currently.

{note: this is an update post on my ridiculously crazy life. all of my creative energy seems to be spent on polishing my novel and, well, you’ll see. i’ll be back with thought-out posts soon, i promise.}

reading: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m like a third of the way through it, but still feeling “meh” about it because no one told me that it doesn’t have the characters from Illuminae in it. So I’m slightly irritated. Next on the list are Ready Player One, This Savage Song, and Wonder. Oh, and I’m also reading Before You Meet Prince Charming. *sigh* If you follow me on Goodreads, you already know my thoughts on it, but, to sum up, I’m pretty “meh” about this, too. The ideas in this book are so close to truth (and some of them are), but then they’re taken to the extreme. (For instance, did you know that “watching TV is like dating the world”? I quoted that verbatim – you can find it in the book yourself if you don’t believe me.) So yeah. My thoughts on that book will probably take at least one post, so look forward to that at some point when I’m done slogging my way through this book.

watching: Band of Brothers. Oh. My. Gosh. So amazing. It’s now one of my favorite war movies (or mini-series, I guess). I was so emotional on July 4th this year because my siblings and I watched that, and then Hacksaw Ridge, the week before. Talk about feels. I’m also watching a few of Chris Evans’s lesser-known movies, and they’re great! My sibs & I also watched Robin Hood: Men In Tights for the first time the other night (the first in our Mel Brooks marathon), and I loved it! Speaking of marathons, I’m also on a John Hughes kick as well. The Breakfast Club is one of my favorite movies now, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of his films. I watched Sixteen Candles the other night and marveled at the fact that the director of Spider-Man: Homecoming (another EXCELLENT film, btw; definitely a favorite as well) wanted to give Homecoming a Hughes feel, so the cast had a marathon one day. The result is pretty obvious!

listening: Anything by AJR (esp “Weak” & “Come Hang Out”) and Jon Bellion (esp “Maybe IDK” & “Human”). I’m obsessed with both. I’ve also been on an Idina Menzel kick lately because I saw her in concert on Saturday night and I’m still not over it. She’s amazing, y’all. Towards the end, she sang the beginning of “For Good” without a mic or accompaniment, and it was flawless. Literal queen. If/Then is a current go-to soundtrack if I need something fun to listen to (provided I skip some feelsy songs that make me cry).

writing: The Art of Letting Go, obvs. I’m still working through my beta-readers’ critiques, and it’s actually been going VERY well. The fourth draft (post-critiques) is better than anything I ever thought I could write, and that’s 100% due to my amazing readers who have given me feedback and helped me shape it into something amazing. Someone even went so far as to give me nine pages full of questions to answer, and that’s making the most impact. (You know who you are and I love you.) Also, recent events have gotten me PUMPT for my next novel (Pinterest board to be revealed soon *cue fanfare music*), so I’m pretty psyched about that.

celebrating: OH and I got my first rejection letter the other day, so that was actually pretty great. I got myself some ice cream after I got the email (which was so sweet, btw!). I was a little disappointed, sure, but I was more excited than anything else. After all, an actual agent read the first ten pages of my novel, and if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is. (Well, having someone actually ask for the whole thing would be pretty cool, too, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

working: I’ve had some pretty extensive time off my nannying job this month, so I filled it first with going to my grandparents’ house for a week with my cousins (we had a Clue night where we dressed as the characters as we played the game, and it was a highlight of my life). I also did a temp job as a saleswoman that I absolutely fell. in. love. with (and may or may not have applied for a full-time position because I loved it so much), so that was pretty cool. The pay ain’t too shabby, either. Plus, that incredibly adult feeling of being a productive member of society and having a purpose and something worthy to fill the day with was pretty great, too.

acting: Oh and I’m in a play. That’s been the biggest thing that’s happened lately and it’s honestly filling my life with so much joy. It’s a kids play at a local theatre, and one of my best friends is in it, so I went about a month ago to listen to her read and ended up being given a part after someone dropped out. Long story short, tech week starts tonight and we open on Friday. After wanting to be in a play for literally ten years, it’s so amazing to finally have it happen, even if it’s a play for kids. (Which is even better because experience is experience!) I’m bonding with all of these amazing people and it’s been so much fun. I’m already dreading closing night! (My life has revolved around theatre lately and I don’t hate it. Saturday, I went to rehearsal, then came home, took a nap, and then went to see Idina. Then, Sunday, I hung out with friends who were in town before seeing my brother steal the show as the Tin Man in a local production of The Wizard of Oz before bringing another friend home to work on makeup for our show! Like I said, theatre life isn’t too bad.)

So, yeah. All of my creative juices seem to be taken up by this novel and this play. I swear I’ll be back soon with posts more worthy of your time (and less self-focused, GOSH, but I wanted to tell you guys all of these things that didn’t warrant entire posts), but for right now, I’ve gotta go back to writing before leaving for rehearsal early to find some glittery eyeliner and snake tattoos!

happy 100th birthday, bucky.

Today is my baby Bucky’s birthday.  More than that, it’s his 100th birthday.  (My little baby’s all grown up and eighty years older than me – *weeps*)

So I thought, what better way to spend it than get all feelsy over a fanvid?

Grab some tissues and a birthday cupcake and cry with me.

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.  😉

thirteen fantastic movies & what i thought of them.

I did a post like this last year, so I decided to do it again!

Now, before you start saying, “Thirteen movies?!  Well, GOSH, Ashley – you spend so much money on movie tickets!”

  1. I wasn’t allowed to go to the theater much when I was little because (a) there wasn’t much I could see and (b) because my parents always had to pay for my ticket and, because of that, (c) they always had to be slightly interested in the movies as well, so now I go fairly often because I have a car and money to pay for myself.
  2. I never get popcorn or drinks.  (However, I did manage to sneak in a Starbucks frappucino this year.  #win)
  3. I didn’t pay for some of these tickets.  (PRAISE THE LORD FOR PARENTS & PARENTS OF KIDS I NANNY.)
  4. I go at the cheap times.  Every day from 4 to 5:30 at my theater is $6.  BOOM.
  5. I like movies.

Let’s do this thing.  (Links to the trailers are in the movie titles.)

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God’s Not Dead 2 | 1/21

Well.  This one was a colossal flop.  I didn’t even want to talk about it at all when I saw it, and did an April Fools post mainly consisting of Kevin McCreary’s review of it.  I can’t even remember most of what I thought about it, but I know I didn’t like it.  My dad got tickets to a super early screening because he’s a pastor (#perks) and we talked about it on the way there, basically laying out our (super low) expectations and what we wanted it to ultimately do.  It barely met my expectations, and, well, let’s just say that I got more out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World than this movie.  Not only were there some issues with the court sequence (you cannot have surprise witnesses.  the end.  go home.), there were major issues with the basic story as well.  The one thing I did like, however, was that the hot lawyer (whose face almost made driving 45 minutes to go see this movie worth it) didn’t become a Christian at the end.  I know that may sound awful of me, as a Christian, to say that I’m glad someone didn’t become a Christian.  But think about it – how many movies have you seen where the meek, submissive, Christian main character influences his/her non-Christian rivals so much that they radically turn from their heathen ways and go to church, ending up raising their hands with tears streaming down their faces?  TOO MANY.  And that’s all I’ll say.  For more, watch Kevin’s actual review.  It’s totally worth an hour of your time.  (And this is the longest paragraph.  Obviously.)

