Friday, February 21, 2014

Literary Herione Blog Party!

OhyesOhyes! It’s the annual LHBP over at Accordion to Kellie! Whahoo! I look forward to this every year—it just makes February a wee bit brighter. :-D Be sure to visit Kellie’s blog, read other ladies’ answers to Kellie’s questions, and enter the giveaways for some truly unique prizes.

~ The Questions ~
1.      Introduce yourself!  Divulge your life’s vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random! Hello, my name is Rebekah G., and I’m a chocoholic. :-P Seriously, though, my life’s vision is to get my inspiration back, so’s I can write the stories of all the fascinating Characters God has put in my head, and to use the wonderful miniatures He’s given me over the years to illustrate my books. It’ll be a long-term goal, to be sure, but I feel like this is what God wants me to do with my life, and with His help, I’ll do it.
2.      What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? Firstly, someone who has given her life to God. That’s the most important thing. A true heroine should be courageous, confident and stable in mind and able to stand up for her convictions—even when everyone around her has compromised and is urging her to do so. A woman who is kind and compassionate, yet unafraid to speak out firmly, but in love and by God’s aid, against injustice and wrongdoing. A woman who is unafraid to do what she believes to be right. One who is unwilling to compromise her beliefs, even though it would mean being separated from the one she loves. A true heroine should be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others and be able to meet those needs to the best of her God-given abilities...and to keep from freaking out or pouting when she can’t do a blessed thing. :-P She should be mature mentally, spiritually and emotionally, able to handle whatever life throws at her—to roll with the punches instead of right smack into them—and trust God wholly for the strength she needs to overcome any difficulty. She should be unselfish, willing to share what she has with those she loves or who are in need, but also know when to put down good boundaries and take time to do things for herself.
3.      Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. 
#1—Molly Gibson. I recently finished reading Wives and Daughters (Christmas present from Mom!), and I just love Molly! She’s something of a “strong heroine,” yet she never compromises her femininity (well, with the exception of reading books in the cherry tree if you want to get technical :-P). She is so loving and unselfish, yet not in a sickly-sweet Elsie Dinsmore kind of way. She stands up for what she believes is right and never wavers when she knows she is in the right, despite what other people think of her. When Roger (stupidly) proposes to Cynthia, Molly is miserable because she knows Cynthia doesn’t love him as much as Roger deserves to be loved. She wants so desperately for the people she loves to be happy, and her greatest fear is of causing pain. I really can’t say enough good things about Molly—she’s become one of my favorite literary heroines ever!
And it’s been so long since I’ve read any other books (bad Tom!), I’m just going to nominate Anne Shirley, Jo March and Elizabeth Bennett by default.
4.      Five of your favorite historical novels?
#1—Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen at her very best!
#2—Wives and Daughters. Ranked #2 because poor Elizabeth Gaskell died before she could finish it! (The BBC did a pretty good job, though.)
#3— Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It has its issues, but on the whole, faith, forgiveness and adherence to convictions shine through this somewhat Gothic novel, and near the end is the closest thing to a Gospel message as I’ve run across in secular fiction.
#4—The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire by Howard Pyle. Don’t know if this counts as “historical,” per se, but I’ve always liked Robin Hood legends and tales of Merry Olde
England. :-D
#5—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I love Marmee’s nuggets of motherly wisdom to her girls as they grow up.
5.      Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why? Well, since I already featured Molly, I’ll pick Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. She has her faults, but once she realizes where she’s been wrong, she accepts it and moves on. She’s spunky, witty, smart and lively, yet still definitely feminine without being weak or sappy. The relationship between her and Jane is so sweet, especially since it is untainted by jealousy.
6.      Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? Mr. Darcy, also from P&P. While at first he comes off as stand-offish, cold and even downright rude, we discover along with Elizabeth that a kind, generous heart beats under that sullen veneer, along with the determination to set right the wrongs he feels responsible for.
