Thursday, December 24, 2015

Inkling Explorations {December 2015}

Time for Heidi's link-up!  This month's prompt is:

a Christmastide movie scene

WELL.  What better time to post it than on the very Eve of Christmas?  [Or, as we like to say in the security business, Christmas Eve.  (If you got that reference, though…)]

I'm going to select the scene of Jesus' birth, as portrayed in The Nativity Story, a movie of which, as I'm sure you all know, I think rather highly ;)  

Here it is.  DRINK IT IN.  And then go watch the whole movie, as I plan to do tonight, and drown in the music and the atmosphere and *cough* Joseph and just the general epic-ness that is this movie.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

because I love you, here's this

So I promise to catch up on commenting/replying/posting SOON.


It's just, ya know, Christmas.


In the meantime, here's a gif that I'm posting out of the sheer goodness of my heart, because I know we all need to watch it about fifteen thousand times, especially if we haven't before ;)


It's a really cute gif, y'all :D


Basically, I ship these two like Fedex.  I'm sorry but I just do.


Ya ready for this?  Here it is.




Okay, bye-bye.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Bookshelf Project 2.0

Hello again!  Here's round two of my Bookshelf Project, and you can read round one here.

Let's get right to it, shall we? :)  (Again, lots of parentheses, lots of links, and lots of random pictures/gifs.)

Those I Finished:

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.  I liked it!  It wasn't exactly my favorite, but it was Alcott; ergo it was good and interesting and charming and all those lovely things.  The part when *SPOILERS!* Danny comes back and Teddy runs to his bed the next morning made me deep-down-in-my-soul happy. *END OF SPOILERS*  4 out of 5 stars.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton.  I think I'll just go cry now.  No, really, it was a very sad book, but it was so gentle and darling that I couldn't help falling in love with it.  Oh, and for those of you who have read the original book of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Chips reminded me of the old man whose fireside Pongo and Missis visit on their journey!  Mind=blown.  5 out of 5 stars.

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell.  WHOA.  WHAT.  This one was amazing!  I've read that it was Gaskell's first book, and that really surprised me at first, because personally I think it excelled North and South and even Wives and Daughters.  But then again, I guess I can also see where it's her first:  she is extremely blunt in this novel; there's virtually no subtlety of theme at all--you are left in no doubt of what her intentions are with the story.  Also, she interjects herself into the narrative a lot, with use of first person, the author appealing to the audience, perhaps just a little more than is strictly constructive.  Anyway, the story is convoluted and dark and I'm not going to try to write a synopsis, so I'll just mention that it "kept me on the edge of my seat", so to speak.  I didn't know how everything would turn out.  Would there be a happy ending?  A so-so ending?  A tragic ending?  Who actually did what? (Well, I kind of guessed that one, but it's pretty obvious.)  *SPOILERS*  Guys when Mr. Carson came and held Mr. Barton as Barton was dying.  JUST HOW. *END OF SPOILERS*  I don't think I'm getting across to you how good this book was.  Read this quote, just read it: 

Bright, beautiful came the slanting rays of the morning sun.  It was time for such as she to hide themselves, with the other obscene things of night, from the glorious light of day, which was only for the happy.

I mean! *sputters*  Yeah, it's definitely a rather depressing book, but I loved it, and I usually don't love depressing books.  I don't even like Dickens (THERE I SAID IT).  So, ya know, don't let that deter you from reading it, if you're like me and don't like those kinds of books.  

Oh, OH, and THE COURTROOM SCENE I MEAN I SERIOUSLY ALMOST LOST MY ABILITY TO CAN.  This is basically what I wanted to do to all of the characters afterwards:

Gahhhhhhh.  5 out of 5 stars.

Yankee Stranger by Elswyth Thane.  You can read my Goodreads review here.  4 out of 5 stars.

My √Āntonia by Willa Cather.  I'd heard glowing things about this book, and it lived up to its reputation. An authentic, simple, but epic depiction of the way relationships change us, and the courage and grit of those who settled our country.  Plus, it's SO beautifully written.  Wowzah.  4 out of 5 stars.

