Posts Tagged ‘L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge’

L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge Conclusion

February 3rd, 2015

I’m glad I set low expectations for this year’s L.M. Montgomery Reading challenge – because, having set them low, I was able to meet them (sort of).

I wrote that I intended to reread one of the Anne books – which I did. I reread Anne of Green Gables for probably the couple dozenth time. Yet despite multiple re-readings, Anne continues to enchant. Anne of Green Gables is a story of anecdotes, with no overarching plot – but I was struck, this time around with how many threads resolve by the end of the volume. Marilla’s crispness softens, Rachel Lynde admits that she was wrong about the foolishness of adopting an orphan, and Anne and Gilbert resolve their longstanding feud. But one of the biggest changes that occurs is Anne’s transformation from being a burden to be passed on to another each time someone dies to being a burden-lifter who passes on other opportunities in order to bear Marilla’s burden once Matthew is dead.

I also stated initially that I would possibly make another Anne outfit for my American girl doll. My hope was that I could complete the brown voile with puffed sleeves that Mrs. Lynde made at Matthew’s behest. I paid close attention to the garment’s styling, looked up fashions from the gay nineties to come up with what the dress might have looked like, and thought through how I wuld modify my doll dress pattern to accomplish that look. Then, one afternoon last week, I went down to my craft room to begin – and could not find the brown fabric I’d designated for the dress years ago. It wasn’t on my fabric shelf (either among the other browns or in any other section of the shelf), so I began searching. I searched first on my table, piled high with projects in progress. I found a pair of Daniel’s slacks and a couple of my skirts to be mended – and since they required black thread and my machine was currently threaded with that, I finished them on the spot. I was just nearing the end of the pile when Tirzah Mae sounded the alarm from upstairs – and my search (and the outfit) had to be put on hold. So no Anne outfit has been made. Maybe next year.

My final goal was that I “may or may not find and read a book about Lucy Maud from my local library” – I did find a book, Looking for Anne of Green Gables, and read and reviewed it.

So, overall, while it might not have been a substantial year compared to many, I was able to complete most of my relatively modest goals.

Check out what everyone else read and said at Carrie’s conclusion post.

Book Review: Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel

January 30th, 2015

L.M. Montgomery states that the character for Anne of Green Gables “flashed into my fancy already christened, even to the all important ‘e’.” Irene Gammel, a professsor of comparative literature, disputes that statement, suggesting that “Anne” (and the events of Anne’s life) is the product of Montgomery’s reading, life events, and inner life.

Gammel has meticulously picked through Montgomery’s journals (both the published and the unpublished) for clues about Anne – and has gone a step further to read through the books and periodicals Montgomery would have read prior to writing Anne of Green Gables. The result is a fascinating, if somewhat speculative book Looking for Anne of Green Gables.

Prior to reading this book, I was not terribly familiar with the life of Lucy Maud Montgomery (“Maud” to those who knew her) apart from the various biographical sketches Carrie has offered at Reading to Know.

So I knew bits and pieces but hadn’t really put them together into any clear understanding of her life events and how they fit together. This book helped me put some of those pieces together – although it’s important to note that this is not a biography proper, but literary criticism of a sort.

Gammel looks at various events in Maud’s life, relationships she’d formed, and news stories from her neighborhood that may have influenced the writing of Anne. Specifically, she looks at how Maud might have (or, when possible, actually did as evidenced by journal entries) interpreted those events and used them to color Anne. For example, Gammel suggests that the theme of Anne finding a family (and Marilla coming to love Anne) reflects Maud’s fantasy of a loving family (she did not feel that she was loved by her elderly grandparents, who raised her.) Likewise, the perfect bosom friendship of Anne and Diana reflects the type of friendship Maud dreamed of and attempted to enter into with half a dozen girls who always disappointed Maud when the character of their friendships changed over time. So Gammel suggests that many of the events and themes of Anne of Green Gables represent unfulfilled longings of Maud’s.

Gammel also looks at how the periodicals Maud would have been reading might have influenced her writing. For example, Gammel notes an advice column that gives the “cure” for croup that Anne uses (The column suggests that mothers who administer this cure can save their child’s life before the doctor has time to arrive.) In another example, red-haired orphan “Ann’s” show up in several stories or poems.

