Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12 Things I am Relishing This Christmas


1- You, my readers. I can't say how happy I am when I read your comments. I am sincerely grateful for every single one of you and also for my fellow bloggers. This community is wonderful!

2- The Twelve Days of Christmas. I love how, celebrating them, the joy may be spread over many days instead of one and how it really reminds me that the meaning of Christmas is for all seasons.


3- Story Inspiration. I cannot say why, but it is something I seem to become buried in at this time of year. While being a terrific blessing, it certainly has both its wonder and difficulty as I also have much else on my list which must be done.

4- That famous Gift List. It is rather like a duel: “Projects vs Éowyn... Who shall be the victor?” Most are not tiny projects either. Though the tiny ones are often my favorites gifts as the instant gratification of giving them is terrific. For instance: cookies for the garbage collector? Check.
                                                                           

5- Re-watching Pride and Prejudice. We must have something to keep us busy while doing all that knitting must not we? Oh and I must mention Pendragon: Sword of His Father, though I wasn’t knitting while watching that. Instead I was biting my fingers and dashing the tears from my eyes. Yes, it was that good, and I liked it, too, which means it was very good.

6- Vintage inspired festive apparel. One of my favorite places to see said apparel is the Boyer Family Singers blog. They just finished a lovely Christmas style series and their overall fashion sense is lovely.


7- The Nutcracker. Ballet is breathtakingly beautiful. Hence, what is a more beautiful manner to celebrate the Christmas spirit than enjoying one of the classics?

8- The Christmas festivities at church. Sometimes they can be a little overwhelming. Yet it is still wonderful with Christmas performances of old-fashioned favorite carols, red and white flowers, tables loaded with food and dessert, a wreath, sparkly lights and red balls at the coffee bar (my brother's idea—he is incredible). All of which, combined with the love in the air, makes everyone feel jolly and thankful.
                                                                               

9- Christmas lights. Dripping white ones on the house eaves, colored ones garlanded upon the garden fence and twined above the living room and in the kitchen. Truly Christmas lights are one of my favorite things in this world. Also, the garland Arwen made of red and white snowflake wrapping paper. Oh and the tree: all sparkling beauty with the pointed needles of one of my very favorite trees, the fir. Perfection.

10- Sparkly color: red and green, blue and white. Color warms the soul.
                                                                                         

11- Snow. Light. Delicate. Absolutely perfect in every way. Dancing with the furious wind or coming silent from the mysterious beauty of the dark sky. It is responsible for much Writing Inspiration.

12- Finally, and really every single one of these: The Light of the World, which makes all the rest of this beauty wonderful—Whose coming is the base for this and every season the universe has ever and will ever know.

The Merriest of Christmases to you all!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chicago


Height. That wind whipped thing that leaves you reeling and a bit dizzy. You can get the authentic thing or you can receive the illusion of it from vacations and achingly beautiful experiences—and, readers, I have felt—or should I say still feel—the latter.


It all began on Wednesday the 26th of November...the day I went to Chicago for the second time in my life. We ran around the city until our toes and faces nearly froze. We ate collard wraps with oozy chickpea filling (some of us had chilli). We dodged goose-down parka and fur lined boot wearing crowds and had our breath taken away at the magnificent stores clad in their sparkling light bedecked holiday raiment. We became midgets in our own sight looking up at 100 floor buildings, and in our big suburban we drove around the dark streets underneath them, pretending (well at least I did) that I was Very Wealthy. It was all incredible, but most of all there was the skyline and it was everything I had remembered and hoped it still would be.


I have always lived in the country, hence I can't legally have any sentimental memories associated with the city. I also know that I have really only seen the magnificent side of it and I know that—as there is anywhere—there is much dirt and grime and General Unpleasantness about cities. Yet, there is something about a real city skyline, rising upon the horizon with all the enticement of a distant mountain range, albeit one that is man-made sculpted out of iron and concrete, that thrills me to my very finger-tips... But then I have always had a love for mountains, with their angles and depth and their swift, stirring exhilaration.


