Saturday, December 29, 2012

End of the year....

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct  the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
-- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
 
This is easily what comes to my mind as I think over the previous year, it being at least partly true of every age, and even most years.  Our challenge at all times is to dwell on the blessings, the gifts of life; the glimpses of Aslan's mane.  And so I have been inspired by others, as this year draws to a close, to make a little list of my personal favorite things.  A small reminder (mostly to myself) of a year full of gifts.
 
The difficulty for me, in anything of this sort, is to disentangle the threads of 2012 with the other years past.  Granted, I have not lived out so very many, but still, to a dreamer's mind, chronology can become a challenge.  The days grow upon each other, the more swiftly as I grow myself.  My greatest desire is that, as I do grow older (though no longer bigger) that I would find Christ 'bigger'.
 
' "Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not.  But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.'  --C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian
 
Oh yes, one of my favorite things in every year, are the books.  Some very old, reread so often they become brittle and dog-eared; some so new to me.  A grand new fairyland of ideas, filled with dozens of friends, some brightly new, some reminding me sharply of others I've known.
 
Many of these books I will keep with me forever (or very nearly =) rereading them often.  A few, I probably won't read again; but each one shapes me, making me think, even if I don't agree with the book at all.  Here is a list of the books I've read for the first time this year.  I rarely finish a book I don't approve of, so these are good ones, although with differing degrees of my reccommendation, surely.  If there are questions about any particular one, I would be most pleased to discuss it.
 
Booklist 2012 (chronologically, I think)
 
The Sherwood Ring  -ELIZABETH MARIE POPE
St. Peter's Fair  -ELLIS PETERS
Freckles  -GENE STRATTON PORTER
The Leper of St. Giles  -ELLIS PETERS
The Red House Mystery  -A. A. MILNE
The Harvester  -GENE STRATTON PORTER
Virgin in the Ice  -ELLIS PETERS
The Court of the Stone Children  -ELEANOR CAMERON
Looking for the King  -DAVID C. DOWNING
Queen of Attolia  -MEGAN WHALED TURNER
The Tiger in the Smoke  -MARGERY ALLINGHAM
Witch of Blackbird Pond  -ELIZABETH GEORGE SPEARE
Mrs. Miniver  -JAN STRUTHER
The Secret of Father Brown  -G. K. CHESTERTON
The Bird in the Tree  -ELIZABETH GOUDGE
Pilgrim's Inn  -ELIZABETH GOUDGE
Mere Christianity  -C. S. LEWIS
Ronia the Robber's daughter  -ASTRID LINDGREN
The Heart of the Family  -ELIZABETH GOUDGE
The Scent of Water  -ELIZABETH GOUDGE
The Castle in the Attic  -ELIZABETH WINTHROP
Surprised by Joy  -C. S. LEWIS
Valley of Fear  -ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
America's Godly Heritage  -DAVID BARTON
Jane Eyre  -CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Stories from Shakespeare  -MARCHETTE CHUTE
Much Ado About Nothing  -WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
The Dean's Watch  -ELIZABETH GOUDGE
 
 
My highest reccommendation must go to Elizabeth Goudge, her books being the most shaping, inspiring and insightful books of this year, I think; and I can't wait to read more C. S. Lewis, and Cadfael.
 
Music: another of my favorite subjects.  I am acutely aware of music all around me, feeling it deeply.  An important part of me is made up of the stuff, and I don't know how I could live without it.  I haven't listened to a great deal of new music this year, except to become more familiar with some Indy/folk/pop, which is my genre of choice for singing myself.  Some of my favorites there are "Fallin' for you" Colbie Caillat,  "Lucky" Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat ;), "I'm Yours" Jason Mraz,  "The Way I am" Ingrid Michaelson, and "Talking to the Moon" Bruno Mars.

man, we were tanned.
I was also able to see an Owl City concert with Ben this year, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  His music is talented and entertaining, and his lyrics very clever and interesting.  I listen to his CDs around the house (excellent for cleaning-music ;).  Kate Rusby's "The Girl Who Couldn't Fly" CD also gets a lot of play;  Scottish Moors too, (these aren't new to this year, just the background music for it);  Shane and Shane, and Sons of Korah;  and of course, Glenn Miller for old, undemanding, soothing.  And there are so many others that we have listened to and enjoyed....  I could never list them all.  These are more like the old stand-bys that make up almost every year.
One quite new experience for me in the music realm, was being able to sing in a choir this spring, as I hope to do again next year.  It is something I have always wanted to do, and it was a great joy to sing with 'Deo Cantamus'
Oh yes, and I learnt Liebstraume on the piano this year.
 
I've seen three movies in theatre this year: 'Tintin' (which was splendid, for we are big fans of the books) 'Bourne Legacy' (prefaced by the other three, and greatly enjoyed) and of course 'The Hobbit' which was brilliant, and quite the best in my opinion.  It's not the book, I grant you, but it was magnigicently done, (the dwarves song still plays in my head--speaking of music.)
 
Alright, how about doing 12 things from 2012?  So we have books, music, and movies, that's 3.
4. A great highlight in the events of my year was, rather obviously, my trip to Washington D. C. in which I took in so many sights and memories that I will never forget.  Thank you Grammy Rose! Thanks and thanks and ever thanks;  and also to Aunt Karrie et al.  I miss you!
I hope very soon to put up pictures of our further adventures to Gettysburg and Annapolis!
5.  Annika  (Such a big blessing in a little person) --love you sweet, pert, fairy-child!
6.  Oh yes, and Graduation, that was big. ;)
 


'Does genious burn, Jo?'
 7.  Writing ~an irreplaceable part of every year.
Among other things, this year I wrote some poems which I shared on this blog (label poetry) and nearly 15,000 words in a little story I'm having fun with.
 
 
8.  Food  --because I love food.  I have enjoyed learning more and becoming more proficient in the kitchen, especially as I've made the switch to Gluten-Free foods.  One of my favorite discoveries is 'mushroom-eggs' as I call them--just onions and mushrooms sautéed with an egg scrambled over them.
9. Exercise, I'm getting a little more consistent in that department, which is encouraging.  I especially appreciate Pilates.
10.  Gifts                              11.  Art              
12.  Dreams
This doesn't cover the half of it--but you know that.  I've probably left out something crucial, and put in unneccessary things, but that's rather how life is, isn't it?  I'd love to hear some highlights of your year, too...

6 comments:

Julian said...

I love your lists Olivia! I too,find books a great comfort,growing tool,and old friends. I dont have as much time with kids,but I enjoy a little every day. Im looking at your stacks,and thinking which ones id love to read,and check out at the library!
I love that about Aslan and Lucy,also a favorite author.
I hope this coming year brings you a few good surprises,growth,and many warm blessings,and happy memories.
Christina

Mrs.Rabe said...

Wonderful post!

Full of your soul - sharing who you are and what has helped to form you!

I didn't realize you graduated this year. Are you all done now or is Ben younger than you?

Happy New Year to all your dear family.

Deanna

Olivia said...

Thank you both for your comments!
Despite his great height, Ben is almost four years younger than I, so we'll have a few years yet. And my studies didn't stop with my graduation either, so there's plenty still going on ;)
Happy New Year to you too!

Rosie said...

What a lovely post Olivia! I enjoyed reading it, as I always do all your posts :)
I posted about my past year and even swiped on your 12 things for 2012 idea :)
A very Happy New Year to you and each one of your wonderful family :)

Olivia said...

I'm so glad!

Robert said...

I'm not too familiar with Elizabeth Goudge and was wondering what adult and children's book you would recommend to start with.Thanks.

I also just finished reading Jane Eyre for the first time.