Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Report Card- December 2013

The end of a month and the end of a year. My resolution results? Not so good. Fun levels this month… sky high!

Read or Re-Read at least 10 books

So apparently I only really needed nine books to complete my year goal of fifty books so I'm not sure why I made a ten book goal. So forgive me that I only read nine books, that was hard enough. My reading was very lazy this month. It took me most of the month to read Vanity Fair as I just didn't find it riveting enough. I really should have started another book while I was reading it but I didn't. So with just a few days left in the month, I picked up my old favorites The Homeschool Detective series and whipped through those quite skinny books. Going back and rereading them now, I realize they aren't so amazing as I used to think they were. However, they are still fun books. 

Read Proverbs

Completed! I had a crazy time completing it. The ESV bible app that I always read on kept crashing all of the time so I couldn't read it for awhile and I was too lazy to actually open my real bible so I had to wait until the app was updated before I kept reading so I kind of crammed it at the end. However, it was a really good read and I'm glad I finished it. 

Memorize Psalm 31

I kind of forgot about that. However, it is going into my future resolutions! 

Pray Daily

I was really good about praying every evening at bedtime at the beginning of the month and then I tapered off towards the end. 

Two Blog posts per week

Except for one week which I think was in the middle of studying for finals I did it! I wrote about a wide  variety of topics and you should definitely check those posts out. They were fun to write. 

Looking back over my year of resolutions and report cards I am sort of disgusted with myself. I know I work ten times harder on my school then I do on these resolutions and some of them (praying, reading my bible, memorizing scripture) are far more important than my school. I need to take these resolutions more seriously. I have a very disorganized life, which is mostly my own disorganized doing, and these resolutions have helped me keep some more sanity in it however I still haven't done nearly as well as I could. Hopefully this next year will see some improvements. Tomorrow I'll post next month's resolutions as well as first ever New Year's Resolutions! Thank you blog readers for keeping with me this year and I look forward to the next! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Movie Review- Mansfield Park (2007)

The things I do for my blog! Next time you want to know if a Jane Austen adaptation is good you might as well look here because unfortunately I've just about watched them all… the good, the bad, and the ugly. The 2007 version of Mansfield Park was the ugly. I almost disliked it as much as the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice… and you guys know how much I hate that movie. I really don't know where to start on my review of it… there was so much done wrong and then there was parts that were done right and wrong. It was a mess!
First off, let me state that this was an hour and a half long movie and obviously with that time limit justice can not eve nearly be done to the book. A lot of things were left out therefore including the Grants, Fanny's visit to her family, the visit to Sotherton and Mr. Yates.


A lot was done wrong here… a lot. Mistake #1… casting Billie Piper as Fanny Price. What? Not only was it a miscast but the whole screenwriting for Fanny was just wrong anyways. Fanny comes off in the movie not meek, kind, and selfless as in the book but more outgoing, opinionated at times, and not selfless. Fanny also practically flirts with Edmund on several occasions, which she would not have done! The character of Fanny alone ruins the movie. Edmund was okay… but really not. The actor was fine for the part, but again the screenwriting messed him up. Lady Bertram was not shown as the selfish almost invalid character that she is in the book but she is far more alert and actually encourages the match of Fanny and Edmund. Mrs. Norris is not really explained at all, she is just there at Mansfield Park. She wasn't the best cast but I think with more screen time and better writing she might have done the part justice. Sir Thomas was far too grouchy and apparently, according to Fanny in the movie, there was a cloud lifted from Mansfield when he left on his trip to Antigua. That is NOT how it is in the book. The Crawfords, Tom, and the Bertram sisters were cast well I think and did there parts as much justice as the screenwriting and time constraints allowed. I would have been interested in seeing them with a better script and more time. As with Mrs. Norris, the Crawfords were kind of just dropped in the story and never really explained. 