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens | 1/28

HECKLES YES.  Back to the good stuff.  So, I had already watched this movie a month before with my relatives, but my friend Katelyn and I wanted to see it again.  So we did.  Four girls (including us and my two sisters) going to a Star Wars movie sounds pretty awesome to me, especially since we spent half of it whispering about how hot Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver are.  (“You know… I can take anything I want.”  *entire row bursts out laughing*)  And there were only like ten people in the theater, including us, so it worked out marvelously.

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Captain America: Civil War | 5/5 & 5/15

SWEET. BUTTERED. CRUMPETS.  What a masterpiece.  What an absolute cinematic masterpiece.  I saw it the first time with my siblings and a friend, and then again with my siblings, my dad’s intern, and Morgan and her sisters.  (This is when we sneaked in our frappucinos.)  Such a good movie.  I loved it so very much.  See my actual, non-fangirly review here.

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Finding Dory | 6/18

I saw this one with friends after exploring World of Coke in Atlanta, and it was super fun!  Our group totally symbolized the majority of the movie’s audience, since our group consisted of six people with ages ranging from sixteen to twenty-five.  We fell in love with Finding Nemo when we were little and gosh darn it we were absolutely gonna see Finding Dory as soon as possible.  I loved it so much.  It actually made half of us cry – that one scene with all the shells, guys.  I’ve heard people say that it’s not as good as the first, but I don’t think they can be compared.  They’re both fantastic movies.  I watched it again on Christmas Day and remembered how much I liked it.  It’s about family and persistence and bravery and it’s just so good.

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The Secret Life of Pets | 7/8

I took my little twins I nanny to see this one, and I think someone went with us (their grandma, I think?), but I can’t remember.  (Stupid brain, lol.)  I thought this movie was cute!  A little confusing, but still adorable.  I wasn’t planning on watching it, but I couldn’t pass up free tickets to see an animated movie that may or may not be good.  I’d watch it again with my younger siblings, if only for Kevin Hart’s adorably hilarious bunny character.

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Star Trek Beyond | 7/24

Goodness gracious.  This has to be one of my favorite movies of the entire year.  I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but I’ve really enjoyed the reboots.  (Call me what you will, but the original show is so cheesy!)  Even though it was tainted in my mind because of Anton Yelchin’s tragic death the month before, it still made me laugh, sit on the edge of my seat, and even tear up a little.  From what I’ve seen of the show, Beyond was more in the vein of the classic episodes, and contained significantly less objectionable content than the other movies.  Because of that, it just worked.

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Pete’s Dragon | 9/2

I took the twins and my younger sister to see this one, and I knew it would be good, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations.  I’ve always been a Karl Urban fan, but Slightly Evil Lumberjack Karl Urban?  Um, YES PLEASE.  (The first time he came onscreen, my sister and I reached across the two kids between us and waved fingers at one another with excited looks on our faces.)  That, combined with Seneca Crane and Opie’s daughter… yep.  Fangirling about actors aside, it was just beautiful in a cinematographic sense as well.  I loved how they altered the story slightly, and I didn’t miss the songs ’til the credits started rolling.  It’s like the classic, but it’s a little more green and focused on slightly different aspects of the story.  And I was crying in the first scene, if that says anything.  (They showed Pete’s parents dying.  Like, heck no.  Why, Disney.  Why.)  Definitely would’ve liked to see this one in the theater again, but at home will have to do.

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Doctor Strange | 11/8

YIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS.  Honestly, this is one of the cleanest Marvel movies ever, and I have no idea why.  There’s not much language, no sensual stuff, and very little blood.  And when you add BennyC into the mix… wow.  I really enjoyed this one – so much, in fact, that I wrote a critical thinking journal entry on it (a school project, which I got a great grade on).  I haven’t done research to see if the director is a Christian, but there are definite allusions to the Bible and Christian themes.  The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of females in it.  The Ancient One is, I think, female (played by Tilda Swinton {aka the White Witch}), but the character might’ve been ambiguous, and the only other girl is Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams.  McAdams did well in the role, but the role itself isn’t that great.  Christine saves his life once with medical assistance, but she’s barely in fifteen minutes of the movie.  I like my female characters to be kick-butt and awesome.  Besides that, I really liked this one.  Not my favorite Marvel, but not my least favorite either.

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Hamlet {National Theatre Live} | 11/15

I saw this with two friends when I was in Florida for a week.  It was actually perfect timing because I already had to read Hamlet and then watch a production of it, and it was so much fun to go to a coffee shop, read the play, then go see the movie (and be able to say “Yeah, I read the play this morning; no biggie.  Now I’m going to see the version with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Again, no biggie.” when, in fact, it was a biggie).  This is, by far, the most expensive movie ticket I purchased this year ($20), but it was oh. so. worth. it.  The show itself was almost four hours long, and I can’t remember if that included the intermission or not.  I did a three-page review of this for school, and I could ramble almost that much just about Ben’s performance.  (It’ll be the basis on which I judge all other Hamlets.)  The sound production alone had me and my friend fangirling.  Every time he’d soliloquize, the sound would go “FubwubwubwUBWUBWUBWUBWUB” and everybody would slow down and the spotlight would be on Ben and it was just absolutely amazing.  And if anyone has a bootleg, I will send you both of my novels right now in return for it.

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Fantastic Beasts | 11/17

To be completely honest, I didn’t initially like this one when I left it, but I’ve since realized that it’s still pretty good, regardless of the issues I had with the story.  (Spoiler-free, I feel like it was two different stories that met together in the last ten minutes of the movie.)  I still loved Newt, though.  He’s the best thing to happen to Harry Potter since Deathly Hallows Part 2.  So good.  I’ll probably go watch it again and see if my opinion’s changed.  My favorite part of the movie, however, was the fact that I went with a big group of friends, and half of us dressed up in 20’s costumes.  So. Much. Fun.

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Moana | 11/27

OKAY SO I LOVED THIS ONE.  I knew I’d love it ever since I heard about it last year – and, um, hello, it’s LIN, so what’s not to love?!  The music was, obviously, phenomenal.  Loved the cast, loved the story, loved the animation (so beautiful).  I didn’t feel like I was watching a kids movie, which is exactly what I was hoping.  The story was so precious and so relatable – and I LOVED the fact that Moana’s story isn’t centered around a guy.  She’s a princess, but she’s not looking for a prince, and I think that puts her a cut above all of the other princesses.  I mean, I love all of the Disney princesses, but her story seems so much more pure because her story has to do with doing something meaningful to benefit her people, not sleeping while waiting for true love’s kiss or waiting for a prince to find her or falling in love with the guy who keeps her imprisoned in a castle.  (Yes, this is my feminist side coming out.  #dealwithit)

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Hacksaw Ridge | 12/10

This was the first R-rated movie I’ve seen in the theater.  I went with my dad for my birthday and he loved it almost as much as I did.  Truth be told, I knew very little about the story when I saw it (I saw the trailer when it first came out, but by the time I saw it, I’d forgotten what was in it), and that makes me even more glad that I watched it because it was amazing and so inspirational!  It’s based on a true story about a guy who saved dozens upon dozens of soldiers during WWII.  I loved the fact that they portrayed his faith and his stance against violence and war without demeaning him for it or making him look stupid.  And it stars Andrew Garfield, so obviously it was amazing.

