Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where I become a frustrated Christian

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So let’s recap on my life over the past few years. I quit my museum manager job, a career in a town I really liked, to work with a Christian non-profit to teach English to Hungarian teenagers. So basically I was a missionary. I came home after a year to some not good relationships. Mainly with the friend who lost her dad while I was gone, making her an orphan at 25 and a sister-in-law who was cheating on my brother and eventually became an ex-sister-in-law.

I came back with a limping spirit. I was trying to come to terms with being a failure in what I went to Hungary to do, I was trying to deal with being in my home country, I was failing in being a friend to a grieving friend. I slipped into a depression. (Sort of still undiagnosed. It’s a long story.) It took me a long time to feel normal. The first time I felt a glimmer of being normal, it was about 15 months after coming home when I took a weekend trip by myself to the South Dakota Black Hills. It took me even longer to feel consistently normal and okay. Alright, it was time and medication.

I have been back home just over 3 years and this is where I’m at. I’m still living in my hometown and working at a nursing home. I have pretty much no contact with the ex-sister-in-law. The orphaned friend and I have had a very tumultuous relationship and now we have a friendship but still a little distant with each other. I have a medication that is keeping me emotionally level. I got a Florence. I am okay.

There is a thing though. I have never sat down and truly thought what I have thought about missions.

Recently there have been a couple things placed in my life that has made me think how I feel about missions and the church.

I stumbled upon a podcast called Failed Missionary. It literally got me worked up. There’s like 4 episodes but I got tense. I agreed with so much anger and frustration these people have. I understand and get why they don’t want to be missionaries anymore. I get missing the community. I get how missions can hurt the Church. This podcast made me tense cause I have sat and thoroughly thought of what I think and the questions have never been asked to me. Then I got frustrated cause there is no one within a 100 mile radius that I talk to on a regular basis that understands the emotional implications of coming home after being in missions.

Another thing was listening to the audiobook of Jamie Wright’s book The Very Worst Missionary. I agree with her on a lot of things too. There’s a part of me that wants to be best friends with her. Like she gets it. She understands the struggle being away and coming back.

Finally, a friend of mine is dealing with her boyfriend that works with youth in the church and slept with a married woman before they started dating and then lied to her about it. I don’t agree with her staying with him. And I see issues with how that situation is being dealt with in the church even if the majority of the church doesn’t know. I can only be so blunt with her. She will stay in a relationship until she sees through the words.

Do I believe in Christ? Yes absolutely. Do I think foreign missions is great? I think it can be if the missionary is doing it right and it’s a long term commitment. It should be a relationship thing with missions in the far reaches of your brain. Yes speak about your faith but set yourself apart by your actions and people will come to you. Do I believe the church is a good thing? That’s a tough question because people are flawed. And each church is different. I believe that fellowship is good. Learning and growing in Christ is good. But people can be horrible, even if they’re Christians. I think there’s a church for everyone. There will always be disagreements on something no matter where you go and with at least one person. But, the fellowship and community is a good thing.

I have opinions. Some of them can be harsh. I understand that. But what I’ve realized is that the older one gets, the more one realizes and learns. It’s hard not to be jaded or harsh on some things.

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Florence

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About a year and a half ago, I got a dog named Florence. I was at a point in my life where I needed a companion. To know I was going to come home to a living being after work. To have someone who could help subside my anxiety. Florence then showed up.

I looked at the humane society’s website and saw her. She was 5 at the time and it said she had some hip problems and could be aloof. I didn’t want aloof and hip problems. That would be too much. Instead I saw a red heeler that looked really pretty and would do great for me. So the day came that I went to the humane society. I walked through and saw the red heeler but I saw Florence first. I took her out for a walk. She was a little excited to be out with someone new but it went well. Then I tried to walk the red heeler. Dear lord. That dog was not the dog for me like I thought it would. I went back to Florence. We were our chosen ones.

