the book tag.

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{for le blog aesthetic // not mine}

My lovely friend Eva over at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness tagged me in this wonderful book tag and I decided to do it!  (I rarely do tags, not because I don’t like them, but because I usually forget.  Keep tagging me, guys!  One of these days I’ll remember to do them.  XD)

Rules
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?
I’m gonna have to go with the trilogy of E.B. White books my godfather got for me when I was a baby, or Spy for the Confederacy, which I’m pretty sure is the very first book I ever bought myself.  It was on a shelf at a homeschooling convention, and little eight-year-old me, with such a massive love of both spies and the Civil War, decided to buy it.  I still love it.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
Current read: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter.  Oh my gosh, where has this book been all of my life?!  I would’ve liked it a lot when I was a little younger, but I’m super glad I found it now.  It’s about spies and forbidden teen love and it’s just so great.  10/10.
Last read: Always a Bridesmaid For Hire by Jen Glantz.  I enjoyed most of it, as it’s probably a good overview of what my life will look like for the next few years (minus the business part).  See my review here.
Next read: The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker.  The plot sounds great and I’m always looking for random books to try out.  Plus, that cover tho.  *heart eyes emoji*

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?
I try not to hate books, but I really didn’t like The DUFF or Eleanor and Park (which, arguably, was only my second RR book, and I’m planning on rereading it again in the future to see if my opinion has changed).  I also greatly despise a lot of those conservative purity books that I got pulled into when I was younger – So Much More and Before You Meet Prince Charming, for instance.  (I’ll write a post about it in the future if y’all want to read my ranty opinion, but the short of it is that a girl isn’t a sub-helpmeet for her dad and should be free to decide, with guided wisdom from authorities, what to do with her life – and, yeah, that includes moving out, getting a job, and going to college if she feels like that’s God’s will for her life.  These books basically tell girls that their only biblical place is in the home, under her father’s authority, until she gets married.  I know young women aged 25-30 who still live with their parents, uneducated and jobless.  Do. Not. Like.)

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
My goal in life is to READ ALL THE BOOKS, but there are probably a few that I’ll never get around to – the other Mitch Rapp books (unless they’re made into more movies bc Dylan O’Brien tho), and various classics that I have no interest in.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?
What’s retirement???  I’ve got a few books that I’ve been stockpiling for when we move into our internet-less house, including Les MisTumble Fall, Everything Leads to You, The Unexpected Everything, Illuminae, and The Infinite Moment of Us – all of which I’ve gotten recently specifically for this move.  (Except for Illuminae, which a friend sent me.  Oh, and Les Mis, which has sat, in all it’s bricklike, unabridged glory on my shelf for about six years.  I’ll get to it.)

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?
I AIN’T ABOUT THAT SPOILER LIFE, FAM.  If the wind flips pages forward and I see stuff that hasn’t happened yet, I get all annoyed and heartbroken and achy inside and question whether or not I want to even finish the book.  Last-page-readers are sub-human and will not survive the winter or the zombie apocalypse.

7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
I adore acknowledgments.  Probably because I’m a writer, but I just love seeing who has influenced the author.  It’s so much fun to also get a sneak peek into their life and the little inside jokes they have with people they thank.  Plus, it’s a great way to find agents to pester to represent my book.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Hermione Granger or someone from The Berinfell Prophecies, preferably whoever kisses Jimmy, whom I’ve had a crush on for the last eight years, with absolutely no sign of ceasing.  Or maybe Jo March, since I’m already basically her already.  (I’d say yes to Laurie in a heartbeat.  Screw whatever’s “supposed to happen,” to quote Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton, “THAT BOY IS MIIIIIINE!”)

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
Oh heck yes.  I can’t read Fangirl without thinking of the porch swing at my grandparents’ house where I inhaled it for the first time, or The Final Storm without remembering literally chucking it against a wall in my room while screaming “NO!” and sobbing, or The List without flashbacks to remembering the skiing trip where I was first introduced to Robert Whitlow (and remembering that a friend of mine gave me a signed copy of it because he met Robert), or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone without thinking of all the minds I’d blow by reading it, or The Scarlet Pimpernel without thinking, “This is a classic???  And I’m ENJOYING IT???”  Every single book holds memories for me, and sometimes I reread books just to revisit the memories surrounding them.  True story.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
Besides the previous story about a book personally signed to me by Robert Whitlow (*heart eyes emoji*), I think the next most interesting story is the story behind A Thief in the Theater: A Kit Mystery.  Yes, that Kit.  Ever since a good friend had gotten to go to the American Girl store in NYC back when I was like ten, I’d always dreamed of going.  So when my dad took me to NYC for my high school graduation, the American Girl store was one of the first things on our to-do list.  I walked out of that store with that book and two t-shirts (one for me and one for my doll, of course) with PRIDE.

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
All of my books are my precious babies, but I did buy three copies of If You Find This Letter to write in and give to people as Christmas presents.  Still one of the best gifts I’ve ever given someone.  That book is literally life-changing.  Read it.

12. Which book has been with you most places?
Probably Fangirl or The Martian.  When I was reading them (and then rereading both), I couldn’t put them down.  Even when I wasn’t reading them, they had to be by my side, in my “mommy purse.”  Other than that, I’m gonna have to go with Eva’s answer and say my Bible.  It’s been on almost all of my vacations, plus all over Charlotte when I did summer missions.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I was never a classics person when I was younger, which I’m not ashamed of, especially since I’m able to come to them now, for the first time, with an adult mindset that I didn’t have when I was younger.  For instance, a friend and I were talking the other day about girls who got into Austen when they were teenagers and loved them purely for the romance – which is fine, but I’m so happy I’m able to see past the romance and enjoy Jane for her satire and wit, not to mention her feminism and the fact that she was so far ahead of her time.

14. Used or brand new?
Used that looks brand new.  I prefer cheap books, and if I can find a new copy of a book for $5, I’ll absolutely get it.  I like my books in pristine condition and will pay a few extra dollars to get a new book over a used one, but I’m blessed with knowing a few different places to get cheap, beautiful used books.  (*cough* 2nd and Charles, where I got 2 books, a movie, and the first season of Graceland for $14 the other day *cough*)

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
Nope!  I’m vaguely interested in The Da Vinci Code, though!

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
Mockingjay.  I thought Part 2 did a great job of fixing the problems in the book.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
Are you kidding; every book makes me hungry.  There are a few books that make me especially hungry, though, including The Little Women Letters and Harry Potter.  (One word: BUTTERBEER).

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Cait (Paper Fury).  I adore her.  Plus, she’s so incredibly sweet and friendly – it seriously feels like we’re friends whenever she replies to my comments on her reviews.  Read all of the posts on her website.  She’s hilarious, too, and I want to be just like her when I grow up.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
Classics are a recent pleasure, thanks to the Lit courses I took in college (how is that past tense already it feels like i just started college i can’t evennnnnn) that made me study quite a few classics.  (we’re talking 50+, 12 of which I read and wrote essays on in two months.  college is hard, y’all.)  I’ve also started really enjoying memoirs, thanks to Unbroken and If You Find This Letter.  People are fascinating.

Alrighty, I tag all of my followers who want to do it either in the comments or on their own blogs, especially Jessica and Katelyn.  ❤

love week | some fanvids of my favorite ships.

Hello all!  Welcome to the week of Valentine’s Day, which usually finds me and my single friends eating chocolate and watching sappy movies.  (The same can probably be said of you, too, if you’re single – don’t even try to lie to me.)  This week, I’m going to be indulging in all things romantic, because even if I’m not in a relationship, I can at least enjoy the fictional people who are, right?

