30 May 2011

They Sacrificed Their Lives So That We May Be Free


"As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on."

~The Battle Hymn of the Republic

To those who have fought on the front lines, to those who have sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the service you have given to our beloved country. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

As we all go about our Memorial Day festivities today, let us not forget what this holiday is really about: the sacrifices so many men and women gave in the service of our dear country, so that we may remain "one nation under GOD, with liberty and justice for all." They gave their all for us. We can never repay the debt we owe to them.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance." ~Psalm 33:12

28 May 2011

Jubilation

Violets Are Blue has been written, titled, edited, and sent off to a book editor. And as of now, it has been completely edited a second time. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Whether Violets Are Blue is eventually published and is a hit or stays a document on my laptop forever, I will never forget how happy I feel at this moment. 

I feel like dancing a jig.

This is my third draft of this book, and I love it dearly. The characters, the story, everything about it is close to my heart. The Bradshaws feel like my family.
As promised in this post, I shall now include all the details: 

Pages (including title page, book hook, prologue, and epilogue): 205, .14 font, 1.5 spacing
Words: 52,645
Characters (no spaces): 228,005
Characters (with spaces): 280,837
Paragraphs: 2,291
Lines: 5,006

I already have an event going — Unsinkable — that deals with my book and the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. There are monthly giveaways, guest posts, VAB updates, and so much more. Click here for more details about that. 

As soon as I publish this post, I plan on jumping up and down and perhaps letting out a girlish "eep!" or three of excitement. Is that a bit strange? :)

27 May 2011

New Design


Hello ladies, and welcome to the new and improved Living on Literary Lane! I am loving how much extra posting space I have, especially for large photos. Many thanks to Miss Megan Kristine of Calm Water Blog Design for making my little "hollow" look so lovely. Can we give her a round of applause? If you would like a pretty design for your blog, Megan will be relaunching Calm Water in the near future, with a new name, new packages, a shoppe, freebies, and much more.

If you have my old blog button on your blog, I do hope you will change it out with my new one, which can easily be found to the right on my sidebar. -->

Well, that is all for now, as I must get back to my editing of Violets Are Blue. Blessings!


23 May 2011

Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

There are few books that are just pure genius. You know what I mean when I say that--they take the truth, and then retell it in a wholly original way that makes you understand it so much better. And the characters, the plot, everything about the book is believable, natural, and draws you in. C.S. Lewis' books are a fantastic example of this, as are Jane Austen's. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is also one of those genius books.

The Giver
By Lois Lowry
*Summary taken from the back of the book

Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community.

When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Lois Lowry is a pretty incredible author. Even though she is writing about a fictitious world in The Giver, she manages to draw the reader in and make him/her feel as if they are not just reading about this world: they are IN it. The minute I began reading this book, I was intrigued. I read it in sixth grade for school, but I finished it at least a week ahead of time, because I was so enthralled with it.

When you first read about the Community in The Giver, it doesn't seem that bad. After all, everything is orderly and neat, and the little problems are quickly resolved. However, as we read further, we discover the disastrous consequences of such a lifestyle. There is no love, and virtually no emotion of any kind. The Elders control everything, and the people have no authority. Everything is decided for them, even down to their spouse and their children. 

The sad thing is, this type of society not so foreign as we would wish. Of course, we cannot remove memory from everyone and put it all in one person, who then transfers the memories to the next Receiver, but the ideals behind this are the same. The people in this story live in a utopian Community. Many of our leaders today believe that this type of lifestyle is good for everyone. Think about it: no pain, no hardship, no tough decisions. Everything is "handled" for you. But that means no life, no love. In The Giver, the old people are purposely killed because they can no longer benefit the Community. The same is done with weak or disabled children. We see this happening all over the world today, as young mothers choose to abort their babies simply because having a child at this time in their life is not part of their "plan." 

No one can put down The Giver without being moved in some way. This book is unforgettable.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book for ages 13+ because of some mature content.

A BIT O' READING FOR THE DAY

"Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others." —The Giver, chapter 12

19 May 2011

Radiance :: Week 1


My dear friend Brianna has invented this blog parade called Radiance, and I'm am joining her. The purpose behind this event is to get us thinking about the deeper, more thought-provoking subjects in life, rather than just brushing over them.
When did you give your life to Jesus? How did He reach out to you? What was your first response?
My parents were raised in Christian homes and are Christians themselves, so naturally, I was raised in a Christian home. I have been going to church and hearing Bible stories and Scripture verses recited aloud since I was a little girl. I accepted Jesus into my heart at age 5 and fully expected to go the Heaven. As far as faith went, everything was packed into neat little boxes with bows. My spiritual life was organized, and I didn't need to do anything else. I had heard stories of missionaries and such who were persecuted because of their faith, but surely that wouldn't happen to ME. I didn't even live in any of those countries, for goodness' sake--I lived in the United States of America, where I could shout to the world from the Walmart parking lot that I was a Christian and virtually nothing bad would come of it.

Nearly a year and a half ago, I began blogging. And I truly believe the LORD used this for my good. I began following several blogs by lovely Christian young ladies, and I was completely startled by their faith. They seemed so happy about it, like every day was an adventure. 

