Saturday, February 17, 2018

Blog evaluation... your feedback appreciated! :)

Hello all, I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday!

I’ve been doing some thinking recently (spinning ideas really) on what the blog here should be/new directions I’d like to go and wanted to run them past you all for starters. (And I just had the brilliant idea of using bullet points!)
So. Without more ado, let’s do this.

  • First off, I want to write about the little, minute, and gigantic, sprawling, incredible things of life. The underside that makes the stories happen. The real Stuff of Life. Real, but not overtly raw -- at least in the introspective/wistful sense (and unless life itself happens to be particularly raw at a given time). Though, perhaps yes, on second thought, raw might be a good description. Playing around with words -- crafting magic. Thinking on deep things.
  • I’m determined and excited about just going for it and jumping into my new story this year (so… on the flip side, don’t want to take away too much valuable word hashing time from that).
  • My brain’s absorbed with the thrilling topics of clearing out sheds and lean-to’s, exciting summer travel plans, and wanting to concentrate on making some yummy (and consistent!) dinners with my new little helper. 

  • I have a kitchen full of dishes to wash; and also Amazon returns in my living room to box up (mostly different tops I was trying out, some of which were winners and some of which I’m taking advantage of Amazon’s splendid free returns option with -- one of my favorite things ever! ;)). And the floor could probably use a proactive sweeping. But I’m holding a darling, snoring little baby and the washer’s happily churning away with laundry -- so yay! (P.S. I guess this point could be titled 'The Daily Things'.)
  • Per the above, I’d like to expand into some fashion/style exploration
  • I'm thinking of keeping posts shorter (so as not to delay posting for eons, etc). What about some short, snappy book reviews? And definitely longer movie reviews, but when I have the time to give them proper attention.
  • I’ve had an author blog in the past and was debating about the practicality of trying to start it back up, when moi sister recently suggested I should combine the two into one place here. Meaning principally the Inklings link-up back(!), and possibly Quotes of the Month, and an interview now and again.


So there we have it! What do you all think? Are any of the above topics things you’d be interested in? Let me know -- I’d love to hear what you’d like to read more about!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Movie Review // The Hunt for Red October (1990) with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin

The Hunt for Red October is emblematic of a lot of the new movies I’ve been introduced to and come to love this year, and is now securely in my top 10 favorites.

I don’t want to give away too many plot details, but set during the Cold War, it’s the first of the three original Jack Ryan films.

The solemnity, power, and majesty of the opening sequence is breathtaking.

The plot revolves around Marko Ramius, a high-ranking Soviet submarine captain who decides to defect along with most of his officers, but keeping the rest of his crew in the dark -- and all while bringing along with them their entire, state-of-the-art, newly designed nuclear sub.

The entirety of the Soviet fleet in the region is scrambling and soon hard on their heels while the Americans are (at first) puzzling out the strange anomaly bearing down on them, then under orders of their own to hunt her down.

One man, Jack Ryan (ex-Marine now an author for the CIA), is the only one completely convinced Ramius intends to change sides. In a race against the clock and the Red Navy, he ends up arguing his case in Washington and ultimately taking a rough chopper ride – dropping quite literally into the frigid waters of the North Sea to get aboard the gutsy American sub the Dallas, which has been trailing Ramius.

Speaking of which, the whole transferring-from-helicopter-to-submarine section is one of my top favorite parts: so crazy and plucky and risky and determined… and laced throughout with great, subtle humor.

Back to Ramius. He has experienced huge recent tragedy in his own life, but he doesn’t get bogged down in grief and depression. Yet you don’t get the sense he’s bottling everything up and lashing out either. Instead, he’s moving forward, giving himself to action.

Distinguished and masterful, with the weightiness of authority, he’s a leader of men, yet exhibiting at times glints of gentleness and humor.

The sheer audacity and wit involved in pulling off such a scheme is amazing -- especially keeping his whole crew in the dark yet fighting fiercely throughout for their current and future safety.

*SPOILERS* The whole ending scene with Vasily is SO SAD. I cried the first time I saw it. And I think the second time too. *END SPOILERS*

The crew of the Dallas is just simply plucky and daring and serious and fun. Like cowboys loose under the ocean. (In a similar way to how my husband describes Captain Kirk in Star Trek, most of which I’ve also come to love this year. ;)) Good camaraderie is always one of my favorite story elements. Spirited ribbing and joking under pressure while running against life and death stakes, it’s the stuff of which epic adventures are made.

And the no-nonsense Captain Bart Mancusa is a great example of leadership in his own right.

*SPOILERS* Another favorite sequence is the teamwork and back-and-forth exchange of command in the final scenes. Really like that part.

(And I couldn’t find a terribly good screencap, for this, but I also love the diplomatic statecraft scenes in Washington, with their hilarious dry humor on an ambassadorial level.)

As far as content, there’s one scene with Jack taking a shower and shaving that shows his shoulders, and there’s some language throughout, but it’s… traditional (not modern swear words, if that makes sense). And it’s an action film, but there’s not too much blood and you can see it coming.