When I wrote a little blurb on this book on my Nightstand post recently, Barbara H. (who read and reviewed this book in 2011 commented:

“I also didn’t like that she seemed to feel she had to try to find inspiration for much that LMM wrote – as if LMM couldn’t have just made some things up out of her imagination.

I agree and disagree with Barbara. I felt that Gammel was more heavy-handed than necessary in suggesting that this scenario or that story was THE story behind various incidents in Anne of Green Gables; but I found it interesting and fairly likely that those scenarios and stories would have influenced Maud’s writing, even unconsciously. As a fellow voracious reader (although not a particularly successful writer of fiction – I’ve dabbled but never completed anything), I can certainly identify with sort-of “absorbing” the contents of what I read and having them come out in the most unlikely places. Often, I’ll say something or write something and someone will ask me where I got that from. Sometimes I’m conscious that I’m quoting something or paraphrasing something, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m aware of what work I’m quoting or paraphrasing or drawing from, sometimes not. But frequently, when someone asks me for sources, if I search hard enough, I realize that the germ of many of the “original” ideas that pop into my head are not original after all but a continuation of what Mortimer Adler calls “the great conversation” (at least, I think that’s where I got that thought :-P).

I did have a few complaints with this book, in addition to the aforementioned heavy-handedness, and they happen to be the same complaints Barbara H. made (really, you should probably read her review). Maud had a number of close female friends, and Gammel frequently implies that these were erotic in nature (it seems the vogue thing these days to rewrite artists of days past as homosexuals, and while some of them might be, I am reminded when I read such conjectures of C.S. Lewis’s statements regarding platonic male friendship being the deepest love and think maybe there’s something about same-sex friendships of the past that our current sex-crazed society just doesn’t get.) Furthermore, Gammel frequently associates nature with paganism and assumes that Montgomery’s insertion of nature into the Anne books is a sort of rebellion against the Sunday-school literature Montgomery often wrote for. While this may be (again, it’s possible that was Montgomery’s intent), I think it just as likely that Maud simply enjoyed nature and created her heroine to enjoy it as well.

Overall, though, I found this a fascinating book speculating on the origins of the character “Anne of Green Gables”.

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Literary analysis/biography
Synopsis: Gammel explores the events and stories that may have influenced Lucy Maud Montgomery’s character “Anne of Green Gables”.
Recommendation: If you really enjoy Anne of Green Gables and don’t get too upset at glimpses behind the curtain (How’s that for another literary reference?), you’ll probably enjoy this book. If conjecture or the idea that an author might not be quite as original as you originally supposed bothers you, no need to get yourself worked up by reading this book.

I read this as part of the 2015 Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge. Follow the link to check out who else is reading – and what they’re reading.

2015 Reading Challenges

January 2nd, 2015

While I’m not setting grandiose plans for 2015, I do hope to participate once again in some of the book-related challenges and book clubs available in this neck of the internet – and I hope to participate with my church’s in-real-life book club as well.

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge To kick the year off, I’ll be joining with Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading challenge – rereading one of the Anne books (I’m not sure which) and possibly making another Anne outfit for “Black Anne”, my American girl doll (named thus because I happen to own Addy, the original black American girl doll). I also may or may not find and read a book about Lucy Maud from my local library. It’s certainly not too late to participate yourself – check out Carrie’s opening post at Reading to Know.

Reading to Know - Book Club Participation in the L.M. Montgomery challenge happily doubles as participation in the RTK Classics bookclub – a monthly classics book club that participants are welcome to jump into for as many or as few months as they choose. We’re going with relatively short books this year, since most of the participants are busy moms. I hope to participate as often as possible – and will be hosting the November reading of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (I’ve started reading already – but you’ll be welcome to read only a few tales if you want to, so consider joining in at least for my month :-P). To see the complete list of reading selections for 2015, check out this introductory post.

