Thursday, August 28, 2014

The End of a Chapter

Tomorrow, my best friend moves to Oregon for grad school. Tomorrow is the ends 13 months of living with my bestie. 13 months, or 55 weeks, or 690ish days of laughter, tears {some from laughter}, of Doctor Who farewells and Sherlock hellos, of grown-up grocery runs and spider slayings, of Christmas tree mishaps and cars catching on fire, and of course scaring each other accidentally.

Here are some highlights from our 13 months of living together:

dinner before going to see "Pixar in Concert"

One Wednesdays, we wore pink. We went to see the Lion King. Samara made me breakfast in bed for my birthday {and then I returned the favor} and introduced me to Indiana Jones. We dressed up as Irene and Sherlock and as the Fox Family, and we hosted a fantastic New Year's Eve party:

Our friendship definitely reached new heights this year, and I am so, so grateful for this wonderful time spent with my bestie. Two years ago, we didn't think we could stand living together. The next year, we simultaneously asked each other, "Do you think we could live together?" And less than a year later, we were moving and starting a new adventure.

Samara, I have SO enjoyed the past 13 months with you. I've learned to appreciate and love you in new ways, and I'm going to miss you like crazy. As in I am going crazy. But you already knew that. But you love me anyway because we're soup snakes.

You're also my person, and if we did drag a body across the living room floor, you would find a way to make that carpet smell better than the day it was installed. 

Have the best time in Oregon! You are going to learn amazing things and teach wonderful students and write incredible revelations. This is the best kind of adventure, and I'm so excited for you! If I show up on your door, don't be surprised, and don't be worried about being in your pajamas ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Finish This: Week Thirty-four

Linking up {on time!} with the fabulous hostesses of Finish This: Nicole at Three 31, Becky at The Java Mama, Lisa at Coastlined, and Jen at The Arizona Russums. This week is all about HAIR!

My daily hair routine consists of showering at night, waking up and straightening my hair, and then the next day is a dirty hair day and it usually goes into a bun or braid. I'm a huge fan of the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

The best hair advice I've ever received was from some magazine that told me not to wash my hair every day. Totes can do that! Looooow maintenance is my middle name, I'm sure.

My hair idol was Lizzie McGuire, when I was an adolescent. I mean, look at her "bad girl" hair! Hair clips for days, yo.

Thanks for joining. If you want to join the link-up, grab a comb and get cracking! See you next week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review: "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker

{I know this is too late to add to the link-up, but I promised a review and here I am working on the delivery. Please go read Jen's own words and then everyone else's words, but more importantly, read the book.}

God has perfect timing, ya know? A year ago, I would have read this book, smiled, and put it aside. What a nice little book. But this year?

After my church has completely changed directions and styles and methods? After I've read Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, which completely shifted my entire brain? After reading Jen's book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and having my world totally rocked? After watching so many tragedies take place around the world and at home... I'll say it again: God's timing is perfect. {And I apologize for not blogging about any of these subjects extensively/at all - some things are too tender for words.}

Interrupted is a cool glass of water that doesn't appear to be that appetizing until you start drinking and realize how gosh darn thirsty you actually are. For me, the second half of the book was better than the first. Jesus calls us to share the Good News {Matthew 25}, and that Good News is detailed in Isaiah 58:6-12.

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and He will say, "Here I am."
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

And the Lord will guide you continually 
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Reviews are hard to write when you want to quote the whole book, so instead I will tell you that a) I will be re-reading this book again and again, and b) you should read this book, too. Jen is so real and authentic, and I know that she is writing out of real, broken, hard-earned revelation. I laughed, cried, and sat stunned all in the same chapter {and it happened almost every chapter}. Go read it - that's my review. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Theme of "New"

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes.

The theme of today is "new," so here goes:

1. Yesterday I bought a new table. Well, new to me. Praise be unto the Lord for Craig's List, yo! I'd been hunting for a new dining table and chairs for the whole summer, it feels like, but nothing turned up. I even spent Father's Day dragging my dad up north to look at a table, just to be disappointed and come home empty handed. But yesterday proved fruitful, and this nice couple even delivered the table and 4 of the chairs to my house last night! Pictures coming soon :)

2. Where are you going to put this dining table, Bek? You are wise to wonder. Well, when Samara moves out next week {not thinking about it not thinking about it notthinkingaboutit!!!}, she will take her dining table, and I will assemble my new table in its place. They're actually really similar - I'll have to do "hers and hers" pictures before she leaves.

3. Know what else is new in my flat? A flatmate! My future flatmate moves in the same day Samara moves out {yes, I will be a complete and total wreck next Friday, don't even judge}, so that's pretty awesome. I will tell you this much about her: she loves Doctor Who and Sherlock.

