July 27, 2012

Meet Kenny

About a year ago I developed a mild interest in wanting to learn to play the guitar, but that faded away for a little bit as I went through the busyness of fall term at college and then the whole drama of leaving school and settling all of that, and trying to find a job before I was going to have to start paying off my loans.  

Once life settled back down, that desire came back and I decided that I was going to save up to someday buy a guitar. I thought it would take me months, at the least, to save up enough money.  I had done some research, and the cheapest guitars I could find were well over a hundred dollars.

I told my Knight about my plans, and he mentioned that his father had an old guitar that he was planning to sell on eBay, and he could check and see how much it would cost, if I was interested.  Of course I was, and was ecstatic when my Knight told me it would be a whole lot less then a new guitar.  Now all I had to do was to figure out how to ship it... a few days before my Knight flew out to visit me, I brought it up again and asked if he thought it would work as a carry on, and he said he would look into it but he wasn't sure if that would work.

When my Knight flew in, his connecting flights had gotten a bit messed up which caused him to miss his original flight, nearly miss his second and his luggage to come in on a third.  We waited for the flight with his luggage to come in and when it did I dropped him off to go in and claim it.  He had said that he had two pieces of luggage, and I suspected that one of them might be the guitar, but I didn't ask. 

He came back out with his suitcase and the guitar case.  I took it from him with a huge grin, at which point he told me that I didn't need to worry about paying for it, because he was giving it to me as an anniversary gift.  
Needless to say, I have the best boyfriend in the entire world.

It's a gorgeous guitar, and in wonderful condition considering the fact that the airport destroyed the case... as in literally destroyed... we got it home and the whole thing fell apart... but the guitar survived without a scratch on it, and the sound is gorgeous.  

I'm not typically in the habit of naming inanimate objects, but right away a name for my awesome guitar popped into my head.  His name is officially Kenny.

July 26, 2012

The Best of Me

Dawson comes from a family seeped in alcohol, crime, jail, abuse and more than one murder.  Dawson has always been smarter then his cousins' and his father though, and he doesn't want to follow in the family line - a choice that could easily put his life in jeopardy.  Amanda is from a well off, scandal free, proper southern home.  Amanda too, is different, and on more than one occasion clashes with her mother by doing the exact opposite of what is required of her.  Amanda and Dawson meet and fall in love, and an old man named Tuck who has given Dawson shelter and a home away from his family, shelters and protects their romance.

Then Amanda leaves the little North Carolina town they grew up in at Dawson's insistence that she follow her dream of college and find the life that he knows he can never give her.  She leaves, and Dawson ends up spending four years in jail after he hits and kills the town doctor while driving home.  It was an accident, but he plead guilty and left his town behind him.  Amanda gets married and has a family; Dawson gets out of jail, moves to Louisiana, stays single and they never see each other again... until years later when Tuck dies and his lawyer passes on Tuck's request that the two of them come back home.

This novel is not what you expect it to be.  Your expectation is that it's going to be a classic angsty romantic book... teenage love, separation, years later the lovers are reunited and despite all odds and all their doubts and questions they decide they never should have given each other up, say good-bye to the lives they've created since then and get together for happily ever after.

Such is not the case.  The Best of Me does follow a fairly predictable route as Amanda and Dawson reunite at the scene of their old sanctuary and discover that they still love each other very much.  Amanda's marriage is falling apart because of her husband's alcoholism and you know it's only a matter of time before the two of them decide they can't live without each other and Amanda gives up her life to go and live with her one true love.

But then Amanda drives away, and bad things start to happen.  As you read you are thinking that it's all going to get resolved - and oh look, here is a way for Amanda and Dawson to be together without her getting a divorce and you are disappointed because this is the easy way out.  Then things twist again and you realize that this isn't going to be a happy ending that you want.  This isn't going to end the way romance novels are supposed to end.

I picked up this novel expecting it to be like most other Nicholas Sparks books - sweet, touching, dramatic, plenty of obstacles and trials for the romantic interests, but in the end they live happily ever after.  When I realized the path the things were taking, I had to put the book down for a few minutes because I wanted to be wrong.  I continued to read, and I was right... and it was happy, in a very sad and bittersweet way, and it was worth it.  The Best of Me was a beautiful story about love, real love, and one that I'm sure I will return to read again someday.

