Thursday, August 8, 2013

With the Summer

"I had a familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I think it has.
I flipped through my pictures of this summer in iPhoto earlier tonight, and I suddenly realized that it has been wonderful.

On the first day of summer classes, I was bummed out (You can just ask Stuart Spooner. I was super nice to him that day.), but as always, the Lord has done something wonderful.
My summer went just as planned: I finished 12 hours. I danced at a lot of weddings.
But the experience was so much better than I thought it could be.

It's been good to just be.

... I kicked summer off at RUF Summer Conference, an incredible week of teaching and fellowship.

... Then, as I said, I finished 12 hours of classes.
First mini-mester, I finished two classes and started another. Second mini-mester, I finished the class I started during first mini-mest, and took another class along side it. I now only have one semester of classes left before my internship (full-time student-teaching this spring).

... Stuart lived with my family this summer. People ask me how that's been, and the answer to that question is funny and difficult and good. I've seen my family a lot more with him there, I think, so that's been great... but I'm pretty ready for him to come back to Auburn "permanently" before he leaves for D.C. in early September (a post for another day).

... Ruthie moved in with me mid-May. We have fun. She wears a cat-mask around the house. We did a Whole30 together. She has now reminded me that frozen pizza is really good. I'm, therefore, thinking I need to get back in that Whole30 ship soon before I drown in Sonic milkshakes. I've been kind of a hermit with her in Creekside, and my introverted self has loved and needed it.

... The summer's not quite over yet, but thus far, the best weekend of it all was hands-down the Moore Wedding Weekend. Tyler and Emily (Mr. and Mrs. Moore) brought God so much glory. I doubt the next few weeks will top that. It was one of the best times with friends I've ever had.

... Most recently, the Jager clan has returned home from a beach vacation. It was a good time as filled with laughter and tanning oil and the outlet mall as always. Having sisters is fun.

Now, all that's left is 10 days of my last time through rush, and then, classes start on August 21.
Only 14 days left of summer. Let's make 'em as great as the last 91.

{Summer Slideshow}
RUF Summer Conference with
Julie (wayfarers), Kit (stripes), Sarah (aviators), & Molly (black shirt)
Sarah and Ben Waller's wedding in Anniston, AL
with Kylie, Anna Marie, Marie, Emily M, Emily L, and Kit
Dancin' in the moonlight at the Waller Wedding
Caroline graduated from Briarwood and is headed to
Auburn at last!
Yummy Whole30 food made by Stuart & Rosie
Stuart and I made a Summer To-Do list,
and then he unexpectedly moved to Birmingham.
We've knocked off about 8/30 items so far,
one of them being a Sno-Biz date.
We had family pictures made on Samford Lawn and surprised
Dad with them for Father's Day.
At Stevi and Kyle Shaw's wedding!
The Rehearsal Dinner of Mr. and Mrs. James Tyler Moore
The most beautiful bride!
The most handsome groomsmen.
4th of July Instagram selfie
We celebrated with friends in Atlanta, GA.
Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A
We brought Ruthie, the purple cow, and we may have enjoyed
a free meal at one Chick-fil-A and free milkshakes at another.
Ruthie and I sang the National Anthem at a Birmingham Baron's game.
Another Summer To-Do list item:
Toomer's Date.
(and yes, a majority of our items do include eating)
Beach Reading Selfie. See this post.

Dad and his girls

... 14 more days for life to continue beginning again.

Rosie Reads: A Moveable Feast

Hemingway and a cat, special thanks to Google Images
I've just finished reading Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, which is a hybrid between non-fiction and fiction, detailing Hemingway's life as an expatriate in Paris during American Modernism (a.k.a. MY FAVORITE LITERARY ERA).

I love Ernest Hemingway.

I know AMF isn't supposed to be his best, but I still really enjoyed it. It only made me want to read more Hemingway because if this isn't his best then, his best must just be WOW. I read A Farewell to Arms my senior year of high school. It was wonderful, but I need to reread it. I don't remember it very well. I remember wanting to be Catherine, and it being poetic and romantic and just right in every way.
Hemingway has such a knack for that, you know: writing things just the right way. I think it's because of something he says to himself in AMF:
"Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."
Speechless, aren't you? Me, too.

Hemingway is always writing such true sentences in the truest way, and that is why I love him.

Now, before I send you off to enjoy a few other true sentences from AMF, I must confess that I began reading this book with a pencil in hand, and finished reading this book on the beach, which brings me to these points:
1. I love to read with a pencil so that I can mark the quotes that my heart reads.
2. My reading skills go way down when I'm reading in bright sunlight (and especially without a pencil).
3. Hemingway is a wonderful beach read. Most "beach reads" are really pretty worthless. Hemingway is a beach read who is not. Take him to the beach with you. He doesn't complain much and is always ready for another drink. The perfect vacation companion!
4. Most of what I'll quote is from the beginning of the book... when I had a pencil.

But that's enough of my voice, I'd much rather you read Hemingway. The first chapter was my favorite, but I didn't like it as much as I liked the last paragraph. (And my favorite-favorites are bolded)....
"I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere..."
"I've seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil."
"We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright."
"I had already learned that everything I did not understand probably had something to it." 
"When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest."
"The one who is doing his work and getting satisfaction from it is not the one the poverty bothers."
 "We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other."
"There is never any ending to Paris..."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rosie Reads

I read.

I'm hesitant to say I read a lot, because I know way too many people who read way more than I do. I read loads of internet articles, most of which I find in my Twitter feed. (My favorites are usually from The Gospel Coalition, which I highly recommend you stop reading this blogpost to check out.) I read a variety of short stories and poems and novels (and their SparkNotes) and studies and textbooks (and did I mention SparkNotes?) for my major. Like any other English Ed. major, I love bookstores and their smell and whatnot that we all pretend we're "embarrassed" to be such a "nerd" to love. (Let me clear this up for you, there is no shame amongst English Ed. majors. Each and everyone of us is proud as punch to love the smell of books, and most all of us want everyone to know that we love the smell of books. This is not actually an embarrassing fact for any of us.) However, unlike most of the book nerds I know, bookstores also make me very sad. Approaching the Classics shelf at Barnes and Noble may as well be like approaching shelves full of my shortcomings. Because I read... but I can't say that I read a lot.

I grew up in a house where books are only used to decorate. So, you see, I have a lot of catching up to do, and a couple decades of bad habits to break. Yes, I read, but reading books isn't exactly a second-nature thing for me. (We can address the issue of reading being second-nature to all humans later. Just stick with me for now.) I wish it was. I'm working to make it so. It's just a process... and because of all this, everytime I finish a book, I feel hugely accomplished, which is actually something I wish the avid, second-nature, came-out-of-the-womb-reading-while-their-mother-practically-read-during-labor type of readers could experience. Despite the obvious downsides to not growing up in a house full of readers, I think I do have one thing they don't. Those readers will really never know the satisfaction I feel when I finish a book. It's a beautiful thing to know that you've done something to stop terrible cycle from continuing--even when it's as small as finishing a book.

I've decided to celebrate these little accomplishments here. 
It won't be any big party, just a small get-together of my favorite quotes from what I've just read. 
I'll call them "Rosie Reads." Oh, and I'll only write a Rosie Reads if the book was good... because ain't nobody got time to celebrate bad literature. 

But we should all make time to celebrate good books. We should all make time to read them.