Monday, November 30, 2015

L.M. Montgomery Week // tag

     Today is Lucy Maud Montgomery's birthday! Eva is hosting a week-long event on her blog for this auspicious occasion, and she's come up with this fun tag. :-)

  • How did you first discover LMM’s books?

     I can't remember a time when I'd never heard of Anne of Green Gables -- my sisters and I have been watching the Anne movies since we were all knee-high to a grasshopper, so they were always a part of my childhood. I'd never read any of the books until last year, when I finally decided it was way past time for me to read Anne of Green Gables. (There was also a fair amount of prompting from my dear Naomi, who is herself a raving Montgomery fan and don't we all know it. ;-P) I really liked the book, but...I like the movie version better. That's the Anne I grew up with. :-)

  • What’s your favorite LMM book? 

     I've only read two -- Anne of Green Gables and The Blue Castle. I think of the two I enjoyed The Blue Castle more.

  • What’s your least favorite LMM book?

    I don't have one! ;-P

  • Who is your favorite character in allllll of LMM’s works?

     Probably Anne Shirley. Though if I read more of her books that might not hold true....but for now, that's my answer.

     She also has my favorite hair in the world. I really want her hair.

  • What couple is your favorite?

     Anne and Gilbert. I love them dearly.


  • What is your favorite quote from LMM (either a quote from one of her books, or from her personal life)?

     I LOVE Lucy Maud Montgomery's quotes. I've collected loads of them on Goodreads and have several tacked up in various places around my house. Here's one I particularly like:

     "When you've learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn't, you've got wisdom and understanding."

     I think Maud must have really liked cats, because she also has some good quotes about them, such as this one...

     "I love them {cats}, they are so nice and selfish. Dogs are TOO good and unselfish. They make me feel uncomfortable. But cats are gloriously human."

    AMEN, sistah.

  • How many LMM books have you read?

     A heaping total of....two. Heh. Give me time, I'll remedy that.

  • Which LMM book would you most like to see made into a movie?

      I'd love to see a good movie of The Blue Castle -- one with enchanting scenery and glorious twinkly music and glitzy costumes and strong actors. (And I agree with Hamlette that Barney Snaith should be played by Michael Fassbender. But then, I'm usually all too eager to cast Michael Fassbender as any mysterious, broody character.)

  • Have you found a kindred spirit?

     Yes, I have! Many, in fact. And in the oddest places too. Turns out they ain't so scarce as I used to think. :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


     The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.
~ Psalm 28:7

 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
~ 1 Chronicles16:34

In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted."
~ Isaiah 12:4

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

(It's a Lantern In Her Hand tradition :-D)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"There's so many different Emmas in me...."

    (....and maybe that's why I'm such a troublesome person." :-))

      Here's what I'm imagining you did:

     *saw post on Emma's blog*

     *either groooaaaaned or thought ooh, yay!* (If you did the former, please feel free to unfollow me at any time, thanks.)

    *clicked on post*

     *immediately noticed blog design change*

     *thought, isn't that, like, the third time in two months she's changed her blog design? What is WRONG with the girl?*

     *rolled your eyes*

     Maybe you didn't do exactly that. ;-P But I'm sure you noticed that A Lantern In Her Hand looks much different today than it did a few days ago. Yes, people, I've changed my look -- again. Yes, I know it was only a few weeks since I put the last header up, and I did think it was beautiful, wasn't quite right. So I went ahead and changed it again.

     The truth is, I change my blog layout way too much. I am aware of this. It seems like my mood is always changing, and thus my vision for this blog. There are days when I want it to be cozy and vintage and quaint, other days when I feel like being all hip and cool and modern. (*cough cough* which is really sooooo not me, most of the time! ;-)) And so I tend to think, well, this is the way I feel, so this is the way The Blog should look. People should be able to tell from the moment they click on it what kind of person I am. They should see what great taste I have and what an awesome blogger I am. Right?

This doesn't exactly relate, except that I *don't* have any of those social medias and I think it's funny. ;-D

    Here's the thing: I want my blog to reflect my personality, but I don't want it to be the extent of my personality. My online life is not my life; it's an extension of my life, and a very special part of it, but I don't want to put too much stock in how I appear through this little ol' blog of mine and thus neglect to embrace the real-life me beyond these four, four sides of the screen.

     Hence the new layout. This was my mood yesterday. Simple, fresh...a little boring, maybe. But it's like a blank canvas. I can paint on it anything I want to. And that's what I like about it.

