Tuesday, May 31, 2011

[the best blog post title EVER]

The sis and I have spent the whole morning working on titles for her conference on vulnerability and human nature. We've been researching, molding words, and creating phrases for a good solid three hours now.

Our research has mainly consisted of looking up C.S. Lewis and Chesterton quotes, Bible passages, exploring our friends' Facebook quote pages, and listening to this song:

^SUCH a good song. (This whole post was just an excuse to post that song. Kidding! Kind of.)


Serious Contenders for the title are:
Safer than the Known Way: Encountering Human vulnerability
Tried and Found Wanting: Encountering Human Vulnerability
Brave the Darkness: Encountering Human Vulnerability
Dare the Adventure: Encountering Human Vulnerability

Our personal favorites (which all smack of a brainstorming session gone awry):
Validated by a B: Encountering Human Vulnerability
Too Mainstream: Encountering Human Vulnerability
Word to Your Mother: Encountering Human Vulnerability
Encountering Human Vulnerability: You Probably Haven't Heard of It

What do you think? Let us know. Please. We're not doing anything. We'll be sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by books, coffee, computers, and small children running in and out of the kitchen door.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Currently Reading: The Silmarillion

"For it seemed at first soft and sweet, a mere rippling of gentle sounds in delicate melodies; but it could not be quenched, and it took to itself power and profundity. And it seemed at last that there were two musics progressing at one time before the seat of Ilúvatar, and they were utterly at variance. The one was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came. The other had now achieved a unity of its own; but it was loud, and vain, and endlessly repeated; and it had little harmony, but rather a clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes. And it essayed to drown the the music by the violence of its voice, but it seemed that its most triumphant notes were taken by the other and woven into its own solemn pattern."

~The Silmarillion, "The Ainulindalë", J.R.R. Tolkein.


Dear J.R.R. Tolkein,

I'm onto you.
You just really like words.
Like, not just like them-
but like-like them.
You're in love with them, and the powerful majesty and the graceful subtlety they possess. And you've used them skillfully, and you've wrought magic with them.
And way to create your own languages. They're pretty legit. And stunningly gorgeous. And they give you even more beautiful words to describe the same idea. I caught onto your superfluous love of words when I realized that Elves, Firstborn, Calaquendi, and Eldar all mean the same thing. I guess you had a lot to say, and English couldn't say all of it.
I see.
I see what you're doing.
I see you.
That's okay. A little heart-breaking beauty never hurt anyone.

Keep up the good work.

Much love,
Renée

Saturday, May 28, 2011

when will my life begin


10 Reasons to Love Tangled

1.

Maximus. What a horse, what a guy. Pompous mannerisms, disarmingly adorable demeanor, and ability to duel with a sword in his mouth make for one lovable character. This kid is one quality
doghorse. Maximus and Flynn's relationship is hilarious.
Flynn: "I feel like this whole time we've been misunderstanding each other, and we're really just-[notices the cuttingly wilting look on Maximus' face] yeah, you're right, we should go."

2.
"The world is dark, Rapunzel: if it finds the slightest ray of sunshine, it destroys it."
Yeah, right. Tell that to the glowing hair, Mother Gothel.

She has hair that glows and heals things and stuff. That's pretty cool.

3.
"Please speak up, Rapunzel, you know how I hate the mumbling." Mother Gothel's passive-aggression. SO irritating and hilarious at the same time.
4.

FRYING PANS FTW.
5.
Favorite background character: The little 0ld-man bandit who flys around the tavern dressed as cupid. And says the most hilarious, random lines. And graces the last shot of the movie. What a gem.

6.
.

7.
Rapunzel.
Best. Princess. Ever. Spunky and adorable and pretty and cute and talented, and adventurous and beautiful and funny and a ray of sunshine and kind and curious and joyful and brave and AWESOME

8.
It's pretty. The forest is gorgeous-the sunlight shining through the green trees, the blue, blue clear water, Rapunzel's tower, the whirling colors of the birthday celebration, and of course the scene on the lake with the floating lights. Most beautiful scene ever.

