Christmas Cold

Did Christmas make anyone else sick?! I consider myself a healthy person, but then I stray from routine, stay up a little later, and bam I’m in bed with a box of tissues. Oh well.

I had a very merry Christmas. My husband and I spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family, and then we drove to Nevada that night to spend Christmas with Danny’s parents, his sister and her husband, and our baby nephew Elijah. The time we have together is extremely valuable, because we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like.

Here’s a picture of the lovely bunch!

IMG_0053.JPEG

Now that we all have Instagram, we get to share glimpses of our lives with those we love. However, as we all know, pictures never tell the full story, which is why the good Lord made captions. Just kidding. I think this is something we are all aware of by now, but what does that mean? How does that translate?

On Christmas Eve, I was at church and ran into one of my friend’s mom. She shared with me that this was the first Christmas all her children were married. Her home would be empty for the first time. However, she said this with a smile, because all of them would return to celebrate Christmas at her house.

I was immediately taken back to the year my brother got married to Rachel. I was twelve. They wed in October, and I can clearly visualize him coming home one day to collect his Christmas ornaments to take to his new apartment to put on his own tree. One that didn’t include me. I can’t express how hurtful that day was. I was still a kid, and I think that was the first time I realized my Christmases, my life, would look very different from then on.

As I was telling this story to my friend’s mom, she asked, “Is that the only sibling you have?”

Without even thinking, I said, “No. I have a sister, but she’s never lived with me. So, she’s didn’t have ornaments on our tree.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back. As if somehow, that would make them less true.

But I was immediately comforted by her response, “I understand; we have a blended family too.”

Truly, my family is blended so well that I don’t even remember we have different parents most of the time, but then I run into those small moments that remind me that I do. Christmas is a magical time, but it’s also a season that heightens our expectations and emotions. As friends post pictures of their Christmases, we can start to believe all sorts of different things.

This Christmas, I’m grateful for the family God gave me. He has blessed us through love, marriage, and even divorce. How great that I serve a God who “works all things together for the good of those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28.

Now that Christmas (Blogmas) is over, I’m not totally sure where this blog is headed, but stay tuned. I’ll be brainstorming the next couple of days and deciding which days of the week I’ll be posting.

Thank you to all of my readers! I so appreciate your encouragement and support.

xoxo

Advertisements

Blogmas Day 23: Our Third Christmas

GUYS, it’s almost CHRISTMAS EVE!

We’ll start our day tomorrow by opening presents (really just stockings) with my parents. Next year we have a big trip to Alaska planned, so we tried to have a modest Christmas this year. After we open gifts, we’ll go to church for a special Christmas Eve message. Every year my church ends the service by singing “Feliz Navidad.” It’s cheesy, but it’s something I really look forward to. After church, we’ll drive to my aunt’s and uncle’s house, and then we’ll make the long trek to my husband’s parents’ house in Nevada. Christmas day is also my mom-in-law’s birthday! So, it’s extra special. 🙂

Before I end this post, I thought I’d share some pictures from my first two Christmases as a Shaw. ❤

Christmas 2015

IMG_7943.JPG

Christmas 2016

IMG_0317.JPG

(Because we live in California, we’re allowed to wear hawaiian shirts at all times. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

IMG_7296.JPG

Also, I feel like it’s a good time to formally introduce Dobby, my little house elf. Isn’t she just the cutest!

Well, that’s all for today folks! Happy almost Christmas Eve!

xoxo

Blogmas Day 22: “Goals” for 2018

It’s Blogmas Day 22, and I can’t wait for Blogmas to be over. I genuinely thought posting everyday would be easy… ridiculous.

As 2017 comes to a close, many people are beginning to plan for the new year. This got me thinking about my own goals.

I’ve never been a dreamer. I wasn’t that kid who wanted to be an astronaut, a police officer, or a teacher. I missed that phase.

I remember being in my senior year of high school, sitting in between my two best friends at lunch, and them being worried about me. One wanted to be a doctor, and the other wanted to be a teacher. They knew what discipline they wanted to major in and which school they wanted to attend, but I didn’t know anything.

It’s funny. They told me to major in English, and I said that was the most boring major of all. I don’t even know how they knew that about me. My senior year, all I did was complain about my English class, but they were right.

Since then, I’ve graduated from three colleges. I have three associate degrees and two bachelor degrees. Trust me, that wasn’t planned. I’ve done a lot of wandering, attempting to find that thing worth pursuing, and I’ll have you know I still haven’t found it.

