March 29, 2016

What I'd Rather Do if I Lived in Jane Austen's World

Most period dramas seem to evoke springtime for me. Except North and South and Little Women. Those are winter movies. And Anne of Green Gables has always reminded me of summer or fall (although it could be argued that her story could evoke all the season!).
Anyways, I'm currently in the mood for period dramas, especially Jane Austen's stories. (The next book on my to-read list is Persuasion! Yay!) With perfect timing, Cordy has created a delightful Jane Austen version of her classic "Would You Rather" games. Here I am to play-and you're welcome to as well! Simply copy and answer the questions and link back to Cordy, please. :)

Who would you rather have act as your matchmaker, Lady Russell (from Persuasion) or Mrs. Jennings?
Oh, that's easy. Mrs. Jennings for certain. Lady Russell's matchmaking only ended in separating (for 8 years!) Two People Who Belonged Together. I will stay as far away as possible from her. Or simply don't take her advice. That would work as well. :P
Mrs. Jennings would be extremely annoying and obnoxious at times, but if I can be patient and try to ignore her jokes I might end up happily ever after. ;)

Who would you like as a pen pal from Jane Austen's works?
Oh, that's so difficult! I suppose Elinor. We could share our secrets with each other and encourage one another.  I could give her advice, such as "do not become friends with Lucy Steele" and "don't let your sister give a lock of her hair to a man you know nothing about." 

Who would you rather go on a walk with, Colonel Fitzwilliam or Captain Benwick?
Colonel Fitzwilliam. He seems like such a nice, friendly guy and I feel like he could easily be friends with another woman without expecting her to fall in love with him. (But that just made think...I wonder if the Colonel ever marries? I need a story based on him....hmm. Yet another plot bunny.) Captain Benwick is nice and all, but he seems a little more moody and easily hurt. I think I might feel nervous about saying the wrong thing around him.

Who would you rather have to befriend, Mrs. Elton or Lucy Steele?
Uggh..what a choice, Cordy. :P Heehee. Mm...I almost want to say Lucy Steele because at least she's more quiet and genteel than Mrs. Elton...but then, Mrs. Elton would probably be more funny, whereas Lucy would just be annoying. I'd hate to have her follow me everywhere and declare that we're best friends and tell each other our secret's. Okay, I convinced myself. I choose Mrs. Elton.

Who would you rather have as a sibling, John Knightley or Mary (from Persuasion, not Mary Bennet)?
I cannot stand Mary and her complaints, so John Knightly it is.

Who would you rather dance with? (Very open book!)
Oh my....such a wealth of choices. I'll have to be unoriginal and say the same that Naomi and Cordy said-Henry Tilney. He's just so fun and easy-going and the perfect partner to dance with and make jokes with and ask why the man across the room is staring at me. :P

Who would you rather refuse, Mr. Collins or Mr. Elton?
Mr. Collins. Dancing with him would be an utter embarrassment and torture. Embarrassment as he would run into people during the dance ("OTHER way, Mr. Collins!") and torture because he would prattle on about Lady Catherine's chimneys and I know not what else. And then he'd probably take my dancing with him as an acceptance of his aim toward matrimony. Nothankyou.

Who would you rather match-make for, Miss Bates or Mary Bennet?
Mary Bennet. I always wondered who the poor girl would marry someday. I'd love to see a nice, book-ish sort of fellow come along and sweep her off her feet-and perhaps convince her to not take herself so seriously. :P

Who would you rather have as a best friend?
Lizzy Bennet, probably. Or Eleanor Tilney. Or Elinor Dashwood. Or Georgiana Darcy. Can I have them all as friends?

