// reasons for eucharisteo, vol. 10 //

…Yeah, I’ve got no more excuses at this point. I haven’t posted one of these in four months. Oops.

This means that there will be a stunning lack of Christmas-centered joys in today’s list. I’ve been writing ’em all down, of course, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read 160 things on this blog post in order for me to be officially Caught Up. And, quite frankly, I don’t want to write them all in this one post either. So it’s very likely that you won’t be seeing any Christmas 2015 joys until about February 2016. 😛

All that being said– Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I might possibly do a Christmas post at some point; we shall see. But if I don’t, just know that I love all of you and am praying you have a very joyful, peaceful, festive, Merry Christmas!

330.) when an evening does not go the way you planned.

331.) everyone seems to catch the excitement of superhero movies.

332.) the ability to shop online– yay for the 21st century!

333.) that humans were able to record history, so we can learn from and enjoy it now.

334.) “on top of the world, on top of it all, trying to feel invincible…”

335.) when God gives me that crazy, wonderful peace.

336.) “I LOVE your story!” Every. Time.

337.) Praying. Trusting. Waiting. Repeat.

338.) Marvel movies with my writerly friend. {Aww, this was referring to AoU; feels like that was forever ago. Goodness.}

339.) hugging seniors goodbye. (bittersweet)

340.) watching others perform from the wings (before going onstage myself).

341.) He makes me brave.

342.) friends writing paragraphs in my yearbook.

343.) looking for + planting flowers for Mother’s Day.

344.) stopping by Starbucks on the way home from the AP exam.

345.) Matt’s role(s) in Cinderella.

346.) walking in the May sunshine with Mama.

347.) getting an A on a paper I slaved over three times.

348.) finally seeing why He closed a door– to leave another, better one open.

349.) summer stretching out before me like a lovely dream.

350.) Y’all– I’m a senior.

351.) ^and Matt’s a sixth grader. What.

352.) driving alone with the windows rolled down.

353.) black tea with almond milk.

354.) Holiday World Day with the family.

355.) turning up my car radio because I love this song.

356.) detailed, lengthy, lovely reactions to Ignite. {Update: I still haven’t edited it yet. Soon. I will. Once I finish my current story. Don’t look at me like that. I will.}

357.) being able to talk to a dear friend again.

358.) quiet, still mornings where dreams unfold.

359.) Mere Christianity. Phenomenal.

360.) reading lovely blogs.

361.) catching up on emails.

362.) my family’s caring for me after a surgery. {Especially Mom’s.}

363.) knowing in my heart where He wants me to go.

364.) always learning, always growing.

365.) there is always joy to find.

366.) anticipating a family vacation.

367.) over and over, He reminds me to fix my eyes on Him.

368.) this world is not my true home.

369.) anticipation of the beach.

370.) singing a praise song with Matt in the car.

371.) the weight lifted off my shoulders after an apology.

372.) He’s preparing us all for the real.

373.) the ocean breeze in my hair.

374.) waves lapping over my feet.

375.) drinking tea + coffee in the mornings with the whole family. {And by “whole” I mean the grandparents and the aunt. ‘Twas our first vacation all together and I loved getting to spend that time with them.}

376.) sitting out on the balcony with Jesus every morning.

377.) Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot.

378.) vacations with the grandparents + Aunt Laine.

379.) “in oceans deep my soul will rest in Your embrace”.

380.) spontaneous sleepovers.

381.) staying up until 4 a.m. to introduce Taylor to P&P ’95. {Worth. It.}

382.) typewriters.

383.) answering emails + comments + such.

384.) when someone I admire responds to my blog comment. 🙂

385.) the last entry of a journal– bittersweet.

386.) Dad is crazy selfless and I love him a lot.

387.) books that make me laugh.

388.) Christian concert with Dad + two dear friends.

389.) Pre-concert Chickfila. Because Chickfila.

…and now we’re nearing the end of summer, so I think I’ll stop there for today.

Have a wonderful week with your Christmas preparations and festivities and families!

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

// Philippians 2:5-11, ESV //

{love, Em}

// on “strong women” and embracing femininity //

stronger than you think

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the words “strong woman”?

Katniss? Agent Carter? Black Widow?

In other words, the independent-epic-sarcastic-beautiful-warrior type?

agent carter i know my value

black widow quotes

See, one thing I’ve noticed lately is that our media has been pushing this notion of a strong woman on us. She must be a fighter, she must be witty and sarcastic, she must be slightly dark and hardened– no pinks and sunshine and flowers for these girls– and above all else she must prove her equality (if not superiority) to all the men.

Which, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing those kinds of characters at all; I love my epic Marvel heroines. I love the warriors, for they’ve got that physical strength and skill that I don’t and I admire them for it.

What I do have a problem with is the notion that the above types of women  are the only ones considered “strong” by society right now. Since when is femininity considered a weakness? Why are the girls that embrace their girly-ness cast aside as “old-fashioned” and “boring”?

