30 December 2011

Poem of the Week: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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{photo via pinterest}



The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the tother, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy ans wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - 
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

This poem brings up an interesting thought: do we follow the ways of the world simply because it is what "everyone's doing" or do we follow the ways of God above the ways of men? Hmm . . . Something to ponder today. 

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." ~Matthew 7:13-14

25 December 2011

Christmas Blessings

{From the film The Nativity Story}

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

~"Joy to the World" by Isaac Watts~

A very merry Christmas to all my dear friends! I am so thankful for each and every one of you, and for all the encouragement you give me on a daily basis. I hope you all have a very blessed and wonderful day with your families, celebrating the birth of our Savior. In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one!" ♥

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ~Luke 2:11

24 December 2011

Movie Review: It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Can you believe it's Christmas Eve? I think I'm still in denial. Not that I don't want it to be Christmas Eve, of course . . . it just came so fast. I haven't had a lot of time to partake in the "Christmas-y" activities that normally occupy my December this year, and at times, I'm tempted to feel somewhat robbed, as if I missed something special. But whenever I start to feel those emotions creeping in, I remind myself of the truth. Is Christmas really about lights, pretty music, and getting presents? No. All those things are nice in their own right, but the true meaning of Christmas is in celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He humbled himself as a baby, was born of a virgin, and died on the cross at Calvary, because He loved us so very much. And that is pretty amazing. 

Getting back to the topic of today's date . . . our family has a dear tradition of watching It's A Wonderful Life together every Christmas Eve. It's such a precious time of gathering together on the couch and enjoying an old classic, and it's one of my most favorite traditions.

It's A Wonderful Life
Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed
*Summary taken from IMDb.com

George Bailey spends his entire life giving up his big dreams for the good of his town, Bedford Falls, as we see in flashback. But in the present, on Christmas Eve, he is broken and suicidal over the misplacing of an $8,000 loan and the machinations of the evil millionaire, Mr. Potter. His guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth -- literally -- and shows him how his town, family, and friends would turn out if he had never been born. George meant so much to so many people; should he really throw it all away?

My Thoughts: From the first time I saw this movie, I loved it. Everything about it is memorable, and it's simply overflowing with 40's charm and wit. George Bailey (Stewart) is the perfect example of a hardworking man. Continually, he puts his family and others he loves before himself, sacrificing his own interests for their sake. Mary (Reed) is a loving and devoted wife and mother, and she always supports George. She is an optimistic woman who never sits down and feels sorry for herself, but instead chooses to make the best of every situation. 

 
Pros: First of all, it's black and white -- what's not to love? Black and white movies have so much more character, I think. Second, it's a wonderful story, with truly memorable quotes. The value of family and friends is shown very clearly, as well as loyalty to your own kin. When George begins acting strangely, Mary immediately alerts the neighbors, asking them to pray for her husband.

Cons: Some violence towards the end, but not much about which to be worried. The point of it is to convey what the world would be like without George Bailey, not to revel in bloodshed. 
{I love this scene ♥}
Memorable Quotes: 


George Bailey: [to Clarence] "What's the matter with him? I never saw Nick act like that before."
Clarence: "You'll see a lot of strange things from now on."

George Bailey: "What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary."
Mary: "I'll take it. Then what?" 
George Bailey: "Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair... am I talking too much?"


George Bailey: "Now, come on, get your clothes on, and we'll stroll up to my car and get... Oh, I'm sorry. I'll stroll. You fly."
Clarence: "I can't fly! I haven't got my wings."

Harry Bailey: "A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town."

Little Violet: [commenting on George] "I like him."
Little Mary: "You like every boy."
Little Violet: "What's wrong with that?"




Zuzu Bailey: "Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings."

Rating: 6 out of 5 stars
I recommend this film for all ages, as long as a parent is watching too (in order to explain certain parts).

Merry Christmas Eve, ladies! How do you plan to spend the day?

23 December 2011

Precious Christmas moments.







Because sometimes wordless posts are so much more beautiful. ♥
"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~Charles Dickens
I'm linking up with Mrs. Rachel Martin at finding joy.

friday favorite things | finding joy

18 December 2011

Sunday Blessings

{Song of the Angels by William Adolphe Bouguereau}

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

~"Angels We Have Heard on High" by Gloria Barnes (music taken from a traditional French carol)~

I hope you are having a blessed Lord's Day this fourth Sunday of Advent! 

