Saturday, August 29, 2015

4 Things People Say When They Find Out I'm a Vegetarian (and tag answers!)

Hi, guys!  My LRtC review is in the works, but I have a feeling it'll be a while before it's up, and even when it is, I'm not sure it'll be adequate, hehe;)  So in the meantime, I'm whipping up a quick post talking about how people react when they find out I'm a vegetarian.  Now, please, I don't want to offend anyone in this post, but I Must Speak My Mind now and then, and so this one might be a bit more sarcastic than usual.

Here goes nothin'!

This is the #1 thing that it's almost guaranteed people will say to me when they find out I don't eat meat.

Sometimes, the people who ask this have completely innocent motives and are just curious about why I'm voluntarily an herbivore, and they ask it in a very polite way.  But alarmingly often, people ask it in a tone that drips condescension and the clear intent to persuade me of the nonsensicality of my choice.  Sometimes this comes from good intentions, but trust me…it isn't exactly a good idea to ask a vegetarian why they're a vegetarian if you make it unequivocally obvious that you think it's a stupid thing to be.  Dear well-meaning people:  save yourself the time and don't try to convince me that I shouldn't be a vegetarian.  It'll only waste your breath and get under my skin.  I'm by no means saying that I'll always be a vegetarian, but for now, I am, and if one day I decide to change my mind, I can do it without your input and reasoning.  (I really do mean this in the kindest of ways.)

Oh, and just in case y'all are curious, I'll tell you.  I personally am a vegetarian because I personally don't want to eat animals, though I don't consider it morally wrong to eat meat (except certain seafoods, the ones that are "prepared" via being boiled alive.  Call me crazy, but I do have a slight moral aversion to burning anything alive).  You gotta understand, this is a girl who could never even bring herself to directly kill an insect (at least, not once I reached a certain age).  I just couldn't (and frankly still can't) do it.  But just because I myself have those feelings does not mean that I look down on those who squash a spider when they see it (there really is nothing wrong with that).  It helps that I also never really liked meat that much.  I do miss tuna sandwiches at times, but that's about all I miss.  Trust me, I doubt that I would be a vegetarian if I liked meat more than I do.

"Oh, wow.  I could never be a vegetarian; I love meat."
Um…okay?  More power to you, then.  I don't really care love it.  Hence the vegetarianism.  

"But isn't it Biblically wrong to be a vegetarian?"/"God gave us the animals to eat."

Oh-ho, boy.  Don't even get me started.   

My response when people say, "So you don't believe God gave us the right to eat meat?" is usually to remind them that I personally do not have a moral problem with the majority of meat-eating.  Granted, lots of vegetarians do, but I am not one of them (not yet, at least, hehe).  My reaction when someone pulls the it's-disobeying-God-to-not-eat-meat card, on the other hand…

After attempting to cool the blood that has suddenly begun to boil in my veins, I usually say in as calm a voice as I can muster without making it sound as scathing as I really feel, "No, when I think about how vegetarianism was God's first plan for humanity [because it was, you have to admit that], I feel pretty Biblically justified."  Thankfully, people tend to leave it alone after I say that.  

"But how do you keep healthy?"
Believe it or not, there are other healthy foods besides fish.  There are other sources of protein than beef.  And there are other victuals that actually offer all eight amino acids.  Shocker, I know.  

All right, all right.  It is a bit more difficult.  I'm fairly sure I don't get as much protein/amino acids as I should, but that's partially my choice.  For one thing, I don't eat a lot of straight-up dairy either (though I'm not and I doubt I ever will be a vegan).  I can't really have straight milk anymore because it stuffs up my nose.  Which is really sad, by the way, because I loved milk:(  But if/when I try a little harder, I get plenty of nutrition, never fear.  I appreciate the concern, but how's about a deal:  you worry about your health and leave mine to me/my parents/my doctor, okie dokie?  Swell.   

There you have it!:D  Hope I didn't step on too many toes, heehee.  It really wasn't my intention.

Oh, and while I'm here, the lovely Naomi has tagged me!  Jolly big of you, old bean!

1. Describe your eyes, please.  All right!  My eyes are dark brown (though not as dark as they appear from a distance), deep set, and rimmed with naturally long, curly lashes.  (My eyes are basically the only feature about which I can remotely brag, so give me my small victory, haha:D)

2. What's the last thing you bought? (And food doesn't count.)  I'm sure it was a book…I have a problem with compulsively buying books;)

3. Do you keep a diary? (And do you let people read it, or is it filled with dark secrets?)  Nope.  I've tried, but I never keep it up for very long.  Though I think it'd be fun to write a memoir someday, just for the heck of it, and to see how God has worked in my life.  

4. If you could choose, have pink hair for a week, or have one encounter with Blandois from 'Little Dorrit' in the night on a lonely road? (For those of you who haven't read or seen Little Dorrit, Blandois is this horrible murderer who turns blood into ice. (not literally.))  WHY NAOMI WHY.  Okay.  My first thought was "Definitely the pink hair!" because Blandois definitely turns my blood to ice and my reaction upon seeing him pop up in front of me with those mad eyes would probably be this: 

 BUT on second thought, you never explicitly said that I'd meet him ALONE.  If I were to meet him at night on a lonely road when flanked by my brothers and/or my father, I might prefer that to the pink hair. 

