Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm Tired of Blogging

I am tired my friends. Not just physically tired from chasing preschool kids all day. But just... Tired.

I feel like it's been noticeable on this blog too. I look back at my posts over the last few weeks/months and I honestly find very few of which I'm proud of. They're fluffy. There's nothing to them. I can't even remember the last time I really had to think about the content I'm creating other than finding some stock photo to put words on so I can make said post "pinnable." 

There is so much pointless noise on the internet, when does it get to the point when I'm just adding to it? Do we really need more?

I'm tired of writing things which are mediocre. I'm tired of putting up a blog post for the sake of being published so I can keep things consistent.

There are a couple of different blogging philosophies out there. None of which are right or wrong, just different.

My friend Nate, who is pretty awesome, only writes when he has something to say. There might be months in between his writings, but they are always good. Some bloggers only write when they feel the need to.

On the other hand, there is the philosophy of writing everyday or keeping a certain schedule so your readers know when to expect something on your blog. (Another friend, J Money of Budgets are Sexy, who is actually one of Nates best friends, and is also completely awesome, goes with this philosophy. Along with a ton of other bloggers I know.) Not every post will be brilliant, but at least you're writing everyday and consistency helps gain readership.

I love that I've been writing somewhat regularly. It's a great challenge to try and think of new things to write everyday and have creative spins on topics. But have I really been all that creative? Am I just adding to all of the noise already out there?

Because does it really matter? Does the world really need another "this is what I did over the weekend" blog post or another Instagram photo of Starbucks? Not really.

I know people,enjoy my blog, and I, so grateful for the people who tell me so, it's awkward so,writes when people, in "real life" say they enjoy it, but it's awesome too. Or when someone on twitter says they really liked something I posted. It's great.

And honestly, I love reading about the lives of my favorite bloggers. I like their random posts of what's happening in their little corner of the world, even if it doesn't serve much purpose. I love the random friendships I've made through blogging about stupid stuff.

Yet, I can't help but feel like I could do better. I could write better and less frequently. Or really think out five great blog topics a week. Or even if there's a better use of my time all together.

Because in the grand scheme of things, this blog doesn't really matter. And neither does yours. (Nate wrote about this once, which is a slight inspiration for this post. You can read it here:

Yet, does that mean we just quit? Do we just give up? Because I'm tired of writing shitty content. But I don't want to stop either.

There's a quote by Ghandi that I love. "Whatever you do will be insignificant. But it is important that you do it."

Does it apply to this?

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

10 Books for Your Summer Vacation

One of my best friends is traveling to Italy and Germany with her family at the beginning of June. (Without me! How dare she abandon me for like 10 days????) We were chatting at Starbucks last week and she asked me for some recommendations for books to read while on the plane. She wanted something fun and light to read and not wanting to be overwhelmed with sadness and thinking crazy deeply.

I completely agree with her about books to travel with. Especially when you're going to be on a busy and crazy trip like she is. Also, being on vacation you are relaxing and having fun. I feel like your reading material should be the same.

So, here are 10 books I'd recommend for while traveling. They are fun and light and wonderful in all of the best ways possible.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin


This is a perfect book for summer and vacations. It takes place in the summer, it's full of friends, love, and having affairs with your best friend's fiance! Also, plot points happen while on the beach in the Hamptons. If that doesn't scream summer vacation, I don't now what does!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Or other books by Jane Austen really. They aren't exactly "light" reads - but they can be super fun, sweet, and romantic. Especially if you're already familiar with the stories.

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences by Pip Ballentine and Tee Morris


I love this series! If you like science fiction/steampunk you will too. I love Book and Braun and their witty banter back and forth with their crazy adventures.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer


Hear me out before you judge.

Something light that you can breeze through without much thought and if you happen to lose it while gallivanting about your vacation? Um... Twilight. No, it's not quality literature. Yes, there are a lot of things wrong in the story. But it's fun. It's like cotton candy and we all know calories while on vacation don't count.

