Monday, January 28, 2013

Pride and Prejudice 200th Anniversary Giveaway (US/CA)

My fellow Janeites and I are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. The media is buzzing this week, offering much content on this beloved novel.  I couldn't resist getting in on the celebration, so I'm offering a little Pride and Prejudice-themed gift pack for you!  Skip down to the Rafflecopter widget below and enter to win.  I offer gently-used copies of Wickham's Diary by Amanda Grange, Pride and Prejudice on DVD, and four new Austen-themed notecards. Just a little Jane to celebrate the big anniversary!

If you're unfamiliar with Wickham's Diary, you can read my review here.

Be sure and check out the many activities going on around the world today and this week as we commemorate the publication of one of the most treasured novels of all time.  One event that has particularly interested me is the live Jane Austen readathon going on in Bath, England today.  If you have a moment, stop by their live feed to enjoy the reading of Pride and Prejudice by a host of fans and authors.  Some orators are dressing up in Regency attire, which has been fun to see as well.

Have a great week, and enjoy the plethora of all things Jane as the world celebrates!

Be sure to read the guidelines below, enter via the Rafflecopter widget, and good luck!
  • The contest period ends at 12:01am EST on February 10th.
  • Contest is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants only.
  • Make sure you leave your email address in the one required portion of the Rafflecopter form. Should you win, I will contact you on Sunday the 10th.  Please take measures to ensure that my email will make it past your spam filters, lest you miss my message. ( You'll have 72 hours to respond before I pick another winner.
  • All entries must go through the Rafflecopter form. If you leave an optional blog post comment, in order for it to count toward your contest entry, be sure to indicate this through the "Leave a Blog Post Comment" button on the Rafflecopter form.
  • The award will be mailed via USPS Media Rate shortly after the U.S. or Canadian mailing address is provided.
  • Entries will be verified.  If a fraudulent entry is detected for the winning name, another winner will be drawn.

If you can't see the Rafflecopter form below,
try clicking on the "Read more »" link

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other blogs are also giving away some great anniversary prizes as we celebrate.
Be sure to check them out too!  Here's the link:  P&P Anniversary Blog Hop


Monday, January 21, 2013

Made to Crave and Cleaning Out the Closet

I don't talk about it too much here on The Calico Critic, but like many Americans, I struggle with maintaining a healthy weight.  Last year, following a difficult move to Georgia, a failed pregnancy and alot of moping, I let myself get up to 194 pounds.  I could see the "dreaded 200" creeping ever closer, and I did not want to allow things to get that out of control.  As soon as I was recovered from the miscarriage, I began the process of getting back on track.  By God's grace, healthy eating and exercise, I was able to shed over 40 pounds.  I'd like to lose about 13 more, but at this point, the bigger task is maintaining what has been accomplished so far.  On more than one occasion, I've come to a healthy weight, only to self-sabotage and allow the scale to creep back up towards (or past) 200 pounds.  This time around, I really want to commit to never going back.

In an effort to stay committed to health and wellness, I've slowly been ridding my closet of the "big girl clothes".  This is harder than you may think, as the big clothes provide backup for when pounds may come creeping back on, and they're so comfy!  But if my actions are going to back up my decision of never going back, then the clothes have to go!  Favorite big denim skirt: GONE.  Favorite big denim jumper dress: GONE.  Two pairs of XXL cotton pants: GONE.

One interesting moment in the closet-purge came when I decided to part with a black pantsuit.  I put it on Sunday morning to wear to church, and I was shocked to find that it was actually too big!  This one is hard to part with, but I'm staying the course. It was put near the front door, in preparation for its trip to the local Goodwill shop.  My 7 year-old son Colson saw the suit by the door later, and he commented, "Why did Daddy leave his suit there?"  I responded, "Honey, that's not Daddy's suit.  That's one of my suits. I've decided to give it away."  Surprised, he said, "That's a girl's suit?! That's too big to be a girl's suit!"  I got a chuckle then, feeling a sense of reinforcement in my decision to let the clothes go.

I share these thoughts with you because I'm sure that some of you are in the same boat I'm in, as you've been persevering in your New Year's resolutions to lose weight and/or get in shape.  As you see the pounds melt away, don't let all your hard work go to waste.  Commit to the new lifestyle you've chosen.  And make no mistake-- it is a CHOICE.  Choose every day to honor God with your body.  Choose every day to be the person you were created to be.  Choose to rid your closet as well as your kitchen of the things that could allow you to return to your old life. And if you slip up by making some bad choices, choose to get right back on track.  Don't wait until next January or next Monday-- start RIGHT NOW.

