Bibliophile's Nightmare!

was looking over Postsecret.com this last Sunday. This has been a Sunday habit for several years now. 

In case you didn't know, Postsecret is a website where Frank Warren posts secrets that are anonymously mailed to his house.

They are funny, sincere, angry, forgiving, sexual, sad, and every other emotion.

Over the years I have been moved to tears, frustration, and laughter. But it wasn't until this week that one really struck me as just abhorrent.



Now, I'm not super proud that this was the one to get me.

There have been secretes about drugs and abuse and cheating and lots of other terrible things. 

Maybe I can blame the pregnancy hormones. But this one seriously gave me a "WTF?!" rage. 

WHO DOES THIS?! I WOULD LOOSE MY SHIT!!

You are a terrible person, Anonymous. Absolutely terrible. 

The Commandments of Me



Definitely stealing this from Jana, but I think that'll be okay since she took it from someone else too.

It's basically just a list of fundamental beliefs that I try to stick to. I've actually been thinking about this a lot since Maisie is on the way- what kind of role model am I going to be for her? What principles do I want to demonstrate to her?

Here is what I came up with:

    1. Learn to forgive. 
    • It is not about the other person, it is about the fact that Christ has forgiven you. Also, the burden of holding on to that hurt and anger is only hurting yourself. Give up the self-righteousness and let it go. 

    2. There are a lot of different ways to live life. 
    • It doesn't matter if the So & So's have an open marriage, if the XYZ's are having another baby, if your neighbors spent more on their house than you would have. You do what feels right, based on your morals, and trust that others will do the same. If you don't like their choices, don't be in their lives. But also don't feel the need to talk about it all the time either. Just shhh. 

    3. Don't take people's attitudes personally. 
    • They probably don't care about you. Just being honest. It's way more likely that the rude cashier is pissed off at the person who was ahead of you in line who got mad she wouldn't take their expired coupon, or at the manager threatening to fire her if she DID give in to the angry customer. Can we all agree that pretending to be friends with strangers is weird, and not necessary for your fast food to be prepared safely and your change calculated correctly?

    4. Love your hobbies, with passion and enthusiasm.
    • Everyone needs a hobby. Otherwise, you'll be bored and too invested in other people's lives (see 1-3 above). And there is no use in having a hobby if you don't really enjoy it, so don't worry about being cool. Just be giddy and enjoy it. 

    5. Everyone should know how to cook a meal and do a load of laundry. 
    • It's not about gender, it's about the basic ability to take care of yourself as an adult human.  

    6. Spend some time in nature.
    • It's one of the best things you can do for your mental health. I'm not saying it's a replacement for therapy or medication, or to dismiss mental health issues. There are people who suffer from chemical imbalances that need more than a day at the beach. But I truly believe (and environmental psych backs me up) that getting fresh air in a natural surrounding is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, on so many levels.

     7. Do something active.
    • Find something physical that you like doing. It doesn't have to be the gym, or running. Maybe it's swimming, or surfing, or dancing around your living room for 30 minutes at a time. But seriously, just do it. It makes you feel better in so many ways.   

    8. Read.
    • I don't care if it's comic books, best sellers, or bodice-rippers. Hell, I don't care if it's a bunch of Little Golden Books or the cereal box. But read something, fairly often. 

    9. Take Pictures.
    • I know, people always hate taking pictures and the way they look. But documentation of your life is important. Even if it's not important to you, it matters to your friends and family. Everyone deserves something to hold on to, and those pictures are inexplicably tied to memories. Just smile and suck it up.   

    10. Explore. 
    • Not all of us can travel to faraway countries, but there are parks and museums and Geocaching. Do some research about your state or county. Even in the smallest towns there is something of interest. Be interested and open to the world around you. 

      Perfect in Weakness: Christianity


       from the archives
      *****************************************
       
      disclaimer: I'm already worried that I will end writing too much about being pregnant, and then when the kid arrives...but screw it. My blog has never been super popular and I'm not entirely sure what you expect if it's not my random thoughts. And those thoughts now include babies. So, I will try to make it relatively general and funny (because this shit is awkward in so many ways) but it's going to pop up.