It’s a subtle occurrence, but it’s definitely there. I’ve noticed that as I come to admire the Agent Carters and Black Widows of the hero world, or the Elsas and Meridas of Disney Princess fame, or the Jo Marches and the Lizzy Bennets in their outspoken determination… I’ve started to see other characters as less interesting, less “strong”.

Which is absolutely not okay.

Strength is not limited to physical ability. It is not limited to extroversion. It is not limited to defiance of authority and gender norms. There are so many forms of strength that the media barely touches on.

Most people wouldn’t stop to consider Ella (Cinderella 2015) as “strong”; she’s very girly and sweet and “all she does is go to a ball and meet a prince” and “why didn’t she just run away from the stepmother and stepsisters years ago?!“. But her heart? That’s one of the strongest hearts I’ve ever seen. She is kind even when others are mean– especially then. She is innocent and pure (something our world has utterly rejected and which should be valued WAY more, but that’s a topic for another post). She forgives her stepmother even when the woman makes no moves to apologize, and then she moves on towards better things. She has a servant’s heart and stays in her family’s home when she no doubt could have left years ago (and wouldn’t have been faulted for doing so). She’s filled with light and hope, holding on to her dreams, her love, even when her world falls apart. She is selfless and joyful– and someone whom I deeply admire. In this broken, jaded world, kindness and purity is such a strength because it’s the exact opposite of what human nature cries out for. It’s the unexpected strength. Ella is the type of person who, if she really existed, would be a Christ-lover and light-shiner. And it’s absolutely beautiful.

cinderella - kindness has power

cinderella - do not let the world make you hard

Who is to say that we can’t be feminine and strong simultaneously? Just look at Lady Sybil Crawley (Downton Abbey)– she wore pants *gasps*, snuck out to suffragette rallies *gasps*, treated servants as friends *gasps*, married the chauffeur *gasps*, and went to work as a nurse during the First World War *faints from all the sarcastic gasping*. And yes, she’s admired for her bravery and independence and progressive views– but honestly none of that would even matter if it weren’t for her kind heart and generous spirit. Without her caring for other people, she wouldn’t even be called into nursing or able to treat everyone as an equal regardless of status. Plus, have you SEEN Sybil? She’s gorgeous and has the best fashion sense. And drinks tea. And she becomes a wife and mother too. And I have no doubt that she can and will defend herself if needed, but I’ve never actually seen her physically fight anyone. Her preferred method of fighting is following her caring heart no matter what the rest of the world says. And that’s where her real strength lies.

sybil feeling useless

sybil quotesss

To give a real-life example: Kara Tippetts, by the world’s standards, wouldn’t be considered “strong” either. How could she, when her body literally destroyed itself?
I DARE you to say she was weak in front of her husband and kids and many friends. (Warning: don’t even try it.)
Sure, she chose a traditional path of being a stay-at-home mom. She didn’t overthrow any governments. She wasn’t a bra-burning feminist. She wrote beautiful things and walked with the Lord and shared as much grace and joy and love as she could. Oh yeah, and she also lived intentionally and loved well and trusted God throughout her battle with cancer.
That’s the thing– no, she wasn’t physically strong, quite the opposite actually, but this woman was spiritually stronger than I am. She wrote about God’s goodness even as she knew she was dying in her thirties and her young family was grieving for her.
Kara Tippetts had the strength to admit she was weak. She had the strength to admit she couldn’t do it on her own. She had the strength to trust in the Lord with all her heart. And this, perhaps, is arguably the greatest strength of all– for a believer at least.

kara tippetts

suffering is not the absence of goodness

There are so many other strong women I could point out, but that would take forever so I shan’t. 😛 Instead I’ll move on to the next point: Strength is not a personality type. Remember the quote from the Incredibles, “If everyone’s super, no one will be”? If everyone’s that stereotypical “strong woman”, no one will be. If everyone tries to be “different”, then in that differentness we all end up the same anyway. Which is boring. 😛

We need ALL types of women in this world, in fiction and reality, and each of them have their own unique strengths. It’s like the body of Christ– “many parts, but one body”. We are all one body of women; God designed us to be more caring, more emotional. He designed the men to be more protective and chivalrous, the ones who provide for their households. Are we equal to men? Yes, of course! But we are not the same as men. There is a difference: we are girls. It is not our purpose to do everything a man does. And when we label one type of woman as “strong” and discourage our inherent femininity and caring nature, we are actually going against God’s design for us.

That being said, though we all share certain characteristics that make up womanhood, there is not one type of God-designed woman (clearly). Each of us are needed to play our unique parts and balance each other out. The Black Widows of the world are needed– and so are the Ellas. We need the champions of social justice and the ones who serve others. We need the extroverts and the introverts and the ambiverts. We need the athletes and the bookworms and those who are both or neither. We need the girly-girls and the tomboys and those who are somewhere in between.

