Song Lyrics Gone Awry – and Grace

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I’m a word girl. Which means, when it comes to music, I’m a lyrics girl.

Which means some of the most played songs on the radio right now are really getting on my nerves.

Don’t get me wrong. My love of pop music has not diminished, and the latest songs by T-Swift and Baby Brother Jonas are catchy as all get out. And while I don’t let Annalyn listen to these particular tunes, it’s possible I might have cranked them up a time or two after dropping her off at school.

I’m not upset with Taylor Swift for abandoning country music – or even for having the nerve (The Nerve!) to sing a song that isn’t nearly as appropriate for my seven-year-old as “Shake It Off.” I was, admittedly, completely weirded out by Nick Jonas singing about perfuming his chest – but it turns out he actually says he’s PUFFING his chest. So, that’s better (MUCH) – and I wasn’t really upset about that anyway.

No, what I find annoying is Nick and Taylor’s misunderstanding of love – and the way they sing about it in their catchy songs.

In his song, Jealous, Nick Jonas says it’s his “right to be hellish,” because he still gets jealous. Um. His RIGHT to be hellish? Oh, but wait. It’s okay because later he says, “There’s no one else for you ‘c​ause you know I get excited, yeah, when you get jealous, too.”

Okay, I see now. This is equal opportunity crazytown.

Then there’s Taylor Swift’s new song, Blank Space. Though the tune is catchy and the video is gorgeous, the lyrics are…well…ridiculous. She tells the story of a romance beginning and then “going down in flames” when she gets drunk on jealousy, finishing up with the conclusion that, “Boys only want love if it’s torture.”

Um, right.

Actually, the lyrics to the Taylor Swift song are lovely and clever, but their message is awful. And, while I’m pretty sure this song is actually tongue in cheek, on the surface it’s no different than dozens of other songs getting stuck in my head every day.

Artists – or at least their songwriters – seem to think that love is a game and true love is akin to insanity. So we should all just go crazy! Do what it takes to win! Look out for yourself and make sure you protect your rights and your feel-good and get-what-you-want!

Bah. This is ridiculous and get off my lawn, you crazy kids!

I know. I sound like a grumpy old man. But am I the only one who’s noticed the weirdo lyrics in songs lately?

(Don’t even get me started on the vulgar and purely nasty lyrics that should not ever be played between the hours of whenever children wake up to whenever they go to bed. Because wow. Way to use subtlety and clever turns of phrase to get your point across, people . . . except, oh, right, you DIDN’T.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go listen to the oldies station.

(Where they are giving away tickets to a Def Leppard concert, because apparently Def Leppard is “oldies” now. Def Leppard of the infamous, Pour Some Sugar On Me. With those lyrics, yeah, yeah, I know. Hush.)

*********************

Wait, though! Not all lyrics are bad!!! I’m actually over at (in)courage today, talking about a lesson I learned by listening to the lyrics of a totally different song.

I think most of us are pretty unlovable in our own ways. That’s what makes love so incredible, such a miracle. What all my thinking and singing and song lyric rewriting has taught me is that pointing out others’ flaws doesn’t just hurt them and withhold affection from them, it robs me of the gift of grace.

Read the rest at (in)courage, and let’s talk about grace.

{Photo source}

WFMW: Done is Better than Perfect

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I had big plans. A clever story, coordinated outfits, a comprehensive mailing list.
I was going to send Christmas cards, and they were going to be awesome.

But then we didn’t get around to having pictures taken.
And the holidays felt so busy, busier than normal, with a baby.
Or maybe I just wasn’t organized, on top of it, SOMETHING.

So the holidays – and their cards – came and went, and I decided one day to just order New Year’s cards instead. The cheap kind, because that Christmas budget was long gone. Anyway, it was still very early in the new year, so it made perfect sense! (And gave me a little time to round up addresses for friends and family who have moved. Although not everyone, so apologies to those of you who have yet to receive any holiday greetings from the Carvers.)

Of course, then I had to go to the post office to buy stamps. And stuff the cards. And address the envelopes.

I didn’t look forward to addressing the envelopes one bit, so I waited. Because I really wanted to include a letter. After all, like I mentioned, I had such a clever story for it!

But my printer is broken.

So I didn’t start writing the letter. Because I didn’t have a way to print it. And thinking about the cost of printing it at the copy store, on top of the cost of the cards and the stamps, just irritated me. Not to mention I’d have to fold and stuff those letters.

I didn’t write a letter. But one day last week, as I glanced at the box holding my stuffed and stamped but not addressed holiday cards – and I snapped. I sat down that night and began addressing them. I finished them the following day, did not pass go and went straight to the post office to mail them.

