Saturday, October 22, 2016

Those once-in-a-life-time kind of things....

I seem to make grand plans about "coming back" to the blogging world after an extended absence....only to disappear without a trace after about 3 posts.

I do 'umbly apologize.

I mentioned in my previous post that I would be gone on a weekend trip, and while I had a very good excuse for my absence then, I suppose I don't now. After all, that post was nearly a month ago.

But let me try to focus. I don't know if you've heard or not.....but, if you missed the exciting news, let me now enlighten you. In September, I had the immense blessing of attending an event that allowed me to meet not one, not two, not three, but FIVE blogging friends.
Oh yes, Arthur, I did.

What event could it possibly have been? Why, this one. :)

I do I type this while remaining coherent and somewhat mature?

But.....I said five blogging friends, didn't I? 


I have no words. I met five blogging friends, five friends very near and dear to my heart.
photo credit:moi
I don't know how I can possibly tell you all that I wish to share with you. I will try my very best to make it long enough that all of my interested readers are satisfied, but short enough that you aren't bored out of your minds—and that I don't go insane trying to write about it all. ;)

moi again
I met Heidi and Èowyn first. I've been blogging friends/penpals with these darling girls for about three years now, and meeting them was a literal dream come true.
My mom was traveling with me (Naomi, I really admire you for flying across an ocean all by yourself. I couldn't imagine doing this trip alone, and I was only traveling across a few states!) and when our plane arrived I was....well, I was a nervous, excited mess. Nervous mostly because I was so afraid of making a bad first impression. I usually get nervous meeting people for the first time, but I kept telling myself it was ridiculous to be nervous. After all, I did know these people. I just never met them. :P
And then,  I hardly need explain why I was excited because I WAS MEETING HEIDI AND ÈOWYN.
Friends: 1940s:

Despite my nerves, my mom kept telling me everything would be wonderful. I should have paid more heed to her, because my mother is always right, and everything did indeed turn out wonderfully. There was no awkwardness when we met, only an abundance of hugs and smiles and squeals. :D

This sort of "reunion" was repeated later in the day when Olivia and her mother arrived! Èowyn and I had the privilege of meeting Olivia first and the whole hugs and smiles and squeals scene was repeated again....and again later when Heidi met her....oh, it was all such great fun. :D

From here on out I will be telling you different highlights of the trip, in order to shorten this narrative. ;)

~Talking and eating and laughing together at the rehearsal dinner was SUCH fun. We admired the strung lights (below is a photo) and the "no admittance except on official party business" sign on the kitchen door. We watched a slideshow of photos of John and Heidi through the years (cutest thing ever ;)) and exclaimed over the music playing (Èowyn and I both share a love for Ricky Nelson's music, and when she pointed out that a song of his was playing, I may or may not have squealed in delight!),  and marveled again and again and again that WE WERE TOGETHER. I honestly couldn't count the number of times we said things like, "Can you believe it?" "We're together—in the flesh!" "This still doesn't seem real!" "You're a real person!"

Ahem. Okay, perhaps we didn't say that last one, but I'm pretty sure we were all thinking it in some way, shape, or form. ;)

~I suppose this would be a good moment to tell you the not so fun part of the trip. I had an awful cold. Actually, Olivia was also getting over a cold, and together we were pretty pitiful. Despite the fact that I could hardly speak (my voice broke so many times, and I can't tell you how embarrassing it was) it was still one of the best times of my life. While not having a cold would have made it all better, I wouldn't actually say it made it worse. :)

~Another thing we all loved was being able to talk about all of YOU. Yes, you! Our blogging friends. It was so amazing being able to say "I'm going to miss Emma Jane's posts" or "Did you hear about Hamlette's John Wayne blog party?" for instance, and know exactly who the other person was talking about! And don't worry, everything we said about allll of you were wonderful things, of course. ;)

~Olivia and I were able to have breakfast together (with our moms, who got along splendidly together, much to Olivia's and my delight!) while everyone else was preparing for the wedding! We both share a nonsensical love for "free" hotel breakfasts and....yeah. We had fun. ;)

~Olivia and I also amused ourselves by wandering the hotel whenever we were unneeded and our friends were busy with wedding preparations. We went wherever the wifi was strongest so we could watch videos together, such as this one or this one.

