Fairly Sensible

Once I’d been introduced to Jane Austen, it was all over for me. My Harlequin romances were no match for the build-up of longing and the working out of balance between passion and reasoning that Austen was a master of describing.

sense_sensibility_write31days_missindeedy

Sense and Sensibility was my favorite Austen novel.

Oh, the drama!

And I loved every word of it. Her books also allowed me to see the seedier side of human nature for what we can so easily be. The nasty words-whispered-in-secret-and-meant-to-hurt, nature. The looking-down-upon-one-another, nature. It stung to read myself in those situations.

In Sense and Sensibility, though, it was Elinor’s plight that touched me most deeply. Not only as the one with the most sense, but also as the one carrying the most responsibility.  She was a whiz at concealing her feelings, too, and I surely know how to do that.

Marianne’s inner warrings, on the other hand, also affected me. She was constantly delighted by the possibilities of life and I can relate. She was also a master of letting it all hang out – every blasted thought and feeling. I do that and I do it well.

Unfortunately.

Progress, not perfection. Amen?

 

It was, though, a line by Mrs. John Dashwood (vile woman) that stuck with me and proved to be a sad truth of human nature. A truth I’ve watched borne out by friends and family alike, not to mention myself.

“…for when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of anything better from them.”

As full of sunshine and unicorns as I can be, at heart, I’m pragmatic. Life has taught me that hope is vital, but realistic expectations help to keep hope from being crushed, altogether.

I picked this book up again, over the summer, in 3 different modern versions: The Three Weissmanns of Westport (by Cathleen Schine), Sense & Sensibility: A Novel (by Joanna Trollope), and Sass and Serendipity (by Jennifer Ziegler).

Here’s what I learned. No one holds a candle to Jane Austen’s ability to use plain language to express elaborate thoughts. Period.

Yes indeedy.

I’m a third of the way through my Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to visit all of the other writers going for it! If you missed any of my previous books in this series, click here. Or, click the little button below.

missindeedybooks31days2016

My Eyes Are Watching

Sophomore year of college was when I finally got serious about learning. For one thing, I wasn’t wearing rose-colored glasses anymore, and for another, my interests were diversifying beyond where to use my fake I.D. next. Also, I got over the hurdle of that pesky .33 GPA that miraculously showed up on my report card at the end of my freshman year. Apparently, studying was a thing.

One of the significant ways I grew was due to my exposure to some incredible literature. Like, truly great books. I read my first Jane Austen (yes, it took me that long to get to her). Soon after, Charlotte Bronte, Henry David Thoreau, and F. Scott Fitzgerald came roaring into my mind. As did Zora Neale Hurston.

Their Eyes Were Watching God sowed seeds in my heart.

theireyeswatchinggodmissindeedy31days

As a Floridian, Hurston tapped into the familiar for this girl. She also introduced me to dialogue. And dialect within dialogue.

Mind. Blown.

The closest I’d come to that was in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. And I didn’t have much use for the whippersnapper that was Huck.

But Janie? Now there was a woman who had thoughts I could identify with. While her beauty, as described by Hurston, was foreign to me, her desires weren’t.

I think I actually identified with a character for the first time while reading Their Eyes Were Watching God.

The following quote? It’s one of those that resonates soul deep.

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.”

Even at the ripe old age of nineteen, I had the awareness that dreams could be elusive.

And this book…well, my eyes are still watching for an author that spins a story using dialect and dialogue as powerfully as she did.

Yes indeedy.

If you missed any of the previous posts in my Best Books Ever series for the Write 31 Days challenge, click on the button below. What the heck is the Write 31 Days challenge? Click here for that.

missindeedybooks31days2016

Day 2 for Some Irreverent Reverie

Short on pages, but long on funny, The Sacred Diary… series by Adrian Plass  is one of my favorites. He writes with an honesty and wit that I had never read before picking up my first book of his (The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37 3/4).

31daysadrianplassmissindeedy

Responding to the news that a new couple that he didn’t particularly enjoy wasn’t going to be able to join their Bible-study group one particular evening, he writes:

“Isn’t it WONDERFUL when something that was going to happen even though you didn’t really want it to happen but you thought it ought to happen because it was right, doesn’t happen after all, and it’s not your fault?”

After reading the above quote, I realized this humor writer was for me for a couple of reasons.

  • His tongue-in-cheek way of reporting what really goes on in the hearts of many of us humans was spot on
  • His irreverent humor made me laugh
  • He was brutally honest
  • I identified with the range of emotions he portrayed Christians going through in a single train of thought
  • His family relationships made me laugh
  •  I walked away from each book taking myself a little less seriously and God much more so
  • And, he made me laugh

Now, these books are written by an author who is British. Some of the humor is very… British. But, the candid way he captures our foibles and follies is hilarious and brilliant.

And, he will make you laugh.

Missed yesterday’s Write 31 Days’ Day 1 post? No worries – click the little button below and you’ll be whisked there. Tomorrow, I’ll dive into a memoir.

missindeedybooks31days2016 

Top 31 Favorite Books (and Quotes)

Do you remember the first time you read a book that made you laugh till your sides hurt? I do. It was 1981 and I borrowed my babysitter’s copy of The Official Preppy Handbook. To this day, I hear the word “preppy” and laugh. Or see plaid. And laugh.

Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March (of Little Women) riveted me to the pages as I discovered bits of myself in each one of them. But mostly, Jo.

The first time I read the Bible cover to cover, I was stunned by hope. And shocked by how many mistakes we humans seem to make century after century without ever learning from them. And was genuinely amazed by Grace.

Laughter erupts as I read paragraph after paragraph in books by some of my favorite humor writers. Especially when I find myself in the pits.

Longing is never more defined than when I read a quote in a book that resonates soul deep. Is that true for you, too?

Fiction, non-fiction, biography, memoir… doesn’t matter much what kind of story I’m reading, as long as it’s a bound copy with pages I can inhale deeply from (it’s a thing), I’ll read it. Books are my go-to during times of stress, relaxation, and even in my search for writing inspiration. They are also a constant source of discussion for every social situation I’ve ever been in.

Books are cool that way.

While there have certainly been a few that I wish I could erase the reading of, the rest have each held a pearl of wisdom or joy for me. And. I know I’m not alone in this because I can post a picture of the latest pile of books I intend to read through and get instant feedback on every one of them. (Here was a recent pile –> )

bookpileaugust2016

This next 30 days, I’m searching for inspiration in some of my favorite books. I’m going to pull a quote from each one and share a thought or two about it. It’s my hope that you’ll read along and be touched, too. But, I said “31 Favorite Books (and Quotes), didn’t I? So, here we go with number 1.

♥ Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By fourth grade, I realized I was a little more wild and thinker-ish than your average bear. It made for difficulty making friends. I was thankful for the wildness that I found in Laura, as I read through this series. But, the quote that stayed with me year after year and gave me fortitude for feeling different as the years wore on, was the following:

“There’s no great loss without some small gain.”

It wasn’t until college that I really understood that being a bit more this or less that wasn’t a deal breaker for all friendships. It didn’t preclude you from relationships. And in fact, oftentimes, different drew deeply of the relationships that were formed and fostered. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder tapped into the spirit of adventure and wildness that I harbored in my heart. I’m forever grateful for that series in my young life.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m joining in the Write 31 Days challenge again this year. I’ve taken some time off to live and laugh and love and now it’s time to get writing. And spark some more creativity. What better way than to dive into some favorite books? Join me! 

missindeedybooks31days2016

Links to the series (updated daily):

Day 1 – Top 31 Favorite Books (and Quotes)

Day 2 for Some Irreverent Reverie

Day 3 Is Like a Walk in the…

Day 4 – In Which I Learned How to Read a Book

Day 5 – In the Pits

Day 6 – My Eyes are Watching

Day 7 – Oh the Humanity!

Day 8 – Quilting Isn’t My Thing, But…

Day 9 – Magnificently Defeated

Day 10 – Fairly Sensible

Day 11 – A Whale of a Tale

Day 12 – He Hits My Funny Bone

Day 13 – Just One of the Misfits

Day 14 – Me and Mrs. Who

Day 15 – Sound Familiar?

Day 16 – Passionate Fiction

Day 17 – An Hour of One’s Own

Day 18 – A Gift Indeed

Day 19 – In the Gap

Day 20 – For the Birds

Day 21 – Where Your Treasure Is

Day 22 – NO POST

Day 23 – Missed It By This Much

Day 24 – Can’t Handle the Tooth

Day 25 – Rooting for the Underdog

Day 26 – Outside Looking In

Day 27 – Through the Trees

Day 28 – It Seems Like It’s Disappearing

Day 29 – Please Just Don’t

Day 30 – NO POST

Day 31 – I’ll Tell You What’s So Amazing

Happy Reading!

If Grace Had an Instagram Feed

What would it look like, do you imagine?

If Grace, the actual I-died-so-you-could-be-loved-perfectly-forever, had an Insta feed, what pictures do you figure we could scroll through?

I have a few ideas. You must, too.

pexels-photo

I’m guessing Grace will get a kick out of posting pictures of my favorite snack foods with snappy captions like, “Devil Dogs in 2 easy steps!” or “Swiss Cake Rolls for Days!”. And Grace will use a beautiful filter on the pic and He’ll layer over the verse from Proverbs about all things in moderation and He’ll know… He’ll just know that I’m straining against the constraints of my diet and needing a pass for the cheat treat I just had.

I think one would probably have to be a picture of horses nuzzling on a beach with the caption, “Listen Missy, horses need love, too.” And Grace would know, He’d just know that I’d be reeled in by the beach scene. He’d know I couldn’t look away and that He could use my nemesis, as I’ve mentioned here and here and here and here, to remind me that I don’t get to decide who gets love and who doesn’t.

But I think one of my favorites would be a puppy pie pie (and it really wouldn’t matter what kind, as long as it wasn’t a hairless Chihuahua because, He would know that I just can’t even). And anyway, this puppy would be on a boat with it’s hair all wild in the wind, with the caption, “Dog Hair, Don’t Care” to remind me that even when the wind is whipping, He’s got this.

