Summer reading update #1

Here’s how my summer book challenge reading has been going! One month down, one to go! Check the links for my reviews of the books I’ve finished!

WHAT’S IN PROGRESS (45 points in progress)

  • Non-fiction, non-memoir: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking (20 points)
  • 400+ pages: The Marriage Plot (25 points)

WHAT’S FINISHED (80 points accomplished)

WHAT’S LEFT (75 points to go)

  • Freebie: TBD (5 points)
  • Main character with your name: 1st to Die (25 points)
  • Author who died in your birth year: TBD (30 points)
  • A book everyone has read: TBD (15 points)


Summer book challenge 2013

Went a little crazy at the Texas State library and checked out 12 books. Oops!

Went a little crazy at the Texas State library and checked out 12 books. Oops!

Funny story. I spend a solid hour typing up a post about my choices for the 2013 Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge last week only to have WordPress delete it. -.- So this is my second attempt to flesh out my reading plans for this summer.

Last summer I did not finish or win the challenge, but I made good progress and read a wide variety of books — everything from YA dystopian novels, to sickeningly disgusting memoirs of a “jerk, ass, arrogant, inconsiderate, mindless, Frat-boy, low life, butt faced miscreant,” to gripping recounts of Hurricane Katrina after-math, to so many other types of books.

So here’s what Megan has suggested for this summer!


  • The challenge will run from July 1, 2013, to September 30, 2013. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on July 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on September 30 will count.
  • No re-reads (unless specifically stated)! I want you to experience new books with this challenge.
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audiobooks are fine, as long as the print versions meet the page requirements.
  • A book can only be used for one category. If you want to switch the category later, that’s fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.
  • The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will win a featured/guest post on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. Good luck!

The Challenge:

5 points: Freebie! Read any book you’d like, as long as it follows the above rules. 🙂
I will likely wait to pick a book for this category since it’s so open!

5:  Read a book that is less than 150 pages long. (Yes, this is an exception to the general rules! You’re welcome haha.)
Check! That would be Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, professional development reading for work.

10: Read a book with a color in the title. Submitted by Erinn of it’s the journey on Twitter.
I checked out Girls In White Dresses from the Texas State University library. I also checked out Gold, but I’ve had GIWD on my “to-read” list longer, so we’ll see what wins out.

10: Read a book that is not the first in its series. (And yes, it must be in a series.)
I’m thinking this will be TTFN, the sequel to TTYL, which you will see I read for another category already.

15: Read a book it seems everyone but you has read! Submitted by Brighton of Dear Brighton on Twitter.
Ooh, so many options!

15: Read a banned book. (For consistency’s sake, the book must be found on one of these lists. See the links in the first paragraph for book lists.)
Check! TTYL, a book about high-schoolers told in IM fashion was a tiny bit risqué, but nothing shocking, at least for this 24-year-old.

20: Read a book written by a celebrity. This can be a memoir or a fiction book published by someone who was already famous by another means (e.g. James Franco). Submitted by Brighton of Dear Brighton on Twitter.
Check! Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham of “Gilmore Girls” fame. It’s funny, I actually checked this out forgetting this category was even on the list. I just wanted to read her book!  How lucky that it worked out to fulfil a requirement of the challenge.

20: Read a non-fiction book that is not a memoir. It can be pure non-fiction or narrative non-fiction. Submitted by Blair’s Head Band on Twitter.
Currently working on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Love it so far! So much insight into my introverted heart.

20: Read a book that takes place in a state you have never been in. If you have been to all 50 states, choose a book that takes place in a country you have never been in. Also do the latter option if you are not American.
I may switch things around count TTYL for this (set in Georgia, although the setting is not at all essential to the plot) and pick another famously banned book (there are ever so many to choose from), but we’ll see. I also checked out Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (set in Washington), so that could count!