The other challenge I know I’ll be wanting to participate in this year is Barbara’s Laura Ingalls Wilder reading challenge in February. I plan to read Farmer Boy and to make as many Farmer Boy inspired recipes as possible! Learn more about Barbara’s challenge here.

Apart from those, I’m laying low – except, of course, that I continue my ongoing quest to read every book in my local library (except the ones I don’t read.) I haven’t tallied my numbers or blogged progress recently, but I’m definitely still going strong!

Are you participating in some reading challenges this year? I’d love to hear which ones. Are you not participating in any reading challenges this year? Consider joining one of the above.

Challenges in various stages of completion

February 3rd, 2014

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeNow that it’s February, it’s time to write a wrap up post for this year’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge. This year, I read only one book: The Blue Castle, which was also this month’s selection for the Reading to Know Classics Bookclub.

That would have been all I did for the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge, except that I took some time Saturday (I know, not in January at all) to stitch up another article of clothing for Anne’s wardrobe.

For those of you who’ve been following me for a while, you may remember the plain dress Marilla made Anne to replace her yellow-gray wincey (that was a cross between the snuffy-colored gingham and the black and white checked sateen) and the carpet bag with the funky handle (okay, I didn’t replicate that part.)

But now, Anne’s wardrobe has a third piece: the yellow-gray “skimpy” wincey. (Note the too shortness of the hem and sleeves as well as how tight the skirt and sleeves are. The goal was to have no superfluous fabric–did I succeed?)

This marks the end of Anne’s pitiful wardrobe–so the next piece will either have to be THE dress with the puffed sleeves or an outfit from after that wonderful gift. Yay! (Both exciting and scary since I’ll actually have to do some real pattern drafting to add tucks and shirrs and doo-dads for those fancy dresses.)

To see what others have been reading and doing for the challenge this past month, check out the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge at Reading to Know.

In addition to the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge, I have been trying to sneak in at least one book for the Armchair Cybils, which will be finishing up in the middle of February. Amy wrote a fantastic review of Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire–and that title just happened to be both a Cybils finalist AND in my local library system.

I’ve been devouring it. It is SO good. Rose is an American pilot who’s in the British Air Transport Auxillary, transporting planes from factory to field and back–until she finds herself landing in enemy territory and is taken to the Ravensbruck work camp where she meets a whole host of other interesting female prisoners.

One particularly interesting note for me was the early mention of (even obsession with) the German V1 “buzz bomb”. When my parents came down to Wichita to visit us last fall, we went to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson–which has an enormous museum on the history of space. The first room included a V1 buzz bomb and gave a history of it–which made reading about it in a novel all the more fun.

I’m planning to be able to finish it up and review it by the time the Cybils winners are announced on Valentine’s Day–but it’s good enough already that you might as well put it on your watch list :-)

Finally, I’m going to be participating in Barbara H’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge this month. I plan on reading Little House on the Prairie (also this month’s selection for the Reading to Know Book club) as well as a number of biographies of Laura (as many as I can manage of the half dozen or so that I checked out of my local library).

The last time I participated, I made butter a la Ma from Little House in the Big Woods–and I’m eager to see what I can come up with to work on from the Prairie (When I was little, I wanted to build a log house like Pa and Laura did, but the closest I ever got was Lincoln Logs. I think it’s likely that’ll still be the closest I get after this month :-P)

So those are the reading challenges I’m participating in this month (or finished from last month.) Are you participating in any challenges this year? What are they?

Book Review: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

January 31st, 2014

I knew I was going to like L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle when I got to a line in the second paragraph that I could identify with oh-so-well:

“One does not sleep well, sometimes, when one is twenty-nine on the morrow, and unmarried, in a community and connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man.”

Not that I’ve ever been on the cusp of twenty-nine and unmarried. Or that I’ve been in a community and a connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man.

But I have been 27 and unmarried, feeling like I was simply one who had failed to get a man. I, like Valancy, “had never quite relinquished a certain pitiful, shamed, little hope that Romance would come [my] way yet.” Until I was 27 and talking to a mortgage officer about a home loan. Then, I felt sure that I’d given up hope.

I was entirely sympathetic with Valancy’s plight.

