April Showers Bring May…Showers?


Eastern Washington has been oddly rainy the past couple of days. For those of you who aren’t from Washington, you may be surprised to find out that we actually have two very different sides of the state with drastically different weather. The weather over here is actually dry and desert-y and not at all like the Seattle rain depicted in every Washington movie ever (I’m looking at you, Sleepless in Seattle). While I love the occasional rainy day when I can bundle up on the couch with blankets and hot soup, I’m not a fan of it when I have to try and be an actual functioning adult. However, one thing makes it much more bearable-which brings me to my first favorite!

The North Face

Like every PNWer, I live in North Face attire for three quarters of the year. One of my favorite two pieces is the women’s ‘Venture’ jacket. It fits over a sweatshirt and is super lightweight (I literally stuff it up and put it in my purse) and works great to keep out wind and rain. I am currently coveting the yellow one, but due to my funds (or lack of) I am making myself stick with the plain black version I have had for the past three years or so. Let me tell ya-best $100 I’ve ever spent on clothing. Ever!

My other NF favorite (do the cool people call North Face NF? Probably not…) is the puffy vest they have (I think it’s the ‘Nupsete’) in black. In the winter I wear it literally every day-over sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, jerseys, sweaters, flannels…the list goes on and on. At $150 or so it’s definitely an investment, but considering I wear it at least four times a week fall through spring it is money well spent. See below pics if you don’t believe me about it’s versatility!

Vest Pic

Freebies

Okay, so remember last week I told you about how much I adore Nordstrom’s free shipping? Well…I have another shopping confession. I LOVE freebies. I mean who doesn’t, right? But it can be a serious problem. I will pop onto a website with no intention of buying something and end up with $50 of it in my cart because, FREE GIFT! This may or may not have happened recently. I can neither confirm nor deny that if you spend $32 on Clinique at Nordstrom you get an awesome make up bag stuffed with goodies. Okay, it’s true. And okay, I did it. I am actually stoked because the bag contains a few travel size products I’ve really been wanting to try. But honestly (you have to believe me!) I’ve been working on restraint when it comes to impulse purchase just because it’s on sale or because you get a free gift with it. Yes, the item may be on sale and you’re saving $20, but if you weren’t going to spend that $20 in the first place, is it really saving money?

Jesus Calling

My last favorite for now (because you’re probably already sick of hearing about my latest shopping escapades) is the devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It’s not new by any means (I think it was published in 2004) but it’s new to me-I got it in the fall of last year. And seriously, if you get just one devotional book in your life, make it this one!

Basically, the book contains a short devotion for each day of the year along with corresponding Bible verses. What I love the most is that I can spend as much or as little time I have reading it and still get something out of it. On the Saturday mornings when I wake up early and do my devos on the porch while drinking coffee (ahh, can it be the weekend yet?) I can easily spend 45 minutes reading and writing and praying. And on the flip side, on the mornings that I wake up late or have trouble getting out of bed, I can spend 5 minutes reading through the day and saying a quick prayer. Now, I’m not proud of the fact that I don’t regularly carve an hour out of each day to spend doing my devos, but the reality is that some days I will spend more time and some days I will spend less-and this book works for both.

I can’t even begin to tell you how dang relevant they are either-a few weeks ago I had several meetings for work that I was particularly anxious over, and the devo for the day was “Do not be afraid for I am with you…No matter what happens, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Let this assurance soak into your mind and heart, until you overflow with Joy. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, you need not fear!” Um, what. It was like God handpicked that just for me. Anyway, long story short is that if you are a person just starting to test out your faith and need a good devo book-this is for you. And if you have been a Christian for 45 years and want something to read every day-this is for you. No matter where you are at in your journey of faith, I think you’ll love this book!

JC

Well, that’s it for now! Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments, or if you have a devo book that you love, please share a recommendation with me! And PS, all of the pictures in this post are from my Instagram-follow along with me at @coteatracy (or don’t-let’s be honest, I usually just post pictures of my coffee and fat cat). And PPS, I’m not sponsored in any way by Nordstrom/North Face/Jesus Calling/etc.-the stuff I ramble on about is actually what I’m loving. Although, if someone were to want to give me free stuff, I wouldn’t be opposed. Wait, no-that’s supposed to be something I’m working on! Life is hard, friends. Happy Tuesday!