I had to go another time to hang out with her per the rules of the humane society. Florence gravitated to me and I her. The employees even noted how attached she already seemed to me. I agreed. The day of my second visit, I had a morning of anxiety and stress caused by people and Florence was obviously catching on to that.

So Florence was mine. She came home with me. And she met my brother’s kids and did well. Really well. Then the test came. To meet my sister’s twin toddler girls. Those two are handfuls. Florence did great. Florence is a malamute/Shepherd mix so she’s bigger than a two year old. But she’s gentle. Kids love her. Florence loves kids. She stayed with a friend of mine when I had to be out of town and Florence slept by her little boy’s bed all night. Florence knows who needs the love. She would have been a decent therapy dog.

Florence recently tore her ACL. The amount of people worried about her warmed my heart. She’s a favorite at work cause of her old soul. My family has learned to love her. After she got hurt, I went and stayed with my brother’s kids and tucked them in. They both had Florence in their prayers. I was hurting for her cause she is my girl and she was hurting. But no fear. She’s doing much better.

This morning I was thinking of Florence. She seeks me out if she doesn’t see me and will position herself so she can watch me. She tucks me into bed. She sleeps near me. Her snore is relaxing. There are times I’m bitter about getting out of bed to take her out or taking her out in the cold but, I love her. We are kindred souls. I love her.

Empire of Storms Review

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So until today I thought I was wasting my time. Wasting my time with the Throne of Glass series. It’s not that I hate Sarah J. Maas. I like her. I don’t understand her cause she pushes out books like poop. (I work at a nursing home. If someone takes three days to poop, we worry. And Maas has a lot coming out. Hence the reference) But today, after a short 2 day stint of having anxiety about life, I finished Empire of Storms. I loved it. Or wait. Love is a strong word. Strongly like is better and I’m more comfortable saying it.

So I have reviewed this book on Litsy and GoodReads by summing up by saying everyone hooked up and kind of made friends. It’s true. And it’s about time some of these people hooked up. And I suppose rivalries were strengthened. This book grabbed me like the past two haven’t. The last two were decent but this one was like, hey let’s get back into the swing of things and make you emotionally invested before I end the series. I don’t even know where to start. I guess with the questions.

I do have questions. What’s with the cover? Pants in the front and dress in the back? Is it a mullet? Someone explain that to me. When did I start liking Manon? Who saw what she did coming? When did Aelin start being decent again? What’s the real deal with Aedion? What was with the ending and how do I process it? When will Chaol be back in my life? Why must you Lorcan? Why must Rowan and Aelin’s marriage not be shown? I do understand that question and appreciate that. Those are questions off the top of my head. Just think what I could do with some time.

Let’s take it by couple by couple.

Aelin and Rowan. I love them together. I know I was team Chaol for a long time and I still am and I want him around but Rowan is better for Aelin. I’ve known that for a long time but I was in denial. I love that they’re married and the realization that they should have always been together. And you go get your woman Rowan. You’ve waited way too long for this.

Manon and Dorian are all sorts of yes. When Dorian’s other girl was murdered, I was like ‘oh no you didn’t’ and now it’s okay. They can be feisty together. I like that Dorian is coming more into his own and knowing more about who he is. And Manon. Well look what she’s done with herself in this book. That is all sorts of good and I love her now. I didn’t understand what the witches were for when they first appeared in the series but now it all makes sense now. I find myself not predicting author intentions as well as I used to. But I do say that I like this relationship.

Lorcan and Elide. This is another relationship I love. It’s the relationship that has a hate that turns into love. She seems so innocent for him and they joined a circus. They did that in the last book I read too. There’s a theme here. It means I should grow a beard and join the circus as the bearded lady. They’re another couple that do so well together.

Nehemia and the queen. Need I say more? I said a lot of what the hell with them and their plot line.