Then I got to the fourth page, where I learned of the blue castle in Spain, the daydream Valancy had been escaping to since she was a young girl. I knew at that point that Valancy and I would be kindred spirits.

I had no drab existence (at least, not in the sense of a yellow-painted floor with a hideous hooked rug and ancient photos of relatives I don’t know hung within my bedroom) or unloving childhood to escape from–but I took refuge in my own blue castles nonetheless.

Like Valancy, I decorated my castle and imagined romances for myself. I had a series of “lovers” (only one at a time, of course, like Valancy did) who each faded away as a new story presented itself to my mind.

I was never a shy child or a shy woman who cowed under the censure of a strong-willed family. I never had a dull life, was never colorless or mousy. I was not one bit like Valancy in personality or family circumstance–only in singleness and dreaming.

But that was enough for me to like her and be interested in her plight.

Thankfully, Valancy doesn’t stay a single doormouse caught up in her dreams (that’d be a rather boring book, wouldn’t it?) Instead, she receives some news that shocks her out of her complacency and compels her to start living real life.

She starts saying and doing the things she’s been thinking for so long. She throws the jar of mouldy potpouri that’s been sitting in her bedroom out the window and against the building next door: “I’m sick of the fragrance of dead things.” She announces to a dinner party of assembled family that “the greatest happiness is to sneeze when you want to.” And she moves out of her widowed mother and aunt’s house and into the home of a widowed man and his dying daughter.

And then she moves into her blue castle and building her own life–discovering along the way that her castle is a little different than she’d dreamed all along, and so much more wonderful. (I identify with this discovery completely.)

And then comes the second great shock of her life–a shock great enough to overthrow everything she’d been building for the past year (du-duh-DUH!)

I liked this book. I really, really did. And I think others will as well.

Rating: 4 stars
Category: Fiction/Romance
Synopsis: The only interesting thing in dull, mousy Valancy Stirling’s life is her dream world–the “Blue Castle” in Spain. But shocking news changes everything for her and she suddenly starts shocking everyone else by building a real life for herself–in anything but a dull, mousy way.
Recommendation: Definitely worth reading if you like romances (of the unsmutty variety) or L.M. Montgomery

I read this as a part of Carrie’s Reading to Know Classics Book Club and the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge–which means you don’t have to take my word on the book as the final word. All sorts of other bloggers are reading and writing up their thoughts on The Blue Castle. Check them out!

L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge Wrap Up

January 31st, 2012

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeDoes anyone else accidentally call this the “Anne of Green Gables Challenge”?

I know that L.M. Montgomery has written other things. I’ve read those other things (all that my library owns, at least). But “Anne” will still (and always) be my favorite and the first to pop into my mind when L.M. Montgomery is mentioned.

And so, this year, I read Anne. Anne 1 and Anne 2, otherwise known as Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea.

I wrote a few posts with quotes as I went:

  • On Taking Risks
  • Regarding Bedrooms
  • On Contentment
  • Addie doll with carpetbag

    And I made one more piece for my small collection of Anne paraphernalia.

    This year, though, I’m doing something special. I’m making a second of this lovely carpet bag to share with ONE OF YOU!

    Addie doll with carpetbag

    That’s right. I’m giving one of these away.

    If you want to win, simply post a comment below. I’ll be keeping the comments open until February 10 (because surely I’m not the only one who sometimes takes FOREVER to get around to all the link-ups in a challenge like this!) and will draw a name from among the commenters on the tenth.

    So now, get commenting–and get yourself over to Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge page to see what others did for the challenge!

WiW: Anne on Contentment

January 23rd, 2012

I thought that the quotes I had flagged in my copies of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea were to no purpose. But now that I’ve got them written on the same page, I see they have a theme after all: Contentment.

“The ice cream was delicious, Marilla, and it was so lovely and dissipated to be sitting there eating it at eleven o’clock at night. Diana said she believed she was born for city life. Miss Barry asked me what my opinion was, but I said I would have to think it over very seriously before I could tell her what I really though. So I thought it over after I went to bed. That is the best time to think things out. And I came to the conclusion, Marilla, that I wasn’t born for city life and that I was glad of it. It’s nice to be eating ice cream at brilliant restaurants at eleven o’clock at night once in awhile; but as a regular thing I’d rather be in the east gable at eleven, sound asleep, but kind of knowing even in my sleep that the stars were shining outside and that the wind was blowing in the firs across the brook.”

