseline. A fraction collector was used to collect one mL fractions at a flow rate of 10 mL/hr. Absorbance of selected fractions at 280 nm was then measured.

 Affinity chromatography was performed at the same time, using an IDA-agarose prepacked column. Ten mL of buffer A, composed of .02 M Tris and .05M NaCl at a pH of 7.0 was used to wash column before .5 mL of .1 M CoSu4 solution was added and allowed to enter gel. Buffer A was again used to wash column until all excess Cu(II) had eluted, and then drained just to the top of the gel. A .5 mL portion of whey was then added and 1 mL fractions were collected in individual test tubes. One mL more of buffer A was added once whey entered gel, and then column was filled with Buffer A. Once this eluted out, 10 mL of buffer B, composed of .02 M Tris, .5 M NaCl, and .02 M imidazole, at a pH of 7.9, was added to the column to elute α-Lactalbumin. Absorbance of all fractions at 280 nm was then measured.

 The top two fractions from each peak found after both chromatographies were finished were then used for a Bradford protein assay. Using 10 µm of fractions A, B, E, F, G, H, 20 µm of fractions C and D, 790 µm of water for all fractions but C and D, which used 780 µm, and 200 µm of Dye for all fractions, the absorbency was used to find the concentrations of all unknowns. A standard curve was made using five standard concentrations from 1.6-25 µg/mL.

 An SDS-PAGE was also performed using .6 to 11 µg of protein, with 4% acrylamide stacking gel and 12% acrylamide resolving gel, run for 70 minutes at 150v. The slab was then soaked in dye soluion of .25% Coomassie Blue in methanol-acetic acid-water (5:1:5) for 30 minutes before gel was removed and an acetic acid-methaol-water (7:7:86) solution was used to destain the gel overnight.

 Results/Discussion 

As can be seen in Table 1, size exclusion chromatography was used to separate the alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin and the absorbency of the peaks found.


Table 1: Absorbency of Fractions from Sephadex 
Chromatography at 280 nm
Fraction # 7 8 32 33
Absorbency   2.18 2.20 1.94 1.99


This information was used to create a graph (Figure 1) of the absorbency of the fractions over time, showing a peak for both alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin.

 Absorbency of Sephadex Chromatography Fractions at 280 nm vs Time 

 Figure 1: Purification of alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin by size exclusion chromatography through Sephadex G-50 fine mesh pre-equilibrated with a 100 mL slurry of .02 M Tris at a pH of 7.0. 

The proteins were eluted at a flow rate of 10 mL/hr and fractions of 1 mL each were collected and assayed. Another graph (Figure 2) was created using data from the more specific affinity chromatography. Again, two peaks can be seen, one from alpha- lactalbumin and one from beta-lactoglobulin.


 Figure 2: Purification of alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin by affinity chromatography using an IDA-agarose prepacked column. >5 mL of .1 M CoSu4 solution, .5 mL of whey, a buffer composed of .02 M Tris and .05M NaCl at a pH of 7.0, and a second buffer composed of .02 M Tris, .5 M NaCl, and .02 M imidazole, at a pH of 7.9, were added to the column to elute α-lactalbumin. One mL fractions were collected and absorbance of all fractions at 280 nm was measured. 

Results of the SDS-PAGE can be seen in Figure 3.

 Figure 3: Results from SDS-PAGE, with 4% acrylamide stacking gel and 12% acrylamide resolving gel, run for 70 minutes at 150v. Ladder shows Myosin, Beta-galactosidase, Carbonic Anhydrase, Soybean trypsin inhibitor, Lysosyme, and Aprotinin; BSA did not appear. Values from the ladder appeared as they should, with the exception of BSA, which was not visible. 

As expected, many proteins showed up in the lane for whey. For lanes A and B, size exclusion lanes, larger molecular weights were expected to appear – and the wide band in lane A appears to be alpha-lactalbumin. Band in lane B, however, appears much lower and more faintly. This could be due to errors in loading the gel or other errors associated with protein concentration. Smaller molecular weight proteins were expected in lanes C and D, and in those columns no large molecular weight proteins appear. Any other proteins should show up in lanes E and F, while lanes G and H, from affinity chromatography, should show alpha-lactalbumin. Lanes E and F do show various other proteins, and as expected, lane G showed a thicker mark for alpha-lactalbumin, as well as a few other proteins still washing out, while in lane H a faint mark from alpha-lactalbumin can perhaps be seen. Lack of visibility is probably due to a low concentration of proteins. The ladder MW was then used to construct a standard curve in order to find the MW of the unknowns. However, since not all bands showed up, the ladder may be prone to error.