Those I Didn't:

Hans Brinker by Mary Mapes Dodge.  Just wasn't feelin' it, I'm sorry to say.  I'm sure it's a good book, but I wasn't "in the mood."

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson.  This is the second time I've started and then stopped this book.  Something must be wrong with me, because it sounds like a really fun story.  I DO plan on reading and finishing this eventually, honest I do.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  Haha, no.  I'm sure I'll read it eventually (famous last words), but I was so not about to start that mammoth thing as school and music were winding down.  

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  Hehe.  I sowwy.  It's a gothic romance, gothic romance is just Not My Genre, I read about six chapters, and decided to postpone my reading.  Abject apologies, and all that (sort of).

And there she be!  Now, on to tackling the third and final shelf, as soon as I finish the last three chapters of my re-read of Inkheart (that book is life, guys)!  See you then ;)  (Not that I won't be posting before then, of course.  You understand.)

Amazing Grace {2006}

"Billy, no one of our age has ever taken power."
"Which is why we're too young to realize that certain things are impossible!  So we will do them anyway."

All right, LET'S DO THIS.  

(I'm not even going to try to keep from spoilers in this review.  You've been fairly warned.)

Amazing Grace follows William Wilberforce while he starts as promising, charismatic politician of integrity ("Where are you going?"  "To look up the word 'integrity' in Dr.                's dictionary."), becomes a passionate and faithful advocate of the abolition of England's mega-franchise, slavery, and has his fervor reignited after his health and spirit experience a decline due to his loyalty to the cause.


I always forget just how special this movie is between watches.  I mean, I always know it's a special movie, but I forget just exactly how much I love it.

I think I'll just ramble a bit.  Kay?

SO.  William Wilberforce, or, as he's called in the movie, "Wilby" or "Wilber" (isn't that adorable?! :D).  I don't know that much about Wilberforce, because my knowledge of history is positively dreadful, but from various special features, and the little bit I do know, he was apparently the first man to start a number of clubs/associations/etc., such as:  the first animal welfare society, the first Bible study, I think I might have heard something about the first book club?  He was a dedicated, passionate spokesman for God and justice.  

…Basically, I want to marry him.  

Their FACES.

Oh, OH, and can we talk about these two?!?!?!  MAH WORD.  I just...

Words fail, and all that, but here are just a few more:  "Barbara and I have discovered that we're both impatient and prone to rash decisions...but she wants to tell you about it herself."

Whereupon I, as a friend of mine put it, "am a squishy puddle of goo" as the wedding scene happens--their looks as she's walking to the altar, and then the hymn "requested by the bride".  JUST.  SQUEE.

Did I mention that Benedict Cumberbatch makes an appearance, back when he was just a wee unknown laddie?  Indeed, he plays Wilberforce's friend William Pitt (Billy).

I just love the characters in this movie.  They're all wonderful:  great people, excellently cast and acted, and I like how we get to know each one a little bit.  I'm especially partial to Charles Fox (because Michael Gambon) and Thomas Clarkson (because Rufus Sewell).  Oh, and John Newton (of course) and the young guy who assists him later after he becomes blind.  They seem to have a sweet relationship :)

I love the part when Wilby and Thomas go to talk to Billy about their plan regarding the use of neutral flags on ships, or something or other.  "We just need someone really really…boring."   Clarkson is especially awesome.  (I just said that, didn't I?)  I mean, his lines!  "It's just a word."  "Sweet little…rabbit."  "Why did you wait for your butler to leave before you…came out of the box? *cracks up*"

And the butler…and Marjorie…gahh, they're just all beautiful, okay?

The movie is full of so many spine-tingling moments.  The above quote, for one.  And the amazing, glorious, tear-jerking ending.  It's so beautiful.  I think I'm going to talk a bit more about it in another post, so that's all I'll say for now.  

