Tuesday, January 17, 2017

7 Favorite Film Scores

   If I have my earbuds in, there's a 90% chance I am listening to a movie soundtrack.  For some reason, I am obsessed with the instrumentals written for TV and movies.  Of course, I have a few favorites to share with you today.  So if you're ever in need of some powerful music, here are some recommendations for you.

   Note: I decided not to include musical soundtracks (sorry, La La Land, Les Mis, Phantom...) though those are some of the best.  Anyway, here's my list:

     7Victoria  -- Martin Phipps & Ruth Barrett

   After watching the series premiere of Victoria on Sunday, I have been entranced with this majestic score of music.  Honestly, I like the music more than the show (so far)! I recommend listening to it when you're on your bed at night with a candle burning, a pen in hand, and an open journal in your lap.

      6.  Star Wars VII -- John Williams

    It's no secret that I like the Star Wars movies, and the music is no exception.  The Force Awakens score is my favorite of them all.  (Rey's Theme is the best!)  There's something so inspiring about this music, and I like to listen to it when I am writing posts and stories and such

     5.  Cinderella -- Patrick Doyle

   The music for Cinderella is like a fresh summer breeze.  I find it's hard not to smile when listening to this score.  It's a good one to play while you're getting ready in the morning, just to start the day off in a cheerful mood.  :-)

     4.  Pirates of the Caribbean -- Hans Zimmer (& Klaus Badelt)

   There's hardly a good way to describe this epic score.  The sequence of tracks on this album is like a roller coaster.  It goes from fast-paced songs like "Up Is Down" to slow, almost hypnotic songs like Davy Jones' theme.  Listening to this is a great way to spark your imagination.

      3.  Downton Abbey -- John Lunn

   From the beginning suite to the jazzy club music, there is a glorious range of music in the Downton Abbey score.  This is perfect to listen to while you're participating in the 'downstairs' part of daily life (e.g. washing dishes, folding laundry, etc.) 

     2.  Emma -- Samuel Sim 

   I do love this soundtrack.   The mix of piano and strings is just beautiful.  It's the perfect background music to your morning cup of tea.  And it's also a lovely pick-me-up for a rainy spring day.

     1.  The Lord of the Rings -- Howard Shore

   If there's one case where the music is as amazing as the movie(s), then it's with this trilogy.   The score is just beyond words perfect.  It is always a good time to listen to the haunting Lord of the Rings score, in my opinion.

     Honorable mentions: ...alright, there are too many to list.  There are a lot of great film scores out there, and I have an entire playlist on Spotify of my favorites :-)  But I'd love to know what you would add to the list.

   Do you like to listen to film scores?  What are some of your favorites? 

Saturday, January 14, 2017


      Yesterday was my birthday, and so for the past week or so I've done a lot of reflecting on the last seventeen years of my life.  Particularly this last year, in which I have experienced more new opportunities than in any other year my life.  So much has happened since January 13, 2016.  Some of it good, and some of it...well, some of it has pressed to mind the reminder that God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me if I just trust in him.

     Trust.  That's one big lesson He's been working with me on lately.  "Love always trusts."  So if I say that I love Him, I need to trust Him, fully and completely, without the slightest shadow of a doubt.  For me, that's taking a great deal of work!  I am naturally not a very trusting person.  I like to plan ahead and be in control.  However, if my life is ever going to be fulfilling, I have come to realize that it will only be through His will.  And that is, of course, where trust comes in.  Even when I can't see as far into my future as I'd like to, I can take courage in the knowledge that He can.  He knows everything that He has planned for my life.  He knows the purpose He has for me.  My life will not be wasted if I put my trust in Christ alone.

     One verse that has always been close to my heart is Psalm 56:3-4 -- "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid..."

     I like to believe I'm not afraid, but when I examine the truth behind my desire to plan and control, it boils down to fear.  That common fear of the unknown.  I think God is really helping me overcome this fear.  He has several times in the past year pushed me way outside my comfort zone like never before.  Believe it or not, I think it was good for me.  I think I needed to let some walls come down and just step out into the unknown for once.  Then twice.  Then a few more times before 2016 could be over.  And you know what?  I think I am a stronger person because of all those new situations I found myself in.  (I know, shocker, right? ;-)

      Have I completely overcome my fear and learned to trust without batting an eye?  Er, no, I'm not quite there yet.  But I'm still growing, still learning, still changing.  And I'm going to let God keep working on me until I am the woman after His own heart that He desires me to be.

