December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

WOW!! Is it just me, or has 2011 flown by?! Goodness gracious me, I feel like it was just a few weeks ago that we were watching An American in Paris and paused it to watch The Ball drop.

2011 has been a mixture of good and bad, and I can safely say that it was mostly good! Here are a few highlights of my year...

  • January - The Ice Storm - how could I forget it?! We were at a funeral in Mississippi when it hit and came home right in the middle of it. We visited my grandparents and, on the 15th, got to see Beauty and the Beast at the Fox Theater in Atlanta! Whoa... what a good musical. I absolutely loved it!

  • February - I attended TeenPact for the first time, and boy, was it an experience! I got to spend time in the Georgia State Capitol, interview lobbyists, and talk with a lot of my friends! Yes, there was a lot of homework before the four-day class (including writing a bill and analysing a bill that was pending at the time), but I had a great time!

  • March - My younger brother turned eleven, a friend got married, and I went to a one-day conference called Passion for Jesus, which was very good. I also started a house-cleaning job with Arwen, which has proved to be a very well-paying but tiring job! : )

  • April - A good friend had a birthday and we visited them, which was a blast! Arwen and I also played in our 2nd Spring Concert with the Reinhardt University Orchestra. (Please don't ask what we played... I can't remember.) April also ushered in a loooong journey to yard perfection as we prepared for Arwen's graduation in June.

  • May - My adorable little brother turned two! He's getting cuter every day! My sister turned thirteen, which is a big birthday for us. We celebrated with a tea party and a lot of her good friends.

  • June - Party of the Century!! (Oh, and Arwen's graduation...) We also had our annual Camp GrandmaHoney with our grandparents and cousins on my dad's side. It was so much fun, and something I look forward to every year.

  • July - My mom and dad celebrated their birthdays and had a getaway vacation at St. Simons. Also, my aunt and cousin came to babysit us while they went away again later in the month.

  • August - We visited North Carolina twice, having an awesome time with friends on both trips. A friend got married (one of the reasons for our visiting NC) and a few good friends celebrated birthdays (another reason to visit NC). I also got my permit... look out, world!! : )

  • September - We had our late summer vacation at Laguna Beach and enjoyed time with friends there! Also, Arwen celebrated her 18th birthday and we had some friends over. Courageous came out, too, which we saw and loved.

  • October - A very full month, looking at my calender! Some friends from NC came and we went to the Passion for Jesus Retreat at a camp nearby and learned a lot. I also found out I had hypothyroidism and was sick for a good two and a half weeks. : P We also participated with a conference that our church was hosting, and Arwen and I helped lead worship for it. (We still haven't stopped practicing with the 'Worship Team,' I joke, because now we're regularly leading worship on Sundays!) We also went over to some friends' house every Sunday after church to prepare for the same conference and found time to play football or Ultimate nearly every week... good times. : )

  • November - Compared to October, November was pretty bleak and boring. It gave me some time to catch up on most of my school I'd missed in October. A friend, who is eleven days older than me, celebrated her birthday and I tried to call her but forgot. : D

  • December - We had our 3rd round of Reinhardt Christmas Concerts - four in three days - and had a blast. (My favorite song is still 'Celtic Christmas,' even though they've played it every year!) I turned seventeen... and still haven't gotten over it. It seems so old! (Half of thirty-four - yikes!) I played piano and violin at Belk for the first time, which was great but nerve-wracking! I also finished my third short story and it turned out a lot better than I expected (and a lot longer)! CHRISTMAS!!! So much fun, and I had a good time visiting family members I see once a year.

Wow, that was a lot. I've truly been blessed this year! Can't wait for next year!


December 24, 2011

The REASON for CHRISTmas...

I was going to write this post on all the Christmas movies I've watched in the past month or so, with a little blurb on what I thought of them, but decided there was a much more pressing issue I needed to discuss.

