Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models- Buffy Summers

When Emmy approached me with an opportunity to guest post on an awesome female role model, I knew exactly who it would be.

Buffy Summers aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 I was in middle school when the very first episode aired… I was so use to watching Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Happy camper type shows which I still hold dear to my heart. But then Buffy showed up, this extremely badass girl who was beautiful, funny, cool,  and fought vampires and evil demons, and was constantly saving the world! When I finished that first episode, I was hooked for life. I never missed a show. I laughed along with the Scooby gang, cried when Buffy had to send Angel to hell, wrote an angry letter to Joss Whedon when I though Buffy had been killed off for good, sang along in the Musical episode... I was emotionally invested.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

August To Be Read Pile

Another month... another to-be-read pile! Well... in a few days I'll be a new month. July 30 is close enough, right?

I didn't do too shabby in July with my reading goals.

Books I (finally) completed this month:

- Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
- Blood Bound by Patrica Briggs
- Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (really short audio book, got it done in one road trip!)
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

If you remember my July goals, I had intended to only read four books and I ended up reading five. So not bad! (Although Blood Bound technically I started in June...)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Special Words

Emily is off to Texas with a whole bunch of teenagers to go to a National Youth Convention event. 19 of them and her, I think I heard. On a bus, for a few, fun!

As a member of the church where Emily works and ministers, and as a writer, I was asked to write notes to some of these 20 people as they attended this event and travelled back and forth by bus. One of the fathers had the idea that a surprise note for each person attending this event every day would be a good encouragement to them. (I hope he is right. )

Friday, July 26, 2013

I Need to Dust my Stash

It was just an ordinary weekend afternoon. I was bored and two of my friends invited me over to hang out for awhile. We sat in the "man cave" as the hubby of the house fondly calls it, and once he went to go grab food, his wife and I switched Netflix from his shows to something we thought we would enjoy. It was then that I was introduced to Extreme Couponing.

I know... I'm late to the party. Sue me.

I had heard of the show and knew the premise, but I hadn't watched it before. By the time the hubby got back from getting food, he was watching the show with us and saying how we needed to get on that coupon train. He then suggested I write a blog post about it.

Oh. My. Goodness.

If I didn't think people were crazy before, I sure do now.

Now, I'm not going to lie. The idea of getting thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and only paying about $10 or less is pretty appealing. Many of them started because they ran into financial hardship and wanted to help make ends meet. Which totally make sense! I could save so much money on groceries and use it to buy more books...

Or pay off student loans and my car.

Priorities, yo.

However, something didn't sit with me right with these ladies (and the occasional man).

First, there's "the stash." Apparently, the key to couponing is buying in bulk. Which means these families have piles and piles of items. Toothpaste, soap, cereal, canned goods, etc. There was one lady who even dusted her stash, had to rotate the items so she knew when they expired, and claimed it was like a member of her family.

Yes, I see hundreds of shampoo bottles as my family too.

Granted - there were some people who gave a lot of their goods to charities, let their kids come home from college and "shop" through the stash, and if they ever find themselves back in the cold war in the middle of a bomb attack their family will be set for life.

 I noticed some people while they are getting their "haul" (look at me using the lingo and everything!)... they tend to get a bit... tense.

Needing to watch the check out screen to be sure every detail goes they way they planned, having envelopes filled with coupons, taking over several lanes at a time, shopping for 7 hours straight, bossing people around, friends and family members getting nervous because they're afraid they'll mess something up, calling their husband "coupon holder..."

Yup... that really happened. "Come here coupon holder!"

Oh, and apparently recruiting your children to dig through the garbage to help you get coupons is a thing too.

Family bonding at its best!

There were a few people on the show that I genuinely was scared of. If they had to pay a whole dollar for something - watch out!

Also, did you realize how much time and math is involved in extreme couponing? They have these huge spreadsheets to organize everything, and they scour websites and newspaper ads like it's their full time job. They have to do so many calculations to be sure that they stay on their budget. 

I could never handle that many numbers. 

Beyond the craziness, it just felt wrong to me. While I was a bit jealous for all of the money they were saving on groceries, I couldn't help but feel like it was cheating the system. It was almost like stealing. 

(Also, those poor cashiers. If I were one of them and I saw a lady approaching my cash register, I'd run as fast as I could!) 

I'm all for getting the good deals, using the system, and being frugal. There's a lot I could learn from it. But how far is too far? 