One of the things that has helped me stay on track in recent weeks are some daily devotionals from Lysa TerKeurst's Made to Crave. Lysa's words have been such an encouragement to me.  It's almost as if she has thought the same things I have, and has struggled in similar ways. There have been many times when her words have kept my head on straight, reminding me of truth and banishing the lies that tempt me to return to unhealthy coping mechanisms.  Made to Crave is available on Kindle and in paperback, but you can also get the readings for free by downloading the You Version Made to Crave Reading Plan.  I have a You Version app on my iPhone, which makes reading the daily entries super convenient.

For those of you who resolved to have a healthier 2013, I hope your resolutions are holding strong.  And if your motivation seems to be waning, know that you're not alone, it's worth it to keep going, and that there is One who is there to give you His strength at any time.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  --1 Corinthians 10:13

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  --Romans 15:13


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review - Christian Encounters: Jane Austen by Peter Leithart

From the back cover:

Jane Austen is now what she never was in life, and what she would have been horrified to become—a literary celebrity.

Austen’s novels achieved a timelessness that makes them perennially appealing.  Kipling and Churchill found solace in her writings during times of war and illness. Mark Twain had a love/hate relationship with her work. And then, there’s our celebrity culture: the television hit
Pride and Prejudice, the award-winning 1995 film Sense and Sensibility, and all the remakes and prequels and sequels. Modern-day Jane Austen fans just can’t seem to leave her characters alone. 

“Janeia” is the author’s term for the mania for all things Austen. This biography captures the varied sides of Austen’s character and places her Christian faith in a more balanced light and with less distortion than has been achieved previously. It is a delightful journey through a life spent making up stories that touched the lives of millions.

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Since diving into the world of Austenesque fiction a few years ago, I’ve been meaning to take in a biography of my now-beloved Jane Austen. This month I enjoyed one that was a perfect little diversion in between my many Austen-themed titles. The Christian Encounters series offered by Thomas Nelson Publishers offers several books that profile prominent authors, politicians and Christian leaders throughout history.  Jane is a perfect fit in this collection, and each title is very modest in size, 200 pages or less (including thorough end notes).  So these brief volumes are a great way to get to know important figures without having to make a large time commitment.

Author Peter Leithart does a wonderful job in profiling the different aspects of Jane’s life—her 18th to 19th Century world, her education, all of her writings, other life events, Christian faith, and of course her untimely death at the age of 41. He draws from many sources, both from Austen scholars and from the works of Jane herself. Throughout his highly researched content, Leithart presents the whole picture of Jane.  She was most certainly a Christian, but she was not obnoxiously overt about her faith in her writing.  He states, “Her Christian faith had always come to most explicit expression at the margins of life…” (pg. 137 or ~pos.1982 on Kindle)

While this Christian Encounters volume does read somewhat like a textbook, Leithart does find room to interject his own voice in the writing.  It seems that he has mixed emotions when it comes to the plethora of Austen-related material in the world today, from all the cinematic adaptations to the many retellings of her work, a la Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Apparently, the closer the content comes to mimicking the voice of Austen, the more he appreciates the work.  I would agree with him in this regard.  He also seems to admire Austen’s faith, how it affected her life and was so much a part of her, yet she wasn’t excessively upfront about it.

My only minor complaint in this work was Leithart’s insistence upon using the moniker “Jenny” for Miss Austen on many occasions.  This is not an incorrect term, but she will always be my Jane, and I in no way think of her as a “Jenny”.  There’s nothing wrong with the name, I just don’t associate her with it.  Just as I don’t appreciate being called “Laurie” or “Lauren”, as they aren’t my names either.  I’m sure a true Austen scholar could easily disabuse me of this idea, but I couldn’t help but recoil every time this term was used.

So to my fellow Janeites, if you have yet to enjoy a Jane Austen biography, or if it has been a while since you have done so, I recommend Christian Encounters: Jane Austen to you.  While it does examine her religious faith, it is far and away a true biography, also examining her as a woman, author, family member and friend.  Without a significant commitment, you can certainly see who she was, and why she remains one of the most popular authors of all time.

I review for BookSneeze®

From Thomas Nelson:

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.


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BookSneeze® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book,
with no other compensation for an honest review.

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If you'd like to give this book a try, I'd be happy to send my copy to you at no charge, as long as you will cover just the cost of shipping.
I typically use Amazon e-gift cards for reimbursement.
Recipient chooses the shipping method.
And as this was a promotional copy from BookSneeze®, please understand that it should never be sold.
Just contact me if you're interested.
This paragraph will be removed when I have a response to this offer.
You can view the entire list of available free titles here.


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