As I mentioned multiple times above, the screenwriting left a lot to be desired. The time constraints were ridiculous so that obviously made the screenwriting harder but really? I think even I could have written a better screenplay for an hour and a half version of Manfield Park… though I wouldn't… I would make it much longer than that! What was left out; the Grants, Fany's visit to her family, the visit to Sotherton, and Mr. Yates, was I think left out necessarily with the time constraints but not very smoothly. One thing I don't think they should have left out was Sotherton. A lot happens there that is important in my opinion. Pretty much all of Fanny's lines were not right for her character and the same goes for several other of the characters. 

The Play

One of the pivotal parts of the story is the play, Lover's Vows, which they decide to put on while Sir Thomas is in Antigua. It is NOT pulled off well and not enough time (once again) is given to it. Mary Crawford really goads Edmund into taking the part, which was shocking and I'm surprised that Edmund took it after that. Also, the way the movie portrayed it, it seemed as if he was only taking it so he could make love to her in the play. What irks me the most though about the play was the fact that Fanny does agree to act in it! That just blows my mind. They missed the whole point doing that! 


It was too romancy. Way too much! Edmund and Mary Crawford almost kiss when rehearsing their lines for the play and (now this really upsets me too) Fanny and Mr. Crawford almost kiss! What?

The more I think about it the more this movie upsets me. It will go down in my memory as one of the worst Jane Austen film adaptations I've ever seen. It actually really made me appreciate the 1983 version and I think that you should all just go read the book and then if you want an okay movie version to watch then watch that one and do not ever waste an hour and a half (as I did) on this atrocious movie! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Movie Review- Mansfield Park (1983)

Mansfield Park is probably my third favorite of Jane Austen's novels behind Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion. The heroine in it is very quiet, very sweet, very humble, very selfless and very ill-used for it. As far as Austen's character goes that I most wish I could be like, it wouldn't be Lizzy Bennett, it would be Fanny Price. Realistically, I think I have a better chance of being like any other of Austen's characters, but if I could be like any of her characters, it would be Fanny. Fanny's reserved qualities make her very hard to portray on screen and really I am not sure if it should be attempted. There are two other adaptations that I know of besides this one which in short neither are good. This one is better, but still fails in some aspects.


The casting was good. Not great, but good. The Fanny was okay, but really I don't think her's is a character that can be portrayed on screen correctly. The Edmund was good but too old I think. I really liked the Mrs. Norris, in that I thoroughly detested her as you are supposed to and I also that Lady Bertram was done quite well. The rest of the casting was adequate. 


The storyline was pulled off well enough. It was a BBC drama and I have a lot of the same complaints about it as I do with the 1980 Pride and Prejudice BBC drama. The scenery is too dark, production quality less than good, scenes somewhat disjointed, and the lines more quoted than acted. 

It's hard to put into words how I felt about this version. It is the better version to watch. It's not as exciting as the other versions but it's truer to the book. However, the long and short of it is that I do not think there will ever be a good film version of Mansfield Park, it just isn't meant to be a film. It is an amazing book though so I recommend you to read it and then try this film out. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Christmas!

My sparkling grape juice from the Christmas dinner.
I had fun texting this picture to my friends and saying,
"Look what I'm drinking!" Unfortunately though they
had the brains to figure that one out. ;)
My Christmas was amazing thanks for asking! Oh… you didn't ask? Well that's never stopped me from telling. ;)
My family spent our Christmas up in Minnesota with my mom's side of the family. She had seven (now six) brothers and sisters so there's plenty of them. I had a great time catching up with all of the relatives. I only see them once a year so I try to milk every moment I'm with them for all it's worth. We had a great Christmas dinner at my grandparents' assisted living home and then went to my aunts for Christmas goodies, games, conversation, and general fun. We played Funglish and Apples to Apples and had way to much fun doing so. :) I even won at Apples to Apples, which never happens! All in all it was a great time though not without some heartache. I know the years are wearing on my grandparents and my fear is always that this trip might be my last one to see them alive. However, it doesn't do any good to dwell on that. I need to take those moments I have with them and fill them with all I have to offer. My grandpa here in Kansas tells me that when he was young he thought life would never end, but now that he's older he realizes that it just flew by and that it's drawing to a close. So my closing thought to you is that you don't waste your life because it's going to catch up with you and you're going to look back and you'll wish you could have spent your life differently. So use your life, use it for the glory of God so that you may enjoy Him forever!
Merry Christmas! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Christmas Songs (With Honorable Mentions!)

