Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Monday! Sporadic

My reading has been pretty sporadic recently. I always have things to keep me busy and somehow reading keeps getting pushed to the back burner. I've started watching Call the Midwife again and the other day I watched the first episode of Anne (With an "E")... the new Anne of Green Gables show on Netflix. Brian and I are watched Parks and Recreation together and Dark Matter. We already finished watching The IT Crowd together.
Here's what's been up with my reading!

Currently Reading

  • The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (audiobook) (re-read)
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Finished Recently

  • The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley 

Coming Soon

  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson 
  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
So yeah... not much new but I'm plugging away. 

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Review- The Mark of Zorro

Recently I finished reading the Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley. The Zorro stories actually grew out of a serial called The Curse of Capistrano, which was published in 1919. The actual book, The Mark of Zorro, was then published in 1924.
I grew up watching the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro so I've always been pretty familiar with the story. The movie actually followed the book pretty well.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Old California, in a bygone era of sprawling haciendas and haughty caballeros, suffers beneath the whip-lash of oppression. Missions are pillaged, native peasants are abused, and innocent men and women are persecuted by the corrupt governor and his army.But a champion of freedom rides the highways. His identity hidden behind a mask, the laughing outlaw Zorro defies the tyrant's might. A deadly marksman and a demon swordsman, his flashing blade leaves behind . . .
This is basically a classic Robin Hood story. It's fun, adventurous with a dash of romance. It's not superior writing or beautiful prose it's just good clean fun. There's honor, veracity, love, hate, mercy revenge, good and evil. They don't write stories like this anymore.
If you like Robin Hood and stories like it you'll love this story too.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Month Anniversary- More Wedding Pictures!

Is this a kissing post? Yes, yes it is.
It's Brian's and my two month anniversary today and I thought I 'd celebrate by giving y'all some more of our wedding pictures. I'm including a few others that I've already posted here just because they go with the story of our wedding so well. I know I also haven't talked a lot about what my wedding entailed so I am going to do that here too.
My initial idea, even before I was engaged, was to have a tea and book themed wedding. That really shouldn't surprise my blog readers. It only expanded from there. Originally I even wanted to make our bouquets out of book pages but thankfully I abandoned that idea early on... though we still utilized flowers made from book pages in some of the decorations.  So all of the tables at the reception were decorated with old books from either my library or my parents and then tea things... most of those I borrowed but some of those were mine as well. We also used some scrabble tiles and the aforementioned flowers made from book pages. And to be fair, we didn't actually rip up books, I printed off several of my favorite quotes on paper and then tea stained them and used those. I also used hymn pages and maps of Middle Earth printed off from the internet. I also utilized my grandma's old typewriter.

Not surprisingly that was the part of the wedding I was most excited about. Then there other minor details.
  • Securing the date at my church
  • Caterer or not?
  • The cake
  • Photographer
  • Musician
  • My wedding dress
  • My bridesmaids' dresses
As I said... minor details.
I got engaged in January and at Thanksgiving I had already been thinking about wearing my grandmother's wedding dress. I had recently lost some weight and the possibility of me actually fitting into it was there... my grandma was TINY!!! Once I got engaged I pulled it out of the box to try on. It was still too small! Thankfully I found an incredible seamstress who was able to alter it for me and then the dry cleaners did great job making it white and like new. A friend made my veil from a broach of my grandma's. It's not the style of veil my grandma wore but it was the style I preferred. After shuffling through several ideas I came up with bridesmaid dresses that suited everyone and were inexpensive (Amazon people!). From there I added hats and gloves. 

The photographer and musicians were friends from church and did an incredible job! You can see from the pictures how great of a job the photographer did. The musicians were the ones though that really made my dreams come true. It has been my dream for several years to walk up the aisle to the beautiful romantic music from the period drama Lorna Doone. I had never been able to find sheet music for it. I suggested it to my musicians anyways, hoping for a miracle. They made it happen! One of the musicians listed to it and put to music by ear!!!! It worked so perfectly and was exactly how I dreamed! Then they played the Pride and Prejudice (1995 obviously) theme music when we walked down the aisle... which was something they had done before at wedding but still it was absolutely perfect and a dream come true once again! 
We did end up deciding to cater last minute since it seemed like it was going to be too much work for us to do ourselves (though I know people would have been willing to help). It ended up being not much more than doing it ourselves though and way less stress so overall it was absolutely worth it. 
The cake a friend of mine made and it was even better than I expected. I told her if possible I wanted to be able to put quotes from favorite books on it.... she delivered!!! 

