Winter Wonderland

So do you all remember my post last year on chopping down our Christmas tree? I talked about how hard and heavy it was and the way the tree kind of beat me up.

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Well this year wasn’t as painful, but it was just as interesting.

So every year after Thanksgiving my family drives up to the mountains to chop down our Christmas Tree.

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So some of you think that it seems like a ton of trouble but cutting down your tree is way better than buying it off the lot.

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 13 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

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2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are given a home. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

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So this year we were gearing up to go, when we were called up by some friends of the family, the Nelsons. They’ve seen our trees and wanted one for themselves, so they asked to join us.

Double double yay

30 mins later, another family called, the Salamancas. They also wanted to join us, the more the merrier.

AWESOME!!!

And not too long after that, the Hawkins called and wanted to come too.

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So the next day, the day after Thanksgiving, we headed up the mountain caravan style. When we got there we got one big surprise. Snow!

Now you may recall me stating again and again how California has been in a drought the past few years. I mean, yes, we have had a few rainstorms but no one was expecting this. Of course when we saw it, we were all kinds of excited!

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Now we may only be like an hour or so away from the snow, but where I live it never snows. It may get under 30 degrees, but if it does it will never rain.

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 We never get a white Christmas, the closest we ever come to it is a wet one.

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And after like three years of going to the mountains and getting nothing, we finally had snow once again!

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Of course I always dress for the snow, even when there isn’t anything, just because it is cold up there. But my family is the only one who was prepared that way. Everybody else had the wrong shoes, jackets, etc. Oops!

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In fact there was so much snow that we weren’t even able to go to our usual tree cutting spot. The road was just covered in snow and black ice, in fact we almost got stuck at one point.

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So we went back down the mountain, found a spot, and began the search for the perfect tree.

It was hard going, even harder than last time as the snow blinded us and made every tree look amazing. But upon closer examination, they were not quite what we wanted.

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At one point it felt like we were never going to find it.

Reality Sucks

But then we found it. A beautiful 13-footer.

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But then came the problem of cutting it down.

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You see we had forgotten to bring the chain saw, and instead only had a regular saw. A saw which is very hard to cut down the tree with.

We all tried, but it was hard with that sap. However, thanks to our extra help we were able to get it down and to the road.

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When we reached the road, we discovered we had walked really far away from our cars. So my dad went to get our truck while we waited.

Now by this time it wasn’t really snowing, but it had gotten colder and icy. The roads were completely covered in ice.

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My dad drove down the hill, but when he tried to get back up to us, he almost got stuck in the side of the road as he started swirling off the road on the ice.

OMG gasp

Luckily my dad was able to drive in reverse and get out of the ice so we could put the tree in the back of our truck.

When we got home it started raining, and we had to get our tree into the house in the wind, rain, and the dark. But it was all worth it. It looked absolutely beautiful when we put it up in our house and decorated it.

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A absolutely beautiful tree.

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For more on cutting down the Christmas tree, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more on White Christmas, go to Sisterly Roles

For more stories from my everyday life, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

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So today’s Christmas Carol is not Winter Wonderland as let’s be honest, it’s not even really about Christmas. Instead today’s song is I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. The song was written by Irving Berlin and was sung by Bing Crosby, originaly in Holiday Inn, although at the time it was overshadoed by Be Careful It’s My Heart.

For me this wasn’t the first place I heard the song. The first time I was  introduced to the song was in the Christmas special claymation, The First White Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow. In it one of the nuns, Sister Theresa, sings about how she misses the white Christmases from her hometown.

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However my favorite version comes from the film Holiday Inn, the first film to showcase the song.

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I think the way that Bing sings it in this film is much better than the way the group does it in White Christmas. In Holiday Inn it just sounds so much more personal and meaningful.

Plus I like that movie better.

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For more on The First White Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more on Holiday Inn, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more Christmas carols, go to Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome Christmas

Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome Christmas

Today’s Christmas Carol is one of my favorite songs from the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

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It is sung in the beginning for a bit, but of course the most famous scene is when the Whos, after they have lost all their Christmas gifts, dinner, etc-still are optimistic and joyful for Christmas. Showing the world that Christmas is about much more than packages or bags.

