5 Songs I’m Loving Right Now

1. “Anchor of My Soul” — Josh Garrels | Mmm, good.

2. “Pretend You’re Alive” — Lovedrug | I’m a sucker for a strong melody.

3. “Silas the Magic Car” — Mew | Totally weird. Totally awesome. And sad.  I like sad songs.

4. “Use Me Up” — Hanson | I’ve been listening to the acoustic version, but this one’s good too.

5. “Transatlanticism” — Death Cab for Cutie | Another sad song FTW.

Books I Would Love To See As A Movie

Movies that are either in production or at least are surrounded by rumors of going into production:

The Magician’s Nephew | To my knowledge, this one has not yet been confirmed.  But I NEED it.

The Night Circus | This is going to be a sensory masterpiece.  David Heyman is producing!

The Book Thief | The release date was moved to November 15.  OHMYGOSH, there are PHOTOS on the IMDB site!  Fangirling right now.


The Fault in Our Stars | Nervous about the casting choices for this, but trying to have faith.  John Green approves!  In fact, of Shailene Woodley, he said, “Also loved what she did. She made me cry, and TFiOS-related things basically never make me cry, on account of how I know what’s going to happen and everything.”

Jellicoe Road | This is currently the most important adaptation to me.  It basically ALL hinges on whom they cast for Jonah Griggs.  Pictures of places they are scoping out for the movie here.


Books I Desperately Want to be Made into Movies:

The Sky is Everywhere | But I literally can’t picture an actor with a good enough smile to play Joe Fontaine.  Ideas?  OHMYGOSH, IMDB says it’s “in development.”


Saving Francesca | need Will Trombal to be on the big screen.  (Come to think of it, I think this one is actually going to happen!)

Piper’s Son | The answer is always “More Marchetta please.”

Lumatere Chronicles | We need the equivalent of young Eddie Redmayne for Finnikin.

young eddie

Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers | Come on.  A girl can dream, right?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Worst Music Videos Ever

You know this list is gonna be awful/incredible when the best of the worst is “Friday”!

5. “Friday” by Rebecca Black | Just asking that mind-stumping question of the ages: which seat can I take?

4. “Mass Text” by Tay Allyn | Is this a joke?  I mean, it’s that annoying.

3. “It’s Thanksgiving” by Nicole Westbrook | The guy who did “Friday” did this one too.  Be sure to hang with it till the amazing rap into the turkey leg microphone!

2. “Hot Problems” by Double Take | This pretty much seals their spot in the Mean Girls Hall of Fame.

1. “Goodbye” by D4NNY | My heart goes out to this kid– he looks so sweet, and he tried so hard.  Unfortunately …

TV Shows of my Youth

Random 5 Friday is a weekly meme over at A Rural Journal.

Today I want to tell you about the shows I grew up watching!

1. Rescue 911.  Narrated by William Shatner, baby.  Is there something strangely gruesome about three kids who would hustle through baths and into pajamas in time to watch a show reinacting crimes, injuries, and accidents?  We loved it.  And we especially loved the end where Shatner would say, “Next time, on RESCUE ………………………………………… 911.”  The pause was Seacrest-worthy.


2. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  I can’t have been the only young girl with a devastating crush on Sully.


3. Square One TV.  My siblings and I didn’t even realize we were being tricked into learning math.  The best part of this show was the last 10-15 minutes, featuring MATHNET, where two mathematicians solved crimes.  (It was like the original NUMB3RS!)  My sibs and I geeked out on MATHNET, pretending to punch details into our fake calculators right along with the investigators, and doing a three-way high-five when we’d solve a crime.  George Frankly was the name of the male investigator.  Over the years, he had two female partners: Kate Monday and Pat Tuesday.  And no, I didn’t have to look any of this up either. 🙂

Bottom left: Pat Tuesday and George Frankly

Bottom left: Pat Tuesday and George Frankly

4. Ghostwriter.  WORD!  “He’s a ghost, and he writes to us.  Ghostwriter.  What a trip!”  Another mystery-solving show, this time featuring a team of kids from the city solving cases with the help of a ghost who could read.  Again, tricked into learning!  Gotta love it!  My sister even carried around a “case book” and wrote to “GW.”


5. Boy Meets World.  Heck yes.  Shawn, Corey, Topanga and gang were featured in the show to watch in junior high and high school.  Did you know that there is a companion series coming out soon called Girl Meets World, featuring Corey and Topanga’s daughter?  Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage are returning!



What were your favorites?

My YouTube Obsession

Random 5 Friday is a weekly meme over at A Rural Journal.

Today … details about my YouTube obsession!

1. The VlogBrothers (Hank and John Green) are my favorites.  I’m a total Nerdfighter and watch every one of their videos, which are posted Tuesdays and Fridays.  I proudly donated to Project for Awesome as a member of Nerdfighteria.  On a strange but related note, I don’t watch but love to listen to the John Plays FIFA videos on HankGames, just so that I can soak up everything John Green has to say about (pretty much) any issue.  Somewhere in the midst of learning John’s fascinating views on fan fiction, what minors should/shouldn’t be allowed to do, academic grades, writing and literature, etc., I ended up kinda falling in love with the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers.


