Quiet Strength

Friday, December 01, 2017

via
Today is the day in history that Rosa Parks was arrested and charged with being guilty of civil disobedience after she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. She was taken down to the police station where they took her mugshot and fingerprinted her and treated her like every other criminal in the place. They were within their bounds. The fact was, she was guilty of something that should never have been considered "wrong" in the first place.

She didn't resist. She didn't argue. She didn't fight back. She sat. Then, when the officers came, she stood so they could arrest her. And after that, she continued to fight for justice.

She didn't give up.

I've admired this woman ever since I read about her story in social studies sometime during elementary school. As I grew older, I wrote papers about her life and legacy every chance I got. There's something to be said about standing strong in the face of being charged with being guilty of something that was never wrong in the first place.

I was impressed by what I would later recognize as her quiet strength. It's easy not to stand up to authorities, especially when "the law" is on their side. It's easier to endure suffering than it is to do whatever it takes to bring about change. Confrontation is horrible and costs more than most of us are willing to pay.

And yet...If we give up, we'll only have to keep giving up.

Yesterday morning, I read Psalm 13 and I was reminded of some words that I'm going to keep coming back to for a good long while,

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." 
  Psalm 13:5     

No mater what charge is brought against us, no matter how alone we might feel or be, if we are called by God's name, His banner is over us. His steadfast love is ours and we can trust in it. We are saved to the uttermost and our hearts can rejoice. 

Whether it's giving up a seat on a bus because of the color of our skin, a call to submit because of our gender, a command to be silent because of our beliefs, or something else entirely, we've got to be sure of what's right and willing to stand firm in that belief. Whatever it takes. Whatever the consequences may be. 

God has gone before us and He goes with us. We may be tired, but we don't have to give up. 


A Shopping Cart Full of Goodies

Thursday, November 30, 2017

March 30, 2017

I went to WalMart on Halloween. When I made it to the check-out counter, there was a woman in front of me who was unloading her cart. I watched as she arranged a puzzle, a book, a bunch of cokes, and  some pudding on the conveyor belt. Her total was less than $30 and she was "set".

I didn't exchange a single word with the woman. I was probably picking up lettuce and bread and milk and bananas and eggs. Those are items I buy almost every time I make a quick run for essentials.  I may not be able to remember what was in my cart now, but I do know that I was letting watching her distract me from the things that were on my mind. I remember thinking her haul was a pretty great little round-up and wondering what it was that I would include in my "ingredients for a perfect evening" shopping list.

I wondered why it was that that's what she was leaving WalMart with. Did she come in intending to buy those items? Had she just received bad news and wandered around the store picking up items as she went? Maybe they weren't even for her? Maybe she was buying them to bring to someone else who needed a little cheering up?

I stood in line behind her, fighting back tears and willing myself to look alive.

The feeling that my world was crashing in was threatening to overwhelm me. I stood there wondering just how many other people around me were dealing with the same feelings. If I'm honest, the tears I was doing my best to hold back were welling up in my eyes just waiting to spill over. I held them off. No one had any reason to know or suspect that something might be very wrong.

I focused on the puzzle and the book and the cokes and the pudding. I'm here now almost a month later mostly doing a lot better. I'm still thinking about that woman and her shopping cart full of goodies and wondering what they were for and what goodies I would put in mine if given the chance.

What would be in your shopping cart full of goodies?



PS I've read this post over a million times.
I know it sounds sad and pitiful...
But, it's not meant to. 
I've gone back and forth on whether
I should just make it about the lady.
But, I've decided to leave it the way it is.

No Good Way Out

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

October 22, 2016


Last week I was watching "Closed Circuit" on Netflix and there was a conversation that happened between the two main characters that stuck with me. The lady turned to the man and said, "There's no good way out of this." A lot is going on in my corner of the world at the moment. A lot more than I can ever put into words here.

I've been putting one foot in front of the other and reaching out to my closest friends to talk through things and to make sure that I know they're praying. I've been reminding myself that God is in control and that He is good and that He keeps His promises. I've been listening to music that will help me keep my eyes on Him and sermons that remind me that unkowns are not as powerful as I often think they are.

If I'm honest, I just want out.

I want the suffering to be over. I want to be free. I want the ones I love to be loved. I want rest and peace and unity for all of us. And yet...That might not be what God has for us. That terrifies me. He might mean for the suffering to continue or even to increase. He might mean for freedom to look like the opposite of what I've been begging for for so long. He might want the ones I love to be hurt over and over again by the ones that are supposed to love them so that they know just how precious His love is. He might mean for the rest and the peace and the unity to be a thing we are always hoping for.

Betrayal is hard. Abandonment is terrifying. Broken promises sting.

Suffering is a given in this life. We will disappoint one another. We will hurt one another. We will make poor choices and suffer the consequences. Sometimes, we won't suffer those consequences alone. Unexpected things that are outside of our control will come our way. We'll grow tired and weary and we'll feel weak. We'll want out.

Like the man and the woman in that silly little movie, I've come to realize that as much as I want out, there really is no good way out of this. At least, not that I can see or arrange.

So, here I am. Pushing in. Pressing on. Waiting on this long night to pass. I don't know if there's a way out, but I know there is a way through.

There's grace for TODAY and there will be grace for every single day after this one.

If you've found yourself wanting out and knowing that there's no good way out and fearing what might be just around the bend, rest in the promise of that grace. The One who knows you and saved you and does all things for the good of His people and the glory of His name has you in His hand and no one and no circumstance can pluck you out of it.

You might not be able to find a good way out, but there's rest in knowing that He gets His people through.


Reading List: Fall 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've put together a true reading list for myself all year. I've been saving up almost all of these books and looking forward to them for quite a while. For obvious reasons, they all seem like the perfect books to curl up with as the days grow colder and shorter.

We've got a mix of historical fiction, mystery, classic, thriller, and even a biography. 

I'm almost finished making my way through this list. As always, I'll come back by as I finish each one to update each title with a short review. 

            

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner // What a special book this was! It's the kind of novel that has a way of quieting your soul and confronting you with the parts of life that need thinking through. My heart felt heavy and light all at the same time. Love IS worth the risk. There IS more to every story and every heart than meets the eye. God is at work in the details and we CAN trust Him not to leave us to battle against some kind of cruel force of random fate.


