Thursday, February 26, 2015

Damaged Goods- Book Review

It's time for another book review. What do you say? 

Some thoughts before we get into this book:  Sex education, modesty, abstinence, and how faith plays a role, are some pretty hot topics in the Church right now. They always are, but I'm noticing in recent years more and more the "traditional" practices on teaching these subjects has been challenged. How we as a culture are viewing these topics are changing and we can see this in the Church. 

To be completely honest - I agree we (the Church) need to change how we discuss and handle the topics of sex, dating, modesty, marriage, etc. As a product of the "True Love Waits" generation, I remember all of the talks we had in youth group and how it was handled. In keeping with being honest, this was also one of the big struggles I had in ministry. I knew parents wanted me to tackle these subjects with the youth. I was completely comfortable talking about it with the youth and we would talk about relationships and such when it came up in conversations with smaller groups and one on one. However, I never had big sessions for having sex talks and such because I knew my opinions would not have been well accepted. It was one of those "what hill am I going to die on" issues. Should I have died on that hill? Maybe I should have. But I didn't because I felt as though I had other leaders I could talk about my opinions with to find the best way to handle it. 

All of this being said, I was excited to hear this book was being released and when I heard about it I immediately went over to NetGalley to request a copy to review. I also realize these are highly sensitive and personal topics. Therefore, it's hard to keep an objective view. As I read, I found it difficult to remain objective about the author's opinions.

I'm hoping my review can remain as such.

I also encourage other people to read this book. Whether you agree with Dianna Anderson or not (I don't always agree as you will see in my review) it's still something I think we should be aware of. 1) It's good for us to read the opinions of people we don't see eye to eye with. Expand your horizons! 2) At least she's starting the conversation and not playing it safe. We need to have these conversations!

While most of the "purity movement" has stemmed from Evangelical circles, it does seep into other denominations and they can feel it's influence. Also, not every congregation who addresses purity does so to the extremes some others do. There's always varying degrees. But we all still need to be having these talks and figuring out just how faith and the Church plays into these conversations.

If you are a teenager reading this book; PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do so with an adult you trust. Preferably someone who shares the same faith. I know talking about these things can be hard and embarrassing, but trust me on this one, life is so much better when you have someone you can talk to about such things and help you to figure them out. I'm not saying they should have all of the answers - but they've been there before and will have insight you don't have. 

Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity
Author: Dianna E. Anderson
Publisher: Jericho Books
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Basic Summary:

Dianna grew up in the "true love waits" generation. She heard all of the talks. Read all of the books. She could quote all of the Bible verses. Then, something in her changed and so did her views on sex, relationships, modesty, and purity. For years, she felt ashamed of her body and sexuality and bought into what, she considers, lies about God's plan for purity. This book shares her stories, opinions, and the thoughts of others as she dives into these issues.

My Thoughts:

I've never reviewed a non-fiction book on this blog before, so I'm not entirely sure how to go about it. But I'll try. I'll divide my review into what I appreciated about the book, and then my criticisms.

What I Liked/Appreciated

- Dianna's love for the Church and for God's Word is very apparent. She's not a person who has walked away from the Church and now denies everything it has done for her. 
- She encourages the reader to not just "take her word for it." She emphasizes that people need to read the Bible for themselves and do their own research instead of just doing  and believing whatever someone else tells them to.
- She does not insult the choice to stay abstinent until marriage. She affirms this is a valid choice - as along as you know why you are making said choice and it doesn't come from a place of shame or simply because "that's what I was told to do."
- Sex and relationships need to be respectful and consensual. PERIOD. We are a community of people and all children of God. Our relationships and sex lives need to reflect this.
- Pointing out the Bible isn't as black and white about sex as we like to think it is.
- Challenging gender roles and what we think it means to be men and women of faith. (In chapter six she says, "We are not defined by gender, but rather by the grace and love which we live.")
- Our bodies are not owned by other people. They are OUR bodies.
- Have a plan for the worst case scenario.
- Respect other people no matter what they wear.
- She starts and ends with grace.