9.
They keep all the elements of the original Rapunzel fairy-tale, but twist them and make them just a little more original and more awesome. (Except they exclude the love-children Rapunzel had. Good choice, Disney. :P )

10.
The Ending. No spoilers, but it's the most beautiful and compelling ending to a Disney Princess movie. Even trumps Sleeping Beauty or Beauty and the Beast. And I'd say it gives The Lion King a run for its money. EDIT: {spoiler alert} I was recently having a debate with a friend about this. I think the mutual sacrifice of the two characters is beautiful. Flynn is willing to sacrifice his life for Rapunzel, and her love for him saves him in every way a man can be saved. I think it's the most beautiful and mature Disney love story since- well- ever.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Full Circle

May 23rd, 2011


May 23rd, 2011 was the day that I arrived home, back from my first year of college. May 23rd, 2010 was the date of my graduation-from-high school party last year. My dear friend gave me a book of daily mediations by Madeleine L'Engle, and she'd underlined two short sentences in the May 23rd passage-[I know I've mentioned this before, but it's one of the most influential quotes I've ever encountered, so bear with me, troops]- "You are to be a light-bearer. You are to choose the light." That's defined my year. And I know it will continue to define me. Another graduation gift I got was a plaque my friend made with the classic Chesterton quote: "An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered," painted on it. That was my quote senior year of high school. There are some ideas you encounter that change you-they weave themselves into the fabric of your life and become an essential part of who you are. That’s what those quotes are to me.

Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living. My tendencies to reflect and ponder are somewhat justified by that. And, again, I think God gives us the opportunities to reflect-we have beautiful brains that attach memories to certain places, which when we return to we are flooded with a whole host of emotions and ideas that spring from that certain place.


~

One of the best feelings in the world is coming full circle. Returning a year later to where you were a year before, remembering what you were feeling the last time you were here, and then noticing how you've changed but how you've also stayed the same.

I've kept a journal since I was six, and one of the reasons I love journaling is the fact that you can look at yourself a year ago (or a month ago, or two years ago), and remember what you were thinking. What you were feeling. What was important to you, what your worries, hopes, and dreams were. And revisiting places has the same effect. I went back to Duluth almost exactly a year later. And my heart chuckled as we revisited the exact same places we explored a year ago. It astounded me how much life had been lived, how many new people had entered into my life, how many new places I'd explored since then. Yet you come back to a place and everything is the same. It's a rather jarring feeling, but it's bizarrely comforting at the same time.

As we drove up to my Grandmother's house yesterday, I had the happiest and saddest feelings; I can't really pinpoint them, or describe what they were. They were just Feelings, because this was a Coming Full Circle Moment and it Meant Something, thus I had Feelings.
I hadn't been here since the beginning of the year when we drove down to Notre Dame. The last time we were here, as we got in the car to head to Notre Dame, I remember sitting our van thinking: "What on earth am I doing?? How do I do this college thing?" I literally had no idea what I was going to do at college. I didn't know where to start-I didn't even know what the beginning looked like, much less where to find it or how to embark on it.
I was a deer that was caught in the headlights of an SUV with semi-functioning brakes, with hunters lurking in wait on either side of the road, and a semi barreling down upon me from the opposite direction.
Yup. That was my approximate mental state going into freshman year. If I hadn't found Psalm 37:4 written into a little corner of a mundane picture in my grandma's bathroom, I might have gone insane. Whoa, what's Psalm 37:4, you ask? Well, folks, I asked myself that same question. So I behooved myself to the nearest edition of the St. Joseph New American Bible. And this is what I discovered:

"Find your delight in the Lord, who will give you the desires of your heart."

What a quote to remember. What a gem.

Gentle Readers, the moral of this story is:

Bathroom art changed my life.

All my dreams, plans, hopes, and visions for the future would be taken care of, if only I just trusted in God and pursued Him. Okay, cool. This is perfect. I can work with this.

