Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rainbow Valley // Book Review

Rainbow Valley:
L.M. Montgomery

Anne Shirley is grown up, has married her beloved Gilbert, and is the mother of six mischievous children. These boys and girls discover a special place all on their own, but they will never dream of what will happen when a strange family moves into an old mansion nearby. The Meredith clan is two boys and two girls-and a runaway named Mary Vance. Soon the Meredith's join Anne's children in their private hideout, intent on carrying out their plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and keep a pet rooster from the soup pot. there's always and adventure brewing in the sun-dappled world of Rainbow Valley.

This book was adorable and pleasant. I was constantly chuckling over some new antic of one child or another, or sympathizing with someone. Miss Montgomery is a potent writer, and has mastered the art of storytelling. She drew her readers in with tales of Anne Shirley, and it is so fun to read about her life as she gets older and has children and learns to help them through life. Rainbow Valley would be a lot of fun to read aloud to children. :)


* * * * * * * * {Eight of ten stars}

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

a thrill of hope

O holy night,
The stars are brightly shining,
it is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world,
 in sin and error pining
'Til he appeared and the soul felt it's worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

tomorrow is Christmas, (whaaa?)  and the new year is only seven very short days away. being the procrastinator i am, i managed to wait until last minuet to figure out gifts and all that lovely jazz, but happily everything has worked out perfectly fine. my brother and his girlfriend are hopefully coming down sometime tomorrow, and we will be able to have a lovely day together. i've been streaming Christmas music like crazy for weeks, and it's made me so excited for the season. it is crazy to think that the day after tomorrow everything will go back to normal, the beautiful decorations will go back in the boxes and bins, the music will lay basically unused until next year, and the warm wishes of "Merry Christmas" will end, and people will just say "hello and goodbye" normally again. 

i wish the Christmas season were much much longer! :) 

io all of this rambling to say: have a Merry, Merry Christmas!
xx,



Thursday, December 19, 2013

girlish dreams // just thoughts

(a photo I snapped last week an my older brother's wedding)
Girlish Dreams:
Dancing among the stars on crystal clear nights,
Skipping across the moon,
Stirring clouds with her fingertips,
Tasting the Wind.
Flitting among the treetops with swallows,
swimming with dolphins and diving to unheard-of depths.
Flying across the earth on a coal black stallion.

Journeying the world across,
Adventure awaiting her behind every bend,
Venice, Rome, Paris and London!
New faces, new experience, new friendships,
life filled with happiness and opportunity's.

A gentle lover who wins her heart,
Carefully courts and woos her,
and then asks her to be his bride.
A friendship more special than any other,
Growing steadily into a love that will never die.

A dress made of lace and white
surrounded by her closest friends and family,
with a string of pearls around her neck.
A veil over her youthful face.
Slowly joining her love at the alter,
taking his hand,  his name and love,
promising her trust and love in return,
Joined together in holy matrimony.

A tiny, darling infant girl,
With mama's eyes and daddy's nose,
Baby's fingers curled gently around hers,
Giggles and sweet coos,
First tottering steps.
The wonder of hearing "mama" from baby lips.

Girlish dreams.
Every girl grows up dreaming,
Wondering what the future will hold,
hoping, wishing and planning,
Imagining her life and what is to come.

Each dream different,
But just as special and treasured,
Some she outgrows,
But some she will hold onto forever.
And she continues to dream all of her life.
Always Hoping, Wishing, and Planning.