Last but CERTAINLY not least, it has a thrilling musical score. The depth and tempo and power of Russian music never fails to give me tingles.

It may sound cliché, but each time I’ve seen The Hunt for Red October, I find myself thinking about what I’m doing on a daily level, knowing it counts, and wanting to make sure to live in such a way that it makes a difference. Even on the most regular, ordinary day ever.

Well crafted and well written, it’s moving and inspiring and most definitely makes you want to stand up and cheer at the end.

Posted for Hamlette and Quiggy’s Inspirational Heroes Blogathon, which you can read more about (plus links to all the other entries) here.

Tell me! Have you seen The Hunt for Red October? What do you think? 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas ~ The Year of Our Lord 2017

Hello everyone and happy 2nd Day of Christmas!

I feel like it's a different sort of Christmas here this year. Different than expected anyhow. Usually I focus intensely during Advent -- on Christ's coming, on God's heart for His people, on the darkness of the world and the piercing glory of God's tangible, solid, absolute goodness -- but this year I've been a bit distracted, mentally and emotionally. (Also, I've been realizing each year will just be different.. and that's perfectly okay.)

Today, I got Baby loaded in the car and out of the house and into town for a dentist appointment... only to find a sign on the door saying "Will Be Back Tomorrow" (serious Winnie-the-Pooh moment). Pulling out my phone I found, sure enough, that the appointment's for tomorrow. (I guess the upside is that we were definitely early/on time -- talk about Mommy brain. ;P)

So! I have a house that needs to be tidied and loads of laundry to do at home, but (since we drove one car today) Baby and I are now at Daddy's shop, and I'm focusing on the particular blessings around me: sitting still and enjoying the sparkly lights on the office tree, and the incredible warm snuggly baby sleeping hard on top of me, and thankful for comfortable new winter shoes and exciting packages(!) and door delivered pizza (nothing gourmet, but very welcome warm food for the hungry) and for 10 more days of Christmas to look forward to.

When starting this post I looked up the word 'reality' and synonyms include 'absoluteness', 'brass tacks', 'certainty', 'concreteness', 'solidity', 'truth', and this little fascinating fact: in the 1550's, before the spelling differentiation, it was the same spelling for the legal term of 'fixed property', which leads to a rather amazing analogy.

No matter how scatterbrained I am, or how much I do or don't feel emotionally in sync with events at a given time, I am His fixed possession. My husband is His... This wonderful baby girl He's given into our keeping is His...

Christ, the Great Second Person of the Trinity, chose to become a weak, helpless baby: a real baby who cried for His mother's milk, who needed His linen changed, and His small heavy head held securely till His neck strengthened and He learned how to hold it on His own. A real baby who would learn to smile and coo at His mother's face. He became a baby that He might grow to a real man, a warrior -- lauded at times and at the last despised -- who would give Himself over to Death itself, fighting the Great Dragon in a bloody battle for the souls of His people and taking the captives free.

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

And that's what I'm going to be working on meditating on this year. :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Baby!!! (And a few other important notes...)

via Pinterest

I have no idea how long it's been since I was last here (no wait, let me see... it was Natalie's birthday, so that makes it almost a full four months!), but I wanted to pop on quickly and let you all know our beautiful baby girl arrived safely! I have yet to decide how many details I'll be sharing on the blog, but she's healthy and happy and every ounce of her is pure sweetness. <3 <3 <3 We're so thankful for God's goodness!

via Pinterest

Now I'm curled on the couch with Baby on top of me and my laptop balanced on my knee. A blissful existence really. ;) I have all sorts of exciting goals before Christmas, but one of them is to finish up the Adventure of Reading Challenge, including the wrap-up posts, etc., so you can be watching out for that (very hopefully).

via Pinterest

Speaking of Christmas, I'm getting rather crazy excited this year. I can't wait for the lights and fresh tree needles and decorating my house and hot mulled cider and mailing all my parcels... the list goes on. I thought of a good Christmas blog post this morning too, so I'm hoping that develops as beautifully as the initial flash of inspiration.

via Pinterest

Finally, I can't remember where I first ran across this, but finding it on my computer this afternoon gave me the final nudge to draft this post (and also made me realize again how much I need to read Orthodoxy):

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
---G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

via Pinterest
I hope you're all having a lovely Wednesday! What do you think of the Chesterton quote?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On A Most Important Birthday Occasion

Soooo..... today was the birthday of a Certain Wonderful Young Lady we all know.

A Story Lover. She's diligent and sweet and funny and loyal and thoughtful and encouraging. She loves her Savior with her whole being. And I am so very blessed and honored to have her as my sweet and faithful friend!

Happy birthday Natalie!!! :)

May our good God continue to bless you most richly in this next year, and I look forward to many more years of friendship and adventures (including emails and blog posts and Instagram messages and maybe even seeing each other again! ;)).

"I shot an arrow into the air,
 It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The happiest of happy birthdays to you dear friend!!

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