Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Note About My Email Link

For those of you who have taken the time to email me recently, I want to apologize for not responding promptly!

Actually, I have stopped even checking that account, because apparently some spammers have gotten the address and have been flooding me with emails containing pornography and other disgusting material. Each email comes from a different address, so there is no way for me to block it all. Even the subject lines are horrible! My husband is going to help me come up with a solution to this problem, and then I am hopeful that I will be able to check and respond to my emails in peace:o) Thanks for your patience as we deal with this problem!

Just when I thought my week was busy enough...

This little character decided to move in with us!
Her name is Snuggles (much to my dad's chagrin), and she has a VERY hardy appetite. She still needs to complete her preliminary home-living course, learning the house guidelines for sanitary waste management. She also needs to learn that my pretty white coffee table and the electric cord to my sewing machine are not the proper tools for sharpening her already needle-pointed teeth. Once she remembers these things on a regular basis, she will graduate from the New Puppy Containment Program, which includes time spent in the above-pictured Bedlam Prevention Basket.

Friday, April 21, 2006

God is Good

My little sister, Ashley, is getting married in one week!:o) Here's what I'm thankful for today:

~My thoughtful, wonderful husband of almost three years.
~The time I'm now getting to spend with my sister before she marries and returns with her husband to their home in the north.
~That I will soon get to meet my new (and only) brother!
~The time we will have with grandparents and other extended family members over the next couple of weeks.
~The opportunities I am having because of this wedding to serve others and take my focus off of myself. (Yes...I often have to ACTIVELY attempt not to focus on myself! Pretty sad, I know! I'm not a natural giver. If I have anything to offer others, it's TRULY evidence of God's working through me:op)
~God's grace. Without Him...I don't know where I would be.

Blog-friends, please forgive me if I am a flakey poster and comment-responder over the next couple of weeks as I go through this busy time! Know that I REALLY appreciate when you take the time to share your thoughts with me, even when I don't directly respond. You all are a blessing!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Next Tuesday

Was this written for me today?


Starting next Tuesday I'm going to praise the Lord like gangbusters. That's when my meeting in Harrisburg is over and I can exhale. How wonderful it will be then, the white-knuckling behind me and the joy in Christ before me. For now, I need to worry.

I'm going to rejoice in the Lord, I really am, but I cannot rejoice today. Today, all sleep-deprived, my goal is just to muddle through till bedtime when I'll catch a solid eight and be in shape to "reign in life" tomorrow. [...]

I said to Jesus, "Help me trust in Your unfailing love." And then I sank again into morbidity, to hunker down until such time as He saw fit to answer me. No rush, I thought. He is the Lord. What can I do until He acts?

A friend objected to my piety. Not "Lord, help me to trust in You" (quoth he) but "Lord, I trust in You! Yea, by Your grace I trust in You!" There's something psychologically different here, my chastened soul took note: The first prayer has a pious sound but never gets around to business, letting me postpone the joy it seeks a month or two, the meanwhile dithering in unbelief while waiting for divinity to bring me 'round robotically. The second prayer enlists the mind and soul and will, no more defaulting into foolish thoughts of Tuesday next...

The Stuff of Life

What happens when a holiday weekend, a visit by a long-lost sister, and the days leading up to an important family wedding converge? Blogging suffers sorely, I'm afraid:o)

I hope you all had a special Easter holiday with your respective families! Micah and I enjoyed spending the day with my family this year.

Yesterday, the bride, my mom and I spent hours scavenging the stores for a respectable wedding trousseau. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the offerings this season. I love all the peasant skirts and beautiful feminine blouses! I tried on a bunch of things just for fun and ended up buying two shirts. Yes...I do sometimes have a momentary lapse of stalwartness concerning our budget. I guess we will eat a bit lighter this week, because the funds for that purchase came from our grocery/household category;o) After the wedding-related expenses we are currently paying have passed, Micah has agreed that I can have a "real" clothing budget to update my wardrobe a bit. I'm excited! He doesn't really care about clothes, but I'm going to make sure that part of it goes for his wardrobe too.