25: Read a book that is at least 400 pages long.
My coworker Bailey told me I must read  A Great and Terrible Beauty, which clocks in at 403 pages. But I also checked out some other chunky books I may attempt! (The Marriage Plot and The Interestings)

25: Read a book with a main character who shares your first name. If you have an uncommon name and really can’t find a book, let me know and we can come up with an alternative. 🙂 Submitted by Erinn of it’s the journey onTwitter.** **Edited to add: I’ve decided to amend this category to allow nicknames of your first name and alternate spellings of your first name. I recognize this category is difficult and I don’t want anyone to give up looking! 🙂
I want to try and stay true to this category and will probably try to read 1st to Die, which stars a Lindsay. There weren’t many “Lindsay” options I could find, but I’d rather be true to the category since I found one than cheat and search for “Lindsey”s.

30: Read a book written by an author who was born in or died in your birth year.**** ****This category was also amended after the original posting when I discovered too many participants were unable to find an author born in their birth year. This website will help you find authors who were born in or died in a specific year.
I’m glad she changed this one because the pickings for authors born in 1989 were sa-limmmm. I’ll have to check out that linked list and find something!

Alright, here we go! I’d say I’m off to a good start having finished three categories and close to finishing another in the span of a week!

How’s it going?!

It’s been two months since I posted. Oy. This semester was supposed to be less busy than last semester! Alas, this prediction does not seem to be coming to fruition… thankfully, I think I would say that although this semester has been busy, my busy-ness hasn’t necessarily been difficult. Now, balancing everything has been challenging, but the tasks I need to accomplish are fairly straightforward.

Lately, when someone asks me how I have been doing, this has been my standard response: “Well, my life right now is pretty much school, work, homegroup, support raising, job searching, and Greg.” So I’ll fill you in on how it’s been going.

1. School
I am in my last semester of grad school, and BOY, do I have senioritis. I’m only taking three classes, but each day I have class I have to amp myself up to go. Not that the classes are bad, I’m just so ready to be done and graduate. Less than 90 days to go, people! Homework is definitely being pushed back until the last minute, but I’m trying not to be on total cruise control…

2. Work
Work is… work. Putting some structure to the peer mentor program we started last semester. Not too much going on here.

3. Homegroup
This semester I joined our small group’s leadership team, which means several extra meetings a week, but I don’t mind much at all. I love my fellow core team members Dustin & Megan, and I can’t complain about getting to meet with amazing women from our church for support and discipleship! Homegroup is interesting this semester; we’re on the cusp of losing about half our members to graduation, but I’ve been enjoying it and am excited to see the growth the Lord has in store for Shockwave.

4. Support Raising
Oy, this is probably one of the more time-consuming things on my plate. This summer I am interning as a staff member at Colorado Leadership Training, but in order to do so, I need to raise $8000 to cover administration costs, training, travel, my summer wages, and fees. Support raising is tricky because it’s never really done. I could work for 8 hours a day every day for a week on ministry team development (MTD), and I most likely still wouldn’t be done after that week. I have to be careful to use my time productively but not get sucked into MTD because I have other responsibilities that need taking care of on a day-to-day basis. So far the going is sort of slow. I’ve had four people give and about 30 tell me they want to… Hoping to see the balance in the account I’m responsible for go up soon! (If you’d like to hear more about the internship, check the “Colorado LT” tab above!)

5. Job Searching
Oh job searching… you are so tricky. I do not understand your timing. I need a job in mid-August. Are the jobs that are open now willing to wait for me until then? Who knows. I am trying to discern good ways to spend my time by applying to jobs I am really interested in but not applying for jobs out of sheer necessity yet. It’s been tricky to because I am trying to find a job in a limited area. Which, by the way, is the same area as a certain boy. I’m trying to move somewhere FOR A BOY. What is my life? This leads me to #6.

6. Greg
One of the more fun aspects of my life! Greg and I celebrated six months of dating last week, which is crazy to me. I can’t believe I’ve been hanging out with this guy for half of a year! Things are going quite well, if I do say so myself. We try to see one another ever other week, but this semester it’s been slightly more frequently… until we get to an upcoming break with what looks like five weeks in a row of mismatched weekend plans (psh, who needs women’s retreats, discipleship conferences, and mission trips? #longdistancechristiancoupleproblems), which will probably suck. But at least we have the summer in Colorado to look forward to! (Yes, Greg’s going to Colorado, too. No, that’s not why I decided to go. But you know I am definitely not upset about it either…)

