Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"When remedies are past, the griefs are ended
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief."

~from Othello by William Shakespeare~

Monday, October 15, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity began as a series of radio talks C.S. Lewis gave during World War II while he was at Oxford. He was invited to give these talks by James Welch, the BBC Director of Religious Broadcasting, after he read Lewis' book The Problem of Pain (which I have not read yet but it's a strong contender for my 2019 book list). The talks were gradually published in three separate pamphlets entitled Broadcast Talks (in 1942), Christian Behaviour (in 1943), and Beyond Personality (in 1944). Later, all these talks were put into the single volume we now know as Mere Christianity, easily one of the most influential theological works of the last century. In these talks, Lewis succeeded in defending Christianity and explaining its fundamental beliefs. He chose to avoid denominational controversies and focused instead on what core beliefs all Christians have in common. 

This was my first time actually reading the complete book, cover to cover. I've started it several times (there was still a bookmark in there from a previous attempt). I've read excerpts, quotes, even full essays. But this was the first time I started from the beginning and read to the end. And, unsurprisingly, I found Mere Christianity to be an invaluable resource. Lewis was the master apologist, and it never ceases to amaze me how he could use the most mundane objects or activities in the most beautiful and helpful spiritual analogies. Lewis wrote for every man, and that is what makes his writing so profound. He wrote for the bricklayer and the philosopher, the ditch-digger and the intellect. As I was reading Mere Christianity, it was clear, it made sense, it seemed simple. And yet I know that if I tried to articulate or defend my beliefs in the way that Lewis did, I would trip over my tongue. Reading books like Mere Christianity make me thankful for men and women like C.S. Lewis who broaden my understanding of spiritual matters and give me resources I can pass on to others. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and, much like The Weight of Glory, this book instantly earned a spot on my "To Re-Read Again and Again" list. 

What's your favorite non-fictional work of C.S. Lewis? I've still got a ways to go, but what should come next? As mentioned above, I'm really leaning toward The Problem of Pain but how do I choose?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"'But how? How can you just get over these things, darling?' she had asked him. 'You've had so much strife but you're always happy. How do you do it?'

'I choose to,' he said. 'I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.'

'But it's not that easy.'

He smiled that Frank smile. 'Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.' He laughed, pretending to wipe sweat from his brow. 'I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a very proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No'—his voice became sober—'we always have a choice. All of us.'"

~from The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman~

Monday, October 8, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by Australian author M.L. Stedman was first published in 2012, and this will probably be a short post because I don't want to spoil anything. I finished this novel way back on August 16th, but I still feel heartsick over it. 

First of all, after my last 10 minutes of extensive Google research, I could only figure out that the "M" in M.L. Stedman stands for Margot. This was the author's debut novel, and she has managed to maintain a level of anonymity despite the overwhelming success of her novel which sparked a bidding war between publishers and was adapted into a movie in 2016 starring Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, and Rachel Weisz. 

Set on the fictional island of Janus off the western coast of Australia in the 1920s, our main character Tom has just served in World War I and is living the isolated life of a lighthouse keeper on one of the most difficult posts of the time. He meets and marries the vibrant Isabel Graysmark and the novel details the moral conflict they face when a boat washes ashore with a baby after Tom and Isabel have struggled unsuccessfully to grow their family. 

I found the moral and ethical difficulties raised by this story compelling, and, as is often the case in real life, there was no clear or satisfying resolution to the heartbreaking circumstances faced by different characters in the book. If you're looking for a book with a sweet happy ending tied up in a pretty ribbon, this would be the one to avoid

The writing was beautiful. Her descriptions of rugged Australia were breathtaking, and her accounts of lighthouses and their keepers were well-researched and interesting. The historical implications of post-WWI life and human sentiment was also well-depicted. My biggest bone to pick with this book was the author's inconsistency between past and present tense. She would switch randomly and unexpectedly for no apparent reason. It was just enough to really annoy me, but not enough to make me stop reading. 

Based on internet reviews I've read of this novel, it seems to be a love it or hate it kind of a book. While I would hardly classify my feelings for this book as "love" (the content was personally and morally difficult), I found it compelling, well-written (excepting the whole past/present tense issue I mentioned above), and worth the read. 

And....that's it. I'm not sure how to wrap this up. Have you read this book or seen the movie? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history 
at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through into our own world. 
And if we cannot picture even the atoms of which our own world is built, 
of course we are not going to be able to picture this. 
Indeed, if we found that we could fully understand it, 
that very fact would show it was not what it professes to be—the inconceivable, the uncreated, 
the thing from beyond nature, striking down into nature like lightning. 
You may ask what good it will be to us if we do not understand it. 
But that is easily answered. 
A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. 
A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: 
indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it."

~from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis~

Monday, October 1, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God

Y'all. It's October (what?!) and I still haven't recapped books I finished in August (oy). And the book I'm recapping today, I just finished last Thursday. So obviously my priorities are completely whack and this whole blog is going to pot. Whatever. There's a pumpkin spice candle burning, and I've discovered the goodness of Cherry Vanilla Pepsi. We'll survive. 

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson was first published at the end of 1999 and provides a compelling perspective on the nature of God and His complex love for the world. 

I know what you're thinking: What does the "D.A." in D.A. Carson stand for? I can't be the only one who has an irrational need to know what initials stand for. I'll answer: Donald Arthur. Bless him.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about this slim power-packed volume before everything I just learned falls back out of my head. 

To start, let me give you a piece of the publisher's blurb about this book:
"The only aspect of God's character the world still believes in is His love. His holiness, His sovereignty, His wrath are often rejected as being incompatible with a 'loving' God. Because pop culture has so distorted and secularized God's love, even many Christians have lost a biblical understanding of it. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God seeks to restore what we have lost."
This 93 page treatise (84 pages if you don't count the endnotes and indexes) on the love of God was originally a series of four lectures that Carson has given a number of times at various colleges and churches around the world. I thought it would be a quick Saturday read, but it ended up taking me a week to get through. And just like the book took longer to read than I anticipated, so this blog post will probably be longer than you'd expect for such a short work of non-fiction. Stay with me. We'll take it chapter by chapter.