If you really can't stomach Twilight, go for The Host which is still very Stephanie Meyer but I personally think was better done.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


This is one of my favorite books to share with people. I actually read this on the plane on my trip to Orlando last year. It was fun, cute, sweet, and full of "squee" moments. Also, it takes place in Paris. So, it's perfect for travel.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


Mix together a quarter life crisis, geek life, coming of age, and a love story which is basically what Sleepless in Seattle tried to do but way cuter vs. creepy and you have Attachments. I read this book earlier this year and it's so adorable and wonderful. If you want a book that's more YA - go for Fangirl by the same author.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien


As awesome as Lord of the Rings is, it's pretty hefty for travel. The Hobbit fits the bill perfectly though! It's all about Bilbo leaving his home to go on an adventure with a bunch of dwarfs. It's cultural and classic, but a fun read too. Besides, they make pocket versions of the book which will fit wonderfully into your carry-on.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine


This is actually a childrens book, but it's really cute. It's about a young princess who leaves her home to find a cure for the deadly sickness her sister had gotten.

Never Have I Ever (My Life So Far Without A Date) by Katie Heaney


This one is a memoir/non-fiction book and it's fantastic! Even if you have had a million dates and relationships, you'll probably still be able to relate to Katie's lack of luck with guys. I laughed so hard while I read this because I completely understood where she was coming from and felt as though she and I were basically the same person. No matter what your relationship status, you'll love this one. Also, she's super sweet on Twitter.

Peter Pan by JM Barrie


Another children's book, but a classic. Besides, while we've all seen the many film and TV adaptations of the story, when was the last time you actually read the original?

Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning!

What are your favorite travel/vacation reads?

Linking up with The Broke and Bookish for 10 on Tuesday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bout of Books Wrap Up

Remember last week when I said I was joining this challenge "Bout of Books" and I was going to read 5, possibly 6, books in one week?

Yeah... about that.

Technically, I didn't really "fail" because I was still reading all week. It wasn't like I quit reading. But I didn't make my goal either. Instead of reading five or six books, it was more like 3 and a half.

First, I read Clockwork Angel from The Infernal Devices trilogy. SO glad I gave this one a re-read! I appreciated it so much more the second time around and picked up on more of the plot and the characters.

Then, I moved onto The Vanishing Act by Mettte Jakobsen. This one was cute. It wasn't quite as magical as I had hoped, and the plot was lacking a bit. But I did enjoy the characters and the writing style. Also, it was a super short and fast read.

And THEN and THEN and GENTLEMEN AND THEN! (Name that musical.) The rest of my week was devoted to finishing The Infernal Devices trilogy. I couldn't resist. I tried to read The Rose Garden like I had originally planned but I just couldn't. Tessa, Will, Magnus, and Jem (ESPECIALLY JEM. I know Will is the super popular one and I love him too... but are there any other Team Jem members out there because I LOVE HIM) were calling my name and I could not turn away. Once I got sucked in there was no turning back. If anyone else has read this trilogy and loved it please let me know because I have a lot of feelings I need to talk about.

However, I only actually finished Clockwork Prince during Bout of Books and finished Clockwork Princess once the challenge was done.

Womp womp.

If I hadn't gotten sick and had been able to keep my eyes open on Tuesday I might have gotten closer to completing the goals I had set for myself.

Now I am going back to my original goal for May of re-reading all of the The Mortal Instruments series before the final book, City of Heavenly Fire releases next week. I'm over 1/2 way through City of Glass right now and there are only two more after. So... I think I can do it. Right?

We'll see...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When We Talk About Art

Whenever I sit down to write a book review, I get incredibly nervous. I want to be honest, reflect my opinions, use my own voice (vs. that obvious "I'm selling something to you!" writing voice sometimes we bloggers get into), be truthful to my readers, but also be respectful to the author. It's difficult to keep all of these things in balance and I'm trying to learn how to do it better. 