By the seems that we've skipped spring in Texas and gone straight to summer. It's been in the 90's* all week. Thankfully, though, the evenings are still relatively cool...perfect weather for our evening walks!

Just now I'm mostly happy and content with my life...although, as often happens, there is a fly in the ointment. I don't think it would be helpful to elaborate on what that is for me at this time, but I just wanted to mention it for honesty's sake. I value genuineness, and don't think it's helpful to act like I'm perfect or like my life is perfect at all times!

I am dealing with something difficult right now...something that made me want to stay in bed this morning and let myself be gloomy. Instead, I'm going to force myself to be useful and busy, in the knowledge that mopey "bumming around" isn't going to help me or anybody else:op I think I'm going to need some extra prayer time today, as well.

Right now I'm off to do some serious homemaking! We've inherited three much-needed bookshelves from my parents, and it's allowing me to really organize clothes, books, papers, etc., that were without a home before. I'm also going to try to make curtains for my kitchen out of an old bed skirt. Should be interesting!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Diets Don't Work and Balance Does

You all had great comments in my "Baby Steps" thread! Now I'm going to take the risk that you might be completely sick of the food topic, and just share a little bit of my history. Why am I worrying about and studying into this stuff so much?

I've never had problems with being overweight (though my weight fluctuates 5-10 lbs rather easily if I'm not careful). But when I was a teenager (Somewhere around 16), I decided that I didn't like my body the way it was. I joined a gym and started working out a lot. I also decided to try to follow a super-healthy diet. I don't even remember now where I got my information from, but somehow I decided that in order to be healthy I should cut out fat from my diet almost completely.

That was not a good idea! While I still occasionally allowed myself a bit of protein in the form of almond butter, egg whites, or lean chicken, my diet mostly consisted of grains and vegetables. I was essentially a vegetarian, with a few exceptions, and probably not eating enough of the protein substitutes and good fats that even vegetarians recommend.

I believe my misguided attempts at health were even more detrimental because of my age. Teenage girls need (good) fat in their diets! Everybody does, particularly women! I now believe that my diet contributed to messing up my inner balance (hormones, etc.) and made me more tired and less healthy than I had been previously. And while I did gain some nice muscle tone from working out, my diet didn't help me become as skinny as I thought I should be.

It's by God's grace that I didn't carry that nonsense a step further and become anorexic or something like some teenage girls do. Instead, I became somewhat depressed (hormonal imbalance, probably helped along by the diet!) and gave up on the whole thing.

That experience has helped me to see how dangerous dieting can be. But I also know how detrimental it is to eat the "typical American" way, and believe that I would easily become fat and flabby (and more tired than ever!) if I didn't make an effort to eat healthfully.

Hence, my foray into serious study of this subject. I want to create an "Eating Lifestyle" for my family that is fresh, balanced(!) and natural. I want to get rid of most of the foods that don't have any nutritious value (except that I'll still make desserts the good old-fashioned way from time to time!) and replace them with foods bursting with nutritious goodness. I definitely want to incorporate plenty of good and natural fats into our menus (olive oil, fresh meats and dairy products).

If I seem overly-ambitious about this thing...I probably am. It's my nature to be...let's say, "thorough" ;o) But I really appreciate your encouragement to find the balance here, too. There are other things in my life right now that warrant just as much or more attention than what we eat, and I can't become fixated on this one thing, ignoring things like the necessity of our budget, or other areas where my time should be spent. I thank God for my sweet, patient husband who reminds me again and again that he loves me whether I do everything perfectly or not:o)

I believe healthy eating is a worthy goal, and I will continue to pursue it. But I'll try to do so in little steps, instead of giant leaps that send me sprawling flat on my face:o)

Blog Techie Stuff: Pictures

A blog-friend and I are inquiring:

What are the etiquette rules and legalities concerning downloading pictures from the web? Also, what can we practically do (and where can we practically find pictures) to make sure that we are not violating any of them?