5. What do you imagine I look like? (I'm curious.)  I'm awful at visualizing people I've never seen;-P  It usually ends up being a very vague outline.  Basically, I picture you kind of like Alexis Bledel in Tuck Everlasting (but that's partly because she was one of your blogger pictures).  And I picture you with curly, slightly frizzy brown hair:)

6. Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?  Uh-uh.

7. When do you allow yourself to start listening to Christmas songs?  Whenever I jolly well want to, thank you very much!  I have my own soul!  My own spark of divine fi-uh!  *stomps away in high dudgeon*

8. Do you have a pair of pink shoes? (Because I think I want them.)  I don't, actually!  I should really get some more shoes, come to think of it.

9. When you say the word 'brother' in a British accent, do you end up saying 'brotha' or 'brother'? (Because often when people try out British accents, they make the mistake of doing the latter.)  
I'm assuming it comes out 'brotha'?  I can't actually recall an occasion on which I've used the word 'brother' when mimicking a British accent, but…yeah.

10. Which literary character can you mimic the best?  
Literary or fictional?  'Cause there's a slight difference;-P  Heehee, I actually imitate the shrimp from Shark Tale really well, so my brother tells me. I can basically recite that whole little dialogue with voices;)

Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Jeeves!" "Sir?" "I'm sitting on the roof." "Very good, sir."

(I was reading a certain blog post with a certain special announcement and remembered how nice it is to use quotes as titles.  So, for this random update post, I did, hehe.  Also, all the pictures in this post are edits I've been working on recently.  I've been having too much fun with them:D)

Well, I'm starting school again tomorrow, and thusly, I won't be able to post or comment as often as I have this summer.  'T'is a shame; I've really enjoyed having more time to hang out in the blogosphere during these last couple months.  But I'm sure it's all for the best--I can get some productive stuff done and you all can have a break from my persistent ramblings, haha;)

As you can probably tell from the title, I've been reading a good bit of Jeeves and W. lately.  Wodehouse was a genius!  Those conversations!  They're hilarious!  I try to imitate the characters' way of speaking in writing, but I usually fail, haha.  And the way he describes Bertie's thought processes are priceless, too.  Take this snippet from Joy in the Morning:

Well, I could readily understand Boko falling in love at first sight with Nobby, of course, for she is a girl liberally endowed with oomph.  But how she could have fallen in love at first sight with Boko beat me.  The first sight of Boko reveals to the beholder an object with a face like an intellectual parrot.  Furthermore, as is the case with so many of the younger literati, he dresses like a tramp cyclist, affecting turtleneck sweaters and grey flannel bags with a patch on the knee and conveying a sort of general suggestion of having been left out in the rain overnight in an ash can.  The only occasion on which I have ever seen Jeeves really rattled was when he met Boko for the first time.  He winced visibly and tottered off to the kitchen, no doubt to pull himself together with cooking sherry.  (Chapter 6)

Or this part from Jeeves and the Impending Doom:

"What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this?  Do you realize that Mr. Little's domestic happiness is hanging in the scale?"
"There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter." 

This one might be my favorite:)

Oh, so I have a question for you all.  I have a couple post ideas, but I'm not sure which one I want to do first, especially since I won't be having as much leisure time in the coming weeks.  Here are my ideas, and y'all can tell me which ones you're most interested in, and we'll see how it all works out, yes?

~ How people react when they find out I'm a vegetarian
~ A look at Padmé Amidala's costumes 
~ TV series review of Lark Rise to Candleford
~ Book review of "Anne of Green Gables," My Daughter, and Me
~ A-Z bookish questions
~ Movie reviews of The Importance of Being Earnest, Ever After, possibly some other movies

And that's pretty much all I got at the moment.  Thoughts?  Preferences?

Yes, yes, I'm that person.

Do any of you remember when I mentioned the possibility of a Robin Hood blog party?  Well, I'd LOVE to be able to do that, but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to host it anytime soon.  There are so many other blog parties and events going on right now, and frankly hosting one just doesn't seem practical as I'm going into the school year.  So I miiiiight try to do it if I get a fall break, or I might do it in the winter, or wait 'til next year.  I guess we'll see.  But anyway, are any of you still interested in that?  I'm trying to think through it even though I can't make it happen right now:)

I didn't make this one, though.

Now go watch Gilmore Girls and eat fun foods before your summer is gone (if your summer isn't in fact already gone, and even if it is, too).  Have a great day, lovelies!:D

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why Adam Pontipee, Henry Higgins, and the King of Siam Don't Bother Me (aka Why I Love Them)

Hello, beauties!  I apologize for my slight absence recently--I was at the beach again.  It was fun (beach-combing is one of my new favorite things), but at the same time…

Anyway!  While there, I suddenly got an idea for a post that I really liked ("People, I've had an epiphany!").  You guys probably know already that I have a bit of an obsession with musical theatre, particularly older musicals.  Y'see, the 1950s and '60s were the golden era of musical theatre, in my personal opinion.  (Also, I did a school project that involved researching musical theatre, and from what I read it seems that musical production was at its peak at that time, at least in America.  But I might have gotten that wrong, so feel free to correct me.)  

