Monday, August 31, 2009

And Just so I can say it....

This post will mark 10 posts in August! That's a record for me - I've never had 10 succinct thoughts in a month that I have wanted to share with the World Wide Web. And yes, I do count this as Number 10.

On Community

**I wanted to share a post from my other little blog corner of the world, Ruminations and Reflections. I loved this piece a lot and thought that I might as well post on here as well.**

I am still making my way through the gem that is "The Only Necessary Thing" by Henri Nouwen. I love this piece on community that I read the other day. It is so true - I often think that in each person is God's creation and therefore a reflection of Himself. Here is the piece for your enjoyment.

The Mosaic that Makes God Visible
Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other in a gesture of hope. In community we say: "Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs - but we do not have to live it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care."

Community is like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant. One piece is bright red, another cold blue or dull green, another warm purple, another sharp yellow, another shining gold. Some look precious, others ordinary. Some look valuable, others worthless. Some look gaudy, others delicate. As individual stones, we can do little with them except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? If one of them, even the least spectacular one, is missing, the face is incomplete. Together in the one mosaic, each little stone is indispensable and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God. That's community, a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.
~ Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pretty Awesome Music Video

Check out this pretty amazing music video by Coldplay for their song "Strawberry Swing" off of the Viva la Vida album...and then let me know how long you think it took them to make it?

Strawberry Swing Music Video

Oh Fall Fashions...

A bug has bit me. Something that goes by the name of "shopping" and "new fall fashions" and this desire to create pretty things. And then I got the new J. Crew September catalog. And, to borrow a phrase from Rachel Zoe (and yes, I feel a thousand times dumber for doing so), "I died".

I L-O-V-E what this fall season is bringing to the table. I was not really inspired by the spring or summer collections from any catalog, retailer, or designer but I can't say the same for fall any longer. All of the sudden the right mixture of layers, textures, colors and accessories are coming together and I LOVE it! It may also have to do with the fact that these things are hitting me at the same time that I have been aching to do something creative, and seeing all the new things out there has made me want to just use myself (or other people!) as a canvas instead of a big white square.

I do want to throw out there that I'm not saying I'm a huge fan of everything - I'm talking to you suede booties and neon anklet socks - but as I see outfits put together, I see the separate pieces and my own creations coming together. And I love what's coming out!

Maybe I should have never left my job at Wet Seal.

PS - for some fun fall fashions coming out, check out one of the blogs on my blogroll, Camp Comfort. Loving most of the things that she has been posting lately - been my inspiration thus far for new ideas!

**PPS - My awesome and best friend T just helped me discover an amazing new fashion blog, The Sartorialist! Check it out! The pictures are amazing!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Book Review: A Walk Across America

A Walk Across America A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to another tale like "Into the Wild" or something. I was a little put off by the way that it was written, judging it by my "high" standards of a well-written book. But as I continued reading and became captivated by the tale, I quickly learned that this was a book unlike any other that I have read. It made me cry on no less than 4 occasions - and they sprang from a gamut of emotions: sadness, happiness, joy, beauty, mourning, and love. Peter Jenkins's walk from Alfred, NY to New Orleans, LA (as this book contains that portion of his walk) enlightened me to the beauties and dangers of our society and to ALL of the people that make up the fabric of this country that we call America.

Jenkins' starts out like any of the myriad of disillusioned, college-educated young people that graduate and gripe about the failures and evils of our country (I know that I fall into that category). But what Peter does that separates him from me is that he takes the advice of a guy that he works with and decides to discover what America is really all about and who really makes up the people of our country. And that decision to go forth and find that answer, with his forever-friend Cooper Half Malamute, begins a journey that takes him from the North to the South, down the Appalachian Trail and along the Gulf Coast until he reaches New Orleans.

In the journey along the way, Peter encounters many, many people - some who's hospitality is beyond belief, and others who's hostility is hard to swallow. One particular encounter in a North Carolina town was so harrowing, I marveled at the fact that he didn't quit his walk right then and there. He learns life lessons from a genuine mountain man in West Virginia, a black family and the rest of the community in Smokey Hollow North Carolina, a commune of people called "The Farm" who lived and worked the land and followed a religion called "Steve", and Governor George Wallace of Alabama - the same one who ordered the police to stop Martin Luther King, Jr.'s walk from Selma to Montgomery, to a revival in New Orleans when God finally found His way into his life. As Peter walks, his prejudices fall by the wayside, and I found that mine fell as well.

