The Life of Bon: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

When disappointment, grief and fear are gone

Today I heard from a good friend friend of mine that she miscarried her baby this morning. She was safely in her second trimester, out of the "danger zone" so to speak.  I was at school when I heard the news- the last bell of the day had just rung at school, I was busy trying to fill out a reimbursement form for a set of Catcher in the Rye books, and bam, there was the text.  Tears sprung to my eyes instantly as I imagined her pain, heartbreak and disappointment on an afternoon like this one. 

I have been reflecting a lot lately on God and death and the purpose of trials and disappointments and why it is that this life can seem so damn hard sometimes.  And it seems like no one is spared. Last week Greg and I heard the devastating news that a friend's brother had committed suicide.  At Christmas an old roommate of mine lost her little sister.  A former student tragically fell to her death in a rappelling accident this fall.

One thing I learned when my dad died is that there are two categories of things you can say to someone who is suffering loss.  1.Things that help a little bit and 2. Things that don't help at all.  There is no category of things that help a lot.  Only time brings that, I suppose.  At the end of the day it is still suffering, it is still grief, it is heartache.  No words take the grief away.  Grief is interesting in the way that it refuses to be seen out the door.  It is one emotion that absolutely will not leave until it feels like it has good and had its turn, no matter how many times you think you have successfully shooed it away.  Grief is an insistent guest that leaves only on His time, and never at your invitation.

But still.  There ARE things to say that help a little.

These are the things that people said to me that helped me most:
- I love you.
- God loves you.
- I am praying for you.
- I am thinking about you.
- You are an incredible person.
- I am here for you.
- You can call any day, any time.

Interestingly enough, I hated being told I was "strong" because I didn't want to be strong.  I wanted to be weak and I wanted to cry.  The worst was "I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you."  That only made it harder.

I don't understand a lot about God.  I don't even understand a little about God, if I'm being truthful- I've pretty much got a notebook full of questions for the man when I meet him again.  There is so much about this life that is unfair and unkind.  I don't know why he doesn't give a loving, secure couple a baby when they want it more than anything.  I don't know why he takes away someone's dad right before he was about to serve a three year mission for God.  I don't know why he makes some people gay and some people straight; I don't know why some of my 16 year old students have known divorce and broken families and terrible abuse; I don't know why I have a warm home and a great job but the 27 year old in Goya, Argentina has four children and doesn't know how to read.  I don't know.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon says this: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."  (1 Nephi 11:17)   Sometimes this scripture is the only thing that offers me comfort when I'm frustrated with these big questions.  There is so much I don't understand or don't know the meaning of, but the one thing I do know without a doubt is that God loves His children.

Another favorite Book of Mormon scripture of mine is found in Mosiah 18:8-9.  The prophet says that those who follow Christ are "willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."  It's interesting that he doesn't mention anything about being there for each other in good times, being willing to celebrate, being willing to party.  A true disciple is willing to "mourn with those that mourn."  I know that I will always remember the sacrifices that friends and family made the weeks and months surrounding my dad's death to be there for me and to mourn with me.  I can't forget the efforts to be at the funeral, the long late night talks in my apartment, the lunches loved ones spent with me while I was a muddle of tears.  Those were people who were willing to mourn with me, and I have a special place in my heart filled with gratitude and love for them.

I'll just leave with this before I sign off for the night.  One of my favorite hymns is "Be Still my Soul."  The year that my dad died I repeated the last verse to myself over and over and over and found great comfort in those healing words.  I pasted the lyrics below and bolded the phrases that mean the most to me.  My very favorite is the line in the last verse- "When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone."  What an absolutely beautiful promise.  If nothing else, I guess I will hold strong to that.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.

I would love to know the scriptures, quotes, and songs that help you the most when you are struggling with "disappointment, grief and fear."  Please, use the comment section today to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."


March + April Goals

23 weeks
Dress:  c/o Shabby Apple
Earrings: c/o JeweShop
Shoes: Thrifted
Photo cred: Aubrey Zaruba

If you haven't ever owned a dress from Shabby Apple, you need to.  Their selection for classy dresses is unbeatable, and they are comfortable and totally wearable.  I love the dress I am wearing because it is so versatile- I can wear it to school, to church, or just out and about.  Also, it isn't a maternity dress, but is the perfect cut and material to accommodate my growing belly.  I am saving up my money for this one next- I absolutely love white dresses in the summer.

It's March 31 which means it's time to examine my monthly goals.  If you haven't been following along, at the beginning of 2014 instead of setting resolutions, I set one monthly goal for every month of the year.  I figured by focusing on one thing at a time I would be more successful.  Here are my post evaluations of my January goals and my February goals as well.  Ah, yah!

Sometimes I just think Greg deserves a kinder, happier, less insane woman.  That's all.

Sub goals:
- No nagging.
- Do an act of service daily for Greg.
- Say thank you more often.
- Be more willing to do "his activities" and less pouty when we don't do "my activities."
- Tell him I love him and compliment him every day.