I mean, think about all the famous musicals made in the '50s and '60s!  The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, The King and I, Showboat, The Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Oklahoma!, Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, Top Hat, Easter Parade, State Fair…the list goes on and on!  (I haven't seen all of those musicals yet, to my shame.  But I intend to eventually.)  And then, of course, there are the lesser-known Howard Keel fests productions;)

So anywho, the older musicals are generally speaking my favorites (exceptions being Evita and The Phantom of the Opera, of course).  I love the costumes, the music (usually), the witty dialogue, and especially the eccentric characters.  Today I want to talk about three of those characters in particular, characters whom I love, but who seem to (understandably) irritate some people:

Adam Pontipee (from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
Henry Higgins (from My Fair Lady)
The King of Siam (from The King and I)

Now…Adam.  Adam is…an interesting fellow.  The trouble is, there isn't a whole lot rolling around in his cranial cavity.  He's sexist and frankly stupid, BUT, people, BUT, he changes.  He starts out as a good-naturedly self-absorbed person who thinks women are there to be carried off by men to marry them, but after a few hard but well-deserved words from Millie (with whom, he finally realizes, he's fallen in love), he figures out that he's gotta shape up if he wishes to be a good husband and be loved in return by his wife.  

Of course, if I'm being fully honest, the main reason I love Adam is that he's played by Howard Keel, who, if you didn't know, is in possession of a great smile, a glorious laugh, and one of the finest voices on God's green earth.  So yeah.  (I also love him in Calamity Jane and Kiss Me Kate.  But don't even get me started on that dreadful performance in Showboat.  It pains me, I tell you, pains me to recall his role in that film.  I get that he was supposed to be a leetle "slick," but honestly, if you want us to like a character, don't make him look and behave like a flipping charlatan.)  His songs, though displaying how much is wrong with the way he thinks, are just sooo hilariously fun.  Like "Sobbin' Women."  Pure gold, even though it's a terrible thing that he incites his brothers to do.

Ah, the immortal 'Enry 'Iggins.  Now, I am well aware that a number of you--yes, you, I'm sending pointed looks at you--dislike Higgins.  You love MFL, of course (because to do otherwise violates the laws of human sanity), but Professor Higgins just gets under your skin.  (And as for he and Eliza?  Pish-tosh!  Allan Jay Lerner missed the mark on that one.  Good ol' George Bernard Shaw had the better vision.)  I get this in some ways, but in others I feel I must be allowed to defend Higgins against the charges laid at his door;)

First of all, let me just say that I completely agree with the popular summation of Henry Higgins' character.  He's a bratty, rude, thoughtless, self-absorbed, arrogant misogynist.  While no one could accuse him of a lack of educated intellect, he is at heart a spoiled child who stamps his feet and hollers when he doesn't get his way.  But he is also one of my favorite screen characters ever.  Why?  Well, there's the obvious reason of his delightful lines.  Everyone, I think, loves to watch Henry Higgins at work.  

But I also love this character because for all his guffawing and I-shall-never-let-a-woman-in-my-life-ing and bravado and I-have-my-own-spark-of-divine-fire-ing, he comes, in the end, to depend on Eliza.  He comes to--horror of horrors!--give the intelligence and insight and relationship of a woman credence.  Though he fights his attachment to her tooth and claw, even he finally has to concede defeat in the last scene of My Fair Lady.  I love the way he tries to reason with himself in that scene, torn between his dratted ego and his affection for Eliza:  "I was serenely independent and content before she came!  Surely I could always be that way again…" ~ "And yet…I've grown accustomed to a trace of something in the air…accustomed…to her face."  (He's so helpless.  I revel in it;D)

The King of Siam (whom I'm nicknaming T. K.) might be my favorite out of these, but I'm not sure.  He reminds me a lot of Henry Higgins, but something about him is slightly more approachable because, even though in theory he dismisses the idea of love, you can clearly see that he loves his children and friends deeply.  He is also, when no one happens to be contradicting his opinions, a generally amiable fellow, and one thing I really love about him is that he is so eager for truth.  He searches for it, and even if he does not come to the right conclusions, "this one tried.  He tried very hard."  Even when he's dying, "I want to stay here, in room of knowledge."  

T. K. is stubborn as heck and extremely sexist, like Adam and Henry, but he too finally admits that the women in his life have been right more often than not.   He's irritable and fractious at times, but he also likes the challenger spirit in Anna, I think.  And he's also just a little adorable.  "Put your best foot forward, your Majesty."  *looks at her, puzzled, and raises his left foot*

So, anyway, there's just a little spiel about why I don't mind these three guys, rude and messed-up and politically incorrect though they may be;)

Who are some of your favorite men from older musicals?  Or do you prefer the newer ones?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Two Tags!

'Eeeeello, 'ello, 'ello, all!  So two of my awesome blogging buddies, Bekah and Morgan, have both tagged me!  Let's get right down to it.