If you know the answer or know where we can find the answer, please pipe in! Thanks!:o)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Baby Steps

Update 2: I successfully resisted soda, even though the dinner I ate (shared a huge meat baked potato with Micah from our favorite bbq place) came with a FREE drink!:o) I couldn't resist sugar altogether, however, and had a bowl of "Cookies and Cream" ice cream later in the evening:o)

Update: The withdrawal is starting already! I had my last soda on Saturday, and I'm really, really craving one right now. A fizzy Dr. Pepper with lots of crushed ice. Can I drive past that gas station with the soda fountain? Will my determination and willpower win out???

I've done this before. I was off soda completely at one point for several months before I carelessly relapsed. According to my previous experience, if I can get past the first 2-3 weeks, my cravings will diminish and I won't even miss it.

As Carrie recently reminded me, taking Baby Steps (Seen "What about Bob", anyone?:o) is a good way to keep from getting overwhelmed. I'm not at all the type to take Baby Steps. I'm actually a Perfectionist Nut, so I tend to go overboard and get overwhelmed quite easily. Just ask my ever-patient husband.

Lately he's been patiently (if a bit warily) supporting me in my quest for healthy eating. He should have never let me study nutrition. I was blissfully ignorant--believing that we were healthy because we don't buy Twinkies and doughnuts and many convenience foods. But oh seems that just about anything you can buy at Walmart is decidedly not healthy. Anything that survives large corporate processing plants is, in fact, border-line toxic.

What happens if you let a Perfectionist Nut study nutrition? She decides that she should make all her own bread (out of whole grains, of course...but should she sprout the grains first? Is using a starter better than dry yeast?)

If she decides to make her own bread, then she should make her own crackers, too.

If she makes her own crackers, then she should also make her own cereal mix. (What does it benefit a woman to eat whole grain bread and crackers if she's still chomping on Fluffy Nothingness cereal?)

If she makes her own cereal, then she will need some real milk to put in it.

And if she's going to switch to using real milk, then she should also make her own yogurt, butter and cheese using quality ingredients instead of trusting her family's health to the commercial fake food entities.

And then there's the organic produce, organic free-range eggs, grain-fed organic meats and poultry, cold-pressed olive oil, raw honey...

Of course, you see where this is going:

Poor Micah is forced to interject some reality into my fantasy world. "Honey, making cheese...isn't that kind of involved?" "Raw milk costs how much?" Oh yeah, that's right...we do have a little thing called a budget. And making bread, cheese, yogurt and butter (not to mention the amount of time spent running between organic markets, dairies and farms) might tend to take a little bit of time out of my week.

Well, I'm not giving up on the whole idea! But perhaps Baby Steps is a good practice to implement right about now. Take it a little at a time and see what we can do. we should stop drinking soft drinks. I don't often taint my own refrigerator with soda, but I do find ample opportunities to get my fix away from home! (I guess ceasing the liquid sugar hits would be a logical step to take before deciding to spend $7 a gallon on raw milk, huh?)

So here it is...Baby Step 1: Soft Drink Elimination

Water shall be my first and foremost drink of choice (not too already is:o)

Henceforth, no soda shall ever pass my lips (I'm not setting the "ever" part in stone...just semi-hard concrete)

Diet soda is not an acceptable alternative (crudmuffin!)

Decaf. tea is fine (herbal teas are best)

I am allowed to treat myself occasionally with fruit-flavored sparkling waters or sparkling juices. Perhaps they're not super-nutritional either, but they give the "soda buzz" without the caffeine and with (some of them) less sugar. Most importantly, they're less easily acquired. I won't be able to get them at most of my former soda watering-holes:o)

I'll see if I can get this one down. Then I'll let you know about the cheese-making.

The joys of technology...