"I want that!" I thought to myself. "I want to know the Scriptures as well as they do. I don't want to confine Bible-reading and Jesus to Sundays only. I don't want to pray only when I want something for myself!"

Through deep prayer, reflection and much searching of God's Word, I began to grow in my faith. I also began delving into these ladies' blogs, and there I discovered new ideas that had never occurred to me before, such as courtship, modesty, and saving your first kiss for your wedding day. These ideas affected who I am now. Material things still mattered to me, but they mattered so much less. Compared to God, the world and all its earthly treasures seemed fake and worthless.

It wasn't that I was not a Christian before; my problem was that I was not growing. I was physically and mentally growing, but my spiritual life and my relationship with my Savior was the same as it had been when I was 5 years old. It was almost as if I was still learning that 2 + 2 = 4! 

I certainly am not done growing spiritually. In fact, I don't think I ever will be. The more I learn of Christianity, the less I understand it. But really, think about it: are we meant to understand it all? If we understood everything, where would be the need for God? The better I get to know my Savior and my LORD, the more I realize how much I need Him and how worthless I am without Him.

P.S. Ara is hosting a beautiful giveaway at her blog, Shilah, in honor of her 18th birthday. Click here to check it out! 

16 May 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


Oh goodness... it's been way too long since I did a Miscellany Monday post. Being that I have many things to say but each of them is not worth writing a whole post on, I think this is the perfect way to sort out my thought and let all of you know of the activities that have taken place on Literary Lane lately.

{one} Dance. That pretty much says it all... that is, if you're wondering why I have been out-of-blog for the past week. Dance, dance, dance, and yet more dance. I had class on Monday and Tuesday, a dress rehearsal on Wednesday, class on Thursday after tutorial, another dress rehearsal on Friday, and then the recital on Sunday. Whew! *wipes brow* 'Twas the busiest week of my life, I think. The recital went splendidly, and was such fun. Oh, and did I mention that on Monday I was informed that my ankles are now strong enough to go en pointe? Mm-hmm. That definitely made my day year. :)

{two} Spanish. My last exam was on Thursday. It was nerve-wracking and hectic, but I made it through the test. And actually, it wasn't that hard at all. What was hard was the building tension each day that occurred whenever my thoughts wandered and I spent too much time thinking about it. But it's over, and it wasn't that hard, and I got a good grade. Now I don't have any more schoolwork to worry about (except that necessary evil known as geometry, which I am still working my way through... slowly) until late August. I feel like dancing a jig. Anyone care to join me?

{three} Unsinkable. The first giveaway ended this week! Can you believe it? I certainly can't. Time doesn't just fly--it zooms. Now that the first giveaway is over, the second one has begun. Care to join? Click here. Have absolutely no idea what Unsinkable is and are shaking your head in utter confusion? Click here.


{four} Violets Are Blue. I have been such a bad writer lately. What with everything that's been going on in my life (mainly dance, but also exams), writing has really fallen to the wayside. I have to admit that I'm not a very disciplined writer. When I get a good idea, I'll write for hours. But when it comes to research and editing what I've already written... well, let's just say I'm not quite so eager. Once I sit down and get into it, I do fine. It's the actual deciding to sit down and forcing myself to start that is hard. *sigh* But I have a deadline. And people with deadlines don't really get to choose when they write. 


{five} "I had a dream..." Have you ever heard of the song "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn? It was in my dance recital. Ohhh my. That song is so pretty. I love, love, love it. The very whimsical-ness of it, the delicate and pretty tune, everything about it is so... dreamy. :) Look it up--you won't regret it. 


{six} Sleep is a precious gift that should never--ever--be taken for granted. And this is coming from a girl who got to bed at nearly 11 o' clock P.M. every night this week. Not to mention the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 A.M. Thursday morning for tutorial. I slept in as much as I could on the days that I didn't have any morning activities, but it wasn't the same. Besides, I'm an early bird. I don't like lying in bed late: it makes me feel lazy. My opinion of rest and its value has been changed drastically this week.


Well, that about concludes everything that's been going on in my life lately. Now I think I'll go make myself a cup of tea and get around to that writing that needs to be done. :)

08 May 2011

To My Mother



Dear child! a faithful mother's love
For thee will toil, and watch, and pray;
An angel hovering still above
Thy couch by night, thy steps by day.

Oh think how oft thy lips have pressed
Her breast! how oft thine arms have clung
Around her neck, while to her heart
She clasped thee close, and sweetly sung!

When fever's burning flush suffused
Thy cheek, and heaved thy panting chest,
Thou rest or refuge all refused
Save mother's arms and mother's breast.

And she would sit with tangled hair,
With haggard cheek and heavy eyes,
Tend all thy wants with loving care,
And soothe thy pains and hush thy cries.

And she would whisper in thy ear,
And press upon thy infant mind
The name, the love of Jesus dear,
And God, thy Father good and kind.

The pouting lip, the pert reply,
The sullen brow, the stubborn will,
Will dim with tears thy mother's eye,
And her fond heart with anguish fill.

