Saturday, February 26, 2005

Mixing Nuts and Rocking Out!

There is something marvelous about headphones, DC Talk, and turning up the volume! I am sitting here compiling a column and I am having such a great time. I am actually having fun working and that does not always happen now does it!? :+) I remember how much I enjoy smiling and dancing and just, well rocking out! I love love love loud bumping music. DC Talk fits that bill marvelously. I *also* love 80's club music - I admit it! There is a radio station near us that is an 80's music-all-the-time station. When I am alone in my ultra-stylish minivan, I turn it up and return to the clubs of my early college days. Not the bad parts, mind you, but the fun dancing-man-I-am-so-skinny-can-eat-anything-because-I-dance-all-the-time days. I would like to return to that skinny part - how does one include 80's dance parties to the homeschool curriculum?! I would be the skinniest denim-wearing post-five babies homeschool mom on my block. Sigh... I can dream, right?!


I recently watched the interesting Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon. I have not read this 700 page work, but I might in light of the movie. I liked it for its amazing splendor - the hair and costumes are spectacular and the Indian influences throughout the movie are really lovely. It is a visual feast there is no doubt. The reality of the movie, the vanity of the main character - and many living at that time - was truly heartbreaking. I cannot really imagine myself living in this time - if you were not fabulously wealthy you were trying to be and the pressure to fit into the privileged set must have been enormous. What a desperate and morally bankrupt way to live! From this Christian's perspective the movie reveals a life completely absorbed in the world's goods and the never-ending desire for more. Becky Sharp, Witherspoon's character, is in a continual climb up the ladder at almost every expense.

So why watch it? Well, that is funny, it was just really spectacular in so many ways and it is hard to put a finger on. It is not because I desire to be Becky or to be in her position, but to hope for better and see the beauty of what a life worth living really is I guess. I mean sure, it would be nice to be gloriously beautiful and fabulously rich, but would that change me at the heart? Would that make *me* any different? Well, there is no real threat of the former and the latter, while possible, it is also highly unlikely we will ever come into great sums of money so I will have to content myself with imagination. Her choices would not ever be my choices. My husband is my true soul-mate, my children, my earthly treasures. I would not willingly part with them in any remote manner for all the world and the universe combined. She was willing to sacrifice so very much - and for what? Vanity! What a difference Christ makes in my life - it is a clear path that lays before me in every way and what a complex and murky way is the life without Him! What is the guide? Becky was her own guide and she found that the end of the road was not what she anticipated. Anyway, it was quite a movie - and I recommend it.


Another recent watch was Rudy, with Sean Astin. Based on a true story of a learning disabled young man with huge goals - almost unattainable really - that his family continually discourage him from attempting. It was really a big movie for me with regards to dreams and the power of the words we say to our children. I am not a person that tries to convince my children they cannot do something, but neither am I the one to encourage them to be or do anything either. I am a middle-of-the-roader I guess. If they were to express to me the passion that Rudy had, well then I would certainly be careful what I said in response! Is it wrong to be careful in what we encourage? I am not talking about things like going to college or becoming a doctor, I am talking about saying, "You can do **anything** you want!" Ought we to be careful before promising the world when it might not be deliverable? I would love your thoughts on this - I want to be careful either way - not to discourage either - it is so painful to be discouraged.

Anyway, it was a good thinking movie for me! Rudy was a devoted Notre Dame football fan and he was really not cut out for college - at least that is what everyone told him. I will not give anything away - it is a good viewing. :)


Northanger Abbey was a recent fly-through. I love to read Austen - it is harmless, fun, and romantic and my lighter side really appreciates it. I can get into a good theology book when I feel the compulsion, but man, I love an Austen novel! I came across this write-up of Northanger Abby and found it really well done so I thought I would share it with you as why redo a good write-up, right?

Northanger Abbey was written in 1798, although it was not published until after her death when it was compiled with her final novel, Persuasion. It is notable for being a fierce parody of the late 18th century Gothic style's fainting heroines, 'terror' (giving hints of something fantastic but dreadful, only to quash it later with mundane truth) and haunted medieval buildings. Austen targets with particular venom Ann Radcliffe's extremely popular The Mysteries of Udolpho and has her characters reading and mimicking it whilst the author undermines it at every opportunity. Austen's comparatively thin novel as good as destroyed Radcliffe's reputation for almost two centuries and the exciting gothic writ large of Udolpho is only now being reassessed. Northanger Abbey itself concerns a typical Austen heroine, the young Catherine Morland who is taken to the fashionable resort of Bath with the her friends the Allens. From there she travels to the eponymous medieval abbey, the seat of the Tilneys. As an impressionable girl, Catherine becomes obsessed with the possible atrocities going on at Northanger Abbey, inspired by Radcliffe's novel. As ever, Austen cannot resist injecting a little romance into proceedings and she puts Captain Tilney under the spell of the unpleasant, scheming Isabella Thorpe. The novel's central theme, common to Emma and Sense and Sensibility is the peril of confusing life and art: in this instance literature.

This same site has the book online for those of you who like that. It is a shorter book than her more famous ones, but it still has a good deal of spunk. It is a lesser work in my opinion, but enjoyable none-the-less! From my understanding it was also her first work, and in many ways that is easy to see. It is not as endearing a work to me as Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, but I recommend it anyway; after all, it is an Austen!

And speaking of Regency...

I am going to encourage my daughters (of which there are many so the chances are good one will go along with me...) to do a Regency wedding! This website is really neat! My mom can do these for us if we ask her to because, well, she can do anything with a sewing machine, and I mean ANYTHING. What fun and how beautiful my sweet girls will look when they are sweet women! I am SO glad I have many many years until then, but hey, it is fun to think about it - and even more fun to know I have so many years left. God is good!



Kim said...

I really enjoyed the movie Rudy, Kate. I thought it was pretty inspiring.

I saw the Reese Whitherspoon movie at the video store on friday. I didn't get it; have to save it for when hubby isn't around, since he's not a chick movie fan.

I just got a book written by Peter Leithart that is about the Christian elements in Austen's novels. I've yet to read it because I don't have all of Austen's novels. Don't have Persuasion. I'm hoping to get to them over the summer.

Bob and Claire said...

Kate, I'm Pilotmom's niece (and also on the WTM board), and I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy reading your blog. I also wanted to tell you that I finally got around to answering those questions you asked (same ones my aunt answered!)on my blog today! Have a great night!
AFwife Claire

Kim said...

I miss you Kate! Where have ya been?

Sherry said...

Read Vanity Fair. It's long, but worth it, in my opinion. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've heard they did a good job.