Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"What I like about experience is that it is such an honest thing. You may take any number of wrong turnings; but keep your eyes open and you will not be allowed to go very far before the warning signs appear. You may have deceived yourself, but experience is not trying to deceive you. The universe rings true wherever you fairly test it."

~C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy~

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Tuesday Confession

I know this post isn't going to win me any friends, but I am not on board with this whole essential oils craze.
My friends are all, "Don't you want to get rid of all these toxic chemical cleaners you use and be healthy?" and I'm all, "Pass the bleach and excuse me while I spray everything in my house with Lysol."
It hasn't killed me yet.
In fact, I'd argue that thanks to all these wonderfully effective, bacteria-murdering cleaners, our lifespans have lengthened and our quality of living has improved.
But that's just me.
You do you.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : Hamlet

To be, or not to be: that is the question. Time for a recap of Hamlet and fun fact: last year I read my Shakespearean comedy in February and my tragedy in August, and that's what I ended up doing again this year. Not planned. Ha! 

Anyway, if you're not familiar with the drill around here, generally my recaps do not give any major plot points away but when it comes to Shakespeare, I basically give the CliffsNotes version. So what I'm saying is SPOILERS. If you don't want to know how everything ends, scram.

And speaking of how it all ends: everybody dies. Literally. Everybody. But let's back up a little.

At the beginning of the play, we learn that Hamlet's father (the king of Denmark) has recently died and in very little time, his mother (the queen) married his uncle (the new king). Yuck. Hamlet is obviously reeling with all this and grieving his father's death.

Hamlet's BFF Horatio sees Hamlet's father's ghost and takes Hamlet to see him as well. When the ghost appears to Hamlet, they have a little heart-to-heart about how he really died. Hamlet's uncle murdered him and now he's counting on Hamlet to get vengeance. 

Well, Hamlet starts acting crazy and everyone thinks he's plumb lost his mind. The King and Queen commission Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to figure out what's wrong with him, but Hamlet sees through that charade and doesn't give anything up to those two goons. 

Before he goes all Inigo Montoya on his uncle, Hamlet decides to put on a little play for his mom and uncle to see if his ghost daddy is for real or from the Devil. He basically writes a play depicting what supposedly went down in real life (his uncle poisoning his brother the king and marrying the queen and becoming king himself) to see how his uncle will react.

His uncle is GUILTY

The Queen calls her son into her closet to ask what this is all about while the King monologues about how he's being eaten alive with the guilt and what is he going to do about Hamlet who is obviously on to him and blah blah blah

While Hamlet is closeted with his mother, he inadvertently kills Polonius who is eavesdropping on their conversation. (That's what you get for meddling, Polonius.) The King and Queen ultimately decide to send Hamlet away to England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern "for his own good". The king, however, also sends a missive with R&G basically ordering Hamlet's execution. Hamlet's no dope though so he switches out the king's orders with a message of his own that the letter bearers should be executed. (The letter bearers are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern for anyone who's starting to get a little lost.) Hamlet doesn't even feel bad about it because R&G are totally #TeamKing instead of #TeamHamlet. 

In the meantime, Laertes has come back to avenge his father Polonius' death. He finds that his sister Ophelia (Hamlet's one true love) has gone insane which adds more fuel to his fire. He concocts a plot with the King to invite Hamlet to a friendly duel in which Laertes will poison his sword so that when he strikes Hamlet, Hamlet will definitely die. And the King will poison Hamlet's drink, just for good measure. 

We have a whole little scene with Hamlet, Horatio, and two grave-digging clowns in which Hamlet talks to a bunch of skulls. Whatever.

Then we have Ophelia's funeral. Did I mention Ophelia committed suicide? Laertes, in his grief-stricken state,  actually jumps in the grave with her at which point, Hamlet can't take it and jumps in too because the love of 40,000 brothers can't even come close to the love he had for Ophelia. Hamlet and Laertes go at each other, but the King pulls Laertes off Hamlet and is all, "Stick to the plan, bro." Everybody makes nice and goes their separate ways.

Next we have Osric coming to get Hamlet to participate in the duel with Laertes. The duel is presented to Hamlet as a friendly wager, no big deal. Hamlet goes to the duel (against his better judgment) and what do you think happens? 