Just something I jotted down a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure what I thought about it, (because it was the product of a rather late night, an overworked brain, and too much caffeine, really.) But I emailed it to this sweet friend, and she told me that she loved it and I should blog it. So I am blogging it! :) It is a little nerve-wracking to post my own scribblings, things that means much more to me than mere blog posts, but lately I have decided to be a little more brave, and begin to slowly post more and more of my own bits of writing. so here we are. :)

so, are you a scribbler, and if so, what is one of the things that has helped you most in your writings
 (a quote, picture, idea, etc.)?
xx

Monday, December 16, 2013

Uncle Tom's Cabin // Book Review

 Uncle Tom's Cabin:
Harriett Beecher Stowe

This is the story of the slaves and their masters, good and bad; Slaves, beaten and tortured, or pampered and cared for, all depending on the whim of of the Master. Tom, respected and loved by his master, trusted with the care of his whole farm, is a gentle, God-fearing man, who finds himself sold to a slave dealer, due to financial troubles, and headed for the plantations down south. Eliza is a young chambermaid, married to a man who loves her dearly, and mother of a sweet little boy. She discovers the plan to sell her little boy down the river, and she determines to protect him and keep her by her side, and she runs. St. Clare is laid-back slave owner in New Orleans, who adores his darling daughter, Eva, and lets his slaves run wild, pampering and indulging them. Cassy is a woman who doesn't believe in the existence of God or love anymore, and just wants to die. Emmeline is a girl who has been separated from her mother and was bought into the worst kind of life imaginable. Legree is a man past all feeling, who lives to drink and make more than his neighbors. He beats, tortures and taunts those under his control
          Each has a story to tell. Every one tragic, and different, yet all controlled by one thing. Slavery.

I finally finished this book! But please don't think that because of that sentence Uncle Tom's Cabin is horrible, terribly written and boring, because it's not. It's wonderful, and well thought out, potent, and full of raw emotion. But for some reason I really couldn't get into the story. It wasn't that it bored me, because I was very interested, once I had actually picked it up and read a chapter or two in a sitting, and then it was hard to set down for a while, but it was really hard to pick back up. When this lovely girl took me to class with her several weeks ago, I finally read a good chunk of it, and I was rather happy, but I was still dragging my feet about picking it up, opting for "less dense" reading material instead.
          But I finally finished this work of literature, and let me tell you, its pretty amazing. I was hoping for a happy, "everybody is happy and safe, peaceful, and nothing goes wrong" ending all the way through, but I think it was even better the way it ended. 
          Some of the characters I felt I had known forever. Miss Stowe did an excellent job painting their portraits and personality's  and then there were some that I wanted to get to now better but never had the opportunity, because Miss Stowe breezed passed their introduction, and  never really sketched their characters. There were several stories unraveling all at once within the volume  and occasionally Miss Stowe changed from one to another rather abruptly, and it was a little startling and unexpected. It was a little alarming a couple times. :) 
          On the whole, though, I think Uncle Tom's Cabin was excellent and well worth the read, even if it did take me forever. I would recommend it to basically everyone. :). 

my rating: * * * * * * * * * {nine of ten}

Saturday, December 14, 2013

mock peanut butter cups // recipe

          My dears, I am about to revolutionize your Christmas'. I am about to unleash the secret recipe that has made my family, extended family and various family friends look forward to the Christmas season each year, anticipating the first bite of heavenly loveliness. How my mama happened to create this delicious bite of heaven, I don't actually know, but it has made her extremely popular! :)
          So do yourself a huge favor  and make a quick trip to your favorite grocery store, and pick up a package of Ritz crackers, a bottle of sugary peanut butter, (my mama calls it junk and I call it heaven. :),  and also a package of almond bark, (make sure you get one package of chocolate and also one of vanilla. It's essential for the right flavor!). And then prepare to make an absolutely delicious cookie.
(This is almond bark, btw. You will need to melt it together, half and half of each chocolate and vanilla, in a double boiler so it won't burn.)
While the almond bark is melting, spread peanut butter on the Ritz crackers, making tiny little "sandwiches." try not to eat them all. :)

Then dip the Ritz sandwiches in the chocolate, making sure every little bit of that baby is covered with chocolate.  

When it's completely covered, pick it up on the fork, (keeping it on there can be an adventure.) and tap the fork on the side of the pan gently to get rid of excess chocolate. (Is there such a thing?) It also makes them more smooth and pretty. Just be super gentle and slow, or else you might loose the cookie a few times.
 