It is a testament to the power of his prose that a journey taken in the mid-1970s could still ring so beautifully and so truthfully. Yes, there are dark corners and evils in our country. But what Peter showed me is that there are many, many, MANY more wonderful, hard-working people who seek to etch out a living and in doing so enjoy life to an extent that I hope to know sometime in my lifetime.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time and Choice

"Choice signifies love....God chose you because He loves you." ~ Father Gregory

I heard that quote when I was in college and a couple of weeks ago I feel as if I gained a new understanding of the power of the choices that I make.

A few weeks ago I had to go and help out with a golf tournament that my boss had "volunteered" me for. Honestly, I didn't mind, because it meant that I got to spend a work day outside instead of trapped inside, sitting in my little cube which is my world day in and day out. The only downside was that I had to get up before dawn (4am) and leave my house at 5:15am in order to make it to the golf course by 6am. Major ugh for this girl who needs to sleep in the morning and has a specific routine of getting up, making coffee, has her quiet time, makes her bed, gets ready, and then leaves for work - a usual 2hr process. Well given the fact that I had to be out of the house by 5:15am, this routine had to be cut short and the only thing that was allotted the time in the morning was making the bed and getting ready for "work".

I ended up being at the golf course from 6am to around 2:30, 3:00pm - a long day out in the hot sun. I then stopped in at my regular office to answer emails, check voicemails and handle anything that had come up throughout the day. Leaving there around 5:00pm, I then headed home for a quick shower and then over to mom and dad's for dinner. I was there for a few hours and then headed home to watch the Season Finale of Deadliest Catch. I finally made my way to bed around 10pm and was out like a light.

The thing was, when I woke up the next day, I realized that I had gone a full 18 hour day without spending any time with God. An 18 Hour Day!! A day in which I was up for 18 hours out of 24, I didn't "find" the time to spend some in prayer and with my Lord.

I often find myself wishing for more time - "If only I had the time to do that" or "I wish there were more hours in the day" to do miscellaneous things. But the one day in which I was awake for more than the majority of it, I didn't "find" the time to do all that I wanted to do. And what that made me realize is that it doesn't matter how much time you have, or how many waking hours you have, but the choices that you make with that particular time. In a day in which I had an abundance of "time" I made choices and decisions to not spend any of that time specifically set apart for me and my Lord.

This was enlightening to me and brought a whole new depth to the word and concept of choice and time for me. Even if I had an abundance of time, I could still make choices that would keep me apart from God. It's the choice that I make of what to do with my time that is important. In that respect, choice does indeed signify love.


These guys used to have a show on MTV with their other coworkers...but I ran across their videos the other day and they crack me up. This is one of my favs :). Enjoy :)

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Georgia, Part Deux

I know that I may sound like a crazy person to keep bringing this up, but the Georgia-Russia conflict took another step yesterday when hackers brought down the entire Twitter network, caused Facebook disruptions and attacked the Blogger interface all in the name of silencing ONE individual who communicates on the web in favor of Georgia. (See story here).

This really disturbs me. Who else sees scenes from a Hollywood movie in which mass chaos is created because network communication systems are brought down? The fact that an entire communicative site was brought down because of 1 individual blogger who is trying to make his voice heard - that's scary and brings this conflict to a whole new level now.

Seriously - don't underestimate/write-off Russia (Joe Biden).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thoughts on a Few Movies

So, I do have a more poignant post coming soon - I have an idea that has been germinating since last week. But with the recent ending of The Bachelorette, Deadliest Catch, and the impending summer siesta of Burn Notice - and of course no Lost, or ABDC (until Sunday, woot woot!!), or really anything worthwhile to watch on TV, I have been going to my local Redbox and renting some films that I was semi-interested in seeing when they first came out. So in no particular order, here are my thoughts/reviews of these films.