“Friday Favorites”


I’ve recently been subscribing to some style blogs-because obviously my style needs some serious work. I’ve noticed that the current theme with all of them is “Friday Favorites” in which the blogger highlights their favorite…stuff. Clothes, shops, gifts, jewelry, other bloggers, etc. In an effort to be more blogger-y, I thought, maybe I should do this! But then I remembered I suck at sticking to regular posts. Don’t even remind me about the time I tried to complete the Month of Thankfulness-you can see I turned it into a Year of Thankfulness, which should actually be YearS of Thankfulness because it’s been like two years and I still haven’t completed a month’s worth of posts.

But I digress. In an effort to join in on this awesome trend (actually, I don’t even know if I can call it a trend since I’m pretty sure everyone has been doing this for years) I decided I will make a “Current Loves” section. If you read between the lines, yes, that is a Friday Favorites without time constraints. Sneaky, I know.

To start off with I thought I would share with y’all three of my current favorites:

House Hunting

As you might know, J and I are moving to North Carolina this summer so that I can attend grad school. We have been searching for houses and apartments through various websites for the past few months but have really gotten serious the past six weeks or so. Later this month we are flying over for a quick trip to (hopefully!) find our next home! I am SO stoked and have loved looking at everything from falling down little bungalows to huge mansions (that are a bit out of our price range ;) ) and everything in between. We obviously won’t be buying our dream home-because, let’s face it, we’re poor and have a lot of student loans-but it’s always fun to look. Never stop dreaming-because if you’re not dreaming, you’re just sleeping.

HouseBut really-how adorable is this house right in Wilmington?! I love the shutters and pillars. All I want to do is add a rocking chair and start drinking sweet tea!

Nordstrom’s Free Shipping

Okay, so I know that I’m super late hopping on this free shipping bandwagon, but seriously…Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns on everything. EVERYTHING! One of my biggest pet peeves is having to pay shipping on online orders (I know, I know-first world problems) and especially on returns. Nordstrom offers free shipping both ways all the time with no minimum order! They also offer price matching. Um, what. Needless to say, I have spent a bit more than usual in the shopping department the past month. Oops.

Boyfriend Jeans

As much as I want to be stylish and adultish, comfort trumps everything in my book. I LOVE that boyfriend jeans are not as tight as normal jeans, look cute with basically every shoe (seriously-flats, sandals, heels, Toms…the list goes on and on) and are super versatile. I have a couple of distressed pairs that can be dressed up or down with a tee-shirt or sweater and a light pair that is one of my office staples. I’m usually not a fan of light jeans (the darker the better) but they’re super comfy and have enough stretch to make me look like I kind of have a figure. It’s a win win!

Jeans3Don’t laugh at the above awkward photos-I’m obviously not a fashion blogger. Okay, you can laugh, but just a little.

Great Friday


Today at work we had a chocolate fountain to enjoy, complete with lots of goodies to dip-strawberries, bananas, graham crackers, pound cake, and of course, plenty of fingers. One of my coworkers jokingly made the comment that it seemed a bit morbid to celebrate Good Friday with a chocolate party. I laughed and agreed, then made the comment “well it all turned out okay in the end, right?”

Isn’t that the truth? By all means, Good Friday should be kind of a terrible day. Jesus suffered and died. That doesn’t seem very good, does it?

But of course, He was resurrected, and three days later we get to celebrate this goodness on Easter Sunday. So, it seems as though the good ending (Jesus rising) makes the beginning good as well.

But what if Jesus hadn’t been resurrected? I still think Good Friday would be good.

I know that seems like a bold statement. But can we remember why He died? He died for you. For me. For our parents. For our grandparents. For our future children. For our terrible, broken, sinning world. Jesus chose to die for us.

I always get chicken skin when I think of this. Imagine being dragged through town, beaten and flogged, nailed on some boards, and slowly dying. Who would you do this for? Probably a few people come to mind. Maybe your kiddos, or your spouse. Maybe a niece or nephew, or a little sibling. Those are all people you love deeply and without conditions.

But Jesus died for strangers. He died for people he had never really met before, for people who had sinned again and again and again. He died without knowing when he would rise. He sacrificed himself and submitted to the will of God.

