Sarah’s 2012 Book List

Here is my list so far for my 2012 Book Challenge. This is most certainly not the entire list….only the ones I bought home with me for Christmas break that I have not been able to read yet. A longer list will begin as soon as I get back to my apartment at school! Now I have to finish the book I am currently reading (A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett) before the 1st so I can start a new one immediately! Hope ya’ll are willing to join me!

The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck

Being George Washington by Glenn Beck

Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The 5000 Year Leap by W Cleon Skousen

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (again, didn’t appreciate it the first time)

Mao’s Great Famine by Frank Dikotter

Lost December by Richard Paul Evans

Persuasion by Jane Austen

My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara

Rules of Civility ( originally by George Washington)

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Lady Susan/ The Watsons/ and Sandition by Jane Austen

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright 

2012 Book Challenge

Alright all you readers, a wonderful woman who writes a blog I am in love with posted about a book challenge for this coming year and it has me super excited! She and a friend plan on reading 104 books this year Jan 1, 2012- Dec 31, 2012. That’s 2 books a week for those of you who don’t want to do the math. Now, seeing that I am a college student and it is going to be a very stressful, busy semester, I may not be able to reach that high of a goal. Her challenge got me very excited though, so I plan on setting a goal for myself of reading as many books on my bookshelf in my apartment as I possibly can before the year is up. Most of you don’t know, but my bookshelf is double stacked mainly with books that I have bought, but have not read yet. (I have a slight addiction to buying books…I’m working on it) For this challenge, if you would like to join, any book counts (as long as you read the entire thing). I’d count textbooks…..but most of us don’t really even read those ha! Anyway, kids books, political books, the Bible, cookbooks, whatever; they can all count! I’ll even count Calvin and Hobbes. I know a lot of my friends are not readers themselves for many different reasons, but I think this challenge could really help encourage you, knowing other people are doing it too. Sometimes it takes a while to find the kind of genre that interests you and doing a challenge like this is the perfect way to find it!  I think it could also be a great way to share good books! Write me and tell me what books you are reading or where you should start if you like. Books are wonderful, valuable treasures. As is quoted from the Love Comes Softly movie (also a book, go figure). ” Once you can read, you can have every adventure you ever dreamed of.” Books are my escape from reality and one of the most important ways I expand my knowledge about the world around me. Join me in this challenge for the coming year. You don’t have to set such a lofty goal as I am, just set one high enough to challenge yourself….who knows, you might break it by more than you expect! I’m telling you, you won’t be sorry you did!

You can see the original challenge below:

I Am……A Poem of the Simple Things in Baseball

I took a writing class this semester and we had to create a multi-genre life story book for someone we know. The goal was to write in at least 4 different genres and then give the book to the person we wrote for at the end of the semester. I was so excited, but I could not figure out who I wanted to write it to for the world! Then I thought of it. Nathan is an amazing baseball player for his age and sometimes he does not understand why he is the youngest in our family. So to make him feel extra important, I decided to write it to him….and all about baseball! This is the poem I wrote for him. Hope you enjoy!

