Sense and Sensibility/Adventure

If you’re into elegant love stories, Sense and Sensibility (S&S) by Jane Austen is a must-read. It tells the tale of two sisters looking for love in the midst of losing their father, fortune and familiarity/comfort of their home. Kind of rings true to my own life actually, except that I don’t have a Colonel Brandon or Edward Ferrars pining after me (read on to know the devilishly handsome blokes I’m referring to!”.

 

Ferrars, Brandon  😉

The story is about love, loss and the importance of waiting on the right timing for magic to happen.

My current roommate is an Austen lover and knows the story (and several other of Austen’s works) practically by heart. When I moved to Virginia in February, it didn’t take long before S&S was in my left hand and a cup of black tea with cream was in my right (also compliments of my tea-drinking-Austen-loving roommate… ps. she’s single!). My roommate, let’s call her “C” kept me accountable for reading by oh-so-innocently inquiring as to where I was in the story and what had happened last. Following each *ahem* interrogation, my feelings went from annoyance, at first, to gratitude and joy in knowing how dearly C held this story in her heart.

Not only did her joy over the story bring me joy, but it gave me a deeper sense of understanding the characters, plot-line and overarching themes in the novel. After weeks of reading the book, we were ready for the film. Of which there were two versions btw. First we watched the Emma Thompson/Hugh Grant/Alan Rickman/ Kate Winslet version (AKA the good one), and then the old sappy one (of which I don’t recall who was in it because it simply wasn’t memorable), and then the good version again. The soundtrack makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFQ_N3mSusA

Now, six months later, C & I are ready to hit the theater. We are attending the play! in Washington D.C. this weekend. 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ 🙂 ❤ The seating availability online looked pretty sparse and we weren’t sure if we’d get seats. I joked that maybe when we want to order, someone will have just returned the two best seats in the house.

Twenty minutes later, I called the theater to inquire about seats and the woman working at the box office said “lucky you called when you did… I have two seats available only because someone just called in and returned them……… and they’re the best seats in the house! Orchestra, row G. Would you like them?”

 

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So that was insane.

Though i couldn’t say “YES” right away because C was on the phone with a friend that was interested in coming with us. I tried to explain the seating situation to C and get her to put her friend on hold, but the lady wouldn’t stawp tawking. I had to tell the box office worker I’d call back, after asking her a dozen or more stalling questions and asking her to please keep the seats warm for us.

5 minutes later, once it was evident that C’s friend couldn’t come whether she wanted to or not, we were calling in for the seats. When the lady answered the phone I vibrantly exclaimed “It’s meeeee!!!” to which she replied, “um, I just took over a shift and wasn’t the one you were talking to”

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“… but I got the scoop and figure you’re calling about the two seats in G??”

phew, lol

So there you have it. We’re off to D.C. to see the play. We have the best seats in the house. Which, by the way, we paid the “Under 30” price and saved $70 between the two of us!!! (I have never heard of such a discount before, but hey, I’ll take it!)

It’s truly the little miracles that brighten life so so much. From the story, a seed, to the movie, a plant, and now to the theater, a flower… I hope you get as much ever-growing joy out of this story as we did!! ❤

 

xov

 

Learning how to love

The word “love” is mentioned 38 times in this post.

Do you know how to love? Really think about it. How many healthy, positive, relationships do you have in your life? Are most, some or any of them thriving? Do you feel like you are receiving as much love as you are giving in your relationships? Maybe you are married or dating someone who you wish would do or say things differently. Maybe you feel like your friendship with somebody is one-sided and you’re tired of trying so hard.

It’s hard to love some people. Personally, it’s hard to love my family sometimes.

But since I value having quality relationships with them, I’m learning how to practice unconditional love. It’s been a few years of healing that are far from over.

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I know I’m not the only one that struggles to ask “how can I make your life easier?” or “what can I do to help you?” to people that can be ungrateful, unpleasant or unappreciative.

I’m not the only one who is quick to give advice when maybe all the other person wanted was a listening ear, or a heartfelt hug.

I’m not the only one to withdraw my love when I’ve felt like somebody else has withdrawn theirs. Or to withdraw my self instead of communicating my feelings with whoever is causing me or someone else pain.

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This isn’t just a book review, I swear.

Gary Chapman originally wrote “The Five Love Languages for Married Couples” to help sustain marriages. He got such an incredible response that he decided to write a book with the same concepts for singles. This book focuses on a whole lot more than just romantic relationships. The methods outlined in the book can be applied to any relationship in your life.

Chapman theorizes that there are five different ways that humans show love to others, and five ways that humans crave to feel loved.