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Rogue One | 12/28

I went into this one with pretty low expectations – not because I didn’t think it would be good (I knew it would be), but because I’m still not much of a Star Wars fan.  But hooooooo boy.  SO GOOD.  I adored it, actually.  By the end, I was shipping characters so hard that the only thing keeping me from yelling “JUST KISS HER ALREADY!!!” was the fact that my fourteen-year-old cousin was sitting a few seats over and I didn’t want to set a bad example.  For real, though, it blew almost every other movie I’ve seen this year (in the theater at least) out of the water.  The story was so unique and the characters were all so wonderful.  GAH.  I loved it.

What do you think of my list?  Have you seen any of these?  Want to fangirl with me?!

fanfiction | christmas in brooklyn {part two}.

Christmas in Brooklyn

{Part Two}

{Brooklyn, 1942}

Christmas Eve dawned clear and bright.  Steve woke up before the sun and watched it rise out his bedroom window, wishing he could be somewhere else.  Anywhere else, as long as his mother and father could be there.

He got up when he felt strong enough – about an hour later – and whistled as he tidied the apartment.  It didn’t need cleaning, but he did it anyway.  The work was slow, due to the ache throughout his body from the beating he’d taken the day before, but he kept at it until the apartment was spotless.  Then, he made coffee and started cutting out strips of newspaper.  He hadn’t found the time ’til now… mainly because hadn’t felt like it.

His heart sank as he cut another link for the chain.  I wish Mother could be here…

He wondered where she was and what she was doing.  Was she with someone who could distract her from the war, or was she with a screaming patient who needed her help?  Did she even know that it was Christmas Eve?  Was she thinking of him?

Steve started pasting the ends of the links together, adding them to the chain one by one. It felt slightly therapeutic, but he didn’t feel totally at ease yet.  Somehow, he didn’t think he would ever be completely at ease again.

He knew he wasn’t alone with this clawing feeling deep inside his stomach.  He wondered how long the war would last this time… and if, after it was all said and done, another war would start up ten years later.  If that happened, he knew the world would be broken and no one would be able to fix it.

I need to help.  I need to do something to help end this war.  He frowned.  But is there anything I can do?

If Steve knew one thing, it was his limits.  Ever since he was a young boy, he had suffered from illness after illness, keeping him from having a normal life.  He still got sick more often than Bucky did, and it took him a long time to recover.

But he didn’t let that stop him from trying.

Steve set his jaw and stared at the strip of paper in his hand. I’m going to enlist.

After lengthening the paper chain a little more, he wrapped it around the tree and stepped back to survey his work.  A lopsided grin slowly grew on his face.  Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

He pulled on his jacket, rolled the sleeves up a little so they fell at his wrists and not the end of his fingertips, and locked the door behind him.

As Steve walked down the street, he thought about what he was going to do.  He was resolute in his act, knowing full well what it might bring on.  Injury, death – at this point he didn’t care.  His father had given his life for his country.  Who knows what his mother would have to give.  All Steve knew now was that he was willing to do anything.

What man wouldn’t want to give as much as he could to his country?

He finally reached the first enlistment office.  Looking up at the poster beside the door, the old man’s finger pointing in Steve’s face right above the words “I WANT YOU,” Steve squared his small shoulders, took a deep breath, and pulled on the door handle.  Nothing. Steve pulled again, but the door was locked.  He peered inside, but couldn’t see a thing. The lights were off.  Oh, he realized.  Because it’s Christmas Eve.

Steve took a step back onto the street, his shoulders now slumped.  He thought about trying another office, but knew he wouldn’t have any luck there, either.  He started shuffling down the street, kicking a rock every few feet.  He tried to tell himself that it was okay – that he could try again another day – but it felt like a bad omen, almost as if foreshadowing what would happen after future visits.

“Steve?”

Steve looked up, a grin appearing on his face a split second later.  “What’re you doing out this close to Christmas?” he called out as he walked towards Bucky.  “I would’ve thought your mom would have you stuffing a turkey or something.”

Bucky laughed, rubbing his hands together to warm them.  “She’s got me out doing last-minute errands.”  He pulled a package wrapped in brown paper out from the crook of his arm and held it up.  “The bread for the stuffing’s right here.”

Steve chuckled and closed the remaining space between them.  “A little late this year, isn’t she?”

Bucky started walking, and Steve struggled to match his powerful stride.  “We couldn’t find some ingredients for the stuffing, so she didn’t want to buy anything ’til she knew she could make it.  I hear there’s a war on.”

Steve instantly felt his smile disappear.  He tried to smile again as he looked down and kicked a rock across the sidewalk, but suddenly didn’t feel like joking.  His parents’ faces flashed before his eyes.  “Yeah, I think I read something like that in the papers.”

Bucky didn’t say anything for a minute.  Steve looked up and saw an odd mixture of sadness, regret, and anger on his face.  He half-winced, half-smiled.  “Sorry, Steve.”

Steve shrugged dismissively.  “It’s okay.”  He clenched his fists in his pockets, partially to warm them and partially to keep his emotions at bay.

After a few moments of awkward silence broken only by their footsteps crushing the snow beneath them, Bucky slowly said, “So what’re you doing out so close to Christmas?”

Steve smiled a little.  “Trying to get into this war we keep hearing about.”

Bucky’s jaw dropped as he stopped walking.  “You… you what?”

“I tried to enlist, but the office was closed.  It didn’t hit me ’til after I got out here and tugged on the door a little that it might be closed because of Christmas.  You’d think they’d-”

“You tried to enlist?” Bucky repeated, his tone undefinable.

“Yeah,” Steve slowly replied, turning around to face Bucky.  He furrowed his brow a little and tried to determine Bucky’s thoughts.  “What about it?”

Suddenly, Steve could easily read Bucky’s face.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Bucky was mad.  Steve quickly tried to think of a time he had seen Bucky this mad.  He couldn’t.

“You tried to get into the Army?!” Bucky demanded, taking a step towards Steve.  “What were you thinking?!”

“I was thinking I’d try to do something for my country for once,” Steve countered, trying to keep his tone civil.

“Oh, you were?  Wow, what a load of good you’ll do!”  Bucky let out a deep, exasperated sigh.  “Why’d you think you’d ever get in?”

Steve frowned and clenched his fists again, now for a completely different reason.  “I thought I’d have a chance.  Thought I’d try my luck.”

“Steve, this is war!  You, of all people, should know the full cost of war.”

Steve threw his hands in the air.  “Me, of all people?!  What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“You saw the look on your mother’s face when she got the news about your dad.  Why don’t you take a wild guess at how she’ll feel if she gets the same news about you?!”

Steve’s gaze dropped to the pavement.  He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the memory of his mother’s sobs as she read the telegram.  He let out a deep breath, opened his eyes, and looked up at Bucky.

“Bucky…” he slowly started.  He paused, gathering his thoughts.  “I know you don’t understand.  You’re probably wondering why a skinny kid from Brooklyn wants to try to get himself killed somewhere in Europe.  But… ever since my dad’s left, I feel like I need to be over there.  I need to do something.”

“There’s nothing wrong with doing stuff here, Steve,” Bucky firmly protested.  “There are factories and-”

“And scrap drives.  I know, Bucky.  But I can’t stay here and take an easy day job while other guys are over there, giving their lives for my freedom.”

