Thursday, March 31, 2016

I know this is late...

...but I found a bit of verse I'd like to share with you, and as it fits with the holiday just past, I thought I'd go ahead and wish you all a Happy Easter as well.  I hope everyone of you had a wonderful day!

Arise, my soul, arise;
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.
My God is reconciled;
His pardoning voice I hear:
He owns me for His child;
I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And "Father, Abba, Father," cry.
~Charles Wesley
Christ is Risen!!  I have a feeling I haven't the nearest notion of how great and deep the meaning of those words really are, but this I do know:  all I have I owe to Him.  All hope, all joy, all peace, all life is wrapped up in the knowledge that He is.  That He lives.  That He, in His great mercy, has owned me for His child.  I can't imagine the hopelessness of a life spent without the guiding hand of my Creator and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  May He give me the power to honor, obey, and please Him in all that I do.
Happy Resurrection Day!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Jane Austen Would You Rather Game

Cordy has created a delightful Jane Austen-inspired game over at her blogIt looks like oodles of fun, and is open to anyone who wishes to play, so please feel free to check it out!

Here are my answers:

Who would you rather have act as your matchmaker, Lady Russell (from Persuasion) or Mrs. Jennings?

Oh dear.  My initial reaction is to say Mrs. Jennings because Lady Russell doesn't seem like a very likable person--a little controlling perhaps?--but quite a few people have already chosen Mrs. Jennings, and I would like my answers to be slightly different so in the end, I'm going to go with Lady Russell.  My reasons:  I don't think she would be the type of person to match make in public (she's a little more subtle than Mrs. Jennings) so that would be one embarrassment avoided.  (Score.)  And then, also, it would give me the greatest pleasure to be able to say, "Pooh, pooh to you, Lady Russell.  No matter what you say, I'm going to do it my way.  Ha! So there."

Who would you like as a pen pal from Jane Austen's works?
Hmmm...that's a tough one.  There's probably a lot of people who would make good pen pals.  I'll just go with Elinor Tilney.  She would be a good friend I think, and would probably have a good deal of amusing things to say.  (After all, she has a brother who I find quite hilariousThere's bound to be something entertaining in her letters.)
Who would you rather go on a walk with, Colonel Fitzwilliam or Captain Benwick?
Colonel Fitzwilliam without a doubt!!  It's much more interesting to talk about a friend's devious schemes for separating an "unsuitable" pair of lovers, than to listen to a melancholy man quote poetry.  And besides, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a friendly, cheerful sort of person.  I think he would be a lot of fun to converse with.

Who would you rather have to befriend, Mrs. Elton or Lucy Steele?
NEITHER!  (Cordy, you're positively cruel!  How can I choose between two such horrible people?)  Alright, I'll do it.  Mrs. Elton.  At least she's somewhat laughable while Lucy Steele is nothing but obnoxious, manipulative, and sneaky.

"How could you hesitate?  Of course I'd be a much better friend than Miss Steele!"

Who would you rather have as a sibling, John Knightley or Mary (from Persuasion, not Mary Bennet)?

John Knightly!  He's such a jolly person.  True he can be somewhat grumpy a times, but I must admit, I  understand his grumpiness.  After all, who would want to go out into the cold to spend several dull hours in another man's house, when you could stay comfortably at home in front of your own cozy fireside? 

Who would you rather dance with? (Very open book!)

Well, if I was in a very uncomfortable and awkward mood--which I probably would be in a crowd full of people--I'd choose Mr. Knightly.  He's just the kind, caring sort of person who would put me at my ease. 

On the other hand, if by some miracle I happened not to be awkward, and was in fact in a gregarious mood, I think I would choose Henry Tilney, because his conversation would be highly entertaining. 
Who would you rather refuse, Mr. Collins or Mr. Elton?
That's tough.  Mr. Elton is creepy.  I'd hate to be in a carriage with him by myself.  But then it would be very satisfying to be able to say to him, "Let go of my hand sir, and sit over there."  Only...I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to do that.  So...okay.  I'll go with Mr. Collins.  He'd be highly infuriating since he doesn't understand the word "no" but at least I could leave the room and get away from him.

"Leave the room?  How rude!"