The Queen accidentally drinks the poison meant for Hamlet and dies.
Laertes stabs Hamlet with his poison sword, but they scuffle, Hamlet ends up with the poison sword and stabs Laertes back. Laertes feels bad about the whole thing and confesses all to Hamlet with his dying breath. Laertes dies.
Hamlet uses the last of his strength to stab the King with the poison sword, the King dies.
Hamlet says a few last words to Horatio about how he'll be remembered and dies. 

To sum up:
Polonius dies.
Ophelia dies.
The Queen dies.
Laertes dies.
The King dies.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die.
Hamlet dies.

Everybody dies. 

Oh and then Fortinbras shows up with his army, but that's a whole different story that was going on throughout the entire play and I just didn't really care about it that much.

Hamlet is the longest play I've read so far and the second tragedy. Of the two tragedies, I personally liked Macbeth better, but Hamlet was also very good. Even though everyone dies, Hamlet seemed lighter and more comical than Macbeth. 

Read it, it's Shakespeare. 

I'm leaning towards Othello for my 2018 tragedy, but I'm open to suggestions. What do you think? Have you read Hamlet? What's your favorite Shakespearean tragedy?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"County Down in the holidays and Surrey in the term--it was an excellent contrast. 
Perhaps, since their beauties were such that even a fool could not force them into comparison, 
this cured me once and for all of the pernicious tendency to compare and to prefer--an operation that does little good even when we are dealing with works of art 
and endless harm when we are dealing with nature. 
Total surrender is the first step toward the fruition of either. 
Shut your mouth; open your eyes and ears. 
Take in what is there and give no thought to what might have been there or what is somewhere else. That can come later, if it must come at all."

~C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy~

Monday, August 7, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : The Three Musketeers

I did it. I made it to the end of this never-ending book. And in all fairness, the second half went much faster than the first, and the last 20 chapters or so were downright spellbinding. But for all that, I'm still not sure I can forgive Dumas for that tedious build. I mean, technically, I started this monster in March, and hey-o, it's August. Oy. 

Let's start by talking a bit about the author, Alexandre Dumas. He lived from 1802 to 1870, and he is one of the most widely read French authors. His works have been translated into nearly 100 languages, and his novels have been adapted since the early 20th century into something like 200 films. Although Dumas was wildly successful during his lifetime and came from an aristocratic background, he did deal with discrimination due to his ancestry although that didn't slow him down with the ladies. Despite being married, he had at least 40 mistresses and 7 illegitimate children. 

Which brings me to one of my biggest hangups with The Three Musketeers. Even though it's historically the tradition of upperclass Frenchmen to go around having as many affairs as they want (as the author himself clearly had plenty of experience with), it certainly doesn't make it morally acceptable and, for me, it was downright repugnant. I could not get into any of the "romance" of The Three Musketeers because it was all extramarital. Ugh. It was very hard to have any sympathy for Madame Bonacieux's predicament, and I absolutely couldn't care less about any of D'Artagnan's heartbreaks throughout the novel. Same goes for the poor little Queen and her unfortunate lover Buckingham. About the only characters I could get into were Athos (what a rockstar despite his propensity for alcohol) and Monsieur de Tréville (not exactly a major character, but maybe that's why I liked him--I didn't know enough to give me a reason not to like him). 

But getting back to some more facts about the novel itself, The Three Musketeers was first published serially between March and July of 1844, and, from what I understand, Dumas got paid by the line (hence that tedious build I mentioned earlier). The Three Musketeers was actually a collaboration between Dumas and Auguste Maquet who worked with Dumas on many of his novels. Although Maquet took Dumas to court in order to get authorial credit and more money, he never received a by-line (but he did succeed in getting more money). 

The Three Musketeers follows our young Gascon gentleman D'Artagnan in his quest to become a Musketeer in the King's Guards. He secures the friendship of the three most famous and popular Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and (although we have to endure a lot of buildup to figure it out) they ultimately work together against the diabolical Milady which is the main conflict and storyline of the novel.