 Figure 4: SDS-PAGE Standard Curve from Rf values and the log of the molecular weights from ladder; also showing equation used to find molecular weights of other proteins.

Using the SDS-PAGE Standard Curve, molecular weights were then found for each band of proteins showing in the SDS-PAGE. From Table 3, molecular weight of alpha-lactalbumin – appearing as a the wider bands in Figure 3 – appears to be 13,221.7 D in the lane for whey, 14,144.4 D in lane A, 15,131.4 in lane G, and 9,436.37 in lane H. Given the error associated with lane H, it makes sense that that number is the furthest off from the known molecular weight of 14,200 D for alpha-lactalbumin. In both lanes C and D, a molecular weight of 17,317 D is found, which is closest to the known molecular weigh of 18,400 D for beta-lactoglobulin, though still rather far off. This may be due to low concentrations of protein making reading of SDS-PAGE difficult or other errors in loading lanes.



Table 3: Molecular weights of proteins from peak absorbencies of Sephadex and Affinity chromatography, found using SDS-PAGE standard curve.
W A                B       C       D     E              F                      G        H
MW 160417 160417 160417           160417          160417
MW         140171 149952 149952               149952          140171
MW 122480 81712.2 131027           44526.7          114491
MW 13221.7 14144.4 12359.2 19818.2 19818.2          44526.7
MW 10094.9 10094.9 10094.9 10094.9 10094.9 10094.9          10094.9  10094.9
MW          8245.42 8820.82  17317 17317 21201.2 14144.4         15131.4
MW 6735.78 6735.78    10799.4 10799.4   10799.4 6735.78 8820.82 9436.37
MW 5142.08 5500.91         5142.08 5884.79



 A Bradford assay was then performed, and the concentration and the absorbance found using that concentration can be seen in Table 4.


Table 4: Absorbance and Concentration in Bradford Assay

A595
Conc. (µg/mL)
Whey
1.08
6501.12
A
.926901
1135.3632
B
.7566
590.4
C
.59557
37.552
D
.61889
74.864
E
.5871
48
F
.6549
264.96
G
.682186
352.2752
H
.688108
371.2256




 These values were then used to construct a standard calibration curve for the Bradford assay, which gave the total protein concentration. The R2 value was close to 1.0, and comparison with known standard calibration curve for the Bradford assay shows a similar figure.

 Standard Calibration Curve for Bradford Assay 

 Figure 5: Standard calibration curve for Bradford Assay from A595 and the log of the protein concentration at each assay. 

 Obvious errors include the failure of BSA to appear in the ladder of the SDS-PAGE, the extreme faintness of any protein visibility in lane H, wide variation in molecular weights found for alpha-lactalbumin – much of which could be due simply to low protein concentration. Were this experiment to be repeated, that would have to be corrected and care taken to construct a ladder with less error, leading to more accurate molecular weights. Conclusion Various methods were used to purify and characterize the proteins found in milk in order to estimate the molecular weights of alpha-lactalbumin – found to be between 9,436.37 D and 15,131.4 D – and beta-lactoglobulin – found to be 17,317 D. This was off from the known values of 14,200 D and 18,400 D. More accurate numbers could be obtained by repeating the experiment and correcting errors found, such as the lack of protein visible in lane H, and making sure no others were made. The molecular weights of the other proteins could also be used to identify those proteins and further classifications made.

 References

[1] Elder J, Shankar M, Shuster J, Theriaque D, Burns S, and Sherrill L (2006) The gluten-free, casein-free diet in autism: results of a preliminary double blind clinical trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 36:3

[2] Boyer Rodney (2000) Modern experimental biochemistry, third edition by Rodney F Boyer. pp 59-65, 227-242 Benjamin-Cummings Publishing, Redwood City, CA.



Monday, April 2, 2012

Randomness on And It Was Love

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
- picture put together by the talented Jessica just to make me cry... but what could any story about love be, without some reference made to the 'this' of which greater love no man hath?  
Strange how And It Was Love should be the working title of the story I began to write the year the word I picked to learn and live happened to be Love. Or perhaps not strange... when my imagination runs away with me, what should it do but take my heart and its desires with it? 

Love - for country, for brother, for father, for mother and sister and aunts, love for her people's enemies, love that hurts and scars and aches and kills... I had not realized when I began all that love could do. 

But I think I am discovering, along with my character, that none of that love can truly matter. It does, it must, yet... in the end it is none of those that makes the final difference. It is scarcely even love for God - rather is the love of God alone that can bring healing and joy in the midst of tragedy, peace in the heat of battle, and light in the darkest blackness. He is Love.




