Friday, May 31, 2013

"My One Weakness..."

I have spent a lot of time since being out of school for the summer escaping into period dramas but the one I have recently been obsessing with is Lark Rise to Candleford. It stars some pretty familiar people... well familiar if you are obsessed with Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice both BBC and the 2005 version. One is Brendan Coyle (aka Mr. Bates) who plays Robert Timmins a mason that has high political beliefs in equality but also lots of hard work to make his way in the world. Hie wife, Emma Timmins, plays Charlotte Lucas in the 2005 P&P , she is the good wife always sticking by her man but does frequently get annoyed with his pride.

The next Julia Sawalha who plays Dorcas Lane the serious but mischief loving post-mistress. Who is better known as another mischief character Lydia Bennett. She is frequently saying "It is my one weakness" and she says about most everything from different kinds of cakes to warm baths.
{pic} {pic}
The main focus of this period piece is two little towns, the hamlet known as Lark Rise and the big/small town of Candleford. The hamlet is where our main character Laura Timmins comes from and in the first episode she moves to Candleford to assist her mother's cousin Dorcas. I love her for many reasons... she is head strong but yet very sensitive and always tries to help. Also she is considered "buttoned-up" but really she has such a soft heart but she only lets those close to her see it. She wants to do the right thing but frequently makes mistakes. She also writes in her journal all the time. 
There are some other colorful characters like Robert the mail man with his strong faith and always quoting the Bible. Sometimes I do not like how they make the religious characters ridiculous but he is so humorous in his righteous ways. Then there is Minnie who is the goofy maid but trying hard to right in the world just goofs up a lot. There is also all the hamlet people like Queenie and Twister who add lots of humor into the plots. And like any good small town shows there is always 1 episode visitors who come and shake up the towns and then leave after all is settled. Also like any good period dramas there is love interest. We watch Laura and Dorcas have loves and hear breaks. I am about to finish season 3 of 4 so I am not for sure how it ends but it does seem that once Dorcas adopts her son Sydney her heart is more settled. So now I eagerly await to see if Laura will end up with Daniel or Fisher. If you know do not tell me.

Top: Fisher {pic}
Bottom: Daniel {pic}
Oh I can get so lost in these period pieces... they are my one weakness and thanks to people uploading them on YouTube I can have my little heart go a twitter for them. I hope if you are like me and want to lose your heart to a period drama you will watch and fall in love with this show.

Lark Rise to Candleford Ep. 1 Part 1
You do have to watch them in parts but xLarkRiseCandleford
 has uploaded them all and there is an autoplay button that automatically starts the next part.

Side Note: After watching all these period drama's I feel like I should have a post on "6 degrees of Separation in Period Drama." 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Asking for Bravery and Wisdom


Dear Anne,
I know I wrote my last letter to you just a few days ago but being out of school has left me with a lot of time to question my life and my faith. 

Do not worry I will not be using this letter to talk about the movie Brave, I just thought it was a cute picture to start off my letter. Actually I will be talking more about this verse...
A couple of weeks ago in my bible study we talked about the story in Acts 19 where Paul goes to speak boldly in the synagogue. After reading that I told the group I have a hard time being open about being a Christian. Some people find it hard to share their faith because they are afraid they won't be liked or that someone will ask them a question they don't know the answer to. I am not afraid for those reasons, I mean in college I was but now I have come to realize people don't really care if I am a Christian as long as I don't shove my beliefs down their throats. Also I know I won't have the answer to every question because honestly who would. The most important question I feel like someone could ask me is "why you believe?" and to that I would say "Because at the end of the day He is the only one that makes sense of my life. When I feel things falling apart I know He will be there to hold it together."  

So why am I scared ? Because I don't want to be thought of  as someone who would waive signs that say "God Hates..."  or to be associated with people like the Westboro Baptist Church. I feel like these people do harm to us as group of Christians and to the Kingdom of God.  To be honest I think God only hates sin because it causes separation from Him and he is perfect. When God made the world He called it good. And that goodness, I have been told is equivalent to word completeness. I have yet to read where God says he hates a group of people. Even when He calls down wrath to the Israel it is not because He hates them it is because He hates their sin and punishing them for it and teaching them to be better people. But I honestly don't think as a mere mortal we can say what God hates... all we know is what God loves and that is all people because when He made Adam and Eve the Bible says..
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 

It goes further to say in Psalm to say..
For you created my inmost being;    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 (a personal favorite) 

And we all know the classic verse John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 

There are more verses to quote but from my point of view there seems to be more arguments for God's love than God's hate. 