Bucky clenched his jaw and looked down, not saying a word.

Steve watched him, trying to determine what he would think.  He had tried to phrase his thoughts in a coherent way, but he still didn’t know if Bucky would get it.  He glanced at the ground, then looked up at Bucky.  “Can’t you try to understand?”

Bucky didn’t say anything for a moment.  Then, the half-wince, half-smile appeared again.  “Whatever you say, kid.  I won’t try to stop you.  Just don’t come crawling to me when you get your arm blasted off in a fight.”

Steve tried to smile back at Bucky.  “I won’t.”

Bucky put his arm across Steve’s shoulders and pulled him forward.  “Now that we’ve exhausted that topic, want to come over?  You can spend the night.  I’m sure Maggie will be more than happy to let you sleep in her room.”

Steve grinned. “Sounds great.”


Bucky put the cushions back on the couch as his younger siblings started appearing by the small pile of presents, giggling and letting out short shrieks of joy.  Peter and Timmy rough-housed on the floor while Maggie sat in Steve’s lap, taking in the pictures in the book Steve held in front of her as he read the the story.  The other three weren’t up quite yet, but Bucky knew they would be down soon.  He poured himself some coffee and added a little sugar, then a little more – after all, Christmas demanded it – and sat down on the couch, watching Steve.

He still had trouble thinking about Steve trying to get into the army.  Steve was skinny, but it was almost like he had a stronger, braver man somewhere deep down inside him.  He never backed down from a fight – in fact, he almost always started them – but he was never the one to end them.

Bucky couldn’t help but think that Steve didn’t know what he was getting into.  The trenches were more than a back alley fight – they were the symbol of all-out, no-holds-barred, fight-to-the-death war.

Bucky wrapped his hands around the warm mug, trying to warm them.  He stared at Steve. If anything ever happens to him, I’ll kill him.  And then I might kill myself.

“Mommy and Daddy are up!” Susie shrieked, thumping down the stairs.  “IT’S FINALLY CHRISTMAS!”

Several hours later, after all of the brown paper had been tossed into the fire and most of the gifts had been put away, Bucky slipped out the back door with Steve in tow.  “I’ll be back later, Ma!” he called, slamming the door before she could protest.  He tossed the end of his new scarf over his shoulder, smiling at Maggie’s uneven stitches.

“You don’t have to do this,” Steve told him, shoving his hands into his pockets as they walked. “I know the way home.”

“I know.  But I didn’t want the kids around when I gave you your gift.”  He pulled a small package out of his jacket pocket and tossed it to Steve.

Steve smiled lopsidedly, pulling an envelope out of his back pocket.  He handed it to Bucky.  “Here.  You first.”

Bucky grinned and ripped open the envelope.  He frowned slightly and took the tickets out.  Suddenly, his face lit up as he realized what they were.  “Wow, Steve.  Thanks!”  He shot Steve a wry look.  “Are there two tickets in here because you want me to take you, too?”

“No,” Steve replied, smiling a little.  “There are two for you to take a date.  Lizzie, maybe?” he added with a suggestive look.

Bucky smiled and put the tickets away.  “Maybe.  Your turn.”

Steve started untying the string, slowly opening the package so as to save as much of the paper as possible.  Bucky blew on his hands as they walked, deciding to make a fire the second they got to Steve’s apartment.  As soon as Steve pulled the paper away and saw what was inside, he gasped.

“Actual paper,” Bucky told him, tapping the notebook.  “Now your sketches won’t be ruined by headlines and boring articles.”

Steve stared at the notebook and set of three pencils.  “I can’t believe it.  I haven’t had an actual piece of drawing paper since… since…”

“Since we were in grade school; I know.  You were always the best in the class, and it’s not fair that you never get to draw anymore.”

Steve leafed through all of the empty pages as they started up the stairs.  He didn’t want to think about how much it had cost Bucky – and how paltry his gift seemed in comparison. After a minute, he softly said, “Thanks, Buck.”

“You’re welcome,” Bucky replied, a little dismissively, but inwardly happy because he knew how much it meant to Steve.  He reached the landing first and kicked the brick by the railing, revealing the key to Steve’s house.  “Let’s get in there and make a fire – I’m freezing!”

“You don’t have to do that,” Steve absentmindedly said, still staring at the gift.  “Don’t your parents want you home?”

“As soon as I get home, they’ll have me watching the kids or making dinner or something,” Bucky told him, fishing a match out of the matchbook.  “Let me have a few more minutes of solitude.”

“But I’m here,” Steve told him, laughing a little.

“You don’t count,” Bucky shot back, giving him a look.

Within minutes, the fire was crackling in the blackened fireplace.  Bucky plopped down next to Steve on the couch and dropped his feet on the coffee table, then leaned back and put his hands behind his head.  He closed his eyes and sighed contentedly.  “Man, you’re so lucky you don’t have siblings.”

“I don’t know…” Steve muttered, leaning forward.  He rested his elbows on his knees and started to sharpen his new pencil.  He blew the shavings off his pocketknife before continuing.  “Sometimes I’d like to have a sibling.  A younger sister, maybe…”  He flashed a grin over his shoulder at Bucky.  “After all, I’ve pretty much already got an older brother.”

Bucky smiled.  “Til the end of the line, pal.”

fanfiction | christmas in brooklyn.

Christmas in Brooklyn

{Part One}

{Brooklyn, 1942}

“I said, get off him!”

Steve felt the weight on top of him suddenly release, as if jerked away by a stronger being. He blinked away the darkness, trying to get his vision back, only seeing moving shadows.

“And stay away from him!” he heard his rescuer yell to the bully’s swiftly retreating figure.

Steve blinked again, feeling a mixture of anger and relief.  He knew that voice.

“Again?” Bucky asked, disappointment tinting his voice.  Towering above Steve, he held out a hand.

Steve grabbed it, pulling himself off the ground, then dusted off his jacket.  He spotted a rip in the right knee of his pants.  Another tear to mend.

“Why, Steve?”

Steve shrugged, fingering the hole in his slacks.

Steve.”

He let out an exasperated sigh and looked up.

“Steve, you can’t just pick fights like that!” Bucky said, exasperated.

“He was messing around with a girl who wasn’t interested, Buck,” Steve firmly told him.  “I had to stop him.”

“I don’t care!  Did you even look at him?”

“I did,” Steve shot back, rage filling his voice.  “And I saw him pressing up against her like she was-”

“Steve, he was twice as big as you!” Bucky protested, taking another quick step forward, suddenly inches away from Steve’s face.

Steve straightened up, defiantly staring into Bucky’s eyes.  “I’m not going to just stand around and watch something like that happen. I thought you would understand that.”  He kept hold of Bucky’s gaze, daring Bucky to contradict him.

Bucky’s eyes showed the same defiance for a moment more. Then, they softened and he chuckled, shaking his head and glancing at the ground for a moment.  “I get it.”  He clasped Steve’s shoulder firmly and offered a wry grin.  “Just make sure I’m around to help out next time, okay?”

Steve shook his head, smiling.  “Okay.”

“Come on,” Bucky said, laughter in his voice.  Draping his arm across Steve’s shoulders, he guided him down the sidewalk.  “Your mom left yet?”

