Thursday, January 28, 2016

The PR Report: Final Quarter of 2015

When I reflect back on the last three months of 2015, I can see how it was a microcosm of the year as a whole. October and the beginning of November were full of challenges and growth, and I'm glad I made a conscious effort not to stress out about anything in December. It was completely different from last Christmas season, and I'm so grateful for that. Things have changed so much in my walk with the Lord this last year, and He has been incredibly, incredibly good. I'm looking forward to everything in store for 2016!  

October in Pictures 

Georgia National Fair  Alabama concert | Gold Rush Festival in Dahlonega, GA | Hiking John Rock in Pisgah National Forest, NC | Beach time on Amelia Island with my niece | Ordered all the desserts on the menu at 29 South--no shame in our game!

November in Pictures

Ministry Village Benefit at 9 Oaks Farm | Moving into a new office at work | Finally painted our laundry room! | Thanksgiving Day | Bringing home the Christmas trees from Jack's Creek Farm 

December in Pictures

Our Christmas tree | Baby shower for my sister-in-law, Ashley | Book Club Christmas Party at The Cotton Cafe | Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere | My precious little niece on Christmas Eve! | Hiking High Falls on Christmas Day with Kyle's family

Favorite Books Read 

Simplify by Bill Hybels | ESV Study Bible (Kyle and I did a Bible-In-A-Year reading plan last year--I'll be posting more thoughts on this soon!) 

On My Shelves

Gifted for Christmas: The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (Thanks Elizabeth!) | Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman (Thanks Ashley!)

Most Popular Posts 

Review: Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews
Discussion Post: Beauty Queens and Eggheads

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Club Christmas Party Recap {2015}

I can't believe another Book Club Christmas Party has come and gone! This year (or last year if you want to get technical) we met up for lunch and coffee at a local cafe and continued our tradition of a Secret Santa Book Exchange. I absolutely love what everyone had on their wishlist, so read on to find out what everyone got!   

Keri: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker | Melissa: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Shelley: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom | Lauren: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker 

Sarah: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker | Jenny: Uprooted by Naomi Novik (She's holding a picture of the cover since Lauren ordered her the UK edition and it hadn't come in yet--the UK edition is BEAUTIFUL and totally worth the wait!)

Elizabeth: Emma by Jane Austen | Britney: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Lesley Anne: The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen | Hope: Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot 

For book club this month we decided to shake things up and read what we got at the Christmas party, or choose whatever book we wanted. I'm so glad we have a flexible book club that's ok with bending the rules every now and then. I'm interested to find out what everyone thought of their reads this weekend! 

Have you read any of these books or are any of them on your TBR? Let us know! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Look + 2016 Reading Goals!

Jenny's 2016 Reading Goals

I wanted to try something a little different with my resolutions this year. Rather than setting a couple of year-long goals, I am going to be doing monthly resolutions. This will make me feel like I am accomplishing things and also giving me a realistic time frame. Let's be honest — year-long resolutions are really difficult. I have been pretty good at my reading ones so far, but I want to try to really stretch myself. This is the first year I am not in school since preschool; I can literally read whatever I want whenever I want. My twelve micro-resolutions are going to help me rein in that freedom. Freedom is not a bad thing, but I need a bit more structure or else I will only read the same genre or re-read the same things over and over again. It will also help me to actually achieve my goals without completely restricting my freedom. (The older I get the more I realize that boundaries are not bad things. I am slowly getting wise.) They are a mixture of reading and blogging and I will, of course, be updating each month.

January: Only read non-fiction + classics
February: Review 5 books on the blog
March: Join the library + read 10 library books
April: Only read books that are on my Goodreads TBR list
May: Read 1 work in Old English (do not want to get rusty!)
June: Do a Top Ten Tuesday post for each Tuesday of the month
July: Read 15 books on Buzzfeed's list of greatest books by women
August: Read 1 work in Old Norse
September: Read 10 books that have been recommended to me
October: Read 15 books set in cultures other than my own
November: Write 10 blogposts
December: Read The Hobbit in Latin (yes, this is a thing!)

Also, in case y'all were so taken with my reading goals that you did not notice, we have a new look here on the blog! Lesley Anne and I wanted to update our style with something more clean and user-friendly. It took quite a bit of time to choose one because there are so many great ones out there. The good news is our tastes are pretty similar so we did not have to worry about breaking up a friendship over choosing a blog format (I feel like that could be the plot of a YA book). I know we have been negligent about posting these past few months but that is something we are both hoping to change. Thank you for sticking it out with us. Hope y'all's new years are off to a wonderful (if chilly!) start :)

Friday, January 1, 2016

LOTR Read-Along: The End


We finished this book a good 3 weeks ago, but I just have not been able to bring myself to write this post. The ending of this series was bittersweet. Bitter, because it had to end. Sweet, because it was one of (if not the) best endings of any series I have read. About half way through Return of the King I began to worry about how it would end. This is a heavy story; sacrifice and suffering color it in heavy, sweeping strokes. Everything cannot be wrapped up neatly! If it had had a Pollyanna ending I would have been furious. 

All my fears were unfounded, of course. Tolkien is such a master craftsman that he would not bungle the narrative at so crucial a juncture as the ending. There is so much I want to say but I do not want to draw this post out. Rather, reflect back on these last 4 chapters. Some hurts are so deep that they cannot be healed this side of heaven. Learning to endure them is the lesson of a lifetime.

1. What do you make of Arwen's gift to Frodo? Why did she choose that one of all that she could have offered him?

2. Why couldn't Gandalf go to the Shire with the Hobbits?

3. Why does Frodo refuse to kill Wormtongue?

4.  Would you change the ending? If yes, how so?

Happy, happy New Year to y'all. I hope this year brings growth, joy, and peace.