~When we were ushered to our seats in the church (wedding time!!), I still believe to this day that the usher was confused as to whether we were relatives or friends. ;) Olivia and I were by ourselves at the time, and when we were placed very near to the front of the church, we started wondering if perhaps we had been misplaced! Then, when we saw Jessica and Rosie sitting a few rows behind us, we decided to be rebels and move to sit with them. ;) (I kept expecting an usher to scold us, but nothing happened.) Of course, once we saw them behind us we had to go sit with them, even if we were in the right spot. After all, we wanted so much to witness the wedding with them—and blogging friends stick together!

Pin for Later: Cinderella's Dazzling Pictures Will Take Your Breath Away  But Cinderella is too busy dancing to notice.:

~Heidi's musical choices were so perfect; we couldn't stop sighing and squealing over them. She had pieces of music from Cinderella, Pride and Prejudice '95, and Ever After.
As if that wasn't perfect enough? Her first dance with her own Mr. Knightley was this.

~Witnessing John and Heidi's wedding was, of course, the entire point of the trip and oh such a special thing. The ceremony was beautiful, and seeing my dear friend promise to love, honor, and cherish her husband for the rest of her life was so special and amazing. :')
(If you'd like to see some wedding pictures, here's a post she wrote!)

~After the wedding, it was time for the reception! It was such fun talking and laughing with Jessica and Rosie, eating delicious pie together, watching the dancing, and participating in the catch-the-bouquet-thing! (Is there a name for that?) (Oh, yes, isn't it called the bouquet toss?) Due to circumstances, the toss was done twice and Rosie caught it in the second time, saving me from being hit in the face with it. Thank you again for that, Rose! :D (Also, we're all looking forward to attending your wedding, now. ;))

~We were asked by so many people "Are you the blogging friends?" It was indeed such great fun to answer in the affirmative. Some people seemed rather confused by the notion, but more often than not they found it very exciting and fun. (One lady asked us if we minded the term "the bloggers". Of course we told her we didn't! :D)

~Dancing together was such fun, even though I cannot dance. :P  All five of us danced together with a bunch of little girls, who were such fun to watch twirling and running on the dance floor. I believe they danced much better than I ever could. ;)

~ All of us blogging friends got to help decorate Heidi and John's getaway car (after trekking almost the entire parking lot looking for it haha) with balloons and streamers and paper flowers and it was just great fun all around. :)

~When bidding farewell to the new Mr. and Mrs., everyone threw rose petals, which was quite lovely, but that meant that soon Rosie and Jessica had to leave as well and....sigh. I couldn't believe how quickly everything was coming to an end.  Hugs and sad smiles went around, and it felt like the Fellowship was starting to break up. :'(

~After the wedding, Olivia and I were once again left with time on our hands. We had a mini photo shoot outside, and here is one photo we took for the express purpose of "putting our faces upon the internet."
Well. kind of. ;)
me on the left, Olivia on the right

~Soon, everything was over except for one more highlight of the day....watching a movie with Èowyn, Olivia, and Èowyn's sister. Which was....simply a dream come true! I mean, honestly. We bloggers talk so much about movies and books and the like. What could be more amazing than watching one together?! The movie we chose was Belle. Èowyn and I hadn't seen it yet, and many thanks to Olivia, again and again, for bringing it because it's now one of my favorite period dramas. :) It was simply so lovely, and, as Èowyn noted, the part where John shouts of his love for Belle.....*sighs and cries and smiles all at once.* So incredibly beautiful. <3

Sam Reid & Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Belle -one of my new favorite movies! If you haven't seen it, watch it! You won't be disappointed :):

~Finally,  Èowyn, Olivia, and I had to say a final goodbye. I was leaving in the wee hours of the next morning for my trip back home, and so there was no hope of seeing each other over breakfast or such. I still laugh when I wonder what the hotel people who watch the security cameras thought of the girls having a big group hug in the hall of the hotel. It was very much like this:

