Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Miracle of Christmas



The grounds for belief and disbelief are the same today as they were two thousand -- or ten thousand -- years ago. If St. Joseph had lacked faith to trust God or humility to perceive the holiness of his spouse, he could have disbelieved the miraculous origin of her Son as easily as any modern man; and any modern man who believes in God can accept the miracle as easily as St. Joseph did. ~Miracles, by C.S. Lewis

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Modesty Survey

Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim.
Jane Austen


I remember when I first found the Rebelution's Modesty Survey. You hear so many do's and don't's when it comes to dressing with modesty, so it was nice to get some gentlemen's input into the matter. Especially since many of them were so down to earth about it. As one wise young man replied:
"Take these answers as advice - not a rules or regulations. It's very dangerous to get legalistic. Modesty is state of being - not what you wear." Very solid advice, indeed!

But the part of the survey that touched me the most were some of the guys encouragements to dress modestly. The first time I read these, I started tearing up. They're so sweet and beautiful. I haven't looked at these in a long time, but I was revisited them yesterday. I think I needed to hear their encouraging words.
Here are some of my favorites:


"Sisters in Christ, we men in society have miserably failed at appreciating true womanhood. On behalf of every man out there who has painted a distorted picture in your life of what a real woman is, especially along the lines of modesty, I apologize deeply. There are many Godly men out there, as I'm sure this survey will prove, that are dying to give you their utmost respect when you choose to follow God's leading in this area of modesty in your life. We back you up all the way and want to do anything we can to help you. And we ask that you do all you can to help us as we struggle through this world of sin together."

"Girls, you are so much more beautiful than the other girls in the world because you are modest. Your purity is beautiful and I find you attractive because you guard it."

"Thank you to all my sisters who seek to please God with modest clothing and behavior. You really show love and care for others when you dress modestly and do not flirt. There are some especially modest, attractive women in my church who realize that their brothers need help in this area. We men don't appreciate and thank you sisters enough for the thoughtfulness and work you put into dressing modestly. Please keep it up."

"As a young man, I have grown to appreciate and respect greatly girls who present themselves physically in a pure and Christ-centered way. Whether in dress or an attitude of modesty, God will honor and reward you for your goal and efforts to keep him as the center of your life in clothing and the way that you interact with those of the opposite gender."

"Keep going, no matter how hard it gets, keep at it, for not only are you helping your fellow brothers stay clean for their wives, but you are keeping yourself pure for your husband. It may seem like guys don't notice or appreciate, but they do, in ways you don't see."

"I understand modest attire is extremely difficult to find these days, but please don't give up! Don't spoil your inner beauty by parading your physical beauty. Godly men certainly DO notice women who behave and dress like godly women, and absolutely WILL displace themselves from women who behave and dress in an ostentatious way."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Coexist? I thought we did...

Anyone seen this bumper sticker? I see it a lot, and it bugs me. Why? Because I can't help but wonder...

What's the point?

Maybe I'm ignorant. Maybe there are skirmishes going on across America that I don't hear about, so the message this bumper sticker proclaims is needed.

But from what I can tell, that's not the case. Basically, what I get from this is that they're saying we should...keep doing what we're doing. Coexist means "to exist together at the same time."

Do we not already do this? Am I missing something here?

I think I get what they MEAN to say. We need to 'tolerate' other religions (that's what they think, anyway). As a conservative I don't exactly agree with that. But I won't get into that here.

The 'cry for action' I see in this bumper sticker (and t-shirt, poster, &c.) is in actuality just a cry for inaction... If you're going to shout a message like this, could you at least put some umph in it? Give it a purpose--make it try to change things. Please.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pride is a Very Common Failing I Believe...

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jane Austen



I was going through my old scripts the other day (because I was in a pensive mood-and I do that sort of thing when I'm in a pensive mood), and I found these little thoughts written in, around, and all over the pages and covers of my Pride and Prejudice Script. I haven't read these since May, but I think they merit a re-visiting...

Without further ado:

  • Opposites attract, but they must learn to meet in the middle. (E.g., Lizzie and Darcy: Darcy is her soulmate, because they both need each other- he starts out cold & proud, Lizzie starts out immature-his coldness is melted by her "fine eyes", representing her character, which is on par, and every bit as strong as his. Lizzie's immaturity (manifest in her rash judgement) is tempered by Darcy. She grows up, he loosens up. She is searching for a soulmate and refuses to settle for less. Lizzie's character is attracted to Darcy's character-only when she discovers his character to be good and true.)


  • Prejudice comes from Elizabeth's fierce loyalty-almost the same reasons as Darcy's failings. E.g. Miss Bingley is an obvious snob. Therefore, [Miss Bingley's]warning [about Wickham] (a true, good warning,) is disregarded because it comes from her lips. This is prejudice, because why should she not be correct, although she is a snob? But, how else is one to judge someone and their actions, and words than by one's previous knowledge of them?

  • PRIDE--Choosing not to love out of fear. Out of fear of being rejected, of not being loved back.

  • Just love! "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

  • To love was why woman was created. [Ed. Note: This was written in reference to Genesis, and how Eve was created to be a companion for Adam. Adam was told to "fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1: 28), but Eve was made for Adam, because Adam was lonely. God said "It is not good for the man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18) So, what did He do? He made a companion for Adam; and since He's God, obviously He's going to give Adam the perfect companion. That perfect companion was Woman. How sweet/adorable/romantic/lovely/beautiful/mind-boggling/earth-shattering/"inconceivable!" is that? Honestly, I think that's just the best thing ever.]

  • Strong characters are attracted by character, not [exterior] beauty. Eyes express strength of character-windows to the soul.

  • People project what they are onto other people.

  • Obstinancy is his [Darcy's] true failing-perhaps like Lizzie's.

