// tags are rather fun //

Since I happen to be wearing purple today, I have hereby been tagged by Eva to basically answer a bunch of random/interesting questions. And since I happen to love stuff like this, I’m in!

1.) How many siblings do you have? One, my little brother Matt. You might think it’d be rather quiet with just the two of us, but nope! He’s the crazy, outgoing, fearless, entertainer, hilarious one. I’m the quieter, farsighted, bookish, witty one. I think we balance each other out pretty nicely, and I’m SO grateful for all the fun and silliness he brings to our family!

2.) How many kids would you like to have? Three or four. Definitely more than two (Matt and I balance our family out, but sometimes it’d be nice to have another sibling too), but not a crazy huge number. And I want to adopt at least one of my kids. ❤

3.) Favourite colour for a horse? Um… white. Or golden. They’re both very majestic colors.

4.) Last food you ate? Dad made peccadillo and rice and tamales for dinner, and let me just say that that was delicious. Cuban food and Mexican food suit each other well.

5.) Last book you read? Les Misérables. You can see my review of it hither. I’m currently working on Mere Christianity, though, if we’re getting literal about this…

6.) Favourite colour? Pink. The hue of preference has changed over the years, but right now I’m really loving rosy shades and soft, light pinks. Yellow’s always been close behind it– either bright sunshine or a soft buttercream-y color. And yellow and pink together? Pure loveliness.

 pink and yellow

7.) Favourite movie? Um… what. Where do I begin? Animated, I’d have to say Tangled and Big Hero Six. Non-animated, Princess Bride, P&P 1995, and the Captain America movies. Ooh, and the Avengers. (Because who doesn’t love them?)

8.) What do you most want to do this summer? Hmm… there’s many things on my to-do list this summer, but I think what I’d like more than anything is to a.) grow closer to the Lord b.) edit and look into publishing my novel– and develop my idea for a new original story and c.) be adventurous. Because adventures are what summer’s all about, aren’t they?


9.) Do you like to dance? Well, I cannot dance to save my life, so no. But I do love watching other people dance (when they’re actually good at it, anyway).

10.) What is your favourite flower? Roses. Specifically the white, soft pink, and crimson ones. I love how each color has a different meaning, and how the flower as a whole symbolizes love. Plus, they smell heavenly.

11.) Do you like eating or gathering wild edibles? I live in suburbia, so I’ve never actually gathered anything… Or eaten wild things. I love strawberries and raspberries, so I want to go berry picking someday… I think I’d like it.

12.) Which do you like better: Walking in the woods or watching hot coals/fire? Ooh, that’s a tough one. Well, I love walking in the woods because there’s just something about being surrounded by nature that makes you feel inexplicably closer to God, and that’s the best feeling ever. So I’ll say wandering around in His beautiful world. ^-^

summer beginning - 2015 022 - His creation

(mine, taken on a hike)

13.) Where do you live? Tennessee. (But let it be known that I find “Rocky Top” rather annoying. *grins*)

14.) Which do you like better: tea, coffee, or hot chocolate? TEA. Ahem. I don’t like the bitter aftertaste of coffee, and while I like hot chocolate I only want to drink it on Christmas or snow days. But tea though… I may be an addict. (And not just hot tea– I’m southern, so iced tea is clearly a staple in my house. Sweet or unsweet. Black or green. Hot or cold. It doesn’t matter– if it’s tea, I’ll drink it.)

15.) Are you scared of spiders or do you think they are fun pets? “Fun” and “spiders” should NEVER be used in the same sentence. (Me? Scared? Whaaaaat…)

16.) Do you own a harp and if so may I play it? I don’t, sorry. The closest thing I’ve got is my electric keyboard, which has various harp settings on it– would that work? *shrugs* I don’t know if anyone even owns a harp anymore…

17.) Which do you like better: candlelight or electric light? Candlelight is far prettier, but practically I’d have to say electric light. Can’t have my vision getting any worse than it already is! 😉


18.) Would you prefer to own a dog or a cat better (if any)? Um, neither. I’m allergic to cats, so there’s that, and since I’ve never had a pet (other than some very short-lived goldfish) I’m not much of an animal person in general.

19.) Do you have chickens? *blinks* Random. Um… nope! (Unless you mean chicken nuggets, in which case the answer is always yes.)

20.) Do you know any languages besides English and are there any other languages you would like to learn? I took a full year of Spanish, so I’m passable at that, but I would love to improve on that whenever I get the time to do so. I know a teeny bit of French and German and Japanese from various books/fandoms, and I’d love to learn those languages one day. Ooh, and Italian too because I am definitely travelling to Italy someday.

