Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gymnast Meoirs: Reveiwed *Updated*

Since January I've read 5 gymnast memoirs and I loved them all in different ways. I've been wanting to review them so here goes! I'm going in the order in which I read them.

1. Grace, Gold and Glory (my leap of faith) by Gabrielle Douglas

If I'm being honest, this is probably the book I enjoyed the least. I love Gabby and I love her faith and her focus but I wish the book would have been more about her time leading up to the Olympics and her personal thoughts and less about her childhood. Now, I totally get that she would want to include her whole life into her book and not just he past few years but I think I would have liked it more had she went more in depth about her Olympic journey. I loved reading about her relationship with her host family and her troubles with being away from home. The inside cover of the book folds out into a neat poster and there are color pictures in the middle of the text.

2. Winning Balance by Shawn Johnson
I really loved this book! I think it had a great balance of life in the gym and outside. I didn't know that Shawn was a woman of faith until reading this and that really made me smile. This book takes you from her childhood to her present and you get to follow her through switching gyms to the Olympics and to Hollywood. Her Olympic experience was really well chronicled, she definitely wrote about it the best. I really was able to picture her there and understand her thoughts and feelings. I thought that the portion after the Olympics would be dull but it actually wasn't, even though she struggled to find her place outside the gym at first, she ends up feeling "balanced" once again. This book also includes pictures, which I love!

3. Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu
This book was different from the other two in that it was much more raw and Dominique's life had a lot more turmoil. This was an awesome read. I was given a look into her family history and taken all the way to her life now as a wife and mother. It was so enchanting to read about Dominique's life as a tiny 14 year old in the Olympics and yet to know that her life behind closed doors was much less glamorous. I really enjoyed the honesty in this book, I had no idea how political the sport of gymnastics was and how this became clear to Dominique when she was trying to make her comeback. Even with all the drama, there is still plenty of gymnastics in here. The Olympic portions were vivid and I liked reading about her relationships with the other girls. And, the book had pictures in it too!

4. Letters to a Young Gymnast by Nadia Comaneci
I have to be really honest, I didn't love this book. I'm not even sure if I liked it. The first half was hard to get though and to be frank, Nadia rubbed me the wrong way. It was as if she had never done anything wrong in her life and she was perfect in every way. Sometimes it even felt as though she was being rude to the reader. There wasn't a whole lot of gymnastics talk in here, there was some of course but a lot of the book was about her life in Romania. The second half or last quarter was much better than the first it was intriguing to read about Nadia's escape from her home country and a more human side of her was exposed as she wrote of her hard transition to America. I liked that we did get some history and background in this book but I had a really hard time warming up to Nada and so the book itself wasn't very enjoyable. There were no pictures!

This book was everything I wanted the other four to be and more. Jennifer tells her story of being an elite gymnast in the 80's with honesty and great detail. She doesn't sugar coat over anything-or anyone. I appreciated her telling the absolute truth about her experience because that is what people expect when they buy a memoir. Sey's story is beautiful, heartbreaking and tragic all at once. She doesn't place blame on any one person and clearly has a great sense of self. Above all, this was not written by Sey and some ghost writer, this was written by her alone and it showed her talent as a writer. It wasn't just facts, cut and dry, she told her story in such vivid detail that at times I truly knew what it felt like to be standing on a balance beam or flying on the bars. I have to say it once more, I LOVED THIS BOOK.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Where Does the Time Go?

Some days, I just feel sentimental. Today is one of those days. I keep thinking of all of the summer memories with Claire when we were younger. I miss her, I miss being little. We would play soccer out in the front yard for hours or bake cookies with absolutely no recipe. We played with American Girl dolls until we were much to old and rode our bikes to the video store when we were bored. We had an Avatar: The Last Airbender party where we had a marathon and ate snacks, then for the series finale we went to get ice cream and watched all together. So many summer nights we would talk on the phone together and tell stories.

In the summer before ninth grade we both watched the (incredibly stupid) show Secret Life of the American Teenager and would discuss it all the time. We would go swimming and play Olympics in the pool. We set up a "cartwheel" class in the yard for E to learn how. We tanned on the driveway and went on walks around the neighborhood. We had numerous sleepovers and made elaborate breakfasts for just us two in the morning. We would walk to ice cream shops and eat on the driveway and pack picnics. We practiced softball on the sidewalk in front of my house and went to each others games.

Where does the time go?
I don't know.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's VBS Week!

This week is VBS week and I can't believe it's almost over already! For those of you who don't know, VBS stands for Vacation Bible School and is sort of a camp/school all in one. I absolutely love this week, it's one of my favorites of the summer! This year M and I are guides for the first grade group and we have really sweet kids. Tomorrow we are going to be given a chance to really share the gospel with them and give a little bit of our testimony. I hope we can lead some kids to Christ!

In other news:
  • I REALLY miss C and I'm getting sightly angry that she's not home with me. I know she made commitments to be in Chicago but I want her here. 
  • I got a really nice new bike that I love, I just need to find a comfortable seat. 
  • I got my book bound but, stupid me, I didn't adjust the margins so they are too big and I can't stand that it doesn't look perfect. I'll probably have to fix them and order new copies. 
  • Our family vacation is in the works and although it's not exactly my type of trip, I'm trying to be excited about it. 
That's all for now, be back soon!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How Time Flies

Today is E's last day of 9th grade, which got me thinking about my last day. I wrote about it (and he days following)  a few months ago here.