Literally just like the title says.  Warning: Probably spoilers.

focal point | sherlolly {sherlock}

I’ve been shipping this since Season One, guys.  And it was worth it.  It’s always been worth it.

the last time | literati {gilmore girls}

Y’all know I didn’t like Jess.  But then he grew on me after I wrote that post, and, by the time A Year in the Life came around, he was (imho) the best of the three for Rory.  So here I sit, still holding my opinion of angsty teenage Jess, but having an entirely new opinion of AYitL Jess.  (And yes of course I’m planning Literati fanfiction.)

this is for the lonely | peter + wendy {peter pan}

Yes, I do ship small children.

i should have saved you | mileven {stranger things}

I will never get over this video, just like I will never get over this ship.  I’ll be sobbing over it ’til Season Two premieres in October.  (And this is the saddest video in this bunch, so I’m sorry.)

this | tim + mary {about time}

Current favorite movie (About Time) and current favorite actor (Domhnall Gleeson).  I love this so much.

tenerife sea | mondler {f.r.i.e.n.d.s}

I sobbed after Chandler proposed to Monica and then sobbed all over again when I found this video.  They’re my absolute favorite ship from this show, and I love them both dearly.

it’s you and me forever | cory + shawn {boy meets world}

Now, I don’t ship these two (I’m a hardcore Copanga and Shawngela shipper), but I love their bromance, their friendship, and how they’re always there for one another.  I love the love they have for one another.  Period.

teenage dream | copanga {boy meets world}

THIS is my main Boy Meets World ship.  Literal goals.

saturn | steggy {captain america}

Now, I don’t know who the crap allowed this, but I know I love it.  So bittersweet.  It perfectly encapsulates their story.

please don’t say you love me | knighthouse {emma}

Okay so the thing I love about this video is that it’s not just Emma Approved – it’s all the favorites!  Clueless (hello, Paul Rudd), the ’09 version (practically perfect in every way), and that other version that people like for some reason.  Love it.

Well, this concludes Love Week, as I’ll be at a cabin in Tennessee for the rest of the weekend with some of my very bestest friends.  What are some of your favorite fanvids?  What did you think about Love Week as a whole?  (Because I do love feedback & knowing that you guys like what I blog about.)

love week | fictional guys i’d totally marry.

Hello all!  Welcome to the week of Valentine’s Day, which usually finds me and my single friends eating chocolate and watching sappy movies.  (The same can probably be said of you, too, if you’re single – don’t even try to lie to me.)  This week, I’m going to be indulging in all things romantic, because even if I’m not in a relationship, I can at least enjoy the fictional people who are, right?

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I was going to write a blog post on my favorite fictional couples, but it turns out I already did that (and my post is pretty dang great, so check it out).  I’ve also done post after post after post about being single (going twenty-two years strong, how’s that for a RECORD), so read those, too.

So since my sister is getting flowers from a male non-relative who likes her for the second year in a row, I’m going to think about all the fictional guys I’d totally marry if they existed.

No judgment, guys.  You and I both know that I have Standards and A List, and I probably wouldn’t actually marry half of these guys, but it’s fun to pretend, so… no judgment.

Anne-and-Gil-talking.jpgGilbert Blythe | Anne of Green Gables

Because who the crap could resist those beautiful eyes, that dazzling smile, and just his entire winning personality???  Anne tried, but couldn’t for long.  He’d tease you but he’d also love the heck outta you.  I’m down for that.

“There would never be anyone for me but you. “

Levi Stewart | Fangirl

This one’s obvious – he loves books (even though he can’t read very well), he’s a fanboy, he’s super sweet and super funny, and he works at Starbucks and makes his own unique drinks – which he brings to Cather.  I mean, it’s a win-win-win.

When she opened her door, Levi was sitting in the hallway, his legs bent in front of him, hunched forward on his knees. He looked up when she stepped out.
“I’m such an idiot,” he said.
Cath fell between his knees and hugged him.
“I can’t believe I said that,” he said. “I can’t even go nine hours without seeing you.”

Neville Longbottom | Harry Potter

Nev wasn’t much to look at when he was younger (I blame it on the fake teeth and fatsuits they put Matt in, because he wasn’t that ugly in the book) and he’s a tad forgetful, but he’s got a heart of gold.  Plus, he bailed Harry out more than once.  What’s not to love?

“I’ll join you when Hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s Silencing Charms seemed unable to hold.

HIS. EYES..pngPeeta Mellark | The Hunger Games

M’KAY, listen UP.  My college/career Bible study got into a heated debate about Gale vs. Peeta and I’m pretty sure Team Peeta won because (1) he saved Katniss’s life more than once, (2) Gale basically killed Prim, and (3) he’s such a strong guy – physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I’ll always be Team Peeta.

“We were five. You had a plaid dress and your hair…it was in two braids instead of one. … So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She put you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, ever bird outside the windows fell silent. And right when your song ended, I knew -just like your mother- I was a goner.”

Faramir | Lord of the Rings

My siblings and I just recently introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings, and watching the extended versions all over again rekindled my love for this man.  He’s selfless, sacrificial, and willing to do anything for those he loves (even his deadbeat dad, who doesn’t love him at all).  Move over, Eowyn – I’d marry this guy so hard.

“Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?” she said. “And would you have your proud folk say of you: ‘There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?”
“I would,” said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.

Mac Campbell | Rose in Bloom

If you know who this guy is, bless you.  He’s a bookworm, super smart, and just the sweetest little pumpkin that there ever was.  The first time I read Eight Cousins, I knew I loved him, and Rose in Bloom just cemented my adoration for this guy.

“What have you decided to be, Mac?” asked Rose, as they went up the avenue side by side.
“A man first, and a good one if possible; after that, what God pleases.”
Something in the tone, as well as the words, made Rose look up quickly into Mac’s face, to see a new expression there.  It was indescribable; but she felt as if she had often done when watching the mists part suddenly, giving glimpses of some mountaintop, shining serene and high against the blue.
“I think you will be something splendid; for you really look quite glorified, walking under this arch of yellow leaves with the sunshine on your face,” she exclaimed, conscious of a sudden admiration never felt before; for Mac was the plainest of all the cousins.
“I don’t know about that; but I have my dreams and aspirations, and some of them are pretty high ones.  Aim at the best, you know, and keep climbing if you want to get on,” he said, looking at the asters with an inward sort of smile, as if he and they had some sweet secret between them.

dylan-dylan-ox27brien-hot-sexy-beast-Favim.com-1068521.pngStiles Stalinski | Teen Wolf

Here’s where my “no judgment” rule comes in.  Don’t ask how I found this show, why I started watching it, or how far into it I am.  Never mind, I’ll give you one answer – I started watching it because of Dylan O’Brien, whom I love, which is obviously the reason why I love Stiles.  He’s hilarious, loyal, and – as much as he denies it – heroic.

“The ten-year plan for making Lydia fall in love with me may have to stretch to fifteen, but the plan is definitely still in motion.”

Chandler Bing | F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I don’t love Chandler as much as I am him, which is probably why our marriage wouldn’t last a year, but I’d still take him.  I’ve always wanted to marry a funny guy, and Chandler is a million times that, plus he’s got a super-sweet heart and a genuinely caring spirit.  I’ll take it, even if it’d only last a little while.  (But then I’d give him back to Monica because they’re my otp.)

“I thought that it mattered what I said or where I said it. Then I realized the only thing that matters is that you, you make me happier than I ever thought I could be.  And if you’ll let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.  Monica, will you marry me?”

Shawn Hunter | Boy Meets World

SHAWN IS MY PRECIOUS BABY AND I WILL LOVE HIM ‘TIL THE DAY I DIE.  No kidding, I liked him in the first episode, but I really loved him around Episode 17 – The Fugitive (you know, the episode where he blows up a mailbox).  I just want to love and protect him and give him everything he ever deserved that the world never gave him.  Everything – and I do mean everything – went wrong for him, yet he emerged stronger than anyone thought possible.  GAH.

Cory: Okay, so after the prom, romance in the air, you and Angela, you’re gonna look in each other’s eyes, and…
Shawn: Me and Angela? I don’t know. Maybe. What do you think, we sat down and discussed it? How dorky do you think we are? What about you and Topanga?
Cory: We sat down and discussed it.