The difficult thing with books and any type of art form is that it is incredibly subjective.

It's also the totally awesome thing about art. It's subjective.

What will touch one persons heart is different from what will touch another person's heart. Which is why I think we need to be careful. Art is an incredibly personal thing.

When I was teaching a Sunday School class there were these two girl who (along with many other girls their age) absolutely LOVED One Direction. When they heard the group was going to be playing in St. Louis they cried in class. I felt as though I was always having to talk to the other students about how they shouldn't insult and make fun of these girls for this love.

I know boy bands and pop music aren't everyone's thing. There are other genres and groups which may be considered "better." But who is to judge this? If you love a band, or a song, or an album, it touches you for a reason. If someone insults this, it is almost as though they are insulting you as well.

Or I think about books. As my long-time readers know, The Night Circus is one of my all time favorite books. I absolutely adore this novel. When someone tells me they didn't like it, it makes me sad. While I know they can have their own opinion and not everyone has to enjoy the same types of novels, when you share something so special to you it's like giving part of your heart away.

A good friend of mine just read The Night Circus and I know she had a hard time with it at first. The first time she picked it up she couldn't get through it and it took some convincing for her to try again. She texted me this weekend saying she finally finished. It's not her personal favorite, but said it was worth the read and could see why I loved it so much.

It's part of why I love the Favorite Book Project I've been working through. People tell me their favorite book and I read it. Many of these are not genres or books I would normally pick up, but they are reflections of those who love them. The Grapes of Wrath was not my taste of books - but I could see my friend in it who said it was their favorite. I loved How I Paid for College, but even if I hadn't, I could totally see my friend who had recommended it in the pages.

Recently a friend from college asked me to read what she had written for NaNoWriMo and give her feedback on it. I'm so excited and honored she asked me to do so, but I'm also scared and taking my time. She wants me to be 100% brutally honest - and I absolutely want to. I also want to honor what she has written though because it's part of her heart

We need to be careful with people's hearts.

If someone told me there was a certain painting at the Art Institute which was their all time favorite I would insist we go and see this brilliant painting. While I'm not one to know much about paintings and sculptures, I would still want to understand why it was their favorite.

Art is such a personal thing. Movies, music, TV, books, plays, musicals, etc. Who is to say why someone connects with a certain character or movie? It isn't right or wrong for someone to love something.

There is absolutely room for critique and reviews of art. We need it because that is how it grows and changes and becomes better. One could even argue there is "bad" art - although this opinion may change depending on who you are talking to.

However, I do feel we need to be careful about when we do said critiquing and reviewing. Something may not be our personal taste, but it could be someone else's favorite.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

10 Books About Friendship

Today I'm linking up with Broke and Bookish for 10 on Tuesday!

I'm not going to lie. For some reason I tend to read a lot of books whose main relationships are more romantic in nature. So, when I find books which focus more on friendship, it's refreshing.

My friends are some of the most important and special people in my life. As Pinterest says- friends are the family you pick for yourself. They're the ones who pick us up when we're down, the ones we have crazy inside jokes with, the people we call or text at random hours of the night because something reminded us of them, and their pictures tend to take up the most space on our phones. In fact, they're probably the last people you contacted.

There's nothing quite like good friends. Here are ten fantastic books about friendship (in order of when I found them on my Goodreads page...)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


It's a WWII book, but it's really about these two young women and their friendship. They are amazing and will tug at your heart. I would tell you more - but it's best enjoyed when you don't know much when you start.

How I Paid for College by Marc Acito


This was a really recent read for me and it was FABULOUS. Basically, if Ferris Bueller and Rachel Berry had a love child... it would be the main character Edward Zanni. He's a teenager in the 1980s in New Jersey and has dreams of attending Julliard to study theatre. When his dad refuses to pay for his tuition- he and his friends scheme up some non-traditional ways of helping Edward pay for school.

