Okay I admit that I never attempted the gargantuan novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. The idea of reading about Napolean’s invasion of Russia and the lives of people affected never appealed to me. I am however a sucker for a big, beautiful costume drama. So I watched all six hours of Lifetime’s presentation of BBC’s production.
It was a complicated story with many characters. It required my full attention to follow the storyline. This is one time I wish I had been able to watch the last scene before I watched the entire story. Why? Because while War and Peace does tell the story of lives affected by living during times of War and Peace, I realized (maybe slower than others) that it’s a metaphor for what we experience internally in our own lives.
We all have time that war is raging internally and we must pretend we are at peace. Or we all know at least one person who is able to experience internal peace regardless of what is happening in her/his life. Andrei and Pierre both are drawn towards Natasha because she is one of those people. And it isn’t until Andrei and Pierre have suffered life altering situations that they realize the importance of just finding joy and love in each day. Without those experiences they would never had understood the secret to a joyous life. The question is would they give up that knowledge to avoid the pain they experienced? I’ve had to ask myself that question. Is the peace and joy I experience now worth the pain of my divorce? It’s been a journey for me just like it has been for Andrei and Pierre but I agree with Pierre. What follows is a quote from the movie. Pierre is contemplating his life and was his experience as a prisoner of war worth the lessons he learned. He decides if being a prisoner of war was the only way to reach the peace and joy he experiences now, than he would do it all again. He would suffer in order reach this peace in his heart.
“When our lives are knocked off course we imagine everything in them is lost. It is only the start of something new and good. As long as there is life there is happiness. There a great deal, a great deal to come.”
Why do I always feel a little sad when I finish a good book? I should be happy to be finished and ready to move on to the next good read but unless it’s a sequel I never feel that way.
A good author can make the characters seem real. I become involved in their lives, sorrows and joys. Time, life situation and age are immaterial. I connect as much with a thirty year old single female trying to make it in New York City as much as I do with an angry Englishman in 1779. Then there is the love longing Mexican girl and the post World War II single, female author seeking the place she belongs, so different but I identify with both.
I wonder what happened to the newly divorced woman who gave herself and her soon to be ex husband a divorce party in a failed effort to save her marriage. Did she find love again? Or what about Demelza? Does she become a grandmother and Ross a grandfather? Did the abused wife heal her heart and soul once she was free?
I can go places I will never see and meet people from the beginning of time to present day and even people from the future. I wonder could I possibly write about and share a story, a world and people? I just know my life would be one dimensional and gray without books.
I read this book years ago and then watched the movie. I needed a third foreign language film to fulfill the Experience Passport task. I decided to see if I could find this movie and lucky me, it was available on Amazon Prime.
It is an interesting love story between the youngest daughter of a traditional family and a young man. Tita is forbidden by her mother to marry Pedro because as the youngest daughter she is required to stay unmarried and care for her mother until she dies. In order to stay near Tita, Pedro marries her sister. Of course she is broken-hearted.
She puts all her emotions into her cooking and in turn the food is filled with her emotions. The diners are affected by some mystical connection to Tita’s emotions. Strange things happen. Some sad, some funny.
In today’s busy world I think we often times forget the power of food. The power that a homecooked meal shared with family and/or friends can hold. It offers a chance for conversation and connection. Real connection and not a quick text message. I even have fallen into the trap of texting rather than actually picking up a telephone. Being in the midst of a major life change, I think the lesson I can learn from Like Water for Chocolate is that it’s important never to give up on family and love.
An insecure girl with wild hair
Wandering in a new place, a new school
Struggling to find her way
A name no one knows
You’re not Lisa, Michelle, Karen or Kim
Then I discovered you in Mythological stories of Greek gods and nymphs
You are a nymph loved by Apollo
He promises to care for you forever
Now no I’m longer the girl with the strange name
I’m a beautiful Greek nymph loved by Apollo the ideal of all a Greek man should be
And my beloved you saved me
After being married for 30 years, divorced for almost 3 years, I am considering dating websites. I tried them when I first got divorced but thankfully realized facing rejection from thousands of men wasn’t a good idea.
I’ve read up on what makes a good profile and it seems everyone has a different opinion. I tend to agree with the folks that say photos are the most important along with a good headline. I know if I am not attracted to the photo I don’t read the profile. The challenge is remembering I am not that twenty something girl looking for a date. I read a dating expert say that we look at profiles with our young minds. So women see old men who look like their dads and grandpas and men see old women who look like their moms and grandmas. I admit that is true for me. And then add the additional challenge that men can date down in age, economics and education more easily than women. Now before you lecture me that age is a state of mind and older women date younger men, I am talking about relationships. I am not talking about friendships or a sexual affair even though things are necessary to a good relationship but many times we experience them individually.
I read something in a novel by Louise Penny which I want to use in my profile when I do get brave enough and strong enough to try dating again. This is paraphrased from The Long Way Home by Louise Penny.
She wasn’t made for a Paris runway but for good meals and books by the fire and laughter. She was constructed from and for happiness. She helps you discover how very attractive a heart and mind can be.
Have you ever read a book that is timeless? I believe Poldark is just that.A book written in the 1940s about life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Cornwall, England. The struggles faced then are as relevant as the ones we face today. Ross Poldark is a soldier just returning home from a war which was lost. He learns not only has the love of his life, Elizabeth agreed to marry his wealthy cousin Francis but his father is dead and his small estate in ruin.
Heartbroken Ross pours himself into his farm and reopening the mine on his land. Unlike his cousin Francis and his wife Elizabeth, Ross was never separated apart from the people on his father’s land. He grew up with the sons of the miners. They were his friends despite the huge difference in their social status. Ross’s experience in the war has given him a clearer perspective on life and the injustices he sees everyday in Cornwall and England.
