Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Gather Together

One of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns!

We Gather Together

We gather together
to ask the Lord's blessing;
he chastens and hastens
his will to make known.
The wicked oppressing
now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name,
he forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us,
our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining
his kingdom divine;
so from the beginning
the fight we were winning;
thou, Lord, wast at our side,
all glory be thine!

We all do extol thee,
thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still
our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation
escape tribulation;
thy name be ever praised!
O Lord, make us free!

Words: Nederlandtsch Gedencklanck; trans. by Theodore Baker
Music: 16th cent. Dutch melody; arr. by Edward Kremser (1838-1914)

Organ arrangement of the hymn:

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for! The thing I'm most thankful for is for God and His word. Here are scripture verses of thanksgiving, giving praise to the Lord!

"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms." - Psalm 95:1-2

"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving." - Psalm 69:30

"Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare." - Psalm 75:1

"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually." - 1 Chronicles 16: 8-11

"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD." - Psalm 116:17

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." - Philippians 4:6

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." - Colossians 3:17

"O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever." - Psalm 30:3-4, 12

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." - Ephesians 5:19-20

"Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." - Revelation 7:10

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." - Psalm 100

I pray that you with your family and friends are truly blessed today! May you stop for a moment and count some of the many blessings which the Lord given us. We have so much to be thankful for!

You's Very Truly,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Delightful Amanda Root

Ever since the first time I watched Persuasion (1995) I have become a big fan of actress Amanda Root who was perfectly delightful as Anne Elliot. I've enjoyed her appearances in other period dramas, each acted out with the same attention to detail and talent.

She was a very kind and encouraging teacher for Jane as Miss Temple in Jane Eyre (1996). Her Persuasion co-star actress Fiona Shaw (Mrs. Croft) was also in this adaptation as a very snooty Mrs. Reed.

As Mrs. Davilow she was a tender and thoughtful mother to Ramola Garai's Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda (2002).

A couple other appearances I had forgotten about:

In the BBC's 2002 miniseries The Forsyte Saga, and it's 2003 follow-up The Forsyte Saga: To Let, Ms. Root played a bit of a spoiled and frivilous young lady Winifred Forsyte-Dartie, fondly called Freddie by her spendthrift husband Monty.

Amanda Root also shone as Alice Hoschedé in The Impressionists (2006) alongside Richard Armitage who played Claude Monet. If I remember Alice and Claude were in love and lived together but never married. I don't recommend this miniseries but I found it interesting that she got to act with "Mr. Thornton"!

Now onto what made me think to do this post! I recently saw Ms. Root's appearances in two TV movies: Poirot: Mrs. McGinty's Dead and Midsomer Murders: A Talent For Life. She was lovely in both and I was able to get some screen captures from each.

In Mrs. McGinty's Dead Amanda played Sheila Rendell, a country doctor's wife who is quite a recluse, scatterbrained and nervy.

I really enjoyed this scene where Hercule Poirot is interviewing Mrs. Rendell. The lovely Amanda Root and the incomparable David Suchet - two of my favorite actors in the same scene!

She didn't have a huge appearance but she was delightful as always! In this scene burning letters to protect her husband's reputation.

She had a few lovely 1930's outfits, pretty curly hairstyles and a beautiful string of pearls! Sheila Rendell's husband is no Captain Wentworth though. It was so lovely to watch this film again, I had really forgotten Amanda's role in this mystery!

Oh, and I loved this scene from the end of the film, a young couple's blossoming romance to cheer the heart after a horrible murder. This scene reminded me of the below scene from Persuasion:

A sea Captain and his sweet lady! Lovely!

Lately I've been watching quite a few Midsomer Murders and I've been very surprised by the number of "period actors" who keep popping up in many of the episodes. I'm so used to seeing Amanda Root in period dramas that when she popped up in A Talent For Life I couldn't help but stare!

Ms. Root plays Ruth Scholey the wife of a chef who's husband is an extremely jealous and suspicious man. This episode was filmed in 1997 not too long after Persuasion and Ms. Root is as lovely as ever. I forgot how beautiful she actually is with her large dark eyes and gentle smile!

One scene I found particularly interesting was this shot of Ms. Root fixing her hair and make-up infront of her vanity because it reminded me of the below scene from Persuasion:

Darling Anne Elliot!

Another funny thing - James Hazeldine a former Mr. Weston from Emma (1996) played Ruth Scholey's old flame who re-enters her life after her husband is murdered.

Remember this very gallant father of Frank Churchill? He's probably my favorite Mr. Weston.