A few months ago, my family found out that some friends of ours didn't celebrate Christmas. It's given my family a lot to think about. Although I wasn't there when they gave their reasons, I can think of a few reasons why I wouldn't want "do Christmas" - in the modern way it's being celebrated, that is. Just look at how big Santa Claus has gotten over the past century or so, then add that with the big push for marketing. All that, plus the general selfishness surrounding December, makes me pretty angry. What must God think of how we've warped this holiday - one that's supposed to be sacred and set aside to celebrate Jesus' birth?

I encourage you to turn off the computer or cell phone or whatever and think about the reason you celebrate Christmas. Then wish Jesus a happy birthday. : )

Merry Christmas!


December 23, 2011

Jane Austen Questions

In honor of Jane Austen's birthday last week, someone at a blog I read had a few questions she wanted people to answer. I'm a little late, but I still wanted to answer them. : )

1 - What was the first JA novel you ever read, and who introduced you to it?
Wow... let me think. I believe it was Love and Friendship. I know that's not one of her most popular novels, but it's really funny and when Arwen suggested I read it (and read me little bits), I just couldn't say no! Jane Austen wrote it when she was about twelve, so it's written in the way people talked back then but with a 12-year-old's point of view. (Meaning, the main character and her husband get married literally ten minutes after they meet each other! Too funny...)

2 - Which is your least favorite JA novel, and why? (Everybody posts about their favorites... I want to know what's at the bottom of your list!)
Hum... I don't know! I haven't really read any of her books (shocking, I know!), so I can't exactly say which is my least favorite. I'll go with movies. I think Northanger Abbey was my least favorite movie. (Just too many parts we couldn't watch.)

3 - Who do you think is the funniest character JA ever created?
Mary Bennet. She makes me laugh every single time we watch the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. "Misfortunes, we are told, are sent to test our fortitude." Thanks a lot, Mary.

4 - Which JA villain[ess] do you love to hate?
Ooh... Do I have to say villainess? How about villain? I think Willoughby from the 2008 Sense and Sensibility is my favorite villain. He's so creepy, and the way he ignores Marianne at the ball is so awful!

5 - What's your favorite JA quote?
Oh, deary me! I can't pinpoint any one favorite, so a few top ones will have to do.
- "To be fond of dancing [is] a certain step towards falling in love." (Goodness gracious - I'm DOOMED!)
- "My characters shall have, after a little trouble, all that they desire."
- "I will not say that your mulberry trees are dead; but I am afraid they're not alive." (Jane Austen's Letters)
- "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more!" (Mr. Knightly from Emma)

6 - If you were to "start" someone on JA, which book would you recommend to them first and why?
Pride and Prejudice because it's a Jane Austen classic! If you don't like it, you might not like any of her other books.

7 - What is your absolute favorite JA film adaptation and why?
Hands down, the 2010 Emma! I love that movie! Every single thing about it is just great - the acting, the costumes, the characters, the plot development, everything! Ramola Garai (Barbara Spooner from Amazing Grace) does an amazing job as Emma Woodhouse, and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly is now probably my favorite JA movie guy character. *sighs* I need to watch that again. (Ahh, yes, and I could listen to the music for hours!!!)

8 - If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of JA's novels, which would it be and why?
Northanger Abbey. It's Arwen's favorite book and I couldn't see why when we watched the movie because I just couldn't get into it. (But if I had money, I personally wouldn't be authorizing a Jane Austen book - I'd be making someone make Eight Cousins a movie!)

9 - Which JA character do you most identify with?
Marianne Dashwood. She's second oldest and has a romantic outlook on life, just like me, which often gets her in trouble. She plays piano - like me - and has an older and a younger sister - like me. (I just hope I skip the whole Willoughby thing!)

10 - If you could have lunch with JA today, what question would you most like to ask her?
"Why didn't you finish Sanditon?!"

11 - Is there any one thing that you think could have been improved upon in one (or all) of JA's books? What is it and why?
I would have liked to see Margaret Dashwood's character fleshed out a little more. I mean, after her sisters go off and get married, what happens to her? Yes, at the time of Sense and Sensibility, she is a little young to get married, but I want to know what her story is.

