Thursday, December 26, 2013

Beauties Blogging Books: Finis

Happy day after Christmas! I hope you and yours had as much joy celebrating the birth of our Savior as my family and I did, and that it was a holiday stuffed full of good memories.

Since my post last week, I finished The Looking Glass Wars, but not before I took a break on Sunday and read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. (If you haven't read it, you should get on that. Stat.  Three reasons why: 1. It's EXCELLENT. 2. It's being made into a movie next year, and I am a firm believer in the book before the movie. 3. It's EXCELLENT!)

Anyway, my journey with Alyss Heart has drawn to a close. I'm saddened, because it was a fun trip. There is something about mystically magical lands that may or may not exists with BA warriors and called off weddings that tickles my fancy. [Disclaimer: I do love weddings and would be mortified if I attended one that got interrupted, but in fictional circumstances, they're great.]

There were two particular scenes in this last portion of the book that I absolutely loved. The first comes when Alyss' tutor is trying to convince her that she IS capable of ruling Wonderland. He says, "Your imagination has not gone, Alyss, because there is nowhere it can go to. It is within you whether you like it or not." This was awesome. And really rather encouraging. Sometimes, during my pathetic attempts at writing my own stories, I feel as though my imagination abandons me. But it doesn't. It's always there. I just have to dig around and find it. My imagination will never go anywhere. It may get buried by the realities of life, but it's still there and I can call it forth at will. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. (If you haven't picked up on this yet, I'm a huge believer in an active imagination. I don't care how old you are. If you don't imagine things, I can't trust you.)

The second scene is when the Blue Caterpillar is having a chat with Alyss about the fact that she fled Wonderland at the beginning of the story. It is sometimes braver to run. "By running, you live to face further uncertainty and trouble...She who runs from her enemies until she has the strength to do otherwise is both brave and wise." Alyss didn't roll over and give up. She booked it out of there, not knowing what she was escaping too, only believing that it had to better than what she left. And it's true. When you escape from something, there is no way of being certain what you are going to. It is diving head first into the unknown, clinging to a shred of hope. If that's not courage, I don't know what is. Of course, there's the whole responsibility thing, and fleeing from that, but that's a whole different story. Alyss came back when needed and was willing to step up to the plate.

In conclusion, I rather enjoyed The Looking Glass Wars.

I'm not certain how far Clarissa is in her month with Emma, but if she still has a ways to go, I may consider blogging The Fault in Our Stars. Or I might just do that anyway, because it was so dang good.

Thanks for hanging out with me through this!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beauties Blogging Books: Wishing for Wonderland

Today I am continuing in my adventure with Clarissa of B+B. In this here second post of our book blogging adventure, I am pleased to inform you that I have more than twenty pages read for this chunk. Huzzah! Overall, I'm still loving the story, however there are some aspects that I think feel rushed and could have been fleshed out a little more. So that's a bit of a bummer.

Basically, what has happened thus far is that war has broken out in Wonderland and Alyss has leapt through a portal and landed in London (it's all very Disney's Enchanted if you ask me). It isn't long before she realizes that our home here on Earth actually kind of sucks. Nobody believes her tales about Wonderland, she isn't treated like a princess, and her powers of imaginations go AWOL. Suffice it to say Alyss is NOT a happy camper.

And who can blame her? If I were to go about telling tales of a fantastical land that can't possibly exist, everyone would think I'm crazy. (They also don't react well to my declarations of pretending to be a dragon when it's cold enough to see my breath, but I digress.) Nobody treats ME like a princess. My powers of imagination only exist on paper...and even then it's sporadic. Psh. I'm starting to wish I could pop through puddles into a magical land but, like Alyss, I'm stuck here and have to make the most of my situation.

More to the specifics of things I enjoyed while reading this week. An English prince falls in love with Alyss, which is bound to happen in these circumstances, and describes her as "a delectable puzzle of a creature". While I'm not certain how I feel about the whole "delectable" business, I found it a sentiment that accurately described the craziness that is most women, but still remained entirely tactful. Where are the non-fiction men like that? Do they even exist? He also describes her as an "uncommon commoner". Even after adjusting to the social customs and norms of England in the late 1800's, Alyss still stands out. She still longs for something more.

