Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tea and Other Great Thoughts

Due to my recent cold, I have been given a marvelous excuse to drink tea; a hobby I have been lax on recently.  For the past few days I have been drinking three or more cups.  I really think I might be repenting from my lapse of coffee drinking and returning to tea.  Probably is better for me anyways.  I have now been putting honey in my tea, instead of sugar, which tastes oh so much better.  If you haven't tried it you should.  It is also healthier that way, not that I care too much.  I love making a cup of tea and curling up in my bed with a good book, or, for right now, my anatomy flash cards  and charts.  It gives me kind of a homey feeling, especially on a cold gloomy day.  As we move towards colder weather and snow, a good book and tea sounds especially good.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Blog Title?

It has been suggested I change my blog title, but I don't want to throw everyone off so they can't ever find my blog again.  The question is, what should I change my blog title to?  I have already had one suggestion that, while quite funny, will not appear on my blog. Anyways, if you have any ideas for a new blog title or if you like it just the way it is feel free to comment with suggestions.  Also, are there any specific topics you want me to write on?  If so, comment with your ideas. 
Have a great day!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why I Love Jane Austen's Novels: Favorite Characters, Favorite Lines, and Favorite Everything!

     Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors.  I could almost say she is my favorite but there are so many other great authors it seems wrong to.  She did write my favorite book though, Pride and Prejudice.  As she is one my favorite authors, I thought it only appropiate to dedicate a blog post to her.  First off, I don't look at Jane Austen's novels as romance novels.  Wanted to clear that up first.  I don't read romance novels, and if her novels were I wouldn't read them.  Jane Austen's novels have a lot more to them then romance.  They have wit and wisdom, good and evil, and important Christian values ingrained into them that make them so much more then romance novels. 
       With that in mind, I would like to add that Jane Austen's novels are not just for girls.  Boys can and do read Austen's novels.  Peter Leithart Ph.D. says in his book Minitures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen, "Real men read Austen."  I have brothers who enjoy Austen, my dad enjoys Austen, and I know of other men who do as well, Peter Leithart Ph.D. being one of them.  "Real men read Austen."
       So let's talk a little about the characters of Austen's books.  Austen's novels have many well crafted characters, some good some evil, that will always be remembered.  It is so hard to select a favorite hero or heroine, Austen has created such unforgetable charecters in all her books.  I love all of her heros and heroines.  Heros that really stand out to me though would be Mr. Knightely from Emma, Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility, and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey.   I think Jane Austen created her heros and heroines to complement each other, which I think is done perfectly in the examples of these three men.  Mr. Knightely's wisdom is just what Emma Woodhouse needed to curb her domineering and impulsive ways. Colonel Brandon's age and experience is just what Marianne Dashwood needed to complement her youth and inexperience.  Henry Tilney's discernment is exactly what naive Catherine Morland needed to guide her.  My ideal husband would be some combination of those three men, especially Mr. Knightley.  My favorite heroines are Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, Anne Elliot from Persuasion, Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, and Fanny Price from Mansfield Park.  A combination of those women is what I would so want to be.  I want Elizabeth Bennett's wit, but not prejudiceness, Anne Elliot's patience and kindness, Elinor Dashwood's forebarance and patience, and Fanny Price's sweetness and kindness.
       There are a million and one favorite lines from Austen I have.  My family and I quote them incessently.  A lot of them happen to be from Pride and Prejudice, which is probably because we watch and read that one the most.  Let me note here that we watch the five hour BBC Pride and Prejudice  and would NEVER watch the newer two hour version because it makes a romance story out of it and you just CAN'T cram that long of a book into two hours and make a good movie.  One of my brother's favorite lines from Pride and Prejudice is when Elizabeth Bennett says, "I am happier even then Jane; She only only smiles, I laugh."  A favorite quote for my mother is when Mr. Bennett (Pride and Preujdice again) says, "I am going into my study and I'm not to be disturbed."  Wonder why that would be her favorite line. :)  My favorite quote from Jane Austen's novels is the opening line from Pride and Prejudice, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in a possesion of a large fortune must be in want of a wife."  Classic, enough said. 
       So that is why I love Jane Austen's novels.  Why do you?

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Confrontations That Have Taught Me

Senior year is probably a pretty hectic year normally, however, when you top it off with taking thirteen dual credit hours at the local community college it steps up to a whole new level of hectic.  I have to say I am enjoying it though, despite it sometimes being a bit of a culture shock.  My whole time at BCC has been very interesting.  I have met people I will never forget, some because of how much they annoyed me but other because of how good of friends they were.  As a Christian, I was for about the first time confronted with people who disagreed with my religous views.  Thankfully, I had parents and a church that had well prepared me for confrontation.  

My first confontation was with my lab partner in my basic chemistry class.  I found out he was homeschooled also and, as most homeschoolers are, I asked him if he was a Christian.  I was surprised to hear a negative response.  Well I asked him what he did belive then.  His answers were very wide and distorted.  However, his main points were, he belived there was a "god" but he didn't belive we could know anything about him (kind of like a deist), and he belived that this "god" had set off evolution.  However, he did say that he didn't believe evolution was logical, but it was cooler then creation, so he chose to believe it.  I realized about then that he was really illogical.  In fact, he told me he was really logical.  I figured that was about he only logical thought he'd ever had.  My lab partner and I had many discussion about religion and evolution and I found it very difficult to engage in these conversations mostly for the reason that he was extremly illogica and couldn't follow my reasoning.  I will admit, I am not great logician, but I do know the basics, which was more then I could say for him.  However, despite our many arguments, my lab partner and I still remained friendly towards each other.  If I had felt like it was really aggravating him, I probably would have stopped.  

