Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am stoked!
I've wanted to go to Jesus Culture for so long.
I've seen individual artists (Kim Walker, Chris Quilala, and Kristene Mueller)... but never the whole Jesus Culture crew.
Now they're coming to Seattle and I get to see them.
I cannot wait to worship with this bunch :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Upside of making dinner with a fun twist: it was delicious.
Downside: I am stuffed! I feel like I can hardly move haha :)
As many of you may already know, I have never liked coffee. Any time I've tasted it, I thought it was burnt and bitter.
But then I tried Starbuck's Tribute blend. Wow.
I had read a blurb about it when I was in a store and I thought, "That sounds so artistic. So many different beans and flavors... I just can't really appreciate it." That was before it actually came out.
Then on Starbucks actual 40th anniversary--being the sentimentalist that I am--I went to "Da Bucks" on my break. And I saw it there. There in a French press was a free tester of their new Tribute blend.
And I thought, "Heck, If I don't taste it now... I probably never will."
So I poured myself a little bit and said to myself, "Here it goes."
Warmth. Rich flavor. No bitterness. Nothing burnt. No weird aftertaste.
Just beautiful, black coffee.
It was all down hill from there. A few weeks later, Charlli brought some home for her mark-out. I still can't drink a lot of coffee... I'm not sure why. I guess I'm still getting used to it. But I love the flavor of this one. Its amazing. I feel like a grown-up Seattlite when I drink coffee.
Haha... I really didn't mean to go into so much detail... But I'm still shocked at myself.
If you haven't tried Tribute blend... you should.
You may just fall in love... :)

I'm really done waiting to hear back from Oxford.
I really want to know already.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finally got to see some of Downton Abbey. It was sooo good.
Only got through the first two episodes... cannot wait to watch more.
Other than loving the story, cinematography, music, and characters... I love that so many of these actors have been in other movies that I love. So many veterans from Jane Austen and other period dramas. Love it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The last two days have been fun... but today I've got to get organized!
Projects of the day: bookshelf and sweater bin
(both are overflowing--and not in the good way haha)
Kingdom is coming to room =)
"Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body, Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance--but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think He'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving."

-Luke 12

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I am so grateful for the last two days!!
I have been blessed with amazing friends and I happen to live in one of the most gorgeous places in the country.
That's all =)

ps... no not really, i'll post more later... have a good night =)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just got my final paper back with my grade.............. :)

Final Paper - Jane Austen

Some of you had asked if I would post my final paper. This is it :)
The goal of this paper was to prove that Pride and Prejudice reveals Jane Austen to be a radical novelist due to the fact that she redefines many of the social roles of her day. Hopefully the paper makes sense. The only thing to explain would probably be the argument of Edmund Burke. He was a British MP who was strongly against the French Revolution because he believed that traditions should remain the same. He famously lamented, "the age of chivalry is gone..." Many writers--both of political treatise and fictional works--responded to Burke throughout the 1790's and beyond.
It is a 10 page paper, so if you can't get through it, I understand. But if you want to read it, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, so please comments down below :)


Radical Redefinition: Changing Social Roles in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

In this paper I will argue that although Jane Austen upholds traditions and the conventions of the novel form, her work is radical due to her redefinition of social roles, I will be working from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, examining the social roles of Elizabeth and Darcy in their relationship and in their context. I will also be looking at Marilyn Butler’s “conservative” (War, 3) reading of Austen from her acclaimed work, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas, as well as chapter four of her piece, Romantics, Rebels, and Reactionaries. Finally, I will draw from Claudia Johnson’s Jane Austen; Women, Politics, and the Novel, which takes a more progressive stance on Austen’s works. I will be primarily critiquing Butler’s argument of a “conservative” Jane Austen as well as building on Johnson’s work by taking her argument a step farther.

