What's in a Name?

Ecstasy (n)- 2. Excessive joy; rapture; a degree of delight that arrests the whole mind; joy may rise to ecstasy. (Websters 1828 Dictionary)
Doldrums (n)- A sate of inactivity or stagnation.(Dictionary.com)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mansfield Park

I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman's feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of.

~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park is the story of an impoverished girl who is sent to the home of her wealthy aunt where she spends her childhood and young womanhood. Fanny Price is a quiet, loyal girl who is dedicated to serving those she loves. Her elder cousin Edmund holds special affection. Their simple, joyful lives are interrupted when the Crawfords come to stay near their home, Mansfield Park. Mary Crawford is forward and beautiful and instantly attracts Edmunds attention and vise versa. Her brother, Henry, is charming and seeks to gain the attentions of Edmunds sisters (one of which is engaged to be married). In case you couldn't tell, he's the cad. Jane Austen almost always has a cad in her books. The great thing is that she lets you know which characters not to root for and they always have horrible character traits! Anyway, Fanny is overshadowed and even tested in her love for Edmund, but in the end it's the usual "happily ever after" that everyone secretly wants, even if they won't admit it!

Fanny is my favorite Jane Austen character. She is sweet, gentle, selflessly serves her aunts, endures taunts and demeaning words by another aunt, but never reviles. She shines with purity and innocent love. The adaptation was my favorite so far! The two other versions I've seen of this movie aren't anything to talk about (one of them is scandalous!). I'm very much looking forward to the next couple of adaptations!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Ali!

Happy Birthday Ali! We love you and we are so blessed to know you!
The Chick Gals

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Joys of Friendship

Ali, playing it safe!

Ali and Kayla.

A friendly encounter!

Yes, I know it's strange. Don't ask.

It is so great to have friends who share the same center of life. By that I mean Christ. I am blessed with friends outside of my church family, whom I would still consider family. This past Wednesday morning, Lori, Ali and Lori's boys (Eli, Josiah and Andrew) stopped over for a visit and lunch with us. It was a lovely time of fellowship. The boys played while Lori and I tried to spin and shoot pistols (aka "cap guns") like real cowgirls. Alas, we didn't do as well as anticipated. Speaking of Lori, she just wrote a great post on her blog. You should check it out at: www.tylosmith.blogspot.com She's an inspiring lady!

Ali is a hoot! The pictures above stemmed from seeing Ethan's baseball helmet on the coffee table and Ali getting this puckish sort of look in her eyes. Out came the camera and took the quietness with it too! She's so funny- even though she's making all of these goofy faces, she still looks great! How does she do it?

Anyway, this was sort of a random and silly blog about daily life when we have our dear friends over! They are a wonderful blessing to us!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Random Ramblings...

Playing our favorite game (catch phrase) at the Denny's after church.
Yes, Christians can have fun!

Life is pretty normal right now- if there is even such a thing! At times I love it and at other times I just want to cry out "maranatha!" But God is good, so what else do I need? I need to meditate on that thought. And on the cross of Christ and the many blessings He has lavished on me, though I definitely don't deserve it. Thank God for grace!

I've been listening to a sermon series by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on The Attitude of Gratitude. It is so convicting! I've realized just how unthankful I am. With so much to be grateful for, how dare I complain? So, I'm striving to be more thankful- both in heart and verbally. I need to speak my thanks to the Lord and to others outloud more often than I do. Please pray for me!

One of the things I am thankful for is a loving, welcoming and noble church family. I love spending time with them and am always encouraged after a day spent with them. It's neat how a body of believers can build each other up so! I was just reading in my Bible this morning in Romans 12. Toward the middle of this chapter, Paul describes how each follower of Christ can use his gifts to the glory of God and the strengthening of the church. It's great! He encourages believers to be diligent about using their gifts.

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:4-8

What gifts do I have that I could use to build up my church and other beleivers around me? Something to think about!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Just To Prove Ali Right

The visions of romance were over. Catherine was completely awakened. Henry's address, short as it had been, had more thoroughly opened her eyes to the extravagance of her late fancies than all her several disappointments had done. Most grievously was she humbled.