  • Lizzie prides herself on being the opposite of Jane (who sees only good in others at all costs), but Lizzie prides herself on seeing all and having no qualms about criticizing it.[Ed. Note--Can I say I find it simply fascinating, delightful, delicious, and quintessentially ironic that Lizzie's real fault is pride! Truly, it is: Lizzie is a clever, intuitive girl-the cleverest and most intuitive in her circle of aquaintance. Therefore, there's a little, wee bit of pride-the knowledge that she is better than everyone else. She prides herself on her ability to read character, and her good judgment. She's spiritually on an entirely different plane than everyone else in her family and her friends, and she's fallen into the trap of pride-the mistake of thinking herself "a cut above the company," as a wise, dashing young gentleman once said. But by the end of the story, Lizzie is a much humbler character. She's still witty, clever, and vivacious; but she has learned wisdom and humility.]

  • Lizzie's attraction to Wickham is a vital ( i.e., physical) attraction. Physical attraction is blind-it sees only one side of the person-the side that the person wants you to see, or the side that you wish to see.

  • Lizzie feels a respect that can lead to love-one must have respect-gratitude. Lizzie does not love Darcy as yet; but then her physical and vital attraction is awakened by Pemberly. She sees a beauty & splendor of Darcy's that can rival Wickham's glamour. Only when Darcy's character was proved good did his wealth become attractive."If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth's change of sentiment will be niether improbable nor faulty." --P&P Chapter 46

  • "Never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain." ---P&P Chapter 46

  • "She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her."---P&P Chapter 50


    So there you are. I love this story-it is arguably the greatest love story of modern English literature. Jane Austen wrote a masterpiece, and it never ceases to amaze me how much richness and beauty and Truth is contained within the pages of her book. P&P is one of the rare works that is a 'classic' in the full sense of the word-it's themes are universal, undying, and are at the heart of all our stories.


"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."---C. S. Lewis

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Emma


"I cannot make speeches, Emma . . . If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." --Mr. Knightley


(Just a warning: There will be spoilers!)

Back in March, I took it upon myself to re-read Pride and Prejudice. I first read it when I was about ten (in other words I was far too young to really appreciate it). After enjoying it immensely and being struck by its sheer genius, I decided to re-read all Jane Austen's novels. In May, I began working on Emma.


That's right-in May.


6 months later, I finally finished.
It was definitely well worth the time!

I am now more in love with the book than I ever was. And Mr. Knightley, who I not so long ago gave the criticism of being too "stuck up," proved to be quite the Mr. Darcy. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that he Out-Darcies Mr. Darcy! (Heresy, I know.)


It's positively delightful when you can find someone in literature who is going through all the same thoughts and emotions, trials and tribulations as you, and I found such a person in Emma. Although I think I've always wanted to be Lizzy Bennett (what girl doesn't?), Emma is a much closer to the me, I must admit. She's thoughtful and analytical (almost to a fault sometimes), but her naturall intelligence and perceptiveness can be blinded by her overweening rashness and foolishness.

The Box Hill Party, when Emma insults Miss Bates always makes me cringe. I remember, in younger, more awkward years, making a joke that went terribly awry and insulted someone. It's not a pleasant situation to find oneself in. And I can only imagine how humiliated and ashamed Emma must have felt after Mr. Knightley rebuked her for it. Gah! It hardly bears to be thought of!

And finally, the love story is, I think, my favorite of all Austen love stories. Pride and Prejudice (which I would say is my currently reigning Austen favorite-Persuasion being close behind it,) has one of the most beautiful, classic love stories ever written, but Emma's is just as romantic, while being, I think, more common. Emma's love story isn't one of excitement, danger, and searing passions, it's a quiet love that sneaks up her before she realizes it. "I was in the middle before I knew I had begun," as Mr. Darcy would say. But when Emma finally realizes that she loves him, she loves him completely and fully, desperately and whole-heartedly. What a lovely surprised to find out that he loves her already. Yet the sweetness in the story is, to me, the surprise. They both came to the conclusion seperately that they loved each other, while thinking the other to be unattached-even attached to another. I love the humility that both of these proud characters find-they are elated and astonished that their love is mutual.

Last night, I was watching Australia while I was finishing the last several chapters of Emma. Naturally, I couldn't help but compare the two love stories.

Australia couldn't hold a candle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Flattery




“I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean”----Lady Windemere, from "Lady Windemere's Fan" --Oscar Wilde

I picked up a book of Oscar Wilde's plays recently, and this line met my eyes. It was one of those "lightbulb moments," as my acting teacher would dub them. That exact same thought had been floating through my mind recently, but obviously, not phrased half so eloquently or cleverly.
When someone pays you a compliment that they genuinely mean, it's worth the world. But, someone who flatters constantly gets annoying and sickening. It's like being fed cake everyday-you can't grow and thrive on it. There's no substance to their words. Although at first it's exciting and thrilling, eventually, you realize how empty and dull the words actually are.
It's so, so easy to tell someone that you love them. To tell them that they're the most beautiful creature in the world. But when it comes down to it, you have to prove your love in the little, everyday actions that you do. Actions speak louder than words.
I was watching a movie recently, and I can't remember what it was, but I remember thinking: "It's so easy to say 'I'd die for you.'" But, what really proves someone's love is the dying to yourself every single day-sacrificing your little desires for the other's good. That's love. It's heroic-but not in an ostentatious way.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kindred Spirits

Ella///Addie


Hair color, length, style: Brownish blonde, medium, straight (except I put it in curlers at night a lot)//// Deep Brown, medium, curly

Permed, dyed, or natural: Dyed blonde, needs redoing/// Dyed it red forever ago for a play-but the red's still lingering...

Eye color: Blue-gray///Blue-gray

Glasses, contacts, or neither: Neither, but I need them///Neither!

