Friday, July 29, 2016

Casual Fridays

This past Sunday night, my house was full to the brim with sweet friends. Sweet friends that I graduated from high school with 10 years ago. (I must have graduated when I was 14, right? Oh leave me be in my denial!) No matter what age we are, I can't believe it's been a whole decade since my high school days, a whole decade of marriages, children, careers, and moves, and I loved every minute of having these people laughing, playing, eating, and talking in my home. I hope each and every one of you knows I love you and you are always, always, always welcome here!
Colonel's Corner/Major's Mischief
Well, yesterday it was Major's turn to go under the knife. That's right, there will never be any little Majors running around because Major no longer has the necessary equipment to spawn. Bless. And to be honest, I think Colonel was more stressed about it than Major was. I mentioned last week that Colonel doesn't do well with separation, and boy was he a mess yesterday. When I got home and Major wasn't with me, that was it. Colonel could not be consoled, and he would not let me out of his sight (or reach) all day. And when it was finally time to go get Major, I ended up just taking Colonel with me because when I picked up the car keys, we had a meltdown. He hasn't left Major's side since. Annoying? A little. Incredibly sweet and endearing? Totally.

Link Love

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life - Trailer : Hey-o! We've got an air date at long last! Anyone who wants to revisit Stars Hollow this fall is welcome to come over to my house for Pop-Tarts and coffee because duh : I recently discovered this webcomic, and it immediately made the very short list of websites I must check every single day. Hilarious.

Onion News: Nation Down to Last 100 Grown-Ups : And speaking of hilarious: this article, right here. I'm not a huge fan of the Onion News normally, but this one nailed it. 

Sheet Pan Roast Chicken Dinner : My sister made this for me while I was in Japan, and YUM. She used boneless thighs, and I will definitely be adding this to the monthly rotation in my house fo' sho. Thanks for the recipe, Caroline!

Have You Read the Most Popular Book From the Year You Were Born? : I found this list of the most popular books by year from 1930 to 2016 very intriguing. I think it'd be interesting to read through it. (with exceptions, of course, because when it comes to books like Twilight or 50 Shades - #iwillnever) Incidentally, I have not read the most popular book from the year I was born: Patriot Games by Tom Clancy.

Christy's Coconut Contest : Robin Jones Gunn has a fun little contest going on and the winner gets her own Phil. 1:7 coconut mailed to her from Hawaii! And if you've ever read the Christy Miller series, you'll understand the significance of that.

And last on the agenda for today: pretty, pretty books and handsoaps! There's just something about getting a package in the mail. Even when you ordered it yourself and you know it's coming and you know what it is, it's still just fun when it finally gets to your mailbox and you get to open it, amiright? You may remember the amazing sale Robin Jones Gunn had going on and the sweet deal I got on books that have been on my wishlist for a while now. Well, they came on Wednesday and now you get to know what they are. Gardenias for Breakfast, Christy Miller's Diary, and Departures. Even though I'm dying to know when the new Christy books are going to be released, I'm super-pumped about these three. I've never read any of these before, and I've wanted to for a very long time. And what's with all the handsoaps, you ask? Bath & Body Works had a 10 for $30 sale going on and, in case you didn't know, that's like, a million percent off the normal price so really, who could pass that up? Not me.

Well, somebody stop me. I think that's about enough uselessness for one day. Which of my new Robin Jones Gunn books should I read first? (I'm leaning towards Departures.) What's your favorite Bath & Body Works scent or product? Did you go to your high school reunion or do you keep in touch with high school friends (besides just checking out their pictures on facebook which totally doesn't count)? What was the most popular book from the year you were born? Any tips on how to keep Major down during his recovery, poor thing? Have a fabulous weekend after you leave me a comment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"...suffering has been stronger than all other teaching...I have been bent and broken, 
but--I hope--into a better shape."

~from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens~

Monday, July 25, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : The Weight of Glory

The second book I read during my Far East travels was The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, and didn't I have just the sweetest little reading buddy you ever did see? I know: how did I even get any reading done with that precious sleepy bundle in my lap?! Your guess is as good as mine, but it probably has something to do with combining two of my best loves: that little girl and quality literature.