So, about these dreams: I remember the same dear friend who gave me the Madeleine L'Engle book asking me via a letter in early November what my dreams were. I distinctly recall how it felt to sit in the tall chairs at the front of my dorm's lobby (aside: these chairs were made for people-watching. Group studying, my foot. We "study" there to see and be seen. It's the LaFun Phenomenon.) and realize with dismay that I hadn't dreamt recently. Literally and figuratively. I rarely dreamt in my sleep first semester, and I didn't know what my waking dreams were. But I knew I had to find them again. And one of the lessons of freshman year was rediscovering all those dreams.
As lovely as those castles in the clouds are, God promises that we'll have a dream greater than we could even imagine if we just seek Him. Until God finally commanded my full attention, I really wasn't able to find those dreams again. "What hinders you most of all from receiving heavenly consolation is your slowness in turning to Me in prayer. Before you pray earnestly to Me, you first seek other comforts, trying to find distraction in outward things. Hence it is that all these things are of little benefit to you until you realize that I alone am the One Who delivers those who trust in Me. There is no effectual help nor worthwhile counsel nor lasting remedy." (Imitation of Christ 3, chpt.30)
Putting God at the center of your life and relying on God alone is a hard, difficult lesson to truly learn. I s'pose most lessons like that are easy to hear. But to really hear, understand and enact? Uffda. That's a tall order. Miraculously, God gives us a million opportunities to learn that lesson- to lean on Him alone. To let go of all our dreams, and give them to Him, even if He has to pry them out of our hands. Sometimes it’s the only way He can get us to trust Him, to make Him the delight of our hearts. Because if God is the desire of our heart, then we've immediately got everything we’ve ever needed or wanted. Everything beyond that is His gift.
So there you have it. That was the lesson I learned this year. Obviously, it's a lesson that we are constantly learning. We mess up, we forget, and we fall short.
And, mercifully, there will always be bathroom art to remind us what life's really all about.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Writer's Block 2.0

(Subtitle: Until my writer's block clears up you'll be getting gems like this. Lucky you.)

I literally can't stop laughing...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Femininisms

And no compromising allowed. Amen.
Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. ~Mother Teresa
Ladylike: Wine in a stemmed glass and conversation with friends. Margaritas on the beach with the gals. Martinis with women in little black dresses and men in shirtsleeves and waistcoats.
Unladylike: 9 vodka shots and 3 Long Island iced teas later, hooking up with random guy at party.
Being beautiful doesn't mean having the perfect body.

Greatest Lesson I Truly Learned This Year: People are messy and imperfect, and sometimes they are extremely unlikeable. But, as I began to understand first semester, everyone is loved by someone. Everyone is known by someone so well that that somebody loves them and sees the beauty in them no matter what. That is perfect love: seeing through people's exterior armor and crap to the beautiful soul underneath.
Challenge accepted.
Best feeling in the world: saying everything you wanted to say. Saying it well, saying it fearlessly, and surprising even yourself by finding that you're saying it with love.
I have a naturally curious nature. The 19th century Cranford-esque town gossip is alive and thriving within my soul. But it's wise to be discerning with your secrets. Confidantes are treasures; finding someone to listen to and share your woes, joys, thoughts and fears with is a true delight.
"Listening, when no one else volunteers to listen is no doubt a very noble thing." --Mother Teresa

Don't be bitter. Be wise.
So true. Your heart is infinitely valuable. How miraculous that you can find someone you trust and love enough and who loves and cares so much for you that you can give them the terrifyingly precious gift of your heart. And until you meet that person, love each person you meet freely and joyfully. And leave your heart in God's hands to be kept safe and whole. Let your restless heart rest in God.



Credit goes to
this delightful tumblr. Check it out if you want to see more!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bittersweetness

I realized one day I tend to like bittersweet songs. Songs that are gorgeous and lovely with a little twitch of sadness. This is a good one.


Friday, May 20, 2011

FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY

1.
The beautiful thing about Rebecca Black's joke of a music video "Friday" is that now when anyone says anything-literally anything-about the days of the week you can always somehow slip in a sly reference to the song. Clever pop culture reference achieved.

2.
Speaking of the days of the week, today it is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday (Sunday comes afterward. But that's beside the point). Tomorrow my sister and I load up our storage unit with my dad. Woohoo! The only snag is that in order to fill up the storage unit, my room should probably be somewhat packed up. How much packing of my room has been accomplished? Literally none. Is this okay? Not really. When will I achieve this packing? Late tonight, probs. YAY Procrastination! Packing is definitely one of those tasks that so awkward to time. If you pack too soon, you're bound to pack something you're going to need. And if you don't pack soon enough, well then, you're stressed and scrambling at the last second. It's just grossness in a handbasket.

