Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket."

~John Adams~

Who is your favorite poet?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Alabama

The second state we decided to check off our Bucket List was Alabama. After Google-ing unique things to do in Alabama (because really, what is there to do in Alabama?) we decided to go camping at Cathedral Caverns State Park. So after Cody got home from work on Thursday, April 6th, we finished loading up the car and started the ten hour drive to the top northeastern corner of Alabama. We finally crossed the Alabama state line at about 7:00 the next morning.
It took us about another hour and a half to get to the campgrounds where we had our pick of the campsites and went ahead and got set up. 
We then drove up to "get registered" and buy our tickets for the cave tour for the following day. I say "get registered" loosely because we probably could have camped there for days without them ever realizing we were there (in fact, I think one of the families that ended up camping there Friday night probably never paid for their campsite). It was pretty laid back. We spent the rest of Friday relaxing, walking around the park, reading, making a campfire and eating hot dogs and s'mores. We pretty much had the grounds to ourselves till about dinnertime when other campers started showing up. 

On Saturday, we took it easy in the morning and waited to go do the cave tour until 2:00. I think there were 14 people in our group including our guide. The cave tour was amazing! I've never been in a cave that massive before. It took us about an hour and a half to walk as far back as we were allowed and then back out of the cave. The most incredible part of the experience in my opinion is that, except for the walkways and handrails that have been put throughout the cave, everything else about it has been untouched. There was one tunnel we went through that had been blasted out, but only because the natural tunnel floods at certain times of the year so it's unsafe to use it. I think for most of the tour through the caverns, my mouth was hanging open because I couldn't believe how expansive they were. 
in front of the cave opening
from the inside looking out of the natural cave opening
If you're looking for something cool to do in Alabama, I would definitely recommend Cathedral Caverns State Park. We spent another freezing night in our tent Saturday, and spent Sunday packing up and driving home. Alabama: done! 2 down, 48 to go.

What little-known treasures in the U.S. would you recommend we try to see?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Casual Fridays

Congratulations on making it through another week! I don't know about y'all, but April has been the crazy month this year. Our calendar has been slammed. But it's all good stuff so who can complain about that? I can. I mean, not that I'm complaining exactly, but I feel like I haven't slept in a year and a half. I'm ready for things to slow down just a smidge. I still haven't made it to the beach (notwithstanding my cruise to Mexico!), and it's looking like I won't be able to catch a beach day till about halfway through May. C'est la vie.

So in keeping with the craziness of this month, I'm just going to throw a bunch of random pictures at you and call this a Photo-Prompted Post
First of all, my pink camo iPhone case has officially bitten the dust. It never exactly fit properly in the first place, but now it is prohibiting the proper functions of my phone so it's time to go. Sad. R.I.P my happy pink camo OtterBox. You lasted almost two years so I guess that's pretty good.
Look at this gorgeous bouquet! As I was running around the house in a crazed everyone-is-coming-here-tomorrow-and-I-have-to-stay-through-both-morning-services-so-this-house-and-all-the-food-needs-to-be-ready-NOW frenzy Saturday night, my husband came home bearing these beautiful flowers and proceeded to arrange them into this fabulous bouquet which made the perfect centerpiece for our Easter celebration Sunday afternoon. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: he is the best. 
And speaking of Easter, it was perfect. The services at my church were poignantly beautiful, almost my entire family gathered at my house (we missed you, S-Baby! oh and you too, Oak and Caroline), and we ate a lot of food and shared a lot of laughter. Jesus is alive and He is good! And for the record: there were people in my life who thought I was a little ridiculous for registering for 16 place settings when I got married. But let me tell you, there were 14 adults and 3 children at my house Sunday afternoon and not a one of them had to eat off a Dixie plate, I'm just sayin'. The picture above is of the adorable salt and pepper shakers my mom gave me for Easter this year. How cute, right?!
Y'all. I got this letter from my Compassion girl this week, and I died. This is the first letter she has ever written all by herself, and she did it in English! She turned 9 last November, and up until now, she has drawn us lots of pictures, but an adult always wrote what she wanted to tell us in her "letters". I'm so proud of her. I want to frame it. How precious! 
My niece is playing soccer again, and y'all should see what an outstanding defensive player she is. She picks her man and literally becomes a human shield between that player and the ball. In fact, at the game after which this photo was taken, it was getting hot and the game was almost over and girlfriend had been working hard in that Florida sunshine, so she turned around to the little boy she was guarding and let him know he needed to "stop moving around so much!" I mean, really. Insert all the laughing/crying emoji faces here. Seriously. 
And while we're on the topic of my niece, she lost her very first tooth! How did this happen?? She was just born yesterday, wasn't she? I can't believe she's big enough to be getting visits from the Tooth Fairy. Go ahead and insert all the flat-out sobbing emoji faces here.
The new Christy book arrived Tuesday night, and I promptly read the entire thing on Wednesday. It was wonderful (of course), but in this book, Todd and Christy took a roadtrip to Glenbrooke so now all I want to do is re-read the entire Glenbrooke series. Stay on track, Hannah. For anyone wondering (since this blog is actually supposed to be about reading the books on my book list), I am slowly working my way through The Three Musketeers. It hasn't exactly grabbed me yet, so when I say "slowly", I mean s-l-o-w-l-y
I started a new Bible study this week, and it's Priscilla Shirer so naturally it's going to be good. For whatever reason, I find that Priscilla's studies challenge me the most. I've done a lot of Bible studies that encourage me or that I've learned a lot from, but Priscilla always seems to get in my face and tell me a thing or two I need to change or do better. In the very first video, she said the devil is strategic about his attacks on us so we need to get strategic about our prayer life. Ouch. How often am I haphazard about prayer? She's good. 
And to wrap this all up: Wednesday was haircut day for the boys! Don't they look sharp? The baby boy I nanny was not too happy that his buddies were missing most of the day Wednesday, but boy did they need some grooming. I love when their hair is long and shaggy, but I do not love how much dirt they bring in when it's like that. Yay! for not having to vacuum every single day. At least for a while. 

How's life with you lately? What did you do for Easter? Have you done any good Bible studies or read any good books recently? Do you sponsor a child with Compassion? What do you write in your letters to your Compassion child? 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"For love is apt to make lunatics of even saints and sages, so young people cannot be expected to escape the delusions, disappointments, and mistakes, as well as the delights, of this sweet madness."

~from Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott~

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Fame is a pearl many dive for and only a few bring up. 
Even when they do, it is not perfect, and they sigh for more, 
and lose better things in struggling for them."

~from Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott~

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Tuesday Confession

I can't get into audiobooks.
I've tried listening to a few, and I just can not ever make it for more than a few minutes.
Furthermore, when someone tells me they've read such-and-such book and then I find out they actually just listened to it via audiobook, I feel as if they have lied to me.
I don't think there's anything wrong with audiobooks, and I think they're a wonderful way for people to explore literature.
They're just not my personal cup of tea, and I appreciate it when people differentiate between reading a physical book and listening to an audiobook.
I'm not sure why that difference is important to me, but I don't think it's too much to ask.

And since we're on the subject, if you do enjoy listening to audiobooks, I've had several people recommend LibriVox to me so I'll just pass that right along. It's an extensive collection of free audiobooks read by volunteers. So if you're into that or you've been wanting to expand your knowledge of classic literature, but you're not into reading physical books, this is a great resource for you.

And as a bonus, Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas wrote this post a couple years ago recommending her favorite readers on LibriVox. So there's that.

Do you like audiobooks?
Is there anything that people expect you to like based on your interests, but you actually just aren't into it?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Casual Fridays

Today we're going to rant about calmly discuss music lately. First, I must disclose that I rarely listen to radio anymore. I mean, almost never. Usually, the only radio I listen to is NPR or the JOY FM, both of which I can only tolerate limited amounts of because even NPR is pushing an agenda these days and the JOY FM just gets a little exhausting sometimes. When I'm in the car, I'm either listening to my iPod or working on my memory verses. So pretty much the bulk of my music was recorded before 2008. Anything more recent than that has usually been recommended to me by a trusted source (aka my husband or my brother Reagan) or it's by a band or artist that I keep up with because I like them. Are we all tracking here? I don't listen to new music. 

But on Wednesday night on my way home from church, I found myself scanning the country stations because that's the vibe I was feeling and I didn't have my iPod with me. Now, basically, I stopped listening to country radio when Luke Bryan started gaining popularity. I'm not a fan of new country. And here's why: I ended up listening to this song called "Somethin' I'm Good At" by an artist called Brett Eldredge. Oy. 

Basically, this entire song is about a completely worthless guy who is lazy and has no interest in improving himself as a man or even as a human being but he can make a girl smile so I guess everything is okay and the girl should just be in love with him. 

Like seriously, in the song he admits to being unable to build a fire, having no sense of direction, a weakness for whisky, he can't change a flat tire, heck he can't even make toast without burning it. He calls himself a "Titanic sinking down into that deep blue sea". 

IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE ATTRACTIVE???

Like, oh yes, the ladies will all melt once this one hits the airwaves?? 

Really?

Call me outdated, old-fashioned, out-of-touch, or whatever, but this guy sounds like a complete loser and if that song makes any woman smile, much less swoon, then PLEASE SEND HELP. I'm #sorrynotsorry but I want (and have, praise the Maker!) a man who can change a flat tire and build a campfire without burning down an entire forest. He can even make me breakfast without breaking any appliances! I mean, ladies of the world, have a little dignity and set some standards, for the love. 

I can't even. 

Oh and to top it off, I looked up the lyrics to this song, to aid me in writing this post and this is the guy who sings it:
This is country music, y'all? A pretty boy in a tight fitted suit and tie riding a scooter?? 

I'll stick with my old-school music, thankyouverymuch.

Is there any new music out there worth listening to? Seriously, I'm taking recommendations if you have them. Are any of you fans of this Brett Eldredge guy and not afraid to admit it? Who are some of your favorite artists or bands? Girls, is a guy's ability to make you smile more important than his having no other abilities whatsoever? Guys, are you proud to be lazy do-nothings with no plans to better yourselves? It's time to gentleman up.