     One of my biggest goals for this new year is to spend more quiet time in God's Word and in prayer.  So far, I am getting along fairly.  And as I become yet another year older, I think of it as another year full of spiritual growth opportunities and I am excited to see the ways God will push me even further this year than last.  ...Alright, at least I will appreciate it after the fact, even if the initial idea appalls me.  After last year's experiences, though, it's safe to say that I will be a lot more willing to step outside my comfort zone, now, knowing that it'll all be for my good.  Even if I can't yet see around the bend in the road.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Period Drama Tag

     Miss March at Sunshiny Corner tagged me with this delightful period drama tag, so today I have my answers.  

   1. What's your favorite period drama movie?

     If you've been reading my blog, then you probably know it is Emma (2009).  No question.  It is the best.  But, Pride & Prejudice (1995) is an extremely close second.

    2. What's your favorite period drama series?

     Assuming 'series', in this case, equals TV show and is different than the mini-series I count as movies... Downton Abbey.

   3. Which Period Drama do you dislike the most?

     Honestly, I can't think of any I dislike.  Oh, wait... Gone With the Wind.  Yikes!  I know, I know.  But it is true.

   4. Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit?

     I adore Anne of Green Gables, anyway, but I have actually yet to see Little Dorrit.  (It's on my To-Watch list, since I do like Charles Dickens.)

   5. Your favorite period drama dresses?

I adore Emma's shimmery pink ballgown! (Emma 2009)
Lady Mary's charmingly vintage floral blouse and skirt -- I know it's technically not a dress.         (Downton Abbey)
Absolutely love this gown of Gwendolen Harleth's. (Daniel Deronda)
How about Lady Rose's wedding dress?  (Downton Abbey)
Both of these lovely pastel dresses, too.  (Love & Friendship)
     I think I should stop now, but there are many more.

   6. Who's your favorite period drama character?  (Okay, pick at least five.)

     Thank goodness I don't have to narrow it down to just one!  But I, too, am going to be creative and list favorite characters besides Jane Austen heroes/heroines.  Here we go:
Esther Summerson (Bleak House) -- She is so kind and generous, and I admire her big-sisterly care of Ada and Richard and pretty much everyone.

Tom Branson (Downton Abbey) -- Can we all just appreciate the adorableness that is Tom?  His ambition no matter what anyone says is inspiring and his shameless love of Sybil is dreamy.  (Yes, I love Tom Branson.  He is such a great character.  I could go on and on about him.)

John Watson (Sherlock Holmes) -- I always love how Watson is there for Sherlock no matter what.  He sticks by him through the thick and thin, even when Sherlock ruins everything for him.  John Watson is a true friend, through and through.

 Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) -- Of course, she has to be one of my favorite period drama characters.  Anne's imagination and passion, her complete zeal for life make her such a colorful and fun character to watch.

Jean Valjean (Les Misérables) -- Everything about Valjean's redemption story is tearjerkingly good.  His selfless care for others and his honesty and integrity even to the point of turning himself in to save an innocent man - I think there's a lot anyone can learn from the life of Jean Valjean.

Jo March (Little Women) --  I love Jo for her spirit and fearlessness.  She's not afraid to stand out and she knows what she wants.  And her love for her sisters is admirable.

   7. If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you wear?  (Pick a Period Drama dress)

     I really love this one from The Young Victoria.  It's definitely fit for a royal ball.

   8. What's your favorite Jane Austen movie?

     See question 1.

   9. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife?

     Downton Abbey.  (I feel like I am repeating myself now :-)

   10. Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse, or Marian of Knighton?

     Emma Woodhouse, of course.  

   11. Which couples of a Period Drama do you like the most? (Pick at least four)

Matthew & Mary (Downton Abbey)
Gilbert & Anne (Anne of Green Gables)
Friedrich & Jo (Little Women)
And, of course, my favorite: Knightley & Emma (Emma)
   12.  What's your favorite period drama villain?