Our wedding went so smoothly. Ridiculously smoothly. I can only contribute that to God's grace. There were so many people that stepped up willing to help and made everything flow perfectly. I did a lot of planning ahead of time too. Overall though it was just being willing to step back the day of and realize that whatever was going to happen was going to happen and to let it go. When I went to apply for my new social security card I was chatting with the attendant and he said his wedding was a nightmare because his wife was a bridezilla. I've just got to say... ladies... LET IT GO!!! It's one day... your marriage is a lifetime. Focus on that. I'm so blessed my wedding went off smoothly but I know not everyone's does. Even in the mess though if we learn to relax we can find the joy. At the end of the day, as long as you two are married... nothing else really matters... it's just icing on the cake... sometimes literally. ;) 
And here's some more pictures. 

Our wedding was truly the best day of Brian's and my life. Though I have no doubt that could change as we continue to enjoy life together. When our plane was taking off for our honeymoon I excitedly told Brian that this was going to be the best vacation of our life. And Brian said, "I don't think so, I hope it's just going to get better." 
What a glorious sentiment. When the pastor was speaking at our wedding he naturally likened our marriage to that of Christ and His church. When I think of that and what Brian said I realize that is exactly what we are like. At the beginning of our Christian life we are excited, intimidated perhaps but full of enthusiasm. There are hardships that come our way and our faith is tested but in the end we grow stronger and hold tighter to Christ. That is marriage. On our wedding day we were exited, intimidated a little but so full of joy and enthusiasm for our future. Sure there's little arguments (sometimes big) and our marriage is test but in the end we grow stronger, our love grows deeper and we hold tighter to each other while most importantly holding tighter to Christ. 
The analogy of Christ and His church that is so strongly presented in the Bible has so often been told to me and I've read it so often but I don't think I've ever really understood it until I married Brian. As we grow in our marriage I hope to understand it more and more. I'm still just a young married women... just two months... so I'm excited to see what God is going to teach me about Him through our marriage and I pray that Brian and I will continue to grow together and in Christ. 

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The "100 Books the BBC Think Most People Haven't Read More than 6 of" Tag

I've seen this fun tag on a few different blogs and naturally had to steal it!
Basically this is a list of books that the BBC thinks most people haven't read more than six of.
Us book lovers are proving them on! 
The rules say to put an Asterix by the ones you've read but those are so hard to see so I'll just bold the ones I've read.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2. Gormenghast Trilogy - Mervyn Peake
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 
4. Temple of the Golden Pavilion - Yukio Mishima
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
6. The Story of the Eye - George Bataille
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë 
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. Adrift on the Nile - Naguib Mahfouz
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott 
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Rhinoceros - Eugene Ionesco
15. Baron in the Trees - Italo Calvino
16. The Master of Go - Yasunari Kawabata
17. Woman in the Dunes - Abe Kobo
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Feast of the Goat - Mario Vargas Llosa
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot 
21. Gogol's Wife - Tomasso Landolfi
22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
23. Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. Ferdydurke - Gombrowicz
26. Narcissus and Goldmund - Herman Hesse
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
33. Tom Sawyer / Huck Finn - Mark Twain 
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe 

36. Delta Wedding - Eudora Welty
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Naomi - Junichiro Tanizaki
39. Cosmicomics - Italo Calvino
40. The Joke - Milan Kundera
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. Labyrinths - Gorge Luis Borges
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. Under My Skin - Doris Lessing
46. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. Don Quixote - Miguel Cervantes
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding 
50. Absalom Absalom - William Faulkner
51. Beloved - Toni Morrison
52. The Flounder - Gunther Grass
53. Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
55. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
56. A Dolls House - Henrik Ibsen *
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevesky
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman 
64. Death on the Installment Plan - Celine
65. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Pedro Paramo - Juan Rulfo
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker 

