Summer Book List 2016

What could be more appealing in the hot hours of long summer days than a glass of lemonade and a book?

Here goes the Summer Book List for 2016:

  1. Lorna Doone – R.D. Blackmore
  2. Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton – Dale Ahlquist
  3. The Father’s Tale – Michael O’Brien
  4. A Landscape With Dragons – Michael O’Brien
  5. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
  6. As You Like It – William Shakespeare
  7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
  8. North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  9. Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott
  10. The Robe – Lloyd C. Douglas

1 Comment

Filed under books

When Going Out – The Magic of Dressing Well

Yesterday evening my sisters and I readied ourselves for an evening out, putting on pretty tops to go with an elegant, slim pair of dark jeans or a knee-length black skirt, fixing our hair, and adding a final spray of Sea-breeze scented perfume.

(To pause a moment for what may be a necessary note of clarification: though the title of this post is “When Going Out,” it refers not to dating and going out with… *ahem* a boy… but a general “going out” as in literally stepping out your door.)

What we were arranging ourselves for was to attend our youngest sister’s dance recital. balletThere was something special about getting dressed up for the occasion – though most of the people in attendance were wearing jeans and a t-shirt with maybe a zip-up sweater or a hoodie. But during intermission, from our vantage point in the audience, one lady in a flowing black dress and heels stood out. She was not show-offy or ostentatiously dressed – it was simple; yet it was beautiful and attractive, making her stand out in her elegance.

ladyA similar thing happened when I went to a children’s play production last week. The general impression of prominent clothing choices among the audience was jeans and hoodies, but one family walked in in their Sunday best. It didn’t seem out of place at all, but it placed a sense of value and excitement about what we were going to see – that this production was worth getting dressed up for. And this was even more evident during Tech Week (as backstage crew, I was able to get the behind-the-scenes perspective as well); in theatre of all things – with its long hours of rehearsal, its demand for flexible movement, and the naturally resulting desire for comfort – it’s tempting to just throw on your comfiest clothing. Being backstage, I found myself wearing whatever was loose-fitting and even balancing on the borderline of sloppy. Especially since the whole cast was wearing sweats or leggings and hoodies, I was only fitting in.e11115fe384ea99952f36ce7e27bb971

But among the cast, one of the older girls unfailingly came in a print dress or a tasteful skirt or jeans with a sophisticated blouse- the elegance of her attire matched the elegance of her smile, and the way she put care into what she wore was reflected in the way she put care into her attitude towards others. It took one smile from her to enchant the younger children, for her smile was charm itself and she simply exuded grace and elegance. She was prepossessing in an unassuming, cordial, and unpretentious way.

pretty dress

There is certainly an inherent value in putting some extra work into one’s appearance to look elegant and refined when one leaves the house. It’s incredible to think how much our outer appearance reflects our interior attitude – and it not only reflects, but also impacts it. And it’s also quite beautiful to think that simply by dressing with some extra care that reflects our femininity, we can bring joy into someone else’s day when they see us. Clothes can help us express ourselves – cheesy as the expression is – and they can inspire. Not because clothes in themselves have some transcendent quality about themselves, but because in our use of them we acknowledge the inextricable connection of our exterior and interior states. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and when we dress ourselves well, we are reminding others – and ourselves – that we are made in the image and likeness of God.

As Amy March, from Little Women, put it, “Let us be elegant or die!”

 

2 Comments

Filed under Clothes, femininity, Modesty

Cultivating Femininity Series

Jo_March

So what I’ve been dreaming up the in past while has been writing about femininity. It’s a topic that I think intrigues every girl, because, well – femininity is part of every girl’s identity. Even the tomboy desires and possesses certain feminine characteristics- such as the compassionate, impulsive heart of Jo March and the courageous, unselfish heart of Ocie Nash. It’s part of what makes them so beautiful and attractive to us.

Little girls play with dolls and have a general passion for pink, for ballet, and for tea parties and playing house. Many teen girls care about school, dances, make-up, clothes, how they will appear to boys their age, their conversations, their friendships. Older ladies talk about their children, their marriages, their jobs, how they can contribute to the lives of others and how others are affecting their own lives. I think the interests of girls at every age point to something deep inside them, at the centre of their hearts. It is a “richness of sensitivity, intuitiveness, generosity and fidelity.” (Pope JPII, Letter to Women, 1995)

Girls in the past used to be instructed by their mothers or governesses on how to be ladies. We see in stories such as Cinderella and the Twelve Dancing Princesses (at least, the Barbie version…) that fathers would even re-marry after their wives died simply to be able to provide a good model and instructor for their daughters, someone who would teach them how to act with grace and elegance.

flowersOver the past years, I’ve been trying to find ways to become more feminine. Sometimes I’ve been inspired by characters in book, movies, or history; other times, by girls’ blogs and yes, Pinterest boards too. But what I’ve looked for, and haven’t been able to find (yet!) is a blog dedicated to ideas all about simultaneously growing in holiness and in femininity. So I hope that through writing this Cultivating Femininity Series, I shall be able to meet readers and bloggers who are also interested in these topics and we shall have grand conversations via posts and the comment thread!:)

There’s so many ways to grow as a person and as a daughter of God, while learning about life, having fun, and pursuing holiness and ultimate sanctity. Now, with a little motivation and a good time, we can blog away, make friends, and work on our pathway to becoming saints!

1 Comment

Filed under femininity

Why Blithe?

This blog has undergone several title changes. Starting out as Birdsongs and Fairytales, then re-named Soaring High, and most currently called Blithe, each title has captured what this blog is going to be about.

So, why Blithe?