Zelda: A Biography by Nancy Milford // I snatched this book up to do some research for my own novel. I didn't get too far into it before I had to return it to the library, but I got far enough to know that I'm incredibly excited to finish it! Milford did her research and talked to every single person who knew Zelda personally and was willing to share what they knew. After years of reading about her and her stories and letters, I'm excited to see it come together in what seems like a very credible biography.


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie // I'm always in the mood for more Christie. This one was incredibly funny. So funny that I laughed out loud often. I might still be laughing over some of the scenes that happened in this story! It also totally messed with my mind. Christie won this round (I didn't figure out whodunit on my own).


        


The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo // This was the classic I started hunting at the beginning of the year. I found it at a used book sale this spring and set it aside for this fall. It turns out, I got an abridged copy by accident...That said, it was actually really, really good. Like so many classics that I expect to be dark and depressing, this one turned out to be something else entirely. I was impressed by the way he nonchalantly tied in humor during even the most serious plot points. Like Christie, Hugo had me laughing out loud often. He also provided a creepiness that was both eery and disturbing. Drippy Paris comes to life and you will probably find yourself chilled to the bone at times. Hugo's style is unique. I'm ready for more! Who knows...I may even tackle Les Mis one day!


What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan // I didn't LOVE this book, but I have a lot of great things to say about the way MacMillan writes and specifically how she goes about weaving a mystery together. I wanted this to be a thriller that would suck me in and be read in a few sittings. It was exactly that for my friend Shauna (and countless others before here), but it wasn't that for me. I spent 10 days wading my way through this mystery that somehow I just couldn't get into or care about. My biggest problem was the pacing...The plot was moving WAY to slowly for me. I was impressed by the way MacMillan developed each character and wrote out their emotions so well. I was impressed by her choice to keep the strong language to a minimum and to refrain from getting graphic with anything. This is an author I'll be recommending! Here's to hoping that the next book of hers that I pick up is one I can rave about!




The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman



What are you reading this fall?

Currently: November 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

November 4, 2017
Somehow, it's November. NOVEMBER. I have mixed feelings about November, mainly where the weather is concerned. Just being honest. Even if it is a little get-over-yourselfish of me. It's not the shorter days, I actually kind of love those. It's the bitter cold. I'll never be okay with that. Still, I do try to cultivate the whole mind of winter thing.

I'm going into this winter with a job I adore, another season of a Christmas show to be a part of, a list of books to read (fall and winter reading lists coming SOON), and all the Christmassy stuff I look forward to each year. It really should be good.

In other news, I'm currently...

Realizing: People realllly expect you to live your life for yourself and that somehow it always surprises me. I don't really know how to answer them. What if I told them spending my life the way I do IS fulfilling? What if I told them I simply can't imagine being mainly concerned with me?

Stirring: Lots and lots of soup. I've already made chili and clam chowder and beef stew and broccoli soup. What's YOUR favorite soup?

Appreciating: The way God leads His people. I haven't written about it here at all yet, but we've got some tough days ahead of us at my house. We've been in the trenches for a while and the ball finally dropped. If I'm honest, the church we're part of didn't handle it very well. I'm grateful that I KNOW God for myself and am secure in Him. He tends my soul better than anyone else can ever hope to.

Investigating: The Fitzgeralds for the book I'm working on. Military uniforms for that Christmas show I'll be behind the scenes for. How to pace myself and my priorities. NF's new album (Outcast, 10 Feet Down, and Let You Down are my fav tracks so far).

Following: The leads...People who have been around the block at work and in life. There's something so freeing about asking questions of people whose answers you know you can trust.

Linking up with Anne and Julie.

Snowy Saturday Afternoon

Saturday, November 04, 2017

November 4, 2017

I'm looking out of my window and it might as well be the middle of winter. Snow has been coming down off and on since yesterday afternoon. Oddly enough, most of the trees still have a fair amount of leaves on them. The tamaracks haven't shed their needles. And yet, the sky is moody and gray and the ground is covered in white. I'm curled up with a coffee and a quiet evening ahead of me.

Grab a mug of your own and let's chat!

After I got off of work today, I sat at a table and tried to write out an essay about the coffee shop where I worked in high school and college. It's going to close before the end of the month. That little building brought a lot of life to the town where I grew up and an essay seems like the least I can do. I sat for most of an hour and scribbled down over four pages worth of words, but I'm really not sure they're the ones I had in mind.

By now, most of you know about this new job of mine. I'm working in a library and I'm absolutely loving it. Everyone who asks me about it, gets the same response, "I keep having to remind myself I'm getting PAID to do this." It's that great. I've been writing a post in my head for a while now about what working there has taught me so far. One of these days I'll type it out and leave it here for you to enjoy. You'll be surprised at some of lessons that were waiting for me.

In completely unrelated news...Murder On the Orient Express comes out Friday! It's the first movie I'VE wanted to see in theatres in a good long while. I'm a little nervous that the director is playing Poirot and was very intentional with putting the spin on him that he did. BUT. It's Christie on the big screen, a classic, and I'm just excited that another generation is about to see her genius.

I've been kicking some new words around in my mind lately...Grateful and love and too, to name a few. I've said one, been told another several times over, and put some flesh on the last one. Words can be important. We speak them in such a half-hazard manner sometimes. More often than not, if we're honest. Let's not do that, okay? Let's think over our words and speak the ones that are true. Let's allow ourselves to be shocked by what is shocking and not shy away from asking for clarification. Let's not mull over words that should never have been spoken and be sure to apologize when we've said something we shouldn't have.

It's a snowy Saturday afternoon and we're in for an extra hour of sleep if we play our cards right. Here's to that hour and the difference it's sure to make in the week ahead!

What's on your mind?



The Scenic Route: Turning 27

Friday, November 03, 2017


For my birthday this year, my sister and I set out on another adventure. My birthday fell on a Tuesday, so we took my brother to COLLEGE and then headed out for coffee and a penny walk. I read about penny walks YEARS ago on some blog written by some lady in New York City and I fell in love with the idea. Here's the deal: you go for a walk in a safe place and every time you come to an intersection, you declare heads one direction, tails another, flip that penny, and then go the way the penny directed.

I sipped on the last of the iced toasted marshmallow lattes and my sister sipped on a mango jet tea. With penny in hand, we set out to explore a neighborhood that has captivated me ever since we've moved here.

We ran into a very promising geocaching hidey-hole, a stylish creepy guy (at the beginning AND end of our walk), a ton of beautiful houses, and even more beautiful trees. The air was just slightly crisp - as it always is in the first days of fall - and the sun was still shining in full force. I learned that sweet gum trees may just possibly grow here (a HUGE surprise).