Like Alyss, I often find myself wishing for my own Wonderland.

That's about all I have for you this week, without going all English major on you and ranting about themes and development and symbolism. Don't forget to check out Clarissa's post this week!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Beauties Blogging Books: Queendoms and Imagination

My friend Clarissa over at Blunders and Blessings approached me a few weeks ago with a proposition to blog through a book with her during winter break. I agreed. She introduces us Beauties Blogging Books over on the B+B. If you don't feel like reading that whole post, I'll give you the Sparknotes version: We borrowed books from each other and are going to blog about them once a week through the month of December. The book I selected is The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. She's been talking it up to me for quite some time now, and I decided it was a good choice for this endeavor.

First, I'd like to start with a little disclaimer. I am all for strong, independent womanhood, and my opinions may possibly be taken as being of the feminist persuasion. They aren't. I just really appreciate a lot of what feminism stands for. However, I am more than anxious for the day when God brings the man into my life that I am going to marry, and will assume the role of a submissive wife with joy. Not a feminist. Just....independent...That may or may not come up during the course of this.

Second, I absolutely adore adaptations of literature. And I'm not talking adaptations of the fan fiction sort. I'm talking let's-take-this-story-from-a-different-perspective sort. For example, Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, and Roald Dahl's versions of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. So The Looking Glass Wars is right up my alley, as it is an adaption of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Third. My initial thoughts are that I like it. The first sentence opens the book with a flashback to a time when "bloodshed spattered the doorstep of every Wonderlander". Yes. My exceptionally morbid mind loved it. Also, Wonderland is a Queendom, not a Kingdom. The queen holds the power. I was a fan. (This is where my first point comes in...not feminist.) I'm also a huge fan of the importance of the imagination as an asset in the novel. The power of the imagination doesn't diminish with age--it is honed. The power of imagination seems to be the Queen's greatest asset in ruling her people. I'm loving it, because though I am 21, I haven't quite gotten over the power and magic that exists in a healthy imagination.

I really haven't gotten much farther than that, but hopefully I'll be a lot farther along the next time I write. I'll also be linking to B+B so you can enjoy Clarissa's take on Jane Austen's Emma. Go check out her first post here!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm a Mess

Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of your favorite holiday beverage. Get comfy. Because we're going to get real today. It's going to be messy, but it needs to happen.

When I changed the name of my blog to Daisies and Daydreams, I wrote about why I chose that and what it symbolized. You can read that post here. I mentioned how I thought daisies are a picture of how a young woman ought to be. Y'all, I was not that young woman this quarter. Far from it.

As you've probably gathered if you been here before, I don't handle disappointment and opposition well. I like things to fit neatly in a box with no muss, no fuss. I like knowing what to expect and being able to depend on things. In those instances, I can be daisy-like.

Of course, that's not what God had in store for me this quarter. This quarter was the antithesis of my ideal situation. I took a class that tried my patience every single day. No coherent lectures? Check. Insulting us as students? Check. Crossword puzzle midterm? Check. Group project? Check. One thing after another tried my type A personality, and I didn't like it.So I did what I usually do when I'm upset: I got grumpy and cynical.

I spent most of the class in a very angry mood, and I didn't care if he or anyone else knew it. No. I wanted him to know it. I rolled my eyes at every mention of the bell curve. I cringed at bar codes. I was neither forgiving nor understanding of the fact that he ran his class differently than I think it should have been. So I stewed in anger and bitterness for the past 10 weeks. I was not sweet. I was not optimistic. And I definitely wasn't overflowing with joy.

And I am ashamed.

This class was (you guessed it) another learning experience. Not of the academic sort, but of the life-lesson sort. I learned how NOT to handle something.  I didn't take it to the Lord in prayer. I didn't seek Him for peace, grace, guidance, or patience. I asked Him why. I prayed for a change in my professor when I should have asked for a change in myself.  I'm still a mess in need of her God, and His unending love and patience for me is overwhelming. That is cause for rejoicing and thankfulness. Each and every day.

Matthew 5:3-10 NIV
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are  the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.