Monday, August 31, 2015

Remember God's Faithfulness...The Blessing in My Life.

Hello lovely readers,

Last week I posted "Things seem up in the air" but even as I finished it I did not feel that it was complete. At my church we have been going through a series called "From the Rubble" about the book about Nehemiah with many of the messages hitting very close to home. Last week my friend spoke about our story and how the main point of it is God's faithfulness not our brokenness.

In the book of Nehemiah, some of the Israelites, who have been in captivity come back to Israel to rebuild the wall around the city. They face many oppositions from mental to physical oppositions and yet they are able to complete the tasks in 52 days. Then they are at a lost of knowing what to do and they go to Ezra, who has been in Jerusalem for 14 years and working to rebuild the temple. He read from the book of the law and they here the story about how God makes a promise, but then the people go astray, problems come, people cry out to God and He restores them. And the people listening into the story begin to weep because they focus on the part of the story where their ancestors went astray. However Nehemiah said, Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Okay this is just a brief summary of the story... I suggest you read the whole thing(link to Biblegateway). 

It seems kind of strange to celebrate when we go a stray from God and suffer, but that is not what Nehemiah is saying... Nehemiah is saying to celebrate God's faithfulness. I will admit that I am quick to hold onto pain, and I sometimes hold onto my own flaws and regrets far more than I hold on to the compliments I get or the love I receive.

So here I go... I am going to remember the good things in my life, the things I want to hold onto. 

First, I am thankful to have these two inspiring women as my sisters. Both them have taught me a great amount what it means to faith even in struggles.
 I am blessed to have two sets of wonderful parents who have given me courage, taught me to stand on my own, allowed me to follow my dreams...even if they didn't understand me, and have shown me love is not based on blood. 

I have also been blessed with a great amount of friends here in Boston, and a church that has shaped my second family for me. But the thing I probably love the most in my life are my niece and nephews...they give me hope in the world, joy, and love I didn't know really existed till they came into the world. 
All these people make me who I am. And I am so thankful to them for how they have shaped me.
God has blessed me with these people.

Nehemiah asked the Israelites to remember God's faithfulness and I can easily remember His faithfulness by looking back on the blessings God has given me. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Faithful music for Friday

Hello lovely readers,

I have posted this week I have gone through some dryness in my faith... Here are some songs that have been running in my head these last few weeks. These have inspired me to continue on through this time. 

Song: 10,000 Reasons 
By: Matt Redman

Song: This is Amazing Thing
By: Phil Wickham

Song; And if Our God is for Us
By: Christ Tomlin

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Princess and a dragon...Writing Wednesday