What is your current word count?
43,343 words (I started this a long time ago... there are now 111,388 words in it... but I'm going to leave the answers I had before. :D )


What would you consider is best about your novel: plot, dialog, characters, or description?
It was the main character that made me want to write her story... and then a sudden desire to show a brother-sister relationship became the starting place for the plot. Another country, another people, and the rest of the plot forced their way in when a disgusting pig of a king (the MC's words, not mine) forced his obnoxious opinion on queens, female ambassadors, and women in general into a random paragraph. That paragraph became part of the story, and then that king's son entered the picture... It's a character driven story, and characters are why I write. :)

Which of the above would you consider your weakest point?
 Oh... description can be painfully sparse I know, though I have perhaps seen the surroundings in this novel more clearly than most I write - I know the layout of the houses, I know the look of the land, and I know the colors and patterns of her dresses. I think it is due to the vibrancy of her personality - oranges, purples, scarlets, turquoise or teal, she dresses to match her mood, and I must perforce catch a little of it myself. She has gotten me to like orange I think, a color that was once my least favorite in probably all the world.
But that does not make up for my lack of description. :P

Of all your characters who do you like the best?
Ooooh... that's a horrible question... perhaps two days ago I would have said the king's son mentioned above who forced his way into the story. He frightens me and breaks my heart, but somehow I understand his pain and want so badly for him to win the fight that has become his life...
But now he may have passed the point of no return, for he lost in the last chapter, lost horribly, and the strength of the MC's reaction to his fall raised her higher in my eyes.

What was the inspiration for your novel?
Another book I wrote. :D And then something from a random TV series I saw on Youtube. And then lots of music. And... yeah. lol



What other writing projects have you completed or are in the process of writing?
The Starpacker (Western/historical fiction ~ completed, as in whole draft written and edited about 9 times or so. :D I think somewhere around 11-12 people have read it, too, which is quite a bit more than usually have been allowed to read my stories! lol)
Some Trust in Chariots (Western/historical fiction, sequel to above ~ completed rough draft)
The Jeweled Dagger (Biblical fiction ~ completed rough draft, beginning editing)
Hope Sprang Up (Speculative fiction, more specifically, Historical Fantasy - i.e. made up world with its own cultures, continents, and histories, but no traditionally fantastical elements, like dragons, elves, etc. ~ completed rough draft)
Faith Through Flames (Same genre as above ~ begun, part of trilogy - Faith Through Flames, Hope Sprang up, And it Was Love)
Will Arrington (Historical fiction with a bit of a Western thrown in perhaps, connected to Some Trust in Chariots through the titular character ~ probably half-completed)
Tam Lyn (*sigh* I'm thinking another Historical Fantasy, unless I end up making it just a fictional story set in our world, placing it somewhere in Europe about the time of one of the crusades. :P Historical Fantasy is way easier. LOL ~ begun)
The Dragon Riders (Okay, this would probably have to be classified as a full-fledged fantasy. :D It wasn't meant to be... but it's surprising how random things can get when you first allow dragons in your stories... :P I love my dragons though - they're gigantic flying reptiles, with something of the regality of lions and horses about them, perhaps slightly more intelligent than either horses or dogs... they don't talk.)

What would you consider the funniest line in your novel?
Bother... I have a hard time writing funny... but "Whatever, your highness." is probably one of the funniest - and that only because it so perfectly captures a certain character's respect/lack thereof for his prince. 

Go to the 11th page of your novel and paste the last paragraph here. 
Gah... that's always a dangerous thing... and it will make no sense whatsoever, but...  
But Taiah had died so soon after her return from Brynhaven… there was so much more River could have learned from her, if only she had lived. She could hear the woman’s sweet voice in her head even now, whispering softly It is the ambassador who heals whose heart will be to prevent a war. My gift is to heal people… yours, Tyrielle, is to heal nations. They are not so different, and, though I was a poor ambassador, if I teach you what I know, you are wise enough to be able to use it someday. 

What time period is your novel set in?
Between 1097 and 1102 - their time period, not ours. Though I'd guess their world is roughly similar to ours in those same years. 


Please paste here the paragraph you consider the best.
Over 200 pages and you want me to pick the best paragraph? Haha. Nah... I'll post a couple excerpts at the end of this though. :) 

What are you planning to do when your novel is all written and edited? Writing wise, that is.
Writing wise... Write the prequel? Which I have already started? :D I am totally writing backwards, and I really hope it ends with the 3rd one... which it should, since I've already got Hope done, and once I finish Love, all I will have is Faith. :) Which I already know will probably be one of the hardest books ever to write... And it was Love is definitely the hardest book I've ever written, and the prequel looks much worse. But that just makes it more interesting, right?! :) Right... ;) 




and the excerpts... and because it seems to be the thing to say, please don't steal my story. :P 




-Definitely one of the more light-hearted moments in the book... 