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Chris-Evans1.jpgSteve Rogers | Captain America

Chivalric hero from the ’40s with a super hot body?  Heck yes I would.

Peggy: You have no idea how to talk to a woman, do you?
Steve: I think this is the longest conversation I’ve had with one.  Women aren’t exactly lining up to dance with a guy they might step on.
Peggy: You must have danced…
Steve: Well, asking a woman to dance always seemed so terrifying.  And in the past few years, it just didn’t seem to matter that much.  Figured I’d wait.
Peggy: For what?
Steve: Right partner.

Sir Percy Blakeney | The Scarlet Pimpernel

The same exact sentence for the guy above could literally be used for Percy, so… heck yes I would again.  I own four (4) copies of The Scarlet Pimpernel, various paperback copies of the other books, and I think I’ve read ten out of the sixteen books (and El Dorado is the best).  I love this guy.

Had he but turned back then, and looked out once more on to the rose-lit garden, she would have seen that which would have made her own sufferings seem but light and easy to bear–a strong man, overwhelmed with his own passion and despair. Pride had given way at last, obstinacy was gone: the will was powerless. He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.

George Knightley | Emma

My first reading of this book (don’t hate me; I’m just now going through my classics phase) basically cemented my love for this guy – and also the fact that Jonny Lee Miller will always be the best Knightley fIGHT ME.

“I cannot make speeches, Emma:” he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.”

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Jack Pearson | This is Us

Jess who?  Move over, kid – Milo’s back and this time he’s even better than you.  Jack is literally the best male character on the small screen today.  Dad goals, husband goals, friend goals – just everything goals.  In the words of Rebecca, his oh-so-lucky wife, he’s “freaking Superman.”  I’ve loved gushing over him with my mom friends at the preschool playground and I know that I’ll still be gushing over him over the next few years as the show progresses.

“You know, when I was a little boy, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Adults always ask little kids that.  I never had a good answer – not ’til I was twenty-eight.  Until the day that I met you.  That’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wanted to be the man that made you happy.”

What about you?  Any men you’d totally take?  I claim all of these guys, though… at least ’til I find an actual real-life male non-relative to obsess over.  😉

sixteen of my favorite childhood movies.

(Instead of posting two very ranty posts about perfect people, or one that’s literally just my text conversation with my sister about a guy at Starbucks who was literally sitting next to me the whole time we texted, here’s a list of ten of my favorite childhood movies.  Because I like being nostalgic more than I like ranting at you guys.  ALSO because this is like a make-up for my “movies i don’t like” post, which freaked you guys out.  I still have good taste!  Be my friend again!)

You know that moment when someone bashes something you love and you feel like building a barricade and taking up arms to defend yourself and your opinion?

Well.

A few weeks ago, Shia Labouf said that he “wasn’t proud of Holes.

My knee-jerk reaction was, “WHAAAAT?!  HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MOVIES?!  IT DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD.  THAT MOVIE IS A WORK OF CINEMATIC GENIUS.  YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE WORLD.”

And then I calmed down and decided to write this blog post.

Because I feel like I need to defend Holes, here are my top ten favorite childhood films (including Holes).  Honestly, these aren’t all Oscar-worthy, but they’re movies that I saw in my childhood (birth-twelve) and have stuck with me since then – and enough that I’ll eternally love them, no matter what anybody says.  In no particular order, because I can’t narrow movies down like that.

{And this was originally gonna be just five… then ten… then fifteen… then I remembered a huge one, so yeah.  Skim it if you don’t care.  It was way too nostalgic to write.  *runs away sobbing*}

holes

Holes (duh)

I distinctly remember when my siblings and I first got introduced to this movie.  We were on the way to Hershey, PA (it was a homeschool field trip that was my idea – booyah), and stopped at somebody’s house for the night.  The kids begged Mom and Dad to let us watch it, but it had gotten too late.  They had recently gotten the DVD, so they gave us their copy of the VHS (remember those???).  We later watched the movie in the hotel room and fell in love with it.  I’ve loved it ever since.  Because what is not to love?!  Bravery, comedy, adventure, and insanely hilarious one-liners, plus a FANTASTIC sub-plot set in the Old West.  We’ve seen this movie so many times, we can quote all of it, and certain lines come up in our daily conversations, such as “I can fix that” and “Once upon a time, there was a magical place where it never rained.  The end.  *annoying laugh*”  (The book is pretty great, too, and almost exactly like the movie – that’s when you KNOW the movie’s good!)

If you haven’t seen it, totally go watch it right now.  Seriously.  Right now.  Go.

country bears.jpg

this is the actual cover of the actual vhs we actually still own.  good gracious.

The Country Bears

Okay, so this one’s more of an inside joke in my family – one of those it’s-so-stupid-you-can’t-help-but-like-it movies.  My brother and I watch it every now and then, if only to poke fun at it.  I’ve always loved it, though.  The songs are fantastic (plus, I had a babysitter who looked like the waitress in that one musical number), and the comedy is genius.  Some of my favorite parts are when the parents and police (HAMM AND CHEETS) ignore the fact that Beary (B e a r y) is a bear who was literally adopted, and whenever Beary meets a new member of the Country Bears – thus starting a new musical number.  Favorite lines include: “We’re gonna play this little game I like to call Hidin’ In The Car Wash.” “What do we do?” “We hide… in the car wash.” and “OH NO!  NOT COUNTRY BEAR HALL!”

If you need a totally stupid movie that you can just mindlessly watch that will make you laugh ’til tears stream down your face, this one’s for you.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

This movie.  This. Movie.  I have memories of singing the “Oodilally Oodilally, Golly, What a Day” song in the car… at nineteen.  With fellow teenagers.  And when we went to Disney last month, I ran towards the guy dressed in the Robin Hood suit.  (And he hugged me and kissed my hand and let me take pictures with him.  I basically died.)  That’s the impact this movie has had on my life.  It’s set all of my relationship goals (‘Love Goes On,’ anyone?), all of my husband goals (because Robin IS goals), and it’s basically one of my favorite stories ever – SET TO MUSIC.  WITH ANIMALS.  I mean, seriously, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS?!

Pretty sure you guys have all seen this, so watch it if you want some insane nostalgia.

chicken little.jpg

Chicken Little

Okay, I feel like I need to defend this movie, too.  One of my friends just dissed it and I felt memories from eleven years ago rise up and form my soapbox from which I bashed him.  My younger siblings watched it while I saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I was slightly jealous, until we watched it later and I fell in love with it then.  I love how funny this one is.  (“Pfft – bandaid solutions!”)  Plus, it’s just a great take on the story.  And with the undertones of friendship and fatherhood and bravery, it’s maintained its place on my list of favorite movies of all time.

Literally just watch this one if you want a good laugh.

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Treasure Planet

I feel like this movie is ignored in the Disney canon a lot because it’s in that awkward stage when Disney was trying to figure themselves out again (it came out in 2002, right along with Lilo and StitchThe Emperor’s New Groove, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt – all good movies but not considered “classics”).  And I have NO IDEA WHY because this movie DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD.  Seriously, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this.  We have the pre-release version (long story short, a good friend’s dad was a theater marketing guy for Paramount, so he’d give us the VHSes after he was done with them – actually, a good chunk of these movies are from him.  Thanks, Mr. A!), so I’ve been in love with this movie for a while.  Then, when the 10th anniversary Blu-ray came out, Katie and I lamented how old we’ve gotten and bought it.  Because duh.  Everything is amazing – the cast (Emma Thompson!  Martin Short!  Baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt!!!), the post-apocalyptic-18th-century-SPACEPIRATES setting, the hilarious references to older movies (“Dang it, Jim, I’m an astronomer, not a doctor!”), and the incredible accuracy to the original Robert Lewis Stevenson book.  (And, I mean, it’s probably my favorite adaption.)  Plus, Jim was one of my first major fictional crushes (not telling you what the first one was – it’s embarassingggg), and Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia were probably my first ship (before I even knew what shipping was!).  This movie is amazing.  Plus, dang it, that SONG.  And the soundtrack is E P I C.  I used to do my math homework to it.  Every single day.  And this huge paragraph just goes to show just how much I LOVE this movie.

