Bookish Highlights

Life is changing so much everyday, but I thought I’d share a few of the highlights with you.

I recently got some pretty cool bookmail when I splurged on two indie books I was eyeing.

Snow-Crossed Letters by Chautona Havig, a.k.a. my upcoming Christmas read. It looks absolutely adorable, and I’m counting on there being some surprise encouragement, true to this author’s form. πŸ˜‰

Ignite by Jenna Terese looks SO, SO COOL. The cover, the concept, the fact it’s a duology… 😍😍

🀩

Speaking of books, the amazing leaders of my recovery/discipleship group hosted a bridal shower for me, and they made it book-themed.

The book titles. πŸ€—

Every detail was so special. ❀️

Yours truly, posing like the happy bean she is. 😁

It was a really special day, and I feel very loved. ❀️❀️

Also book and wedding related–I’ve been packing! Joshua just moved into the apartment, so I’m getting ready to move some of my stuff over there to make room here for more wedding prep. πŸ˜…

My lonely shelf getting ready to move on to new adventures.

I promise these aren’t just books. I have Funko Pops (quite a few actually 😁😁) and some keepsakes in there too. But it is also mostly books. *gulps and grins

I’ve been packing up baking stuff as well, getting rid of a few things, and managing Covid quarantine, but I somewhere in there I’ve managed to read a little, brainstorm a little, and keep up on GBBO.

I wonder what’s next. 😁

(Thank you for the bridal shower and the pictures, Pat!)

My Jewish Identity & Mini Review

(This was meant to be a review, but the book was too good and I read it too long ago, so I went a little off-topic and mostly talked about my own experiences. πŸ˜‰)

I’ve always known I was Jewish (on my mom’s side, so technically completely Jewish–it’s cool like that), and I’ve grown up with more of the traditions and culture than your average person.

But in the last three years it’s meant a lot more to me. I discovered it would be possible for me to immigrate to Israel if I wanted. I learned more Yiddish words, and we celebrated Chanukah again for the first time in a while. I grew concerned with ideological threats to Israel and have started keeping track of their news. I even research our Ashkenazi genetics for fun because they’re pretty weird. πŸ˜‚

In all of this, it’s actually become harder to read Jewish books. The Holocaust, aka the main topic of all our books for some good reasons, has become more personal and yet not… We already lived in the US, we didn’t lose anyone close that I know of, and all our backstories are pretty average.

I feel a connection to Israel, to the Jews lost or forever changed by the Holocaust, to the holidays and history and working hand of God, but it feels presumptuous to allow myself this. It’s hard to fit in anywhere, so I carefully walk a line between loving and ignoring this heritage.

Broken Strings by Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer is one of the few books that has made me feel most at home. It’s a story not focused (for once) solely on WW2 or the Exodus or the other handful of topics Jewish characters get. The main character is an American Jew learning more about her complicated heritage (sound familiar? πŸ˜‰) while getting to rehearse a school play of The Fiddler on the Roof (a.k.a. the greatest piece of Jewish media of all time and a huge favorite of some relatives I never got to meet). Let’s just say my nerd heart was happy, and I enjoyed the quiet, natural discussions of healing, diversity, and loving all people. Truly satisfying.

An Empowering Book

Do you ever buy a book just because it’s beautiful and then you find that the contents are even more beautiful in ways you couldn’t have even imagined?

I bought this book because the concept sounded cute, and I absolutely love the illustrators’ work, but beyond that Empowered by Catherine Parks was just another book.

Until I opened it up and was immediately hit with a Gospel-rich introduction. The easy to read, short chapters slipped past my 2020-induced reader’s block, and I wanted to both savor it and gobble it up.

Le book

Numerous chapters brought on the tears with portraits of women of God in unique, defining moments of their lives. I learned about Pandita Ramabai, Esther Ahn Kim and others, women of color whose stories I’d either never heard or only knew the revisionist details of.

I read stories about the Ten Boom sisters, Elizabeth Elliott, and others you would expect, ready to skim over testimonies that felt literally drilled into my head but was shocked and delighted to find new perspectives, new highlights to their lives, and even more inspiration and encouragement.