In the first chapter "On Distorting the Love of God", Carson outlines why the doctrine of the love of God must be judged difficult in the first place, five different ways the Bible speaks of the love of God, and some preliminary observations on the distinctive ways of talking about the love of God. I personally found the first chapter to be the most interesting and helpful section of the whole book. As Carson explained five of the different ways God loves and how absolutizing and defining God's love in only one way is detrimental to a right view of Him, I found myself appreciating how vital it is to abide by the whole counsel of God and realizing anew that the only way to even begin to understand any attribute or aspect of God is to take it in context with every other attribute He has. Just reading this chapter alone would be worth your time.

The second chapter, "God is Love", goes over how not to proceed vs. how to proceed with the topic at hand, namely: context is key. We can't just pick one verse out of the Bible, John 3:16 for example, and get a complete picture of God's love from that one sketch. We have to view God's love in light of His justice and sovereignty and His many other attributes. This chapter was the most difficult for me as Carson delved more deeply into the intra-Trinitarian love of God. I felt that I was swimming a bit out of my depth with a lot of this chapter, but that's to be expected anytime you start to study the nature of the Trinity. God is so infinitely high above us that some most things about Him will remain a mystery that we will never understand. If we could comprehend Him fully, He would not be God.

In the third chapter, "God's Love and God's Sovereignty", Carson expounds more on God's love for humanity and argues the point of whether God's love is emotional or impassible. The answer, as you might imagine, is complex, but I found this chapter to be extremely interesting and educational. I ought to note that throughout the entire book, I found nothing to disagree with Carson on, and I appreciated the way he handled tired Christian clichés and even certain Christian terminology. It's rare that I agree with every aspect of a theological work of non-fiction, but in this instance, I did. 

In the fourth and final chapter, "God's Love and God's Wrath", Carson tackles the tough question of the compatibility between the two. He builds on the ideas he introduced in the previous chapter regarding the emotional aspects of God's love which naturally would translate to His wrath as well. He works out the intent of the atonement, and he also brings everything together by talking about our response to this difficult doctrine. 

This book is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive look at the doctrine of the love of God, nor does it claim to be, but it is an intelligent, rational, and biblically sound introduction to it that I found exceptionally helpful. I would recommend this with fair warning that you may need a dictionary in hand to get you through. I think I'd eventually like to read The Gagging of God, but over 600 pages of Carson does seem a little daunting after the dense 84 I just read. 

Have you read anything by D.A. Carson? What book was intellectually challenging but ultimately highly satisfying for you? What does the love of God invoke in you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. 
A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. 
Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. 
He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, 
or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. 
There is no other. 
That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way 
without bothering about religion. 
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. 
There is no such thing."

~from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis~

Friday, September 21, 2018

Casual Fridays

Y'all. I ate a salad as a whole meal this week. For those of you who have never met me in real life: this is major. I've been a salad hater all my life and if offered a salad on any given day my quick response is something along the lines of, "Salad is what real food eats" or "Bring me that chicken and gnocchi soup instead" or even just a basic, "Ew, yuck." But my husband is a huge fan of Zaxby's Cobb salads and every time he gets one, I always think it actually looks good. And this week, I got one for myself. Granted, I dumped salsa all over it because I have yet to find a salad dressing (outside of The Melting Pot's secret house dressing) that doesn't make me gag (which, come to think of it, is probably why I've never been a huge salad fan—who wants to eat dry lettuce??), but I actually really enjoyed it and would eat one again. It was super yummy. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.
I discovered this song by Florida Georgia Line this week, and it's been playing on repeat ever since. Don't ignore the fact that I put the actual video in this post: hit that play button. You need this feel good jam in your life. Also, if you can write lyrics that make me think of my husband, you will get my money every time. Insert some hearts and other appropriate emojis here.
Cody and I started a new puzzle, and it might actually be the death of us. We may never finish it. If you want to come over and take a stab at it, be my guest. I've been tempted to just put it back in the box, but after all the agony we went through to get even this far, I can't bring myself to do it. 
So after my last post mentioning my home pedi struggles, my best sisterfriend Lyndsey (who is my personal hair/makeup/fashion guru) texted me that I needed to get this brand for a smudge free experience, and, as always, she was so right. Loving this brand and loving this color. (Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Re-teal Therapy)
Speaking of feminine hygienic practices, I have two more things to relate. 1) I bought another Chapstick. Because I will never have enough and this Peaches-n-Cream one is my current obsession (along with that Florida Georgia Line song—have you listened to it yet?!). And 2) I gave up on the Native deodorant, y'all. It irritated my skin too much, and I finally realized there was no special way to apply it to avoid the irritation. If you don't have sensitive skin, I'd still recommend it. Their Coconut & Vanilla scent is the bomb.
Changing the subject, let's talk about something this blog is actually about: BOOKS. First of all, look at those pretty, pretty Penguin clothbound Jane Austen beauties. Personally, I would always rather buy 10 books secondhand than 1 quality new one, but I was telling my husband a few weeks ago that I'd eventually like to invest in a good set of Jane Austen's complete works, because currently my Jane Austen novels are all bound together in one paperback volume which is a little cumbersome to travel with (not that that's ever stopped me), and a few days after our conversation, this box set showed up at our door. Am I spoiled or what? I love that man for keeping me in pretty books
But since I just confessed that I'm a used book junkie, here's what I've found at The Book Shelter lately. And alert the media: last Saturday when I went, I walked out with just one book. My husband was so proud of me. Have you read any of these? I highly recommend Unbroken. It's one of the best biographies I've ever read. 

Let's catch up on some Link Love and call it a day.

100 Books to Read Before You Die : I love reading other people's book lists and lists of the greatest books of all time and just bookish stuff in general so I found this guy's process of creating this ultimate book list interesting, and I loved all the included links to the lists he used to help him create his own. 