Of course, we had to leave it and return to the quiet—well, it probably would be quiet if not for the hounds—of country life, with its round of farm boots and squelchy mud, velvety cats, delicious horsey smell mixed with hay, and the Christmas lights my brother and youngest sis just finished putting up on the garden fence and the house (even inside the house)! It is all just so lovely and terrific and though I would love to experience real city life once more, I am also most thankful for my current pleasant pastures for, as Arwen reminded me with a somewhat stern eye, where else can I have the feel of warm horsehair always near my finger-tips? But even in that, what in this mortal creation is more stirred with the glory and strength of the wind than a horse? Not much, I say, and we could all use a little more of it. So go take a hike, literally, and take it anywhere in town or country or best of all city—walk in wondering awe at His creation all about you and breath deeply of cold wind. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oh – but Chocolate can overcome anything!


I love answering tags and I am deeply grateful to all who tag me—but my list of ones to answer was growing startlingly fast and whether they are fun to answer or not, I have only so much writing time. Hence, recently I decided I must retrench. I was retrenching...until this tag came along and Heidi convinced me to do it. I don't even feel half guilty about it because I feel that sharing about terrific stories is a very public minded task, and I totally love almost every single one of these books, so I can't wait to tell about them (besides which, the reveling in said stories is delicious fun)!

Dark Chocolate (a book that covers a dark topic): Slavery under the Romans, the life of a galley slave,  the state of being utterly unloved by any human heart: “Outcast” by Rosemary Sutcliff could not be much darker, yet strangely enough I love it very much.

White Chocolate (a light and humorous read: Most anything with Bertie Wooster. He is my hero, how could I not love anything about him?

Milk Chocolate (a book with a lot of hype you are dying to read): “A Bunny Christmas” by Rick Walton. I have not exactly heard a lot  of hype about this book, but I personally have been talking about this book a great deal of late so it will have to suffice. And what is this book? Only one of the cutest, coziest and most festive picture books ever, and if I ever have a baby you can give it to me—that is, if I don't get it before that time.


Caramel-filled Chocolate (a book that makes you feel gooey inside):  “Light of the Western Stars” by Zane Grey. What can I say? The heroine is cultured, feminine, and adventurous. The hero is a man of the wilderness, a superb horseman, intense and silent. Their story, set upon the mesas of early 1900's New Mexico is gripping and memorable, with a secret which, when first discovered, is quite startling and in after experiences never fails to give a little trill of excitement when Certain Events are happening.

Wafer-less Kit-Kat (a book that surprised you):  “The Talisman” by Sir Walter Scott. I procrastinated about reading this book longer than my honor will allow me to name and then (though mostly for the sake of Saladin) relished it greatly.

Snickers (a book you are going crazy about): Almost every book on this questionnaire might suffice, but I will go for “Shattered Summer” by Madeline Polland. (You can read my review here.) There is just something about this story that gets in my heartstrings.

Hot Chocolate with Mini-Marshmallows (a book you turn to for comfort): “A Tangled Web” by L. M. Montgomery. One of my Absolute. Favorite. Books. Ever. (As in book that I always read when I'm happy or ill or anything.)

A Box of Chocolates (a series with something for everyone): Cherry Ames... Nancy Drew... the Lord of the Rings. To quote the Queen of Hearts, “Take your choice.”
Do you like any of these stories?
If you would like to do it, hold yourself tagged... you can either answer it on your blog or in the comments!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Favorite Emma Personalities (Who I Don’t Think Quite Fit Their Character Roles)

Though every version of Emma has its good points (and interestingly enough I think every Emma did a wonderful job in her role!) this post was inspired by the feeling I am sometimes left with after viewing a film, to wit: in some cases loving the personality, but not feeling they fit the role or liking their rendition even better! Now let us proceed to the Emma films.


Harriet from the ’96 (Gwyneth Paltrow) version – I really like this Harriet as Harriet. Her rendition of the character is slightly different from the book (as she never gets extremely stuck up and unkind to Emma) and I like that. I also like how she never truly forgets Mr. Martin. 