Do you think these extreme couponing families are right on, or do you think they're crossing a line?

My friend told his wife and I that we should get on this. 

Only if you're my coupon holder!


Also, join in on this awesome blog-hop hosted by Chelsea (Lost in Travels) who I have been sponsoring the last two months!

We Took the Road Less Traveled

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday - My Mom's Memories

It's Throwback Thursday Everyone!!!!! Today's theme: Memory From One or Both of Your Parents From Childhood. I asked my mom to write for today's post, and I'm really glad she said yes! She decided to share memories from her childhood home, which I love. While I was growing up, this was the place we would go to visit several times a year. I have a lot of memories from this house too, so it's wonderful to hear my mom share some of her own memories. Give her a warm welcome!

This is a newspaper picture taken of my childhood home in northeast Indiana. So many memories came from the activities in this house, and our small hometown of Garrett. My childhood was so different than the childhood of my girls, Natalie (Emmy's note: that's my sister!) and Emily. Maybe that is why Emily said its ok to talk about those memories and "the good ole days". She said she enjoyed hearing the stories and I hope you will too. It's just hard to pick one memory!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models - Elle Woods

Every Wednesday (and sometimes another bonus day!) I feature a female character from a book, TV show, musical/play, or movie that I think is an awesome role model.

The women who have been featured so far are:

Meg from Hercules
Maria from West Side Story
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables
Katherine Plumber from Newsies (stage production)
Rachel Berry from Glee

Today, I want to talk to you all about Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. (The movie specifically, but that's only because I haven't seen the stage musical all the way through. I've heard it's awesome though!)

I was a freshman in high school when this movie came out in 2001, and I absolutely fell in love with it! While I'm by no means a sorority girl or fashionista and I have no intentions of going to law school, I felt like I could relate to Elle. I have had my fair share of blonde moments though. Especially when I was in high school. Now I can "fake" my blondness a bit more. ;-) My friends and I would joke that I really was Elle Woods.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Martha, Martha, Martha...

Sunday morning, our pastor preached on a pretty common Bible story. The story of Mary and Martha. Let me share it with you in case you need a refresher. (Taken from The Voice translation. Italics mean they are words not actually in the Bible, but added for further explanation.)

Jesus continued from there toward Jerusalem  and came to another village. Martha, a resident of that village, welcomed Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, went and sat at Jesus' feet, listening to Him teach. Meanwhile, Martha was anxious about all the hospitality arrangements.

Martha: (Interrupting Jesus): Lord, why don't You care that my sister is leaving me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to get over here and help me.

Jesus: Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won't take it away from her.

Luke 10: 38-42

Monday, July 22, 2013

This is What Dreams Are Made Of

Praise God for internet friends who hear your cries for help when you need blogging ideas on a Monday morning.

Only a few minutes ago I put on Twitter and Facebook that I needed blog topic ideas for today, and my friend Sarah promptly gave me one.

She is working on a new project, and she needs to ask someone what their dream is. So I guess I'm the one she's asking!

What is your dream?

When I was a kid, and you asked me this question, I probably would have told you that I wanted to be a writer. I was always making up stories and consuming any book I could get my hands on. I can't even begin to tell you how many journals I owned. It was well known in my school that I wanted to be an author. My "short" stories for class assignments were never very short, and I even wrote a little novel in 4th grade that my teacher let me put into the fine arts fair because she knew how hard I had been working on it. Being like Ann M. Martin (Babysitters Club) or one of the authors for the American Girl books would have been a dream come true.

Friday, July 19, 2013

27 Lessons in 27 Years

A few weeks ago, I had a birthday and turned 27.

I'm getting old you guys.

In my "old age" I felt like I should impart upon you some wisdom I've learned over the years. So listen up younguns!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Moving Away From Home: Throwback Thursday

First off - I'm sponsoring the blog Mocha Fox this month and she featured me last night! Click this link to check it out. :)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled summer programming. Its......
Today's topic is "Moving Away From Home."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models- Rachel Berry

With the passing of Cory Montieth... I felt this week would be an appropriate time to feature one of my favorite women on TV.

Rachel Berry from Glee.

I know there are a lot of people out there who would disagree with me about Rachel being a good role model. Let me tell you - I understand.

Rachel is obnoxious, selfish, insecure, can't go two days without a man in her life, pushy, bossy, egotistic, and more. The list could go on and on about why she could be an awful role model for girls.

