Solo Wardrobe

After a semester in England and a summer in Idaho, I like to think I’ve got the whole ‘living out of a suitcase for several months’ thing down pat. I have yet, however, to get used to preparing for a fancy event while relying exclusively on my own wardrobe – and much less so with only 1/8th of my wardrobe. 

This weekend I’m attending a fancy reception. By sheer chance, while packing for this summer, it occurred to me to throw a Little Black Dress in my bag. After all, you never know. That spur of the moment decision saved me from finding a whole new dress. However, I did not think to pack accessories! 

Back home, if I needed accessories, I would go home. There I would have access to three collections (belonging to my Mother and two sisters) all besides my own. Everything would fit. Everything would generally match. And if it didn’t, I would jump into my car and drive to a place to find something that did. 

But not here. Vehicle-, sister-, and Charming Charlie-less, I am forced to fall back on my own innovation! And that is never a good sign. 

Thankfully, I have 4 roommates and 8 housemates and even though their wardrobes are similarly limited in the cocktail party department, we’ve managed to patch something together. (Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and two day delivery!) 

At any rate, matching clutch or not, this weekend will be amazing. Stay tuned for more details. Hint: I won’t be in Colorado Springs! 

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Blogging Again

Soooooooo you might have noticed a few…just a few…posts from me recently. 

Hi, yeah, I’m back! And posting every day.

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I do plan to keep it up this time, too. Or at least, I do until January when I leave for Thailand. I’m not sure how it will work then.

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I was reflecting on 24, though, and I realized that part of what made the year challenging was that I didn’t look for those little moments that made it wonderful. Though I did blog, it wasn’t blogging for the sake of remembering. I want to remember this season. 

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Also I get a little burst of dopamine every time some likes one of my posts. And that stuff is addicting! 

So I’m back! I apologize if your inbox is blowing up. Hopefully the journey ahead will make it worth it. 


2 Kings 6:8-17

This past week, I heard an interesting talk on 2 Kings 6:8-17. The presentation was on how we handle crisis. However, re-reading the Scripture, another element of the passage stuck out to me. As a quick reminder: 

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he senthorses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Super cool passage, right? But here is what I want to know. Did Elisha always see the horses and chariots of fire? Think about how cool, and terrifying, that would be! Definitely something to ask him about in heaven. 


A Lady of Quality by Francis Hodgson Burnett

If you are anything like me, the name Francis Hodgson Burnett brings to mind books like A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, or Little Lord Fauntleroy. And what do those books share? They are all sweet, beloved children’s stories without an ounce of vice in them. Can you think of a more perfect main character than Sara Crewe from A Little Princess

I did not expect much more from A Lady of Quality. Yet almost from the moment it began, the book took all my preconceived notions about Burnett and threw them out the window! I kept double-checking the author because I could not believe she wrote this. 

The heroine of the story, Clorinda, behaves horrendously. She beats servants, belittles peers, swears, breaks commandments, and a whole lot more I won’t get into so that I don’t spoil anything. The point is, she is not a nice character. And yet, unlike what you would expect from a Victorian novel, she never gets her competences for her actions. If anything, the plot pardons it all! The story is heavy on melodrama and certainly sanitizes her by the end, but the process of getting her sanitized is what I found truly remarkable. 

She isn’t a character you like, and yet precisely because of that she become redeemable. There is no really likable character in this book, but neither is anyone truly evil. (Okay, maybe one guy. But even the book pities him!) I did not expect the level of nuance that I found within the characters. 

The story is a melodrama and a romance in the traditional sense and, at some level, it follows that line exactly. Everything builds up for the final, grand marriage at the end. Yet romantic love is not the only thing pushing this plot. Self-love and sisterly love and sacrificial love all play important roles in developing the characters and the story. While I might look for such themes today, I did not expect to find them in a little remembered book from 1896! 

I think I need to read more by this author, especially her adult works!


Redheads Reunited

9 years ago, I attended a Do Hard Things conference in Chicago. During one of the breaks I was browsing the store when a voice from across the table said,

“Are you Bucky Bookworm?” (Or something like that.) 

In surprise I looked up to find a stranger, but not really a stranger. Though I had never met her in person, Melody and I were friends on the Generation Joshua forums. She had recognized my name and came to introduce herself. Along with Melody came her sister, Esther. 

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Esther was also a friend from the forums. The two were high on my “bucket list” of people I wanted to meet in person. 

We met again at camp that summer.

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We remained friends on the forums and on Facebook but as we grew older we started to lose touch. Esther visited Bryan College while I was a student there so we caught up briefly. However, our friendship slipped into the calm obscurity of two people who are bad at keeping in contact long-distance. 

Until I noticed on Facebook that she was in Colorado Springs! 

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We caught up and grabbed dinner this week. (And if you are wondering, yes, that is the shirt from yesterday’s post!) The meal and conversation reminded me how delightful old friends are. We haven’t kept up in years and our interests and hobbies long since diverged. Yet once we started chatting, a dozen mutual acquaintances came up and countless little memories or forum posts needed analyzing. Every adventure and IRL meeting with other Gen Jers deserved a quick mention. 

It was fun. I think one of the best parts of getting older is that your friends get older too. You become a different person as the years pass, but an old friend reminds you (for better or worse!) of who you were and how you’ve changed. Esther is no longer the shy younger sister peeking behind Melody at a Do Hard Things conference. She’s a confident, fun, kind young woman who is taking on a new job in a new city. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her! And I’m always grateful for Generation Joshua and the relationships that developed and remain even as time and space continue to separate us. 


A Cheesy Situation

“What state is that?” asked the guy behind the counter, staring at my t-shirt. I resisted the urge to look down and check which shirt I was wearing.

“Wisconsin.” 

“Oh,” he nodded as if I just confirmed his greatest suspicion. “We have a burger that contains Wisconsin  cheese. You didn’t order it, though.”

“Ah! Too bad,” I said.

“Do you want Wisconsin cheese on your burger?” 

I shrugged, “Sure!”  After all, why not? 

I learned why not. I did not get a cheeseburger; I got a cheese sandwich with hints of burger. The burger I ordered came with pepper-jack cheese. The guy who took my order then added close to a block of Wisconsin cheddar cheese. The cheese oozed out the sides and onto the plate and then dried that way. I couldn’t figure out how to eat it. And while it tasted great, turns out there is such a thing as too much cheese! 

I do appreciate the thought! It is very thoughtful of people in Colorado Springs to watch over this cheesehead. It does make me wonder, though, what he would have said if the shirt was from Idaho. Is there a potato-burger out there somewhere? 


A 2019 Reading Goal

“I saw that you read 124 books in 24 years!” cheerfully exclaims my new friend. “Congratulations!”

“124 books in my 24th year,” I say. “From July 6 to July 6.”

She looks shocked. “124 in one year? Not all 24 years?”

The very idea of it taking me 24 years to read 124 books is somewhat insulting, but she means well.

I glance at my Goodreads, wanting to give an accurate number. “Try 1,820 books since 2009, excluding re-reads.”

She looks stunned.

Trying to soften it a little, I say, “But you know, I still have 928 books on my to-read list, and that is always growing!”

It doesn’t help. “You have 920 books you want to read?” she gasps.

I nod, forbearing to add the 8 at the end.

She leaves the room shaking her head, but I’m now curious. How soon till I hit 2,000 read books? 180 short…probably not possible by the end of this year but with effort and fewer re-reads maybe by the end of 2019…

I think I have a new reading goal. To pull it off I will need to read 30-40 more books this year and then stay on track for my average 150 next. Seems a little steep with my travel plans for 2019 thrown in. But what is life without something to strive for?