The first half of the month was a total success, whereas the past week or so I have kind of slacked with the acts of service, especially.  I was focused and in the groove and it was easy to remember to do something extra nice for Greg in the beginning, but then I suppose I just got a bit lazy.  I picked him up sodas on my way from school, left him notes, gave him back massages, put a towel in the dryer when he was showering so it was extra warm when it came out, etc.  I noticed something interesting which was that the more I focused on finding ways to serve Greg the more I noticed that he was constantly doing the same for me.  My guess is that Greg is always doing these extra little acts of service for me, but perhaps because that wasn't where my focus was I didn't notice.  He'd make a snack for me when we were watching a movie, or offer me a back massage (lots of those these days- my lower back is killing me!) or bring me home a treat from the grocery store.  It actually made me a little embarrassed to realize how good Greg is naturally at this while I had to make a more concentrated effort.

Along with the act of the service, there were three things I tried hard to do every single day:
1.  Thank Greg
2. Compliment Greg
3. Tell Greg I love him

 Greg's love language is words of affirmation, so I found that he seemed to appreciate me saying those three things every day more than my acts of service  They seem pretty basic, and by keeping it to three I could remember really easily what I was supposed to be doing every day.  Also, turns out it was really easy to do this, usually just a sentence or two in my daily speech and Greg always reacted extremely well to it.  For example "Thanks so much for going to dinner with me at my mom's tonight. (Thank him).  I really appreciate you being there and you are always so sweet and pleasant with my family. (Compliment Greg)  I love you. (Say I love you)."  

I also tried to be "less insane" which basically means no random emotional outbursts.  I think I only had one for the month, so I consider that a whopping success, all things considered!

Now, on to April!  


I try to make God a part of my daily life, but sometimes it all just gets so hustley and bustley that I feel like He about dang near gets crowded out completely.  In April I want to spend more time contemplating the spiritual and developing deeper connections with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Sub goals:
- 30 minutes of "quiet time" a day- time to read scriptures, ponder, and write down spiritual impressions.  Tell Greg my plan so he is not trying to distract me while I am working on this.
- Attend the temple every week in April.
- Deeper focus during prayers.
- Be patient and loving.  Pray for help throughout the day when I feel like I am lacking.

I am so excited for this goal.  The past six weeks or so have really rocked me in a lot of different ways of my life, and I feel like I need to focus on what really matters.  I feel my dependence on my Heavenly Father more than ever and my need for Him.  I am so excited to try to prioritize everything else accordingly and really focus on the spiritual this month.

January's goal was to be better at blogging- I have continued to try to be better at responding to blog comments, at least responding to the comments on one post per week.  I have felt like I've done better at promoting Bon's Book Club (71 comments on Thursday's discussion on Divergent.  WAHOO!  I hope you are all reading for April The Night Circus- discussion is on April 24) and I have maintained a steady flow of traffic for my blog.  I am still trying to figure out ways to continue grow my blog and at this point I don't have a ton of ideas.  I am kind of over sponsoring. Ideas???

February's goal was to write a book.  In February, I wrote about 13,000 words in my novel, which wasn't great at all, and I was disappointed in myself.  In March, I wrote 34,000 words in my novel- much better!  I'm at 54,000 words now, about 200 pages.  Wowzers!  My goal is to have 75,000 words and very close to finished (if not finished) by the time I go to a writing conference at the end of April.  It is all very excited and very terrifying.

That's a wrap, folks!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Substituting shop- it ain't for the weak at heart!

Welp, today was probably the worst day of "teaching" I have ever had.  I say "teaching" because it wasn't really "teaching" at all, mostly glorified babysitting by someone with a teaching degree, but you know, who wants to sit here and argue semantics?

The secretary emailed this morning and said she needed somebody to cover a fourth period class for one of the shop teachers.  I've got my student teacher holding down the fort with my classes and I kind of miss being in charge of little munchkins so I said, sure sign me up!

Fourth period rolled around and I strutted into the shop classroom like I owned the place- my usual walk.  Today was a "classroom" day so nobody was in the shop at all, rather crammed into a very small space with way too many desks and no windows.  Three girls.  Thirty seven boys.

First I was supposed to have them answer some questions for a a starter.

"Get out a piece of paper, you are going to do a starter," I ordered in my very official teacher Bon voice.

They all stared back at me.

"Now! Get your papers out.  Move it."

 Some of the class started shuffling, slowing leafing through their backpacks at a snail's pace.  It was obvious these boys were in no hurry to get their work done.

A kid in the front row sat with his backpack on, not moving an inch.  "You.  Why don't you have a paper out?" I harrassed him.

He shrugged his shoulders apathetically.

"Get a paper out.  We're doing the starter right now!"  He stared back at me, not saying a word.  I was in shock!  The nerve!  I mean, I interact with high schoolers day in and and day out and they usually at least get their paper out for me.  I'd never seen this kind of blatant disregard for a teacher's orders.

"You're seriously not going to get your paper out?"  At this point it was becoming an issue of control and I am always in control.  I kind of thrive off of it.

He shook his head.

"Wow.  We're really going to do this?  Alright.  Get your paper out or we can take a walk down to the vice principal's office.  I don't care which one you choose."  I did care which one he chose, but you gotta play it cool when you're going to battle with a fourteen year old, you know.  This seemed to scare him a little bit because he slowly shrugged his backpack off his shoulders and started looking for paper.  Victory!