3.
I'm not excited for move-out. Move-out Friday and Saturday last week were thoroughly depressing days. When I helped my BiFFle move out of her room, the reality of move-out hit me. And when my rommie (not a typo. Intentional Spelling Error.) moved out, the finality of move-out hit me. I'm never going to live in this room again. This cozy little room has seen me through so much. Two of my dear friends have sought refuge and slept overnight on the white carpet. That poor white carpet is significantly dirtier than it was at the beginning of the year. But it's still just as soft and cushy. I've hung up pictures from friends, watched many movies, stubbed my toe on the trashcan late at night. I've come in exhausted, defeated, dejected, and weather-beaten. I've entered that room at 5:00 in the morning dancing and giggling for joy. This room has held so many precious people in my life, and it's been a sanctuary for just me. It's been a place to get ready for dances, relax between the show and the party with friends, or pump the jams on the Disney Pandora station and toga it up. It's just amazing how the world around you spins at an alarming rate, and life happens in a blur of emotions and colors that sweeps you up in its arms and carries you off. And yet, at the end of the day, you always wind up in the same bed with the purple sheets, black and white comforter with the abstract floral print, and the softest, fuzziest Disney princess blanket in existence. It's very comforting. I love my room.
4.
I'm really glad my parents got me this fuzzy princess blanket for my 18th birthday. Seriously, parents? What parents get their newly-minted adult Disney Princess items-multiple Disney items, to be precise? AWESOME parents, I suppose.
Someone once implied that my extreme admiration for the Disney Princesses was immature. And I literally couldn't comprehend why. Storytime: Once upon a time I did a show with a fantastic woman named Autumn. Autumn was a company member at that theatre, she was nearing 30, she'd been fortunate enough to be a working actor since she graduated college, and she aws married with her first child soon to come. Autumn was obsessed- and I'm talking literal obsession here-with the Disney Princesses (really all things Disney. But especially the Disney Princesses). Two of my friends created a tradition where they brought her something Disney Princess-themed every Tuesday show. Watching her shriek with joy over a Belle water-bottle, or a Cinderella purse, or Enchanted action figures was always hilarious and somewhat inspiring. That's exactly how I want to react to Disney Princesses when I'm 30. That's the little child in my I want to still be alive and well-the child that sees something beautiful and can't help but cry out with joy, because it's just so pretty.

5.
I just find this utterly delightful. I think perhaps everyone reacts this way to their first kiss on the inside. But these little guys are child-like and open enough to react that way on the outside as well. This video makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

6.
Yesterday I went to a lake house with my choir. And we went out on a boat around the lake, we played volleyball, we ate hamburgers, we soaked up the sun, and we sat around a fire late at night and looked up at the stars and marveled at their beauty and brilliance. And I felt like summer has now begun. Even though I'm still at school, it now finally feels like summer.

7.
I've been writing on this blog very regularly recently. Part of what contributes to this spurt of regular blog-writing is the fact that I've been wanting to practice my writing more regularly and consistently. And part of it is that I've gotten a new journal, and I don't like it as much as my last one yet. :( I miss my old journal. There's nothing worse than getting really attached to a journal and missing it and not wanting to move on. Maybe, gentle readers, ya'll have never felt that feeling, and maybe you have. But you have mostly likely felt the feelings in your soul that the passage of time-that sense of wonder and bemusement at how fast time moves and yet how slow. The sadness and the joy. That's what moving from one journal to the next feels somewhat like. It's a very physical and material manifestation of the passage of time. And it's a very permanent sign that you're growing up. And growing up is always exciting, and often bittersweet.

8.
For our First Year of Studies department, freshies had to answer a survey of self-reflection questions at the beginning and end of this semester. One of the questions was "How are you becoming the person you want to be?" Which prompted me to think: Who do I want to be? And what on earth could possibly stop me from being that loving, patient, intelligent, and cool person today? My laziness? My cowardice? My selfishness? And why on earth would I want to waste one day not being the person I want to be? Obviously, I fail at being the person I want to be every single day. But the point is that you try. And try. And try some more! Life is actually pretty simple. You've just got to keep on trying and not give up if you fall down. But just pick yourself up and brush yourself off and move on. And that, as Gandalf would say, "is an encouraging thought."

9.
Go outside and look at the sky sometime today. It'll take your breath away.

10.
We have our end-of the year choir concert today. We we we so excited. And on that note, I'm going to head to rehearsal.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Freshman Year

There are certain songs that immediately make me think of a certain time in my life-when I listened to it non-stop or when it was soooo popular it played on the radio 24-7. Or when, for some reason, that song resonates with the events in your life. Or not. Sometimes it's just a piece of music that you like to listen to.

