Reading

We Stood Upon Stars

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We Stood Upon Stars – Finding God in Lost Places by Roger W. Thompson

I took one look at the cover of this book and wanted to go camping. I knew I needed to read it and ended up devouring it in with a day. It’s all about the adventures of the author as he finds himself, and gets closer to God in nature. Straight from the Acknowledgments: “At the heart of this book lies a love letter to the outdoors.” That sums it up. I love to be in nature, I love to see new places, and beautiful sights. I don’t get to do that as often as I’d like but traveling is something I’ve always wanted to do. I want to see waterfalls, and mountains and the beautiful wonders of the world, or at the very least of the United States.

Each chapter of this book starts with a map, detailing the area, with suggested places to visit, and places to eat. Each chapter is a story of an adventure and what the author learned from it. It starts in his hometown of Ventura, California “because the dust under our feet defines who we are.” He takes us through his life, growing a family with his wife, having kids, and losing a beloved pet, to losing a grandfather who raised him. He talks about his travels and the sights he encountered. He enforces the fact that we need to stop and appreciate nature “We can look up and be shaped by mountains and sunsets. Or we can look down and be shaped by devices and yet another selfie.” “The better place in is the wild, where mountains out problems in perspective and the lack of programs and walls gives us direct access to God.” He urges us to go out and experience nature. See new things and try new things. “If I wasn’t careful memories of the things we did would be eclipsed by regrets of the things we didn’t.

This books is full of great quotes and insights. I marked all of my favorites with page flags as I read. I get what the author is saying. I feel closer to God when I’m outside in nature than I do when I’m in church, because He created the world around us and all of the beautiful things. We should go out and enjoy them, bask in their beauty and grow closer the One who created it all.

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves nature, loves to travel and be outdoors. To anyone who grows bored in church and is looking for a better way to connect with our Creator. So if given the chance, pick this book up, read it, absorb it’s wisdom and then go camping.

anxiety · Reading

Owlcrate April Unboxing!

It’s time again for my Owlcrate unboxing! For those of you that don’t know, Owlcrate is a monthly subscription service. You get a box each month with a newly released young adult book and 4 or 5 bookish goodies. Each month has a different theme, and the theme for April is Head over Heels! Here’s what was in the box:

An Owlcrate button. There is one in every box and it always matches the art on the spoiler card.

A headband from Storiarts, printed with text from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice!

Tea from The Tea Spot, inspired by Anna and the French Kiss. It’s a dessert blend of chocolate and cherry. I’m not a tea drinker, but the packaging is beautiful!

A mini candle from Novelly Yours. Three different versions went out in the boxes, all inspired by a Rainbow Rowell novel. The one I got is called “Baz and Simon” and it smells amazingly like raspberries!

A keychain from BookwormBoutique, featuring a quote from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli.

A print by Evie Bookish with a quote from A Court of Thorns and Roses.

A chapter sampler of Umberland by Wendy Spinale

Lastly, the real star of the show, the book this month was The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. Along with the book we received a signed book plate, a letter from the author and an emoji sticker. I just finished this book, literally minutes ago. I loved it! 5 stars! I’ve never identified with a character more than I do Molly. She is me. We’re the same and I love it. She’s never been kissed, never had a boyfriend and now she suddenly has multiple candidates. She’s refereed to as fat, though I’m not sure how you would define that. I am not a small girl. I have fat. I’m self conscious and shy and awkward. Molly also suffers from social anxiety and panic attacks and has to take a pill daily, sound familiar? She thinks things that I think and she’s into the same things that I’m into (crafts, Pinterest, that stretch of skin that is exposed when a guy stretches and his shirt raises up a couple inches…) At one point she sends a semi-risky text and then panics at the possible outcomes. I’ve done that. I do that. She plans out what she’s going to say and do. She wears a cardigan in 80 degree weather because she needs a security blanket to hide behind. Seriously, Becky Albertalli, get out of my head!! Molly might be one of my favorite characters ever, because she’s so real. On a different note, Molly and her sister Cassie come from a very diverse family and this story reminds me a lot of the television show, The Fosters. It’s a super sweet contemporary and it reminds us what it feels like to have unrequited love and that it’s a nice feeling to have from time to time: “But you know there’s an upside here. Because when you spend so much time just intensely wanting something and then you actually get the thing? It’s magic.

The last thing in the Owlcrate box is always a sneakpeek card for next month. These cards are always so pretty, I swear. The theme for May is Comic Explosion! and it’s going to include a full-sized Funko Pop. I know nothing about comics. I read the walking dead, but that’s as far as my extent goes. I’m not a superhero girl. So we’ll see how that box turns out. It’ll probably be amazing even if I don’t care about comics. Owlcrate also announced that they’ve lined up special Owlcrate exclusive book covers for their next 6 boxes!! I’m so excited about it. I’m such a nerd, I swear. Book covers are everything.

