Thursday, December 31, 2015

Let's Bust A Recap : 2015

Well, it is New Years Eve and sad to say, I still have 126 pages to go in TR. It just ain't gonna happen, folks. But let's take today to focus on what I did accomplish, shall we?
My original list consisted of 30 books. I ended up reading 13 books this year. 5 of those 13 were not even on the original list. So apparently, I was a little too ambitious for my own good. But I'm pretty happy with what I accomplished. There were some pretty serious reads in there. Let me remind you:

Persuasion by Jane Austen : completed 1/12
This was a re-read and not on my original list. But in my mind, I substituted this for Sense & Sensibility which was on the original list.

I had three works by Shakespeare on my original list and this was probably the shortest of the three, but I'm feeling pretty good about being able to say I read anything by Shakespeare this year. I mean, did any of you read any Shakespeare this year? 

This was definitely one of those "serious reads" I was talking about. When I finished this one, I remember thinking that if I read nothing else this year, I'd still be pretty proud of myself for making it through this one.

Definitely a re-read and definitely a comfort read. I love Little Women. I certainly needed this after finishing up Vanity Fair.

Another re-read, but somehow, it felt like the first time. This might have been my favorite read for the year.

Probably my most unexpected read for the year. This book was not even on my radar, and I kindof happened upon it totally accidentally, but I'm so glad I did. Also, I felt very current reading this book seeing as most of the books on my list are forever old.

One of my least favorite reads of the year. Probably in future, I will just refer back to my recap of it for the quotes that really stood out to me. Or I'll only read the final chapter.

Um, do I need to say anything about this one? It was everything I wanted it to be. Technically, this wasn't on my original list, but really, it was. I just didn't know what the name was going to be, so I couldn't exactly write it down. I can't wait for the next one in the series. (Not pictured above because it's out on loan, of course.)

I'm giving this one the Most Emotional Read award. Even though it was a re-read, it's just so special reading about your own family.

Another of my favorite authors and she definitely did not disappoint with this one. It might have been my favorite from the Sons of Encouragement series....okay so maybe Jonathan was my real favorite....or Caleb. Okay fine, I can tell you with certainty that Aaron and Amos were definitely NOT my favorites. So there.

For sure the worst thing I read this year. How depressing. I will never read this book again.

Think Dog! by John Fisher : completed 9/5
This was probably the most practical thing I read this year. It definitely helped us in our dog-ownership and hello, we got another dog after we read it. So....

For sure the coolest thing I read this year because MY BEST FRIEND WROTE IT! It's not pictured above because I don't have a physical copy yet, but you better believe it's on its way!

So there you have it. I also read through the New American Standard Bible this year which, truly, is the best reading accomplishment there is. I try to read through the whole Bible on odd years, and I just finished yesterday--a whole day early. I think I underestimated how that would affect the rest of my reading for the year. I also wasn't anticipating two dogs which I'm most assuredly factoring in to this equation. 

All in all, I think my first year with a legitimate book list went well. I read 9 books that I had never read before, and I now have a more accurate way to gauge how many books I should put on future book lists. Speaking of which, I'll be posting my 2016 Book List soon so stay tuned and Happy New Years Eve!

Did you complete any reading goals this year? How about 2015 resolutions? What are some of your resolutions for the coming year?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas to Us!

Oh yes. Yes we did. Let me introduce you to the newest member of our little brood. Because apparently, one bundle of crazy just wasn't enough for us.
We've dubbed him Major. Although at this point, he doesn't seem to understand that he ranks lower than Colonel. He's a Labradoodle and just about the sweetest thing ever. P.S. Don't let the photos deceive you, he's only about half the size of Colonel.
We picked him up from the airport Sunday night, and immediately realized he fears nothing. When we picked Colonel up, he had to be physically removed from his crate. When we opened this little guy's crate up, he was ready to explore everything
We love him. And after a few hours of seriously questioning everything he knew to be true about his world, Colonel loved him, too.
And even though I have doubted the sanity of bringing a new, un-trained, stinky little puppy into our home only about a billion times since Sunday night and have already been bemoaning the return to perpetually dirty floors and unpleasant odors, I have to admit, it's awesome that Colonel has a little playmate. They wear each other out and keep each other company which is exactly what we wanted.
Our first few attempts at a family picture. Oh boy.
All in all, I think we'll keep him.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Birthday to my Kindred Spirit!