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

So, what's the deal with this atypical Jane Austen book? A girl who engrosses herselves in gothic romances to the point of stirring up completely unrealistic conclusions of people and life. Seems very unlike the other five books. When I first read this one, I didn't care for it at all. It still isn't my favorite of her novels, but I have more of an appreciation for it now that it has been a bit better explained.

You see, Northanger Abbey is a satire. I understand that Jane Austen was making fun of the way that girls of her era were wasting their time reading silly novels filled with filth and impropriety. Thus she created Catherine Morland. She was led astray by her very active imagination which stemmed from these books- what we would now call harlequin romances. In the end the noble and good man she loves confronts her with this folly and she sees her faults. She changes and matures and in the end, as in all Austen novels, gets the man!

I see a bit myself in Catherine Morland. My tendency to come to wrong conclusions based on my imaginations. In the past I have read silly novels (nothing like the ones described in this book, though) and let my thoughts go wild. Maybe that's why the Bible says that useless imaginations lead us farther away from God and make us even more base (see Romans 1:21). This is why we must guard our thoughts:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5~

So that is my moral lesson out of this piece of literature. As for this last adaptation, I thought it was the better version. There were a couple of scenes that shouldn't have been in it and one of the characters was very immodest (in more ways than one!). I did like the dynamics and the interpretation of Henry Tilney. To those of you who aren't sick of my Austentatious ramblings and have watched the adaptation.... what did you think?

On Heroines

But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Which heroine are you?

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

I know it seems as if I'm a bit obsessed with Jane Austen as of late, but it is only because these new adaptations have refreshed my love of her novels and I have decided to just have some fun with it. Such is the case with this online quiz! Take it and let me know which character you are!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Little Boys

The joys of having a little brother. I am so thankful for Ethan and I can't imagine life without him! These are all pictures from one of our many trips to Fort Popham this past summer. The ocean is such a glorious picture of God's magnificence.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


"All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest when existence or when hope is gone."
~Jane Austen

On Sunday evening I watched the first of the Jane Austen book adaptations on PBS. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel. I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is because I find it romantic that a love that was lost, seemingly forever, was restored or maybe it is because of the constant love in the heroine that I find virtuous. I don't know. Anne Elliot is such a noble character. She is ignored by her selfish, self-important, social climbing father and elder sister, yet she still treats them with respect and kindness. Her hypochondriac younger sister is always demanding her attention and never grateful for it, yet Anne never ceases to give. She sees the man she has loved for nearly 10 long years, pay attentions to another young lady and she still holds to a strong character and cares for that young lady, though all her hopes would be shattered.

Austen has great character development. Each of her characters are different from one another, yet they are real. One could name one of her characters among their acquaintances, friends and relations. Her heroes are men of honor, who do what is right in the face of great odds. Her heroines are virtuous and chaste. She makes sure that those who are selfish and rude are not the protagonists and are not people she encourages us to emulate (unlike many popular novels and movies of today).

Although it wasn't the best version of Persuasion, I did enjoy watching it and I am looking forward to the next couple of months of new adaptations!

To those of you who read this blog (all two of you!!!), what did you think of the adaptation? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

He's Been Faithful

I just finished the book He's Been Faithful by Carol Cymbala. What a great book! When my Pastor's wife, Rhonda, loaned the book to Kayla and I, I was a little hesitant. Great, I thought, another book I'll have to read and try to remember things out of for the purpose of discussing them. Oh, was I wrong. This book spoke straight to my heart about issues I've been facing in my life. It also opened my eyes to some of the phrases I've always said mechanically and caused me to really understand them!

I'll share one of the convictions God gave me while reading this book. I'm involved in the music ministry at our church. Granted, it's not a huge ministry- we have three guitars and me on the piano and we lead the congregation in worship through song every Sunday morning. I've always just gone up front, played the hymns and worship songs, and then sat back down. But there is sooo much more to leading the people in worship. You have to be worshiping God yourself in order to really lead others to do so! Duh! But I hadn't been doing that. I just thought, if I look worshipful, then it'll be alright. I need to come to church prepared to give my heart to God fully in worship and not worry so much about hitting wrong notes, God will take care of that. And when it's all said and done, who will really remember how well I played? No, they will remember how they worshipped God!