Like I've said (several times now), the first half is long, wearisome, and (in my opinion) boring. It was very hard to stay awake anytime I sat down with it. The second half was much more entertaining, and at the end I couldn't put it down and even stayed up till midnight one night last week reading page after page until I just couldn't keep my eyes open another second. All in all, I could take it or leave it. As far as recommendations go, meh. If you are going to read it, stick it out because the end is very good. If you aren't going to read it, I really don't think you're missing much and you could spend your time on much better literary pursuits. If I had to rate this one, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Not phenomenal, not terrible. 

Have you ever read The Three Musketeers or anything else by Dumas? What did you think? The Man in the Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo are both on my shelf and my Life List, but now I'm not looking forward to them quite as much. I'll probably take a break from Dumas next year and maybe try him again in 2019. Has anyone read both The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo and, if so, is The Count of Monte Cristo better, worse, or about the same? 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Happy Birthday to My Loves!

Happy Birthday, my honey! I love you forever!
And Happy Birthday, Najati! You are so special to us!
I'd also 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, Cody shares a birthday with our oldest girl Najati. She lives in Tanzania, and today, she turns 14 years old. 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 Najati 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. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Casual Fridays

First of all, I finished The Three Musketeers this week. I was not expecting this book to be as challenging to get through as it was, and I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking it out to page 700. 700 pages, y'all! 67 chapters. It was so long. There will be a recap up Monday and then it's good riddance to D'Artagnan & Co. 

But moving on, last weekend Cody and I drove up to Alabama to spend some time with my brother and sister and niece. It is so nice to have them within driving distance again. Japan is just too far away. 
We had a blast together (like we always do), and y'all. I rolled a TRIPLE YAHTZEE in ONE GAME. I don't know if you've ever played Yahtzee or not, but that's a big deal. As you can clearly see, my niece just keeps getting cuter and cuter and check out those diva shades she's rocking. I mean, really. I just can't. 

I'm planning to knock out Hamlet this week and then get started on The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I've already met my official goal of reading 12 books this year, but I still have 5 more from my original list to go. I'm attempting to finish all the books from my 2017 list in October (which is when the new RJG book comes out) so that I can read whatever I want in November and December. It's possible, right? 

What have you been up to lately? Reading any good books right now? Don't forget to stop by Monday for my recap of The Three Musketeers! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Conceal your wounds when you have any; 
silence is the last joy of the unhappy. 
Beware of giving anyone the clue to your griefs; 
the curious suck our tears as flies suck the blood of a wounded heart."

~from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas~

Monday, July 31, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : Surprised by Joy

It's the last day of July, y'all. We are closer to the end of 2017 than we are to the beginning. This year is flying by, right?

Anyway, I recently read Surprised by Joy by Clive Staples Lewis. This was a book from my 2017 book list so yay! for progress. Surprised by Joy is the somewhat autobiographical account of Lewis' conversion to Christianity. It's not exactly an autobiography in the true sense of the word since his main focus in writing it was to give an account of his quest for the elusive phenomenon of "joy" which Lewis describes as an intense longing or desire for something so good or high or outside of oneself that it can't be explained in words. 

In Surprised by Joy, Lewis recounts significant events or periods in his early life leading to his decision to be an atheist. He then describes all the differing philosophies and theories he tries to work through until he finally has to make the leap from atheism to Theism and from Theism to Christianity.

The thing I most appreciated while reading Surprised by Joy was Lewis' honesty. He doesn't sugarcoat things or pull any punches. He presents and examines the events in his life, the people who influenced him, and the choices he made in a straightforward and unapologetic way. Rather than demonizing or glorifying these things, he recognizes them all for what they were worth in his personal journey to Christianity and doesn't over- or undervalue any of it. I love that.

The other thing I appreciated about Surprised by Joy, and the thing I appreciate in general when reading anything by C.S. Lewis, is that he makes you think. Even though Surprised by Joy was more autobiographical in nature than other books and essays I've read by Lewis, I couldn't fly through it. I had to stop and mull over what he was saying and let his words really penetrate my soul. He wasn't just talking about his life or his conversion, he was presenting ideas and thoughts that I had to agree or disagree with in regards to my own life and Christianity. That's good writing. 