And I am absolutely certain that I’d see a picture of pigs flying. Can’t you just see it? Heavenly pigs winging through the air! And, of course, He’d know that I wouldn’t be able to resist seeing those animals flying and I would, of course, need to thoroughly examine the picture and investigate whether it was modified. And he’d use this one to remind me that Hope is alive and well and flying high, despite what it seems like in the world.

The one I won’t be able to stop liking, though, is the one Grace will put up of my Sweetman in a beach chair with a big ol’ pile of books stacked up in the sand next to him. Man. Candy. Mine. And Grace will just know that I’m needing a reminder (in that post-argumentative moment) of all that I love about That Man. And it’ll totes work, too.

Oh, but you just know that Grace will snap a pic of my sweetkids, at their very cutest of course, on a lake. Or, in a lake. And He’ll be sure that I’ll admire those stinkin’ cute kids while at the same time turning my nose up at the lake (because, Ocean). And I can imagine the caption would be something along the lines of, “Lake people are people too,” because He hears my every inner thought. Especially about lake lovers.

Because, I’m human. And, indeed, sometimes very human.

But Grace doesn’t worry about that.

He knows.

And loves me anyway.

I think I’d like that Insta feed. And I’d be scrolling through it all the live-long day.

And Grace would get all my likes.

Yes indeedy.

**My Instagram feed isn’t nearly as exciting, but in case you missed it, I do indeed have one. Click here to go there.**

Five Things I Learned in September

September heralds birthday-mania, in this family of mine. Soccer starts, summer ends, and generally, All The Busy-ness intrudes into every breathing space I’ve spent the summer cultivating in my soul. Every. Single. September.

But, looking back over the past month (I praise you, Lord, for ushering in October!), I’ve taken inventory of what is important and what can be let go of. Maybe it’s because I’m already tired of the tyranny of the urgent that shouts from day one of September. It could also be that I’m applying loads from our study over on Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies Or, it could just be the sugar talking (from the many pieces of cake I’ve consumed this month).

In any case, here are the five (most important) things I learned in September.

  1. There is still no such thing as too much cake. There is, however, such a thing as a scale to try to tell you otherwise. I can’t get over how much I love my people, so celebrating another year with each one of them was precious. This picture so perfectly captures one day of the celebrating. I feel the need to point out that four birthdays are represented in this picture. And that’s just the family birthdays! Family_Bdays_Missindeedy2.  When the subject line of my favorite online devotionals looks like this, twice in one day, I’d best pay attention. (And, because this topic was in the subject line of many devotionals and blog posts and conversations this month, you can bet my attention is rapt!)  Tongue_Trouble_Missindeedy3. Also, I learned that reading  is still my favorite thing to do. Most recently, I’ve read Every Little Thing by Deidra Riggs, Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Taming the To-Do List, by Glynnis Whitwer. All impacted me greatly. But, this one line from Every Little Thing has been banging around in my head for a week:  “Some seasons of life are like that, with each moment marking a small victory, primarily because we survived it.”  AMEN! EveryLittleThing_Missindeedy4. Sweetboy is old enough to “watch” Sweetgirl for an hour, now,  while I run out to the grocery store (or Target). However, Sweetgirl has dutifully informed us that her brother is a “Not-So-Great Babysitter”. Upon further questioning, we found out that this is because he will not play Princess Palace Pets with her.  We’ve realized her gifting does not lie in determining the quality of a babysitter.
  2. Lastly, (even though it says number 2, because even my computer won’t listen today!) I learned that friendships require time, but that time requires careful consideration. I’m pretty sure we all know that, of course. But, it was brought home to me when I started filling in all of the commitments that I had over the course of the month. I saw lots of lunches and breakfasts and coffees with lots of wonderful beautiful friends, but hardly any white space for my own soul to breathe on its own. Everyone in this household suffers when mama doesn’t have space for her soul to breathe. Anyone else? Now, this realization is going to take some thinking through because, friendships! But, for now, I see that I can’t sustain the pouring out without more time and space to fill up. 

There you have it. Try to contain your enthusiasm for all the sharing. If you’d like to read some far more fabulous lessons learned in September, head on over to Emily P. Freeman’s blog and check them out.

What did you learn last month?

Summer Lovin’

SummerLovin_Missindeedy

Pretty soon…

I have a puppy named Roscoe P. Coltrain to hug.

There’s a nephew with x’s all over his face to mark the spot where my kisses will go.

There’s a Nana to shop with.

And, an Ahab to walk the beach with and talk to.

A brother to hug.

A sister-in-law to love.

Childhood friends to visit.

Sand to wiggle my toes in and sunrises to peek at.

Books are waiting to be devoured.

Oh. The. Books!

A lighthouse to ride over to.

There are snorkels calling our names.

Fins are flipping in anticipation.

Jetties are waiting to be hopped over and fished on.

Manatees are waiting to be spied.

I hear that even the Puffer fish are holding their breath for our arrival.

Summer lovin’ starts super soon around here!

What are your plans for the summer? And more importantly, what are you reading this summer?