I hate making top lists. I always realize later that I left a favorite out! However, here, with the best of my ability and memory, are my top five favorite Christmas songs in no particular order. I've provided links to some of my favorite versions but there are several of them that I haven't just because I can't think of a version I've seen on YouTube (or at least one that really stuck out to me)… though I'm sure there's some great ones out there.

  1. Oh Holy Night- listen to Celtic Woman's version here and here (I honestly can't see any difference in these, just different performances… but why not listen to it twice?). Orla Fallon and Méav ní Mhaolcatha (previously of Celtic Woman) had an incredible version they did as well but I haven't been able to find it on YouTube recently. 
  2. The Hallelujah Chorus (that's considered Christmas right?)- listen to this great production of the  timeless classic! 
  3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel- Listen to Orla Fallon's version… absolutely captivating! 
  4. Angles We Have Heard on High- There's the Piano Guy's version… but they don't exactly sing it. :) 
  5. Go Tell it on the Mountain
And because I feel like that list is severely lacking… here are some honorable mentions. :)

And, I never used to like this song but Celtic Woman made me like it…. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. Listen to their version here

Also, kind of a joke but… The Twelve Days of Christmas. You have to admit, you feel an amazing sense of accomplishment after signing that whole song. 

By now I'm sure you've seen the Celtic Woman theme… yeah, I'm kind of a fan. :)

Linking up with Mama Kat!
Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fun (and not so fun) Happenings

I write this post from the couch at 3:30 in the afternoon. Why? I am sick, miserably sick. Two afternoons ago I started getting a sore throat and headache and by the evening I was have muscle aches and was shivering. I have been able to get fairly good sleep and mostly have just been laying around. They say rest is the best medicine. :) I've been drinking a lot of tea to keep me going and some chicken broth too.
My new flavors of tea. The pumpkin one is amazing!
Last Saturday we celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. I doubt last year she could have guessed she would spend it in a wheelchair unable to speak. However, nothing ever really goes how we plan does it? I think we can always be comforted though that everything goes how God planned. Since there was family in town to celebrate the birthday, I was able to have a great time with them and gets lots of laughs in. I also got to shoot a gun for the first time which excited me a lot! :) I forgot to wear my glasses, which didn't help anything. I am though using it as an excuse for my bad aim! My cousin had a board set up with three targets. I aimed for the middle one and hit the left one. :(
Shooting a gun for the first time. 
We also got to sing some Christmas carols with my grandparents. It's so encouraging to sing a favorite of my grandmother's tunes and see her singing along (I'm not sure if she's singing or mouthing to be honest). Since my cousins are from Michigan so have a long trip to make, we went ahead and celebrate Christmas so they wouldn't have to come back for that. I got my own copy of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice which made me very happy as that is my favorite movie. :) My sweet cousin also made me a gorgeous turquoise colored bag! I'd say I'm pretty happy with my gifts! :)
While I've been sick I've been watching a lot of movies. I watched an old black and white movie with Ginger Rogers and David Niven called Bachelor Mother which was quite funny and pretty good. :) I also watched the 1983 BBC miniseries of Mansfield Park which is okay… I'll right a full review of it soon. I also have been watching a bunch of Disneys that I was never allowed to watch as a child or I only watched once a long time ago and don't remember. I have been discovering that there were very good reasons my siblings and I weren't allowed to watch them. Expect reviews on those in the future as well.
That's all for now. Hope you all are having a great day and that you'll have an amazing Christmas with your family and friends. Merry Christmas! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Must Haves

