Knowing Where You Belong

I’m currently reading First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. This is the first book of hers that I’ve read, despite the fact that I own two others. I felt compelled to start with this one because I received it as part of a “book club” through Facebook (works very similarly to a chain letter, which I HATE, but this was actually worth it – I got two free books out of it!). I’ve enjoyed it so far; the characters are well-written, each with their own separate story lines that pick up and leave off, and I’m left wanting to know what happens next.

Each of those characters has some special quality, almost like magic. Bay, the 15-year-old daughter, can look at things and know where they belong. I found this to be an especially interesting quality, and one that could be very useful around the house! But more importantly than knowing where the dishes belong, or where the Christmas decorations should be put away, is the fact that Bay knows who she belongs with. This is a major part of the plot (and not a spoiler), and I didn’t give it a whole ton of thought besides “That would be nice!” until I came across this sentence:

She simply had the benefit of knowing, knowing, where she needed to end up.

What an amazing thing to know: where you are going to go in your life, without any doubt. One word in that sentence stands out the most to me – benefit. Is it a benefit to know where you are going? To know who you are supposed to end up with? To know what career you are meant for? What city you belong in? What house you belong in?

Think about work. Would knowing what career you’re meant for be a benefit? It could mean a lot less guess-work and trial and error. A lot less interviewing (I hate interviews!), relocating, training, and all those necessities from a new job. It could mean a lot more opportunity to become the best at what you are meant to do. All that time you would have wasted looking for that career, spent enjoying it. But what if it’s not the career you love?

This idea fascinates me most when it comes to love. Many times in my life I have wished I could just know who I’m supposed to end up with. Wouldn’t it be so much easier? Wouldn’t I be so much more patient? Wouldn’t I have avoided so much wasted time and heartbreak? But that is not for me to know ahead of time. I’m supposed to meet different people, to get to know them, and get to know myself – what I want and what I don’t want. Then, when I do find the one that I belong with, I’ll know that he’s the right one.

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Call the Midwife

Thank goodness for adorable, high-quality shows! I know adorable isn’t the best adjective to describe a show aimed at adults, but it was the first to pop into my head. “Call the Midwife” is my current obsession; I’m telling everyone I know, “You have to watch it!” I came across it randomly one day while flipping channels – there was some special (I’m guessing) about it on PBS, and it reminded me of Downton Abbey. I figured since I’m going through Downton-withdrawal, I may as well give this show a try, and thank goodness I did!

The show is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth and set in 1950s London (already perfect, in my opinion. Favorite era, favorite city). It focuses on a young woman, Jenny Lee, who begins work as a midwife at Nonnatus House, a convent. She and the Sisters and other midwives service the slums of the East End, and throughout the episodes she comes in contact with many different people, and finds herself growing into a compassionate woman.

Jenny is my favorite character; I feel like she and I are very similar. But believe me, it’s hard to choose one favorite. Every single person is so endearing. Aside from the characters, I absolutely love the clothing on this show! Everything is so classic and classy. I honestly believe that I was born in the wrong decade, and actually belong in the 1940s and 50s.

The hair and makeup is beautiful, too – natural and simple. I’m constantly searching for tutorials, but haven’t found any yet!

It’s a good thing my summer vacation is just getting started, because I would hate to be interrupted in watching Seasons 1 and 2; I’m already two episodes into Season 2 and can’t wait for Season 3 to begin! In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to pass the time with reading the books. Things could be so much worse, couldn’t they?

Have you seen Call the Midwife? What do you think? Who is your favorite character?

It’s Like Christmas!

Earlier this week I ordered a bunch of books from Barnes & Noble for my summer reading goal of Ya/Teen lit. They came today!

The Eleventh Plague and Switched weren’t in the order – I picked those up at Target today when I went for a completely different reason. Isn’t that how it always goes at Target?

I can’t wait to get through this stack….I don’t know where to start!

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What a beachy bedspread, huh? Thank you, ideeli.com!

Favorites – Christmas Carols

After realizing that it’s equally fun to read lists instead of well-thought-out blog posts, I decided to create my own list. This will be the first of many, I’m sure.

In the spirit of the season, I have to create a list of my favorite Christmas songs. These are in no particular order, but I’m sure once I write them out, I’ll go back and order them. I’ll let you know at the end if that’s the case.

There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays

Christmas Canon – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This one just came on my pandora station (Dean Martin Holiday) and I’m so happy it did, because I’m pretty sure I would have forgotten it otherwise! How could I forget such a beautiful song? This gives me the coziest feeling inside – a mixture of sitting in church on Christmas Eve right before we light the candles and sing Silent Night; driving with my family and looking at Christmas lights; driving up/down Main Street and watching people walk around enjoying the Christmas lights; and cozy Christmas Eve nights at my parents as a kid.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan – Kenny Chesney
I love Kenny. I love the beach. And it’s true, all I want for Christmas is a good tan. How wonderful would it be to get the heck out of the cold for a couple of weeks and just lounge on the beach, soaking up the sun (starting the day after Christmas, of course)? This song makes me happy every time I hear it. All I have to hear is the first note and I get giddy and smiley before I sing and sway along.