A short night's sleep, and two flights later, I was home. Sadness and happiness were mixed together in my heart. I cried many times, because already I missed these special friends.This was a trip I never expected, and adventure I honestly didn't deserve to receive—especially considering how sad I was afterwards that it was over, instead of focusing on the goodness that it happened.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever Psalm 106:1  Isn’t it lovely how reassuring this verse is. His love endures forever! That’s a really long time. His love for us will never run out… it will never fade. Now that’s something to give thanks about! If you’re a lover of plants like we are, display this bible verse by some of your favorite succulents. #bibleverse #bibleverseprint #christianart #christiandecor #instantdownload #mysheephearmyvoice #psalm:

Despite the moments of sadness, I was and am and forever will be so thankful to God. He gave us a weekend overflowing with good things, and it will forever be one of my most treasured memories.

Girls—I love you all!! I'm so blessed. Each of you are amazing and being able to not only call you my friends but to have met you is such an enormous blessing to me. I have no words to describe it! This was a trip I will carry in my heart forever. It was certainly a once-in-a-life-time experience. (Although, I hope it's not a once-a-life-time-meeting! ;))
heehee Does this remind you of anything?

Ps. Make sure you read Èowyn's post about the trip here. It's simply beautiful and perfect in every possible way. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tolkien Questions

Thanks to Hamlette for this fun party and these questions. :)

(Don't forget to check out the giveaway!)

1.  How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?
Four-all of the Lord of the Rings books, and The Hobbit. :)

The Lord of the Rings - beautiful book cover!:
no, I don't own this copy. I'll take it if anyone would like to give it to me. :P

2.  Have you seen any movies based on them?
Yes, all of the Peter Jackson film adaptions of both LOTR and The Hobbit. :)

3.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you cry?
Um, YES.
Lord of the Rings (Credit instagram):

4.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you laugh?
Definitely. There so many funny moments. I love Bilbo's facial expressions in The Hobbit movies. I love Pippin and Merry's mischievous antics in The Fellowship of the Ring movie. I love Gandalf's sarcasm. My brother and I both love the scene at the end of the Return of the King movie when one of the hobbits at the Prancing Pony warns, "Watch the pumpkin!" ;D
There's a million more things that make me laugh, but it would take forever to list them. :P

5.  Have you ever chosen a Middle Earth name for yourself?  If so, what is it?
No, but I looked up my name in elvish (from here) and it is "Onnedhiel". (Oh-neth-ee-ell) It's not what my first choice would be, but I like it. :)

Middle Earth + Costume Details | ©:

6.  Who would you want to party with/marry/fight to the death? (pick three characters)
Ooh, this is hard. I would like to party with Pippin, marry Aragorn, and fight to the death with...ermm....can I choose an orc who is not good at fighting? Because otherwise I know he'd kill me. :P

7.  When was the last time you visited Middle Earth, via books or movies?
The last time was this past Monday with The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. 
fili and kili:

8.  Do you consider Gollum to be a villain?  Why or why not? He's definitely an antagonist, and a nasty, horrible one at that, but he's not necessarily a villain. As Miss Meg said in her answer to this question (in the comments box, here) he was only after the Ring, not destroying others. He would do anything to anyone in his way, but only because he was so consumed by the ring. I guess he's a villain made so by circumstances. But then, a lot of villains are created that way, so...I'm confusing myself. :P

9.  How would you sum up what Tolkien's stories mean to you in one word?

Tolkien - He started reading him around age 7. I now think I should have delayed mature reading a bit longer.:

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
Being that I'm rather short on time, I'm just going to share one quote that I love. :) 
*spoilers for The Hobbit book ahead*

Bilbo knelt on one knee filled with sorrow. “Farewell, King under the Mountain!” he said. "This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils - that has been more than any Baggins deserves."
   "No!” said Thorin. “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!”

   Then Bilbo turned away, and he went by himself, and sat alone wrapped in a blanket, and, whether you believe it or not, he wept until his eyes were red and his voice was hoarse. He was a kindly little soul. Indeed it was long before he had the heart to make a joke again. ~The Hobbit

May we be as wise as Elves, as merry as Hobbits, as faithful as Dwarves and as brave as Humans.:

Just a quick note I forgot to mention, I will be gone this weekend, so I won't be able to respond to all your comments till sometime next week. Sorry!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Romance in Middle-earth

In case you have not heard the splendorous news, Hamlette is hosting a Tolkien Blog Party at her blog, so do check it out!! There's even a giveaway of beautiful bookmarks!

