Thursday, January 29, 2015

No more backsies.

It's been a really, really long time since I've posted anything on here. But you know what? I've drafted probably at least ten posts since I stopped blogging. I always get to the point where I think it's ready, and then I start second-guessing myself and thinking:

 "What if nobody wants to read this anyway?"
"What if it's too long?"
"What if I didn't explain myself well enough?"
and a thousand other "what ifs." 

Well, today I'm making a choice. I'm not going to let the "what ifs" bother me (as much) anymore. If I draft a post, I'm going to publish it. And hopefully, from your comments and other feedback I can share some things that will be helpful and/or entertaining for both you and me.
Here goes nothing! 
Lots of love, 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Mawwiage is what bwings us togever tooday" Part 1


First of all, did you know that the character who says that ^ quote is called "The Impressive Clergyman"? Yeah, you probably did. Anyway...
Marriage! I know what you're thinking...No, I'm not getting married. Haha. However, I'm taking a class on The Family: A Proclamation to the World which is basically just a study of the divine nature of families and what we can do to make our present/future families happy/successful.
As part of this class we are required to complete a Family Citizenship capstone project in which we spend 6-8 hours doing something that will help us in our families. It could be a service project or a number of other things. I chose to read a book called Covenant Hearts by Bruce C. Hafen. There are four parts of the books and I decided to write a blog post at the end of every part as a sort of summary of what I've learned and the insights I've gained from it about marriage/families.
So without further ado...

Bruce Hafen's main theme for this first part of the book is essentially what marriage is (a covenant between man and woman and God), why it's important (society's well-being depending largely on the individual successes/failures of marriages, our eternal happiness, and the development of both our children and ourselves as future gods/goddesses), the significance of weddings, and how the family has diminished in meaning/importance in society over the years (see statistics for divorce/abortion for more info). The world needs help and strengthening our families is the best way to give it.

#1 - In the preface to the book Hafen says: "Part of what's at stake is that our marriage really can be the most satisfying and sanctifying--and the most demanding--experience of our lives. It is more than coincidence that the most sanctifying experiences of our spiritual lives should be the most demanding experiences." (xi)

"No wonder we cannot be exalted without being married, because marriage is such a potent laboratory for helping us develop Christian character." (p. 32).

That was kind of an eye-opener for me. I guess I'd never thought about that before--that marriage is really hard because it is the most refining experience we can have on this earth--which means consequently, it is also the most rewarding experience. It brings to mind a quote by Mae West, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

#2 - Hafen says, "Once a couple is married in the temple, they are not yet living a celestial life....Their temple wedding gives them the authority of eternal marriage, but they will spend the rest of their lives working to create a marriage of celestial quality, striving and growing against opposition." (xi)
 I guess I kind of already knew this..Mom always told me that marriage isn't a bed of roses (or maybe it is, if you count the thorns!), but sometimes I think I forget. I also really liked this quote by him that "Marriage, like religious faith, is no more satisfying than we are willing--striving--to make it." (p. 47) This is true of any relationship. If you aren't willing to give it all you've got, then it will suffer and die.

#3 - Another point he (Hafen) makes is that joy in marriage is dependent on joint growth as a couple through trials. "Joy is a higher, wiser form of existence than merely being comfortable." (p. 13) Throughout my teenage years I have waffled between two ideals: wanting to be completely comfortable with the person I married, and knowing that I wanted him to be someone that I would respect and look up to...who would encourage/inspire me to be my best self. I've gotta strike a balance somewhere, I suppose. Ideally, leaning closer to the "joy/growth" side of the scale. Bruce Hafen gives an example of this type of a relationship in describing the play, The Magic Flute, and how the husband and wife in that play overcome their hardships/struggles because of their love for each other. He says, "Is it possible that the inborn desire for permanent male-female belonging is a key source of the desire and energy we need to change ourselves for the better?" (p. 18). I definitely feel like this has been true for me in my very limited experience with relationships. Yes, I want to be good for God. But it is also true that one of my biggest motivators to be good comes from knowing that my future marriage with my eternal companion depends upon it. I want to be worthy of those blessings and of that relationship.

#4 - Marriage is completely and utterly selfless, or you're doing it wrong.

Basically, all of this just says to me that marriage (like any other kind of relationship) is hard work.
So what can I do? I'm not married. But, I do have roommates and I have my relationship with God--both of which can always use some improvement.