Height (tall, short, medium): Short///Medium

Favorite color: Green or Blue///Blue-any and all shades!

Biggest fears: Mice, heights///Tornados, spiders

Random thilly fears: Toilet lizards! (Nasty little critters!)///rubber snakes, real snakes, and sharks in the swimming pool

Favorite food: French silk pie, chocolate lasagna///cookie dough brownies

Movie(s) you'll watch again and again: Anne of Green Gables, LOTR, POTC, Sarah Plain & Tall & sequels/// Titanic, The Lake House, LOTR, Pride and Prejudice, Passion of the Christ (annually)

Favorite Austen book: Northanger Abbey///Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility

Passions: Human trafficking, ALS///Pro-life movement, Darfur, Education

Goals: Family, mediator, publish a book, have a positive impact on at least one person///Family, Theatre Career, Spreading God's love, and ultimately Heaven

Temperament: Saguine-Phlegmatic (another test said Sanguin-Choleric)///Sanguine-Phlegmatic (another test said Sanguine-Choleric)!

Bad habits: Procrastination, picking fingernails, while not wanting to hog the spotlight I take the other extreme & end up as 'the quiet one' (I'm not quiet!)///Procrastination, talking too much, heedlessness, overeating, pulling on hangnails

Unique ways you spell words: yah, rawr, grey, thilly, tho, sawwy, loverly, <3///>yeah, rowr, anywho, sowwy, wuv

Family: Biological—one older brother///Biological-1 older sister, 2 younger sisters, 2 younger brothers

Adopted—12 sisters, 11 brothers///2 brothers, 2 sisters, and 3 lovely children (and a loving husband, of course)

Myer's Brigg's Personality Test: ENFP///ENFJ/P

Favorite hobby/hobbies: Irish dance, reading, writing, scrapbooking///reading, scrapbooking, writing, baking


Least favorite chore: Dishes///Pulling weeds

Least favorite illness: sore throat///Headaches

View on purity: I wear two purity rings, but one broke while I was in England...Unless God changes my mind I'm saving my first kiss///I've had a purity ring since eighth grade

View on romance: Finding the romance in life///Finding the romance in life

Boy status: I have a crush but am waiting for God's perfect plan/// "Stir not up nor awaken love until it please." Trusting in God.

Favorite animal: Dolphins, frogs///Dolphins

Favorite painter: Monet, Kim Norlien///Botticelli, Mary Cassatt

Favorite thing you collect: willow figurines///keychains

Christmas traditions: lefse, junkit, reenacting the nativity scene with figurines, opening presents Christmas Eve, advent gifts///Matching nightgowns/pajamas, gingerbread houses, Advent calendar/wreath, Christmas candy, St. Lucia's Day

Things that make you laugh: boys, Princess Bride references, inside jokes, broccoli hour///boys, Princess Bride references, inside jokes, dropping a pencil at 3:00 in the morning

Things that make you cringe: inappropriate humor (especially coming from ppl you respect), when someone says something awkward/mean about someone in the room///Awkward silences, When someone says something awkward/mean about someone in the room, bad-mouthing, swearing

Pet Peeves: Smacking, the word “baggy” (when referring to a Ziploc bag), being ordered around, swearing, PDA of non-married couples, cruelty///Smacking, chewing with mouth full, the sound of styrofoam rubbing on styrofoam, underdone pizza, PDA in non-married couples, bad manners, "like" overdosing (guilty of that myself!)

View on stuffed animals: Love them ^_^///As much as I adore them, I've always prefered dolls. :)

Love language: Tie between quality time and touch///Quality time/words of affirmation

Best gift someone could give: Spending a day with me///A thoughtful one

Favorite piece of clothing & why: A grungy sweatshirt that's way too big for me...a friend borrowed it once & had it when I was in England for three months...then she returned it and left for Australia for five months...it's my hug sweatshirt///A black and white trench coat I got for my birthday last year-it always makes me feel sophisticated and mature! :)

Faith: Protestant...focus on a relationship with God///Catholic...pursuing a relationship with God

Sleeping Beauty: Parallel to my life--just as Aurora was for a time unable to love Prince Phillip (when she was asleep), I am unable to love the prince God's preparing for me, until I am able to love God with my whole heart and be satisfied only in Him.///Sleeping Beauty is, simply put, my role model- I strive to be a woman who is worth pursuing. Also, there are so many beautiful themes in that fairy tale, that never cease to delight me....(upcoming blog post in order?) And last, but definitely not least, Sleeping Beauty is a reminder of the verses in the Song of Songs that charge us to: "Stir not up nor awaken love until it please."

Favorite Smiley: ^_^/// 8-)








(Ella, with her favorite stuffed dog, Brownie)













(Addie, with her favorite doll, Samantha)










Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthday Wishes!

Hello darling readers!

I thought you all might like to know, today is our beloved Addie's birthday! Leave her some love! <3

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upcoming Wonderment!

'Tis my turn to post...

Ella and I have been discussing plans for a great, big, epic blog post. So epic, that we'll have to get together to write it! So stay tuned! It'll be here soon, hopefully!

In the meantime, here is a song that my pastor mentioned in his homily on Sunday-
it's very, very good!



God bless you all!

~Addie

Saturday, October 3, 2009

College...

College

Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.
Jane Austen


Right now college means one thing to me:

applications

which of course equal:

loads and loads of work.

Writing essays, I'm fine with. What was really starting to get to me was the neverending checking boxes, filling out the SAME information over and over, squeezing words into limited spaces, number crunching, etc., etc., etc. in never ending succession!

*insert plaintive sigh here*

And furthermore, the endless and monolithic process known as "APPLYING TO COLLEGES" takes up lots of TIME.

*insert groan here*

Time that could be spent enjoying oneself, laughing and talking with friends, scrapbooking, journaling, going for a walk, or any other infinitely more enjoyable activity.

