Tuesday, October 10, 2017

// autumn reads //

Hello, friends! 

In honor of the autumn that is well underway (at least in name, if not in weather) for most of us (not you, Gabby, I know ;D), I thought I might compile a list of books that seem to be especially appropriate to read in the fall.  (Of course, some of these books are just always perfect; any place, any time.  But y'know. :-P) 

Some of these are ones that I've personally been reading/re-reading recently (or am planning to soon), and others are ones that I may not get to for years, if ever, but that seem like good autumnal choices. :)

(I don't necessarily love/enthusiastically recommend all of these books, just so y'all know.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien


As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been slooooooowly re-reading these off and on for the past couple months, and ALL THE PERFECTION IS PERFECT.  That's about all's I can say at the moment.

Peter Pan in Scarlet
by Geraldine McCaughrean 

Well, duh.  The original Peter Pan seems more of a spring read to me, if I had to assign a season to it (pssh, I read it all the time, anytime), but PPiS is actually about autumn coming to Neverland, so. ;)  

I actually wasn't wild about this one, but it did have some lovely, cute, nostalgic parts in it, and I liked some of the plot devices she implemented. :)

The Thief Lord
by Cornelia Funke

I haven't read all of this yet, but it's set in autumn (in Venice ;)), so . . . it seemed relevant.  

by Daphne du Maurier

I have not read this whole thing, so I'm not really qualified to say, but from what I've heard about it and the very little bit that I've read so far, it seems like it could lend itself to being a nice creepy tale with which to curl up on a rainy day.  Y'know, if you like that sort of thing. :-P

The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh
by A.A. Milne

Autumn is a perfect time for a visit to the Hundred Acre Wood, don't you think?

(ALSO.  Y'all, have you found out about this yet?!  GUUUUYYYYYYS. <3 <3 <3)

The Scarlet Pimpernel
by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Again, one of those anytime-is-a-good-time-to-read-this books, TSP is a fantabulous tale of buckling swashes (thanks, whoever first coined that spin-off) and derring-do that is every bit as wonderful as you've heard.  READ IT POSTHASTE.  (I'm in dire need of a re-read, myself.)

Goodbye, Mr. Chips
by James Hilton

Such a sweet, gentle book with an aura of nostalgia and dusty regret that I loved.  So simple, so sweet, and very moving. <3

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
by Victor Hugo

Now, y'all, I know I've raved about the Disney version of THoND ("SANCTUARRYYYYYYY!!!!!!") before, so those of you who've read the book might be a bit confused as to why I would like the original book, but I actually did really enjoy it when I read it last school year.  It's very different, of course (#spoilers, it's really sad), but actually quite good. 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford

I haven't read this yet (I've started it a couple of times, but it hasn't grabbed me yet and so far I've lacked the motivation to stick it out until it does), but it looks like a good, sweet, albeit rather depressing story.  

One Hundred and One Dalmations
by Dodie Smith

This miiiight actually be more of a winter read, I'm not sure; but again, it's one of those that's good anytime. :)

I LOVE this adorable little book SO. STINKING. MUCH.  <333333

The Woman in White
by Wilkie Collins

I have this on my shelf, but I don't know if I'll ever actually read it, because I have such an extremely low tolerance (read: no tolerance) for anything remotely resembling a horror (or even just a scary) story, even such old, "mild" stuff as this.  But, as with Rebecca, it seems -- from my very cursory overview -- that it'd be a good chilly/rainy day read.

the Redwall series
by Brian Jacques

MY CHILDHOOD FEELINGS.  *hugs the books*

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Yet another good-all-the-time book!  This one is great, too (albeit has slightly more content than I was expecting).  You can read my Goodreads review for more thoughts on this one.

anything Jeeves and Wooster
by P.G. Wodehouse

Because my guess is you could use a solid dose of Wodehouse right about now (couldn't we all?), so get thee gone to read some J&W.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I think that's all for now! :)

What are some of your favorite books with which to cosy up on a chilly autumn day?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Gideon, say something nice." "Uh . . . nice night for a coon hunt."