We had all morning and it was magnificent. God gave me a sister, you guys. I'm still amazed at what a blessing that is!

After the penny walk, we went for Chinese at our favorite buffet before picking our brother up. We even squeezed in a little time at the beach where we ran into a woman in a bikini. It was far too cold for a bikini. But...I'm always running into older women in bikinis using the sand to give themselves exfoliation treatments by the water's edge. I'll remember her along with all the others. There's a lesson there. I'm sure of it. I kicked my tennis shoes off and rolled up my pants and stood in the water as long as I could. That's my version of bikini exfoliationing.








K...So, I'm breaking the rules with more words in the middle of a scenic route post, but...This is exactly two seconds after ALMOST walking through a cloud of cremation smoke. A noise erupted out of my throat and I couldn't stop my sister fast enough...This is no joking matter. I was totallllly creeped out. Needless to say, we took a picture to text to our Mom. And then we RAN. After I took a few more pictures of course...











That was 27! It was all kinds of special. The theme this year was brown paper packages. And can I tell you something? It's possible to have a special day even when things go wrong. My cards were late, there wasn't any cake, and I spent the evening ALONE before making a late night run for Dominoes and dropping it by the theatre. The morning with my sister, the phone calls and texts, and gifts that did arrive all added up to something pretty great.

I found out later that my Mom was TRYING to plan a surprise party for me since she knew that the rest of them had to be at rehearsal. On the morning of my birthday, one of the people she had asked to help head it up texted saying something about how it just wasn't going to work. THE MORNING OF MY BIRTHDAY. Go ahead, please laugh. I know I will be for YEARS to come. 

The cards finally came, in case you're wondering. And 27 got off to the kind of start that seems fitting for the year ahead. Things are in God's hands and we can trust Him. There is joy right where you are even when things seem beyond pitiful. You never know when a little extra thought and care and TIME can mean so much to someone in your life. But they do. 

And trust me. They do. 


Too

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Here's a post I drafted back on August 29, 2017. I'm not sure why I never shared it, but today seems like just as good a day as any to hit "publish", so here you go. 


October 22, 2016

This word has a few different meanings. It can mean an excessive amount of something. Too hot. Too cold. Too old. Too young. Too different. Too much. Too, whatever. We use it all the time. We look and we use "too" to describe the person or the thing or the feeling and we step back from it. We let it change our mind, or at least, shape our mind. We have observed and decided and described.

Anything and anyone can be too whatever.

Every once in a while, we run across the other kind of "too". The kind of "too" that means also. Me too. It's the "too" we use when we can't help but relate. When we look at a person and realize that there's something really great happening. It's the "too" that brings us closer. We use the word to speak our mind and reveal a little piece of our heart and we step forward.

We meet people and we immediately size them up. We hear about a place or visit a place and immediately begin to compare it to what we're used to or to our expectations of what it would be like. One way or another, we're going to settle on some kind of "too" to use. Sometimes it's a way to express excess and sometimes it's how we announce perfection.

Three letters are useful and say so much. Sometimes, we're wrong. Sometimes, we think it's one kind of "too" and then time goes by and we realize we really meant to use it the other way.

I have so many friends who are a lot different than me. I met them and we both probably thought we were "too" whatever...but, we got to talking and kept talking and met up to do things and helped each other out and listened and all of a sudden, the differences melted away. It always catches me by surprise. I'm wondering if it'll ever stop, but I'm kind of hoping it never does.

There's something special about seeing yourself in someone else and clicking right away. Really special. But, then there's something to be said for discovering a friend in someone who is the exact opposite of you too.

Too.

Sometimes, what you thought was excess was actually just perfection waiting to be discovered.

Currently Into: Fall 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October 24, 2017
Yesterday was all kinds of gorgeous. It was the kind of day where it truly feels like summer, but looks like fall. I worked in the yard for most of the afternoon IN A T-SHIRT. Everyone keeps saying that every nice day is going to be the last. So far, they've all been wrong. I'm sure they're not mad about it. I know I'm certainly not. 

Along with spending as much time as I can outside when it's nice, I've also been...

Watching: The Last Time I Saw Paris on DVD and The Invisible Guest on Netflix. I watched them both several times. They're that good.

Reading: "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie and it's making me laugh out loud. I cannot read this one in public unless I want to look like a fool!

Listening To: September Song it's so dreamy and peaceful. Plus, with September in the name, it's made for fall!

Eating: My take on this overnight oatmeal and kale salad .

Working On: Keeping things straight and finding a writing rhythm.

I'm Also Really Into: Those resets I mentioned the other day, especially long walks.

What have you been into?

The Best Part

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

December 19, 2014
Sometime within the last month I heard Khalid's song "Young Dumb and Broke" for the first time. I found myself bobbing my head to the beat and getting lost in the chorus of yi-di-di-di-di-di-di-duhs and then all of a sudden I realized what it was that I was hearing.  I laughed out loud and turned it up a little louder. He was rapping about the life of the American teenager and every single thing he said was true. I had my window rolled down and I looked around at the people in their cars around me and I thought to myself, "This song could be the anthem of our youth."

I played the song for my Mom later on and asked her opinion. It didn't hit her the way it hit me. But, it's been sticking with me. I've listened to it over and over again in an attempt to figure out why it grabbed me the way that it did. Part of it is the beat and his voice and that peaceful little chorus. Part of it is the pain I hear behind the bars, the desperation and hopelessness that expresses what I see lingering in the corners of the eyes of teenagers I run into. It's the kind of song that gives you something to think about. 

Fast forward through the weeks that have stretched out between the morning I heard that song for the first time and the morning I'm writing this post. 

I've been better about calling the people I need to call to stay in touch with them. I made the effort to see Jay while he was in town and didn't let the fact that we didn't have coffee by the lake or go for a drive or do any of the things we normally do when he comes to visit disappoint me. I jumped on the opportunity to see Heidi and her family and all but begged them to come to my house after I met up with them for her son's appointment. I celebrated the birth of my friend Amber's DAUGHTER and stayed up way too late reliving the details of it all with her. I had tea with Leah and her daughters and pizza with Olivier and his wife. The conversation I've been trying to have for months was finally had and made me more happy than I ever imagined it would. I let myself feel all of the emotions that come along with seeing family from the East Coast when my Aunt announced she was coming to visit.

It's a foggy Tuesday morning and I've made it to the end of the string of things I was looking forward to. 