Because you know what? DONE is better than perfect or clever or color-coordinated (but undone) any day.

(Also? Getting that little box off my desk is better than perfect, too!)

What can you do (imperfectly) today?

 
Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

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What I’m Into :: January 2015

Birthday cake

Awww, look at that baby! That baby who’s not a baby anymore! We didn’t do a big blowout birthday party this year, but we did have cake. And, really, is there anything more disgusting than an adorable baby-not-baby smeared with frosting?

In the real-life category of what I’ve been into this past month, it’s mostly writing. In addition to that, though, I’ve done the typical January things a person does. You know, budgeting and planning and looking at lots of blog posts about Whole 30 meal plans. I paid off a couple pesky bills last night and we have a date night planned for Saturday, so two of those three are going well.

I also inherited Works for Me Wednesday from Kristen at We Are THAT Family, which has been super fun so far! Despite the pressure of a book deadline and nearly three weeks solid of someone in my house being sick at all times, it’s been a decent month.

How was YOUR January? What were YOU into?

Reading January 2015

What I’m Reading:

On the day the next Veronica Mars book was released not one, but two of my friends sent messages – with photos! – bragging about already having their copies. So rude. Of course, I realized later that day that I’d also pre-ordered the book and it appeared on my Kindle as well. I haven’t read it yet, though. I can’t very well stop reading, just because I have a lot to do. But I can save this one for a reward once I have a manuscript ready to turn in. (Maybe.) (Self restraint is not my strength, especially when it comes to not reading things that are within reach on my Kindle.)

I also haven’t read If I Stay yet, and I suspect the library is not too happy that I haven’t made this [overdue] book a priority! Don’t tell the library, but here are the books I’ve read instead:

  • My True Love Gave to Me: This is an anthology of short stories. They’re all young adult, and they’re all holiday-themed. So if that’s not your thing, move along. If it is, though (if you, say, love watching Christmas movies on ABC Family…), get this one. I didn’t love all the stories, but the majority were great.
  • All Fall Down by Ally Carter: As a huge fan of Carter’s other series (Gallagher Girls and Heist Society), I’ve been looking forward to this one. Sadly, I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t mind the darker tone to this first in a new YA series, and the unreliable narrator didn’t bug me too much either. I guess it just kind of plodded and I wasn’t all that shocked by part of the “shocking” ending. Plus I now have to wait forever for the next book.
  • The Accident by Chris Pavone: I liked Expats, Pavone’s first novel, a lot. And this one certainly kept me turning pages, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. I think my biggest problem with it was the timeline. The story doesn’t flow chronologically, though the main story takes place in just one day. There are a ton of flashbacks, but they’re not labeled, so it’s hard to follow. I’m all for books that challenge my brain (Lord knows I need something more challenging than Trivia Crack!), but this seemed unnecessarily confusing. It did stick with me, though. Reading about a controversial manuscript that people are [spoiler, I guess] killed over made me even more paranoid about the huge stack of papers I’ve been working with for my book!
  • The Lost Key by Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison: This was the second book in Coulter’s new FBI series, and I really liked it. It’s nothing exciting, more like comfort food. But interesting comfort food with fun characters and decent suspense.

Last thing – if you haven’t read A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson (BooMama), get it NOW. It’s FREE on the Kindle!

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What I’m Watching:

Well, I just finished watching Galavant. Eight episodes of goofy musical satire, complete with John Stamos (Uncle Jesse jousting!), Weird Al (monks with jazz hands!) and Ricky Gervais (meh.) – and, though I enjoyed it thoroughly, I think eight episodes were enough. Still, it was fun while it lasted! (And rumors say it might be back, so there’s that, too)

I’ve also been enjoying the return of Hart of Dixie and Parks & Recreation. Parks and Rec is definitely in its last season (sniff, sniff), and I suspect Hart of Dixie is, too. So I’m savoring every single minute we have left. (Similar to how many of you felt about Parenthood, I suspect. My condolences.)

Finally (unless you want a more thorough rundown of January television – and in that case, check out this post on mid-season television!), I am LOVING Hindsight on VH1.

I know, who would think that a TV show on VH1 would be good?! But it IS. So good. It’s about a woman around 40 who, on the eve of her second wedding, travels back to the eve of her first wedding – in 1995. If you have any warm feelings for 90s nostalgia, this is for you. If you love time travel or women who adore their friends, this is for you. If you typically like the sort of things I like, this is for you.