If I had to complain about this book, it’s that the couples fit way too nicely together. I do like what Maas did at the end and am really excited for the next book and let’s face it: it’ll probably be out in the next year and a half. How does this woman have time to do book tours and juggle two series? Diana Gabaldon goes years between books and Sarah J. Maas busts them out like nothing. Yes, I realize that Gabaldon has more research to do but they both have intense world building skills. Anyway, go read it. I mean, if it’s your kind of book.

Queen of Shadows Review.

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First of all, that last post has parts of it that, going back, make no sense to me. I’m sorry. My mind farts quite a bit.

I have really been into having full series. Like if I’ll never read the whole series not so much but full series that I’ll read and somewhat enjoy. I’ve slowly been making my way through the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and just finished Queen of Shadows.

First let me say that these are books I never thought I’d read. They’re a Y.A. fantasy books and usually I get into historical fiction. (and let’s be honest, I get really excited about WWII historical novels. I like war. It’s morbid, I know. But I’ve always been fascinated about it. My senior paper for my history minor was centered in WWII. And is wasn’t that good and I still got a B on it.) I did read and enjoy the Harry Potter series and the Inheritance Cycle but I was in high school when I read those. My tastes have changed some. I felt like I had moved on to more refined things. I have enjoyed these books to a point. Except this one.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate this book. I know that to a lot of people this is their favorite book. I did like this book nearer the end. Maybe that’s because I started getting in the swing of reading again. There were to many ‘A’ names. Aedion, Aelin, Arobynn. I had to slow my reading at some points because of the ‘A’ names. And then sometimes I was thinking of Chaol when Rowan was around and Nesryn turned into Nehemia. Names was such an issue for me in this book. Now if I had read this series straight through and I hadn’t read Queen during a reading slump, I may not have had this trouble. I also get frustrated with the witch parts. I know the point of the witches but I don’t want to read about them. I skimmed those parts. And of course Lorcan betrayed them or messed up or whatever. We knew that was going to happen. Let’s not fool ourselves.

 

I am totally Team Chaol. But at this point, I don’t think it’s going to happen with him. It’s more likely with Rowan because let’s face it, Aelin and Rowan are practically married. And there was a point in the book where Chaol saw Rowan help Aelin and was like I should be jealous or something right? I was disappointed because he’s moved on. And I thought he died for a while. That makes me not happy. I was mad for a while. How could Chaol die? He’s too important to the story. I feel like if I wanted a relationship, he’d be the guy I would to relationship with. And Chaol is totally going to get it on with what’s her face. Yup. That’s right. I just called her what’s her face.

Aelin learned how to make friends that’s impressive. She’s let down her guard from the first book which can be a good or bad thing. Depending on the situation. It’s taken me forever to switch to Aelin and not Caelena. I spent a good portion of the series, and this book, thinking Caelena. She does accept the responsibility with the name. I don’t mind her but I do like her with Chaol more. With Chaol, she was a youthful happy rather than a more mature happy with Rowan. I think that the way the whole relationship thing has ended is good. Even though it’s not how I want it. I don’t like to be wrong and I’m still letting go of that.

There were parts of this book that I felt were unnecessary. There’s a part near the end of the book between Rowan and Aelin that had no point for me. No, that’s a lie. I do understand what some of these parts are for I just am impatient for the resolution of things. As of now, I think I heard this is going to be a 6 book series and this is only book 4. I wonder though if some of the things that she has in some of these books, especially this one, is just trying to make them longer and to keep the series longer.

There’s good running themes in this series about freedom and friendship. Now I know I’ve sucked in the friendship category the past year and a half like so sometimes the friends’ thing bothered me because I know I’ve sucked. And the freedom thing is always a nice thing to be reminded of because to be a prisoner would suck.

Yes, I will continue this series just to see how it ends even though I am getting bored with it.

The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

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I didn’t feel like I wanted to read a new novel. I’ve been reading a lot of new stuff lately and it’s time to read something new. I recently got my own copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneggerr. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this book before but reading a book a second time, you see different things. And I read this originally back in college and then listened to the audiobook right after college when I was traveling to do interviews. So it’s interesting how my opinion is different.

I re-read my GoodReads review. It was interesting look back at myself. I wrote one the first time I read it and then had an update. Each time my opinion of Henry as gotten better. I think in my head, the vision of a time traveling man is different now being in my late 20’s than it is in my early 20’s. No. Let me change that. My view of people has changed since my early 20’s. It’s probably more realistic and less optimistic now than it was a few years ago. Anyway. I think that Henry has a miserable existence. He doesn’t want to travel but he has to. It would be different if he could have chosen when and where he could go like Alba. Then he probably wouldn’t be as miserable. Henry gives Claire things to think about throughout her life and I appreciate that. In this re-read, I took more notice to Henry’s reaction to Ingrid killing herself. He had more compassion for Ingrid than I felt he had before. He is complex but his situation is complex. At this point in my life, I’m the most attracted to Henry that I’ve ever been.

I never have had a driving opinion about Clare. I don’t hate her. I feel like she is very flawed. But so is Henry. Henry is probably more flawed. The older she gets she does have frustrations about Henry traveling. It’s out of her control. It’s out of his control and she hates it. I would be the same way. Give me a husband that doesn’t get lost in time. But at an earlier age she is fascinated because he just appears and disappears. I would be when I was 6. I do appreciate her struggles more. Like I felt for her when her mother died more that I have before. I appreciate her want of a child more than before. This time reading, I appreciate the human-ess of the characters and their flaws. It’s adulthood. I’m finally maturing into adulthood.

Gomez is something else. Charisse has plenty of reason to worry. I would have the exact same conversation with Henry as she did. But the relationships with the DeTambles is something I can’t put my finger on. Gomez has sex with Clare twice. Once pre-Henry and once after Henry dies. The first time I shook my head because it was so close to when Henry comes, I wonder why but Henry was like, yeah I don’t care I had Ingrid. The second time it was because of grief I think. But even though I was not a fan of Clare and Gomez having sex, Gomez and Henry were best friends. So I’m torn. Like at least Clare didn’t find some random hook up and Henry was okay with the first time because it wasn’t an ongoing affair.

There’s probably more obvious symbolism in this book than I have ever admitted. The Odyssey kind of plays in this book. Which I liked and it makes sense and I’m surprised I haven’t thought about this before. Henry leaves and comes back to Clare like Odysseus leaves his wife. I never really realized that before. Then there’s the birds and longing. There’s symbolism throughout the whole book and it’s blatant.

I also have to bring up the movie in relation to the book. Movie is not a great adaptation. There’s a lot missing. Like I wish Ingrid was in the movie and not just a reference. I wish Henry’s job and co-workers were in the movie more. I know that the book is complicated but then don’t make it into a movie if you can’t make it better. But I do love Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. They’re really pretty together. OH! They should make a mini-series from the book and have those two in it. And I do realize they can’t get all the book in a movie. There’s 500+ pages in this book. There’s no chance that would get in a movie. But I still appreciate the crap out of the movie. I do say appreciate a lot in this blog.

There’s also a sequel in the works that is Alba’s story. I rarely say this but hell am I excited to read that.

 

 

Disney Book Tag

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Okay. Last post was a downer. I get it. I’m working on me. So let’s get back to books. Because that’s safe. Reading has been slow lately because I’ve been sick and in a slump. So I decided to do the Disney book tag because I appreciate Disney.

1. The Little Mermaid – a character who is out of their element, a “fish out of water.”

Evelina by Fanny Burney. This is a ‘manners’ book from long ago so yes Evelina was set up, on purpose to be a fish out of water at first. It’s just how these books were set up.

2. Cinderella – a character who goes through a major transformation

Eragon from the Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini. You look at who Eragon was at the beginning of the book and then look at the end of the last book, there’s not a whole lot of similarities. In any sense.

3. Snow White – a book with an eclectic cast of characters

This might be a weird answer but Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.  That’s because the author talks a lot of the people who were in his life.

4. Sleeping Beauty – a book that put you to sleep

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud. I can’t even remember what this book was about.