So. Those were my feelings up until about 5:00 today.

After having to cancel my second outing with a friend this week (Sorry Ella! :(), I decided that if I was going to have to stay home and work on these college applications, I jolly well would. And I would finish my calculus homework, even if it killed me, and I would not waste the afternoon on Facebook or the forum; I would sit down and get stuff done. I was not going to sacrifice my time with friends just to waste more time. So help me, I was going to get some actual work done.

So, on the way home from my show this afternoon, I stopped by my church's Eucharistic adoration chapel. It was lovely and peaceful, and I sat in front of Jesus, finishing up my calc homework. I've always found the adoration chapel is the best place to work through my problems. I now know that math problems can be worked out there as well.
Then, I got home, and I sat down at the computer and I got my first college application submitted! One down. Five to go. I can do this.

And, I realized I've been letting my laziness get in my way. There were some points over the past week I was debating whether college was really worth it or not. In reality, though, I was just bogged down in the mire of applications, and also, scared of leaving home, friends, and family. Then, I realized how absolutely stupid I was being. Because, I AM excited for college-I know it'll be awesome. Anything that is awesome won't come without hard work; and I hate to admit it, but hard work is an aquired taste for me. I have to teach myself to enjoy it.

And as for leaving friends, one of my favorite new quotes I discovered is Eleanor Roosevelt's: “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” I can leave home and all the people I love and care about won't leave me-their footprints will be in my heart.

*insert cheesy violin music here*

Now, I'm feeling ready to tackle these remaining applications with all my heart. Wish me luck! And when I get to the end of this adventure, let's have coffee together. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Survive Law School in 6 Easy Steps

"Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way." --Jane Austen

I know all of you are just dying to attend law school now that I've started. ;) Therefore, I've compiled a handy dandy set of tips just for you!

Tip #1: Have confidence. What you say matters very little compared to how you say it.

"I think the fluffy bunny effect would work wonderfully in this instance," Carli says enthusiastically.
"That doesn't make a whole lot of sense," her professor responds. "But you sound like you know what you're talking about, so I'll let it slide."
Tip #2: Bring all your books to class, even if you don't have assignments in them that day. You'll look prepared--and build muscle at the same time!

Tip #3: If you look tired, your professors will believe that you were up all night studying.
Carli falls asleep during class.
"Wow," her professor says. "She's dedicated."
Tip #4: Keep talking--and don't forget to use big words and legalese that sound right. It can confuse them into believing that what you say is true.
"I believe the issue in the case was whether or not Jones could have personal jurisdiction when in 1985 a similar case was determined they could not, but the differences in cases were immense and..."
...Or put them to sleep.

Tip #5: Do something that will get you noticed.
Carli comes to class wearing a sombrero. She is known from then on as the crazy student with the sombrero.

At least people recognize her now.
Tip #6: If you really want to succeed in law school...don't follow any of this advice.

Because absolutely none of it would actually work!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dancing

“It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made -- when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt -- it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.” ~Jane Austen



Jane has a very good point here. I love dancing. Period.

I definitely love 'Real Dancing' the best-when you actually touch each other and move in graceful harmony to the strains of beautiful music, while the guy leads the girl, etc., etc. However, I spent the other night dancing to what I would call the 'non-real' type of dancing-where you're simply feeling the "felicities of rapid motion," along with a ton of other people on the crowded dance floor.

But that Jane Austen quote caught my eye, because I think it sums up why people dance. There's something intoxicating in any form of music. People talk about music being "fun to dance to," and I think that means that they feel the magic of the music.

I think we're all agreed that swing dancing, ballroom dance, and line dancing is much more fun than just 'jamming out.' But, as long as the music is nice, I do enjoy letting loose on the dance floor.
How about you? :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Love (In All Its Forms)

"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." --Jane Austen

I once heard that the three hardest things to say are "Thank you," "I'm sorry," and "I love you." This always intrigued me, as these three phrases are part of my daily vocabulary--"I love you" in particular. (And, okay, "I'm sorry" is pretty common too).

Every time I talk to my friends online I greet them wtih "Rawr"--which as any Froggy fan knows, is "I love you" in dinosaur. Those who know the meaning return it. Those who don't, scream and run.

The beauty of this word is that I can say it to my guy friends, too, without worry that they will misinterpret my meaning. I used to say "I love you" without the cryptic word, but when a friend thought I meant it in the romantic sense I stopped. I do love my guy friends--I am not in love with any of them. (I still say "I love you" outright to my girl friends, though!)

So now I'm wondering if I've taken this to the extreme--in a negative sense. Because I repeat it so often, and because half the time I disguise it with my dino word, is the meaning getting lost? When I say 'love ya' to a friend is it out of habit or because I truly want them to know that I do love them?

Unfortunately, sometimes it's out of habit. I greet with 'rawr' and say goodbye with 'love you' because that's what I do. Would it be more meaningful if I said it only sporadically? Should I be like Mr. Knightly--saying it little but feeling it, meaning it, desiring it to be known, much?

That might be the better route--I honestly couldn't say. But I don't think I'm able to do that. When a friend signs off before I have a chance to say I love you, I'm disappointed. Even if it is out of habit, I want you to know I care about you. I want there to be absolutely no doubt about how much I love you.

I think I'm the opposite of Mr. Knightly. If I loved you less I could talk about it less. As it is, you'd better get used to hearing it.

Love you all! <3

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nature


"They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for nature early in life."
~Jane Austen


All I can say to this quote is:

Amen, Sister!


I found this quote on the internet, and I knew I had to blog something about it, because I completely agree-one hundred percent! I absolutely love, love, love nature, and I've been blessed enough to grow up in a very unusual neighborhood. My entire neighborhood used to be one vast forest, but now there are little woods tucked all over the place-including my backyard. I've always been enchanted by trees, probably because I've grown up around them. They're so lovely, majestic and comforting.