I guess I have a #7, too.
7. Miscellaneous
Because I don’t want you to think I work/go to class all day, raise support all night, then only ever spent time with Greg. I have other friends! And roommates! And a cat! And regular TV shows I watch and musical instruments I play and books I read. Respectively:

  • Friends: Biweekly coffee dates with my amazing friend Jen (whose wedding for whom I will have my first bridesmaid-ship in May) and whatever phone calls/friend dates I can squeeze into Fridays/Saturday mornings/Sunday afternoons
  • Roommates: The lovely Megan, Catha, Kristina, & Christina (whose wedding I’ll be attending in less than a month!) who fill my house with goofiness and laughter
  • Cat: Still adorable and mischievous as she’s ever been. Though I might be slowly teaching her to have separation anxiety because I have been out-of-town approximately 12 of the last 35 days…
  • TV Shows: Bunheads, HIMYM, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Up All Night (which hasn’t been on?), The Office (don’t get me started on how much Andy sucks this season), Parks & Rec, and (RIP) 30 Rock.
  • Musical instruments: Played guitar and sang for Sunday worship for the first time ever a few weeks ago! Guitar and viola on my own as well.
  • Books: Read the first two C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy books and a young adult novel so far this semester. Plus a bunch of books over the winter break (Bossypants, Life of Pi, The Night Circus, The Tall Book)

So… that’s how it’s been going lately. I really do want to blog more regularly, but let’s be real: that hasn’t happened much since August. Dang you, 18th grade!

Willamette Wednesday: Hitting my stride

Welcome back for another weekly edition of Willamette Wednesday! Here’s what’s been going on up in Oregon.

Work has picked up pace considerably, and I finally feel like I have at least a few things to show for from my summer here. I’ve started writing assessments for orientation, which has been more challenging than I had anticipated. Sure, I took an entire class on assessment and even did an entire assessment project from start to finish, but y’all, writing questions to prove learning outcomes were met for orientation is hard. That being said, I don’t think I want to be the next Sandi Osters*. Don’t get me wrong; doing all this assessment this summer is a really great chance to practice and get more experience in something that will undoubtably be a part of whatever job I go into. I just don’t want it to be my entire job.

*Sandi Osters was our assessment professor and is the director of Student Life Studies, the student affairs assessment office, at Texas A&M.

Free Time
More of the same! This past weekend I finally stayed in Salem for the weekend, saw Brave, and ate the most delicious berries from the Salem Farmer’s Market. (Side note: Oregon has delicious, fresh berries all the time everywhere, and I’m kind of addicted to them.) I should have spent a good chunk of my Saturday designing the program for my cousin’s wedding next week… but I just watched Felicity instead. Oops. Sounds like I know what I’m doing tonight! I finally got a bike, but I haven’t been able to ride it yet due to a few busy nights and rain

It’s cold.
Speaking of rain… and I know I sound like a huge spoiled jerk here to my friends watching wildfires in Colorado and my melting friends in Texas… BUT IT IS TOO COLD HERE. I can’t move to Oregon long-term. If this is summer, I don’t want to see the other seasons. I don’t really remember what the other side of 65 looks like. It’s been days since I’ve seen the sun in its full glory. I want to wear shorts and Chacos. I miss my hammock. Ok, complaining over. I’m going back to Texas for a few days next week, so I’m sure I’ll get blasted with sweltering heat and humidity then and appreciate the dampness and grey skies when I get back to Oregon… maybe…

I have committed to going to Outward Church for the summer! It was the second church I tried, and though I was skeptical of Acts 29‘s ties to Mark Driscoll (the jury of my mind is still out on him), I’m liking Outward a lot. The atmosphere reminds me a lot of The Rock and Fellowship, and it has a similar demographic of people, though there are a lot more young married people than I’m used to. That’s cool, though, because I get to be in a community group of mostly 20-somethings from all parts of life: in school, working, single, married… it’s nice to hear from so many perspectives in discussion! It’s also pretty cool to see this community group in action because it is allowing me to live out a book my homegroup in College Station is reading this summer. This summer, the leadership team for our group plus a few other people (like me!) are reading Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House with hopes to apply some of its theory to Shockwave this fall. Because Brad House is a member of Mars Hill (Mark Driscoll’s church, which is a part of the Acts 29 network), my community group at Outward seems to be modeled off a lot of this book’s principles. It’s nice to have our group in Texas read about it, and then I can report on how it looks in practice! It’s also neat because our friend Dale is currently interning in Seattle and is attending Mars Hill this summer, so he gives us another perspective on the book’s advice!