Amazing song and a great ending to a great film!

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For more on the Grinch, go to You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

For more Christmas carols, go to These Shoes Were Made for Walking

These Shoes Were Made for Walking

I like shoes. I didn’t used to but as I grew older I appreciated and collected more. So you all know how I feel about boots.

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I love them, especially cowgirl boots.

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But as I have already talked about them, let’s move onto my second favorite type of foot wear. High heels.

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Being 5’3, life can be hard.

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One thing that makes it better are high heels. give_a_girl_the_right_shoes_Marilynmonroe_sNot only for their added height, but their beauty and the way they make you look amazing.

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They make you look absolutely fabulous.

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So my advice ladies:

High

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For more on high heels, go to The Little Moreland

For more on Marilyn Monroe, go to Musical Madness

For more on Coco Chanel, go to Inner Beauty

For more on fashion, go to A Real Life Saver

For more quotes, go to I Hate Those Kind of People

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Todays post comes from the Jack Frost Christmas special.

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In the film Jack Frost falls in love with a beautiful peasant girl. This winter he is given the opportunity to be human and win her heart, sealing the deal to remain human if he gets a home, a horse, and a bag of gold.

This song, Just What I Always Wanted, takes place during the Christmas he spends with the people. Since no one has any money, they just give empty boxes to each other pretending it is their dream gift.

The song is cute, adorable, and incredibly catchy.

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For more on Jack Frost, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more Christmas carols, go to A Very Merry Star Wars Christmas

A Very Merry Star Wars Christmas

So first let me say I am not talking about the Star Wars Christmas Special, I am instead (as everyone is) talking about the new Star Wars film.

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And let me just say, I am not going to watch it today.

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I know, I know. As a major fangirl, how could I miss it?

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Well first of all I am a little mad that they broke tradition and instead of having the film come out in May, they are releasing it in December. Star Wars: A New Hope May 25th, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back May 21st, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi May 25th, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace May 19th,  Star Wars: Attack of the Clones May 16th, & Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith May 19th. I mean come on guys, you’re not supposed to break tradition.

And the other reason? I’m afraid, very, very, very, afraid.

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You see when I first found out that J.J. Abrams was going to do the new Star Wars franchise, I was actually happy about it. But then I found out that he wasn’t going to follow the Star Wars storyline, but create a new one.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

And then I heard the rumors that Luke is going to go over to the Dark Side!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

How could you betray me like that!!!!!

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Luke was supposed to start the Jedi Academy again!!!! Han and Leia were supposed to be married!!!! And have a set of twins (one boy one girl) and another child that goes to the dark side.

Besides, if Luke goes to the Dark Side that completely ruins the original three films! He brought balance!

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His choosing to die rather than kill his father was what made his father have a change of heart and redeemed him!!!!!! You can’t change that!!!! Jedis all the way not Sith Lords

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

So until I have gleaned enough facts from friends who’s opinions I deeply trust, I am going to wait to watch the new film.

Instead I am going to fulfill another one of my Christmas traditions: Star Wars Marathon.

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Every year I watch the original three films. It started from channel surfing and discovering a marathon on Spike TV. It became a yearly one, when I traded in my prize for showing up to every Christmas Carol practice for cash and bough my own set of the Star Wars films on DVD. Everyone thought I was stupid for giving up the year’s deluxe gameboy, but I’d rather have Star Wars any day.

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So I wish you all a very, merry Star Wars Christmas, whether you are watching the new or the old.

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For more on Star Wars, go to We Want You

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Since we are on a Star Wars theme, I thought today’s Christmas Carol would also feature an important star, the Christmas Star.

I choose the song Do You Hear What I Hear? This song was written right in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was popularized by the Harry Simeone Chorale, who also sang The Little Drummer Boy. Many artists have done a cover of this song, from Bing Crosby to Carrie Underwood.

Of course my first introduction was in The Little Drummer Boy: Book II, the sequel to the TV special, claymation, The Little Drummer Boy.

I just love how beautiful this song is and could sing it over and over again.

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For more on Do You Hear What I Hear?, go to On the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, & 1st Days ‘Til Christmas: The Music of Christmas

For more Christmas carols, go to Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll Be a Monsoon

Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll be a Monsoon

So I have experienced quite a lot of terrible rainstorms.