I found topics such as racism, slavery, and the Holocaust to be handled with age-appropriate honesty and respect to those who experienced them, and I would hand this book to readers of all ages.

The study questions, while best used in a book club of middle-grade readers, were helpful and interesting to me as well.

Charlotte Grimke

The illustrations (as expected! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜) were a delight, and God shone through every chapter.

Fall Is Best Of All (Giveaway)

I can see fall coming before I feel it.

The light changes, softens into a gentle haze of gold and gray.

The days are gentler and the nights come sooner.

The weather shifts one day into cool, crisp, and exciting then back again into muggy, warm, and blistering.

Soon it will settle out into the first and not the latter and then I will need to find my sweater.

Soon.

Fall is my favorite season. The flavors, the colors, the clothes, and the overall vibe that says “of course you should stay in and read”. 🧑

This year in celebration of fall, I wanted to give away a small package of coziness…

Included in the giveaway are…

  • 2 mini mugs (orange and cream)
  • Small pumpkin candles
  • Empowered by Catherine Parks
  • Broken Strings by Eric Walters
  • …and whatever other goodies I decide to add!

(The absolutely yummy sweater background is not included. Giveaway only available to the contiguous US.)

ENTER HERE

I’ll be back next week with a couple reviews of the books, but for now HAPPY FALL!!

(Special thanks to Joshua for taking the giveaway picture before it rained. That was a close one. πŸ˜‚β€οΈ)

Happy Cake Week!

Last night I finally got to watch the very first episode of 2021’s Great British Bake-Off. 😍😍 As someone who fell in love with and binged the whole show last year, it’s truly a delight to get to watch it in semi-realtime.

I’m already in love with this year’s batch of bakers, and I could only wish to make mini rolls as precisely and beautifully as Giuseppe’s. Honestly, I want to try all the recipes now.

It’s too early on for me to have opinions on who’s going to win, but I’m excited to watch this unfold.

The only reason I watched it so late (just two days *cough*) was because I was having a cake week of my own.

This crazy, crazy week of mine, with a ton of support from my family and Joshua, I baked, stacked, frosted, packaged up, and sold mini cupcakes and small cakes at a ladies’ event our church hosted.

Behold…

My booth in action. My mom and sisters brought decorating supplies and an enormous pumpkin and helped me set up this table. We kept some stock inside the building but stacked a lot on my table.

Aren’t the boxes adorable?!

Some of my favorite cakes. 🀀 Chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate coffee. I also had some spiced coffee ones there too.

My sister Perry made the labels, and I totally felt like a real professional. πŸ˜‰

It was a ton of fun, and people were so generous and excited for me. ❀️

Now, what week comes next? 😁

Dear Barnes and Noble

Dear Barnes and Noble,

Thank you for the mail. The postcard is adorable, and I’m so glad your new location is finally open, but I must confess something…

I already knew.

The moment I saw your distinctive sign go up on the husk of a former bookstore, I waited impatiently.

Your moving sale previously had been both crushing and a delight. A delight because I could finally afford to splurge on the beautiful volumes I’d much admired, but crushing because you were yet another bookstore to leave me.

And now you are back.

I visited with my fiance just a few days before your postcard. The shelves are a different shade of brown, everything is smaller and more open, but the magic is there.

So many books, surrounding me, beckoning, their bright covers turned out to face the room.

Wider pathways where I can shop in an empty bubble and focus solely on the books.

Special tables of books to take my notice, either with their sales or recommendations.

A wider selection with a lower quantity of each individual book, showing you’ve learned to adapt and compete in this brave new book world.

I’m glad you are back, and I will be too. Soon.

Love,

Kate

All About You Around the Blogosphere Tag

Kristianne Hassman made this tag look so fun, I stole it with her permission. πŸ˜‚ Thanks, Kristianne!

The Rules:
1. Answer the questions below on your blog.
2. Tag at least a couple other bloggers.
3. Have them answer these questions.

Question time!