 Then gently lay the cookie down on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper, and leave to cool. you can press a fork gently on top to make them a little more fancy. My dad insists on that step. ;)
 and  if you're super anxious to try these you can put them in the refrigerator for a bit, but the chocolate does harden really fast, so if you have a little more self-control than other people leaving them on the counter works just fine. When you do finally get to eat one of these things, be careful. They can be a little addictive. :)
   Mama's been making these for years, and I don't think my relatives would be able to appreciate Christmas fully without them. :) 

enjoy, and if you make them, be sure to comment and tell my mother how much you are indebted to her. hehe
xx,

Friday, December 6, 2013

Persuasion // Book Review

           Twenty-seven year old Anne Elliot was past her "bloom in life," and has few marriage prospects. she is considered rather "unnecessary" by her father and older sister, and is generally ignored. When her family's financial troubles become huge, her father decides to rent out Kellynch Hall and move to Bath to save money. Anne agrees, but decides to stay behind a few weeks with her married sister first.
          While with Mary, Anne's old lover returns, much to her confusion and dismay. The eight years separating them had not dampened her feelings for him however. But, persuaded by Lady Russell she had given him up so long ago. Anne doesn't know how to treat him ow. He is pointedly polite, but nothing more than a distant acquaintance, despite the fact that they are thrown together almost daily.
         Everyone suspects that Captain Wentworth intends to choose a wife between Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove and appearances confirm so. Everyone is mutually happy, and waiting for him to make his choice  But then an accident occurs, and Louisa is left unconscious, with a severe head-wound. Everyone wonders if she will ever recover, and if she does, if Wentworth will marry her. Anne tries to convince herself that she doesn't love him like that anymore.
          She leaves for Bath with Lady Russell, soon after Louisa is reported recovering. While i Bath, Anne meets her handsome refined cousin, Mr. Elliott. She is flattered by his attention, but remains aloof, because of her affection for Captain Wentworth.
          But then Wentworth arrives in Bath unexpectedly, and Anne is left even more confused. She receives some information from an old schoolfellow, and Anne is left without a doubt about what she feels in her own heart, but will he ever feel the same?

          I was eager to read Persuasion.I have fallen completely in love with Jane Austen's work, and have a high expectation for her novels, and this book completely rose up to them. In fact, I read it all at once, (in about two hours) and enjoyed it thoroughly  I felt that Anne was a very sweet, sensible, real heroine, whom I could identify with.
          Anne wasn't considered pretty at the beginning of the story, but in the end she was described as beautiful and handsome, and when I first thought about it, I thought that Miss Austen had managed to contradict herself. But the more I thought about it, I realized that Anne wasn't beautiful in the beginning  because she wasn't happy. Towards the end, she became happy and her beauty bloomed again  and she became strikingly handsome.
          I loved several characters especially besides the obvious Anne and Fredrick. :) Captain Benwick particularly caught my eye. He was a young naval officer, mourning the loss of his beloved fiance, burying himself in the world of literature  poetry and books. He was desperate for an arousing from his grief although several characters were unhappy and concerned about his "eventual awakening," because his fiance had only been dead a little over six months, and they were unhappy because he had forgotten her so soon. I felt, however, that Captain Benwick hadn't forgotten Fanny, and could never forget he, but he had learned to move on and love again, and I shall not ruin the surprise, but his match made me exceptionally happy and satisfied. I felt that they were perfect!! 
          Overall, this book was delightful, and well worth the two hours! I heartily recommend this book to Austen readers, classic's fans, and those in search for a sweet, beautiful story.
          My rating: * * * * * * * * (eight of ten)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