12 - If you could have lunch with one of JA's characters today, who would it be and why?
Emma Woodhouse so I could ask her which of the movies she thinks did the best job with her. : )


December 22, 2011

A Little Note...

Hello, dear readers!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Elizabeth and, as of right now, I am eighteen years old. I cannot disclose my last name because that would ruin a surprise. (It's been a great secret for almost a year now and I'm afraid of what Lady Eowyn would do to me if I told you. Kill me off, no doubt. Wouldn't want that!)

I have been asked to write a guest post by my lady, who says she has no time for blogging. She regretfully admits that two of her last few posts have been scheduled because she can't find time to "sit down and write a post." So she sits and writes a half dozen to post later. (Her reasoning is beyond me...)

Lady Eowyn has been swamped with work (her words, not mine) on her newest short story. She is trying to finish it for a few friends and thinks it would make a wonderful Christmas present for them - that is, if she can ever get it done. (I hope she gets it done soon, for I wish to see what she does to me.)

All that to say, my apologies, dear readers. Lady Eowyn will be back soon with either a Christmas post or a New Year's post, whichever one she can write in time.

- Elizabeth

EDIT: Wow, Lizzie, it's good to see you here! I guess that since you were such a big part of my life for the past few days and consuming nearly all of my free time writing your story, you decided to visit my little world here on Blogger. No prob. Your story's done, by the way. Longest short story I've written, which makes me happy and means that you've been through a lot. I can't help it, though; it's what writers do! : )

December 21, 2011

Marry Him!

A few months ago, I was looking in our newspaper and the title of this book caught my eye. It's called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good-Enough. I grinned and read the description. "Interviewing," it read, "among others, therapists, members of the clergy, and both single and married people, [Lori] Gottlieb argues that many women today end up alone because they hold men to unreasonably high standards." I promptly cut out the article and put it on our refrigerator, where it sits today. Let me tell you why.

I'm waiting for my future husband. (See the picture on the side of the blog that says True Love Waits.) I wouldn't like to "end up alone," but I'm willing to wait for someone who meets my standards, which, I admit, are pretty high. (I'll settle for nothing less! I really can't, especially the way things are today.) I haven't yet written out a list of requirements yet - though I know a few girls who have - but a few of the mandatory ones are that he has to be a strong Christian, have the same convictions as me, and be waiting for me, too.

Your thoughts?


December 19, 2011


"If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them be your acquaintances."
- Winston S. Churchill

December 18, 2011

Signs of Christmas...

Our mantle and part of our Christmas tree (Take note of the picture on the mantle. Our living room looks like that now - baby grand and all!)

Brownies I made for Christmas presents - don't they look good?!

Packaging of the brownies, complete with a tag I made. A family tradition of ours is making Christmas present tags every year.

Oreo Cookie Balls that Arwen made.... The only word to describe them is YUM!!!

Grandma's signature punch - love it!

One of my favorite parts about Christmas is getting to see relatives I haven't seen in... a year. : )

Presents for the White Elephant game. (This year, I got a Pampered Chef stoneware 'small bar pan' for my hope chest. Yay!)

My grandparents' Christmas tree

Adorable baby brother opening his second present of the night (the first was intended for my grandmother... whoops!)

Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2011

The Journey is Coming Soon....

Well, here we are, less than a year until the release date of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!!
Needless to say, I'm excited.  Very excited.

December 11, 2011

Delicious Tuna Sandwich Recipe

Hello, all!

This time, I thought I'd do a recipe. I haven't before, which is really strange because I love cooking and baking and messing around in the kitchen. (I even like cleaning it... weird, right?)

Tuna Sandwich

An actual picture of my sandwich - doesn't it look awesome?!

