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.