  1. Verbally: complimenting and praising others

  2. Spending time: one-on-one time, focusing on them

  3. Acts of service: doing the laundry, raking the leaves, running errands

  4. Gifts: giving thoughtful gifts at any time for no apparent reason

  5. Physical Touch: hugs, kisses, a press on the arm, a squeeze on the shoulder

 

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Often times we find ourselves frustrated with our relationship with another person.

We might be mad at a family member for habitually tracking sand up the stairwell after coming in from outside.

We might be upset with our SO or spouse because they never say “thank you” enough after cooking them a nice meal.

We could resent our aunt for forgetting to send a birthday card two years in a row.

The love that I crave is different than the love my sister craves. I need to spend quality time with people to fill my love tank. She needs to give and receive hugs and touch to fill her love tank.

The love I give and crave is different than the love my stepmom gives and craves. I give her a basket of yarn to show my love for her, when what she craved was for somebody to wash the kitchen floors for once. She prepares food and vacuums to show her love for me when I craved to be invited to watch a show with her in the living room.

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If we don’t understand the kind of love a person is showing, we don’t feel loved. When we don’t give the kind of love a person is seeking, they don’t feel loved. It’s important to understand what kind of love people crave, and how we give it.

Gary Chapman gives lots of real-life examples of people overcoming tough times in their relationships with others after effectively learning to love them. Learning how to love enhances relationships.

One of my favorite quotes from the book The Five Love Languages for Singles, found on page 148 is:

“Our differences are numerous, but our basic needs are the same. If we are to serve people, which is life’s highest calling, then we must know them — male and female.”

This book has helped me tremendously and I’ve been raving about it to most everyone in my life. Cuz lets be honest, we ALLLLL got problems with other people in our lives. By reading this book, you can learn what kinds of love make you most fulfilled, which ways you tend to express love to others, and figure out which way other people in your life need to be loved and how you can practice loving them.

It’s worth it, I promise.

Love you all ❤

Come again!
V

Stepping Heavenward — Book Review

Two different people gave me a copy of the same book for Christmas this year. I figured it was doubly important for me to read it. I’m so glad I did. The book is called Stepping Heavenward: One Woman’s Journey to Godliness by Elizabeth Prentiss.

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It’s a journey through the diary of Katherine, a sixteen year old girl growing up in the 1800s. It’s completely written in entry form, with lots of embedded dialect. The entries are sometimes daily, sometimes with months or even years in between.

Katherine, often called Katy, struggles to find peace with first her mother, then her husband, Aunty, sister-in-law, and many others. But above all, Katy struggles to understand what it really means to have a relationship with God and surrender herself to Him.

I knew from early on in this book that I would take a lot away from it. In many scenes, Katy describes her “Mother” asking for help with something and Katy responds in a hasty, rash manner. Katy then writes “I don’t know why I just said that or behaved that way. I hate it when I behave as so!”

I can relate.

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This is my favorite excerpt from the book, on page 87:

“I beg you, my dear child, if you are doing this aimless, useless work, to stop short at once. Life is too precious to spend in a treadmill. Having been pardoned by your God and Savior, the next thing you have to do is to show your gratitude for this infinite favor by consecrating your self entirely to Him, body, soul, and spirit. This is the least you can do. He has bought you with a price, and you are no longer your own.”

‘But,’ you may reply, ‘this is contrary to my nature. I love my own way. I desire ease and pleasure; I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither on a bed of flowers. Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace with Him, and be sure of final salvation, and yet, to a certain extent, indulge and gratify myself? If I give myself entirely away to Him and lose all ownership in myself, He may deny me many things I greatly desire. He may make my life hard and wearisome, depriving me of all that now makes it agreeable.’

But, I reply, this is no matter of parley and discussion; it is not optional with God’s children whether they will pay Him a part of the price they owe Him and keep back the rest. He asks, and He has a right to ask, for all you have and all you are. And if you shrink from what is involved in such a …”

OH SNAP! Guess you gotta pick up your own copy of E. Prentiss’s book to finish reading this section!

If you like books that take place in this time period (1830-1860), check this out!

Into chick flicks? This book is a great one.

Struggling on your own journey towards godliness? Prentiss can help y’out.

Love you all, thanks for reading~

❤ V

 

 

Get Paid to Review Books

So.

I was Googling how to become a book reviewer, since I love to read books, and have enjoyed reviewing the small stack of books that I have thus far. I came across OnlineBookClub.org and was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

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It’s a site dedicated to helping authors get their stuff out there while providing a service to readers and writers all over the world to make some cash and read some good books. After establishing multiple posts and getting involved in the forum community, you are eligible for getting paid for writing short, eloquent reviews.