This is an interesting twist on a 'boring' meal. (Sorry, but tuna can be a bit boring sometimes!) Thanks to the lady at Yawn's Bookstore for making this for me and inspiring me to try it at home!!

I think I've mentioned before that right now I'm off of gluten (which is in flour), dairy, and peanuts. It's been hard, especially since I love cookies and ice cream and peanut butter! I've been on this diet for nearly a month and a half, and I've had a lot of adventures trying to find something to eat for lunch. (I've discovered you can only have salad so many times a week before it gets dull!) So when the lady at Yawn's made me this sandwich, I decided to go home and do it myself. It's pretty tasty, but since I've only had it on gluten-free bread, I can't say how it'll taste on normal bread. (Someone try it and comment on how it turned out, please!)

You'll need:
2 slices of bread
(Approx) 2 teaspoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to tase
Prepared tuna (put whatever you want in it)

Toast the bread, then, using a spoon or tablespoon, lightly pour the olive oil on both sides of the toast. Salt and pepper the bread, then put the tuna on the bread, followed by the lettuce. Top it with the other piece of bread and voila, you have your sandwich! Enjoy!

December 9, 2011

New Arrival!!

There's a new arrival in our ever-growing household!! No, it's not a baby (though I wish it was!), but 'baby' is part of it's name....

Yup, that's right - we got a baby grand! A few VERY kind and generous relatives are letting us babysit it. I don't know how long, though. Hopefully they'll give us a little notice because I've already fallen in love with this beautiful instrument! The move went great; both moves, in fact.

The hardest part was saying goodbye to our old piano. There's a very interesting story about how we got it. You see, it was being raffled off at a nursing home when they upgraded. My grandmother bought 20 raffle tickets for $20, won the piano, refurbished it, and gave it to us. We'd had it for about 10 years, and it was the piano I learned to play on. (It let me play everything from 'Chopsticks' and 'Twinkle, Twinkle' to more experienced songs like 'Flood Time' and 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina.') It was hard to let it go, but we knew it was going to a good home with some friends.

FYI, here's a tip. Don't get a big piano book full of Broadway music (such as the entire Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, including 'Transformation/Beauty and the Beast (Reprise)' and 'If I Can't Love Her') at the same time you get an awesome new piano. I can speak from experience... I spent an hour on the piano the other day.

Also, my birthday was yesterday and I thought you'd like to see pictures.

My adorable little brother is getting to be quite good at posing for pictures. Cute, isn't he?!

My cake didn't turn out as well as I'd planned (or as well as last year's), but it looked yummy. I'm not supposed to have dairy or gluten right now, so I only had a little bite of cake and a half a scoop of peppermint ice cream. I think everyone liked it, though.

Here's a closeup of the top and what some friends called The Pinecone. Mom said pinecones are supposed to stand for friendship, so that worked out. : )

Me right before I blew out the candles. (I got all of them this year - yeah!!)

Bidding goodbye and thinking 17 never seemed so old...


December 1, 2011

Adorable Little Brother...

One of my favorite things to do right now is to talk to my little brother. He's so cute, and I can't believe he's my brother sometimes! We have the greatest conversations sometimes and he makes me laugh a lot!

Here's a recent conversation we had. I had just tucked him in bed for a nap, but I could tell he didn't want to sleep.
Little brother (LB): I want you sit wif me.
Me: Okay, just for a minute. You need to sleep now. Close your eyes.
LB: *squints his eyes shut* *whispers* Goo'night.
Me: 'Night.
LB: I love you, too.
Me: I love you, too.
LB: I miss you.
Me: I miss you, too.
LB: I like you music.
Me: Yeah, did you like listening to me and [Arwen] playing?
LB: Yup. I play guitar. I huse my little guitar.
(He then goes on to tell me all about how he plays like Maria from Sound of Music, Steve Green, and various other friends or movie characters.)
Me: That's great, but it's time to go to sleep.
LB: Oh. Goo'night. I love you.
Me: Love you, too. I need to go now.
LB: Okay. Don't 'qush me.
Me: I won't. 'Night.
LB: See you later!!
Me: Goodnight, baby.