~Anne Shirley, in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I think I agree. I do so love having a variety of experiences–but for everyday life, I’d really much rather be Rebekah of the House of Dreams, watching the sun sink over the lake and then slipping into sleep myself in my own bed.

“Did you see all the diamonds those ladies wore?” sighed Jane. “They were simply dazzling. Wouldn’t you just love to be rich, girls?”

“We are rich,” said Anne staunchly. “Why we have sixteen years to our credit, and we’re happy as queens, and we’ve all got imaginations, more or less….You wouldn’t change into any of those women if you could. Would you want to be that white lace girl and wear a sour look all your life, as if you’d been born turning up your nose at the world? Or the pink lady, kind and nice as she is, so stout and short that you’d really no figure at all? Or even Mrs. Evans, with that sad, sad look in her eyes? She must have been dreadfully unhappy sometime to have such a look. You know you wouldn’t, Jane Andrews!”

“I don’t know–exactly,” said Jane unconvinced. “I think diamonds would comfort a person for a good deal.

Well, I don’t want to be any one but myself, even if I go uncomforted by diamonds all my life,” declared Anne. “I’m quite content to be Anne of Green Gables, with my string of pearl beads. I know Matthew gave me as much love with them as ever went with Madame the Pink Lady’s jewels.”

~Anne and Jane, after the Hotel Concert, from Anne of Green Gables

I can sympathize with Jane’s feeling that diamonds must be comforting. I’ve felt that way about wealth myself. I’ve imagined myself not having to work for a living, able to devote myself to the various and sundry interests and cause I care about. But I must come to Anne’s conclusion: I’m quite content to be Rebekah Menter, RD, working-girl. This is a good life that God has made for me, and I am content to be here.

“Do you think you will ever go to college?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Anne looked dreamily afar to the opal-tinted horizon. “Marilla’s eyes will never be much better than they are now, although we are so thankful to think that they will not get worse. And then there are the twins….somehow I don’t believe their uncle will ever really send for them. Perhaps college may be around the bend in the road, but I haven’t gotten to the bend yet and I don’t think much about it lest I might grow discontented.”

“Well, I should like to see you go to college, Anne; but if you never do, don’t be discontented about it. We make our own lives wherever we are, after all…college can only help us to do it more easily. They are broad or narrow according to what we put into them, not what we get out. Life is rich and full here…everywhere…if we can only learn how to open our whole hearts to its richness and fulness.”

~A conversation between Anne and Mrs. Allan in Anne of Avonlea

I love Mrs. Allan’s dreams for Anne, and how these dreams remind me of the many women I love so much who have encouraged me so much.

“I would like to see you go to college,” Mrs. Allan says, but I should best like that you would be content wherever you are.

In the same way, I feel the blessing and encouragement of dozens of women whenever we speak of my dreams (and even when we don’t speak of them.)

“I would like to see you in your own home, married with children,” they say, “but I would like best to see you content wherever you are.”

And by the grace of God, I am and shall be.

The Week in WordsL. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeDon’t forget to take a look at Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”, where bloggers collect quotes they’ve read throughout the week–and Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge to see what everyone else is working on.

Flashbook Prompt: A Room of Your Own

January 19th, 2012

While holed up in a hotel room this week, I finished Anne of Green Gables for Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge.

I couldn’t help but notice Montgomery’s description of Anne’s bedroom. The room is described on three different occasions.

When Anne first arrives at Green Gables:

“The whitewashed walls were so painfully bare and staring that [Anne] thought they must ache over their own bareness. The floor was bare, too, except for a round braided mat in the middle such as Anne had never seen before. In one corner was the bed, a high, old-fashioned one with four dark, low-turned posts. In the other corner was the aforesaid three-cornered table adorned with a fat, red velvet pincushion hard enough to turn the point of the most adventurous pin. Above it hung a little six by eight mirror. Midway between table and bed was the window, with an icy white muslin frill over it, and opposite it was the washstand. The whole apartment was of a rigidity not to be described in words, but which sent a shiver to the very marrow of Anne’s bones.