This is my way -- apart from referencing the incomparable majesty that is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (you're welcome) -- of admitting that I don't know how else to cleverly title this post.  But if I did know how to c.ly  t.  the so-forth, it'd basically boil down to this:

// confessions, ramblings, & other nonsense // 

"Right.  Now you know where you are." ;-P  Shall we begin?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Okay, so y'all know Derek Klena and Christy Altomare and all those loverly people of the Broadway version of Anastasia?  Yes, of course you do.  Well, this confession is a few months late, but I shall make it anyway:  Back when it was first coming out and we were all acquainting ourselves with all of them, I watched a couple of interviews with Derek Klena and, um . . . *coughs*  I kind of fell a little bit in love.  No joke.  Seriously, I was literally sitting there thinking he couldn't possibly be that perfect and waiting for him to swear or do something inappropriate.  And . . . he didn't.  And I was like, "Drat."  (I'm sure he has, but for the moment I'm terribly afraid I'm a lost cause.)  


(I also watched part of an interview with Corey Cott and he mentioned that he's a Christian and faith is really important to him, so "sometimes church is [his] Santa Fe."  LIKE WHAT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CAN.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I recently watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) for the first time, and GUYYYYYS.  ILLYA FREAKING KURYAKIN.  THAT IS ALL.  

(Totally not all; you ain't getting off that easy.)

I had to email Hamlette straightaway after finishing it, because I knew she understands and would fangirl with me.  (And yes, she kindly obliged. ;))

Illya is a precious lamb and I want to protect him from the big bad world. <3  But, great as Illya is, I have to say that I wouldn't have enjoyed him half so much if it weren't for . . . 

"Good night, little chop shop girl."

. . . the preciousness that is Illya and Gaby together.  GUUUUUYYYSS.  This couple activated my FULL-ON ROMANTIC FANGIRL MODE.  So lovely to discover a new favorite couple. :)  

(But for real.)

Actually, though, this whole movie bears some fangirling over . . . perhaps a review is in order?? *wink wink*  (Now watch me never review this. *sigh*)  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I want to start living freer, y'all.  That hit me recently while at a college night a local church was hosting.  I want to live freer.  You know, stop spending so much time obsessing over whether I'm feeling and thinking and doing exactly the right thing at every moment.  And the LORD's been helping me!  He's a great God.  

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  ~ Galatians 5:1  

(Actually, y'all should go give that whole chapter -- Gal. 5 -- a read:  One of the things God's been showing me recently is that giving in to these feelings of religiosity and works-based approval and perfectionism and all that stuff may actually be a much bigger deal than we realize.  Isn't it exciting how He's growing each of us into Him?!  Praise Him!! <3)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I've discovered lots of new songs lately, so that's always fun.  I love finding new tunes for the 'Pod. ;-P

I really like this picture, for some reason.

Speaking of which, have y'all listened to any of Lauren Daigle's music lately?  I've liked "How Can It Be" since it first came out a while ago, but here recently I've been listening to the expanded album, and GUYS.  FAM.  This girl is awesome.  (I've also watched a few interviews/studio session music videos, which has made me really appreciate her music a good deal more.)  I especially like "First," "Loyal," "Trust in You," and "Come Alive (Dry Bones)".  <33333

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Re-reading The Lord of the Rings right now got me like:

It's so beautiful. <3  And it's making me want to talk about it with my fellow Tolkienknight uncle. :-P

I'm re-reading them sloooooowly this time around -- reading other books at the same time and just plodding through them when I get the chance/am in the mood; really taking the time to soak in each beautiful sentence and paragraph and digest all the awesome. <3  It's great!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh, ALSO, I've realized that I really love the Rohan people, particularly in the movies.  I'm not entirely sure why, but . . . Théoden and Eowyn and Eomer and Hama and everyone -- they're just really cool.  And I love watching them develop.  