This morning, I spent 45 minutes writing a post that blogger then promptly lost as soon as I hit "Publish Post". Then it wouldn't even let me log back in to write a self-pity post! I'm not sure what happened there :o(

Anyway...I'm here, and I'll see if I have time to post something later. If not, I'll be back tomorrow! I'm now trying to limit my day-time blogging to about half an hour:o)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Two-Income World

I often hear that it's necessary for most families to have two incomes these days. I now know that's not true. Most families, with a little effort and work developing skills, can live on one income.

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things women pay other people to do, that we could learn to do ourselves if we had some time? In other words, are all these little conveniences worth your hours--your life?

Many women who work, work so that:

- they can pay other women to care for their children
- they can pay others to privately educate their children
- they can pay somebody else to clean their homes
- they can pay somebody else to bake their bread
- they can pay somebody else to make almost all of their meals (convenience foods)
- they can pay some company to both make and serve them their meals a few times a week (restaurants)
- they can pay someone to wash their car
- they can pay somebody else to mow and care for their lawn
- they can pay companies mucho bucks for the convenience of browsing through gleaming store aisles and buying mass-produced household products and decorating items so that their home can look just like everybody else's. (Rather than making or purchasing used one-of-a-kind items and fixing up).
- they can pay for the car to get to the job to pay for the car
- they can pay somebody else to press their husband's collared shirts
- they can pay someone else to file their income taxes
- they can pay other people and companies to entertain them in their few hours off each week (movies, events, entertainment venues).
- they can pay somebody else to cut hubby's and children's hair
- they can pay someone else to teach and help their children learn new skills, through various classes and extra-curricular activities
- they can pay for therapy for themselves, their marriage, or their children, because this crazy running-around lifestyle (from work to school to daycare to swimming lessons to the restaurant to the dry-cleaners to Pottery Barn to get that latest kitchen gadget they won't have time to use) is taking it's toll.

I'm sure the list could go on. Please understand that I'm not against conveniences or restaurants or women who use them! I like to eat out and buy something at a nice store now and then too. But it often comes to a place where families are literally working to pay other people to live their lives for them. And it doesn't have to be this way!

A couple more points:

Why is it fulfilling for millions of workers to spend their lives performing the above services for stressed and grumpy people they don't even know, and not for women who would do them for their own families? (Right, Becky?:o) I think it's pretty boring to do the same one thing over and over and over each day, but the homemaker gets a huge variety of tasks to perform! She can pursue whatever skills and interests she wants to that she thinks would benefit her family!

If a family isn't crazily running around all day long, they might actually have the time and energy to pursue mind-engaging activities, like reading! (I think I heard somewhere recently that 40-something% of adults haven't even cracked a book in the past year) Your children might have time to sleep. They might not get childhood obesity from being raised on fast food and watching TV three hours a night.

Best of all, the family that works and plays together, stays together. I would much rather have all day to work and learn with my future children than two hours a night to "luxuriate" together in utter exaustion.

Please don't take this post wrong if you're a working woman with a family and you like it that way. I'm not against you! I'm just sharing why I wouldn't choose to be you:o) And ladies...most of us do have choices, as long as we have the willingness to work hard and be creative! I recently read the blog of a woman whose husband makes $7.50 an hour and they're happy with five children and the wife at home. Now, obviously, that's not an easy situation. But I would rather be that woman than the wife in a wealthy family that never has time together. Isn't it wonderful to have choices?

Family Moments

My Sweet Hubby and I

Sisters are wonderful:o)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

We Need Our Elders

The other night, Micah and I visited a used bookstore. I soon found myself stuck in the antiquarian books section, studying high school year books from the 1920s and 30s. Looking at the school portraits, the first thing I noticed was that virtually every young woman sported the same hairdo. Furthermore, the glassy black and white pictures must have masked minor imperfections, because every girl looked like a model. Smooth skin, just-so hair, lovely smiles.