5. The Lion King – a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

Jane Eyre. That’s Jane’s whole life.

6. Beauty and the Beast – A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte. I was scared that I was going to like it more than Jane Eyre and I didn’t want to. And it’s not even that big of a book.

7. Aladdin – a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse

Andras from The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. He got his wish for this perfect woman. Then happened WWII.

8. Mulan – a character who pretends to be someone or something they are not

Caelena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I can’t say too much else without giving away certain things.

9. Toy Story – a book with characters you wish would come to life

Outlander series. Jamie and the Ians. I was just watching the series last night and swooned over the actor that plays Ian. But I have been obsessed with this series for a long time.

10. Disney Descendants – your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character 

I liked Tom from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was a horrible person but super villain-y.

Night Road Review

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I don’t have a washer and drier at my house. I have the hook ups for them, I just can’t afford a washer and drier. Since that is the situation, I go to my parents’ house. I’m reading off and on a book about the Romanov girls. But I needed a break from them there Russians so I picked up a book that was on my childhood bookcase that my parents, or my mother, has taken over. I found a book about Kristin Hannah called Night Road. I recently read another book by her that she got published last year and I loved it so I picked up this one.

I loved, like the other one, that it isn’t necessarily a love story. There’s love involved but there’s so much going on that the romantic love isn’t in the fore front. You definitely feel the mother’s love and the romantic love is a pivotal plot device but not overpowering. I hate that when love is an overpowering device. But the love did really come into major play at the end of the book and that’s okay because it didn’t slap me in the face. It almost seemed convenient that they got together but I would have said that if Lexi would have moved too. But if Lexi had left, it would have opened the door for another book or a longer book. The book had to end somehow.

I feel like insecurity brought the girls together. Lexie wonders who would like a drug addict’s daughter and Mia says being her friend would be social suicide. Neither of them believe they’re worth being friends with. They were okay with their books. I get that. It’s a teenage girl thing. Sometimes it’s an adult girl thing too. These girls were normal. Lexi had been hurt a lot so after 3 years, she still pushed away. I would too. I felt that Mia was a little overdramatic when Lexi and Zach got together, actually through most of the book. I had to keep reminding myself that she is a teenager. Teenagers can be a little dramatic. But I was okay, as horrible as this sounds, that Mia died because she annoyed me. She couldn’t make up her mind and sometimes acted like a spoiled kid, which she was.

I felt that Lexi was an interesting character through all this. She seemed a little more mature and she took responsibility where Zach didn’t necessarily. After the accident kind of annoyed me because everyone was attacking Lexi and asking for her head but Zach wasn’t included in that. I would have asked for both. But Lexi was driving. I don’t know how she got through everyone talking about her within ear shot. I also find it interesting that Zach’s ex-girlfriend had Lexi sit by her at the funeral and then she never comes back into the picture. I also find it interesting that she thinks she’s just like her mom when she gets to jail. And I hated that she went to jail. I didn’t want her to. I think it was admirable that she gave up Grace to Zach’s family but then want her to make Grace’s life better.

I don’t want to talk about Zach because I feel like he’s not the most interesting person in the book. Jude was an interesting character though. She was overly doting. A little suffocating. Anything to not be like her mother who she did kind of turn into. But I understand that she changed because, as a woman, how do you keep yourself in tact when you lose a child. Through the book I thought about how my mother was in high school. I’m glad she wasn’t as hovering as Jude. But I also didn’t go out and party. I wasn’t that popular. But I don’t know if my mom would become Jude if one of us kids died. But I can’t say that because I don’t know.

Overall, this was a good book. I wasn’t in love with it as I was The Nightingale. Maybe if I had taken some more time between her novels, I would have liked it better. It is a good book of loss, anger, redemption, and lots of emotions. What I’ve liked about Kristin Hannah in general is that there’s emotions to an extent but you put yourself more into the emotion. For me at least. I can’t speak for the general public.