Long story short, I LOVE THIS MOVIE.  And you will, too, if you watch it.  So go watch it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015



School, I mean.  (And only for the most part; I still have some catch-up work and break work to do.)  My co-op has finally finished, and concert season is winding down both for piano and choir.  And none too soon; I may have been on the brink of an emotional or mental collapse!  (Not really.  But it felt like it.)

Oh, yeah, this is totally me.  (It's not me.)

Which means that I'll finally get to stop seeming to ignore you guys!  I can reply to y'all's lovely comments that make me so tremendously happy, and I can comment on your blog posts that I enjoy so. I truly do apologize for my absence recently, but school and music really have been rather hectic.  You understand :)

I'm excited for Christmas break, in case you couldn't tell.  Yes, yes, there are still some academic things to get done, and helping around the house and everything, BUT REALLY.  I'm sooooooo looking forward to snuggling in and re-reading all zee favorites (not that I'll get through all the favorites, but a girl can dream):  Inkheart, The Return of the King, The Last Battle, The Age of Innocence…ahhhhhhh :D  

I'm down to the last shelf of the Bookshelf Project!  How happy :D  The lowdown on the second shelf should be coming sometime soonish.  

A lot of you have been so kind as to tag me lately, and I really appreciate that, since I do love a tag!  However, since I'm so behind on everything in the blogosphere, and since I'm still trying to stop the hyperventilation brought on by the past two weeks (not that I was seriously hyperventilating. Of course), I'm going to pass on all the lovely tags.  They all seem really fun, but I think I need to "restart", as it were, on a clean slate.  

Guys, I just watched this black-and-white Cary Grant movie called Penny Serenade, and WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO MY LIFE.  I don't think you understand.  I've been having movie hangover.  It was so SAD and SWEET and heartbreaking and funny and beautiful and GOOD.  I definitely plan on reviewing that soon.  

Speaking of reviews, I'm going to force another post poll on you (I think I might do that too often).  Which of these books/movies/TV shows would you lovelies most like me to review, or do you even give a rip?  (It'd be totally fine if you didn't, btw.)

~ Penny Serenade (that's a bit of a given)
~ The Tourist 
~ What A Girl Wants
~ The Princess Bride (book)
~ Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (it's high time I review that, no?)
~ Roman Holiday
~ My Fair Lady
~ While You Were Sleeping
~ Leverage (television)
~ Sherlock (television)
~ Amazing Grace
~ The Parent Trap (the newer one with Lindsay Lohan, and yes, I will argue with you if you want to try and tell me that the Hayley Mills version is the only true version…not that I've actually watched the Hayley Mills version, but the LL version is basically my childhood, so…)
~ The Nativity Story
~ Bringing Up Baby

Preferences?  No promises, now ;)  Those are just some random ideas.

Don't you just love when you read books, and you feel like the author just gets you?  Like he or she simply understands your life, how you think, how you feel?  What are some of those books, for you guys?  I'se curious :)

This is really random, but one thing that I'm really excited for about Christmas (that seems extremely grammatically incorrect) is getting iTunes gift cards, because THERE ARE SO MANY WONDERFUL SONGS TO BUY.  I've updated my wish list and everything--getting iTunes cards probably excites me too much ;)

I think I'm going to change my blog look soon.  I know, I KNOW, I do that too often.  But, while I like this arrangement, it's not really doing it for me.  Plus, I have a header featuring Marian coming up, so this one doesn't really stand a chance ;)  

Well, I can't really think of anything else to tell you, so I must just give one smirk, and then we can be rational again.

…And with this, I leave you.  

I can't wait to catch up with you all :)  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"You're the darndest girl, Liz!"

A number of weeks ago, I was in an odd emotional funk.  Y'see, as I've mentioned before, I am an INFJ.  I suspect I've even mildly irked some of you by carrying on long conversations with fellow INFJs in the comments.  But the reason we INFJs cling so tenaciously to our "label" is, as I read somewhere, that it feels SO good to finally understand why we are the way we are.  Because trust me, we spend a lot of time trying to unravel the intricacies of our personalities, and when we get that test result on Myers-Briggs and read the description that describes us--in almost every particular--so uncannily well, we are finally able to think, "This is it!  This is why I am the way I am!  SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS."