I find this hard to wrap my head around because half of the time I struggle to sacrifice 30 minutes of extra sleep to do my Bible study in the morning. Doesn’t that seem crazy when it’s compared with Jesus’ sacrifice? He willingly gave up His life and I don’t even want to roll out of bed a little early so I can do my devos. Ugh, Cote.

I am grateful for God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice every single day. Because of it I am loved and joyful, forgiven and blessed, and headed to eternal life with our Father. But every year on Good Friday I am grateful just a little bit more, when I think of the extreme sacrifice that was made for me and my unworthy self. To me, that makes Good Friday good on its own, even without the promise of the upcoming Sunday.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
[Philippians 2:5-11]

Read, Breathe, Pray, Like


Social media is everywhere in our world. We have it book marked on our computers and its apps are installed on our phones. I read somewhere that the average person checks Facebook twenty times a day. Twenty! That’s like ten times more than we brush our teeth (if you have good dental hygiene, that is)! However, dental hygiene is not the real issue here (I trust you regularly brush and floss yo’ teeth). The issue is that we are spending increasing amounts of time on social media, and as a consequence are spending less and less time doing other things. The other issue-which I have realized more and more the past few months or so-is that we let what happens on social media have a huge effect on us.

We all have that annoying second cousin that won’t stop posting intense political articles, that old coworker who shares every cat meme ever, or that acquaintance from high school that feels like they must update you on every aspect of their life during every single minute (“I’m brushing my hair! Now I’m driving to work! Sad face, I just saw a dead raccoon on my way to work! Ugh, it’s 10 am and I already need a nap!” …you get the picture). Social media can serve as a source of annoyance for things like that.

It can also serve as a source of anger when people share things that you strongly disagree with, post opinions that drastically differ from your own, or say things that you believe are just wrong. It can also serve as a source of hurt, as people can be downright mean. I’m talking about those people that take advantage of their anonymity or use their keyboard as a shield, typing extraordinarily cruel things about people they have never met in real life or really know anything about. “Trolls” I am told they’re called (although I still think of trolls as those cute pink haired dolls with the gemstone bellybuttons I had as a little kid).

This morning as I was having my coffee and scrolling through my Facebook feed I was struck by a conversation that was going on between some people I vaguely know about someone else I also vaguely know. I would have kept scrolling without a second thought except I recognized the screenshot that was posted as something I had just seen somewhere else on my newsfeed. Upon further investigation, because I am a nosy curious person, I read the series of comments about someone who was selling something that they had won. The comments proceeded to express opinions about how wrong this was, about the awful choice this person was making by for doing this, about how bad their true colors were…

I immediately was upset, but brushed it off and continued on with my morning routine. However, throughout breakfast, more coffee, getting dressed, more coffee, starting my car, and more coffee-I just couldn’t get the conversation out of my head. Because I know the person that they were talking about I obviously have a biased opinion on the subject. However, I haven’t seen that person in years-at least six or seven. But from what I know about the person, they are one of the sweetest and nicest souls around. Yes, they could have changed drastically in the past few years. Sure, maybe they did wrongfully accept the gift with the intent to sell it later. Maybe their true colors are not so great. Or…maybe they are a great person. I don’t know. The point is, the people making all of these comments don’t really know either. They publicly were ‘talking trash’ about another living, breathing person (regardless of whether that person’s intent was bad or good) who likely would be very hurt to see their comments.

Jesus constantly calls us to be examples to others. In fact, Sunday’s sermon at church was how to handle conflicts in a Godly manor (seriously, one of the best sermons I have heard in a long time!). How we as Christians handle situations (whatever those situations may be) reflects on our religion, our beliefs, our Bible, and our God.

I am not claiming to be good at this-at all. In fact, I just ordered the book our pastor referenced in his sermon about conflict, because I am so dang bad at it. We are all human. We are imperfect, drawn to gossip, quick to jump to conclusions, and slow to listen-exactly the opposite of what we are told to do (James 1:19 says “Understand this: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”).

I was upset by this conversation I saw, upset at people’s quickness to judge, upset that as adults we still haven’t grown out of gossiping and tattling on people. This upset-ness (that’s not really a word but we can pretend) faded as I got to work and was immersed in Monday morning tasks.

Then, as usual, God intervened.

