April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding

Posted in England, Just Life at 2:20 am by catsinboxes

The alarm went off at 3:40 AM this morning, Christian radio blaring some up-beat rock song.  I lay in bed and groggily wondered why on earth I had decided to do this.  Then I crawled out of bed, switched off the alarm, and collapsed on the bed again.  I contemplated going straight back to sleep, but I had been designated the “waker-upper”, and I had work to do.  So, after a few minutes, I regretfully rolled out of bed and set about my work.  Feeling sympathetic for my fellow early-risers, I waited till about 3:55 to rouse them.  (4:00 was the designated time we had agreed upon.)

Now it’s 2:22 PM and I’m nursing a cup of strong coffee.  STRONG coffee.  Was it worth it?  I’d say definitely.  The pomp and circumstance, the formalities, the dresses (not to mention THE dress), the horse guards, royal carriages . . . so much excitement.  I loved watching William and Catherine née Kate.  They looked so happy, so excited.  I hope and pray that they will be blessed with a happy, lasting marriage.

At the same time, it made me think about marriage, and what a wedding symbolizes.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  A new life, a new beginning.  I don’t mean to downplay the wedding, but for William and Catherine this wasn’t the main theme.  Oh, certainly this marks a new period in their life together, a lot has changed, but there is nothing new in the relationship.  After all, the couple have all ready been living together.

So while I loved watching an event that is part of history, I reflected that there can be so much more to a wedding.  Despite all the beauty, all the excitement, this wedding did not celebrate purity.  Oh, it celebrated “happy ever after” and “true love” and beauty played a main role.  But think, how much more special would it have been, would it be, if more marriages celebrated purity?


April 28, 2011

Thoughts on Sense and Sensibility

Posted in Book Reviews, Jane Austen at 8:58 pm by catsinboxes

Background:  This post was written last Thanksgiving, but I never got around to posting it.  If you don’t like Jane Austen, you might as well stop reading right now.  This is definitely a post for Jane Austen enthusiasts!  

I just finished Sense and Sensibility.  Let it be said right now: I love Sense and Sensibility.  I love all of Jane Austen works, some in lesser degrees than others, but I especially love Sense and Sensibility.  Let me tell you why . . .

1.  Elinor Dashwood is my favorite Jane Austen character.  She has so much character, yet enough good sense to temper her feelings.

2.  Marianne is so . . . so . . . Marianne Dashwood.  She’s romantically inclined to say the least, and I love Jane Austen’s wry observations on her behavior.

3.  Edward Ferrars is tops.  He is such a nice character, that we can quite forgive him for becoming entagled with Lucy Steele.  Speaking of . . .

4.  Lucy Steele is the nastiest, most conniving creature of Jane Austen’s creations.  At least, that’s how I feel at the moment.  She is certainly the most developed, and oh how I detest the social-climbing, scheming, insincere lady.  Speaking of detestable creatures . . .

5.  Robert Ferrars, his mother, Fanny, and her husband John Dashwood all fit nicely into this category.  Lady Middleton is certainly insipid, so I can almost put her here.  I don’t think she would object since I am classing her with other “people of class.”

6.  Willougby, oh Willoughby!  Why can’t you look as charming as you really and truly were in the book?  You are such a cad, such a narcissist, such an egotistical self-centered wretch!  I can find a little bit of my heart to feel sympathy, but I will harden it again when I think of poor Eliza.  I will always think of you as a villain . . .


7.  Every time I read (or listen) to Sense and Sensibility, I am struck with how my feelings toward Mrs. Jennings and Sir John change.   At the beginning of the novel, they are so vulgar, so boisterously intolerable (these pictures disappointingly cannot do them justice in that respect), but by the end of the story one can appreciate that each possess a truly good heart.  And while I’m thinking of good hearts:

8.  Colonel Brandon does not change throughout the book, but he is so good.  Such a quiet, steadfast, suffering man.  I still prefer Edward . . . but I especially like Colonel Brandon’s friendship with Eleanor.  And he gets his girl in the end, even though he does insist upon wearing flannel!

9.  I’m afraid to leave Margaret and Mrs. Dashwood out . . . I like both of them.  Compared to Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Dashwood is a wonderful mother.  Margaret is not mentioned in the book, except for giving Mrs. Jennings and Sir John ammunition towards Eleanor, but she’s such a sweet character in the movies, that I’ll be kind and include her:

(I love this scene: enough to charm any big sister’s heart!  ~For those unfamiliar with the movie, Edward is giving Margaret a ride on his gorgeous black horse.)