In his mind’s eye, Steve saw his mother give him a final hug and kiss on the cheek before boarding the train that would take her to the warfront.  He watched her wave as the train pulled away, until his mother’s white nurse cap faded into the fog.  He swallowed, pushing the nervous feeling away, and nodded.  “Yeah.  Early this morning.”

“She’ll be back sooner than you know it.”  He pulled his arm away from Steve’s shoulder to tip his newsie cap to a passing girl.  Then, he snapped his fingers as if a thought had occurred to him.  “And Mother wanted me to tell you that you’re welcome to our house for Christmas dinner.”

Steve allowed himself a slight smile, stopping as soon as he felt a flash of pain in his cheek.  He put his fingers to his chin for a split second, seeing blood as he pulled them away.  He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and pressed it to his chin.  He didn’t feel like even thinking about Christmas yet.  What kind of mother leaves her kid all alone in Brooklyn the week before Christmas?  All he wanted to do on Christmas Day was sit in his mother’s apartment.  Nothing more.  “Bucky… I don’t know.”

“Come on,” Bucky said, punching Steve’s shoulder.  “It’ll be fun!  Besides, what else are you gonna do on Christmas Day?  Sit around, watching the snow fall on the factory roof outside your window?  Where’s the celebration in that?  Besides, she made me swear to make you join us.”

“Yeah, well…”  He should’ve known that Mrs. Barnes would insist on him coming.  Maybe I should go…  It might have a good time.  He shrugged.  “Okay. I’ll be there.”

“Good.  Say, what does your Christmas tree look like?”

Steve looked up at Bucky, his brow furrowed.  “Buck, I’m twenty years old.  I think I’m a little old for that kind of thing.”

“Nobody’s too old to get a Christmas tree.”

Steve rolled his eyes and shoved his hands in his pockets.  “I am.”

“Punk.”

“Jerk.”

“Come on,” Bucky told him, motioning with his head across the street.

“Where’re we going?”

“We’re going to get you a Christmas tree.”


Bucky kicked the door open with his foot, then backed into Steve’s apartment, yanking the tree behind him.

“Buck, let me help!” Steve pleaded for the millionth time.

“No,” Bucky firmly replied, for the millionth time.  Bucky rolled his eyes.   I doubt he could lift a branch, poor kid.  He glanced over at Steve as he pulled the tree to the corner of the living room, watching him shut the door and flick on the light.  I’ve gotta come here more.  He can’t be alone all the time.  I’ve gotta be here for him.

“If you won’t let me help, I’m going to make some coffee. Want some?” Steve asked.

“Sugar?” Bucky grunted, pushing the tree into a bucket.

“Nope.”

“No thanks, then.”  He held the tree steady, then slowly let go.  He grinned, thinking of how freaked out Steve would be if it suddenly fell over in the middle of the night.

Steve sat down on the corner of the coffee table, one of the few pieces of furniture in the sparse room.  “It looks so empty without anything on it…”

Bucky took a few steps back, surveying.  “Got any newspapers?  We could make some paper chains.”  He fell backwards on the couch, sighing with fatigue.  “It’d look nice.”

“I’ll do it tonight.”

Bucky stared at the tree in silence.  He didn’t want to tell Steve that he’d spent most of his weekly pay on the tree – the money he was going to spend on his own Christmas tree.

“Dad, can’t we get one?” he had asked his father only two days before.

“Absolutely not.  It’s a frivolous waste of money.  The nation’s at war and you want to buy a tree and put it in our house?  Insane.”

“But Dad; the kids-”

“No, James.  Spend your own money on it, if you really want it.  Not a penny of my hard-earned pay will go to something that’ll be dead in a month.”

“Fine.”

Bucky glanced at Steve, smiling a little as he saw Steve taking in the tree, his eyes brighter than they’d been all day.  He averted his gaze back to the tree.  It’s worth it.  Dad’s right; we don’t need a Christmas tree.  Steve does.

“Well, I’d better get going,” Steve said, standing.  “Baker said he’d fire me if I’m late one more time.”

Bucky clasped his hands behind his head as he kicked off his shoes.  “Mind if I stay for a while? I need to get some rest before heading to the museum tonight.”

“You’re still at the art museum?” Steve asked, eyeing himself in a cracked mirror as he straightened his jacket.

“Yep.”  Bucky closed his eyes.  “All-night shifts take quite a toll.”

“Well, with the way Baker’s treating me, I might have to join you.”

The corner of Bucky’s mouth pulled up.  “Don’t.  You’d hate it.  Stick with writing movie reviews.”

“I don’t think that’s a good fit for me, either.  Everybody’s this close to getting Baker to fire me. Leslie critiques my grammar nonstop, and Paul gives me the classified section every Tuesday.”

Bucky chuckled and opened his eyes.  “Stick with it.  Who knows?  You may be the next Pulitzer.”

“Or not.”  Steve stared at himself in the mirror, his eyes saying what his mouth didn’t.  Bucky could clearly see that he wasn’t happy.  Steve huffed a little, then turned.  “Well, I’m leaving. Stay as long as you want, just lock up afterwards.  Two thugs tried to shove the door down the other day, but I had the chain on, so that kept ’em away.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t your commanding voice that did it?”

Steve smiled a little.  “Yeah.  I was hiding in that corner-” he pointed to the corner that now housed the tree- “with a baseball bat in my hands, scared to death.”

Bucky laughed and pulled his cap over his eyes.  “Have fun.”

“Something like that.”

Bucky listened as the door shut and locked from the outside.  Steve’s footsteps faded away, one slightly heavier than the other.  Must have gotten kicked in the leg during that fight.  He sighed. Steve, when will you stop picking fights with guys who are three times your size?

He dozed for an hour or two, grateful for the quiet.  Heaven only knew how loud it was at his house, what with all the fighting his parents did and the little kids wreaking havoc…

Before he left for the museum, he found a pile of newspapers in the corner, picked out a few that were all at least a few days old, and set them on the table beside a pair of scissors.


A few people around Steve were talking – mostly teenagers and younger kids.  Steve, however, wasn’t paying attention to anything else except the screen in front of him.  The newsreel kept his gaze riveted to the screen.

Images flashed.  War… destruction… chaos.  He couldn’t believe it was actually happening. Hadn’t the world just been through this?  Why did it have to happen all over again?

A year ago, he had thought that the war should stay in the other countries and didn’t want America to get involved.  Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor – a day that shook the nation. His father was drafted and died soon after.  Now the war had taken his mother, too – forever or for a few months, he didn’t know.

He hadn’t told anybody – not even Bucky – but ever since his mother had left, he’d been thinking about enlisting.  Every time he sat in the movie theater and the newsreel started, he thought about it again.  Sometimes, the thought of joining the army distracted him while the film was playing and he couldn’t write a good review afterward.  He still wasn’t sure about it, though. He tried to push it out of his mind, but couldn’t help thinking about it every time he thought of his mother, of his father, or of the war.  Maybe it could happen…

The film started, and he forced his mind to focus on the screen and not on the war.  He couldn’t afford to lose this job.  Not with his mother gone, too.

After the movie, he walked home – the long way.  He was usually able to think better that way. He outlined the review in his head as he walked down Brooklyn streets.  The movie was called Holiday Inn, and he had enjoyed it more than he thought he would – especially Fred Astaire’s patriotic Fourth of July number, complete with firecrackers and footage from the war.  He didn’t care for Bing Crosby’s voice, but he didn’t mind it, either.

