31 August, 2007

Memorization / Recitation

Happy Friday, Readers!

Members of the international AmblesideOnline e-list may have read my posts earlier in the week. I'll cross post them in one grouping here, for many who are not on that list. It is from my local CM book club reading for our meeting last week. My original post was in reference to CM's advice to focus well and "reading only once." For poetry, though, (and for passages to be recited) we are given a glimpse of a way to "memorize" that is easy, Think of it as "Taking it to heart" instead of memorizing bits and pieces, phrase by phrase.

This is also a post for those who weren't able to meet with us Monday last, and missed out on the discussion.

Read on!

Reading for recitation should be read every day, up to a half-dozen or more times...then it can be memorized without effort. THIS is why poetry can and should be read/enjoyed more than once through. Take in the images, and dwell upon them. Read the beautiful phrases and cadences aloud in a meaningful way. In CM's volume one, (primarily addressing children ages 6-9, but she does expand here and there on other ages) which my local book club has been reading through together this year, CM shares this on pages 224-226:

[side note: "E" is the first letter of the name of the niece whose "easy" poetry memorization story Charlotte is relating to us.]

"I hope that my readers will train their children in the art of recitation; in the coming days, more even than in our own, will it behove every educated man and woman to be able to speak effectively in public; and, in learning to
recite you learn to speak.

Memorising--Recitation and committing to memory are not necessarily the same thing, and it is well to store a child's memory with a good deal of poetry, learnt without labour. Some years ago I chanced to visit a house, the mistress of which had educational notion of her own, upon which she was bringin up a niece. She presented me with a large foolscap sheet written all over with the titles of poems,, some of them long and difficult: Tintern Abbey, for example. She told me that her niece could repeat to me any of those poems that I liked to ask for, and that she had never learnt a single verse by heart in her life. The girl did repeat several of the poems on the list, quite beautifully and without hesitation; and then the lady unfolded her secret. She thought she had made a discovery, and I thought so, too. She read a poem through to "E"; then the next day, while the little girl was making a doll's frock, perhaps she read it again; once again the next day, while E's hair was being brushed. She got in about six or more readings, according to the length of the poem, at odd and unexpected times, and in the end E. could say the poem which she had *not* learned.

I have tried the plan often since, and found it effectual. The child must not try to recollect or to say the verse over to himself, but, as far as may be, present an open mind to receive an impression of interest. Half a dozen repetitions should give children possession of such poems as-"Dolly and Dick,' 'Do you ask what the birds say?' "Little lamb, who made thee?' and the like? The gains of such a method of learning are, that the edge of the child's enjoyment is not taken off by weariful verse by verse repetitions, and , also, that the habit of making mental images is unconsciously formed."

CM goes on to give another example of a convalescing woman who read Lycidas because she was not allowed to do anything else. She was able to repeat long passages of it the next day, and etc. As her health returned, she was not able to do this so well, because she became once again preoccupied with her many other interests in her life.

Taking from what is in the passage I shared and applying it to my youngest, who is 12, I would read a chosen poem to him while he is eating cereal one day. The next day, I might read it aloud and well (but casually, not strictly) while he is playing legos. On the third day, I'd read the same poem aloud again while we're in the car (with one of the teens or hubby driving ;-) going to visit a friend or to homeschool Co-op. On the fourth day I'd read to him while we are sipping iced mochas in Starbucks and the fifth day, while we are taking a walk together. On the sixth day...well, you get the picture.

It reminds of the Bible verse "teach it to your children as you rise up and as you lie down, while you walk by the way..." Others would call it The Hebrew Education. It is centered more in gentle appreciation of the material, not frantic memorization. (with the added benefit of building your relationship with your child) as well as the fact that it happens to become more and more "memorable" or *rememberable* to them in this relaxed, non-stressed out way.

[Brief aside: It is the opposite of our family drive to AWANAs years ago, when kids were frustrated maybe to tears, b/c they had waited too long to truly "memorize" their verses. We needed to have taken time to ingest and absorb those life verses, instead of what it had eventually become...a legalistic approach to scripture memorization prompted by rewards. Ugh. I hope they forgive us for that time. I wasn't all for nothing, b/c God's word never returns void. We learn scripture much more naturally, now.]