I was checking my junk email to make sure I didn’t miss any important ones (no one important really ever emails me, but you can’t be too sure ;)) when I came across one of Stewardship’s 40 Acts. It was Act 23: Share, Pray, Like. And what it said was this: dedicate some time to pray for the things you see in your newsfeed. Small or large, personal or global-whatever it is, just take a second to pray about it.

I felt like I had been slapped in the face. Here I was, thinking about how upset I was at something, being a Judgy McJudgster about their Christian-ness, remembering Sunday’s sermon…and I didn’t even think to pray about it! Facepalm, Cote.

What a great reminder Act 23 serves for us. Before being quick to judge and point our finger, or get angered, or saddened, or whatever it is-why don’t we take a moment to pray about it? We all make mistakes. We all have opinions. We all have Facebook (or so it seems this day). And thus, this month I am making it my priority to pray for the world of social media and for the souls sitting behind their monitors and smartphones and iPads. Will you join me?

Act 23

Find Stewardship’s 40 Acts here: www.40acts.org.uk

…-ing In Love


I feel like I need to start off this post by acknowledging the fact that I don’t feel qualified to write it. I haven’t been married for 50 years, or 25 years-or any years, for that matter. I haven’t been with my significant other (I hate that term, but it seems to fit here) for longer than I’ve been without him. I haven’t raised children with him, I haven’t moved multiple homes with him, and I haven’t celebrated anniversaries with him.

But I still love him. Deeply, passionately, and steadily, I love him. Some days it’s through rolled eyes while doing the dishes and some days it’s whispered gently while cuddling on the couch. Some days it’s said as a reflex and some days it’s felt through my deepest core. But every day, I love him.

I turned 22 in the end of September (see, this is the part where you start to believe me where I say I’m unqualified to write a post like this). I graduated from college last June and I’ll be going back to college (grad school) in August. I don’t have kids, I don’t own a house, and I don’t find myself in the middle of a promising career. Neither does he.

But somehow, here I am, writing a post about staying in love. Yes, me, a 22 year old who isn’t even legally married yet. Hear me out, would you?

I fell in love with J when I was 15. He was driving me home from our first ‘date’ (which was really just watching a movie at a friend’s house) and it was late. It was around midnight, it was dark, and we were driving down a curvy back road in his ‘89 Ford Bronco. My heart was beating extraordinarily fast and I was clammy and nervous. I glanced over at his big man hands on the steering wheel (well, as manly as hands can be for a 16 year old) and thought, I wouldn’t mind those hands holding mine for the next while. When we reached my parents’ house I sprinted out of his truck (to this day J jokes that he hadn’t even put it in park yet) mumbled “thanks for the ride!” and ran inside, slamming the front door behind me.

We wouldn’t have our first kiss until several months later. We wouldn’t have our first real date until February (we went to Red Robbin and I didn’t order anything). We would never ‘officially’ start dating (rare for highschoolers needing the affirmation of being ‘asked out’). But yet here we are, seven years later, still sharing life together.

Like most couples, we went through a lot of phases of love. The crazy, head-over-heels, I’m so in love with you love. The let me tell you all of my secrets and open up to you love. The I’m finally going to fart in front of you love. We even went through the I don’t know if we will make it through this long-distance love.

And yet, here we are.

I’ve read a lot of posts about “staying in love”, full of tricks and tips of “how to keep your marriage alive”. This isn’t something like that.

This is simply something saying that staying in love is a choice. It is an active choice. Maybe you can’t choose who you fall in love with, but I firmly believe you can choose to stay in love with someone. There have definitely been times in the past seven years that I didn’t feel warm and fuzzies while looking at J. There were times I doubted that we could even make it (yep, I said it).

But through all those different seasons of our lives and through the pure grace of God, we actively chose (and keep choosing) to love each other. When we were in high school we chose to ignore the voices telling us it was just puppy love. When we graduated and I moved 3,000 miles away for college we ignored the people telling us we would never make it (even though for a moment it seemed as though they were right). Now, years after that puppy love has worn off, we’re choosing to keep loving each other-deeply, passionately, and steadily.

I spent more time than I care to admit trying to come up with a title for this blog, a title for this thing I’m describing. “Staying” in love sounds boring, “walking” in love seems like more of a daily life act, and “choosing” in love just doesn’t have the right ring to it. Maybe what makes this kind of love so special is that you can’t think up a name for it-it just is. And it’s amazing.

