Saturday, December 19, 2009

Daughters of Musick

This summer, my sisters and I have had a few really cool opportunities to share our music. :-) And a couple of the times, a video camera, along with an operator, was available... so here is a sample of our music. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brothers = friends (or should!)

King's Blooming Rose magazine's ( ) latest theme was “How we treat our brothers”... in light of that and life here at home, I've been thinking much about how I treat mine. How much better it is and how much better it could be. For the record, some days are better than others. :-)

My relationship has improved drastically with my brothers. Actually, let me be more specific: my relationship with my brother Jesse has improved drastically and along with it, my relationship with my other two brothers is much better than it was with Jesse when he was their ages.

I remember an episode that happened when I was seventeen and he was nine that ended up with me picking him up and (amidst the flailing fists and feet and screaming that erupted from him) setting/dropping him down. The purpose? To prove that I was still stronger than he was and I could win the fight, if just by sheer force. I wanted him to respect my position as oldest sister and stop sassing off. Did it help? No. Did I do it again? Nope. He got too big.
Back then, I was sure the problems in our relationship was totally his fault. I mean, here is a little boy who thinks he's two feet taller and ten years older than he really is. He won't shut up. He's a bully. He's mean. Why did God give me a brother like him, anyway? Now, it is rather funny looking back but at that time, I was very frustrated.

As you may imagine, it wasn't only my relationship with Jesse that was difficult at the time. In fact, I wasn't getting along well with anyone except with my sister Ellie, a few friends and pen-pals. Life was not sweet. I was angry and frustrated because, except for the knowledge that God was my Savior, I felt empty. There was no satisfaction. And, surprise, surprise... things didn't start improving until I got my relationship with God on the right road. When that happened, my attitude started on that same road. And along with the change in my attitude, my relationships began smoothing out... the most dramatic change was that I wasn't enemies with Jesse any longer. We were friends. In fact, there was the happy day when Jesse began looking to me for advice. But that was not the beginning of the change.

Boys are “little men”, as Louisa May Alcott so aptly put it, but more importantly, they are people. People need loving. People need to be treated like they matter. Back when all there was was fighting, I didn't treat my brother like he mattered... except to clash wills with, of course. The change started slowly. It's hard not to sass back when someone says something mean to you. And it's even harder to turn around and apologize. But if you want God's will and you know that's what God wants you to do, it will happen. Because... “ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4)
I started asking his advice about things. To my surprise, he actually knew a lot about stuff that I had no idea about. And he's very creative. You should see him work at the forge. He can make these hoof picks (for cleaning horses' feet out) out of half of a horse shoe. He has sold several at different functions and gatherings and has given many away as gifts. He is great with equipment. All you have to do is ask and he'll tell you all about it, if he knows. If he doesn't, he finds out and then tells you. He's also the funniest guy I know. I don't know of anyone else who has made me laugh so hard so many times. I want to marry someone who has his sense of humor. No, I'm not being sarcastic. :-) It really is surprising, for me, his sister, to find out how amazing my brother is.

He was surprised that I would ask his advice. In fact, at first he didn't want to give it because he was afraid I was trying to trap him. To my shame, I must admit that was about the only reason I would have asked him anything before. But he slowly started responding and finally there came the day when I realized... we weren't fighting much anymore. In fact, he hadn't said anything mean to me for a very long time. In fact, he was starting to respect my opinion. In fact... we were not only respecting each other, we were friends.

But it had to start with me. And it didn't happen overnight. But in spite of himself and the fear that I was only going to hurt him again (not physically, but emotionally), he began responding to my extended olive branch. He's fifteen now, going on sixteen, and he is maturing daily. It has been a joy watching him turn into a man... not just in height (he's no longer my 'little' brother!) but his knowledge and emotions and the way he treats his siblings and people he's around.

It's not perfect, of course. We, as human beings, aren't perfect, so how could our relationships be? There are days when one or the other... or both of us... will snap at each other and say things that we shouldn't... but we can laugh about it later. Most days, we actually like each other in spite of the other's mistakes. :-)

As I mentioned before, my improved relationship with one brother has spilled over to my other brothers. And not only them, but with my sisters, too. Emotionally, the girls are a entirely different ballpark than the boys but I've found out what it boils down to: loving them. That may sound simplified, but it isn't. Love has many different faces.

Ultimately, I have to seek God's will and truth and everything else falls into place. So those are my thoughts on how we, as sisters, should treat our brothers.

If you're too frustrated to read this entire post, go outside, dig a big hole (I mean really, really big.... so that your head can't be seen when you're inside), then fill it up. And if you're still too mad to read this, take a hammer to your brother's bicycle. (Just kidding.) :-) :-)

Here's the final secret to being friends with your brother: smile at him. Like you really mean it. It works.

“With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


There are days when it's easy to complain. And there are days when it's easy to be thankful. I know it is good to give thanks at all times but sometimes it seems that is it most important to give thanks when it is such a struggle to not to complain.
Not long ago, the National Holiday of Thanksgiving was celebrated through the United States. In light of that, many people made lists of what they were thankful for and posted them on the internet... some of them were pretty inspiring. So I decided to make my own list of things I'm thankful for. :-)

I'm thankful for...
my family
humor [ours is laced with the above listed]
snow [good neighbors, don't string me up for that... I'll explain :-P]
my health [not out of the woods yet, but my lungs are no longer congested. PTL!]
our church
friends [waves to Lindsey, Gabi & Peter,Klaus, Carol S. and the rest of you :-)]
siblings [a little in the family category but not quite... ;-)]
music [a gift that can be given and shared, much like hugs]
Sara's baby talk and the way she smiles at me
laughter [today, Ellie came upstairs from where she'd been having a good conversation with Martha. She was obviously impressed with Martha's intellect because she said, “Guess what? Martha just discovered that the reason why they make guy's shoes bigger is because guy's have bigger feet.” I said, “And here I thought it was because they had bigger mouths!”] [my dad laughed the hardest :-P]
hair [there's nothing more beautiful than watching my sister's brush their hair and my mom braiding it]
Chocolate [Toblerone milk = best]
Good Neighbors
Jesus Christ
The Bible

There is much more that I'm thankful for, you must believe me. :-) Including that it hasn't hit -40* yet. It has been getting close to it but it hasn't quite gotten down there. :-) I hope that you have a wonderful week, full of joy and good things. Cheers!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cough... and List From the 50's.

