šŸš§ Under Construction šŸš§

Next month I will be celebrating my 9th blogiversary!

And in these nine years I have come to the realization that not everything I write or post is… well good. Some of what I have posted in the past is poorly written and random.

From Clueless

Some posts were added as filler to help me stay on my scheduled ā€œpost daysā€ and some have absolutely nothing to do with Jane Austen or an Austenite topic as at times I struggled with what I wanted my blog to be exactly.

Hmm…?

So I have decided to go through my posts and clean them up. Clear out the ones that were added that are not good and offload any that donā€™t fit the theme to a different site. I had wanted to get this done by my Blogiversary, but I know that wonā€™t happen, I have nine years worth of posts to go through after all.

So just letting you know if you see this:

Itā€™s because Iā€™m working on trying to make this site better and fit a certain vision. And to let you all know it isnā€™t a server issue or a problem with WordPress.

Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers if Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge

So two years ago in October, my book club and I went to an author Meet & Greet to meet Paula Scott, the author of theĀ California Rising series.Ā There were other authors there, but we spent almost all the time talking to her and picking up the last book of the series,Ā Chasing the Wind, which we were going to read in January 2019.

My friend, and fellow book club member, saw theĀ Praying with Jane booth and pointed it out to me as she knows I love Jane Austen.

I had just seen it on instagram, and put it on my to-read shelf and was very excited about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy it as I had no extra money, besides buying theĀ Chasing the Wind, as I had a lot of things I had to take care of from my ex-husband.

I was bummed, and just stopped by quickly saying hello to Ms. Dodge, and then taking a bookmark to hold on to. I was planning on buying it after my finances cleared. But…it turned out that I didn’t need to. My friend bought me this book andĀ Pride and Prejudice andĀ Mistletoe.Ā Ā 

She knows me very well.

I resolved to read it, February 1st-March 3rd 2019. I started off strong, but fell behind in the middle of it.

I tried a few more times and each time failed:

Uh oh

So in October, I resolved to try in November. This time I would just keep going, even if I failed to read one day-I would just keep moving forward.

I started off badly-beginning on November 3rd-and ended on December 23rd. Yes, as you can see it took me longer to read this.

But it was worth it. This book was fantastic! You can read it anytime, but I found it perfect in the holiday season as it allowed me time to pause, focus on God, and prepare my heart.

So some people are not religious and will not be interested in going through the prayers, but no matter your beliefs, all will appreciate the value and research that Dodge went through in writing this book. Not only did she study Jane Austen’s family, life, and background; but she has read and researched the novels of Jane Austen-highlighting moments from her popular books to the ones that aren’t always mentioned or talked about-Mansfield Park, Persuasion,Ā andĀ Northanger Abbey.

So if you go on my instagram, you can see day by day the parts of each passage that I liked, but on here I am going to mention the ones that really touched me.

Or years.

Day 7

“…Jane had much for which to be thankful. Thus, the last few words of this line reveal an important truth: Discontentment and indifference are two prime enemies of thankfulness. Discontentment is wishing things were different. It’s common when we face trials, compare our lives to the lives of others, or start to think what we have isn’t enough. Indifference is the state of being unmoved by blessings that surround us…Discontentment and indifference are both founded in a lack of thankfulness because when we grumble about out ‘lot’, we’re really grumbling against God.”

“Jane’s prayer reminds us to make thanksgiving an integral part of our prayers lives as a powerful antidote against discontentment and indifference. When you fill your mouth with praise, it has less room for grumbling. Thanking God for what He has done and has promised to do shifts your focus from what you don’t have to what you do.”

I love holidays and celebrating, but when the holiday season comes it can also bring some discontent with bills, holiday celebrations, seeing how others seem happy and together-comparing it to yourself. Reading this in November was perfect as this book helped redirect me from any of those pratfalls and help prepare my heart on thankfulness and being grateful for all I had.

Day 9

“Jane’s prayer reminds us that though we cannot comfort every widow, orphan, and prisoner, we can reach out to one lonely man, woman, or child with the love of Christ. And no matter our age, health, or financial circumstances, we can pray for those in need.”

This chapter was perfect with the holiday season as that is the perfect time to think about others-

And I love how Dodge says that we can help others not just financially-but by spending time with them or praying for them.