-Do my part of the chores--and more.                          
- Spend time with them.                                           
-Listen to them. Really listen.                                      
-Don't take the easy way out. Communicate!
 –Serve them!                                                            

-Listen to Him. Really listen.
-Stretch myself. Re-commit to God!
-Give Him more time in my life. An hour a
day studying scriptures, praying/meditating.

-Serve everyone! Be a friend!

Alright, that's all I've got for tonight. Have a great week everyone! :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And Without Further Ado, I Embark on Another NaNo-ish Adventure!

So last fall I participated in NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month--you can check it out here) and didn't really make it through. In fact, I only reached about 16,000 words--a little more than a quarter of the way.
And while that is still a pretty big accomplishment and really boosted my self-confidence, I want to make the accomplishment even bigger. So over this next month, one of my friends and I will be hosting our own Camp NaNoWriMo. Feel free to join in if you like! We're switching up the rules a little..they are as follows:

1. Have a buddy--to email/text your daily word count to, and also for moral support.
2. Aim for a word goal of at least 1000 per day.
3. In order for it to count, it DOESN'T have to be a brand new piece of work. It can be your current WIP or anything original (and yours) that you feel like working on.

Other than that, it's pretty much open to free interpretation. So yeah. :)

What are your plans for the next thirty days?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pinspirational Tuesdays (1)

Today, I am joining Pinspirational Tuesdays over at Diary of a Beautiful Soul
Which basically is a weekly thing where you post your favorite pins you've found in the last week. 
So here are mine! :) 

Preheat oven to 350; smoosh 1.5 squares of break-apart refrigerated cookie dough into the bottom of each well.  Place Reese cup upside down on top of cookie dough (or an Oreo!).  Top with prepared box brownie mix, filling 3/4 full.  Bake for 18 minutes!  HEAVEN.  @Beka Wilmes we NEED to make these!! :)
     Mmm!! How amazing does THAT look?

 Oh my heck!!! It's a Doctor Who Wedding Cake! LOVE! @Beka Wilmes
A Doctor Who cake topper?? <3 <3

What child wouldn't LOVE this teepee in a tree?
Wow....what better place to read a book?

:) *sigh* yeah... 'tis true.

so pretty! :) 

The Doctor wins.
This just makes me laugh. :)

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
Do those not look amazing?!?

DIY Miniature Book Pendants  @Beka Wilmes! We need to do this!!
Miniature book pendants - totally want to make these!

All via my pinterest

Have a great week everyone! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Excellent movies that should be watched at the next possible opportunity.

So fact, it has been a while. I don't really have a good excuse for that, maybe just that the 'dedicated' part has not quite hit me yet.
Anyway, it is spring break this week. At least for me. Or rather, half-break. I have a somewhat unique school situation. I'm home-schooled but I also usually take at least one class at the community college per semester and I also attend an early morning scripture study class. Both of which are on completely different schedules. So while this week provides me with a temporary respite from my college class, I still have to wake before the sun and attend scripture study. And in about a month or so it will be spring break for my scripture study class but I will still be attending my college class. Kind of an inconvenient set up, but it hasn't killed me yet and I guess this way I get two breaks, right?

But back to what this is really about. In the last month or two I have seen some absolutely fabulous movies.

1. Courageous - The people who make these movies are seriously awesome. I've seen and loved some of the others they've done (i.e. Facing the Giants, and Fireproof) however, I think I enjoyed this one almost more. It was so great. One of those feel-good movies that isn't too cheesy. As this one is about police officers it's a little more intense (it is rated PG-13) so it may be a little much for smaller children, but still very family friendly. It's all about the impact a good father (and the lack thereof) can have on his children, and encourages all fathers to make the decision to be a good one and always be there for their wives and children. A must-see in my opinion.

2. Sense & Sensibility - I so love the BBC. And Jane Austen. And together? Perfection. Probably a good five years ago, at least, I saw another version of S&S that really was quite awful, and it quite lacked Jane Austen's magic. Since then I have not endeavored to read the book or watch any other version of it. All I could see were the similarities to Pride & Prejudice and bad fake-crying. Needless to say I was turned off. It really made me kind of sad because up until that point everything Jane Austen that I had encountered (which I must admit was very limited) was lovely and enchanting, and this just wasn't. But then, I came across this version. Ohhhh...'tis so very beautiful! I ought to warn you that in the first minute or two of the movie there is a somewhat disturbing scene which I would recommend skipping through or editing out or whatever you prefer. The rest of the movie is so worth it. Almost all of the Dashwoods are quite endearing in their own little quirkiness. I positively loved Margaret, could relate to Marianne, could see my older sister (and myself) in Elinor, and their mother was so very charming. And dear Mr. Weasley is in it! Or rather whoever plays him. And everything turns out SO beautifully in the end!