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess


Pia is a recent college graduate living in Brooklyn with her friends. They're all broke and early 20-something shenanigans and drama ensue!

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares


How could one not include this series when talking about friendship? I have grown to love Tibby, Lena, Bridget, and Carmen and everything they go through together through high school, college, and young adult life.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


Another classic young adult read about friendship. Charlie starts high school with no friends - period. Until he meets seniors Patrick and Sam that is.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett


I never would have thought of this one if I hadn't been browsing my Goodreads page - but this one is perfect! I always loved the friendships Mary formed with Colin and Dickon.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien

Let's be serious everyone. LOTR is basically an ode to bromances. You got your Sam and Frodo, your Merry and Pippin, and there's Gimli and Legolas... epic friendships right there.

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

While talking about books and friendship- you can't forget about the ultimate power trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermionie. These books are about more than friendship, but this is such a big theme in the series and Harry would be nowhere without them.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin


This book isn't really your traditional story about friendship. (The main character has an affair with her BFF's fiance for crying out loud!) But it is about friendship and how people might grow apart and relationships changing.

The Christy Miller Series (and beyond) by Robin Jones Gunn

The main relationship the Christy Miller Series focuses on is Christy and Todd. However, in all of these books, (Christy Miller, College Years, Sierra Jenson, Katie Weldon, etc.) the friendships are incredible important. They go through all of the crazy teenage drama of high school, grow up in college, go on trips together, and stick with one another through it all learning what real friendship is.

What are your favorite books about friendship?

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Girl With the Windup Heart- Book Review

I cannot tell you how excited I was to be approved to read this next book in advance for a review. A couple of years ago, I had gotten interested in exploring the Steampunk genre. It was then I had found The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross. I fell in love! The series is about Finley Jayne who has some... unusual talents... which get her in a lot of trouble. She then finds herself with a group of other misfits who have their own unusual talents, and together they fight against the evil which prowls about Victorian London!

Overall, if you are looking for a historically accurate story... don't read this series. However, if you like fun YA romance, some adventure, and steampunk, you'll enjoy it very much. On May 27, the fourth and final book in the series will be released, and I got to read it in advance! Warning:  if you haven't read the other books and novellas in the series, this review may have spoilers.

Release Date: May 27,2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Author: Kady Cross

Basic Summary Without Spoilers

While investigating some murders, Griffin King finds himself stuck in the Aether being used as a torture device to his arch-nemesis, The Machinest. Back at his manor, Finely and co. hatch up a plan for Finely to travel to the Aether to save him. While there, she runs into some unexpected ghosts from her past. 

Meanwhile, Jack Dandy has been busy helping Mila, the machine-become real girl. Basically, the steampunk version of Pinocchio. Naturally, Mila finds herself having feelings for Jack, and when he doesn't return her feelings, she runs away. To where? The circus of course! 

Thus begins the end of the Steampunk Chronicles. Let chaos and romance ensue!

My Thoughts

The Cover: Thankfully, they kept the same style of covers for the entire series. I don't know about you, but it really irks me when publishers and writers change the cover style in the middle of the series. I've been a fan of the cover designs the whole time. They're beautiful. However, I can't help but feel the portrait of the girl looks a bit too sophisticated. That is, if I'm assuming correctly she is supposed to be Mila. She just doesn't seem to fit the gentle and somewhat naive image of Mila I have in my mind. 

The Premise:  Basically, this story is to wrap up the plot lines which have been left unfinished by the other three books and three novellas. However, it was very simple. It went quickly, which is nice when you want a fun read. Yet, I felt like there could have been more to the story, and the conclusion seemed to be too simple. 