Anyway, back to my original point. I guess I hide my beliefs because I am afraid of people thinking I am judgmental and a hater... which I don't think I am. And now having wrote this I think most my co-workers know I am a Christian mostly because I talk about going to church, bible study, and they know I don't swear. One co-worker says I am on "Team G-O-D." But I wish they could know my heart. And in that I wish I could be more brave.  

This is outside of my church back home in Oklahoma (First Baptist Church of Moore) and these guys are blocking the Westboro protesters at the funeral of tornado victims... I really like this picture.   

After writing about God's love and reflecting on these verse I question...what do I fear? What holds me back? I want to be bold like Paul but I don't think I have a very bold spirit. I always shy away confrontation, so I am hoping to grow. I am having good practice I have a co-worker that frequently asks me about my faith and what I believe. I do so pray and hope I am giving the right answers and I do so pray to grow in strength and wisdom. 

Sorry these last few letters have not come to any real conclusion... I have more questions sometimes than answers. 

My love, 

As I finished this letter I found this on pinterest...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tune for Tuesday

I have had this song stuck in my head for a couple of days.
Song: Home
By: Phillips Phillips

Monday, May 27, 2013

Searching for connection

Dear Anne,

I have been feeling a little disconnected from things. During school I was so wrapped up in finals but now that school is over my brain still feels a little foggy. I think one problem is, is that I am too wrapped up in my own brain. I admit I get so focused on my own problems that I can forget what is going on in other peoples lives, I hope this doesn't sound selfish.  

Lately my church has been going through a series on Discipleship and one thing I have really been struck by is how much discipleship has to do with other people. I guess I should not be surprised by this especially since Jesus was the ultimate servant and was always involved in working with others. But the series has left me wondering, how can I serve. I do serve at my church with the nursery and what we call hospitality but it doesn't feel to be enough. 
After the Boston Marathon Bombing I thought about giving blood as you know I hate shots and needles, so that seemed like a big deal, but over a month has gone by and I have not done it. Now with another home of mine in the middle of pain and destruction (Oklahoma) ... I feel I must do something. Being so far away and being in my usual mindset of blocking things out I could easily go on with life as if nothing happened. But I don't want to. 
I don't know where this originates as I found it on Facebook
As you know I have been going through some valleys in my walk with God and I am really trying to change that. Now that I am back from vacation with my mom and I don't have any "out of the normal plans" I am starting a 30 day bible/devotional reading plan. But I am thinking about what type of service I can do. I am still really thinking of giving blood... is that enough? 

I don't have an answer to that yet but I want to do good in this world. 
Besides working with the children at the church nursery and going down to Honduras last year and hopefully next year, I have never really felt called to serve some place. When people talk about "spiritual gifts" I never know what to say. And without an answer I feel like I am little lost in where to serve or what to do. 

 Any way I guess I don't have a good conclusion to this post. I am just hoping through serving others I will feel more connected.   


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rainy day in Boston

Opening scene to "Midnight in Paris"

It is kind of a rainy day here in Boston. In my romantic or idealistic way I love the rain (as long as it is not a down pour). My parents just got back from Europe (celebrating their 20th anniversary) and my step-mom told me it rained in both London and Paris. I said "It is suppose to rain in Paris, haven't you seen Sabrina." (I hope she knows I meant that as a joke. I have never been to Paris but I have been to London and when we have a nice rainy day here I think fondly of London.

So to my friends in Boston (or any where it is raining) I hope you are having a nice "London rainy day."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Birthday weekend away

Hello Lovely Readers,

The Marble House
I am excited to say by the time you read this I will be off on vacation with my mom to celebrate my 27th birthday. My mom and I are heading down to Newport, RI to look at all the pretty mansions. As much as I love the Gilded Age I have not been down to the mansions.