What I Did not Like/Agree With

- While there were moments I wanted to stand and applaud what she was saying, there were other moments when I wondered "Are we reading the same Bible?" While, yes, we need to understand the context of the Bible verses we read and get to the heart of what it's saying, we also can't twist it to say whatever we want it to say to prove our point and forget about other passages as well. Most people do this, which is wrong, but we need to stray away from this.
- At one point when Anderson was discussing modesty, she addresses women who are having a hard time breaking away from this mindset. One of her suggestions was for the woman to try a neckline which scared her. Um.... no. If someone isn't comfortable wearing the low cut shirt, they aren't comfortable wearing the low cut shirt! Don't tell them they should try it anyway!
- Many times I felt as though Anderson had a personal vendetta against the purity movement. Which is understandable. However, many times it didn't seem professional and it was just her wanting to argue against Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and other authors. As understandable as this may be, it's not the best way to bring your point across. This was the biggest turn off for me. 
- As the book went on, it all got to be too much. Sometimes I felt as though I was back in the youth room where my youth leaders (as good as their intentions were) shoving purity and modesty down my throat - only this time it was the opposite opinion.
- There were times when she addressed sexuality for other races and people with disabilities. For a majority of her book she had excellent research (even if most of it was pointing out points she didn't like from the same few authors, with other research being from interviews and surveys she conducted). Then, when she addresses the issues of race (particularly black women), I hardly saw any. While, I felt her observations were accurate, I would have liked to see some opinion of women of that particular race and hearing what they really had to say. I was grateful she had only two paragraphs for women with disabilities. Albeit, they were a good two paragraphs, but I would not have appreciated the author, a woman who does not have a disability, putting words into my (a woman with a disability) mouth.


I appreciate what Anderson was trying to do. I'm glad she is opening up conversation and encourages people to challenge "traditional" ways of thinking when it comes to faith, sex, marriage, and modesty. There were some points 100% agreed with. Other times... I really wasn't sure where she was getting her information. I think it would be interesting to see the opinions and thoughts of people who have a history of theology in different denominations, as well as maybe some "experts" of the field. I also liked how she addressed there are different issues depending on your race and if you have a disability or not. But then was very disappointed when she didn't have interviews and opinions from women of said race. She also seemed to be someone with a vendetta, and while it was understandable, I felt it wasn't the best way to prove her point. 

I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Top 10 Favorite Literary Heroines

Happy Tuesday everyone! When thinking about my all-time favorite characters, it's always more difficult than I realize. At first I think "it's going to be so hard to narrow them down! I love so many!" But when I start sorting through the books I've read it's actually the opposite. As much as I love most of the characters I read about, I end up thinking more of "Yes, they're wonderful. But when I compare them to some of the others I've picked, do they really live up to that?" It's hard.

Today I'm sharing with you ten of my favorite heroines. These women are fantastic in every way and I love them so much. I made some tough cuts for this list - so it really is a tribute to the authors of these characters for creating such fantastic heronies.

Celeanea Sardothian- Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas

Celeanea has quickly become one of my all time favorite characters. I can't get enough of her and her story. I binge read the Throne of Glass series recently and I'm practically forcing my friends to all read the books too so they can feel what I've been feeling reading these books. I am team Celeana 100%. She's bad-ass, feminine, strong, and I love her. Anyone who hears me talk about this girl can tell I'm way too emotionally attached for it to be healthy.

Katniss Everdeen- Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I really do love Katniss. She's intense and if I were a character in the books I would probably be scared of her. But I love reading her perspective and how she thinks through everything and how fiercely she loves her family and friends - even if they can't always see it.

Beth- Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I didn't realize how much I loved Beth until someone criticized her. She's hilarious, a loyal friend, and okay yes a little bit of a stalker. But her story is cute and I love her.

Celia Bowen- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Ah, The Night Circus, how I love thee. This book... there just aren't words to describe my love for this book. I had to give it's main girl Celia a shout-out. She's lovely and elegant and magical.

Scarlett O'Hara- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I cannot resist putting this firey Irish Southern belle on this list. I grew up watching Gone With the Wind and I read the book when I was in 7th grade. Let's be honest - Scarlett is a bitch. I wouldn't be surprised if she could kill with that single eyebrow raise. But that's what I love about her. She's that wonderful anti-heroine where you want to hate her, but you can't help but root for her.