7.      If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? I’d travel to England to see the Yorkshire countryside and perhaps find out a bit more about my Dad’s side of the family. I’d explore the little villages and towns and see how Englanders live apart from the bustle and noise of the cities. I might do some “bashing around London” and do the touristy things like visiting the Victoria and Albert museum and the Tower of London (picking up some jolly good souvenirs if they’re not too pricy)…but on the whole, I’d rather see the quieter, more old-timey and down-to-earth parts of Egland. Then I’d pop on over to Scotland and Ireland to see the old castles, explore some more quaint little villages, pick up some more souvenirs…and maybe even find out once and for all if the McSpaddens really have a clan tartan or no. :-P (And if they do, I might just have to pick up a bit o’ cloth to make meself a kilt with…providing it’s reasonably priced.)
8.      What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?  Regency England, mainly because women’s fashions were so much less restrictive (or ridiculous!) as in previous and later eras, but also because life hadn’t yet become as mechanized and fast-paced. People had more time to visit one another, to sit down and sew, do needlework and/or write letters, attend balls and dinner parties, and generally spend time together. I also like a bit of American Frontier now and then. Life was still fairly simple, things were new and exciting, and there was an undisputed allure of “going West.” We’ll ignore the downsides of not being overtaken by “progress” (such as no indoor plumbing!!!) for the sake of nicety. :-P
I’ve also been interested in Japanese and Indian cultures since girlhood…though truth be told, I never applied much time to actually studying them…mainly their national costumes. *Whistle*
9.      You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? A medley of instrumental arrangements—a mix of old hymns, folk songs, English ballads and Irish jigs and reels—performed by myself, my mother and brother, on cellos, recorders, violin, viola and Irish whistle.
10. If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? This is always a tough one for me, since most of my favorite heroines are brunettes! What’s up with that? Anyhoo….Methinks I’d go as Éowyn, especially since I can wear white now! :-D
11. What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? Mmmmmmm….Dark, Milk, White—it’s all good in my book. Really, the only chocolate I (gasp!) don’t like is bittersweet—chocolate with more than 72% cocoa content. Ech!
Chocolate, when made with natural sweeteners and NOT processed with alkali (what hair-brained genius thought putting battery acid in food was a good idea?!), eaten in moderation and savored for the velvety delight it is…well, it can be a little slice of Heaven, if I may be so bold.
Chocolate can be therapeutic—the ultimate comfort food when you’re feeling blue and make-the-world-go-away-ish.
And they say dark chocolate is good for your thyroid! :-D
12. Favorite author(s)? L.M. Montgomery, A.A. Milne, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, L. Frank Baum, Lloyd Alexander, Jane Austen. Mind you, I haven’t read ALL of these authors’ books, and there are a few I have read that I didn’t like (or even finish), but on the whole, their styles are enjoyable, their stories interesting and entertaining.
13. Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? (Note: I consider my Bible, camera and extra batteries/memory cards as essentials)
~Booffy Bear! (My faithful mascot on any Adventure)
~Lots of money for meals, hotels and souvenirs
~A needlework project for the plane trip (if I don’t have too bad a headache, that is)
~My memo voice recorder, in case Inspiration strikes, and as an easier way of documenting the day’s adventures than trying to write it all out right then.
14. In which century were most of the books you read written? Probably mostly the 19th, with a smattering of earlier centuries and 20th- and 21st century works thrown in for good measure.
15. In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… While I loved Roger Hamely from Wives and Daughters (baring that fit of stupidity as regards Cynthia), I still think Frodo and Sam top him in the “ultimate” category.
Describe your ideal dwelling place. (WARNING! Long answer!)