Old portraits don't give us much of a glimpse of real past lives. But flip towards the backs of the yearbooks, and you will find it. Pictures of animated young people playing sports, at a dance or party, making funny faces, sitting around talking. Captions on pictures that say goofy or nonsense things, and sometimes personal jokes or messages significant only to the people involved. It's a funny feeling to look at these old pictures, finding a connection to the youth and life portrayed there, and then to remember that these folks are probably either long-gone or extremely old. I wonder if their lives felt like a blip. And did things turn out the way they thought they would?

I was blessed to know some of my great-grandparents. One, a great-grandfather, is still living. Another set of great-grandparents enjoyed a 71-year long marriage and both went to be with the Lord during my college years. I always loved to hear their stories. These folks were my connection to history...WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, the end of the industrial era and the beginning of the technological age--they lived it all.

Great-Grandma could tell stories on her daughter, with a twinkle in her how Grandma fell into the, hole. She could tell about meeting Lucille Ball on a train when they were both teenagers. Lucille was planning to become a big star, and wanted Great-Grandma to join her. She could muse about her and Great-Grandpa's courting years, and their marriage when she was only 18 years old. She could laugh about her "flapper" phase the way I laugh about my horrible 80's and early-90's fashion statements. More than just a collection of antecdotes, however, Great-Grandma's long life as a simple farmwife and mother was a tribute to the love, joy and wisdom that comes from walking with God, and is a benediction to those who remember her.

When I studied at Oxford, I had a remarkable tutor by the name of Mr. Henry Lemay. He was quite elderly...I'm guessing in his eighties. During one session, Mr. Lemay began talking of his concerns about Islamic terrorism and the impending war with Iraq. "It is my fear," he said, "that Islamic terrorists will stop at nothing to destroy Israel and those of us who stand in their way. Think about the power they could command over their followers if they accomplished this?"

While I don't believe that Israel will be destroyed (according to Scripture), I was struck by the authenticity of Mr. Lemay's perspective. Here was not some politically-minded theorizer; some posturing dolt. Mr. Lemay had a historical context on which to base his point of view. He had lived through the ravages of WWII, and comprehended the power of evil. He had worked for Winston Churchhill, and so had a direct connection to the events and characters that contributed to that war. Should we newcomers suppose that we understand such things better? Have we advanced beyond the need to face true evil head-on?

It is fascinating to ponder history, and the ties that bind us to it. My own great-grandparents could have had heard first-hand accounts from their elderly acquaintances about the Civil War. Those elderly acquaintances could have (just-about!) heard tales of the Revolutionary war and the building of a young nation from those who saw it happen. We're not so disconnected from the past as we think. Neither are we so far advanced that we should disregard what the past has to teach us.

Elderly people--most now living quietly stuck away in nursing homes--are our connection to lessons of the past. What have they learned in their lives? Did they ever discover true peace and joy? What really matters, after all of the celebrated worldly accoutrements are stripped away, and they are left with nothing but memories and the certainty of a coming final rest? And how should WE then live, knowing that one day (not so far off) we will be there too?

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Last weekend, Micah, my sister and I went to an orchard and picked 4 lbs of strawberries. (If I had known how good they were, I would have insisted that we pick more!) I made this pie that same afternoon, and it was FABULOUS. The quality of the strawberries is what makes this pie, so NOW is the perfect time to gather fresh, in-season strawberries and enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Pie
(make ahead at least 3 hours)

1 ½ quarts (about 3 lbs) strawberries, hulled ( I also sliced mine)
1/2 - 1 c. sugar (1/2 c. was the perfect amount of sugar for my sweet freshly picked berries-maybe a little more would be needed for store-bought)
2 T. cornstarch
½ c. water
**Note: shake cornstarch and water together to prevent cornstarch from clumping
Red food coloring, if desired (Mine didn't need this)
1 (3oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 t. grated lemon rind
**Note: try adding 1-2 T confectioners sugar to cream cheese mixture
1 9” baked pie crust
Top with freshly whipped cream or Cool Whip & a Strawberry

Mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch in 2 qt. saucepan. Gradually stir in water and mashed strawberries (add 1 or 2 drops food color if deeper red color is desired). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; cool. Beat cream cheese, confectioners sugar and lemon zest until smooth; spread in pie crust.. Fill crust with remaining strawberries. Pour cooked & cooled strawberry mixture over top. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until set. Store covered in refrigerator.