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When I was nine there was a tornado warning on my birthday. (My birthday takes place in a season where there is zero rain, so it was a really random year.) There ended up being no tornado, but it was really rainy and windy.

I don’t remember it being too bad as we didn’t have to do anything in school but hng out (away from the windows, and we all got picked up from school early. I spent the rest of the day chilling, happy birthday to me.

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Then there was the time I went to Arizona right in the middle of monsoon season. The rainstorms don’t last long, but they are extremely powerful and crazy. And of course because this happens only one week out of the year, they don’t build the buildings with the capacity to handle such storms, i.e no rain gutters to catch the rain or storm drains. There was water coming from everywhere. It was like Jumanji.

At one point my sister and I were running to our hotel room (in our shorts and tank tops as it was too hot for either of us to bring a coat or sweater) and when we almost reached it, we were hit by a waterfall of water streaming off outdoor walkway. We both were totally soaked.

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Then there was that time during my freshman year in school were we had crazy rainstorms up until the beginning of May. Things were so bad that one week (right before finals) they canceled classes that met in the lower floors of the buildings and were all issued a flood warning. In fact it got so bad they had to sandbag some of the buildings, as the nearby river began to overflow.

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Then there was Wyoming. Now that rain is tough. It doesn’t pour down on you, but the wind moves so fast that it knocks the rain drops into your body and face, making you feel as if you are being punched by a million tiny fists.

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The wind completely tore my umbrella, in fact it wasn’t until a second storm weeks later that I was able to find all the pieces of it.

I’m telling you, those Wyoming storms are crazy. I could barely find my way home, and was completely soaked from every inch.

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But the worst storm happened last Sunday. I woke up, planning on getting ready for church when I looked outside to see water just pouring down from the skies. It was as if a faucet had been turned on full blast. Just gallons of water everywhere! Like you needed an ark to maneuver out of there.

There was no way I was going to drive in that!

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

So I waited until there was a break, but then I had the worst luck ever! As I was driving, the street that goes across one of the freeways’ light was broken!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was totally scary! Cars were just crossing all over the place, barely managing to dodge each other. I swear I saw like ten near accidents as I sat waiting for my turn.

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I had to wait at least 20 mins, using a car making a left turn as a shield and praying that no one hit me.

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Then later as I was driving, I noticed that on the one way road I was going down, there was a section completely filled with water.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

There was nothing I could do but go forward. Praying again, but this time that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the water.

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I was somehow able to push through, and get to church.

Finally something GOOD!

Of course being California, two hours later the rain had stopped, the sun was out, and the only markers of the deluge were a few puddles.

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Well that’s life in the golden state.

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For more adventures in the rain, go to It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

For more on living in California, go to England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s Day

For more adventures from my everyday life, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

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Now for today’s Christmas Carol, I have chosen When Christmas Comes to Town from The Polar Express. 

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I think it is a cute song and my favorite from the film. I thought it was just so beautiful; the lyrics and the very talented voices.

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For more on The Polar Express, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

 

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

So today is one special day, Jane Austen’s 240th birthday! Yay!

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Jane Austen is one special woman who changed literary history with her amazing characters, plots, etc. She faced all kinds of adversity from living in poverty; losing the love of her life as his family felt she wasn’t in the same class; she continued to wait for her true love, although he never walked back into her life; Her first book she ever wrote was published post-mortem; her second novel and the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, was turned down several times before being published; etc.

But through this all she was able to preserve and create classic tales that have not only influenced literary history, but enriched the lives of so many readers.

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So as I am a huge fan

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I decided to dedicate this post to some of Austen’s greatest creations. Her Austen men.

Don't Stop Believing!

Don’t Stop Believing!

I’ve discussed the women in the past, so here we are with our lovely gentlemen that can rest at my house anytime.

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Ah I love you too, and I want to wish you a merry Christmas. Mr. Darcy, the man that makes women all over the world go ape. Starts off tall, dark, and brooding; but in the end becomes kind, sweet, and will do all he can to help the woman he loves.