     None?  I suppose if I have to pick one...does Irene Adler (Sherlock Holmes) count as a villain?  She does work for Moriarty after all.  Not that I really like her all that much, but more than Moriarty and other period drama bad guys.

     Thank you, Miss March.  That was quite fun! :-)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

5 Good Reasons Why You Should Read Historical Fiction

     I love to read.  Especially books that take me far away to a new place.  Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre.  I include books that were written in historical times about the present situation and books written today about times gone by.  (Typically, the former tend to be the best.  I mean, Jane Austen wrote historical fiction a thousand times better than those who try to imitate her.)

     I realize there are people out there who do not prefer reading about history -- or even reading at all.  So today, I give you 5 Good Reasons Why You Should Read Historical Fiction.

   1. To learn

     Sometimes the best way to learn about history is reading about more than just the bare facts.  Historical fiction gives insight into the possible feelings and thoughts of those who lived back then.  Take learning to a whole new level.  History will have a deeper meaning if you read about people who might have lived in that time period.  I suggest historical fiction as an enhancement to the history you study from textbooks.

   2. To experience new places and culture -- without a time machine!

     As an American girl who knows her American history inside and out, I find historical fiction to be a fantastic way to enjoy the history of other countries, such as England, Germany, and France.  There's so much more to history than that of your own country, so reading about things that happened in another country may just give you a new perspective on what was going on at the same time in your country.  You will also be able to see all the cultural differences of history in other countries and imagine being there yourself.

   3.  To take your mind off of the world today

     Sometimes the pressures and disappointments of life today are easily remedied by a slip into the past.  After a long day of school.  When the news is distressing.  If you're bored on a rainy day or a long car ride.  There are so many reasons to distract yourself with picking up a book and reading about people whose lives may parallel your own, even from another time and place.

   4. For imagination's sake

     One thing that movies take away from you is the ability to imagine things how you want.  Books give you just enough detail to let you picture everything how they were thinking it should be but leaving enough room for your own twist.  I dislike authors who leave nothing to the imagination.  They describe things too much in detail and that can take away some of the joy of reading.  But when books give only minimal details, it's like you yourself are helping create the story.  You can visualize their outfits, their homes, the scenery, etc just the way you like it.  That's part of the fun!

   5. To make new friends

    The characters in historical fiction (or pretty much any book) become like real people to you.  For example, take my favorite historical book, Emma.  While reading Emma, I fell in love with Mr. Knightley, pitied poor Jane Fairfax, became best friends with Emma Woodhouse to whom I can completely relate, wanted to grab Frank Churchill and shake him by the shoulders, laughed over Mr. Woodhouse and his silly concerns, and ultimately disliked Mrs. Elton.  As I said in 4., reading makes you part of the story.  You feel for these people just like any real person you know.

     If you're not convinced by now, then you never will be.  But I encourage anyone who hasn't to go try not to become obsessed with period fiction.  (Oh, and read the books first before you watch the movies!)

   For those of you who already love historical fiction, what reasons would you add?  I know there are probably plenty more.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Hello, 2017

   Well, it's a new year, and I, personally, am excited about it!  I have a few goals for the year -- doesn't everyone? -- and I am determined to continue growing.  Obviously, not physically.  (I've leveled off at 5'1'', and I believe that's as tall as I'll ever get.)  But spiritually.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  I want to grow into even more of the lady I am trying to become.  I'm still learning, and my thoughts are always changing.  But one thing I'm sure of is that God is not done with me yet.  He has a purpose for me in 2017.  There are many things I know I'll do, many mistakes I'm sure to make, but I know that He will be right with me to guide me along, catch me when I stumble and encourage me to keep on through whatever new things this year holds.

   The new year is still fresh with no mistakes in it yet.  (At least for me.) There are a lot of things I am looking forward to, and some things I don't even know will happen.  I am excited to continue this blogging journey for myself and with my readers (and potential readers), and, hopefully, become a better writer through it.

   But, for now, this is just a short post to say Happy New Year to you all!