Monday, January 28, 2013

Quotation of the Week

Today I'm starting the fourth and final week of teaching The Importance of Being Earnest at Brave Writer.  It's been such a blast to teach my favorite play of all time, and my students are eager to learn and quite prolific in their discussions both with me and with each other.

But I have learned a very important lesson this month: Do not teach two online classes concurrently while still homeschooling three boys and teaching a co-op class that requires a lot of grading. 

I can't tell you how many nights I've been up working until 3:00-4:00 in the morning since starting these classes on January 7. As much as I adore teaching, especially these two topics of Literary Analysis of my favorite play and a Family Grammar Workshop, it requires at least thirty hours in a day to do all of my jobs justice. As it is, I need to grade 20-some essays today for my co-op class, besides keeping up with all of Monday's posts for both Brave Writer courses.

At least I'm only teaching one online class in February: The Playing with Poetry Family Workshop. (It's nearly full, so if you and your kids would like to learn to write poems in several formats, now's the time to sign up; class begins a week from today, February 4.) So life should be a bit easier next month.

Anyway, back to The Importance of Being Earnest. One of our assignments is to chose Golden Lines, basically our favorite quotation from the play. Golden Lines assignments are included in several Brave Writer subscriptions, and it's always fun to see who chooses which lines as our class draws to a close.

I also made my choice of Golden Lines. Because this play is soooooo eminently quotable, it is extremely difficult to select only one line as a favorite. Yet my choice was quite simple after all since it's a quotation I find myself laughing over almost every time I hear the word "fiction."

As Cecily and Miss Prism discuss the merits of the ubiquitous three-volume novel near the beginning of Act II, Cecily asks about the ending of Miss Prism's novel, bewailing the fact that so many of these novels end happily as it "depresses [her] so much." And Miss Prism replies:
"The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means." 
~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act II

This line makes me shake my head in bemusement while laughing at the same time. I just love this misunderstanding of fiction; it amuses me to no end.

So it may be an off quotation to select for my Quotation of the Week, but I know that every time I peek at my blog and see this quotation in the sidebar as well as in this post, I'll be stifling a giggle.And when one is so very busy grading essays and teaching classes online, a witty line is a precious gift indeed.

Have a blessed week, everyone!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

Tonight is Twelfth Night...the last night of Christmastide. J and I just got home from a Twelfth Night celebration with the fine people of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity at Victoria House. We burned greenery in a metal tub in front of Victoria House as Father Acker prayed the Christmas Collects and then prayed that the Light of Christ would shine through our lives into the darkness and into others' lives. 

Then we gathered in Victoria House and enjoyed sherry and trifle and other goodies, celebrating the final night of Christmas.

Today's devotional from The High Calling is all about today, the Twelfth Day of Christmas:

Jan 5, 2013
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...
by Mark D. Roberts

[P]raise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe. Psalm 150:4
Today is the twelfth and last day of Christmas. For many of us, the notion of Christmas as a twelve-day season is quite foreign…except for the song. Almost all of us are familiar with "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and its collection of unusual gifts, including maids-a-milking, swans-a-swimming, gold rings, French Hens, Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a pear tree. According to the song, on the twelfth and final day of Christmas, the singers "true love" gave "twelve drummers drumming." 
You won't find any drummers in Scripture, at least not in most English translations. But you will find people dancing while playing timbrels (for example, Exodus 15:20). In fact, Psalm 150:4 calls God's people to praise him "with timbrel and dancing," or, as some translations prefer, "with tambourine and dance" (ESV). The Hebrew term behind "timbrel, tambourine" is tof, which was a small percussion instrument held and struck by one's hand. It was, in effect, a small drum.
Psalm 150 exhorts us to praise the Lord with all sorts of musical instruments: trumpet, harp, lyre, timbrel (tof), strings, pipe, and loud cymbals. The sense of the text is that we are to praise God with everything we have at our disposal. Thus, this is a fitting conclusion for our celebration of Christmas, which began with a great company of angels praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:13-14).
Praise is something we do, not only with our lips and our instruments, but also with our whole lives. You may recall that a few months ago we examined Ephesians 1:12, which says that we exist "for the praise of God's glory." We are alive for the purpose of praising God. But this does not mean we ought to put down our work and hurry to a worship service. On the contrary, we can and should praise God in all we do, including our work. So, if you happen to be a drummer, then by all means drum for God's glory. And if you happen to be a lawyer, then practice law for God's glory. And if you're a teacher, then teach for God's glory. And if you're a contractor, or a mother, or a banker, or a window washer, or…do it all for God's glory. 
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways do you live for God's praise? How might you praise God in your work? Your community? Your family? Your friendships? Your political activity? Your volunteer work? 
PRAYER: Lord, as we come to the end of the Christmas season, we end where we started…with praise. Today, we join the twelve drummers by praising you with all that you have given us. We offer our lives to you, so that we might exist for the praise of your glory. Amen. 

So as we celebrate the Twelfth Day of Christmastide and Twelfth Night tonight, may we worship the Light who shines through the darkness with the gift of salvation for all who believe.

A Joyous Twelfth Night to you and yours,

Friday, January 4, 2013

Books Read and Movies Watched in 2012


Books I Read in 2012

Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers (1937)
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers (1930)

The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark (2012)

Rilla of Ingleside by LM Montgomery (1921)

Rainbow Valley by LM Montgomery (1919)

Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery (1939)

Anne's House of Dreams by LM Montgomery (1917)

Anne of Windy Poplars by LM Montgomery (1936)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (2010)

Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery (1915)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)

Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery (1909)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)

Mansfield Revisited by Joan Aiken (1985)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (1999)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (1998)

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott (1866, 1995)

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (1596)

Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker by Syrie James (2010)

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James (2009)

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (2005)

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by JK Rowling (1997)

Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James (2011)


Movies I Watched in 2012

Tangled (2010)
Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) -- in theatres
The Hobbit, Part 1 (2012) -- in theatres
The Woman in Black (2012)
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Hunger Games (2012)
Castle, The Complete 2nd Season (2009)

The Artist (2011)
Lost Empires, Season 1 (1986)
Upstairs, Downstairs II, Season 1 (2010)
Stage Door (1937)
Sense and Sensibility (2008) (twice)
Jeeves and Wooster, Season 2 (1991)
Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (2011)
Jane Eyre (1987)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Jane Eyre (2006)
Water for Elephants (2011)
What a Girl Wants (2003)

Funny Face (1957)
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Jeeves and Wooster, Season 1 (1990)
Super 8 (2011)
Captain America (2011)
Roman Holiday (1953)
The Avengers (2012) - in theatres
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Carefree (1938) (Astaire and Rogers)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Casablanca (1942)
Titanic in 3-D (1997/2012) - in theatres
Roberta (1935) (Astaire & Rogers)
Downton Abbey: Season 2 (2011) (3 times)
Downton Abbey: Season 1 (2010) (3 times)
Castle: The Complete1st Season (2008)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)


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