 

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Reading

Disaster Falls

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Disaster Falls by Stephane Gerson is a real life account of a tragedy. Eight year old Owen was on a rafting trip with his family when he drowned. This book is written by Owen’s father and it leads us through the first 2 years after Owen’s death. Its separated into three sections. Year one, year two, and lastly all the legal business.

I wanted to read this book because I’ve experienced loss and I always wonder how everyone else copes with it. It’s devastating. I’ve never lost a child, but I’ve lost a sibling. This books show us just how differently grieving is for each family member. From Julian, Owen’s older brother, to his mother and father and even his grandparents and classmates at school.

The author talks about how his wife visits the school and talks to the kids. He says that they’ll never leave this town, never move away, because what if one of Owen’s long ago classmates was to drop by unexpectedly. This reminds me strongly of my own mother. When we lost my sister, she spent time with her classmates, they’d seek her out at work or at home, just to check in, to see how she was doing.  Both of my parents, but my mom especially, tries to stay connected to her life. It doesn’t really get easier though, just numb, and there isn’t really anything to say to comfort those that are grieving. This book gives us a glimpse at that grief and confusion. We get to read along as this family tries to put their lives back together.

As for the writing of the book, I will admit, I was bored at times, it seemed to go off course a time or two into other subjects, and for someone who isn’t used to reading this type of book, it is probably really hard to get through. I finished it in just a few days and while it isn’t a book I’d read over and over again, it was insightful and heartbreaking and relate-able in the saddest way. I gave this book a 3 star rating in the end. I wanted to give it more, because I know how much it means to the family, how hard it must have been to write it all down and think about it again and again. But I felt like it could have been better told. Then again, it isn’t my story to tell.

anxiety

Whoa, Anxiety!

At the end of March, my Papaw was cleaning out his gutters when his ladder slipped out from under him. Three weeks later and he’s home from the hospital, but he has to use a walker, and wear a back brace whenever he raises above a 30 degree angle. Also, he is now on oxygen.

Someone has been staying with him around the clock until he has the all clear from his doctor. We’ve been taking turns. Thursday he had two doctors appointments in Lexington. If you don’t know, I live a couple hours away from the city. Lexington isn’t really a big city to most people but to me it’s huge. And we had to go right into the heart of it, to the student hospital UK. His appointments were back to back, 2 hours apart and we had no idea where to find them. I do not like to be unprepared, so I was stressed out before we even left the house. I like to know exactly where I’m going and what’s going to happen when I get there. I like to have my conversations planned out in my head. If I don’t, I stress out. So that was a struggle.

Also, my papaw turns 77 years old today, but that doesn’t stop him from acting like a teenage boy that never left the house before. He talks to every single person he sees. All of them. He’s loud, he’s always trying to make people laugh, cutting up and joking. He’s always been that way. He told the same joke to every person he saw. He says “I won the lottery last night!” They say “You did?” and he says, “Yea, I got to put my feet on the floor this morning. The Lord blessed me with another day.” My papaw loves Jesus more than anything else in the world and I get it. I do too. He uses every opportunity that he has to witness, and tell everyone that will listen just how blessed he is.

Some people just don’t get it though, and some people, like me I’m sure, do not want some stranger talking to them for no reason, even if he is a harmless old man. I know that my papaw is exactly the kind of person I’d try to avoid if I didn’t know him. Because people scare me. Interacting with people scares me and I need to plan it out first, I need to be prepared. That day was a nightmare for me. Pushing him around in his wheelchair was a task, especially while wheeling around an oxygen tank and a folded up walker. Plus, mom felt the need to pack along a giant blue bag of yarn for her down time. She had no downtime, and most of the time I was carrying everything. All the paper work was passed along to me, because I “have the nicest hand writing” I was introduced to 5,000 (clearly, not really but that’s how it felt) people most of them strangers, just because my Papaw is so friendly.

Also he’s in a habit of flirting with every nurse and pretty lady that walks past him. He doesn’t mean anything by it, but you can’t just do that. People get offended, even if no harm is meant. Most just laugh and joke along with him and tell me how sweet my Papaw is. If my Mamaw were still around, he would not be allowed to act the way he does. She kept him under control, reigned him in, because he has so much energy for a 77 year old man in a walker. And I guess that’s a good thing. I hope to have my Papaw around for a very long time. But I don’t think my anxiety can handle another doctor appointment in the city.

