Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Today I'm going to the city's Memorial Day ceremony to see my brother perform a patriotic speech, do a little bit of office work, some shopping in preparation for the trip to Virginia, have dinner with my family, do some housecleaning, maybe some reading?

But, it is Memorial Day and I'm not forgetting the real meaning of the day. 

In lieu of anything better to post... this is the poem I wrote for Memorial Day last year. 

In Memory...
Of all the men and women that gave their lives for this country.
Because they believed in freedom for their families
And for all the people they would never know who would walk this land after them
For their courage under fire
For their sacrifice, because sacrifice means hurt
For their willingness to die for something they would never see
For their families and friends who are privileged to live in the freedom they earned
Who carry the burden of a grief that will never die
And know the names of the unsung heroes.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Gift of Singleness

Very encouraging message for all of the single girls out there!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Books and Reading

 "Reynie's heart gave a lurch when he entered the library.  He loved it instantly, as he did all libraries..."  -Trenton Lee Stewart, The Mysterious Benedict Society
For as long as I can remember libraries have made my heart lurch, my stomach churn, my blood pound.  Such a startling contradiction of two worlds simultaneously co-existing.  One world where stale, still air and somber colors, dust and solitude are sacred. 

"The world is quiet here."- Lemony Snicket

The other world defies explanation.  Because it is always changing, always unknown, always unpredictable, and it depends on which book you open.  

There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away.  No one has stepped twice into the same river.  But did anyone ever step twice into the same book? ~Marina Tsvetaeva

A lot of people have asked me why I love to read.  Some people have hinted or even flat out stated that reading is a waste of time.  I agree that not everyone is made of reader material.  So, if you're not a reader, you probably don't understand.  But, that's ok.  There are many things about other people that I don't understand.  But, there are many things about people that I DO understand... because I read.  There are so many different types of books that it's hard to lump them all into one general classification.  Just like there are educational movies about science that are used in college classrooms, and there are movies about Thomas the Tank Engine that are used in pre-school day cares.  There are fluffy books, garbage books, dry books, adventure books, classics, books 1000 pages long all about one person's opinion.

Take a glance at my book lists and you'll see what sort of books I enjoy reading.  Do I think they're a waste of time?  NOT at all.  Here's why:  Every book I read was written by a person I've never met.  No matter the subject, that person has put a lot of themselves into their book.  They write about their opinions, their view of the world, their perception on people, and their personal beliefs whether they really intend to or not.  Reading the work of an author is like reading a little bit of their heart, sweat, blood and tears.  I have learned so much about the world from reading.  Where else could I have a heart to heart conversation with so many different people? 

I'm of the opinion that everyone should read.  You don't have to make it a hobby like I do.  But, read a book a month.  A book every six months...  Whatever you can manage.  A little reading goes a long way.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hanging Baskets

 This year I designed and planted my own hanging baskets.  With a little (read: a lot) of help from my Susie, my resident sister with two green thumbs.  Susie has been working at a greenhouse this spring, so I been visiting her a lot.  :)  The result is lots of new perennials and these hanging baskets.

The baskets themselves, along with the shepherds hooks were gifts from Katie.

I LOVE a variety of textures and colors all combined, so here's what I came up with:
Sweet Potato Vine

Trailing Blue Lobelia

Snow Princess (Alyssum)


Coral Begonias

Ornamental Grass (I can't remember the name of it.  It may have been something like Toffee?)

Finished Project:

Please ignore the obvious weeds and crazy lawn.  I've been assured that the lawn mower and week wacker (aka: my brother) will be paying me a visit very soon.

 Verdict: LOVE.  :)

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Matchy- Matchy Cards Fans

   The boys and I were matching today.  We all wore Cardinals shirts.  :) 

Here's how it went:
ME: "Oh!  We're all matching!!!  Let's take a picture!"
LUKE: *Immediately adopts his current favorite pose for pictures which means he puts both thumbs up*
JOE: "Ok, here you go!" *picks me up and ignores all protests while I hang on for dear life*
SARAH BETH: *is the only person available to take the picture and proceeds to take 3 blurry pictures which you will see below*

ME: "NO!  No more goofy pictures!  Let's take a nice picture!  BOYS! NO!  The yellow pepper canNOT be in the picture!"

 ME: "Ok, now just smile nicely"
MOM: *wanders into the room and "helps" Sarah Beth take the picture.  Immediately the boys straighten up and smile nicely*

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Sink or Swim?

This blog is at a crossroads.
"To be or not to be?" That is the question.

Maybe you've noticed (maybe you haven't) that there hasn't been a lot of activity in this cyber corner lately.  The fault is entirely mine.    I don't have any fabulous excuses.  Nothing exciting is happening in my life.  I'm not refraining from blogging because I have big secrets I don't want to share.  Sorry. 

So, why haven't I been blogging? 

Good question.  I've been asking myself this exact question the past couple of weeks.  I think I have some of the answers but they aren't great reasons.  I'll share some of them.

1.  I'm a very private person.  Introverted.  For that reason alone blogging has always been a challenge for me.  It's also been a growing experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.  But, the fact remains.  It's hard for me.

2.  I have this idea in my mind that my blog is meant to be a place of encouragement for other single young ladies like myself.  This is assuming that there ARE other single young ladies like myself.  There may be a few.  :)  Part of my struggle is that it's hard to be encouraging when you yourself are very discouraged.  And I am.  I might as well admit it.  It's just a phase I'm going through.  I'll bounce back sooner or later, I know.  But, meanwhile, I have a hard time opening up and writing about it.  I hope that's understandable.