The Characters:  I really enjoyed how this one focused on Finley, Griffin, Mila, and Jack. I love the other characters as well, but when I read the other stories I always found myself wanting more of the previous four. Mila and Jack were also the best part of the book by far. Mila was so sweet and innocent, but strong and courageous. Then it was fun to see a softer side of Jack and how he took care of Mila. Seeing their relationship grow was endearing. Cross also showed us (spoiler!) Finley's father! I loved this part of the story when he came into the picture. We only saw him briefly, but he was a great addition.

The World:  The world of The Steampunk Chronicles wasn't anything new since I had read the previous books. However, I really enjoyed going deeper into the Aether. I had never fully understood what it was in this series and having much of the story taking place there I was able to picture it much better and see what it was. 

The Love Stories:  Windup Heart focused on two couples:  Finley and Griffin (who have been the main couple the whole series) and Mila and Jack. As much and I love Finley and Griffin, by the time this book came around I was bored with them. It was glaringly obvious they were in love and would be together forever. There didn't seem to be any real obstacles for them to overcome in their relationship. However, it was good to finally hear the words of "I love you" come out of their mouths. 

Jack and Mila on the other hand - they were completely adorable. I loved how Mila brought out the soft side of Jack and seeing how he took care of her and helped her to see what it means to be human. I kind of want to see more stories about them and their adventures in Whitechapel. 

Another complaint I had about the love stories was how much emphasis they put on the tension between Finley and Jack. In previous books, there was a bit of a triangle between Finley, Jack, and Griffin. As the series went on though, it was shown Finley and Jack were friends and it worked well. However, it felt as though she kept repeating over and over "SEE? THEY'RE HAPPY FOR EACH OTHER AND THEIR NEW ROMANCES! THEY'RE BEST FRIENDS! NO JEALOUSY!" Which my response always was "Right... didn't we cover that in the other stories? Can we move on?"

Overall Thoughts: It was a good conclusion to wrap up the series. I liked seeing where Mila and Jack's relationship went and being able to dive into the Aether. It was a simple plot and things wrapped up a bit too easily. Yet, it still had the fun and adventurous feel I love about The Steampunk Chronicles, I loved having another adventure with these characters, and everyone ended up where I felt like they should. If you have enjoyed this series, I think you'll be happy with the ending. 

You can get your own copy of the book May 27!

Also- have you joined in on my Jamberry Nails party yet? Click this link and be sure to order through my party!

And I'm linking up with Mingle Monday today!

Friday, May 16, 2014

To the Class of 2014

Back in Cape Girardeau where I had been living, this was the last week of school. As sad as it always was to see the seniors I worked with graduate and move on, it was also really exciting to see where they were going.

This year it's particularly bitter sweet. The class which is graduating this year was my very first confirmation class when I had arrived at St. Andrew on my internship after my four years of studying in college. Up until my last year, many of these students (along with others) were some of the most involved and those I had a special close relationship. Now they're graduating, and it's oddly fitting both I left and they are moving on in the same school year.

Here is some final advice to you (and really, to all of the teenagers I worked with for those 5 1/2 years) from your former youth minister. Complete with embarrassing photos of you and your youth group friends from 7th grade until now!

National Youth Gathering, San Antonio, 2013
- as Mr. Jim would say, "Do it well, do it now, and do it with a smile."
- whatever happens at the lock-in (or on road trips...) stays there.
- keep in touch with your old friends as best you can, but if you loose touch... It's okay.
- be open to new people and new opportunities

Jr. High Retreat- 2009
- get out of where you grew up. Even if it's just for a trip or a semester. 
-  faith is hard as you get older and you change and grow. I'm not sure why, but it is. Don't be scared of it though. God can handle your doubts, anger, worries, and questions. 
- if the gospel you share with others isn't in love it's not the gospel.

Alabama Mission Trip 2013
- you're not going to be best friends forever with everyone you meet. That's okay. You don't have to be. But be kind to them anyways. 
- you might (aka probably) change your major and your life plan. That's okay.