I cannot convey how much I'm enjoying reading CM's volumes this second time
around and applying it to our younger two and their particular needs and strengths, since our older two are pretty well set in their lifelong learning. Our oldest son graduated last spring and is preparing for colllege entrance in January. Dd is 16 but she has almost completed her high school classes. I can also apply it to my Spanish classes and sessions.

The topic of the Science of Relations (relationships) is my most passionate topic that I speak on in our local hs group every year. It is given especially for the new homeschool moms in a specifically designed curriculum written for them, so that they can imagine a broader view of homebuilding for their families.

This is my heart for homeschooling and for mentoring others along
the way:

We can be a bridge that helps our children (and perhaps even our friends!) build relationships with the famous, the infamous, the wise, brave, and the noble. We may simply introduce them to some of these, and share in the joy of getting to know others of these. But it definitely strengthens our bonds by building common interests in not only words and sounds, but with people, places, and things. It works, and it is priceless, cheaper AND *better* than any curriculum package out there. Now take that savings to the bank :-).



29 August, 2007

Did you wake your family to see the show?

An example of not being able to hold it still...pretty cool shots, just not perfect and crisp.

Now that I've had a little more time to resize them and check an extra folder that I'd forgotten. THESE are actually from the 4:45 shift. I tried a couple of different exposures.

While these load, open a new browser window to my friend up the road for her children's narrations of the eclipse. Yes, yet another homeschool mom who woke up her famil...NO...I think her family got her up to enjoy this moment together ;-). I love her post and the children's narrations! The bunny is cute, too.


28 August, 2007

This morning's eclipse!

Around 4:55 a.m.

No, I didn't get enough sleep last night, but what fun it was to capture different phases of the eclipse! First I was up just before 5:00, then got up again at 6:45 to take more photos. I have a cheap tripod, so getting the right angle and height and then HOLDING VERY STILL b/c I'm using settings to allow in the most light and not to blur the shot was not very easy! I can't just set the timer, b/c the tripod wasn't tall enough to focus on the correct area of the sky. There were also the veritable mosquitoes buzzing around :-). God's creation put on quite a show in the last 18 hours. Makes me wonder what the sunset will be like tonight!

It's just like a homeschool mom to do something like this...as another hs mom and I discovered we had both "encouraged" our families to join us in watching this rare event. They weren't as excited about it as we were, for some reason.

I hope the booksnkaffeehaus readers are enjoying their week. Shoot me an e-mail sometime! Especially those friends and family who check up on us here, but do NOT leave comments! You know who you are...!

p.s. tonight sunset was downright scary...reminded me of something from Dante's inferno. It was ever-so-brief, and I did NOT have my camera along in the van, once again. Note to self: I must carry my camera everywhere I go. I will make sure that my battery packs are charged and memory cards have plenty of room on them...


Amazing Scenery

The sun did not wish to be outdone by the show put on by the moon much of the early hours this morning. I WISH I had photos of the first effort the sunshine put forth around 7:20, but dd and I were in the van, on the way to the coffee shop. I just kept saying "I wish I had my camera!" It was a truly amazing composition and color combination, as it peeped up out of one large cloud, and glowed onto one large clump above it. Above that were six cotton ball clouds, arranged like a crown over the previous mentioned scenery. Above that were the lovely and incredible sun streaks shooting out like the crown on the Statue of Liberty.

This second effort by the sun is about half as beautiful, but still quite exciting!

Sun finally comes out from behind those clouds.

(different settings caused the slightly differing effects.)


Lunar Eclipse

My oh my, the moon rise was beautiful this evening. I had to drop off a teen and pick up a Hubby, then head back into our town to go to the first hs meeting of the year. There were some gorgeous color gradations going on in the sky! Too bad we were on the road sans camera. I am planning to be up to capture some of the lunar eclipse on my digital camera in several more hours. I've got to get up anyway, to give my teens a ride to work. One car is getting some maintenance, and I need my van today to meet our youngest son's ride returning home from Minnesota. (It's been sooooo quiet in the house while he was off having a wonderful time with a good buddy.

Hopefully photos of the eclipse in our area will be forthcoming! For now, just enjoy this:

*Some things really do seem to be simply black and white. At least from a distance...*



27 August, 2007

The guy with the car

I'm posting this for our son; others can just skip this post, LOL! J is on the computers at his grandparents' house trying to arrange and upload some photos. J, I don't have time to post more right now! see you later tonight :-). Love, Mom

25 August, 2007

More Pears!