      I haven’t fully gotten to the super joyous part of being pregnant. I think it will come. But the first trimester is basically three months of feeling like crap- and I had it so much easier than most. But I could definitely tell that my body wasn’t operating at it’s full capacity (which really sucks because I had finally gotten into a good routine at the gym and was feeling great and even loosing weight).
      And now that I’ve kinda burst the bubble and it’s officially out, my co-workers and constantly asking me how I’m feeling and watching what I’m doing.

      I appreciate their concern- but at times it can be overwhelming.

      I know I’ve probably beaten this dead horse a lot too, but I was a military wife. Like, at 18. So a huge immediate part of my life as an adult was doing stuff on my own.

      So when I’ve gained a total of 3 lbs and have energy for the first time in two and a half months, it’s tough to accept when someone gets in my face about picking up a box that weighs less than 10 lbs. I feel like some people just want me to sit in a bubble for the next 6 months, and I just can’t do that. I don’t want to, and it’s not good for me OR the kid. I know things have changed and now women are encouraged to keep up some form of exercise, but people have these really strong beliefs that you just can’t shake.
      It’s tough. It’s tough for me to accept that I can’t do things for myself- and it’s tough to ask for help.
      But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
      2 Corinthians 12:9

      While I’ve read this verse about a million times, it really slapped me in the face last week as I bitched about everyone bitching at me.

      I’ve heard about how beautiful and natural pregnancy is, and I know that there are many people who struggle with infertility and would gladly trade places with me in a second. But I’ve always viewed pregnancy as something that was a path to motherhood, not something in itself to be celebrated solely as a condition.

      And as a condition, it can kinda suck! I mean look, just being real, I have never in my life been constipated until I was with child. And then I laid in my bathroom floor in pain the week after I found out until I started drinking Benefiber with my water each day.

      But looking at this pregnancy as the type of weakness that glorifies God struck me as a beautiful thing. It made me feel less out of control, and more like I was part of something bigger.

      It made me wonder how much different I could feel if every time I felt weak I instead sought out the proof of His power.

      *************

      I originally wrote this about 4-5 months ago, when I was in the middle of my pregnancy. 

      Man, did I need to come back and reread it now. I'm nearing the end and things are getting tough. 

      I'm uncomfortable a large majority of the time. And still, I know I could feel so much worse- many do. 

      I've got weeks left. It's probably only going to get tougher. But there is still His grace and power. Even more as I get weaker and weaker. 

      My View On Classics


       Last year I decided to make more of an effort to read so called classics. 

      This is partly because my amazing hubby bought me a starter collection of the Barnes & Nobles classics, which included all the works of Jane Austen (along with Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Homer plus more). They're gorgeous and I wanted to read them (but also keep them pristine). And it's also just due to the fact that I kept hearing about all these books that I have never read, and that's annoying.

      I had a general list of books on my mind, and also asked for recommendations. Some things I've read for this purpose are:

      • Multiple works of Jane Austen
      • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
      • My Antonia by Willa Cather
      • The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
      • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
      • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
      • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
      • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

      My least favorite has been Wuthering Heights- because that is a terrible story with awful characters and how in the world anyone classifies it as a love story is beyond me.

      My most favorite has been Jane Eyre, because I found the main character intriguing and the love story to be unique.

      Here's what I've decided when it comes to classics- they are good, but overall rarely great. 

      I'm not sure exactly who decides what makes a classic a classic. The biggest link, if any, I can find is that they are all very distinct voices. Austen, Salinger, Hemingway...they all sound uniquely like themselves.

      I think that's why it's so difficult to relate to nowadays, but also exactly why we should still read them. 

      In a world where most TV shows and movies are just remakes, and books of the same genre can feel sadly formulaic (lookin' at you, Nicholas Sparks), reading something from a different era or about a circumstance no longer likely to be experienced by our generation helps stretch our minds.

      It can be painful. I'm not saying I've enjoyed it, or feel like it's made me smarter/etc. But I do feel like it's helped me be more thoughtful about what I do and don't like, and pushed me to think about situations I wouldn't normally consider.

      Maybe that's the point of classics...to make us think. 

      I'm starting to sound like an English teacher.

      Either way, while I don't like all the classics I've read, I am grateful that I've read them. And I'll continue to work my way through them...slowly.

      Have you read a lot of classics, or do you plan too? 
      Why or why not?