I asked the questions to the starter.  None of the kids wrote down the answers.  They all just stared back at me, with those blank Bambi eyes.

"Yo!  Kiddos!  Write your answers down!"  I ordered.  Why was no one listening to me?

"It doesn't really matter because we just go over the answers in a second and he tells us all the answers and then we just fill it in," answered the one brave girl from the front row.  I looked at my instructions.  Sure enough, the instructions told me to just have the kids self correct their starters and then pass them up.  The girl had a good point.

At this point the room was starting to get very stinky.  Too many boys in a confined space.  Probably my least favorite thing about my current condition of preggerness is that I can smell a burrito form across a football stadium.  I thought this uber keen sense of smell would really come in handy once I was pregnant, but so far it has been nothing but trouble.  I am convinced that 90% of smells in this world are gross, so being able to smell extra good is really more of a horrible, horrible curse than anything else.  Body odors and farts and the heat combined for a winning classroom combination.

I had the kids take a quiz next in which I threatened them with their lives that if they didn't be quiet I would give them zeroes.  I also made them all put away their phones which, given the faces they pulled, you would have thought I asked them to bury their own grandmas.  Attachment disorder for sure with those cellular devices, I tell you what!

The young uns were quiet for about four minutes before they all decided that they weren't so hot into the quiet thing.  As soon as one boy started they all joined in and then it was just Lord of the Flies waiting to happen.  I waved my white flag.

For the remaining hour they were supposed to work on a packet.  I told them so and they all proceeded to put their headphones back in and look at their phones.

"What are you doing?" I asked the sweet girl in the front row.

"I'm watching Frozen," she replied happily, "I've never seen it!"

"What about your packet?"

"Oh, we get three days to work on that so I'll finish it some other time."  I couldn't argue much there- the girl had a point.  In fact, none of the kids were too into getting their packet done- they seemed to regard it more as a light suggestion than an actual assignment.  I didn't much care at this point.

I think it was about this point in the hour that the vice principal came on the intercom and announced that it was time for our lock down drill.  This meant I had to shut the door, turn the lights off and we all had to be quiet.  We managed the closed door and the lights off, but you're a fool if you think I got those rambunctious boys to shut up.  In their defense, about half of them were quiet because they were busily engaged with their cell phones.  The other half were involved in some kind of wrestling frenzy in the middle of a row of desks.  I tried to stop them, I did.  But it was all futile.

The room was getting oh so stinky with the door closed.  No windows, small confined space, 37 teenage boys, oh the horror!  Truly, you can not imagine what I went through this afternoon!

Finally the lock down was over and air was allowed back into our little shop classroom.  A few boys conveniently left to go to some kind of mysterious bathroom from which they never returned.  I wrote their names down, and I will happily fill out truant slips for each one of those tricksters who ventured off on one way journeys to the urinals.  The non sluffing kids worked on their packets, but mostly it was a ruckus, a stinky ruckus start to finish of which I was happy to escape when that final bell rung at last.

And THAT, my friends, is the story of my afternoon substituting a shop class.  Possibly the worst hour and a half I have ever spent in a high school.  I will gladly go back to spending my fourth period aimlessly wandering the halls while I wait the two more weeks until I get my own classroom back.

Tell me, what did YOU do this afternoon?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bon's Book Club: DIVERGENT

Welcome to March's book club, babes!

 (If you link up I'd love you to slap this image on your post somewhere.  Please and thank you!)

2014 Book Club Schedule:

January: The Husband's Secret by Liane Mortiary (January 30)  Discussion here.
February:  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (February 27) Discussion here.
March: Divergent by Veronica Roth (March 27)
April:  Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern (April 24)
May:  The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (May 29)
June:  Matilda by Roald Dahl (June 26)
July:  In Cold Blood  by Truman Capote (July 24)
August:  Brain on Fire:  My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (August 28)
September:  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (September 25)
October:  Z by Therese Ann Fowler (October 23)
November:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio (November 20)
December: My Story by Elizabeth Smart (December 30)

You are welcome to answer any or all of these questions.  Or none of them.  Do whatever you want, people.  I'm not your English teacher.  I answer some of them, not all of them, and I jump around and do whatever I please.  Feel free to follow suit.

+ Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
+ Did you like Tris as the main character?  Why or why not?  Do you see her as a strong female lead?
+ What did you think of the ending of the book?  Was it satisfactory to you?
+ Did you like the writing style?  Why or why not?
+ What was the most surprising or shocking thing in the book for you?
+ How do you feel about Tris and Four's relationship?  Could you tell that Four liked her before Tris figured it out?
+ Anything else you want to say, add, admit, confess?  Now's your time to shine!

First off I would like to open with a big, fat whopping disclaimer.  I know a lot of you really like this book.  And I really wanted to really like this book.  I found the author's blog, and she is awesome.  Her writing is witty and hilarious and she's so down to Earth.  (She even tells how she got lined up with an agent, a how she signed a book deal, etc.  Fascinating!)