Who would you rather argue with? (Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Palmer, Mrs. Jennings, Fanny Dashwood, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy, etc.) 
Does this mean I get to choose ANY of Jane Austen's characters or only the ones listed? There's an "etc." so I'm going to assume the former. ;) 
Hmmm...perhaps...perhaps Henry Tilney. If the argument is a friendly one. It would be fun to have a good natured debate with him. :)
On the other hand, annoying Lady Catherine by disagreeing with her would be a lot of fun. ;)

Would you rather wander the grounds of Pemberley and risk being 'discovered' or wander over the downs surrounding Barton Cottage in the rain and twist an ankle?
Oh, I would choose Pemberley, indeed. ;) Why in the world would I want to twist my ankle in the rain when I could be admiring the beauty of Pemberley's shining lake and green hills-and, you know, running into Mr. Darcy wouldn't be all that bad.....he might ask me if I'd like to meet his sister! And then she would invite me to dinner! And then Mr. Darcy would admire my fine eyes and I would tell him-by gazing at him with my fine eyes-that I believe him about Wickham. See, it all worked out splendidly. :)

But oh wait. I'm not Elizabeth. :P

Where would you live in Austen's works?

Pemberley....or Barton Cottage. I can never quite decide between the two. ;)

Thank you so much for this lovely game, Cordy!

March 27, 2016

Happy Resurrection Day!

I hope all of you had a simply lovely day celebrating the saving grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I wish I could make this a longer post, but I unfortunately only have time for a short greeting. :) 
I had a very nice day spent with my family-I hope you all had an equally nice time.
And guess what? It was nearly 70 degrees out! So warm and beautiful!! Yay, spring! ;)

Happy Resurrection Day, my friends!

 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28:5-7

March 23, 2016

Spring Makeover

I usually don't do posts highlighting my new blog designs, but I'm so, so, SO happy with how this one came out that I had to direct your attention to it! :D As much as I loved my old design, it was getting a little to drab for my mood. It's currently drab, gray, and cold where I live, but I'm yearning for spring. Thus my new design. (Which, happily, I was able to pull together without the usual stress and bother that redesigning my blog sometimes gives me! It can be such a tedious process :P)

I'm also currently watching Pride and Prejudice 1995 with my mother. It's one of my favorite "spring-time movies". :) Thus, the lovely Lizzy Bennet pictures! (I wish I could come up with some appropriate quotes from the film to include in this post, but the only application I can think of is that this weather is "tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.")

Anyways, I'll hopefully be popping back in soon, but meanwhile I wish you all a happy March. Hopefully you're enjoying more spring-like weather than I am at the moment. :)
Now I must run off and do some chores and schoolwork. Things that are, again,  "tolerable, I suppose, but-"

All right, I'll stop. ;)

March 21, 2016

March Inklings~Darcy's Letter

Hello all! I love Heidi's monthly Inkling Explorations Link-Up. But, sometimes I'm not able to participate each month, due to time constraints. :( After missing last month, I was determined to have a post this time! The current topic is "A scene involving a letter, package, or post office in film."  Isn't that darling? Letters and brown paper packages tied up with string are definitely some of the most exciting things. :)

I chose to highlight Mr. Darcy's letter in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. Finally Elizabeth is shown that Darcy is not all he seems....and neither is Wickham. It's an altogether wonderful letter and changes so much in the story. I really love it. :) Of course, this scene contains spoilers so if you do not know the story and wish to keep it that way, I'd recommend not watching the clip.

Just a note: During the letter, flashback scenes are being shown. One involves the less-than-honorable actions of one character, and a man and woman (clothed in her undergarments of a corset, chemise and skirt) are shown kissing. If you'd rather skip that scene, it occurs at :55 to 1:00.

Thank you so much for the link-up, Heidi!

March 10, 2016

"Well, I'm back."

Hello, my lovely friends!! Today I'm doing something rather out of the ordinary for me. I'm writing a quick and random post about anything that strikes my fancy. Things I want to share with you all. Just some conversation starters. After all, aren't the conversations we have the bets thing about blogging?

My "Rohan" calendar.
No, unfortunately I do not have a LOTR calendar. But, the picture for the month of March is a STUNNING photo of a great white mountain with green and gold fields in the foreground. Every time I see it I'm reminded of Rohan and that makes me incredibly happy. I really love Rohan.