3.  I'm busy.  SO BUSY.  I do not like being busy.  I wish everyday were full from beginning to end with things I love to do and that I had plenty of time to blog all about them.  But, I don't.  Posting on my blog 5 days a week requires a time commitment of about 2-3 hours per week.  This doesn't count the time I spend thinking up posts.  I rarely have that much of a block of time to work on my blog.  So, when I do publish 5 days in a week something else suffers.  Usually housework.  I don't especially like housework.  But, boy do I hate having a messy house. 

4.  Nothing changes.  I feel like I should have new and interesting things to blog about.  And I don't.  And that is discouraging to me.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

I don't want this blog to sink.  I want to swim.  But, I hope you all understand (if you're still hanging around reading) where I am right now in my life.  I'd really like to make a concentrated effort to bring this blog back to life.  But only if you guys want me to.  I know there are plenty of blogs out there.  If mine is a place you enjoy visiting let me know.  And if there's anything you want to see, any suggestions, I'd be happy to take them. 

Sink or Swim?  I'm voting Swim, but I need a direction to swim in and maybe some flotation devices for when I get tired, like right now.  :)

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

April Book List

32.  Ever by Gail Carson Levine- (**)  Eh...  I didn't really like this one.  I had a hard time relating to the characters.  The entire world felt very foreign.  The author creates a world and neglects to explain it to us, the characters names were all too close to being the same, so that by the end of the book I wasn't sure who everyone was.  On top of that, the narration is in the 1st person but it switches every chapter between two main characters.  Make sense?  I was confused too.  It's a book about a girl names Kezi who falls in love Olus, the god of wind and loneliness. (I never understood what being the god of loneliness had to do with anything...he never does anything for any lonely people.)  Of course, there's a lot more to the story, and Kezi's life is in danger and both Kezi and Olus must face their deepest fears and overcome to save her life.  That part was semi-original.  So, the narration switches every chapter between Kezi telling the story and Olus telling the story.  It got... confusing to say the least. 

33. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
-(****)  1962 Newberry Award Winner.  Much better than the last Newberry book I read.  This is one of those books I never thought I'd read because it's Science Fiction.  I'm sort of anti-science fiction.  Not because I think there's anything really wrong with it.  It's just not really my cup of tea.  In spite of that, I do nurture a little love for it.  I know it's strange.  Don't ask me to explain.  I'll just say that science fiction is not normally (read almost never) what I reach for.  Anyway, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised.  It's a classic good vs. evil plot.  The good is clearly defined.  (points!) The bad is just the sort of bad you love to hate.  It almost has a Narnian feel to it.  Almost.  The author has been compared several times to C.S. Lewis.  :)  In fact the more I think about this book, the more I like it.  I think it's going on my shelf. 
34.  The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian- (*****)  Yes, I know.  I'm not a wife.  Therefore, I can't really put the suggestions in this book to the test.  But, I'm always up for learning and hearing someone's perspective on growing in the Lord.  This book was suggested to me, so I happily dove in.  It's full of lots of practical suggestions which I appreciate.  I'd be interested in hearing an opinion on the book from someone who was able to put it into practice. 
35.  The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli -
(****)  Another Newberry Award Winner from 1949.  This is a great story about obstacles and ingenuity.  It's about a boy named Robin who has a mysterious illness (we're never told what it actually is) that cripples him.  Robin has to learn so many lessons that I'm sure I didn't catch them all in just one time reading through this book.  Ingenuity, Contentment, Bravery, the list goes on.  It can all be summed up in one quote from the book, which I absolutely LOVED.  When faced with a challenge and Robin doubts his ability he is told "Anyone can NOT do it."  The converse of course, is that it takes someone special to rise to the challenge and be a person that CAN do it.  I love this.  Reminds me of the message of Do Hard Things which I also love. 

36.  Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie- (****)  Um... I'm still not sure who did it.  I'm kidding!  Sort of...  It WAS a bit confusing in the end.  But, good.  Very good. 

37.  Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti-
(****) Very good.  Most people prefer the first book Peretti wrote (This Present Darkness), but I actually like this one a lot better.  The conflict seems more real and serious somehow.

38.  The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman- (***) 1987 Newberry Award winner.  I remember reading this book as a child and being totally struck by it.  Reading it again, it's not as exciting as I remembered.  It's a classic conflict, rich boy, beggar boy, etc.  Easily and very predictably resolved.  But, the entire of concept of a "whipping boy" gets me just as much now as it did then.  Basically rich, titled families would have a boy who's only job was to be whipped in place of the spoiled son.  So,-  the son plays a prank or disobeys, the whipping boy gets punished.  What is the point?  Well... as far as I can see, it's just so that the parents will have someone to take their frustration and anger out on?  Injustice to the extreme. 

39.  The Westing Game- (*****)  1979 Newberry.  Kind of amazing.  Funny, interesting, attention grabbing and educational.  And a mystery!  And we all know I love mysteries... :)

40.  A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle -(**)  Sequel to A Wrinkle in Time.  Frankly... I was disappointed.  The whole book felt like the same
thing happening over and over and over again.  And I didn't really get the point the author was trying to make.
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