Category Archives: My Raw Toast Connection

Classics 2016

It is my favorite time of the year! (Next to Christmas, Easter, July 4th, and my birthday, of course.) This is the time I blog about all the books I read over the past year. However, before I jump into my stats, I thought it might be fun to list out all the classics I read this year. 

You see, I have a bit of an inferiority complex where classic literature is concerned. I blame my friend Hope. When we were seniors in high school, she was appalled at how few Charles Dickens novels I had read (only 3!) and proceeded to introduce me to some really great reads, like Our Mutual Friend. Since then, no matter how many classics I read, a tiny part of my brain always tells me I’m behind. This is part of the problem with being friends with English majors. It is also partially because, outside of school, it isn’t very usual to read classics unless you have specific motivation. This year, I challenged myself to work through my to-read list, especially the classics. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed most of these books. You will probably see many of these on my 5 (or 1…) star book review posts!

Brave New World by Adolph Huxley
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Iliad by Homer
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
The Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

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What Pinterest Reveals About My Brain

 

Some of my boards on Pinterest are normal and self-explanatory and have titles like ‘Comical’ or ‘Hunger Games’. This is not my natural inclination. I don’t think in normal, categorical ways. Some girls (like my sisters)  have cutesy, or at least practical, names for their boards.  ‘Nails and Makeup’ ‘Cute Hairstyles’ ‘I Would Wear That!’ ‘Something Yummy’ ‘abode’ ‘words’ ‘crafts’ ‘giggles’….for example. All are pretty self-explanatory. 

I tend to group things more…surreally. Or at least more randomly. For example: ‘Awesome’ ‘Random Moments of Awesome’ and ‘Random Things I Like’ are similarly titled groups with similar pins. Yet all of them are very distinct in my mind. I just don’t know how to verbalize the distinction!

For example, a few from Awesome: 

Mr. Tilney & Miss Catherine Morland:

Cinderella live action and animation movie by Rodrigo Yborra Art:

 :

adventures of George Washington:

 

From Random Moments of Awesome:

 :

WHAAAAT:

Hehehe:

aww yeah history:

 

And then there is Random Things I Like:

Rapunzel Pirate:

Smooth.:

Metabolism Boosting Foods:

Elsa at Christmas:

 

There are also my ‘For Anna’ ‘For Hope’ and ‘For Bethany’ boards, which are a little easier to explain. I pin things to those boards I think Anna, Hope, or Bethany would enjoy. ‘One Day I Am Going to Use This Meme’ is my favorite board because that is where I store gifs and memes for my Goodreads book reviews. I also have ‘Crafts’ ‘Crafty Patterns’ ‘Good To Know’ ‘Powerful’ ‘Wise Words’ ‘blog’ and ‘Blog Memes’ among other similar, but different, boards.

Now you might be thinking, ‘I DON’T GET IT. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS POST.’ And that is just the thing! This is what it is like in my brainPinning is a gut instinct. I don’t think ‘Princess’ or ‘Disney’ or anything truly categorical at all. I just emotionally react and stick it on the board based on my subjective, gut-instinct. I suspect this is an ENFP-thing. But at any rate, that is how my brain processes the world. I find it difficult to organize things or read maps or put things in little boxes because my brain is going ‘DISNEY…NO WAIT….MR. TILNEY….FUNNY…FOOD?..HISTORY!…HAPPINESS!’

oh my darling darling boy.. why so adorable and perfect? why???:

 

Also, I’ve really got to stop writing these posts so late at night. They turn out weird. I hope this one made sense! Until tomorrow! 

 


Identifying Gen Jer

10 years ago today, some long forgotten office minion processed my paperwork and I officially joined Generation Joshua. Little did they know! Actually, little did I know. It is impossible to imagine the past ten years without Generation Joshua. I can’t even imagine the past year without it, and I have been “graduated” for quite some time. Gen J influenced every part of my life. It provided friends, mentors, and answers during the tumultuous years of teenhood, and the early chaos of college. Even now, as I begin my career, I find I owe an unpayable debt to the organization that provided me with vision and experience before I realized I would need either.

I used to tell people, in a rush of words so fast most listeners gave up trying to understand, “Generation Joshua is an organization that gets young people, ages 11 to 19, involved in civics and government. It is awesome. But, you know, it does so much more.”  

Generation Joshua taught me a lot of things. I did everything offered: camps, clubs, conferences, the chat room, book clubs, the Benjamin Rush Awards, Student Action Teams, and later the Leadership Corps. Above all, though, I spent my teen years on the Generation Joshua forums. All those things, but especially the forums, taught me some important truths about life.

I learned…my teen years were a blessing.

Even before my teenage years began I wanted them to be over. I carried a vague notion that all teenagers had boyfriends, wore skimpy clothes, and did drugs. No matter how desperately my Mom pointed out perfectly ordinary and well behaved teenagers, I refused to believe it. I knew what was up. Nothing good came of turning 13! The teenagers on the Generation Joshua forums quickly disabused me of that notion. These students were intelligent, funny, and friendly. They discussed everything from relationships to current events to coffee! Sometimes they goofed off; sometimes they were serious. For me, it was all amazing. I learned the teenage years did not automatically mean delinquency and rebellion. It could be a wonderful time for growth and friendship.