I have a cough. It seems to be getting a little better today but it's still bothersome. Please pray that we'll get it figured out and I'll stay healthy for the rest of the winter. But mostly pray that I'll be able to be thankful and rest in God's will. It's hard not to worry sometimes.
Also could you pray that I'll be able to sleep at night. I end up coughing a lot and I can't seem to get comfortable. Thank you!! :-)

I found a list of things a guy supposedly likes in a girl in a book, published in 1958. Some of it made me laugh but it mostly made me think about how conservative life was fifty years ago. Have guys changed so much or is it the girls? Or, is it society in general? Some of it still fits this modern age (for instance, a boy likes a girl who listens) but others do not (for instance, a boy likes a girl who doesn't care for smokes or drinks).
Actually the funniest thing about this is that most of it completely fits the lifestyle I was raised with and am still trying to live. Some of the issues, I struggle with. For instance, I don't have a bell in my voice. Hehe. :-) More seriously though, gossip. That is a hard one.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this list and to all who read, please feel free to post your comments, regardless of your view on what a true lady is. :-) :-) I welcome something to think about.

A boy likes a girl who...
meets his eye...
walk with a spring, not a swagger...
has a bell in her voice...
make inexpensive clothes look cheery...
isn't self-conscious about her figure, but doesn't advertise it...

A boy likes a girl who...
wears a flower, but not the whole Botanical Garden...
is prudent but not prudish...
doesn't care for smokes or drinks...
is a lady, even in jeans...
appreciates football without looking as if she could play it...

A boy likes a girl who...
laughs but not too loudly...
doesn't knock the rock, but admits there's room for Bach...
would rather bite her tongue than her nails...
has opinions, but doesn't think they're the only ones...
doesn't call him on the phone for no good reason...

A boy likes a girl who...
like him more than she likes his car...
thanks the donor for small favors...
neither spreads nor inspires gossip...
doesn't go to the beach dressed in a pocket hankie...
acts herself, instead of aping movie stars...

A boy likes a girl who...
has read a book...
walks in the rain, and doesn't fuss about her hair coming down...
gets up early to go fishing...
appreciates his jokes...
cares about his hobbies...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Honesty P.S. plus Odds and Ends

Honesty P.S.

Since posting “Honesty”, I have received two (loving) criticisms on one subject: that Jehovah Witnesses (two strange men, none the less!) were invited into our family's home while I was alone.

To set the record straight: I did not invite strange men into the house while I was alone. I met them on the doorstep and there we stayed until they left.

Although I never said that I invited them in, I should have made it clear that I did not. And I apologize to those of you who assumed that I did. I hope that this reassures you of my integrity, virtue, propriety and lack of stupidity. Because it is rather stupid to invite strange men into the house when you're a girl/female alone. Even backwoods Saskatchewan.

On a more cheerful note, I'm rarely alone. ;-)

Life has had it's usual twists and turns lately. Some really good times and some really rough times. I am thankful for it all. How would we grow unless we had everything from life? If it was all good, it would be difficult to learn patience and perseverance. If all was bad, our hope and patience would wear away.

A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend of mine and we found that both of us had been dealing with some difficulties. She said, “I find when things are really hard, it helps to start praising the Lord.” The funny thing about that piece of information was the day before, I had been through a tough situation and was feeling like life was pretty crazy. So I started praying... that God would somehow work through this situation and through me to bring glory to Himself and I also asked that He would show me something to be thankful about. Because at that moment, I could not see anything particularly to give thanks for.
About 1/10 of a second later, everything in my life that I could be thankful for was laid out for me to look at. It was amazing. God answers prayer like you wouldn't believe!

So when my friend tells me that she chooses this pathway of thanksgiving during hardship, it made me realize, again, what a great God we serve. :-) :-) Only through His power and mercy are we able to even want to give thanks... let alone do it.

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in its adversities. (Ps. 31: 7)

I've been reading a lot lately. I finished Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian and am working on Bodie and Brock Thoene's A.D. Chronicles series. After that, I have two Jane Austen books, one by Tolstoy and four of Lynn Austin's biblical fiction (Old Testament).
Since I first was introduced to their work, I have always been amazed by the Thoene's books (husband/wife writing team), whether biblical fiction or history of Ireland, WW2 or Israel's fight to become a nation. Their work is very powerful and the message is always a good one. It's hard to explain why I like their work so much. Yes, the style is good. Yes, the story subject is very interesting. Yes, they always give God the glory. Yes, they have researched extensively. Yes, they obviously love each other and what they do. Yet, it seems to go deeper than all of that. But perhaps it is a mixture of all those things that makes their books so special and amazing.

Sara has three teeth and is starting to act like she might like to walk. Her balance continues to get better each day. It's so much fun watching her grow. She's extremely cute. :-) :-)
The rest of the kids keep growing and growing and maturing. The other day, Ruth (4) came to me and said, “Nomie, will you teach me how to read?” :-) You know how good that makes a person feel? :-) :-) Teaching a child how to read is like unlocking the door to a new world and ushering them in. It's a rewarding experience for both the teacher and the student. I remember teaching my sister Cilla how to read a few years ago. It was something that changed our relationship for the better. I have always loved her as my sister but having to spend that time together each day made me realize that she was more than just a little sister. She is a unique individual and has her own personality and feelings. This may sound crazy but it's easy for me to forget that I'm not the only one with a personality. I suppose it would be called selfishness. :-) And in this area, teaching is better than caffeine when it comes to wakeup time.


We've been practicing music lately because next sunday we're supposed to play at the hospice service. This morning, while we were practicing, Cilla (8) got the accordion out (we have a small one) and started to play the songs with us. Needless to say, we're now going to give her some pointers on the piano (and accordion). It's amazing how the kids seem to just pick up the music on their own.
I have also been taking quite a few pictures lately of nature. It's been pretty warm and very beautiful here (yeah, I know... it's November! :-)) but the mornings are always frosty. So I went out and took some pictures of the grass with frost on them. The variety of shapes of ice and frost with the sun glimmering them into diamonds is breath taking... there is no word to accurately describe the frost in it's glory.

My Dad went to BC this week and picked up a sawmill. Zeke, who went with him, calculated that they drove 44 hours in total. The first day, they drove all the way there: 21 hours. They arrived safely home last night and already, one our neighbors is here to look and help. LOL! Guys. We do have the greatest neighbors in the world. I love it here. I don't think you can get too many neighborhoods like ours.

Anyways, Dad is talking about building a bunkhouse for us four oldest girls. We'll see how that goes. Building living quarters always seems to take more time and effort than you first planned on. It would be nice to get a place of our own to sleep in. Not that the living room is horrible or anything... (and it's great incentive for making my bed every morning :-) :-D).


Well, it's lovely and warm outside so I should close this up and get out there. We will be processing turkeys at our neighbors in a couple days and I'll be doing the babysitting. They have the internet so I should have plenty of time to upload some pictures with this post. :-) :-) Have a great week with lots of smiles and God's joy... with a little banjo music tuned in. ;-)

I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee... O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful... Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (31: 22 - 24)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reader check!