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“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day. But I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.”
[Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook]

Lord, Let Me Be Soft


Lately I’ve been a crier.

I know that sounds super weird. A crier? Like, a baby? Like, a pansy? Like, one of those super emotional girls who cries at all those puppy commercials while Sarah McLaughlin sings in the background?

Yes and no. I’ve never really been the emotional type of the outside. I don’t care to outwardly share my feelings with people; I’d rather keep them to myself. That’s not to say I’m some weird robot that trudges around through life cold and heartless and going “beep boop beep boop” (c’mon, we all know that’s the universal robot sound). But lately, everything has made me tear up. Those homecoming videos on Facebook of soldiers coming home-queue the waterworks. An emotional blog post about how good God is-grab me a Kleenex. A really good love song coming onto my Pandora-oh man. A relevant Bible verse popping up at me-good grief, grab this blubbery mess some more tissues.

I seriously have turned into a weenie! But really. No, really. Okay, yes. BUT good news: there’s a reasoning behind it, or so I like to think.

Lately my daily prayer has been for God to keep my heart soft. This might seem kind of weird-it seemed weird to me at first, too. I work somewhere that sees a lot of people in crisis. They’re broke, they’ve lost their job, they’ve made bad decisions, their car broke down, their life just hasn’t gone as planned; the list goes on and on. Some of these people deserve the sticky situation they are in and some do not. Some are single and just affecting their own life and some have little kiddos looking to them for help. Because this happens every single day it’s easy to become hardened to their situations. We can’t help everyone; that’s just life.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t be praying for them.

It’s easier to push people’s problems aside, to push our own problems aside, and to put on a happy face and pretend like everything is fine. But I think that when we do this we miss a huge opportunity to be more like Jesus. He is the best person to have lived-and he cared. He could have easily told people that he was above them-but instead he washed their feet. He could have easily made an excuse of being too busy (you know, just on a mission to save the world, no big deal) but instead he talked with people, walked with people, prayed with people, and healed people.

Ezekiel 36:26 says “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Can we just marinate on that a second? We are common people with common powers and common bodies, who had common hearts-until God gave us His heart. Every time something bad happens in our world it is easier to brush it off, to not care, to assume it as a ‘normal’ part of life. This is what the devil wants of us-to accept these bad things as normal and thus unworthy of our emotions.

But what if, instead of taking the happenings of our broken world in stride, we hurt? I’m not saying to wallow and sob and to stop living life. I’m saying maybe we should acknowledge the brokenness and the sadness it brings and say a quick prayer about it. Having a heart hurt from the broken things means our hearts are still as they should be-like Jesus’s.

I am making an active effort to keep my heart soft. I know that our world is broken but I also know that our God is good. Maybe all that one person who is having a bad day needs is one softhearted person to say a simple prayer for them. Will you let that person be you?

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

Washed in His Love


Something awesome happened four years ago. Awesome things have happened before then and awesome things have happened after, but on December 5th, 2010, one of the awesomest things of all took place-I got baptized. Awesome, right?

All awesomeness aside, December 5th will always remain one of the most important days in my life because it is a reminder that my life is changed. It is a reminder that Jesus died for me. A reminder that my life is one surrounded by love, by grace, and by favor. It is a reminder that there are incredible, selfless people in my life who have poured into me so that I might know Jesus better.

Matthew 28:18 says to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” I am not always the best disciple. I stumble, I make mistakes, and sometimes I let other worldly things distract me from Jesus’ love. But whenever I trip, or the going is tough, or I start to question my journey of faith, I remember the glorious day that I said no to me and yes to Him.

I remember the way the sun was shining that day-like Jesus himself had opened up the Heavens to pour down on us. I remember the giddy feeling inside of me and the way my heart was racing. I remember the smile I couldn’t seem to keep off of my face, one I couldn’t contain even if I tried. I remember hugging my best friend, as we were about to take this awe-filled journey together, and thinking: does life get any better than this?

And so, on December 5th, in the crystal clear ocean in Hawaii, with my sister, friends, and pastors, a community of amazing Godly people, with praise music playing and the sun shining down on us all, I was washed clean, and my life has forever been changed.

“I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
[Mark 1:8]

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Be Still.


