Friday, June 23, 2006

Captivating, chapter 2

Captain’s Log, Stardate 06.23.2006

Blog book giveaway:
My Monday book giveaway is WAKING LAZARUS by TL Hines.
My Thursday book giveaway is THREE WEDDINGS AND A GIGGLE by Liz Curtis Higgs, Carolyn Zane, and Karen Ball.
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Monday, I'll draw the winner for WAKING LAZARUS and post the title for another book I'm giving away. Stay tuned.

What Eve Alone Can Tell:

WARNING: Today's post is kind of long. I liked some things in this chapter, but I also had questions about several things. I’m probably just impatient, and they’ll explain things in later chapters.

I didn’t resonate with the first part about the allure of “hidden princesses.” Although I do like Xena, powerful Warrior Princess.

I don’t particularly long for fairy-tale romance anymore, and I didn’t relate to the author’s assumption that I would feel shamed that my life doesn’t reflect these secret yearnings in my heart.

I like how they describe Eve as the piece de resistance to creation. I knew from a previous Bible study that Eve was the apex of creation, but to be described as the piece de resistance was nice. See, food analogies I get.

I didn’t like how they seemed to expect me to have felt unneeded or unworthy as a woman, that society or chuch has somehow made me feel like I wasn’t vital to creation somehow. I don’t feel unneeded or unworthy, and I feel very vital to creation. Does that make me arrogant?

Romance:

One thing I hadn’t really thought of before was how both Adam and Eve represent different aspects of God’s character. And not just Eve as the bride—I mean, how often do we see that? It becomes trite and meaningless after a while—but how Eve’s relational abilities mirror God’s relational abilities.

God desires relationships the same way women desire relationships. I can definitely see that. Even if a woman doesn’t want a boyfriend or husband in her life, she always has or longs for other types of relationships, whether with people or nature or God or whatever. A woman is rarely in a complete and total vacuum.

The authors call this desire for relationships the desire for romance. At least, that’s what I think they’re saying. I don’t like that term Romance because in our society, it means flowers and chocolate and kisses. That’s not what I desire, and that’s not the highlight of my relationship with my husband.

I’m actually rather happy with how practical my husband is. I don’t want him to bring me flowers that will die. Even potted flowers require work and care from someone who has other things she’d rather do.

One birthday, he went to a used bookstore and scoured the shelves for Regency romances like the ones I read, and he bought a whole bunch for me. It spoke volumes to me that he made the effort to (a) find out what publisher and symbol on a bookspine meant it was a Regency romance, (b) scour the romance section of a bookstore, and (c) go to a used bookstore so that he could buy me more books for the same amount of money he wanted to spend.

Forget roses! Now that was romantic!

So maybe I do long for romance, but just not the “hidden princesses” type of romance.

I have a wonderful relationship with my husband. I love being with him, even when we don’t say anything. We have fun when we talk and joke. I adore watching action movies with him. Does that make me unromantic to not want to watch a romantic date-flick with him?

More importantly, we both work hard to communicate with, affirm, and admonish each other so that we keep this relationship strong and healthy. I desire this relationship to be strong and healthy. Maybe that’s my desire for romance.

I yearn for my husband to work with me to keep our relationship strong. I’d be unhappy if he didn’t, and I’d strive until we could work something out. Our relationship is our love for each other. If he didn’t work at our relationship, I’d feel like he didn’t love me.

So maybe it is all wrapped up in “romance.” I’ve always just thought of it as my marital relationship, not “romance.”

So I think “romance” isn’t necessarily flowers and candy, and being disgruntled if I don’t get it. It’s being loved, and the way my husband shows me love is in his commitment to our relationship and communication.

I know he loves me because he makes the effort to communicate with me, to talk to me and listen to me.He makes the effort to do fun things that we both enjoy. I’d rather he did that than get me flowers and diamonds.

Adventure:

I love how they go into ancient Hebrew for this part. How the word ezer is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to God being desperately needed. That was waaaaay cool.

I do have to say that I haven’t really had a problem with serving, or being a helper. When I do help with something at church, it’s because I’d rather help behind the sidelines than be up front and visible. That’s just my preference.

This section on feeling like a lifesaver didn’t really move me that much, maybe because I’ve already felt that way on occasion? Does that make me overconfident in myself?

Beauty:

I get how God loves beauty and how beauty is essential to Him. I mean, it’s all around in nature, and I thought that observation was pretty good. If God didn’t care about beauty, He wouldn’t have made creation beautiful.

And God Himself is beautiful. I can’t believe I never really connected that passage in Revelations with the beauty of God. That was neat.

Beauty is both physical and spiritual. I get that. I also get beauty’s purpose in our lives, although I didn’t quite agree with everything they said.

For example, they described the beauty of a “restful” woman. Well, I think it depends on the woman. Some Christian women I’ve met who are “restful” don’t make ME feel restful, they make me feel inadequate. It’s as if their restfulness somehow doesn’t include me. Whereas other Christian women who are restful really do make me feel restful, too. That’s why I think it depends on the person. They’re not saying every woman has restful beauty, right?