Marilyn Butler argues strongly that Austen is a “conservative,” saying she is “the gentry’s greatest artist” writing “novels…about the gentry, and addressed to the gentry” (Romantics, 97, 99). She says that Austen’s perspective is so limited to the “gentry” that she largely ignores other classes. Butler goes on to say that Austen’s works call for “no general changes in the world of the established lesser landed gentry” (War, 2). Butler gives extensive examples of other female novelists who wrote of similar topics to show that Austen was a conservative novelist and that her “innovations” were only “technical and stylistic” (War, 3) I would argue though Austen proves herself to be a “conservative Christian moralist” (War, 164), a statement for which Butler lays out a very convincing argument, this “conservative” perspective does not carry itself out in her views of social order. According to Butler Austen calls for “no general changes,” but another reading of the relationship between Elizabeth, Darcy, and the social standing of their families produces a different conclusion. Instead of upholding traditions or slightly critiquing the aristocracy, as Butler might argue, Austen opens the door for completely reorganizing social standing.

Rather than placing Austen solely within her context as a female novelist, as Butler does, Claudia Johnson sees her as part of the ongoing political response to Burke, Wollstonecraft, and many other political writers of the 1790’s. She uses this to argue for more of a reformist view of Austen who, at least, borders on being radical. Johnson responds to Butler, agreeing that Austen’s mode and plot do appear “conservative,” but she reads into the political and philosophical threads of Pride and Prejudice She argues that:

…throughout the course of the novel those [conservative] myths become so transformed that they are made to accommodate what could otherwise be seen as subversive impulses and values, and in the process they themselves become the vehicles of incisive social criticism… Standing where we do, we tend either to overlook or to underestimate Elizabeth’s outrageous unconventionality… (75, emphasis mine)

Johnson recognizes that even what could be construed as conservative is actually “subversive.” Austen’s “incisive social criticism” lends itself not to a traditional Burkean perspective, but to a subtle, yet striking, redefinition of the order of society. Using “Elizabeth’s outrageous unconventionality,” Austen brings the definitions of gentry into question rather than to affirm them.

Austen intentionally writes in such a way that social harmony is achieved in the novel only through the abandonment of traditional, Burkean social roles. The way Elizabeth rejects being dictated to by her parents’ or superiors’ expectations or the way Darcy takes on an inversion of his role of a gentleman of high birth indicate the way in which Austen is redefining social roles. Austen makes it appear that they fit into normalized roles. She certainly is not original in telling the story of a young lady marrying “above” or in the filial disobedience of a gentleman uniting himself against his family’s expectations. Austen is writing a very common style of novel, the bildungsroman, and she uses several stock characters to tell that story. The plot is so unoriginal that the author has no qualms with giving away the entire story in the first sentence by telling us her “universal truth” (1). The story she goes on to weave, however, undermines and satirizes the “universal truth.” She tricks her readers by promising them a familiar plot but then delivering a subtly subverted version. Austen uses these familiarized conventions to redefine the roles of man and woman, upper class and lower class, parent and child, courtship and marriage.

At the beginning of the novel, Elizabeth Bennet appears just as she should—the typical character of a bookish girl who will travel around England, come of age, and marry a man above her in station. Elizabeth, however, is anything but typical. She indeed possesses an “outrageous unconventionality.” Even Butler admits, “Elizabeth…is Jane Austen’s revolutionary heroine” (198). She will not be told what to do. Her mother wishes her to marry Collins, but she refuses. Lady Catherine attempts to control her when the heroine visits Rosings and again in their confrontation at Longbourn. Johnson points out, “The treatment is decisively progressive because Elizabeth does not consider the interests of the ruling class to be morally binding upon her” (87).

Against the norms of the day, Darcy’s courtship of Elizabeth takes place almost entirely apart from her parent’s supervision, or even awareness. The time they spend together is at Netherfield while her sister is recovering, at the ball while her parents are preoccupied with Jane, at Hunsford and Rosings, or in Derbyshire at Pemberley. Apart from her parents, and often completely alone with Darcy, Elizabeth is so sure of herself that she abandons many of the conventions she sees as unnecessary. Johnson reminds us, “The fact that Darcy and Elizabeth form and pursue most of their relationship in secret and alone not only electrifies [their] intimacy, but also pushes it to the verge of an impropriety” (90). While this strength and defiance would be viewed as an “impropriety” for any of the other female characters, Elizabeth comes away not only unscathed, but even more likeable as a character.