I read Return of the King.
I honestly can't put my thoughts into coherent phrases at the moment (I mean, I probably could if I tried, but I don't want to exert myself yet haha). I just finished that beautiful story yesterday and cried many tears and felt rather depressed. Just a bit. But that doesn't mean I didn't love it. Return of the King is now one of my favorite books ever.
I promise I will do some sort of post-whether a review or just a "thoughts" post-about it someday.

ps. And thence my post title is explained. -sob-

How to Train Your Dragon 2

A long while ago I saw How to Train Your Dragon and I just thought it was an "all right" movie. Well, on a whim I decided to pick up the sequel at the library and wow wow wow—I am so glad I did! I absolutely loved it.
This movie. This movie!!!
1) Toothless is the best ever. I love him SO much. 
2) Hiccup and Astrid all grown up was sooooo cute and sweet!! Their relationships is adorable.
3) The feels in this movie. Do I even need to explain? -sob-
4) Am I the only one who loves Hiccup's voice?
5) Again, I just love Toothless. I love how Hiccup calls him "bud".
6) I'm a little obsessed with vikings and dragons now.

Going to Barnes and Noble
For the first time in probably 6 years or so I was able to go to a gigantic beautiful store filled with shelves and shelves of books. BRAND NEW BOOKS.
Unfortunately, that means they all are a sight more expensive than this girl who usually buys books second hand is used to, but it was worth it. The experience alone is worth it. There's nothing like browsing endless aisle of beautiful books.

And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I spent an exorbitant amount of time in there.
About 3 hours. -cough-

Peter Pan and Wives and Daughters
Of course I couldn't leave without buying some books....
So I purchased a lovely pink copy of Wives and Daughters and a simply stunning copy of Peter Pan.
(although I already own a copy. cough)

LOOK at it. If it's beautiful to you on the screen, imagine it as leather bound and glittering and sprinkled with stars. How could I not get it? (trying to justify my purchase haha)
I do love it, though. And on the back is a silhouette of Peter with the quote:
“All children, except one, grow up."


Okay, so perhaps it's not as glowing and perfect as the above photo (yet) but the fact that we've had almost 70 degree weather is magical. Fresh air and warm sun and blue skies....! The snow is melted and gone (except for a few renegade patches I saw down the side of our ravine. -angry glare-) and the sunset cast glowing reflections in the puddles yesterday.
This is only my second experience of a true springtime, but I already have a pattern established. As soon as possible I am out in a lawn chair on the back patio. The best thing about homeschooling is that you can do it outside. ;)

My purple shorts.
I have a new pair of purple-y plum colored shorts and I love them. They're a perfect addition to my summer wardrobe and are so comfortable and lovely. They've just been something that has made me happy lately.

Editing my book.
In case any of you have any interest in my book that I've posted about a few times, I though it might be nice to tell you that I am currently on Chapter 7.
I have a lovely group of beta-readers helping me (my family included haha) and it's been absolutely amazing getting to share my story with them and hear what they like (and dislike...) about it. I wish I could have had ALL of you (my blog readers) help me with it, but alas that's not practical. Hopefully someday in the near future I will be able to share it with you all. At the moment I'm planning on self-publishing, but nothing is set in stone yet. :)

My Plants
Awhile ago I bought three tiny succulent plants and they've been my faithful friends and reside on the top of my desk. :) From left to right their names (based on movie characters) are Erminia (Return to Cranford), Gary (Remember the Titans), and Julius (Remember the Titans).

Well, I guess that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed this. Tell me—should I do more rambling posts like these? 

March 6, 2016

Sense and Sensibility~Jane Austen

I never quite knew which Jane Austen book was my favorite. Being that I hadn't yet read all of Jane's books, I would say that Pride and Prejudice was my favorite of her works—but I've now realized it's not. And, until I read Persuasion (it's one of the next books on my TBR list!) I would now say that the book I'm reviewing today is the Austen novel that I absolutely love.

Sense and Sensibility. I have found each of the J.A. books I've read lovely and so well-written. I always forget what an amazing author she is until I read one of her books. But, there had yet to be one that made me cry. Not that that's a bad thing, per say. There are plenty of stories I love that don't make me tear up. But, if a story does make me cry—either from overwhelming happiness or even sadness—I know that the story "connected" with me emotionally.