Look at our crop of pears this summer...they are huge! The large ones are a pound to a pound-and-a-half in weight each! I should make some pear butter. I have sold some pears, but still have a lot left.

24 August, 2007

Lovely Evening

All week I've been on this computer, working up my lesson plans, making copies, and gathering resources for teaching at home and at our hs co-op. I will be teaching a group of elementary kids, Jr. High and High School Spanish I again. I am looking forward to it! I like to see all my plans on paper first, though :-). And this calm before it all begins is a little too quiet. Well, maybe that's just because our youngest, busy boy is out of state with a friend!

Tonight I was blessed to take a break! I got to go to one of my best friend's homes to meet with some old-time hs board/member moms from our hs group. Three or four of us there were founding moms...from 12 years ago! The other ladies joined within a few years of those small and simple beginning years. Our group has well over 240 families participating, now, and with growth has naturally come much change.

It was such a boon to our relationships to make this time to be together, laugh together, share insights, pain, trials, praises, even tear up and pray together.

Everyone should have a core group of friends such as these. They really are special.


22 August, 2007

Song for a friend undergoing cancer testing

Please pray for my friend Queen Shenanay and the whole Beehive clan. QS is still undergoing cancer testing, has undergone the first surgery, and is preparing for more surgery and treatments.

She recently shared how there is strong evidence that links -parabens in lotions and other hair and skin-care products and make-up to cancer. Parabens have been found in cancer tumors, so she threw out all of her products containing methyl-, propyl- and all the other parabens that are to be found in many popular and recommended products that we buy and use.

Well, I rewrote a song in honor of QS encouraging all of our friends and homeschool moms to consider throwing out all products with parabens in them. This song has a background story to it. The short of it is that I had sent it to the Queen through another friend of ours so that they could learn it and we could all sing it together. Well, it's a Heavenly song, really it is...but they all worked on it just a couple of days before the Queen's diagnosis came down from her doctors. I was mortified, and it bothered me for a week or so. None of us could have known...so I was able to give it to God and pray that it didn't depress my friend.

In the spirit of keeping our blogs about bloggy things, and sharing in our commonalities and the things that brought us together as friends,
I rewrote the song for her to turn it around on its head, as an ode to the bad parabens.

My apologies to Annie Herring who wrote the original-CCLI #1692806.

"There's A Stirring"
sung A Capella

(altos begin softly with the lead line)
There's a stirring in my cab'nets.
Could it be the time has come?
When I throw away my lotions,
Say good-bye to my fav'rite one!

(tenors join a third below the altos, as per usual)
When I find another product
That does not ha-ave -par-a-ben,
I shall buy them for my facials;
Healthier will be my skin.

(add sopranos now, one third above the altos, singing what is normally a high tenor line)

Moisturizers and hand-cream lotions,
Hair-curling pro-ducts all so fair,
Out with my tea-scented leave-in con-dish'ner,
For my dry, slightly-processed hair.

SATB (mf):
Get rid of them all....
Get.....rid....of....the-em alllll!

(all parts, forte)

I will rise up,
I'll rise up!
Then I shall
wash my face
With good cleanser
from my space
Then I'll have more natural, heal-thy skin!

(altos only)
There's a stirring in my cab'nets.
Could it be the time has come?
When I throw away my lotions,
Say good-bye to the fav'rite one!

(tenors join)
When I find another product,
That does not ha-ave -paraben,
I shall bu-y them for my facials,
Heal-thi-er will be my skin,

(add sopranos)
Moisturizers and hand creme lotions,
Hair-curling pro-ducts all so fair.
Out with my tea-scented leave-in condish'ner,
For my dry, slightly-processed hair

Chorus all (forte):

I will
Rise up!
I'll rise up!
Then I shall
wash my face
With good cleanser
from my space,
And I'll have more
Natural, Heal-thy skin!!

(repeat chorus, fff)

(last line sung pianissimo, slowly and peacefully)

There's a stirring in my cab'nets...