This “progressive,” independent nature extends itself to her relationship with her father. When she is seeking her father’s blessing to marry Darcy and he advises her “to think the better of it” (324) until she effectively convince him otherwise. Once again, Johnson indicates, “if Elizabeth does not specifically rule out the possibility of consulting with her parents before acting…her omission specifically to rule it in here as an obligation is just as striking” (84). In the end, while she still needs—and obtains—her parents’ blessing, it is obvious that Elizabeth has chosen her spouse all by herself. This is the highest level of agency a heroine can achieve in a novel. Interestingly paired against Lydia, who tries to exert the same agency, Elizabeth effectively gains her proper agency in the novel only as she gains experience, wisdom and humility of opinion.

In regards to Darcy, he also rejects the notion of family or class obligations (although it is exceedingly difficult at first) in order to marry Elizabeth. Darcy’s aunt goes to great lengths to dissuade his decision, but, ironically, “its effect [was] exactly contrariwise” (315). Darcy is the perfect gentleman, with land, wealth, and connections, who finds himself in love with a girl who has none of these things. Elizabeth teaches him, however, that these things do not make a gentleman. During their confrontation in his first proposal, Elizabeth cuts to the core of his identity by accusing him of not “behaving in a more gentlemanlike manner” (166). With these words Elizabeth confronts Darcy in redefining the role of “gentleman” to constitute his “manner” and actions rather than by his wealth and status. It is the fundamental redefinition of Darcy’s character and the way it “tortured” (316) him that enables him to understand equality in modernity, the way she understands it. Without the redefinition of what it means to be a gentleman, there can be no union between Darcy and Elizabeth.

Austen’s hero even goes on to invert his expected social role when he works out the wedding of Wickham to Lydia. Darcy “made the match, gave the money, paid the fellow’s debts, and got him his commission” (325). This economic exchange is significant. It is interesting to note that in the end when proposal is accepted and matter is settled, nothing is mentioned in regards to Elizabeth’s dowry. Instead, the money that Darcy spent to gain Elizabeth is mentioned multiple times. When she thanks him for expending the money to restore her family’s honor, he bluntly says, “I thought only of you” (314). So instead of Elizabeth’s family paying him a dowry, it is Darcy who voluntarily spends money in order to make the marriage work. This reverses the economic roles of the man and woman within marriage and in so doing unlocks a new way of defining economic responsibility.

Turning to the socio-political, we must examine Austen’s response to Edmund Burke. Although she may not have had personally read Burke’s Reflections or his other works, we must assume that his arguments at least circulated and indirectly affected her as an author. The question, of course, is: how did Austen respond to Burke? In light of Burke’s resolute defense of the separation of “rank,” can we consider Pride and Prejudice and its conclusion radical if Darcy and Elizabeth end up marrying within their class? We most certainly can. Elizabeth defends this marriage memorably when she asserts, “He is a gentleman; I am gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal” (306). This appears to uphold class distinctions. Claudia Johnson points this out saying, “it leaves the social structure radicals had assailed substantially intact” (88). She adds, however, to “the extent that this assertion of equality demystifies the great gentry, it serves to reformist ends” (88). In other words, Elizabeth’s statement reveals that Austen may leave “the social structure…intact”—but to what degree? I would argue that Elizabeth’s “equal” match is radical because her definitions of class are vastly different than the previous generations’. Her definition of “equal” has emerged in modernity to encompass the gulf of one whole class and to almost incorporate the classes on either side of them.

According to her statement, they appear to be on equal ground and even Lady Catherine must admit the truth of the statement (306). There is no denying however that Elizabeth ascends the social ladder in her marriage to Darcy. This she does despite the “obstacles” (162) presented to her on so many fronts. Darcy himself most notably brings up her status in his proposal when he speaks of her “inferiority” as a “degradation” (162). Lady Catherine also calls her “a young woman of inferior birth, of no importance in the world” (304-5). These harsh criticisms of the heroine prove that this union—though within the “sphere” of the gentry—is a redefinition of class understanding.

