Thursday, January 31, 2019

After the Dancing Days—My Book Review

In this historical fiction, Annie Mulligan, a naive, sheltered, and innocent young girl encounters the aftermath of World War I in a way that most girls her age wouldn't. By the end of the book, the story has transformed her into a knowledgeable, strong, and justice-driven young lady, even if her emotions still get the best of her at times.
Margaret I. Rostokowski, the author of this engaging book, really captures the raw, harsh emotions and realities of this time period unlike most historical fiction authors for the younger generation do. She doesn't just go with the "glorious", "heroic", and "happily ever after" story lines that so many of us seem to fall into, and give credit to, when writing or thinking of history. Instead, she has come up with a pretty unique story that captures the reader and won't let go, even after the story is finished.

After the Dancing Days is an incredible book that gives a detailed example of the human reactions to World War I, and it's aftermath, through the eyes of a teenage girl. It gives insight into the things we don't always think about as a result of a war—casualties, the wounded, and people's willingness to selfishly shut it all out and try to forget the war completely. After the Dancing Days is a book that doesn't necessarily sugar coat the information, and gives little mercy to the bluntness of it's message, while obtaining fairly clean content. In my opinion, this book is like gold to the average reader who wants to know more about what everyday people in the 20th century thought about the war through a fictional story.

The main characters in this book are engaging and interesting, giving enough information to know them, but not enough to know their every move, which I find intriguing.
The plot takes twists and turns as more information and time is added, and keeps you wanting to read on. The speed of the story is nice—not to fast, and not to slow. This is a book you could read and enjoy quickly or at a slower pace, if you wish.

Out of all the historical fiction books I've read so far, this is one of my favorites, and I definitely recommend it to history lovers. Even though it is a book written for the younger generation, I think that people of many ages can find value in its pages; and, if allowed, this book may change your perspective and open your eyes concerning things you may or may not have thought of.

As a final thought, After the Dancing Days is a book that is capable of drawing you in, keeping your attention, and leaving you with the sense that it was you who took that journey. And really, isn't that what a good book is supposed to do?

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you want to read the synopsis, click the Amazon link above, under the picture.

Not my pic.
Short Content Description:

After the Dancing Days is a good book in a lot of ways, however, it's not perfect. I may not get everything, but these are some things, especially if you are a parent, you may want to know about.

—The main character is rebellious against her parent(s), and can be disrespectful, etc.
—A character talks about how he wanted to commit suicide.
—War related things are talked about, including gassing.
—Some characters' views are not right, and so you have to take it with a grain of salt.
—It's sad! This is a story about real life, though fictional, so there are definitely things in there that are rough.

Those are some things, but if you would like to know more, just contact me through the comments, and we can talk!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

~January 2019~

Here's some stuff from my January (some pics are not taken by me, but people I know):

—I got a french press! It works way better than a stick frother!
—St. Louis & KC
—3 year journal
—Made a pair of boot cuffs
—Finally got inspo for writing again, and wrote stuff for a story in my WWII series, and then started another idea for another WWII book.
—Working on songs
—Trader Joe's
—Teal nail polish.
—Cut back on stuff I'm doing and chose not to do other stuff I was thinking about adding on
—"Hello Mornings"

This is hilarious.

—Took engagement pictures

—Blogging break and posted
—Capture the flag
—Thrift store shopping, and getting rid of stuff
—Watched the whole 5th season of When Calls the Heart with a friend!

—Piano lessons
—Started watching the TV show DOC. The first 2 or something were a little weird (SPOILER ALERT) with the main character's girlfriend, but to me, it got a lot better when they broke up, and he was single. I recommend it, though, if you are interested. I watched on PureFlix.
—It snowed! Not as much as before, but it still did!

—Found a picture of me, and one of my bro in a life long friend's picture album! :P

—Had our Bible study get together (it changed, but, life changes, and sometimes that's okay) :D

What did you do this month?

More pictures:

Have a good day!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

We may not know...but isn't that really okay?

If we have God:

We may not know where we are going, but we know with whom we are going;

We may not understand why God wants us to do something, but we understand He has a purpose;

We may not know what 2019 or even what 2064 holds, but we know by whom we are held;

We may not know what tomorrow brings, but we can joyfully live in today;

We may not want the change that yesterday, today, or tomorrow brings...but we live by and with the one who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow;

We may not know what is around the corner...but, we have God, who goes before isn't that really, in the long run, okay?

I don't think that I would ultimately really want to know my tomorrow, even if I do at times. I hope that I would rather take one struggle at a time to the cross, than worry about them all. I hope that I would rather laugh in the moment, and enjoy in the moment, than know what silly joke will come out of me or someone next, etc. Wouldn't you?

And if I did know what was coming, would I run?
Probably, and I know that that ultimately is not what I want to do.
Whatever God has for me, so be it.
But I know that if I do run, I can come right back into His arms, even though it was never good to run in the first place. He gives grace on top of grace, and I'm glad He does.
I am super imperfect, but my amazing God isn't looking for, and doesn't want my efforts at legalistic perfection...He wants me as I am, He wants my love, He wants my all, and He wants me to accept grace and try to do better.

So what are we waiting for? The perfect moment?
I think we are forgetting that this is the perfect moment.
Why? Because we only have this moment.