I'm sitting here thinking about Khalid's song and my life and the lives of the ones I love. There's so much to be grateful for. So much love to have and to give and to celebrate and to enjoy. Life isn't neat or tidy. It's totally unpredictable. 

The best part, is that it's all in God's hands. That's why we know we'll make it through. That's why we can be grateful. That's why being young, dumb, and broke is never the end of the story. That's why we don't have to give into hopelessness and despair and disappointment. 

I'm a glutton for time with the ones I love. Enough is never enough. And yet, I've noticed...Just when I don't think I can go much longer without them, here they come. A string of visits (almost always spur of the moment without room for anticipation or planning) pile one on top of the other. I'll see one friend and then another and then another. I won't have time to realize how excited I am or how much I needed that time with them. Before I know it, I'm in the middle of it all and feel as though I've just swallowed the moon. 

And then it's all over and the the happiness I felt continues to overflow. I don't know how long it'll be before it's back and though I'm tempted to obsess think about that very thing, I do my best not to. It's good to be together. So good. 

And it's even better to trust Him with the time in between.

Reading Lately: Getting Lost In A Good Series

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

     

My school librarian was the best. I didn't know it at the time, but what she did for me is something that not every librarian can do or is even willing to do. From the time I learned to read towards the end of second grade, I would go to the library week after week. I dropped my book into the bin by the door and she would greet me. I'd head over to wherever she was so that we could talk about what I was going to read next. Sometimes she had been waiting for me to come back so that she could put a specific book into my hands. Other times, she'd ask me what I was in the mood for. She was the best literary matchmaker I have ever encountered. Ever.

The years went by and I learned my way around that library. To this day, I can picture the layout in my mind. Now that I'm working in a library, I find myself walking the stacks of the library from my past in my mind in order to find the perfect book to put into the hands of readers that come to the counter asking me for recommendations. The shelves where what came to be my favorite authors' books lived live on in my mind waiting to be revisited so that I can pluck the title off the shelf to introduce someone else to the words I was so excited about all those years ago.

I'll never forget following Mrs. W over to a new area of the library to meet what was sure to become my next obsession. She'd say, "Have you read ____ yet?" and I'd say that I didn't think so. Her eyes would light up and she would lead me to the shelf where their books were stored. She'd pull one off and put it in my hands and then leave me to decide for myself. When I finished that book, I'd go straight back to the shelf to pick another one. I loved knowing that I had a whole shelf of books to make my way through.

I still get excited over discovering a new author. When I find one I especially enjoy, I like to read all of their books that I can get my hands on. I was always especially excited when the author had a series to their name. I still find myself craving a good series to get lost in more often than not. There's just something really good about meeting characters that get more than one book in which to come to life in.

Years ago Becky posted about how her teenage daughter was LOVING The Maze Runner series. The cover of the first book looked intriguing and reminded me of several of the covers of books that I had loved when I was about the age her daughter was. I filed the series away as a good one to read someday. Fast forward a year or two and I found myself watching the first movie in the series over Christmas break with our friends in GA. It convinced me that, yes, I really did need to read the books. Several more years went by and I met someone who gave me the final push I needed to get around to reading these books that I've been meaning to read for so long.

It turned into a challenge...I learned that another movie has been made since then and that the final movie is coming out in February. I told myself that if I read the books, I could watch the movies. I set the goal of making my way through the series BEFORE the final movie made it to theatres. Over the last few weeks, I made good on that promise to myself and now I'm here to finally collect my thoughts about this series all in one place.

Whew. That was a lot to get out. I hope you're still tracking with me and I didn't loose you with my ode to Mrs. W. You ready to talk about The Maze Runner? I hope so...because I'm just getting started!

The Maze Runner // If the movie hadn't been as good as I remember it being and my friend hadn't stood by these books saying that they're a little lame, but really worth it, I definitely would have given up on this one. The way the boys were talking to one another was driving me crazy. It was foolishness to the max and I didn't really care about any of them. Dashner was taking sooooo long to the get the story off the ground that things were hardly happening. I stuck it out, but only under great duress.

Somewhere around the 200 page mark, something switched. I don't know if Dashner found his sweet spot or what, but there was a definite shift in the book and I read the last half of it in no time at all. I was hooked! I wanted to know where these characters had come from and who they were and how they knew each other. When the book ended, I could not wait to get my hands on the next one. I took back every harsh word.

The Scorch Trials // This book was by far my favorite in the series. I flew through it. It held very little that disappointed me. Now, I don't know if this is because my friend warned me that things got more lame than they already were or if it's because this book truly was better. With the exception of the section on Crank Town (no spoilers here), the pacing of this book didn't include any lollygagging. Things moved right along and I kept having to remind myself that everything that was happening was happening over the course of a very short period of time.

The characters were coming to life. They had actual decisions to make. Decisions that required serious thought and came with pretty high stakes. The tables turned and turned and turned. When you thought you had something or someone figured out, you realized just how little you actually had to be sure of.

The Death Cure // Then, came the book that I liked only a little more than the first book. Like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia before it, the book that I didn't particularly enjoy is the one that came with the words that challenged me most. This is the book that I copied several quotes down out of. All the while, my friend's words kept running through my mind. Pushing me forward and serving as the reminder that I still had something to figure out, that the story was far from over. The phrase "WICKED is good" was just something that I couldn't wrap my mind around.

The thing about this series that is so far removed from anything we will (hopefully) ever have to go through or can even relate to is that, like so much of great fiction, it relates to reality in a way that stopped me in my tracks. As I read about the horrific things going on in this world Dashner created, I couldn't help but see the parallels to our own world. I kept thinking about the questions we ask in the middle of suffering. I couldn't help but think about how our own minds respond and function in the wake of devastating tragedies. There was purpose in everything just the way there is purpose here. Dashner never mentioned God, but I saw Him in the pages of these books. They read like Ecclesiastes and put feet on the desperation that we are all so familiar with when our trust is not resting firmly in God and His providence.

My final words: The Maze Runner is so much more than a bunch of shuck-faced shanks being tortured to the point of turning into cruel Cranks who are out for blood. Wrapping your mind around what they're going through may surprise you with what it has to teach you about what carrying on actually takes.




Have you read this series?

What's one series you've been meaning to read for a while?

Resets

Thursday, October 12, 2017

June 1, 2017

Sometimes you just need a reset. Maybe you've been going a mile a minute. Maybe you've been feeling super unproductive and you've allowed yourself to procrastinate far too long. Maybe you're just getting over a cold or through some commitment that took more out of you than you expected it would. Maybe things have just caught up with you and you barely feel like you're holding your head above the surface. That's when you need a reset.

