Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Unfaithfulness in public stations is deeply criminal. But there is no encouragement to be faithful. Neither profit, nor honor, nor applause is acquired by faithfulness...There is too much corruption, even in this infant age of our Republic. 
Virtue is not in fashion. Vice is not infamous."

~John Adams~

"...and there is nothing new under the sun." 
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Monday, March 20, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : John Adams

Y'all. I feel like I should just wait and post this recap on the Fourth of July because America. John Adams was a patriot down to his marrow. He probably bled red, white, and blue. I mean, he died on the 4th of July 1826--50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence which he signed, and many people credit him as the driving force behind the Declaration. Come. On. 

Anyway, John Adams by David McCullough published in 2001 is (of the three presidential biographies I've read so far) far and away the best one yet. It has the perfect balance between being detailed and thorough while not crossing the line into exhausting and boring. His Excellency, while interesting and readable, lacked the detail I really appreciate in a good biography, and TR, while certainly educational and comprehensive, was a bear to get through. 

And here's another thing: I learned so much. I think that American history is unfortunately dying in this country and in our school systems, and that grieves me. A wise person once said that if we cannot remember the past, we are condemned to repeat it. I can feel myself starting down a rabbit hole here so before we go there, I'll just say that our second president, John Adams, is a largely forgotten man in history. Sandwiched between historical giants like Washington and Jefferson, Adams often gets overlooked, in my opinion. I didn't even realize before reading his biography that he only served one term as president, not two. 

Some of the greatest accomplishments of his life were actually achieved in the years before his presidency as he fought hard for American independence from England. For example, John Adams was the one who nominated George Washington to command the Continental Army. He also wrote the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which is the oldest functioning written constitution in the world. Then, he went overseas and established the first American embassy anywhere in the world (in Holland), and on his own initiative he petitioned for and secured an essential Dutch loan during the Revolutionary War which established the foundation for American credit in Europe. As far as diplomacy goes, he won the greatest victory in American history by negotiating the Paris Peace Treaty along with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay. 

During his presidency, despite the country dividing into pretty mean-spirited, malicious political parties, he managed to stay above the fray and carry out his role with dignity (for the most part), he was scandal-free (which is more than we can say for a lot of our nation's presidents), he appointed one of the greatest Supreme Court Chief Justices in our country's history (John Marshall), and he secured peace with France during the bloody French Revolution even though America was screaming for war which most certainly would have been a death sentence to our fledgling nation. And not only did he win peace with France, he did it while still promoting and advocating that the country strengthen its defenses by building the Navy, an idea that so many of his time couldn't reconcile with his also wanting to achieve peace. He really was a visionary. 

On top of all this, he was a true blue family man and a Christian. He and his wife literally wrote thousands of letters to one another during their many separations. He was a hardworking lawyer and farmer, and he lived his whole life economically within his means. He was just a really good guy all around, and I am a fan. Obviously he was human and certainly not without his faults, but I really enjoyed reading about his life, and I appreciate the integrity with which he lived. 

I definitely recommend this biography of John Adams. This is an enjoyable book to read and it's rich with history. Adams lived not only through the American Revolutionary War but the French Revolution and the War of 1812 as well so there's a lot in there. Worth your time, for sure. 

Do you know much about John Adams? Who is your favorite president? Do you think our country is failing to properly educate the next generation about our history? Do you think studying history is important or a waste of time? Come at me, bro, I can take it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Casual Fridays

I've been reading Judges this week and I have a question:

Why did Samson tell Delilah the secret to his strength?

I need a male perspective here because not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES he lied to her about what made him strong. And not once, not twice, but ALL THREE TIMES she did exactly what he said would take his strength away. And not only that, she had a whole posse of Philistine men ready to take him away captive.

I mean, did he think she was just playing around and wouldn't try the fourth tactic he gave her? Really??

Every time I read this passage of Scripture, I just can't get over this. Do women really have that kind of nagging power (Judges 16:15-17)? Are men's egos just that big (Judges 16:20)? If you're a man and you were in Samson's position, would you have given in??

The older I get, the more I realize that I can't criticize the Israelites for complaining in the desert or turning to idols or begging for a king. I can't get down on Peter for denying Jesus or castigate the disciples for arguing about who was the greatest. Because how many times have I complained, neglected my Lord, or argued with my fellow man about something petty? Too many to count. 