Bekah's tag:  The 5 Things I Like About How God Made Me Tag

1. List 5 things you like about how God made you (God made everything about you; the family you were born/adopted into, the fact that you enjoy the stuff you enjoy, your looks, your personality; everything. So, it can't be too hard to think of 5 things you love about how God made you. Right?)
2. Tagging other people/excepting a tag is optional
3. If you are tagged (and if you except), link back to the person who tagged you
4. Have fun!

(The accompanying tag picture!)
Okay, here goes.  (I'm sorta grasping at straws here, so please don't think I'm saying any of this in a bragging way!  I'm really not trying to do so.)

1.  My eyes (let's get the shallow stuff out of the way first, shall we?).  I frankly have a bit of a difficult time coming up with physical things I like about me, 'cause hey, I'm a stereotypical teenage girl, but I do like my eyes.  They're dark brown, and I was blessed with naturally long, dark, curly eyelashes.  (But just a side note, I like basically everyone's eyes.  Eyes are just amazing.  I love to look at people's eyes.)

2.  My attitude towards people.  In general, I'm usually pretty sympathetic and compassionate towards other people.  Though I have been known to allow people to irritate me when I probably shouldn't have:-/

3.  My musical abilities.  I'm about to go into my eighth year of piano, and my sixth year of choir.  I'm not always nuts about my voice (it's a lot, shall we say, lighter than I'd like it to be), but I'm gaining some confidence in it.  And I do love to play the piano.  I tend to speed up and consequently mess up when I'm playing in front of people, but on the whole I'm reasonably talented at it:)  Plus, I do think that I'm a fairly good judge of music *pretentious sniff*, if I do say so myself--but then, I probably have the problem of judging music mainly in terms of my own personal preference, in which case I wouldn't be.

4.  My writing--sometimes.  Sometimes I like my writing, sometimes I don't.  It's a kind of long story.

5.  My Myers Briggs personality test results, hehe;D  I am an INFJ, and I like how they describe INFJs.  It helped me to understand a little bit more about myself and why I do certain things, and why I have certain thought patterns.  So there, if you want to find out what I'm like, click on the above link:D  (Not really, of course, because it's not 100%-accurate-to-my-own-little-self, but it's basically a good description.)

Thank you so much, Bekah!  It's a very inspiring tag:)

Morgan's tag:  The Music Tag
Answer the questions on your blog (you can also put down more than one answer).

1. Who is your favorite band or artist?
Hmm…I don't listen to that many bands/artists very faithfully, but I suppose I'll say Moriah Peters.  Edit:  I forgot to mention Celtic Woman!  I love Celtic Woman.

2. Who is your favorite male singer?
Howard Keel.  Don't even get me started.

3. Who is your favorite female singer?
Probably either Sierra Boggess or Anna O'Byrne.  They both played Christine, but I've seen them in different Christine-roles:  Sierra Boggess in The Phantom of the Opera and Anna O'Byrne in Love Never Dies.  Edit:  Or one of the singers in Celtic Woman;)

4. What is your favorite "Type" of music?
( Classical, Rock, Hip Hop, Jazz, Christian, or Misc.)
Soundtracks from musicals or folk ballads.  "Oh Shenandoah," for instance.  So. Flipping. Beautiful.

5. What is your favorite Musical? (It can be a movie or on Broadway.)
Ha.  Ahaha.  Sorry, I'm afraid I can't pin down my absolute favorite musical EVER, but I will say that recently I have been just a wee bit obsessed with Evita, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Phantom of the Opera, Kiss Me Kate, The Sound of Music, and The King and I.  I just watched TKaI for the first time in years the other day, and HEAVENS ABOVE.  

6. Have you ever seen a Musical performed on stage?
Yup.  We attend the musicals of one of our local high schools fairly regularly.  To date I think I've seen Beauty and the Beast, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma, and Seussical.

7. What is your favorite duet song?
Ooh, yikes.  I've really been loving "Once Upon Another Time" from Love Never Dies, so here, have a listen.  This is the one with Anna O'Byrne, and I do apologize for the subtitles.  Sometimes YouTube can be most irksome.  

8. What do you think is the best music score?
As in, the best instrumental album that I'd actually enjoy listening to, all the way through?  Right now that honor goes to the soundtrack for the 2013 Romeo and Juliet.  What even.  (Go look it up.  Now.  I say this because I care about you.)  I actually bought the entire album--which, for me, is very rare, partially because I hardly ever find a soundtrack of which I feel the need to possess all the tracks, and partially because I lack money, hehe:D

9. Do you play any instruments? If so, for how long?
Yep, I play the piano.  About to enter my eighth year, actually!  I'm prodigiously excited:)  I've also dabbled in the harp and the guitar, but didn't stick with either for various reasons.  I'd really like to have the practical usage of guitar skills, though.  And I'd love to learn how to play the flute!

10. Have you ever been to a concert(s)?
I think I have been to one band concert, a long time ago, that I don't really remember.  Other than that, I've been to choral concerts, a symphony, piano recitals, etc. 

Morgan, thanks a bunch!  I had a blast:)

Aaaaand, since I'm a lazy and mean person, I'm not going to specifically tag anyone, but just open it up and let y'all go to town;D

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not By Sight by Kate Breslin {review}

[I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.]