Mrs. Weston from the ’09 version – She is not my ideal Mrs. Weston and, to my eye, her age appears too close to Emma’s to be her governess. Yet despite that, as a person I greatly like her and I think I would truly love to have her as a friend.


Mr. Knightley from the ’96 A&E version – Unlike the ‘72, ’96 and ’09 versions of Mr. Knightley, this Mr. Knightley is not quite how I imagine the character. However, I greatly enjoy picturing him in a different active historical fiction role such as Robert in Charlotte Bronte’s “Shirley” or even Mr. Thornton—and I relish watching him in this film just for that.

And now my absolutely favorite couple in any version of Emma…..


The ’96 A&E Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax!!! I hear a surprised murmuring…“Frank and Jane?” you say? “You mean the villain of the piece and Jane, who—though elegant—is not exactly the greatest?” and finally, “Why?”

First: in this version though Frank is rude to Jane he is mostly playing along with Emma instead of creating the entire scheme. (Not that that entirely changes things, but it makes a slight difference.)

Second: his appearance is very similar to Tom in Mansfield Park. I could say much more on that subject, but I will leave it for a review of MP. Suffice to say at the moment it is one of the greatest recommendations he could receive from me.

Finally: they fit so well together. He sincerely smiles and his eyes light up as he looks at her. Her face glows and she blossoms out whenever he is near. They are really so adorable together that I can hardly stand it and it is so utterly sweet, that I can—and do—watch the movie simply for them!

So…what do you think? Who plays your favorite character renditions in Emma?

Discovering Emma Week Tag

My sister Heidi’s long awaited Discovering Emma Week is now in progress! I can personally attest to the many hours and even days she worked diligently upon her schemes for the party, and I think everything is coming out beautifully, so do fly over and check it out! Here are my answers for the tag:


Have you ever read Emma?
No; however, I have listened to it I believe at least two or three times. Also, I am in the midst of reading through Miss Austen’s major works and currently am just one book away from Emma!


If so, is that how you first made her acquaintance? (If not, feel free to elaborate!)
I cannot recollect how I first met her, as it seems as if I have always known Jane Austen and her people!


Do you have a favorite film adaptation? 
I absolutely adore the ‘96 version! (You can read my review here). However, the ‘09 has many good points and I like the ’70’s in many ways as well... Hence, it is all very difficult to decide.


Favorite dress(es) from that film?
My favorite dress in the ‘96 version (and also my second favorite Regency dress!) is Emma’s lime green dress that she wears when the Eltons come to tea. However, her pink archery dress is also very lovely and I also really like her Box Hill dress and her ivory crossover-neckline gown with flowers sprinkled over it. I also love Harriet’s strawberry pink dress with white sleeves that she is wearing when she and Emma meet Mr. Martin. It’s so fresh and pretty!


Share a line you love from either the book or movie/s—several if you like!
Favorite movie lines are so hard as so much depends on countenance and voice, but…in the 70’s, Mr. John Knightley’s line about Mr. Elton. And oh, the scenes with Sir Nigel—I mean Mr. Knightley—and Mrs. Elton (from the 70’s) in both the scenes at Donwell Abbey (“What excursion?”) and Box Hill (with the insects). I can’t remember the exact lines, but I remember their expressions and oh, are they perfection!


Is Emma one of your favorite heroines? Why or why not?
Not exactly. It is not that I dislike her. It is just that we have never clicked so to speak, but I have not read the book and maybe if I did we would be better friends.


What is one of Emma’s strengths (good qualities)?
Her care for others which shows as—even with all her mistakes—she always has her friends best interests at heart. She simply needs direction.


