Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Tasha Tudor!

   Today, August 28th, would have been Tasha Tudor's 99th birthday.

    Tasha Tudor has been a part of my life for as long as I can recall, and I've grown up reading her stories and wondering at her talent and charming lifestyle. She's always been one of my favorite children's authors, a great inspiration, and I know if we had ever had the chance to meet that we would have been great friends and kindred spirits.

   My first encounter with Tasha Tudor and her stories started with out mutual infatuation with dolls and everything thereby pertaining to them. I've always been rather obsessed with dolls-- when I was a little girl I used to dress my dolls every day and set up little rooms for them on the table in the hall, making little accessories for them out of all sorts of things. Anything related to dolls, I loved. So when I found the little book The Doll's Christmas at the library, I was delighted. My sister Sadie and I tried to create a dwelling for our dolls just like Pumpkin House in the story, and made an elaborate Christmas panorama just like that of the dolls Sethany Ann and Nicey Melinda. After that, I found that Tasha Tudor had written other books, not only about dolls, but about children and animals (especially her favorites, corgis :-)) and soon I had read every one of her books that the library owned, as well as several biographies and gardening books and painting books and pretty much everything I could get my hands on with the name Tasha Tudor on the cover. :-) She was my role model, my inspiration, the epitome of my little-girl dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember once when my mother found a sort of short documentary about Tasha's life, and I was sorely disappointed to find out that she actually drove a car. ;-P

Tasha Tudor as a young woman

    These years later, although I am not quite so obsessed as I used to be (*wink, wink*), I will always be inspired by Tasha Tudor. She was a brilliant artist, a wonderful writer, craftswoman, wife, and mother, and I will always admire her.



   I wanted desperately to go to Tasha Tudor's birthday party, but the gathering closest to me is still over three hours away (sniffle), so I will just celebrate the day at home by reading Pumpkin Moonshine and dressing my dolls and drinking tea and perhaps make something to eat from the Tasha Tudor Cookbook. :-) Read more birthday tributes and about the Tudor family and the Tasha Tudor Museum Society at:
~ Happy Birthday Tasha Tudor! ~

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thoughts, Musings, and a few Announcements

   Dear readers,

      First of all, as I'm sure you've noticed, there have been some pretty obvious changes around here in the last few weeks, the first and most drastic of which is that this blog is no longer called For the Beauty of the Earth.


   Yes, that's right! After one and a half years of blogging, I've changed the name of my blog. I'd been contemplating changing it for a while and debating on whether I should or not-- after all, it is a big change! I've been blogging for going on two years. What would everyone think? Well, after much consideration I finally decided that I wanted to. The name 'For the Beauty of the Earth' was a good one and will always be special to me, but I felt that it didn't really have much to do with the sort of things I write about here or reflect on what I want my writing to actually be about. Plus, back when I first decided to start a blog and I was trying to think of a good name, that was one of the first that came to me and so I just went with it, mostly because I was so eager to get started.

  The new name, 'A Lantern in Her Hand', is actually the title of one of my very favorite books, by Bess Streeter Aldrich. It's the story of a pioneer woman named Abbie Deal and her husband who travel out westward and the trials and challenges they face. It's an absolutely beautiful story and Abbie Deal is just the kind of woman I want to be, so that's part of the reason why I chose the name.

    Also, I like lanterns. :-) A lantern is an old-fashioned flashlight, something that gives light in the dark. As Christians, we are God's light to the world, like lanterns in the darkness. Likewise, God's word is our lantern, a 'light to our path', so that we won't get lost or confused in the dark. 'A Lantern in Her Hand' is meaningful to me in several different ways, and I think it's the perfect new name for what I want my blog to be about.

  Here are some new buttons with the new name:

   So what does this mean? Will this still be the same blog it has been? Fear not, the change in name doesn't mean I won't be writing about the same things I always have!  I'll still be writing mostly about books, writing, period dramas, and other old-fashioned, history-related subjects, as well as about my own life. If you've been following me for quite a while (or if you know me really well :-)), you may have noticed that this summer my posts and my writing have had a significantly different style. Yes, I realize it-- it's as if my whole purpose of this blog changed from writing about books and movies and things I love to just....well, other things. Me, for example. For a few weeks I kind of went through a phase of emulating other people (real and fictional, I might add ;-P) instead of just being myself. Yes, I admit that I do go through phases-- I'm still a kid, I'm allowed to do that. :-) Really, sometimes I forget that I'm only fifteen, while other times I have to remind myself that I'm really not a little girl anymore, as much as I might wish I were. That's another thing I've been struggling with some-- this whole concept of not being a little girl anymore, which I can tell you I'm not exactly thrilled about. I used to dream about what it would be like to be older and independent-- now I'm mourning the fact that my childhood is, sadly, slipping away from me like water through my fingers. So at the risk of sounding like a cheesy family movie from the 90s: growing up is not easy. But, like Abraham Lincoln once said, "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."  :-)

