The Magic of Fairytales

I love Disney movies! I grew up singing the songs, wishing I could find my own Prince Charming. I love reading fairy tales–Grimm’s (very grim–hahaha), fairy tale revamps like Ella Enchanted, what happens after the “happily ever after” like Just Ella.

Last semester, in my Young Adult Literature class, I had to read this book:

This book’s twists on fairy tales was very interesting to me. It intrigued me and got me thinking over the break about why we like fairy tales even as adults. What is it about them that hooks us?

My boyfriend and I have been watching a new show called Once Upon a Time.

So, I decided to go look online and try to see if I could find why we are so interested in fairy tales as adults.

I found a writer’s blog about Why We Love Fairy Tales. Read it–he does a great job describing why.

I would also like to add that I believe that we also love fairy tales because we don’t necessarily want to grow up. Fairy tales were stories that taught us morals and gave us hope when we were kids. Now that we have to deal with adult issues, we want to escape. We miss the simple days of hero defeats evil and gets the girl. But, now that we are adults, we understand many of the underpinnings of fairy tales, the holes in the story, we want to discover motive–why, why, why, why?

We want to explore the simple things of our past and understand them. We ask “What if?” That is why have so many revamps, that is why we have so many retellings.

We want to rediscover.

The Power of a Name

“My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.” ~ A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

Names have always interested me. The meanings of names. The cultural, historical, religious, or linguistic origin of a name. Even the pronounciation of a name. Why do we name things? What importance is there in it?

Take for instance, my pen name (no, you still don’t know my real name):
Tanney–> origin, me. I made it up. But, it is for numerous reasons…it is an algamation of my first and middle names. But, it is also short for tangerine, my favorite smell, color, fruit, my personality, etc.
Christiansen–> Danish for son of Christian. But break that even further and it means a follower of Christ.

What power is there behind my name? Well, on the one hand, my given name holds me to expectations: I am a Christian.  The name I gave myself gives me power of creativity.

Names have power behind them. That is why they are so special to us. All religions believe this to some extent. Judiasm and Mormonism both believe that God’s name is so special, that we shouldn’t speak it. That is why we call him God or Heavenly Father. But there has to be a further reason why names have power.

In mythology and magical believes, names have power of control. If you know the true name of something and can posess that true name, you can have power over it. Naming is one of the languages of magic. Once you have learned the true name of someone, you can bend them to your will. You can summon creatures of light and dark.

There are many examples in media that I really like that play with this idea of the power of names.

Spirited Away
In this movie, Chihiro stumbles upon a realm of spirits and mythological creatures. To earn her and her parents’ freedom, she must work for Yubaba, the owner of the bathhouse for the spirits. She signs a contract and Yubaba lifts her name off the contract and says Chihiro’s name is hers now. She then recieves a new name of Sen. Sen’s only friend in this world is Haku, Yubaba’s slave/apprentice. He warns her to never forget her real name or she’ll have no hope of escaping. Haku, however, can’t remember his own name, thus, must do the bidding of Yubaba. Chihiro keeps this in mind and eventually helps Haku find his name as well.
Lost Years of Merlin
This is part of a series that describes Merlin’s youth and how he gains the powers that allows him to become known as one of the greatest wizards of all time. One of the 7 songs of Wizardry Merline has to learn is the Song of Naming.
Earthsea Series
This is perhaps, the greatest example of the power of a true name. All magic in this series consists of knowing the true name of something. Thus, the people of this world are very careful to keep their true name secret and go by a more common name. The more true names you know, the more powerful of a wizard you are, but you also have to be able to understand the true name in order to actually control what you are summoning, creating, or controlling.
I think the power of a name is very true, whether magically or religiously, I do believe it. Naming is a power of creation and it has a purpose.


I am an historian.

That is how I perceive myself. That is how I describe myself.

I like learning about new things. I like reading about past events. I like discovering peoples’ lives. That is what historians do–we learn, we read, we discover, we investigate and puzzle together the past so that it is not lost to us.

I have read many old sources. I have looked at numerous English and Welsh Chronicles. I have read ancient laws and medieval letters. I have looked at Renaissance paintings and have stood in Celtic pieces of architecture. I have done quite a bit exploring and I love looking at this evidence first-hand.

Thus, when I was introduced to indexing, I became obsessed. Indexing is a project created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to transcribe different Civil Records to have on a computer-based program, not only for government puproses, but also for our religious purposes in order to do temple work.