But I love her.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Curse You Emotions!

Friends.... I'm not gonna lie to you.

It's been a rough few days. I feel like this tends to happen right after my big summer trips, and it's probably because I'm overly tired and therefore everything is exaggerated to the upteenth power.

When I'm tired like this, everything is far worse than it really is and my already crazy emotional mind goes on edge.

I'm in a funk. 

I don't want to go into all of the details - that's what a journal and good friends and family are for. Not the internet. (Sorry, not sorry.) But between work issues, technology issues (including but not limited to the shattering of my iPad screen), personal problems, and then the death of Cory Monteith... I'm ready to retreat to my couch to cry over old episodes of Glee and Supernatural.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Photo Stories

Find Your Voice Week 2: Who Are You?

Creative Prompt - Picture Based
Take a series of photos that tells a story. Incorporate who you are into that story, try to add more than just who/what/where/when.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Things I Love About Summer

Hi everyone!  I'm so honored that Emily asked me to guest blog, we have been reading & commenting on each other's blogs for a while now and I've really enjoyed getting to know her.  So it was a no brainer when she asked me to pitch in and share something, anything on her blog!
I will be the first to say that summer isn't my favorite season.  I'm an autumn girl all the way- hoodies, hot chocolate, cool breezes, colorful leaves...yeah, I'm all about it.  BUT- there are some distinctly summer things that even I am crazy about!  So when I was trying to figure out what to talk about on LWMUTM (wow just realized how long that title is, ha!), I decided to talk about my favorite summer pleasures.

-One of the first "summer-y" things I did this year was to go strawberry picking!  My dad used to grow strawberries in our yard when I was a kid, and being out in the field was surprisingly fun and nostalgic.  It's funny how I always dreaded working out in the garden as a kid, and now I love it!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday - First Job

It's time for another week of ...

Cheers all around!

Today's topic is: "First Job"

Well... I'm going to be honest with you. I don't have a whole lot to choose from for this subject. I remember when I was in high school, my sister and I would go around the town (aka - the mall) and fill out application after application. I never got a single call. However, during high school my summers ended up being pretty busy with marching band obligations. (It's way more hard-core than you realize!) 

Then in college, I was just a slacker. I would try to apply for jobs... but it didn't work. I remember going on some interviews and I completely bombed them. Looking back I wish I had taken way more initiative. 

Granted, I did keep myself busy with community theatre and helping out with things at church. Ever since jr. high I had been helping with Vacation Bible School every year, and by the time I was 16+ I was running skits, music, teaching, etc. So... that was pretty busy. Kind of. Then one summer I broke my leg - so that sort of put a damper on things.

However, there was one job I had for a summer or two (I think during college?). I tutored two elementary school girls from my church. 

I would put together little lessons that had reading and writing exercises. I think one girl needed help with math too - but thankfully it was easy math that I could handle. If they had to get to algebra or something, they would have been screwed.

It was fun though. They would come over to my house once or twice a week and we would get work done. I built a pretty good relationship with the family and I remember helping at my church's daycare when their youngest daughter was in pre-school. 

Then at the end of the summer their mom made my mom, sister, and I an awesome Mexican themed dinner. It was great.

The oldest girl just graduated high school this past spring though, which makes me feel crazy old. 

There was also the time in college when I worked the front desk for some offices at the university. On the surface it was pretty cool. I answered the phone for the dean and was kind of the assistant to his assistant. I do remember that job I took A LOT of initiative to get. I think I stopped by the dean's office almost everyday for a week until he and his assistant decided to hire me. 

But he already was a fan of me by that time. I had broken my leg while on the Weeks of Welcome Staff (freshman orientation) a couple of years before and he gave me his cell number in case I needed anything. 

Perks of small universities my friends. 

Then once I graduated - I came to Missouri with my youth ministry job! 

So there you have it, my small pathetic work history. Feel free to judge me, I judge myself all of the time. Especially when all of my high school friends had ACTUAL jobs where they worked at restaurants, fast food, and swept up hair clippings at salons.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models- Katherine Plumber

Continuing with my series on awesome female role models! Today I'm talking about another character from a musical.

Katherine Plumber from the Broadway musical, Newsies.

As my long time blog readers know, last year I took a trip to New York and saw the musical Newsies. I completely fell in love!