This summer is going by so fast
I can’t believe July starts next week. This summer is flying by. I made a calendar at work to map out the projects I’m working on, and I can see all the weeks I have left on one page. Less than six weeks left! Six weeks is still sort of a long time, but I need to make sure I’m making the most of the glorious free time I have left!

Well, that’s all for now. Until next week, much love from the Pacific Northwest!

Jane Austen goes 21st Century

So if you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you might have seen me post some links to my new favorite thing. But in case you aren’t or don’t, I will now tell you about it here!

My new favorite thing is…

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I’ve been a fan of web series since Dorm Life (another one of my faves and a must see for ResLifers and #sagrads and #sapros alike), but this one combines so many things I love! Jane Austen, social media, and Hank Green! I wrote a blog post mentioning how much I love the Green brothers a while back, but I swear everything they do is golden. Including this.

So what is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? Well, it’s a web series about what the Jane Austen story of Pride & Prejudice would look like in the 21st Century if Lizzie Bennet had a vlog (that’s video blog…). It’s funny and interesting, and videos come out twice a week. It’s also cool because the characters go on outside the little boxes of YouTube. Lizzie, Lydia, Charlotte, Jane, Caroline, Bingley (or Bing Lee as he’s known in the web series), and Darcy all have Twitter handles, and some have Tumblr accounts, too! Multi-dimensional social media classic literature adaptation fun for everyone!

PLUS the Bennets are gingers. So proud. #gingerpower

Check out the first video here, and hopefully you’ll want to watch more! I’ll also post the Twitter accounts and Tumblr addresses as well.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: YouTube@TheLBDOfficial, website, & Tumblr
Lizzie Bennet: @theLizzieBennet
Charlotte Lu: @theCharlotteLu
Jane Bennet: @LooksbyJane & Tumblr
Lydia Bennet:  @theLydiaBennet, Facebook & Tumblr
Caroline Lee: @that_caroline
Bing Lee: @bingliest
William Darcy: @wmdarcy

Summer reading list

So yesterday I posted about how I will be participating in my friend Megan‘s summer book challenge. I spent some time going through her categories and assessing books I’ve been meaning to read or books I’ve bought/downloaded but haven’t read yet and came up with a rough outline of which books I want to read this summer! Here’s what I’ve got so far…

Check out all the books I already had that will work for my summer reading challenge! And yes, that is my Kindle on top.

5 points: Read a book chosen for the 2012 World Book Night.
Friday Night Lights

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
Ender’s Game
Little Bee
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Q is for Quarry
Kite Runner
A Prayer for Owen Meany
The Stand
The History of Love
The Namesake
The Things They Carried
Bel Canto
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Glass Castle
The Book Thief

Any of these books will work for me. So many of the books listed I’ve read and loved (The Poisonwood Bible! Kindred!), but there were also a bunch I’ve been wanting to read (Ender’s Game!). This category will not be difficult to fulfill.

10: Read a book you were supposed to read in school, but either bailed on or Cliff-Noted.
Generation Me

Yeah… I was supposed to read this as a staff member for the 2010 freshmen common reading program at Mizzou. That didn’t happen. So I’m going to read it now! It’s been sitting on my shelf for two years, and now that I’ve been learning about millennials in grad school, I’m even more interested to read it.

10: Read a memoir or narrative nonfiction book.
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

This has also been sitting on my shelf for more than a year. My first David Foster Wallace experience!

15: Read a book in one day. (Must be at least 150 pages long.)

Again, sitting in my shelf waiting to be read. I mostly put it in this category because I had it, have been meaning to read it, and it’s just over 150 pages long, which means reading it in a day is doable, though I will probably be depressed later thanks to the subject matter.

15: Read a book that you’ve always wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to yet.
Ender’s Game

The Glass Castle
The Book Thief
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Honestly this will probably be the easiest category to fulfill. There are hundreds, literally, of books on my “to-read” list on Goodreads. I will find something to take this spot.

