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I Should Listen to You More Often

I have a bad habit of being recommended things by friends and not immediately following up on them only to find out later, they were right. You see, it’s not that I don’t trust my friends. It’s more to do with TIME. There are so many things that I’m discovering on my own that when a friends lends you a book or movie, you’re like….oh thanks, I’ll get to this later. And sometimes later never happens. But then there are times when you just suck it up, make the time and you actually give in to the recommendation. That’s when you find out…HOLY CRAP. YOU WERE SO RIGHT ABOUT THIS. I SHOULD LISTEN TO YOU ALL THE TIME!

The thing with being public about your interests is that your friends who know you well have pretty much figured out what you like and what you don’t. I have gotten the reputation of liking a lot of geek things that most girls I hang around with refuse to touch or if they do, don’t understand it. That being said, a lot of my guy friends have constantly given me tips on things they liked that they think I would enjoy. This ranges from books to TV shows to tabletop games to video games to food and beer. Sometimes I don’t take the advice because I’m a bit wary of it. And then they prove me wrong.

I’ll give three examples of recommendations from friends.

Friend #1 recommended me to read the book Ready Player One insisting that I would enjoy it very much.

Well, have you seen my TBR pile? Plus I work in a library! There are so many books I’m trying to read already that to add another book that I wasn’t intentionally going to read and that I didn’t discover myself seems a bit daunting. I’m ashamed to say that I accepted the book, kept it for a few weeks (months?) and returned it without reading it. I just didn’t have the time or interest at the moment. I felt like a horrible friend but….so many books so little time? But then several months later, I heard news that Steven Spielberg would be directing the movie. And my “book club” decided to read it. So I finally gave in. And guess what? I loved it. One of the most fun books ever. Seriously it was so awesome I didn’t want to stop reading.

I should have listened to Friend #1. Their next recommendation I should take: to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Friend #2 told me I needed to watch Pacific Rim.

I was told that I would enjoy this movie a lot and it was not like Transformers meets Battleship at all which is what the trailers made it look to be. They had claimed it to be one of their favorite movies ever and I needed to go see it. I was like….um no? It looks stupid. Plus no one in the cast I’m a fan of and I’ve never seen any of the director’s other movies. *Yawn*. But then I kept getting ragged on so I finally gave in.

This is the post on Facebook I wrote the day after I saw it.

So to everyone who said to me “Deborah, why aren’t you seeing Pacific Rim? It has everything you like in a movie! And you just lost your awesome, geek and Asian cards with your lame excuses!”, I am officially eating a big fat crow right now. Pacific Rim was quite awesome.

Reasons why it was awesome

10) There was an Asian girl with blue hair! And the young version of herself looked like me growing up.
9) Lack of a romance was a major plus. And no forced kissing that comes out of nowhere. WOOT.
8) While the trailers didn’t do anything for me, I bought the storyline. And got quite invested in the actual story.
7) Humor from scientists. Very welcome. The scene where they shake hands (you know the one) brought well written comic relief.
6) Idris Elba is the mother effin man.
5) Awesome special effects and sound. Much better than Man of Steel.
4) Fight scenes were quite good. Again better than Man of Steel. Heck everything about this movie was better than Man of Steel.
3) There’s a dog!
2) Nothing to do with the movie, but the Alamo Drafthouse in Ashburn is effing awesome. BEST place to see a movie. Best popcorn ever. Unless I absolutely have to, I am never seeing going to another movie theater again.

And the top reason for why I liked this movie?

1) When Gipsy is falling from a fight in space, they pull out a sword!!!!!!!!! I literally turned to (Friend #2) with a huge grin of glee on my face. That was the turning point for me. (It’s because I like swords) The rest of the movie, I was on the edge of my seat.

Well done del Toro. Well done. I would like to see more of the story fleshed out. Prequels would be most appreciated.

I now reclaim back all my cards. And if you want to talk about it with me in person or online, I will gladly share in fanboy/fangirl appreciation.

Yep I should have listened to Friend #2. Their next recommendation for me: to read Slaughterhouse Five.