July 25, 2012

Catholic Philosopher Chick

I will admit, when I first saw the title of Catholic Philosopher Chick my interest wasn't exactly piqued.  'Catholic', 'chick', okay I can relate... but the 'philosopher' sounded like... not my thing.  The cover was pretty cute though, and Regina Doman did help to write it, so maybe someday I would borrow a copy and read it.

Recently my family and I hosted the fifth annual Fairy Tale Novel Fan Gathering, or, as it is more popularly known, ReginaCon at our home.  Regina gave me a copy (actually, to me and my Knight... he'll get it when I go to visit him) and so naturally I read it.  I was very pleasantly surprised and it didn't take long before I was hooked.

Cate Frank is a two year old convert to Catholicism from Judaism, a journalism major formerly on the path to a successful fashion career and a native of New York, and now a grad student in philosophy in Texas.  Upon arriving at school, Cate decides to enter the philosophy class of her dreams - all on her beloved St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica.  She is quickly informed by an annoyingly good-looking guy also standing in line at the Registrar's office that first years never get into that class, and after that only if you've already got a B.A. and philosophy - oh, and philosophy is really kind of a guy thing.

Not to be dissuaded, Cate boldly approaches the (rather intimidating) professor of the class, gives her permission to take the entrance exam.  Cate passes with flying colors and becomes the only first year grad student and the only female in what is affectionately known as "The Suminar".  Now all she has to do is get her six male classmates to actually listen to anything she has to say... and figure out which, if any, of them is her Perfect Guy.

Catholic Philosopher Chick was deep at times - namely, in the recounting of classroom discussions - but they managed to be readable enough where dialogue was very engaging, even if you couldn't understand it.  Cate may be very academic and speak in philosophical terms that, as her friends point out, no normal human being understands, but she is also very interested in clothes, fashion and guys.  She is far from the perfect Catholic and struggles in many ways that I find my self struggling.  Despite being a bit arrogant at times and un-charitable as she herself admits, Cate does have a kind heart and reaches out in genuine kindness to a girl who needs it.

All in all, Catholic Philosopher Chick is an engaging, fun, thoughtful story of a girl who loves her shoes, her clothes, her friends and her faith.  If you are looking for a good, Catholic novel to round out your summer reading list, then I recommend you consider adding this one.

July 24, 2012

One Year...

It is amazing how fast a year can seem to fly by.  As you are living it, there are many places where it seems to drag, but then you look back and it's as if it all happened within a blink of an eye.  Sometimes that's a good thing, I suppose... but other times I do wish it all passed just a little more slowly.  The good parts, anyhow, so that I can hold onto and savor them for a little bit longer.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow it will have already been two weeks since July 11th. That was the day when I got to see my Knight again after four, long months since our last visit.  He flew into Chicago that day, our one year anniversary.  We had a beautiful twelve days together, and all too soon yesterday came and we were driving back to the airport.

How did two weeks already pass by so fast? How did a year go so quickly?  Those are the moments that I wish I could slow down and hold onto forever, because they are so wonderful and precious.

One year already... a little over a year ago I hardly dared to hope that my Knight would ever fall for me, and then suddenly everything fell into place and he had written me a letter asking to court me, and I wrote him a letter saying yes.  Every thing since then has been an amazing adventure... he's been out to see me three times now, I took my first plane flight out to the East coast to see him, we shared our first kiss, we've spent hours talking over chats, texts, phone calls, skype, e-mail, letters, voice recordings - practically every method of communication short of smoke signals, because we're a little too far apart for that - we gotten to know each other more and fallen deeper in love.

It's been a wonderful one year, one that has passed by too fast, despite the times of separation when it seemed like forever.  There are many beautiful memories that I have to hold onto, and look back on and cherish though.... so in a way, while it seemed to fly by, it will never end.

July 4, 2012

Let Prayer Be Our Passion

Today I came across these words while praying "The Patriotic Rosary".  Though they were spoken 149 years ago, I believe they are very relevant to the times in which we find ourselves now, when our religious freedoms, the freedom of speech and many other freedoms are slowly being taken away from us.

"Soldiers!  Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, our God, asking through Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, beseeching the aid of the God of our forefathers in the defense of our homes and our liberties, thanking Him for His past blessings, and imploring their continuance upon our cause and our people.

Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray.  Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take the time to pray - to really pray.

Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight - all through the day.  Let us pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes.  Let us pray for the churches.

Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word 'concern' our of our Christian vocabulary.  Let us pray for our nation.  Let us pry for those who have never known Jesus Christ and His redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders.  

Let prayer be our passion.  Let prayer be our practice."

- General Robert E. Lee, 1863