bookish

In the hushed hours after dusk, when the world is slowly settling down, preparing to rest and dream for a little while before rushing off again, in a hectic race against time, I find myself reaching out to the world of words, plots, and dreams turned into beautiful (and flawed) characters. All day long I look forward, with much anticipation to my hour or two with a book to read, a steaming mug of tea, and words that must be journaled  I love the gentle lull of a pen or pencil carefully marking dreams and ideas across a blank page.  I know I've said it once or twice before, {or maybe three or four times.}, but there is such magic in words.
          When I stop to think about the fact that some 50,000+ words can hold a person completely spellbound, captivated, (both emotionally and physically,) and sitting on the edge of their seat for hours on end, it completely blows my mind. 
          I have started writing again. (After my Les Mis experience,), and it feels so good to be hard at work crafting sentences, characters and plots again. I missed writing, and I think that is a good sign. :)
         And as always, I have been reading up a storm. My current reads are Uncle Toms Cabin, (almost done!! It's taken me a while  For some reason it has been extremely difficult to get into the story.) and Rainbow Valley. I decided it was high time I finished my adventures with Anne Shirley  But that does sound depressing. I don't want to finish having adventures with Anne-girl, no matter how old I am or how many times I read the books/watch the movies. :)
It is such a wonderful thing to be bookish! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nun Queen// excerpts

ship...


"Captain Holdings has been a perfect gentleman, and I have not lacked for the slightest comfort he could provide me with while under his protection. He followed your orders, My Lord, and did nothing wrong. I am not at all angry with him. Please forgive him, Sir." The exertion of speaking overcame me, and I nearly fell in a dead faint at his feet, which would have been quite unromantic and rather embarrassing. He noticed that I was about to fall, and is attention was transferred from the poor Captain to getting me into his mother's care immediately.







"So, I am to slink away into hiding as though I am a criminal?" Even I was surprised at how angry and hard my voice sounded. 
         "I am not a criminal, My Lords. Perhaps you have forgotten that I am Queen Arianna Defoe, and this man is attempting to overthrow the throne and kingdom that is duly and lawfully mine. It does not befit a Queen to go into hiding, My Lords, I cannot and I will not!"


(These are excerpts from my current book. And they also happen to be the first bit I have ever let anyone read. :) It is quite scary, but a little exciting too. The current name, "Nun Queen," is only temporary, until I can find something descriptive that fits Arianna and her story well. And no, I wasn't apart of NANO. :) )

Also, I am traveling down to CA next week for my brother's wedding, so I shall be offline. :) I have scheduled two posts, though. For some reason this week inspiration has hit me between the eyes, and I have been writing blog posts and book reviews like a madwoman, and leaving most of them in drafts, for a later date when I run out of inspiration again. :) It would't do to overwhelm you with twenty blog-posts in a week, would it?
        comments, advice, and thoughts on these little bits of my story would be greatly appreciated! :)
xx,
         

Thursday, November 28, 2013

thankful

Thankful for: family, friends, blue skies and cheery fires, white chocolate lattes, baby giggles,    best-friends who don't mind if I bother them again for the forth or fifth time in a day, dogs that are always happy to see you, books that make me cry and amazing literature, toddler kisses and cute things kids say,  adorable movies that end perfectly, scenes in my book that almost write themselves, bread and butter, mashed potatoes, photos that turn out just right, people who love me, sweaters and scarfs, rainstorms that leave the world fresh and sparkling, snowflakes that dance across a frozen sky, bright stars that twinkle in the heavens, words that inspire, quiet, Jesus, freedom to think and believe and not be persecuted for it,  making memories.
          There is so much to be thankful for. My parents have been talking a lot about third-world countries and orphans this year, and it makes  me sad to think about all of the suffering and need, and it also makes me so thankful for what I have, and the people I have.

        (We're actually not celebrating our Thanksgiving until Saturday, because most of my family is sick, but I thought it was most appropriate to post this today. :) I have two pumpkin pies cooling on the counter though, in preparation for Saturday, and may I just say, "You had better be very thankful for your pumpkin pie today, with whip cream, because I am DYING for a slice." ;)


          Have a lovely Thanksgiving; enjoy your family, friends and food (and pie!), and tell me a few things you're thankful for this year! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

christmas spirit


Last week I decided that we are close enough to Christmas to make it officially acceptable to force my family to listen to Christmas music and goodness gracious they'd enjoy it TO! So I made an pandora station, and had Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Fred Astaire and all those lovely old chaps playing, and  one day last week, I was dancing around and singing and squealing and in absolute heaven, and I happened to mention that this particular song was sung by Bing Crosby. 