There was another actor who was in this particular Midsomer Murder and I didn't recognize him until halfway through the episode. Who is he? Philip Franks was the faithful and gentle servant Tom Pinch in Martin Chuzzlewit (if you've never see that miniseries it's highly recommend it!). It was funny because he turned out to be the murderer but I had this sense all through the episode that he was actually a really nice guy, obviously I was thinking of the Tom Pinch character!

She was lovely in this as always, though the character was not always the most forthcoming. I don't always recommend this modern murder mystery series but there are some interesting stories and characters.

Amanda Root is very versitile but most of her characters seem to have that underlying sweetness that comes from the actress's own personality in delivering the lines. Her smile is the loveliest and she carries herself with elegance. I hope to see Ms. Root in many other period dramas in future, she has a lot of talent and I just really enjoy her!

Thanks for bearing with me through this little ramble on one of my favorite actresses. Who are your favorite period actors and actresses?

Hope you're having a great week as we near Thanksgiving!

Very Truly Your's

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review: The White Flower

I'm not sure if I've ever done a book review on here before but this is definitely and old-fashioned story written by an old-fashioned author.

The White Flower by Grace Livingston Hill is the story of young Rachel Rainsford who all alone in the world since the death of her professor father. In an attempt to support herself she answers a newspaper ad to become an old lady's companion and begins her journey by train out west. Wealthy Chan Prescott sees Rachel's red hair and immediately recognizes her as the daughter of his old professor who inspired him to truth and excellence. Sitting quietly reading on the train Chan overhears Rachel's traveling companion selling Rachel to businessman Mr. Shillingsworth and submit her to "a fate worse than death". It is then that Chan makes his own plans to warn Rachel of the plan and get her off the train and to safety out of these evil men's grasp. They hop off the train at a remote location and the chase begins - hiding in trees, running through the countryside, jumping onto moving trains, and renting rooms from old ladies in farmhouses. Suspense abounds as the pair think their safe only to run into the bad guys and off they have to run again. But God is looking out for Rachel and her protector guiding them to safety and Chan to a saving knowledge of Himself.

What I most appreciated about Grace Livingston Hill is the purity and high spiritual ideals she writes both into her stories and her characters. In this book Rachel is a born-again believer who's very character breaths modesty, sweetness, kindness and purity. These are things that Chan loves about her, he sees right away in the way she dresses and conducts herself that she is different than other girls he's known, and he really appreciates that. She is a special lady and throughout the story she inspires in him a desire to be a man worthy of such a woman. To be a noble protector, loyal, kind and pure gentleman who she can trust. She also inspires in him a desire to "Live pure, right wrong, and follow the King" and to wear "the white flower of a blameless life". Another things about Ms. Hill's is that she always tried to include the salvation message and spiritual truths in her novels, which is a great blessing.

I loved the descriptions of different ways Rachel wore her hair and the 1930's clothes she wore. The way Ms. Hill writes it's so easy for the reader to see the picture she's painting of places and characters.

Another thing I enjoyed was Rachel's explanation to Chan about her Christian view of love and marriage, and why she would only marry the man God wanted her to. Below is an excerpt from Chapter 9 where Rachel is explaining:

"You see, this house we live in...This house of flesh is full of electrical currents, like the wiring of a house. That's how father explained it to me, and when we bring the wires together the current is bound to flash along the whole circuit. And we have no business to bring them together unless we really belong. That was why father objected to dancing. He said it gave license for too much personal contact, and young people especially were misled and took it for a deeper feeling. They thought it meant mind and spirit too, when it was only just the senses. And then when it was too late and they had spoiled their lives they found out it was only the flash deceiving them. He said that those feelings were meant to come after and add beauty and light and glory, just as the lighting system of a house is not the place we live in, but only an added beauty; a thing to rejoice in, but not a thing to shelter us. ...Mother used to say the light of the house were not for everybody to turn on. They are for the master's hand only. They are the crowning glory. She said that for anyone else it was uncleanness, impurity."

How does the story end? Very well, wrong is righted when Chan leaves vengeance to the Lord and chooses to follow Christ as his King! This is such a sweet and interesting story a bit like a mystery and the "romance" doesn't really happen until the very end of the story. I hightly recommend this books and other from Grace Livingston Hill. I'm afraid that his good Christian author has been forgotten in recent years.

Have you every read anything by Grace Livingston Hill? What did you think?
What have you been reading lately?

Your's Very Truly,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Guess Who's Birthday It Is!

Today when I went to Google I saw the above image and thought is was rather neat. The reason for the image? Apparently today was author Robert Louis Stevenson's 160th birthday! I thought it was pretty cool!