And so, I really wanted to like her book. I tried to like it. I hated the first half and then I started to like it (mostly the make out scenes) and I thought, sheesh, I'm going to end up liking this book!  Then my homegirl (can I call you homegirl, Veronica?) went and totally massacred the ending and now I don't like the book at all.  I will not be reading the second or third book, but I am interested enough to look it up on wikipedia to see how it ends, so I suppose there is mild interest there?  Also, I will be seeing the movie the weekend, so I guess somewhere in me I liked something about it?

My other disclaimer is that I listened to the first half of the book on tape and whoever they found to read the book for their tapes is THE WORST.  She had the most dramatic over the top voice.  I couldn't handle it.

The main reason I didn't like this book is that I felt it was flawed in its very premise.  The whole idea of the book is that everyone can fit into one of five categories based on their interests.  But then Beatrice goes to take the test to sort her (also it was too much like The Giver, Matched and Harry Potter with the whole sorting process) and OH MY GOSH SHE HAS MORE THAN ONE INTEREST/ ABILITY.  Now she's this huge anomaly in society and she's do dangerous because she doesn't clearly fit in to one of five very precise boxes.  This whole foundation of the book is flawed.  It would not be that unusual at all to be "divergent".  It would be very common in fact.  Human beings are complex, we are multi faceted, and on any given day with any given person there are tons of elements at play.  To pretend like Beatrice was unique or special because she was divergent just wasn't a strong enough reason to me to make her complex or unusual.  Now, if she could talk to snakes, that'd be something special... (Yes, I love Harry Potter.)

The whole system of the factions seemed extremely flawed to me.  When they are choosing their factions everyone makes it seem like it's this big, happy deal but basically if you leave the faction of your parents you are disowned.  So if you are naturally different in your interests from your parents, then you will be shunned from society?  Even for a flawed society like Roth was trying to create, that didn't make much sense.  There's one part in the book where Tris goes to visit her brother and she says "I'm not allowed to love him anymore."  What?!  Now that's a faction rule?  You can't love your brother if he has different talents and abilities than you?  The idea of  "factionless" didn't make much sense, either.  So if you make a mistake at 16 when choosing your faction, then you have no specialty and have to be a bum for the rest of your life- "Factionless."  I didn't feel like Roth thought out the dystopia enough- it just felt haphazardly strewn together to me and like she was making up rules as she went.

I could not handle Tris' initiation into dauntless.  To start with, how stupid can a group be?  All they do is jump from trains and hang from chasms.  I didn't feel like that was brave at all.  I though it was moronic.  If a 16 year old student told me he had to jump from a train to get into a group I would tell him that he is an idiot.

The other thing that drove me crazy about the initiation was ALL THE SIMULATIONS.  Oh my gosh so many!  End the simulation madness!  Half of the book I spent in some lame simulation in some lame scenario that wasn't even real.  I think she could have gone way way less on this.  Also, as far as the simulations go, I didn't feel like there were clear rules established.  I don't like plot holes, and I felt like there were a lot holes here.  Tris mentions several times that she feels pain, but they are simulations.  Aren't they supposed to be fake?  And if the pain is real then the simulation isn't really fake there now, is it?  Pain is a very real fear so fake simulations with real pain= real simulations.

I know I'm a total book snob, and I'm sorry, but sheesh.  The writing in popular books these days is getting worse and worse.  I didn't expect no F. Scott Fitzgerald when I cracked the book, but at least pretend like you are trying with your writing.  This book feels like it was written at a third or fourth grade reading level.  The sentences were SO short and they always followed the same pattern.  The paragraphs were short, too- there was little development throughout.  In a way I was almost insulted that she didn't work harder with her writing.  I know she can write with a lot more voice and skill than this book because her blog entries are terrific.  I read on wikipedia that she wrote Divergent over her winter break from college so maybe she was just way rushed?  I don't know, but the writing sucked.

EXAMPLE:  p. 442: "I feel like someone breathed new air into my lungs.  I am not abnegation.  I am not dauntless. I am divergent.  And I can't be controlled."  SO much of the writing is like that- short, choppy sentences that follow the same pattern.  Drove me CRAZY.  Also Tris is always having some big revelation that she is... DAUNTLESS.  Or she is... DIVERGENT.  It got pretty old pretty quick.

Lastly, does anyone know why authors seem to be writing in present tense more often?  Hunger Games was written in present tense as is Divergent and it drives me crazy!  I just never feel like a book can reach the beauty or depth or complexity in present tense that it can in past tense.  To me it is a lazy way to write and I see it as a trend in popular writing today.  Is it easier for people to read?

I guess when it comes down to it, I was a little bit insulted when I was reading this book because Roth was SO obvious with where things were going.  The second Four was introduced I knew it was Marcus' son and that he and Tris would end up together.  It was just too obvious the way she laid everything out.  When Tris' mom came to visit it was so apparent that mom had been dauntless before, but then it's supposed to be this huge reveal at the end of the chapter, "My mom was... DAUNTLESS."  Yah, duh.  Figured that out forever ago, sweet cheeks.  I just felt like Roth didn't trust me enough as a reader to draw my own conclusions, she had to tell me for me.  She spelled out everything to me.  There were no subtleties.  I just needed to feel like she trusted me as a reader to understand what was happening and where she was taking me, and I didn't feel that at all.  I felt spoon fed. The whole time.