It’s not that I’m not interested in anything, but that I’m interested in everything.

In 2018, my main goal is to graduate with an MA in English. I only have one class left, and I need to write my thesis. Ideally, I will finish in May. Realistically, I will probably finish in August. Then, I’ll officially be done with school (but not with learning).

I’m also planning a stay-cation with my close friend, B. Golden in January. The purpose of this trip will be send out our poetry to several journals. This outing won’t just be about our writing, but about spreadsheets, bios, and cover letters. Ya know, the stuff we’ve been avoiding.

Perhaps, I am finally finding what I love, and all of you are a part of it.

xoxo

Btw, did any of you also see the UFO tonight? 😉

Blogmas Day 21: Books I’ve Read in 2017

Happy Blogmas Day 21!

I’m listing the books I read during 2017. (This is more for my remembrance.)

As stated in my “About Me,” I’m getting my MA in English with an emphasis in literature. So, these books were chosen by my professors. I enjoyed all but one.

  1. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende
  3. Daughter of Fortune – Isabel Allende
  4. Portrait in Sepia – Isabel Allende
  5. Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Bradden
  6. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
  7. North & South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  8. Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata
  9. The Vicar of Wakefield – Oliver Goldsmith
  10. Waiting – Ha Jin
  11. Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus – Mary Shelley
  12. The Death of Ivan Ilyich – Leo Tolstoy
  13. A Sentimental Journey – Laurence Sterne
  14. Chronicles Volume 1 – Bob Dylan
  15. Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself – Frederick Douglass
  17. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
  18. Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter – William Wells Brown
  19. Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House – Elizabeth Keckley
  20. Pudd’nhead Wilson – Mark Twain
  21. Conjure Tales – Charles W. Chesnett
  22. A Mercy – Toni Morrison

From this list I will make three recommendations.

My favorite book from Topics in British Literature is

Image result for north and south elizabeth gaskell

This book is very similar to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; it emphasizes love and misunderstanding. Gaskell’s writing is also influenced by the Industrial Revolution as she addresses the struggles between masters and the working class.

My top pick in World Literature is

Image result for waiting ha jin

This story’s setting takes place in China during the Cultural Revolution. The main protagonist, Lin Kong, is married to a traditional Chinese woman he has never loved. Lin’s job allows him to work and live in the city without his wife. Ultimately, he begins to develop feelings for another woman. Lin struggles to decide if he should end his marriage, which causes both women to perpetually wait.

My recommendation from American Literature Pre-1900 is

Image result for pudd'nhead wilson

This book begins with Roxy, a slave, who switches her baby with her white master’s son. Ultimately, the book culminates with a murder trial, which the town nut solves. Each chapter begins with a good bit of humor that had me laughing out loud.

There ya have it folks! Have a very merry night.
Tomorrow, I plan on sharing my goals for 2018. 🙂

xoxo

Blogmas Day 20: Christmas Plates

We were registering for our wedding, and I wanted Christmas plates. But, the plates were going to cost approx. $300, and Danny said that they weren’t practical.

His comment irked me, because I typically don’t spend money. So, in my mind, that means when I do ask for something pricey, I should automatically get it. Ha, this opinion seems a lot more logical when it’s just inside my head.

So, I didn’t register for the too expensive plates. However, the following year (Our second Christmas), Danny said we could hunt for more affordable Christmas plates, and we found some!

I actually like them better than the $300 plates.

However, a similar incident occurred just recently. As already stated in a previous blog post, I’m not a natural gift giver. Therefore, when I think of a good gift idea, you better believe I’m going for it.

This gift idea was for my father-in-law, and I got the same remark from my husband, “Is that practical?”

To which I responded, “Does a gift need to practical?”

After thinking about my question, my husband reasoned that his dad already has all he needs. So, if we stumble upon something that simply rouses a dear memory, there is value in that thing.

It’s so funny to write these scenarios out. In those moments, I felt right, and he felt right. That’s all an argument is—two people feeling right.

 

Blogmas Day 19: Awards! Cont’d.

Like I said in my last post, I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Wandering Waffles. They are a dynamic duo who are in a long-distance relationship. They were my very first followers, and they hold a very special place in my heart. Also, they have a killer blog that speaks for itself. So, check it out!

This award was created by Okoto Enigma.

The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

– Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

Here are the 3 things about me!