The Weight of Glory is actually a compilation of several of Lewis' public addresses, "The Weight of Glory" being the first of nine. Two slightly different versions of this book were originally published in 1949: one in London and one in New York. My version is one that was revised, updated, and published in 1980 and includes certain addresses that were left out of the original.

C.S. Lewis is quite probably one of the most profound writers of all time, in my opinion, and I can never read something by him without being completely blown away by the beauty and depth of what he wrote. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend reading absolutely anything by him, and instead of fumbling through this recap trying to put into words how I feel about this book, I'm going to leave you with a quote from each of the nine addresses in it--except for the address entitled "The Inner Ring". Not because it wasn't phenomenal but because I couldn't pick out a single quote without wanting to copy the entire essay. So without further ado, please take some time to ponder what I've copied below.

"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."
~from "The Weight of Glory"~

"There are always plenty of rivals to our work. We are always falling in love or quarrelling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come."
~from "Learning in War-Time"~

"Any theory which bases itself on a supposed 'historical Jesus' to be dug out of the Gospels and then set up in opposition to Christian teaching is suspect. There have been too many historical Jesuses--a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher's list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorias. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation."
~from "Why I Am Not A Pacifist"~

"How far the life of the risen man will be sensory, we do not know. But I surmise that it will differ from the sensory life we know here, not as emptiness differs from water or water from wine but as a flower differs from a bulb or a cathedral from an architect's drawing."
~from "Transposition"~

"Man is a poetical animal and touches nothing which he does not adorn."
~from "Is Theology Poetry?"~

"Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality."
~from "Membership"~

"To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."
~from "On Forgiveness"~

"This is my endlessly recurring temptation: to go down to the Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal...Swimming lessons are better than a lifeline to the shore."
~from "A Slip of the Tongue"~

I mean, if those quotes don't convince you to read this book, I'm not sure what will. When I had turned the last page, the foremost thought in my mind was that I should probably take the time to read this book every year. Excellent, excellent writing from C.S. Lewis as per usual. 

Have you ever read anything by C.S. Lewis? What is your favorite of his works? Confession time: this is actually the first of his non-fiction work I've ever read in its entirety. I've read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters (both several times), but I've never actually read any of his other books. Quotes: yes. Excerpts: yes. Letters: yes. I've even started reading Mere Christianity several times, but never finished. Anyway, what C.S. Lewis do you recommend for next year's book list? I'm leaning towards Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, or Surprised by Joy, but I'm open to suggestions. Feel free to chime in in the comments!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Casual Fridays

Oh hey, how you doin'? Today we got a lot of pictures of the dogs because it was haircut week around here, and you know how I love to share boring, mundane details that probably nobody but my siblings care about on my Friday blog posts. Because when the world is what it is, sometimes it's nice to just talk puppies and ChapStick, can ya dig?

But before we get into our Before & After collages, head on over to Robin Jones Gunn's blog and bookshop to check out the insane sale she's running for the next few days. I just got 3 books that I've had my eye on for ages, all for less than $10! You won't want to miss it. 

Anyway, back to hair. If you hadn't noticed, it's been like, the hottest summer ever with temps over 100 degrees down here in the Sunshine State And I'm not complaining, but I'm definitely staying inside and drinking my fair share of ice water more often than not. Even my boys have been preferring to chill inside with me than play around in the yard, and who can blame them when they've got these shaggy coats?
It's been especially rough on Major, what with that jet black hair and this being his first summer alive and all. As you can see, their eyes had disappeared again which means: time to lose your dignity and get shorn. 
Look at them! They always seem bigger to me after a haircut which by all calculations just doesn't make sense, but that's how I feel. Yes, they look skinny and like they probably just escaped from a canine refugee camp, but somehow, they seem more grown up and tall and wiry, and it makes me a little sad. Anyway, let's look a little more closely at Colonel's makeover, shall we?
Colonel hates haircuts. He acts like it's the biggest affront in the world, like it's the worst possible torture we could have dreamed up and submitted him to, and by the time I get him home he just goes off and curls up by himself to try and regain some of his pride, poor thing. I think it also mortally offends him that I leave him there. He suffers from a bit of separation anxiety. Bless. Unfortunately, haircuts are a part of life, so it's something we both just have to toughen up and get through. 
Major, on the other hand, could not care less. New place? New people? New smells? Being left? Getting shots? Getting bathed? Getting a haircut? Nothing phases him. He is your quintessential dog: loving everything about life and happy to see any new person with his tongue hanging out and tail wagging ferociously. He's so easy and laid back. What a champ.