(But wait. I cried during a Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin movie. What am I even saying?? Let's just say stories that make me cry USUALLY becomes my favorites.)

Sense and Sensibility was the first J.A. book that really drew me in emotionally and had me crying for the characters. For Marianne and her broken heart....and for Elinor.

Dear Elinor.

I really and truly related to Elinor SO much in this. More so than any of the movie versions I've watched (the 2008 and the 1995 versions, justincaseyouwerewondering).  
Before reading this book, I never understood why I came out as Elinor on this J.A. character quiz, but I do now. Elinor and I share some common virtues and faults. She handles things much the same way I would. I was really astonished to find just how much I felt for her while reading this. Almost as if I was reading about myself in a Jane Austen story!

Rarely have I ever "met" a fictional character that I so relate to. But, that doesn't mean I'm exactly like Elinor. While quiet and introverted, I don't keep as much "inside" as she does. *spoilers* If I was told that the man I loved is engaged to someone else, you can rest assured my mom would be informed about it. (cough even if I did promise Lucy cough cough) *end spoilers* I share my worries and feelings more easily than Elinor does. 

I feel like this pretty much sums up both Elinor's and my personalities :)

Now as for Marianne....I didn't relate to her very much. Except maybe when she goes into ecstasies over beautiful scenery or walking in the rain. ;) I do share a passionate fondness for nature like she does. And I do admire some aspects of her "open" personality. (I said some, mind you. There are many instances where I think Marianne is down right rude to the people who annoy her.) But you know what? *spoilers* Despite not having much in common with her, I still cried for Marianne when Willoughby broke her heart. She loved him so much—he was unworthy of her love, but she didn't know it. And I just felt so sad for her. *end spoilers* I think I also cried for Elinor. She had so much on her own mind and heart, and she had to be strong for her sister as well. That's hard.

Now we get to talk about the heroes. ;) Edward is not my favorite Austen hero, but reading the book has definitely given me a better appreciation for his character. Also, I think that the 2008 movie version of Edward is much more faithful to the book Edward. Consequently, I picture Edward as Dan Stevens, not Hugh Grant. I have absolutely no problem with that. heehee

*spoilers* The thing is, I used to think Edward was wrong in not telling Lucy that he no longer loved her. If I was engaged to a man, I would want to know if he no longer loved me! I felt that Edward should have at least given Lucy the choice—if she still wants to marry him even though he doesn't love her, well, I'm sure Edward would continue to keep his promise. But if she doesn't, then they should break it off so that they both have a chance for happiness!

But, I've realized something. Any fan of Jane Austen knows that marriage was pretty much the only option open to a woman back then. Marrying a man wealthy enough to support her comfortably was the only choice she had beside living with her parents her entire life! She could not get a job. Even a respectable job like that of a governess wouldn't suit if the lady was born "above" the working class. So, in still agreeing to marry Lucy, Edward was protecting her from the possibility of never marrying. He knew she was poor and thus had a small chance of matrimony. Now, it could be argued that Elinor had a small chance for matrimony as well! But, Edward had already given his promise to Lucy. If he backed out and found that she was still poor and unmarried years later, I think he would feel guilty for that.

*end spoilers*

So, while I don't necessarily agree with all of Edward's methods, I do believe that—no matter his fault— he does try his best to be honorable and just. 

I don't have a lot to say about Colonel Brandon. Except that he was as wonderfully unselfish and caring as he is in the movies.  I love how quiet and dependable he is. He's always ready to help the Dashwoods—or, indeed, anyone! I love that he seems to have grown from a rather rash boy into a wise and exceptionally caring man.

As a small side note, I love that part where he mentions his fight with Willoughby. And Elinor wisely refrains from commenting on it. ;) haha

The Colonel is not my favorite Austen hero either—partly because I could never quite reconcile myself to the age difference between him and Marianne. I'm sorry! The thing is, there are many couples I love with similar age differences (Mr. Knightly and Emma, Arthur and Amy...) so I think the problem lies with Marianne's age more than his. She's not even 19. I just that she were were a bit older. :P

I have a Very Important Scene to discuss. It concerns Willoughby. Toward the end of the book. If you've read it, you know what I'm referencing. The below section contains many *spoilers*. 