I just discovered this tonight, but am super excited about it and will keep you guys posted on any progress I have with writing reviews. I could do this for a living. I swear. I would do this for a living.

Best part? It’s FREE to sign up!

Want to read awesome books before they become big hits? 

Like to read and want to possibly make a few bucks?

Seeking a community of fellow avid readers and writers?

Shout out to Scott Hughes for creating this awesome site!

Check it out everyone!

Cheers ❤
V

What if it’s not about WHO you marry, but WHY?

Love, relationships, dating, marriage. Why do we do these things?

Because we love Love. We all seek to be loved; to be understood. To be desired, chased. We need love and closeness. We need avenues for us to be vulnerable. To be romantic.

Some people seek love for support. For help in everyday life. To have an extra set of physical or emotional hands to get us through the days. Tit for tat.

Some people seek lust. We all desire beauty. It’s human nature to look at pretty things. For most people, love is defined by lust. Especially for men. Oxytocin is a hormone released in our bodies after experiencing moments of bonding; kissing, hugging, cuddling, etc. that produces the feeling of being “in love”. This is one reason why lust and love can be so confusing.

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Isn’t this adorable? Love and words and books. What else is there?! ❤

For Christmas this year, my aunt and uncle gave me a copy of Gary Thomas’s The Sacred Search. I read it in all of three days. Three busy days, mind you.

It’s about love and commitment, desire and satisfaction. It explains most all of the different reasons why people marry; and discusses what happens as a result.

Is it because you’re “in love”? What does that really mean?

Is it because you’ve “invested  a lot of time” and feel it’s too late?

Is it because you “don’t want to hurt” your significant other (SO)?

Is it because you’ve “already told everyone” and feel you can’t back up?

Are you “comfortable” and unwilling to change?

Do you believe marriage is hopeless and that all marriages fail, so why bother?

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Gary Thomas explains infatuation in typical relationships and what usually ends up happening. He explains the reality of the physical bond created between people as a result of physical intimacy and how blinding it is. Thomas explains the importance of making sure you’re marrying the right person and why it’s OK to postpone the wedding if you feel you’re in too deep.

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Gary lays down easy-to-read “how-to” steps in seeking marriage and a loving relationship. He advises the reader on what to look for in an individual, but also what to look for in one’s self.

In chapter 11, Thomas lists some key traits that every SO should have in order to be a sustainable partner for 50-60 years.

“This person:

is humble

is forgiving

resolves conflict in a healthy way

knows how to communicate

prays

is skilled in the art of friendship” (Thomas p. 143).

Thomas highlights the importance of not hastily jumping into marriage, but taking slow measures to cultivate a relationship that will flourish well beyond any human years on this planet. By setting ourselves up for an eternal relationship, with God at the center, we will find success.

sacredsearch

If you are in a relationship and are thinking about getting married this book is for you.

If you are single and thinking about getting married this book is for you.

If you are in an unsatisfactory marriage and seeking tips on how to strengthen your relationship this book is for you.

If you are in a satisfactory marriage and seeking tips on how to strengthen your relationship this book is for you.

Not all marriages fail. In life, we reap what we sow, and haste makes waste. Check out Gary Thomas’s The Sacred Search to learn how to cultivate a lasting relationship, with time and careful consideration.

Hope you enjoyed this post! “Like” to see more posts like this one!

Love you all! 🙂

❤ V

It’s Not What You Think book review

Jefferson Bethke’s second book It’s Not What You Think has been on my wish list for months. I finally splurged and bought it for myself in the beginning of December, as an early Christmas present. I also bought my best friend, Alex, a copy (which she has yet to receive)– it’s comin’ girl!!

It was definitely worth waiting for. Jeff’s style is very simple. He’s on the money when he speaks and writes. To the point. And he’s totally himself. He’s true and authentic, doesn’t beat around the bush, and is very relatable; as a fellow 20something in this day in age.

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He has a refreshing way of looking at traditional beliefs that make them interesting again. Chapter 5 is all about the Sabbath and how important it is to celebrate it. He also discusses what the Sabbath is actually intended for, and how the design of the week makes sense. Sabbath is for resting, but it’s also for playing, celebrating, worshipping, praising, being with family and friends and enjoying good food, drink and conversation.

Chapter 6 is about worship, and which god people are worshipping. Everyone has a god, whether it’s love, money, sex, exercise, science, power. Bethke makes you question who’s on the pedestal, and whether or not that god is fulfilling you or keeping your life empty and average.