If you are familiar with the movie, Newsies, there are two characters you will not find in the stage production. They are Sarah (the love interest) and Denton (the reporter). On stage, they combined these two characters and created Katherine Plumber.This is one of the changes between the film and stage production that I loved.

Sarah, in the movie, wasn't very prominent in the story and honestly was a weak character.

Denton was important to the story, (and I believe in the true story of the newsboys strike) but as a character I never liked him much.

Katherine Plumber however, I love!
Katherine in one of her first encounters with Jack "Cowboy" Kelly. Source
Reasons why Katherine Plumber is awesome:
  • In a show that is run by men, she holds her own as one of the very few female characters. She can hang out with the guys, they listen to her, but she doesn't lose her own femininity.
  • Katherine made her own way in the world. She goes against the status quo and society stereotypes to do what she loves - writing. Even if that means she is the only woman with a job and has to fight her way through.
  • She's willing to take a stand. The big message of the musical Newsies is to stand up for your rights and what you believe in. Everyone has a voice. Katherine is all about sharing her voice, but also giving a voice to those who can't do it themselves. She's scared of what's going to happen and isn't sure of what to say - but she does it anyway because she knows it's the right thing to do.
  • She doesn't fall for Jack's moves right away. He starts to flirt with her and she won't take that crap. I think this is actually part of why Jack falls for her. Just because a cute boy smiles at her, she won't forget everything she's about and go weak at the knees. (Although she is tempted to!)
  • Katherine doesn't wait around for Jack to figure out what he wants. Through the show it's obvious she and Jack have feelings for each other. But he's more unsure of their relationship than she is. She's the one to make the first big move and kisses him first and reassures him that he IS worthy of love, even if he doesn't see it in himself.
  • Even when Jack isn't there, she can still go on. Yes, he helps to bring her up and give her confidence. That's an awesome thing! But even when Jack has doubts about the strike she keeps going with it and brings him back, and encourages the other boys to keep going even when times get hard.
  • Katherine continues to be strong, even when the odds are against her. Even when her family doesn't support her and she's on her own in the big bad scary world, she keeps going.
A few flaws to look out for:
  • It's awesome that she goes out on her own and doesn't do what is expected of her. She lives her own life and does what she thinks is right. However, she kind of cuts her father out of her life in the process. While it's understandable why she does this, I do hope at some point she and her father make amends. Family is important and you need to work out your issues!
  • Historically, the changes the musical made aren't right. (But story-wise it was awesome!) During that time period women weren't reporters. They just weren't.*
  • She's in major denial for a bit about liking Jack - just give in girl. The rest of us have.
  • "Give those kids and me the brand new century and watch what happens. It's David and Goliath, do or die, the fight is on and I can't watch what happens. But all I know is nothing happens if you just give in. It can't be any worse than how it's been. And it just so happens that we just might win. So whatever happens, let's begin!"
  • "The world finds ways to sting you, until one day decides to bring you something to believe in, for even a night. One night may be forever, but that's all right, that's all right. And if you're gone tomorrow, what was ours still will be. I have something to believe in, now that I know you believe in me."
  • "I've got a headline for you. Cheeky boy gets nothing for his troubles."
  • "The only thing I'm following is a story."
  • "'Newsies stop the World.' Huh... a little hyperbole never hurt no one."
  • "Now that's how you turn a boy into a legend."
  • "Let's get drunk! Not with liquor, fame works quicker, when you're king of New York."
  • "And if I was a boy you'd be looking at me with one swollen eye!"
  • "Being smart isn't about having the right answers. It's about having the brains to know when you see the right one."
Have any of you seen the show? What do you think of Katherine? Any thoughts on the character changes from the movie to the stage production? Which fictional female characters do you think I should feature on the blog in the future?

Here is Katherine's big song in Newsies. If you can't see the video click this link:

* - Since writing this post, Disney emailed me to send me some information about the historical accuracy of Katherine's character. There was in fact a female reporter named Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (Nellie Bly was her pen name) who was a foreign affairs corespondant for Pulitzer's "New York World" in 1899. The writer of the show, Harvey Fierstien, and Kara Lindsay who played Katherine, took a lot of inspiration from her life to create Katherine's character. You can read more about her here: 

How amazing is that? Talk about an awesome female role model.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Find Your Voice Weeks 2 & 3

Guys, I am so behind on the Find Your Voice workshop.