I was watching another period drama (surprise, surprise) called The Buccaneers based off the Edith Wharton novel and the first part takes place in Newport; the characters actually go visit The Marble House and it looks so exquisite it I cannot wait to see it for myself I am sure I will be in awe this whole weekend.

The Buccaneers- pt. 1

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Getting back into the story...

Hello lovely readers,

As I have stated I have wanted to get some more writing in this summer. It is somewhat odd (in a good way) to go back to a story that I have had to put aside. I have gone through and re-read some of my writing and I wanted to share some of the story with you... 

Hope you enjoy. 
Those were the grand days for us children at Southerton. Without mother and father there we were under the care of Nanny Alba. Every day after lunch she took a long nap  and expected us to do the same. Instead as soon as the weather turned warm we would run all the way to the Back Woods not stopping for any breath. It was here we all plotted out the grand adventures we desired for our lives. I wasn't old enough to plan a grand escape. I still loved our home. It had been a part of our family since King Charles II. It wasn't grand compared to Cranston Court but it was a prized estate. I was still finding nooks and crannies when to hide in for hours. My ancestors took Southerton Green from a simple hunt lodge to its grand scale built in the a modern architecture in the Georgian style. My grandfather used to tell me of the grand days of Southerton when they would throw lavish parties on the scale of a Duke and Duchess. I promised him I would recapture those grand day and bring them back to Southerton.

            Of course in a few years I would learn of the financial destitution of our family and I would know to become a grand family we once were was utterly hopeless. Right then in 1909 I thought no family could be better off than us, Harringtons at Southerton Greens with a house in London and plantations in India.

            "Rose I want to play!" My little sister Georgina called from the side.
            Georgiana, my younger sister, who still at five had her baby fat including pudgy cheeks and stubby legs. No one seeing her then would realize she would become England's high class model by the time she was eighteen, of course by that time she was going by the name Gigi Harris. She would always long for adventure and to be taken seriously but for the most part she was held back because of her younger sibling status.

            "I am not playing!" I yelled back.

            To be honest I was panning for gold. The water was up to my knees and turning my dress from soft blue to an ugly brown as the mud splashed on me. I was  bent over with one of cook's pie pans, scrapping the bottom, hoping to find any sign of gold. In one of our history lessons we had learned about the California Gold Rush in 1849 and I had hoped our creek could be lined with gold but no one had ever looked. I now knew why no one looked because the water was almost a numbing cold and there seemed to be little success no matter how long I looked.

            "Rose, I want to play."
            "No you can't, mother says you can't come in the creek."
            "Please!" She begged.
            "Daphne, you are suppose to be watching Georgiana," I pleaded.
            "No you promise you would do all my chores  and when mother is not her and we are not with Nanny Alba that includes taking care of Georgiana."
            "But-" I moaned.
            "Do you want me to tell mother you broke the teapot?"
            "I wasn't trying to break the teapot," I grumbled to myself.

            I didn't really think it was my fault that Pippin came running through the room as I was trying to host a tea party for my doll, Camilla Jayne, but I was pretending she was Queen Victoria. I had to use the best teapot for Queen Victoria, and with its hand painted flowers and gold trimming it was by far the best in the house. I was holding the now infamous teapot when Pippin came into the room, jumped on me, knocked me down, and the teapot to the ground. Daphne was the only witness and now she had black mailed me into doing her chores for a moth. Years later I would find out Daphne told mother did not punish me because she hated that teapot. It had been Grandma Harrington's but mother and Grandma Harrington never got a long so she was glad when it was broken. If I had known that then I would have never put up with Daphne's behavior.

            "What are you doing," She yelled at me. Daphne finally noticed that my dress had become soaked and practically ruined with mu stains. 
            "Panning for gold like they did in California."

            Shane hearing this chimed in "There is not gold in that creek, if there was Lord Welford would have already dug it up."

            "What would my father do with little rocks bigger than finger nails. Rose, if you find any gold you can keep it," Parker said pretending to stick up for his father, who was known in parliament as being one of the cheapest Lords in the House.  Penny and Pence Welford, I had once heard father call Lord Welford.