As he played with the opening sentence of the review – something about a song in the movie called ‘White Christmas’ that was sure to be a hit – he walked past a shop window, then did a double-take and stopped.  Inside the window he saw a small paper advertisement for a traveling circus.  Steve rubbed his hands together and blew on them, leaning forward to see the ad better.  Bucky has always wanted to go to the circus…  I wonder how much the tickets are.  He blew on his hands again before entered the store.

Eight minutes later, he left the store, two dollars gone from his wallet, replaced by two tickets to the circus.  Bucky can find someone to take with him, Steve thought as he listened to the snow crunch under his feet as he made his way home.  It’ll be a nice date.  He chuckled, thinking of all the times Bucky had tried to drag him along on a double-date.  It never worked.  At least he always has a good time by himself – or so he always tells me, Steve thought, hoping Bucky would like his gift.  He didn’t have much money to spare, but he knew his best friend was worth it.


Two days before Christmas, Bucky left the museum as soon as the curator came to open up.  He waved goodbye to the man, wishing him a merry Christmas, and dashed home.  He tried to get a few minutes of shut-eye, but the kids kept him awake with their happy giggles about Christmas being so soon.  He gave up after an hour or so and started wrapping his Christmas gift to Steve.  He smiled as he tied the string, more than a little pleased with himself and his choice.  I just hope he likes it…

“James!” his mother yelled at him from downstairs.

“Yes?” he replied.

“Get these children out of here – they’re driving me crazy!”

Bucky straightened the bow, hid the present under his pillow, and grabbed his jacket as he ran out of his room.  “Come on, kids,” he called, thumping down the stairs.  “Anybody wanna go see a movie?”

Within seconds, all six of his younger siblings had swarmed around him, like flies to honey. His mother handed him few quarters and shooed them away, a little harsh in her eagerness to have the house to herself.  Bucky didn’t like the fact that she seemed so stressed, but dismissed the unsettling feeling as he stepped out into the cold.  He inhaled deeply, hoping that the harsh winds would wake him up enough to watch his siblings carefully.

“Come on, guys.  Ready to go?”

His siblings all cheered, jumped up and down, and giggled as they started on their outing. Bucky walked behind the group, keeping one eye on the kids and the other on two ladies walking the same way on the sidewalk across the street.  After a few minutes, he noticed them glancing at him, then whispering to each other and giggling.  He smiled and winked at them, then ran with his siblings for the final block to the theater.

As the newsreel played, he thought about the American men overseas.  Part of him wanted to join them, but the part that wanted to stay in America kept overpowering his desire to serve his country.  Most of all, he didn’t want to die.  And there was no guarantee that he could go to war and come back alive.

But isn’t that the point? he asked himself as he watched footage of a young man getting carried off the battlefield, his face contorted in pain.  To be willing to give your life for your country, not knowing if you’ll get it back?

He glanced at his siblings sitting in the seats beside him, then stretched his arms and dropped them on the backs of his siblings’ chairs.  Peter stuck his tongue out at Bucky before leaning over to whisper to Timmy about something, and Maggie cuddled into Bucky’s side, wrapping her arms around his waist.  He stared at the screen in front of him, but couldn’t focus.

How can I leave this?  Is my country really worth leaving all of this?  He mussed Peter’s hair and kissed Maggie’s head, then settled back in his seat.

Unless I get drafted, I’m not going.

on flexibility and patience.

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random, but i could write an entire post about this. however, this is literally all i’m gonna say about this subject. *mic drop* #SayNoToHydraCap

Hello, my people!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – school has been nuts, as has just my normal life.  (Lol, what am I talking about; my life is anything but normal.)  I’ve just gotten back (“just gotten back” – hello, influence of all the British shows I’ve been watching) from taking the final of that course I’ve been doing for a while (the writing one that I’ve been talking to y’all about) and a de-stressing trip to my favorite bookstore ever.  My baby sister is graduating from high school tomorrow, and that’ll be crazy.  (It feels like I just graduated from high school.  And now I’m a Senior in college.  WUT EVEN.)  I’m nannying two full days a week now, which has gone a thousand times better than expected.  I sometimes get mistaken for the kids’ mom when we’re out, but that’s okay.

ANYWAY.  I’ve been thinking about something for a while that I’d love to bounce off you guys.  Sound good?  Good.

Ever had one of those moments when you’re just like, “Aww, yiss.  I finally have a plan for my life.  Cool.”  And then it all just goes downhill?

Yeah.  That happened to me the other night.

patience.jpgI thought I knew what a certain aspect of my life was gonna look like, and I had a plan for the next several months.  Then something happened that just flipped it all on its head.  It was like God was saying, “Oh, you think you’re in charge of your life?  Let’s shake this up a bit.  You don’t like that feeling of listlessness and uncertainty now?  Well, hon, there’s a solution.  It’s called trusting in Me.”

(This obvs isn’t how God talks in my mind – if He ever does – but it’s what all the feelings sounded like when they were put together.)

I’m learning more than ever before that surrender is a daily thing.  We can definitely have plans for our lives, but they’ve got to be flexible.  You never know when something will happen that shoots everything clear out of the water.

Now, this thing that happened wasn’t life-altering or anything.  It didn’t even change what this aspect of my life looked like.  (On the outside, at least.)  It was brand-new information that (eventually) solidified my plan.  Which was fantastic, because it was what I needed.

God always sends us what we need, doesn’t He?  Not necessarily what we want, but what will get us through to the other side enough for us to look back and realize how much better off we are than if He’d just given us what we asked for.

So many times over the past few years, God gave me what I needed rather than what I wanted, and it’s taught me to trust Him – and ask Him to send me what I need in addition to what I want.

However, as we have daily proof, the world isn’t a wish-granting factory, and God isn’t a vending machine.  Just because I ask God for something – even if He’s given me the desire for it (I’m looking at you, future husband) – doesn’t necessarily mean He’s going to give it to me now or later… or even ever.

And that’s where patience comes in.  I’m asking for a lot of patience right now, because there are days when I really wish I could speed up time.  (Don’t you???)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about all of that a lot.  I’m finally in a better place (after struggling with lack of patience and wanting something that I will probably never have for almost a MONTH!), and I’m certainly better off since I’ve surrendered this area to God.  (Learn from my struggles, guys.  Trust me – you don’t want to learn this the hard way.  Surrender everything to God.  DAILY.)

What do you guys think?  Is patience a virtue you already have?  (If so, teach me your ways!)  Are you struggling with flexibility?  Are you influenced by too much British TV???  Let’s talk!

 

you, sir, are wrong. {a response to “an open letter to rey”}

you, sir, are wrong.

I made the mistake of reading Nathan Alberson’s article, “An Open Letter to Rey” at Starbucks, around other people.  To say I was livid would be an understatement.  I wanted to punch something.  Thankfully, I read two responses to the article (Mirriam’s and Jennifer’s), and my anger calmed a little.

HOWEVER.  Because I can’t keep my opinions to myself… I’ve decided to write my own response.  Read it or don’t read it, but this is my personal opinion.  If it offends anyone, I’m sorry, but I’m not backing down.

OKAY.

