Saturday, August 29, 2009

Books That Have Had an Impact On Me

My roommate recently wrote a note on Facebook about the books that have impacted her life so I decided to do the same thing.

1776 by David McCullough

Yes, I love American history but the main reason I love this book is because it's a true story of a man and his army who try again and again to overcome such overwhelming odds. After suffering defeat after defeat against the British, the Continental Army was able to pick up the pieces and move on and, in the end, succeed.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

This is going to sound cheesy but these books illustrate a great story of good vs. evil. It's the story of a young boy who wasn't really extraordinary in any way except one: he was the only one who could defeat the evil wizard, Lord Voldemort. He wasn't blessed with any amazing abilities. He wasn't even spectacularly clever. He just had the courage to do what was necessary and what had to be done in order to overcome evil and save those he loved. (Judging by the number of times I've read these books, they are probably my favorite books of all time.)

Persuasion by Jane Austen

This is the story of a woman who experienced serious disappointment in her life. While much of the disappointment was brought on by her own decisions, she had been dealt a rather difficult hand. But the heroine of the story learns that while things may not happen to us according to our own timetable, the things we want to happen will come in time if we simply follow what we believe to be right and hope for the best.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

This is a fascinating story about revenge. The main character in the novel was falsely accused and spent many years in prison for a crime he did not commit. After he escaped from prison, he made up his mind to take revenge on all those responsible for making his life miserable. Through study and careful plotting, he achieved his goal. But when all was said and done, the satisfaction he expected to feel after ruining all these lives was nonexistent and he found that bringing others low did not bring him any higher.

We Were Not Alone by Patricia Reece Roper and Karola Hilbert Reece

This is the amazing true story about an LDS family living in Berlin during WWII. There were many struggles and trials that the family had to face, but there were also many miracles that occurred because of the individual members' faith and their diligence in keeping the commandments of God.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This is the best version of the Cinderella story ever written, but it is also a wonderful story about sacrifice and courage. By sacrificing the thing she wanted most to save the lives of others, Ella later gained everything and more. (That's not much of a review, but it's a great and complex storyline that I could never do justice to here.)

The Kaleidoscope Season by Sharon Downing Jarvis

This is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Emily Jean who was brought up by her grandmother because of the untimely deaths of her parents and her twin sister when she was just a baby. Her grandmother was a devout Protestant Christian and sent the LDS missionaries away whenever they came to call. Emily Jean yearned to know her mother and father, but her grandmother rarely spoke of them because Emily's father had been a Catholic. But after several events that turned Emily's rather controlled life upside down, Emily realized that the message she needed to hear was taught by the LDS missionaries and from them, she learned the wonderful truth that she would be able to see her family again someday.

There are many more books out there that have affected me, but this blog post would have to be about a hundred feet long for me to do every one of them justice. All I can say is, keep reading! There is some great stuff out there!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bags Unpacked, I'm Ready To Go

I'm back at BYU for my Junior year of college. I'm not going to lie; I wasn't too excited about coming back this year, but now that I'm here and all settled into my apartment, I'm starting to get used to the idea. But there will always be things that I will miss about home.
I'm going to miss:
  • reading books for pleasure
  • seeing the green hills of the Bay Area during the wintertime
  • good internet service
  • snow-less winters
  • having my own room
  • close proximity to family
  • our amazing shower and good water pressure
  • my parents' huge movie selection
  • going to my home ward
  • friends from home
  • having a large gum supply
  • storage space
  • no homework
I'm back in good ol' Provo and dealing with everything else that comes with it.
I'm not looking forward to:
  • ice-covered sidewalks
  • a jam-packed fridge
  • homework
  • my custodial job
  • a tiny kitchen
  • horrible internet service (which is miraculously working right now)
  • only seeing family on holidays
  • having almost no TIME!
As more of my roommates start coming in, I'm getting more and more happy to be back. I just want the year to start so that I can get into a routine that works for me. And while a lot of the things that come packaged with returning to school seem a little daunting, I am excited to be back at BYU and to see what this next year has in store for me. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trying to Be Artsy

Since I don't have a job this summer to take away any of my free time, I've had a lot of opportunities to try my hand at some more painting projects. I've made quilt squares using fabric paint before, but I've been focusing more on making wall-hangings this summer. Here are a few samples of my work:

These first paintings are based off of Mary Engelbreit drawings. These next ones are paintings I did of flowers that I took pictures of at the Berkeley Rose Garden:

I've still got some painting techniques I have to work on but, for the most part, I like the way these ones turned out. I think I probably have way too much time on my hands, though.