For example, Uncle Kracker's Smile always makes me think of last spring. I still love it just as much as I did then, but it's definitely a "then" song, not a "now" song. Here are the songs that were significantly present throughout my first year.

The Summer Right Before School(and kind of throughout the first semester):


First Quarter:

Second Quarter:

Christmas Break

DUH. :)
Second Semester:

First Quarter:

Second Quarter:

Obvi.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finna Be a Light-bearer

Subtitle: (A Hodge-Podge of Thoughts)
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” --MLK




Madeleine L'Engle: "You are to be a light-bearer. You are to choose the light."

Challenge accepted.

Classic Bible Quote: (the one that started it all)
"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)


Love so powerful, so brilliant, so aflame that it lights the entire planet-nay, the entire universe!-Madeleine L'Engle

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sing the Love Amazing


"In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious thing we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure."~Madeleine L'Engle

I think part and parcel of being an artist is reflecting every so often of the value of what you're doing. Which often involves fretting over the question: "Is what I'm doing actually important?". The other day, I seriously entertained the thought of being a doctor. ["Seriously entertained" meaning I thought: "Gosh. I really *should* be a doctor. I wonder how possible it'd be to switch from Theatre/PLS to Pre-Med...I wonder if anyone's done that before...What am I doing with my life?"] Doctors are kind of majorly essential, and they actively help people in a very substantial way. The difficulty of being an artist is that you can't really see or measure the substantial good (or harm) you do for people. But there are a couple of things that gently reminded me that art, that beauty, is essential for life. Not for existence, but for life.

One of those things was the above Madeleine L'Engle quote. Another was the hymn "O God Beyond All Praising" which our choir's been singing. Not gonna lie, the first time I heard that song I started weeping like a baby. It was pretty pathetic. And ever since, that song has never failed to bring tears to my eyes. I don't know what it is, but the melody makes me want to run, and leap, fly and soar, and it also breaks my heart. And the lyrics are all gorgeously poetic. And one day one lyric will stand out to you. On Sunday when we sang "to marvel at your beauty and glory in your ways," I was definitely marveling at the beauty. And yesterday when we sang "whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill, we'll triumph through our sorrow and rise to bless you still," my heart danced a little jig. Those words are full of majesty and grace, and they're so joyful that I'm never sure if I'm supposed to laugh and cry.

Finally, last night, a bunch of us choristers watched Fellowship of the Ring. Those movies are so epic. Straight up incredible. One of my friends kept saying: "Man. I wish that this was real." I think that's the awesome beauty of Tolkein's world-it makes us homesick for a home we've never seen, and it reminds us of all the glorious things we've forgotten. C.S. Lewis would call that Joy. And if I could create art like Tolkein's-a second creation that reflects the wonder and beauty of Creation-then I think that's a worthwhile use of a life. Better than worthwhile-a good use of a life.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Paroxysms of Cute



Who knew internet arcade games could be so whimsical and precious?
I wasted a good hour or so playing these with my sister and her roomy. I don't think I've ever played games that are as ridiculously cute or as stressful.
For cereals, peeps: trying to help a rabbit across a field of puppies, or help baby birds jump over small rocks and dodge bumblebees can really put your nerves on edge.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Outburst of Domesticity


I miss baking.
I just read a friend's description on her blog of her adventures baking chocolate chip cookies. I honestly literally cannot remember the last time I baked chocolate chip cookies. Seriously. It's been months. Or since I've baked double chocolate chip cookies, for that matter. Or magic cookie bars. Or French silk pie. Or Oreo pudding delight. Or fudge. Or cookie dough brownies.
My soul just cried a little bit.

Choices


Everything we do is a choice. Oatmeal or cereal, highway or sidestreets, kiss her or keep her. We make choices, and we live with consequences. If someone gets hurt along the way, we ask for forgiveness, it's the best anyone can do. --Ned (Pushing Daisies)



Monday, May 9, 2011

Thoughts


This is a word-cloud of muh blog. Cooliotastic, much?

(P.S. Am I really *that* obsessed with Elizabeth Bennet?)
(P.P.S. Yes, I probably am.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Second Chances

There were these Nancy Drew PC games I played as a girl that I absolutely loved. In fact, they may or may not be what I've decided to spend all my free time this summer revisiting (Nancy Drew and Oregon Trail were the childhood computer games of choice).



