Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Baby!!! (And a few other important notes...)

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I have no idea how long it's been since I was last here (no wait, let me see... it was Natalie's birthday, so that makes it almost a full four months!), but I wanted to pop on quickly and let you all know our beautiful baby girl arrived safely! I have yet to decide how many details I'll be sharing on the blog, but she's healthy and happy and every ounce of her is pure sweetness. <3 <3 <3 We're so thankful for God's goodness!

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Now I'm curled on the couch with Baby on top of me and my laptop balanced on my knee. A blissful existence really. ;) I have all sorts of exciting goals before Christmas, but one of them is to finish up the Adventure of Reading Challenge, including the wrap-up posts, etc., so you can be watching out for that (very hopefully).

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Speaking of Christmas, I'm getting rather crazy excited this year. I can't wait for the lights and fresh tree needles and decorating my house and hot mulled cider and mailing all my parcels... the list goes on. I thought of a good Christmas blog post this morning too, so I'm hoping that develops as beautifully as the initial flash of inspiration.

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Finally, I can't remember where I first ran across this, but finding it on my computer this afternoon gave me the final nudge to draft this post (and also made me realize again how much I need to read Orthodoxy):

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
---G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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I hope you're all having a lovely Wednesday! What do you think of the Chesterton quote?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On A Most Important Birthday Occasion

Soooo..... today was the birthday of a Certain Wonderful Young Lady we all know.

A Story Lover. She's diligent and sweet and funny and loyal and thoughtful and encouraging. She loves her Savior with her whole being. And I am so very blessed and honored to have her as my sweet and faithful friend!

Happy birthday Natalie!!! :)

May our good God continue to bless you most richly in this next year, and I look forward to many more years of friendship and adventures (including emails and blog posts and Instagram messages and maybe even seeing each other again! ;)).

"I shot an arrow into the air,
 It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The happiest of happy birthdays to you dear friend!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beauty & The Beast Week Tag Answers

And here are my answers to Meredith's lovely B&B tag:

1. When did you first experience Beauty and the Beast? ~ I really don't know... It's one of those childhood memories that you feel like you've always known, but it would have been either orally or as a picture book. I didn't see the animated film all the way through till a couple years ago.

2. In what forms (book, movie, retelling) have you experienced Beauty and the Beast? ~ Book form and the 1991 film (which is my favorite animated Disney film to date).

3. Who is your favorite character in Beauty and the Beast? ~ Probably Belle.

4. What is your favorite song from the cartoon Beauty and the Beast? ~ (Can I say the Battle on the Tower and the Transformation tracks? I've listened to them over and over and over.) As for an actual song... Um.... I guess I'd say the Mob Song. The orchestration and tension are soo incredible. (And it goes right into my two favorite tracks above. ;))

5. If you were turned into a piece of furniture what you want it to be? ~ Oh my. For some reason a table is the first thing that comes to mind. (And think of all the incredible, luxurious tablecloths that you could wear like... well, you could think of it like a dress or a shawl.)

6. What would your dream cast for Beauty and the Beast be? (This can be as elaborate or simple as you desire.) ~ Profuse apologies, but I'm kinda drawing a complete blank on this one at the moment. :/

7. If your school were performing BatB which character would you want to play? ~ Well, I identify most closely with Belle, but I'm not really a singing-on-center-stage sort of person. Maybe a townsperson? Ooh! Or maybe Mrs. Potts. Yes, I think Mrs. Potts.

8. Like Belle, do you enjoy reading books multiple times? ~ YESSSSSSS.

9. If you were to write a retelling, what would you change? ~ I actually dream of doing this someday, but I haven't decided if I'd keep it super traditional or mix it up. Or maybe I'll write two. I do have a good idea for a different spin on the end, but I'm not sure how I'd exactly work it. (Though now I'm getting inspired and ideas are starting to spin. ;))

10. Are roses your favorite flowers? ~ I have to say sweet peas are my tip top favorite flower, but if we're talking English cottage roses... then I think they're most definitely #2 -- right before peonies, and cactus dahlia.

Thank you for the fun tag Meredith!

And everyone, be sure to hop over to her blog here to join in the party and see the other entries!