My second confrontation was with my Comp 1 teacher.  You may have read my blog post "Is Language Sexist."  That was him.  He seemed like a pretty nice guy when I first started taking his class.  A warning signal went up in my mind though even the first day, though I tried to disregard it.  The whole class was introducing themselves and we shared our favorite book/movie.  Well my favorite book has always been Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  My teacher said (something like this), "Oh yes, Jane Austen writes really good books about young women moving past the rules of society to get what the truly want."  I about gagged.  If Jane Austen's novels had been about that I never would have read them.  This rather feminist remark though was just a taster of what was to come.  I am not going to restate what was in "Is Language Sexist," you can check it out for yourself but that was a whole big "issue" we talked about.  Anyways, I had the whole "Is Language Sexist," his talks about homosexuality being okay, and his thoughts on decriminalizing prostitution.  Sometimes the class's discussions on the decriminalizing of prostitution turned disgusting and/or disturbing, which really aggravated and shocked me.  I really was wondering sometimes if I was in the right class. It sure didn't seem like a Comp 1 class to me. The worst part of the whole discussions was that my Comp 1 teacher would always bring up the subject, pretend he wasn't sharing his opinions, ask our opinions, bash our opinions, and then say he wasn't bashing our opinions.

These two confrontations were very frustrating at times but as I look back I think they also taught me.  If I could go back in time I would get a different Comp 1 teacher, but I would stay with my basic chem class plus lab partner.  Yes those two experiences taught me a lot, but while one of them was more on a friendly level, the other was just ridiculous and oftentimes disgusting and disturbing.  Did they teach me?  Yes they did.  Would I repeat them?  Maybe one, but not the other.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Calvin and Hobbes: The More Times You Read It the Better It Gets

Well first off, I love Calvin and Hobbes.  I loved them ever since I first started reading them about eight years ago or so.  At first I loved them because I found them humorous (of course), and then I began to see other great aspects to them.  It is amazing how much Bill Waterson was able to insert great elements of philosophy and theology into this simple comic strip.  One of my favorites is when Calvin is talking to Hobbes about how he had a test in school that day and he couldn't decide whether to cheat on the test or not.  Hobbes asks him what he ended up doing and Calvin says he ran out of time, the bell rang and he ended up handing in a blank paper.  "Anyways," he adds, "It just seemed wrong to cheat on an ethics test."  It is a humorous but thought provoking strips like that that I love to read.  However, beware giving your younger children these as there is some slight bad language in them.  Besides that, though, I would whole heartedly recommend them.  I enjoy them especially when I don't feel well and I really need a good laugh to put me in better spirits.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The River

This is my descriptive paper I wrote for Comp 1. I think this is the most updated version I have but it may not be.  So beware, there may be a few errors. :)  However, this is my favorite paper and I hope you like it as much as I do.
The River
            Everybody has a favorite place to sit and think.  Mine is the river.  In the evening on a warm spring day I’ll set myself on one of the trees overhanging the river and allow myself to sink into the mood of my surroundings.  An occasional hawk cry or owl hoot will add the background music, paired with the gentle rippling sound of water flowing over rocks.  Here I am far away from the shouts of my parents and siblings, immersed in my own world that flows as gently as the river beneath me.  Eventually I will give in, remove my shoes, and slip my feet into the cool, clear water.  Memories of my childhood, and splashing in this very river, will make a chill of joy run through my body.  The water will tickle my toes and I will laugh like a child, a child delighted with the beauty of simplicity and peace. 
Sometimes I will close my eyes and just listen to the wind in the massive oaks above me.  Other times I will watch my surroundings, taking in the green of the grass and the blueness of the sky.  A splash of water around the bend never fails to startle me, though I know it is only a fish.  When I stare into the river it is so clear I can see the rocks at the bottom.  If I am lucky, I will also see tadpoles, minnows, or crawdads.  Fear of the crawdads vicious pinchers will cause me to raise my feet from the water.  Experience has taught me.
Slowly, so as not to overbalance, I will lay back on the log, staring in to the sky.  If it is one of those rare, perfect days, it will be an ideal sky blue, there will be a few clouds scattered about, and the warm sun will slowly be making its colorful descent from the heavens. Her I will sigh; my mind will drop, descending with the sun.  My eyelids will droop shut and my hand will drop limply into the river. 
I will awake a couple hours later to a whole new world, but one I love equally as much as the one I fell asleep to.  The breeze will have cooled as well as quickened.  The branches of the trees will make dark waving silhouettes against the gray sky.  Eeriness will have been added to the atmosphere, and an owl hoot will have more sinister tones.  The sounds of crickets and frogs cause shudders to run up my spin, I find it so easy to scare myself.  Thunder will break the spectral silence and lightning will capture my gaze.  An angry torrent of rain will rouse me off of the tree.  It will be time to go home, but I will always be back again to taste the beauty of the peace and simplicity of the river.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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