Hello lovely readers,

A couple of weeks ago I attended a writing workshop and it was all about dialogue. The rules were to write an entire scene of dialogue and that we couldn't use any tag lines so no "she said" or "he said." I got the prompt "a princess or virgin and a dragon." Here is what I wrote...
{via Pinterest}
 -What is it you want from me?
-What is you want from me?
-You are a dragon, you have been terrorizing my kingdom.
-And your the noble knight, who has come to slay the dragon and win the hear of the damsel in distress. I have read fairy tales I know how it goes.
-You read?
-You sound surprised.
-I am, I didn't know dragons could read. 
-We are not as ignorant as your authors would have you believe.
-I just never thought--
-Yes many knights don't think. It seems to be a common trend.
-Why do you say that?
-Why do you thing dragon can't read?
-Why do you answer my questions?
-You are a persistent knight. Come on, get along try to kill me. 
-You are not afraid?
-Afraid of you sword?
-Afraid of death?
-I am an old dragon, I have had a good life, I do not fear death. Besides I am known to have a trick or two up my sleeve.
-And what is that?
-You expect me to tell you my tricks?
-Maybe one, you about seven time larger than me.
-Yes, you are the smallest knight I have met to date. Why are you so small? Did your kingdom run out of brave men to send to me and fight to protect it.
-My brother, Edmund died in battle last year, I am the last of my line.
-And your mother didn't want to protect the runt of the litter.
-I am hardly a runt.
-Well you are hardly a giant.
-Well what is you wanted from me?
-I want you to leave my kingdom alone.
-I cannot.
-We were here first.
-Yes, I am not alone. I have a rather large family to be honest. And we were her first before you humans came in and cut down our trees and started coming into our mountains. Where are we to go?
 -Surely there are other mountains and other woods?
-You do ask a lot of questions, knight. Come on will you?
-Maybe I am not as stupid as some of the other knights you have met.
-Clearly, your did not wear any armor, the racket that causes is always a give away. Though no wearing armor to fight against a dragon,who can breathe fire and is ten time larger than you might not be the smartest thing.
-My brother always said a good shield and sword is all you need. If you are a good fighter.
-And are you a good fighter?
-My skills have never been officially tested in a tournament or something.
-Yest you come here to fight the dragon?
-Well if you are here to fight, you better come on. I grow weary of conversation.
-You have not told me one of your tricks.
-I never said I would.
-Gentlemen attempt at fight fair.
-I am no gentlemen.
-You are well read, you didn't kill me instantly, in fact you have been quite hospitable is that not the definition of a gentleman?
-Can a dragon be a gentleman?
-I don't know, I always thought that title should reflect the character not so much the species.
-You are definitely not like any knight I have met.
-I hate to disappoint you but I am no knight. I am Princess Lorriane of the Gaisome Kingdom.
-Your highness, why does your kingdom send you here?
-They don't know I came.
-Ah a brave run away to take on the world?
-Not the world, just a dragon.
-And what do you want from me? It can not be to kill me, you would have attempted it by now.
-You are right. I do not believe violence and death bring peace.
-No, you are not like any knight I have met.
-How do you mean?
-Knights are blood thirst but yet the do not come to the same conclusion you did. If I killed you now, which I could easily do, all of Gaisome would be here in my peaceful cave take revenge on their princess. If you kill me, which is a slight possibility my brother or son would attack your kingdom and it would be a vicious cycle.
-Then what do you say? A compromise?
-You think me a fool to compromise with a human. Humans never keep their words.
-Even a princess?
-Especially a princess. Royalty must always put their kingdom first, they cannot make a compromise with things they do not trust.
-I trust you,
-Well you shouldn't!
-I am sorry my princess, it was your kingdom or mine.

I know very little about dragons but I was excited to write this prompt. Though I don't think it will expand into a story, fantasy is not one of my go to genres. Even still I am glad for the opportunity to stretch my writing skills.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Things Seem Up in the Air

Hello lovely readers,

Last week on Facebook, I shared I was struggling in my quiet time and that "It has been hard for me to get into the word and really feel connected to God's word. I read my Bible usually as I eat breakfast but it doesn't sink in and I feel leave the moment with no difference to my day. I feel I am kind of drifting away from being connected to God. If you have any suggestions of routine, books (in the Bible) or Devotionals to read, that would be great. Also prayers (I know there are bigger things in the world that are happening) would be greatly appreciated because I know this drifting feeling and it is very isolating." And I was overwhelmed by the support I got from my Facebook community, people who haven't talked to in years provided support and I felt blessed to have the support. So first I want to thank the people.

I have recently felt things have been in the air with my life and I seeking God's direction for life... And I am not sure what that is but I feel change is in the air. During one of my quiet times I prayed "Lord give me guidance. I feel so many things are up in the air... bu my desire to do what you want. Oh Lord I wish I had a vision for what you wanted from my life, but oh God, and I might never have a clear vision for my life. I pray Oh God you lea me no matter what may com. Be my God. Lord I know I have strayed from you. I know I have not kept you a top priority and I have fallen away from you. I know come in desperation because I want my life to make sense, and right now it doesn't. Lord but I also know my life depends on you... Lord be with me, guide me, take my by the hand and show me your path." Then I read the passage "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"-Psalm 27:14. 