73. The Metamorphosis - Kafka
74. Epitaph of a Small Winner - Machado De Assis
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno - Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. To the Light House - Virginia Woolf
80. Disgrace - John Maxwell Coetzee
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82. Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Box Man - Abe Kobo
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert 
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. The Stranger - Camus
88. Acquainted with the Night - Heinrich Boll
89. Don't Call It Night - Amos Oz
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pychon
94. Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare 

99. Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
100. Metamorphosis - Ovid

And a total of 35 books! Take that BBC!!!! Many of these are on my to be read list also so I'll have even more read in the years to come.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Honeymoon- Charleston 2017

Over a month a go I promised y'all some honeymoon pictures (I also promised y'all some more wedding photos but let's not be greedy!) and I'm finally delivering.
Sadly enough my husband (now that's a delicious word is it not?) has most of the honeymoon photos on his computer and they look much nicer as they were taken on a real camera than mine taking on my phone. Regardless, I am going to share my crappy pictures because I keep forgetting to ask him for his nice ones.
We went to Charleston, South Carolina for our honeymoon and it was every bit as marvelous as you've probably heard. I'd move there in a heartbeat except it was SOOOO hot. Most of what we saw dated from the Civil War time period though some of it dated from much earlier in America's history.
After our long flight and settling into our Airbnb
we went for a long walk on Folly Beach. 
The next day we went for a long walk all around downtown Charleston.
We viewed many of the beautiful old houses from the outside but only
went in one... the Edmondston-Alston House. Unfortunately they did not allow
photography in it so we don't have any pictures.  We also went to the
Riley Waterfront Park and the White Point Gardens and Battery. 
The next day we went to the Nathaniel Russel house.

Thankfully this house did allow photography and we were
able to get some beautiful pictures of this spiral staircase. 
The Nathaniel Russel House also had these beautiful
balconies all around it but the tour guide told us they
weren't very sturdy and people would just step out on
them for a bit to get some fresh air and wouldn't take a
chair out and read on them like I would obviously do. 
We also did a walking tour of Charleston that day.
The tour's focus was on Charleston's hidden passages and alleys.

A sample of the beautiful ironwork gates in Charleston. 

Another one of the beautiful gates.

The steeple of St. Michaels Episcopal Church. We went inside it as well
and it was absolutely gorgeous but it seemed a bit sacrilegious to take
pictures inside of the church. We actually arrived right when they were
doing a midday prayer so it was interesting to experience that. 

Most of the streets in Charleston were modern paved roads
but a few of them like this were cobblestone. 

This is the French Huguenot Church. 
Brian and I. After the walking tour we also stopped
by Charleston's City Market, which was huge! 

The next day we got to go kayaking on the Ashely River.
It was so beautiful and serene. 
After kayaking we were able to go to Middleton Place, America's
oldest landscape gardens. It made me think of the gardens in period
dramas and actually it was originally designed after the English Gardens. 
All of the trees were huge and hundreds of years old.
A little alligator by one of the ponds' banks.
Something I had to get used to was seeing little
alligators everywhere and not freaking out. 
There were many of these unique benches around the property. 
In some cases such as this tree, the trees had to have supports
put in to hold up their massive branches.

I love a pathway canopied by trees. Most all of the trees in
 Charleston had Spanish Moss hanging from their branches.
The whole time I was at Middleton place I just imagined
that this was what Pemberly was like and I was walking
around the ground of Pemberly with my Mr. Darcy. 
Part of the paths there went through a beautifully eerie swamp. 

I love hollow trees! Brian has a picture of me in the
hollow of this tree because I couldn't resist climbing in. 
The original big house at Middleton place was burned down by
the Union soldiers what remains on the grounds is one of the two
flanking smaller houses. It was quite cool itself and I can only
imagine how incredible the original grand house would have been.

Another big tree because I could not get enough of them.
The next day we went to Fort Sumter and Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Brian was especially excited about these. I think I would have been more excited if it hadn't been so hot. They were very neat though and at Fort Sumter we got to watch how they would have loaded and fired their guns during the civil war. It was a huge process then! Fort Sumter is where the Civil War started. The Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum is on the ship the USS Yorktown so it was fascinating to see inside the ship.