2. Miranda Sings makes me laugh almost every single video.  Colleen Ballinger is the comedian behind the Miranda Sings characters, an awkward homeschooler with a horrible singing voice– but who thinks she’s incredible.  My favorite part of each video are the “Fan and Hate Mail of the Day” bits.  The hate mail is particularly enjoyable, especially because most people don’t know it’s an act.  I hope I didn’t spoil it for you!


3. Craig “Wheezy Waiter” Benzine is one of the most creative people out there.  If you watch even a week’s worth of his videos, you’ll already start to be a part of about 100 inside jokes.  I wore my “Explosion Wednesday” t-shirt when Wheezy’s band Driftless Pony Club came to Minneapolis, and I definitely shouted, “I love you, Craig!” from the audience.  Cuz I’m creepy like that, I guess.


4. The WHATTHEBUCKSHOW is another favorite.  Michael Buckley reports on celebrity gossip in a fast-talking-no-holds-barred-hilariously-endearing way.  He even replied to one of my comments, which, out of context, is going to make ZERO sense to you.


5. Nor can I get enough of Arturo Trejo, Alex Day, Kory DeSoto, and Mitchell Davis.


6. I think I might be a loser. 🙂



Book-to-Movie Adaptations!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s topic is




5. Where the Red Fern Grows | Classic!!

4. Anne of Green Gables | Megan Follows is Anne Shirley to me.

3. Prisoner of Azkaban | The first Potter movie to really hit the nail on the head.

2. Deathly Hallows 1 & 2 | Cinematic dreams.  I had so much fun at the midnight showings of these!

1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe | A well-done adaptation of a favorite book.



5. The Magician’s Nephew | To my knowledge, this one has not yet been confirmed.  But I NEED it.

4. The Night Circus | This is going to be a sensory masterpiece.  David Heyman is producing!

3. The Book Thief | Released on my 32nd birthday!!

2. The Fault in Our Stars | Nervous about the casting choices for this, but trying to have faith.

1. Jellicoe Road | This is currently the most important adaptation to me.  It basically ALL hinges on whom they cast for Jonah Griggs.

What are your favorites and soon-to-be-favorites?

Roses and Janie “mash-up”

Turn this song on and read the poem below it for the most deliciously melancholy experience.

(Am I weird for liking sad songs and poems?  I love them!)

by Billy Collins

In those weeks of midsummer
when the roses in gardens begin to give up,
the big red, white, and pink ones—
the inner, enfolded petals growing cankerous,
the ones at the edges turning brown
or fallen already, down on their girlish backs
in the rough beds of turned-over soil,

then how terrible the expressions on their faces,
a kind of was it all really worth it? look,
to die here slowly in front of everyone
in the garden of a bed-and-breakfast
in a provincial English market town,
to expire by degrees of corruption
in plain sight of all the neighbors passing by,

the thin mail carrier, the stocky butcher
(thank God the children pay no attention),
the swiveling faces in the windows of the buses,
and now this stranger staring over the wall,
his hair disheveled, a scarf loose around his neck,
writing in a notebook, writing about us no doubt,
about how terrible we look under the punishing sun.

I Celebrate the Day


“I Celebrate The Day”

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let
You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me,
in the exact same place as New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes,
did You realize that You would be my Savior?

And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever?

And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might really live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

How/why does a good and all-powerful God allow bad things to happen?

In light of the recent shooting at the Connecticut elementary school, many people are asking this question.  Years ago at a youth workers’ conference in Atlanta, I heard one of the most stirring messages of my life, delivered by Louie Giglio, and I have never forgotten what he had to say there.  In fact, his message has taken up residence inside my heart so permanently that it made its way into the novel I’m writing.  Here’s an excerpt:

He moved so that he was sitting beside me, both our backs against the tower wall.  “You know, West, I believe that God is in control of everything.”

“Even over the bad things?”


“Death?  Disease?”




“Solipsism syndrome?”

The pause was brief.  “Yes.”

Why?” I asked.

“The cross,” he said simply, and when I didn’t answer, he took my hand in both of his and explained, “When Christ died, his followers looked at his bloody body on the cross and said, ‘That is the worst thing in the universe.’  The ugliest.  The most horrific.”

I nodded, prompting him to go on.

“After the resurrection, Christians say that same image was the most incredible, amazing thing in the universe,” he said.  “How is that possible?  How is it that one weekend separated the worst thing from being the best thing?”  He leaned his head back against the wall, looking up toward the tower roof.  “That is how I believe that God is in control of everything.”

One thought wrestled its way to the front of my mind, and I blurted out, “But why was it necessary?”

Silas frowned.  “Eden.  The fall of man,” he said.

I shook my head.  “Even that,” I said.  “If God is in control of everything—like you say—then why did humanity fall at all?  Why wouldn’t God just have life go on perfectly, like in the garden at the beginning?  He could have stopped Adam and Eve from ever screwing things up.”

“I think,” said Silas with a sincerity that almost frightened me, “that God favors redemption over perfection.”

“You mean … you mean, he prefers a rescue operation over having no need for one?” I asked.

“That,” said Silas, “is exactly what I mean.”

You can watch the sermon that so impacted my life below, and I hope that you will.  Forty-five minutes of your time is a small price to pay for such a life-changing message.  If you choose to watch, will you post your thoughts in the comments section below?  I’d love to start a healthy and friendly discussion.