If you need something fantastic in so many ways, go for this one.

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Cinderella (1997)

*adjusts hipster glasses* Chances are, you haven’t heard of or seen this one.  It’s based on the Rogers and Hammerstein musical (originally on television in 1957, starring Julie Andrews), and it played a major part in my decision to go see Cinderella on Broadway in 2013.  (I’ll take this opportunity to say again that I saw the original cast – meaning Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes.  Yes, Cosette, this is true.)  To be completely honest with you guys, I got this movie (the VHS from Target – yes, I’m that old) as a reward for success in potty training.  It’s been in my family for a while, and my baby sister watches the same VHS I did.  *melts from the happy feels*  The music is amazing, the sets and costumes are breathtaking, and the color-blind casting is genius.  (How Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber had Paolo Montalban as a child, I will never know.  But I love it.)

If you need a dose of amazing music sung by the TALENT that is Brandi, Whitney Houston, and Bernadette Peters (THE QUEEN), be prepared – this one will knock your socks off.

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Pride and Prejudice

This one seems a little mature to fit in this list, but TRUST ME – IT BELONGS.  I can almost remember the day we got introduced to this movie by our amazing friends in North Carolina (who also introduced us to Redwall, Monk, The Penderwicks, and Hogan’s Heroes) – mid-November of 2005.  We were at their house for a literature class, and their sixteen-year-old son (no joke) casually mentioned that they were going to see “the new Pride and Prejudice” later that day and asked if we’d heard of it.  The second my mom said no, he gasped a little and found the DVD for us to borrow.  He later told us that the new one wasn’t any good and that we should just stick to the old one.  (Before you guys fall in love with him, just know that he’s married now.)  I love this movie.  I like the new one (we’ve formed a cordial friendship ever since I’ve decided that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was), but this one is amazing.  It’s what started my love for period dramas.

If you haven’t seen it yet… seriously, why are you even following this blog.

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Little Women

This one is such a classic, and I connected with it in so many ways when I first saw it.  Jo and I are both second-born, love writing, have a flair for theatre, and are tomboyish.  I can’t see Laurie played by anybody else, either – Christian Bale is Laurie.  And it’s so accurate to the book!  (Which, confession, I didn’t read until about 2012.  What can I say – I’ve never loved classics.)  I’ve seen this one too many times to count, and I still can’t watch Beth’s death scene without covering my eyes or fast-forwarding (because we have the VHS, duh).  The only thing I don’t love is the fact that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together.  I understaaaand why Laurie wasn’t right for Jo and why Prof Bhaer was, but… dang you, Louisa, they were SO CUTE.

If you love period drama, watch this one.  (And then listen to the musical.)

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Anastasia

SWEET BUTTERED CRUMPETS, THIS MOVIE.  I’ve been in love with Dimitri ever since 1997.  (He. Is. Mine.)  The entire thing is amazing, but the music is what makes up for the historical inaccuracies and the creepily-almost-demonic Rasputin.  “If I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it!”  And ‘Once Upon a December’ is one of my favorite songs of all time.  Not to mention all of the songs are breathtaking (even the kind of lame, totally 90’s ‘In the Dark of the Night’), just like the costumes.  (GAH.  I need ALL OF THEM.)  The action is amazing – that train scene, guys.  *dies*  Plus, hello, the love story between Anya and Dimitri – TALK ABOUT GOALS!  I shipped them (along with Captain Amelia and Doctor Doppler) before I knew what shipping was.  I want a guy like Dimitri, guys – sassy and loyal and a little bad.  *WINKKKK*  This movie has just the perfect amount of romance, one-liners, action, and comedy.  I will never get over this movie.  It’s on Amazon Prime and I don’t care to mention how many times watched snippets on my phone in between study sessions.  It keeps the kid in me alive.  ; )

If you just want to see a really good animated movie, watch this one.

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Barbie: Princess and the Pauper

Say what you will about all Barbie movies being self-insert fanfiction, but this list had to have at least one (and it’s probably the stupidest movie on this list but I love it anyway).  This one’s gotta be my favorite, probably because of the music.  (I’m sensing a theme here…)  I listened to some of it the other day and got all nostalgic again while realizing I still know all the words to ‘Free‘… plus all the other songs.  (“Imagine life without the strife of an unfamiliar groom!”)  And my relationship with my husband/boyfriend/whatever will not be complete until we sing ‘If You Love Me for Me,’ amen and amen.  Plus, the older ones are just so much better than the newer ones.  (We still own this one, Nutcracker, Rapunzel, and Swan Lake, and my younger siblings watch them all the time.)  I love all of the stupid lines (“It was always lilac!”) and all the music and the insanely unbelievable and predictable plot and all the plot holes and the stupid romance subplots and just everything about it.  I don’t know how or why Martin Short sunk so low, but b l e s s.

If you need something to watch at 2am after studying for six hours *cough* not that I’ve done that *cough* but… yep.

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i couldn’t find a picture of josh and buddy together… but who needs that when you can have just this adorable little kid, amiright?!

Air Bud

One word: Dimples.  This movie introduced me to them, and I’ve never been the same.  (I’ve also harbored a nineteen-year-old crush GOOD GOSH HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG on Kevin Zegers.  The other day, I found myself speed-watching an episode of a TV show that I’m not interested in just because Kevin played a very sick teen and I needed to make sure he ended up okay.  {He did.})  This movie is amazing.  It tugged at my baby heartstrings and I cried when Josh told Buddy to leave.  (The pudding cup, guys… *sobs*)  I still can’t watch it without crying when Buddy comes back, even though there’s no way he can help Josh with the basketball game.  (HE’S THERE FOR MORAL SUPPORT, OKAY?!)  I still watch this occasionally.  And my opinion on all the Air Buddies movies – no.  Just… no.

IF YOU NEED TO SEE SOME ADORBS DIMPLES (on a twelve-year-old but whatever), WATCH IT.

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Hook

This movie really set in stone everything I want from an action film – ACTION SCENES STARRING SMALL CHILDREN.  (Just kidding.)  Seriously, though, I will never stop loving this movie.  I just watched it again with the kids that I babysit, and let me just say… it’s a classic.  Robin Williams is amazing, Dustin Hoffman is fantastic, and, according to Blimey Cow,  you’re not a REAL homeschooler if you haven’t seen it.  (“RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOO.”)  Plus, John Williams is phenomenal, as always.  And I’m always just 100% here for anything about Peter Pan, so yeah.  (Speaking of: Peter Pan: Return to Never Land.  First movie I distinctly remember seeing in the theater, and ‘I’ll Try‘ never fails to make me weep.)  When I first saw it over a decade ago (whyyyyy am I so ooooolllllldddddd), the scene when Hook kidnaps Peter’s kids freaked the living snot out of me, but in a good way.  (When that handle turns, SHIVERS RUN DOWN MY SPINE. S O.  G O O D.)

If you want a true 90’s classic, go for it.

lww old

*intense war flashbacks*

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

The newer version (yes, the newer one that came out over a DECADE AGO) is also on this list, but this version belongs first because I fell in love with the world of Narnia because of this movie.  (I loved the books, but I didn’t get around to reading the books for myself until I was about nine, long after I first saw this movie.)  The 80’s feel is kind of redic, the clearly-human-people-in-animal-costumes (the Beavers, anyone?), Animatronic Aslan whose mouth goes up and down – even when he’s not talking – YES IT’S ALL INSANELY STUPID BUT THIS IS THE NARNIA THAT I KNOW AND LOVE.   We had this library we would go to every Tuesday that was in a church that had all of these amazing books and movies but my siblings and I would get one of the old Narnia movies every other week, without fail (this one the most).  I remember being insanely offended at nine years old when I found out that “they” were making another one.