   I want my writing to be strong enough without the help of a fancy-shmancy header to convince people that they should read my posts. That's not to say anything against fancy-shmancy headers -- I love pretty headers!!! I love gorgeous, frilly, sparkly blogs. (I get super excited every time Naomi  changes her header, cuz hers are the best.) But for me, right now, that's not what I need. This blog is a place for me to share my thoughts, feelings, and bits of my life -- it always has been. But I'm not the same girl I was when I started it, and I'm continually growing, and changing too, whether I want to or not. ;-P My writing has changed sort of drastically, too -- the other day I was reading some of my old blog posts and couldn't help laughing. I'm a much more mature writer than I was (THANK GOODNESS), but I'm still working on polishing my writing skills so they can stand on their own. I hope my writing here is strong. And good. And something people want to read.

    So that's my long-winded-and-probably-too-deep explanation of why I have (for, like, the third time in two months) changed my blog design. ;-)

     And don't worry, folks -- this doesn't mean there's going to be more astronomical changes around here. Just because it looks different doesn't mean it is different. I'll still be posting about the same old things. (That may or may not be good news to you, heh. ;-))

     With all that said: what do you think?


Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Top Five Favorite Broadway Songs {at the moment...}

     What ho! I am blogging horrendously often lately, aren't I? This is just a quickie post to tell y'all lovelies some of the gorgeous Broadway stuff I'm filling my imagination with at the present -- because these songs are too amaaaaaazing not to share with you.

     These aren't my ultimate favorite Broadway songs --just the ones I happen to be obsessing over currently. :-)

     ~ Home from Beauty and the Beast

     So I recently discovered this absolutely adorable thing called the Broadway Princess Party that Laura Osnes and some other people put on this summer. I wasn't invited (ha.ha. yeah really, Emma) but I've been enjoying all the videos on Youtube! One of my favorites is Kara Lindsay's "Home". It's SUCH a gorgeous song, and Kara's too darling for words. :-)

~ Nothings Stops Another Day from Ghost

     News flash: There is a musical version of the 1990 movie Ghost. Yes, there is. (Haven't I told you, there's a musical of everything!!!) I haven't actually watched the movie and I don't know much about the musical beyond this one song that I stumbled across a few days ago while searching for videos of Alison Luff (who plays Molly in the recent revival on Broadway.) I LOVE THIS SONG. It's currently on re-play in my brain. ;-) Listen to it, and you might understand why!

 ~ In His Eyes from Jekyll and Hyde

     Pretty much everything from Jekyll and Hyde is incredible, but THIS SONG. This was my favorite song all through October -- believe me when I say I listened to it at least twice every day. ;-D

~ Beyond the Riverbend from Pocahontas

     Another Broadway Princess Party find. I haven't even seen Pocahontas, but from what I've heard of the music I'm thinking I might need to remedy that.

~ With You from Ghost

     Another gem from Ghost. This one is super-duper sad but I LOVE IT. In a fit of madness the other night I bought the sheet music for both Nothing Stops Another Day and With You, and I'll have you know I do not regret it ;-P. Life is short -- buy sheet music! 

...and with that, I leave you. Have a nice day, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Do you believe in magic?

      One day I took a walk down to the barn with Willie. It was a cold, blustery afternoon and I was wearing my hat and gloves, clutching my arms to myself as I walked against the wind. It was just about dusk and there were pink streaks parading across the sky before the shadows set in, a picture of any movie poster.

     When Willie and I got to the barn I heaved the door open, and out came Magnolia, the barn cat, to greet me and make sure I gave her a kiss. I switched on the little black radio, flipped the lightswitch, and walked over to the cage where my family of bunnies live. I sang out greetings.

     "Hello, funny bunnies! How are you this fine day? You're so cute." I picked up the two babies, one in each arm, and kissed their fluffy little heads. "You are so funny! Are you keeping warm, my dears?"

     Then I turned around, and that's when I saw it.

     A string of Christmas lights my daddy had strung from the rafters over the swinging door that leads into the donkeys' pen. A hundred red, blue, green, and yellow prisms twinkling from the hay and cobwebs. They glowed like little fires, and I felt a warm fire begin to glimmer inside me.

     And it was magic.

     Of course, it wasn't really. My daddy strung the lights there, and they turned on when I hit the lightswitch. Nothing magic about that. But when I saw them and my heart gasped, somehow it was, and I knew it was. There was no other word to describe it.