The other day, we were riding home from church, and my little brother decided he was hungry. After eating a few candy corns (should that be plural or not?!), he decided he was still hungry.
LB: I wan' some i'cweem.
Mom: Okay, where should we go?
LB: Uh... Chicken-la (pronounced Chicken-lae)
Mom: Chick-fil-A isn't open on Sundays. You can't eat there today.
LB: Oh.
(I thought he'd stop then and forget about it, but no...)
LB: I wan' go to McDonald's.
Smart boy.


November 25, 2011


Hello, all!

I just added a few things to the left side of the blog. Comment below to tell me your thoughts, especially on the quotes.


November 23, 2011

It's HERE!!

My copy of The Errant King by Wayne Thomas Batson just got here... and I'm SO happy! I couldn't sit still for an hour afterwards, and I skipped up the stairs to show Arwen! I started re-reading Sword in the Stars, the first book in the Dark Sea Annals, a few weeks ago - and took my time because the last time I checked, The Errant King wasn't going to get here until the middle of December. (You see, I pre-ordered it back in July even though I knew it'd take a while, and it finally shipped on Sunday. Talk about fast delivery!!) So for the past hour or two, I've been literally forcing myself to read, all the time glancing at The Errant King beside me. : )

I originally thought I wasn't going to get any school off this week (except maybe tomorrow) and somehow try to double-up sometime so I can go shopping on Friday. (A first for me... we'll see how it goes!) Thankfully, while we were having devotions this morning, my teacher made a request to the principal, and he accepted. Now we have today through Friday off, with today being a catch-up day. Also, we have to travel nearly two hours tomorrow to my aunt's house for our first Thanksgiving meal, then back two hours to my grandparents' house for another, then back an hour to our house tonight. I wasn't looking forward to the driving, but now... let's just say I'm giddy.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

November 19, 2011

All I Really Want for Christmas

We had the interview for our home study yesterday and it went really well!! I can't believe the home study is practically over - it's been so long since we started the home study process again.... So, in honor of our next adoption and the home study being nearly done, I decided to post the lyrics to a song. Yes, it is a Christmas song, but Christmas is coming up, so I thought it'd be okay. I listened to this song a lot last year and almost cried the first time I heard it. : )

Well, I don't know if you remember me or not
I'm one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old, green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me; I was standing off alone

I didn't come and talk to you 'cause that's never worked before
And you'll probably never see this letter, anyway
But just in case there's something you can do to help me out
I'll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for, but there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas... is a family

Well, I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it's really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I'm really trying hard not to be bad

But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I've heard, it sounds like the greatest gift on earth
Would be... a mom

All I want for Christmas is someone who'll be here
To sing me happy birthday for the next 100 years
And It's okay if they're not perfect or even if they're a little broken
That's alright, 'Cause so am I

Well, I guess I should go, it's almost time for bed
Maybe next time I write you I'll be at home

'Cause all I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone, someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for, well, there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

All I Really Want for Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman

November 14, 2011

While I'm Waiting...

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait


I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait


I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience


I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

While I'm Waiting by John Waller

October 21, 2011

My Life in Pictures

So much has been going on in the past few weeks, so I just decided to highlight everything we've been doing!

Passion for Jesus Girls' Retreat

The place where we stayed for the retreat was a lot of fun to photograph (when I had time!) and the leaves were changing, which was absolutely beautiful!

Arwen having a blast on the swing - and no, she didn't jump off, though a few other girls did!

Everyone wanted to get their hair done! Isn't it gorgeous?! I thought it looked like Rapunzel from Tangled when she gets her hair all braided up.

Isn't this a beautiful bridge?

MovieGuide Banquet

We had a lot of fun getting dressed up and eating good food while hearing about the MovieGuide ministry. ( I'm pretty sure they recorded it. (I think they got the back of my head on camera. My hairdo is compliments of Arwen!)

