Since the beginning of 2016, I have had my purse and its contents stolen, a stomach bug/bout of food poisoning that left me void of food for 36+ hours, and a looming change in what I know of my world on the horizon that has me constantly playing Hermione Granger’s voice in my head saying “everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?” and then Harry’s ominous reply. Yes, yes it is.
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On any given Tuesday night you can find me running barefoot through the Herndon Lobby at Summit Church being chased by a posse of middle school girls chanting “8th grade girls…WE RUN THIS PLACE” I’ll be a little out of breath, sure, but make no mistake about it— there’s no place I’d rather be and no group of girls I’d rather be with.
If we were to rewind back to my own middle school years (which, let’s all take a minute and praise God that this isn’t possible), we would meet a version of me that would tell you with absolute certainty that once she got out of middle school, she was not going to look back. Because in so many ways, middle school is the least enjoyable thing I’ve ever spent 3 years of my life doing. And I venture to say I’m not alone in that. For me, the years between 6th and 8th grade were tumultuous. I didn’t know Jesus, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my insanely curly hair, and I didn’t know how I was going to manage three whole years of drama, hormones, and so much awkward. They are three years of my life that I was fine pretending never actually happened. Continue reading →
There are two things that I consistently muse on and measure a book with when I’m reading it. The first is whether it’s the right level of a page-turner or not. I can get pretty bored with a book if it’s not enticing me to keep reading, but I can also get pretty frustrated with a book if I feel like I’m being manipulated into reading it all in one sitting (I’m looking at you, Hunger Games). The second thing I take note of is a book’s narration. I am always more likely to stick with a book if I feel like the author is doing something fascinating and new with the narration, while maintaining a level of readability and excellence.
Where’d You Go Bernadette is readable, it’s excellent, the author Maria Semple did something fascinating and new with the narration, and also I read it in one sitting. But for the first time in a long time, I’ve deemed this a good thing! I was in no way manipulated to do this by cheap cliff-hangers at the end of chapters (yes, Hunger Games, still looking at you). Instead, I was absolutely all in and remained incredibly interested in what would happen next throughout the entirety of the novel due to skilled writing, unique characters, and a plot worth turning pages for. Also I was in a house without Netflix, just to be perfectly honest.
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First, allow me to apologize to any past teachers of mine who stumble upon this. I have a confession to make–I used to write fake annotations in my books in high-school. I would just draw random lines, brackets, stars, nonsense notes, pictures of trees, my name, etc. throughout the margins of classic works of literature. Not always, but yeah, there are definitely some Panic! at the Disco lyrics jotted throughout my copy of The Scarlet Letter for no academic reason whatsoever. And for that, I am so sorry Mr. Hawthorne.
But! People change and somewhere along the way (I’d wager it was when I read 1984) I started actually getting the value in annotating my books. In college, suresure, I doodled on occasion. But the books I really got into have actual meaningful notes in them. And eventually, I started annotating books that I’m just reading for pleasure.
Ya hear that? Getting a degree in literature DOES have real world value.
Eh, I tried.
Recently, I read Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines and here is just a sampling of some of my astute annotations:
“She gets me.”
“STORY OF MY LIFE”
“this is so important”
“OMGosh be my BFF plz”
I’d also wager that 46-83% of each chapter is underlined or starred. So, I guess I’ll just say this now–if you are like me and were residing under a big stupid rock in 2007 when the book was published and haven’t spent time sitting outside with an iced coffee and some cookie butter reading this book, GET ON IT.
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I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution type of person. I love the idea of it. The part of me that’s extremely goal-oriented and gets amped up on the feeling of a new beginning is a big fan of the concept. But the part of me that’s terrified of failure and fairly non-committal does NOT like the sound of saying I’ve got 365 days to do something/give something up/change something forever and if I don’t do it, I’ve already told everyone I was going to and then it’s just like “LOL Remember when she said she was going to stop head-banging in public this year? NICE TRY, SCHMIDT.”
Here’s the thing. I was so shaken up at the end of 2013 by a myriad of life events, that whether I wanted to or not, the beginning of 2014 felt like a chance to do things differently. And I got all caught up in that cliche way of viewing the beginning of the year, that all-be-darned if 2014 wasn’t a fantastic year that I made space in for God to surprise me and grow me and change me and ugh. Just thinking about it makes my cold, cynical heart swell with joy.
So when 2015 was nearing, I wanted to access some of those early 2014 vibes again without feeling like a hurricane of misfortune or a year-long resolution was the only way to do so. I don’t like the stereotype that people give up their resolutions by March. I don’t like how crowded the gym is in January or how many people just recycle their resolutions every year cause they never did quite get around to accomplishing them. It bums me out so hard.
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