     I'm not talking about the kind of magic that uses spells and potions and decks of cards and causes such controversy in pop culture. I don't know about that kind. I'm talking about kind of magic that sends a thrill up your spine at a good ghost story told around a fire on a harvest-moon night; the glow in a child's eyes on Christmas eve; the spark that passes between two people when they realize they're meant to be. That's what magic is to me. And people, that's real.

     It isn't just for children. It's only easier for children to believe because everyone's telling them to believe it. But magic is for everyone, if you'll open your eyes and let it into your soul. A good deed done -- a smile given -- a warm fire on a cold night -- a thousand crackling stars so bright you could stick your hand out and grab one. It's all magic.

     Last week I was in a musical. While I was in it there were many times when I felt like it would go on forever...but then it didn't, and suddenly it was all over and it was time to strike the set. (If you've ever been in a musical you probably know that striking the set can be an extremely depressing thing.) So that happened. But the real fun came after the work was completed and everything cleaned up, when one of the stage guys pulled out the harness-thing they use to 'fly' people in theater and all of a sudden it became apparent that he was going to let any of us try it. (!!!!!!!!!)

     When it came my turn, I felt shivery. I got strapped into the harness, and then, within an instant, I was in the air. I floated thirty feet above everyone else, dangling like a puppet in a marionette show, completely airborne. I screamed like a little girl.

     And that was magic.

     You see, it's the silly little things just as much as the grand big ones. You've got to notice -- it's there. It was magic when I was lifted into the air by a rope like I was Peter Pan. It was magic when the first snow squall of the season came last week and showered my soul with fluffy white crystals. It was magic when my favorite song came on the radio the other night as I sat on the table in the barn, completely out of the blue.

     I'm not preaching a taro-card, fairy wand, witch's broom magic. I'm talking about the God-given gifts we so often treat casually -- the excitement so many people lose as they get older and more weighted down with adult responsibilities. I don't want to ever lose that. I don't want to ever stop freaking out over the first snow of the winter, and I don't want to begin to ignore all the little blessings God gives me for no other reason than because He loves me. I hope I can hold on to that childish sparkle forever, because it's something very precious. It's the real magic.

     And just for the record, yes, I do believe in it.

     (Willie is my dog, by the way. ;-))

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Real Men Love Jesus

     And that's the kind of man I want.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"All I know is Joseph loves his Shannon."

     What do you get when you mix Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, western expansion, Irish aristocrats versus poor laborers, period elegance, fast-paced action, and a breathtaking score by the great John Williams, all tied up with a bow and a cherry on top?

     You get one of the most amazing movies ever, that's what you get.

     Of course, I'm obviously biased. Not everyone would agree. I just watched Far and Away for the first time a week ago -- it was one of those oh hey, this might be good movies randomly plucked out of the library's musty VHS section -- and from the very first I was completely swept away. Even now I can't seem to pull my mind off it for very long. (Of course, listening to the soundtrack all day long isn't helping...but then I didn't ask you, did I?) I want to jump into that world and be part of the story, live the excitement.

     Really, when was the last time I went so ga-ga over a movie? I'm thinking it was probably Legends of the Fall back in January -- the after effects were much the same. Quoting the characters incessantly, pinning all the pictures I can find on Pinterest, listening to the soundtrack multiple times every day. Yes, my friends, let me confirm something for you: I am crazy.

     I just can't watch a movie and love it so much and not have SOME of that obsession leak out on The Blog. So here I am to tell you all about it, in the most coherent way I can manage, which I must warn you isn't very. So settle in and put on some nice music (can I recommend this soundtrack?) and we'll have ourselves a grand old time. (Oh, and Olivia gets to sit by me because she's seen this movie too.) :-D

     I've said it once and I will continue to say it -- Far and Away is pretty much the most beautiful thing you ever saw.

     The movie begins in Ireland, where Joseph Donnelly (a very young and very hunky Tom Cruise) is a poor tenant farmers' son who dreams of owning his own land someday. Shannon Christie (Nicole Kidman) is the pampered daughter of the wealthy landlord who owns the Donnelly's land. When Joseph's father is shot in a street brawl and their house is burned down by a land agent, Joseph sets out to avenge these actions by killing the man he believes responsible -- Daniel Christie. This is how he meets Shannon and, eventually, ends up accompanying her when she runs away from home and boards a ship bound for America.