“Do you ever wish you were part of a different royal family?”
“Eh, what?” Tarian looked up from where he was lying on a thick rug before the fire burning on the hearth, absentmindedly stroking Mávro, the youngest of the panther cubs residing in the palace at the moment.
She shook her head at the teasing in his voice. “No, I’m serious. That you lived in a country where… you would be king.”
“And I’d be stuck learning all the stupid little rules that Temira spends her life on? Of course! And you would be a useless second daughter, good for nothing except maybe, perhaps, if you grow up very beautiful, ratification of a treaty by marriage to a very foreign prince from very far away. Oh, I wish for that every day.”
She reached out and whacked him on the head with her scroll. “Thank you delightedly. If you haven’t noticed, I am already grown up, and therefore that is something less than a compliment. Besides the fact that you just wished me away to the end of the earth.”
He glanced at her carelessly. “You grew up? When did that happen? I hadn’t noticed.”
She squealed, whacking him again, and he rolled out of her reach, shaking his head. Mávro lashed his tail, leaping playfully over Tarian to bat the scroll. Tarian laughed, relaxing back again the rug and raising his eyebrows at River. 
“I hadn’t heard Ilmataran princesses grew into little piglets… Blue skies above, I wonder what Ilmataran princes turn into?”
“Oh-ho, believe me, you don’t want to know!” River giggled, reaching down to pick up Mávro and burying her face in his soft black fur. 





- And another random part... River, now a thrall in a foreign kingdom, has been given the job of caring for a wounded Vastaavatkarhun soldier, and at the moment happens to be finishing up telling him one of her favorite stories. He was bored and asking her about her country. :) 



“At last she refused to bear any longer the torment of seeing while yet being unable to speak or touch the one she had tried to give her life for. She did not care what the gods had done or what they might yet do; she would be with her beloved. So, determined that nothing should hold her back, she threw herself from the heavens in one final attempt to reach him. Her second rejection of their greatest gift and the flagrant rebellion in her action infuriated the gods, and she was doomed to be forever returned to her place in the sky, only to perish in fire and flame over and over again, time without end.
“Yet… so great was her love… they say if ever a night goes by that you do not see a falling star, that night, by the strength of that love, she has reached the earth, and while the darkness lasts, she may remain with her beloved.”
The darkness was filled with the sorrow in her voice, and when she ceased speaking, there was only silence.

“That was horrible.
River straightened in her seat, suddenly realizing that they had been sitting in the dark for several minutes, not even moving.
“It’s sad,” she said, somewhat defensively.
“Sad? It’s twisted and depressing. What would possess someone to make up a story about that?”
“It’s about how nothing can defeat love, not even the will of the gods. What is twisted and depressing about something so beautiful as Ariae’s love for the peasant, a love so great that even now it continues on?” She swished up out of her chair, moving carefully in the dark until she found and lit a candle.
The light flared up briefly, and she could see Jayde’s green eyes fixed on her accusingly.
“You like it!” he cried softly, the only half-teasing disbelief in his voice almost making her blush. “It doesn’t even make sense! Who made the prophecy about his sight – wouldn’t they have done better to tell him to stay away from the princess so he could live a normal life? And how is he still alive? Did he get immortality too? Or how about what I really want to know: what did he do to deserve all that? He didn’t reject any gifts.”
“It’s just a story!” she exclaimed, snatching up one of the fallen pillows from the floor and throwing it at his face. Jayde blocked it with his arm, catching it before it could fall again. He shook his head at her over the top of it, and she threw up her hands in exasperation.
“It’s not supposed to make sense. You’re just supposed to listen to it.”
“Do you believe it?” he asked then, curiosity taking the place of teasing. “That that’s what a falling star is?”
“No-o…” she answered slowly. “Like I said, it’s a story. A falling star is… just that, I imagine.”
“What about the gods? Are they so cruel, their rewards so hard?”
She shrugged. “They could be I suppose – but there is only one true God, Elohim, One with his Son Christos and the Spirit He sends to guide us. His rewards are not hard, for He is Goodness, Mercy, and Love.” 
She looked at him, wondering how closely he held to the gods of Vastaavatkarhu, whoever they were. Probably something to do with bears. 
But he was staring at her. “Ha,” he said suddenly.
Immediately she felt herself bristle. “What? You think that is as much a legend as the other?”
“No!” he answered quickly, shaking his head emphatically. “It’s just… now I understand why you helped me – why you are the way you are.”
“What way?” she asked, only partially appeased by his words.
“Kind,” he said. For a moment he was silent, then he raised his hand to touch the wood of the windowsill, his eyes going to the blackness outside. 







remember... I write for comments... I love you if you comment... :) 

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