Tag Archives: lila donovan

A Self-Made Woman: Eliza Lucas Pinckney

SEPT / OCT 2017: BY LILA DONOVAN

Elizabeth Lucas, nicknamed Eliza, was born on December 28, 1722 in Antigua as the daughter of Lt.-Col. George Lucas and Anne Lucas. She had two brothers and one sister. They sent Eliza away to boarding school where she received an excellent education. (In this time, most young women of her wealth went to finishing schools.) Continue reading A Self-Made Woman: Eliza Lucas Pinckney

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The Sultanate of Women

MAY/JUNE 2007: BY LILA DONOVAN

The 20th century achieved many civil rights for women around the world. As a woman, I’m thankful. Yet, were women always powerless throughout history? Many people seem to think so, but history taught me the answer is more complex.

The Sultanate of Women was a 130 year period (during the 16th and 17th centuries) where women of the Royal Harem in the Ottoman Empire influenced their husbands, sons, and families. They had a lot of power within the harem and many of them were former slaves. Slavery was common.   Continue reading The Sultanate of Women

Caroline Herschel

MARCH / APRIL 2017: BY LILA DONOVAN

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. -Romans 1:20

Caroline Herschel was one of the first female astronomers and actually recognized in her era for her contributions to astronomy. She discovered several comets, was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, was made an honorary member of a couple organizations, and awarded with another Gold Medal by the King of Prussia on her 96th birthday.

Caroline overcame great odds to become an astronomer. She was born in Hanover, Germany on March 16, 1750. She was the 8th child and fourth daughter, and her father was a musician. When she was ten Caroline ended up with typhus which severely stunted her growth. Some accounts claim that at the age of three she was struck with smallpox and disfigured in one eye. Due to her disabilities her mother felt that she shouldn’t be educated and should train to become a house servant. Her father wanted to educate her and would take the opportunity to do so when her mother wasn’t around. After her father’s death her brother William had moved to England, and decided to bring Caroline to live with him. William told their mother that it would only be temporary so at the age of 22 Caroline moved to England. William was a musician and music teacher and tutored his sister in voice lessons and she became an accomplished singer.

Over time William became interested in astronomy and Caroline started assisting him in his endeavors, she would polish his mirrors and mounted telescopes. Soon she also started to gain an interest in astronomy as well. William built her a comet-searching telescope which she started using and made her own discoveries. William and Caroline would often work together and other times they’d work independently. She’d often assist him with his research. On her own she would look at the night sky and make her own findings and observations. On August 1, 1786 she discovered her first comet. Between 1789-97 she discovered eight comets altogether.

caroline2Eventually King George III paid her and her brother, this was at a time where men and women weren’t paid for their scientific services. She was the first woman to get paid for her work in astronomy in England and the first woman to hold a government position. Caroline was celebrated in her own time with several honors as previously mentioned. Her story is so rare especially for a woman pursuing science. A lot of her success is because her brother got her out of her horrible home situation. William basically gave her freedom from her overbearing mother who had low expectations for Caroline, so Caroline could have a better life.

Astronomy is actually one of the main reasons why I became a Christian. Faith has often been difficult for me to grasp. I used to be a doubter. I didn’t just doubt God. I also doubted myself. I had zero confidence in myself and God. Looking back on my life back then, I was what the bible calls a double-minded man (James 1:6-8). At one point I had decided that I was agnostic but over time it became harder to stay an agnostic. Basically an agnostic is someone that isn’t sure whether or not God exists. While atheists deny that He exists, agnostics just aren’t sure. The arguments of atheism just weren’t satisfying enough to me and thus I “settled” on agnosticism. Being an agnostic to me felt like being in a spiritual limbo. It was very lonely. In my mind I had decided that the agnostics had better arguments than atheists and Christians, but over time, deep within my psyche, I just wanted more. I didn’t get why I wanted more. I just did. I now understand it was a longing deep within my soul. Scripture tells us that God has set eternity into the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and now that I’m a Christian I have to agree.

At night when I looked at the night sky and the diversity of all living things in this Earth, I just had a hard time agreeing with agnosticism and slowly started changing my mind a little bit at a time. I went from not being sure if God existed, to believing in a monotheistic God, to believing that the God of Israel was the true God. I eventually saw that Jesus Christ was His son, the savior of mankind, and that the Holy Spirit was our counselor, guide and comforter. It was a very slow progression toward becoming a Christian. One of my fears was that I’d believe in the “wrong God” and miss out on the true God. I kept searching, asking questions and all these small steps led me to Christ. I really wanted a “burning bush” experience with God but that wasn’t how it happened for me.

I’ve come to understand that burning bush experiences with God don’t always generate lasting faith with people, and that God can speak to us in obvious ways like through science. God didn’t just leave us on our own, He created blueprints throughout creation that lead back to Him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lila Donovan is a Christian and a university student. She loves to read, draw, write, and has a blog.