Describe in one (or two…or three) sentences, why Mr. Knightley is so wonderful.
A confession: As a rule Mr. Knightley is not one of my favorite heroes. That being said, however, Jeremy Northam’s Mr. Knightley is my idea of near perfection. Why? His twinkle. I always fall for a twinkle. When a man has a twinkle it shows so much about him and this Mr. Knightley is one of my favorites. I also like the 70’s Mr. Knightley because—“Hey, it’s Sir Nigel from Robin Hood!” And what is even more diverting, is that once again he is wanting to marry a girl and move in on her estate. :)


Why do you think Mr. Knightley and Emma are so well suited to each other?
Because of their imperfections. :)


Would you rather spend a week in Highbury with the Westons—on Abbey-Mill Farm with the Martins—or in London with the John Knightleys?
My choice is between the John Knightleys or Abbey-Mill Farm. The Knightley’s would be a great deal of fun and London would give wonderful inspiration for my writing, but then…at Abbey-Mill Farm I would have the chance to work with draft horses. *happy sigh* Yes, I believe I would choose Abbey-Mill Farm.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chatterbox: Leaves of Maple

My offering for Rachel’s October Chatterbox, the theme of which is Maple Leaves. I absolutely love maple leaves and they have a very warm place in my heart; as does this sequence from “TSWL” (and which just happens to now be my second favorite thing I have recorded for Clarkson and Elise’s story). And that, friends, means I really like it.


“Strong as were the bands of their hope, all of Elise’s smiles could not hold it forever in its first rose hued flurry of bloom, and well she knew it. She found herself watching longer for the sight of the returning wanderer, his hands thrust deep into the pockets of the old grey woolen jacket, his gaze eagerly seeking the light of home. On this evening she stood in her usual place upon the step, one arm curving around the post. Weeks before it had been adorned with a twisting adornment of blossom, and every evening she had stood her heart waxing full with their sweet-scented magic, but now it held only the spidery memory of softer days. The sun was falling downward in a bronze sweep of crooked flame that washed the sea below the road, setting it momentary aflame with all the glories of the woods that rimmed the road before her. Finally he came, and her face, all unconsciously, lit rosily to greet him. But he was different, for his eyes were bent toward the far rolling spaces of the sea, and in his hands a glorious burnished mountain of crinkled maple leaves.
She met him outside the little garden, the gate swishing shut against the fullness of her hoops: “Clarkson,” she breathed and the word held all the question and assurance he could ask for.
His gaze snapping to her, the hopelessness within it was joined by the glow that was all for her, but she was not deceived.
“Clarkson, what is it?” she knew all too well what it was, but she must say the words—to speak against the pain, to assure him once again that she was ever there to help fight against it.
Looking out to sea once more he said: “We will have lived here a year, come this Christmas.”
“And we have had beautiful times, have we not, Clarkson? We are such a wonderful family.”
“Are we?” He looked down at her and both his look and voice haunted her. “Look at these leaves, Elise.” He held them toward her and she took them feeling their crackling between her own fingers as she did so. ‘When we came here they had not even begun to form, and now look, they have grown and fallen and died.”
Every word pierced her, but still she fought against the despair tingling within every word. “But they are still beautiful, feel their hard veins, and the sharp edges? They still have life to give. And Clarkson there will be other springs.”
“These leaves will be forgotten.” He looked outward again and she barely caught his whisper of, “Just as I have forgotten nigh twenty years of them.”
She flung herself forward, the leaves falling in a heedless shower about her. Grasping both his square brown hands in her own, she compelled his brown eyes to look down into her own.
“Have you, Clarkson? Or do they simply wait for their own Spring?”

Saturday, September 27, 2014

In the Fall of the year

Captured by the Word has not really seen much of my life of late except that connected to my writing, and, I’m happy with that.

via Pinterest

But I also have more and this summer has really been teaching that bit of me a great deal. For instance that things like sleep, green smoothies, horsey breath, dog cuddles, exercise, and prayer are most certainly not overrated. Yes, but most of all prayer, because with it you can indeed get up every two to three hours three nights in a row to take care of a dying kitty, and strangely enough the entire raw tear wrenching-ness of the experience makes the connection of prayer all the more sweet.

via Google

And really though I wish there was a less tragic way to learn that surety, it is still wonderful to know that heavenly lining. Another thing is that not only is He there in His Spirit, all about you, but almost always He has given us mortal beings physical comforts, for me they are the warm dusty scent of horse hair (I firmly believe that there are few better scents in this world), a siblings hug, or my comforters of old, the ones I would run to from my earliest memories when any sadness came to me, the dogs.

