Friday, September 30, 2016

September Book(s) Reveiw: The Family Tree Series by Ann M Martin

I am a longtime fan of Ann M Martin. Looooong time. I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club books until I was far too old (I have them all) and hey, I still enjoy the occasional reread. After that I discovered the Main Street book series that Martin penned as well. Those books are wonderful too.

A few years back, M started reading The Family Tree series when the first two were out. I joined her and am forever happy that I did. Yes, these are "kids books" probably aimed at the 10-13 age group. But kids books are not exclusively for kids! They have so much merit for all ages.

The Family Tree series is a quartet. They follow four generations of girls/women as they grow up in various time periods during the 20th century. Each girl is unique. Thoughtful, determined Abby from book one. Dana, Abby's daughter, stubborn and driven in book two. Dana's daughter Francie is earnest and kind in book three. Finally, there is Francie's daughter Georgia who is inquisitive and headstrong. And yet, despite their differences, they share the same blood, the same bond. They are all creative, be it art or writing or music. They are all connected with secrets and memories shared between them.

I loved journeying through time with Abby, Dana, Francie and Georgia. Martin captures each decade and historical event without cliches. She beautifully crafts scenic landscapes and small quiet moments. There is nothing "kiddish" about these books. The writing is elevated and the content should appeal to all.

Like in Martin's other series, she tackles a variety of hard topics over the course of these four generations. There is bigotry, disability, suicide, death, poverty, illness, crime...all of it. And yet, nothing is overestimated. Each topic is handled with originality and care.

Above all, these books contain a heavy theme of family unity and bond. It isn't until the end that all four of these women are together and mend fences and share secrets that have been causing rifts in certain relationships. These books remind you that the bonds of mothers and daughters is stronger than any outside force. It's really quite beautiful. 

Bravo Ann M Martin, on another job well done.
-G-

Friday, September 23, 2016

Work work work work

School work that is.

Ah yes, it is that time of the semester where everything is due at once. Thankfully, I've got the bulk of the work behind me for now. I have completed my Political Science and Religion paper, gotten over half way in my lit paper and more than that with my Journalism proposal.

Much work, much stress. But I've made it through.

I'm looking forward to this weekend that will be full of sports! Tonight is the homecoming game at my alma mater and Saturday M, my parents and I are going with my favorite aunt and uncle to a baseball game. Should be exciting stuff.

In TV news, I'm currently watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix (unsure how to feel about it) and started two new shoes this week on TV, This is Us and Speechless. Both are really good and it's been very nice to see the beautiful actor who played Jess on Gilmore Girls back for TIU. Swoon.

Signing off for now, gotta eat my lunch before class.
-G-

Friday, September 16, 2016

Summer Goals Revisited

1. Buy a car (x)
I did this at last! I'm so happy and proud but also kind of scared because, hello, responsibility.

2. Thoroughly enjoy the Rio Olympics (x)
I did enjoy them but I wish I had followed more sports like I was planning to. I was happy with all of the gymnastics success but well, dare I say it was just too predictable? For whatever reason, it didn't have the epic quality that London did.

3. Cultivate new friendships (x)
Yes, oh my gosh, at last! I have made three really good new friends and I'm so happy. I had to put myself out there a bit but mostly, it was very natural. Sometimes you can just tell that you're going to be compatible with certain people.

4. Read the Bible every day ()
I've been so undisciplined. It's honestly really disappointing how I haven't made this a priority. I need to be better, I know this.

5. Spend as much time outside, swimming/biking/running/reading as possible (x)
I absolutely did this! Though, I did not bike/run that much, I really made a point to enjoy the outdoors and warm weather. Ellie and I were always walking to the park, the pool or just hanging out in the yard. I spent a LOT of time floating and reading in the pool or on lawn chairs. If it was sunny, I made it a point get outside :)

6. Drink (even more) water (x)
I don't know if it's cheating to count this one because I sort of went on and off on this one. I mean, I already drink a lot of water (my exclusive drink) but there were days when I would have my bottle around all the time and really make a point to drink more. There were also days when I made a point not to drink like when traveling but those probably don't count.