Elizabeth Bennett- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I know Lizzy will be on nearly everyone's lists. But with good reason! She was a strong female character beore that was a thing. She's funny, smart, stubborn, and fantastic.

Queen Eleanor- Eleanor of Aquitaine Trilogy by Elizabeth Chadwick

Technically, she Queen Eleanor is a real person. But, she's a prominent character in Elizabeth Chadwicks novels. I first read about her in The Greatest Knight and thought she was fabulous. When I heard she would be getting a trilogy of her own, I was over the moon! I love that a historical figure such as she is receiving the recognition she deserves.

Verity- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein
I can't say much about Verity without giving away spoilers. But just trust me... you'll love her.

Jo March- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I love the movie from the 90's and I love the book, and Jo is the sister I always related to the most. She's stubborn, loves writing and telling stories, and can never decide on what she wants to do. Although, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have turned Laurie down.

Hermione Granger- Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
You didn't think I'd forget about my girl Hermione, did you? Normally, with lists like these I try to leave out Harry Potter because other stories deserve to be in the spotlight too. But... come on! I have to give her a shout-out. If you don't love Hermione, you're wrong.

Linking up with The Broke and Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why I Love the Oscars

Ah, the Oscars. It's glitzy, filled with rich celebrities with outfits they'll never wear again, editors and other behind the camera type people we've never heard of, memorial tributes that make us all cry, and bad jokes. But I absolutely love it.

Each year I'm always on the fence about the Oscars. Most of the movies are ones I haven't seen or don't really care about. This year, I watched because of Neil Patrick Harris, two of my favorite British men (Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch), and, of course - a lot of pretty dresses.

Yes, I enjoy watching the red carpet and making commentary on their clothes while I sit in my recliner eating nachos in my sweatpants. SUE ME.

But let's be honest - it's more of me going "Oooooo! Pretty! Can I play dress up too?"

And I wonder why I work at a pre-school sometimes.

Then, as the award show goes on, I remember I watch the Oscars for so many more reasons. I tend to enjoy award shows in general, but none of them (except maybe the Tony Awards) grab me the way the Oscars do.

Each year it has its own highlights such as fabulous opening numbers.

I loved the Into the Woods tie in and how this year it made me think of Broadway. It makes me so happy.

And random moments from celebrities which will forever live in GIF infamy.

But seriously, I'll be using this GIF for years to come I'm sure.

Beyond all of that though, I think there're other reasons I love the Oscars. I love movies and music and great storytelling. I love we can honor those things in our society. Yes, there's a lot of other things Hollywood could be spending their money on. Yes, Hollywood is ridiculous and messed up. Yes, there a lot of bad movies out there. But, there's a lot of good ones out there too.

Even the Oscar hype leading up to it I kind of love. Earlier in the week ABC did a special on 15 movies which changed the way movies are made. I loved it! Even if I didn't agree with each movie, it was fascinating to see people talk about which movies touched them the most and which ones people feel "changed the game." Movies are one of my favorite ways of seeing culture and where the world is and how we've changed in the world. Which ones stand the test of time and which ones we look back and think "wow... that would never fly in Hollywood today!" 

We all have our favorite movie. Everyone loves movies! (Unless your Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect... )

Movies are part of our culture and I think it's okay to recognize what a large role they play in it. I feel like people in the entertainment business aren't always respected. They're well liked - yes. But respected? Not always.

I go to church in a movie theater where the walls are covered with classic movie posters and there's a museum filled with props and costumes. The last couple of weeks they've been promoting praying for Hollywood. They said how so many times Christians complain about Hollywood and what they're putting out there in the world, and instead we should pray for them. Which is awesome. 

But when I sit there in the theater and look around me, I can't help but think of how great Hollywood can be. How most "Christian" movies I really don't enjoy because they have bad theology and even worse acting and story lines. Honestly - I think that brings more dishonor to God. More often than not, I see God in the movies Hollywood brings out (even if they don't intend it that way) than in the ones "Christians" produce. I love that we can honor and respect people who create wonderful things.