In the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines.  Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause.  Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Hack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.

I have a confession to make…I didn't actually finish this one.  That's a first for me with these blogger review programs, but let me hasten to add, it wasn't because the book was abnormally bad.  It wasn't.  There was nothing really wrong with this story, but there was nothing really right either, and that was the problem.

The end actually looked promising, but I just lost interest, plain and simple.  I think part of the problem (apart from the typical over-the-top romance) was that the story was written in a rather confusing manner.  I couldn't exactly follow the plot twists, because I couldn't make sense of the author's explanations.  They seemed vague and a bit conglomerated.  But maybe that was just me, and maybe I didn't give the book enough of a chance.

Some good points:  the story itself was fairly original, which is a precious rarity in the CFR genre.  Set in WWI, involving suffrage, espionage, secrets, and physical deformity, I'm becoming more and more convinced that I really should have stuck with it longer, and mayhap one of these days I'll pick it back up again and read it through properly.  I also liked the reference to different classic novels, including Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera!  That made my inner fangirl grin;)

So, overall, while for various reasons I didn't actually finish the book, it has promise.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Search Me

Yup.  I always look this fabulous when I'm
I worry a lot.

Sometimes it gets pretty bad, actually.  I'm sure most of you know the feeling--when you're having a miniature panic attack, and your scalp and ears start tingling with heat, and your stomach is roiling around, and you feel sure you're either going to vomit or fly apart at the seams in a matter of moments.

Now, thankfully, it's rare that I have panic attacks.  Often I fret about things that aren't truly that momentously significant, so I'm usually able to repress anxiety when it comes, at least to the point that it doesn't hinder me physically.  Spiritually, however, it's a different matter.

You see, I pick at myself, like most girls my age, and I pick at a lot of different aspects of myself--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc.

I worry over whether I'm too self-absorbed (which I probably am).

I worry over whether I don't have enough faith because I do still have questions (which is slightly ridiculous).

I worry over whether I idolize stories (which I might).

I worry over whether I am making any difference in the world for the better (which I hope I am).

I worry over whether I'm not "sold out of Jesus" enough (which is most likely true).

And then I worry over whether these failings have caused God to cease loving me (which is not true).

I think that since I am not as passionate about my faith yet as I probably should be, I am an utter failure and that God looks at me with disappointment in His eyes and heaves a deep sigh of "Oh, wow.  I've gotta go deal with her now."  All these doubts and fears and insecurities swirl around and around and kick up a choking cloud of anxiety, which works itself into a tightly-wound knot in my heart, preventing me from moving forward in my walk with the Lord, and preventing me from experiencing the "peace that transcends all understanding."  

But.  Then God will slowly, faithfully begin to unravel the cords in that knot, releasing my heart from that stagnating pressure and revealing to me, whether through the words of another person, the lyrics in a song, a quote from a book or movie, or a passage of Scripture, that He's got me.  And what's more, He has every intention of holding onto me in spite of my flaws.  

One such instance was occurring a couple days ago.  I had worked myself up into a miserable mess, and then I started reading Psalm 139.  Several verses stood out to me, and I'll talk about them in a minute, but what finally initiated a glorious release of stress was when I read the final two verses.  I'd read these several times before, but that moment, they grabbed hold of me with a simple truth and a simple petition:

"Search me, O God, and know my
test me and know my anxious
See if there is any offensive way 
in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting."

It was really quite something; all of a sudden I was liberated.  This could be my prayer.  I certainly do not "have it all together" when it comes to relationship with Christ, but, I realized, that's okay.  Sanctification is a lifelong process, from what I've read, heard, been told, can see in the Bible.  God says that He will "carry [His work in us] on until the day of Christ Jesus."  We can relax, people.  That doesn't mean we don't have to continue to work out our salvation, goodness no, but it's okay to not be perfect right now.  I've decided that, when worries come and guilt attacks me for my weaknesses, I will strive to more often 1) repent, ask God for His forgiveness, and believe He has granted it when I do mess up, and 2) pray those verses when I'm not sure whether I'm living in wrong patterns.  "See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting…"  I believe He will!

Another aspect of anxiety that often threatens to overwhelm me is the uncontrollably downward slope on which this world seems to be.  The news (which I make a point of not ingesting too often, in an attempt to prevent said anxiety attacks)  continues to tell us nothing but bad news.  Terrorist groups are apparently still very much alive and kicking; horrendous persecution is being practiced on the people in the Middle East; our world is crumbling and our nation refuses to turn to God, and I just want to flee into the Withywindle Valley and hang out with Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and shut out the world's chaos and terror (which really wouldn't work, because Tom and Goldberry don't shut out the world in the first place).  In many ways, it seems that the end times are upon us, and frankly, I feel like Frodo.  "I wish it had not happened in my time."  (Whereupon I must remember Gandalf's blessed response to that!)  

I torture myself by entertaining countless what-ifs and whys and worst-case scenarios and what-if-I-do-such-and-such to "escape" from the madness?  Psalm 139 again. 

"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You."