Sometimes when I have these moments of dryness I feel God has left me... but in my truest heart I know that hasn't true because I know my life depends on God. Over the years I have learned that when I try to do things on my own that my world feels to begins to crumble and that I feel I drown with no hope of being saved... but God is my true savior. Though I will be the first one to admit that it is hard to hold on to these truths, especially when things aren't going the way you imagine.

Right now I am in a time of waiting and knowing that no matter what I am going through that God with is with. While things seem up in the air I know I can rely on God to guide me. That is what I am seeking God's guidance through these times. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Blurb...The Rose Garden

Hello lovely readers,

I cheated on my 26 book challenge, I just read The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. Back in June my friend introduced me to The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley and I fell in love with it so I wanted to read more books by her. So I cheated on my challenge and read The Rose Garden. Kearsley writes very well and intriguing plots that it is is easy to read her books quickly. Both The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden are a nice mix of modern day stories and historical fiction...which I like. Also both historical stories take place in the early 1700s. I know I might be off but I can't help thinking of Ross Poldark when I picture the male character (he is stuck in my head).

In this story Eva comes to Cornwall, England, the place of her childhood summers, to scatter the ashes of her sister. Then she ends up staying in Cornwall in order to help her family friends start a new business. In the mean time some weird things start to happen, she starts hearing voices of men who are not there and she believes she sees a man standing a field that had been empty. She thinks she is hallucinating but then she realizes she is traveling back in time and meets Daniel Butler. Soon she realizes that this time of 1715 feels more at home than her own time period.

It takes of just believing that time travel is possible but it wasn't that hard to believe in Kearsley's writing. I actually really liked the idea that love was not bound by the idea of time... and that a feeling of home was not just a place but people. Also the scenery of the story was beautiful. It makes me want to go to Cornwall. 

Over all I enjoyed the book and it was a nice bit of historical escapism. But one thing I liked about The Winter Sea more so was the fact it was dual line story, and it really involved more historical detail. My friend who introduced me to the writer confirmed that Susanna Kearsley loves the Jacobites history... which I am okay with because it has opened my eyes to a period of history I knew nothing about (read more). While the Jacobite history seemed crucial to The Winter Sea it did not seem so crucial to the plot of The Rose Garden. I felt Eva could have been transported back in time to any century and the story would have still been the same. I like when the historical elements are crucial to the story. Though this fact does not take away from the intrigue of the story.

I think one lesson I got out of the story was...
"Life is always uncertain. 
We cannot let the fear of what might happen stop us living as we choose." 
- The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Yours Faithfully... Letter #12

My dearest Aunt,

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written. Ever since Cassandra has come my new mama has kept us all quite busy paying calls, going to dinners and spending our times out and about doing frivolous things I am not used to doing. However, I cannot complain too greatly the busyness keeps me distracted and distraction is what I most desire now.

I regret to write that I have failed to visit Uncle and your boys, mama states that I am not suppose to make calls on people in mourning. She said people in mourning are best left alone and they wouldn't want to be interrupted in their grief. I don't remember such exclusion after my mother died... father went right back to work as he had to and I was surrounded by Miss Browning, Miss Phoebe, and you. I didn't like to be alone then. I guess my uncle has Hugh and Ozzie to be with him and I guess that must be enough. I do wish to see them though mama says impossible.

The only good news is soon it will be Easter and most of the town is eager about the ball at The Towers. It s truly my first ball and I am very nervous. Cassandra is so kind, when I told her I was nervous she started giving me dance lessons. Mama calls silly girls, Cassandra says it is good for us to practice as dancing is a sure sign to a man that we are true ladies. I don't think I am a true lady, I have been practicing my dance steps for weeks but I am still step on Cassandra's toes and I get the counting off. I wish Hugh or Ozzie could come to the ball, they are like my brothers and I know if I was dancing with them I wouldn't be so nervous. Actually, I don't know if they dance. I figure Ozzie does as you would not let him go through his childhood without teaching him, and he is far more poetic then Hugh and all poets must dance, for dancing is poetry in movement. I don't know it that is a quote from a book or not... it feels like something I have read.