Peer Ministry Training 2013
- be realistic and plan for your future, but still do something you love and be willing to change.
- yes, student loans might own your soul. It's just one of those parts of life. You'll survive.

I honestly can't remember when this was taken...
- when you go out with your friends, please be careful. Have fun, but be smart about it. If I hear a story about you getting hurt or killed I'll find you and kill you again. I say this out of love.
- our God is love.

National Youth Gathering San Antonio, 2013
- if you're going to college, I want you to do well and get good grades. But for the love of all that is good and holy have fun too. You'll regret not having those memories.
- don't mix your drinks and volunteer to be the DD on occasion.

BigStuf 2011... I think
- connect with your professors/bosses/coaches. Their guidance and friendship are invaluable.
- why yes, in college you can go to the bathroom without permission from your teacher. It took me FOREVER to get used to. 
- you don't have to find your soulmate right now. If you do, awesome. But if not, that's awesome too.
- check your drama at the door.

Superbowl Party 2009
- read a book... Especially if it's not for class.
- call your mom sometimes. She worries about you. It's her job.
- do something that scares you.
- knonekt
- wherever you are, find a church or on campus faith group. You can't do this faith thing alone. 
- still make friends with people who are different from you though. You'll learn so much!
- question everything. Even the Bible says to do that. If something doesn't sound right or something doesn't fit what you've been taught, find out for yourself. Read about it in the Bible. Talk to someone from church or someone else you really trust.

BigStuf Panama City, 2011
- you will get hurt. People you love will make mistakes. Forgive them.
- forgive, but remember there's a difference between forgiving and being a doormat.
- you're going to make mistakes and hurt people too. Say you're sorry.
- remember what I would tell you on trips: if you think I or another adult won't like it, you're probably right. So don't do it.

Chicago Mission Trip 2012
- be gloriously crazy!
- this is your new start- what are you going to do with it?
- wear flip flops in the dorm bathroom. Barefeet in there is just gross.
- if you aren't going to college, still do your best in whatever you do.
- don't take yourself so seriously!
- "you make beautiful things out of the dust."

Confirmation Retreat 2009
Confirmation Retreat 2009

BigStuf Panama City, 2011
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

National Youth Gathering San Antonio, 2013
Congrats class of 2014 (and beyond)! You're going to do awesome things!

If you could give this year's high school seniors advice, what would it be?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Spend a Sick Day

There's nothing quite like waking up one morning with a crazy stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. It's a guarantee for a good day!


At first I thought it was just allergies. Even on the news they were saying this week the air was dangerous for people with allergies. I'm not sure if I have them... but I decided it was a possibility.

But yesterday when I could barely keep my eyes open at work and I felt like death... I had a feeling something was up.

Thankfully, I was able to take the afternoon off and in the evening I figured out I had a fever. Definitely not allergies.

Which means I'm home sick today. I was able to sleep in which was a HUGE help. My eyes feel way better and I can actually keep my eyes open. Still not feeling 100%, but I'm on my way.

The thing is, I'm not good at being sick. As much as I love having time to just lay around and rest... when I'm "required" to do so I tend to have problems sitting still.

However, here are some things I've been doing to keep myself occupied while recovering.

1) Drink tea. It's not my favorite, but with a lot of honey in it I'm good to go.

2) Watch as many versions of Pride and Prejudice as possible. Since I want to nap, I find it useful to have something on in the background I know well and don't have to pay super close attention to. Also, the version with Kiera Knightly has really relaxing music. That was the version I watched yesterday. Today I'm working through The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

3) Read. I didn't get to read a whole lot yesterday due to the "watery eyes I can't keep open" thing. But since that's not much of a problem today, I plan on getting a lot of reading done for Bout of Books. The Vanishing Act is super short (only slightly over 200 pages) so I'll probably get most of that done this afternoon.

4) Plan a Jamberry Nails Online Party- AND YOU ARE INVITED!

Yes, you read that right. One of my good friends from Missouri just started a Jamberry Nails business and I decided to help her out by hosting an online party.