And I may or may not really really love the scene in the extended editions when Eomer finds Eowyn after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.  *ahem*

Like, ALL MY FEELINGS. <33333333


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do y'all ever get that thing where you feel like you have so many books you need to re-watch, except with movies?  Like, "Oh, that's such a good movie, I haven't seen it in forever [which really means like half a year]; I need to watch it again"?  'Cause I get that all the time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

ALSO YES IT'S FALL NOW SO THAT'S COOL.  (Thoughts on fall, anyone?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

All right, I think that's all I wanted to say . . . short 'n' sweet. :)

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"In My Father's House" ~ Dream Cast

What-ho, all!  So, as those of you who follow me on Goodreads may be aware, I recently re-read In My Father's House (my Goodreads review is here), a historical novel by Ann Rinaldi which I discovered about a year ago.

Well, fam, that novel is within an inch of perfection, and I am just a little bit passionate about it.  (LIKE FOR REALS IT'S SO GOOD.)  Aaaaand, as I mentioned back in this post, I can envision bits and pieces of an amaaaaaaazing movie adaptation and it makes me sad that it will probably never be. :(

(Side note:  Do y'all ever feel like there are so many different things you could/should possibly do with your life?  Like, there's the whole pursuing an English degree thing but then there's also music and then of course film-making because there are so many worthy books that will probably never see the light of the silver screen if you/I don't make it happen?)

*clears throat*  Anyway . . .

So yes, I have a bit of a dream movie/cast thing in the brain.  And I've decided to share it with you.  Because that is, after all, what one does on one's story-themed blog.  Obviously. :-P  I'll also intersperse some favorite quotes from the book relating to each character.

Here we go!  I'm most interested to hear what y'all will think of my casting choices, especially those of you who have read the book, BUT, let me first say this:  I know that some of them might not be super accurate to the book, and I'm not rock-solid-certain on all of them.  So, y'know, bear that in mind when judging. ;D  And I don't have the whole book cast, just most of the main characters.

Also, I made the above collage quite a while ago, and here recently I've been unable to find the exact pictures I used for some of the actresses on the Internet.  This vexes me greatly, but I found some others of those particular actresses that are perfectly acceptable, too.  So, that's why some of the pictures will be different. :-P

(Apologies about any weird spacing issues.  You know how it is.)

Will McLean
Chris Evans

"'Does a person have to show you their scars before you decide not to inflict your own?'  he asked.  'What kind of  a person are you, anyway?'"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"Will McLean didn't say anything.  Just put his arm around me and let me sob it out against his waistcoat."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"His father knelt down in front of Willie.  'It'll be all right, son.  We'll be one country again.  You don't remember how it was when we were one country, Willie, but it was a good thing.  It was a fine thing.'"

I have a feeling my choices for Will and Oscie will be the most "controversial," given how central they are and what strong characters they are. :D  But I really do picture Chris Evans as Will McLean.  The only problem is, I can only imagine C.E. as McLean with a beard, like he has in the above picture (except a little fuller), and I think the book indicates that McLean is clean-shaven unless he's distraught?  But perhaps such a minor thing could be overlooked for the adaptation. ;-P

"But I know what I think.  [ . . . ]  I think Will McLean went walking in town that day to meet somebody, yes.  But it wasn't Marshall.  It was the Will McLean he wanted to be."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"'You're wrong about him, you know.'


'No.  Mister Will.  He likes you. [ . . . ]  He'd be proud to have you love him, but he won't ask it of you.'"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"He was baiting me and enjoying it.  He knew I was up to it.  And, though he wouldn't tolerate sass, he expected me to give as well as I was getting.  But something else was happening here, also.  I was asking him to let me go.  The way a girl asks her father.  And he was getting ready to release me.  The way a father does, when he knows a girl's grown.  But it wasn't any easier for him than I suspect it would have been for my own daddy.  Part of being grown up, I knew, meant I had to leave him with something.  It wasn't anything he hadn't earned.  And he was waiting for it."

Oscie Mason
Hailee Steinfeld

"'I was supposed to know better, Mary Ann.  But we started out wrong.  When you came to Yorkshire, I had so many fears.  I was still missing my daddy.  And Will McLean came along.  I didn't want him around.  But I couldn't do anything about that, so I took everything out on you.'"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"I watched him take his leave of the room, knowing he took that young girl I was back at Manassas with him."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"'I think you like him, but you won't admit it.  And I hope when you are ready to admit it, it isn't too late.'"