I wish I could see Hugh, I finished his newest recommendation and I would love to discuss with him. There were a few passages I did not understand about the Arabian desert and I thought Hugh would help me make sense of them. He is so well educated and I am sure from the way he speaks he has been all over the world or at least read up on every part of the world. Sometimes when I speak to him I feel so uneducated. Not by his words or actions, he has always made me feel at easy, but yet I know how more he has learned than I have. He seems to understands faster than I could. And though he is far my superior in education he has such a warm and generous heart. He has not become cynical in his learning. He still believes the best in people, well he sees the best in me, always encouraging me to read far beyond what I am used to. Last time I saw him he said I had a mind far superior than most men he had met. I will take that as a compliment, even if I struggled to follow him and Ozzie's conversations. 

I must leave now, mama calls me, we are to attend the dress makers and I am to have a new dress for the ball. Oh how fabulous that will be. 

All my love.

P.S.- I will keep me posted on Uncle and your sons as soon as I can.

Previous Post

Monday, August 17, 2015

Maybe its a Bit Morbid

Post: I Press on Towards the Goal

Hello lovely readers,

I am not usually a person who thinks a lot about death, but lately I have...

In Honduras
After my grandad passed away a couple of years ago, quite by surprise, we had to plan his funeral and besides where he wanted to be buried, it felt like none of us really knew what he wanted. I then began to think if anything did happen to me I would want people to know what passages and songs I liked. So I wrote them down and put them in the back of my Bible (just in case). Then when I went to Honduras I had a weird feeling of peace that I may not come back, so before I left I decided to write a quick note of how I wanted some of my things divided (not that I have much)... but silly things like I want my niece to have my Mary Cassatt prints that I have had since I was a little girl, I wanted my friend to look after my cat (if she was able to) and I wanted my mom to have my Bible. (By the way this note is still in the back of my Bible if anything should happen to me).

So these are as morbid as my thought went, until recently. I blame the last two books I have read... both of them have dealt with death in someway. In The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) Valancy Stirling has lived a life with very strict regulations and always trying to please her family, until she is 29 years old and she goes to the doctor and he tells her she only has at max one more year to live. She decides she is no longer going to live in the confines of her strict family and decides to actually live... it is over all a very sweet story.

But it has got me thinking... what if I only had a year to live?

I would of course like to spend as much time with my family as possible. I think immediately I would like to spend any time I felt well I would want to be with my niece and nephews and soak up enough time with them. I don't think I would want them to see me when I was truly sick... as I would hate for that to be the last image they had of me.
Me at Windsor Castle
I think I would also like to spend time finishing my work in progress (at least in first draft). I have wanted to be a writer all my life but I have many works that I have not completed and I would like to have at least one work done. And then maybe hand it over to some one to see it through to be published.

I have also made a second family up here in Boston, so I would like to be here as well. I have some other thoughts of maybe traveling to England one more time as it is my favorite place outside the U.S. but if I didn't get to it I wouldn't mind. Being around the people I love the most would be most important.

Not to leave you on a completely morbid thought... and having you think I am a morbid person.Valancy's story is not just about what she did with her time it is about how she faced the idea that she was dying. Instead of just sticking too routine she decided to go out and actually live her life. The book is called The Blue Castle because whenever Valancy is sad she dreams up this blue castle to escape to. In the story she decides to chase after her "blue castle" the place she is most comforted. In doing this she speaks up for herself and even finds love.