21.) Do you plan to start your own business? If so, then what sort of business would it be? I’ve thought about it, but I’m not making any plans to do it so far… It’d likely be something to do with writing or maybe drawing/design, like creating things to sell on Etsy. Or perhaps starting some bookish endeavor. When I was little I used to pretend I owned a store (a.k.a. my room) and it was basically Lifeway and Claire’s combined. (Christian bookstore meets jewelry/accessory store.) And I would spend the whole day dealing with imaginary customers, calling people on my toy phone to work out various business-y shenanigans, and organizing and re-organizing my store (which involved drawing signs and everything). It was a lot of fun! Maybe I’ll end up owning my own little shop one day; who knows what God’s got in store for me?

I hereby tag anyone wearing pink or yellow (or any color really because tags are fun and you should try them)… have fun with this, y’all!

// book review: Les Misérables //

Recently, I (finally) finished reading Les Misérables. If you know anything about the book (accurately dubbed “the Brick” by Mizzies), you know that this is kind of a big deal.

And because it’s a big deal, and because I adore this story and these characters, I felt it was only right to give a review of the legendary Brick.

i. The things I loved:

-Jean Valjean is even more of a saint and a hero in here than he shows in the musical/movie. He’s fantastic. And really remarkably good at helping others.

-Cosette is SO much more likable in here than in other interpretations– she actually has a personality outside of loving Marius, who’d have thought? Listen to this lovely description of her: “There was gipsy blood in her veins, that of a barefooted adventuress. We may recall that she was more like a lark than a dove. She had a wild but courageous heart.” (p. 799)

There’s actually information about all the barricade boys. About their lives and beliefs and personalities– it’s wonderful. All the scenes with them were amazing, truly.

-Jehan’s death, while extremely heart-wrenching, was still epic– he was captured by the enemy and shot, but not before he could shout, “Vive la France! Long live France! Long live the future!” He’s so sweet and thoughtful but described as “intrepid” too and ahh he’s one of the best characters overall.

-The bishop (from the beginning of the movie/musical) is given a personality and a background, and he’s a pretty fantastic human. Incredibly wise and quirky and generous– everything you’d expect him to be.

-Éponine and Gavroche (yes, they’re siblings) actually have three more siblings who sadly aren’t in the other productions of the story. Their sister Azelma’s a couple years younger than Éponine, rather timid yet sweet, and then there’s two little boys younger than Gavroche, whom their mother gave away as babies because she has no use for boys. (Talk about dysfunctional.) What’s more, in a twist of events Gavroche (who lives in the elephant statue in Paris) ends up taking care of the boys, not knowing that they’re actually his brothers. Y’ALL. These kids. I just want a story where Ép and Gav survive the barricades and take care of Azelma and the boys and the five of them live on their own and become an epic close-knit family of rambunctious Thénardier siblings. That’s all I need.

-There’s another character who’s not in other versions: Monsieur Mabeuf. He’s this sweet and eccentric old man who adores and collects books (therefore I love him) and ends up making a brave sacrifice on the barricades. Also, this conversation between him and Courfeyrac made me laugh:

“Monsieur Mabeuf, you must go home.”


“There’s going to be fighting.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Sabre-thrusts and bullets, Monsieur Mabeuf.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Possibly cannon-fire.”

“Very well. And where are you going?”

“We’re going to overthrow the government.”


(p. 912)

-GAVROCHE. I didn’t think it was possible to love him any more, but apparently it is. In the Brick he’s this pint-sized firecracker who is always singing and always has a witty comeback to literally everything. Everyone tells him to stay away from the barricades but he staunchly ignores them and insists on having his own musket so he can fight with his friends. Enjolras tells him no and he gets one anyway, ’cause he’s Gavroche. He’s fearless and cheerful, witty and streetwise, generous and protective of those he cares about, and takes everything in stride. And oh yeah, he’s a preteen. He’s become one of my favorite literary characters of all time.

-I love historical fiction, so it was fascinating learning about 19th century France, of which I have little to no knowledge outside of Les Misérables. I love learning about their culture, their government, and of course their revolutions.

-Victor Hugo has created such a complex story with such powerful characters that this fandom is still going strong a century and a half later. And for good reason too!