Even when I haven't seen 90% of the movies honored at the Oscars, I still find myself appreciating their art and the hard work put into them. How the writers and producers and directors and editors and actors sometimes put everything into their work and push the limits of what they can do and what is allowed and keep on getting new ideas. I firmly believe creating is a holy act. The entire Bible begins with God being creative and we are made in his image. Doesn't that mean we're created to be able to be creative too?

I love how when you look at the Oscars you can see where we are as a culture and what is happening in the world. History plays out before your eyes during the Oscars. I mean, I still tear up when I hear clips of Halle Berry's oscar speech because it was such a huge moment in the history of Hollywood.

I love seeing people who we didn't really know or care about get their moment in the spotlight bringing us all to tears and appreciating what they are saying and what they stand for. 

"Stay weird."

I love it when my favorite actors who have worked so hard and have done so many fabulous performances get the recognition they deserve and bumble like an adorable idiot because they're so overwhelmed. 

I love seeing performers I love shocking everyone by KILLING IT and being hugged and recognized by a legend. 

I love when everyone in the audience and at home are tearing up over moving performances and speeches because just for a moment we think about things that matter.

And of course... Lego Oscars.

Do you love this award show as much as I do? What were your favorite moments?

Linking up with Mingle Monday today!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Early Morning Thoughts on Lent

Let caught me by surprise this year. In the back of my mind, I knew it was coming. On my calendar, I would see "February 17 - Ash Wednesday." On Sunday at church we watched a video about how Lent was upon us. But still, as I woke up this morning I had an "Oh. That's today isn't it? Crap. I'm so unprepared" moment.

You'd think growing up in a traditional Lutheran family, church, and school, then working in a Lutheran church for 5 1/2 years, this wouldn't happen. But, alas, it does.

I think Lent gets a bad rap. Either people shy away from it screaming about how we live in grace and shouldn't be focusing on our sin and sadness so much. Or, they give up something because if they don't they'll feel guilty. Or people roll their eyes at the different traditions and move on.

I don't think Lent is supposed to be any of those things. Lent doesn't have to be any of those things.

As I sat in my bed this morning, not wanting to move quite yet, I did some poking around at what other people were saying about Lent and Ash Wednesday on the Internet.

I came across Rachel Held Evan's yearly post about 40 Ideas for Lent. Her yearly post has always been a favorite of mine and I think she has a beautiful focus on the true heart of this church season and giving a different perspective for those of us who do want to practice something during these 40 days. (Not including Sundays.) She starts with having the reader think about what they want different in their lives, faith, actions, habits, etc. It's the idea of, not going into the season blindly and randomly giving up chocolate or something simply because that's what you do. Wondering what and who we'll be listening to. Considering picking up a certain type of prayer or ritual perhaps. She also mentions the cycle of death and resurrection in the Bible.

"The cycle of death and resurrection is central to the Christian faith. In what ways is that cycle present in my life right now? Where might there be necessary change, suffering, death and decay, and how might new life emerge from those experiences?"

Which, then makes me think of that wonderful Hozier song and how death and resurrection play in love and our relationships.  Which, then after watching the video for the hundredth time, makes me start to think of different things I could be picking up at this time as well.

Then, I went over to my She Reads Truth app to check out their Lenten devotional. I loved what today's writer (Raechel Myers) had to say about Lent.

"This is Lent. It's a time to stop - wherever we're going and whatever we're coming from. Whether we've been anticipating this season since Christmas or it's stopping us cold on our way to where we think we need to be - here we are.

"Lent is a pause button. It is a quiet unlike any other time of year. Lent is a season to close our eyes as the busy world buzzes around us, to consider those things we'd much rather forget: our sin and our humanity. We came from dust, and to dust we will return."

A pause button. Something which catches us dead in our tracks. Sounds similar to the morning I've had.

Thinking about sin, and humanity and darkness are never fun. It's far different from the preparations we have during Advent where we are getting ready for the birth of Jesus and we sing fun songs and put up decorations and light candles. Lent is not this way. Instead, we put ashes on our heads and think about temptation and sin and dying.

Yeah, I can see why it gets a bad rap.

But, just because it's not always fun doesn't mean it's not beautiful. I think sometimes we need that pause button to slow down and consider where we are in our faith and in our lives. Taking 40 days out of the year to cling to the cross and ponder Christ's death and resurrection.