Last week, I thought that I would have time to work on week two and have a post up while I was in Texas. That didn't happen. Then I thought I would be able to work on weeks two and three yesterday and have both results of my assignments up this morning. That didn't happen either.

I even think this post got published before I started typing this. Ooops.

I have been working on the Find Your Voice Assignments though. My journal has been by my side for the last two weeks as I've been going through the worksheets and learning more about myself and the way I tell stories.

While I'm working on my final products for the last two weeks of Find Your Voice... here is a quick recap of what's been covered so far. 

Week one was about what we like about storytelling, what appeals to us, an introduction to storytelling, etc. You can read the results of week one here

Week two was about find out who I was as a person. This was perfect reflection for me as I came back from Texas with the teenagers. So many of the themes we talked about all week were about identity and learning who we are. Trips like that I always learn more about myself, so it was awesome to have a chance to really flesh out my thoughts in my journal and write it all down. 

Week three (this week) was for mapping out my storytelling goals. What do I want in life and how does creating and storytelling fit in? This was more of a challenge for me. I'm awful at making goals and putting together a plan for my life. Planning for youth events - that's fine. My life and creativity? That's a totally different story. I'm still working on some of the prompts and worksheet questions for this week, but I think I have a good start so far.

Hopefully by next week I'll have more results to share with you all and actual completed projects. Hang in there with me!

I'll be gone at camp this week - but don't worry! I have posts scheduled for the rest of the week and some guests stopping by to say hi. :-) I am still needing a couple of guest bloggers for the last week of July if anyone is interested.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Why You Should Watch Supernatural

Hey guys! I’m Kirsti, and I blog over at A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings, although you may know it better as Melbourne on my Mind. You may remember me from such occasions as The Time Emily Went to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or The Time Emily Went to Disney World. And you guys, I have a confession to make: I think I’m responsible (at least in part) for Emily’s newfound obsession with Supernatural... I’ve been on the Supernatural bandwagon since it first started airing in Australia in 2006 (yeah, we get things late down here), and loved it pretty much from the get go. Although I AM an epic wuss, so I spent a large proportion of the pilot hiding behind a cushion... My love of the show grew in leaps and bounds to the point where I would try and say something on Twitter or in an email about how I needed to go to the supermarket, and my fingers would type “Supernatural” by default. It’s a problem.
Anyway, I figured that there was every possibility that there were other people out there in the blogosphere who haven’t yet been exposed to my insane fangirling/drunk the metaphorical Koolaid, so when Emily asked me to write a guest post there was pretty much only one thing that sprang to mind. ESPECIALLY when you add in how much I love lists.
25 reasons why you should be watching Supernatural:
1. Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester. You guys, he’s PHENOMENAL.

And that was just the pilot.

2. Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester. You can’t not love Sam Winchester.

3. Super sucky parenting of Buffy-esque proportions. Basically, Sam and Dean’s mother dies when they’re kids, and their father raises them to hunt down supernatural beasties. But he’s also kind of an extreme asshat.

4. Super awesome surrogate parenting of Buffy-esque proportions. In short, Bobby Singer is the greatest.

5. Time travel and potential paradoxes of Doctor Who-esque proportions. This comes in the more recent seasons, so don’t get confused if you start watching and everything’s happening in the present. The wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff will turn up, I promise.

6. Misha Collins as Castiel. He’s an incredible actor.

7. An awesome means of transportation, just like in Doctor Who.

Meet "Baby" yall.

8. It’s not even remotely the show you think it is on the surface.

9. Death is only the beginning. Otherwise known as “The Rory Williams Factor”.

10. These guys know how to hit the books and do some quality research. Otherwise known as the “Hermione Granger Factor”.

11. There’s an episode set in Cape Girardeau. (Emmy's note: it's not accurate about Cape at all though...)

12. The “No, this isn’t from the gag reel, it actually happened” factor.

13. Scratching as a dance move.

14. The music. If you’re a fan of 70s and 80s rock, you’ll love it.

15. The ACTUAL gag reels.

16. You can’t fake chemistry. This cast has it in spades.


Outtake from the THIRD EPISODE OF SEASON 1.

17. Jared Padalecki met his wife because of the show. There’s a stupidly adorable kid in the world now because this show exists.

18. It will rip your heart out and stomp it into pieces over and over again. Just like BuffyDoctor WhoFirefly,Game of Thrones, and pretty much any decent show on television.

