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Saturday, December 20, 2014

The 10 Books I Cannot Live Without

     Note: These 10 favorites are in no particular order.

     When I am restless or stressed, I tend to organize. It is my coping mechanism. The other day, I had a really rough day. For some reason, instead of organizing, I started pulling things out of my closet: my favorites clothes, the socks I would never leave home without, the shoes I wear the most, and of course, the books I love the most.

     Exactly ten books made my "I need these" pile, and I thought to myself "What a great blog post idea."

     Because that is the way I think.

     Without further ado, THE books I need in my life (obviously, I don't need anything, but if I am being dramatic, because you KNOW I can be that.)
  • Pride and Prejudice by the lovely Jane Austen(!) ~ The book most people think of when they hear JA's name is still an enduring beauty. My extra small almost-pocket-sized edition is the best!
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne ~ This is one of those books you "have" to read for school and end up falling in love with. The characters especially are very fun and believable.
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl ~ I have read three of Mr. Dahl's books and listened to one on cd, but Matilda trumps James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and even the great Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A book-loving child discovers she has powers that surprise even herself.
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare ~ I've said it before, and I will say it again: this book is incredible. It is about the Salem witch trials, following one girl in particular. THE BEST by Mrs. Speare.
  • Love Does by Bob Goff ~ The first nonfiction book in my stack, full of good, true stories with applicable principles. Love Does makes me want to take action. A must read, especially if you are stuck in a rut with fiction and want to branch out (but still love stories).
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ~ I love this JA book better than even Pride and Prejudice. It captured my heart with a book-loving heroine, and the evil characters made me SO. VERY. MAD. (There is some language.)
  • Radical by David Platt ~ That book you want everyone in the world to read. Radical will change your Christian life forever, for the better.
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ~ Man. I have already talked about this one on the blog too. It is my favorite of the three Agatha Christie books I have read. It has an element of great suspense, eeriness, and horror that The Body in the Library and The Orient Express just don't have.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg ~ If you need a book that will help you spice up your writing, this is the one. It's full of advice, good writing, and exciting writing exercises. (Also has some language and elements I do not agree with.)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart ~ If you have not read these, you need to. If you have not heard of these, you're not in bookstores (or my house) very often. This is the first in a series about four children with remarkable talents. The mysteries, riddles, and Morse code will delight young aspiring detectives, adventure-seeking teens, and even adults.
  • The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Decorah Needleman ~ I am the Little Decorator, in case you  forgot. The Perfectly Imperfect Home is a d├ęcor book by none other than the editor of Domino magazine. This is the only decorating book you will ever need. I LOVE this book.

     So there they are. Which books would you take along with you everywhere? Which books made you laugh, sob, or get scared? I highly recommend you put any of these that you have not read on a list for your next trip to the library.

     Let me know in the comments below. And be sure to share this post with your friends to start some bookworm conversations. :)


Thursday, December 18, 2014

When You Alone Celebrate

     I set up this display in my bedroom today because it is my half birthday. I put it on the calendar weeks ago, and now it is here. The books displayed say Happy Birthday to You! (Dr. Seuss) and Madeline (Ludwig Bemelmans), so together they wish me a happy birthday.

     I'm wearing a yellow dress, because yellow is my favorite. I gave myself a Happy Birthday napkin at breakfast. Patrick added a "1/2" to it with a Sharpie. :)

     Sometimes you just need to take some time and celebrate yourself.

     Yes. I am still going to do school, and I'm not expecting gifts. But I can give a gift to myself. I can celebrate.
Happy half birthday to me!
Happy half birthday to me!
Happy half birthday, dear Madeline!
Happy half birthday to me!
P.S. For those of you just DYING to know, I am fifteen and a half. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why Everything Is Awesome

     She sighed. "You have no idea how many times I've heard 'Everything is Awesome.' My kids want me to play it every time we're in the car. Over and over and over."

     "Well, everything is awesome," I replied, grinning. "The lyrics are a little strange though," I admitted.

     "I know. Dip my body in chocolate frosting? What?"

     "Yes, the message is rather unsubstantial, but fun," I observed. "Most song lyrics are these days."

     So naturally we put it in, and listened to this:

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team
Everything is awesome when we're living our dream

Everything is better when we stick together
Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let's party forever
We're the same, I'm like you, you're like me, we're all working in harmony

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team
Everything is awesome when we're living our dream

3, 2, 1. Go

Have you heard the news, everyone's talking
Life is good 'cause everything's awesome
Lost my job, it's a new opportunity
More free time for my awesome community

I feel more awesome than an awesome possum
Dip my body in chocolate frostin'
Three years later, wash off the frostin'
Smellin' like a blossom, everything is awesome
Stepped in mud, got new brown shoes
It's awesome to win, and it's awesome to lose (it's awesome to lose)

Everything is better when we stick together
Side by side, you and I, gonna win forever, let's party forever
We're the same, I'm like you, you're like me, we're all working in harmony

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team
Everything is awesome when we're living our dream

Blue skies, bouncy springs
We just named two awesome things
A Nobel prize, a piece of string
You know what's awesome? EVERYTHING!