The next day we went to the Isle of Palms Beach.
This is the only picture I got of that. We did get
some great sunburns then. We had managed to
avoid getting burnt up until then. Then that
evening we went Contra Dancing. I was so excited
that Charleston's contra dance group happened
to have it's monthly dance when we were there! 
On Saturday we went to the Charleston's Farmer's market where we got weird sodas (delicious but weird) and gelato as well as produce of course.  Afterwards we went to the Aiken-Rhett House. It allowed pictures but it was an audio guided tour and I was so wrapped up in holding the mp3 thing and trying not to accidentally push the wrong button I didn't get any pictures. It was really interesting though and is the only house in Charleston to have it's original slave quarters left.

Sunday of course we went to church. We went to Redeemer Presbyterian Church, which is a PCA church in Charleston. In the evening we went for walk at the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Sites, which was a lovely walk and historically inserting. Charles Towne is the original site for the settlers landing before the built Charleston. They also had a little zoo area, which was nice but what really interested me about it was the otters. I love otters!!!!! They are so cute!!!

Monday we were scheduled to go on a boat trip to Morris Island but it was raining on the coast so it was postponed to the next day. I'm so glad it was because we made a trip we may not have if we gone with our original plans. THE MAGNOLIA GARDENS!!!! Just go!
Take a look at this porch! It's so big and awesome!!!! The original house
at the Magnolia plantation was burned down by the Union soldiers then another
was rebuilt on its foundation and then it caught fire (I think that's right) so the current
one was built on top of that foundation. So the current one dates from the early 90s but
is filled with the old furniture and other beautiful moments from the family. This house
was my favorite and unfortunately did not allow photography inside.
It also had the best gift shop of all the places we went.
Look at all of these beautiful tea things!  
And these adorable tea sets!!!! 

And these cute tea bag holders!!! I had to get myself one of them. 
Just one of the adorable bridges at the Magnolia gardens.
The Magnolia Gardens is America's oldest Romantic garden. 
An incredible tree that overhung the stream running through the gardens.
Naturally I had to climb out on it. Brian has some great pictures of me on the tree.
Bridges over streams, and moss on trees these are
a few of my favorite things! Oh, and there's Brian too!
So the next day we got to go to Morris Island finally!
And I got very bad pictures of dolphins on the
boat ride back. 
The next day was our last full day there before we flew out. It was a pretty dreary day. Cloudy, rainy, ect. And the thought that it was our last day there didn't help at all. In the morning we braved the rain and walked around Fort Moultrie... which I actually liked better than Fort Sumter even though Fort Sumter is the one everyone talks about. Then we went to the South Carolina Aquariam. That's not something we originally planned on but it was raining and most other things were outside. Plus we had heard that their sea turtle hospital, which normally cost extra was free with the general admission. It was pretty neat but super crowded because of aforementioned perk.
After the aquarium we walked to a used bookstore. That was my idea. I really wanted to buy a book in Charleston. While it was a nice used bookstore, I think my local used bookstore is even better. Regardless, I was able to get a couple Elizabeth Gaskell books I didn't already own and Brian got a couple poetry books.

Ends must come I suppose and so our departure date came. With the checkout time from our Airbnb being in the morning but our flight out not until the afternoon we had to kill some time at Barnes and Nobles. Not that I was complaining. I got another book there.
On the airplane. Our last picture in Charleston before we took off. 
So that was our honeymoon. It truly was magical and I'm not just being cheesy. I loved everything we got to do and see. We toured several houses, as you can tell from this post and each of them was unique in it's own way. You can't just see one house in Charleston. You need to see several to get the full history of the beautiful town. There were several more houses that we could have toured. Brian and I did a lot of research and chose the ones we wanted to see the most from that. We could go there many more times and still not yet see all Charleston has to offer.

Another note I'll make that I didn't mention earlier is the food. The food in Charleston is the best!!!! Fried chicken, South Carolina barbecue, Sweet potato waffles, sweet potato biscuits, just biscuits in general (THE BEST!!!!). If we'd stayed there much longer no matter how much walking we did every day I would have been fat. It was all delicious. Besides the traditional South Carolina fare we also went to a Mexican restaurant that was great and a pizza place that was unique and delicious.

I hope this gives you a glimpse into our honeymoon. Someday I'm going to procure the rest of the pictures off of Brian's camera but until then enjoy these!

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