I've been following Emma Beddington's blog for a number of years so it was wonderful to read this book at the weekend and understand in a deeper way the journey she has travelled in her 'pursuit' of happiness.
The book takes the reader from the beginning of Emma's fascination with all things French in the library of the Quaker school she attended in York. The librarian, strangely for a Quaker school, had organized a subscription to the French edition of Elle magazine.
From school to France, a French boyfriend, university in England, back to France, back to England and on and on, she explores themes of displacement, not only by the environment she lives in, whether that be England or France, but also the displacement brought by living and working with a language that is not your first.
And underscroring all of this is the grief following the death of her mother in a dreadful accident.
I can see a movie. Perhaps Keira Knightley to play Emma? And her boyfriend? I'm not really up on my French actors, but perhaps Olivier Martinez?
Began this quilt last week by sewing lots of five inch squares together alternating each square with a white square. Once that was done, I put a white border all around. Then...took the scissors to the lot and with the help of a four inch template, cut them all up to form these squares which, when put together form lots of windmills. Pretty tricky n'est pas?
...When people enter a witness protection program, they are given a new identity. Their old name, accounts, places, daily routines, and even relationships have to be put in the past. They become someone new.
When we are born in Christ, we become someone new too. We may look the same as we did before, but a fundamental change has occurred. The Christian life is an exchanged life. Jesus took our identity to the cross and then filled us with His identity. Instead of living our own self-oriented lives, He lives His life through us. He took all that we have upon Himself and gave us in exchange all that He has - His name, His authority, His inheritance, and more. As Paul said, we no longer live; He lives in us.
That means we don't have to depend on our own wisdom, love, faith, or any other quality. We don't even pray in our own name anymore. We use His. His presence within us provides all we need. We can claim His faith, His ideas, and His solutions for everything we need. We can have His humility, patience, boldness, compassion, and any other of His attributes we need. Instead of focusing on the how, we focus on the who and let Him be Himself within us. Over time, we begin to love or forgive or have bold faith not because we should but because that's who we are. The life of God within us will be expressed if we will let Him express Himself...
Excerpt from Experiencing God's Presence Devotional (Chris Tiegreen) and here in South East Queensland the Jacarandas are all in flower.
Reading this at the moment and becoming an expert on the French Revolution! The book has so many characters from clubs, politics, the court, journalists etc I have had to download Wikipedia's thirty odd pages on the subject to get a bit of an idea where everyone fits in.
Gerda, the book focuses on three main characters; Georges-Jacques Danton, Camille Desmoulins and dear Maximilien de Robespierre. If you Wiki them you will find out where they fit into the story.
Hilary Mantel in her introduction..."My main characters were not famous until the Revolution made them so, and not much is known about their early lives. I have used what there is, and made educated guesses about the rest...a rough guide: anything that seems particularly unlikely is probably true..."
Things I didn't know, from Wikipedia:
...Freemasonry played an important role...originally largely apolitical, Freemasonry was radicalised in the late 18th century through the introduction of higher grades which emphasised themes of liberty, equality and fraternity. Virtually every major player in the Revolution was a Freemason and these themes became the widely recognized slogan of the revolution... ...During the Reign of Terror, extreme efforts of de-Christianisation ensued...the establishment of the Cult of Reason was the final step of radical de-Christianisation...Eventually, Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety were forced to denounce the campaign, replacing the Cult of Reason with the deist but still non-Christian Cult of Supreme Being... ...A new Republican Calendar was established in 1793, with 10-day weeks that made it very difficult for Catholics to remember Sundays and saints' days. Workers complained it reduced the number of first-day-of-the-week holidays from 52 to 37...