20: Read a pair of books that have antonyms in the titles.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks/The Beautiful & Damned
Journey to the Center of the Earth/Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

I’ll probably end up reading the latter two because I got them both for free on my Kindle, and the match up of “earth” and “sea” is less of a stretch than “immortal” and “damned.” Plus, it’s a Jules Verne match-up. Funsies.

20: Read a book that is set in a place you’ve never been but want to visit.
The Kitchen God’s Wife (San Francisco)
Bee Season (Washington, D.C.)
Books set in Australia
Books set in the UK

I don’t want to limit myself in every category, so I’ll probably be on the lookout for books set in SanFran, D.C., Australia or the UK. When you haven’t been too many places, it’s not too difficult to read a book set in a place you’ve never been but want to visit.

25: Find a book written the year you were born that was later made into a movie. Read the book and watch the movie; compare. Or find a movie released the year you were born that was based on a book. Do the same thing.
Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams) – Movie in 1989
Dead Poets Society (Dead Poets Society) – Book in 1989
A Prayer for Owen Meany (Simon Birch) – Book in 1989

Again, I haven’t decided, but this one should be fun!

25: Go into a bookstore or library. Pick any bookshelf. Read the third book from the left on the fourth shelf from the top. (If it’s not at least 200 pages, pick the next book to the right.)

Obviously this will depend on the bookstore/library of my choosing. I also may have to do a digital store/library depending on my access in Oregon. I hope I can gain access to a library there, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to.

25: Read a book about which you’ve heard bad things. (Hey, you can’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, right? And I’m upping the points to make it worth your while.)
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
The Tenth Circle
Revolutionary Road
A Clockwork Orange

This one was hard for me because really, I don’t want to read A Tale of Two Cities or something equally as skipped-in-high-school as Dickens. So I checked out some lists on Goodreads (“Worst Books of All Time” and “Most Depressing Books of All Time”), plus Megan’s own lowest-rated books she’s read, haha! We’ll see what I can do with these options.

30: Read a trilogy. Total page count for all three books together must be at least 500 pages.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest

I’ve had the first book unread on my shelf for two years, so this was also a no-brainer. Jumping on the Lisbeth Salamander train!

And with that, I’m ready for May 1!
Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge

Challenge accepted

Hey there! It’s me, Lindsay. Yeah, I haven’t written in a while. You know why. Blah blah grad school blah blah stress blah blah hives blah blah. I don’t need to go into that because I’m tried of talking about it, and I feel like you might be tired if hearing about it.

Check out my hispter Instagram photo of said post-it note (Thanks, Instagram for Android!)

That being said, I am sad I haven’t been able to blog more. I have so many things I want to write about! Seriously. I keep a post-it in my planner with all my ideas. So here I am, getting started on the last item on that list: a summer book chalenge!

I am super excited about this. I love reading. And full disclosure: I have read 7+ books for pleasure this semester, mostly because reading for fun is an escape for me and a way for me to procrastinate and avoid my stress… uh… oops.

ANYWAY. Here are the deets, courtesey of the challenger, my bloggy friend and former Twain neighbor/resident, Megan!


  • The challenge will run from May 1, 2012, to September 1, 2012. No books that are started before May 1 or finished after September 1 will count. (That’s why I’m posting this early, so you can plan your next books!)
  • No re-reads! I want you to experience new books with this challenge.
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long, unless otherwise noted.
  • A book can only be used for one category. If you want to switch the category later, that’s fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.
  • Each category may only be completed once, so the highest possible total is 200 points.
  • The first three people who finish the challenge will win a featured/guest post on my blog. If less than three people finish, the participants with the three highest scores will “win.” Good luck!