“I sincerely hope your Christmas…may abound in the gaieties which the season generally brings…”

-Pride and Prejudice, pg 122

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

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ColonelBrandon

Colonel Brandon loved a women, but his parents drove them apart. When she went down a dark road and left a child, he cared for her as his own. He falls for Marianne, but when she chooses another man, he never tries to sway her or pressure her; but is instead is content as a friend of the family. His brimming kindness wins her heart.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

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Edward-Ferrars-mr-edward-ferrarsSense&Sensibility

Edward Ferras has a lot of issues in standing up to his mother, along with being easily manipulated; but when he was told to break an engagement or lose his inheritance, he throws his money to the wind, choosing loyalty. His fiancé proves to be unworthy of such devotion, and Edward finds true love with Elinor.

“I remember last Christmas…danced from eight o’clock to four, without once sitting down.”

Sense and Sensibility, pg 30

For more on Edward Ferras, go to To Edward or Not to Edward?

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Mr. Knightley starts out as the best friend, trying to assist Emma in everything and being there; but never using their history to try and push her into marriage. He is content to sit on the sidelines and just be a part of Emma’s life, as little or as much as she wants him in it. He always cares about Emma being the best she can be; calling her out on the things she screws up on, but encouraging and praising those she does well.

At Christmas every body invites their friends and thinks little of even the worst weather.”

-Emma, pg 97

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Mr. Knightley’s Diary

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Ah Mr. Tilney. Unlike the other Austen men, Mr. Tilney breaks tradition; speaking to Catherine without an introduction, teasing, and allowing his genial nature to push through the rigorous rules of society. He falls for Catherine, believing her to be a perfect match for him (and rich.) When he finds out that he was mislead about her finances, he wants to marry her anyway; risking disinheritance for the woman he loves.

…last Christmas–the very first moment I beheld him–my heart was irrecoverably gone.”

-Northanger Abbey, pg 142

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

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Frederick Wentworth

Captain Wentworth fell for the woman of his dreams, but when she was persuaded not to marry him, as he wasn’t as wealthy as she was, he ran off to the military taking all kinds of risks and increasing his fortune. He returns and finds the woman he once loved, preparing to ignore her and not involve himself with her in anyway. But he quickly recognizes that his feelings for her are as strong as ever, risking his heart again.

On one side was a table occupied by chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire…”

 Persuasion, pg 80

For more on Captain Wentworth, go to A Letter of Love: Persuasion (2007)

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For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane, Jane, Jane: A Jane Austen Biography

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Darcy’s Story: Pride and Prejudice Told From a Whole New Perspective

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries

For more on Emma, go to Unsung Austen Men: Mr. Weston

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Opening With…

For more on Persuasion, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

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And to close us out we have the Christmas Carol, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. This is one of the oldest Christmas carols, stating back to the 16th century.

I love the deep music and just how powerful the song feels when you hear and sing it.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Joy to the World

 

 

The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

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The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy: A Novel by Mary Street

I know it is hard to rewrite a classic tale. You have the spirit of the original writer looming over every word.

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You also have the fans who are just ready to hate on you:

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But that doesn’t mean you have to write the most boringest version of Pride & Prejudice I’ve read so far.

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On the cover it says:

“The Holy Grail of [Pride and Prejudice] sequels for many Darcy fans.”

I don’t think so.

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Majorly

Darcy is just so closed off and robotic, no warmth, sadness, surprise; any emotion at all!!!

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Every word just makes me want to go to sleep. I need MY CHARACTER TO HAVE REACTIONS! EMOTIONS! FEELINGS! SOMETHING!!! ANYTHING!!!!

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Just not worth your time at all. Try reading An Assembly Such as This or Darcy’s Story.

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For more books from a Jane Austen Hero’s perspective, go to Darcy’s Story: Pride and Prejudice Told From a Whole New Perspective

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Be It Ever So Humble

For more works based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

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So today’s Christmas Carol is one I am sure you have never heard of. In fact I can’t recall where I first was introduced to it, but I love this carol.

Today’s is I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In). This song was printed sometime in the 17th century, the most known version being printed in 1833. Many question the three ships, as how would three ships come to Jesus in Bethlehem.

I think it was a way to blend modern times with the biblical three wise men.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Joy to the World