If you're reading my blog, would you... could you... won't you... (;-) sorry. I'm feeling slightly dizzy... :-)) *please* leave a comment? :-) :-)

The reason? Simply that I'd like to know who is reading my blog. :-) Nothing very important. But it would make my day if you dropped a note. :-)


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More pictures...

Here are some pictures of Sara crawling. ;-) She's such a cute little stinker. lol. :-)

Ya know... I would really like to taste that camera.

Hoooo, wait up! no fair. You keep moving back!

I'm getting closer!

Heh heh... ::slurp:: (that part is fiction)

Fun on the swing today.

Emma was trying to push Ruth. LOL!

Our dear friend Gabriele with Ruth and Sara. We have lots of fun together. :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

pictures... and odds and ends :-)

Babysitting. That's what I'm doing today. :-) It's a blessing to be able to do something that I love (watching and interacting with kids) while getting paid for it. ;-) Sometimes it's a little hairy because things can get a bit wild but we try to keep it under control. ;-) Today we built a high lego tower, using all of the legos. And we colored and painted pictures... went outside and played soccer (er... well, sort of) and swung on the swing. I'll have you know that I'm quite popular as an underdunker. Hehe! :-) Blesses my heart to no end... ;-) Hannah also made cookies.

Life has been pretty full for me lately. I've been reading... one book after another, as fast as I can get my hands on them. :-) Some of deeper, some are pretty light. I'm a great lover of good mysteries and I think Agatha Christie is among the better mystery authors. Any other fans out there? I recently read Nancy Rue's “Antonia's Choice”. It was a story that came to me just when I needed it... really blessed me and answered some questions I'd been asking. It's definitely not a story for anyone under eighteen... and for those very protected, you might want to wait until you're thirty-five. :-) ;-) But, regardless of the issues dealt with in this book, it was very good. I highly recommend it.
The family has been cutting firewood and bringing it in. Jesse said that he thinks we need another three or four cords more. We need in total about eleven, I believe. But it's been slow going for them because it rained for a few days (yeah, in October in Saskatchewan!) so the ground is pretty wet and mushy for hauling. But I think it's slowly drying out again and they're talking about going again soon.

Dad and the kids went hunting three times but didn't get anything. Jesse saw a couple of moose in range for a rifle but, alas, only had his bow. He is still kicking himself. LOL! I hope they do get a moose because it would sure help with the eating part of the winter. :-) Besides that, I know Jesse would feel especially pleased if they did. But God always provides in all ways. If He wants, we will. :-)

This coming week looks like it will be full of kids, music, reading and writing. And maybe a little picture taking. :-) Hopefully the sun will come out and warm up my toesies. Brrrr... and it's not even -40*. :-)

Contrary to popular belief, I am not complaining. :-) Or griping. Hehe. :-) :-)
Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I was trying to take pictures of the kids... but imagine trying to take them with *him* involved!

This might have been a great picture... ;)

Sara makes this hilarious faces when she's trying to be cute. :)

Zeke, Uriah and Ruth. Last night. :)

Mom was hiding behind Hannah, making Sara laugh. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Average...

Note: not for the faint of heart.

Today, we were eating dinner and Uriah said, "Mom! I just sucked water up my nose and it went down my throat!"

Mom rolled her eyes.

I said, "It looks like we've got an average boy on our hands."

Uriah beamed, "Yep! I'm a real sucker!"

Hahaha! I've got the craziest siblings ever. :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Charles Dickens -- A Tale of Two Cities 3

I am finally finished with A Tale of Two Cities. The second half of the book was much easier to read than the first half. But I think it was “Monsieur The Marquis In Town” when I first felt the connection with the author. I suspect the reason is that Dickens, at that point, started to enjoy his story... when this tale became worth something more than money to him.

I found it amazing that Dickens could include so many stories in one and in the end, tie all the threads neatly. We have the mystery of the Dr.'s imprisonment, the question of Charles Darnay's heritage and connections, the French Revolution, the romance of Lucie and Charles, many different personalities were reflected upon and their actions and ends shown (and it was all very true to life), lessons taught in a non-preachy way and much else I do not have time or room to list here.

I have never read a book about the French Revolution whose sympathies was more on the side of the people. However, I found it fitting when vengeance reached out and touched those I had grown fond of... and the fact that vengeance does belong to God was stressed strongly. Bitterness never leads to godly actions.
It it amazing how I first felt such hot indignation towards the French government but when the people took things into their own hands and wreaked vengeance on their “enemies” (many who were innocent), my sympathies were turned towards the government. This is when I feel that the (fictional character) Scarlet Pimpernel was completely in the right... a Robin Hood of a slightly different sense but a noble character none-the-less! It is a good reminder to never let my sense of just wrath to get in the way of God's will and timing.

Character Notes:

Here is a list of characters I had formed an opinion of throughout the book. As you will see, some changed for me the further I read.

Charles Darnay:
Indefinite... he was simply in the story. Then, he became more and more noble. I admire his obedience to what he feels is right.

Sweet, kind, very much the lady. Two separate times she surprised me with back bone and good sense: both were when a certain Sydney Carton was involved.

Doctor Manette:
Very noble, very strong; someone who suffered much and came out marked for life but overcoming. This world needs more men like him.

Sydney Carton:
From the first, Sydney Carton surprised me. His sudden stand in the courtroom to defend Darnay, his tender love for Lucie, his apparent worthlessness, then, his willingness to give up his life. I love the opposites of his character. I love how unpredictable he is. I love how I can't quite figure him out. :-)

John Barsad:
I should have known he was involved somehow. Good ol' Solomon. Jerk... but a handy one. LOL!

Miss Pross:
I still love Miss Pross. Predictable, loyal, strong, womanly but very sudden. And very deaf! What a lady!

I thought this man was rather noble and clever. Then, I found out what little backbone he had and my good opinion of him is on the verge of going opposite. There was some good in the man but...

Madam Defarge :
I knew she was dangerous. But I thought it was a controlled dangerous... and for most of the book it was. But when she had a power, you feel that she is on the verge of insanity. I breathed a sigh of relief at the ending. Very fitting.