Why? : This is heartbreaking. Every child should get a family. Politics are the worst, and the State Department sucks.

The Greatest Showman Medley : This is insanely good, and I can forgive him for not including my favorite song from the movie (Tightrope) because undertaking this at all is ambitious and he did it with impressive results. Mad props to this guy. 

Don't Be Yourself : The trend he addresses in this post has been bothering me for some time now, and I had been thinking about writing a post on this very topic myself, especially after reading Mere Christianity. But then I read this and thought, "He did it better. We'll just share this one." 

What have you been up to lately? What are you reading right now? 
And are you hooked on that S-I-M-P-L-E song yet??

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth is characterized as a children's fantasy adventure novel and was published in 1961. Norton Juster wrote it, Jules Feiffer illustrated it, and it is just charming. I can't believe I escaped my childhood without ever reading this delightful book. Critics have compared its appeal to that of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and while I still haven't read about Alice (mental note to put Carroll on my 2019 book list), I did read The Wizard of Oz this year, and I would definitely agree with the critics: I loved The Phantom Tollbooth. 

In this story we meet Milo, a little boy who is just too bored with everything. One day after school, he receives a mysterious tollbooth with a map. He, of course, has nothing better to do, so he hops in his toy car and is on his way to Dictionopolis. He soon finds himself on an adventure with Tock the literal Watchdog and the Humbug to rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason so they can restore the Kingdom of Wisdom to its former glory. 

Y'all. This book is smart as a whip and an absolute pleasure to read. The puns and wordplay throughout the story will keep you grinning. (For example, Milo unexpectedly finds himself on the island of Conclusions when he accidentally jumps there. Come on now.) On top of that, the biggest theme of this book is one of a love for learning. It encourages curiosity and imagination and an appreciation for the world around us. Sign me up.

If you've never read this book, you should. And if you have kids coming along, this book definitely needs to be on your radar. It is both fun and smart and that's the best kind of book. 

Have you read The Phantom Tollbooth? What were the books that first made you fall in love with reading? What books from your childhood are still on your list of favorites today?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"If you do not take the distinction between good and bad very seriously, 
then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God. 
But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, 
then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world 
and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will. 
Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, 
'If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this also is God.' 
The Christian replies, 
'Don't talk damned nonsense.'"

~from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis~

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Tuesday Confession

Meet my dishwashing buddies.
This is an entire collection of McDonald's Happy Meal toys.
My confession is not that my standing McDonald's order is a 6-pc chicken nugget Happy Meal with buffalo sauce and chocolate milk.
Nor is it that I eat enough McDonald's to collect an entire set of the Happy Meal toys in a 6 week period.
It's not even that I traded toys with my 2 and 3 year old nieces so I could collect all ten.

My confession is that I used my husband's facebook account to go onto a group page of Happy Meal toy collectors and I traded toys with perfect strangers on the internet to complete my collection.

The little arctic fox flew here from a sweet family in Nebraska.
The sea turtle made its way from a darling nurse practitioner in Alabama.
And the manta ray traveled all the way from a college kid in California.

Yes, they all sit on my kitchen window sill.
No, I never let any of the myriad kids who are constantly in and out of this house ever touch them. There are plenty of other toys to play with here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"I don't care much for people—never have, never will. I got my reasons. 
I never met a man half so true as a dog. Treat a dog right and he'll treat you right—
he'll keep you company, be your friend, never ask you no questions."

~from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows~

Monday, September 10, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : Othello

Ohhhhhhhh-thello. I'm not sure I have the comedic wherewithal to create a humorous post for the play Othello. I just don't think I can do it, y'all. It's been a few weeks since I read it, and every time I sit down to write this post, I end up watching youtube videos for half an hour and then I give up and eat an ice cream sandwich.

Let's give it the old college try anyway and move on with our lives, okay?

Othello is the darkest play I've read by Shakespeare thus far. My friend Jen always says she thinks Iago is one of the most evil villains ever written, and you know what, Jen? I get where you're coming from. Iago is one bad mama jama.

So Othello starts out with some guy named Roderigo blubbering to Iago about Othello's secret marriage to Desdemona. Iago basically tells Roderigo that he hates Othello's guts for giving young Cassio the job that Iago wanted to have and sends Roderigo off to go tattletale on Othello and Desdemona to Desdemona's dad. (Because that's what adults do.) Iago then goes to warn Othello that his new father-in-law is coming to kill him. (Because that is the natural reaction of all fathers when they learn their daughter just ran off with some loser.)

Brabantio (Desdemona's dad) and Othello both end up in a meeting with a bunch of senators who hear their case out and decide that Desdemona can make up her own mind about who she wants to marry and Brabantio is just going to have to put on his big boy pants and get over it. Brabantio obviously isn't happy about this and tells Othello that Desdemona is a two-bit liar who will stab him in the back as soon as she gets a chance because that's what she did to dear old dad. (I personally think that was just the rage talking, but whatever.)

In Act II, everybody arrives in Cyprus (where they had all been sent to fight off a fleet of enemy Turks) to find that the bad guys all drowned in a storm so instead of doing the job they'd been sent there to do, they can all party and Othello and Desdemona can go consummate their ill-fated marriage. Iago gets Cassio drunk, and then proceeds to convince Roderigo to fight Cassio which is all part of some elaborate scheme for Roderigo to get some sheet time with Desdemona. (However, we, the readers, know that Iago doesn't give two flying rips about whether or not Roderigo wins Desdemona. He's just using him for his own ends. As he uses every single person in the play including his own wife.)

So Cassio and Roderigo end up fighting, people get hurt, Othello comes out to see what all the noise is about and ends up stripping Cassio of his rank. Because everything is obviously Cassio's fault. (Perfect example of why getting drunk is never a good idea.) Cassio's all heartbroken over it, and Iago persuades him to go ask Desdemona to get her husband to give Cassio his job back.