A Jacobin novelist might have paired a Mr. Darcy with a girl of the lower class, intending to eradicate the enormous gulf of contemporary classes. Austen, though, with all her subtlety and wit, chooses to use the bookends of the gentry class to redefine a socially acceptable marriage and to open the door for future writers to broaden that definition. She couples Darcy—whose father is a gentleman and whose mother is aristocratic—with Elizabeth—whose father is also a gentleman but whose mother comes from trade (306). Their ensuing marriage then incorporates the entire gentry but also stains the fringe of aristocracy while raising those in trade to a new social level. The fact is, as Elizabeth rises in society, she does not rise alone.

The issue of Elizabeth’s “vulgar relations” is a topic throughout the book. Bingley’s sisters are very quick and frequent to point to the Bennets’ uncles in trade (30, 44) as a way of discrediting the two eldest girls. Darcy himself says of Jane and Elizabeth that their uncles being in trade “must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world” (30). He goes on judge her extended family as one “whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own” (165). Lady Catherine harps on the same issue, saying, “Who are your uncles and aunts? Do not imagine me ignorant of their condition” (306). It is evident just how offensive Darcy and his relations view Elizabeth’s relations in trade.

This, of course, climaxes when the Gardiners take Elizabeth to Pemberley. While she views them as the best of her relations—“some relations for whom there was no need to blush” (216)—she is, at the same time, aware of their “condition.” This is most evident as Elizabeth is admiring Pemberley and beginning to rethink her decision, when she stops herself, remembering, “—but no…my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me: I should not have been allowed to invite them [to Pemberley]” (208). When Darcy and the Gardiners actually meet, we find such a change in the former as he treats them with the “greatest civility” (216). But the real and startling redefinition of social relations across class is revealed in the last lines of the novel. Here Austen informs the reader, “With the Gardiners they were always on the most intimate terms” (334). Austen chooses to close the novel by saying how much Darcy and Elizabeth “really loved them” and speaking of their “gratitude” for those who had “been the means of uniting them” (334). Contradicting Butler’s statement that Austen wrote for “the gentry…about the gentry,” the author gives Gardiner’s both a significant place in the novel’s spotlight.

Here we see the complete reversal in Darcy, the aristocrat-gentleman, from being mortified by “those very people against whom his pride had revolted” (216) to receiving them so warmly and frequently as guests. Interestingly, these familial bookends to the gentry class are juxtaposed when, at the end, Austen makes a point of writing that the Gardiner’s visited more often and were more welcomed than Lady Catherine (334). This redefinition is decidedly not a total upheaval of class distinctions; rather it is shift in the expectations of how the gentry is supposed to behave.

When Austen incorporates Burke’s arguments, she often uses the voice of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who, like Burke, wanted to keep up “distinction of rank” (139). While Butler would like to place Austen on the same side as Burke, Pride and Prejudice hints the opposite. Burke bemoans the fact that “the age of chivalry is gone…which, without confounding ranks, had produced a noble equality…” (238-239). For Burke, equality is born out of people remaining their natural stations and “ranks.” Right after this argument, he moves into a striking metaphor, where, at one point, he states that, “All the decent drapery of life is to be torn rudely off” (239). Lady Catherine makes a similar argument. When confronting Elizabeth, the aristocrat condemns her for her lack of “family, connections, or fortune” and commands her to not “quit her sphere” (306). Compounding Elizabeth’s perceived low class with the impropriety of her youngest sister, Lady Catherine goes on to ask, “Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?” Pairing class distinctions with “shades” when Burke had done so with “drapery” seems too pointed to be coincidence. Choosing Lady Catherine—a representative of the old and decaying “age of chivalry,” and a marked enemy of the new equality—to voice the arguments of Burke is both fitting and revealing. Austen’s choice here confirms the view that she is not, strictly speaking, conservative.