One of the greatest features of these Nancy Drew games was the "Second Chance" option.

Took to long to escape the fiendish villain at the end of the game?
No worries.
Just hit the Second Chance button. You learn to run faster the next time.

Forgot to tie the rope that kept the chandelier from falling on your head?
Not a problem.
Hit the Second Chance button, and you definitely remember to tie the rope the second time.

Can' figure out how to rewire the bomb before it detonates?
You're in luck!
Hit the Second Chance button multiple times, and each time you learn all wrong ways to wire it before finally stumbling on the right solution.

Although a Second Chance button for life seems unrealistic at first glance, it's actually not that far off reality. I mean, yes, granted, if you have 40 seconds to disable a bomb, the harsh truth of the matter is that you really do only have 40 seconds, my friend. You can't replay those moments endlessly until you find the right solution.

Although real-life second chances don't allow us to erase our actions and retry the same moment again and again, we do have second chances. We screw up more often than any of us would care to acknowledge. And we make mistakes. Lots of them. But one Very Comforting Thing about God is that He gives us a finna lot of second chances. In His 150% infinite mercy, He's constantly offering us endless opportunities to improve, or to make up for our mistakes. The knowledge that we will have second chances allows us to move forward in our lives, let go of past decisions, and hope and trust that one day we'll learn from our errors and find the right solution.

"God doesn't require us to succeed, He requires only that we try," as Mama T. would say. Life's not a test that we have to get the right answers to or else we flunk; life is a journey. Sometimes on a journey you take the wrong road. And so you turn back. And try again. And again. And eventually you reach your destination.

This final video is also an artifact from my childhood, and I feel like it's the appropriate note to end on (pun totally intended).




VeggieTales FTW.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strength: Part II (an Ode to Lizzie Bennet?)


Allegedly the second part in a series about femininity and strength. In reality, my little post metamorphosed into a pean praising Miss Elizabeth Bennet. I thought about changing it.
But then I thought: Naaah.


Pride and Prejudice's two chief woman characters-the Bennet sisters, Lizzie and Jane- are, at first glance, somewhat similar to the female characters of Lord of the Rings. 
Jane is a quieter, more demure female (somewhat in the vein of Arwen), and Elizabeth is a more outspoken, rambunctious woman (similar to Eowyn).


Jane is, in a word, incandescent.
 She could be easily written off as a naïve Pollyanna-ingenue, because her eternal optimism causes her to se the world in shades of rose. Her insistence on seeing the good in everything often blinds her to the harsh realities of life.
Such as: sometimes a man's sisters are truly evil.
Jane, candidly, lacks the strength with which many Ismene-type, introverted older sister literary figures are endowed. She lacks the fortitude to see the people for who they are-with their faults, shortcomings, and pettiness.
She does possess, however, the self-effacing strength that allows her to find the good in people, and helps her put others before herself always. It's an admirable trait.




Lizzie, despite her many virtues, has a flaw of her own: she's proud to a fault. 
She only sees the world from her point of view. Darcy accuses her of "willfully misunderstanding" people, and he's more than mostly accurate. 
She's naturally intuitive and intelligent, so she does have a sharply accurate view of the world. 
Elizabeth's Achille's heel is that she often forgets to consider there may be other views, or  information she's missing that could drastically effect her view. 

Why should we love Elizabeth Bennet? Honeychild. 
She's Lizzie Bennet. 
Only, as Jane Austen wrote, the most "delightful a character as ever appeared in print." 
Miss Austen also said, "How I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know." Translation: If you don't like Lizzie Bennet, there's something wrong with you, not her. Bold words, Miss Austen, bold words. 

Seriously, folks, what's not to love? 
She's hilarious-as sharp and as witty as they come. One of her classic lines: "My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart." 
She's a sassy gal, that Lizzie. Her eloquence is delightful, endearing, and admirable. So she's smart. 

But wait--there's more. 
This lady is a bucketful of joy. She self-admittedly "dearly loves a laugh." She's always up for a good time, she's always quick to smile. But she's not foolish. She never indulges in silly or inane laughter. There's a proper time for laughter, and Lizzie's not about to laugh out of turn. 
Her younger sisters and their cringe-inducing foolishness is an awful embarrassment for the whole family. But Lizzie, although she can berate herself for her awkwardness, has social graces that truly are a cut above the company's. 