They're all just playing right into Iago's hands.

In Act III, Iago plants the seed in Othello's mind that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Of course, Iago never comes right out and accuses anyone of anything. He would never dream of speaking poorly or thinking the worst of anyone, but he has noticed some things and Othello should draw his own conclusions about them. (Oh give me a break, can no one see through this guy?!)

Desdemona ends up dropping a handkerchief which Emilia (Iago's wife and Desdemona's BFF) picks up and gives to her husband because he had mentioned he wanted it. Emilia doesn't find this fishy at all and has no idea what he plans to do with it. And apparently, this handkerchief is magic and worth a world of gold to Othello so when Iago plants it in Cassio's chambers and then spins an innocent conversation between Cassio and his mistress into an incriminating trap, Othello thinks he's found the smoking gun and vows to kill his wife and commissions Iago to murder Cassio.

Like taking candy from a baby, y'all. I mean, this is too easy for Iago.

At this point, Othello becomes publicly abusive to Desdemona, and Iago somehow manages to convince Roderigo to kill Cassio during a conversation in which Roderigo is complaining to Iago that his whole plan to get Desdemona for Roderigo isn't working. (What?!)

We've come to Act V and what do you think happens? Roderigo fights Cassio, but Cassio ends up wounding Roderigo. Iago secretly stabs Cassio, but then joins two other guys coming on to the scene like he has no idea what's going on. When Cassio identifies Roderigo as one of his attackers, Iago manages to secretly stab Roderigo (in front of everyone??) to keep him from outing Iago as the instigator of this whole mess and then, Iago accuses Cassio's mistress of the conspiracy to kill him.

Meanwhile, Othello is strangling his wife in her bed because he thinks she's a dirty, Cassio-loving cheater even though she's been nothing but faithful and true and even defends her husband (while he's strangling her—Stockholm syndrome anyone?) when Emilia happens upon them. Emilia is like, "Somebody get in here and help, STAT" and Othello's all, "She gave the magic handkerchief of love to Cassio. She deserves to die."

At this point, Emilia finally gets her head on straight and puts the pieces together and realizes her husband is a low-down, treacherous snake and outs him to the crowd that has gathered. So he kills her, naturally. Othello figures out that he has been duped in the worst possible way and stabs Iago, but not enough to kill him which is fine with Othello because he would rather Iago live the rest of his life in excruciating pain than die too quickly because death would be too good for him.

Lodovico takes Iago and Othello into custody for murdering like, everyone, but Othello kills himself. Iago shuts his mouth so fast and gives no defense for himself. And Lodovico puts Cassio in charge of the world and tells him to punish Iago as he sees fit.

The end.

Really?? This play was crazy. Iago is such a bad villain because he somehow has everyone's complete trust and even love right down to the minute before he kills them. Insane. But also, not unbelievable. Is there anyone out there who hasn't loved someone who was talking behind your back when you thought they were your friend? That's Iago. And that's why this play was really a tragedy. I personally thought Macbeth and Hamlet were both very humorous, but I was not laughing during Othello. Mainly I was reading with very wide eyes and incredulously shaking my head through the whole story. Why couldn't anyone see through Iago?! Definitely compelling, and definitely worth a read sometime.

Who's the most despicable villain of all time, literary or cinematic? Which Shakespearean tragedy should go on my list next year? And what are your thoughts on quick marriages?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books."

~from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows~

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The day has come. The title of this blog post could not fit on one line. Oh sad, sad day. But this book is worth it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was not on my radar, but I picked it up one day as I was browsing through The Book Shelter simply because I couldn't pass up a title like that. I mean, look at it. My husband has dubbed it "The Governor's Luncheon and Pecan Pie Club" because he can't ever remember the actual full name of it. (Though how he consistently remembers "The Governor's Luncheon and Pecan Pie Club" I'll leave you to puzzle out. He's silly.) When I realized it was a historical novel on the German occupation of the island of Guernsey during WWII, I was sold. 

I had no intention of reading this book this year, and I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was recently adapted to film and Netflix would be releasing it last month. But the very week I happened to buy this book, my new bookish bloggy friend Sabrina at Tired Mom Reading mentioned on her Instagram account that she would be re-reading it in anticipation of the movie release and would anyone like to join her? That would be a quick Yes from me and Bob's your uncle, I was reading it the first week of August like it was my full-time job. I could not put it down. 

How this book escaped my notice for 10 solid years since its original publication in 2008 is beyond me and a total tragedy because it instantly earned All Time Favorite status with me. I immediately made my mom and then my best friend and then her mom read it because it is that good, y'all. I've waited to post this recap until I could watch the film (which I waited until I could watch with my mom and sister-in-law over the Labor Day weekend) so stick around for my thoughts on it at the end of this post. 

The novel is actually set in 1946 after the war has ended and is made up entirely of letters sent between all the characters in the book, the main character being Juliet Ashton. Juliet receives a letter from a perfect stranger who lives on the Isle of Guernsey and has somehow acquired a copy of a book Juliet used to own, and from this first letter, a correspondence begins which leads Juliet to the island to meet her new friends and learn more about the German occupation they lived through during the war. 

This book is captivating. Every character is quirky and lovable (I want to adopt Isola Pribby), and the way Shaffer and Barrows managed to capture different attitudes and emotions of Guernsey's inhabitants about the war and the occupation was remarkably believable and relatable and unique to each voice portrayed. This book had me laughing and crying and sighing and grinning and shaking my head. It elicited every response a good book ought to and I loved every second of it.

As for the movie: I was disappointed. My mom and I were the only two out of our little watch group that didn't like it, and all my internet friends liked it, too, so I'm guessing I'm in the minority with my disappointment. But let me tell you what will ruin an adaptation quicker than a wink for me: when the actual plot is changed from what was written. I understand that a movie can't be developed the same way a book can and that things are going to have to be cut. But when you start changing the things that you actually do put in, that's when I'm done with it. On top of that, Lily James' portrayal of Juliet Ashton was an extreme letdown. She didn't capture her vivacity or charm at all in my opinion, and I wasn't impressed with the other female leads either. I did think that Michiel Huisman, Matthew Goode, and Glen Powell were wonderful as Dawsey, Sidney, and Markham, but that did not make up for the glaring flaws in this film. Sad.