A reset, allows you to clear your mind and some space around you. It allows you to get down to business, so that you can keep taking care of said business. Resets can look like a lot of different things. I've done some serious resetting lately and thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite resets with you here.

So, here they are...10 of my favorites in the order that they popped into my brain. And one bonus activity to do that doubles as a reset and reward all at the same time.

Clutter bust around your house. You can pick a room or a floor or whatever. The key is to be quick and to put whatever you pick up all the way away. Don't get distracted with cleaning or rearranging, just bust the clutter.

Clean out your fridge. Again, this isn't a total overhaul. Go through the containers. Put things back in their rightful places. If you spot empty shelf, wipe it down. Go through that produce drawer.

Spend waiting time tidying up your car. If you arrive somewhere early, have an extra long wait at a stop light or a drive thru, or even pulled into your garage, take a few minutes to tidy up every space you can reach from the driver's seat. If you have a wipe handy, wipe down any surface you can reach while you're at it. Take the trash out and take any stray items into the house to put away.

Make a favorite meal or five. If you find yourself in a cooking rut, cook one meal that you love. It doesn't matter if you just made it last week. Just cook. Enjoy it. It can be as simple as chili cheese dogs or meatloaf and mashed potatoes or as complicated as chicken and dumplings or that soup that takes all day. Once you've made and enjoyed one, you might just be surprised at how easy it is to do it again the next day. That favorite meal might be just the jump start you need to get cooking again!

Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write it all out. This is HUGE. I usually do this right before or directly after a round of clutter busting. There's something about clearing the clutter in my brain. Getting tasks down where I can see them helps me to make a game plan that is doable.

Sort the laundry and do one load all the way. Pretty simple. Wherever laundry hides from waits for you, round it up, sort it, and get started. Pick one load. Wash it. Dry it. Fold it. Put it away. You're done!

Make a list of or gather up the books you hope to read next. This is especially helpful if reading is how you relax OR something you've just been meaning to do more of. Write them down, share them on your blog, or stack the actual books up some place that you'll be sure to reach for them.

Go for a walk with nothing playing in your ears. Getting outside can do so much for a lot of us. You pick the pace that's best for you. The key is to focus on what's around you. Smile and wave at people you pass. Stop and chat if it seems like a good idea. It's not about exercise, it's about clearing your mind, stretching your legs, standing tall, and getting some fresh air.

Call one person you've been meaning to call for too long. Believe it or not, making that phone call is A LOT easier than putting it off another day. That's all I have to say about this one. You know who you need to call. So, do it.

Wash your bedding. Sheets, comforter, blankets, and even the pillows. There isn't ANYTHING like clean sheet day. If you can manage a nice hot shower an hour or so before bed, that makes this one that much more magical! Just saying.

You ready for that bonus activity? Celebrate a clean house (or ROOM) and light a candle.  If you curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea at the same time you'll get even more out of this one! Enjoy your hard work by grabbing one of those books you've been wanting to read and putting your feet up. It doesn't matter if it's three o'clock in the afternoon or thirty minutes before it's time to get supper started...These minutes are time well spent.

What are some of YOUR favorite resets?

When do you know that it's "time" for reset?



No Better Way

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017

My Aunt Linda turns 60 today and her oldest son also turns 26. In a few short weeks, my brother will be turning 25. And...my friend Amber is STILL in labor. Or her phone died and no one has thought to send me the latest. Technology is weird and wonderful all at the same time. 

I spent all of Sunday afternoon on the phone. I called my Grandma because I hadn't talked to her in way too long. It was a Sunday afternoon and one of my second cousins was home on leave from the Marines, so her house was buzzing with people. I said hello to just about everyone and finished up with a conversation with my Grandpa. He didn't know it, but he brought up a theme that's been on my mind lately. HOPE. I can't even remember exactly what he said. My Grandpa doesn't tend toward hope. He's more like me...He worries about everything and does everything that he can possibly think of to be prepared for WHATEVER may come his way. So, hearing him talk about hope in the way that he did was really something. 

The very next night, as I sat curled up in my reading chair, I came across hope once again. I was reading "The Death Cure" by James Dashner, which happens to be the kind of story that knocks the feet of hope right out from under you. You can't figure out who is good and who is bad. You can't figure out who you're supposed to trust or who you even WANT to trust. All of a sudden, Dashner got all deep on me...You ready for it?

"Fear of the unknown no longer controlled him. Hope had found its way in and taken hold."
-James Dashner

God means for hope to take hold in the hearts of His people. Which was exactly what Andre preached about Sunday when he was unexpectedly invited to be the guest preacher after our pastor's mom passed away. I'm telling you, hope is front and center right now. Which is a really good thing. 

It's so easy to put our hope in things that will disappoint or to think that things are too far gone. That there is no hope to have. That we're just moments away from the thing that will most certainly wreck us for good. 

It's not about being happy or safe or comfortable. It's not about nothing bad ever happening again. It's not about hanging on tight to the way things are or the way we HOPE things will be. 

Hope is rooted in the character and nature and promises of God. Hope is the thing that fills us up and gives us every reason to be GLAD in Him. We run into songs and books and movies and posts on social media that tempt us to rest in other things. We cling to memories of days gone by and think that if we can just get back to the way things were then, it'll be better. We turn things over and over in our minds believing we just need to figure things out. 

All the while, God is there reminding us that He is I AM. I AM God. I AM working for my glory and your good. I AM holy and just and righteous and true and faithful and full of steadfast love. Hope in Me. 

Hoping in God drives out everything else. It's like bumpers on a bowling alley. When your hope is in Him, there's only one way you can carry on. 

There really is no better way. 




The Thing Is

Monday, October 09, 2017

September 12, 2017
I've been getting daily updates from my sister on just how many days it's been since I've blogged. As of this morning, it's almost been an entire month. That's far too long. The thing is (and she doesn't know this), towards the end of September I was thinking about challenging myself to a few objectives for October. I wanted to post one fresh picture (hopefully taken THAT day) along with whatever was on my mind at least 4 days each week.   

If I'm honest, I wanted it to be EVERYDAY, but I knew that might be pushing it. For me. And for you. I thought it would be fun to sit down each evening and let the words flow. Needless to say, THAT hasn't been happening.