     I've tried writing summaries of the story, and every time it ends up a dismal disaster, so that's all I'm gonna say. And anyway, if you haven't seen the movie I don't want to ruin it for you by explaining in too great a detail. But let me just say that the first part of the movie in Ireland -- involving a mule, a pitchfork, a defective rifle and a precariously placed bowl *ahem* -- is hilaaaaarious. There are some parts of the story that are so wacky and far-fetched it's ridiculous, but somehow it all works together so brilliantly that I don't even care how unlikely it is. The point is, it's a good story.

     Perhaps what I loved most about this movie -- it's unconventional. Yes, the main storyline is a romance, and it has a lot of the usual elements of a drama, but then there's sooooooo much that you don't expect. There's so much MORE. It's period drama, it's western, it's almost romantic comedy. It's so FUNNY and WEIRD and EXCITING and BEAUTIFUL and FEELSY. (I told you, my thoughts aren't very professionally organized.) 

      Let's talk about Joseph and Shannon.

  These two are something. Joseph is a poor farmer's son, Shannon a wealthy landlord's daughter, so they've been raised on opposite ends of the social spectrum. But they share a common dream -- land. Shannon runs away from home with the hope of getting some of the 'free land' the US government is offering out West, and when Joe gets pulled along he decides to pursue the dream his father encouraged when he was on his deathbed. (That there was a funny scene.) However, upon reaching America they discover it won't be as easy as they thought. Shannon realizes how unrealistic her dream was, and Joe discovers his natural ability as a prize fighter, as well as learns to handle a man's responsibilities. 

     Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman really have something going on here. (No wonder they got married after this movie was made.) The chemistry between them is epic, their interactions priceless. Joseph is a fairly simple man by nature, besides being raised in poverty, whereas Shannon is a bit of a spitfire and is used to getting what she wants. What I love so much about their relationship (besides everything about them) is how, through all they endure together, they get to know each other in such an intimate way. And I'm not talking about a physical way -- one of the things about this movie that made me wildly happy is how there's no sex scene -- I'm talking about the way they really know and care about one another. I'm talking about how they learn each other's little idiosyncrasies, the things that bother them, the things that make them happy. I'm talking about how Shannon got up on that platform dressed as a burlesque dancer the night of Joe's big fight; how Joe left her with her parents in Boston after she was shot, knowing it was unlikely he'd ever see her again. Their love story is completely unconventional, and completely beautiful. That's why Joseph and Shannon are possibly my favorite film romance. Ever.

     Besides these two, there are quite a few interesting characters prancing through the movie, some played by fairly recognizable actors. Colm Meaney was in it, of course. They don't make an Irish movie that Colm Meaney isn't involved with. ;-P And what do you know, Shannon's mother was played by Dorothy from Dr. Quinn! That was pretty interesting. Shannon's nutty father was super familiar, but I can't think what else I've seen him in.

     My favorite part of the entire movie is the 'Inside the Mansion' scene. Joe and Shannon break into some rich person's house on a snowy night after they've been wandering the streets for three days, and Joe tells Shannon to sit at the table so he can serve her. Ohhhhh my stars and stripes. "No, Joseph. Sit with me. Let's pretend this is our house-- that you're my husband, and I'm your wife." GAAAAHHHHHHHHH. I cannot even describe the feels and shivers sent through my entire being while the two of them sat there and looked into each other's eyes, with the snow twinkling outside, and then when Joe said, "I'll pretend I love you"....Oh, someone hold me. I have never seen anything so beautiful in all my living life. Most romantic scene in any movie, ever? Undoubtedly. I think so, anyway.


     AND THE LAND RACE. Oh my goodnessssss!!!! This scene is so epic. I just sat there with my eyes popping, clutching a pillow to my heart, squirming like a little kid and making all kinds of unladylike noises. (I really am terrible when it comes to exciting movies. I have been known to scream at anything I think is particularly wonderful. I may or may not have screamed at the end of this movie, and my dad may or may not have been trying to sleep in the next room.)

      BUT THE ENDING. Watch this movie, and you will understand that any and all screaming is justified. If you haven't watched it, you cannot possibly understand. (Emma, that's not the kind of thing you're supposed to say in movie reviews.) ;-P Let me just say that I really dig movies where characters get really really close to dying and then miraculously survive. True, in this case it's totally unrealistic. Do I care? HECK NO. "All I know is Joseph loves his Shannon." Don't even try to tell me it isn't the most romantic thing you ever saw, because I will not pay you any mind. ;-P The last scene was everything I could have wanted to wrap up this unbelievably glorious movie -- which I didn't want to ever end anyway, I might add -- and when Joseph and Shannon stuck that flag in the ground, on their land, I did scream. I admit it. I screamed of pure joy and happiness.