Today I'm linking up with MamaKat to talk about Christmas must haves.
I think the most important thing to have at Christmas is family. I can't remember a Christmas I didn't spend with family, immediate and extended normally. For me, family is part of what makes Christmas Christmas.
Next important things would be the music, the Christmas goodies (which are a big tradition in my family), and our stocking ornaments. Stocking ornaments you ask? Well every year for a very long time my mother has gotten all of the children an ornament and put it in our stockings. If you're old like me ;) then you have quite a few ornaments by now, so a great collection built up for when you have your own Christmas tree. Those ornaments are very traditional for me and I look forward to finding out what ornament my mother got for me more than I look forward to opening in my presents.
So those are my Christmas must haves. Obviously, the ultimate must have for Christmas that too often we take for granted is Jesus. Without Him there wouldn't be a Christmas and it is important to never forget that. Corny I know but remember the saying, "You can't take the Christ out of Christmas".

P.S. If you haven't liked my blog's Facebook page be sure to do so! The link is in the bar on the right hand side.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Goodbye First Semester of Nursing School!

I know that I woefully neglected my blog past week but I was incredibly busy preparing for my nursing final and my Grandma ended up in the hospital as well (she's fine now). However, I am very happy to say that I am finished with my first semester of nursing school! It's been a really crazy semester and lots of fun but I am so glad to be done. There's so much that I want and, more importantly, need to get done before school starts up again and I'm guessing that I'll be lucky if I get half of it done judging from past breaks. I spent yesterday afternoon after my final watching a lot of Doctor Who, as I had stopped two weeks ago after the end of the fifth season so I could focus on studying. Today I managed to not wake up until about 1:30… I didn't set my alarm and when one lives only with a sister who works until midnight so naturally sleeps in always, you can sleep for a very long time. Who knows how much longer I would have slept if my sister hadn't woken me up. Because I slept away valuable Doctor Who watching time, I have only been able to watch two episodes today so far. Instead I have been doing the many dishes that accumulated whilst I was studying, cleaning up my room, and doing laundry. There's so much more I need to do besides that but I'll get there. I have family coming on Friday so I have to get my house all spiffed up before then.
I'll just close with a little list of things I want to get done over the break. :)

  1. Write on my book… because I have not done any writing since starting nursing school. 
  2. Read a lot… because I should and because I'll have the time, and most importantly BECAUSE I LOVE READING!!!
  3. Finish all current episodes of Doctor Who…. because I'll have the time, and because it's awesome. :) 
  4. Crochet something… because I'll have time. 
Notice how those all are "because I'll have the time"… yet I imagine that despite my having the time, the only one that is for sure going to get done is the Doctor Who one…. :)

P.S. If you haven't liked my blog's Facebook page be sure to do so! The link is in the bar on the right hand side. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- December 2013

There was a reason that I always put the year with the month on the titles of these posts, because I know that there would come a month when I realized that I had been doing this for a WHOLE YEAR! Yes indeed, I've been making monthly resolutions for a year now and I have loved every minute of it! It has kept me far more accountable and has set me up for hopefully making some yearly goals in the future. So here are my resolutions this month.

Read or Re-Read at least 10 Books

I just need ten more books to complete my year's goal of 50 books. With just a couple of more weeks left of school that will leave me plenty of time to read (as long as I don't do a marathon of Doctor Who). ;) 

Read Proverbs

With 31 chapters, that doesn't give me much leeway in my normal read one chapter an evening schedule. I think this will be a really great book for me to re-read and hopefully garner some new wisdom from.


Once I'm done with the school semester then I might actually have the time and brain space to do this. 

Pray Daily

I need to stop making excuses and start doing this. This shouldn't be so difficult. 

TWO blog posts per week

Shaking it up! I'm going to be giving you two blog posts per week. So more witticisms, more recipes, and more ME!!!! ;) 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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