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburg, Scotland on November 16, 1850. My favorite of his works are Treasure Island and Kidnapped, I have very fond memories of my mom reading both of those books to my siblings and I when we were younger. But I must confess to not knowing very much about the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde beyond the simple story line. I have enjoyed his A Child's Garden of Verses and can quote a few of the poems from that. I found some interesting quotes by him:

"Absences are a good influence in love and keep it bright and delicate." - Robert Louis Stevenson
"You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving." - Robert Louis Stevenson

I found this photo of Stevenson's wife Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne Stevenson and thought she was rather lovely. They didn't have any children but were fairly happy it seems.

"Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer." - Robert Louis Stevenson
"Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others." - Robert Louis Stevenson

This is a painting of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife. It's rather a bold style! I love how he almost seems to be pacing the room "creating" in his mind!
"Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a poor substitute for life." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered." - Robert Louis Stevenson
"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"It's a pleasant thing to be young, and have ten toes." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"So long as we love, we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money, it is all profit, it completes our education, founds and fosters our friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any state of health." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Well, I got rather carried away with the quotes. He has some silly things to say but some of them are rather lovely or quite true. Thank you for taking some time to consider this famous author with me! Doesn't it just make you want to read Kidnapped? That was my favorite of his books.

Your's Very Truly,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Supporting Characters: Eleanor Tilney

Because I firmly believe it's not just the hero or heroine that makes a story great, I've been wanting to try a new series which will highlight some of my favorite supporting characters from some of my favorite books and period dramas. I'll start by limiting myself to one character per post and one character per book/movie adaptation.

I'd love it if this inspired others to do similar kinds of posts. And I'd really like some sort of discussion maybe about the character I present in a post.

So without further ado...

Miss Eleanor Tilney from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey

Ever since the first time I read Northanger Abbey it has been my favorite Jane Austen novel and Eleanor Tilney was placed on my favorite characters list! Have you met Miss Tilney? No?...well let me introduce you!

Eleanor is the youngest child and only girl in the Tilney family. She has two older brothers: army officer Captain Frederick Tilney, and the Reverend Henry Tilney. Her father is General Tilney who has had a brilliant military career and is now enjoying civilian life at his country home where he also dabbles in politics. Eleanor's mother was a Miss Drummond, a woman beloved by her family who died when Eleanor was a young teenager. After she finishing school in Bath Eleanor made her permanent home as mistress of Northanger Abbey where she resides with her father. Although she has a few close friends who she visits in her own neighborhood or in Bath, her best friend is by far her brother Henry lives 20 miles away in the village of Woodston and is a frequent visitor at the Abbey. Henry's kindness and humor are invaluable to her and they enjoy many of the same pastimes such as reading, art and music. Henry also has impeccable taste in muslins and can always be counted on to purchase the right fabric for a dress whenever Eleanor is unable to get to town herself.

Eleanor has a great sense of fashion. You will find a great many white gowns in her closet, and like many great ladies she makes many of her own gowns consulting the latest fashions. Her favorite fashion accessory is the strand of pearls which her dear mother left to her and she sometimes wears them in her hair for a different look.

"Miss Tilney had a good figure, a pretty face, and a very agreeable countenance; and her air, though it had not all the decided pretension, the resolute stylishness of Miss Thorpe’s, had more real elegance." - Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Chapter 8
In a word, Eleanor Tilney embodies the word elegance! She has good sense and good breading. She is neither shy nor affectively open and extravagant. Her emotions and affections are governed my moderation. She values people who are kind, honest and trustworthy like herself. This is why young Catherine Morland is so easily accepted and loved by Eleanor, she sees a good-natured honest heart in her - a heart that is beginning to love her brother. Eleanor is all sweetness and loveliness and she deserves all the happiness life has to offer.

And what an ending The Authoress has in store for her! Not only does Eleanor's unnamed beau put in the position of gaining the title of Viscount and a large income, but Eleanor herself is able to help persuade her father to let Henry marry Catherine Morland. I have no doubt that in her position of Vicountess, Eleanor shines and is beloved as she deserves!

Eleanor Tilney has been portrayed twice in film. In Northanger Abbey (1987) as a blond by actress Ingrid Lacey. But my favorite Eleanor appeared in Northanger Abbey (2007) with light brown hair, portrayed by lovely actress Catherine Walker. I love how she is portrayed as the confidant of her brother in that film, and more of a chaperon for Henry and Catherine as their "courting" is taking place.

Lovely, lovely Eleanor! How delightful you are! You are the kind of friend that every "Catherine Morland" should have! How I would love to delve more into your character and write your story (I even have a title for her story picked out)!

Have you ever gotten to know Miss Eleanor Tilney? Chapter 8 of the novel has a lovely description of her on her first meeting with Catherine. Who are you favorite supporting characters from Northanger Abbey?

I can't wait to post about another favorite supporting character soon!

Your's very truly,

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