Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Book Review: Gymnast Memoirs Reposted

Just a repost for March because I didn't have time to read anything with vacation and being sick for weeks!

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!

5. Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey

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.

6. It's Not About Perfect by Shannon Miller
It's really no secret that I LOVE Shannon Miller. She is my favorite gymnast of all time so naturally, I was psyched when I found out she was writing a book about her life. I was not disappointed. I will admit, that at the beginning it was a little bit slow as I waited for all of the action to happen but I was pleased that Shannon took the time to explain certain aspects of the sport that non-gymnasts may not have known about otherwise. Quickly, I got really into the book and had a hard time putting it down. I love the way Shannon detailed her training and her perfect partnership with her coaches. Her competitions were well covered and I liked how she talked about her friendship with her teammates. I do wish she might have went a bit more into some of the hard stuff but it is absolutely her right to keep certain things private. Her cancer battle was chronicled beautifully and continued to show what a graceful and strong person of faith she is. I came away from reading this book with more even more admiration and respect for Shannon than I had before!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ready and Excited

I won't be taking my laptop on vacation with me so this will probably be my last post for awhile. I'm all packed for the most part and so excited!

Here is what I'm most looking forward to:
  • Swimming and my new bathing suits
  • The theme rides at Disney World, especially the ones that take you through the whole movie
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-all of it!!
  • Warmer weather
  • Wearing my summer clothes
  • Getting tan and lightening my hair a bit
I can't wait!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Breaker

Spring Break, though glorious for not having school, is a bit dull at the moment. Of course, come the weekend when we head off for vacation, it will surely be spiced up. For now, it's too early to really pack or anything of that nature and it hasn't been super pleasant weather. So it's been an indoor activity type of thing. That's ok, I like indoor stuff too. You all know how I love TV...and writing and reading of course.

I did have a great day on Saturday though. I got to hang out with some new friends at the mall and then back at one of the girls house. The older I get, the more I appreciate my church family. There are so many adults there that have known me since I was little and love and care about me so much. I feel like they are more invested in me than a lot of my extended family. Feeling loved is amazing!

Ok, I'm off to post on my gym blog. Back soon!
Oh and happy pi day!

Friday, March 11, 2016

I'm blogging from school which is different and nice. I don't have one of the classes in the middle of my day so I have plenty of extra time. It's quite lovely.

Happy news, today is my day before break and I won't be back to this place for a nice long two and a half weeks. All I have to do is my poetry midterm over the weekend and then other than keeping up with readings, I'll coast right on to leaving for Florida! I'm so pumped. I'm just in need of a small backpack to take with me to the theme parks, other than that I just have to get some little travel stuff and I'll be good.

On a different note, check out the amount of time I've been at church lately and will continue to be for the coming week:

Last Wednesday: Small group in the evening
Yesterday: Helped out with the babies during our moms program in the morning
Saturday: Helping out in the morning during our annual Easter egg hunt
Sunday: Morning service
Tuesday: Helping out in the afternoon with a community event
Wednesday: Back for growth group

It's a great place/way to spend time if you ask me :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Where the Streets Have No Name

You may remember that last year, in the spring, I began my journey increase my long distance running. It went pretty well for awhile there but i didn't reach my goal of being able to run over three miles without stopping. I did learn to enjoy running though which was a huge plus.

Now that the weather is looking up, I finally got to go back to the track today. I knew I'd regressed a ton over the winter and fall months but that's ok, i have plenty of time to work up my endurance again. It felt good to be running again, even though a stitch in my side stopped me from going as long as I'd like. I know I'll get there :)


Thursday, March 3, 2016

It can be Hard to be Happy, Except When it's Easy

Often, I allow my happiness to depend on the next good thing that's coming up. If I have to work (like I do later today), I feel sort of down but then tomorrow, because it's Friday and I have fun things planned for the weekend, I'll be feeling happy indeed. But I think there is a problem with that way of thinking. I need to learn to be content and happy in everything I do. So work can be a drag sometimes, so school can be annoying, I shouldn't have to put my happiness "on hold" while I get through it.

God calls us to find glorify Him in all that we do, and consider everything, trials and suffering included, a joy. If people can be happy despite living in horrible conditions or while battling a debilitating disease, I can certainly be happy during my eight hour work shift! Certainly!

I have been praying for contentment during this season of life that I'm in and I can feel myself growing in that area. I've even begun to feel excited at the prospect of my future career that I'm working towards. I'm learning to appreciate where I'm at now even if I am waiting for my ultimate goal which is to get married and have a family.

Every part of life is important, that's what I'm realizing. There is no time that I should wish away and no situation that is pointless. Everything is for a purpose and when I look at it that way, it's really not hard to find joy at all!

Right now I can hear a bird chirping outside, a sign that spring is coming! And later on I get to take care of new mothers and their little infants, that is a blessing! Even by the end of shift when my feet hurt and I'm exhausted, I will find joy in my tasks because God is good and so is life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Marching In

Happy March to all! Though some bad weather is headed my way, I know it will be short lived.

Today was interesting! A funny start to the month for sure.

We've had AT&T cable for the past 4 years and just recently my dad decided to switch so the cable guys were due to come today at 9 am. Ruby, our beloved Boston terrier, is not the best around house guests and we all knew that things would go south pretty quickly with all of the strange men coming in and out of our house. So M and I had to hole up in her room with Ruby for three hours. It was fun for a while but without TV and internet, we got bored pretty quick (hey we're only human!). Around noon we knew we had to break free so we took Ruby with us while we got some food and then we walked her on these nice new trails. After that we grocery shopped because we were planning on making dinner.

Upon arriving home, it was apparent that the cable people weren't leaving any time soon so I had to keep a close eye on Ruby who was actually doing pretty well. The plus side to not having anything else to do was that I got a lot of writing done.

At long last the cable man was done, E came home and M and I started dinner. It's actually still cooking because stuffed peppers are stubborn little things. I hope they taste alright because...we didn't follow a recipe. Ah well.