I think that a lot of people in our world don't spend enough time outdoors-simply just being outdoors. Doing absolutely nothing except enjoying the world around you, talking with God, and just being alive. When you're having a bad day, just step outside and be alone. It works wonders. :)
To conclude with a quote from Chesterton that Clare posted a while back:


When we are very young children we do not need fairy tales; we only need tales. Mere life is interesting enough. A child of seven is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door and saw a dragon. But a child of three is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door. Boys like romantic tales; but babies like realistic tales - because they find them romantic. In fact, a baby is about the only person, I should think, to whom a modern realistic novel could be read without boring him. This proves that even nursery tales only echo an almost pre-natal leap of interest and amazement. These tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.
~ G.K. Chesterton

Addie's Other Blog

We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.
~Jane Austen



I would like to introduce the other blog that my friends (two of whom you forum people know as Saerwen and Cecilia!), my older sister and I have started up:
*drumroll*

Garden of Violets

Since we were all set on having Shakespearean names, I decided to create a separate blogger account with the name "Lady Desdemona", which is the name I post under over there. That's why you haven't seen Garden of Violets under the list of "My Blogs." Anyhow, we would love it if you would stop by sometime and check out our randomness, our stories, and our reflections on life. Part of the reason we started it was so that we could all share our thoughts throughout the schoolyear, when the majority of our members will be off at college. Also to support each other and any other young people reading it as we journey through life and encounter the inevitable obstacles in our paths.
I've discovered that the internet can be a great place to find support groups (like this blog and others in the blogging community and the Fairy Tale Forum) of like-minded Christian young people who are seeking God in their lives. I've been so, so blessed to have discovered these communities and wonderful people, and we wanted to do our part, and add our little bit of encouragment. :)

Love to all,
Addie

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let's Celebrate!

Hello beloved readers!

I made it through my first week of law school, and I wanted to celebrate that fact with you. For any fellow Northanger Abbey lovers...here's a wallpaper I made. :)

Love you all!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Northanger Abbey Pastiche

I originally posted this on my other group blog:

A pastiche of Northanger Abbey that I wrote in March when I re-read Northanger Abbey. The opening passages are some of my favorites in the book! :)

"No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine."--Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey




There exists among the rank-and-file, pendantic, and provincial that elevated class of the female sex known as the heroine, of which our subject, Miss R., possessed not the distinction of membership. Her disposition, sunny to a fault, rendered it impossible for her to pronounce with the proper acidity the satiric remarks necessary for the exhibition or a heroine's clever wit and intellectual brilliance, without accompanied by blushing, smiling retractions of her vitriolic statements. Although her posture good, her shortish frame wanted the pleasure of being either nicely plump or enchantingly slender, and was forced to reside in the wholly uninteresting territory known as average. Her eyes were weak, of a greyish colour, and had never had the honor of receiving the most coveted of epithets: "fine eyes." Betwixt these two embodiments of blandness resided a most perverse nose; that at times took on a most un-solicited mannish cragginess and at others exhibited a most alarming saucy upturn. Her lips bore little resemblance in colour or softness to roses, and often contrived to lend her gaze a most idiotic blankness. Her teeth were large and stained slightly yellow as a result of the daily tea she was so prodigiously fond of. Her obstinate forehead and jaw conspired together to give her face a firmness and stolidness most unusual for her sex. Her hair, oft the crowning glory of so many women, was a disappointing mousy brown and coarse in texture, requiring much teazing to hold a curl. Although her locks boasted a brazen bronze sheen, they owed that more to woman's art than the cornucopia of nature's gifts. Despite, however, this utterly discouraging physiognomy, Miss R. possessed one feature that provided her with enough secret comfort to serve as balm for the bitter wounds on her vanity. Residing dantily above her unremarkable neck, which did not remotely resemble anything swan-like, were her two shell-like auricles. Delicate conch-pink, and nicely rounded, her ears were her clandestine pride and joy, especially as they came to a delicate point, at their peaks, lending them a most deliciously elven air.

Upon reviewing the dilemma of her features in the mirror, there was only one remotely that immediately presented itself to her, and that was to look in that instrument less often.

A solution which, as we shall see, rendered itself not altogether satisfactory.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mediation--Why?

Some of you may have already heard this, but at the suggestion of Lady Addie, here's my story...particularly how I chose mediation.

When I graduated with my BA my plan was to go to grad school and get a doctorate in English Literature, and eventually become a college professor. I graduated in December, so I had a little time to study for the GRE and to prepare for grad school.

But the more I got ready...the more I began to dread it. And not just grad school...teaching, too. I realized the only reason I had planned to become a professor was for money. Not many people earn much by writing.

I still took the GRE...and didn't do as well as I'd hoped. I took it as a sign from God...being a professor was not for me.

And what a relief that acknowledgement was! But I had a problem. A BA in Writing doesn't give you many good job options. So I prayed, then found a website with an alphabetical list of almost any job you can imagine...and I started reading through them.

Even the ones I expected to excite me (actor...writer...no, I wasn't seriously considering them as options but they ARE my passions), didn't. At least, they didn't as much as mediator did.

I had never heard of mediators. They are people who get both sides of a legal argument together and attempt to help them reach an agreement--without the use of the courtroom.

The two things I have always wanted to do with my job (and life in general) are help people and serve God. I believe I can do both as a mediator.

So I'm going to law school, starting Thursday. I'm pretty scared but God's helping put excitement in place of nervousness.

