Saturday, October 30, 2010

I have finally joined Goodreads. . .

Here's my profile:

If you're on Goodreads, please add me as a friend!

Stay At Home Daughters Fellowship

I am very excited to share this with you all! Not long after I wrote this post, Meggie (Avonlea Dreamer) created this blog:
Please click here to read Meggie explain her vision for the blog.
I think this will be a wonderful way for SAHDs to fellowship and encourage each other. If you are: a girl of 15-30 who is living at home, learning and preparing to be a helpmeet and mother, let me encourage you to follow/comment/post/get involved. Generally, I strongly dislike the expression "get involved". It's always what people (especially at church) say when they want you to join in with something that is difficult, uncomfortable and inconvenient. Well, rest assured "getting involved" with Meggie's blog won't be any of those things! :-)

Elise is re-entering the blogosphere!

And boy, is it good to be back! It's been good to have this little break, but I've missed blogs and blogging just the same.

I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I read and appreciated every one of your comments. Thank you all so much for taking to the time to share your thoughts, encouragement, and personal testimonies. I was very blessed by all of your comments.

And now a question for you all: what would you like me to post about over these few weeks? Book reviews? Movies/period drama? Art? Music? Any suggestions? (And no, I haven't read that great big book yet, so I can't write the next "Top 15" posts just yet!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The burden of trying to please Man

Mariana by Marie Spartali Stillman

"So what are you going to 'do'?"

A familiar question to stay-at-home daughters in or approaching their late teens, frequently put to them by well-meaning friends and acquaintances.

I'm not good at talking, even at the best of times, and when posed by the above question, I almost invariably end up a red-faced, stuttering mess! The truth is, I know exactly what I want to "do" - have a home and a family of my own! But you can't just say that. The simple desire to be a wife and mother isn't acceptable - you also have to have some sort of a career, even if said "career" is just a farce, a pretext.


Family friend: "So you've finished school?"

Me: "Um, er, sort of. I'm still doing a bit of studying, and always reading, so I guess I'm still learning, you know, even if I have essentially finished school," *nervous laugh*.

FF: "Okay, so are you going to uni?"

Me: "Um, ah, well, not planning to at this stage. . . but there are lots of options available these days - for doing courses and uni degrees at home, by correspondence - especially with the internet, you know. . ."

FF: "Mm-hm, yeah that's true. So - have you decided what you're going to do yet?"

Me: "Um, ah, well. . ." *stutters and stammers, eventually subsiding to red-faced silence*.

A couple of hours later:

Me: Despairingly wonders what this person must think of me. Only losers stay at home with their parents after they've completed school, without going to university, or going to work, or going somewhere and doing something, right?


How do I convey to that person that I am busy, I am happy? I am learning and - I hope - contributing? I may be at home almost all the time, but I am not just sitting around at home doing nothing! I am (I pray) learning and maturing a little more everyday; and I am a contributing member of this mini-community of sorts, called a family?

But I can't seem to help it, I always find myself trying to fight back the insecurity and the doubts that gnaw at me because I am endeavouring to follow a different path than the world's way. Nearly every time someone asks "the question", I find myself battling all those doubts, all over again.

*Sighs*. . . Anyway, the whole point of this post is that last night, as I lay in bed, I was thinking about all this, and feeling terribly weighed down by it all. Then it hit me: Elise, you're worrying so much about what other people think of you! About what the world thinks of you! Stop worrying about something so stupid! God loves you and accepts you just as you are, so you don't need to worry about all this. You don't need to try to "prove" that you are mature or intelligent or an adult by going to university or pursuing a career. As long as your heart and your motives are pure in God's sight, you have nothing to worry about!

And it was amazing - I felt the weight lift right off me! I felt so free and happy.

Now if I can just keep that in mind (God loves and accepts you, who cares what the world thinks?) over the coming months and years - if I can only bear that in mind next time someone asks me "the question"!

I know quite a few of my readers are stay-at-home daughters - any hints or suggestions as to how to deal with those inevitable questions?

BTW, I am SO GRATEFUL for the internet as a means to "meet" and be friends with other young women who are in the same boat as I am - being a SAH daughter can seem a lonely path at times, it's so counter-cultural!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Phantom of the Opera's lavish Baroque-ness + loads of pictures

First off, let me say that I feel totally unqualified to write any POTO-related post! I haven't read the book, haven't seen the stage production. . . Fairly new to the phandom of the Phantom, I am just a girl who happened - quite by accident - upon a movie called "The Phantom of the Opera", and found myself being swept away!