Day 13

“Jane’s prayer reminds us to ask God if anything is ‘amiss’ in our lives and priorities. Many of us try to fit God into our lives, instead of making God the centerpiece of our lives. Giving our first fruit to God isn’t just about money; it’s also about our time. One beneficial daily habit is to begin each day with prayer and Bible reading…Ask you seek God first, you will experience steady growth in your relationship with him.”

Ouch, I think we all fall victim to this and Dodge is right. The best way to correct and fix our lives is focus on the one who made us.

Day 14

“Guarding our hearts is essential in the face of temptation. Just as Jane prayed for God’s mercy on ‘Creatures so formed’, we can ask for God’s help in our weak spots.”

This always makes me think of the Johnny Cash song, as we need to keep a close eye on our heart and not allow it to lead is down the wrong path. There is nothing wrong with passion, but unbridled can cause one to make not the best choices, i.e.:

I loveĀ Wuthering Heights but let’s be honest-there are no good relationships in there. We have passionate people consumed by passion and not caring who is hurt or damaged.

Day 17

“Yet Fanny Price closely embodies the kind of patience under affliction Jane writes about in her prayer. Despite her troubles, Fanny has an inner strength and fortitude that never lags. Though she is mistreated and suffers in mind, body, and soul at times, she finds solace in her little attic room and in quiet reflection. She doesn’t lash out or become bitter. Even in the face of disappointment and anxiety, she quietly waits and hopes.”

“In this broken world we face illness, danger, grief, but in everything, God is with us.”

So first of all I love that Rachel Dodge discusses every heroine of the Jane Austen novels in this book and that Fanny Dashwood has gotten some love as she deserves it. She may not be as witty as Elizabeth, as self-assured as Emma, or as passionate as Marianne-but would we love Jane Austen’s books if every character was exactly the same? Fanny has a lot of great qualities-patience, kindness, perseverance, courage-I mean she is brave enough to stick to her guns.Ā Fanny has qualities that we should all strive for.

I also loved her part about living in a broken world. Unfortunately bad things will always happen, but at least we have someone we can lean on who understands pain and loss.

Chapter 26

“Mrs. Bennet’s problem is two-fold: She’s dissatisfied with her current situation and worried about her future. She’s done nothing to deserve the life she has, and yet she is unhappy. She lives in a comfortable home, has five daughters, plenty of friends, and dines with ‘four and twenty families,’ but it’s not enough. As long as she thinks sheĀ might someday have to live on a small income with five daughters, that none of her five girls will ever marry, and that her husband might die before she does, she’s insufferable.”

“In Jane’s prayer, she prays ‘for a continuance of all these Mercies,’ asking for God’s provision and protection; however, her words also express an underlying sense of contentment. As children of God, we’ve already been ‘blessed far beyond any thing we have deserved.’ Our inheritance, our reward, is kept for us in heaven.”

I liked this chapter as often we get caught up in the worries if the day and future. I know I do.

Chapter 28

“You, too, preach a sermon with your life. What you do with your time, talent, and treasure says a lot about you. The things that make you angry and the things you work the hardest to get reveal what you value most. What values are you preaching to your family, friends, children, and colleagues?”

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I knew what it was like to be in the “fishbowl”-people watching you and what you do. I thought I would eventually leave that behind, but the truth is people are always watching you. Your friends, relatives, coworkers-all see how you act and react, what you strive for and desire, etc-and what you do and the way you act tells a lot about who you are.

I thought this was an amazing book, and just like Jane Austen’s works you can read it over and over again.

It’s great when you have a writer who loves Jane Austen’s work and really tries to capture it.

“However, her [Jane Austen’s] gift could not, would not be hidden. Her writing outlasts her now by over 200 years, and yet it remains as remarkable today as it was when it was first printed.

We too can live extraordinary lives. Though we may not ever be famous, we all leave behind us a legacy. We will be remembered for who we are more than for what we do. Our friends and family will speak of us based on what they saw of our lives, the way we treated people, and the way we loved.”

If you love Jane Austen, you’ll love this book.

If you want to improve your spiritual life or are looking for a new devotional, you’ll love this book.

Please, oh please!

And if you are a fan of both, you need to check it out.