Apparently I wasn't too creepy because she agreed to live with me.

4. You know what else has started living with me? ANTS. They didn't ask, they didn't sign a flatmate agreement, and they certainly aren't Doctor Who fans. So I've been killing them.

So far the killing methods have consisted of:
  • diffusing peppermint oil
  • setting out cotton balls that were soaked in sugar and borax 
  • spraying a mixture of water, vinegar, peppermint oil and lemon oil
  • stomping
  • vacuuming
None of this was completely effective. So yesterday I brought home the big guns: ant poison. Samara and I placed probably a dozen pieces of foil with poison around the kitchen and slider door, and the ant population has drastically decreased. If you have any other suggestions, please share!

5. Remember a couple QTs ago when I mentioned reviewing Jen Hatmaker's book Interrupted? I am almost done with it and will be posting my response {and joining her link-up} sometime this weekend. The theme of her book could be summed up with the word "new," so that's how this Take fits into this week's theme.

6. My new favorite show is "The Mindy Project." {I have only watched 3 episodes total, but I'm already in love.} Holy cow, can Mindy Kaling and I be best friends? Please? Maybe just for a week?

7. Saving the best "new" for last: tomorrow is the premiere of Doctor Who: Season Eight with our new Twelfth Doctor!!!! The trailer looks so intense... excited-nervous over here. Anyone else anxiously anticipating tomorrow with a "deep breath"?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"First Car" Story for Carla's Link-Up

My wonderful and talented IRL friend Carla from This Messy Heart is hosting her first link-up, and it's about first car stories! Y'all, if you have a driver's license, you should join this link-up. It's like Victoria's guest post about shaving - we all have embarrassing awesome stories to share!

My first car was a beautiful white 1993 Toyota Camry. My parents bought him from a friend so that I could have a car {instead of the family van or monstrous truck} to learn to drive. I thought he was perfect.

His nickname was "The Duck" because his horn was dying and when the alarm system went off {which happened more frequently than you might think}, he would bellow, "HONK HONK HONK QUACK QUACK QUACK" until the ignition was turned. #WhyIWasn'tCoolInHighSchool

He had leather seats and a sunroof and a funny little habit of flashing the Reverse gear light when I hit the brakes. He also had a cd player, which made him perfect for road trips, but Dad didn't think the stereo system should be the reason for a road trip, and because of The Duck's age, I wasn't allowed to take him on long distance trips.

He was a great car in which to learn to drive, and one of my favorite memories of him is at a driving workshop. My sister Jayna had just finished driver's ed, and my dad signed the both of us up for a 3 hour Emergency Driving Situations class. One of the exercises was to learn to trust the car's brakes, which meant we gunned it down the "runway" and then slam on the brakes once we reached a certain point. Twas great fun.

Because I already had my license, Jayna got to ride with me during this exercise {we all know it's because Dad wanted to drive this exercise!}. As I pulled up into position and waited for the signal to accelerate, the instructor leaned into my window and said, "Are you ready? Oh, you've got a 6 cylinder! You're ready." The Duck revved his engine in response... ok, I might have done that. But it was a team effort.

I blazed down that runway, enjoying all 6 cylinders of The Duck's engine. Although all four tires were on the ground, it certainly didn't feel that way.

The Duck faithfully sped me around that training lot, and faithfully took me to high school, my retail job, a babysitting job, and countless visits to friends' houses. 

The Duck was with me when someone changed lanes into us. He went to the shop and I went to physical therapy, and we were both a bit stiffer after that.

The Duck was there when someone made a left turn into us. He went back to the shop and I continued physical therapy, and I hoped the invisible target was removed from our backs.

When I came home from Berea on breaks, I looked forward to driving The Duck around, even though I had to wrestle the keys from my sisters. And then one break, I came home and The Duck wasn't there. He had gone to a new home, because he was getting too old.

While I missed him, I chose to be grateful that I only had great experiences with him and didn't have to watch him slow down. In my mind, he is still the rip-roaring-est car I've ever had the pleasure of driving.

Finish This: Week Thirty-three

Doesn't it seem like yesterday that I was writing Week Thirty-two? Oh, no, it was the day before yesterday. How silly of me. 

Here are our fantastic {and patient} hostesses: Jen at The Arizona Russums, Becky at The Java Mama, Lisa at Coastlined, and Nicole at Three 31.

I feel stupid when I add my link to a link-up five days after the party started. *shakes head and walks away*

I hope I never have to get braces again. My youngest sister just got hers, and while they're subtle and should be off within a year or so, I still shudder when I think of the four years I spent as a metal mouth. Never again!