They say laughter is GOOD medicine ;-)


20 August, 2007

Shawn McDonald and evening with teens

...and a bit of a ramble regarding this season of life as a mom of multiple teens. It really can be a joy, we just have to figure out the best ways to juggle the "hows," "wheres," and "whens," realizing that our Joy is not dependent upon temporary things, but in Christ alone.

Each family is different, especially in the home schooling community. I do not begrudge anyone their choice of family or parenting style, to youth-group-or-not-to-youth group, or how long they have their kids live at home. This is NOT what this post is about.

Unlike some home school families, we do NOT have a family/group business (yet--I'm always hopeful and open to the possibility). We are jacks and jills of many trades, Hubby teaches in the secular, private-school sector, we volunteer a lot, and have many hobbies that stay within the rules of the hobby law, so we have not taken on converting any of that to a supportable business as of yet.

Having stated all of that up front, I'll say that for us, having older teens means more changes in family routines and time together. We've had at least one (but now three, soon-to-be four) "teenager(s)" in the house for 5.5 years. This very particular transition phase of being parents of teens that we've been in for only a year has been interesting (oldest ds didn't get an outside job until he was 17.5, now both older teens work at a "well-known" coffee shop chain, a great place for ministry).

So, as you can already guess, the biggest change in this phase is a teen's first job outside of home and getting a driver's license. We happen to have two in that category, now, one of them a high school graduate, preparing for college years. It generally means (especially for one-income families) that several drivers are juggling minimal cars over the varied schedules.

Because of these new ventures and our various individual needs, we're having to make a special effort to have family dinners together. We all have such varied schedules, plans, duties, etc, vying for our quality re-grouping time. This summer was the worst in terms of time just to hang together and simply visit or discuss big hopes and dreams. I believe we should guard this time, while it has been granted to us as families. I hope it settles down into a more regular thing again, after school gets underway.

Still, with Hubster's school schedule, the two older kids' work schedules, the kids' band schedule, my three days/week of teaching/grading schedule, and all four of the kids' youth group smörgåsbord of activities-from-which-to-choose, group-family time (family meal time) needs to be made a priority once again (preaching to myself, here). We are still a team, after-all, that lives under the same roof! When our oldest flies the nest (which may be sooner rather than later) then he is, of course, exempt!

I knew this season was coming, and I'm glad that it is a gradual shift. I don't know how well we would deal with it, otherwise. Life seems to step up a notch in "busy-ness" a little each year.

All of us of the Booksnkaffeehaus, kids and parents alike, are very "Type B" people. We are spontaneous. We are relaxed but passionate (I think we must have some Italian in us somewhere). We share similar, eclectic interests in music, and we share in music ministry sometimes, as well.

Tonight, the older two and I got to go to see/hear, and sing a little with the formerly Indie singer/songwriter Shawn McDonald, a Christian folk singer. It was a smallish venue, so we got to be close to the stage, SRO. His first album "Simply Nothing" is one of my top five, favorite albums. I appreciate this guy's humility and his dislike of receiving attention for what he does. Shawn is a dad, now, and one can tell that his depth in lyric and music has grown since '04. His witness and testimony is wonderful, too. He has not been a life-long Christian and in fact, was raised by his Grandparents.

We met up with a couple of their/our friends at the concert (both high school graduates from our home school co-op), then went into town for a late snack on the town square. Our oldest son and his friend took turns playing the guitar while we three gals sat on the grass by the courthouse and just soaked in the late-night breeze, the cooler temps, and the relaxing and calm atmosphere. THAT was a treat, and truly a bonding evening, where there was no agenda but to enjoy God's music and lyrics, and to be drawn to a deeper relationship with Jesus through contemplative lyrics and beautiful cords. It was a nice evening which helped celebrate our summer drawing to a close.

Next on the list, Hubster, aka The "Dread-Pirate Sparsebeard" wants to have some sort of an end-of-summer party/cookout.


19 August, 2007

Surprise in the shed

I've always called these Golden orb spiders, but I think the technical name is Agriope

16 August, 2007

Streaks 'n Swirls

The Eye

There is a storm brewing, prompted by tropical storm Erin. Makes for fantastic views of the sky!

End of summer update

Well, we at the Booksnkaffehaus find ourselves squeezing the last bit of life out of summer.