By the end, we find Austen’s use of the novel form radical in its characters, plots, and arguments. Austen has taken on the traditional bildungsroman to tell not only the story of a young girl coming of age and marrying well, but of a society that is dramatically shifting in its values and opinions of class. The true victory of Austen’s novel is that while its progressive redefinition of the lady, of the gentleman, and of the purpose of marriage contradict so many traditional views, it is precisely these things that accomplish the conservative ideal of achieving an honorable and advantageous marriage. Elizabeth gains self-realization and total agency when she defiantly tells Lady Catherine, “I am only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me” (307). As Elizabeth pursues her progressive version of “happiness,” she brings about social harmony for herself and all those connected to her. In the end, everyone is pleased, except Lady Catherine who eventually comes around. Had Elizabeth or Darcy given in to conservative definitions of their roles or how they should have acted, the novel never could have ended so well. Through Pride and Prejudice, Austen subtly redefines normalized social roles and in so doing opens the door for the novel of modernity to take this redefinition farther.

Jane Eyre

Wednesday evening I had the privilege of attending an advanced screening for the new Jane Eyre.
It was such a fun evening, even apart from the film.

But for anyone who cared, I thought I'd share my opinion of the movie.
Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga, based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Dame Judi Dench
Music composed by Dario Marianelli
Synopsis: A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret.

I thought the movie was worth seeing, especially for someone who has read the book. I absolutely loved certain parts of it. However, while I was expecting that the film would not (and could not) live up to the book, I was still disappointed by what they chose to cut--which included my favorite lines.
The first two-thirds or so was very well done. But the last part of the movie was so compressed and the ending so choppy that it almost ruined the story.
I must say that I didn't realize until after the fact that the movie was rated PG-13. This made things make a lot more sense and I think I would have been better prepared if I had paid attention to the rating. The movie was extremely intense at times. Due to the way it is filmed, my friends and I definitely jumped; and at one point, I couldn't help covering my eyes.
Not only was the film visually intense--as they graphically showed the abuse Jane suffered in her early life--but it was just as emotionally intense as they played up the supernatural fears of the heroine. Keeping with the sense of the novel, which came out of the original gothic tradition, the movie, at times, feels very dark.

That being said, Mia Wasikowska played a near-flawless Jane. That was one of the things I was most worried about. Would Jane be pretty when she was supposed to be plain? Would she show too much or too little emotion? Would she convincingly show the struggle between conviction and feeling? She was absolutely fabulous. They were able to make her plain while letting her subtle and inner beauty make its full display. The emotion and the struggle was acted so well, I only wish they would have given the story more time to allow this to develop.

Michael Fassbender's Mr. Rochester was another superb, true-to-the-novel character. He definitely captured both Rochester's humor and his emotional neediness. The film successfully captured the chemistry between the two--although, I thought, they should have given it more screen time. Despite liking the way Fassbender played his character, I could not help being repelled by how selfish and--at times--creepy he was. This is also part of the novel, but was definitely a focus for these filmmakers.

The supporting cast were just as marvelous. The brilliant Jamie Bell was a convincing St. John Rivers (although, I found myself distracted by the fact that Jamie Bell and Mia Wasikowska played such a believable married couple in Defiance). Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper was, of course, played pitch-perfect by Dame Judi Dench.
Costumes, cinematography and effects all aided to the feel of this period drama.
I also must note how excited I was when I heard that Dario Marianelli was scoring this film, but half way through I noticed how little music there actually was. It was relieving in a way. The music was beautiful, but let the acting and dialogue speak for themselves as opposed to over-dramatizing everything. The music that is there sounded classical and haunting and both Beethoven and Mozart were incorporated into the film, again adding to the Victorian atmosphere.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable. But with the film coming in just under 2 hours (115 minutes), I left wishing they had added at least 15 more minutes and several other significant parts of the novel.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm officially on spring break :)

just one of today's highlights: i finally found a tea that i can like!!
[this is huge for me]
tonight i had "cherry rose" from the georgian... yum!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I've been working on my final paper and my mind is just swirling around with so many messy, incomplete, yet beautiful thoughts about Austen's critique of society. I am struggling mostly with organizing my arguments in a convincing way. I have been genuinely very surprised to discover how conservative most critics regard her as. I have always seen her as someone who opened the door for social critique and social reform and that is what I'm arguing for in my paper. But it's been challenging because the critics I disagree with, I have so much respect for.