The Challenge:

5 points: Read a book chosen for the 2012 World Book Night.
10: Read a book you were supposed to read in school, but either bailed on or Cliff-Noted. (If you were super studious and never did this, then read a book most people were assigned to read in high school but you weren’t.)
10: Read a memoir or narrative nonfiction book. (Examples: Friday Night LightsWhen the Game Stands TallThe Devil in the White City, etc.)
15: Read a book in one day. (Must be at least 150 pages long.)
15: Read a book that you’ve always wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to yet.
20: Read a pair of books that have antonyms in the titles. (For example: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Boy in the Suitcase, or The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Heart of Darkness, etc..)
20: Read a book that is set in a place you’ve never been but want to visit.
25: Find a book written the year you were born that was later made into a movie. Read the book and watch the movie; compare. Or find a movie released the year you were born that was based on a book. Do the same thing.
25: Go into a bookstore or library. Pick any bookshelf. Read the third book from the left on the fourth shelf from the top. (If it’s not at least 200 pages, pick the next book to the right.)
25: Read a book about which you’ve heard bad things. (Hey, you can’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, right? And I’m upping the points to make it worth your while.)
30: Read a trilogy. Total page count for all three books together must be at least 500 pages. (Remember, you can’t have read any of the books before! Suggestions: The Robert Langdon seriesThe Hunger GamesTwilight…)

Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge

I’m excited for this challenge because I plan on relaxing this summer. After a crazy first year of grad school, I’m pumped to spend two weeks in Italy followed by 10 in Oregon. Italy will probably be pretty busy, but there are lots of plane rides to read on! In Oregon I’ll just be working 40 hours a week, but beyond that, I don’t have friends or classes, so I imagine and hope to have lots of free time to chill. I’m hoping to finish this challenge and read the entire New Testament this summer. Food for the mind and the soul!

Stay tuned: eventually I will post my proposed reading list to complete Megan’s challenge.

Thoughts on Easter via Little Women

I can’t not blog about this.

This semester has been the worst.There has been a lot of good things, but there have also been so many things slowly chipping away at me.

Classes are overwhelming. Work has been stressful the past few weeks. My grandma, who has lived with my family for the past 8 years, is about to pass away. My apartment flooded. Trying to figure out apartments next year was a huge pain. I have been itchy for 13 weeks because I’m allergic to my detergent or A&M construction or GOD KNOWS WHAT. I raised support for the first time. I interviewed 20 times for a summer internship. I’ve tried to hide from so much stress, which has only increased my anxiety.

To quote one of my dear roommates, “Jesus told me I’m despondent.”

And sometimes when I just feel so tired and stressed and despondent and  I just want some comfort, I turn to my favorite movie, Little Women.

I don’t know why this is my favorite movie, but it is. I love the family, the warmth, the innocence and simplicity. And I love firey, independent, writer chacters like Jo (and Skeeter from The Help, which I recently finished reading), even though I get upset every time Jo says no to Laurie, even though it’s probably best for them in the end.

Well, last night I couldn’t turn to the movie because it’s in College Station, and I’m in Arlington. So I turned to the book instead, which I have recently started rereading on my new Kindle. (Side note: I love my Kindle so much even though I swore I’d never want one. At some point I will write a whole blog post on it.)

I read Little Women once in high school. but it had been so long, and it was free on Amazon, so I started up again a few weeks ago. And tonight I came across this quote that I had to share. I’ve already read it about ten times tonight.

“…I have a better friend, even than Father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows…”

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Word, Marmee.

So it’s Easter, and honestly, I haven’t specifically thought much about Easter recently. I haven’t really given Jesus the proper reflection he deserves lately. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve spent most of this semester calling out to Jesus to save me from this spring. But I haven’t paused to think back on why I can call on him, what he did for me at the cross.

So thank you, Louisa May Alcott and Mrs. March, for pointing me back in the right direction this Easter. Because of Jesus, I don’t need to be despondent, even when the site of my planner gives me a panic attack. The Lord is faithful.

Dangit, Target.

You know, parts of this summer have been long. For example, the 12 Freshmen and three Transfer New Student Conferences I’ve worked.

I’ve given the same 2-minute parent check-in spiel approximately 1500 times (actually a pretty accurate estimate) this summer.*

I’ve also answered the same questions a bazillion times (imaginative estimate).**

That being said, I don’t mean to complain at all. My job is pretty much the best thing I could have ever asked for. There are just parts of my summer job description that are a little… repetitive (i.e. counting and double T-shirts every day).