Annnnnnd.....unpopular opinion time over. Have you read the book or seen the film? What did you think? Anyone that read the book and watched the film care to offer a defense for it? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books 
that brings them to their perfect readers. 
How delightful if that were true."

~from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows~

Monday, August 27, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : Song of Deborah

Song of Deborah by Bette M. Ross was originally published in 1981 and is the retelling of the Biblical story of Deborah the prophetess who led Israel to victory over the Canaanite leaders Jabin and Sisera. You can find the Biblical account of Deborah's life in chapters 4 and 5 of the book of Judges which I would highly recommend you read in any case but especially if you intend to read this novel. While I enjoy reading novels based on people from the Bible, I believe it is of first importance to read the actual Bible and keep the truth at the forefront of our minds when we're reading (or watching) someone's dramatized interpretation of the facts. 

That being said, I am always impressed by the imaginative scope authors possess to bring the Bible to life in ways I never could have dreamed up.

In Song of Deborah, Ross presents the prophetess as a very young woman (not even 16 at the beginning of the book), and she tells the story not just of Deborah leading the Israelites into battle alongside Barak, but of Deborah's marriage to Lapidoth and her relationships with other Biblical people such as Heber and Jael and even Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth. While I am skeptical of the potential accuracy of these connections as portrayed in the novel, it is interesting to think about how Deborah lived and related to people as a prophetess of God, especially to her husband. It never really hit me until reading this book that Deborah was a married woman according to Judges 4:4. How did she balance her role as a wife with her role as a prophetess? How did her husband feel when she agreed to go into battle with Barak

And though it's doubtful that Deborah ever met Naomi, Boaz, or Ruth, it broadens my understanding of the Bible to realize that the separate book of Ruth took place within the time of the book of Judges (Ruth 1:1). While I had the knowledge that Naomi and Ruth lived in the time when the judges ruled, I never thought about the implications of that in their actual lives. Which judge was ruling during their lifetime? Did they ever hear him (or her) speak? And did the family of Elimelech ever travel or interact with other tribes outside of their time in Bethlehem and Moab? 

Song of Deborah was entertaining, and I appreciate the way novels like this one bring these people to life for me, prompt me back to the Bible to read about them, and make me think about what life was really like for them and how grateful I am for where God has placed me in history. I've always enjoyed the stories of the judges (Deborah's in particular), and it was fun to read this novel about her. 

Who is your favorite Judge to read about? Have you read any novels that expand their lives beyond the Biblical account? And is anyone else thankful for the clarity that Sisera actually died in Judges 4:21? Because that verse always makes me laugh out loud. What are some of your favorite laugh-out-loud verses in the Bible? 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"What is the matter with me? Am I too particular? 
I don't want to be married just to be married. 
I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, 
or worse, someone I can't be silent with."

~from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows~

Monday, August 20, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : 31 Days of Praise

This sweet little book is one to just leave right next to your Bible so you can keep coming back to it again and again. I can't recommend this praise-focused devotional highly enough. 

Each of the 31 days offers a unique prayer centered on God's character and emphasizing His goodness through every circumstance of life. This book helps re-train your mind to worship God at all times and find the things to thank God for even in the midst of trials or sorrow. 

As Dr. Pamela Reeve says in her foreword to the book, "31 Days of Praise is down to earth. It touches you where you live and walks with you where you plod. It is not a book that tells you to praise because 'you are supposed to' and 'you will be blessed' if you do. Rather, it inspires and motivates you to praise from the heart." I definitely found this to be true while I was working my way through this devotional. 

Apart from the daily prayers of praise which is Part II of this little book, I really appreciated Part III entitled "The Importance of Praise." In this section of the book, Mrs. Myers talks about at least eight reasons why praising God is so vital to the Christian. What is particularly excellent about this book as a whole is that Mrs. Myers incorporates Part III into the daily prayers by putting little notes on certain days of praise referring you to a specific section in The Importance of Praise including the page number where you can find that section. This was so well thought out and helpful.

I found that starting my mornings with one of these prayers of praise gave me a vertical focus throughout the rest of the day instead of a horizontal one, and I'm thankful for the extra tools (like this book) that God brings into my life to help me walk closely with Him. This book is a treasure.

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 34:1

Friday, August 17, 2018

Casual Fridays

So apparently yesterday was National Tell A Joke day. There's a day for everything lately. In honor of that, I will share my favorite joke from yesterday with you. 

Three conspiracy theorists walked into a bar.

That can't just be a coincidence. 
Tell me your best joke!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, 
the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, 
is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"

~Benjamin Franklin~

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : The Three Lives of James Madison

Okay, so I have finished reading a second biography on James Madison, and while I don't plan to make it a habit to read multiple biographies on each president (until next year when I read two biographies on Andrew Jackson—ha!), I'm glad I did in this case. You can read the recap I wrote of Lynne Cheney's biography of Madison here. Comparatively, this 2017 biography of Madison by Noah Feldman is much more intellectual, authoritative, and thorough. Of the two, this is definitely the one I'd recommend. 

The full title of this book, The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President, gives you a glimpse at how the book is written. It's actually divided into three books, each focusing on the main three phases of his political career. The first phase details his work on the creation and ratification of the Constitution. While Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution and the Constitution we have today is very much his brainchild, I had no idea after reading Cheney's book earlier this year how much his original vision for the Constitution was compromised and changed during the Philadelphia Convention. I appreciated that Feldman took the time to really describe how the convention played out and explained how the small states forced Madison to compromise his idea for having proportionate representation in both houses of Congress. Madison did not think each state should have equal representation in the Senate because he thought both houses should have representation proportionate to each state's population. This is only one example of the many issues battled over and compromised on during the Philadelphia Convention. After reading Cheney's book, I had this vague notion that Madison wrote the Constitution, presented it to the Convention, there was some discussion and debate over it, and then it was accepted. That's not how it went down. The Constitution produced by the Philadelphia Convention certainly was constructed on the frame Madison introduced, but it was fleshed out much differently than he originally imagined.