First of all, I completely agree that men and women have different roles, both in society and in God’s eyes.  Usually, the men are the breadwinners and the women are the… oh, I don’t know, helpmeet-stay-at-home moms.  That’s how it was in my homeschool circles, and I thought it was completely right.  (I still kind of do, even though I’ve learned that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the “rule” or stereotype or whatever.)

NEVERTHELESS.  To put men and women in a box like Mr. Alberson did is a travesty and it’s completely and totally wrong.  Like Jennifer said, the lines between masculinity and femininity are rarely black and white.  I know plenty of girls (including myself) who would rather shoot a gun or get their hands dirty than sew anything, just like I know plenty of guys who like to bake and paint and – GASP – dance.

Sure, there are God-ordained roles for men and women to play, but to say that women are the weaker sex and therefore only suitable for the kitchen or taking care of the kids?

UM, HOW ABOUT NO.

The way I see it, men and women are equal.  Because of verses in the Bible that talk about submission, I totally agree that women should submit to their husbands (not all men, though).  But men have to submit to God’s authority, too, or else they’re abusing their God-given right to have authority (but not total authority) over women (which is why so. many. marriages – especially where both husband and wife are Christians – end up in the gutter).  (See Phylicia Masonheimer’s post on why Biblical submission is dangerous.)

Women aren’t meant to be only there for men to save and defer to their much smarter male lead.  Women aren’t meant to be “protection objects” or “damsels in distress.”  Women aren’t put on earth solely to be a man’s wife or have kids.  Women are not less.  A woman’s worth is NOT defined by men.

And if a woman’s worth is wrapped up in what a man thinks about her, she’s got some work to do.

Women are loved by God just as much as men, and designed by Him for specific purposes in mind – yes, for helping their husbands to raise godly children and being keepers at home, but if we’re going to tout the Proverbs 31 woman, we also need to acknowledge that she’s able to earn money and buy things that will further her income and be hospitable to people other than her husband and family.

And another thing.  These three paragraphs were especially incorrect.

Men lie to themselves and women about the sort of women they want. Women are gullible and believe the lie and become the women they think men want. Then men reject them because men never wanted those sorts of women in the first place.

How is this the woman’s fault?  I. Don’t. Understand.  Women shouldn’t change themselves for a man (because men aren’t worth it) and men shouldn’t reject women because they’re not “their type.”

And men do reject them. Look at the divorce statistics, look at the TV shows and books and articles by women desperately wondering why it’s so hard to hold on to a man. That’s a bigger problem than the purview of this letter, but you fictional female warriors are part of it.

Men rejecting women because there’s more to a woman than the pleasures of her body or her willingness to submit to his whims is wrong – and it certainly isn’t the woman’s fault.  “Fictional female warriors” are definitely part of it, but certainly not for the reason you imply.  (More on that later.)

So stop it. I’m nobody’s idea of Prince Charming, but let me do my little part to rescue you from yourselves.

SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH, MR. ALBERSON… NOT ALL WOMEN WANT TO BE RESCUED.  Rescued by God, sure, but by a fallen, sinning man?  No thank you.

(And I’m going to stop responding to specific phrases because it’s making me too mad.  I need to take a break.  Brb.)

So what’s Mr. Alberson’s point?  Why does he think that Rey and Katniss and Leia and Black Widow and River Tam have no destiny other than… what???  He doesn’t even give his readers the courtesy to explain what he thinks women in these movies should be doing instead of being the strong heroines that they are.

(The only thing he says is that women are put on earth to be rescued by men and that women having the indecency to be anything more than that “robs men of their dignity.”  How egotistical is that?!  Men and women were put on earth for many more reasons than to simply fulfill one another.  If a man or woman’s identity is wrapped up in what the opposite sex – or anyone else – thinks of them, they have some serious work to do on their true identity.  REVELATION: Maybe – just maybe – that’s why people are so unfulfilled???  Shocking, I know.)

Every. Single. One. of the women were pulled out of their comfortable environments by outside circumstances and into something greater.  Rey wanted to wait for her family to return for her.  Katniss didn’t want to be Reaped.  Leia didn’t want her planet to blow up.  Natasha didn’t want to work for the Soviet Intelligence.  River Tam wanted an education so she could help people.

These women were made stronger because of the complex circumstances they were pulled into.  They weren’t destined for what they wanted – they were destined for making their world a better place, even though they went through struggles and incredibly hard trials.

If Rey hadn’t been pulled into helping Finn escape the Alliance,  she wouldn’t have discovered the truth about her family or saved Finn’s life and helped the Resistance fight against Kylo Ren.  If Katniss hadn’t been Reaped, Panem wouldn’t have escaped the tyrannical rule of President Snow.  If Leia hadn’t been kidnapped by Darth Vader, she wouldn’t have known the truth about her family or met Han Solo or {eventually} become chief commander of the Resistance.  If Natasha hadn’t been tracked down by Clint because of her status as an assassin, the aliens would have overtaken earth and Tony probably would’ve died and so would Steve and Bucky and SHIELD/Hydra’s information would still be secret.  And don’t even get me started on River.

It’s so ironic that Mr. Alberson would pick all of these characters because the stories that they’re involved in would be so different if they were doing what they’d originally wanted to do.  (See the previous paragraph.)  They all pass the Blechdel and Sexy Lamp tests.  They’re strong, well-rounded, and important to the plot.

MUCH LIKE REAL-LIFE WOMEN.

In my opinion, the world needs more characters like this – characters that prove to women that they’re needed, wanted, and important.  This is why I write books with strong female leads.  Too many female characters in books and movies are whiny, one-dimensional, flimsy girls whose only purpose is to further the male lead’s storyline.  (See almost every action film ever, especially the highly-irritating Mission Impossible II.)

That’s what movies are telling girls, Mr. Alberson – that they’re unimportant and only suitable as pretty companions for the uber-ripped male lead.  And when directors make movies that tell girls anything other than that, they should be applauded, not condemned.

So, ladies, keep watching movies with strong female characters.  You weren’t put on earth to define a man’s dignity or satisfy him.  Guys, you could definitely benefit from it, too.  Women aren’t your playthings – they’re precious individuals made by a God who loves them dearly.  JUST LIKE YOU.

Ladies and gentlemen, your worth is found in Christ alone, and not what anyone else thinks about you.  You will never be satisfied until you discover that.

review | captain america: civil war

{So since my ‘thoughts i had during civil war’ post would literally just be “WHERE IS BUCKY” “BHAHAHA” “WHAT OH MY GOSH” “AHHHHHH”  “AHHHHHHHHH” “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” “WAIT WHAT?!”… yeah.  Here’s my slightly-more coherent review.  I’ve kept it spoiler-free for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.  But go see it asap.  Because it’s awesome.}

Civil War1“Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say ‘No, YOU move’.” – Peggy Carter (ish)

I’ve been a huge fan of Captain America for a while now, and it’s no surprise that I was really looking forward to this movie.  After all, I’ve been waiting for it for two years.  I had no idea how the Russo brothers were going to pull off everything they were attempting, but I knew I had to join along for the ride.

AND BOY WAS IT AMAZING.  (Shocker, right?  A Marvel movie, amazing? *sarcastic gasp*)

The Story

“With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Anti-Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges.” (from IMDb)

Basically, yes.