I am a Christian. My faith spills over into every part of my life. I took a poetry class this past summer that rocked my world. Although I’m an English major, I’ve always considered myself more of a reader than a writer, but that is beginning to shift. I’m married to my best friend. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, and there is no other person I’d like to do life with.

Here are my answers to Wandering Waffles questions!

  1. Why have you started blogging?
    I was inspired by KaylaAnn’s blog, which ya’ll should check out.
    It’s funny, I always write long, personal captions on Instagram that I decide not to post. I think, who really cares? Why would anyone want to hear me ramble? That’s why my Instagram is now neglected, and I’m here on WordPress instead.
  1. What is the best experience and advantage that you take out of being a Blogger?
    I love meeting people with different worldviews. Generally, I have like-minded friends, and I obviously appreciate those people. But, I also enjoy learning from people who have completely different opinions than I do, and I can meet those people here on WordPress.
  1. Would you start a Vlog? If yes, would you stop blogging?
    Ok, I love vlogs. Before WordPress, I was spending my time on YouTube. But, YouTube gives me major guilt, because I can mindlessly watch it for hours. At least here on WordPress, I’m writing. So, I count that as being productive. So, I don’t know. I think I have more to offer here at least right now.
  1. What is the weirdest comment, you ever got on your posts?
    No weird comments yet! Although, I’m weirded out by how nice everyone is here. Is that bad? Where are ya’ll out when I’m out shopping.
  1. Would You rather have a cartoon face with a human body or human face with cartoon body?
    Maybe a cartoon body? I feel like that would be easier to disguise when I wanted to.

 

Now, it’s time to introduce my nominees!

 

Here are my questions for them! (Some of these will be overlap from my last post)

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  2. What is/are your goal(s) for 2018?
  3. What was the most memorable moment/event that happened this year in 2017?
  4. What is your favorite comfort food?
  5. Would you rather sneeze every minute or never again get to pick what clothes you wear?

 

That’s it for this post! Again, thank you to all those who support this blog. I am encouraged by your feedback. This is just the beginning for all of us!

xoxo

Blogmas Day 19: Awards!!!

Hello Everyone!

Yesterday, I received TWO awards, the Liebster Award and the Mystery Blogger Award. I can’t even begin to express how honored I feel. A month ago, I didn’t know about WordPress or the amazing community that exists here. I’m just so appreciative that people read and like what I share.

This post will be dedicated to the Liebster Award, and I’ll do a separate post for the Mystery Blogger Award.

img_5691

The rules for the Liebster Award are:

  • Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  • Give these blogs 11 questions to answer.

The blogger that nominated me for this award is the colorful Vibrant Confetti. Dhiyanah Liyaudeen is a lively teen who is about to publish a book of poetry. Be sure to check out her blog!

Here are my answers to the questions Vibrant Confetti asked me!

  1. What is your main hobby why do you like it?
    Right now, my main hobby is blogging. I like it, because it allows me to connect with people who have different worldviews. I consider blogging a creative outlet.
  1. Are you a friend of nature? If so what do you find beautiful in nature?
    I love trees, because their size, shape, and curvature tell a story.
  1. Do you prefer learning history or doing mathematical sums?
    I like both, but currently, I probably prefer history. This past semester I studied American Literature Pre-1900. Therefore, I learned a lot about how slavery impacted the writing during that time.
  1. Have you always wanted to become an inspiration and if so what do you hope to teach the world through your stories?
    I don’t know that I’ve ever specifically thought, “I want to be an inspiration.” However, maybe that’s not true. I was fearful as a child. There were a lot of things I didn’t try, because I was afraid of failing. Now that I’m an English tutor at my college, I continually encourage students to comprehend their potential, their capability, and their strengths, so that they don’t miss out on the opportunities that I gave up for the sake of comfort.  
  1. Do you like the night sky or the day sky?
    No matter where I am, my mom always calls me to look at the moon.
  1. Do you prefer baking cookies or baking cup cakes?
    Madeleines.
  1. What is your favourite ice cream flavour? And Why?
    Cookies & Cream. I love the oreo bites.
  1. Do you love or detest shopping?
    I don’t like grocery shopping or shopping for clothes. However, I’m always down to find a good book or a new plant.
  1. Do you love camping or travelling?
    Both. Growing up, my family regularly set up a tent in the backyard. That was always fun. I also spent four months in Italy for school, and that changed my whole life.
  1. Cycling or walking?
    Funny story. I am terrified of cycling. However, I had to ride a bike to school recently, because the parking situation was that terrible. The night before my first ride, my stomach was in knots, and I couldn’t sleep. But ya know what, I actually miss it now.
  2. Do you have a favourite animal?
    I really love jellyfish.