Mistletoe and Holly – Frank Sinatra
Believe it or not, I used to hate Frank Sinatra. This was obviously in my young, I-only-like-fast-music-and-I-don’t-know-any-better days. Whenever my Nana would put on her Sinatra Christmas album, Erin and I would complain and say what a stupid song this was. Eventually, she won us over and now this song is one that I have to hear in order for it to be Christmas. I get a mixture of happiness and sadness when I hear it – happiness at the memories of the Christmas season at my grandmother’s, and sadness at the thought that she’s not here anymore. I’m pretty sure that each time the song comes on, “awwww!” comes out of my mouth.

Jingle Bells – Frank Sinatra or Michael Buble with the Puppini Sisters OR Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
Phew! What a list. I love Frank Sinatra’s version because it’s different (again, hated it as a silly kid) and makes me think of my grandmother. Bing Crosby’s version makes me wish even more that I lived in the 1940s, and just makes me happy but I can’t quite put my finger on what I picture when I hear it. Michael Buble’s version is the PERFECT remake of Bing Crosby’s – so much fun and immediately makes me smile and dance around as I drive. I’ve already gone out of my way driving home just to have extra time to hear the whole song.

White Christmas – The Drifters or Michael Buble with Shania Twain
This song is just too much fun. Of course, I think of Home Alone whenever I hear The Drifters’ version, and Michael Buble did a great remake of it with Shania Twain. Also responsible for a little extra burning of gas that I didn’t need to.

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas – Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis’ Christmas albums were a staple  in our house growing up, so almost any Christmas song sung by him is synonymous with Christmas. But this song means Christmas is here, and it brings an instant smile to my face.

Silent Night – Michael Buble or Josh Groban
Both versions are beautiful. I think anytime an artist has a children’s choir singing with them, especially on a song like Silent Night, it instantly becomes a favorite of mine. Silent Night is possibly one of my top 3 favorite Christmas songs, because it makes me feel at peace and it gives me that warm feeling of Christmas Eve service and everyone holding their candles, singing together. I always wanted to cry when it came to that part of the service.

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
This should be on everyone’s list.

White Christmas – Bing Crosby
I know I already mentioned White Christmas, but this version is too good to keep off the list.

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
First of all, I almost didn’t type “Presley” because if you don’t know who Elvis is, and you need me to tell you his last name, there’s something wrong. Secondly, how could I, my father’s daughter, not have an Elvis song on my list? As with any Elvis song, the first thing I picture when I hear this, is my dad, then a split second later, Elvis. It’s like they’re the same person. But I always think of how happy my dad gets when he hears this song, and that makes me happy.

Sleigh Ride – Boston Pops
This is such a fun song – as my aunt and mom say, it’s like the perfect Christmas shopping song!

There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays – Perry Como
This song is just too true. Again, another that brings an instant smile to my face and that I often find myself singing along to in the car.

I think that’s all for now – hope you had fun! What are some of your favorites?

Christmas Tree

 

It’s That Time of Year

I may be crazy, but I’m already listening to Christmas music. Not 24/7 – that probably won’t happen until mid-November – but at work, I sometimes put my Dean Martin Christmas station on Pandora and I am immediately relaxed.

There’s something about Christmas carols from the 1950s and ’60s that just puts me at ease and makes my heart happy. It could be that I secretly feel like I belong in the 1940s and ’50s, but I’m sure it’s the fact that many of these are the songs I grew up listening to while preparing and waiting for Christmas.

I hear Nat King Cole or Andy Williams and I picture my parents’ house with the Christmas tree up and decorated, the fireplace decorated, and the entire family room full of Christmas decorations, and I instantly feel cozy and at peace. I hear the Lionel train racing around the track, blowing its whistle, and I smell that distinctive smell of the train smoke. I picture my Mom in the kitchen rolling out dough for us to make cut-out cookies with. I feel the content of sitting on the sofa with my family and watching Rudolph or A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I hear “A Marshmallow World” by Dean Martin and I laugh as I picture my aunt, who at her Christmas party a few years ago, did the same hilarious motion each time Dean sang “…get out and roll it along…”.

I hear Frank Sinatra sing “Jingle Bells” or “Mistletoe and Holly” and I picture my Nana’s house at Christmas, and her kitchen (because that’s where we spent the most time with her) and I feel comfort. But at the same time, there is a pang of sadness…I’ll never have a Thanksgiving, December, or Christmas at Nana’s house. And how fitting…just as I type this “The Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra starts to play and tears instantly come to my eyes.

Oh, the joy and heartache of Christmas carols!