I found this man very funny. I love his quote about how Mrs. Jerry is supposed to honor and obey him and how religiousness ruins his “business”. His resurrection-man humor is to die for and the conversations he has with Young Jerry never fail to make me laugh out loud. Young Jerry is all boy and Old Jerry is... well, he's Telson's Bank odd-job-man who has a distinct aversion to all things connected with 'flopping'. :-)

Mr. Lorry:
The story begins with him and he is there, faithful, to the end. A true friend, noble, honest, level-headed and a “man of business”. :-) He was a very comfortable character because you always knew what he was going to do and it was always very correct. Amusing but I never laughed at him in a mocking way, as I did Mr. Stryver. :-)

* * * *

Some quotations:

The stone faces on the outer walls stared blindly at the black night... lion and human... The fountain in the village flowed unseen and unheard, and the fountain at the chateau dropped unseen and unheared – both melting away, like the minutes that were falling from the spring of Time – through three dark hours. Then, the gray water of both began to be ghostly in the light, and the eyes of the stone faces of the chateau were opened.
The carol of the birds was loud and high, and, on the weather-beaten sill of the great window of the bedchamber of the Monsieur the Marquis, one little bird sang its sweetest song with all its might. At this, the nearest stone face seemed to stare amazed, and, with open mouth and dropped under-jaw, looked awe-stricken.
It portended that there was one stone face too many, up at the chateau. The Gorgon had surveyed the building again in the night, and had added the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had waited through about two hundred years.
It lay back on the pillow of Monsieur the Marquis. It was like a fine mask, suddenly startled, made angry, and petrified. Driven home into the heart of the stone figure attached to it, was a knife. Round its hilt was a frill of paper, on which was scrawled:
“Dive him fast to his tomb. This, from Jacques.” (The Gorgon's Head)

This seemed so fitting and right. I never felt so satisfied at any other place in the book, excepting the end. :-)

Mr. Stryver having made up his mind to that magnanimous bestowal of good fortune on the doctor's daughter, resolved to make her happiness known to her before he left town for the Long Vacation. (The Fellow of Delicacy)

“Here's a man of business – a man of years – a man of experience – in a Bank,” said Stryver; “and having summed up three leading reasons for complete success, he says there's no reason at all! Says it with his head on!” Mr. Stryver remarked upon the peculiarity as if it would have been infinitely less remarkable if he had said it with his head off. (The Fellow of Delicacy)

I loved this part in the book. Mr. Stryver makes up his mind to marry Lucie Manette and he stops at Tellson's on his way to her (to tell her her good fortune) and makes his intentions known (in a loud voice which is heard all over Tellson's cramped quarters) to Mr. Lorry. Dickens knows exactly how to get a good laugh out of his readers. :-)

After the coffin “chases” Young Jerry home, he rushes up the stairs and slips into bed, wakening at daybreak... “by the presence of his father in the family room. Something had gone wrong with him; at least Young Jerry inferred, from the circumstance of his holding Mrs. Cruncher by the ears and knocking the back of her head against the headboard of the bed.
“You oppose yourself to the profit of the business,” said Jerry, “and me and my partners suffer. You was to honor and obey... Is it being a good wife to oppose your husband's business? Is it honoring your husband to dishonor his business? Is it obeying your husband to disobey him on the wital subject of his business?”
There was no fish for breakfast, and not much of any thing else. Mr. Cruncher was out of spirits, and out of temper, and kept an iron pot-lid by him as a projectile for the correction of Mrs. Cruncher, in case he should observe any symptoms of her saying Grace.
“Father,” said Young Jerry, as they walked along: taking care to keep at arm's length and to have the stool well between them: “what's a Resurrection-Man?”
Mr. Cruncher came to stop on the pavement before he answered, “How should I know?”
“I thought you knowed every thing, father,” said the artless boy.
“Hem! Well,” returned Mr. Cruncher, going on again, “he's a tradesman.”
“What's his goods, father?” asked the brisk Young Jerry.
“His goods,” said Mr. Cruncher, after turning it over in his mind, “is a branch of Scientific goods.”
“Persons' bodies, ain't it, father?” asked the lively boy.
“I believe it is something of that sort,” said Mr. Cruncher.
“Oh, father, I should so like to be a Resurrection-Man when I'm quite growed up!”
Mr. Cruncher was soothed, but shook his head in a dubious and moral way. “It depends upon how you develop your talents. Be careful to develop your talents, and never to say no more than you can help to nobody, and there's no telling at the present time what you may not come to be fit for.” (The Honest Tradesman)

A branch of Scientific goods... think of the range that term covers. LOL! Jerry, Jerry. Such fatherly wisdom.

The man slept on, indifferent to showers of hail and intervals of brightness, to sunshine on his face and shadow, to the pattering lumps of dull ice on his body and the diamonds into which the sun changed them, until the sun was low in the west, and the sky was glowing. (Fire Rises)

Just another amazing description...

Monseigneur, as a class, had dissociated himself from the phenomenon of his not being appreciated... (Drawn To The Loadstone Rock)

...with Monseigneur swarming within a yard or two of it, boastful of what he would do to avenge himself on the rascal people before long. (Drawn To The Loadstone Rock)

This makes me think of one word: blindness. How is it that when people have power (or have had) that they can never see themselves as wrong? Where does it start? Pride? Fear?

Jerry remarked “...[if] them poor things get well out o' this, and never no more will I interfere with Mrs. Cruncher's flopping, never no more!”

“Whatever housekeeping arrangement that may be,” said Miss Pross, striving to dry her eyes and compose herself, “I have no doubt it is best that Mrs. Cruncher should have it entirely under her own superintendence...” (The Knitting Done)

This made me laugh... and sigh. What a fitting ending. I hope he kept his word. I rather think he did... Revolutions have a way of changing your thinking. :-)

* * * *

And we come to the end of my observations from Dicken's Two Cities. Again, please feel free to comment about the book or other books you've read. I'd love to hear your opinions. :-)
Currently I am reading a book about the Holocaust entitled, “Journey” by Myrna Grant, have finished Jane Austen's “Emma” and Louis L'Amour's “Last of the Breed”. Not sure about the former yet but the latter two I loved. :-) “Last of the Breed” was one of author's best works.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Farm kids and The Law

The other day, Mom was talking about something needing to be fixed and Ruth (4) said, “Duct tape should work.” Spoken like a true farm kid. :-)

Believe it when you hear about a lot of farm repairs consisting of baling twine/wire and duct tape. :-) A few years ago in SK a police officer saw something strange going down the road. He pulled the man over and got out of his vehicle to get a better look.
The farmer was pulling a grain hopper behind his truck, which isn't unusual. The unusual thing was that instead of a proper hitch, he was using baling wire. The officer stood and stared for a minute, scratched his head, got back into his vehicle and drove away.

I love farm police. Hehe. :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


September 21st, 2009

Today, I was praying and God wasn't giving me any answers. I'm not the most patient person but I was feeling so low. I needed an answer... even if it was just, “I'm listening, child.” Finally, I cried out in frustration, “God, where are you?!”
“Are you being honest with Me?”
I stopped short. No, I was not being completely honest and forthright.
There are some things in my heart that I am ashamed to admit to God. There are some motives that are so evil and selfish that I cannot bear the thought of Him seeing them. And what of the thoughts in my mind I have that are so fearful... and the lust that I battle with and sometimes lose to?
I, who am a child of God. When did I forget His power? When did I begin to battle in my weakness? When did I begin to love sin more than purity? What must God think of me?
But He has seen. My Master is Truth and He sees all of my heart. It makes no difference if I try to cover it with fig leaves.
There is such a shame when you realize you didn't have to fall. When you realize that you were the one who dropped the sword and looked away from God. That it was you, not Him that let the handclasp loosen. There is not a single justification that would stand the test of God's scrutiny. No excuse that would allow me to shrug off the blame. Not one! I stand before God with nothing but God's love to cover me. And I am trembling in disgrace and regret.