Confessions of a Shopaholic - Starring Isla Fisher (Sasha Baron Cohn's gf) and Hugh Dancy (Jane Austen Book Club, Stardust, and Clare Dane's bf) - with random appearances by John Goodman and Joan Cusack

I had high hopes for this film. I loved the books by Sophie Kinsella, which are light-hearted reads about a plucky heroine who is prone to spending past her credit limits. Becky Bloomwood, the main character, is someone you root for and laugh out loud at while reading the books and sadly, yet again, this movie is another classic case of Hollywood failing to translate the book to the big screen. I think if the movie had starred Amy Adams, rather than Isla Fisher, it would have gotten closer to the heart of the heroine, as Ms. Adams excels in my opinion of playing vapid yet big-hearted heroines. Hugh Dancy almost saves the film, but unfortunately the plot just fell apart and instead of being a vapid, light-hearted, cute film it became a vapid, confusing, all-over the place film. I give it a C-.

Push - starring Dakota Fanning, Djimon Honsou, Camilla Belle, and some guy I have no idea about, and the Asian-American doctor from ER (Ming-Na? I think?)

I don't even know how to describe this movie, other than the fact that it was better than Confessions of a Shopaholic! It too was kind of random, but it at least created this opposite fantasy realm so if there was a plot more akin to swiss cheese than a real film, you didn't really care, because you could at least suspend all belief in reality and just enjoy the action/psychic battles. It's like it was a weird take or reinvention of X-Men (which I love), but in the end you weren't satisfied because they leave you completely hanging on one of the main conflicts! I hate it when there is no resolution in a movie. I give it a C+.

He's Just Not That Into You - starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Justin Long, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johanasson, Drew Barrymore, and Kevin Connelly, Kris Kristofferson

This movie was just barely this side of ok. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I don't really like it. They at least did an ok job of weaving all of the ensemble cast storylines together, but honestly, the only storyline that I ended up caring about was Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long. All the rest of them were just "eh" or sad and you ended up not liking the characters at all. Also the cameo appearance by Frangelina was priceless - that was definitely the funniest part of the movie! It wasn't horrible to watch, but it again, it was just "eh". I give it a B-, just for the redeeming storyline of GG and JL.

The International - starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts

I am mad at this movie. It was long, but it had potential. It was this long, drawn-out thriller, plot developed pretty well, you cared about the main characters, and then *bang!* the movie is over!! I couldn't believe it! The ending made me so mad - it's like the filmmakers got tired and decided "hey, why don't we just randomly end the movie right here at this point". I don't know what their point of ending it that way was - yeah, it's probably realistic that Clive Owen's character wasn't going to bring down the big, bad international bank, but for pete's sake, it's a movie, why don't we just go ahead and suspend reality (which we have done already at this point) and give us the ending that we're looking for! It wasn't the kind of ending like There Will Be Blood in which you are shocked and still thinking about it days (or years, in my case) later - it was the kind of ending in which you are just ticked that they ended it with no resolution. Grrr. For that reason I give it a B-.

Bride Wars - starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson, with cameo by Candace Bergon

Loved this movie. There weren't too many plot holes. There were a ton of funny lines. There was a believable (well sort of), funny plot, and the two lead actresses did a great job of playing their parts of Emma and Liv. It was adorable, poignant at parts, and made me love my best friends all over again :). Total chick flick yes, but totally lovable! I give it an A.

Fast & Furious - starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez

Hahahahahahaha. I had to laugh just typing the title of this movie. I LOVED this movie because it was so frickin' hilarious in its seriousness. Paul Walker's eyes do make me melt and Vin Diesel's pectoral muscles looked to be solid rock through his tight muscle shirts. His line delivery is priceless - there is a priceless part in which after he has rammed a guy in half with his car that is one of my favorite movie lines ever now - I almost rolled off my couch in laughter after seeing it! The car chase scenes are totally fun (thank goodness though I wasn't driving anywhere afterwards) and totally reinvegorated my life-long dream of being a stunt car driver :). There were a million and one scenes that made me melt in laughter though. So for the sheer hilarity of being totally and awesomely and unashamedly bad, I give this movie an A+. It was exactly what I was expecting and then some! hahahahahahahaha!

What about you? Seen anything good lately? Any thoughts on my reviews? Feel free to post in the comments!