      Pregnancy Thoughts: Having a Girl


      from the archives: originally posted on November 24, 2015

       ****************************************************



      Last weekend was pretty busy- we had our gender reveal! My mom came and so did my in-laws…and…

      We are having a baby girl!

      Hubby really thought it was going to be a boy, I didn’t have an opinion one way or another. It’s crazy but this adds a whole other level of reality.  

      I know, I know, that’s sounds dumb when we are already almost halfway through this pregnancy (which, just let me say, is weird on a whole other level). 

      But now I have a name for the tiny little person growing in my stomach- she even actually kind of looks like a person now! Woot woot. Hubs says as soon as the tech put the wand on my stomach he immediately saw an arm/hand/fingers. I think it was a big moment for him- an actual little human was kind of waving in there.

      My face is breaking out like crazy, except for one spot which has skin as dry as the freakin’ Sahara, so that’s fun.
       So, there you go. That’s what’s going on in my life…how are you?


      Pregnancy Thoughts: Part 1

      from the archives: originally posted November 12, 2015

       ***************************************************************



      Pregnancy is an interesting adventure. It can be fun, it can be awkward, it can be intimate, it can be totally public. Here are some things I’ve thought/felt over the past few months.

      • The first few weeks are really awkward. 
        • Because you feel like you have this flashing neon sign that no one acknowledges. It’s because they don’t know, but it feels like they should because internally you are freaking out so much (but in a good way).

      • I don’t think there is ever a not-awkward way to tell someone you’re expecting. 
        • It’s kind of an invitation into your sex life and personal decisions, but at the same time going to be totally obvious at some point so not private at all.

      • I love my husband and he is seriously amazing. 
        • He’s been so understanding on the nights I’m too nauseous/tired to cook a real dinner and constantly asks how I’m feeling, if I can need anything, etc but still treating me like a person instead of a child. Plus he is really cool about all the different ways my body is changing and how I’m dealing with it- it’s nice to have a partner who isn’t creeped out OR scared of what’s going on inside me (because sadly, I’ve heard of men being both and it really bumming out their women). The smile on his face when he looks at my belly is priceless.

      • Newly pregnant bellies are suuuuper weird. 
        • Even with <5 lbs weight gain, the shape of my stomach is…different. It has this weird slope to it and puffs out in a way that is obviously not just typical weight gain- something is going on in there.

      • That being said, I would not have described myself as ‘skinny’ before…but I’m already missing the way I felt like 3 lbs ago.

      • Happy friends are the BEST friends. 
        • Seriously. I’ve been that friend who was nervous that someone got pregnant, that we wouldn’t be friends anymore, etc. So when people are cool about it and “No we’ll still make this work and I’m really happy for you” it gives me all the warm and fuzzies<3
       
      • People who believe they know more than my medical providers are tough to deal with. 
        • I knew I was going to hear everyone’s opinions, and I’m trying to just let it wash over me and not cause stress…but it’s tough. Caffeine effects have been studied and even though I normally don’t even come close to my daily max (some days I have none), I still get comments and frowns when I sip my Starbucks. Don’t even get me started on the idea that you shouldn’t raise your arms for 9 months- no way that can happen, especially when I barely top 5 feet.

      Pregnancy Thoughts: Third Trimester

       


      I'm officially in the third trimester of my pregnancy. In case you don't know, that means I'm relatively close to the end.

      True talk- I'm getting a little tired of being pregnant. 

      Don't get me wrong- I completely realize how blessed I am to even be able to get pregnant. And how great it is that I've had a healthy pregnancy. As my husband has pointed out, we are already past the point where he was born (he was quite early). So there is a very good chance that even if something were to happen over the next few weeks, the baby would almost certainly survive even if she needed to go into the NICU. This is a very relieving point to get to.

      That being said, this last part is basically just super uncomfortable the majority of the time.

      I honestly can't remember the last time I have been 100% comfortable. Laying down isn't comfy, sitting isn't comfy, standing isn't comfy...no matter what I do either my feet or my back or my ribs hurt (baby girl loves to shove into my ribs- has been doing this for weeks).

      It's awesome to feel her little movements. 

      But they are getting harder to feel since she is running out of room. Oh, and my weight gain has spiked over the past month :-/ We even had to do an extra ultrasound for "abnormal weight gain," even though most women I've talked to have gained my amount or more. Everything is fine, I'm just going to have more weight than hoped to loose after she arrives.