I cast Hailee Steinfeld mainly because I know she has the acting chops for Oscie and could really capture Oscie's grit (ha, get it?) and no-nonsense attitude, while still bringing out the "vulnerable" side to her. (Speaking of which, that's one of the things I like about Oscie: she can be hard as a rock but she's not afraid to let herself be human, to let herself be a young woman. Did anyone else get that vibe?) Then, too, Hailee does look reasonably like I imagine Oscie -- especially in the above picture (minus the heavy smoky eye makeup).

"'Sometimes I am afraid of everything, it seems.'"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"'I don't blame Button,' I said.  'Or you.'

He looked at me quickly.  And before he turned away, there was a moment of something unspoken in his eyes.  Like a question, drawing an answer from mine.  And I felt the warmth that sometimes comes between kindred spirits.  But only for a moment.  Surely not enough to make up for anything.  Yet it was enough for now."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"We stood for a while watching the flaring of the cartridges.  Then he patted my shoulder.  'You'll be right fine, Oscie.  Whatever happens with Thomas.  You've got good makings.'"

Virginia Mason McLean
Keri Russell

"I may have hated McLean on sight, but I knew he was decent and self-respecting because Mama was nobody's fool and she sure loved him."

Okay, so I know Keri Russell is a bit older than Chris Evans, but I really think she could rock the role of Virginia.  (Especially that picture up there.  Seems very like her, to me.)  She has so much poise as an actress (judging by the three or four roles in which I've seen her), and I think she'd really bring Virginia's dignity and elegance to life.  And actually, I almost don't mind the idea of Virginia being just the teensiest bit older than McLean in a movie version?  (And I practically always mind that sort of thing.)  Plus, with hair and makeup and the other Magic Touches of the film process, I'm sure any visible age gap could be easily bridged.  

"She was beautiful, my mama.  She was only thirty-four then, and she was slim as a young girl.  Her face was so fine that I felt sore in my heart every time I looked on it, a kind of bittersweet pain.  Her dark hair was lustrous, her eyes huge and luminous. [ . . . ] I wanted nothing more than to be like her."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"She held both my hands in hers and smiled wanly at me.  'My Will is capable of so much, Oscie,' she said.  'He's lost sight of what he is.  I want him to find it again.'"

Maria Mason
Chloe Grace Moretz

"'Maria is stronger than any of us realize.'"

I've only ever seen trailers of things in which Chloe Grace Moretz acts, so I don't really know much of anything about her acting abilities.  But that picture up there is exactly as I picture Maria.  Other pictures I've seen of Chloe don't look very much like Maria to me, so I'm not sure whether this would be a good choice or not.  But I feel like if the makers could capture the look of this photo for an adaptation of IMFH, she could do well as Maria.  

"And so it was that the next day Maria found something worthwhile to do.

She fell in love with a Yankee."

Edward Porter Alexander ("Alex")
Tom Hiddleston

"'I hold you in high esteem, Oscie Mason,' he said.  'And I want you to meet some nice young man in Charlottesville and forget about me.'

'I shall never forget you, Edward Porter Alexander.'

He looked quite miserable.

'I have a right to remember my first love all my life.'

'I should be shot.'"

I've pictured Alex as Tom Hiddleston for quite a while now. Perhaps it's because he seems to be such a gentleman, and gentility is such a central characteristic of Alex? Or perhaps it's because he's such a good actor in general, and he can convey inner conflict behind a reserved, collected demeanor so competently? Probably both. :-P Anyway, during this reread, I could especially envision him as Alex in the scene when Oscie and Alex meet again after the war. And I think it'd be very interesting to see him as a Confederate officer and see how he could pull off a cultured Southern drawl. :-P

Oh! And this line: "How could anyone be concerned with such ordinary pursuits as eating when someone who filled all the requirements of a god sat so nearby?" << Get it?! 'Cause Tom Hiddleston played Loki?!

. . . *ahem* Anyway.

"But I could not do that to Alex.  Because all the twaddle he stood for, which I could see so plainly now for what it was, had made me love him."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"He looked down at my hand which he still held in his own.  'You're betrothed to a soldier,' he said.  'I told you not to give your heart to a soldier, Oscie.'