The second phase describes his time as a Congressman and the rise of partisan politics. When Madison dreamed up his perfect Constitution, he was adamantly against partisan politics and he thought that the construction of the Constitution would actually prevent political parties from rising up against each other. Boy, was he wrong, and this is a point in Madison's own thinking and practice that he truly evolved on. He went from working closely as friends with Alexander Hamilton in their effort to have the States ratify the Constitution by writing The Federalist Papers, to considering him a political and personal enemy. In this phase of Madison's life, he and Jefferson really banded together to create the Republican Party in order to combat the Federalist Party headed by Hamilton. Madison went from supporting a powerful central government to protecting States' rights, a true 180 in his thinking.

And in the final phase of the book, Feldman concentrates on Madison's involvement in the War of 1812, first as Jefferson's Secretary of State, then as President of the United States. Madison's thinking on this subject shifts again from being certain that the U.S. could maintain control and neutrality during the war by utilizing economic sanctions to our advantage, to eventually deciding that war was inevitable and ultimately winning the presidency by promising to fight for U.S. interests. Again, Madison's time as President was my favorite part of his life to read about.

Another major difference between Feldman's book and Cheney's was their differing views on Madison's health and motivations for religious freedom. While Cheney spent so much time theorizing on Madison's "mysterious" bouts with poor health and positing that he was committed to religious freedom because he probably struggled with epilepsy and people back then attributed epilepsy to demonic possession, Feldman very practically asserts that Madison's dedication to religious freedom stemmed from his time at Princeton being surrounded and influenced by students and professors of differing beliefs. He writes off Madison's occasional mentions of illness to debilitating migraines or other plausible illnesses which made a lot more sense than Cheney's far-reaching notions of epilepsy. I appreciated that Feldman stuck to the facts of what we know about Madison as opposed to Cheney's constant efforts to fill in all the blanks of his personal life.

Another point Feldman made in this book that I really loved was one regarding Madison's marriage to Dolley. While John Adams is always hailed as such a loving husband because of the multitude of affectionate correspondence he shared with his wife Abigail, Feldman points out that Madison always preferred to be with Dolley while Adams spent much of his political life apart from Abigail. Not to say that Adams didn't love his wife, but the point resonated with me.

Really, my only bone to pick with this biography is that the Table of Contents is after the preface. (Who does that?!) While there were times when Feldman was so detailed I just wanted him to get to the point already, his writing ultimately helped me understand Madison and at the end of the book, I realized the detailed accounts of the political battles he fought gave me the clearest picture of Madison possible. If you're looking for a good biography to read on Madison, I highly recommend this one. 

And just to give you a little update on my Monroe dilemma: I got the bio by Harlow Unger, and I think I can squeeze it in this year so stay tuned for another presidential recap before 2018 is through!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Casual Fridays

Happy Friday to meeeee! Here's my latest haul from The Book Shelter. I picked these up last weekend, and it's taking a lot of self-control to not drop everything and just sit around reading all day. I only have 7 books left from my original 2018 list so I should definitely be able to get to one or two of these babies before the end of the year. Have you read any of these? Which one should I read first? 
And here's a bonus shot of my Colonel-bud to send you on your weekend because he was just glamming it up on the couch and the lighting was pretty. You're welcome.
What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"Gilbert darling, don't let's ever be afraid of things. 
It's such dreadful slavery. 
Let's be daring and adventurous and expectant. 
Let's dance to meet life and all it can bring to us, 
even if it brings scads of trouble and typhoid and twins!"

~from Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery~

Monday, August 6, 2018

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, my sweetheart! I love you forever!
And Happy Birthday, Najati! We love you so much!
Cody shares a birthday with our oldest girl Najati. She lives in Tanzania, and today, she turns 15 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 with Compassion. 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 3, 2018

Casual Fridays

I think today we'll phone it in and just do an extremely basic Currently I'm... post. Because at the time I'm writing this, it's nearly 1 AM and I plan to be dead to the world when this goes live in a few hours. Let's see what I can come up with in the next 15 minutes.


... technically, nothing at the moment. And not just because I'll be asleep when this post goes live. I finished The Three Lives of James Madison on Monday, 31 Days of Praise on Tuesday, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (say that 5 times fast) last night. Never fear: I totally intend to begin Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis whenever I wake up. And Othello won't be far behind.


... Bones. I'm beginning to lose count of how many times I've watched this show from start to finish, though, if we're going to be precise about it, this would actually only be the second time since the show only came to a complete close last year. I'm currently on Season 10 and loving it just as much as I usually do even though I'm super mad at a certain someone right now. (Can't say who because my mommy-in-law is watching the show for the first time and I can't give away any SPOILERS.)

... Alias. Oh yeah. We're throwing it back old school. Cody and I just picked up the first season at FYE and I am hooked. I never saw a single episode of this back in the day, but I am into it now.

... all the movies. Like, seriously, I have been on such a movie kick lately. In the last couple weeks alone, I've managed to squeeze in all five of the Mission Impossible movies (we're going to see the new one tonight!) along with Ladder 49, Cinderella starring Lily James, and First Daughter to name a few. And that's just in the last few weeks. Y'all. Someone stop me.


... the Netflix release of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I mean, since I just confessed the movie kick I've been on and managed to mention Lily James in the same breath, I might as well come clean about this. I adored The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (more about that in a gushing recap to come), and I am psyched for the movie. Even though I just watched the trailer and I'm already feeling very skeptical of the creative license taken to make this into a film, I'm a fan of Lily James (and the rest of the cast I was catching glimpses of in the trailer) and I think it's worth a viewing. 