Since I have a strange personality (well, really, who doesn't?) that even I don't anywhere close to fully understand, I often feel, oh, how to put this…chronically misunderstood.

By nearly everybody I know.

Yes, go ahead.  Pity me;)  

No, really, I do think that my thoughts, actions, and motives are often rather misconstrued, and that is annoying.  

But a number of weeks ago I let it all go way too far.  (I'd known my INFJ results for a number of months, and I'm not entirely sure what got me started on this negative thinking recently.)  I started resenting the fact that more people, at least from what I thought, "didn't even try to understand me."  I began to bemoan my "trial" to my mother to a perfectly ridiculous extent.  "I AM SICK AND TIRED OF NOBODY UNDERSTANDING ME.  YOU AND GOD ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO UNDERSTAND MEEEEEEEEEE!"  

(Yeah, I think I did actually say that verbatim a couple of times.  I already admitted this was not my best moment ;-P)

The problem, plain and simple, was that I had slid into self-pity.  More succinctly, the plain-and-simple problem was that I had become hugely self-focused.  Of course, as a human being, I'm naturally selfish, but thankfully the Lord gives us grace from the day to day.  But a few weeks ago, I decided to feel injured by something I had worked up out of nothing.  Starting with the fact that my personality traits are rather complex, I exaggerated that to mean that nobody truly understood me except for my mother and my God, and what was worse in my mind, I imagined that nobody even exerted themselves to try and understand me better--perhaps they were actually deliberately misunderstanding me for their own mischievous ends!  What could be more logical, right?!  

(It was a funk.  It has passed.)

Because I felt misunderstood, I decided that I was.  I decided to victimize myself, something I've been trying to guard against for quite a while.  And yes, I might be, by some people and in different areas, not crystal-clearly known.

And then I realized something.  A few things, actually.  

So what if I am a little misunderstood?  (Wow, I am overusing that word something dreadful, aren't I?)  It's extremely likely that if that is the case, those around me aren't exactly trying to do it.  They probably do try to understand me, as my mother tactfully tried to point out to me.  However much it may feel like it at times, there is most likely not a mastermind plot out there to Misread Olivia.  Even if my friends and family do miscalculate me sometimes, they do love me.  They are good to me.  They are considerate.  And I can't accuse them of attempting to take advantage of me or ridicule me--I know, I know, my mind is a farfetched place--just because my spoiled little self has decided to have an ego crisis.  

Is this post making any sense at all?  I feel like I'm rambling horrifically.  

I guess what I'm trying to say is:  I don't need to be so self-focused as to make misjudging my personality a Capital Crime, or a personal attack against me.  I really don't even need to think about whether I'm understood by my general acquaintance or not.  I shouldn't, what's more.  I am who I am, and more importantly, I can be who Christ will make me.  Jesus is still sanctifying me, Heaven knows, and apparently He won't be finished "'til He returns, or calls me Home".  And in the meantime, I think He wants me to stop nitpicking the Olivia He made me, and I'm pretty darn sure He wants me to stop obsessing over what others think of me.  

Really, what drives this overwhelming infatuation with being understood by those around me?  Why is it so important to me?  I mean, it's important to everybody, but there's got to be a limit!  

Yes, as Francesca Battistelli so catchily reminds me, I am free to be me on His shoulders.

I can choose to antisocially read in the midst of social gatherings, yet be constantly distracted by the conversations going on around me (and I may or may not mildly judge the participants while doing so).

I can take a moment in the midst of reading chemistry to ponder about "the origin of life and the universe."  I can "stare dramatically off into the middle distance" for no apparent reason.

I can read The Princess Bride and Ivanhoe a copious amount of times.  I can be too intimidated to start Anna Karenina in the middle of the school year.  I can be equally excited about Star Wars and Wives and Daughters.

I can be my weird, insecure, generally happy INFJ self. 

But I don't have to be a narcissist about it.