But get this, God loves a penitent heart. Today, I remembered what it is like when in God's will and care. And I came back. Sometimes, when I'm praying it's like I can do nothing but fall on my face at His feet and ask Him to forgive me. I do not get reborn or saved again. I had not fallen from grace. But I had lost something I hold very dear: my fellowship with God... the place where I can look into His face and not feel ashamed because there are no secrets between us. The place where I feel at rest and ready for what comes because He will carry the load. The place of joy and love.
It is so precious being friends with God, because it is not all fuzzy and warm. God is such a perfect mixture of power and grace, anger and peace, justice and love. There is much more to Him than that, but you, my friend, will have to discover it for yourself... If you wish to.
Sometimes, when I write, I don't want to be honest with you, the readers. I don't want you to know how I am sometimes. I don't want to you know how I get so angry at my little sister that I yell angry words at her. When I snap at my brother for being such an idiot. The times I flirt with a guy that catches my interest (for the record, I don't believe all flirting is wrong... but I believe it is when done without a basis of a serious relationship). When I think self righteously, “Thank goodness I'm not that person!” The moments I do not take each individual seriously and pass them without thought as I hurry on my way through life. When pride keeps me from doing something that would bless and encourage someone. When I see Mom's tired face and turn and walk the other way. When I say things that sound so spiritual and good... and feel that lift of pride in my heart that God would use me.
I look at these faults and many others and I don't want the world outside my home to know they exist. But the struggles, as well as the victories are what makes me who I am. No, I am not perfect but God is and I can pray towards that. Sometimes I despair of ever being the Christian God wants me to be. That I should be with His power, grace and love!
But there are two ways to all things: the devil's way or God's way. I could despair and give up. Or, I could give it up to God and say, “Here. I don't know what to do with it. But You do.”
I don't know how to be a better person. I don't know how to stop forgetting. I don't know how to be a great impact on this world. But I do know this: giving it up to God brings the greatest joy and peace I have ever experienced... and it gets better every day. And I wish more people could experience it.

Yesterday, I stayed at home with my spots (if I was yellow and my spots black, you could mistake me for a leopard. :-P ;-)) while the others were at a church and a potluck. I was seated comfortably on the couch, reading Louis L'Amour when suddenly, someone knocked at the door. Whoever in the world? I wondered, scurrying to answer it. It turned out to be a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the men is the brother of the former owner of our place. He is in his 80's and just a bit senile, which made the visit all the more interesting. We talked small talk for the first bit, then, the other man (who was probably in his 40's) began talking about the literature they had brought.
I find this group difficult to argue with. In fact, impossible. I find they think completely different than I do, therefore the arguments I could think of have no effect. Besides, I didn't really want to argue. So I listened without agreeing or disagreeing. But all the while I was praying for wisdom. I knew God had sent those men to our door and I knew He wanted me to learn something or share something. But I had no idea what it was.
So I waited.
I can't even remember how the subject turned from their literature to where the older man, Louis, was born. But turn it did and we were suddenly talking about being born in Hungary and surviving the first world war while your father served six years on the front. The horrors that made his hands shake and his eyes turn bleak with remembering, even after all these years.
This went on for several minutes... then, the other man shifted uncomfortably and blurted out, “That's why the prophecies in scripture about the coming Kingdom of God are so important! They are all coming true. The great wars and earthly conflict.” (Forgive me, sir, for not quoting you exactly.) He went on for a few minutes as I stood there and listened, then God showed me what I was so speak.
“But to be ready for God's Kingdom, much must happen in our hearts. We must embrace His love, holiness and goodness.”
“But the Kingdom! We must prepare ourselves for the Kingdom!”
Not long after that he told me that he and Louis were not getting paid for spreading the word about the prophecies. How they were doing their good deeds through this.
I asked, “But sir, are you bringing people hope? Are you bringing them God's love?” I watched the look in the man's eyes and then, I saw it. Perhaps God did not want me to tell this man anything. Maybe He simply wanted me to look in this man's eyes and see the pain and frustration of knowing it is not enough. That in spite of his good intentions, he is without hope.
His heart wants so badly to do what is right. And he believes that he is doing what is right... in fact, he believes it so much that it has gone a little to his head. I feel for him. I can't imagine being in his position. The dedication. The many hours spent spreading what his organization tells him is right. All in vain.
I pray that the man will have seen God through me. After they left, I felt so sad because I know I can never do enough to make a difference. Then, it was like God cupped my chin with His hand and forced me to look at Him, “All things are possible with God.”
All things...
My friend Abigail wrote this: “Faith is expecting God to accomplish miracles through insignificant me with my five loaves and two fishes.”
Expecting miracles is making me continue to lift this man in prayer. Will you join me?

Can you drop a comment about how God has been working in your life lately? Or if you have a prayer request you would like me to pray about? Perhaps God has shown you something that I have missed. Will you share it with me and other readers? Or if you would like it to be private, you can drop me an email by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom of this post.
God bless you (even if you don't leave a comment. LOL! :-D).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chicken Pox

I wondered if I was going to escape it but obviously not. Yes, that's what I've come down with. Will you please pray that all goes well as it runs it's course? :-)

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A little bit of this... a little bit of that

My allergies are much better. I am so thankful! I believe it's a combination of our neighbors finally finishing the baling of their hay and my brother Zeke uprooting all the sow-thistle (an herb/weed I have problems with) that was growing outside of our room. Thanks so much for the prayers. :-) I felt them.

Last night was very close with lightening all around but no thunder. I didn't sleep very well but woke up feeling fine. Went for a bike ride and came back feeling very tired. I will be looking forward to a rest tonight.

Hunting season is in full swing and it seems that the woods are crawling with hunters. The girls wear bright orange hunting vests when they go riding. Someone advised them to refrain from riding for a couple months but that was unthinkable. :-) So sticking to the roads and wearing bright clothing seems to the answer.