Goodness gracious, how could any filmmaker ever leave that scene out?
 (glares at the 1995 writers)
 (glares at the 2008 writers because the scene was not done justice.)

How do I describe how I felt about that scene? I've always felt slightly bad for Willoughby. Well, this scene in the book solidified that feeling. I am not in anyway excusing his mistakes. I think he brought most of his misery upon himself—and, quite frankly, he does deserve it.

But then...don't we all? We all deserve misery and punishment—to the point of eternal separation from Our Lord and Savior. But, we ARE given the chance of redemption. For those of us who are Christians, we've experienced the greatest joy and the only true hope in this world—the hope of eternity in Heaven. 
Willoughby was given this choice too. But he spurned it, preferring to keep his sin and selfishness. I guess that's why I feel bad for Willoughby. I can SEE where he could have changed. I can see what a different sort of man he might have been. I can see where he could have been redeemed.

And in the end, I think that may be one of the keys to making a truly great villain. Give readers the glimpse of humanity—that glimpse of the "could have been". In the end, he's just as horrible as he ever was, because he didn't change. But we know he could have. And that's what makes it truly sad.

In the scene, Willoughby comes to see Marianne, who is dangerously ill. Elinor meets him and allows him to explain to her his "side" of things. Elinor does so reluctantly. At the end of it all, she still holds his actions and selfish nature in abhorrence. But, she tells him that both she and Marianne forgive him. And when he asks whether Elinor thinks better of him, she tells him she does:

"Elinor assured him that she did;—that she forgave, pitied, wished him well— was even interested in his happiness—and added some gentle counsel as to the behaviour most likely to promote it. His answer was not very encouraging.
'As to that,' said he, 'I must rub through the world as well I can. Domestic happiness is out of the question. If, however, I am allowed to think that you and yours feel an interest in my fate and actions, it may be the means—it may put me on my guard—at least, it will be something to live for. Marianne to be sure is lost to me forever. Were I even by any blessed chance at liberty again—'
Elinor stopped him with a reproof.
'Well,'—he replied—'once more goodbye. I shall now go away and live in dread of one event.'
'What do you mean?'
'Your sister's marriage.'
'You are very wrong. She can never be more lost to you than she is now.'
'But she will be gained by some one else. And if that some one should be the very he whom, of all others, I could least bear—But I will not stay to rob myself of all your compassionate good-will, by shewing that where I have most injured I can least forgive. Goodbye,—God bless you!'
And with these words, he almost ran out of the room."    ~Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Of course, we see there that he holds bitter feelings toward Colonel Brandon. He, who is everything Willoughby is not! He who loves and cares (in different ways ;)) for the two young women Willoughby hurt. Even though Willoughby realizes what he's done, his selfish pride causes him to hate the very man he should be begging for forgiveness.

*End Spoilers*

This book has so many wonderful themes, but I'm only going to pick one to mention. When writing this review I realized that imperfect characters abound in this story. Willoughby certainly isn't perfect, Marianne isn't, Edward isn't—even Elinor and Colonel Brandon have their moments of failure. Bad choices are made, mistakes are made, and—by some—an intentional choice of evil is made.
Of course, these mistakes and choices aren't excused or made to look good. But it's true life. Even the best people make mistakes, and I love how truthfully Austen paints her characters.

Sense and Sensibility is a perfectly beautiful and stunning book. Some of the issues mentioned may be deemed a bit "mature" (e.g. A Certain Character's brief relationship with with another character, and subsequently their child born out of a wedlock) but everything is handled with delicacy. It is made clear that such actions are wrong.

If you have yet to read this book, I greatly encourage you to do so. :)

ps. As a quite random note, does anyone know why spellcheck wants to correct "Willoughby" to "Hillsborough"? I mean, come on. :P