Then there’s what Anne imagines her bedroom might look like:

“Now I’m going to imagine things into this room so that they’ll always stay imagined. The floor is covered with a white velvet carpet with pink roses all over it and there are pink silk curtains at the windows. The walls are hung with gold and silver brocade tapestry. The furniture is mahogany. I never saw any mahogany, but it does sound so luxurious. This is a couch all heaped with gorgeous silken cushions, pink and blue and crimson and gold, and I am reclining gracefully on it. I can see my reflection in that splendid big mirror hanging on the wall.”

Finally, there’s her bedroom after she’s lived there several years, and grown up quite a bit:

“The velvet carpet with the pink roses and the pink silk curtains of Anne’s early visions had certainly never materialized; but her dreams had kept pace with her growth, and it is not probable that she lamented them. The floor was covered with a pretty matting, and the curtains that softened the high window and fluttered in the vagrant breezes were of pale green art muslin. The walls, hung not with gold and silver brocade tapestry, but with a dainty apple blossom paper, were adorned with a few good pictures given Anne by Mrs. Allan…”

After a week in a hotel room, I’m gladder than glad to be at home, in my own bed in my own room at my own house.

This week’s prompt is about your childhood room:

“What was your bedroom like growing up? Did you share it with your siblings, or did you have it to yourself? Can you remember the carpeting, the wallpaper, the pictures that hung? What did you do to make it your own?”

WiW: Taking Risks

January 2nd, 2012

Yesterday being the first of January, I also knew it to be the first of the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge. I duly began Anne of Green Gables, which I intend to re-read, along with its sequel Anne of Avonlea over the course of this month. (I also intend to complete at least one additional article of clothing for my doll wardrobe based on the Anne series).

Early on in Anne of Green Gables I came across a passage that’s never really stuck out to me before, but which certainly stuck out this time. Marilla is explaining to Mrs. Lynde why she agreed to adopt a boy from Nova Scotia, despite the risks:

“And as for risk, there’s risks in pretty near everything a body does in this world. There’s risks in people’s having children of their own if it comes to that–they don’t always turn out well.

It’s true. Everything in this world comes with risks. It’s risky to adopt, but it’s also risky to have one’s own children. It’s risky to fly, but it’s also risky to drive. Exercise is risky, but so is being sedentary.

This life is full of risks, some small and some large.

Not that our emotions always know which is which.

Most of us probably recognize that driving a car is quite risky, just as risky as flying in an airplane. But that doesn’t stop some of us from being massively fearful of flying while being completely nonchalant about driving.

Many expressed terror when I told them I was skydiving last year–when, in fact, skydiving isn’t anywhere near as risky (statistically) as many presume it to be.

And then there’s the risk of not taking risks. I read a study once (that I probably have bookmarked or saved somewhere but don’t know where) that suggests that people who do not die taking risks live longer for having taken them. It seems that calculated risk taking can actually, paradoxically, be good for us.

So how does one determine which risks to take and which to avoid?

Marilla took this one out of a sense of duty, at first:

“I don’t deny there’s something in what you say, Rachel. I’ve had some qualms myself. But Matthew was terrible set on it. I could see that, so I gave in. It’s so seldom Matthew sets his mind on anything that when he does I always feel it’s my duty to give in.”

Later, when things didn’t turn out as expected, she made the final decision to keep Anne when she realized that if she chose the lest risky option for herself (giving Anne up), it would mean great risk for Anne (living with “that Blewett woman”).

Ultimately, I think, the Christian has the perfect grid for evaluating risk-taking.

As I taught my Sunday School children yesterday, God is sovereign. Sovereign means that He is the ruler, in control of all things. We discussed how this is a scary thing for the person who does not trust in Jesus, because God hates sin. But we also discussed how this is good news for the person who trusts in Jesus–because God has already said what His plans are for the people who trust in Jesus. God has said that His plan is to conform them into the image of Christ.

