Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"My great wish is to go on in a strict but silent performance of my duty: 
to avoid attracting notice and to keep my name out of newspapers, 
because I find the pain of a little censure, even when it is unfounded, 
is more acute than the pleasure of much praise."

~Thomas Jefferson~

Friday, November 17, 2017

Birthday Joy!

I'd like to take today to direct your attention to the right side of your screen (if you are viewing my blog on your phone, you're going to need to scroll down to the bottom and change to the web view). Have you noticed that Compassion box? As you can see, I share a birthday with our sweet girl Shallot. She lives in Uganda, and today, she turns 10 years old. She wants to be a nurse when she grows up. We love her dearly and pray for her consistently. We write her letters, and she writes us back. I would encourage you to consider sponsoring a child in need. You will change his or her life for the better and fall in love in the process. We hope to be able to visit Shallot one day, but we may never get to hug her this side of Heaven. If you have questions about how this all works, I would love to talk to you more about this amazing ministry. 

Also, I have dedicated my birthday this year to helping Compassion raise money for clean water. If you aren't in a position to take on an ongoing financial commitment like becoming a child's sponsor, please consider making a one-time gift to this fundraiser to provide a family with the life-changing gift of clean water. Click here to learn more!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? 
It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it's such an interesting world. 
It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? 
There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"

~Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery~

Monday, November 13, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : Murder on the Orient Express

Well, I have finally arrived in the world of Agatha Christie. This was my first of her many, many novels and it took a major motion picture coming out this month to finally kick my booty into gear. I'll be honest: Agatha Christie has never been a real high priority of mine. Despite her status as the best-selling novelist of all time and the fact that her works trail only the Bible and Shakespeare as the world's most widely published books, I have never at any point in my life been dying to read her. But what with the aforementioned movie coming out, Christie shot up to the top of my Life List and into the murder mystery pool I dove. 

Murder on the Orient Express was first published at the beginning of 1934 and features Christie's popular Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. (Somebody please school me on the pronunciation of that name. To the best of my knowledge, it comes out sounding something like "air-kyul pwarrow"....am I close?) Our famous detective finds himself stuck on a train that has gone straight into a snowbank, but to make matters worse, one of the passengers turns up dead in his bed having been stabbed 12 times sometime in the middle of the night. The killer has to be on the train because of their unexpected stop in the snow. Can Hercule Poirot figure this out? 

Oh he can, y'all. Because apparently, he is the smartest, most clever detective you ever did see. 

What I liked most about this book was the way all the facts, evidence, and testimonies were laid out had me trying to solve the mystery right along with Poirot. I mean, I almost got out my own little notebook to start taking my own notes on the case, but I'm just not that dedicated. And I DID figure part of it out. But the conclusion was so intricate, masterful, and outrageous that it left me sitting with a stupefied grin on my face. Literally. I just sat in my rocker for a good 3 minutes grinning like an idiot and trying to decide how I felt about the ending. I also appreciated the humor in this novel as Christie had Poirot's cronies jumping to conclusions all over the place and getting more and more exasperated at the seeming impossibility of the case. 

If you're looking for cons, Murder on the Orient Express was not as unputdownable as I was expecting it to be. Every Christie fan talks about how engrossing her novels are, and I would not quite put this one in that category. If you are trying to solve it along with Hercule, the details start to get a little overwhelming as there are so many suspects. 

Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I look forward to reading more of Christie's work. Not all of it, mind you, but definitely more. I purchased Murder on the Orient Express in a box set of "The World's Favourite Agatha Christie" which also included And Then There Were None and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Both of those come highly recommended by friends of mine so I'm psyched to read them. I would also like to read one of her Miss Marple novels at some point. 

So let me have it: what are your favorite novels by Agatha Christie? What can I not miss? Have you read any of the Miss Marple mysteries? Which one(s) should I read? Bring it on. I can handle it. Did any of you see the movie over the weekend? No spoilers, please, but what did you think? I plan to see it this coming weekend, and I'll definitely let you know what I think. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Casual Fridays

Where to even start? It's been a hot minute since we had a Casual Friday around here, and let me tell you why:
We got another puppy! I'm so kidding (what do you think I'm insane?!), but we did have him over for a few days while his family was out of town. We also went to Alabama for a weekend and finally got to spend time with my entire family. It's been way too long since we had all been together. Like, over two years, y'all. That's too long.
We had a Celebration of the Reformation concert at my church in which I was part of the choir, both puppies have had health issues lately, Halloween came and went, work, dentist, AWANA: suffice it to say, things have been busy around here.