But what makes Lizzie an absolutely charming character is the fact that she can be wrong. 
She can be so delightfully, deliciously, 100% wrong. And, what's even better, she admits it. 
This is really where her charm lies. 
Fact of life: every human being is wrong at least once. The insufferable ones can never admit it or see it. Truly quality human beings are the ones who advance forward bravely, admitting their wrong and making amends. 
This is really what makes Elizabeth a stronger character than Antigone. 

Like Antigone, she's stubborn to a fault, proud, willful, resilient. But, unlike Antigone, she becomes aware of her flaws, and attempts to correct them. "How despicably have I acted!' she cried. - 'I, who have prided myself on my discernment! - I, who have valued myself on my abilities!" (P&P Chapter 36) 
Although she's proud, Lizzie is not too proud to admit defeat. 
 That's what makes the love story so real and so perfect. 

It's about two people who meet, and they bring out the best and the worst in each other. And in order for them to find their happily-ever-after, they have to face their shortcomings, own up to them, and apologize for them. And it's all about second chances. It's the story of two stubborn, willful, lovely, and extremely flawed people that misunderstand each other, hurt each other, and just in general royally fail. But then, they're given a second chance at love and a life together. 
And it works. 
Because by then they've learned from their mistakes. They've discovered a little bit more about themselves-their own flaws and shortcomings. It's about two people realizing that although they're both far from perfect, they're perfect for each other.

(perfect segue way into my next post... )

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Humans Are Beautiful

Human beings are amazing, and they make me happy every single day. Why? Well:
  • They give you hugs.
  • They can sing.
  • They do silly (but awesome) things like sailboarding across the quad.
  • They laugh with you and at you.
  • They dance.
  • They hold open doors for you.
  • They make hilarious jokes.
  • They write funny e-mails.
  • They stay up late at night with you.
  • They invented coffee.
  • They talk in funny voices.
  • They fall in love.
  • They write books.
  • They watch sunsets with you.
  • They can see.
  • They feed squirrels.
  • They ask questions.
  • They build boats out of styrofoam.
  • They play in the mud.
  • They eat 3 hour dinners with you.
  • They randomly do the nicest things for you, just because they can.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dizzy Strife of Things


I discovered this snippet of a poem by M.L. Harkins in the back of a prayer book around early March. I discovered it at exactly the right time. I had questions, and God was being stubborn and not giving me answers. Which was fine, and I was cool with that, but I just thought:

"Dear God,
I love you. But SERIOUSLY, how am I supposed to move forward if I don't know where I'm going?!?!? Finna help? Kthanksbye.
Love, Renee"

And then I read this poem. The enchanting image that this poem presents of a man standing at the gate of a year delights the cockles of my soul. How charming to think of a year as an event that we enter into, and there's a mysterious-yet kindly-man guarding the gate. Each year brings new adventures and new surprises.

I realized that this whole past year has been full of stepping out into the unknown. The unknown of freshman year of college, the unknown of new friends, of new loves, the unknown of growing up and running out into the frighteningly real world.
The unknown can be terrifying, dangerous, and dark. And yet always, always, everything beautiful comes when I let go of my fear and put my hand into the hand of God. And I think how boring and poor life would be if I only took the known way.

At the beginning of the school year-as I stood at the gate of this year- my parents wrote me two letters. At the time, they were sweet, and I was grateful for them. But then I revisited them at the beginning of this semester, and I was overwhelmed by them. They said exactly everything I needed my parents to say to me. They gave me courage and strength to step out into the unknown with a dance in my feet, a smile in my heart, and a song on my lips. My mother wrote: "Oh, what an adventure lies before you!" And it has been quite the adventure.
Freshman year of college has come and is almost gone. I'm leaving those Freshman adventures behind, and I'm at the gate of another year. I'm on the verge of new adventures and new beginnings. It always astounds me how good God is, and how He loves us so much, He loves us so much He even takes care of the stupid little things. The things we really shouldn't stress out about, but we do, 'cause we're human and trusting is hard for us. Things like: I needed to get into a building which was locked, but then a man walking his dog stopped and opened the building for me. I lost my checkbook, only for my sister's friend's friend's friend to find it and it made it's way back to me. I felt like God was laughing at me a little bit, and holding out His hand, and just saying:
"Let go. And trust me. C'mon, just trust me, follow me, and your adventure will unfold before your feet. No need to fret."

"So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth His intention."