So as the summer’s winding down, I’m pretty dang excited to take a few days off and head up to Colorado for a long weekend. In preparation for the trip, I went to Target today with a mission: buy new earbuds.

My 4-year-old iPod’s earbuds have been in sad shape for a while. I bought new ones last spring, only to loose the smaller cushions that actually fit my ears properly before I could change them for the cushions that came on the earbuds. So they were constantly falling out of my ears, but I made do. Until I lost an ear cushion. So then I would listen through one bud. All in all, it was a janky mess. So with a few plane and car rides ahead of my, I decided to finally suck it up and spend the $20 for new earbuds that fit properly.

But of course, you really can’t go into Target and only buy one thing. In the words of my e-migos:

Gwen's not actually an e-migo because we went to Mizzou together, but we've mostly interacted online.

Kate, however, is the paragon of an e-migo.

So yes. I ended up getting much more than earbuds. But you know what? It’s okay because everything I got is either very functional, fills a need I had or is a little treat for me surviving the repetitive parts of the past nine weeks.

my Target spoils

1. a cross-body bag
I adore cross-body bags. I’m not a huge purse-girl, but I do like to have something to stick my keys, wallet and phone in on occasion. I just like to have my hands free, and cross-body bags are perfect for this! I have an adorable teal cross-body bag just big enough for my phone, wallet and keys, but when I have a book (like when I don’t want to play laser tag) (or my Bible and journal for church), my only alternative is a brown Jansport bag. Although it’s the perfect size for stashing books, it’s not very fancy or grown-up looking. It’s pretty much a mini backpack. So when I saw this cross-body bag the minute I walked into Target, I knew I had to have it. It’s the perfect size and look for my new semi-professional life. Love.

2. earbuds
What I came in for, and they fit like a dream!

3. affordable nail polish in the summer’s hottest color.

Catherine is a fellow Mizzou J-School alum and an editorial assistant at Allure Magazine. I trust her beauty knowledge. And although my polish isn't Essie, it's the same color at half the price.

4. a tiny cosmetic bag
I have been pining after a tiny bag for hair accessories when I travel. This one’s the perfect size. Check!

So dangit, Target. You got me this time, but I forgive you. It’s the little things.

And with that, I’m off to Colorado and leaving my laptop behind. I’m pretty excited to be in the mountains, see my sister, hang out with my family, catch up with my friends and spend some time reading for fun!

See you later next week!

*“Howdy! I have a few things for you today. First off, this is a family calendar. It lists important dates such as when classes start, when breaks begin and other important dates like that that you might want to know. Next, I have our conference schedule. If you open up to the inside, we have our Day 1 and Day 2 schedule. Anything with a black dot next to it is mandatory for students. And then here on the back is a check list of some important things you might want to take care of before you leave tomorrow. Next, I have a sign up sheet for our Family Member Listserv. This is a monthly email newsletter, so if you’d like to receive that, you can fill it out and return it to the Help Desk. And then this is a flier for our New Family Welcome Weekend. It’s the weekend of the Baylor football game, so if you’d like to come back and visit your student that weekend, you can read over the flier and register for our social events online or at the Help Desk. If you need tickets to tonight’s Family Dinner or tomorrow’s Howdy Lunch, you can get those in the lines to the right or at the doors of the event. We also have parent name tags by the elevators on the way out. Any questions?”

** The Questions:

  • Where is the Rudder Theater? (Go around the corner to your left. Go up the stairs, and it will be on your left.)
  • Where is the Rudder Auditorium? (On your right.)
  • Where is the help desk? (In the middle of the Zone and also in Rudder.)
  • Where can I buy lunch tickets? (I just told you you could buy them in the lines to your right or at the doors of the events. Ok, I don’t actually say, “I already told you…” I’m polite and cheerful!)
  • Where is 601 Rudder? (Take the elevator to the sixth floor.)
  • Where is the financial aid office? (It’s in the Pavilion, right next to the SCC.)
  • How do I get to the Student Computing Services? (Go out the doors and take a left. Follow the street as it curves to the left and to the right. This building here is a greenhouse. Turn left there and it should be on your right.)
  • How mandatory are these programs exactly? (Well, you will be held responsible for knowing all the information given in the mandatory sessions, so you should go.)