    Other things I loved about Far and Away....

     ~ The whole Irish feel that resonates throughout. The actors all did an incredible job with the accents, even the ones who aren't Irish -- somewhere I read someone's opinion that the accents were terrible, but I couldn't disagree more! Listening to Tom Cruise speak in an Irish accent is like drinking a hot peppermint tea on a chilly night. (By the way, have I mentioned that I am now somewhat of a Tom Cruise fan? This was my first Tom Cruise movie. It will most assuredly not be my last.)

...and Tom Cruise as an Irish cowboy? Could it possibly get any better?
  ~ THE MUSIC. The caps are totally necessary for this one, trust me! John Williams hardly ever disappoints, but this score is exceptionally glorious. There's a reason I've been listening to it constantly for the past five days. The music blends Irish pipes, tinkling piano, and big, broad orchestrations that embody the Western paradise Joe and Shannon dreamed of. It's perfect for the movie and pretty much perfect on its own too. Whatever saint who put the whole thing on Youtube has my undying gratitude. Go listen to it. (As a friend of mine said, I say this because I care about you.) 

 ~ For being the type of movie it was -- a romantic drama from the 90's -- it was surprisingly clean as far as sexual content goes. There was no sex scene, which made me ridiculously happy. There are a few slightly suggestive parts, one being a (rather ridiculous) scene where Joseph is wounded and lying in bed in the Christie's house and Mrs. Christie puts a bowl over...a certain part...of his otherwise naked body. It doesn't actually show anything, as the subject is what's not shown, but obviously that is a little weird. There's also a scene where Joseph and Shannon are undressing in the room they share at a boarding house (which is, oh yeah, actually a brothel -- I was going to mention that too.) It's a rather awkward moment, not in a suggestive way, but in more of a "Oh my, here we are in the same room taking off our clothes and this is super weird." Still, you might want to turn away because there's some partial-nudity. The movie has some language -- they're Irish, I mean really, it's to be expected -- and some of the boxing scenes get really violent, and while that's certainly inappropriate for some audiences, I was happy that there was no unnecessary icky stuff. It is rated PG-13, I'm assuming for language and violence and partial nudity. But as far as being actually offensive, I didn't find it so at all.

 ~ Shannon's hair. Very random, but I thought I'd mention it cuz it's just really great. :-D

 ~ The era was so vividly depicted in every scene, from the costumes to the conditions of the dingy Boston streets and the gilded manners of the rich opposite the rustic manners of the poor. Watching is is literally like jumping into 1892 for a few hours, which is so much fun.

 ~ The magical-feel of several of the scenes. I don't mean literal 'magic'-- I mean more of a metaphorical magic. (Goodness, my thought processes are so hard for ME to follow, I can't imagine the struggle you all have.) The only other movie I can think of as an example is The Little Princess. You know how there are elements of that story that come alive in sort of an imaginary, magical way? That's how Far and Away was. It gave me that same tingly, magical, twinkly feeling. Sort of like the excitement of being a little girl mingled with the thrill of an adult romance. That's the best way I can think to put it. :-D

     Fun fact: this movie is directed by Ron Howard. Otherwise known as Opie Taylor. That's right. Little Opie!

    What else can I say? Far and Away swept me far and away with its beauty and scope. It made me sigh, laugh, shriek, and almost cry. (I would have cried, only the whole tone of the movie is relatively lighthearted, so I hadn't worked myself up to crying. Just in case you were wondering.) I watched it a week ago and I'm still just as immersed in that world, so that should tell you something of what an impact it had on me. :-) At the moment, it's my favorite movie. That may or may not change in the future, but one thing won't -- this movie is something special, friends. 

     Short version: I loved it. I will be watching it again. The end.

     Have you seen Far and Away? 
     Did you love it as much as I did (and do and forever will)?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Living Life to the Fullest // guest post by Miss Meg

     Hello, all you lovely people who read Emma’s blog! Emma has kindly offered me to ‘share the stage’ with her, for a day. Isn’t that jolly nice of her?

     After mulling it over in my mind, I decided to write about something that’s been on my heart for a long time.  There’s many different ways I could take it, but I’ll focus on the main part:

Living Life to the Fullest 

     I don’t blame you if you just cringed at that. ;) It’s rather cliché and overused, I must admit, but I have begun to discover there is so much more to that phrase than meets the eye. Most people look at it through the world’s perspective, but for the past year or more, I’ve been learning to look at it from a Christian perspective.