Who would you rather match-make for, Miss Bates or Mary Bennet?
(Really, Cordy.  Why must you make things so difficult.  Have a little compassion on my poor nerves.)  Mary Bennet, I guess.  It would probably be easier to find someone for her since she's still young...and plus, she doesn't talk ones ear off.  Still, her serious, philosophical observations might be a bit of a problem, unless we can find her a man who enjoys reading boring books and thinking deep thoughts.  (No, I'm not saying men don't think deep thoughts.  I didn't mean it that way.  Oh, bother.) 
Who would you rather have as a best friend?
Seriously?  How am I supposed to answer that?  There are so many good characters.  Maybe Lizzy.  She would be fun, and I think we'd have a lot in common.  I like to laugh at things and can be a bit of  a skeptic at times, so we'd probably have conversations that would be very interesting to both of us.

Who would you rather argue with? (Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Palmer, Mrs. Jennings, Fanny Dashwood, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy, ect.) 

Emma.  I'd love to catch her in an illogical argument and twist it around to my advantage.  Of course, she probably would never admit that she was being illogical or that she'd got the worst of the argument, so that could be rather frustrating.  Still, it would be fun to try.  And if she becomes too intolerable I can always storm out of the room and not stay for supper.

"Me?  Illogical?  What an idea."

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?

I'll choose Pemberley.  That would be embarrassing of course, but it ended SO well, I think the embarrassment would be worth it.  Also there wouldn't be any physical pain involved and I wouldn't have to be carried awkwardly home by a complete stranger.  (Marianne may call it romance.  I call it awkward.)

Where would you live in Austen's works?

I don't have a strong preference.  I should probably say Barton Cottage because  I like small, cozy houses, but I really haven't a good idea of what that house looks like so I think I'll go with Longbourn.  It has a cozy feel to it, too.

Well, that's all.  Thank you so much, Cordy!   This was loads of fun! 

And now, everybody!  Can you guess which two Jane Austen adaptions are my absolute favorites?  I know that's tough--it's not like I gave you any sort of hint with the pictures I included in this post or anything--but please give it a try.  I'd like to see what you think.  ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What I've Been Doing Lately // A Disastrously Random Post by Miss March

And now it's time for random posts with Miss March.  The part of the show where Miss March comes out and sings a silly song writes a random post.

What ho, people!  I have this feeling you've all been extremely curious to know what I've been up to lately.  (Okay, so I'm sure you probably haven't been curious, but please allow me the fun of laboring under that delusion. Ha!)   I won't waste time with lengthy introductions but cut straight to the point (if there is a point) and prepare to bombard you with a whole bunch of something...or nothing...or everything in between.  In order to give some semblance of order to my scattered thoughts I'm going to categorize each activity by an emotion or feeling connected with it.  (I do hope that makes sense.)

~for a busy, but delightful day spent with my family. 
1)  Going to the park in the morning and watching my siblings get all hot and sweaty as they played tag around the playground, while I sat on the bench cool, calm, and comfortable. 
2) Going out for lunch with my three older sisters, my mom, and my sister-in-law and having a good time of girlish conversation...complete with lots of delicious food. 
3)  Going to the Christian theatre where two of my sisters work in order to watch the evening premier of their latest production.  Fun times!
~over politics and the state of our nation.  We've been saturated by politics ever since the Republican primaries began--watching debates, reading loads of news articles, keeping up with the candidates' standings in the polls--and to say the whole process hasn't been enormously frustrating from beginning to end would be the understatement of the year! 
But don't worry, I'm not here to have a political discussion.  That would be boring and depressing.  I just want to give you an idea of what things are like around our house, by saying:  You know you've been thoroughly steeped in political jargon when you have a conversation like this at the lunch table: (I can't remember the exact words we used, but this is the gist of the conversation.)
It began with an innocent remark about lettuce.
22-year-old Brother:  "You know, iceberg lettuce seems to be really popular these days.  At least, we've been selling a lot of it at market lately, and I've noticed that people ask for it specifically more than they used to."
18-year-old brother:  "Ah!  You mean it's been surging in the polls!"
Me [laughing]:  "Yes. Exactly! But the question now is, does it or the Salad Bowl lettuce have a better chance of winning in the general election?"
22-year-old Brother:  "Hmmm.  Well, it's obvious the Salad Bowl lettuce doesn't stand a chance against homegrown strawberries."
14-year-old brother:  "Does any lettuce?"
Yeah, we're nutty.  Which is probably why this conversation amused us so very much.  ;)
~by a week of Spring weather in March!!  It was lovely!  I even went so far as to go outside and...get this...take a WALK!  I mean it, the weather was that inspiring! 
~by certain ladies in certain TV shows.  Primarily, Donna Stone (The Donna Reed Show) and Elizabeth Thatcher (When Calls the Heart).  After seeing these ladies in action, I have come to the conclusion that there is a large majority of women portrayed in film who are manipulative, unreasonable, easily offended, and annoying.  And the worst part is that nine times out of ten they get the last word, and the apology (when they should be the one giving the apology), and come off has having been in the right when clearly they were in the wrong!!!  Women!  In cases such as these I stand adamantly on the side of the men.
~with my recent purchase of the first three seasons of the Donna Reed Show.  Yes, I know I just finished saying that Donna Stone annoys me (she's the mother in this series, in case you wanted to know), but despite her, I really do like this show.    It's one of those simple, family shows, and it makes me very happy--when Donna isn't being her normal aggravating self, that is.  ;)