EXAMPLE:  P. 330- She mentions several times before the chapter starts and in the beginning of the chapter that she wonders why Four is nicknamed Four. THEN Four says she is going to find out why he is named Four.  THEN, after they end his simulation she says, "Those were your worst fears?  Why do you only have four..." My voice trails off.  Only four fears...  "Oh."  I look over my shoulder at him. "That's why they call you--"

Yes, Veronica, we got it.  Next time make it more obvious, I about dang near missed it there!


For me, the strongest part of the book was the middle, which was interesting because this is usually where I lose interest.  I loved her developing relationship with Four and I thought their romance was pretty sweet.  Also I just love kissing scenes, so that was awesome.  (Greg says I'm a perv.  I say books just need more kissing.)  I liked Al's suicide- I thought that was unexpected and really helped to show how far dauntless are willing to go.  I liked some of the initiation.  I liked when she escaped and saw her brother.

I also really enjoyed thinking about the different factions and their possible flaws.  I guess, anything, even when it is something very good, can turn bad if it is not done in moderation.  It was interesting to think how such great qualities as intelligence, bravery, kindness, even selflessness can be a bad thing if used to their excess.

With about 100 pages left in the book there was some hope for me and I thought, by golly, I might just like this book yet!


What the crap was with that ending?!?  Someone answer me now!  Probably the worst ending of any book I have ever read.  So let me get this straight... you are going to make me read 400 pages of initiation into dauntless just to turn every person in dauntless into a mindless robot?  WHY DID THEY JUST GO THROUGH THAT INITIATION?  WHAT WAS THE POINT OF IT?  Nothing!  Because Erudite had the serum to brainwash everyone!  MWAHAHAHAHA.  So why didn't they just do that on pg. 25 and I could have saved myself 400 pages of reading?!  I felt like I just got totally hoodwinked, being forced to read about the development of these people and their faction and then in the end everyone's a zombie conducting a senseless genocide on abnegation!  Oh, it was the worst.  The absolute worst.

And why were they killing abnegation?  I never felt like that was really answered.  They just wanted to kill all the faction because they thought they had too much power?  There was no build up whatsoever to the genocide.  I feel like if you're going to have some big crazy fight, then at least lead up to it, build suspense, tension, fear.  All of a sudden everyone's killing everyone.  The end.

Also, all the fighting was with these mindless dauntless robots.  It wasn't even real fighting.  So lame.  Give me a person who can think, feel, react, not Tris going ape on zombies.

Perhaps the part that bothered me most was the senseless killing of Tris' parents.  It kind of felt like, "Oh, I haven't made this book sad enough... quick, kill mom!  Now kill dad!"  Ta dah! End of book!  The parents didn't have a big enough of a role in the book for their death to mean much anyway, it more felt like it was supposed to mean something.  Now, if mom and dad had been in the book at all it might have meant something, but they were such underdeveloped characters that their slaughter was meaningless and pointless.  It did not have the effect at all that it should have had on readers.

Alright, I know I was a bit harsh, and if you liked Divergent I'm sorry if I just insulted everything about the things you know and love.  Please tell me why you loved it.  Like I said, I wanted to like it.  And I do like Veronica Roth. A lot. I want to be friends with her!  I just couldn't do Divergent.  Forgive me.

If you wrote your own post, link up you fools! If you don't want to write a whole post, leave a comment in the sections.  I will be responding to ALL THE COMMENTS because this is my favorite post of the month!

Divergent Book Questions

Alrighty, peeps.  I'm writing my Divergent book review and I hope you are all doing the same so you can join in on the Divergent party madness.  I'll post my thoughts within an hour (hopefully!  Sometimes I think a post will take me an hour and it takes me three.  Curse this blog!)

You are welcome to answer any or all of these questions.  Or none of them.  Do whatever you want, people.  I'm not your English teacher.

+ Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
+ Did you like Tris as the main character?  Why or why not?  Do you see her as a strong female lead?
+ What did you think of the ending of the book?  Was it satisfactory to you?
+ Did you like the writing style?  Why or why not?
+ What was the most surprising or shocking thing in the book for you?
+ How do you feel about Tris and Four's relationship?  Could you tell that Four liked her before Tris figured it out?
+ Anything else you want to say, add, admit, confess?  Now's your time to shine!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One day I shall have a baby and that baby shall need a room.

Well, well, well.  Look who has gone and got herself a nursery.

ME!  Me!  Me!  It's me!

Katy so generously offered to design a nursery for me and I was quick to accept.  From my lime green wall confessions you should all know by now that I don't have an eye for interior design.  I don't even have an eyelash for it, if we're being honest here.  That's why I'm so grateful for Katy.  I gave her a few simple ideas and she took it and totally ran with it.... like it was nothing!

What I mainly wanted in a nursery was light and airy.  When I got married I was in this very "black" mood.  I bought a black car, I bought black couches, black desks, black curtains, everything black.  Now I walk into my house and I feel like I'm trapped in a morgue where the walls are all closing in around me.  It's awful.  Truly.  Now all I want is for my home to be lighter, airier, happier.  So I suppose we shall start with the nursery?