... Mission Impossible 6 tonight! (No, I will never call 4, 5, and 6 by their lame names, and yes, I know we pretty much already covered this in the last section, but it is now 1:08 AM: you get what you get.)


... Publix buffalo chicken dip on Tostitos Bite Size tortilla chips. If you don't know the delicious goodness that is this perfect snack (or breakfast, don't judge me), then you aren't living. Get down to the Southeast and get on my level.

... Luigi's Lemon Italian Ice. Because Florida summer. 

... leftovers for days, y'all. I don't know why we seem to be in leftover heaven lately, but we have been and you won't hear me complaining. I think I've subconsciously been cooking in bulk just so I won't actually have to cook every day. 


... to Relient K's Air for Free album. It's such a chill summer jam album, and I love it.

... to Train. Whatever album I land on. They're just my go-to. 

... to my entire iPod on shuffle. This is not something I typically do because I have over 10,000 songs on it or something crazy like that, but once every 6 years or so, I just get in the mood to have the whole thing on shuffle and that's the mood I'm in now. It's pretty fun.

... to Despacito. Honestly, I don't know the entire literal translation of this song, and if it's inappropriate, I apologize but don't tell me because it will be a very long time before I stop dancing around to this. 


... so very proud of my littlest sister who just signed her letter of intent to play college tennis on a scholarship because she is the bomb and doing it huge. (Also, I can't believe we're all officially and legally adults now. Is this real life? And can I possibly be this old?)

... bereft of sweet nephew snuggles. I need more in my life. Like yesterday. A six hour drive is too far away, and they're trying to take him to Germany?! I ain't doin' it.

... a teensy bit proud of myself because as of last night, I have read 26 books so far this year and 16 of those are even from my original 2018 book list. Not too shabby, and we still have five months to go. 


... my family. 

... my friends.

... my church.

... my life.

... my bed. It's 1:32 AM, and I am done

What's currently going on with you?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Word for Wednesday

"Ma says I'm getting too old to dream. Do you think I am, Miss Shirley?"

"Nobody is ever too old to dream. And dreams never grow old."

~Pauline Gibson & Anne Shirley in Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery~

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Let's Bust a Recap : Tuesdays with Morrie

I should have gotten this post up last week, but sometimes blogging is just a drag, y'all. Reading Tuesdays with Morrie, however, was anything but a drag. 

This sweet little memoir was first published in 1997 and since that time has been translated into 31 languages in 36 countries. I'd call that a hit. The writer, Mitch Albom, has not only authored several popular books, he is a top sports columnist, ESPN sports panelist and commentator, and radio host. I'm not sure if he ever sleeps.

In Tuesdays with Morrie, Albom recounts the time and conversations he had with his 78 year old college sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, leading up to his death from ALS. In their Tuesday meetings, they dealt with such topics as Death, Fear, Aging, Greed, Marriage, Family, Society, and Forgiveness. 

While there was a lot of wisdom in this book and some valuable life lessons, it fell flat for me because the most important issues of life and death—God's relationship to man, Heaven, Hell—were skirted around and dealt with in an abstract and philosophical rather than concrete and practical way. This book ultimately left me feeling so sad because this man I'd come to know and love through its pages came to the end of his life grasping at a lot of beautiful philosophies but—if Tuesdays with Morrie is true—ignorant of the Truth. According to Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie, Morrie Schwartz was a "religious mutt" borrowing feely from all religions. Though he determined to meet death with dignity after he was diagnosed with ALS, when he closed his eyes for the last time,  what did he meet? 

I loved this book. I want to spend the last days of my life with dignity, loving my people and laughing a lot. I want to be brave like Morrie. 

But let me be perfectly clear: there is only one Truth and His name is Jesus. He is the only Door to Heaven, and the people who choose not to surrender to Him before death will be eternally separated from Him in a place of eternal torment called Hell. I know that's offensive and alienating and extremely unpopular. Many would call me hateful and narrow-minded for these beliefs. But the most loving thing I know to do is tell the truth. And that's it.

I would recommend Tuesdays with Morrie, but there's a more important Book that has all the answers Morrie didn't. Read that one first. And if you don't have one, please feel free to contact me for a copy. I will put it in the mail today.

Have you read Tuesdays with Morrie? What was one of your favorite lessons from Morrie?

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Entertainer Book Tag

Last week, Sabrina from Tired Mom Reading tagged me to answer some fun bookish questions. So here I am not procrastinating at all and answering them within a week of reading her post. Yay me! 
Six Questions from Sabrina

1. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption? Least favorite?

Oh boy. Thanks for starting with such an easy question, Sabrina. All the movies just popped into my head. Okay, for favorites I think I'll go with The Help or A Walk to Remember. (We weren't supposed to pick just one, were we??) 
For least favorites, the first trainwreck that popped into my mind is Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, but I can't even count that because adaptation of WHAT? Not any Anne book I've ever read. Ugh. So officially I'll go with The Hobbit trilogy. I thought the first movie was pretty good, but the second one was so abysmal I didn't even bother watching the third one. 

2. You're hosting a dinner for your three favorite heroes/heroines. Who will be there, what will you talk about, and does everyone leave alive?

Christy (Miller) Spencer, Katie (Weldon) Lorenzo, and Sierra (Jensen) Bryce obviously. We will talk about literally everything under the sun, and we will particularly encourage each other in our roles as wives. Of course we will all leave alive with our next Girls Night Out already on the calendar.
*These are all characters written by Robin Jones Gunn for anyone this reference is lost on.*

3. What is a book you would recommend to everyone and why?

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom because not only is it full of beautiful truth, suspense,  and adventure, it's all true and the events in the book happened during such an important time in world history that we ought never forget about. And BONUS along the same lines, I'd also recommend Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand to anyone. Both are excellent.

4. Who are your fictional book crushes?

Gilbert Blythe, Todd Spencer, and Mr. Knightley are probably my top three. Need I elaborate? I think not.