Unless you're a hopeless romantic (like me), I would think that the great loves of Middle-earth do not come first to people's minds when they think of Tolkien's works. The Ring, Mount Doom, epic battles, Gollum's infamous pronunciation of "precious", and adventuresome (or not so adventuresome...) hobbits are definitely more likely remembrances when someone mentions Lord of the Rings.

And, while I do love Tolkien's works for these things, I also admit that I have a deep fondness for his romances in Lord of the Rings. (Also, I must give credit to Peter Jackson and all his helpers who made the LOTR movies possible, because, let's admit it, the movies gave us a lot of lovely romantic moments that the books didn't. ;))

Here are four of my favorite Middle-Earth couples and why I love them. (Okay, shhh, they're also the only romances in Middle-Earth) If any of you Tolkien-ites know of more romances than just these, I'd love to hear about them. (I already know about Beren and Lúthien, though. ;))

Oh, spoilers and photos abound. Just to warn you. :P

Aragorn and Arwen
Probably the most famous LOTR couple, Aragorn and Arwen are just.....

Yeah. Perfect. :')
Hope is a strong theme in Aragorn and Arwen's love story. Hope that someday Aragorn will take his rightful place as king. Hope that Arwen will survive long enough for the Ring to be destroyed (which, I think is a circumstance only in the movies....correct me if I'm wrong!).
Hope that someday, somehow, they may be together. 
Their reunion at the end of Return of the King is quite possibly one of my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy. His face is so full of wonder and gratefulness. 
She is happy—oh, so happy, and proud. But I think she's a little scared, too. So much has changed. 
But Aragorn's love for her has not. Her love for him as not.
And thus Aragorn becomes the King of Gondor, and is reunited with his Queen, never to be separated from her again 
(well, except when he dies but please don't mention that).

"And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undómiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfilment."

Faramir and Éowyn

Faramir + Eowyn: elennúmen Eowyn and Faramir: "It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and…:

Ohhh, Faramir and Éowyn. Contrary to Arwen and Aragorn having more lovely scenes in the movies than in the books, you MUST read the books to fully appreciate Éowyn and Faramir's relationship.

These two complement each other so well. They both have been hurt deeply—emotionally and physically. In fact, they meet while in The Houses of Healing (AKA the hospital :P) in Gondor. Faramir is instantly attracted to Éowyn, but he senses her sadness—and she has much to be sad about. She was not able to go and fight, her uncle Théoden died, and Aragorn rejected her love. (In the nicest way possible, but still.) She was as depressed as could possibly be, and only wished to die valiantly in battle.
But Faramir saw past her sadness. He loved her for who she really was, not who she tried to be. 
He encouraged her. 
He believed in her. 
Their romance is so sweet. It starts as a friendship (at least on Éowyn's side :P) but quickly turns into something deeper. They both bond while healing, and in the process, help each other heal.
Because both of them are incredibly strong individuals, it is especially significant that, when their own respective strength was dwindling, they strengthened each other.

“And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: 'Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Eowyn, do you not love me?”
~Return of the King

Sam and Rosie
Where has this picture been all my life? The Return of the King:
LOTR - "Epilogue -- Sam & Rosie":

Okay, as if I even need to explain this one. :P
Who could not ship Sam and his own sweet Rosie? Who? I must know! (No, I actually probably shouldn't.) Hope and strength and sweetness combine themselves in this particular romance. We all love Sam—we all want to see him happy. (right?!) And ever since day one of knowing him, we know he was very fond of one Rosie Cotton—but terribly shy of her. ;)
Then his adventure with Frodo came along—and finally they returned. Much had changed, not all for good, but Sam suddenly had a courage he never knew he possessed. And he asked Rosie to marry him and they wed and have 13 children and....!!!!
(And don't even get me started on who their children married, and all their sweet names....<3)

It's the perfect echo of the story in its entirety. Frodo and Sam left the Shire, not sure they'd ever return. Sam wasn't sure he'd ever get a chance to tell Rosie he loved her—to even see her again.
But, they do return. And I think Sam's subsequent marriage to Rosie is a lovely symbol of the hope and courage and subsequent fulfillment of hope that the Lord of the Rings stands for.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King We like everybody in this pic…:

"'And I hope my Sam's behaved hisself and given satisfaction?'