Oh, and this will be a relatively brief post, unfortunately, because I don't have much time left to write it! I've been meaning to write a POTO-themed post all week, to join in with Alexandra's Phantom of the Opera week. Tonight came, and I panicked a bit, realising this was my last chance to write this post!! Fortunately America is a day behind Australia, otherwise I would already be too late!

[This post is rather image-heavy - I hope it doesn't take an awfully long time to load. . .]

~The Stunning Baroque Splendour of POTO~

I'm going through bit of a Baroque stage at the moment, especially after watching this excellent series. A couple of observations on The Baroque: it is more of a living entity than an art movement. And: the Baroque can be a bit silly at times, but at its best, it is extremely powerful - it grabs your attention, then sucks you into its vortex of drama (often melodrama), emotion, romance, and beauty. It isn't subtle, and it doesn't appeal to everyone, but if you ask me, there is an almost unequaled scale of power, passion, and human longing and emotion in the truly great Baroque works of art. Yes it's messy and over-the-top, but I love it for that! 

The Phantom of the Opera well and truly embraces that Baroque spirit, in the story, the music, the set design, costumes. . . you name it! And it is glorious to behold! Every element of this production - the colours, the textures, the music - everything melds together to create a most amazing experience. The word delirious comes to mind - a sort of dazzling, dizzying assault on the senses.















Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Dawn Treader trailer

My fellow Narniacs, have a look at the new international trailer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (if you haven't already!). It's much better than the original trailer, IMO.

I like! It's clear they have taken some liberties with the book, but overall, I think this looks pretty awesome. . . especially the sea serpent! :-D

Friday, October 1, 2010

Top Costume Drama Heroes: Part II

Right! Since writing this post ages ago (was it really only last year?), I have seen various new (for me) period films, and discovered many wonderful new heroes. Plus, there are several heroes who didn't make it into my original Top 10, but who deserve to be recognised!

So, without further ado. . . 

Top Costume Drama Heroes ~ Part the Second

(And I think there may even have to be a "Part the Third" sometime, too ;-)

The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982The Scarlet Pimpernel aka Lord Percy (Anthony Andrews - The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982) is sitting pretty with Henry Tilney at the top of my list of all-time favourite heroes! Lord Percy is awesome beyond awesomeness; his awesomeness defies description. (Yes that sentence is cringeworthy - forgive me, I'm an SP fangirl.) The ultimate superhero - the original "superhero" in fact - and the ultimate romantic hero. And guys, I still haven't gotten round to reading the books or watching the 1999 series, but I'm convinced Anthony Andrews (of SP 1982) will forever be the Scarlet Pimpernel, as far as I'm concerned.

Little DorritArthur Clennam (Matthew Macfadyen - Little Dorrit 2008) is a different kind of Dickensian hero. Many of Dickens' best-known heroes (think David Copperfield, Pip) tend to be young, earnest, and idealistic. Arthur is considerably older - approaching 40 - and has experienced great sadness and rejection. He has had almost no joy or light in his life. But in spite of all this, he remains tenderhearted and compassionate, rather than growing embittered with life and with others. A gem of a hero. 

The Princess BrideWestley aka The Man in Black aka The Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Elwes - The Princess Bride). Westley rivals Errol Flynn's Robin Hood and Anthony Andrews' Lord Percy for pure swashbuckling awesomeness. Westley epitomises courage and heroism. 'Nuff said.

Our Mutual FriendEugene Wrayburn (Paul McGann - Our Mutual Friend 1998). Eugene, Eugene! Not really a hero - more of an anti-hero. A troubled soul who comes good in the end. For the first 20-odd years of his life, Eugene is aimless, lazy, purposeless - until love jolts him out of his apathy. I'd always had a great deal of sympathy for Eugene, but I had never thought of him as being a truly - well, deserving hero. *SPOILER WARNING* I mean, his intentions towards Lizzie were undecided and potentially less than honourable. If he hadn't been bashed almost to death by Headstone, his relationship with Lizzie would probably have ended in shame and heartbreak. Well, I put all this to my blogging friend Lizzy, and her response was an interesting one! (See the comments section in linked post.) In the end - Eugene didn't deserve Lizzie's love, and he did not deserve to live happily ever after with her - but he did. He was undeserving, but he was redeemed by unconditional, selfless love. Sound familiar? :-) 

Our Mutual Friend

John Harmon's (Stephen Mackintosh - Our Mutual Friend 1998) and Bella Wilfer's romance is perhaps a little more conventional and predictable than Eugene and Lizzie's, but it is none the less beautiful. John Harmon is a wonderful hero - strong, patient, good-hearted, yet also with a vulnerable side that endears him to the reader/viewer. Stephen Mackintosh gave an excellent perfomance as John in OMF 1998.