Here are Eleven Random Facts About Me!

  1. I’m 28 years old.
  2. I’m the baby of the family, and I act like it.
  3. I’m a proud auntie of five.
  4. I’ve already mentioned this in one of my posts, but I’m a CARBivore. Just feed me pasta and bread.
  5. I like to sing karaoke. Although, this typically occurs when I’m home alone. My go to song is Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me.”
  6. I also sing at my church.
  7. I love hockey. My brother played this sport, so I was always at the rink growing up. My favorite team is the Anaheim Ducks. Quack Quack.
  8. I have a dog named Dobby, and she is my little house elf.
  9. I met my husband in junior high.
  10. He friend-zoned me twice. We can talk about that later.
  11. I’m excited for the new year!

Now, here are my nominees! (I’ll be posting six here and five on the next post)

And, these are the questions I have for them!

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  2. What is your blog’s purpose?
  3. What are your goals for 2018?
  4. What was the most memorable moment/event that happened this year in 2017?
  5. What is your favorite comfort food?
  6. Which actor/actress would play you if your life was a movie? And why?
  7. Do you have a Christmas wish? If so, what?
  8. Do you have any pets?
  9. What is your favorite season?
  10. What are you passionate about?
  11. What is something new you’d like to learn?

 

Again, I just want to thank all of you who support my blog. I’m very excited to grow alongside each of you!

xoxo

Blogmas Day 18: What I watched and didn’t watch…

Guys, it is the 18th day of Blogmas!
We are so close to the end!

Yesterday, A Christmas Story Live! was broadcasted on Fox. This television program was inspired by the popular film.

Image result for A christmas story

 

My husband and I intended to watch it, except I didn’t realize it was a three-hour long production.

This is going to sound bad, but I must mentally prepare myself for movies that last longer than two hours. Whenever a movie is longer than that, I typically think there are some scenes that could have been shortened or taken out. However, that is not always the case. I love The Sound of Music and The Dark Knight, and I never complain about their lengths.

Also, I’ve somehow never seen A Christmas Story. I mean, it’s on every year, but it always serves as the background noise. I’ve never sat down and watched it from the beginning to the end. So, I wasn’t sure that I should watch the live version before watching the original. Thoughts?

Instead, my hubby and I watched Elf, which was an obviously great decision. Then, we watched What If with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. I LOVE THIS MOVIE, AND I WANT YOU ALL TO WATCH IT NOW.

Image result for what if movie

It is about two people, Wallace and Chantry, who meet at a party. After hitting it off, Chantry gives Wallace her phone number while simultaneously mentioning that she has a boyfriend. They agree to be just friends, but things get complicated.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you! Now go watch it on Amazon Prime and be sure to report back and let me know what you think!

Also, did any of you watch A Christmas Story Live? I have it recorded. Should I bite the bullet?

Blogmas Day 17: Games for the Fam this Holiday Season

Happy Blogmas Day 17! I’m going to step outside of my norm and do something a little different today. We’ll see how it goes!

I don’t normally play board games, because the instructions are too complicated or the game has one too many rules.

But, I married a guy who loves games, and it does give our family something to do together.

Therefore, this post is for the non-gamer like me, who thinks Sorry and Uno are where it’s at. Maybe you can choose one of these games to play with your family this holiday season. 🙂

  1. Wits & Wagers: Party Edition

IMG_2305.JPG

Players: 4+
Ages: 8+

IMG_2306.JPG

This is a trivia game, and every question will be answered with a number.

Here are sample questions & answers:

IMG_2327.jpg

IMG_2326.jpg

The great thing about these trivia questions is that it is rare that anyone knows the exact answer (or number). So, it’s anyone’s game. Also, it is not about guessing the right (or closest) answer, but about betting on the right answer (which may not be the answer you provided).

This is a quick game, approx. 30 min and that might even include two rounds (another reason why I like it).

2. Dicecapades

IMG_2314.JPG

Players: 2-6
Ages: 12+

IMG_2317.JPG

Basically, this game is about playing with as many dice as you can.

IMG_2315.JPG

This game consists of three categories, Actionland, Thinkingtown, and Triviaville. Here are examples of each.