I am the old, little glove passed down from your brother

I am the helmet a little too big for your head

I am the muddy cleats after a rainy practice

I am your posse of fans in the stands cheering your name

I am the hours your family spent teaching you how to play

I am your first proudly worn jersey with your favorite number

I am the crack of the bat as you hit your first home run

I am the 6-4-3 double play you wowed the crowd with

I am the experience of a major league game

I am the hours of practice it took to get your swing down

I am the smell of pine oil on your new wooden bat

I am getting to meet your heroes of the game

I am the pride written on your face after you make a big play

I am the dirt smeared on your pants after a perfect slide

I am the crackle of cracker jacks and smell of peanuts eaten by the fans

I am the tears rolling down your face when you strike out, but

I am the wild cheers you hear after winning a big game

I am the importance of the last out

I am the love for the game passed down from your sister

I am the wad of gum you snuck out of mom’s purse for the game

I am the fresh-cut grass and the spotlights shining on the field

I am the “SAFE!” call at the plate giving you the lead

I am the showering of sunflower seeds and

I am the welcoming hugs and congratulations in the dugout

I am the friendships made, and

I am the lessons learned on and off the field

I am the encouraging coach, friends, and family helping you through a slump

I am the adjustment to your stance that sends the ball soaring

I am the memories made on the late summer nights

I am the little things that made the experience great

I am the pure enjoyment of the game…


My Little Buddy, Nathan

I was born to two wonderful parents in 1990 and since I was the firstborn, I had them all to myself….at least for a little while. A full 13 months after I was born, my brother Jonathan made his entrance into our family. I, of course, was a great big sister and while I’m sure I missed getting ALL the attention, it was fun having another kid in the family to play with. We were two peas in a pod and we did everything together. We were the picture perfect American family and we were happy for sure…but something was missing. It was you.

You were born 4lbs 3oz in 2003, 12 years younger than me.  You were so tiny and cute. The first time I held you if felt like a dream come true. It was hard to believe I had another little brother. Little did I know just how much you would change my life.

We all had our own unique bond with you and you were never wanting in the attention area. How could anyone resist such a cute baby like you anyway? Dad loved to tease you and make you laugh and mom of course took you hiking as soon as she could. Even Jonathan helped out and changed plenty of diapers when you were younger. Me, it didn’t matter what we did together. I just loved having the chance to spend time with you any way I could.  You were our pride and joy. Your sweet smile and contagious laugh left us wondering how we ever lived without you in our lives.

At five years old it was time for you to go to school. I still remember your first day like it was yesterday. You were so excited and ready to go. I’m pretty sure we all cried as we walked away from your classroom that day. It was that year I fully came to understand what I wanted to do with my life.

You see, I had always been a tomboy. I caught with frogs and toads with Jonathan and played baseball in our cul-de-sac…and I was one feisty soccer player. So when it came time to teach you about some of the sweeter things in life, I had some pretty good experience.

I remember our whole family loved to take you sledding and we tried to teach you to do some pretty cool tricks. I helped you develop a love for cooking….or at least experimenting in the kitchen. You turned out to be the best kid in our family to take hiking too. Mom was pretty happy with that. I still remember teaching you how to roast the perfect marshmallow (even if you liked to burn them) and showing you what plants you can eat in the wild. We spent hours together trying to perfect your bowling game and had fun on the Frisbee golf course. But the one thing I know I taught you well…. was baseball. I always wanted you to play and enjoy the sport, but I never thought you would love it as much as me. My favorite times with you have been teaching you about the sport at Rockies games. That’s where most of our memories come from lately. Through teaching you about different things as you have grown up, I realized I have a passion for kids and for teaching. You are the one who inspired me to make the trip to Guatemala to work with a school down there. Without you in my life, I never would have realized how much I love kids. You also inspired me to help out kids who struggle more than the average middle class children do which is why I worked so hard at the daycare. So when it was time to graduate, I already knew what I was supposed to do. And you helped me realize my dream. But it wasn’t just teaching you about life that caused me to love teaching kids. It was your passion for life too. It was the goofy expressions you made and the fun times we spent together. It was the hugs you gave me when I came home and the look I got when you wanted something. Now here I am about to graduate and become a teacher. Our family has become who we are today greatly because of you. It’s been a mix of your encouragement and plenty of prayer and guidance from God that has led me to the idea of reaching the destitute children in this world. Because just like you, they have their own dreams and passion for life and I am ready to help guide them in their journey to finding them. All because of you.  

For the Love of the Game

Ok, I do realize that I am writing two posts about baseball all in the same night, but I don’t care. It’s one of the only happy things I can find myself thinking about at this moment so that is what I am doing. Deal with it! :p

So obviously, I love baseball. LOVE it. I live, breathe, sleep, and whatever else can be done with this sport. For me, life without baseball is dreary. Seriously, I have no idea what I would do if I didn’t have the game in my life.  It represents the time I get to vacation from the stress in my life to cheer on my team, the Rockies. It’s where all of my bottled up emotions come out. I scream at the tv when the umpire makes a terrible call and I jump for joy when the Rockies gets a win. I cry when they don’t make it to post season and I cry when they do. I literally count the days until spring training as well as Opening Day. Yes, I might be a little crazy, but that’s alright with me. I love the game. It’s one of my passions.