I understood a lot where Valancy come from...She feels trapped in a life that is not her own. I don't feel trapped bu sometimes I wonder if I hide myself too much. No one likes being vulnerable, but I sometimes fear letting my guard down so much that I feel paralyzed at least mentally. As I was typing up this post, I found this quote on Pinterest:

And it really struck a chord with me. It tied to this post, in my mind, and I thought instead of using time on what I would do if I only had one more year to live, what I should do with my life now?

I will keep you posted. 

Sorry to start the week on such a morbid note. I just wanted to share some thinking.

Have a good day.

Monday, August 10, 2015

My world Monday... my week off.

Hello lovely readers,

I am taking this week off from blogging. I have enjoyed this schedule of getting a post done for three times a week, but to be honest I have felt the drain a bit and I feel that my content has not been that good. While I am trying to push myself in writing more I know I want my content to be good. Also the last couple of Monday's I have not had much to say for "My World Monday" post... I have actually had a few ideas but none very good. I am taking this week off.

Hope you understand.

As the first season of Poldark is now over :( I am obsessing over the fan made videos. I really like this one, below, hope you enjoy.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Web series: the good, the eh...okay, and the lovely stories

Hello lovely readers,

Lately I have been enjoying web series, I mostly watch the ones about adaptations of books I enjoy, but there are many series out there with original plot lines. For this "Frivolous Friday" I wanted to share the ones I have loved and the ones I thought were "eh...okay". Even if I thought the stories were "eh...okay" I am still impressed by people taking works of classic literature and bringing them into the 21st century.

The ones I love:

The first would be the Lizzie Bennet Diaries it was the web series that introduced me to this whole concept. And I think it set a pretty high standard for those who followed it. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is an updated version of Pride Prejudice (pretty obvious) but it is not just a web series, in fact it had multiple spin of Lydia Bennet where we get insight into her character, one of Pemberly Digital where we see Georgiana and Darcy interact and get insight into what he does to save Lydia.

The next one is Emma Approved, the updated version of Emma. In this version she is not just busybody but she is kind of like a life coach, trying to improve the lives around her. Her business partner is Alex Knightley, and she frequently teases him about handling the boring stuff. 
Many of the web series have their own tumblr and twitter accounts you can follow in order to keep up with the characters and it gives some behind the scenes looks at what is happening in the plot. All of Emma Approved is shot in the office, but they host and attend parties and pictures from the nights are posted there. Also because Emma is so into fashion she has "modeling" posts on her outfits.

Example of them going out: Frank Churchill laughing with Emma, with Jane Fairfax and Alex Knightley looking on.
 Third would be the delightful series of Classic Alice, it is not just one book but multiple books. It starts off with Alice getting a bad grad on a paper because her teacher feels that she does not relate to the characters. So she takes a book and tries to make life decisions based on the book. 
Currently the series is doing North and South, as I have written many post about my love of John Thorton, I don't think I need to go into how excited I am about that. I also like the fact that because they are doing various books, the series really could last for awhile. So I am curious what is going to happen with it. Besides just having a vlog (video blog) they also host a podcast of Pens vs. Lens where they discuss books vs. the movies based off the book.
Their newest episode: Clueless/Emma
The next love of mine- actually changed my mind on Jane Eyre, is The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. I recently wrote a post about this "Maybe I was wrong." And because of this I won't use too much time posting more about this. 
Picture of Alice, Emma, and Jane {pic}
Here are some of the ones I think "eh...okay":

Also made by Pemberly Digital is the series "Welcome to Sanditon" based off the unfinished work of Sanditon by Jane Austen, which I have actually never read so I can't say if it follows the plot line or not. It follow Georgiana Darcy (from Lizzie Bennet Diaries) as she tries to implement Dominio (their video app) in the town of Sanditon. 
The thing I did not like about this is that every other episode was a "fan made video" that they pretend were people around the town. I think in that way I lost interest in the story. 