Oh, and this was just cool to me...the first time I met one of my guy friends--we'll call him Joe--was at writer's group. At the end of the night we got talking about God, and Joe decided he wanted to tell us each the good qualities he saw in us. He'd only just met me but instead of skipping me, he thought for a moment, then said, "Janny, I hardly know you, so maybe this isn't right, but the word that's coming to mind is mediator." Someone else had to explain to him why I was staring open-mouthed. ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Unrequited Love

"Anne felt the utter impossibility, from her knowledge of his mind, that he could be unvisited by remembrance any more than herself. There must be the same immediate association of thought, though she was very far from conceiving it to be of equal pain... there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement." Jane Austen--Persuasion

Unrequited love. What does it mean? What does it feel like? And-most importantly ;)- what does Austen have to say about it?

In all Austen's stories, there are examples of unrequited love. Some of them are pivotal to the storyline-like Anne Eliot's and Capt. Wentworth's painfully awkward situation that tugs at the heartstrings (or, in Ella's case, frustrates beyond endurance. :))
Often, unrequited (or what is perceived as unrequited love) begins a relationship-like Mr. Darcy's secret attraction to Lizzie. At first, Lizzie most emphatically does not return Mr. Darcy's one-sided affection for her. However, she slowly learns of his true character, and comes to appreciate him and eventually return his love. In Darcy's case, his unrequited love has a blessedly happy ending.

"Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then."
~Pride & Prejudice


Other Austen characters are not so fortunate.

Perhaps the most painful Austenian example of unrequited love (putting aside Persuasion, which basically takes the cake for the most heart-wrenching portrayal of unrequited, and silently, secretly requited love,) is the unfortunate relationship between Marianne and Willoughby. In this case, Marianne's beautiful, strong character renders her able to form a deep and abiding attachment to Willoughby, an attachment that his weeker and shallower character cannot reciprocate. Such one-sided love ends up hurting Marianne deeply, but it teaches her a valuable lesson- she learns to temper her sweet sensibility with a little of Elinor's sense. (And, of course, she eventually finds her true love!)

I think God uses the pain of unrequited love to teach us about His love and how we should imitate that love. As St. Francis of Assisi prayed: "Oh, Lord, grant that I make never seek so much to be loved as to love." There is a certain strength and maturity you gain when you choose to truly love someone, even though your love is not returned. You gain a new appreciation for and understanding of what love means. As God loves unconditionally, so should we. Even if we turn our back on God, and withold our love from Him, He will never withold His love from us. Love is most complete, perfect, and exists as God intended when it is reciprocated; however, unrequited love is an important part of life that we all have experienced or will experience in our lives.

For some reason the phrase that keeps running through my head as I write this is "Beauty through pain." Don't know why...Maybe it's because the beauty of love trumps the pain of it not being returned? Maybe because our appreciation of love's beauty is greater when we experience heartbreak? Maybe because the things most worth our time-like love- can only be obtained if you're willing to sacrifice and experience pain? Thoughts, gentle readers?

"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."
Jane Austen-- Northanger Abbey

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Addie's Journey Into the Heart of Austen Country


"Bath is a charming place, sir; there are so many good shops here."
Catherine Morland-- Northanger Abbey






I heartily agree with Catherine!
I just got back a week ago from a 10 day trip to England, and it was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We stayed in Bath for a week with our host families, and rehearsed and performed our show: "How I Became a Pirate." It was utterly fantastic. Then, Sunday the 12th, we took the train from Bath to London, and spent a couple of days in London sightseeing, and that was completely amazing.
So, pictures!
At the airport!

At the the egg theatre with the British kids
The Green running man exit signs! Instead of "EXIT" signs, they have Green Running Men-they are flat out amazing. :)
The outside of the theatre.

Two pictures of the lovely and awe-inspiring Bath Abbey- (note the American flag. Odd? I thought so too.)




The lovely ancient Roman Baths-where Bath got it's name from! :) Although the waters are supposed to have healing properties, you're not allowed to go in it anymore. Two boys in our group got scolded for touching the water. If you'll note the lovely green color, you'll probably conlude (correctly) that it's not the most sanitary water in the world! :)
My friend and I with an actor portraying an ancient Roman at the Baths. My friend wasn't sure for a second whether it was an actor or not! :D
My feet and the reflection of the Bath buildings in the water.
At the Roman baths-playing 'Titanic' :)

The Pump Room! Made famous by Northanger Abbey, in these rooms Catherine was courted by Mr. Henry Tilney, esq. Now, it is a tea room, and you can taste the Bath waters here-renowned for their healing properties.

P.S. The water tastes like sulpher. Yuuummy. :P :)

In Queen's Square park, with two delightful elderly ladies! I asked them if I could please take a picture with them. They looked so adorable sitting on the park bench, eating their sandwiches. :)

At the Train Station, on the way to London!

our London Hotel-near Hyde Park.


The London Eye-so cool! A giant ferris wheel that never stops, and gives you a fantastic view of the city.
The boys inside the London Eye-they were posing as their 'boy band' characters. :) Did I mention they were incredibly amusing and fun to travel with? We got funny looks from the locals, as well. :)

Street performer along the Thames riverbank. There were quite a few of them. We had a great time walking by them all!

London Traffic! :)

The Angel of Love-if you kiss your true love under this statue at midnight, your love will last forever! Pretty nifty. :)

Trafalgar Square! I could have spent hours there-so beautiful!

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. We had a horrible view of the actual ceremony, but seeing the guards was fun. And Buckinham Palace and the gardens that we explored afterwards were sooo beautiful. We also enjoyed the pelicans that were wandering about.

Big Ben!

The Tower Bride

All of us squished into a telephone booth!


A pirate ship belonging to Sir Walter Raleigh. I think that's who it was, at least...

At Shakespeare's Globe Theatre-this is a replica of the original Old Globe-this particular replica was built in 1997. We saw a production of As You Like It there. Fantastic!




Two Pictures of St. Paul's at Night-absolutely gorgeous!