Now Friend #3, I’ve actually been pretty good about taking their recommendations. And I’ve actually talked about some of them on this blog like Lizzie Bennet Diaries or (500) Days of Summer. However the one recommendation I was slowest to take was to watch Doctor Who.

Why would I want to watch a silly show about a guy played by different actors that travels through time and space? It looks dumb. And cheesy. And confusing. There are too many episodes. I can’t get invested in this right now.

Hah. hahahahahaa. Yeah these were all my lame excuses. We all know how much I love the show now. Like freakishly addicted to the show and the universe and everything. I binged watched all the episodes that were on Netflix and Amazon Prime in a few months like WHOA.

Yep, I should have listened to Friend #3 right from the beginning. Their next recommendation: to watch What If.

The moral of this long story is that my friends obviously know my tastes. And I should listen to them more.

Feel smug my friends. Know that you were right.

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Way to Take a Compliment

The other day at church, the person sitting next to me complimented me on my singing during the service. I was like “what?” and literally turned and looked at the person sitting behind them to make sure he hadn’t heard them by mistake. They then told me that they had enjoyed hearing me singing during worship. I replied “Oh. Um thank you.” This completely confused me.

Why? Because in my entire being of existence, I cannot recall a time when anyone has complimented me on my singing. Sure I sang in chorus from Kindergarten through 5th grade but it’s not like they’re going to turn anyone away. While no one has ever said my singing was BAD, I just assumed that the lack of anyone talking about just meant I did not have a good singing voice. Thus someone complimenting me was a real shock.

Compliments are funny that way. The definition of a compliment is “a polite expression of praise or admiration.”

I never know how to act when I get a compliment. Yes the most natural thing to do is just accept it and reply “thank you”. But then something like this might happen.

I mean how the hell are you supposed to respond to that in real life? Gah.

It’s kind of hard for me to take a lot of compliments. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve the compliment. Sometimes I wonder if the person complimenting me made a mistake or even if they are making fun of me. Sadly that’s happened in the past when I thought someone was being serious and accepted the compliment only to find out they were joking.

Growing up in an Asian family, we didn’t receive that many compliments. No matter how well you did, you could always do better.

It’s not that my parents didn’t love me, far from it. It’s just compliments don’t come easily in a lot of Asian culture. And if they do, you’re supposed to play them off and downgrade yourself because you could always be better.

There’s also stuff I learned in church and how you can’t be too prideful. I mean, when I was growing up, we were told in Sunday School that it was a bad thing to make the focus go back on you and should try to play off getting all the glory because it should go to God instead. You should be all humble instead because you didn’t really do it, God did.

Some people I know have no problem accepting compliments. There are some that thrive on them to the point where they are begging people to give them compliments so they know they are doing ok in life. I need to find some happy medium.

This passage from an article in Relevant made me feel a bit better about all this

An artist and performer herself, she too had encountered the compliment conundrum, so-to-speak, and somewhere along the way someone had shared this with her: “Each time you receive a compliment, you accept it as a rose in honor of the Father, a rose that you in turn take and lay at His feet.” In all its simplicity, I was immediately struck with the surprising profundity of that image. It made so much sense, echoing the sentiments of those elders of Revelation who lay their crowns before the throne: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:10, TNIV).
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/features/2516-to-lay-down-a-rose

So to bring this back around full circle, I know you’re slightly curious to hear what I actually sound like. Believe me, I still don’t think I sound that good at all and I’m not trying to get you to tell me that I do. But for sh*ts and giggles, here’s a clip of me singing karaoke almost exactly 3 years ago with some friends. I’d like to point out that it was a good night, I have excellent friends, and that song had so much meaning at the time. Hah.

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I Could Walk 500 Miles

I caved. I bought a FitBit. Yep. I’m now one of THOSE people who is wearing this thing on their wrist.

I haven’t exactly stopped running since last year but I’m not doing it as much. A combination of weather, starting a new job and not having enough time, and other factors didn’t have me running much in the winter. Now that it’s getting spring again, the weather is good though it’s getting warmer which I personally don’t like to run in. I do need to get back into more running, for health’s sake and plus I have another 5k in June I’ll be doing.