~by my inability to express myself in writing.  Every time I sit down to write my mind goes blank, and I get nowhere.  The words seem determined to elude me. 


~by this passage in Great Expectations (I told you this was going to be random). 

In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.  I had had no intercourse with the world at the time, and I imitated none of its many inhabitants who act in this manner.  Quite an untaught genius, I made the discovery of the line of action for myself.
It was the last line especially that impressed me.  I'm currently reading this book aloud to my brother (or perhaps I should say one of my brothers, for I have several) and when I came to this part I just had to read it twice.  Why?  Well, because.  I thought it was clever.  That's all.

~with the scarf I received from my parents for my birthday.  I've been wanting a pretty scarf for a while, but I didn't actually ask for it specifically, so that made it all the more fun as I had no idea what I was getting. 

Isn't it pretty?

~also with the birthday present my seven-year-old brother gave me.  He drew it himself with the intention of giving it to one of his sisters when the right occasion presented itself, and when my birthday rolled around he decided that was the opportune time.  He's such a sweetheart.


~to see my sister drive off to work after being at home for the past few months.  (She works at a theatre, but has a couple months off during the winter when the theatre is preparing for the next show.)  It's been so nice having her home that the sight of her car pulling out of the driveway, on her first official day back at work, made my heart sink.  


~by my twelve-year-old sister's comment, "I feel it in my bones that you guys are going to watch a movie tonight."  (This is my adopted sister who's only known English for about two years, so the choice of words was doubly amusing coming from her.)  Honestly, though, where did she ever get such an idea as that?  It's not as if her older siblings have a reputation for watching movies after the younger kids go to bed!  Really!
I must say, though.  Either my little sister has very perceptive bones or she just knows her siblings too well, because she was entirely correct in her assumption.  That very soon as the little kids were in bed...the rest of us were in the living room watching Jeeves and Wooster.  (Lucky guess.) 

~No, shocked isn't the right word--horrified more like--when my sixteen-year-old brother pointed out to me that Jeeves plays the Master of Lake Town in The Desolation of Smaug!  Wha-wha-WHHAAAATT?   You're kidding!  Not Jeeves!  That just can't be true!! 

Yeah, and I just about had a fit the next day when we looked up the cast and saw beyond a doubt that it was so!  Jeeves?  The Master of Lake Town?  No, oh no, oh no!!  It's enough to make me lose my faith in human nature!  (Just kidding.  But it did take me a little while to get over the shock of how far Jeeves had fallen!  Haha!) 

~that we've come to the end of the second season of "When Calls the Heart" and now I, my mom, and my older sisters, no longer have an excuse to indulge in a "girls' night" multiple times throughout the week.  We are all very sad about this, of course...though looking on the bright side of things at least we've made our brothers happy.  They'd been growing somewhat tired of being shut out of the living room so frequently, and had begun to make remarks such as, "You're not  going to have 'girls' night' again, are you?"  "If I hear 'girls' night' one more time..."  "I have some advice for you.  Next time When Calls the Heart, hang up."   Yeah, needless to say, they were quite thrilled when we informed them that the season was over and there were no more episodes to watch.  (That is, until the third season comes out on DVD.  Then...look out!  Hahaha.  *evil laugh of triumph*)
~reading David Copperfield again.  Oh, that book!  I just love it!  This is, I believe, the fourth time I've read it, and I think I can safely say that it is my absolute favorite Dickens' book!  I won't go into ecstasies over all the lovely characters, and all the wonderful, heart-breaking/heart-warming moments, because I may want to do a review on it and then I'd have nothing left to say.   Or perhaps I'm simply unable to put my love for this book into words and so what's the use of trying?