Oh and guess what? The dogs aren't the only ones that got a new do this week:
That's right. I got a good 7-8 inches taken off myself this week. I feel pretty light and breezy, and it takes me about 2 seconds to wash my hair now. Maybe I'll even start brushing my hair more. #shorthairdontcare #summercut

Well, that's about all I've got to say for Hancock Makeover Week 2016 so let's wrap this up with a photo of my whole little posse. 
These 3 boys make my life good, and I don't know what I'd do without them.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither of shadow of turning."
~James 1:17 (KJV)~

What are you doing to beat the heat during these dog days of summer?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"...he had no notion of meeting danger half-way. When it came upon him, he confronted it, but it must come before he troubled himself."

~from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens~

Monday, July 18, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : His Excellency

Happy Monday! Time to start recap-ing the books I finished on my Japan trip, and first up is His Excellency, a biography of George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis. 

His Excellency was published in 2004 by Joseph J. Ellis, a history professor at Mount Holyoke College who actually specializes in the founding fathers and the revolutionary and federalist periods. His book American Sphinx won a National Book Award, and his book Founding Brothers won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for History. He's a best-selling author and after reading His Excellency, I can see why. His writing is engaging and informative, and I never reached a point reading this book where I became bored or overloaded with details.

If I could describe His Excellency in one word, it would be: balanced. I think the thing I appreciated most about this biography was the balanced approach Ellis took in writing it. There are generally two views of Washington: the first idealizing him for his role in the Revolutionary War and for the precedents he set as our nation's first president; the second demonizing him for owning slaves and stealing the country from the Native Americans. Ellis takes Washington's entire life into account and presents the facts we have about him in a matter of fact way without making assumptions or suppositions about Washington's motivations.

So what about George Washington himself? It's hard not to compare him to Theodore Roosevelt since I recently finished a pretty hefty biography on him earlier this year. The more I read about Roosevelt, the more I didn't like him. However, the more I read about Washington, the more I came to admire and respect him. There were certainly plenty of ways in which Washington and Roosevelt were similar. Take for instance this quote about Washington's personality:
"Two features of the emerging Washington personality come into focus here: first, a thin-skinned aversion to criticism, especially when the criticism questioned his personal motives, which he insisted were beyond reproach; second, a capacity to play politics effectively while claiming total disinterest in the game."
I think I could probably accurately replace Washington's name in that quote with Roosevelt's. I think it will be interesting as I continue to read up on the American presidents how many of them have these same types of personalities. I think in one sense, it's almost necessary to possess a certain amount of narcissism to aspire to the highest office in the land.

But as much as Washington was like Roosevelt in his sensitivity to criticism, he was as different from Roosevelt in his ability to lay aside his personal agenda for the greater good of the country.
"These decisions, in turn, completed his transformation into a public figure whose personal convictions must be suppressed and rendered subordinate to his higher calling as an agent of history, which in this case meant winning the war was more important than being himself."
 "If it was characteristic of him to cling tenaciously to his deepest convictions, it was also characteristic of him to let go when those convictions kept running afoul of what providence obviously intended."
There were times during the Revolutionary War and his presidency when Washington had to give up on what he firmly believed was the best course of action and defer to the opinions of other men, and to his credit, he typically did so with grace and a measure of humility that I never observed at any point in Roosevelt's life. Washington certainly learned how to choose his battles, and he was committed to preserving and nurturing this brand new baby nation that was born under his command. There were certain issues during his presidency that he felt strongly about, but understood the potential those issues had of destroying the fragile nation so he didn't press them. Washington was also known for staying silent during political conventions and carrying himself above the fray, another quality I can certainly admire.