I enjoyed finding things old Jack and I have in common and I was also challenged by how well-read he was. There are just too many books, y'all, and not enough time to read them all. The similarities between his education and John Adams' education particularly interested me after having recently read John Adams' biography this year. It's unfortunate that the standards of education seem to have declined so much in the last 100 years. For instance, while I might have a general idea of who Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero were and when they lived, Lewis and Adams were intimately acquainted with all their thoughts and ideas. While I took a couple Spanish classes in high school and college, Lewis and Adams learned to speak, read, and write several other languages in their lifetimes including Latin which was not just a matter of course but absolutely essential. 

I would not hesitate to recommend Surprised by Joy. While I certainly wouldn't call it an easy read, it's definitely a worthwhile one. 

Have you read Surprised by Joy or any of Lewis' non-fiction? What is your favorite work by C.S. Lewis? Any recommendations for next year's list? I'm leaning towards The Four Loves or Mere Christianity. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Casual Fridays

First of all: where my Psych fans at??
Excuse me while I mop the tears of laughter from my face. Shawn, Gus, it's been too long. I'm looking forward to the reunion. 

Second of all, the fancy deodorant came in the mail yesterday, and as today is only Day 1 of the trial, I can't judge its effectiveness and will withhold my final opinion until I give it a fair amount of time. But I will say this for it, the fragrance is sweet without being overpowering so chalk one up for that. 
Also, we just saved $444.80 by switching to Progressive. Not kidding. Yay Flo! I won't say who we were with before but it rhymes with "psycho". 

Did I mention the upcoming Psych movie? Oh right. The video's right up there. ^^

I finished Surprised by Joy this week so be on the lookout for a recap next week, and that's pretty much all I've got for you today. So happy weekend everybody!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"A rogue does not laugh in the same way that an honest man does; 
a hypocrite does not shed the tears of a man of good faith. 
All falsehood is a mask; 
and however well made the mask may be, 
with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face."

~from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas~

Friday, July 21, 2017

Casual Fridays

Y'all. Yesterday, I bought a stick of deodorant off the internet for $12. I'm not sure if I've lost my mind for good or if I'm just that desperate for some good deodorant. But I somehow found my way to this blog post about the top 5 best deodorants for women and the next thing I know, I'm buying overpriced armpit perfume over the computer. I've tried just about everything there is out there, and here's the conclusion I've come to: the deodorant industry is a total scam and the societal pressure to not walk around smelling like a normal person is one big hoax designed to get us to spend our money and stress-sweat on stuff that is just going to condition our bodies to need more of it hence spending more money and stress-sweat which causes us to think we need more of it because of all the stress-sweating. Vicious cycle. I'm very skeptical about "all-natural" products, but they have a money-back guarantee if I'm not 100% satisfied for any reason so what have I got to lose, right? I'll keep you posted on this. 

As if we hadn't already zoomed past the TMI sign 3 miles ago and are now lost in the land of "Did she actually hit Publish on this post?!", I've also decided to tell you that my tolerance level for BS goes to zero when the time of my uncleanness is upon me. I don't know why patience is the first virtue to eighty-six it when my special lady time comes around, but bless my husband for sticking with me for 62 months of this madness so far. I'm not sure why he keeps loving me, but I'm thankful he does. Can I get a shout-out from all the other hormonal women out there living with saintly men? 

Okay, we have got to bring this train back into the station. How did we even get here?! I apologize for the total lack of decorum today. Here are some cute photos courtesy of the '90s that will hopefully distract you and make you forget everything you just read.
I mean, come on. How cute are those kids?!

Link Love
The Real Threat : Me.

Wedding Hashtags : I don't know why this made me laugh so hard, but it did. No offense to all you cute couples out there. 

#imomsohard : I want to be friends with these girls. 

Did I overshare today? Any of you ladies have a deodorant you swear by? What virtue leaves town when you're not feeling well? I can't be the only human being to have trouble with that....

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Monsieur, we must not confound prudence with cowardice; 
prudence is a virtue."

~from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas~

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Tuesday Confession

Spiderman 3 starring Tobey Maguire is my favorite Spiderman movie.
I know this movie got bad reviews and most of the people I've ever talked to said it was the worst one in the franchise because they tried to do too much and blah blah blah.
But I loved it and if it was the only one they had ever made, that'd totally be okay with me.
(Although the back story from 1 and 2 is pretty important to be able to understand 3.)
I love the themes of forgiveness and friendship, and, in my book, Spiderman 3 is a homerun.