'They keep hearts best,' I said.  'Or so I've found.'

He was struck speechless then."

Michah Stevens
Sam Reid

"This was not just an ordinary Yankee, I conjectured.  Yankees were ill-mannered and coarse factory boys.  Or backwoods people without any refinements.  Surely they did not have blue eyes that laughed at you and grew soft when you spoke.  Or such fine chestnut curls, or white teeth.  God had not made Yankees with no-nonsense jaws and fine straight noses and dimples in their chins.  Surely someone would have told us, if He had."

John Davinier as Michah FOR THE WIN! ;)  Sam Reid seems like the perfect fit for Michah Stevens, to me.  I think he could capture Michah's boyishness and charm (*ahem*) while also bringing out his serious side (*ahem* again).  And again, the above picture really looks like Michah to me.  (Y'all getting tired of hearing about how much I think these pictures look like these characters yet? :-P

"Willie peeked around the door frame.  'Tell me.  Our soldiers are good, aren't they?'

'I'll tell you all the stories you want, Willie, soon's your big sister stops shoving soup into my mouth.  Yes, your soldiers are good.  We have a lot of respect for them.'  He sighed.  'I think that by now,' he said wearily, 'we have a lot of respect for each other.'"

Mary Ann
Zoe Saldana

"'We've both seen a lot,' she said.  'I 'spect we're gonna see lots more.  Better if'n we're friends.  Kin help each other.'"

One of those that I'm not totally sure on -- just an idea. I think she'd do Mary Ann well, but I've only seen her in one role, so I may not be qualified to say that. :-P

"'You kin trust me.  'Bout time you learned it.'"

Miss Elvira Buttonworth ("Button")
Natalie Press

"'How long are you going to be with us?'

'Some days it will seem like forever,' she told me.  'And then one day you'll wake up and our time together will be finished.  And we'll both cry.  So, I don't know about you, but I'd like to make the best of this arrangement.  What do you say?'"

I recently saw Natalie Press in Suffragette -- very good movie, by the way -- and I feel like I've seen her somewhere else, too, but regardless, I think she'd make a good Button.  She looks like Button to me, and from what I saw of her in Suffragette, I think she'd also do well acting-wise.  

" . . . There was something regal about her.  She carried herself like she was wearing pink moire.  And that powderless complexion glowed.  Watching her, it came to me that she must have some Yankee strength that didn't need frippery."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"Button didn't hold much with politics.  She did hold with greatness."

Thomas Tibbs
Sam Claflin

"There was the difference between him and Alex.  Tom knew we were lost, too, but he was taking part for the honest adventure of it.  I'd just as lief be around that kind of person when the losing came, as anybody.  Because, like Will McLean, he had no illusions about the South.  He'd be able to face whatever came next.  And as for giving the Yankees something to remember, why something told me that Thomas Tibbs could give as good as he could get."

Not sold on this casting; it's just one that comes to mind. I've only seen Sam Claflin in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean (and I LOVE him in that, but that's mainly because I love the character and the romance <3). I think he could make a very nice Thomas, but I'd be open to other suggestions, as well. :)

"He had to put down the sacks of sugar and coffee then.  Because, though he could hold off a mob at the depot with no trouble, even he couldn't kiss a girl with his arms full of contraband."

Whew!  I think that's it!  (I saw "Whew" because this took me a completely unreasonable amount of time to finish.)  Let the comment wars discussions begin. ;)

So now you tell me!  
What do you think of my choices?
Have you read In My Father's House?
Who would you cast?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The 2017 Tolkien Blog Party Tag!

Family mine!  Hamlette's fifth annual Tolkien Blog Party is starting today! 

I realize I haven't put a button on my sidebar yet, but I have been thinking about this and wondering what I could contribute other than my tag answers.  I still don't know, but I'll keep thinking. :-P  In the meantime, here are my answers to Hamlette's tag!  [And also, guys, her giveaway this year is PHENOMENAL.  My inner fangirl is, like, almost drooling.  (But not really.  'Cause that's gross.  My inner fangirl is Quite Excited, let's say.)  Click here to check it out!]

On to zee questions!