Lord of the RingsFaramir! (David Wenham - The Two Towers/The Return of the King) I disclosed in my earlier post that I've always had a soft spot for Boromir - essentially the "tragic hero" of The Lord of the Rings (the fact that he was played in the films by the amazing Sean Bean doesn't hurt, either ;-). But Faramir certainly doesn't suffer by comparison with Boromir - in fact,  Faramir is arguably the more truly heroic of the two characters. Boromir is a great warrior and leader - strong, courageous, charismatic. Faramir is at heart a man of peace, not of war - though he still has courage and valour in bucketloads! And ultimately, he showed more true strength of character than his brother. Faramir's and Eowyn's romance is possibly one of my favourite love stories in literature. 

Emma - BeckinsaleMr. Knightley (Mark Strong - Emma 1996). Mr. Knightley (it is impossible to call him anything else; "George" doesn't sound right, and one daren't call him "Knightley" for fear of being thought an upstart, vulgar being) has legions of female admirers - indeed, he is probably Fitzwilliam Darcy's closest rival in the Most Universally Adored Jane Austen Hero stakes, and deservedly so. He is the nicest, kindest, most honourable. . . in fact, he's almost Mary Poppins-ian - er, practically perfect in every way. (Actually, I'm curious - can anyone think of any fault in Mr. Knightley's character?! If you can, please leave a comment!) I loved both both Jeremy's Northam's and Mark Strong's Mr. Knightleys. Jonny Lee Miller. . . hmm. . . yeah. . . maybe he'll grow on me. I still haven't re-watched Emma '09, so we'll see.

Lorna DooneJohn Ridd (Richard Coyle - Lorna Doone 2000). Gentle giant, and hero of R.D. Blackmore's epic Lorna Doone. Contrary to its title, Lorna Doone is really John Ridd's story - it's almost a coming-of-age tale, really. Richard Coyle's John differs considerably from the book's John - he is physically smaller (in the book he's a giant of a man, and a champion wrestler), and mentally quicker. However, he still captures the basic essence of John Ridd's character - a genuinely good, decent, big-hearted man.

Far From the Madding CrowdGabriel Oak (Nathaniel Parker - Far From the Madding Crowd 1998). Gabriel must surely win the prize for being the most patient, long-suffering hero in literature! He is infinitely kind and good; the only stupid thing he does in the entire story is fall in love with Bathsheba. Why, why, why?! Oh well. . . if Bathsheba Everdean is one of the silliest, most frustrating "heroines" in English literature, Gabriel has got to be one of the nicest, most amazing heroes. He also has the decided advantage of being in one of the very few Thomas Hardy novels that actually has a happy ending! So he gets the girl in the end - without either of them dying or committing murder or suicide or anything like that. I found Far From the Madding Crowd 1998 a frustrating story at times (if there's one famous 19th author I don't like, it's Thomas Hardy), but Gabriel makes it all worthwhile. And Nathaniel Parker. . . wow! :-D

The InheritanceJames Percy (Thomas Gibson - The Inheritance) Once again, the film and the book incarnations of this character are somewhat different. Thomas Gibson's James Percy in the 1997 TV movie is a dashing, handsome, lively young (well, young-ish) man. James Percy in the book (actually, he's referred to as Lord Percy - Louisa May Alcott's book, written when she was seventeen, is set in England at some indefinite period in the 18th or early 19th century) is "old" (35 or so), quiet, and plain. If anything, I think I prefer the book's version - he's such a lovely, Colonel Brandon-ish sort of character.


Whew! And that rounds out the sequel to my Top 10 Heroes post! This has been a fun post to write. . . I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did! 

Please share your thoughts on any or all of these characters in the comments section! Or tell me who some of your favourite costume drama heroes are, and why.