What is your favorite Spiderman movie?
Have you seen the new Spiderman: Homecoming movie? Is it any good?
Who is your favorite superhero?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Casual Fridays

Hello, internet-people! *insert Julie Andrews giving you a queenly wave here* (If you understand that reference, come over here and sit by me. We need to be friends.) In case you completely forgot who I am:
That's me. Hair that's always a mess and apparently too long to fit in the picture anymore. And also perpetually damp. Because ain't nobody got time for a hair dryer. 

Now that we've reacquainted ourselves, here's a little fact you need to know: someone from Turkmenistan viewed my blog this week. Listen, I didn't even know where Turkmenistan is located (and possibly I didn't even know it existed) until yesterday when I saw that someone from there looked at my blog this week. For any other ignorant people like myself out there reading, it's predictably smack-dab in the middle of all the other -stans.
It's smaller than Spain but bigger than the U.S. state of California, it's mostly desert, and it possesses the world's 4th-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. So, there you go. Welcome to my blog, Turkmenistan. 

Now let's catch up with each other. This is going to involve a lot photos which will be in no particular and certainly not in chronological order. 
First of all, what I'm reading lately since that's technically what this little cranny of cyberspace is allegedly about. I'm currently in the latter half of the Psalms, still struggling through The Three Musketeers, and this week I started Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis because I had to face the reality that if I kept waiting until I finished The Three Musketeers to start another book from my list, I would not be making it through my list this year. Listen y'all, I am just now getting to the halfway mark of this book, and I still have like a million chapters to go. It's endless. I thought I had finally hit my stride with it a while back, but no. I got through that captivating little intrigue and now it's back to making myself read a few pages each day. Like, every time I sit down with this book, I fall asleep. I'm reserving my final judgment until I've actually persevered to the end, but I am sorely afraid that if The Three Musketeers is an accurate sample of the rest of Dumas' writing, I'm actually going to hate The Count of Monte Cristo which I secretly think is one of my favorite books even though I haven't in fact read it. Someone please tell me it gets better. Oh and FYI, I did not even pose Major for this pic. #notkidding
This is old news, but my cute niece just can't keep any teeth in her head! Number 4 came out weeks ago. Also, she's starting real school in a couple weeks. I can't even deal with that. Fix it, Jesus. And while we're on my nieces, here's a string of photos that will satisfy your adorable quotient for the week.... 
First of all, meet Colonel and Major's new best friend. My sweet Osborne niece is finally stateside and got to stay at Auntie Hannah's house for the first time. Not that she really cared about me that much: she was too busy with her canine buddies. If you can't tell, she's in Colonel's crate with Colonel. I can't. 

I got to steal my Golden Bolden Girls for a girls day and sleepover a few Saturdays ago and we made Uncle Cody snap a quick pic of us in our Sunday best on our way out the door to church. That second photo of them is from the Fourth of July. Too much love! 

And speaking of Independence Day....
Happy Freedom! Cody had to work a 12 hour shift (hence the grainy, late-night photo), but I got to spend my afternoon with my sisters and some sweet friends of ours. So thankful to live in America! Those shag rugs we're clutching got haircuts shortly after that photo was taken.
They DO have eyes! The best thing about the boys getting haircuts is that they don't track all the sand in Florida through my house. Bless the groomers.

I promise I'll wrap this up soon.