Dogs with fleas, allergies,
A book of Greek antiquities
Brand new pants, a very old vest
Awesome items are the best

Trees, frogs, clogs
They're awesome
Rocks, clocks, and socks
They're awesome
Figs, and jigs, and twigs
That's awesome
Everything you see, or think, or say
Is awesome

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team
Everything is awesome when we're living our dream 

     And I can't help but wonder why this song is so popular. Yes, it's fun, and I had convinced her by now that everything IS awesome although the lyrics are quite ridiculous.

     But really, not everything feels awesome all the time.

     But we can know He works it all together for the good of those who love Him (paraphrased from Romans 8:28).

     So everything is awesome, even if it is only because it is going to one day work out for the best.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hump Day Hair Tutorial ~ Scarf 'Do

     Hello, friends. Happy Hump Day!

     Using scarves in your hair is probably something you don't do very often, so I'm here to help you break out of your comfort zone. Next week will be another, slightly crazier hairdo with a scarf, so this should help you ease into it.

     If you enjoy the tutorial, please comment (either on this post or on YouTube), and subscribe and like on YouTube.

     I am only going to continue Hump Day Hair through the end of the year. I don't want to turn into a hair blog. I just wanted to share a few simple tips and tricks I've picked up over the years.

     Thank you, and enjoy your Wednesday.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When All the Talk Is of Christmas

     By the time December 9th rolls around, all the talk is of Christmas.

     On blogs or the Internet or in person. What are you doing for Christmas? How can we make the season of Advent beautiful but simple? What are you getting for the people in your life?

     I'm not caught up in all of that this year. Sure, I am celebrating, but more than that, I am working on finishing school well. I am working hard at the theater as I perform in A Christmas Carol for His glory. I am working on keeping up my relationship with my God during this busy time. Because isn't that what it is all about?

     Taking a few moments to remember not just "the reason for the season" but the reason for every season, every breath, every moment, every joy, and every beat of our hearts in silence and solitude is truly beautiful.

     I want to encourage you not to get bogged down in anything you are doing or buying or even celebrating. Focus on Jesus, and the rest of it falls by the wayside in the best of ways. The food, gifts, and parties seem less of a necessary hassle and more of pleasant, peaceful things.

     Keep your mind on your Lord as Jesus did, and you will be blessed with unexplainable peace, joy, and love, and all those other wonderful ideas we talk about at Christmas time.

     May God bless you in this Christmas season with a renewed focus on Him.

     Here's a beautiful video to help you start refocusing on our Lord. (Subscribers will need to click over to the blog here.)


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hump Day Hair Tutorial ~ Summer Ponytail Without a Comb

Click over to the blog if reading in email
     So, I know it's totally not summer, but I LOVE SUMMER. And when the days grow long again, you're going to want to have this tutorial handy. It's my Summer Ponytail Without a Comb. It keeps the hair off my neck and me from being miserable and sweaty when I'm caught without a comb.
     Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you have not already, so you never miss a tutorial.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

We Can't Forget About Love

     Happy Thanksgiving!

     It's a very special day, and I know you know the real reason we celebrate it. Yes, yes, the pilgrims, ya-da-ya-da-ya-da. And yes, we eat scrumptious banquets today. And we watch football (at least, here in TX we do.)

     But the real reason is in this illustrious holiday's name. We give thanks. We don't give thanks just to our moms and grandmothers for preparing food. We don't give thanks just to our dad who finally turned off the TV. We don't give thanks just to our little cousins for the presents they made us.

Artwork by Madeline Osigian (me) :)

     We give thanks to God. And it's truly special to me because I have learned to give thanks throughout the year by writing lists of 1,000 gifts (not all in one sitting, but over a few months.)

     I challenge you today to start a list of 1,000 gifts. If you write at least three a day every day you can have a thousand by this time next year. Give it a go. Why not? Besides, we should not be thankful only one day a year.

     We won't have time today to count all that God has blessed us with. And I'm not talking solely about material possessions or family and friends, but also lessons God has taught us over the years, the sunshine (or clouds) outside today, another day to breathe, His Word to us through our church family, and many more things. Take some time to meditate on the great things He has done for you. Because whether or not we've been looking for them, He has done them. It's our job to keep our eyes open and praise Him for all his wonderful deeds.

     In addition, I know many of us are with family today. May we love them gently and in humility, not forcing our opinions or traditions, but graciously speaking life-giving words as we learn to better love those around us. "But knowledge puffs up while love builds up." ~1 Corinthians 8:1b The holiday is about thanksgiving but also love. Please join me in thanking God for the love around us, and asking him to help us better love those we find difficult.

     One last thing: I want you to comment, so you can win this swaggy fall banner! (Handmade by me, naturally.) One person who comments will be selected at random.

     Happy Thanksgiving! Give thanks to God and love those around you.


P.S. If you liked today's post, please share this Thanksgiving blessing with others. It might be as simple as forwarding it from your inbox.