Miners are forced to poach game to keep their families from starving while the gentry live a life of luxury which is paid for on the backs of the workers, the miners. Justice is only justice if it serves the gentry well because while they say all are equal before the law, that is not how it is actually carried out.
Ross finds himself torn between what he knows in his heart is right and what the people of his class tell him is right. It is the unexpected love and faith he finds in a young girl, a miner’s daughter, that helps Ross find his way.
He stumbles. He fails. He succeeds. He’s torn between love for two women. He carries on doing his best.
Aren’t these the same challenges we face today? The divide between the rich and poor growing. The idea that some are born to succeed and others to fail. Aren’t we struggling to find true justice in our court systems? Not justice for some but justice for all? Aren’t we fighting for education, jobs and the disenfranchised? Aren’t we working to save the men and women who return from war some broken and scarred changed forever? For soldiers who can’t find employment and face poverty? Aren’t we seeking our voice and our right to be heard even if we are poor or a minority or just the plain forgotten?
When Winston Graham published Poldark, World War II had just ended. His country was facing the very same challenges Ross faced when he returned from fighting the American War of Independence. The only difference is Britain won WWII and lost the AmericanRevolution but the returning soldiers faced the same fights as Ross did 150 years earlier. And now in the 21st century we are facing our biggest battle, the fight of ideology. Will we win this world war of terrorism imposed by the few on the many?
This is absolutely my favorite book series and I hope you find the time to read not just Poldark but all twelve books.
“We envy a man for something he has and yet the truth may be he hasn’t got it after all and we have.” Francis Poldark PBS
We live in a world where the message is what you have isn’t enough. We are taught we need to be ambitious, make more money, attain a higher status, just get more. But does stuff and more money make us happy? Does it make us envy our friends and neighbors more or less? Do we ever reach a point when we’ve reached the pinnacle of success and feel satisfied or are we on some endless road?
I think the character Francis Poldark from the Winston Graham book series Poldark’s worcs ring just as true now as when Mr. Graham wrote them and also when Francis was supposed to have said them in the late 1700s. People don’t change. Status whether it’s brought by money, a beautiful wife, a big house or a successful business is a temporary fix for what we all desire on a deeper level.
Things are temporary. Jobs are temporary. Relationships can be shallow. Money comes and goes. But what if while we are so busy acquiring and envying others we miss the joy we already have in our lives? Studies have proven money doesn’t make us happy. It makes us comfortable and offers security on one level. I understand how devastating it can be to lose financial security. I’ve lost all the financial security I had when I divorced. I understand how devastating job loss and loss of a relationship can be. I was married for 30 years only to be tossed aside. It hurt. It still does. I see my friends’ lives and the security they still have. I feel envious. I feel cheated. I feel angry that my ex could discard me and our daughters like yesterday’s trash.
But what I’ve realized is that if I spend my time envying the life I had, the lives of my friends then I cheat myself out of recognizing the blessings and joys that I have in my life now. I have close and loving relationships with my daughters and son-in-law. I’ve learned who my true friends are and that the appearance of happiness doesn’t mean they are happy. I have peace of mind. I no longer wonder in what new way my ex husband was going to betray me and hurt me. I’ve learned I’m strong.
So Francis is right. We’ve had it all along.
Listed in no particular order as all of them have touched me in someway equally.
- Anne Shirley created by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Demelza Carne Poldark created by Winston Graham
- Melanie Hamilton and Scarlett O’Hara created by Margaret Mitchell
- Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser created by Diana Gabaldon
- Elizabeth Bennet Darcy and Emma Woodhouse Knightley created by Jane Austen
- Jo March created by Louisa May Alcott
- Madeline created by Ludwig Bemelmans
Any of the strong southern women created by Mary Kay Andrews
- Heidi created by Johanna Spyri
- Margaret Simon by Judy Blume
Do you ever get lost in a daydream? Wonder what it would be like to travel to faraway destinations. Do you look at photos from around the world on Instagram? I do. I love the window into lives around the world. I also love to write letters. There is something so personal and intimate about letters. While they may not be immediate communication, they are something which can express who you are and how you feel so much better than a text or email. When I receive a handwritten card or letter in my mail, it brightens my day. So I am going to help you by giving away a set of three 5 x 7 notecards and two postcards by Hunter and Hobbs valued at $20. Photos taken in Switzerland and France.
To enter: Click the link and follow the simple directions to enter. Additional entries are available by following the directions. Good Luck!
Hunter and Hobbs Sweepstakes
“The garden was nothing to her anymore. Let it run to waste and let the giant weeds grow. It would match the desolation of her soul” Demelza from Warleggans by Winston Graham
I feel just like Demelza describes in this passage. It feels as though my life and soul are being choked out by weeds. Where beauty and happiness resided now you’ll find a wasteland of weeds. I can’t blame it on anyone but myself. Yes, my ex did horrible things. He did things that no man should ever do and no woman should ever accept. But since the end of my marriage, I let the seeds of misery grow in my heart and it has become a garden overgrown with weeds.
Just like weeding a real garden, it is difficult work and it’s always horrible to face the prospect of all the work. Changing my life is not less daunting. It is hard work and there are no guarantees the time and energy will make any difference. At times it is overwhelming. There are days I think I see the bloom of a flower but as quickly as it comes, it’s gone.
I just have to take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Just like pulling weeds from the garden, you do it one at a time and make sure you gets the roots or the weed will just come back. I’m making sure I get the roots this time.