3. North & South - Again, BBC! However, this one is not Jane Austen as you probably know (although it's just as fabulous, or close anyway). It's actually based off of a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell which I am dying to get my hands on now. This mini-series has thoroughly and completely captured my heart. My mother and I started watching it last week and by the end of episode two I was hooked. The main characters are similar to Elizabeth and Darcy from P&P but not so much as to make you feel like you're watching the same movie under a different title (or at least I don't think so). I felt that the ending left a little to be desired, but I loved it just the same. And the really great news: this is not Gaskell's only novel. She wrote five others (at least one of which has been made into a mini-series as well) along with an assortment of short stories and novellas. You can thank me later! ;)

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -
I don't think I can possibly describe this movie in words. It was beyond amazing. Emotionally taxing, but so wonderful. The characters are delightfully quirky, the story is intriguing, and the acting is phenomenal. Of course with Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks you couldn't really expect less, could you? It made me feel and think about so many different things. It's not the type of movie you watch a million times but I am so glad to have to seen it. By the way, this one is also based on a book which I have not yet read but am also looking forward to.

5. Gnomeo & Juliet -
If after all of the dramatic, serious stuff on here you are looking for something a little lighter, this one is amusing. With Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria) and James McAvoy (Chronicles of Narnia) how can you go wrong?

Also, today I finished reading a book written by a friend of mine called Only the Stars Know. It's paranormal romance-ish which should interest you if you're a Twilight fan, but should not turn you off if you're not. You should check it/her out if you get the chance because they're awesome!

Thanks for reading, and have a remarkable week everyone!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Literary Heroine Blog Party!

Literary Heroine Blog Party!
Go here if you want to meet Kellie and see the other entries. 

So I'm actually really late doing this, but it sounded like a lot of fun so I decided to do it anyway. :)

Introduce yourself!  Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!
My name is Emily. I plan on attending Brigham Young University of Idaho next year and majoring in English, getting married to an unbelievably amazing man, raising a bunch of ridiculously adorable children and writing lots of books. I love to read, write, do puzzles, cook, watch movies, and listen to music (particularly Owl City!!). I absolutely hate broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, and waiting, and a lot of other things I can't think of right now. 

What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? 
A true heroine does what she knows is right no matter the consequences, faces her problems bravely even though they may scare her to death, gets back up when she falls down, is kind, and humble. 
Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. 
1. Betsy Ray (from the Betsy~Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace) - Betsy, like me loves to have a good time with her friends but also dreams of being a writer, and fills up many notebooks with her scribblings. 
2. Jo March (from Little Women)  - Mostly the same reason as Betsy. She writes, but also she is stubborn and sometimes has a fiery temper. 
3. Sara Crewe (from A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett) - Sara, for her love of books. I also admire her for being such a strong person in spite of her adversity, and remaining selfless throughout.

Five of your favorite historical novels?
Some of these are actually series rather than novels, but oh well:
The Lady Grace Mysteries by Patricia Finney
The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Of course!) 
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare

Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why?
Jo, from Little Women. Because she reminds me of myself and what I hope to be. I think she's also a good main character because she's not perfect and she makes mistakes and then has to 
Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? 
Hmm...maybe Laurie (from Little Women again) because he's adorable and funny and I just love him. :) The end. 
If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? 
I would go to Europe, definitely. I would shop, eat in cute little cafes, explore castles and other famous historic sites, etc. 
What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? 
I really like to read about the Elizabethan period and other Medieval/Dark Ages kind of stuff. I like to read about a lot of different time periods and cultures though. 
You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? 
Probably singing, I guess.. I'm not a *great* singer but I'm also not horrible (at least, no one's ever told me so) I don't really like doing things in front of other people but I feel like singing is less difficult to do so long as you can avoid cracking up at the faces of all the people watching you. :P 

If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? 
Probably Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey or Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. 

What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? 
Favorite author(s)? 
Juliet Marillier
Maud Hart Lovelace 
Edward Eager
Helen Dore Boylston
Louisa May Alcott
Ally Condie
Christopher Paolini
I think I'm going to stop now... there are way too many to list here. 

Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? 
Well, books obviously. My mp3 player, spending money, etc. 
In which century were most of the books you read written? 
Early to mid-twentieth century. 