But in the meantime, I’m doing a lot of walking thanks to the FitBit. Honestly word of mouth really was the biggest influence in me getting one. One of my bosses had one and she was very enthusiastic about trying to get her steps in every day. Then several of my friends had gotten one and I swear it was all they could talk about. I didn’t want to feel left out so I finally caved and got myself one. Now I think we all talk about it so much we’ve convinced other people to join us and get one.

What exactly does it do? It tracks steps you take, calories burnt, floors climbed, miles walked, and how you sleep. Why didn’t I just get a regular cheap-o pedometer and save some money? I could have but honestly there’s not really any motivation to use it. It’s interesting to track how much I walk at work and then how much I have to still have to do to make sure I complete my 10k steps each day. Side effects = better sleep among other things.

What I like best about it is the gamefication. You get badges for daily records being broken as well as lifetime goals. We all know how much I like badges.

Currently I’m doing challenges with two of my friends. We’ve done daily, weekend, and work week competitions to see who can walk the most steps.

The competition gets pretty intense. This is us the other night while we were in the middle of a walk together. One of us couldn’t synched up their FitBit with their phone so their stats were a little off. Thus the other two of us were extremely happy that we were in the lead. It doesn’t matter that it was a short lived victory. We celebrated.

fitbit

Actually the competition is really great because it forces me to try to get my steps done. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t try to reach the 10k goal without it but I think that doing it alone would probably get old fast. At least this way it gives me the added push to keep going because I NEED TO BEAT MY FRIENDS.

So I know that not everyone needs or wants this. You could very well do all these things without it and be perfectly happy. But I know for me, this is helping me a lot and I’m pleased with it so far.

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Geeking About The Beatles: Beatles for Sale

If you’ve known me for any extended amount of time, then you know that my all time favorite band is The Beatles. One of my blogging goals for 2015 is to have a regular feature and because I’m completely random, I will be featuring a Beatles album monthly. This is exciting because it gives me a chance to relisten to these albums again. I’m not exactly reviewing it (as I am not a music reviewer) but instead enjoying it as a fan.

Honestly this is probably the weakest of all of the Beatles albums. While there are some stellar contributions on here, some of the songs seem like the band is putting in as little effort as possible. The cover songs chosen seem fluffy and to be honest quite forgetful. It sort of feels like the studio and their manager wanted them to continue to cash in on their popularity (hence the title) and a lot of the songs on here seems like they were chosen as filler material. To be honest, I personally did not realize this album existed until much later in my liking of the band. It’s kind of a forgettable album as there are no lead singles coming off of it.

One song of note is John’s “I’m a Loser” because it’s more autobiographical and not just a silly love song. It’s quite emo. I use that phrase a lot but really there’s no other way to describe this song. “Eight Days a Week” is such a great sing along song. I heard Paul sing it in concert two years ago and it’s just the perfect song to get everyone in a good mood.

  • No Reply (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – John w/Paul
  • I’m a Loser (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – John w/Paul
  • Baby’s in Black (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – Paul/John
  • Rock and Roll Music (Berry) – Lead Singer – John
  • I’ll Follow the Sun (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – Paul
  • Mr. Moonlight (Johnson) – Lead Singer – John
  • Kansas City/ Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! (Leiber and Stoller/Penniman) – Lead Singer – Paul
  • Eight Days a Week (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – John
  • Words of Love (Holly) – Lead Singer – John/Paul
  • Honey Don’t (Perkins) – Lead Singer – Ringo
  • Every Little Thing (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – John/Paul
  • I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – John/Paul
  • What You’re Doing (Lennon/McCartney) – Lead Singer – Paul
  • Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby – (Perkins) – Lead Singer – George

Standout Songs: Eight Days a Week, I’m a Loser

Personal Favorites: What You’re Doing, I’ll Follow the Sun

Least Memorable: I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party, Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby, Words of Love, Honey Don’t

While I totally love “I’ll Follow the Sun” because it says exactly how I feel when I realize I need to move on from someone, I also really enjoy “What You’re Doing”. The beat is very much on point and the song as a whole feels quite simple. But the lyrics are words I’ve thought or said to and about people so it’s almost as if they wrote that song based on my experiences alone.