via Google

All our dogs are good at it, but the sweetest about it are the Labrador Bree –she’s the one we’ve had the longest – and the shepherd Rufus; his eyes are just so tender and sympathizing. For as Bloodthirsty Dave would say, dogs really do have a hearts as big as the isle of Japan, so never underestimate their sympathy.

via Google

Altogether this summer has had so many wonderful blessings, that even with the challenges and bitter pills to take, incredible though it feels to say it I feel that it’s been one of my favorites so far, I feel I know and feel so much more than I did a mere twelfth month ago. I have started a book I’m seriously planning on finishing. I have grown in my relationship with Windfola. I have met new people face to face and most particularly through blogging (something I have grown to very much enjoy!) I planted some beans and squash, that actually grew!  I discovered what I think may be my favorite flower, if there can be such a thing (Hello Black Eyed Susan Vine!)  I have grown closer both to my family and my Savior. And looking back on it everything He has ever gone through with me has always had something to learn from it.

via Google

And now summer is past. The nights are cooling, the leaves are drifting from the trees, golden rod and other golden flowers are thick along the back roads and altogether it’s the time that is perfect for discovering those gravel roads that are mere minutes from your driveway, but hold the wind of adventure. I’m starting to dream of cantering over the hills, of crackling sweeps of yellow and red leaved maple trees of the kind I knew in the NW, of travel in general to the places I used to live, of plaid riding tunics, and long sleeved dresses.

via Google

Perhaps this post has been a bit of a goodbye to this lovely summer, but it is more of a hello to fall. Because lovely things - and challenges – never stop ebbing and flowing, and I know that plaid dress and traveling or not, this season is going to be beautiful. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Beautiful People // Dr. Goldman

Introducing the central villain of the piece... Dr. Goldman. He is the worst villain I have yet plotting in any story of mine. Yet all the same I am deeply indebted him as—were it not for him—I would not even have this “They Searched Who Laughed” story to record.

What is their motive?
His own safety, for which he, ironically, ends up putting himself in a great deal of danger.

What do they want, and what are they prepared to do to get it?
He wants wealth so that he may be able to stop practicing medicine free of all encumbrances of money matters. To this end, he will literally stop at nothing.

How do they deal with conflict?
He avoids it whenever possible—if he cannot he becomes impatient with it.

Describe their current place of residence.
      “Rising she cast her eyes about her and noted where they had been forced to halt. It was directly in front of the most magnificent building upon the street in the form of a mansion of such great and noble diameter, that it might nearly have been mistaken for some wealthy senator's palace. Her spirit lightened, medical aid being nearer than she had before thought; for the palace was that of Dr. Goldman.”

If they were writing this story, how would it end?
If all had gone according to his plan I would not even be writing this story.

What habits, speech patterns, etc. are unique to them?
Except for his pointy mustache (a thing Elise is not likely to fault, concerning her Father's own magnificent specimen) there is nothing in the first perusal of his face or manners that one would be likely to fault. It is only when you have dealings with him that you start to know his coldness.

How do they show love? What do they like to do with/for people they love?
The greatest love he knows is for himself and money and his actions are in line with that.

Do they have any pets?
Perhaps a marmalade or white cat.

Where would they go to relax/think?
His study is where he premeditates some kinds of unthinkable evil, but the rest of it he thinks up on the fly.
 
What is their weapon of choice? (FYI: words, eyes/looks, and fists count as weapons, too.)
A fist or other blunt instrument applied in just the right place upon the head.

(For Sky and Cait's, September Beautiful People link-up)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Beautiful People // Elise

via Pinterest
This is J. Wheeler, Secretary again—to state that my employer, Éowyn, has been distracted from blogging of late by a multitude of simple daily pleasures such as playing tag with the warm summer weather, reading, stargazing and Thinking (the capital is her own). It was only with the greatest effort that I was able to remind her that indeed with this month drawing to a close also brings this month's Beautiful People link-up to a close. As she did not wish to miss these questions she has written out the answers and has now assigned me the task of posting them. The “Beautiful Person” in question is Elise, heroine of Éowyn and Arwen's current WIP, “They Searched Who Laughed”, and they both hope you have a lovely time meeting her. As always, Éowyn would like to extend her hearty thanks to Sky and Cait, the hostesses of this link-up.