Riding in the car with Papaw is very enjoyable though, there are no strangers for him to talk to, (But he tries whenever we go through a drive-thru, I’m surprised he doesn’t roll down his window and talk to people at the red-lights to be honest.) He likes to talk about his life, memories, and old times. He tells us stories about him and my Mamaw. You can tell how much he loved her. Today we were listening to a CD and he looked at my mom and said “Your mom could sing. She’d try to sing quiet and she thought I wasn’t listening, but I loved to hear her voice.” It’s bittersweet for me, hearing about my Mamaw and Papaw. I miss her so much and I know he does too. They really loved each other and he’s always talking about how he’s ready to go home to Heaven because he knows she’s waiting on him. It’s the sweetest, and saddest thing he talks about. I tell him to stop talking like that. We need him here a while longer, but it seems to make him happy to think about, and I can understand why.

Basically I had a really stressful day out with my Mom and Papaw on Thursday but I enjoyed the time I got to spend them. I hope that next time, because he has to go back in a month for more x rays, I can find a reason not to tag along though, because of my anxiety. That was the most anxiety I’d had in a long time. I’d much rather take my turn sitting with Papaw at his house everyday than to go through that again.

Uncategorized

Happy Easter!

Today is Easter Sunday and unfortunately I’m a little too old to be visited by the Easter Bunny. An Easter basket full of books and chocolate sounds pretty great though, right?

We’re celebrating today with an Easter dinner and an all ages egg hunt. It’s what Holly’s family does every year. I love that they have traditions, because my family does not. Today’s post is super short.

Have a Happy Easter and enjoy the time with your loved ones!

Reading

Young Adult/Children’s books for… Adults

What kind of book do you read? Personally, I read all kinds. My preference though is Young Adult. I also really enjoy Middle Grade and Children’s books. Sometimes books that you would never guess are categorized as a children’s book, (and by children’s book, I do not mean picture book.) The recent popular Thirteen Reasons Why, for example, is a children’s book. If I had to guess, I would have thought it was Young Adult. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, but that’s not really my point with this post.

I was recently browsing my local libraries website and I noticed that they host book clubs. The problem is, the young adult book club is for ages 13-17. Does this mean that I shouldn’t be reading young adult books in my late twenties? Am I just an immature reader? I know that a lot of adults read young adult books. So why is the age range for young adult books so low?

Sure, no one is stopping us from reading these books, but do we get funny looks when we wander into the young adult section at the library and spent our time browsing the shelves? Sometimes yes. Me, not so much because I do not look my age.  I could probably pass as a slightly chubby, awkward teenager if I tried to. What about when we go in the kids sections? I admit, I feel weird going in there without a kid in tow. I’m the kid guys. I like children’s books and young adult books. Will people just assume that I’m not smart enough to read books classified for people my own age. I assure you, I’m not reading at a 5th grade level. I was past that stage before I was even in the 5th grade. I shouldn’t worry about what people think, or about being judged, but that’s just human nature especially in someone with an anxiety disorder.

Reading

Owlcrate March Unboxing!

 

The theme for Owlcrate‘s March box was “Sailors, Ships and Seas” As always, Owlcrate comes with a newly released YA book and 5 or so bookish goodies to go along with it. This month, the book they sent was Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. As usual, it came with a letter from the author, and a signed bookplate. This book is so good. It’s my favorite read of the year, so far. It’s the first in a series and a debut novel. Once I picked it up I could not put it down. I already can’t wait for the sequel!  The only issue I had with it, was the cover art, which was not my favorite. This month it also came with a Temporary Tattoo! Also included in the box was:

  • A tea towel from Kitch Studios!
  • A notepad with an adorable Octopus design by Boygirlparty!
  • Gilded, mermaid scale washi tape!! From Simply Gilded. (This is beautiful!) I ended up using this and a sheet from the above notepad to decorate my Bullet Journal Cover 🙂 
  • A compass pendant necklace designed by Owlcrate and produced by The Geeky Cauldron!
  •  And every month we receive an Owlcrate button to collect, this one had the image of an Owl Pirate!

Lastly, Owlcrate received a donated from author Heidi Heilig of 100 enamel pins shaped like the ship from the cover of her book The Ship Beyond Time. So only 100 people out of all of Owlcrates subscribers (and they have a lot of them, if their 140k Instagram followers means anything) received it in their box. It was completely random, but somehow I got one! I was pretty excited!

The theme for next months box was also announced: Head over Heels! I feel like I saw this every month, but I’m really excited about this theme. I’m into romance and I’m currently possibly *fingers crossed* writing a YA Romance novel myself. SO I’m excited to read the book the pick and see what goodies they throw in.

It might be silly, but Owlcrate brings me so much joy. I look forward to getting my box each month and always love the things that come in them.