The other hard part of writing on something I'm so passionate about, is not getting swept up into the beauty of the language or the moments of intensely beautiful romance.
I don't know how well I'm succeeding....

I am working specifically with Pride and Prejudice, and the story is just so incredibly rich--as much emotionally and romantically as it is politically and socially. I have re-read vast portions, which is my fourth reading, and I feel like I'm just beginning to pick up on details. eg... do you have any idea how often the word "opinion" is used or how significant it is? I'm quite blown away.
Everyone loves Elizabeth and Darcy, as do I. But, I feel like people like them for so many superficial reasons rather than what they represent. I don't know, maybe its just me reading too much literary criticism.

extra credit: who knows Darcy's first name? hehe :)

Ok... working on my final paper this afternoon and I fell asleep [shocker]. During this [much needed] nap, I had a crazy dream that I got in huge trouble for playing halo on an xbox while at work. I felt awful and my boss was, understandably, so upset. But, as many of you probably know, I don't even play xbox!
hmmm... c'est tres, tres bizzarre!

Now... back to work on Austen :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Officially done with two of my three classes.
Now, curling up with Jane for my final paper. I'm investigating the way she used redefinition to open the door for social and literary revolution. I'm so excited!

"I wouldn't know a dangling participle if it hit me in the face."
- my dad


Sunday, March 13, 2011

So excited to be reading Marilyn Butler's Jane Austen and the War of Ideas.
I have been wanting to read her literary criticism for almost two years. But I finally get to read it for a paper I'm doing.
I had this amazing God-moment this afternoon. I was sitting doing homework and my mind was going through all the things I needed to get done. All of this was while I was reading this book. Then all of a sudden I realized I was in one of those moments... one of those moments when you are startled with the realization that you are fulfilling your destiny. I mean, obviously, we are always living in our destiny. But there are times when we find ourselves in the midst of doing what we have dreamed of. For me that's Austen literary critique--but it doesn't matter what the specifics are. I am just amazed that I get to live this dream with my Father :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm applying to work as a receptionist at a spa in Bellevue... praying! It would be an amazing opportunity. I'll let you know what happens with it.
It's really exciting because it is in a beautiful location, the hours look good, its close to the transit center, and I have a friend who works there. Plus, I have always wanted to work in the beauty industry. I feel like this would be perfect because its a calm environment and still give me some amazing experience--not to mention amazing discounts :)

Ok... I'll keep you posted!
Only a few more late nights of studying!
It's so hard staying up late working on a paper and setting your alarm for early the next morning, knowing that you'll be up even later the next night... But I'm almost there =)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Renee Yohe

I got to go hear this lovely woman share tonight.

She is seriously one of the most beautifully real people I've ever heard or met.
[If any of you have not heard of To Write Love on Her Arms, you should read Renee's story]
She shared so openly tonight, and not just about the TWLOHA story. She spoke about how there is hope, not in the notion of perfection, but in rising every time we fall. She said:

"People didn't connect to my story because I was perfect. It was because I was transparent."

And this girl means it. I bought her book tonight, Purpose in the Pain, and opened it expecting to get a glimpse of her story... The entire book is a facsimile of her journals over the last few years. I was amazed at this woman's vulnerability. Who publishes their journal? She was so honest tonight and it convicted me. How authentic am I? Where do I need to be more transparent with my heart?
I am so excited because she is releasing an EP, under her band name "Renee and the Translators." Plus, next year, "Renee" the movie comes out. So excited to see where Renee's story goes next :)
Another headache is coming on... I've been getting these pretty frequently over the last few weeks. I get a really bad headache and sometimes I get nauseous. So painful. I'm afraid they're stress headaches. But I want them to just go away and never come back.