So the Christian can evaluate every risk by asking the question: “Has God commanded it?” If so, whatever the earthly risks, there is a heavenly benefit far surpassing: that the believer will be conformed to the image of Christ. Beyond this, the believer can evaluate risks using the grid of I Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23-24: Is this permissible? Is this beneficial? Is this going to bring me under its mastery? Is it going to do good for another?

Presuming that a risk fits those criterion (it’s permissible, beneficial, and does good for another while not bringing you under its own mastery), it is a worthwhile risk.

After all, as my pastor occasionally says, “We’re immortal until God decides our life is over.”

The Week in WordsL. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeDon’t forget to take a look at Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”, where bloggers collect quotes they’ve read throughout the week–and Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge to see what everyone else is working on.

The Closing Bell (L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge)

January 29th, 2011

Carrie has official sounded the closing bell for the L.M. Montgomery reading challenge–declaring that it’s time for everyone to link up.

The bell caught me by surprise, with plenty left unfinished.

Despite frantically reading a bit more this afternoon, I am still not through with Anne of Green Gables.

Anne of Green Gables

I did, however, read and review Much Ado about Anne by Heather Frederick Vogel. I also wrote some reflections on a quote from Anne of Green Gables.

But I did not complete the first piece of the project I had hoped to unveil at the end of this challenge.

I’ll share it anyway.

A bit of background…

When I was young, the American girl dolls were all the rage (I guess they still are in some circles). In those days, the company that made them was called “Pleasant Company” and the only dolls you could get were the historical ones that had short chapter books that went along with them.

I got “Addy”, a young girl who escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad (chronicled, of course, in Meet Addy), when she first came out.

And I spent hours poring over the Pleasant Company catalog, with its outfits and accessories that matched the books.

I was simultaneously in love with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. I adored how Sara Crew and her indulgent Papa went to pick out the doll “Emily” and outfit her in the very fanciest of clothing.

I dreamed of a wardrobe for my doll, a complete set–and one that matched a book.

But the Pleasant company outfits were much to expensive for my (or my parents’) budget, and I had little patience to do any quality sewing in those days.

So I made do with the clothes Addy came with–and the few garments Mom made for her.

But I still dreamed of a complete wardrobe, based on a book.

I grew up a bit and decided that I wanted it to be based on a REAL book–not books that were written in order to sell doll clothes.

The Anne series.

It was perfect. Anne was the right sort of age, Montgomery goes into detail about her clothing and accessories, and I just happened to love the series.

I would make a complete wardrobe for Addy using the Anne series as a starting point.

And so I began to make lists of every object mentioned in the Anne series. The vivid chromo of Jesus blessing the children, the chocolate brown voile with its puffed sleeves and pintucked waist, the navy blue broadcloth jacket made by Marilla, the yellow pansy cut from a catalog that Ella May McPherson gave Anne to use to decorate her desk. I have a list of every object–and some only alluded to (the red and white triangles Anne had to work at before she could go out to visit with Dianna–what might that quilt have looked like?)

I started collecting bits and pieces of fabric that might be suitable for the project.

And, this month, I started sewing.

My first project has been a dress to approximate the dresses Marilla made for Anne to replace the dreadfully skimpy wincey:

“Well, how do you like them?” said Marilla.

Anne was standing in the gable room, looking solemnly at three new dresses spread out on the bed. One was of snuffy colored gingham which Marilla had been tempted to buy from a peddler the preceding summer because it looked so serviceable; one was of black-and-white checked sateen which she had picked up at a bargain counter in the winter; and one was a stiff print of an ugly blue shade which she had purchased that week at the Carmody store.

She had made them up herself, and they were all made alike–plain skirts fulled tightly to plain waists, with sleeves as plain as waist and skirt and tight as sleeves could be.

“I’ll imagine that I like them,” said Anne soberly.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a depressing place to start, but that is where I have started.

And this is what I have so far.

Anne's plain dress

Nothing exciting, but it’s a start to this project I’ve been dreaming of for nigh on 15 years.

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeVisit Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge to see what others were saying/doing about L.M. Montgomery this month.

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