But I'm here tonight. Giving the idea a shot for THIS day. I'm going to give myself 30 minutes and just write about whatever comes to mind. The first things that came to mind as I was getting my computer out to begin this task have since completely floated away. I know one of them had something to do with the fact that Shania Twain is blonde now. Apparently. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. 

Let's move on, shall we? 

As a former barista, I kind of have a certain standard when it comes to coffee. It better not be too sweet, but it better be strong. I'm not a snob about it, though. My daily brew involves Folgers Colombian Roast and the tiniest countertop coffee pot you've ever seen. I consider Don Francisco's Colombian Roast "fancy" coffee and only pull it out when it's been a while. That said, I'm a little disappointed in my ability to turn out a consistent pot of coffee. Do you have any tips? Thanks to a lightning round of research, it sounds like the answer is starting with HOT water because rinky-dink machines don't do the best job of getting the water hot enough and keeping it there throughout the brew time. Help me out! 

I've had some really fantastic grocery store experiences lately. People have been exceptionally patient and nice. And it's not even Christmastime yet!!! I had a chat with a lady in the nail polish aisle just because. An older woman totally waited on me to scope out the coffee aisle and I didn't notice her until I was heading away from there. I apologized and she smiled and said she was happy to let me take my time. And she meant it. There was a man who really wanted me to go ahead of him because he wasn't in a hurry and only went on ahead of me when I assured him that I wasn't either. Last Friday, there was a boy hopping ALL over the store on one foot without a care in the world. He made my entire weekend with his antics. A good attitude is so contagious. 

September 12, 2017
I've been reading The Maze Runner series. At first, I wasn't sure what I was doing. Then Book 2 got me excited to keep reading. Now I'm on Book 3 and the jury is still out. I'm pretty sure these are the first dystopian novels I've ever read. Pacing seems to be EVERYTHING for me. There aren't a lot of details, the conversations drag on and on, action sequences kind of bore me, so...I just need the story to keep moving. I'm excited to see all the threads come together as the back story is fully (HOPEFULLY) revealed and then...I'm having a movie marathon! Have you read these books? Are you a fan of dystopian anything?

It's full on fall around here. I'm hoping we get a nice long fall and I'm trying to make the most of it. I've been eating my lunch outside at work as often as I can. Even if I do look like a crazy woman with my glass containers and actual fork. Madeleine L'Engle says the older you get, the less you care. I'm pretty sure she's right. I've come a long way in the being by myself and doing what's important to me department. There's nothing ridiculous about this next one, but I've also been taking as many long walks as I can lately. It's my favorite way to clear my head, stretch my legs, and get some fresh air. What are some things you've been working to get better at or enjoy more of lately?

October 7, 2017
One morning in July, the 9th if I remember correctly, a woman popped into my mind as I sat at the counter eating my morning bagel covered in enough cream cheese to...well...make me happy. She came out of nowhere and I stopped eating said bagel to get a rough sketch of everything about her written down in my purple notebook. She kept stopping by to bug me and by the end of July, I had the basis of a novel ready to get going. Then, things got crazy and I decided to leave it for later. Well, that woman just wouldn't leave me alone. I thought about her all the time and found myself being really curious about what made her tick. Over the last few weeks I've started getting serious about the project. I've worked on a few key chapters, brought other characters into the mix, made a playlist inspired by the original character who started coming to life back in July, made an outline of where I think the book will go, and...started research! Since it involves the Fitzgeralds, it's a project I'm excited to stick with. If I'm diligent, this could honestly be the kind of story where the first draft takes like three months to crank out. We'll see. 

I've lost track of the time I've spent writing this post. My friend Amber is currently in the process of birthing a baby. We talked last night for a long time and I realized that it's the last uninterrupted conversation we'll have for a good long while. I'm not sad about it. It truly is beautiful watching my friends become mothers. Amber and I have never lived in the same town, but we've maintained a friendship for so long. She's the friend I can call whenever, wherever and chat as long as we both have time. She always used to call me when she was driving and I'd often call her when I was doing housework. We can talk for hours at a time. I'll miss those chats, but I'm so happy that this thing she has waited on for so long is happening as I type these very words. What's something you've waited on (or are waiting on)? 

Well, I think I've typed enough words for now. Maybe I'll be back before another almost month goes by! See you then. 


Beyond Because

Monday, September 11, 2017

April 21, 2017

I've been kicking the phrase "beyond because" around since the end of June.

It comes from a little poem by E.E. Cummings, that I mentioned before.

The poem has to do with doing what you do beyond because. It makes me think of carrying on without any particular reason. No matter what. It makes me think of being who you are and putting one foot in front of the other even when you're not sure what you're actually doing or even why you're doing it.

It's living life without having to explain things every step of the way. The because is implied in the doing and because of that it stretches beyond it. It's a given.

One thing I want to be a given about me is my faith in God. I want my walk with Him to be THE thing that IS the because. THE thing that stretches beyond it. Every now and then I meet people like that. It's an admirable quality and seeing it expressed in another person is always a gift.

Like the lark who wings his why beyond because, these people know what it is to do what we were created to do and to keep doing it.

The lark of this poem won't let me be. I'm a person that is obsessed with whys and becauses and yet longs for diligence to carry on. The lark doesn't worry about those things. He flaps and flies and carries on because that's what he was made to do. The because is implied and the why is lived.

God intends for His people to be such larks. Winging our why beyond because by His strength and for His glory, now and forever. We see His grace in one another and the why is beautiful and the because is understood.

Here's to winging our why beyond because...Whatever it may be!



Currently: September 2017

Friday, September 08, 2017

September 8, 2017
September is the perfect month. Summer isn't quite over and yet the back to school season has
everyone feeling as though they've been granted a fresh start. I've been thinking about all of my favorite fall things lately as I do my best to soak up every bit of summer that we have left.

This summer went by at a slow and steady rate. It was FULL. It didn't seem like it flashed by and yet I'm definitely not ready to bid it farewell just yet. I traveled and we had a part to play in a handful of productions. There was plenty of time for beach days and hiking and somehow I spent less time with my friends than ever, but it didn't bother me too much.

A new month is here and I'm currently...

Celebrating: The pieces of summer that are hanging on, my birthday, and this new season of life that we've entered into.

Watching: We finally finished up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. We've also watched Compete to Eat, The Help, Monk, and a little Sue Thomas. I've been in the mood for Downton Abbey, but haven't actually turned it on yet.

Welcoming: Change. For the first time in my life...I'm not completely sold on the idea, but I'm doing my best and trusting God with the rest.