I know a lot of people don’t see what I see in baseball and that is ok. Everyone has their own tastes in life. It is what makes us different. But I am going to try to explain to you why I love this game so much. Here goes….

For me, baseball was the only sport my dad ever really taught me how to play. Sure, I played soccer and I did ballet, but those I learned on my own. Baseball is one memory with my dad that I really value from my childhood. I can still remember the first baseball game he took me to and all the games we used to play in our cul-de-sac when I was little. Of course, my brother was not happy that I got to play, but I am sure I showed him up a time or two. My dad never taught me about football either (probably why I don’t like it) so baseball is the one sport I have vivid memories about with my dad.

Now, a lot of what I am going to say from here on out could probably be applied to other sports too, but just remember that for me, baseball is the one I relate to and the one I have a passion for.

I love that in baseball it doesn’t matter what team you like (unless you are a Yankees or Red Sox fan depending on who you talk to). We all as fans share a common love for the game. Sure we each have our personal favorite teams, but when it really comes down to it, the real fans share a bond for the sport. Fans can wear any team’s hat to a game and no one thinks twice about it. We all just love the game. Sometimes I feel like I am sharing a memory, a moment with my closest 500,000 friends. We are all there for the same reason. It’s great.

I love the history of the game. I love that fans still eat cracker jacks and peanuts. I love that parents still collect and pass down their old baseball cards to their children. I love that we treasure the old baseball fields as much as the new ones and we try to preserve their uniqueness as much as we can. I also love that  with baseball, it never matters what team a great player was on but rather what he did. We all can be proud of players like Jackie Robinson, Cy Young, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and even now players like Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki today who do amazing things on an off the field. We know them because of their records and the inspiration we got from watching them play, but we also know them for the great things they tried to do for the people watching them.

One thing I really love about baseball is how intertwined it can be with the hearts of the citizens of the US and how it can help heal the hurt after catastrophes. One example of this that I can recall is the Mets vs Braves game at Shea stadium in Queens, New York only 10 days after September 11, 2001. With the Braves winning the game 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th inning and one man already on base, Mike Piazza stepped up to the plate. He took a swing to try to heal a wound, to try to return America to normality, to try to bring hope back to a broken city. A swing that sent a tiny little ball over the centerfield wall. You can imagine what followed that home run. The Mets won the game and with that win, they gave a tiny sliver of hope back to the American people. The Mets didn’t end up going to the playoffs, but they had made a difference, however tiny it was, in the lives of the citizens around them. And that type of experience isn’t just unique to the Mets and 9/11.

The game of baseball runs almost parallel to our experiences in life. Through both life and baseball we learn the importance of not giving up. Yes, we all fail or hit a bad slump sometimes, but it can’t stop us from staying in the game. It’s all about perseverance. I know if it doesn’t go just right, there is always tomorrow and the prospect of better things. I can handle defeat because I know it is only an opportunity for success later. And an opportunity for me to learn along this road called life.

I love baseball for the memories I have made because of it. Baseball has become one thing I can share with my family. We all love the game. I get excited every chance I get to spend with them at a baseball game. Those games will be something I always remember. It’s something I have passed on to my younger brother. He is becoming quite the Rockies fan let me tell you. I love that I not only get to take him to games, but I get to watch him learn to understand and love the game as well. I love that we have created a bond between us through the game and can enjoy it together. 

I love baseball because I live everyday with my team. I grind through slumps with my hitters, feel the agony of errors, argue balls and strikes, and labor pitch after pitch. I identify with players over the course of the season, root for the new kid, and say goodbye to the old veterans who were once my heroes (probably crying as I watch them go). I understand the beauty in pitching inside, brushing back the hitter, only to set him up the next time sp he comes up with the backdoor cutter. I understand the difference between a 6-4-3, and a 5-4-3 double play, and I appreciate it every time. I second guess my manager (although not often) to a fault, and question why they didn’t stretch the starter another inning or batter, or why didn’t he go to the bullpen earlier. It can be such a slow, and boring game for many, but to me, it is one of the most beautiful displays of strategy and gamesmanship. I would rather see a pitcher duel than a game filled with home-runs.