Here are some great quotes from the book:

"If you really want God to use you, then you have to be willing to follow Him into uncomfortable places and to do things you simply can't do on a natural level.... He chooses the weak to display His strength."

"Our complete dependence gives God full reign to glorify Himself without our feeble self-efforts getting in the way."

"The sacrifice of a totally yeilded life is the highest worship we can ever offer God."

"When our lives match the lyrics, then we are truly singing."

"We experience Hi nearness, blessing and help, not when we are rehersing our doubts and complaints, but when we are offering up our praises and thanksgiving."

"Our place is in the background so that God can get center stage all the time."

"We are called to die to our selfish plans and desires so that Christ can live in us. As we do this by God's grace, we will inevitably discover the fulfillment and joy we are trying so hard to find."

Those are just some of the quotes. There are many more that I would like to share, but really, you should just read the whole book. Let God use it to speak to your hearts too!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On Marriage

"How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue. "

~ Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice

The Handiwork of God

At times I take God's creativity for granted. I let the amazing things He does through people just pass by without acknowledging His work in them. I was just thinking about this today. I am surrounded by people who worship God in different ways, but each of these ways is inspiring and spurs me on to ponder God.

I have a sister who can sing like a bird (and it's not just because she's a Chick!), songs that turn hearts upward. Her "special somebody," Josiah, can pick up any instrument and play it. He can also hear harmony with just about any song! (Pretty cool how God brought them together, huh?) My friend Lori has the gift of capturing the beauty of daily life through the lens of her camera. I so enjoy her pictures! Ali has a way with words- she can make you laugh about seemingly dull situations (or even bad situations!) and she can make you "think of things you never thunk before." She could write books about daily life that would make bestsellers' lists. Kelsie dances with grace and passion. You can tell she loves what she is doing by the work she puts into it and the incredible results that come out of that work! I've never seen Alissa dance, but I know she also has a zeal for it. She walks across the room elegantly and I figure, if she can do that, she can probably dance extremely well! My friend Andreas can act! Boy, can he act! He steps onto the stage and transports you back to different times and places, becoming the character that he is portraying so much, that you forget where you are! I have new friends who are gifted- Bonnie and Carol. Bonnie has a beautiful voice and also a way with words. She can yodel! It's so fascinating. I used to hold that yodelling was an odd sort of way to sing, but watching her sing improved my opinion of the style drastically! Her sister Carol has a voice that must be what the angels sounds like- it's so sweet and soothing. My little "sister" Jenna can cook! She doesn't even use measuring cups!! (I know probably all of you domesticized young ladies are chuckling at that astonishment on my part, but hey, it's unfathomable for me) She experiments with things and they almost always turn out yummy! My other little "sister" Angela can make her violin sing- I always loved playing with her (pick that thing back up girl!!). My Grampa Chick can tell a story better than Scheherezade. His life is full of stories and he relays them to us over and over, yet we never get bored of them. He keeps us on the edge of our seats and then takes our breath away-- mostly because we're laughing so hard! You can't even imagine all of the crazy things that have happened in his life!

Anyway, all of this to say that God is Awesome and enthralling! Just think, if He imparted these gifts to us and we were created in His image, then He must also embody, so to speak, these art forms. Look around and see the landscapes all over the earth, not a single one looks exactly the same. And people. People are also beautiful works of art, sculpted and created by the Master Craftsman.

The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament shows His handiwork.

~Psalm 19:1

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hurrah for PBS!!!


Hello! Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy what you read and see here. Many moons ago I had another blog, but deleted it due to time poorly managed on my part. After reading the blogs of several friends, I thought it might be fun to start one of my own! I'll post pictures, quotes, thoughts or just journal about daily life. Please leave me a comment, if you would like to! Thanks for stopping by!