Preparing: My fall resolves. I've had some specific themes on my mind and I'm doing my best to zero in on the tone I want this fall to have.

Photographing: Hardly anything. I haven't used my camera camera in MONTHS. I've been itching to get back into it.

Linking up with Anne and Lowanda!

What makes your currently list?

Reading Lately: Summer 2017

Sunday, September 03, 2017

       
                                     


I keep saying that 2017 is the year I've read a lot less than I have over the last few years. Sorry if you've been missing the book related posts. There is something about reading less that makes getting lost in a good book even more meaningful and enjoyable than it normally would be. I'm not sure how this happens, but it's definitely something I've noticed. 

So, I haven't read much this summer...Here's a look at what I have read and what I thought about each one. 


Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger // After taking part in a fiction writing contest (that I didn't place in) and running across a reference to Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish", I knew I needed to take some time to read some short stories. So, I picked this volume up and did my best to enjoy the stories even though I was in it to observe the craft. My relationship with Salinger is an interesting one...I don't particularly like or relate to his characters. He has a way of getting under my skin. And THAT is why I keep coming back for more. He challenges me in a way few authors do. I read a few of these stories out loud to whoever happened to be in the living room and let him remind me that short stories don't have to be tidy. They can raise questions and confront people with uncomfortable topics. They can have a moral that isn't resolved. In short, it went the way it always does.


Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon // Somehow, I had placed a hold on this book at my old mail order library. Since moving, I haven't really been using their services because I thought postage might be too much. Well, they contacted me and said, "You have a hold on this book. Do you want it?" To this day, I have noooo idea how this hold took two years to catch up with me or even WHY I placed this book on hold. It came in the mail and I read it feeling like I was "supposed" to. The whole time I wondered what I had gotten myself into and by the end of the book I gave it three stars. It's the kind of quick, easy read that doesn't really stick with you. This one happened to be about a wedding. It made me cry and caught me in a bit of a vulnerable place. It's about a good guy settling down with a special lady and the two of them being joined by a bunch of friends who might as well be family who are just as happy that they've found each other as they are. Every now and then, something this sappy is good to take some time on.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling // My journey to the end of the HP series was a LONG time coming. I've written about the whole thing here, there, and everywhere. While this book wasn't my favorite in the series, I still gave it five stars. It took me MONTHS to make my way through it. While I wanted to finish the series, I guess I didn't really want it to end. The intensity of the conflict between Voldemort and Harry came to a head...The movies cannot prepare you for the way these books will impact you. Especially when it comes to this final installment.


MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Berstche // After slowly making my way to the end of HP and not reading much else all summer, picking this light hearted book of essays on friendship up with my book club friends was the PERFECT way to transition to the end of summer reading. I'll admit, I was a bit embarrassed to be carrying this book around or to TELL people what I was reading. In a lot of ways, it felt like a kind of summary of the last two years. I've "dated" quite a few girls trying to find my people in this new town. I've integrated myself into different circles and have wondered when I'll find one that feels even a little bit like the circles of friends I've left behind leading up to now. Rachel's take on and journey to friendship is considerably different than mine, but reading her stories was entertaining. She was crasser than I would have preferred, which means I won't be plopping this book into people's hands.


Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle // This was the first of the "books to read before you turn 27" that I assigned myself in the month leading up to my birthday. I picked it up at a thrift store sometime last year and was waiting for the perfect time to read it. When I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised that Vicky was getting ready to celebrate her birthday too. She remembered her Grandfather and reflected on his wisdom every now and then as the mystery unfolded. This wasn't the best book plot-wise, but it was as beautiful as L'Engle's prose always is. The details made the story come to life and the themes were perfect for chewing on during the days leading up to adding another candle to my cake.


So, that's what I've been reading this summer. 

What have YOU been reading lately? 



On Time

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

September 6, 2010

It's time for my yearly "when the next age is a month away" post. Only, this time around, it's 17 days away. UPDATE: It was on the day I wrote this, at least...

I've been thinking about time in general lately. It might be because summer is almost over and my birthday is just around the corner. It might be because we're coming up on the second anniversary of us moving to this new town (that really isn't new anymore). It might be because my youngest brother started college (on my parents' 21st anniversary and the day of the big eclipse). It might be because my friends and I are now the ages my parents were when so many of my memories of them were made.

I've been blogging for so long now that I've watched people who have become friends dream up and accomplish so many things. They've gone from college students to career women. They've gone from internet dating to finally finding someone to settle down with. They've moved across the country and back again. They've become mothers and grandmothers. They've lost loved ones and celebrated recoveries others have made. I say "they", but I'm talking about YOU.

Following along and emailing when we can has been a real treat. As I read your words and scroll through your pictures and keep you in my prayers, I can't help but think about what you're doing and what I'm doing and how we got to where we are now.

I never knew it when I registered this domain name all those years ago, but blogging has turned out to be something that has helped me to be honest with myself. A lot of people talk about the comparison game and give up on social media because they get so caught up in the picture perfect lives people post about...I'm not saying there is nothing to that, but I can say it's different for me. I think you'll know what I'm talking about, because it's probably true for you too. We CAN look at people's posts and get sad or jealous...but, we can also look and be grateful. We can let our gut reactions tell us things about ourselves that we may not have noticed or been willing to admit.

Emily and Dan's bravery of moving to CA and then to NYC and finally back to VA showed me the beauty of living life TOGETHER. They've gone after what they wanted and admitted that sometimes that changes.

Rachel and Christopher's recent journey to becoming parents had me begging God to see them through and trusting that He would. Now, their precious baby girl is here and I still haven't stopped feeling absolutely giddy when I think about them.

Amy and Eddie found each other and got married and moved to New England. Every time Amy posts anything Eddie related, I'm reminded of the special work God did to bring them together and I tell her about it every single time.

I could go on and on...Each one of you shares your story and I see the hand of God. You post the best parts and sometimes we email about the worst parts. Watching you be who you are and go after what you love and press on even when you're not sure you can teaches me more than you'll ever know.

I've learned and finally been able to admit that as much as I don't want to be hurt or trapped or betrayed...I actually do want to get married. I would like to transition from being the single lady who is always helping other people with their house and kids to the married lady with a house and kids of her own. It snuck up on me.

It wasn't until sometime over the last year as I scrolled through "we're getting married" posts and saw the happy faces of content toddler after content toddler that I finally realized what had been happening. I know it didn't happen in that year. I know it didn't happen over night. God was doing a work and I have no doubt in my mind that it was the testimonies of beautiful marriages and day to day motherhood that you've shared as they've slowly but surely come into being that have brought this about.