-Hugo’s got such a way with words that I had to make a list of lovely quotes…

“While ignorance and poverty persist on earth, books such as this cannot fail to be of value”

Hauteville House, 1 January 1862


“Innocence wears its own crown, Monsieur; it needs no added dignity; it is as sublime in rags as in royal robes.” (p. 54)


“But we can no more pray too much than we can love too much.” (p. 69)


“The supreme happiness in life is the assurance of being loved; of being loved for oneself, even in spite of oneself; and this assurance the blind man possesses.” (p. 162)


“There are forms of ugliness which have their roots in abiding beauty.” (p. 343)


“A trace of beauty still lingered in the sixteen-year-old face, like pale sunlight fading beneath the massed clouds of a winter’s dawn.” (p. 633)


“Certainly they appeared utterly depraved, corrupt, vile and odious; but it is rare for those who have sunk so low not to be degraded in the process, and there comes a point, moreover, where the unfortunate and the infamous are grouped together, merged in a single, fateful word. They are les misérables– the outcasts, the underdogs. And who is to blame? Is it not the most fallen who have most need of charity?” (p. 639-640)


“Courage does not fear crime, and honesty has no need for authority.” (p. 664)


“‘You leave me to take the road to glory,

But my heart will follow you all the way.'” (p. 670)


“Rights too loudly proclaimed become unsettling; and so, once righteousness has prevailed, the State must be strengthened. Liberty being safeguarded, power must be consolidated.” (p. 710)


“Revolutions are not born of chance but of necessity. A revolution is a return from the fictitious to the real. It happens because it had to happen.” (p. 721)


“What is the good, after all, of having a pretty face and delightful clothes if no one ever sees them?” (p. 772)


“Cosette, knowing herself to be beautiful, lost the grace of unawareness: an exquisite grace, for beauty enhanced by innocence is incomparable, and nothing is more enchanting than artless radiance that unwittingly holds the key to a paradise. But what she lost in this respect she gained in meditative charm. Her whole being, suffused with the joy of youth, innocence, and beauty, breathed a touching earnestness.” (p. 772)


“So much has been made in love-stories of the power of a glance that we have ended by undervaluing it. We scarcely dare say in these days that two persons fell in love because their eyes met. Yet that is how one falls in love and in no other way. What remains is simply what remains, and it comes later. Nothing is more real than the shock two beings sustain when that spark flies between them.” (p. 773)


“There was gipsy blood in her veins, that of a barefooted adventuress. We may recall that she was more like a lark than a dove. She had a wild but courageous heart.” (p. 799)


“If there were no one who loved the sun would cease to shine.” (p. 806)


“Monsieur Mabeuf, you must go home.”


“There’s going to be fighting.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Sabre-thrusts and bullets, Monsieur Mabeuf.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Possibly cannon-fire.”

“Very well. And where are you going?”

“We’re going to overthrow the government.”


(p. 912)


” ‘You know, Monsieur Marius, I think I was a little bit in love with you.’

She tried to smile, and died.”

(p. 966)


“To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live.”

(p. 1197)

ii. Things I didn’t quite like:

-Hugo’s got a way with words, but sometimes that’s not such a good thing. He tends to go off on random lengthy tangents about Napoleon or various historical revolutions or the Parisian sewers. I admittedly skipped those parts and will say that doing so in no way diminished my comprehension of the story. Just sayin’…

-Marius was kind of a jerk to Valjean there in the end when he discovered he was a convict. It made me mad because NOBODY has the right to be mean to Valjean. And then he wasn’t even friends with Éponine like the movie/musical show– literally his only interest in her was because she agreed to find Cosette for him. And his feelings for Cosette were even sappier and more annoying in here. He had some admirable qualities but was still one of my least favorite characters.

-Thénardier apparently has a problem with not recognizing any of his kids. Like his gang members have to tell him that Éponine is his daughter and Gavroche is his son. And he never acknowledges the fact that he had two other sons, yet they “look vaguely familiar”. Oh, and let’s not forget the time he made Azelma punch out their window and ignored her while she cried over her bloody hand. #parentingfail

-Gavroche died without knowing the boys he was taking care of were his little brothers. This just breaks my heart.

-There’s never enough details about the barricade boys. I would have loved to spend more time with them before they all, y’know, died. *sighs*

-Seriously, Hugo– why do all the great characters in this book die? I’m serious. ALL of them. It’s no wonder our fandom is insane– we have to come up with all these AUs and loopholes since writing in canon is waaaay too depressing. (But hey, our insanity is pretty awesome sometimes.)

… All that being said, the Brick is absolutely amazing, and it’s because these characters and their stories have a place in my heart that they affect me so strongly. Thanks Victor Hugo for writing this maddening yet splendid tale; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and would recommend it to anyone, Les Mis fans or otherwise. (Just be prepared for LOTS of emotions.)

Want to occupy yourself for the rest of the summer (at the very least)? Read Les Misérables. It’s worth it!