"We never really got a good picture of your hairdo," Arwen says. "It was gorgemous." (She should know - she did it!) We spent a while curling it with the flat iron - yes, you can do that! - and then we switched outfits. : )

Baby's 'Big Boy Bed!'

Isn't he so strong?!

"Be cawit," he whispered. "I twying to sweep."

I tell people he's my boyfriend. He doesn't mind much.

October 1, 2011

Movie Review - Courageous

I've been known to rave about a lot of different movies. I've also been known to say that every movie I see was "Really good!" In fact, one of my friends recently said, "Is there a movie you've seen and haven't liked?!" There are a lot of movies I've seen that I haven't liked – such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I think is overrated – so when I see a good film, I like to give it a little publicity. Admit it – there aren't many good movies these days. Most of my favorite movies are old classics starring nearly-forgotten actors such as James Stewart, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds, and Mickey Rooney. The last few "clean" movies I've seen have been few and far between and mostly animated movies for kids, such as Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. I can't remember the last live-action, action/adventure movie that I really and truly liked that didn't have at least one scene in it that didn't need to be there.

Courageous, on the other hand, was a different story.

I think I can safely say that Courageous was the best movie I've seen this year – and I've watched a lot of movies this year.

Here's the synopsis:

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they are confident and focused, standing up to the worst the streets have to offer. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. When tragedy strikes home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to their children? Protecting the streets is second nature. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

My entire family went to see Courageous yesterday and everyone enjoyed it, even my younger siblings! The only part I didn't like was in the beginning, which before the movie even started. Knowing this was a PG-13 movie and there would most likely be some trailers for other, worse movies, my parents sent me and my siblings out of the theater to wait out the commercials. The trailers ended up being okay, but I agreed that we shouldn't risk it. When the movie finally started, I was on the edge of my seat. I hoped it would be as good as the other movies Sherwood Pictures has done, and I wasn't disappointed.

Everything you could want in a movie was there. There were some very exciting, intense parts that I absolutely loved. The comic relief was so funny, and I actually started crying in one part because I was laughing so hard! Even intrigue and mystery had a place towards the end, and that part nearly made me cry. (Actually, I almost cried a few times in sweet or sad parts, which is something I haven't really done in movies before! I had a tissue ready, but I think my mom needed it more than I did at one especially sad part.)

The main issue that Sherwood Pictures and the Kendrick brothers were trying to talk about was fatherhood, and they showed every single scenario possible – a father in jail, no father, you name it. They also covered a lot of other things too, such as courtship and dating (I loved that scene!), child training, and gangs. My sister said, "You could literally make a seminar out of the whole movie!"

One of the things my family was a little wary of was the rating. PG-13 for "action violence and drug content." This was the first PG-13 movie I've seen without my dad previewing it. Personally, I think it could have gotten a PG rating. True, it was a little intense in a few scenes, but significantly less bloody and intense than, say, Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars Episode III. The "drug content" was shown truthfully, laying out exactly what happens when people get mixed up with that sort of thing. (Also, I think I need to mention that there were absolutely no 'bad words' in this movie. At all.)

I don't think I have a favorite character or scene, but I definitely liked the Snake Kings gang scene – my whole family thinks it was the funniest part in the movie! I also liked the last action scene. It was very intense and riveting, which is just what I like.

It's true that the message of this movie doesn't exactly apply to me, being a 16-year-old girl who will remain single until she's married, but I appreciated what the Kendrick brothers were saying to fathers. I hope and pray that fathers (and fathers-to-be, however distant that future may be) will watch this movie and be challenged and inspired to take responsibility for their families. It's what this country needs to hear.

Bottom line: A VERY good movie! This will probably be the first movie I've ever gone to see multiple times in a theater. I'm going to have to pay for my own ticket, though, but that isn't stopping me from wanting to see it again! Please go see Courageous – it's well worth your time! You'll be inspired and challenged.