I’d also like to mention the cover. The out of focused shot and the non smiling faces make them look less like teen pop idols and more towards the direction of the deep thinking rockers. Granted I can’t say the same thing for a lot of the songs on the album but what’s good on here is very good.

Next month: Help!

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Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid: Or the Story of My Year So Far

waterfall

It’s halfway through April and I’ve still yet to find what my personal theme for this year is going to be. I’m not too worried because I’m sure when I figure out, it’ll make complete sense. That being said, I’m still feeling that the year of “The Impossible Girl” is still lingering over me.

It’s funny because I’m still seeing God working in my life 100% in ways that I did think were impossible in the last few years. It’s kind of freaky to go back and read journal entries and see how much my life has changed in ways that I can only attribute to God working in my life.

One of the things I’ve been asking God to be more of this year is to be more clear to me. When things get murky and not so clear, I tend to get confused and then I wallow in it for a long time. I’ll get stuck trying to figure out details and I just don’t move on. It’s a very horrible feeling and it constantly makes me feel like I’m not trusting God enough because it’s my fault and that I’m doing something wrong.

But weirdly enough this year, I feel like God’s been making things pretty clear in my life almost to the point of bluntness but with a much kinder approach. It’s been kind of cool though. Doors are either closing for good or they’re not even opening at all. This is somewhat nice because it means I can instead focus on other things instead of just standing wondering if I should keep trying to work on that door.

I’ve never been a big fan of people telling me that when God closes a door he opens a window. Because this line from “29/31″ by Garfunkel and Oates sums it up perfectly: “You realize that’s a smaller opening, right? You used to be able to walk out the front door and now you have to climb out some slightly ajar window somewhere, possibly falling five stories to your death. That is NOT an upgrade.”

But at the same time, I feel like the doors that have been closing in my life were pretty big things in my past that I needed to let go. These were circumstances where I wasn’t trusting God and was taking them by my own hands and sometimes they ended up working positive and sometimes they didn’t. Either way, in the past month I’ve been seeing them shut one by one, some by my choice, others have definitely caught me off guard at the sudden closure. It’s definitely showing me that I’m not the one in control here. It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling and yet….

Does it mean God’s closing the doors just to close them? Is He shutting all of them down because I need to move away from what I once held important in the past?  Or does it mean it’s because He has something planned even better for me? He could be doing either. Again the moral of this story is, gah. I just have to trust Him. You think by now I’d be used to this plan/idea but like I said we all know I’m a late bloomer.

I’m also trying to become more assertive in what I want. Instead of just passively waiting, I’m more actively waiting. This means praying first and seeing if this is something I feel God wants for me and then instead of just waiting for things to magically happen, I go for it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t. I don’t have to sit around getting emotionally invested wondering what might have been.

Does this mean I’m not waiting on God to work in my life? Far from it. I’m still 100% waiting on God to work in my life. I know fully well that He is in control of everything.

I’ll just say right now there’s a small situation in my life that seems SUPER CRAZY INSANE impossible. Almost to the point of I FEEL REALLY STUPID EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT AND HOW I AM VERY SUBTLY MENTIONING IT ON HERE. I’m not going to explain it because really it’s THE MOST ABSURD THING EVER AND THIS MAY BE THE ONLY TIME I EVER TALK ABOUT IT. And yet….I know fully well that God can make the impossible happen. All I can do right is pray that He continues to show me what He wants and to put what He desires into my heart as well. And if it’s not meant to be that He makes it super clear so that I know.

Things may not turn out like I wanted or planned (though it still could) but I know that my God will always come through. Always.

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My family tree looks like a NCAA tournament bracket

I have a pretty big family. You wouldn’t really know it because I don’t really talk about it (and despite what you may believe I am not related to every single other Asian person out there).

My dad was one of 12 siblings. My mom was the oldest of three. Between the two of them, I think I have 43 first cousins (forgive me if I left someone out). Yep there’s so many of them that I can’t keep track of everyone. And with about 3/4 of those cousins having kids of their own, I don’t even know how many second cousins I have. 100? I’ve yet to go to a family reunion for just my dad’s side of the family with EVERYONE there but it’s safe to say that it’d be freaking huge.