{love, em}

// darling, let’s be brave / tidbits from the typewriter app //

come, my darling

let’s be brave

take my hand

don’t be afraid


there’s a new

world dawning

on this glorious day


but only for the brave


when fire struck

we turned to ash

in grief, in darkness

but see?


like a phoenix

we rise again

together this time

stronger than before

a team of the courageous


we take a stand

we find our place

we fight to live

to love

to save


so darling,

let’s be brave


we’ll make it, I swear.



// not of this world / in which we’ve distorted His gifts (again) //

Can I be frank with you for a moment?

Because I hope you know this by now– this world is so, so good at feeding you lies.

And quite frankly, it’s time to shed some light on the lies to find our way back to the truth. (Again… doesn’t it seem like we’re always having to do this?)

What is the truth?

Well, many things, but the truth festering in my heart at the moment is this: sex does not equate love.

Did you catch that?

Lean in and listen close–

Sex does not equate love.

You’re probably looking at your computer/phone screen in confusion, thinking, “Well, of course not. I know that.”

But that’s kind of hard to remember when the media is constantly bombarding us with messages that say otherwise.

They make jokes out of it all, highlighting the dirty little particulars, championing exploits, tossing morality to the wind, encouraging viewers that their lives will be better if they can “get it”– all in the name of true love. (Because THAT clearly makes it all okay.)

Um, no.

Since when does self-gratification equal sacrifice?

Since when does the physical aspect of the relationship overshadow the truly-caring-about-the-person part?

Have we lost our minds? (The answer is a resounding yes.)

Please don’t mistake my meaning– I’m not trying to be that ultra-conservative who shouts that ALL sex is bad.

It’s not.

In fact, I would venture to say that sex is good.

It’s a gift from God, a way to express love within the bounds of marriage.

It’s not sex itself that’s the problem; it’s how the media perverts it.

God had a design, a purpose for this gift.

That purpose was not for us was not for us to use as a means to determine who we love, who we want to be with.

It was supposed to come after all that– after we make the commitment of marriage vows.

It’s supposed to come after we make the commitment to love for life.

When I was in middle school, this guy from our local Crisis Pregnancy Center came and spoke with us every year about abstinence. I remember it vividly– he would write the words SEX and LOVE side-by-side on the whiteboard. Then he would go on to explain that so many teenage girls think along the lines of, “If I agree to have sex with him, then he’ll love me”. As he spoke, he would draw an arrow connecting the two, then immediately go back and scribble it out.

“Sex does not lead to love,” he was sure to impress on us. “It can lead to STDs and pregnancy and other consequences– but it never leads to real love. That’s ridiculous to say.”

We would spend some time going over all the consequences, and then he would finish with, “You want to know the best way to avoid all these consequences?” (waving a hand at the words STDs and OUT-OF-WEDLOCK PREGNANCY and BROKEN RELATIONSHIP).

Options like condoms and birth control were thrown out (and seriously, how do middle schoolers know about that anyway? What even?), but he shook his head and turned back to the board, writing one more word: MARRIAGE.

What he was saying is this: it’s not sex that leads to love, but rather real love that leads to sex, and the best possible way to enjoy that physical side of love is by being married.

Because that’s what the media often forgets in their glamorization of physical relationships– there are indeed consequences, and we would be fools to say “hang the consequences” because they exist, they are serious, and the only way to guarantee you’ll never have to face them is through marriage.

That’s no coincidence.

God’s standards are always the best, after all.

And quite frankly, I’m really tired of shows and movies that make the hooking-up a huge plot point and showing the real love an afterthought, and try to tell us that “see they clearly love each other because they did the thing!!1!!!!!111! What more do you need?”

Because I can show you a ton of relationships, fictional and real, that aren’t founded on physical desires, but on caring and sacrifice. Relationships that, after marriage, obviously do have sex but are classy enough to not shove it in our faces. (Which is very much appreciated.) And honestly, I like and admire them so much more for that. In this time where morality is subjective and everything is out in the open for everyone to see, we need that.

A lot more innocence.

A lot more true love.

And a whole lot more of doing things God’s way.

Why don’t we champion that instead of laughing and cheering when people try to sell us the wrong definition of love?

We don’t have to look appealing to guys to be loved.

We don’t have to give ourselves away to be loved.

We don’t have to follow the crowd to be loved.

Do you want to know what real, true love is?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.” *

Let’s not forget that, what love really is.

And let’s not forget that the greatest Love of all is sacrificial.

And let’s stand firm behind the true definition of love.

And let’s use the gifts He’s given us the way they were designed.

(Life is much, much better that way.)

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll defy the lies and the Light will burn bright.

{love always (and I do mean that <3), Em}

*1 Corinthians 13: 4-8