Its not a want, it’s a need!

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Holiday Mix Tape

For more Bible Verses, go toĀ Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal StatementsĀ by Mary Pagones

I was given this book free in exchange for an honest review. I had planned to post the review earlier, but I had to go out of town for my grandmother’s funeral, and then the rest of the week was packed.

But then I began to put it off as I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book.

But I’m actually glad I did. I don’t know if you have been following the college bribe scandal involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Hoffman-but this book is right up that alley. Crazy parents who will do practically anything to have their kids go to a “good” college. Expensive college application tutors doing all they can to get the kids placed and increase their application. If interested, go to this link. For the review-keep reading.

First let me start that I want to give props to Mary Pagones. Writing is hard…

Writing a whole book is even harder, and then putting your work out there for people to praise or pull apart-

That’s hard. So for finishing your book, Mary Pagones-

So I have been having such a hard time reviewing this book. I thought it was interesting butĀ I’m sorry, I know that this will probably make the author angry-but I didn’t seeĀ Pride and Prejudice at all, butĀ Emma.

What?

Yep-

Yes, I…well let’d back up. I’ll go over that later, let’s do a quick plot synopsis first:

So this is the story of Lissa- Jane Austen megafan who is getting ready to apply to college. She faces all the difficulties of branding herself, having a personal statement, using the scholarship from one school to leverage getting more money out of the other, etc. Besides that, she has her senior year with her friends, and a new boyfriend, and trying to do what she can to ace her SATs, pad her application, and hopefully-get into the school of her dreams!

So the first thing that made this book hard for me was that this concept was so foreign to me.Ā I was shocked and confused, is this really how it is like? My experience was soooo different. I graduated in 2010 and am the first in my family to ever go to a four year university, and one immediately out of high school. I had no clue how to do anything and had knew no one to ask about it. There were no “college applications tutors”. We didn’t even have a guidance counselor-just the former principal who had retired and volunteered. I had never even heard of a college application tutor until reading this book.

Uhhhhhhh

I am biracial and the running joke in my family is that the only college fund we have is that my mom is Mexican-and I could hopefully get scholarships. I’m from a low-income area, mostly agriculture, but I did go to college prep/art school.Ā I applied in mass (thank you fee waivers) to four UCs and four CSUs. I was lucky to get into al but one, UCLA. There were no interviews-just my resume of extracurriculars (which I had a ton of), transcripts, letters of references, and a personal statement (that I cant even remember what I wrote but I did have a teacher review it for me). I received my letters and then judged them based on the amount I received in scholarship money-I didn’t even know that you could use one’s amount as leverage as stated in this book. Basically I ended up split between two schools that were giving me the most. The school I chose, my first year was paid for, I had to take loans out the next three years, and work two jobs to put myself through school.

I had a hard time reading this book and hearing Lissa whine about being poor when she and her sister have iPhones and each have a laptop. I had a CD player because I and my family couldn’t afford anything. We had one computer growing up-that was my dad ad I only got my laptop my first year of college through my scholarship funds, and because I had a family friend who worked with Apple. Unfortunately, the one I purchased was outmoded the next year. Only by the grace of God is it still running. My first cellphone was a flip phone I got for free from the company because they were outmoding them, and it cost $40 a month, the cheapest I could get.

Lissa and her family eat all kinds of hamburger, pizza, turkey meatballs, name brand cereal, etc-and she can afford to buy lunch everyday from the cafeteria. Poor is surviving on 1/4 cup of oatmeal, hot chocolate instead of milk, and having to choose between fruit and dairy (which I did in college until I got my two jobs). She says that she is poor, but snubs her nose at a school that has maid service-if she was really poor she’d be down on that. If I didn’t have to clean my four years-woohoo. Do you know how much cleaning supplies can add up to? Luckily, today the Dollar Tree carries a lot.

As poor as these ladies

The other part I had trouble connecting to is when Lissa describes being at the college and meeting all these goth/all black wearing, alternative, pieced people-in a Jane Austen literature class. Really? In a Jane Austen class? I’m not surprised there would be some-but what about all the other people who would be in such a class.