If you want intense war flashbacks because you had an amazing childhood, give this a much-deserved rewatch.

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OH MAH GOSH I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

I seriously have so much love for both of these versions, so they both belong on here.  Like I said before, I was mad when I found out that a reboot was being made.  Then I saw the trailer and I was like, “NOPE, I’M GONNA SEE THIS.”  I took some friends for my eleventh birthday and loved it.  (Even though I left the theater with a friend to go to the bathroom during the Stone Table scene because I was so freaked out.)  This movie influenced me so much, and the entire series formed a lot of my views of God (even though I didn’t know it at the time).  Plus, everybody said I looked so much like Georgie Henley that I cut my hair short like hers.  Of the three reboots that have been released (SO FAR – SILVER CHAIR, BABYYYYY), this one’s probably my favorite.  I had such a crush on Will Mosley (and of course I don’t still have a crush on him even though he only gets more hot why would you say that) and it was one of the first movies that I saw in which WWII played a pretty big part (we thought we’d gone into the wrong theater for the first eight minutes!).  Anyway, this one’s such a classic and, thus, such a favorite.

If you want to see an amazing version of an amazing classic… yes.  Just yes.

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Muppet Treasure Island

“He’s some kind of a blind fiend.”  “I believe they prefer visually-challenged fiend.”  Seriously, the sass in this movie is unreal.  Which is why my siblings and I loved it so much when we were younger.  Pirates, swordfighting, hilarious one-liners, MUPPETS – what’s not to love?  It’s one of those movies that’s somehow distinctly for homeschoolers, and I didn’t care about conforming to the stereotype when I was six.  Even though Jim’s voice is so high – seriously, the kid hits notes that I can’t hit with a ten-foot pole – and even though some of it is so stupid, we still loved it.  (And I’m pretty sure my older sister had a crush on Tim Curry’s Long John Silver, even though she’ll flat out deny it if you ask her.)

If you want to see (another) hilarious take on Stevenson’s classic tale, here you go.

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look at how cute this guy is!!!

All of Roy Rogers’ movies

My siblings and I own and have seen so many of these and I CANNOT NARROW THEM DOWN.  (Seriously, we own a collection of twenty, plus about twenty other standalone DVDs.  It was an obsession.)  Roy Rogers influenced me so much that I even read not one but two biographies about him and his wife, Dale Evans (and their relationship is just so many goals).  (At fifteen.  When I hated nonfiction!)  Many, many, many happy hours were spent with my siblings watching classics like Eyes of Texas and Jesse James at Bay and Young Bill Hickok and Sons of the Pioneers and Hands Across the Boarder and Heldorado and Roll On, Texas Moon and Springtime in the Sierras and then reenacting the scenes in our backyards and other friends’ backyards.  I wrote so many western short stories and scripts because of him.  And then to grow up a little more and find out that he was a CHRISTIAN who had NINE KIDS, FOUR of which he ADOPTED?!  It’s unreal.  He was my first childhood hero (I even put a framed photograph of him and Dale up on my bookshelf… where it still stands today) and I know I’ll love him for forever.  AND WAY MORE THAN JOHN WAYNE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

If you love Westerns and haven’t seen at least a dozen of Roy’s old movies, you really need to do this for yourself.  Watch one.  Eyes of Texas is probably my favorite.

Honorable Mentions
(because expanding already-too-long lists is what I do BEST)

All of the Pixar movies, but especially my favorites – Toy Story (1,2,&3) and Up
ALLLLL
 of the old Disney movies, but especially my favorites – The Lion King and Beauty and            the BeastAladdin, Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mulan
The Rescuers
The Great Mouse Detective
The Iron Giant
Mary Poppins
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Love Bug
Escape to 
(and Return FromWitch Mountain
The Princess Diaries
(mostly just the first one, though – I didn’t see the second one ’til like             2011)
The Emperor’s New Groove
The American Girl movies, especially the Kit one (STANLEY TUCCI)
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (two words: Bryan Adams)

Gosh, this entire post has given me so much nostalgia and now I feel SO INCREDIBLY OLD.  Please tell me that you’ve seen at least some of these!  (And if you haven’t, let me know in the comments and I’ll pop us some popcorn because it’s time for you to L I V E.)

twelve couples i’ll always be in love with.

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought for a good five minutes about what I wanted to write about today.  I usually do a post on contentment and singleness, but I think I’ve said all I need to on the subject.  (See those posts here, here, and here – all of which, I realize after re-reading all of them, bemoan the infamous Valentine’s Day Banquet of ’13 – LOL.  They’re actually pretty decent, too, so if you want to hear my thoughts on contentment, they’re worth a read.)

But today is not about being single.  Today is about relationships.  And if we’re not in relationships, we can at least obsess over those who are, right?

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Today, I’ve decided to write about book and movie couples that are in love and that I am in love with (because that’s way less depressing than dwelling on how single I am, lol).  (Just kidding; I’m actually totally content right now.  So yay.)

These aren’t couples who are just cute together (because I could write about cute fictional couples for dayzzz).  These are couples who have stuck together through thick and thin and love each other despite the trials they go through.  They fight for their relationship and defy the odds.  They may not have fallen in love at first sight, but their relationship lasted because of the circumstances that brought them together and kept them together.

In no particular order (cuz you guys should know by now that I hate picking favorites), here are the twelve fictional couples that have basically defined all of my relationship goals.

Honorable Mentions:
Lulu and Liam {The Little Women Letters}
Mac and Rose {Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom}
Flynn and Rapunzel {Tangled}
Cath and Levi {Fangirl}
Katniss and Peeta {The Hunger Games Trilogy}
Kathleen and Joe {You’ve Got Mail}
Alexander and Eliza {Hamilton and also a real-life couple}
Roy and Dale {the Roy Rogers movies and also a real-life couple}

(And Clintasha would be right at the top but Joss woN’T STOP BLOWING HOLES IN MY SHIPS.  GAH.  *Hulks out*)

Shirtbert {Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe} | Anne of Green Gables

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These two.  GOSH, these two.  Ever since they first met in Anne of Green Gables, I knew they’d fall in love.  Except Anne was so blind to how much Gil loved her (and she was so deluded about what love really is) that it didn’t happen for a while.  *shakes head*  Silly Anne.  I mean, the guy gave up his position at a school for her!  He also saved her in a boat and NUMEROUS other amazing things.  Together, they make such a great couple.

“Anne, you have tricked something out of that imagination of yours that you call romance. Have you forgotten how he gave up the Avonlea school for you so that you could stay here with me? He picked you up everyday in his carriage so that you could study your courses together. Don’t toss it away for some ridiculous ideal that doesn’t exist.”

Copanga {Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence} | Boy Meets World

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OKAY.  I’ve been a huge fan of Boy Meets World for about two and a half years now (although it seems like longer) and their relationship is just so. many. goals.  They were friends for years and years before they got into an official relationship in the second season.  Their relationship withstood high school, the first two years of college, three break-ups (not including Topanga’s parents’ divorce).  Fourteen years later, in Girl Meets World, they’re still together and just as much in love as they were when they first started dating.

“Over half of all marriages fail.  It’s even worse for people our age.”
“Every statistic that you throw at me is going to be about other people.  I don’t care about other people – I care about you and me!  If every marriage failed except one, I’d guarantee that one would be ours.”

Laurie x Jo {Theodore Lawrence and Josephine March} | Little Women

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Okay, this is the only couple in this entire post who didn’t actually end up together.  (Jo and I may agree on everything else, okay, and I’m sorry, but I’ll ship this ’til the day I die.)  From the start, their friendship just screamed “ROMANCE!” and it seriously irked me that they didn’t end up together.  Because they totally should have.  They were so alike in so many ways, and they may have fought a lot, but what couple doesn’t?!  Ugh.  Anyway, I ship them like there’s no tomorrow.