What are your thoughts on this?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Life Post #4 // Compost Pile

Hey everyone!
I recently started a compost pile. This is something we used to kinda have, but I don't remember if we used it a ton. Anyway, I would really like to follow through with this, because it is good for a lot, and I enjoy doing things like this.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
—Theodore Roosevelt

dried leaves on ground

I am hoping that starting it this year will give me some nice soil next year or so for gardening smaller stuff that you might normally use potting soil for; and possibly other things as well.  So far I haven't done a ton, just piled some old potting soil I had to start an actual pile, added some leaves, both new and old, and some food scraps. So that already is much of what I'll be putting in over time.

close-up photography of flock of chicken

We are hopefully going to be getting chickens again in the spring (if everything works well), and once they're grown, I plan on cleaning out their coop about once a week, and guess where it'll go! :P Also, we will be starting them from chicks, and when I clean out their "quarters" (we won't put them in the normal coop/shed until they're bigger) it'll probably go there, too.

I am definitely looking forward to having chickens again! I miss having animals!
From your experience, what chickens do you like the best?

two yellow chicks on ground

Our local coffee shop has bags of used coffee grounds that people can take for free (they even write that it's good for compost on it) , and I plan on adding those eventually, too. I've actually read that this can be a replacement for manure, and though that may be true, I probably will use more manure in the future than coffee.

I googled, and found this on composting coffee grounds:
"– Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organicmatter into compost. ... Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic."
My sources: 1 & 2.

water poured on brown coffee

At first, we weren't going to compost until spring, but after talking to someone and thinking, I googled it, and found this:
"Compost all winter. Even though your compost might freeze solid and decomposition come to a complete stop, there is no need to stop composting. In fact, the freeze-thaw cycles will help to break down the materials that you are adding, so they willdecompose even faster when the spring arrives."
Click here for my source.

Even though I don't know if it's cold enough for my pile to literally go through cycles of freezing, I'm going to give it a try (composting now, in late winter), and we'll see what happens. I also am in a part of MO that hasn't received much snow lately.
A friend, who is also composting, told me that the middle of a compost pile can get up to 100 something or more degrees. I don't know if I got that number right, but it was a high number, and I was surprised. I also learned from my dad that compost piles, if they get hot enough (I think ones especially with manure) can actually light on fire, so...yeah. But I wonder if you could actually take precautions to prevent that like stirring it or making a hole in the middle or something. Do you know? I am DEFINITELY not an expert, and I don't claim to be; these are just my questions and ideas. :P

I also learned not to put citrus & onions in my compost, especially if it's vermicomposting (using worms), but I was wondering...can I put the onion paper (the brown skin) in there? I don't see what harm it would do, but who knows.
I will admit, I have put some onion pieces and the paper in there, and though I may not have been supposed to, I think I read that it won't kill you if you do it every once in a while (pretty much☺). What do you think about this?
2 reasons that I found for not using onions and citrus has to do with the acidity, and it is not good for worms.

Do you have a compost or have you had one in the past? Can you give me some tips? Anything I should add to it that would be really good? I would love some advice!
Also, what kinds of chickens do you find the most useful? I am planning on doing a little research so I can get some good egg layers.

bokeh photography of person carrying soil

And, as a last note of sorts, please know that I don't claim to be super smart or anything, and I am more of a beginner at this kind of stuff, so if you want to do something like this I suggest you do your own research, though I hope some of this is useful to you. :P If you do, or know more about this kind of stuff, I would love to hear from you!

"This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it."
-Psalm 118:24

Have a blessed day!

P.S. These are just free pictures above, not mine.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

I'm Taking A Break

Not my pic.
I think I am going to take the rest of January off of blogging, except for the January summary post, which I may publish at the end of the month or early February. I may end up coming back sooner than that, but this is the current plan. Also, I may post some during my break, even though it's supposed to be a break, so just know that. :P
So for now, Happy New Year, and have a blessed January!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

—December 2018—

—Watched videos of nurses talking about nursing. :P (Discovered Nurse Blake)
—A play & play practice
—The 12 Days of Christmas blog tour!!!!
—Performed at assisted living establishments
—Christmas dance & dance practice
—Winter recital (I did Silver Bells as a duet on the piano with my teacher)
—Worked! :P
—Performed at a business thing :P
—Took candid wedding pictures!
—Went to a Christmas party with a friend
—New Year's party with a friend and sleepover
—Lunch with dad (his Christmas gift from me)
—Started the new year with some awesome people, and played games, etc.
—The 12 Days of Christmas blog tour
—Cocoa with "fixin's" at church
—Worship night at church
—Met another lady who dances, and got to use some of her flags & streamers! She is already a great friend.
—Apple Cider
—Christmas songs!
—Saw a friend I hadn't seen in a while! She went with me to Nashville.
—Visited a church with my friend who was visiting that church :P and got to meet and talk to a deaf person, and an interpreter and kinda with some others, too, which is huge for me! (I am into sign language.)
—Met some new people.
—Hung out with some friends. :)
—Made music with a couple from our church. :)
—Had the same couple over on Christmas night. :)
—Made some videos with a friend! :P
—Sign language getting in my mind again
—Piano lessons :D
—Performed with my uncle
—Got a flute!!!!!!!!!
—Made my first sounds and worked on my embouchure a little (flute)
—Christmas shopping
—Made reusable Christmas bags
—Watched some movies
—Learned more about living in this moment, and not dwelling on the past or future ones
—Painted 2 paintings
—Got some Vanilla Chai tea thanks to a friend
—Thought about how I should just live in this moment, instead of the past or future ones. Don't worry about tomorrow, or yesterday. Just be who God wants you to be and who you want to be in THIS moment.

Cherry Danish...yummy.

MY MOM MADE THIS HAT!!!!! She is so good! I was really impressed. Good job, mom! Love ya!
And she knows me well, because I like the Nordic looking hats like this. :)