19. Real crying. You know how in some shows the male characters “cry”, and you can just tell that the actors are scrunching up their faces and hoping it looks half way authentic, but it never does? Yeah, not these guys.

 He thought about his dogs dying, and this was the result.

20. The Gilmore Girls factor. Not only does it have Jared Padalecki in it, but there’s a spectacular reference to Gilmore Girls in season 2.

21. Felicia Day. Come on, who doesn’t love Felicia Day?? Again, she turns up in the really recent seasons, so don’t be surprised if you start watching and she’s not around. Her character is worth the wait. 

 Yes, she’s talking to a Hermione Granger bobblehead. 

22. Ye olden times weapons, just like Firefly.

23. The dialogue is freaking amazing.

24. The cast are ridiculously generous with their time when it comes to fans. (Emmy's Note: I personally haven't experienced it yet, but from what I can tell it's true. It makes me want to meet them just because of that.)

25. I mean, come on:

How can you look at those three dorks and not want to watch them for hours?!
So there you have it. 25 reasons why you should be watching Supernatural. Let me know if you join me on Team Free Will (or let me know if you’re already a saltgunner, for that matter!), and I’ll send you a crate of Kleenex as a welcome gift. You’ll need them.
K xx

Emmy's note: Kirstie is another person who came to my rescue when I needed more guest bloggers while I was gone. Holy cow did she deliver! She is definitely one of the big reasons for my new Supernatural obsession and the obscene amount of Winchester brother pictures on the blog. Don't forget to check out her blog too!

Friday, July 5, 2013

More Awesome Fictional Females - Anne

I have always been a voracious reader, a lover of a good story.

As a child, I would lose myself in the world of a book, shutting out all distractions and furiously turning page after page as I let myself become enveloped in the world the author had created. I felt heartache when I finished a series and would find myself wondering what those characters were doing now that the story was done, as if they were real people, living in some far off land.

I have felt that deep sense of loss with many a main character over the years, but few so much as when I finished the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery and was forced to say goodbye to Anne Shirley.


I was first introduced to Anne Shirley through the portrayal of Megan Follows in the 1985 miniseries production of “Anne of Green Gables.”

I immediately fell in love with her spunk and feistiness, her imagination and sense of adventure, her romanticism and zest for life. I always felt that we would be, as Anne says, kindred spirits. And nearly 20 years later, she is still one of my favorite fictional characters of all time.

I didn’t read the eight-book series until about four years ago, and when I closed the last book, my heart broke.

Even though I knew Anne and Gilbert and Marilla and Diana and Miss Stacey and all the other characters in the beautiful stories were fictional, I felt like they were some of my friends. I felt like I would be completely content and comfortable to sit down and have a meal with them.

And of all the fictional characters I have encountered, if there was one I could choose to be real, it would be Anne Shirley.


So what is it about Anne Shirley that makes me love her? What makes her such a fantastic fictional female?

Perhaps the first thing you realize about Anne is that she has a zest for life like no other. Some people say she’s a little flighty because she reads so much and spends so much time coming up stories and exploring her imagination, but as she grows older, you see that Anne’s imagination is such an important part of who she is.

Her imagination allows her to see the positive moments in the bleakest of situations, to see the humor in everything, and to turn the most frustrating moment into a thing of pure joy.

Her imagination allows her to see life in the most positive, exciting, and intriguing way. It sometimes gets the better of her, because (as we all know) real life isn’t always like we imagined it to be. But her imagination makes it so that she never settles for anything less than the best.

Anne has spunk and sass and never apologizes for who she is. Throughout the series, she grows from a feisty, dramatic young teenager to a confident young woman with imagination and zeal, out-of-the-box ideas, a deep love for family and friends, and a deep, deep love for the best things in life.

Her temper — which matches her bright red hair — gets her into trouble quite a few times, but as Anne continues to grow, she softens some, and matures into a woman with a vibrancy for life that people can’t help but be attracted to. She isn’t afraid to put herself out there, to go after the things she wants, to pursue her dreams.

She fiercely loves her friends and her family. She feels deeply, hurts deeply, and loves deeply. She isn’t afraid to be honest with people, even when it hurts. She’s confident in who she is and what she wants to do. She always has a secret delight that gives her joy.

Anne’s love story with Gilbert Blythe is also one of my favorites.