Here's the book itself.  The actual, literal volume which I've lovingly perused multiple times.  It's a little bit worn, as you can see.  My dad probably never suspected when he bought it that it would come to such a pass, but at least it hasn't sat idle upon the shelf.  ;)
This has been random posts with Miss March.  Join us next time to hear Miss March say, "I broke an ankle once skiing.  NOT!  I've never skied in my life.  That was a movie quote."  (Talk about random.)
What have you all been up to?
Is there anything that's made you particularly happy lately?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Inkling Explorations Link-Up~Miss Potter

Heidi hosts a monthly link-up over at her blog (see details here) and I thought it would be fun to participate.  The subject for this month is: A scene involving a letter, package, or post office in film.  

I've chosen to highlight the scene in Miss Potter where Beatrix, separated from her fiancĂ© for the summer, is keeping in contact with him through letter writing. 

Her delight and enthusiasm over every letter received is adorable.  And it's so good to see the depth of their relationship, and how it was truly well-grounded and able to stand the test of a separation.  (Not that I actually doubted that!  Haha!)

I won't talk about the other scene in this movie involving a letter because...well, I'd like to end this post on a happy note. 

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

Friday, March 18, 2016

Heart-breaking Moments in Fiction

Hello, people.  I'm here today with another 'moments in fiction' post.  (My first post like this was written back in November.  You can read it here if you're interested.)  In my last post I highlighted four story snippets which I found to be particularly relatable and true to life.  In this post I want to highlight a few of those emotional scenes which have the ability to grip your heart with an almost literal pain.  (Speaking for myself, at least.)

I've been reading David Copperfield lately--if ever there was a book full of emotion it is that book--and I came across a passage the other day which literally made me groan.  It was that sad.  Afterward I started thinking.  Are there are other scenes in books that have broken my heart in this way?  And the answer was, yes.  So I decided to put together a deliciously sad post for you all to enjoy.  ;)

Seriously, if you're anything like me you enjoy these sorts of scenes.  Because tragedy and heartache make you feel deeply for the characters you're reading about.   And one likes to feel for their characters.  A story would be boring otherwise.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
[Note:  I had to edit a bit of this because it was so long.  Where you see "..." is where I removed a bit of the original text.  Just so you know.]  

As the door closed, little Em'ly looked at us three in a hurried manner, and then hid her face in her hands, and fell to sobbing.
     'Doen't, Em'ly!' said Ham, tapping her gently on the shoulder.  'Doen't, my dear!  You doen't ought to cry so, pretty!'
     'Oh, Ham!' she exclaimed, still weeping pitifully, 'I am not so good a girl as I ought to be!  I know I have not the thankful heart, sometimes, I ought to have!'
     'Yes, yes, you have, I'm sure,' said Ham.
     "No! no! no!' cried little Em'ly, sobbing, and shaking her head.  'I am not as good as girl as I ought to be.  Not near! not near!'
     And still she cried, as if her heart would break.
     'I try your love too much.  I know I do!' she sobbed.  "I'm often cross to you, and changeable with you, when I ought to be far different.  You are never so to me.  Why am I ever so to you, when I should think of nothing but how to be grateful and to make you happy!'
     'You always make me so,' said Ham, 'my dear!  I am happy in the sight of you.  I am happy, all day long, in the thoughts of you.'
     'Ah! that's not enough!' she cried.  'That is because you are good; not because I am!  Oh, my dear, it might have been a better fortune for you, if you had been fond of some one else--of some one steadier and much worthier than me, who was all bound up in you, and never vain and changeable like me!'
'Oh, pray, aunt, try to help me!  Ham, dear, try to help me!  Mr. David, for the sake of old times, do please, try to help me!  I want to be a better girl than I am.  I want to feel a hundred times more thankful than I do.  I want to feel more, what a blessed thing it is to be the wife of a good man, and to lead a peaceful life.  Oh me, oh me!  Oh my heart, my heart!'
I saw her do, that night, what I had never seen her do before.  I saw her innocently kiss her chosen husband on the cheek and creep close to his bluff form as if it were her best support.  When they went away together, in the waning moonlight, and I looked after them, comparing their departure in my mind with Martha's, I saw that she held his arm with both her hands, and still kept close to him.