But I'm sorry, this Samson and Delilah situation just strikes me as completely and totally, 100%, you-must-be-stupid, this is a no-brainer, common sense choice. She is obviously out to get you, dude. You should not tell her where your strength lies. Very cut and dry. 

Am I missing something here?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Upon common theaters, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value."

~John Adams~

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Tuesday Confession

As you may remember, I recently re-read Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.
I love that novel. 
I love all Jane Austen's novels.
But here's the big confession: I don't care for either of the major film adaptations. 
Most Austen enthusiasts I know will pick a side and go down swinging over this, but I just don't like either one.
The BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth certainly pays faithful homage to the novel, but it's painfully long, the acting is a tad on the cheesy side, and several of the actors don't really capture the essence of the characters they're portraying, in my opinion.
The 2005 film directed by Joe Wright is absolutely gorgeous with a fantastic score and the actors do a much better job of embodying the characters (with the unfortunate exceptions of Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen--arguably the two most important characters of all), but it basically flips the novel the bird and does its own thing for some of the most important scenes that it makes me want to scream every time I watch it.

Yes, I own both of these films on DVD.
I'm not sure what that says about me, but whenever I'm in the mood for Pride & Prejudice, I just sit down with the actual novel instead of popping one of those trainwrecks into the DVD player.

Have you seen either of these movies? Are you a fan of one or the other?
Anybody else own movies that you don't particularly enjoy and you're not exactly sure why? 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely--a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement."

~from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen~

Friday, March 3, 2017

Casual Fridays

Y'all. I've been trying to avoid this, but I think I need to have my wisdom teeth extracted. I've had two different dentists tell me that it would be a good idea to have them out (the first of which told me this more than 5 years ago, but he wasn't very professional and I just didn't believe him). I hate, hate, hate the dentist and am terrified slightly anxious about the idea of going under anesthesia for oral surgery. I never had braces or even so much as a cavity until a few months ago, and when I went to have it filled: I cried. (But for the record, my husband told me I was very brave and he's a nurse and he doesn't lie about stuff like that.) Anyway, my bottom left wisdom tooth occasionally causes me pain (which is why I went to that first dentist 5 years ago), and this week, my jaw has been hurting so bad. This is possibly the worst it's been and the longest it's lasted. Or maybe it just seems that way because it's fresh in my mind that my dentist told me I needed to have them removed. Cody and I went to the dentist a few months ago for the first time in our marriage because we figured it was about time we started taking advantage of the dental insurance we have. I hadn't had a cleaning in more than 10 years. So, I mean, I think I'm taking pretty good care of my teeth if after more than 10 years of nobody cleaning my teeth but me, I only had one small cavity starting. Right?! Ok, we are wandering all over the place here and what is the point of all this, Hannah?! The point is this: have you ever had your wisdom teeth removed? Did you live? And did any of you actually have a good experience with wisdom teeth extraction? (Isn't "extraction" the most painful sounding word you've ever heard??) Is there an oral surgeon in the Central Florida area you would recommend? And realistically, how long was your recovery? No horror stories, please. As you can see, I'm having a hard enough time with this as it is. 

Moving on, since today seems like a good day to be taking your advice and opinions on important matters, please send me all your favorite go-to recipes. I've been lacking inspiration in my meal-planning lately and could use some fresh ideas. What does your family love? The easier, the better.

On to the next topic: as you may have read, I recently read The Taming of the Shrew, and I am now accepting suggestions for which two Shakespearean plays should go on my 2018 book list. I read Macbeth last year, and I still intend to read Hamlet this year so that leaves your choices for a tragedy as follows:

  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Cymbeline (is this a tragedy or a comedy? I've seen it listed in both categories)
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Troilus and Cressida
I'm personally leaning toward Romeo and Juliet. I haven't read it since 9th grade. Your options for a comedy are:
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Tempest (once again: tragedy or comedy? I've seen it on both lists)
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Winter's Tale
I'm thinking Twelfth Night for a comedy, but I'm seriously open to any suggestions you have. What say you? As you can see, I have 10 tragedies and 11 comedies to go. My long-term plan is to read one tragedy and one comedy each year until I get through them all and then I'll move on to his histories and poetry after that. I just realized that I'll probably be 50 before I reach my goal of reading everything Shakespeare ever wrote and that makes me feel very old. Like, really will I still be blogging when I'm 50? Oy with the poodles already.

To sum it up: wisdom teeth, recipes, and Shakespeare. Heaven help. Have a great weekend!