Happy Birthday, Caroline! I love you forever!
Cruise ~ January 2015
~The Special One~

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend turned Sister!

Happy Birthday, Lyndsey Annette! I love you forever!
December 1995
High School Grads ~ May 2006

Friday, December 11, 2015

Casual Fridays

Basically all I have for you today are links. Because let's catch up on our Link Love, right?

- USAF Band WWII Holiday Flashback : Definitely the best link for today so if you don't have time for the others, just watch this one. Also, why am I never in these places when these things happen? I mean, really, why aren't the streets of Winter Haven just filled with talented singers and dancers whenever I go out? I don't think it's an unrealistic dream.

- Classic Dance Scenes Mashed Up to Uptown Funk : Stop it. If you're going to waste hours of your life creating something that's ultimately not very important, please do things like this. It's awesome. (This was also a very close second to our first link. If it wasn't currently Christmastime, this one might have won.)

- Outdo One Another in Showing Honor : Because this is just really good. That's all there is to say about that.

- A Hallelujah Christmas : I love this. I want a CD of it. 

- Heavenly Joy on America's Got Talent : This kid. If you don't want to watch all 6+ minutes of this, just skip to 4:10. I can't even.

- Mad Face Baby : You're welcome.

Oh and here's a picture of my little laundry buddy on a pile of dirty towels. Isn't he just the cutest? I think so anyway. Happy Friday!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Let's Bust a Recap : Ravensboro

So my BFF Christina participated in and completed the NaNoWriMo Challenge last month. For those of you who don't know what in the world that means: November is National Novel Writing Month, and there is an internet challenge open to any aspiring writers who desire to participate to write a 50,000 word novel. 

And my girl did it. And not only that, she let me read it and bounced ideas off me as she was writing it. And speaking as a completely objective third party outsider with absolutely no personal interest in the matter (NAME THAT MOVIE), I have to say, her book was really good. I think she has a real shot at getting it published.

Ravensboro follows the adventures of three siblings as they discover their magical heritage after the sudden death of their parents and their subsequent attempts to defeat the evil schemes of a wicked foe. I would classify it as a young adult fantasy. 

Christina did a great job of weaving this compelling plot together and writing it in such a way that leaves the reader eager for more. She created quirky characters that I immediately fell in love with and a few odious ones that I wanted to see go down. There were several days throughout the month of November where I was nagging her to send me the next installment because I was dying to know what was going to happen next. I even got my husband to read it, and he loved it, too. (And he's not the type to throw away compliments, so that's saying something.)

And lest you think that 50,000 words isn't a real book, here are some other novels that have approximately 50,000 words:
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (46,118 words)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words)
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (50,776 words)
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (52,000 words)
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (56,695 words)
Be on the lookout for Ravensboro by Christina J. Volpe, coming to a bookstore near you soon. I'm sure of it.

Christina, way to go! You are awesome. I'm looking forward to your next book. When you're totally famous, I can say I knew you when. 
Circa Summer of '07

Friday, December 4, 2015

Casual Fridays

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and I have discovered the PhotoGrid app. Aren't you lucky?
I have been a busy little worker elf this week decking all our halls and turning our little home sweet home into a Christmas Wonderland. Don't you just love this time of year?
Here are a few of my favorite ornaments. Cody and I like to assemble and decorate our Christmas tree while watching White Christmas, my favorite Christmas movie. We started this tradition our first year of marriage, and it makes getting all the decorations down and dusting them off something to look forward to. Despite all the rockin' around the Christmas tree, I have managed to make a little bit of progress in TR this week. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
And since this is a blog about books, I decided to share a few of my all-time favorite Christmas books with you. Which I also like to decorate with. You can not go wrong with any of these. Starting from the top left:
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
The Gift of the Magi adapted by Penelope J. Stokes
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
The Candymaker's Gift by David & Helen Haidle
The Candle in the Window by Grace Johnson
Alabaster's Song by Max Lucado
Anyway, the cards have been mailed, the halls have been decked, the weather is even cooling off a little, and I'm almost done with the shopping already. Time to slow down and remember why we we're celebrating.

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 
And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' 
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
Luke 2:7-14 (KJV)

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

What are some of your Christmas traditions? Do you have a favorite Christmas book or song or ornament?