Some of the things we've been doing this week:

Our oldest has been getting back into our time zone and into his usual routine of work, band gigs, and now is having to reconsider his level of involvement in high school youth group. He is a high school graduate, now, applying to a local community college so that he can seek scholarships as a transfer student within two years to a bigger college or university in his field of photojournalism, and political science, theory or economics.

Here are some of the small souvenirs he brought home from the UK for the school room:
The miniature phone booth and postal tower are pencil sharpeners. Aren't they cute? I love red accessories, and these happen to work very well.

He has also been getting his new-to-him car (below) inspected and licensed this week.

Our middle two, ages 16 and 14, are gearing up for classes. Dd's World views of the Western World (year II) class begins in one week, and she has homework to do before class begins. She has been working a lot lately, and has to fit it in between work schedules. She is learning how to juggle.

14 yo son has been keeping up with our lawn work and trying to gear himself up for high school algebra.

Youngest son is traveling to Minnesota with friends for about two weeks. This is the longest he has ever been away from us. He is twelve. He probably remembers very little math at this point in the summer, but his interest in reading about history has jumped exponentially this week. Motivation is halfway to victory in any subject!

I'm preparing for Spanish classes, some at co-op and some from home. I'll be teaching a younger age group twice a month, two Junior High groups, and two senior high groups.
The group from home will have two students, one of them, my own.

I'm using Ven Conmigo! for high school Spanish and a variety of other resources for the Jr. High and younger groups.

I'll also be teaching a book club class titled "From Page to Knight," and as you can tell by the title, we will be reading and discussing/narrating two books that take place in the middle ages.

My Charlotte Mason book club is still in full swing, meeting once a month and discussing CM's original writings.

Hubby has one more trip coming up with his guy friends to get New Mexico Green Chile. This always happens just after school gets underway, but he only misses one or two schooldays.

My 25th high school class reunion is on the third weekend in September...a most inconvenient time for a road trip. Would that they would have considered the wisdom of having it in the summer when more folks could plan summer vacations around the reunion parties. It's going to be hard to miss Friday co-op class and for dh to miss another day of classes. I don't know if we'll be going or not. It's barely worth it, to see a couple of my old best friends. But that's about it.

The kitties continue to play and lounge around. What else is new.

Off to do some more planning!

13 August, 2007

Jane's infatuations/beaus

Since my inquiring mind could not rest until I had more information, I picked up a book of Hubster's (a HB copy) from our home library called, Jane Austen, The Woman, by George Holbert Tucker. Tucker is a journalist who spent fifty years on his research for this book. This book was published in 1995 and as my fellow AO members may enjoy this tidbit of a review from one of our HEO authors:

"This book was named "one of the best books of the year" by London critic Paul Johnson. "Fresh insights! Just a superlative book to enjoy!"

I'm going to take a couple of days to post my notes from the chapter "Beaux and a Blighted Romance."

Young Jane Austen was introduced into society in 1792 at the age of seventeen. It is said of her that she had already established herself as a flirtatious young woman of spirit, delighting in lively and sometimes intimidating badinage. We can’t know of her Steventon admirers until 1796, which is when her surviving letters begin. We can find information which does describe her infatuations and any romantic attachments thanks to these letters, with some degree of accuracy.

First “passing fancy” according to Tuckers 50 years of research:

1. Edward Taylor (1774-1843)

~ A year younger than Jane

~ Distant relative of Sir Brook Bridges III off Goodnestone, whose daughter, Elizabeth, had married Jane’s’ brother Edward in 1791.

~She once accompanied her sil on a visit to a Kentish estate…and wrote to her sister Casandra, “We went by Bifrons and I contemplated with a melancholy pleasure, the abode of Him, on whom I once fondly doted.” Other than that, this relationship seemed not to grow into anything more than a very happy acquaintance, as in 1800, Cassandra reported rumor of his engagement to his cousin Charlotte. Taylor did not marry Charlotte, but instead Louisa, the only child of the Rev. J. C. Beckington of Bourne, Kent. Taylor later became a member of Parliament for Canterbury from 1807-1812.” There is no record from the Taylor side of any of Taylor’s feelings for Jane’s fondness for him.