Because blithe means happy, or joyous. It brings to mind an innocence, a spirit full of genuine simplicity and pure happiness. When I hear the word blithe, I think of looking out at God’s creation and being filled with awe at the wonderfulness of it all. So I thought blithe would be a fitting name for this blog, because I hope it will be a place that will inspire both my readers and myself to become increasingly happier individuals everyday.

main_joy_0Joy is a virtue. Every Christian should be filled with joy and an appreciation of the people and creation around them in order to be a true Christian. We all have a special calling to bring happiness to others. And I think girls especially are endowed with the task of sowing joy into people’s lives.

I hope you will join me in this journey towards becoming blithe and joyful daughters of the King!

2 Comments

Filed under Blogging, femininity

A Fresh Start

Hello there!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. With the onset of college life, schoolwork, a myriad of essays and assignments, summers applying for jobs, family, and other things begging to be done, the years have slipped by and my posts have dwindled in frequency.

However, ideas for this blog have kept recurring, and I still have so much I wish to share. After all, when there is so much beauty, goodness, and truth bursting forth in this world, how can I help but try to capture it in words?

Most prominent on my mind has been the journey towards femininity. It takes true effort and dedication to become a lady, and to develop the grace and poise that is so captivating in a lady. So I would like to begin my journey in understanding who we are as girls and daughters of the King and how we may become more feminine and filled with grace.

I am excited to hear from all you lovely bloggers or readers who aspire to develop a true sense of femininity and elegance!

Leave a comment

Filed under femininity

Actually Finishing Something in July

Yesterday I came across this lovely challenge from Whisperings of the Pen blog, and even though it is already a week into July, I thought I would love to participate. Even though I am doing Camp NaNo, my enthusiasm for it is waning, so I believe this is just the ticket… a little extra motivation is in order! {especially taking into consideration my latest blog post…} So, thank you, Katie, for this marvelous idea!

realafsjavi

I’ll answer the questions from week one, since I am joining a bit late!

1. What is your writing goal?

50,000 words. No sweat. Jks.

2. Give us a short synopsis of your project.

Twelve kids find themselves magically transported to an island where they are chased by horrifying creatures, given a mission they know nothing about, and caught up in the preparations for a great battle. Their lives are in danger every moment of the day… But there is one way they can ensure safety from themselves: give in to the evil villains who are taking over the island and join their side. Or else, return home. Only they realize before long that getting home is impossible. They must choose…  stay safe and fight on the side of Evil… or stand for what is Good… and risk death?

3. How long have you been working on this project?

Since last year… it’s been somewhat of an on-and-off project. I’ve been brainstorming about it, but as for the actual writing, I did very little of it until this past week.

4. How often do you intend to write in order to reach your goal by August 1st?

Every single day and every spare moment I have!

5. Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this post.

Gregory is the oldest of the group. He is 19 or 20, tall, dark-haired and handsome, responsible, and caring. He is a little bit like a teen version of Aragorn. He loves little kids and has a funny side to him, and is really good at keeping people calm in extremely stressful situations. He thinks well under pressure.

Lilian is a dreamer and though she is feminine and enchanting in some ways, she is also a little bit of a nerd. She will write anywhere and everywhere, usually without heeding what other people think. She is caring and quickly notices how other people are feeling and can adjust her mood to theirs and tries to make them feel better. Though she is incredible with words on paper, when it comes to saying what she means instead of writing, she is awkward. Especially around boys.

Lettie is 7 or 8 years old, as girly as they come. But she also has a nose for adventure and a love for animals. Two of her favourite people are Gregory and her oldest sister Hazel. Her best friend is her pet wolf, which gets her into more than a handful of trouble.

6. Go to page 16 of your writing project. (or 6, 26, or 66) Share your favorite snippet of the page.

There was a creature unlike any she had ever seen before. A greenish brownish scaly shape larger than a full-grown man flew by in a moment, but in that brief amount of time, Lillian had noticed that it was wrinkled and terribly ugly. Its large feathery wings spanned at least her own height if not more.

She turned to the others in shock. Their wide eyes betrayed the horror and bewilderment they were feeling at the sight of the frightening creature.

It disappeared over the treetops in the woods. The kids turned to each other, still gaping. “What was that?” Lettie whimpered, clutching her older sister’s arm.

Gregory shook his head in disbelief. “I have no idea.”

 

7. Tea or Coffee?

Tea is unparalleled, in my mind!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Writing

Camp NaNo: the Novel-Saver for Procrastinators

When it comes to procrastination, I’ll be the first to admit that I am hopeless. Since I was 11, I have wanted to write, finish, and publish a novel and dreamed that by the time I was 20 or so, I would be a best-selling novelist, (don’t we all) renowned throughout the continent, and would have toured North America with reading tours and book signings, attended the movie premier of one of my books, and set up a career for myself as a full-time novelist. 

Well, it hasn’t happened yet… perhaps because it’s not quite so easy as I imagined it to be when I was 11. But perhaps also because I am an atrocious procrastinator.

And that is why Camp NaNo is my lifesaver. This is my third Camp, (and fourth or fifth time NaNo-ing overall) and I have been working on the same novel for all three of the Camps. This time, however, it is day 7 and I am still up to date with my word count. (My previous record has been 3,900 words- out of 40,000. Ouch.) I am striving to reach my word count of 50,000, which is ambitious; but I realized that if I don’t get it done this summer, I likely never will. 

Even if I fall behind, I am determined not to get discouraged. Even if it is a frugal count of two or three hundred, it is still worth writing something. 

This summer, I’m keeping myself optimistic and dedicated to writing- and finishing- this book.

Are you participating in Camp NaNo? How’s your experience so far? If you’re a procrastinator, is it making the writing process more motivating for you?

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Writing