     If you know me well, you’d know that I am NOT a spontaneous person – I have to have my lists and schedule, and try to know everything before it happens. (I know that sounds awful – I’m working on it! Spontaneity is not natural with me, you see. Hehe.) This last year I have been trying to ‘jump at every opportunity’ and I believe in that respect, I have. Not one social event did I decline (except when I was sick) and I never regretted it. But I discovered it’s not just when you are outside your home and normal daily activities – living your life to the fullest includes home as well! In our two weeks break from school, I spent an entire day baking, icing and decorating 30+ cupcakes (and then made another 20 the following week) and baked 40 homemade biscuits, as well as reading a book and writing a letter.  I was much happier at the end of that day than I was a few days later, when I slept in, watched television and read a book. I realized that using every blessed minute of my day for something useful or productive is so much better than lounging around and frankly, being lazy. Since then, I have decided to take the plunge and try new, creative things at home and out of home.  I chose to try that harder recipe for dinner then the normal one I make (it ended up taking 3 hours to make, and I was not in the best of moods at the end of it, but I’m still glad I did it :P), I pursued that rather scary, deeper topic with that friend, in order to become closer and encourage each other, I spent a little less than half my pocket money to go see that musical. (Yes, can I just slip that in and say I’M SEEING LES MISERABLES LIVE! Somebody pinch me, please!) In choosing to do this, I realized another important thing: You can live your life to the fullest selflessly.  I went through a stage where I was so swept up in being productive with MY little things, I forgot about my little siblings who were asking to play, or those dishes that nobody wanted to wash. I believe I felt 3 times happier, playing Peter Pan with my little brother (even though I always have to be Captain Hook while my 5 year old brother always has to be Peter Pan, who always has to win) than writing my story. Of course, I LOVE writing stories, but I can find time for that later! My relationship with my family is more important than my relationship with my fictional characters. (Although I am not ashamed in admitting I AM rather attached to my dear fictional characters.) This brings to my next point: To be content with the life God has given me.

     I am afraid that is one of the hardest struggles I have. So many times I wish to go out with my siblings to see friends, or to be able to go there or do that like those other girls my age. And then I understand, that God has a reason for every single thing, and He has chosen the people in my life and everything I have. Utterly everything I have is from Him. He has given me everything I need, to lead the life He wants me to.  And that makes my heart sing.

     And now, we come to the finish and I have my favourite point to make: That being a Christian is the most joyful experience there is. Can I get an amen on that? I have only just truly discovered this glorious truth, and I can’t wait to see it come to life more and more, but for now, I know this; that He can turn my gloominess into happiness and how I should have nothing to be sad about because of what He’s done. Everything is in His hands, so if I am worried or stressed about it, I just give it all over to Him. I can have my Saviour beside me with every breath, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That I can live my life for the Lord, living every single minute of my life with a purpose, and with the hope and joy of Christ.

     Summing it all up, I wish to make the most of my life. I want to be bolder in my faith, I want to be more adventurous in my actions, and I want to maybe get out of my comfort zone more than I used to. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I shall jump off a cliff screaming “YOLO!” and hope for the best. There is a limit to getting out of my comfort zone. ;P) Within my home, and outside of it, I want to take up all opportunities, and create more. I want to live my life selflessly, and for others, which, by the way, doesn’t mean it’s boring. ;) I want to use every day, with what God has given me, to lead a crazy, joyful life for God’s glory.

*         *        *        *       *

     So please tell me, do you agree?  Are you eager to live a crazy, joyful life too? What are some of the valuable lessons the Lord has been teaching you this past year?

(Thank you so much, Miss Meg, for guest posting!!!) :-D

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

this is what really goes on...// behind-the-scenes writing tag

     Hello friends! I've been a bit dry on inspiration as far as blog posts go lately -- wait, make that dry on motivation. The truth is I've got piles and piles of ideas, but I've given none of them the chance to come to fruition yet. SO! While all my baby ideas are crying for my attention, I thought I'd do this fun writing tag that's been circling around my favorite blogs lately. I haven't been writing as much as I'd like to lately, so maybe this will get me back in the mood and make me want to put the pen to the page again. :-)

     I was sort of unofficially tagged for this one -- in Eowyn's post she tagged anyone who was reading it inside their house, which I did. So. Just in case I needed justification. ;-P

     Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?
     I don't normally eat while I write, because believe it or not it distracts me. Unless I'm re-writing or editing something, then I sometimes snack on something. In the late summer and fall it's always an apple, because I'm usually sitting in the barn surrounded by them.