The Intrepid finally bit the dust. I drove it hard for a full 7 years, and it couldn't take it anymore. So we got this super-cute little 2008 Honda Fit. Apparently, Hondas go forever. *fingers crossed* The Intrepid didn't even make it to 140,000 miles. For some reason, I have it in my head that a car that can't make it to 200,000 miles ain't worth having. Is this even realistic? Anyway, it's fun having a new (to us) car, and it's fun driving this little hatchback around. 
We finished another puzzle! This one was 1,000 pieces and the most difficult one we've completed to date. What sadist creates a puzzle where the border doesn't actually connect all the way around?! We technically started this puzzle before I got my wisdom teeth out, but after "completing" the outline of it, we just tiptoed around it or stared at it in dismay for a couple weeks following because holy complex. You will never understand just how many different textures and shades of gray are contained in those two elephants. But I have to say, it was worth it. It turned out beautifully. We just finished it up Wednesday night, and I can't wait to hang it up.
We may need to start a new segment entitled "Adventures in Coloring". I've been a coloring fiend this week. I won't even tell you how many hours I've spent on this. Partly because I don't exactly know, but mostly because it's a ridiculous amount of time. Cody got me this beautiful and infuriatingly intricate grown-up coloring book for Christmas (apparently "adult coloring books" are a thing now, but I just can't bring myself to say "adult coloring book"--dodgy!), and I just cracked it open last week. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be relaxing or stressful but I'll say this: it's addicting. What do you think of my mad coloring skillz? 
And to wrap this up: y'all. I watched these people when they were babies. And now they're all practically adults. Three of them graduated recently so their parents threw them a big open house a few weeks ago, and I wrangled each one into taking a photo with me. These humans are family to me. I practically lived at their house, camped with them, did family vacations with them, went to countless swim meets with them, carted them all around town in their monster 15-passenger van, and kept them alive on more than one occasion while their parents went out of the country. This family is so dear to my heart, and I'm excited to continue watching where God takes each one of them. 

Are you tired of me yet? What have you been up to lately? Do any of you drive a Honda? Love it or hate it? How are you doing with any 2017 resolutions (particularly reading lists) you may have made? Any ideas on how to stop all my babies from becoming adults?? How did you celebrate the Fourth of July? If any Turkmenistanis are reading, what national holidays are unique to your country?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"A man would always wish to give a woman a better home than the one he takes her from; and he who can do it, where there is no doubt of her regard, must, I think, be the happiest of mortals."

~from Emma by Jane Austen~

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of."

~from Emma by Jane Austen~

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let's Bust a Recap : Emma

Well, I've gone rogue yet again. I have officially read more books that are not on my 2017 book list than ones that are. Sue me. After having all four of my wisdom teeth out, I needed a more medicinal read, if you will, so Emma it was. 

Emma is one of my favorites. I know, I know; I say that about all of Jane Austen's novels, but Emma is so wonderfully delightful and funny that I can't help thinking it really might be my favorite. And on top of that, I can say definitively that Mr. Knightley is my favorite Austen man. And that's the truth. 

In Emma, we meet our happily single heroine who has absolutely no inducement to marry herself but enjoys playing matchmaker among the less fortunate mortals who must succumb to that blessed institution. Through scrape after scrape, Emma slowly realizes that she is not well suited to wield Cupid's bow, and SPOILER, she ultimately gives up the title of Matchmaker for that of Bride. 

The thing I love so much about Jane Austen's writing is that all her characters are so perfectly human. We all have a know-it-all Mrs. Elton or a never-stops-talking Miss Bates in our lives. We love our indulgent Mrs. Westons and are flattered by our charming Mr. Churchills but would be lost without our truth-telling Mr. Knightleys. We all know a worthy and respectable Miss Fairfax that we should probably be better friends with but secretly don't like, and prefer to spend our time with the adoring Miss Harriet Smiths of the world. And we all, at some point or other, end up sticking the proverbial foot into mouth and have to then choke down a slice of humble pie to correct our unfortunate blunder like our silly but well-meaning friend Emma. 

In my last Austen recap, I said that Pride and Prejudice is probably the best place to start for Austen newbies. Emma is an excellent followup, and I would highly recommend it. And for you sacrilegious movie-preferrers out there, I will vouch for the adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. I actually love it. 

Has anyone seen the BBC miniseries starring Romola Garai? I know Austen-lovers generally prefer BBC adaptations, but you know how I feel about them. Have you ever read Emma? It seems to be either the favorite or the least favorite with most Austen fans I've talked to. Seemingly no middle ground with this one. I can't imagine not loving it, but those people do exist in the world. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Casual Fridays

My heart is full.
And while I have you here, I can't get over this photo of my favorite blonde bombshell baby. 
Auntie Hannah loves her girls!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, 
or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter."