In Chapter 8, he talks about scars, and how every scar tells a story of healing. How we must embrace our scars and be glad that they’re no longer open wounds. They’re healed, we learned something from them, and they make us who we are:  a real human with a real history, who suffered real pain.

Are you someone who’s unsure which god you’re worshipping? Check dis out

Are you wondering why so many people believe in Jesus Christ or would want an identity in Him? Dis is for you

Are you unfulfilled and trying to find a satisfying lifestyle? Read it!

Check out Jeff’s first book:

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and his 4-minute YouTube video that goes along with the book:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

Thanks for watching! Love you all~

❤ V

Have you met the Bondage Breaker?

I just finished reading another awesome book by Neil Anderson, author, pastor, professor of theology among many other things.

“The Bondage Breaker” offers a Christian explanation as to why we think and behave the way we do. It discusses how spiritual warfare interferes with our everyday lives, and what we can do to address these issues and free ourselves from the spiritual bondage we are in.

>>>Check out my other book review on Neil’s Book “Victory Over the Darkness”! <<<

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Anderson’s writing is clear and communicable, as well as easy to relate to. He gives real life examples of people under most every type of possible bondage that we struggle with; addiction to drugs/alcohol, pornography, eating disorders, abortion, suicide, homosexuality and others. Anderson helps the reader understand how and when the bondage may have been formed, and gives direction on how to break free and find truth in Jesus Christ.

The main stress of this book is that as believers, we are children of God and God’s love and forgiveness can never be taken away from us. If we learn how to become strong in our identity in Christ by depending on Him and choosing Him, we can let go of our bondage and be set free by the gospel.

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Do you or someone you know have behaviors and/or thought patterns that you can’t seem to get out of/break away from? This book is for you.

Do you often feel worthless, unworthy or that there’s no real point to living? This book is for you.

Do you find yourself doing the exact thing that you promised yourself you would not do and then feeling remorse? This book is for you.

Read Neil Anderson’s “The Bondage Breaker” today!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this post. Make sure to return again for more posts on God, existentialism, love, food, adventure and more!

❤ V

“The Best of Me” — Nicholas Sparks movie review

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Oh my goodness. I literally just wiped tears from my eyes before I started to write this. I am alone at home, no pants on, fluffy blanket over me. I stuffed my face with dal & pasta and turned on this heart-wrenching love story not knowing what to expect. If I had known that it was based on a story by Nicholas Sparks I would have retrieved the tissues in advance.

“The Best of Me” was a tale of two people deeply in love with each other but torn away from each other in the midst of their love due to a tragedy. Years later, they reunite and old feelings inevitably begin to bubble over the top.

Luke Bracey stars as the young Dawson Cole who wins the heart of Amanda Collier (played by Liana Liberato).

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Liana & Luke

The story is told in a retrospective fashion, beginning with older Amanda & Dawson meeting, and the stirring of old memories. The viewer is taken back to when they first met each other with all of the memories and trials they shared together coming to life.

~*~

Something that totally bothered me about this film is the fact that James Marsden was supposed to be the older Dawson Cole. The resemblance is simply not there. It was frustrating.

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Marsden & Bracey

As one can clearly see, they look nothing alike. Luke (young Dawson) is obviously way more dreamy. I mean come on:

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Luke Bracey

Anywho, I’ll give the film an 8.5/10 on a scale of 1 to well done. The predictability factor was high but that’s because it was by Nicholas Sparks.

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Check out “The Best of Me” for a soggy girls’ night in or if you feel as though your heart needs wrenching

Victory Over the Darkness: Book Review

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Neil T. Anderson is an incredible author that captivates his audience page by page. His book Victory Over the Darkness is one of those books that has you stopping every few pages to pause on a thought and apply it to one’s own life.

This book is all about learning how to forgive yourself and others to be free from a past that might be holding you back. It’s about taking control of your own thoughts and mind and not succumbing to feeling like you don’t have control of your emotions. Anderson details each person’s true place in this world and (A) what kind of an impact it can have on us or (B) what kind of an impact we can make in it.

Feeling lost and not really sure what the point of this whole “life” thing is? Read this book.

Feeling torn down by all of your personal and family trials and am not sure there’s hope to move forward? Read this book.

Curious of God and the Bible but are scared of the associations between Christianity and the world today? Cast your fears aside to read this book.

Victory Over the Darkness details how each person is already accepted into the kingdom of God and tells how individuals can stand out, grow strong in their faith (or first get acquainted to it!), and overcome the worldly shadows that rule their life.

Read this book!

Thanks for stopping by ❤