This doesn't mean we whip ourselves and drown ourselves in the mud and grime of our sins. This doesn't mean we do something simply because we are told to. In fact, this morning I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders when I remembered "I'm not required to do anything for Lent. If I don't want to do something, that's okay!" Or it could mean you giving up something not quite so ordinary. I love when I hear people talk about how for Lent they want to give up guilt or shame.

I don't know how I'll be recognizing the season this year. Or if I will at all. It's something I'll be thinking and praying over through the day and those are just some of my pre-caffeinated morning thoughts.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about Lent.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I Don't Have my **** Together

I had an emotionally rough weekend. I know exactly why, and it was stupid. I can even pinpoint the moment it started.

It was playing the comparison game. It's so easy to do, isn't it? Seeing what other people have in life and what they've accomplished and being all "why don't I have that?" Whether it's jobs, relationship status, having kids, working out, accomplishing goals, going on vacations - there's so many things we can think about and wonder why some people get what we want and we don't have it.

What didn't help was my reading. One, I've been working through The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas and it's the set of pre-quel novellas to the Throne of Glass series. Holy cow- so many emotions! I've been avoiding reading the last one because I know what's going to happen and I'm dreading it. Seriously, authors, why do you think we are emotionally stable enough to handle these things? Come on now.

To take a break from it, I was reading Attachments by Rainbow Rowell for The Book Worms. It is one of my favorite books written by her and I loved every moment of it. Except, you know, when it was making me horribly depressed. Which is odd because this is probably the happiest of her books. (It really is happy - I promise!) What got to me is that the main character Lincoln, I could relate to far more than I care to admit. At the age of 28 we seemed to be in the same place in life and not sure where to go next.

I mean... what did I do with my weekend? Developed a crush on a fictional character in between mourning my own life. No joke, If that guy, Lincoln, was shorter and you know... not a fictional character and an actual real life person, I'd totally date him. But noooooooo. In the book there's a short blonde hair girl named Emilie whom he's not remotely interested in even though she has a crush on him. (No joke. It's true.) At least I spell my name the right way! What do you have against us girls named Emily who are short with blond hair Rainbow Rowell? What did we ever do to you????

Let's just say there even included a little emotional freak out while I sat at Starbucks before church on Sunday where I was texting a friend of mine about my life woes while trying not to cry in public. Thinking about how I have no idea what I'm doing, I don't know where I want to go, and how I thought at this point I would have a better idea of both. How even when I have the best of intentions nothing seems to turn out the way I planned or the way it should. That's always a good time...

When I got to church I was able to get myself together and was able to see some friends I haven't seen in a few weeks. It was wonderful. Even though I didn't talk about what was bothering me, I knew they wouldn't have minded if I had talked about it, and just seeing them again was enough to help me get out of my funk for a bit. Amazing how friends can do that.

Then, when the service started, we read Romans 7:15- 25. It's a passage I've always found comforting.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that noting good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- thought Jesus Christ our Lord!

I know... it's kind of negative. But do you know why I find it so comforting? Because it's of the "big guys" of the Bible saying "I don't have my shit together."

How he wants to do awesome things but keeps screwing it up.

It's what all of my friends have been telling me. That none of us have it together. Which, I don't know why it didn't click until I read this in church. But oh well. That's life, right?


For a majority of people, life isn't what they thought it would be. We've make mistakes. We screw up good things. We aren't where we want to be.

But we get through it.

In Attachments, Linclon's sister Eve gives some great advice when he gets overwhelmed by wanting to fix everything in his life.

"So, what if instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow."

What if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. (x)
Found this on Tumblr:
So... I might not have it together. But I can at least try to let my pile of good things grow, right?

Like what you're reading? I've actually begun my blog email list! (Finally.) It includes a short little note from me, a quote or thought for the week, and updates on my life and the blog. Click here to join.

Also, linking up with Mingle Monday today!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Speak Up! | Heart

It's the first Friday of the month! Which means it's time to link up with Amber and Annie for Speak Up, their monthly vlog link-up. This month's topic is "heart."

I had no idea what I was going to talk about, then it all kinda just spilled out of my mouth. This video started as 23 minutes long - so there was A TON of stuff cut out to make it only 10 minutes. Haha. I'm working on trying to keep them short though!