Meanwhile, back in College Station…

It’s been a while since I wrote anything of significance about myself personally. So here’s a little catch up of what’s been going on in my life.

Must love dogs
In the past, I haven’t been the biggest supporter of dogs, mostly because my family dog, Molly, ruined all dogs for me. So it’s taken some time, but over the past year or six months, I’ve begun to warm back up to dogs.

This process was significantly sped up by the arrival of my friend Barclay‘s husky, Cobalt. It’s not that Cobalt isn’t somewhat cute, it’s just that Cobalt is the dog of one of my good friends, so I pretty much have to like him. Luckily the obligation part of liking him is slowly giving way to almost near genuine affection.The change in my feelings towards dogs has also been accelerated due to the fact that A&M’s mascot is a fluffy border collie, and I desperately want to meet her and take a photo with her.

Cobaltimore Bartlesby Bell, aka Cobalt

Reveille, the First Lady of Aggieland

*baby voice*
I have recently been surrounded by babies, which has been pretty heavenly. I love babies, so it’s been great to play with Ezra, Eva, Jackson and the babies in my church nursery. This weekend I get to go home and meet another baby, Elliot! (What’s with all the E-names this year? Must be this year’s trend.)

New and improved
I updated my “About Me” page and got a new header! You like? Now I just need to adjust my Twitter background…

Pass it back, Ags!
I met the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Yell Leaders and took a photo with them. Perks of my job/perks of my boss’s brother being a yell leader.

Thanks and gig 'em!

Awaken your wine
Today my friend and coworker Nick and I went to the Messina Hof Winery in Bryan because he likes wine, I want to learn more about it and he’s leaving Texas to go back to the Midwest in three days. $7 got us a tour of the winery, a sample wine glass and four wine tastings, though our tour guide ended up letting us try six wines since there were only four of us on the tour. The only bad thing about this whole deal was that the tour guide asked Nick and I

  • if we were married
  • if we were engaged
  • if we wanted to get engaged
  • if we wanted a room at the bed & breakfast

It was all in jest (I think), so it was more funny than awkward. I’m not entirely sure if the tour guide ever realized there were no romantic feelings between Nick and I, but despite all that, I still feel like $7 for the evening was a sweet deal. And I found out I like Port. Yum!

It all ends… 7.15
Tomorrow night I’m going to see the last Harry Potter movie. Crazy. We had a Harry Potter movie marathon and watched the first seven moves last week. It was a long 28 hours, but it was really fun.

Harry Potter was such a huge part of my junior high and high school identity. I went to several midnight book and movie releases, dressed up as Ginny Weasley more than socially acceptable, listened to Harry Potter podcasts on a weekly basis, studied for vocabulary tests using Harry-Potter-related sentences (It took me way too long to find that link)… I was a Potter-head if there ever was one.

My high school friends and I at the midnight release of the seventh book four years ago

It’s funny to think about what I did for the last several movies that came out. It’s definitely indicative of what stage of life I was in at the time…

  • Order of the Phoenix: Midnight release with Caleb and Angela
  • Half-Blood Prince: covered the midnight premier for the Columbia Missourian
  • Deathly Hallows Part 1: watched it the Saturday after it came out and immediately left town to visit College Station when it was over
  • Deathly Hallows Part 2: midnight premier with my new A&M friends

Dearly beloved
It seems that I might be reaching the life season of weddings. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two people in my new A&M homegroup, and this weekend I’m heading back to the DFW for my dear friend Angela’s wedding. I wonder who will be next in this season of life! (Probably Thomas & Shelby in January… but after that, who knows!)

Rocky mountain high
In just a little over a week, I will be en route to the Rocky Mountains to visit my sister and all my friends working out at the YMCA of the Rockies: Estes Park Center for Colorado LT 2011. I am beyond pumped to escape the Texas heat, hang out with my favorite (i.e. only) sister and catch up with my dear, dear Mizzou Mark Twain Canvas Group loves!

So in the end, that was still somewhat of a lame post, but at least it wasn’t about the Ambien Walrus. Maybe I’ll write something of spiritual depth and fortitude soon. Until then, this is what’s been up with me!