Friday, December 30, 2011 that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud.

I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud.

And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes.

I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down,

and I want every day to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.

— Shauna Niequist

Thanks to Hannah, for finding an awesome quote. :)

I tend to obsess over quotes to the point of keeping a notebook filled with them. I'm thinking about a series of  my favorites. Stay posted (haha, aren't I funny?) for the announcement!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Cimorelli

I really like this group. Cimorelli is comprised of six homeschooled sisters from California, age 11-21, who sing covers of popular songs, and sometimes their own work. They released their second EP in December. It took me a long time to decide which of their songs to post, because they're all pretty, but I picked "Skyscraper" for the amaaazing harmonies. (I really like their mashup of It Will Rain by Bruno Mars and Chasing Pavement by Adele, as well. Check it out -- music starts around 1:45.) Enjoy! (Oh, and don't bother watching the bloopers at the end, they're kind of pointless. =P)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Google Maps

GoogleMaps just got so much better. Check out the message you get if you search for a walking route from the shire to mordor. ^_^

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This is my aunt's Alaskan Klee Kai, in his Christmas tree outfit from a couple years ago. I think tis adorable, so I thought I'd share.

As a side note, we weren't entirely sure what the outfit was designed for. Not only does it have ear holes, it has slits in the side, apparently for arms. And it was found in the baby section of a thrift store... So, a baby with bunny ears? Whatevs. Some mysteries are best left unsolved. ;)

Merry Christmas. ^_^

(original photo here)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Very fragrant outdoor plant"

We were downtown this summer, and outside a cute little Asian grocery shop, there were a few plants for sale. Maybe it's just that Asians are easily amused (;p), but this plant's identifying label and translation made me laugh. :) No species name, or anything like that, but whatever.

Also, it didn't really smell very much.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Christmas Edition

Normally, I'll only be posting one song per week, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite holiday songs, and there is only one week 'til Christmas! These three songs make me so happy, I've been known to listen to them all year round. ^_^

The Night Before Christmas - Brandon Heath

The lyrics to "Night Before Christmas" are so beautifully written. They speak of the darkness and pain that the world had endured, while proclaiming the love of God that was manifest through Jesus' birth.

"We were so lost on earth, no peace, no worth, no way to escape.
In fear, no faith, no hope, no grace, and no light,
but that was the night before Christmas."

I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day - Casting Crowns

I just love this song. Such pretty music, and such amazing lyrics. :)

No Room - Todd Agnew

For some strange reason, YouTube doesn't appear to have this song. I'm really confused as to why, but here's a link to the Amazon mp3 sample. I don't know how to link to an iTunes song, but if you want to hear more, they have a longer sample of "No Room". ;)

Todd Agnew has some really awesome music, and so in place of "No Room", I give you "Grace Like Rain", which is a beautiful spin-off of "Amazing Grace".

(EDIT: the videos didn't embed correctly at first, but they should work now. :) )

Monday, December 19, 2011

Book review: Rilla of Ingleside

"Rilla of Ingleside" is one of my favorite books, so I thought I'd share my review of it. It's an adorable story, that made me laugh and cry. :)

Rilla of Ingleside (Anne #8)Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 277 pages, L.M. Montgomery seals her 8-book "Anne of Green Gables" series with a beautiful story of growth and character. Set around World War 1, this book centers on Rilla (Anne's youngest daughter) and the Blythe family's life in Canada. (Note: "Rilla of Ingleside" is quite independent of the rest of the Anne books. Don't feel like you need to read the rest of the series to enjoy "Rilla".)