A view of London at night from the Milennium Bridge-lovely!



All in all, it was an absolutely amazing trip. I'm so thankful that God protected us all throughout our journey, kept us safe, and blessed our shows. The very fact that we got this opportunity is a total gift from God, and I'm again, so thankful! Thank you all for your prayers as well, and I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures!
God bless!
xoxo-
Addie
P.S. The first picture in the post is actually the village mead of Norton St. Philip, which is a little village outside Bath where I stayed that week with my host family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reflections on Austen's Fellas

Pride & Prejudice:

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
--

Lots of people say they would like to marry Mr. Darcy. Not me. My personality may be similar to that of Elizabeth Bennet's but I'd much prefer a Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy seems too serious for me...I need someone who can both make me laugh and who will laugh at my jokes. Perhaps I'm biased. I know several Mr. Darcy's in real life...the guys who seem reserved and even rude, yet once you get them talking you discover they're amazing. And I know I could never be happy with any of them.
~Ella

Mr. Darcy is the perfect example of a man who needs love to be complete. Elizabeth's high spirits are the key that unlocks his frozen exterior. As he says, he has always been inclined to pride. His path to maturity involves opening up and humbling himself. Elizabeth's spontenaiety and joy encourage him to open up, and reveal his true kindness and gentleness. By the end of the book, he realizes that he needs to temper his pride with warmness, and he has seen the errors of his prideful ways. Since girls are called to help mold the characters of their friends, brothers, and eventually sons, I think Mr. Darcy appeals to that part that desires to influence the men around her for the better. I think that appeals to me most about Mr. Darcy is he's so good. He always tries to do the right thing. He fails, definitely, but he does try. And I love his relationship with Georgiana!
~Addie

Mr. Charles Bingley--
Addie's thoughts on Mr. Bingley:
Pros: He's amiable, kind, fun-loving, generous, and a loyal friend. (Oh, and he's cute and rich. Let's be honest here.) :)
Cons: Honestly, his family isn't the best-his sisters are SNOBS. And he's much too easily swayed and influenced by others. He's sort of like Jane, where his optimism, while generally a good trait, can blind his judgement.
~Addie
P.S.-Good point on the Faith, Ella! If we're talking husbands here, I definitely need a man who is completely grounded in his faith, and knows his own heart and mind.

As I just said, I'd prefer a Bingley to a Darcy. Why? He's sweet, considerate, has a good sense of humor (one of the most important things in my mind), and is optimistic (also important). Although I could see myself with a pessimist only because I would consider it a challenge to get him to see the brighter side, I would much prefer someone with an optimistic nature that matches my own. That way when I do get sad, he'll be able to comfort me. ;) I do agree with Addie though--he doesn't hold to his beliefs very strongly. I can't account for the greater things--i.e.: faith--because Austen doesn't really mention them, but considering the way he was persuaded to think Jane didn't care for him when (I believe) it was clear she did...you'd have to wonder how the other things would hold up.
~Ella

Northanger Abbey:

Mr. Henry Tilney--

Mr. Tilney's the one for me. :)
He's all that Mr. Bingley is, plus has a strong character and is skilled at witty banter. Of course, the fact that I consider myself akin to Catharine Morland may also play a part in why he's such a favorite. Really though, I can't think of a reason I wouldn't want a Mr. Tilney. He's interested in novels, able to carry on a conversation with just about anyone, knows what he stands for and isn't afraid to say it, can tease without being cruel and will apologize when he knows he's wrong. Plus he'd be able to admonish me when I mess up, which is something I need. :P
~Ella

I have very mixed feelings about Henry Tilney...He never gave Catherine any encouragment at all, in my opinion. He didn't really declare himself until the very, very end of the book. I just didn't buy it. He seems more like a friend, although I suppose that friendship is a good foundation for marriage...Hmmm...So, in any case, Ella may have Mr. Tilney, and I shall be more than content to remain his very dear friend. ;)
~Addie
P.S. I saw the movie recently, and I definitely like Henry better in the movie than in the book. I think he's more assertive in the movie...or something...I definitely liked him better.

Sense & Sensibility:

Mr. Edward Ferrars
--

I like Edward, but he's definitely not your typical Austen hero. He's not eloquent or very skilled with words. He's very kind and good, but he's not very assertive. But why on earth doesn't he just tell her the whole Lucy Steele story at the beginning?!?! That always frustrated me. He doesn't need to tell her particulars, he can just let Elinor know basically what's going on, and tell her that he loves her, but he has this other attachment-or something like that. Maybe he has too great a sense of propriety to state definitively that he loves her, without making her an offer of marriage at the same time. But Elinor would be spared a lot of pain if she knew that Edward returned her feelings, I think.
~Addie

I've always been a fan of Edward. But I highly suspect it is the movie Edward I liked and not necessarily the book Edward. Sadly it's been far too long since I've read Sense & Sensibility (eight years!), and I know that the movie added scenes that show him in a wonderful light (such as the scene with Margaret and her atlas, where Edward and Elinor cunningly coax her out from under the table). Therefore, my reflections on this particular hero will have to be based on the movie Edward--so my opinion is this...he's a good man, who stands by what he believes is right even when it hurts him to do so (as is seen in his keeping his engagement, when the feelings no longer existed), and he's good with children. Perhaps a bit too awkward or rigid, though. He always seems a bit nervous, I think...
~Ella

Colonel Brandon--

What a sad, sad man. I do want him to have a happy ending, I really do...however I can't help but feel that he's too old for Marianne. I always felt bad for Marianne, that she never got the ending she wanted...she seemed resigned to her fate, rather than happy with it. Ya know? Sort of like the way I feel when I try to imagine myself with someone other than the man I hope to end up with...like, okay God, if this is what you want I shall be satisfied...but it's not the dreams I myself had. Anyway, I do think Colonel Brandon is a sweet fellow with a great heart. My only qualm with him is his age. And perhaps he may be a bit too reserved as well--however considering his past I think we can forgive him that.
~Ella