I still feel the hair raise on my arms every time I order tickets and then walk through the dark tunnels of Coors Field before coming out onto the field. The moment the threshold is passed, the chatter from the tunnel turns into an echo, and the smell of grass and flash of light hits the body like a resuscitating breath. The smells and sounds of the game intoxicate me. I know any day has limitless potential to turn into a Summer classic. Every pitch may connect me to part of Baseball lore spanning the generations of fans. My excitement is often uncontrollable. The game is played outside, during the best time of year. The nature of the game allows you to talk to your friend, or neighbor without worrying about missing the game, while enjoying another beautiful day (although you won’t catch me doing that very often). Unlike most other sports, baseball has no time limit. Nine innings can last a lifetime. But, on a beautiful summer day, I always hope it will last forever.

It’s Not Over Till The Last Out

 I’m going to premise this story by making sure you all know that I’m a Rockies fan. Most people who know me already know just how crazy I am for this team, but not everyone else will. While writing this, I’m wearing a Rockies shirt that I got back when I was freshman or sophomore in high school which to tell the truth, I would wear every single day if I could. About half of my wardrobe is probably baseball stuff and yes, I even have purple and grey shoes to match. 

 So, if anyone is following baseball as hard core as I am, you know that my Rockies did not make it into the postseason at all this season. Hearbreak! Actually, as optimistic to the very end as I normally am, I almost knew they wouldn’t make it this year. We had too many injuries and a complete mess both offensively and defensively. Now, I can’t watch the games at my apartment because we don’t get the right channel (you can imagine how horrible that is for me), but I have always had the score up on my computer for the games at least. Every game….until I realized they had no chance for postseason. Then to be honest, I gave up on them. I don’t normally do that, but this time I did. I think I almost didn’t want to watch the disappointment. I still stayed up to date on how they were doing, because as a true fan, I can’t actually make myself stop that habit, but I didn’t race to get home to know the score this last part of the season.

 My question for you is, how often do we do this in life?  If you’re a Christian, how often do you do this in your Christian walk?  I know I get discouraged, and just like my struggle with the Rockies, I give up on things.  I work hard to stay optimistic and typically it helps.  I used to be a lot worse than I am now, but I still struggle.  My point is, when life gets rough and your team is 3 runs down in the bottom of the 9th inning, don’t give up.  There’s still time left.  You might make a mistake in life, but like that game, there are at least three more outs to play.  You’ve got time to make it up. Just make sure that you do pick up that bat again and go for the win. Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Don’t give up before the race (or game) is over. When I started writing this, the Rockies finished their last game of the 2011 season. It was hard to accept.  But, I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m not giving up on them yet.  They can make it up. And just like I won’t give up on my team, I’m not going to give up on myself either. I will be running  so as to get the prize. It’s not over till the very last out.

A New Blog Title

So, for those of you who actually read this crazy blog of mine, you might notice the name has changed. Well, I decided to change it for a couple of reasons. One, although I love horses and always will, they have been moved to the back burner of my life. I also don’t write much about my love for horses so I didn’t think horse hair would work any longer. I tried really hard to keep angel kisses because if you read about why I chose that phrase, it is a big part of my life….but nothing I could think of would go with it very well. I tried baseball phrases with it and books and other passions of mine…but nothing worked. So I then decided to change it completely. Glenn Beck mentioned my blog title (ok…I kinda stole it from him) in his speech at the Restoring Courage event. Adonai li, v’lo ira comes from a Hebrew prayer meaning God is with me, I fear not. I think a lot of what I have been posting lately has dealt with some issues that have really been on my heart to share about. And the best part is, I’m not afraid to talk about them anymore. I’ve overcome my fear because I KNOW with all my heart that God is with me. So, in light of that, I decided to name my blog after my newly found/ restored courage. Hope you all continue to read what I write and let me know what you think! 

Just the heart of a girl who passionately pursues Christ