Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Liebster Award

A few weeks ago my friend Adriana, who blogs at Classical Quest, nominated my blog for a Liebster Award.  This is not a competition; the Liebster Award was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere.  It's actually more like a chain letter whereby you nominate other blogs that have fewer than 1,000 followers, and encourage those bloggers to nominate others.

There are various slightly different versions of the rules out there on the internet, but here are the ones I'm going by:
*Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to his or her blog.

*Display the award somewhere on your blog.

*List 11 facts about yourself.

*Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.

*Come up with 11 questions to ask your nominees.

*Nominate 5-11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have fewer than 1,000 followers.  (Please do not re-nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

*Go to their blogs and inform them that they've been nominated.  


Thank you for nominating me, Adriana!  I'm glad to have been connected with you online for the past couple of years.  I enjoy reading Classical Quest:  the combination of reflections on the classics and life, and your lovely photographs, always touches me. 


  Here are 11 facts about me:

  1. I was born in the land of Anne -- Anne of Green Gables, that is:  Prince Edward Island, Canada.
  2. I'm a middle child with 2 older brothers and 2 younger brothers.
  3. My given name is Helen Jean:  Helen after my grandmother, and Jean after my aunt Jean and great-aunt Jean.  Jeannie was a nickname to distinguish me from the other Jeans.
  4. Those who are into personality testing and typing may be interested to know that I'm an ISFJ on the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator (I usually split very evenly on the S/N part of the scale, but the ISFJ description suits me better) and a Six on the Enneagram.
  5. I used to play the accordion.
  6. I like baking; I make muffins, scones, and/or loaves at least once a week.
  7.  I won a short-story contest in 2010 and have received nothing but rejections of my writing ever since.  (There may or may not be a cause-effect in that last sentence.)
  8. I enjoy urban poling, a.k.a. Nordic walking; I took a class a couple of years ago and have been hooked ever since.  Whenever anyone says, "You forgot your skis" (there are apparently a few people out there who think they invented that line), I reply that I'm doing off-season training.
  9. I've been in a book study group for 18 years and a writing group for 6 years.
  10. My daughter, who is now 15, is also a writer (check out her blog novel, Poor Girl, Rich Girl, which she did for a grade eight project), and last summer we started a mother-daughter novel, writing alternating chapters from each character's perspective.  We have six chapters written, and I hope we can do more this summer.
  11. I love to sing.  "The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,/A fountain ever springing;/All things are mine since I am His--/How can I keep from singing?"


Here are my answers to the questions Adriana asked me:

1. Why did you start your blog? (If your purpose has changed since you started blogging, share how and why.)

I started my blog in 2007 mostly to share updates and photos about what our family was doing, for distant family members to keep up with our lives.  (I originally called it "The Prinsen House" but then decided against putting our last name in my blog title -- so I changed it to "little house on the circle" since we live on a circular street.  But I think there may be other blogs out there with the same -- or a very similar -- name.)  Now my blog focuses more on what I'm reading, things I'm finding challenging in terms of parenting, spiritual life, etc.  My posts are longer and more in-depth now, and I post more frequently (2-3 times a week).  My posts are also more connected to the blogging community:  I do linkups to other blogs, quote from other bloggers, etc. -- things I never did until about 2 years ago.

2. Which post did you most enjoy writing? Or, what post is your favorite? (Please provide the link.)

My favourite posts are my end-of-year lists of the books I've read each year, complete with short reviews.  See  2013, 20122011 and 2010.
3. Which post was the most difficult to write and why? (Link, if you wish.)

I don't have too many posts that were difficult for personal reasons, but my review of Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree was challenging to write because the book itself was challenging and raised lots of emotions in me about being a parent of special needs kids.

4. Share a favorite quote from a book or author.

From The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring:  

 "This quest may be attempted by the weak 
with as much hope as the strong. 
Yet such is oft the course of deeds 
that move  the wheels of the world: 
small hands do them because they must, 
while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." 

5. Name a character from classic literature that you would love to be neighbors with.

I would like to live next door to Elinor (Dashwood) Ferrars and Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility.  Every time I do a "Which Jane Austen Heroine Are You?" quiz, I come out as Elinor.  I think she and I would be kindred spirits, and it would be nice to see her and Edward's home, visit their little parish, and chat with them about life and literature.

6. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five books would you need?

