Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Great American Bucket List

[Photos from our last trip to the States: 2011-2012]
i. Six Flags: Great America // Illinois
ii. Iowa
iii. Owatonna, Minnesota
iv. Michigan
v. Atlanta, Georgia
vi. California
We leave for America in less than a week.

I'm feeling such a strange mixture of excitement and sadness. I'm glad we're going, but it's so hard to leave. I love my home, and it's hard to imagine not seeing it again for five months.

I made a list of things that I'd love to do in America. My brother suggested some of the things, too. A few of them probably won't happen, but I'm allowed to dream, right? :)

The Great American Bucket List:

Go to Six Flags in Illinois

See a 4th of July Fireworks Show

Visit a Zoo or Aquarium

Spend the Day at Target (there is no place like Target)

Get an Arnold Palmer at Chick-fil-A

Skype with the Cats

Go on a Hike

Buy Books at a Used Bookstore

Go to a Garage Sale

Meet a Blogging Friend

Go to a State Fair or Farmer's Market

Go to the Theater to see Pixar's Inside Out

Visit a Museum or Historic Site

Make Vlogs

Spend the Day at a Pool


Monday, May 25, 2015

The TBR Shelf

The To Be Read Shelf: also known as the shelf-of-books-that-I-have-yet-to-read-for-whatever-reason. Here's a quick tour of the thirteen books that live on this shelf.

First of all, I have some really chunky classics on here. Here we see Bleak House by Charles Dickens and Middlemarch by George Eliot. They are both from the Penguin Clothbound Classics collection. I like to have these pretty things on my shelf, but I really need to dig into them soon.

More monstrous classics! These are Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. They are Barnes & Nobles Classics. As you can see in the photo, I've already started Les Mis. It's really good. And huge. I need to push myself to finish it.

I found Gone by Michael Grant at a used bookstore a couple of years ago. I've put off reading it because it's a big commitment to get into such a big series (there are six thick books!). I also have Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - both of which sound really intriguing.

At the top of this stack we have The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde (I've read The Happy Prince, but just not the other stories), which I also found at a used bookstore a while ago. Then we have the fourth book in the Artemis Fowl series. Next, we have The Little Bookroom which I purchased at Hatchard's - the oldest bookshop in London, and one of the most beautiful that I've been to. At the bottom we have Patricia St. John's The Victor. It's one of the only Patricia St. John's that I have yet to read.

Next we have books #2 and #3 in the Chaos Walking trilogy. The first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, was amazing and traumatizing. I'm excited to read these, but also a bit terrified.

Lastly, we have The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson. I really enjoy this author's fairytale retellings. I bought this one so that I can bring it on the airplane with me next week. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Hope you enjoyed the tour! There's quite a lot of books on here, but I shall conquer it. Hopefully. 

So, are there any books on this shelf that you think I should get to really soon? Do you have a TBR shelf? Are you also daunted by the size of Charles Dickens' books? Let me know!


P.S. Did you catch my vlog last week? If not, feel free to check it out!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Q&A Vlog!

Hello Peoples! I'm finally finished with my Q&A video! I'm a month later than I said I would be, and I'm really sorry about that! It's been a very crazy few weeks for me. I filmed this video weeks ago, but only in the past few days have I found time to edit it.

I hope you enjoy this!


1. About the "Any summer plans?" question, I didn't fully explain: in two weeks, my family and I (other than my two older siblings) will be going to America for our furlough, which means we'll be traveling around all summer visiting churches, supporters, and family. However, after the summer, instead of coming back to Ireland, my family will drop me off in California where I'll be starting college. Yikes.

2. Here's a link to the song I mentioned. Also since filming this video my new current favorite song has changed to this one. ;)

 3. I have questions for you all: Coffee or Tea? Which countries do you most want to visit? Favorite Disney Princess?


Monday, May 11, 2015

Stressed and Desserts

A few shots from the other day of trying out a new recipe from Ree Drummond's cookbook.  It was called Apple Brown Betty (recipe here!), and it was pretty amazing. Especially topped with custard. It was all eaten up before I could take any decent photos of the finished product.

Life has been so crazy lately, friends. I'm trying to finish school before we leave for America in three weeks. Three weeks. On top of that, this month is pretty busy. I'm stressed out.

I'm so sorry about the lack of blogging - and especially sorry about how long my Q&A vlog is taking. I'm working on it!

How are you all? Have you baked anything scrumptious lately? Have you taken any rings to Mordor? Let me know! Also, please note the fact that "Desserts" is "Stressed" backwards. That's how I justified the randomness of this post.

I will return. Soon. Hopefully in vlog form.


Friday, May 1, 2015

What I'm Afraid Of

Sometimes I forget how scared I am.

Maybe all those fantasy books that I've read throughout my life has instilled this idea in me, but I've always considered courage as a very important trait to have. The heroes in those stories are always brave. Sometimes, I like to think that I'm brave, too. But now and then something comes up that reminds me that I'm definitely not.

I'll start with a rather amusing example of one of those situations.

It happened the other day when I was in the shower. I was taking a shower, doing the usual showery things, when at the corner of my eye I spotted something on the wall just a few inches from my face. A humungous spider.

Friends, I screamed. I screamed like a girl in a Alfred Hitchcock movie. Real brave of me. I can't really blamed for that one, though.

Spider Horror Stories aside, there's other things that I'm afraid of, too. Not the kind of fear that involves screaming and frantically fleeing the vicinity, but is very scary all the same.

The fact is: I really, really don't like being up in front of crowds. Doing a speech or presentation in front of a church or class sounds like the most terrifying thing to me. I'm not sure why exactly - there's no logical reason for it - but when I'm in those situations, my knees start shaking and I struggle to catch a breath. It terrifies me.

Usually, it's not a problem. I'm not often required to get up on a stage and give speeches or sing solos.

That is, except for recently.

Scary Thing #1: The other day, a lady in my church emailed me saying that she was organizing a ladies' chorale group to sing for our new church building's open day. She asked if I was interested. My first thought was:


Me? Singing in front of my church? Ridiculous. Sure, there would be four or five other ladies singing with me, but still. No way.

I had a very polite decline all written out. My finger was hovering above the Send button, when all of a sudden a thought struck me. Why am I saying no? I like singing! It sounds fun! What's my problem? I realized there was only one reason.

Because I was too scared.

When I realized that, I couldn't bring myself to press that Send button. I knew it wouldn't be right.

That was when I found out that being brave is a choice.

Scary Thing #2: I'm going to be baptized this month, which I'm very happy about. One aspect has been worrying to me, though - and that's sharing my testimony in front of my church. Again, there's absolutely no reason to be scared. But I am. 

I think pushing myself to agree to do Scary Thing #1 has made it easier for me to choose to be brave about this one, too. I need to remember that this isn't about me at all. It's about obeying a principle found in God's Word, and sharing what He's done in my life. If I remember that, I think I'll be okay.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
II Timothy 1:7

It's not easy for me to admit to all these silly fears, but I'm realizing that being scared of things doesn't make me a coward. Everyone's scared of something. Giving into those fears is where the problem lies.

I'm not really sure what the point of all this is, but I just wanted to share with you guys something that's been going on lately, and what I'm learning through it.


P.S. VLOG UPDATE! I've filmed my Q&A vlog, and now I just need to edit it. It should be up pretty soon! :)