A white two-story Victorian farmhouse with dark green roof and trim, a covered porch all the way around it (with a porch swing, of course!), with a deck built onto the veranda in back that leads to a patio and swimming pool area. The house would have big bay windows for hanging ferns and/or prisms in, or with window-seats, and a balcony or two. The attached garage would be architecturally similar to the house and have direct access to the kitchen so’s we wouldn’t have to haul groceries through the rain and mud in bad weather. The kitchen would be spacious and efficient, with counters all round (except where there were doors and appliances, of course), and an island in the middle with a butcher-block top, an extra set of burners and a small sink. There would be a rack hanging above the island for pots and pans, lots of storage for lids, cookie sheets, casserole dishes and what-not under all the countertops, and of course an efficient stove/oven, dishwasher, sink and refrigerator. It would also have a hutch for the everyday dishes and silverware, and a walk-in pantry. The back door would have a weather tight cat-flap in it so’s my seven precious kitties (I decided forty-leven was a bit much) and the Cocker Spaniel could come and go as they pleased. The Irish wolfhound would just have to bark at the door to be let in or out.
All the rooms would be elegant yet not extravagant, warm and inviting (or cool, depending on the season and thanks to an efficient heat pump and wood stove), and have enough space between the furniture and what-not to keep the place from feeling claustrophobic, but not so much that it feels practically bare. There would be lots of cupboards, closets, shelves and other means of storage all throughout the house—a place for everything, and everything in its place—including a coat-closet in the entry and a linen closet in the hallway on the main floor. There would be a spacious living room with plenty of seating for guests, a modest-yet-comfortable formal dining room with a built-in china hutch to display the “family heirloom” dishes, a good-sized laundry room with (surprise, surprise) cupboards/storage for cleaning supplies, mops and brooms, the vacuum cleaner, etc., and a table for folding clothes as they come out of the dryer. A separate room would house the movies, games, books and entertainment what-nots in general, so as not to detract from visiting-space in the living room. Another, very large, room would be set up on the main floor as a music room/dance studio, which would double as a ballroom for hosting Jane Austen balls and masquerades and stuff of that ilk. It would have double French doors on one wall that open onto the spacious deck (or terrace, to coin a more elegant term). All the bedrooms would good-sized, with built-in or walk-in closets and plenty of room to get around the furniture without walking like a penguin. :-P
There would be a bonus room above the garage where I’d work on my jewelry and miniatures and display my room-boxes, dollhouses and “mini movie sets” made for my Book Illustrations project. The house would have a generous attic for storing Christmas decorations in the off-season and whatever else we didn’t need all the time, and a finished root cellar (the walls painted liberally with KILZ to prevent mold and mildew) for storing all our canned goods from the garden…and home-brewed root beer and ginger ale! :-D
The area around the house proper would be nicely landscaped in front with a grassy lawn, and a few flowerbeds with shrubs and ornamental trees mixed in with the flowers. In back, I’d have an English garden for flowers and a kitchen garden near the patio/pool area mentioned above, and it would all be inside a solid board fence about eight feet tall, with one of those “Houdini” fence-toppers that keep cats from climbing over the fence (‘cos I’d love my kitties too much to let the coyotes eat them). There would be seven ancient weeping willow trees around the house, and one of them would have a swing-seat in its branches.
This blissful dwelling would be set in the middle of a ten- or twenty-acre meadow bordered by deep woods, dotted with rolling hillocks, more trees and wildflowers, and a creek running through it into a duck pond with a pier with a rowboat moored to it (no noisy motors for me, thank you), with another one on the island in the middle of the pond. This would be large enough to hold a little Summer teahouse or gazebo, with a flagstone path leading to it. There would also be lots of reeds and cattails and what-not for the wild ducks and geese to nest in, safe from predators. There would be a big treehouse somewhere in the woods, either built around the bole (trunk) of the largest tree, or between four or five that are close together, in a ring of sorts, with cargo nets connecting the treehouse to other trees that are good for climbing.
 The creek would wind around the property, bordered on both sides by trees of the willow and poplar families, with a deep swimming-hole near the house. The driveway would cross over the creek at one point, and at this spot, there would be a pretty stone bridge with lanterns at the corners. The driveway would then form a circle in front of the house, with a round flowerbed in the center sporting a graceful fountain, and wind its way back behind the house to the garage and extra parking area.
16. Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence. I’m actually still trying to “find myself,” as it were—see if there’s any way to balance what I like to look at and what I’m actually comfortable wearing.
17. Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? I’m still mad at Jane Austen for calling that air-headed floozy in Northanger Abbey “Isabella.” WhyWhyWHY couldn’t she have given that character a name like Maude or Agnes?!
18. In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... Click here and scroll down.
19. Three favorite Non-fiction books?
#1—Making and Dressing Dolls’ House Dolls in 1/12th Scale by Sue Atkinson. Pretty much everything you need to know to make miniature dolls and dress them in costumes from the 18th century to the present day.
#2—The Miniature Costumiere by Catriona Hall. Tips and techniques for making changeable clothing for miniature dolls.
#3—How to Make Your Dolls’ House Special by Beryl Armstrong. Ingenious tips for realistic-looking dollhouse details!
(What do you mean, I have miniatures on the brain??)
20. Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? Ideally, curled up on the swing-seat in the shade of the porch-roof or a spreading tree (whichever it ends up being); either reading a new book (or re-reading an old favorite), embroidering pretty flowers on a new tunic or vest; or else sitting indoors with the windows open, doing something creative.
21. Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. As always, I have one design for Summer and one for Winter.
Summer: A wide-brimmed straw hat covered in white “muslin” (thin, finely-woven fabric), with colorful “silk” flowers round the crown, and a modest ribbon-pouf and an elegant ostrich feather on one side. To be worn for Very Special Occasions.
Winter: A knitted “Pixie Bonnet” made from multicolored yarns in a tweedy texture (two standard-sized yarns twisted together and knitted as one), lined with cozy flannel or fleece against the cold wind, with blanket-stitching worked in black yarn round the edges (too keep the lining from rolling outwards), black I-cord ties with small tassels, and a white tassel at the top point.
Another design that appeals is either a floppy beret, with a tassel in the center and embroidery on the band, brim and top.
22.  Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. There have been two, actually—one that just affected myself, and one that affected the whole family.
The “minor” event (which I’ve hinted at before now) was the discovery that my complexion has been changing gradually over the past few years, and that the pretty pastel colors I’ve been wearing most of my life (especially after I discovered color analysis when I was sixteen), the colors that brought my fair skin to life and harmonized with the coloring God gave me…now made me look pale, tired, washed out and even like I was getting a bad sinus infection! Yes, Gentle Readers, I shed a few bitter tears about that—I’ve never been able to handle change well, and something like this…well, I felt like I’d lost a big chunk of my identity. On the upside, though, we found that deep, vibrant jeweltones—and even black and white!—are what bring me to life now, so I’ve tried to see it all as a new adventure…and an excuse to update my wardrobe. :-P And for the record, by God’s grace I’ve been reclaiming some of my beloved pastels, too. The fact that white is good on me now opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities in the form of collars and yokes, as well as pastel-colored vests worn with a white blouse. :-D Happy, happy, happy.
The other significant event in my family’s life is our upcoming move—to
Oregon!—this Summer (Lord willing). But I’ll explain that one in my next post….
23. Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently. I can’t recall anything exactly jumping off the page this past year, but God has reminded me of some old favorites that have comforted me in the past. The one that comes to mind now is Jeremiah 29: 11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the L
ORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future….” (NIV)

And as I was copying that out, I realized just how appropriate that verse is, in light of what God is doing in our family! Awesome!

This has been fun to write—as always—and I hope it was fun for you-all to read, despite its epic length. :-P

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,


  1. I grew up reading Robin Hood tales as well. I still have the books from when I was younger. Have you seen the BBC's Robin Hood show? I really liked that.

  2. Enjoyed reading your answers! Robin Hood is a big favorite at our house, too. Books...old movie adaptations/the black-and-white tv show...practically anything. :-)

  3. It would be so fun to dress as Eowyn!

    And know what? I FAR prefer jewel tones over pastels. Pastels tend to look a little bit little-girl-ish, so enjoy the change in your wardrobe!


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