1. How long have you been a Tolkien fan? 

I don't remember how many years it's been since my family first showed me the movies, but I know it wasn't that long ago.  Also *sheepish grin* I didn't become a fan right away.  (You can read more about that in this post, if you wish.)  But yes, I am now thoroughly, completely, and firmly Ensconced in diehard love for Middle-earth.

2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life? 

I'd say so.  As I mention here (look at me, just doing all the shameless plugs today), I'm pretty sure it's my ultimate fictional story (although there's also Narnia . . . ).  It's not necessarily my favorite in terms of how often I watch/read it (all the emotions are too much for regular consumption, my love), but I think it sort of subconsciously influences how I view all of the other books I read and movies I watch (usually positively!).  I'm not sure how to explain how it does it, but it does, I think.  I guess you could say that it's the ultimate epic, for me, so I tend to compare and contrast other stories' genres/similarities/dissimilarities/how they hold up to the caliber of LotR on a "message" level, even if they hold up in a completely different way due to differences in genres. Does that make any sense?  Does anybody else relate?  

Also, it's a story that I think every member of our immediate family has at least some level of affection/respect for.  So that's nice. :)

*gasp*  Oh!  And,  I think my love for it was a large part of why I got into blogging, so THERE'S THAT.  THAT'S KIND OF A BIG EFFECT 'CAUSE I'VE GOTTEN TO MEET YOU ALL AND GROW IN DIFFERENT WAYS AND SUCH.  *huggles you all*

3. If you had to take the One Ring to Mordor, which character would you choose for your sole companion?  

*pointed looks*  For real?!?!  *sighs*  Okay, if I HAD to . . . I dunno, honestly.  Probably either Sam or Gandalf or Aragorn.  

4. Which is scarier, Shelob or the Balrog? 

Shelob.  No thank you.  

5. Which two towers do you think Tolkien was referring to in the title The Two Towers? (i.e. Orthanc, Barad-dûr, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul, or Minas Tirith)

I've always kind of assumed it was Orthanc and Barad-dûr.  

6. Whose wardrobe would you like to have?

*foolish grin*  Arwennnnnnn's. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

7. What do you think an Ent Draught would taste like? 

At first I was going to say cool and deep and fresh, and I thought I'd quite like it, but then I thought that it might well be more of a beery taste.  I don't know; it's an intriguing question!  I don't remember Ent Draughts, but I'm assuming they're in the book Two Towers?

8. Where in Middle-earth would you like to live?  

I toss and turn over this question (not really) soooo often!  I mean, the question of which location is my favorite.  Either Lothlorien, Rivendell, Hobbiton, or Ithilien is my favorite, and I'd probably like to live in either Rivendell or Hobbiton.  Perhaps Hobbiton. :) 

This may sound strange, but I feel like my feelings would be too much in Rivendell, especially in the autumn?  Like, there's just so much nostalgia and elvishness and books and etherealness but not, and I just don't know if my emotions could handle it?!  I'm very, very susceptible to nostalgia and the longing for "otherness," as Lewis put it, so . . . yeah.  There's my overly-philosophic answer. :-P

9. Do you have any Tolkien-related opinions that surprise other people?

Hmm . . . people are sometimes surprised when they hear that my favorite character is Faramir, and that I like Boromir as much as I do. 


I have been known to amuse people with the virulence of my hatred for A Certain Man. *glares*  [Although I will say that I have -- brace yourselves -- come to a modicum of okay-ness with him in the book.  In the movie I'm still just like "Die."  (But then I almost feel like sorry/guilty when he dies, 'cause he and Faramir have that look and I feel like I should be more merciful?  But I'm also still very okay with it?  I DON'T KNOW.  I'M CONFUSED.)] 

I also don't think that the dwarves' quest in The Hobbit is an epic quest, which is part of the problem with the movies, in my opinion (but I also still kind of like the movies).  That may surprise people . . . ?  I'm not entirely sure. :-P

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the books or movies.

Oh, boy. *stretches hands*

. . . . . Okay so this actually kind of stresses me (I KNOW IT SHOULDN'T), because how do I pick?!?!?!  *sigh*  Okay.  Up to ten OF my favorites, not necessarily my ten favorites, right?  Right.  Okay.  