      Maybe it's water weight, because my legs and feet have started swelling...yay! 

      This is really awesome, because the 2 pairs of shoes that I have left don't match the clothes I can fit into. Getting dressed is so much fun in so many ways, you don't even know.

      Hormones are definitely starting to kick in, and I'm feeling impatient and frustrated. There is only so much left to do, and then I will have to go through labor & delivery...which isn't exactly an easy experience.

      It feels like there is both a lot of time and almost no time until my due date. 

      And there's no guarantee that my due date is even close to when she will come- I could have another week or two after that. And then I'm going to try to breastfeed, and will be recovering...I just want to get to the part where my baby is here and I'm comfortable again. But really there is no way to know when that will be.

      This may sound like a big downer, but that's not accurate. I'm still super thrilled. It's just like when you have a big vacation planned and everything up to that point takes forever and you start getting antsy.

      Show Us Your Books Link-Up: March 2016


      Time for the show us your books link-up!

      I did much better than my 2 books for last month, coming in at 5 this month. TBF, one of these was an audio book (hubby & I have an Audible account and switch off months). But it still counts!
       
      Even better, all of these books met one of my 2016 Reading Goals! They either meet my Diversity Reading Challenge, or my challenge to get rid of my IRL TBR shelf. 

       












       












       


       I purchased this book a while back because I felt like I should be able to say I've read some Hemingway. Gotta admit, after all the hype I'm sort of just sitting here going "Eh." He definitely has a specific writing style. It took a minute to get used to...but eventually I almost enjoyed it. Noteworthy- I often dislike reading war books, as it's hard for to keep up with the location and timing of things. These details of the surrounding culture are very important and add to the story, so I blame myself for missing some of this story. I can't say I necessarily liked or enjoyed the main character....he was okay, but didn't grab me. And his girl was super annoying honestly...but no one deserved that ending! WTF?! Ugh. I just couldn't.





       
      I picked this up because it also covers one of my Diversity Reading Challenge requirements- strong character with a disability. Helen Keller is probably the most famous disabled person, and it almost felt like cheating since for some reason I feel like this was meant to search out newer works. But that isn't specified, so I got over it. This is a pretty short version, apparently (only 150 pages), I did not realize until I purchased it. Whoops. Anyway, it's really interesting to read about the different techniques Helen and her instructor used to communicate and learn. Her love of reading and gaining knowledge really connected with me. 

      Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?





      Life According to Steph

      Hell, and Why We Don’t Like It Either





      Many people outside of organized religion can at least understand and even like the idea of a god and a heaven.  They may not agree on the details, but the general idea is fairly universal.

      I’m not sure why the idea of an opposing bad force (devil/hell) is so radical then.  

      Look at any movie, book, even song- there’s almost always some conflict.  It’s a natural way of life. But people outside of religion (and quite a bit within it, come to think of it), do not like talking about hell.

      There is a really basic answer to this- it sucks.  No one wants to think of an evil force that could randomly be at work within their life.  No one wants to imagine a miserable eternity- life itself can hurt so damn bad that the idea of anything worse, lasting even longer, is just a shitty shitty thing to ponder.

      Well, I want to let out a big secret here- Christians don’t like hell either.

      I think when people hear the words Christianity+hell they automatically think of Westboro Baptist Church style hatred being spewed.  This is really, really not the case the majority of the time.

      Yes, some (so-called) Christians use “You’re going to hell!” like it’s going out of style.  They seem so self-righteous and judgmental and downright hateful- like they get pleasure from the idea of your suffering.  And that’s absolutely not okay.  But those people are the minority in my opinion- it’s just unfortunately a case where the squeaky wheel gets the grease (or in this case, the attention).
      Today, I ask you to please, please put those people out of your mind.  Instead, think about it from this side:

      As a Christian, I believe in God.  I believe that people are inherently sinful, and can never measure up to that God.  The wonderful, amazingthing about Christianity is that this has been taken care of by Christ sacrificing himself.  These are the basic foundations of my Christianity.  Unfortunately, with the belief that Christ is the onlyway to heaven…it follows that people who don’t believe in Christ don’t go to heaven.