Rilla starts out a carefree, lighthearted, emotional, shallow 14-year-old, extremely focused on having as much fun as possible. However, World War 1 begins before Rilla's years of fun can. Through four years of trials and hardship, Rilla matures into a wonderful, mature, responsible, caring woman. At the beginning of the book, you smile and are amused by the adorable Rilla - by the end of the book, you hold a great amount of respect for Rilla's strength and love for others. Rilla holds her tongue when faced with vengeful gossips, adopts and cares for a war baby (even as she dislikes children) (the part where she brings the baby home in a soup tureen is hilarious), encourages and loves her brothers as they go to fight (alongside the sweetest little dog, who made me cry), strengthens her parents and family, as well as organizing and running Red Cross efforts. I admired her perseverance.

Two quotes from the book I absolutely loved:

"I doubted God last Sunday," said Rilla, "but I don't doubt Him today. Evil cannot win. Spirit is on our side and it is bound to outlast flesh."
"And two years ago this morning I woke wondering what delightful gift  the new day would give me. These are the two years I thought would be filled with fun."

"Would you exchange them - now - for two years filled with fun?"

"No," said Rilla slowly. "I wouldn't. It's strange - isn't it? - They have been two terrible years - and yet I have a queer feeling of thankfulness for them - as if they had brought me something very precious in all their pain. I wouldn't want to go back and be the girl I was two years ago, not even if I could. Not that I think I've made any wonderful progress - but I'm not quite the selfish, frivolous little doll I was then. I suppose I had a soul then, Miss Oliver - but I didn't know it. I know it now - and that is worth a great deal - worth all the suffering of the past few years." (emphasis in original)

The way that the family clung to each other and to God, even in the face of unbelievable pain, was beautiful. The family does not lose  a sense of joy and fun either - yet it's a different kind of fun. Joy and faith continue to uphold the family. Discouragement occurs, but they strengthen each other, growing in the pain. Rilla's journey is believable, encouraging, and enjoyable.

She will keep faith, and fight for the ideals which many died for: truth, honor, faith, and freedom.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Law of the Pendulum

What matters is not what we say we believe, but what we do because of what we truly believe.

I was listening to the radio this morning, and heard a story about a man guest-teaching a Sunday school class. He had been asked to teach in a way that no one would forget.

He brought a giant pendulum into the class room. Assembling the class, he had the main teacher sit in a chair placed in the path of the oversized pendulum. He pulled on the pendulum, as if to start its swing, drawing it close to the chair. "According to the Law of the Pendulum," he explained, "it is impossible for the pendulum, on its return swing, to swing past the point I released it from. If the pendulum is defective, it will work less well, and will not swing anywhere close to the point I released it from." Then he asked the nervous man, "Do you believe in the Law of the Pendulum?"

Sweat beading down his forehead, the man clutched his chair, and nodded. The guest teacher looked around at the class, and then released the pendulum.

The man sat in the chair as the pendulum swung away from him. But as the pendulum began its return swing, and loomed toward the chair, the man jumped off and ran away from the oversize weight.

What a way to teach a class!

What we do matters a whole lot more than what we say. We might claim to believe something, but when we reach the point that those beliefs will practically impact our lives, sometimes we discover we don't actually believe those things at all.

Presenting... *dundundun*

Some of you may have seen my old blog, Shorty & Shrimpy. Unfortunately, due to busyness, neither myself nor Shorty has had sufficient time to post suitably funny things. I have no idea whether or not Shorty & Shrimpy will continue, but regardless, I'm starting my own blog. I've wanted a blog where I have the capacity to be relatively serious, so here 'tis! I suppose there is a limit to how serious one can be when one's nickname is "Shrimpy", but... =P

I'm not entirely clear on what I'll be posting about, but it will probably be a wide variety of things. Probably a mixture of personal stories, musings on the faith, current events commentary, music, book reviews, and randomly funny things.

Please comment and use the reactions buttons below the post. I was feeling non-conformist, and rather than using standard "happy" "awesome" "cool" "funny" "random" buttons, I made smiley faces. :) Please please use them, they will make me "=D" and "^_^".

In order to keep myself somewhat regular about posting, I'll probably do some sort of music thing every week ("Tuesday Tunes" -- yay for cheesy names!) and then post in between about other stuff.