All in all, I have to commend Washington on a life well lived and a job well done. Henry Lee wrote in Washington's eulogy that he was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Washington certainly was that. The earliest citizens of this great country loved, respected, and wouldn't even think of having anyone other than Washington as their leader, and I have to say, Washington was an excellent choice for that place in their hearts.

I also have to commend Joseph J. Ellis on producing such an excellent biography of Washington's life. I would gladly read anything else he has written, and I particularly would like to read Founding Brothers now. I would definitely give His Excellency two enthusiastic thumbs up, and I'd recommend it without any reservations. If you're looking to read a biography on George Washington, this is the one to grab.

Have you read anything on Washington or anything by Joseph J. Ellis? Did you know that whole cherry tree story is a complete myth? Never happened. Which American president are you most interested in reading about? Did this recap make you want to go read something by Joseph J. Ellis? 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Casual Fridays

Today I thought we'd try something a little different: a Top 10 list. They seem to be pretty popular around the interwebs, and a topic popped into my mind that I thought would be fun to try and tackle: favorite musical numbers from my favorite musical movies. This turned out to be a lot harder than I anticipated so before we get down to my picks, here are a few disclaimers. 

-I decided not to include any Disney or animated movies in this list (except for Newsies--I don't really count that one as a Disney film) because I could probably do a Top 10 list for Disney movies alone and if I included other animated films it would just make the pool too big. 

-This list is in alphabetical order by movie title because I couldn't think of any other way to possibly organize it because trying to pick my actual favorite musical is definitely impossible.

-There were certain song and dance numbers that could have made this list but didn't because I couldn't find a good video on the internet for said number (i.e. I'll Capture Your Heart from Holiday Inn). 

-And finally, I know this is supposed to be a Top 10 list, but the songs I've chosen from any particular musical are not necessarily my favorite songs from each movie. It would actually be impossible to choose a favorite song from say, The Sound of Music, so instead of torturing myself with that kind of pressure, I decided to limit myself to one number per musical and tried to choose one that I either feel is under-appreciated for its brilliance or some other such random criteria. 

Now that I've already shown my complete incompetence for making Top 10 lists, enjoy scenes from some of the greatest musicals to ever grace the big screen.

1. We Got Annie from Annie
Annie is real nostalgic for me because my Mom is a huge fan of this show. She played Annie in high school, she had an Annie music book and played all the songs from the show while we kids were growing up, and she took me to see the show when I was a little girl--just the two of us. I chose We Got Annie because even though this song isn't in the stage show, I think it's a great addition, and I love the dancing and joyfulness in this scene. 

2. Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
My little sister went through a period of obsession with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and I mean, really, who can blame the kid? What a great movie. This is still one of my go-to movies when I'm sick, and even though the child-catcher is totally creepy, every single musical number in this film is gold. It was really hard choosing just one for this list. Also, I always wanted that music box when I was a kid. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

3.  We Should Be Together from Little Miss Broadway
Ok, so here's the thing. I probably could have done a Top 10 list of favorite Shirley Temple scenes, but I decided to just pick one. It wasn't easy, but this is what I decided on. I love this song, and I love the tapping. Shirley Temple films have a special place in my heart because I used to watch them with my Grandmother. She had probably all of them taped from television on VHS tapes, and it was always special watching them with her. I think we watched this one and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm the most. 

4.  Marian the Librarian from The Music Man
Okay, it kills me but this video cuts off halfway through the number. I had a hard time finding good videos for The Music Man, but I just could not omit it from this list. The problem is that youtube is flooded with videos from the Matthew Broderick version, but in my opinion, the Shirley Jones version is the only one worth watching. Do yourself a favor and just go watch the whole movie sometime this weekend. I love it. I'm not lying when I say I can sing every word to every song from this movie. 

5. King of New York from Newsies
Love, love, love this film. Was anyone else out there as big of a Spot Conlon fan as I was? He was probably the scrawniest kid in the movie, but he was the one I had a crush on in 4th grade. And who can resist a young Christian Bale singing and dancing before he became Batman? If you've never seen this movie, you should probably watch it just for that.

