Finished reading this the other day. I uncovered it in my recent move. Good stuff. Again. I probably read it ages ago (I can honestly say that now. An age being officially 7 years. At least.)
In case you're wondering about the condition of the book cover....No! I'm not suffering from any syndromes I'd rather deny, nor did the subject matter cause such angst that I was driven to gnaw on the edges as I worked my way through the content.
My dog ate it.
What dog? you ask.
Was evicted, actually.
He was adorable except for his tendency to, when left alone longer than he deemed necessary, locate the item left within reach that was likely most valuable and sentimental and tear it to shreds. He ate my Bible once. I ordered a new one. He came in from his holedigging in the backyard to the sunporch and ate it right out of the packaging as soon as it was delivered. New policies were immediately enforced for the mailman. When eating things didn't make me come hope sooner, he (the dog, that is) took to pooping in the dead-center of each room by turn.
Did I mention he moved?
I think the phone call to the Bible people was the best one I've ever had with anyone.
Me: Yes, Hello. I had a, well, um, shipping [bites nails] concern.
Me: Well, you see, my dog ate it. Box and all. It's in shreds all around the back yard.
Me: I'm serious.
Me: [Whew.] He did really. (I told the whole story)
They sent me a new one.
Back to Mrs. Elliot's fantastic work. The book is a compilation of letters to her daughter, Valerie as she prepared for her marriage. Each chapter is a casual, personal, purposeful narrative challenging and inspiring true femininity. It made me sigh with relief and hope. My creativity, nurturing, vision, purpose and faith were all refreshed. As a woman. As the single woman that I am. Today.
"If you get too technical you're going to miss the blessing."
"There is danger in analysis. You can't learn the meaning of a rose by pulling it to pieces. You can't examine a burning coal by carrying it away from the fire. It dies in the process."
"By throwing away the very thing which guarded its meaning, we have thrown away the thing itself."
"She needs a heart trained by practice to love [her man]."
"...you make no vows about your feelings."
"We are not given grace for imaginations. We are given the grace needed at the time when it is needed...and because you have given your word you have committed youself once and for all. Nothing that has ever been worth doing has been accomplished soley through feelings. It takes action. It takes putting one foot in front of the other, walking the path you have agreed together to walk."
On the Cross:
"...there is one thing which enters into all of life, one thing which will keep us from idealizing life's best and will make bearable life's worst, and that is the Cross. The Cross enters the moment you recognize the relationship as a gift. The One who gives it may withdraw it at any time, and knowing this, you give thanks in receiving. Desiring above all else to do the will of God, you offer back to Him this greatest of all earthly gifts as an oblation, lifted up in worship and praise, with faith that in the offering it will be transformed for the good of others."
"Be not afraid of absurdity; do not shrink from the fantastic. Within the dilemma, choose the most unheard of, the most dangerous solution. Be brave, be brave. Ah, Madam, we have got much to learn." - Isak Dinesen