I talked a little more about these subjects in another post, but the main thing I have to remember is that God really is in control.   In the end, He will create new heavens and a new earth, and He promises that what we endured in this lifetime, whatever it might be, will not be remembered.  So it really will be okay, whatever happens, won't it?

It's important for you guys to remember this, people, whenever the awful stuff that can and does happen in this world is dragging you into a swamp of fear and despair:

the darkness
that is
does not make
the light
that is
any less

(Okay.  I am so rambling, it's not even funny.  But "stay with me, I'm tryin' to make a point.")  

Be happy and think on beautiful things, like fairies
and twilit woods and quiet streams and
Lord of the Rings and whatever floats
your boat.
Anyway.  All this was to say, God is faithful, y'all.  I freak out a lot, and vent to my poor, patient mother all the time, and I don't turn to Him as often or in as much faith as I should, but the Lord
is faithful.   He  keeps lovingly prying me away from  my desperate worry and reminding  me to "not be anxious about anything,  but in everything, by prayer and  petition, with thanksgiving, present [my] requests to [Him]."  And God loves you in spite of your quirks.  He created you, and He already knows all your predispositions and your strengths and your weaknesses.  Psalm 139 says that He is "familiar with all [our] ways."  And you know what?  He still loves you.  And He still loves me.  And that, my dear patient readers, is enough.  It is enough to conquer the anxiety, whatever it may be about.  It is enough to conquer the insecurity.  It is enough to conquer the doubt.  

"O Lord, you have searched me
and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I 
You perceive my thoughts
from afar."

(May I just say, if you read all the way to the end of this spiel, kudos to you!)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

5 Female Characters Tag

Sarah over at How To Watch A Movie has tagged me!  Thanks a bunch, old thing; I was actually hoping for a tag right around now:)

1.) List 5 of your favorite female characters (book or screen).
2.) Tagging other people is optional
3.) If you are tagged link back to the person that tagged you.
4.) Link back to Revealed In Time

Choose one character from each category:
1.) Protagonist
2.) Villain
3.) Superhero
4.) That I would want to be friends with
5.) That I wish had better development

What fun!:D

Pocahontas from Pocahontas

I know what you're thinking--really?  Pocahontas?  "But," people say, "that movie is so stupid.  It's so inaccurate.  Really, Olivia, you oughtn't to watch such silly movies."  "But," I say:

The plain and simple truth of it, m'dears, is that people don't look at this movie as it really is.  They look at it as they think it was intended to be.  Personally, I don't think this movie ever claimed to be a historical movie with which parents could teach their kids about the pilgrims and the Indians.  If you stop trying to make it into an historical biopic, maybe you'll start noticing the vibrance of the animation, the splendor of the music, and the greatness of the story as an imagination of what could have been, not what anyone actually thinks was.  Anyway, defense rant of Pocahontas over, I really like this portrayal of the Indian princess. She may actually be my favorite Disney heroine.  (Though I also love Mulan and Anna and Jane and Belle:D)  She's such a strong character, with an uncompromising sense of devotion to her people, and an unwavering gumption to be a peacemaker in the midst of senseless prejudice.  (Laugh if you choose, but you shall not laugh me out of my opinion!)

Lady Anne Davenport from Hidalgo

Lady Anne is a rather fascinating character to me.  She's conniving, ruthlessly ambitious, seductive, and shockingly cruel at times--but she's also a very subtle character in the sense that she's not blatantly antagonistic towards those who stand in her way.  She plots against them, certainly, but keeps up a "calm, cool, and collected" façade in public.  She is utterly unconcerned with anything not directly pertaining to her life and is a thoroughly dislikable person…but there is a certain charisma about her that belies her true nature.  And then there is the one part in the movie wherein we can glimpse a slight bit of human sympathy in her--when she tries to warn her camel-boy, Attimi, to stay calm when the raiders are approaching them…and her subsequent disconcertment when he is killed.  She actually lashes out in anger at the men in her employ for shooting him.  Altogether, though she is undoubtedly a villain, I do enjoy watching her scenes.  

Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings

(Since I'm not really "into" superhero types of movies, I'm going with an Elf.)  I really began to appreciate Galadriel when I first read the books last year.  I love the mystery of Galadriel, the other-worldliness.  Of course, she is one of the Noldor, so there's an explanation behind all that, but aspects of her personality seem to remain shrouded in shadow, not for us to disturb or try to fathom.  Her unique telepathic abilities are at once sacred and intriguing, which I like.  (I really appreciate how Tolkien did not create characters with "magic" components, but that's another issue for another post.)  She's just all-around a very complex, light-filled character.  