            "I agree with Shane there is no gold in the creek," Daphne said "and now you have ruined your dress for something that doesn't exist. Now got out of that and act a lady."

            By now all attention was shared between me standing in the creek and Daphne standing on the bank. No one but Kelby had seen Georgina make her way into the creek and slip on a rock, and she had gone under with a splash or gasp to get our attention. The splash that did get out attention was Kelby jumping into pull Georgiana out of the water. In slow motion I watched Kelby grab her and saw her limp body lie across his arms. He laid her on the grass to get any water out of her lungs. She coughed some up, opened her eyes, and then quickly fainted again.

            Without thinking Kelby scooped her back up into his arms and ran in the direction of Cranston Court.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jane Eyre... what the?

I know I am going to shock a lot of people when I say this, but I do not like Jane Eyre. For some reason when I tell people I like Jane Austen they assume I like Jane Eyre as well... but I do not. I read the novel before freshman year of college and didn't like it. Then a friend of mine told me to give it another try. I told her I would watch the new version (2011) because lots of people said it was the best version and if I liked it I would again try to read the book. I thought I must have missed something, since everyone I know who likes period pieces likes Jane Eyre so I was willing to give it a second chance but after watching the movie I still don't like it. So am I still missing something?

I just don't understand. Jane Eyre is a heroine who seems to have no faults and every good hero's journey story, a hero or heroine must have faults and over come them. But Jane just seems too passive. And let people tell her where to go, what to do, and she never seems to speak up for herself. I mean besides when she speaks up to Mrs. Reed (her aunt) but this willful girl does not seem to last. She just seems to accept all the wrongs in her life.

I also did not like Mr. Rochester. He spends time flirting with one girl, then declares his love for Jane, and all this time he is married to a crazy woman. How are we suppose to fall in love with a man who is purposefully leading Jane down a road of heart ache? After the marriage is discovered, Rochester still wants her to stay with him... what as his mistress? (Not cool Mr. Rochester.) He seems rather selfish.

But Jane cannot stand being in the same house as him and runs away. At least here we get some emotions from her as she breaks down and cries. But after that the plot starts to rush and eventually Mr. Rochester's wife dies and he is now blind. Jane goes back to love and care for him. When the credits rolled by I said "that's it?" "What?" I felt the conclusion was too fast.

After looking for pictures for this blog I have seen some mixed reactions to this movie, so I don't think I am the only one who thought this way. I must say props goes to the art director or location finder because the back grounds were beautiful and dark when needed to tell the story.

I think I will stick with my Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell and maybe explore the world of Dickens.

If you love this novel/story can you please let me know what I am missing.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Inspiring Music

Besides reading some fun books over the summer I do hope to get some writing in. I have always found music very inspirational so I just wanted to share some songs that I have fallen in love with. 

 Here are just a few...

May Waltz
by: Brooke Fraser

Swan Song 
by: Shubert

By:  The Brilliance

Beethoven's 5th Secrets
By: The Piano Guys

The Call
By: Regina Spektor 
from the movie Prince Caspin

By: Ludovico Einaudi

By: Brooke Fraiser

You never know never know where inspiration is going to strike so keep looking. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Period Film Weekend

This weekend being my first weekend out of school I was basically a lazy sloth and I was able to watch some good period dramas... thanks YouTube.

Over the weekend I watched Sense and Sensibility (2008)... that one I checked out from my school library. I have wanted to check it out many times from the library, I did not because I knew I was too busy with school so this was my end of year treat to myself. I have written about it in my Chinese Food and Jane Austen Post. So though I will not waste time re-writing the review of it I do love posting pictures of my fan girl obsession... Dan Stevens.

From there I moved on to Emma (2009). I am still a fan of the Gwenyth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam version (1996) the most, I think it is because it was my first one. I will say that the minni-series is far more accurate to the book and as I am re-reading it I am noticing those details. Romalo Garari does play Emma very well being a good balance between selfish, naive but also completely lovable. Also Jonny Lee Miller plays a great Mr. Knightley being firm when needed but when he confesses his love to Emma, it is so sweet. 