Their relationship doesn’t begin on the most positive note — Anne smashes a slate over Gilbert’s head because he calls her “carrots.” And for years, Anne holds onto a grudge because of that one moment. But as they both continue to mature, Anne’s heart softens. It takes her almost losing him to realize just how important Gilbert is to her, but that’s a recurring theme with Anne.

And more than that, though Anne and Gilbert’s story is fictional, it’s realistic. Their relationship develops slowly, organically, through extreme dislike and eventually blossoms into a beautiful friendship. It’s not the stuff of fairy tales where unrealistic circumstances suddenly throw two people together and they instantly fall in love. But rather, it’s a story about how, when two people live life together, sometimes they realize that they wouldn’t ever not want to be living life together.


Aside from my deep appreciation for her personality, I think one of the reasons I love Anne so much is her story taught me an important lesson for someone like myself to remember.

I’m like Anne in many ways. I’m pretty feisty, spunky, and a little sassy. I love stories and I’ve always had a vivid imagination. Because of that, I’m one of those people that’s always imagined the way my perfect life would end up and I often get disappointed when things don’t go as I expected, when they’re not as interesting or exotic as I thought, when the story doesn’t play out like I imagined.

Despite her extreme love for story and imagination and grand adventures, Anne eventually realizes that sometimes the best things in life are right in front of you and that, when you appreciate what you have, you don’t need to travel across the globe to have an amazing life.

She still keeps her love for story and her vivid imagination. She still keeps her spunk and zeal and zest for life. But she eventually recognizes that life is interesting and imaginative as you make it and what might seem boring to some people, can be the most amazing life imaginable.

Emmy's Note: Last week as I was running around trying to get everything ready for going out of town for awhile, I realized I didn't have enough guest bloggers! When Sarah, from Shades of Shayes, got my plea for help she stepped right up! I love that she caught onto my idea of Awesome Female Role Models and wrote about Anne Shirley! She was one of the characters that I thought of right away, so when I read this post I was excited. It was the perfect post to schedule for today - my birthday! Don't forget to check out Sarah's blog too!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Throwback 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!!!!!!

The day when the only colors that exist are wear red, white, and blue, we grill hot dogs and burgers, set off explosives, and listen to obnoxious marching bands.

It's a good time.

This year, I'll be spending Independence Day in San Antonio, TX with 25,000 teenagers (and the crazy adults who take them there) for the National Youth Gathering. There's supposed to be an awesome fireworks show tonight, so I'm excited.

It'll be interesting to see how Texas does the 4th. Will it be awesome... or just kinda terrifying cause it's Texas?

In the meantime - it's time for Throwback Thursday!

And of course, today's theme is "Throwback 4th Of July."

I always enjoyed this holiday. Maybe it was becuase my birthday is July 5. Who knows?

Each year it was roughly the same thing. My town always had a big parade that went down my street, so my sister and I would stand outside of the funeral home (remember last week how I told you I was Veda from My Girl?) and watch everything go by. I hated the first part because it was loud sirens from the firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars. But after that, I had a ball. We picked up candy, listened to the bands, watched the Shriners drive in their little mini clown-like cars, and vote on which floats we thought were the best.

By the time I got to high school, watching the parade wasn't an option anymore because I was IN it for marching band. In those days, nothing said "summer" like passing out from summer heat in your heavy marching band uniform. 

Then afterwards, we would head to the park to watch a huge fireworks display. My dad always helped with the snow cone machine, and I would sit with my friends and ooh and ahh over the fireworks.

Usually all of this happened a day or two before the 4th. So for the day of, it was always a quiet day at home. Hot dogs and hamburgers of course for lunch and dinner. But one of the perks of living above a funeral home is that you get an awesome porch with the best view. 

We would stay up late and sit on the porch, eating popsicles and ice cream (and as we got older... sipping adult beverages) to catch all of the neighborhood fireworks. We were able to see the ones from peoples houses as well as other neighborhoods. (Yup, we were that high up. It was great.)

If we weren't at home over the 4th, we would travel to Indiana to visit my mom's family. My cousin had a birthday two days after mine, so there were a lot of family birthday parties spent by the pool.

We also would check out their fireworks show as well.

Once, we sat so close to where they were setting them off, one of the reminents of the fireworks landed right in front of my sister, my cousin, and I. My cousin was so freaked out and couldn't tell what it was and thought they hit a bird!

We still tease her about it to this day and she hates us for it.