In my video I talk about Hozier's song "Take Me to Church," say "ass" while discussing theology, and share my coffee/tea dilemma.

Mr. Thomas and Me

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them in the comments. Or, even better, make your own video and link up!

I'm also linking up with the Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Battles Worth Fighting

Working at the pre-school, there's a question the teacher and I ask fairly often.

"Is this the hill you're going to die on?"

When you are in a classroom filled with kids ages 2-5 all with their own unique needs and skills and abilities, several parents who each have their own opinions and parenting styles, and a school board who also have their thoughts about how things should go, there are a lot of uphill battles. If we (or especially the teacher herself) were to fight every single battle she would have quit years ago. There is no way she can fight every single battle. 

It's a lesson I learned in ministry too. Working in a fairly large church with over 80 families in the congregation with youth between the grades 6 and 12, there's a lot of directions you can take. There were things sometimes I wanted changed but when I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture, I would have to say to myself "Don't fight that battle Emily. There are bigger ones you might need to fight later." 

I look around at the Church, and the world, and I can't help but think sometimes: "This is the hill you're going to die on? Really?"

You know those hills. The ones where we debate if yoga pants are "appropriate" for girls and women to wear.  Or having a personal vendetta against Disney movies and raving about it on Facebook. Or any other number of things. 

Is this the hill you're going to die on?

It's so easy to get caught up in though. I can't help but think about how often I get caught up in something that is truly pointless. I'm not just talking about wasting a weekend watching Supernatural on Netflix. (I don't see that as a waste of my weekend, thank you very much.) I'm talking about stupid arguments I know I shouldn't step up to and waste my breath on. The little nit-picky things I decide to focus on that don't really matter. Those things.

We can do better than this.  There are other things we can be spending our time and energy on.

Yes, this is the mountain in New Zealand they used as Mt. Doom in Lord of the
. I thought it would be appropriate.
Is helping people understand lust and sexuality something you're really passionate about? That's great! We need to have those conversations. But telling girls they can't wear yoga pants or leggings isn't the way to go about it. Do you know what is?

Telling our kids and teenagers to respect people no matter their gender, how they are dressed, the color of their skin, what country they come from, what school they go to, or what neighborhood they live in, etc. (Here's what Jesus has to say about lust, actually.) In fact - teaching them these things will help with A WHOLE LOT of other problems too.

Another way to handle it? Give them a safe environment where they can talk and ask questions about sexuality without fear of judgement.  

Don't like Disney movies? Well... don't watch them, don't put down people who do, and make your own art the way you want to.

There are so many other things in the world which deserve our focus. Honestly, when it comes to the Church, I feel like what girls are wearing should be the last thing on our list of things to focus on. When I think of everything the Church should be standing for, telling people what they should and should not wear isn't one of them. 

What is the church really about? Love, grace, forgiveness, healing the broken, helping the poor, widowed, and orphaned, standing for justice.... the list goes on an on.

I'm not saying we need to stand at every single protest in the world. (Although if that's how you chose to stand up for those things - that's awesome!) But I am saying there are hills worth dying on and those are the ones we should focus on. It doesn't even have to be dying on a hill for crying out loud!

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a video of her telling a story about her husband. It was snowing and a winter storm was coming, and while she and her husband were out they saw the girl in the car next to them was having a hard time getting the snow and ice off of her car. So, he got out of the car and helped her out. 

Or, sending a free Valentine to a kid in the hospital.  Because being sick or hurting in the hospital, no matter what time of year it is, really stinks. Especially when you're a kid and you just want to go build a snowman or go sledding.

Or splurging an extra couple bucks at Starbucks one day to get a tea for your co-worker who isn't feeling well but has to be at work anyway. 

Let's stop picking hills which aren't worth dying on. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

12 Lessons I've Learned From Disney

So.... over the weekend a friend of mine posted some not so nice things about Disney. Their feelings about Disney are not a shock to me. They've posted and ranted and raved about Disney many times in the past. Usually, I try to ignore these posts. This time though... it just hit me the wrong way and I cannot stay silent any longer.