My one piece of advice for the world: make time for your passions. Even if you have to spend 8+ hours a day in a dreary office doing something equivalent to pulling teeth, protect some time to spend doing whatever it is that you love. 
Bonus advice: buy quality chocolate. Don't waste your adult life on the cheap stuff. 

Ta-da! There you have it, friends. If you wanna join, add your link or answer in the comments. See ya next time!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Finish This: {Belated} Week Thirty-two

Skidding in late to join the link-up party hosted by Nicole at Three 31, Jen at The Arizona Russums, Becky at The Java Mama, and Lisa at Coastlined.

13 Things to Know About Me {in 13 sentences}:

1. The biggest love of my life is Jesus, followed closely by Lee Pace, ice cream, and blogs.

2. I have three sisters, and you'll often hear me refer to something funny/amazing/brilliant that "my sister" said, and you'll probably have to stop me and ask which funny/amazing/brilliant sister I'm talking about.

3. Usually, I'm in the middle of at least 3 books.

4. Even though I have an iPhone, I still keep my schedule on a paper calendar/day planner.

5. One of my favorite memories with my bestie is watching "Leap Year" together over the internet on Leap Day, 2012.
6. My friend Whitney pierced my ear cartilage in an epic tale involving hotel bathrooms and "Parent Trap" flashbacks. 

7. I'm convinced that there isn't a problem in life that can't be soothed/healed/improved with some sea salt chocolate and Menage a Trois.

8. Today I will attend a training so I can be a volunteer "baby cuddler" at the NICU!

9. Only four more weeks of Bradley classes - once these are over, I'm hoping to start BAI's online program within a month. 

10. I really love Birdy, and currently this song is on repeat:

11. When I really want to suffer feel the burn, I do this ab series, follow it with this leg and glute combo, and end my pain burn session with this arm routine

12. Laundry is soothing to me, no joke. 

13. I have approximately three more posts drafted in my head, so it's a good thing we have reached #13 because my brain is D-U-N done. 

That's a wrap for Week Thirty-two - come back next time {meaning in two days} for another round of Finish This!

Friday, August 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Hydration, Publishing, and Glamping

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes:

1. Hydration is important. You may know this from your own life experiences, or you may know from my passion for my Wat Bot. I know this because yesterday I almost passed out from dehydration. I was job shadowing in an automotive shop, and the place had no air conditioning and no sink for me to fill up my Wat Bot. I. Was. Dying.

I went straight from the shop to my parents' house, and I drank 4 huge glasses of water and then 2 pitchers. Literally, I drank out of the pitcher. Water is a serious business.

2. My roomie is now a published author! Catherine wrote a book of poems, and Amazon just listed her book yesterday! Her poems are all about the relationship between mothers and daughters, and I am so excited to read it. Click here to view and purchase the book, and check out her story here.

3. Samara and I are dividing the kitchen Sunday. Not literally, of course, but in terms of pots and pans. It's going to be awful. I'm so excited for my bestie as she begins her new adventure in Oregon, but I am so so sad that she's leaving me. Granted, I left her for 2.5 years, but then we lived together for a year and I thought she forgave me. Sigh. Guess not.

4. Because I am so proud of it, and because you, fair reader, may have missed it, I finished my Doctor Who scarf!!! Check out the post with all the pictures, and feel free to compliment, critique, and make a request!

5. This time next week, I will have half an inch of dirt layered on my skin, my hair will smell suspiciously like evergreens, and my home will be a tent. That's right, folks, I'm going camping!

Unfortunately, there is no spa at this camp. Fortunately, there is power, and by power, I mean electricity for the microwave, air mattress pump, skillet, and hair straightener. There are bathrooms and showers in an actual building, and most people bring a refrigerator at least. Basically what we do is glamping, not camping. Loud and proud, playas.

6.  For our glamping adventure, my sister Ellen and I are sharing a campsite with 4 other girls. Cue "All the Single Ladies" please. We've decided on a menu, but I'm open to suggestions for a couple more days. Shopping is happening on Monday afternoon, though, and then we're sticking with whatever was purchased. I'm looking for make or prep ahead of time recipes, preferably something that is not too advanced. Any experienced campers/glampers out there with suggestions?

7. Jen Hatmaker just re-released her book Interrupted and I am so excited. As I mentioned earlier, I have the privilege of reviewing her book. Jen is hosting a link-up for the book discussion on August 18th, so be sure to come check it out! Now I just have to finish the book.... 