The thing with having such a big family like that is you get lost in the shuffle. I honestly believe about at least 1/3 of my cousins don’t remember me or my name and I know for a fact, a lot of their kids have no idea that I exist. We didn’t grow up with any of them close by (some of my cousins still live on the other side of the world and I’ve only met them twice). Plus my sisters and I only grew up speaking English whereas a lot of my cousins speak their native languages with their own families at home. Let’s also not go into how no one has the same surname so future generations will have an incredibly hard time tracking down how we’re all related.

It’s very weird when I meet people who are only children and their parents were only children as well. I can’t imagine a life where you don’t have any siblings or even cousins for that matter. So much attention on just one person sees like it would be too much to handle.

It’s also weird when I hear of my friends going to every single one of their cousins’ weddings even if they live cross country. Then again, most of my friends only have on average 10 cousins so this is rather manageable. Plus again, all their cousins know their name and that they exist.

Still it’s pretty cool to realize that I’m related to a bunch of people. It’s a bit hard to track down ancestry due to coming from an Asian background where records aren’t kept as well as those in western culture. I can track back a few generations but then it just ends. I’m super jealous of my friends who know about their families’ backgrounds and how they fit in wars or who they’re all related to. I researched the background of my friends and found that not only was he distantly related to President Obama on his mother’s side, he also was apparently a descended of King James IV of Scotland on his dad’s side! As a historian, I’m freaking out about this and they’re like “oh ok.” And I’m like how can you be so nonchalant about that???

I think this is why I also became a historian. I can’t track down my family’s history in as much detail as I would like so I’ll just tackle the history of the country I was born in. Some people will probably say, it doesn’t matter where you came from, it’s what you do with your life now. Well my response to that is, first, thanks a lot for dismissing my entire career. Second, I do want to know where I came from because if it wasn’t for who came before me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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Fandoms I Just Can’t Get Into: Video Games


Most people either love video games or hate video games. This one is actually not the typical reason why I can’t get into this fandom.

Growing up EVERYONE who wanted one (and even those who didn’t) had either a Nintendo or Sega system in their house. Most people were playing it hard core all the time while others just had it because it was the popular thing to have at the time. People who even HATE video games had something. We did not own a single gaming console in our household. It was not because we didn’t want one. It wasn’t because we only girls. It was because my parents did not see video games as a good use of free time. Why play Nintendo when you can read books or study and do more homework? Video games also meant spending money. Why waste money when you can save money for college? Therefore other than the very brief times at friends’ houses, I did not grow up playing any sort of video game.

It’s interesting how I see a lot of significant others and their views on gaming if they DON’T play. They find it to be a waste of time or immature. They will either put up with it or want to ban it all together. Maybe sometimes they’ll play if they find a game they like but most of the time it is usually a very guy thing and they don’t want to have anything to do with it and don’t want to try to understand it. It’s basically seen as a time suck that takes away the person from doing other things. But if you do it right, you accept that it’s an outlet for the other person, to relax and do their own thing because it is what they are interested in as long as you’re not letting it take over your life. Then again, this should probably be something you guys need to talk about BEFORE getting into a long term serious relationship but I digress.

As someone who physically cannot play about 95% of video games, I get super jealous of people who get to. Like I’ve said before, I would play if I could but when you feel nauseous or literally throw up almost every time you start playing or even just watching, it’s really hard to become a participant. And unfortunately, it doesn’t do me much good to study up on how to play because well, if I’m not actually able to put it in to practice, it’s not fun at all.

You can talk about what you play with me and I will genuinely be interested. I think people who work in this industry are some of the most creative folks out there. I wish that I could be a girl gamer (though I am rather relieved I don’t have to put up with all the misogyny, abuse, and ignorance that exists from the extreme male gamers) because there needs to be more of them out there. Plus frankly the whole subculture AGAINST women playing is frankly appalling.

You just can’t really show it to me because it’ll just make me sick. This actually kind of sucks because when you think about it, what you like makes me want to vomit.

But take heart, because actually I’m super jealous of you.