Praying this one goes away because I have a long night ahead.
Last night I was talking about the upcoming Jane Eyre movie (which I'm stoked to see :), when my brother asked me who it was written by. After I told him the author was Charlotte Bronte, he said, "Who was that again?"
I started out, "Ok, so Charlotte was, obviously, a Bronte. There were 3 Bronte sisters--"
When he interrupted me and exclaimed, "--oh, like the Kardashians?"
Once he noticed the glare on my face and my hand clenched in a fist, he laughed and asked, "Are you going to punch me?"

I didn't punch him, but he would have deserved it for such a dreadful degradation. I still can't believe he said that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Waiting to go meet with a professor... praying he will remember that he agreed to write a letter of recommendation for me and hoping that he can turn it in by friday. If only he had responded to my last 3 emails, then I wouldn't have to stay late at school, wind through Padelford, figure out if he's meeting with someone else first or not, and potentially wait awkwardly in the hallway. yay!
Hoping this all works out.
Can I just say that I am falling in love with plain, "old-fashion" email?
I know... I'm weird... but I love writing long notes to my friends that just don't belong on their "wall."
Plus it's so fun to find responses in my inbox :)
Ah! Jesus is so good. He blesses me so much. This last weekend was brilliant. It was filled with so many amazing conversations, lots of laughter, and fun surprises.
But most of all, it was full of hope.
I have 9 days left before I'm on my [extended] spring break. The biggest things I have left to do are: an astronomy quiz, a research project on a phrase of british slang (do you know what it means to "jolly someone along"? If not, you'll want to read my paper...:), a take home linguistics test, and, finally, a final paper on Jane Austen and social revolution (whoot!).
Once I'm done with those things, I am done.
I've already started looking at possible places to get a second job and even that is filled with hope. I'm so excited to see what He wants to do this next season. I've already started a list of books He's told me to read. Ah! so fun... I was talking to Esther Maria yesterday, and she said that books are her "love language." yes yes yes! me too :)
And the Lord has already provided for me in incredible ways! I had really been wanting to see Jane Eyre (the film) since I read the book in December. It comes out this weekend, but I do not have it in my budget to go see it. But the other day I got on my UW email and there was an offer for free movie passes to see it! Jesus is sometimes too good. He knows what we need.

"cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you..."

"and hope does not disappoint..."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

change is good

So, lately I have been considering some pretty big changes in my life. I have been so tired, physically, and just feeling burnt out. My mom helped me to see that I had placed so many demands on myself. Once she pointed it out I caught myself saying, "I have to do ___," several times a day. She would stop me and say, "No. You don't have to do anything. You only have to choose peace." I started asking the Lord what that looked like for me.
And he revealed the answer very quickly:

I'm not going to school next quarter.

Don't freak out. I will still graduate on time (June 2012 :) and I absolutely love school. Its just that, including summer quarter last year, I have been going to school for nearly 1 1/2 straight. I was really getting low on energy and enthusiasm. Not only that, but I was not going to have enough money for this quarter, my taxes, or a potential trip to Oxford (still waiting to hear back... should find out in mid-april).
So this spring my plan is to get a second job, save as much money as possible, read books that the Lord has been putting on my heart, be involved with church more, spend quality time with friends, welcome a beautiful niece, and visit the cherry trees for therapy!
Really, the Lord told me this is going to be a season of rest for me. Despite needing to work quite a bit, He's putting my heart at rest--and I'm so excited! I have been in a routine for so long and now He's taking me on an adventure =)

Friday, March 4, 2011

A bit of George MacDonald

At the Back of the North Wind
I just wanted to share part of a chapter of one my favorite George MacDonald books. A little context is necessary to understand this portion. Diamond is a young, poetic, naive, completely trusting little boy who has been to the back of the North Wind. His father recently lost his job as Mr. Coleman's coach man. So Diamond and his mother have gone to visit an aunt at the seaside while his father looks for a new job in London. The Chapter is entitled: 