I could easily think of a 10th thought concerning Sense and Sensibility, but I’ll conclude for now and go back to Thanksgiving preparations.  I’m listening to Pride and Prejudice now . . .  thoughts on that will be an upcoming post.

*All pictures are from Masterpiece Theater’s 2008 production of Sense and Sensibility.

April 27, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

Posted in Japan, Just Life, Theology/Christian life at 2:11 am by catsinboxes

March 11, 2011 . . . just another Friday.  On my way into work, checking my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed a link for a music video.  It was for a song called “Praise you in this storm.”  I listened to it, and I thought it was pretty good.

March 12, 2011 . . . Walking back to my host family’s apartment, I listen to the song again.  I really like it.

April 26, 2011 . . . So much going on my life, a lot of uncertainty.  While I work on this post, I listen to the song.  I’m grinning wryly because I used to be a bit of snob when it came to Christian music.  Looking back, over the past month, I can see where God has been working in my life.  I know He has a plan for my life, I know His plan is perfect, but I’m used to also having my own gameplan.  It’s not like that anymore.  I don’t know what next week will be like, where I will be in two weeks, but I know He is in control.  One verse that I love and that I often think of during this time is Philippians 4:6-7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

To be honest, right now part of me is screaming, “But God, I WANT to know what’s going on!”  But the other part is saying quietly, “God, you know my heart.  You know I’m not very happy, but I know that you are in control.  Please give me strength to praise and glorify you during this time.”  And so I pray, and I write, and I praise God during this “storm” in my life.

*Looking for the right video to post, I came upon this.  It’s hard to watch, but I thought it was right.

April 24, 2011

He Has Risen!

Posted in Theology/Christian life at 6:16 pm by catsinboxes

They were tired, they were scared.  Three days.  Three days ago it had happened.  It was unspeakable, unthinkable, and yet it had happened.  Their faces showed their pain, their bewilderment, their grief.  So many emotions, and all the time, trying to shut out the blackness, the memory of all that had occured. . . but then the empty tomb, the angels . . . the news.  He is not here, He has risen!

Those words hold so much meaning, but isn’t it easy to forget it?   I know it is for me.  It’s Easter!  Happy Easter, He Lives, He is Risen . . . my Savior lives.  I love the words, but I’m concerned with how easily I can let them wash over me.  I don’t want that to happen.  I don’t want to lose just what these words mean.

I try to think through the words.  I think of the context, like I tried to create above.  These were real people, and I try to grasp the realness of the events.  Living, breathing, hurting people . . . I wish I could see them as they realized the news.  Their Lord was risen! 

And it’s so personal, isn’t it?  Jesus took my sins.  He took my place and bore the wrath of God.  He died for me.  But He’s alive, He’s risen.  How can I not speak of this?  How can I not live my ALL for Him?  I thought today how ridiculous it would be to say to Jesus, “Yes, I know that you did all of that, and I’m very thankful, but I don’t have a lot of time.  I’ll do my best to read the Bible everyday, I’ll go to church, I’ll try to give you all of my Sunday . . .”  How horribly wrong is that?  But how easily I slip into that with a theological checklist.  And realizing this, I pray.  I pray that I would live for Him, for Him alone in everything.  And there is so much to live for:

He’s my King, my Savior.  He is my Risen Lord!  I’m going to close by sharing one of my favorite songs.  Enjoy it, and have a wonderful Easter Sunday.

April 19, 2011

Quite Random

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:43 am by catsinboxes

If this blog post title surprises you . . . it shouldn’t.  Really, once you consider for a moment, my blog is one long, random string of posts.  It all began with the name: Cats in Boxes.  It was a lovely, rather random phrase that “caught”.  Of course, there is a story behind that, but I’ll save  that explanation for another post.

So, here are three random things that are going through my mind.

~Dates, acts, amendments, treaties, ratifications . . . can you tell I’m studying history??

~When I look outside, I think about how I love spring, even though it’s taking a long time in coming.  Another 6-10 inches of snow are in the forecast; why can’t winter just give up?

~I’ve noticed that I sometimes experience an irrational discontentment that comes when I finish certain books that don’t have an immediate sequel.  Suddenly, all other books are not as desirable, and I find myself wishing for a book exactly like the book I have just finished.  Not an exactly nice habit, I’m working to change that!

Well, that’s all for now.  It’s not astonishing, it’s not brilliant, it’s not clever or witty.  Why do I feel like I’m describing Elizabeth Bennet?

I love Elizabeth Bennet, but that’s beside the point.  While this is a random post and I have deliberately not attempted to remedy the randomness, it is a start, and I’ll be blogging more soon!