   The month of August seems to have just flown by in one big whoosh. It seems hard to believe that it's been almost a month since I last blogged, but it's true! September is just around the corner (along with school! Yikes!), which seems really strange but exciting at the same time. This is my favorite time of year, and I'm looking forward to working at our produce stand, reading all the good books I've borrowed from the library, and continuing to work on my novel. And of course all the new adventures that come up here and there. :-)

  Also, I *might* be in a production of Les Miserables this November! The final auditions are the 27th and 28th of August, and then rehearsals start right away on the 1st of September, so I'm kind of on pins and needles waiting to find out if I got a part! I'm so excited about it and I really hope I'll be able to be a part of it.

Here's to hoping....

  I'm also excited about some posts and events and even a potential blog series I have planned for the next couple months. I'm also thinking of maybe starting an interview series where I interview other bloggers/writers, but I'm still working out the details. Another thing I've wanted to do for a long time is a bookcase-tour vlog, but I don't know if my camera will let me upload videos, so that's still up in the air too. But I do have one announcement to make, about an event I'm planning for the second week in September....

    Legends of Western Cinema Week! More details coming soon!

    As we head into Fall and harvest, I'm continually grateful for God's provision and His blessings on my family. This hasn't been the easiest year (or at least, that's one way to put it) with our farm, and it can be very discouraging, but when I think of how blessed I am to have a home and a family who loves me, some of the things that seemed so dire suddenly don't look so hopeless after all.

    It's funny how a person can give you a compliment, or a small piece of encouragement, and how it can motivate or inspire you. A few weeks ago my great aunt and uncle were visiting, and my great-aunt, my mama, and I were on our way somewhere and catching up on family news, since we only see them once a year. My older sister is going to college, so we were talking about careers and such, and my great-aunt asked me the question: what would you like to do? I told her that I was going to be a writer. She thought that was marvelous, and said she'd be the first to buy my first novel. Then later when we were sitting together, she said to me, "I just know you're going to be a famous writer someday. I can already tell." That little bit of encouragement meant so much to me, and even renewed my confidence in myself. It isn't often that I get to talk with my aunt, so it was very nice to visit with her, especially to tell her about my ambitions of being a writer. I will always think of her as a benefactress. :-)

I don't care for the cover, but it's really an amazing book.

   Another pleasant happening of this month is that I've found a new favorite author! Huzzah! And she write Christian fiction! As you can tell, I'm very happy. :-) My first encounter with Ann Tatlock was actually two summers ago, when my sister borrowed her book Promises to Keep from the library and I started reading it at random one day when I was sick in bed. I don't remember why I didn't finish it, but it must have made an impact on me because two years later I still remembered it and wanted to try it again. The only problem was that I couldn't remember what it was called or the name of the author-- all I could remember was what the cover looked like. So I didn't have much hope of finding the book, until one day when I was in a library I'd never been to before, just browsing through the fiction section, and the name Ann Tatlock caught my eye. Suddenly, I remembered! That was the author's name! This particular book wasn't at that library, but I was able to find it at another one and I completely devoured the book in four days. (In case you didn't know, that's pretty good for me.) It's not your typical Christian historical novel-- it's not a romance, for one thing, and I can't tell you how refreshing that was! It's the story of a little girl and her family, set in 1967 in a little town in Illinois. It's a simple story, but so powerful.
    And speaking of books....I'm toying with the idea of starting a blog exclusively for reviewing books. I know I haven't done a whole lot of book reviews, but I'd like to do more, especially since I recently signed up for some other blogger review programs. If that's the case, I think it would be nice to have a separate blog specifically for that purpose. What do you think? Would you rather I kept everything on one blog?

   Thank you so much for being such good friends and readers, for actually reading what I write and even commenting with your thoughts. It really does mean a lot to me! I hope you're all having a wonderful week and anticipating the arrival of fall as much as I am! God bless! :-)

P.S. Keep a look out for Legends of Western Cinema Week!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Extra, extra, read all about it!


 Howdy! Just popping in to let you all know that Hamlette over at her blog The Edge of the Precipice is giving away a whole bunch of wonderful books in all different genres. There's poetry, mystery, classics, writing, and even an adorable little book about famous movie couples that I'm practically drooling over. I highly recommend checking it out! But don't take my word for it-- hop on over and see for yourself!

   Some of the books Hamlette is giving away....

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