10 out of 10 (another first for me!)


September 14, 2011

one of my favorite Tolkien quotes...

The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say...
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

September 13, 2011

Wedding Pictures

Here are some pictures of the wedding we went to back in early August. It was so beautiful! We also had a really good time at our friends' house.

The bride and groom and the sand ceremony

My mom, the bride and the groom

My adorable little brother and 'Donny'!


September 10, 2011

Florida Beach Trip - Days Three, Four, Five, and Six

Is today REALLY the sixth day of our summer vacation?! Seriously, this week has flown by SO fast, I can hardly believe it!! We've done so many things. It's been such a blast, and the following pictures can just barely scratch the surface of what all we did and how much fun it was. (These are also just a few of the pictures I've gotten... I didn't think anyone would want to sit through all the pictures I've taken!)

We started out the day trying to get some donuts from a local hole-in-the-wall place, but they were closed on Wednesdays! Bummer.... The donuts at the local grocery store didn't look nearly as good, so we went to the nearest donut store, 'The Donut Hole.' Our friends were going with us and we got the overflow from their car! : ) Our ship, the 'Nathaniel Bowditch,' was almost an hour away, so we had a fun, long ride. We really didn't know what to expect before we got there, but we were in for a real treat!

This is the only picture I got of the outside of the ship. I wish I could have gotten the whole thing, but, as I was on the ship, that was impossible. I attempted a few shots of the sails as my siblings and friends 'raised the sails,' though.

Waiting to head off!

Happy to be off!!

We passed by some beautiful shores and boats as we were first leaving the dock, but it was mostly just water and on occasional boat!

They let my siblings and our friends 'hoist the sails!' I would have loved to try, but I had already taken my position as official photographer, which suited me just fine.

I can't begin to tell you how high up the sails went! It was impossible to get the people pulling the sails up, plus the sails when they were at their full height. Again, it made me wish I could see it from the dock, with all the sail up!

One of the best things about the ship was all of these cool knots! (Another was that we weren't allowed to have our shoes on at all during the entire ride. Totally fun!)

Another cool thing was this bowsprit thing. (I think that's what it was called...) Anyway, everyone loved seeing the view and getting their picture taken on it!

A pretty rock island we passed by twice.

My younger sister and someone else I've gotten to be good friends with!

Giving my younger brother some pointers after he passed on the job. The captain let four people try their hand at the helm, including my adorable little brother!

Seeing the view!

Halfway through our three-hour tour (scary, huh?), we saw about five dolphins! I took about three or four dozen pictures, but thought you wouldn't want to see the same shot of the dolphin fin over and over again, so I just picked the best two.

A dolphin went under the ship! Fun!

My adorable little brother just after trying his hand at the wheel. Isn't he cute?!

He just loved saying "Hannel Bowditch!" over and over and over!

Thus ended three hours of pure awesomeness! (The ship's first mate took this picture for us, even though I'd rather be on the other side of the lens....)

We drove about a half a mile and looked for sea shells for a few minutes, which was fun and calmed us down a bit. (Well, maybe just me!) The ride home passed by quickly with funny childhood stories and talk about different movies we'd seen. That night, my family went out on the beach for a few minutes, then hit the sack.

THURSDAY - Shopping day!
Now, nearly everyone that knows me knows that I don't like shopping. At all. Unless it's a book, I won't buy it, I won't even be out shopping for it! However, when Mom suggested a shopping day with our friends, I knew it'd be a fun thing to do. The shopping mall where we were going even had a Barnes and Noble, if I remembered correctly from last year. We had a BLAST! Arwen got the most stuff - a shirt from J.C.Penny and two CDs from Borders (not Barnes and Noble). Borders was my favorite stop in our little shopping excursion, but also the saddest because Borders was going out of business. I recalled all of the things I'd gotten from Borders in the past - my Door Within books, for instance - and it made me almost not want to shop there! I knew it wasn't the end of the world, though, and took advantage of the going-out-of-business sales. (I got a book that was originally $8.99, but because of all the sales, it was only $1.79!! Yay!)