I currently like to work on the 1871 UK Census. This census lists the names of each member of each family, their relation to the head of the family, their age, their marital status, their occupation, and where they were born. It is so fun to transcribe these–to see the relations between family members (how old everyone is, how they help support each other) as well as the relations within each community (does everyone have the same occupation, are there visitors, who is rich, etc.).

By indexing, I truly feel like a historian. I am able to begin to put an idea together of who these people were by just one line of script from a census.

You don’t have to be a Mormon to index, but please check it out at

New Year's Resolutions 2012

This year has been a whirlwind for me. In the spring, I ended the school year by saying goodbye to two of the best roommates I have ever had as they moved out. One graduated and now works for a local newstation. The other is student teaching in a nearby city. I have only seen them a handful of times since April and everytime was like Christmas!

Over the summer, I stayed in Provo over the summer for the first time instead of going home. It was just Danielle and I in the house we rent. I kind of liked it. Danielle is my best friend and a wonderful roommate and we had some very peaceful evenings. I also biked up and down the Provo River numerous times–I came to love Provo in the spring/summer. I was also an EFY counselor for the first time ever. The best job I have ever had.

The fall came with some bumps. Danielle and I got 3 new roommates, some of which we clash terribly with. Just different personalities than we have. We have some fun times though. I had decided not to date anyone or go looking for boys, but I found myself in a wonderful relationship nonetheless. I lagged a lot with my habits–sleeping, procrastinating, eating, working out, etc.

Here are last year’s resolutions:
– As always, I will keep a GPA higher than 3.7
This I succeeded in. I ended the semester with my highest GPA yet: 3.93, giving me an overall GPA of 3.78!
– As always, I will work out 5 days a week and keep my ideal weight.
I did wel until the summer, then going back and forth from EFY, I kind of failed and definitely failed in the fall.
– I will do more charity and service this year.
I began indexing and love doing it–an easy way to do temple work and civil service at the same time.
– I will BE the right person – the kind of friend I want, the kind of homemaker I should be, etc.
I think I have done well with this.
– I will continue stepping out of my box socially.
I definitely stepped out of my box in the summer–not only within my apartment complex, but as an EFY counselor as well.
– I will study Welsh for at least 1 hour a week.
Eh, I did join a Welsh reading and translation class for the fall.

So, I did ok on my resolutions. However, I think that this year, I will try something different because this year will be full of changes to my life anyway:
I will not have New Year’s Resolutions.
Instead, I will have New Year’s Goals. You see, the reason we never keep our New Year’s Resolutions is because we aren’t held accountable for them. But goals are SMART.

S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

So, here are my 2012 Goals:

~ Attend all FHE’s on Monday nights.
~ Do 100% Visiting Teaching for the whole year.

~ Study and do my best as to keep a GPA of 3.7 or higher
~ Study Welsh for at least 30 min each week.
~ Read for myself at least 20 min each day.
~ Blog at least once a week.
~ Work on my novel for at least 45 min a week.

~ Workout/run 5 days a week.
~ Maintain my goal weight (sorry, you don’t get to hear that!)
~ Cook 1 new meal a month using a new recipe

~ Read my scriptures every morning.
~ Go to the temple at least once a month.

So, I know it seems like a lot, but they’re all little things. Wish me luck!

Mary Christmas

Tonight is Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas everyone.
My family has a tradition. Every Christmas Eve, we watch the Nativity Story.
It is a very good movie and although it does portray miracles and angels (which I love and appreciate), it also tries to explain the star scientifically. But besides that, I just think it is an amazing movie with an amazing plot. I think the actors do a great job portraying their character and letting us get to know these biblical people on a deeper level.
My two favorite, of course, are Joseph and Mary. I love how Joseph is portrayed in this movie–a young man in love, always trying to do what is right and honorable. He is such a sweetheart.
And Mary. Last year, but especially this year, Mary has caught my eye. We really don’t know how old she was when she gave birth to Jesus, but we do know she was pretty young. How extraordinary that Heavenly Father would chose someone so young, but then again, he works wonders through the young.
But Mary, she must have had so many questions and ponderings, which this movie does a great job exploring. Why her? When will she know her son is the Messiah? Will she and Joseph be able to teach him anything? Did she ever fully understand her son’s destiny?
Today on the radio, I heard this song. Watch and read the lyrics.
What an amazing young woman, full of faith. Mary, did you know this was your son. How wondrous our Lord was? As a mother, can you imagine her joy when Jesus performed miracles, when he taught, when he loved? What was she thinking when she held Him in her arms for the first time? Pure love. That is the bond between Jesus Christ and his mother.