It's good to be honest. It's good to trust God. It's good to be brave. 27 is 17 days away and in a lot of ways, I'm amazed. I'm getting closer and closer to 30. Most of my friends have already made it there. I'm in the middle of transitioning out of what has shaped my life for the last 10 years. I know who I am and I know who God has made me to be. Ultimately, this life of mine is about Him and His glory and it's great to look back on the last 26 years to see His hand. I know how I got here and I know how I'll get to where I'm going.

I'll keep reading your posts. I'll keep praising God with you and thanking Him for what He has done. I'll keep swapping emails and texts. I'll keep going to Him with the things that are getting under your skin. And...Your lives will continue to do the work He has for them to do in mine.

Time goes by and brings all kinds of changes. There has been a lot of change in me. I wonder what kinds of changes the next ten years will bring. Whatever they are, I'm excited to share them here and to watch as yours unfold as you share them from wherever you find yourself.

Harry Potter Quiz

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


So, you guys...I finally finished reading the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. It was already like a month ago now, but I'm here today so that we can talk about all things HP.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed in the series. Rowling's writing was pretty amazing, but somehow, it wasn't quite as dreamy as I expected it to be. The characters that I thought I knew so well from a childhood of movie watching, turned out to have sides that I had yet to see. For the technical problems I saw in the writing of the books, the characters made up for it.

Book 5 was by far THE hardest book for me to read. I put it down for a long time because Umbridge was making my blood boil. And yet...As it was with Narnia, the book that got under my skin is the one that I look back on with the most fondness. I always loved the first book and I always said the third book was my favorite, but now that I've read them all, I know that five is the book that stayed with me the longest. The joy I felt at Hagrid's return is an experience few books have been able to create for me.

These stories tell the story of good and evil. They bring us face to face with the things we see and admire and dread in ourselves and in one another. Using a made up world that mirrors the spiritual and physical realities of our own, Rowling wrote something to life that will outlive us all. And rightly so.

How about some HP questions and answers?


Favorite book?
I've always said book 3 and then I wrote a review saying that book 6 was my new favorite when I finished it. So, it must be 6.


Favorite character(s)?
It may be cliche, but I grew a super special fondness for Hagrid that I never had before. Another character I finally grew to appreciate is Dobby. He drove me crazy causing trouble in the movies, but things were different in the books. 


Scene that stuck with you?
I'm going to go with the various talks around the fire in the common rooms. I want a family room modeled after one of them!


Quote you <3 i="">
 "'...Don't you see? Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! Voldemort is no different! Always he was on the lookout for the one who would challenge him...'" (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, pg. 510)


Favorite movie adaptation?
#7 pt 2 will always be my favorite. I watched it over Christmas break a few years after it was released and it was the perfect ending to the saga. I remember thinking to myself, "We made it."


SPOILER: Biggest surprise?
Learning that Lupin and Snape are good guys. I have never been able to trust either one of them. I'm still not sure I do even though I'm supposed to.


Character you really didn't care for? 
Umbridge. That woman is evil in human form.


Do you know anything interesting about Rowling or the books or the movies or anything else HP related?
I read that she never got to really go over book 7 with edits and that it bothers her that it shows. I also read about the time she locked herself up in a hotel room to write and found that the stuff of dreams. If the stories about the girl who played Luna in the movies and Maggie Smith's cancer are true, that's inspiring! That's all I've got for now.


Is there one book that you think you NEED to read again?
The one I want to read again is book 3, just because. The one that I should probably read again is either 4 or 6. I flew through 4 and was super impacted by book 6.


What house would you want to be sorted into?
I always thought I was a Ravenclaw. The new site assures me I'm Hufflepuff. I'm so confused, but they're probably right.


Hogwarts or Ilvermorny?
I'm going to have to stay loyal to Hogwarts.


Memory tied to reading the series?
I started reading book 7 in the Boston Airport. I picked a spot by a huge window and had Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the wall I was resting up against. It was lovely.

I also want to remember finishing the series on July 30 in my favorite ratty old camp chair in the garden I never got around to planting this year.


Food obsession?
Where do I begin? Chocolate to ward off the effects of dementors. Hot coccoa and tea. The lavish meals at Hogwarts. The role food played in these books caught me by surprise. I enjoyed every minute of it.


How old were you when you first finished the series?
26. It was a long time coming, you guys!


Fav time of year to re-read it?
I expected to fly through them in a summer, which would mean that would be when I would want to re-read them. But, I think they're best suited to late fall and winter reading. We'll see if I stick to this belief!


Do you want people to read them (why or why not)?
Yes, I most definitely do. The thing is...These books deal with every theme we face and wrestle with in life and don't exactly seek to provide answers. They give you a safe place to confront them and leave you to think through the issues yourself. It's quite an accomplishment!


Which character would you definitely be friends with?
I had trouble settling on a character. I asked my Mom her opinion and she said (with zero hesitation), "Draco...You'd befriend him and bring out what little bit of good there is in him." She's not wrong. Like Anne Elliot before me, I'm always becoming friends with the people nobody else has time for.

After some thought (and a little help), I came up with Colin Creevy and Dean Thomas.


Which professor would you most like to have?
It's going to be a nurturing woman or a wise man. Which leaves Madame Pomfrey (technically a nurse) or the ever loved Dumbledore (technically the headmaster). Maybe Firenz! I'm definitely going with him.

Funniest moment? 
For some reason, the humor in these books caught me by surprise. Certain ones had me laughing constantly. I don't have a specific scene in mind, but I know Peeves made me laugh quite a few times!

Saddest moment?
There were points in book 6 when I got super, super sad. The kind of sadness you can't shake. I also found myself missing Sirius right along with Harry. And of course...the detentions Harry got from Umbridge literally made my blood boil. I cannot take children being mistreated by cowardly adults.


Happiest moment?
In book 5, when Hagrid returns. I got unexplainably happy over that moment.


LOTR, Narnia, or HP?
I still haven't read LOTR, soooo, I'm not really qualified to make a choice. Narnia is a faster read (I read those in one week). I'm going to have to pass for now.


Which family would you most like to be a part of? 
I think I would fit best in the Granger family. But, I'd want to have a family like the Weasley's. Don't we all? Also...Neville's Gran is pretty awesome, even if we had to wait until book 7 to see why.


Copy and paste these questions so that you can answer them in the comments, on your own blog, or in an email to me!!!