Oh, this part.  Knowing what comes afterward makes it so terribly sad.  The description of Emily holding on to Ham and keeping close to him as if, yes!  as if he were indeed her "best support".  Oh!  It's painful!  Because it's so true, he was her best support; he was a place of safety and protection and goodness.  And she knew it.  She knew the protection and love Ham had to offer her; and it's so sad to see how she instinctively clings to it, even while preparing to throw it from her.  Ahhh!  Why Emily?  Why?  You and Ham could have been happy together.  I know you could have, if you'd chosen to.  But human nature is a complicated thing, and too often we fail to comprehend what it is we're throwing away until it's too late to get it back.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

By eight in the morning Edmund was in the house.  The girls heard his entrance from above, and Fanny went down.  The idea of immediately seeing him with the knowledge of what he must be suffering, brought back all her own first feelings.  He so near her, and in misery.  She was ready to sink as she entered the parlour.  He was alone, and met her instantly, and she found herself pressed to his heart with only these words, just articulate, "My Fanny-my only sister-my only comfort now."

Ahhhh. Talk about clinging to another human being for strength and support.  I love how Edmund in his sorrow, and without a second thought, turns instinctively to Fanny for comfort.  His heart-break is so real, and it is evident from the few simple words he speaks that he has full confidence in Fanny's sympathy and understanding.  I love the feelings in this passage!  The desperation and the sorrow, and yet the joy of having one faithful human being to rely on and trust.  Also the fact that Edmund is seeking Fanny for comfort.  It's just...oh!'s just too much!  *sob*

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sam knelt by him.  Faint, almost inaudibly, he heard Frodo whispering, "Help me, Sam!  help me, Sam!  I can't stop it.'  Sam took his master's hands and laid them together, palm to palm, and kissed them; and then he held them gently between his own.

Okay.  Seriously.  This part gets me every time.  The utter hopelessness in Frodo's  voice; his simple, yet urgent cry for help; and Sam's calm and quick response.  Ahh!  Way to wrip my heart out.  Also, I just want to say, that though this is a very short snippet, it's a very powerful one.  Frodo's plea is utterly helpless, and yet looking at it closer there is extraordinary strength hidden beneath it.  The sort of strength which comes from being able to recognize one's own weakness and limitations and to plead for help before it's too late.  (Whoever said Frodo was a weak character?)

Are there any books that are particularly emotional for you?
Do you enjoy tragic, heart-rending scenes, or do you prefer cheerful and happy ones?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Since writing isn't coming very easy for me right now...

I've been in a bit of writing funk the past couple days.  (I'm calling it 'a bit of writing funk' because I'm not here to moan and groan about it, and that's what I do when I'm in a serious funk. Ha!)  Actually, I've been rather uninspired, and focusing on my different writing projects has been most difficult.  My brother had to tell me the other day to step back from writing for a bit and take a breath, so that's what I've been trying to do.  Just trying to relax and not worry about all the things I'm not getting done.  And you know what, it's been rather nice.  Being unproductive, I mean.  ;)

I'm just going to sit here and nibble on my carrot.  Ah, this is the life.
Anyhow.  I have tons of post ideas in my head at the moment, but as I said I'm in a writing funk so you're not going to get any of those today.   Instead, for this post I simply want to share a song with you.   It's called "Storybook Realities" and it's sung by B. J. Thomas.  I've been listening to this song quite a bit  ever since my siblings and I bought the CD for our mom for Christmas.  It's a song about dreams.  We all have dreams, right?  Things we want to accomplish in life.  Things we think will make us happy and fulfilled.  Well, this song is a beautiful reminder that our happiness and fulfillment come from God alone.  All our dreams are wrapped up in Him.  Apart from Him they're nothing.  He's our true happiness; and the only one who can fulfill the deepest longings and desires of our hearts.
 Have a lovely and blessed day!
~Miss March

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Slight Tweaking of 'My Plan' // And 'My Book List'