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This is the Song That Never Ends

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day (because let’s face it, interactions with my friends influence a lot of these blog posts) about music. They were slightly embarrassed because a song that had huge meaning for them in high school was the perfect anthem to describe what was going on in their life right now. My response was something like “Please, I do that all the time. There is no shame in that.”

It’s actually kind of crazy how it doesn’t matter how many years have passed, there are some songs that seem to fit the occasion when it seems fit. It’s funny because I used these songs as away messages on AIM as a very emo college freshman. Now as a 30 something, these songs still perfectly describe my life, even in completely different situations.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying these songs describe how my life is RIGHT NOW. These are just some of the songs that seem to pass the test of time.

“Change” by Good Charlotte

I am lost in the see-through
I think you lost yourself too
Throughout all of this confusion
I hope I somehow get to you
I practiced all the things I’d say
To tell you how I feel
And when I finally get my chance
It all seems so surreal
Cause from the first time I saw you
I only thought about you
I didn’t know you
I wanted to hold onto
The things you’d never say to me
Cause you said
You can’t change the way you feel

“Found Out About You” by Gin Blossoms

All last summer in case you don’t recall
I was yours and you were mine forget it all
Is there a line that I could write
Sad enough to make you cry
All the lines you wrote to me were lies
The months roll past the love that you struck dead
Did you love me only in my head?
Things you said and did to me
Seemed to come so easily
The love I thought I’d won you give for free

“Vegas” by New Found Glory

It’s so amazing how people can be held down
By just one person that doesn’t even care what they think
I know it’s so stupid

“In the End” by Linkin Park

I kept everything inside and even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when…
I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter

When there have been thousands of books, songs, and movies written about how exactly you feel, then you cannot say no knows how you feel.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 9

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (Jonathan Cape, 2009)

My blurb: This book is fantastic for so many reasons. 1) I’m half Burmese so WOOT. 2) It’s a graphic novel. 3) The author is French so it’s not from an American POV. 4) It’s like a travelogue and a memoir in one. 5) It’s a very enjoyable read. Once you get started you don’t want to stop. 5) Also parents, especially dads will like it. I borrowed Delisle’s other books about living in China and North Korea because this one was just so darn good.

Bon Appetempt by Amelia Morris (Grand Central Publishing, 2015)

My blurb: The reason why I put this book on hold at the library was because I was drawn to the cover. I mean look at that work of art. Plus there was the promise of recipes. I didn’t know who the author was but I like recipes when I read so this seem like a good gamble. AND IT WAS. Morris’ story about growing up and then going off to Hollywood was engaging and highly readable and the recipes make me want to cook. I even bought some brie to do the pasta recipe. Nom nom nom.

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (Howard Books, 2015)

My blurb: I didn’t know anything about Elisabeth or Sissi, the Austrian empress before this book but after reading it, I’m now like MUST FIND OUT EVERYTHING. This is a wonderfully written historical fiction. It’s lush with detail and I really felt transported into the story. I’m really not sure why this book is published with a Christian publisher as there’s nothing that stands out as being really Christian (which is fine for me but I know problematic for others). Pataki’s last book (The Traitor’s Wife) was outstanding as well and I cannot wait for her next one.

Jay J. Armes, Investigator by Jay J. Armes, Frederick Nolan (Macmillan, 1976)

My Blurb: This book was initially going to be an inside joke read between me and a friend. It’s about a guy with hooks for hands! But then it turned out to be actually pretty good. It’s written in the 70s so it has that campy type of flair about it. And I feel like some things are possibly embellished. But it’s also a really fun story to read and Armes is still around doing his thing to this day. It really is like reading a book about James Bond but also how Armes refused to let his handicap overtake his life. Seriously, why was a movie never made about this guy? On a slightly sadder note, this was my first book of 2014 written by a POC author. I am NOT doing well diversely wise.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (NAL, 2015)

My blurb: This book takes place during WWII England. I think that’s enough to say. No? You need more? Well, as Meissner is one of my favorite authors EVER, then you should know this is a very good book. That I couldn’t put down. And it reminded me of Atonement by Ian McEwan. Really, it’s such a lovely book. You should read it.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014)