2. Rev. Edward Bridges (1779-1825) was another Kentish interest, recorded by the Rev.

Edward Bridges himself. This was a younger brother of Jane’s sister-in-law (Elizabeth Austen, Jane’s brother Edward’s wife). She knew him well enough to be his partner when they opened a dance at Goodnestone, and when he later referred to her as “T’other Miss Austen.” Later when writing to her sister Cassandra about a visit where Jane and Bridges were both houseguests of his mother, she wrote, “It is impossible to do justice to the hospitality of his attentions toward me, he made a point of ordering toasted cheese for supper entirely on my account.”

It was another ten years before he proposed to Jane and she turned him down, or possibly he was warned just before asking. He had just become an ordained Anglican priest at this time. This refusal or rebuff evidently left no hard feelings, as they met on later occasions and she noted no change in his manners toward her. Another hint of no bad feelings is reflected when Bridges’ mother later invited Jane’s sister Cassandra to visit her. Bridges had married about one year after his attempt to propose to Jane. It seems that that marriage was but a poor one, according to letters from Jane. She writes about his wife’s poor health ‘episodes’ and says, “she seems to be the sort of woman who gives me the idea of being determined never to be well--& who likes her spasms & nervousness & the consequence they give her, better than anything else.”

There seem to be five Steventon-area admirers (of varying degrees, it seems) in her younger life:

  1. Henry Digweed
  2. Charles Fowle (1771-1806)
  3. an unverifiable(?) “Mr. Heartly”
  4. John Willing Warren (1771?-1830)
  5. The Rev. Charles Powlett (1763-1835)

Next I will share about the romantic episode that took place when she was twenty-one. At the time of Jane’s first surviving letter, this was dated January 9th, 1796 to her sister Cassandra, who was away, visiting the Fowle family. Enter an Irishman who was visiting the Ashe rectory near Steventon for a Christmas visit to his aunt and uncle, when the “flirtation” began with Thomas Lefroy, who later became the chief justice of Ireland.

Hasta mañana,


12 August, 2007

500th post - Bourne Ultimatum, OTOH...


He is remorseful for what the government made him into (likely every administration has its secret programs and cover-up of lies, so I don't particularly think it is fingering this current admin specifically, just big brother in general...reminds me of the old, old astronaut film Capricorn One, though it was much less rushed and violent, being staged in a desert with few to no innocent bystanders). Bourne is still searching for his true identity, has tried to find victims' family members to apologize, is more willing to let people go who stand in his way because his "fight is not with you" as he told a Russian policeman. The violence in this movie is non-gratuitous nor very bloody. His fights are for survival.

Some cussing, otherwise ONE terrific film with themes of remorse and redemption. Case in point, he lets one "asset" (assassin) go, has to face him later, but is able to question him..."do you ever question why they have us kill? Look at us..." (or something like that) and b/c of his "kindness" of letting this particular assassin go when he could have easily shot him dead (after a mad car chase scene), he is rewarded as the assassin lets him go when he faces him again later.

Yes, it's as good as the first two...probably even better :-). Be happily surprised by some of his allies, and noble moves of self-sacrifice for the cause of the greater good.

'nuf said.


11 August, 2007

More band dates

The kids' band playing all together again :-). It's been over five weeks since they've done so, with oldest son away. They're all very happy to have him back! They have more dates scheduled than ever, though this was a tiny venue for which they'd been specially requested as background music. It didn't quite work out like the manager was imagining it, as so many friends and family showed up!! The manager never communicated specifics about this gig. In fact, they also double booked two bands.

In the end, it all worked out just fine.

Becoming Jane: Thoughts, Opinions, Warnings

Notice: Spoiler warnings -- my apologies! But any of you who know a little about Austen know that she never married, and she died fairly young.

I wanted to send a link before any of you take your daughters to see this movie. My sixteen yo daugther and I saw it together on Tuesday last, and I was a little shocked at some strong sexual innuendo in two or three scenes.

I'll link to screenit.com, but their list of sexuality and unnecessary (not to mention strong) innuendo, etc. is even longer than mine! That's affirming, since I was beginning to doubt my first reaction and assessment by week's end. Do read the linked specifics then consider your family's personal standards.