In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… 
Mr. Darcy's pretty cool.

Describe your ideal dwelling place.
Well, I think an old style mansion would be pretty cool. Or maybe a tree house like the one in Swiss Family Robinson? That would be totally legit. 
Sum up your fashion style in five words. 
Jeans, t-shirts, converse, fuzzy socks.
Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 
I can't really think of a time right now, but I probably will as soon as I'm done with this. 

In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...
Right now I'm kind of leaning towards Mr. Willoughby (Sense and Sensibility) I guess..

Three favorite Non-fiction books? 
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - Malcolm Gladwell
Writing Smart Junior 
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly - Gail Carson Levine

Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? 
Reading books, watching Doctor Who, or hanging out with friends. Maybe all three? 

Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. 
A little black hat with a half veil (to add an air of sophistication and mystique) like the ones from the early 20th century. Either that or a fedora like Michael Jackson's. 

Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 
Attending my church's girls camp, and getting my learner's permit. 

Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.
I can't think of one from terribly recently but I really like Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top 10(er, 11?) Childhood Favorites

                                                  Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish

Today is a "freebie" Tuesday, meaning you get to pick any of the previous topics that you might have missed or never got a chance to do.

 1. Jamberry by Bruce Degen: I think this was probably one of the first books I identified as a favorite. This book is just cute.
 2. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola: I think I liked this book mainly because of the copious amounts of pasta in it. I've always liked reading about food.
 3. Anatole by Eve Titus: I have always loved mice, or at least reading about them. This series of books is about a mouse who lives in France named Anatole. He lives with his wife, Doucette, and their six children. He is dissatisfied with the traditional way of life for a mouse and sets out with his friend Gaston to find an honest way to make a living. Someone else compared these books to Ratatouille which is actually a pretty good comparison as they are very similar in some ways, but at the same time totally different in others. I think with a lot of these books it's kind of hard for me to pinpoint all of the reasons that they are on this list, so you're just going to have to take my word for it and read them because they are amazing.
 4. The Digby & Kate Books by Barbara Baker: Stories about two friends: a dog, and a cat. And their shenanigans together.
  5. The Golly Sisters Books by Betsy Byars: One word: Hilarious.
 6. The Dorrie Books by Patricia Coombs: Again, really cute. A series of stories about a little girl witch named Dorrie ("her hat's always on crooked and her socks never match") and her cat, Gink.
 7. Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen: I think the title's enough explanation, right? I mean a balloon farm? How much more interesting can you get?
8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett: A lot of you have probably seen the movie. I haven't, but I have loved this book almost from day one. The illustrations are fabulous and such an amusing storyline. Wouldn't we all love it if food came down from the sky? Well, probably not. But it's a cool idea, right?
   9. The Easter Egg Farm by Mary Jane Auch: Erm, so this book is just dang cute! It's all about this hen named Pauline that doesn't lay normal eggs like the other hens. The other hens kind of shun her because her eggs come out looking like whatever she was looking at, at the time. Her owner however, sees the gift that she has and lets her live inside with her and takes her new places to see what kind of eggs she'll end up laying. Super adorable.
 10. Looking For Atlantis by Colin Thompson: I don't even really remember the whole point of this story. It lured me totally because of the pictures. You can get a bit of an idea from the cover, which as you can see is totally jam-packed with stuff. You could spend hours looking and find new things.
 11. The Wacky Book of Witches by Annie Civardi: So seeing how this is the third book on this list about witches you're probably starting to think I'm a little weird. Which I am, I admit it. I had an obsession with witches when I was little. Not like the ugly, creepy, satanic kind. I just thought they were fun because they wore pointy hats and made potions and stuff. So I read like every story I could find about witches--it wasn't just witches either, I had an obsession with fairy tales and mythical/fictional creatures/people in general--which is actually kind of interesting because with all my interest in them, I don't think I ever dressed up as one. I was a princess multiple years in a row, but I don't think I ever went trick-or-treating as a witch. But that's beside the point. The point is, that this is a really fun(if slightly gross--there are newts' eyes and warts and all that)book with lots of pictures that are insanely detailed and fun to look at.

Other books that I really love, but didn't include in order to keep this post a semi-reasonable length.
-Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
-One Morning in Maine
-The Flying Dragon Room
-Harold and the Purple Crayon
Eish, you know what? I should just make a top 50 list or something... this is ridiculous.

What were your favorites books as a child?