~That I want to be friends with~
Parker from Leverage

Parker is so cheerful and energetic even after all she's been through that you just want to be friends with her so you can laugh and talk with and try to help her.  You want her to confide in you so you can protect her and encourage her when she's feeling down.  Parker is hilarious, quirky, accepting, and layered, all of which make her a fantastic screen personality.  To know her is to love her.  That's just all there is to it;)

~That I wish had better development~
Buttercup from The Princess Bride

When I was younger and was watching the movie, I didn't really think about how Buttercup's character really has very little substance.  I just accepted the movie as it was, because hey, it was The Princess Bride, and it was nigh on to perfect (as of course it is).  So when I started reading some blog posts that were commenting on how ditzy and lacking any moral fibre Buttercup was, I was Slightly Puzzled.  What was wrong with Buttercup, pray?  She was the girl, you know, the girl that Westley loves and who loves him back.  And movie-Buttercup still doesn't really bother me in terms of complexity, because frankly, she actually seems to have some level of grit, courage, and caring in the movie.  BUT I've now read the book--and incidentally it has shot up the ranks into the position of one of my very favorite books (seriously, it's glorious)--and I realized that the Buttercup in the book is really very shallow.  Of course, being the satire and life-commentary that TPB is, I'm sure William Goldman had his reasons.  But I really do wish that we could have had something--anything, really--to clue us in as to why Westley loved her so incredibly much.  I like book-Buttercup, don't get me wrong.  But we never really get to see the depth of her, so she's "hard to figure."

That was terrific fun!  Thanks again, Sarah, for tagging me!:D  And now, those of you who are reading this, consider yourself tagged if you are so inclined.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

For Those of Us Who Like Lord of the Rings

(Meaning, if fangirling over The Lord of the Rings annoys you, you might want to skip this post.)

I feel like I know I don't post as much about LotR as I used to.  I don't think that's necessarily a problem, because, after all, I do have several interests, and I enjoy blogging about them just as much as LotR.  But sometimes one must needs pay the proper homage to an epic such as The Lord of the Rings, mustn't one?

This artist is talented...

I'm currently rereading The Fellowship of the Ring (I recently re-watched it with a friend, too), and *sigh*  I love this story.  It evokes so many emotions and reactions, and sometimes they're not always pleasant, but they're always real.  Sometimes I feel despair when reading these books--I feel a weight, as if the Ring were pulling at me, too.  (Interesting side note--it's rather fascinating how, even after so much exposure to this tale, one can still find oneself almost infatuated with the Ring, isn't it?  For instance, sometimes I'll see an awesome picture (like the one above) and be all, "Ooh, me likey," or I'll see a life-size model of the One Ring and want to wear it…but then I catch myself and remember, "That's a symbol of evil, hon."  Weird.)

But in general, the greatest feeling I get from these books and movies is one of hope, hope that's almost, paradoxically, overwhelming in its authentic yet burning subtlety.

I love how the same story can be told in such a different yet complementary fashion in book and movie form.  Of course, I watched the movies before reading the books, as is the case with several stories I encounter, so I am not and really could not be a book purist.  That being said, though, I do honestly feel that the movies are a faithful adaptation of the books.  Sure, Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and a host of other characters/situations either do not appear at all or are not lengthily fleshed out, but the essence of the story, in my opinion, was respectfully captured and portrayed.

Tolkien's writing is really quite good.  Truly is.  (Of course, I'm biased, but ya know.)  It has its *ahem* flaws (he tended to be a little too verbose in parts and too succinct in others), but overall it has a unique flavor, warmth, humor, and poignancy.  'T'is not every author--or every story--that can make you homesick for a place you've never been.  

Practically every "good character" is a hero, simply by right of defying Sauron's power, and practically every "bad character" is simply a coward.  Understand now, I'm not saying that the heroes didn't feel fear, 'cause we all know they most certainly did--but they rose above it.  Individuals like Saruman and Gollum let their fear and selfishness overpower them, while people like Gandalf and Frodo refused to do so.  

I don't really know where I'm going with this, except to say…Lord of the Rings, I love you.  Thanks for being an inspiration, a source of hope, and just plain amazing.  

(And here are three videos about LotR that I find particularly epic;D)

Námarië, vanya nórë!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore {review}

People, an amazing thing has happened.

I liked this one.  

I know, right?!  Me, of the snarky opinions on practically all Christian fiction romance!  But 't'is true--I really did enjoy this 'un.  Now, admittedly, that shouldn't have been such a shock to me, since I have enjoyed some CFR before (i. e. Linda Chaikin's Heart of India).  But since it's been rare, I guess it sort of threw me a little.

First things first:  synopsis (taken from the back cover):

With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, homicide detective Abby Hart's best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide.  But as she works with the handsome PI to unravel the serial killer case, she must also confront the spark between them.  When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she's anxious to talk to him about a cold case that's personal to her, one Luke is interested in as well.

As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents' lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible.  With everyone else telling her to walk away from this case, Abby and Luke search for evidence buried beneath years of deceit…and soon realize that someone will do anything to make sure this case remains cold.

Now, I don't read criminal stories.  I just don't.  I don't really watch them, either, because to be honest they disconcert me too much--I realize that these things actually happen, and that makes it a heck of a lot scarier to me than say, Shelob *ahem*.  I'll admit, this story took awhile to grow on me, but by the time the second half rolled around, I was drawn in.  Part of that, I think, was due to the fact that the story wasn't centered around the romance *"Hallelujah" chorus*  There were the typical stomach-flutterings and banishing-of-annoying-thoughts-of-attraction, but Abby and Luke were mainly drawn together by their mutual interest in the case, so every other page wasn't dripping with the allure of her eyes or the strength of his muscles, if you get my drift.  (That did happen a leetle at first, but it got better as the story progressed.)