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' " ~Luke 2:13-14


14 December 2011

Movie Review: The Nativity Story (2006)

With the Christmas season comes a multitude of Christmas movie reviews. As I cannot post these any other time of the year (well, I could, but it would feel awfully strange), you're are going to be seeing a lot of Christmas movie review posts popping up in the next few weeks. That's not a bad thing, though . . . at least, don't think it is. 

The Nativity Story

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac
*Summary taken from the back of the movie

It was the cruelest of times. Under Herod's torturous reign, families struggled to survive, and yet, in the midst of utter turmoil, a young woman's faith was put to the test. Join Mary and Joseph on an incredible journey of hope and discovery. Epic in its scope, yet intimate in its portrayal of this historical family, this "wonderful film" (Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun Times), is "a family feature that will be cherished for years to come" (Greg Russell, WMYD-TV, Detroit).  

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this movie because of how realistic it was. Despite the fact that we're told time and again that Jesus was born in a stable (some also say it was a cave that was converted into a stable), we still see a picture in our minds of Mary and Joseph smiling down on the Baby in a glow of heavenly splendor. Well . . . it wasn't exactly like that. And I think we also forget how very shameful it was to have a child out of wedlock in those times. A woman could be stoned in the streets for such a thing! The Nativity Story really brought to life the birth of the Son of God and how very humble and still beautiful it was. 

My only complaint is how Mary seemed unwilling and reluctant to be wed to Joseph. The details about their engagement are not clear in the Bible, but I always liked to think that they did love each other.

Pros: For a modern-day movie, this film did a remarkable job of keeping the content Biblically sound. They didn't try to brush over it or cheapen it in any way. The actors also did excellently in their respective roles, in my humble opinion. The music adds a good touch, and the story is portrayed very well.


Cons: Since we're talking about Herod's reign, there were definitely some violent scenes. Quick shots are shown of bloody, murdered men hanging from trees, and you hear the screams of women as their sons are murdered (thankfully, no graphics are shown here). After Mary is discovered to be with child, her father asks her, "Was it one of Herod's soldiers?" 

Memorable Quotes:

Mary: "There is a will for this child greater than my fear of what they may do."

Mary: "People will not look at you the same. They will not look at us the same."
Joseph: "You are my wife. I am your husband. That is all anyone need know."

Balthasar: "If I am correct . . . and I usually am . . ."


Mary: ". . . Do you ever wonder when we'll know?"
Joseph: "Know what?"
Mary: "When he is more than just a child. Will it be something he says? A look in his eyes?" 
Joseph: "I wonder if I will even be able to teach him anything."

Melchior: "How many days have you come with us on this journey?"
Gaspar: "One hundred and four." 
Melchior: "And how many days have you complained about it?"
Gaspar: "One hundred and five."
[Melchior looks at him confused] 
Gaspar: ". . . I am counting tomorrow."


Mary: [about the child, Jesus] He is for all mankind. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this film for ages 12+, due to the violence and other mature themes

12 December 2011

Scrumptious holiday peppermint bark.


One of the best things about the Christmas season is making all sorts of delectable and tasty treats in the kitchen that you can't make any other time of the year. Things like chocolate dipped pretzels, spicy gingerbread men and women, iced sugar cookies studded with colorful sprinkles, and peppermint bark. 

Holiday Peppermint Bark

{recipe found here.}

Ingredients:

~ 24 ounces white chocolate chips
~ 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
~ 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
~ 1 package of candy canes (any brand will do)
~ Cookie sheet lined with foil
~ Cooking spray


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Pour the semisweet chocolate chips onto the pan and spread them around evenly. Bake for a couple of minutes until they look barely melted. Then take the pan out of the oven and spread the chips around with a spatula. Put the pan in the refrigerator to cool and harden for about 30 minutes. 
3. Open the candy canes, put them on a cookie sheet under a dishtowel and crush them with a hammer. Sort the larger candy cane pieces from the candy cane dust. 
4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and the candy cane dust. Mix until smooth.
5. Pour over the top of your COOLED semisweet chocolate layer. 
6. Sprinkle top with candy cane pieces and press them down lightly so that they stick.
7. Refrigerate for several hours, then break the bark into chunks.
8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge about 5 minutes before serving so no one breaks a tooth!