My junior year I took an upperclass history class: The History of the Novel. Half the kids were in there for history, half were English majors. There is a picture of us and I will describe how we look. First there is Kevin: Kevin was a super outdoorsy, park ranger, hiker type guy. Hiking boots, loved the outdoors, all-american blonde football-type, in a baseball cap, tee shirt, and jeans. Then there was Thomas, noir-loving, Sundance, type guy-like Jughead Jones in TV’sĀ RiverdaleĀ stole his look with the long hair, jacket, etc. Angelica-long curly hair/afro, always wore big rings, and smart jackets-very professional. Gwynn wore her hair long, with side bangs over one eye-dark eyeshadow and liner, jeans, and thin hoodies. Belinda was in a sorority and always had perfectly straightened hair and wore a shirt/sweater with the sorority letters on it. Kate was full athlete-always workout gear and hair in braid or ponytail. And then me-I’m wearing a little jacket my mom made, lacy “Jane Austen” inspired shirt and cowboy boots. A large variety of personalities, clothes, and interests.

Wow!

So I have to say that this book wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or the plot. I guess a lot has changed in nine years. Or it might have been the area I grew up in versus where this is set.

I guess I’m too old.

So lets move on to why do I think this is Emma?

So the story is of a widowed father who loved his wife dearly, and lost her suddenly. He has two daughters which he cherishes, has a close relationship too, and worries constantly about.

Then we have the main character, Lissa. Lissa is headstrong and stubborn-but at the same time she is also a tad manipulative, thinks she knows everything, and can be harsh and judgmental. True-Elizabeth does share some of these qualities but I feel Lissa is way more Emma. Ā Like Emma she thinks she knows everything and in the end discovers that she was much more naive than she thought.

She can be very controlling of her friends-pushing Calvin to “officially” out himself, instead of letting him do things how he wants. She is also constantly trying to match her friend Jacqui up-first with a guy they go to school with, Noel, but when she determines that he is not worthy-tries to get her to match up with a guy Jacqui met on a school tour.

She meets a guy, Hugh Fitzgerald, and because of how he dresses basically she believes that he is perfect-not really getting to know him and enjoying his sarcastic jabs at everyone and everything…

That is until his jabs are aimed at her and she realizes that he is not that great of Ā person after all-very much like how Emma realizes Franck Churchill is a major jerk. Hugh is so Frank Churchill, he uses Lissa to get him through English and write a screenplay for his movie which he takes full credit for-while at the same time boinking her sister; just as Frank used Emma to deflect he was involved with Jane.

Jacqui is so a Harriet in my opinion. Jacqui is Lissa’s best friend and is kind, sweet, and completely convinced into doing whatever Lissa thinks she should do. Lissa thinks she should get closer to Noel, Jacqui does. Lissa thinks that Jacqui should go with her to the Regency Fair, even though Jacqui isn’t into it-Jacqui not only does, but has a dress made, gloves, etc. Then Lissa pushes Jacqui to another guy, and she does go after him.

Lissa hates on a classmate Charlotte so much, but I don’t see any real reason to dislike her. Charlotte is wealthy, goes on lots of trips, talks about her grades and Princeton constantly-but she cares about people and never flaunts what she has in other people’s faces. She may gossip a lot but she’s not mean about it or cruel. Lissa just hates on her because she is jealous-and all her reactions reminds me of Emma and Jane Fairfax. Jane Fairfax is Emma’s number-one hated person but there is no realĀ reason to dislike her. Emma just does because she is jealous off all her talents.

I think Calvin was supposed to be Charlotte fromĀ Pride and Prejudice, but I see a Mrs. Weston vibe. Calvin tries to help Lissa and give her some advice, but then is also easily led by Lissa.

And then there is Mr. Clarke-he is so Mr. Knightley. He tries to help Lissa, instructing her in books, schools, and life.

They even dance together and quote from EmmaĀ (although that’s not something I think Mr. Clarke should have with all the teacher/student romantic relationships that have been in the news.)

This has nothing to with Emma, but Lissa’sĀ little sister-ouch. Lissa should have told her father that her sister makes awful decisions about boys and will be ending up pregnant or with an STD if dad doesn’t get into checking on her. But really Lissa, giving your skeezy boyfriend’s number to your young, naive, impressionable sister and setting them up to all kinds of things together alone-reminds me of my friend Shannon, who had her friend Samantha tutor her boyfriend Vincent, and next thing you know-Vin and Sam were together.