Civil War2Because of their values, Steve and Tony are at odds.  Tony has seen first-hand what destruction his weapons (and the Avengers’ actions) have caused, and wants them to be put in check.  (“If we can’t accept limitations, we’re no better than the bad guys.”)  Steve sees it, too, but he’s always disliked the thought of a government being able to tell them what to do and what not to do.  (“I know we’re not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own.”)

(I went into it siding with neither of them, but on Team Cap because my loyalties will forever lie with him.  During one of the big debates between Tony and Steve, where they were both laying out their opinions, I leaned into my friend and said, “I literally don’t know whose side I’m on!”  And she replied, “Me neither!”  Both sides were given equal screentime and shown with complete objectivity, and both were incredibly valid.  I still don’t know what side I’d be on if this were a real issue. … OH WAIT.  IT IS.)

As the plot furthers and things come to light, the different members of the Avengers (plus a few extras) join sides.  Then it gets real.

The Cast and Characters

Team Cap

Civil War3Obviously, we should start with Captain America himself, aka Steve Rogers.  He’s always been my favorite Marvel hero (and one of my favorite heroes of all time), and this was certainly no exception.  Steve fights bravely for his rights in this addition to his series (the finale of his trilogy, I think), and I love him more than ever.  He really can do it all day.

As always, Chris Evans blew it out of the park and I love him way too much.  Every single emotion was acted perfectly, and even the little moments where Steve was thinking or looking at someone (hello, that scene when Steve noticed Wanda reeling from the footage in Sokovia and told the Secretary of State that it was enough) – absolute perfection.

Civil War6BUCKY BARNES AKA JAMES BUCHANAN BARNES AKA MY LOVE.  OH MY GOSH.  As always, there wasn’t enough Bucky in this film.  (But is there ever, really?  I would’ve gladly paid $15 just to sit through three hours of Bucky hiding out, buying produce, eating granola bars, and working on his little notebook.  Srsly.)  He’s amazing, though, as always.  Dry-witted and angsty and THE MURDER STRUT.  AWW YISS.  I won’t talk about the Winter Soldier parts because spoilers and because it’s just TOO MUCH.’

Sebastian Stan is a national treasure.  He just is.  He was flawless in his, what, nine minutes of screentime in Winter Soldier, and doubly so in this one (and he was basically in the whole thing!!!).  The contrast between his on-screen personality as Bucky and his off-screen interviews and whatnot as himself is just the DEFINITION of amazing acting.  He’s my stupidly perfect Romanian jerkface.  And that is all.

Civil War7The rest of the team is pretty amazing, too.  Scarlet Witch’s guilt over the innocent lives she took at Sokovia (and the scene in the beginning of the film) is apparent, Falcon’s loyalty to Steve is key, the addition of Scott Lang as Ant-Man was the comic relief the film needed, Clint (Hawkeye) is just FABULOUS (as always, duh), and I guess you could say Sharon Carter was on his team, too.  (WINKKKKK.)  (And, by the way, she speaks at The Funeral, confirming everything we already knew.  YESSSSS.)

Team Iron Man

Civil War 9.jpgTony Stark… gosh, I have such a love-hate relationship with him.  He’s so funny and smart and the Avengers would be nothing without him… but he’s also very prideful and has this HUGE ego and never thinks he’s in the wrong.  (He guessed it in Age of Ultron, though, and he admits it in this one, too.  So yay.)  I can see where he’s coming from, having had all of this emotional trauma in his early life to frame his worldview and the personal stories he’s heard of how his weapons have destroyed lives, blah blah blah… but I just have very little sympathy for him.  THAT SAID, when the teams got together for The Big Fight – the one in the trailer, so no spoilers here – I literally didn’t know which team to root for.  WHICH IS WEIRD?!  But partially because Team Iron Man has so many great characters in it, as you’ll see below.

Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark.  He just is.  He knows all of his quirks, flaws, weaknesses, strengths, etc, and every aspect of his character is completely lifelike.

Civil War8Skimming a little to get to one of my favorite characters in the entire movie…  Natasha’s character wasn’t quite as deep as I would’ve liked it – especially the tension between her and Clint, who were on DIFFERENT SIDES WHAT THE EVEN HECK – but I still liked how she pleaded (in vain) with Steve to “stay outta this one.”  Iron Patriot was good (he added a camaraderie to Tony’s character because they’re bros) and Vision was okay (and the paprika scene was hilarious and made me ship the thing a little harder *wink*).  Black Panther (Prince T’Challa) was really great, except I didn’t like his motive, which was to kill Bucky.  So I didn’t like him ’til the end.  BECAUSE WHO COULD LIKE SOMEONE WHO WAS AGAINST MY PRECIOUS CHILD?!  Anyway.  He had a pretty valid motive, though.  (And that’s all I’ll say because spoilers.)

Civil War4OKAY SO SPIDERMAN.  GUYS.  OH MY GOSH.  Okay, so I have quite a few favorite Marvel superheroes, but Spidey’s way up there (probably like #3).  I was first introduced to Peter Parker with Tobey McGuire (just the first one, though – I didn’t watch the second and third ’til after the two reboots), but I liked Andrew Garfield’s take on the character a little more.  ALL THAT SAID, I’m pretty sure Tom Holland’s version is my favorite.  When he first came onscreen, I knew he’d be my favorite.  He looked, acted, and talked like the quintessential Peter Parker – awkward, angsty, witty teenage kid (and Tom is actually a teenager – IMAGINE THAT) who stumbles upon powers that he uses to make the world a better place.  Without going into it too much, they introduced his character without rehashing anything we already know.  Which was perfect.  And that just set up his entire character.  His voice cracks constantly, he’s a REALISTIC KID, he’s hilarious, and he’s still kind of in awe of all the people around him.  And did I mention he’s HILARIOUS?!  (“Hey, guys, you ever see that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back???”  I laughed so hard.)

And Tom Holland.  Man.  That kid’s gonna go places.

As for the other characters, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross was great (but unexpectedly AMERICAN – so it didn’t sound like John/Bilbo at all – and I loved his abnormally un-timid character), and Daniel Bruhl as Zemo… gosh, I loved him.  No more, though – spoilers.

ALSO, THE VILLAIN ISN’T WHO YOU THINK IT IS.  Partially because he isn’t in any of the trailers, partially because I don’t know which comic he’s in.

Objectionable Content

Civil War10.gifThis one had a little more language than the Marvel movies I’ve seen (okay, maybe except Ant-Man).  Some profanities and obscenities were muffled by other sounds, but most were there.  Lots of blood, as is expected in a movie with a few big battle scenes.  It was pretty intense, but most of the violence was shown with a shaky-cam.  There was one pretty intense water torture scene that I didn’t like.  And there was nothing by way of sexual scenes – just one kiss.  See IMDb’s Parents Guide for specifics.

The Bottom Line

Basically, it was one of my favorite Avengers movies ever, but it’s hard to compare it to others because it deals with different things than the other Marvel movies.  It’s about friends fighting friends, which always has issues.  As Dumbledore said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

I loved the way Kevin of Say Goodnight Kevin explained it, so if you want a more clear review (sans fangirling), watch his initial review!

As with all other Marvel movies, it’s the perfect blend of action and intensity, with enough depth to make you think but enough comic relief to make you laugh.  And just a dash of romance, which I always love.  Recipe for a perfect superhero film.

TAKE THAT, DC.

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