Invade Our Habits

In Caroline Austen’s book My Aunt Jane: A Memoir, she describes Jane’s morning habits: “Aunt Jane began her day with music . . . before breakfast—when she could have the room to herself—She practised regularly every morning—She played very pretty tunes, I thought . . . but the music (for I knew the books well in after years) would now be thought disgracefully easy.”

Habits form the structure of our lives and days—what we do, how we spend our time, what we eat, where we go, and even when we go to bed and when we rise. Jane’s habit of practicing the piano each morning is intriguing. From Caroline’s account, Jane did not play new or difficult songs. She practiced, it seems, because she liked to start the day “with music.” Furthermore, she most likely enjoyed it as a time of reflection and contemplation.

Jane prayed

Pardon Oh God! whatever thou hast seen amiss in us, & give us a stronger desire of resisting every evil inclination & weakening every habit of sin.

What habits or activities bring you closer to God?


Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.