'Perfect satisfaction, Mr. Gamgee,' said Frodo. 'Indeed, if you will believe it, he's now one of the most famous people in all the lands, and they are making songs about his deeds from here to the Sea and beyond the Great River.' Sam blushed, but he looked gratefully at Frodo, for Rosie's eyes were shining and she was smiling at him."
~Return of the King

Kili and Tauriel
Tolkien Artist Fridays: lanimalu:

Kili and Tauriel - Then they lived by Ingvild-S on DeviantArt: <3Kili and Tauriel, if the Battle of the five Armies would have had a different…:
"Why does it hurt so much." "Because it was real."
Switching gears a little, I'm focusing now on a romance that was not in any of the books. It was not hinted at or suggested in any way; in fact, Tauriel does not even exist in Tolkien's universe.


Does that stop me from absolutely loving Kili and Tauriel's relationship?

Kili and Tauriel are, quite literally, my favorite couple (at the moment). Would you like some logical reasons why? Well, I can provide that. (although I can't promise they'll all be logical ahem.)
1) He adores her. Not to say the other men on this list didn't adore their lady-loves as well, but Kili's adoration for Tauriel is unconventional. I would think even more unconventional than a human and and elf falling in love. Dwarves and elves, as a general rule, rather hate each other.
Anyhow, you can see how Kili practically worships the ground Tauriel walks on right from the moment they meet. His love for her is in his eyes. It's so sweet.

2) Her world is flipped upside down by him. He sees into her heart and soul. He understands and relates to her, and this confuses probably everything she'd ever heard about dwarves. She's so arrogant when she meets him. "If you think I am giving you a weapon, dwarf, you are mistaken." She thinks they're all alike. She's believing what she's been taught. But then he shows her she was wrong, and it completely throws her off balance. She no longer knows what to believe, and I think that may be why it takes her so long to realize her own feelings for him.

3) He tells her he loves her in dwarvish. Just...look...
I didn't need  the vital organ that just crumbled into a million pieces known as…

4) She's so nervous about how they could make a relationship work between them, but he's 100% confident and not scared at all what others would think. (I wonder what Thorin and Fili would say? Oh my...) 
It's just so adorable.

5) Their height difference. I've always had an irrational fear that the man I fall in love with (someday my prince will come...?) would be shorter than me (because I'm very tall. For a girl. :P) but you know what? Seeing Tauriel and Kili together makes me not even care. At least right now. ;)

6) That moment when she healed him from dying and he, being in the delusional state of mind he was in, insisted she wasn't really there, that she "walked in starlight in another world". And his question,
"do you think she could have loved me?"
-cries forever-

(Notice how I didn't include any pictures of that moment? Yeah. Because it didn't happen. It didn't. It didn't!! -sob-)

Weelll, I could go on, but this post is already ridiculously long. So...last thing.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and Edith Tolkien 
(Beren and Lúthien)
JRR TOLKIEN ;John Ronald Ruel Tolkien ;Photographed in his garden with his wife Edith at 76 Sandfield Road , Oxford ;1966 ;English writer , poet and university professor ;Credit : Pamela Chandler / ArenaPAL
Edith + JRR Tolkien, Their love story was the inspiration for the Epic story of Beren and Lúthien. <3 <3 <3:

I feel that a fitting way to end this post would be to point to J.R.R. Tolkien himself, and his own lovely wife, Edith. He based the tale of Beren and Lúthien on the love between himself and Edith. In fact, their gravestone bears the names of Beren and Lúthien, respectively.

I guess it just can't get any sweeter than that. :') <3

That's amazing that she converted to Catholicism!  JRR Tolkien :):

ps. Remember to check out Hamlette's blog!!