One thing I can't disagree with more is Screenit's mention of Jane's love interest (Tom LeFroy) being like Darcy. That is true in the initial "disdain" of him, but Darcy is not the only Austen character who was perceived early on in this way. Mr. LeFroy was penniless and very dependent upon his Uncle (a lawyer,his seeming guardian, and his teacher in the law). No, Mr. LeFroy is much more like Willoughby in Sense & Sensibility (the novel moreso than the movie, even, I'll explain. Willoughby really thought/knew that to maintain his lifestyle and rich tastes, that he needed to make a financially beneficial match, not to mention his very rich Aunt, whose estate he would receive upon her death, did not approve of Miss Dashwood. Willoughby later seriously regretted his engagement, knowingly hurting the woman he really loved, returning later to try to make a sad but admirable explanation to the elder Miss Dashwood, whom he greatly respected.

In the worldly sense, LeFroy is like Willoughby and his relationship with the poor Marianne Dashwood, but he is also like Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park. One difference between LeFroy and the character of Henry Crawford is that Crawford is rich and could easily support Fanny Price. Henry also settles down from his wild ways when one finally can begin to believe that Henry really is falling in love with Fanny and not just trying to make her another conquest, as LeFroy is portrayed in BJ, the movie. But one can't help but wonder that if Fanny and Jane had accepted these men in marriage, how faithful would they have been on down the line. Rather like Willoughby and Marianne Dashwood, as well. In the movie MP, which isn't very reliable and faithful to the book, btw, Henry does not stay faithful in the worst sense of the word very shortly after Fanny finally breaks up with him. I do not remember how that scene plays out in the book.

There are many characters or scenes in the movie, supposedly from Jane's life, that she builds into her novels. I do remember having read this from other sources in the past, but how reliable are those sources, according to some reviews that I have read. Some say her biography was beefed up by family members early on.

There is a man the movie portrayal of "Becoming Jane," a friend of Jane's brother's, who is a student of the pastorate soon to take on his own parish. You see echoes of this story (if it is true) in Mr. Collins in P & P. This man was referred to (by his friends, no less), in a derogatory way as being a "sour-faced virgin" and that they needed to take him to a Tahitian love-fest. This scene was never acted upon in the movie, however.

Another character in the movie, Eliza
De Feuillide, reminds me quite a bit in posture and demeanor of Mary Crawford in MP.

I did enjoy the movie...in part. The costumes, music, and artistic cinematography were absolutely lovely, but one leaves wondering how much of it actually happened. It still left me feeling manipulated and wondering what was the true story behind LeFroy's and Austen's love. One also may leave with mixed feelings about its morality message(s). Indeed, Mr. LeFroy was portrayed as a worldly man in this movie, but he did seem to settle down when he genuinely fell in love with Jane. Jane also makes the best final decision about leaving everything and eloping in disgrace...in the movie. In real life, I think her parents just flat out did not approve of the match. It's been several years since I studied this, so this information has since been sent to the basement archives of my brain, and may be shaky. My dear Hubster studied Jane Austen in Graduate School for his English and Lit. degree, and we used to share much of what he learned, and I've read the critical essays that he had to study for class and literary notes and recommended versions of Austen, as well.

Backtracking to a comparison of similar library scenes:

In Becoming Jane and in Mansfield Park, our leading ladies surprisingly catch the bad boys of the stories in a mutual friend's library, reading, of all things. This goes against both heroines imagined perceptions or suppositions of these characters, whom these ladies perceived as shallow.

One difference in the library scenes from this movie and from MP is this: LeFroy begins reading aloud to Jane from a book about animal sexual behavior. In MP, Henry is reading aloud to Fanny about a caged bird, and I think it is rather sad and written in prose.

When Tom LeFroy has finished reading aloud to Jane in this movie about animal behavior, he ends it by telling Fanny that she needs to be taught the ways of the world by someone with experience (implying himself).

LeFroy gives Jane a bawdy book to read, Tom Jones by Fielding, which reference is made to in Northanger Abbey.

Would our main male characters in this movie and some of Austen's novels have been faithful in the long haul, if they had married our heroines? With Henry in MP, you really don't believe so, but with LeFroy, maybe. In the movie, "Becoming Jane," he does seem to return a little bit to his former life, but the scene portrays him in a true state of emptiness and depression. He doesn't give in to those old worldly pleasures after things don't work out the way he wanted them to (in the movie portrayal), which is a nice scene, morally, and leads you to think he truly did turn around and settle down. BUT how much of this really happened? We'd have to
do more research to verify.