Better Homes & Gardens Pie Crust
(as modified for Fresh Strawberry Pie)

1 ½ c. sifted all-purpose flour
½ t. salt
½ c. shortening
4-5 T cold water

Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with pastry blender till pieces are the size of small peas. (For extra tender pastry, cut in half the shortening till like cornmeal. Cut in remaining till like small peas.) Sprinkle 1 T. water over part of mixture. Gently toss with fork…push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form into a ball. Flatten on lightly floured surface by pressing with edge of hand 3 times across in both directions. Roll from center to edge till 1/8” thick.

To bake single-crust pie shells: Fit pastry into pie plate, trim ½ -1” beyond edge; fold under and flute edge by pressing dough with forefinger against wedge made of finger and thumb of other hand. Prick bottom and sides well with fork. Bake @ 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sense and Sensibility

Not many of my readers may be interested in one of my old college essays:o) But I was recently thinking about my study of Jane Austen--the subject of an entire tutorial (LOVED it!) as part of my English major--and was prompted to read through some of my old papers. This one demonstrates my angst when I read critical analyses of Austen and found the critics trying to advance THEIR own ideologies by superimposing motives onto Ms. Jane.

Is it being simplistic to suggest that Jane Austen was just writing about LIFE and didn't have any feminist (or male chauvinist) or political motives up her pen?

(If you do read this, please excuse the wordiness:oP This was written before I took my "style" course and learned that wordiness is NOT a virtue.)

What was Jane Austen thinking when she sat down to write Sense and Sensibility? To what purpose did she write? From what perspective was she writing? These questions are never directly addressed by the author herself, to general satisfaction, in the remaining records that we have of her. Because of this, many authors and literary critics have attempted to answer them for us, with, unsurprisingly, numerous different conclusions.

When attempting to analyze Sense and Sensibility, many have emphasized a broad societal context. Literature critic Duckworth’s impression of Jane Austen’s time is “...a period of social change in which ‘external structures’, social hierarchies, codes of behaviour, are under threat.” (Jones, 131) He bases his literary criticisms, therefore, on the authority of knowledge of Austen’s historical time-period. This view leads many scholars to view Austen’s works in light of various issues of the time – such as women’s rights - and to consider how she might have been attempting to address these issues through her writing. Whole studies have been accomplished on this pretext, seeking to unlock the mysteries of Austen’s authorial intent, by systematically examining and measuring the societal influences that Austen must have encountered in her culture.

Raymond Williams, in his book The Country and the City, describes early nineteenth century England as “ an acquisitive, high bourgeois society at the point of its most evident interlocking with an agrarian capitalism that is itself mediated by inherited titles and by the making of family names...The social confusions and contradictions of this complicated process are then the true source of many of the problems of human conduct and valuation, which is concerned with the transmission of wealth...”. Williams then goes on to characterize Austen’s novels as critiques of the results and character of a society controlled by materialistic concerns.

Marilyn Butler notes in her book Jane Austen and the War of Ideas that “...Technically, the striking thing about her novels is that indeed that they do not mention the French Revolution and barely allude to the Napoleonic Wars.” Many other critics have also observed that Austen did not choose to address overt politically charged events in her writing. There are varying degrees of puzzlement associated with this omission.