IMG_2322.JPG

IMG_2323.JPG

IMG_2321.JPG

I like this game, because it’s simple, it occasionally gets you out of your seat, and it has a little something for everyone.

The only downfall of this game is that, if small children are anywhere in a 30 mile radius, some of those dice will go missing.

3. Loaded Questions: The Classic Game of ‘Who Said What’

IMG_2298.JPG

Players: 4-6
Ages: Teen-Adult
(I have played with my nieces and nephew while they were in elementary school, and they had no problems answering the game’s questions.)

IMG_2302.JPG

During each player’s turn, he or she will read a question that corresponds to the space he or she has landed on.

IMG_2304.JPG

These questions are broken into four categories, Hypotheticals, Anything Goes, No-Brainers, and Personals.

After reading the question aloud, the other players will write down their answers in secret. The player will then have to guess who wrote each answer.

I love this game, because it sparks conversation and many times the answers will surprise you! Do you really know who you live with?

This game can be long. The last time I played with my family it took 2 1/2 hours to complete, but the time honestly flies. Plus, you can always take a brief intermission to eat some pie!

4. Monopoly Empire

IMG_2295.JPG

If you hate Monopoly like me, this game is for you! If you love Monopoly like my husband, this game is also for you!

IMG_2297.JPG

This game only takes 30 minutes at the most!

It is pretty similar to the original Monopoly, except instead of trying to be the last one standing, you win by being the first person to build your tower. You build your tower by buying properties. Notice, the properties’ sizes depend on how expensive they are. This game also involves a great deal of luck. You might get a “chance” card that changes everything. 😉

5. Coup

IMG_2309.JPG

Players: 2-6
Ages: 13+

This is a game of deception. Unless, you’re not a good liar like me, and you just tell the truth the whole time, but I’ve won that way too!

IMG_2311.JPG

Each player is given two character cards and a cheat sheet, which explains the action and counteraction specific to each character. This is so handy for people like me! No way to get lost.

The point of this game is to kill everyone (either by assassination or a coup).

Each player keeps their characters secret, which means they can pretend to be characters they aren’t (as long as they don’t get caught!).

Coup reminds me of the game Mafia. However, unlike Mafia, there are no teams. It’s every man for himself.

 

Those are my five suggestions, folks! Let me know if you have played any of the games mentioned or if you have found one you’d like to try!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

Blogmas Day 16: Immanuel; God with us

“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

 

My maternal grandma passed away in July 2014.

Her name is Jennie. One of the reasons my family does not have a long list of Christmas traditions is because traditions weren’t important to her. She didn’t follow rules; she made them. All she cared about was that her family was together. She called us her people, and she was and is our matriarch.

Her home was the first built on her street. That’s where we gathered, underneath the loquat tree, eating watermelon and fresh bread from the San Antonio Bakery. Her laugh. How I miss it.

There are so many stories surrounding her to tell, but I have several cousins who can tell them better, using her voice. Frankly, there are some I just want to keep to myself.

Toward the end, her health declined, but her fiery spirit never faltered. She never stopped loving life, no matter how hard it got. There were so many scares, so many times the doctors told us to prepare ourselves for the worst, and then she’d get better and come home. Typical, so typical for her to even defy mortality.

Nonetheless, the day would come, and even though none of us were ready to say goodbye, she was. I don’t know how we all fit in that one room, beside her hospital bed, but we were all there. She spoke to each of us and told us to drink water.

The morning she died, as my brother and I were preparing to head to the hospital, we had worship music playing on Pandora, and the song “I’ll Fly Away” came on. I remember we just looked at each other and knew the Lord was preparing us for her flight.

That time in the hospital, I believe it was only two to three days, there were numerous tears, but there was also so much laughter. I remember thinking, what does everyone think of us? We are so loud next to this dying woman, but we got it from her.

However, when she told us she was ready, the room grew still. She closed her eyes and resolved as a morendo.

We called the nurse, and his name was Emmanuel.

My mom asked, “Sir, do you know what your name means?”

He answered, “Yes.”

There will be dark days, days of loss and grief. However, Christmas reminds me that God desires to have an intimate relationship with each of us. Where would I be without God’s presence in my life? I yearn for His company. It is something I both want and need.

Whenever I feel alone, I remember His promise: God with us.

IMG_4660.jpg

“I’ll Fly Away”

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on Gods celestial shore
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away