~from Emma by Jane Austen~

Friday, June 9, 2017

Casual Fridays

Caution: This post will contain photos of actual dinosaur human teeth. If that's the sort of thing that totally grosses you out, I'm putting a buffer picture of happy flowers, but you better be on your way because after that: TEETH. 
The Promised Buffer Picture
As most of you already know, last Thursday I had all four of my wisdom teeth out. And for any who have been worried: no, I'm not writing to you today from the Great Beyond--I did, in fact, survive. (None of you were worried? You all think I'm overdramatic and need to get back to blogging about books?? Well, TOO FLIPPIN' BAD, this is my blog, people!)

First of all, a huge thank you to my mom for the sweet orange vase of assorted flowers and my fabulous niece for the big bouquet of happy yellow daisies. I attribute my recovery to you because flowers make everything better
And speaking of my fabulous niece, I wasn't the only one who lost teeth this week. This girl is singlehandedly keeping the Tooth Fairy in business! 3 baby teeth down in less than 3 months. At this rate, she's going to have a mouthful of adult teeth by the time she's six and a half. 

Anyway, on to the main attraction. Are you ready for this? 

First of all, are you loving my super-classy ruler? I've had it since 4th grade. 

But second of all, DO YOU SEE THOSE TEETH? ARE THEY EVEN HUMAN? Those were in my head, y'all. I don't know if you can really tell, but each one is like a full inch long. Those are some massive teeth, you guys. I mean, am I right?! 

I have to say: going under the anesthesia and the surgery itself were not that bad. I (obviously) woke up from it so I mean, already my expectations were exceeded. And I didn't have any adverse reactions to any of the stuff they used to knock me out, so I am one happy girl about that. We got to the surgeon's office a few minutes before 8:30, I remember seeing 8:47 on the clock before falling asleep, and we were home by 10:00. Pretty quick. 

Probably the first 4-5 hours post-op were, by far, the worst. It took a solid 24 hours for the numbness on the entire left side of my face to wear off, and the numbness was worse than the actual pain, in my opinion. My tongue felt like it was on fire all that first day. 

But other than that, my bleeding stopped really quickly (within the first 24 hours), I haven't really had any swelling or bruising (I iced a lot), I've been progressively eating more diverse foods (though I'd kill for a good piece of chicken or steak), and the prescription-strength ibuprofen has been doing an excellent job of minimizing my pain (turns out, pulling bones out of your jaw tends to bring on some massive headaches--shocking, I know). It's definitely weird having 4 actual holes in my mouth, but they tell me it will heal, and they've been pretty spot-on with everything else so far, so I'll trust them.

I cannot praise Dr. Cornejo and Winter Haven Oral Surgery enough. He was straightforward, kind, calm, and patient with me. He answered all my questions prior to the procedure, and even personally called me at 8:00 PM the same day I had my teeth out to see how I was doing. I would highly, highly recommend him and his staff for all your oral surgical needs. 

But the biggest thank you of all goes to my amazing husband. He put up with all my theatrics, brought me pudding and pain pills, kept the kitchen clean, slept out on the couch with me, and nursed me back to feeling normal with the utmost patience, gentleness, and love. He is seriously the best
P.S. I have watched an inordinate amount of movies this past week. And one of my most endearing qualities is that I will watch the same exact movie back-to-back (i.e. Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina followed immediately by Julia Ormond's Sabrina or Hayley Mills' Parent Trap right after Lindsay Lohan's Parent Trap). Bless my husband's heart. 

What are some of your favorite sick-day movies? Was it too gross that I took my wisdom teeth home and showed them to the internet? 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Word for Wednesday

"I know that I must have been mad, senseless, to believe that snow would become animated or marble warm; but what then! they who love believe easily in love."

~the Duke of Buckingham addressing the Queen in The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas~

Monday, June 5, 2017

My Literary Medicine Cabinet

Last week, I let you in on my crazy Big Fish analogy. Today, I'm going to give you a peek into my Literary Medicine Cabinet. Recently, one of my imaginary friends the bloggers I follow wrote a post about what's in her Literary Medicine Cabinet, and I thought that was just the best way to describe those books you reach for time and time again when life beats you up. As soon as I read that phrase, my comfort reads immediately popped into my mind, and I thought I'd share them with you today. I've divided them into three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Children's Books. Just thinking about these titles brings a smile to my face, and I'm seriously tempted to go grab Anne-with-an-E right now and have a little visit. 

The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery : I'm not sure anyone can truly understand how much I love these 8 books. If I was stranded on a deserted island and I already had my Bible with me, this set would be next in line.