     When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?

     Normally, in the afternoon. Sometimes I'll get a wave of inspiration first thing in the morning, but more often than not I do all my bloggy-stuff, my schoolwork, and other chores first. In the summertime, though, I'm all over the place. Occasionally I write at night, but not very often because that's usually when my family decides to watch Dr. Quinn or The Waltons, and at this point in my life I'm not dedicated enough to resist either of those. ;-)

     Where do you write?

     Here, there, and everywhere! In the summertime, I usually sit on the hay stacked in our barn. There's a bridge down in the woods behind our house that I often sit on, and a little clearing where I sometimes go. Writing inside, I'm usually either sitting on my desk or my sister's bed. (She doesn't mind.)

     This is my cat Oliver sitting on top of my notebook. He's annoying like that.

     How often do you write a new novel?

     Well, I've yet to finish one, so I can't really say. This one's been simmering for over a year now, and I really have no idea how long it'll take me to get it as good as I want it to be. I've started other stories that I hope will grow into novels, but like I said...nothing's finished yet.

     (Although I DID finish a short story this very afternoon, which made me super happy! It's only 25 pages, but HEY. Small victories.)

     Do you listen to music while you write?

    ABSOLUTELY. Usually it's one of the over 30 movie soundtracks I own, because music with lyrics tends to be more distracting. (Have I ever mentioned how easily distracted I am?) Unless I'm writing outside, in which case I listen to the music in my head. :-) Some of my favorite writing soundtracks: True Grit (2010), Wyatt Earp (1994), Lincoln (2011), Belle (2013), The Blue and the Gray (1982), and OF COURSE Lonesome Dove (1989)

     What do you write on? Laptop or paper?

     I just got a laptop last year, so before that I alllllways wrote on paper. (There was nothing romantic about sitting in the dining room at our family computer, where people could walk by at any time and -- gasp!-- read what I was writing, so I never did that.) Last winter I wrote a TON on my laptop, but I've found that it helps the words flow from my brain easier when I write them down on paper. I type faster than I think, and plus staring at a screen for so long tires my eyes. (Of course, holding a pen for three hours straight makes me arthritic...but that's a minor detail.) Typically I write my first drafts longhand, and then type them on my laptop, editing as I go along.

     Short answer -- I do both, laptop and paper.

     Is there a special ritual you have before or after you write?

     Ehhhh....not really. I used to like to browse Pinterest, but I've found that that tends to distract me even more and doesn't really help get me in the right frame of mind to write my stories, so I quit doing that. When I remember to, I say a prayer asking for the right words to write. I take a few deep breaths. That's it.

     What do you do to get into the mood to write?

     I haven't found a good way to settle myself down to write yet. I'm either in the mood or I'm not -- it's something I have to work on. ;-)

     What is always near the place where you write?

     A cat. Seriously! When I'm writing in the barn, one of our cats down there, Magnolia (known as Maggie or That Darn Cat) will almost always find me and come sit on my lap. Sometimes she sits on my notebook and I have to push her off. Here at home, Oliver often comes to sit beside me and help me work out my plots. :-)

    Do you have a reward system for your word count?

     Since I don't usually write on my laptop, I don't pay much attention to word count. (It's not like I'm going to go through and count all the words I've written...) I try to set my goals by pages, not words -- which isn't always consistent, because a page on notebook paper might be two paragraphs on the computer, but what the heck. This is how I do things.

     What were we talking about? Oh yes, a reward system. The best reward is the feeling that "I've done it!" I can't really think of a better reward than that. :-)

     Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

     One thing is that I tend to base minor characters in my books off real people. I don't know if anyone would be able to tell, from reading them, but it helps me sometimes to have a real person to base someone off of. Hmmm, what else do I do? Like many writers, I make faces whenever I'm trying to describe an expression that one of my characters is making. (Thank goodness no one rarely sees this -- I have a talent for making really horrendously ugly faces. Just ask my sister.) Sometimes when I write a line that I really think is something special, I'll sit back and say it out loud a couple times.