Sincerely,
J. Wheeler, Secretary.

What does your character regret most in her life?
If there is one thing she regrets it is that—naturally quiet—over the years she has become even more so and now she is shy of showing what is in her heart. 

What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful?
Both of these are inexorably bound up with the Most Important Moment of the story, hence my lips are partly sealed, but I may say that they take place within a mere breathe of each-other, and that the memory of them is so vivid, that ever after Elise's heart skips a beat at the mere thought of them.

What majorly gets on your character's nerves?
Her nerves are greatly protected by her cool nature, hence, unless they are taut already from some peculiar happening, she really hardly has anything.

Do they act differently when they are around people opposed to being alone? If so, how?
Elise nearly always has a habitual manner (not of stupidity), but of a stillness—waiting for something wonderful to happen about her. Hence the only difference between the two is that when she is in company this is more marked.

What are their beliefs and superstitions?
She is a Christian and though sometimes whimsical, is not superstitious.

What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently? 
I am not exactly sure on this one yet, but as a general rule she is a person who brings peace to a situation, so if she does have a catchphrase it will be something upon that line.

Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?
In the terms of emotional fears, she simply ignores them, if they are physical ones she simply
does that which needs doing.

Do they have a good self image?
Though at times she fails her own ideal, what most peoples opinion may be of her does not affect her in the least.

Do they turn to people when they are upset, or do they isolate themselves?
She tells none her feelings unless asked. But then again, however reserved she might naturally be, she still has a dash of that passionate French blood in her veins.      

If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry?
I might laugh with happiness, and since her quiet manner is not unfriendly, I think we would get along quite well. She would tell me where I am getting her story right...and wrong...and especially, she would tell me all the itsy, bitsy details that I have yet to discover.

Éowyn's Note: In case you are putting the family together: this is indeed Eustace Rimwood's favorite niece! Actually, I think she is his only niece, but were he to have twenty, he would still admire her the most. Also, if you are wondering - J. Wheeler is a hypothetical character.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Asia Meets West

In which I present two things –

First... my new header and blog background! I am so happy—no, overjoyed is the better word—with this whole design. The action in the painting portrays almost exactly that to which I aspire, and the scenery—! What more need be said? It looks almost exactly like some of the land I saw on our travels to the western side of Yellowstone a couple summers ago and, though I dearly love nearly all the west, that place has remained particularly close to me. And someday, I hope we shall meet again.


Second... my “Around the World in 365 Days Challenge” tribute to Tibet and “Lost Horizon” and Asian art in general (as the drawing was inspired by the embroidery on my kimono).


Monday, June 30, 2014

Art Walk {Spring 2014}

I can easily spend an entire afternoon with my pencils and so here is a small collection of some of—though by no means all of—those artistic spring afternoons. All of the pictures have something I particularly like about them, either in the picture itself or the story behind it (I mean all pictures have stories, do they not?) Hence they are somewhat of a small gathering of this loveliest of Springs.


My very first piece of fan-art (and though the sketch is not perfect) it is of the two main characters in High Noon, which makes it perfect. Hence I cannot help but be very happy.


Brier Rose – Her very angular lines were great fun to draw.


The dress was inspired by a Pinterest photo, but the face is all her own. It was not exactly planned, but I love the rather foreign look she ended up with.


Ballerinas are incredibly fun to draw and I am most pleased with this one as, though she was first inspired by a photo, I drew her from memory.


This was inspired by a shockingly terrible book cover for “The Silver Chair” by C.S. Lewis—(Rillian with green hair? I think not)—and the art of Trina Schart Hyman, whose work I greatly admire.

Most of my drawing this year has actually been for letters and card fronts and here are two points that I really like about so doing. 1.) I like how I feel that a special part of me is goes with that letter to its destination and 2.) It makes me feel most creative and a wee bit as if I were Beatrix Potter.
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