What are some of your favorite holiday treats?

11 December 2011

Sunday Blessings


O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

— "O Little Town of Bethlehem" by Phillips Brooks (lyrics) and Lewis H. Redner (music)

Have a wonderful Sunday this third week of Advent!

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." — Micah 5:2

04 December 2011

Sunday Blessings

{"Kissing the Face of God" by Morgan Weistling}

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

~"What Child Is This?" by William C. Dix (words), music taken from Greensleeves~

Awaiting the advent our Savior's birth during this happiest of seasons. . . May His shalom be upon all of you this day and the coming week, dear ladies!

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." ~Luke 2:7

03 December 2011

The giveaway winners!

I am pleased to announce the winners of my 200 follower giveaway! I felt so blessed to receive so many entries, and I would love to give each of you a prize. Unfortunately, there can only be 8 winners. Let us give a big round of applause for these ladies . . .

Set of 6 Jane Austen bookmarks

Jane Austen Bookmarks - The Sequel


Little Women pendant

Let Us Be Elegant or Die- Little Women- buy two get one free- includes a 16" or 18" snake chain- READY TO SHIP

#240, Grace!

Alice in Wonderland charm bracelet

Vintage Style Tea Party Charm Bracelet. Bronze Tone. Kitsch. Alice in Wonderland

#73, Stephanie!

Little Women necklace

Little Women Charm Necklace

#19, Carrie!

Madison flower pen & vintage jar

Madison Flower Pen with Vintage Mason Jar - Your Choice of Flower

#202, Amy B!

Barton Cottage body cream


#152, Jessica!

Vintage copy of Little Women


#341, Kellie!

Street Fair skirt pattern

street fair skirts

#173, Emily!

Congratulations, ladies! Please e-mail me, and I'll give you all the nitty gritty details on how to claim your prize. :)

Have a lovely day!

01 December 2011

A Bit of a Ramble

In other words, the mistress of Literary Lane has returned! You don't know how much I missed you all, nor how good it feels to be back to writing up a post in this dear old Blogger posting box. I've had an invigorating and exausting month, and it was very different from what I expected it to be, but wonderful nonethless . . . except when I was living on little sleep. That part wasn't so great.

This post is going to be extremely rambling -- hence the title -- because I have so much to say and share. Before I go any further, I'd like to share one particular piece o' news I can contain no longer . . .


I won NaNoWriMo 2011.*dances the jig to end all jigs* I'm still not sure it's even real; I can barely fathom that I actually wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. It's a riveting and altogether indescribable emotion. I'd like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and encouragement! If it weren't for each of you, NaNo would have been much, much harder. 

In case you are wondering, no, my book is not yet anywhere near being completed. I plan on finishing the first draft sometime in January -- after Christmas and all the busy things that it brings are over -- and then it's on to editing! . . . And more editing . . . and more editing . . . well, you get the idea. :)

I'd also like to give a heartfelt thank you to all the dear ladies who guest posted for me while I was writing away. I loved all your posts so much, and it was truly an honor to have you here on Literary Lane. If I could, I'd give each of you a hug right now.

If you did not get the chance to read the lovely posts that were shared during my absence, click here

And moving along with my announcements, have any of you noticed that Literary Lane is looking a bit different today? I could not let the holiday season pass without hanging my decorations, could I? Certainly not. And with more than a wee bit o' help from my sister Bree -- actually, all I contributed was my opinion -- we have done just that. Even my playlist has been changed to match the Christmas season. I am absolutely in love with my new design. If you want a darling new look for your blog, why don't you visit my sister Bree's design studio, where you can get an original and beautiful blog design -- and for $0! She just opened back up again after closing shop for NaNoWriMo, so head over there and get your name on the waiting list before it fills up!

I think that's all I have to say for tonight. Sometime in the next few days I will be posting the winners of my 200 follower giveaway!

Have a good evening, ladies!
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