“I have loved you since the moment I clapped eyes on you. What could be more reasonable than to marry you?”  (THAT’S WHAT I SAID.)

Knighthouse {Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley} | Emma

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Emma is my favorite Jane Austen story because the love interests shaped each other more than any other of her couples.  (Did Darcy have the influence on Lizzie that Knightley did on Emma?  NO.  I rest my case.)  I love stories that do this so. much.  Why is a person in your life romantically if not to mold you into someone better?  Food for thought.  If ever a couple was destined to be together, it was Emma and Knightley.  Even though he’s like seventeen years older than her.

“So, tell me, have I no chance of succeeding?  My dearest Emma, for that is what you always have been and you always will be, my most beloved Emma.  I cannot make speeches.  If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more, but you know what I am.  I have lectured you and scolded you and you have born it as no other woman would have.”

(I also desperately love Cher and Josh from Clueless, and their relationship is defined so well and I love them and baby Paul Rudd is just the sweetest little cinnamon roll.)

Julie x Eric // Julia x Paul {Julie and Eric Powell, and Julia and Paul Child} | Julie and Julia

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These two couples are new additions to my stock of Relationship Goals, but I knew they had been added the first time I watched Julie and Julia.  I love the distinction between the two relationships!  Julie and Eric are blissful newlyweds, and Julia and Paul have been married for several years but they’re even more in love than when they first got married.  When I first watched the movie, I told my sister, “Julie and Eric have what I want my newlywed married life to look like, and Julia and Paul have what I want my married-for-thirty-years married life to look like.”  #goals

“You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.”

Steggy {Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter} | Captain America: The First Avenger

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Er. mah. gursh.  This is definitely the most tragic couple in my entire list.  They loved each other so much and they didn’t end up together (not married, at least) and that just breaks my heart.  Peggy loved Steve just based on his character, before he was the insanely muscular dude he is halfway through the movie, and if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.  As soon as Steve said his “I’m waiting for the right partner” line, I was hooked.  (And so was Peggy.)  If ever a couple deserved to be together, it’s Steve and Peggy.

“I’m gonna need a rain check on that dance.”
“All right. A week next Saturday.  At The Stork Club.”
“You’ve got it.”
“Eight o’clock on the dot. Don’t you dare be late. Understood?”
“You know, I still don’t know how to dance.”
“I’ll show you how. Just be there.”

Anastasia x Dimitri {Anastasia Romanova and Dimitri Sudayev} | Anastasia

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When Anastasia and Dimitri first meet, they’re both really just using each other to accomplish their personal goals.  It’s hate at first sight.  When Anastasia and Dimitri have their first angered exchange (“Do you really think I’m royalty?” “You know I do!” “THEN STOP BOSSING ME AROUND.”) and Anastasia sticks her tongue out at him, I’m always just like, “Ohhhh, you two are gonna have it so bad.”  And they do.  They’re always slightly at odds, but in an endearing way.  In the end, Dimitri sacrifices his ambition to find the lost Russian princess for Anastasia (who, spoiler, is the lost princess) and they end up eloping and it’s just beautiful.

“That, uh, that dress looks really good on you.”
“Do you think so?”
“Yeah. I mean, it looked nice on the hanger but it’s even better on you. Y-you, you should wear it!”
“I am wearing it!”
“Oh, oh yes, I was just, um, trying to give you a… a…”
“Compliment?”
“Yeah.”

Robin x Marian {Robin Hood and Lady Marian Fitzwalter} | Robin Hood (1932)

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I grew up with the 1932 version of Robin Hood (here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it), and I’ve always loved the relationship that Robin and Marian have.  There’s just something about a classic tale of the love between a knight and his lady that I fall for every time. She’s hesitant at first, and he’s madly in love at first sight.  He wins her love by being the dashing hero he is, and she falls for him.  (And then, in the original tale, he dies.  I like this version better – they ride off into the sunset and it’s wonderful.)  It’s just a classic tale of love and I love it muchly.

“Tell me: when you are in love, is it hard to think of anybody but one person?”
“Yes, indeed, m’lady, and sometimes it’s a bit of trouble sleeping.”
“I know! But it’s a nice kind of not sleeping!”
“Yes. And it affects your appetite, too. Not that I’ve noticed it’s done that to you, ‘cept when he was in the dungeon waiting to be hanged.”
“And does it make you want to be with him all the time?”
“Yes. And when he’s with you, your legs are as weak as water. Now, tell me, m’lady: when he looks at you, do you feel a kind of pricky feeling, like goosey pimples running all up and down your spine?”
{Marian blushes}
“Then there’s not a doubt of it!”
“A doubt of what?”
{Robin swings in through the window where he was eavesdropping} “That you’re in love!”

George x Mary {George Bailey and Mary Hatch} | It’s a Wonderful Life

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I’ve been in love with George and Mary ever since I watched It’s a Wonderful Life for the first time (which was so many years ago that I can’t even remember when it was).  We watch the movie every Christmas Eve and I’ve always loved watching George and Mary’s relationship start to build from their childhood to thirty years (and four kids) later.  They’re still so in love and love each other so much despite all of the hardships they go through.  Their trials bring them closer together and idk but that’s what I want more than anything else.  #actualrelationshipgoals

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
“I’ll take it. Then what?”
“Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair… am I talking too much?”

Percy x Marguerite {Sir Percival Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just} | The Scarlet Pimpernel

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M’KAY.  The first time I read The Scarlet Pimpernel (and then binge-read most of the other Scarlet Pimpernel books), I knew I’d ship Percy and Marguerite ’til my dying days.  And, honestly, their relationship is one of the most brutal that I’ve ever seen.  Marguerite loves him even when he thinks she betrayed the St. Cyrs.  And then (in the book, at least) he risked his life to save her (just like he does for others *sheds a single tear*), and it always makes me cry so many happy tears.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Sir Percy.”
“This beholder is enchanted.  If I were to tell you that I adore you, would you have me do so stintingly?”
Adore me?”
“Or would you have me declare it as I feel it?  With all my heart?”
“But you can’t be serious – you know nothing about me!”
“Exactly so.  Which is why I yearn to know everything.  You must tell me all about yourself, in every detail, but oh so slowly, so very slowly, so that it takes a very, very long time.”
“I don’t know whether you’re mad or…”
“Desperately in love?  ‘Tis all the same.”

Remadora {Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks} | Harry Potter

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This one’s a new one, too, but it’s impacted me just as much as the others.  When we first meet Remus Lupin, he feels worthless and unlovable.  Tonks thinks otherwise, and loves him despite what he is.  He protests, but she loves him even more.  Remus and Tonks’ love taught me that there will always be someone to love you, despite the circumstances and despite everything you think that’s wrong with you.  *cries many tears*

“You see!” said a strained voice. Tonks was glaring at Lupin. “She still wants to marry him, even though he’s been bitten! She doesn’t care!”
“It’s different,” said Lupin, barely moving his lips and looking suddenly tense. “Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely-”
“But I don’t care either, I don’t care!” said Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin’s robes and shaking them. “I’ve told you a million times….”
And the meaning of Tonk’s Patronus and her mouse-colored hair, and the reason she had come running to find Dumbledore when she had heard a rumor someone had been attacked by Greyback, all suddenly became clear to Harry; it had not been Sirius that Tonks had fallen in love with after all.

Finally, to all of the above couples, here are some wise words of advice from Josh Dun.

actively waiting.

actively waitingTwo years ago, my older sister and I, along with a group of amazingly talented friends, organized a Valentine’s Day Banquet for the couples in our church, complete with food, games, and dancing. For the weeks before the banquet, I was neck-deep in love songs, romantic ideas, and all the stress that comes with planning something like that. The banquet was to be held the day after Valentine’s Day, so my Valentine’s Day was full of last-minute preparations, including all of the little tweaks and details that would, hopefully, make the night more romantic for the moms and dads who hadn’t had been able to enjoy a night to themselves since their last child was born.