Anything that is permanent or semi permanent I want to be yellow.  I love the striped yellow wall... I am thinking I will want that on one of the walls- all four may be overwhelming.  The other yellows include the rocking chair and bed sheets.  The main main furniture- crib, dresser, changing table, (I'm going to have a changing table?!?!) I want white.  Then, all the accents can be pink- rugs, frames, lamps, pillows etc.  The idea is that when baby boy comes around in a few years (?!?) that we can switch out the pink for blue and voila, it's a boy's room now!

Also we live in a one bedroom apartment, so at this point all "nursery" design feels very much so fictitious.  The "nursery" is likely the closet, or if the baby is lucky, the laundry room.  Our lease expires here on July 31 and baby is due July 25 so you know, it's going to be a fun end of July.  Long story short is hopefully we get ourselves a nursery one day.  And if not, there's a pantry.  Or my mom's basement.  

Just kidding, mom.  

Kind of.

What do you think?  What's the best nursery you've ever seen and any suggestions for a killer nursery?

P.S. Those of you who do not have children, will not have children, and hate everything to do with decorating, I apologize for this post.  What can I say, now that I've gotten pregnant I'm just so LAAAAAAME!

P.P.S. Also, are ya'll ready to talk about Divergent tomorrow?  I will post questions tomorrow late afternoon/ evening.  I hate it less than I did... so that's progress, I suppose.

P.P.P.S. Oh, and before you go, I want to share this excerpt from a teaching buddy of mine.  He is a fellow English teacher at my old school and one of my favorites.  He covered my butt when I showed up at 9:00 for work one day, so that just shows you how awesome he is.  He and his wife are trying to adopt and would love any support they can get...  Straight from the horse's mouth

Hey there. We’re the Haslams. There’s a major piece missing from our family and to fill this void in our lives and in our hearts, we’re trying our best to adopt. You see, we have a family with just the two of us. But for whatever reason, it’s just not going to work out for us to have kids on our own and a little nugget or two is something we both want more than anything. We know there are many couples just like us and we’re rooting them on as well. We just ask that people stop by our blog, try to get to know us a bit, and reach out to us with potential leads.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Be Kind to Each Other

Alright, folks, a couple of quick announcements for you:

#1:  I have a couple of medium and small spots open for April sponsorship.  I'd love to have you along!  All rates and sponsorship info can be found here.  If you are interested email me at and we'll get you good to go!

#2:  Make sure you finish Divergent!  We are discussing the book on Thursday.  Tomorrow I will put up some questions for the book to help you out if you don't know what to say about it.  I know a lot of you have been reading, so I'm stoked for our discussion.

#3:  Time for another roundtable!  If you are a local blogger, (Provo to Salt Lake area in Utah) this is for you!  In the past I have done themes for the roundtables, but this time around I just kind of want to rehash EVERYTHING.  Blogging is such a changing business and there is always new stuff to discuss.  If you have come before COME AGAIN, and if you haven't ever been, then spring is the perfect time for new beginnings.  I promise t's not threatening at all.  We are all just trying to figure out this blogging game together and coming together to share ideas is the perfect way to grow.  We will hold it in my living room and I will make you all some Bonnie specialty guacamole and strawberry lemonade!

I'm feeling a bit frustrated with myself tonight.  My mom has always called me "sassy."  A lot of times I like this characteristic in myself, but it can turn mean.  I feel like I have this totally bratty side to myself that rears its ugly head when I'm not looking.  Then I wonder if all the niceness and friendship and the sweet things I try to say and do is the real Bonnie, or if it's just some cover up.  If the real Bonnie is there, underneath it all, armed and ready with a quick retort, a jabbing comment, a spiteful remark.  Yesterday I made a comment on facebook that I wasn't proud of and found myself feeling a great need to apologize today. (I swear, facebook brings out the worst in me sometimes!) So I did, but it doesn't take away the fact that it happened.  Then I said some mean things to Greg this afternoon that were uncalled for and that I regretted almost the second I had said them.  It's so weird with spouses or the people we care most about... it is so much easier to say the mean things.  I care about Greg more than anyone, yet sometimes my words or actions toward him aren't nearly as kind as they are to perfect strangers.

Ah, it's an ongoing battle this kindness business.  Why isn't it just easy?

Moving on, I have three beautiful ladies here today that would love to get to know you better and connect with you in this big blogging world we have.  Without further ado...

Jordyn is obsessed with Taylor Swift and claims she should rename her blog, "Like a Taylor Swift song, but less catchy." (Hey, Jordyn looks just like Taylor- why not!)  Her blog's got lots of sass and spunk.  For a great slice of Jordyn try "Love yourself the way you love your bestie" or this post on how to do a diy honey facial. (I'm all for finding cheaper ways to care for my skin!) My  personal favorite, though, is this post about lessons learned from being a "serial monogamist."  Some amazing advice there, Taylor... errr Jordyn!

I have really enjoyed reading Karissa's blog and getting to know her better this month. She is a writer first and foremost, and many of her posts have really made me think.  In April she is doing a blog every day challenge, and I look forward to reading her insights every day. I think my favorite post of hers has to be this one on 7 lessons learned in 7 years of parenthood (My favorite line: "There will be a lot of people who have opinions... most of these opinions suck.  HA!  Preach, girl!) and I also loved her thoughts on marriage and soulmates. (Hint: Our soul mate is who we make our soul mate)  My favorite line from her post: "Most marriages work if you fight for them to work."