I basically agree with Ella on Col. Brandon. He's very kind and loving, and I know that he'd be a great husband. But, after his heart has been broken so completely, it would be difficult for him to love completely again.
~Addie

Mansfield Park:

Mr. Edmund Bertram
--

Ummm...I haven't read Mansfield Park in forever. *blush* Dear readers? Do you have thoughts on Mr. Bertram?
~Addie

Oh, this guy. To be honest, he kind of always bothered me. Well, the entire Mansfield Park story does. I'll be fair. Edmund is a good man who tries to do the right thing. However, he is easily blinded... *cough* Mary Crawford *cough* And I never am satisfied with the ending. The fact is, he was passionately in love with Mary for most of the book. Then he (finally) discovers she's not the type of woman he wants to marry, and suddenly it's 'Oh Fanny I love you.' If I were Fanny I'd say 'Prove it.'
~Ella

Emma:

Mr. Knightley
--

I'm not really sure how I feel about Mr. Knightley. While he is a very nice guy and part of me has always wanted the sort of relationship he and Emma have (being really great friends first), I'm not sure he's the type of man I'd want to marry. I'll be honest, I don't take criticism well. Yes, I need someone who will correct me (as I said about Mr. Tilney) but he needs to have tact, too. So, Mr. Knightley would make a great friend but not a good husband for me.
~Ella

Mr. Knightley is a bit of a snob-e.g., his objections to Emma's friendhip with Harriet. However, the fact that he's so much older than Emma doesn't bug me like it does some people. I liken it to a situation like Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo falling in love with Haydee, or Mr. Rochester falling in love with Jane. I love how he's her good friend/mentor for most of the book, and then all of a sudden, Emma realizes: "Oh! I love him." :)As an older brother type figure, he's not afraid to reprimand or tease Emma about her faults. He loves her because of her faults. He's not afraid to challenge her to become better, but he takes her the way she is.
~Addie

Persuasion:

Captain Frederick Wentworth
--

Capt. Wentworth is one of my favorite Austen fellows! One of my favorite scenes in Persuasion is when Anne is struggling to make one of her young nephews behave. The young boy continues to misbehave, so Frederick simply swoops down, takes the boy aside and plays with him. Obviously, loving and playing with children are huge assests in a future husband. Although he succumbs to hurt pride and resentment after Anne breaks off their engagement, he remains constant. He is an extremely impressive character, because he is willing to face the consequences of his mistakes. His behavior towards Louisa, he realizes, has led her to form an unrequited attachment to him. He is ready and willing to do the honorable action and marry her, if that is what she desires, although he knows that it will cause him unhappiness.
He is always filled with kindness towards Anne, despite her rejection of him. If you really think about how awkward that situation would be, his ability to behave with such wonderful composure and charity, even friendliness, is marvelous. So, you can probably tell that I approve most deeply of the honorable, witty, kind, dashing, and romantic Capt. Wentworth! :)
~Addie

Hehe, I think we know which Austen man Addie would like to marry. ;) As for myself, Persuasion has always bothered me the same way Mansfield Park does. I guess I just don't handle frustrating stories well. I mean, when things are going completely wrong until the very end. Drives me nutty! Anyway...I do agree with Addie. Wentworth is a wonderful guy with many great qualities.
~Ella

Monday, May 25, 2009

Still Here!

Happy Memorial Day to all of our beloved readers!

Addie and I wanted to let you know that no, we have not died! Nor have we forgotten about this blog or our devoted readers...in fact, we are currently writing what I believe will be a very wonderful post!

Because of its sheer awesomeness (hehe), it's taking us a while, but it shall be posted sometime in the near future...and I do believe it shall be worth the wait!

Love you all!
~Froggy (and Addie)~

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Laughter

"I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, but I laugh." -Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice

Here follow random reflections that I've been having on laughter...

Elizabeth Bennett is, as Jane Austen said, "quite the most delightful creature as ever appeared in print." What makes Lizzie so special? I think part of it is her inclination towards laughter.
There is an analysis of Pride and Prejudice somewhere online that examines all the different characters and their ability to laugh/ be laughed at. Lizzie, as she says "dearly loves a laugh", but she is unwilling to laugh at what is bad. But she laughs at Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Mr. Collins because of their ridiculous pompousness. At the beginning, she attempts to find a fault in Mr. Darcy that she can laugh at, and is foiled. Towards the end of the novel, as her regard for him deepens, a sort of shyness develops, and she can no longer jest with him as freely as she used to. However, after their engagement, Lizzie is back to her playful bantering, although she tempers her laughter a little. Austen writes, "She remembered that he had yet to learn to be laught at, and it was rather too early to begin." A friend found me a quote that said, "Darcy must learn to laugh more, and Elizabeth must learn to laugh wisely."
Although it's an everyday occurence, laughter is in some ways, quite mysterious. I find it amazing that scientists cannot find the biological causes laughter. Tears can be explained by hormones and the nervous system. But laughter? Science has no clue. It's amazing that such an ordinary, commonplace reaction totally eludes a biological explanation. Laughter is divine.
Sarah laughs in the Bible, when she hears she is to bear a son. I wonder if she was laughing out of disbelief, or if it was partly because of the great joy she was experiencing. She was being touched by God, and her joy had no other outlet than laughter. When her son is born, she says "God made laughter for me; every one who hears will laugh over me." C.S. Lewis writes somewhere that it is only the serious things that can be laughed at. "Joy is the serious business of Heaven." Laughter is the language of the soul. Maybe that's why it's so contagious, because laughter is a soul expressing it's joy, and everyone else responds to such a spontaneous and beautiful expression of joy.