I learned…online friendships last.

Because so many of my friendships began online, they continue to thrive online today. The neat thing about being an adult is that nowadays I get to travel and visit people in person. However, for many years I could have passed my closest friends on the street and not of known them. It made for the most awkward conversations! “My friend Dr. Black, well, I’ve never met him, but anyway he said…” or “Coolweather and I were e-mailing and we think…” Gen Jers learned to be very creative. My friends Tori (CatCrazy), Lydia (LidBiz) and I started an online girls’ bible study using a chat room and blog. It was a wonderful experience, spread across many time zones. Tori lived in Montana and Lydia in Senegal, Africa. We were joined by girls in California, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. Today, I still consider both girls dear friends. Whether through the forums, Facebook, or even “real life”, my friendship with Gen Jers last a great deal in part because we first learned to be friends far away.

I learned…my voice mattered.

Once upon a time I caught sight of the first post I ever wrote, and it made me want to cry. The spelling, the grammar, the content! I flinch to think of it. But you know what I remember even more clearly than the post? I remember TexasCowboy and Pippin welcoming me to the forums and engaging with what I had to say. That meant a lot to me. I also learned that I could put action behind my words via the Student Action Teams and iGovern Camps. Not everyone finds spending a week of grassroots campaigning fun, however it was the highlight of my year. I couldn’t vote, but I could act. I learned I could make a difference, even at age 14.

I learned…disagreement is okay.

God bless all the moderators who kept an eye on us on the forums! They eventually shut down the Civil War thread because it got so heated. Place two opinionated teenagers together and you are bound to have some conflict, add a whole bunch of them to an online forum and you’re begging for it. Heated discussion is not always a bad thing, though. It sharpens arguments and provides a broader point of view. I learned a lot by simply reading the back and forth of others. I saw that you could be friends with people you disagreed with.

I learned…God answers prayer.

The statement almost sounds trite, but it meant a great deal to me in high school. Before I ever heard of Generation Joshua, I begged God for friends like me. I didn’t want a robot…but someone who shared my interests. And God provided. A few years later, I prayed again, this time for closer friends. Not long after, I got to travel to Generation Joshua camp with Danielle (jcfreak) and Sara (Lightning). It was wonderful to have the friends in person and online! Being a part of Generation Joshua grew me spiritually. I saw God’s hand at work in so many ways. I saw faith in the students around me, in the counselors and leaders at camp, in the discussion on the forums. I saw pain and hurt and brokenness. And I learned that God worked in it all, that He was not an afterthought but the very foundation.

Most of all I learned…I was not alone.

There were teenagers like me. People who loved learning. People who paid attention to politics. People who read like crazy. C.S. Lewis said in The Four Loves, “Friendship…is born at the moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one…’” Indeed, I thought I was the only one. And then one momentous day, on January 6th, I joined something greater, where I learned I was not alone. Generation Joshua was so much more.

This is a thank you. I have written many before, but I can only repeat my words again. Thank you to those Gen Jers who were older than me, who mentored and offered me friendship when I first joined. Thank you to my peers, the Gen Jers my age who remain some of my closest friends. Thank you to all the kids who have come after me, it is a delight watching you discover the same thing I did. That you are not alone.

Most of all, thank you to the leaders of Generation Joshua. When I first joined, that meant Ned Ryun. Then Douglas Price. Then Will Estrada. Now, Joel Grewe. Thank you to all the leaders like Jeremiah Lorrig, Lucas Mason, and Michael Zeller. Thank you to my SAT leaders, Noah Oberlander and James Flath. Thank you to the parents who helped get the club going in Wisconsin, people like Mrs. Aguilar, Pastor Andy, and my Dad. I would never have discovered Generation Joshua without The First Generation Joshua Club of Wisconsin. Thank you for all the people who have engaged and mentored and spoke into the lives of the Gen J community. There are countless names I could mention. I have only named a few of the ones most involved while I was a teenager. What you all do cannot be quantified in words. I am ever grateful for the role you all have played in my life.

I hope every teenager has the opportunity to find a place where they discover they are not alone. Generation Joshua was that for me. Thank you, Gen J, for helping shape me into the woman I am today.  


For Kermit, From Amelia

So I was all like…..

And Hope was all like….

Then I was like….

So Hope was like….

So I go….

Then Hope says…

So I respond…

So she says….

And I’m like…

And Hope says…

So I say…

Hope says…

So of course I have to reply with…

And she’s all like…

And I say…

And she goes…

AND SO FINALLY I GO…

AND SHE GOES….

AND THAT IS WHY WE ARE BEST FRIENDS!!!!

HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY HOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

We’ve made it from…..

to