The characters were all well-done (Ethan is p'raps a little stereotyped, but mayhap that'll change), and Abby and Luke's relationship, though at first not my favorite, ended up being soooo sweet.  That ending, though…  I was happy, particularly because they didn't even kiss!

I know, right?!  In a CFR book, the hero and heroine didn't kiss!  (Well, okay, she kissed his cheek on the last page, and I'm pretty sure they'll kiss eventually in one of the other books, but you know what I mean.)  It's really quite ridiculous how ecstatic this makes me.  Understand, now, I have no real Biblical objection to a couple kissing prior to marriage (though I understand that some of you may and I completely respect your conviction!), but…well, let's just say, if you've read a lot of CFR, you're pretty happy when an author finds it within her capabilities to craft an engaging relationship without constant fantasizing and/or kissing.  It's just nice, hehe.  

The writing wasn't absolutely flooring, but it was "adequate" (wow, how much more condescending can I get?), and improved the more I read (I liked the reference to Casablanca as a comfort sort of movie;D).  Plus, the story definitely made up for any slight deficiencies.  Speaking of which…

Peeps!  There's a sequel!  'T'is a series (which I really should have picked up on earlier), and I have to say, by the time I got to the last page and realized it was the last page, I felt cheated.  "Wait--what?  How--what just happened?"  BUT then I turned the page…and saw the advertisement for the sequel, and suddenly all was well again;)  I can honestly tell you all that I am looking forward to the release of the second installment (and very much hoping it'll become available for free review on one of the sites!).  In fact, when I finished and found out that the next chapter wouldn't be coming until 2016, I got that antsy, "but I want it now" feeling--which in turn delighted me, because I realized how much I'd  become invested in the lives of the characters.  I actually sort of walked around in a happy daze for a little while afterwards.

So, in closing, yes, I liked it!  It was a good story, and I'm greatly anticipating the next segment!

I tip my hat to you, Ms. Cantore.

[I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.]

So this happened

Okay, let's not talk about how ridiculously indecisive I am, and how I did that whole post asking you all to give me your advice on headers when I ended up not using any of them.  That is, I'm pretty sure I'll be using my more fall-ish header a little later, and I'm waiting for an opportunity to use Naomi's Elizabeth Gaskell header (because it makes me really happy), but I felt like neither exactly fit August well enough, and being the fickle person that I am, voilà!  Yet another look.  I have a feeling this one will last until possibly the end of September, and then I'll switch to my "deep autumn" header.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Been quite a party, ain't it?" (sorry, Emma)

*sniffles*  Well, people, the end has come.  Legends of Western Cinema Week is drawing to a close.

I don't know about y'all, but I have had a BLAST with this thing!  It's been such terrific fun, and I've really enjoyed reading all of your loverly posts.  

Before I get too far ahead of myself, though, game answers!

#1:  Character 1:  "Well, 'at didn't pan out."  True Grit (2010), Reuben J. Cogburn

#2:  Character 1:  "Put his boots on him, Clute, and his gunbelt, and his spurs."  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Ransom Stoddard

#3:  Character 1:  "So what's your name?"
Character 2:  "Beans."
Character 1:  "That's a funny kind o' name."
Character 2:  "What can I say?  My daddy plumb loved baked beans."
Character 1:  "Well, you're lucky he didn't plumb love asparagus."  Rango, Rango and Beans

#4.   Character 1:  "Been quite a party, ain't it?"  Lonesome Dove, Augustus McCrae

#5:  Character 1:  "I didn't ride eleven hundred miles to finish second place!"
Character 2:  "Why did ya, then?"  Hidalgo, Frank T. Hopkins and, as Emma dubbed him, Annoying Guy

#6:  (Pardon the language in this one.)
Character 1:  "Are those tears for me?"  
Character 2:  "Yes."
Character 1:  "Well, I'll be damned."
Character 2:  "No…I don't think you will."  Okay, so…*sheepishly*  I actually don't know the name of this one…I thought I could find it on the Internet, but…I couldn't, hehe.  It was a movie of which I just caught the last five minutes or so, and I remember the end being really powerful.

#7:  Character 1:  "You know somethin', [Amos]?  The Lord poured your brains in with a teaspoon and somebody jogged His arm!"  The Apple Dumpling Gang, Theodore

#8:  Character 1:  "Never use money to measure wealth, son!"  Broken Trail, Prentice Ritter

#9:  Character 1:  "[Gideon], say something nice."
Character 2:  "Uh…nice night for a coon hunt."  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Millie and Gideon

#10:  Character 1:  "The truth of God's love is not that He allows bad things to happen.  It's His promise that He'll be there with us when they do."  Love Comes Softly, Clark

Players' Scores:
Miss March:  6
DKoren:  3
Jessica:  2
Emma:  16
JH:  4

Thanks, you guys!:D

Now, then, one last thing:  Don't forget to leave your links at Emma's original post!!!  Others want to read your contributions, too:)

THANK YOU ALL for this experience.