Sunday Blessings

26 February 2012

{painting by Daniel Ridgeway Knight}

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

— "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go" by George Matheson

I pray you each had a blessed Sabbath, ladies!

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." — 1 John 4:7

Poem of the Week: There Is No Frigate Like a Book by Emily Dickinson

25 February 2012

Yes, I know this is a wee bit late, but better late than never, right? :) Emily Dickinson's "There is no frigate like a book" was the subject of a recent poetry explication I wrote for school, and I fell in love with the short, yet brilliant verses in the process. This poem dramatizes the conflict between what is seen and what is unseen, showing that oft the most real things in the world are the things one cannot see. The speaker illustrates the many thrills and adventures the world presents, pairing each with proof that reading good literature can satisfy these longings just as well. I hope you enjoy!

{photo via pinterest}

There is no frigate like a book
By Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book
  To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
  Of prancing poetry.   
This traverse may the poorest take
  Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
  That bears a human soul!

Before I close this post up, I must make one quick and congratulatory announcement to Miss Jessica S. — winner of my writing contest! For winning first place, her poem, Dancing Feet, will be shared here on Literary Lane as the Poem of the Week next Friday. Be sure to stop by and read it!

And now I must go and answer the laundry's beckoning. :P I hope each of you are enjoying this beautiful afternoon! 

Sunday Blessings

19 February 2012

{painting by Edmund Blair Leighton}

Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong;
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.

Lead on, O King eternal,
Till sin’s fierce war shall cease,
And holiness shall whisper
The sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords’ loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums;
With deeds of love and mercy
The heavenly kingdom comes.

Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow, not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning
Where’er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted over us,
We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest;
Lead on, O God of might.

~"Lead On, O King Eternal" by Ernest W. Shurtleff (words) and Henry T. Smart (music)~

Blessings on your Lord's Day, dear ladies!
". . . He is the living God, and an everlasting king . . ." ~Jeremiah 10:10

The writing contest is closed!

17 February 2012

My writing contest, Of Quill Pens and Ink Pots, is officially closed! Ladies, thank you for entering; I have so enjoyed reading your works. The winner will be announced sometime in the next few days. :)

Poem of the Week: The Dancer by Elizabeth Rose

Since I do not consider myself to be anywhere near the rankings of poets I normally feature on Literary Lane, I have shied away from sharing too many of my own poems. It just doesn't seem right to include my meager works among theirs, and to be honest, I find their poems much more inspiring than mine will ever be. But as you can probably see from reading this little blog o' mine, I have made one or two exceptions to nearly every rule . . . and this just so happens to be one of those times. 

{All photos (c) my sister, Bree, except for the one that has my watermark}

The Dancer
By Elizabeth Rose, written June 2011

There is a dancer at the barre,
Unlike all the rest.
Her splits are still not very far,
She struggles with the steps;
Her arabesque is not that high--
Forty-five degrees at best.

She sees her classmates grow so fast,
Over the passing years,
The hands she holds out to her friends
In private dry her tears.
She doesn't understand her place,
For those younger than her are her peers.

"Why, Lord?" she questions late one night,
"Where is that natural grace?
I want to do a triple so perfect
It puts a smile on my instructor's face!
I want to be in Ballet III,
With center stage my place."

"My child, I gave you all you need,"
The Father answered she.
"If you had these extra gifts, 
Would you still glorify Me?
Or would you just ask to be in Ballet IV,
Instead of Ballet III?"

"You may not be able to do a triple,
Or even do the splits,
But what you're failing to realize
Is that I gave you other gifts!
This lie that you are worthless
Is nothing but a myth!"

"Do your very best in class,"
He added finally.
"Encourage all the other girls,
When they dance beautifully.
And don't forget that when you dance,
You dance to honor Me."

And so, this little dancer,
Who is certainly not the best,
Dances with a lovely glow—
One absent from the rest.
Though she’ll never be amazing,
She knows He loves each step. 
"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness." — Psalm 30:11
P.S. Don't forget to enter my writing contest! It's your last chance; no new entries will be accepted after 11:59 P.M. tonight.  

My life in pins.

15 February 2012

133. a life well-lived (a gift in losing something) 134. discovering that I can do more in my pointe shoes than I previously thought (a gift in finding something) 135. making people you love laugh (a gift in making something)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And since I have so many things on my mind, so many things I want to say, I decided that the best thing would be to join Olivia and sum up my life in pins. Because Pinterest is amazing and oh so inspirational, and sometimes the pictures I pin define me far more than a novel on my life could.

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{source: via Grace on Pinterest

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{source: via Grace on Pinterest}

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{source: via Anna Olivia on Pinterest}

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{source: via Jenny Leding on Pinterest}

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It took a great deal of self control to limit it to twenty-one pins. :) If you read all the way through, you deserve a round of applause. 

Blessings on your day, dear ladies!

Poem of the Week: The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

10 February 2012

This poem is simple, but the story it tells is one many should hear. Mr. Longfellow uses the life and daily happenings of a village blacksmith as a background for his greater lesson on how our actions mold and affect -- sometimes permanently -- our lives. 

The Village Blacksmith
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

This poem shows that the man who lives a simple, honest life truly experiences the greatest of happiness, and finds peace in the love of his Father, despite the afflictions that befall him. A wise lesson for us all, I think, especially in a world where we are surrounded with material pleasures that can tempt us to become lax.
"The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." ~Proverbs 13:4
Have a good night!

Book Review: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis {rewrite}

08 February 2012

I'm not even going to mention how long ago 'twas that I wrote my review for The Horse and His Boy . . . :P

Let it be firmly stated right here and right now that my opinions on this book and the movie of the same name are two very different things. The book is just as amazing as the rest in Lewis' series. The movie . . . is a different story. It's a relatively good movie, I think, but as far as a book adaption goes, I do have my complaints. But those belong in a movie review post. :) 

Prince Caspian
By C.S. Lewis
*Summary taken from the back of the book.