The proposal scene 

And while this story is more accurate to the novel I still love the line "I need not call you Mr. Knightley but my Mr. Knightley." My heart goes a flutter when I hear that; I know this is not in the book, but in the book I have noticed that after they are engaged Mr. Knightley does call her "my Emma." Awe so sweet.

Then I watched Romalo Garari (who you might recognize from Amazing Grace or Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights) play Gwendolen Harleth another spoiled girl used to having men fall at her feet but when her family is penniless she enters into a loveless marriage with a Mr. Grandcourt (played by Hugh Bonneville aka Lord Grantham) instead of becoming a governess. Then attempts at having an affair with Daniel Deronda (played by Hugh Dancy). 

Side note: I am going to guess being a governess is bad because a lot of these movies the characters act like it is fate worst than death. 

Back to movie: It was fun watching Hugh Bonneville play such a bad guy. And though I do not support affairs, it was sad to watch this because there was no happy ending for Gwendolen and Daniel. There is a happy ending though for Daniel and his lady love. But I probably will not be watching this film over and over again because minus the awesome costuming the story just seemed to drag on. I guess I should have known as the book was written by George Elliot. I have only read her book Silas Marner and that story dragged on till the last 4 or so chapters. Also I give George Elliot props for making the hero and heroine (the couple with the happy ending) both Jewish people, this seems very progressive for the time period that she was writing in. So in the past YouTube has been good about finding films they think I would like (thanks to them I discovered the Lizzie Bennet Diaries) I would say this is a YouTube recommendation fail. However, if you watch it you might recognize two women as there are two characters who have at one point or another played a Mrs. Weston in Emma. 

The next one I watched was Little Dorrit. Important thing to know when watching this was it is written by Charles Dickens. Dickens wrote most of his stories in news papers so just little sections at a time and the minni-series seemed true to this having only half hour episodes (minus the first and last one). Also there is a lot of intertwining plot lines that seem very disconnected but then come together at the end. The basic plot line is Amy Dorrit was born and raised in the debtor's prison as her father has lived there 20+ years; as she is not officially a prisoner she goes out and works doing some sowing. Through this she meets Mrs. Clenman, not a nice woman, and when her son, Arthur Clenman (played by Matthew Macfayden aka Mr. Darcy (2005)) finds out he is kind of shocked to learn Amy is hired because of his mom's charity. Apparently his mother has no charity. Arthur then hires a private investigator to find out the Clenman's connection to the Dorrit's because he believes his family has done the Dorrrit's wrong and that is what his mother is making up for. (Okay so minus some twist I didn't really understand maybe I will need to re-watch it some time). Arthur through the investigation becomes friends with the Dorrits (and the father and brother are quick to take advantage of that) and also finds out the Dorrits are actually wealthy. Upon this discovery the Dorrits leave England to become cultured and to separate themselves from their past. Amy is kind of like the Anne Elliot of the story very selfless but her family wrapped up in their own silly lives think she is foolish. Through more twists (I don't want to give everything away) there is a happy ending so yeah! I will say this was a YouTube recommendation win... I will want to re-watch it to understand plot point and I didn't feel like watching 14 episodes was a waste. I just have to get used to Dicken's way of a plot line. Plus I get to watch Matthew Macfayden who can rock a top hat.
I did so love some escapism to into period dramas. 

If you have any recommendations of others to check out let me know. I am keeping an on going list of movies to watch.

A good period drama fan girl video
Song: Sara Bareilles 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spiritual Jealousy

Dear Anne,
Is it okay to be jealous of some one because you wish you were  where they are spiritually, I mean? 

As you probably know from my lack of letters I have taken some time off from life to focus on finishing my semester. This meant not going to my usual Bible study and not really reading the Bible on my own. (Which, I know is not good but in the moment it felt like what was needed). Before the craziness of April I felt I was really growing (see Discovering my Mountain) but now I feel stunted again as if no growth happened and I am not happy about it. I mean I am not surprised because you can't walk away from any relationship for a month and expect it to be the same after that time. But I guess in some way I was naive and thought I would be in the same growing spot. I am not. I feel my relationship with God is kind of lifeless. 