All that to say– there are far too many women out there, in literature and in reality, who have been overlooked as “weak” when they’re actually every bit as strong as the others.

Because you know what?

Every girl is a heroine in her own story. Let’s never forget that.

Be authentically you, and you’ll find that you’re a strong woman in your own right.

{love always, Em}

// “the way to fairyland” – l.m. montgomery tag //

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 141st Birthday

…Because it’s her birthday today, and because Eva (of Coffee, Classics, and Craziness) is hosting a Montgomery Week this week and I’m quite excited about it.

Lucy Maud Montgomery is one of my favorite authors of all time– her writing is so beautiful and hilarious all in one, and her characters and stories are just… agh. I could ramble on and on about how much I love them, but I figure I’ll save that for the actual tag questions. 😉

Without further ado…

  • How did you first discover LMM’s books?

Well, my Grandmommy (who is always bringing me lovely new reading material) got a few paperback copies for me once– I’m wanting to say I was in fifth or sixth grade? It feels like forever ago. The first few I ever owned and read– and immediately fell in love with, naturally– were Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, and Rilla of Ingleside. (I had read a version of Anne of Green Gables as a child, of course, but didn’t grow to love Anne until I got to read the above three.)

  • What’s your favorite LMM book? 

How can I possibly pick just one? The idea is inconceivable! I do have a soft spot in my heart for Rilla of Ingleside– it’s the one I’ve read the most, I believe– and I just love it. Rilla, Susan, little Jims, Walter (WALTER.), Dog Monday, Gertrude Oliver… AGH. Plus, it’s set during WWI– I’ve learned more about the war in that one book than I ever have in school. Just sayin’. Right now I also love reading Anne of the Island because it’s set in the season of life that I’m just now getting into– college adventures and all. Can I live in Patty’s Place when I head off to school, please? Ooh, and The Blue Castle– I just finished that one last week, and it’s definitely a new favorite. I LOVED IT. Valancy Stirling is amazing. So is Barney Snaith. And even Roaring Abel is cool.

  • What’s your least favorite LMM book?

I would probably have to say the Emily of New Moon series is my least favorite. Montgomery’s writing is splendid and delightful as usual; I just didn’t like Emily very much at all. Honestly, I would’ve enjoyed it more had it been from Ilse’s point of view. 😛 It’s rather difficult to enjoy a book when the main character annoys you. I can’t even really describe what it is about Emily that rubs me the wrong way– she just doesn’t feel like a kindred spirit. Give me Anne or Rilla or Sara (The Story Girl) or Valancy (The Blue Castle) any day!

  • Who is your favorite character in allllll of LMM’s works?

Ooh, another impossible-to-answer question… Hmm. I think I’ll have to go with Anne. Not exactly AoGG Anne, but Older Anne– the one with the fanciful imagination, the irrepressible sense of humor, the intelligence, the storytelling/writing tendencies, the huge heart for loving others, and the uncanny ability to get herself into scrapes. (Yes, that also sounds like Younger Anne… but she’s more mature, more of a thinker in her other books, and I love that.) Anne reminds me very much of one of my best friends (they’re very much kindred spirits, if not actually the same person), and now whenever I read her books I can’t help but smile at the similarities in spirit.

  • What couple is your favorite?

Ooooh, this is hard. I love Anne and Gilbert, of course– who doesn’t?– and before I read The Blue Castle I would’ve said them without a doubt. But now, after meeting Barney and Valancy– they’re just going to have to tie for first place, that’s all. Barney and Valancy are adorable and I squealed and got teary-eyed at various intervals. Plus, THE TRAIN SCENE. That is all.

  • What is your favorite quote from LMM (either a quote from one of her books, or from her personal life)?

There are so many I love, but this one is my current favorite:

“There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

  • How many LMM books have you read?

At this point? I don’t even know anymore. More than half her books, at least. Anne, Emily, the Story Girl, the Blue Castle, Kilmeny of the Orchard, Chronicles of Avonlea (and Further Chronicles), the Road to Yesterday, At the Altar… How many is that? xD

  • Which LMM book would you most like to see made into a movie?

RILLA. Ahem. I can’t emphasize that one enough! But seriously, I think the AoGG fandom is in agreement on that one, yes? It would also be lovely to see The Blue Castle as a movie.

  • Have you found a kindred spirit?

Indeed I have, and every day I thank the Lord for orchestrating those friendships! They’re some of my dearest friends, and they fill my life with sunshine and fangirly-goodness and books and music(als) and inside jokes and, most importantly, they always make much of Jesus. Words can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for each of those lovely people. (Pindred Spirits, you know who you are. Love you guys! ^_^ <3)

…And that is all. I had such fun rambling about some of my favorite books and characters; thanks for reading, dear kindred spirits! You’re all lovely.

{love always, Em}