The smiling lip, the ready yes,
The sunny brow of cheerful love;
What balm for mother's heart like this?
What dearer blessing can she prove?

Is she a widow? doubly dear
Be she to thee; when griefs assail,
Kiss thou away each mournful tear
That wanders down her cheek so pale.

A faithful God, the first, the best-
The next a faithful mother's love;
Thou shalt, dear child, of these possessed,
Be safe on earth, and blest above.

~Janet Hamilton

Momma, I love you so very much. You always cheer me up when I am sad. When I am sick, your hands sooth my fevered brow. If I am in need of wisdom and advice, to you I turn. You never complain, always hope, and never lose faith. Truly God has blessed me with such a beautiful and godly woman as my mother. If it is His will to bless me with a husband and family in the years to come, I only hope that I can be as good a mother to my children as you have been to me. 

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." ~Proverbs 31:10

03 May 2011

Movie Review: Sense and Sensibility (1995)


It's a rainy day where I live, a cozy type of day where you just want to curl up with a blanket, a hot cup of tea, and your favorite book... or in this case, a good movie. :) Also, it has been suggested to me many a time that I review my favorite movies here on LOLL as well as my favorite books. What better movie with which to start out than one of my all-time favorites, Sense and Sensibility?

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
*Directed by Ang Lee and starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman*

When Henry Dashwood dies unexpectedly, his estate must pass on by law to his son from his first marriage, John and wife Fanny. But these circumstances leave Mr. Dashwood's current wife, and daughters Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, without a home and with barely enough money to live on. Though John and Fanny inherit the family's vast estate, it is Fanny's shy, charming brother Edward who captures Elinor's heart. But before Elinor and Edward have a chance to express their tentative feelings for each other, Fanny contrives an excuse to send Edward off to London. Marianne, meanwhile, becomes swept up in a passionate affair with the dashing Willoughby, a very public romance conducted with so little prudence by Marianne that it earns her sister's disapproval. As Elinor and Marianne struggle to find romantic fulfillment in a society obsessed with financial and social status, they must learn to mix sense with sensibility in their dealings with both money and men.

Oh goodness, I love this movie. I had seen it a couple of times before, but then I received it for my birthday last year, so now we can watch it whenever we choose. Of course, we had to watch it our next movie night--we wouldn't be us if we hadn't. :) I think Kate Winslet is just perfect as Marianne; she seems as if she was born for that role. I've seen the 2008 version of S&S, and it is very good, but their Marianne just wasn't right. She was okay, but not as good as Winslet's Marianne. *Please keep in mind that when I say I really like Kate Winslet as Marianne, I mean just that: I like her as Marianne. I am aware that the actress has done several not-so-appropriate films before, and I do not condone her behavior. I am solely speaking of her performance in THIS film. I just wanted to make that clear.*


I love Marianne and Elinor's sisterly relationship in this movie. They encourage each other, love each other, and help each other without thinking about it... it's almost as natural as breathing. What a wonderful example! I know I am not always as pleasant as I could be to my siblings, but I am trying to improve on that. I would love if my sisters and brother would one day remember me not as the sister who was always telling them what they were doing wrong, but instead the sister to whom they came when they were hurt and needed love, the sister who was always there for them, the sister who cared for them and loved them. Wouldn't that be wonderful?


And oh my, there are SO many good quotes! So witty, so brilliant, exactly my type of movie. :) Here are just a few...

Margaret: "Please don't say anything imporant 'til I come back!" (This makes me laugh, because I can so see Emilia saying this!)

Marianne: "Did you see him? He expressed himself well, did he not?"
Mrs. Dashwood: "With great decorum and honor."
Marianne: "And spirit and wit and feeling!"
Elinor: "And economy, ten words at most."


Mrs. Dashwood: "If you cannot think of anything appropriate to say, you will please restrict your remarks to the weather."

Elinor: "I do not attempt to deny that I think very highly of him--that I greatly esteem him... I like him."
Marianne: "Esteem him? Like him? Use those insipid words again and I shall leave the room this instant!"

Marianne: "Is love a fancy or a feeling... or a Ferrars?" 


Elinor: "Marianne, can you play something else? Mamma has been weeping since breakfast." 
[Marianne switches to a dirge]
Elinor: "I meant something less mournful, dearest."

Marianne: [To Margaret] "Come, I'm taking you on a walk."
Margaret: "No, I've been on a walk."
Marianne: "You need another."
Margaret: "It's going to rain."
Marianne: "It's NOT going to rain!"
Margaret: "You ALWAYS say that, and then it ALWAYS does!"

Here are all the little nitty-gritty details, for your convenience.

Pros: Nothing inappropriate at all--no language, suggestive scenes, or anything. This is a great movie, and one the whole family can enjoy together. The story is excellent (Jane Austen did write it, after all), the language is beautiful, and the acting is brilliant. Gorgeous costumes, music, and scenery are the icing on the cake and make this film a must-see.

Cons: Some might find the language a bit difficult at first, but after you get into the movie a bit, it gets much easier.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 

Here is the trailer:


For anyone who loves a good, wholesome period drama with lovely music, witty dialogue, and an excellent plot, this movie is for you. :)
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