I hope this clarifies some of the more subtle comparisons of this movie to Austen's writings, which may go unnoticed by those whom are mostly familiar with S & S, P & P, but not her Juvenilia (writings from childhood and teen years) or less-read-by-the-general public novels such as MP or Northanger Abbey, both of which you should read soon, if you haven't already!! It's been about two years since I read the Juvenilia and letters, so I hate to make any more comparisons without further re-study of her contemporaries or literary criticisms.

Did Jane really meet Ann Radcliffe in real life? I thought I had read in a lit. crit. somewhere that she did not like the sensationalism of Radcliffe's writings. I'll have to fossick around for that info.

If I but had all the time in the world, I could write more, but must get on with some book restoration work.

Perhaps another time I will list the books and literary criticisms recommended in Hubster's graduate course in Jane Austen,
if there is interest.

For further interesting links see:

The Austen Blog for their opinions about BJ and other reviewers' reviews of the movie.

and for your own deeper research:

selected bibliography and other links from one of my favorite Austen sites.
Jane Austen Society biography and other links



08 August, 2007

He's home!

NOTE to the Final family, if you are reading this!

We deeply appreciate your hospitality toward J during the England leg of his trip. It is such a tremendous blessing that the Lord connected your lives this summer. He speaks very highly of you all and of your cooking!! We are eternally grateful for all that you did for him. I hope we can meet someday this side of Heaven. If you or your kiddos are ever in Texas, you know whom to call!

Siblings back together again.

Andrewcles gave J the biggest, longest hug ever, that my in-laws captured the photo--I was not quick enough. It was more like an infield tackle, actually!

07 August, 2007

Refreshing family favorite

Homemade Cherry Limeade, this time without cherry or lime slice garnish.

This drink is fantastic after a day of yardwork or play. Or book restoration :-). Yes, that's what we've been busy doing, instead of writing.


My husband likes to make slushies or smoothies with fresh cherries, one lime, lots of ice and a bit of sugar to taste. I think of it more as a slush, since there is more ice than our usual smoothies. He used about 17 or 20 cherries this particular time.

I like to take a can of frozen limeade concentrate and add to it some sparkling wild cherry water (in place of plain water dilution) from the grocery store. This is already pre-sweetened, but is just flavored sparkling water.

For the beverage in the photo above, I combined hubby's slush (about 1/4 portion to my carafe of cherry limeade) with my concoction, and together, they made the most scrumptious and refreshing cherry limeade we've made to date!


05 August, 2007

Second Bible restoration this summer

~ Preparing text block for old spine lining removal Notice the unnatural sway or dip in the text block indicating that the old spine lining no longer supports the text block. Not to mention that the text block came right out of its cover.

~ After lining is cleaned off, notice the poor condition of the ribbon book mark.

~ The last signature stayed attached to the cover, even after the textblock separated from the cover. I gently removed it to make repairs to 6 or 8 pages that tore all along the gutter line. Perhaps you can just make out the repairs below. The tissue really is invisible.

~ After the repaired signature dried completely after tissue repairs, I pressed it flat and knocked out the "swell" from adding Japanese tissue. Then I was able to sew it back into place in the textblock. Look closely and you'll see bookbinder's glue and maybe some ribbon fibers on my hands/fingers. Maybe you'll also notice the Smythe sewn binding. It's done by machine these days, but most good Bibles are sewn this way. It helps the pages to open more fully and the Bible to lie more flat out when reading and studying.

~ Below, you can see the new ribbon marker that I've added.

~ The last step in today's restoration progress is that I got the new spine cloth glued on, which will attach the textblock back into its cover, and topped that off with a new spine lining. It is stiffer than the old black stuff originally place there. It needs to dry overnight before I begin the final three steps to completing this project. Notice it has a nice slightly rounded back now. Much better than its old swayback and tired appearance it had earlier today.

This is such a cool process. Especially for bibliophiles like me :-).


03 August, 2007

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

The waning moon

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?"

~ Psalm 8:3

01 August, 2007

Tribute to Sam

These are some of our oldest, best friends. Their precious doggie, Sam, had to be put to sleep yesterday as he was having so many ills and troubles related to being very old. Sam was such a sweet, sweet dog...the sweetest dog I have ever known. We were unofficially Sam's god-parents. Good-bye, Sam! You will be missed. These pictures are from one of our many camping trips together.