I'm just going to go ahead and post the majority of it here:

It was my last day of 9th grade and I had only one exam in the morning. My English exam, I remember putting on my new green Hollister tank top and feeling pretty cool. The exam ended at like 9:30 and I remember being disappointed that the weather was gloomy while I waited for my mom to pick me up. I had plans to sleep over Claire's that night but I got home so early I wondered how in the world I was going to occupy my time. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and thinking that it didn't really feel like summer yet.

That evening I went over to Claire's all excited about school being over and M's graduation party that would be the day after the next. First we played Sims on her computer, a favorite thing of ours. She had just gotten Sims 3 and I wasn't all that impressed. As we were making our family SOMETHING AWFUL HAPPENED. We were having some fun clicking on the parents and seeing what they looked like when they were kids. As we clicked the adult figure, to make our dad character a man again as opposed to a toddler, the game glitched in the worst way. The body of our adult man Sim appeared but stayed down in the toddler position which was sitting on the ground with it's legs out in front of it. But the dad was flailing his limbs around with his head bent down like a giant spider. It lasted just a few seconds and it wasn't until it was over that Claire and I started screaming for her sister Lee to come quick! We tried to explain what had happened but couldn't quite. After that we didn't play Sims for much longer. Ha.

My had sent me over with a long roll of white paper and had given us the duty of making M's graduation banner to hang at the party. Claire and her family are extremely artistic so she had high hopes. We rolled the paper all the way across the living room floor and into the dining room. Claire's mom Mary helped us draw out the letters and we were in charge of picking colors. Claire and I both agreed on summer colors: green, blue and yellow. We decided to alternate the colors and have each of us be in charge of a color. Neither of us wanted yellow so Mary took it and then we both wanted either blue or green, I can't remember which. I think Claire won in the end and I used green so we must have both wanted blue. We took great care painting the inside of our letters and when we finished we thought it needed some extra pizazz so we sporadically added large shiny blue and green sequins as if someone had blown them onto the banner. To finish it off, Mary outlined the letters to make them pop. We were so proud of ourselves.

To finish off the night Claire, Mary, Lee and myself decided to watch a movie. I think we picked Juno which at the time was a favorite of ours.

The next day I remember being a little upset because my family was doing some graduation party prep stuff in the morning without me. But Claire and I made ourselves a nice breakfast and set up the table as we always did during sleepovers so I was happy. Eventually my mom picked me up and we headed to my grandpas neighborhood (where the party would be held) and picked out some flowers and set up a few tables at his house. That evening my my mom and M and my grandma were going to a wedding shower but I opted to stay home with my dad since I was kind of tired. I took a shower and then perched at the end of our old green couch to watch some TV. First I watched the show "Raising Sextuplets" which had just premiered and I had taped. Then I watched a House episode where a dad is sleepwalks and does drugs and him and his daughter have some sort of condition that make them really boring.

I remember saying goodnight to my dad and deciding to go to bed early for the next days events. The next morning I was so excited to put on my new dress I had ordered form American Eagle in size XXS (though we still had to take in the straps), mine had purple flowers on it and M's had blue flowers. The party was so much fun and I spent the time hanging with Claire and my other cousins.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

State of the Union

Everyday my emotions seem to go on a roller coaster, I don't know if I can even write about it because it just makes it so real. The post I wrote last week is still very relevant. But, I don't want to spent my whole summer blogging about how upset I am and what not. I want to continue to document my daily happenings/events so that I can go back and appreciate them as I have for the passed few summer blogs. So I guess this is a disclaimer: Just know that no matter what I'm posting about I am still wrestling some huge burdens inside.

And with that, let the show go on.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Chop of 2014

May 12th 2014...

I cut off over half my hair and donated it for the fifth time!!!
I was pretty ready for it, although I never really know what style to cut it into, honestly my hair doesn't hold any style very well. So I just went with something simple that I've had before. They only had to braid and cut off the back of my hair to donate since my hair is so thick. After they cut it off I was left with a funky reverse mullet until they evened it out. And let me tell you, my head felt immediately lighter, it's one of my favorite feelings.

I like that I can now pull my hair up without my head feeling like it's going to fall off but I hate that I can't really wear it naturally without looking like a puffy poodle. So if I wear it down I have to straighten it. I miss my long hair because I could just braid it overnight and let it go the next day, it was a beautiful thing. BUT, overall I'm really happy with the haircut and my hair grows super fast so it will be back to long in no time, seriously!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Everything Was Going Well Until it Wasnt't...

Great things had been happening in the past few weeks or so. I finished my book (a full length novel!) am currently editing it, I overcame a HUGE mental block at work and I had just scheduled myself for classes in the fall. Then I picked up my contacts, my last hope that the slight blurriness in my left eye is related to my prescription. I was actually shaking when I put them in and then, bam, my hopes were dashed. So, back to square one where I'm convinced I'm slowly going blind. It is truly an awful feeling that I now have looming over me constantly. I actually have very little faith that this will work out now, I know that sounds terrible but I'm really at a loss here. This has been going on for two years and all of the options have seemingly run out.

What I am hopeful about, what I do have faith in, is that I serve a God who is GOOD and a God who knows his plan for me. There is absolutely a reason for everything. I will soon have a positive outlook again, I know it will come but today I'm freaking pissed off an I'm scared and I HATE THIS.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Goals 2014

Summer Goals 2014
Accomplish at Least Half

  1. Cut my hair
  2. Finish, edit and bind my book
  3. Have a perfect day
  4. Expand my gymnastics autograph collection
  5. Try and enjoy the city vacation
  6. Improve my relationship with E
  7. Start a new friendship/relationship
  8. Swim a lot/spend a lot of time outside
  9. Do one thing crazy
  10. Read at least 5 books
  11. Enjoy it!