My blurb: This goes outside my normal reading but I’m really glad that I did. Because now I know what goes on inside a crematory and it’s really quite fascinating. I didn’t know much about what happens after a body is sent to the funeral home and this book explains the entire process. Death is a subject that a lot of people don’t really like talking about or even thinking about what physically happens afterwards. Doughty’s adventures are quite humorous and very eye opening. Lots to think about.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel (Gallery Books, 2014)

My blurb: So the funny thing about this book is that it’s really not one of my favorite books from this author. I felt the main character to be a bit whiny and I really wish she would have just TOLD her feelings instead of hiding them or assuming that people would just understand them. But what made this book stand out is that the overall plot is something I’ve always imagined “what if” to myself and it filled out the technical holes I always wondered in that situation. If you got transported into another version of yourself, how would you know everything in that life and still be aware of your real life?

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor (Basic Books, 2014)

My blurb: The cover isn’t amazing but if you’re a huge Star Wars fan, then this book is going to be one of the most fun reads you’ll have this year. It gives a history of the franchise but not in a chronological order. Taylor focuses on different aspects of the movie making process as well as reactions and opinions. You can tell he’s a fan but he’s doesn’t shy on criticizing when it needs it. Almost every little thing I personally like that deals with the franchise (both good and bad) gets a shout out. To be honest, it makes me really want to go back and watch all the movies and TV shows and read some of the books to prepare for The Force Awakens in December. I highly recommend this one.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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You Think You Know But You Have No Idea

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I was at lunch with some friends the other day and I noticed something. As much fun as I was having with them, I noticed how surface-y the conversation was.

It’s not that I want deep, introspective conversations at every mealtime or get together. It’s impossible to do that with such big groups of people. Sometimes you just want light and fun conversation where you can forget about things that are troubling you and you need an escape. And sometimes you just don’t want to talk about yourself and you don’t want to hear about everyone else’s heavy stuff. Sometimes it’s better to keep a distance so you don’t get too involved.

At the same time though, it made me realize that a lot of people don’t really know me. Sure, people see me every week, we talk, we hang out. But I also realize that they don’t know me. I don’t get asked questions beyond normal chit-chat. And a lot of time I do the exact same thing. I’m not sure if people either don’t know what to ask or if they read my blog and think they don’t need to. I’m not the type of person to volunteer information either. I figure if you wanted to know, you’d ask and if you don’t ask, then you don’t want to know.

For example, I have a good feeling a lot of folks have no idea that I’m divorced. It’s not like I walk around introducing myself like “Hi, I’m Deborah. I’m divorced.” I’m not trying to hide this fact about myself. It’s just not something I’m going to voluntarily bring up the first time I meet you or even on the first date unless the conversation leads in that direction. People just assume I’m single and never been married because I will admit, it’s how I act. Since kids weren’t involved and it was done very non-messy, there’s nothing really to indicate anything else. While statistically and legally I would have to classify myself in this way, I don’t live my life based on this label. There are different connotations to just being single and being divorced. Again not trying to hide anything at all. It is just something that I don’t bring up unless I have to. 9 times out 10, it is not something that has to be brought up.

And yet it is a part of me and I feel like if you don’t know that part, you don’t really know me. For folks that know me in person, if you’re reading this and made it this far, if you want to talk, just ask me. I’m more than happy to talk.

I’ve been thinking lately about how I would like to share my testimony with people. It’s been a while since I shared it and even then it was only with a select group of people. I know that sharing how I found and lived my faith is something that is very important. It’s not something where I’m like “turn and burn” after you hear this. It’s more of I know that what happened in my life affected my faith and my faith affected what happened in my life. But I’m worried about telling it. I feel like I’m going to get judged by a lot of Christians when I share it. Why? Because it’s a messy story. It’s not something that they are going to be able to relate to. They’ll hear my story and it doesn’t matter if they know me or not, they’ll make snap judgments about me.

Someone asked me “Why do you want everyone knowing your deep secrets?” The answer to that is I don’t. Not everyone needs to know everything about my life just like I don’t need to know everything about theirs. But the parts of my life that I do feel I need to share, I want to share. Just have to figure out a way to properly do so.

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. (Psalm 66:16)

Photo credit: (Original source: National Ocean Service Image Gallery)