So...after publishing my previous post on Wednesday, which contained a plan of action for how I was going to spend my time; and after many arduous hours of acting upon that plan...
Arduous.  She talks as if she'd been doing this for weeks.
I say, after many arduous hours of acting upon that plan, I have come to the conclusion that there is one particular point which needs a bit of tweaking.  That point is point no. 3: "Set aside mornings for computer work, and don't let it run into the afternoons."  Yes, well, that sounds very good, but I realized very soon yesterday that that is not going to work on a regular basis.  Because every day is different.  Some mornings I'm busy, but have the afternoons free, and denying myself the option of computer work in the afternoon would actually end up being a waste of time rather than a proper use of it.  Make sense?
Perfectly.  And I quite agree. 
Well, thank you.  So here's what I'd really like to say in regards to point no. 3.  It should come into play on those days when I have already spent a significant amount of time on the computer in the morning.  In those cases, afternoons should be my cut off point.  (That way I am not spending all day in front of the screen.  Which is really bad for the eyes...not to mention the brain.) 
Absolutely.  I couldn't agree more! 
But on the other hand, for those days when I have not spent a lot of time on the computer in the morning, the afternoon may still be open to me.  Agreed?
Agreed.  (You sure know how to maneuver your way out of this.) 
Well, but it only makes sense...
Yes, yes.  Of course it does.  Now!  Have you talked yourself into a good conscience?
Yes, I think I have.  And I feel much better about it.
Glad to hear it.  Good-day.
Moving on...  (Wow, it's weird writing in black all of sudden.  ;))
The following is my official book list.  Since I started blogging I have been greatly inspired by all you dear people to read more, and so I've finally "compiled a list of books to read"--as Emma Woodhouse so elegantly expressed it.  This list does not contain 101 titles like Emma's (I'm not that ambitious), but rather a total of 26--half of which are rereads and the other half new. 
This list, of course, is subject to change.  Judging from the amount of books I read last year, I'm on pace to finish this list in about three or four years, so by then some of the books will most likely have lost their appeal and I shan't get around to reading them at all.   (Just thought I'd put that out there.)
And now you may be wondering how I could possibly take 4 years to read 26 books.  Well, I hate to say it but my total count of books for last year was a piddling  and unimpressive, seven.    (And I call myself a reader!  Ha!) 
No doubt this is the expression on your face at the present moment.

I totally comprehend your feelings. It is very sad and very shocking...but it is true nonetheless.  Seven books is all I can boast of for the year 2015.  (Actually, I won't even bother boasting.  That would be silly.)  And yeah, I have a feeling Naomi's probably having a heart attack just about now.  I mean check this out, this was her book list from last year.  She read...wait a minute, let me get my calculator...she read TWENTY THREE times as many books as I did!!  Ach!  Okay, I don't like the way this conversation is going.  Let's just forget I mentioned it.  Haha!  ;)
Anyway, I plan to do better this year.   Here's the first list of thirteen books.  All of these I have read before at one time or another.
1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (I'm currently in the middle of this one.)
2. Captain's Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
3. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
4. The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
5. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
6. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
7. Robinetta by Kate Douglas Wiggin
8. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald  (My dad just finished reading this to my younger siblings and it struck me that I'd like to read it again.)
9. The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
10. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
12. Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
13. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
And here is the second list.  Many of these books were recommended to me, so I'm going to include the names of those who either introduced me to these books, or encouraged me to read them.
1. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster  (This one I've been meaning to read for a while, but have never gotten around to it.)
2. Greenwillow by B. J. Chute (Natalie)
3. Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey (Heidi)
4. Behold the Dawn by K. M. Weiland (Natalie)
5. Storming by K. M. Weiland (Natalie)
6. Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow (Naomi)
7. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (Olivia)
8. Penrod by Booth Tarkington (my brother)
9. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Olivia and Cordy)
10. The World of Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (Rosie McCann)
11. Undine by Fouque (my sister)
12. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (my brother)
13. Peter Wimsey mystery novels by Dorothy Sayers (my brother and sister together)
Thank you all for inspiring me to read more.  I'm excited to discover some new stories.  And I'll be back in year or two with a report of my progress.  (Haha!)  So long! 
Which of these books have you read? 
Do you have any favorites in either of these two lists?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"I Have a Plan"

