I don't know why, but I can never sleep before plane trips! Roughly 8 hours from now, I need to head for a flight that will take me to the East Coast. I love the East Coast, and especially love spending time at my grandparents place in small Magnolia, Delaware. Their house has been the same my entire life, and the comfort of it all just excites me! I look forward to the smell of cantaloupe in the morning, liquid dial on my hands after playing with my grandfather's beagle puppies, counting all the scary faces in the "knotty-pine room", and eating Apple-Butter on every piece of breakfast toast :) This is my first trip to Delaware in the Fall/Winter, first Thanksgiving with my mom's family, and a rare chance to spend time with my 6 year old brother--I'm so pumped! :)
The adrenalin rush leaves me slightly antsy and bored, waiting here at home for the adventure to start! To kill time, I'm blogging a bit. The random thoughts today are a slight peek into my nerdy side :) I have a slight fascination with history--not war (since this is all the History Channel really shows during the day, SO created by boys, for boys), but the stories of people, understanding them, and what made them tick. I guess it's what made me choose Fam History as a minor and Psychology as a Grad student!
My latest interest has been in studying the lives of women leaders. I have simultaneously been reading 2 books: a book about 5 queens of Europe who were granddaughters of Queen Victoria; The other book is a collection of biographies of each of the LDS General Relief Society presidents, since the days of Emma Smith in Nauvoo (who, I've learned, was 5 ft. 9 in--my height!--and a year and a half older than Joseph. Yay for tall, older women everywhere! lol :). It's been interesting reading of such influential women living during similar periods of world history. The Queens of Russia, Romania, Norway, Greece, and Spain each struggled to nobly play their part in a world speeding towards the first World War. Many stumbled, and though some had great religious faith, the tragedies of life had harmful consequences on their personalities and choices. On the other hand, the biographies of the RS presidents are filled with individualized tragic events...all of which deepened their ability to care for and lead others. Interesting difference a Gospel perspective and its comfort can make.
For whatever reason, since 6th grade, I have been fascinated with the Romanov family of Russia. I vividly remember Mrs. S..something dramatically telling the story of this ruling family, and the creepy Rasputin that pretty much helped bring down their reign, and destroy their family. The movies of Anastasia (both the old Yule Bryner one, and the newer animated one), only fueled my curiosity to know more of the story. I've read the articles over the years, disproving that Anastasia actually made it out of her family's massacre alive. And yet...I'm still so interested in this story!
This interest has been peaked again with reading Born to Rule, as it follows the life of Alix, more well-known as Tsarina Alexandra, wife of Tsar Nicholas II, and mother of Anastasia. All I really knew of her is that she was the woman who brought Rasputin into history in a desperate attempt to help the health of her son. During my many hours of spare time substitute "teaching", I've read more of the depth of this woman, and can't help but pity the sad ending of her family, which was her highest priority. She had a deep faith, even refusing for years to marry her long-time love because she knew she would have to convert to a different religion (the Roman Orthodox Church). She finally did so, only feeling peace in feeling that her life was meant to help inspire her husband to rule Russia, and that God would approve of her conversion to do this, thus serving Him. Once committed to something, she threw her whole self into it.
The marriage she had with her husband is such an inspiration, and quite romantic! They were one of the few royals really dedicated and faithful to each other. They pulled together through everything, and joyfully raised a family together. She forever reminded her husband that in her eyes, his great accomplishment was being the type of husband and father he was, not being Tsar of Russia.
I've felt like I connect with this woman--we have similar personalities, depths, passion, reservations, priorities, etc. It's interesting to see her reaction to the people however, and their reaction to her. Some things, I almost feel I take as a warning not to become, while others I take comfort in relating to a woman who I can really understand. Some great quotes from her letters to family:
"We have so much to do in our short sojourn on this earth; such manifold tasks for all of us to accomplish. What joy if any small way we can help another wanderer bear his heavy cross or give him courage to battle bravely on! how many faults we have to try and master-the hours seem too scarce in which to fulfill all our tasks."--11 Jan 1903
"What sorrow this life does bring, what great trials and how difficult to bear them patiently...suffering always draws one nearer to God, does it not, and when we think what Jesus Christ had to bear for us, how little and small our sorrows seem in comparison, and yet we fret and grumble and are not as patient as He was." --26 April 1894
Well, this topic has made me tired enough to actually get some sleep :)