I'm working on Dickens post #3... and reading about both the French Revolution and the American Revolution. I must say that Dickens view is definitely more unique than the other author's. But Gilbert Morris isn't a bad author for either storyline or style.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Courtney Wright -- awesome banjo music

Courtney Wright is a friend of ours (more specificially of my sister Hannah) and I had to brag! Enjoy! :-)

Charles Dickens -- A Tale of Two Cities 2

“I think Dickens was just absolutely amazing. You've been spoiled by easy reading, my dear.” So says my dear friend Grace. And she's probably right. :-)
While looking through several libraries, I had difficulty finding any books by Dickens or Jane Austen. I am not even looking for other authors, as of yet, but I imagine they're as hard to find. So I came to the erroneous conclusion that Dickens and company was going out of style. :-) But I found out differently when I posted on FB and on my blog.
My friend Cheri is reading “Pickwick Papers”. She also found it hard to establish a connection with the author but decided that it came with time. As with friendship, some of the best ones take effort to make it work.
Another friend of mine wrote that he loves Dickens; in particular this book. “But I guess I'm not so analytical when it comes to fiction. I tend to speed read (a book like that takes an evening) and so I take the general drift and many impressions.” Usually, I speed read as well. It came as a habit from trying to check out the books before my younger siblings got to them so I could hide the ones that weren't appropriate for their age level. ;-) LOL! (Big sisters rock!) But I found that after reading 200 books about the holocaust, even though I could tell you all about the emotions, the horror, the quick glimpses, etc, etc, of that period of history, I could not tell you very many exact details. I could probably slip through life with what I have, but I want excellence. :-) And excellence means reading every word... and sometimes analyzing. Of course, someday, when/if I ever read Two Cities again, I'll probably speed read. ;-)
Periodicals. Thanks for mentioning that, Donzel. Amazing to think of this book being printed piece by piece in a magazine. Sometimes I think I have been born about one hundred years too late. ;-) It would be fun to get paid for writing... and learning how to write with a deadline hanging over me would be a good experience.
But that aside, it does explain why there is an amount of drama that seems overdone in book form. :-) I was comparing it to Louisa May Alcott's “Little Women”, which wasn't fair because that story was printed in book form from the first (if I read about it correctly). Also, I have read a lot of Louis L'Amour's work and I find a distinct difference in his short stories and his books.

I think I was in chapter five when I suddenly connected to the author for the first time... and actually began to enjoy the book. It's been kind of an on and off thing since then but I have found several pages very enjoyable. But, I must agree with my friend Lydia in that the humor is what saves Dickens from being a total bore. :-) Yes, I am spoiled!
Here are a few observations again...

* * * *

“...and there was many a good south wall, not far off, on which the peaches ripened in their season.”
Can't you just see it? He does have a way with words that leaves such a picture in the mind.
“If you had sent the message, 'Recalled to Life,' again, “ muttered Jerry, as he turned, “I should have known what you meant, this time.”

Dickens almost considered this phrase of, “Recalled to Life” for the title of the book. It is a theme that seems to run close by throughout the story, as we see here. It lends such scope for the imagination. :-) It can be applied to many things: salvation, Springtime, release from bondage (such as Mr. Manette was), composing (for I sometimes imagine that all music existed at one point and we're merely bringing it to life again), or literally, someone who has physically died and is brought back to life by physical means or by miracle.

“She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery...”

What a beautiful sentiment! I can think of several people and things that connect me with the good memories around the difficult ones. I think God gives us both... the pleasant and joyous to remind us how much He loves us and the hard things to show us how much we need Him.
“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities, and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”

Sydney Carton... what a sad character. It is a good reminder for myself to use the gifts God has given me to the fullest extent that I can.
' “Doctor Manette at home?”
Expected home.
“Miss Lucie at home?”
Expected home.
“Miss Pross at home?”
'Possibly at home but of a certainty impossible for handmaid to anticipate intentions of Miss Pross, as to admission or denial of the fact.

“And why wonder at that?” was the abrupt inquiry that made him start.
It proceeded from Miss Pross, the wild red woman, strong of hand whose acquaintance he had first made at the Royal George Hotel at Dover, and had since improved.
“I should have thought--” Mr. Lorry began.
“Pooh! You'd have thought!” said Miss Pross; and Mr. Lorry left off.
“How do you do?” inquired that lady then – sharply, and yet as if to express that she bore him no malice.
“I am pretty well, I thank you,” answered Mr. Lorry, with meekness, “how are you?”
“Nothing to boast of,” said Miss Pross.
“Ah! Indeed!,” said Miss Pross. “I am very much put out about my ladybird.”
“For gracious sake say something else besides 'indeed,' or you'll fidget me to death,” said Miss Pross...
“Really, then?” said Mr. Lorry, as an amendment.
“Really, is bad enough,” returned Miss Pross, “but better.”

' “There never was, nor will be, but one man worthy of ladybird,” said Miss Pross; “and that was my brother Solomon, if he hadn't made a mistake in life.”
' Here again: Mr. Lorry's inquiries into Miss Pross's personal history, had established the fact that her brother Solomon was a heartless scoundrel who had stripped her of every thing she possessed as a stake to speculate with, and had abandoned her in her poverty for evermore, with no touch of compunction. Miss Pross's fidelity of belief in Solomon (deducting a mere trifle for this slight mistake)... '

Love is blind; love is patient; love is forbearing; love is believing the best; love is hopeful; love is tender; love is just plain stupid sometimes. :-P

' “Do you imagine--” Mr. Lorry had begun, when Miss Pross took him up short with:
“Never imagine any thing. Have no imagination at all.”
“I stand corrected; do you suppose – you go so far as to suppose, sometimes?”
“Now and then,” said Miss Pross. '

The more I read of Miss Pross, the more I love her. She is so blunt, so funny in her sincere way and so innocent. I would not want to be her in all of her qualities, but she is fun to read about and think of who she reminds me of. :-)

“Simple as the furniture was, it was set off by so many little adornments, of no value but for their taste and fancy, that its effect was delightful. The disposition of every thing in the rooms, from the largest object to the least; the arrangement of colors, the elegant variety and contrast obtained by thrift in trifles, by delicate hands, clear eyes, and good sense; were at once to pleasant in themselves, and so expressive of their originator...”

My friend Lydia tells me that Dickens books were what first made her determined to be a true lady. Part of being a lady, I think, is being able to attractively decorate your home. That being said, please don't come see my room. LOL! (I am the family's pack rat... if you want neatness, Hannah is the one.) Of course, (ahem!) not all of the ladyship qualities reside in decorating. Shall I quote Caroline Bingley? “There is something in her carriage, a certain air about her...” LOL! You can be the lady in Caroline all you want but if you have her attitude, all that lady-ness isn't going to serve you in eternity.
Still, I intend to keep a cleaner room. ;-)

“These, however, were only the exceptions required to prove the rule that the sparrows in the plane tree behind the house, and the echoes in the corner before it, had their own way from Sunday morning unto Saturday night.”