5. What book series do you wish there was more of? How about less of?

This is another tough one. I wish the Anne of Green Gables books could just keep going forever and ever, generation after generation. I'd also love some more Little Women in my life. 
The "less of" is a little harder. Do we have to have read the books to know we want less? I can honestly say I wish the Twilight and 50 Shades books never existed, but I haven't actually read them.

6. Where is your favorite place to get books?

I love to find little hole-in-the-wall used bookstores. My all-time favorite was Booktraders in downtown Winter Haven, but sadly, it closed. My current local favorite is The Book Shelter in Lake Wales. I hope they stick around. 

Thanks so much for tagging me, Sabrina! I'll tag Lyndsey @ The Bolden JourneyCaroline @ Big World :: Small GirlChristina @ Remember to be Tandy, Alison @ The Juggling Act, and Jen @ "Just a Mom's" View. My six questions for y'all are:

1. Do you re-read books? What was the last book you re-read?
2. What book are you most proud of finishing?
3. What are some of your hobbies aside from reading?
4. What is your favorite read (so far) of 2018? Least favorite?
5. Bookmarks or dog-ears?
6. Who are your read-everything-they-ever-wrote favorite authors?

Full disclosure: I totally cherrypicked these questions from other Entertainer Book Tag posts I ended up reading when I fell down the blog hole after Sabrina tagged me. 

If I didn't tag you, but you decide to do this on your blog, please come back and leave the link to your post so I can read your answers, and if you don't have a blog, feel free to answer any or all of these questions down in the comments and we can talk all things bookish!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Casual Fridays

Y'all. Casual Fridays have just died over here. Forget about it. So much time has passed. Where do we even start? I'll tell you where:
Because freedom and true love and the freaking 'stache. We spent our 4th of July eating way too much food and admiring Cody's magnificent facial hair. RIP The Mustache of 2018. Also, we played Euchre. Because I finally gave in and learned to play and now I'm addicted and can't stop. If you know this game, come play with me. 

Now for a proper bookish start to this post:
Here are some of the gems I've picked up at The Book Shelter lately. I think I've had pretty good self-control (considering the first time we went, I ended up with 14 books), but Cody's still a little fearful whenever I announce I'm heading for The Book Shelter. I've been back twice since that fateful anniversary trip, and along with all these fantastic books (including that Beth Moore Esther workbook which had nary a mark in it) I also scored the entire series of Parks & Rec on DVD. Because not only do they sell books, they sell board games and movies and video games—oh my! Have you read any of these? If I had to choose between Their Eyes Were Watching God, Rebecca, The Language of Flowers, or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for my 2019 book list, which one should make the cut? ("All of them" is an entirely acceptable answer.)
I'd probably be going to The Book Shelter a lot more frequently if I wasn't running off to the beach every spare day I get. Most of my trips have been solo, but I did manage to drag my BFF with me one day, and we ended up witnessing a totally casual wedding. (#memories) When we noticed they didn't have anyone to take a picture of the whole group, I sashayed my little bikini-clad body over to offer up my services as an impromptu photographer, much to the chagrin delight of my best friend. The family was very appreciative even though Christina wanted to melt into the sand. As you can see, my toenails haven't been entirely neglected this summer. That purple home pedi was flawless, but the beachy coral pedi was smudge city which has brought me to a new conclusion about smudgy pedicures: the nail polish brand matters. Anyone else find this to be true? 
I alluded to this in my God Is Able recap, but I didn't mention that my husband totally surprised me with these fun summery porch furniture cushions and they are making me so happy. Our porch chairs have been cushion-less since Irma, and I've been loving being able to (comfortably) spend more time outside this summer. 
I set a new world record Yahtzee score. (Ignore all of our confused faces, I was trying to figure out how to do a screenshot. #technicaldifficulties) But really though. 620??? That has to be a world record, right? Right?!
And speaking of my fellow Yahtzee Nazis (I just came up with that. Can I trademark it? Or is it offensive?), I squeezed in the quickest weekend roadtrip to see some of my favorite people recently. They're just extremely lucky I didn't smuggle my nephew home with me. Serious tears when I had to drive away from that baby. They're moving to Germany and even though they're really psyched about it, I'm still hitting my knees every morning asking God to make the Army change its mind. #sorrynotsorry Check Little Miss Thing eyeing her daddy like, "Gosh, you're so embarrassing, Dad!"
I got a few sweet hours with my other favorites yesterday. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are getting real good at faces-on-command. I treasure every second with these precious girls, and I hope they always love coming to Auntie Hannah's house. 
The puppies are doing good. Although between the two of them, I've cleaned up more puke this week than I would have preferred. Colonel likes to eat baby wipes so all trash cans have long been placed out of reach of either mangy mutt, but this week he managed to snitch two wipes that were literally sitting right next to me while I was changing a diaper and naturally they came back up a couple days later because baby wipes are not digestible, y'all. Don't eat them. Major regurgitated his breakfast Wednesday for no apparent reason. Perhaps he felt left out? The world may never know, and I am so over it.
Last summer around this time, I started a segment on the blog entitled "Adventures in Coloring" because my husband got me this insane grown-up coloring book. In the entire year since then, I have managed to complete two more pages. Two. And recently started a third. I'm obviously slaying. My hubby thinks the fish lips page doesn't even look finished because of how much I left white, but look at those teeny tiny scales, y'all! Haven't I done enough?!
I let some random stranger at a Fantastic Sam's hack up my hair a couple weeks ago because I was so bored with it, but, as is usually the case, I was immediately remorseful. It's hair. It grows. Whatever.
And if you've actually made it to the end of this post, I have a serious question for you. I have Mere Christianity and Othello lined up for my August reading, but I can't decide on which novel I'd like to tackle next. Should August include The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, or Song of Deborah by Bette M. Ross? Help!

Did you make it this far? How's your summer been? To sum up: nail polish brand recommendations, 2019 book list choices, Yahtzee props, coloring encouragement, August novel vote. Annnnnd GO.