Needless to say, it did not bode well for my mind.

dd3701a7cbb98485633a81a8e81f5d07Throughout the entire day, I couldn’t stop thinking about my pathetic love life. How single I felt. How I wished I could participate in something like that. How I couldn’t wait for the day when all of my dreams would be fulfilled with my marriage to the man of my dreams.

Looking back, all I can think is, “YIKES!”

I had sunk so deep in pity for myself and longing for something I didn’t have that I couldn’t think of anything else. I could only focus on myself and my nonexistent love life.

How incredibly selfish and immature is that?!

I had completely forgotten the rules I had made for myself regarding my future marriage – rules that included standards for myself about purity of mind.

0c2fc37a6df4536d46a3ca87e5c492b3I think that this is what happens with a lot of Christian girls. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we get caught up in the hype of Valentine’s Day. No matter how strong our convictions regarding this area of our lives are, we’re still humans and we still have desires. We, as girls, have an especially hard time with stuff like this because we’re so emotional. (The commercialism that surrounds Valentine’s Day that says you need a significant other to be happy doesn’t help much, either.)

So how do we get like this? More importantly, is there a way out of it?

Yep. And the short answer is: Through Jesus.

I’m not going to give you a “Three Steps to Contentment”-type blog post. Partially because I haven’t found the three steps and partially because I don’t think it can be narrowed down to three steps. (Although I’d love to hear what they are, if you know them!)

Let’s face it, the Christian life is hard. Jesus didn’t say it would be easy – in fact, He said to take up our crosses and follow Him. We make it hard because we feel entitled to things that we don’t have – things God hasn’t blessed us with, AND PROBABLY FOR A REASON. In my case, I didn’t have a boyfriend/significant other/whatever because I wasn’t ready. I was too immature to realize that. (Now I realize it. Boy, do I realize it.)

For a lot of single people, today will be hard. That’s just how it is sometimes.

But it’s not how it has to be.

d993ed1039673f6fac531b03ef68fff0If we really think about it, how are we desiring to be fulfilled today? Is it a shallow desire that the world tells us is love – something like 50 Shades of Cray-Cray, maybe? Or is it something far deeper than any man could ever complete in us – the true desire for fulfillment in Christ?

This is what I had to discover – or, rather, what God had to reveal to me.

So often, it looks like what the world has to offer is better than what God has. After all, what the world offers is tangible. We can feel a man’s arms around us. We can look into his eyes. We can audibly hear the sweet nothings he whispers into our ears.

But we won’t be content.

We’ll want more and more and more – and that’s mostly due to the way we’re designed. We’re engineered to desire a husband, and we always want more. And if we look for fulfillment in men, we will never be satisfied.

b00ecde4438bff719b19247a0082d0c6Last year, I spent my Valentine’s Day riding in a car… all day. My dad had gone on a business trip to Ohio and had decided to take us with him. I introduced my siblings to Boy Meets World that week while we were stuck in the hotel, so, obviously, we watched it the entire way back. (We blazed through an entire season in a week. By the end, they were addicted. *fistpump*) All that to say, my Valentine’s Day last year was drastically different than the one before, and in more ways than one. I was still single. But you know what? I didn’t mind.

As I watched the love story unfold between Cory and Topanga, I realized that I was content. It wasn’t that I didn’t want what Cory and Topanga had – no, quite the opposite.

I wanted what they had, and nothing less.

I wanted a pure relationship, with one person, saving myself for him even as we dated. I wanted a strong, intelligent, funny man like Cory – and I was going to be patient as I waited for him. Not only that, but I knew I needed to try to make myself into the kind of woman a Cory would want, too.

So what changed?

I had found my fulfillment, and not in a guy – but in Christ. The desire for a husband was still there, but I wasn’t giving into it and letting myself sink into self-pity. I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. I knew God hadn’t given me a significant other because there were things I needed to do before that could happen.

343d188c9b636eb4a474a70421c4a260I’m not trying to lift myself up here. I’m just trying to tell you all that there is another way to spend today. The Bible says “ask and you shall receive.” So ask God for peace, contentment, and fulfillment in Him while you’re waiting. And then go out and do something with your life. We were given these precious years of being single for a reason. We can do so much now, while we’re not married.

“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:34-35)

Now, while we’re single, we have the amazing opportunity to live with undivided devotion to Jesus. It’s ultimately up to us decide how to use these single years, but I can guarantee that you’ll find complete fulfillment in Christ if you’ll use them to glorify Him.

This looks different for everybody. You don’t have to be out in the streets all day, passing out tracts and giving your money to homeless people… but that might be what some choose to do. You also don’t have to stay at home and play Cinderella every day while watching after your younger siblings… but that might be what some choose to do.

5996f5165dc50b8539a962474ba967f2Your single years will look the way you decide to make them look – and they’ll look even better if you decide to obey the calling God has placed on your heart and do His will for your time spent being single. If you obey Him, He will bless you with more contentment and fulfillment than you could ever receive from a guy. That’s the pure and simple truth. You’ll have bad days, and you’ll have better days. But you will find your fulfillment in Him and this amazing capacity to be able to wait for His best while you’re doing His will.

It’s completely worth it – trust me. I’m not content all the time, and there are days when I want a deeper relationship with a guy – ANY guy – more than I want a relationship with Jesus. But I always, always feel more content when I surrender those feelings of discontentment to Jesus and ask Him to satisfy me. I’m still working on this, and I am NOT anywhere near perfect. I’m just incredibly grateful to God for giving me contentment and want to share with you what I’ve learned over the last few years.

897a006e59c4d050b40094642c3b891bToday, I’m going to be making cookies and singing Broadway show tunes and watching my younger siblings as my parents share their testimony at a couples’ retreat. (I’ll fit Boy Meets World in there somewhere because it is now a tradition!) Tonight, some friends are coming over and we’re going to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I’m going to cry because feels. But, most of all, I’m going to be happy today. I already am! I’m going to praise God for all of the amazing things He’s done for me this past year and ask that He bless me with contentment and satisfaction in Him alone as I continue to wait and do awesome things that glorify Him while I wait for my future husband. So much has changed since that horrible Valentine’s Day two years ago, and I’m so blessed. There will probably be a moment today when I think about how different today would be if I were in a relationship… but I’ll remind myself that I probably wouldn’t be able to spend time with my best friend or eat cookie dough or write a blog post in my pajamas if I had a boyfriend. So it’s all good.  😉

So, in conclusion, we have a choice. Today can be just another day and we can glorify God in it. Or we can let ourselves be caught up in the hype and mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. I made the wrong choice two years ago, and had to suffer through unhappy thoughts because of it. Today looks radically different because God has revealed the secret to true contentment to me.

I’m not telling you what to do, and I’m definitely not trying to glorify myself. I’m just asking that you think about how you’ll spend today: Being satisfied or dissatisfied? It’s your decision.

Look Who’s Back from North Carolina!

At church on Sunday, someone asked me, “So how was North Carolina?”
“Amazing!” was my immediate reply. (I think that’s a little bit of an understatement.)

There’s just something amazingly fun about being away from someone or a group of people (or even a state!) for over a year and then coming back to visit. That’s the way it was like for me to go back to North Carolina after being gone for what seemed like forever and a day and I left almost in tears – both of joy that I was able to actually see all of my old friends again and that we were leaving yet again – and looking forward to the next time we’d be able to go!

Before that, however, let me share with you something extremely fun about the Saturday before – the thing I alluded to as “a very exciting event.”

Guess where we went?! Well, you never will, so I’ll tell you!

