Sunday, August 31, 2014

To my husband of one year, "I Won't Give Up on Us"

"I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up"

You picked this song the minute you heard the first verse.  It ended up being my favorite moment of our wedding.  We had just said our vows, "I do, I will, I promise," and went to light the unity candle.  And we paused.  And we savored it.  
It is the most vivid memory I have and hold dear.  Then, your dad and my mom joined us to witness the signing of our marriage license.  We hugged, cried, and prayed.  As I signed Mrs. Smith for the first time, I knew giving you all my love was the easiest decision I ever had to make.  

"And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend 
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am"

There couldn't have been a more fitting song to show the strength of our relationship and first year of marriage. Through loss, challenges, and celebrations, we didn't break, we didn't burn.  With each new trial thrown our way, we had to learn how to bend without the world caving in.  Somehow, we protected our love from the forces life threw at us.  

"I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)"

I think about the speech your dad gave on that magical day.  How he told God, "we got this one right" when talking about our love.  Even though I don't have the faith like your dad did, I know He knows we are tough enough and we are worth it.  

I am honored to fight through life with you every day. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Love, Summer 2014

Full disclosure: This post is more for my students than anyone else.  

This is the first summer, ever, that I haven't worked two or more jobs, taking two more graduate classes, planned a wedding, or any combination of the above.  Instead, I became addicted to reading.

Yes, of course.  I have always loved reading.  Hence my career choice.  But this summer, it was different.  Anytime I picked up a book, I would inhale it.  I quickly learned I better not start one until I had a day to finish it.  I would lay in the sun, on the couch, with the dog, and just lose myself in story after story.  It. Was. Awesome.

In true BuzzFeed fashion, here is a quick look into my summer of reading....


If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This was a short and quick read. The story follows a senior in high school who has been in a terrible car crash. The narrator has to decide "if I stay" as she is the only survivor.  The story flashes back and develops a history for her.  It was a fun lighthearted story and easy read.  Seems like the ending was a little abrupt.  I needed more of a wrap up.  The movie release date is this Friday!


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

One from my list last summer: On their fifth wedding anniversary, a wife goes missing and the husband is the prime suspect.  A well-known premise with a great twists.  It had me hooked all the way through.  Switching points of view give reads so much insight.  However, I didn’t like the ending.  But, to Flynn’s credit, I don’t know how else it could have ended.  Definitely excited for this movie in October.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey, who I love, chronicles her rise in the entertainment word from Saturday Night Live to 30 Rock.  I guess I don’t love her enough.  It seemed like the entire book was an inside joke that I just wasn’t getting.  I ended up skimming it.  Fans of SNL and 30 Rock, I’m sure, will enjoy much more.  In the end, I do admire all that she has done and her success.  

Gregor the Overland by Suzanne Collins

The first series by the famed Hunger Game author, and just as good.  While chasing after of his younger sister, Gregor is transported down to a new Underworld where he is immediately reversed.  He must go on a quest to earn his way out and discovers much along the way.  A great action book, especially for upper elementary and middle school kiddos.  

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

This one has been on my list for years.  Gladwell tries to explain how we “think without thinking.”  One fascinating factoid that will stick with me: within the first six seconds, you can tell if someone is going to be a good teacher.  He discusses how this same instinct is true in so many facets of our lives.  

The Spectaular Now by Tim Tharp

On the plane ride to Key West, I was debating between this book and Sharp Objects.  Casey chose this one.  As I kept reading, he wanted to read it more.  Jimmy Buffett + Seagrams + Parties, it was like I was reading my husband’s teenage life.  A fun read as a partying-teenaged boy takes on a “girl” as a project.  A fun read, sarcastic tone, and not the predictable ending you would expect. (Oh, and it’s a movie, too.)

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

I was so excited by this premise and so many spoke so highly of it. The story explores what it was like for victims of the Columbine shooting who were “survivors.”  I loved the beginning and seeing the perspectives offered.  Then it tried to do too much with it’s storyline and couldn’t hold my interest.  After 500 out of the 700 pages, Lamb lost me.

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

If you liked Tuesdays with Morrie, you’ll like this.  Albom has been asked by his rabbi to write his eulogy.  As a man who has gone away from his faith, Albom spends time getting to know the rabbi outside of a religious setting.  These encounters spur Albom to other directions where he meets a pastor who had an unconventional journey to where he is now.  Great parallels to make anyone think about faith.  

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Definitely one of my favorites of the summer.  After his sister tries to commit suicide for the third time, Tom Wingo hopes to shed some light on her, and their families’ history, to her psychiatrist.  Conroy writes in such beautiful way about so many heartbreaking matters.  And you thought your family had problems.  

The Julian Chapter by R.J. Palacio

After reading a few heavy books, I needed some lighthearted, easy reads.  This one is brilliant.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio is, by far, my favorite book of the year.  When I say this was a thing, I had to read it immediately.  Thank goodness for Nooks.  This gives the bully’s perspective.  Fascinating.  Touch.  Wish I could teach both of them.


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I loved the premise of this one.  Two twin girls start their freshman year, and they could not be on more different paths.  One of them, Cath, writes fanfiction, while the other one, Wren, finds out what it is like to have independence.  Both of the try to find a balance their freshman year.  I enjoyed the story, but skipped reading most of the fanfiction excerpts included.  Too distracting.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

In true trashy summer reads, I found this book.  A college freshman trying to stay out of trouble finds the bad boy of the university.  You can probably guess where it goes from there.  Predictable Fifty Shades of Gray-esque book with much better writing.  

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

A young journalist returns home to cover the stories of two young girls who have died in eerily similar ways a year apart.  As she digs into their stories, she uncovers more than she can handle about her small town’s history.  Still disturbed by this one.  Must mean the writing was great.