Celeste is a blogger who somehow manages to do it all- she blogs like a fiend, is mama to a beautiful ten month old, and just picked up a freelance writing gig.  I have been so inspired by Celeste to do more and push myself harder and be more creative- this post on what is inspiring her was absolutely beautiful.  Her blog is a great mix of serious and fun- I find myself incredibly drawn to some of her more serious, thought provoking posts.  This post on the price women pay for "beauty" was incredibly insightful and I really enjoyed this one on disciplining children.

I hope you spend a bit of time getting to know these ladies.  They are beautiful inside and out and I have loved getting to know them better this month.  Now, while you are all reading up on some new blogs I am going to go see if I can't figure out how to be a nicer person.  Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Out of my comfort zone

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21 weeks.
Photo cred: Aubrey

Shirt: Old Navy
Pants: Wal-mart (My favorite thing I've ever found at Wal-mart.  $12 and SO comfortable.  They are leggings but look like pants.)
Shoes: Gap, sold out.  Similar here
Headband: American Eagle, sold out. Similar here.
Hoodie: H & M
Sunglasses: H & M

My stomach continues to do whatever it wants.  Sometimes it pops out, sometimes it doesn't.  Some days it couldn't be more obvious that I am pregnant and some days I just look bloated.  These were taken right after lunch and on a particularly awesome bumpin day.

I have been trying hard to expand my skills with my blog a little bit.  For two years I have done the exact same thing- written long posts that express all the feelings and yearnings of my heart.  Here and there I have spent my posts just poking fun of things- this weird blogging world, myself, my ginger husband, my students who don't know if Harvard is a real school or not.

This year I have been trying a bit to expand my blogging horizons.  That means that I am trying to be better about going to blogging get togethers and meeting other bloggers.  This has also meant that I have gotten out of my comfort zone with pictures on my blog.  I purchased a fancy pants camera and am trying to take more pictures and at a higher quality level.  I am trying to take more pictures of the clothes I wear and trying to even incorporate a recipe here or there or a diy project here or there.  Mostly I have failed on the recipes and diys because that really just ain't my thang, but I do enjoy getting dressed in the morning.  So boom!  One success!  I have tried to make a more concentrated effort since the beginning of the year to highlight the clothes I am wearing and to tell you all where the clothes have come from.  I guess they call that fashion blogging?  We took these pictures on a crowded street with lots of people driving and walking by.  Some people hollered out their windows.  I felt awkward, but tried to remind myself that getting out of your little comfort bubble is a good thing.  The primary purpose of my blog will always be to share stories and experiences and connect with other readers.  BUT.  I have enjoyed trying to improve the quality of my blog with some higher quality pictures.

These pictures were taken by my blogging buddy turned real friend buddy, Aubrey.  We went to meet a few other bloggers for lunch a week ago and on our way out the purple wall beckoned.  We weren't planning on snapping pictures, but who could resist>  A bright purple wall!  And so it was done!

And now, some other things in which you might have a dire interest.

+  Since the ripe old age of seven I have been trying to stop biting my nails.  I was frustrated at dinner tonight when I noticed myself once again biting my nails off.  Will I ever rid myself of this habit?  I want pretty finger nails! But I swear, it's impossible!
+ I don't have school tomorrow.  End of the quarter was Friday so I get a day off.  Holler!  It works out perfectly because Mondays are Greg's usual day off of work.  That means that tonight Greg and I are going to stay up late and play Mario and eat popcorn like little kids.  Maybe we'll build a fort. Life is good.
+ Tomorrow we are playing tennis.  Life is extra good.
+ The weather! The weather! The weather!  It's spring at last!
+ Maverick is in a biting cords stage.  It's weird.  He doesn't bite anything else in the whole house.  Leaves my shoes completely alone.  But he will tear into our internet chord like it's his job.  He's an odd dog.
+ I ordered this book and this book from Amazon this week.  My strategy when dealing with anything unknown is to read the crap out of it.  Thus I shall do with the upcoming baby.  One book, Baby wise, is on teaching baby to sleep and the other book, Bringing up Bebe is about just chilling the freak out during pregnancy.  I'm guessing I will need both of these.
+ Speaking of reading, are you all getting ready to discuss Divergent on Thursday?  I can't wait to tell you all why I hated it.  Just kidding.  Kinda.
+  Today, I've teamed up with these beautiful ladies to bring you a great giveaway, it will be a lovely gift to all moms and moms to be ! One lucky winner will get $100 EggBaby gift card!  To enter to win, complete the entries using the widget below. The Giveaway is open to all U.S. residents and will run for 1 week. Good luck and happy shopping!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let's celebrate, people!

Dress:  Nordstrom

A few months ago a facebook friend of mine posted that her husband got all As for the semester.  I can't exactly tell you why, but the status bothered me.

And so, I wrote a facebook status rebuttal, if you will.  It said something along the lines of  "The only thing more annoying than bragging about your good grades on facebook is bragging about your husband's good grades on facebook."