I also tend to feel more restful from visual beauty—nature, etc.—rather than inward restfulness in a person. I think I’m just a more visual person.

For instance, they talked about how beauty “invites.” They described the feeling of listening to a beautiful piece of music and wanting to drink it in. Well, I haven’t particularly felt that. I’m not very auditory. Music doesn’t move me that way.

Lyrics move me—they’re like prayer. But not the music itself, and it doesn’t make me want to drink anything in.

I understand how women long for beauty because God is beautiful, and women are meant to show that aspect of God. It makes sense.

I want to be back in my skinny jeans not because I care what people will say to me when they see me. I could care less about them. I want to lose weight because I care about how I look, I want to know I fit in that size pants, I want to feel beautiful and healthy.

Women desire to be sought after and pursued, just like God. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13). When talking about a relationship between a man and a woman, the authors write: “(A woman) yearns to be known and that takes time and intimacy.”

Okay, that’s nice. But what if your husband isn’t like that? What then?

At the end, they talk about how woman is the image of God and she doesn’t need artificial things to be beautiful. “No, beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation.”

Okay, that’s nice. But you just talked about how women long to be beautiful—not just on the inside, because the church emphasizes that inward stuff and just kind of skims over the outward beauty stuff.

So what if I’m not physically beautiful? It gets kind of old when people say, “Well, God thinks you’re beautiful.” I hated hearing that.

If beauty is an inward essence, why do I long for outward beauty too? And what do I do about it if I don’t take various surgical measures?

I wondered if maybe it’s wrong that in my head, I separate inward and outward beauty. But that’s the way I see beauty all around me. Nature is outward beauty. The beauty in my discipler at church is inward beauty—not that she’s not outwardly beautiful, but I really appreciate her inward beauty of character, her godly attitude and actions.

If God is the one who reveals beauty as essential to life, what do I do about it if I am longing for outward beauty?

So the end of the chapter brought up more questions. Hopefully the book will answer them in the next chapters.

TMI:

Diet: Pigged out yesterday with Dineen at the Cheesecake Factory but OY! was it fun! And we can feel not SO bad because our lunch was mostly vegetables, AND we didn’t have cheesecake. Well, we didn’t have dessert because we were full from lunch, but if we were full mostly because of our salads, that’s good, right?

I still did a full hour of exercise today—Denise Austin’s two morning exercise programs, Fit and Lite and Daily Workout. When I first started doing these, I could barely keep up with the pilates in Fit and Lite, but these days I’m keeping up better. I just wish I’d stop JIGGLING!

Dineen gave me a great recipe for a cold tuna salad. I’m going to modify it a little and if it turns out good, I’ll post it.

17 comments :

  1. Hey that power yoga stuff sounds great. Is it on TV?

    So, if I promise you cheesecake next time will I win a book? LOL! Watch me win now and people will think I really did bribe you. ROTFL!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Denise Austin??

    Yeah, me and Miz Perky are doing the Blast Away the pounds Indoor Walk (with hand weights) right now.

    And Jiggle? JIGGLE?

    Don't even get me started. The other day I started stomping across the house to yell at the kids--oh, I mean, lovingly discipline my children--when I felt something akin to an earthquake. And I was thinking WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?

    Yes, it was my fanny.

    It was very sad :-(

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. If you're not entirely getting this book for and about "women," I'm not even gonna go near it. ; ) One more reason for me to love exactly how my Father created me -- single, not craving romance, not giving one hoot about outward beauty (okay, I do tweeze, and powder my nose on occasion), refusing to ever part with my holey sneakers and jeans, etc. (I'll stop with the list, lest anyone think I'm totally weird.) I love being a woman, and I love being my Father's child. Other than that, I don't really want anyone telling me how I'm supposed to fit in with the rest of womanhood. Maybe the rest of womanhood should RELAX and fit in more with you and me?

    If I were you, Camy-girl, I'd quit now and read something a bit more ... enlightening. Have you read Margaret's Coming up for Air yet? I haven't. But I can't wait to get to it.

    Hmm. Wonder what Maggie B would think of Captivating?

    lator gator!
    donna

    ReplyDelete
  4. Camy, I felt a lot of the same things you did reading Captivating. Then again, I'm the practical type too. But I know women who feel the way they're talking about in the book, so I found it helpful in developing facets different from me in my characters. Yeah, I take everything back to writing :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. P.S. Your husband sounds AMAZING!