Do you ever have those days where you have to do a double take at the clock, because you can’t believe it’s 5 already? Or where one second it’s Monday and the next it’s Thursday, or one moment the leaves on the trees are just starting to change color and the next it’s already almost November? Too often I find myself rushing through life, from one task to the next, from one day to another, from my car to work to home to the store.

Why do I find myself always in a hurry? I am rarely late anywhere-I leave myself plenty of time to get ready in the morning, I have an hour long lunch break, and I have a very short commute to work (or to the store, or coffee, or anywhere, for that matter). My typical lunch routine is to rush home, start making lunch, turn on the TV, check my Instagram and email, respond to texts, feed the cat, and stuff food in my face-but after rushing through all this I have plenty of time to spare.

I think that our world has taught us that it’s good to be in a hurry and that we shouldn’t waste any of our precious time, that it’s necessary-no, expected-to book ourselves for every hour of every day. We’re told that we must capitalize on our time and there is always something to do, that there is someone who is beating us by doing more, and that someone is getting ahead of us because they’re not resting and we are. We think of ourselves as ‘lazy’ when we take time to ourselves, or at least I do.

This is what the world is telling us-but that’s not at all what God is telling us. He tells us that it’s good for us to rest (that’s what Sunday was originally for, right?) and that we should take time to be still.

This week I have started to drive to and from work with the stereo off. I love blasting music in my car and singing at the top of my lungs, I enjoy listening to the radio in the morning, and I feel like I always need to catch up on the news. But this week, with the 20 minutes or so each day I have spent in silence in my car, I have found tons of peace. It feels good to have some time to breathe and relax and not have any background noise.

This isn’t to say that I am now a boring lazy butt and that I don’t take time to blast some T-Swift and dance around in my car (let’s be honest, we all do it). But I have made a conscious effort to tell myself to just breathe every once in a while, to take a few moments each day for myself, to sit in the silence every once and awhile, and to remind myself of God’s…ness. His goodness, His faithfulness, His kindness, His gentleness. When the world may be crazy or unfair or simply rushed, God will be my peace (Micah 5:5).

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
[Psalm 46:10]

Books Books Books


I have a confession. I’m one of those nerdy people that love to read. Growing up I had shelves and shelves full of books in my room-picture books, novels, nonfiction, fiction, magazines, series, and texts. I didn’t watch a lot of TV when I was young (we got approximately three Canadian channels) and being an only child I often had to find ways to entertain myself. My parents read to me daily since before I can remember, and once I could read myself they passed the torch and I read to them. I can still remember laying in my bunk bed, in my old house, listening to my Dad read various Dr. Seuss books. I can picture him stretched out on the floor, propped up against my bed, with the pile of books I had chosen for him to read that night. I can hear his voice as he made the words and characters come alive, whether that be the Sneetches, the Whos, or the Oncelers.

I’m now a lot older than that little girl who devoured Nancy Drew and the Baby Sitters Club (anyone? Anyone?) However, my passion for reading has stayed the same. A majority of my reading time now is spent pouring over textbooks and studying theories instead of reading for pleasure. The bookshelves in my room are still full of books-except now they’re filled with C.S. Lewis, Durkheim, and Marx. And okay, there’s still an entire shelf of Nicholas Sparks in there. Regardless, my love of books and words and the magical worlds you gain access to when you start a new novel is still as strong as ever. Books have a special power about them. They can lead you to new places, teach you new things, uncover fresh perspectives, and re-light your imagination. Every time you crack open a new book you gain something with every page you finish.

I look forward to next month when I’m finished with school for a bit; to catch up on my reading list that has been shoved to the back of my book bag since I started college. I can’t wait to grab some sunglasses and a mason jar of lemonade and park myself in the sunshine with a new novel (seriously, I’m drooling right now just thinking about it). When I was about 8 I spoke at the International Reading Association’s annual conference in Florida. My uncle was the president of the association at the time (yeah, reading really does run in the family) and he asked me to share a little bit about myself. Of course, being 8 years old, I was terrified-right down to my freshly painted hot pink nails and my too-tightly braided hair. But, I did end up sharing my favorite quote at the time-and one that I still love:

 

“The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the smarter you grow. The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, when speaking your mind or making a choice.”
[Dr. Seuss]