Anniversary Edition: Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know

It’s been a year since I first hit publish on “Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know” and I never expected the response I would get from it.  In fact, it was compiled just as something to share between blogging friends without a thought that anyone else might think it was a worthwhile list.

I’m so glad I published it – not just because I got to share my favorite female characters with a lot of people – but because I was remind so many more of the important books I had read growing up (that weren’t on my bookshelf at 11 o’clock at night that particular night) and to introduce me to the wealth of great literature for young girls that has been written in the last twenty years!

So today I share just a small sampling of the titles I heard recommended time and time again over the last year.

And of course I know I’ve overlooked your favorite… so tell me,
what else am I missing? 

I would also love to hear from anyone else who discovered something new and perfect for them or a daughter from my list!
(as always this post contains Amazon Affiliate Links)



The Hardest Part

The hardest part is not

* the waiting
* the pain
* the blood draws
* the cramping

The hardest part is not

* the tears
* the anger
* the bitterness
* the grief

The hardest part is not

* the awkward conversations
* the questions
* the results
* the important days no one else remembers or knows about

The hardest part is

* knowing this could be it
* knowing you are not made for the life you want or the life you want to give

* and not knowing why

A Year of Books : Birds

Haha!  You thought I had forgotten!  Actually the weather has been a bit crazy in these parts and it’s kept us from our more regular library visits.  When the temperatures are hovering in the single digits there are not too many excursions outside (and yes, I can hear my Canadian friends laughing at me through the wifi).

But, if you live in more temperate climates or have Candian blood filled with maple syrup, elk meat and hockey (that’s what y’all have up there right Christy and Kathleen 😉 ?  ) here are some bird books to pass the time.

So there you go – a little bit of this and that all about birds!
(This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links – if you see something you and make a purchase through my links I get a small percentage of the sales!)

Reading List for 2014

I shared with you the Books I Read in 2013, so now I thought I’d share with you the books I’m hoping to read in 2014.

So far I’ve hit the ground running with this years reading knocking out

and am currently working through
 , and

For the rest of the year this is what I have to look forward to

There are probably a few more I’m hoping to get to this year, but for now I think this is a good start.

What’s on your list this year?

Please Ignore My Traditions

This is a public service announcement:  Please IGNORE my traditions.  Seriously, I want you to forget every cookie and decoration I share here.

Okay, not really.

But, I don’t want you to get in a tizzy about it all.

A lot of us have been drawn to the creation of family traditions, particularly around the Liturgical Year Calendar, for a lot of good reasons.  We live in an age that is fundamentally disconnected in so many ways and we remember hearing about when things were different.  A time when you did certain things on certain days, and those things were anticipated and held a special meaning.  It’s not a bad thing to try to create those moments and memories with our families – in fact it’s a great thing.


I want my children to remember the special things we took time for in our busy schedules and I still want holidays and special occasions that haven’t been claimed by the Malls or created by the greeting card companies.  However, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two in the last year about how to go about it all.

As much as I am inspired by others ideas or already established traditions, those things are not special if they aren’t personal.  It’s a lot better to do less, than to do what doesn’t hold meaning to me.

On the night before Epiphany I was looking for things to do on the holiday because we’d be home bound thanks to cold snap.  I had to make do with exactly what I had on hand and that ruled out most of the fancier Epiphany deserts and foods.  This also ruled out the more complex craft ideas out there.  Even coloring pages were out of the questions since we don’t have a printer.  I wanted so much to do what was listed as “traditional” foods and ideas, but what I ended up with was something better.

We made stars and Gingerspice cookies.  Each had a meaning to the day, but most importantly it felt natural to us.  I wasn’t left, at the end of the day, thinking “Why did we do this?”

It can be so easy in these days of Google and Pinterest to get caught up in what everyone else is doing – how they teach, how they dress, how they play and how they celebrate – so this is my public service announcement.  Please feel free to ignore my traditions.  Figure out what you want to celebrate and do it.  Do it with what you have on hand.  Do it on the fly.  Do what pops out at you and says “This!  This will be special.”

Make your own beautiful traditions.  Don’t rush into them.  Don’t do things just because you saw this great pin.  Just start doing.  Enjoying what you have with the people around you and you’ll find traditions on your own.