“Not only would the echoes die away, as though the steps had gone; but the echoes of other steps that never came, would be heard in their stead, and would die away for good when they seemed close at hand.
“...the wonderful corner for echoes resounded with the echoes of footsteps coming and going, yet not a footstep there.
' “... I have sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by-and-by into our lives.” '

Another friend of mine wrote me saying how much he loved the imagery and echoes of the footsteps. I can see why. Dickens wording lends a sense of rhythm and graceful movement... almost like a song or poetry. I love Miss Manette's thought of the echoes of footsteps being those that are eventually coming into our lives. But maybe I just love to imagine things. :-)

I love how Dickens connects the word 'business' in all ways to Mr. Lorry! “his business eye”, “I am but a dull business man,” “A business man such as yourself...” “said the man of business.”

Monsieur The Marquis In Town begins with ceremonies involving chocolate. I refuse to criticize this chapter in the least! ;-) But, my word, I am completely in awe at the length of seventh paragraph.

“People not immediately connected with Monseigneur or the State, yet equally unconnected with any thing that was real, or with lives passed in traveling by any straight road to any true earthly end, were no less abundant.”

I do know people like this. Reality to them wouldn't hold up to a storm.

“Projectors who had discovered every kind of remedy for the little evils with which the State was touched, except the remedy of setting to work in earnest to root out a single sin...”

Wow. Dare I make comparisons?

“...the Spies among the assembled devotees of Monseigneur – forming a goodly half of the polite company – would have found it hard to discover among the angels of that sphere, one solitary wife, who, in her manners and appearance, owned to being a mother. Indeed, except for the mere act of bringing a troublesome creature into this world – which does not go far toward the realization of the name of mother – there was no such thing known to the fashion.”

Sometimes I wonder if one of the first signs of a country's demise is when it's not fashionable to be a mother. If a mother's love fails, what else can hold firm? They say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I think when kids arrive in the picture, life should revolve around them. They have been placed in our care by God almighty and they are the new generation. What a task!
Yes, I want a large family... but it scares me sometimes. This is Responsibility.

“The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance upon Monseigneur. In the outermost room were half a dozen exceptional people who had had, for a few years, some vague misgiving in them that things in general were going rather wrong.”
That made me chuckle when I first read it. But I couldn't help but feel the humor more keenly as I read on. France was in dire straits... and no one of the gentry was but vaguely aware of it. They thought that people could be controlled better with starvation, heavy taxes, punishments (that make my skin crawl) and fear itself. Leaders would be wise to learn that a 'firm' hand does not mean 'cruel'.
A bit off the subject but this came to mind:
I was reading a book the other day about a slave and she made a comment that I find very true. “The problem with being a slave, is that you get lazy [mentally] because you don't have to make any decisions.”

Monday, September 7, 2009

Faith vs. Fear

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. -- Isaiah 41: 13

I've been dealing with allergies the past week. Our neighbors decided to cut their hay field across the road and my sinuses are rebelling against the decision. Haha. :-P
It actually hasn't been that bad until last night. I couldn't lay down for the longest time because when I did, my air would get cut off. That, of course, brought back bad memories of my breathing 'attacks'... along with many other unpleasant thoughts about what it would be like to get pneumonia again. And I began to wonder if this innocent case of allergies would turn into something more serious. That strain of thought went on for what seemed like a long time. Hours of night and early morning passed and I still sat in my bed, waiting until it seemed right to lay down again. Finally, I realized I had been 'hearing' a still small voice that was becoming louder and more insistent.

“I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee.... I will uphold thee with my hand. Fear not what flesh can do unto you.”

When God says to hide His word in our hearts, it is for a very good reason. In the most essential moments, bits and pieces slip in around the cracks of my brain and, like a sharp two-edged sword, strike to the marrow of the matter... and my heart.

I suddenly remembered that even in those worst moments of the past couple of years, I had felt God's presence. So real; so awesome; so holy; so loving; so just. There is no question of His existence in my mind. I know He lives and I know He loves me, as He loves all of His children. And I am amazed and humbled how He takes the time to remind me that it doesn't matter what happens, He will always be there. He will never leave me to battle alone, even when I worry.

Perfect love casteth out fear. -- 1 John 4:17
In God I will praise his word, in God have I put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. -- Psalm 56:4
When I trust in God it changes the way I look at life. It changes my attitude. Trusting means smiling at a younger sibling when they're being annoying. (After all, not only do they put up with me but practicing patience makes perfect. :-)) Trusting means when I sit before a meal, I thank God for it and the few hours of rest I got the night before. (I was not really expecting to get any.) Trusting means standing with God's hand in mine, face towards the future and eyes lifted heavenwards. Trusting means not beating myself up for not being able to help like my siblings do. Trusting means that I praise God after the latest cough because it didn't hurt and not worrying about the next one. Trusting means concentrating on each breath and feeling thankfulness as each enters and exits my lungs... full, unobstructed and lovely. :-) Trusting means not worrying about whether I'm going to sleep tonight or not, but preparing myself with a few good books. Trusting means finding peace... and expressing true joy and love to those I am around.

Trusting leaves no room for self pity.

I try to live by the minute, aware of the future but not looking to it. Because if I forget this very present time, I lose my purpose. When I think of the days ahead of me... whether they be filled with strength or weakness, I find myself anxious: will I place my faith in God? Or will I forget?
And then, I am back in the present, realizing for a moment that I have indeed forgotten Him! But He never gives up and continues to remind me. Sometimes gently, sometimes not.
I watched a movie today called, “Facing the Giants”. Some of you may have heard of it before. I found it to be a fairly good film and enjoyed it. Of course, it's all about trusting God and making God first in your life. How providential was that?! Right on time for what I'm learning.
Anyway, one line that really hit home was when the two coaches were talking and the mentor coach says, “The Bible says 'fear not' 360 times. I think God meant it when He said that.” (I'm afraid I'm not quoting word for word...)
I know I have written about trusting before, so I hope I am not sounding like a broken record! This is actually more of a reminder for me, but perhaps... someone... somewhere is discouraged right now. If you are that person, I pray that you will come to a place that is right.
We cannot face our fears and struggles alone. We must first start by asking God to take over in all areas of our lives and trust that He will do just that.
Then He will show you the way. I promise. :-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Charles Dickens -- A Tale of Two Cities

Have you ever heard it said that with books, you can travel anywhere, be anyone and experience anything? It's true.

Reading is one of the most important things in my life. I think it might have something to do with my mother being a lover of books. :-) Some of my earliest memories are of her reading while my sister Hannah and I played on the floor with our dolls and Legos. And some of my best memories from my childhood are of her reading out loud to us. We would sit very quietly as she read “Little House on the Prairie”, “Daniel Boone”, Susanna of the Yukon”, “No Children; No Pets”, “The Lonely Sentinel”, etc, etc.