    : )

    ReplyDelete
  6. Camy, Have you ever read, "The Five Love Languages of God"? This book is also by Gary Chapman but it covers how we communicate with God. It was an awesome book for me. I'm the opposite of you - I'm not a lyric person. I can't write and I find it hard to make myself sit and read books (I pause here to allow you time to pick up your jaw and return your heart rate to normal.) What was awesome about this book was that we each communicate with God in different ways and He communicates with us in our "love language". Your comment about your husband buying you books - that was AWESOME! I think it can be looked at as a form of being romanced. It did make your heart flutter, right? It is just a different form of communication than the standard romance of flowers and candy.
    Anyway, I don't mean to monologue here.
    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Okay, I'm a practical person (most of the time) and when my husband does something that requires more thought and effort -like your husband did with the books- that's definitely romantic. But, I also like the whimsical side of romance from time to time. Being surprised with flowers is really nice and since I'm a chocoholic he can't go wrong with candy. (Except for now that I'm trying to lose weight! Blah!!!)

    I once worked night shift and left for work after he had gone to bed. Many nights when I went outside and got in the car, there would be some kind of chocolate lying in wait for me. A candybar on the console between the seats, a small bag of chocolates on the dashboard, a Hershey's kiss balanced on the steering wheel, etc. This to me was awesome! Both thought out and whimsical.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Another p.s. for ya...

    Thank you very much for the info on the workout programs. I'm definitely going to give them a try.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ummm....yeah, great stuff. Now, what about actually WRITING????

    ReplyDelete
  10. So much to say...me, not you. ;-) I truly enjoyed reading Captivating and seeing how the authors really seemed to capture some unspoken and unwritten feelings and longings of women, all women. I think with any book there will be things that hit the nail on the head and things that don't quite connect and that's okay. One thing that didn't connect for me was the "inviting" part of being a woman. To be perfectly honest, I'm not quiet, retiring, or inviting. I wouldn't mind being so, I'm just not and have no idea how to get there. So that was one piece I felt was lacking. How do I do that? Invite people into relationship with me just by being? I'm clueless.

    Enough from me. Thanks for the post. Started a new diet myself today. Supposed to make over my entire body! We shall see!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow - your hubby bought you books?! That is my dream. I'm sure my husband would he's just never thought of it. :)

    I liked your blog today. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved that you pointed out the things in the book you have issues with; I did, too, but was afraid I'd be flogged! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, Camy! Nice insight into the book. I liked it. Helped me with some issues and gave me a new perspective on a couple of things, but like with books like this, I think authors tend to pigeon-hole all women (or men, if it's a mens' book) into one stereo-type. But many times a book can speak to us on one level because that's where we are in our life, while years from now reveal something different. CAPTIVATING didn't change my thinking as much as WILD AT HEART did. And WAH also affected how I raise my boys and respond to my hubby when he invites me on some crazy adventure when I'd rather stay home and read a book.

    Last fall I did a MOPS Bible Study that took me over half the book to find something that I related to. I'm sure five years ago, when my middle two kids were preschool-age, I would have probably gotten more from the book. Oh well. I learned what God had for me to learn.

    I didn't do any dieting or exercise-tape exercising today or eat any cheesecake, but I did ride a Sea Doo up the Potomac River and my body feels like it's been through an intensive workout. And I only ate one brownie. Still I jiggle. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Camy! First of all I have to say that I've really enjoyed reading your posts about Captivating and getting your perspective on the issues/questions the book raises. Thanks for sharing.
    Secondly, I have to ask what Regency romance authors do you enjoy? My absolute favorite would be Georgette Heyer, but I'm always on the lookout for other authors so any recommendations would be great. I love Heyer's language and whit...she was incredible! Have you ever read her books?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cheesecake Factory!? I love that place! The tuxido cheescake being my favorit! - but back to the book.

    I am by no means weak, quite, or "girly" but I still find in myself an "inner princess" or as you've said before - Queen! ;-)
    My daughter has the same split character in that she LOVES frilly dresses, fancy shoes, Cinderella, Belle and spiders, snakes, sharks, alligators, dirt clibing, mud . . . go figure.
    :-)
    Sarah did express herself, I think, very well and my comment to her would work very well for your post too! It's good to have dissagrement. To be able to dissagree with godly people is healthy - since the one we follow is God himself, not others. Everyone else are suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Camy - I always look forward to reading your posts on Captivating. I think that I am somewhere in the middle of practical and romantic... (which I think my husband finds confusing and complicated at times!). But I agree with ya on this whole book... I don't feel like it was written with "me" in mind, but there are bits and pieces I am able to take out of it that speak to me.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! What a great and honest and thorough post! (That made me feel inadequate, LOL! Not really... ; )
    I keep wishing that we were all doing this in person, so we could really all talk about a lot of these issues, because it seems like it would be easier...but alas, it is not to be. I kind of wonder how open we'd all be if that were the case too. But anyways...

    I have to agree with what I think you are alluding to in your post...that romance is different for every woman. I'm not sure why they describe romance the way they do in the book, maybe it's just because it is something that is more openly recognized as being "romantic" by more women? I'm not much of a flowers and candy type of girl either. To me romance is knowing that my husband is thinking about me and knows me well enough to do something uniquely special for/to me... does that make sense?

    You bring up a lot of good points...I'm really liking reading your posts on this book. : )

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...