Book Review // Belle by Cameron Dokey

"My mother sat beside Papa, an arm around his waist as if to shore him up. "Drink your tea, Roger," she urged in a soft, firm voice. "You got caught in that rain squall this morning, didn't you? The tea will warm you up." My father took a sip, obediently, like a child. "I'm sorry to be such trouble," he said. "Papa," I said, shocked. "How can you talk so? We love you. How can anything we do for you trouble us?" The mug of tea slipped from my father's fingers, then bounced off the tabletop and smashed on the floor. Hot liquid and broken crockery shot every which way. None of us moved or made a sound. Our attention was riveted on my father's face, on the tortured expression in his eyes as they stared into mine. "Belle," my father said hoarsely, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise at his tone. "Ma petite Belle. I wonder if you will say that when you know what I have done." (excerpt)

"Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love.

"During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood -- and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart." (summary)

I read this book all in one sitting early this week and quite relished it. Well over half the book actually takes place well before the Beast ever enters in, but for all that, it included some of my favorite parts. I really enjoyed Dokey's spin on Belle's family: with the caring parents and the realistic relationship between the sisters -- bickering sometimes, but genuinely loving one another hard even in the toughest times.

Her descriptions are delicious, and round various little twists in the story there are unexpected quips or turns of phrase that catch you by surprise with sheer delight.

I also love how she chose to portray the Beast... Leaving his appearance definite yet shrouded in mystery, since Belle honestly can't look him in the face *SPOILERS* till the end. ;) My one caveat is that the story does wrap up rather quickly after that happens, but it's yet all so rich and refreshing and delightfully charming, that it quite makes up for it.

In the end -- fresh with the wind off the sea and spring rain on green hills and the light of stars in the water -- and a heroine who will dare anything for those she loves -- it's thoroughly enjoyable and altogether lovely!

Tell me! Have you read Belle? Or any other books by Cameron Dokey?

(Reviewed for Meredith's Beauty & The Beast Week and also my first book read and reviewed for the ARC.)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Announcing the Adventure of Reading Challenge!

*drumroll* I am here to announce the grand Adventure of Reading Challenge! (Henceforth to be known as ARC).

Now the point of this challenge is NOT to take the zing out of reading or add yet another thing to the to-do list. It's simply that, personally, I haven't been reading much this last year (for some very obvious reasons) and really want to get back in the habit. However, life is still very full and busy, so I'm trying to make it extremely doable. And fun. If you already have a tall reading list you can feel completely free to use any of those titles -- just using this as inspiration to actually get reading them. And you can definitely double this with other reading challenges (i.e. if you were already planning to read LOTR or something for a different challenge, etc).

If you have a blog and are able to do a quick review of each book, that'd be splendid and fantastic. (You can come back and leave your link on this post and I'll do a round-up post periodically with the links.) If you don't have a blog (or don't have time to put together a review or only want to review certain ones), that's absolutely and perfectly fine, too.

One last note, you don't have to have your whole list figured out to enter and you can definitely move up or down from one level to another as the year progresses. (See? We're keeping this very manageable. ;D)

The challenge runs through the end of the year and there are 3 levels:

Explorer: 3-5 books
Voyageur: 6-9 books
Wrangler: 10-12 books 
(Remember, this is all highly inspiring so I decided to just let loose and have fun with the names. ;))

And our buttons!


I'm actually going to start at the Explorer level and see how far I can jump by the end of the year (a lot will depend on which selections I end up going with). I'm also planning to start my western novel this year, so you'll notice a bunch of my reading selections are rather heavily slanted. ;)
So! Thus far, my list is as follows:

For Meredith's upcoming Beauty & The Beast Week

(Yes! Non-fiction is eligible as well)


Some Louis L'Amour
(Good recommendations anyone?) 

The Walt Longmire mystery series by Craig Johnson
(Which I CANNOT vouch for as yet... not having done much research on them ;P)

So there ye are!

Now I'm off to wash a tremendous load of dishes and try a new applesauce cake recipe I stumbled across yesterday. I can't wait to hear what you all think and do remember to share the buttons and also post about the challenge if you're interested!!

What think you? Would you like to join me?

(P.S. And what do you think of the new blog look? It's very new so I'm still getting used to it, but it's so spring-y and fresh and warm out this week, and I've sooooo been looking forward to spring arriving, that I had to do something. ;))

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