23 Things To Do At 23 (No Matter Your Relationship Status)

I was once 23.  I was also really dumb when I was 23, and 24 and a good portion of 25.  I also got engaged when I was 23 and married when I was 25.  I can tell you which part of this paragraph I regret (actually I can’t because I’m too ashamed).  That was also the time of life I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in the next couple of years to really make good use of my youth.  It was a great list – there were places to go, things to do , work to be done.  I actually recommend this tactic to anyone out there wanting to really challenge themselves on the brink of a moment in their lives.

Then there’s this article floating around out there, and, I’m sorry, it’s just asinine, narcissistic drivel.

I could go on about how most people I know completed the worthwhile parts of that list married and had a blast (cake mix, nutella… naked? Sounds like a good weekend in the married world to me).  I could go on about how boring her goals are.  I could go on about how doing a good portion of that list repetitively will only set a person up to be that “Crazy Cat Lady With the Embarrassing Past Who Buys Nutella and Boxed Cake Mix in Bulk”.  But I want to be civil, so I’ll keep things simple here.

1) It’s great to know, particularly at a young age, if you are ready for a commitment like marriage.
2) It’s great to take marriage seriously because not doing so will only make your life messy and painful down the road.
3) It’s great to decide you are ready to make that commitment.
4) It’s better if you realize now that it’s not for you.

However, none of the above at any age is a good reason to act like a fool.  Those early 20’s were a time of stupidity and selfishness on my part.  I have learned from them, but I hurt a lot of people along the way and I’m not proud of that.  However, everyone will make mistakes and to an extent that’s good and a normal part of life.

I will tell you this, once you get out of the college years (about 18-22) and you’re still acting like you’re an inebriated college girl with no thought to the consequences of her actions the opinions and sympathy will start to take a steep nose dive for every year you’re out of school.  By the time you’re on the other side of your twenties, in only 2 short years, behaviors that were cute and risque at twenty just start to look pathetic.  That’s the gospel truth and I’m sorry if it hurts.

However, that has nothing to do with your marital status so here’s another gospel lesson….

The excitement in your life has nothing to do with your relationship status and everything to do with your personal choices.  Some people get their thrills out of their lone wolf adventures and some people enjoy having someone else around to take pictures with, but their adventures can be just as exciting as long as you choose to do something interesting with the time you’re given.

And I’m sorry honey, at 23 no matter what, you have better things to do than sitting around watch reruns of anything while eating ridiculous amounts of Nutella whether you’re single or not.

I have and will continue to advise people that if you feel you’re at a time in your life where you feel like you can’t consider another person equally to your self, if you feel like you need some time to be “selfish” than that is a good nugget of wisdom coming from your personal Jiminy Cricket.  You should always listen when that is your conclusion.  Go be wild and adventurous without another person to consider if that is what you need, but don’t rain on anothers parade if they’re in a different spot in life than you.

So whether you are a Lone Wolf or a Dynamic Duo at age 23 I give you my list of things you should be accomplishing while you still have a chance that you’ll never regret.

  1. Move to a new city – the one you’ve always wanted to live in – if only for a year.
  2. Dip your toes in as many bodies of water as you can – ponds, lakes, rivers, oceans.
  3. Volunteer for something that will push your boundaries and shake you to the core.
  4. Constantly try to find your “thing”; you’ll never find it, but it’s the journey that’s fun.
  5. Live on a small income and enjoy it.
  6. Act ridiculous with your favorite person in public – with or without alcohol.
  7. Announce one morning “Let’s go on an adventure”.
  8. Announce one evening “Let’s go on an adventure”.
  9. Explore your faith and explore the faith of those around you.
  10. Get a passport and actually use it for something more exciting than an international bar hop.
  11. Find out who your real friends are; keep the good and toss the bad.
  12. Make a list of concerts and shows you want to see and see them.
  13. Make a list of foods you want to try and eat them.
  14. Make a list of places you want to go to and get there.
  15. Make a list of books you want to read and read them.
  16. Buy an amazing pair of shoes and do something amazing in them.
  17. Find that dress, that suit, those pants, etc. that makes you feel truly confident.
  18. Find something – a picture, a quote, a song, anything – that inspires you.
  19. Set goals, constantly.
  20. Do something that pushes you to the limits physically.
  21.  Do something that pushes you to the limits emotionally.
  22.  Let yourself cry, a lot.
  23. Let yourself laugh, a lot.
  24. Realize that, most likely, you have years to do all of the above and life will not be over if this list is not done by age 24 or by the time you get married.