Haldir's "but still there is much that is fair" quote and Sam's TT speech are both favorites, of course, as is the part in Mordor when he sees the single star "above the cloud-wrack." <3  I also love this Arwen quote from the appendices: "Dark is the Shadow, and yet my heart rejoices;".

Next up we have the song that Sam sings (in the tower of Cirith Ungol, I think?) in the book Return of the King.  It has one of the strongest encouragements towards hope that I've ever read, and it means a lot to me, as it's helped me. <3 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

In Western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear 
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun 
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Now we come to one of my faaaaaavorite things in all the trilogy: the "The Steward and the King" chapter in The Return of the King (also like one of my top favorite 45 seconds in the extended movie :-P).  I just reread the Eowyn/Faramir parts for this post and legit almost cried, guys.  It's so beautiful. :')  (And then at the end there's Aragorn's coronation and Arwen comes back and it's happy!!! :D)  All right, here are three highlights of the chapter.  (This'll be long.  I'm sorry.  My favorite part in the chapter is lengthy and One Does Not Simply Abridge It.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

And in the fair evening Faramir and Merry walked in the garden, but she did not come. 
        But in the morning, as Faramir came from the Houses, he saw her, as she stood upon the walls; and she was clad all in white, and gleamed in the sun. And he called to her, and she came down, and they walked on the grass or sat under a green tree together, now in silence, now in speech. And each day after they did likewise.   

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

And Eowyn did not go, though her brother sent word begging her to come to the field of Cormallen. And Faramir wondered at this, but he saw her seldom, being busy with many matters; and she dwelt still in the Houses of Healing and walked alone in the garden, and her face grew pale again, and it seemed that in all the City she only was ailing and sorrowful. And the Warden of the Houses was troubled, and he spoke to Faramir.
      Then Faramir came and sought her, and once more they stood on the walls together, and he said to her: 'Eowyn, why do you tarry here, and do not go to the rejoicing in Cormallen beyond Cair Andros, where your brother awaits you?'
      And she said: 'Do you not know?'
      But he answered: 'Two reasons there may be, but which is true, I do not know.'
      And she said: 'I do not wish to play at riddles. Speak plainer!'
      'Then if you will have it so, lady,' he said: 'you do not go, because only your brother called for you, and to look on the Lord Aragorn, Elendil's heir, in his triumph would now bring you no joy. Or because I do not go, and you desire still to be near me. And maybe for both these reasons, and you yourself cannot choose between them. Eowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?'
      'I wished to be loved by another,' she answered. 'But I desire no man's pity.'
      'That I know,' he said. 'You desired to have the love of the Lord Aragorn. Because he was high and puissant, and you wished to have renown and glory and to be lifted far above the mean things that crawl on the earth. And as a great captain may to a young soldier he seemed to you admirable. For so he is, a lord among men, the greatest that now is. But when he gave you only understanding and pity, then you desired to have nothing, unless a brave death in battle. Look at me, Eowyn!'
      And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: 'Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the elven-tongue to tell. And I love you.  Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Eowyn, do you not love me?'
      Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her. 
      'I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,' she said; 'and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.' And again she looked at Faramir. 'No longer do I desire to be a Queen,' she said. 
      Then Faramir laughed merrily. 'That is well,' he said; 'for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.'
      'Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?' she said. 'And would you have your proud folk say of you: "There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?"'
      'I would,' said Faramir.  And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and the light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing. 

This gif is everything. <3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Then the King welcomed his guests, and they alighted; and Elrond surrendered the sceptre, and laid the hand of his daughter in the hand of the King, and together they went up into the High City, and all the stars flowered in the sky. And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undomiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfillment.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I MEAN.  FAM.  *wipes tears*  


Wow.  That was very long.  Abject 'pologies and all that.  Do be sure to check out Hamlette's blog to find the tag, enter the giveaway, and generally join in the festivities!  *confetti showers*

'Till next we meet, friends!

P.S.  Also, what think you of the new autumn look?  It's not completely finished yet, and I'm not totally satisfied with the background, but it's proving difficult to find one that fits.  Thoughts? :)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Friends, a pep talk.