Seriously, it’s my favorite right now. (And it’s on VH1 at 8:00 pm CST on Wednesdays.)

Okay, one last thing I’m watching. So, you know that last year I watched American Idol from start to finish, mostly while feeding a newborn and often in the middle of the night. Well, like you do in this internet age, I also read recaps and reviews of each episode and ended up loving a certain video recap more than the show itself.

More than the show, you ask? Yes. And how do I know? Well, because I’m not watching Idol this year but I have still managed to watch the first three episodes of Reality Check, the TV Line video where Michael Slezak (a TV Line writer) and Melinda Doolittle (an Idol contestant from way back when) talk through the highs and lows of the show. They are hilarious. And smart. But mostly just funny. And, I’m not proud of this, I’m probably going to keep watching even though I have no plans to watch the actual reality show they discuss!

What I’m Listening To:

Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran are pretty much on repeat around here. Totally different types of song (though both obviously pop), but I love them both so much! Man. Both those guys are crazy talented. I was hoping to find a picture of the two of them together, but apparently they don’t hang. Weird.

Oh, wait. Looks like Bruno shared his stage with Ed in St. Louis about a year and a half ago, where he let Ed sing The A Team during his (Bruno’s) concert. Well, still not what I was hoping for, but if you want to watch, here it is. (The A Team, I’ll admit, is not my favorite Ed Sheeran song, though it is so pretty for a tune about prostitution and drugs…)

And probably my favorite video of the month was this cute interview with Dax Shepherd on Ellen. (HT For Every Mom, which has The Best videos and articles for moms!)

So, tell me: What were YOU into this month?

This post will be linked up to Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into.

My 2015 Reading List – Fiction

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Yesterday I shared half of my 2015 reading list with you. I’d planned to share the whole thing in one post, but it got WAY too long for that!

Which do you prefer – nonfiction or fiction? My preference is definitely fiction, hands down, no contest. But the problem with that is all the amazing people I know writing [nonfiction] books these days! When a new friend confided last summer that she’s working on a novel, I just about jumped up and hugged her I was so excited.

Of course, if you’ve been around here for any time at all, you know my love for fluffy fiction runs about as deep as my commitment to pop music and the CW. So it’s probably a good thing I have reasons to read nonfiction. I’m never sorry when I do, and while some novels linger in my memory for a while, it’s only the nonfiction books that truly change my life.

Still, today is all about the fiction. So let’s get to it!

Reading List 2015 - Fiction

Fiction (both the Adult & YA variety)

  • Me Before You by JoJo Moyes: Everyone has read it and says it’s a must. It’s been sitting on my Kindle for a month now…
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King: I tried reading this time travel book early last year, but my brain wasn’t quite ready that soon after having a baby. I think I’m ready now (and since I gave it to my dad for Christmas, I won’t even have to wait for the library to get it in!).
  • Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty: All the lists have this one pegged as A Big Deal, so I’ll add it to my list, too. And I really liked What Alice Forgot, so I’m betting all those other lists are right.
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: I bought this book for my grandma after seeing it on Amy’s list of best books of 2014. She’s since passed it on to my aunt, who said I can read it next. The family that reads together… Wait, is that a thing?
  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen: I saw this one on somebody else’s list and immediately added it to mine. I read – and really liked – The Peach Keeper by Allen a few years ago, so I have high hopes for this one!
  • The Accident by Chris Pavone: Publishing and spying in one book? Yes, please. This book is actually sitting in my bedroom right now, so it’s up next. (Also, I loved Pavone’s last book, The Expats. So, again, high hopes!)
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: Well, I don’t know. Everyone is recommending it these days, most recently Jill. It’s historical fiction, which isn’t my favorite, but I’ll give it a try.
  • Mr. Kiss & Tell: An Original Veronica Mars Mystery (#2) by Rob Thomas: Obviously.
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve read mixed reviews on this one. Eleanor & Park was outstanding, but some reviewers have said this one isn’t so much. But it’s time travel-ish, so you know I’m going to read it anyway.
  • Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5) by Dani Pettrey: This has been one of my favorite Christian fiction series, and I’m both looking forward to this final installment – and dreading it because it will mean the end of the series. #booknerdproblems
  • The Escape by David Baldacci: I haven’t loved Baldacci’s recent novels as much as his first ones. But, at least for now, I’ll still read every single one he writes and hope for a return of that early greatness.
  • The Job (Fox & Hare #3) by Lee Goldberg & Janet Evanovich: Okay. I loved the first book in this series and thought it had great potential. But the second one was a bore. So I guess what I’m saying is that The Job is The Tiebreaker for deciding how invested I am in this series.
  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway: I liked Benway’s books about a high school safe cracker and spy. And I tend to like books about childhood friends finding romance. So even though the title is uber cutesy, I’m looking forward to reading this.
  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: Ohhhhhh, I loved Hodge’s first books SO MUCH! Twisted, reimagined fairy tale retellings are all the rage, but her take on Beauty and the Beast (and Cinderella, to an extent) was one of the most original things I’ve ever read. I can’t wait for this one!
  • All Fall Down by Ally Carter: I’ve been waiting and waiting for Ally Carter to start a new series. I loved both her previous series, Gallagher Girls (high school spy girls) and Heist Society (high school con artists). I believe this is what I’ll be using the Amazon gift card I got for Christmas to buy!
  • Talon by Julie Kagawa: It’s a YA book about dragons. Okay? And I’m going to read it. I have no defense for this, and I’ll let you know how it is.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: When the movie came out last year, friends said the book was really good. So I’ve had it checked out from the library for…um…a while. It’s overdue. I need to read it NOW.
  • The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand: I’m not sure about this one. I adored Hand’s Unearthly series. But this looks very different. And maybe depressing. So I’ll probably wait for some reviews before picking it up. But it’s on my list.
  • Alienated by Melissa Landers: An exchange student program with aliens? Sure, why not?! This book sounds very similar to Star-Crossed, the short-lived CW show from last year. Which I kind of liked. And watched every episode. So of course I’m reading this book.