You have a plan?  Oh, no!  Not again, Miss March.
What do you mean not again?  It's a very good plan.
Oh, I'm sure it is, but is it the same plan you had last month, and the month before that, and the month before that?
I do not follow you.  Of which plan are you talking?
Oh, you know!  The regular one.  The plan for turning over a new leaf.  For becoming responsible and productive.  Rising early.  Getting loads of work done.  Wasting less time.  Exercising...
Exercising does not feature in this plan.
Ah-ha!  Too much for you, eh?
Not at all.  It's just that I already have an exercise routine--and have had one for years--so there was no need to add one to this new plan.
An exercise routine?  You??  Who do you think you're fooling?
I resent that.   If you can't mind your manners and be polite I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Okay, I apologize.  No offense.
Offense taken.
Come!  You needn't be so sensitive about it.   I understand perfectly. Exercising is a complicated matter.  The only moderately consistent form of exercise you've ever done is to walk up and down the trail behind your house, and it is obvious that the weather plays a significant role in the practicality of that form of excursion.
Exactly so.  Quite right.  (You have more sense than I gave you credit for.)
Thank you.  Of course I do.   But honestly, everybody knows the weather conditions must be favorable for a walk.  You can't take a walk in three feet of snow, you know.  That would be ridiculous.
And the fact that there isn't any snow on the ground at the present moment really has nothing to do with it.  Now does it?
I detect a hint of sarcasm in that remark, and I have a feeling you will not be silenced until I give you proof of my current exercise routine.
Proof?  What do I need of proof?  I already know what your current exercise routine is.  Here, let me tell you.
Miss March's Exercise Routine:
In the Winter:  I need to exercise!  I'm getting far too lazy and fat.  It's too cold to do it now, of course, but in the summer I'm going to go on walks every single day!
In the Summer: Who could ever stand to walk in such heat?!  Walking in the winter would be much better than walking in the summer.  Sure, it's cold then, but at least you can bundle up and get warm by walking.  In the summer one wants to be cool.  Walking would never help to accomplish that.  In fact, I think fall would be the best time to walk.  Yes.  I'm sure it would.  I'll begin exercising in the fall.
In the Fall: Just as soon as the corn is cut down I'm going to start walking regularly.  It's too claustrophobic on the trail just now.  After the harvest it will be better.
In the Winter: Oh my!  Where has the time gone?  It's winter already!   Well, as I've said before no one could be expected to take regular walks in such freezing temperatures as this.  I know summer will be a better time.   I know it.  I'll start my new exercise routine when it gets warmer.

There.  What do you say to that?
You're cruel.
I know.  'And it makes me feel good ALL OVER.'
Stop quoting movies and pay attention.  I was talking about my new plan.
Oh, right.  I forgot.  How silly of me.  You don't want to talk about exercise anymore?
No.  I want to talk about my new plan.
Right.  Fire away.  ...Oh, but one question.  This is a new plan, isn't it?
"Shh.  Be quiet and let me talk."
"Alriiiight.  You needn't get huffy."
"Thank you.  As I was saying.  I have a plan.  And it's a very good one, too.  I've decided that I have not been using my time wisely, and so here's the deal: I'm going to turn over a new leaf.  I'm going to be productive and get a lot of things done every day.  I'm going to start getting up earlier and pursuing more varied activities and projects.  I spend too much time on the computer..."
...which is why you are sitting in front of it right now, and have been for the past three or four hours...
Would you be quiet?  I am attempting to say something.
'Well, you can say anything you like because nobody's listening.'
Where are you pulling all those quotes from?  Do you have a list or something?
'That...would seem to be...the mystery.'
Is there no way to turn you off?
Grr.  I'm not talking to you anymore.
Suit yourself.
People of the blogging world, I address myself to you.  This is my little plan.
Miss March's Plan for Turning Over a New Leaf:
1. Get up at 6:30, or thereabouts.  (Notice she said 'thereabouts'.  That's important, people.  *wink*)
2. Chores and laundry and household responsibilities must not be neglected.  (Very sound advice, Miss March.  I hope you profit by it.)
3. Set aside mornings for computer work, and don't let it run into the afternoons.  (Don't cross your fingers, folks.  You don't want them to get stuck that way.)
4. Aim for publishing at least one blog post a week.  (What a tragedy!)
5. Don't waste time looking at random things on the internet while waiting for writing inspiration.  If you can't think of anything to write, just get off the computer.  (Hey!  That's a good one.  Just the sort of advice you need, Miss March.)
6. Write out an official book list and start reading more regularly.  ('The improvement of her mind by extensive reading.'  Very good.  She could use the improvement.)
7. Set aside a half-hour each day to work on writing a story.  (It's a fun thing to think about anyway...)
8. Try to be more intentional about spending time with your siblings.  (Oh!  Poor siblings.)
9. Don't stress out if you can't manage to accomplish all these things consistently.  (Well!  That's one way to get yourself off the hook.)
10. Find out how to turn off the second voice in your head so you can write something intelligent next time.  (Ha! Just try it!)