1. What’s your favorite book/book series and why?

That’s a really hard one, since I’ve read a lot and loved most of it. It’s a pretty good problem to have. πŸ˜‰

I’d say right now, it’s The Mysterious Benedict Society series, especially books 1 and 3. They are just so engrossing, full of truth and whimsy together, and entirely too brilliant to boot. I was recently reminded of how good they are when I watched the Disney+ show of the first book.

2. Who is your favorite author?

Also a hard question. *rubs hands together* Sarah Holman is an old favorite in the indie world, Toni Shiloh is a new favorite (also indie, though she’ll be hybrid next year!), Ally Condie a favorite mainstream, and C.S. Lewis for nostalgia purposes. That was four, oops.

3. What is your favorite food?

I have two modes–avocado, cashews, and fruit when I’m feeling healthy or goooood, creamy, HEAVENLY mac and cheese. 🀀

4. What gives you inspiration for your books?

Honestly? Everything… My observations of my family and friends and random strangers, my own anxieties funneled into something manageable and solvable in a fictional realm, my inner wondering and wanderings, and Biblical teachings I’ve run across.

I’m also inspired by the fiction I read and the media I watch, especially if it’s an annoying TV show plotline I feel the need to fix.

5. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Somewhere UK-ish, and by that I mean foggy, rainy, perfect for growing vegetables, and with a sense of long history to it.

6. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert, to the max. Before the pandemic, I’d say I could see myself becoming more outgoing (which isn’t the same as extroversion) but the past several months have really turned me back into a Hobbit for better and worse. πŸ˜‰

7. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

“The emotions are strong with this one.”

A.k.a. a Star Wars reference warning you I am a Nerd and also explaining my emotional state. πŸ˜‰


This was such a fun tag! I hope you all enjoyed reading my answers. πŸ˜‰

I nominate . . .

Katja at Little Blossoms for Jesus
Jana T at Reviews from the Stacks

Liberty H. at Gone in a Dream

Feel free to answer these questions down in the comments as well!

Three Kids in a Trench Coat

There are so many big changes happening so fast right now.

Our first wedding gift arrived, boxes of belongings and wedding decorations swamp me, apartment hunting = stress, and I’m trying to keep up on homework for my church’s recovery group (more on that later πŸ˜‰) and a ginormously boring work project.

There’s even been some gray in my hair, but only because I tried cornstarch as dry shampoo and used way too much and couldn’t get it all out in time before dinner with one of our pastor’s families. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ #truestory #doyouthinkanyonenoticed

It’s all good things, and the fulfillment of some of my best dreams, but some days it’s just a lot to deal with.

This weekend, I had one day where I felt particular emotionally overwhelmed and really needing some encouragement.

Into my notifications walked the new Pixar short, Twenty Something.

With amazing 2d animation, this short explores the idea of feeling like three kids in a trench coat faking your way through life–and doing terribly at it. πŸ˜‚

It brought (more) tears to my eyes and a sweet reminder that I am not alone and everyone’s had to deal with figuring life out. πŸ˜‰

Go watch it, and be sure to measure your cornstarch moderately!

I’m a Little Short

I chose this title because it cracks me up because anyone who knows me knows I’m just 5′ 4″ and my super tall fiance sometimes makes me feel even shorter.

I meant to talk about something completely different, but since I got on the subject and then searched for memes (as you do) here are some to enjoy/groan over.

And I live in the desert Southwest. πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜‚

πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚

That last bit hurt, lol.

Kate McNugget, at your service. πŸ––

This one literally hurts. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I like being short most of the time, but not when this happens. πŸ˜‚

Okay, but back to what I was actually talking about.

Maybe it’s the case for all of you, I’m not really sure since I’ve been out of the loop for so long, but I’m a little short on blogs to read.

I enjoy ones with semi-regular content of a creative, cheerful, and clean nature. Got any recs? I’d so love it if you’d drop your favorites in the comments.

Update: You all have given me some amazing blogs to follow, and I’m so encouraged by the community. (Also, the short girl solidarity. πŸ˜‚) Keep em coming! And thanks so much!