I also really want to read a classic or two this year, probably Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights or something by Jane Austen. And I’d love to read The Count of Monte Cristo (it would meet the “book originally written in another language” category on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge!), but holy page count, Batman! Perhaps I should get it for my Kindle so I don’t end up needing a wrist brace.

And, assuming they come out in 2015, I’m sure I’ll also read the first book in Rick Riordan’s new series, the next book in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, and whatever Irene Hannon, DiAnn Mills, Jenny B. Jones and Catherine Coulter publish. Oh, and the next books in the Miss Fortune Mystery series by Jana DeLeon, the Lexi Carmichael Mystery series by Julie Moffett, the GenEx Saga series by Holly Lauren, and the Rose Gardner Mystery series by Denise Grover Swank.

See! Your eyes would’ve glazed over for sure if I’d combined these two reading lists into one!

What’s on YOUR 2015 reading list?

 
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My 2015 Reading List – Nonfiction & Memoir

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I’m not a big shopper. No matter what size I am, I am somehow never proportioned correctly for any clothes I ever try on. And while in theory I understand the draw of cute shoes, when it comes down to it, I don’t really get the need for more than a couple of pairs. Practical pairs, at that. {I know – you can hardly get over how fun I am.}

And don’t even talk to me about grocery shopping.

But what I do love shopping for is BOOKS. My first job was shelving books at the public library. That meant, in exchange for my minimum wage labor, my mad alphabetizing skills, and my sometimes attempt to QUIT TALKING, I had the opportunity to wander up and down the rows of books for hours at a time, pulling out the ones I wanted to check out and take home that day. It was the best.

I still love walking through the stacks of a library or bookstore, but most of my browsing these days is done digitally. I couldn’t even begin to count how many hours of sleep I’ve lost not reading an actual book (though those hours are innumerable), but browsing through the recommended titles on my Kindle or clicking on review after review on Goodreads.

Big surprise that Goodreads is one of my favorite places on the internet, right? Books and lists? Does it GET any better? However, this obsession of mine comes at a price – and that is the overwhelming feeling that I will never have enough time to read all the books I want! I have said, more than once and not completely joking, that people need to stop writing books. Seriously. All of you book-writing people, stop it. Let us CATCH UP, will you?

{Of course, this is completely hypocritical of me, given my own book project. But let’s just ignore that for now, shall we?}

The only way to deal with this world of SO MANY BOOKS is {obviously} to make a reading list. Personally, because my list is so long and always growing, I also have to make a reading plan. But that’s another post for another time. For now, I’m going to share my list of books to read in 2015. Of course, this is a living document. I’ll add to the list throughout the year (and never get around to some of these, I’m sure), but this is the list I’m starting with.

Reading List 2015 - Non-Fiction

Nonfiction & Christian Living

Reading List 2015 - Memoir

Memoirs

Whew! That’s already a huge list, and I haven’t even told you the novels I’m looking forward to reading. Come back tomorrow for that list! Until then, I want to know what YOU’RE reading.

What’s on YOUR 2015 reading list?

This post includes affiliate links. Image from CCAC North Library on Flickr’s Creative Commons.