I can still remember reading my first book. I think I was about seven years old. It was Sugar Creek Gang mystery (which may explain my love for mysteries to this day) and it took me all of three days (I think) to finish it. Mom bragged on me so much for that accomplishment that even though some of the words were still a struggle, I kept right on... reading my way through many other children's books.

That being said, my parents never encouraged me to read many classics. Oh yes, we read “Little Women”, “Heidi”, “Hans Brinker & The Silver Skates”, etc. But while other homeschoolers were talking about Dickens and Hawthorne, we were talking of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. I don't regret that. In fact, I really hope those authors are what my children cut their literary teeth on!

But now, in my old age, I really would like to be well read. And if that includes Dickens and Hawthorne and Austen, so be it. ;-)

So. I am reading “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. I am on the chapter entitled, “A Disappointment”. Mr. Manette and his daughter have been reunited and brought back to London by Mr. Lorry... and are now seated in a court room, awaiting with horror for the trial of the Treason case to be done and over with. And we have been introduced to Jerry, Tellson Bank's odd-job-man who wakes up in the morning and throws boots at his meek and quiet wife who is, in his own words, “Prayin' agin' me!”

My opinion in one word? Dry. I cannot seem to connect with the author at all. He is way above my head. I'm not sure if it's just a lack of knowledge on my part that makes it so. Or, if it's the style he writes in. But I am hardly into the book,and since I'm not taking myself seriously, please follow suit. :-)
However dry as it may be, I have found several interesting quotes that I wanted to share with my blog readers. Please feel free to share your opinions and thoughts... I appreciate any input you may have.

* * * *
I love the beginning paragraph of chapter 3. It lends much food to my thoughts... after I read it yesterday, I can't stop thinking of it. “...every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. ....every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!... In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?” I wish I could understand what he is saying more thoroughly. :-) I catch glimpses of it... I see the raw truth of it... and yet, the full meaning is still beyond my comprehension.

I find that many of the “classic” authors are very dramatic. Perhaps overly so. Louisa May Alcott was probably the best (especially thinking of “Little Women”; “Eight Cousins”) of the 19th century authors because she used everyday language... even some slang. Am I just too used to using slang terms or did they actually talk this way two hundred thirty-four years ago?

“But this time, she trembled under such strong emotion, and her face expressed such deep anxiety, and, above all, such dread and terror, that Mr. Lorry felt it incumbent on him to speak a word or two or reassurance.
'Courage, dear Miss! Courage! Business! The worst will be over in a moment; it is but passing the room door, and the worst is over. Then, all the good you bring to him, all the happiness you bring to him, begin....' ” (Chapter 4: The Preparation)

When Miss Manette is first told that her father still lives and has been released from prison, she... “said in a low distinct, awe-stricken voice, as if she were saying it in a dream, “I am going to see his Ghost! It will be his Ghost – not him!'”

And this part made me laugh because the description fits my sister Hannah so well. Not the red hair, but the strength... the protectiveness, the 'wild-looking', hasty, forceful description! I love this. :-)

Miss Manette faints... and Mr. Lorry says, “'But what is the matter! She doesn't notice a word! Miss Manette!' Perfectly still and silent, and not even fallen back in her chair, she sat under his hand, utterly insensible, with her eyes open and fixed upon him, and with that last expression looking as if it were carved or branded into her forehead....” Mr. Lorry calls for help and ... 'A wild-looking woman, whom, even in his agitation, Mr. Lorry observed to be all of a red color, and to have red hair,... came running into the room... and soon settled the question of his detachment from the poor young lady, by laying a brawny hand upon his chest, and sending him flying back against the nearest wall.
(“ 'I really think this must be a man!' was Mr. L's breathless reflection, simultaneously with his coming against the wall.)
“'Why look at you all!' bawled this figure...” (Chapter four; The Preparation)

“The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. It was not the faintness of physical weakness, though confinement and hard fare no doubt had their part in it. Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it was the faintness of solitude and disuse. It was like the last feeble echo of a sound made long and long ago. So entirely had it lost the life and resonance of the human voice, that it affected the senses like a once beautiful color faded away into a poor weak stain....”

That is a beautiful and painful description... Dickens doesn't mince words. He leaves no room for doubt as to exactly what he means. I appreciate that. Other authors I have read are very hard to follow because you have no idea where they are going.

“Only one soul was to be seen, and that was Madame Defarge – who leaned against the doorpost, knitting, and saw nothing.”

I love how he repeats this observation three times about Madame Defarge. Does anyone else use triplets while writing? If so, why? I do it a lot, especially when I am not thinking about what I'm writing.

“Tellson's Bank by Temple-bar was an old-fashioned place... It was very small, very dark, very ugly, very incommodious. It was an old-fashioned place, moreover, in the moral attribute that the partners in the House were proud of its smallness, proud of its darkness, proud of its ugliness, proud of its incommodiousness. They were even boastful of its eminence in those particulars, and were fired by an express conviction that, if it were less objectionable, it would be less respectable. This was no passive belief but an active one which they flashed at more convenient places of business.” (chapter 1: Five Years Later)
This reminds me of some people I know... The pharisees in Jesus' time and some of the more “conservative” Christians of this day. Their thought is that if they don't have a good number of enemies, they must doing something wrong. If people do not feel belittled, shunned or convicted around them, they aren't being the salt (in the eyes :-P) that Jesus expects them to be. My opinion is that such a belief begins and ends with pride.

“Death is Nature's remedy for all things, and why not Legislation's? Accordingly the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death... the holder of a horse at Tellson's door, who made off with it, was put to Death...; the sounders of three-fourths of the notes in the whole gamut of Crime, were put to death. Not that it did the least good in the way of prevention – it might almost have been worth remarking that the fact was exactly the reverse – but it cleared off (as to this world) the trouble of each particular case, and left nothing else connected with it to be looked after.”

Interesting... especially with the mindset I have been raised with. Food for thought.

“Mr. Cruncher's eyes seemed to get a little closer to one another, and to interchange the inquiry, “What do you think of this?”

I love that. Pure foolishness mixed in with heavy, heavy material. It makes a person not want to miss a single word in case one was to miss some of Dickens lovely humor. :-)

* * * *
And that is the end of my observations. So far. :-) Again, please feel free to post any or all of your opinions regarding books, authors, styles, etc. I welcome them. :-) Classical or otherwise, what are some of your favorite authors and books? Why do you enjoy them? Are there some you can recommend to me? I try to have a fairly open mind so don't mince for my sake. :-)

Has anyone ever read Louisa May Alcott's “A Long Fatal Love Chase”? I recently read it and I can't forget it. I found it dark and evil... and in the end, the evil overcame the good. It was so strange. I don't think I can recommend it to anyone except for someone who is looking for good style, because Louisa May Alcott invariably wrote with good style.