     That's all! If you carved a pumpkin this year, you're tagged. :-) Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some writing to do...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jane Austen Week // Tag


     What ho, what ho! My dear lovely friend Naomi is hosting a Jane Austen blog party this week on her blog, Wonderland Creek (Hey, that rhymed! You see, I'm a poet, and you did not know, that line is so overused. *ahem*) I know for a fact that Naomi has lots of lovely Jane-Austen-goodness for y'all this week. First on the docket, she's got a fun tag, so here I am to fill it out! (I do love a good tag.)

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a Jane Austen fan do you consider yourself? Maybe a 7, or 7 1/2? I used to consider myself a 10, all the way, but that was back when I was a youngster and didn't really know anything about Jane Austen. I just liked the movies.

2. If "they" would make a new Jane Austen Movie, and you would be able to be cast in it, which Jane Austen character would you most like to play?  First of all, this is so cool that I'm being cast in a movie! My big break! (haha) I would love to play Emma, really. She may not be the heroine I relate to the most, but I'd have sooooo much fun being cute and bossy and annoying. ;-P

3. Is there any felicity in the world superior to a walk? Of course not, duh.

4. Who's your favourite Jane Austen 'villain'? (As in 'villain' meaning 'the bad guy.') That would be Willoughby -- because I actually like Willoughby, even though he's considered the villain of the story. He's selfish and shallow and pretty much a jerk, but I have compassion for him and I think if he gave it a little effort he could reform his ways. Plus, I can't resist Greg Wise. That's the plain truth.

5. What/Who introduced you to Jane Austen? I'd always been vaguely aware of the name, an that she was some British person who wrote books in the Middle Ages or sometime around then. I first became really interested after watching the movie Becoming Jane , believe it or not. Well, let's backtrack that -- my parents went to see BJ at a theater shortly after it first came out, and I remember hearing a little about it, specifically that some things Jane did (such as playing the piano early in the morning and waking up the rest of her family) reminded my mom, me. :-D A few years later I wanted to watch the movie for myself, so we rented it, and my sister and I watched it one afternoon. After that we watched P&P 2005, Emma 2009, and S&S 95, and I became a little obsessed with that delightful world of bonnets, tea, men in tight pants and dialogue loaded with adjectives. I started to talk like a dictionary because of it.

6. Did you love/enjoy Jane Austen immediately, or has there been a time when you hated (um, prejudged) it?  I remember thinking S&S was sooooooo boring the first time I watched it, but that was clearly because I was too young. My Jane Austen craze has mostly passed by now; I still like her stories and some of the movies are very dear to me, but they're not my absolute favorites. I'd take a western over a JA movie, thank you just the same.

7. Who, in your opinion, is the funniest Jane Austen character?  MR. PALMER. Specifically, Hugh Laurie as Mr. Palmer. Because Hugh Laurie. Is there any further explanation needed?

8. Do you quote Jane Austen randomly in public? Yes, I do, and nobody gets it. Sad, that.

9. Are children allowed to eat cake on weddings? Heck, yes! Unless they have a gluten allergy, in which case I feel very sorry for them.

10. What is your reaction when you hear that an acquaintance (e.g. A lady at Church) of yours loves Jane Austen? Something like, "Oh, that's cute," or "I'm not surprised" or "I could have guessed that." ;-P

Jeremy Northam is not my favorite Knightley, but I love this line.

11. Who writes better letters, Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth? (If you forgot what the letters were, shame on you, instead tell me if you prefer Strawberries to Chocolate or not.) I liked Mr. Darcy's better. Probably because I have a more long-standing relationship with Mr. Darcy and can remember more of the actual letter. Though I do often quote Captain Wentworth's "You pierce my soul" line, usually to my cat. He's totally into it.

12. Which Jane Austen heroine do you relate the least to? I don't know Fanny Price at all, and I don't know Anne Eliot very well...of the ones I'm familiar with, I'd say probably Emma, actually! She loves people and people love her. That's not me. ;-P

13. What's your favourite Jane Austen house (from one of the movies)? I'm excessively fond of Barton Cottage - the big manors are stunning and all, but I'd feel like I was living in a monastery.

I think we can all tell what my favorite Jane Austen movie is...

14. What's your favourite Jane Austen dress (from one of the movies)? I LOVE Jane's wardrobe in Becoming Jane. Does that count? This is one of my favorite movie dresses, period:

15. Can you turn off lit candles with your fingers? I never tried it before, figuring I'd burn meself. (Only Henleigh Grandcourt can do that, because he is made of ice and has no feeling, therefore freezing everything he touches.)

Hop on over to Naomi's blog for more Jane Austen fun! 
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