Thankfully, my brother called me out on it.  Gosh, I'm lucky to have brothers.  (I realize that sounds sarcastic, but I say it in earnest.)

He wrote me a very kind private message on facebook and basically said he thinks it's great that we celebrate accomplishments- whether they be ours or our spouses'.  I celebrate when Greg gets the lead in a play, my brother's wife celebrates when he runs a marathon, etc.  He said that he likes the positivity of these posts, and being there's so much negativity, suffering, hardship, etc in the world, there's nothing wrong with celebrating achievements or successes.  In other words, let people brag.  He also said that my status didn't make me seem like a very nice person.  I thought about it for a few minutes and decided I agreed with him.  So I took it down.

I was reminded of all this today when I read Kym's post about celebrating achievements.  Facebook and social media have done something weird to us, I believe.  We are paranoid about what we can share. This is too personal, this is too braggy, this is too complainy, this is too boring, this is oversharing, this is too vague.  (Articles like this one criticize practically ever possibly thing you could ever want to share on social media.)  I admit that, like when reading the status of her husband's grades a few months ago, I have been annoyed especially by the braggy facebook statuses.  "Hey! You or someone close to you did something awesome/ reached a new goal/ had great success?  Good now shut up!"

I'm not proud of this attitude of mine, I just realize that it was kind of there... a slight annoyance of anyone sharing a celebration of facebook or any social media outlet.  If I really want to go all psychologist on myself I would probably tell you that it stems from my own insecurities and doubts and struggles and fears.  Isn't that what it always stems from?  I don't care who you are, there is struggle and fear in all of us so perhaps more than anything we can all relate to being annoyed by a brag.  Somehow we think it brings us down when others achieve.

It doesn't.

I'll never forget the night about a year ago when I went to an improv workshop with Greg taught by Dave Rozowsky.  Strangely enough, he taught a lot of life lessons. One of the ones that stuck out the most to me was that he said that we have to give up on the idea that success or happiness is going to run out. It isn't. Just because one person buys a house doesn't mean all the houses are gone and now I can't buy a house.  One person's pregnancy doesn't mean we're out of pregnancies for the year.  One person's healthy body doesn't mean there aren't any more healthy bodies for me. There is enough.  There will always be enough.

There. Is. Enough.

Admittedly, I have been a bit worried since I got pregnant that people may be annoyed by my pregnancy posts or updates.  Maybe I'm overdoing it?  But gosh dang it, I'm excited!  So should I not show that excitement because others think it's annoying?  A blogger friend of mine just suffered a miscarriage.  Should I not post about feeling my baby move inside of me?  My cousin just got pregnant with her third boy, should I not say I'm stoked about having a girl?  The online world is so hard to navigate, and especially, it seems when you are happy.

I guess I think we all need to stop it with that crap.  Let's let people brag!  Life is hard enough even with all of our great accomplishments.  So why hide them?  Successes and celebrations are what make life worth living.

And so, I declare this an official brag safe zone.  Let's let the best bragging session of our lives begin.  I will start and brag to my heart's content about me and the people in my life.  Then it's your turn, brag to me in the comments about why your life is awesome.  I can't wait to hear them and I hope to be reading braggy comments all weekend long.

Here goes!

I ran a mile today!  I have stayed healthy and energized and am gaining a healthy amount of weight in my pregnancy!  In other words, I'm not too fat yet!

I'm going to Europe in two months!

My husband surprised me with KFC tonight which is my favorite.  He's a good husband who makes an efforts to do little things like this for me all the time.

My mom is an incredible woman- she lost my dad unexpectedly four years ago but hasn't let that get her down at all.  She lives a life of service and never acts disadvantaged or victimized.  She is giving and a great listener.  She is the strongest person I know.

My husband is very good looking.  He has a fast metabolism and a strong jawline.  He has a full head of hair.  He is better looking than any of the boys I used to date or have crushes on.

Two of my brothers are really fast runners.  They both qualified for the Boston marathon.  Wow!

My third brother is winning a fitness competition at his work because his body fat percentage is so low.

My fourth brother (four brothers!) is an awesome lawyer who does his best to get me out of all my speeding tickets.  He is a very quiet, likeable guy who everyone loves.

My little sister is a genius.  She got a 34 on the ACT and is graduating from college in biochemisty or something equally ridiculous in April.

My oldest sister is a terrific writer.  She inspires me to keep writing.  She also makes the best salads I've ever had.

My other sister (three sisters!) lives in Germany.  This week she gets to go to Israel.  She has lived all over the United States and Europe and gets to travel and see so many cool places that I will only dream of.

My high school friend has launched one of the most successful projects on kickstarter ever.  He's going to be a millionaire.  Go dinos!

My best friend was able to quit teaching and now makes the same amount if not more from her etsy jewelry business.

My student teacher is doing so great in the classroom.  She gets better and more confident every day.  The students really like her. She has an interview on Monday and I know she will easily land a teaching job.

I'm going to Arizona in two weeks to visit all my college homies!  I have awesome girlfriends who I have been able to maintain close relationships with.  I'm so grateful for my friends!

Wow!  It feels so good to brag celebrate the good things in life.  Now it's your turn!  Please leave a comment bragging about celebrating something fantastic in your life.  Remember... There is enough!