      And let me tell you, that frickin’ blows.  It is not a good, pleasing feeling (for most of us) to know that people you love are going to miss on what you truly believe is the best thing in life, both this physical one and an eternal spiritual one.  It blows so much that it’s been enough to shake the faith of believers- because faith is hard at times.  My life would be so much easier if I really didn’t feel this way and could just say “Sure, do whatever you want, nothing really matters except your opinion!”

      I mean, it would also be much more lonely and less fulfilling, but it would certainly be much easier at times.

      So when most Christians say “That isn’t right,” “that’s sinful behavior,” or “you’re going to hell,” it’s not easy for us to say.  We aren’t saying it because it makes us happy.  We’re saying it because we care.  We are saying it because we truly, from the bottom of our hearts, hurtto see you doing something that we believe is detrimental to your life.  We typically know that we are risking you going off on us, and we are doing it anyway because we are hoping with all we have that you might turn towards something that is better for you.  We are saying it because it’s heartbreaking to see you suffer and we believe that there is a Savior who can help soothe that pain better than anyone or anything on earth.

      I do not believe in scaring people into Christianity.  I don’t think that trying to do that produces authentic or truly saved believers.  But I do think it’s unfair, both to believers and nonbelievers who may be interested in an open, well-rounded conversation, that the mention of this part of faith automatically puts so many walls up.  I just hope that if this comes up in the future, you would
      think about it from the other side and understand how hard of a topic it is on this side of the fence too.

      Favorite Television Re-Watches



      I'm a big fan of revisiting stories. In fact...I often prefer it. It's really hard to get me to watch new things, because I so rarely feel like they will be worth the energy of getting invested in. That's why I'm always so late to the game when it comes to a lot of movies or television shows- I wait until literally everyone I know (or a few people I really, really trust to know my interests) has recommended it.

      But, overall, I still prefer to re-watch things than give new ones a try. This is a little pathetic...but oh well. I am who I am, okay?


      FRIENDS

      This is my favorite television show. I know basically every line- even the extended versions, because Tank bought me the complete series and basically every episode has extra lines. In fact, I get upset watching it on Netflix or TV because my favorite lines are always cut!


      The Office

      I just recently watched this entire series again. Not gonna lie, it was mostly to watch Jim & Pam fall in love all over again. I freakin' love that relationship. It is, in my opinion, one of the best romantic relationships in media. 


      Bones


       Just started rewatching this, and I so love it. Booth & Brennan just have the best chemistry, from the beginning. I know people make fun of shows that have gone on as long as they have, but I love it. I love the growth of the characters. Some people have complained that Brennan has strayed from her awkward, analytical self too much with the relationship/family/etc. But I appreciate the growth and still love her in all forms. 


      Sons of Anarchy 


      While FRIENDS goes down as my favorite show, SOA is my pick for the best show ever on television. There is so much going on here- about family, brotherhood, fringe culture, loyalty, psychology, love, drugs, sex, violence...I seriously wish I could take a college course on it because there is SO MUCH to digest and dissect.

      Monthly Favorites: February 2016

      Obviously I've been in a bit of a blogging rut lately. I've considered doing this before, but I'm thinking of doing a monthly wrap-up of things I've enjoyed throughout the month. Here's what grabbed me in February 2016.





      Hank Green lost his dog, 
      and made a beautiful video that definitely made me cry.




      Stuff Mom Never Told You's #FreeKesha Cocktail Video

      I am not a Kesha fan. But I'm also not a fan of emotional or sexual abuse, or forcing someone into a potentially dangerous situation "just in case" I don't know the full story. And I'm sick of hearing about how careful we have to be about lying women and protecting men's reputation. Yes, there have been women who I questioned or even blamed when they brought up abuse stories. I'm not proud of it- but I also don't believe EVERYTHING I hear just because someone with a vagina told me. HOWEVER. This situation isn't a "Who do I believe?" situation. This is a, "Am I willing to risk a woman's mental, emotional, and physical safety and health for a man's reputation and money?" America has said yes, and that pisses me the fuck off.





      I thought this article was really interesting. This is something I've noticed a lot lately- it seems like the people who have the least in life, or who have been poor, are the most comfortable with spending money and trying to help others. Those who are used to being comfortable want to stay comfortable, and definitely seem to view poverty as a choice or something someone deserves.

      What have you enjoyed reading or watching this past month?