A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012



The next few weeks are very busy. School is almost finished for the year, and we're filling every day with as much as possible.

It's almost time for my daughter's dance recital -- one week away. So LOTS of time is being taken up with that (rehearsals, pictures, hair appointments, and on, and on). Her piano recital is in just two weeks, so we are trying to prepare for that, too.

In all of this busy time, it's been hard to find time to read for myself. It's been incredibly busy at school, and it's been busy at home, so I try to steal a few minutes for myself.

That hasn't really been working. Anyone have ideas for stealing a few moments for one's self during times that are especially busy?

Know what? I don't even have a book recommendation for this week. When I have a few minutes to myself, I might get to reading something!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Music of Movies

We recently went to see the Hunger Games, which my husband describes as "Lord of the Flies" meets "Survivor", with a little "Most Dangerous Game" for good measure.

I enjoyed the movie. Like most movies that are based on successful novels, it was impossible to include all the detail of the book. Naysayers, please realize, if the director did that, the movie would be 13 hours long. The movie really did a great job portraying the events of the novel without messing it up too much. (Here, I must refer to the disasterous job movie makers did with The Lightning Thief!!)

However, what I really appreciated about this movie was the music. The under-running soundtrack is amazing! In many places, the music itself is so subtle, the casual movie-goer will never notice. However, it's the music that drives our emotions through the entire movie.

For example, the emotional Rue scene near the end of the movie makes me cry every time. Yes, I read the book. Yes, I know what's going to happen. It's that the music cue is so emotionally poignant that you HAVE to cry. Well done.

Another great example is in the "finale" of the games. Yes, I know a large animal is going to jump out from the bushes. Yes, I am going to jump every time. The second time through the movie, I closed my eyes. Guess what? I jumped anyway. And that's when I figured it out -- it's the music! It rises and falls, rises and falls, each time making the movie-goer more tense. Until right at the last moment, the music drops out. That's when the main characters get attacked.

Music is vital to the movies. It's how directors get the audience to respond appropriately. Think back to your favorite movie, remember the music of your favorite moments during that movie, and you'll understand. Music makes the movie.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I have read, and reread, a wonderful book over the past two weeks. It's called MWF seeking BFF, by Rachel Bertsche. The book is about the author's search for a best friend. After moving to Chicago with her husband, the author misses her bffs in New York. She has a few acquaintances, but no one she can really call a best friend. Thus begins her year-long search for a local bff.

Rachel's stories of meeting new people, and learning to make friends as an adult, are funny and poignant at the same time. She also mixes in plenty of research-based facts that support her ideas and theories that drive her search.

The book made me really think about my own friendships.

Most of my deepest, truest friends were made when I was in school. I have often said that my best friend during my growing-up years was my brother. He was the one who always stood by me, and believed that I could do things even I didn't think I could. (This odd belief inspired me to go out for track my senior year -- which lasted for two days.) My two best-friends-from-birth (since they were born just two months before me, and I really don't remember a time without them) are still my friends, although I rarely see them and only visit with them via facebook. Speaking of facebook, I've been able to reconnect with several friends I made in my elementary years that I haven't seen since my family moved in 6th grade. I think my closest friends were made during my college years. Even though we often disagreed about a lot of things, this group of friends still remain the closest group of friends I have (though most of them I only visit through facebook).

The book also struck a chord with me in that I, too, have lived in my present location for 5 years, but have not made a lot of close friends. It's hard to make close friends when moving into a small town. Everyone already has their group or clique, many of them having been friends since birth -- or at least kindergarten. Also, it's my husband's hometown, so I get the feeling that everyone expects me to already know them. I don't.

I do have friends. Most of my friends either attend my church or are parents of kids the same age as mine. But I think I'm still seeking my bff, the best friend forever to whom I can run to or call at all hours of the night.

Let me also mention that although the author of the book talks about her brother, she doesn't have one special friend that I do have -- my sisters-in-law. No, God did not bless me with sisters. He must have known that I would need sisters later on in life! :) I have four fabulous sisters-in-law who are truly my sisters and my friends.

So, while I am going to reread Rachel's book (again) and think about new ways to make -- and keep -- friends, I feel blessed to have met many wonderful people in my life already.

And here's hoping I'm make some new friends along the way.

For more about the book, author, and her blog, check out

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing the spring grass and the rain, everyone dressed up in new clothes, and families getting together.

We all coordinated because my daughter picked out our clothes. We had a unique Easter meal after church, because my husband and my father-in-law designed the menu (and cooked it all). We did enjoy our steaks and burgers off the grill!

I think my favorite thing about Easter is what happens in the church. It certainly is a time when we are filled with joy and hope. The sanctuary fills with people, lillies, and powerful hymns that we only sing at Easter. It is at Easter than communion means more than ever, and our eyes are stung by unexpected tears at the wonder of it all.

This year, our kids (ten of them this time) did a skit of sorts to the song "Hero" by the Christian group Abandon. What a moving experience! No words were needed, they just acted out the story of Christ's coming. Yep, the kids get it, even when the adults have trouble remembering.

"There He goes, the Hero, the Savior of the world, here He stands with scars in His hands. With love He gave His life so we could be free." Powerful words. If you haven't heard this song, I heartily recommend it!

For a light springtime read, try Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson. Newbery Award winner 1945, a bit like Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit mixed with Richard Adams' Watership Down. One of my favorite lines happens just before Little Georgie sets off on his journey: "As he drifted off to sleep he could hear Mother still worrying and Father talking on and on -- and on -- and on -- and -- on --" And then there's a picture of Little Georgie asleep. So sweet!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Time in Trees

The kids were climbing trees this afternoon.

Now, frankly, I didn't remember we had any climbable trees in our backyard -- and I'm pretty sure the giant tree in our front yard is unsuitable for climbing. But climb they did.

My son must take after my brother. He found ways into the topmost branches of the little tree in our backyard, and discovered various ways to get down! I even heard talk of a "tree house".

They remind me of times climbing trees with my brother. He was always much braver than I was. Yes, I could climb, but not nearly as well as my brother. And I'm pretty sure he is still climbing trees!

We've also been watching the Lord of the Rings movies. It's easy to see the connection between my kids climbing trees and the pro-nature/anti-industrialism theme at work in Tolkein's grand design. I heartily endorse reading this masterful trilogy. (The Hobbit is good, too, but a bit more difficult to make one's way through.)

The timeliness of my kids' discovery of the love of trees has not been lost on me. Arbor Day is this month. I hope everyone will find time to enjoy the great outdoors -- and maybe plant a tree.

Speaking of planting trees, I just heard that my dad has been planting trees at the farm! Can't wait to see what they will look like in a few years!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Disney Challenge

My daughter has proclaimed we are going to Walt Disney World next year. My husband has confirmed it -- we're going to celebrate his 40th birthday at Star Wars Weekends. Can't wait! So unbelievably excited. And it's still a year away!

So, I've decided to challenge myself. I'm going to learn one new thing about Disney World every day until we go. That's more than 365 days, but I'm up for the challenge. I've found lots of websites, blogs to follow, and of course, I'll be listening to the Lou Mongello WDW Radio Show podcast every week.

Here's my new thing for today: the next book in the Kingdom Keepers series is out! Book 5! My family is still reading book 4 (got sidetracked by the Lightning Thief series), but you know we will be in the bookstore buying Shell Game soon!

Love the Disney magic! :)