We shopped 'til we dropped, which, for us, was about three hours. (We were tired!) We all went back to our respective houses and rested for a while, then our families got together for a dessert and games night. We met at the beach and watched the sun set, which was absolutely gorgeous!

Sadly, the clouds blocked our view of the sun until just before it hit the water. It still made for a really beautiful sunset, though!

My family at the beach right after the sun went down!

I put this picture up just to show you my adorable little brother's personality. I said, "Smile, baby!!" and he struck this pose. Don't know where he got that from.... Isn't he cute, though?!

Isn't this beautiful?! I still can't believe I took this picture.... It's totally not all me, though, it's my awesome camera!

We went back to our house and I think 'us kids' talked and played 'Detective' more than we ate dessert, though we did have our fair share of the cookies and watermelon and popcorn! I think we'll all have quite a few memories we'll never forget from that night, starting with the popcorn taste test and ending with the 'Detective' game! (Yes, we'll have memories, both funny and extremely weird ones!) I had a good time getting to know this family better, but hope they don't stay away from us now because they think we're weird! Our friends left at about eleven and I fell asleep laughing about what we'd made our characters say and do while we were playing 'Detective.'

We started off the day working on the puzzle. Our friends helped us out the night before, and I think I almost got addicted to it! Arwen and I put on one of her CDs she'd gotten the day before and worked until we finished it! (I still have 'A Lovely Night' from 'Cinderella' stuck in my head!!) Mid-morning, we hit the beach with our friends. It was their last day at the beach, and we wanted to make the most of the last few hours we had. We tried playing 'Detective' in the water, but that didn't really work, so we just looked for hermit crabs, went into the 'blue water,' and swam out as far as we dared! Too soon, our friends had to go. It was a sad goodbye! My family walked back to our house, showered, and just hung out, waiting for my uncle and aunt to come. They only live about two hours away, and we hadn't seen them for a while, so we decided to get together.

While we were waiting for my aunt and uncle to arrive, I started another short story. I know, I know - I'm crazy, right? I already have to write an entire NOVEL for school, and I'm in the middle of a series of histoical short stories (no, I haven't forgotten about the latest one, it's coming!!), plus another book I've been working on for a while, PLUS all of the other things I've started - WHY AM I STARTING SOMETHING NEW?! Because I wanted to, I'm on vacation, and I wasn't in the mood for anything else, that's why. I'm excited about it, though.

When my aunt and uncle got here, we went down to the beach and watched the sun set. It was so pretty!

I love this picture! (This is my aunt and uncle, by the way.)

We worked on the puzzle late into the night and went to sleep really late, this time annoyed that the puzzle wasn't going as we'd planned. Too hard!

I think this was one of the slowest, yet relaxed days we've had this far. We basically just hung around the entire day, starting with the beach. I floated for a few minutes, but then decided it was too cold and too seaweedy for me. I got out and cracked open 'Eight Cousins' for the first time in about five months, which is too long for such a good book! I read about half of it and got a little sunburned, but had a great time!

We had delicious pizza for lunch, then napped for about an hour, and then my other aunt visited for about an hour. After she left, my aunt and uncle decided it was time they left, too. Sad!

After they left, we got dressed up and took about five dozen pictures at the beach. (I kept saying, "I hope these aren't our Christmas pictures!" because I'm really hoping we'll adopt again before then!!!) We talked with a family that's staying near us for a few minutes, then Mom and Dad left for a date night and we watched Food Network. Food's not the best thing to watch while you're eating food, especially yours or your mom's. (We started critisizing Mom's food after we got hooked on that channel... not the best thing in the world!) But when we watched one chef after another get chopped because their food wasn't seasoned enough or overcooked, I was eating my Chicken Pockets and overcooked rice I'd thrown together for our dinner and laughing the whole time, wondering what they'd say about my food!

Until next time...