My Bible, a blank book to write in, Lord of the Rings, Rebecca, and Little Women.  

7. What are you currently reading?

I've just finished Crossing to Safety, a novel by Wallace Stegner.  (It was  recommended by Anne Bogel on her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, which I read regularly.)

8. Where is your favorite reading place?

Living room couch:  I  have all my current books on a side-table next to "my" end of the couch, as well as the coaster with my name on it to place my coffee cup on.

9. Can you name a book that you thought you would dislike, but ended up liking?

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, which is about a Jewish prayer book that travels through the centuries and across continents.  We read this novel for our book study group.  I'm not a big fan of sweeping historical novels but I was impressed by the detail and the various ways religious faith is portrayed.  I probably wouldn't reread it, but it was much better than the first few pages suggested it would be.

10. What do you do when you're not reading? 

I teach an online writing course at Queen's University here in Kingston, Ontario.  I write blog posts and short stories and occasional poems and am working (v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w-l-y) on a novel for tween readers.  I go for walks and play my guitar and sing.

11. You are on vacation in a foreign country. What do you make sure to fit into your itinerary? 

A trip to a café to sample their coffee and a treat to go with it.


Here are the blogs I'm nominating.  I should say to my nominees up front, though, that there's no pressure to do a post like this one.  If you can, great; if it's too much, don't worry about it:


And here are the questions I would like to ask those I've nominated:

  1. What quality do you like best about yourself?
  2. What have you done, or learned to do, that you never thought you could?  
  3. Why did you begin to blog?
  4. What do you like most and least about blogging?
  5. What was your favourite book when you were younger, and do you still like it?  Has it stood the test of time?
  6. Are you active on social media like Facebook and Twitter?  If not, why not?
  7. What would you like to have inscribed on your gravestone?
  8. If you could have a famous person (living or dead, real or fictional) as a next-door neighbour, who would it be?
  9.  As Anne of Green Gables said, "Which would you rather be if you had the choice--divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?"
  10. What would an ideal day look like for you?
  11. What is your favourite piece of music?

This has been a lot of fun.  I hope if you're reading this you'll check out the blogs I've nominated.  I really enjoy blogging, even if I have a small readership; and I've discovered there are a lot of good "little" blogs out there written by people who really have something to say.



  1. Good to know more about you, Jeannie! My daughter did that go-to-a-cafe type thing, but she did gelato instead of coffee. 9 countries and she said the best was in Slovakia. Who knew?

    1. I've only been to 5 foreign countries (I'm not counting the USA), all in one trip in 1993, so I'm no expert. But gelato in Slovakia sounds well worth trying!

  2. Jeannie! Thank you so much for these wonderful, thoughtful responses. I'm delighted!

    1. I didn't know your first name is Helen. I considered naming my baby "Helena." (I ended up naming her after my grandmother.)
    2. So glad you've become more connected to the blogging community in the last two years. Having you for a blog-friend has greatly enriched my whole blogging experience.
    3. Homemade scones make me weak in the knees, but I haven't made any in years. (My favorite recipe calls for 1lb of butter!)
    4. Love that quote from LotR. I really must read that book someday.
    5. Love Rebecca and Little Women and blank books -- and of course, the Bible! I guess I'd make similar choices if I were stranded on a deserted island.
    6. It's very sensible of you to chose sensible neighbors.
    7. Your book review on Far From the Tree is impressive.
    8. Can't wait to read your tween novel! (Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien coined the word "tween?")
    9. Coffee and a treat in a foreign cafe sounds positively dreamy!
    10. I'm looking forward to reading the answers your nominees give. You came up with some great questions.
    11. "How Can I Keep From Singing?" is an excellent song to keep on one's mind! Love!

    1. Thank you, Adriana! This was fun to do, though it took me a while to pull it together. It's a very nice initiative and a good way to share our love of blogging and blogs.

    2. I held on to mine for quite a while, so no worries! :-)

  3. Hello Jeannie, Ive been reading your blog. I was just shy to comment. I really like your sense of humor.

    I enjoyed reading this. The mother-daughter novel thing is sooo cool!

    1. Thanks so much, Sheena. I went to your blog to read your Liebster post too, but I didn't leave a comment; sorry! I always enjoy reading your comments on Adriana's blog and I hope you'll continue writing poetry too because I find your poems very touching.


Please leave a comment. I love to hear from readers, and I always reply!