Thanks for joining! Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Doula Adventures: Review of "Natural Hospital Birth"

It's time for a review of a doula book! Yes, this is my first book review. No, this isn't the first book I read. For more information on my doula adventures, check out the Doula Adventures page above.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary: Cynthia Gabriel is a doula who understands some parents may want a natural birth while being close to the resources hospitals offer. She details each stage of labor and delivery, and offers advice for writing birth plans.

Favorite Lesson: When facing medical staff who want to begin a medical {not natural} procedure, Gabriel suggests asking, "Can we wait an hour?" This technique often diffuses tense situations because parents aren't arguing, and if something truly is an emergency, the answer will be "no." The vast majority of medical interventions can be put off with the simple question: "Can we wait an hour?"

Other Highlights: Gabriel provides examples of written birth plans for midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, etc. She also describes each stage of labor with great detail and attention to not just the physical but also the emotional changes. Within each stage, Gabriel suggests a variety of coping techniques. Also addressed are VBACs and high-risk pregnancies. 

I really, really enjoyed this book. Anyone {mother, father, labor assistant, medical team} could read this book and gain from the experience. Gabriel wrote very clearly, and you can tell that she is passionate about what she does. I love that Gabriel is very open about valid concerns and varying experiences; she doesn't push only natural birth or condemn those who use modern medicine. The goal is very clearly at the forefront of her mind: healthy mom, healthy baby. 

Finish This: Week Thirty-one

Linking up with Nicole at Three 31, Jen at The Arizona Russums, Becky at The Java Mama, and Lisa at Coastlined. Join the fun on their link-up!

If I went back to school, I would study entrepreneurship or more consumer behavior. I think the psychology behind decisions is really fascinating, even though I only took one Psych class during my college career. The Consumer Behavior class I took was awesome, and I'd love to get into that more. 

My favorite subject in school literature. Junior and senior years were classical and British literature, respectively, and I had so much fun in those classes. AP English was also one of my favorite classes, because we read Shakespeare aloud and interviewed experts about their definitions of literature. 
I also enjoyed algebra, history, and Rhetoric II {Rhetoric I was painful, but the second year was much more fun and applicable}. 

I wish I had paid more attention to the activities I really enjoyed, instead of focusing on the things I'd limited myself to because I was afraid. 

The dumbest thing I did in high school was convince my history group that we could do our presentation on Alexander the Great using puppets. While our presentation was amusing, it was also immature and ill-prepared. Oops.

In high school, I thought I knew the direction life would take me. Ha! When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a physical therapist and use ballet for therapy. When I started college, I took one look at how many science classes PT would take, and I cried. Then I changed my major to business, transferred to a school in Kentucky, and am looking at a completely different career than I had planned. I couldn't have imagined all this in high school, and it would have scared the crap out of me if I could. Thank God He only gives us what we can handle!

Thanks for joining! If you want to Finish This, answer the prompts in the comments or add your link to the party. See you next week :) 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fandom + Yarn

Soooo you may have gathered from one or two {or three or four or five or six}  previous posts that I'm a fangirl. You may also know that I crochet, although I think I've only got one dedicated post to a project. Well, this post is going to combine these two loves, because I finished the Doctor Who scarf!

Here's the pattern I used:

You may have seen the first half {the two left columns} already on Instagram...

I measured that half against myself and it is almost 3 times my "wingspan," which is supposed to also be my height, which is 5'4". I'll do the math: the scarf is over 15 feet long.

But wait! There's more!

Here are the two halves together {first half on top}:

And here are the two side by side:

The width looks uneven because of the different thickness of the yarns. If/when I make another, I will get all the same thickness and everyone will think I've drastically improved my ability to count stitches...

You may be wondering why I made one scarf into two scarves, and I will tell you: can you imagine one person wearing ALL THAT YARN at one time!?!? And by one person, I mean a person of my height, because obviously the Doctor already wore it.

I chose to make a friendship scarf, and Samara and I will both have a half. We will be together across the states, our necks {and probably the rest of us} will be warm, and our fandom will be represented - all around wins.

If you would like to wear your fandom, have suggestions for a future project, or just want to gush/fangirl, post a comment!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome, August

This week has been a bit off. Ye olde blog has been slightly neglected while I was in alllllll daaaaaay looooooonnggg meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, and we are lucky to have "finished this" on Thursday. I'm usually a pretty positive person, so I feel weird blogging when I don't have anything happy to say. When life hands me lemons, I tend to withdraw from the blogosphere.

At the beginning of July, I told you how difficult the month of June was for me. July felt ten times harder. The highs were higher and the lows were lower, and some situations were both at the same time. Ugh, July, you were really rough!

So I'm ready for August. I'm ready for a settling into whatever new season is coming next {I know the next season is Autumn; I was being metaphorical and spiritual and stuff}. I'm ready for change and adjustments and something different.