We got to go to another ball! Yes, another one! (Two in two weeks is insane but a whole lot of fun, by the way!) This one was put together by some friends of ours and it was so sudden that I didn’t know about it until about a week before it actually took place! It was Regency-themed, so I got to don my Regency dress for the second time and the first for a ball! (And I actually made this dress all by me onesies, with no help from a certain older sister!!)

I’ve posted a few pictures below. I/my younger brother took less than at The Historical Ball because there were a lot less people there and we were too busy learning different Regency dances! (Patting myself on the back, though, because this is the soonest I’ve posted pictures from a ball! It’ll probably be an unbroken record, heehee….)

This is literally the number of people that were there first. One guy and about ten or twelve girls. Just a small assembly, but I didn’t care!

So much fun! We actually learned the Netherfield Ball dance from P&P95, too! I was so excited! (Sad thing is, it’ll take some serious brain-wracking to remember all of the steps….)

My adorable little brother and a friend. : )

About forty-five minutes after it started, this was our number of people. I think the size actually doubled – and, as you can see, there were a few more guys. : )

We literally laughed our way through most of the dances, which is the best part about learning Regency dances – you have no idea what you’re doing but it’s still a ton of fun!

Cutie-pie little brother, running in between us during a dance! Look at that smile! I think he’s having fun – don’t you? : )

Me and two friends at the end – tired but happy!

(And that’s all I’ll post. I shall restrain myself. : D)

The next day was Sunday, so Arwen and I had to leave right after church to go to my grandparents’ house. It was about an hour and a half of a ride – and on the highway for most of it!!! – and we spent it listening to a Jimmy Needham album that I recently discovered called ‘Speak.’ (Really good, by the way! Check it out on YouTube – it might be on there somewhere….)

We had a really fun time with our grandma – watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics (which was weird but entertaining…), sleeping in until ten (on a school day, too!), getting manicures and pedicures (I smile every time I see my lime green toes… love them to death!), eating at Panara Bread (I got a salad – the only gluten-free thing on the menu, sadly…), and browsing Barnes and Noble for nearly two hours (one of my favorite pastimes…). Thank you, Grandma!!!

We spent Tuesday doing random things at the house. The usual violin and piano lessons, last-minute packing, and I spent the entire morning doing a half a module of Chemistry. How much fun is that?! : P

Is it just us, or does every family have trouble getting out the door for a vacation?! It seems like every single time, we leave an hour later than when we’d wanted to! Well, for this one, I had a doctor’s appointment (those vampires needed more blood… again…), so we actually got out of the door at a reasonable time!!

After the short detour, we headed on down the road. About an hour after we left the doctor’s office, Mom asked if I’d brought my camera. Argh. Hate it when I forget my camera!!! (Thus the reason why the following pictures are blurry – I took them on my phone.) The ride was pretty uneventful and we got to our friends’ house in record time. We all jumped into their pool and had a blast with some other friends that just happened to be there!

That night, before we went to the friends’ house where we were staying, I talked with a friend about Anne of Green Gables, showing her the pictures I’d put on my phone and laughing about our favorite scenes. “Wouldn’t it be great,” she said, “if we could get together and watch it tomorrow?!” “Yeah!” I replied. And we were already going to be staying at another one of my girlfriend’s house, so why not watch it there? We sort of joked about it, but the next day, after a rousing game of Pit with Arwen, my friend and some of her brothers, we ended up driving to the first friend’s house in a 15-passenger van with all of my siblings except my little brother and most of my girlfriend’s siblings!! We stopped for some provisions (aka candy, heehee…) and started the sequel to AoGG about fifteen minutes after we got there. (We had quite a few options, actually – the first AoGG, the sequel, Emma ’09, P&P05, and a few others that we tossed around.) We ended up deciding on the sequel to AoGG and had a blast! Our brothers played Wii together away from the girly-movie room, which was a change from what normally happens at my house (although my brothers don’t mind watching period dramas).

I haven’t watched a period drama with friends in a long time and it was so much fun! Especially with such an emotional movie as the sequel to AoGG!! None of us cried (although I teared up when Gilbert said, “Please say yes…” like I always do…), but we laughed a lot and made comments about Anne’s hair and Gilbert’s hair and the sad scenes and Anne’s imaginary ideal. (It was a very deep conversation.)

Our feast. YUM!!! (I didn’t eat that entire bowl of Skittles, M&Ms, and Minty M&Ms by myself, by the way. My friend sitting beside me helped.) : )

We ended up staying at that friends’ house for dinner – which was an absolute blast! – and then playing a game of Terrorists and Normal People (I guess we should have said Civilians…) at the house where we were staying. (Terrorists and Normal people isn’t a shooting or kamikaze pilot game, by the way – it’s more like Follow the Judge to Court, Tag, and Hide-and-Seek, all rolled into one.)

The next day, Friday, we went to our old art teacher’s house. This was the actual reason for the visit – to get a loom from her so that my younger sister could pick up weaving again. We did a weird sort of trade-off where my sisters were at her house re-learning a few things and I rode with Mom to drop off my brothers at my younger brother’s friend’s house and to get a birthday gift for a friend. Sound complicated? It was. Not only was I so rushed that I accidentally got a very short skirt for the birthday girl, but I also saw an old friend that I literally haven’t seen in about five or six years. Good with the bad. : )

Getting the loom into the car, by the way, was a nightmare! We didn’t really think about asking how big the loom was and measuring our trunk, so we ended up – after about an hour of re-organizing our suitcases and random stuff we’d brought and accumulated over the past few days, then re-re-organizing it – taking the back row out of our car and putting the seats and our luggage on top of the loom. The ride back was another nightmare, but I’ll get to that later.

Then, to top it all off, it started raining right as were were heading to the birthday girl’s house, also the home where we were going to spend the night. We were about an hour late to the party, so my mom just dropped me and my sisters and drove away without talking to anyone to get my brothers. It was a pool party – ‘was’ is a key word there! – and the party-goers ended up spending most of it in the garage playing Apples to Apples and eating hamburgers. I spent it inside helping put out food and talking with Arwen and my friends while we ate, then looking at my brother’s wound he’d gotten at his friend’s house. (It’s rare that he comes back without some sort of injury….)

Anyway, when the party started wrapping up, a bunch of my friends started showing up! We had a blast just talking and watching a Panthers game. (I also had a good conversation with two friends about The Hunger Games. Very enlightening!)

A few of the friends I got to see, plus my family! It was a blast seeing everybody again!

That night, Arwen and two friends and me stayed up until midnight reading comic strips on laptops and enjoying it immensely.

How I feel about my blog sometimes… : )

We hung around and talked for a while and left after one of my friends got back from work. (This was when my mom cried and I felt like it – these friends are like family to us! It was really sad to leave them….)

We dropped by a few other friends houses and I got to visit my friend Elinor, which was a lot packed into a very short visit.

Elinor, Arwen, and my toenails – all painted. : ) I saw that all of our toes were painted and was like, “Kodak Moment!” (I rarely get my toenails painted, so this was a rare occasion.)

On the ride home, three of us were squished in the middle row beside my little brother’s carseat. It was really cramped, so we switched off a few times when we stopped to get gas, then at Starbucks, then to get drinks.

An invite to an Elvis-themed concert that was tacked on a board at the gas station. Sigh. Thuh speling theis days. What r peeple thinknig?!

We watched Emma ‘o9 in the car ride while my sisters and I had our turn being squished in the middle row – most of it, at least – and had such a good time squealing over all of the good parts. (My love for Mr. Knightley has only grown fonder. Favorite Jane Austen hero and not ashamed to say it!!!)

We got back home at about 9:30, but stayed up until midnight unpacking. We went to church the next morning bright and early to practice music for worship and that’s when a friend asked how North Carolina was. I hope you can tell why it was so amazing!

Love you, dear, dear North Carolina friends!!!

~Eowyn~

PS: Oh, yeah! I nearly forgot. The Historical Ball post was my hundreth post. : )