But not too busy for me to read two books in the last two weeks. Sunset Lullaby by Robin Jones Gunn (the very last book from my 2017 book list!) and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. 
What can I even say about this precious book? It was the perfect way to wrap up the series I've been reading for over 15 years now. I was actually bawling at the end. That's not an exaggeration. I was ugly-crying, y'all. In the best way. I'm not planning to recap this one, so let me just say that I really do think this was the perfect way to end the Christy Miller saga. However, Robin has announced that she has begun writing a new book to be the first in the Gather series in which Christy will be a main character. I have mixed feelings about this because it's all about a group of young moms encouraging and supporting each other during the child-raising years. I'm not in that club, but, as you know, I love Robin Jones Gunn and everything she touches. So....to read or not to read: that is the question.

There will be a recap of Murder on the Orient Express coming to a blog near you soon (hint: this blog, Monday) so that's all I'll say about that for now. I'm currently reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson (over halfway done!), Anne of Green Gables (for like, the hundredth time), and the Gospel of John. Which brings me to something I've always wondered about: what do you think the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist was like before Jesus' ministry years? I mean, they were related and John's mother certainly understood who Jesus was. Don't you think she told John stories growing up about the miraculous circumstances surrounding his own existence, his father's dumb days, that his cousin Jesus was the Messiah? Do you think John and Jesus ever met each other and played together at family reunions when they were boys? I wonder about these things.
Did you really think you'd get out of this post without me gushing at some point or other about my nieces? Let's just start with the top left: are they not the cutest trick-or-treaters on the planet? Especially that little ladybug. I can't. And what does the top right say to you? Pure joy? Correct. Bottom left: my oldest niece is a ballerina. Not for Halloween, she has started taking ballet classes. Her recital at the beginning of December is literally the biggest deal on my calendar right now. And obviously, I am my niece's B.F.F. That goes for all of them, bottom right there is just the mascot. Insert all the heart-related emojis imaginable. 
We have completed another puzzle, you guys. And when I say "we" I really just mean "me". I did this one almost completely by myself. And I finished it in like a week. I was addicted to this puzzle. I need to go get some custom frames made for this one and the pumpkin one. 12x34 inches. I'll probably go to Michael's but does anyone know of any other place that does custom framing that might be better (read: cheaper)?
I gave myself a pedicure recently, and I once again achieved smudge-free status! I think my BFF Lyndsey's trick of doing thin coats and letting them dry completely is the key. My toes were sorely in need of some TLC, and I actually went to Tips & Toes for a real pedi, but after waiting over 45 minutes with not even an acknowledgement from anyone that I was even there (and three other ladies coming in for scheduled appointments and no one acknowledging THEY were there either), I left and went home to do it myself. I mean, can you really beat having two puppies snuggled up to you with Gilmore Girls on the TV while your toes dry? I think not.

And speaking of Gilmore Girls, I've finally decided that I'm not #TeamJess or #TeamLogan or #TeamDean (I can't even believe there are #TeamDean people in the world, but apparently they exist); I've decided I'm #TeamMarty (which could also be called #TeamNakedGuy if we wanted to get cute about it). He definitely got the shaft and if Rory really does turn out as horribly as A Year In The Life made her out to be, then Marty's the only guy on her level. Jess is too good for her. Yeah, I said it. 
And if you're still reading, you may remember from back at the beginning of this never-ending post that I mentioned my poor, sweet puppies having health drama lately. Colonel somehow got a staff infection which meant we had to shove pills down his throat twice a day for two whole weeks, and now Major is getting over pink eye which means we've been putting some kind of steroid goop on his eye all week. (Don't get me started.) They are the best, but they have been a bit on the high-maintenance side lately. Bless.

Ok. We've been here way too long. I just have to throw in a quick plug for my latest obsession: Heather Land - I Ain't Doin It. She is hilarious and you need her in your life.

Also, my birthday is one week from today. Please consider donating to Compassion in honor of me turning 30. So far, we've raised enough money for 4 water filters and we're halfway to a 5th one, but if we're going to make it to 30, we've got a ways to go.

Much love, homies. Over and out.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"It is error alone that needs the support of government.
Truth can stand by itself."

~Thomas Jefferson~

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Of all the cankers of human happiness, 
none corrodes it with so silent, yet so baneful, a tooth, as indolence."

~Thomas Jefferson~