Love you!

There was even one year, the summer I turned 21, my college friends came to my house for the 4th. Then I went to them for my birthday the next day!

Me and my friend Sam on my 21st.
What were some of your favorite 4th of July memories growing up?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Awesome Female Role Models- Maria

In case you missed it last week...

I am starting a series on fictional female role models. Sometimes with all of the awful characters we see in film, TV, and books we can get discouraged about the influences that are coming into our brains. They say that you become the most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. There are times when those people are fictional characters. (Especially if you love stories like I do and spend a lot of your time reading and watching Netflix!) 

In spite of some of the not so good influences we see on TV, in movies, and in books, there are some great ones too. Here is just one of the awesome women characters I think is a good role model. Not just for kids, but for teenagers and adults too!

FYI- this is me we're talking about. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter is a given. I'm sure she will pop up in this series at some point. All of the Stark women from Game of Thrones are also a given. So it Katniss from The Hunger Games.

This week's awesome female role model is:

Maria from West Side Story.

When Romeo and Juliet finished I hung out at home and watched West Side Story. (Limited entertainment tastes recently. Haha.) It made me want to write about  Maria.

Reasons why Maria is awesome:
  • She's innocent. How often these days do we see characters who are innocent but still likable? Through the whole movie she keeps her innocence. Even though all of these awful things happen to her, she still stays that way.
  • She loves with her whole heart. Not just Tony. But Anita, Bernardo, and everyone else. She doesn't hold back love from people, even if they don't deserve it.
  • Maria wants peace. She doesn't care about the rivalries between the gangs or anything. She even convinces Tony to try and break up the rumble (although the results don't turn out well) because she doesn't want people fighting and hurting each other.
  • One of the biggest differences between Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story, is that she doesn't kill herself in the end. I love this! Maria is heartbroken over Tony and probably wants to die. But she doesn't. She must go on without him even though it hurts.
  • At the end she's broken and has hate. She holds a gun and it's the perfect opportunity for her to take revenge on everyone who has broken her - but she doesn't take it. She still won't kill and hurt other people.
Maria and Tony in the "balcony" scene. Source
Some flaws to look out for:
  • While she's innocent and that's a good thing, she's pretty naive. 
  • Falling in love with a boy you met for two seconds at a dance isn't really a good life choice.

Maria and Anita trying on her dress for the dance. Source
  • All of you! You all killed him! And my brother, and Riff. Not with bullets, or guns, with hate. Well now I can kill too, because now I have hate!
  • Hold my hand and we're halfway there. Hold my hand and I'll take you there.
  • My brother is a silly watchdog!
  • I have not learned how to joke that way. Now I think I never will
  • Loving is enough.
What do you think of Maria and West Side Story? What do you think makes a good character role model?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Going on Adventures

Hey all! I'm Chelsea and I blog over at Lost in Travels. Long story short, just four months after my man and I got hitched, we started rethinking the whole 'settling down' in our hometown thing. We wanted adventure, we wanted something different. So what did we do? Packed up all our belongings in two 50 pound bags and jumped on a plane to South Korea. So what ever do we do in Korea? I'm glad you asked...

Go on exotic adventures while on vacation

Pray everyday that our $200 clown car doesn't break down on us

Go to way too many festivals

Try our best to try and recreate good ol' American food with the slim grocery selection that we have

 Observe a different way of living

Try to find American food in the midst of rice

Frolic through green tea fields

Go hiking (while I'm 20 feet behind my husband panting and asking him to slow the freak down)

Everyday is a new challenge, a new adventure, and a new story to be told. We can't wait to see what happens next!

Thanks so much for having me Emmy! And I hope you'll stop by my blog where I talk about our daily lives as expats in the land of kimchi, along with documenting our world travels. Be sure to say hi, I would love to hear from you!

Emmy's Note: Thank you so much Chelsea for guest blogging today! I sponsored Lost in Travels in June and it was one of the best sponsoring experiences I've had yet. I love her blog and reading about all of her adventures with her husband and it makes me want to pack a bag and get out of town! If you're wondering where I am, I actually did just that! Only it's for work and I took 19 teenagers with me on a big bus down to Texas for the week. But don't worry, the blog will still be up and going while I'm gone and this week I have a lot planned for you all. More of Find Your Voice, Awesome Female Role Models, Throwback Thursday, and one or two other surprises.