The other one was... "Elinor and Marianne take on Barton" it is an updated version of Sense and Sensibility. There a few reasons I did not like it but mostly the story seems a little rushed, Sense and Sensibility is one of Jane Austen's longer novels and takes time to develop the characters. I mean they have Edward Ferras interacting with Brandon and Will (Willoughby) which does not happen in the book. However I think the actresses who play Marianne and Elinor understand their characters. Also while Brandon, is no Alan Rickman, I think he does a good role in playing out his part and we do see how he cares for Marianne even while she is obsessed with Will.

I am also enjoying: 

I have recently begun watching the web series "From Mansfield with Love" an adaptation of Mansfield Park. It took me awhile to get into it (much like when I read the book). Frankie (short for Francis) works at the Mansfield hotel as practically a maid, though she gets some liberties, her mom is best friends with Mrs. Bertram but while Mrs. Bertam married rich, Frankie's mom married poor. Frankie's brother Will, is in the Navy and she is posting these video letters, in belief no one else can see them, for him (you got to stretch your imagination). 
Much like the book, one thing that gets to me is that Frankie never speaks up for herself. I hate in the character but I know I am very similar to that. Frankie spends a lot of energy making sure everyone, mostly Mrs. Norris is happy, that life kind of slips by her (very true to book). Even with some changes they are doing a good job of sticking to the plot line, I mean they are on episode 70 now and Edmund is just telling Frankie he "loves" Mary Crawford. I actually the lack of rushing of the story as Mansfield Park is the longest Jane Austen novel. 

One series I wish continued was "East and West" based off North and South but it sadly only had 7 videos and we never even met Mr. Thorton. 
If the creators of this show see this blog I would love them to know I would love for this show to continue.  

Okay I think for now that is enough... I know there are other web series out there and if you have any recommendations for me please let me know. Here is a great article "Book to YouTube" which includes some of these shows and others if you are interested in more suggestions. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My little E is turning 3

Hello lovely readers,

Today I am taking a special break from my usual "Writing Wednesday" post because my little nephew is turning 3 today.

This little boy means the world to me (as do my niece and other nephews) I am so happy to be sharing his birthday celebration with you my lovely readers.

Being Aunt Blaire is one of my favorite roles and even though I am far away from them they are always close to my heart. 

All my love little E. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Classic film rewatch... Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Hello lovely readers,

Back in the winter when Boston was buried under 9 feet of snow I put the movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks on hold at my library and I finally got it! I am going to blame all the snow for it taking so  long to get to me (even though it is now August).

Anyway, I can't tell you why back in February I had an inkling to watch it, but it was quite fun. I grew up watching Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music but for some reason I don't remember this film being in my families repetition and I don't know why not after all it has magic, cartoon animals that talk and Nazis (a perfect combination).

It truly is a nonsensical story (and how many times can you say that about a movies with Nazis in it). It takes place in a little village in the country side of England. Three kids (Charlie, Carrie and Paul) are sent off to this country side to protect themselves from the bombings in London to stay with Miss Price (Angela Lansbury) who is witch in training. She is hoping to use her witch powers for the War cause.

Well though she is a witch in training she needs to finish her lessons when the school is closed due the war. That is when we meet Professor Brown (you might recognize as Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins) who is actually a fake. Then they are sent on a quest to get the last of the spell on an island that is run by animals who speak, this is where the cartoon aspect come in.

Once they have the last words of the spell they return to England and have a musical and magical moment.

After this moment, the Nazis land on the shore of the village and take residence in Miss Price's house. Now it is up to Miss Price and the children to save the day.  Which they do...

As I am in the generation who thinks of Angela Lansbury as being from Murder She Wrote it was fun to see her in another role. Also fun to see her lead military armor into battle. For anyone who criticizes Disney for not writing strong female characters they should look to her.

Overall, it was simply cute. My one criticism is that there might be too many musical numbers that don't help the plot line, but I think that was typical for musicals back then. So if you are looking for a film to pass the time and not to be take too seriously I recommend it. And after waiting months for the DVD from the library I am glad I finally got to watch it.