DIAMOND and his mother sat down upon the edge of the rough grass that bordered the sand. The sun was just far enough past its highest not to shine in their eyes when they looked eastward.  A sweet little wind blew on their left side, and comforted the mother without letting her know what it was that comforted her. Away before them stretched the sparkling waters of the ocean, every wave of which flashed out its own delight back in the face of the great sun, which looked down from the stillness of its blue house with glorious silent face upon its flashing children. On each hand the shore rounded outwards, forming a little bay. There were no white cliffs here, as further north and south, and the place was rather dreary, but the sky got at them so much the better. Not a house, not a creature was within sight. Dry sand was about their feet, and under them thin wiry grass, that just managed to grow out of the poverty-stricken shore.
"Oh dear!" said Diamond's mother, with a deep sigh, "it's a sad world!" 
"Is it?" said Diamond. "I didn't know." 
"How should you know, child? You've been too well taken care of, I trust." 
"Oh yes, I have," returned Diamond. "I'm sorry! I thought you were taken care of too. 
I thought my father took care of you. I will ask him about it. I think he must have forgotten." 
"Dear boy!" said his mother, "your father's the best man in the world." 
"So I thought!" returned Diamond with triumph. "I was sure of it!--Well, doesn't he take very good care of you?" 
"Yes, yes, he does," answered his mother, bursting into tears. "But who's to take care of him? And how is he to take care of us if he's got nothing to eat himself?" 
"Oh dear!" said Diamond with a gasp; "hasn't he got anything to eat? Oh! I must go home to him." 
"No, no, child. He's not come to that yet. But what's to become of us, I don't know." 
"Are you very hungry, mother? There's the basket. I thought you put something to eat in it." 
"O you darling stupid! I didn't say I was hungry," returned his mother, smiling through her tears. 
"Then I don't understand you at all," said Diamond. "Do tell me what's the matter." 
"There are people in the world who have nothing to eat, Diamond." 
"Then I suppose they don't stop in it any longer. They--they--what you call--die--don't they?" 
"Yes, they do. How would you like that?" 
"I don't know. I never tried. But I suppose they go where they get something to eat." 
"Like enough they don't want it," said his mother, petulantly. 
"That's all right then," said Diamond, thinking I daresay more than he chose to put in words.
"Is it though? Poor boy! how little you know about things! Mr. Coleman's lost all his money, and your father has nothing to do, and we shall have nothing to eat by and by." 
"Are you sure, mother?" 
"Sure of what?" 
"Sure that we shall have nothing to eat." 
"No, thank Heaven! I'm not sure of it. I hope not." 
"Then I can't understand it, mother. There's a piece of gingerbread in the basket, I know." 
"O you little bird! You have no more sense than a sparrow that picks what it wants, and never thinks of the winter and the frost and, the snow." 
"Ah--yes--I see. But the birds get through the winter, don't they?" 
"Some of them fall dead on the ground." 
"They must die some time. They wouldn't like to be birds always. Would you, mother?" 
"What a child it is!" thought his mother, but she said nothing. 
"Oh! now I remember," Diamond went on. "Father told me that day I went to Epping Forest with him, that the rose-bushes, and the may-bushes, and the holly-bushes were the bird's barns, for there were the hips, and the haws, and the holly-berries, all ready for the winter." 
"Yes; that's all very true. So you see the birds are provided for. But there are no such barns for you and me, Diamond." 
"Ain't there?" 
"No. We've got to work for our bread." 
"Then let's go and work," said Diamond, getting up. 
"It's no use. We've not got anything to do." 
"Then let's wait." 
"Then we shall starve." 
"No. There's the basket. Do you know, mother, I think I shall call that basket the barn."
"It's not a very big one. And when it's empty--where are we then?" 
"At auntie's cupboard," returned Diamond promptly. 
"But we can't eat auntie's things all up and leave her to starve." 
"No, no. We'll go back to father before that. He'll have found a cupboard somewhere by that time." 
"How do you know that?" 
"I don't know it. But I haven't got even a cupboard, and I've always had plenty to eat. I've heard you say I had too much, sometimes." 
"But I tell you that's because I've had a cupboard for you, child." 
"And when yours was empty, auntie opened hers." 
"But that can't go on." 
"How do you know? I think there must be a big cupboard somewhere, out of which the little cupboards are filled, you know, mother."