Forget you!

So I know I have been harsh, as I said I don’t think this book was for me. I will say that I really enjoyed her writing style, it was a very engrossing read.

And I LOVE how she wove points and quotes from Jane Austen throughout her work. It is littered with it, and a fangirl’s delight.

She was able to tell a story based on a Jane Austen work, but it is something that an non-Austen fan can easily follow along with.

I also think that she made some very strong points and observations of Austen and her novels in her work. You might not agree with everything, but she has sound reasoning and presents a good case and an interesting view.

Hmmm….

I liked her depictions of teenagers and how Lissa thinks she knows everything, but is not as on it as she thought she was-falling for a narcissistic pig like so many young teens and women fall victim too.

As I said it was a hard review to write. I think it is definitely worth checking out, especially in light of the recent scandal and how far parents will go to get their kids into school. I mean bribing admissions so your kids can get in? I could see Mrs. Bennet doing it.

If you do read it, comment below what you think. I’d love to hear it.

For moreĀ Emma, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For moreĀ Emma variations, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austenā€™s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For moreĀ Pride and Prejudice, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austenā€™s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For moreĀ Pride and Prejudice variations, go to Why Do People Love Bridget Jonesā€™ Diary?

For more Young Adult novels, go to Victoria and the Rogue

Jane Austen’s Royal Fanboy

So there are fans

And then there are the hardcore fangirls/fanboys…

Now a lot of us call ourselves major Jane Austen fans,

But one guy takes the cake: Prince George IV.

Can you believe that, a royal fangirl or boy in this case.

Huh?

So the story goes that Jane Austen’s brother, Henry, became very ill. Dr. Matthew Baillie was the Prince Regent’s doctor and when finding out who Henry’s sister is he lets Jane know that the Prince is a big fan of her novels.

“…that the Prince was a great admirer of her novels; that he read them often, and kept a set in every one of his residences ā€¦ and that the Prince had desired Mr. Clarke [James Stanier Clarke], the librarian of Carlton House, to wait upon her”*

What?

She was “invited”, as one cannot say no to a prince, to go to Carlton House and there was “asked” to give a dedication to the prince in her next novel.

With her books

Now this would have been fine for most people but Jane Austen really, really didĀ not like the Prince Regent. She hated how he treated his wife, Princess Caroline (read more here). So she didn’t want to.

But can you say no to a prince?

Of course not.

So it had to be done and this is what she wanted it to say:

“The Title page must be Emma, Dedicated by Permission to H.R.H. The Prince Regent. ā€“ And it is my particular wish that one Set should be completed & sent to H.R.H. two or three days before the Work is generally public.”

But that’s not enough for a fangirl/boy. They want more.

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

Ā THE PRINCE REGENT

THIS WORK IS,

BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES PERMISSION,

MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES DUTIFUL AND OBEDIENT HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR

It makes you wonder what you as a fan, or people you know, would make their favorite person to fan over do with that kind of power.

For more on Jane Austen, go toĀ Just Jane

For more on fangirling, go toĀ To Fandom With Love

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers

So if you are like me, you love Jane Austen:

You like to read her books:

And watch her movies:

But with only six completed and published books, sometimes you want more Austen stuff. There are variations on her stories, but sometimes you don’t want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read?

Hmm…

So I decided that I would do a series of reviews on books that are Non-Austen books, but ones I think Austen fans will love.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

And Only toĀ DeceiveĀ (Lady Emily Mystery #1)Ā by Tasha Alexander

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Someone to Care (Westcott Novel #4)Ā by Mary Balogh

A Love for Keeps (Brides of Arkansas #1) by Janet Lee Barton

The Widow of Larkspur Inn (Gresham Chronicles #1)Ā by Lawana Blackwell

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontƫ

The Glassblower byĀ Petra Durst-Benning

Homespun Bride (The McKaslin Clan Historical #2) by Jillian Hart

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill SistersĀ by Balli Kur Jaswal

Secrets of the Heart (The Ravensmoore Chronicles #1) by Jillian Kent

Julie by Catherine Marshall

Anna and the Duke (An Avon True Romance #3) by Kathryn Smith

A Change of FortuneĀ (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano