Monday, February 29, 2016

The Teachable Moment

My husband and I are adopting. I don't talk about it much here on the blog because that's not what this particular blog is about. I enjoy reading other adoption blogs, and I've found a lot of helpful information by reading them and been encouraged by them too, but that's just not what I'm about in this space. 

But today, I'm "seizing the teachable moment" as some would say because I'm not very good at doing it in the actual moment.

A few weeks ago, a very sweet lady approached my husband and me to ask how the adoption was going or if we'd had any news and what the process was going to look like. This has become pretty standard fare, and most of the time, I think I'm used to it. And despite the fact that I've had people asking me why we don't just have "our own kids" or telling me they're praying that God "opens my womb", I've discovered that I have not yet heard it all. Because as we were sitting there answering the same old questions about how nothing new has happened, this sweet lady asked if we were just determined to "wait for a black one". 

And I just can't seem to let this one go. I've learned in this process that no matter how prepared I think I am for crazy comments like those, I never actually am ready for them, and, as I mentioned earlier, I'm not good at seizing the teachable moment to educate those well-meaning but utterly-misled people who assume things like we're adopting from Africa simply because the children are black there. I'm usually just trying to recover from the absolute shock that I actually heard something worse than the last time and make it through the conversation without falling over.

Because the color of a child's skin is not the point.

It has never been the point.

It will never be the point.

We're not adopting from Ethiopia because we want a black baby. 

We're not adopting because my womb is closed. 

We don't see a difference between "our adopted kids" and "our own kids". 

If God blesses us with children who are black, white, red, yellow, or polka-dotted, we will love them and we will claim them as our own. All of them. I really don't care if my children come from my body or from some other woman's body; if God puts them in our family, we will cherish them. End of story. If God doesn't give us any children ever for the rest of our lives on this earth, we will still love God and each other and be thankful for the lives He's abundantly blessed us with. That's it.

We're not the best at it, but we're trying to live in obedience to God's will for our lives and our family. And we believe with all our hearts that adoption is part of His will for this family. 

Right now, that looks like adoption from Ethiopia. In the future, it might look like adoption from foster care. Or adoption from India. Or adoption from China. Or adoption from outer space, if the need arises.

So please, if you know someone going through what seems like a very long and complicated process of adoption that doesn't make sense to you when you think they should just get pregnant and make a family the normal way, don't assume that they can't get pregnant. Don't assume they're adopting just because they want their family to look a certain way. Just love them, pray for them, believe they're doing what's best for their family, and hug them tight every once in a while when it seems like the wait will never ever end.

It's really as simple as that.
"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
~ Matthew 18:10 ~

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : A Midsummer-Night's Dream

Ok, so a couple weeks ago, I read Shakespeare's A Midsummer-Night's Dream. Thanks to your recommendations last year when I recapped Much Ado About Nothing, I put A Midsummer-Night's Dream on this year's book list.  One of my readers said it was "very, very easy to follow and very humorous." And she was absolutely correct. (I mean, she is an English teacher so she knows whereof she speaks.)

In A Midsummer-Night's Dream, we are introduced to Hermia who is madly in love with Lysander who returns her love but is forbidden to marry her by her father Egeus who wants her to marry Demetrius who is also in love with Hermia but won't give the time of day to Helena who is desperately in love with him. (Did you follow all of that? It's like, totally high school drama, amiright?) Other principal characters include Theseus and Hippolyta (who are engaged), a bunch of laymen (who are preparing a play for the wedding festivities of the aforementioned Theseus and Hippolyta), and a magical world of fairies (who have their own little side drama going on but are most important in this story for how they interfere with the young lovers, in my opinion). 

At the beginning of the play, we find out about Hermia's predicament (her predicament being that she's in love with Lysander but her father wants her to marry Demetrius--in case you glossed over that complicated high school drama I ran through above and missed the actual predicament) and learn that she either needs to choose Demetrius in obedience to her father's wishes or die. Yes. I said or die. Apparently, the ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about keeping their children in line. She and Lysander concoct a plan to meet in the woods that night and run away together. They tell Helena about their plan, and Helena decides to tell Demetrius so that he'll love her for telling him (sister needs to find a little self-respect, I'm just sayin'). So when all four of these young lovers end up in an enchanted wood that night, the fairies wreak a little havoc with some love potion #9. 

As I mentioned above and as my reader-friend astutely pointed out, the play was easy to follow, and, all in all, it was very entertaining. It was probably a little bit easier to read than Much Ado About Nothing, but I have to admit, I personally liked Much Ado About Nothing better than I liked A Midsummer-Night's Dream. 

So there you have it. I will always recommend Shakespeare (I mean, according to pretty much anyone, he's the world's greatest writer) so I recommend A Midsummer-Night's Dream. I read it in 3 days. I put Macbeth on the list this year as well because I'd really like to read at least two of Shakespeare's plays each year (I definitely failed last year), and I think reading one comedy and one tragedy is probably a good way to go about it. 

Have you read any Shakespeare lately? Which Shakespeare play is your absolute favorite? What two plays should go on next year's book list? (Too forward thinking? Never.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

What Do You Value?

As you all know, I recently read The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. And if you read my recap of it, you also know that I couldn't put it down. But as I neared the end of the book, this sentence stopped me in my tracks.
"...for the Hurons were in no degree exempt from that governing principle of nature, which induces man to value his gifts precisely in the degree that they are appreciated by others."
From The Last of the Mohicans (chapter 27) page 290.

Let that sink in a minute.

What makes something valuable? Think about your life. Think about what you have. What is more valuable to you than anything else? Why is it that thing? 

Oftentimes, we humans ascribe value to things simply based on whether the majority of people also value it. 

Now I understand that my diamond engagement ring is worth more than a candy ring pop. I get that. But let's really think about this. A lot of statistics today show that more than half of all marriages end in divorce. Society has said that marriage is not valuable. That if you can't seem to get along with your spouse, or if marriage is making your life harder instead of easier, then you can just throw your marriage away and start over. And since the majority seem to agree with this mindset, we have people in marriages who don't value their spouse. Who are too busy looking around and thinking the grass is greener on the other side instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting down to the business of cultivating their own lawn. Who are having affairs, physical and emotional, thinking that since marriage isn't that important, they're not doing any damage. 

Or think about this. Approximately 42 million abortions occur each year. Forty. Two. Million. Does that number not stagger you? That calculates out to over 100,000 abortions every single day. Society has said that human life is not valuable. That if a pregnancy comes at a bad time for you or if the baby growing inside of you might not be perfectly healthy, then you can just throw that life away and not feel guilty about it. And since the loudest voices are screaming that every woman has the right to choose whether or not they should be able to have a baby or throw it away, we have teenage girls who are making a decision they can never take back. Who are damaging their body and their psyche without realizing the consequences of such an act. We have women who are calloused, jaded, and crusading for a cause they don't believe in to assuage their guilty conscience. 

Let's take it even further. We're seeing studies that show millennials are walking away from the church in droves. Society has said that the Bible is not valuable. That if you believe the universe happened as a result of chance, or if same-sex marriage is not a sin, then you can just throw away what the Bible has to say to these issues and do whatever you want. And since the most popular opinions seem to be that evolution is scientifically sound and same-sex marriage is not offensive and gender-reassignment is perfectly acceptable and life before birth actually isn't life at all, we have a world full of people who think that they can still claim the name of Christ while living in direct opposition to His Word. Who have taken prayer out of schools and public places and government. Who are persecuting anyone who does take a stand for Biblical truth. 

I could go on and on. Don't even get me started on being discontent with the size of your TV, or your house, or your yard. Comparison is a dangerous game, and using a standard set by sinful people to measure your own blessings or determine the state of your personal contentment is a road you don't need to go down.

Let's be people who think for ourselves. Who value marriage and life and God's Word. Who treasure and protect these most precious of gifts instead of mindlessly following the herd mentality we so often encounter. Let's be people who stand up--even if it means standing alone--for truth.

What do you value?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Casual Fridays

Have you ever read or heard of these "Currently I'm..." blog posts? Because I've come across several and I always think they're super-fun and I want to do one and today seems like the day. So here we go.

... The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire and really enjoying it. I didn't think I was going to recap this on the blog, but I'm starting to reconsider. Too awkward?

... In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda. This is a book of interviews that I started last year. It's good, but it will probably take me all year to finish because I'm just reading 1 or 2 interviews at a time between other books. 

... my blog stats because we passed 10,000 views this week! Woohoo! Thank you, faithful readers!


... to pack up my Christmas decorations because it's about freakin' time.

... to choose what novel I want to tackle next. Any suggestions? Here's my book list for the year for you to reference.

... not to eat only sugar. But Valentine's candy, amiright?! Also, my sweet husband went out Wednesday morning before I got up and brought home a dozen glazed donuts from Publix. I may or may not have eaten half of them. Don't judge me.


... my brother because he left to go back to LA this week after having stayed with us for over a month. Come baaaaack!!! (P.S. I finally went and saw the new Star Wars, and I have to say, I loved it. It's so much better than Episodes I, II, and III, but obviously it doesn't even touch the originals.)
... my sister because I haven't seen her since forever and she's an AF pilot now!!

... my other brother and sister-in-love because now I just miss all my siblings, and they're the farthest away in Japaaaaan!
Christmas 2014

... Princess Diaries. The hubs and I watched both movies last night. Well, let me rephrase that: I stayed up watching both movies while he slept hardcore.

... Parks and Rec. I slept through most of season 1. Got interested during season 2. Died laughing through seasons 3 and 4. But I'm starting to lose interest again. Is it worth it to finish?

... Brain Games. Cody and I just started this show, and it's pretty fascinating. Plus, I'm banking on never getting Alzheimer's now that I'm watching it. Exercising the mind and all that. Seems logical, right?


... to Stressed Out on repeat. I'm addicted to this song lately.

... to Relient K's The Bird and the Bee Sides and Forget and Not Slow Down albums.

... to the Beach Boys because I am so ready for summer.


... my two little reading buddies.
... the weather this week. We're back up in the 70s during the day. Yay Florida sunshine!

... this necklace my honey gave me for Valentine's Day.

... on our very first home today! That's right. By the end of today, we will be homeowners. We're such grownups. I can hardly believe it, but I am sooo excited!

... the laptop now because it's time to get ready for this monumental day.

What's going on with you currently?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"' 'Tis extraordinary that he should have withheld his knowledge so long,' muttered Duncan, 
at his elbow.

'It would have been more wonderful had he spoken without a bidding. 
No, no; your young white, who gathers his learning from books and can measure what he knows by the page, may conceit that his knowledge, like his legs, outruns that of his father; but where experience is the master, the scholar is made to know the value of years, and respects them accordingly.'"

~The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper~

Monday, February 15, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : The Last of the Mohicans

Well, I have finished reading The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. I was so blown away by this book I have no idea where to start. 

First of all, it was excellent. I was so completely enthralled by this novel that I read it in a quick two weeks. 

Second of all, I went into this read with certain expectations after having seen--and incidentally, I own--the 1992 movie adaptation of this book starring Daniel Day-Lewis. I, personally, really enjoy the movie, and I'm sure I'll watch it again. But let me tell you something: that movie has absolutely nothing to do with the novel by James Fenimore Cooper. N O T H I N G. All the expectations I had were completely and systematically shattered the further I journeyed into the world of Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook. By the end of the story, I literally had no idea what was going to happen, and I gasped aloud when a certain pivotal moment occurred. So if you've ever seen the movie, please, put it out of your mind if you ever decide to read this novel. And by all means, read the novel.

But let's back up, shall we? The Last of the Mohicans centers around the three characters I already mentioned: the wise white scout Hawkeye (of if you prefer his Christian name, Nathaniel Bumppo) and his two Indian counterparts (Chingachgook and his son Uncas), as well as Duncan Heyward (a brave, young major in the English army), David Gamut (a singing idiot, although he does come through at the end), and Cora and Alice Munro (the beautiful daughters of General Munro). The Last of the Mohicans is a thrilling tale set in 1757 during the French and Indian War. (For all of you who might not be historically savvy, the French and Indian War in America was not between the French and Indians, but actually was a conflict between France and Great Britain to gain control of North America. It was before we gained our independence from Europe which happened in 1776. Enough with the history lesson; it's really not what this post is supposed to be about.) Anyway, the plot follows the adventures of the above-named characters as they struggle against the bloodthirsty and completely evil-to-his-very-core Huron Indian Magua, or, as the French call him, Le Renard Subtil. And let me tell you, what a bundle of adventures. This book does not contain a single dull moment. It's the type of novel that leaves you--sometimes literally--hanging off a cliff at the end of each chapter. I found myself holding my breath a lot, and Cody found me during every single down second of time we had riveted to this book. Time to go to church? I'm ready and sitting on the couch reading The Last of the Mohicans. Bedtime? Up till midnight reading The Last of the Mohicans. Sitting in a restaurant waiting for our food to come? Complaining that I didn't bring The Last of the Mohicans with me. I'm not kidding, you guys. This one's a page-turner, and I highly recommend it.

Some quick fun facts about the author, James Fenimore Cooper, which I have taken straight from my personal copy of The Last of the Mohicans: "According to family lore, Cooper fell into writing on a dare: One evening he threw down a novel in disgust, saying he could write a better book himself; when [his wife] Susan challenged him and reminded him that he could barely stand to write a letter, Cooper wrote his first novel, Precaution, published in 1820. Encouraged by favorable reviews, Cooper wrote other books in quick succession and was soon regarded as a major voice in America's emerging literary tradition. He eventually published thirty-two novels and was the first American to make a living as a professional novelist."

In summary, I give The Last of the Mohicans 5 out of 5 stars, and I would highly recommend it. If you have any kind of sense of adventure at all, you will enjoy it.
yes, my hair is ALWAYS a hot mess. yes, my Christmas tree is STILL up.
Have you ever read The Last of the Mohicans or anything else by James Fenimore Cooper? Did you know that The Last of the Mohicans is actually the second book in the Leatherstocking Tales which all feature America's favorite fictional hero (one of them anyway), Natty Bumppo? Have any of you read any of the others and would you recommend them? The Last of the Mohicans is obviously the most well-known but if the rest of Cooper's writing is anything like this, I want to read all of it.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"'Think over your prayers,' he whispered, as they approached him; 'for He to whom you make them knows all tongues; that of the heart as well as those of the mouth.'"

~Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper~

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My First Blogiversary!

Well faithful readers, today marks one whole year of blogging. Who would have thought when I wrote this post in the middle of the night one year ago today that I'd have stuck with it for a whole year? Not me. I wasn't even sure then that I wanted a blog. But it's turned out to be a pretty fun hobby, not to mention a great way to keep track of some personal memories and (obviously) my reading progress. 

When I wrote that very first post, I stated that my goal for this blog was "to be intentional about what I read and to share about my literary adventures." 

Well since then, I have completed 15 books, 11 of those being books that I read for the first time ever. I wrote recaps on most (if not all) of them. I'd say I've done a pretty good job of sticking to my goal, notwithstanding all those Casual Friday posts and more general silliness than actual bookishness that goes on around here. 

So for anyone who's interested, here are a few pertinent deets from my first year of blogging.

- This post is my 131st post.

- As of 7:00 last night, this blog has generated 9,692 views (not including my own which would make that number astronomically misleading). Almost broke that 10,000 mark!

- My number one referring site was (thank you, Official Book Club!) with honorable mentions going to and

- People from literally all over the world have viewed my blog including people from the UK, Japan (thanks Oak and Caroline!), Russia, Madagascar (I see you, Marris!), India, Poland, France, Germany, and many, many more. I just think that's so super-cool.

- I did an actual giveaway which accounted for the week I got the most blog views and comments.

My five most popular posts were:

1 - My One Hundredth Post (And First Giveaway!) with 323 views. (real shocker. people come when free stuff is involved) 

2 - Thanks for the Memories with 126 views. (ahh, nostalgia at its finest)

3 - Marriage with 97 views. (Marriage was one of my personal favorites as well)

4 - Happy Birthday to my Sweet Little Buddy! with 85 views. (go figure. cute animals are a big draw apparently)

5 - Waiting with 72 views. (probably the most vulnerable thing I've posted publicly)

So thank you, THANK YOU to all you lovely people who have kept up with my crazy little corner of cyberspace! I hope you stick around. Here's to another fun year!
...and in the interest of keeping you guys around, what do you like about this blog? What do you not like? Is there anything you'd like to see more of? How about less of? Be brutal. I can take it. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Casual Fridays

Well, my brother and husband just made me watch A Walk to Remember with them, and I've cried out all the fluids in my body. I need to hydrate. I have such a love-hate relationship with that film. It's so good. But it gives me so many feelings. Let's talk about some happy things. 

First of all, how about a collage of our latest Busch Gardens adventure? Yay! for friends with passes!
We went last Saturday with Jon and Sydney, and as it turns out, Busch Gardens is even more fun when you go with friends. Especially for my husband because he finally had someone to ride Sheikra with. Because no matter how much he tries to talk me into it, I just can't. The more I watch that rollercoaster, the more terrifying it looks. In that picture of Sheikra on the right side of the collage, Cody and Jon are in the front row, enjoying their death-defying drop to the fullest. More power to you, guys. Sydney and I will stick with Kumba which all of us rode three times, by the way. What a fun day! Thanks for letting us tag along, you two! 

And now I just have to talk about yesterday because I had the greatest day. My husband let me skip off to the beach for the day all by myself. No dogs, no housework, no responsibilities. I've mentioned before that the beach is my happy place, so yesterday was really the best gift ever. 
This day was just perfect. It involved several of my "happy" things, and can I just say that never have I been more #happy to live in a state where the first week of February is beach weather?! #Floridagirlforlife

There was one dark spot in my day though. I don't know if I've ever told y'all this, but I hate birds. In 9th grade, I was made to watch the movie Birds (the Alfred Hitchcock HORROR FILM--why I was made to watch this in school is beyond me...then again, I was also made to watch Sybil...public school, amiright?!). Anyway, ever since I saw that movie, I've had a healthy apprehension around most winged creatures. Yesterday, as I was sitting in my most favorite place on earth, eating my most favorite beach snack (celery & peanut butter), an overly-bold seagull swooped down from behind me and snatched a piece of celery, already smothered in peanut butter, right out of my hand with his beak just before I popped it in my mouth. You guys. I didn't even see him coming. It was awful. I was so stunned, I didn't even move. I think my heart actually stopped. But you know what? The joke's on him because he got his beak covered in peanut butter, and he couldn't even eat it. I got immense satisfaction watching him struggle to get that peanut butter off his beak. So there.

If you'll also direct your attention to the bottom left corner of the Beach Day collage, you'll notice I'm reading The Last of the Mohicans. Which, consequently, is the reason I haven't been blogging. I can't stop reading this book, y'all. It's so good. Hopefully I can finish it this weekend and get back to normal life because I can't put it down and my dogs and house are ready for me to get back into the swing of things around here. 

Speaking of my house, I came home from my already-perfect day at the beach yesterday to a sparkling clean kitchen (which is really a big deal considering the absolute wreck it was before I left) and a vase full of the most gorgeous roses I've ever seen. #ohyeshedid
Oh and my husband called me his "bae". We're such grownups. But seriously though. Aren't those the prettiest roses you've ever seen? They're like, a coral color. So, so beautiful. All you husbands out there, here's a free tip: spoil your wife the week before Valentine's Day. She will not expect it, and you will get major brownie points. And if you think you lucked out because you have a wife who doesn't care about Valentine's Day, you're wrong. She does. I'm right about this, trust me. And read this, because it's so true and makes my point better than I can. 

Well, that's all I've got for today. Okay fine, I just want to go back to reading The Last of the Mohicans. Sue me. I hope your February is off to a fabulous start!

What movies always make you cry no matter what? (I have an entire list, believe me.) Do you have a secret animal phobia? What's the greatest thing about your home state (or town...or country...or wherever you live)?