 

Harsh Lessons from the Twilight Zone

JAN / FEB 2017: BY LILA DONOVAN

What causes a hero or heroine in a story to choose one person over their rival? A lot of times it’s explained to us as “chemistry” but there are times when plots are more complex. Jess-Belle is an episode of the fourth season of the 1960’s version of The Twilight Zone. It’s a different episode from most of plots that appear on the show. Many focus on science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian societies. This one takes place in the country, we’re not told exactly where, but it’s hinted it’s probably the Blue Ridge Mountains, told as a folktale.

Jess-Belle is a beautiful dark-haired country gal, who had a relationship with Billy-Ben Turner. Their relationship is over and he’s chosen to court Ellwyn Glover, another country beauty with golden hair. Jess-Belle privately confronts him about why he broke things off, accusing him of choosing Ellwyn because she comes from a wealthy family. Billy-Ben assures her that isn’t the reason, he says he loves Ellwyn in a “quiet way.” This implies there was unnecessary drama when Billy-Ben was dating Jess-Belle, and that he got tired of it and chose to have a peaceful relationship with Ellwyn.

In desperation, Jess-Belle runs to the home of Granny Hart, a local woman rumored to be a witch who people seek out to help them with their problems. Jess-Belle asks if she is truly a witch because the people in the village that sought Granny Hart’s help have ended up with mixed results, their problems were sort of solved with side effects. Granny Hart laughs it off. Jess-Belle asks for her help to win back the heart of Billy-Ben. Because Jess-Belle is poor and doesn’t have any money, Granny Hart offers her another deal, and she’ll “know” what it is in time, but warns her the price is high. Jess-Belle agrees and is given a tonic to drink which unleashes a series of unfortunate events that leads to Billy-Ben still choosing Ellwyn.

witchJess-Belle could have ended up with Billy-Ben because he chose her first, but she lost him due to her attitude. I feel like if Jess-Belle would have worked on her attitude and not relied on a witchcraft, she could have improved her relationship with Billy-Ben and ended up with him. This episode reminds me of when King Saul, didn’t receive an answer from God, and went to the Witch of Endor for help, even though earlier in his reign he had driven out mediums and magicians.

Most Christian theologians point towards the actions of King Saul and that he spent a lot of time disobeying God before he went to the witch. I think it’s safe to assume that this is why God wasn’t answering him at this time. King Saul had the same attitude Jess-Belle did, they both wanted quick and easy answers to their problems. In the end, Jess-Belle was her own worst enemy, not Granny Hart, Ellwyn, or anyone else. She could have had her own happy ending and didn’t have to end up playing second fiddle.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lila Donovan is a Christian and a university student. She loves to read, draw, write, and has a blog.

The Rosenbergs

SEPT / OCT 2016: BY LILA DONOVAN

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What makes people become traitors? It’s understandable when people defect a country that’s fallen under a corrupt government and want to seek a better life away from tyranny and chaos. When Europe fell under the control of Hitler and the Nazis during World War II, those that could leave Nazi occupied countries did leave.

However, it’s difficult to understand why citizens would betray a first world country like the United States. America is wealthy, with a high quality of life and endless opportunities; many people try to immigrate here. Continue reading The Rosenbergs

Anonymous: The Authorship Debate

JULY / AUG 2016: BY LILA DONOVAN

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William Shakespeare is widely known all over the world as the talented writer of famous works such as Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, etc. He explores the human condition through his work and many of his characters are universal. At the same time he made his writing sound beautiful and poetic. Continue reading Anonymous: The Authorship Debate

Commoners and Kings

MAY / JUNE 2016: BY LILA DONOVAN

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Prince William and Kate Middleton’s romance captivated the world because they seem to exude a genuine love for each other. How did a commoner win the heart of a prince?

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton arrived January 9, 1982. Her father, Michael, was a flight dispatcher. Mother, Carole, worked as a flight attendant. Carole started a family business in 1987, Party Pieces, which sells party supplies and decorations in the UK. As the business grew and flourished, Michael quit his job to help Carole. They became self-made millionaires. Kate and her siblings attended privileged schools. Kate went to the University of St. Andrews where she met her future husband. Continue reading Commoners and Kings

Grace of a Martyr

MARCH / APRIL 2016: BY LILA DONOVAN

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 What does it mean to be a Christian besides getting saved? Jesus warned people to “count the cost” (Luke 14:33) of following him. What did he really mean? Many of us live in first world countries, with first world problems. When we speak of martyrs, it is usually done in a disparaging way, describing someone pretending to play a victim to receive sympathy. Continue reading Grace of a Martyr

Norma Shearer

JAN / FEB 2016: BY LILA DONOVAN

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Norma Shearer (August 10, 1902-June 12, 1983) was born to a wealthy family in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Around World War I her family lost their fortune. Certain sources say she was born in 1900 and others claim she was born in 1904. Many actresses in Hollywood’s Golden Age lied about their age and backgrounds so they could get a foot in the door in Hollywood. Continue reading Norma Shearer