[Originally posted on my other blog, Towards Indecisive and Palpitating Stars.]

Preface:  There's an important difference between man-made and God-given dreams.  I recognize that.  And yes, I do think that sometimes God may call us to give up a dream or to lay it aside for a time.  

But this post deals with a different situation. 

This post is for you, Christ-follower who wants desperately to just get it right, to do what God wants you to do: you who have become convinced, after prayerful seeking and wise counsel, that God is leading you in a specific direction -- that he has implanted a certain dream in your heart; you who've been wooed in the secret place, when it's just you and God; you who have received whispered confirmations; you who have been excited to move forward in faith, trusting him to make things clear in his time and his way.  But now it's been a little while, and you're starting to have that uneasy feeling that maybe you just got swept up in your emotions and let your imagination get the better of you, and you're staring to doubt the word that you received.  

This post is for you, soul sister (or brother!) of mine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear radiant being created in the image of the Most High God:

You're thinking of giving up the dream?  Of deciding that maybe you misunderstood what you thought was God's guidance?  That you should probably put the dream on the backburner with a loving pat and leave it where it belongs, and get on with 'real life'?

Maybe things aren't happening as you thought they would, and you're just not so sure anymore, and you don't want to blow your whole life on this?  After all, this is your life you're talking about -- the one life you've been given on this earth during which to glorify God and do things for the Kingdom.  What if you mess it up?  What if you miss his calling?

Go back.

Go back to the late-night whispers, the lamp-lit connections that wouldn't make sense to anybody else, but that thrilled your soul because you recognized them as another confirmation from God.  Remember those hushed, awe-filled moments when the LORD of heaven spoke something deep into your heart.  Remember the joy you felt and the peace he gave, and the purpose that filled you.

Now, don't take off without God -- don't let your imagination run totally unchecked.  Keep holding what you hear up to the Scriptures to test it.  But also make sure that you're keeping in mind the words of Jesus -- to "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." (Jn. 7:24)  Dig beneath the surface.  Get counsel.  Stay oh, so prayerful.  Keep an open heart; be willing to be led in a different direction if it's the LORD leading.  Stay flexible and prayerful and humble and teachable.  Try to be 'wise and discerning.'

Stay malleable, and don't latch onto the dream with a sense of unhealthy or idolatrous possessiveness (a different thing than claiming the promises that God has spoken over you).  You don't determine how the dream plays out; you don't bind it with your rules.  You don't clench it so tightly that you choke the meaning out of it.

Yes, yes to all of that.  


If God has sparked a dream in your heart, then make sure that you cherish that ember and you guard it -- always leaving it fully vulnerable to him and his will -- and grow it in his way and his time.  Don't be afraid to wait for the next step to be revealed, but don't be afraid to step out, either.

You go back to the things God told you about this dream.  You keep in mind that if it is God's leading, won't Satan sure as anything be out in force to find a way to convince you otherwise?  Remember that your enemy is real and that he "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Pet. 5:8)  But "we are not unaware of his schemes." (2 Cor. 2:11)

"Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Pet. 5:9), and remember the catastrophic, world-altering consequences that can result whenever someone starts to listen to that insidious whisper, "Did God really say . . . ?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

And now, loves, I need you to do one more thing for me:  Will you watch these three videos (even if you've seen them before) and really let them speak some truth to your soul?

[I'm sure you've heard this one before, but it still needs listening to.  (Also, I apologize for the somewhat scanty outfit in the beginning.  It's still worth watching.)]

[And then this one brings out even more of its potential.]

[This one is because I just went to an "old-fashioned hymn sing" (I know, right?!) and we sang this and it was awesome and I thought mayhap I should include it. :)  (Also, this video?!  Precious alert. <3)]

(If you want an adult choral version, one more similar to what I heard this evening, try this one.)

"Dance, then, wherever you may be; I am the Lord of the Dance," said he. "And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be, and I'll lead you all in the dance," said he.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Thanks for reading; and now go and be happy in the knowledge that you are the Beloved of the LORD


It is God's dream, and He delights to do it in us and through us.

-- David A. Seamands, paraphrasing Caleb and Joshua in Numbers 14:8-10