I won't quote their entire post in here. Basically, they said they hate Disney, they are evil, brainwash children, the films aren't good, they have no integrity, blah blah blah. 

It's not a secret I love Disney. I completely adore Disney and sing the songs on a regular basis and I'm pretty sure I'm going to go watch Frozen later today or at some point this week because there's snow everywhere and just... I have to.

I won't deny Disney has it's flaws. There's lack of diversity (which they are slllllooooowwwwwlllly working on and there's more diversity than people realize), the whole "let's marry a man we just met!" thing, characters who don't look realistic, etc. 

I mean... I can't tell you how many times I tried to do this in the swimming pool in the summer and my hair never did the cool flippy thing like Ariel's.





Really? It's a cartoon. Life will never be like cartoons and photo-shopped super models and actresses and musicians and other forms of media are more than likely have more of an impact on our negative than you know... A CARTOON. Can we all just agree on this? Okay, cool. Moving on.

Therefore, in defense of my beloved Disney, I'm going to share with you the top 12 lessons (in no particular order) their movies have taught me. Also - an excuse to use a million Disney GIFs is always good in my book.

1) If you meet a man whom everyone swoons over, but he thinks girls shouldn't read or think, you should run far far away as fast as you possibly can.

2) Disney learns from their mistakes and are adjusting their stories to fit our culture more and to promote positive life choices. Such as not marrying a man you just met.

3) Not everyone is perfect. We make bad choices and have issues and have troubles we need to get through. But we can still have love and fight through them.

 4) Friendship is beautiful.

5) We need to look past our differences and learn to make peace. Even when everyone seems to be against us.

6) Sometimes, the relationships which are the most destructive are the ones which are the hardest to break from - but you DO have strength and you CAN stand up for yourself.

7) Love sometimes means sacrificing yourself.

8) #likeagirl

9) It's when we are truly ourselves we can love others and be loved back.

10) The past hurts, but we can't let it define us. Instead, learn from our mistakes and do something about it.

11) Never stop dreaming - but that doesn't mean we just sit around and wait for it to happen.

12) There is no perfect family. Some families are big, some small, some have both parents, some one, some none, some several, but they're still beautiful.

Also, I love this set of images I found on Pinterest. 


 And if you don't like Disney and think less of me because I love them... your loss.

I am a princess. Long may I reign.

What have you learned from Disney? Who is your favorite character? Favorite movie? Quote? Share your Disney love!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January Book Wrap-Up and February TBR

On Sunday, while I was snowed in, I decided to make a video about the books I read in January and what I plan to read in February.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? What did you read in January? What are you planning to read in February?

Links referred to in the video:

The Book Worms:
The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime Part 1:
The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime Part 2:
My review of The Wicked Awakening...:
My January TBR Pile:

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Snow Day!

Because when you have the opportunity to start the week riding in on a majestic lion, you take it.

Happy Monday everyone!

In case you haven't heard, Chicago is buried in snow. It started to snow Saturday night and it didn't stop until early this morning. When I woke up on Sunday, my back porch looked like this:

Then, this morning when I woke up, it looked like this:

According to the Internet, Chicago was hit with about 19.3 inches of snow. This made it the 5th largest storm we've ever had.

Therefore, schools are closed and I'm enjoying a relaxing Monday morning before hitting the pavement again tomorrow. It's far too exhausting to complain about the snow and to get upset about the cold and winter, so, I'm choosing to enjoy it while I can. Besides, I have a feeling tomorrow at the preschool we might attempt to build a snowman. Who doesn't love that?

Anyways, I have a ton of posts planned for the blog in the upcoming weeks. Including a video of what I read in January and what I'll read in February, some new projects, talking about Disney, linking up with Amber and Annie for their monthly "Speak Up!" vlog link-up on Friday (the topic is "Heart"), and maybe some other things too! Maybe I'm getting my blogging mojo back?

In the meantime, here is my latest video on my new collab YouTube channel where I'm not very happy with YouTube...

And... FINALLY... the original video I was trying to post today is up. GEEZE YOUTUBE.

I also will now be making all of my exits via "The More You Know" star.

Thank you Katy Perry for giving us the opportunity to have such amazing GIFs.

I'm also linking up with Mingle Monday today!