*Bing Crosby's "Oh Come all Ye Faithful begins* 
Me: See, we like him, Bing Crosby is good. Everybody can handle listening to this right?
John: Oh, He's okay, I guess. Okay.
Me: But he's like Fred Astaire... Old and absolutely amazing!!!
John: Bing Crosby... Bing Crosby...Crosby... He wouldn't happen to be Fanny's brother would he?


mama insists that christmas music isn't supposed to be played until after Thanksgiving, but I am just as adamant that we don't get to listen to christmas music very long as it is, so we will start listening to it now, in small doses at least. :) Everyone is putting up with it, but I am enjoying it so much. :) :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

abandoned nest







While out walking in the woods the other day, and blowing on dandelion fluffs, I stumbled across a gorgeous abandoned nest, and snapped some pictures. I was so happy with the way they turned out. (especially the second one. :). I am always amazed at the beautiful,  intricate nests little tiny birds can create with their beaks!!!  And golden leaves always add a beautiful glow to any picture.:) 

xx,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Les Miserables

              How does one even begin to review Les Miserables? I am competely at a loss for words.
Several weeks ago I finally finished this master piece, (and have not been able to post this review due to tecnical difficulties.) having spent a month and a half working my way through it. I do read extremely fast, thanks to a speed reading/ comprehenseon course my mother put me through several years ago, but this book was so overwhelming at times, with Hugo's vivid, yet extremely in-depth narratives, and I had to take requent breaks to allow my brainpower to recharge. I managed to read at least 6-8 other books while reading thsi massive volume. 
After finishing the last sentence, I was overwhelmed, and sat still for a while; compltely at a loss. I was't sure what to think or do. I have never been so affected by a book before. I actually cried during the last several chapters. (Although I know a  few people who would consider me heartless to just have cried at the end, when the entire book was so tragic.), and if you know me well, you know that I never cry.)

          I believe it is a known fact on here that I write. Because I am a lover of words, stories and reading, it is only naturla that I scribble away, creating my own worlds of people and plot-lines, but while reading Les Miserables, I hardly wrote a word. My characters and story hjave sat compltely neglected, (I still haven't really written much,) My characters and story have sat compltely neglected, as I moved throughout the world of Jean Valjean, Marius, Fantine and so many other beautiful and wonderful characters, that slowly became best friends, (as well as a few disgusting characters that demanded and recieved my disgust and distaste.) :) I felt that it wasn't even worth my time writing. Victor Hugo has created the most epic masterpiece I have, and quite possibly ever will read. (Granted, I am not that far into my reading "career" and who knows? I just might find the next book I read to vbe the best work of literature that I'll ever read.) I will go back to writing. It might take a little while to get over this absolute awe of Hugo, and my feeling of inadequacy compared to his brilliance.
I can't even write a summery of this book, or begin to explain a bit of the storyline. Les Miserables is so in-depth, complex and ENORMOUS!!! All I can say is that you really must read this book, even if it takes you twenty years to finish it, reading just a bit at time. (You'd probably get a ton more out of it, if you did that. :) I plan to read Les Miserables again. Probably not immediately, or even again this year, but someday. I msut forewarn you, however. It is 1,260 pages long. SO be sure that you have the time before starting it. :)

               And Just one more important note: I don't recommend this book for young readers. My reasons are thus: Firstly, 1,260 pages long, and yonger people will probably become discouraged during the descriptions, and it is hightly probable they might never finish this great work, because of their discoruagement. Secondly: There are a few parts in teh storyline young readers might not fully understand, (although I must admit here there were parts my brain ran in circles trying to comprehend everything.) and this might lead to some problems. And Thirdly, (and perhaps I should have meantioned this first.), I am convinced it might add greatly to their unhappiness, (Sorry, I couldn't help writing it like that. :) as the story is SO sad and heartbreaking, I feel that younger readers might become depressed and confused. All this to say; of course it is up to the discretion of the younger reader and their parents/mentors/etc. I rest my case. :)