What is worse, is when I finally came back to my Bible study, some of the girls I was closest too...seemed changed, better even. Better may not be the right word but they definitely seemed like they were growing in their relationship, they were desiring God more, and they were obeying God willingly. And though I know it is not right to be jealous of them, I was. The next day when I was having my quiet time I prayed saying "I wish I was them." Then through that I realized I look up to them one for her complete obedience to God, one for how strong they were and never seeming to doubt God's timing, and one for her genuine and generous love. So maybe I shouldn't be jealous of them maybe I should strive to be like them. And I do. I think God has given me these three in particular because he wants me to use them as models of how I want my life to be. The real question is how do I it? 

This is an a question I don't have an answer to. I do my quiet time, I go to church, and I go to Bible study but it doesn't seem to making a difference in my growing the other times in my life I don't feel changed by God. How sad is that? I know he is here, I know in some way he is guiding me but I don't really feel changed. I wrote this in "Discovering my Mountain": 

As much as I write about hope... I still don't know what it means to hope in the Lord and in that I don't know what it means to truly trust in the Lord.  I know to trust in the Lord in the grand scheme of things. I know that the Lord has a perfect plan for me and in that I trust. I also know when I try to take control over my life it feels like it falls apart. But on a day to day basis, I don't know what it means to Trust in the Lord, so I keep circling this mountain. 

I am still at the same point and I don't know how to move on. I don't know how to venture further then where I am right now, and I don't really like where I am (in this lukewarm relationship with God, where I could take it or leave it and more often then not leave it). I don't like it and I am pretty sure God doesn't like it so how can I move beyond this? 

I don't expect you to have the answer but now that I am done for the summer this is something I would like to work on. 

I hope to write more later,
I don't know why but I like this picture. The tree stump was from a tree taken down in Hurricane Irene (2 years ago) and now these daffodils bloom here. Daffodils have become my favorite flower as they are one of the first to bloom and that means we have made it through the winter...a great sign of hope.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Finished My Semester

Yes it is from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries
I am happy to report that I am done with my finals! 

Over this last month I have taken a break from blogging and in some aspects life. I hope once life gets back to normal and I have more mental energy I will be able to write more blog posts. I have these thoughts of giving up on this blog as I don't feel I have much to say or I don't have the mental energy to write. But I went to an event from my almmater and my old adviser told me she read my blog; I was very touched and for that reason I hope I can keep up with it. It is always nice to know something you have taken time to write has been read by others.

I sadly do not have much to catch you guys up on. I feel I have spent most of my month researching and writing papers. One paper was turn of the century fashion, I hope to use that paper to begin my thesis. As you probably know from my post about Downton Abbey, the stories I have been writing, or if you follow me on Pinterest I have fallen head over heels with the Edwardian time period. So I knew I wanted to do a paper on the turn of the century. I thought about doing my thesis on women's professionalism (like what careers became the more feminine careers and what not) but after sitting through a thesis proposal workshop where one adviser said "chose your own Hell" I had a change of heart. I have always loved fashion, I think it is so much more than what people wear, but what they value and what society values. So I turned my mind towards turn of the century fashion. As I began researching my paper I discovered that single working girls had more of a disposable income and used their fashion to get away from the strict uniforms of their jobs and possibly move up in the world. I would really like to talk about that. Of course I know I need a good argument for my thesis... so this summer I will be researching it. Wish me luck.

Besides finishing up school, I did go and visit my sister, niece and nephew. I know it was in the middle of the craziness of finals but I REALLY needed a break to go see them. I had a great time being Auntie Blaire and even though we didn't do anything overly big being with them was awesome. Also, my dad and step-mom surprised me with a day trip to see me... which was sweet to see them.
The only picture I took while I was there of my nephew crawling
But now school is over and I have the summer to look forward to. I know I need to be researching for my thesis... so I will probably be hanging out in some archives. I do hope to get some fun reading in (aka books without footnotes). I have been watching a lot of mindless TV but now I can't wait to cross some books off my reading list.

Hope to post more later.