Feminist critique places Austen’s writing in yet another context: Gilbert and Gubar write in their book The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-century Literary Imagination, “Austen’s propriety is most apparent in the overt lessons she sets out to teach in all of her mature novels...Dramatizing the necessity of female submission for female survival, Austen’s story is especially flattering to male readers because it describes the taming not just of any woman but specifically of a rebellious, imaginative girl who is amorously mastered by a sensible man. No less than the blotter held over the manuscript on her writing desk, Austen’s cover story of the necessity for silence and submission reinforces women’s subordinate position in patriarchal culture...”

While all these various literary critiques make for interesting reading, they seem to dismiss the real reasons that might have prompted Jane Austen to write a book such as Sense and Sensibility. Austen was, after all, a very young, little-known woman at the time, without the immediate prospects of making a large sum of money through her effort. She did not have the inducement to attempt to please a certain audience. Might it be accepted, then, that she would probably be inspired to write of things dear to her own heart, and relevant to her own life experience? It seems very possible that she sought to record through her stories, simply her observances of the nature of life and people moving about in her daily world, mixed with some amount of wistful idealism. It seems likely that, instead of chasing broad-based controversial societal issues (or the modern perception of what should have been urgent issues), or introducing some grandiose ideology, Austen wrote according to her very own strong sense of personal belief and conviction. The messages in her stories are based on her personal creed for her life.

Marilyn Butler states that “The crucial action of her novels is in itself expressive of the conservative side in an active war of ideas.” (Butler, pg 294). Perhaps Austen was, in a very real way, contributing to the greater societal debates by putting out ideas that would later cause controversy and, consequently, become the subject of extensive examination. However, it can be argued that her writings were meant to be understood in a relatively simple and straightforward manner. Her perceptions, though acute and even profound, are clearly presented. She offers her world-view, concerning the nature of man, and the objective standards by which he should seek to live. She illustrates these beliefs in the lives of people, though fictional, who represent the types of people with whom she was personally acquainted, or who her imagination could readily bring to life.

This is not an anti-intellectual argument, to the contrary: it is a most reasonable explanation for what might compel a young woman such as Austen to create fiction novels. Being well-read and possessing a clear, fresh writing style, Austen herself was not anti-intellectual, and not opposed to promoting ideas. She certainly comments on her culture, and is sometimes most unsubtly critical of it. But her stories were probably not crafted with the precision of a neurosurgeon to incorporate all the tenets of certain complicated ideologies that critics now attribute to her. If, in actuality, they were...she was quite an expert in every philosophical study; a genius beyond what even the literary critics have yet acknowledged.

Looking for the Complementary

An interesting take on great literature. Jane Austen, anyone?

A man who leads and a woman who submits is one of the most romantic and heroic pictures of all. And deep down inside, feminists know this. Even our fallen culture reflects this. Look at what is considered "great" literature today. Look at the dime store novels that are considered romantic. Look at the movies. No truly romantic film involves the woman heroically saving the man. No work of great literature, from The Odyssey to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has the women saving the men, or even fighting alongside the men.

Feminists recognize this and cry about the “sexism” in literature, but they have yet to produce anything noteworthy of the other kind, because they know it wouldn’t sell. And the reason it wouldn’t sell is because when we look for heroes, we don’t look to watered down men and defeminized women. We don’t look for egalitarianism; we look for the complementary.

From "Looking for heroism in all the wrong places"

"Punitive measures" for stay-at-home mothers?

This is why...

A. I don't want to live in a socialist country.
B. Financial self-reliance = freedom and cradle-to-grave government dependency = bondage.
C. People and nations who focus on money over family will eventually lose their souls.

A Dutch politician suggested a "punitive measure" in order "to stimulate more women to join the workforce." Sharon Dijksma of the Dutch Labour Party wants to fine college-educated stay-at-home mothers. "A highly-educated woman who chooses to stay at home and not to work - that is destruction of capital," Dijksma said. "If you receive the benefit of an expensive education at the cost of society, you should not be allowed to throw away that knowledge unpunished."

Thanks to

Man + Women = Rigamarole?

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, why bother?

(Or, is true love about getting "what you want while minimizing the male-female rigamarole"?)