Sunday, October 9, 2011

[ Title Unknown ]

It's been a while since I've posted, but not from a shortage of ideas.  I wanted to post about adjusting to Arizona and its little unique oddities.  But I always forget a camera before I go driving, so I haven't been able to take a picture of the Arizona driving gem: cars here often stop half a car length or more behind the white line at an intersection, and I really don't know why. I've wanted to post about surprising similarities between Arizona and England, but I never have a camera with me when I see people walking in the sun and 110 degree heat under (often metallic dome) umbrellas.  I have been excited to post about my attempt to develop a new talent, but I've been waiting to complete enough suitable watercolor prints to display for you. I've wanted to post about my new job, but every time I get home from work, I decide that I'm much too weeeeeeary.  So between my absent camera (which is sitting in a lost and found office in London. They want me to verify my identity and pay them money to have it returned, which I haven't been willing to do as of yet) and my sudden level of daily exhaustion, blogging has been put on hold.

However, today I was spurred on by the out-pouring of new autumn blog backgrounds at my favorite free blog design site, so here I am, splurting every random thought that happens to pop into my head.  For example, did you know that Arizona has the most incredible sky in the entire continental US (probably hard to beat the Northern Lights in Alaska...)?  I knew this once when I was much younger and my family and I were driving across the black Arizona desert one night, listening to John Denver and watching the most phenomenal lighting storm dancing along the horizon.  But it's been a while since that happened, and when I moved here I was expecting a boring blue sky, day after day.  Since my arrival, though, I have been  DELIGHTED to discover some of the most gorgeous clouds, sunsets and lightning storms I have ever seen.  Skies have always been one of my favorite of God's creations, so my discovery has increased my willingness to live in Arizona ten-fold, despite the heat.  Speaking of the heat, it has been much cooler here the past week (mid-70s).  GLORRRIOUS! Oh, the return of simple joys!

Other simple joys: 
  • Making homemade crepes and topping with granulated sugar and the juice of half a lemon.  
  • Filling the trouble wall of my kitchen with a shelf and various decor items, all purchased at Goodwill for $6.50 total.  
  • Finding new and exciting ways to use the however-many tons of food storage we just toted 700 miles.  In the past I've only ignored the ten cans of manderin oranges we had sitting on our shelf, but no longer! It's been a delight to see the dent in my stacks of cans growing larger and larger.
  • Receiving my first pay check and seeing a number in the "Deposits" column of my bank account website for the first time in a year.  
  • Having the only dollar theater in the entire Phoenix valley only a couple of miles away from our house.  Dave and I saw HP 7-2 together for the second time yesterday.  Of all the Harry Potter movies, it's the only one I really loved. 
My status on Facebook the other night was about the movie North and South.  I thought I should clarify, I was watching the BBC version of Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel, set in England about the north of England, and not the classic Civil War film.  I discovered North and South during my first semester in Cambridge, and I fell in love instantly, though for more than just the expected reason (let's face it, N&S DOES have possibly the best on-screen kiss ever). 

I loved that the characters were more complex than in most period dramas.  For example, as much as I love Pride and Prejudice, there are the wise characters and the foolish characters.  Not much in between (Charlotte might be the exception).  But in North and South, there aren't any "good" or "bad" characters, or even any "wise" and "foolish" characters.  There are a bunch of people trying to survive and make the best of their separate circumstances and sometimes the ways in which they cope with their situations are not particularly compatible.  I was impressed that the show was able to make me second-guess whichever "side" I had first found myself choosing.  Also, the central culture clash in the movie resonated with me, since I first saw the show at a time when I was dealing with my own surprising and difficult culture clash.  

Like the handshake between Margaret and Mr. Thornton, I was blundering around doing and saying things that were offensive to some of my British friends, but that in America were not only acceptable, but polite!  I felt like the movie picked up an essential truth about well-meaning interactions between different cultures, along with the difficult adjustments that have to be made when one relocates to a place where there is a different code of conduct.  Finally, I thought the movie was a fascinating glimpse into a time period I know very little about.  The industrial age has always been a period that has made me slightly uncomfortable, and I appreciated the way that North and South dealt with the difficulties and challenging decisions of that time.        
Anyway, great movie.  I recommend it. 

My final random thought for the evening is about my new assignment at church.  I have been asked to teach the 16 and 17 year old girls of the congregation.  I am excited about the assignment, though I have to admit, my enthusiasm shrunk substantially when I saw that my first lesson would be about dating standards and chastity.  I looked through the lesson schedule for the year and, sure enough, I was assigned the only chastity lesson in the current manual.  It's not that the subject itself intimidated me much, but I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to be as direct and clear as I needed to be without having first established a relationship of trust with the girls.  Thankfully, the girls are all strong and active young women, which made it easier.  I'm still terrified to think of what the lesson would have been like had the girls already been struggling in that area.  Instead, though, we were able to have a good conversation today about how women so often place their sense of worth and power on their bodies and their ability to attract the attention of the men around them.  We talked about how tragic it is for women to become so dependent on their bodies for feelings of worth and power, and talked about how to seek power through our covenants with God and through obedience to His commandments.  We talked about how to grow a strong sense of self and of individual worth through understanding our relationship to a loving and present Heavenly Father.  Then we talked about furthering our talents and strengths and rounding out our personalities by developing good relationships with both boys and girls, and taking the opportunity to date casually and spend the teen years having fun with friends of both genders.  I'm grateful for siblings who have been such a good example of this!  I think they have all lived their teenage lives to the fullest, and are healthy and happy individuals as a result. I would happily hold them up as models for anyone who believes that the teenage years have to be exploratory, angst-ridden, and passionate - both physically and emotionally.  

Well, I think I've momentarily exhausted my string of unconnected thoughts.  I still don't have a title for this post of random things, and I may never have.  But it's a glimpse into life as it is for me now.  I'm guessing the next post won't be so long in coming.  Cheers, until then....           

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I love all of this post and hearing your thoughts, especially about North and South. Best movie ever!

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