What's Jamberry you ask?

Well... in the words of my friend:

They are vinyl adhesives that are heat activated (hair dryer, space heater, etc.) and pressure sealed. They are super easy to apply and once applied, last for 2wks on fingers, and up to 6wks on your toes! If you would like a free sample mailed to you, please PM me your address and choose one of the 10 samples in the photo below.
They can also be applied over top of gel, shellac, and acrylic nails - although, the most popular method is directly onto your natural nail. They are non toxic and so they won't harm your nails, when removed correctly. If you have any questions at all, please ask away! Your hostess, Emily, and I are here to make sure you enjoy yourself and, hopefully, make sure you leave with some glamorous nails of your own to show off!

Pretty awesome, right? I ordered four sheets not long ago and I CAN'T WAIT for them to come in.

Want to join in on the fun? Click on this link:

Just be sure you order through Emily Hornburg's party.

We'll be going through May 25 and feel free to share the link with your friends!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Finding Identity

A few weeks ago, I finally saw the Divergent movie. (Late to the party- I know.) I enjoyed both the book and the movie. Not my all-time favorites, but enjoyable and I think there's a lot of things to take from the story. However, there was one thing I couldn't help but think about as I watched the movie.

In case you don't know the premise:

It's a futuristic/dystopian society set in Chicago. The people are divided into five groups, factions, which are:  Abnegation (selfless), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent), Amity (peaceful), and Dauntless (bravery). When one is a teenager, they are to take a test which will help them to determine which faction they would fit in best. Then, they are to pick the one they will live in. It's all about knowing yourself and where you think you will fit. They leave their family and former way of life for their new faction. Faction before blood as the story says.

As I watched the movie I couldn't help but think "How the hell is a teenager supposed to make a decision like that?"

I know there are teenagers who do know themselves and possibly might be able to make such a choice. However, I know for sure I wasn't one of them. Or even if I thought I was, I have a sinking feeling later in life I would have changed my mind about which faction to be in. Because at that point in my life I was still figuring out who I was.

Heck, I'm still figuring out who I am.

How do you determine who you are?

I know I'm not the only one who wonders this. Not long ago, I was talking with a close friend who recently lost her job. She lamented to me:  "That job was my whole life. It was who I was. What do I do now?"

What happens when what you identify yourself with gets taken away?

A few years ago, one of the teenagers I worked with wanted to be in the military. It wasn't just his chosen career- it was his whole life. Everything was about being in the military. When the time came to enlist, a tiny  glitch in his health prevented him from joining any branch. From there he went on this crazy downward spiral trying to figure out how to fill that hole and find who he was. (He's fine now by the way.)

It's funny what we choose to identify ourselves with. Careers, relationships, family, friends, fandoms, pet-lover, mother, father, husband, wife, etc.

I've been re-reading The Mortal Instruments and in the second book, the main character Clary finds herself in her own identity crisis. She thinks she's just a normal teenager when in fact her mother has been lying to her the whole time and she is actually a shadowhunter who fights demons. In fact, she even has more family members than she originally expected.

"Somebody's girlfriend. Somebody's sister, somebody's daughter. All these things I never knew I was before, and I still don't really know who I am." (City of Ashes chapter 4)

What if what we thought was true about ourselves and our lives turns out to be wrong? What does that make us then?

I think a lot about Julie Andrews. For years and years she was one of the greatest singers in Hollywood and Broadway. Then, she lost her voice. She can't really sing anymore. Yet, she still keeps going. I don't know what her daily life is like or what it was like for her when she first lost her voice, but from what I can tell it doesn't seem to phase her. She's still fantastic. She's still Julie Andrews.

Yet, she had lost part of who she was. A singer. How do you recover from that?

How do you define yourself? When you lose it, how do you find yourself again?

Bout of Books Progress: On page 203, Chapter 12 of Clockwork Angel