NARNIA . . . the land between the lamp-post and the castle of Cair Paravel, where animals talk, where magical things happen . . . and where the adventure begins

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan's own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia--the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed. 

My Thoughts: LWW was the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series that I read, and after that, it was only natural to go on to PC. The Horse and His Boy did not appeal to me at the time, since I was too consumed with the Pevensies and could think of nothing but them and their adventures. I think that's also why the movie makers made Prince Caspian right after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because it just makes more sense. 

This is a new Narnia we're seeing, a Narnia inhabited by the Telmarines. They have taken over, and the talking beasts of old have either returned to their dumb ways or gone into hiding. And that is why the Pevensies are needed. I love how C.S. Lewis manages to create a completely new plot (this time it's human Telmarine men they're battling, not mythical creatures) and yet not lose our interest in the Narnia of old. When I first read Prince Caspian, I thought, "What's happened to Narnia?!" Everything was so much harsher, so much more bitter than before. But that only furthered my resolve to see Narnia returned to what it once was . . . and Prince Caspian did not disappoint. 

Pros: Strength of character, loyalty, and bravery are all praised. Right and wrong are shown clearly. Caspian, Trufflehunter, and Doctor Cornelius are tempted in one part, but they do not give in. Lucy also  learns a very valuable lesson that teaches her that what is right is not necessarily what everyone else is doing, and sometimes we as Christians need to stand alone in order to follow God. It isn't easy or comfortable, but it's what we need to do. 

Cons: Some battle scenes, but not too much blood. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

A Bit O' Reading for the Day: 
“To know that would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that. But anyone can find out what will happen. If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell that you have seen me again; and that you mst all get up at once and follow me—what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.” –Aslan in Prince Caspian

Blessings on your Wednesday, dear ladies!

p.s. Don't forget to enter my writing contest!

Sunday Blessings

05 February 2012

{photo via pinterest}
Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." — John 4:21-25
As a dancer, I often feel pressured to be perfect. This pressure does not originate from those around me — we go to a very faith-based dance studio where gossip, strife, and competition are discouraged and our focus is to be on glorifying Jesus above everything else — but from myself. I am a perfectionist by nature, and I cannot help but worry myself over not doing things perfectly, over not being perfect myself. Whenever I do not rise to these self-imposed and practically-unreachable standards, I feel greatly discouraged, as if I have just let the whole world down. 

This convicted me just a short while ago, because I realized that I was not putting the focus of dance where it belongs. Instead of giving my all and worshiping the LORD, I was focusing on the deficiences of my performance and on every slight error. I had taken the important task of noticing mistakes and fixing them a step too far. And I was constantly worried that others were critiquing and mocking me. 
People may flatter themselves just as much by thinking that their faults are always present to other people's minds, as if they believe that the world is always contemplating their individual charms and virtues. — Elizabeth Gaskell
As Miss Gaskell's quote above points out, this "humility" can actually be a form of pride. To believe that you are so often in the minds of others, that your faults are as obvious to them as they are to you is arrogant. I analyzed every little bit about myself, and I believed that others were doing the same. And throughout this entire process, I was not only losing my love of dance, but I was missing the true point of  w o r s h i p. 

worship |ˈwər sh əp|nounthe feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for God

The whole point of worship is not to focus on you but on the One Whom you are worshiping! So often we worry that God will find us inadequat that we lose the concept of true worship. A believer who is worshiping the LORD cannot put a thought to herself, so consumed is she with her reverence and adoration for her Father. As the minister of our church pointed out this morning, God is seeking true worshipers, not "great worship."
Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose--and all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. — William Temple
In essence, now I focus on worshiping God, whereas before I was performing for man. And dance has never been more enjoyable. 

Anything you would care to add, ladies? I hope you all have enjoyed a blessed and restful Lord's Day.

The Writing Life

04 February 2012

It seems to me that we as writers see the world much differently than most. Every little sigh, every step, every fleeting thought is analyzed for a possible story. Overheard snippets of tune could become the backdrop of a masked ball; a friend's sigh could lead one to write a long and melancholy monologue; a crack in the sidewalk brings back a tidal wave of memories and the idea for yet another book.

Writers often live double lives. There is the life of the person, which consists of schoolwork, tasks, and other mundane and usual activities. And then there is the life of the artist inside; the artist who cares not a bit for food or sleep, only to unburden herself through the flowings of her pen. The artist lacks the common sense of the person, and she feels much more at home seated at a desk with either pen and ink or an open Microsoft Office Word document before her, as opposed to the person who prizes fellowship and conversation. The person enjoys her companions; the artist analyzes their every slight glance, every guarded sigh. It is as if we are constantly taking notes on how to be better writers, how to better capture that elusive moment on the page . . . and in essence, we are. 

It's hard for someone who does not write to understand the emotion that comes over us when we finish a perfect scene, a realistic description, a page-turning chapter. They do not feel the burden on our shoulders when a scene is living itself out in our head and simply must be written down. They never hear the anguished pleas of characters who rarely have good timing for their complaints. They cannot believe we would gain so much pleasure in simple words written on a page. What is there to like about writing? they ask us. Why would you want to bother writing everything down, when it happens every day?

It's because we seek to understand things. Rather than accepting everything in the world as it is, we tirelessly try to make sense of life's deepest questions. We struggle over every line. We attempt to capture the essence of human nature in our books so that readers will say, I thought I was the only one . . . We want to understand life.

And so, we write. 
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