The 12 original Christy Miller books by Robin Jones Gunn : You all know that I love every book that Robin Jones Gunn has ever written--truly I do--but the ones I always go back to when life gets overwhelming are those first 12. 

The Complete Novels of Jane Austen : I never tire of Miss Austen's witty, sarcastic style, and it's always sweet to lose time in her romantic world.

The English Garden series by Lori Wick : These 4 books featuring different characters in Collingbourne, England during the 1800s are literally starting to fall apart from all the time I've spent in their company.

Little Women, Little Men, & Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott : I've recapped all 3 of these precious books on this very blog. It's forever a treat to go adventuring with the March sisters and romping all over Plumfield with Jo's boys. 

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers : Ms. Rivers is another of my all-time favorite authors, but The Atonement Child is the book I've officially lost count of how many times I've read. In fact, I just re-read it a couple weeks ago.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë : Who doesn't get wrapped up in the dark love story of Jane Eyre and Edward Fairfax Rochester?

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis : I mean, if I can't step through an actual wardrobe leading to Narnia, stepping into Narnia through these books is the next best thing. 

The Psalms : The Bible in general heals all my wounds, but when life hits hard, the Psalms are where I inevitably turn. 

Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot : These little snippets by one of my favorite women relieve and soothe me when I'm worn out in this world. 

Children's Books
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams : "Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." Real love is the best medicine there is so naturally this book belongs in my Literary Medicine Cabinet. 

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne : There's something about A.A. Milne's writing that makes me want to curl up in a cozy nook with a cup of tea and forget the world. 

The Classic Tales of Beatrix Potter : Escaping for a few minutes with Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Peter Rabbit, or Tom Kitten always brightens my outlook on life.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf : I can't help but love a bull who would rather sit and smell the flowers than fight. 

Corduroy by Don Freeman : This sweet book about finding a friend has been a favorite of mine since I was too small to read it by myself. 

The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop : I actually discovered this book as a high schooler at summer camp, and I immediately went to the book store when I got home to add this to my library. I can't wait to read this to all my nieces.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein : My tonic for cynicism. 

You Are Special by Max Lucado : Really all of Max Lucado's children's books, but this one in particular is wonderful. 

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins; Oh, the Places You'll Go!; and Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! by Dr. Seuss : Dr. Seuss is the best bandaid for life's minor scrapes. To this day, I can't look at Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! without hearing my dad reading it to me as a little girl. 

What's in your Literary Medicine Cabinet?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Casual Fridays

Well, yesterday my wisdom teeth came out. As I'm writing this post on Wednesday in anticipation of not feeling like being a part of the land of the living, I have no idea how it went, but I imagine I'm probably lying on the couch right about now, watching a musical, and ringing a tiny silver bell signaling my ever-patient husband to bring me some more chocolate pudding. Or I'm in Heaven with Jesus because I didn't wake up from the anesthesia. We'll find out.

Anyway, Happy Friday to you and here are three PhotoGrid collages to send you on your weekend. 
First of all, I finally got my beach day! Last Friday, right after I published this post complaining about how it still hadn't happened, my boss texted me saying she wasn't bringing Little Man, and I immediately threw some sunscreen and one of my favorite books in a beach bag and started driving east. I couldn't have asked for more perfect weather or for a more perfect day. #iloveflorida #westcoastisNOTthebestcoast #eastcoastgirlforevaaaaa
Back at the end of April (yes, it's been a solid month since this actually happened--have I mentioned how crazy it's been??), I got to go to LPL with my BFF Christina. This year, Ms. Beth talked about the blessed EMBRACE: what it means to embrace something, things we should embrace, and things we shouldn't embrace. No secret Siesta photo this year, but we almost made the recap video! If you pause it at 2:14, we were literally standing right next to that girl. To her left, if you must know. So that's....well, that's nothing really, but as always it was a wonderful, uplifting weekend. 
And finally, my sweet niece had her first birthday recently! I try to tell them that growing up is not actually allowed and also it's highly overrated, but to no avail. Auntie Hannah loves you, baby girl! 

What are you up to this weekend? You are welcome to come mock my bruised and swollen face as long as you come bearing Boston Market mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole.