Friday, May 30, 2014

Delights of Maytime

Spring: the world bursting with life. Abundant beauty and blessings to be seen and received and held in joy. Here are some particular delights I've discovered over the past month -- enjoy!

Clover in the pastures

Fresh honey-locust leaves against the sky

Two of the mama cows: Poppy & Blossom

Spring grass across the southwest pasture


Bouquet: buttercups & daisies

Daisy against grass and sky

One of my roses!

Ladybug on Dyer's Chamomile

Bachelor Buttons - living and transparent as glass




Lettuce leaves

Fresh nest of eggs in the center of a huge round bale of hay

Wild roses

Custer, Buttercup, & Casper


Morning light and mist across the northeast pasture

Roses over the creek

Sunset--blue, pink, and salmon

Sunset--white, blue, and gold

Friday, May 23, 2014

Guest Post on Pride and Prejudice ’05 with Keira Knightley

I was recently honored to do a guest post on the ’05 P&P over at Evie’s fun blog A Period Drama Fangirl. If you haven't checked it out yet (and would like to) here's the link! And do let me know your thoughts on it!

(Note: Evie's blog name and address have changed since this post and, with her gracious permission, I actually re-posted my '05 P&P post here. :) Do enjoy!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it…”

Lee once said she wanted to be known as the Jane Austen of the South and I (for one) think she succeeded admirably. While different in style, both have a unique clarity of tone and knack for capturing an entire scene with a few telling details and perfectly turned phrases. Lee’s story is set in a small southern town and Austen is, of course, famous for setting her stories within the confines of a small country neighborhood. Both deal with deep running prejudices–often held between neighbor and neighbor.

Finishing it, I think the biggest thing I glimpsed this first time around was the lengths to which an ordinary man (ordinary people) will go to avoid confronting the truth. There can be no band-aid fixes for prejudice, because the problem lies much deeper–at the heart of what we believe about God. Sin isn’t merely a matter of the sweeping and dramatic. We are all sinners. And ‘ordinary’ people–sinners–blinded by their own preconceived ideas–are capable of awful things. Condescension, superiority, hypocrisy–can all veil the same bitter root of hatred. And ordinary people, desperate to cover their own hatred (which they know is wrong) will often search desperately (albeit with a “we’d better just move on” attitude) for a scapegoat. They’re willing to let someone else take the disgrace (or endure horrendous lifetime consequences) rather than confront their own sin.

Honest self-examination is both dangerous and costly. We may find out uncomfortable things about ourselves–and there’s a chance we might lose our own (if it's self-satisfied) good opinion. It may even necessitate change–change on our part. And that’s often painful.

And yes, I loved the townspeople: Jem (probably actually now one of my favorite literary characters), Scout, Sheriff Heck Tate, the Judge, Uncle Jack, Atticus, Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie, Calpurnia, Mr. Link Deas…

So, all in all, when I began it, I didn’t know exactly what to expect and it was quite different than I’d imagined, but my final take is that I quite enjoyed it, found it thought-provoking, and would highly recommend it!

(Some) Favorite Lines:

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

“Atticus and my uncle, who went to school at home, knew everything–at least, what one didn’t know the other did… Jem, educated on a half-Decimal half-Duncecap basis, seemed to function effectively alone or in a group, but Jem was a poor example: no tutorial system devised by man could have stopped him from getting at books.”

“There are just some kind of men…who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one.”

“I scurried to my room and went to bed. Uncle Jack was a prince of a fellow not to let me down. But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.”

“I repeated my part for Calpurnia in the kitchen and she said I was wonderful. I wanted to go across the street and show Miss Maudie, but Jem said she’d probably be at the pageant anyway. After that, it didn’t matter whether they went or not. Jem said he would take me. Thus began our longest journey together.”

“Jem was carrying my ham costume, rather awkwardly, as it was hard to hold. I thought it gallant of him to do so.”

(And note: I know this is assigned reading in schools, but personally, I would recommend it more for adults or at least older high school reading.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Movie Review ~ Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue (1953) with Richard Todd

If you know me at all closely, chances are you know that (un-grownup-ish as it is) when I get really, really, really excited I squeal–and generally a dance of some sort ensues. In this case it was the polka.

I promise no spoilers, but here are a few teasers. It’s in the highlands of Scotland. And it’s in the early 1700’s. And there are bonnets and tartans everywhere. And the hero is splendid–a hero with just grievances and personal flaws to face.

And he has a beard.

And–unbelievably–he could almost–almost–(almost so nearly it hardly matters)–be Captain Bryant. Who’d have thought it???!!! :-)

We first saw Richard Todd in The Adventures of Robin Hood (which is little known but quite good) and I–rather obviously–really like his rendition of Rob Roy MacGregor.

Some other familiar faces are: Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins), James Robertson Justice (Little John in the Richard Todd Adventures of Robin Hood), and Archie Duncan (Little John in the b/w Robin Hood tv series with Richard Greene). (And yes, I did get all those Richard’s and Robin’s and Little John’s straight. ;-))

The acting was very good and as far as content, I would say it fits into the same class as, for instance, Swiss Family Robinson. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for younger children, though, as the intensity is a little different than SFR and the warfare is ongoing throughout the entire film with quite a few hand-to-hand fighting shots.

Of the ending, I can think of about five words in summary–any one of which has gunpowder potential to give it away. But I do want to give you an idea, so here they are (you can tell me how they sound): honor…humility…trust…sacrifice…and headship. I won’t tell any more, but suffice to say, it’s good–really, really, really good. Shall I squeal??? :-)

(Oh, and a quick note. It's quite distinct from Sir Walter Scott’s tale of the same name which is an entirely different story. :-))

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On “Epicurus and the Problem of Evil”

Google image

I ran across an article discussing this statement almost exactly a year ago and as I've read it multiple times since I thought I’d share it. Convicting and encouraging it brings me to my knees with thanks for the mercy of God.

Here’s the link:

It’s fairly short, easy reading–and fascinating. If you have time afterwards, pop back here and let me know what you think of it!

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