6. Kansas City from Oklahoma!
Oklahoma! was another difficult movie to choose from but the dancing in Kansas City put it over the top. This is one of my favorite musicals, and I once convinced my friend Jon to watch it with me. He's never forgiven me for it. I'm not exactly sure why he hated it so much but I guess 2 hours and 25 minutes of old-time singing and dancing is just a little much for some guys. Sorry Jon!

7. Sobbin' Women from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
You guys, I know I said it would be impossible to pick my favorite musical of all time, but if it absolutely came down to it, this one might win. I will never get tired of this movie, and in fact, when Cody and I started dating and I realized he had never seen it, I immediately made him watch it. I'm not gonna say his liking it was a pre-requisite for marriage, totally was. (I love you, honey!) I can't imagine anyone not liking this film. It's a gem.

8. Good Morning from Singin' In The Rain
I couldn't not include a scene from Singin' In The Rain on this list and Good Morning was actually a pretty easy choice for me. Even though I love Make 'Em Laugh and Moses Supposes and oh, EVERY song in this movie, Good Morning is my favorite. It's so fun, and I love these three dancing together. 

9. The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music
How do you choose a single song from The Sound of Music to include on a list like this? I'm not sure, but I picked The Lonely Goatherd because I don't think it gets enough credit. Julie Andrews is the bomb dot com, and if I could only choose one famous person in this world to sing a duet with, she wins hands down. Her singing chops (especially in her prime) are incomparable.

10. Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me from White Christmas
Oh hey, Rosemary Clooney! I absolutely love this number, and I think it's one of the most forgotten ones in the film. Maybe because it's near the end or maybe because it's not super-flashy like some of the others, but whatever the reason, it was an easy one to choose for this list. Cody and I watch this movie every year while we decorate our Christmas tree, and I love it. Even though this is a Christmas movie, it's one I'll watch any time of year.

We have a few honourable mentions because Top 10 lists are hard, y'all. Or maybe this was just a really ambitious one to start with. Either way, be sure to check out these videos too.

Okay, so let's hear it. What did I leave out? What would your Top 10 be? Are you a fan of musicals? Have you seen any of my favs? What are your favorites?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"The death close before me was terrible, but far more terrible than death was the dread of being misremembered after death."

~from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens~

Monday, July 11, 2016

Our Great Big Backyard

Last year, my mom gave me Read All About It! by Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager. I absolutely loved that book and the fun illustrations. This year, my mom gave me the Bush ladies' most recent venture in the world of children's books, and what a great follow-up it is!

In Read All About It!, a young boy named Tyrone learns to love reading because of a faithful teacher who is committed to reading aloud in class. In Our Great Big Bakyard, we meet a girl named Jane who is excited to spend her summer vacation watching movies, surfing the web, and playing video games....until her parents reveal that the whole family will be taking a Great American Roadtrip to several of the National Parks around the country. Jane is convinced that her summer is ruined and she'll have the worst time of her life.

At first, Jane does her best to stay connected to her friends through texting and e-mailing and playing games on her iPad, but gradually, she starts to have the time of her life with her little brother camping under the stars, riding a mule down into the Grand Canyon, white-water rafting, exploring Yellowstone National Park, and seeing Old Faithful erupt (among other things). By the end of the trip, she can't even find her iPad and sends her friends a hand-written postcard. *GASP* When the family arrives home, Jane has all her friends over for a backyard camp-out to tell them all about her adventures, and they discover the beauty right at home in their own backyard.

Not only did I love this book because it encourages families to shut off their screens and explore the world around them together, but it also encourages kids to use their imaginations. At the Grand Canyon, Jane and her brother pretend to be acrobats on a tightrope tip-toeing across the Skywalk. When they went rafting down the Colorado River, they were pirates, and in Yellowstone they became park rangers. 

To top it off, in the back of the book the National Parks are listed by state with helpful resources that will direct you to a National Park nearest to where you live. How great is that?! My parents drove us 4 kids all over the country while we were growing up and some of my favorite memories are from visiting National Parks in the grand ole U S of A. 

Definitely grab yourself a copy of this book. I loved it and can't wait to see what's next from Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager!