7. Do one thing crazy (x)
Wading through mud and going down a highly scary slide for the race I ran.

8. Have a perfect day (x)
The first day of the Olympic Trials, hands down. M snapped a picture of me on our way back to the hotel and I'm fairly sure I've never looked happier!

9. Finish writing my book series (x)
Yes! I finally did it! And I started an epilogue book.

10. Review three books I've reread ()
I only did two, but I plan to remedy that soon.

11. Read three new books additionally ()
Nope. I straight up didn't feel like it. Ha.

12. Run a race (x)
Same one as last year and I had a pretty awful time but I will explain that later.

13. Eat healthier/work out more ()
....

14. Blog more regularly ()
Um...

15. Enjoy it! (x)
This summer felt sort of strange, good but strange. It feels like I did SO MUCH and that made it seem both long and short. It was a good summer though, I got to travel to California and have the time of my life. I got to be an octopus in my second VBS skit and go to Cedar Point and my cousins island. I had memorable days with Ellie and enjoyed the weather to the fullest. 

Goals accomplished : 10/15
Not bad!
-G-

What Happened During My Blogging Break?

Lots!

I didn't plan on taking a month long break but after not posting for over a week, I decided to just hold off and give myself some reprieve. I love having this blog but I definitely don't always love the process of writing in it. Especially when I have other things to deal with, such as SCHOOL.

So yeah, I started my new private university and it's been good. Being able to drive myself has been a blessing and a curse! Like on the first day when I hit a pole at the gas station, but we won't talk about that. I guess it just took a little bit to get used to the drive but now I feel mostly comfortable. My classes are pretty dull, I can't lie but that's ok. I don't mind some dull classes that are easy, ha. It is coming to that point in the semester when work begins to pile up. I have a really big assignment for Journalism coming up as well as my first paper for my lit class. I'm hoping to put a dent in both this weekend.

Other then that I've been enjoying some new friendships that I made through church. Just having friends that love Jesus and actually want to hang out with me has been such a blessing. It's been a long time since I've been excited about getting to know people and fostering relationships. This weekend I'll be hanging out with them.

I have several posts that I've been wanting to write, such as:
-Finishing Friday Night Lights and rewatching Avatar the Last Airbender
-August/September book review
-Summer goals
-The day I ran a race

Stay tuned!
-G-

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Ago

Here's a repost of what I wrote 5 years ago, let's never forget: 

I was 7 years old. Sitting innocently in my 2nd grade classroom when the first tower was hit. The teachers did not want to scare us so they didn't tell us what was going on. Strange things happened that day though and it's amazing what a kid can pick up on. A lot of my classmates were getting taken out of school, one was pulled right from our line on our way to music class. The teachers held hushed conversations. I knew something was going on.

I just didn't know what.

When my sister and I got home my mom met us at the front door and we sat outside on the front steps. She told us a simplified version of what had happened that day. I did not understand, I don't even think I cared. It was like hearing about a story or movie where a bunch of people I didn't know died. I didn't get the magnitude of it, not for years did it hit me emotionally.

September 11th 2001 was the first major historical event that I lived through. It will be a memory that I will never forget. It's weird to think that the kids that weren't born or were babies at the time (like my little sister) never knew a world without the fear of terrorists or the war. I'm thankful that our country was somewhat peaceful for the first 7 years of my life.

For the past 5 school years in my history classes when the anniversary of the attacks comes around we watch a documentary or a TV special on the subject. When I watch these people talking about their loved ones that died or when I hear these phone conversations, actually recordings of people saying goodbye, it just gets to me. I can't imagine what was going through their minds when the realized that they had no chance, that they were going to die. The fear, the terror, the panic. I'm not brave or strong enough to even think about how I would handle that. I know that I would be praying madly and I know that the fact that I have God watching over me would help but I don't know...it's just so unimaginable.

When I think about those brave passengers that overpowered the terrorists, I'm overcome with pride for the citizens of our country. That we have people that are so willing to sacrifice themselves to save more lives. Their bravery will never be forgotten.

Lets remember, today and always. September 11th 2001