* * * * * * * * * * * {11 out of 10 stars}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{fluff} on the breeze











Today I ventured out into the sunshine, in a futile attempt to avoid Algebra, and was intrigued by these little dandelion puffballs. I don't know why they are so mesmerizing, and so downright fun, but I've always loved blowing them away, and watching as the little puffs float on the breeze. These are my attempt to capture it on camera. I failed to capture this properly, as you can see from the blurry shots and camera shake, but it was great fun. It is rather hard to hold a DSLR in one hand, a dandelion fluff in the other, and attempt to take a picture {or twelve} whilst blowing the fluff off, and hold everything perfectly still at the same time so that everything is in focus. Seriously, go try it! You might find yourself highly entertained for a half an hour or two. :) 

However, I didn't successfully avoid Algebra . :)  It was patiently awaiting me when I walked back through the door. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Anne of the Island // Book Review


"I wouldn't want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I'd like it if he could be wicked and wouldn't."
-Anne

"You don't know love when you see it. You've tricked something out with your imagination that you think is love, and you expect the real thing to look like that."
-Phil

"Words aren't made--they grow," said Anne." 

"I have a dream," he said slowly. "I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends-- and YOU!"
-Gilbert

Anne Shirley is off to Redmond College, leaving Marilla, Davy, Dora, Green Gables, the Island and her childhood behind. With her old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and her frivolous, (but warm-hearted) new friend Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks away her memories of rural Avonelea and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises. including a marriage proposal from the worst possible fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson. But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat (Joseph) steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart too. Suddenly Anne must decide whether she is ready for love, and if she even knows what love really is.

I first read this book several years ago, while working though the Anne Shirly series, (I only made it to book five. I really should order the rest from the library.) Anne Shirly is one of my favoritest heroines out of the hundreds and hundreds of books that I have read, mostly because she is fun, has a beautiful imagination, she's real, and she gets into the craziest situations and scrapes. And of course for the obvious reasion: she gets the absolutly amazing Gilbert Blythe. And of course she is all cute and doesn't think she can ever love him. *WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU THINKING ANNE SHIRLY HE IS THE MOST AMAZING GUY EVERY AND HE LOVES YOU GET IT TOGETHER.*  This book was completly  full of humor and sweeteness, and all around fun. You will find yourself laughing and crying with Anne as she struggles through trying to find herself. 

My rating * * * * * * * * * {nine out of ten stars}

What do you love most about Anne Shirley? 
xx

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Forgotten Shots// September






















          I finally found my extra memory card, after having lost it nearly a month ago. I  knew it was in my purse, and looked several times, but I am a little "find-it" challenged, and apparently it takes looking a bazillion (is that even a word?!) times looking for me to be able to find something. My mother would totally agree with that statement.
          These are all at least a month old, but are my favorites from September. Looking back at old pictures, even ones taken just a month ago, I am ecstatic to find some shots I had forgotten about, and it's almost like getting a present... from me. :)

xx,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

f a l l // in the b a r n y a r d



this is quack-quack junior. and she is simply adorable; we let her free-range and she just wanders around eating bugs constantly.


Reading: Persuasion - Jane Austen; Through Gates of Splendor - Elisabeth Elliot.
Listening: this; this; and this;
Drinking: Gallons and gallons of tea and not quite so much coffee. :) Mostly Moroccan Mint Green Tea.
Loving: Fall colors; drinking outrages amounts of tea whilst reading amazing books; rainymood.com; my littlest brother's adorableness. 
Dreaming: Of travel; cities I want to see and explore.
Anticipating: The arrival of the skirt I ordered for my brother's wedding; Said brother's reaction to the package I just sent him. :) Being able to listen to Christmas music without driving my family nuts; 
craving: pumpkin spice latte; candy-canes; chocolate (i just need to run to the store.); vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. 


how 'bout you?
xx,