Have you been to any National Parks? Which of the ones you've been to is your favorite and why? Which National Parks are your dream destination? My most recent American Adventure included the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri with my dad

Friday, July 8, 2016

Casual Fridays

I'm back! And boy, is this jet lag really kicking my butt. In fact, I'm writing this post at 3 AM after several hours of trying to go to sleep. I ain't as young as I once was, I guess. And can we talk about how I will not be flying American Airlines ever again? Flew from Orlando to Chicago and was ready for a good 4-hour layover. Was not prepared for that 4-hour layover to turn into a million hour layover because the plane broke and they had to find us a new one. Finally got into Tokyo and couldn't access the airport's wifi so caught the last bus out on faith that someone would eventually find me. Got dropped off under a bridge near midnight and realized just how foreign kanji actually is and waited in an increasingly panicked state until my blessed brother finally called out my name. I don't think I've ever been more relieved and grateful to see him in my entire life. Over 30 hours of hard traveling, totally worth it for this precious moment:
Let me tell you something: I can not get enough of this sweet thing. And for those of you that may not know, she was born just two days after my other perfect niece. I got adorable nieces comin' out of my ears, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Now if my brother would just move his little family in next door to me, life would be about as close to perfect as it can get this side of Heaven. I mean, just look at this baby, y'all.

I can't even.

Today is the day to bless the PhotoGrid app because if it were not in existence, this post would be a mile long with the pictures. I had to use all my powers of selectivity as it was just to create these little gems for your viewing pleasure so you're welcome. In the two weeks I spent in Japan, we managed to fit in a little sightseeing like visiting Kamakura and seeing the second largest bronze Buddha in Japan, trying green tea ice cream, taking the train to Shibuya Crossing and getting a picture with the Hachi statue and the colorful Hachi mosaic/mural, and exploring Camp Zama.

I also was able to go to church with my brother and sister and niece and meet some of the sweetest brothers and sisters in Christ, and I was even able to be there for my niece's dedication. I can't even describe how truly thankful I am for the Body of Christ and this particular arm that has unreservedly drawn Oakie and Caroline in close and loved them with the love of Jesus. It was really hard to keep the tears in check as I sat back and watched these beautiful people pour out their love on my family, and it's hard to keep the tears in check even now writing about it. God's love is so big and so real, and it shatters my heart in the best possible way to be a part of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Tokyo Horizon Chapel for your faithfulness to God and His Word.

We played a lot of Yahtzee, Golf, and Phase 10, hit up the pool a couple times, spent a lot of quality quiet time reading (I finished 3 books off my list!), and of course, I snuggled that sweet new niece of mine every second I could. She is, after all, the whole reason I went.
It was hard leaving her behind, but I was more than ready to get back to my sweetheart and these crazy dogs.
And after another 30+ hours of traveling, I finally made it back. When I arrived in Chicago from Tokyo, I was delayed for another million hours while they once again had to find a new plane. Hence, my breakup with American Airlines. This was Strike Three with them as they once lost my luggage for 3 days on a trip I took to Brasil. But that's another story for another day. Suffice it to say: they're out.

I'm missing my niece and her parents pretty fiercely, but I'm glad to be back home, and I'm hoping my body will catch up soon. How has your July been so far? Any big trips planned? Feel free to gush excessively about how adorable my niece is in the comments, and have a fantastic weekend. Stay cool out there!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Word for Wednesday

"All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else's manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretence of compactly folding up my bank-notes for security's sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nut-shells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nut-shells and pass them on myself as notes!"

~from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens~

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Tuesday Confession

I rarely brush my hair.
It's getting super-long, and it takes a lot of work, and I just don't think it's that important.
I probably brush it about once a week on average: Sunday for church.
For those of you thinking, "Some confession, your hair is always a hot mess and we all know it"--touché.
I wash it regularly. I'm not an animal.

Is this gross? Am I a terrible female for not brushing my hair and an even more terrible one for actually admitting it? 

Somebody help.

Monday, July 4, 2016

---------------------America The Beautiful---------------------

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved 
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

~Katharine L. Bates~