Sunday, October 13, 2013

Remembering Zoé and the Girl Scout Plate

This post is going to be a a personal indulgence, so my regular readers will have to bear with me for a moment...

Last year I became pregnant with our third child, but alas she did not survive the first trimester.  We decided to name her Zoé Hope Hartness. As a pro-life individual, I truly believe she is in heaven, waiting for us at this very moment.  The translation of her first name means "Life", and we have the Hope that she is indeed alive, yet in another realm.

If she had gone to term, her due date would have been October 13, 2012.  She would have been one year old today.  I no longer lose sleep or cry over this loss, but I think every year at this time I will think of her, and wonder what it would have been like to have had a daughter in his house of men.

Recently my husband noticed something about a craft I made back in 1978, when I was a second-grader.  I was a member of a Girl Scout Brownie troop, and our project in October of that year was to decorate a plate with special markers, and the plate would be dishwasher safe after the art dried.  See my pretty blue "sky", the strip at the top?

May 2013
I mistakenly wrote October 31, tried to wipe it out (silly), and then inserted another numeral one before the three, thickening it for emphasis.  Little did I dream that this date, October 13, would become significant for me as a mother.  Some may consider it coincidental, but in my mind it was God's way of noting His knowledge of our special day long before we did.  I've kept this little plate, constructed by a little girl, and it will always remind me of my little girl, waiting for me on the Other Side.

In the meantime, I love and enjoy my two precious boys who are with me now.  They are among the greatest blessings of my life, and I'm grateful for their healthy entrance into this world.

Post update:  A friend noticed something about the plate that had never occurred to me before.  When I was pregnant with Zoé, we used to talk about becoming a "five family": Husband Jonathan, myself, Matthew, Colson and Zoé.  The observant friend noted that there are 5 flowers on the plate-- with one tiny little one in the middle.  Some may say coincidence-- I say no-- It's a wink from God.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Review: Happy Birthday, Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly

In 2010 Victoria Connelly began her “Austen Addicts” series with A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, which I found to be delicious and time well spent.  Connelly’s series continued with Dreaming of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy Forever, with all new characters and winks to the previous titles as well. Christmas with Mr. Darcy was the first novella of the series, bringing us back to the characters from A Weekend with Mr. Darcy.  Now we have Happy Birthday, Mr Darcy,which once again reunites us with characters such as Warwick Lawton (a Janeite author who writes under a female pseudonym), Katherine Roberts (his fiancée and Austen scholar) and other colorful characters who surround them.

Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy is a brief but significant episode in the lives of Warwick and Katherine, the week following their planned nuptials. Katherine loves her antique engagement ring, the plans for the future, and of course her fiancé, but she harbors a number of insecurities and questions about the years to come. How would being married affect their relationship?  Would they be able to combine their separate worlds into one, seamlessly?  The doubts that flood Katherine’s mind become a threat to the wedding itself.  At the same time, Dan Harcourt, Warwick’s best man has his own concerns about Warwick. Add in the cynical sister of the groom, who tries to dissuade him from marrying at all, and there is quite a concoction of issues floating about.

Once again, Victoria Connelly has given her readers another delightful, light confectionary treat in this latest installment of the “Austen Addicts” series.  As before, her characters are interesting and variegated, and her writing belies her love of all things Austen.  Janeites will love all the winks to the novels and movies of this genre, which are sprinkled throughout the story.  As we celebrate the 200th birthday of Pride and Prejudice (hence the applicable title of the novella), Victoria Connelly has brought a lovely gift to the party. Happy Birthday Mr. Darcy (or any title in the series) would be a fine choice for your reading this weekend, and I encourage you to add any of the "Austen Addicts" titles to your library or e-reader of choice today. 

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